Letting go…

sigh
Today I woke early, too early for my body, but my brain was insistent. My head lay heavy on the pillow, weighed down by a headache and sadness, my limbs felt leaden and sank into the mattress; my eyelids fought to keep the light out as it crept round the blind, and my heart just ached and tried to hide. I struggled in vain as I searched for the sweet oblivion of sleep again, trying to shut out reality as thoughts and memories flooded in. Words, that once uttered cannot be retracted, and more importantly, words that are left hanging, hopelessly unsaid; once happy memories distorted by bitter betrayal and knowledge that cannot be unlearned, however hard one tries to forget.

I lay for a while, drowning in disappointment as the sunshine pushed at the window, anxious to drag me from my den of despair. The knot that twisted in the pit of my stomach was interrupted by a realization that flooded my body; because today I don’t have time to wallow, to wonder how life would feel if things had been different; a record that’s recently been stuck on repeat in my head. So fortified with a latte, I washed my face and dressed quickly, smoothing the pain from my expression as I swept my bed head hair into a bunch of carefree curls, and applied mascara (not the waterproof stuff).

Today is a beautiful spring day in London, and my little pocket of the city was buzzing industriously as commuters headed to work, and the world carried on turning. My meeting this morning was informal and fortunate enough to include a walk, so we headed up the hill towards the Heath, comforting familiar territory. We walked and talked, my companion is well travelled, intelligent and interesting, excited about embarking on a new chapter, professionally speaking. Our conversation was full of hope and visions of the future; we discussed dreams, far-flung destinations and career opportunities.

I noticed the buds on the trees have started to swell, and the blossom that had tentatively blushed along branches, now blooms bravely and enthusiastically. The path was clear, no longer squelchy and impassable without danger of muddy footwear casualty. We wandered through the woods, where branches stretched skyward, reaching into the blueness, soon to become adorned with shady green canopies. Winter it seems has finally lost its grip, and slips away lost amongst memories as spring asserts her hopefulness and promise of summer. We all have to let go in order to move forward; like monkey bars we need to let go of where we’ve come from to embrace where we’re going. I have observed that people who insist on clinging to their past, often impede their future, painfully. Change is inevitable, sometimes we have to just let it happen, and when some things fall apart, we just have to trust its making room for something wonderful that’s waiting to catch us.

You don’t always need a plan, sometimes you just have to let go and see what happens next. Life isn’t about control, it’s about adapting to the changes that are inevitable, and sometimes it helps to remember we’re not in charge, which is probably a good thing. Once in a while, let go of what you think you want, create some space for possibility, let life surprise you xx.

Blessings & love ❤ Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; words ~Hayley Darby ©2014}

Spring awakening

contemplative

Good morning everyone! Today I woke early, something my heart is struggling with, dragged me from the sweet oblivion of dark nothingness and peaceful silence, wrestling me to the surface of consciousness. Despite the early hour (6.30am-ish) a pale light softly diffused around the edge of the blind, a small consolation that spring is slowly stretching out the days in preparation for summer, and the promise of such shone brightly in the distance, a spark of hope beckoning towards the future. I lay for a while in the present, wondering how I got here; stuck in some kind of holding pattern whilst I try to figure out which direction will lead me to wherever I’m meant to be; which is indeed the start of another interesting question whose answer currently eludes me.

I made an attempt to escape back to sweet sleep, swimming against the tide, towards the depths; but the questions I tried to avoid gave chase, until I surrendered eventually and headed them off by checking my phone for the time and other important information. I am reminded of my own advice to keep a clock or watch by the bed, but to keep the phone at a distance and save emails and texts for a reasonable time after waking. Advice, I realised a moment too late, to which I had somehow stopped adhering, so once the wheels of my mind were well and truly whirring, I got up for coffee and to embrace the morning.

It was a cool grey start to the day here in London, after two prior consecutive, blue-sky mornings that were a very convincing start to spring; the opaque, over-cast light was rather disappointing. I wrapped up tightly in a warm robe and descended the stairs to the kitchen, where the cool wooden floor greeted my toes with an icy reminder that Spring is indeed rather shy about her beauty early in the season. Turning to my beloved coffee machine for consolation, I sighed and inhaled the rich, comforting aroma and smiled appreciatively for the little things. I noticed the bunch of daffodils on the window sill have started to open, slowly unfurling their petals and stretching their trumpets, so I raised my arms and arched my back, then armed with my latte retreated back to my white fluffy cloud of a bed, snuggling back under the duvet to contemplate the day ahead.

