Thursday, 30 June 2011

lest I forget, creating our own life

And so my path I lay out before me, not exactly the yellow brick road sprinkled with aquamarine pixie dust of my mind but still some markers for me, of the nice and inspirational kind, and I have the ruby slippers although expressly forbidden to wear them outside the house unless going to a fancy dress party.  Am thinking I could wear them out late at night and pretend I am going to a fancy dress party. Ha I can indulge my whims at least in the privacy of my own world.

How it should have ended 

And yet this is how it went 

Remember to say no to the insanity 

and always carry a clog, soo soo eighties 

so much better

You can never predict the outcome, the debate raged for so long here: are our allegiances closer to Boston or Berlin  meanwhile the Chinese took over, hard work rewarded . Time to learn Mandarin I think.

just to remember what I used to listen to as a child, my favourite songs about work.  Oh God I was brainwashed by my mother, must use the same tactics on my own dear ones.  Thanks Mam.

Happy Tuesday . I am off to reorganize my life wish me good luck and send me happy thoughts. Will watch these inspirational work stuff videos when I need some amusement in my new job. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

and so the next chapter

And  so it happened

Today I put all my hard work into action.  I expressed myself in a situation that I would not have felt comfortable speaking out in previously.  I would have been too anxious to express myself.  I would have been too caught up in my old patterns.  I really could not have found the words before.  I let it all out, well not all of it, but just enough to be understood.  It is ok to be myself, today I was myself in a work environment for the first time in years.  I was very strange for me to be at work again, although still not back I am now ready to go back.  Just a few things to do and off I go again.  The irony of effectively being the junior again after years of being the boss is not lost on  me.  I am my healthiest in years, I have never felt so calm and creative and now I will be doing one of the least pressured jobs in the world.  (Hopefully) A straight forward nine to five job close to home.  I will be able to walk to work.  To come home for lunch, to meet people for coffee and integrate my life totally.  So I will be spared the stress of moving house, and I will not have to leave the beauty of the bay and strand and all the rest of the loveliness.  It is a pity that my daughter does not feel the same joy, for her this town is not a safe place and she is so disconnected since she has been in secondary school.  The kids are delighted that I am going back to work.  I have been budgeting tightly since the day I thought i would never be able to work again and now I am in a better financial state than I was at the beginning of the episode despite the drop in income.  Oh the things you can do when you have a clear head. For me the new job will be like going back 11 years.  It is that long since I moved here with great expectations of success, instead it was in fact the total opposite.  And what have I learned from all this I wonder.  I suppose I have learned that we have so little control over our external environment but we can always change ourselves and our interal environment.  In my inner world I  high up in the clouds and there my cloud is made of  pink fluff, I lie on a pink silk covered brocade steamer chair, propped up on cushions of infinite softness and fanned by gorgeous men, with oiled bodies and tiny white loin cloths, with fans made of ostrich feathers.  There is a beautiful oasis nearby filled with palm trees and a lake shaded by over hanging trees, a lake so turquoise it dazzles , when I get bored of sunning myself on the cloud I can glide off gently into the lake and swim for miles and miles in the lovely warm water, of course there is the sound of crickets singing and occasionally a thrush breaks into song.  When my episode began I bought a number of books to try to understand what was the matter with me.  I could not read at all for weeks and weeks as my mind was simply not able for it.  Eventually I started to read the ones with big writiong and simple and often simplistic ways of healing.  One book was on creative visualisation and how it helps us to relax.  One exercise was to create a sanctuary in your mind and that was the one I visualised.  I? evoke the feeling of being there , in my happy place ( very sick making I know but it works for me) and I can feel happy.  So I tried to visualise a life filled with ease, where I enjoy myself in a healthy way, where I am not under siege by the complaints of others and their selfish ways.  I want a life filled with joy and happiness and I now realise that it is up to me to create that for myself.  Today was the first time in many many years I felt truly myself.  I am free as a bird and loving it.  The biggest difficulty for me is to remember that feeling good is normal for many people I had been accustomed to feeling bad.  I got to a point where I could no longer remember what it was like to be happy and I believed that it was my destiny to remain like this forever.  But nothing is constant and as they say the only constant thing is change.  So now I will be working in a job that is all about change, where I will be instrumental in changing how many people will work for the foreseeable future.  Yesterday I did do some weird things and the rock balancing  got a tad out of hand, so so many lovely rocks on the strand and so many lovely butterflies to chase if you were so inclined.  It did serve one purpose thought;it totally absorbed my overactive mind into a single activity and my new job will do that.  It is potentially totally absorbing and rewarding.   I hope it will be as absorbing as the rock balancing and if not I can always take a quick run off down to the strand at tea beak or lunch break and balance a few rocks.  It will be so strange to have achieved what I thought I was getting 11 years ago.  It has taken that long for me to adjust to the realisation that things are not done with great speed here.  But manyana has finally arrived and i can go slowly enough now to see the pretty flowers on the way.  So finally I go quietly about my business out of the spot light and away from the glare of judgement.  I have never been comfortable with the public scrutiny my previous job brought with it and today I realised why.  So I can take that realisation and park it up until i need it again and enjoy the mentally challenging job that lies before me.  I am now strong again and so strong I am not afraid to show my vulnerability. 

