cedar_grove: (Eirian with a smile)

I don't like schedules. They deny spontaneity and stifle flexibility if you stick to them, and if you don't,  what’s the point of having one? The other problem I have with schedules is that it's rare that life, the universe in particular, rarely respects the orderly progression of tasks that you’ve so carefully laid out so that everything gets done in a timely manner. This can manifest in things not working out the way you intended, or other people asking things of you that mean adjustments be made, and if you’re anything like me you’ll put whatever it is that has been asked of you ahead of your schedule, ahead of the things you’ve planned (read want) to do after you’re done with the chores on your list of things that must be done.

Inevitably, those desired activities/tasks remain unfulfilled, initiating a stress response, leading into a spiral of negativity and resentment - unless you’re able to embrace true selflessness… a fully enlightened state of being that few of us, myself included, reach in our lifetime.

So what’s the solution? What are  the answers or the steps to strive for at the beginning of our golden solar path? I believe it’s a matter of learning how and when to say, “no” or, “not right now,” and not being afraid to take care of self while adhering to the schedule you made; recognizing when you need a moment of and for you, and not feeling guilty for doing so.

cedar_grove: (Resting Safe)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

One does not become enlightened by imagining
figures of light, but by making the darkness

--Carl Jung

So the care of one's being is imperative and continuous, as simple and hard as wiping the residue of experience from your mind and heart, letting your original face again light the way. Though, like scratching the middle of your back, we often need each other to regain our sense of Oneness.

Five more big ducks.

I can't express how good it is to know that number is now below seven. I can't express how much I need to walk into the arms of the guy I love and just hold tightly and be held. I can't say how much of an emotional outpouring such a moment brings even thinking about it.

Five more sleeps. Six more days. I don't want to wait any more.

I'm sure I've spoken of this before in some other entry, and maybe it's because Star Trek thoughts are close to my mind having just finished the last of the books she let me borrow to read, but I am one of those bondmate – not whole without my other; or put another way like a rider without their dragon, or the depth expressed in, half my heart to make yours whole Mir said this to me as she gave me a necklace that I have with me here... held in my lap as I type this – looking at the one side of the heart that is covered with gems, the other side empty – like my hand that longs to be held.

We often need each other to regain our sense of Oneness... I need my guy.

Be Good

Dec. 18th, 2011 06:12 pm
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

In this world,
hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law,
ancient and inexhaustible.


As with so many other crucial negotiations of life, what's required is to honor what lives within us. We must bear witness to ourselves

Saturday 17th
Part of my problem is that I don't feel loved. There was a hard admission to make, a hard thing to bear witness to – but before you think anything or say anything, or assume I'm talking about others that I know love me – that's not at all what I mean. I mean that I don't feel love from myself

How can I heal all the things in myself that I hate, (the miscommunication, the assumptions I make, the frustrating bullishness to just press on when something won't work, the careless inattentiveness, that fact that all I'm doing nowadays is to hurt the ones I love the most to name but some of my misgivings and failures), when I feel no love and compassion for myself. Perhaps that's why I'm also so insecure and needy of attention, and reassurance of others love for me... I'm sure it is.

It's not a big revelation really, when it comes to it. It's about as obvious as the trigger that led to this realisation... the thing that started me thinking down such avenues of thought: I reached the end of the Destiny books... and as was suggested I would – kicked myself. Yes that's all in jest and funny, but actually, I also seriously considered my choice of words when I voiced the way I was laughing at myself over it. I called myself thick.

Oh and I was – I so totally owned that. It was obvious from the beginning where the trilogy was going to end and I missed it. LOL. (I enjoyed the books though).

But I called myself thick, and it didn't stop there because at some point I started considering that and how many other things I was 'stupid' about or 'careless' or... any number of self critical words. I'm not saying that self criticism is necessarily a bad thing – how can we improve ourselves if we aren't self critical – just that we maybe need I maybe need to show myself a little compassion. Then maybe I wouldn't take everything everywhere so personally, and react defensively and hurt when there is no need (and there never is).
cedar_grove: (sleeping)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

If you come to a fork in the road,
take it.

--Yogi Berra

We are beautifully limited creatures, capable of great moments of full living, but we can't have it all or experience it all.

I finally gave in to being sick today and all but for about 4 or 5 hours, and just now (though I'm on the couch under a blanket right now), I stayed in bed, on and off sleeping and reading.

