My non existent bucket list

 

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I don’t have a bucket list and have no desire to do so in much the same way I don’t have lists for anything, oh except the vague shopping list that says things like fruit, veg, food, that is. If a bucket list had existed though, for the last ten years the top item on it would have read ‘Sleep in the stone circle at Avebury’, closely followed more recently by ‘Climb Glastonbury Tor’. Neither of these things would have been difficult to do when I lived in Hampshire, but having moved to Ireland some eighteen years ago, a journey, by car and either plane or boat plus a suitable amount of time was needed to reach them and so Avebury and Glastonbury have remained a distant dream. This year though found us with both the time and inclination to make the journey. The ferry was booked, the car loaded up and off we headed across land and sea to Avebury.

For the first night we stayed in a lovely B&B in East Kennet which gave us chance to visit the West Kennet Long Barrow and Silbury Hill on the way and the Sanctuary and part of the Ridgeway before  we left.

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I have no idea why I wanted to sleep in the stone circle at Avebury and even having done it I still don’t but as with most things I have learnt to trust my intuition, roll with it and know that it may all make sense in time. I have also learnt that everything happens when it is supposed to, so the fact it has taken me ten years to do this is perfectly ok. So after a really long wait I got to spend my birthday inside the stones, walking in them, connecting with them, listening to a Hang Drum being played within them and yes, even sleeping in them🙂

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The following day it was time to fulfil my second ambition which was to climb Glastonbury Tor. When I was studying as a Bard with the OBOD I journeyed to a place that was my ‘Sacred Summit’ despite having never climbed it I recognised, in Non Ordinary Reality, the summit and the path immediately as being the Tor. This then was a chance to be there in Ordinary Reality too. Needless to say I also took the chance to walk between worlds while I was there🙂

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Making the most of our time in Glastonbury we also visited the Abbey and before leaving the town I was able to spend time sitting peacefully reflecting beside the Chalice Well.

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Book Review: San Pedro The Gateway to Wisdom by Ross Heaven

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San Pedro

The Gateway to Wisdom

by Ross Heaven 

 

 

I first saw San Pedro when travelling in Northern Peru. Our guide discovered I was interested in healing and proudly showed me a cactus with the words ‘You’ll know what this is then’. Only an inspired guess saved me, for although I had indeed heard of the plant I had never seen it before.

Even though I work as a shamanic healer and as such have worked with plants as teachers, I have never worked with any of ‘TheTeacher Plants’ of which San Pedro is one. Ross Heaven though has worked with all of them and ‘San Pedro The Gateway to Wisdom’ is part of his informative series on Shamanic Plant Spirits.

This is not a ‘how to’ book by any means and even though it contains information on the different San Pedro Ceremonies, as well as ways of preparing the medicine the author throughout encourages safe and responsible practice to the extent that there is a whole section on how to work safely with San Pedro.

Included in the book are detailed accounts of the properties of San Pedro and first hand experiences of Ross Heaven and a number of his students and clients as well as background. Information on Andean healing.
This is an easy to read book and is the perfect introduction to San Pedro for anyone with an interests in working with Plant Spirits themselves, or wishing to understand how San Pedro helps to heal.

Gong Bath and Sound Journey

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The first time I had any form of sound healing was when a local therapy rooms played host to a Sound Healer from, if I remember correctly, South Africa. Here the healer worked intuitively using drums, rattles, bells and more. It was my first introduction to sound being used as a form of healing and I was fascinated by it.

As a Shamanic Healer I often use a lot of sound in my work and here I work with the spirit of the instruments allowing them to find imbalances and disturbances in energy of a person or place. I allow them to play as they need to in order to clear or shift whatever they have found and to bring healing and balance. In my work I might use one or more of my singing bowls, shamanic drums, rattles, bells or chimes, all of which have different spirits, energies and voices and who work in many different ways.

I also work with these instruments when performing my own version of a sound healing, working with their spirits as always, along with the enemies of those I am working on.

