Sunday, 15 November 2015

Eyes to the front!

As a young girl playing outside in the 1970's my Dad was always keen to reiterate that I must, "Watch your step! Watch where you're going!" The primary reason was to avoid the amount of dog mess on the pavements because in the 70's it was everywhere!
Not literally, but it seemed that way.
Forty years later and his words still leap into my head when jogging along the pavement I unwittingly stand on a dog poo cunningly disguising itself as an autumn leaf.
I'm not going to stop going out for a jog just because I might stand on dog poo! I have a route planned before I leave and I will stick to that no matter what.
If you have an idea about where you want to go but find yourself watching your every step - just stop for a moment.
Remember that you may well go through messy areas en route to your destination, in fact to be more blunt about it you may have some shit to contend with.  However, if you know - even roughly - what you want to achieve and you have an idea of how to get yourself there then do not delay!  Please just get on with taking the necessary steps towards your goals because none of us knows how long we have left to put on our running shoes and get out there!
"Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road." - Dag Hammarskjold 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Appreciation of today

There's no doubt that I'd rather be the adult I am today than the confused struggling girl and woman I was in the early 80's through to the early 90's.  
A life pebble dashed with sores so deep and yet invisible to the untrained, uneducated eye.  No-one's fault of course as back then I was an expert at hiding and camouflaging the roughness cutting into some edges of my life.
Today I have a contentment about who I am as a mother, a wife, a friend, and of course as the person I am to the hundreds of clients I have been privileged enough to teach and encourage back to health.
And yet, as time does the inevitable and change happens to those I love I can feel that panicky feeling rising.  Like a stubborn toddler demanding not to be taken from the party, I'm digging my heels in and refusing to accept that change is inevitable...I want things to stay as they are, and I'm not budging from that stand point!
However, there is a reluctant acceptance washing over me, gently reminding me that I'm not in control.
A tough call.
As I take stock of where I am right now I can see quite clearly that my life is overwhelmingly good, and unrecognisable to how I felt thirty plus years ago; so I must learn to lovingly let go of the fight to maintain the status quo.
Neither you nor I have that power.
What we do have is the ability to appreciate the good, cry at the bad, love those we love and literally embrace each day as it comes and deal with whatever comes our way with our feet on the ground and our hearts wide open.
Written with love and appreciation for a life filled with amazing people! Kathleen x
"We are so often caught up in our destination that we forget to appreciate the journey, especially the goodness of the people we meet on the way.  Appreciation is a wonderful feeling, don't overlook it." - Author unknown

Thursday, 22 October 2015

The limits of protection

There's a moment when the sunflower is in full bloom when I just want to hold it perfectly still and cradle it from the ravages of time, protecting it so carefully before the first autumn frost and battering winds nip and slash the perfect stem and magnificent flower. 
I can't protect it of course, so instead I cringe a little as I watch it writhe and quietly wither away.
I hold the thought in my mind that soon, once the fallen leaves from the deciduous forest giants have long since lost their crunch and are well trodden and crumbled into the soil, spring will come again and I can replant a sunflower seed and watch with wonder as nature does its thing. 
One can only provide the cane to support the sapling as it grows wide and strong.
One can only provide nutritious fertilized soil to ensure it has the best possible start.
One can only position it in a place where the sun beats down on it, and it's sheltered from the prevailing winds.
We do what we can, but we can't save the flower from every possible threat to it's survival.
Trust that there is a strength throughout the natural world. A hidden, deep, inexplicable strength which we need to trust runs through the sunflower and each and every one of us.
"People protect what they love." - Jacques Yves Cousteau 

Monday, 14 September 2015

To fly and fly some more

I looked on-line for an explanation for the phrase, "To have your wings clipped" and the description read,
"To restrain or reduce someone's freedom."
We can all search for the reason's why we haven't achieved all we set out to.  We can scan the horizon of our lives, stare at the silhouettes of all our relationships and feel justified as we point the finger of blame at that friend, or that relative who wouldn't have coped if we'd chosen that path.
"To restrain or reduce someone's freedom."
Bird's can't nor do they clip their own wings.
Human's do it to them.
A bird wouldn't choose to change their natural ability to fly, nor would they choose to stop living their lives as flying beings.
Human's on the other hand....
We ruin our own lives and sabotage our own chances to fly and live fully and we do it time and time again disguised under a thin vale of being the, "right thing to do."
Who for?
If you are making choices based on what you think is best for another person please STOP!
Look closely at the decisions and choices you're making.  Really look....
Are you clipping your own wings?
Are you "restraining and reducing your own freedom?"
What do you really want to do?  Why aren't you?
Chances are that some (if not all) of your decisions and reasons for stalling are based on you thinking of the needs/attitudes or opinions of others.
This is YOUR life!
Please start by being kind to yourself, make choices based on what you really want and who you really want to be.
Too many illnesses creep into our body casting shadows on our vitality because we're not living our lives honestly.
When we're well we're being authentic and our body-mind loves us for it.
When  we're exhausted accommodating everybody else's needs we become suffocated by a sense of duty to others and our own shining light is snubbed out.
Please make a point of reminding yourself that if you truly follow your path the world will not stop spinning, those who love you will still love you - and you will have more energy and time to achieve all you want to be.
"Pain has a way of clipping our wings and keeping us from being able to fly, and if left unresolved you can almost forget that you were ever created to fly in the first place." - Wm. Paul Young, The Shack