When I got up it was to make my dinner and eat. I put on the TV. All I could think about was Mir and wanting to be at home snuggled with her. It wasn't necessarily about wanting to be looked after but more just wanting and needing to be with her very badly. So the new movie started and it was Dinosaurs... which made me think of Mir even more. I know I've seen the movie before, but it was a long time ago. I brought my dinner to the couch and stayed up to watch the movie before going back to bed, and cried, and sobbed like a baby on and off all the way through it.

Afterwards I went back to bed... slept some more, woke up and read a little bit more of the book – poor Shar, to lose his mother, to have his home attacked. And the poor Vulcans too... had to stop reading, partly because it was upsetting, but partly because I sensed that the reveal (that I, in my thickness have so far missed) was coming, and I had promised Mir that I would read that part when she was around so that she could see my "doh!" moment. So I settled down again to sleep more, and had a ridiculous dream about some theme park... and not fitting on the rides because my body was too big, and then being compensated for that by being put in a little room with lots of VIP patrons, and fed on fries and fish-cakes that were in the shape of fish. I woke up from that just a little bit ago, and decided to move to the couch under a blanket once more.

A change of scene... and looking forward to being able to spend time with Mir online when she gets home. My countdown has six more big ducks.
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

The sun doesn't stop shining
because people are blind.

Rejection and opposition are painful, but being treated as if you don't exist is quietly devastating... and so, we are required to guard against turning our lives over to the expectations of others.

I've been sad today – not that this is related to the quote or the book, but it /is/ important and needs saying – I had a text message that, while I was expecting it (had actually looked at my phone for it a few minutes before it actually arrived), made me feel very sad. Our little Lindsay died. She has been sick for some time, and had stopped eating, so it was not a surprise, but she had been so strong, and so independent, even right up until the last I saw of her on Skype last night, that it was sad to think of her as finally gone. While it means of course that she's not going to suffer, I'll miss her.

This morning, the bus never turned up to pick the staff up from Rehab City. Turns out it broke down, but no one bothered to phone any of us. In the end we all had to take taxis... in small groups of course to keep the costs down but the school's transport manager got it in the neck from management, that's for sure. LOL I got to school a minute or two before the National Anthem. Technically late, but at least on time to be with my kids at registration... it made for a funny story to share with the children, an opportunity for bonding with them – and I took it. The children in my class that live in Rehab seem to think it's funny that my apartment is there too, it's like they expect the teachers to live at the school or something. It was annoying though for the fact that no one bothered to contact us (any of us) to /tell/ us the bus was broken, or to send a different bus, or school cars or something... or even to tell us that we would need to taxi in... like we were just forgotten or something. Oh sure, we were appreciated once we got there, but... this morning, before that, not so much.

I met with the parents of one of my children today. They were worried about their child's report, didn't think her grades were good enough, and wanted to know how they could help her. The child in question is one of the best in my class though, and always tries hard, and works well – talk about 'living to someone else's expectations.' I tried to reassure them that she was doing just fine, but I guess in a fee paying school, parents just expect so much more from their kids. I'm not saying they aren't nice people – they are, they were very warm and welcoming – and friendly, most of the people here seem to be, but I worry about them pushing their daughter too much... and to think, in England my most common complaint was always that the parents didn't push or care enough.
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

It's hard to tell the truth, but once told, it's
hard to keep it back.

--Sharon Green

All the while, the power of being hidden keeps us from the vitality of living, and so the healing value of telling the truth is in how it returns us to the pulse of what is sacred

Wednesday 14th
I haven't been well. Mir told me yesterday that I'm always sick, and I couldn't really argue the fact. I often am – even if it's only with a headache...or with the snuffles. Those snuffles runs in the family I'm afraid. My mum gave me that little gem. Whatever it is, dust allergies or something means that I'm often sneezing, which means that my sinuses suffer... *shrug* I can't do more than live with that. Other things, I don't know really. I guess I don't consider it – if I'm well or not, I mean. I don't feel I'm /always/ sick, but then I guess I don't mention feeling well, and I do say when I'm /not/ feeling well? I don't know. I mean I don't want to keep it hidden when I'm not feeling on top form, but I also don't want to make anyone worry – and it concerns me that I'm maybe worrying Mir with the amount of times I say I don't feel well. I know I worry about Mir if she says she doesn't feel good. Either way, right now I am sick. I don't know whether it's because it's a new country, and different children, but I have a nasty cold right at the moment – the one that's doing the rounds of the school. I'm drinking lots of juice, and eating lots of fruit to get vitamin C in the hope of getting rid of it quickly.

