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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My Analogy

Imagine the whole world was a human body. Every part of that body, every organ, every limb, every cell, represented the people of the world. Mostly the body is working together to keep itself healthy, but there are parts of that body that don't function so well. Say, for example, the little finger on the left hand of the body wasn't quite right. There was something wrong with that little finger and it wasn't fully connected to the rest of the body. It was made up of 'bad' cells. And one night when the body is sleeping the little finger of the left hand attacks the ring finger beside it. So the rest of the body suffers the loss of it's ring finger because of the actions of the little finger. What does the rest of the body do? It gets rid of the little finger because it doesn't trust it to not damage other parts of the body. What was disconnected from the body due to, let's say, a 'glitch' becomes fully disconnected from the body because it was amputated because of the fear of further risk. And a body can survive without the little finger on the left hand. And it can also survive the loss of it's ring finger.

Let's say though, that when that little finger was disconnected from the rest of the body it just withered away to nothing. It rotted and decayed until eventually there was nothing left. That's pretty much what happens to things like that. But do the 'bad' cells just wither and rot and decay until they too disappear? Probably not. Because those 'bad' cells are part of the body as a whole, not just the little finger. So the finger is gone but the 'bad' cells just find a new part of the body to reside in. They go to the big toe on the right foot. The same thing happens and the body is now missing two fingers from the left hand and two toes from the right foot. All of a sudden the body doesn't trust itself. Where organs used to work together for the greater good they now fend for themselves and trust no other parts of the body as they may contain traces of the 'bad' cells. But they don't work so well on their own. They were designed to work together. The whole biological system of the body is in chaos. Limbs are amputated until the body is immobile. Eventually everything fails, with the heart the last to give up.

How can the body prevent this from happening? How can the body cut out the 'bad' cells without becoming completely disconnected from itself? How do we stop the little finger from starting all this nonsense. I guess I don't know anything for sure but maybe the little finger felt disconnected for a reason. Did the rest of the body stop to think about what that reason may be, or did it act quickly and impulsively out of fear and a necessity for self-preservation? Did it do a good job of preserving itself? Did it believe that the little finger would surely act again and so it was better off amputated? Did it ever stop to think that, since it was the same body, connected to the same heart, that maybe it was just as responsible for the actions of the little finger as the little finger was? Or did it find blame and fear easier to comprehend than compassion and understanding?

So the body is the world, and each organ and limb are the people in the world and they are all connected, except some don't feel or understand that connection so we get rid of them because we think they're going to poison and spoil eveything. Except that the 'bad' cells are part of the body as a whole, not just specific limbs and organs. And when things get tough, complicated or scary, instead of trying to understand where these 'bad' cells came from we try to eradicate them by any means necessary, until eventually the whole system collapses, because we don't know how to understand or look after ourselves. Not really. We don't see that we are all just one big body connected to one big heart and, one day, if we don't try to start listening and understand each other, that heart will stop beating.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


The weekend pleased me. I accomplished everything I wanted to whilst remaining in a relaxed, zen-like state of mind. The chicken was cooked and it has fed Ziggy and I for several days now. I finished Life of Pi last night and I'm trying to decide whether I should finish off Shantaram, another half read book, or start on the Stephen King one lent to me by Bilrus. I am erring more on the side of Stephen King right now. I read a lot of his novels when I was younger (much younger, perhaps, maybe too young) and there's a familiarity in his style of writing. I am feeling nostalgic and want the comfort of familiarity. I dreamt last night of the cast of New Girl. I had watched all 5 seasons back to back and felt a little hollow when it was over. So hollow, in fact, that I then trawled youtube for blooopers, interviews and anything involving those actors that had become like a family to me. This is maybe why I haven't watched TV shows in so long. I get horribly attached. Let's not forget the rollercoaster ride that was Karl and Susan Kennedy's marriage in Neighbours. I became too involved. I cared too much. I cursed the evil Isobel.

I reached my 30 hour target last week for the counselling course. It was a tremendous feeling. To think that I was on the verge of giving up in April. To think that I, while holding the metaphorical gun to my head, nearly pulled the trigger. Training to be a counsellor is not an easy feat. Due to the nature of emotional complexities it requires you to look deep within yourself. We're not always prepared for what we might find. We can lull ourselves into a false sense of security by thinking that we have got our shit together but, as when peeling an onion, we discover that there are layers upon layers of 'stuff' that rears it's ugly head just as we feel we've accomplished something.

