Oak

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For as long as I can remember I have been draw to the Oak tree. I have, over the years, collected leaves, twigs, windfall wood and two years ago was gifted three tiny oak saplings. When I say tiny I really do mean tiny as none measured more than six inches.

The saplings were planted in pots and nurtured over the last two winters. Sadly one didn’t make it and so I now have two. They haven’t grown much but are producing new leaves which I hope is a good sign.

Last year I was told they grow best with company and as they are in individual pots I may now move them to a larger pot, all together and with a holly sapling for company. In the wild they grow alongside holly so I figure this is worth a go. I have space in the garden but they are too tiny to plant out and as we have rabbits I wouldn’t rate their chances very highly if I did.

There is a lot of tree lore related to trees and much can be found online but I want to share this with you: OBOD Tree Lore Oak

A Day With My Inner Child

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This might not look much to those of you who get lots of snow or who live where it snows often but for me this is a big deal as it rarely snows where I live. Yesterday the forecast was for everyone getting some snow, except for us which is often the way, so this is a real bonus.

My inner child loves snow and she was really excited by the forecast that was giving out snow warnings and then really disappointed when it looked too warm here to get any. She always lives in hope though and spent the day watching the weather just in case.

Now I can, and do, work with weather spirits but usually only if there is a real need and never simply to keep my inner child happy, it therefore never crossed my mind to journey, armed with offerings and gifts to plead her case, so both she and the grown up I sometimes pretend to be, waited patiently. We were very happy when the sky darkened, the temperature dropped and it began to snow.

It didn’t snow that much, when I did go out and stand in it for a few minutes, letting it fall on my skin, it was wet snow, disappearing as fast as it came. Sometimes there was brilliant sunshine, blue skies and big white snowflakes being blown horizontally on the wind, sometimes grey skies and nothing, I didn’t get to walk in it, scrunch through it, make snow angels or a snowman as it didn’t settle, but snow it was and my inner child sat inside in the warm and watched happily.

The Return of the Crow

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Last year we had a solitary crow that visited every day, sometimes several times a day, to feed from our bird table. I felt really sorry for it as if other crows were around it would run and hide under the garden table but yet was never bothered by either of us. As winter progressed it taught itself to balance on a dead piece of bamboo and using its weight would creep along the bamboo, bending it until it could reach the bird feeder. It also learnt that by standing on one of the stones that we use to stop the bird table being blown over by the wind if it jumped slightly it could reach the fat balls too.

When spring came the crow disappeared and although there are always crows in the garden, or sitting high in the ash trees of the solitary crow there was no sign.

Until yesterday 🙂

Yesterday we noticed a crow jumping up to feed from the bottom of the fat ball container. Unlike other crows who hit and run, or grab everything, we watched this crow feed and when it had had enough, wander off down the garden, just like the crow that visited last year had done.

Today it was back again. I am as sure as I can be that it is the solitary crow from last year. It is not bothered by me moving around in the conservatory unlike with other crows the smaller birds and our resident pigeons are unafraid of it and happy to continue feeding while it is there. I am happy that it has remembered it can feed here and I look forward to watching it again this winter too.

The wanderer returns

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I’m back! I’m not sure if anyone missed me but I have been travelling for the last few weeks, firstly to Panama City and then on to Costa Rica and if there is one thing to sum up Costa Rica it’s the wild life, hence the photo of the Capuchin Monkey 🙂

I honestly think it is the country where the experiences I had couldn’t have been bought for any amount but relied on an adventurous spirit and the willingness to be still, connect with nature and wait.

The adventurous spirit came in handy when white water rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding and zip lining. I would add canopy walking but I already loved that and so it would be disingenuous to do so.

A few years ago I was in a car accident and received severe soft tissue and muscle damage to my upper back and damaged my left shoulder and neck. Through the years I have had Bowen treatments, lots of massage and Reiki and more recently Cranial sacral therapy and Scenar. I have also worked on myself a lot including regression to re-program my body at cellular level. I went back to yoga in the winter but had to stop, as using my arms a lot, or holding my arms up above my head (downward dog for example) is difficult and creates longer term problems that I then have to undo. I am only mentioning this because all the activities I listed, apart from the canopy walking, meant I had to use my arms way more than is comfortable and in ways I would usually avoid. Short of missing out, what was I to do other than dive in and see what happened. What happened was that my body amazed me in its ability to cope. The more I did the more I could do. Some of this may of course have been to do with the warm weather and high humidity but deep down I believe that it is also about allowing my body to move, so I am soon to try out pilates and see if that works for me plus I plan to re-introduce chi kung and tai chi to my life.

The willingness to be still, connect with nature and wait, resulted in many amazing encounters such as standing in the humming bird garden whilst the tiny bullet like creatures zoomed, buzzed and dived at and around me, watching Capuchin monkeys playing, rolling over each other and sliding down the palm roofs of the lodge, seeing how what looked like a tiny green leaf unfolded to become a green frog with red and orange legs, standing on the river bank and watching Jesus Christ lizards run across the water, and having been calling on and connecting to the spirit of the Quetzal, finally seeing it then being quiet so it wasn’t spooked away. There is of course so much more, way too much to list in this blog but I’m sure you get the idea.

Yes I appreciate that money was needed to get to Costa Rica but once there if I hadn’t been willing to have a go and to spend time being at one with nature my experience would have been a very different one.

And before I go I will share with you both a humming bird and the Resplendent Quetzal 🙂

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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.

 

Being kind to myself

I’ve realised now that my taking a break from seeing clients isn’t just about giving myself chance to recharge after a very busy summer but is also about doing nice things for me, in other words being kind to myself.

Now that I’ve stopped I can see how little I have been doing this over the last months. When I wasn’t seeing clients or working with students I was shopping for food, sorting out the decorator, the carpet fitters or the curtain guy. The only thing I really did for myself was to go to a cranial sacral therapist which was more about helping my body to correct damage from an old car accident than being kind to myself. There’s a big difference doing things you need to rather than something just because you can.

This has been my first complete week without clients but I was running down last week too and managed to have coffee with a neighbour I hadn’t met until recently, one who makes delicious, completely natural body butters and lotions. We spent a morning trying out her existing products and exploring new ones that she is developing and yes I have ordered some from her which I am eagerly awaiting to pick up and use.

At the weekend I allowed myself to spend the best part of a day with a friend I haven’t seen for ages. We drank coffee, chatted, caught up and then went out for lunch, in other words we did nothing and enjoyed every minute of it. I have also been walking in woodland, grounding myself and allowing nature to do its work on my body and soul.

This week I have almost held fast to not doing any work although it would have been easy to do some as not all of my work involves seeing clients or students.

Over the last few days I have had a lot of ideas floating around in my head, some of these are about writing possibilities, a half finished book that needs completing, a draft of ideas for something I could write,  blog posts for my publisher but so far I have resisted. If know that if I am to really have chance to recharge then I need to stop completely and continue to spend time doing things that are outside of my work completely.

In the vein of being kind to myself I have booked a massage not because my body is telling me it needs one but because I would like one. I am also giving myself time to do an Equinox Labyrinth walk and making the time to eat with them before rather than do something that I can let others do instead. This is extremely unusual for me, to dip, out of something that I had committed to do so that I can do something more enjoyable but I am not indispensable and this is something I have also realised.

I can choose to stop, not to do things because I have to, to do things I want to, things that make me happy, things that give me chance to recharge and which make me feel good and that is my plan. From now until I choose to step back into work, until I get bored and am looking for things to fill my time, until then, I’m going to continue to go for coffee or lunch with friends, to make time to walk in the woods or on the beach, in other works to be kind to myself.

 

 

 

 

Monday Musings – Earth

imageA long time ago now when I was on the threshold of stepping fully onto the path I now walk, I was taking part in a huge drum circle and was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to lay on the floor surrounded by about sixty drummers drumming on shamanic frame drums. As I lay there on the ground I first of all heard the drums, the beat of the drummers, then the voices of the drums themselves singing in words as the sound circled around the room and around me. After this there were layers of sounds, both voices and the rhythm of the drum beat and finally underneath everything I heard another beat. Deep, deep within the Earth I heard the heartbeat of Mother Earth herself, an experience that affected me deeply and which has stayed with me ever since.

When I think of Earth it is of that heart beat, the energy that flows beneath me, the one that feeds me on a physical level, nourishing my body with every breath. Earth is the one that grounds me and helps me to function on a physical level in this incarnation. Earth is the mother that gives me and all things life.