Reflections

This picture is of the Winter Solstice sunrise over the Humber estuary at Cleethorpes. As I was standing there, watching the beauty of a new dawn and the rebirth of the light, I pondered on how much my life has changed in a single turn or the wheel. 

At the start of the year I was completely dependant on other people if I wanted to go anywhere. I had been suffering from Menier’s disease for 6 years and was not allowed to drive in all that time. Before this I had always been very independent and able to go anywhere alone, but menier’s put a stop to that.

As the year started though I had been feeling much better, had been for a couple of months. I was still getting slight dizziness and constant tinnitus but no longer experienced the disabling vertigo of the past 6 years.

In March, I decided to apply to the DVLA to get my licence back, and by April I was in possession of a brand new photocard licence and a little car! I had regained my freedom! The charge was immediate and amazing! I was able to go anywhere!

My personal life was so much easier, but so too was my work life. I have to attend a lot of meetings, many of them away from my usual work place and this was now so much easier! 

Having regained my freedom though and felt slightly better, I began to notice other health issues, and on getting these checked out, in August I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. After 6 years of I’ll health, then recovering this diagnosis was devastating! I could see a future of worsening health inevitably stretching out in front of me and it looked like a bleak prospect.

Rather than sitting back and wallowing in my misery (which I honestly felt like doing) I began to research. I now feel that the diagnosis was the best thing that could have happened! To be honest, I had probably been diabetic for some time without knowing. Once I did know though, and had researched all about it, I set about changing my lifestyle.

I have now lost just over 3 stone (and am still going) and my doctor is delighted as my diet changes have resulted in my blood sugar returning to normal and he now classes me as in remission! 

I feel, and look, better than I have in years! So no matter how bleak the future is, there is always hope and what I have learned is to take charge of my health instead of letting it take charge of me!

So roll on 2017, I’m ready for you! And this time next year, I could be unrecognisable!

Out and hungry

I was out for most of the day yesterday. I was attending a meeting of the Pagan Federation Disabilities Team, as I have recently become the Deputy District Disabilities Liaison (yeah, I know, long title!) The meeting was great, very productive, and also very inspiring! The only part of the day that was not (well, other than the train journey!) was when I went off for lunch.

We all went out separate ways for lunch, just finding somewhere to grab whatever we fancied, or so I thought!

I was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and while I know many people live with this condition, and manage it in a variety of ways, I chose, from the moment of being told I had it, to reverse it. Is that even possible? To reverse type 2 diabetes? Something that has always been thought of as a lifelong, and deteriorating condition? I believe it is, and what is more, I have done it!

So what’s the problem? Well …. although I have reversed it, getting my blood sugar levels down to normal from diabetic range, to maintain that, I need to keep up with the changes I have put in place.

So what are the changes? Losing weight is one of them, and I have so far lost 43lb, or just over 3 stone, but that is not the whole of the story. Diabetes is a condition where the glucose and insulin levels in the body don’t work together properly because the pancreas and liver are not doing their job as well as they should (in simple layman’s terms, which is all I understand!) When we feed our bodies carbohydrates, our bodies quickly convert that into glucose, raising the blood sugar level, and if we don’t have enough insulin or the ability to use it effectively, those levels stay high, which is damaging in so many ways. So the trick is, to really reduce the consumption of those carbohydrates. Than means no bread, pasta, rice, potatoes (or any starchy veg) nothing with flour in or grains or sugar  and no fruit other than berries.

The meeting I was at was in Doncaster, a very large town, with lots of shops and food outlets. There we sandwiches, chips, salads with pasta in, crisps, chocolate, cakes, any number of yummy treats, but I could not find a single place where I could just grab something that was easy to eat on the hoof that did not contain any of these high carb foods, and it just made me think, as diabetes is covered by the Disabilities Discrimination Act, shouldn’t someone at least be making an effort, as this diet is now a well recognised way of reversing, controlling and even preventing type 2 Diabetes!

I ended up having a sugar free Latte!

Slowing down

As the winter prepares to draw her cloak around us, as the earth prepares for the long sleep, we too are doing the same. We are literally drawing our cloaks around us, for warmth, as the temperatures drop and the days grow ever shorter. We  are also, most of us, drawing our figurative cloaks around us as our activities shrink to fit the shorter days, more of our time is spent indoors, often with friends and family around us. our activities tend to be things that happen in our own homes and our social activity lessens.

We are like any other part of nature, we need a period of rest and recuperation. Often though, many of us feel guilty that we are doing less, but we should not. Does the tree feel guilty for letting go of its leaves? Does the flower feel guilty for returning underground? Does the hedgehog feel guilty for sleeping the winter away? Of course not. we know these are necessary to ensure next year’s growth.

We need to view our own rest period in the same way. as nature sleeps to prepare for next year, we can also use the time to make plans, to brighten up these dull days. plan next year’s holiday, plan your garden, plan activities and outings for warmer days, plan anything!

I also use this time to craft and create and read, comforting shawls and blankets, warm wooly jumps, books that nourish the mind and spirit.

There are so many ways to keep occupied during the winter terms months, but of course there is always rest. If rest is what you want or need, and you are able to, then just be kind to yourself and take that rest. 

