The front of the Westport train goes to Galway

(Comfy throws at my Somatics class)

I was travelling on the 7.30am train from Dublin to Westport, last year. I had brought my crochet needle and wool, a magazine, bottle of filtered water, snacks, a pen and some paper. It’s a three and a half hour journey, I wanted to be prepared! Something you may not know about that Dublin to Westport train is that it goes to Galway too. Well, only the front bit of the train goes to Galway. It’s an efficiency thing, I think. The whole train goes as far as Athlone and then the front bit is unhooked and it goes onto Galway while the back bit goes to Westport. A bit worrisome the first time I travelled on it,  but once I realised which bit of the train I needed to be sitting in, it was fine.

(Rua the horse)

Anyway, this time I had spread my things out on the table and was settling into my crochet when the ticket collector came to check my ticket. He also checked the ticket of a male passenger (there was only two of us in the carriage) in a seat on the other side of the aisle from me. It seemed the man was going to Galway, but here he was sitting in the back bit of the train. The bit that was going to Westport! (Are you’re feeling my anxiety here?) Anyway, the ticket man explained that he needed to go to the front of the train and the man nodded. But… he didn’t move……

(Sally the angel and her stars)

The ticket man left to check the passenger’s tickets in the next carriage. I was doing my best to concentrate on my crochet and remain calm (why was I so worried?) when the man for Galway gets my attention by showing me his ticket and pointing to a station we are flying past.

I realise something….. he can’t talk.

I read his ticket, it said Galway (which I knew). I can talk so I assumed I could communicate. But I couldn’t. Not that I didn’t try. I did try…. (remember the problem with trying….?)

(Thierry’s cook books)

First, I spoke very clearly and concisely, saying, “No, you must move to the front of the train for Galway.” He nodded, and smiled, a lot, but he still didn’t move. So I had another idea, I wrote the same message on my notebook and handed it to him. He smiled and nodded again but still didn’t move. I began using hand gestures towards the front of the train. He had a lovely smile…. but he still didn’t move. My message was not being understood. I was starting to feel anxious again. There was still another hour until we arrived in Athlone, there was still time for him to get to the right part of the train. I had to come up with a plan. So I did. I decided I would take him by the arm and guide him to the front of the train just before we arrived in Athlone.

(Poker food….)

But I had a problem…. I had been up since 5am to get this train and I was now starting to feel drowsy. Usually I just doze off at some point but now I couldn’t possibly close my eyes in case I was asleep when we got to Athlone! While I’m contemplating this I look over and the man has fallen asleep! Now we are close to Athlone, I am a nervous wreck and I’ve ripped the crochet five times.

And then the ticket man returns.

(Poker chips)

He patiently wakes the man and tells him it’s time to move to the front of the train and communicates this somehow because the man gets up and follows him…. but not before giving me a big smile, a lovely smile.

And I thought….. there was nothing for me to worry about. I didn’t need to fix anything. All is well. It always was….

All is well, Mairead.

I (almost) like book-keeping!

(Garden chair in dry weather – not as nice as when it’s wet – isn’t rain great?)

Since coming back from holidays, things have been different. Well, nothing has changed, but …. something is different. Take the book-keeping (balancing bank accounts, paying tax etc.)…..

Ever since I started helping Denis with the book-keeping I’ve hated it. Really. Hated it. I think it’s mental….. as in I’m thinking fearful thoughts about it. It’s a physical thing too, because it feels like a heavy weight on my shoulders and another heavy weight in my stomach. Not much fun at all. As the date for sending something, anything, to the tax man draws nearer the weights get heavier. The thoughts get a bit heavier too.

(An old bench in the back garden)

This seems to have the same effect as trying (so they may be related) – everything takes much longer, more mistakes are made and it’s no fun… none… at all.

(The garden shed)

But then last year we found a lovely calm accountant (Hello Clodagh!) and I can ask her questions and she can fix my mistakes and she knows what she’s doing – always useful. So everything was great for a while. No more fear of the tax man. No more worries about mistakes. Someone knew what they were doing. Yet…. there was still something heavy in me.

