Friday, 20 March 2015

A strange time...

It's a strange time. I'm coming to a crossroads and once, when I was looking to these roads up ahead, I thought I had it all figured out. I had a plan. But the future always looks different when you reach it in the present. I don't feel as I anticipated, plus circumstances have changed.

Originally, Doha and Qatar were quite firmly flag posted. I felt pretty confident. Then, 2 days before I had talk to my boss about my plans, there was a change in the landscape and I had to throw the middle east idea out the window.

What to do now? I panicked and asked my boss for more time to make a decision. Then, I came to, and realised that I still needed to leave. Just suddenly it seemed more scary with big question marks hanging in the air and I sought security in the idea that I must do my DELTA module 3 before any other big adventure - I think this is a delay tactic of sorts, but it also makes logical sense as it is wise to be progressing with this and not leaving my new knowledge to stagnate. I should press on and finish the qualification. So now, I am looking at adventurous ways to approach this.

In the meantime, other issues have risen to the surface. Namely, my growing inability to cope with every day stress. My life really isn't that stressful and I'm happy. However, my hair is falling out. I have alopecia areata which is where the immune system attacks the hair follicles. Whilst, I'm no Gail Porter case yet - losing your hair is distressing and you worry that it is going to spread or whether it will even grow back. Currently you can't see the problem unless I tie my hair up as my long mane hides the patches that lurk below and near to my ears but, still, they are quite big!

I think I have known it for some time that I need to get this aspect - how I deal with stress - under control. It is only when faced with being bald - a vanity issue - that I'm kick starting myself into action to try and address the issue. If I look back on all my recent ailments they all fall under the 'stress umbrella'. RSI in London and eczema on my face when I was working in a very stressful job, stomach issues when I was caught up over a boy, insomnia and now this and teeth gritting! I pack too much in and whiz around the place and I'm highly sensitive. You just have to beep your horn and I'm like a startled bunny rabbit!

I came to Tarragona to slow down from the speed of London but all I've done is slowly increase the tempo back up again / never actually slowed down in the first place! Just goes to show that you can change your outer environment very easily but the internal one still follows you! I think I have done a lot of work on myself these last three years - three years!? Can you believe it, it went so fast - but I guess there is still much to be done. I feel more resilient with some things but I guess not so much with others - namely decision making at this current moment. Need I hark back to Plath and her fig tree that I completely empathise with!

So...big hanging question marks in the air which I hate. Most people would find it exciting. I should change my perspective really. It is pretty exciting...just it is also nerve-wracking! I want to know the answer now! But I'm just going to have to wait and see how the view is once I'm at the top of the hill....

As for the stress...well...I'm aware of it! Guess it is time to take more conscious steps to helping my unconscious mind relax a little....

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

I wish...

I wanted to write more these days!

Because there is so much I want to write about! I've just started a Positive Psychology course on the online website coursera.org which is bloody brilliant and keeping my active mind entertained. I've even been recommending the website to some of my higher level English students because you can watch videos in English with subtitles so you can work on one skill whilst you learn about another subject! Very useful and enjoyable.

Positive Psychology as a term is quite new to me - I stumbled across it a few years back when I met a girl - now a very good friend - who was taking a Masters in it (and now a Phd). When she described it to me I felt like someone had designed a course which incapsulated half the reading I'd already done in my lifetime!

Growing up, my dad had (still has) tons of self-help books mixed up with all his business books on his shelves. Being an emotional teenager, I quickly found solace in a lot of these and as the years went by I found a self-help book was always a good quick fix/temporary distraction to easing emotional pain. So I'm pretty well read in this area already by chance (though that is not to say Positive Psychology is the same as self-help exactly) and in the last few years I have continued to read in this area more purposefully now as I recognise I find this area of science fascinating - though I have gone more academic with my pursuit for more knowledge.

There is a massive growing trend for this type of psychology. Ted.com, Tiny Buddha - even dating guru sites like GettheGuy draw inspiration and ideas from Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology also supports a lot of my developing ideas about connection and spirituality. As I said to one friend, it is almost like the science being carried out is proving what we have always known in ancient spiritual texts and ideas. I just want to read more and more and learn more. I'd love to do a Masters like my friend but...pah, so expensive these days!! So...it remains just a hobby for now.

I really should be writing down everything...to help me retain it all...but I just can't right now. I'm too busy with other things. This little burst of inspiration is fleeting and fading but I wanted to share...If you have time and you also find these things interesting check it out...And I will try to come back with a few more thoughts to share soon.

Lots of Love xxx

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Hello 2015!

Hey guys,

Been a while! I'm hoping the desire to write comes back but still I don't feel it. I have a desire to write about online dating but this is a different platform from here and at the moment it is just notes and there is not a lot of energy behind it.

Since Christmas my desire to create art has also faded a little. It is strange. My brain is craving action, travel and experiences. The winter is a difficult time after Christmas because you have those few months where everything goes quiet and work becomes more the focus and staying in and keeping warm becomes the priority. But my brain craves action and adventure and whilst I need rest I don't want to stay still. I felt the same last year in Tarragona and I know as the summer creeps closer I will feel better and then that is how Tarragona's magic works...the winter months are tedious but as the summer comes, Tarragona is like a possessive octopus whose tentacles tighten around me and entwine with my heart making me feel as though I am unable to leave.

But I'm going to leave. It is going to be very difficult but I'm desperate for more adventures even if it means tougher challenges and stress and all those negative things that also come with change that are frightening but so exhilarating and rewarding in the long run.

I look back at the moment and I feel I should have kept a blog dedicated to Tarragona. I should have poured all the secrets and experiences into this blog so that someone might come along and read it and have ideas of where to start and what to do. It would have been good for me too - something to look back on.

But I have my memories and photos and well...I was too busy living my life. That is what tends to happen with writing I guess. It is why I never wrote much in my University years. I was too busy getting on with things. Sometimes I'm just not disciplined enough either and I know art sometimes requires this but who is this art for? If disciplining myself goes against the grain when it is meant to be expression then I'm not so sure what I'm doing. I like going with the flow....but maybe I have more to learn yet.

Anyway...2015! What does it hold? Maybe you'll get to hear...and maybe there will just be memories captured in photos. xxx

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Ah dormant blog...

I have left you too long. But you see, the thing is...

...I didn't feel like writing. I felt like doing other things. Maybe I will never be / can never be a true writer...or an artist...or a teacher... or anything. I can't stick to one thing for-ever. I love variety too much.

But then...I suppose, just because you are not doing something for a period of time, does not mean you aren't this thing. Maybe you are always a writer, an artist, a teacher...but well, you are a bit like a rotating rubik's cube or that He-Man baddie whose face keeps revolving...different sides for different days. But this doesn't work in the career world. You can't be a doctor one day and then think - I want to try my hand at something else for a few months...and then go back to being a doctor... (apart from a sabbatical but you probably can't do this continually)

But that is the career world... and some careers are more rigid I suppose. I've deliberately chosen a profession that is flexible.

So here I am studying like a fiend for my forthcoming exam in a week and a half and I've learnt so much about the world of English Language teaching and it has all been very fascinating. And yet...I've been a grumpy bugger with my kids. Stress hasn't made me the nicest teacher, or the most sensible teacher and I've wondered if I still even want to be a teacher - all the while enjoying the studying for career development.

Bizarre.

Maybe I am just enjoying the learning (Not the time-consuming studying with an exam which hangs over your head like a Damocles sword warding off any potential opportunity to have fun ((and when you do choose fun over studying you feel guilty so it isn't 'true fun')), just the learning...it is a shame they come hand-in-hand). Anyway...who knows? It feels like change is in the air.

Change...sometimes it feels like the enemy but right now I'm yearning for it. Last time I stayed in the same place for three years was ten years ago at University. I need new stimulus and adventures. I'm excited about them. My friends think I'm mad. My tune has totally changed from 'I want to live in Tarragona forever and I plan to go and come back and buy a house with the money I make...' to 'who knows? Maybe I will come back...maybe I won't.'

Because I realised I don't know who I'm going to be in another few years time. I may be a totally different person with a whole new set of dreams and ideas. It is possible. I am seeing so much change around me these days. I guess it is my age. Babies are sprouting like nobody's business. Friendships that once seemed so close at one point in time are now so far away and yet others have reappeared and developed. Family dynamics change, jobs change...the world changes.

Stories I hear, experiences I have had now tell me that nothing is guaranteed. It can all change in one day, one minute. Your perspective is continually changing and updating. Today I feel stronger, tomorrow I may not, but I am keen to seize on my strength whilst I can and propel myself forward into the unknown.

After this exam I will have time to focus on what will be next. Until then...it is concentrated focus with the reward of a family Christmas at the end. Hope I don't leave the next entry for so long... Hope you are all well too xxx

Friday, 5 September 2014

I suddenly had the urge to write

Funny that...but good to still have my little blog here for these moments.

I guess I just want to stop and record my current thinking so I don't forget it.

I started my DELTA course this Sunday gone and currently I am not too stressed as I am not working and I am getting adjusted to the work and course website in my own time. I keep reading that it is going to be HARD and I can see there is a lot to digest and get my head around, but I am surprised by how positive I am about it all and laid back.

I hope I can maintain this chilled-out feeling...it probably won't remain when my social life starts rolling again when I'm back in Spain next Tuesday, and then work steps up a gear at the end of the month. Still, I tell myself it is two months of intensive work before Christmas and then I can replace the academic books with art materials and I can go out again in abundance!

I also know that despite the mild fear of stress and workload, I am really excited about the learning challenge. I can literally feel my brain expanding and the course is forcing me to address areas in teaching that I have shrunk away from in the past like strange foreign foods. Phonology has always been daunting and has looked like a whole load of hard work but now I have the phonemic chart on my iphone and I am practising the sounds daily and getting familiar with the symbols. It is all good really.

In the meantime, because I am now slightly constrained and I know I have to be disciplined, my reckless, fun side has piped up a bit also having been mildly repressed. Suddenly, after ignoring my kindle for months and not reading for pleasure when I had the chance, now I want to delve into a whole number of light-hearted books and literature such the hilarious as How to be A Woman by Caitlin Moran (which I am reading as a reward in quieter moments).

I'm also taking advantage of 4od whilst back in the UK and watching lots of odd documentaries on serial killers, phone sex and drug experiments. I have to say I think TV seems to have plummeted a bit on the intellectual level and quality. A lot of these documentaries, despite fascinating material, are dishing it out quite slowly and you can quickly pick up on the entertainment techniques they use to keep you watching or to create suspense - which actually has the effect of making me switch off as I'm like 'yeah, yeah...stop being dramatic, just get to the point!' Maybe too much TED.com has made me that way... maybe with the quickness/shortness of the web and its content, my attention spam has waned? I don't know...

I'm also embracing the idea of hedonism more and more these days and accepting that, despite feeling like my life plan should fall into the society norms of having a family, getting a mortgage etc etc, it clearly isn't going to go that way for me (well, not as far as I can see currently) and I am really appreciative of my job and situation because of all the opportunities and great adventures that I could choose to seize if I so wish.

When I look to the future and daydream words like 'Barcelona', 'Nepal', 'tropical islands', 'Burning Man Music Festival', 'Art Projects' and 'meeting new people' colour my thoughts and feel like they are within reach. This is the future potential and it excites me.

Of course, I could sit and worry about the security aspect of it all - and I was for a while - but I realised over some frank conversations with friends that such worries were sucking the life and joy out of the present moment. I realise it is wise to be aware of more serious things and to try and take the necessary steps to be prepared but there is only so much I can do right now. I guess it will all happen all in good time.

So that is where I am. I don't think I have been quite this positive for a long time. I'm intrigued as to how the next academic year will go and I am ready. It is a good feeling. xxx

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Well...it's been a bit quiet of late!

It is a bit crazy really. Last year was one of my most prolific writing years for this blog and this year...zilch! I have no inspiration.

Things have been happening but my drive to write has vanished and been replaced by the need to paint and to socialise and I also really want to learn to DJ and in a few days time my DELTA begins. There just isn't room or need to write so much currently.

Maybe this will change later down the line. It is always hard to strike a balance and you have to ease up on some things to make room for others. I want to continue to grow and to develop and this means my attention is directed elsewhere.

I think this might be true for a lot of bloggers as I look down my right hand bar of my blog and see that many of you haven't posted for months - some years already!

So...I can honestly say I don't think I will be around here much for a while. I'll try and pop in and I may be back with new energy but I don't know. I love this little space where I have written for many years and I don't want to lose it but at the same time...I need to let go and let loose for a while. There is a wealth of thoughts and life in this little blog and it is a special, personal place. It has been a really positive thing for me and has helped me think my way through some big problems and challenges over the years.

I have also met some lovely fellow bloggers and blogging has been infectious - it inspired my sister to get involved and helped launch her new career. I have read some life changing and amazing posts and I have been inspired by ideas and pictures and kind words and the friendship of strangers. I miss some of my fellow bloggers who have also disappeared off... to focus on other things too I guess. I suppose we had our time and space together once and now we have moved on...

Maybe we will find it again but we are all forever changing and adapting in this crazy world of social media.

Anyway...for now...I'm signing off with the permission to come back when I see fit...

Take care of yourselves and keep doing the things that make you happy...Lots of Love xxx

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Beautiful London...

I'm sorry...you can argue with me all you want...but summer in England is just simply beautiful...London especially...It is so green and gorgeous...
Summer school is whizzing by and I have almost completed my third week. Being in Richmond I have been able to see lots of friends and catch up with family, whilst revisiting my favourite places and parts of London....
These are a few of Richmond for your pleasure...(and it was a pleasure eye-witnessing them).
Right outside the school is the view above and when I have finished working I like nothing better than to grab a drink and sit on a bench and watch the sun go by. Sometimes a local band plays guitar and people walk their dogs. This area is a very rich and affluent one but for 6 weeks I don't need to be rich to enjoy living in this particular part of London!
And Richmond Park is also a 2 minute walk away so there are all these fields to explore and wildlife (deer!) to see...and the weather has been so glorious!
 Further into town you have the Thames which is also very picturesque and enjoyable to read the newspaper by when I have time off...




And below you will find the building I'm currently staying in...not bad really - even if it is a bit shabby inside and could do with a bit of revamping.

And we get to go on excursions so...recently we spent some time near Trafalgar Square and St James' Park
Hello Nelson!!! 
I still remember the first time I met you when I was six and my parents took me up to London for the day. I remember eating soup and having to be on my best behaviour in a restaurant and they bought me a multi-coloured umbrella in Harrods...thought I'd have preferred a toy and the umbrella quickly blew inside out once back at school rendering it useless....
And then there is The Shard - my break-up tower. My ex and I have been broken up almost four or five years now and I remember when it happened you were just being built. I decided to place a wish on you that once you were finished I would be well and truly over my ex (knowing how long I can take to let-go) and it worked!! ;)
Being down on the Southbank in the evening for engagement drinks after work on a Friday was lush...my favourite time of the week when I used to work here...
I hope to write more soon but now off to meet some more friends...Hope you are having a lovely summer!
 xxx