Happy Soul

On days when I’m happy all the way down into my boots, I find smiling faces all around me wherever I look. Even on the floor of the woods as I’m walking the dogs, looking down, a little cheery golden face was smiling back at me. 

And then on other days, when the mist drops and I feel alone, the world mirrors my feelings, shrouding everything in hazy silence. It’s worth knowing, and remembering that we will tend to find what we expect in the world, and that it will often be a good reflection of our inner state of mind. It’s worth being mindful of the way your feeling, so that you can understand better your experience of each day. 

Let’s hope we’re all having a happy day tomorrow after this wild storm blows through tonight. 

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Wave running

Running free, with the wind in their fur, and salty waves between their paws. The race is on….

Stretching deep into every muscle from nose to tail, each trying to run faster than the other. Splashing and pounding the sand, breathing deeply, these two are fully present in their bodies and in the elements around them. No thoughts distracting their focus, they are the embodiment of mindful motion.

Powering forwards Molly pulls even with her mum, the joy of wave running clearly written on her face.

The winner is clear!

Mindfulness needn’t be all stillness and silence, and just like the dogs we can run free and wild with the wind in our hair, mindfully inhabiting our bodies. Any movement can be practiced with attention, and a focus on the senses, and this is the heart of mindful living. Moving and breathing with awareness and passion, instead of sleep walking through our lives on autopilot. Walking, swimming, yoga, singing, surfing, cooking, painting and gardening are all perfect examples of active, movement based mindfulness, which can help to pull us out of our  thinking minds and back into our bodies and the sensory world around us.  And that sensory world is the gateway to less stressful living. Living from the heart and the body, instead of the worry filled mind.

See if you can find your version of wave running this week!

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Slipping into Shade

Among golden leaves

Puddles of late autumn light

Slip into cold shade

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All things Pass -We are Reborn with each Breath

Prayer of the Desperate
She had crawled here on her knees

Over the sharp broken bones of her life.

She had come to bargain with every god she had ever heard named.

Bruised clouds closed around the moon

Golden leaves shivered

And she traded away every drop of goodness from her existence.

Her heart torn open

Lay beating on the cold earth

Her breath ragged from tears

Pounded the night air,

As her soul poured out in desperate pleading,

That her son might live.                                          

                                                             Seonaid Green 2013

I wrote this 2 years ago, 4 years after the trauma, and it’s that time of year again when the memories come flooding back in. Something about the light, the colours, the scent and sounds creates a pattern which my brain can’t help but match with very difficult emotions and memories. At such times it’s as though I have been literally pulled back into the past, atleast that’s what my brain believes, and the emotions can feel suffocating and all encompassing. The world around me a bewildering mess.
These are times when mindfulness is especially helpful to me, allowing me to come back into the present, into the here and now, where all is well and nobodies life hangs on a thread. Trauma can and will pull us back into the darkness of chaos, but we don’t have to stay there believing the stories of our mind. Instead we can pull ourselves back into the present moment, and immerse ourselves in the new unfolding stories of now. The stories created by our bodily senses, woven fresh on each new breath, carrying us forwards into our life. Calm in the knowledge that the past has indeed passed. Who knows what lies ahead, but right now there’s a freshly brewed pot of coffee filling the kitchen with rich temping smells, and freshly baked bread to be savoured and eaten. This moment is a good one, so I think I’ll stay with it for now, and enjoy its pleasures.

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Ornate Protector

This highly ornate creature is a sanctuary knocker or hagoday, and he hangs on the door of Durham Cathedral. Offering the protection of sanctuary or asylum to anyone who grasps the bronze ring, he was a powerful force in the legal system of the past. Anyone who reached this ornate protector could claim 37 days of protection from persecutors, but was not allowed outside the bounds of the church during their stay. 

  The beautiful detail on the sanctuary knocker was cast in bronze in the 12 th century, and the frightening features of the beast were said to remind the fugitive of the awful fate which lay ahead. If they confessed to their crime they would be granted forgiveness by Gods priests, but would have to leave Britain forever via the nearest port within 37 days. Otherwise they could seek trial by giving themselves up to the local authorities. Perhaps fleeing from mob justice, they fled into the jaws of the beast, hoping to save their lives, but would be forever changed one way or another. 

Often described as a lion, I found the ornate creature more reminiscent of a wolf, and his eyes remind me of the 2000 year old bronze war carnyx found in Deskford, Scotland. Certainly he guards the gateway between life and death, and it’s easy to imagine the multitude of hands which have reached in desperation for the protection of this beast.

Despite being a replica ( the original is housed inside the cathedral now) it is still a very evocative piece. I can easily get absorbed in all the delicate detail, lost for a while in admiration for the artistry of our ancestors. 

Posted in ancient history, Celtic, spiritual | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Autumn Treats

Walking out into the woods I found Autumn had cast her golden spell across the land. Everything green was now dipped in shimmering coppers and bronze, and the long low shadows drew lines across the earth. The light was magical and edged with soft rising mist. The glory of change and the ever turning earth was lit with wild abandon all around.

Nothing lasts forever, not even this years long lingering summer, and change sweeps in fresh new beauty and unimagined colours. Do you delight in the turning seasons and their unique colours, or do you like many see Autumn purely as a dreaded sign of the coming winter? See if you can let go of your imagined tales of winter woe, and glory instead in the treat of autumns wildly beautiful palette in the here and now. Don’t get swept up in the dread of leaf clearing, instead plough into those piles of wonderful crisp leaves and kick around. Let your inner child guide you into the joy of Autumn and the glory of change, and leave the adult worries behind for a little while. 

Autumn is a delicious treat to be savoured if you can. A glorious riot of colour and wild change. A time of release and transition, and a time of boots and gloves and coats, and candles in the evening. A move away from the bright warm light of summer into something quieter and more peaceful. Can you enjoy the change?

Posted in change, elemental, mindfulness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Winters crows

Storm inspired watercolour….winter is coming

Posted in art, elemental, mythology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments