16 February 2010
The beginnings of a thought have been trying to bubble up to the surface of my consciousness over the past few days, but I can’t quite get clarity. I figured that by writing down the snippets that have drifted up, it might help me to sharpen the focus.
I suppose part of it stems from the oft repeated phrase that you can’t prove religion, which is why it’s called faith. But there is more to it than just simple faith. Raised as a Catholic for a while, I was told to believe this and that, that the bible was ‘the last word’ and that I’d be damned to hell if I didn’t conform. That’s not an over-simplification; I spent three years in a Dominican convent and they weren’t what you’d call liberal.
A couple of years later, I gave up on Christianity and I’m still un-learning guilt – I don’t suppose I was ever cut out for orthodox religion, as I’ve never been very good at conformity or doing what I’m told. So, having embraced the Pagan way and become a Witch, is it all about faith? I’d say no. In running the Whitewicca.com forum, I often see people writing about faith in very much the same way that a Christian would write about it; many of us came from that background, so perhaps it’s no surprise. Paganism, to me, seems to be much more based on experience than taking a set of concepts and deciding to believe in them.
Another thing contributing to these bubbling thoughts is that I have been having what a Christian would call ‘a crisis of faith’ though it’s not as extreme as that. I’ve had little opportunity or privacy to do any ritual in the past couple of years and it’s caused a problem. While I lived on my own, it was easy and the experience of circle, the energy and the altered state reinforced the concepts I embraced making it an experiential belief system that worked for me. Of late, each time I have tried to arrange a short time on my own to do ritual, or even meditate, something seems to happen to prevent it. I’ve also been challenged by my previous inability to get out of the house and go elsewhere – once upon a time I had a place in the woods that served as my open air circle, but it’s been over three years since I could get there. The last year, getting up and down the three steps at the front of my house would reduce me to tears.
So, here I am, amid the hurly-burly of daily life, but feeling that there is no spiritual dimension to it. What I believed in, and did so because I felt it, whether through healing, ritual or any other experience, isn’t there any more – I feel detached and saddened that this has happened. I hope that, as I can now get about better, that I shall be able to once again get in touch with those feelings, but for now, they seem like a distant dream.
15 February 2010
Hmmm, there I was, fast asleep and sawing off logs like the very best of lumberjacks, when I was dragged into consciousness by the doorbell. Yes, it was before 8.30 a.m. and the bloody doorbell was ringing – what the hell…???
My beloved had arranged for a dozen red roses to be delivered for Valentine’s Day and the delivery man must have picked ours as the first delivery. As I opened the door, clad in my oh-so-sexy fluffy dressing gown and disheveled hair, I was greeted with a cheery “Sorry love, sort of spoils the treat, doesn’t it? Have some flowers… but get out of bed for them!” and off he went chuckling at my groggy attempt at a riposte.
Ah, a dozen red roses – they are utterly gorgeous. Kim was the first man ever to give me flowers way back in 1976 and it was a huge bunch of red roses for Valentine’s Day – and I still love him and the flowers. It was the start of a lovely day.
We went for a walk around the village – no great route-march, but enough to keep the new joints working and to give me pink cheeks. We then opted for a relaxing day away from our computers. We spend far too long in front of these machines (she says, sitting in front of one now) and it was so lovely to have a day when thy didn’t rule our schedule or take precedence. I think we need more days like today.
And now, it’s the end of a wonderful weekend, I’m sleepy and ready to face the new week refreshed and feeling incredibly positive. I bid you a happy week to come and as much love and contentment as I feel.
11 February 2010
Cor! It’s bloomin’ freezing this week. Boots, the chunky monkey of the two cats has been waking from his slumbers to snuggle up to me – just to get warmed up, I’m sure.
Amidst this chilling gloom and leaden skies, there has been some brightness… no, not some, I should say considerable. After my first teach for a year and a quarter, I came storming back and was reminded of how much I enjoy the whole thing. The challenge of breaking down barriers, both of attitude and communication, the thrill of seeing people smile when they learn something and know it will be useful to them, and the whole buzz of having to think on my feet and work so hard. Better still, when the scores came in (we get scored on the American GPA system) I got a straight 4, which is the best one can get. Result. So, I get paid to do something that feels like good fun (it is hard work, but the enjoyment is greater) and I get confirmation that my instincts about the student’s enjoyment were correct.
As if that weren’t reward enough, Kim, the silly old softie, treated me to a present. He told me it was for getting through the teach so well, but I have decided it’s my Valentine’s present is it is very RED. My old suitcase was a nightmare to close, with lots of silly clips to align and it often reduced me to a gibbering wreck. Not any more – I’m the proud owner of a very, very bright cherry red samsonite suitcase. Oooh, it’s just gorgeous! I don’t suppose anyone else gets so excited over luggage, but having something that works and is pretty is so delightful. I like red. I have a leather holdall that I brought back from Tunisia and that’s bright red too. Not much chance of missing my things on an airport carousel.
Lots of other things have gone well this week – somehow my life feels like it’s turning around and getting better and better each day. Moving normally again is such a blessing. Never will I take for granted the simple things like being able to walk, to bend over without pain, the possibility of dancing again, and so many other things. Cripes… What happened to the curmudgeonly old me…?!!
04 February 2010
And I never thought I would be…
I’m in London teaching this week; it’s the first time I have taught for a year and a quarter. The hiatus was caused by my hip replacement operations and I have to admit that coming back was a bit nerve-racking. Apart from anything else, I pander to my body clock with the hours that I work at home, often rising later than most but working much later too. Six in the morning is not an hour I’m familiar with these days, but it’s necessary when I’m teaching. After a full and gruelling day yesterday, I limped back to the hotel, feeling footsore but pleased I’d been on my feet all day without pain or mishap. Within minutes of eating, I was overcome with huge yawns and leaden eyes; it made revision hard work.
I woke this morning before the alarm- a first for as long as I can remember. Though my eyes were rather puffy, I felt sprightly and ached so much less than I normally do when I get up – so perhaps a hard day in the classroom was just what I needed. Best of all, I have a really delightful bunch of students, so the “work” doesn’t feel like work at all! Where else would I get a captive audience where I can prattle on about my favourite subject… and get paid for it?
This is such a milestone for me. Not only being able to stand and walk about all day, but that I’m back ‘in harness’ doing something I love. My life is so good and I’m grateful for it.
27 January 2010
During the last cold spell we had a number of fieldfares in our tiny garden. They are birds I have not encountered before and we were rather thrilled to have these Scandinavian visitors amongst the usual local birds. As soon as the cold abated and the temperatures rose above freezing during the day, the fieldfares disappeared.
We felt privileged to have seen these lovely birds, even though they duffed up the local blackbirds in the food queue! Today, I noticed a fieldfare sitting on the back wall, beak pointing upwards at 45 degrees, as usual and my first thought was, “Oh, more snow on the way!” I don’t know if it’s true, as I have managed to not see a weather report for days on end, but I’ll bet the birds are as accurate as the Meteorological Office! We shall see – I’m off to the BBC weather site now…
22 January 2010
We had our oil for the heating system delivered today – I had been getting quite concerned as the levels had been dropping lower and lower, while the delivery seemed to take forever. Phew! The new heating system isn’t up to much – we paid a hefty sum and I can’t say that I’ve felt particularly warm since it was turned on; I never thought I would miss my filthy old rayburn.
It’s so wet and gloomy. I rained all night and it’s still wet, soggy and misting as I type – the light is on and still the room feels drab and grey. I far prefer the very crisp cold days that we had during the very cold weather. The Blues Brothers are feeling the weather too, they are both curled up, one on the desk and another on the chair beside me, with their heads tucked into their tails, snoring quietly.
I’m supposed to be driving to Lincolnshire tomorrow to visit my son, but I can’t say that I’m feeling very keen to go; I’d love to see him, but a five hour drive in this weather is about as tempting as root canal dentistry – I may delay the trip to another weekend.
