Tag Archives: energy

Dancing my way back

I’ve been feeling a bit lost of late, perhaps for some time – I’m not sure when it started. As a consequence I’ve been looking for the things that help me feel more coherent and recognisable to myself. As a young person, I danced a lot. Ballet lessons from age four to fourteen (I couldn’t handle the point work) tap lessons, ceilidh dancing through my teens, goth night-clubbing and jumping up at down to bands. I danced a lot, and I could, and would, dance all night. Slowly, the spoon shortage (which also began in my teens) kicked in. Pain, tiredness and lack of opportunities have combined for some years now and I stopped being a person who dances.

The year I was pregnant, I carried so much water I could barely waddle, and as the inflated mother of a young child, the scope to dance disappeared, and I let it go. There have been odd occasions of dancing, but it stopped being a reliable feature.

This winter, dancing was on my new year’s resolutions list. Thus far I’ve not done a vast amount – I danced a bit at a Roving Crows gig and it was clear that my older, stiffer, under-spooned body could no longer tolerate jumping about like a demented pixie for hours at a time. I was going to have to relearn, and do something different.

I’ve been experimenting a lot with how I move my body. In the past, I mostly danced from the feet, a lunatic faux-Irish-jig if you will. The rest of my body following where the jumping and stomping led. So I’ve started thinking about all the areas of my body that can dance – knees, hips, spine, arms, hands. I don’t move my head about much, as there are balance issues there. My moshing days are clearly over, and anyway that stuff hurts too much. If I let go of the idea of dancing as rhythm, and treat it as making shapes sympathetic to the music, everything opens up for me, and I can move in ways that don’t wipe me out after the first song. If I want speed, my arms can express that.

With a background in ballet, and a few terms of studying Tai Chi in my distant past, I have some habits of movement. It’s all about soft curves, and there are all kinds of rules from those traditions that I default to, so I’ve been challenging myself to move differently. I wouldn’t previously have stuck any part of myself out in an angular way – elbows and knees, stomach and arse. I’ve previously danced with soft hands, but I can use fists, flat palms and spiky gestures for expression, and again this opens up the range of movement available to me, so I can make it interesting. If my body is very stiff, then a less smooth approach is easier.

I’ve found running harmony singing groups that one of two things can happen. Either you get safe, comfortable, affirming harmonies, or you get spiky exciting ones. It’s dawned on me that the same is true of dance – that I can have safe, graceful flow, or the challenging spiky stuff, but nothing wrong, nothing bad. Being taught to dance, for me, meant growing up thinking about moving my body as something for other people to watch and judge, but that simply doesn’t have to be the size of it.

Not only am I re-dedicating to dancing, but I’m shooting for once a month now. I have a better sense of self when I dance, it releases me emotionally, and I feel like someone I can make sense of. It doesn’t have to hurt, or exhaust me, and, it turns out, I can go into a dance space already sore and tired, and move in ways that do not leave me feeling worse. It’s a set of discoveries I’m very excited about.


Magical energy exchange, and sheep

A few days ago around the subject of social contact, someone commented here to suggest that the internet could provide much of what I need for less effort. The internet does play a very important role in my life at the moment, and I value the intellectual stimulus it provides. It’s an insight into other people’s truths and experiences, a source of information and contact. I enjoy connecting with people through thinking. But, having let this lead for some years, I know also that it isn’t enough.

There can be genuine emotional connections made online, but those are rare. It can more readily sustain existing emotionally involved relationships than create them. I did, admittedly, find and fall in love with my husband via the internet, but that’s not generally how it goes for me, and often people who try this find it doesn’t work out. It’s very hard to form enduring emotional connections with someone you’ve not met in person. Not impossible, certainly, but very hard. There are forms of connection-making that happen in person and are hard to replicate at a distance.

Over the weekend, I sat in silence with a group of Druids, and stood rather less quietly with some very friendly sheep. I can sit in silence without other Druids, but to do it in company is a different experience, and having explored it repeatedly, it’s definitely richer. Without speaking or touching, the reality of being in the same place with people does something. The reality of being in the same place with sheep also does something, something affirming and comforting and not terribly easy to put into words. The acceptance of sheep is not something to take lightly.

