Flow

It has taken me a long time (and rather a lot of unfinished draft posts) to finally get this one written. I’ve promised it for a while and referenced it a few times already but today I can finally begin to explain the concept of FLOW and what it means to me.

To do so I’m going to share a couple of excerpts from my life; the first from a few years ago, the second this week just gone. I don’t always go into great details about my personal life but I hope that by sharing these stories, the reader might gain a more visceral understanding of what I’m getting at. Because at its heart Flow is a felt thing and I can only assume that other people feel it too.

Water in motion

Story 1

Living in London had grown difficult for us both. My partner and I were unhappy and desperately seeking the space and freedom of the great outdoors. In our spare time we’d begun reading books and articles about sacred landscapes, archaeology and the Land on which our ancestors lived. This inspired us to watch TV shows about similar topics, to expose ourselves to views and vistas of the rolling English countryside, bleak craggy moors and cities full of beautiful architecture. Suddenly – despite training and working in the creative industry for 5 years – we were feeling truly inspired for the first time.

We started talking about silly things first; going to live in a commune or backpacking around the World on all that money we didn’t have. Then one day I found a website about campervans and we spent evenings discussing the logistics of managing and affording a year long road trip around the British Isles, using blogs and advertising and bad poetry to pay our way.

A lot of these ideas felt mythic, dream-like, a little too big for reality. But at there heart was a seed of somthing that had settled in both of our imaginations and wouldn’t let us go. In fact it grew until our friends grew sick of hearing us talk about living on farms and in fields and returning to our roots and suddenly we were finding harder to find reasons to stay in London than reasons to go.

So we went. I can’t remember now what sparked the actual decision but we’d already been journeying down the path to our departure for some months. We quit our jobs, gave up our flat and spent the last of our savings on a tent, two big back packs and train tickets to get us to our first destination.

What followed was three months of seeing Britain on foot, by bus and by train, visiting so many sacred and beautiful places we couldn’t help but be overcome by a love for the Land itself. Three months of living in a tent, laughing and crying and sweating and soaking and always, always having the time of our lives.

By the time we returned home (to my parents until we’d re-established ourselves) we were already talking about moving to the Peak District. My partner knew he wanted to marry me and would ask me just a few months later. A few months we would be living in our current home and the first notions of Walk The Wheel were stirring in my mind.

We were already walking down the path towards the life we are living now. We were happy, blissful. We were living in Flow.

 

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Me, on the road with Flow

Story 2

After some rather exciting news in May, the Hubby and I have been coming to terms with the idea that our family is growing. News of a Baby has sparked an onslaught emotional upheavals as well as many more practical questions. Primarily: Do we have the space? and How will we afford all this?

Space has a large impact on my health and wellbeing; if I am living somewhere cluttered or crowded I quickly feel stifled and deflated. So I immediately decided that in order for us to survive the upheaval of a new life in our family and still maintain some sense of who I am and what I want to do I needed a new space to live in.

So we started looking at houses. Although the rental market is currently less than inspiring and we lack both the time and finance to really commit to a search, I have spent almost 5 months doggedly searching websites, booking viewings and complaining to anyone who would listen about how damn hard it was all proving! I have run the gauntlet of emotions; from hope to excitement, to disappointment to anger to fear till recently I reached a point of utter exhaustion and utter desperation.

The warning signs were clear: something wasn’t right about all this, it was too strenuous, too difficult. We were totally out of Flow. So iInstead of being consumed with thoughts of “We need a new house!” I focused on thoughts of “We need to trust the Flow. We will get what we need.”

And then something amazing happened.

We were offered a possibility by a loving family member; something that in 6-12 months might give us the chance of a space and future that feels more ours than any of the possibilites we’ve entertained so far.

And then just this weekend, after a few seemingly innocuous conversations with family and friends, both the Hubby and I reached a startling decision, pretty much silmulataneously:

What is we stay where we are? What if we trust that the house we are in and our desire to create a nurturing family home will blossom into something new and sustainable? What is we allow ourselves to stay safe financially and trust that we will find what we needed within the means we already have?

