Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….


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MIGRAINAYAMA

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Unusually stormy weather in old London town coupled with revelations from my new psychiatrist brought aural turmoil to my world in one of it’s most painful forms.

The Migraine Headache.

Actually to call it a headache is to underestimate it hugely, as a migraine, to paraphrase Danny from ‘Withnail & I’, makes a brain tumour feel like a birthday present.

Perhaps without one of these factors I might not have had one.

Had I taken some over the counter meds at the first warning signs (immense heat from crown to forehead and ratcheting of neck when turned), I might have arrested it before it got worse, but that in itself has it’s own risks.

Maybe if I’d gone for a walk to clear my head, the fresh air might have blown the malady away.

Unlikely.

But by the time I finally gave in and took some painkillers on top of all of my other medication, I kind of knew it was futile and that I was in for a rough ride.

So whilst the wind howled, lightning flashed, rain lashed and theatre ceilings fell, I thrashed and lashed and twisted, trying to get through this most unutterably painful and nauseating of brainstorms.

But, as wave after wave hit me, I remembered my promise to myself to react differently this time and to try not to fight it.

Instead of contracting into a ball, I tried to stay loose and fluid.

Instead of forcing my fingers into my occipital and digging away at the fascia, I carefully rolled my head slowly from side to side, listening to and feeling the clicks as I rotated and hoping they would soon abate.

Instead of grinding my clenched fists into my eye sockets, so that the sharp pain would distracted me from the greater pain of the attack, I massaged the muscles of my face gently, praying that they loosen.

Instead of clenching my teeth in agony, I tried to keep my tongue lolling and the muscles inactive.

But whilst I probably didn’t make things any worse, these actions were not making them that better.

So I sat up on my heels, my duvet around my shoulders like some ancient saffron draped Buddha and let my head hang to my chest.

Oh God, it hurts so much….

Breathe Sista, breathe!  Let it go….

And from thereon in, I let my body do the talking, and somehow in the dead of night in my freezing cold bedroom, I found myself practising some form of gentle, rudimentary, springy, padded yoga.

And eventually after an hour or two, my body relaxed enough to let the drugs take effect, and I must have fallen asleep, as the next thing I knew was one of my cats waking me for his morning feed.

And as I sat up, wincing at that oh so familiar, bruised, tender feeling all around and inside my head and neck, and thanking God that it was over, I realised that whilst I thought I might be done with yoga, it seems that yoga was not yet done with me.

A day later, on ‘Panic Saturday’, the last big shopping day before Christmas, the storms have not abated one jot.

Branches are being ripped from trees, power lines are down, houses are flooded, shed roofs are taking to the air, and umbrellas are officially useless in this early seasonal gift from good old Motha Earth.

But there is a yoga workshop at 2pm, and rain or no rain, I’ll be going.

As whilst I could do without going out in this shitty weather, I can do without another migraine even more.

And believe you me, I don’t need to be reminded twice.

Namaste x

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Daily Prompt: A Source of Anxiety – WITHIN THE SOUND OF SILENCE

Write about a noise — or even a silence — that won’t go away. (We’ll let you interpret this in different ways…)

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It waits for me, an age old friend

One on whom I could depend

But I fill my head with noise and shit

So that I can’t see or even hear it

 

Be it crap TV, Facebook, eBay

I fill the gaps from day to day

I leave not a smidge of space to fit

In time to see or even hear it

 

I bite my fingers, clench my fists

Twist my limbs as anxiety grips

I feel it’s presence at my side

But all I want to do is hide

 

‘You can’t do this forever’ I hear it say

‘Are you going to resist till your dying day?

I try to be patient, but it hurts me so

To see you in pain with no place to go’

 

‘The time has come for you, my friend

To stand up and face the world again’

But I plug my fingers in my ears

As I don’t want to feel those doubts and fears

 

‘I can help’ it whispers to me

‘Please let me in, and let it be

Look within and you will find

That all that you need is here, inside’

 

But I tense and cringe

Too scared, too proud

And turn up the radio nice and loud

And I watch, and I read, and type and knit

And make sure I can’t see or even hear it

 

But I want so much to turn around

And take what was lost and make it found

And I say, ‘Tomorrow, I will, you’ll see!’

But inevitably I’ll just watch TV

 

It waits for me, my age old friend

One on whom I can depend

And I know that it never ever quit

But I can’t bear to see or even hear it

 

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/source-of-anxiety/


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LOONEY BIN v GOING WITHIN

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So.  I was watching the penultimate episode of ‘The Big C’ tonight (don’t tell me what happens in the final one please!) in which Cathy goes into a nursing home, and appears to encounter a lot of dead people in various forms and it occurs to me that I seem to be living a very similar life to her of late, i.e. living in the same few rooms, eating, drinking, sleeping, excreting, watching TV and taking medication.

Only difference being, I don’t have cancer or any visitors.  Dead or otherwise.

I didn’t plan for it to be this way, but since I got back from the yoga retreat I’ve gradually eased myself back out of people’s lives.  It wasn’t hard; my relationships have always been low key and people do back off with relief when they know you are low.  I also think we mentals scare others because they don’t want to think as hard as we do about what is going on in our lives, as they’d rather not get into that mindset themselves and potentially realise that they’re not as happy as they think they are.

So the days pass, and like Cathy, I’m either drugged off my tits or waiting.

Waiting for something to happen.

It’s not like I haven’t tried or made moves to do stuff that I think might help me and/or others and get me back out into the world.  I’ve volunteered.  I’m trying to sort this place out.  I’ve applied for jobs that I think I can tolerate for the money.

But nothing seems to feel right or progress in any way.

And I pray for an open door, and extended hand, a sign of what I should do and which direction I should go, but nothing happens.

And I wonder to myself.

The things I think I believe in and think I’ve seen, and felt in my heart, are they all just my imagination?  Is it all just hooey?

Is there really any meaning to any of this?  Any rhyme or reason?

Or do we all just live, die and return to the earth as rotting meat, ashes to ashes, dust to dust?

And if this is the case, is there anything actually wrong with that?

I just want to know what I’m dealing with here.

That bonging therapist in Spain told me I don’t know myself.  She’s right, I don’t.  I thought I did, but I’m still a leaf in the wind wondering where I’ll drop.

Actually that’s not right. I’m a leaf on the end of a branch, waiting and seriously hoping that the Autumn wind will blow my ass off of it and onto pastures new.

Then I imagine that I’m getting messages from unexpected sources, Facebook, leaflets, messages, horoscopes.  Teasers, if you will.  Do this, try that, find it, find your path, find you.

Just my imagination?

Yesterday, I found myself on Osho’s website http://www.osho.com/ and drew one of the Zen tarot cards, and got ‘Suppression’.

It reads something like this:

‘In Sanskrit, the name is alaya vigyan, the house where you go on throwing into the basement things that you want to do but you cannot, because of social conditions, culture, civilisation.

But they go on collecting there, and they affect your actions, your life, very indirectly.

Directly, they cannot face you – you have forced them into darkness, but from the dark side the go on influencing your behaviour.  They are dangerous, it is dangerous to keep all those inhibitions inside you.  It is possible that these are the things that come to a climax when a person goes insane.

Insanity is nothing but all these suppressions coming to a point where you cannot control them anymore.  But madness is acceptable, while meditation is not – and meditation is the only way to make you absolutely sane.’

 Osho The Great Zen Master Ta Hui Chapter 11

I may be a desperado clutching at straws here, but this is spookily accurate.   I do seem more willing to embrace my insanity than even trying to meditate properly.  Something about it scares me.

But I’m going to try again.  Tonight. Before I go to sleep.

I know you’ve heard this a million times before from me, and I might still bail yet, but when you find yourself relating to a (fictional) terminally ill woman and envying her because Bethany, the death predicting cat is slinking around under her bed, it really is time to grow a pair and get stuck in or I really might as well top myself and donate my body to Gunther von Hagens, as at least then I’d be halfway useful.

Please God, if you exist help me stick with this, this time.

*Night night x

* P.S. I’m not going to say ‘namaste’ anymore until I truly feel, believe and live it.  Amen to that.


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TRIKONASANA TALES 8 – …..GOD BUT DID YOU EVER TRY?

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Readers, things did not turn out quite the way I’d hoped.

It is now over a week since I decided to stay off my anti depressants, and whilst I didn’t expect it to be easy, after a few days of continued abstinence I was flooded with self hatred, despair, a relentless, all consuming sense of hopelessness so I crawled into my pit, burrowed deep, hid for 48 hours, and truly wished that God, Buddha, anyone would raise a mighty hand, reach down and pluck me from this world forever, or at the very least, squash me like a bug with a meaty thumb and put me out of my misery once and for all.

I’ve been on my Sertraline for so long, I’d forgotten how poorly I really was.

If it wasn’t for my cats who jumped on me, laid on me, knocked things off the dressing table and pawed my face and butted me, their little eyes suffused with concern (and not just because they wanted their dinner) I’d still be there now.

Suffice to say, once I did emerge, I reached shakily in my drawer for ‘Big Sista S’ and have gradually been able to manage my pain, subdue the self hatred and tamp down the sadness, and I am now feeling a little more even and grounded.

Looking back, I think I managed to cope in Spain because (a) it was early days (b) I was surrounded with people and activities so didn’t really get the opportunity to sink into oblivion and (c) I was in such a loving, spiritual environment, that it somehow helped me cope with what was, in hindsight, a pretty rough week.