Teflon coated  heart
rocks in equilibrium
soul at peace again

Goodnight and happy whatever day today is.

apologies for the lack of proof reading but I am now off to sleep and to dream sweet dreams of contentment and plan my reintegration into the real world , a world where i can still dream of the perfect bubble machine but earn enough to be able to build it :-)

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

zen and the art of rock balancing

Just as my life is at present a quest to find my equilibrium, so too is the art of rock balancing.  I got hooked on a recent trip to Sherkin Island.  While waiting for the ferry I came across a pile of rocks balanced on the strand and have been doing a few small mounds when the opportunity arises.  Today the urge was hard to resist, blue shies, warm sun and who knows when we will get that again.  Tomorrow my life might be different again so I will live today as if it is my last day of freedom.  Please play the black beauty vid while looking at these to feel the full effect of the sense of freedom I gained yesterday. 

the feel good factor

 Alternatively if your mood is less than happy perhaps the heron domestic would be more suited.  Herons really are the most cranky creatures, no wonder they are always alone, perhaps I am the reincarnation of a heron ?? ;-)

For the less joyful folk out there

My morning of rock balancing, moth chasing and talking to dogs.  

the strand

and so it begins, the search for the perfect pile of rocks
just before I knocked it over trying to photograph a Burnet moth

please don't fall

lovely shadows rocks still balanced

The art of signage
trying to find the hawk moth that I disturbed while poking in the big rocks for small rocks

found him instead so cute and fluffy 
saw the egret feather and then the lovely lovey moth

I think its a ghost moth

three colours white

dum dum da da da da da da dadum dum 

zenly does it

wish I could focus




not the giants causeway



really camouflaged


so so stripey and yet so circley

pretending to photograph butterflies, to avoid the couple examining the rock balance

ah yes so much less weird than balancing rocks;chasing butterflies 

ah the unexpected joy of those that found it,;what in the name of God is this, someone must have made it 

rock now smiling with joy, after being admired , fame finally 



time to go before someone I know sees me 

Paradise Regained

Fecking raining now, got to go make a quiche.  Ah the joys of poverty , organic lettuce and quiche and chips for lunch with home made lemon curd tarts for desert and balancing rocks for entertainment.  Time to go back to work I suppose so I can afford ready meals and expensive and useless crap again and contribute to the endless consumerism that we call modern life.  I hear the call of Micheal Noonan, get out and spent spend spend.  Now is not the time for a political rant after my zen morning.  

Happy Tuesday. 

