The glint of sunlight through the branches
Melodies of birds peeping through bracken
My feet caressed by the Earth
The Divine warms my heart
The glint of sunlight through the branches
Melodies of birds peeping through bracken
My feet caressed by the Earth
The Divine warms my heart
I will be staying with my mother for a few days from early tomorrow until Wednesday afternoon. I feel very anxious about the visit for several reasons. It is always strange going back to the home I lived in for a brief time as a teenager; that is, before going to university and moving out for good. But this visit has extra complications and emotions attached. It will most likely be the last time I stay in that house, where my mother has lived for almost 30 years, because she needs to move somewhere without stairs. Her health is deteriorating due to heart failure and lung fibrosis, so I’m not sure how much worse she will be since I last visited in early February. I speak to her a lot on Facetime and we text, but such mediums are limited for knowing how someone really is. Also, Mum is stoic and independent to a fault, and thinks she’s protecting people by not giving them the full picture. It is hard to know quite how well or otherwise she is until I see her. She has relatives nearby but we’re not a close family, so I don’t get much information from them, even though they visit my mum regularly.
In addition, my sister is driving us all (my mum, me and my niece) to the grave of my other niece who died of cancer in 2019, age 34, both to leave flowers for her and to scatter my dad’s ashes (he died in 2015). To make this extra surreal and potentially painful, my niece’s grave is where my mum’s final resting place will be, when she succumbes to the heart failure. We will all be aware of it but of course it will be left as the great unspoken. How on Earth does one even begin to make conversation along the lines of ‘one day we will be visiting you here’? You just don’t. But it will be on everyone’s minds all the same.
I know my mum won’t really be in the grave, just as my niece isn’t, and my dad is not the ashes that we will be scattering. Wherever their spirits are/will be, they’re not part of the Earth, just as none of us alive today are our physical bodies and the dust they are made from. We are the spirits that inhabit them. When our body returns to Earth, so does our Spirit return to the place from which it came. I can’t begin to rationalise that because the mind cannot understand it. It is the ‘peace that passes all understanding.’ We cannot think about it logically, we just KNOW, with deeper wisdom, that this is the case; our Spirit is eternal consciousness and will fly free, as it is our true nature.
Remembering such truth is of course far more tricky while in the presence of your childhood family. Was it Ram Dass who once said ‘if you think you’re awakened, go spend a week with your parents?’ There’s so much wisdom in that statement. Our parents trigger us, remind us how far we have to go, as well as, positively, how far we have come. Throw in old age, sickness, and death, and that’s about as triggered as you can get.
I am ready to go. I hope it will be a positive, precious experience, and a reminder of the fragility of this Earthly life as well as the enduring power of Love.
I will be back. Thank you for reading. Many blessings x
This is a weighted question for me. I would say, overall, I am good at being honest with myself, but that has a flip side. I am very self-aware, which is mainly a good thing, but without some discernment it is easy to fall into the trap of becoming too intimate with my faults. Seeing and learning from my faults is a good thing. Judging and criticising them is not. In fact, when I criticise myself I have succumed to the past conditioning which created an image of myself as worthless and a failure. The thoughts quickly turn into the familiar narrative of how it’s pointless trying because I’m so useless and before I know it I’m back there again – hurting.
But I can see it. And this is my gift.
As a child, I saw how people’s minds and emotions worked. I wrote stories about them. I had not developed a full self image at that point. I was in touch with my intuition. I wrote to God and made characters express the feelings that I was unable to. I didn’t think about or analyse anything, it just flowed from me like a river from Source. It was only after I was forced to change schools at age ten that it all went wrong. And of course, age ten is pretty pivotal in terms of ego development. I’m talking here of healthy ego or personality development, when we learn who we are in the world, what we like, what we want.
I started the new school a shell of the child I had been previously. I was scared due to what was happening at home and school was no longer a refuge. I was socially anxious and had been removed from everyone I knew. The kids didn’t know what to make of me. In typical kid-style, they took the mickey. A year later I started secondary school, still friendless. The bullying started. I had always been an introvert but now I was completely withdrawn and scared of people. So rather than developing a healthy personality, I saw myself as an idiot who nobody liked.
I have already written about the sadness around my writing when I started university so I won’t repeat it again. Suffice to say, I suffered a lot through school but writing became an outlet for my emotions and something I considered myself to be good at, until I lost faith in that too. But now, as an adult in my forties, I see and understand that writing was not something that belonged to me; instead it flowed from me, and it’s not something that can be lost, just like the essence of who I was as a child cannot be lost. In a way I have become full circle; I am integrating what the child in me knew with the maturity of age and the challenges I have faced, and realising that what I believed about myself at school was an illusion.