Today’s weather may not be the crisp, fragrant example for which I was hoping, but it is definitely spring and a fresh start awaiting. The sky may be cloudy and grey, but I am reassured that there is a patient blueness above. I cannot see from a distance, but I know that the trees are adorned with tight little buds at each of their distal branches. A host of golden daffodils adorn the banks of The Heath by Kenwood house, inspiring all those who wander lonely as a cloud, despite the company they walk with. And in the undergrowth of the skeletal woods, tiny yellow Celandine flowers are smattered haphazardly as nature proudly asserts her intention. I found myself on an unfamiliar path, waterlogged and muddy, fragranced with damp earthiness, and after carefully skirting the edges, avoiding the nettles and brambles, decided to walk right through the squelchiness, which wasn’t so bad once I’d started.

Time ticks steadily by, and I might not know yet which steps to take, but I certainly do have choices; and walking through the messy bits, rather than trying to avoid any disappointment seems the best option. Meanwhile the clouds are starting to shift and I feel like writing. Sometimes I guess we are so busy searching that we miss the things that seek us, and sometimes we have to be patient with our hearts, because winter is always followed by spring eventually. Blessings & love, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; Words ~Hayley Darby ©2014}

Press pause

mermaid am

Good morning everyone! Today I woke late, slowly struggling to shed the layers of sleep that clung like wet seaweed as I slipped back from the surface several times, before eventually breaking into consciousness. I lay for a while as the final vestiges of fatigue drained away, and found myself washed up on the shore of a peaceful day with the gentle rustle of the breeze through the leaves outside my window. I drew the blind, to find a cloudy sky with big holes for the blueness to pour through, and feeling an autumnal ‘nip in the air’, wrapped up in my robe in search of coffee.

I climbed back into bed with my latte, and noticed my thoughts drifting towards some projects on the horizon, feeling a little nostalgic for my mornings watching the ocean, as I sat on the beach steps with my coffee, admiring the surfers and adoring the dolphins playing amongst them. Meanwhile some online messages interrupted my thought process, and some discussion about business direction inspired some creative thinking and enthusiasm, so that I was soon wide awake and firing those inquisitive neurons again.

I have several areas I want to explore; yet there is hesitancy, an undecided direction, and reluctance to commit just yet to tying up my energy. And as I write I realise it’s because at this moment in time I am enjoying the stillness, the feeling of being exactly where I am meant to be in this instant, and that my life will continue to unfold accordingly, as I dwell in possibility.

Previous to my trip to California I was feeling frustrated and disappointed as I tried to swim upstream, and fought hard to make something work in an environment that actively sabotaged my efforts. It’s no surprise that since my departure several newly appointed nutritionists/dieticians have met the same resistance and left the company already. My carefree Californian summer gave me space to recover from my dismay, reconsider my goals, and ultimately the realization that I could ‘dream much bigger’ darling. Trust me, ‘big’ in this context is an understatement!

Sometimes the most constructive thing we can do; is to do nothing, to wait and see what will be revealed. When we take time out to listen to our hearts, and hear the melody of our souls singing, we are more open to finding the answers that really matter, to seeing our dreams and feeling them draw us, rather than searching for solutions that will allay our fears, albeit temporarily. My three months in California have given me a beautiful fresh perspective, not to mention a relaxed happy vibe with which to enjoy it, and for now I’m just loving each step as it unfolds in front of me.

I wonder if there is something you are struggling with that would benefit from taking a step back too? OK, maybe not three months, but perhaps 3 days, or 3 hours, or even 3 minutes will help you accomplish more by truly looking at the situation, rather than ploughing ahead determinedly without checking your direction. I hope that whatever you do, that you can take some time to quiet your mind and listen to your heart, and then have the courage to follow it. You never know, it might just send you to California, and if it does, I’ll meet you on the beach, watching the dolphins amongst the surfers, because I’m pretty sure my heart is sending me back there soon! Blessings & love, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; Words by Hayley Darby ©2013}

Gorgeous Rainy Morning!

me coffee

Good morning everyone! Today I woke early, jet-lag finally seems to have jetted off, and 6am was a pleasure again. I lay for a while in the white fluffy meringue-ness of my bed, still a delight after a less than luxurious, rather uncomfortable divan in my Californian abode, and watched the light creep round the edge of the blind as thoughts of beach-life seeped into my brain. We have had some beautiful warm, sunny days here in London, and I was sunbathing on the balcony and then the Heath, in 84 (29) degrees yesterday. It was a hot sticky night, but today a comprehensive cloud cover and the promise of rain accompany the cooler back-to-school weather (61 degrees).