Monday, 27 June 2011

St brigit cloak; nearing completion

Last week I decided that I could not return to work unless I had completed something, just to prove to myself I can complete things.  I decided that I would not return to work until I had finished the blanket.  Then as described by my daughter the blanket grew and grew overnight, and again the following night, and the following day(helped by frenzied crocheting obviously, am not that mad to think the elves did it).  So often we try to sabotage our efforts to do well and now I have surprised myself by supporting my efforts to get well.  I have turned a corner.  I have in fact retrained my brain into supporting me again.  For so long I could only see the negative and now maybe it OK to wear the rose tinted glasses I used to view the world through again.  Within us all there is the capacity to heal ourselves.  I am so glad and thankful that I am now healing.  Crocheting the blanket has given me many lessons, it has renewed my creativity, provided me with warmth, given me a goal, helped me reconnect with my mother, reminded me of the many parts of my life, inspired me to do more and taught me how to sometime wait for the inspiration to flow and not force it.  I have a few more rows to do before it is fully complete and then of course the edging, possibly something with reclaimed beads, not so sure that to do yet.  I found so many scraps of wool in the bags and bags my mother gave me.  They all have a story, there is even some wool which I think my granny used to crochet my older brother's teddy's coat.  There is wool from my favourite cardigan ever and my favorite jumper, from my daughters baby clothes, and possibly from my baby clothes.  I estimate that some of it is well over 50 years old.  My family keep lots of things in case they might have a use in the future.  I realise that I do too.  I have a large chest of drawers to store so much of the things that might come in useful in the future and have dumped out loads of things over the course of my illness.  Letting go of many things I do not need, objects as well as feelings, has been cathartic but I am glad that my mother and grandmother, and their relatives and friends who kept that wool did not, as it has created a most wonderful security blanket for me.  

I had an image of myself coming home from work in the coming winter in the middle of the floods and angry  complaints about the conditions of the roads and the lack of water.  I imagined a lull in the bad weather when a bright sunny frosty Sunday appeared and me lying out on my lovely sun lounger coccoooned in a wonderful colourful warm blanket enjoying a rest and peace and quite in the fresh air.  I also imagined my children bringing me the Sunday papers, tea and my favourite cheese on toast but that is perhaps a leap too far.  

I suppose I was looking for ways to deal with the stresses I had experienced in the past.  I sought my place where I don't have to worry.  I discussed that thought at a recent counselling session.  I wondered where that place was.  She looked at me with amazement and after I really really could not work it out she dragged the realisation out of me that the place where I don't have to worry is in my own mind.  We create our own heaven and hell within ourselves.  So since then I have been catching myself up as I start down the slippery slope of worry.  I am retraining myself, and in doing so, I will retrain my family to worry less.  So far I have helped my youngest to identify worrying thoughts, simply by making her aware of them.  I ask; Are you having a worrying thought?  And so it continues the trans-generational mind programming, expect, now I know I can reprograme myself so I can help them to undo the years of negative programming I have inflicted on them and release them from the years of self doubt that would invariably follow.  I have always wanted only happiness for my children and now I want more.  I wish them happiness but I now want them to have a full life and not just one thing.  Being happy does not mean being over indulged.  

I was lucky to be given such strong roots but I had my wings soundly clipped.   I have only given my children wings and no roots so they have no safe branch to land on in times of doubt and trouble.  I now combine it all into the roots and wings they need and tend to my own clipped wings.  No more pulling out my feathers in self disgust.  I love my favorite current therapy of thinking in ink as I am told it is not possible to lie while writing in free flow.  Today I succeeded in being myself, of expressing some of my fears, of dealing with the molehills that I had turned into mountains and  realised that I still have things to let go.  I walked mindfully to today's meeting, thinking about how different my life is from this time last year.  I feel lighter, although a stone heavier, and I feel free.  


Perspective: For those of a certain age Father Ted was a seminal work.  It described our world so well.  One of my favourite episodes is the one where they end up in the caravan.  Graham Norton was so so funny, clearly destined for great things even then, plus his accent was so like those I grew up with it made it extra funny.  The best bit for me was the lesson on perspective from Father Ted to Dougal.

