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Stockholm on the cheap – have a nice time!

Stockholm is known for being an expensive city, clean and expensive. It is both of these things but not to excess. Prices linger around London rates plus a bit, depending on where you are. It is however possible to have lots of fun without splashing the cash.

I discovered this on my first day off from the car parking data collection job which had brought me here, when I realised that my bank was still holding £800 of my advanced expenses out of my reach on account of an Airbnb booking that never was. Oh the glamour of it all!

So I know that “European City on a Shoestring” blogs are a thing, and have even found them quite useful myself at times. So here is my guide of how to spend a day in Stockholm with literally no cash. I’m sure there will be something for everyone…

FOOD AND DRINK

Stockholm is very clean, and there are lots of bins, so one can only assume that these bins contain many hidden morsels. I have seen so far just one person taking advantage of this bounty. This however is not my top tip….

Basically I cheated because I had a breakfast booked that came with my hotel room and filled my belly to bursting with muesli, yoghurt, slices of processed meat and cucumber, rye bread rolls, cold boiled eggs and bitter treacle coffee. Before leaving I filled my Dutch military flask with Apple juice from the big chilled udder and contemplated pocketing some boiled eggs for the road, but there was a lovely polite sign about not taking food out of the room, and nobody at all policing it, which are the exact conditions under which I can’t take the guilt of subversion. Had there been an uptight reception manager body scanning us all on exit for jammy toast in soggy napkins, I might have had a pop just to spite them.

Despite my morning feast, after 12 hours of walking in 2 days I was inevitably hungry again by 3pm. By this time I had transferred to new digs, just across the water in the hipster heartland of Stockholm, Sodermalm. Quietly confident that funds would be released today, I took a leisurely shower and got dressed (3 hours – see ENTERTAINMENT) then breezed out the front door, along the quiet cobbled streets and out among the coffee shops and vintage stores to find some kind of avocado based afternoon treat. Went to withdraw funds for the much awaited afternoon tea. Nada. No dice. £800 still held hostage for no good reason and an unspecified amount of time by a paranoid automated banking system that apparently no human on earth can control or intervene with (scary huh).

So I turn tail and march back to the apartment, remembering the words of our kind host Lena – “take whatever food you find”. Flinging open the cupboards I scrabble together a pleasingly diverse if carbohydrate heavy three course lunch of ryvita with whisky marmalade and earl grey tea, instant Chinese beef noodles, and spaghetti with oil, black pepper and rosemary. Could be a lot worse.

Dinner will be rejected British Airways sandwiches if I’m lucky. My dear friend is arriving this evening and I’m meeting her at the airport. Washed down with whatever we can get in the 7eleven!

TRANSPORT

So how to get around the city with no money? Basically everywhere is walkable, just get on with it and enjoy the walk. When your job is walking, like mine, this might feel like a bit of a busmans holiday (irony) but being able to go at a leisurely place, stop and take it all in, and sing loudly to headphone music, makes it a treat all the same.

Lucky for me, I had something I prepared earlier once again… A weekly public transport ticket. This means I can go out to the airport to meet my friend, and cruise about for a couple of hours for free (see ENTERTAINMENT). An SL card can be purchased at the airport with a week or month pass on it for 320 SEK or 790 SEK respectively. For currency exchange to pounds, just divide it by ten and you are close enough.

ENTERTAINMENT

Now I do pride myself on the fact that, to my knowledge, I have not been truly bored for over 5 years, maybe longer. This don’t come for free. Well it does, but you know, it’s a turn of phrase. I work hard at being amused by something most of the time, or content with being utterly unamused, or amused by nothing. Nothingness can be very very funny when you really encounter it fully.

So how did I amuse myself today in Stockholm? Fairly transparently, by writing this utterly self indulgent blog, but I have lived a fair amount up til now else there would be very little to tell.

Sleep late – like til the last minute before breakfast closes – my favourite manoeuvre!

