Summer. This summer. So much to do and so much of it involving attention to detail (my nemesis, as a Big Picture person). We are drawing near to the end of the school term for Evie - all three of us are more than ready for that - and of course I have only 12 more days in the office, finishing my job on the 31st. The house is tidy but badly needs painting. The garden is a jungle. I have a ton and half of handover notes to write because I have 13 years of everything only in my head (see comment on detail, above). Amongst all this, an hour here and there with a cup of tea and a screen comes as a blessed relief so I thought I'd share just a few of the things I've enjoyed recently. Because why not?
The work of Marina de Luis.
DLP on conscious optimism and feminism. All the yesses.
Tindog (All three of mine have been banned from using it.)
The Robcast: Rob Bell talks with Elizabeth Gilbert. I absolutely think that Liz and I could/should be BFFs.
My biggest Instagram crush is #StoneColdMarshall and this video made me love him even more. I think that, to #runlikePhoebe we can now add #swimlikeMarshall. He's the best. Don't tell Dooley.
I'm all about the plant power these days so naturally I had to have a set of Lisa McLoughlin's Plant Ally cards. So beautiful. And I'm looking forward to incorporating them in my work and studies.
This guy's work.
And finally, you can have your Elizabeth and Darcy, your Romeo and Juliet, your Ross and Rachel; all I want is MonRosalee. Forever. And Blutbad - Fuchsbau babies are going to be the cutest.
|Nellie Bean. Just because.|
The woods are full of deer beds and wild asparagus (actually Star of Bethlehem but round these parts it's always been wild asparagus and only Lenny Tinker [and my stepfather] knew where it grew and would sell it for charity in the pub). Finally, summer weather is here. I always forget that June is technically spring because by this point, like most people, we just want it to. stop. raining.
This seasonal changeover hasn't really been one I've ever struggled with SAD-wise but this year, with its weird weather and All The Flowers seeming to bloom at the same time, has had my natural season-markers rolling around like lost marbles.
But it's all good.
Last week I told my manager that I'll be leaving at the end of July, just as Evie's school year ends. So August will be school holidays, and getting the house and garden sorted out, and actually having a break for the first time in, er, ever.
That's the plan. September will be back to school for Evie, year 5. She has her first school trip away from home for a week at the end of the month and then, on October 2nd, she and I fly to Australia for a 10th birthday reunion with her twin sister and family. She'll be staying with them for all but the last 48 hours and I will be nearby but having a little solo retreat time. At a beach. In a nice hotel. I know, it's going to be hell. Then for our last night, we'll nip back down to Brisbane for a reunion with my beloved Leoniewise who will be just arriving in Aus from NZ for her own reasons.
Charlie is staying home and will be In Charge Of The Dogs. I'm not dwelling on that though. Because panic.
I'll also be starting my studies. I have my Reiki Master course to complete, the Bach Centre Level 1 ready and waiting for me to get stuck in to, and Kathleen Prasad's Animal Reiki Core Curriculum course which kicks off next month. When we're back, I'll start on the animal aromatics course I'm doing (again, three levels to practitioner status), and hopefully start thinking about booking my Bach Centre Level 2. Level 3 will come in 2016, I hope. Along the way I hope to be boosting the coffers with some ad hoc animal care and dog-walking gigs.
Then there's the online part of it all... that makes me gasp in anticipation. Such a geek.
Fifty-two is somewhat late in the day to be realising your dreams but I say it doesn't matter. My main inspiration is being able to do this work: helping to pass the wisdom and healing of plants on to animals. But I'm also discovering that I am excited by the possibility of being good at something after years of being pretty mediocre at a job that didn't stretch or motivate me. While my current employment (and don't get me wrong, I have loved it) would've seen me ageing out of the role before too many years passed by, I am now relishing the idea of being an expert at animal healing by the time I'm 80. I have a whole career ahead of me. Now. For the first time. It's an utterly thrilling prospect!
Also, it can come close to overwhelming so I'm steadfastly moving at an easy pace and spreading all the good stuff out across the coming 12-18 months. My instinct right now is to prep for finishing work so that I handover my role efficiently, while at home I am de-cluttering and making space for new life.
Here's a thing: given my way of being it would be nice to be able to say that this has all happened because I finally started believing in myself. I did 'the work', the meditations and the journeys; had the conversations with spirits and raised my vibration to a level from where I could jump and fly. All those things are true, but they are not the reason for this happening now. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually I have been where I am now for a long, long time.
No, the magic behind this is far more mundane. We got some money. We can afford for me to take 12 months to do this and pay for the tuition etc. Just about.
Of course I've always known this was what was holding us back, and it's true that when you have very little money to play with it's extremely difficult to turn it into more money. And in our case, very little money meant no disposable income. Which meant no monetary investment in ourselves beyond keeping the three of us going. We did - and do - plenty of the other kind.
