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Posts Tagged ‘seasons’

Snow covered footpathFirstly: I’m alive! And fine, and happy and stuff. (and the proud owner of a new red sofa! Yay!)

But, as I eluded to in this post, this is my most introspective time of the year, so I have many thoughts and ideas chasing around in my head, none of which are ready to be structured, which also means they’re not quite ready to be shared.

The effect is that I feel like I don’t have anything specific to say. Yet. Soon there will be a flood of ideas and thoughts and observations.

A lot of these thoughts have been around my experience of 2009, and hence what I’m heading into in 2010. What is apparent is that 2009 was about being tossed around on the waves in a boat with no paddle, seeing where the currents took me with the occasional large wave washing over the boat and causing chaos. I think 2010 is shaping up to be time when I get a paddle and start to steer the boat again.

I’ve been too passive (necessarily so, while dealing with so much change), but I’m feeling the desire to become more active again.

Hence I’m changing gears. Thinking about livelihood and social life and what I need to be happy HERE, rather than what made me happy in Sydney. I can learn from my past, but I can’t replicate it.

I’m also questioning my assumptions about how to earn money, thinking about what my skills are and what I enjoy doing, rather than what career I want. A subtle but important difference.

I hear you saying: “this is all well and good, but why can’t you keep us updated with what you’ve been doing?” Mostly, it all got a bit overwhelming. I wanted to upload the Christmas photos before I talked about Christmas, and that took more than a week, and then the overwhelm of writing about 2 weeks of life, and then the stress/frustration of going back to work, and then work has been (pleasantly) busy ever since. So, I promise to have some sort of “What I Did over Christmas and January” type post up by the end of the week.

In the meantime, a brainstorming request: Let’s pretend you had the funds and could hire me, on some sort of basis to do something for you, or make something for you, that you know I’d be good at, better than most other people you know. What would that be? (non-smutty answers only please). I’m trying to gauge what sort of things other people perceive that I am good at, as often we have blinkers on this aspect of ourselves.

Also, what sort of things would you seek my input on? Advice? Specialist information? e.g. I have a questions about X, I know I’ll ask Karinne!

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(While none of this will be new to those of you who have lived in snow before, it might amuse you to see which bits weird me out the most. Apologies for the obviousness of some of this, but that is partially the point of these posts, to reveal things that are obvious to the natives)

Firstly, my history with snow: when I was 9 we went to the Victorian snow fields in Australia. It snowed a little bit when I was in the UK in April 2008, but it had melted by midday. That’s it. So snow is quite alien to me, and hence I don’t know how to deal with it, or what might happen when it snows, what the different sorts of snows mean, and when to be careful. Quite scary for Little Miss Capable and Independent.

So, day 1 of snow, on 16 December was quite confronting. Also, it was the first real wake-up call that my life had substantially changed. Very much a ‘Toto I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore’ moment. Up to this point my subconcious hadn’t really absorbed that it was somewhere different. Most of the things I experienced could have occurred in Australia, somewhere, sort of. Snow in an urban environment? Nuh huh! Just weird. So I freaked a bit. It didn’t help that I had a colleague sitting next to me panicing about being snowed in, as they were in February. We kept ratcheting up each other’s anxiety levels.

snow hips

(more…)

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Wheel of the Year

No, not a car performance award 🙂 This is a continuation of an idea I blogged about in September 2006 (for those of you around at the time, that post might be an interesting reflection of our lives then, and things that have changed) as well as a continuation of the October 30 post, in which I start to think about the coming year.

It seemed timely to talk about how my contemplative year is structured, the way it has naturally evolved and creates some balance through the year. Time to be active and time to stop.  believe in living a balanced life, where all aspects are giving proper times and weightings. Not the same time or weighting, but the proper amounts.

I also tend to observe patterns and cycles and structure. (I just had a manager state that I had a mind that could bring structure to an idea, I should put that on LinkedIn).

For the past few years, I have observed that my contemplative year tends to conform to the follow cycles:

Wheel of the Year

This is represents the phases that my attention to my journey through life goes through. Blue is planning/reflection, yellow is social/festival time, Orange-Brown is getting things done time, stuff that relates to the yearly theme, stuff that relates to living.

My year seems to align with the solar cycle. This is not deliberate, or a pagan thing, it’s more that I’ve observed these points as markers in my year.

These are not mutually exclusive states, more broad themes, and permissions to be in a certain headspace, or not at certain times. For instance during activity phases my nose is not to the grindstone to the exclusion of everything else. Right now I am allowed to have very little idea of goals and plans, as its a time to incubate them, consider them, try them on for size and fit.

So, between now and sort of mid-December I find that I am generally reflecting on where I’m at, who I am, where I am going and what my hopes are. There’s social fun and relaxation in there too, Turkey Day for instance – although I suspect there will be less of that here in winter, than in Sydney when this is the beginning of a busy social season.

Then I put that to one side in my head over Christmas/New Year’s as that’s a time for sharing with friends and family.

February 2 is a special event with water and flowers and asking for favours from the greater universe over the coming year, so becomes the point at which everything is more solidified and specific.

Chinese New Year feels more New Year ish in terms of activity than January does. Don’t know why.

