Wellies and Ice Puddles

Trish and I ventured into the wetlands, loaded with bird and squirrel food. The meadows are still flooded; some are frozen – beautiful pools of bluish-grey amongst the sodden green. Icy puddles cracked and slopped under Trish’s wellies, a sound so satisfying I vowed once again to buy Wellingtons this week with the view to do some serious icy puddle walking myself – very therapeutic!

The hazels are sprouting catkins and the birdsong is beginning to swell. We presented our bird and squirrel feast upon the shelves and ledges of the hide and returning back along the wooden stilted walkway, we stopped to listen to a little robin. He was less than three feet from us, on branches level with our heads, singing his gorgeous song. When not open-beaked and full-throated, he would stare at us, his head tilted quizzically, the rise and fall of his feathery chest, rapid and anxious. Occasionally he would fluff out the cream, blue and red of it, until round as a barrel, then deflating, would throw back his head once more and sing to the heavens. We watched him for some time, charmed by his bravery and the beauty of his voice.

Amongst the dead reeds, we had a brief sighting of a wren – I always get a little buzz when I see both of these birds on the same walk; a robin and a wren in the space of a few minutes – birds so much associated with the waning and waxing of the year. It is clear that the waxing is quickening and that beneath the stillness is the faint shudder and hum of the earth stirring.

We walked to our grove. It has been ages since my previous visit– even longer since we last had a ceremony here. We placed bird food upon the old oak and sat beneath it, the channels of water in the meadows below clearly visible through the bare branches; the steep slopes beyond the giant holly are leafless and open – the grove less secret and hidden in the winter months.

Walking back along the river, we fed the ducks at the bridge and felt the chill intensifying, the trees deepening their silhouettes as the sky reddened and brightened before sinking into dusk. I had hoped to see the barn owl – yesterday driving back from Shorwell, Laurie and I saw one crisscrossing the lane, it whiteness tinged with sunset. A little further down, the rapid flight of a little owl came to rest, a round feathery ball clinging wide-eyed to a telegraph pole. Tonight, there were no owls and our pace quickened as the air sharpened, and I thought to myself that all the icy puddles that broke beneath Trish’s wellies, would – over night – heal and mend in the bitter cold.

The Dance

Natarajasana - Dancer's Posture (inspiredpractice@wordpress.com)

The bleeding appears to have stopped. Last night I made it to my Yoga class. Poor Julie won’t be taking them for a while; Jake’s death has been a terrible shock. One of Julie’s friends – a lovely lady called Lisa is taking over for a bit. I think everybody in the group wants to keep it going to support Julie – she is such a wonderfully kind and thoughtful person, it’s awful to think that this has happened to her. We all want to be there when she feels ready to come back.

It was lovely to see everyone again – first time since before Christmas. I felt exhausted and headachy before I went but my body and being were absolutely singing by the time the lesson had finished. It felt so good to have such a strong and vigorous stretch. I have been trying to keep up with my practice through the last two weeks but at points I found it impossible. Traditionally, women are advised not to perform asanas when they are menstruating, particularly inverted postures, although there are many restorative postures that are permitted. I had no idea whether I was strictly menstruating or merely bleeding because of the implant (actually, I still don’t really know) and so I was trying to take it easy. It got to the stage where all I was fit for was Savasana (Corpse posture). Last night’s session was bliss. Lying in Savasana for the final relaxation after such a heated session, I felt peaceful and settled; haven’t felt that way in two weeks.

I respond best to life when I am regularly exercising. When not dealing with menstrual problems, I practice Yoga daily. I aim for an hour session, sometimes more, sometimes a little less, depending on the day. I have been doing this for nine years. I find that disciplining myself  is not much of a challenge because I love the way it makes me feel. If I miss a couple of days, my body starts to yearn for it. Some days its tough and I take a while to warm up and engage but mainly, unrolling my Yoga mat is a joy. When I don’t exercise, after a while I start to feel apathetic and listless and I start losing a balanced perspective on things. I have quite an active, agitated mind and engaging with my body seems to calm it.

Life really is about finding the right balance and this will be different for each of us. I know that if I overdo the exercise thing this will have consequences for my physical well-being and that will impact on the rest of me. Equally, if I get stuck in my own head for too long, I start to spiral down and then know that I need a good Yoga session and a walk in the woods.

Being poorly over these last two weeks made me think how dreadful it must be when chronic illness drastically limits a person’s choices and stops them from doing the things they love. Despite feeling pretty low and pissed off with my ongoing problem, at heart, I still count my blessings. There are many out there who are struggling with far worse. When I think what Julie must be going through at the moment…

Feeling my energy and my spirits rise again has been wonderful. I still don’t know how this is going to pan out but for now I am grateful for the respite. I include here a picture of one of my favourite Yoga balances. It is called Natarajasana or Dancer’s Posture and relates to Shiva as Lord of the Dance. The dance of life keeps moving and how we continue to find balance is dependant on us being able to constantly adjust and readjust to the changes, to sense when the direction of flow needs to shift. Onwards and upwards…

Lighting the Inner Fire

Laurie woke me with a cup of tea and a smile this morning; I had slept the entire night through, uninterrupted, for the first time in days. I immediately felt something was different. I had been dreaming that I was being shown a river. It had obviously broken its banks, the sides crumbling and dislodged from the force but now the flow was receding, the level dropping considerably. A man was stood next to me telling me that I had almost been swept away but had kept my footing.

I didn’t bleed at all through the night – a first in almost two weeks – and today the flow has been very light, just like the river in my dream! I am not about to kick up my heels – I am a little wary of false dawns by now – but I feel something has shifted, my energy level is gradually rising and that dragging heaviness in my tummy is fading. I feel so much better but am a little scared to hope at the moment for fear of disappointment.

Each day the sun has been climbing a little higher in the sky and today it peeped over the roof of our neighbour’s house, flooding both bedrooms. I lay with it covering me and felt a tentative sense of relief, my edges softening. I can’t believe Imbolc is almost here. Thinking about all that this festival stands for – the tender new beginnings that it promises – despite my fear of setbacks, it’s hard not to feel a little jolt of hope within – hope for healing, for renewal, hope that not one of us is a lost cause, no matter what we might go through or struggle with.

I wrote a meditation for our Imbolc ritual last year. As I think about putting together stuff for this year’s ceremony, I got a little buzz of recognition when I read it through again. I include it here:

It is a cold, crisp night in the hours just before dawn. The starry sky arches it vast, twinkling darkness above you. You are sat upon the earth; the soil is hard and frozen; the grass glistening with frost. The land is silent and asleep. Your body and being are motionless, chilled and inert like the winter earth but you sense inside yourself a change and you know that you must prepare for its coming.

Draw your attention inward to the very centre of yourself; this place is the centre of the sacred circle of your being, and it is here that you will light the sacred fire; it is the spark of life; it is the fuelling heat at the centre of the planet; it is the burning sun at the heart of our galaxy; it is the fire of the smith that will magically melt and transform you; it is a candle flame of hope in the darkness.

Standing at the centre of you inner sacred circle, you see the tinder and dry wood of your life, ready to be lit, and in their lighting you know that the heat of this fire will bring a change in the land, will bring the first tender signs of new life and renewal, of growing strength.

Become aware of your solar plexus. There is a flame that always burns here. Take some of this perpetual flame upon your finger and now light the wood at the centre of your inner circle from it. At first it glows only beneath the dark wood. Blow upon it the breath of your ideas and inspiration. As you do this, the flames begin to grow until the fire lights up the darkness.

You find yourself back beneath the vast starry sky, upon the frosty, frozen earth, but now you are aware that there is a glow at the centre of your being. Feel its warmth and light spread out through your chest, down your pelvis, into your legs and feet; feel it moving up through your shoulders, down your arms and into your hands and fingers, up through your neck and into your head, until your whole body is filled with its golden heat and light. You are radiant in the darkness. Stay here in this moment for a while –take note of the feelings and images that rise…

Your attention moves from the inner glow to the land around where you sit. You gaze down at the once frozen soil beneath. The frost has melted into life giving moisture, droplets hanging from the blades of green, and through the earth a carpet of snowdrops rises, drinking in the life giving melt, strengthening themselves in the warmth of your glow. As if by magic you watch their brave green shoots pierce through, their delicate, white blossoms unfurl and hang in gentle bells of white. You have lit the fires of passion within and the land responds with the first tender signs of a new beginning. Pause for a moment; take note of all you feel and see…You gaze at the horizon; along the line of the land, a slim strip of the sky begins to lighten…the dawn will soon be here…

The Sacred Grail of Swadhistana

Swadhistana Chakra - Mara Friedman

The rookery on the lane that leads up to the Brading Roman Villa had many of its number in residence today. Rookeries are normally frantically noisy and agitatedly animated but today around fifty rooks sat spread out amongst the branches in a Zen-like quiet, all facing the direction of the sun, obviously warming their bellies and enjoying the heat and light after the recent dark and rainy days. I could sense how good it felt.

