Enough To Be Pondering On

Where does your divinity lie?                       

Is it something or someone in the sky you implore in times of need?

Is it something you tap into daily in a conversational style?

Is it something you work with cooperatively, not minding whether it’s god or just the set of physical and metaphysical laws we can’t yet identify?

Is it something you absolutely identify with and use to label yourself and your life as opposed to people who don’t consider themselves ‘spiritual’?

Or is this a stupid question, because after all there is no deity or divinity beyond what we see?

This Coaching journey I’m on, this learning and this helping of people is teaching me so much – about myself and my life, my beliefs and my view of the world.

I’m seeing more and more the divinity in the everyday, the perfection in the flaws and the beauty of humanity and its potential. It seems that divinity, the sacred, is everywhere in general, commonplace in its nature and, paradoxically, nowhere specifically.

Don’t have much more to say than that of a Sunday morning, and it’s probably enough to be pondering on a sunny winter’s day.

Have a great week!


Mothering Your Dreams

The theme of Mothers’ Day and the contemplation of what it is to be a mother, to provide nurture, led me to think about the act of giving birth when it comes to bringing our dreams to life.

There is the moment of fertilisation – that time when an idea takes hold and declares it’s possibility of life outside your heart and head, and from there it takes root. You cogitate over its potential, play with it, work out where it could go and where you would want to take it.

Slowly it grows and takes shape. It begins to have an identity of its own. You may give it a name. It gets to a point where it is so large in your mind that you have to commit to hitting the keyboard.

The first time you write its name on the screen or sheet of paper it seems oddly familiar – it has been living with you for so long that to see it stand there, separate from you, on its own legs, can be quite scary. You wonder – can it have a life?

You probably then continue to develop and grow this dream that has now morphed into a project or series of projects that you’ve devised to bring it about. You put in hours thinking about it and planning. It’s almost like having a love affair – if it really is based in  your passion you will lose  hours to it as you work away without it seeming like actual work. You will start to reference parts of your life to  it that you used to defend from any kind of work or career reference and it will become a part of who you are and what you do, whether it is named or unnamed, every day you walk the earth.

And then one day, when it and you are both ready, you’ll launch it. You’ll cast it at the feet of the world and hope they love it as much as you do, because it has become a part of you and what you’re really doing is putting that part of you out there for the judgement of the world. You’ll worry what friends and family will say if this is a part of you they haven’t seen before. You’ll worry that you will appear foolish or getting above yourself. You’ll worry that you fail.

But that won’t stop you, because it’s born of your passion and a  part of you that hasn’t previously had a voice, so relax. There is no failure, only feedback, and the only fool is one who doesn’t try to push their boundaries to see just what they can achieve.

Believe in yourself and in your dreams – they are your future. Nourish them, nurture them and whether you are man or woman, let the Mother in you birth them to the world. They are your contribution to your community, they are your legacy, and they will keep you sane when everything else seems a bit bonkers.

There Must Be Better Songs to Sing than This

Yesterday I watched the movie Educating Rita.

It’s written by Willy Russell who also wrote Shirley Valentine and Blood Brothers. I love his work – it’s rare to see a man who can write so well for women.

I last saw the movie around 1984 or ‘85. I remember it because I watched it with my mum.

As the movie unfolded before us we became uncomfortable to a certain extent. While I wasn’t married like Rita in the movie, I was attempting to move from having no qualifications to speak of to studying first some O levels and Highers and then gain entry to a degree course in Communications. (I’d been taken out of school as soon as my parents could do so after I’d turned 16 in Australia to return with them to Scotland).

I’d been successful in that, despite the intake for my chosen course’s year being only 18 places and only two places in the UK offering the course – Liverpool University and my own uni, now grandly called Glasgow Caledonian University – back then it was just Glesga Tech.

So, there’s me and mum sitting and watching the movie, the irony of it all not escaping us (she had also had her ambitions thwarted as a young woman, denied the chance of study and steered towards tailoring as it would bring in money).

There’s a scene where Rita has joined her husband and family in the pub. It’s at a moment where she feels she belongs in neither world – not that of her working class roots nor that of her new world at University. Everyone in the pub is having a sing-along, including her family, about how content they are and how they have everything they need. Rita feels she can’t join in. She turns and sees her mum who also seems unhappy, and has also stopped singing.

Her mum says one line. “There must be better songs to sing than this.”

At that point both my mum and I looked at each other, and both of us were in tears.

How true that had been for both of us. We were each in our own way spending our lives looking for better songs to sing than those we’d already become familiar with. I was still in that stage of studies where it was easy to be made to feel I was getting ‘above myself’. Apart from my cousin Kathleen, no one in our family had gone to higher studies or chased academia in any way. My dad would ask why I couldn’t just be like everyone else and get a job in a factory.

I was the daughter of trades people – my dad a baker and mum a tailoress. They in turn had been the children of unskilled labourers and I’ve traced my ancestors back far enough to know that my grandparents were the first in their own families to be able to read and write. In gaining that ability they were able to begin to exert choices, and tracing that skill all the way down the generations to tertiary education it was still all about the same thing – choice and the right to exercise it.