Suddenly, where we had been running out of possibilites for change, the ideas were flowing. With the ideas came energy and we spent the weekend organising, decluttering and making adjustements that could be the start of this space’s transformation for us; and with that energy we drew more energy from other sources; offers of help, items of furniture, ways and means to make this house viable began to pour in from all sides.

All we have done is put aside the wanting and the thinking and the deciding we knew what was best and instead trusted in what we have and our ability to make it better.

The result: We have come back into line with Flow.

 

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Back where we should be

 

So What Is Flow?

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Flow is the driving force that allows our needs to be met in the most necessary and wholesome way possible.

Flow is the path that life seeks to place you on so that you might make the most of your unique situation.

Flow is the ease with which something happens when it is right, when it is meant, when it is necessary.

I have never been one to believe in Fate. I don’t think there is a book anywhere with our life all spelled out inside it and we are not simply characters acting out a tale that already has a beginning, middle and end.

But as I’ve grown older I have found myself in more and more situations where happiness and contentment have been born of listening to life, trusting its messages and following the path down which it leads you. And I have often found this path the be the one of least resistance. Not because Flow means no work hard and no obstacles, but because Flow calls you to approach these things in a less resisting way.

To be in Flow, to truly feel its benifits, you need to flow yourself. When obstacles appear you don’t fight, but allow them to shape and inform your decisions, making them part and parcel of your experience. When the going is demanding you don’t grow desperate but flow steadily, doing what you can, trusting that it will all be enough to see you through.

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Chalice Well - the perfect place to find and honour Flow

As you flow within the Flow you feel content, satisfied and enthused; all of which serve to energise you futher, feed your creativity and keep your spirits high. In this state anything is possible and I believe that what will manifest is not what you think you want but what you truly need. By fulfilling our true needs we can live in a state of harmony with both our emotional selves and our practical reality.

What I know most surely is that Flow does not abide with logic or reason, it does not conform to a pattern of events and often it does not seem sensible or safe. But it feels good, it feels right, it feels possible and it will happen with surprising ease if you simply allow it.

In recent years Flow has become my guide to live by. I can sense when I am not flowing and when I am making choices that are purely logical and not in line with the Flow. Sometimes I am too overcome with other feeligns and stuff (often fear or self-doubt) to see this clearly or to do anything about it. If I’m lucky I will recognise opportunities to come back to a more flowing state and thus come to see the path of Flow more clearly.

 

I have certainly been lucky this past week or so.

And (as is rather appropriate for this Harvest time) I am incredibly, powerfuly and humbly grateful for that.



Photo Credits:
1) Huffingtonpost.com
2) Me
3) Jon Rouston
4) 3drecursions.com
5) Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Sharing

I just wanted to say thank you to all the folks who reached out to me after my last post.

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I am a rather private person by nature and also somewhat obsessed with appearing cool, calm and in control. So the thought of putting my worries, fears and inadequacies (as I see them) out into the public sphere feels frightening and somewhat crazy to my ‘logical’ head. However my heart knows that sharing is the only way we learn and grow and so I did, I shared and… voila! I have learned and I have grown.

Since then I have managed to pin down some rather illusive decisions and for the first time in a while I have what feels like a solid dream to be reaching for. Don’t worry, it’s still fuzzy enough around the edges to the Flow carry it and shape it as it will, but it is also clear enough that I can actually reach for it without feeling like I’m kidding myself.

 

I have been gifted with some rather precious gifts too, as a result of my sharing; gifts I never would have received if I hadn’t opened up and spoken my worries and woes:

 

* a very kind friend has given me her old laptop to use for work and stuff; this means I don’t have to wait 20 mins for a document to download (my current laptop is slooooooow!) and can actually get back to things like Twitter and blogging, safe in the knowledge that I won’t lose an hour to one tiny task. I can make progress!

* another friend offered me kind words when she shared some of her notions of me and (as they often do when coming from the outside) they lifted my spirit and gave me a confidence I struggle to find within myself.

* another friend shared her presence at an event I had organised that wasn’t as well attended as I’d have liked. She stayed with me through the allotted time and allowed me to test and grow and talk through my ideas without once pitying me or being embarrassed for me. A gift of strength, truly.

