Saturday, 3 December 2011


The recent gales had me transfixed staring at the trees in my garden bending and waving, twisting and straining.
Bundled up in my warmest clothes I sat outside gazing at the 40ft fir tree. The branches were frantic. Lashing around in every direction my first impression was that the tree trunk was solid and motionless. The longer I sat observing the more detail I noticed, and my first impression was not right. As gust upon gust battered the tree the branches reacted dramatically, while the trunk moved gently and gracefully. No drama, no sudden reaction just a smooth, benign response, to a potentially dangerous gale.

Our core (bodymind) would like us to remember that we too can have that still, but not unmoving capacity of the tree trunk. We don't have to get involved in the reactionary dance of those around us who may care more about how impressively they can "flap" and less about how still they can be when all around is in apparent chaos.

"Within you there is stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself." - Hermann Hesse

"It is the stillness that will save and transform the world." - Eckhart Tolle

Thursday, 13 October 2011

I'll have peace please, with a side dish of contentment!

I still consider being able to travel overseas as a privilege, everytime I travel though I seem to leave a little piece of myself there. I both yearn and dread leaving home as I know the effect it has on me....simultaneously exciting and unsettling. I can imagine myself in that "new" location, making friends, creating a life for myself and my family. Leaving some family behind as they grow more independent making their own way in life, saying farewell to friends with a sadness in my heart as I leave all that is familiar, juxtaposed with the joy of a new chapter in my life - what turmoil - and all created in my own busy headmind!

Ironically, yearning for peace and contentment leaves me in a constant state of flux, unsettled and wondering what's next? Striving to find something that I know can only be found within oneself. I have a framed embroidery hanging on my kitchen wall, done in 1993 by my friend Linda, she stitched one of my favourite quotes by German philosopher, Schopenheur who wrote,

"True peace of mind and complete tranquility are only to be found in solitude."

I'm sure we've all experienced times when we have been walking somewhere beautiful, and as our awareness falls on the beautiful surroundings we momentarily experience inner peace. This happens when we escape the busy headmind chatter, which can at times feel relentless.

When I experience inner peace for only one minute, then I know I have the capacity to extend that to two minutes, then five, then ten and with practise an hour may have passed.

Peace and contentment are within the reach of every single one of us. Perhaps travelling can unsettle us, highlighting areas we wish were different at home. However within our daily lives, from washing the dishes mindfully, to spending time outside with nature, we can tap into that essential peaceful core that exists within each and every one of us, wherever you happen to be!

"The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart." - Julien Green

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Turning the other cheek

My work and personal life have enabled me to both hear and witness life in full glorious (and sometimes not so glorious) technicolour. The hurt and pain experienced by those I work with often comes from their feeling let down, shocked, or shattered by the actions of someone close to them. Perhaps an accumulation of them turning the other cheek finally takes it's toll - their bodymind no longer allowing them to ignore outrageous, or just plain unacceptable behaviour towards them, and this "pile up" of held emotions results in de-pression, anxiety, IBS or non-specific pain.

Our expectations from those people closest to us are often created in our own heads, often as a result of what society dictates is the "norm" to be expected from a family member, colleague or boss. So when that publicly acceptable "norm" doesn't match what is being displayed in front of us we often come up with headmind justifications why this is happening. "Oh never mind....he was just having a bad day, it'll have blown over tomorrow!" or, "Yes but she's just venting at me because she knows I won't react, we all need to vent!"

It's very noble to turn the other cheek and to quickly be able to forgive someone for being hurtful, rude or just plain unkind, however there also comes a time when you should (and need to in fact) draw a line under a relationship where the person has become habitual in putting you down, criticising or disrespecting you.

Honour yourself, notice how you feel - of course there may be a sense of sadness when you end a relationship, but if the dynamics of your relationship are bully and victim, or demoralizer and enabler be your own friend and lovingly move away from that relationship.

"To love someone is to love their spirit - their essence. To seek to know them at their deepest level. To love what they love and to accept them fully for who they are." - Lowell Greenberg

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Seeing what you want to.

On Thursday evening I left Shetland on the last flight, as usual feeling a bit heavy hearted I plonked myself down on my seat and waited for the propellers to start turning, and the stewardess to start her spiel. It was a beautiful sunny evening, only 12 of us were on board, and I felt myself starting to unwind as the engines started to whirr. Taking off, looking down at the turquoise sea and rugged edges of Sumburgh head I turned my head and noticed that as the sun glinted off the propeller it made the exact shape of Alfred Hitchcock's trademark silhouette! The more I stared the more detail I could spot. The wisps of his hair, the distinctive chubby cheeks. It kept me transfixed for most of the journey to Aberdeen. Only when we travelled through some clouds on our descent did Alfred disappear and I was left staring glumly at the propeller simply doing its job.
Not for the first time in my life I was reminded that I can see whatever I want to see. This is not always the best trait! Trusting easily the person who appears kindly. Their smiling - therefore they must be good! Out walking on the hills desperate to spot a deer, I can see hundreds before I realise they're tree stumps. Often the ability to see what we want is harmless enough, funny in fact, but there will be times when, before we fall idly into believing what we see, we should practise noticing what that sight feels like. Engaging our heads and our body's can ensure we keep safe, without losing our creativity and sense of humour.
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." - Henry David Thoreau
" Don't be afraid to see what you see." - Ronald Reagan

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Growing into you.

I planted a load of wild flower seeds in April, they were so tiny I almost lost them in the creases of the palm of my hand! Yesterday I was weeding around the area where they're growing, they now stand about a 12inches high , swaying and moving in the breeze with elegant bends and curtsies, I marvelled at their size.

When my cousin was staying she planted some radish seeds, and 2 days ago I picked four of them to have in a salad, beautiful red, crisp and spicy, planted and tended to and now ripe and ready to eat.

As I planted the wild flower seeds I knew what to expect...the picture on the packet told me what varieties were in there. But I have no concept really on what the seeds go through to become the beautiful adult plants they are now. When cousin Jo-Ann put the radish seeds in the ground I didn't wait and watch expecting them to grow into onions. If I wanted onions I should have planted onions.

Sometimes we try to mould ourselves to be like others, to please them or perhaps we believe if we don't agree or go along with what they want from us we'll be rejected.

I'd rather be rejected by a person that have my bodymind reject me! My body is far more important, my health far more crucial than someone who wants me to ignore my core essence.

Your bodymind wants you to be authentic! Be the person you were born to be - don't ignore the little "nudges" you get, the insights into what you might like to do differently, pay attention! If someone is telling you to be something else, something that takes you away from your truth -STOP! Notice how your body feels around this person, notice how the body feels when this person is not with you. For your own life's sake be honest with yourself about what you want, and who you want to be in the world. When you start living authentically you'll start to attract the right people into your life and opportunities will present themselves to you that give you the chance to be who you know you are!

"It takes courage to grow and become who you really are." - E.E Cummings

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Making comparisons

While walking on a remote track on the island of Jura I came across the ruins of a cottage. The gable ends of the house stood, regally with fireplaces at each end. The walls stood less than half their original height, an isolated reminder of a life long forgotten.

On this walk the rain was falling (driving?) horizontally with gale force winds battering into my face and body, I felt invigorated!

It didn't matter as I was well wrapped up, but thinking of the crofters that once inhabited this barren place I thought about the clothing they had. Deer skins, sheep wool, leather from cattle - no Rab or North Face back then!

Mortality rate was high of course but were they made of stronger stuff? Is it impossible to think about living that way now because of all the comforts we have grown so used to having? They worked hard on the land to provide food for their families, and to protect themselves from the harsh environment.

Living in such a rural location I imagine they didn't have a lot of opportunity to compare their lives with others.

It was that thought that made me wonder about the frustrations and depressions some feel today. Is part of it because we compare our lives with that of our neighbours and disgruntlement sets in? Wanting more, expecting to be able to match what others have. So often this results in huge debts being run up and yet there is always more to strive for...more "stuff", more material bit and pieces as if gaining those will somehow make our life complete.

STOP!!! Just for a moment do a reality check on the life you have. There's nothing wrong with wanting to gain a better quality to your life, but pay attention to what your head is telling you "quality" guess is your body may have a different idea!

It wants you to have the best quality of life, which to bodymind means quite simply the fundamentals of life! Without those foundations everything can feel out of balance. So keep in touch with friends, go out into nature and spend time outside of your home, eat well, rest and close your eyes to the media and society's bombardment that you need more.

"A wise man looks upon men as he does on horses; all their comparisons of title, wealth, and place, he consider but as harness." - Robert Cecil

Friday, 3 June 2011

Home is where the heart is.

It's not news to those who know me that I love Scotland..the land, the people, the climate (amazingly, I don't mind the weird variants and wet springs, summers, autumns and winters) and yet after 3 years in my renovated house in a lovely Angus village I'm getting ready to consider a move back to Kirriemuir, just 10 miles from where I live now.
I moved to school in Kirriemuir when I was in primary 3, making friends I still have today. Now, as my son approaches the age to start high school I have a yearning to move back so he can go to the school his sisters and I attended.

The familiarity of the streets, the faces of the locals, though often I don't know their names, all give me a sense of comfort and reassurance that this is the place I want to settle.

I've moved and moved and moved again, living in a variety of locations as far north as Morayshire and as far south as Wiltshire, England - and here I am with my heart set on heading back to the home I left at 17years old.

I remember the anger I projected onto this town as a teenager. It was with a spring in my step I left to move to Moray where I'd been accepted to do my nurse training, a place I'd never visited, a place with unknown faces, and unknown streets.

It was not Kirriemuir's fault that I had some sad and bad memories! All my teenage angst projected onto a town whose red sandstone buildings I'd leant against and laughed with friends, the texture of the dry, dimpled stone so, so familiar.

And an adult with a wealth of life experience I recognise the beauty of the familiarity my old town offers. If only my head and body had been aligned way back then I may not have run away 3hours north, I may have gone temporarily but come back to the place that I know so well without that bitterness in my heart.

So as the house hunting goes on I feel I have now made my peace with an old acquaintance called Kirriemuir.

"Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to." - John Ed Pearce.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Nature loves a cyclist!

I'm really enjoying the spring weather and getting out on my bike!

Cycling along the roads I noticed nature wrapping itself around me, as if approving of my mode of transport.

A wren bobbed along ahead of me for a bit, then a hare, all legs, ears and tendons ran alongside then leapt over the ditch then cleared the fence and off it strode in giant leaps across the field.

It's so much easier to feel part of nature when one is silently pedalling alongside.

A sparrow hawk watched from a telegraph pole, only allowing me to get two pole lengths from him before elegantly diving off and settling again a safe distance from me.

In a newly ploughed field a plumped up buzzard jumped around like an over weight court judge trying to regain order in a rowdy courtroom.

Every way I looked something caught my eye and warmed my heart.

Why do we separate ourselves from all that lives around and with us?

Are we too busy? Living our lives too fast?

We live as one small part in a world full of other animals, plants and wildlife. How healing it is to spend some time simply observing that I am just one tiny person in an immense natural world.

"Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher." - William Wordsworth