Daily writing prompt
When you were five, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a writer from as far back as I can remember. I filled notebooks with prayers to God before turning to short stories at age ten and journals at sixteen. As a five year old I loved creative writing class on Monday mornings because we had to write what we’d done over the weekend. Most of it was made up of course. The reality was that my childhood home was pretty dysfunctional with secrets and violence.

Writing saved me. I have absolutely no doubt about it. I escaped into my own world where I was best friends with my favourite TV actors and used to meet them every day at made-up studios for lunch. As I grew, I wrote about abandoned animals finding loving homes, family dramas, and teenage romances. I wrote huge amounts of fan fiction based on my favourite shows, believing I was the characters. Years down the line when I considered that the characters I had created didn’t really exist, it was a visceral shock to my system, because they were so real in my head.

Then I went to university to study English and undertook a creative writing module as part of that. It wasn’t the first time my writing had been criticised of course; I had my share of constructive comments at secondary school. But this was on a whole new level. The tutors didn’t like my work. Worse, I was surrounded by people who were very clearly a lot more talented than I am. This destroyed my sense of who I was. You see, writing was my very heart and soul. It was the only real friend I had. I lived and breathed it. To have it torn apart by people who had no clue was like having my insides ripped out very slowly over time. I was struggling to come to terms with a painful past but this time I no longer had the writing I loved. I was on my own.

I gave it all up. Things changed when I started seeing a therapist to cope with my young autistic son and she commented on something I’d written about my childhood many years previously. She said ‘you write very well.’ I was stunned. I told her that I no longer believed that. I said I couldn’t bear to even hear it because it wasn’t true. She said ‘of course it is.’ Bit by bit, I began to tell her how studying a creative writing module had broken my heart. Telling my story, this time out loud, once again helped me to heal.

Tentatively I started to write again. Not as much as I did before as I no longer had the physical or mental strength, but once again it became an outlet for my feelings. I wrote a couple of stories about my son. Then I began journaling as an outlet. I no longer cared what others thought. Over time I began to reclaim the natural joy and creativity I’d had as a child. This led me to start blogging to share my thoughts and experiences with the world.

I no longer hold tightly onto the identity of ‘writer’ but I write. It is what heals the soul. My five year old self knew that all along.

Meditation is transformative

Despite having a meditation practice for years, I often forget that it should still come with a health warning!

It can calm a busy mind, create a greater capacity for self-awareness, and lead to a more peaceful state of being.

But there is a disclaimer: Intense meditation is transformative. It encourages deep emotional pain to rise to the surface and be processed, even pain that you thought you’d dealt with many years ago.

For a while a meditation practice gives you enough payoff so you keep coming back for more. You feel happier, calmer, more at ease in life, more self-aware. Great.

Sooner or later you have to go deeper. In Divine timing an intense meditation practice such as Vipassana or breathwork may cause an unexpected flooding of old emotions/grief. This is normal. Meditation is communication with your soul. It is telling your soul that you are ready for the next stage of consciousness. The channel is open, ready to receive what is needed for a deep cleanse. As stated, this can arise in very unexpected ways.

You don’t have to fear this process. It can be very difficult depending on how much cleansing needs to be done. Surrender and trust. It will all be okay. Know there is a purpose, no matter how awful you feel. Resisting will make it harder than it needs to be. It may cause or lengthen the classic ‘dark night of the soul’ experience. Only deep inner wisdom will tell you whether you’re resisting out of fear, or because your soul is protecting you because you are not ready.

And indeed, in certain cases intense meditation is not recommended, such as in PTSD and C-PTSD and psychosis. There may be more. If you have suffered trauma or are a victim of abuse or feeling in any way unstable, do not embark on intense meditation without the support of a trusted therapist. If you wish to meditate, start slowly and ground yourself before and afterwards. Guided visualisations or walking meditations may be more beneficial than breath or Vipassana. If you have experienced sexual or physical abuse be wary of body scans or other body-based meditations. Sometimes any form of meditation should be avoided until enough psychological healing has taken place and forcing the process can be dangerous for some people.

In short, meditation is a wonderful spiritual tool with many benefits but it can also be very transformative and needs to be used wisely.

Honouring my experiences and moving forward

Today’s tarot spread was another powerful one but I wasn’t surprised. I have a bad cold and felt really unwell yesterday. As is often the case with me, being sick with a virus triggered some powerful emotions that have been festering since Sunday without expression. For some reason my Mother’s Day sadness was determined to cling on and suck all the energy out of me and, true to form, I went down with it. My thoughts took on the theme of existential sadness until the horrible mix of constant sneezing and stagnated grief became unbearable and last night I began to cry so hard that I thought I would die from the grief. Thoughts swirled around my childhood, my son, my health, my life and the inevitable loss of those I love so deeply. In short, I felt the utter despair of someone whose life has been far from ideal. It’s a real grief and I absolutely own it.

But I also know the value of acknowledging and moving past it. Not getting stuck in it. Not making an identity out of it. Not that ‘identity’ or ‘story’ are dirty words: they’re not. People need to tell their story in order to move on. People need to assign themselves an identity when they’ve been brought up having no clue how to relate to themselves or the world. I’m a big believer in embracing every aspect that makes us human. We each need to heal from the world up. There’s no sense in trying to transcend our ‘story’ before actively owning and processing it. It will still eat away at the subconscious, causing massive suffering. All we can do is bring the mind of awareness to our thoughts and emotions wherever we happen to be in the process of healing without trying to escape or cling. Maybe this is the ‘middle way’ that the Buddha talked about.

Anyway, this was my remarkable spread as I asked the now common question: what do I most need to know today?

Card 1: Wheel of Fortune

Card 2: Justice

Card 3: The Moon

Card 4: Judgement

Add-on (end of shuffle): 3 of Pentacles

My tarot teacher likes to call the Wheel of Fortune my stalker card! I have to say it does pop up quite a lot. I believe that in this spread it is pointing to completion. It is reminding me that the phase of my life that I am grieving for is over. I don’t have to get stuck in those old feelings and emotions but let them pass through. Life is in constant flux and change and I am witnessing the end of an era and beginning of something new.

The Justice card has come up a few times too. I wonder if this is pointing to my longing for life to be fair and make sense, which of course it doesn’t. Life was never meant to be fair as otherwise there wouldn’t be the mess that we all see in the news. Earth wasn’t designed to be fair but to provide fertile ground for awakening. If everything happened the way we wanted to we would have no need to awaken to anything more. We would be happy just living our Earthly lives. It had to be this way. But it’s hard to see that when you’re on the receiving end of some pretty unjust circumstances. The card may also remind me that I need to find balance just now. I need to balance my emotions and intellect, listen to my spirit but remain grounded.

And the Moon is deeply relevant too. It is about the subconscious of course, but also about illusions and shadows. It is a reminder that things are not always what they seem. Be willing to see. Be brave enough to take off the shell and be vulnerable. This will pay off. And always trust my intuition.

The Judgement card has now come up several times. This is the card of rebirth, transformation and growth. It is saying: Listen to the call of your spirit. Remember how far you have come. Do not get pulled back into illusions and shadows (Moon) or ideas about how things should be (Justice). Trust your higher self and view your life from a higher state of consciousness. All will be revealed to you. It is interesting that the number of Judgement is 20 and I dreamed last night I was pregnant with two babies (not twins). A co-incidence maybe? Who indeed knows but I suspect not. In any case the zero is always about wholeness and cycles, as seen in the wheel of fortune and Judgment.

The add on card is about my Earthly life and need for connections. It is saying that I can find genuine happiness in other people and this is not to be devalued.

As always, the spread helped me further understand what is going on for me right now and keep me focused on the path, honouring all my experiences along the way without allowing them to stay any longer than they need to.

Remembering my connections

I asked the cards what I most need to know today, particularly in relation to parenting. The spread is as follows:

Card 1: 2 of Wands

Card 2: 5 of Wands

Card 3: The Hierophant

Card 4: King of Swords

Add-on (end of pile): 10 of Cups

As a beginner of tarot it took a bit of time for me to read this spread as it seems a bit of a mixed bag, perhaps representing my mixed emotions at present! But this is what I came up with:

The 2 of Wands is about balance and harmony. It requires me to take a step back and view the bigger picture and reminds me that I am capable of that and have done this many times in my life, whether to do with my son or any other issue.

