Wednesday, 31 March 2010


I've been wrestling with the idea of perfectionism for a long time, as readers will know.  But this link really chimed for me today.  At the moment the idea of kicking judgement into touch is really strong for me, and this post really says it better than I could- about writing as much as art, or anything else for that matter.

Monday, 29 March 2010


Lately I have been:

messing about with my fab new paintbox....

out walking with friends....

enjoying the Spring flowers.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Coven 2010

Every year we get together.  We call it our Coven.  We've known each other since school.  We now have husbands, and the other two have kids.  Its 33 years later.  A lot of water has passed under the bridge.  But every time we meet, its just as if we only had a cup of tea together yesterday, instead of a year ago.  Thank the Goddess for such good friends.

Friday, 19 March 2010


The new swimming costume finally arrived in the post this morning, so I can start moving on with my health programme.  It may not look worth £45, but believe me, the scaffolding underneath makes my boobs look positively pneumatic.  It's certainly better than the ones you normally buy, which make your boobs squash flat so that they reach from just under your chin to just above your pubic bone.  So I shall feel more confident facing the skinny lovelies in their postage stamp bikinis at the local pool.  And I've got to now, haven't I, having spent all that money?

Thursday, 18 March 2010


Looking at Tracey Clark's wonderful 'i am enough' Collective page this morning - take a look at the idea, I think it's marvellous..

I was talking to this chap the other day about Choice and wellbeing, and an interesting conversation ensued.  The upshot of which was something of a lightbulb moment:  If I can make a conscious choice about my emotions, about how I choose to react to a given situation where before I always felt that my emotions were being done to me by other people, why can't I choose other things as well?

Can I choose to love myself?

Self-hate has always been a huge issue for me.  Hence the self-harming behaviours in my teens and twenties that saw me weighing 7 stone and in emotionally harmful relationships.  Self-harming habits are hard to shift.  Even now, when my life feels out of my control, I will go off and do something self-harming like eating a quarter-pounder with cheese meal (tummy poison for me) and feel soooo much better, even though I know I will suffer for it later.  It may not sound much, but its really no different from the relief I used to get from stabbing myself with a compass point as a teenager.

I've always approached self love and self confidence as something that I had to work hard to develop.  Something that comes from other people's approval, or from what you achieve.  But what if it's not?  What if I could make the choice to say, 'I love myself just as I am.'  Just as I make the choice to say 'I'm not going to let so-and-so upset me today'.  What would happen then?

Make the choice.   Then act as if.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Medieval tiles on the floor of Winchester Cathedral, my alma mater, where I graduated in 1990.  They make me think of the beauty of the Universe.  Everything feels like this at the moment, that the Celestial Spheres are moving in harmony to change my life, just when I was least expecting it.  Big changes are afoot.  All I have to do is keep the Oughts and the Shoulds at bay, and stop trying to catch the BUTterflies, of which more later...  In the meantime, big love to Amy for being willing to venture a punt on me, and Sara who has believed in my art for twenty-four years, twenty-three and a half of which I thought she was completely mad!

Monday, 15 March 2010


The mole traps didn't work.  Or rather, I can't be arsed to get the knack of using them, and I don't especially want to have to dig up limp, furry little bodies every morning.

So the moles have had a nasty, smelly surprise today.  Firelighters.  A friend told me that they really don't like the smell.  Its a sure-fire way to persuade them to dig elsewhere.  So I spent part of this afternoon cutting up a big block of smelly firelighters and stuffing them down mole holes.

One of two things will happen:

1) The moles will just dig more runs.  In which case my lawn will look even more disgusting than it does already.

2) It might actually work.  In which case the moles will retreat to my poor neighbour's garden.  Where we will repeat the exercise, and try to get them to move again, into the woods, where they will leave us in peace, and vice versa.

I am not, however, hopeful.  Farmland by its very nature invites moles.  But if anybody knows the number of a good mole-wrangler in the Bungay area, I may be able to put a few furries his way.  In the meantime, at least I got a fun little drawing out of it!