Self-awareness is a gift. Writing is my offering. It is my joy, my passion, and I still like to believe I am ‘good’ at it because that is something that matters to me. In writing, I understand my story, discern my faults, see where I am caught. In writing, I allow the beauty of Divine love to channel through me, remind me I am okay as I am. There is a balance. There is always a balance.
The above quote is my absolute favourite. No matter how many times I’ve seen and heard it, it still brings tears to my eyes. My soul resonates so strongly with its meaning that the mere words are literally sunshine to my heart. I am a summer person in every way possible and to me everything good is associated with summer. I appreciate my perspective may not be shared with those who feel happiest in winter, but either way I hope you can change the words to your preference and take something beautiful from its meaning.
The other day I was sitting out in the – relatively rare! – hot UK Sun feeling the heat on my skin and sensing the golden rays behind my closed eyelids. I felt like I was bathed in the glorious beauty of Love itself. Joy radiated from me. I felt like the Sun was washing away all my sadness and pain and I was emerging into a new version of myself. As is the wisdom of the seasons, if we take time to tune into them and really understand – not with the mind, but with the heart. Nature speaks an eternal truth: we are reborn in Love, every millisecond of every day; our Divinity shines with the Sun and the clouds of despair, horror and illusion will pass by. Only what remains is real – the invincible summer of the soul.
That night I woke up with this beautiful song in my head. With gratitude I played it several times the following day:
Yes, my right leg when I was a year old. How it happened is shrouded in mystery because, as with all my early childhood, no one openly talks about it. What my mother dripped into conversation over the years is that I slipped from her arms at the bottom of the stairs. I asked my oldest sister about it once, when I was about 11 years old and staying with her (which I hated; she didn’t want me there). She is 14 years older than me. In answer to my question, she said ‘What are you thinking about that for?’ making a clear point that I should not be thinking or talking about it. I took the hint and never mentioned it again.
I don’t believe that there is any sinister explanation for my broken leg. Rather, the secrecy around it is typical of the atmosphere I absorbed into my very being as a child, knowing that there were ‘things’ that were hinted at, dropped into the conversation, but I wasn’t allowed to ask about. Another example is when my mother asked my father to move out (after years of not wanting me to speak to him, despite us all living in the same house). My mother was complaining about him to me, something she always did (and continued to do until his death), so I wasn’t taking much notice as I hated it when she did that anyway, and she suddenly muttered under her breath ‘getting a divorce.’ I said ‘No!’ and she simply said ‘Yes, I can’t take anymore.’ And that was that. A few days later my father told me that my mother had asked him to move out. He asked me whether I wanted him to go. All I could say was ‘I don’t mind.’ Truly awful words. But such was the fear of speaking my truth in that household. Indeed, the fear of speaking.
I accept now that my mother was locked in so much pain and resentment towards my father, as well as suffering from mental illness, that she didn’t have the capacity to consider my feelings or let it occur to her that I had any at all. She dealt with things the way she has always done: packing them into boxes in her mind and carrying on. But she let them spill over when it suited her; mutterings under her breath, flashes of anger, comments like ‘the worst mistake of my life’ knowing I would see and hear them but, being the well behaved child I was, wouldn’t say a word. I suspect it was her way of reaching out, as strange as that sounds. She needed my companionship, wanted to express herself in the only way she knew how. She had no concept of my fear. And I was remarkably good at hiding it, being strong, moulding myself into the listening ear.
Returning to my broken leg, I’ll never know the truth, but I suspect she was at the top of the stairs when she dropped me and I tumbled down. These things happen. I don’t blame her for that. What I wish is that she could simply say ‘Oh yes, I dropped you, it was terrifying, you just fell.’ We could talk openly about it. But my guess is that she, too, was afraid. It was yet another thing she had to force away in the depths of her mind, lest it reflected badly on her. Mum has chronically low self esteem, the outcome of her own childhood. It so often is. The irony is that if she could have come out of her shell and dealt with her own pain, we’d have both been okay. But isn’t that the epitome of the human journey?
I know this post paints my mother in a terrible light. She is actually a very sensitive, caring, intelligent woman, and we get on well now, within reason (she still doesn’t do emotions). Her mental illness has passed. Her physical health is not good. I have healed a lot of my emotional pain. I have found acceptance. We relate as adults. We never talk about the past. Maybe in that way we will remain as we always were. But we talk more openly and freely about our lives now, today, and I can be thankful for that.