I’m sad it didn’t work.

But I’m not ashamed of myself.

I tried, and no doubt will try again.

When the time is right i.e. when I have built a bigger and better life for myself and have more support and less time and opportunity to fall down that horrible rabbit hole from hell.

As for my time at the retreat, maybe I’d have had a nicer time had I remembered to take my meds, but it is what it is and I have come away with some valuable action points.

 

YOGA

Yoga, as I’ve always suspected, is key to my recovery and future equilibrium.

Earlier this year, I managed to let a couple of hippified mean girls and an intrusive, wannabee couch surfing Guru https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/reach-out-and-touch-faith-update/ put me off finishing my training and even doing yoga at all, so my daily practice had floundered, but now I’ve got back on track I’m not going to drop the ball again.

I will keep it up this time but knowing how important the group aspect of this is to me, I’m going to go to all kinds of classes, cherry pick the best things from all of them, finish my training with Guru and co next year (that will be a yoga blog to remember!) then teach my own personal style and not the style I’m told to teach.

Starting with tonights Iyengar class at my local shala.  I don’t want to go, for whatever reason, but I will go.  And again.  And again.  And etc.

 

MIXING WITH THE ‘NORMALS’

Whilst this wasn’t altogether comfortable and didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, I WAS off my medication so would hope that I’d be less sensitive in a similar scenario now that I’m back on it, so the test was kind of botched really.

Still I survived, and am in touch with one of my fellow guests at least, so I have no excuse to hibernate at home with my cats when I can be out and about, making more friends, if only I try.

 

KNOWING MYSELF

Something Inca, the bonging mystic brought up in my reading was not believing that I know myself and guessing that I was not able to go within via meditation.

I thought I knew myself, warts and all, but perhaps she means the divine part of me that doesn’t hate itself the way I do.  And she’s right about the meditation, I love the idea of it and rather hypocritically espouse the practice to others at any given opportunity, but I put the brakes on all the time because something about it scares me.

Because there might not be anyone home?

Because there might be someone home?

Because I might miss ‘Real Housewives of Menopausia’?

Not sure.

But I agree that i need help with this one, so I’m going to try and find a group to meditate, chant and do some chakra wotsit with.

Preferably one that doesn’t howl like they’ve been disembowelled and spray me with ‘Venus’, aka watered down market stall scent. https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/the-new-moon-commune/

 

FORGIVING

Ah this old chestnut again….

Ms Inka was also right about this too.  Whilst I’m a whole lot better than I was about actively forgiving people and not holding resentment in my heart, there are a couple of new and very old bits of shrapnel stuck in there that might take some time to totally remove, so I need to think about how to get those out, once and for all.

Any surgeons out there at all….

 

WRITING

As you may have gathered, these posts weren’t uploaded ‘live’ so to speak.  I did try to blog whilst out there but every time I settled in a nice sunny little spot and got typing, someone would clomp over, poke their head over my shoulder, zoom in on my fledgling article and go ‘Duh, whatya writin’?’ causing me to jab my iPad so hard, I nearly knocked it into the pool such was my haste to switch applications, causing said intruder, sorry, fellow yogi to look at mite suspicious re who and what I was writing about.

Yes, if you’re reading FY (unlikely) I was writing about YOU, ya big Dufus!

But God, I missed it doing my daily journal.

This is great news as, prior to this year it would have taken an SAS officer armed with a cattle prod to drag me to my laptop and make me write anything and now it is totally second nature.

Yay me!

 

MIGRAINE & MASSAGE

I have grouped these two together as I think one will definitely alleviate the other, so I need to find a South London ‘Sadie’ and see her once a month.

How will I finance that?  Don’t know but God willing, I will find the way.

I’ve also been referred to a dental hospital as my chap reckons it’s a lot to do with my hideous teeth so I’m taking whatever help I can get.

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DIET

On the day I returned to this cloudy shores, I realised I’d gained about four pounds of blubber, plus I had a big sugar/complex carb/large portions of food addiction to get over, and have only just got back to normal eating this week.

So whilst I loved the food at the retreat, and will eat more plant based meals, I do not plan to set up my own poo plant in Sarf London by continuing to eat my own body weight in potatoes, cake, rice, nuts and swede every fricking day.

Thank God that mail train has started to slow down now….

 

A BEAUTIFUL RIDE

It would be very easy to fall back on the notion that everything in Spain is wonderful and beautiful and everything in London is grey and grim and give myself permission to be a bit gloomy, but that is not actually so.

I just seemed more able and open to the beauty around me whilst in that area, but to paraphrase Ricky Fitts  ‘There is so much beauty in the world’ and not necessarily where you expect to find it.

Sure I live in a city, but there are parks, and shops, and countryside is less than an hour by car from where I live, so I’m going to try and notice those little gems of wonderfulness peeking out from behind the bricks and concrete from now on.

