Eating out in Skye 8000 years ago.

Found this exciting! I spent a thrilling adventure there in a howling gale, came out alive and made one of my accordion folded books featuring Skye and its magical environment. It inspired me to write the poem in it too! http://etsy.me/1nVM9L8

Archaeology Orkney

NUTS found during an archaeological dig in Skye were from the hunter gatherer period more than 8,000 years ago, tests have confirmed.

The hazelnut shells were discovered during the five-day excavation by Staffin Bay in September 2015 when University of the Highlands and Islands archaeologists investigated a suspected Mesolithic structure, in collaboration with the Staffin Community Trust (SCT).

Radiocarbon dates have now confirmed the excavated lithics date to the Mesolithic period, towards the latter half of the 7th millennium BC.

Two fragments of charred hazelnut shell both returned dates of circa 6800-6600 BC (calibrated). The hazelnuts were recovered from soil samples from the lower part of the sequence at the site, suggesting human activity may have occurred over a long period of time.

The north Skye archaeological excavation has yielded a fragment of worked bone, and several thousand flints which could provide a fuller picture of Staffin’s hunter-gatherer period…

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Savour

savour

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My capture of a wonderful morning sky earlier last month.

Oh,and a reminder to attend.

 Against Entropy

The worm drives helically through the wood
And does not know the dust left in the bore
Once made the table integral and good;
And suddenly the crystal hits the floor.
Electrons find their paths in subtle ways,
A massless eddy in a trail of smoke;
The names of lovers, light of other days
Perhaps you will not miss them. That’s the joke.
The universe winds down. That’s how it’s made.
But memory is everything to lose;
Although some of the colors have to fade,
Do not believe you’ll get the chance to choose.
Regret, by definition, comes too late;
Say what you mean. Bear witness. Iterate.

— John M Ford

 

Renounce and Enjoy – oh, and read alot.

lifeI love that. Renounce and Enjoy. Three words that make a mantra. Yesterday I was listening to a great podcast by a blogger I follow, Jacke Wilson (History of Literature – Upanishads II)

I was soothed by his voice, and interested by his content because;

a) I love literature and it was titled ‘ History of Literature’ – no brainer then.

c) I have been fascinated by the history of spiritual development ( wanting to have some myself, being a Godless creature. I may need to realign that – I don’t think I am Godless, but unwilling to belong to the nomenclature ‘God’ as it  carries so many connotations.

I really enjoyed sharing his curiosity- it mirrors my own- what is there? who am I? and I have been discovering slowly over the past few years that I am drawn to the understanding about the connectivity of everything to everything else.  I have moments that beam into my day where I feel this truth. There’s no reason for it, no rational explanation that I can expound, no theology that I can share, just that momentarily I FEEL it.

This week has been extraordinary for one reason – Death is in it.  It is playing as a soundtrack in my head and I have no idea why – this is how it started.  I was driving across the country as is our usual custom on a Sunday, preparing for the work week in a different county to our home.  I spend this time either talking to my husband, listening to the radio, or in quiet contemplation.  On Sunday I talked.  I talk to him and he listens. It is a way of thinking for me. I had been considering a T.V drama I had  watched wherein a potential terrorist was going to blow him and his partner to smithereens in a public place to maximise the devastation. In the drama it shows the young man with his wife, explaining how they would be together after death, and used the metaphor of it being like moving from one room to another. Bear with me – I do not advocate terrorism (au contraire) but this is important.  Watching the drama play out brought something positive to me.  The metaphor was one that I could feel.  I have no strong belief about afterlife – my gut feeling is the body dies and we are gone. But my whole life  I have understood something other than this rationalisation. I was 11 when I encountered a death that was meaningful – my uncle, much beloved.  He has remained alive in me all my life, he has influenced my thoughts and my behaviours, he has helped me to be more the person I want to be than I would otherwise have been.  Is this life after death then? My husband and I have always been disturbed by the possibility of either of us dying- we don’t want to be left alone.  This is what this drama brought out in me. We will never be alone.  If I die first I know my loving presence will be felt every day by him, his presence will be felt by me if he dies.  It occurred to me in that discussion that possibly those who have died may feel  the vibration (forgive the word) of the love that continues in the living. Who knows?  Maybe Shakespeare knows I love him. Perhaps not personally, but maybe he feels the weight of love. How heavy is love anyway? Perhaps it should be better described as the lightness of love – for isn’t that what love does? Illumines and sheds burden?

Later that morning the radio played a marvellous monologue by a Bishop about Death – and learning to live well  with the knowledge of its inevitabality -“Courage is not being unafraid. It is to be very afraid, yet to overcome our fear and refuse to flinch. It is the best lesson life teaches us.”

Three Score Years and Ten

Jacke Wilson explains that Gandhi said if all the Upanishad and Hindu scriptures were to disappear but the first verse of the Upanishads were to remain, Hinduism would still exist. On being asked to make a summary of Hinduism , Gandhi chose three words  ‘ Renounce and Enjoy’.

And what Jacke does on the podcast is to bring his humanity to his attempt to understand what he’s doing on earth – he speaks directly to me, tells me it’s o.k to be human in the face of spiritual challenges. Like me he wants much of the world but not all of it, he wants some of religion, but not all of it, he wants more from the world, and more from religion than is available.

