All my relations


Even in my novice, sporadic, increasingly inflexible way I consider the yoga I do to be physical prayer. The times when I've offered what I do back to Source and then been mindful of that throughout a class I have walked away at the end as high, frankly, as a kite. Or perhaps a hawk.

Yoga lends itself to this quite beautifully but increasingly I'm having the same experience with running.

Last summer I downloaded the C25K app and in seven weeks went from shuffling for 60 seconds and nearly crying, to running 5k comfortably. After that, without the structure of the app to guide me I stopped improving and just did 5k once or twice a week. Then Christmas happened, and dark mornings and afternoons, and family stuff, and my running got pushed back on my list of priorities. Through January I ran only once a week, in fact at one point I didn't run for two weeks. I ate things that didn't always inspire and fuel my body. I couldn't find the time or enthusiasm to drive somewhere that has street lights so I could run in the evenings. This winter I was just not capable of getting up at 5 the way I did the year before.

I'm thankful for the good friend who turned up every Sunday morning and dragged me out on 5k because without her encouragement I would have slipped further. As it was, I was able to see that while I'd maybe added a couple of extra pounds back on (and so what, that's not why I was running) I was still able to keep up.

Last week I ran on Thursday - just a short one with Evie accompanying me on her scooter - and then this Sunday I suggested a new route that might squeeze 6k out of me. We did 7.4. If we hadn't hit a sharp incline at that point I might have done more. It's not even half a half marathon or anything anywhere near that. It's a very short run in the bigger picture but for me it's something.

There were a few times where I really wanted to just stop and walk but it took only a little mental work to keep going. The sight of a hawk sister lifting from a branch and flying overhead helped me imagine her carrying me forwards. Then I held a vision of myself twirling in a woodland, head back, arms outstretched, laughing. I was full of spinning energy which then found its way into my real time feet. At the end of the run I mentally reached out to 'the Beech tree', 'the next bramble', 'the Horse Chestnut tree', 'the nettles', swinging from side to side of the lane in my mind, 'hand over hand' like a monkey.

And here's the thing..they weren't just landmarks to get to and past, they helped me. They reached out and pulled me on. They carried me a bit on this funny little Sunday morning jog and it was a powerful feeling. How did it happen? Simple. We talk.

The time I spend outdoors is now often spent in communication. I have asked to be recognised as a family member and I return the favour. It works. (Yes, my changed relationship with my father has informed this. After all, we human animals are as much part of nature as any other.)

I take time to look and see the life around me and the forms it takes. I honour and respect them. I feel love for them and I talk to them. I am open to their response and it comes through remarkably clearly. As Sarah said in the comments on my last post,'I believe the world is in constant conversation with us'. So do I. We just need to look, listen, feel and trust.

So to circle back to the top, I find I pray/communicate best when my body is engaged in the process. I'm by nature someone who would have danced to drums around a fire or whirled like a dervish and indeed I've done both. I love that I can also take part in that conversation by pulling on a pair of running shoes.

x




Sometimes a two-beaked crow is just a two-beaked crow



'If I was the kind of person who believed in omens...', I thought. Oh. Wait.

It was the day my brother and I were going with our father to the hospital, where he was due to have an MRI. A month after his wife had died in the same place. On the way to his house I found my usual route closed and had to drive round the long way. Bah.

Waiting at a busy roundabout my eyes were drawn to some crows at the side of the road. I did a double take, blinked and I swear one of them had two beaks. No one I've told believes me but damn it I saw it! A two-beaked crow?

We were half way to the hospital when the car got a flat tyre. Parked up in a lay-by while my brother changed the wheel, I walked away from the car to call the hospital and let them know we'd be late. I looked down at my feet and there was an owl. A tawny owl. Dead. Not a mark on her. She must have been clipped by a car, poor soul. I picked her up and moved her away from the road and into the grass, offering a little blessing to her.

We got to the MRI suite and discovered it was the one that had been named, in a competition, by our youngest brother's (extremely) errant ex-partner. Of whom none of us are fond.

