Facebook!**!! What have you done now?

At the moment I am p****d off with Facebook big time. I have carefully organised all the pages I like into Interest Lists. I didn’t do this on my own, it was an option Facebook gave me, only now it has unilaterally removed them, not just from me but from everyone.

I no longer have access to my lists and so don’t know all the pages that were in them for I would search, read, respond or whatever nor always looking at the source of the page, more at the content. Using Interest lists allowed me to keep my news feed clear for really important ‘I need to know this minute’ stuff.

If you own a page that I liked I will no longer see your posts so if you are using it for work then you have lost at least one reader/potential buyer/etc. If you have been using pages on Facebook to market yourself, business or a product then it no longer has the same penetration. Facebook say only 5% of us use Interets lists which is why it has removed them but if it’s your business then 5% is a lot! It’s huge!

As an healer, author and artist I have pages set up so people can see what I do, communicate with me and I with them…..but no longer….and I suspect I am not the only one. What is the point of having a page for anything anymore as less and less people can see your posts? 

I am steaming about this as you can tell and am considering if:

A) I set up groups for my posts instead of my pages and hope that keeps people seeing my posts

Or

B) If I get off Facebook completely and look for better and more effective ways of communicating and networking. 

Way to lose business Facebook! 

On the upside this may of course have the benefit of me being on social media less and so maybe getting some real work done. 

So….I just joined a gym

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I think the heading for this post should really have a scared emoji after it as this is a really big thing for me and I’m not at all sure how it will go, although after my first session today I am at least hopeful it will work out.

It’s not that I am really unfit but I have become increasingly aware of how static I am between work, writing and art. I have realised that when I am away on holiday I am much more active and my body feels so much better. This last break away involved white water rafting, zip lining, snorkelling, paddle boarding and kayaking plus the usual walking and taught me that my body is capable of doing much more than I give it credit for.

The problem for I have had for some time has been finding something that suits me. After an upper back, neck and shoulder injury a few years ago and lots of work to heal I have tried Tai Chi, which I love but has classes on at the same time as I got to my art group, yoga which aggravated my upper back (I blame downward dog) and pilates which is too hard on my neck and shoulder. Today though I started at Curves. Lots of machines for different muscles plus a stretching area offering exactly what my body needs. I can skip the one machine that is impossible at the moment and do two others lightly and gently to build up strength rather than injury myself. Also I can come and go whenever I want, or at least I will be able to when they can trust me to use all the machines correctly 🙂

I don’t feel as good as I felt after pilates but my neck feels better, but there again I don’t think I worked out very hard today. That I am sure can come in time.

What does feel good through is that I have reached a point where I am doing something constructive, moving forward instead of just repairing damage, although I am sure there will be times where that is still necessary as I uncover things that have not yet healed or been released.

I work on myself a lot, mainly with Reiki but also with Chios, and with help from my allies in my shamanic work when I get stuck. I have also used this life and past life regression to shift things I have been holding and of course I know when to reach out to others such as my massage therapists or my craniosacral therapist. It feels right that now I can work on myself physically too, a better balance than there has been for a long time perhaps. I will let you know how it goes.

What are your cultural influences?

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Mmm the question ‘What are your cultural influences?’ is the 7th in the challenge I decided to do to help me keep blogging this year. While I am not slavishly sticking to it, nor feeling the pressure to blog every week come what may, I am trying not to skip questions just because they are not the easiest thing to write about. To be honest I’m not really sure what this even means but I’m going to have a go.

I was born in England in the mid 50’s and growing up in the 60’s exposed me to both ‘flower power’ as well as ‘mods and rockers’. I spent my teenage years dressed in long flowing Indian cotton dresses, necklaces of tiny bells that jingled when I walked, looking longingly after those who were a little older, lusting after the freedom they had to travel, hang out at festivals and so on. With a short flurry into cropped hair and mohair suits, it didn’t last long but you do need to experiment don’t you, the ‘hippy’ era probably influenced me are than anything else. Living less than an hour outside London forays into Carnaby Street, Kings Road, Knightsbridge with Biba and Harrods, where at the time you really could buy anything, was the norm. Live music was so accessible, with the Kursaal in Southend providing a weekly, and affordable place to hang out and see bands and I still like loose, flowing clothes, long velvet skirts and going to live gigs 🙂

Travelling as an adult, something I do as often as possible, has opened my eyes to other cultures, many of which have links to some of the work I do as an energy and shamanic healer. I know that every place I visit impacts on me in some way and that I carry the energy of many of them with me.

I live now in Ireland  and despite the rise and subsequent demise of the Celtic Tiger, we are still  relatively free from the busy and materialistic world. It is here that I found my way into the work I do now, discovered the delights of stone circles and standing stones, ring forts and labyrinths and the energy and spirit of place. It is here that I learnt to connect with and work with the land, here where the culture allows this all to happen naturally. So just as the culture of 60’s England influenced by early years so is Ireland now influencing the latter ones.

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What does this time of the year mean to me?

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The next question in the pagan challenge is concerning what this time of year means to me. At the time of writing I am on the cusp of February becoming March which is usually a time that has me celebrating in a small and unobtrusive way. The reason for this being that for many years I really did not like February and even now it is my least favourite month so I am usually quite happy when it has ended.

I must say at this point that February has never done anything to upset me, its just that Imbolc never seems to live up to the promise of the beginning of the spring, a concept that in Ireland is held strong despite evidence to the contrary, and although the shortest month it always seems to take forever to pass. A couple of years ago I discovered some information about February having been a time of purification and this understanding has certainly helped me to dislike the month a little less. This year thoughI must admit that it has been different.

From November until the last few weeks it has rained pretty much consistently, we have had floods, washed away roads, gale and sometimes even storm force winds and the only thing to do has been to hibernate. Recently though we have had blue skies, sunshine, getting out for a walk, visiting the beach, just lifting our heads out from under the duvet has been possible. Plants and shrubs are showing signs of new life, primroses, crocuses and mini iris have been blazing in all their glory and we have even managed to do some tidying of our hedges before the birds being nesting. This is also the time of the year when we drive to the next county to see young lambs as we live in cow country not sheep, but this year we have a field of them just up the road which is lovely.

So this year February really has felt like the start of spring even taking into account the snow we had on Friday night.

Today is 29th and it is raining, tomorrow is the 1st March which where I come from would be the start of spring, but the  forecast is for rain and the week ahead isn’t looking good at all. Strong winds are forecast so the ‘In like a lion, out like a lamb’ might well be true this year. Whatever it turns out to be Spring Equinox, the second of the spring festivals and a time of balance isn’t far ahead.

 

How Did You Find Your Path?

Ok so I didn’t manage to get back here to blog last week but hopefully better late than never 🙂

Having found the blog prompts last week I thought the best place to start was at the beginning so here we are with prompt 1:

‘How did you find your path?

I think the best way for me to answer this question, is that in many ways my path found me.

It all began with an article in the local newspaper, one written by a woman who had trained in Reiki and who was writing about the ways that it could be used, including on yourself. With a busy, some times stressful, always very full time, job, I liked the idea of something that could be done for yourself. At that time I might have managed to get myself to the gym for a swim but scheduling an appointment for someone to do something for me was never going to happen.

But of course having read about it I promptly forgot all about it until several years, a new country, new home, and a couple of jobs later, when I opened yet another local paper and saw an advertisement for a weekend Reiki 1 course. Having just moved house and not yet having found a proper job I decided I couldn’t justify the expense and so left it go once again.

Eventually, with a few prompts and a gentle push from my husband, I actually managed to get myself to a Reiki 1 course and that’s when everything changed. I quickly found myself not only using Reiki for myself, but also on friends who would turn up on my doorstep having heard from other friends that I could ‘do Reiki’. I fell in love with the energy hook, line and sinker and went on to do both my Reiki 2 and then my Reiki Master’s training.

It was during my Reiki Master’s training that my path shifted yet again or perhaps it’s fairer to say that Reiki opened a door for me and I found myself walking what I now know to be a shamanic path through some spontaneous shamanic journeying during which I met the first of my guides, one who taught me how to walk in woods, work with plants and how to make offerings to my allies. At the time I didn’t have a name for any of this and it wasn’t until some time later that I realised that what I was doing, how I was working, and the path I was walking actually had a name.

There have been many twists and turns in my path since then. I have trained in things I no longer use, all of which have influenced me and left their mark on me in some way, after all nothing happens by accident. The latest twist has seen me step onto the path of the Order of the Bards, Ovates and Druids, something I was guided to do but which I am still waiting to discover where it is leading. Sometimes I think I know, then something changes and I am left in the dark once again which is fine. If nothing else, over the years I have learnt to trust and just go with the flow.

At present I am wandering deep within the forest on the path of the Ovate, trusting that when the time is right, when what I have learnt is needed, I will understand why I needed to be on this part of my path. What I am completely certain of though, is that Reiki and Shamanism are as much part of me as breathing is and they will always be part of my path wherever it takes me in the future.

A ‘New’ Challenge :)

I need something to keep me blogging otherwise I have a tendency to drift. The challenge I found the first year worked brilliantly as it was flexible enough for me to always find something to write about. It was simple and used the alphabet, so week one was a post beginning with A and so on. I also had a Facebook group in which to share my blog which I also liked. Last year the only challenge I found didn’t suit me at all. I actually found the pressure of searching for something to say about things that were outside my experience quite stressful so I stopped and consequently so did my blog 😦

I thought I had found a challenge for this year but its mainly about tarot which I don’t use but today I discovered this:

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I’m not sure where its from as I couldn’t find the Facebook group when I searched but that doesn’t matter. I have 52 headings that I can use for blog prompts, if it doesn’t link to anywhere I am under no pressure to write when I don’t have anything to say and both of those points make it flexible enough for me this year 🙂

So I am going to start with the first prompt and sometime during the week will be back with a new post.Lets see if I can keep this one up.

Should opening your wardrobe/closet ever make you feel anxious?

 

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I am all for decluttering, clearing things out and recycling or rehoming them. When the urge is strong to throw stuff away, to clear out cupboards, drawers, that space under the bed, the loft and so on, its usually a sign that a shift is taking place and the letting go of possessions reflects what is happening energetically for us. Clearing out and letting go on all levels allows new things to come in once we create space for them, even if that is just a few new outfits in the sales 🙂 Decluttering and making space on all levels is healthy and something we all need to be doing as often as we can.

Today though the radio is on and I have just listened to Annemarie O’Connor, author of the ‘Happy Closet’ talking about how for most of us opening our closet fills us with anxiety, how we should think of our clothes as staff members and ask if they contribute to our bottom line or if they need to be, I think the term used was, ‘redeployed’.

At this point I must admit I stopped listening and went to clear out the cupboard in the kitchen that contains our tinned foods. This was nothing, I should make very clear, to do with my being inspired by the conversation on the radio but everything to do with my opening a tin of chick peas last night that hissed like a can of coke as I did so. Scary stuff that along with visions of cans with long passed expiry dates exploding meant the clear out was long overdue.

Maybe its something to do with the fact that now I no longer ‘go out’ to work I slob around in tracksuit bottoms and a fleece preferring comfort over power dressing. When I work with clients or students I also need to be comfortable which means newer, smarter, sports trousers and a newer, smarter fleece. Sometimes I go all out and wear a long, loose velvet skirt or leggings and tunic but always something that I can relax in as I work.

A couple of years ago I also decided to only buy things I loved. Just liking something or it being a bargain in the sales no longer cuts it. I have to put something on, it has to feel perfect and only then does it come home. Even before this though I can’t ever remember opening my wardrobe and feeling anxious.

I also feel that if opening a wardrobe/closet is making anyone feel anxious, unless its the thought of the monster living in there that comes out at night, or being transported to Narnia if one ventures in too far, then there is something deeper going on, something that needs bringing to light, acknowledging and addressing. Self esteem, self worth, self value, self confidence, spring immediately to mind here but there are many underlying problems it could be.

Neither clothes nor any other possessions should ever make you anxious.

Today we went on an adventure

Today we went on an adventure. It should have been a simple enough job really, that of popping in to town to get some shopping as we had run out of fresh fruit and vegetables after Christmas and New Year. The problem here is that it has hardly stopped raining and not only did our town flood badly for the second time in three weeks but the ‘main’ road between us and town has been destroyed by the floods.

I use the word ‘main’ very loosely here as although it is the main road to town it is far from being a main road. We live in the country, a rural townland on the edge of a small village. Our ‘main’ road is a two lane country road, made narrower by the water running down either side, created by overflow from the river and way too much rain, plus the overgrown hedgerow which no-one cuts back any more, and the crumbling edges of the road itself. It is though our main road, all others are back roads and although they get to town, are longer, twister and even narrower. Of course we also had no idea what state they were in or which way was open.

So we set off in the car wearing coats and walking boots….just in case…..with a vague plan of where we were going and no idea if the shops we needed would be open when we got there.

