So, I have been filling my fb page with the birds I see outside my bedroom window, for a few months now.
People who know me, I'm sure, don't equate 'bird watching' to me, so I thought i would tell you why birds are such an important part of my life.
It's about appreciating what I have now.
When I first became ill I spent years in bed. My greatest pleasure was hearing and seeing the House Martins swooping and stretching their wings in the wind, from my bedroom window. I loved their freedom and at that point, from my bed, very poorly, they were my only link to the outside world. I began to know their tweets and knew if one was sitting on the telephone wires outside my house. They were really the only pleasure i had in a shut off world. I owe my sanity to them really. They helped me remember beauty, the wind in the air, the heat of the sun on their wings and I knew the world continued to change season by season with new growth and life.
As years have passed and I am out of bed usually 6 days out of 7, can now walk a short distance and am no longer in a wheelchair and I am enjoying life, I want to thank the birds for saving me, for giving me hope.
I don't have a garden where I live now, just a little decking area, but living in a bungalow with my window facing onto the decking, I have been able to set up a bird table and watch the birds again. I love to do this. I have a couple of families of Sparrows, a pair of Robins, a pair of Chaffinch, Starlings, Pigeons, a pair of Collared Doves, a pair of Great Tits, a Blue Tit and on just one occasion a pair of Goldfinch also on my feeders. Sadly there doesn't appear to be any House Martins in the area but I have seen a Swallow here. I also had the pleasure to spot a Woodpecker attached to the telegraph pole across the road too!
I have an additional memory that makes the bird watching such a fulfilling thing for me to do. When I first met my Grandmother ( I was adopted and didn't meet her until I was about 30 years old), she used to sit in her bedroom which was the downstairs lounge converted, watching the birds out of the window. She loved watching the world go by too, but the birds I know, gave her great pleasure as they fed in her little front garden. I often think of her as I sit and watch my little bird families.
Once again, when I feel too poorly to go out or after a difficult or tiring day, I have the birds to calm me and give me pleasure. Do what makes you happy in life. Find pleasure in the little things all around you. Grow Your Own Soul.
(All pictures mine except the House Martin).
,So, when I set this website up my soul was feeling overjoyed with being alive again, with having the ability to chose some things that I was actually able to do, after a few years of virtual helplessness caused by the fatigue and pain of M.E, fibromyalgia and poor mental health.
I have painted the beautiful planters and boxes my husband makes, for about a year, but the time has come for me to stop. I moved house about five months ago (yes, again) and with it the path I was taking turned a corner and up ahead was a crossroads.
Excited about the new house, with my own room to work and paint and the pleasure at thinking I would be able to sit downstairs instead of in bed for hours whilst painting, was short lived. After a couple of months I found that I didn't have the energy to undercoat and topcoat the boxes, that just painting one was exhausting. I took on a friend to help me work, to do the long arm movement painting, but still I found sitting down to paint extremely hard and painful and the enjoyment started to leave me.
About eight weeks ago, I was still just about painting but struggling badly. I had so many lovely ideas of what to paint and my painting had definitely improved over the months I had been doing it, but the love of what I was doing stopped ... and then I stopped.
I have waited. I told my friends that I had 'lost my mojo' but that it would come back, ordered new paintbrushes to help me do a better job, but still, nothing. No joy, no energy and no desire to paint.
Finally, over the last few days, having stopped beating myself up and feeling guilty about the few boxes that I had been asked to do but haven't been able to, I gave myself the space to take another peek in my soul to try to see what has happened. I expected to see a dull, drab and colourless soul, because that was how I was feeling ...
... but this is what I saw. MY SOUL LOOKS GLORIOUS! ... in full flower... full of the flowers, hedgehogs, butterflies, birds and bees that I have painted and what's more, they are not just flat paintings but are now three dimensional - they are full of the joy I had when painting them and the happiness of the people I painted them for! After too much time indoors feeling agoraphobic, I had managed to 'get back out there' a little. I have met lots of new people and been to craft shows and fairs selling our planters and taking orders, have loved talking to so many people and have made new friends. I guess this was the purpose of painting, for me. I needed to re-learn how to communicate physically with people and my painting served this need and brought the flowers I had painted in my soul, to life!
I have grown my soul in ways I never dreamed of, not realising any of it at the time. I was just travelling the path. Now I have stopped to look I realise I have lots of 'other' plans and things going on that excite me that could just be possible, despite my disabilities. I still have to be mindful that perhaps I had been doing too much and had 'burnt out' a little again, but stopping at the crossroads for a rest before turning a corner has done me no harm.
So, don't be sad for me. I was sad and disappointed with myself and felt I had given up - but now I know I haven't, I have just moved on, and the experience I have enjoyed of selling again (always loved selling when I worked in retail) means I will now be selling idea's - mine and my friends - developing the market I run with my husband to be even better for the community and trying to make more things happen, all for good and all for Growing My Own SOUL a whole lot more!
Thank you to my friends and fellow stallholders for supporting me and accepting me for who I am over the last few months ... it is what I needed and had been craving, for such a long time. God Bless You x
I woke up feeling GRATEFUL today!
'It doesn't matter how low, in pain or lonely you feel - there is always someone worse off' - that's what people say isn't it.....makes us feel so selfish for feeling our own pain......
The problem is.....how can you SEE that, TRIGGER that thought, when you are in the depths of despair?
It is not selfishness that stops us seeing people who are worse off at that time in our lives.
I think, having been there myself, that it is almost impossible to think about other people you don't know when you are in that place.
That is why I am grateful.
I am grateful that in growing my SOUL, right now, I can prepare and savour my gratitude for the things I have in my life, so that should I ever be in that place again (which is a real possibility as I suffer from chronic depression) I have the gratitude in my soul already, as an integral part of me.
So what am I so grateful for? Well, I am OBVIOUSLY grateful for my family etc etc and all the usual things we are grateful for-and that is not meant to sound flippant- but in times of deep distress, I am glad for one time in my life which will forever stay in my soul.
I was in Panama.....how I got there is a long story and one for another day....but one day, I was taken to visit a family, who lived in a little shack in the rural area outside town. The family were so lovely. Mum, partially blind, their two toddlers and baby, and dad, a weed-whacker (as they call gardeners).
This family had NOTHING....and I really mean NOTHING, materially.
>Their wooden shack was collapsing and dad was too weak to fix it up and raise the roof on his own.
>There was little light indoors as windows would mean holes in the walls where cold and rain could come in.
>Everything indoors would be done in the dark unless they were lucky enough to be able to afford oil for
>They had a little area closed off to sleep in.
>They washed and toileted in the stream nearby - very cold in the tropical rainy season.
> Mum wore an eight year olds pair of jeans as shorts as she had no clothes (and when they had been
washed, they took so long to dry that she couldn't go out for days as these were her only clothes).
>They had little food and what they had fed the children -both parents were frail and thin where they ate
You know what this family had though that was worth everything in the world- LOVE. Those parents loved and adored each other and the children. They were GRATEFUL for every little thing they were given. They were respectful, never asked for anything, were polite and would offer food to share if they had any.
So when times are tough and I cant buy a bar of chocolate I want at the moment I SOOOoooooo want it, I remember the family. I have taken the family into my SOUL. I will never forget them and am grateful for the love they showed me-the love of life, of relationships, of respecting and using natures gifts. I have a picture of them on my wall. I am grateful for everything I have.