Despite this catalogue of whatever-they-ares, the scan was quick. Results will take a fortnight but I don't think they'll find anything they shouldn't.

So what's with all the signs? Maybe I needed to appreciate that not everything is a sign. Sometimes a two-beaked crow is just a two-beaked crow. Sometimes you're just gonna find a tawny owl at your feet. Some days the road is just closed.

However, this is me after all so let's not get silly. I prefer to see it all as simple reminders that, despite my underlying concern, there is magic everywhere.

An owl, in some beliefs, can represent the spirit of a recently departed family member or loved one. Perhaps my father had his wife with him for this visit. A crow, among many profound and powerful things, is also known as messenger, often from a loved one who has recently passed over. I choose that. And so it is.

These weeks, and more to come, have been filled with chances to do something for someone other than myself. As a partner and mother with two dogs that's not unusual but reaching further than my immediate 'house family' is not something I've often done or had time for. Suddenly I'm also running errands for both parents, helping with various tasks, providing practical support for my sister and for friends who need a hand. It would be quite easy to think,'Bloody hell what about me? When do I get to do my stuff?' and I have tried on that feeling. It didn't stick. At all. It feels good to be able to help. I've come to recognise one of my strengths is that I'm pretty good in a crisis without even trying. I'm good to be leant on. Maybe that is 'my stuff'.

If you have some time this weekend here's some good looking and listening:

  • Sandra Ingerman on the Sounds True podcast. I've listened three times because she speaks my language and her thoughts on transfiguration into light work perfectly for me at the moment.
  • This. Because of all of it.
  • I grew up loving and listening to Just A Minute, back in the days when among the regular panelists were Clement Freud and Kenneth Williams. Imagine my joy at hearing my TV boyfriend ace his first attempt at it. The BBC say it's 'probably' the first time a newcomer has done so. #notjustaprettyface #I'llprobablysayyeswhenheproposes


x


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Told



The follow-up conversation wasn't quite what I'd expected. Sure the moon was full and beautiful in a  clear sky and I had my questions ready. I let the dogs off their leads to run around, I looked up and asked,'So is this what I should do?'...silence. 'Um...so...what should I do next?'...silence.

So I shut up and listened. Not for answers, but for - with respect - what Sister Moon actually wanted to say. It went, as they say, a little bit like this:

SM: 
Me: What?
SM:
Me: I'm sorry, what?
SM: Let me in. Shut up, open up, and let me shine through you for a moment.

So I did. And in a split second the following dialogue had happened:

SM: What exactly do you want to know?
Me: How someone like me can do what I'm feeling I should do.
SM: "Someone like you"?
Me: Well, here I am, freezing my bits off in a field and not happy about it; cross with the dogs because they won't get on and do what they're supposed to be doing; crabby with my child because she only wants to eat crappy food; living in a house full of mud and ash and dust and fur and piles of laundry and paper and general chaos; trying to be all serene'n'shit and failing miserably; tearing my hair out over money; and just wanting to sit in front of the telly with wine and cake to watch something escapist, preferably starring David Tennant.
SM: Your point is?
Me: My point is that I'm thinking about going 'full-on hedgewitch' and frankly I don't see how the hell I can do it. I'm a mess. My life's chaotic. I'm not exactly a role model for anything except perhaps Dreamers Anonymous.
SM: And yet here you are standing in a field talking to me. What do you expect? What makes you think all those things aren't part of it? What makes you think you're special and the only person who was ever called to do anything who has alternative demands on their time? Get over yourself and just be who you are. YOU ARE ALREADY DOING IT. And please stop with the labels and the team shirts and the definitions. When did that ever matter to you? When did you ever intuit or learn that giving something a label made it work better? Also? Forget being a role model. This is not about what you represent, it's about what you do. Let me through. Surrender. You are safe. You are exactly where I need you to be. And stop analysing this. You have no concept of who and what this is because you are human. Humans are wonderful and this world needs them to be their most wonderful, now more than ever. The laundry and the muddy floors and the fur and the moods...human. Please don't try to change that. To be human is to be chaotic and messy because what else would this degree of creativity bring with it? We need your creativity, your dreams and your crazy. Also your opposable thumbs.
Me:
SM: Oh at LAST. Are we good?
Me: *nods*
SM: Good. Okay then. Off you go. We love you.





