Posts Tagged 'life'

Sparks in the gloom…

Life has flowed with a few challenges lately and I've been left gasping for air at times.

I lay there in the middle of one sleepless night and simply did not know what to do to soothe myself. My wisdom said 'Stay still and do nothing.' Then I sensed a lovely dog in spirit on the bed beside me and felt my Gran and her Mum, my Great Gran, close by my side. A feeling of calm settled in and I could let the feelings I had be, just as they were. Breathing in the experiences, breathing out the feelings.

I needed unconditional love, so the next day I asked my heart family if I could borrow their lovely boy, Boris, the German Shepherd. 'Absolutely' was their swift reply and he's coming to stay with me for a week after Easter. ❤

That sparked another idea and I ordered insurance, new wellies and some marketing postcards. Say 'Hello' to Jane's Dog Walking Service. My old flowery wellies have done two years sterling work, so I took my new ones out at lunchtime today and christened them in the sea. I also found some more sea glass and treasure to add to my collection.

My heritage is rich with hand crafts, so it is no surprise that I turn to that for comfort again and again. My lovely buddy Pam and I set off on Friday to a local art gallery, as they were running a Creative Think Tank, with taster sessions on all sorts of crafts being showcased. I had it in my head that I would finally get to have a go at wood carving, which has been a long held dream, and willow basket weaving. You just know this didn’t go to plan don’t you? We had a great time and saw all sorts of wonderful things, while discovering that the basket weaving and wood carving courses were out of our financial reach right now. Then the unexpected happened. I had made a connection with one of the receptionists when we arrived and he was looking after everyone by keeping the whole event flowing. Pam was absorbed trying out a Viking weaving loom and having a great time. I glanced up and Mark came over and said ‘There’s more going on in other rooms Jane, can I show you?’ So off we went and I found myself at a table where a lovely lady was demonstrating rug making with re-cycled materials. I took a seat and Alison let me have a go weaving strips of old t-shirts into hessian and I was right there, in the moment. She showed me what materials to try and what to back the rugs with. The edging stitch that holds it all together is new to me, but my Granny said in my head ‘I can show you that Jane’. I’d discovered a new joy. As I sat at home later, knitting, my creative sparks started to fly. I have been a painter since I can remember when and for the last few years it has stopped ‘talking’ to me. With the rug making I can chalk and ink my design on the hessian and by hooking in re-cycled materials, there is more leeway. It doesn’t have to be precise and as the freedom of this sunk in, well I am sure my heart singing could be heard far and wide.

It’s been dark and raining like ‘billy-ho’ today and then just as I finished my new wellie walk, the sky brightened and the clouds looked as if they had been brushed on the blue.

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Instinct and timing….

The Lakes are stunning and yesterday unfolded in many unexpected ways.

The coach was an hour and half late in picking us up at the start point and a regular driver left his warm bed to stand in for a colleague that had got confused with his rota. I feel this threw a lot of our group off kilter.

The scenery is breath-taking and with a light dusting of snow everywhere, it had a magical quality about it.

I chose a gentle walk and there were fourteen of us who set off on this one. The rest of our group split up into other groups ranging from those with the highest summits in view, to those who ambled about the shops and had a roast lunch in their sights. It stayed below freezing all day and we negotiated frozen puddles and went past frozen waterfalls, as it snowed on and off. The wind chill was a lot lower than freezing, but we were all togged up and stayed warm, as long as we kept moving.

About halfway up the first hill ascent a voice came into my head saying ‘Double back and find the shoppers and a hot lunch Jane’. I ignored the voice, telling myself that I had set out to walk and walk I would. I asked our walk leader how much further we were going to climb and he replied ‘Just five more minutes Jane’.

Half an hour later we crested the top of the peak and I took the photograph above. As Lake Windermere appeared as a large puddle in the distance I surmised that we had climbed more than the promised 600ft. My fellow walkers confirmed it was at least double that.

Our group started to ask our leader how many more ‘ascents’ there were on the walk. We were promised just one and it was about half what we had just accomplished. For those that know me well I do try and come at things in a light way. Within minutes we were facing another steep accent. I asked what this was called and he replied ‘It’s an undulation Jane’. ‘I would call this a hill.’ I assured him. Undulation my backside, that was as steep as anything we had previously faced and whilst climbing it I twisted a muscle in my groin. The pain was instant and increased with each further step.

