Why I Fail As A Hippie

When I tell people that I’m into historical swordfighting and/or traditional archery, there are a number of typical reactions I’ve become very familiar with. It goes something like this:

Me: I do historical swordfighting.

Guy: Chicks with swords are hot.

Me:

Or if I’m talking to a woman, especially one of the enlightened/spiritual sort, then I often get something like: “Oh you warrior woman!” or “Reclaiming your strength, bravo!” To which I react with something akin to a mixure of helplessness and guilt. Because what I really think is: “Ummmm, no… I mainly just like to hit things.”

Now before I continue: I am a hippie, often call myself one. I’m looking for ways of living a more sustainable life, and I’m most definitely looking to get out of the society-prescribed “sell a significant chunk of your waking hours to an employer, pay bills and shut up” status quo. I’m a card-carrying tree-hugger (and everyone-hugger, in fact) and a pagan hag who believes in free love and true connection over “ownership” monogamous relationships of the type society sanctions as the only valid version.

But when I’m among friends, I often feel like a hippie fail. I don’t join multi-culti workshops to sing to my womb or group-healing sessions of my divine feminine. And here’s yet another disclaimer before I continue: Some of the most amazing humans I’ve ever met are into this kind of stuff, so let me make absolutely clear that I’m not dissing it as such. I love everything that empowers people, and if this is the kind of thing that empowers you, go for it, ya hear me? I mean this with 100% sincerity and not even an ounce of condescension.

Different things empower different people. You needn’t justify what you do, and I don’t justify what I do either – what I share here is done in the name of just that, sharing. I’m always interested in how other people tick, so if anyone’s interested in how I tick, here it is. It’s not up for debate in the sense of comparison or judgment. It is what it is. We clear on that? Good.

So here’s the deal. I grew up in a developed “Western” country which taught me a lot about rationality, words, and logic (which was great). Where it fell down was in areas of spirituality, pleasure, the feminine principle, and my pussy. This has certainly damaged me and I have a shitload of healing yet to do. It’s just that I choose to do these things in deep ritual, on my own, or if push comes to shove, with a therapist (haven’t resorted to that in many years, but would again if it should become necessary). It’s what works for me.

Areas I didn’t have to heal, that a lot of others carry deep wounds in, include sexuality, strength, and owning my power. Not that I’m perfect in any of these, and indeed I continuously work on developing them. But I’m not nearly as wounded as many people I know. For example, I’ve never had a single negative sexual experience. While I’ve known condescension and sexism, I’ve never been assaulted or abused. I’ve always known my body and my sexuality and discovered sexual pleasure as a small child.

I’ve also been blessed by knowing that I wasn’t into “girl toys” like dolls. And if I do historical martial arts, I don’t do them to reclaim anything. I do them because I’ve always been fascinated with swords, and blades in general, and with history. Going to the gym makes my brain die of boredom, and I found that swinging swords is a lot more fun. So it’s ideal for me.

Traditional archery is about me being the cuddliest creature you’ve ever met. I am sense-ual in the literal meaning, and archery to me is about feeling the living wood under my hands and the whole beautiful fluidity of shooting, the zen of being in the forest and learning a very practical skill that could conceivably come in handy, in an emergency (I’m non-violent but like the thought of knowing these things in case I ever need them).

I’m not very New Age at all. In many respects, I’m astonishingly conservative. And while I love world culture, I focus on my own heritage, which I believe has been neglected and almost lost in many ways, due to a mix of patriarchy and an influx of foreign religions which have taken over. I love learning about all the world, but my impression is that many people turn to far-Eastern/Native American spirituality or culture or martial arts etc etc, not just out of interest in these things – which is great – but also a perceived gap in a similarly valuable tradition here in the West of Europe.

Our own traditions have been bulldozered over (by our own rulers, no less) for so long, there are only scraps left. But they are there. And before I learn more about anything else, I’ll practice European Martial Arts and archery, and Western Spirituality. I’m not into “goddesses” and crystals (which are mined by tearing up the body of our mother) and chakras, I’m into rolling in the mud and relating to the traditional elements, learning the energies of the plants and the stones and the people, directing them, and hearing the old stories and mythologies.

I’m into meeting the gods of the old pantheons, who are for the most part overjoyed to be heard and seen (and not mixed with deities from entirely different countries and cultures). I’m into experiencing, rather than reading about it. I’m into orgasm rather than meditation. Oh of course I do meditation, too, but I have so much feminine principle to catch up with, it’ll take me at least some more years of pleasure research until I’ll have headspace for anything else (and if you’ve no clue what I’m talking about, read Mama Gena’s Pussy book already).

