Awaken

Here’s Merlin. The cutest, nicest person encased in fur. ‘Whassup Mama? Yaaaaawn’ (sucks paw) My heart melts..

Sometimes we have to stop to see, to truly love.

This is an ancient teaching that has been spoken about for thousands of years. Mindfulness.

It can sound so cold, so austere, like ‘sit down, shut up, grow up’, but when it happens, it’s anything but. It’s incredible. The whole world bursts into life inside of you.

It’s like we can spend our lives skimming the surface of things. Never truly tasting, smelling, touching, seeing, feeling, acknowledging. We loose the wonder, another form of love.

When we allow ourselves to slow down, stop, really attend to something, or simply open up to what wants to be attended to, we can sink into the depths of our senses, soul and sometimes spirit.

These snapshots are images from my ordinary life. The blue room which is our cosy nest, bathed in golden sunlight. Everywhere my partner goes he leaves a water bottle and normally an old pair of socks. Sammy cat, the only cat I know with lips.

A cascade of colour, realisation, impression can literally wash over and through us when we pause and drink in.

In those moments we can be truly alive to life and a seemingly tiny, mundane thing can become ecstatic. The tired dust that’s gathered upon us is blown away in a wash of wonder.

It’s up to us how much we will open to the ecstasy of life, the abundance that surrounds us, right now and be inspired (breathed into). Most of us don’t believe in it, needing bigger and bigger entertainment stimulations to touch us in any way. We are numb to so many things. The world becomes grey.

The ancients called this quiet ecstasy awakening. To wake up dreamer.

In these moments I love my camera. Capturing a moment. A piece of my heart out there in the world, framed forever.

I feel the miracle of life. My life, and I am blessed.

See if you can try this today.

Pause.

Open.

Inhale life.

Be soft with it.

You’ll likely meet resistance. The urge to plough on. The fear that you’ll be met with emptiness or that it’s another thing you’ve failed at or don’t understand.

Your soul is calling you home. The doorway is narrow. Just stop and see what happens. Millions have spoken about this. It’s a real thing. Find your own way with it. However you do it, slow down, pause, stop, drink deeply x

Peaks Day 4

There’s a biscuit at the hoof of the cow in the second photo. My new mates. I’m like a squirrel with free biscuits and chocolate, the type you’re given in cafes and restaurants with your hot drink. They can hang around in my bag for months. Well today I had help with my stash.

We woke up needing a coffee shop morning after the adrenalin and pure raw terror of yesterday. The kind of terror that you need sometimes to remind you that you’re alive. If you’d have told me that at the time, however, mid white knuckle, shaking uncontrolably, with Ady telling me he couldn’t hear me breathing anymore. I think I was quietly hoping for death πŸ˜‚β˜ οΈπŸ˜³πŸ™ but I get ahead of myself. I’ll get to that bit later.

So here I am, tame, supping my brew, tapping away on my electrical device like most others around me, acting as if life isn’t some huge heroes journey that could kick your ass or elevate you to blissful heights without a word of warning. Yesterday I got the warning, I just underestimated what was possible in one short, unplanned day. Oh how the magic is flowing this week and Ady is now a believer. The synchronicities are simply undeniable.

It all started with that angel book I showed you a few blogs ago. I was due to start chapter two but something inside told me ‘no, chapter three today’. Oh, OK, what’s chapter three? It was about adventure. I wondered what adventure had to do with love? The book was all about love. I read the whole chapter and realised my kinds of adventures weren’t hers. She spoke of walking the wall of China, swimming with dolphins, climbing Mount Everest. I wondered whats the point? My hearts not in random places. I want to go deeper with the things and people I love. I’d love to wake up on my allotment and see the fox doing her natural foxy thing. The deer, woodpecker, Robins and I’ve even grown to love the grasshoppers. Sometimes I sit with them for hours in a spot I call grasshopper alley. I want to make a sign for that spot. It looks wild and unloved but I’ve kept it that way for my lil hoppy mates.

I’d like to investigate the bond we can share with loved ones who have died. It’s typically called mediumship but I’m not really open to someone else’s random great aunt Sally passing on the message that she saw you tidying your sock drawer yesterday. These were typical messages I heard in spiritualist churches as I prepared myself for my mums death. To have someone talking that kinda crap inside my head would be beyond my tolerance and it always baffled me that people would cry gratefully at the wisdom shared. Surely they had more to share than that?! Is the other side really that dull that you’re reduced to watching us tidy drawers?

I’d love to adventure into creative spaces. What am I capable of creating? I’ve astounded myself with mosaics, sketches and at school art was the only GCSE where I got an A. It’s a dormant gift in me just waiting for some time and curiosity.

And the adventure of love. What would it look like to risk opening my heart more fully each day knowing that it’s a fragile as a petal, a butterflies wing. Easily bruised, torn but made for opening, for flight, for relating, dancing and mingling. These weren’t the types of adventures she had in mind.

