Thursday, 31 December 2015

Take a moment and ask yourself what is really important?

A brief Christmas post... it is a ridiculous time in the evening, but I suppose this is what happens when we reach what has become better known as 'no man's land' this year. Thanks to my Uni friends for naming this period 'no man's land'! We re-named it as we decided this would be a brilliant time to arrange our Christmas meet-up. This was, until York became a partial under-water city and nature once more demonstrated just how powerful it is and flooding has taken over much of the city. It has been very sad to see what has happened; York has become my home and a place that I love dearly so to see so many people here (and in many other places in the North) lose so much is hard to see. However, of course it is so heartening to see the spirit of the city rise above to do what it can to support those who have not been fortunate. 

So, no man's land became truly a no-man's land and our meet-up has been postponed. This really is an odd week because it is the week I lose track of the days, the time, sleeping patterns become not what they usually are, I eat all kinds of food that I don't usually eat. I drink wine every (yes....) every night... And for some ungodly reason I have even put my work down for a week and a half. I have still been doing a few emails, writing a few applications, etc, but my work... my research, the thing I needed to spend time on.... Well I haven't opened a single article page or a single document. I actually feel good about this, but it does need to change rather soon unless I want to play serious catch-up in the New Year.

I do indeed have a very good reason for taking this time off because I have been home to visit family and we also adventured down to the South-East in Kent to see my Grandparents for a brief visit. I don't spend too much time with my family lately; my brother is in Australia, my mother works as much, if not more than I do (I do come from a family of very strong females but we also don't know how to stop working!) and I am lucky if my sisters come to visit once a month. Over this break, I noticed that sometimes I started to do what my Nan sometimes does (this really off-putting thing where she just stares at you....). I started just looking at people and taking them in and think I semi-understood a bit of why my Nan might do this. This is really what Christmas is about for me. Not cryptically staring at dearly-loved family members around the dinner table, but just embracing spending time with them.

Of course whilst we were away we also took a trip to the coast to take stock and take in the moments. This trip was largely planned by myself... But I made a promise to myself that this coming year that I will make more of an effort to take myself to the coast whenever I can. I will actually just make more of an effort this year, for myself. This is not to say that I do not usually make efforts. I do in fact make great efforts each day to maintain my life, my friendships, my jobs, my house, etc... But I don't mean the efforts of maintaining, I mean the effort it takes to initiate real change; to not to become trapped or attached, to be bold and make change happen. To say yes to more things, to take more risks, to make this the year that I actively stop putting limits and boundaries around what I 'can' and 'cannot' do, and accept that once I let the limitations go, there will be more choice and although change means leaving things behind, the road less travelled is the one I need to try. Seriously, the beach and the sea-air makes for some powerful reflective time.

This may well be the last post of 2015. Although now I write this, I will most likely take to writing another tomorrow!

'At least three times every day take a moment and ask yourself what is really important.
Have the wisdom and the courage to build your life around your answer.'
- Lee Jampolsky

Friday, 18 December 2015

Half-written address

As always, I have been intending to write here all week but goodness knows, anything and everything  under the sun keeps getting in the way. In fact, these things are getting in the way of general straight-thinking in my mind. It is a good job it's Friday. I came home, had a couple of glasses of wine, wrapped another Christmas present, and now I am finally heading to bed I remembered the mistake I think (?) I made earlier today. Now my memory is bad at the best of times, but I do really believe I did this. Yesterday I was impressed with my organisational skills and purchased a pack of Christmas cards. Last night I am certain I wrote one for my Grandparents and put one of my framed graduation pictures in the package too and then taped up the package to send down to Kent. I know my Grandparents' address better than I could tell you any one of the addresses I lived in growing up. So did not have to check this, just had to write it. Although as my memory is bad, I wrote half the street name and stopped so I could check later, and then wrote half the post-code and could not remember the rest. I made a mental note to check this later. But of course, later never came and I do believe I posted it off today with the others, to a half-written address.... A great shame, as I do not have a spare picture and I wanted my Nan to receive my mail for Christmas. I might now have to write a second one and feel very sad that the picture most likely won't make it to the desired destination....

