The Books

The books

                             sit lifeless on the shelf.

Unused.

          Unloved.

                     Neglected for many years.

Why did I ever buy them?

How guilty I feel for abandoning them.

For never reading some of them.

What sort of an intellectual am I?

       

            Until you come along.

You pick them up.

You give life to them.

You breathe life into the dusty pages, through your wonder and amazement.

You breathe the soul out of the books and through your discussion with me, 
The soul lives again.

The author smiles, no, laughs with gay abandonment,

In his cloudy grave.

The Psychological Benefits of Walking Up Hills

  I’ve been born and bred in the Peak District more or less, with holidays in the Scottish Highlands. I’m living the the Derbyshire Dales after being born in North Staffordshire, and I’ve been finding my new village depressing lately. 

One thing I’ve realised is that I’m not just stuck in a rut psychologically, but I’m living in one geologically. I’m sort of at the bottom of a mini valley, in an area known for radon gas, on a main road. It’s okay for visits, but once I am able, I shall consider looking for a more side street location. The air here that used to seem clean, gentle and nurturing to me now feels stifling. Too everyday. Humdrum. As a Gemini, I thrive on travel, new locations. A Gemini is an air sign and perhaps really what I crave, as a person, is new air. The chance to sample new air, like trying a new vodka or wine, each month. When my fiancé was living away I got that. For the last four years, on a monthly basis, I have been having 2-5 day getaways to the coast. Essex, North Lancashire, Cumbria, occasionally Norfolk and elsewhere: I have been very lucky. So I guess now we have to find a reason to get away. I want to perhaps reach the financial position of being able to zoom up to Gairloch, Ullapool, Mull or elsewhere every holiday. Somewhere. To climb. Experience the beauty and abundance of the wading birds. To breathe the cleanest air and see the clean air lichens. And I think it’s the act of travel – the getaway, the escape – as well as the air itself that helps to free the lungs.

The reason I chose this house was partly because I wanted it to be accessible to any clients. It’s only 50 yds from several bus stops, there’s free parking nearby, I’m easily locatable, etc. I didn’t want visitors to have to struggle walking up a steep hill, for example.

But one thing I have noticed lately is that I myself have been avoiding walking up hills, banks, etc. Staying within the relatively flat shopping area of our town. Once, I proudly marched up them. I had one to climb every day after school. We went hillwalking every holiday and weekend. Wirksworth seems to suffer from a lack of stunning viewpoints and high peaks. The area has gentle, rolling hills but nothing to Scottish proportions of course. But maybe I take the views for granted. They once dazzled me with their quaint ruraly villageness. Over the past few months, my mood has been greatly transformed by local walks with dear ones where I am taken up, to the highest points in the area. The pleasant company made the fact that I’m treading familiar paths become almost insignificant.

Today, we walked along the River Bradford at Youlgreave and then circled up over the hill, back to the car. As we neared the top, without warning, my mood suddenly improved. I was aware of a deep feeling of peace that reached all the way through me. (Rather than just on the surface). Something that lately, with various life changes going on, only meditation has helped me achieve. 

Standing there, in this inmensely peaceful valley, gazing across at a farm, at what seemed from our aura vision to be ancient farmland, farmed for perhaps a millennium, with burial mounds and ancient furrow lines. The land itself emanated peace, centuries of love and gentleness. And gazing out across an open space, being able to see so much that you can calmly survey your world, is great psychologically. You don’t even notice it happening sometimes, but you’re not just on top of your world, your local area, but by climbing up in that uphill struggle, and feeling the release once you make it, you are surmounting your very troubles themselves, your worries, you are on top of your life.

I feel I could climb a whole Scottish Munro to conquer the amount of worries and business matters I have lately, but my delicate condition might possibly prohibit that, exercising at a very gentle pace with lots of layers on seems to be the only way, will see how it goes in the Spring!

  

Book Review: The Scorpion King by William Golding

I often find it hard to get into books these days. But this drew me instantly from when my Mum recommended it, and I couldn’t put it down. Finished novellas 1 and 2 last night, and number 3 this evening. With remarkably little interruption! (One of the things that put me off reading had been the fear of being interrupted, as mothers often are). Choosing a good time to read certainly does help, another of Mum’s suggestions. 

