These are my musings and observations on my daily life, loves and the laughter that are all a part of my experience of living now in the shires of England.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Lethargy and dust…

© Tara Bradford

Lethargy can cause a build up of dust.

If you become tired, listless, or fatigued the relatively minor problem of a few specks of dust can easily be ignored. Then the lethargy can become a parallel problem with the dust as they both build.

Dust and the lethargy may both seem insignificant at first but if you ignore either for too long it is a major task to shift it as together they increase to seemingly unmanageable proportions.

When you are exhausted – of everything – the last thing you want to do is to dust! The effort to remove the mental fatigue from your body becomes an arduous job. It’s hard to think when you can’t think.

Being lethargic can mean you just can’t be bothered to move any more. A state of drowsiness overtakes you. Your mind wants to stop processing information or making good decisions. When the tiredness is extreme you can exist in a state of indifference. Then the dust is insignificant – if you acknowledge it at all!

If at all possible it’s best not to let either nutritional lethargy … or dust, get a foothold in your life.

I’m off to dust …

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

It's not fair!

It’s unfair!

I know it’s unfair.

I could list a whole string of events and situations that I think are unfair and I’m sure that anyone could do the same. They could do it right now, without a second thought. A long list could appear that will detail all the unfair things in my world, in your world, in THE world.

I know that it is an undeniable fact that things happen in this world that ARE unfair.

The question that I need to answer when this happens is what am I going to do about it?

I’m not a fighter by nature but sometimes you have to struggle to achieve your goals. You have to fight to gain the change you need.

You have to put the effort in to achieve your dream result.

You have to get training.

It’s time to get into the training mode.

I know that this is my time.

This is it.

I have found my gentle and determined fighter within and I am active to make things fair, to make them different, and to make a change.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Plateaus and spikes

We create things around us to be level, even and stable. Not many people build tables, chairs or houses at an angle. It would not be practical or sustainable for everyday living. The things which stand out and are noticeable are those at an unusual position. The items with a different slant and perspective get the most attention.

Yet we sometimes exist from day to day on the same level.

When our lives are running a flatline we are neither experiencing the highs or the lows of living. We plateau through each day and year without being aware of any ripples in our existence. We live as if we are already dead. We don’t know either joy or sadness because we are afraid of taking risks. We miss out on huge chunks of life when we are stuck on the plateau.

Living a plateau life may seem like a safe option but I have found that it does not create too many memories.

Living a plateau existence is like hiding in plain sight.

Living on a plateau is like trying to find a single tree in a forest. You can be hiding but nobody knows because everything looks the same all around you.

Living a flat line life is not healthy or productive.

We need the spikes in our life.

We need highs and lows.

We need to take risks and get rewards.

What we often consider failures can also be seen as great learning experiences. These cannot be gained from flatlining.

Each action (and inaction) has its consequence.

It’s a choice – again today I have chosen to jump off the plateau of ordinary existence and experience the pleasure of life from a different and invigorating perspective.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Homecomings - DADT

Homecomings are times of celebration. These are great occasions when the people who have been away return home. They return to a place of safety and comfort. A place where all barriers have been removed, all formalities have been taken away and you can relax and be yourself. Homecomings are occasions when the ones who have been away are greeted with joy by those who have remained and also happily reacquaint themselves with those other travellers who are returning to the familiar base. Well, that is the theory…
I knew that there was a homecoming anniversary gathering and I was going home. Yet I was nervous for a multitude of reasons. The relaxation that should have accompanied me was missing. The barriers that I hope were absent were present and the formal behaviour replaced the friendship that used to easily exist.
I went back to my home church to celebrate 50 years since the building had been dedicated for worship. I was greeted, with genuine affection, by several people. I had expected their continued friendship; we had kept in touch over the years. I was also met by sideward glances and frosty practiced smiles on an otherwise bright and beautiful day by those who evidently didn’t expect or want to see me there. 34 years ago my family moved to the area and joined the local church. We grew up in that environment. It was my home.
The day of celebration was punctuated with songs, readings and gifts to recognise long service within the church. The rolls of honour were read. People were applauded, lauded and honoured for their contributions to the Christian ministry and local community. I did not go there that day with expectations of any reward, and I was sat there quietly enjoying the shared memories until my son, who was sat beside me during the ceremony, spoke and it was then that I really acknowledged the missing evidence of my presence in the records.
Morgan was listening to the list of officers who had taken part in the youth club over the years and when they finished reading and were stepping down from the platform, he looked at me, aghast, and said, to everyone and no-one in particular – in what I thought was quite a loud voice – “What about my Mum?”
Embarrassed feet shuffled and heads turned away.
I hugged him and said “Never mind, darling. I know I was there. God knows why they left me out.”
The same thing happened again and again. One after another groups that I belonged to reformed without me. Some people suggested I go and join them on the platform. I laughed at the idea of a mass exodus if I went to the front of the church. I declined politely and remained where I was. The church authorities, in their wisdom, could not see me so I chose to remain invisible to them that day.
My nephew, who now lives in Swansea, and who also grew up in the church community decided not to attend – for his own reasons. When he called me on my return home he asked a simple question.
“Well, how did they treat you?”
“They ignored me for the most part, Daniel,” I said, with a deep sigh. “To be expected I guess. I don’t fit in their picture. They can’t bring themselves to tell me outright to keep away, however they can choose to publicly ignore my contributions.”
I mainly went to support my sister and another nephew who have remained in the area and who are alienated within the church, but my presence seemed to exacerbate the situation - being part of my family means that they are treated as contaminated as well. My link with them is also a constant reminder of my ‘leper’ status within the church ‘family’.
My home is not with them.
There will be no future homecoming events for me with people who don’t acknowledge the person that I am. I’m sure that Christ, the Man the church congregation claims to follow, would not agree with the estrangement of His family members.
I broke the cardinal rule with them years ago. I ignored the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law. When homophobia was rife in the groups I was part of I stood up and said I found it offensive and unChrist-like. I outed myself, and they’ve never got used to it. They cannot accept that the person they loved and played with through all those years is gay.
It’s not my problem. It’s theirs.
I am home now.
I know why I live so far from them now. I know why for the first time in three decades I haven’t moved every three years; I have now stayed in one place for 14 years. I have found a home and I keep coming back to it.
I don’t need their homecoming to celebrate my existence. I do that everyday when I awaken in my peaceful haven.
I am home.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Watery sunsets

