The Catbox

I’ve had a lot of new followers lately – so I thought I’d better let you know that the majority of my blogging thoughts go on over here, at The Catbox (because it’s where I keep all of my… erm… randomness!).

I’ve just posted my latest, which was inspired by the sheer amount of wonderful creativity that I’m seeing from individuals right now. So I’ve added my own, while encouraging others (hopefully) and trying to inspire in turn.

This little page is to keep myself reminded daily, of what’s Worth It. What keeps me going. Deeper thoughts go on in other places, but sometimes the little snips here do their thing by being shared as well.

Much love, and welcome to all the newcomers! xx

Caring

Today… so tired. Recovering from the past couple of days, perhaps.

What has kept me going is the love that has been sent to me. Seeing how people care. Friends I know well, those I only know via the Interwebs – their honest caring has been a lifeline to me.

Friends who send patterns for creative prettiness.

Those who send their own books, for amusement and distraction.

Himself, caring so deeply even when he is struggling.

Those who share words, pictures of furry family, funny madness and randoms to raise a smile.

I am so touched that people care. Especially when my illness is trying to convince me that I’m worthless.

You all put the lie to this, shining truth by reaching out. Never doubt the worth of your words, even when your own brain weasels start to bite.

Thankyou so much, dear friends. Your love and care is a gift beyond price.

Also, the expressions of your cats as many of you took their picture was its own peculiar gift 😂

xx

Surviving

This morning, I awoke in the throes of a panic attack. And it was HUGE. A whirlpool of chaos, sucking me down with constant thoughts of distress, failure, pain, hurt… And ultimately, the solid fact that You Cannot Do It.

Somehow, I managed to grab on to a lifeline in my mind (and a pillow in reality). Somehow I stepped out of that barrage of awfulness, managing to see it from the outside: a black hole of destruction, from which nothing good can emerge. But that wasn’t me.

I remembered who I was. I remembered how to breathe. I got up, found coffee. Showered, prepared for work.

I am now home, from a fast-paced, full day. Hectic and demanding, at top speed… But I did it. I Could, and Did. 

Someone spoke to me today of battling his own demons. Sharing made the tension fall away from his shoulders; as the session went on, his smile grew, until silly jokes were being shared instead. ‘I feel so much better for coming here.’

Battling for what is owed, for those I care for. ‘Go kick arse, Cat!’ Because they know I will.

Such words are worth more than gold. If the panic had won, I would not have heard them, because they may not have even been spoken. 

I survived today, and the demons did not win. Not just me, but those I touched with words, smiles… and a little Force Lightning.

😉

Bibliomancy

Sometimes, what is needed throws itself at you.

After writing about my proposed ‘book diet’ yesterday, my mind was clearly pondering the idea as I looked about the multitude of titles on offer in my own home. Exciting prospects, all.

As I prepared for bed, one title in particular caught my eye, almost falling off the shelf, shouting ‘Me, Me, Me!’

So this morning, I took it down and opened it up. And was caught.

‘Too often our lives automatically get channelled into narrow, secure patterns, set into deadline routines. Some of us want out…

To do this, we have to live on the edge, between the lines, somewhere between matter and spirit, masculine and feminine, darkness and light, leader and follower, stillness and motion. We venture like tightrope-walkers over the abyss of the unknown. I like it on the edge. I take others with me. This is my work.’

(From ‘Maps to Ecstasy’ by Gabrielle Roth)

Stephen King said that if a long novel is an love affair, a short story is like a kiss. An autobiographical tale is an invitation to an intimate relationship, sharing secrets and seeing parallels between your own experience and that of another person. The words contain memories, experiences and ideas, and can inspire the same in the reader with that shared truth.

I love to hear the voices of others telling their tales. I walk with them on our brief journeys between the pages. And in the case of this tremendously creative lady, I dance with her, along the edge. Her voice speaks to me precisely at the time it is needed; I am both glad and grateful.

I read on.

(Over) Work

Back in the late 1990s, I worked at a magazine in London. When deadline time came around, I would be in early and out late, grabbing food when I could and making the most of every bathroom break to take a moment to breathe.

I did enjoy it. I was young, the work was interesting, I was learning new things. Until it became more of a grind. The awareness of being a rat in an unwinnable, neverending race came when it was my turn to be shafted by the business ‘money over wellbeing’ perspective. Not for the last time, either, but we live and learn. In such a world, nobody’s happiness is important, so long as a profit is made (and must increase, year on year).

This had nothing to do with my introductory steps into Paganism at the same time, of course 🙂

Many years later…

Today, I had my first meal of the day (is it still breakfast?) at 3pm or so. Busy, working, travelling, working, multitasking while on the phone, grabbing food when I could and finally stepping outside to breathe…

The difference? I sincerely love my ‘job’. I do have to work hard for long hours (today being an extreme example!); I deal with random questions, events and demands – but it is all worth it. It’s really not a dream job of magic, luxury and ease, any more than the magazine job was glamorous or schmoozy. But the very visible consequences make it all worth the effort.

Like any motivated worker – from an architect to a gardener, an artist or teacher – the results are there before you, for good or ill. You put your best into the work, and (hopefully) people will be happy. Your creativity and effort inspire others. I’m lucky enough that I can do this and be supported (and I have deadlines, not targets), but I set my own bar pretty high.

I still do temp jobs from time to time, but even there, I try to enjoy them, bringing my mindset to the office and the work. I question, I reason, I do my best to fix issues – and I remember to laugh. And eat. And breathe.

Living Druidry indeed.

Subtle Wisdom

I’m not exhausted today, but I’m near. Life seems to be going from extremes of busy to bodily demands for ‘Rest NOW’… but I’m riding the flows, to see what comes. Overdoing it always proves unwise, to put it mildly.

Today, I’m reading: research and review books. My mind wants to be busy, but the tiredness is making focus difficult. So I’m letting the words pass in, reading slowly to understand, comprehend, grok as best I can.

And the ideas are indeed flowing. Phrases from the books jump out at me, demanding consideration. Words spoken by passers-by yesterday keep ringing little bells in my head, wanting to be remembered. Certain themes keep appearing, over and over, refusing to be ignored.

Several people poked me to write more (as in Book 3, ‘official’ writing rather than blogging, I think), but today is not for that. Today is for taking time, carrying around my little notebook and a pen, jotting down those phrases; whether from old books or wise friends, I’m not fussy. Let’s see where the ideas take me.

It’s a grey, rainy Monday outside – but the birds are singing. In here, the voices of many are coming together to make something… It’s just important to take that time to listen, to see what song is being made.

The Words of Others

It’s sometimes difficult to prepare yourself for work in the morning. Perhaps more so when you work from home. There’s no ‘ritual’ as such to the day, no special clothes to wear, washing routine or journey to slog through. You just have to get on and start.

When I sit down to work, though, I tend to find that a curious thing happens. I either end up in awe, or in tears. Sometimes both.

Today was both. I was reading through the work sent to me by a student, telling of her adventures over the last month in the wild woods near her home, her exploration of the elements, family difficulties…

And I was left humbled. Reading her words, beautifully handwritten and sent to me in the post, together with some equally lovely hand-drawn art, I was honoured to share in her story. The content might have seemed relatively simple, but this was a verbal snapshot of a life, there, on the page.

The reason for the handwritten letter? She’s not on the internet at all, and likely will never read this. She won’t know how I gently touched the pencil sketches, imagining them being drawn so carefully. I hope to tell her, if we ever meet. But the power of her words, in this way, was breathtaking.

By the way, it’s not just those without the technology, either. A short while ago, a parcel arrived at the door – another student had sent me a package of books, recommendations that she’d decided to flippin’ well ensure that I read! Now she may well be reading this, but I don’t intend to hold back because of that.

Stories are such an intrinsic part of my life – day-to-day, physically, mentally and spiritually – and the lives of others have the power to change my own through their words. The passion of something felt strongly enough to share is something that I will always have time for. This is never ‘work’ as it’s come to be known. Someone has taken the time and effort to send me a tale.

The tears in my eyes today are genuine, and the love for those I meet in this strange ‘job/vocation/life’ is profound. For that, I will always be grateful, and never feel that I express it adequately enough.

Those of you who share with me – this is my love letter of thanks to each and every one of you.

Oh and PS – before anyone says anything, I had a huge box of books arrive today as well. My own. That still flabbergasts me… but I’ve learned not to hug the delivery driver, as it confuses him.

Doesn’t stop me squeeing happily every time I open the package, though. 🙂