I mentioned yesterday, also, that I should give some thoughts to my wishes for the returning light time of the year. I'm hoping that one of the things that returns with the light in this upcoming seasonal change is my clarity and my ability to be clear to others. It's quite upsetting that I'm not being understood – and I know I only have myself to blame for it, if blame is the right word – no one else can do it for me after all. So that is one of my biggest wishes and biggest goals for change: Understanding and being clear so I will be understood.

Last year it was 'big ducks' this year it's 'big squeaks' but we're almost down to one 'big squeak' before I will be flying home to spend time with Mir, (and with Christopher – from whom 'big squeak' came, and the other rats), and my family there. I am very much counting the days – the hours even. I'm very excited about being able to spend time with Mir, and it being Christmas time she will have time off from work and we can spend our time together. I can't even begin to say how much I am looking forward to doing that – the thought of it just puts the biggest smile on my face. So just 8 more big ducks – one big squeak and I'll be travelling. Let the countdown begin!
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

I have only now realized that something endless
has broken ground in me, and I have no
choice but to live and love until it grows me
like a tree.

I met an old man at a gathering, and when everyone went on their way, he leaned into the hushed space between us and talked to me as if we were trees. Scratching his chin, he said, "We start out thin and green, and each time the sky grows dark, we think we will break, but the downpour makes us grow, though never straight, always twisting for the light, and, strangely, the more we reach above the earth, the deeper something in us fingers its way down, and it is this-our unseen fingers reaching for the core-that keeps us from blowing away. Now there is no more running and very little swaying, and up till now, there have been many languages, though none that could be heart, just a creak at dawn and a moan at night, and sooner or later, we are brought down. It doesn't matter how. We are undone. But stacked we burn, and here the poetry rises from us, leaving wisdom in the ash."

I love this – and I'm including the whole of the quote because I want to have it easily accessible, so that I can fit it into my meditations. The reason for this is that the piece reminds me of some of the meditation exercises I used to do when I was a part of one or two of the Wiccan groups I used to be a part of.

Some people have problems with 'guided' meditations... by which I mean where you follow a visualisation led by the words someone speak while you are meditating. Some people find it intrusive – some people become overly worried if they do not see exactly what it is the other person is speaking, for example, the guide might say, "You see a little stream bubbling beside the path you're walking along..." or something, and the person meditating might not see a little stream, but a great big river. I have never worried about that personally. If my subconscious wants me to see a river, rather than a little stream, there must be a reason for that, right? And that reason is likely to be an important point to the meditation. So me... I just always used to go with the flow.

But these words have touched me... and they are words I want to explore in a kind of meditation of my own – seeing where they take me and what images come to mind. While I read the authors interpretation of them, I hope I won't be swayed by them when it comes to what my subconscious will do with them. I can't decide whether to try and read the words out aloud onto the computer and play the sound file as I meditate of just read the words once I have reached a quiet state of mind. That will have to be something to decide for the time I intend to do it, but for now I want to fit it in among my other things.

The thing that hit me the most as I read just now was the phrase, "...always twisting for the light..." It was almost like one of those methods of prediction or the essence of 'Freudian slips' or something. Bibliomance I think the first is called, where you open a book and the first thing you see is supposed to mean something. Perhaps this is how I'm feeling right now – a little like that... like I'm in the dark and trying to grow toward the light. It would fit, I suppose. But the season of light is coming. We're coming to the shortest day of the year, after which time the days will start to get lighter, and our hearts and minds, supposedly will follow suit. Time perhaps also to start thinking about my wishes for the turning of the year.
cedar_grove: (In dreams)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves,
and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.

--Agnes Repplier

Then you and I will still be left with ourselves and the world and the treasure at our feet.

I have started reading one of my new books. I quickly read the introduction when I first downloaded them and right then and there I got excited. Here was something that was going to help me reach within, reach to the bottom of my lake and find the gold that's always been within me. Stop running.