The worst bit is that I’m not feeling very lively and so haven’t managed to get a single job finished today – I must apply myself as I hate going to bed without feeling that I’ve achieved something during the day.
21 January 2010
I suddenly realised, after looking at NetNewsWire, that I hadn’t written anything here for ages – so long that my blog had faded out to a ‘derelict’ colour. And what a lot has happened in the interim.
After disovering that I could walk without sticks, I’m now walking well, swinging my hips for the first time in years and though I can’t go great distances, as I’m anaemic and get puffed out very quickly, it’s wonderful to be back in the land of the two-legged.
I’m due to teach in London at the beginning of February; the first time in well over a year. I’m a bit nervous and currently bunking off my revision to write this – still, it will be nice to get back into the classroom and into harness.
What else? The furry Blues Brothers are up to all sorts of tricks. I’m sure that Bert thinks he’s a dog; We discovered that you can throw a cat treat and Bert will scamper after it like a little retriever, often flipping his rear over his head in the scrabble to get at the treat. Boots retains some dignity, though not at night time – his other name is Smooshy Cat and it’s because he crawls into bed and smooshes up to ones shoulder, resting his head on the pillow and his chin on my shoulder with a paw draped across my chest to keep me in place. I wouldn’t mind, but the purring often turns into loud snoring and that’s a bit disconcerting!
The house is still in horrible disarray with the dining room still serving as the garden shed and general dumping ground – not great for entertaining, I can tell you. The scullery is coming on and just needs worktops to finish it off. The removal of the old ceiling in the scullery has opened it up to be a lovely bright room and the beams give it a bit of character. The new downstairs lavatory is just a few tiles away from being finished. I got the grout yesterday and will stick the tiles up this week and make a blind for the window – it looks rather nice – all new and bright and shiny. The decorator restored our Victorian door, which originally had an ugly lump of hardboard in the place of the centre pane – it is now glazed, rubbed down and looking rather smart.
There’s still lots to do. I have to tile the floor of what is now the new back hallway, formerly the passage in front of the coal-hole and the old coal-hole is now a nice, bright boiler and tool room. There’s plastering of the hallway and new doors to hang, but there’s an end in sight. Best of all, I’m increasingly capable of doing things for myself, like the tiling, so it doesn’t feel like such a hopelessly long drawn out affair.
Ah well, I should get back to my revision – there’s a new bunch of students to ask “Do you know why you’re not supposed to split infinitives?”
01 November 2009
Ah, that was a quiet Samhain. With the onset of either a wound infection or allergy to the metal staples holding my hip replacement operation wound together, I’ve been quite ill over the past days. My poor old body has been throwing every ounce of energy into repairing itself and rejecting whatever is inflaming it, so the ritual I had planned just didn’t happen. In fact, I felt so unwell that we didn’t even open the house to Trick or Treaters, which has become rather a tradition with us.
The storm arriving during the night was welcome and feeling the breath of The Cailleach arriving reassured that if I wasn’t working right, at least everything else was. Those wakeful hours between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. were spent doing a whole lot of mental and emotional spring cleaning. Out with the old and outworn and make space for new, and hopefully better, things.
One thing I certainly didn’t feel inclined to do was to make myself available to the recently departed – things are too raw and painful, though it was wonderful to see Mr Tom Smelly for a brief moment during the day – I miss him and feel glad that he’s still around, keeping an eye on the new boys.
And so, a New Year. A time to heal emotionally, to recover physically and to reach for new horizons. The past few months have been cathartic, with so many layers being ripped away and now there’s nothing left but being open to whatever life has in store for me – and what an adventure that will be. I’m at the end of a seven year cycle that had been downward in trend and filled with challenges that I would never have anticipated – all that dealt with, I feel it’s time for some positive occurrences, whatever form they take.
To all of you, I wish a wonderful New Year, genuine friendship, love and gentleness.