Do not feel guilty about taking care of your own needs, so often we seem to put them behind everyone else’s. Don’t, let’s exercise a bit of self care, and do our best to replenish ourselves ready for the Spring. Ready for another season of growth.

Timeslip

Today I paid a visit to the place where my life as a Druid began.

I had been a solitary pagan for a few years, been to a number of witchy/wiccan type group rituals. I had read so many books, lots of them about Druidry, which had sparked my interest.

My first Druid ritual though was at Barbrook stone circle, high up on the moors above Baslow in Derbyshire. It is beautiful and stark and windswept. And for me it was like coming home. There was a lovely group of people there, members of SONG (Spirit of the North Gatherings), led by the wonderful Maddy Johnson. We were made to feel so welcome and the ritual was powerful and moving. I had found my spiritual path and my home circle. 

That was many years ago now, and sadly SONG is no more, but that circle is still very special to me, and walking into it takes me back to the years we celebrated each sabbat there with them, and back even further to connect with those who built it.

Today, the circle felt sad. It seems from the overgrown paths and long grass in the circle as if it is no longer used regularly, and I think it misses it. Unfortunately it’s a bit far for our local group to use, but I hope someone does start to use it regularly. These places need that energy input. It brings them to life.

Up over the Moor at the back of Barbrook 1 is a very different circle, Barbrook 2. It looks completely different being ‘walled’. Ìt feels very womb like and welcoming and today felt a much happier place than Barbrook 1, but both are very special places. If you get a chance, I would recommend a visit!

Summer break

On Tuesday I worked my last day of Summer term and I will not go back until September 5th, nearly 7 weeks of freedom! 


So far the weather has been scorching, unbearably so at times. Wednesday morning saw me at the hospital for tests. Yesterday though, my youngest daughter was here for the day, so me and my two youngest children, 18 and 22, went into Lincoln for a wander about. We had a lovely walk along the river, sat by Bradford Pool watching the swans and drank coffee on the pavement outside a shop. 


We had a lovely lunch at a local farm shop and restaurant and then a walk in the park, before it was time to catch her train home.

To anyone else, this is perhaps not much of a day, but time with family is so precious, we need to enjoy it while we can.

Starting tomorrow I am also looking forward to some quality time with my husband, who has a week of work.

I enjoy this summer break, whatever the weather, and am so looking forward to being able to relax and recuperate. 

Happy summer everyone.

The Druids’ Isle

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It is true for most of us that a holiday is good for mind and body alike, providing rest and relaxation as well as a much needed change of scenery. If that holiday also feeds the spirit, it can be a life enhancing and even life changing experience. Such I believe has been my trip to Anglesey.

I have been a Druid for almost 20 years, a member of OBOD for 10 and a Druid graduate for 6, and as such I am familiar with many of the celtic tales.
As a child my family often took me to North Wales on holiday and I in my own turn have taken my children. This being the case, it is perhaps surprising that I have never before really explored Anglesey. I have been over a couple of times but only very briefly and with very little idea of what to look for there.

So on Saturday, just over a week ago, as we crossed the Menai Bridge, I was very surprised at the rush of emotions I felt. I was almost brought to tears, but couldn’t have told you why. It was like a feeling of coming home, a feeling of belonging, as if the island extended its arms to embrace me.

Everywhere I looked, every site we visited, the old tales came to life, the spirits of the ancestors still dwell there, the gods are real and in evidence everywhere you look.

The ruins of old roundhouses and farm complexes seemed filled with noise and bustle, the laughter of children, even though there was no one to see but us. The castles rang to the clash of swords, the burial mounds were heavy with sorrow and yet strangely alive and welcoming.

On meeting and talking to the head of the Anglesey Druid order it made me realise I need to go back next year to do their course, but I certainly hope to return before then, as often as possible!

To act or not to act (that is the question)

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You could be forgiven for thinking I am considering amateur dramatics from the title of this piece. Thankfully for theatre lovers, this is not the case. I have just signed up for ‘a course in miracles’ as I have made a pledge to myself to try and develop a meditation habit.

As part of the sign up process I had to do a quiz to find out what negative thinking from my childhood may be holding me back. My result came out as ‘inaction’. On reading this my first thought was ‘outrageous!’ I take on more things than many people I know! I never have time to get bored, I always have something to do.

When I really started to think about it though, I realised that this is actually the problem though. I take on too much, I start too many things and finish too few. So actually I don’t think my problem is inaction, I think it is more a case of I’m complete action.

As such I need to learn to prioritise, to work on one thing at a time, and to finish it! Household chores need to be broken down into separate tasks. Often I look and see the huge amount of cleaning tasks and repair jobs to be done (house and garden are both a horrendous mess at the minute) and feel so overwhelmed that I can’t face doing any of it. If I broke it down into small tasks it would be more manageable.

The same is true of craft projects. I currently have projects in knitting, spinning, felting, quilting, sewing and weaving all on the go. I need to just pick one and finish it!

I  am determined to look at the way I work so that I can actually achieve something rather than just be constantly busy but actually getting nowhere!