Then…5 of Wands is the challenge card. It is interesting that both this card and the Hierophant are fives. I am feeling challenged just now, particularly in relation to parenting but also in terms of my spiritual path more generally. This card is saying be mindful of my internal battle and adapt to the challenges and changes in my life. Find the harmony amongst the adversity.

The Hierophant is an interesting card to pop up. Not only is it also a five, it suggests the need for guidance from trusted sources and old traditions. From this, I’m wondering if it points to my personal history and ancestry, perhaps even reminding me that I am inseparable from and thus always connected to my soul family regardless of the challenges that face me in this life.

Finally, the King of Swords represents clarity, intellect and logic. He has reached a point on his path where he can deal with complex issues with ease. Maybe he represents that part of me who has sought to understand my journey and reach a point of acceptance. He is saying….you’ve got this, you’re strong, you’ve walked the path of your difficult thoughts and emotions and you’re okay with them. He may also be saying…don’t neglect compassion in the face of logic. Don’t live in your head at the expense of your heart.

The add-on card made me smile. The 10 of Cups is all about family…feeling contented, joyful and happy within a family setting. It’s all about appreciating our loved ones and feeling in alignment in relationships. How apt that this card carries the theme of family! It reminds me that I do have those things, not in the way I hoped, but I can feel content and happy nonetheless with the people I do have in my life and in my role as a mother. This spread may be pointing to my need to deal with the turbulent feelings around motherhood, take a step back, remind myself of my connections and soul family, and draw upon my resources in dealing with my life thus far. I am always at peace and connected, deep within.

It’s okay not to be okay


Someone said this to me very recently in relation to their own process but it stayed with me and today it feels most apt in my own life.

It is Mother’s Day in the UK and it’s always a hard day for me for my only child (now adult in age) has severe autism and has no concept of the day at all. There’s no one to acknowledge I’m a mother apart from myself.

This morning I got up and felt determined to think positively about it. I decided that I didn’t need any such acknowledgement because I’m in touch with my spiritual self and that’s more important than any role or identity on this plane.

But you know what? Those thoughts didn’t feel good. And I realised the reason they didn’t is that I’m not being true to my authentic self. What use is spirituality if it doesn’t encompass everything that makes us human and shine the light of compassion upon all those aspects of our being? I was caught in the trap of trying to find a way out of my own feelings. True healing and growth doesn’t work like that. To transcend our pain and grief we must accept they are there and go deeply into them, not even with the intention to get past them, but to feel them deeply and truly because they are real.

Spirituality is about being real. And the reality is sometimes we are not okay, and that is okay.

Today hurts. It feels terrible that I have a child who, as much as I love him deeply, is not able to recognise that today is Mother’s Day and say ‘I love you Mum’. I know he does love me in his own unique way, but nonetheless it’s painful that he is the way he is and that life turned out the way it did for us both. I feel awful that I didn’t have any more children, albeit it has been the right decision based on my life situation. I even feel guilty that I’m wishing for acknowledgement from others rather than letting it be enough to know deep in my heart that I’m a mother and did what I could for my son. I guess, deep down, it is not enough because everyone wants to feel love from others. Everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated. That is what this day is about after all.

I know I’ll be fine. I know these feelings will pass and I have the strength in my being to sit with them and value them for what they are. I don’t intend to get stuck (which is another trap) but simply acknowledge, this is how I feel today, and move on with hopefully greater compassion for myself and all mothers or would-be-mothers who, for whatever their unique reason, are having a hard time of it today.

Lots of love to you all.

The call of my spirit

Today’s spread is a reminder of the challenges that I face on the path of life!

All the cards I pulled were from the major arcana, representing major life lessons, which is significant in itself.

My spread:

Card 1: Death

Card 2: Judgement

Card 3: The High Priestess

Card 4: Strength

Add on: Devil

What a spread! Firstly, many people are scared of the death card, but it is actually a very positive card within a spread. It doesn’t mean that anyone is going to die or foreshadow anything terrible; it points to transformation into a better state of being, which inevitably does involve letting go of something, whether that’s old habits or perceptions or possibly a relationship, but it always means moving forward into something better. In my case the death card shows I am trying to let go of the past and live more in the present each day, as well as live in mindful awareness of thoughts and beliefs that limit me.

Then follows the judgement card, which also despite its name is very positive. This is a card of listening to the calling of one’s spirit. Like the death card, it points to transformation, resurrection and being accountable. The death card was saying this is what I need to do, whereas the judgement card is saying now put it into action and follow through with it. Moreover, it is saying that I have emerged from many trials and now I need to reflect on my choices and look at what I must become in this higher state of awareness.

Therein enters the High Priestess card and this beautiful lady represents the moon and the power of the unconscious. She is saying I can trust my intuition and let it be my guide for all the wisdom I need is within me. I also need to be mindful of illusions and my shadow self which may try to sabotage my progress.

Finally, the strength card speaks for itself: this journey is tough and I need strength to do it. It is also my birth card and number (8) which is about action, perfection and rebirth.

The add-on card at the end of the shuffle was – would you believe – the Devil himself! I believe this card is a reminder that underlying this spread is the message that temptation to fall back into old ways of being is a constant companion on this journey. The Devil may appear in the form of old habits, desires, addictions, patterns that lurk beneath the surface of life. But the other cards are showing me that I can deal with these by letting them go, listening to the call of my spirit, remaining in touch with my intuition, being strong, and having the humility to recognise these temptations and not thinking I am above them.

I love how apt the cards always are and it seems with each spread the more powerful the message.

Owning my power

I’ve been studying tarot at an evening class for several weeks and I want to try and advance my knowledge by interpreting my own spreads here. I’m amazed by their accuracy, particularly over time as I become accustomed to using them. My tarot teacher says to ‘form’ a relationship with my cards whereby they get used to my energy and in turn provide more helpful readings for myself and others.

I’m always open to suggestions and interpretations from anyone else used to reading tarot so feel free to comment if you feel so inclined.

Today’s reading consists of the following in a 4 part spread, along with the bottom of the shuffled pile as an add on:

Card 1: The Emperor

Card 2: 6 of Cups

Card 3: 5 of Swords

Card 4: The Magician

Add on: Ace of Cups

Straight away I could see this spread is about masculine energy and power. The Emperor represents my need for structure and guidance from a trusted mentor in my life, and perhaps even from these cards themselves. They may also be a reminder for me to set some boundaries and be assertive in my life, particularly after a very recent decision to block someone who was violating my boundaries. The Emperor is a 4 card, which also points to a need for stability and the laying of a foundation in order to move forward.

Then we go to card 2, which is showing me that emotionally I’m feeling nostalgic about the past just now, as indeed I had a difficult dream about a family member last night which has left me feeling shaky and very in touch with my inner child. The card is also a reminder that I can get in touch with that child, nurture her, but let the past be in the past and not get stuck there but keep on moving forward as this is where my power lies. The number 6 is about getting in alignment and finding inner harmony which also resonates deeply as I re-connect with old feelings of loss and grief.

But haha – then card 3 – the 5 of Swords – shows me that my external environment is proving a challenge and I need to be mindful of using my power in the wrong ways. It is reminding me that I need to choose my battles wisely and decide for myself what I’m fighting for, what I’m taking with me from the past, how I want to structure my life, without being swayed by external circumstances and difficult people. 5 is always a number of conflict and it’s for me to decide how I manage that conflict in the right way, by setting appropriate boundaries.

The main spread finishes with a really positive card – the Magician – which again is all about masculine energy and power, but rather than the Emperor, which is about the power of structure and discipline and guidance – which is all positive in and of itself – it is pointing to the fact I have control over my own path and that I can trust my intuition. It is a card of personal power, manifestation, and creativity. It is a reminder that I can believe in myself and trust the opportunities that present themselves. The Magician is number 1, which is of course a great number for manifesting and coming into one’s own power!

And then, most interestingly, the card at the bottom of the pack – the Ace of Cups – refers to emotional fulfilment and self-love, joy and happiness, particularly from a very young aspect of me, which is another reminder that to live in my own power means to embrace the inner child in the here and now. New beginnings can then emerge, symbolised by the Ace.

In short, a very relevant and positive spread.

Epilepsy and being present

After ten years of being (almost) completely seizure free, my epileptic dog has started having seizures again. Only, they are not quite the same seizures as before.

She has idiopathic epilepsy, most likely from birth, but I got her at 3 and a half years so her history prior to that is a bit of an unknown. She had a seizure the day after I got her, and the day after that, so after some investigations she was put straight on the barbiturate medication Phenobarbital. That worked like a miracle and from then on the only time she had a seizure was when a dose was missed or when the vet decided to try her on a newer, apparently safer drug called Pexion, which caused several seizures per day! Back on the Phenobarbital, she was totally fine once more.

Her seizures, when she did have them, were ‘grand mal’ or more recently named ‘tonic clonic’ seizures. She would fall to the ground, convulse, foam at the mouth, paddle with her limbs, lose all consciousness, go rigid, and after a minute or so had passed she would get up and be extremely thirsty, tired and disorientated, often wandering around aimlessly until I picked her up and settled her down.

This time is rather different. She isn’t losing consciousness or convulsing, rather she has brief episodes – one per day- of just wandering around confused, apparently not sure where to put her limbs; on Wednesday she began walking backwards for a bit. She’s excessively tired and thirsty, so all the common signs are there, but no actual seizure. After a short while she returns to her relatively normal state, albeit a bit more tired than usual. The vet has checked her blood and advised to increase her Phenobarbital for a week and if that doesn’t help she might benefit from another drug on top such as Potassium Bromide or Gabapentin. Neither of them sound great because the last thing I want is for my dog to be too lethargic to do anything! I’m just praying the extra tablet works and her brain settles down. I have no idea what has triggered this spate of seizures but then she is an old lady at 13 and maybe age is just making her condition harder to control than before. We have been incredibly lucky that her epilepsy has been so well controlled until now.

But what a reminder that there is no certainty! Every day is a gift, each blessing a miracle. She has done so well and even now she copes with what must be extremely unpleasant experiences with complete acceptance in a way only our animal friends do. She doesn’t understand what is happening of course, all she knows is that she feels weird, maybe dizzy, maybe disembodied, but she hears my voice and is conscious enough to respond and feel secure. After a cuddle in my arms she relaxes and the ‘blip’ in her brain settles down. She needs me to be present to her and totally calm so that she, too, can be calm.

Writing this is also making me think about when I was less present and more susceptible to dissociative states and how frightening it was when I couldn’t feel grounded in my own body. Thoughts and emotions whirring around my brain at one hundred miles per hour would leave me feeling disconnected from reality, particularly as I have a very sensitive nervous system and end up physically ill very quickly through emotional and mental stress. Learning to be present has been an absolute necessity to improve my health. And it has come on in leaps as I’ve taken time to meditate daily and connect with my inner self.

Me and my dog are not dissimilar in our struggles. I’ve always believed she is affected by my emotional and mental state. She needs a calm life free from stress. Mostly I have been able to give that to her. Her life is a gift to me in so many ways and I just hope it continues to be for some years yet.

No mistakes, only detours

Image from jakofarm.com

I wrote out a long post and lost it, which was my own fault, but the gist of it was this:

There are no mistakes in life, only detours.

Even losing my post was a detour because ultimately that wisdom exists within me and can’t be lost in reality.

My friends, I got lost recently and I wrote a post explaining this, but maybe it doesn’t matter anyway, as what matters is I’m Here Now.

The simplest hard yet paradoxically the hardest thing in life is to keep remembering that we are here. Always here. Bringing ourselves out of the games of the mind and its seductive desires back into the realisation that real life only exists here. Whatever emotions are being experienced, whatever thoughts are running amok in the mind, they are happening in this moment, in this body.

Each of us is truly whole, even if all the evidence points to the opposite. So-called ‘evidence’ is only layers of trauma and conditioning telling us that we need something or someone else to make us complete. Soul connections are wonderful and add magic and meaning to our lives, after all no man is an island, but allowing the mind to take charge and fill a perceived gap using something from ‘out there’ is a recipe for disaster. Find your ‘in here’ first, then all will be added unto you.

And never ever beat yourself up for allowing your mind to get the better of you. Have compassion. The mind is doing a great job in protecting you! It is simply misguided. It knows no better. See it for what it is and awaken to the Divine soul that you truly are, conscious and shining in this moment. There are never any mistakes, it’s all part of the twists and turns of navigating this life and remembering we are light, over and over again.