The first road we tried leads to the main road, which we already knew was closed but which we knew we could turn off before the destroyed part, only to find out that this road was closed too. Meeting a neighbour in town later we learnt that a section of this had also been washed away by the rain. Turning round we decided to give the dairy road which leads to another way into town, a miss. Shorter maybe but awash with mud it didn’t look a good idea, so we took the longer route through the village and out the other side, in completely the wrong direction.

Luckily this way, albeit much longer, was clear, dry and free from any serious potholes, ones that can swallow the car whole and so we made it into town. Having achieved this amazing feat we treated ourselves to blueberry pancakes with frozen yoghurt and lots of coffee for our breakfast 🙂 We then shopped, loaded the car with fresh veg, fruit, bird food and a few other bits and bobs in case we got stuck in again over the winter and headed of home…..a different way!

Well, it seemed important to see if we had an alternative route….

We kinda did….the road was open but muddy, wet and with so many new pot holes in places that the journey was slow and careful, but shorter in distance although maybe not in terms of time.

So we now know there are two ways into town, today at least, for tonight and tomorrow and probably the days after too, the forecast is for rain. The town has an Orange weather warning now, the river is rising steadily and has been since midday. Hopefully it won’t flood again, hopefully none of the small rivers will burst their banks, hopefully next time I need to get to town the roads I now know are open still are. One adventure like this in the first few days of the year is enough really, unless its something way more exciting than getting shopping that is.

 

 

 

Happy New Year

Well its the last calendar day of the year and although it doesn’t bear any correlation to the wheel of the year nor this year to the seasons, it still feels appropriate to take a moment to mark the day.

There won’t be any big celebrations tonight, just a quiet meal in, something sparkly to drink and Jules Holland’s Hogmanay on the tele so we know when it’s actually midnight 🙂

Usually this is a good time for reflecting but these last few weeks, since Samhain really, there has been plenty of opportunity for that so this year I am using today for being grateful.

Having survived Storm Desmond and Storm Frank over the last weeks I am grateful I live near the top of a hill and so have a warm dry house. I am grateful that we still, unlike many, have power, thanks to a much improved service, when we first moved here this wouldn’t have been the case. I am also grateful that our nearest town having been badly flooded twice this month is picking itself up, drying itself out and is in the process of getting itself reopened, thanks to the resilience of those who work there, the civil defence, fire brigade etc and all who have been able to get in to help. It would be badly missed if it wasn’t there.

I am also grateful that I don’t suffer from depression or SAD and would like to spare a thought for all who do and for those who are missing at the moment, those who couldn’t see their way to stick around for whatever reason and for the families they have left behind, some them still unsure of what has happened to those who have gone missing. The hype around Christmas, the dark, overcast days haven’t helped anyone but at least most of this has passed, for now at least, and in between the showers we have glimpses of sky, some of it blue and even some watery sunshine. I hope this helps.

I am grateful that as the pages of the calendar turn and we move into 2016 I have as always, much to look forward to. I hope that whoever you are and wherever you are reading this, that you too can say the same.

Happy New Year everyone

 

 

Blood, sweat and tears

I’m not quite sure what I’m doing here, what I’m writing about even, but it just seemed right to stop by and say something, whatever it turns out to be.

I’ve actually been doing a lot of writing the last few days, just not here it seems.

I had an article to write for my publishers for a compilation they are planning. The deadline for this is the 8th January which, when I put myself forward to do it in September, seemed a long way away. This week though I realised that it wasn’t a long way away at all and that with Solstice, Christmas, New Year and all goes with it, in between, the time would soon vanish.

Writing for me isn’t something that rolls off the pen, or in this case, keyboard easily, it really does take blood and sweat although I usually avoid the tears. I need to generate an idea, let it breathe, germinate and then grow into something that has the possibility of being a column, an article or something more. In terms of the aformentioned article I’d had the idea, it had had plenty of time to germinate but it refused to grow. I’d researched, made notes, started and stopped over and over again but nothing much happened with it. Sometimes when it gets like this I take a shamanic journey for guidance and usually I get the spark that tells me where to go with it all but this time…….nothing.

Then yesterday, on a brighter, less dark day than we have had for some time that spark came and despite distractions that included a walk on the beach and getting ready for a night out with the locale women’s group the article wrote itself at long last.

Today I sent it off in to the ether. Hopefully it has arrived at its destination and is acceptable as that would mean I can concentrate on other writing, that half finished book or on new ideas perhaps. Or who knows, it may even free me up to get back here more often.