The Life of Brian

27 07 2012

Six weeks in and our first tragedy.

A gentle tap on the front door early on Wednesday morning the 25th July by the land owner didn’t  prepare me for what was to come. A cat with white paws and a white tummy had been knocked over and killed, was one of ours missing?

Well neither of them were missing up to that point, Brian, the one who fitted that description perfectly had made his exit as per his usual routine late the night before and he was due home at any minute.

Denial is a brilliant thing and allowed me to be full of bravado and nonchalance as I walked down to the front gates to investigate. At that point denial was replaced with reality and bravado and nonchalance were replaced with gut wrenching sadness, tears and upset as  beautiful Brian lay sleeping but lifeless by the front gates.

This was tough, really tough. Brian was Kirts cat and we had him only because Kirt was unable to take him when he moved out. Of course we saw him as our own and he had become so at home in Gladys and really embraced our new way of living. His funny little ways, his hiding places, his fat tummy which was certainly on the wain, laying stretched out out on the windowsill, his Brian-ness was just lovely. And he was really loving life with us in Gladys out in the open.

Poor Kirt, I had to wait all day to let him know because he had a big meeting in the morning and I didn’t want to spoil it for him. I also had to stay ‘up’ as I had clients to see and Alistair taught me many years ago you have to learn when to stay ‘up’ to do what needs to be done and when you can let go. So I wailed before work, asked the shamanic animal world to allow Brians spirit to become part of the great lower world where he may become an animal guide or power animal, got through the day and then wailed again as I broke the sad news to Kirt and Pippin and Hannah.

The loss of Brian has had an unusual effect on me. Candace always says Im weird about death. And I am. I have a set of beliefs that serve me and have served me really well and, over the last few years especially, through the sudden loss of a couple of very dear friends my beliefs and values in my shamanic practice have held me steady. But little Brian, this one has sent me reeling even though I still hold firm in my beliefs. Time really is what is needed, time to adjust, time to miss him and time to stop waiting to hear him clatter up the fly screen door and in through the hole where the door handle goes.

In shamanism, according to the sacred direction of Grandmother Moon energy of the West, death is to be honoured, highly. Because in honouring death you can fully honour life. That works well for me and reminds me to honour All life, quite simple really.

So I will celebrate in my memories the Life of Brian, as Kirt said, ” Mum, think about all the joy that Brian brought to us all and even though its really painful if we hadn’t of had him we would all have missed out on the joy that he gave”. Kirt, I couldn’t have said it any better myself.






So true Bob; The times they are a changing

2 07 2012

As I woke this morning I had on my mind the changing patterns in our lives, not just for the two of us, but in general.

The shape of mine and Alistair’s of course has changed since the curve ball in December, but in reality that really only sped up the inevitable changes that would have happened anyway. Or to put it another way, it forced our hand to realise our dreams (I know it was supposed to be a barge, but hey ho the essence of the dream is there and Gladys has come in a worthy runner up, in fact maybe  she’s not a runner up at all).

Its not the living in a small space out in the open that was tugging at us. It was and is the desire to be free. To be free of the shackles of so much need, so much materialism, so much unnecessary stuff. To be free from the capitalist monster that we had become slaves to. To be free from the trappings of greed and the idea of having to have that permeated our life even though we did our best to rally against it.

For me, this has been a long time coming.

My first marriage was the epitome of materialism. And please, don’t get me wrong, for a long time I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was as into the designer labels as the next wealthy wife and, in the absence of hindsight, didn’t understand that it was the  gold card that eased the pain of  some lonely times. And for my ex husband, like many, he believed that in providing a lovely home, holidays and a fabulous standard of living for us, he had fulfilled his responsibility to us and this was also the way he showed his love.

But change was and is inevitable.

Inner growth happened, my consciousness rose, I begun to challenge my beliefs and I chose to move forwards in to the great unknown. Otherwise, for sure I would have stagnated and become very stuck, very unhappy and more reliant on things outside of myself to create the illusion of happiness   (I was already halfway there with spending and drinking).

Slowly over time the seeds of change have been sown and harvested throughout the growing of mine and Alistair’s relationship too. And these changes have lead us finally to the way we live our life today.

I can count on one hand the number of times we have been to a shopping mall over the last 12 years, I think its three. We stopped shopping in supermarkets some years ago, although I have to confess with the curve ball and organic food being essential I have had to venture into Waitrose from time to time and Planet Organic. We have both made a concerted effort to support small independent businesses over the mass markets wherever we can (perhaps also in recognition of our dismal failures as shop keepers a few years ago when our little hippy shop ‘Merlins’ in Brentwood failed so specatularly). And for myself, to the amazement of those who knew me well previously in my former life, I have delighted in shopping in Oxfam and any other charity/ secondhand or vintage shop wherever and whenever I can.

We recycle and up cycle wherever we can and living an alternative lifestyle has also forced us to be much more ecological about  our use of water, electricity and gas and our non use of supermarkets and plastic containers wherever possible has not only cut down on our exposure to the hormone disrupter BPA but on packaging and waste too.

So as I look back both through my own memory bank and my old photo albums I can see clearly that the metaphorical clothes we wore 12 years ago just don’t fit us anymore and how we are today does fit, really well.

Thankfully, we have embraced our journey of change together albeit at slightly differing times from each other. Inevitably and sadly as the tapestry of our life has changed,  friendships and social patterns have also changed. Memories of old times will always be held dearly  but letting go of what was and embracing what is has allowed the flow of  the energy of change to guide us to how we ‘be’ today. A couple of modern day hippies, doing what we can to help ourselves, to help Mother Earth and to live life for as long as we have a healthy and happy life with our children and children’s children and a little bit of travel thrown in for good measure.

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