Echkart Tolle explained how his spiritual awakening to his true nature beyond the mind occurred when his mental suffering became intolerable. He was severely depressed, suicidal, in total despair unable to see a way out and until he uttered the words ‘Who is this ‘I’ that I cannot live with?’ Then he paused, reflecting on the profound meaning of his words. He had discovered the inner witness that some may call the soul, who lies beyond the mind, aware of every experience, thought and emotion, yet untouched by it all. This realisation changed Tolle’s life. He woke up from the dream of identifying with his mental state and went on to (eventually) write several books and become a spiritual teacher. As far as I know he has never fallen back into unconsciousness.
His dramatic awakening is unusual in its completeness; a clear boundary between ‘before’ and ‘after.’ For most people it doesn’t work like that. The path to becoming more conscious tends to follow a rugged trajectory of peaks and troughs, consisting of periods of heightened awareness before falling back into the grip of identifying with one’s conditioned self and then, at some point, emerges the realisation of being lost in the dream of mind. Ideally, the conscious periods will lengthen and the tendency to get lost will lessen over time. However, sometimes the unconscious periods intensify as the conditioned self/ego senses it is losing its hold and will hang on to whatever it can to save itself. Eventually, for those destined to awaken in this lifetime, the ego can no longer resist the force of the soul’s desire to know itself, and it begins to dissolve. Far from being a wonderful process, it is often completely horrible. This is what is known as the ‘dark night of the soul’
My own journey has definitely followed the latter trajectory. Looking back, my awakening journey probably first started when I walked away from my marriage with an narcissist, struggling with a relapse of my physical health condition, and a profoundly disabled child in tow. Until that point I was living out my life in a state of trauma as the result of my childhood and becoming seriously unwell at university. I had improved, gone to work and had a baby, only to fall very ill again. I was sensitive, empathetic, but highly insecure and lacking in self esteem, so it was not surprising I found myself attracted to my ex’s highly magnetic stage personality. After several years of mental cruelty, I finally realised that I was worth more. I don’t know how I found the courage to leave under the circumstances, but the little girl inside me had not lost her connection to the Divine despite everything. She reminded me that I was strong and would be okay, like she had been.
And so my journey really started. I sought therapy, tried alternative treatments, focused on my life with my son. Of course it was far from easy. In many ways my life actually worsened. Like Tolle, I fell into a bad depression. I remember sitting on my back doorstep, staring at the horse chestnut tree in my then-garden, tears slipping down my face, not even having the energy to wipe them away. Someone knocked at the door wanting access to the drain in my garden, can’t remember why, but I just remember the desperation I felt for them to see me, notice my pain, take away the desperate loneliness in my heart. The overriding theme of my life and particularly at that time was loneliness. I had lost my spiritual connection. I was barely surviving. My son’s behaviour was so challenging that it took everything I had. I had little support from family and no compassion or understanding from my ex. I had carers to help with my son, and emotional support from a therapist, but I still felt very alone.
A few years later, when my son was 9, I started reading a lot of spiritual books and meditating intensely. I had dipped in and out of this over the years, but not with any serious intent. This really kickstarted the next stage of my journey. It is hard to explain exactly what happened, but I ‘opened up.’ I suddenly felt more connected to spirit than I ever had before. My dreams became more intense, often containing Christian or Buddhist imagery. I saw and felt things during meditation – lights, sensations. I no longer felt alone. This was a relief because my life was spiralling further out of control. I ended up in hospital with my illness and my son’s dad started to have our son more. It took a few more years and a court case before my son went to his dad’s full time but at that point I could finally breathe. I could find myself.
My journey has been one of coming home to myself. I realise now that there was no other way things could have gone. I could not have ‘awoken’ IN the situation I was in, but THROUGH it. I was lost in the grip of trying so hard to do the impossible – be a superhuman parent to a challenging child, while I was sick. I made a difficult decision, had to overcome a lot of hatred thrown in my direction, in order to realise that who I am goes beyond the roles that I play. I began to realise that there is something within me – in all of us – that is stronger and more real than anything in this life. Moreover, I understood the true meaning of Love: I loved my son deeply; I disliked his behaviour a lot of the time, but I loved him, and I wanted him to be where he would be cared for and safe. To love him meant making sure of that, even though many people could not understand. Also, Love meant recognising my own limits and trusting my intuition, not society’s view on what I should or shouldn’t be doing.