I threw back the covers and raised the blind, watching the softness of the light seep into the sky, and opened the window to deeply inhale the cool, damp earthy fragrance as I smiled at the trees. I wrapped up in my robe and made my way downstairs in search of coffee, loving my Nespresso machine that little bit more ardently after our protracted separation. I stood in the kitchen, tending the thirsty herbs on the window sill (mint, coriander & basil), as the dark, rich, aromatic elixir chugged into my favourite china mug, before returning to bed to savour the morning and the precious silence I have missed so much.

My rented cottage in California was the most costly and least successful part of my trip; sadly the picturesque cottage came with an interfering, attention-seeking elderly landlady who challenged boundaries (including the law) on several levels. Apart from entering my property almost daily in my absence to snoop through my belongings, and opening my post (including my bank statements), she sought attention whenever I was present. This initially began veiled in kind concern, knocking on my door at 7am to offer coffee (as she had made a large cafetiere), but once I had politely declined a few times and as I started rejecting almost constant requests for company, she resorted to negative attention and drama seeking. This included (but was not limited to) incredibly noisy behaviour in the mornings, from door slamming to coffee grinding at 6am, and a whole range of purposeful disturbance techniques that included singing as she showered in MY outdoor shower outside the bedroom window. Suffice to say mornings slipped from being my favourite time of day, and my coping mechanism was to get up and dress immediately before heading out as quickly as possible, to find a better mood than the one I was awoken with. This usually took me on a brisk walk down the hill towards PCH, taking a slight detour for a biscotti and friendly banter at Andree’s bakery, before a cheerful welcome and Hemp latte at The Laguna coffee company, which I took to Brook’s beach to watch the surfers and admire the rhythmic waves. Somehow this never failed to lift the cloudy countenance and return a sunny smile to my face, even when the morning marine layer persisted.

Back in London, there is no ocean to breathe in serenity, and I miss the friendly crowd at The Laguna Coffee Co. but I am so grateful for the peace and quiet my busy, city home affords me, tucked away from the roads, hidden from traffic noise, ensconced in tranquil solitude, waking when my body is ready. And as the rain now descends, gently tapping on the window and tickling the leaves of the trees, although I’m a sun bunny in love with the ocean, there are plenty of reasons to be happy in London! I hope that wherever you are, that you are blessed with something about your environment you can appreciate insanely, and that if your peace is disturbed, that you find a way back to the calm place that resides inside all of us, because it’s there just waiting for you, trust me! Blessings & love, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; words ~Hayley Darby ©2013}

Blue skies & scars

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Good morning everyone! Today I woke early as the sun crept round the blind, sneaking in to the room to call me from dreams that blend reality with possibility and a generous hint of the ridiculously absurd. I landed on the pillow with a crumpled smile, and found my thoughts leaping into the day ahead, listing the tasks I hope to achieve and the time I anticipate they will take, searching for the opportunity for a walk on the heath, before sighing and getting up for coffee.

It’s a beautiful morning in London; the spring sunshine spills through the kitchen window, warming the herbs that reside on the sill, releasing a fresh fragrance to be inhaled deeply with eyes closed in appreciation. The light on my shoulders is deliciously warm, and encourages me to sit on the countertop and steal the rays from the bowl of lemons and assorted cooking utensils, as they curl round my legs and creep up my décolleté. I sipped my latte and smiled at the sky; an endless blue stretching into the distance above the rooftops, with only a single vapour trail, like a small scar to mar its perfection.

I glanced at the scar on my knee, a fairly neat white line that holds a story, and wonder about the scars on my heart, everybody’s heart, how would they look if we could see them? I suspect I would pick at the edges of the latest wounds, impatient for healing but unable to ignore the regret and disappointment wrapped up in their memory. I’m resisting the temptation, most of the time, but admit that occasional moments find my mind in the ‘if-only’ territory. I wonder how long will it take that particular hurt to fade into a smooth white line, and become ‘just another story’, something that happened to the girl I used to be?

