Magic in the Air

your-dreams-are-real-go-after-them
December is a magical month. A month of miracles. (It’s also a month of high stress, frantic preparations and empty pockets!) But above all else, there is a sense of love, connection and magic in the air as we go about our daily rounds. We begin to reflect on the year gone by, and set in motion our hopes and dreams for the year to come. With all the magical mayhem of Christmas, let us not forget to dream. For dreaming is where the magic happens.

Everything starts as a dream. And your dreams are real.

So go after them!

In Love & Light,

Hayley xx

Open Hearts

even-after-all-his-time-the-sun-never-says-to-the-earth-you-owe-me-personal-development-quote.jpg

There are times when our hearts become closed. Just like tender skin that has come into contact with a hot stove; we contract and recoil from the pain. Our body’s defence mechanisms are designed to protect us from further discomfort; if we fail to withdraw, we risk severe burns, or worse still – death. Our natural reaction, therefore, is to retreat.

But what happens when we remain constricted, when we close our hearts through fear of ‘getting burnt’? When we build a wall of protection around us, we cut off the natural flow of love. Not only do we prevent ourselves from giving love, but we also restrict our ability to receive love. What is called for is not complete constriction, but caution; which is simply another word for ‘attention’, or ‘awareness’.

Just as the stove does not purposely set out to burn our skin, it is not usually another’s intent to inflict harm upon us (with the rare exception under extreme circumstances, of course). But more often than not, we get hurt because there was some degree of carelessness involved. Our own carelessness or that of another. Maybe the heat was turned too high and the pot had reached boiling point? Could it be that we rushed in impatiently, or approached at the wrong angle? Maybe we neglected the stove completely and a fire broke lose? Whatever our reasons for getting burnt, regardless of who was to blame, the affects need not result in the permanent closing down of our kitchens. And the same is true of our hearts.

When we remain open, we choose expansion over constriction. The doors are set ajar for love to drift through once more, filling our hearts with the sweet aroma and comfort of joy. To close our hearts is to take a pillow to our souls and smother our very essence. At the core we are love. And to restrict that life force within us is a slow death for fettered hearts. That is not to say that if you are dealing with a hazardous or faulty stove that you shouldn’t replace it, because your safety and wellbeing is paramount. But what I am saying, is that there is no need to stop cooking, to stop loving, to shut up shop and starve.

It is ok to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We need only exercise more care and attention, that’s all. But what if I am hopeless in the kitchen? – you may ask. As a child raised on boxed food and packet noodles in working class Tameside, I reply: cooking takes practice and patience. We don’t always get it right. Sometimes it leaves our kitchens in complete disarray, or an unpleasant taste in our mouths which can linger –  but when we do manage to create something wonderful, nothing compares to the pleasure and comfort of a sumptuous home cooked meal, prepared with tender loving care.

Those are the ones that warm our hearts, soothe our souls and ‘light the whole sky.’ That, my Dear, is a love that tastes simply divine.

Finding My (Self)


be-still-and-no-that-i-am-god

Last week I identified my early disconnection from God, tracing it back to my childhood. I wasn’t raised a Christian, and even now – with a deep and profound knowing of Gods existence – if asked if I am religious, I would admit that I am not.

For me, God is non-denominational. Whilst I am respectful and accepting of everyone’s individual faith, my personal pathway to God takes place in daily communion with the soul; in my interactions with others; during prayer and meditation; when facing adversity and personal growth lessons; whilst walking in nature – God is everywhere, and I know that I can make conscious contact with Him any time, any place.

That’s not to say that I don’t take great comfort in God’s scriptures, because I do (especially the one above, which reminds me that the pathway to God is through peaceful awareness.) I own a beautiful Bible in my favourite shade of jade green and often find passages that speak to my soul. Yet, for me personally, God is not defined by religion and churches and rules, but instead, through connection. God is not a separate entity with judgements and commandments, rather, God is the Source of all being. I am God. You are God. We are all God. Therefore, to reject God is to reject a part of ourselves. How should we ever become whole and complete if we are rejecting our very essence? Our true nature?

At a yoga class, recently, an inquisitive girl who I’d just met asked me; Are you searching for something? I paused for a moment, then replied;
I used to be. I searched for a long time, years even. But then I realised – all I was searching for is already within me. 