So this is a small example of the state of my brain this week. Of course I posted a card with a half-written address. Of course it won't reach Kent, and of course I have been silly and careless!

I have not been intending to tell this story but on another note, I have indeed been meaning to share some pictures from our trip to the coast last weekend. Kirsty and I drove up to Saltburn, picnic and boots and coats in the car, and it was rather liberating. As my writing might imply, it is a testing time right now and there is really nothing better than blowing the cobwebs away and finding some peace. Despite my carelessness and the particular parts of life and work that are unavoidable, the trip was a fabulous way to re-ground...

Monday, 7 December 2015

What more?

I'm writing from our loft - the coldest room in our house when the heating is off but the warmest (and best) room in our house when the heating is on. Fortunately our heating has been on all day and therefore I have been residing at my desk at the top of our house. This is a pretty good Sunday for me - yes my desk, yes my work, but believe it or not I enjoy doing this in my own space and at my own pace. A good Sunday! Although next Sunday I am hoping to get to the coast... I think that will be an even better Sunday and balance might truly be restored. But for now, for today, it was good - I expected this weekend to be somewhat of a car crash considering all that's happened this week but I have taken myself by surprise, faced the storm, and I am still going. The past week doesn't even have a suitable adjective to describe it - We welcomed in December and now our house has a Christmas tree and more candles and we're playing Christmas songs at any given opportunity. It is quite lovely actually, and we welcomed the month in with mulled wine and mince pies. Really lovely... There have been some really wonderful moments with some wonderful people. But given particular things, it has been 'one of those' weeks. I can't write much more, other than you know when the universe gives you messages that something needs to change... My writing is cryptic here but I think this message is rather pertinent, and therefore I have been working out what I need to do and how to respond. This means putting all the time and energy into other things - everything and anything else, apart from my own research. And actually that is a bit of a shame....

Last week I tried something new and went to a Tai Chi class. I learnt about Chinese Yoga, ribbons, lion's breath (although I think in Tai Chi they call it 'bear's breath!) and also learnt a lot about the teacher's personal life... It was a bizarre experience but actually one that I took some learning from. That learning included some more messages that I needed to hear. They have this philosophy that really fits - especially if facing battles or trying to initiate change. I was reminded quite wonderfully that our most forceful and powerful strength is in our softness (try it next time you are doing an arm wrestle or trying to open that jar that just won't open!). Stop trying, just relax and move, and you will find that your strength is astounding. It is so much more that we think it is... WE are stronger than we think we are. I have been carrying that with me for these past couple of weeks and not doing much different but just knowing. The lesson that stems from this one is that keeping anchored to the ground and staying centred will keep us from falling to the ground... If you push at something with all of your force, inevitably it will fall and if your whole body is pressed against it, your body will also fall to the ground. Try it... and try again just using the parts you need to use. Your strength is more powerful that way, and you keep centred at the same time. You remain balanced and upright.

This is the third weekend that I have told myself that I must get back into doing some yoga, and it has truly been good. Strong body, strong mind.. I think this is fundamentally important... The week truly has been bizarre - there is only so much yoga can fix. But it is balance - even though I have had a few emails and meetings and conversations this week that I would rather have not had (some not my choice...) and it has seemed that lots of these things all come at once, I still found good. I even managed to take some time out for the cinema this evening and spent Friday evening with an old friend, a very good friend, and an inspirational woman. It is quite wonderful how paths come together and move apart and then come together again. Anyway, despite the storm (literally, there has been a storm!) I have finally re-submitted my ethics proposal form to the board with clarifications, as well as firing off a good few other emails to various people about various missions and plans... It is truly time to make some changes, and change does not happen easily, particularly when time is precious and days roll into one and perhaps most importantly, change means taking risks and letting go of the familiar. Even if it isn't serving us well it is still not an easy task. It is about making it a priority - making my life and my choices a priority. Not many of us say that.... But I think many of us would feel a lot more complete if we did!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Experience tells me that I have many qualities, (good and bad) but patience is not one of them... I am trusting in the universe and in whatever else I must trust in (myself mostly, and others!) but change takes time, and time means that I need to practice the art of patience... or at least acceptance of what I cannot change and being bold enough to challenge the things I assume are insurmountable. 