And so many people close to me, including the Hubby and family and friends, have gifted me things like hugs and smiles and moments of utter normality that made me laugh and helped me remember that no matter how big my struggles feel they are all just part of the Flow that is Life and will never be the be all and end all;  just a strip, a strand, a tributary that will eventually re-merge with the whole.

 

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Harakeke River Flow by Philly Hall

Sharing my fears has brought me to this place where – for the first time in a while – I feel like I might be in (some semblance) of control over where I’m going and what I’m creating. I have no doubt that Life has a curve ball lined up for me sometime soon but for now its enough to count my blessings and to revel in the magic of sharing; something which was at the foundation of this blog and all my personal work but has become a little lost under the pile of ‘other’ ideas and fancies.

 

It’s good to come back to what you know. And to be reminded that at our core, in our very deepest heart, we know exactly what we need to do. We just need to remember it…

 

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Or if in doubt, listen to Mr Spock 🙂



Photo credits:
1) Helga Wigandt
2) Philly Hall
3) pintrest

 

Words Are Enough

A large part of my lifestyle and the ethos of Walk The Wheel is devoted to encouraging and deepening soulful connections to Life and the World we live in. My first instruction will always be to get out into the Natural World; there aren’t enough words to describe the positive and inspirational effects it has on our hearts and minds but I will never stop trying. That’s why I follow the Wheel in the first place and why I choose to live somewhere as close to the wild Land as I can.

That being said there are other ways we can experience that same sense of wholeness from within the (relative) comfort of our homes; and in a World where we are often overworked, underpaid and living in the midst of a concrete jungle being able to find moments of connection within our restricted circumstances is a vital part of survival.

 

You might think I am going to start declaiming the benefits of meditation or yoga-in-your-living-room or the latest health food craze? Well, I’m not. My suggestion is much simpler and requires far less time, money and has no requirements for your living room space. While all these popular holistic practices (and others like them) can and do have enormous benefits and act as instigators towards an all-round more mindful way of life,  they also carry something of a stigma. For some they are part of a ‘New-Age’ lifestyle full of crystals and fairies in which they are (quite frankly) not interested. For others who already have elements of holistic practice in their lives (fairies notwithstanding) they can sometimes feel too much like hard work when we need their gifts the most*.

Sometimes you want to feel whole and connected without having to exert a great amount of energy. Perhaps you’re exhausted and simply don’t have the reserves or perhaps you have a scant few minutes before you will  be called back into the line of duty and you simply don’t have time for a 15 minute mega-meditation.

 

If that’s the case I have a suggestion for you…

 

Read a book.

 

I know, I know, not particularly original right?

I am well aware I’m not breaking any new ground here, but coming off the back of a busy few weeks I have found myself firmly in the midst of a classic dilemma; I want to feel better, to reconnect to my heart and to Life but I just don’t have the spoons to get out there and be proactive about it! The thought of walking to my nearest park or Peak makes my tired body quiver. My brain can’t bear the pressure of meditating or holding any sort of solid concentration. My nerves are so shot that all they want is soothing but I don’t have the money to go see a film or an exhibition or even to go see friends down the pub.

So what do I do?

 

I read.

 

Yes it is partly a distraction technique. I am lucky enough to be one of those people who can lose herself in a book at remarkable speed; hours will disappear around me, hours that feel like days or weeks or years depending on the story I’m living inside my head, and reading can be a welcome escape when you’re tired and aching and life seems a little much to bear.

I have often wondered whether this truth makes reading as bad as TV or junk food; is it merely escapism, nothing more? Does it prevent me from connecting and living fully by instead allowing me to sink into a world that is not my own?

 

I don’t think so. In fact, this very morning I decided to let myself off the hook and put that criticism to bed forever. Because it occurred to me that the beauty of books is that they are immersing you in a world that might not be exactly your own but will (in some ways) be modeled upon it. As products of a human mind and soul books are expressions of our lived experience; even the most fantastical of novels with the most outrageous of characters will echo our societies, our relationships, our truths. Books take us on journeys in our mind just as our feet take us on journeys in the great outdoors and the experiences we have within both environments offer us countless opportunities to explore and experience and expand our heart and soul.

 

I imagine everyone will find different authors and different genres that do this for them; just as some prefer to walk in a park whilst others seek windy clifftops above the beach.

At University I was briefly introduced to some French female authors, a couple of whom have stayed with me for many years. Marguerite Duras was the first and the floating lyricism of her language is enough to lull me into peaceful sleep if I am not careful. The other is Anna Gavalda who is decidedly more grounded and (for me) more inspirational.

Gavalda’s books are all about human connections, meetings, relations. What makes them so evocative and inspiring for me is the stripped back nature of her words in direct contrast to the rich and sometimes unexpected meanderings of her characters. She often writes conversations without any ‘he said’ ‘she said’,  just the words in scripts or lists, as they would come from the mouth of any real person. But she will also spend pages giving extensive commentary on the seemingly random thought processes that our hero or heroine flits through as he/she walks down the street. Her characters are often dealing with happenings that are not hugely dramatic (on the outside) but that stir a tumult of memories and feelings and healing within each unique person’s heart.

I’m currently reading Hunting and Gathering (for the second time) and I would heartily recommend it; particularly to anyone who (like me at the moment) wants desperately to feel and to be connected but just can’t summon the energy to risk it in the big wide world. Yes it serves those usual escapist joys; sending me out there to a different land, experiencing new places, new people and new adventures. But I also find that my heart has opened, that I can breathe a little easier and can feel a little more, thanks to the introspection and honesty of her characters. The beautiful way she paints the ordinary has the same healing effect as the green currently painting the landscape; it inspires new life, new energy and an encouraging desire to find one’s place in it all.

 

And that is very much what my life and what the ethos of Walk The Wheel is all about.

 

What are you reading at the moment? Do books lift your spirit? If so, which?

* I spoke about this in my last post. You can also see another wonderfully articulate explanation of a very similar feeling here at Nimue Brown’s blog, Druid Life.

 

Want It All

I’m trying really hard to come up with something meaningful and interesting for you to read.

The Wheel is turning wonderfully, the Land is greening all around us and the days are longer, sunnier and offering up more opportunities for both adventure and repose. Things are growing, gaining momentum and as the energy builds so does the excitement; as demonstrated by the almost endless birdsong that now wakes me in the morning.

I have any number of beauties I could describe to you here; to marvel at and count as blessings to be grateful for. In this bright Spring season I simply can not deny my good fortune… no matter how hard I try.

 

It is hard sometimes to be happy. To always see the beauty and the blessings in things. It seems to take an enormous amount of energy and attention and vulnerability. For the acknowledgement of one wonder leads irrevocably to another and another until suddenly you realise that you can never, will never, be able to know or appreciate or achieve all the wonders that are possible in this wonder-full World.

And there is a sadness in that.

A sadness we don’t talk about and are often encouraged to ignore. To bury deep and hide away or to gloss over with fake smiles and empty words.

Is it a sadness born of greed perhaps; a consumerist inability to settle, to always want more. I am living proof that it doesn’t have to be flash cars or fashionable clothes that you covet, in order to swim in that strange sea of desperation and endless desire. I long for sunsets and sea breezes, vast moorland vistas and the Spring breeze on my skin at all times. I constantly crave the deep connection to earth, sky and sea that I feel when I am in the midst of a long walk, a quiet meditation or a vibrant woodland. I want to feel that full, that aware, that whole all the time.

But I don’t. And there are times when I wonder whether it might not have been easier to never see the World through well-jaded eyes. To have avoided the Wheel and the wonders altogether and found my buzz in television or chocolate or meaningless sex instead; all things I can access with (relative) ease and at a moment’s notice.

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For it strikes without warning this unusual apathy, this longing for less and more simultaneously, and I’ll be honest I’ve yet to discover a reliable cure. It often feels a bit like a systems crash; too many programs loaded in at once (joy, love, gratitude, hope, dreaming) overwhelming the hardware and leaving me with a strange blankness in my head.

Because anything I do or say or think in those moments simply isn’t enough. Can’t be enough. Because it can’t be everything.

So here I am, trying to think of something to say to you.

