Soothing Views

Do you ever wonder if you’re supposed to be somewhere? I mean, do you ever find yourself some place and just know that you were meant to be in that very spot, that very day?

Today I am really busy, but in the midst of that busyness I have found myself watching a young rabbit hopping about a flower bed in a busy car park at a busy clinic.

This particular clinic is just outside of the city and not far from the motorway. It has beautiful gardens that are very well maintained. The clinic has several departments running there, my husband was attending physiotherapy. I always wait in the car because the building where they do the physio is always so hot. I never reverse park, because I have arthritis in my neck and can’t turn it sufficiently to see what I’m doing. Today, however, I decided to reverse park as it was almost a straight drive back into the space. I’m really glad I did this because I spent around 15 minutes watching this little bunny, hopping around and munching on grass. I felt quite peaceful afterwards; a calming, soothing influence in a hugely stressful day.

Taking a few minutes to take in the nature around us is sometimes the soul soother we need in our hectic lives.

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Review of The S Word

Angie and Lizzie were the best of friends. Lizzie betrayed Angie when Lizzie was found in bed with Angie’s boyfriend on the night of their prom. The whole school turned against her, subjecting her to name-calling and graffiti being plastered over her locker, with abuse about her.

Lizzie is so distraught by what has happened that she kills herself.

A week after her death pages from Lizzie’s diary are found around the school and Angie is hell bent on finding out who pushed Lizzie over the edge, despite her sense of betrayal by her best friend.

The book is aimed at a younger audience and is very much written with this target audience in mind. That said, the gripping drama kept me reading and I certainly did not see some of the plot twists coming. I did guess what had happened to Lizzie though.

The book deals with a lot of issues that face teenagers and I felt it dealt really well with the impact that bullying has. On the surface we don’t see an awful lot of involvement from any adults in the book, but given that this is written from a teenagers perspective that was hardly surprising. Having successfully navigated three teenagers through those hellish years – not to mention my own teen years – I was able to relate to Angie’s angst and the dramas she had to deal with.

I think this is a really thought provoking book for teenagers and young adults. It deals with issues that this age group face and the author isn’t afraid to rock the boat. The book was well written and whilst an adult reading it might find the language a little too simplistic, the age group that it is aimed at will appreciate the way it is written.

I am going to give this book 5 stars as I enjoyed the story.

Recommended.

***** 5 stars.

Review Of House At The End Of Hope Street.

 

 

 


This book was awesome. I loved it.

 

The book centres on Alba who we meet right at the very beginning of the book. Alba is in a dark place and is wandering aimlessly around Cambridge one night when she suddenly finds herself outside of number eleven Hope Street. She is very puzzled as she has never encountered the house before, although she is certain she has been this way countless times. There is something about the house that draws her to it, draws her up the garden path and up to the front door where she finds herself knocking on the door. She is let in without hesitation by a woman named Peggy. It soon becomes apparent to Alba that this is no ordinary House. There is something uniquely special about it. Alba, along with the other women who are staying at Hope Street, is nudged in the right direction when it comes to finding out the truth about her life and the choices she needs to make.

The book is a delight to read. It has a fantastic array of famous characters in it all more than willing to give advice to the women who stay at Hope Street. I found that the book was well written and easy to enjoy. It had all of my favourite ingredients – hope, love, joy and a happy ending.

 

I would highly recommend this book and am happy to give it a five star plus rating.

 

*****+

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READ.

Soul Soothing.

We have all heard the maxim, follow your bliss. We all have those good intentions to do just that. And then life happens and we get so bogged down by the mundane chores that make up our everyday lives and our good intentions fall by the wayside. This happens more than we realise. We imagine it is only happening to ourselves and we get cross with ourselves for not being stronger, or more able to deal with a million and one things at once. It is only when we share our exasperation with other people that we realise other people are going through similar too.

I have spent countless hours getting angry with myself for not being more proactive when it comes to meditating or chilling out in a spiritualistic way. I always imagine everyone else is doing this sort of thing effortlessly and I am the inadequate one for not being able to be all things to everyone, including myself.