And I smile at the blue sky, because however long it takes, I already know that that particular scar will always be the start of the next adventure, the one that whispered ‘follow your dreams, you’re the author of your story’. So the crazy idea that morphed into possible plans has now become more probable than mere potential, and I have a blessed opportunity. I also have a contract to sign, and a ticket to buy, another white scar to trail across the sky. Meanwhile that list still persists, and the clock is ticking, but it’s OK, because I’ll make time for a walk on the heath anyway, after all, chances become more precious when they’re numbered don’t they?!.

Have a gorgeous day everyone, and remember your scars are souvenirs of your journey, but you’re still the author of your story. Blessings & love, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via fatallyflawedpalate.tumblr, words: Hayley Darby © 2013}

Raindrops

hand in rain

Good morning everyone, happy Friday!! Today I woke early, and lay on my back, listening to the rain as it danced on the roof and slid down the windows, bounced off the cobblestones and splashed in the puddles. I remembered a time, in a tropical rainstorm on the other side of the world, when I stood in the downpour and let it soak me, as it washed away the frustration and disappointment I had been feeling. Often it feels as if our emotions are layered, as if we have to shed several skins to reveal those we’re afraid of, the things that truly upset our equilibrium, as we cling to the excuses of those we’re prepared to acknowledge. So I lay in the darkness, and peeled off some layers that I have been ignoring, turning over and observing indignant anger, fierce frustration, deep disappointment, sorrowful regret, and finally finding the acceptance I was seeking. Acceptance, when we discover it is rarely sparkling and shiny; rather it’s beauty lies in the absence of adornments that obscure its purity. So I wrapped myself up in it, noticing the calm comfort and peaceful presence, and fell back to sleep again.

When I awoke at a more reasonable hour, the rain had stopped and the birds were chirping, I stretched my full length and arched my back, before wrapping up in cosy a robe, in search of coffee. It’s a dull, damp day in London, the skies are dark, and the wind sways the trees as it sighs down the chimney. I sat on the awesome sofa, cradling my latte and let my thoughts wander through some projects I’m planning. Somewhere along an unfamiliar path, I felt free of expectation and even the need for understanding, the possibilities are endless, and the prospects exciting. Sometimes we need to let go of the things that weigh us down, so we can move freely into our future; forgiveness is the key, it’s not always easy, but I believe it’s worth the effort. Have a beautiful day everyone ❤ blessings & love, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest}

Hope springs..

leggy am1

Good morning everyone!! Today I woke late as dreams of possibilities, that no longer seem tangible, slipped through my fingers like fine sand in a sea breeze. I lay on the pillow, lamenting the loss a little before focusing on the present to find that the reality I am left holding is not such a hard truth to swallow, and I decide to chase it down with a soya latte. The sunlight pushing at the curtains, burst into the room as I drew them, like a playful puppy that bounces around everything a little too enthusiastically. I stood for a while with my forehead against the cool glass of the window pane, and closed my eyes to feel the light on my skin, before smiling up at the baby blue sky that continues endlessly on this beautiful morning.

I made my latte and sat on the sunny end of the sofa, chatting to dear GH on the telephone, making plans for later, and moved my legs to catch the rays that stream through the window. I imagine for a moment that I’m planning a walk along the beach, rather than tea in Richmond; and right on cue, a cloud floats in to relocate my thoughts back to a February day in London. The daffodils on the mantelpiece remain cheerful, and promise that it might not be here yet, but spring is coming, and the clouds move to reveal the sun reassuringly. And I wonder where hope would flourish if we didn’t face disappointment, would spring’s beauty be appreciated without the winter it follows, and could we build new dreams if we didn’t let go of the old ones? ..and then my mind was back to wondering about which beach I would like to wander along..

I hope that the sun shines on your part of the world today too, but if it isn’t, know that it will come back again soon. Blessings & love ❤ Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via kikisloane.tumblr}

Sunny feelings

sofa view

Good morning everyone!! Today I woke early, swimming to the surface of a deep sleep, rising from the dark depths of oblivion towards the day awaiting. I lay for a while sifting through the thoughts that greeted me, before stretching my full length, and pushing my toes onto the cool brass of the bedstead. I’ve had an exhausting week, and could really have done with more sleep, but as soon as I noticed a slither of sunlight that sneaked through the curtains, I couldn’t stay in bed. I wrapped up I a robe and made my way downstairs to greet the day, opening the door, despite the chill, to breathe in the blue skies and all their potential. It’s certainly still winter in London, but on days like this I can smell the spring.

