Wednesday, 30 November 2011

november photo scavanger hunt

Thanks again to Kathy for hosting the wonderful photo scavenger hunt. This months challenge was to find the list below. I did not complete the entire list this month, but as the ad says every little helps.  Might get time to update another time.

  • a lucky charm
  • a poppy
  • a self-portrait eeeek!!!!
  • comfort food
  • memorial
  • polka dots
  • silhouette
  • something purple
  • something that lights up
  • something you have made
  • staircase
  • warmth

A lucky find: a lucky charm

A Self Portrait

crow outside my office window in silhouette

The lights of Abbeyside reflected in the pond, the harbour lights up at night. 

The staircase I walk up to work( when the lift is broken!)

something that lights up

something else that lights up and creates a silhouette

I decided to give myself an extension of time on the photo hunt as I like to find the pictures unexpectedly.  I noticed this one as I was leaving work yesterday.  In fact almost all of this months photos are work related.  Views of where I work and views from my window.

Comfort food: Peppermint tea and colouring pencils, although strictly not food the tea is a great comfort in stressful moments at work.  And the colouring pencils are food for the soul.  Doing lots of colouring in at the moment.  

Something I made: my favourite drawing I ever did, over 20 years ago, oil bars on paper.  It was great fun to do.  I just realised I took a photo of it as I was photographing paintings that a few people I know had at a local exhibition.  Maybe time to start drawing again. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

smells like deer's ass-apologies to those easily offended for the use of the word ass.

Did you know that the body shop's white musk perfume smells like deer's a**.  Well it does apparently, to a dogs anyway.  To help me stay well  I work with scent a lot as well as colour and sound.  I tried out a perfume I have not used in years; white musk.  My friends dog was very taken with me.  I thought that it might be the smell of rabbit as I had spent a happy half hour with the rabbit on my lap, or perhaps I smelled of the dog, my x was over with her, but no I was told I smelled of deer's a**.  The dogs mammy is a qualified aromatherapist and musk is meant to replicate the smell of deer's a**.  

There is a point to this rameishing as always.  I used to ware this scent as a teenager.  Dogs used to follow me a lot, and I mean a lot.  My dad told me it was because they smelled the fear.  Once I actually had to hide in a phone box to escape, actually I had to ring my dad to rescue me, but that's another story.  But it was not just fear that they smelled but fear AND deer's a**.  

And here is the point: I lived for years believing that dogs could smell fear which only served to heighten my anxiety.  I ended up totally petrified of dogs until very recently and now I am free of that fear.  There was another answer to why the dogs followed me: they were attracted to my perfume.  I jumped to the conclusion that my father was right and now I know better.  This is like many trans-generational beliefs and behaviors, some are good some less so, and we need to let go of the ones that do not serve us well.

So today think about what is it that you believe to be true? Which of your deep down fears are you feeding with the wrong information.

Having an open mind and having self awareness and awareness of your environment and feelings helps you to stay well and thrive.  And thriving is my new goal.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

paradise almost found

I decided to close my first blog, cherryblossominbloom as I had largely recovered from the worst of the adjustment reaction.  I believe that a name is very important as it conveys so much about a thing.  Our own names are not a reflection of ourselves and our views but those of our parents or the people who name us.  My eldest daughter recently changed how she spells her name and I was called by my Irish name sinead for years in school, in fact there is a chap who used to call me Liz much to the confusion of everyone at the time.  Paradise almost found is a name that represented so much for me.  In my quality world I would live in a paradise like place, with lush plants surrounded by nature, lakes and the sea; full of colour and happiness.  I cant have it all but I can have a lot of it, I can have the happiness, the color nature (but not so much of the tropical stuff).  OK so I will not be living in a mansion with 5 swimming pools but I can create a better environment for myself with a little effort.  I realised that the place where I dont have to worry was within myself.  If we are OK in ourselves it is as close to paradise as a human can get.  

My life is far from perfect, but it is authentic, I am myself, I have learned to expressed my self and my feelings; for me that it the closest thing to paradise I can imagine.  The freedom to be as I am and to grow and develop as I decide myself, free for the voices of my past and filled with hope for the future. 

So today consider: I were really free to choose your life, would it be the one you are living, and if not what can you do about it.   Are you following your passions in life and if so well done.

Happy Sunday, I am off to do some housework not because I must but because I choose to.  

begin again

Saturday, 26 November 2011

false spring - real hope

At present the magnolia tree in my neighbors garden is coming into bud.  This is in stark contrast to this time last year which was the beginning of the most severe winter in decades and I do not remember it at all.  I was deep in the throws of a meltdown, burn out, nervous breakdown, major depressive incident, adjustment reaction, call it what ever you want but I was emotionally no longer able to cope with the demands of my life.
As I looked at the buds all full of hope and I realised the trees are just responding to triggers, mostly temperature.  I wondered if they will they use up all their energy coming into bud too soon and if they will bud again in a less energetic way in the real spring.  I chose to move here as spring arrives in Feburary two months earlier than it did up north.  I love being outdoors and although it stays bright for about another hour in the summer it did not compensate for the long winter and short summer hence the move.  Somewhere in the winding post there is a point.

The point is we all respond to triggers, things that cause us to behave in a particular way, some are genetic some are learned and some are developed.

So why not watch out for your triggers, awareness is a start.

Friday, 25 November 2011

the critical parent without:-staying with yourself

Transactional analysis is a marvelous tool.  I worked for a while on the critical parent within, but what about the critical parent without;-  Actual parents and those who communicate with me through the critical parent style.  I had a very bad moment recently where I fell , or perhaps dissolved into adapted child mode.  I abandoned myself and was no longer in my adult.  Wow it felt good letting fly, I lost all sense of my well practised recovery tools, my NLP training, my long year of self actualisation and my newly learned patience.  I let fly and behaved like a child, I had a good old fashioned rant.  I suppose I should be thankful that I managed to get back to my adult self within an hour of the incident, but wow did it take some work.  

Sometimes we slip back to bad ways, sometimes we let our emotions get the better of us.  When this happens I have been trained to ask myself what am I not doing for me? and in this case the answer was I was not exercising.  Then I would have burned off all those nasty stress hormones and not lapsed into the behavior of a cross child.  But there are lessons in everything.  The lesson for me in this case was to be more aware of how I react to peoples communication styles.  To be cautious in my dealing with others.  To learn new phrases and ways of dealing with those who communicate in critical parent mode,  and most important of all not to dwell on mishaps; to recover and move on quickly.  I must give myself a pat on the back for doing just that and hope that I spot it better then next time. 

So tonight I will reflect on what I am not doing for me and when I get the answer I will do it.

Happy Friday and happy thanksgiving to all my american friends out there. 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

living without anxiety

Overcoming trans-generational conditioning is the greatest achievement of my life.  I always hated the classic interview question; what is your greatest achievement.  It was one I was never comfortable with.  Since I overcame my conditioning to be modest and not boast I could list so many achievements.  Last week my mother came to stay as my children were ill.  I was more than a little stressed about it as she tends to criticise and I used to feel so inadequate.  I have learned to expect to feel well.

I have learned not to panic when confronted with a change of plan or difficult situation.  I have learned to accept my limitations.  I have learned to accept myself.  I watched my mother start to panic as I had no definite arrangements made for who would mind the children the day she was leaving.  I realised that it was just a small thing and arrangements could be made, there were options and there was no need to panic.  It is so nice to be back to my normal optimistic self.  The one who believed if you plan it it will happen, the one who believes that the world is full of possibilities, that there is a solution for everything.  Its nice to be well and its better to be better.

So today why not take the time to look at the things you do well, your greatest achievements and pat yourself on the back for your efforts. 

Friday, 18 November 2011

Crazy on the outside - Warning

Lots of people have crazy thoughts, which they deny or hide.  Many are just passing ideas like my tidal/wave/wind  powered desalination plant to supply water to the capital city and save our rivers, others are secret and dangerous ones which thankfully most people don't act on like murdering your wife and disposing of her body in a bath of acid.  Looking crazy on the outside does not mean that we are crazy on the inside.  For years I lived with serious anxiety, and fixed beliefs that did me no favours.  Now that I am well I don't feel the need to seem sane on the outside.  So many people look so normal and well adjusted but behind the facade they are seething with fear, depression, anxiety, and worse.

So maybe its OK for me to look a little crazy on the outside.  

Warning: The cerise pink ugg boots are just the start, its pink hair next and maybe even a zandra -rhodes-like kaleidoscopic of colour.  

She was my favourite designer as a child, my parents worried that I would go to art college and dye my hair pink.  But being crazy on the inside I conformed and studied engineering and got a proper job.  So now perhaps its time to go a little crazy on the outside just introduce a little balance.  

So today why not practise a little for your crazy old age and live as if not one is watching. 

