Archive for July, 2012

The ideal holiday – 40 Days and 40 Nights

July 22, 2012

I will be away from the world of work and electronica for 40 days and 40 nights. Indeed I am hopeful that the link to Noah is not portentous, as I’ve really had enough of the rain this English ‘summer’.

Yes, dear reader, it’s time for the long summer holiday, the time of the year when everyone wishes they were still as school, or uni, or a teacher!

40 days is a goodly amount of time. It was the time of flood in the bible that wiped out sin and unicorns, not to mention dragons, and other evil stuff.

40 days is the time of Lent, when Moses went up Mount Sinai and hung out with God without eating or drinking any food. And most people think they suffer by giving up chocolate.

40 Days and 40 Nights is also a 2002 movie about Josh Hartnett giving up sex after a nasty break up with his girlfriend – apparently he fails dismally and has loads of sex, but fails to get over the aforementioned g-friend. Don’t worry about this.

My 40 days will be a mix of abstinence and indulgence, as really, the ideal holiday should be.

 

I shall abstain from

Anything to do with work – no emails, no reading, no preparation, no evil thoughts sneaking in to waylay me

Public Transport  (once I get to France) – not one bus, or train or tube, just my own Jag and lots of walking

Anything to do with the Olympics – being not there will be a huge relief, especially as my world of public transport, ie London Bridge, will be severely disrupted

Electronic communications – we are without internet and the wonderful web of world-widedness so I will not be emailing, surfing, tweeting or blogging. So dear, reader you will have to make the most of this last post until September. Re-read some of my older stuff, it’s pretty enjoyable too.

 

I shall indulge in

Sleeping – especially sleeping in and afternoon naps and other assorted bed-time activities having been apart from beloved for 33 days

Wine and cheese – well I am in France and the cheese is wonderfully runny, pungent and economical. The wine is abundant, cheap and as I’m in Champagne how can I not support the local endeavours?

Walks in the gorgeous countryside and trips to the local lake for picnics and a spot of fishing

Reading – loads of study stuff plus the odd recreational read

Writing – of course, it’s me isn’t it – what else would I really indulge in? I shall write 2 chapters for my exegesis and play a bit with my crime story

Playing games with beloved and baby girl – lots of Scrabble and Trinomimos, a bit of Articulate, but no Monopoly whatsoever, ever-ever!

Trips into the town nearest our village – little shopping sorties, bread from the boulangerie, coffee at the café, dinner at our favourite restaurant.

Doing nothing – in the sun, in the countryside, sitting, just being – chatting aimlessly for hours, feeling no need to do a thing!

Have a lovely break if you are off and away. Being away from your normal life is a wondrous way to recharge and revive your life. Don’t feel compelled to do anything other than what you (and your family and friends – no need to be completely selfish) want to do.

So, tis to the Eurostar, bright and early and away. Travel well, my friends, I’ll be in touch in a while. (Images courtesy Google Images & Private Collection)

Camembert Chicken for Cheats

July 21, 2012

This is based on an old recipe from a Women’s Weekly Dinner Party Cookbook. They use whole chickens and do complicated things with re-cooking and skin. This is the pared back version. Simple, easy and very delicious. Use as the main for a special meal or as a centre-piece for a larger spread.

 

Ingredients

600-800 grams of skinless chicken breasts

250 grams of Camembert

1-2 cloves of garlic

150-250 grams of slivered almonds (depends on desired level of crunchiness)

Soft white bread to make into crumbs – I use soft rolls – fresh is best

60 grams Butter  – approx, use more if needed

Prepare

Tear rolls into crumbs, make sure almonds are crushed down to crumbs too. Add butter to pan and toss bread and almonds until nicely toasted. You may need more butter to ensure even toasting and no burning of the bread

Cut garlic into tiny slivers or use garlic press

Cut chicken into strips – not too thin or they will cook too quickly and be tough

Cut Camembert into cubes or slices, as you prefer

 

Assemble

Using a glass or ceramic baking dish arrange the chicken across the dish, making sure there are no gaps between pieces

Sprinkle garlic across chicken – you may want to press it firmly into the chicken

Arrange Camembert across the top of chicken and garlic

Cover Camembert with toasted almond and bread crumb mixture – press down lightly

 

Cook

In pre-heated moderate over (200c) for 35-40 minutes. Keep your eye on the baking as you don’t want the crumb mixture to burn – ruins the taste of the whole thing! Note: the garlic taste can be very strong.