I also passed my exam and coursework. Not exactly with flying colours but considering how much tougher it's all been this year I am happy with my results. Just one more assessment to hand in and that's me going into 3rd year with the rest of the crew. And while I feel relief and happiness there is also a large dollop of mental exhaustion thrown in for good measure. I'll be glad when this course is behind me. Though the training never really ends. The liklihood of me walking straight into a job when I graduate is slim. I50 hours is required to complete the course but 450 hours must be completed before I can become accredited by the BACP and this is what most employers will be asking for. If only I could count all the many hours I have clocked up counselling friends and work colleagues!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Roastin' Roosters

Since I got back into reading I have been mostly finishing books that I started a long time ago and lost interest in. One of them was a book by Anneliese Mackinstosh called Any Other Mouth. It was a charmingly transparent collection of short stories about the author's strange and beautiful coming of age memories. I identified very much with the author for her unashamed honesty. I'm now reading Life of Pi which I started before I went to Thailand several years ago. It just didn't grip me. I kept trying sporadically but all I could ever manage was about 3 pages every few years. It's meant to be a fantastic book so I've decided to persist this time and now that I've got to the stage where Pi is stranded on the lifeboat with a tiger I'm getting more into it.

Tonight I have a lovely evening planned. It involves bathing Ziggy because he is in dire need of one. It also involves playing guitar and starting a new jigsaw. It might involve watching some kind of comedy show like New Girl or Arrested Development. Today I bought a whole chicken. Unfortunately not a pet. One that goes in the oven. I am 34 years old and I've never roasted a chicken. Or a rooster. I felt like it was time to make that transition into adulthood. I also bought a bag of spinach and have eaten a handful of it raw. It was rather displeasing but I need green stuff in my diet.

The GCDCs have collapsed again. There's a whole back story that is completely insignificant to anyone but me but it's for the best right at this moment of time. I told one of my mates in work and he said he was going to make a meme. This meme would say "One Direction Have Split Up" and people looking mildly disinterested, then, "The GCDC's Have Split Up" and crowds of folk wailing and crying. Y'see, it was more fun for me to tell people that I was in a band than actually being in the band. What started off as a tongue-in-cheek joke became a reality. The GCDC's should have stayed in the Museum of Good Ideas.

Having said that it was an interesting learning experience for me. It spurred me on to be more creative and it gave me confidence in my singing and playing. The boys were always really encouraging and supportive and it truly is something special to hear other people playing along to your song. I most certainly haven't given up on music, that's for sure.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Letting Go

I don't want this to be a long blog post but I'm not sure I can do it in under 500 words. My nieces and I performed a symbolic ritual on Thursday. The reason being that I felt it was very much time to let go of some stuff. The stuff I was letting go of was years of emotional baggage but I had something physical to represent the baggage. A dried out rose head given to me about 18 years ago by an ex boyfriend called Will in the hope that he could woo me back.

Between my personal counselling and talks with my supervisor I began to see what that rose head represented. Will was an amazing guy, kind, sweet, funny and creative. But he had carried a sadness with him for many years. Before I had met him he had been addicted to heroin. During the relationship he became deeply depressed. I guess he was adjusting to life without his crutch. I guess I hoped that I could be his crutch. Having battled with depression myself I knew how fragile happiness could be sometimes. I realised that I was not going to make Will happy, he had to do it by himself. If you love something you give it away. I gave him away. I was young, fragile and I really didn't want to compromise my own mental well being. I knew I could easily fall into that deep, dark abyss in trying to rescue Will.

He really understood my intentions. That's why he wanted to woo me back. He wanted to go find his happiness and come back to me. That never happened though. For two reasons, the first being that I embarked upon a new relationship and the second reason being Will died of smoke inhalation in a house fire.

There were two things that went on for me after this. The first was an overwhelming sense of guilt. On top of the guilt I denied myself the opportunity to grieve for him properly because I just didn't feel I had any right to. So how did I channel these emotions? I made a pact with myself to never hurt anyone again. To never give up on anyone. It is no real surprise that I was alway attracted to the helping professions. Of course, it was in me anyway, but I suppose I felt I had to right a wrong.
I have come to the conclusion however, and it's taken me long enough, that I keep attracting this pattern of relationship. Not only that, when the relationship doesn't work out, which is all the time, I still want to be there for the person. I find it really hard to close the door because I'm scared the door will close forever and I'll be left wondering 'Did I do enough?' Having realised that I am creating all of this turmoil for myself I can no longer sit here blaming the universe for always breaking my heart. I break my own heart.