Be slow – do everything as slowly as you like, luxuriate in it. Stop and look at nothing for a bit, think about that time when you were seven, wonder about that invitation you turned down, feel the texture of the sofa.

I took three hours today to have a shower, cut my nails and my fringe and get dressed. No conscious delaying, just that’s how long it took when there was no schedule to attend to. Getting dressed alone took the entire length of Beyonce’s album Lemonade. There was only one outfit, which I already had in mind (hipster AF, just have to share – blue and white striped knee length yachting shorts, salmon pink shirt, Laura Ashley embroidered wool waistcoat, leather jacket, doc martens – imagine!). I faffed a little with a choice of jacket vs cardigan but that took only a moment to resolve. I don’t know why it took so long. I like being naked so that might be part of it. It makes me think of how little children get so upset by our hurrying them to get dressed after a bath or to leave the house in the morning. They find it such an unnecessary affront to put clothes on at such a pace. Perhaps they are right, they usually are. Yeh…. Think deeply about everything – that’s another one, great free entertainment, who needs the Internet when you have the freewheeling free association of your own mind!

Talk to humans. In a city where free wifi costs you a cup of coffee, in the unlikely scenario where you have no internet access at home (this is me now) spending much of the day immersed in the false social whirlwind of Facebook is not an option, so you will need to talk to humans maybe a bit, depending how introverted you are, or perhaps a cat. In Stockholm most people speak English, so it’s possible to get into a conversation with most people.

It’s possible to have a very smiley drunk man lurch up to you on a sunny afternoon, compliment your style “I just have to say…that.. You have such… Such great..clothing right now…” and end up having a lovely exchange about your respective homelands “…yeh England… Right… Yeh I was an au pair once in Blackpool…. Back in the day… Back …(breaks into song)…when we were heroes!!!……… I’m drunk by the way….baby…”

It’s possible to find real, nice humans outside Espresso House, who will spill the secrets of those places where Stockholm is not expensive, and you can get beers for (whisper it) about four quid!! Who tell you where the hipsters at and the re-lax-ation and the vintage stores and which parks to get drunk in. Who explain to you that only “weed people” smoke rolling tobacco here, it’s not a thing. Sweet flinty eyed young women who tell you where you can go to meet other real, nice humans, with no Botox, and no blonde about them. Who tell you about their teenage trip to London for “the usual, you know, shopping in Primark and Madame Tussaud’s” Who give you four cigarettes and tell you that nobody ever goes out here and nothing happens, but have a nice time, it was good to meet you.

Smoking. Wrangling with self about smoking. Trying to find ways and means of smoking/not smoking. Noticing how I feel about smoking/not smoking. All can help the time go by.

If it gets really bad, hang around the steps of the hostel you stayed at previously and rinse the free wifi to post some pictures of yourself having a splendid time in Stockholm, and see what you are missing out on at home.

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The not-so-new 30s dating paradigm, am I missing something?

As a single woman in my thirties I feel like the options I have for healthy and fun relationship these days are stiflingly narrow, where does that come from? Where are the heralded brave new frontiers of human relationships dawning? My experiences since turning 30 are leading me to the conclusion that my socially sanctioned choices are as limited as marriage and babies, casual/tinder, “Polyamorous” divorcees or lesbian. I’m not loving it.

Men who want children and marriage are few and far between at this point, and they really want it, to the extent that it feels not ok to date them if I don’t definitely want that. Men who definitely don’t want that, appear terrified of my fertile womb and optimism about love, and tell me with patronising looks, that they “know deep down what I really want” and write me off as a panicky uterus with claws. Often the ones who I am actually aligned with just refuse to believe me when I tell them what I want, which is insulting.

Strangers who are married with kids love to remind me uninvited as I peacefully sip my tea in a cafe that I “have all this to come” as they wipe the puke out of their hair with a napkin and their partner sinks deeper into candy crush saga hoping it will all go away for a moment.

