I don’t know about you, but I find the Great British winter a dismal time. We’ve reached that time of the year as we approach the shortest day when it is dark until after 7am, dark again at 4pm, some days it hardly gets light at all here on the fens. If it wasn’t for my Lumie Alarm clock I’m not sure I’d get out of bed at all.
I start to get the winter blues some time after Bonfire Night on 5th November and they last pretty much through until I see my first daffodil, sometime in March (if the seasons are behaving).
For the time of year it has been deceptively mild – warm even by November standards. But it’s not the temperature that gets me, readers, it’s the dark.
But December is a bit of respite because there are so many brightly coloured lights and decorations, bizarrely flavoured coffee in Starbucks, presents to buy (and receive) and a big tree in my living room waiting to be decorated. Himself and I are home alone (avec kitties) as all other family members are away and quite frankly, after the year I’ve had, I cannot wait for some peace, quiet, delicious food and alone time with the beloved.
1. Write and post the Christmas cards by 10th December
2. Work the Mill Road Winter Fair – I’ll be opening the clinic for free massage tasters and wearing tinsel in my hair. What more do you want?
3. Make the mincemeat by 5th December
4. Get the Christmas cards/gift vouchers for clients written and posted by 16th December (which is also the date of the annual Christmas trip to see the best band in the world).
5. Make stollen and gingerbread by 20th December (there will be updates on this as this year I try to make them wheat free).
6. Master the art of the Yule Log for New Year.
(A lot of food related stuff there eh? But it is Christmas! All the recipe links take you to last year’s Vegan Christmas Recipes – see the whole set here)
November in Review
1. Finish reading Stephen King’s “On Writing” – DONE you can read my review here
2. Clean out the pantry – I just did this. I couldn’t announce to the world I’d failed on this front again. These lists do make me accountable!
3. Order the Christmas cards and start finding out what people want for Christmas (always a long and difficult process) – DONE
4. Write at least the first 2 days of the aforementioned Foundation Course – DONE (in fact the whole thing is written, it just needs a bit(lot) of tidying up)
5. Start Playing Little Big Planet again (played this for the first time in 2 years the other night and forgot how much fun it was. I need more fun in my life – everything is always work, work, work!) – NOT DONE – work has been super busy! Which is a good thing of course but, oh my I am looking forward to those two weeks off!
Well October has mainly been full of being away from home on training weekends and busy days in the clinic. But it’s all good right? I got back from Durham late last night after 9 hours of driving, 20 hours of training, approximately 5 minutes of sleep, 1 disgusting mushroom risotto, 2 large glasses of wine (much deserved even for a very-rare-drinker) and one mark of “outstanding”. Which basically all means that once I have written the course, submitted it and had it approved I will be licensed to run BWY Foundation Yoga Courses! Wow, little ol’ me? Who’d have thunk it?
1. Finish reading Stephen King’s “On Writing”
2. Clean out the pantry.
3. Order the Christmas cards and start finding out what people want for Christmas (always a long and difficult process).
4. Write at least the first 2 days of the aforementioned Foundation Course.
5. Start Playing Little Big Planet again (played this for the first time in 2 years the other night and forgot how much fun it was. I need more fun in my life – everything is always work, work, work!)
October in review
1. Trip to the seaside in the new car. NOT DONE – we never made it to the seaside but the car has been a wonderful wonderful investment. So pleased we did it. I do intend to write more on that whole tricksy car-ownership/living green conudrum soon.
2. As I’m on a roll, another two novels. DONE – Love Always by Harriet Evans (looks like chick-lit from the cover, reads like the best kind of mystery against a scandalous political backdrop with a big dose of the horrors of small business ownership thrown in) and The White Road by Lyn Flewelling (the latest in the Nightrunner series – a guilty pleasure!).
3. Pilates homework done in plenty of time for the next module in two weeks (ie, not leaving it until the night before as usual). DONE
4. Plant bulbs. DONE
5. Clean out the pantry. NOT DONE, let’s try that one again!
6. Write the second half term’s worth of class plans for Autumn Yoga Course. DONE
7. Keep breathing through all the upheaval of the next month. DONE to the best of my ability. Less panic attacks than predicted!
What does November hold in store for you?
This is my 600th post. Which seems auspicious seeing how much I have to say. Yes, readers this will be a long one. Make yourselves a cup of tea or a gin + tonic, pull up a pew and join me!
September – I have written before about how September feels like both an ending and a beginning. The beginning of the end of the year. Full of promise. Of letting go. Of new things. The British academic system is so ingrained in me that September feels more like new year than January.
