Thursday, 28 November 2013

Documenting life

More time has passed and I don't seem to have documented any of it in this blog. I think I wrote at some point over the Easter/Summer period that my lack of writing was due to the living of life, as opposed to the writing of life. At this point, I think the same can be applied again. Life is very much in full motion - it consists of work, travel, study, and sleep. My diary pages are not big enough any more, and I seem to have completely lost the ability to summon the energy to function without the generous help of at least two caffeine based beverages in the morning. In addition, it's been five days since I saw my house or car in daylight.

It's all good though. Daylight (and sleep) are overrated. I started the new research job this week, met a new client and a new student, and took on two private tutoring students. As much as I'm acutely aware that time is ever of the essence, I am equally (if not more) aware that I am the one who gets to fill my time. It seems that time is filling out rather nicely. Last year I thought that writing a dissertation and final assignments whilst modelling and completing placement hours was the most busy both my email inboxes and diary had ever been. I had no idea what was to come. I still have no idea really.... I'm always curious. Who knows where this will all lead to. I doubt I will ever reach that all glorious moment of 'the end', but I do suspect that I will keep on keeping on - hopefully taking some energy with me too.

The sun rise, as posted earlier, is a very regular morning view for me now..

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Anyone who knows me fairly well knows that I am indeed a great sun worshipper. Not the kind of worshipper who cannot be seen in the public domain without a tan; I doubt that those value systems would bode well with my fair freckled skin and ginger hair. I am the kind of worshipper who almost falls in love with the light, the power, and the freedom of the sun. It's the greatest natural anti depressant I know of, and it holds such great power in creating the most beautiful views of the land and sky.

Needless to say, words failed me when I realised that my new commute means that my drive into York in the morning means that I will be driving right into the sun as it rises, and again back into the sun when it sets on my way back home. Both of which provides me with a front seat view of the greatest natural 'show' I think I've ever witnessed; the sunrise and sunset. Perhaps I'm just focusing on the positives of this rather lengthy drive, but quite honestly, these views and this feeling is something that will enable me to get out of bed each morning.

Graduation day

Friday afternoon last week saw all the graduating students of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences attend the graduation ceremony at York Minster. I have to admit to not allowing myself much time to prepare - both my outfit, and my mental preparations. Buying a new car and moving house, amongst a multitude of other things meant that my mind was noticeably preoccupied and my body was undeniably exhausted. So when the moment hit me on the day, (as most of the time they do!) it really hit. It was such a wonderful day of family, friends, and celebration (in the form of much enjoyed wine, mainly!). Despite having my gown fall off my shoulders every time I moved, and the rather spine chilling distinct lack of central heating in the Minster, it was a beautiful ceremony. 

As my family and I were walking over to the University in the morning to collect gowns and eat cake, my Mother said to me that it would be nice to meet the people who've been part of my life for three years, and some who will continue to be part of it for the next three years. She asked if she'd meet my friends and see the University and meet my lecturers and tutors. The answer to all her questions was 'yes'. And I realised that this is a part of my life that continues to be no longer just a small part, but a huge significant focus of my life, and I was introducing my family to not only my life but to some of the most inspirational people who've played an invaluable and integral role in my learning and my career development. I am a great believer (mainly based on experience) in that our greatest learning tools are the people around us. The people who stand next to us in the queue for morning coffee, the people who sit next to us in lectures and take notes and contribute to discussion. And of course the people who stand in front of us and share their expertise and knowledge. It was a real privilege to celebrate not only my own achievement, but the achievements of the group, and to celebrate that with each individual who has played a role in my learning and process.

I am now hopeful for my MA graduation... (and perhaps even a PhD)...

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Staring at the sun: Stereophonics road tripping

This past week has given me so many positive things and I am now left on a Saturday evening, completely and utterly exhausted. It's not the kind of exhaustion that comes with being depressed though, this is the good kind. The kind that you feel when life has been so good to you that tiredness is combined with happiness. It's a much nicer feeling knowing that it's not permanent; I'll feel much more human as soon as I've had something resembling more than a few hours sleep. It's the kind of feeling you get after spending time with the people you care about, attending your graduation ceremony, being offered exciting jobs, moving house, etc...

For today though, I shall just share some pictures of our mid-week road trip to Manchester to see the Stereophonics - my birthday gift finally came around! It was something quite incredible.. Kelly Jones, the lead singer, has a voice that I could listen to all day and all night long. It was a really breath taking gig, made even better when Sir Tom Jones made an appearance to perform with the band. It was the best possible way to spend a pre-graduation night - a lovely dinner, great wine, and the Stereophonics, not to mention some beautiful views of the sun over the hills as we drove over.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The whole

'The whole is always more than, and different to the sum of its parts.'

Very similar to a well known Aristotle quote, but these words come from a Makewen book which illustrates Gestalt theory and psychotherapy (Gestalt meaning 'the whole')

I have been meaning to put these words in this blog for about a week now but haven't quite found the words (or time!) to do justice to their meaning. It's a philosophical way of thinking about human beings in a similar process to that of science, systems, and art. As human beings, there is a quality and essence associated with who we are. We cannot be reduced to our components; something more emerges when viewed as a whole. When human beings are viewed from this perspective, I like that it makes it near impossible to pathologise. We are always more than a heart, a body, and a soul. We are more than a list of defined characteristics and personality traits. We are more than our past and present experiences. We are more than our struggles and our triumphs. We are more than the clothes we wear and the shoes we put on our feet. We are more than the house we occupy, the surname we have, and the jobs we acquire. We are more than than all of our parts put together. We are more than we realise.

I like to read these words, not only because I'm a student and trainee therapist with a somewhat extensive reading list! But also because they have meaning in a bigger picture.

Lists and life

I do believe that life is a balancing act which requires great skill and expertise. I do not believe that we ever really truly learn the art of getting the balance 'just right' because such a thing probably doesn't exist. Firstly, the 'right' balance will look different to each and every one of us. Secondly, the familiar irony is that we often don't realise in the moment the great lessons that hindsight can teach. This isn't a defeatist way of thinking, it's quite the opposite; it's more of an acceptance that actually things don't always go to plan and when that happens, it's fine. The world still keeps turning round, the clock still ticks, and life goes on. Life is unpredictable and always in motion, and for the most part, life will catch you off-guard just to keep you on your toes. It is anything but simple.

Today I caught myself sat in a lecture caught up in such a fluid motion of thought and something was said which made me stop. It reminded me of a memorable conversation I had last week which went somewhere along the lines of taking life too seriously. Sometimes it's all part and parcel of the 'balance'. It's all to easy to get caught up in lists and goals and expectations. When really, when long term (and short term) benefits are considered, perhaps some aspects of life are best taken not too seriously at all.

This being said, my to do list is still very much impending and the majority of tomorrow afternoon shall be spent making some very satisfying ticks. I shall, however, approach this list with a little less seriousness and a little more heart and soul.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Remember remember..

Amongst the rollercoaster of activities and happenings of this week, the 5th of November has also graced us with its fireworks  and bonfire delights. This is the night of the year where the majority of us typically dress ourselves head to toe in coats, hats, scarfs, and Wellington boots. Armed with sparklers and cameras we venture out in the dark to a bonfire where we stand, eat toffee apples, and watch an almighty firework display. All in the name of Guy Fawkes.

Well, it wasn't quite that exciting but it was very lovely nonetheless. But I did break what's become my usual tradition of attending the Harrogate stray bonfire and chose to experience Roundhay Park in Leeds instead. Most definitely impressed. I also was pleased to take a couple of pictures of the impressive fire and then put my phone back in my coat pocket and thoroughly enjoyed the firework display.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Autumnal views

It's most definitely Autumn; darker mornings, darker evenings, colder temperatures, and so on... But it's not quite so bad. I know I'm a great sun junkie. I always advocate the power of the sun in that it creates such beautiful sights and it is so unique to our location and the time of the year. It's what I love about more Eastern locations - the sun is quite spectacular in the sky, especially when it rises and falls. And now we're well in the middle of Autumnal weather and activities, the sun is giving a different light to the world. I stopped for a while when I was on my run this morning to take a few pictures.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Birthdays, Birdy, and sisters.

It's Saturday evening and I opted out of a stormy night outdoors at a bonfire and fireworks night in my hometown of Harrogate in favour of a night in watching standard Saturday night television alone in my house in York instead.

Not so long ago I posted a quote on my Instagram which said 'stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive.' - and this week I am most definitely glad to be living. I had a good morning at my placement and I worked a lot as usual.. But I made the time for so much more than just work and placement. I spent some time with my two beautiful sisters, which is a very rare occurrence. We went on a mid-week road trip to Manchester together and watched Birdy perform with her band. I really adore Birdy's music and the entire gig was just breathtaking from start to finish. The venue was only small but that's what made it so special. It was just us, the music, the lighting, and the atmosphere. There's something about the combination of lighting and live music that really brings life alive. Something changes and it's no longer just music that you've come to see; it's much much more. The evening also bought me together with the lovely soul, Sam who I finally met in person. Nights like that remind me how very small the country really is, and how very precious our connections with people really are.

This week was also Halloween (therefore let the pumpkin carving commence...) the grand six month anniversary of my relationship with my boyfriend, and he also reached the grand (old) age of twenty five. Therefore there were gifts, cards, good food, and good wine involved.

Life isn't static - it's forever in motion. Sometimes I struggle to keep up with the pace and other times I wish more than anything that the pace would catch up with me. I think the change of pace is always a good thing - it's good not to stay for too long comfortably coasting on the middle lane. Life is always moving and changing.. November shall be no different to the rest - I move house, I get a new car, I graduate... It's certainly off to a grand start.