Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
I was reflecting this morning just how grateful I am for homeopathy in my life, and despite having hundreds of remedies around my house and clinic room, how these kits come into their own time and again.
I've several. I've the yellow Childbirth kit which I'll do sessions on how to use for pregnant mamas and their birthing partners, and 3 of these that I can rent out, if people wish to borrow it instead of purchasing their own. That was something that was going on when I started working at Craven Clinic and something that I still offer. I've the Ainsworth's 42 remedy kit, I've a small kit in the car made from a wallet someone kindly gave me.
Then I've several blue kits just like the one pictured. My daughter was at boarding school for a few terms and she had the kit with her at school, I've had conversations with the pastoral care lead on what remedies to give to support her in different times. My partner has a kit that he takes if he's travelling without us. I've got Jeremy Sherr's ultimate 200c remedy kit which is a bit more of a whopper of a kit, and is what I take if I'm travelling for a while away from my remedies, though sometimes will just opt for the 36 Helios kit too.
I've given a remedy to a hairdresser struggling with cold sores who was heading out to photograph a wedding in Rome. Probably the highest ever remedy gifting I've done, however many thousand feet up in the air on our plane. I've helped out a waitress in Skiathos who was struggling with nausea and dizziness. I've heard feedback from so many clients who get the kit and are incredibly grateful for it, the latest being:
Oh and the first aid homeopath kit has become my most used and treasured possession. Wondering how I managed for so long without one!
I took my first kit travelling to Thailand, Australia and lots in between and used it to help people with splinters, hangovers and lots more. I hope you're seeing how much I love them!
The latest, and this morning's reflections come about through having a boyfriend with flu sleeplessly get through several nights. I tend to be more reticent to come forwards in terms of rushing in with remedies now, but it was 3am and no fun so I mumbled something along the lines of 'can I help? Shall I get the kit?'. My partner, who is so much more organised than me, has his kit in the wardrobe and it was only a short wander across to get it. He went through his symptoms and I put a remedy into his mouth, and was grateful at that point he got to sleep for several hours.
It reminded me of the time my daughter had croup many years ago, and moments after the remedy was taken she was sleeping easily; he did the same. From snottily snuffling his way through the first half of the night to sleeping with ease... hooray! A repeat at 6am had similar effects and he's steadily improving away.
Improvements for me, better sleep for him, happy all round.
They really are the gifts that keep on giving.
Thanks to Helios and all involved in making these and similar treasures!
Working in a teaching clinic recently has been fascinating for me for several reasons, one of them being kind of observing what I do myself (as well as being observed), rather than just doing it which perhaps I've just done for a long time without examining it.
It's made me clarify things for myself, reflect more and been a very positive exercise. It's made me look at who my main influences are in my case work, appreciate them even more (thanks to Jeremy Sherr, Jan Scholten, Annette Sneevliet and the wonderful trio who taught the Joshi's work to me, alongside the Joshis themselves).
One thing it's made me reflect on is that there's really only ever two things I want to know. What is bringing someone to sit with me in clinic and who are they.
These areas are of course expanded upon and much more details are shared to get to understand them fully, but at the basic level this is really all there is.
Understanding someone's pattern in the world, their program (Annette Sneevliet's term), their non human song (Rajan Sankaran's term) or the lens they view the world through (my take) allows us to match that to one of our approximate 6,500 remedies in our homeopathic pharmacopeia and likewise understanding their symptoms, the dis-ease expression helps us the same. Some of my cases I reach through one, some through the other, and I particularly love it where both combine.
Of course, when I ask someone to describe themselves, they don't come straight out with telling me what the lens is like that they see the world through, we build up a picture through conversation, finding out about how they deal with challenges, what hobbies they have, what interests them, what work they're drawn to, films they like, dreams, fears and lots more.
Likewise, with symptoms, we often see clients who are used to a very medicalised view of the world, sharing perhaps just a disease label, headache, IBS, ulcerative collitis. We want so much more to make it useful in the world of homeopathy, to know how they experience it, their symptoms, what is unique to them, what it's better for, worse for, when it started.