And I want to ride again!  I loved my afternoon with naughty Major so much, and whilst I know that the Spanish mountains are a hard act to follow, we have beauty spots all over Britain and it’s going to be my job to find them.

I’ll just need to buy some of those Spanx  ‘big booty’ knickers with gel in them to protect my bony old backside, and then there’ll be no stopping me!

 

LOVE

Ms Inca of the Bong asked me if I’d ever been truly loved.

Dunno.

But the question has stayed with me.  Annoyingly.

Apart from some romantic love (which is mainly about sex innit?), I don’t think I really have, well I haven’t felt it in any case.

And rather annoyingly Inca reiterated Aunty C’s belief that I have to do it for myself.

By going within.

Presumably to look for my Chakras, the Good Parent, Unloved Child, the Judging Parent, Lord Lucan and all that lot.

I’d like to feel loved.

So I’m going to try.

So it’s back to reality.

 

Thanks for coming with me on my retreat journey (sorry, that was very X Factor – please don’t vomit onto your keyboard) and I hope to continue with what I learned moving forward.

Namaste xxx

https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/trikonasana-tales-rain-drain-brain/

https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=13216&action=edit

https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/trikonasana-tales-3-you-better-know-yourself-little-girl/

https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/the-long-way-home/

https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/trikonasana-tales-5-hurt-me-sadie-one-more-time/

https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/trikonasana-tales-6-i-think-its-all-over-it-is-now/

https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/trikonasana-tales-7-kick-it-quit-it/


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TRIKONASANA TALES 4 – THE LONG WAY HOME

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It’s a long way down.

My steed, unable to resist temptation, has stopped abruptly to snatch a mouthful of wild fennel, and had I been less stable, he might have jerked me out of my seat and on the fast track to meet my maker as we are inches from the edge.

But he didn’t and I wasn’t, and my heartbeat gradually normalises again as I gaze at the beauty of the valley below whilst Major chomps away contentedly.

‘Sista!  Come on!  You’re lagging behind!  Pull him away firmly, he needs to know who’s boss!’

Yeah, I think he’s already across that, thanks.

‘C’mon gorgeous.’  I carefully pull him back with the reins, reluctant to hurt his mouth as he no doubt, inwardly sniggers at my wimpy efforts, and decides of his own volition to take pity on me, keep up with the party and move on.

He’s a big old hombre is Major.  I thought they’d give me a little pony/donkey/armchair hybrid, given my lack of experience as a rider, but I got the tallest one in the stable, and as much as I was keen to experience riding in the mountains, there was a good minute where I had considered asking someone for an extendable ladder, sliding guiltily off his massive back and taking a taxi back to the retreat.

And if I’d known the route we’d be taken, i.e. not a nice man made path but pretty rugged terrain, almost vertical in places, I wouldn’t have even taken a minute.  I’d have been outta here faster than greased weasel shit.

I’m so glad I didn’t bail though.

Because after that initial shaky start, I realised that I was in good hands, and distracted by the spectacular views, revitalised by the smell of wild flowers and herbs, and soothed by the steady thunk of hooves on rock I realise I’m feeling the best I have so far since leaving Blighty.

It’s the first day I haven’t wanted to go home.

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This steadfast old boy doesn’t judge me, apart from my riding skills, that is, and even then, he’s tolerant and forgiving.

He has no expectations of me and hopes only that I treat him with kindness and respect.

And the biggest plus of all, we don’t have to make tedious small talk (although I bet he’d have something interesting to say), and in a matter of minutes we are talking the same language anyway so to speak.

It seems that somehow, some way, two have become one, as I am now so relaxed that we are pretty synchronised and I am able to move in a way that is comfortable (ish) for me and helpful for him.

I actually feel like the top half of a Centaur which is a wondrous t’ing, innit.  In all fairness I probably feel like a sack of spuds to poor old Major, but he can’t speak so I’m going to pretend he loves this too 🙂

We could call ourselves Sajor!  Or Mista, depending on your preference.  Either way I feel nothing but love for him and wish I could keep him and do this every day.

And happily, he is not in the least bit offended by the SBD’s I keep letting go whilst no one is listening, and anyway, I’m sure he’s more than a match me for me when he gets going.  Yes, the veritable compost heap of vegetable matter I dine on every day back at base is still giving my belly gyp….

I can hear the rest of the party squawking at each other, filling the air with mindless chatter, attempting to hold conversations despite the distance between them, but apart from occasionally shouting ‘Sorry?’ or smiling/shrugging at my inability (i.e. unwillingness) to hear, I keep out of it, and relish a companionable silence with my new friend.

Major and I are now quite near the front, and as a few of the others are now lagging behind, our host asks us to stop for a moment and wait for them.