 

Perhaps…

 

Perhaps the sadness isn’t really sadness at all: perhaps it is actually peace. A peace born of the acceptance of one’s place in the Web of all things. One tiny spark of life amongst so many others, that shines brightly in the light but is a truly cosmic beauty when viewed as part of the greater, grander whole. To be a part of it one can never step out of it, not even to see and marvel at the wonder of it all; so I will never truly experience it fully. Instead I remain steadfast and explore the beauties that are unique to me and try not to mourn those which are not. Perhaps I can appreciate those and trust that they are – in their own way – microcosms of the awesomeness that is everything.

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This awesomeness.

And though everything can not be mine to possess I can claim it as my heritage, my lineage, my reality. Things which will last far longer than the biggest chocolate bar and will bring more comfort than the most mind-blowing sex. And when I recall this, remember this and truly believe it then I perhaps I won’t need anything more than what I already have. For even in my blankest moments I’ll know I am whole, connected, part of It All.

And I can be at peace.

 

 

I tried really hard to think of something meaningful and important for you to read. Apparently I’ve ended up with something meaningful and important for me to read.

 

Thanks for sharing it.

 

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Photo credits:
1) spiritualjounreyguide.com
2) nationalgeographic.com
3) http://peoplesadvocacycouncil.wordpress.com

In Flow

It’s been a little quiet around the blog recently; my apologies to all, especially those folk who have kindly chosen to follow me over recent days. Until recently I had been posting quite regularly (which surprised me too!) then life semed to stand up, shake itself about and go a bit crazy. But hey: it’s Spring time, it happens.

 

All that green and growing energy buzzing across the Land has given  things a real stir. Both the hubby and I have new jobs and we are both making tentative but determined steps towards spending our days doing things we love and believe in rather than things that simply make us money.

The whole work/life balance has always proved an interesting (and infuriating) concept for me. Being of the firm belief that we should only have to work for and at things we truly love and believe in makes stability in this society (financial and energetic) both difficult and dangerous.

One way I try to mitigate this is by trusting my instincts and trying to remain ‘in the flow’ as much as possible. I’m planning a longer, more elaborate post on what I mean by ‘flow’ for later; for now, know that it is simply my way of describing the path of least resistance. Far from being the ‘lazy’ route, this path is where you should be, where Life wants you to go and where your actions are in harmony with your Self, you needs and the needs of all other things.

A lofty ideal? Yes; but one grounded in my own experience and heart-felt truth. Truting the flow is what keeps me from going completley batty when I lose the thread of my own intentions and dreams.

 

This Spring the flow has really made itself felt in our lives. The repercussions of choices we have made in the past based on instinct and trust rather than logic and ‘sense’ have proved to be joyful and promising. I now have more time to spend on creating work of my own devising, walking the Wheel with more determination and sharing it with others (including here in the blogosphere!). I have been able to attend classes and workshops that inspire me, meeting inspirational people along the way. And when I am earning money I am doing so in an environment that promotes the things I believe strongly in: community, sustainability and good health.

I am immeasurably grateful for all these changes taking place in both myself and the hubby’s lives but they do come with provisos. The house is currently in disaray as we both adjust to new schedules and I find it almost impossible to work in a cluttered space. There are also new ideas and opportunities popping up all over the place provoking excitement but also nerves, anxiety and no small amount of administration! So things may be a little shaky around here for a few weeks yet, with posts not being as regular or as well planned as I might like. That said I learned right back at the beginning of this blog that sometimes a little wildness can make for an interesting read. 

I will however do my very best to get back on top of things as soon as possible, to keep offering ideas and insights into how the Wheel is turning for me and how it might be turning for you, wherever you are in the World.

 

So a big warm welcome to all newcomers to the blog and a hearty hail and thanks to those sticking with me. You are all part of the flow that I am following as diligently as I can and I look forward to seeing where you and it are taking me.

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Shelf Brook
Image from Wikipedia

Smile

When were you last gifted with a smile?

Not a white-washed, Colgate-bright celebrity smile that screams at you from the cover of glossy magazines and sets your teeth on edge, but a genuine smile given person to person, in real time.

Sitting behind the plexiglass window at my day-job I look out at the customers as they file past me and try to smile as much as I can. Adults usually return the smile in a blank, soul-less kind of way that means they have a million other things on their mind right now and yes, they might be speaking to you but they don’t really see you. To be honest I probably give out that smile too; on a busy day when hundreds of people walk past me, shucking their clothes in the foyer to get themselves in the pool even quicker, I frankly don’t have the time or patience to meet everyone’s eye.