So I started reading, and started with the introduction again, a closer and better reading this time, and I didn't get very far before I got to the first part that made me stop and think; the first part that I will meditate on. I'm not going to comment yet on the contents of that – that's for a different post than these – but I will comment on just how comforting, how happy – how much more like myself the whole subject made me feel. No, not an overnight fix, but yes, certainly like meeting an old friend and embracing for the first time in years. It's like that friend – me – has been standing in the shadows on the edges of my awareness since I started meditating for the short while each day that I do, and since I started reconnecting with this part of myself and has now been invited wholeheartedly to step forward into the light for that embrace.

I can't express how profoundly happy and comforted and special that all makes me feel; that all is for me... and while happiness cannot be found anywhere but in one's own self, it might be facilitated, and it has been here, by the gifts of others. In this case that gift was an actual physical gift that was given. Mir gave me these two books for my birthday, and it means so much to me that she did this for me – a long time ago, she said, she arranged it all – and they are both wonderful. The physical gifts are greatly magnified by all of that, by the thought and the consideration and the wondering that she put in to choosing these two books. I can't tell you how much I squea'd when I saw them, but it was a lot... and now I've started working with them, and they have given me the gift of light into which I can step, I'm squeaing even more.

Thank you, my love.
cedar_grove: (Resting Safe)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Inside gravity,
the same things happen,
just slower.

As humans, we take turns letting go and being hit. Love softens this process, and peace slows it down, until in moments that are blessed, we seem to play catch with what we need.

So I lost the plot this morning. My internet stick wouldn't work, and it wasn't so much that it meant that I couldn't see the show with Mir – it was more the fact that I couldn't get online to talk with Mir and share some more time that upset me the most.

No amount of restarting the computer and reconfiguring the connection could get the thing to work. The computer reported from all diagnostics that it was working properly, and yet the program returned, "Connection not possible," every time I tried. Turns out the computer was right. It was a network error. Did I get an apology? Did I heck... do I have internet that works. Yes – thank goodness, right now I do. I'm sure there will probably be other times when there are network errors, but I hope those are few and far between, because I got very upset and frustrated this morning... and also ended up worrying and scaring Mir, which is the last thing I want to do.

On the blessing side, my children were sweet. After the drama lesson we got back to class and they came to say, "We want to tell you something." And then they all sang Happy Birthday to me, first in English, then in Arabic... with many hugs afterwards. It was uplifting.

Even bigger blessings, I can now start to read and to work with one of the fabulous books Mir gave me for my birthday – and thereby hangs a tale to tell, with a support chat to Amazon so that I could actually get the books to my kindle that is registered in the US even though I'm in Egypt, and it wasn't going to let me download them. The support person was very helpful, and put them into my digital list for me, and then my kindle application downloaded them with no trouble. And for that I'm both glad and very excited, because I believe they are going to be fabulous to work with. One of them I'm saving for the new year, as it's a day by day thing – so while Mir works with Aslan, I will be working with the Goddess. But the other one I'd saving for a year of me – starting today. I decided I will read a little until I come across something I wish to comment on, and then I will think, meditate, and comment upon that particular idea, thought or section of the book. An exciting prospect... I can't thank Mir enough... as always she has given me just what I need to support and protect me – my inner as well as my outer self. I couldn't wish for a better husband, and in that is a blessing that is immeasurable and priceless.
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

When was the last time you listened to the
stories of others?

--Question put to the sick by a Native American Medicine Man

It seems the ancient Medicine Men understood that listening to another's story somehow gives us the strength of example to carry on, as well as showing us aspects of ourselves we can't easily see

Saturday 10th
Today, as many days, I spent some time watching the rats playing and taking care of one another through Skype. Mir and I were watching something on TV, but there were many times when she would move the camera to show the girls taking care of Lindsay, one of the other rats who is very sick and sadly probably not long for the world.

At some point whilst watching, and since then, in thinking about it, I started thinking about all the times the rats 'make happy sounds' at each other, to comfort each other or in times of stress, and I can't help but wonder just what it is that they're also saying to each other. What stories are they telling?

We've often joked, Mir and I, about the 'rattie conversations' that must take place in the rats room when we humans are not listening – and we're pretty sure that some do, because the rats seem to learn things from each other, sometimes without demonstration. I have no doubt they communicate. Yes, we anthropomorphise them, and 'pretend' what they might be saying, but in truth, I feel certain they must be telling each other stories of what is – what has been.

