Saturday, 23 April 2011

Critter Encounter

I was sitting in my back yard this afternoon, reading a book and relaxing, when under the fence ambled a white ferret.  Yep.  A ferret.  It had a good look around and then embarked on examining me.  I have to confess all I could think about was a) where had it escaped from, and b) was it going to run up my trouser leg?  (I know, completely cliched.).  It turned out to belong to the gamekeeper next door, though how it had escaped from its pen I didn't manage to establish.  Never mind, the point is, it was was an unexpected delight.  Ferrets are such cheerful creatures.  It certainly cheered my day up.  Maybe I should get a couple and take them for walks on a lead....

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Two things

  1. Had to make a really tough decision today in support of my wellbeing.  It's hard to let people down because you are really not well enough, especially when it's family.  But I know it's the right thing to do.  I have to listen to my body.
  2. On the other hand, as if in compensation, today I got to hold a real life duckling in my hands, and stroke it.  No, really.  It was probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.  Utterly perfect.  Many thanks to George for the opportunity (though I suspect he shouldn't have done it.)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Thank You

I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has sent kind words and support to me over the last few days.  I have really appreciated all your kindness.  I especially want to say a public thank you to my wonderful husband who has looked after me so patiently, and brought me these roses yesterday, knowing how much they would cheer me up.  And there is nothing a girl loves more than being bought flowers! Aren't they lovely?

Came back from the doctor's this morning with a fist full of new pills which hopefully will solve the problems for the moment.  For the first time in days I am beginning to feel a little more human, and much more comfortable.

So thank you everyone, I am really, really grateful to have such wonderful friends.

luv Bex*

Sunday, 17 April 2011

The Problem with Mindfulness...

As regular readers will know, I've been following the mindfulness meditation programme laid out in Jon Kabat-Zinn's book, Full Catastrophe Living.  Its quite hard core (45 mins of Vipassana or yoga daily, plus 20-45 mins sitting meditation daily, increasing as you go along). While I haven't always managed to fit it all in, its been very helpful in lots of ways.

But I've come up against a wall. Mindfulness doesn't seem to help me with the pain I'm in.  Why try to be in the present moment, when the present moment is a horrible place to be?  (Yes, I know all about that acceptance stuff, that's all very well if it doesn't hurt.)  Right now I am feeling terrible, and it seems like my imagination is the only thing thing that is relieving the misery.

On the other hand, its a thick book, and I haven't got to the chapter on pain yet, so maybe I'm missing an important piece of the jigsaw! ( I'm pretty sure the Buddha must have thought of an answer for this anyway.)

Friday, 8 April 2011

This week's lesson...

Ideas in unexpected places - John Lennon or Jesus?
Here are four things I have learnt this week, in no particular order:

Anticipation is a big issue for me.  I worry about what I may or may not feel like after I do something, to the point where I end up not doing things that would probably do me good.  This is common with ME patients, and may even be part of the 'illness thinking' mindset that doctors speak of in relation to sufferers of chronic illness.  Awareness is the first step to changing, and the mindfulness practise I am doing at the moment is really helping with that.  I have a difficult weekend coming up, and I am aware that my anticipation machine has kicked in, so I am being mindful and its helping so much. 

Incubation is good.   I was reading something the other day on having an ideas incubator.  When you come up with lots of really good ideas, tuck them away and let them mature.  I usually announce fabby new ideas on this blog and then get bored with them and move on.  Instead, I am going to put them in my incubator and let them mature.   And focus on my main project at the moment, which is 'The Butler Did It...' 

Running away is important.  A friend came over on Thursday, when I was feeling really stressed, and we ran away for the day to the seaside.  We ate fish and chips, got smeary with ketchup, walked on the beach, then huddled behind the beach hut kiosk out of the wind, to keep the sand out of our ice creams.  When I put the key in the front door at the end of the day, I realised I felt so refreshed and renewed.  A day not thinking about my current worries had enabled me to get some perspective.  I now feel much more up to coping with what life is throwing right now.  That said, after my father died, my mother and I used to run away for day trips together when things got too  much for us.  She would ring the school and tell them I was sick, and then we would scoot off somewhere to visit a castle or walk on the downs.  It was one of the best gifts she could have shared with me at such a tough time for both of us, and its a habit I have retained.  But I had forgotten how refreshing it can be until yesterday. 

Life is too short to spend clicking.  My name is Rebecca and I am a blog addict.  I spend way too much time on the internet, especially when I am researching an idea.  I mean, I am losing hours, whole chunks of days, here people!  Time to cut down.  This weekend I am going cold turkey.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Whats going on

Tulips snapped at Norfolk Lavender last year
The latest news from the Barrow Burrow in bullet point form because I feel too crap to write at length but want to post:
  • Became a Great Auntie yesterday - an 8lb boy born to Lucy, my brother's daughter, and Ben, her partner.
  • I didn't get shortlisted for the Pratchett Prize last week.  But I'm cool with that.  I'll write some more about why soon.
  • Very bad weekend energy-wise, but I'm cool with that too.
  • Pat is grumpy because Spurs just lost.
  • Pat is also grumpy because he is trying to lose a stone in four weeks before the cricket season starts.
  • Therefore we are on a low carb diet.  My tummy is much happier as a result.
  • Ducklings on the pond out back, this year's first.
  • Frogs in the pond out back, doing lots of 'cuddling'.
  • Not so consistent with the mindfulness meditation so far, but what I am doing managing to do is really helping.
  • Have declared April a Self Care Month.
  • Am saving for a new laptop, and feeling like I am committing an act of extreme betrayal, because I love this one so much, knackered tho it is.
  • My name is Rebecca and I am a chocolate addict.
  • The garden is starting to look green again, and Pat mowed the lawn, despite the duck glowering at us from her nest under the hedge.
  • My counsellor/guru thinks I should write erotic fiction.
  • Toying with starting a new blog about my fixation with notebooks, journals, planners, filofaxes and  all kinds of stationary.  Trying to think of a funky name (leave your ideas in the comments section below!)
Happy April everybody!  Spring is here!

Friday, 1 April 2011

I tried, I really did....

D H Lawrence, famous son of Nottingham
Last night I watched the second episode of the BBC's new adaptation of  D.H Lawrence's 'Women in Love'.  Then I went to bed and lay there, feeling more and more angry and not really being able to understand why.

The thing is, I have some history with this.  I was born in Nottinghamshire.  Most of my family comes from there, and I still have some relatives living in Nottingham.  My parents romance was played out against the background of the Lace Market and the Trent.  My father went to the same school as Lawrence.  Lawrence also lived in Zennor, in Cornwall, during the First World War, and its a place I love. (If you want to know more about that, read the wonderful 'Zennor in Darkness' by Helen Dunmore, in which he appears.)   And Lawrence was one of the great Modernist writers of the 20th century, along with Joyce and Woolf.  Woolf is one of my great heroines, of course.  I 'did' the Modernists for my degree, read Lady Chatterley and various short stories, as well as Lawrence's essays on American Literature, which was necessary for my American Studies degree component.  So I have every reason to feel obliged to like D H Lawrence.

But the thing is, I don't.

Oh, I've tried and tried.  I admire his 'project' of promoting being in closer touch with our bodies, and in our increasingly 'dis-embodied' society, I think its so much more important to get out of our heads and into our bodies.  Few people have suffered from this as much as I have. 

But the thing is, when Lawrence writes about sex, he has to do it in such a roundabout way because of the sensitivities of the time, and because of his philosophy, that its almost impossible to understand what he's on about.  And then he'll go off on a rant about class consciousness.  During last night's episode, I could hardly make out what anyone was arguing about, because the dialogue was so obtuse.  In the end, I just wanted to knock all their heads together.  There have been all kinds of accusations that Lawrence is actually a misogynist, and not the feminist he claimed to be. He does leave me feeling a bit squeamish about his portrayal of women.

AA Gill reviewed the first episode in the Sunday Times last week, and said that Lawrence's project is simply outdated.  We don't need it anymore.  I hate to agree with such a creature, but I think now he may be right.  The only part of that episode that seemed important and touching to me was the tender re-ignition of the parental Brangwens' marriage.  I think the recognition that love is not something confined to the beautiful young, but is crucial to the happiness of all ages, is the only lesson left to take away from the old horndog.