Almost as good as the bit where he does the whole heaven and hell thing.  Have to find that clip.  Today I have to go to discuss my career options.  I was ok.  I woke up feeling well.  I had it in perspective but now the far away cows are near and not so small as the ones in the clip.  I think I am working myself up into a total panic.  I realised that I have made a very unhealthy association between certain things and panic.  The weather is that same as it was a few moments ago, the washing machine is still whirring away, nothing has changed in my external world.  It is all internal.  So why do we do this to ourselves? I am giving some thought to a return to work plan and a wellness plan and now I am on the next step of the journey. So again I need to whistle a happy tune and remind myself that I need to keep things on perspective.  


don't you just love her dress and his sexy bald head.

I have lots of tools to use in these situations the trick is to use them.   So here they are the tools from recovery Inc will help.  Currently panicking too much to even remember them.  Thinking in ink, Well I am using that right now, So I could use eft but too panicked for that, I could just get up and rush around cleaning and work off the adrenaline.  Probably the best thing and then I will find the list of recovery tools and find a good one to use.  Ah yes, endorse the effort.  the effort has been to get well enough to go from a crying gibbering wreck to being able to meet the personnel officer to discuss how best I can return to full paid employment in a way that I can be happy and give my best to my work.  Pat on the back to me.  We all know how to stay well and get well.  It is there inside us all.  I know how to stay well but the bad habit of allowing myself to indulge my negative thoughts and the buzz of the adrenaline rush of panic.  Why do I forget how to b e kind to myself and  why do I expect people to treat me badly.  Another tool, examine the evidence.  what evidence have I got that today will go badly.  None.  I am in a safe place here in my own little world.  Ah yes the best tool of all creative visualisation, and meditation.  I will get myself into my safe mindset and be brave and take the step forward into the unknown.  Last time I took a leap of faith it was rewarded.  I will centre myself, relax and create a welcome home for myself after the meeting.  How often have I talked others down and into the activity they procrasinate over.  

So just keep swimming. My theme tune for the kids when they want to give up. What do we do we swim swim swim.

So I am off to swim through the next three hours; and the final tool, from Self Help for the nerves: face things and float through it. there we go off to blow bubbles to remind myself to float. 

Happy Monday and send me happy thoughts please I need them.  Today I am going alone in to the breach again.  I am strong and I am capable and there is no such thing as cant. 

Friday, 24 June 2011

The place where the only buzz is the bees

I have always loved the buzz from the unhealthy stuff.  But through the course of my healing I have reconnected with the things I used to get a buzz from as a child, simple things like art, crafts, music, and nature.  

pay heed to the signs, and stop

As a child I spent hours poking in hedges, streams, ponds fields and the garden collecting things like snails, spiders, frogs, flowers, lady birds, and my favourite of all things grasshoppers. Ah the joys of chasing poor grasshoppers around the yard of my grandmothers.  Once the hens were no longer needed by my granny the grasshopper population exploded and I think they felt safe to live there.  But for a few weeks every summer and most Sundays I chased them around seeing how many I could catch.  My older brother and I raced to see how many we could catch each.  My teenage daughter recently kept a cockchafer as a pet (she named it Stanley) and it seemed to enjoy eating watermelon from her hand.  Unfortunately poor Stanley was forgotten about when she went to stay with friends for a few days and that was the end of Stanley. 

Caterpillar bonanza

much munch 

ladybird, ladybird , please don't fly away just yet

After my very bad week where I no longer wanted to get up and do anything I went back to basics;  the things that helped me get well.  Get up , make my bed, get my daughter to school , eat a nutritious breakfast, go for a walk , burn some essential oil, (i found geranium very soothing) clean the house, watch something inspirational on TV or the internet, do something creative, and have a bath a shower or go for a swim and go get my daughter from school.  If it worked once then I thought it will work again.  And it did , yippee.   I resisted the temptations, put safeguards on place to help me stay on the right track and told people how I felt and asked for help.  I was forced out of bed by x on a few days , wow theses a turn around and repaid him in kind by making him clean his house. so Ha.  Sometime I will get to the point here.  