Suddenly Maj does his ‘drive by’ herb snatching thing, taking me under a tree with him, and I have to duck so I’m not knocked out of the saddle.

‘Sista!  Pull him back!  He’s taking the piss out of you!’

Oh fuck off.

Leave him alone.  How would you like it if you were surrounded by chips, cheesecake or salted caramels and you weren’t allowed to eat some?

I grin sheepishly at my well meaning instructor, then lean forward to pat my boy’s neck and scratch his mane.  Then as I peer through the branches and take in another truly glorious vista, I sigh inwardly with happiness.

‘Behold the glory of my kingdom,’ says a voice in my head, warm, resonant with a soupçon of mischief, ‘and yet you want to leave…’

Eh?  Wassat?

I repeated the sentence in my head. Did I say that?  Does it sound the same?

It did.  I think?

Ha that’s it, I’m making this up.

I’m so fucking lonely I’m imagining things.  If this continues, I’ll end up on Oprah talking about the big gang of imaginary friends in my head whilst sporting a nice, designer straightjacket and foaming at the mouth in between takes whilst she coos at me empathically, hoping I don’t ask her to join the ‘Mad Sista Massive’.

‘Behold the glory of my kingdom; and yet YOU want to leave!’

I’m getting a bit irate now.

‘Yes, well that’s easy for you to say,’ I respond silently as we set off on our trail again, ‘but it isn’t always like this, is it?’

Silence.

There you go.  I knew I was imagining it.

Silence.

OK.  Well.

PHUUTT, PHUT, BLUT BLAT!!

Major lets a ninety second fart of such explosive, stinky magnitude that the entire troup bursts out laughing and several of his horsy mates neigh in appreciation.

I laugh too, but am aware that the timing is suspiciously telling.

Was that all down to you Maj, or is that The Man Upstairs sending me an impressive, multi media raspberry at my lack of appreciation and enthusiasm for my life on this earth?

The stench rises.

Jesus, that is toe curlingly harsh.  I cough and waft it away with my free hand.

‘Easy Tiger,’ I warn sotto voce, ‘I’ve been going easy on you so far, and you’ve just thrown down the gauntlet!’

A few minutes later, our leader pauses at a fork in the road and turns to address the group, her hand shielding her eyes from the sun.

‘Listen you lot, you have a choice now.  You have another forty minutes, but if you’re too tired and saddle sore you can go back with Mitch now.  OR, if you’re really enjoying yourself, we can take this trail past the river, but we won’t necessarily get back in time, and depending on what’s down there, we may be at least an hour.  What do you think?’

I know which group I’m going with.

As, whilst I’m normally at loathe to even leave my flat/room, when it comes to days like these, I’ll always take the long way home.

Thanks Big Guy, for this day at least.

Namaste.


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THE NEW MOON COMMUNE

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‘Hey love!’ says the young guy standing next to me waiting to cross at the traffic lights, ‘give us a smile!’

I obliged toothily, and asked them what they were up to that evening in hearty ‘I’m old enough to be your mum’ tones.

‘Dunno yet,’ said his mate who was sporting a magnificent afro, ‘how about you?’

‘I’m off to some mad new age thing at the Town Hall,’ I replied, honest to the point of stupidity, ‘something to do with the full moon.’

This did not seem to freak them out at all.

‘Full moon eh?’ said Afro, ‘Yeah man, that’s when the animal comes out!’

‘The wolf?’ I say walking right into their trap.

‘No,’ says ‘Fro with a rather unexpected, vigorous pelvic thrust, ‘the python!’

I grin, genuinely amused, more by their shrieks of laughter, high five-ing and back slapping than the actual ‘joke’.

Little did I know that this would be the least cheesy thing I hear all night.

It was Saturday and once again the full moon was upon us, and once again chaos ruled.

What should have been a ‘one hour’ errand that morning took nearly three.

I smashed a favourite bowl.

Every shit driver in a 50 mile radius was out on the road.

Gormless eejits kept walking out in front of my car.

My sat nav was playing silly buggers, got me lost and then made me drive in a bus lane.

By evening, I was extremely jittery and irate.

‘So Moon,’ I told it that night as it peeked out cheekily from behind a cloud, ‘if I can’t beat you, I’m going to have to try kissing your big yellow ass.’

Which is why I found myself queueing to get into this strange, shamanic, ‘OM Spiritual New Moon’ event.

Organised by people with such names as Chairman OM (I bet that’s not on his birth certificate), Iamlove, Shaman Val and Kundalini Chakra LOVE, I was led to expect by a mate of mine that there would be a bit of Om-ing, some meditation which would then lead into some ecstatic dancing.

I’d done ecstatic dancing once before, but it was with people I knew, so it didn’t matter that I laughed my ass off and fooled around like a four year old, but not sure whether I’d get away with doing the same here.