I still hated the book-keeping.

(I love material, sigh…)

But since coming back, the book-keeping is different. Well…. no it’s not different but the way I think about it is different. In the first week back I heard myself say about it to Denis, “this is easy” (he was too surprised to react). By the second week, it had got a bit harder but something had shifted in me, because I wasn’t so heavy. And this week I find myself wanting to hate the book-keeping but not feeling it! While I still don’t like it, I no longer have the heavy weights and mostly my thoughts about it are hopeful and extraordinarily light.

(The garden gate)

I notice I have a pattern of acting and thinking in a particular way in relation to the book-keeping and I haven’t let that go….. yet. Funny thing is, I’m noticing this pattern in other areas too…… The thing we think of as a problem is only a waving flag. There are no problems only flags, waving at us to wake up!

Wake up, all is well, Mairead.

Just do it.

(Irish sky – we have the best clouds!)

We travelled for 4,500 kilometers in wind and rain and sun. We were coughed on and sneezed near, and we were never ill. But we’re home now and we have the ‘flu…..

(French sky)

So my thinking is not very clear today and that may lead to this post not being very clear but I have hope! It’s about trying. We use that word all the time but do we really know what we’re saying?

(More French sky)

Today I’m trying to write my blog. Trying involves a lot of effort. There’s a lot of gazing out at the cloudy blue sky. There’s a lot of thoughts about all the other things I should be doing at the same time. There’s a lot of re-writing and deleting. It’s very hard work. Very serious work. Do you realise what work is involved in this blog writing? Oh, its tough. It’s not much fun either and I doubt if it’s fun to read…..

(Spanish sky)

Usually, I don’t try to write my blog. Usually, I just write my blog. There’s no effort. I hardly look up. Once I start I couldn’t care less about what else needs to be done. I hardly change a thing (except spellings, I still manage to mis-spell!). It’s very easy. It’s not serious, it’s funny in my tummy! There’s no work involved. It’s not tough, it’s fun to do and maybe it’s even fun to read……

(Irish sky)

It’s so much easier when I don’t try…… and instead just do it…… Trying is no fun, I like fun.

Was that clear? Mairead.

PS I have set aside a large inbox area in my email for correspondence relating to recipes from you…. but so far there’s only one recipe in there (thank you Madge, we will be eating Chicken in White Wine and Mushroom Sauce tonight and thinking happy thoughts about you). I’m guessing you might be trying to get around to sending me one…. stop trying! I need your recipes, now. Thank you.

Don’t just say No – feel it!

(Spot the difference?)

I was at my friend Ashleigh’s ( workshop on Saturday. It was held in a beautiful setting in Co. Dublin. I really enjoyed it and I now feel very focused on my next project. On the day Ashleigh talked about a lot of things and one thing that struck me was what she called the “Internal No”.

(Ashleigh’s notebook, where she keeps all her quotes)

The way I understand it, this is something you can use when you want to change the dynamic of a relationship. The kind of relationship where you might have been saying “Yes” more than you want to? Or maybe the kind of relationship where you have been saying “No” but you haven’t been heard? Where your “no” turns into a “well, no, not really, oh well, ok then go ahead, alright yes”.

(Lunch at the workshop)

So, maybe you’re asked to work an extra shift. But you don’t want to and it doesn’t feel like you’ve been asked. It feels like you “have to ” say “Yes”. Using the Internal No, you get a strong sense of the “No” you’re already feeling. By that I mean you feel what “No” is physically to you. Too crazy? Do it even if it seems crazy! Do it even if you don’t know what I’m asking for and see what happens…..

(What’s different about these flowers?)

Because our body knows a lot more than our mind gives it credit for…… Stop thinking “No” and start feeling “No” and then, when it’s good and strong in your body, say it. Doesn’t have to be loud, definitely doesn’t have to be angry, it’s just a word you body is feeling right now. Honour your body! Say no!

(Shiny floor)

What’s your body feeling? Mairead.

PS can also be used with children, friends, dogs and even cats! Ashleigh is running another workshop in September.