Also, I’m great with kids and love hanging out with them, which is deeply confusing for people who feel that if you like children then the logical thing is to make several and devote your entire life to their care. I like a lot of things that I nevertheless don’t want as the dominant theme of my existence – doesn’t make me like them any less.

About once a year I go on Tinder for 1-3 hours and that is about as much as I can hack it. I feel myself slipping into the kind of dislocated torpor I used to enter as a child flicking through the Argos catalogue, a truly horrendous distortion of the beauty and complexity of human connection. It’s like going trout fishing and being hit with a freaky cyclone of goldfish lurching up out of the lake.

The Polyamorous dads club is a genre of their own and I actually really admire these guys because they are unabashed about being clear and upfront about what they want from a relationship. They’ve been through the emotional sausage machine of marriage and they just want fun and sex on tap with zero demands. They come to realise over time that having multiple casual relationships with real humans is even more demanding than monogamy unless you want to be sloppy about it and live in an episode of Eastenders with one eye on the window at all times.

Not easy for them either to find a woman who has the energy and freedom to play with them and will not expect them to call for a chat or take active interest in life outside of the bedroom. I think this woman is a mythical creature and I am often confused with her because I appear to be free and a bit wild, and self identify as a unicorn…. Needless to say it doesn’t work out for long.

I’ve noticed women my age spontaneously or intentionally opening to relationships with other women after previously only having relationships with men. Perhaps they come to realise that emotional connection, intuitive intimacy and nurturing communication are available to them here in spades, and with less presumptions loaded on top. Perhaps they simply fall in love and are open and sovereign enough to claim it.

Is it possible to have a relationship that is fun, healthy, interdependent and also has depth and shared purpose outside of marriage and babies? For me, growing, learning and exploring together and supporting each other in our full expression and purpose is a beautiful intention for relationship. This, and all the sweetness and joy there is to be found in being two humans with bodies that like and trust each other bumbling through the day to day pleasures and pitfalls of life. Let’s start  with play and dancing and not be so scared of what might come next…

It’s been suggested to me that it’s my own ideas about relationship that are too narrow.  Am I missing something? Is it just me? Shall I pop this on my Tinder profile?

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Playing trust games with life

You may be familiar with trust games, from school or team building or some other facilitated group experience. A common version is where you stand on a chair and fall backwards and trust the group to catch you, and they do, and each time they do, something inside you melts and opens.

I have been playing this game with life itself for about three years now,and I finally feel I’m getting to the point where we don’t need to keep playing the game any more. I get it, I get that life will catch me and I can stop throwing myself of chairs for no reason!

What do I mean by life? I’m talking about everything that is, inside and out, existence itself. You might call it the universe, you might call it other people, you might call it Gaia,  you might call it the Dao, you might call it God, you might call it my Self. I’m talking about that which is, moment to moment, as I experience it.

Now we’ve cleared that up, what about these games? Have I really been throwing myself off chairs for three years? If ‘life’ is catching me, does that mean the ground? Is that really catching? How’s my head??

It’s a long story, but I will try to make it short. It began, as these kinds of adventures often do, with an experience of being faced with something bigger than I could comprehend, cope with or control. A force like a tornado was moving through me, a force that had somehow been unleashed from my heart and was wreaking havoc on my entire environment and sense of self. Over a period of twelve months, this tornado  (which was me, inasmuch as it was coming from inside me and acting through me) whipped away my relationship, my grandmother, my home, my cat, my business (almost, physically, in the end I let go and it continued in a new form), my sense of self, about half of my body mass, most of my belongings and most of my cash.

To be clear, I take total ownership for and feel utter gratitude for this tornado – and- it was a seriously disorienting and rocky ride as much as a magic carpet. I could not understand or explain it to anyone at the time, and so I did my best to rationalise and normalise my choices which were in reality driven by this molten fire inside me that was just burning away all the structures I had created to limit and  control my existence. Anything that I would grasp onto for safety was torn from me, and if I clung on to it my angel would transform into some kind of a demon and start to wreak havoc internally and externally until I let it go.