Streams of unbidden tears are my company tonight. I know why … because I miss you. Several sunsets have faded into darkness since I last saw you.

Time changes shape and length with my memories.

I thought I was over you.

I thought I had healed my heart.

Alas, your absence floods every space in my limitless soul.

What a mysterious thing is love. What a marvellous gift you shared with me. I used to be sceptical but now I know that magic is real.

You showed me.

You opened not only my eyes but my heart and mind.

Since we have been apart ...

I have busied myself and buried myself in busyness.

What I thought was past crept up without warning and again assaulted my heart with sweet, tender memories of the utter joy of loving and being loved by you.

You relaxed me, excited me, challenged me and fulfilled me.

I miss your touch in my life.

Thursday, 8 April 2010


Sometimes I really miss people.

You know that feeling you get that you can’t explain properly. That feeling that something is not quite right, or rather slightly amiss. What I think I mean is that it is not quite as you’d like it to be – right then, in that particular moment - to enable you to be entirely comfortable.

Well it’s sort of like that but a lot worse. It’s like an ache from a newly missing tooth. It’s like an emptiness that cannot be filled. It’s like a piece of the jigsaw puzzle that you can't find right there and then.

It is not a feeling of desperation.

It is more a feeling of gentle longing.

A feeling of comfort.

Like wanting to have a hot serving of that delicious steamed sponge pudding - spotted dick.

Like sitting huddled in a blanket in your childhood bedroom listening to the rain falling while you read Enid Blyton books under the covers.

Like lying on a garden bench, looking up at the clouds and imagining the shapes are all kinds of real things.

And, sometimes, this feeling of missing someone is something so new that you don’t quite have the right memory for it. But you know that you feel a strange void. You know that you want to refresh your memory of that person.

I feel that I want to be at peace in their company again. Nothing more. Just to share the same space at the same time.

Maybe also share a smile.

Maybe have an easy conversation.

Maybe just relax to background music.

Maybe notice the beauty of a flower on a spring day.

The feeling appears unexpectedly and … sometimes lingers.

Because something, someone, is missing …

Sunday, 4 April 2010

New roots

I had obviously done something wrong but was not sure what it was. Maybe it was too much water after a period of drought or maybe it was just time for the end of this particular season of growth.

All I did know was that the plant was dying – right there in front of me.

I decided to try to rescue it. Well, some of it anyway. Some of the plant was evidently beyond saving and so, gingerly, I eased it out of the plant pot and released it into the compost bag.

The bit of plant that I had retained I placed into a cup of water on the kitchen windowsill to see if it would sprout any roots so that I could try to replant it.

It is not that I am particularly attached to this plant because of its origins (it was a gift but I was not attempting this rescue to remember who had given it to me and why). I am used to the greenery in the house and I just want to give it a chance to keep growing. I didn’t feel that its time was over just yet, and the free-flowing leaves and stems just made me happy because they were unrestrained and followed their own route.

Right then I decided that if I managed to encourage the new roots then I would re-pot it and pay much better attention to it this time around. I mean, to give it what it needed to encourage its free growth, rather than to stunt it by oversight and neglect.

Today, on this bright Sunday afternoon, about three weeks had passed since I started the rescue plan, I was now used to seeing the new cuttings on the windowsill but I decided to have a look and see what was happening below the rim of the cup. I raised the still green leaves from the top of the cup and smiled broadly as I saw the many roots that had grown out from the stems that had been quite harshly detached from the main plant.

It makes me happy to know that there is still a big chance that this plant will be successfully transplanted from its original state to a new environment where it will, hopefully, grow and flourish.

As I planned the future location of this fledgling plant I thought about how in the past I have been rooted in one way or another to a particular path and when it came to a time when I had to move the transition had sometimes been uncomfortable and difficult but eventually I settled in my new position. I have had struggles at times to establish my new roots but, thank God, with patience they have come through and I have obtained a firm hold on the new foundation.

Sometimes it looked as if I would flounder and fail to survive but a new channel for my growth was presented at the correct time and I have thrived. It has often been the case – for this has occurred numerous times – that I began to lose hope in myself when my root system no longer sustained my growth. However, I did not give up and I eventually saw that a new way was opened up for me.

It is because of this plant that I am reminded to embrace new beginnings and use the strength within to navigate the unexpected times of feeling rootless and reach across the breach because new opportunities for amazing growth are waiting to be fulfilled in my life.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Weighty issues

My body weight has altered drastically several times in my lifetime.

In my younger days I was extremely physically fit and well toned – I was a sprinter and held the county record for the 100 metres – and since then I have verged from normal weight for my height to very obese, several times.

I decided to at last acknowledge why I ballooned and shrunk with regularity. I decided, yesterday, to tell myself the truth and stop hiding behind the ‘I don’t know’ response or the ‘It’s something medical’ answer that seemed to satisfy most queries.

I know, as I have always known, I guess, that the reason why I changed weight so dramatically was because I needed to be in control of something.

This something was my body.

This something was the amount of food I ate.

This something was how I looked.

This something reflected how I felt on the inside.

I wanted to be unattractive to people because I was unattractive to myself.

I didn’t want to be noticed because of looking good and accomplishing things.

I wanted to disappear.

I wanted my pain to disappear with me.

I could eat in secret.

I was the only one who knew about the extra packets of biscuits and bars of chocolate.

I was the only one who knew about the clandestine visits to the fast food places.

I was the only one who knew how much I disliked myself.

I was trying to destroy myself – because I needed to… or so I thought at the time.

Then … way back then. I didn’t know how to love myself.

Way back then, I didn’t think it was ok to love myself.

Way back then, I was afraid of being myself.

Way back then, I did bad things to myself – through food.

Way back then, I detested all that I was. I lived my life in a daze of food fixes and increasing sadness.

Sometimes I lost weight but then I would slip into the trap of self-loathing and consume too much knowing that I was doing nothing to shift the excess. I was not surprised when my clothes became too tight.

I ignored it and pretended that I didn’t notice.

It was another excuse to slip into depression and withdraw from people.

I was taking back control that I had lost. I was choosing, even though the choices were hurting me most of all.

Before, when I had no love or compassion for myself I allowed myself to do bad things to myself

I didn’t look at myself in the mirror – not really look, for years.

Now when I look in the mirror I see the light and love – for myself – in my own eyes.

Now I try to maintain a healthy weight because it matters, because I matter to myself, because I love myself.

Now I love all that I am, and all that I am becoming.

Now I am free to be me.

Now, right now, I am important to myself … and it feels good.

What weighty issues I have been carrying for too many years.

I have purged myself at last.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Smiling roots

It should not be amazing but somehow it is: as we mature we often become wiser.

We see and learn things from the most unexpected sources. We open ourselves up to the possibilities of the world and positive events occur constantly. Events that I know have been giving me strength and building me up - from the inside. An earlier source of irritation may change to become a source of great comfort. I may not always know when, how or why this change has occurred but I do know that receiving the benefit of that alteration is life enhancing.

A few days ago I had a rare phone call with a brother who has not left the town our family grew up in several decades ago. Every other family member has migrated several miles, moving to different counties and sometimes different countries. He alone has remained where our roots are.

He had sent me an unexpected gift and I was calling to thank him. It was not my birthday or any other special anniversary but he had thought of me and chosen to let me know with this present.

We spoke for a while and shared the latest parts of our individual journeys with each other. When I remember our childhood I remember different things about each of my siblings. We had some wonderful times and we also had some terribly sad times. We are a big family but now I know that even though were were bound together, back then so many of us often felt very lonely – which is so different to being alone.

When it was time to say goodbye, my brother, who is nearly a year and a half older than me, said something that changed my day totally.

He said simply, ‘Smile lots because you’re not on your own.’

What an unexpected gift of happiness to him to give and for me to receive. In all ways these parting words surpassed the magnitude of the other gift (which was in itself wonderful) and will last much longer in my memory.

© Marjorie H Morgan

The nurture from roots can surface to great benefit at unexpected times.

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