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Monday, June 30, 2008

Of Crafts, Creativity and Jumping from Frying Pan to Fire

Lately I have been suffering greatly from craft envy. I have found myself bemoaning my complete lack of talent in the crafty sewing stakes and have decided that instead of being such a wussy when it comes to making things from scratch, I will throw myself in at the deep end and have a bloody go. Now the problem with this enthusiastic (if terribly naive) approach to the whole business is that I am a horrible, horrible perfectionist. I have been blessed with one main talent in my life and that is that I have always been able to do pretty much anything I put my mind to without too much effort. I remember it began with ice-skating back when I was a tweenie. My mum had a friend whose daughter had had lessons and we all went to the ice rink. I sailed (literally) through my first ever experience on the ice including learning how to skate backwards, while said friends daughter clung to the side like a limpet. Same with horseriding, same with dance (for which I had a gift when I was much younger and less portly). However, this gift is not all its cracked up to be. Firstly it meant that my mum always had me (unconsciously) in competition with everyone else and that's a kind of pressure that no kid needs and secondly, it meant that I became very impatient with any personal failure. This all translates to, if I can't do it perfectly straight off, I am liable to set fire to it and myself.

Soooo, it is with cautious enthusiasm that I have set myself this project to be completed within the next 4-months in time for my daughters second birthday. Yes, its a sock monkey. I know it probably doesn't seem like much but its a huge step for me. Y'see I love crafts. I have folders at home filled with pages torn from magazines and downloaded from the internet showing me how to do everything from producing the perfect Macaroni Cheeeeze to knitting myself a Bible. I positively salivate over the perfect images with a maniacal grin on my face. I dream of curling up on my newly upholstered sofa, eating the perfect macaroni cheese, striving not to get any on my newly knitted bible with a sock monkey sitting next to me.

I truly envy these amazing creative women whose blogs I have been pouring over. DocWitch is one such being for whom I have such admiration. Anyone who can do crafty things, raise a child, hold down a full time job AND have any time at all for other things is to be worshipped for the Godess/God that they truly are. Me? I'm lucky if I can get through an average day and cook dinner. I long to be more crafty. I love the idea of handmade things, of giving thoughtful, beautiful gifts to people I love that I have taken the time and energy to create myself. There is something so special about it. (BTW thank you for my Beanie's gorgeous Crayon roll-up - she adores it and the crayons within. Many a wall in our house has been visited by her early impressionistic endeavours!). I've always had this thing, this quiet passion, for crafts and now I've discovered Family Circle magazine and completely fallen in love with it. I know. I'm so middle-aged it ain't funny. It's just that its chock full of great recipes and fantastic crafty ideas with ALL the instructions. And some of them I think I could actually do! So - having written in (blog)stone that I am going to make a sock monkey for my little monkey's birthday, I will have to go ahead and do it. Lest the shame of this post hang over my head like those dreams where you find yourself in school naked and without your homework.

As if this wasn't enough, I have also made another commitment (actually two)that started today. (I am nothing if not insanely optimistic when it comes to starting new things), I have commited to 30-days of Japa meditation. I'm not trying to manifest anything in particular, I just would like to revisit the stillness and peace I once experienced during an impromptu fire meditation and which I have written about in this blog (see post The Stillness We Seek). I need to quieten down my head for it is always so very busy in there. The third commitment I have made is to The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. So this morning, after my Japa meditation, I did my morning pages and this week I will go out with myself on my very first Artists Date. I'm very excited. I hope I bring myself flowers.

And so, it is with a burning hot bum (a result of leaping from Creative Frying Pan to Meditative Fire rather than because someone is sitting under my chair with an open flame) that I leave this post. I will be recording the effects of my 30-day meditation experiment AND I will be recording how I'm going with my sock monkey. I may also mention how things are going with The Artists Way. We'll just have to see if I am still able to move under the weight of all these self-imposed obligations by next week.

PS. This post was rudely interrupted by Mother Nature plunging us into sudden darkness at around 10.30pm last night. We stumbled about in total blackness, walking into doors, tipping things over and knocking things off other things until I found a box of matches and began lighting the candles. Thank goodness for what DocWitch calls Witchypooness - my house is stuffed to the gills with candles and soon the house was lit up like Christmas. It was actually very romantic - I actually look good in candlelight. I retired to bed to read and felt very Jane Austin. Reading by candlelight, indeed brushing my teeth and washing my face by candlelight did have a very Pride and Prejudice feel to it. I almost expected a very arsy Darcy to come bursting into the room to tell me how 'ardently I admire and love you...' Well, a girl can dream can't she? Yummmm. Sadly, he wouldn't have had the time to step out of his britches as the lights suddenly came on again and life was back to its unromantic normality in seconds - though I noticed my hubby had grown a beard.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hallelujah! I am Reborn! (with a definite craving for treacle tart and custard)

Life, Death & Rebirth by Musicmuse on Flickr

Indeed I have been Rebirthed therefore I must, by definition, be Reborn.

