Joy on a grey day

nurse teaIt’s a cold grey day here, and I’m lying on my day bed with Platon lying against my legs, his chin resting gently on my ankles, as he snoozes between watching the world outside the long French windows. Leo has trampled all over me, and the bed, searching for a comfy spot, but dissatisfied with all his options, has moved to the sofa where he’s curled up alone and uncharacteristically grumbling. He’s usually my sunshine, a super happy chap, full of joyful enthusiasm, and the friendliest, most affectionate dog I could think of; but today he’s having an ‘off’ moment, and comically grumbles in little half barks and almost growls at noises outside. I suspect he’s over tired, sulking and like a toddler fighting sleep, he will soon give in to that sweet dark oblivion, and float to another realm of consciousness. I wonder if he dreams of our favourite little beach in Greece, and swimming out in the clear turquoise waters, which he does so, much further than I dare to. He has a leg injury that gives him a disadvantage on land, but in the sea he’s unstoppable. Finally, his little chest has started to rise and fall rhythmically, and we are a peaceful little trio in our cosy abode. I stifle a yawn as I type, and Platon sighs loudly, as I pull the blankets up a little higher, and he snuggles back into me. I too could fall asleep, I tire easily since my surgeries; especially since I have started my physiotherapy exercises and increased my activity daily.

Yesterday I had a hospital appointment; it was the first time I had been back since my surgery. I still feel somewhat fragile; an awareness of my vulnerability, previously not even glimpsed, as I felt fit and strong, and lead an active lifestyle. Walking in public places makes me anxious, my injury (spinal) is invisible to most, as I can walk unaided and have no casts or bandages. It’s a ridiculous fear of being knocked, although I’m assured my spine is now stable, it still feels odd, and I am acutely aware of the risks associated with my condition, however small they are in reality. I saw the urology nurse, since after my first operation there was a complication with my bladder function requiring a further surgery, and yesterday I got a clean bill of health, a huge relief. My Cauda Equina experience has certainly helped me appreciate how much the little things, really are the big things!

As I waited in the hospital lobby for my lift home, I met Joy, a health care worker that truly lives up to her name. She took a moment to recognise me, (I clearly look very different with freshly washed hair, dressed and standing, to my hospital bed state), but her face soon lit up, as she recited my bed and bay number on the ward. Every morning of my hospital stay, Joy greeted the ward with her sunny smile and sing song voice, serving us breakfast, lunch and supper, remembering how we all take our tea, and our individual food preferences. She was always cheerful, thoughtful and considerate, and she brightened the room with her smile. When she made her rounds, she served us all as if we were her favourite customers in a smart restaurant. Maybe it’s maybe not the tea, but the person serving it thats the best medicine. This small part of our day made me feel more human, it was a time when as we picked our meals from the menu, however basic, that we regained some independence, choosing gave a small sense of control; when the rest of our day was determined by our medical team and hospital routines. Again, I am reminded of the little things that make a difference; and wonder how often we have missed opportunities to give a little that will mean so much to someone else, without us ever realising how much importance it is to them.

Meeting Joy yesterday reminds me how grateful I was for the compassion and kindness of the nurses and health care workers that cared for me during my hospital stay. I cannot imagine what a tough job it is, and have huge respect for all of them. If everyone worked with the same selfless enthusiasm that Joy does, we would all reflect more sunny smiles in our environments. Talking of which, it might be a cold grey day in February here, but it’s not a bad day, we have blossom on the window sill and daffodils on the table, and Leo has woken up, back to his happy smiley self, enthusiastically stretching into a play-bow and wagging his tail, ready for another adventure. I hope that you are seeing a glimmer of the joys of spring, wherever you are too.. unless of course you’re in the Southern hemisphere, in which case, enjoy your Summer, and send it back to us in the Northern hemispheres soon, please!

Blessings & love, Hxx

 

{Photo via Pinterest, sadly uncredited; words by me, Hayley Darby © 2016}

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}

Swings and simple things

swing sky

It’s a cool cloudy day in London, and I’m sitting at the window table of my favourite bistro, armed with a latte and wondering where the sun has gone. We had a beautiful weekend in London, it was 17 C/63 F yesterday and sunny, so that all of London’s parks and pavement cafes were bustling with carefree happy faces that come out of hiding when the sun graces us in the Northern latitudes. I drove south of the river, contrary to urban myth one does not need a passport for such an expedition, but it is advisable to pack plenty of patience for the heavy traffic and ‘weekend drivers’. The journey of 8 miles from my home to my brother’s can easily take an hour, so it’s also a good opportunity to play some music and sing my heart out in privacy, without inflicting my less than sonorous vocals on the world. Having been away from London for a while, it was a fresh chance to appreciate the city’s majestic beauty, as sun cast elegant shadows on the regency architecture and gleamed off the windows of the modern mirrored structures. The early blossom on the cherry trees shimmered gently in the breeze, and the pavements buzzed with more energy than the collected efforts of the numerous runners that pounded away, plugged into their ipods.