Oscar the Grouch (our car – ‘Oscar’ being an anagram of Corsa and ‘Grouch’ because he is bloody miserable and spends most of his time refusing to work) is back on the road yet again after his clutch cable snapped for the second time in four months. He now has a shining new clutch and is in a good mood – this won’t last. I mustn’t grumble because Oscar – despite his many faults- enabled me to get out in the sunshine after a weekend of worsening symptoms. Last week, I watched as the man from the garage loaded Oscar up on his truck and took him away. I thought how great it would be if someone could strap me down, take me off and after a quick tinker, send me back fixed. In some ways, I can understand the attraction of a mechanical universe – this nut here, that bolt there, and voila, everything ticking away nicely again. Living, breathing bodies with histories and sensitivities, with complex layering and a host of hidden triggers that can propel us into physical crisis, are often not so easy to put right with a bit of an oil and polish or some mechanical jiggery pokery.

I have always been fascinated by the links between our emotional bodies/selves and illness; of how we each have places in our bodies that become illness hotspots, places where we hold on to stress or emotional turbulence, and these eventually articulating themselves through physical symptoms and ailments. My own problems with my periods started very young, long before the sexually abusive relationship of my teens but it hasn’t completely passed me by that these experiences have impacted on my relationship with my menstrual cycle; if this is already a place of difficulty genetically, then perhaps it makes it a sensitive area when crisis hits?

Thinking of the Chakra system, the womb and ovaries are linked to Swadhistana, the sacral chakra; it is the place of our emotions, the ideally unimpeded flow of these; it is sensuality and sexual pleasure, physical and emotional nurturance and the free exchange of these. These energies move out from us into the world and we keep the circuit moving by keeping ourselves open for these very things to flow back into us. It’s a kind of loop of love and connection, of movement and constant change and because of this is so important in the process of our creativity. It is the chakra of the dance of love and life.

When intimacy brings with it experiences of hurt, rejection or violence; when one side of the polarity blocks the flow of feeling in this way, it can lead to a psychologically stagnate pool developing deep in our feeling life. We can stop trusting and close down but this defensive act will never bring us happiness because this chakra looks outward to the world; it is the chalice that brims and overflows, its life-giving liquid streaming always towards another, those waters carving out a channel for that other to find us and touch us in return. This is not limited to sex of course, it is about opening to life, to the appreciation of all that exist beyond us, letting it impact upon us, move us, stir us and through it, accessing within ourselves a resonance with all creation. This exchange happens when we make love, when we are affected by art or music or nature, by the pain of others – it is the seat of our empathy and the depth of our humanity.

The experiences of my teens has meant that at points in my life, I have had to work hard on the issues and themes of this chakra and with all the recent crisis of my family life, it would seem that the flow of exchange is still an issue for me in many ways. To feel deeply is to engage with our vulnerability. The trick is to stay open, regardless of those times in our life when that polarity has been severed; no matter how many times we may have been hurt, we must give that flow and exchange a chance – often easier said than done.

I know that my life has become unbalanced – too much focus on crisis and not enough on pleasure. It is little wonder that the flow in me has begun to act like a wound that won’t stop bleeding. I have turned into the Fisher King and my wasteland needs the wisdom that only the Grail of Swadhistana can provide. I have misread the challenge: it is not how to deal with crisis and hurt – the challenge is not to run away from happiness. The problem now is, where do I start?

To Thine Own Self Be True

Today – on and off – I have been flicking through Katherine Mansfield’s letters and journals once more. I woke up thinking about her, something within endeavouring to remind me that no matter how fed up with my current predicament I may get, it’s not life threatening.

I remember reading Katherine Mansfield’s letters and journals for the first time in my twenties. It is hard not to feel so sad at some of the passages where she expresses such a strong feeling for life, a passionate desire to engage with it fully; this eagerness and sensitivity to the world’s wonders and horrors  are constantly overshadowed by her TB. In some ways perhaps that drive to engage becomes all the more powerful and poignant because of it.

Today, her letters have helped me to put my own fear and panic into perspective. I took the full dose of Utovlan yesterday and by midnight I had become very heavy. I woke at five in the morning heavier and in pain. I hate waking in the middle of the night like this – at those moments, sleep seems to skin our psyches leaving us raw and vulnerable – things always seem worse in the middle of the night.