Sunday, 14 March 2010


Roses at Ditchingham Hall gardens, a reminder of summer....

I haven't written anything here all week, and I am feeling rather guilty as a result.  But it is Sunday, and I am lying in bed with my laptop, so I thought I would say hello. Its been a tough week again, lots of pain, this time in my neck and shoulders.  A great deal of Deep Heat cream, the laying on of hot water bottles, and some healing from Pat has helped a lot. I still feel like I have lost four days, though.  When the pain is that bad, I can't think of anything else.  My mind goes all woolly.  It is hard to write, or read, or do anything.

On the other hand, Spring is really on her way now.  I can smell it in the air.  The days are getting longer, the snowdrops are up and before long we will have daffodils.  I managed to do some tidying in the back yard, and found some primulas that are putting out buds, so I hope I will have some colour out there before long.  The forecast says 12 degrees next week, positively balmy.  This winter has been so cold for so long.  We all just want to see the back of it now.

I have some fun activities in the next couple of weeks to look forward to.  Most exciting is our 'Coven meeting'.  I have two friends who I have known since school, and every year we meet up for what we call our Coven, an opportunity to gossip, eat great food and catch up.  We used to stay over with one another for weekends, but since babies started arriving, that has been difficult, so its just been lunch together in London.  This year, though, we are all going to stay with Jacqui and Paul at their home in Warwickshire, so husbands and kids will all be included. Its going to bedlam (and a very long drive), but I am so looking forward to catching up.  Promise lots of 'then and now' type pictures!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Following on from my recent post mentioning Victor Frankl,  I heard a story on the radio today which I found deeply moving.  Commenting on the new Hero of the Holocaust medal, a British film maker mentioned a story told by the French wartime heroine Andree Peel.  She spoke of how, in the first concentration camp to which she was sent, she saw a nun choose to take the place of another woman, who was hysterical, in the line for the gas chambers.  The nun gave up her life willingly so that the other could live.  Peel, and those honoured today, along with many others, chose to stand up against tyranny.  Faced with the same choice, how many of us would really be brave enough to do likewise?

Saturday, 6 March 2010


Just to let you know that I can do my belt up two notches more than I could this time last week.  And all from just avoiding carbs. Result! And a great incentive to keep going.  Thanks to Fran for reminding me that what it says on the scales is not the only measure worth noticing.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


The other day I was rooting around and I found the notebook I write memorable quotes in.  (I've been looking for it since we moved!)  Choice being such an important element of my new Quantum Level Recovery programme, I was struck by this wonderful quote from Victor Frankl, the noted psychiatrist and survivor of the Nazi death camps:

"We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.  They might have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

I'm not saying my situation is anything like what Frankl lived through.  But what this quote brings home to me is the importance of choosing how I react.  By making my own choice, I take my power back.  And that power feeds more positive choices.

Monday, 1 March 2010


I keep thinking about the Dalai Llama's story about catching mice.  I've probably mentioned it here before.  It goes that, as a child, he spent many months setting traps, trying to catch the mice that populated his quarters.  He caught none.  Eventually he concluded that the mice had decided to put the long-term pleasure of being alive over the short-term pleasure of eating the cheese.

The place I am in at the moment requires me to do exactly this.  I have to slow my life down enough not only to be aware of how I am thinking, but also sufficiently to examine every choice and decide whether it will serve my longer-term goals.  Every person who has ever been on a diet understands this.  But its not just about what I put in my mouth (though with the list of things I can't eat because my system can't handle them getting longer every minute, this is sure is an issue!).  I am trying to change how I think and behave. 

Living, and interacting with others, and with myself is a minute-by-minute process.  This is what I call 'Quantum Level Recovery'.  I am concentrating on taking life a step at a time, in really small steps.  How will I spend the next minute?  Somehow, this makes it manageable.