01.01.13


I am so excited about 2013. Really, really excited. 2012 was a good year for me. I thought it might be. I love it when I’m right.

I also love the concept of choosing a word for the coming year. Last year my word was authentic…… This year, my word is intrepid.

I’m laughing a little, writing this, because if you wanted to find someone less intrepid than me, you’d have to look far and long. Trepid, that’s me. I have lived a life of trepidation, heck, I made trepidation into an art form. Or an Olympic sport. I could get a gold medal in fear and trembling.

But I’m getting better.

When I hear the word intrepid, I think of an explorer, hacking his/her way through a never-before-explored jungle. Stepping boldly and fearlessly over the giant snakes. Swinging over the foaming river on a vine. Sleeping under the stars, despite threat of attack by mosquito and hungry tiger.

Which, I think, nattily sums up most of our lives. Every day is virgin territory, a jungle where no foot has stepped before. Snakes rise up where you least expect them. Life rushes madly around us, and we have to find a way to traverse it and somehow stay intact. We get hurt, from little every day mosquito bites, to life threatening tiger attacks. And somehow, we make it through.

We make it through, regardless of our attitude. Fearful or fearless, the day passes anyway. Time slips by. Problems come, problems go. Some of us walk with timidity, some  with fierce boldness. We get through life, either way. But all the fun, all the adventure, all the reward, gets sucked out when we live with fear and doubt and trepidation.

This year I’m going to do my very utmost to live intrepidly. To seize opportunities, and if need be, to create them. To live, not in my safely and carefully constructed comfort zone, but to reach out as f-a-r as my arms will reach, every day. To pull on my stout boots, grab a machete, and fight my way through the jungle.

Death by metaphor. 

I would love to know what your word for 2013 will be, and why. In fact, I’m going to offer you an incentive to share. I made this mini quilt last year, and it has been sitting here, waiting to find its place. Its place is with…… you? Leave me a comment, and I’ll use the handy dandy number generator to pick one. You’ve got until the end of the week.

In the meantime, I’m starting a new quilt, inspired by last week’s photos of moss on a garden wall. Exciting!

25.04.12

So….. how are you doing today? Is it a good day? A bad day? A hanging-in-but-only-just day?

Yeah, me too. It’s been a tips-of-my-fingernails kind of week. You know how life queues up a month’s worth of problems and throws them all at you at once? Even Tony is cracking around the edges. You know life is tough when it gets to him.

Anyway. If things are a little tough for you right now, you’re not alone. We’ll get through this. The longest, darkest day has to end eventually. In the meantime, be gentle. Be patient. It’s all about damage limitation. Don’t try to carry more than you have to right now.

And don’t forget to breathe……

(This abandoned house is on one of our favourite walks, to the cliff tops. The road goes through land used by the nearby army camp, and is regularly closed due to firing practise. The army bought the house, and closed it up. Which is a shame, because this old stone house would make a fine home.)

 

24.04.12

You like me, right? I hope so, because I’m about to tell you something rather shameful.

This is NOT a nice thing to admit about myself. But I find courage to tell you from the fact that I strongly suspect that many of you will be the same way.

I can’t stop comparing myself to others, and measuring up my successes and failures against theirs. I’m competitive. And often-times, envious.

What do I compare? Everything. It’s like we women are in some kind of universal league table. We tally up points for everything: how pretty we are, how much we weigh, how glossy our hair is, how many pairs of shoes we have. How happy we are, how busy our social life is, how many friends we have, how close we are to our family, how beautiful our spouse/children are, how stylish our home is. Our career status, our personal and public achievements, our ambitions, our intellect, our wit. Everything.

The net result of it is, we comparers are always way down the bottom of the league table, looking up at all the beautiful, successful, intelligent, popular women above us.

Now I know that this is wrong. I know it affects the way I relate to other women, and how they relate to me. Worse still, it reduces other women to something far less than the sum of their parts.

I know it’s damaging. I know it makes me unhappy.

What I don’t know, is how to stop doing it. I want to stop comparing, measuring, assessing, competing, but I don’t know how to. Truly.

I was discussing this over on someone else’s blog recently, and someone made a very thought provoking comment that I would like to share with you. She said:

“Just remind yourself that your life, I’m sure, is plentiful, and that no one else’s achievements, body, or life has anything to do with yours, and so should have nothing to do with how you feel about your own life, body and achievements.”

This really resonated with me – I keep revisiting the page to read the words over. To try to get them to sink into my heart, not just my head. Because logically I know this to be true, but still I find myself slipping back into comparisons.

But there’s a really profound truth here. I am me. You are you. We are utterly and completely unique. We are not linked in some kind of bizarre chain reaction of status. If you achieve something, that does not automatically push me down the scale. It does not change my achievements. If I walk into a party, and there are ten women taller than me, and ten women shorter than me, that does not actually change my height! I am, what I am. You are what you are.

I have written and rewritten that paragraph, but any way I word it, sounds crazy. Because it is crazy! But if you are a comparer, you’ll get what I’m saying. And if you’re not, lucky you. But I’m not jealous.

Well, I’m trying not to be, at any rate.

So, tell me, do you compare yourself with others? How do you deal with it?

15.02.12


I know I’m late to the party, clutching on to the coat tails of other bloggers before me, but I’ve been thinking about my word for 2012. I’ve only just come across this concept – which is a brilliant one – but perhaps that is just as well. If I have to choose a word for 2011 at the start of last year, it would have been an ugly one.

Pain.


Anguish.


Loss.


Terror.


Isolation.


Hopelessness.


Not the kind of words you want to resonate throughout 12 months of living. But sometimes life is like that, and you have to endure intense pain to get to the next level of the game.  I did, and I have, and here I am.

Ready to choose a word for 2012.

This is the year of truth. Of purity. Of sincerity. The year of peeling away the layers of old paper, and letting my heart breathe in bareness. Of keeping faith with myself. Of being unafraid to be me. The perfect time to let go of stale expectation, and set sail for new shores of discovery.

Me. Unadulterated, raw, unapologetic, what-you-see-is-what-you-get, open hearted, true.

13.02.12

All by myself. For two weeks. Day and night. This is a novel experience, to say the very least. I have not spent more than 1 night alone in a house, since I was 17. It has been a phobia of mine, being alone at night, since I was a very small child, and has been the source of paralysing fear over the years. Just a year ago, I could not have contemplated the prospect of staying alone for two weeks, here or anywhere else. But now, I approach it with curiosity, almost anticipation. What will it reveal? What will it result in? What will it bring me?

Time seems to have slowed right down, the minutes of the day oozing slowly, like thick treacle. I feel like everything is holding its breath. Waiting. The house is remarkably quiet; even outside there is little noise. I thought this might trouble me, but I’m finding it restful. My soul is letting out a deep breath, and sinking into it.

Can you really ever be alone? As they say, wherever you go, there you are. I don’t think this is quite what that is supposed to mean, but it sums it up beautifully for me. The mistake I’ve been making all these years is not recognising that. Not understanding the truth of the words, I am enough. I can be my own company, my own comfort, my own cheer, my own courage, my own strength.

That’s not to say that I don’t need, or want, anyone or anything else. But when everything is stripped away, I am still there, underpinning my life. I have my own backbone, my own brain, my own heart. I am not everything. But I am enough.