Thursday, October 19, 2017

Radiate

In the two days since I last wrote something here, I have not had any wine, I have slept a full night (until 5.15am), and both my skin and my outlook are radiant. Not a coincidence, I'm sure. The wind is blowing through the oak outside my window, and I walked the dogs late in the dark on the common, as I got the 10.30pm train from Euston. The dogs don't care a bit about the rain. They're happy to bomb about on the cricket pitch, getting their feet muddy. My darling man is going to Australia tomorrow morning, but tonight he took me to see Michael Clark's extraordinary dance company at the Barbican, dancing to Satie, and Patti Smith and David Bowie. I found myself moved beyond measure, but perhaps that's because we were sitting dead center, three rows back, and I could see the facial expressions and lipstick of everyone on stage. C sat next to me with his arm around me the entire time and I felt myself swooning and wondered if it were possible to feel happier. Mr McDuck and Aladdin Sane after an almost full night of sleep; a heady combination.

I hope you all sleep well. xo


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sleep No More

This not sleeping thing is a killer. Actually, it is. I read that the less you sleep the shorter your life will be. At this rate I'll make it to about 61.  It's not just the exhaustion, the lack of energy, but it's one's world picture which becomes distorted and the (albeit mild) paranoia that sets in, questioning one's actions, pondering the motives of others, instead of seeing the world as bountiful and blissful and benign. For those who do sleep, I am in awe of you. For those that don't, let's work this out together.

There are a few things that are taking a toll on sleep for all of us.

1) 45. Yeah, I can't even say his name any more because it makes me wince. That man with the orange face who lives in the White House, who has made a mockery of the Presidency, and has demeaned America in the eyes of every other nation in the world. Every day we live with the underlying anxiety of wondering what his next move will be and whether, in fact, we will have a world to live in.

2) The weather. The sands from the Sahara have been whipped up in England to produce eerily orange and brown skies. Once again, the fear is that maybe, while we were listening to a nice podcast and driving along the M11, Trump's small hands had been fumbling too close to the nuclear button and North Korea had retaliated.

3) Harvey. Every single woman I know (Every. Single. Woman.) has been re-living sexual harassment and abuse. We'd all tamped it down. We'd all told ourselves that what happened to us wasn't a big deal, that people had it worse. But in some beautiful, Jungian, mind-meld of consciousness, we've all started to remember together, in the knowledge that other women have in fact gone through a similar thing, and suddenly, now, we feel safe in shining a light on all these things. For too long we've been told that we have to smile, laugh it off, make a joke of it, make the man feel better about himself for being wildly inappropriate (great piece here on this: here), we've been told, oh that's just what men do, and now it's not okay any more. Hugest kudos and love and respect to Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd and all the women who came out and poked a hole in the dam so big that the geyser is covering all of us. Last night, I vented on Facebook, just briefly about the horrible encounters I could remember, the squirming feeling that is hard to shake, the awful uncomfortableness of being a child with no recourse when there is a predator, not knowing who to turn to, or how, or why it's happening, but just knowing, in a small, dark place inside that it IS wrong.

4) Devices In Bedrooms. I am an addict. I keep my phone by my bed even when I know I shouldn't because it fills the dark, sleepless hours. I vow to stop this.

5) Wine. I drank almost a full bottle of wine last night after venting about horrible men. My darling wasn't here and I felt alone and I drank a full bottle of wine. Note to self: wine does not aid sleep. Not a bit.  Time for a few nights of mint tea, methinks.

Is there anything I've missed?

And so as not to end on a dark note, please read this beautiful piece by my teacher Tej on depression and ways to help it:

Yogic Tips for Handling Depression


Monday, October 09, 2017

Nature

"If you can trust nature, by and by you become quiet, silent, happy, joyful, celebrating – because nature is celebrating. Nature is a celebration. Look all around. Can you see any flower which looks like your saints? Can you see any rainbow which looks like your saints? Or any cloud, bird singing, and the light reflecting in the river, and the stars? The world is celebrating. The world is not sad. The world is a song, an utterly beautiful song, and the dance continues. Become part of this dance and trust your nature."

-- Osho




 

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Three geraniums

The dark creeps in on you and suddenly the days are no longer long. On the train back from London last night, I realized that at 6.30pm it was almost winter. I love the train; I do all the things you aren't meant to do, like stare at people, make eye contact, sometimes chat. I have my little telepathic ideas about everyone. I told a woman the other day that her hair was fantastic. It was curly and wild and she wore it well, without worrying about it. I longed for such confidence.

I wake up in the dark now, in my cozy bed with its Hudson Bay blanket and the two real live furry hot water bottles around my legs and feet. You can hear if it's raining by the sound the cars' wheels make on the road. Mostly it's just drizzle. But today there is wind and from my kitchen window I can see that the trees are veering into yellow and orange, and I dream of Maine and Vermont and pancakes with maple syrup.

I am alone but for the dogs. (Potential burglars: the small one will kill you, no problem.) My darling man is in London as it was the opening of the London Film Festival last night. It's strange not to wake up to his lovely face. He sleeps like an angel, quietly. My French Bulldog snores more than him.  Secretly, I like to be alone. I like to make my own tea, to start slowly, to venture out early with the dogs, to drink in the day, to bathe in nature, like a fool, to be renewed.