This tornado required my utter compliance, my utter surrender. All I could do was to stay in the still centre of it, where the air was clear and sweet and the colours were eye wateringly vivid. If I tried to walk back out of the centre to what had been, or off the path the tornado was taking, I began to be shredded and fragmented by its whirling force and was ultimately spat back out into the centre, more or less ragged depending on how hard I had fought.

So in the end, I stopped fighting, and I started to sense that perhaps I could trust this. I realised, that the still calm centre was expanding, and wonderful experiences were entering into that space and emerging from the ground beneath me, the longer I stayed present there. I realised that fear was what drove me into the storms and caused the clinging, and that trust – trusting life, myself and other people – allowed me to move with the tornado in safety and ease.

As these feelings and experiences came with a heightened visceral and physical experience – of energy, of emotion and of my senses – my body and felt sense became my compass. I would navigate by sensation, which would let me know where I was rooting myself, in the stillness or the storm. I could feel contraction in my chest and solar plexus, and closing down and narrowing of my sensory field and a dulling of the beauty I could perceive, when I was plugged into fear. In trust, in love, everything expanded, lightened, warmed and brightened internally and externally.

Why not follow that, I thought, why not try just following that. I had read so much about folowing my bliss and living from the heart, now this tornado had me by the heart and gave me little option, and much encouragement, to try it. Live it. See for myself.

So I did. I chose to make decisions only from trust and love, not to choose or act from fear. I would walk up to edges and throw myself off them, trusting. Trusting most of all myself, and this felt sense of what was right for me in the moment. The more I trusted, the more that apparent fears would melt away like mist as I approached them. The more I trusted, the stronger and clearer the internal signals became. The more I trusted the more I was met, by people and situations. With generosity of heart and warm welcome.

Each time I came to a big edge, I still felt the butterflies. I still thought: “what if this is the time where I fall on my face, where I realise they were all flukes before, and I had it all wrong…” I knew in those moments, that if I stepped down off the chair, the tornado would have me. I would be lost in the vortex of dark clouds and debris. I could only keep going, keep following the stillness in the centre as it moved. So I would stop, and reconnect with that stillness, and then move with it. Time and again.

An example of  such a moment that I often share, is when I found myself in the passport office in London, with a flight out of the country in 8 hours, no passport and no money.

I was following the still centre from Gran Canaria to Istanbul, via London. What had seemed an impossible feat had somehow lined itself up and I had been able to source funds, book ludicrously cheap flights with short notice and a tiny window AND get an appointment for a same day passport renewal to allow me to enter Turkey with more than 6 months validity. When I arrived to London I found that the funds coming in for my new passport had not yet cleared and would take  two days more. No problem, a generous friend would sub me for a few days.

So there I am in the passport office with my ticket number waiting for it to pop up on the screen and signal for me to approach the counter, three minutes from my allotted 5 minute appointment. I’m musing on the strange sensation I had felt travelling there by tube in rush hour, crushed against strangers in the humidity and noise. I had felt a distinct sensation of entering a tight squeezy tunnel, like today was some kind of birth canal. Peculiar and visceral.

A text message pops up on my screen and catches my eye. My dear friend who has subbed me to get my passport. Oh. Deals off. Something came up. Right. Of course I write back saying “No problem, have a great day”. White noise fills my head and my forehead prickles.

No problem.Right…. My number appears on the screen above my head. The quiet centre moves me forward to the counter, unprecedented high winds whipping behind me. “Here’s my application for a new passport. Thanks” She takes it. My freedom to roam the planet tucked away in an envelope and popped into a trolley. “Ok now go to the next window to pay.”

“What if I can’t pay?”

She looks at me, impatient and flat eyed.” You are going to pay now.”

“Yes but what if I can’t?”

“Madam I don’t understand, you are going to go and make payment at the next counter.”

Well, she seems pretty confident, so on I go.  “Hi I’m here to pay for my passport”. I pop my card in the machine and enter my pin, in a surreal kind of surrendered state, dropping backwards from the chair into emptiness…

Card declined. Oh god. Oh god oh god. This is the time when I just hit the floor isn’t it. This is the edge of my foolish delusion. This is it. Game over. Shit.

I must be spacing out because she speaks firmly and clearly and leans close to my face. “Madam, take this pen and paper, go ask someone to help you to pay. Write down the details and bring them to me.”

“…Thaaanks…” I wander away, utterly in the fog of evaporating belief…

“Madam!” I turn around. “Don’t forget this pen and paper, you need it to write down the details of the person who is going to help you.”

She is looking me dead in the eye and holding out the pen and paper, she looks so confident and so kind. I take it from her and walk away.

Crash. Crash. Crash. Stark waves of “reality” batter my self belief. In a way I feel a kind of safety in this momentary helplessness. There’s nothing else I can do, I have to surrender to the situation, and see what comes of it. I can’t do anything else right now. I begin weeping and getting ready to call my parents and tell them I’m sorry, all my talk of self belief and following my heart and something more in life… Crazy talk all of it, I was wrong, you were right to worry about me, I have lost the plot big time. I was ready to be at their mercy to either help me to carry on, or call me home, or get my head examined or whatever. I was ready to surrender all agency.

As I sat  in the corridor waiting for the tears to subside so I could speak on the phone. A man passing by stopped and looked at me with kind concern. “Are you ok miss?”

“yesfinethanks” I squeaked, tears streaming.

He kept looking at me, kind and slightly amused. “Are you sure you are ok??”

Then I realised what was happening and what I was pushing away. Life was coming towards me to help. I needed to let it in.

“No I’m not ok!” I blurted out the whole scenario and he listened, calmly, til I had finished.

“My name’s J. I’m the manager of this office. If you can get the funds you need any time up to 5:30pm when I finish work, I will get your passport to you today, no question.”

My heart cracked open another notch and I poured with gratitude, he smiled and walked away. Then my phone pinged, it was my friend in Istanbul. “Hey I found you a place to stay with a beautiful friend of mine and her family of dogs and cats, she is really excited to be hosting you and we are all looking forward to your visit.”

Angels. Everywhere.

Ping! Again. A message from a dear friend at the project I had been working on in the Canaries. “How’s it going lovely, got your passport and on your way?”

I wrote back and told her what had happened.

“Oh easy, here’s my card details, get your passport and get your flight and pay me back when your funds clear ok?”

I took the pen and paper, I wrote down the details of the person who would help me to pay. I got my passport as J had promised. I had brunch in the sunshine. I got my flight, I didn’t hit the floor. Life held me and kissed my forehead.

There are many such stories, but this post is already a “long read” so I’ll save them for the book (!).

I realise now, After three years of teetering on chairs, that I no longer need to keep taking myself to edges to see if I will be caught. If I find myself at an edge, and I still do often, I know I can keep going and walk through the swirling fear with my still centre, but now – life and I – we have a decent and mature team dynamic going on, and we can cocreate together a smoother ride which is a little less hair-raising  while still expansive and enriching. No more games now, time to get on with the work.

I can direct the tornado a little more now, it’s path is not so veering and unpredictable. I recognise that I AM the storm, that I am not just in it. It is in me, and so my still centre and I move through life, and my swirling edges clear any debris and fear blocks that they encounter, and all of it is me.

If you have read this far, and you think that I am in fact crazy. Please console yourself with this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cute comedy clickbait: why you should Just Say No to puppies

Puppes are super cute, fact. Be aware, however, that this is just a biological ruse… The big eyes and inexplicably cute facial dimensions and soft sniffly sounds, damn even that delectable puppy fur aroma…. All designed to make any adult creature with a pulse fall hopelessly in love and adopt two or three of them on the spot.