There's a brilliant short video here of Dr Julie Geraghty, a homeopathic GP, who talks about how when she was a GP people would tell her things that weren't any use, now it's all relevant.
It's all relevant.
Words are our way of communicating that across, and there can be a lot of them shared, so perhaps my title simplifies it too much, but really, that is all there is. What are you experiencing, how are you experiencing it and who are you, are at the core of what I want to know.
Once I can get a sense of that, then starts the matching process with which I'm grateful for a few different tools in my kit, different approaches to work with. Some cases I understand through one approach, some another, and I never know how it's going to be until I sit with someone, and sometimes until I go away to work on the case.
I'll share more on that in another blog, let's keep it simple for today :)
Writing has been a wonderful process to really celebrate some of the joyful cases I've seen in clinic and learning I've done over the past 16 years in practice.
It's been a beautiful time of reflecting on changes I've been grateful to witness, people I've been privileged to work with and families I've been lucky enough to walk alongside for times in their, and my life.
I share cases of migraines, years of headaches, anxiety, depression, various skin issues, eye disease, cysts, post covid challenges and lots more.
As ever I want to remain realistic and pondered today as with many times before, 'Can I help everyone?' No. But I’ll do my best to help wherever I can.
In the book I share a variety of cases, some longer, some shorter. Some are comments from the indivduals, others cases written from my point of view.
Here's a wee snippet from a longer case I share more of in the book:
“The change was unbelievable. Up until taking the remedy that Em prescribed I'd been very wary about what I wore on my feet and especially when going to the swimming pool, I'd wear swim socks to protect my skin. My dermatitis would flare up at times and was never completely clear.
Looking forward to sharing this wee book with the world.
I’ve written this book for those who may be curious, those who may be intrigued to learn more about the potential of homeopathy, for people starting out working with it. For students, unsure of the depth and breath of potential involved. For those who’ve heard the ‘H word’ but can’t pronounce it and don’t have a clue what it could possibly represent. For those who've never encountered it before. If you’re reading this, I’ve written it for you. Thank you.
I haI think this is a difficult topic. Many are ignoring that it is happening. Others feel defensive about talking about it.
We’d chatted on the phone before making the appointment and Louise* had told me that she’d been a well, happy, busy mum prior to having her Covid vaccine booster which she’d had a bad reaction to. We first met in August 2023.
*Name changed for privacy.
I think this is a difficult topic. Many are ignoring that it is happening. Others feel defensive about talking about it. I’m not interested in entering into a debate on the topic and 3 years in from it all beginning I recognise that the virus isn’t a joyful one, and at times the effects from the preventative measures can be challenging too.
The MHRA states: ‘All vaccines and medicines have some side effects although not everybody gets them. These side effects need to be continuously balanced against the expected benefits in preventing illness.’
This is the case of one individual and her experience of using homeopathy to help with the side effects she experienced.
Case shared with full permission.
Louise’s intake form read:
‘In November 2021 I had the covid vaccine booster, within three hours I started to have stroke symptoms. Then my gait changed, I was unable to pick up my left leg (dragged) and my right leg was turned in. I used walking backwards and grounding eventually which helped. My legs can often stop working, I have absence episodes, brain fog, tics and what appear to be functional seizures. I have pain and sensations in my arms and legs, struggle hugely to travel and can feel really funny headed, not dizzy but not well.’
In terms of what she’d already tried she said:
‘The things listed are what I have tried and seem to have helped, EFT, yoga, meditations, deep heat cream, hot showers, heated bags, lip trills, cold water on my face daily, regulating breathing, had hypnotherapy, resetting myself, pacing, being kind to myself, reducing pressure and expectations I have. Managing sensory sensitivities that were identified including ear plugs etc
Had few sessions of physio and have been asked to be referred back.’