Without a real plan we walked to Bakewell. Before we knew it we’d decided to hop onto a bus. Those that know me well know I’m kinda phobic of buses. At the bus stop with the old women in the queue I had a little knee tremble. What if it rolled into a full on panic? As soon as I sat down I knew I’d be OK. Amazingly I really was ok. A year or so ago that would not have been possible for me. I smiled that I had changed, grown without realising it. Woohoo!

We arrived in Matlock and I comfortably thought that was my adventure for the day. Tick, done. Wrong, omg couldn’t have been more wrong πŸ˜‚

I noticed a sign for The Heights of Abraham, a cable car system from the Alps. The first to be created in England in the 1980’s. Ady and I gazed at the cable cars suspended at incredible heights with both fascination and horror.

Please don’t ask me why I dragged him to the ticket office. We had no intention of putting ourselves up there, we just wanted to see what it looked like from the base. There was a queue. Β£21 each to ride the cable cars. We were both relieved that it wasn’t even an enticing price. As we stared open mouthed a lady walked past everyone else in the queue and asked us shyly if we had already bought tickets. Slightly confused we said we hadn’t. The couple in front of us turned to stare at this odd interaction. She asked if she could give us hers. She was there with a work party and two people hadn’t turned up. The couple in front looked gutted. Not as gutted as I felt. I suddenly had two tickets in my hand and a dubious sense of destiny that loosely translated as ‘oh shit’.

Why she walked past everyone else who clearly wanted a ticket, to the couple who were clearly hovering, I’ll never know. Angels. Bloody angels πŸ€£πŸ˜‡πŸ€£

Once we reached the ticket office I asked the lady in there what these tickets bought us. She looked confused why we had them without her serving us. I told her we’d just been gifted them. She looked even more confused but told us they bought us everything at the top including two guided cave tours.

Our first question was ‘is there a loo before we have to climb into that tiny glass death trap?’ There was one portaloo but she told us the journey to the top didn’t take long. We both used that portaloo like our life depended on it πŸ˜‚

Ten minutes later we were at the front of the queue to the cars, by which point even my feet were sweating. Breathing came in short sharp pants and my hands were shaking. I nearly bolted for the portaloo again but Ady dragged me and before I knew it I was in that little glass bubble that gave me claustrophobia like I’ve never known. I was terrified of the door closing, to be quickly followed by terror that it wasn’t closing and we were about to ascend. Apparently the door closes automatically once lift off happens. Sick joke and I’m sure they must keep themselves amused watching faces like mine on a long boring day at work πŸ‘€πŸ˜΄πŸ˜‚πŸ™„

I told you it was high! The second sick joke was that it stopped halfway up, at the pinnacle. There we were, dangling, breeze wafting through, wondering if this was the day it broke down and I’d literally die of terror. I was panting, eyes closed, trembling everywhere. I could dimly hear Ady telling me to square breathe. He talked me through it. I heard him say ‘I can’t hear you breathing. Have you stopped breathing? Try and breathe’. Poor bloke was terrified himself. He was my Knight in shining armour as I buried my face in his shoulder and shook’. I had zero control over anything, never mind my breath. I’d lost it. Washed away in pure raw terror. I remembered my mum had pee’d herself in fright up here when I was a child and I thought I’d superseed her as the first person to die of self induced cardiac arrest. ‘I’m coming mum, see you shortly!’

Well you’ve never seen anyone get off one of those things faster. As soon as those doors opened I shot out and contemplated kissing the floor. Ady suggested a cuppa to ground me but I knew if I stopped now you’d never get my claustrophobic arse down that first cave, so whilst I was still terrified I dragged him there.

We arrived a bit too late. The party had just set off. An angel must have poked the barrier man because he decided to let us through, told us to hurry and we’d catch up. I think those angels knew if I waited I’d never do it. I heard every claustrophobic person’s worst nightmare as he let us through. ‘Once you decide to go in there’s no coming out this way. You just have to keep going til you’re out the other side and it’s very low in places’. I had a moment of wanting to bolt but then my inner fuck it kicked in and I said to Ady, if I need to get out, no one’s gonna stop me. Come on, let’s go’. Eyebrows raised, he’d never been in a proper cave before, never mind with a kick ass claustrophobic fairy. I think he wondered what he’d let himself in for. He always tells me life’s never dull with me πŸ€”

Two caves later we emerged exhilarated! We’d done it and it had been lovely. There were moments where they turned all the lights out to give us a taste of what the old miners experienced. I was horrified that tiny holes in the walls were where children crawled in, having to be pulled out by their ankles once their work was done, that’s how small the passage was. I wondered if that had been me in a past life. I even struggle to get into lifts. Once a door closes and I can’t get out I just want to run or claw my way through walls.