Then there’s sort of a period of time which is neither hugely social, not hugely reflective. Stuff tends to get done, but not because I am pushing, it’s just that’s what tends to happen.

Then, here, summer happens, and this year  I noticed that summer flew by as we were enjoying light and warmth and long days, hence I was more focussed on social aspects and relaxation than I would have been in Australia, and I expect this will continue

Then, again, another inbetween period, autumn, until October 30 when I celebrate being free and light and happy and living the life I dream of.

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Autumn has arrived. There’s a chill to the air in the morning, the sun is getting up later, I’m remembering to not leave the house without a coat or a light scarf (which had been mostly unnecessary for Summer).

To be honest, I’m enjoying it. I was a bit over the extended Summer I’ve just had. My body and senses wanted a break from the warmth and brightness. It was craving a chill to the air, cold noses, rugging up in coats and blankies. I know that in winter I will absolutely hate these things, but, I have a very strong sense of cycles and rhythm and my body and subconsious were constantly trying to tell me that it was supposed to be cold and they’d like a break from heat and humidity now. Please.

This may seem odd in a society which is devoted to following the sun, and to comfort. I’ve had a few strange looks from people here when I’ve mentioned I’m sick of my extended Summer (although this may be because I am ignoring the complaints about the weather heirarchy). However I feel that cycles are important. Change is important. Relishing each season for what it brings is important. Trying to cheat the natural cycles, or getting frustrated because it’s not always warm is pointless and stressful.

Leading on from the advent of Autumn is shopping! Maybe this is why I’m enjoying it. I’ve not spent any money on clothing during Spring and Summer knowing that I would need to purchase heavy coats and boots and scarves and gloves and layers and hats and trousers and socks and all things to stop me getting desperately cold in my first winter in England.

Last week was the start of this process. I now own a couple more merino wool jumpers and a long cardie, argyle socks and stockings, a merino wool smock dress, stripey long-sleeved tops, plain long-sleeved tops and a faux sheepskin hooded coat, all courtesy of UniQlo (we love UniQlo). We probably spent more than we meant to in the store, but they are all good quality, simple items that will last us for a number of years, even with heavy usage, so in my book that’s entirely OK.

I’ve also acquired a pair of black brogues, to wear on rainy days when I’m sick of boots, an angora cardie, and a gorgeous maroon silk, empire line, knee-length dress. With pockets! It’s lovely. (I meant to take a photo yesterday after wearing it to work, but was a bit worn out after my commute home).

Still on the list is a pair of knee high, flat soled boots (or two). Ankle boots (casual pair, and a work pair). Warmer fabric trousers to wear to work. Heavy knitwear that I was covetting last season in Australia and never purchased, but were out of stock when I arrived here. A long sleeved, floral dress to wear under various layers. More leggings and a pair or two of wool tights for the keeping warm of legs. A warm waterproof hooded jacket.

The question I’ve been meaning to ask: what do you deem necessary to get through a Northern Hemisphere winter? What really obvious thing am I possibly going to miss and regret not owning?

(we did some other stuff as well, including me staying in London unexpectedly overnight and having a very lovely breakfast with Mikki and J the next morning, and building of lego towns with L. But weekly update posts do not always need to be in the format of monday, tuesday, wednesday etc. )

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Seasons

There is a common belief that the good old days were nice and peaceful, since communities operated in response to the seasons and were therefore more grounded than the modern lifestyle where we rush around all our lives with no real structure beyond career advancement. This intrigued me for a while, since I can appreciate the role of seasons and celebrations to mark a year and to give a sense of life progressing, but yet remaining the same. I am quite fond of the image of time as a helix rather than a straight line.

Over the last couple of years I have realised that my life has seasons and regular celebrations. These are not the agricultural seasons, since apart from my gardening habit and a joy in different smells of spring and autumn, the seasons don’t make so much difference to me.

But the social seasons do.

So here is my year and its important celebrations. I find that these create a sense of stability in my life and I’m glad I share them with most of you:

The party season: September to mid-November. This is the season of trying to shoe-horn parties into the social calender, to steal a phrase from Hunydd. You know that events such as Robyn’s cocktail party, various feasts, and other social engagements will occur as people think of them and that your calendar has to be carefully watched for double bookings.

Christmas/New Year’s: Mid-November to February. This period is almost always booked out with social engagements, but you know that you will see people that you love. Turkey day, Laela and Scruffy’s b’day party, Yule, all of the Christmas and New Year’s parties, including the post- New Year’s breakfast are part of my ritual year and I’d miss them if they weren’t there anymore. So who’s doing Turkey day in 2008 so we can continue to know when this season starts?

Festival: February-May. The period of “it’s two sleeps to Festival”. Time to stress about camping and clothes and who’s bringing what and which classes you will attend and whether the armour is in shape. Then the post-Festival cool-down where your house is a mess for a month while everything slowly gets put away.

The Quiet Period: May-September. There are less formal social engagements, as we need to recover from Festival. Then it gets cold, so my couch and heater become the most appealing things in my life. There are some Kingdom feasts on if you want to travel but mostly it’s quiet and a break from the rest of the year.

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