I lounged on the sofa with my latte, enjoying the sunny rays that spill through the window, sending shadows across the book cases. Some daffodils sit cheerily on the coffee table reminding me of places in my childhood, and the hope that spring carries. I stared at the sky and got lost in thought, about the directions I’ve chosen and the future I’m creating; and I realize as I write that I’m not sure that I want what I thought I wanted, anymore. I think that our dreams and aspirations are often focused on achievement, things that we choose because of the expectations of the way we will feel when we get them. This can easily lead to disappointment, even when we accomplish our goals, because we fail to meet the deeper desire of the feeling we expected to accompany them.

So this morning as I lay in the sunlight, I started to rewrite my future, focusing on the feelings I want to experience rather than the objectives I supposed would achieve them. Suddenly the direction is less important than the way I view things, and I recognise that choosing to dwell in the thoughts that feed or drain my energy is the key. So I’m focusing on feeding my soul today with thoughts that nourish me, it might not be spring quite yet, but it’s on the way and I’m feeling optimistic : )) Have a gorgeous day everyone, I hope you find the thoughts that lead you to the way you want to feel too. Blessings & love, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest}

One step at a time..

morning  window

Good morning everyone!! Today I woke late, luxuriating in the opportunity for a lie in as I let my mind peruse the dreams in my heart, and noticed how stubborn it really is. Sometimes I wish I was an easier version of myself, less complicated, less driven, I wish I could be satisfied with some of the perfectly nice things I am presented with, but instead I seem to be chasing challenges that leave me feeling bruised and exhausted, and yet despite the momentary glimpses of sanity, still not ready to give in

I eventually embraced the day, and stretched my full length before wrapping up in a robe for coffee. It’s another beautiful sunny start to the day in London, with blue skies stretching endlessly. It seems I’m not the only one feeling turbulent today, I had a call from darling GH whose heart has just changed direction, again! We talked about expectations and disappointments, and hopes and fears, as laughter replaced tears and we decided today was too beautiful to waste regretting anything. Perfect timing then for dear LS to text me suggesting a walk on the heath before lunch.. a great way to remember that life is best taken one step at a time, enjoying the sunshine whenever there is an opportunity, with friends by our side; who will be there through all the ridiculousness we get ourselves into, either encouraging us and cheering us on, or ready for tea and sympathy when required, the occasional sanity check when we really need it, and best of all laughing at what a wonderful, beautiful, chaotic mess life is, because we wouldn’t really want it any other way.. hmmmm!

I hope you have a fantastic day, whatever you’re up to, and that whatever is happening in your life story that you have friends to share it with and point out the silver linings. Blessings & hugs, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest}

Goodbye 2012

2012

Dear 2012,

You have been a year of my life, thank you. We have had fun, learnt a lot, made it through some difficulties, made some happy memories; and I am grateful. Admittedly there were times when I felt frustrated, impatient, disappointed and upset with you, as I struggled with the lessons I faced; yet on reflection I see that the choices I made in the circumstances you delivered were my responsibility, and have given me opportunities for growth and understanding. I’m sorry that I didn’t always appreciate the challenges you presented, and for all the moments when I failed to act in love, when fear and ego overcame me. Thank you for my human-ness to appreciate the beauty of forgiveness.

There were times when I have been over-whelmed by your generosity, surrounded by blessings when you were awesome fun, super-sweet, hilariously funny, incredibly kind and gently comforting; my gratitude is inexpressible in words so I pray my actions will demonstrate. We have discovered beauty in the most unlikely places and you have given me gifts of hope and love that I will cherish long after your departure. Thank you 2012, for shaping me a little closer towards the person I am becoming, and for all the wonderful experiences and the gorgeous people I have shared them with. I really appreciate you for being a chapter in my story, and look forward to 2013 with all the potential and possibility it promises.

Goodbye 2012 and thank you ❤ Blessings & love, Hxx

{Artwork sadly uncredited, via Pinterest}