We shared a pub meal in the pub that I’d been to with mum so many times before. More importantly it was the setting for my prophetic promise that I’d be with her til her last breath. You’d never think it, going in there. It’s a very pubby pub, but one day she bought homemade bread there and sat by the open fire feeling like I was with her in spirit. She messaged me telling me as much. My phone was off because I was at a reiki share group. I was experiencing a guided meditation where Rita, my teacher at the time, talked us through fields, flowers, colours. All I could see was flames, passion, bread and a key. Love was the key. My passion was for mum, like flames and something in me that swore she wouldn’t walk her path alone. I’d be with her til her last breath. It happened exactly that way. I held her hand years later and watched her very last breath.

As I turned my phone on at the end of the meeting, all those years ago at that reiki share group and saw mums message, we all gasped that I’d literally been with mum in spirit, in that pub as she bought bread by the fire. The pub must have changed hands since then because its now scruffy, playing rock music and not a loaf in sight.

We think of sacred sites as always being this way, but it’s us that make them sacred. The Bible says all of the Earth is holy ground, we just to recognise it as such. Nowhere and no when is ordinary. You’re surrounded by angels constantly if you’ll only wake up.

The cable cars had totally desensitised me to terror and I hoped onto the bus home without a quiver and promptly fell fast asleep.

Day 4 conquered and I wondered what the hell day 5 would bring. For whatever reason love came to day 4 under the guise of adventure. Adventure a soft arsed way of saying you’ll face your mortality in multiple ways. Your life will flash before your eyes and you’ll understand why your mum pee’d herself. You’ll also realise that you’re capable of so much more and grasshopper alley will be waiting when you get home to the shire. I’m still not sure how adventure related to love but I do know that I trusted that each step was a peculiar gift. I think the ticket gifter must still wonder why she picked the quivering couple at the back, god bless her I wasn’t blessing her half way up!

Peaks Day 3

Today was the heaviest menstrual day for me. I felt like I had no blood left in my head so we sloped off for a lazy morning in Buxton.

We expected beauty. It’s a spa town. My god we were disappointed. The cold and drizzle mingled with tired old cheap shops that made Heron Foods and Iceland look posh. Every other shop was a charity shop with nothing in it that even slightly enticed, and I’m a bargain queen. It was a depressing place. Even the people looked tired and shabby. It fitted with my slug like menstrual state I guess.

Breakfast was in the one jazzy cafe that impressed us with its range of drinks at least, boasting a Sandalwood and Cinnamon blue latte that we never tried. I had the vegan breakfast and laughed that masala beans were definitely heinz baked beans slightly pimped up. Not a doubt in my mind.

After an hour of drifting around hoping we would find something worth the trip we gave up and went home. We considered visiting a stately hall or an open garden but in all honesty we both just fancied the cottage. Ady had a nap and I meditated with a cuppa. Sometimes it’s just nice to rest and land. Rest is one of those very unfancy things that creates so much abundance. Abundance of space, peace, revelations, energy.

As Ady reemerged from his nap, slightly crumpled, we decided to bake something together. One of the local health food shops had free magazines and one had a recipe for tiffin, a super healthy version. We put our trainers on and took a half hour stroll to Aldi. Glamourous day or what lol. Enroute we found a side path that took us through fields, beside a beautiful river. It was such a lovely find.

The tiffin was divine, as you can tell by my face, and Ady looks orgasmic πŸ˜‚ well worth the trip.

We made carrot cake balls and I taught Ady how to make Daal. All of this was enjoyed in the front garden as the church bells rang, house Martins swooped, geese danced and swerved their way somewhere mid flight. Recipes are here..

I love that front garden. I’m always unashamedly in my pj’s, morning or evening. Tonight the neighbour stopped by for a good chat. It turns out the owner of our cottage is called Hart. There’s that name again. The third time this holiday! I know I’m being shown that it’s all about my heart at the moment. Keeping it open in a wild world. Stay kind.

Talking of kindness the neighbour was so kind. He offered we could borrow his bikes. He chatted for a good half hour, telling us stories and the best places to go. He had such a smiley face. His energy was just delicious and at 71 he was full of life.

It’s now the end of a beautifully ordinary day. We are rested, well fed, bathed and feel welcome in a lovely little community that is our home for a week. We have a fridge full of food so on our more adventurous days we can come home to utter nomiliciousness xx

Peaks Day 2

Today is our second day at the Peak District. It has also been littered with magic of the softer kind. My time of the moon started today so everything is slow and fuzzy around the edges.

We visited the Mill I spoke about yesterday. The one the sat nav was desperate to get us to. It was lovely to walk the steps I once took with mum. It feels both new and familiar. A lot of it I can’t remember and flashes return every now and again. It’s like walking in a waking dream. I feel her near.

