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!
2023 has had its challenges for so many, and reflecting on my year feels like it's been the year of dental challenges, slight and insignificant compared to much out there, though personally with some quite intense pain. Fortunately I've found an amazing dentist I trust, who at times will sugggest I take a remedy that'll help for certain things eg recovery from procedures etc, and the year is ending in a much more pain free place.
I hope relief is to be found for many out there - unfortunately many challenges aren't quite as fixable as mine were and it makes me feel humble that mine were solvable, and gratitude for where I am at with it. However, as ever, I digress from what I meant to write of...
I've written a book this year and am currently working with someone who is helping me to publish it - it's on the intense editing phase at the moment, but with the end of the year galloping towards us, or us towards it, it got me thinking about books in general. I feel like 2023 has been a particularly rich year on that front for me, so I thought I'd mention some of my much loved reads of the year, including two on the go.
I've recently found a friend has every Jack Reacher book (author Lee Child) ever written, and have been working through the ones I haven't read yet, very grateful to her, and it's always great to find another Reacher fan. I've the latest one waiting for me to finish A Year of Marvellous Ways, which I am really enjoying, kindly gifted by another friend as we met to drive to Manchester Airport together. She was off on holiday, I returning from a weekend of teaching in Wales.
So in no particular order, though no Jack Reacher in my top 2023 reading list, but I do love him for a romp through some modern day Robin Hood-ing:
Jack Zipes' Buried Treasures: The Power of Political Fairy Tales stood out to me at a storytelling event we were at recently. The cover appealed, and as we'd walked into town we were running later than I wanted, I had a quick stroke of the cover and told it I'd be back soon. We were reunited after the event and on getting it home and reading the interaction between the author and Einstein, I was hooked. Really enjoying it, though is still on the go, but learning lots and am still totally intrigued by it.
I give myself a 150 page 'rule' - if I can't get on with it by then, then I'm happy to say I've tried, and to let it go. This one I'm only 30 odd pages into and don't try to pry it off me...
Edith Eger's The Choice and The Gift. These two I listened to first, then bought as a hard copy to be able to reference in teaching and for my partner to read. Two of the most brilliant books I've read. Let alone this year. I read The Gift, which is the second book first, then decided I wanted to also listen to The Choice, which is a longer book and tells more of Edith's story. Really really recommend for students of homeopathy and students of life.
On Sacred Ground (pictured) and Andrew Terrill's first book The Earth Beneath My Feet were incredibly enjoyable. The author, as I was doing my A Levels and heading off to University in 1997, decided he'd walk the length of Europe and begins his epic 18 month journey starting in Italy and finishing in Norway. He (and you as the reader) encounter Europe's wild places and finds hospitality throughout his journey. His vulnerability and gentle way of writing both appealed and I found myself wanting to go to bed to continue the journey*. Many aspects of these books have stuck with me, at the forefront of my mind, his love of wild camping and desire to leave a camping ground better than he found it.
To be fair, this intention nearly got me stranded on the patio of a cottage recently as I tried to leave a holiday let better than I found it - it was tough as it was pretty damn perfect. However there was some bird mess on the sliding door so I decided I'd clean it off and joked to myself that I mustn't totally shut the door in case it had some clever auto-locking... it didn't but the door wasn't the newest or easiest to slide and it got stuck (with a 6 inch gap leading inside...) anyway, a bit of realigning, some sweating and swearing and praying and I was back in...
*I have a 2 pages reading rule and unless I'm incredibly tired I aim to read at least two pages a night in bed. Often in the day I'm busy with something so this is my sacred reading ground. I encountered this suggestion on a TEDx talk about microhabits, and the idea that if you decide you have to read, say a chapter, it can be overwhelming, but a small accessible intention means it's more likely to happen. Of course often I read more, but the goal is to read a little every night. As with crochet, which I frequently do if waiting somewhere for someone (usually my teenager) I find it's amazing how you progress with just a little and often approach.
Suzanne Simard's Finding the Mother Tree and Merlin Sheldrake's Fantastic Fungi both changed how I look at nature too. I've been convinced we're looking at climate change and our care of this wonderful planet the wrong way around, and these books were both a delightful adventure in a way that made sense to me. It was years ago my daughter told me that she wouldn't watch David Attenborough as it was too depressing. I've grown up with him and missed the new insights she took from it. I listened to her, listened to him, and recognised so many of our messages are about doom. This, in my opinion, is only going to motivate some people. Love, I think motivates far more. These books, along with Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass, were like a meditation of love for our beautiful planet. Dive in, fall in love and see how you protect something. There's nothing quite as fierce as a mother fighting for her children... of course sometimes that's from fear, but I'd argue mostly from a place of purest love.
Speaking of love over fear, I see a lot of people worried about the state of the world, and perhaps rightly so... I'm not going to argue with that. Teaching in Manchester in November this year I was happy to be sharing more about the Radioactive remedies in homeopathy. I love teaching this lecture, and was reminded again, and more so this year than other years, that in the darkness there is so much light. I don't believe it's possible to have one without the other, and as Edith Eger in her two books discusses, there is always a choice. Perhaps if you can't see the light, you are the light in the darkness? That's not Edith's quote, or mine, and I don't recall where I first saw it, but it's perhaps something to ponder. There are so many, doing amazing things, being love out there that it's easy to forget as headlines generate more fear in a fearful world. Love may not control, but it does protect, regenerate, allow, expand and evolve. If we have to choose, at least we can know we have a choice.
I've surprised myself sharing my rules... I am not a huge rule lover, and never wanted a bedtime routine for my daughter, feeling myself constricted by the word. We had the same thing and I called it a pattern which felt freer. Reading is sacred to me, whether it be listening or reading, reading on a kindle, which is rarer these days, or a book, it's a happy place for me, so I suppose the rules can stay.
Last two - The Summer Book by Tove Jansson. Gorgeous. Gentle, slow and an insight into Island living over the summer from a child's perspective. A perfect book for a Greek trip.
Grain Brain by David Perlmutte is the last one, which is on Audible for me at the moment. Having recognised years ago that gluten and I weren't friends albeit I experienced no digestive challenges with it, it was joint pain for me, and it went away if I didn't eat it, I got quite intrigued. It was Maria Jevtic's Cave to Computer that made me recognise the issues were inflammation anywhere - and her references to anxiety and depression with gluten sensitivity made me stop and think. This much loved substance may not be as bland as it may look... This is a research led, fascinating read/listen and I highly recommend it.
That's 10, I thnk it'll do for now. It's been a great year - oh and lastly my friend Claire's book 18 Months was a joyful, thought provoking adventure of and musings on everyday life. Available on Amazon where she self published it. The others are easily findable but I'll link to this one here as I struggled to discover it when I first searched on there.
Several of these books we've read with our Kindness Book Club, which is somehting that Bev Nickolls and I set up around 2 years ago. We meet 6-8 weekly usually and anyone is welcome. Get in touch if that is of interest and I'll happily add you to our mailing list. We next meet January 22nd at 7pm (UK) and are chatting about North Woods and The Book Thief (we had an extra long session due to unplanned life happening hence 2 books).
I'm likely to be starting 2024 with a couple of books on the go but would love your recommendations of your favourite reads of this year (or at all) to add to my to-read list. Nick Cave and Sean O'Hagan's Faith, Hope and Carnage is near the top of the list and I think I'm shortly to fall deeply in love with that.
With best wishes for a peaceful, and book happy Christmas and New Year!
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.