Friday, 11 November 2011

current obsessions & new passions

Since I recovered from anxiety I have had to find new things to occupy my slightly obsessive mind.  I suppose it is a way of making use of that type of thinking and putting it towards more productive uses, well maybe not productive , perhaps more less unhealthy than the awful broken record, catastrophic thinking, whirring round of jumbles thoughts of old.  While I was unwell my obsession was on getting better, or perhaps a better way of putting it was my focus was on getting better.  First it was kinetic art and the endless designs for automatic bubble machines(still a work in progress) oh and bubbles, then it was meditation, rock balancing, going for walks, wild flower hunting, then crochet and now patchwork, the history of roads in the county.  

For me having hobbies again is like finding long lost friends.  I was so busy with work, commuting, and my children that I forgot about having a passion for something just for myself and my own fulfillment.  Jobs come and go, we are all indispensable (well almost) and children grow up and move on in their lives.  We all need something that is just about ourselves and who we are, someway of expressing our passions and something to show that we matter and have a place in the world.  For me for a long time work took that place.  I do enjoy looking at things I have helped to create.  I suppose when I was not working it was a very refreshing change to talk to someone new.  How often are we asked What do you do? It was very liberating not to be given a list of problems they needed help with or be given heaps of advise about what I should do in my job.  I am glad I relearned what it is to be a person in my own right.  I had become what I did not who I am.  I am glad I have a renewed passion for life.  It is nice to have a huge part of my mind devoted to thinking about nice things, places to go, new activities, instead of silly worries, anxious thoughts about my inadequacies.  I still have inadequacies but they are no longer my focus.  My focus is now on making my life easier and entirely more enjoyable than it was for those lost years.  I suppose like any newly recovered anything, whether you have survived cancer, alcoholism, depression, suicide, major illness, you look at life differently; with fresh eyes.  My fresh eyes see all sorts of beautiful things now.  Last week I noticed dew covered spiders webs for the first time in year.  They have always been there but I just didn't notice.

So today go out and look at the world around you with fresh eyes, enjoy your passions in life and have a lovely and relaxing weekend.  

Thursday, 10 November 2011

futher joys of boredom

Kids are sick, nanny is sick, i am bored and fed up.  Sometimes I forget to pace myself and then wham life reminds me to do that.  On the front page of my diary I wrote: slow down, breath, smile, just to remind myself to do just that.  I am fairly vigilant about not taking on too much but not taking on enough can be just as bad for me.  What is there to do now that it is almost winter and the pleasures of the long evenings are gone and the weather is yeuch.  Today was spent mostly yawning.  Yawning is important.  The first time I encounter a comment on yawning was from a very charming expat colleague who told me that yawning was a sign of fear or tiredness and wondered which it was, others say that it is releasing trapped emotions, so i decided to google it.  Ah yes the oracle google  but I could not get a wholly satisfactory answer.  I am concluding that it is lack of fresh air.  Or maybe it is just pure boredom of being cooped up inside all day working.  So I did what any demented mammy would do when faced with such a situation, order pink fluffy angora wool online and dream up designs of flower covered crochet blankets for her nearest and dearest and their pets, oh and look up weekend getaways to escape from her loving family.  Wish the fecking recession was over so I could squander the winter heating oil money on a trip away.  

On balance it is wonderful to be weighted down by the trivialities of life it means that I am no longer depressed, I am no longer anxious just plain old grumpy.  Sometimes we need a little nudge to realise that we do need to slow down and be bored just to appreciate how good life can be.  Maybe I was just getting to like beige too much.  One of the best colour experiences of my life was seeing Matisse's The Dance.  I love it that it appears in this video with one of my favourite childhood songs.  

Happy Thursday

Sunday, 6 November 2011

musical moods & the joys of beige

So much of our moods are created by our environment and our environment is created by our moods.  I am currently working on a restructuring project in my job and I had the realisation of how interlinked and iterative life is.  In the past I tried to separate out things and compartmentalise them.  Since I have learned to link things and allow all the parts of my life to flow together my life has improved immeasurably.  I like to love consciously and remember how much music helped my recovery.  