This morning brought a greater clarity and the Utovlan got packed away – it was obviously not going to decrease the flow – quite the opposite – and so now I have gone back to just me and ‘the little stick of happiness’, which feels like enough to be going on with!

Here’s a little from Katherine’s journal, dated April 1920 – I rather like this:

True to oneself? Which self? Which of my many – well really, that’s what it looks like coming to – hundreds of selves? For what with complexes and repressions and reactions and vibrations and reflections, there are moments when I feel I am nothing but the small clerk of some hotel without a proprietor, who has all his work cut out to enter the names and hand the keys to the wilful guests.

Nevertheless, there are signs that we are intent as never before on trying to puzzle out, to live by, our own particular self. ‘Der Mensch muss frei sein’ – free, disentangled, single. Is it not possible that the rage for confession, autobiography, especially for memories of earliest childhood, is explained by our persistent yet mysterious belief in a self which is continuous and permanent; which, untouched by all we acquire and all we shed, pushes a green spear through the dead leaves and the mould, thrusts a scaled bud through years of darkness until, one day, the light discovers it and shakes the flower free and – we are alive – we are flowering for our moment upon the earth? This is the moment which, after all, we live for – the moment of direct feeling when we are most ourselves and least personal.


From Uncertainty to Trust

The bleeding continues – it has steadied and shows absolutely no sign of changing. It’s been seven days – certainly I’ve menstruated for much longer before but this feels different, like it has set in for the long-term. It’s manageable although the constant ache in my groin has become a little wearing over time.

When the doctor fitted the implant, he told me that if I was one of the women who suffered ‘break through’ bleeding or worse, I could take Utovlan to control it; this for many women helps them until the implant settles down – that is the hope anyway.

This morning I sat staring at the Utovlan box next to my bed wondering if I should take one. I have had these tablets for months, since the failure of my Mirena coil fitting. I had been given them in an attempt to lessen my flow; taking them had stopped the bleeding completely but coming off them felt hormonally hellish and the excessive bleeding merely started again the moment I stopped. The rather girly and innocent looking pink and white packets of pills have been gathering dust on my bedside cabinet ever since.

In my last post I spoke about acceptance; today the topic of the moment is trust. Despite the fears I have of what the hell all of this synthetic progesterone will do to me, this morning I had the strongest urge to take the Utovlan. I don’t know if this is being driven by a sense of desperation or it’s my intuition prompting me. I feel completely at the mercy of something beyond my control at present.

I again trawled through page after page of medical message boards relating women’s experience of bleeding with the implant. I felt utterly envious of the women who were period free and feeling fine on it – up until a week ago, so did I. Many with ‘break through’ just gave up and had the implant removed but many more found that their symptoms settled over time. So, despite it all, I feel like I must give the implant a chance to work.

About an hour ago, I went with the urge and took one little Utovlan – time will tell. Noticeable, the pain in my groin has gone, so I am hoping this is a good sign. Reading about women who have been bleeding non-stop for months, I am ready to try whatever I can to prevent this from happening; I know from my recent problems how physically and emotionally exhausting an experience this would be. I need a physical break from it – yet more bleeding fills me with dread. I knew it was a risk but my choices had started to dwindle and so my journey with trust really does start now in earnest. I am placing myself in the hands of a little plastic stick, a tiny pill, my poor old beleaguered body and whatever other forces in life there might be to get me through this.

I keep thinking of the trauma my mother went through, particularly in her forties. She had the added problem of multiple fibroids. The sight of lots of blood was something I got used to very early on because mum suffered so. I now feel that the years of blood loss related anaemia, the fainting fits, the panic attacks and the emotional and physical exhaustion that excessive bleeding brought my mother, might well have been an aggravating factor in her early demise. I have become my mother; these are her symptoms but this is my body and I am me and I feel that for both of us, I have to find a better way through than just to suffer with dignity. I am too impatient to be dignified!

I am being forced to open myself to possibilities that, until now, I have been stubbornly resistant to. This in itself is an interesting and useful process – so much of our thinking defines what is good or bad for us, not necessarily based on fact or experience but on the peculiar prejudices that our minds build over time, through fear and defensiveness. The ‘unnaturalness’ of synthetic hormones and their impact on women’s reproductive and hormonal health has always bothered me; it feels ironic that I am now in such a state that I am prepared to embrace them like a pharmaceutical knight in shining armour – ironic but on some level a little liberating.