Whether we blame the demands on our hectic working lives, or home lives, the fact remains the same; we overstretch ourselves so much that we simply do not have the time to devote to something that will benefit us on so many levels.
After so many disappointments, mostly with myself, I was more or less forced to take time out and I realised that even five minutes of meditation was enough, sometimes, to make a difference to my well being.
It sounds kind of logical when you think about it, but how many of us have actually put that into practice?

This blog has a two fold process; the first is a way for me to keep a record. True, I could write things down and have a personal notebook to hand for this purpose, but I have a habit of mislaying this sort of thing, so this is the perfect solution for me. The second reason is for me to share anything I have found useful. This does not mean I am going to be in your face about these findings, on the contrary. I am well aware how different we all are and what works for me may not necessarily work for someone else. The idea to share is just that, to share something I have found useful. If anyone who reads this blog can find a use for what I share, then that’s great, if not then that’s OK too.

Soul soothing is a bit of a catchphrase that gets used a lot these days. In a world where life is lived at break neck speed we get very frazzled very quickly. We need to be in so many different places at once and we need to be there yesterday. When we don’t accomplish much we fret over how rubbish we are multitasking and the like and mentally beat ourselves up. I am an expert at this, I can tell you. But I found even five minutes a couple of times a week can sometimes be enough to soothe a frazzled soul.

I am not entirely sure of what will be shared on this blog; certainly there will be a lot of discussion of my own personal opinion. I do want to share things that have made a difference to me and my frayed nerves, but other than that, I cannot really outline what the content will be. To me, that is a good thing. If I have no set criteria then I don’t have to stress myself looking for content, nor do I have to post everyday, which can be an unrealistic goal for me.

Hopefully I will achieve the aim of this blog and share my own experiences when it comes to soul soothing.

Changes, again?

It has been some considerable time since I posted to this blog.  Life has a habit of doing its’ thing and preventing me from just getting on with blogging and such.  I have just sat pondering the title of this blog, the name I chose when I started it; Eclectic City Witch, that suited me back then but not now.   I guess back then I felt I had to use the label, witch, because it made me feel I was validating myself as such.  Now I feel less inclined to need to do this.  I have changed so much over recent months, grown in some areas and in others I have left behind what I no longer need.  I still feel that the term witch applies, I just don’t feel the need to wave it around all of the time.

Some of the reason why I embraced the whole witchy name was because I was struggling with who I was.  That change lasted many years and I felt so unsure of who I actually was, but the witch label was a constant in my life.  It gave me something to anchor myself down when everything else was in a constant state of flux.  Now I feel a lot more secure in my own skin and less vulnerable to the never ending identity crisis that erupted in my mid 30’s.  I think the reason that particular crisis lasted so long was the events and personal problems that all seemed to happen from 2001 until late last year.  In 2001 I was 30 and had began to change areas of my life that I was no longer happy with; job, home, friends, ways of thinking.  The changes served me well until the first crisis hit – my husband became seriously ill and was given months to live unless he had major heart surgery.  Eventually he had the surgery, but the challenges placed before us were immense.  I had to stop working to care for him, a role I was not expecting to play until much later in our lives.  I was 31 years old when he became ill.  The prospect of him dying, me becoming a widow and our three children fatherless was too much to bear some days.  But I had to bear that burden alone, mostly.  I couldn’t really go anywhere socially as he couldn’t be left alone, so it was certainly tough.  Everyone was terrified and I have to admit, that included me, but I had to remain stoic and not show my fear for the sake of our children – who were  11, 9 and 5 at the time – and for my husband, who was 36.

The promise of his heart being repaired – he needed a new aortic valve – meant we would both be able to return to work.  He worked full time as a supervisor in a factory and I worked part time.  We had a decent income and had been about to buy a house.  We had gone from that decent income to whatever the going rate for Incapacity benefit was at the time.  Also, because he was receiving some sick pay, we weren’t entitled to much in the way of benefits.  Money was extremely tight and I had to shoulder all of that so he didn’t become ill with the stress.  And boy was it stressful.