And in terms of what effects it has on her lifestyle:
‘I can no longer drive, travelling is really hard, walking is difficult or the aftermath from it so getting out is hard in fact pretty much everything is impacted, quality of life affected, can’t be the Mum I was, feel I have lost myself through it and also lost my joy. Every aspect of my life has changed I generally just feel pretty unwell a lot of the time.’
We met by Zoom, being easier for her as travel was an issue. I worked online (mostly Skype back in the day) pre 2020, but took everything online when Covid hit. Still now people locally may choose to consult online, saving them travel time or costs. Others are more than happy for a return to in person living and travel to see me.
We discussed Louise’s current symptoms and she was kind enough to send me a video to show what it could be like for her. It made difficult viewing and she asked for it to be deleted after I’d seen it, which of course I did. Often seeing symptoms gives another insight into them as well as hearing about them so it can be helpful to do. We talked about who she was before this had happened and lots more. I went away and worked on her case to confirm what I’d thought in our consultation.
Where I can I like to feedback about my thoughts on why I’m giving a remedy. It enables the client to tell me I’ve not understood them at all, or confirm/clarify my thinking. I’d been wanting to give her a commonly used remedy in homeopathy and when I went away I checked that I was really happy with my selection. I gave a 30c potency of the remedy to take twice then to repeat in 2 weeks. We amended the repetition of dose over the month via email conversations.
We met a month later. We had communicated by email over the month, describing improvements and at times setbacks. She reported to me that her symptoms had changed. After taking the first two remedies, travelling felt better than it had for the last 2 years. Then the symptoms had worsened again, and she realised that she had covid for the first time which made things worse again – she felt wiped out.
However, I was encouraged to hear her say ‘I feel like when I have the remedy my head feels clearer. I’m seeing glimmers of myself.’
Before we’d met it could take 50 minutes to get downstairs because her legs wouldn’t work, she might end up with tics or even seizures in the process; now? ‘I just walk down the stairs’. She was still having tics, but apart from a couple during the covid period, she wasn’t having seizures anymore. She definitely felt as if it was helping, and described feeling as if her nervous system was calming down. 2 weekends ago she went swimming 2 days in a row, which meant taking 2 buses each way. She told me that before starting the remedies, she couldn’t have imagined doing that.
The tics before, rating them out of 10 she said would have been an 8 or 9/10. Now? Probably at least half reduced, if not more. Travelling on a bus could be challenging, and whilst recently on getting off she felt as if the episodes were coming on, they didn’t. She described feeling more present.
When we first met she would be waking with a seizure most days and preceding that there would be a strange taste in her mouth. Now she was getting the taste but no seizures. Hooray!
It was also wonderful to hear that she had felt joy over the last month. She’d noted being more playful and that her head was feeling better in general.
Others had noted changes too, and someone close to her told her that after the initial two doses it was like having her back in that moment.
She said she felt finally in the here and now. I have a wonderful teacher who talks about how a well matched remedy can bring us from the ‘there and then’ into the ‘here and now’. It was delightful to hear this was the case here. And now. She had had some flashbacks, but was aware of a lot of old stress held in her body and was dealing with this using yoga, TRE® (Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises) or and other somatic work.
Louise told me: ‘On reflection I do feel a lot better. I have hope – things are different sat here. I want to continue with this. It’s been a hard two years, but working with homeopathy has been transformative.’
Side effects are being reported via the Yellow Card scheme that MHRA operates. The client here was told several times by medical doctors that her condition was caused by the Covid shots, but was never advised to report them. Official estimates are that only around 10% of serious side effects are reported.
From the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Authority website: ‘It is estimated that only 10% of serious reactions and between 2 and 4% of non-serious reactions are reported. Under-reporting coupled with a decline in reporting makes it especially important to report all suspicions of adverse drug reactions to the Yellow Card Scheme.’
