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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

I made it through the rain

The New Moon in Cancer this morning with the Solar Eclipse visible only from Southeast Asia may explain a bit of how I have been feeling this week. As someone who is naturally quite sensitive to these different energies (becoming more sensitive as time goes on), and someone who was also born under the sign of Cancer and so is attuned to the Moon, this is to be expected.

As a water sign Cancer is strongly connected to the emotions. When we think of the crab, we see the hard horny exterior which protects the soft and vulnerable body - which pretty much sums me up. Most of the time, when I am not at home I hide behind a suit of protective body armour which is designed (but never quite succeeds) to protect me from life's knocks - I have had more than my share this year.

The New Moon and the Solar Eclipse signify as time of inner change and transformation (what's new). This particular New Moon, so my friend Sarah Jane Grace says, marks a turning point within each of us to face our vulnerabilities and fears, and to breathe deeply into them as we acknowledge that it is often these fears that are the true source of our strength and resolve. You can say that again! None of us are infallible, but that is what makes us human. We have a choice whether we like to admit it or not whether to weather the storms or find the strength to work through these fears.

The New Moon offers the chance to do this, but also the opportunity to honour ourselves and all our strengths and gifts - and vulnerability can and is a gift, for it makes us stronger rather than weaker. We all have this soft and vulnerable side, and if we choose to work with it, then the butterfly within will blossom and burst through the chrysalis (which is highly appropriate given the title of this blog). It feels to me as if my own butterfly is coming to the end of a particularly long gestation.

So, today it is no accident that I am off to Ilfracombe for three days. Then on Saturday I sail back to my beloved island of Lundy. How will I feel given what happened a few short months ago, when I get there? Will the island have changed, or is to me who has really changed? I think the answer to that is most definitely the latter. It is I who have changed this year, changed considerably from the person I was when I left my old job behind. The experience was and sometimes still is painful, when I think back to the events that took place, so I try not to think too much, but rather, to remind myself of the learning that has taken place, which has been considerable. As Barry Manilow once said, I made it through the rain. Let's hope it stays away for the next couple of weeks so I can get the well earned rest and recuperation that I need.

I will be back on August 8th, so until then ...

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Nimbies gone mad

There seems to be an extraordinary amount of fear and unrest around at the moment, which is reflected in everything around me; every time I open a newspaper or switch on the radio it seems to be nothing but bad news, so much so that it cannot help but rub off on one. The girls at work all seem tired and worn out, and this too reflects my own state of health. My body, but most of all my mind, is crying out for a rest, for a time of no responsibilities where I can be and do exactly what I want, beholden to no one.

I seem to be experiencing problems with a few work related issues right now, both directly and indirectly. Of course it is nothing to do with the people that bring these things to my attention, but all about me. The other week I got rather upset when I convinced myself that two Eastern Europeans at work were talking about me. Whether they were or not my reaction was out of proportion to what had occurred. Afterwards I realised that it was helping me to clear issues surrounding previous jobs, some of which I have spoken about on here. Namely the fact that I lost my first few jobs due to no fault of my own other than choosing unscrupulous employers who used the law to their advantage and not my own, and also the fact that I was young and naive and did not have the confidence to stand up to them and question what they were doing. How times change!

This incident made me realise how insecure I am, that every time the boss asks to speak to me, or one of the other girls tries to show me a different way to do things, my heart lurches and I feel I am being told very subtly that I am doing things wrong, and that my way is not good enough. Of course most of this is nonsense; they are only trying to help, but my ego and my pain body do not see it like this, not until after the event. When I am faced with situations like this I need to find a way to put the pain body to one side, which is easier said than done.

There have also been a few issues surrounding parking. We have our own car park at work, but in the evenings and at the weekends when I work, it is often full with visitors cars, and several times I have been blocked in, resulting in me being late out from work. So, I started parking on the road instead.

Last week someone left a note on my windscreen to say that by parking where I had, I was forcing other motorists to drive on the wrong side of the road, and did I want to be responsible for an accident? Well, no I didn't, not that I necessarily would be, for if there was one, then it would also be due to the speed at which the other cars were travelling and not all down to me. The note suggested that I park around the corner in a road which is opposite the nursing home where I work and so I started to do this. This is a dead end road, one end of which where I park, backs on to the gardens of the houses in the road I had previously parked in. There are no houses along this part of the road, and no yellow lines, neither it is a private road, yet this morning a couple came to the home complaining about my car being there and saying it was causing an obstruction! I failed to see how, but did not want to cause problems for them or for the home, and so agreed that I would use the car park from now on.