I will just put this into context. In pursuing a hot new show topic to discuss on Wednesday at 3MDR, I went along to have a rebirthing session with Parvati Pauline Win who will be my guest on the show. Quite the experience I must say. Pauline has led a very interesting life, including stints living in Nepal and Tibet, and her journey to becoming a rebirther (which she has been for over 20 years now) is another story altogether. Likewise, her teacher, Leonard Orr, the man who basically discovered rebirthing spontaneously when he got stuck in his bathtub for 2 hours, has led an extraordinarily interesting life. Notably, the Indian Guru Babaji once materialised in his living room in Texas! Whilst this and other very bizarre and spiritually fascinating experiences remain well outside of my personal experience, I am determined to keep an open mind even with one eyebrow cocked in sceptism. So, onto the experience itself.

I had a chat with Pauline about my birth, or more accurately, my mother's birthing of me and then I lay down on the bed in the room and was covered with many, many blankets and duvets, for I am a cold blooded creature and felt decidely chillsome. I think that some of the cold I felt was my soul shaking in fear at having its dark corners poked and prodded personally, but I could be wrong. We then commenced with a strange sort of breathing. Fast, shallow and not dissimilar to the Yogic Ujjayi breathing though perhaps a tad less throaty. I personally dislike this type of breathing and I really dislike having to breathe consciously, in a particular manner, for extended periods of time. In the end I was breathing like this for nearly 2 hours, sometimes fast, sometimes slow and deep, as directed by Pauline herself. The first, well to be honest, I don't know how long it all was because there were points at which I simply disappeared and then reappeared and then went again. I do know that the first part of it was uncomfortable in both body and mind. My body felt very cold despite the unbelievable amount of layers Pauline piled on top of me. I also felt like I had been filled with concrete. My legs were solid blocks and I felt so heavy that I was sure I was sinking deeper and deeper into the floor with every breath. My left arm hurt and my left kidney hurt. Then, after what felt like an age, I started to think about and want cake. I know. Bizarre. Pauline asked me to say a few affirmations around 'I deserve to be here' and one specifically about my father, 'Let me breathe Dad' or words to that effect and she occasionally touched me gently or murmured encouragement of my progress. She asked me what I was feeling from time to time and I had to answer her through a mouth that felt strangely tight and 'O' shaped. It was as if the energy had puckered my lips together and I had to talk through the small gap between them. I talked about my mum's love of making High Tea on a Sunday, complete with sandwiches, trifle, jelly, jam tarts and little iced fairy cakes. She used to do this every weekend not just for when company was coming and it was a child's dream. I had this vague realisation that I was thinking about this because though my mother struggled to show her affection physcially sometimes, cooking was her way of showing us all love. She nourished us through treats and I realised that when I am in distressed, I too nourish myself through treats. It's my way of making myself feel better in a 'there, there love. It will all be alright,' kind of way. So that was interesting. I associated being nourished with eating sweet treats. New bit of information for the journey.

Rebirth by Sam Kennedy

The whole time I was breathing my body was literally buzzing with energy. Especially around my neck and jaw which I noted with interest. I also felt like my face was covered with cobwebs. I found myself eventually awakening from a period of complete absence feeling warm (finally!) and a bit internally glowy, as if someone had turned on a nice warm light inside of me. I then disappeared and reappeared, sometimes accompanied by random dreamlike images, sometimes stirred by Paulines breathing, until I finally opened my eyes. When I asked her about it later, mentioning somewhat embarrasedly that I thought I had fallen asleep once or twice, she replied that I had not fallen asleep but that I had merely stopped breathing for a while. What?! Yes, apparently, a little known fact about rebirthing is that the rebirthee often stops breathing for short periods of time, accompanied by blue lips. Pauline believes that this is due to us reliving our own birth and the times during that process when we would have stopped breathing for a time due to lack of oxygen or early cutting of the chord or whatnot. I was just a bit stunned that I had actually stopped breathing during my rebirthing breathwork and not a little uncomfortable at the thought of it.

So, there you have it. My rebirthing experience in a nutshell, all sleep apnea and treacle tarts and custard.

I returned home feeling a bit lighter, quite energetic and generally well. We shall see what effect it has on me in the coming days. Really, for it to be effective, I'd have to undertake about 10 sessions in order to learn how to breathe effectively like this for myself. I don't think that I will. I'm not that interested in it as a spiritual practise. It's not really my cup of tea and some of its philosophical and spiritual tenets don't sit well with me. Perhaps I am simply not ready to become Immortal. Again, a long and strange story for another time!

