Day 21 - Sunday
It absolutely poured down last night from around 5pm onwards. I had two sets of visitors to the bothy. Firstly, around 6pm while I was waiting hopefully for a break in the rain to light my fire, two guys came up to the front of the bothy, peered in, saw me and turned away. I felt sorry for them as it was really pelting down, but then skin is waterproof and it does rain in England!
I was asleep so it was at least gone 9pm and just about dark, when I was woken by someone trying to bash the door down. That woke me up, but before I could shout out anything, they (I think it was two people) wandered around the corner and stood in the outside loo! After about 5 minutes of mumbling, they left just as the rain got even harder! I think it is to do with the fact that the sign on both tracks to the bothy, does not say 'private', and hardened walkers might actually think that it was a bothy for general public use to get out of the inclement weather. Anyway, it took me a while after to get back to sleep afterwards.
I woke up at 6am to see it had stopped raining, although there are still big clouds in the sky, but at least the sun was tentatively shining. Fingers crossed for an outside fire tonight. I set off for my 'hide' around 1130am to await Buffy's arrival. It was beautiful sitting under the beech tree where my 'lean to' was, just listening to the ocean in the distance and the plethora of birds with their songs in the trees above me. One thing that is bothering me somewhat, is that I have not seen or heard of 'no tail' the pheasant for about 3 days now? I hope he is alright.
Whilst I waited for Buffy under those trees with the gentle background sounds on the air, I drifted off into a sort of semi sleep. I was awake, but not, if you know what I mean. It was all a little surreal but it allowed me some insight into breathing, feeling how it was so different on each inhale and exhale. It's part of my meditation process now to just be aware of this simple, yet life continuing process that we all do instinctively.
Buffy duly arrived and made 2 trips from where the van was parked. One was to drop off food, and the other to bring my sea fishing kit. How thoughtful was that? With any luck I will try out fishing from the rocks once the weather has improved. More fantastic food stuffs to get stuck into. There's no chance of me losing weight this time, unlike Dartmoor where I really did. She also brought her beautiful elemental chimes which really do add to the 'magic' of the place. I have started toning (allowing sound to come forth) these add to the mysterious sounds I am creating!
Day 22 - Monday
Yet more rain! I would really like to cook outside for a change, but there is no chance of that with continuing rain. One of the interesting facets of having no internet coverage here, is that I have no idea what the weather will do, other than guess by looking at the sky and checking wind direction and speed. Generally speaking, with no real wind but weather systems coming from the prevailing west, it tends to rain a lot. This is because the weather is all coming out of the Atlantic. When the wind veers around to the north it gets colder but tends not to rain as much.
Coming back to breathing, I think there is a lot more that I can do with this practice, prior or as part of, meditation.
First of all we can bring our attention and awareness of what is happening to us right now - thoughts, emotions and body sensations. There is no need to deeply analyse these at all, just to recognise and accept these sensations, even the difficult ones.
At this point, I bring my attention to the breath and bring my full focus to it, experiencing every in and out breath. Interestingly enough, no one breath is the same as the other - some are shorter or longer than others. Maybe only when we are asleep do we get closer to a steady rhythm rather than in our waking hours when the breath is different a lot of the time.
The breath helps me focus my awareness, but also takes me away from internal mind 'clutter' and very much into the 'now'. It is then possible to expand this awareness to the whole of my body, like the whole of my body is breathing, not just the nose, mouth, windpipe and lungs. I can now gain a sense of the space that my body takes up, as well as the immediate space around me.
Noticing that 'space' and the calmness that comes with the sensation allows me to be calm, and almost, but not quite yet, remove the ego chattering away. I reckon this is something that needs a lot of practising, but it is something I am working with.
Still no fire tonight but a delicious cold meal of salad with cheese and artichoke hearts! Thank you Buffy!
Day 23 - Tuesday
Rain. For the first time when I woke up I had a real sense of sadness not being at home with the family. I have had the odd moment whilst here, at wanting to be at home, but this morning the feeling was strong enough to make me cry.
I had to recognise the sadness, accept it, but then focus on why I was here. To know myself more, to grow as a person, but also to come to terms with past 'issues' and break the mould of unsavoury habits. I want to be a calmer and nicer person to be around - all of the time. I believe, I am getting there, so wiping away the tears and giving myself a hug, whilst sending ethereal love to my family and friends was what I needed to do.
I got the wetproofs on mid morning and walked the coastal path to Clovelly. It took around 3 hours to get there, but with the rain that meant no encounters with other walkers, which was fantastic. The sea is remarkably calm with gentle waves caressing the shoreline. Even with the grey clouds and poor visibility, the beauty of my surroundings are there to be seen.