On the other hand, it is graduation day for me tomorrow, and this is one day that I do not wish to pass me by quickly. I haven't needed to practice patience and this is a day that has come about quicker than I anticipated. This time a couple of years ago I was graduating but I was not feeling the same excitement and celebration that I feel now. I am balancing a number of things that all constitute a life of organised chaos, but it really is worth-while to stop and take stock, even if forced, (very) willingly, for an afternoon and evening of celebration.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

I don't need many words for this one

I am writing sat in my living room with my new apple and ginger tea, following quite a bizarre day. I seem to have contracted some kind of 24 hour bug that I hope (optimistically) will be better tomorrow. As I have not been fit for the outside world, I have spent most of my day inside and have focused on more pressing issues. I haven't done any work, no emails, no reading, limited communication, and really some time for myself. I have been following the news as stories of life and death, love and loss, and solidarity are uncovered following the terror attacks on Paris last night. I don't have much that I need to say. There are almost no words, but I do have the need to say something. I have no response other than complete sadness. Not only for a city that holds some dear memories for me, but for humanity, and for what the world has come to understand as constitutions of love and peace. Our world will always be about love. And love, I do believe is the most powerful thing we have. Yet what I have seen is the sheer destructiveness and power of a weapon and a mind of violence and hate. I can see how this strikes fear and deep sadness across so many. And of course, it is a global issue and Paris are not alone in what they have experienced over the last 24 hours. As one small individual, living in the North of England, I do wonder what there is that I can do.... Is there anything?

It has been a sad day today, and perhaps what has impacted most is seeing the world's response to what has happened. 

I wanted to write, for once I didn't need a lot of words, but I did need something.

Even though it is late and I am not so well, I am still reminded of what is important, and it is somewhat contradictory (although I'm sure there is a better word!) that it should take death to make us think of life... There is a bigger picture here. Perhaps I need to be reminded more often, because too often do I not listen properly, not make the time, and not stop and notice the things and people who make a difference. Politics and power can (and do) act as a barrier to what is most important. So I approach the coming week with a clearer perspective, and keep close to heart something I read last year that has changed my learning and given me a language that I understand. These words remind me of the difference between the love of power and the power of love. 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

the 'now list' or the 'yes list'...

So I fall behind on my plans once more to post each week here. This weekend I can forgive myself as I have been immersed in my research ethics form and various bits and pieces that I have needed to catch up on. Yes... Not the most thrilling, but oddly I enjoy time spent in this way, just no other tick lists to complete but your own, in your own time, in your own space.. this is a good weekend in my opinion. OK, some friends and some wine make that even better, but I did get that too!

I have had a rather long day, back to back students (because I haven't yet learnt that people do take lunch breaks...) but then a lovely evening in the company of some very spectacular people. I will always believe that I am fortunate to have such people in my life... 

Anyway, I really wanted to post something brief thoughts about my day and subsequent reflections. A very good friend of mine, and she won't mind me writing this if she reads this, told me that she sees me as a person who always says 'yes'... To me, this was a real compliment. It was not too long ago that I was too young to take responsibility for myself, but old enough to know that saying 'yes' was risky and saying 'no' meant that I was safe within the comfort of what I knew. So truly I found this to be a real compliment. I therefore had to think a good few times about this because to me, I feel that I am constantly saying no, or having to compromise, or am just absolutely stretched to the limits, meaning that any 'yes' elicited from me really is more in the tone of 'yes.... if you really need me to.....'. You know the kind of really disengaged and uncommitted indication that I would rather commit my time to other activities. Rather like my response to the marketing department who wanted pictures and statements of joy and celebration pre-graduation ceremony... I think I have done a good job at subtly questioning if this is really necessary....