And elsewhere on their site:
As of 22 February 2023, for the UK, 4,096 Yellow Cards have been reported for the bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer/BioNTech, 5,108 for the bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna, 57 for the COVID-19 Vaccine Novavax and 2,319 have been reported where the brand of the vaccine was not specified (please note this may also include vaccines which were used in the primary and initial booster campaign where the brand was not reported).
For all COVID-19 vaccines, the overwhelming majority of reports relate to injection-site reactions (sore arm for example) and generalised symptoms such as ‘flu-like’ illness, headache, chills, fatigue (tiredness), nausea (feeling sick), fever, dizziness, weakness, aching muscles, and rapid heartbeat. Generally, these happen shortly after the vaccination and are not associated with more serious or lasting illness.
Most people clearly do not have a response like Louise did. However statistics aside, more importantly to me is that some people are suffering, like the case I share here. And sometimes, something may help.
I’m hopeful of a good recovery for Louise on the horizon.
I’ll let the last words be hers: ‘'Em listened intently, asked questions with curiosity, really heard what I was saying and from this suggested the remedy that I've come to see as magic - a magic that I don't question, I go with it, I accept, appreciate, value and I am grateful for it for it because of what it is - it is life changing.'’
People are fighting for those who have experienced challenges like this in Parliament and in Courts in the UK. There are some MPs speaking out for people who are struggling. There are Drs talking about the challenges, and others exploring issues but I'm not hearing about much that's changing. People like Louise did what they were told, what they were told was the right thing for themselves and those around them, but now?
Homeopathy. Health. Healing.
What is the meaning
Of this medicine outside the box
Without the pressure of ticking clocks?
Time. Space. Growth.
Remember the Hippocratic Oath?
First do no harm
Let our medicines come from the farm
From our food, from our skies
Maybe more apple pies?!
Remedies shared from nature
Gentle Mother Nature
Gentle, rapid, permanent
Goes the wishes of our father Hahnemann
Taking time to slow
Even the consultation goes
On for longer
Explore, discover, ponder
How is it to be you?
To do life like you do?
That’s what I want to know
And then hopefully I go…
Aha I know. Let’s take this
It may do the trick
To help move with more ease
Step away from dis-ease
Homeopathy. Health. Healing.
What is the meaning
Of this medicine outside the box
Without the pressure of ticking clocks?
Let's get one thing clear at the start of this blog. This is not a homeopathy cured cancer post. This is a blog around one of my favourite topics, integrating conventional medicine and homeopathy.
Integrating fascinates me. It's at the forefront of my mind currently. The space in between. The void. The creative potential. What if two separate sides worked together. Had conversations. Grew something from the space in between. I believe there is something truly worth exploring here.
Last night I was out at dinner to celebrate my dad finishing his month of radiotherapy for prostate cancer, and we were chatting about how he was feeling. "Good, except when I wee it's like passing hot needles" he told me. I suggested a remedy, taking into account the fact he'd just finished a month of radiotherapy and his symptoms. He took it once when he got home, once later and his symptoms disappeared. Went. No more peeing needles. It was starting to creep back a bit this morning, just slightly, so I suggested a repeat, and to repeat the remedy again if symptoms return.
I'd like to add that my dad was a supportive sceptic for many years. He'd never tell me to my face, or probably unlikely behind my back, he's a bit of a gentleman really; but I'm not convinced what I was doing had him convinced it was any good. He's totally on board now, and has been for some time, and we discussed this morning that I totally get why people don't get homeopathy - in so many ways it makes no sense, our science isn't ready for it except for at the cutting edges (the gap between perhaps?). But when you take it and it works, it works and that's all there is to it. He's (as so many of us have) had remedies that haven't worked at times and knows when there's a good match. When you get it right "it's like magic" he said this morning.
I was so happy he told me he was doing well this morning and it reminded me that I'd been meaning to write this blog for a wee while. Ha the pun can stay.
I also want to say that this blog is also not a suggestion of take this for that. There are loads of great remedies for burning urination, he took one that was individually matched to him and his symptoms.