And so today, after my walk – after pondering how to follow up my previous post about losing myself – I decided I would write a poem. For years I doubted the existence of God, I saw myself as separate, disconnected. If ever I doubt the existence of God – I need only Be Still And Know That I Am God. 

Be Still And Know That I Am God

When tears of lost dreams stream down your face,
When you are out of sorts and feel misplaced,
When all is forgotten, shamed or disgraced,
Be still and know that I Am God.

If ever you doubt the existence of me,
Cast your gaze to the gentle, sturdy tree,
Who sways His dance to the promising breeze;
Be still and know that I Am God.

When you feel as though I have let you down,
When all that was once yours cannot be found,
When tortured cries of empty souls resound,
Be still and know that I Am God.

Be still and know that I love you my Dear,
All that seems to be lost is truly here,
For you are never alone when I am near,
Be still and know that I Am God.

God's Saving Hand reaching for the faithful

Losing My (Self)

lost_childhood_

There was once a time when I thought God was just a made up story, like Father Christmas, or the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny. Of course, there was also a time in my early childhood when I believed in all of the magic of the world; but by the age of eleven, when asked by my peers if I believed in God, I would respond with a firm: ‘No.’ A genuine disbelief? I’m not quite sure … A fear of being ridiculed? Most likely.

It wasn’t uncommon to be picked on for being different in our school. Those who grew up in the tough neighborhoods bullied the ‘posh kids’; the ‘posh kids’ looked down their noses at the ‘rough kids’. And if you came from the council estates like I did, but was raised with manners and respect – you were constantly pulled in both directions, your allegiance questioned at every opportunity. Social boxes became apparent from a very early age, and, although I was aware of the divide, I wasn’t quite sure where I fitted in.

Bullying would take place for all manner of reasons, verbal and physical; if you admitted to still believing in Santa, you were a ‘baby’; if you admitted to believing in God, you were a ‘bible basher’; if you didn’t have nice trainers, you were a ‘scruff’ or a ‘dosser’; if you did have nice trainers, someone would stomp on them with muddy feet and yell ‘Christened!’ (Kind of ironic really.)

As a result, much of my time at school was spent trying to keep a low profile and aligning myself with other kids smart enough to do the same. In doing so, however, it wasn’t long before I lost my sense of identity along with my ebbing belief in magic and miracles. By the time I reached the end of my primary years, the magic carpet had been swiftly pulled out from under my feet and I came crashing down upon the concrete floor of ‘reality’. There began my new life in secondary school, where things only went from bad to worse.

I was smoking by the end of my first year, drinking alcohol by the time I was fourteen and dabbling in recreational drugs by the age of fifteen. With the brief magic of childhood behind me, I took comfort in the false security of my peers. I was totally lost. And despite a continuing nagging that I was straying from all that I loved; books, Roald Dahl, drawing, Disney – I continued to follow the crowd throughout most of my teens.

If I did try to stay home – it wouldn’t be long before they would come knocking at my door, rarely taking ‘no’ for an answer. As an introvert, I had always struggled to say ‘no’ in case I offended someone – and my friends knew I was a push over, so off I’d go against my better judgement, dawning my hoody and trainers and joining them out on the cold, wet streets of Tameside, Manchester.

Mum would constantly tell me I was being led astray and that she didn’t like the person I was becoming. Whilst Mum was frank in her disapproval, she was not so forthcoming with solutions. I would resort to asking Mum to pretend I wasn’t home, but she soon tired of lying and eventually ran out of ideas of where she could pretend I was, especially since they came knocking daily. This would cause Mum and I to argue, her words felt like an attack and our relationship became more and more strained until eventually, those friends became my family and I was sleeping at their house more than my own.

Their parents were usually at the pub until late most nights. Feeling like rejects, we took solace in each others company. Despite the early exposure to the smoking and the drinking and the mayhem; we would make time to laugh, and sing and dance like the children we longed to still be – there was nothing that Spice Girls and Five couldn’t fix. Whilst we had no idea how to live, our bond had grown stronger and bound us together during those lonely days. As different as we appeared to be on the outside, at the core we wanted the same – love, belonging, understanding and connection.

***

By the time I was sixteen, my relationship with Mum was fairly beaten – I went to live with my Gran and stayed there for a year before moving to Spain with a friend and his family. All the while I felt separated from the world and my family – disconnected, lost. It never occurred to me that within, was a deep well of unconditional love that was just waiting to be accessed. Never once did I turn to God, to Source, for healing and guidance. I had forgotten myself – my true Self. There I was, wandering through life making unconscious decisions, partying too hard, living recklessly and failing to notice that whispering voice within. Is it any wonder, then, that God sent me a huge wake up call?