If that makes me less of a hippie, so be it! It’s my own path. I’m happy supporting everyone else on theirs.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. It will be visible after approval and I respond to every comment, so do check back later!

If you’d like a quick email notification every time I post something new on my blog, fill in this little form. I give you my hagish word that I’ll never spam you or pass on your data!

My Little Paradise

See the little cottage just behind the main house? That’s it.
I’ve such news! After five months of searching in vain, I finally found a new place to rent.

The downside first: It’s further away from here than I like. Then again, I searched around Gort, South Co. Galway and the Northern half of Co. Clare all the way down to Ennis and to the coast in the West, and haven’t found anything. The few places that were detached and affordable, didn’t have broadband of the quality my job requires.

Enter this new place. I had a bit of a tingly feeling about it from the start. And it’s absolutely perfect: Small, yes, but now that I’ve made the sacrifice to let go of the cutest, I don’t need more than one bedroom any more, and it’s very spacious and not at all cluttered. There’s also storage space for some of my furniture, so I won’t have to sell all of it!

The cottage is behind the main house where my completely lovely new landlord and landlady live. I can’t believe my luck, we kind of met and loved each other, they’re so sweet and kind and generous and have basically adopted me as soon as I stepped in. I’ll be completely independent, with my own meters and bills, but if anything’s the matter, they’re right there (and so is an adorable little dog I’ve threatened to  steal, hehe).

It’s just sooooo quiet. Not just detached, but in the middle of the countryside, a few houses around but at a good distance, little traffic from the road out front. I believe I’ll spend a week just sleeping when I arrive, and I can’t wait, although I’ll have plenty to do until I get there – packing, organising, disassembling furniture, and of course still working and Coaching along the way. But it’ll all be worth it. Gort is still within reach and so is East Clare, so it’s not like I’m falling off the face of the earth! As a bonus, Mayo is closer. I’ll have just about half an hour to Ballinrobe and an hour to Massbrook from now on.

For those of you who know Ireland, my new place is a few miles North of Athenry. It’s not a spectacular part of the country, but lovely all the same, with rolling green fields and little rivers. And did I mention the quiet?

So now I’m busy planning and hoping I’ll get a bit of rest in between, because I am battling the beginnings of what could be the flu. One thing I can’t afford now is sickness! So far I’ve managed to keep on top of it, I’m a little tired and fuzzy-brained but otherwise okay. I’ll just have to take things slowly for a few more days.

This morning, I drove up to the new place to pay my deposit and get the keys. My new landlady hugged me and said she couldn’t wait for me to move in! I assured her that I’m counting the days and hours. In just over two weeks, I’ll be in my own little paradise, and I’m still pinching myself because I can’t quite believe it.

Happy days!

Please feel free to leave a comment below. It will be visible after approval and I respond to every comment, so do check back later!

If you’d like a quick email notification every time I post something new on my blog, fill in this little form. I give you my hagish word that I’ll never spam you or pass on your data!

 

Travels In The New World

I’ve been back for almost three weeks, but it feels much shorter. I still have traces of jet lag and am constantly grumbling about the cooler temperatures around here every day. So, yes, it was an amazing experience and apart from many heart-warming encounters with beautiful people and sights I’ll never forget in my life, it’s also given me a lot of food for thought.

What’s Nova Scotia like, then?

Imagine a land almost the size of the Republic of Ireland, with a quarter of the population. I’ll never complain about losing arrows in Massbrook again, because the density of the forest in NS meant I lost almost *every* arrow I shot into the underbrush instead of into a target. I saw a deer cantering across a highway (yes, really. We’re talking a massive wide road with two lanes in each direction), seals, whales, and more wild birds than you can shake a stick at.

Back in the middle ages, Ireland used to be known as the “wooded isle”. I imagine it must have looked a lot like that, back then. Basically, Nova Scotia is trees and water, both the sea and lakes are everywhere. There’s pretty picture-book cottages, lighthouses and more lighthouses. A jaw-droppingly beautiful coastline. Cliffs and beaches. And in between are some of the loveliest, warmest, funniest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.

The temperatures were perfect, just warm enough to be summery without being sweltering – around 20-27 degrees apart from one rainy day when it was closer to 18. I went hiking that day in spite of the rain – I live in Ireland, if there’s one thing that doesn’t put me off, it’s rain – and saw a hauntingly beautiful fairy forest on a small peninsula with wild seas rushing all around it:

Every evening (apart from the last day; I was too heartbroken then), I wrote down a few highlights of the day, lest I forget. I thought I’ll just share these here. Make of them what you will!

 

21.7.

It’s the evening of my first day, and I’ve already:

  • Danced
  • Given someone a gift
  • Got a warm, heartfelt hug
  • Connected with amazing people (a Galway woman, among others)
  • Listened to a live band

 

22.7.

Today, I:

  • Had a lovely talk with a new friend
  • Got more hugs
  • Saw some of the most beautiful nature ever
  • Saw wild geese and a doe
  • Climbed a cliff
  • Inhaled 340g of raspberries in under 10 minutes
  • Drove more than I thought I could drive in one day
  • Saw purple clouds
  • Climbed into bed like a little child – the mattress is so thick, it increases the height of the bed by a lot!

 

23.7.

Today, I:

  • Made another new friend and had a great talk
  • Shot in the BANS shoot with my new longbow
  • Got more hugs still
  • Saw amazing scenery
  • Saw a lighthouse
  • Had dinner on my bed in the B&B and it was heaven!

 

24.7.

Today, I:

  • Wore a dress
  • Made friends with some trees
  • Climbed to the lamp of a lighthouse
  • Sat by the quiet waters of the Bay of Fundy at high tide
  • Met a sea-hag
  • Talked to a painter
  • Fell in love with a town
  • Got lost and drove in the wrong direction
  • Saw a historic ship

 

25.7.

Today, I:

  • Went hiking through a magical forest by the sea
  • Stepped ankle deep into mud
  • Stood on a cliff over the sea and listened to the waves
  • Got more hugs
  • Found a wonderful cafe
  • Closed an important chapter in my life

 

26.7.

Today, I:

  • Nearly got eaten by biting insects
  • Walked around a lake with no other human nearby
  • Saw 300-million-years-old fossils
  • Had lunch with a lovely older couple from the States
  • Saw seals and sea birds
  • Drove along the most beautiful coastline
  • Missed my new favourite cafe (arrived after closing time)

Please feel free to leave a comment below. It will be visible after approval and I respond to every comment, so do check back later!

If you’d like a quick email notification every time I post something new on my blog, fill in this little form. I give you my hagish word that I’ll never spam you or pass on your data!

 

T Minus Three

Three days, that is. To my holiday. You can rest assured you’ll hear lots about it once I’m back, so I’m going to try and be good and shut up about it now! Today, I’d much rather talk about the bigger picture, something this holiday is playing into.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know about my journey “back to life” in the past 1 1/2 years. Healing my body, re-connecting with my emotions and then with people I love, connecting with new friends, doing what lights me up (which is what my Coaching is all about), etc. And by the way, if you aren’t following my blog yet, fill in this little form (nobody but me will ever see your details) and you’ll get a little email every time I post.

So, the trip is the next step. And it’s a bit of a “surveying” trip, too, after all I’m seriously considering leaving Ireland if I don’t find a more permanent home here in the next few years. I have a friend who emigrated to Canada and keeps recommending it, so it’s definitely on the list. In fact, the list of countries that are English-speaking and sane is fairly short these days. I’m not ruling out different languages, but it would definitely be a drawback.

Not that I want to leave Ireland. In fact, I’m happier than ever these days, I have wonderful friends here and my archery and my swords (at least, once my tendon puts itself right), and I’m just starting to put down roots in this area – the Gort Community Market I helped organise this month is just one example. Do check out the short video I made and posted above! It was absolutely beautiful, so many amazing people and such a perfect space to bring the community together in.

Oh, oh! I also got my new longbow! Jack finished it the other week, and it’s so idiotically beautiful I’m all starry-eyed. It’s very different from my previous bow though, and I’m only just learning to shoot it properly. Of course I can’t resist bringing the longbow to Canada, so I don’t expect to be hitting many targets during the shoot on Sunday. Who cares – I’ll have fun anyway, and I’ll meet some lovely archers I’ve connected with on Facebook over the past weeks and months. I have been practising, at home and in Massbrook last week, so I’m not completely unprepared. Massbrook was gorgeous in all its summery glory, I didn’t take any pictures this time unfortunately, but I do have a picture of the new bow:

bow

In short, I’ve no desire to permanently leave this country. However, it’s easy to get lulled into not doing anything about my living situation because everything else is so damn good right now. Fact is I’m getting older and rents are climbing and I’m further away from owning my own place than ever. Two years ago, on a much higher salary, I tried and failed to get a mortgage in spite of a gilt-edged credit record. A single applicant in their fourties, unheard of! Come back when you’re 25 and married, with two incomes. Yeah.