The point is in the title.  I went for my morning walk yesterday and decided to go off the path a little.  I walked the same walk for months now and watched the flowers along the edge of the path come into bloom.  But for some unknown reason those in charge of the path decided to ruin my walk by spraying the wildflowers, weeds ? I think not.  They sprayed the yarrow I have been waiting to see and the lovely kidney vetch, they sprayed the remains of the cowslips and the rose bay willow herb and meadow sweet I have been looking forward to.  I must work harder on my forgiveness, that biodiversity training they got was clearly wasted on them.  Again back to the point.  

off the beaten track

I had to leave the familiar place of my normal morning walk to find the beauty I sought and was rewarded by finding a flower I have been looking for in many places for weeks now; a pink orchid.  It was not the mash orchid of my childhood that I had been looking for but instead I found a pyramidal orchid.  I spotted some six spotted brunet moths feasting on what I thought was red clover , on closer inspection i found it was in fact a lovely delicate pink orchid.  So beautiful and so unexpected.  

pyramidal orchid

beautiful pinkness

pyramidal orchid 

orchid with visitor

The walk yielded more lovelies that day, heaps of caterpillars, new salt loving flowers and a clump of what appeared to be fennel and the loveliest thing of all a tiny sunflower plant clearly escaped from a garden.  The area off the main path was way way more beautiful but full of nettles and briars,  It remained me of those trips through the country side watching out for nettles and I got to tramp through the little shingel bank, small salt marsh and large clump of blackberry bushes  finding more and more lovely butterflies, moths, flowers and caterpillars.  I even stopped to watch a large crab chase a smaller crab out from a small pool before he settled under a rock  clearly a grumpy grandfather crab needing a rest from baby sitting.  All in all a lovely walk and the only buzz there were the bees.  

horned yellow sea poppy 

only the bees buzz

sea milkwort

The beauty of the world can be its own reward. had I chosen the wrong path in my life last week I would have missed out on the beauty and joy of seeing the orchid and gone so far backwards that I might never have got out of the hole again.   What got me into this can keep me out of this, my determination to keep going.  Instead I need to replace my focus on unhealthy pleasure with healthy one, perhaps my obsessional nature needs to be focused on finding beauty in nature.  Who knows where that could lead. 

So go off today and look under those rocks, poke around in the streams and puddles, you might just find that which you seek.  I only ever saw one lizard ever wild in Ireland, one day when I was around 10 under a rock where I had been examining an ant colony.  Maybe next I need to search out lizards. but most of all bee yourself and bee happy. 

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

gently does it

I have been obsessing over a very unpleasing experience and a very thoughtless remark made to me by someone whom I have allowed treat me badly in the past.  I am well now and yet I found myself obsessing over the incident for over a full day.  I have tried many things to rid myself of the feelings, and the thought but to no avail.  Just now the thought popped into my head, go gently, walk slowly and remember to breath.  It was a phrase I picked up somewhere that I wrote in the front of my diary to act as a reminder to be kind to myself.  The remark was thoughtless and hurtful to me.  I had expected better from him.  WHY???? He has always behaved in a thoughtless and mean way to me so why did I expect better.  I must lower my expectations around his behavior and stop behaving as I do towards him.  I have been afraid of him for so long but I am no longer afraid.  I acknowledge that he treats me disrespectfully and I do not deserve that.  The lesson here for me is not to force the pace of my feelings and my wellness.  People will make remarks that hurt my feelings.  I might  become overwhelmed by my feelings when that happens.  The difference is now I can recognise when that happens and make efforts to release the bad feeling. So gently does it.  the positive lesson here also is that the people who witness the incident were equally shocked and made their shock known, so finally I accept that I have not been imagining that behavior.  I so often blame myself for other peoples bad behavior.  That is lesson 2 for today.  I am not responsible for how people behave ; they are.  Wow I feel like a total simpleton for carrying around all that hurt for a whole day.  But I endorse myself for only carrying it around for a day.  Today was spent cleaning and crocheting.  I used some green wool today that I thought was purple.  I remember a jumper from my childhood.  I remember that I was wearing it when something very memorable happened but today I realised that the jumper was not purple but ion fact green.  40 year old wool remained me that our memories are not always reliable and I released all the pain from that awful memory.  I have used up so much wool and it is amazing how old some of it is.  Some of it was scraps my granny had kept and given to my mother and now I have them.  They are probably 60years old some of them.  They have been stored under beds and in cupboards for years and now I am turning them into something beautiful; they will be part of the blanket that will remind me forever of this episode.  I crotcheted so much of my self into that blanket and it is nearing completion.  Any day I start to crochet I have no idea what colour or texture will appear, what tension I will crochet with, how much or how little, how straight and even it will be or how dementedly crooked.  Today I used wool that I really really did not think I would ever use but it blended well and totally changed the blanket.  It is no longer mostly purple and red it is lightening and getting paler.  So I feel that I will complete the blanket before I return to work.  I think that there are few issues left unresolved for me.  Now my focus will be to implement the changes I made in my home life to my work life and hopefully my work life will be as lovely and as fulfilling as my home life is now. 