I read about recent studies where scientists have proven that rats are compassionate creatures. This is not news to me, or I'm sure to any rat lover, or rat parent. You only have to spend a short amount of time with any community of rats to see, demonstrated very clearly, that they care for one another. We've had some fantastic families where individuals have gone above and beyond the call of duty in looking after one another. Our rat Halling was an example of such a person – he was our 'nurse' rat... who looked after the sick and took care of everyone even when they were well – compassion was his middle name.

Perhaps we, as humans, should be more like rats... perhaps then the world would be a better place.

A Tool?

Dec. 11th, 2011 09:16 pm
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Love courses through everything.
--Fakhruddin Iraqi

The work of love is to shape the stuff of relationship into a tool that fits our hands. With each hardship faced, with each illusion confronted, with each trespass looked at and owned, another piece of the chunk is whittled and love begins to become a sacred tool.

Friday 9th
Is love really a tool, sacred or otherwise, or should it be thought of more like a state of being – a way of life. That was my first thought when I read this entry today. For me love is a way of life – one in which you engage fully and consciously with each individual you meet, but more so with those whose hearts share yours in deeper relationships. That's an admission really of something that I've been failing to live into – and it's only through that failure that I've ever started to have problems.

Love requires our honesty, not just with others, but with ourselves – perhaps more importantly with ourselves; and a willingness to be open, and that's an absolute, not something you can do one day and not another. Those two things together, and having an open heart, and a willingness to share even when we do not have enough – that, to me is at the heart of love.

I'm trying hard to live up to my own expectations and live into what I believe should be. I don't always manage it. I need to remember to be patient with myself, because when I'm not I only end up getting frustrated and therefore block myself from all the things I'm frustrated about because I didn't do in the first place. It becomes a vicious circle, and I just end up drifting further and further from being the loving person that I know I am.

I have a lot of time for introspection on the weekends, a lot of time to think, especially on Fridays – usually. This Friday, however, I had a trip to the big mall in Heliopolis called City Stars. I went there with one purpose – to find gifts for the holidays for my family. I was especially blessed to shop in stores where the owners were demonstrative of what I understand to be the Egyptian 'heart' – where they can't do enough for you, (even in a big mall like that, they exist). Yes, I could be cynical and say that it's because they want to secure the sale, and I suppose that makes good business sense, but I found a few stores where, should I need a light cotton shirt or whatever, it will be a place I visit again. I came away from the mall with the gifts bought (after many hours there), and feeling happy to have gotten these things for people.
cedar_grove: (Eirian in silver 1)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Take a pitcher full of water and set it down in
the water-now it has water inside and water
outside. We mustn't give it a name, lest silly
people start talking again about the body
and the soul.


We can't help it. We make too much of where we end and where others begin.

Yesterday, in the foyer at school, TPTB had national flags of the world hung from the ceiling. I noticed it in passing as I was leaving for the bus, and my brain frowned subconsciously when I looked up at the Union Flag. In the early hours of this morning I woke up in sudden realisation of why. They had hung the flag the wrong way up. It was upside down.

Of course wanting to make sure I got my facts right, I spent some time today checking on the internet that my suspicions were correct. They were, and not only was the flag in the foyer hung upside down, but the one they have flying from the flagpole outside the school is also being flown upside down.

I would never have pegged myself as someone so patriotic that such a thing would bother me, but actually, I got quite upset – and talked to Mark (my year 4 neighbour and 'kindred spirit'), and he also was upset. Together we marched downstairs to the Head of Primary to ask for the flags to be flown the right way, and were redirected to the Egyptian staff to make this happen.

There were many other staff members at the school who were also unaware of what was the correct way to fly the Union flag, (It's only called a Union Jack if it is flown from a mast of a ship, btw), and some of them were English. They were under the misapprehension that the flag is symmetrical – which it isn't. It is all to do with the width of the white diagonal stripe in the top left corner of the flag, the one above the red diagonal stripe. In the correct orientation, the wider white stripe should be uppermost. You can read about it all here, complete with images if you so desire.

In the meantime, I will wait and see what happens with the flags at school.
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

The heart is a strong shore
and the ocean has many moods.

-Center yourself and meditate, by turns, on your sense of the wall you look out from and on your sense of who you are that does the looking.
-Breathe steadily. As you inhale, close your fist and feel your wall.
-Breathe slowly. As you exhale, open your hand and feel who you are.
-After a time, practice bringing who you are out beyond your wall by inhaling and exhaling with your hand open.
-After a time, stand and move about the room outside of your wall. Note how this feels.