There are some brilliant places where these two perhaps unlikely bedfellows sit alongside each other just beautifully, and also, partly thanks to that, some great research going on in this area.
In our prospective study, we observed an improvement of quality of life as well as a tendency of fatigue symptoms to decrease in cancer patients under complementary homeopathic treatment. It would take considerably larger samples to find matched pairs suitable for comparison in order to establish a definite causal relation between these effects and homeopathic treatment.
More research needed, but encouraging. The study is here in full.
Patients from Clinica Santa Croce, Orselina, Switzerland, and Homeopathic Centre Oberland-Klinik, Weilheim, Germany amongst others were included in the trial.
Another study published in The Oncologist - link here states:
QoL [Quality of Life] improved significantly in the homeopathy group compared with placebo. In addition, survival was significantly longer in the homeopathy group versus placebo and control. A higher QoL might have contributed to the prolonged survival. The study suggests that homeopathy positively influences not only QoL but also survival. Further studies including other tumor entities are warranted.
Chemotherapy induced neuropathy is one side effect that I've seen more than several times improved massively. In one instance someone asked for help as they wanted to continue chemotherapy for their treatment but their consultant said they'd have to stop if the neuropathy didn't improve. We worked together, neuropathy went away and they were able to continue treatement.
Another short case - of post chemo neuropathy. 'It's in my toes and gets worse the more I walk on it. A hot water bottle helps after, I can't wait to get my boots off.' At the follow up 6 weeks later: 'The Hypericum was AMAZING, I've no pain in my toes and I can walk 2-3 miles now, I'm absolutely fine.'
Side effects can linger on after treatment and homeopathy can often help - as shown in the mention above.
I've a lady recovering from (non cancer related) surgery currently, with some numbness from the site of the operation. She's taking a remedy to help with that and the numb patch is shrinking as the sensation returns.
In terms of help alongside surgery, one client who had a mastectomy said:
Btw I also wanted to say the post surgery remedies have been amazing. I've had no bruising, no leaking wounds, no discharge. No-one can believe how quickly my pain is going either. Sometimes I have taken a remedy instead of a painkiller and it would almost instantly reduce pain. So thank you. That has been amazing for me xxxxx
In my small clinic, alongside the cases mentioned above, I've seen nausea disappear, constipation post surgery resolve rapidly, fatigue be helped, skin sensitivity due to radiation improve and lots more - all with homeopathy, all significantly improving quality of life for the individual.
Working together, using the best of each approach strikes me that it could be good for the most important person in the room here - the patient.
What would you do if you really loved yourself? It was a question that came to me out of an interesting space, but catalysed much reflection.
My interesting neighbour, the one who isn't my biggest fan, was walking past a year or so ago and amongst other things, shouted 'There it is that f***ing narcissist'. Being there was no one else around, and based on our history there was only really one direction this was aimed in. I was being pretty narcissistic that day, sat in our garden, on our bench, working on a case and reading several books relating to it.
By this stage not much surprised me and had she have done that at the beginning of our quest I may have responded very differently. However we were several years in by this stage and mostly I was able to ignore and continue. Bless and block was a notion I devised early in my twitter days when skeptics popped up with some (usually not so) intelligent comments about homeopathy being nonsense. Bless and block. Move on by. The blessing part I attribute to Pierre Pradervand's amazing book The Gentle Art of Blessing, which over the years I've recommended to many people.
Her statement made me ponder. How would I behave if I was as accused? Or, I toned it back a bit, I really loved myself. I went upstairs and pranced around in the mirror trying on the idea (I'm not so sure how that was my first step to what being a narcissist was like but anyway, bear with!).
Like so many of us, I can be much easier on the compassion for others than myself and working with Kristin Neff's Fierce Self Compassion work was eye opening, and beautiful. And why it's not taught in schools I don't know... well I have my theories but let's not get on a soap box today.
