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Saturday, 29 October 2011

The fear

I place my fingers through the flowing water and wait until the temperature is just right. Stepping into the bath, the cold hits the soles of my feet as I pull the curtain closed. My body is soaked in seconds and I sigh with contentment as warm water runs down over my face….
Suddenly I am stopped dead in my tracks with shampoo still covering my hair. Where did that bang come from? Instinct tells me to open my eyes and see what made the noise but the soap now running over my face stops me from doing so. I stand there with eyes tightly closed listening to the sound of water splashing into the bath and escaping down the plughole.
At that moment a million images flash through my mind at breakneck speed. I see a man wearing a balaclava, rifling through my underwear drawer and I see a framed photograph being projected across the room by an angry spirit and I see the shower scene in Psycho being played out in glorious Technicolor, previewing what awaits me just beyond the dripping curtain.
Quickly rinsing the soap from my eyes, I turn off the water and jump out onto the bath mat. I fling a towel around my waist (one has to retain some semblance of dignity, even when facing ghoulish monsters) and step off the mat. Courage built up, I stride into the bedroom to find...nothing!  Everything is just as I left it except for the wet footprints which now mark the room.
That’s the funny thing about fear. We can build situations up so much in our minds that they sometimes appear bigger than they actually are. In reality nothing is more terrifying than the fear itself and once we turn to face it head on, we wonder what we were so scared of in the first place.

Just don’t look under the bed….Happy Halloween!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Day out

Watching as he slowly climbs, one foot in front of the other, he reaches the top. Triumphantly, he stands at the peak for a minute to take in the view - the wind blowing through silky brown hair. Lifting his hands to his face, he pushes it aside before beginning the 3 second journey to the bottom of the slide, accompanied by a chorus of laughter from the pair of us. 
Lifting him high into the air I spin him around.
"That was fun! What shall we do now?" he asks excitedly as I take his tiny hand in mine.
"I know a really cool place, you’ll love it" I say with a smile.
Feeling the sand in between our toes, we walk along listening to the waves gently crash against the shore and the greedy seagulls, circle overhead. The sun warming our faces as every few steps, he bends down to pick up another smooth pebble or a shell. One by one he places them delicately into my hand as if they were priceless treasures, to join the rest of them in my now bulging pocket.
There is something so vulnerable about him; I vow to protect him with everything I have. I will never leave him and never let him forget how special he is.
And on we walk until the sun turns a golden red and the sparkling sea moves out to follow it, leaving behind glistening sand.
"Little man", I say as I scoop him up into my arms and give him a big squeeze, "You can be whatever you want to be! Never forget that. You are amazing".
He giggles. I laugh.
With that, we turn off the beach, and slowly make our way home.
"I love you" he says, still looking up at the evening sky, now filling with stars.
"I love you too little man. I always will".

If I could have a single day, that's how I would spend it with my tiny self. It would be beautiful.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Tea for two

"What would you like to drink?"
"Hmmmm, do you have any herbal tea?"
My host's knowing laughter echoed loudly in my ears as the cupboard door swung open with a flourish. I half expected to discover a bikini-clad assistant inside, waiting to vanish in a puff of theatrical smoke. Instead, the most colourful array of teas and coffees never before seen outside a supermarket lay before me.
"I don't even like half of these, but I love to be able to offer my guests anything they like. I want them to be happy", he said pulling a face. I laughed.
Slowly sipping on my newly opened Lemon and Ginger tea, I couldn't help but think about what this meant. Instantly I felt special.
It was such a small thing really but the warmth and thoughtfulness of it made me smile.
I wondered about how many other people had sat at this kitchen table and sipped on a cup of carefully chosen Chamomile, or Darjeeling, or Rosehip & Elderflower...
We all love it when someone does something to make us feel special and unique. That warm glow inside as we are filled with a sense of happiness.
Every day there are opportunities all around in which we can make someone feel just that little bit better - whether it be with a genuine smile, a touch or just holding a door open.
Taking the time to acknowledge a friend or colleague's nice new haircut can make their day and send a ripple out into the world.
Some people say that it is the small things that matter the most, and as I finish the last drop of my tea, I know this to be true.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Seasons of change

It happens once a year, and every time, it creeps up so silently that it takes a while to realise that things have actually changed.
Usually, it comes with a slight drop in temperature, then a subtle adjustment in the quality of light. Mornings grow slightly darker and evening sunsets show up just that little bit earlier.
Walking towards the cocoon of the tube, I look down and there they were... Adorning the pavement with gold, amber and russet, leaves which were once a bright green, now lay crisping at my feet. Where did they come from? I don't remember seeing them yesterday.
Something magical happened overnight.
The season changed and brought with it new opportunities to let go and move forward. For a while it looked as if everything was dying. Trees growing bare and the chill hits the air.
It is a perfect time to reflect on the year and glance at the things which have happened over the passing months. Autumn is a season for stripping everything away and gently releasing old habits to start afresh, safe in the knowledge that every season is just a new beginning. It’s refreshing to take a moment to feel the shift happening all around us and become a part of it.
I take that moment now as I playfully kick the leaves to watch as they displace and settle. A sense of freedom washes over me as I fasten my coat up against the cool evening air and continue my journey home.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The lightness of love

"Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicoloured moods of love, are like its satin wings"
-Dolly Parton

The thing that first attracted me to it was the way in which the wings would slowly open and close to reveal bright blue eye-like markings which shimmered in the sunlight. With each gust of breeze, its legs would stiffen to resist being removed involuntarily from the summer-scented lilac upon which it rested. I had never seen anything so incredible in all my 9 years of life.
Steadily holding the jar with my tiny hands, I placed it over my butterfly and snapped the lid closed, trapping the clump of lilac inside.
Once indoors, I decided to let it fly free. There was something extremely surreal about watching it flutter around my bedroom and then come to rest on the blue curtains. I loved the feel of the silky wings in my hands and how the iridescent powder would rub off onto my fingers, making them shimmer a little.
Something was wrong…
I quickly realised that bit by bit, the colour was fading from its delicate wings the more I held it and instead of the usual circling and soaring above my head, it would now flutter clumsily to the floor.
I knew I had to let it go. Placing it gently back into the palm of my hand, I carried it downstairs and out onto the branch from whence it came. I watched it for a while until it was time to go in for dinner and said my goodbye.
Sometimes we try so hard to hold onto everything we love, for fear of losing it, it is exhausting. Love lands where it is meant to and just like a beautiful butterfly, will come to rest gently in your hand when the time is right.

(No butterflies were harmed in the making of this blog!)