Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Unsubscribing from life

That sounds more melodramatic than I intended but it captures a certain something of what I'm feeling.

I spend a lot of time on my computer and it's only a short click to spending time on social media and the internet in general.

The short list in the right hand column is only a small list of the places I like to hang out.   And then I'll see another site mentioned, or a book, or a film, or I'll see a picture and go to look at the spoons (I kid you not) and before you know it I'm downloading a film, reading a new book and waiting for a delivery of hard carved wooden teaspoons (they're wooden how could I resist).


Earlier this year (2014) I read about a great app that 'rolled up' all your subscriptions and sent you an daily email so you could briefly scan through and read what you wanted and ignore all the junk.  

I realised this week that I never read those rolled up emails - I just delete the single email. Yesterday I read it and there were almost 100 subscriptions.   I noticed how I was missing reading some of my favourite blogs because notifications were rolled up and I saw how subscription clicky I am when I know my inbox wont overflow with emails.

I unsubscribed from the roll up service (oh the irony) and the emails are flooding in.   And I'm reading each and every one and unsubscribing to most of them.

The timing is perfect as I'm in the process of reflecting on 2014 and thinking about 2015 and what it may look like?  How do I want it to feel? Will it have a distinctive smell (2014 smelt of Nag Champa Gold thanks to the Incense Fairie)?  What will it look like?  How much money will I earn and how will I earn it?

For the second year in a row I'm using the Create your Shining Year workbook from Leonie Dawson.  You may have seen her on fb, instragram etc.  Amidst the fairies, unicorns, bright colours and hyperactivity there is a serious and powerful business woman.   Leonie knows how to build women up, to support, nurture and challenge.  I have a feeling that what you see is what you get and although it's totally not my style something in her work speaks to me and gives me a much needed kick up the backside.  Plus her business ethics are something I aspire to - family first and world changing philanthropy before profit.

Yes I did discover her on my one of my frenzied internet sprees. Will I miss opportunities by cutting back on all the flotsam and jetsam?  Perhaps.

But right now, in this moment I have opportunities and all the time I need to explore them.

Friday, December 26, 2014

After four years........

This was my Christmas present this year.   A week before Christmas and after four years on the waiting list I got a telephone call letting me know we had reached the top of the list and an allotment was ours,if we still wanted one.

We weren't able to go and visit until Christmas Eve and when we did we were gobsmacked.   It's huge (a useful measurement) and divided up into beds marked with planks.    There are at least two strawberry beds and one bed of raspberry canes.   And various beds that have been growing exactly what you would expect in your allotment.

It is a little daunting.  Our current garden is the size of a small kitchen table and the allotment is the same size as the footprint of our house.  However, it is midwinter and that gives us few months to get it tidy and ready for planting before any serious work needs to happen in the spring. 

A couple of the beds will be coming out and a shed, compost bins and a bit of patio/decking will be going in (one of the benefits of having a carpenter in the family).   The raspberry canes will be the first thing to be given some tlc, followed by tidying up the edges and paths between the beds.  And then.....................and then I have no idea but you can be sure there are books being read, websites being surfed and a new notepad started.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Seasons Greetings

It is Christmas Day - I have a cup of tea and the rest of the house is sleeping.    Christmas, Yule, Winter Solstice, Navidad - all over the world people are celebrating this day.  Families are gathering, friends are laughing, food is being cooked and presents exchanged.

I notice how as the 21st December dawns there is an increasing number of social media posts welcoming the return of the light.  The pagan festival of Yule/Winter Solstice seems to be making a return to everyday consciousness.   Compare that gentle acknowledgement of the year turning, of nature doing its thing to the posts during the night of the 24th/25th when my timelines fill with pictures of trees submerged by piles and piles of brightly wrapped boxes #he’sbeen.

Exploring my discomfort with Christmas I am aware of a slow build up of anticipatory anxiety, an overspill from teenage Christmas’ where I spent the holidays home alone as I fell between the gaps of divorce and new families.  It lifts when I wake early on the 25th next to a snoring husband and realise he’ll be chattering by my side all day.

Consumerism and social rituals have little to do with Religion. And, for many, Religion has little to do with Christmas in the UK.   For many years this ruined Christmas for me.   Growing up in a Catholic family the holy days of the year, of the week were significant, important and observed.  I have never been able to align the religious with the materialism or the intellectual.  The hours are spent shopping, spending money - where is the contemplative prayer, the worship, where is the holy?

Our increasingly intellectualised society has rationalised the mysticism and wonder - at least for the adults.   The children see frenzy, lists and busyness rewarded with presents and fun.      Because it is fun.   Making the effort to spend time with family and friends, sharing food and making memories is what life is all about.   And for many the permission granted by corporate institutions  to have time away from the office, from work gives the ideal opportunity, and for many the only time in the year to travel and spend time together. We are fortunate, hardly anyone in my family works within the corporate world.  We are actors, writers, musicians, carpenters, chefs we can step off the world whenever and wherever we like - and we do.

There is value to this time of year.  Looking inwards, reviewing the year past, a pause in the busyness to reflect on what is in important to each and every one of us. After a busy year full of changes in my work and family life it’s great to know that for the next seven days my diary is (almost) empty.  

When I am asked if I’m ready for Christmas I always reply yes.  Because I always am. There are no holy days or holidays observed by Quakers…..
‘…all of life is sacramental; that since all times are therefore holy, no time should be marked out as more holy; that what God has done for us should always be remembered and not only on the occasions named Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.’
f&p 27.42