Insecurity + Transition = Joy

Sibylle on a hillside
Hag on a Hillside II

I haven’t updated this blog in such a long time, not because I didn’t have anything to write about, but because I kept hoping I’d have something final to say about the house! Unfortunately, it keeps dragging on. I’ll spare you the boring details; to be honest, it’s nothing unusual here in Ireland. Almost everyone buying a house goes through some major delays.

The problem with all this is that I’ll of course be in Vienna next month and by the end of September I need to move out of my current place, so it’ll be inconvenient at best – I’ll have to move in without painting first, what a pain in the arse – and at worst, the purchase will fall through because I’m running out of time. With my job, I can’t just sleep on someone’s couch for a few weeks, I need an office with a tested internet connection and give advance notice of the move.

I’m not actually looking for comments or even sympathy on this bit, just wanted to keep you up to date. I’ve been through some emotional storms about it, but by now I’ve regained not just my balance, but my exuberant joy, because I just know something absolutely amazing will come out of this. Either my own house, or a new adventure! At times I can’t tell which one I’m hoping for most. The possibilities are sheer endless, and life has got my back.

So many great things have happened, some of which I can’t talk about just yet. But I’m really, really looking forward to the next few months in general. Vienna and the language course will be amazing, I’ve scheduled meet-ups with friends and can’t wait to be back in the most magical city in the world. I’ve got opera, concert, and theatre tickets and so much studying to do, apart from my own business work, of course. It’s going to be amazing.

But first comes the evening I’ve been counting down to for over five months. In two weeks’ time I’ll be in Hamburg; actually, as I write this, in exactly two weeks’ time I’ll still be sitting in the Elbphilharmonie and, judging by the program, Ivo Pogorelich will probably be playing Gaspard de la Nuit. It’ll be the highlight in an amazing – and long! – program. I’m too excited for words and just wish I could speed up time and then put that one evening on repeat for a while.

It’s such a high-vibrations time. Filled with love and wonderful friends, and music, and the sheer magic of life unfolding its abundance. I’m so very ready for the next steps! This includes my transition to a life of freedom, which at this point looks like it’s actually going to happen as planned, at the end of this year. I’m working insane hours right now, but it’s so joyful, I hardly mind at all – oh, it does get too much sometimes, but my friends are there to catch me, they come up for an evening or meet me for a tea somewhere nearby because they know I can’t travel much right now.

I believe transition is the word that applies to pretty much all my life right now. And I’ve always loved these times of insecurity and change. They’re sometimes exhausting, but nothing makes me feel more alive.

Lough Mask
Lough Mask

Yes, the house purchase is stalling and may fall through. Yes, my osteoarthritis has become so bad I can’t shoot a bow with my hand anymore and had to get a wrist-release which is awkward and means I have to almost learn how to shoot from scratch again. Yes, I’m in front of a computer up to 16 hours a day. But I’m so very, very happy! I go to the forest (or somewhere green) once a week. I get to hug lovely people on occasion. And then there’s the music, having a piano to practise on, listening to my favourite recordings, and did I mention it’s only two weeks to go to the recital?? I may just burst with anticipation.

Of course, there’s also a full moon coming up in three days, which makes the whole thing even more intense right now. Lughnasad is over, the days are getting noticeably shorter, the luminous weeks are done, but for once I don’t dread the rest of the year. I have so much to look forward to in the coming months.

P.S. Sorry for some rather cryptic bits in this post: I will disclose more when I can, but I didn’t want to delay writing an update any longer, and now you at least know some of the news!

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5-Oh, Vienna, And You

The Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera) The Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera)

This post contains an invite and stories. They’re connected. The invite is for you, and the stories are of my recent trip to Vienna, where you’re invited to. Let me explain.

Next February (13.02.2020), I’ll turn 50. I’ve decided to spend “half time” (on my journey to the 100 years I’m determined to reach) in my favourite city in the world, and also to invite absolutely everyone I know. I’m not sure about the details yet, but the 13th will be a Thursday, and of course the following day is Valentine’s Day, so in case you’re part of a couple, you should definitely bring your partner, because Vienna is hands down the best place to be in love. Seriously, forget Paris.

You could make a four-day weekend out of it. And because a trip like this requires advance planning, taking time off work etc, I’m telling you now, nearly 11 months in advance. I’m fully aware there might be 5 or 50 people showing up. I’m good either way, just know this: If you do come, you will get hag-hugged! There’s simply no way around that.

Read on to get a taste of the most magical city on earth. It’s steeped in the history of an entire continent (Habsburg empire, anyone?), art, theatre, music… you name it. Most major cities have one famous opera house, and/or world class theatre, and/or concert hall. Vienna has two of each of these, and that’s not counting the many excellent smaller stages and art galleries and museums and the sheer beauty of the architecture – look up anywhere and see artwork and sculpture on the sides of houses – the excellent food and drink, and the unique wry humour of the Viennese, who like to appear grouchy at first glance but really have huge hearts.

Yes, I'd love to go to that concert and hear Liszt playing live! Yes, I’d love to go to that concert and hear Liszt playing live! Alas for being nearly 150 years late.

I made it a musical trip this time, but please remember that Vienna is also the city of Gustav Klimt and much of the Art Nouveau movement of the Fin de Siècle. This is where Hofmannsthal and Schnitzler wrote their works and so many more lived and worked.

On my first evening, I felt a little lonely because my dear Kati, who was going to go to the opera with me to see Figaro, caught pneumonia of all things. I went on my own and sold her ticket to a Korean conductor who lives in the US and was stranded in Vienna for a night because his connecting flight got delayed. We spent all our time before the opera and during the breaks chatting about music – it was one of those Vienna encounters that happen all the time there. In between, we admired the view from our seats, from where we could see the entire orchestra and the conductor, as well as having a perfect view of the stage.

View of the audience and orchestra from my seat View of the audience and orchestra from my seat

The production was incredible, just the right mix between modern and traditional, and the singers were all excellent, in particular Cherubino, the Comtessa and Figaro himself. Thoroughly enchanted, but knackered after only three hours of sleep the previous night, I went straight to the hotel afterwards, still humming “Voi Che Sapete“.

I’d decided that after over 10 years away, I had every right to call myself a tourist again (forget for a moment that I used to live in and around Vienna for over six years), and so I went sightseeing the next day. First came the house where Schubert was born, where I was just about moved to tears listening to a recording of the “Wanderer Fantasie” played by Anatol Ugorski (note to self, look up more of Ugorski’s albums).

At Schubert's birthplace At Schubert’s birthplace

Then I went on to one of Mozart’s apartments in Vienna. What I love most about all these is the handwritten originals of famous pieces that are on display there. On Tuesday at Beethoven’s house, I even saw an early version of my favourite sonata. As well as an actual lock of Ludwig’s hair, which I found strangely touching.

Then there are the historical instruments, of course. Check out the five pedals!

This belonged to Schubert's brother This belonged to Schubert’s brother

In the afternoon, just when my feet began to protest, I met Tom for dinner and drinks and a good long chat and putting the world to rights. I almost forgot to take pictures but Tom remembered – this is us outside the Stephansdom (St Stephen’s Cathedral) which stands right in the centre of Vienna.

With Tom With Tom

The entire trip was like closing a wound from the past, putting yet another piece of my life’s puzzle back into place (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, read yesterday’s post). I reconnected with friends, re-visited places I loved, and basked in the most incredible music. Bliss!

The undisputed highlight of the trip was the recital of my other all-time favourite pianist (yes, I have two!), Evgeny Kissin. I knew I had a good seat but nearly fainted when I realised that I was actually in the front row, by the piano and just a little to the left, so I could see his hands. The piano was so close that when he stood to bow, I could have stretched out my hand and touched him.

The view from my seat! The view from my seat!

The people in the seats around mine were lovely and the perfect company for this. Kissin is just so unbelievably good, it’s almost surreal. I’ve never had such a close view of a pianist’s technique and I drank it all in, trying to take mental notes whilst being completely ravished by the beauty of the music. He played Chopin, Schumann, Debussy, and Scriabin, and I loved all of it, but the Scriabin (the very short 4th sonata) was probably my favourite.

The entire Musikverein was on their feet applauding every time he reappeared, and we got him to play four encores! And still it was all over way too quickly.

Beyond happy, just before the recital. Beyond happy, just before the recital.

To top it all off, I ran into him afterwards, and managed to thank him and exchange a few words! He’s friendly, unassuming, and funny, and I couldn’t help thinking that it wouldn’t make a difference to his playing if he wasn’t, but it’s still nice to know that the guy who’s probably the most ingenious pianist alive at this time, is also a lovely person.

This post is way too long already, so I’ll leave it at that. Go and plan your visit! You’ll be pleased to find that Vienna is a very affordable city to stay in as well. I paid all of 135 EUR for four nights in a simple, but clean 3-star hotel.

See you in February 2020!

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Waaaaaaaaaaah!

piano My new (used) piano

After careful deliberation, I decided that the above was the most appropriate title for this post. Oh man, if only you knew.

I got my piano! See the above picture. It’s fairly crappy, and yet, for the price it’s actually quite decent, and best of all, it’s mine! I considered borrowing the money to buy it, but then decided to use my own money. Which feels fantastic.

The incredibly painful process of trying to recover some of my former skill has begun. I was prepared for this, which doesn’t make it any less horrible. At the same time, it’s sheer bliss simply being at a piano again, and it brings up all kinds of memories, good and bad, from the first three decades of my life. I now get to sort through which parts of me I’ll keep and which I’ve definitely outgrown and therefore won’t pick up again.

Having my own money has other advantages, too. In the aftermath of paying back my last loans, I can once again use my salary for stuff like savings and books. I also have a travel budget!

Remember the “I want to go to the Maldives” travel post a few months ago? And then the “I’m going to get a piano again” post? It feels like I’m now combining both, on a mission to regain even more pieces of myself.

I already told you about my trip to Vienna in March. Holy smokes, the excitement! And now that I’ve actually got a piano again, and cry and curse and do horrible boring but necessary etudes to try and coax my fingers into moving again, I use listening to music as an antidote. And I’m rediscovering not only Kissin, but other favourites as well.

In the course of that I realised that my first love among pianists, Ivo Pogorelich, is actually going to play a recital in Nuremberg in February. When I call him my first love, I mean that literally: When I was 18 and other girls in my class had posters of rockstars in their rooms, I had the cover of one of his albums (this was vinyl, so a fair size) pinned on the wall over my piano. He was and remains the most unusual of living classical pianists and a category of his own, and when I saw that recital announced for a Sunday four days after my 49th birthday, I started doing some rapid maths.

Long story short, I’m going to fly to Germany where I’ll see my dad and stay with my friends the first night, then take the train to Nuremberg and go to the recital, stay at a small hotel, and then go back on the train in the morning. I’ll visit dad one more time and then fly back home.

My travel budget is now spoken for up to and including June 2019, haha!

To say that I’m excited is the understatement of the century. I’m positively vibrating in ecstasy. This is my birthday present to myself, exactly 31 years after Eveline gave me the ticket to my first Pogorelich recital for my 18th birthday (yes, she was “only” my piano teacher and not yet a close personal friend at the time. Did I mention she was amazing?). I came home as though bludgeoned; the experience completely revolutionised my understanding of music and changed the course of my life.

Just listen to this.

I feel like I’m about to come full circle. As other circles are closing, too: This multi-passionate is realising what “passions first” truly means. I’m exercising and getting stronger. I do traditional archery at the most beautiful range ever. I practice the piano and listen to music. I dance, freestyle on my own and Salsa with Salsa Bay Galway. I coach wild spirits to break up with “busy” and focus on what lights them up. I feed the wild birds and am planning on creating a paradise for them once I get my own place.

I no longer swing swords, but then I do have a chronic injury, and maybe there’s a reason why I can no longer do an activity that can and does lead to hand/finger injuries on occasion (hello – piano!). There are other passions which are parked right now, gaming for example, because being a multi-passionate always means focusing on a few passions at a time. It’s just the way we roll (and maintain a semblance of sanity).

79 days to go! I wish I could fast-forward the time. Or hibernate. Wake me the day before my birthday, all right?

In reality, I’ve lots to do until then. You should join me at Wild Spirits Coaching, by the way, I’m planning a stress-free holidays challenge and lots of goodies. Join up on www.wildspiritscoaching.com (fill in the form in “Wild Freebies” or take 10 minutes to do the free Life Audit, and then fill in that form) so you won’t miss it.

I’m off to practice some more. Grounding, what’s that? I’m floating somewhere up there.

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My Irresistible Love

Clew Bay
Clew Bay, Co. Mayo

So the “Wanderlust” post I made a while ago? I need to qualify this a little, and at the same time, I can introduce you to the process of a highly emotional person.

When I discovered that I’m actually ready to think of travelling once again, I went overboard and enthusiastically thought: “I’ll see all the things!” That’s how I function. After a while, I calmed down and realised that I don’t really want a package tour to the Maldives. I mean, I’m not ruling it out altogether, but there are about 200 things which are higher on my bucket list.

Instead, I honed in on the things I really love and enjoy. It astonishes me that almost three years after coming out of depression and returning to life, I’m still catching up. Add to that the years of being broke when I simply couldn’t afford doing what I love, and you have a list of stuff I stopped doing almost 15 years ago.

Wanna see?

The first realisation was that there are things I simply can’t do in Ireland, so I’m going to combine travelling with doing stuff I enjoy. One example is music. I used to see Evgeny Kissin live at least once a year, and now it’s been altogether too many years since I heard him live at all.

Thankfully, he’ll play in the Vienna Musikverein in March next year, and so I’ve decided that I’ll spend St. Patrick’s Day in Vienna. I’m currently in the process of contacting my friends in Austria to try and see as many of them as possible. I’ve even found another, stellar concert that I’ll go to while I’m there, Kent Nagano with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, playing among others, Le Sacre Du Printemps (I adore Stravinsky).

The other thing I used to love and have stopped doing is hiking. You may not know this, but in 2002 I sub-let my flat for a month, packed my backpack and set out one morning. I went on to walk about 1/3 of the East-West length of Austria (the link is in German, but there’s a map). I meant to make it all the way to Salzburg on one of Europe’s long-distance hiking paths, but my Achilles tendon started making trouble and so I took the bus and train for the rest of the way. I’ve never forgotten the experience, though, it was profound and has shaped me.

A few weeks ago I was talking to my friend Lee, who told me about the time he did the coast-to-coast walk in the North of England. It sounded amazing and reminded me of when I used to dream about the coast-to-coast walk years ago. This conversation has definitely put it back on the bucket list! I’ve even got a timeline.

In fact, there’s something else. I’ve fallen for a tall, strong and silent type over the past months. I see him from afar every time I go for archery in Massbrook. He’s just gorgeous, and I won’t be able to resist him for much longer:

Mount Nephin
Nephin

I believe it may be too late this year to prepare and get it done, but I’m still making enquiries. It’s a four-hour hike to the summit of Nephin, with very few actual paths, and in winter the top is covered in snow, so I need to be well equipped and able. But I’ve been getting back into shape since June and feel a lot more confident than I used to.

It’s become a goal of its own. In 2016, I decided that at 50 (in 2020), I’ll be in the best shape of my life. And so I’m going to hike up Nephin next year at the latest, and do the coast-to-coast walk in England in 2020, as a celebration of sorts, of reaching the half-way mark to my goal of living to 100 years! Also as proof to myself that I can do it and that I’ve recovered and healed my body and soul.

There’s still a long way to go, figuratively, until I can go this actual long way, so to speak, but I’m getting there. And I love having plans that are aligned with who I am and what I’ve always loved doing!

More about this some other time, I’m going to have lunch and then do some more work now. If you like, would you let me know what you think, as well as what’s on your own bucket list? I’d love to read about it.

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Le-e-et the sunshine in…!

blossom
Massbrook Woods in full blossom

I write about this every year – the luminous weeks, the period from around the end of May to the end of July. My favourite time in the year. I’ll try and shake it up a little so it won’t get boring – promise!

This year, we’ve had a beautiful late spring, with temperatures well into the 20s and lots of sunshine. The last week or so has been cooler and rainy again, but we’re slowly recovering from that, and I hope that I’ll get to spend a lot more time outside in the woods with my bow, and around various fires with friends. The thing is, my hayfever happens exactly around this time as well – June – and that’s cruel, of course, but on the other hand I think it might be life trying to keep me attached to the ground in some way, lest I float off in my bliss (I am an air sign, after all!). I probably wouldn’t get any sleep at all in June if I wasn’t exhausted from stuffed sinuses and a buzzing head every night.

I’ve been thinking about Nova Scotia a lot recently. This time last year, I was practically vibrating with excitement about my upcoming holidays in July. I hope I’ll be able to return some time, it’s such an amazing place and I haven’t seen enough of it by far.

Tomorrow’s the Summer Solstice. Contrary to popular belief, it’s neither always on the 21st nor is it necessarily “the longest day of the year”. This year, however, it is both these things, at least here in Ireland, and so tonight I’ll be celebrating Solstice Eve and taking it a little easier with my work for once. Today’s the first of only three days which are over 17 hours long. Around the winter solstice, they’re only 7 1/2 hours – that’s nearly ten hours difference! How people can claim to not be affected by that much more daylight, is a mystery to me. It makes me buzz, drunken with happiness and bursting with energy.

This energy gets mostly invested in work these days, but that’s far less boring than it may sound. For three years in a row, I’ve been announcing (always around springtime) that I’d be growing my business, and I always got distracted and stopped working on it again. This time I’m still at it in June and I believe I’ve learned enough to stay focused and keep at it this time. Like I mentioned before, it’s simply too important to give up. Look around you, what do you see? Is the world full of joy and passion? Yeah, not so much. I’ve done a lot of deep digging in meditation and ritual, and I’ve discovered that the root of this lies so much deeper than I previously suspected. Basically, it’s all down to passion.

People who are filled with their purpose in life, don’t have time to hate on others. They’re too busy oozing love out of every buttonhole. This is what’s going to save the world, mark my words. You read it here first!

How can you help? You can help by supporting me. I’ve just started another ads campaign, which reminded me of how expensive this stuff is. Holy shit. So any free support is much appreciated! If you’d like to support a small business and earn a hag’s eternal gratitude, here’s a list of actions you could take:

  • Like my Facebook page and ideally a few of the posts on it (this is not for my ego, it’s because of “social proof” which is one of the biggest factors in marketing today).
  • Read my latest article on Pick The Brain and leave a comment.
  • Subscribe to my newsletter. Heck, you can get a free checklist and a mini e-course into the bargain if you sign up here.
  • Follow me on any of the other social media outlets you use: Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube.
Magical forest
Magical light

I’m growing in so many ways. I’m learning to be consistent without burning myself out (this is still a work in progress, but I’m getting there!), and that’s so important if I want to actually stick with it this time. I’m learning to keep proper books and it’s actually fun. Gods, I didn’t believe I’d ever utter, write, or even think these words, but they’re true now. I’ve even finally registered my business name in Ireland, so now nobody else can be Wild Spirits Coaching in these parts! And I’m writing, blogging, coaching, and getting to touch the lives of beautiful souls who no longer believe in just living to survive and pay bills. Who choose to be joyful instead and live their purpose.

Right, shutting up now! I’m off to celebrate – mead and fresh strawberries, here I come! Incense, dancing, lots of fairies and divine beings surrounding a blissful hag – ah, midsummer…

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You’re Invited

IMG_5913
Gort Community Market January 2018

I don’t have a lot of pictures that aren’t of birds these days, so I thought I’d use one from our latest Gort Community Market day. It was soooo beautiful! Lovely people and great craic as usual. Since it’s winter now, we’ve also added open fires and a little market extension in the cosy back room of Hennelley’s Bar, where people gather around the fireplace and chat. The whole thing is the perfect environment for a cuddly hag.

Before I continue: Did you know you can get a sweet little email from me every time I update my blog? All you need to do is subscribe here. Obviously, I’ll guard your email address the way a dragon defends its hoard. Nobody else will ever see it, promise!

I’m now going to write about woman stuff, so if you’re squeamish or don’t want to know about these things, simply skip this and the next two paragraphs. Start reading again below the picture and you’ll find the invitation mentioned in the title. But for now, it’s pussy zone and if you’re still reading, I’m going to assume you’re fine with that.

You see, I haven’t had a period in five weeks and two days. Now, my cycle’s never been all that regular to begin with, but it tends to be below four weeks – something like 26 days – rather than longer. And now I’m fantasising about finally starting menopause and can’t contain my excitement. The time of its onset seems to run in families and my mum as well as my sisters all started perimenopause around this age. All I can think is, please pleeeeeeaaaaase let this be what it is! Yes yes, I know, hot flashes and depression. But they’ll pass, eventually.

The point is, I can’t wait to get rid of this bloody (literally) nuisance every month, and please don’t tell me about my divine femininity now! I’m on board with all that, I honour and welcome it, but I’ve also had a really painful time of my period for the past 20 years or so and I’m so done. I’m looking forward to being just like a guy – being able to run around, go camping, swing swords, and be fully functional instead of curled around a hot water bottle in excrutiating pain every few weeks. So, fingers crossed this is indeed the start of the whole thing getting less and less frequent until it finally stays away. Yay!

IMG_5874
Happy hag in the car

Here’s where you continue reading if you skipped the previous paragraphs. You’ve probably been wondering what invitation I’ve been going on about? The things is, I’ve a hag birthday coming up on the 13th of February, and since next month’s Gort Market is on the 11th, I’ve decided to have a little – or a big – celebration on Saturday the 10th. I’m not sure about the details yet, but it’ll involve good music and dancing and will likely happen either in Gort or Ennis. Soooo, if you’re close enough to visit, and you read this and I’ve forgotten to invite you on Facebook, do get in touch because you’re most certainly invited.

What I’d actually love to do is the 80s disco I’ve been sitting on for years and years. I’ve never DJ-ed before in my life, but I’ve been putting together a playlist. Without repeating a single artist, I’m now at 153 songs and counting. It’s going to be epic – if it happens. Actually, it’s more like when it happens, because I’ll do it one day for sure, it’s just not certain yet whether it’ll happen on my birthday. If it doesn’t, we’ll just go dancing somewhere else. I hope the Gort Market folks will all come, then we can all be tired and hungover the next morning at the market together!

If you’re too far away to make it: Don’t worry. We’ll take lots of incriminating pictures.

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New Year’s Hag

Every year when I wake up on the 1st of January, the first thing I do is to play U2’s “New Year’s Day” at top volume and dance to it. It’s easy to see why I live alone.

But seriously, the song’s got such energy and promise. It’s exactly the way I want to start a year, in motion and breathless and happy, music in every cell of my body! I did it again this year, although I’ve a bit of a fuzzy head and haven’t slept a lot over the past week or so because of my persistent cough.

If you read this and you have any idea why someone who’s normally healthy as a horse and gets the flu about once every decade, can be sick on and off with light flu-light symptoms for 2-3 months, do let me know please. I’d say I’m allergic to something in my house, if the exact same thing hadn’t happened in the last two places I lived in. This is the third year that I’m more or less sick from October to December – in this case, January, because it’s been worse this year and there’s still no end in sight.

It’s getting on my nerves. Like I said, I don’t have much experience of being ill, and I don’t deal well with it. I want to be fit and move and exercise and jump around and be happy. Instead, I’m stuck at home most of the time, feeling tired. It sucks! I try and make the most of it: For example, I decided not to go out on New Year’s Eve but stay at home and raise a mug of hot mulled wine to my loved ones at midnight, which I did, outside my beautiful little cabin, hugged by a beautiful mild wind and with the nearly-full moon above my head.

The moon just after midnight last night

Staying at home has the additional advantage of saving money. I’ve made a pact to pay back the rest of my student loan early (if you’re wondering why I’m still dealing with this in my 40s, it’s because I was exempt for much of my 20s and 30s – long story). It’s a huge commitment and means I’ll be very, very skint until the summer, but then it’ll be done! Right now I need to get people to visit me, rather than the other way around. The occasional trip to Mayo, and East Clare maybe once or twice a month is all I can afford these days.

Feels good to be taking control, though. Last night, I’ve also reviewed my goals for 2017 and set new ones, and with a slight shock I realised that I haven’t really achieved much of what I’d set out to do last year. This is a first, by the way, I usually manage most of the list, sometimes all of it. Thinking back, it’s been a good year anyway, full of people and adventure, so I’m not taking it to heart. It’s been a year of great intentions and not much follow-through but much in terms of experiences and love. In 2018, I’ll try and combine the two.

Whenever I think of what I need to do to get to my goals, I keep coming back to the same thing I coach people about: Prioritise my passions. As long as I let joy guide my decisions and my daily work, I’m going places. It’s not as easy and obvious as it sounds, because it also means that I won’t put undue focus on things like my job. It’s just not a priority, I needed a reminder of that. Something to work on with my own Coach!

Whilst we’re speaking of Coaching: I’m offering a chance to win a free 1-on-1 session worth 149 EUR this week, and it’s exclusive to subscribers of my Monday Sparkles newsletter. If you’re not subscribed yet, goeth forth and do it! If you subscribe by tomorrow (Tuesday), I’ll manually send you today’s newsletter so you can still participate. As with all communications from me, your email address is completely safe.

What else is new? Oh, I had some interesting conversations following the previous article on our ageist attitude. One insight from those is that it’s ageist even when someone tells me: “You don’t look 47 at all!” I know it’s meant as a compliment and I appreciate the good intentions, but it’s basically saying “Gods, you’re old. But hey, you don’t look it, at least.” I maintain that 47, or 57, or 67 aren’t “old”, they’re right in the middle of life when things can still improve.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to descend into another rant. Today, I just wanted to wish you a very Happy New Year and much joy and love in 2018!

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You’re Ageist

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Tits are so tiny, they usually sit *in* the bowl rather than on its edge, much like Dagobert Duck bathing in his gold.

This year, I find myself quite unexpectedly in a festive mood. I think I’ve managed to truly detach myself from the materialistic aspects of “the season” and now I can appreciate all the magic and the true meaning of Advent, the expectation of the returning light. And oh how I crave light. Winter’s darkness can be cosy, yes, but to me it’s mostly oppressive. Solstice morning, the sunrise which proves that light is coming back and the days are starting to get longer, is one of my favourite mornings of the year.

I’ll write more about the year past when it’s time; today, I have something else to talk about. But before I do, I want you to take a moment to admire the fluffy featheriness of the birds at my feeder! I get robins, blue tits, sparrows and the occasional crow. By now, I know the regulars and their habits and favourites, and they’re beginning to lose their fear of me.

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A jackdaw sifting through the snow, after inhaling the cashews I’d put on the steps earlier this morning.

Before I find my stride and keep talking about birds for the rest of this article, I’ll try and arrive at the subject I actually meant to discuss. If you’ve known me for more than five minutes, you will have heard me talk about it before; I’ve written articles about getting older and the wild woman over 40. To paraphrase, I don’t buy the bullshit our society puts out about being “old” when you’re 30, 40, or even 70. It used to be true, but these days we live so much longer and it’s insane to spent 3/4 of our lifetimes feeling old.

The problem is that we’re ageist. I know the title of this article is a little provocative, but the thing is, I’m ageist too. It’s so ingrained in us, we just can’t manage to escape. Although the more progressive and conscious of us have managed to become sensitive of racism, sexism, and all manner of -isms, we’re still raving ageists, and nobody seems to even notice.

Don’t believe it? When’s the last time you’ve said: “Haha, well I’m getting old!” as a joke? I know I have, and quite frequently. We happily divide living people into “generations” as if that were a thing, as if someone born one year is somehow completely different from a person born the next. It’s a lazy way of not engaging with individuals, and realising how amazing they are, and how much we all have in common, from 8 to 108 years old.

Don’t get me wrong, please: This is not about denying that age and differences exist. They do. What we need to do is re-interpret the differences and the changes as we age, as positive, something to be desired rather than be ashamed or afraid of.

People will point out to me so-called proof that ageing is, indeed, an issue. I say: Of course things change, I just refuse to interpret the changes as a. universally bad and b. an inevitable result of getting older. Here are a few examples:

  1. “Joints do get creaky and injuries happen faster.” Yes, they are, but I argue it’s because of use – wear and tear – rather than age. No, it’s not always the same thing. A ballet dancer might have completely ruined their ankles or knees by the time they hit 30. I dance by just jumping around to good music, so I lived to 47 before my knees started protesting earlier this year. The point is, wear and tear is independent of age and it can also be slowed down if we use our bodies wisely and look after them – which we, sadly, don’t do enough but can learn. I’m starting to, slowly.
  2. “Science tells us that cell regeneration slows down with age.” True, but there are many stories of people who made miracle recoveries from things they technically shouldn’t have been able to bounce back from. Medicine can’t explain it, not by a long road. In most cases, recoveries are attributed to attitude and mental strength, so here’s something you don’t even need your body to work on.
  3. “We get grey, wrinkly, and saggy.” So? I’m objectively a lot less attractive than I was at, say, 20, and yet I feel about 400% prettier and sexier than I did back then. Funny, isn’t it? I may be less firm than I used to be, but you know what, so are the guys I fancy these days. No big deal.

My point is, it’s all so bloody subjective, there’s no point trying to tie it down to a number. And if it’s subjective anyway, isn’t it about time we used this to our own advantage? Why don’t we go and define age as marvellous? I’m honestly so much happier than ever. I’ll be 50 in just over two years, and I can’t wait to be 60, 70 and 80. I’ve plans to build up my body and especially my muscles so they can support my joints better. I aim to be in the best shape of my life by the time I hit my 50s.

We’ve expanded our life expectancy, now we have to learn to make something out of it. Otherwise, in the words of a wise person, instead of living longer we simply die longer. And that was never the idea.

All right, I’m hopping off the soap box. Here’s another bird to make you smile:

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If the pictures look blurry, it’s because they were all taken through my – not entirely clean – glass doors.

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Pussified

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It’s my birthday! I woke up with my element this morning, the wind blowing all around the house, and because I have the day off, I stayed cuddled into my bed for a while and sang that lovely Cat Stevens song:

“I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul. …

I let my music take me where my heart wants to go.”

Tonight, I’ll have some very lovely people over for a small birthday gathering, and I’m all a-tingle looking forward to that.To pass the time, I thought I’d look back over the year since my 46th.

Last year, I’d just started feeling again and was sheer drowning in a tidal wave of the sludge that accumulates in a soul which isn’t cleansed and aired and celebrated for years. It was horrible, but necessary. In the 12 months since, I’ve experienced healing, joy, strengthening, and then injury and the associated lessons.

Mostly, the lesson has been that there’s a price to pay for the abuse I’ve put myself through, both in terms of my soul and my body. That I need to take things slowly and be very, very good to myself for a very, very long time in order to fully heal. That’s what I’m doing now. It’s also a lesson in patience, which I’m not exactly famous for possessing!

Today, I focus on how far I’ve come already. My life is so wonderful right now, with just the right kind of people coming into it and the right kind of experiences unfolding! Here are my plans for the coming year. I will:

  • continue the work of re-connecting with old friends and further connecting with the new ones. This will involve some travel, starting in April when I’ll got to Germany for a little longer than usual to see, not only my dad, but also two of my oldest and dearest friends.
  • further heal and strengthen my body. One of my goals is to attend at least two field archery shoots outside my own club’s. I have three years to go to my middle-term goal of being in top shape and looking my best at 50 (and from there, maintain that for at least 25 years, and then see if I can still improve on it!).
  • take my Coaching business to the next level, overcome my fear of visibility and actually do the work. I’m currently creating a program on “Wild Money” which will be launched soon, and if you want to give me a birthday present, it really really helps if you Like my Facebook page and spread the word.
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At the range in Massbrook woods last month

So what’s going on in my life right now? Huge discoveries, actually. I’m once again bowled over at the impact books can have, and how they often tie in with my life. The more open and connected I am, the more I draw books into my life which exactly match the outside world and are exactly what I need to learn at the time.

Number One is the incredible, absolutely revolutionary, making-sense-of-my-life with one, bright illuminating flash of light Pussy – a reclamation by the amazing Regena Thomashauer (Mama Gena). In fact, its impact is so massive that I think I may require every woman I talk to, to have read this book in future (it wouldn’t go amiss if men read it, too). Basically, it connects women’s power back to their actual pussy – yep – and to the principle of pleasure and enjoyment in every part of their lives. Funny, isn’t it, that I’ve just arrived at the conclusion that joy and our passions, that which lights us up, is not a luxury but central to life, and based my Coaching around that?

The other one I haven’t finished yet: The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. Only just reading the first chapter made the penny drop. It’s without exaggeration the key to all unhappiness and lack of success in the world, on a personal and more global level. Absolutely mind-blowing and yet sooooo simple! After my birthday, I’ll dive in and finish it, and by the gods, will I put this into practice.

And now I’m off to finish a cake! Have a wonderful time, my dear tribe, this is a time of new beginnings and things are germinating all around. It’s a time of hope. Be a part of it.

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What A Year!

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The high plain where I greeted the rising sun on Solstice morning

It’s become fashionable on Social Media to post about how bad a year was when it’s drawing to an end. This year, it’s particularly poignant, with people honing in on worrying political developments and celebrity deaths in 2016.

Granted, some very popular people died this year – David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, now George Michael, to name but a few. But the truth is that people die all the time. For me personally, the recent deaths of well-known people which affected me the most, all happened in 2015: Chris Squire most of all (I won’t write about it now or that’ll be all this entry is about), Terry Pratchett, and Lemmy.

I won’t go into political details here – those who know me, know my views, and this isn’t a news outlet – but the shift to the right in countries like the UK and the US didn’t just happen this year, it only manifested in rather concrete election/referendum results now after building up for years. Most of us didn’t want to believe it would actually get this bad, but the writing on the wall has been there all along.

These things are not what this post is about, though. No, I feel the need to share what 2016 meant for me on a personal level.

To spoil the conclusion: It was an incredible year. A year of re-awakening, of dreams coming true and others beginning to take shape on the horizon. A year of strengthening and growth, of ecstasy, joy, and passion. Of starry-eyedness and good sex and just the right dose of drama and hurt as well.

It was the year when I allowed myself to feel again.

At the end of each year, I review the goals I set on New Year’s Eve the previous year. I did that the other day and apart from one area (where I consciously chose to put a goal on hold for another while), I’ve reached every single goal. Some of them I completely blew out of the water. Life has a way of bowling me over, it just loves doing that. It’s part of our ongoing romance, and what keeps me hooked in a way I’ve never been permanently hooked by a human partner.

Here’s my review:

January

I started this year writing. My story was what brought me back to feeling my emotions. It was an intense and often sad time, but such a relief to be FEELING again. I’m proud to have finished the story (it’s the length of a novel), and it means the world to me.

February

The focus was my health, mainly by finding more foods I love and which are good for me, and beginning to strengthen my body. It was slow going but I stuck with it and saw some progress eventually.

March

This is when I started reaching out to what has become my archery club and my swordfighting club. In the last days of March, I started archery again and bought my bow. Almost instantly, I couldn’t believe I’d ever lived without shooting.

April

Finally started the longsword beginners’ course. Also participated in the Mayo Archery Club’s shoot after only two weeks of training, which was my first visit to Massbrook Woods, my favourite place in the whole world. So much happiness!

May

Life just kept unfolding like a fairytale. I reconnected with old friends and made new ones. The uncontested highlight of the month was an enchanted weekend in London with my wonderful Inga.

June

Midsummer, new friends, a beautiful affair, all senses a-tingle. Love, love, love. More archery and swordfighting, too, and those luminous nights full of promise.

July

Finally, finally got my tattoo, went to the club’s tournament weekend in Clare and met the rest of the absolutely loveable people there. I felt like a sponge soaking up all the human connections that month, together with good music, ecstatic dancing, and more archery and swordfighting.

August

More re-connection with old friends, lots of love and some sexiness as well. I also looked for a new place to live and said good-bye to Mayo. And I broke my rib, which was a huge challenge as it prevented me from honouring that kinetic energy of mine.

September

Moved to Gort, with Inga over here to visit, feeling incredibly right about it in spite of leaving behind Mayo. Otherwise, challenges began to pile up: my rib was healing but I injured my forearm and the resulting tendonitis still plagues me to this day.

October

An echo of the state of withdrawal I’d been in before this year, which I fought but couldn’t quite escape for a while. At the same time, I still met new people around here and managed to keep up at least a minimum of physical exercise.

November

A fairly dark month. Struggling with the tendonitis and a general absence of wellness, whole-ness, which I tried to numb – the worst thing I could have done, really! I didn’t even go to Mayo for archery practice.

December

Back in bliss. It’s been a month of renewed feeling and a demonstration of how much has changed this year. I’m getting out, I’m doing the things I love (with the exception of swordfighting right now, but I’ll get that back!) and I get to spend time with friends.

And here I am. The solstice was a celebration of love and gratitude for 2016. I was off work on Solstice Eve and made the rounds of friends’ houses, dispensing hugs and (healthy) cookies, and then I went home to decorate the tree and have my ritual. As usual, I took the Christmas days for myself to close off the year and prepare for 2017, and now I’m looking forward to actually getting there!

This entry has become long already, so I’ll write about my plans next time. Until then, I hope you’re having the holidays you dreamed of and wish you a lovely start into 2017.

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