Cromford Mill Ady

There was another Mill called Cauldwells that she also used to take me to. It has art workshops and a vegetarian cafe. We visited there for lunch. The tables had been moved. I remembered her sat by the window when she was too ill to walk. I’d looked back at her, as I often did, concerned about leaving her alone as I explored, but it was what she wanted. She enjoyed watching me live and she didn’t want to be left at home. As I walked towards the workshop today, I turned back to gaze at the cafe. This time there was no mum, no table, but in my heart I could still see her there, superimposed over this moment. I was in two worlds at once. There she was with her cappuccino. I smiled. Thank god for snap shot memories. We never know the moments we will cherish for life. Sometimes they are very ordinary at the time.

As I entered the first workshop I found myself telling the owner that I’d love a workshop space myself and have done for a long time. It’s true but I’ve never heard myself acknowledge this. Art has meant a lot to me for decades. At times it was my air, the only thing that kept me going. Anytime I hit rock bottom mum would always take me to a craft space knowing I would come back to life mysteriously. Even I didn’t understand it. Beauty has always helped my heart to keep beating, even as a child. Beauty and nature.

The owner was lovely. She told me stories and made us laugh, gasp and relate to why she was there. I wondered if one day I would be in her shoes, creating and sharing in a way that made utter sense to me.

The gift shop was as incredible as I’d remembered. Everything we bought was beautiful, gentle, creative. Mugs without handles (always my fav), a sketchbook for me, a dandelion clock cup that is so small it’d only suit me (I love small), a candle for bath and garden time here, a sugar pot and organic cardamon chocolate, a book on how to make your own cleaning products naturally, very simply and beautifully. This book brought me pure awe. I just want to live closer to the earth and in simple harmony.

Back at the cafe we ordered a turmeric latte and a beetroot one for Ady. My god they were good. Lunch was divine, aided by a stranger who felt to tell me, on her way out, that the soup was the best she’s had in a long time. It really was. Dairy free and topped with pea sprouts. I was seriously impressed. The photo shows me in my time of the month stupor. Zoned out but content to just be a human slug. Ady is clearly livelier in his food heaven.

I sat reading a book that I found here on my first day. It’s about love, angels and how to stay open in a difficult world. I bought it because the talking book we were listening to enroute to the Peaks was mentioning the authors name, Kevin Hart, and that he should stay true to his name. This authors name was also Hart and she shared her first name with me. As I opened the book randomly I felt like I was being nudged in the direction of learning how to stay open no matter how much loving can hurt sometimes. We wouldn’t grieve if we didn’t love. Would we fear or get jealous or insecure? Our adoration of others and things leads to these painful emotions. Sometimes it’s just easier to close down. This isn’t how I want to live and it ends up breaking you energetically.

This is our little cottage. The nest where I’m typing from right now. Hot water bottle across my menstrual tummy and chocolate to hand. Music playing gently and Ady reading his book on the simple life. A book we are both reading at different rates. The tv is so far untouched and will probably stay that way. We haven’t had a telly for years and it’s not something we miss at all. I always shudder at people living in beautiful homes with beautiful views and all they do in their spare time is stare at a screen. They seem to be missing out on so much life.

Last night I cooked veg from our allotment. We ate it in the front garden, watching the world go by. A Radox bath and then time to blog took me through to bedtime where I slept like a mouse in a nest. So much for waking up early and doing my ayurvedic routine. I just about managed to wobble down the stairs. I think the body knows when it’s ok to switch off. Mine certainly has and it feels like the best place for me as I enjoy living without work, cats, allotment or any responsibilities beyond eating and following the whims of the day. It feels like we are enfolded.

The Peaks

Unseen help

Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. On days like that it’s best to record what happened whilst you still believe it yourself. So here I am. Wide eyed, silenced and amazed.

Last week was hard. My yoga theme of the week was Grace, allowing yourself to fall and be caught by unseen thermals, I fell alright lol. This weekly theme was within a monthly theme of Peace. I found myself learning to have peace with pain, questions, inner turmoil and deep sadness.

It all began one lovely peaceful day. I’d kept feeling inner guidance to be very still and as I did, bits that had crusted to me years ago would soften and float away. In my minds eye soaking would be cleansing, relieving, almost blissful. The reality was far messier.

The more I sat still, the more feelings from my past pain bubbled up unexpectedly, memories, not just my own but those I’d picked up from the environment around me, as far back as my childhood. Emotions arose that were raw, wild, wounded and lost. Some of them felt like my mum’s, she’d had it hard with my dad. She had a lot of wounds of her own as I grew up. I simply sat with it all. I sat through waves of fear, despair, feeling trapped, neglected, unloved, alone. Not all of them felt like my feelings but they were all past stuff that was crusted to my sides.

Reliving it was no pleasant soak. I cried a lot. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t tell anyone how I was feeling. I’d been washed away with something I didn’t fully understand but needed to trust. Fortunately I was still able to teach and received more positive feedback that week than I can ever remember. It was like my heart had cracked open.