Serve with salad and new potatoes, or beans, carrots and baked potatoes. Tis a lovely meal no matter what time of the year. (Images from Private Collection)

Holiday Movies to Get You in the Mood

July 20, 2012

In the good old days, when I was an Antipodean the big holidays were at Christmas 6+ weeks of bliss, sun and sand, a bit of water, lots of fun and sleep once Christmas was put to bed.

Now it’s still Summer (all right, not at all here in Britain) and the holiday stretches uxoriously before us and I still watch the same collection of movies that move me into the zone, unwind me after a hard year and let the stresses slip away.

See if you know these: see if they send you to the same relaxed zen place, getting you into the holiday zone in 90+ minutes of the right stuff.

 

Water – with Michael Caine, Valerie Perrine, Billy Connolly and a plethora of other great English actors.

Set on a Caribbean Island, where life is idyllic, dope fuelled and windy and warm every day. Political upheaval, sexual desires, laconic humour and a soundtrack from Eric Clapton and George Harrison is more than enough to take you to your own island paradise. This is close to my favourite film. Written by Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais, of many great British films and comedies, you can’t lose.

 

Shirley Valentine with Pauline Collins and Tom Conti

From lousy Liverpool to gorgeous Greece, join the oddysey of a middle age woman in melt down, old before her time at 42, ignored and taken for granted by her husband. But on holidays refinds herself and life again. Based on Willy Russell’s one woman play it is the best antidote to winter and the best ad for Greece you’ll ever see. Who wouldn’t want to run away to a taverna on a beach on the Med?

 

Withnail and I – written by the delectable Bruce Robinson (who has a cameo in another fab holiday film) and starring Richard E Grant (but was nearly Bill Nighy) and Paul McGann features the holiday from hell.

Remember – ‘we’ve come on holiday by mistake’? It is darkly funny, sad and silly all at the same time. More a reminder of life past and foolishness forgotten, but also a wonderful way to relax into the holidays, especially if you take up the drinking game to accompany the film. Always good to begin the holiday with a hangover!!

 

Still Crazy, also written by Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais. Starring Bill Nighy, Jimmy Nail, Stephen Rea, Billy Connolly, Stephen Rea and Timothy Spall with cameo from Bruce Robinson.

This is the ageing rock band – Strange Fruit – making a comeback, searching for past glories but finding past indiscretions instead. Great music – Jimmy Nail and Bill Nighy both sing and the music is good, fab acting, lots of fun. A big poignant in spots – great fun all the way.

 

Yes, there are tons more, and I haven’t even touched the Xmas movies – that was another blog. But these are fun and get you in the mood for relaxing, indulging and getting away. What more could you want?

Enjoy. (Images courtesy Google Images)

Education does not need to be in a classroom-sized box

July 16, 2012

Have you read the Sunday Times piece (14 July 2012) An online class apart? It discusses a US firm’s plan to set up a Free School offering lessons over the web. On the one hand it’s claimed it could transform education in the UK, on the other, it is the end of the (education) world as we know it.

As always, the truth lies somewhere in between. Mention Free Schools in some quarters and the pitchforks come out. Mention importing anything educational from the US and the lynch party will be there before you’ve finished your sentence. Yet, we know Free Schools thrive in Scandinavia and that Ark Academies are based on the US based Kipp Charter schools and the Ark Network is one of the biggest academy chains in the country, boasting enviable success.

Predictably politics is right in the middle of the latest educational buzz. The unions see on-line schools as a threat to teachers, believing Gove will use it as an excuse to employ less teachers as a virtual school would need less staff. This time round the application failed, but there is no need for fear here; in fact this sort of schooling is not unique to the US and should not sends tremors of anxiety through us all. It should add to what is available and give a whole range of children and families more choice.

Do you know that over 80,000 British children are home-schooled? There are out of mainstream education for a variety of reasons including religious, health, bullying and for ideological reasons.

Did you know that in places like Australia many children can’t get to a mainstream traditional place of education and that many of them are educated at home through distance education? I’m sure you’ve heard of the School of the Air – which broadcasts primary education out of Alice Springs and Katherine in the Northern Territory. These institutions have been educating children in some of the remotest parts of the world for years, initially over the radio, now through a range of on-line and super-duper technology. For secondary and post-primary education there is the NT Open Education Centre in Darwin.

These three schools have been delivering high quality learning outside the classroom box to generations of happy students – students who go on to university and careers just as traditionally educated children do.

I worked as Head of English, ESL, Literacy and the Library at NTOEC for five years. They were some of the most interesting years of my career. As well as the usual imperatives from succeeding governments who were all going to make education – especially Aboriginal education – better, we were at the forefront of technological endeavours in Education. We had our own print based materials based on the curriculum, teaching students from grade 8-12, so right up to university entrance. We were moving into a stronger on-line presence (I’m sure they’re there now!), using email as well as other emerging technologies to interact with our students.

Students did not suffer from not being in a classroom. Students had a weekly phone call with each of their teachers; small classes could be set up across the miles through the wonders of technology where poetry could be taught, discussed and debated. Students could email (if they had access) as and when; were entitled to visits; as well as coming into town for a yearly residential week of classes, to be in the ‘big city’ of Darwin and to meet other students.

Let me detail the range of students such an establishment can cater for. And this is highly pertinent to the UK situation as well. Students come in all shapes and sizes with a plethora of needs. Traditional education can’t hope to effectively cater for all: in fact, we know it doesn’t.

Distance – or on-line – education does a great deal for many students. Not only those for whom mainstream school is not available, to wit, distance ed’s traditional audience, the student out on a station, helping mum and dad run the place, or on a remote Aboriginal community where mum and dad work. But also for students who travel, who have been expelled, or who can’t cope in mainstream for whatever reason; girls who got pregnant and couldn’t go back to school with a baby; prisoners; RAAF personnel needing to up-grade their qualifications; Aboriginal students who need to move beyond primary education. We also had students who were travelling overseas, or who were ill and couldn’t cope at school. We had some who were being deliberately home-schooled, but not as many as you might think.

Some interesting things happen in this type of educational setting. Students, free from the off-task, time wasting antics of their fellow classmates, make better progress. They can complete subjects quicker than within the traditional time allocation and be accelerated through their studies. Or they can take longer, go deeper, ensure understandings. They can do nothing but English or Art for a term, then go onto History and Maths and Science. Students can make informed choices about their own pathways through the KS3 & 4 (equivalent) quagmire. They know what has to happen in order to get to KS5 and beyond, but they can make their own choices, supported by parents and school.

Our young mothers were able to take the maximum time allowed for KS5 subjects, coming in to the building on days they could get child-care to study intensely in the library with on-hand teacher support and guidance. We set up interest groups and extra-curricular stuff for local students who had fallen through the cracks of ‘real schools’.

Class sizes were smaller, due to the more intense relationships and one to one contact. My department was no less qualified, or devoted to their students. Student-teacher ratios still applied and we were not a significantly smaller department for our numbers compared to traditional schools.

Fear of the unknown stops us moving ahead. Students thrive in a variety of educational structures. Distance education, or on-line learning, is one that offers much to many. It can be a challenge to teach in that environment, to not see the shiny faces in front of you – although I guess Skype will have sorted that out – to not have the interaction of a whole group. But the intensity of the experience for some students is reward enough. You’ll be more challenged as a teacher here, the students are more independent, more likely to know what they need and how to get it.

The on-line future is here. It will be part of the UK teaching and learning experience very soon. It should be now. It’s time for all involved in education in the UK to move into the 21st century –put students first, their needs, their differences and stop trying to make education a one-size fits all. Who knows, perhaps one day they’ll stop examining everything that moves in the belief that it’s the only way to know if a child has learnt anything???

http://www.ntoec.nt.edu.au/site/

http://www.assoa.nt.edu.au/

http://www.schools.nt.edu.au/ksa/

Finding Balance – the Eternal Quest

July 15, 2012

(This article first appeared in Hope for Women September/October 2006)

When I sat down to write this piece about Balance I was initially focussing on the on-going struggle between work and family life. I was looking at the normal things about work obligations, family commitments; the amount of time in the car running around after children and the lack of peace and stillness in my life. But as I stepped away from the computer and considered my life I realised that my quest for Balance is better considered as the struggle between what I have to do and what I want to do.

This realisation came to me as I considered the conversations I’ve been having recently with my 15 year old daughter, who struggles with her life. It isn’t what she wants it to be but she’s optimistic that when she’s older all of these tiresome, boring calls on her time will evaporate and she will be able to do what she wants, when she wants. Part of me wants to leave her with her delusions but as a responsible parent I want her to take charge of her life, have a grip on reality and realise that the world is not as portrayed on so many TV shows. My darling girl just wants to be left alone to do her own thing – whatever that is.