Creatures of a non-human persuasion are often very choosy. They come closer or they stay away, and even if they don’t know you, they make those decisions at surprising speed. If they accept you, they’ll come over and make contact, and if they don’t, they will run away from any attempt you make at contact. The message is always clear. Sometimes, over time, they will decide that you can be trusted after all. Degrees of acceptance and closeness are available, coming in for a look or letting you be around are also powerful statements of acceptance, especially when dealing with wild creatures.

To be accepted is a powerful thing. Human creatures are not terribly good at physical expressions of acceptance and non-acceptance. We move closer when we don’t mean it, touch when we want to flee, stay when we feel uneasy, run away sometimes just because we can and not because of how we feel about this particular person but because we’ve needed to run away for a while…

When the contact is real, even if it’s just same space contact, not touching, something happens. Some of that is emotional and about feelings of being accepted and affirmed. I don’t think that’s all of it. Each one of us is an energy presence, and that energy occupies more than our bodies. To bring one body into proximity with another is to bring two energy systems into proximity. I’ve done that with magnets, but otherwise my notion of the science of energy is sketchy, my understanding of electricity in the human body even more so. What I do have is the first hand experience to say ‘something is different about this’, even though I can’t explain any of it. Something happens.

There is something nurturing, healing, uplifting, transformative about good contact, about sharing space with other living things. I feel the same way about trees. There is something in the exchange, something needed and good. Which means that while I value the head-sharing of the online world, I keep looking for those places where I can be physically in the same space as someone else. I often find non-human others easier company, but perhaps I can learn from that to better understand what it is I want to find in my own species.


Thinking about shrinking

I’ve lost a lot of weight in recent years. Occasionally I get complimented on this, and while it is pleasing to be complimented, I am also uneasy. I have not worked for this weight loss and I have not sought it. I have improved my quality of life, I sleep more, walk more, but I also eat a lot more cake. I’m aware that sometimes I lose weight because my digestive system packs up (usually stress induced). We praise people for weight loss, but it can so easily be a consequence of illness, while radical weight loss can be a cancer symptom. There is an assumption that thinner equals healthier, but that isn’t always so.

People tend not to ask me if I’m happy about this change, the assumption is that being thinner must mean being happier. Thin is not a magic cure all for life’s troubles, and a lot of people get thin, find nothing else changes, get miserable, and pile the pounds back on. It does not give you social skills, or turn mean partners into nice people, it does not bring true love in any reliable way. Thin is not always happier. I find bouts of weight loss make me especially vulnerable to depression – simply a blood sugar issue, and toxins previously stored in fat cells being released into the blood stream.

Eating less can mean having less energy and being able to get less done. That can mean becoming less able to exercise. Thin is not the same as fit. Nor is thin the same as having a healthy diet that provides enough nutrition. Body size and nutrition have no relationship, one can be overweight and malnourished as well.

I had long believed, mostly due to weight loss adverts, that being thinner meant having more energy, being more comfortable in your body and feeling good about yourself. I’ve dropped a number of clothes sizes. I remain uneasy about my bodyshape, and my energy levels depend entirely on how I balance sleep, activity and food. Size has made no discernible difference. I also have trouble walking into clothes shops and finding items that fit me, suit me and appeal to me. I thought that would get easier, but it hasn’t. Apparently my tastes have been a far bigger barrier in this regard than ever my shape has been.

Brains need fats. So does skin. There’s only so much calorie cutting a person can do before this becomes an issue. Refined sugars and carbs may be more of an issue, but these low carb diets are no good if you want to live an active life. I can’t walk the hills without energy in my food.

There’s also the problem of stopping. If thin is good, and more thin is more good, and amount of weight lost is what you post to facebook for your praise fix, when do you stop? When are you thin enough? And what do you do for a praise fix when you’ve not lost another couple of pounds? When being ever thinner becomes a goal, when ‘lose five pounds in a week’ is offered as a good thing regardless of your body size and health, we lock ourselves into a treacherous game. Being underweight is not a good thing. Malnutrition and hunger will wreck your quality of life.