After moaning about the lack of certainty in life in my last post, at present – as I happily (well sort of!) down the Utovlan – it occurs to me that the gift of uncertainty is actually infinite potential and possibility. I guess it is up to each of us whether we recognise that we might have more choices than our fears and resistances allow us to acknowledge.

Riding the Uncertainty

Riding the uncertainty of situations and working with acceptance have been the themes of my week. In reality, maybe they are the themes of every week but this one has seen them sharply defined and prominent, as if life is being very insistent that I take note.

It has been a few days of great sadness and frustration and also of little glimmers of hope too. On a global level, Haiti has been distressing and, like everyone, I have been wrestling with the tension between accepting that the earth is just doing her bit to keep the balance of life going (earth quakes are not judgements of an angry god but the planet’s way of keeping the conditions for optimum life ticking away) and feeling horrified at the human tragedy.

Closer to home, I heard the shocking news that a friend’s son had been killed. He died in a seemingly insignificant accident that he should have walked away from unscathed. It struck me how one unremarkable moment and one small decision suddenly produced the most momentous and tragic consequences. I cannot begin to imagine what my friend must be going through; the death of one’s child is the most profound of all losses.

The night I heard about the accident was also the night I started bleeding. After the implant had been fitted a couple of weeks ago and my period had failed to arrive, I began celebrating, rather prematurely, that the vomit inducing pain and the debilitating heaviness were going to be a thing of the past. It started with light spotting and has gradually become heavier.

My initial sense of panic was rooted in uncertainty. Was this my period finally arriving? Was it the implant playing havoc with my body (some women start bleeding and don’t stop for months!)? Five days later and still bleeding, I am hoping that this is just my period and that soon it will finish. I have been trying to comfort myself that – if I am merely menstruating – by my normal standards it’s a huge improvement. The relentless and intense cramping I usually encounter is absent; in its place is a griping ache in my groin which painkillers strangely won’t shift but the hot water bottle does, and although it has become heavier, the flow seems to have peaked and is no where near the amount that the last couple of months has seen me struggling to deal with. In short, it’s manageable and a step in the right direction, at least.

I would be fibbing if I said I wasn’t disappointed and I still feel a little nervous about the route this might ultimately take. Ideally, the implant and my body will eventually find a happy balance. I have spent some time checking out women’s experience of Implanon on the net and the symptoms are about as varied and contradictory as you could imagine. Each women responds differently; some stop bleeding – others can’t stop; some put on weight – others lose it; some get depressed –others feel more level; some recommend it with glowing praise –others say it was the worst decision of their lives!

Thinking about the events of this week, I feel myself resisting the fact that I must ride the uncertainty. As humans – bearing witness to the suffering that life can sometimes produce – I feel that we can forgive ourselves for, at times, yearning for security. Who wouldn’t be tempted to reach for certainty amidst what often appears as seemingly chaotic happenings with unpredictable and painful outcomes? From the deep sadness and tragedy of loss to the less drastic, but nevertheless irritating, curve balls of life, we can only ultimately embrace each moment as best we can; live it, trust it, feel it – and out of the uncertainty –actually probably because of it – Grace finds us, quite often just at that moment when all feels lost.

Confessions of a Vintage Bus

'Bathing' by Nurit Yardeni

Aging is a strange and fascinating process. We all deal with it in different ways but I am sure most find the changes a challenge at times, regardless of gender. Being a woman of a certain age, this topic gets brought up frequently amongst my friends; we all, to one degree or another, feel the pressure to live up to the deification of youth and perfection that dominates the landscape of popular culture at present.

I have all sorts of mixed feelings about this issue. Sometimes I feel defiantly that I will embrace my aging joyfully, celebrating the creeping grey, deepening lines and widening waistline; feeling grateful for the gathered experiences that have enriched my life; opening to a new phase with optimism about its potential gifts. There is no doubt in my mind that aging brings with it its own special blessings but in order to live a new day, we have to let go of yesterday. As we bear witness to the physical changes, it can feel as if we are letting go of a self and body that is more ‘us’ than the one we currently inhabit. Not only this, just as we start to get to grips with this new body, it changes all over again!