Happy Thursday 

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Power ; sinnerwoman no more

Resisting temptation is easy when you want to.  Creating an environment for yourself so that you can easily resist is necessary when things are good and the bad days seem a long way off.  The day of weakness arrives to us all no matter how strong we think we are.  My week of weakness was last week.  I felt like a victim of the dalacks; resistance is futile, so I started down the slippery slope.  I started to indulge the urge.  But I had anticipated this and set myself out markers to remind myself that I would at some point in the future feel weak and unable to fully resist.  No longer a trail of breadcrumbs for me to follow that might be eaten by the crows but a lovey path of stepping stones through the quagmire of temptation.  Now I need to build me a large elevated walk way with handrails so that when I find a wobbly stepping stone I am not tempted to slip off into the lovely nothingness of mud.

Happy Sunday
Create your environment to make your life easy.  Remember to do things that benefit your long term happiness, instant gratification is just that; instant, and like cheap instant coffee not worth the bitter aftertaste of self disgust.

Yeah me , resistance was not futile but very beneficial. 

Saturday, 18 June 2011

I ll get by with a little help from my friends

So lesson one learned on staying well, seek help when you need it.  I sought it eventually and it was there.  Thanks to my friends who dragged me out of bed physically and mentally.  I had a wonderful day today.  I began the day with some eft chakra cleaning and it just snapped me out of it, followed by some vigorous house cleaning and then a bbq for my daughter and her friends.  So I am learning to get by with a little help from my friends finally.  Maybe I really can stay well. 

Friday, 17 June 2011

mad as a bag of mackerel up a tree in the heat

Been having a crazy few days, so tempted to engage in unhealthy activities , resisting is exhausting.  Been feeling as mad as a bag of mackerel up a tree in the heat.  My brain has been pinging around like a pin ball machine and it is all so exhausting.  I suppose I expected that when I got well things would magically be ok but no such luck.  I still have all the boring stuff to do , still have decisions to make and still have a demanding job to return to , still have all the rest of it .  I might have grown but I have not left those bad patterns behind fully yet.  I feel myself splitting again, fragmenting into the different parts again.  the small hairline cracks are so tempting to allow to open completely , would it be so bad to be a little bad again.  Would it be so bad to get a nice buzz, would it be so bad to have a little fun.  I know the answer of course but it is still tempting, why not just this once I wonder, would once not be ok , but we all know once is never enough.  So here I am at 1.30 am trying to get to grips with the new me.  Ahhhhhh maybe it would be ok to have some instant gratification for just this once.  I am now strong enough to admit my need for this and I ask people to help me through this time of temptation.  It is so easy to return to the familiar pleasure that do me no good in the long run.  i want to feel good about myself and the only way to do that is to think of my long term well being.  Doing the right thing was automatic for me for so long and then doing the wrong thing was.  Now I just want to find a way through this time were my life is in flux but my desire is to be good, well and happy.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