I fall down all the time at trying to be the person I want to be – but I keep trying , and I don’t even know what direction I am travelling in, I have no ultimate destination in mind even, I just know there is more to me than the me I have found to date. And like Jacke, its literature that led me to that well of sustenance.

And literature generally leads back to people, so really it’s other people that have illumined parts of my psyche that would otherwise remain in the dark – dead people too – Shakespeare, Montaigne (via Sarah Bakewell- thank you!), T. S. Eliot, Rumi, Iris Murdoch, William Golding, Herman Hesse.

 

Many thanks go to Jacke Wilson for bothering to do all thinking, the reading and the recording for the podcasts.  They are on my list of what to listen to – I recommend them heartily. Here’s the link to the first part of the one on the Upanishads HIstory of Literature, Upanishads Part 1

Renewal

How has January started 2016 off for you then?  For myself, I am trying to spend some time collecting my thoughts, and uderstanding where I want to go during the next few months.  My weakness is planning – I very rarely do any – and consequently I am reactive as opposed to proactive.  Do I need to make myself more proactive by thrusting myself harder and deeper into the business platforms I sell on?  Or do I accept that the level of sales I make is adequate, and concentrate on the doing and creating, which is where I am happiest.  I think I just answered myself.  Sales are such a buzz – such an affirmation when they occur that the impulse to drive more sales is very strong.  The downside is that the business side of what I do is not where my heart lies.  I struggle to understand what is necessary on the different sites  to get seen, to get recognition.  I struggle to use social media – it feels too intrusive and I don’t have a smart phone so lack the benefits on Instagram.

I think I need to follow my heart – the promotion side will always come second to the process of making – although I am learning too that the process needs down time. It has taken me my whole life to understand some of the prerequisites to my contentment – and I keep learning- but walking in the cold air this morning was a boost to my morale. The air so still, the sky so generous – I was feeling renewal in the air. And it felt great.

I had started a renewal process in my ETsy store yesterday, painstakingly updating my photographs to show off my designs better.  I chose a neutral background which hopefully complements most colours and styles, then got to work on each card, each book.  If I get feedback to confirm it improves appearance, then I will continue with pages 2 – 9 in the shop!  It is such a tedious process, and I am so poor at applying myself, that I need the confirmation from my Etsy co workers, and from my staunch supporters to let me know I am doing the right thing!  Any advice gratefully received – can’t promise I will take it, but I can promise I will listen appreciatively.

Here some examples of the new background and a screen shot of the first page – any coments?anemonegottex34567treeshop2

What do idyllic beaches and facial scrubs have in common? | 1 Million Women

You are probably washing your face or brushing your teeth with plastic microbeads. And it’s poisoning the ocean. So how can we identify microplastics, and why is it so important to #banthebead?

Source: What do idyllic beaches and facial scrubs have in common? | 1 Million Women

The Daily Conundrum

I have woken up this morning in a conundrum.  I don’t know what to do.  This is not a new feeling for me – but it is uncomfortable.  There is much I COULD do, mainly of the domestic nature – that never goes away. There is some of what I  MUST do – the arrangements for food, the dog walk, the reading of son’s draft for his dissertation ( though why he wants me to is questionable as I understand so little in it).  At the end of all that remains the burning question what do I WANT to do.

I spend alot of my creative time playing at illustration,  a little of my time actually making, and too much of my time trying to promote myself via the new technologies – and all without a great deal of success since my social media savvy is minute.  I have decided to try and be brave and do what I want to do more – which is create, and less time at the  techy end. That doesn’t sound that brave does it?

The more time is sucked up by t’Internet, the less time there is to do what nurtures me.  I realise this is slightly paradoxical as I am here, typing my resolution to stop trying so hard.

This is the plan then,

Coffee, Muesli, planning strategy to limit time spent on promotion. This may involve some research , so that will demand more time. See what I mean?  I need to reach a decision whether to commit to a new start with Folksy which is a U.K based online crafts seller.  I have been there in the past without much successs, but I like the look of it much more now, and Etsy has changed considerably since it opened up to the stock market.

Already then my first plan is unravelling, as the decisions I need to make suck up the time I wanted to reinvest in making.

And I havn’t even touched on whether I should consider my own website. A step too far methinks.

I have to go now. I have to start something. Now.

Here’s something I made earlier. If you want to investigate more of what I am up to in the handmade arena of my little life, then leap over to my Etsy store here,www.etsy.com/uk/shop/modestly  where I have some books and cards ready for your delictation.  I generally make to order, so the ones displayed are examples of the finished article.  The covers vary , as I like to make each order individual. If you go over to my facebook page, you can see photos there of completed books.

My illustration work is sold via a variety of sites, and is fairly eclectic in style.  I tend not to box myself in. The downside of this approach is that I don’t fit anywhere.  Sounds somewhat familiar, and it is this that I need to resolve.  Does it matter that I don’t fit? What am I trying to achieve?   I will never be ‘successful’ in any way that means anything to the outside world. I love the affirmation that selling something gives me – it is a reward that someone values something enough to pay for it. But it isn’t WHY I do what I do. I do it to stay sane in a mad, mad world.

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