Are you able to pin point the moment when you began to feel separated? Disconnected? Have you managed to find connection again? Moreover, what do you do to sustain that feeling of Oneness?

To be continued…  (I promise – there is a light…)

Good Reads

theres-no-need-to-be-perfect-to-inspire-others-let-people-get-inspired-by-how-you-deal-wit


Day 19: Feature a guest or post a round up of good reads.

I haven’t been around on WordPress a lot lately, so reading others posts is something I need to catch up on. However, in my brief return I have come across some motivational posts which I would like to share.

Here are some of my great reads that I have read recently:

I discovered these wonderful quotes compiled by Ronovan Wester over at ronovanwrites. I am sure you will find a quote which resonates with you. Ronovan has also inspired me to create my own a post of favourite quotes! (watch this space) Head over because Ronovan has some great content including 10 Tips To Make Blogging Enjoyable.

I was totally moved by When Zoe Met Harry, which shares the experience a young girl’s wish (granted by Make A Wish Foundation) as she meets her TV hero, Dr. Harry. The video had me smiling from ear to ear at this very special interaction, which is sure to warm your heart. Retro Girl & The Chemo Kid is a memoir of a young soul who, even in her passing, continues to touch the lives of many. Through her mothers wonderfully written accounts of Zoe’s life and the lessons she continues to teach, we are taken on a journey through loss, love and acceptance.

Another post worthy of a mention for the shear honesty and bravery of this exceptional writer is The Good Side Effects of Cancer. Not only does she write with eloquence and grace, but Lets Talk Cancer reveals real and relevant insight into a topic most people are too frightened to stare in the face. This inspiring young woman empowers others to take stock of their own life as she journey’s towards recovery and reclaims her health. A true warrior.

I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I did!

Hayley xx

Thorny Kisses

Poetry, Day 3: Skin, Prose Poetry, Internal Rhyme

rose

So painfully obvious from the pale shade of your skin was the recognition of your absence. And as you slept, your familiar form did lay motionless before me, unable to console me as it once did. Many tears I cried for the absence of goodbye, and so it was I wept. I longed to feel your warm embrace, but still the hue of your familiar face, grey and bruised from whence you did lay, was a cheerless reminder of your cold absence. So intense the urge to hold you, yet, even greater the desire to recall your last touch; the touch of your skin warm against mine. Rejecting the cold, I opted to hold a single rose taken from your resting place. A gentle kiss I did give it, and pressing the flower to each of your cheeks, I continued to weep. I repeated the gesture, tears rolling like raindrops to drench you with my love. Kissing the rose once more, I rested it upon your mouth, sealing your lips with a farewell kiss. And then to your eyes, eyes which were closed so tight that I might not see the absence of your smile. Holding on to the memory of your warm embrace, I pressed the rose upon your face. And there I remained, showering you with my warm thorny kisses.

Happy Father’s Day

7

Dear Dad,

I love you every day of my life – but on this special day, I want you to know how much you mean to me and just how dearly you are missed. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Not a day passes where you are not in my thoughts…
Thank you for being such a shining light.

And for you, I wrote this poem:

So short lived,
were my chocolate raisin days.
All I have left now
are the memories of your ways.
No more bear hugs,
no more Matchbox cars today.
I’m holding on tight
because it doesn’t feel right.
Don’t let this slip away.

Your time here,
it was rocky
it was rough.
Never said you’re giving up
because my gentle giant was tough.
No need for fast cars,
briefcases, expensive suits.
Your love was enough
and your love
was all for us.
Don’t let this slip away.

Because I
will never forget you.
You’re with me
in everything I do.
My smile’s
a reflection of you.
I live my life through you
because it’s all I can do.
You are my parachute.

Your descent
upon this
material world; it was oh so
brief.
I was left in disbelief,
I had to stop being
Daddy’s girl.
Your courage was reborn
deep in my heart;
the realisation
that from you
I shall never
ever
part.
I’m letting go
because I know
I must
grow,
but you’ll always remain
forever young.

My King of Hearts
has flown,
but I’m willing to take the thrown.
To your legacy I will live.
And as you did,
I will give,
And give.
My Parachute.