I sympathise with her. I too am caught between what I want to do and what I have to do. What I have to do is concerned with earning an income, looking after my family, getting on with people and running my household. And we all know of the myriad wonderful things we have to do in order for our lives to run smoothly. What I want to do is different and varies depending on a range of matters. But simply, it’s doing things that nourish my spirit. For my husband it’s being in his garden (yes, it’s more his than mine) or fishing. For my little girl it’s playing her saxophone and drawing. For my troubled teenager it’s looking after her rabbits and taking photos. For my beloved son, now miles away at university, it’s exploring his new world and challenging his considerable intellect in a variety of novel pursuits.

Interestingly, and somewhat ironically given how I consider work at times, the realisation that I needed to nourish my spirit came through work. Until recently I had spent my teaching career in the government sector. Now I work in a Catholic College, where God is central to what we do. I find comfort in this. It helps me to see teaching as more than just a job, more than glorified baby-sitting. Here we are about nourishing and developing the whole person: academic, cultural, sporting, pastoral and spiritual.

A focus on the spiritual has shifted my emphasis in the classroom. I am more intent on students doing their best, giving everything they’ve got to a task, regardless of their ability level. I’m no longer interested in just having a go, some sort of second-rate attempt at life. I want them to be the best they can. I want them to read Shakespeare and understand why he is great. I want them to make connections with aspects of their world they would normally avoid. Yes, poetry can be magical and I’m often amazed by which kids in my classes connect with the imagery or ideas in Frost or Blake or Donne. I feel my obligation to show them what’s possible in the world, what they can do. I’ve shifted my emphasis from achievement, from the pursuit of the almighty “A” to enjoyment, to finding something that resonates with the students. Something they will take with them the rest of their life. Yes, I have embraced this idea of educating the whole person: it makes perfect sense to me.

So, now in my own life I am conscious of my own spiritual needs, to have the right balance in my day-to-day existence. I am aware of the importance of having time to myself. That I am allowed to sit and write in a space all of my own, that my family can cope without me for a few hours. It’s all right to read, to sew, go for a walk, have lunch with a girlfriend. It’s okay – I’m not being selfish or a bad mother because I don’t want to devote all my time to them, or keeping the house clean.

But I still want to spend time with my family. I loved going to the movies with my son. I miss that very much. I remember when my little girl was a baby and how happy I was being at home all day, just with her, while the others were at school. She always made me smile, made me serenely happy. She brought joy to my life and that joy remains. The best moments of life occur at the dinner table. Last Spring we had a power outage. Dinner was over, the youngest had gone for a bath and the rest of us sat and talked. We made up a new game: How much do you know about… each member of the family. What is my son’s favourite band? What does my daughter like most about school? What’s my favourite colour? What does Dad like to do best? It was one of those unexpected magical evenings with the people you love most.

And of course this is the bind for some of us. You wanted to have a family, but you wanted a career too, or in my case a creative life, that doesn’t quite work with family and financial obligations.  My personal struggle for years centred on the frustration of having willingly created a certain lifestyle with expectations and obligations that did not allow for a creative life. I was resentful and angry. I felt my life slipping away. My needs and desires sacrificed on the altar of family and financial imperatives. My life was unbalanced and I couldn’t see a way through the woods of obligation. Now I understand that it was my spirit that was depleted. That I had lost my connection with God and didn’t appreciate that looking after my own needs was essential to being a whole person, to connecting with the world in an honest and decent way.

I have made choices about my life and I know that much of what I have to do is because of things I wanted. But now I can allow myself to do the things I want to do as a matter of course in my life. In fact I am a better person for doing the things that I want as well as the things I have to do. Through nourishing my spirit I am calmer, less angry and better able to have the life I want and much nicer to be around. I have found Balance.

I am about to have this conversation with my daughter. I want her to understand this sooner than I did so she can have the life she yearns for and be a person at peace with herself. (Images from private collection)

Hope for Women online @ http://hopeforwomenmag.com/

Things That Make You Cry

July 14, 2012

Sometimes it’s good to cry, watch a weepy movie and sob your heart out, feel exactly as the movie makers want you to feel, all that emotion pouring out for characters, unreal people in unreal situations.