So, given my identity to this friend as a 'yes person', I thought this was interesting. firstly given that I do not always say yes, and secondly, because we have been sharing thoughts recently about a 'now list'. This said 'now list' is a list that you create that consists of all the many things you would like to do; your commitments and goals and tasks, and then you select the 5 most important, and discard the remaining things that felt of secondary significance to your life. You make a commitment to say 'no' to anything that did not make the ultimate 'golden top 5'. This discarding is because it is worth only investing time and effort into the selected five. I initially thought this seemed like a great method to keep life in-check... However, I think I quite enjoy being a 'yes' person. I have worked hard at letting my boundaries down and not being defined by the 4 walls that contain me. Why stop now, and why limit life to only the five things you feel are of significant importance. Our lives, as humans, will always introduce complexities and curve-balls and there is no way of knowing what these may be. I do believe in balance being key. Life is truly for the living, and I believe that to live, we must embrace, 'stand naked in the storm' (still cannot shake this phrase from my mind, thanks to Mick Cooper), and say 'yes' to whatever the hell ignites our spirit or speaks to us. Surely that is the way to live,,,,  and that is the way to live regret-free knowing that you have made informed choices along the way that have led you to where you are right now, and that those choices have not been governed by a check-list of simply five things, rather decisions are governed by your own being and choice. Here's to the 'yes' list... I think it's just as important as the 'now list', maybe even more-so, and I believe that it doesn't have to be finite...

A friend shared the following words on Facebook - I am sharing it as the 'yes' list is almost never to be done alone. Often meeting others 'there' - living life in relation to others, is what makes the difference, as I have remembered this evening:

'Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.
I will meet you there'

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Stormy weathers and stats

In the spirit of my attempt at doing one blog post per week, another post is over-due.. No writing at the weekend because in truth, I had really quite a wonderful weekend and spent each day in such good company. Of course I've launched myself into another week and I'm not quite sure I put my life-jacket on for this one so I'm hoping that I find it soon. Two days in, and I have survived, even a three hour stats class and new students and some other rather demanding tasks (sort of the 'he who shall not be named' type of tasks)...

Still inevitably questioning and mulling over the decisions I have been making lately. Of course my doubts are heightened by a CPD workshop I did last Friday about existentialism and choice, responsibility, and action (and of course life, the universe, and everything.... and the ultimate meaning of our very existence!!!!). But this time, post-fantastic-weekend, I don't think my questions and doubts are all bad. In fact, I think the workshop ignited some much needed energy into my life and I am thankful that I was reminded of the things that mean something significant to me. I thought that the workshop leader made subtle, but quite meaningful links between practice, existential philosophy, and social responsibility. This is a philosophy that focuses on choice, action, and our isolation alongside the meaning we make of the interaction between ourselves and the world around us. How can this perspective not in some way, prioritise not only our responsibility for the choices we make about ourselves, but also those decisions we make about how we impact others. Our environment, our social and political commitments, how we choose to align ourselves with particular ways of living and particular cultures and beliefs, using the voice we have and allowing our actions to sit in line with our words and our hearts... It all comes down to choices, and actually (usually) rather simple choices at that!

So, with a little support behind me and some reignited reflections on the responsibility we have to each craft the life that we choose for ourselves, I am making decisions, and sometimes the decision is to be OK with not being certain about the outcome or potential consequences. Whilst being put to the test, I am also testing my own boundaries by seeing how much my own actions match my voice, and sticking with it. I am writing in riddles, which I dislike, but I can't see another way and besides, I am kind of enjoying my aversion to the details whilst I write about something that, in essence, is about clarity and acceptance of the storm (or standing naked in the storm, whichever way you choose to view it!).

There has been no nakedness in the storm today, but there has been this rather beautiful sunrise on my walk to work...