His recovery, however, is still incomplete.  Part of his heart got damaged whilst he waited for the surgery to replace the valve and this has left him unable to work.  We never did get back to that comfortable income we had back in the late 90’s/early 00’s.  In 2005 the aches and pains I had been struggling with for a couple of years manifested themselves in such a way that I was forced to go see the GP – to cut a very long story short, I have arthritis and Fibromyalgia.  So instead of me being able to return to work to help support our family I too became disabled.  Don’t misunderstand me here, I am eternally grateful that welfare state is our safety net, but let’s face it, it certainly is not anywhere near the amount of money we were earning, even way back when.  In real terms now we still would have a bloody good income, instead of having to just manage.  Like I said, I am really grateful for the safety net we do have, but it took me a long time to realise my gratitude.  I spent a long time being angry with life, fate, call it what you will.  My hopes and dreams crushed before my every eyes.  Plans we had made never coming to pass.  Then another crisis hit; my Aunt died.

After the mourning had stopped I decided to study for a degree with the Open University.  Maybe I could salvage something from the ship wreck that my life had become!  I passed my first module, feeling really proud of myself.  But life, once again, had other ideas.  At that time i didn’t know what was wrong with me.  Yes I knew about the arthritis, but not the fibro.  The consultant at the hospital had not told me about that, although he had put it on my notes.  My endless trips to and from the GP always left me clueless as to why I felt so ill.  I had to abandon my studies.  I eventually found out about the fibro and that answered a few questions at least.  But throughout those years there were plenty of personal problems preventing me from following my dreams.

Severe bullying issues for my youngest daughter.  Issues with my eldest daughter.  Illness for my son, resulting in me home schooling him.  Then in December 2010 my 29 year old brother died.  Followed four months later by my Dad. Also, an Aunt had died the previous month.  Then an Uncle died and my cousin’s wife committed suicide in 2011.

Enough to try anyone.

I had been in the process of sorting my life out.  I had defined goals and knew where my life was going.  Sure, it was going to take longer than normal, but I knew where I was heading.  I was getting back on track after the events that had sidelined me for so long.  Then bam, those five deaths in such a short space of time, my brother and dad in particular – four months between them – really knocked me sideways.  Insomnia struck.  I was terrified to sleep in case someone else died.

I have to admit, I truly felt lost.  When my Dad died it was eight days before my 40th birthday.  I was already feeling on edge about turning 40, but although we knew he was going to die, we didn’t think it was going to be that soon, and that sent me into a dark place.

Just when I was beginning to get back on my feet my youngest daughter got involved with a very dangerous man.  She got pregnant and we had so many months of worry and having to always be at her house because of him, even after the baby was born.  She decided last August that enough was enough and she was leaving him.

Finally, late last year, I was able to start processing things in my life.  It has taken a while, but I am finally starting to know myself, a lot better anyway.  The process has left me feeling so much happier, happier than I have been for a long time.  Some days the raw pain that emerged from so many relatives dying in such a short space of time whacks me from behind, but I have learnt to take some time out when this happens and let myself be.  I have cut out a lot of dead wood from my life, people, circumstances and ways of thinking.  I would like to be able to say that I would have coped a lot better had I done this sooner, but I am not sure I would have arrived at this place had it not been for these experiences.  Which brings me to this blog.  Throughout the struggles I have been unable, for whatever reason, to blog much.  I used to think it was because I no longer had faith in anything, but I have found that to be untrue.  I do have faith, not in God, the Christian God, after all I lost that faith when I was 14. But I had believed in something, fate, or something like that.

The reason i was unable to blog, aside from the time constraints, was blindingly obvious, although it took me a while to realise this.  My blog’s title is all about being a witch, therefore I felt that this subject should be my main topic of discussion.  Only, life kept throwing endless obstacles in my path and not much witchy stuff was getting done, well, nothing that I wanted to blog about anyway.  The past few months I have been exploring my own spiritual beliefs and practices and maybe I could have blogged about that, but it all felt far too personal.  So I have decided to ditch the witchy title from the blog and follow my own advice, just be yourself.

Of course I will have to change the name of the blog to reflect these changes, as of yet I have no idea what to change it to.  This, of course, doesn’t mean my blog posts will be anymore frequent – I do aim to blog on a  regular basis, but somehow it never happens like that.

We shall see.