Sunday, 15 November 2015

My Very Own Life

It’s been stormy for over a week now, with a small break of about 24 hours in between. Most of the time, the rain is lashing down, it hardly gets bright during the day, the wind blows over the bins in front of my house and rattles whatever isn’t nailed down. At night it’s so loud that even I – who usually never sleeps better than in a storm – get woken up sometimes by some crashing noise. At the same time it’s very mild, typical Irish weather.

Move back West, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

All right, so it IS fun. I’m enjoying the fact that I don’t even have to leave the house if I don’t want to. And from my office window, I get treated to amazing sights like the luminous, full rainbow you see in the picture above. In the evenings, I cuddle up in front of the computer with a woollen blanket and brainstorm, or work, or play WoW, with my budgies chirping away at me. Underlying it all is the blissful relief of being where I’m most happy, most myself.

This is a time of healing. I knew it would be, when I left behind the East coast and my stressful job, the Dublin-area commute, and the no-sleep situation in my flat. As a Coach, I know to ask the right questions: “Are you moving AWAY from something, or TOWARDS something?” I managed to put a bit of both into it: Towards the West, my spiritual home, and a house I could sleep in, towards healthier conditions for both myself and the cutest. Away from the stress, the mounting small-ish health problems and the endless, bone-deep, red-eyed, leaden fatigue.

Like a small child, I’m enjoying every little gesture and action of the day. Making tea in the lovely big kitchen. Putting on those magically soft slippers. Sitting down at my desk for a day’s work. Cuddling into my wonderful, perfect, heavenly comfortable new bed.

And sleep. Sleep, sleep, sleep. I just can’t get enough of being rested!

Lately, though, I’ve started to feel a little restless. I don’t know whether it’s the stormy weather, or the fact that I’m beginning to feel better, but I’ve been strangely twitchy even through the New Moon this week. I’m looking ahead and I’m trying to figure out where my next steps will lead. I love being where I am, but I have still only fulfilled part of my goals and some are left to be done: Like having my own place, be that on my own or in a sustainable community, and running a bird sanctuary.

It’s time to take action. I started by moving my accounts from my old bank, the bank I’d been with for 24 years and who refused to grant me a mortgage on a silly technicality, to a new, modern bank without branches which offers great interest on the money I’ve saved up, decent interest on a current savings account, and good Credit Card conditions as well. Apart from this, I plan to:

  • Keep saving, if possible increasing the monthly amount
  • Build up my Coaching business even further, now that I have more time and energy
  • Remember what it was I originally dreamed about

What I mean by the latter point, is that when I applied for my mortgage, I was very ready to compromise greatly and for example, buy a standard Irish house. My dream used to be a timber cottage, but it’s hard to impossible to get finance on this type of thing in Ireland, and so I didn't even try. Maybe there's a reason why I was refused this time? Maybe I’m supposed to solidify my dreams first and save up more money, and then see what I can do in 1-3 years? It’s no longer an agonising wait, after all – as I said above, I’m very happy where I am and it’s exactly what I need to heal.

Maybe this is just the time and space I need in order to come up with something much better, something perfectly suited to my needs. Watch this space! There’s more, and concrete, plans to come, but this I feel is only the beginning of the life I’m building for myself now. It’s beautiful already, but one day it’s going to be magnificent.

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Saturday, 31 October 2015

A Highwayman, A Salmon Jacuzzi, And Samhain

                       "The Stolen Child" by W.B. Yeats, 
                               music by The Waterboys

I spent part of this morning with a group of lovely people, guided by a singing highwayman from the 18th century (Singing Historical Walking Tours in Cong, highly recommended!). We saw ancient ruins, a forest, abbey grounds with huge yew trees, and a clever salmon who used the little whirlpool-like current near the foot of a bridge as his personal jacuzzi.

When I chatted to our tour guide afterwards, I asked him where to get the best sandwiches in Cong and went to the little cafe he recommended. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, the food was that good! All of this happened in the brightest sunshine, which was like a miracle after all the horrible weather we've had this year. Samhain couldn't have started out any better.

Along the way, I also picked up a recommendation of the "CongRegation" which I'm most definitely going to attend this year! It looks fascinating, like no other gathering I've ever been to. Sounds like the perfect place to exchange ideas with openminded people.