a demented mammy seeks the Goldilocks zone

I love my children very much.  I chose to have them both. During my episode I found caring for them difficult until I was catapulted back into being the responsible parent by some events in their lives.  Recently I thought things were getting back in focus a little and I started to go down again.  I could feel the pull of some of my unhealthy but fun habits.  I spoke to friends about it, but did not share the extent of my difficulties.  Through my last counselling session I found out that when I get stressed my coping mechanism is the absolute opposite of what it should be. Getting stressed and overwhelmed needs calm to balance it and not more stimulation, excitement and excess.  So now I am learning how to be a real responsible grown up, who can put aside the need for a quick buzz, who has learned to ask herself this question before doing anything rash ; how will this action contribute to my long term happiness?  I wish I had learned that sentence sooner.  That wonderful line came from the Dali Lamas book the Art of Happiness.  I stopped reading that book when the current crisis erupted.  I spent quite a bit of time on NLP, neurolinguistic programming, the basis of which is to reprogramme your brain.  I think I need to re-frame the idea of being in crisis in my life.  I could call it challenges, setbacks, or a multitude of other things but in the end it is just one of the ups and downs of life.  I spoke to my x about his particular type of depression and wondered why he never really sought help.  Now that he is well he has decided to accept his moods as part of his life, as he does not want to do the hard stuff that helps people recover fully.  I suppose I was at the point where I just expected to stay well indefinitely but as was pointed out to me by many people who have experienced such episodes staying well is a daily effort.  It is as the saying goes; treat your mental health like your dental health.  I suppose I need to work out not what brings me down but what keeps me up, what energises me.  I think it is better to get better at the things you are good at and focus on those so that the bad stuff is minimised.  I neglected my self care again recently and sought to find external sources of calm.  But the place where I belong is with myself and the place where I don't have to worry is in my own head.  So I am here, albeit typing this in my freshly dressed bed in my favourite kimono, with the lovely sea breeze coming in the window.  I am here by myself, responsible for my own future, my own feelings, my own actions.  I am in charge of my own life and don't I deserve the best life I can give me.  I would do it for others so why not myself.  I think that the Irish mammy syndrome, or the universal mammy syndrome of taking care of everything else instead of your self must change.  I have worked hard and overcome my episode and now I am in the maintenance zone.  I am seeking the Goldilocks zone; the place where everything is not perfect but just right.  

today I had my first ever trip to ikea, it was so not what I was expecting.  I had imagined swish and shiny but instead it was a bit like a giant supermarket.  Dear teenage daughter was with me and initially was very unimpressed but as we wandered around she got quite interested in the many a various things there.  There was so much choice that we came out with nothing.  But instead I came away with something priceless as day where my daughter communicated with me for the first time in ages.  She shared some of her concerns and I realised that my inability to communicate for so long has been at the forefront of my relationship problems on all levels.  It is so nice to be able to communicate again and to reestablish some of the links in my family life that were missing.  I was so caught up in the bad behavior that I forgot to see my beautiful child's needs and wants.  As parents we are the guide in our children's lives, we are responsible for their well being, their education, to help them achieve their dreams.  But what if we are too broken to see our own dreams anymore how can we be guides if we are lost ourselves.  I am now beginning again on life's journey.  This time I am in charge of my destination.  I have two little, well maybe not so little, helpers who need me to be strong and show them that the path through life has ups and down, twists and turns and that the journey is there to be enjoyed, molehills, mountains and all. 

So what now , what now again, I need a wellness programme for me and an antidote to stress.  Not the hitherto unhealthy ones but some really positive ways of destressing and recognising what my triggers are.  I was going to say this next part of my life will be the best yet but that is setting too high an expectation.  instead I will say , each day I will do only things that contribute to my well being and my long term happiness.  Each day I will take each moment as it comes,  and when an unexpected moment arrives I will greet it as I will the anticipated moment.  We joke in my family that my father died unexpectedly as expected.  Most of his forebarers died suddenly and we did not think he would be an exception.  He was as reliable in death as he was in life and died suddenly as expected.  It was a shock but one he prepared us for.  I wonder why I am so shocked when the bad stuff arrives in my life? Surely by now I should expect it.  So I welcome the good and the bad but of course not the ugly as beauty can be found in all things

Happy Thursday

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Granny squares and graves

Today's mad urge which I indulged was to visit my Great Aunts grave.  When the family debate where they want to be buried, I always chose this place.  The great debate was due mainly to the fact that my grandmother is buried in one of the loveliest graveyards in Ireland, well it has one of the best views and my fathers people are buried in a very old cemetery with one of the worst view.  The wonderful Irish marriage proposal -would you like to be buried with my people, would have got a resounding no if my father had asked my mother that question.  She always said that she would be going west to be buried and my dad could go to St Joseph's, but she would no way go there.  It was a bit odd that this was a topic of conversation but I later found out that my mother's father had been in charge of the grave book for that graveyard and it had been a great source of fascination for my mother.  We spent many a happy hour traipsing around graveyards as children with my mother looking for fancy gravestones admiring how well or miskept the graves were and I liked to collect the shiny pebbles off the graves, I know - weird child.  Today I got a mad notion to visit my intended final resting place as the street performance things I wanted to attend was cancelled due to rain.  So off we traipsed; three generations off in search of the grave.  I recalled its pleasing location, near the chapel not far from the road and pretty much in a nice location.  But when I got there I realised that Uncle Ned was buried there too.  Uncle Ned was famed in the family as the family adviser and a bit pompous.  I had always loved my great aunt but no way was I going in there with Uncle Ned, he would nag me endlessly about everything, as this is what I had heard.  He was born in 1814 so I imagine he would not entirely approve of modern living. 

An eternity with Ned

So we went off to check out other family graves, my grandparents, I never met either of them but my grand mother was supposed to be a very lovely woman.  OMG when I saw the view from that I wondered could I rest happily there for all eternity and decided most defiantly not.  

resting place without a view

So there the option  of going west to my granny's grave but my older brother has bagsed that spot.  My granny never liked to have us both visit at once so I suppose she would not want us in the same grave for all eternity with her either, just in case we started fighting, not sure we could exactly take turns.  So there it is, being divorced I have no family plot of my husband and so where is left, in with my parents, my mother is still alive so she has suggested I could go in with them but perhaps it is time to think of getting a plot here.  The local graveyard is extending.  It is absolutely beautiful, next to the sea and a very ancient monastic settlement.    Yet another certainty of life was shattered today, my childhood expectation of being buried with my great aunt. I realised that I need to have a place where the rest of my decedents can join me.  Not sure if we all want to crowd in with Uncle Ned.  

My granny from the west was of course a tough old lady in her own way, she lived to be almost one hundred and taught me many of the lessons of life.  Amazingly I found out that that dreaded phrase from my childhood, there's no such word as can't,  stemmed from her.  It got me thinking of all the influences that descend to us through our family beliefs.  Now I wish I had paid more attention to the endless and seemingly boring stories about the family from the older members while I was young.  I enjoyed my trip down memory lane yet again as my mother found even more scraps of wool from our lives as she continued to clear out her house.  Preparing for the next 30 years I think.  This year she is turning 70 and as longevity is in the family (apart from those who died suddenly and young) I think she is preparing for the next stage of her life.  The wool has been a great way for me to reconnect with memories and I am crocheting it into a very thick warm blanket by mixing many strands together- my daughter calls it the St Bridget blanket as it grows at such an alarming rate.  The effect is a bit weird but it binds together many memories.  Generally I only crochet in moments of stress and I crochet my bad feelings away.  I can remember the feelings I had with each stitch and hope that one day I can return to the pleasures of following a pattern and make some nice and unemotional pieces.  I had a lovely jacket crocheted for me when I was around 7 and my mother rooted it out today.  

at least its not blue

My grandmothers granny squares were crocheted much as she lived, using what ever resources she had, I had a matinee coat with blue as she had the wool left over fro my older brother, I laughed and wondered if my younger brother had any pink jumpers made with wool left over from me.  

So now I am without a final resting place, I could end up anywhere yet, but I know I dont want to spend eternity looking at a wall.  So now as I finally look forward to the rest of my life, a life filled with joy, no longer a totally dreary exercise in drudgery and duty, I wonder what the view from my final resting place will be.  I think it will be beautiful, almost paradise.