Better to comment on people looking well, I think, than to focus on weight loss. Better to be interested in feeling well, than to be trying to get thinner at any cost.


The dangers of normality

Anything we understand as normal, we tend not to question. We are more likely to pick on things we think are abnormal about us as places to seek change, than to work on the things that make us the same as everyone else. We are less likely to challenge any feature of our lives that is a dependable constant. Thus the person who has been gently subjected to escalating patterns of abuse won’t feel there’s anything odd at all about being hit. This is why victims stay, and people who have not been victims struggle to understand why anyone would hang around for such abnormal treatment.

If I challenge directly over something you consider normal, the odds are you will become defensive. ‘Normal’ is our baseline for how reality works, so having it challenged is always uncomfortable. It feels threatening, so the desire to protect it is both strong and entirely natural, but that makes certain lines of though almost unthinkable. So let’s do one, by way of an experiment.

If you want to have a happier, richer, more rewarding life, live greenly and generally be a better Pagan, get rid of your television.

I know perfectly well that for many people, the television as been a lifetime companion. The defences – that some programs are good, that it is entertaining, comforting, sometimes educational will leap to the forefront of your mind. This may well be true of any number of programs, but once it turns into a conversation about how Star Trek inspired you to live a better life, what we don’t get to do is talk about television as a wider issue. The social and psychological impact of television is considerable. It’s now normal for young people to feel that they could not live without one, or without their beloved phones.

Television is a good case in point because if you watch regularly, you also get the daily normalising of our unsustainable culture. You’re looking at other people’s houses, loaded with certain kinds of stuff. You’re hearing about products, and seeing them sparkle. You’re seeing how people dress. All of these things create and reinforce your reality. It is a reality of unsustainable consumption, but we’re carefully not telling each other that so as to be able to keep doing it. Around you, everyone else is seeing the same TV reality and manifesting bits of it in their lives, dialogue, consumer choices etc. Music goes to number one in the charts because of TV, sometimes because of adverts. TV supplies content for our conversations (as a non-TV person, I really notice these).

We have lives full of material riches beyond anything our ancestors dared to imagine, but we’re not happy. We are consuming resources at a rate this planet simply can’t support for the long term, and the odds are that in our own lifetimes, there will be radical change forced on us and we will have to learn to live very different lives. Are you ready for that? Do you know how you would cope? Do you have the skills, the emotional resources and the intellectual flexibility? Can you imagine what it would look like?

If the world without television in it seems like a threatening idea, that’s a thought to spend some time with. If the idea that in the future we might not be able to cope with the energy expense of television seems outrageous, do ask yourself if you would feel differently had you’d watched a program recently envisaging how television might be impacted by a low energy future.

It’s a lesson with implications far beyond the television. You can play the same game with your emotional responses to any piece of technology. Your phone, your car, your computer. I know perfectly well how much I would struggle without access to the knowledge base and people the internet gives me. If I had to choose one piece of technology to save for the future, I would give up every other 20th century device for the sake of computers and the internet. Which one would you pick?


Working with energy

For me, working with energy is not some kind of esoteric or magical practice. It is a daily concern about how to manage my energy levels so that I can do as much as possible. It’s not a wholly practical issue either. Energy is a basic necessity of life, so treating it as a more supernatural issue seems really bizarre to me. But then, much of my take on magic has far more to do with life as experienced, than that which cannot be pointed at.

I’ve learned some simple, practical issues around how much sleep I need (a lot in the winter, less in the summer) and what kind of diet actually sustains me. Getting that right has helped me a lot. I’ve looked at how I pace myself, moving between different kinds of work in order to stay mentally fresh. I’ve found I may be more of a morning person than makes emotional sense to me, but working late into the night burns me out far faster than starting early does. There are no one-size-fits-all answers here, it is a case of exploring and finding what works.

I’ve spent the last ten years and more trying to run flat out, writing, working, parenting, keeping a home, volunteering… I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve misjudged and burned out. The last few years I’ve been trying not to do that. Exhaustion is my single biggest trigger for depression and anxiety, and I’ve got to a point where body and mind simply cannot endure much more of that. It is essential for me not to spend too much time in that state. I get really ill. And so managing my own energy and learning to work within its limits, only pushing those edges gently and some of the time, has become vital for my viability.