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The strength and vulnerability of isolation

All my life I have been intrigued by solitary trees.
In more recent years I've started taking photographs of them.
There's something that draws me to them; a strength and solidity that stands boldly against many a dramatic back drop and I love that.
Against the odds there it stands, on open moorland, on top of a  hill, roots dug in to a cliff top or in the middle of a field where only the buzzards appreciate it's presence as an excellent viewing point for them to spot their next scurrying prey.
Each tree is so different, yet there's a familiar thread that binds them together in isolated unity.
A defiant:  "I'm here. I'm alone. I'm strong!"

And yet whenever I stumble across a tree on it's own I think of this famous quote by Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr,

"You come into the world alone and you go out of the world alone yet it seems to me you are more alone while living than even going and coming."

This is particularly poignant when I re-visit a tree I've long before photographed and discover it's been snapped in half or uprooted completely and lies dying alone and forgotten.  I can't tell when or why it's happened, was it diseased and I didn't realise?  Perhaps that last stormy night took it down - and yet it had survived maybe a 100 or more bad winters and spring gales...why now?

Off in the distance the forest stands unperturbed by the loss of it's comrade.  They stand together arrogantly looking on as I wonder how long my old friend's been lying there.
An unanswerable question of course.

Every now and then, when the storm becomes unbearable even the most independent and stoic need the shelter that friends and family can provide.

It's true that we will go out of the world alone - but we can allow those who care for us to be our companions and lovingly hold our hand for at least part of the journey.

"When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives." - George R.R Martin, A Game of Thrones.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Appreciation of now, and taking it all in.

Last night I dreamt about my Mum.  I don't often dream about her, but today I realised it's 22 years since she died in July 1993 at just 54 years old.
In my dream she was lying in bed talking to me, she said her arms were aching.  I asked her why? She said, "I have no one to hold.  Arms were meant to wrap around those you love."
I woke up and  though I was glad to have "seen" her I was sad that her arms ached.
Yesterday I spoke to Andrew about wanting to walk long distances, using my legs to walk miles and miles to experience the landscape and natural world on foot as that is what legs are for!
And then there's my hands...
I love to feel the texture of  bark on trees, I love to feel the cool earth on my hands as I pull the weeds from my veggie patch and I love the feeling of wool running through my fingers against the cool, metal seriousness of my crochet hook.
Our limbs, our eyes, our sense of smell, taste and touch, paying attention to their experiences is crucial to our well-being.  The more technological and "advanced" we become the further away we get from being human in the most fundamental and in my mind crucial of ways.
I'm not anti-advancements in science and technology, but we should make time for the basics, and actually what I feel is the most important aspects of being human.
To feel and be present in the world,  to just walk in nature without multi-tasking.   Taking in all that surrounds you and reminding yourself that this is it so make the most of appreciating and being part of the natural world surrounding you. Have a wonderful Friday everyone!  Love, Kathleen x
"To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour." - From Auguries of Innocence by William Blake

Monday, 13 July 2015

Laughter, life and the great outdoors.