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Rose-tinted and being 'British'

I started to write this last night but it seems that I got half-way through and decided that sleep was a more appealing prospect. So I am beginning again with my second post of October. This is going well considering I did not write a single post in September. It is finally the weekend and I have to admit to my surprise at actually making it through the week, and I have not even been consuming an obscene amount of coffee. The week has included a lot of long hours, working lunch breaks, and a double working-weekend. That means the week is sandwiched in-between two working weekends away in London. This is fine because I love the variety that my life and work gives me and that is what keeps me believing that arguably foolish decisions are what makes life for the living. Such foolish decisions are either foolish or wise - they steer me far away from a 9-5 job and keep me alert and alive. This is not to say that starting a full-time MSc research degree alongside full-time work may not be the most questionable decision to date. I have certainly been questioned about it and certainly have questioned myself and been prompted to convince self and others that I am indeed a master of scheduling. Time to test out my own words.... If anything, it is a challenge and it is a change. And I am ready for both. I say that location-wise and home-wise I am not a settler. I embrace my nomadic traits a little, particularly when it is the summer months, and it seems that these traits are wide-spread and appear in my work life too.

I am indeed writing through rose-tinted glasses and although I embrace variety, sometimes it costs and sometimes (more often lately) I begin to wonder and re-consider my choices. I have made the decision to leave one of my commitments behind. This decision changes things and signifies a shift in my life. It is not only a decision but it is a statement of self-respect. I know this is right because a commitment that is restrictive, demanding, and often disrespectful, should not be one that any woman (or man) should endure. Time, skill, and people, are worth much more than that. Recently I have seen that respect is a moot point if it isn't reciprocal. It is not handed out as a free for all, and it is not an automatic given; it is earned and it takes two. I will not indulge in things that really would be professionally inappropriate to write on the world wide web, but I am welcoming change. From the person who, as a child, would move house to a different part of town but still insist on carrying her school PE kit, saxophone, and school books back to her old bus stop every morning instead of 5 minutes walk to the new bus stop to catch the school bus, simply because change was not language she understood, I think this is good.

Back to the rose-tinted glasses. I hate to write with my words filtered. But perhaps this is why I don't write so much these days on here. I would either rant and never stop, or I may boast and shout about hopes and achievements, and let's face it - most of us are too British and polite to indulge in a little ego-boosting self-appraisal. Actually I am in fact really not that British or polite at all... Polite, yes, if appropriate. But 'British'..... If being British is what we are led to believe, and if being British is subscribing to the ways in which this country is governed, then I am out. I think these days that I belong in a country far away from David Cameron.  But back to this blog - and perhaps more importantly back to the day. I have some reading, packing, washing.... and a Saturday to embrace before leaving to London later this afternoon.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

The next adventure

In the five years that this blog has existed, I don't think I have ever neglected it quite as much as I have done over these past couple of months. I might have even been beginning to forget that it even exists. I was reminded last night of how long it has been since I last wrote and it made me think it is a real shame that I seem to have taken a more complacent attitude towards writing lately. I am unsure of why this is... Perhaps I am concerned about my privacy and concerned about sharing things that may not be appropriate to share any more. Perhaps I have run out of things to say. Perhaps time constraints have played a part, or perhaps I am really just waiting for the next adventure to begin. I feel a little adventure-less these days and I do know that this impacts more than just my writing habits. It is almost as  if finishing the course and moving house and dealing with a few changes and transitions has meant that I have not been so clear in my thinking and my feet have not felt as grounded as I would like. Usually before I write it is helpful to feel sure of what it is I am giving words to on the screen, rather than haphazardly typing away. But lately I have been unsure on exactly what to write about. Hence the silence and lack of words. So perhaps I begin there...

What does one write about when everything is in transition? I have made a few decisions recently, some of which do not belong on an online platform, but some of which, are very exciting. I am finally officially qualified, graduate next month, and I have decided to do a full time research MSc alongside full time work too. I will surely regret this in 6 months time, but I am pleased that this initiates a little newness into my life, despite my staying at the same University for what will 6 consecutive years. Consecutive years of constant transition.