While the emotional and psychological benefits of aging might be easier to accept, the physical process can be a little trickier to manage. I have begun to notice that my hair, skin and nails are becoming so much drier as I age; I seem to spend countless moments oiling and moisturising myself. I am starting to feel like an old vintage bus! There are folks here on the Island that fix these beautiful old vehicles up and then spend hour upon hour maintaining them. All my body maintenance feels exactly like I too am trying to fight off becoming a rusting wreck! And yet, there is something distinctively pleasurable about these private little moments of self-care.

Today I am wrestling with whether I should embrace my greying hair or dye it. On some level, every time I colour it, I feel I am letting the side down; that there is something vaguely shameful about wanting to hide those greys; that I am buying in to the notion that youth is more valid than age. I go through the same process again and again, vowing to let the colour fade and accept myself as I truly am at this point in my life. I am at that stage now but the same thing always happens: this morning I woke up to discover that some evil pixie had scalped me in the night and in place of my hair had sewn coconut matting! Grey hairs have a life and buoyancy all their own because they are so much drier and wiry in texture; they stand up from the head as if deliberately trying to announce themselves. No amount of conditioning seems to subdue them; they are irrepressible. Grey hair can be very beautiful; I know many people of both sexes who look fantastic. However, I shamefacedly confess that my salt and pepper, neither one thing nor the other, in-between hair, tends to have me reaching for that bottle of colour.

The art of pampering self-care and adornment can help in adjusting to the changes. Many might think these to be rather shallow and surface practices to deal with something whose roots lie deeper in our emotional selves. However, I think this underestimates the power of the process; when we engage lovingly with our bodies, we effect change throughout our being.

Some might argue that it isn’t very loving to reject who you are by trying to change and alter yourself but humans have historically always tampered with their appearance, using pigments and dyes on skin or hair or with piercing and jewellery. There is something deeply joyful about this practice. Currently, some take this to the extremes of cosmetic surgery – not sure I would ever fancy that – but a bit of gentle tinkering can be fun.

I have several tattoos and have had various conversations with people about them, many saying that they like them but wonder how I will feel about them as an old lady, as if body adornment and age don’t mix. This makes me angry. Like so many things that seem to be currently reserved only for the young, why should the pleasure of adornment be lost to us as our bodies change?

I recently saw a wonderful photo exhibition by Nurit Yardeni called ‘Dream of Fair Women’. It is a series of fantastic portraits of women of all ages from a number of cultures. The portraits are massive and so their impact is powerfully felt. Check them out here http://www.nurityardeni.com . One I particularly liked was the above photo entitled ‘Bathing’. This private moment of a woman of age washing is wonderful; the line and curve of her back is beautiful; she is naked and adorned, her hair wrapped in that gorgeous scarf, her large silver earrings…

Snow Going Back

The snow is beginning to thaw in the garden but white still covers the downs, although life is back to normal and people are moving about their lives as before, if a little hunched against the cold.

I regret the fading away of that strange shift, that wonderful something that happens to our behaviour when we have unusual weather. On the first day of really heavy snow, Sandown felt strangely post apocalyptic in the sense that the normal behaviour and patterns of people’s day to day life had suddenly broken down. It was as if a magical regime change had taken place and liberated us all from the grind of daily life; parents were out having snowball fights with their kids; people were gingerly walking down the centre of the roads; what cars there were, crawled along and the whole known world had been whitewashed clean of its old detail. It felt briefly like beginning again – a strange and gleaming newness.

Extremes of weather bring a certain kind of blessing. The heavy snow gives us the opportunity to step outside the normal boundaries of our living and perhaps see other possibilities. We get caught up in the momentum of our lives, sometimes to our detriment; the responsibilities we have can bring us structure and stability but they can also act like prisons at times. That balance that we each strive to keep between structure and freedom is often a tough one to manage, and for most of us it weighs heavily on the structure and responsibility side. Come the snow, the scales flip and suddenly there is a wonderful sense of being let loose for just a while. We become like dogs let off our leashes.

We all fit in, to varying degrees, with the expectations of our culture; we all have to eat, we need shelter and our society expects a certain exchange of labour for these. And yet, I can’t be the first to think that we have perhaps created a system whereby those moments of heady freedom are handed out in the stingiest of rations.

I will miss the snow.

Afghan Women’s Writing Project

Please do check out the following  Blog http://awwproject.wordpress.com. I was very moved by what I read here. The Blog acts as a voice for women who have been silenced by the society they live in. It also bears witness to the bravery of these women and their determination to envision a world where their talents and gifts – their right to be who they are –  can be freely expressed without harm to themselves. The strength of the human spirit is extraordinary.

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