My arrival finally at my brother’s doorstep, was heralded with the cheeky grin of my niece M, who informed me that my Christmas present was still waiting for me to open it.. as she peered expectantly at the bags I was carrying. M is not yet 3 years old, and her sister Z is almost one; so obviously the most important factor of my most recent three-month trip abroad was that I had indeed missed Christmas. She had also been waiting patiently to devour the pretty iced cookies that had been freshly baked for the occasion. So after the important unwrapping with tea and biscuits, my brother and I left his wife in peace and quiet as we took the girls to the common (a rather large park). It’s only a short walk by adult standards, but when your legs are as long as the average three year old, that can be awfully tiring. So we stopped for a makeshift picnic by the bandstand, indulging in some people watching as M found an amateur photographer shooting his girlfriend with his very long lens fascinating; before heading to the playground with heady anticipation.

Both M and Z could spend hours it seems on the swings, in fact most of the children seemed very content to watch the world fly back and forth with demands of ‘higher, higher!’ squealed between giggles to their pushers. I’ll admit I wished there was an empty ‘big girl’s’ swing for me too, to feel the carefree lack of responsibility on a Sunday the sun shone again. Children are smart enough to appreciate the simple things, before they are corrupted with entitlement and expectation, and I wonder when and how we let things get complicated as we advance into adulthood. Maybe there’s a way we can find it again amidst all our grown-up-ness, if we stop worrying about the things we cannot change and focus on appreciating the little things. So as I write this on a Monday, and the clouds part to let the sun shine in, I wonder where the nearest park is, and if I can get there before school finishes ☺

I hope you have a lovely day, and if there’s a moment in between all your busy responsibilities, that you slip momentarily into the carefree child you once were, and let your heart soar skyward again?! Blessings & love, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; words by 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}

Spring awakening

kimono

Good morning everyone!! Today I woke early, rapidly rising to the surface from the dreamy depths, carrying vignettes of my reverie, like a million tiny bubbles rising with me, but bursting as they surfaced. I lay on the pillow, observing the thoughts already running round my head, my dream it seems was working through some aspects of sadness, and I watched my heart in the absence of anger and frustration, quietly bleeding. Sometimes we just have to accept where we are, and what we’re feeling, and be grateful for the learning. This gives us an opportunity to notice that the place we are at is just the starting point for a new journey, and that if it wasn’t a little uncomfortable we wouldn’t be tempted to take the necessary steps in the right direction. We are all just living our stories, and some things have to happen to put us on the right path again, with a kindly reminder to ‘dream a little bigger darling’.

I stretched and smiled at the sunlight pushing at the curtains, taking a deep breath of the day, enchanted by its gentle encouragement and budding potential. I made some coffee and sat watching the sky for a while, as clouds shifted to reveal chinks of blue and let the sun shine through, when I felt the light tickle my skin. I have been impatient and anxious for spring to arrive, and now that it’s here with all it’s hope and promises, I realize that the winter’s discontent has been preparation for the plans I have, and I am grateful in retrospect. As I stand here wondering how to make the next step happen, the answers are simple and at the same time complicated; let go and trust, and just keep focusing on the step ahead. Spring rewards our resilience with signs of progress, and reminds us that summer will be here soon enough; meanwhile it’s time to appreciate where we are, to live in the moment, enjoy the potential and notice the opportunities blossoming. Have a gorgeous day everyone, mine involves more decorating, and colours are changing : )) blessings & love ♥ Hxx

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

Good morning 13.3.2013

windy morning

Good morning everyone!! Today I woke to the sound of the wind whipping ferociously around the house, and echoing down the chimney as the obscure dreams that somehow made perfect sense slipped from my memory. I lay for a while, snuggling into the duvet; the temperature in London has dropped again, we had a biting wind and snow yesterday. After a few moments of contemplating the day, I got up to feel the chill on my skin in the few steps it took to locate my robe, and wrapped up warmly in search of coffee. It’s a beautiful sunny spring morning, and although the trees sway, and the geraniums tremble on the window sill, some white fluffy clouds are suspended in a beautiful blue sky, and I can’t help but smile at them. Dappled sunlight awaits in the kitchen, and shadows of dancing branches are sketched across the courtyard as the coffee machine chuckles cheerfully. I curled up on the sofa with one of the cashmere blankets ADS gave me, and watched the changing sky as the clouds swiftly shifted across it.

March can be a tempestuous month, described in the rhyme as arriving like a lion, but leaving as a lamb; it certainly seems to struggle with an identity crisis, with a very changeable character, tough but nurturing. I like March, the promise of warmer weather is one thing, and the changing season with it’s playful wind that seems to sweep in and give life momentum, is very welcome. Change is often disruptive, uncomfortable, yet exciting, and it feels so good to be propelled away from stagnation, whatever direction it takes us. Spring is such an inspiring season, buds of hope starting to blossom, encouraging sunshine, a time for beginnings. I’m ready to embrace the changes I am facing, it feels as if I have been waiting for this opportunity to unfurl and stretch and seek some potential. Some of the changes I’m planning are bold and adventurous, others are daunting but necessary, and then there are those little things I’ve been meaning to get around to for ages, and feel the energy, time and motivation are present together, finally. So I’m preparing and planning, getting organized and making some space in my life for transformation; but I’m making room too, for chance, spontaneity and unexpected opportunities. March is blustery and unpredictable, so like the trees it helps when we’re flexible, withstanding the harshness of life, confident that the climate is improving. I hope that spring inspires you too, and that the winds of change are full of hope and happiness ♥ Blessings & love, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via raysofthesun.tumblr}

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}