Maybe a small one... if we felt great about ourselves, perhaps we wouldn't need that new this or that, shiny whatever (at least to the degree that we're encouraged by massive advertising and marketing campaigns). Perhaps we'd have a world filled with less economic growth as we grew in our loving ourselves capacity? If someone has to spend a lot of money to encourage us we need it, do we really need it or does it benefit someone else (sometimes massively) for us to need it?
Anyway, if we felt loved by ourselves would we be kinder, more compassionate when we made 'mistakes'?
Would we feel kinder to our planet, more able to show love all round? I'm convinced our wee world needs love, not saving. To fall in love deeply with our world may change how we respect it. Would we carve out great valleys to mine minerals and not repair them, leave them as giant scars on our landscape if we were deeply in love with it or would we take every effort, even if we mined, to repair an area to be better than before we turned up?
I'm reading the epic journey covered in The Earth Beneath my Feet and On Sacred Ground by Andrew Terrell currently. His 7000 mile journey through Europe (Italy to Norway) is inspiring of itself, but his philosophy to always leave a camp ground better than he found it is a gentle and powerful message.
I imagine that if we were to fall in love deeply with ourselves it may change how kindly we talk to ourselves. It strikes me we often have a 2 part process, we have a thought then harshly judge ourselves for having that thought as we disagree with it, dislike the fact we thought it or don't think we should have thought it. What if we let go of the second part, and accepted it was just a thought. Besides, there'll likely be another one along in a nanosecond or two.
I've another postcard that says 'What's the kindest thing I can do for myself right now?' It's a great message, and I've started playing with changing it to 'What's the kindest thing I can say to myself right now?' What would you say if you were really in love with yourself? It probably wouldn't be a harsh judgement delivered with venom.
You might get dressed in gorgeous clothes, not because you felt you needed to cover some flaw or feel more confident, just because you loved the print of the fabric, loved the feel of the skirt against you, or the shorts, or whatever else. You might dance in the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom, the street. You might walk straighter, smile more (because of course those in love smile...) at yourself and others, be more compassionate if you did something you hadn't planned to (formerly known as a mistake, now perhaps we could gently call it it a mis-step? or even an unplanned experience?). It might be different. Things might feel different.
I think out of all the comments over the last 5 years of my dealings in this situation, this is the one I'm most grateful for. Plenty of times I rallied, moaned, allowed myself to feel a victim, and yet freedom lay in none of that. I was in my own mental prison. This one catalysed such a helpful thought process. Yes I might have had some vile things verbally thrown at me, but none worse than things I'd said to myself over the years.
It's only this morning on writing this that I realise the question 'What would it be like if you really loved yourself?' puts me in mind of a quote my beautiful friend Amelia sent me years ago. The wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson...
What Is Success
Would we care for opinions we don't care for? Would we take them on board ourselves or be happy someone else could think differently to us and that was OK? Would we be able to listen with respect and counter with our thoughts? Would we feel more resilient, more reassured that whilst we could lose love, we wouldn't stop loving ourselves?
Would we be more easily able to sit in that difficult space and as Rangan Chatterjee says 'invite social friction everyday'?
I think that's all from me for today. But what would it be like?
Anything we can imagine we can create...
Thank you for reading and being.
With love, for you, for myself, for this beautiful world we live with,
It strikes me, on watching this video by Dr John Campbell:
that perhaps his tangents here are as important as the main content of the video. I like his measured delivery, well reasoned arguments and calm logic, but there is a certain chill that runs through this one.
Images of mass conforming, and may happen when you don't conform.. along with this image (screen grab from his video above). I failed to get the shot as a clear shot, but think the red line perhaps accentuates the words.
When we're told to look away, or look a certain direction, it's interesting to ask why or what we're not being shown perhaps.
Especially significant as I watched it after a recent Russell Brand video highlighting links between government and Big Tech, it felt an important message to remember.