My parachute,
my strength
to breath.
You’re the reason
I’m living so free.
You paved the way,
you set the pace,
within my heart
you’ll always
hold your
place.

parachute

Liebster Award

liebster

(In true acceptance award style) – Firstly, I’d like to thank my Mum and Dad, for making this possible, my teachers, for teaching me to write, WordPress for providing a platform for this nomination…ok ok enough of that!

But seriously, I am truly honoured to receive three nominations for the Liebster Award, and would like to thank Stranger in a Strange Mind, Once Upon a Hot Flash and Breath of Freshness for the nominations (and for the welcome distraction from my Uni assignment.) 😉 Please do check out their blogs because I think they are all absolutely awesome writers, not to mention the fact that they are genuinely cool people indeed!

Here are the questions I was asked:

From Stranger in a Strange Mind:

  1. What’s the last thing you think about before going to bed? I usually fall asleep to a guided meditation. I have trouble switching off otherwise – I think it’s nice to begin and end the day on a peaceful note. I highly recommend Glenn Harrold (think a cockney Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels accent – but with less swearing and more inspiration) 😉 I highly recommend meditations before sleep if you experience trouble sleeping (something I was plagued with for almost a year some time ago) I found sleeping tablets made matters worse and meditation has helped greatly! Even if you sleep easily – it’s a great way to end the day on a peaceful and positive note.
  2. What’s your favorite word, in any language? It could even be a made up word, like flurble, for example. No, I don’t know what it means. I love the word Sacapuntas. (It means pencil sharpener in Spanish.) That – and the word ‘sponge.’
  3. Would you want to live forever? Why, or why not? No. I’d like to join my Dad in the afterlife when my time comes – I want to experience heaven and to see my loved ones once again.
  4. Describe your childhood pet (or the one you wish you had). Alex was our big, white, fluffy Samoyed. He’d been part of our family since my sister and I were babies – he had the most wonderful temperament – when we were toddlers, we used to ride him like a horse! (Poor Alex – no wonder his back legs eventually gave way…) 😦 I remember having to say goodbye to him in the back garden when I was 11 – I clutched hold of our gentle white fluff ball and cried my tears, not wanting to ever let go.
  5. What minor thing bothers you more than it should? General untidiness. Messy rooms affect my mood a little more than the average person. I wouldn’t say I have OCD (or at least, not diagnosed anyway : / ) but I can’t sit in an untidy room and feel at ease…My Mum says I was the only kid in the world with a tidy bedroom (I actually remember polishing my shelves from a very young age…Ok – now this is getting weird!)
  6. What food will you absolutely not eat? And I don’t mean due to allergies or any other conditions, just food you plain don’t like. Cucumbers (and water melons). They sort of have that same weird taste. I will eat anything but those two things! I think it stems from my school days when I never touch a salad or a vegetable. I forgot my packed lunch and Mrs White (one of the dinner ladies) made me eat a ham salad sandwich – the first thing I bit into was the cucumber and I puked on my pinafore. I’ve tried and tried again to like it as I’ve gotten older, but it’s just not happening.
  7. What does the word ‘comfort’ mean to you? A bubble bath, tea lights and relaxation/meditation music playing in the background. Then fresh clean sheets to climb into afterwards with a nice book 🙂 Oh – and stew with dumplings! Yumminess.
  8. What makes you smile, no matter how grumpy you’re feeling? People with no inhibitions. My Dad would always cheer us up by acting daft – and if I’m down in the dumps, I never fail to laugh at a daft lass (or lad).
  9. What personality trait or quirk of yours do people notice the most? My easy going nature? People tend to confide in me a lot (my friends, my colleagues, even the children at school seem to seek me out to tell me of their troubles, great and small!) I’ve been told that I am easy to talk to, and give good advice.
  10. Is it really better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all? Yes! A life without love is a life without true meaning or substance (and I mean all kinds of love – for your family, your pets, your friends) – and even if that love is lost and brings us deep sorrow and pain – the memory of loves greatness is forever imprinted in our hearts and will always remain. Love truly has the ability to heal.
  11. Also, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (Ok, ignore that second question) Well – as much wood as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood! 😉