For those who know me well it won't be news to read that humour plays a big part in my life - I believe laughter is an essential aspect of being human.  Every day I observe my life trundling along in all it's wondrous, fluctuating, madness and in between the serious stuff I sneak a peek at the more colourful, bizarre and uplifting opportunities for laughter, joy and appreciation of all that life has to offer.
Many comedians use their observations of the world to share their humorous view of all that surrounds them. But how long can this continue when we're not looking up any more?
Walking along the street,  or in the hairdressers, at the cinema for goodness sake and on the bus, no matter where I go I view the tops of heads. Seriously, I'm becoming an expert in trichology.
The studying of scalps, hair lines and hats is not because I'm abnormally tall for a 47 year old woman, but with heads tilted forward and the important job of checking phones now apparently an option of life or death , everyone and their dog (almost) has forgotten to look up and make eye contact with their fellow human. We can share our concerns, our laughter and joy with a passer by with a smile or a glance no words exchanged as we simply observe the same scenarios and share the experience of being in the same place at the same time.
Sadly this is something of a rarity these days. We're distracted by someone sending us a photo from 1000 miles away, when right in front of us a red squirrel has leapt and scurried across our path, or as the sun sets on our horizon we miss it as we're trawling through the filtered images by our, "friend" on Instagram.
This weekend friends spoke to me about the Scottish poet, songwriter and humorist Ivor Cutler (1923-2006) as they were sure I'd appreciate his work - and they were right!
His humour is so clever.
It can be dark at times (as is life) but his ability to observe his world back then, mixed with a tad of creative license is nothing short of genius.  I'm sure his humour will appeal to many, none more than those brought up in rural Scotland from the 40's onwards.
The flash backs to a life lived free from the intrusive clutter of today's TV's/iphones/smart phones and all things computery.
Look up from your computer screens and smart phones and let the outside world inspire you creatively today!  Before you do...GOOGLE Ivor Cutler and have a listen to some of his work!
"Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh."  W. H. Auden

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Expressing yourself out of depression

Musicians express themselves through their music, artists with their brush strokes, writers craft and weave their words to release their emotional bundle; what about you?
How do you share with your loved ones and the world what you're really feeling? Who do you share your emotional truths with?  Who hears the plight of your broken heart as it reluctantly beats clinging onto a sadness long ago buried away from the sight of others?
When I hear the expression,
"I suffer from bouts of depression."  I think, how wonderfully intelligent we are -  isn't it fantastic that our body and mind recognises something isn't right, and gives us the, "nudge" that now is the time to address this horrible feeling?
The first place to start is by simply speaking up - admitting to yourself first and then sharing with others who love and care about you that you're not feeling good is the most important first step.
Only then can you start your journey back from depression.
So then, why not quietly make the decision today to stop putting a brave face on it and start being more honest about all that you're feeling?  And by this I mean, the good feelings, the bad and the ugly!  We are all capable of experiencing the whole spectrum of emotions, but how many of us are prepared to express the whole range?!  Culturally it's not encouraged to be emotionally honest, but our bodies know differently - burying our feelings makes us unwell.  Make a start on constructively expressing your feelings today and know that by doing so you're doing yourself a great favour - you might just find yourself emerging from that tunnel of depression far sooner than you'd anticipated.
With love,
Kathleen x
“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” ― Sigmund Freud

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Be here for today, not tomorrow.

While you're striving to reach the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow you risk missing the beauty of the wondrous spectrum of colours displaying itself to you. 
Waiting for time to hurry up, working to help speed our lives along.
How sad.  
How wasteful.
All the while both the mediocre and amazing are fleeting past our consciousness as we sleep walk to the next big thing we want to experience.
What about now?  What has now done to upset you so much that you're choosing to turn your back on it?
The truth is that now is the only thing that's real.
Be quiet. 
Be still and just be present.
Look!  It's not so scary after all. 
Notice everything, the sounds, the smells, the colours - it's all right here in front of you right now.
No need to wait, no need to long for it - your senses are just waiting for you to join in! 
Your life is happening right now so let the body and mind become united and start celebrating your life experience! 
"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.  Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land.  There is no other land; there is no other life but this." - Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The patchwork of life.

Patchwork intrigues me.
The bringing together of pieces of fabric from a variety of sources to create one beautiful piece of art.
Some fabrics leap out and tickle my eyes with delight, while others blend silently into the background, each piece doing a great job at making the ensemble an awesome artistic achievement.
If I look at each piece individually I notice the texture, the neatness and quality of the hand stitched joins. Some pieces are frayed, some held tightly, some are perfectly symmetrical and knowing each stitch was done by hand brings a new quality to this hand crafted gem.
As in patchwork, as in life....
Each patch of my life has a different vibrancy about it, some pieces I don't wish to look back on, other patches I want to stare at and long to re-create.
The areas where the edges are frayed and the joins worn and thin are clear reminders of times when I didn't pay attention to all the aspects that make me whole.  My physical, emotional and spiritual needs all require daily attention, if I push any of them to one side the patchwork that is my life will not be able to hide the evidence.
How is your patchwork looking?  Are the edges of each patch beautifully held together, or is there some repair work required? Take time today to decide what you could do to ensure you can look back on today with joy and delight.  You can make this moment a beautiful snap shot of  your history; a life lived in balance and harmony will  help you create the most wonderful patchwork.
With love, Kathleen x
"We do not live an equal life, but one of contrasts and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action." - Ralph Waldo Emerson