But sometimes it’s not so unreal and a good cry can be a release, can let you know your alive, and importantly, not alone. We all feel bad and sad sometimes and we need to be free to cry. We should not be afraid of our emotions, of our empathy or sympathy for other, or our own feelings of loss and helplessness. It is one of the markers of humanity. Remember we cry as much in happiness, and it’s good to remember that as well.

Here’s a small selection of things that can make you cry. I’m sure you have your own list.

Movies

Dead Poet’s Society – when Ethan Hawke stands on the desk at the end of the film as Robin Williams is leaving is one of THE emotional moments in movie making history.

 

Gladiator – sorry, but the end when Russell Crowe is dying and on his way to Elysium having beaten Joaquim Phoenix, with that music is a moment for high emotion and tears. If we’re in a Russell Crowe zone, then A Beautiful Mind is also a massive tear jerker. Russ did deserve his Oscar.

 

Looking for Alibrandi – an Australian film based on the book by Melina Marchetta – when uber-achieving private school boy John Barton kills himself and you see scenes of Sydney to U2’s With or Without You sung hauntingly by Hamish Cowan you have to cry. The sadness is simply too much.

 

Eight Below – a true story about a team of snow dogs left behind in the Antarctic during one of the worst storms in history. We see the dogs survival attempts and the owner’s desperation to get back to them. Some do get lost along the way, but the ending will see you sobbing your little heart out. Not sure whether it then is one for dog lovers, or one for dog lovers to avoid.

 

Books

Sophie’s Choice (and the film too). How can you fail to be moved by Sophie’s story – her struggle with sanity but mostly her inability to deal with her choice – which child to save, asked the Nazi soldier. She chose and they took both anyway. No wonder she killed herself in the end. What else could she do? Every mother knows the impossibility of Sophie’s choice, of the impossibility of going on after such an event.

 

The God Of Small Things – the cruelty of Baby Kochamma will outrage you as she lies and delights in the misfortune of Ammu and her twins Esther and Rahel. This is a book about death and love – death of a child- Sophie Mol, death of Velutha, the untouchable, who is beaten to death on the say-so of Baby Kochamma, acting out of spite and shame. The saddest part for me, other than Velutha’s death is when Ammu dies, alone and ill and so far away from her children.  Not to mention the damage done to Esther, who becomes silent and is sent away, while Rahel drifts into sorrow unable to find meaning in a world without Ammu and especially Esther. The ending is a triumph of love in the midst of overwhelming sadness. I love this book.

 

Songs

Where Do You Go To My Lovely? Peter Sarstedt’s haunting, beautiful melancholic song, that reminds me so much of the two men I love most in the world – my beloved and my boy – both of whom, interestingly, love this song. So, I hear it and I think of them and how much I love them both.

 

Guitar Man – Bread. A song of many years ago – there are no connected memories but the haunting sadness of the story of the song and the melody is enough to make me teary when I’m feeling sad.

 

I’ll Stand By You – Pretenders. This is my song for Grace. It was on the radio at the time and it spoke of love, of endurance, of trying to be there. It always makes me cry.

With or Without You – U2 – actually they have a few heart-touching songs, sort of raw and insistent. You’ve been in love, you feel pain, you know what it’s all about. You listen to this song, think of your own life, know the truth and weep.

Love Turns to Lies – Chris Rea – ‘you were going to leave me anyway’. When love falls away, runs out of speed, dies slowly. Not the song to listen to when you’re in the midst of falling out, or uncertain about love. But Chris Rea is good at heart-rending songs – I’d listen to all of Shamrock Diaries again – you’ll feel nostalgic, old, a bit sad about how life was and now is and there will be a tear, a small streak of salt water down your cheek.

 

Events

Going home brings out the tears – flying into your home city after a prolonged absence is a time for tears. Look out the window onto your patch of earth and you’ll feel the emotion build.

Weddings and funerals – they just do! All those people, all that feeling, all that intensity. What choice do you have?

Becoming a parent – it is one of the most spectacular events of your life – look upon the creature you have created, feel the love, hold it close – you’ll cry, for love, for the joy of this profound moment. You’ll cry in years to come too, hopefully mostly in joy.

So, the list is endless. Create your own – what makes you cry in sadness, in joy? (Images courtesy Google Images)

The Joy of Aloneness

July 8, 2012

Once upon a time I lived a solitary life, upon a hill in an orange house overlooking a pretty city with a wide blue river. Mostly I liked it. I could do as I pleased (white cats’ fur everywhere annoying the be-jesus out of my weekly visiting father) and if loneliness became too much I zoomed down the hill in my car to find friends and things to do.

