Tag Archives: gratitude

Birds in the sky ….

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Birds in the sky --- you know how I feel

Birds in the sky — you know how I feel

Sometimes ‘the road less travelled’ is the path that is the most interesting. Today I took that literally. One of my emotional survival mechanisms is to take a break from work and have a walk. I can’t do it every day but when I can I always feel better. I work in an industrial midlands town so I love finding parks and areas of green and water whenever I can. From canals to lakes the industrial landscape gives so many opportunities for beauty. This half hour walk took me past a lake created at the foot of reclaimed ‘slag heaps’, the bi-product of the mining industry now long gone. Since the 1980’s when the mines closed down much of the land has been revitalised and made into areas for play and recreation. The same is true of old railway lines, now cycle paths and walkers and wildlife paradise. Don’t get me started on the politics though.
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Today I changed my usual route which is to walk round the lake and followed the path that goes away from the water. It climbs to the top of the hill where a hidden secret football pitch lay green and empty. The views across the city are of high-rise flats and housing. The light was golden on the hill and the blue skies were a welcome change from days of rain. I felt grateful to be alive
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It made me sad that in leaving the bustle around the water’s edge there is a slight feeling of anxiety and wariness. Down below children are on scooters and bikes, teens crash around on skateboards and dog walkers and families watch the birds and throw bread for them to swirl high in the air. Away from the crowds I meet surreptitious couples with rangy lurchers, a man carrying a bottle and reeking of alcohol, broken glass and the unmistakable signs of drug use. I don’t mind walking alone and I know how to look confident when I walk but the thoughts still creep into my mind when the people I pass look shiftily at their feet and none of us make eye contact
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Coming back down the other side of the lake the sight of children watching a man fishing is comforting and looking up into the sky through the silver birch trees I breathe a little sigh of relief and head back to work.

Fish in the sea you know how I feel ...

Fish in the sea you know how I feel …

Only blue skies

Only blue skies

 

One Day …

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Just before Christmas we went shopping for a coat . I’ve been having lustful thoughts about the fake fur jackets that are all the rage this year. It channels my inner slut most beautifully. Over the last year and only with the help of a 12 step programme, I have lost 117 lbs taking me from over 315 to a relatively slender 198. Although I still have some way to go to be at a healthy body weight, it appears actually within the realm of possibility. I am starting to like what I see in the mirror. Shopping for clothes is becoming a joy rather than a traumatic exercise. For a while I didn’t buy much. As the weight dropped off clothes got looser and I moved through the sizes in my wardrobe, in the loft and hidden in drawers. Now I am finally having to buy new. Sometimes I hit the charity shops where recently I have acquired some bargains along with a sense of excitement.
But today was special. The coat was going to be my Christmas present from my nearest and dearest. I tried a couple on. I landed on a gorgeous silky mink brown and was thrilled when I put it on. First I went straight for the Large. XXL was the biggest size. It was, well, roomy. I picked up the medium. I was a bit nervous. I didn’t want to try something that was too small, I’ve had too many experiences of feeling humiliated and hot and bothered in dressing rooms. It fitted. I had to try it on twice to be sure.
This feels like a miracle.
When you lose a lot of weight it’s hard to trust the process. It feels quite dangerous to believe that you will stay this slim.

Only one day at a time will see me through.

Here and now in the garden

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Time to get going with the veggie garden again. I do confess to being a woman of fits and starts with gardening ( well, with everything, if I’m honest). The ‘earlies’ I bought a couple of months ago with every intention of planting have turned wrinkly and a bit mouldy in the bag so I am thinking they would probably not be the best start for a healthy crop. But the main crop potatoes are sprouted nicely and I have planted them out today in two massive pots on the patio along with 2 lots of onions and 2 courgette plants. This year I have planted the courgettes one to a pot as I hadn’t realised just how big those things grow last time. We didn’t have much of a crop last season and even though what we had was fabulous I think with more space they will crop more. That’s the theory anyway.

I also bought 3 big new pots in the sale section at the garden centre, 2 courgette plants, 3 bags of multi-purpose compost and a bag of farmyard manure. Saves you money this growing your own vegetables don’tcha know? ‘The Help” ie Son 3 brought the haevy stuff in from the car whilst I did the artistic planting-y bit. And will obviously take all the credit.

Tomorrow I am going to plant some bulbs the kids gave me for Mother’s Day ( here in the UK that was in March). It is a ‘purple selection’ so I think they will match my handbag and shoes perfectlly. I did a bit of desultory weeding. The type that means grabbing big handfuls of last years cabbage and yanking it out of the ground by the roots. I didn’t attemt to tackle the forest of attractive dandelions that need serious digging. I had a Scarlett O’Hara  moment about them.

The really good thing about being in the garden though is it is a very mindful experience. I do struggle with being as ‘here and now’ as I would like to be. Too much of my life has always been spent in fantasising and planning which is all very well if you are writing a book or carrying out a great design plan, but for day to day peace of mind there is nothing like just being in the moment and accepting it as it is. Someone said to me ‘Grateful people stay sober”. Whatever your drug of choice, gratitude has a sure fire way of putting addiction firmly in it’s place.

Today I am glad of a reminder from the garden that I am glad to be here and now.

365 steps to freedom

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The path leads up and up through woodland, spring flowers and shades of green

At the Eagles Nest with the valley below. The sense of achievement is wonderful. 6 months ago the climb would have been beyond me. There is both a sort of shame and a new pride in this.

Can we do it? Yes, we can!! 365 Steps, just one step at a time. One step for every day of the year. There was something quite profound for us in this climb, it seemed to mark a turning point of hope and a little helping of confidence and faith

There are 365 steps up to the Wye Valley pathway from the road that leads from Tintern Abbey. Can we do it?

Half way up and a pause for breath and photo opportunities.

The view starts to open out and the River Wye snakes away through the valley below