It is clear to me that there is only so much I can do by getting the physical underpinnings right. Sleep, diet and exercise are important, and if I get those wrong I suffer. However, they will not do the whole job, and sleep especially is affected by my emotional state. If I am demoralised, if I feel unvalued, if the people around me give me a hard time and feed feelings of uselessness, then nothing works. Equally, if I have the right kind of engagement with people, my energy levels rise dramatically. What I need are intense, emotionally honest, heartfelt interactions with people. Preferably enough people to feel a bit like a tribe. Soul friendship, sharing of life and self, people who are being authentic… this makes worlds of difference.

Thus far 2014 has really brought into focus for me which relationships in my life give me this. I’ve been able to step away further from connections that make me feel tired and low, investing more in those heartfelt interactions that feed my soul. I am seeing the effects on my output. I’ve written nearly a novel’s worth of short story material in the last month, I’m writing non-fic at a pace, I’m doing arty crafty things, and it’s all flowing. My morale, which is rooted in my relationships, is what makes this possible.

There is an incredible magic in connecting open-heartedly with people. New thoughts and feelings, new experiences, are possible. It’s not your wand waving magic of spells and determined change, but a more organic and unpredictable magic, no less life-changing. Energy work… it’s not all auras and acupuncture language.


The History of Feng Shui

Guest blog by Uma Campbell

Any tradition that is older than written records, and is still being practiced, has a complicated history.  Feng shui is no exception.  Feng Shui is a Chinese art of situating buildings in their most optimal position based on astronomy and life forces that goes as far back as 4000 BC, late Neolithic period. While the goal of Chinese medicine is to balance yin and yang in the body, the goal of feng shui has been described as aligning a city, site, building, or object with yin-yang force fields.

To give context to how far back that is, the European structures Carnac Standing Stones and the stone circles Brodgar and Stenness and cairn Maes Howe (Orkney Islands, Scotland) were in use around that time.  It is widely believed that these ancient sites were also in use for reasons of astronomical significance.

feng

 

To find the first use of feng shui (which means “wind, water”), it can be traced back only through records of building projects, so exact dates of first use are approximate and marked by the Dynasty that was in place at the time.  Initially, placements of tombs, shrines and important buildings would be specifically oriented to angle “auspiciously” to a cosmic event, like a winter solstice or rising and setting sun.  Based in cosmology, the principles were formed to capture good life energy or qi (pronounced “chi” in English) for a purpose, a different one for a civic building than a temple, for example.

Throughout the long history of this practice, feng shui evolved with differing branches of methods. These are referred to as “schools”, each focusing its practices on a different set of calculations or elements.

We may say the Han Dynasty shows the first organized use of feng shui (206 BCE-220 CE), referred to as the Form School.  The “form” in Form School refers to the shape of the environment, such as mountains, rivers, plateaus, buildings, and general surroundings. It considers the five celestial animals (phoenix, green dragon, white tiger, black turtle, and the yellow snake), the yin-yang concept and the traditional five elements (Wu Xing: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water).

One of the famous feng shui names recorded in the history of feng shui is Master Yang Yun Sang, who left a legacy of many classical feng shui texts and is considered the founder of the landscape school of feng shui. With the Landscape school, the Tang Dynasty (618-906 CE) used the lay of the landscape (rivers, mountainsides, soil, etc) as important ways to sculpt the energy effects desired.  Each of these schools had their own evolutions as well.

Utilized through Song Dynasty (960-1279), new techniques included a form of compass reading to orient to the 8 cardinal directions North South East West and points between), at roughly the same time as the magnetic compass as we know it was used for navigation. In the late 1800s, the Landscape School and Compass Schools merged, and utilize combinations of the tools each introduced.  [Han, Tang, Song, Qin (Ch’ing), Republic]

Today, feng shui is practiced as either by an expert in the stricter science and geometry of the ancient techniques, or by “softer” methods involving a bit less math, a bit more instinct and flexibility.   The eight cardinal compass points, landscape features and cosmic forces for house placement is possible, plus the bagua, or map, of directions and elements for interior space.