I’ll first review what brings the stories together. The first thing that strikes me is that each carries a male main character, a tertiary character perhaps, slightly on the periphery, who acts as the ‘other’. The outsider. The foreigner. Or the one who thinks differently from all the others. Or one who is ostracised in some way from his fellows. One who challenges the current worldview, paradigm, religious dogma. Although in novella 2, it is the main female character who dares to challenge accepted ideas, and is successful.  Out of the three characters, it’s the lady that really creates her world, her new paradigm with the utmost grace, serenity, wisdom and tact. Here, Golding has travelled back to an imagined land 70,000 years ago where the Moon Goddess is worshipped. It makes me think that the feminine within us wants to orchestrate change. Break out into new paradigms. Try the daring and impossible. Perhaps we don’t always have the courage to take action, the wisdom to execute our new wishes, bring them into reality. But it could well be a youthful, feminine part of us that serves this essential function of humanity: the creative instinct. Idealism. Unbridled imagination. If this were the interpretation then it could be argued that the men have a little more difficulty in realising their dreams because they are in a male body. The characters seem to express their creative ideas through more conflict and confrontation. 

I love the way Golding depicts the structures that hold the societies together. He very carefully constructs a vivid image of the societies’ rules and conventions, particularly the ones we would find abhorrent or unusual today. He perhaps magnifies these unusual customs within the stories. It’s a great way to challenge perception: it was societally acceptable then, so why not now? Why did we abandon this practice and would it ever be worthwhile to start it again? What do we think of societies who still carry the traditions on?

Another thing that draws the three stories together is the threat of disaster. Of something that could wipe out the entire civilisation and all its social conventions, complicated rules, rituals and ways of living. He touches upon humankind’s attempts over millennia to grasp the science of what happens to us, and why, often using religion as a means of explanation. Often, an individual rejects an outdated explanation and it’s wonderful to see Golding show the natural scientific enquiry in exigence from 70,000 years ago onwards.

Timestretched

Time seems to be taking forever. Every day I look down at myself and think, is it bigger yet? When is it going to be able to hear? Kick? Be born? I want to play with him.

No doubt when it’s my second trimester, it will fly by, as development happens at an ever increasing rate. I think the third is quite slow as well.

I am worried about money. Hopefully this is a phase that will pass once I’ve got myself more organised. 

I can’t remember the last pregnancy taking so long. I look down and think, surely it’s 8 weeks by now, but it isn’t. Or is it? Knowing an exact due date would be handy, but I have to wait a long time for that to happen!

Some days I wake up and I just feel absolutely normal. Like nothing ever happened. It’s really nice to just feel normal, in a calm slimmer body, pain free. Being more relaxed and more careful about what I eat seems to help – I’ve had a mainly vegan few days of detox.

Yesterday was the first day I’ve started to feel the pangs of regret and self doubt. But I feel better this morning, except guilty for still not getting up. I’ve turned into some sort of narcoleptic Eeyore, terrified of becoming unemployed, in fact suddenly I feel like I am unemployed. I feel the desire for more work, and was becoming quite desperate yesterday: why isn’t it coming when I feel I need it? 

So I decided maybe a) I need to re-evaluate how responsibly I spend, tighten the reins a bit and  b) I need to clear up any loose ends, reply to anyone I’ve forgotten. c) Get my website back up and running d) Make sure I am on track with learning music e) Do some clearing and spiritual development

That’s all I can come up with.

Spirit Animals

A lot of the animals I identify with as a spirit or totem animal are often perceived as loners: the Golden Eagle, the wolf (a family-orientated pack animal, I realise), the Albatross, etc. These creatures express their independence in different ways.

In my career also, I seem to end up being alone for a lot of it, although I have made steps to counter this where the isolation becomes problematic:
Classical singing

Spiritual healing

Bee surveying / wildlife monitoring

Parenting
Hours of practising on my own, striving for perfection. Trying to find a creative direction that stands me out from everybody else, partly to make money but also to be forward-thinking. Break new boundaries. Shine a light for everybody else. Be the one to see things from a higher perspective (hence the eagle).
Anyway, continuing with the quest for a bit more connection and working with others. Particularly in classical singing and bee surveying I guess, maybe in parenting too. Work in progress.

Hen Harriers

I think we need to do more positive psychology and imagine the world we want to create. Describe it. Show it to others. Yes, complain. But also envision an England with a healthy abundance of Hen Harriers and other raptors. A true biodiversity of raptors. (It’s late, but I quite like that as a random collective noun). This is what Chris Packham does and it took my spiritual healing teacher’s Self Mastery weekend to help me realise how it all works. We want to show people what the finished job will look like. I suppose like me creating an album, we want to make it sound our best, no matter how many hours we put in, how much equipment and mic positioning and knobs we turn, so people know what we’re actually like. I’m now officially on a tangent but I guess maybe that’s part of what video, as an art form, should also do: show us as we really are, natural, and also, show where we plan to be. I would love to see more footage, photos, facts about Hen Harriers. Stuff I can use in the music video I want to make. Actually not loads out there, even if I search using scientific name. Perhaps a lot may be in Russian?