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Deep breath, center, and move on

closeup photo of white petaled flowers
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

It’s been quite a whirlwind of events in the past 6 weeks or so, hence the radio silence for the past two weeks. It was so hard not to get swept away by the speed and ferocity of events and emotions. In short, I feel like I’ve been flushed down the loo, and run white water rapids with nothing to protect me except my own will to survive! I never knew till now, just how physical grief can be.

If you’re a bit wobbly about reading stuff to do with women’s issues, skip this paragraph! Ok – so a hormone surge appeared out of the blue. The girls (ovary 1 and 2) have been dormant for two years but had an impromptu party, leaving me with the mess to clean up in the form of a couple of egg-sized boob cysts, spectacular hot flushes (honestly, I put out more heat than a massive radiator!) and galloping health anxiety. In spite of reassurance from a variety of healthcare professionals that I am fit and healthy , I still felt I was going to expire… the worst incident happened in the middle of our nearest city, on a Saturday, trying to do Christmas shopping. I felt weak, wobbly, racing heart, hot, cold and ready to cry. Fortunately Mr D wasn’t too far away (he was shopping solo for a surprise for me) and met me with a big hug.

So – if you skipped the last paragraph I have had a few health issues and one anxiety attack in the middle of Christmas shopping. Mr D has been a star throughout all of this, while coping with his own troubles on the work front… those of you who follow this blog will have read yesterday’s One-liner Wednesday and know how badly he’s been treated by his company. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful husband. Things came to a head on Monday morning, the funeral of my old friend. I didn’t attend as it was for close family only. Once again, tears flowed freely and I let them. The dog got a super-long walk that lunchtime and I think I must have thoroughly bent God’s ear as I walked and talked to Him. I felt better, like I’d turned a corner at last.

Today I had a session with a Tui Na masseur who also happens to be a Reiki master. In between the exquisite pain of pressure points being pressed and released, he was able to tell me he felt I had gone through an emotionally painful time but that my body was indicating it was near the end of processing everything and to keep pushing on towards the finishing line. This is amazing advice considering the charity wrist band I was given by a man selling them in the city while I was having the anxiety attack. It reads ‘Never give up!!!’. As the man placed the band on my hand he held it, looked into my eyes and told me everything would be ok… just stop and breathe deeply. So I did…. I followed the advice of the angel in disguise and the panic reduced.

I have one last piece of self-care to do – I contacted my lovely psychologist, gave her the potted history of the last 8 weeks and agreed a time to talk it all out. After that, dear readers, I guess I will be able to close the door on this episode in my life, hopefully much wiser from the experience. Time will tell.

Thank you for stopping by xx

 

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The restorative power of a good walk in the countryside

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North Yorkshire Moors

After the emotional upheaval of last week I was more than ready to go for a good long walk in the countryside. I am blessed to live near the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and own a pup with endless energy (although this last blessing can be incredibly annoying when its energy overflows!).

The day dawned bright, sunny and a tad cool but the forecast was for milder temperatures later. Nice, but what to wear? As the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong choice of clothing. At this time of year it’s better to go equipped for all four seasons… layers are the key. You can add and subtract as needed.

By the time we arrived at our starting point the early morning chill had lifted and all the was needed was a gilet, a long-sleeved t-shirt, jeans, and stout walking boots. Oh, and sunglasses! Pup needed nothing more than her lead (sheep roaming in the area).

The first part of the walk is a steep and steady incline. My fitness levels have increased since I last walked here as my breathing and heart rate were nice and steady as I nimbly strode uphill.

The moors are changing from greens to predominantly coppers, reds, and golds. Coupled with the spectacular stone outcrops, weathered by the winds, the views are worth the effort to get there. Some of the weathering patterns are really cool!

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Weird westerly windows

By the time we’d finished the walk the lunchtime temperature was warm enough to enjoy a lakeside picnic before heading back home, very much refreshed.

Wishing you all a marvellous Monday.

Cath xx

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Stop the world, I want to get off!

Happy Friday everyone.

This is a special Friday for me and Mr D. We’re off on a long-overdue holiday. For the next two weeks we will be mostly unplugged and off the grid in an effort to recharge our depleted batteries.