On my final class of the week, a 1:1, I got out my crystal singing bowls for savasana and the throat chakra bowl had inexplicably cracked. It was unplayable. I knew it related to me. I was literally unable to reach out for help, unable to communicate what was happening. I knew I needed care but I felt I just couldn’t trust anyone enough to love me in the way I needed in this vulnerable state, a feeling I wasn’t used to. I just wanted care. I was scared of reaching out and being misunderstood, not responded to out of busyness or them simply not realising how broken I was feeling. I was also scared of being pulled out of this soaking that simply needed to happen.

The night before I was due to leave for holiday I was awoken from sleep by something tickling my nose. I assumed it was one of the cats and opened my eyes to no cat. Baffled, I wondered what had been moving so tangibly across my nose that felt so physical and yet now nothing was there. Suddenly a wave of energy rolled through my body. I felt like I was both deeply peaceful and hyper alert, all at once. From deeply asleep to this state. Everything suddenly felt more real. The trees out of the window moving in the breeze, the shadows and light of the middle of the night. It’s hard to describe. It’s like the old Wizard of Oz film where it goes from black and white to colour. I’d moved into the latter somehow, like I was vibrating at a higher frequency. Then I had the feeling Mum was there in spirit. That her vibration had affected mine. Marie, a medium I know and love, once told me that people often get a tickly nose when spirit is near. It’s not something I really experienced until that night. It tickled so much it literally woke me up.

I lay there for what felt like hours, both hyper aware and so peaceful that I hardly moved, bathing in the energy and occasional words that floated into my mind, like listening to Mum speaking within me. Eventually I must have fallen asleep because when I awoke in the morning I felt so good. Energy. My voice was back. I could communicate again. I felt like my heart had somehow mysteriously mended over night. I also felt like I truly wasn’t alone. I felt like wherever she was, she was healed, or healing. Her vibration felt amazing, if it was her.

As we drove to the Peak District I saw a huge road sign for Youlgreave, only someone had scratched out the L, leaving You greave. You grieve, truly. Last week I’d had the same dream I’ve had so many times before. I’m walking to my mum’s house, excited to see her. When the door opens it’s a stranger. She no longer lives there. In the dream I weep, wail, because I’m horrified that I don’t know where she lives now. I wake up crying. I think ‘her home’ represents the body she no longer inhabits. Something in me needs to know where she is now. At times like this, saying she’s in spirit is like saying she’s in England. Where?

There’s times in your life where you can truly feel how raw the human journey can be. To spend your whole life loving and needing someone, only to have them disappear in the same way you will one day. Where? Is it truly ok to not know? Are we really supposed to live with this huge black hole or is there a connection that we are missing, one we are meant to experience, one that will bridge the divide so that we can still feel their love and support, and them ours.

I phoned her partner and asked if I could visit the house, her old house, enroute to holiday. The dream still tearing me apart. He said I wasn’t allowed in the house due to covid fears. It felt like a nail in the coffin. So sad.

When we arrived at The Peak District I took Ady to a cafe Mum and I often used to love. The first song in there was Opera strangely. Then I heard the words, ‘Time to say goodbye’. You greave. No coincidence.

Flashes of a mill in Matlock came to mind. I just knew we needed to go there. The car was wierdly playing up and Ady was nervous it would break down altogether, so he didn’t want to visit the mill understandably. He just wanted to get to the holiday cottage safe and sound. Typing the directions into the sat nav I was baffled that it seemed to be taking us in the wrong direction. It took us right to that mill, a couple of towns away! He pulled up and asked it to reroute, it kept taking us past this mill, bleeping and rerouting. I told him I was sure it was mum telling us to go there. In the end he drove in the direction he thought was right until the sat nav finally gave up with the mill and took us to the cottage. He kept saying he couldn’t understand it, but I did. Mediums often say people in spirit can manipulate electronic equipment.

The next day we decided to walk the Monsall trail (images above) and ended up walking nearly 13 miles. My god did our legs know about it!

As we started the drive to the trail the car was undrivable. We had to give up and let Ady call the AA. It was bad. I took a local walk as he did that, feeling the deep peace that I’d missed on that week of soaking the crusty bits off. That week had been wild medicine, but peace no less. Sitting with the process. Feeling and healing. Shattered crystal bowls and throttled throat chakras. Crying uncried tears and feeling things that I had no idea were in there. I thanked mum and thanked god for being with me. All the love and guidance that surrounds me that I can’t see with my eyes. Then Ady called. He said the car sorted itself out. He had turned the engine on to know what to tell the AA when he called them and somehow the faults that were loud clunks and revving issues, to say the least, had disappeared. Once again he was utterly baffled. He asked if we should try the drive to the Monsall trail now, so we did.

As we were about to head off, he looked at me teary eyed and showed me a text. He’d recently changed his phone and after he’d called me he noticed a missed text with no contact name. It said ‘you and Amanda have a great time and make sure you stay safe xx’ It was dated back to last Sept. When he read earlier messsages in that thread he realised it was from his mum. It was the last message she’d ever sent him before she fell ill and very quickly died. For some mysterious reason he’d never seen that message. He could not explain this at all and the fact that it fitted with us having our first day away and feeling unsafe in a car really touched him. A car that was now working. Just as he was saying ‘I just don’t understand how a car can fix itself without me even touching it’ the radio turned itself on for a second, a singer sang something, and then it turned itself off. Neither of us had touched the radio. It literally turned itself on and off without us. We looked at each other, mouths open. I hadn’t quite caught the words of the song that was playing so I turned it back on. The words were ‘I’ll give you all you need’. Oh my god! Maybe that was why the car was running. That was what we needed that day. It took us there and back, no problems at all. My mum used to have a car sticker that said ‘Powered by prayer’ because she sometimes couldn’t afford the petrol or repairs lol. I could now relate.

The first 24 hours of our holiday has been eventful and we are both aware that spirit is near. Ady calls it spooky, lovely and baffling, depending upon what moment you catch him. It’s hard for him to process. For me it’s like nectar and I just want more.

Birthday Weekend

On Jan 23rd 2021 I turned 43. I still feel like a teenager wondering what I’ll be when I grow up?! I wonder if that’ll ever change?

It was a marvellous, magical weekend and I truly adored it in every way.

We are in tier 4 lockdown, so none of the usual socialising, but I found an easy rhythm in reading, getting my sewing machine out, laughing at the cats antics with Ady and eating amazing home cooked food.

I’ve had my sewing machine for years but barely touched it, so on my birthday out she came. I made a bookmark out of wrapping from my gifts and followed the lines of veins on a beautiful ivy leaf. I have no idea what I’m doing so I learn as I go along.

I intend to make prayer flags. Tiny squares of inspiration that I can string together. The leaf will remind me to simply open and let the light through. I have so many ideas and can’t wait to be a creator again. My gift to myself x

The burger pic above is the cookbook image of the vegan burger Ady made me with cheezey nacho spicy tomato additions. Omg food heaven and all gluten free and clean eating. AMAZING!!!!! Its from a book called Beautiful Real by Sam Murphy. Vegan healthy comfort food and my heaven.

We walked and talked by our old lake. A walk we’ve done a thousand times before but its so cherished.

The light was amazing. Glorious, twinkling, dancing across surfaces, moonlight, sunlight. Light brings lightness and I need it like air.

Meditation was a part of the weekend. I made sure I made space for space. A meditative walk on Saturday at twilight was a real highlight. A whole hour just to move, listen, feel and breathe. I put on a playlist I’d never heard before that was both mysterious and beckoning. There’s a site called Bandcamp that do things called soundscapes. A playlist that weaves meditation thoughts, chanting and sound. So beautiful. You can just let go and be guided, like floating on an ocean of gentle inspiration. As I crossed a bridge I noticed the light at the end looked like a star guiding me on.

Partway across the bridge were peeling signs that called out ‘change change change and faith!’

I’d felt deep shifts inside of me that week, causing feelings of sadness and grief. Things from my past that I just couldn’t process, causing me a type of soulful indigestion. At times immobilising. Change was definitely a theme in my life.

Not long later the playlist rang out with “how can we continue to live if we are changeless? To live we must die every instant. We must perish, again and again, in the storms that make life possible”. Those words mixed with the words on the bridge and my feelings of grief all clicked together, like someone had realigned my bones. I felt a huge wave of relief. All these mini deaths, aren’t bad. They hurt but its the stuff of life and life is change.

The moon was so bright that night. It was captivating. The playlist highlighted self love. That if we love ourselves we are loving all of our ancestors within us. Wow! Anytime you have been hurt by family, it’s just a lack of love. Pour more love in and it’ll ripple to them all. I was so glad it was dark. Tears were flowing. So much pain in my ancestry. So much pain, so many wounds. Love yourself even more was the call. Love love love.

It was almost as if the music was timed with my thoughts. Interwoven, shifting me from the roots. Seismic.

I remembered a couple of moments of grace when houses appeared as I needed to move house. In that moment the playlist spoke of moments of grace, where you get what you need, as if by magic and it creates such a silence within that nothing more is needed. If you could die so complete that would be perfect. In reality we find that completeness in waves and bursts. Moments where we trust and doubt nothing. Utterly content and connected. Whole.

The Sunday was a different story. We accidentally went sledging. We’d only planned on a walk but were blessed enough to happen upon a shop that only had two sledges left. What’s the chances?! Enroute to the woods I’d suddenly felt ‘go here first!’ The result was sledge-joy. Two hours of screaming joy! It was so good to share this with others. After nearly a year of no positive contact with strangers, it was a real tonic to connect again. Watching adults and children explode with laughter. Such a gift x

The scenery where we sledged was beautiful. Thatched cottages and a tiny row of shops selling hot chocolate and pastries. Adorable.