This is something that feels like it should be an ongoing meditation rather than a onetime thing, so that's what I'm going to do with it. Each day over the next week – starting with tomorrow, I will do this in addition to my Chakra meditations that I have been doing.

I think it will be a good thing for me to do; a good way to address the insecurities that have me building the walls around myself in the first place. It said in the text for today about how we build the walls around us unnecessarily – that we fear each other without reason – words to that effect. I don't know that I agree with that...not completely.

For me, I know, and I'm sure many others, I have built walls in order to protect myself from being hurt, by words mostly, sometimes from actual deeds, but not often. I'm oversensitive, take criticism to heart, and take many things personally that aren't necessarily meant in that way. To be fair to me I have always done this, it isn't just something that started happening when I lost sight of myself, I think the difference before was that I somehow had the ability to ground those things. Not saying I didn't get hurt by things, just that I accepted the hurt, gave it to Earth and moved on. Somewhere along the line I stopped being able to do that.

Sometimes I wonder if there isn't a part of me that saw this acceptance and grounding as some kind of passiveness – that I was fighting societal conditioning that that particular behaviour was a kind of weakness, or behaving like a victim. I don't believe that – in fact I think the opposite to that. I consider it a strength... but it's a strength that I lost, and so started erecting walls instead, realising only now that another function of a wall is that it reflects everything back Building walls causes conflicts, it doesn't alleviate them or avoid them.

We will see what the meditations will bring.


Dec. 7th, 2011 09:31 pm
cedar_grove: (Eirian with a smile)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

The best and most beautiful things in the
world cannot be seen or touched...but are
felt in the heart.

--Helen Keller

It involves painting thin layers of pigment, one at a time, on the porcelain, letting each dry and soak into the porcelain itself.

Tuesday 6th
This entry reminds me of doing artwork with children, whom, the younger they are, the more 'heavy handed' they are with paint and glue, and glitter and all kinds of other things. Well... maybe that's not true, maybe it's that they are more heavy handed because of their inexperience, their developing skill or something. I changed that because – thinking about myself and my own ability (or lack thereof) in artwork – I realised that I can often be as heavy handed as the children I have taught in the past, (and now). I'm unsubtle with the materials I try to use, not to mention I can't really draw to save my life... but I've always wanted to be able to. I can see the picture in my head, but getting it from my head onto the expressive medium is another matter entirely.

These days I'm unsubtle in life too... going about things like a bull in a china shop...or like one of those little deer that stray into someone's shop or house and then can't get out, and that made me wonder if perhaps as part of my meditation, if I shouldn't start trying to do some drawing of some kind... see what come out.

I've also thought, more than on just this occasion, of asking Mir to help me to learn to draw things – not exactly giving me art lessons, but... kinda art lessons yeah. I've already asked her to help me with photography, and maybe we'll get around to taking photography lessons together some time soon, though she is already very good at photography – I really wish I had her eye.  You should see her picture of one of our rats that was featured on the Big Weather section of the morning news programme on ABC. You can find it here
cedar_grove: (Eirian in silver 1)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Pursue the obstacle.
It will set you free.

When I came upon the mountain I was in a hurry.

Monday 5th
I struggled and I struggled with this one, because I wanted to be honest, but I really couldn't connect with the entry, and then it hit me. I am my own obstacle... and mostly because of my own sense of hurry. I'm always in a rush as if I worry that I haven't got time to get everything out, to get everything said that needs to be said... to do what needs to be done, so in the end what happens is everything comes out confused, and unclear, and the things I do are only half done, or done only enough as to be done – not done well. I want to get everything said, everything told, everything done, and in my haste I do none of those things.

I need to take a breath.

I would rather I took time to tell of things, so that what I'm saying makes better sense – so that /all/ the information is there, not just parts. I would rather that happened than continuing to make assumptions that people know what I'm talking about when they're missing half of the information.

And making sure that what I do gets done properly... well that's important. We used to jokingly call my dad 'Half A Job Bob' because he would start something, and then never finish it. I don’t like to think that I am or could become like that. I want to make sure that the things I do are done properly – completely.

So yes... I need to take a breath – I need to stand on that mountain slope and take in a lung full of the clear and clearing air, and use it to empower better communication – completion of those things I have begun.
cedar_grove: (Work posts)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what
makes you come alive, and go do it. Because
what the world needs is people who have
come alive.