I have a 3-year plan which consists of getting fully healthy and strong again – I want to be in the best shape of my life by then, the year I turn 50 – and sorting out my living situation. Also my business. There’s seriously nothing more important in life than pursuing passions and being joyful and overflowing with love. People need to take their focus off just making a living and on to what life is really about.

In a way, that’s what my path is all about: Keep nourishing the joy, passion, and love, and at the same time making the mundane parts of life work for me, too. The great thing about it is that I’m starting out in a position of love and joy; there’s no pain I need to overcome or a lack I need to fill. It’s always good to start making changes from a position of strength and love, rather than desperation.

It’s going to be interesting.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. It will be visible after approval and I respond to every comment, so do check back later!

End Of An Era

I’ve noticed that some people seem to read only the first few paragraphs of my blog posts. It’s fine if you don’t have the time or patience for everything, but I usually write the most important stuff later, so if you have to read selectively, I suggest you read the second half! Although there are times, like today, when I’ll simply write about two different, equally important subjects.

Also, in case you didn’t know, if you fill in this little form, I’ll send you a short email every time I update my blog. You’ll get a maximum of one email a week, so it’s hardly spam. Dooo eeet!

So, news. Big news, in fact. I’ve done something monumental last week: I let go of my budgies, after sharing quarters with 2-6 feathery friends for the past 10 years.

The short version is that it was the right thing to do for them. After I lost so many birds between 2015 and 2016, my heart was so thoroughly broken I couldn’t face getting more budgies and then potentially losing them again. So I just got the one new companion for my Tracey (and hit gold: she and Tino have the sweetest love you could imagine). They were happy with each other, and yet. And yet.

Budgies are flock birds. My house is way too quiet, especially lately with me working in my job all day and then on my business all evening. I work on the phone / Skype, so I can’t do it in their room, they’d get so chirpy I couldn’t hear myself think. And because they were alone so much, they slept a lot. It’s just not right for budgies, who live in flocks of tens of thousands in their native Australia.

It took me months until I actually reached out to find someone who’d take them and who’d live up to my insane standards. But I found the perfect place for them, in a friend’s garden aviary. He’s a show-budgie breeder and clearly adores the birds, and they live in a budgie paradise – well, click the video above and see for yourself. Tracey and Tino were so excited and chirpy when they got there, I knew at once that I’d made the right decision. But gods, do I miss them. So very much, every morning when I wake up to silence, every time I come home wanting to rush upstairs, every evening when I go to bed without saying good night to them…

Tracey and Tino

I’m firmly trying to focus on the advantages, like my new-found freedom. For the first time in 10 years, I’ll be able to travel without worrying about the birds! In 8 years, I’ve never been away for more than 2 or 3 nights in a row. Now I can go for as long as I like, or stay overnight somewhere spontaneously. It’ll be brilliant! At least that’s what I tell myself.

The theory will be put to the test in four weeks – oh my gods, four weeks! – because that’s when I’ll finally go to Canada for nearly a week! I can’t even afford that, but any less would be ridiculous, and it’s a whole lot better than nothing. I’ll rent a car and drive all around Nova Scotia, which in case you didn’t know, is a gorgeous province in the far South-East of the country and nearly the size of Ireland. I’ve spent so much time on their tourism website that the other day, a chat popped up and a friendly tourist guide asked me if I needed help finding anything. I asked if they had a Tardis that would fast-forward me to my holidays (she laughed).

To give you an idea… it really does look beautiful!

Cabot-Trail-Nova-Scotia

Generally, the people there seem to be completely lovely, from the guy running the B&B I’ll be staying in (we spoke on the phone and I don’t think he realises that I picture him as Barliman Butterbur at the Prancing Pony), to the Bowhunters who host the 3D shoot I’ll participate in when I’m there.

WAAAAAAH I can’t wait!! Did I mention I’m excited?

I promise there’ll be a boatload of pictures when I get back. If I get back, and don’t “accidentally” miss my flight home. Not like I have any cutest to come home to, sniff.

That’s it from me this week – take care, and enjoy the waxing moon! I’ll talk to you in a few.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. It will be visible after approval and I respond to every comment, so do check back later!

The Luminous Weeks

IMG_2143
A fairy forest in the Burren Nature Sanctuary
When I say that I have trouble sleeping in the vicinity of awake humans, people usually assume I’m an insomniac. It’s not true: I sleep like a log as long as it’s reasonably quiet, it’s just “people sounds” that wake me up all the time.

There are exceptions, though, such as the time of the year when I simply don’t sleep no matter what. Every year around the Summer Solstice, there are a few weeks when I assume a toddler’s attitude to sleep, in that I’m way too excited and wired to even think of sleeping, unwilling to miss out on waking hours, and unable to fall asleep although I’m actually tired.

It’s not a problem, as long as it’s just a week or two in the year. In my current situation, it’s compounded by the fact that “human noise” cuts short my sleep all the time anyway, but I’m way too excited to care right now. It’s Solstice time!!

Trying to put into words how I feel at the moment is one of the rare occasions when words fail me. Allow me to try.

  • Part of my pagan practice is to be aware of and constantly strengthen my connection with the natural world. Paired with my natural high sensitivity, this makes me extremely receptive to what’s going on around me. At this time of the year, when life is practically bursting from every leaf on every tree and even the grass is happily procreating (alas, I’m allergic to the pollen, but it’s not as bad as it used to be), it’s like a constant bombardment.

“High vibration go on…” (if you don’t recognise this line, you really really need to listen to Yes’s “Awaken”)

  • I’ve spent decades of my life sharpening my senses and the months from around mid April to mid August are like sensory overload. All. The. Time. The air is fragrant and seductive, the warm breeze caressing, the grass soft and cuddly. The waves tickle my ankles, my feet kissing the sand. I’ve a heightened perception at this time, food tastes even better than usual, and there are so many tasty things right now, such as fresh strawberries! And don’t get me started on the luminous nights, never-fading daylight, golden evenings and bright mornings.
IMG_1853
Cuddling my new longbow!
  • It’s also the sexiest time of the year. “Come on now, try and understand the way I feel when I’m in your hands…” (<3 Patti Smith) I’m always, *always* starry-eyed around June, I just can’t help it. And blissfully happy.
  • There are downsides, too. Due to the lack of sleep, my attention span is down to a few seconds, which leads to hilarious moments when I find an empty tea mug on the counter and long-since cooled water in the kettle, which I clean forgot to pour when it was boiling.
  • I’m too wired to notice my tiredness most of the time, but occasionally it catches up with me and then I’m so groggy from one minute to the next that I could just lay down my head and start snoring. Unfortunately, I rarely have the luxury to do so, as it tends to happen during work or when I’m out! And then there are times when my mood just crashes and I’m suddenly convinced I’m an awful person and nobody loves me.
  • I can be a taxing friend at this time, constantly going “Oooh, shiny!” and bursting with ideas, messaging and texting people at random (“let’s do this!” -“Have you seen that? Shall we check it out? Sure, midnight’s fine… sleep is overrated”). Thankfully, my wonderful friends love their hag and have long since learned to just smile and nod, haha…

IMG_2137
Fairy door
I love Solstice time, can you tell? Tonight I’ll go outside to dance with the fairies and do my Eve-of-the-Solstice ritual, and tomorrow (the actual Solstice happens on the 21st this year) will be another tired but joyful holiday. I’m determined that work won’t get in the way.

Happy Solstice!

Please feel free to leave a comment below. It will be visible after approval and I respond to every comment, so do check back later!

If you’d like a quick email notification every time I post something new on my blog, fill in this little form. I give you my hagish word that I’ll never spam you or pass on your data!

Questioning

IMG_1923

From time to time, I feel this strong urge to question absolutely everything in my life. It’s just what I do, and it keeps me on my toes. Many of the radical changes I’ve made throughout my life – moves to different countries, change of job or business – have come from this habit. And if I decide not to change something, I then know for sure that it’s what I truly want at this time.

I’m at one of these points in my life right now, as you may have noticed over the past few entries. Or you may not, because readership and engagement with my blog have gone down to one or two comments each time and one of the things I’m wondering about is whether it might be time to close down The Hag’s Den. I’ve never been interested in holding a monologue, and maybe personal blogs are no longer the way to go. I have my Coaching page after all, and write articles for my weekly newsletter which I publish in blog form there (sign up for the email updates while you’re about it, you get the full package including regular special offers with that).

The questioning is still a work in progress, but here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • Sleep. I’ve done so much healing over the past 1 1/2 years. Part of it was starting to move again and heal physically. I have stalled in this, though, ever since I moved here last September, and I’m beginning to realise I’m not just slacking, it’s the constant lack of sleep – and lack of quality sleep, as I simply don’t sleep as deeply with white noise in my ears – that’s getting to me. I’m always, always tired. Even when I do get enough for once, it’s more like a temporary respite, because one or two nights in a row just doesn’t cut it. I noticed that a few weeks ago when my neighbours were gone, I had a week of blissful sleep and suddenly bounced off the walls with energy!
  • Passion. I need to do the things which light me up. This was at the heart of my entire re-awakening thing and I need to keep it up. It’s directly related to the sleep issue, because I’m not up for anything if I’m just bleary-eyed and exhausted. And there’s absolutely nothing which is more important – there’s a reason why I’m focusing my Coaching on this, and my constant challenge is to make people understand to what extent it revolutionises life to centre it around passion.
  • My soul work. This is basically the purpose for which I was put on this planet, and it’s to support beautiful souls in making positive change. This is why Wild Spirits Coaching is so important; it’s what I currently see as the best vehicle.
  • Living situation. I might stay in Ireland and I hope I’ll be able to because I honestly love it here. However, I will move if I have to, in order to get the life I want and need, with peace and quiet, as well as a social life. It can’t be all that impossible!

I’ll let you know when things get a little clearer! I’m just going to let all these insights “stew” for a while and see what comes up.

IMG_1948

In the meantime, I’m enjoying the “luminous weeks”. I know I go on about this every year but gods, I love this time so much! I mean, I sleep less than ever, but who cares when there’s still some light when I go to sleep (I sleep at 22.30 these days because my neighbours wake me at around 6 in the morning; by nature, I’m much more of a night owl), and light again when I wake up. The budgies love it too.

I have this sweet, almost painful happiness in me and an indefinable longing for je-ne-sais-quois. So much love, and the sensuality of mild air on my skin and in my hair, the lusciousness of nature, flowers everywhere and heavy, juicy green foliage.

IMG_1926

I went to Massbrook last week and it had rained, but it was still around 20 degrees warm, so the air was heavy and humid – a nightmare for some people but I felt like taking off all my clothes and hugging trees! This forest is like a home to me, it’s the exact opposite of my house, where I sleep lightly and wake up at every little sound. In Massbrook, I can fall alseep in seconds lying down on the soft moss of the forest floor, feeling completely safe and protected among the gentle watch of the tall trees.

Ah, June…

 

Please feel free to leave a comment below. It will be visible after approval and I respond to every comment, so do check back later!

If you’d like a quick email notification every time I post something new on my blog, fill in this little form. I give you my hagish word that I’ll never spam you or pass on your data!

Keeping It Together

18422183_10211301896017594_4283475883393929218_o
Shooting in Massbrook Woods. Picture taken by Jack Pinson.

I’m very tired today, after talking to one of my oldest friends Shane half the night, who had stopped by on his way to a course he’s taking in Galway. It was great, the kind of rambling conversation easily drifting from one topic to another, that you can only have with people you know so well that you’re completely comfortable and relaxed around them.

Last Saturday, I spent a lovely evening at the house of Jack and Ziva and their two little hobbits, once again missing out on sleep because we chatted all evening and I had to drive home afterwards. Occasionally, I hear from Inga who’s working her hulderish backside off and intermittently manages to type a quick message and hug to me. And then there’s the email from Andreas in Germany who turned 50 last week and wrote how much he likes my birthday present.

IMG_1660
Andreas and Karola, during my visit in Germany this April

Life is only ever as good as the people in it, don’t let anybody tell you any different. And by these standards, my life is pretty danged spectacular!

I need to say this, and remind myself that it’s the case, because there are some other things which continue to rankle, and demand a solution in the not-too-distant future. I did mention I’ve started to work on my Coaching business in earnest now? It’s what I’m here on this planet to do, and this work is so sorely needed… And yet I find myself stalling, once again, as I did so many times before. I’m not giving in to it this time, don’t worry, I’m serious about doing this, but the fact is that I’m committed to pursing my passions and joy and I refuse to give in to stress ever again in my life. That’s fairly difficult to uphold, though, when I work a full-time job and a business at the same time.

No matter how I slice it, something always falls through the cracks. It’s either the job or the business, or the sleep, or my passions, regular exercise, nourishing my body, or any combination of the above.

And don’t get me started on my living situation and the little sleep it brings with it. By the way: I’m not looking for advice here. This is my process and while I am happy to listen to people’s thoughts, they have to be people who know me and my situation really well. I’m just writing this to let you know what’s going on, and of course good vibes are always appreciated.

The thing is that I’m less and less willing to compromise endlessly. I’m not asking for all that much: Living on my own in a detached place (it’s fine if it’s small) with internet. And a chance to build up this business without having to work 24/7. I’d love to do this in Ireland, but I’m really not sure if it’s possible – this country is fucked up in terms of rents, the availability (or lack thereof) of mortgages, and living costs.

It’s a work in progress and I don’t have to solve the riddle right now, but I’ll have to do it soon-ish. In fact, I’ve set myself a deadline of about three years. By 2020, I want to make it happen. Watch this space.

18402278_10211301890937467_7788484339717444519_o
New recurve bow. Picture by Jack Pinson.

For now, I intend to enjoy the stillness of the New Moon and get some rest before I venture out again to see people. I’ve got some passions-work to do and a lot of business work as well, to get the message out there, to make sure the people who are awake and conscious and no longer willing to settle (like me), will find me and my website.

One day, I’ll figure out how to keep it all together. I’m working on it!

Please feel free to leave a comment below. It will be visible after approval and I respond to every comment, so do check back later!

If you’d like a quick email notification every time I post something new on my blog, fill in this little form. I give you my hagish word that I’ll never spam you or pass on your data!

Desperately Seeking Hag!

IMG_1408

People have been grumbling at me for not updating my blog more often. In fact, I’ve been grumbling at myself, too, because I actually really love chatting to all those beautiful souls who are too far away to see regularly. And my posts often get conversations going, I get a comment, or a message or email, and suddenly I’m reminded of how lucky I am to know such genuinely lovely folks.

Therefore: I’m sorry. Insert grovelling here!

Oh, and if you’re one of those who always wait for a prompt from me on Facebook: Did ya know you can subscribe to this blog? All you need to do is fill in the form here, and I’ll send you a little email whenever I post. Nobody else is ever going to see your data, obviously. Hagish word of honour.

So what, inquires my captive audience, does the hag do these days when she’s not updating her blog? Why, I’m glad you asked!

You know that freelance Coaching stuff I do? The business I’ve been going on about growing for years? I made several half-hearted attempts, even serious attempts, but then never quite followed through. The handful of clients I had on the side, was wonderful and just about right for me. As you know, I only just got away from some rather miserable years in autumn 2015, and I have sworn off “busy” ever since.

In fact, my healing mostly occurred because of this refusal to be busy or stressed anymore. I took my time, did everything in my stride, and took lots and lots of time for myself. It was beautiful, and necessary. And now I believe I’m actually ready to follow through and grow the business into something a little more substantial. For the last four weeks, I’ve been working on it and I have no intention of stopping any time soon. So far I’ve managed not to get stressed, although it stings a bit having to say “no” to friends because I have very limited, and scheduled, time off these days, usually on Saturdays.

It’s working, though! I don’t feel busy, although I have a lot to do (and get a lot done!). I’ve even managed to keep stress at bay through some fairly tedious tasks of the technical variety, like website SEO (don’t ask!). I’ve interviewed some of my patient and thoroughly amazing friends to get out of my own head and see my potential clients’ needs and questions. The result is a prettier, much clearer website with a new free offer that you can totally sign up for (yay!): A 3-part money training series which kicks ass.

I avoid the stress by consciously taking time off whenever I start feeling that frenzy which accompanies “not being able to stop”. I love Coaching, it’s my calling, but I can’t do just that in my life and nothing else. So I drag myself away. And this weekend, I took Saturday off work and won’t do any work tomorrow either because I am, actually, in New Ross where I’ll participate in the Wexford Archers’ 3D shoot!

Today was a glorious sunny spring day and I took some pictures on the drive down, quite literally, through the front and side windows whilst driving. I’d almost forgotten how beautiful Co Tipperary is:

IMG_1377

New Ross is completely gorgeous, too. I think I must have won the B&B lottery, because this house is on a hill overlooking the river valley which is jaw-droppingly beautiful:

IMG_1392

I took a walk into town and nearly forgot looking for food when I saw the “Dunbrody”, a reproduction of a typical emigrant ship. It’s beautiful but very small and made of wood (cue “shiver me timbers” joke), and to think that people actually sailed all the way across the Atlantic to America in these, is incredible. The pic is above, under the blog post title.

On the way back, I couldn’t put the camera away, until it was almost too dark to take pictures. Here’s a last one, of a beautiful flowering hedge:

IMG_1420
And now to bed! Where I am already, in fact, sitting and typing this on my laptop. I just hope the other guests will be quiet enough for this hypersensitive hag to sleep tonight. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather at tomorrow’s shoot!

Please feel free to leave a comment below. It will be visible after approval and I respond to every comment, so do check back later!

If you’d like a quick email notification every time I post something new on my blog, fill in this little form. I give you my hagish word that I’ll never spam you or pass on your data!