Should you encounter a puppy pusher, on the street, in a bar, on gumtree, in one of those great big cute animal supermarkets with aisles of neon chew toys , gourmet ham hock terrines and tiny onesies…. Here is why, you should just say no.

Your ankles will not be your own for a long, long time…

Puppies love ankles, their little jaws are perfectly evolved to fit snugly around an Achilles’ tendon with the teeth positioned just so that they can cause maximum impact without disabling their major provider’s mobility entirely. Puppies are hard wired to seek the ankle as a first point of contact for communicating a range of needs from food to attention to just being more deeply involved in whatever you are doing.

For that matter, neither will your socks…

Oh the delicious delight of a sweaty, stinky, sock! A puppy can snuffle out a dirty sock like a pig with a truffle. You know all those years  and years pre-puppy when you wondered who was hiding one of each pair of socks  you brought into the house? Blamed it on the sock fairy? It was the puppy you didn’t have yet, travelling back in time, relentless in pursuit of your socks.

You will develop a “twitch” around soft furnishings….

This will reveal itself one night when you are lounging on the sofa at a friend’s house, immersed in relaxed post-prandial chatter, and she reaches over to grab a cushion from beside you… “NODONTCHEWTHEF#%KINGCUSHIONS!!!”

You come round from the red mist to find yourself eyeball to eyeball with your friend who is down on the rug on her back with legs in the air, your lip curled to a canine snarl… You cannot apologise enough, it’s just been months of patient corrections and deep breaths, having to spend the chilly evenings with your neck crunked against the too high armrest of the sofa while your lovely squishy cushions go musty in the attic, waiting out the teething.

You will become a potty mouth…

Literally. Instead of responding to “How ya doing?” with the classic “Yeah pretty good, you?” Out will tumble a full breakdown of recent toilet tales and triumphs like “Yeah I’m ok, I mean I started my morning picking up poops and bleaching the rug  but he’s getting almost through the night now and his poops are much more sausage-like since the new kibble so it’s getting easier HA HA HA. Hurr…”

I now totally understand how it happens with new parents. You become so desensitised to the piss and shit of another creature, that you adore unconditionally,  that it actually becomes a fascination and a full-time project for a short while, during which time your still socially sensitised companions will brace themselves slightly before asking that question.

You will get addicted!

The sleepy squeaks and snuffles, the goofy gallop, the nestling and burrowing, the velvety softness, the smell of their  fuzzy little head when you kiss it (biological ruse, keep focus), the total adoration and awe, the wild comedy antics, the hapless curiosity, the total relaxed abandon on your belly, the ‘just the once’ spoony snuggles of that first week… You will get addicted. They will get big and doggy, and delight you in other ways, but you will start to linger a little longer as you pass the animal shelter, listening to the heart rending little yelps and whimpers. “Well. Having two is not much different to having one. Barney would love the company. Dogs are pack animals after all.” And so it begins again….

Just Say No.

Look how cute this puppy is!!!! ( I’m helping you to be strong, watch these as many times as it takes until the urge passes away, then you will be ok)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tracing the flow from not doing to right action

Right action arises from not doing.

I stop.

Relax.

Release my grip.

Unclench my fist.

Drop my shoulders.

Stop the hamster wheel

And get off.

Come home to myself.

Walk in the door of this moment.

Look and listen.

Take a seat in the armchair.

Listen to the silence.

Now.

Allow myself fully.

What does the wild wonder of the world

That I am

Feel moved to do?

Sleep.

Dance.

Apply.

Write.

Tackle.

Invite.

Create.

Cry.

Let something die.

Be born.

in allowing myself

Utterly

To do nothing,

To simply be

Ansolutely enough

In my being

For this moment,

I open the space inside

For crystal clear vision

Of next elegant step

And precisely what is needed,

All the energy required,

For the eassful flow of action

To issue forth joyfully

From my stillness.

I follow.

I move.

I act.

In utter self trust

Clarity

Alignment

Truth

Simplicity.

Nothing is pushing.

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Don’t believe the hype

Wow. Today feels like a big hype day, a day where there are lots of capital letters. A New Moon and a Solar Eclipse offer a cosmic invitation for Big Releases and New Beginnings. It’s also International Women’s Day.

For me personally it’s also the Last Day of a wonderful 30 day challenge I have been taking part in (more to follow on that) and the First Session with a new coach. I’ve done some Big Releases and acquired some New Tools. It’s also the beginning of a New Chapter where I will be shortly moving to a new base and arranging my life and resources in a new way.

It all feels very much right this minute. I feel a pressure to come out shiny and glorious and embrace the massive newness and unlimited potential and epic joy of it all. To pull rabbits out of hats and scatter stardust all around.

It feels like. Way. Too. Much. Hype. I’ve been in with both feet for the build up, eager and excited for Big Shifts and Emergence. Waiting for the fanfare which heralds the grand event. Now I’m stopping – here at the threshold of pushing my dazzled self out onto a carnival float to dance the hula – and instead gathering myself up in loving arms to rest and to just be.

Yes I’m learning, yes I’m progressing, yes I’m growing, yes I’m healing. This is what our bodies and souls just do organically. We don’t need to be doing the doing, it is our nature. No need, really none, to press and push. It all happens, it all comes, it is all done.

These last weeks I’ve experienced huge shifts, internally and externally. Waves and voids and revelations. I haven’t made any of them happen, they have just been the content of my days, simply what happened.

Today I sit quietly and allow myself to be carried over the threshold. Stay in surrender. Allow the Dao.

I feel the slightly hysterical climactic energy of days like these in a similar way to the frenzy of Christmas. A layer of expectation is created which lays traps for the tenderness of souls. Paints a glittery gloss on the realness and rawness which is also present, which is always present where real growth and real healing is in play.

I celebrate too, I celebrate all the joy and the leaps and the new beginnings. For me the new beginning is this. It is being enough as I am, just right now. Not a carnival, not a dancing girl, not an empire being born. A butterfly, with soggy wings, exhausted from the struggle which formed it, from breaking through the cocoon of a former self, and wanting to get an early night with a hot water bottle.

It is knowing my expression is welcome.
It is knowing that I am here for me, and everyone benefits.
It is knowing that I am surrounded by love and support from all the divine beings in my life.
It is knowing that the entire physical universe exists to support me in physical form.
It is knowing that the more I let go, release and relax, the more I experience the support already provided for me.

This is what I am taking to bed tonight under the new moon.

“Practise not doing, and everything will fall into place” ~ Dao De Jing

I love you all, I share your joy, this quiet joy is mine today. The joy of self acceptance and feeling enough, at home in myself and safely held by life.

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When love becomes the Loch Ness monster

There are several people in my life who I tell almost every time we connect, that I love them dearly. Lucky them, and lucky me.

Then there are a few with whom, it feels so, so loaded. Loaded like a gun that could kill us both and splatter our guts up the wall if it misfires.

To be clear, this is not because I do not love them, it is because somehow the idea of  love has become the Loch Ness monster in the room and the focal point of the paranoid paparazzi of past hurts that roam around inside me seeking to expose and debunk it. Love has taken on a mythical status and a hype machine has activated around it. To believe in it, to seek it, to try to capture it, to be sure of it…

Most people have a picture in their head of what ‘Nessy’ looks like. A few claim to have truly encountered it in the flesh, first hand, and write books about it and exhibit galleries of blurry photographs of it. They say it dwells in the depths we cannot fathom, and only a chosen few can take a glimpse of it. This creature is widely acknowledged to be immense and terrifying, but by all accounts benign – despite a fearsome exterior.