--Howard Thurman

This is why finding what we love, through it may take years, is building a life of passion. For what makes you come alive can keep you alive, whether you are paid well for it or not

We've had a new auditorium built at school, and it's due to open next week with a special concert. Some part of the concert is a CES Has Talent kind of competition... and each class in the KS2 department has to send one act forward for judging, which meant today we had to have the class heat to choose the act that we're sending forward from our class. Of course the girls all wanted to do singing kind of things to mildly dodgy pop songs (one lyric in particular sprang to mind that I thought I couldn't see going over well in a Muslim country – something about going 'all the way' tonight), but what can you do – quash the girls' passion and creativity for performing or let the next set of judges filter the material. I mean, in the spring we are performing Grease (albeit an 'edited' version), so let the kids be kids for a while, hmm?

It was actually good to see so many of the children willing to put themselves forward for this – and not just the girls, there were boys interested and involved too....and after a week of assessments and tests ready for their school reports, it was just the kind of thing the kids needed in order to blow off some steam.
cedar_grove: (Dawning)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

At heart, hospitality is a helping across a

--Ivan Illich

This is the hospitality of relationship: for family to help us manifest who we are in the world, for friends to bring us to thresholds of realness, for loved ones to encourage us to cross barriers of our own making into moments of full aliveness.

Saturday 3rd
I woke this morning to the sound of my neighbours drilling or something... to the sounds of children playing outside... to the sound of life happening. Tired, but knowing that I had an easy day ahead of me, I felt a certain kind of peace.

I was able to spend the morning on Skype with Mir, even though she was sleeping – watching over her, (not that she needed watching over, but...) and watching the rats on the couch, when I could see them all by the flickering light of the TV. Slowly though, the sun started to rise, and the shadows and darkness blanketing the view coming from the webcam lightened and I was soon able to see clearly – like I had come into a moment of full aliveness... to cross from darkness into light. I felt comforted and honoured to have been trusted to share that – to watch the light come up on my sleeping love. There was something special in that, both in being there with Mir to share that time with her, and also in watching the light creeping back into the world – crossing the threshold from night into day. How often we see it the other way around, but rarely this way – and it just... moved me today.

After Mir woke up to call the vet about Lindsay's teeth, she went back to sleep, as she had been up a long time with the rats, and I spent the time watching Mythbusters and reading, because I wanted her to be rested, and then we spent a wonderful day together, talking and typing... and looking forward to being together over the holiday.

Later in the day I saw Sarah when she popped in just in case I needed someone that could speak Arabic when the landlord came for the rent. I also needed someone to change the strip lights bulbs in the living room, one was burned out the other was flickering worse than a candle in a breeze. I worried when I saw her. She looks so pale since the other day. I know her husband turned up unexpectedly. I also know that she's not been answering her phone the way she normally would. I guess I'll find if she's okay with everything when we see each other at work tomorrow.
cedar_grove: (cedar tree)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Yours is to live it, not to reveal it.
--Helen Luke

This lesson applies to us all. If we devote ourselves to the life at hand, the rest will follow. For life, it seems, reveals itself through those willing to live. Anything else, no matter how beautiful, is just advertising.

Friday 2nd
I woke up this morning not feeling so good – I'd had a little bit of a poor tummy when I went to bed, so had taken some pepto and gone to sleep, but was still feeling a little delicate come morning – delicate in spirit too, I think... so I decided that what I needed was some fresh air.

By this time it was lunch time, and as I stepped out of my apartment, the Call to Prayer was sounding from the many mosques in the area where I live, the sounds overlapping each other in some kind of great spiritual echo. It sounds like it should have been noisy and intrusive, but it was actually a very peaceful and settling experience; peaceful because everywhere was so quiet, as all of my 'neighbours' had gone to their prayer, entered into a spiritual state.

I just walked in the sunshine, my own spiritual experience, contemplating, entering into the day that was upon me. I had been right, it was just what I needed.