Slowly, slowly, I am finding my people. My friend with whom I had tea yesterday, an imp of a woman, smiley and wise, says that it takes two years to find your people when you move to a new place. She is my people. She has somehow managed to rise above class, a notable feat in this country, so that when I speak to her, I feel as if I am speaking to an American friend. There is no barrier, no layers to negotiate, no flinty passive aggression to beat down, just an openness that I understand and appreciate. It's a jungle out here, I tell you. There is just so much stuff to get through, so many little hints and notes that may have meaning (but meaning is always denied; "Oh, it's a JOKE!" or "Oh, no, I'm FINE.") It's snakes and ladders for a foreigner and believe me, I am a foreigner here in the land of my birth. Nothing is dealt with straight on. Which is both good and bad. I am reminded of the way my father asked for the salt to be passed. "Darling, would you like some salt?"

So being with my impish friend, who is a writer and, I dare say, an empath, over a lovely big cup of Darjeeling in a hotel filled with the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen, displayed in various sized milk bottles, is like sitting by a burn in the Scottish highlands, in the sunshine, splashing water on one's face. I'm refreshed and I have a lovely warm feeling, as if I have been eating Ready Brek.

We are two nations divided by a common language. I could write about this for a long, long time. It pulls into focus one's idea about identity, belonging, class, ways to live. I used to believe I spoke both languages fluently. Now, I wonder.

There are three rose-scented geraniums in my kitchen window. I was in house full of plants last week and decided that as winter closes in, we need to bring more green things inside.

Three geraniums. Two potatoes.

And one more thing:

"We are all just walking each other home." -- Ram Dass

I think this is a good thing to remember in these dark times. I think that's what I want to spread about liberally. We are here for a very short time. There is only room to love each other.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Winner!


Taking this opportunity to thank all my lovely friends who supported me in the South Oxfordshire Sponsored Ride. Incredibly happy to say that due to everyone's enormous generosity, we raised over $1800 for Macmillan Cancer Support. I have the nicest friends and the best clients in the world. I also have an expert lorry driver (who's handsome to boot) and a very sweet little mare, who jumped her heart out. Thank you to everyone. I am incredibly grateful. Big love to all of you. (And yes, that's a bottle of Lanson Black Label in my hand!)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Not an accident


It's raining solidly even though the weather apps say it shouldn't be at 4.47am. I have to be up at 6am. Is it worth going back to sleep? Oh the scourge of not sleeping. The agony and the ecstasy. 

One thing I know: what we are on the inside bears no relation to how we look on the outside. The man who lies next to me, tall, elegant, fine-boned, who walks purposefully, his chin up, is a sweet, playful child on the inside, slightly unsure, loving as a puppy. And maybe no-one knows it. Even when he is sleeping he says to me "I love you" if I touch his arm. (The dog who is the other side of the sandwich says it too, I am sure of it, but in grunts and snarfs.) I wonder if that is all we need to survive? That unfailing, unflinching love to protect us from the rain, from our own quiet self loathing, our own lack of faith? Where does the faith go on these sleepless nights?

And then this magic happens. You were one. And how you are half of two. And despite all the things you don't like, all the traits you want to fix, your focusing on the wrong things, your short temper, there is love for you. Unequivocal. (His word, not mine, my darling, another of his.) 

That soft breath juxtaposed with the rain. The owls. The dog in the crook of your knee. The ameliorating of the constant angst. It melts away. 

My friend who has just been given a bipolar diagnosis has been put on a new drug. I don't remember its name; an anti-psychotic. She said "I was swimming in the ocean in rough seas with huge waves and now I am on a desert island." Imagine that. Oh, so this is how life is meant to be? You mean, the anxiety isn't normal? You mean, people don't usually worry over everything tiny thing? You mean, there is love for you even if you are terribly, terribly flawed? You mean imperfect is the new perfect? Ha ha. 

Bathe in light. Love the soft rain. Remember the warmth and the fine silk threads that bind us all to everything else. This is not an accident. 



 





 

Monday, September 25, 2017

compôte de pommes

I'm eating homemade apple sauce (they call it compote here, but it's apple sauce) and greek yogurt with honey. It's delicious. I keep licking the spoon.  I'm alone at my kitchen table. The apples are from my tree. I have three apple trees, maybe four. There are so many apples that they are rotting on the lawn. The dog collect them, play with them, throw them to each other, leave them under my bed. Last night I made roast pork with crackling and apple sauce and mashed sweet and roast potatoes in goose fat. There are white flowers on my table. It's so cold that I've put a big old Hudson Bay blanket from LL Bean on my bed. It's a week of first. I'm going autumn hunting (cubbing) on Thursday for the first time, and on Sunday I'm doing a sponsored ride - cross country over thirty fences. My finger is broken but I don't care. This is what life is meant to be. A big fat, slightly scary adventure. And I think, broken finger crossed, that my son is coming for Christmas. I hardly know how to contain my whoops.
Here's to my brave little mare, who makes my life so much better.
Here's to my amazing friends who have sponsored me (bit overwhelmed by the kindness).
And here's to everything kinda, sorta, working out in the end.
I feel blessed.
Thank you.

PS. Hillary Clinton's book is a MUST READ.