As we approached the entrance I was greeted by a huge pile of shoes.  Normally I don’t mind going bare foot, but this was hardly the most salubrious part of London, and these sandals weren’t cheap, but I kicked them off reluctantly, hoping that they’d still be there when I was done.

As we entered the room, it was practically throbbing with loud new age music, and someone with what looked like a big flaky cigar was waving it around people, wafting the smoke at them in seemingly some kind of ritual.

‘Is that a joint?’ I asked a pretty woman with a flowery band (yes, honestly) tied around her head.

‘Nah,’ she said in heavily accented English, ‘its called a……..cleansing……stress, worries, yes?’

I nod getting the gist of it, despite hardly being able to hear or understand a word she was saying.  I was just pleased I have someone to talk to.  She told me her name was Stephania.

‘I’m just going to get some water, want some?’ I make a drinking gesture and she smiles and nods.

Making my way over to the bar, I’m immediately accosted by a very tall, very thin man.

‘Hi!  I know you, yes I do, I know you yes? I think I know you, I know you well….,’ he said, and then as if in awe, he whispered, looking soulfully into my eyes ‘…do you know me?’

Lame.

There must be a name for guys like these who use the opportunity to exploit the whole ‘peace and love’ ethos as a way to try and get under women’s kaftans without getting a slap round the chops.  I can think of one at any rate.

I laugh.

‘No, this is my first time, but anyway, I’ve got to take this back to my friend…’

‘I’d like to get to know you anyway, beautiful goddess, see you later….’

Whatever dipshit.

The music is even louder now and what with the addition of a few ethnic instruments, making Stepania even harder to understand.  It was a bit like trying to communicate with a beautiful, female Cousin It, albeit post a trip to the hairdressers and wearing a bandana.

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You might remember, I asked a week or so ago whether there was anything worse than having to do small talk?

There is; small talk with half the words drowned out by a fucking didgeridoo.

That said, I managed to figure out that Stephania is an Angel therapist (and actually earns money from it) and a mum of one.  We are then joined by ‘Ace’ who has taken a year off work (sacked like me, eh?) and is thinking about doing a law degree?!  Must be more lonely than spiritual methinks.  I get it though, and my heart goes out to him a little.

Then along comes Gus who seemed nice enough, but within five minutes he’s hinting at ‘couch surfing’ at mine, so that he can stay till the end of the party.

I think not.  He could be a serial killer for all I know.

An hour had passed, and I was getting bored.  I stank of smoke that wasn’t even spliffy, was tired of ‘guess the missing word’ small talk and really wanted a proper drink, when a rather dishevelled chap whom I believed to be Chairman OM, asked us all to sit on the floor and form a circle.

At last! Something was occurring.

We all sat down, crossed legs and congregated around a little circle of stones, flowers and candles (that the air conditioning kept blowing out) and Iamlove takes to the floor, and introduces herself.

‘Hello seekers!  I am Iamlove (I swear I’m not making this up) and would like to welcome you to this most auspicious of evenings.  This is an Aquarious moon which is all about making decisions, gaining courage and taking that leap forward (wow, very apt actually) because everything is coming to a head (again, true) for you to discover what you are here for and how best to serve the planet and in two weeks time you need to be ready to move with the new Leo moon with confidence and joy.’

This is all spookily relevant.  And whilst people like this are piss taking catnip to me, and even though this woman has a stupid name, is dressed like a Woodstock reject and has rainbow hair, what she is saying is making perfect sense.

‘So, now I’ve updated you on the planets, we’ll do some Chakra meditation, and we’ll OM along with the Singing Ringing Bowls…..’

Whoa!

Rewind that.  Singing Ringing what?  I remember ‘The Singing Ringing Tree’ with the girl, the dwarf, a massive fish and the bear thing, but this is a new one on me.  A bowl that sings?

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‘….then Ulrika Seahorse will channel a song for us, and Shaman Mother will lead us into the sacred chant.  And then brothers and sisters, we will dance and celebrate!’

Everyone whoops and cheers and we all clasp hands.

I’m holding Stephania’s which is fine, but the guy next to me, no doubt in an effort to look intensely spiritual, insists on holding both of our hands up in the air and I don’t seem to have any say in the matter.

We’re then told to close our eyes and some woman start keening away in some language or other along with a wind instrument.  It’s all rather lovely and atmospheric except my left hand is starting to cramp, so inevitably I can’t lose myself in the meditation because all I can think about is slamming both mine and this dickhead’s hand to the floor with a thump.  Also my bony arse is starting to go numb.  I shift miserably from cheek to cheek.

After about 20 minutes this ringing noise starts up, everyone starts to OM, and it’s actually pretty powerful.  I make an executive decision to forget my manners and let my left hand go floppy so that this stupid bastard takes all the strain, so I can start to enjoy the experience.