It is currently only 9.30pm but following about 3 hours of sleep in the hours of this morning, and a good few more glasses of wine than usual last night, I am suitably exhausted. I drank in the pub, and then drank more at home. Then the afternoon today was spent in a salon prepping hair for a job this weekend, and now I am home I have much redder hair and I just have to pack a bag for a few days in London and enjoy some undisrupted and non-alcohol fuelled sleep for as many hours as possible... this packing can be done in the morning. So I will pack and I will await the next adventure and hope that it brings me some inspiration for my life once more.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Riding life

Old friends... it has been a good few weeks since I posted. Things have been busy, I have been up-rooting and making new roots in our new home, and working towards my final deadline for the PG Dip. The PF (Practice File) was finally submitted this morning; all 90 pages of it. This is probably about three times the length of my undergrad dissertation and although I enjoyed writing most of it, I do feel a little bad for the one unsuspecting tutor who has to sit and read every one of those hand-crafted words and produce a valid grade at the end. This is assuming they reach the end without giving up on reading it completely.. I submitted it quietly - without a word to any friends unless they asked (apart from Tasha of course who witness my sheer joy at about midnight last night when it was all printed and I was like a proud mother, slightly crazed. But infinitely proud). I think I have been silent about it because it is done. It is over and I feel like I am already moving forward and although it was a huge piece of work, I feel oddly OK with it. I have kept calm and still feel no different now it is out of my hands. I processed this ending. Perhaps I will process it even further and it it will surprise me. Goodness knows, if life is predictable in any way it is that it is gloriously unpredictable. So who knows... The universe will decide. Or I will (that depends on how much responsibility I am willing to take!)

OK, it is late and no more free-writing fun. As it has been so long since I posted I realise I have still not shared a few pictures of the last week in Barcelona when I was joined by my dearest sister (a month ago now - a few pictures below!) Both her and I have spent a lot of this summer so far travelling. Even as we speak she is hundreds of miles away. I miss her greatly. I also miss Barcelona one hell of a lot. Really I miss the views, the company, the feeling, the person I am when I am there... BUT on the other hand, life is looking exciting. New post-qualification and new-home horizons expanding and that is never a bad thing...

'If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is' 
-Charles Bukowski

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

500 miles, removal vans, and 3 minor injuries.

It has only been a week and a half since I returned back to the UK after an incredibly peaceful, adventurous, fulfilling, productive, and simply bloody marvellous time in my home from home, Barcelona. A week and a half since I returned, and in some ways it feels like I have been back on home-turf for not even one day. Yet of course in other ways it feels that I have been back for much longer. The ever-fascinating illusion of time. I have still not fully unpacked my case, but all for very good reasons. I have travelled 500 miles up and down the country, visited family and dear friends, trialled new yoga classes and found that there is nothing (I truly believe this...) that can make you feel so welcomed and at one than entering a yoga class full of stranger yogis and just beginning the class. Really, I met a therapist not so long ago who I hoped would welcome me with open arms yet after five minutes in her company I wanted to leave the office never to return. Yet in this yoga class, a space where not a word is really spoken, apart from the usual 'welcome/take a mat/what's your experience, do you have any injuries....' I found much more connection than I did with a person who connection, I'd have hoped, was her second nature. I am an independent and competent woman but we all need to feel our feet firmly rooted on the ground of a home. We need to feel welcomed and loved. This hour and a half class gave me that. Try it... a class of strangers. See how possible it is to feel welcomed by people who know not a single thing about you and do not even need to know.

Anyway, I have indeed travelled 500 miles, I have been welcomed by others (and not just the yoga class...) I have also moved house (finally!!!), acquired three minor injuries in the process, found a new appreciation for removal vans and those who offer their time to drive them. I have also not surprisingly discovered my inability to let go of Spanish olive and melon eating habits (although less red wine has been consumed), and likewise found that I am now clinging onto my trusty sandals and my blue stone necklace as if they are the only parts of Barcelona that will remain with me. These are of course the positive parts of this week and a half. The parts I choose to write, but I am surprised that I am still awake. Evidently the Spanish timing of my circadian rhythms has not yet changed. I still eat late and sleep late and that is perfectly fine.