We walked further afield, by a ruined castle and across wide open fields. People we met smiled and greeted. So different to the head down ignore you don’t breathe covid attitude recently.

The cats were so funny, they really made us laugh. Sammy loved the snow! He was running, sliding, chasing snow balls, eating it. He was in hunting heaven as he was finally camouflaged. Our mini snow leopard.. Can you spot him?

Poppy wasn’t a fan. Although she did give him his moneys worth in fights when he came home just wanting a kip πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

The peace of our weekend was tangible. I couldn’t have asked for more. Utterly perfect. Thank you to Ady for sharing the sledge screams, cooking me my dream burger meal and binge watching Netflix series. You are an absolute star. Poppy and Sammy, you are my joy, just for being your utterly unique, unapologetic selves. You are my teachers aswell as my furbabies.

What’s the Story?

It’s serenity week and I spent a few quiet hours sorting through my mums old sewing threads and materials. Some of it was so old that I wondered what’s the story? Why is it here? Where did mum find it? Did she ever use it? Was any of it my grandma’s? Some items were so old they referred to housewives.

I imagined her still alive, telling me the stories in an off handed easy way, like we do when we’re alive and think things will be like this forever.

In a moment of stark clarity I realised that if she were alive, that moment of storytelling would be an utterly normal moment, lost in a sea of normal moments and soon forgotten. Uncherished.

I sat there utterly overwhelmed by the amount of moments we don’t cherish or truly see. The things we class as normal.

Mindfulness calls us to frame these tiny moments in life and drink them in. Let them settle into your heart. Tiny normal moments coming alive inside of you. Feeding you and nourishing your soul with life.

I love this calling and looked around my flat with wide open eyes, like my world had shifted and I could see.

I saw the trees outside my window and l drank them in. Framed and sealed them in my heart. Thing after thing after thing, taking it in, like I might never see it again. Nothing was ‘normal’, everything was a miracle. I had shifted.

That’s when I decided to take this out there. Look, really look at the world. Collect things to put into a mindfulness scrap book. The book of life.

So here goes.. I’ll take you with me. Get ready to breathe.

I noticed the abundance of spiders in the subway. I hardly ever see spiders in winter and wondered where they go. Well, here they all were, weaving their webs around the lights. I wonder what it is about light for them? Sometimes 5 or 6 per light. Webs layered like shimmering lace.

And then the call to fix me. I smiled, wondering what that story was. I hear these unsaid words so often as people start their yoga journey, until they realise its a never ending journey of breaking and fixing.

I had to laugh at the car owner who must hate jogging so much it went onto his reg plate πŸ˜‚

Moss on ancient stones, like tiny fairy forests. It’s a soft survivor. I can’t help but touch it.

The hope of spring peeks through. Hope. Such a powerful word.

Can you spot the mushrooms. I nearly missed them. I certainly would have if I wasn’t eyes wide open.

The yellow flowers are wintral bursts of incredible scent. Such a gift I drank in deep!

A micro cavern in a wall. To a mouse it would be huge. To me it was a doorway to a hundred different stories as yet unwritten. Who would live there..

Lichen and buds, glowing luminescent. A friend messaging me as I hung over a bridge to capture the shot. I smiled because he loves photography and would have understood. A moment of connection.

Strange little messages, kind of sweet, wondering what’s their story? What were they feeling when they made this and why?

Discarded items once of use. Who did they call? Was it a moment of love? Maybe it was the final goodbye. What did the bag contain? How far did it travel? Who made it? Is their energy still in its fibres? Is it happy to return to the elements? Will it now house an animal? Stories stories.. What if your superpower was to know the story of everything you touched. What if you could wonder again, weave your own stories and fill the world with life.

And the bricks πŸ˜‚ the bricks looked like the biggest ‘I can’t be arsed let’s go home/pub’ job I’ve ever seen. What’s the story?

And was the test a happy ending? What was the look on their partners face as they shared the news.

Curves and waves. Old nails coming out of brickwork. Why there? Why is it bent? What did it hold? Who made it. What are the myriad stories in its body? Everything is vibration. Do we leave our imprint everywhere we go? I sat on the bench seeing if I could feel the people before me. Would they have felt any less alone if they knew a girl would reach out to them? That they aren’t just a stranger on a bench. To her they are a miracle with eyes wide open.

And the bridge. I stared at this bridge for a long old time imagining it was the bridge of time. Pass under it and every moment becomes now. Awakened. Forever living fully in the moment, no past or future. The bridge of awakening.

What would the bridge be to you if it had a gift, a special power? Would you go back, go forward, go elsewhere. What’s the story for you?

See if you can drop into the cherishing of each moment as it arises. Look for the stories. Be an alchemist of time. Whatever surrounds you will one day be a memory, drink it in deep.

Serenity week x

Serenity

This weeks yoga theme is serenity. Each week, since the start of 2021, we’ve had a positive theme. First joy, then gratitude, now serenity.