The trip is in celebration of Mr D’s big birthday (one with a zero on the end!) so I’ve pushed the boat out and booked us into a VIP lounge before our flight, and booked a few cultural trips to keep him amused. It’s always fun trying to find a balance between “doing” and “being”. Mr D loves doing, and will walk the hind legs off a donkey. Me? I like to mix it up with some being and some doing. With a bit of planning I think I’ve found the right balance for us.

As we are off the grid, I won’t be posting anything until we return at the beginning of October. Hopefully we will have so many wonderful experiences I will be awash with ideas for a good one-liner for Wednesdays and SoCS.

Until then, dear readers, be good. And if you can’t be good, for heaven sake, don’t get caught.

Cath xx

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Ah! That’s better.

The calm after the storm is all the sweeter for having weathered the storm. I think the heady combination of multiple celebrations back to back and the lunar eclipse had quite a disruptive effect on me over the past few days.

Fortunately I’ve learned that these storms do pass. Sometimes you have to ride them out, and other times you need to give yourself a good talking to. Today was ‘talking to’ time.

Pup was hitched up to her lead earlier than usual. She looked at me as if to say

“What’s up Mum? We’re headed out way earlier than usual and you have a ‘look’ that says this is going to be a speed march!”

“It’ll do us both good, pup. I need to have a strong word with myself, and your walk route is the best place for it. Nobody to overhear me.”

An hour later, my move target on my Apple Watch completely smashed, we trooped back in, hot and bothered but happier. Well at least I was. Pup was thirsty and gave me a bit of a reproachful look.

Filled with a renewed sense of purpose and energy, I decided to bake bread without using my mixer. Normally I chuck everything into the bowl, attach the dough hook, and let it do the work. Not today. I was on a mission. There’s nothing quite so much fun as getting your hands into the flour, fingers in a claw shape, and giving everything a good squish. Tactile fun with the added bonus of decent bread at the end.

Next was the kneading… the bit I’m usually happy to leave to the machine. I’d forgotten how tiring it can be. It was almost a full upper body workout! In the past I used to pretend that the dough was a person who’d annoyed me. Great for getting you through the tiring muscle bit. Not today. Today I wanted my bread filled with renewed energy, love, and happiness, so that’s what I focused on as I thumped the poor defenceless dough into shape.

With the weather still warm, the warming wasn’t needed, just a disposable shower cap over my mixing bowl and time.

What to do while I waited?

Listen to a Deepak Chopra talk followed by a pedicure. With everyone one out of the house I had the peace and quiet I needed to listen to the talk. I did not do anything else at the same time… just listened. I used to pride myself on my ninja multitasking skills. Now I see that as not paying attention to what I’m doing. At last I was a human simply being, in the listening state.

It was a great eye-opener… lots of ‘aha’ moments as well as being timely (thank you again, universe).

Then I dug out an unused Christmas pressy… a pedicure kit. An hour later my tootsies were smooth, trimmed, and Barbie pink and my bread dough was ready for knocking back and shaping.

After another Hay House talk the dough was ready for the oven. It would seem that a good talking too was just what I needed.

By the way, the bread turned out delicious.

Wishing you all a terrific Tuesday xxx

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Keeping my mind on track…

Having just taken time to reply to Perimenopausal Ponderings‘ latest post, it got me think about what goes through my head when I do finally find the time and uninterrupted space to meditate. Her question was about the types of crutches we use to get us through the day. Mine is meditating or gin!

I’ve given up expecting the dog and my family to work it out for themselves that me, sitting quietly with my eyes shut, headphones on, deep breathing, is me meditating. The preparation for those ten short minutes is almost a ritual in itself.

It starts with me giving the dog some cuddles, declaring my intention to have ten minutes, grabbing the headphones and getting comfortable. With my Mums Radar switched to quiet mode, I fire up my meditation app and chose a session from a pack I’ve loaded earlier or go with the daily offering.

Making sure I’m sitting correctly (my chiropractor would be impressed) I take a few moments to try to get my head in the zone. As the opening sentences pass through my brain, instructing me to breathe deeply, I feel a sense of calm descend…. and then the end of my nose itches.

Do I scratch it or try to ignore it? Oh heck, I’m thinking about my nose instead of listening to the meditation.

Deep breath and start again.

