Taking time out

It is important in the world of today to take time out so that you do not wear yourself out and get too exhausted to do anything. Over this last nine months or so I have been busy trying to help others to see that we need to do something about our planet, like less pollution and thinking about what we wear and what we eat and how we live. On top of this I have had all the usual things to do, housework, washing, gardening and shopping, so now I am beginning to feel that state of exhaustion.

I have arthritis and other muscle problems, something which I think is called polyarthralgia, and this flares every so often whatever medication, including natural remedies, that you take. So it is time for me to step back, to take time out from doing things I don’t have to do and get some rest. Ideally the rest will include sitting outside in nature reflecting on my world.

I see so many people running around doing this and doing that and never taking time to just sit or stand and reflect. Staying busy all the time is not good for us. Our bodies need time to repair as do our mental and emotional bodies. There are challenges ahead for most of us and we need to have the energy to deal with them so resting now as much as possible will be good for me and for everyone else. We will need plenty of energy to deal with what is coming. So this is a short blog post as my time out starts today!

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Words and actions

It is very easy to say something about doing something and then do nothing about what you said you’d do. I am writing here about the climate change declarations of emergency which are often said by councils and various organisations. It is easy to say these words of declaring a climate emergency. But what actions are then taken. Locally for example, the council declared the emergency and said they would set up a working party to come up with ideas for action reporting back some time next year. A definite lack of the feeling of emergency and what that actually means.

We all say that we will do things to help with this, but what do we actually do? Do we recycle, do we think about what we buy to eat and wear or use? Do we understand the importance of what we do? Do we think about our actions and how they impact the world for our children and grandchildren? Or do we just keep on living in the same old way without changing anything we do in our daily lives.

There are lots of well known phrases about words and actions. ‘Actions speak louder than words’ is one of these. In some native circles it is known as ‘Walking your talk’. Here is another quote, ‘ Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, ‘

Also, you are defined by what you do, by your actions, rather than by what you say. Words can often mean nothing at all but actions speak so much louder. So are you all talk and no action of are you one who follows up their words with actions?

Setbacks

It has been one of those months where lots of little things went wrong and set me back on what I was trying to do. I always think that these kind of things come in threes so I must be on my third set of three by now.

I can’t remember now all of these little things but some stick in my mind. While doing a lot of sewing the needle broke on my sewing machine. Luckily I had one to replace it but it took time as it was fiddly to do. Then I chipped a tooth. I don’t have many left at the top so chipping one of these was not a good idea! Then a light bulb went in the kitchen and I had to ask a friend for help as I couldn’t get the old bulb out. That’s three things but there are more. My rose got black spot and had to be dealt with, the storms knocked down a lot of plants and had to be staked so they stood up again and then on Tuesday I got a very bad sting while watering the garden. Poor bee; sat on my arm and I didn’t notice it so bent my arm and squashed it. Of course it stung me and also bit me! The sting is still bothering me as I have a problem with my body dealing with stings and bites. A visit to the pharmacist helped but it is still not getting much better so a visit to the doctor on Monday maybe. On top of all this a parcel has not arrived having been sent back to the sender from the delivery depot as it was damaged!. I wonder what else there is to come along to set me back.

The weather is certainly not helping me get back on track with the garden as it is pouring with rain. It is good for the plants of course but it also makes the weeds grow as well. The area of the sting is still red and itchy and is in a place which makes doing things harder as it is on the inside of my elbow. But life goes on, as it does and I take each day as it comes, doing what I can and resting or reading when I can’t do everything else. But I do miss being outside in nature. I can however watch the birds through my window and that can be quite interesting. Last week a sparrow hawk shot into view and dived into the hedge but came out empty handed but from what my neighbours have said, it did get a pigeon later on. One day I will get a photo when it comes as it is a regular visitor.

So setbacks have happened and maybe there are more to come as our country faces turmoil and changes as does the whole world. I am trying to live each day without anger and worry but that can be hard to do when you get other little setbacks to stop you from moving on. How do you deal with these little setbacks?

Transformation

I think most people know about the transformation concerning the butterfly. The butterfly lays eggs on a leaf which then hatch into caterpillars which eat the leaves around them then later they form into a chrysalis and hibernate. The next spring they emerge and transform into butterflies. Some other insects lay eggs in water which then change into larvae. The dragonflies and damselfies do this and can live in the water for a long time generally around one or two years but it can be longer. When ready they crawl out of the water and find a strong leaf or stalk where they begin to remove their outer layer and out comes the dragonfly or damselfly. I have seen the emergence of the dragonfly and it is amazing to watch. As it emerges, it slowly puffs up its body and opens its wings which are iridescent and absolutely beautiful.

Birds lay eggs which hatch and the baby birds eat greedily until strong enough to get their feathers and learn to fly. I have many young birds in my garden and have watched them as they learn to fly and to perch on the bird feeders. All of the natural world can show us transformation. Seeds grow into plants and then flower and make more seeds. It is never ending.

