Sea swimming

Today I choose

Rock shoes, bikini and towel

Down jacket ready to shield me from the wind

Pack a bag, set my mind to it

Choose to awaken the senses

Watch the waves in their sets of three

Feel the stones tumbling in the breakers

Push out beyond

A perfect few minutes in the wild

Peace beyond the crashing shoreline

Rise up on a wave

Scramble back to shore

Choose to feel alive again

Advertisements

Retail therapy

Eldest and I had a wonderful day together today.  It’s quite rare that we get some ‘grown up’ girl time so we made the most of the sunshine and the city.  We browsed John Lewis trying out fragrances, admired bags in Topshop, New Look, Cath Kidston and H&M and then Eldest had a splurge at Primark.  At Lush we had a chance to make our own bath bomb with cocoa butter, vanilla and ylang-ylang.  Fresh, zingy pickled ginger and cucumber maki rolls at Yo! Sushi finished off a day of really treating ourselves.

As we headed around the city, we wrote phrases from the walls and windows of shops and lyrics from songs we heard to help us write ‘found poems’ when we got home.  Here are our two found poems celebrating a sunny mother & daughter day.

Greetings from the land of summer!

Open up this box to find a collection of treats

Macaroon notebook

A coffee crafted just for you

Strawberry and cranberry smoothie

Fig and cassis eau de parfum

Dust off your highest hopes –

Create your perfect day

Beautiful beginnings –

Wake up to white!

The land of summer

Inviting you in

Blue skies

sumtwist14

Blue sky, you filtered into my soul

Sunshine, you warmed my skin

Nature’s light touch bringing the trees into bud

The freedom of woodland for my girls

Delight in their blue eyes

Water rushing, sticks clutching

Blankets and books in the dappled shade

Welcome, Spring

Easter

Roll away the stone from my heart

Let me meet you and clasp your hands in the garden

I won’t let go of hope

Your story follows deepest sorrow with unending joy

Let it be my story too

I believe it will be my story too

I’ve been part of two Easter services today.  Standing around the bonfire, I looked out to see the clouds split and the sea giltter in return, just for a moment.  This evening, a picture of a magnolia tree in flower reminded us that while life can feel cold and bleak summer will come.

My faith often feels like longing.  Today I will rest in knowing that there are many seasons of life, but summer will indeed come.

BudleighWarMemTwilght

Hot yoga

60 minutes, 35 degree heat, 26 Hatha yoga poses.  An incredible way to spend an hour.

Students Practice The Unique Bikram Yoga

Yes, I did sweat and I felt proud (I love the strapline ‘damn right I look hot’ from the This Girl Can campaign).  This was an intense class with the determination, focus and relationship between you and your body only heightened by the heat.  I surprised myself with both mental and physical suppleness and strength.  The practice was a timely reminder that taking time out for me to be just with myself, deeply focused is a really good thing for my mental health.

My body image during the class also surprised me.  I could see I was curvier and indeed jigglier than most of the more accomplished yogis in the studio, however it didn’t feel like it mattered.  I felt beautiful and I felt strong, particularly through the skill and encouragement of the teacher leading the class.  Despite the huge alterations that mood stabilising medication has caused to my body shape, I could appreciate a defined waist, leg muscles beginning to strengthen from my running. Deeper than that though, a growing confidence that I can try new things, hard things and succeed.

I was massively disappointed to find that there are no hot yoga classes closer than an hour and a half’s drive from home but I’m already planning how to build some Hatha yoga, on which Bikram (hot yoga) is based, into my weekly routine.  UK friends – if you are ever anywhere near Truro go and try a class at Breathe.

Rockpooling

I love the hope and longing encapsulated in Noah and The Whale’s First Days of Spring.  With my own story in mind I love the song’s answer to the feeling that we all have one chance to f*** up our lives; Like a cut down tree, I will rise again
I’ll be bigger, and stronger than ever before.

The first day of Spring.  Someone’s turned up the brightness on the colours today.  Acid yellow daffodils, a slick of cobalt across the turquoise of the sea.  Burnt sienna and bright orange on the back of the tiny crab we find in the rockpools.  On days like this all feels right with the world, and the colour is turned up in my heart.

Eldest wrote this poem which sums up our day beautifully:

To feel the sand between my toes, and see the sea as it goes

Barnacles, anemones and sea snails plenty

A couple of ice cream cones empty

Little sisters having fun, playing in the golden sun

Driving home to see a fox, hiding in amongst the rocks

How I love going rockpooling

The joy of the transient

In the spirit of wabi-sabi I decided to really pay attention to transient and simple beauty today.

Eldest One calling me in to her room in a flurry of excitement because two daffodils had opened in her flower arrangement. The taste of maple syrup on little jewels of raspberry with crisp, fluffy pancakes.  Little One proudly smiling as she gave me a card adorned with tissue paper flowers.  The slowly disappearing heart shape traced into the milk and chocolate on my cappuccino.

Cappuccino-coffee

While running along the quayside, I tried tuning out that internal voice which says I really need to stop now and to focus on the natural world around me.  The first sprinkling of white blossom on a tree poking through the pedestrian bridge.  Silvery ripples traced in the water behind a swan.  Daisies just beginning to peep open in the grass.  The feeling of the icy wind on my cheeks.

A very peaceful way to enjoy a run – maybe it is going to be an important part of my gap year after all.

Wabi-Sabi at the Welcome Cafe

Tulips are quietly fading in a vase on a shelf.  Little One is being noisy and wobbling precariously on her chair, and I feel conscious of all the other people around us wanting to relax with their cups of tea.  We’ve come to shelter from the cold and to share scones, cream, jam, tea and hot chocolate.  I feel aware my heart’s not fully in it today.

You’re used to grey England Skies

Cloudy days, colder nights

And your heart’s not right

On the way home, I’m reminded of the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, a kind of unique beauty of the imperfect and transient. The fading vase of tulips or the ‘grey England Skies’*

I was thinking how this concept could help me to appreciate moments of imperfect beauty more.  Reading the more detailed description of a wabi-sabi approach to life and aesthetics I was really interested to find out that ‘wabi’ used to be associated with sadness and loneliness, and ‘sabi’ with desolation but the meanings are now transformed to a way of looking at life which accepts transience and looks for beauty in the faded.

In my gap year there are going to be moments of pleasure and beauty which are inherently transient.  I want to really live in those moments rather than grieving their passing.  In myself I feel I need to look for the deeper beauty in a life that has felt weathered and eroded by mental illness.  I still need to learn more about appreciating moments of joy amidst the challenges of parenting a Little One with learning difficulties.  I’m planning to go back to the Welcome Cafe and contemplate those tulips some more, maybe with a notepad and my camera phone.

*Lyrics from England Skies by Shake Shake Go

Reality bites (and we bite back)

Monday, heavy lids and limbs start the day

Screams and thrashing as I change your clothes

The windscreen is dotted with teardrops

The sky is cloaked in grey

You spill your milk, I rush my coffee

I’m not giving up on today

Mahler on the radio, I catch sight of you making ballerinas with your hands in the air

We venture to your dance class

Your joyfulness lifts me like the chiffon scarves twirling around your arms

We bite into gyoza

You shout “YO!” at the top of your voice, and everyone breaks into a smile

We’re not giving up on today