It is a posh area with huge houses owned by those who evidently have more money that I do, who would never demean themselves by cleaning their own toilets never mind anyone else's. There is no legal reason why I cannot park in their road, but they have decided that they do not want my or anyone else's car in a place where they consider it shouldn't be. Nimbies gone mad!

It just seems that whatever I do I can't win. I park in one place and am told to move my car to another road. When I do this I am told off again. And then to make matters worse I cut my thumb on some broken glass in the bottom of the dishwasher. All in all I will be thoroughly glad at 2pm on Tuesday when I finish work for 2 1/2 weeks. I shall be even gladder on Wednesday morning when I get into that car and head for Ilfracombe.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

To my cracked pot friends

There is a heart warming story today on Sarah Jane Grace's blog which really made me smile. Sarah tells the tale of an Indian water bearer and his cracked pot, a tale which reminds us embrace our own unique flaws, for we all have them. It is these very flaws that make us so unique and make life on this wonderful planet so challenging and interesting - all at the same time, for they shape us into the people that we are and teach us valuable lessons about tolerance, acceptance and patience - qualities which are in short supply in the hectic pace of our modern society. The story also serves as a reminder to stop and slow down, to smell the coffee (or perhaps the flowers), so that we too can flower. I am honoured to count myself as one of Sarah's crackpot friends ...

So without further ado, here is the story:

"A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.""Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?"

"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts." The pot said.The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.

"Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the Pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pots side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

Sunday, 12 July 2009

My sister has been arrested

I have just had a visit from The Police to inform me that my sister has been arrested (for the third time this year) for wasting Police time. Apparently she has been dialling 999 for non emergencies, half the time simply because she is lonely and wants someone to talk to. She has the right that her next of kin be informed of her arrest, and this time it seems that she chose to exercise that right.

I did not know about any of these previous episodes (although it doesn't come as a surprise), as I have not spoken to her since Christmas, when she told me to f*** off. Taking her at her word, I have done just that and stayed out of her life. I have tried to ring her a few times, but each time there has either been no reply, or the communal phone has been answered by someone who sounds drunk, who informs me that my sister is not at home. What then can I do?

Someone who does not know my sisters history could be forgiven for thinking me as selfish for not getting in touch, but I do not take this action lightly. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia 21 years ago, and her illness has been a major sadness in my life that has caused untold problems, especially for my poor mother (now deceased). I would not suggest that my sisters illness was the cause of Mum's death, but the stress did play a part.

It is the erratic nature of her behaviour that my brother and I find so hard to deal with. One day she is calling you and saying how much she loves and misses you, the next she is screaming blue murder and telling you that you have never cared about her and her problems are all your fault - it is never to do with her. Some would say that she is ill and cannot help it, but I beg to differ - she knows exactly what she is doing, and does this to manipulate people into getting what she wants - she has always done this, even as a child.

It causes me great sadness to see her like this, and I miss her terribly, but there is nothing I can do. My partner and I have tried everything we can to help her, listening to her, accompanying her to hospital appointments (we once spent the whole night with her in casualty waiting for her to be seen), arranging counselling for her, but she throws it all back in our faces and we can no longer put ourselves through this. It breaks my heart, but the only thing left for us to do is to leave her to her own devices. It has become clear that she will not move from where she is - it is easier to stay in the system, living off benefits with minions running around looking after her every need. This is sad, but true, and in some ways I cannot say that I blame her. Her illness has become her identity, and until this changes (which I can't see happening) neither will she.

I miss the sister that I grew up with but know that she will never come back. As children we were best friends, born just 21 months apart. We dressed alike, played with the same toys and shared the same friends, but everything changes. It was the death of my father in 1981 which really changed things for her - and also for me - but my reactions were different, perhaps because I was younger and had not yet left school. My sister had to leave school in order to bring some money into the house, and ended up in a job she hated. A year later, my father told her she could return to school, but by then it was too late and the damage had been done. Eventually she went to university but became ill halfway through the course, and never did complete her degree. A lot of her problems also then stem from the frustration of her thwarted dreams. We all have them, but choose not to let it ruin our lives - we can use those experiences to make us stronger not weaker, but she has been in the system now for so long that she no longer knows how to do this.