From Once Upon a Hot Flash

1.  Why do you blog? I have always loved writing and figured the only way to get a true idea of whether or not people will respond to my words, would be to write publicly! I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a child, and blogging seems the perfect way to commit to a daily writing practise, to receive feedback from other bloggers and to grow as a writer!
2.  What is your favorite song? I like a lot of songs and it’s hard to choose just one favourite, but I often play this track by Queens of Stone Age – I Sat by the Ocean. I saw them live at Leeds Festival this year and they were out of this world! I also like Wish You Were Here by Incubus – I played this a lot when I was on my travels and thinking of my family. But I guess my all time favourite song would be Forever Young by Bob Dylan.
3.  If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go? Hawaii – I really want to wear a coconut bra and a grass skirt and dance around a fire!
4.  What is your favorite day of the week? Saturday.
5.  What did you want to be when you grew up? An author and illustrator.
6.  Morning person or night owl? Morning person – I’m usually tucked up in bed by 10pm.
7.  What is your motto in life? ‘The grass isn’t greener on the other side – it’s greener where you water it!’ and ‘Be kind whenever possible – it is always possible.’
8.  Dog or cat or neither? Dog. I really want a dog called Spencer.
9.  Five adjectives that best describe you? Loyal, geeky, optimistic, passionate, kind
10.  What is your most favorite thing to do? Walking in nature, cooking good foods, writing, reading, yoga, lifting weights, playing the drums, belly laughing and spending time with loved ones.

From Breath of Freshness:

  1. Which famous person from the past would you have lunch with. Why? Siddhartha Gautama – I think it would be a very peaceful and enlightening lunch date.
  2. What do you consider to be your superpower? My ability to remain fairly optimistic in the face of adversity. I believe every dark cloud has a silver lining. We can’t choose what happens to us – but we can choose how we respond to circumstances.
  3. What character would you like to be in a novel? Hero, Villain or Other? Piglet. Hanging out with Eeyore, Tigger and Pooh Bear would be ace.
  4. What would you like to invent? An umbrella that doesn’t blow inside out.
  5. Which is better Marvel or D.C comics? I don’t know either of those comics – but my favourite comics as a kid were Beano, followed by Asterix and Obelix, then Dandy.
  6. Have you ever howled at a full moon? Would you? No, I haven’t. And yes I totes would!!!
  7. What is your favourite movie of all time? The Lion King.
  8. We don’t choose our names, if you could choose what would you name yourself? I used to really dislike my name – but it’s grown on me as I’ve gotten older. If I had to change it I’d probably use my middle name which is Jade – but since I have finally accepted my first name – I think I should show it some love and loyalty and remain a Hayley. (Although being called Jet or Storm would be pretty cool…now they were some impressive female Gladiators!)
  9. Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? Half full.
  10. What is your favourite comfort food? Meatballs and noodles. And sausage butties…and Haagan Daaz Vanilla and Cookies ice cream. (Believe it or not – I tend to eat fresh wholefoods – but if I’m feeling wicked and sinful – I’ll bosh on these bad delights!)

Here are the people I nominate (sorry if you’ve already been nominated) – I figured you could just add my questions into your current Liebster post (if you wanted) and answer away! That way people can learn even more about you! I’d love to hear your responses!

1. Diary of a Little Bird
2. Tales of Liberty and Lesser Things
3. Stranger in a Strange Mind
4. Bali Info
5. All That Chatter
6. Shine On
7. Still Life with a Grad Student
8. Sweet Aroma
9. The Scribbling Stone
10. Beyond Beirut

To my nominees! Here are the questions I pose to you:

  1. What is your favourite colour? Do you associate that colour with anything in particular?
  2. What is your most embarrassing moment? The one your friends and family like to remind you of!
  3. If you could change one thing from the past, what would it be? Or do you prefer to live with no regrets?
  4. What is the funniest joke you’ve heard in a while? (Don’t worry if nobody else finds it funny – as long as it makes you laugh!)
  5. What is one of your first memories from your childhood? It can be the simplest memory, or one which stands out for a particular reason.
  6. How would you like to be remembered?
  7. What is the most inspirational book you have read (fiction or non fiction) – or the one that has left the biggest impression on you?
  8. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
  9. What makes you literally laugh out loud? (and I mean full on belly laughs!)
  10. Finish this sentence: “I wish…

Here are the rules:

  • Once you are nominated, make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
  • Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  • Ensure all of these bloggers have less than 200 followers.
  • Answer the ten questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make ten questions of your own for your nominees.
  • Lastly, COPY these rules in the post.