Big Deal

Just because something isn’t a big deal to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t a big deal to someone else.

If someone tells you something is bothering them, listen. It’s completely okay to not understand. It’s not okay to belittle their emotions.

If someone snaps, ask if they are attacking you personally. If they are, that’s not okay. But if they’re just expressing exasperation or anger at a particular situation, try to listen.

If someone suffers from anxiety, then irritation or anger can be a sign of an impending attack, or of moderate to severe generalised anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t just present as nervousness or panic, especially in people that have to mask those feelings on a day to day basis.

Above all, make sure you’re not holding people to higher standards than you expect yourself to be held to. We’ve all experienced times when something mattered to us that seemed trivial to others. Remember that feeling, and use it to empathise when you face someone in a similar situation.

A big deal is always a big deal to the person experiencing it, whether you understand it or not. Be kind.

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Lugh’s Lesson

I walk up to the gates

And I tell them

How much I have to offer

How much I have to give

But they don’t want to know

They’ve seen it all before

You don’t write better

Sing better

Fight better

Than any we’ve seen before

Ok, I say, the way

Through your closed-mindedness

Is clear

No fear, I’ll show

Instead of tell

I’ll write the words

That make you

Laugh, cry and sleep

I’ll sing the song

That brings the past

To life

I’ll fight the warriors you send

I’ll toss the blocks

I’ll break and bend

And mend

These bridges fast.

Lugh showed us well

Do, don’t tell.

Elusive Happiness

I felt happy several times this weekend.

Playing with my little girl. Hearing her laugh. Watching her grow.

Seeing friends. Chatting. Sharing. Unwinding.

Watching Buffy. Chilling. Escaping.

Yet as I fell asleep, or tried to, on Sunday night, all I could think about was things which had made me feel deeply unhappy.

This is one aspect of depression and anxiety that I find really hard to deal with. I know there are so many good things, wonderful things in my life. But sometimes, I just can’t bring to mind anything but sick, anxious feelings that drag me down.

Whys and wherefores mix with recrimination and regret, whilst arguments that weren’t quite settled sit like bile. Nothing major. Nothing life changing. But the anxiety magnifies everything and the depression makes even the mildest muddled communication seem like the end of the world.

It’s a hard thing to explain to someone who has never experienced this. People tell you to focus on the good things, the positive things. “Think positively!” “Find the silver lining!” I can see the silver lining. I can.

But all I can focus on is the cloud.

Imbolc Treasure

Imbolc is the Celtic festival of winter’s end, the start of spring, and is celebrated on the first or second of February. Spring isn’t here yet, but we’ve made it to halfway between winter solstice and the equinox. Lambs are on their way, and yes, in Yorkshire, we get to see a lot of lambs over the next few weeks and months!

The first stirrings of spring seem a little muted, hidden beneath a drifting veil of winters breath. Amidst the traffic chaos and slippery anxiety, I have found some delightful treasures. Please, stay warm and safe, help each other out, and if you can, pause to appreciate these cold moments of beauty.

Baby Steps

There aren’t many more exciting things than baby’s firsts. First words or signs because you realise they have new ways of communicating with you. First teeth, as it opens up new culinary possibilities, and means teething and the pain that goes with it is closer to ending.

This week we had first steps, something I thought I would miss as she is at nursery three days a week now. She’s been standing for a while, but hadn’t dared move from this stance without holding on to either us or the furniture. All of a sudden she gave me a cheeky look and staggered across the living room floor to me. She looked as proud as I felt.

It’s amazing that those first few tentative steps echo the wobbly stance of a new born calf or fawn, but over a year after birth, rather than mere minutes. We humans drag out the growing up process, and I’m incredibly grateful for that. We get to enjoy each stage… one careful step at a time.

She Gave me a Witchstone

See the hole right through the middle? That’s what makes this a witchstone, or hagstone. Traditionally associated with magic, they are used as protection from various evils, including to protect sailors from drowning.

The hole is formed by the ocean and the particles therein abrading the stone until the weakest points give way, presenting the holes that our ancestors and now us perceive as magical. For me, it’s a symbol of the power of nature; its relentless inevitability. A reminder to respect the forces around us.

Look through the hole of a hagstone and you may notice the view of the world is a little different than you expected. The hole can be a portal to another world; a world where a different decision was made, or where a path was never walked. A glimpse of what might have been, or what may still be depending on the next steps you take.

I found this one as I walked along Hornsea beach thinking about the goddesses of the ocean. I had already found a beautiful stone, flecked with tiny plant fossils. I was expressing my gratitude, when I spied this piece of flint that the ocean had drilled right through. I’ve always loved flint; practical, beautiful… and oozing history. I picked it up, thanked the ocean and carried on my way, feeling especially lucky. Perhaps the effect of the witchstone starting already…

Ocean Longing

Strange nostalgia for the sea

Background smell

Of coal dust and coziness

While I walk on the beach

Houses behind me

Horizon ahead

Beckoning.

New Friends

Lonely Bubble

The boy pulls my arm

Look at this bubble!

He cries, and sighs

In delight.

It sits, unharmed, on the rainy tarmac

Wet and round and glossy

A perfect hemisphere

A ghostly fried egg imitator

A final resting place

With no predicted pop.

It flew, for sure, it flew with friends

Around the stage we haunt

And shop fronts

Lights

Hotdog candy floss popcorn dream

They flew together

Then one by one

Pop, pop, pop

Yet this one hung on

Though its time to fly

Had passed.

Lonely bubble lies

On the greasy tarmac

We watched for a while,

Puzzled and oddly sorrowful

Until something else delightful

Caught my baby’s eye.

Chocolate Tasting at Apperley Bridge Marina

It’s nearly Yule and what better way to enjoy this indulgent season than with some delicious choccies? Apperley Bridge Marina hosted its first chocolate tasting event last night. We arrived under a frosty half moon with the boats glistening in still and cold water. The place was done out beautifully, with Christmas decorations, candles in cups of coffee beans and a delightful handmade light box church.

The chocolates themselves were elegantly displayed on cake stands. Flavours ranged from three different types of Baileys to rhubarb and ginger gin and a whole gamut of tastes in between. I particularly enjoyed the creme de menthe! Vicky, the chocolatier, has created some genuine sweet treats and they are much in demand over the festive period. I purchased some of the Bailey’s Luxe milk chocolates for my knee half. They’re hidden in the back of the fridge now!

At £5 for entry, a hot drink and a taste of every chocolate, this was a really good value event and yet another reason Marina View Coffee Shop is one of our favourite places. If you fancy trying some of Vicky’s hand made chocolates, give them a shout on 07706046753. The coffee shop is also on Facebook and Instagram.

Distracted by the Birds

I often find myself distracted in the kitchen. I’m supposed to be jamming. Making jam, not music. But the pigeons coo, the great tits see-saw whistle, the blue tits chatter and the wrens scold, their huge voices belying their tiny bodies.

My feelings war between this scolding, this feeling that I ‘should’ be busy, and the delight of my avian company. Particularly during this holiday period, we are pressured to be busy, doing, making, buying; pleasing. Sometimes I just want to please myself. To sing, to speak Spanish, to read, to shout at the radio, to cuddle the cats and children.

Oh, I do love making jam, but it’s become a chore for now. Now the birds call to me. I can’t help but listen.

Wasted Tea Haiku

Sometimes the tea is

Heavy, dense; peculiar.

Why did it go cold?