Yesterday though I attended my first Gong Bath and Sound Journey. There were singing bowls, various forms of chimes, a wave drum, shamanic drum, instruments I do not know the name of, plus two fabulous gongs. It really was a bath of sound, energy and vibration as the waves washed over me, healing and shifting in their own waves, but it was the gongs that carried me deep into a shamanic journey so that for me at least, the real healing could take place.

I have neither the space or the need for a gong yet there is a part of me that now desires one. This is not going to happen but at least with the wonderful and talented Sharon Quigley moving around  the area I live in, bringing her Gong Bath and Sound Journey to those of us not living in the city I will have ample opportunity to be bathed in sound as often as I feel drawn to do so.

The photo is of some of the instruments used in the Gong Bath and Sound Journey by Druid’s Cave.

 

Clean vs Dirty

 

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I’ve been seeing quite a lot or posts and articles recently about clean versus dirty eating. Now don’t ask me what they both are exactly as I haven’t been reading them in any depth, my interest has been more in the extremes to which people are going, both in their choice of diet and in their vilification of anyone who disagrees with their views. Last night I read of a blogger who hides the fact that, for the sake of their health, they are no longer vegan. They are hiding this because of online attacks by others who feel they should remain loyal to veganism. I suspect I could have equally written this about any type of diet and anyone who blogs or vlogs about their way of being, holding it up as an example of something we should all follow.

One of the things I do is allergy and intolerance testing and much of the time my work is about helping people be aware of what works for them, what feeds and nourishes their bodies and what causes their systems to protest in some way. This then allows them to make informed choices about what they consume and the effects it has on them. What this work has taught me over the years is that we are all different. What suits one of us in terms of diet, supplements or environment, like so much else that we do, does not suit the next person, and indeed why should it.

In order to test I work with a pendulum, charts and lists and more often than not, much of what comes up as a problem is not any real surprise for my clients. Many of us do listen to our bodies, to things we crave and which make us feel better and things we eat or expose ourselves to, knowing that afterwards we will feel worse in some way, and not just through guilt at having eaten the whole box of chocolates/doughnuts or having drunk the whole bottle or wine/vodka, (substitute food or liquid of your choice here). Our bodies are amazing machines and our intuition is something we all have which can guide us, if we listen to it. Much of intuition is about just that, listening and paying attention ,not ignoring it and our bodies do try to send us signals when anything is wrong, signals which intuitively we are more than capable of picking up if we are in fact paying attention.

If anything we are doing be it diet or something else, is making us feel ill, tired, lacking in some way then we should change what we are doing. Extremes are rarely good for us so why would a diet that is extreme either in a ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ way be any different. Balance is what is really ideal for us in all areas of our lives ,or at least as much of it as we can obtain, and balance can only be found once we get better at recognising and responding to whatever it is that tips us out of balance. If we understand this there really never be any need to vilify or attack anyone for not eating or behaving in the way that is right for them.

Practicing Patience

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I am not by nature patient with myself even though I can be very patient with others when I need to be. Over the years I have learnt to be a little more gentle when it comes to me but it is still not something that comes naturally and I do have to work at it.

Whatever ‘bug’ I have had these last couple of weeks is really testing my patience, even though I know others who have had it and who talk about it lasting two or three weeks. I am used to being well and on the odd occasion when I am not, usually find that once I begin to feel better, I continue to do so day on day. Not this time though, this time I might have a day when I feel a bit better followed by one where I feel worse. It really is strange and I am certainly finding it difficult.

Yesterday was a good day, today when I woke up I felt ok but by the time I had got up and showered I had to sit down and recover. This is not like me in any way.

So I am practicing being patient. I am breathing, working with my breath  and am yogic breathing to exercise my lungs. I am grounding myself, walking barefoot and breathing in the energy of Earth to feed and nourish my body. I am being still and allowing my body to do whatever it needs to do to heal. When I have enough energy I am working on my art and when I don’t I am reading or playing online. I have given up the idea of planning to do anything and am taking it one day at a time in the hope that ‘today might be a good day’.