And yet, as I write this, the sun is shining, the sky is the clearest blue and the temperature is warmer than it’s been all summer. The sunflowers that I was so sure were never going to be anything but green stalks have suddenly come into bloom and the garden is full of butterflies and bees and cats lying in sunpuddles.
Indian summers feel strange to me. Like a twilight zone. The leaves are falling from the trees, it’s dark by 6.45pm but at midday it feels like July. We wait in limbo for those changes.
A good time for me to reflect on what a truly monumental year it has been. Monumental seems the right word as it has been as full of challenges and things that make me cry, as it has been with joys and successes.
Full Disclosure: I want to tell you some of the not so brilliant things that have happened. I have started to develop quite strong feelings against the whole “only blog the positive things” movement. I feel we all need to either be a bit more honest, or not blog really. There is this huge pressure to be happy and positive and joyful all the time. And the truth is nobody is. Nor should anybody feel they need to be. Sadness, negativity, unhappiness are all important and inevitable parts of life. Without darkness there can never be light. Our aim, if there is one at all, is merely to find balance in all things.
So amongst the greatness of opening my clinic, of going to Australia, of announcing our first yoga holiday (are you coming?)*, of starting Pilates Teacher Training, of getting a new car (isn’t she dinky and pretty?) and (and this is the big one) finding out I have been accepted on the first part of the training to teach yoga teachers (yes readers, all being well, this time next year will see the start of the first Suburban Yogini Foundation Training), comes a plethora of ungreatness.
I have suffered most of my life with anxiety (GAD), something I thought I’d knocked on the head during some long sessions of counselling and hypnotherapy in 2008. Well this year it came back. I came clean about that last week in this post along with some ways of dealing with it, but I have had to seek more counselling and accept that I am and always will be a work in progress.
My health has been pretty terrible. My ME has been playing up and I have had tonsillitis 3 times and a pretty much constant sore throat since March – oh and mammoth headaches. I mean mammoth. The last one was 10 days. I am seeking all the appropriate help for all of these things but evenstill, bad health means days off. When you’re self-employed there is no sick pay. Couple that with there being no holiday pay through April when I was in Australia and BOOM there’s another reason for anxiety. And so it goes….
I wouldn’t change my life now for the world (although there are days every now and then when I do daydream about that monthly paycheque). I just want you to know that it’s not all roses. And it never will be. Even in a best case scenario there will always be dinner to cook and toilets to clean and difficult conversations to be had and days when you just don’t want to go to work, no matter how much you love it!
But let’s finish on a high: OMG!!!! Pilates training!! My own business!!! Tutor training!!!! New car means no more cycling with towels strapped to my bike (thanks to Himself, the regular paycheque guy of the house for this)!!!! Yoga Holiday!!!!! *collapses in overwhelm*
Thank you universe for the good the bad and the ugly **
1. Trip to the seaside in the new car.
2. As I’m on a roll, another two novels.
3. Pilates homework done in plenty of time for the next module in two weeks (ie, not leaving it until the night before as usual).
4. Plant bulbs.
5. Clean out the pantry.
6. Write the second half term’s worth of class plans for Autumn Yoga Course.
7. Keep breathing through all the upheaval of the next month.
September in Review
1. Book a gardener to do all the hard work (digging etc) to get the garden ready for winter. DONE although considering this Indian summer it may have been a tad early.
2. Keep credit card clear. DONE although I am about to pay for the next part of Pilates Training and the Yoga Tutor Training so not holding out much hope as to whether it will stay clear!
3. Read two more novels (this is more of a challenge than you’d think seeing as Pilates teacher training starts this month!) DONE Winter Ghosts – Kate Mosse and Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin (seriously one of the most overrated books ever, full of unlikeable characters) and I also read Sophie Nicholl’s novella The Ruby Slippers (my first Kindle purchase – no I have no Kindle yet – I downloaded it onto the PC)
4. Try to find a venue for a yoga/pilates retreat in May 2012 (would you or anyone you know be interested in going on the mailing list for a 3-day retreat? It will be in the UK. If you would, let me know. Also if you have any ideas for venues let me know.) DONE DONE come on the holiday! Only 9 places left!!!
5. Write the lesson plan outlines for my Sunday Autumn yoga course. DONE up to half term
* I have had a few queries about payment by installment for the holiday. I’m pleased to announce that I have set up an easy system and if you sign up in November you will get the early bird booking price too! Email me (rachel (at) massage-movement (dot) co (dot) uk for more!)
** Due to the overwhelm and the verbosity of this post, there is no friday five this week. Normal service will resume next week!