Eventually my steps brought me to the local mall, (one of two in Rehab City). I needed to find a gift for the Christmas party I went to, I also needed to get one or two dishtowels for my apartment so I can actually dry my dishes. I was walking around the store – still very quiet, because people were still at, or just coming out of prayer, and looking at the signs saying the prices of things. I should mention this is a 'discount' store...so things are very reasonable there. In the store, the 'discount' prices are written out in Arabic only – you have to look at the little sticky price label on the individual items to see the numerals that most of us are used to. So I looked at one of the signs, contemplating it for a long time while I tried to read the numbers. One is easy, it's just a line, just like a one, the next digit looked like a backward 7, which I know is the numeral for 2, because it's my apartment number, and the last digit is a little diamond shape, like a period written with an italic pen.. a 0... so I figured that what I was looking at something that cost 120LE. So I looked at the sticky label to see if I was right, and I was. It was just a small triumph – a small moment in 'living in the now' but I felt accomplished – It made me feel a little bit more secure.

My number recognition skills were further tested later as I was trying to find the apartment where the party was being held, in block 95, building 13. The nine was easy, because it's the same, and I know the 5, (which looks like a 0), because it's the bus number that comes by my apartment that goes to the bus station, so that was easy, but by the time I'd found the apartment, thought of number recognition went out of my head, I was tired, moving into a different moment – the moment of meeting colleagues (including my two immediate supervisors, the head and deputy head of primary, who where hosting the party) in a social setting. It went much better than I expected. I hadn't been at all sure about going, but very much enjoyed myself while I was there. The 'Secret Santa' was done in a way I'd never experienced before – rather like pass the parcel, when the music stopped the person with the parcel got that gift. It was quite hilarious really. So now I have a new mug and saucer, with camels on, a very nice gift actually, because I need crockery in my apartment!

The most surreal part of the evening, though, had to be when Mark and I were talking about the fact that New Zealand, where he comes from, was cool because it had Lord of the Rings, only to have him reveal that he has been skiing down Mount Doom.
cedar_grove: (In dreams)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Dreams are candles
to help us through the dark.
Once used, they have to melt.

Living up to a dream is rarely as important as entering it for all it has to teach.

Thursday 1st
When I was younger I wanted to be an actress. I did a lot of things as an amateur, and eventually took A-level theatre studies, and even auditioned for several drama schools, but ultimately it didn't happen. It taught me that the profession is a lot harder than most people think it is, and one has to really persevere to get anywhere.

Thinking about it now though, I wonder how much of that was an expression of my desire for creativity, or more accurately for an expression of the creativity that exists inside me, because now of course, there is the writing that I do... that has kind of taken over as the 'dream' I aim for.

I tried to do NaNo this year, but real life circumstances were not conducive to finishing the challenge, but that doesn't mean the dream of getting Use'ara finished and published is gone, just... changed. Creativity can't be forced, and if I had kept going regardless of everything else, I think the novel would have suffered. It is better that I stopped until such time as I can give it the attention it deserves. The nature of the dream still exists, it has just changed... become more patient. So it won't be ready for Christmas, as was my original dream (way back before NaNo...), but eventually it will be ready – and all the better for it's 'new shape.'
cedar_grove: (Default)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

What we hold dear
can heal the world.

I have since, when the time proved right, given away other precious things I have lived with-crystals and books and personal treasures I have long enshrined. For only in use do they again become healing. It is the giving of what is dear that helps us cross the river.

Wednesday 30th
Mir has her collection of special stones; stones that she picks up when she goes somewhere special, somewhere new... and of course she has her rock boy. Reading today's entry I was thinking about what 'personal treasures' I might have, might have collected – physical objects, I mean.

Yes I have my crystals, the ones I got when we went to downtown Asheville as well as the ones I got when we drove up to Laurel the last time we went. I also have my chakra stones, that I brought with me so that I can start to use them in my meditations, but most of my precious objects are memories – memories and words.

I have given some thought, several times, to creating some kind of medicine bag. I had one, at some point, something I made, sewed out of sued that i could keep my stones and my journal and other things inside... but one by one the objects lost their meaning, and the bag I made remains folded up and stored away. Perhaps this is an example of hanging on to things so long that they become useless to us and healing to no one. In exploring concepts and ideas, these are my thoughts. I'd like to try and build up my collection again, so I'm in a position to give things away for the healing and for love of others. Right now all I can give is words and memories, and often that is not enough for other people to hold on to.

In other news, Mir went to see Breaking Dawn with Kami today. It will be interesting to see what it's like, to see how much Chris is in it... I'd like to go and see it with her, so hopefully it won't be so bad that she'll hate to go and see it again.


cedar_grove: (Default)

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