I felt that our leader’s interpretation of time, height and terminology was different from mine and some of the other group members. I took a deep breath and caught up with him and let him talk. It turns out that he used to lead groups of teenagers on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. All started to become clearer and I explained that I was injured and needed to know exactly what was ahead of us in time, ascent and scale of difficulty. He was unclear on details and explained that as a Yorkshireman, unless he had a limb hanging off, his Mum had always told him to get on with it. I replied that I rarely made a fuss and needed the facts, so that rather than being jollied along, at 58 years old I could make my own decisions. I know my limits and I was in trouble. Also, the last thing I wanted to do was hold the group up, because each time we paused we all got chilled instantly.

It is one of nature’s laws that water rests at the lowest point, so as we rounded the lee of the summit we were on, this view of Grasmere was before us.

It became apparent that we were headed to the water down below and then climbing the next hill to follow the track along. A few of us asked if the track we were headed for was on a level and we were assured it was. It wasn’t. Having managed to go down and back up again I stood at the bottom of yet another ascent on the track, which was rocky, icy and treacherous. My courage dipped. My left leg was screaming in pain and with tears in my eyes I looked up at our leader and asked if this was the last ascent, because I wanted to turn back to the main road down below. He assured me it was and crab-like I made my way up. At this point another one of our group lost the plot. She openly accused him of lying and started to verbally rant as she walked. I focussed on putting one foot in front of the other and thought ‘Think Jane’. No irony there at all.

He paused to wait for me and I had an idea. ‘Can I look at your map please?’ He happily showed me the map and I made a decision. ‘Please show me exactly where we are?’ He did. ‘That track ahead will take me back to the main road and that is where I am heading. I will find my way back to the town from there.’ I left no room for him to disagree. ‘What is the name of the car park that the coach is parked in?’ I asked. He didn’t know and started to bluff and bluster on directions. Our verbally venting group member then slipped in ‘loopy bananas’ mode at speed and opted to come with me. He offered me his mobile number, but I took the number of another long standing group member instead.

We walked down to the main road and I gently reassured her that she could trust me and I would get us back. As we got to the bottom there was a space carved out of the stone wall and several people were standing nearby. ‘I bet that’s a bus stop’ I said ‘and there must be a bus due’. We checked the route on the notice board and sure enough a few minutes later a bus turned up heading through Ambleside. It went slightly awry at this point, because the bus driver was not local and he thought he knew where our coach was, but it turned out that he didn’t. About half an hour later, there we were two women not at their best, deposited at an unknown bus stop and still not near our coach. Ambleside is layered up a hill with a one way system. My colleague was still venting verbally, as I am sure this was the only thing keeping her going through her frightened state. I gently reassured her and said ‘Walk with me, I promise I will get us back to the coach.’ I remembered the road number from the leader’s map and a sign had flashed by on the bus, so we headed for that. Turning left at the sign we walked down the road and as we reached the bottom nothing appeared familiar. I saw a couple walking with their dog and baby and I asked them. Fortunately, among all the tourists and walkers there that day, they were local. I described how the car park had looked to the ‘Dad’ and amidst all the noise of my colleague sounding off, his eyes locked onto mine and he gave me directions. We set off again and it was at this point that I lied. ‘I can see the coach.’ I told her and I kept saying it. As we finally went down a little lane, what I was saying became true. We changed out of our muddy boots and boarded the coach.

As the rest of the group started to come back on board and asked after us I said the same thing, again and again. ‘I have met some lovely people today and The Lakes are as beautiful as I had hoped. Unfortunately, I chose a walk that was beyond my capabilities.’ My colleague seated a good few rows behind me was still sounding off loudly with a different perspective.

I will return to The Lakes, just in a different way next time.

Buds are appearing…

Yesterday the weather had settled a little and the Isle of Man catamaran ran again. She sailed through the gentle falling rain into port, yet with barely a ripple on the water. Today it is lashing it down with a mixture of snow and sleet with rain and hardy fisherman are sheltering in their tents on the prom, not even letting the weather deter them from their ‘timeout’.

There is a natural cycle that is never ending out there as the branches are waving in the wind. All the old leaves have fallen and if you look closely enough the signs of new buds are coming. The tree roots go way down into the ground, yet the branches, buds, blossom, fruit and leaves change throughout each year. Occasionally, the tree breaks and uproots when the storms rage.

I have been given pause to ponder lately on what happens when we don’t let our old leaves drop. Hanging on putting additional weight and pressure on our branches and in time choking the promise of life out of any new buds.

There is a vulnerability in letting the leaves go, as our branches are left bare and exposed with every single knot, scar, wrinkle, dent and bump there for all who care to see.

Carrying old leaves will give us a tree that resembles the old tree and the added weight can bend the branches beyond anything recognisable, as we shelter behind old foliage.

It’s painful to let the wind blow through your bare branches and feel the rainfall. Yet the wisdom in letting the rain in nourishes roots, allows the wind to strengthen foundation and the light to nurture new buds.

I am more than aware of the simplicity of my words and the meaning contained therein, yet sometimes the cry for simplicity can rage through the wildest of storms.

Deflector shield up….

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

I received a letter a few weeks ago with a recall to hospital for more investigations after a routine mammogram. Having walked a path with cancer a few times I had the expectation that I could take news like this in my stride. I didn’t and was instantly swamped in fear, which frightened me more than the news. My deflector shield came up, I closed off and when prodded came out verbally swinging. I was lost to myself for a while.

Georgie guessed that something was badly amiss and within a day he got me to share the news with him. He promised that no matter what happened we would deal with it together, which we did till I got the all clear.

I thanked the hospital team for the gift of their care and attention and it has taken me a few weeks to realise that there was a greater gift nestled within my fearful reaction.

Georgie’s response taught me that love can flow in many ways and I can trust the different ways that others flow with, even if their ways are not like my forms of loving expression. That first day he took me out for a walk and a yummy meal to the place where we had our first date. Over the next few days we leant in to our banter and shared jokes and when we got the all clear he took me out for our favourite breakfast. The one we started each day with in Lisbon; the place where many magic memories were created.

Parkgate, The Wirral

As the days carried on I joined the knitting girls at a Lulu concert and during the show I glanced down the row at all their happy faces. It is many months since we have all been together and the loving light we hold for each other is still there to see.

Then the family gathered for my Mum’s 80th Birthday celebrations. As I looked around the table at her three children and their families, with shared connections, memories and love we all hold for each other. There was a special light shining out.

Happy Birthday Mum ❤

The big lesson in all this is that I no longer need a deflector shield in love. Life has blessed me with a partner who stands beside me in vulnerability and who can meet fear with thoughtful actions. I appreciate his loving ways and celebrate the differences in how we each show love. The expectations on how I was measuring his love have melted away along with my deflector shield. Ohh, the freedom and joy in that. ❤

Circles of change….

First thing this morning the light was full of depth and I sat here preparing to start work filled with peace.

The tides are different every day and today the spray is flying high in the wind out there. I sit listening and talking to troubled souls from all over the world as I watch the sea in it’s natural rhythm.

Every single grain of sand on the beach is washed and moved, every single day. It’s a natural circle and each grain changes every time, all flowing together.

Many telephone calls that come in are filled with anguish as change is resisted, battled and fought against. Folk are exhausted from hanging on to things, people, feelings and situations that do not balance with them. They want the tide to stop. They fear change. We have all been there, sometimes many times.

We all have tides washing over us and some days we roll with ease, some not so much. Bless the other grains who roll with love for us and with us. I love the grains on my life beach. ❤

“A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” John A. Shedd.

My lovely friend Bobbie shared this quote a few hours ago and it crystalised a whole tumble of thoughts and feelings within me. We are not built to stay in our ‘harbours’ as nothing will change. We all need rest sometimes, but that place can become a trap because we resist change so we feel safe.

When we first have a thought on something new we can do, it is pure in that initial moment. As time goes on we add our own fears, opinions and thoughts of consequences if we go ahead. If we share it with others, then their fears, opinions and ‘what if’s’ come into play too. What a weight to add to an idea.

We can all be heard to say ‘Life is short’, but they are just words unless action is taken. Nothing will change without change and we are built for change.

I am ready to change what I do for a living and several ideas have been floating around and one has taken root in my heart. It’s been an interesting life so far and I have had a go at a number of things that may, or may not, be seen as ‘successful’ by the measuring sticks that some use in our modern world. I have learned a lot and it has honed me into the flexible, resilient soul that I am, who chooses each day to feel life through a loving heart. Whatever this choice may bring forth, I’ll give it my best and who knows what sea it will sail me into.

Adventures every day….

Courtesy of the BBC

We watched the start of the Round the World Clipper Race yesterday from Everton Brow, the highest point in Liverpool. What a sight the twelve clippers were as they started their adventure, circumnavigating the world in a year.

Sir Robin Knox Johnston was interviewed yesterday morning and asked why people would do it. He replied ‘You go out there and face all sorts of challenges, including eighty foot high waves, whilst living together in close quarters. It pits you against nature and you return having won’.

My lovely man was considering doing a leg on this race, but decided against it and he watched them go with a wistful expression. I turned to him and said ‘You have faced more than eighty foot waves in life and done brilliantly. How about taking a sailing holiday together next year for fun, in calmer waters?’


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