And it's Samhain! Remember, if you will, to look beyond the commercial aspect of buying costumes, decorations, sweets, and make-up, to the roots of this ancient celebration. It's the night when the veil between the worlds becomes thin and the perfect occasion to commune with your ancestors.

Folk used to believe that the fairies would steal children around Samhain, which is why they dressed up their kids in scary costumes, so the fairies would think they were soulless fairy children and not human, and leave them alone.

                    Come away, oh human child, 
                    to the waters and the wild, 
                    with a faerie hand in hand, 
                    for the world's more full of weeping 
                    than you can understand.

I love the Waterboys' version of it, and it's one of my favourite poems. I was reminded of it today when we saw a heron on our walking tour (..."where flapping herons wake the drowsy water-rats"). What a great song for Samhain.

I'm all ready - the house is reasonably clean, a bowl of mini chocolates is sitting on the side table by the door for trick-or-treaters, there's plenty of briquettes next to the fireplace, and I'm all stocked on good, natural foods, including the traditional Samhain apples.

Have a beautiful, blessed Samhain!

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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

My Magic Slippers

Actually, they’re pretty horrible. The house I live in now has wooden floors and I only have a few small carpets, so I soon realised I’d need slippers to keep my feet from turning into blocks of ice. My local Tesco’s stocks these soft, socks-like slippers which come in a pink girly print and an equally tacky navy blue pattern.

I went for the latter and they look truly terrible, haha! But I don’t give a toss, because they FEEL amazing. You see, this is part of me re-discovering true wellness, as in well-being and feeling wonderful. I just wrote an article about it, in fact, in my Coaching newsletter (which you can sign up for here), because it’s quite a remarkable journey.

Basically, I have gotten so used to being stressed and never getting enough sleep, that it took me a while to fully appreciate the happy, relaxed life I lead now. I know it sounds strange, after all I’ve been blogging about how great it is for the last five weeks, but the truth is, I didn’t actually fully relax into my present situation until fairly recently. A wise friend once told me that to arrive in a new place, the soul needs to arrive too, and it often takes a little longer than the body.

In my case, it wasn’t just the soul, it was my mind too. I had to get used to slowing down from the constant “to do” mode and replace it by an “I am” mode. In practice, this consists of taking a lot of deep, sighing breaths and consciously NOTICING how I feel.

How I feel is mostly wonderful. That’s where the magic slippers from Tesco come in! They are so very soft, it’s like walking in a cloud. Then there’s the absence of pain from the constant lack of sleep I used to have for years. I’m still tired, my energy levels aren’t back to where they used to be and I suspect they’ll take a while to recover. And yet, I no longer have any trouble staying awake during the work day and in the evening.

During the day, I sit at my desk (like I do in the picture above) and look out of the window at the beautiful landscape outside, where the leaves have just started to turn colour. I feel the warmth spreading in my stomach after drinking green tea or a mug of healthy hot chocolate from Magic Mayan. I snuggle into my clothes and those magical slippers and my body is practically purring. Oh! I also bought new bedsheets for the first time in 10 years. I’m telling you, it was a veritable celebration to slip into them for the first time, on one of the many blissful, quiet evenings.

I’ve always trained my senses, it’s part of my approach to paganism and my magic. My body, the physical world, are very important. So this new discovery of lovely sensations is beautiful, and yet so simple. My spirituality is making a return at the same time: I have replaced my rush-hour commute with a meditation and breakfast with the cutest in the morning, and my living room has lots of space (as well as a fireplace) for rituals.

I’ve tasted freedom now, and I’ll never trade it in again. I just wish everybody could experience this level of happiness!

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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Working From Home

                 The view from my office window!

I’m in my third week of working from home now, so I thought I’d tell you what it’s like. I have worked from home before, of course, but that was before the time of video conferencing and other technical advances! The way people react when I tell them I’m home based, tells me that many have no idea what it’s really like.

Of course, “what it’s like” differs depending on what kind of work you do and also your personal preferences. I know some artists who don’t have any “work hours” at all, and others who need a schedule in order to produce anything. Therefore, please don’t take anything I say here as set in stone.

“Cool! You can work in your pyjamas!”
Err, no. I work with video conferencing a lot and so I need to be presentable at least from the waist up! But apart from that, my recommendation would be to dress for work in any case. It’s one way of showing yourself that you are serious about this, you are not lounging about at home and doing some work whenever you feel like it. Professional dress makes for a professional attitude.