That was many years ago and there have been many adventures since those fine days. Now I live a life full of people and things and doing and dogs. I have done so for nigh on 27 years and mostly it’s just fine too. Tis much harder in this version of life to find quiet and space but in the absence of grown children, long since left the nest, and the recent departure to France of beloved, baby girl and woof in the wake of GCSE’s I am alone.

I am quite happy and fine in my aloneness – it is a state that I find pleasurable and am doing my best to make the most of. In fact, aloneness in this case is only partial as the joys of work endure and the eldest girl-child has returned to ease her battered heart. Still, mostly I am alone.

 

Let me count the ways that aloneness can bring joy

You can

Clean the house in your PJs or knickers

Lick the bowl without glares and glowers of disapproval

Stay in bed all day

Eat smelly food in bed

Eat the same meal every day

Have champagne for breakfast every weekend

Have a bath at 2pm, at any time, for as long as you like

Play your music loud

Play the same track ad–nauseam – hello Echo Beach

Buy what you want at Tescos

Spend the whole day on the iMac without being disturbed

Write your heart out

Study in peace

Not wash up

Not get dressed all day

Not go out of the house all day

Not have to speak to anyone

Watch every episode of Doc Martin one after the other

 

Aloneness is not frightening: it is not being lonely. It is a place of peace and selfishness for a while. It allows you some space to breath, to be, to consider the joys and wonder of companionship. Aloneness gives you space to miss the things that matter in your life and appreciate them when you are rejoined to your normal life.

Enjoy your inner Polar Bear. (Images courtesy Google Images)

Feel the Fear – and do it, anyway

July 1, 2012

If we don’t take risks we don’t grow, we don’t change, we live small little safe lives worth very little.

Fear is real and very present for some in this ghastly world, but for most of us it’s a personal thing, fear of failing, fear of being laughed at, fear of being stupid, or thought stupid: fear of ridicule.

Personal fears come from the dark dingy recesses of your mind where it’s almost possible to lock them away but not to banish them as they should be, freeing you to live your life on your own terms. Fears should be faced, confronted and sent away.

Fear of the unknown, of what might happen next stops us dead. But we can’t know what is ahead of us. We can’t be safe.

 

Try these fear busters out

The blank page – for writers and artists – nothing is scarier, a naked page, empty of words or images. It taunts you, teases you, mocks you. You want to create, but fear of starting, fear of imperfection strangles you. So just pick up the pen. I urge you to confront the page not the screen, to feel the pen in your hand, let it find the page, allow the words to travel to the page. It doesn’t matter in what order or if it makes any sense. You are writing, you are putting words on the page, it may be wonderful, it may be terrible. It doesn’t matter – you have started. You are writing.

And so the artist must pick up her pencil or brush and let the blank canvas fill with images, colours, shades, shapes. Does it make sense, does it matter? No, you are expressing yourself, making a start, getting ready to make something special.

Confront the lump of clay; the ball of wool; the material and pattern, thread the sewing machine. Be in the space to create, don’t let fear drive you out of the room. If you want to write, write. If you want to make dresses then start. Don’t be put off by the image of the end product. Don’t start to write a novel before you can write a paragraph. Don’t make an over-coat until you can make a pair of simple pyjamas.

 

Get behind the wheel of the car – take lessons, practise, get your driver’s licence. Take flying lessons, singing lessons – don’t sit beneath a fug of I cant; they’ll laugh at me, If only

 

 

As in art we are in life and we must confront our fears. We must leave the destructive relationship, the toxic job. We must find the best path for us, leave behind security, certainty and take risks to be the better person, to do the things we want. To live a life we are proud of, one that is full, that isn’t perfect, that is often ugly and foolish and sad and stupid.

 

 

It is the truth of small steps. Fear comes from dark places, from needing answers and assurances that aren’t there. Aren’t possible to give or find.

The way to a life we want is to feel the fear, embrace it and then take our first small step in the right direction for us. Touch the page with the pen, the canvas with the brush, the wool with the needle. Leave the relationship that has stalled, is smothering you (or worse). Being on your own can be frightening, it can also be wonderful.

 

 

You have no choice: feel fear and do it anyway. Feel the power, the freedom and exhilaration that come from taking risks, from facing your fears. It will make you a better person – someone you might like living with a lot better. (Images courtesy Google Images.)