I've heard several times of Drs who were told, 1st week in training, that all the other 'alternative' stuff out there is nonsense and don't pay any attention to it. Which feels relevant given that my week started with someone who'd struggled for 6 years with chronic catarrh. Going through packs of tissue every week, describing her snot as 'all day everyday'. She had ear problems, would be in pain with flying. Hearing wasn't as good as it used to be. She couldn't smell anything. She had 2 surgical interventions. And was still struggling.
10 months of us working together, she'd been improving impressive amounts at each follow up and yesterday she stated that she was 99% better. What was the phrase she was told? Along the lines of 'there's nothing can be done'. Whilst it might be someone's truth, it's certainly been disproved of being THE truth. She was told her smell wouldn't come back. The nerves had been damaged. Three days ago, she reported to me, she'd smelt 5 different smells - mint, onions, a man's aftershave, cauliflower and washing powder. She was told her smell wouldn't come back.
Also now, no hearing issues. No pain on flying. No crackling in her ears. Hearing fine. One tissue to blow her nose on a morning. No waking in the night feeling that she was drowning in snot. No cough/having to clear throat. No constant snot all day everyday.
On a theme relevant to John's video, I've seen another case today where there wasn't hope given. She's passionate about sharing her tale and I'll share more later, as she's going to write something for me. But enough to say things have gone from a few seizures a day at times to a couple of seizures in a month. Tics massively reduced. To having hope and at times even feeling a sense of joy. Her words? 'It's been transformative'. I'm grateful to have been able to witness the changes for her.
So often even if someone else doesn't know of it, there may be something that can be done. Don't give up. Do not let anyone tell you there are things you should not learn or know.
This year I cancelled my birthday, and it was an absolute liberation. I love birthdays. I may have said here before, it was the only day I would ever get a rounder whilst playing rounders at school. It's always been a joyful, lucky kind of day for me. For my 40th I had an 11 month celebration, from September through to August.
This year, after something of a disaster night out as a birthday treat, I decided to not celebrate, recognising that it was the expectation of it, that it would be fun and joyful that was as much my challenge as the actual events that occured. So I refunded the price of the tickets to my boyfriend, and advised people close to me I wasn't celebrating. In a good way. I was really happy about doing it differently.
The expectations we have and also those of the world around us intrigue me. The shops are filling up with Christmas things we need to buy to decorate our homes, things we need to purchase as presents, and birthdays can be much the same. The expectation that we need to go, buy, do I'm questioning. I love to celebrate and I feel like I've celebrated September this year really well. I feel happy about it all, and that the letting go of how something should be has enabled me to feel more joy about how it is.
A friend made me the chocolate cake I'd been craving. Another gifted me a sound bath session. Another gifted me a night of her company with the intent to get something twice that didn't happen for various reasons. The driving together was a joy. My partner and daughter got me a bat that I'd kept on about wanting in our garden. Simple. Beautiful. Perfect. I had lunch out, dinner out and it seemed there was less cancelling than I had planned... but there was a lot of letting go and serious appreciating of what there was.
I feel like I'm still reflecting on the lessons learnt and I'm sure I'll attach to plenty of things in the future and need to re-learn it, that's being human I guess, but it has been a brilliant catalyst to some great experiences.
I'm in the process of changing how I do Christmas and I am LOVING that too. It's so rich and abundant with experiences, meeting people, learning and growing. In a literal sense - one of my changes is creating a wide flowering border for my parent's Christmas present. My dad had 'sort the garden' on his list and was getting a little stressed it wasn't how he wanted, so I took to going and helping out with weeding and tidying. Whilst there he mentioned he'd like a herbaceous border in a large border area. So I thought how about I could create that for their Christmas present. I floated the idea and it was a resounding yes.
Since starting, I've put out a couple of appeals on Freecycle (seriously loving that site too), and have had offers of hypericum, aqualegia, flowering sweet geranium, blue irises, peonies, cornflowers and shasta daisies so far. I figured it's that gardening tidying season so instead of them going to waste I could find a new home for them. I've met people, dug plants in the pouring rain, chatted, appreciated their generosity and been a part of the community in a different way than if I'd just grabbed a gift from a large store. It's definitely an idea to explore further and the connections and conversations that have come from my few short months of using Freecycle are really valuable to me.