Feng shui is not easy to explain, but easier to achieve with the right advice and a little study.  Ultimately, you can choose how in-depth or lightly you want to apply these principles to your spaces.  If the effect of lighter, easier flow of energy is achieved, good living can ensue.

 

Uma Campbell is a freelance writer from Southern California. She loves writing about meditation and alternative medicine. To read more of her writing, you can visit the Soothing Walls blog. When she’s not writing, she loves to practice yoga.


The 70% challenge

I’m currently reading Molly Scott Cato’s book, The Bioregional Economy. You’re going to be hearing a lot about this, because it’s having a huge impact on my thinking. How I perceive the place of Druidry in the world is shifting. The choices I mean to make in my own life are all being reconsidered, too. In addition to that, I am so inspired by Molly and her vision that I will be investing time and energy in trying to get her work in front of more people. I’m not prone to being so inspired by people that I have to leap into action and do something, but Molly is an exception in so many ways.

We cannot have infinite population growth and infinite economic growth and infinite growth in consumption, given that we start out with finite resources. I’ve known this for years. What I’ve not had before is any sense of how energy use would need to change so that we can viably live within our means. According to The Bioregional Economy, current thinking puts the figure somewhere between a 70 and 90% reduction. That’s a staggering prospect with huge implications, and has really brought home to me the scale of the problem.

Could I cut my energy consumption by 70%? I may not be a good case study here because there’s already a lot of things I don’t have that a great many people take for granted as necessary. I’m living in a small space, with no car, no television, no fridge or freezer, a caravan sized washing machine. We have computers for work, we have a phone and the internet but are otherwise pretty low tech. I can’t cut back much further without being unable to work, and as this is a rented flat, there are things I’m not able to do in terms of getting a more efficient boiler, a water meter, or solar panels.

Most of my scope for cutting energy use depends on better sourcing of that which I consume. This makes me realise that I do not have any idea how the various things I buy contribute to energy use. There is nothing to tell me what the real cost of my food and clothes actually is. Where they were made, how they were produced, how they travelled, how people in that process were treated, and so forth, remain unknown to me. If I could get everything locally and direct from producers, I might be in with a chance of both knowing, and doing better. The costs of that would still be prohibitive for me, although I’m doing what I can.

There is a cost to all the things we are able to source cheaply in supermarkets. Most of that cost is invisible, but it is actually part of the reason why I would struggle to afford the things made by local craftspeople and the produce on the farmers’ markets. We push prices down all the time, and there’s a miss-match between what it is possible to earn, and what it is necessary to be able to spend. To sell my work in the modern market place, I have to charge so little as to push myself out to the margins. We’ll spend more on takeaway food than we are happy paying for printed books. British farmers in the UK struggle to make ends meet, unable to compete with cheap foreign imports. In other countries, people are growing flowers to sell commercially but cannot afford to reliably feed or educate their children. The whole system, is mad.

We keep hanging onto this myth, perpetuated by popular culture, that science will find a magic solution. Star Trek style technology will give us the lifestyle we’ve been sold, at knockdown prices with clean air. That isn’t happening. We keep taking more than the natural systems that support us are able to keep providing, and that plainly isn’t going to work.

A 70% reduction in energy use. That’s a stark and alarming figure. 90% is really rather frightening. What would that leave us? What will life look like when we finally bite the bullet and stop pretending there isn’t a problem? Assuming we get round to that in time. It casts the whole concept of what we might need in such a different way as to challenge every assumption our culture holds right now. That’s probably a good thing. Right now I don’t know how to do it, but I am determined to face that challenge.


Who am I?

Picking myself apart, I look for things that were put on me from the outside. There are a lot of them. I look for things I’ve been taught to believe that don’t hold up to rational scrutiny. There are a fair few of those, too. I carry so many assumptions, absorbed with little thought. This is a process I started in earnest when I was writing Druidry and the Ancestors. Looking at the way in which ideas and behaviours can be passed down through families, unconsciously. Hurt and wounding transfers from one generation to the next. In my family one of the big issues was that we don’t do physical contact readily or easily. I’ve had issues with boundaries that stem from there.

Often when I’m working on a book, I’m experimenting with my own life and thinking, to see what I can find out first hand. That doesn’t stop just because the book is published. I found myself thinking about my paternal grandmother last night. I know so little about her. I may have inherited some physical problems from her, and I do not know what else. What came to me from those ancestors? What of their lives and stories is meshed into my being? I do not know. I also keep asking what it is I bring to the mix that is truly myself, my own spirit, not a repetition of ancestry, not a manifestation of DNA, or training, but purely and totally me.

I have been aware from the outset of this work that the answer could be ‘nothing at all’.

There’s an energy that is mine. It’s a wild, high octane, intense, manic sort of energy and if I’m not careful with it, it can leave me burned out. It’s not reliably safe to be around, either. A forest fire, hurricane energy that isn’t as careful as it could be with people who get too close, and that worries me. I also have a perception that spiritual means calm. Spiritual people are all mellow and at peace with the world. I’ve put in a lot of time trying to be mellow and at peace with the world, and I can do it a bit, but it gets ever clearer to me that it is not in my nature to live there. The hurricane self needs to be more active.

There has never really been space for me to be wild. I’ve always had to be domesticated. I was taught not to show off, or make a fuss, or draw attention to myself and I learned to be a passably inoffensive presence. Now I struggle with energy levels and depression. The more time I spend quietly looking at this one, the more certain I become that I need to give my wild self more room, more outlet. I need to accept that I am not a creature of still, silent contemplation all the time. There are hungers in me. I do crave attention, that sends me out onto stages and into ritual circles, it has me writing books and blogs. Why should that be shameful? Why should I feel any need to pretend that I do this for ‘good’ reasons and that ‘good’ precludes attention seeking? Celtic tales are full of attention seekers. The bards, heroes, the beautiful women, the magic users – they aren’t self effacing. They take pride in what they do and draw attention to it.

Is it really a virtue to stay silent in face of pain? To not ask for help. Being open about my shortcomings, and learning to ask for help gives other people chance to step up and be heroic. It’s not failure to need input from other people.

I’m aware of food hunger in my body, and sexual desire. Having spent a while now exploring what it means to want, I notice how much I want rest and sleep, physical affection, intellectual stimulation, laughter, beauty, experiences. I’m a demanding creature by nature and I want a lot out of life. I am not satisfied by banality, by that which is unimaginative and lacklustre, and I’ve spent a lot of years pretending to accept what bored me witless, just to avoid hurting other people’s feelings. What I learned along the way was that wanting made me a bad person. My wanting was an affront to others, who either couldn’t make sense of it, didn’t like it, feared it… and I let myself feel responsible for that, hiding those bits that I was learning were monstrous and unacceptable.

I am not passive by nature. I’m experimenting with not being ashamed of the hungers, drives, desires and impulses that come from my body. I’m looking for spaces in which I can express them and distancing myself from places where being biddable seems like a requirement. I’m learning to accept that I cannot conform to the image of Druid as chilled out speaker of calm wisdom. That manic, fierce, burning energy that has so much potential for trouble, is mine. Is me. It may well be the most ‘me’ thing I’ve got. It’s survived a lifetime of attempts to cage and tame it. It has survived my feelings of shame in it, my rejection of it, my self-hatred. There is an old skin on the outside of me, and I can feel it loosening, ready to slough off.


Working with energy

Nope, not a New agey post from me today, more a pondering of how the biology works, or in my case, doesn’t, partly prompted by reading some excellent material from Dorothy Abrams. I don’t have a deep understanding of bodily energy systems, but I can observe, and am starting to notice, and question a few things.

For the last ten years or so, I’ve run flat out whenever I could, punctuated by times of illness and burnout when I could barely move at all. To do this I have learned to ignore pain and exhaustion, which is something I’ve been trying to unpick for a while. Yesterday I noticed that my muscles can be tired, while the rest of my body jangles with restless energy. It’s like being on a caffeine high, without drinking the coffee, and it contributes to not being able to sleep. My guess is that it’s the adrenal system.

Adrenaline is there for short term bursts of life saving fight and flight activity. It’s there for emergency dashes to the water hole, and for when you’re going to need to walk a long way to find any food. It has its place and its uses, but we aren’t supposed to use it all the time. I find I’m easily tipped into anxiety and often feeling threadbare in a way that leaves me wide open to depression, and I think this is because I’m pumping more ‘energy’ into my body than my body is realistically able to use. What I’ve been calling ‘running on willpower’ might better be labelled ‘running on adrenaline’.

In the last few months I’ve started to feel like I need to take proper care of me. I’m tired of living with pain, and the depression and anxiety are no kind of fun. I’m looking for root causes. Most of the circumstantial causes have gone, leaving a legacy of thought and behaviour habits to tackle. If I kick into fear/adrenaline mode at the start of each day, I start pushing and forcing myself from the moment I get out of bed, and then later fall into bed so wound up I don’t sleep, thus perpetuating the whole cycle. I can afford to stop doing that now, so am trying to get my adrenal system to step down.

This is another form of being vulnerable. Risking saying ‘no’ to things, and people. Not trying to do everything right now. It’s a process of learning not to think of myself as a commodity that should be available on tap, but as a person. I still struggle with that one, it’s another legacy issue. When people don’t treat you like you’re a person, you can end up believing it – it’s such a tidy explanation, you don’t have the same rights as real people because you’re too flawed to count. Intellectually I’ve been resisting that for a while, but the emotions often move more slowly.

I think that to move forward, I’ve got to explore making the constant adrenaline drive stop. I’ve got to let myself be tired and sluggish and a bit useless for a while. Then perhaps I can get some better rhythms going around being able to rest and recharge. There’s every reason to think that if I can sort this, I can reduce pain, exhaustion, depression and anxiety such that I end up with more energy and more scope for doing things. That helps me feel less self-indulgent about the process, because I still struggle with ‘because it would be better for me’ as a justification for anything.

Being with someone who supports me, and who will manifest that support in practical ways, is a huge difference. Being with someone who soothes my anxiety with gentle physical comfort, and who encourages me to take care of myself, not because I’m a massive inconvenience if I get ill, but because I am worth taking care of. Having the space in which to do this is so important. Head space as well as right physical environment. Having the inspiration from other Pagan writers to challenge my ideas about physical and emotional pain. I’m going to try and do something radical to change my life, and to be well.


Managing the energy

It’s all gone mad. My whole life. Not in a bad way, I hasten to add, but this is the kind of crazy rush that ought, in theory to happen at midsummer, and didn’t. This is not normally a ‘rush’ time of year for me. Some years when I’ve been pickling and preserving, it’s been busy, but not like this. Part of it is a direct consequence of my shout out earlier in the week. The response has been amazing – as a consequence I’m writing two or three articles a day plus this blog, trying to meet demand. It’s stunning, humbling, inspiring to find so many people are willing to put something of mine into the world. (And, do keep them coming, I’m holding pace, I will get articles to everyone who asks, and each article will be unique).

I’ve just been asked if I’ll read a book with a view to putting an endorsement on it. This is a first. A gobsmacking, overjoying first. There is no greater validation as a writer, than some other writer liking you and your stuff so much that they want an endorsement. Sales are lovely, fans are lovely, and startling, but this is a whole other level and my head is reeling.

I’m talking to a review site, that I want to work for and that may be interested in me. Things are moving for Tom as well, with all kinds of glorious chaos potential there too.

This morning I wrote a gothic short story, destined for an audio project with some great people. I have a series to write, and the creativity is flowing.

At the moment it feels like hurtling down a slope on a tin tray. It’s all going very fast. I have some semblance of control, but probably not as much as I need. Stopping could be messy…

Many of the creatures I love most are absolutely adept at harnessing the natural environment. Buzzards ride the wind, and I watch them most days, soaring effortlessly, using what is there. It’s so easy to get buffeted about, blown off course, thumped into trees though, for creatures like myself who are not adept at flying. My Druidry of the last few years has been so much about a quest for balance, peace and stability. I’m caught in a tidal wave of awen, a tsunami of potential, and am quite aware that it could crush me. I need to become the sort of creature that can ride the currents, harness the wind.

I know from past experience that the crazier the rush, the harder the crash, but I want this life, and I want the many things that are opening up before me.