I feel we could learn a lot from watching the transformations taking place in our gardens, ponds and rivers. But we have to learn how to transform ourselves, it does not happen naturally. There are so many influences on our lives that we tend to go with the flow instead of being who we really are. It is too easy to follow the rest and be like them so transforming into a better person with our own beliefs and ways of living can be hard to do. Many do not like to stick out in a crowd! But we are not meant to be the same, we are all unique and need to work on that and transform ourselves into that unique person that we were born as. Take the opportunity to start this process now and see the future unfold as you wish it to be.

Trees and the Ogham

I could write about trees for a long time. This week I have been looking through the thousands of photos that I have. There are two boxes of printed photos taken before the days of the digital camera, then there are the thousands on my computer taken with a digital camera. Each year I ‘cull’ my photos and try to keep the ones that mean something to me, but the number of photos that I keep is around 1500 each year.

I love the way that paths wind through trees, leading us into magical spaces. Often in a large wood you come upon a clearing and when the sun shines this too is magical. I have walked in some woods where these spaces, or glades, are made deliberately to let in the light for the woodland flowers and butterflies. Woodland does have to be managed or it becomes a jungle where each tree jostles for space with another one and both trees end up being only a small part of what they should be.

During my training as a druid I was introduced to the Ogham tree alphabet. This fascinated me and as I did not like the Ogham cards that I had bought, I decided to make my own. After much contemplation I sat down one day and did just that. I used watercolour pencils for the design, finding that the interpretations that I wanted to hear, flowed through my mind as if channelled. I called them Tree Medicine. This was twenty years ago now and it was not easy to sell these to others as I did not have the means of good reproduction. However, together with my son we did a ‘computerised’ version drawing each card with great care. We then designed a small booklet to go with the cards and I made small cotton bags to keep them in. They were meant to go in your pocket so you could use them outside with the trees when you found them. I still use mine. I do have a few sets left but they are no longer on my web site.

Although I live in the UK there are many trees which have been imported from other countries. Rich land owners with a lot of parkland often imported trees from Europe and other countries so that there is a rich mix of different trees to be seen. At one time I used to ‘run’ workshops about working with trees as I lived near a large park with an arboretum. I enjoyed working with others learning to communicate with the trees around us, giving thank for their presence and how they keep us alive.I do love trees!

My photo does not appear to be straight but whatever, it shows a couple of my tree cards

My love of trees and woodland

I have always loved to be among the trees, but there have been some very special trees in my life too. I have always been an outdoors kind of person. I walked and cycled for many years among the lanes of my home and then further afield ending up climbing and scrambling in the mountains of Snowdonia. But trees have always been special.

There is something about woodland and the tracks through it that feel different to anything else I have experienced. It is magical. The sunshine filters through the leaves and moves the shadows around and changes the colours of the leaves as they move. Then there is the smell of the trees and in dense forest the smell of the moist earth.

One of my ‘special’ trees was an ancient beech tree in a small woodland around an old ironstone pit. It was originally part of a large forest but a road runs through it separating this small section from the main part of the wood. This ancient beech was quite near to the road and it was obviously loved by those who found it. The branches were strong and low enough to sit on and its roots were huge and spread over a large area. I have spent many happy hours there with others, meditating and giving Reiki attunements. It was a very special place for these kinds of things. Sadly, this tree has been cut down maybe because it was too near the road and had got dangerous.

Another tree I loved was again an ancient tree in the same forest but a few miles away. Its canopy was huge and made me feel tiny when standing under it. A photo of it was the heading photo for this blog a while back. Sadly it was also cut down, first in half and by now I suspect that it has completely gone.

But what of other trees? Some 20 years ago now, I gave money to the Woodland Trust to plant twenty small oak saplings. At that time you were given a map of the area where your trees were planted and a reference number so you could go and visit them. I did this several times and together with my friend Simon we produced a small booklet called a ‘Year in the Grove’, taking lots of photos through the seasons to see how the trees changed and adding poetry and text as well.

I have always loved the birch tree which to me always feels feminine and I call her my lady birch. The willow is another tree I love especially the weeping kind. Then there are the redwoods, the giants of trees. I am lucky to have them locally and find them wonderful to hug, their energy so replenishing. I could write more about the trees in my life but will stop here otherwise it will end up as a book. Now that’s an idea!

Taking time out

Last week I decided to take some time away from social media amd do things I really wanted to do and enjoy each day as it came. I did have a few appointments but decided to keep most of these. So what did I do? I spent time in the garden, sometimes just sitting and meditating on what I could see. I spent time with friends and did some creative sewing which I love.

I did have a quick read of my social media accounts but did not post or comment on anything preferring to let things go on as planned. I had a lovely afternoon out in some gardens belonging to a large house not too far away. It was wonderful to stroll through woodland and gardens I did not know. The views were tremendous.

So what did I gain from my time out, after all I was busy a lot of the time. I felt better and much closer to the natural world around me. I felt more attuned to the sounds of nature as well. I was less stressed as I had been busy over the last few months writing and talking to people about climate change. It is very easy to get involved in such things and let them take over your life so that you do or think about nothing else.