I had to do an exercise for my therapy and my counsellor told me to put on music while doing it.  I had no clue as to what to listen to.  I thought I did not like music.  As my counselling was alot of inner child work, I decided to find my favourite music from childhood.  This opened up lots of happy memories for me.  It was only then that I realised how much I love music.  I learned piano as a teenager, I played tin whistle as a child and have a life long ambition to play uillean pipes, which I will realise one day in the future.  A few weeks ago I hear some Debussy on the radio and took to listening to him.  I have always been attracted to the more pointy and definite music of Bach but recently I have learned to enjoy the beautifully overlapping tones in the music of Debussy.  It is beautifully layered and a beautiful accompaniment to patchwork and sewing.  I have finally started work on my patchwork covers for the sofa.  Most of my furniture is cast off from my family.  My brother gave me a sofa which I never felt that comfortable on until I realise it was the wrong colour and too high.  So I sawed a few inches off the legs, not very well but average enough, and now I am making a lovely study in beige patchwork to cover it.  Beige is a colour I looked down on for so long.  Being a very black and white person with few shade of grey in my opinions in the past beige was not a colour I appreciated, like the music of Debussy it is subtly beautiful and so easy on the eye.  It creates a sense of harmony in any room and is a great backdrop to the more lurid colours I love.  

Maybe this is a metaphor for life, in order to enjoy the extremes there needs to be an underlying sense of calm, black stone cherry and cerise with a back drop of Debussy and beige.  

Saturday, 5 November 2011


I logged in today to write about intuition and ended up reading loads of blogs.  I am so glad I found blogs.  Thanks everyone for your musings.  We all have something valuable to contribute to the world and now I seek to find value in others since I learned to value myself.  I have been pleasantly rewarded by having my view of the world expanded and learning that the world is generally an interesting and wonderful place.

Happy thoughts to you all.

As an aside I decided to paint the kitchen green and this is wonderful music to paint to on a sunny autumn day.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

October photo scavenger hunt

Thanks to Kathy at  postcards from the pp for this lovely opportunity to scavenge some photos.  As always it was fun to look through the months photos to see what I got and find suitable ones.  Boy wa it difficult this month.  I did not take quite so many photos this month as previous ones as I am finally back at work full-time and I have been too much of a wimp to brave the drizzle but I managed to find the last one; the black cat when I was unearthing some Halloween stuff today.  I thought that the opportunity to photograph a black cat would never appear.

black cat

Candlelit: Nothing is cosier than a lovely warm fire and the candlelight.  This was the first fire of the autumn, and the last of the Christmas candles from last Christmas.  Smell played a huge part in my recovery as it is one of our most basic senses.  Apparently it links into the most primitive part of the brain.  It can trigger lovely memories and I use aromatherapy oils quite alot now to enhance my moods. 

Crunchy leaves:  These are my favourite trees as I spent quite a lot of time looking out the window.  The leaves have all fallen off the bitch trees but there are some beautiful crunchy ones waiting to fall off the horse chestnut and the cherry blossom.  I love walking down the track crunching through the leaves but this year it is dug up being widened into a cycleway.  I have the joys of next Autumn to look forward to and a lovely cycle track straight across the road.

Pumpkin: I took my younger daughter and her friends to a holloween event in the local museam.  It was fun for them and I got to wander around looking at my favourite maps.  

Heritage: This is my favourite old map.  Part of my job when I was younger was to go to the British museam and look up old maps to find the geotechnical history of a place.  I would be looking for streams that changed their course, and any other relevant feature, eg  filled in ground or reclaimed land.  This map is by Charles Smith and his accompanying book is a wonderful history of the area. 

Witch's hat: made by my favourite 6 year old at the halloween event at the museum.

Sunset & Fog: It was only when I went to look through my photos that I realised I had a shot of Tramore from the Saleens  at sunset and in the fog.  It really is a now you see it now you don't moment.  I think these two were taken around three weeks apart and probably in almost the exact same spot.  This is a wonderful location for birdwatching if you are so inclined and a place I love to stop at and just unwind.  

Graffiti: I happened across this one day while I was particularly grumpy on my daily walk.  You gotta smile at this. 

 River: Well more of a stream but one of the few river pictures I took this month.  I got particularly lost on my way back from Sleady while dropping my daughter to her friend and realised I was going north instead of south when I drove part this grotto.  Loads of these grottos were built in 1954, the marian year, dedicated to our lady.  this is a particularly spooky one as it is in a very damp and shaded area.

Eerie: Although I do find the grotto a little eerie, I have always found the particular style of 17th century castles very eerie.  Sleady castle is one of those.  It was apparently built by a chieften for his wife in an attempt to win her back but in the end it was taken from them in the wars of the 1640s.  Not being a great historian I dont know how much of that is true.  Suffices to say my 11 year old told me the story. Btw I should have turned left instead of right at the castle.

Golden: Last but not least I caught this amazingly golden glow one morning on the way to work.  I had never seen such a weird glow over the harbour before so I stopped to take some photos of it. It was quite surreal.