Friday, 27 June 2014


Another week gone and I am frantically trying to wrap up everything I need to do in the country before I leave next week. Well, perhaps frantically is not the right word, but it does feel that way sometimes. In the same way that it can feel like the universe conspires for or against us, and in the same way lightness breeds lightness and darkness breeds even more darkness.

After research interviews and meetings and a lot of driving and writing and emails, clients, phone calls, supervision meetings, the list goes on... I am ready to wrap up the last of my assignment and leave the country for a while to warmer climates, beautiful company, and hopefully some wonderful jobs. This weekend will be a battle with my perfectionism as I tackle the editing down of thousands and thousands of words but I am hopeful that it is a battle I can win. It will probably be a very lonely and solitary weekend - me, my computer, and my coffee mug! However, the loneliness has been counterbalanced with each human being I have encountered this week. When you allow yourself to open up and be touched by the story of another, a small part of your own story alters in the process. This is why I love the work that I do; I am never a stagnant human being. I am never unmoved. My existence is not within a confined space

A little adventure goes a very long way...

Friday, 20 June 2014

Mid-June update: Travel and time

A mid-June update seems most appropriate for the title of this post. I am in disbelief that we have reached the 20th of June already. I actually looked in my diary last night for a date and I shocked myself by thinking I was looking at the wrong month when I saw June. I then realised that it is indeed June. We are in June. June is now. Do we ever stop looking at the time and being surprised at the slow or fast passing of it? Do we ever stop looking at the calender at the day of the week and feel in wonder at the mysteriousness of the illusion of one day disguised as the next? Convinced we are living in tomorrow when actually it's yesterday. Do we ever stop being surprised at how quickly the years pass by as the numbers change from one to the next? That moment of writing the date and feeling that you are writing as if you have travelled to the future and it's not really the year 2014, it is in fact still 1997 and you're still dancing to the Spice Girls dressing up for the school disco and naively applying your best friend's mum's lipstick with all the elegance and grace a pre-adolescent child can muster, feeling so grown-up, mischievous and alive that it feels that time will stop forever, but time is not even a problem, because you will live forever. You have not yet experienced the race or the cruelness of time.

My supervisor must have thought me a little insane as my internal conversation was voiced on the phone. Anyway, the point is, is that we are over half way through June and so much is happening so very quickly. If I were to write this post a couple of days ago, I would have written something entirely different. I might have written something about the frustrations of waiting; waiting for essays to be marked, waiting for phone calls, emails, confirmations... But the frustration and impatience never lasts for long. Nothing lasts forever. I am fortunate really, that my life is anything but predictable and monotonous. It teaches me that no amount of preparation will ever truly prepare me, so I might as well fill time with the things that matter and trust that I will do what I need to do. It all sounds ever so vague, but I am following my own train of thought here. It does not often make sense at 1.30am on a Friday morning!

The past couple of weeks have seen my last students (but one) disappear from my schedule now their exams are finished. We said our goodbyes and good lucks, and I now have a little more time in the evenings. I have been able to see a couple of friends, and go to the theatre and dinner again, this time as a birthday treat for my sister. In addition, I have been able to fill with some evenings with my love for running and chasing sun sets for the first time in five months. I had been feeling so tired, probably due to actual physical and mental tiredness, but I know that exercise does help, and it is sad when life gets so busy that there is no time left in the week for a short 30 minute run. Fortunately now my only commitments are to my one student, my clients, my research, and my last assignment, I do have some time to focus on my fitness. It has been surprisingly easy on my body to get back into the swing of things too. This being said, my commitments are still somewhat wide-spread!

I will be taking a month out of the country in Barcelona very soon - to model and to take some research with me so I can continue with work even though I'll be out of the country. England is beautiful, but I am ready to take flight for a short while and embrace Spanish living. It is easy to conclude that the universe is providing some very good things this week; good and vast in quantity. I have a lot to do before leaving for Spain; we have a busy week or so of research interviews and I have a ridiculously sizable client practice file to complete and submit before I leave, and clients and students to see and temporarily say goodbye too. The next of our research interviews is tomorrow morning, and it is something quite special to be meeting people and listening to stories that matter. Perhaps stories that have not been shared before, or stories that only make sense to that person in their life, in the way they have structured their character and their being. It is really quite moving to listen to a story being shared. So although there is a lot of work to do, none of it I despise.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The week of madness