So, a mission was set upon by Marha, Evie, Ziggy, Jess and myself and we headed down to the woods. I explained to the girls what we were doing and why (I gave them the kid's edit). Evie was a little too young to really get it but Martha was not only very interested but very sweet and understanding. I explained to them that I wanted to crunch the rose head up into dust and then we'd all blow it up into the air while making a wish. They spent a little time holding the rose and looking at it. Martha panicked a little and told me she wanted me to keep the rose, even just for another week. I told her I understood why she wanted me to do that but I had already kept it for a long time and it was time to let it go. She worried that I might forget about Will. I showed her the rose and I said, "Sweetheart, Will isn't in this rose. I'll never forget him because Will is in here", and I placed my hand on my heart.

Then she asked me if some of the rose dust would make it's way to Wales where Will was buried. I told her it most definitely would because some would land on an insect and carry it to Wales. Then we discussed the wishes and I said it was always a good idea to make a wish for something that might actually happen. I used the example of wishing that a nice man would come into my life. After the ceremony Martha told me she had wished for something that might actually happen.

As it happened the rose didn't melt into dust like I thought and I was surprised by how strong and intact the petals still were after all this time. And I'm sure that one of those petals will find it's way to Wales.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

The Beauty of Bees and Sacredness of Sleep

I'm trying to be a more consistent blogger. No real reason. Just 'cause. It may mean setting myself some kind of A-Z challenge. I haven't decided what yet. For now I'll just write about the countryside.

It's marching season in Norn Iron and often the parades march right past my flat sending Ziggy into convulsions of fear and rage. Frage. It's not pretty. Last night we opted for an evening of serenity out at the Dreen. As always I checked on the Bonsai trees. They are going through a growth spurt and it's nice to see them developing. The Ash's trunk is tiny yet solid. The Hawthorn's trunk is twisty and unusual.

Then Ziggy, Jess, Holly de Cat and I took a walk along the back lane. Holly likes to follow us on these expeditions but she also likes to pretend that she's stalking us like a sniper. Everytime I look back she stops in her tracks and sniffs a hedge. We approcahed the woods that were planted nearly 20 years ago. They are proper woods now. I remember helping Bert tramp down the long grass around the young saplings to give them a chance to grow. I helped create these woods and that was a nice feeling. There hadn't been rain in over a week and the sheugh's were as dry as a bone.

When we came back mum had noticed that there were hundreds of bumble bees bumbling around a tree with yellow flowers. I can't remember the name of the tree. My nieces could probably tell me. It felt almost magical to stand below that tree and feel the hum of the bees, buzzing happily as they filled their pollen sacs with sweetness. I also secretly wished one of them might sting me so I would know what that felt like. Will I go through my whole life not knowing what a bee sting feels like? Well, if this is all the problems the countryside is going to present me with then I can handle that.

The work bonus arrived and I am buying myself a new mattress because there comes a point in your life when sleep is just about one of the most sacred things there is.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

In Bloom

Most people have some kind of default position. When I find things getting on top of me my default position is to crave complete freedom. I fantasise about getting off the grid and living my life like a hobo. I have another default position and that is to revert back to a mental age of about 5.

For a long time now part of my bedtime routine has involved doing online jigsaws as a way of shutting my brain down and drift off to bobo land. I have decided I no longer enjoy my laptop coming to bed with me and so I've got back into reading. And, of course, I'm reading a Paulo Coelho book at the minute. Although that makes it sound like I've been doing this for a while and have read several books. I haven't. I've been doing it for about a week and The Winner Stands Alone is the first novel I've read in a long time. But I feel like it's the start of a good habit and, not long ago when I was having a declutter, I perused my bookshelf and realised there are a number of books I've been meaning to read.

Last summer I took to weeding the garden. I find it to be one of the most therapeutic pastimes. And I think I wrote about this last year, about how most people enjoy planting beautiful flowers and watching them bloom but I just really like getting rid of the complicated root systems of weeds. I feel like it's an anology in a way. Some people want to make things pretty, I want to get rid of all the choking negativity so that there's a place for beauty to blossom.