It's amazing how often you can find people who aren't in that position who talk about 'choices' and 'will' and 'courage'. Well bullshit. I know people who are brave and motivated and talented beyond measure. Who have a vision, a dream and a calling. But simply cannot afford to go further than a certain point in pursuing them.
But rather than this getting spoken about, it gets swept under the carpet. Or ignored because dude...it's not spiritual. You don't get a party bag full of £100s from a yoga retreat. Crystals won't clear your credit rating or buy school uniform. Maybe there are people out there who address this and I just haven't seen them. If so, more power to them. They are needed. For SO many of us, what stands between us and our dreams is not low self-esteem, the fear of failure or lack of a decent business plan. It's an empty bank account.
Don't get me wrong...if we'd come into this money ten, even five years ago, I'm not certain I'd've known what to do with it or, if I'd had a plan, that I'd've had the ovaries to follow it through. The spiritual and emotional work I've done and the path I follow have without doubt also enabled me to be here, now. They will continue to inspire me as I move forward. Because of them, I know what to do with this money and I know that this is how I am best fulfilled and best embodying who I am.
It just interests me that what finally made me leap was a combination of two things: financial ability and, after a particularly frustrating day at the office, anger! The combination of a big, pissed-off push in my back and the knowledge there was both a safety net for my family and funds for training gave me a level of clarity that has remained. I found that a decision I made in that hacked-off, 'oh fuck it, why not?' moment was one of the truest things I ever did. The vision is not one I've had before - not in this form - and suddenly it makes perfect sense. But without the financial freedom to think, 'Right, I can book this course, do that course, train here and over there...take a year...' I'd've been back at my desk scanning Pinterest. No doubt about it.
I spent years feeling like a loser, a wuss, a coward because despite all my conversations with spirit guides and creature teachers and inspiring people I still stayed put. But I can say hand on heart that I was none of those things. I was just a 40 something woman with responsibilities and demands and no budget. And as I got closer to 50 the chances of ever being able to do anything about it seemed to melt away. So I put less time into dreaming and thinking about it.
What am I trying to say? Never give up. We have been fortunate (and to be fair, Charlie paid a shitload of money into a pension at a job he hated for 20 years) and this doesn't happen for everyone. But, if you're still waiting, there may be other ways and other magic available to you.
What was needed for me to unleash a new vision and new courage was a bright flash of possibility. Maybe, as western astrology would have us believe, as a Taurus I am rooted in the earth, practicalities and a connection to money. Maybe that is where I needed to see my possibility. Maybe yours is somewhere else and will come in a dream, a meditation, a conversation, a novel, a smile, an asana or a prayer.
Just don't let anyone tell you that you're not making the correct, 'brave' choices. Or you're not sufficiently 'fearless'. While those things can be truths, more often the answers are duller and heavier. And they are not your fault.
Y'know when it feels as if talking about something will jinx it? That. And also a little bit of sensible self-protection. Which I am - perhaps foolishly - now ignoring. I've had so much to say but couldn't say any of it. But I'm gonna.
We jokingly refer to it as Operation Change Your Life except it's not a joke. Because. We've gone back and forth with how this news will actually manifest and what that will mean for us, and there have been many hours of soul-searching and decision-making. Teensy bit of arguing (I was wrong, he was right and no you won't often hear me say that).
Then I had a bad day. I got angry or more accurately, supremely pissed off. And it transpires that anger is a really good motivator for me. The fire, it burns bright and fast. I didn't spend any more days/weeks/months/years trying to decide on a solution because in truth I've already put in decades on that work. I did take everything I've ever mused on, written about, journeyed with, hoped for, offered up, buried down, and cried over and bam...I'm jumping.
I'll be taking 12 months to study, and start up an animal therapy business. I'll start with Reiki because I'm already qualified to practise; add in flower remedies, aromatics and maybe eventually some zoopharmacognosy. A bit of our windfall will part-finance this and I'll top it up with animal care and dog-walking. Because good health means physical activity for them and me.
That's a very simple explanation of a fairly intricate plan (which is many years long and has a lot of variables built in) but yes...animals and plants and healing. Operation Change Your Life. It's on.
When it's misty here, the sloping paddock opposite the cottage takes on a magical air. The stream running along the bottom means a thick mist there that rolls along like a fallen cloud running to play in the adjoining woods. A few weeks ago, the day I wrote this post, it was one of those early mornings. The mist was thick - from the far side of the paddock our cottage is about 300 feet away and I couldn't see it, couldn't even see the other side of the field - so I let the dogs off their leads and watched the cloud as they ran off to explore.