Snow Moon



I know from my blog feed that there are many of us for whom 2015 got off to a testing start. That's not to say that January wasn't super-rich in lessons and revelations but bloody hell...

I ended 2014 in such a calm place. All ready to move, floating effortlessly like the top half of a swan, into the plans I'd made for the new year. (needle scratch across vinyl)

Not so much. In the end I got a new year that was intensely bitter-sweet but has changed my life for the better in huge ways. Only now, as the dust begins to settle, am I able to take a breath and whisper, 'Holy crap...where am I? '. My brain is still spinning.

Last evening, before the snow came, the dogs and I were in the field beneath a very nearly full moon that had a stunning halo around it. The light was beautiful, the deer barking in the woods next to us filling the air with wildness. I stood and looked at the moon, at Sister Moon, and asked,'What would happen if I just dived in? If I went full-on hedge witch* without worrying about who I would offend or amuse or inconvenience.'

She replied,'You would be home where you belong. Whatever else, you would know you were home. And you already know that to be true.'

So now I am mostly just staring at the fear. My fear. Fear of a tsunami of...what?...life force, energy, power? I feel it behind me, pushing me off balance. Yesterday I expressed it as 'stage fright' and this shows me I am probably far from alone in these feelings.

That's it. That's as far as I've got. Tonight's moonlit conversation will be interesting.

I hope the Snow Moon brings you gentle but powerful enlightenment.

x


* "A Hedge Witch is a solitary practitioner of the herbal arts - both, medicinal and spiritual. Her cupboard contains the remedy for what ails you - physical and spiritual. A Hedge Witch does not belong to a coven. She does not follow the tenets of any sect or organized religion. Her craft is her own - usually handed down to her by family and honed by her own experience and research."


**This full moon pendant is from Chilli & Lime and I love it.

Antlers



I went to yoga on Wednesday and had the best class yet. We worked through chakras - learning about their real 'history' and what they are - mixing hatha, kundalini and dru yoga. By the end I felt as if every muscle in my body had been massaged.

Lying on the mat, under a cosy blanket, I found that my mind's eye instantly filled with things I hadn't been thinking about. It was like accidental journeying. A stag, majestic and powerful, with huge ornate antlers like antennae into the other world. I felt my own antlers appear on my (still human) head.

I've only been visited by Stag once before, during a deep guided meditation some years ago, when again there were ornate antlers but also a small, beautiful crown. This stag was female. I know, but she was and she was not a reindeer (female reindeer have antlers). She gifted me a wooden box that contained the letter A. I'm still working on that one.

I've been obsessing about antlers ever since. What a surprise. And gazing at the artwork above that was created by my friend - and supremely talented artist - Tracie Noles-Ross.

Held



Walking to the woods to find connection and ask for strength, and finding deer trods that lead from the gate, across the field and into the woods where I usually jump the fence. I was on the right path.

Looking up from the earth to see a buzzard(hawk) - one of my close ones - flying just above my head, seemingly in one spot, against the buffeting winds. Showing me how to ride the push and pull before she dipped to one side and disappeared.

Roe deer at the side of the lane, just watching me as I drove slowly past in the dark. Three sisters.

The return of the jackdaws to our home.

The piece of ivy wood that appeared at my feet and fits so perfectly into my palm that it could have been moulded for it. I took it home as a reminder of my connection to everything. The ivy that adorns and holds all the trees in the woods. The sinews and veins of the Spirit of The Place.

Without this; without these constant reminders that I am of just one more species among many other equals, all of whom will stand as family (alongside my beloved people) and support me if I just acknowledge them and ask, I'm not sure how this month would have been. As it is, I feel surrounded by life, love and trust.

x