My spiritual journey continues. Last year was particularly tough with my son. I notice when I’m lost in thoughts about being a bad mother or even just wishing things were different. I’m only human. Spiritual perfectionism is definitely a thing, but the key is to notice – notice what’s happening, notice the resistance to what is. Tolle talks about acceptance because it’s the only thing we can do but it’s often the hardest thing to do because part of us wants to fight against what we don’t want, instinctively so. I believe I have gone through my ‘dark night of the soul’ because so much has been stripped away, yet what is real remains: the connection to my soul or to the Divine, whichever way you want to look at it, which has always existed. I may not have had an ‘eureka’ moment but in my own way I understand what Tolle was experiencing with ‘Who is this ‘I’?’ Who, indeed? All I know is that I am on my way home.
I had a beautiful dream during the night in which I awoke from a bed in a little cabin somewhere in the woods. I thought to myself that I have ‘let go.’ I went outside and put my hand into a hole inside a tree trunk and found it full of crystals and other beautiful things. I saw a tiny blue heart and realised it was a sign from Spirit. However, I was searching for two things in particular: clear quartz and celestial quartz. It did not take long before I found them. At this point the dream changed and I was in a room walking towards a large mirror carrying the crystals. I could feel immense spiritual power around me and I knew that the crystals were magnifying my connection to the Divine. I also knew that I needed to start working with crystals. The dream then ended.
I love the fact I ‘woke up’ within the dream itself. This is always highly symbolic and can be a common feature in lucid dreams (when one becomes aware that they are dreaming) although this dream was not lucid. It shows that I am, indeed, ‘waking up’ akas becoming more conscious in my daily life and no longer falling so readily into unconscious thoughts and emotions. The wood is deeply indicative of a myth, played out in fairy tales, whereby representing the journey into the unknown that every soul must take in this life. There are fears and challenges to be faced, as seen in stories such as ‘Hansel and Gretel’ and ‘Red Riding Hood’ to name but two. Thankfully, my dream carried an atmosphere of safety, so I was free to explore without anxiety. The hole in the tree truck may point to the tree of life; connected to Mother Earth, yet reaching for the Heavens. I found the treasure within it; namely the little blue heart, symbolising communication with Spirit in the name of Love, which is always within me. And then I searched for the quartz.
I found this fascinating because while I own some crystals, I don’t really use them, or think about them especially. I have a large rose quartz and citrine on my window sill and plenty of smaller crystals in a bag, but I don’t often handle them. The fact I was searching for the two types of quartz in my dream led me to look into the properties of both, and I found that they support greater clarity of mind, healing/cleansing, and increased connection to the Divine. This dream follows the post I made yesterday about intending to avoid checking my emails until after I have meditated in the morning. It is a message from my unconscious reinforcing the decision I have made and – perhaps – giving it greater power and manifestation. The mirror shows that I am aware of myself and what I am perceiving, as well as what I am projecting in the world – the illusions.
On waking this morning I immediately had in mind to hunt for a clear quartz and celestial quartz and carry them around with me. Now I’m not particularly knowledgeable about crystals, so I may be wrong, but I picked out from my bag what I believed were the two. You can see them in the photo. It feels good to hold them and connect them to my dream. And this morning started on a good note; taking my dog out, eating breakfast, meditating, reading inspiring works, and only then checking my emails! I will start as I (hopefully!) mean to go on.
I’ve spent much of my life trying to chase a particular kind of experience, such as a relationship, owning a car, having a child, studying for a degree, carving out a career, going on holiday.
I believed that each of those would bring me joy and satisfaction. And while each of those things have value and brought me good times, they never satisfied the inner longing.
It has taken me almost to my mid forties before I could truly take in that I am what I seek.
I’ve heard it so many times. Most of us have by now. For some, it’s almost irritating, triggering a defensive response. It did for me on occasions. I felt like it was saying I shouldn’t WANT or NEED anything because it all exists within me. Not a hugely helpful thing to say to someone in distress.
Now I realise it isn’t saying that. Instead it is saying the following: By all means go out in the world and have fun. Enjoy the experiences that come your way. Seek refuge and healing in those beautiful people who want to help. Find a purpose, if you like, whether that’s self betterment or self service. Do what feels important to you.
Just don’t lose yourself in any of it. Realise that life is a gift, not an obligation. And at those times when it all falls apart, know that your joy or healing was never dependent on that one person or situation. The treasure trove has always been within you. You’ve been chasing a feeling, but a feeling can never exist externally, it can only be realised within. That can’t be taken away, even in the face of loss, even when it gets covered up, temporarily, by the shadows of fear or grief.
Yes, what I’ve been chasing all these years is my own joy, my own peace, my own self. I didn’t find them anywhere else because I was never supposed to; they were never there! I lost myself in the mirror. I thought I was in the world; the world is in me.
To anyone struggling with deep emotional pain right now, please take heart. You might not be able to see or experience it but one day the clouds will lift and you’ll realise that there is joy to be found even right in the thick of despair. It exists because it’s from Spirit and Spirit lies within you, it IS you.
I wish I had the energy to write about all my tarot spreads but I’ve been struggling with a flare up of my health condition recently and had to take a step back from a lot of things. However, today’s spread is so fascinating that I just had to say something. I’m trying not to get caught in interpreting my spread too rationally and instead come from a place of intuition. The temptation can be to overthink it, especially as a beginner. But as soon as I pulled today’s cards I thought ‘wow’ and listened to my heart.
This spread is about self mastery. It points to ownership of my inner power. I am in touch with both sides of my nature – masculine and feminine- and I understand and work with my thoughts (swords) and emotions (cups). I have a good balance between emotions and rationality, or at least the potential is there to achieve this, and consequently I will experience greater intuition and creativity in my life. I am slowly feeling more stable in the midst of my emotional storms and know they will pass.
The minor arcana are positioned around one major arcana – The World – which represents completion and fulfilment. I am integrating all aspects of my being- the light and the dark. The fool is holding the wands of both of magician and the chariot – indicating that I have reached a place where I can embrace my inner power, which emerges from my soul, and willpower, which stems from the ego.
It is interesting that the Justice card is the over-riding one in this spread. Justice is concerned with morality and fairness, particularly on the physical plane, and the need to act in accordance with one’s greater good. A shadow aspect to this card is the fixation on life being unfair, especially in the case of a very challenging life, and I have my share of complaints. I think this card is reminding me that life IS fair and just in ways I do not understand, but my soul does, and I can choose to hold the vision of my greatest good in everything I do. In addition, it is a reminder to stay balanced and aware even in the face of great personal struggle.
In case anyone ever doubted it, even the most small acts of kindness make a real difference.
Years ago as a sixteen year old I went on holiday with my mum. It was a particularly painful holiday for me because I had to break up early for the summer break at college and miss a final week with a teacher who I was deeply attached to. Also, while away, I became very sick with some sort of bug, or possibly sun stroke, and ended up vomiting for a couple of days. Then, on the final day, my mum got very ratty with me although I can’t remember the details of this (probably blocked it out) only that it may have been over having little money as we were poor, albeit still had enough to scrape a summer holiday, but she blamed our financial situation on my father, just like she blamed everything on him.
My mum’s emotional state always affected me horribly, and I developed a severe headache while waiting in the hotel for our pick up bus to take us to the airport for our return flight. By the time we reached the airport and were standing in the queue for check in, I had a full blown migraine.
My mum was no good in these situations. As an adult myself, I now know that it wasn’t that she didn’t care; she just had little or no emotional energy left for me. She had depression while I was growing up, understandably given the circumstances we lived in, and her focus was on survival (and blaming my dad for everything). She has always been strong and resilient which serves her well now in terms of her ailing health, but back then her determination to plough on and give no time and attention to her emotions meant that she had little patience for her very sensitive and introspective youngest daughter (me).
I can’t remember what she said or did, only that she was sharp with me, and I went and sat on a seat in the centre of the airport where I could see the line of people queuing. I had my head in my hands. The pain was horrific. I’m not sure what was worse, the physical agony of the migraine or the sadness weighing on me. I can’t remember how long I sat there but at some point a man came over, sat with me, and asked if I was okay. I told him I had a bad headache. He went off to get me some painkillers and water.
Such a simple gesture but I still remember this 28 years later. It sticks in my mind because the loneliness I felt then – the disconnect from my mum and not being able to spend the final week with the teacher who I’d formed an emotional bond with – was debilitating. I didn’t even realise at the time how lonely I was because such devastating feelings are too much to process when the support structure isn’t there. A total stranger reached out and helped me when I most needed an act of kindness. That is why so many years later it still touches me.
Never underestimate a small act of kindness like this. It can absolutely make a difference, however insignificant it seems to be. One can never know how much it might be needed in ways that go beyond the surface. Knowing someone cares is the most powerful thing of all.