Then Ms Seahorse is up, who thankfully allows us to reclaim possession of our hands.  My lovely neighbour on my left give me a pained glance but I just beam at him sweetly.  It was your choice to keep it up pal, not mine.

‘What’s up Walthamstow?’ she yells, strutting around as if she was Beyonce or something and everyone whoops and cheers.

‘Most of you will know the ‘Magnificent Acceptance’ song but for those of you who don’t, you’ll soon pick it up.  So let’s join hearts, minds and….’

Please God, not hands again?

‘….souls and raise the roof!’

Phew.

I’m not even going to insult your intelligence by telling you the lyrics of this song, but to give you some idea of just how cheesy it was, some of the words were:

Magnificence

Offer

Love

Beautiful

Precious

Accept

Peace

Truth

Heart

Beautiful

Just as I you are

Motherfucker

<I was lying about the last word 😉 >

So, terribly cliched and kind of nauseating.  This goes on for a good half hour and I’m starting to lose both my buzz and the will to live.

Then mercifully it ends and Shaman Mother comes on to cheers, whoops etc in a kind of tribal outfit complete with faux lion skin, possibly made out of a market stall ‘Lion King’ onesie.

‘First of all, get comfortable!  If you want to lie down, this is the time to do it.’

‘Synthetic lion woman, I love you….,’ I think as I stretch out gratefully on the floor.

‘I  have some amazing news! Someone very special gave these to me’ she hold up a couple of bottles to a chorus of oohs and ahhs ‘and I in turn will gift them to you. Tonight brothers and sisters, you will be sprayed with Venus.  Now please close your eyes’

Given that this whole evening was getting more and more like an episode of Ab Fab, I’m not even that surprised by this claim.  In fact I’m delighted to be sprayed by Venus, Mars, Uranus or any other fucking planet juice because it was like a greenhouse in there.

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Shaman Motha starts burbling on about Venus and Mars and how we all have both qualities and about five minutes in I feel a spritz  of something flowery mist over my face.

Lovely.

SM is talking ridiculous nonsense but her voice is soothing and hypnotic and I start to relax into things again and drift off…..

Suddenly a feral howling fills the air, which gets shriller and shriller and culminates in a scream, and I sit up so quickly I nearly sustain whiplash.

WTF?

Lion Queen is rolling around the stage, screaming, looking like she’s about to give birth and I’m the only one with eyes open, staring at her in disbelief.

There is no doubt about it, if I had been there with a friend, I would have cracked up laughing by now, but seemingly being the only one in the hall that was finding this all a little odd, it was actually quite chilling.

I quickly flatten down before I catch her eye, and lie there waiting for her to be done.

Pretty soon, her shrieks of agony subside and we all open our eyes and get up.

There is a brief intermission and then the music starts and every gets up and starts throwing shapes and genuinely ‘dancing like no one else is watching’.

I try too, and I do manage to let go a little bit and get into the music, but not as much as the others who are seriously hurling themselves around and look pretty, well, joyful, despite the fact that they look like a Dad at a working man’s club wedding reception.

Iamlove is kind of rapping over the music (cringe!), saying mystical, positive stuff and so forth, and every now and then she shouts ‘Rising, rising, rising, RISING!’ presumably referring to the Kundalini and everyone jumps up and down and goes apeshit.

Not Mrs Mojo here though 😦   No rising for me, alas.

And when I come to think about it, I honestly feel more ecstatic dancing to Ceilidh music, House or Soul than any of this New World stuff.

Then Ulrika Sealion or whatever her bloody name was, danced around the floor bonging this big drum at each dancer who all beamed and gyrated wildly in response.  Then the poor cow came over to me and her face fell, no doubt noticing that I was far from ecstatic, whacked the thing at me a couple of times, then went off to find a more appreciative audience.

After an hour or so, I was absolutely melting plus I was bored shitless, so I gave up the ghost, snuck off to find my sandals, and slunk out of the door for the last bus home feeling pretty disappointed all in all.

As I walked from the bus stop to my flat I could help thinking that the more I tried to find God via something or someone the more he/she evaded me.  Were all of those people really writhing in ecstasy or where they faking it?  Are all those OM people with the pseudo spiritual names really in touch with the Almighty or have they just found a way to make a fast buck from gullible folk?

I honestly don’t know.

Maybe it is my karma to have to work really hard before God reveals him/herself to me?

Sad, I look up to the sky and the moon glows smugly, and almost seems to nod in agreement.

‘Oh, fuck off you!’ I tell it crossly, and go inside for a cold, much deserved glass of vino.

Ass kissing is thirst work y’know, and if I being a hippy chick means I can’t have booze, then they can stick their kundalini where the moon don’t shine.