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But it’s different with the kids.

My desk sits quite low and puts me on a level with the children who come along to the pool; usually with their parents, sometimes (if they’re older) alone. It is a nice place to be because, when they’re not screaming down the customer microphone and deafening me with feedback, they look at and really see me.

I know this because as they stare through the glass, their expression is often one of intense concentration; the young mind processing who or what they are seeing and whether it is interesting or funny or a threat. I always try to smile at these kids – yes, because its my job – but also because I remember how overwhelming the world of Grown Ups can be at a young age.

Some of them see my smile and turn away; that familiar gesture on a stranger’s face is just too much to bear. They seek comfort in their Mum’s arms or behind Dad’s leg. Then, as they walk away, they often look back to see if my smile is still there. It is and I like to think that that constancy gives them hope that the Big Wide World might not be such a scary place.

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Others take my smile as a cue to strike up a conversation; mainly one-sided as they regale me with tales of who they are with, why they are here and what they had for lunch that day. I know I don’t have to use words to take part in this interaction, just keep smiling and maybe make the occasional nod or wide-eyes to give the kid confidence in their own voice, their own words. My smile is to tell them that they matter, that someone is hearing them speak and knows the things they simply had to say.

 

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Then there are my favourite kids: the ones who are somewhere in between the chronically shy and the helplessly confident, the kids who smile back. They don’t speak and their eyes are usually quite intense; checking me out, checking the smile I’m offering is real. When they realise that it is their gaze opens up, their eyes shine and their mouth curves into a smile: unique, utterly theirs and so genuine, loving and heartful that for a brief second I forget I am looking at a child. They are simply human, another being, another soul travelling through this life and connecting with me for a brief, beautiful instant.

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I hope that somewhere, in thoughts that they may not have fully developed yet, they recognise that moment too. That gradually they come to know the power of a smile and sharing of a moment; the need to truly be seen by another person. It happens so rarely in our super-fast, self-service society that those moments are a precious gift to be treasured.

And if we received this gift more often perhaps there’d be less need for plexiglass windows and perhaps we’d all wear a real smile more often.

Who has lifted your heart with a smile recently?

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“Back to life, back to reality…”

Song quote from Soul II Soul, Back To Life (However do you want me)

It always comes with a bump, the return to ‘reality’ after the suspended animation of Solstice/Christmas/New Year. My festive season stretches out to 3 weeks, to incorporate all three, which is the better part of a month and quite frankly far too long for me to be living on the cocktail of excitement and anxiety that it brews in me. My nerves feel shot and I’m craving crap food and fresh water in equal measure. I’d also like to sleep for the better part of this month to properly recover my senses… but no such luck. I was back to work on the 2nd, dealing with crabby customers by the 3rd and it has quickly become apparent that despite last weeks festive cheer we are all now suffering from festive withdrawal.

What frustrates me the most is that we have no choice but to accept this sorry state of affairs; to strap on a smile, pick up our feet and plunge back into life, pressing ourselves into the same mundane cycle that we have been working so hard to escape these past few weeks. I feel like an escaped convict returned to her cell, breathless and desperate. The proverbial stuffing being forced and cajoled to fit myself inside the turkey’s arse.

I know I’m not the only one; thousands if not millions of us will have felt the same way over the past couple of days or will (if you’re lucky) have that joy waiting for you on Monday. This is not some sort of childish pity party I’m attempting to throw. I simply want to shed light on the fact that I (and so many others) am being forced to suppress my needs – physical, emotional, spiritual – not for my own good, not for survival, but in the pursuit of something I can’t eat, can’t drink, can’t breathe and that doesn’t give me warmth or shelter or love.

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My Mum swore by these when she was giving up cigarettes

If I had a New Years wish I would be able to give up Money as part of my New Years resolutions. It would be a dirty habit that I could kick given some perseverance and a jumbo packet of Fisherman’s Friends. Then I would be free to rest my weary brain, relax these strained muscles and allow myself and my home to recover from the December madness and make way for the possibilities of the year ahead.

