Wednesday, 30 May 2012

This i Know

I am currently doing a course in Leadership and Management.  It is amazing, lots of experimental work, reflection and increasing self awareness.  I have always been interested in self development and have invested in a pile of new books related to the course.  Stephen Covey, in his book 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' talks about Victor Frankl.  A psychologist and a Jew, he was a prisoner of war and except for his sister his entire family perished or went to the gas chamber.  What he went through is unimaginable.  But one day he became aware of what he later called 'the last of the human freedoms'.  In essence, his captures could take away his environment (freedom) and could do what he wanted to his body, but he himself was a self-aware being who could decide within himself how all of this was going to affect him.  He had not lost his power....  and the rest of his story is amazing.

Stories like this motivate and uplift me.  And someone else who inspires me is Susannah Conway.  Following the tragic loss of her partner, her world fell apart.  Susannah found her way back bit by bit through her photography and her own self exploration.  And she shares her story in her blog and her book 'This i Know'.  To celebrate it's publication Susannah is generously offering a free ecourse to anyone who buys a copy .... mine is winging it's way from Amazon right now!   Having done Susannah's 'Unravelling'  I know this 30 day course will be amazing.  

To quote Susannah:

"The goal of the course is the renewal of our senses – becoming more aware of them, how we use them and how we can strengthen them. It’s so easy to jog through life with our eyes shut, our ears closed, our sense of smell dialled down to zero, so we’re going to be gently challenging this as we work through the course. This I Know is all about mindfulness, living in the present moment and mining our lives to uncover the truth about the past and our dreams — I can think of no better way to plug into all that good stuff than through our senses. "

We can learn from other peoples experience as well as our own.  At a time when my work is draining my energy, taking away creative time and motivation, this course is just what I need.  Everyday life presents situations and choices that we have to deal with.  Or not.  And that's the crux of it.   How we think and behave impacts on how we live our life and relate to other people.  I feel stronger and more confident  if I understand my thinking and  why I respond in ways that I do.  And giving myself time to be more mindful and in the present is what calls right now.....  
I know this will help restore balance in my life, help my creativity and find the things that are really important to me.  So, let me know if you are signing up too - it would be lovely to say hi to a fellow 'explorer'.

Thursday, 10 May 2012


Some time ago I started to make a mini album titled 'Afew of my Favourite Things'.  It is work in progress but I love mini albums so I was very excited when Karen showed us her's as an example and said this was the workshop of the day.   

But what to add?  I have so many favourite things, but I had to narrow it down.  After all, I can always make more albums and add more of my favourite things!

A book at bedtime came to mind. I am an avid reader and I there is nothing I like more  than crisp white sheets and curling up in bed with a favourite book.
Currently I am reading The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg.  It's not a recent publication, and I have read it several times, but am always captivated by the strength of womanhood.
Skies, everything about them.  The moon,  the stars, and clouds....  I am a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society.  I don't profess to recognise the different formations but I love
taking photos and am often awe struck by the light and effects of the sun.
I also love star gazing.  Our son in law thought us very strange the first time he discovered us lying on our backs in the garden at night time, gazing up at the sky.  He's got used to us by now and sometimes does it too!

Being by the water......
I am lucky enough to live in an area that is surrounded by the sea.  There are lots of boats, and islands, and  wonderful walks along the sea walls. 
We sometimes go crabbing and there are some favourite pubs we visit.  I have sailed much of the area and would love my own boat.  Perhaps one day.  Meanwhile I take every opportunity I can to be on or by the water.

Which brings me to another of my favourite things... family! I have three beautiful granddaughters who keep me young at heart.  The elder two sometimes come for sleep overs and a routine has evolved where they love to snuggle up on the sofa with us and watch a film on the TV while eating pop corn (home made of course).  Then for breakfast it is pancakes, with lemon and sugar.  I am not one for routines but the girls look always ask for these and it has become part of their stay.

The girls also love craft, and on their last stay the three of us spent quite abit of time in my cabin.  They laughed when I told Brian it was 'girls only' and they always amaze me with their patience and the things they make.  Sometimes I give them photos I have spare and they have made beautiful mini albums adding captions and drawings.  Pages in one of Ivy's says 'look at Mee! and 'this is Mee!  I love it!

Did you spot my list of 10 favourite things?

1. Making mini albums
2.Crisp white sheets
3. Reading
5. Photography
6. Star Gazing
7. Being by the water
8. Boats and sailing
9. Family time & sleep overs
10. Art & Craft

My mini album is still work in progress but one day I will finish it, just as I plan to finish my boxes of half finished projects!  Life has been especially busy lately and you may have noticed I have not posted much or found time to visit and leave comments.  There has been lots happening and I hope to share some of this over time.  But meanwhile you may like to see other  '10 on the 10th' so pop over to Shimelle here where she will be posting more today. 

Monday, 7 May 2012

Island of Sark

Have you ever heard about a place and immediately been drawn to it... posted it at the back of your mind, thinking you will visit one day, given half the chance?  Well, for me that was the island of Sark.  Years ago I saw it on a TV programme and last week I finally got there.  Oh, the excitement!  And it was made more because my visit was unplanned and a birthday treat from a special friend. 

We reached the island by ferry from Guernsey and was greeted by the tractor which offers rides up the steep hill into the ‘village’. 

I say village with a smile because the island has two banks and a small row of shops.  There are no cars or street lights, something which has earned the island the first ‘Dark Sky’ in the world.  Just 2.10 square miles in size it has a population of 600 but enough of the detail...... I was keen to explore and especially to see La Coupee, a narrow path that links Great and Little Sark.  

Jill & I decided to take a horse drawn carriage so that we could see as much of the island as possible during our day visit.  And so we climbed on board and set off down the narrow lanes.  

We learnt that the doctor uses a tractor to get around the island and that the ambulance is a make shift caravan towed behind. We were told it is not a comfortable ride!

Tractors are also used by the local post office and we saw lots of parcels from Amazon in its trailer, at least Sark is keeping up with technology!  And after a while George (our horse) had a rest while others in our carriage went for a coffee.  Me?  I followed the path to the cliff top for some stunning views and photos.

And then on again to La Coupee, the highlight of my visit .  Until around 1900 children crossing to go to school would have to crawl on their hands and knees so that they weren't blown over the edge.  
Luckily there is a handrail now, and the views are spectaular.  I was far from disappointed!

After our carriage ride we explored on foot and we found a local cottage that served cream teas in the garden.  My idea of heaven and just look at my heart shaped scone!


The island is as wonderful as I had always imaged and I hope to return one day and stay longer. But for now I have many photos and happy memories. What more can I ask for?

This post is part of Story Sunday.  Pop over to Sian's for more.
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