This is something I do a lot of now walking slowly and really taking in the environment around me. It's beautiful to notice the small things and how perfect they are - tiny snails climbing baby fern shoots with beautifully formed spiral shells with the rain glistening on their bodies. The endless drifting flight of a seabird over the water, making tiny changes to the wings to bring about effortless change in direction. Many things that we take for granted, yet are all around us if we chose to look.
I remember some years ago whilst on an NLP course, we were invited to walk outside and really take in our surroundings. That moment was a real 'ah ha' moment for me as I slowed my walking pace right now to observe a countryside lane with its myriad of flowers, insects and birds.
So, next time you go for a walk, try being slower and look with focus on the world around you. Take your time, it will be worth it.
One piece of good news is that 'no tail' is back! I was absolutely soaked by the time I returned to the bothy. Should be very interesting to see how shoes and clothes dry out in the bothy with no heat.
Day 24 - Wednesday
Predictably, I woke to the sound of rain...there is hardly a breath of wind, so it could be with me all day.
I nipped out to check my wood stocks to make sure they were still dry on the off chance I could light a fire at some stage. The fern leaves covering the wood are doing a fine job, keeping the bulk of it dry and usable.
There was a slight break in the rain around midday, so I walked down with a bin liner on as protection to my jumper with my gortex extrem jacket on the outside as that was still sodden from yesterday's walk to Clovelly. I managed to get a signal and sent my 'x' to Buffy before the rain came in again.
Back in the bothy, I had a quiet lie down in meditation exploring the dream I had last night involving Bella (my daughter Isabelle) and the hurt lady (see an outline of the dream below). I was not able to fathom much except it seemed that Bella was extremely thoughtful of that person and at the same time practical about what to do immediately. We so often ponder many different options without actually 'getting on with it' but it confirmed in my mind how resourceful Bella is in many situations.
For lunch, as it was still raining, I did a little experiment with food. I could smell the Camembert cheese (I have two cakes now) and felt I ought to start eating them before they attracted every mouse in the local environment! However, instead of just applying cheese to biscuits and eating straight off, I decided to really make a 'big deal' out of the meal. So, after opening the cake up, I just smelt it for about a minute, taking in all the olfactory senses and allowing that to linger a while in my head and body. Before cutting into the cake, I then blest the food and the cow that had supplied the milk to make the cheese, the farmer who milked the cow and the producer for turning that into the wonderful cheese in front of me. I did the same for the oatcake biscuits.
Now, and only now was I ready to taste the cheese. I cut a small piece off and placed it into my mouth - no eating yet. Now I just allowed my tongue to explore the textures, a bit of crust and underneath that a beautiful soft and creamy 'goo'. After allowing that sensation to build up, I noticed my salivation increasing - memory banks in the brain had sent signals to my mouth, my stomach and my mind as to what to expect.
Then I bit into the 'goo'. The sensation was incredible. It was like going back in time but fast forwarded cinema scope images of times of holidays in France, times at home, times when Camembert was put in front of me. What a wonderful gustatory extravaganza!
The bottom line is that I think if we slowed up our eating habits and really appreciated every mouthful slowly, instead of gulping it down, how much more we would appreciate the food in front of us. It was a memorable slice of time doing a simple thing and eating cheese!
The day just slipped away, and being dark and grey throughout, night seemed to come earlier than normal. My evening meal was a cup of tea and a crab salad with pitta bread. Very nourishing and wonderful to taste.
I was with Bella and we were somewhere hot, I have a sense it was on the Mediterranean coastline. We were looking down a valley and saw a tourist type bus dropping some folk off at a large villa. Just as one largish women was climbing off the back, the driver set off and she fell with real crash to the ground. I ran down the road to see if there was anything I could do. Apparently she had a broken leg, and without doubt a head injury as blood stained the side of the road. She looked grim. Really grim. Everyone around us were stunned, silent and in shock. No one had called for an ambulance, so Bella charged off back up the hill to 'our place' to phone for one. What seemed like only seconds she had returned and started to administer immediate first aid and holding this lady’s hand murmuring encouraging words. A crow flapped its wings on top of the bus and seemed very animated towards us by calling its rasp 'craw craw' sound. From nowhere came a helicopter which landed beside us and her the injured lady away. It was all so fast. We walked back up to our villa with the crow flying in between us the whole way. Odd...
Happy to be a regular blog contributor to a fantastic website in Alaska - check it out at: