You’re Invited

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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.

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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!

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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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Bliss

In Athenry (my nearest town)

I accidentally joined the nicest gym in the world.

Part of my benefits at my job is a gym re-imbursement. It explicitly excludes martial arts involving weapons, so I’ve always ignored it so far. But now, after almost a year and a half of forced inactivity due to injury, now that my muscles are once again non-existent and so is my endurance, I could actually use a few classes to build up some strength again. And so, in the proverbial last minute before 2017 was up, I signed up at a gym in Athenry over the phone.

Before I continue: Remember what I said about people only reading the first few paragraphs of my blog articles? It’s happened again with my entry last week. Hardly anyone even got to the juicy bits further down, so please please, bear with me. My articles aren’t that long, after all!

Today I went to my first class. I used to go to large gyms in Austria and loved the anonymity, the way you could show up to a class one week and a different one the next and nobody would notice. Here, it’s different, and to my surprise I love it. I was introduced to the class (I don’t remember all the names, but give me a few weeks!) and looked after, encouraged, and had a good laugh with my training partner. Oh, and in the end it was: “Well done for keeping up!” and: “See you on Wednesday!”

It was a circuit-style class, deceptively “simple” but by the third round I had serious trouble sticking it out. Now I’m back home and trying to determine what’ll hurt most tomorrow: My arms and chest muscles, my thighs, or my abdominals.

And I’m ecstatic. I’m finally, finally moving again!! The last year and a half have been tough. You may vaguely remember an entry from 2016 where I explained how my energy is kinetic (in the last four paragraphs of that article, actually – in case you’re going to click the link), how I slip into depression if I don’t move. I haven’t quite been that low lately, but the overflowing love and joy had become infrequent spikes, rather than a continuous flow. Being constantly sick since September didn’t help (I’m still coughing but I believe that this time, I’m actually getting better).

Getting back into it is going to be tough, too, but I’m loving every moment of it. I’ve got my life back. Again. I’m going to go slowly this time, listen to my body, take care of it, and not push myself into injury again, that’s a solemn pledge.

It’s always so good to be recognisably me again: The dancing hag in black velvet and lace. Silly, awkward, happy, in love with people and everything else. Such as my birdies. I said the other week that I used to have the cutest budgies, and now I’ve got the cutest garden birds. The air is full of chirps again.

And tomorrow I’ll go to Mayo to recharche my soul. I’ll get a haircut and dye, have lunch at McHughs, and get new arrows from Harald – and if the weather’s not too horrible, I’ll go on to Massbrook afterwards. In other words, I’ll have my favourite kind of day bar none; it’s like a very special holiday every time, anticipated with tingly, delirious happiness, a bit like Christmas used to be when I was little.

Mini hag, ca. 1974

All’s as it should be. 2018 has got off to a great start!

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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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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.

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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!

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Luminous Weeks

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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.
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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…

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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!

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