I get to the bit where I’m encouraged to close my eyes… not a problem for me, but seems to be a signal to the dog to sneak up, unheard, and drop a toy on my lap.

“Eeeek! Urgh! Get that smelly thing off me! (Throws toy and biscuit into dog’s bed to encourage her to bugger off and leave me alone).

Deep breath, restart the meditation and try to recover from the fright.

Breathing deeply, eyes closed, I feel my heart return to normal pace. Ah! Mmmm!

….

….

“…and now gently scan your body from head to toe, simply noticing how it feels…”

Ok so far… head feels fine, nose has stopped itching. Stop thinking about the nose. Keep scanning down. All is well.

5 minutes later, just concentrating on the breath, my little bubble of calm is interrupted by Mr D.

“Are you done yet? Do you want a cup of tea?”

Breathing deeply, counting to ten, I reply that I’m still meditating (or at least trying to) and that a cuppa would be nice later thank you. He doesn’t notice that I’m speaking to him through gritted teeth!

I don’t bother to restart the session from the beginning and attempt to regain a tiny smidge of calmness from where I left off when I was interrupted – again!

….

….

“... and now release the focus on your breath, allowing your mind to wander freely…”

“…. gammon steak and pineapple…”

“… oh God, I’m in the office tomorrow…”

“… fluffy clouds…”

“… did I water my greenhouse plants?”

“… and in your own time, gently open your eyes.

And there you have it, ten minutes of mindfulness, Cath Dean style!

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Time out!

Following on from yesterday’s post on so many things to do and so little time, I’ve been given a “time out” in the form of a stonking migraine in the early hours of this morning.

The recovery time has forced my to slow down, prioritise my to-do list and axe a whole bunch of stuff. It’s funny how the urgent stuff tries to make itself seem important. Quite sneaky!

I’m reminded of a Time Management course I went on years ago. We brought our to-do lists and split the tasks into 4 categories –

  1. Not urgent or important
  2. Urgent but not important
  3. Important but not urgent
  4. Important and urgent

It’s amazing how much of my to-do list is clogged up with non-urgent, unimportant stuff…. made to seem the opposite by the person who handed me the task!

Today I have only got capacity for category 4. As Bob Carter says “Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine.”

I’m off to rest up.

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Friday fun in the sun

How much fun is it being able to make a snap decision and take the day off? The weather is just too beautiful to watch it from the office window. It doesn’t happen that regularly in the UK that we can afford to pass up the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. As the old saying goes “Make hay while the sun shines.”

I planned to sleep as long as I needed. Didn’t happen though. The cuckoo had other ideas.

Clearly, it is a master of long distance travel and to be commended on its endurance. I’m sure it has other talents, but time-keeping is not one of them. At around 5am it started to cuckoo. By 25 o’clock I thought it might stop to draw breath, but no. It was going for the world record for non-stop cuckooing! By 5:40am it decided to call it a day, by which time I was now wide awake.

Not willing to waste a lovely morning trying to get back to sleep I slipped into my running kit and headed out. Initially I was only going for a short run but the conditions were too good to resist, my legs felt great, and I kept going until I’d completed 5K.

Once home, the run data transferred from my Apple Watch app to my phone, and to my astonishment, I’d knocked off 2 minutes 30 secs off my previous best time! Go me! Time to celebrate with a post-run yoga session on the sun deck. It seemed only appropriate that part of my routine should be Sun Salutations. The only slight blot on the horizon was dog shaped. Molly was so eager to join in the fun. She has Downward Dog off to a fine art but is absolutely rubbish at Bridge, and Corpse pose. She’s also rubbish at letting me do these poses unmolested!

After much face-licking (the dog, not me) she gave in and let me carry on. With the sun well above the horizon, I was able to have breakfast outside while I planned the rest of my day.

My trip to the beauty therapist was excellent. She doesn’t just do my nails and waxing, we exchange news, and generally set the world to rights while having a seriously good laugh. By the time I was ready for home I was in the best mood I’ve been in all week. I think this is why these wonderful people are called therapists.

And now?

It’s mid-afternoon. I’m in the shade of a majestic weeping willow tree, with a big glass of minted water (soon to be Gin and Tonic), listening to Dark Side of the Moon while I write this post.

This is the best Friday I’ve had all year.

Wishing you all a chilled and fun weekend.

Cath xx