Rebirth by Euphorian Chic

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hormone Hostage

Salome by Franz Von Stuck

I'm a jittery little spud tonight. My energy has an irritating, restless quality to it that chaffes. While my husband and his father watch something about air crashes on the idiot box, I've relocated to my study to write it all out. I think part of the problem is that there is an urgency to this energy. It makes me feel that I should be doing something that I'm not. Something I should be doing. I'm probably reading too much into what could be an extraordinarily long coffee buzz (from midday!) but which feels more portentious than that. I have mentioned before that my husband and I are trying for baby number two. It's taken me a long time to get to this stage. It's no secret that these last 20 months with my daughter have not been particulary easy. I have put it off this long because I felt unready to deal with another baby and my wee wun. However, having felt the cluckiness growing steadily with each newborn I see, I have felt my readiness growing. Unfortunately, my naturopath has me on many, many herbal remedies for this that and the other and until I finish this current batch, all baby-making nookie has been verbotten. It's not that I'm bothered about missing the sex part. I'm ok with that being tired-er than a tired thing after a particularly long and tiring day. It's just that I'm ovulating in a very obstinate and pushy fashion this month. I can feel my body tugging at my sensible logical mind with a definite 'stuff it' vibe. If my body was a man it would be dimming the lights and playing Barry White about now. And if my Egg was a woman she would probably look like this.

The minxy little Kelli Dayton formerly of the Sneaker Pimps.

What I shame I don't.

As it is I have Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On' running through my head in a most pointed manner. *Sigh*

The thing is, I'm tempted to give in to this barrage of ovulatory optimism as I am getting frustrated with all the bloody waiting my naturopath is advocating. I just want to get on with it. I'm knocking on the door of 39 in quite an impatient manner and time is of the sodding essence. Also, as one who often ignores or denies her essential nature, it might be quite nice to just throw the bottles of foul potion in the bin and follow the lure of the egg all the way to hatching.

Of course, the flip side of this is that the herbs are designed to give me the best possible chance of a healthy baby with less risk of a miscarriage. They are also designed to clear up a few things that might be limiting my chances of getting pregnant. I want a healthy baby therefore I should wait. My body wants me to jump on the shag train all the way to orgasmsville. Hence the restless energy that has seen me doing about a million different things today and being satisfied by none of them. In fact, each thing I have taken up has felt like the wrong thing. Each choice the wrong choice. It has been frustrating to say the least. Now I have to go to bed. Bed being the one place my ovum wants me to go and the last place I really should go until I'm at least half-unconscious. I fear that I may be visited by the insomnia fairy tonight.

Only one or two more days of this to go and then I can settle into the long, slow descent into the lair of the Dark PMS Goddess again. She who comes on black silken wings to rip open my womb and let the blood flow.
Lilith by Franz Von Stuck

Although, knowing Lilith, she'll be encouraging me to break the sex embargo and go forth and multiply enjoying the fast coursing of the blood in my veins whilst simultaneously waiting to slit one open and drink from it. Such is the fickle nature of the luscious Dark One. Anyway, there is little more sense to be had from me at this juncture. I think I'll go to bed and read. Alternatively, I'll consult one of my many Oracles to see if there is wisdom to be had.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wintery Wanderings

Father Winter Solstice

Tonight is the longest night. The Sun returns, born from the dark and nourishing womb of the Great Goddess. The Lord of Death is the Lord of Rebirth, and the darkness now gives way to light as each day grows longer. On this night we remember that darkness is not empty nor frightening. It is the infinite potential out of which the light is born. On this night we rejoice, for the dreams we have found inthe dreamtime now appear before us. On this night, we kindle the light of hope, for light is returning and with it, new life." *Taken from Witch Crafting by Phyllis Currott.

What a busy weekend its been. The Ceres Winter Solstice celebration 'Beautiful Darkness' was good fun. Live music, a human beat box (a mixed blessing there!) and lots of lively company. As always it was truly a blessing to share it with good friend who I simply don't get to see enough of. Lovely DocWitch was there with her lovely wee sprite - now 6 - full of beans and good humour but minus two front teeth. How I love a gap toothy grin. An absolutely gorgeous blend of mamma and pappa with a definite smattering of audacious original spirit.

The majestic Stonehenge at the Winter Solstice.

I love the Winter Solstice(also knowns as Yule). Hell, I love winter. And I surely do miss snow with all my freezing northern hemisphere heart. The Winter Solstice means...standing-still-sun. Winter solstice is when because of the earth's tilt, your hemisphere is leaning farthest away from the sun, and therefore: The daylight is the shortest. The sun has its lowest arc in the sky. Like many pagan festivals and celebrations, it has been appropriated by the dominant religion of the time and renamed 'Christmas' - the Rebirth of the Sun becoming the Birth of the Son! Out here in the Southern Hemisphere the Winter Solstice falls on 21st June - which really confuses a poor gal like me! - but which fits the weather perfectly. Here in the Nongs, surrounded by tree mist and softly falling rain, I could almost be back at home in Merry Olde Englande. We have spent many a night hunkered down in front of the roaring wood fire, incense burning sweetly in the background, a bit of Nick Drake or, more recently, a bit of Nigel Mazlyn Jones on the sterierierierio adding a lovely windswept air to the proceedings. All that's missing is the mulled wine. Alas, this poor wino has had to forfeit many a pleasure recently (sugar, alcohol and they are trying to take my dairy away... noooooo) due to ongoing wrestle with aging body in an effort to produce another sprightly sprog. Yes, hopefully another witchypoo spirit will be joining its older sister earthside in just a jiffy. Keep thinking sensual thoughts people. Still, there is something magical about the first snowfall and I've been out here for so long now that I genuinely miss the crisp British promise of snow in the air and ahhhh, that feeling you get when the snow finally comes. The sky turns pink and big soft flakes float gently down to earth. Crunching white frosting underfoot on a moonless but still brightly illuminated night is something to treasure. Truly.