I’m always amazed at how perfectly each theme fits my week. I awoke with a sore throat, feeling ill. I know it’s not covid as I’ve already been tested, I just knew I needed to slow down. Perfect theme.

What does serenity mean to you?

It used to mean cups of coffee in a coffee shop with Ady, somewhere lovely like Leamington Spa or Warwick. No need to talk if you felt quiet. Just sit, be fed and watered. No washing up lol. Watch the world go by or read. I loved these simple little moments followed by a slow meandering walk. No pressures or reason for being there other than relaxation and pleasure.

Recently it’s meant a flask, wellies and a canal walk during tier 4 of lockdown.

At home it could be a simple moment of beauty. A sunbeam. A cat purring on your knee. Reading a favourite story book or pulling out knitting needles and cosy wool, drifting away to the click click click of wooden needles. Pen and paper to dance the flow of creativity. Whatever I was doing, I totally let go of everything else.

My favourite times of serenity tend to be spiritual. Those moments where you suddenly realise you’re not alone, you’re loved, guided. What you need appears as if by magic or you feel enveloped on the deepest level. These moments make me feel existentially safe and that creates the biggest, deepest exhale on so many levels. Serenity follows.

I loved something I read this morning. ‘Don’t pursue serenity. Wait quietly enough and it might just perch on your shoulder like a shy little bird’.

How will this translate to our yoga asana this week? How would you weave it in? How would serenity feel in your body? Is there a pose or a style you’d creep towards? I really am looking forward to living this theme this week.

Namaste and hopefully see you on the mat x

Gratitude Week

This has been one very special week. I feel like I’ve learnt so much! The theme was gratitude. It sounded great until I hit day one of this theme and got totally triggered. I had a meeting on the Monday and by the end I felt utterly worthless, useless and rubbish. A rare feeling for me and I was drowning in it. Wave after hideous wave..

Swept away utterly by this rough tide of emotion I didn’t sleep a wink. Not one wink! On the Tuesday I was supposed to start teaching about gratitude. I could hardly keep my eyes open and I just kept bursting into tears over the coffee I was supposed to have given up for New Years. Welcome to gratitude week guys lol.

I’m participating in a year long yoga training with The Contemporary School of Yoga. I put one of the webinars on, just to try and lift myself. It spoke of radical vulnerability. A talk was posted by Brene Brown. Omg it was so beautiful. I sobbed, but this time because it was breaking my heart open. I’ll put the link to this talk at the end of this post. Shes incredible!

She was saying that one of the keys to life is connection to others. We often close down because we are scared of being vulnerable. However, we when we close to keep ourselves safe, we close on every level. We also close to joy and gratitude (my current themes). By allowing myself to be vulnerable I could open up. Gratitude didn’t have to be an Annie musical where I’d be elated and dancing down the street. I could open to it with puffy eyes, in bed, crying over my coffee. All I had to do was open up.

I suddenly knew that if I could do this with the group where I’d felt triggered, I could reestablish connection and allow myself to reopen also to joy. I took a deep breath and typed. I typed how I’d felt and why. There was no blame. It was nobodies fault. I told them my vulnerabilities in that moment and shared how I truly felt.

Amazingly most of the group replied that they also felt the same. Others had also lost sleep. We had all appeared so strong and sure of ourselves, but deep down we wondered if we were good enough, capable enough, strong enough. I think we hide these feelings a lot in groups and in life. A huge bonding and lots of humour happened as we shared how we truly felt. Connection and joy emerged, also a huge wave of gratitude.

I went on to have a beautiful week of connection and cooking, art and cats, reading and sharing. The biggest gift, however, was being brave enough to open with my vulnerabilities. To know and be known. Just open up x

Choc Chip Ice Cream

One of the things that makes me happy is healthy versions of comfort food. I’ve always had a strong intolerance to dairy and sugar sends me a bit loopy so until the appearance of this superfood era I was a bit stuck for desserts. I used to be the wierd kid who had orange juice on my cereal and dry toast.

The above recipe is too good to be true, but it’s true woohoo!!!

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 peeled, chopped and frozen banana’s
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 2 medjool dates (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • half a teaspoon xanthum gum
  • peppermint essence ( 10-12 drops should be enough, otherwise add until minty enough for you)
  • sprinkle cacao nibs or dark choc pieces
  • natural green food colouring if you like the green minty colour (some people use spinach for this, but spinach in y ice cream was a bridge too far for me lol)

Literally all you do is pop all of the ingredients except the choc or cacao nibs in the blender and blend until smooth. If using nibs I tend to sprinkle the desired amount into the blender at the end and give it a quick whizz so the nibs are smaller but not too fine.

Pop it in the freezer and voile!

If you ever want a really easy ice cream recipe, just blend frozen banana’s. That’s it. It’s yummy! You can always blend in nut butter or cacao powder or chicory/coffee for a swirl of interest.