Plans and the New Year

I could say I am on the New Year bandwagon of resolutions and thoughts however that would not be true. I tend to go through all that in the days leading up to the Solstice (Winter here in Australia). By the time Christmas arrives, I am usually relatively at peace (well, other than the usual chaos the 25th creates in place of crazy humidity and heat). Then January comes around I have already made steps towards moving into the New Year’s energy.

This year, I am hopeful for a continued and upward turn in health after 2015 was taken over by studying and living with Ross River Fever. It is still not gone and probably won’t be for quite some time. It just means I have to be even more organised and aware than usual of my body’s messages.

Towards the end of last year, amidst the chaos of a particularly challenging set of study circumstances, I re-commenced wording.

Not a lot, but a start. After realising the idea of word counts and daily writing is really not for me (no matter how many ways I jigged it), I’ve crunched data and decided to pursue a way that works for me. I have created a loose-leaf page (on pretty paper) to use to help me track and remember (regular illness makes time go wonky and wibbly wobbly). I can and do tend to be organised only to be waylaid by bad health (rinse and repeated that cycle for too many decades, yes, decades). The result is I have also taken on a couple of things for 2016 that are all about organisation and accountability.

front-page-me-plannerThe first is I’ve joined in with Nicole Cody and her Year of ME Planner (ME = Manifesting Energies). It is filled with things I have done in a scattered way (literally at times across my desk). Nicole has brought it all together into one place and blends the practical with the mystical. It’s going to be interesting to look back come December. The mystical side of myself, I am curious to see how it reveals publicly as it is a side of myself those closest to me have always seen, but publicly or in the online world, I’ve been a bit more circumspect about sharing.

sunday-circle-bannerThe other thing I’ve committed myself to is a creative circle that Peter M Ball has going on his blog. The Sunday Circle is a way for me to be specifically and (online publicly) writing accountable. The amusing (for me) thing is both use Sunday as a planning day whereas I’ve tended to use Monday as my planning of the week ahead. I see Sunday as the thinking time and Monday morning as the accountability time (one of the joys of not working a Monday for a long time, even when I was day jobbing, I had Mondays off).

Let’s see what 2016 brings.

Teachers

My health is still in recovery, but it is slow and cannot be rushed. No matter how much I want to. It has also been the reason for blogging absence. Hopefully, corners have been turned and I can resume my plans for this space.

I made it through a semester of university and I have recently been to a retreat where I was taught new skills. Both of these events though topically are very different have a common denominator, a person at the front of the room (or other end of the screen) guiding, sharing and facilitating my quest for knowledge.

They can and do go by many names, teacher, lecturer, facilitator, guru, mentor, and guide. The thing with teachers is many of us view them as Pedestal Material. They shouldn’t be questioned, or as some teachers perceive, they shouldn’t be questioned. Some areas, the traditions and different words used to help formalise the process. Other times, it is the teacher or guide who defines themselves.

Henry adams quote teacher gift

It saddens me when I read or hear of things where teachers are viewed or must insist on being viewed in a way that they *must* be viewed as the only voice and expert about the topic at hand. I have been both a primary (elementary) school and TAFE teacher (adult education in many forms) and never took the stance that I knew it all. We can’t. It’s impossible. I may have known more than my students on the various subjects I was teaching, and I have received training (a lot actually) about how to facilitate learning but I also knew every one of my students had their own input to the process.  Besides, learning happens best when it is a two way street.

If you need to use a term to assert your power over someone, a bit of your message of spreading knowledge is lost. Not only that, but think of the term more broadly and teachers are everywhere in your life. Your very first ones were those there to help you learn to eat, to sit up, change your clothes, catch a bus, all before you even reach the traditional view of a teacher in a kindergarten or school setting of some kind.

Then once the school part of your life is over, (though in my case, it never seems done), teachers appear in your life in many forms. Not always with the word “teacher” attached to it. They are the people who will mentor you in areas of either professional or personal interests and they will be the ones that sometimes, come to you when you least expect it. The cool thing is you are also a teacher for others. It happens. More than you may sometimes realise.

EmilysQuotes.Com-amazing-great-wisdom-teacher-life-inspirational-Buddha-student

Twists, turns and rest

Mosquito
So, about a week after my last post here, I started having some issues with my left hand. I didn’t think anything of it. Well, other than, I must’ve hit the bed head hard one night in my tossing and turning as said hand felt bruised. Fast forward another two weeks, still no obvious signs of injury but add to the list both hips, knees, ankles and all the bones in my feet feeling bruised. Frustration at my physical inability to do anything usual, like bend down to get vegetables from the fridge, sitting crossed leg, or sitting, standing, walking. Forget about stairs. I became like a small child walking up and down stairs, clutching the rail and taking it two feet per step. On a rare occasion I managed to feel able to go out, I mentioned in passing to a friend who saw me, that maybe I’m just starting to age, albeit rather painfully.

I eventually went to my Dr, I didn’t feel sick per se, just very tired and well, incapable of using a fork well, or type much. I had the joy of tests of various kinds (focusing on my left hand) with the words rheumatoid arthritis thrown in. I did not want it to be this. I’ve had enough issues over the past couple of decades I really didn’t want a new life-long thing to contend with. The good news, it is not rheumatoid arthritis. I am so glad of this. Still.

However, I did come back positive for Ross River Fever. Or, rather, I “have had” it. Both the Dr and I were surprised (he only added it on the tests due to the high incidence). The city of Brisbane has this wet season had an epidemic RRF and the best my Dr and I can work out is the “bad cold” I had in very early January must have been the “flu-like” part of this event. I haven’t had any of the other symptoms and why my body decided to wait for the joints to flare over six weeks later, is anyone’s guess.