These are the connections in which I have felt the most the resistance to offering my humble expressions of love in the moment, fully aware of their imperfection and shades of grey, and the bits of fluff that might have got stuck on them in the bottom of my bag on my way to bring them to you. I’ll spend too long looking at them, dusting them off, and decide they are not sufficient. This can’t be  it, this can’t be enough, this can’t be right.

I’ve deconstructed love like so many castles in the sand. I know only what it is not. I am left with that which the tide cannot take away.

I’m over it now, the hunting and the hiding both.

Here I am, unremarkable and utterly exquisite in the light of day. Here is my imperfect, fluffy love, presented unexpectedly in unusual gift wrap, tossed into your hands like a hot potato as I bolt for the bus, sung in your ear while you are trying to sleep, thrust in your face while you are watching a movie or trying to read, spilling out of the containers you try to catch it in.

There is no shame in it, I have judged it too harshly. Trying to hold my love to saintly, mystical standards, contain it in carefully constructed corrals, make it sit quietly in the corner and hide all its colours under an old coat – for days, months, years.

My love in its chosen expression comes to you like a butterfly or a bluebird. Free and exquisite in the moment. Embodiment of soul. Essence of beauty. Coming to land gently on you and bless your heart, drink a little nectar, bask in the sunshine.

Love is simply me, as I am, when I am open, to you. Just gorgeous.

I recorded this little burst of song on a whim, whilst pottering in the kitchen and feeling the feels. It’s not planned, it is not perfect.  Real feels from me to you. I love you, don’t forget it 💕

 

 

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Suddenly it’s easy

 

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How do I know what to write? What to say? What to do?

How can I have more energy? Simplify my life? Discover my purpose? Fulfil my mission?

Be more real. No effort required.

A beautiful human once invited me to work on a project with him, I wanted to say yes, feeling his trust, but I was concerned that I didn’t have the requisite skills. His response was simple, sincere and powerful:

The only skill you need is realness. If it’s not working out, be more real.

Encountering a real human, who refuses to step out of their own truth to enter yours, can feel challenging. There can be a moment of feeling unmet. Likewise standing before another in the truth of who and how I am right now, and not shapeshifting to meet their expectations or fit into their comfort zone, can feel stark and abrupt.

This is the starkness of reality, the sledgehammer of truth, the blinding light of authenticity. It feels quite phenomenal.

Do or do not. There is no try.  ~ Yoda

Trying to be real is not it. It is what happens when all the trying stops. Stepping into my truth is not it. It is where I find myself when I do not step out. Becoming authentic is not it. It is my capacity to just be and to realise nothing more is coming.

It is being at home.

It is really easy.

What is true for me when I am at home in my self? Whatever my question, this is the answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Live streams only – no more reruns

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My new blogging practise, fortuitously forced by techno gremlins, is to write free flow entries straight in to the box. No copying and pasting, no dredging up old stories. No drafts.

This comes hot on the heels of losing my entire website and all its content not too long ago.

Just before my website took a catastrophic dive into a fatal error, I had decided that what I probably needed to do was to take down most of the content and then start afresh, reposting only what still felt resonant. Perhaps I needed a nudge to see that none of it was truly resonant any longer!

Feeling at peace with this event, I decided to start anew with something really simple. My intention was to just blog my experiences in as direct and real a way as I could. Starting from now, eyes forward, no rehashing old poems or digging up past dramas. No safe, stale familiar favourites.

I head over to WordPress to set up a simple structure and discover I already have an account set up, and a blog template ready to go, and even a strap Line! A forgotten gift to my future self from my self three years ago!

I write my first post, all shiny nowness. Then I’m reminded of that one story… It’s so good, it’s time to share it with the world. So what if I wrote it three years ago, it’s better than anything I have to say now…

Computer says no! Thou shalt not copy and paste. Not anymore… Time to flow for real,speak straight from the heart in the moment, no more digging out my best bits and slotting my true presence in the moment behind a highlight of some other lifetime.

This right now is the moment,these are the words, this is the message. First draft,first cut, real raw deal. Action!