I am no longer nomadic, I have landed in my home. It is half unpacked but I am with wonderful company and it is home. I miss Barcelona, but I suspect it is more than just the city that I miss.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Three books, 15,000 words, and some new shoes.

Three weeks in and not a drop of rain or a storm in sight... Usually at about this point on an extended trip away I am reaching the point where I am almost ready for home. I miss people. But not this time; this time I am more home than I am at 'home'. It is easy to be home in this little first floor 3 bed Spanish apartment with tiled floors and strange little ornaments. It is noisy outside, I am afraid to take the lift because of our traumatic experience last time, it has no air-con, and I am yet to work out whether the landlady is like a Spanish mother or a crazy tax-avoiding woman (I think she's the former). But thankfully no whistling kettle this time and no 'Mary' on the wall. This feeling of home may have something to do with the fact that half my belongings actually at home are currently packed in bags ready to move house, the necessary things are with me here in my case, and my bed is stored in my Mother's partner's garage. I am at a point where I am looking forward to the next part - looking forward to moving house, to being closer to my work and my friends, being closer to where most of my life is, and living with one of the oldest friends I have. I've felt more life here in Barcelona than I have felt over months and months in England yet my life has been the calmest it has been all year. I am in disbelief about how three weeks has flown by and now my sister is about to fly out for the last leg of this trip.

Since Tasha left last weekend I have read three books from start to finish (three and a half now..), used an entire T-10 metro ticket, walked my old sandals entirely to threads, written 15,000 words, eaten probably my own body weight in melon and then worked my way through the bottles of red wine I have been keeping in the kitchen. I've been swimming in the sea every single day without fail, felt brilliant to be able to keep up with emails and friends, and discovered that my nationality based on appearance is somewhat contestable to say the least. I could be German, Australian, French, Russian.... (note, never English...).

The metaphor of the week is when my sandals finally became nothing more than a thread between my feet and the ground. I went into a shop and purchased some new, sturdier sandals and changed them straight away. I was then carrying this old beloved pair of £5 sale shoes that I got two (maybe three) years ago for a winter job in Marrakech, I have worn them and loved them ever since. They have been a second skin in the summer months. But I have walked so much here - so many miles, seeing so much and determined in some way to walk away my worries (note: that does not work... you only get blisters, pulled muscles, bruises and broken shoes.) Worries still exist. No shifting them, just accepting them as they are. So the hour I spent walking carrying this old excuse for a pair of shoes around in a plastic bag with the new ones on my feet was an hour I spent sort of entertaining myself at the hilarity of what I was doing; why was throwing away the 'old' such a hard task to do? I reasoned with myself fairly well. What if the new shoes rubbed? What if I didn't like them? What if I wanted the old ones back comfortably on my feet? What if the old ones weren't as tattered as I thought? What if, what if what if.... Actually, what if the new ones are just brilliant? They are, so it seems. I saw sense and smiled at myself and chucked the old ones in the bin. Less 'old' to carry around and more of welcoming the new.  With the amount of 'things' I have thrown away over the years of moving and being a student and packing things and moving them around in my old 1999 corsa (things HAVE changed since then...) you'd have thought I would be better at being detached from the sentimentality of old meaningless 'crap'. Old habits die hard... Metaphorically speaking, I did a good job with those shoes.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Adventuring #4: Calella and the Coast

It is fairly late in the evening now, although not so late for Spanish living. There is still noise outside the balcony and I am sat in the living room next to the open door of the balcony with an iced drink next to me. I have spent the day alone after Tasha left at the weekend.. I read half of an entire book in one sitting this afternoon, gathered a few more freckles, had no castings, so I wrote a little more on the PF. Just a little, I am working at snail pace - probably even slower than snail pace to be truthful. Finally I am using the space here for what I intended it to be for, even if I am writing at the pace of a small shelled creature. Slow and steady perhaps? 