I’ve spent the entire month of March railing against this and trying to find a way to manage day-day living along with my studies (I have dropped down to one subject) and rekindled desire to get stories out of my head.

I’ve worked so hard to get better to only be given another Universal thwack on the message to rest. A lot. I can’t do much else. My physical body has banned me from trying. Last week, the stairs defeated me. Again. I returned to the Dr and am now on a stronger anti-inflammatory.

Daily, my mobility slowly returns (after midday each day) and my fatigue well, it’s still there. I can’t sit at a desk or computer or table for long (feet swelling). I sleep a lot (though on waking, my hips remind me they are sore). From all who know of this illness, the only thing to do is rest and/or sleep. A lot and for a good long while (not days or weeks but months). The result is I now must plan out my weeks with small activities, breaking down what I would usually do in a day to go over weeks. Frustration is a regular thing but I know this is finite.

There is good in this. I am dreaming of my stories again. Also, it’s not rheumatoid arthritis.

Sparks & Words

I’ve been undertaking a summer school unit for my Masters, partly to keep going and partly as an experiment. Brisbane, without air conditioning, is not the place to undertake summer study. Unless, I really need to, no more summer school. It’s now done and I’m in a state of bliss with three weeks of no “have to study” state of mind.

A blog post by one friend and a reminder of a challenge another is doing combined with, dare I say, an epiphany sees this post push itself through and ahead of some other posts about my love of the letters that make up words.

The return to study has been both a challenge and an inspiration for me. This post about overcoming obstacles by Nicole Cody (go, read it, I’ll wait) hit me hard as I too have had to fumble and make my way through a fog for so long, I can’t remember a time in my life not having it. I do know by the middle of 2013, I was at a point of losing my ability to read. What used to take me a week to read was taking over a month and each time it was a struggle. I suspect if my stubbornness wasn’t so strong I’d have given up entirely. Slowly, I have reclaimed my brain use and the relief is great but so is a self-doubt and mistrust of its return. Will it stay? When will I lose it again? Can I trust it will be here for me?

As I regained a sense of clarity of thought, I commenced my studies, just one at a time, a dipping my toe in, “in case my brain goes away again”. I’m now three subjects in and I’m shocked by my marks. Not how bad, but how good. I keep pinching myself, thinking the bubble will burst. But, with three subjects done, I am admitting to myself, perhaps, just perhaps my brain really is back and is actually working again.

Also coming back are creative words, even sentences. Which build to paragraphs and I hope to full stories. I’ve missed writing. I’ve been frustrated and despondent and many times at a loss as to how to overcome it. There are words stuck in my head but they’ve been lost for some time. This is where another friend’s challenge has come into it. For the past six months, Peter Ball has been writing every day using a number chart to mark off his achievements. I know many who use variations of this, for writing or other tasks. Even I’ve used it in the past when on a (usually academic) deadline. I’m travelling again tomorrow, but only for a few days, and on my return I’m setting myself up to undertake this. As he says, even a sentence can count. I have to tell myself it is okay to not keep going when I have my bad week of health, but if I can manage even that, I’ll be pleased.

Thank goodness for friends who help shine lights on the path.

Year’s End

Here in my city of Brisbane, Australia, 2014 is only a few hours from becoming 2015. After quite a few years of some very bumpy roller coaster rides, this year has been filled with quiet surprises. If I sit and think, I can see achievements and yet I’d probably tell you face-face that I haven’t been that busy. Most likely because a lot of the work this year has been internal and the leaps and bounds can’t be seen. Though, I know some who say they see the shift/s.

We all shift. Life is not static. But neither is life really linear, unless you wish to literally count the days. Discussions about time and dimensions can be for another day. I like to think of life more like a roller coaster or a spiral but really, roller coasters are a circular event you eventually come back to where you began to go around once again.

Being in this society, at this point in time, one can so easily get caught up with the, “what are you doing”, “where are you going”, “how much longer until you get there”, style of life. But someone I know, understands how to describe parts of the craziness of this manifested life and sums it up beautifully. Perhaps it’s not a destination you need but a direction. I like this. A lot. If you want to learn more, go to this post of Nicole Cody’s. It’s not too long and even without much caffeine can help you to find a path in the mess that is this life.

It also reminds me, it’s okay to not know exactly what/where/why/how long are you doing/going to be. It allows me to learn to truly surrender and learn to embrace the idea of the spiral and flow and trust and all those things that can have non-linear tendencies. It’s taken awhile to get this, and I’m still learning but it’s a thing worth understanding, especially if life tends to be twirly-whirls and spirals for you.

Spirals can go up, down or sideways. I know some of my ancestral heritage is based in this. So perhaps like many others this is why I’m drawn to the triskelion, I see the spirals of life in it. Enjoy finding your own destination or enjoy looking and seeking a direction to begin your expedition.

 

triskelion

Letting go of the past

Today I donated a dress.

Wedding Dress the 1st

I could never bring myself to get rid of my wedding dress from my first marriage. In part due to the red wine stain in the front of the skirt (it was a good wedding shindig at a vineyard) meaning it couldn’t really be used as a wedding dress. And also in part as though the marriage didn’t last, it did bring me my son (who is about to leave his teenage years).

Then, about six weeks ago a new friend, Helen did a blog post about donating her wedding dress as a way to de-clutter via the Angel Gowns Program run by the NICU Helping Hands organisation . I had an A-ha moment. My dress has found a place to be. As well, I learnt via the website that the tulle under the silk layer is also going to good use via the Tutu program. I have never gone through the pain of losing a baby but have held the hands of some who have.

At the post office, I had a twinge of emotion as I let go of something as well a simultaneous sensation of release which was so very freeing. I am so glad my dress is going to this cause. It’s been waiting a long time to go to its new place.