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THE ARTISTS WAY: Week Two – Recovering a Sense of Keeping the F*ck Up

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So, yes, I admit it, I didn’t check in this time last week; I fell of the horse (mechanical bull more like) but I’m back on it.  Just.

Rather than cram everything into this one post and bore the arse off you, I’m going to do last week’s key observations today, and Week 3 observations tomorrow, OK?

One thing I need to flag up is that unlike most of the people following this course, I’m kind of doing it in reverse; I’ve got some creative stuff going on in the form of this blog but need to use the lessons to get back into the workplace, make new friends and carve a complete life for myself without losing my creative self again.  And do even more creative stuff.

OK.  So last week was about Recovering a Sense of Identity and this mainly addresses the people/things/thoughts that can trip you up along the way. Again, I don’t have work/family commitments or distractions but the ‘Poisonous Playmates/Crazymakers’ section was very interesting.

A Crazymaker is essentially some arsehole that makes unrealistic demands on your time, surrepticously puts you down, and tends not to be too chuffed when something actually starts to go right for you.

Being the defensive old cow that I am, any psychopaths that wander into my life are given very short shrift indeed, but the friend I am estranged from didn’t seem to like the fact that I was coming out of victim mode and trying to get back on track. She’s not a bad person and may not have known she even felt that way, but it’s probably useful to think about your friends and do a quick ‘health check’ on them and make sure you don’t have a secret saboteur. Remember, you don’t need to be paranoid to have someone in your life who’s out to getcha 😉 !

Another part asks that you analyse where your free time goes. Mine tends to be taken up with being in a drugged stupor on the sofa, buried under  a blanket of cats, watching ‘Real Housewives’ (aka narcissistic bitches with more money than sense, who would find someone to argue with if they were at the bottom of a lift shaft to the centre of the earth.  Post Armageddon), but that’s all about to change.  I’m going to start putting together a plan for every day so that I can’t fanny around and waste this precious life God has given me.  I mean it this time.  Honest.

This will also incorporate doing some of the list of ‘20 Things I Enjoy’, some of which I already do so can tick off (yay!) but picking at the wound on my hand doesn’t count, so am I going to force myself to really push the envelope and have a good time this year.  Yowser.

My biggest challenge however and something I need to put some real work into is ‘ATTENTION’.

When one is paranoid, panicky and generally bonkers, you are essentially driving on autopilot because your mind is whizzing around like a rat on a wheel, and you pay only enough attention to not totally insult whoever you are with, get knocked down by a car, or get the sack.

Because I’m constantly obsessing about me, me, me, I tend to pay very little attention to others.  It’s not because they’re not important or interesting, but I’m totally absorbed in trying to survive.

Every encounter with a stranger or a group of people would end with me thinking something along the lines of the following examples:

‘Phew, she didn’t seem hate me; think I got away with that! Hang on, what was her name again?’

‘Oh God, they totally hate me, I saw that blonde one look at her manager and smirk! They think I’m shit, that I’m a joke, word will get round, I’ll lose my job, and…..oh fuck, I didn’t take any notes, what am I going to write this report with?’

‘Well, he clearly thinks I’m desperate, I bet he thinks I’m a sure in for a shag but not good enough to be his girlfriend!  Oh no, he clearly thinks he’s much too good for me!  Well, I’ll show him, just wait till he calls, I won’t be in and….’

Even typing this out makes me cringe, but I can be frank with you, and quite honestly, to date, I can’t help it.  And because this is my default, I have to constantly back peddle to try and catch up with the things I should have taken notice of, and eventually I end up so paranoid and defensive that these people don’t want to be around me anyway.  And who can blame ’em?

What also doesn’t help is I’m ‘blessed’ with quite an aloof face when I’m not smiling (not my choice, I wanted a J Lo or an Angelina – thanks again for that, God…) so a lot of people think I’m snooty.  Little do they know…..

I saw the above image on Facebook today, and it hit me like a frying pan upside the head, so I thought I’d share it.

Who knows, maybe someone else on here has ‘Chicken Licken Syndrome’ and/or is as demented as I am, if so, this is for you my feathered friend.  Take heed.  Worrying is pointless.  Bok, bok, bok, SQUAWK!

I’ll close with the part about ‘Praying for Guidance’.

Look, I haven’t got clue who is up there.  I could be God, Buddha, Allah, Thor, but I don’t actually care.  I feel and have always felt that there is another greater, higher intelligence who exists alongside us, and I don’t think he/she/it cares what you call it either as long as you call it.

I call it intermittently; sometimes I pray, sometimes I meditate, sometimes my yoga feels like a dance with it, sometimes, when I’m angry, hurt, or afraid, I tell it to bog off, but I know it’s there. Hovering.  Hoping for the best for me, willing me to get my idle arse into gear and make a difference, I just wish it would give me a frickin’ clue sometimes.

But again, maybe it’s me who’s not listening…..