I am not a good patient which is maybe why my energy is as it is. If I feel ok then I will dive back into life and maybe, just maybe, I need this time out, time to be still. Perhaps it is good for me to be reminded about what this feels like, but if so, trust me I have got the message, loud and clear and hopefully this ‘bug’ will let go of me soon and then I can stop practicing patience.

 

My body is in charge

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Well I am now at the end of my second week of feeling decidedly rubbish😦 Unusually for me I had just given in and rolled with this which means I am at the end of my second week of doing …….. nothing very much.

I have been listening to my body and my body is screaming at me ‘rest’ even when my mind is saying I really should be doing something. Listening to my body and allowing it to be in charge, hard though it is, is actually making this all much easier than had I been fighting it.

When my mind is in charge it tries to make me do things, makes me feel bad when I am not doing anything, makes me eat even if I am not feeling hungry, makes me move about, makes me try and work through being unwell because that’s what we do isn’t it. We tell ourselves we do not have time to be ill and we push ourselves on.

The problem is that when we do that, when we push ourselves, when we ignore the messages our body is giving us, we can end up being worse than we would have been if we had stopped and given ourselves chance to recover. I have done this many, many times before now, sometimes because I am too busy to be ill, sometimes because I feel, incorrectly I might add, that I am too indispensable to stop, sometimes just because I can.

I have a book in my workspace ‘The Secret Language of Your Body’ by Ina Segal which is all about the messages our bodies try to get to us by not being ok in some way. I talk to my students and clients about how important it is to be paying attention so that we don’t end up really sick or so we can help ourselves to heal. Perhaps if I had been paying more attention before I was unwell I might not have reached this point, the pulled muscle in my side and torn muscle in my arm might, had I been aware enough, have been signs to stop or at least slow down, but rather than give myself a hard time over this I can at least allow my body to be in charge now so that I do not make myself worse.

So I have been paying attention and I really have been listening. When my mind tells me that it is two weeks since I was in the gym but my body reminds me that I barely have the energy to make a cup of tea I am sitting down and resting and when my mind says I should get up and do something but my body is struggling to hold itself upright I am staying put. Hopefully my body will take pity on me and recover quickly now as I am reaching that dangerous stage of beginning to feel a little better. I just hope I can continue to listen and allow my body to be in control.

Under the weather

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I seem to have been neglecting my blog recently but to be fair I have some good excuses.

Firstly I injured my arm at Boot Camp. I didn’t realise I had injured it at all until I got home and noticed the bruise on the back of my hand. Red at first and situated between the middle and ring fingers of my left hand, this gradually turned black. If I traced a line from the bruise down my arm it was tender and then it began to ache. Deciding I had probably done ‘something’ I strapped it and ignored it but out did restrict the little ability I have to type.

Then came the weather along with pollen, dust and mould spores at which time my allergy asthma kicked off and I ended up at the doctors on a nebuliser and came home with antibiotics, steroids, something for nighttime and the normal inhalers and antihistamine. The good news was though that I got my arm checked….a torn muscle, the remedy for which was to support it so its now, even as I type I am wearing a support and will stop when it begins to ache.

To say all of this has wiped me out is an understatement. Breathing and getting enough oxygen into our system is something we take so much for granted. Even with allergy asthma, because it is system overload and fortunately only happens occasionally, it is easy to forget this. I really had forgotten how much my body relies on my being able to breathe to feed the muscles let alone anything else. It has been quite a shock to go from three sessions a week at Curves to not being able to potter around for an hour without feeling like someone has unplugged me. I’m not sure I have ever known my energy to drop so quickly and so dramatically.

And then there is the cough and the light purr that even now on the final day of my meds is still there. I won’t bore you all with these but they are part of it.

I am grateful that I can now see signs of improvement, that I can almost sleep through the night without shocking myself awake coughing, that I have good friends I can call on to send Reiki, that I know to drink wild garlic tea (harvested and dried in the spring) to stop it sinking to my chest and I am grateful that I live somewhere where I can see my doctor on the day I need to and not a week or more later, or even not at all.

Anyway, my arm is aching now so I am stopping. If I’m not around for a bit you at least know why.