I'm a fan of getting people something if I see it and think of them, but something about doing what the shops tell me never quite sits right. So I'm re-exploring how I do that. Exchanging gifts can be a joyful experience, but can also be fraught with not feeling good enough, going into debt and stress about so much of it. So I'm going for homemade, handmade, less. Experiences or doing for someone. Supporting small businesses wherever possible has been a long held intention, that can sometimes fail at the last minute but with some planning I hope to be able to achieve Christmas very different this year.
My sister-in-law aka my graphic designer is designing me a poster for a gift for me. There are so many options out there that we can do and give differently, I'm excited to start exploring more, and grateful to those happy to go along the ride with me.
Instead of a stock photo, here's a smiling Golden Retriever.
Share thoughts if you like - on the smile or the blog,
Not so much Final Frontiers, Space races, trips to the moon or any of that. More allowing ourselves space. Having space. Not merely bowling, one thing to the next. Space for daydreaming. Space to slow. Space to breathe.
What is it, what isn't it, and why do we need it? And how can we benefit from some space?
For me what is making sense is a stopping, a slowing, engaging in activities that take us into a flow state, where time isn't pressured, a relaxing of our nervous system. It strikes me many of us live in the ON position. Until we can't. Whether dis-ease emerges to stop us, another incident or we run ourselves into a wall (thinking more metaphorically), I ponder whether some space could enable us to take a clearer look at how we live our lives.
I don't want to get all 'conspiracy theorist' here, but bear with me for a moment; a system that uses its people like machines isn't really going to encourage daydreaming. a system that is preparing children for factory life (we're going back a few years here) could use bells to train them, short breaks, organised activities, feeding them into factory life all primed and ready to respond to cues. A system that wants you to over consume isn't going to want you to stop and think whether you really need that next bigger TV, shinier car, next, next, next. A system that wants you not to think could even advertise mind numbing chemicals that are entirely legal (yup I experimented with alcohol again and that was intriging for me!).
Of course I may be way off track and I'm open to that too, but I'm curious how much space we give ourselves, and whilst I'm pondering that, how much space we give nature. I'm curious too about the messages of doom, the lack of hope. In my opinion the planet will likely be fine without us, may start to breathe and recover. We however, are somewhat dependent on this beautiful home we inhabit, and live as if we forget that. Sometimes we even forget to fall in love with it every day.
Space probably isn't a constant binge on Netflix (though I can be found enjoying that too and write without judgement, just a tinge of awareness). It certainly isn't wandering around shopping centres - have you ever done that and really looked at people's faces? I have recently in our back to school quest and it looks like people are tolerating it, not enjoying or gaining happiness from it. Compare it to the faces of people out in nature and I think we soon recognise where we might find some space for ourselves.
Why do we need space? Why can't we just be ON all the time? We do have amazing bodies and minds that tolerate so much, but this world surrounded by technology can have its price. Electric lighting is simply incredible but when we burn the candle at both ends, just because we can; does that lead to greater health or harm?
I simply don't believe we're ready for this. So we have to take charge, investigate a way we can be without breaking - both ourselves and our planet. Our world needs some space too. In much the same way as we do. Clean air, clean water, space to breathe. Space to fall in love with life, ourselves and the world around us.
There's something I'm musing over at the moment about the spaces in between too. In my work, I remain silent at times in cases, and valuable information often comes from that space. The spaces in between fields and the areas outside are often fertile with wildflowers, insects (perhaps in a more ideal farming system than a giant monoculture that we're becoming more used to) and creatures. The spaces between different opinions fascinate me. Those conversations with others who have opposing views, taking the time and space to sit and listen and not need to be right. Space. Good for us and for our beautiful planet.
Perhaps. Or maybe that's just me.
I'd love to know what you think,
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley Homeopath
Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy
BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Laughter Yoga Leader
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition