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.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Looking and seeing

Sometimes you don’t notice something until it’s gone.

Coming from a funeral this afternoon, I was driving home in a reflective mood as is normal on these occasions and as I rounded a familiar corner I noticed something was different. I saw a huge gap, with daylight shining at me from the other side of the road. I continue to move in the traffic and simultaneously I take a second glance, a quick look at the difference that had arrested my attention so rapidly moments before. As I scan the area I realise that since I passed there a few hours earlier there has been some serious physical effort put in in the area because a lot of pruning and a whole area of greenery have been removed.

I never mindfully registered the trees or bushes before, but now I know that they used to be there. I sense their absence.

In the few seconds that I was on this piece of road I was conscious of a totally new view. I saw a building that I had not previously noticed; I saw signs that earlier were invisible to me. It was as if I was in a new location.

This revelation made me promise myself to be more aware of everyday things in life and recognise and appreciate them before I realise that they have gone. It also made me smile as I realised that sometimes some things need to be removed so that we have space to see.

Space to see often reveals something that was previously hidden or obscured.

Sometimes you notice something different when something old and familiar is eradicated from its usual place.

Therefore each day I will … Keep looking. Keep seeing.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Lessons to be learnt

I make excuses about why I am in that same old familiar position again, especially when I know the internal dialogue that I have already had that warned me against getting to the very spot that I am in now.

My life is full of fragments. Nobody knows them all but me. Not even the person closest to me really has any idea. All the people in my life see pieces, different pieces a fresh aspect of the whole that is me.

Here I am. At this place, now.

While waiting to revisit the past I realised with sadness that I am like a spectre chained to old haunts. I am somewhere that I don’t want to be because I no longer get pleasure from these visits, I am desperate to banish the hold of this personal millstone in my life.

The strength to move comes from somewhere deep inside of me. As I leave again I feel both victorious and desolate. The glory comes from being strong enough to leave again – with minimal damage, and the desolation comes from the fact that I was ever in this place again.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

My life

The way I live is the way I live.

I choose it because that is what fits for me today. If I could choose something else, something better, something different then I would because, as with everybody, I only want the very best for myself.

Too often I have people suggesting that I live this way or do that, because it pleases their sense of what is right … for me.

News flash: I know what is the best fit for me and I am working it out in my own time and in my own way.

The suggestion is alright, in fact it can be a welcomed push in the right direction but as long as it stays as a kind suggestion and not an insistent demand then it remains alright.

When you try to force something it usually doesn’t sit well, comfortably or evenly. There is no balance. And we all need balance in everything that we do. In work, in relationships, in exercise, in food ... in life. Balance is good.

We each have our own lives and we must live them in the best way that we can.

This is my life, I will live it in my way.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Fingernail scratches

It is surprising where a simple conversation will lead.

What started with the onslaught of seasonal hay fever ended with holidays in Scarborough.

The route between the two points was, however, painful at times.

A hot morning walk meant singlet and shorts for me. But I was chilled at times during the conversation despite the heat outside.

I was talking with a fairly new acquaintance about … life, really. He started telling me that he was off on holiday to Scarborough and how unusual it was for him to stay in the country for a holiday as he usually travels abroad with his wife. Pleasant memories were shared about visits to countries such as Italy and Croatia. Then as he continued to share the delights of his many recent excursions his face fell slightly, as he remembered two visits: the first hint of sadness came as he recalled when his wife was mugged in Barcelona, and the second was a memorable but harrowing visit to Poland. He said it was a land of great beauty and sadness.

With hesitation he suggested that if I ever got the chance that I should visit the concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland. “Nobody ever visits that place and comes out of it without some emotional shift,” he said with his eyes cast downwards onto the path.

“My wife,” he offered, “she broke down when she saw the children’s dolls.”

As he paused to gain the courage to continue I could see him transporting himself back to that location and peering through the buildings of horror.

“For me,” he said, “for me it was the gas chambers that did it.”

A hard swallow followed those words.

I waited in still silence because there was no expression that could fill that space. I kept my gaze on his face and saw the shifting moods in his eyes, in his cheekbones and in his lips: they quivered a bit.

“What got me,” he continued, “were the fingernail scratches on the walls of the gas chambers, that’s what got me.”

Then we were both silent for a while. He was reliving it and I was imagining it. The silence continued as the birds around us chirped without concern for our words.

Man’s inhumanity to man.

Evident in so many places.

Those people herded into those gas chambers were struggling to hang on to life as the gas destroyed their fragile frames. They reached out to the most solid thing that they could in an effort to hold on.

As I look at life today I wonder what we do when things get tough. Who or what do we hold on to? Will this structure or person support and sustain us?

Our lives are like smoke in the wind. We are in a much better situation of health and freedom than our fellow humans who were forced into the gas chambers so we should use our life to make good choices to bring health and happiness to each other and not to extend pain and sorrow. That’s what I think anyway.

The horror has occurred, we should not forget. Horrors still happen every day.

To gain some balance on this journey through life we should make the most of our lives today because the embers that produce our vitality will fade away in time.

One thing I learn anew each day is that it is important to make and keep good connections with people. Firstly connect to yourself then expand the circle of love. Love starts within and spreads like the ripples in water.

People are strength to the spirit. People are joy to the heart. People are living today, just like me.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Separation anxiety

The early departure of a parent is a loss that can never be regained. This departure can take many forms. The parent may die, or leave the family home to be on their own, or join another family. It may be the children who are the ones who are forced to leave – they may be taken away from their parents – and when you are a child who is separated from that regular figure you may well keep asking “What did I do wrong?” , “Was I to blame?”, “Is it my fault?”. This doubt can haunt a child throughout their life if they are not answered with honesty and love at the time.

However the loss occurs, the children that have been separated from their parent will experience a vacuum that can never quite be filled in. There are some good fitting substitutes but nothing is quite the same as that original parent. The loss of constancy may haunt a person throughout their life. The need to avoid commitment because of a fear of repetition of the separation may be a paramount – even if it is not acknowledged.

Sadly, this is reality for so many people.

Happily, many people also manage to live full and content lives even if they have had an early break in their family unit. This does not mean that they will not experience quiet and sad moments, but it does mean that they are doing their best with the life they have been blessed with.

Everyone’s road is different but we may overlap at times. It is on these occasions that we need to be our gentlest with each other.

The heart is strong ... yet fragile. Handle with care.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Grief is personal and fathomless. I've spent 35 years without a mother, and nearly 10 years without a father and still this month of anniversaries makes me very sad even though I'm now 49 and behaving like a sorted adult most of the time :-(



The temperature rises,

the pressure builds

a lattice of emotions

bonds within

… then erupts

into the untamed waterfall,

each drop the perfect


every one a diamond

uniquely constructed,

absent of all colour yet

full of the light of life.

Encased within

each tumbling sphere

lies the joys,

the pains,

the highs,

the lows,


created by my heart

then steadily expelled

from my body

through the optical valve.

Each diamond tear

coolly releases pressure

from within the hot volcano of my mind.

Transformation continues,

the diamonds lose their shape

and glow

the furnace of emotions

simmers as

embers turn to dry ash.

Welcoming winds clear

the hearth

(Be seen no more.)

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Full throttle living

Sometimes we get so close to our dreams, to our goals … then we just give up. Stop. Lay down the tools. We get within spitting distance of the finish and we pull out.

Why do we do this? Occasionally (too often) it is because we are more afraid of being successful than we are of failing. Because we doubt ourselves we do not know how we will manage the success that will ensue. The actual task in hand is one venture; the success of it is a whole new ball game. What do we do then?

It is OK to be successful. It is OK to be brilliant and talented.

It is OK to be secure in success. It is OK to be happy with success.

Failure is the fear we know, it is comfortable and oddly normal in some lives. Failure is paraded as normality while success is viewed with reverential awe and some suspicion – as if the price is too much.

Success needn’t be fearful. We are designed to be successful. Full throttle living is recommended.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Honest relationships

I don’t like losing people. I don’t like departures from my life, my world. But I know that they will always happen. Sometimes I have to make then happen, and this is the hardest cut of all.

Nevertheless I know that sometimes you have to stop trying to have a relationship with someone because if you persist then that relationship could just be based on a lie that you want to believe.

Relationships based on honesty are those that will last longest.

And … they are not usually difficult because they are open and free.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Stay right and you won't go wrong

What I learned today …

Making out that someone is right in their behaviour when they are obviously wrong is an injustice to both me and them.

As a person who likes to think the best about others, I came to realise that although it is a good thing to think the best about others, sometimes the other person is just WRONG. And being wrong does not and will not change the situation that has occurred. Nothing I do will change wrong into right. If I try to make it seem as if what they did, how they acted, the way that they spoke – that any of that was good or alright, I join the ranks of those who are wrong.

If it is already wrong, it stays wrong.

If there is blame to be apportioned then I will not shoulder it and absolve them (as if I could …) of all responsibility. I will leave their blame with them and know that this is the RIGHT thing to do for both me and them.

As the well known saying goes … two wrongs don’t make a right.

To that I add my own thoughts …stay right and you won’t go wrong.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010


Two people are in a room. They are aware of each other but do not openly communicate. One because they cannot, the other because they choose not to.

These people look similar but this is not a trick of any mirror. They are totally different on the inside. On either side of the room they exist, separately. They have habitually been kept apart. The first person is blindfolded, gagged and bound to a chair. The other is lying, unfettered, on a bed next to a wall above which is a window. The sun is shining through this window. But the person lays there with their eyes closed. Tears are flowing. Silent tears.

Today the door to this room has been left open. Sensing silence from beyond the room, the person in chains inclines their head to one side then hearing no outside noise they immediately begins to shuffle towards the beckoning cool breeze of the unexpected opening. Being so constrained it is a hard journey but they keep trying; falling over and righting themselves repeatedly. Eventually, disturbed from their private sorrow, the one on the bed turns away from facing the wall and looks at their room companion then speaks, in a low rusty voice, “Why waste your energy? You’ll never get away from this?”

“I don’t know that,” comes the muffled response from behind the gag, “but I’ve got to give it a go.”

The person on the bed sighs with resignation and swings their legs onto the floor before walking with a stiff gait towards the door. They open it wider for the chair bound person to depart from the room. Then, before returning to the bed, they deftly untie the bonds that restrict their fellow hostage to the chair.

The released man stands in the doorway and glancing out he throws a look at the retreating back of his liberator, “Come with me,” he pleads, “we can make it away from here.”

“I can’t,” comes the sad reply, “I’m more scared out there than in here…. I know this fear now.” The freed man shades his eyes from the temporarily blinding light then saying a quiet goodbye he slips out of the room and creeps along the wall beyond his prison. The shadow of reality that is left in the room gazes at the open door then returns to hug the wall and sob in desperation.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Wars and warriors

Wars and Warriors. These are not foreign words to us, they are, sadly, familiar everyday terms that are often viewed in a negative way. And in the same way as people reclaim things that have been stripped away from them I am reclaiming these words in a positive manner.

I am a warrior. I am a warrior because I have been through several personal wars. I have been through them. I have survived.

Like many fighters before me I sometimes suffer from shell-shock after the battle. I am often weak in my will and this shock has manifested itself in my life in various ways that can, in the harsh light of day, be seen as abuse. My way of hurting and protecting myself at the same time may be different to yours. There is work abuse, food abuse, sexual abuse, drug abuse – we all reach for something to numb the pain of reality in a cruel world. But I have realised that being cruel to myself is not a good path to take as I am just replacing one battle with another different one that I will still have to fight another day. I’ll either have to fight against it or succumb to it, and the desire within me to achieve my dreams will not rest, so I have to fight.

With success after each conflict I learn tactics that enable me to defeat other skirmishes before they have laid their foundations in my life.

It is with great joy that I announce that I am a warrior who is fighting for my life, the way I want to live it!


Friday, 4 June 2010

Positive expressions

Seduction is about self-expression. It is a tool for communication between people.

When we are weak or vulnerable for any reason we are easily led astray. We can be seduced by people, clothes, shopping, eating, sexual appetites, drugs … anything. Seduction always works best on people who are tired or whose defences are somehow lowered. Actions and reactions at this time are often bold and forthright. Sometimes they are not true. Seduction can be used as a mask to the real intentions and feelings. When we are seduced by things we do not want in our lives we will be assaulted by regrets once we are fully conscious of the situation. We will not be happy at this time.

There is, however, a positive side to seduction. We can have our interest captivated so that we begin to believe things that we were afraid of opening ourselves up to because we had long held onto unfounded viewpoint or fears. This can be with people or objects.

We have to approach all seduction with caution and chose what will be positive and enhance our lives and reject those things that are negative and detract from our journeys. Keeping our defences at a reasonable level will allow us to make wise choices. When we are seduced by things we want in our lives we will be happy and have an interesting and exciting life. We will be in a place when we are fulfilling our desires and aspirations.

Choose your own seduction.

Positive seduction is my good choice today.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Begin again ... happy eating :-)

Food is so many things to so many people.

Food can sustain life. Food can save life.

Food can be comfort and stability and consistency when there is nothing else to rely on. Food can be an emotional crutch. If we are fortunate enough then we are in a situation that food is always there when everything else is gone.

We place all our reliability on food and we build a firm and fast connection with it.

What we need to know is that food can also be dangerous. It can be a silent killer.

Food can separate us from people and become our only constant companion because it suffocates our real personality.

We need to have a good relationship with food; we need to have food in our lives in order to live. Eating should be a pleasurable experience, but not the only pleasurable experience that we have at all. When food is the major focus of our lives, instead of ourselves and others, then we begin to fade as people (even if our girth is expanding).

We have to learn to respect food and respect ourselves and our bodies. We must learn about the benefits and harms that different quantities of foods can have on our bodies and regulate our intake because at the end of the day it really does matter.

I have had a varied relationship with food for several years and at times I know when I have fallen back into old habit and made food an emotional crutch. It is at times like this that I reassess my relationship with food and look at the real reason why I am not eating enough or why I am eating too much of the wrong type of foods. Then I can begin again.

It is always great to be able to begin again. And the best possible time is now.

Happy eating. J

Tuesday, 1 June 2010



What is guilt? Why do people feel guilty?

I have said for many years that only if you have done something that you know or that you find out that it is wrong, especially against another person, then you are entitled to feel guilty; in other situations I think that we often get into the habit of assuming guilt when we think that others think that we are wrong – even if we are not. I know that sounds convoluted but I believe that this is how our minds work sometimes.

Our social and moral consciences are activated and we become emotionally attached to an incident. If we remain in an identity of guilt we lose our connections with others because we then compare ourselves negatively to them.

Guilt makes us underrate ourselves and our successes.

When guilt arrives and settles like a vulture on our shoulders does it bolster any feelings of inadequacy we may already harbour? I think that it often has the tendency to do that. With constant sideways glancing and pecking at us, I feel that guilt will wear us down until we no longer have the energy or motivation to make any personal progress.

If we are guilty of something, then I think it is our duty to make amends in the best possible way, be it directly or indirectly, but we must let go of our attachment with the incident or it will become a millstone around our necks.

Guilt can drown us in our daily lives. We have the power to cut the silken cord that links that weight to us. We must release ourselves from the burdens that we do not need to carry so that we can become the person we need to be, the person we are supposed to be, and we can become that person today. And tomorrow, and the next day.

Guilt has its place but once the lesson is learned it must be left in the past to gather dust with the history of the deed.

Rise into your life today, rise and be guilt free.

When we are emotionally healthy we will be able to progress with our lives.

Once we confront the issue that elicited the feelings of guilt then we have to let it go, the vulture of guilt will have to depart from our lives when it is clear that we are neither sick or wounded but healing and strong.

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