Sunday, 30 September 2012

Tipping the Scales

I'm a Libra (birthday very soon, Yay!) so balance is important to me. Not so much perfect balance, although that used to be the case, -there was a time when I could really obsess about things being matched, or straight, or balanced. I couldn't bare to be in a room with a wonky picture, or wear mis-matched socks, even under boots when no one would see,-but these days it's a different type of balance that is important.

It is the balance of nature, the balance of the soul, the balance of emotions, that are really important. I still might feel the urge to straighten a wonky picture but life, by its very nature, is wonky and its taken me a long time to realise that. It comes built in with ups and downs, and that provides its own balance. The trick is in spotting when the balance is due to change, and anticipating, preparing, for whatever it brings.

The recent Equinox showed me a few things, pointed me in the direction I should have been going. It reminded me of my need for balance, but more importantly showed me how to find it. This year has been a difficult one, there have been slow lulls, setbacks, shocks and tragedy. I have found myself staggering from day to day, just waiting for the next blow. I've been on edge constantly, and although I thought that made me prepared and aware, in reality it wore me down and dulled my senses and creativity. I have achieved very little so far this year, and that needs to change. Now.

So I'm tipping the scales, I'm adjusting the balance.  

I've spent so long now just waiting for things to go wrong that I've forgotten how to live, I've put all the things I actually enjoy on hold. From now on I'm going to focus more on my creativity and spirituality. I'm going to get out more, even if its just a walk up to the cliffs. I'm going to dig out my paints and my pastels. I'm going to bake cakes and brew beer. I'm going to light a candle, pour a glass of wine and go for a long, hot bath. If things are going to go wrong, they'll do so without my watchful eye and at least I can enjoy myself while I'm waiting. The only preparation for the tough times I really need is to make the most of the good days, and long may they continue!

Thursday, 20 September 2012


Yesterday we met up with my step-daughter and her husband who were down in our part of the world for a few days. It was a couple of days after her birthday and I had a moment of panic when I realised we hadn't got a birthday present for her. A trip to visit a sick family member had eaten rather cruelly into our finances and it was all we could manage to put a splash of fuel in the car to get to where they were staying.

Determined not to go empty handed, I baked cakes. They weren't much, just a few little fairy cakes covered in pink butter icing and sparkles. In truth, I just did the best I could with what I had in the kitchen cupboards. I felt a bit rotten that I hadn't been able to make more of an effort and yet as it turns out, no one had ever made her birthday cakes before! My family all baked so I take that kind of thing for granted, but for someone who grew up in a home where cakes came out of packets...well, she was over the moon. Such a simple thing and yet it prompted real emotion and genuine gratitude.
We stayed for a couple of hours before they started their long journey home. We walked their dog on the beach, drank coffee made on a little camping stove, ate cakes and laughed. It cost nothing but gave us so much.
As we drove back to our tiny flat with it's near empty kitchen cupboards, little pile of unpaid bills sitting on the kitchen work top and an electric meter worryingly close to empty, I smiled to myself. A plate of little pink cakes and good company had reminded me that sometimes I worry too much about things and complicate life more than I need to. I don't need savings in the bank, I don't need to buy expensive things (hey, Christmas is looming on the horizon, don't tell me you haven't been worrying too?), I don't need everything to run smoothly and be completely organised. Those things would be nice its true, but as long as I can rustle up something from the larder, keep more or less on top of things, and take the time to enjoy the people I love and the beautiful place I live, then life is actually pretty good.
Life is as simple, or as complicated, as we make it and these days I'll take simplicity every time.

Saturday, 8 September 2012


It's fair to say I'm feeling out of sorts. Disconsolate.Tetchy. Agitated. Unsettled. I'm sure we all feel these things from time to time, it's normal to ride a roller coaster of emotions throughout the course of life, but what concerns me is the intensity and regularity of these bouts of what I am reluctant to call depression, despite the accuracy of the term.
I'm normally a very relaxed and easy going person. I take things in my stride and adapt to whatever challenges life throws at me -and it's thrown quite a few over the years- I've always considered myself, somewhat jokingly, to be indestructible. I'm no super woman, often things have hit me hard, but before I have always picked myself up, shaken myself off, and got on with whatever needed doing.
So I really don't know what is wrong with me at the moment. I don't recognise myself.
Everything, even little things, seems to be getting me down. My temper flares for no real reason, the tears flow uncontrolled. A lethargy and despondency has settled on me that I don't know how to shake off. I no longer feel in control of my emotions.
It's not even that there is anything wrong, not really. There are things I'm concerned about, a few (possibly major) health problems in family members, the normal financial worries and stress, one or two personal concerns that if I take the time to think about I know I'm blowing all out of proportion, but nothing really significant. Nothing to make me feel the way I do.
And yet I am tired and tearful, stressed out and angry, bubbling over with frustration and worry and resentment. It's holding me back, it's stopping me getting on with the things I need to do. My mind is on go slow and I'm just not functioning. I feel disconnected from everything around me. And none of the usual things are working.
I watch the moon in her stately dance across the sky and feel nothing. I see the sun without feeling the urge to get outside and enjoy it. I watch storm clouds gather on the horizon without that feeling of excitement and anticipation. I'm going through the motions of living without even questioning what I'm doing. Chores are completed, meals prepared, candles lit, prayers said, but it is all routine and I don't feel a part of it. I have moments where I think oh I must do that, research this, prepare that...but then the moment is lost and the lethargy returns.
Am I ill? I feel OK, other than the occasional migraine, I seem to have most of my health issues under control at last and I'm even managing to run and lose weight.
Is it the start of the menopause? My doctor has been bleating on about that for the last couple of years but I'm only 42 and I don't feel ready for that stage of my life yet. Besides, my periods are still on the same cycle I had at 20.
Is it that I've simply taken on too much? My fundraising has proved much harder than I imagined, especially without so much of the help people promised before I took it on. (Isn't it amazing how many people are willing to talk about doing stuff but then run for the hills when there's work to do?) But hell, I've worked hard before, its no more than a full time job would be and I'm sure I can still hack that!
So what is it? Why do I feel so sad and disillusioned? Why do I feel so disconnected?
And most importantly, when the hell am I going to get back to normal?