Here are a few pictures I took last week; we walked some of the cliff walks along the Costa Brava coast, taking the coastal train out midday and spending time on some of the small beaches and bays along the way back. It was paradise; literally breath-taking paradise, and as all of last week was, it was simply wonderful to spend it with Tasha finding some peace.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Adventuring #3: Montserrat

That concept of being 'on-top of the world', on a mountain top and seeing for miles and miles around, being higher than the clouds... It does give perspective. Seeing so much life and nature all in one view is quite spectacular. As was the cable car ride up...

I type this as Tasha has just landed back in England and I am in the apartment about to get ready to head to castings and then take one of my books to the beach after. I can combine PF work with some sunshine surely..... My favoured Jeremy Holmes attachment book will be used for referencing for some of my case studies so I will take that with me in my bag and it is fortunate the casting is next to the Olympic Port by the beach.

I couldn't not share some of these views. Nature always (always) astounds me.. Perspective.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Adventuring #2: Laberint d'Horta

We decided that as the heat was almost unbearable we would stay closer to home and go to the North of the city to one of the 'hidden' botanical gardens. The heat was indeed almost unbearable but it was beautiful nonetheless. We then treated ourselves to a dinner out in the evening where I learned that even the most unexpected places can be wonderful, and although it had been brilliant with some head space and time alone, having the company of Tasha here is just lovely.

Adventuring #1: Tarragona

As my very good friend and future housemate Tasha is here for the week and we know the city fairly well, we decided to have a week of adventures. This has means that my writing has been somewhat sparse, I have only been able to attend a couple of castings, and our legs are feeling like we have run marathons each morning, but we have been having the most wonderful days out of the city. The purpose of my trip here was to write, work, and relax, and re-store the balance in my life. There is no better way to do this than to take a break with a good friend and explore places that are breath-taking and beautiful and new. On Monday we took a coastal train out to Tarragona. Here are a few of our pictures. I have not wanted to over-load social media with them all, but the day was pretty spectacular so this blog is the perfect platform to use to share them...

Saturday, 4 July 2015

From Barcelona

I wanted to write a short post before it gets weeks down the line once more. I am here in Barcelona. It is almost 11am on Saturday morning and outside my apartment window it looks like the world is only just waking up. It is quieter out there right now than it is at 2am with the cars driving past and sirens buzzing. The week has been a mixture of castings, walking for miles on end, reading on the beach, and trying to write some of this Practice File. I cannot even write the dreaded word, so 'PF' will have to do... I need to restore some balance. I am here to get some space to focus on writing and preparing some things for my research, but I must also find some balance, so this week I been taking things day by day, taking life as it comes. I needed that attitude last night when I arrived back to the apartment to find my Spanish landlady moving my bed out of my bedroom and I hadn't a clue why or what she was doing... Turns out she is replacing it with two new single beds. Not sure why. Mayte does not speak a word of English either so it makes communicating with her a little tricky and awkward. We usually use Whatsapp and google translate, but when we meet face to face there is a huge barrier of communication between us, and she is a rather forthcoming woman. It is difficult to read her! I should really focus some energy on learning some Spanish.. I know a little and it is enough to get me by, but I believe it would be much easier if I took the time to learn a little more!

So, I helped Mayte move my beloved double bed out of my room whilst seething inside not having a clue why this crazy Spanish lady had gone mad and was taking furniture from me... Anyway, 'what will be will be'. All is OK, I think (hope) she is returning today with the other bed for my room and to sort out the dismantled furniture she has left.... Anyway, I needed that attitude of 'what will be will be'. Accept what I cannot change... That seems to be what gets me through most days recently. It works very well when I try hard enough and I must admit that despite its madness and chaos, Barcelona has a calming effect on me. And yes, I did just question if I used the right 'affect' or 'effect' there.. Still not sure. I think I did!

Anyway, keeping to me plan of a short post, it is the weekend and apparently there is a yoga conference on here, so I am going to go find it...