So, what a day it has been, coming after a hard day at work where I was the only housekeeper on duty and had to get a lot more work done in just one extra hour. When the alarm clock failed to go off and I realised I had half an hour in which to get ready and get to work, I should have taken the hint and stayed in bed myself. Roll on July 22nd when I shall be bombing down the A303 heading towards my favourite place in the whole wide world. It can't come soon enough.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

What we resist persists

With the forthcoming solar eclipse (visible from Southeast Asia) on 22nd July - the day that my holiday begins, and other recent planetary activity, the past couple of weeks have seen plenty of issues coming up for me to deal with, mostly work related. I didn't realise how much my experiences at other jobs, when I first left school has affected me. These were not good experiences - I got the sack from my first 'proper' job as a filing clerk, as in their own words "the work was not getting done". This was actually not my fault, but the fault of others who were not pulling their weight - the truth was that my face did not fit and they wanted an excuse to get rid of me. I was young and inexperienced and did not have the courage to stand up to them and so that was that.

My next job was not much better - I worked for a secretarial services agency which had not long been in business - working from the bosses home. I agreed to work for the first six months on what was then the Youth Opportunities Programme in order to help her out, on the understanding that at the end of those six months I would be offered a 'proper' job. This did not happen, as I was asked to leave an hour before the end of my 13th week after the scheme finished (the law stated back then that you had to be given a written contract of employment within 13 weeks of starting work). This was not a good start to my career, and the start of a pattern of mistrust and miscommunication that has followed me to this day - or at least until the end of my most recent job in retail.

I am determined that that pattern will be broken and so have been taking steps to look at and work through these issues, and as I do this, things have been coming up for me to deal with. One of these is the fear of history repeating itself - every time the boss asks to see me, or I am shown a different way to do things, my stomach lurches, as if I am being told that I am not good enough. Still, the fact that I recognise this means that I am halfway towards resolving these feelings, feelings which I no longer want or need to experience.

These feelings are to be expected given the planetary activity of late and the phase that we are going through. Everyone is experiencing similar things in their own way, and it does help to know that I am not alone. We are being given an opportunity to change and grow, to examine ourselves, and to allow unwanted energies and thought patterns to depart. This is a reason to rejoice as the more clearing we do, the less that is left to do. There is no room for such experiences in the new world that we are creating, and so they have to depart, and our experience has to change, hence the need for self examination, for it is our reaction to these situations more than anything that determines our experiences. If we can realise that our reactions are borne from ego, then we can understand and deal with them, with love and compassion, and we can see the ego in others too and send them the healing that they also need.

This is a graceful and beautiful experience to be welcomed with open arms and not resisted in any way, for what we resist persists. I know this from bitter experience, and so I resist no more, for to do so prevents me from moving forwards, and move forwards I must.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

My new and improved website

For the past week I have been hard at work designing my brand new and improved website. It has now been uploaded, and I think and hope it is a vast improvement on the old one. The background remains the same, but the header and all the navigation buttons have been changed to make them much more user friendly. Several new articles have been added (some of which are articles previously published on my other blog regarding distribution, how to get your book available in book stores and so on), and other ones updated to reflect changes in the information that they present with the pictures changed and re-sized.

To go to new site click here

Friday, 3 July 2009

A blessed relief

What a relief it was to wake up this morning to see mist and hear the patter of rain against the windows. Britain has seen temperatures soaring into the 90's these past few days (thank goodness for air conditioned cars), and with my job working in the kitchens of a nursing home, I have been really suffering in the heat.

Yesterday I had to do a 12 hour day from 7am to 7pm - the care workers have to do this all the time, but house keeping staff less often. I lost count of the bottles of water I drunk (I had got through 2 already by 9am), and by the time I finished my clothes were stuck to every inch of my body, with what felt like an inch layer of sweat. I was so tired that I went to bed at 8.45pm and slept right through until 7am. I hope and pray that the cooler weather lasts for a while and we do not see the return of such high temperatures again - at least not until I go to Ilfracombe.