At 17 I’d been coerced into a hairdressing apprenticeship for four years by my parents. They thought it was for the best but it was never what I really wanted to do. However in doing it I’d got mum off my back to a certain extent. It was something ‘to fall back on’ but the day my apprenticeship finished was the day my hairdressing career finished, and after a brief stint in retail and a bout of depression it was academia that saved my sanity.

Watching the movie again reminded me of that pivotal point in my life, where a seemingly mad choice (the first of many) had been the right choice, where the courage had been supplied from somewhere to take a step outside of the known into the unknown.

I have a picture in my office of Frank Zappa with his hair in bunches. There’s a quote attributed to him on the bottom that says “Without deviation from the norm progress is not possible.”

There’s a little bit of Rita in all of us who want something better than we have been dealt. When was the last time you gave her a bit of attention? Maybe it’s time to let her free and have her way.

Here’s to all of us to continue to have the courage to deviate from the norm, to discover new worlds and to continue to progress throughout our lives.

The Pleasure Principle

Hang on – I’ll just go pour my coffee – BRB!

Aaah – that’s better. It’s a cup made in the little plunger with a nice blend of bean pulverised in my birthday present from lovely hubby – a coffee grinder. I’d never had one before and its a well used present. I think as I get older I’m appreciating some of my often ignored senses. I love the scent of the coffee as it’s released from the bean. It fills the head with its scent, almost like tasting it before you’ve tasted it.

I seem to be doing a lot of things like that just now. Small things that I’d ignored previously become huge pleasures. I’m becoming less tolerant of the mass produced, preservative soaked and additive addled foods we’re offered in the shops and heading more for the fresh, the fragile, the foods that are time sensitive and only edible for a certain period before going off. I’m learning not to trust eating or drinking anything that doesn’t age or rot. I guess I’m also soaking in the pleasure principle – just like the one advocated by Mireille Guiliano – where the chief motivators to eat and live well are;

  • the choice of quality over quantity and, ultimately,
  • savouring the pleasure in life, be it food, work, pastimes or anything else.

It’s not a staggering change though, or a violent revolution. It’s something that has begun quietly and continues as I follow my nose and my newish sense of prioritising the good things in life.

A short list of the things I’m enjoying right now, because I’m making a point of enjoyment include:

Being in the garden; family time; Tai Chi (and the heady – almost drunken – feeling of breathing properly); Our doggies; thinking; cooking; walking; writing (after many many years I’ve started writing poetry again).

On reading the list back, it does seem pretty mundane but it doesn’t feel that way. These simple things really do deliver great pleasure. They wouldn’t have years ago when I felt driven and that I had other stuff to do, but now that I’ve achieved a lot of what I set out to do I’m more relaxed about it all.

If you find that life seems to be whizzing by, why not try it yourself. Take five minutes to observe beauty, be immersed in fragrances of beauty whether foods or essential oils. Pat your dogs, taste a new, sensational cheese or practice active listening with your favourite music or the birdsong round about. Use all of your senses to absorb the pleasures of the world around you – just for five minutes. You never know, you might grow to like it! :o)

Have a great week!

M x


Day 1

Set up a blog, he said, after we watched the film Julie and Julia. you should do that, he said. And to be honest I quite liked the idea. and then blog stuff started to appear in front of me everytime I went online, and so here I am on a Sunday morning with heaps to do, but I’m choosing to ignore it, and all a sudden I’m on here and writing.
I write for a living, but I write other people’s stuff. I’m out of the discipline of writing my own thoughts in prose form. Whether my own thoughts are even worthy of my writing them down, or worthy of you reading them will no doubt become evident as time goes on. At work I write articles, brochures, advertisements. I edit publications all to a set of key messages and formats.
What are my key messages? I don’t know. Maybe that will become evident too.
I also write my own standup comedy stuff, which I love, but which is also terrifying. What if I think something’s funny but no-one laughs? Will the world tear apart with a great rendering crack and swallow me up? Well yes, probably.
As for me and my world, well as an introduction I’m in my very late 40s, female, just married for the second time to a wonderful bloke, mum of a 15 year old apprentice delinquent male child and stepmum to a 23 year old young man and a 21 year old young man.
Up until last year I’d had my old dad live with me for 13 years since my mum died. It wasn’t easy but we were blessed that he wasn’t really infirm and still had all his faculties til the end. I never thought I’d say it but I do miss him.
I live in suburbia, drive a 10 year old car and have a brilliant job. For the first time in my life I don’t seem to be struggling. Its a nice feeling.
As well as working I also do standup as mentioned, and I’m involved in the amateur theatre scene now and then in Adelaide as a performer and as a reviewer – check out my reviews on http://www.theatreguide.com.au.
Oh and I’m a Scot, living in Australia for the past 10 years, and for evermore – love it here.
Well, that’s enough about me. What about you? :o)