So - I will leave you for tonight. My memory still full of late night fire twirling, my little gumnut divebombing the legs of total strangers and generally running through the beautiful darkness like a loon and of mamma's and pappa's dancing with kidlets to the sounds of African Drumming and accoustic guitars - though thankfully not at the same time!

I hope your Solstice found you merry and bright and may all your Solstices be white.

Bright Blessings

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

In and Out of My Mind

*see end of post
Today is the day I do my radio show on 3MDR 97.1FM. I am on air once a fortnight on Wednesdays between 3pm and 5pm - around abuot the time all the mummies are picking up their little kidlets. Today's show is on Oriah Mountain Dreamer who I am enormous fan of and who I have mentioned on more than one occasion in this blog. Listening to her on audio, as I have been doing recently, is like taking a long walk through a silent, rain soaked forest. She has this quality of stillness about her that I just love. I can feel my muscles relax and my spirit sit up and take notice. This is an amazing feat in itself, especially as I am so often 'Hi, I'm currently out of my mind, please leave a message or call back later.' I have often said that if all the tension were taken out of my body the rest of me would simply dissolve into a pool of slightly sticky regret. I am, by my own admission, a little neurotic, a little over-anxious and more than a little stressed. But that is, at least for now, just how I am. I'm learning to be ok with it. I am also fervently hoping that in my spiritual unfolding there will be a way for me to reach back into the woman I really am at the core of me. The one that is unperturbed by external circumstances, the one that loves deeply, rests well and embraces the 'now' fearlessly. Oriah, who seems to have lived in my skin, is my way of reminding myself that I have choices, that I can choose to simply let go and 'be' without worrying if the dinner will get made or if my daughter will wake up for the fortieth time in the night and need me. I can, at least for a little while, be ok if she does. This is why I like her so much.

My chronic tiredness continues unabated and has been joined by the evil little fuckers that are insomnia and restless leg syndrome. Neither is a welcome bedfellow. Insomnia snores and farts under the covers while I gasp for a wiff of the cool still air of dreaming and Restless Leg Syndrome makes my calves disco dance all night long. They both have me tossing and turning like a demented swing dancer. I HATE not being able to sleep. It adds insult to over-tired injury and makes me crankier than a whore past her sell-by date. And yet, I still have to get up, take care of my child, cook nourishing food and make time to write and run my business, when what I would actually like to do is fall into a sleep to rival Sleeping Beauty's and kick the living shit out of anyone who dares to try and wake me. I am NOT a morning person. In fact, I very rarely feel like a person at all. Not sleeping really is a torture and its impact on mind and body are very much underestimated in my humble opinion. I am a good deal less fun to be around when I have slept little and I am a lot more likely to forget to do important things like locking the door (or even shutting the door on one particular day), putting on my seatbelt, checking the straps on the car seat once I have my beanie strapped in, making sure I take my keys with me. That kind of thing. Beanie also gets the rough end of a very sharp tongue. Not good.

On the good news front I have emptied out our extremely messy store room and created in its place a lovely jewel of a meditation room. I hope to drag my sorry carcass from the warm cocoon of bed at the ungodly hour of 5am in order to get some 'omming' in and some writing done. It looks amazing. Filled with the smoke of copal and frankincense which always make me feel like a priestess in some ancient temple. I have lovely sari covered indian cushions to sit on and a soft blanky to wrap around me for those cold mornings. The altar is an oasis of peace which I can choose to stare at or ignore depending on my mood. (well, actually, I know exactly what sort of mood I'll be in but I will persevere nonetheless).

Post Script:
I'm back and I really must stop drinking coffee, especially instant coffee (which I never normally drink). I haven't stopped twitching yet. I drove over to the station looking like this... and totally rocked out to the Black Eyed Peas. Let me state for the record that one should NEVER listen to the Black Eyed Peas if one wants to arrive anywhere even remotely sane and definitely never on a weird coffee high that has already lasted for more than 5 hours! Nescafe is evil and must be punished. Still, fun drive though. Felt like a total badass and everyone needs to feel the funk occasionally - even if they are nearing 40 and wearing tracksuit pants and ugg boots.

The show went well I think. It's difficult for me to really be objective about such things as I'm a horrible perfectionist and never feel that I've done a great job of anything. However, it seemed to go ok and I am still a newbie at this broadcasting malarky and one must take that into consideration (something that I rarely do!). I actually really resonated with Oriah's suggestion that one can sacrifice something like perfectionism in favour of wholeness and would like to try that for a while and see if it helps.

More damper. Yes. Now please.

Anyway, I'm anxious to go 'Slow Down and Let Go' in my meditation room. Ha! Anxious to meditate. There's an oxymoron if ever there was one. So I'll leave you with a thought.

Beauty is the doorway to silence.

Like I said, please leave a message or call back later...

* the image at the top of the post is of two hand carved bangles by Jessica Cushman and can be purchased if you've a spare $130 knocking around. I wish!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Slight Case of the Amused Bouche

Ok, I was peeping into the archives of my husbands hotmail account and came across a whole folder marked 'Kat'. This, I felt, gave me all the reason I needed to investigate further. What I discovered was, amongst other, far more romantic things, the following answers to questions designed to enable you to 'Get to Know Your Friends'. The idea being that you forward the email to each of your friends with your answers to the questions visible. They then copy and paste the email into a new email of their own and send it to their friends (including you) with THEIR answers visible... can you see where this is heading? Anyway, I just wanted to post this for no other reason than it gave me a big hearty chuckle and who doesn't need one of those from time to time. Enjoy (and feel free to copy, paste and send away!).

On top of the gigantic Buddha in Thailand

My crotchless Spiderman Suit

The Porsche

Now That's Wank Volume 134

Trapped under fallen rocks


In the face

Depends on to whom they belong

730 BC

The plumber


The skin flute

My boyfriend

14. WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SPORTS CAR OR SUV?(Sports Utility Vehicle) Just plain old S&M does it for me

Not as much as I believe in the BEFORE DEATH

The one wot I wrote

Mixed Herbs

Servicing the landlords father

The power to make millions of pounds appear in my bank account instantaneously, that would be pretty super...

Erm, a tattoo?

No but I can sure Jiggle


Daniel Day Lewis

My car doesn't wear boots

I don't know either of them.


The Lord Our God (who is so good and taketh away the sins of the world)

The Deceased

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Stillness We Seek

I was lying alone on the huge sofa in the living room of my boss. He was overseas doing what Shamans do and I was taking care of his house and looking after the business. I had built a fire in the huge hearth and, as he had no television, had been listening to Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. The CD had finished some time before and night had fallen but I had been too busy staring at the theatre of fire to notice. It was so quiet. I became gradually, dreamily aware of a strange sensation growing within me. It was unfamiliar and yet not entirely so. I felt calm in a way that I had never experienced before and yet I knew this place or at least, I did once. This vast stillness expanded inside me until I knew only peace, only safety. I felt as if I were lying below the surface of a fast moving river. The surface of the river was covered in dead trees, leaves, debris from the banks and fields around it and I had a strong sense of knowing that life was like that debris. Lifes troubles, struggles and woes were like the flotsam that floats on the surface of the water but our truest nature, our deepest self was like the current that moves strongly but slowly beneath the surface. I knew in that moment that no matter what my life held, no matter what unhappiness I felt pulling at my heart and mind, if I could just remember this feeling of being held safely in the strong, slow pull of the deeper current of my life, all would be well. It was as if a voice had spoken to me from deep within that silence and stillness and said simply,'This is truth. Remember it.'

I'll never forget that experience because it is a place I long to revisit. I had never before and, even more sadly, have never since, felt that peace, that simple reassuring stillness in which I lay that night. Maybe I have simply never been that still since. I know that I am someone who finds it hard to be quiet, I move almost as ceaselessly as I talk. Even when my body is still, my mind is burrowing into ideas, issues and problems like a fat childs hand into a candy jar. I never really stop. Hell, most of the time I never even slow down. I throw myself into bed at night like a big man might throw a dodgy hitcher out of his still moving car. There is no stillness apparent. Yet I know it's there - not even out of reach just out of mind. And, even more frustratingly, I can often feel it hovering on the edge of my consciousness whispering to me, 'Slow down, be present and feel the hard edges of life melting away. Just flow on down stream.'

What was most magical of all about that night was the ease in which I found myself there. There were no months spent meditating, no soul-grating suffering in order to achieve a place of mindfulness which comes before peace, no tearing apart of the fabric of my reality in order that I might find 'truth'. There had been nothing out of the ordinary happening in my busy life except coming to terms with the ending of yet another unsuitable relationship and my tussling with the feelings that accompanied that. If anything, that should have really kept me way off centre and far away from any experience of peace. And yet, doesn't Rumi talk about that 'broken open place' within us and how through simply being with that experience, that rawness of spirit, we might reach God. Certainly, I have learned more about myself when I have been split apart by life, alone and sorrowing into the darkness, than I have by attending any number of workshops designed to enlighten me. All I know is that despite myself, my never ending mind chatter, my ceaselss, restless spirit - I attained a state of grace that night and felt safer in my life than I had ever felt before. There was a feeling of inexplicable happiness that accompanied it all. Not the jump for joy, wave fist in the air type of happiness like one might find on a tv commercial for tampons, it was like the smile of the Mona Lisa - mysterious, yet no less heart expanding.

I think it must have been listening to Oriah Mountain Dreamers 'The Call' again that brought it to mind again. The idea of surrendering oneself to the stillness and the silence at the heart of life. Of actively listening but without trying. Of becoming with all that 'trying' to change. In this place of grace I am loved and accepted, exactly as I am, with all my armour on, with my head a mess and my heart jagged and sore. I didn't have to be anything other than myself and I got there by being just that - me. The challenge is in remembering to be present IN the present. In remembering that 'doing' often prevents us from 'being' and in following the thread of our breath, in and out, until we find ourselves lost in the beauty of an open fire and, ultimately, found again.

This aloneness is worth more than a thousand lives.
This freedom is worth more than all the lands on earth.
To be one with the truth for just a moment,
Is worth more than the world and life itself.

May stillness fall softly into your hearts like snow and stay there long enough for you to make snow angels.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Subterranean Homesick Blues

This beautiful picture sings to me. I have a great, nay, a whopping, raging love for Bears and their medicine, so here is Bear and Woman by Jackie Morris.

I'm feeling a bit better today than I did yesterday, thank goodness. I collapsed in a big wet heap in my husbands arms and ranted and cried myself silly while he cuddled me. Good man. He then went to the shop and bought me sticky toffee pudding, custard and my favourite ice cream. Ah, comfort food - it brings such, well, comfort. Felt much more like a hooman after that.

Today I was searching through some work by other bloggers, in particular Endicott Studio which will unfortunately be disappearing, along with its wonderful mythic art, from our viewing pleasure very soon, and found a clip of Kate Rusby singing in her wonderful folky way, 'Who will sing me lullabies' . Well, this got me to thinking about another of my favourite folk singer, Nigel Mazlyn Jones, whose vinyl has been long since extinct and whose music I've been desperately trying to track down for these past many years. Well, I typed in his name, half jokingly, truly not expecting to find anything and buggar me if I didn't find a whole raft of YouTube videos of him singing some of my favourite songs. I keep trying to figure out how to add the video for 'Sentinel' on the blog but its not working so far. So, if you are interested go to 'Whats on the Toob' and click on the vid that comes up Sentinel when you scroll over it and it will take you to the place. It's one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs I've ever heard. From this snippet on YouTube I then found his website and consequently have ordered myself a copy of the wonderful Ship to Shore album and eagerly await the remastered to CD version of the album Sentinel. I can't tell you how happy I am to get my hands on his music again after all this time. My tape of it is so stretched and warbly now it sounds like Pinky and Perky are doing cover versions.

Unfortunately, with the lovely must come the not so lovely. All his singing about cliffs and sentinels and ships to shore and his wonderful, wonderful song The Man and the Deer, sung from the point of view of the Hunter and with a response from the Stag, got me feeling completely homesick for Ye Olde Englande and in particular the South West where I lived for a good long while. Its Summer over there now and I know that there would be a lush green carpet of goodness waiting for me if I went over there now. I long to walk the ancient ruins of my homeland.

The beautiful stone circles of Cornwall. How dear to my heart are thee.

I yearn to sit on the cliffs and listen to the gulls and the crash of the cold, cruel sea. I long to visit again despite the fact that I went home only last December (cold Christmas - yummy!) and it was a disappointment due to illness, the stress of seeing everyone after 4 years in Australia and the frustration of dealing with family. In truth, I don't miss my family as much as I miss my country. It sounds harsh I know and its not to say that I don't miss them at all, I do and I love them very much but they are, like most family's, difficult and trying to get a word in edgeways? Forget it. My family know how to talk. Hoh yes. But listening is an art they have no time for. Sadly this means that we rarely get, or give, the support that would be most nourishing for us.

So now, I sit here listening to Nigel on the toob with a soul feeling all windswept and longing for the forests of the land of my birth - the monstrous Cypress - guardians of the dead, the Kingly Oak, the slender Willow - and feel all the sighs rolling over me like a cool breeze. I guess we always romanticise the places and people we leave behind but I know instinctively that though I live and love in Australia, I will never be truly 'home' until I am home - on English soil - up to my neck in irritating British people who don't know how to pick up litter.

Ah well.

I'll leave you with some beautiful images of beautiful Cornwall and will disappear into my living room with a cuppa and nice bowl of steaming hot sticky date pudding and custard to soothe my Midlands soul.

It's my scary Fogou! I have walked right to the back of this deep, darkness wading through the ancient freezing waters barefoot and I have snuggled in the darkest of its antechambers and immersed myself in the still dark womb of the mother.

I've done ritual work here in the Minack Theatre and I've seen wonderful productions at night. What a view at night. At any time of day really. So wild.

I've stayed in this cottage many, many times whilst administrating at workshops.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cheering Meself Up!

As always I have been inspired by DocWitch who was having some fun with the Flickr Mosaic in the following way:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name

It was great fun and very interesting to see what images I preferred to pick from the choice. The question that stumped me was 'your flickr name' as I didn't know if this meant that I had to type in a real flickr name (i.e. my flickr site) or if I just had to type my own name into flickr. I chose the latter (my nickname rather than my full name). I can see a theme with the tones and the overall feelings in the mosaic and I like it.

Enjoy it for yourself.

These Schizophrenic Days

I want to begin my blog today with a long loud *SIGH*. It has been a good, bad, up, down, laughing, shouting, frustrating and funny sort of a day and I have enjoyed it and hated in equal measure and often within seconds of each other.

I don't know why I find the whole mothering thing so hard some days but I do. There are days when I could just curl up inside the fridge vegetable crisper just to get a few precious minutes to myself - to rest, recuperate, rejuvenate and find the strength to just get up and carry on. Beanie is not a difficult child, not really. Like most kids she becomes her most destructive and her most challenging when she feels she has to compete for my attention with anything - a phone call, the toaster (being used, I might add, to make her favourite snack, raisin toast!), my husband, the tv - whatever. These are the times that all her shoes come out of the cupboard and get thrown around her room, the DVD's are unpacked from the cabinet, the TV gets switched off, then on, then off, then on - all to an endless chant of 'No Lily!' by an increasing frustrated mummy-bear. Today I went from smiling and chatting with her to snarling like a rabid wolverine because she asked me for 'nana' and when I gave it to her, she poked her fingers through it and then flung it onto the kitchen floor (which is so dirty that it makes me tired just thinking about cleaning it). She spent the afternoon whining and crying every time I moved into another room and wanted to be carried everywhere. She refused to eat the lovely pumpkin and goat cheese risotto I cooked for her and screamed when I tried to put her into her baby-seat to eat her freshly made toast - so, I decided to put her in the bath. Ohhhhhhh. Let's just say that the carpet will be wet for a month and she was hyper by the end of it.

However, I suspect that she was just overtired having missed her afternoon nap (because she refused to go to sleep despite 6 books and lots of encouragement from an eager to nap mamma) and so after her usual ritual of hair-drying, pj struggling and 3 books, she requested 'boobie' (which was refused as I am both sore and trying to wean her), had a cry when I refused and then dropped to sleep in about 10 minutes. Normally it takes between 45 minutes and an hour and a half to get the child to go to sleep and this is with either myself or my husband in the bed with her. Attachment parenting is so labour intensive and yet I love the idea of raising a well-adjusted, secure baby. The only problem is that I find myself shouting at her and calling her a 'stupid girl' (to be fair, she was hanging off the 600 different computer leads under my desk and I was terrified she'd be electrocuted) or something equally reprehensible and it makes me wonder if I shouldn't just abandon the whole 'attachment parenting' style in favour of something that has me just popping her in a cot to go to sleep on her own in her own time. It seems to be a case of maintaining my sanity whilst still creating a nurturing child environment and on some days the two just don't gel. Days like these.

I sometimes hate myself as a mother. This is not too harsh a statement. It's the Gods honest truth. I sometimes say and do things to my child that I absolutely hate myself for and I then become crippled with a guilt that eats away at me like a slow-burning cancer. I have talked about how hard the first year of mothering has been for me before but I have to admit that it hasn't really gotten much easier. I still feel regularly overwhelmed with the difficulty of raising my child when I can't seem to control my temper or my tongue. I know that part of the problem is that I'm trying to be a 'perfect' mummy. I know this and yet i still can't seem to let myself off the hook. I guess I feel that my mistakes are crimes against childhood and that I should get life in the prison of guilt. It sounds dramatic doesn't it? That's bloody actors for you. Not to mention writers. Always the drama, drama, drama. Yet I feel that I deserve all the shit I give myself because I have yet to go a whole two days without some kind of ugly explosion and it shames me. There are days when I feel I could literally strangle my child and yet I could not love her more. My heart aches with the love that I have for her and I would give up my life to keep her safe. How then is it that I still fall so often into these old patterns created in my own childhood? How is that I have still not learned the art of self-control? How is it that I cannot protect my child from myself? From my weaknesses and my failings.