 

In Which I Reveal A Sheeecret

IMG_0969

It is a truth universally acknowledged… -all right, maybe not, but everybody who knows me, knows that I’m in love with my bow. I adore the sheer sensuality of feeling the living wood in my hands. The other week I got to “meet” the piece of ash which might become my new longbow in time, and I fell in love with that, too. Almost makes me feel like I’m cheating on my current bow, haha! Maybe I’m polyamorous when it comes to bows?

I went to practise at our club’s range in Massbrook Woods today and while I got in a few really good hits, I still lack consistency. I’m working on that! Last year was about being a beginner and getting into the swing of things, this year will be about improving and gaining new experiences, and that includes new field archery courses. I’ve resolved to take part in at least two 3D shoots at other Irish clubs this year, and I’ve also been planning something outrageously adventurous and frankly, rather ridiculous, which I’ve been hinting at on Facebook but never really revealed, and that’s…

… I’ll travel to Canada for a few days in July and among other things, I’ll take part in a 3D shoot there, too!

There are several reasons why this is such monumental news, the most important of which is that ever since my mum’s stroke and then death in 2009/2010, I haven’t been on a proper holiday, other than visiting lovely friends in Athens for a long weekend in 2012 and a weekend in London – literally one night – last year. So this will be the first purely for shits ‘n’ giggles holiday in eight years, and I’m almost painfully excited in anticipation.

Of course, this means that I’ll have to practise and expand. On Sunday I started exploring other ranges by finally shooting with Sandy and Ali and some others around their house in Clare (this is where the title pic was taken).

Today in Massbrook was the first time in months that the sunshine on my large hagish nose actually felt warm, or at least mild. Spring is definitely on its way! If you’d like to see more of Massbrook, I took two short videos this winter – here’s the first one:

 

And the second:

 

I’m happy to report that my shoulder didn’t hurt at all today! This is particularly brilliant because I did the entire course, all 25 pegs with 1-3 targets each. I’ve been very careful to remember basics such as warming up and stretching before and after shooting. This is part of a newly discovered approach which might make a little sense of my recent forearm tendonitis.

I never wrote about it a lot; suffice it to say that it’s been awful. I’d wanted to do HEMA for years and then finally started in April last year, which made me beyond happy. There are few things which feel better than swinging a sword (two, in fact: traditional archery and dancing), and to have that taken away again, and through my own fault for messing it up… it was very hard for me to deal with. At the same time, I always felt there had to be some lesson in there. In part it is definitely an “Upper Limit” problem (if you don’t know what that is, read Gay Hendricks’s The Big Leap. It’s in my top three non-fictional books of all time).

More recently, I realised that a contributing factor was me overdoing it – a classic case of “too much, too soon” – after the years of inertia and bad health gone before. I’m naturally the most impatient person in the world, but now I’m learning to  v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y  build up my muscles, and stop immediately when it starts hurting again. My plan is to eventually start with the beginner basics again and look mostly at technique, really learn correct technique, and listen to my body every step of the way. So what if it takes me five years to get halfway decent at swordfighting? I’m not in this to win tournaments, I’m in it for the sheer wild bliss of it.

There’s a rather unhealthy approach to physical fitness in our world. One could sum it up as: “Pain is good! Keep pushing!” It’s kinda the ideal, and looked at with admiration, to ruin one’s body and health in the process. Just look at pro athletes, and that goes from ballerinas who completely fuck up their feet, to footballers whose knees go out of service at the age of 40. The weekend before last, I got to talk to the brilliant Keith Farrell, who was teaching a longsword master class at an event organised by my club. Keith is still in his 20s but told me he trains with a view to still being able to do these things decades from now. I had a bit of an aha-moment there when I realised that this is exactly what I want to do!

Some might argue that my tendonitis has to do with my age, but I call BS. I’m fairly certain that I would have run into the same problems if I were 27 instead of 47, if I’d overdone it after being unhealthy and out of shape for years. A friend of mine, Jack, has had problems with his knees for over a year now, from a slight mistake in his footwork, and he’s nearly 15 years younger than I am. It’s lazy to blame it on age, when really it’s the fundamental, underlying approach that’s wrong.

And there, right there, is my lesson from the injury. Upper Limit – which is basically sabotaging oneself from an erroneous belief that life can’t get “too good” – and an unhealthy approach to getting back into shape. Wow. Maybe I should be grateful that I got the injury heads-up early on, when I’m still able to correct my approach and become more aware. Because I, too, intend to dance, shoot, and do swordfighting for many years to come.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. It will be visible after approval and I respond to every comment, so do check back later!

If you’d like a quick email notification every time I post something new on my blog, fill in this little form. I give you my hagish word that I’ll never spam you or pass on your data!