Climate change is of course very important and I hope that I have sown seeds of change with many people and via my book, sowed these seeds in others far away. But it is easy to overdo things and burn out which is when I decided to take a break. Taking a break also allows you to get things in perspective and see the overall picture not just the details. For me this time out has replenished my soul. So when things get hectic and seem out of control, stand back, take some time out and enjoy the natural world around you.

Summertime

I seem to remember words to a song going like this,’Summertime, and the living is easy’. I suppose that living is easier in the summer and there is so much to enjoy. I love the blue skies and the sun shining but I don’t like it too hot. The garden is full of different insects. The bees are bussing around the cotoneaster hedge and in the many other flowers.

The young birds are learning to fly and to use the bird feeder. It can be amusing to watch them as they find a way to perch on the feeder. There are so many of them this year. There must have been at least 3 different nests in my hedge as the broods of fledglings arrive in fours and fives.

I already have a lot of flowers in bloom and many more to come as summer progresses. I can see ladybirds in plenty and other flying insects. Soon there may be damselflies and dragonflies as one of my neighbours has a pond.

The hedge is alive with the noise of the birds and insects. It is also very green. One of the things I love about this time of the year is how green everything is, so alive.

But now the Summer Solstice has passed the night is creeping slowly over the day, making each day that little bit shorter. Years ago I wrote a poem for the Solstice. Here it is now;

Solstice Prayer
It is the time of the longest day
When the Sun is at the height of its power
And as the Sun watches over us and feeds us all
So we feed our Inner Fire.
May the power of the One unite us all
Bringing hope and peace to our planet;
May the Ancient Wisdom, the Eternal Truth,
Be warmed by the Sun this day
Let us join together in peace and love,
Let the Sun shine within our hearts,
Let the Child of Light guide us on our way,
As our world is filled with peace and love.

Taking action

First of all I would like to thank those who responded to my blog questions last week. It was interesting to read the various ways of looking at ‘ancestral memories or what’ and I am much happier with my interpretations now.

So today I want to write about taking action. It is fine to talk about what we should do and how to do it but actually doing it is a bit different. I know many who sit there and say ‘Well I’m alright so why do anything?’ To me this is not the right way to go. Thinking that you are OK is not enough. You have to think about others too as well as the environment which supports us.

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours at a fete in one of my nearby villages where a local group for climate change had a stand. We had a petition to sign to give to the parish council, asking that all new build homes were fitted with solar panels. We also had a petition for our borough council asking it to declare a climate emergency. There are quite a few cities and towns and some counties that have already done this. But even though the emergency has been declared you can’t stop there. Changes have to be made and we all have to make them not just sit back and let others get on with it. It is very easy to say we have a climate emergency then sit back and do nothing.

I am pleased to see that the supermarkets are starting to do their bit by getting rid of plastics and offering boxes for recycling stuff. So what can you do? Apart from doing your best with the recycling, you can spread the word to others. I recently wrote a book about changing yourself and the world around you. I have been giving these away to interested readers and told them to pass the book on when they have read it. But not everyone can or wants to write a book. I use the bus service to get to and from town so I chat in the bus queue. It is easy to bring the subject of plastics up and get people talking. It is like planting a seed then watching it grow.

So what are you doing? Not just about recycling but about other ways of living, food, clothes, and so on. I have used this photo before but if you have a garden then making it bee friendly is a good start.

Ancestral memories or what?

This week has been a bit of a roller coaster emotionally and many memories have surfaced but I don’t know how I got these memories. So I have spent time looking for answers but not really got those yet. Maybe you, my readers, can give me some answers.

Most of these memories are to do with World War II. I was born during the war in 1941. The war ending some few years later in 1945 and I remember the things that came afterwards quite well, like ration books for a start. I also remember the dried egg powder in the larder. I remember the siren telling us to get somewhere safe and the searchlights in the sky trying to trace the bombers.

But I have said for many years that I remember the bomb that dropped in the next street just a few houses away from ours. Later research has shown me that the bomb dropped one week before I was born. So how do I remember it? We did not have a bomb shelter and my mother always said she felt safe under the stairs. It was known as the glory hole and was not very large but you could sit in it. Imagine my mother, nine months pregnant sitting in there. How did she feel? Did her emotions communicate themselves to me? Is this why and how I can remember this bomb dropping close by?

I do know that I get claustrophobic in small spaces! Other than these emotional memories for that is what they are, I have very few memories of my life in a visual way. In other words I don’t have photos or see images from my past in my memories. There is a block there to these things.

I have looked at memories stored in the aura and in our souls but for me these mean more of a past life memory thing not what you could call recent this life memories. Did all this emotional stuff come from my mothers emotions when I was in the womb? If so did she carry similar emotions from her mother. My mother was born in the first World War so maybe these war memories are stored somehow in our genes. This is getting a bit deep so I will stop here but if any of you have any thoughts on this then please let me know. The photo is of my mother and my grandmother.