Instead I have already started selling my time and my mood to people I’ve never met in the hopes that I can scavenge together enough pennies to keep myself in food, water and warmth – things we are told are part of our basic human rights.

I didn’t think I’d be starting 2014 in such a grouchy mood but the sky was grey this morning, my nose was cold and my hubby far too warm and cosy to leave on the train when we reached my stop. For a while I did feel like a petulant child, one who hoped that enough ranting would get her what she wants, even if that is a new version of reality. Perhaps I spent a little too much time with my 18month old niece these past few days? Or perhaps I’ve been listening to too much 90s pop? Either way I am here, there’s a whole year ahead of me and I’ve got 363 days to kick these withdrawal symptoms.

“Back to life back to the day we have
lets end this foolish game
hear me out don’t let me waste away…

… back to life back to reality
back to the here and now yeah”

(lyrics)

***

If you would like a more uplifting New Years read I can heartily suggest checking out the wonderful Janie Rose at Beeswax and Broomsticks. This post is a heartfelt and uplifting call to shine in the year ahead.

Beginning

Here I am, fingers flexed, running ever so slightly late…

I had planned to start this blog on Dec 1st 2013; beginning a new project at the beginning of a new month and on the cusp of a new year. The idea felt all crisp and orderly – starkly beautiful in my mind – and I no doubt hoped that such stark beauty would invest itself into this whole blogging experience as a result.

Suffice to say things have not gone quite to plan.

You see, my parents visited this weekend and there was no time to fit words and wonderings and sensibility into the carnival that is their presence. They fill my house relentlessly with laughter and sarcasm and sharp Northern tongues and it is a real challenge to keep all the balls flying and my feet on the ground. It is so, so easy to drift off into that lovely holiday-space that they bring with them, to let go of all my usual responsibilities and simply LIVE.

Today is December 2nd, 2013. The blog is late and my mind is running low on starkly beautiful imagery.

All I can think about is a necklace, all tangled in a junk shop box, that takes a few patient moments of mother/daughter weaving/unweaving to reveal it as something bright and colourful and beautiful in its gaudiness. About how it feels warm and weightless around my neck.

I can taste a cider, sweet fuzz on my tongue that is supposed to be lemonade but isn’t, courtesy of my Husband’s rather glassy eyes and irrepressible smile.

I hear my Mum laughing as we decorate the table for Sunday lunch with Christmas decorations and crackers and my Dad’s boyish glee when he realises he can colour in the pictures on the paper tablecloth and does so, forgoing seconds to keep his penmanship perfect.

I hear her early-morning cough and the hiss-fizz of my his infernal e-cigarette.

And there’s a pull in my cheeks from smiling too much (or not enough).

It always amazes me how tightly I’ve been wound and how little it takes for them to unwind me. And I’m always shocked by the energy I expend in that unwinding; I become a frazzled, giggling mess of flyaway curls, dropped ‘t’s and endless smiles that I just can’t shake, all crackling with laughter and joy but inevitably needing my bed by 9pm.

I spend the whole weekend feeling like my heart will simply explode in my chest, too full of gratitude and pleasure and joy for one person to manage. Or like I’m carrying an armed-explosive under my coat and having tea with the Johnny Depp at the same time: fraught with panic and exhaustion but never, ever wanting the moment to end.

But it does.

They went home yesterday. Now I find myself drained and dizzy and perfectly at peace with myself and my lot in life (which, let’s be honest, doesn’t happen to anyone very often) and I’m savouring it. It is creeping up on me though, the return to reality. I am slowly rewinding myself into a fully functioning adult who enacts her own needs and desires and responsibilities with crisp efficiency and dreams of stark beauty and a blog that runs in precise calendar months.

But for now I’m here, running a little bit late, curls still flying and trying to punch out something wise and wistful with fingers that still remember being gripped around greasy pizza at 1am Saturday morning.

And I’m beginning to think that cracked, carnival madness might make for more interesting reading (and writing) than stark beauty after all…

What do you think?

Copyright

All written materials and images, unless otherwise stated, are property of Kelly Tomlin 2016.

Further reading

We gather together to Walk the Wheel; to share with one another and be inspired.