Today I was meant to prepare some tutoring things for tomorrow and I also needed to prepare our first research interview with the young people (also for tomorrow). I did get most things together, but curiously, most of the day was spent with my body unable to function very well. The week has been one of those weeks that has looked *fun/ interesting/ crazy/ exciting, etc... from the outside, but from the inside it has been nothing short of madness. I even resorted to asking my sister to do my laundry and have not even had chance to sit down and eat one real meal. Getting home last night was certainly a wonderful feeling. After returning from our trip to the Lake District last weekend, I went straight to Uni, submitted our second to last assignment, and we celebrated the end of the year in the only way we know how; wine, friends, more wine....

Amongst various pieces of work, I also went over to Bradford to the Alhambra with Ella to see War Horse on stage. It was spectacular. So beautifully performed and written, and I was surprised at how natural it was to see the horse on the stage - the horse was of course not real, but the breathing and the movements and the emotion made it the most alive man-made object I have ever seen in a theatre.

The latter half of the week has been spent in Manchester modelling. My modelling work is usually more spread out, so it feels like I have done much more than usual this week. My hair is destroyed and I am fortunate that my skin has held up (and it can't be due to the necessary increased levels of coffee and wine I have consumed lately...) What I have been reminded of is that the people I meet through this job are what keeps me keeping on, as such. But on the other hand, they can sometimes be the very reason that I wonder what might happen if I leave the set. If I just walked out... I have thick skin, which means that for work, I can leave my sensitivity at home. But I do, however, have a very strong moral position situated in the core of me. It is more of a challenge to separate what I believe in from who I am, and I am not entirely sure that that's a good thing anyway. Things such as integrity and equality are values that I carry with me; they are not situational, they are part of who I am. Nevertheless, I am fortunate to have left this job after spending a few days in the company of a couple of really wonderful human beings. But there are also many many things I could choose to rant about if it only felt appropriate to use this page as a platform for my rants. I have considered creating an anonymous blog simply for my rantings and musings....

Back to the work I should have been doing today. My body still feels reluctant to cooperate with my to-do list and I know I must sleep if I have any hope of reducing these terrible black bags underneath my eyes. I sometimes like to consider the 'fuck it life'. For those who know what this means, it means questioning what we think is important and replacing it with what really and truly is important in life... If I were to adopt the fuck it attitude this evening, I would be drinking wine and falling to sleep right about now. It is a Sunday evening afterall and I have had the week from the world of madness. I could even leave the wine aside and fall straight to sleep. Or alternatively I could give myself thirty minutes until fuck it time... Thirty minutes.

Here are a few of the photographs I've taken en route this week...

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

A weekend in the Lakes

We returned back in Yorkshire on Monday evening after a glorious few days away in the Lake District. The weather was mostly kind to us and the trip was exactly what was needed.. We climbed and walked and got absolutely lost in the hills. We watched sunsets, drank wine, and it was difficult, but to take a step away from work and emails and study for the entire weekend was possibly the best decision I made. There is something very freeing about knowing you have the ability to step away from what you think matters and live more fully in the moment.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

To begin the day...

Yesterday we drove 100 miles up the A1 and across the Yorkshire Dales over to the Lake District. It's been a few years since I last visited and it is just as beautiful as it always is. Aside from the aesthetics; the scenery, the lakes, the skies, and the beautiful cottage we are staying in, it is just a wonderful way to find fresh air and new ground with a good friend. Good perspective.

This week has been another 'standard week in the life'...Less teaching and less research, but more work on my own assignments. I arrived back home late on Monday evening, and went straight into a full day at Uni. The rest of the week sort of merged and fused together into one long string of events, strung together with a little sleep here and there, driving, and meetings. But not meetings of the stress-inducing kind; meetings of the person to person kind. One thing I have been very skilfully reminded of this week is that sometimes change requires more boldness than we even knew existed in our being. The fearlessness to do something different also requires the ability to choose to leave behind things that still mean something. What I have been reminded of is to open my eyes more and to see the peripheral; the borderline, the path that diverges from the one we know to be comfortable, and to do it anyway. The comfortableness, despite the safety, can often be inhibiting in more ways than one.

We will begin our day now! But here is the view we woke up to this morning... Simply beautiful :)