It took me 16-months to realise that I might be suffering from post-natal depression (and that was an amateur diagnosis by a stranger) and I have still not really accepted that this might be really, actually, true for me. I hate the idea that I might be a 'depressive' person despite the fact that many of my closest (and most loved) friends have visited this dark and torturous place called depression from time to time. I have always prided myself on my ability to 'cope' - just like all the women in my family. We shrug and get on with it because that's what needs to happen. The fiery Celtic spirit that resides within this woman is both my truest nature and my fiercest critic. We Celts don't rest until the work is done and we never ask for help. We are kindness itself to strangers but would run ourselves through with a broadsword for any minor fault or flaw. It's tiring. I am tired. I am sad. I am at war with myself again because I have not lived up to the (ridiculous) standards of parenting that I have set for myself and which I still manage to find time to write testily about. See - nice, normal, schizophrenic mamma in action.

What I hate is the feeling that tomorrow I will still not know how to do it any better than I did today because this is who I am right now. This is all I am capable of right now. This is the 'what is' as they say in Buddhism and to fight the now, the what is, is to be unavailable to the present moment which is the only moment in which I can effect change. That's the double edged sword of it all. I have to be at peace with my failure and allow it to sit within me like a big black duck quacking maniacally (not sure about that image!) and just be with it. Did I mention that I have a little difficulty with surrendering? Well that means surrendering to this feeling of failure and despondency. It means letting the tears come and trying not to be ashamed of myself and my mothering. It means letting the light into the darkness by not shutting myself in or down but by simply allowing it all to just be.

And I don't want to.

I don't like it.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Twilight Dreams

*I added this picture purely because it's called Twilight and I love the simplicity and drama of the image. I haven't read the book or seen the movie but now that I've seen this, I might.

Ahhh - I love this time of day in Winter (which it officially is now). The day is emptying of its busyness as people move indoors to end their day and to maybe build a fire or perhaps prepare something warm and yummy for their families. At this time of day I like sit in my gorgeous bush garden just for a few moments as the cool mist starts to creep in. I breathe deeply and watch the sun slipping its heavy golden head below the horizon. It's a time to surrender the day to the Sun God and to welcome the Dark Night Goddess as her slivered moon rises slowly in the West.

Basking in those few moments of lingering gold I wonder how anything could ever be wrong in my world. We are surrounded by such beauty, such diversity and such wonder if we can just sit still enough to see it and, more importantly, let it see us. I am not someone who meditates regularly so these few moments in the twilight of each day are my time to reconnect with all that is most important to me. I can sing chants or simply 'OM' into the shadows while my wee girl chases our black furball around the garden. Poor Belladonna, not much of a chance for peace while the beanie is around but she wears it all well and is (mostly) patient with her rather rough ministrations. I am also not someone who finds it particularly easy to surrender - to anything, wanted or unwanted. I think that I am relatively highly strung by nature and so spend most of my waking unconsious hours clinging on to my life with ever whiter knuckles so again, these twilight times are my way of acknowledging that there is something, some Great Mystery that is so much bigger than me and yet is also a part of me and in which I am learning to trust. I can breathe and sing and let go. Sometimes this time brings me an wonderful sense of peace which I can take into my last activities of the day - preparing a meal for my family, washing up, following the usual bed time rituals with my girl and all the way into sleep. Sometimes it lasts just long enough to prevent me from snapping at my daughter as she paints the kitchen floor with my tenderly prepared soul food. Occasionally, it reminds me to forgo the tiny pleasures of the goggle box and to sit quietly with my Beloved man and read in companiable silence. On even more quiet spirited evenings, this glossy silence allows us to enter into the soul-gazing and generous lovemaking that we hope will result in another little soul being welcomed into our tiny family, to stretch our hearts and to expand our small world. And from these small adventures in my bush garden I am able to remember that I am, to coin a cliche, a spiritual being having a human experience which is, in turn, a reminder to be awake to each moment and to be grateful.

As I sit here in my study, candles burning, incense wafting through the warm air currents created by the ducted heating, I watch with growing love, my hubby and my daughter doing father/daughter stuff in the garden. He throwing her around like a stuffed teddy, she giggling with delight. Both waving up at me from the darkening green and smiling with affection and humour. I am blessed. I know this. The sun is nearly gone now and it is almost too dark in this room to see but I am loath to turn on a light and lose these cosy feelings of connectedness with everything. Electric lights seem to bleach all the atmosphere from a room and I am a creature for whom atmosphere is important. Still, I must go. Like many mothers my culinary expertise is needed in the kitchen and there is a cubed pumpkin with my name on it waiting to be turned into some hearty pumpkin soup.

It is a night for poetry of the spirit so I will leave you with an offering from my Beloved Rumi: Dance with the Bandage Torn Off.

Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you're perfectly free.

Struck, the dancers hear a tambourine inside them,
as a wave turns to foam on its very top, begin.

Maybe you don't hear that tambourine,
or the trees leaves clapping time.

Close the ears on your head
that listen mostly to lies and cynical jokes.
There are other things to hear and see:
dance-music and a brilliant city
inside the Soul.
God said of Muhammed,
He is an ear.
He was wholly ear and eye,
and we are refreshed and fed by that,
as an infant boy is at his mother's breast.

Good night and may the Goddess of this deep and dark bring you strange and brilliant dreams.