“So you might be sitting at your kitchen table with your laptop…”
No, again. I have an office with a work computer and am required to close the door and have no noise or distractions around me. It doesn’t matter if it’s the daytime job or my Coaching; concentration and focus are important.

“Having no commute must be amazing!”
It is. It’s the best part of working from home. Compared to my previous job, I save two hours for the commute alone, EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s great! I use this time to take up my beloved walks again, get some exercise, and spend more time with my budgies. When I’m done working, I switch off the computer and walk to the other room, and bam, there’s my free time. I looooove it!

“Don’t you miss your colleagues?”
Nope. I talk to them just like I would if we were sharing the same office. However, being at home leaves me more time to do what I really want to do, and see who I really want to see, outside of work hours.

“Are your work hours flexible?”
Yes and no. My j.o.b. has fixed hours, and as for my Coaching, I SET fixed hours. Thinking that you’ll “do something in the evening” is naïve; it just won’t happen that way. So just like I schedule the actual sessions with my clients, I schedule my business work. It’s the way to get things done, at least for me!

So this is it. I haven’t even touched on the bonus of watching the cats play in the field behind the house, and the crows and magpies in their daily routine, or popping in to say hello to the budgies during breaks. The time with them is so precious, especially with my Talion. He’s holding up well so far but sooner or later the gastric yeast is going to kill him. I’m enjoying every minute with him, talking to him, watching him sleep, feeling his silky feathers when he’s on my hand eating millet… It’s such a privilege.

I meant to write about the Equinox and establishing a routine of rituals and other practice here, but I think I’ll do that another time. In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying early autumn! Many blessings from me.

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Nutella Waffles And Making Friends

                Note: Not my photo. I got it from the cafe's Facebook page

The moment I entered, I knew this was “my” café. The tables are plain natural wood, and over the counter, there’s a blackboard with the writing: “If tea can’t fix it, it’s a serious problem!” I liked it so much I made an exception to the suger-free diet I’ve once again adopted after leaving my last job, and ordered fresh (fresh!) waffles with nutella and cream. They were divine!

I’ve also found my local supermarket, greengrocers, health-food store, and techie store. In other words, I’ve got all I need and am happy.

The house is nearly done too, there are still bits and pieces I need and it will be a work in progress for another six months or so, but the rooms have stopped looking empty and I no longer have to run around for 20 minutes looking for something before I locate it. I’ve settled into my home office and done the first week of training for the new job.

Magically, I am preparing for the first proper ritual in years because I’ll finally have enough space again! Tuesday evening I’ll celebrate the Equinox in my living room, and it’ll be the first evening I make fire in the fireplace too. Very much looking forward to that! There’ll be dancing and stomping and whirling, and a feast to boot.

As for making friends, I still need to find some humans but I am getting to know the animals in the area. The crows quickly realised that a hag had moved in, and now they sit on my roof and on the garden wall cawing every day, especially in the mornings. I leave out nuts for them on the garden wall, which makes a good dozen of them decend within minutes and demolish it all. They’re such beautiful, wise birds.

Then there’s kitty. I suspect she belongs to the people next door, but she’s outside practically all the time. I would adopt her in a heartbeat, but that’s not possible because of the cutest. Fortunately, kitty seems to be used to come to this house, but never enter it – she jumps onto the sill of the kitchen window when I cook or make a cup of tea, so I bought some healthy cat treats at the supermarket and each time kitty turns up, I open the window, cuddle her a bit and give her a treat or two. She’s such a pretty one, I’ve got to take a picture some time.

My house is the last in its row and on the very edge of the housing estate, which itself is at the edge of town. This means that there’s a field right next to me with a herd of cows grazing, some with calves. I haven’t befriended them yet but I love watching them when I come back from a walk.

Maybe this isn’t the most sensational blog entry, but I suspect there will be more of this kind. It’s my life now, and I still marvel at it every minute of the day. I have slowed down to a pace which allows me to keep up with myself, and I’ve discovered a new energy for things I never had much time for up to now: I spent hours adjusting the length of some curtains (I don’t have a sewing machine so it took forever, but was worth it) and I don’t even mind cleaning.

The house is beautiful, but not in good condition – it’s as if nobody has ever shown it any love. I’m working on changing this, and I suspect it’s changing me in turn.

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