This day it wasn't heading for woods, along the stream, hugging the trees. This day it was rolling up the slope towards me, at quite a speed. I wondered what would happen if I walked into it, because I felt as if hands were pushing me to do just that. Would the density of the water droplets mean that it was only visible from a distance? Would it disappear up close? I took a few steps forward and met it halfway. Still visible. Still dense.
I stood, wrapped in cloud, and listening seemed to be the only thing to do. Nothing. But I didn't feel alone. I could feel 'something' there with me.
What are you? Who are you?
Are you the Spirit of this place? The Spirit of water?
We are before spirit.
What does that mean?
It means we are before spirit.
Who is 'we'?
Are you 'good' or 'bad'?
We are neither and both. We are maybe. We may be.
Not helping. I have to say, I feel very uncomfortable. I feel as if you are bad.
We are not.
Well then are you good? Are you, like, Source? So, sort of, like, 'Love'? Because this doesn't feel good.
We are not. We are before those things.
I don't understand.
We are everything and we are nothing. We are everything before it becomes anything.
Like building blocks?
Perhaps. We are unchosen intention. We are potential decisions. We are anything.
Why are you talking to me?
We aren't. You are hearing us.
This is beginning to piss me off.
Okay. So. How do you work? Does Spirit use you? Can we access you?
Everything uses us, often without knowing. Every choice moves us into form; both the chosen thing and the unchosen thing become 'real'. And if nothing actively chooses a form for us, we move with the flow. You can access us always. With us you can create anything. Listen...anything. What is your biggest, most beautiful dream? Because with our help there is no reason you cannot make it happen. Just tell us what it is. But be aware, the place where you do not make it happen becomes real too. You must choose to follow the path to creation.
I still don't really get what or who you are? Humour me, give me a name I can relate to...talk to. Please?
If you need a name you can call us numen. We are made of potential, of possibility, of infinite combination. And we are always here and everywhere.
This is when Digby came bounding up for a biscuit and this bizarre conversation ended. I wondered what the heck a numen is. I knew the word numinous but didn't really know its root. To be honest it was conjuring up images of Gru's Minions so I got home and Googled it.
Well, well, well.
Seriously. I didn't know the word. And I definitely heard the singular, not plural, version. Something tells me they would say they are one and many.
Naturally, since then the conversation has been on a loop in my head. I've been loathe to write about it because looneytunes. But it's not going away and every word is true. This last week I've had reason to think about my biggest, most beautiful dream and believe that I can follow the path to its creation. But that's a whole nother post.
In the meantime, keep an ear open for the numen. You'll know it/them by the yellow skin and the dungarees.
My day? Up with the Sun, meditate with the cat, make my morning offerings. Have a chat with the Spirits. Read, have coffee, and then into the shop to plan the day's work. Design something! Make something! Mail something!First meal at around 11 or noon, then (in the cold seasons) take the house dogs out to go see the chickens and the chicken dogs. In the summer this happens first thing or it’s too damn hot! Do some work outside gardening or such if the weather and insects allow. Then back to the shop until it is time to make dinner. Post dinner is usually a movie with my wife.It would probably be incredibly boring for many — we live a fairly reclusive, very quiet life. I am very happy if I don’t have to leave our immediate area more than once a month. I love it!
I read the above as part of an interview with Aidan (whose work speaks straight to my heart) and instantly thought,'Oh...except for the cat and the wife (substitute dogs and de facto husband), this is the day I dream of.'
And it's not really so different to many of mine. It did me a lot of good to see something I aspire to, written down so simply. So within reach. My brain has been overloaded recently with a search for absolutely unnecessary definition and I think a degree of that has been down to my immersion in social media. Especially Instagram. I do love Instagram. There is nothing wrong with social media, I just have a tendency to go too deep and become a little obsessive about All The Pretties. Or All The Pit Bulls because OBSESSED.
So I took Instagram and Twitter off my phone. I used the Chrome app, BlockSite to block them, Facebook, and a certain UK-based
The plan is to continue for the week and then consider adding Instagram back to the mix. My Twitter feed is 99% dogs up for re-homing and frankly I doubt I'm making much difference there, so I think I'll keep it purely for automated Instagram and blog notifications. Facebook, ditto because I hate Facebook and can't even remember why I reactivated it.
I'm also surprised at how strange and uncomfortable it initially felt not to be posting photos and tweets through out the day. Turns out my 'I find it difficult to put ANYthing out in the world' post may have had a good dose of bullshit in it because look at me..itching to share!
I'm no Off Grid Woman, I love tech. I just need to be responsible with it and with a lot of other things that I've let slide. A strong SAD reaction this seasonal changeover has left me reeling, not quite sure where I am or what the hell month it is, never mind the day. My body is all out of kilter but I know exactly how to heal it and that...is a whole other post.
Tomorrow is my day off work. School runs and torrential rain aside, I'm going to try to factor in as much of this ideal day as I can. I hope you have a good one too.