Dear 2013

HD beach

Dear 2013

You have been a year of my life, and I am grateful for you. We haven’t always seen eye to eye, and there have certainly been times when I wished you were shorter than 365 days, but that was only when I was hurt and upset, struggling with my human-ness and fighting to get ahead of the pain I was feeling; which really wasn’t your fault at all, rather mine for having expectations that could be disappointed and an immense impatience inherent of my personality. However, despite my faults you always stood by me, and managed to surprise me with wonderful, unexpected gifts and joyful memories, a reminder that things are often better than we can imagine, as long as we can let go of our plans and let life take us blissfully and carefree to where we are meant to be.

With you I have wandered along sandy Californian beaches, and sat watching the early surfers with my morning coffee, as dolphins played delightedly. I met blue whales, whose peaceful presence held me in awe and took me to new depths emotionally. You were there when I conquered my fears and braced the waves for surfing lessons, and let the tide carry me, accepting things the way they’re supposed to be. We danced at concerts in the park, and around bonfires on the beach, we sang along (loudly and badly) to the radio, driving PCH with my hair dancing in the breeze. Together we wandered round art galleries and enjoyed good company, and watched sunsets that burst my heart with gratitude for their beauty.

We returned to float in the turquoise blue of favourite Greek seas, and watch sunlight sparkle on the water feeling blessed and carefree. With you I enjoyed peaceful hours at the beach, and submerged into a marine underworld, snorkelling and scuba diving. We hiked through the villages, visiting interesting characters and revisiting memories; and we followed in the footsteps of mythological heroes to climb mountains and worship at ancient temples. We watched storms rage in the sky and toss the world around angrily, then suddenly forgive and restore calm, quickly and quietly. We discovered cracks in hearts that were quietly bleeding, and found forgiveness and love are by far the best remedy.

With you I found myself tempted into unexpected adventures, and let my heart lead without plans or itinerary. I celebrated my first Thanksgiving holiday, danced on bars in Vegas and flew to Mexico for an escapade in Acapulco. We let the night time breeze sweep through dreams to the sonorous sounds of the ocean, feasting on papayas for breakfast and drank pina coladas for supper. I was charmed by customs in Houston (who’d of dreamed!) and skied in Colorado, where I left a smarting hurt on a moonlit road through the mountains, and found some salve in the Garden of The Gods. I shared shrimp with Tiny Tim on Malibu beach, and had a delicious Mexican meal for Christmas dinner instead of traditional turkey, with dear friends in Laguna.

So dear 2013, thank you for being the year that turned an unexpected corner, and after a bump in the road, took flight towards the previously undreamed. You have been a serendipitous year that changed my direction by several degrees. With you I have learned to accept that letting go is often stronger than hanging on, and often an opportunity to discover a new route engraved on the map of my heart, for perhaps a more scenic journey. I appreciate all that you have given me, even those bits that hurt like hell in the beginning, but are shaping me towards the person I am meant to become. I’m excited in anticipation of future adventures, ready for the unwritten chapters waiting to take shape in the year to come. So as I prepare to say goodbye, know that I appreciate you, and tell 2014 I’m ready!! Blessings & love, Hxx

{Photo & words ~Hayley Darby ©2013}

Waking thoughts

coffee steps

Good morning everyone!! Regular readers will know that when in London I usually write in the mornings, and savour those sweet moments as I wake, observing my inner territories as I slip from sleep into consciousness. This is something I have missed in Laguna, where peaceful dreams are abruptly terminated on a daily basis (by a rather inconsiderate neighbour), so that my priority is dressing quickly and fleeing to the beach for coffee in search of a better temperament than the one I wake with. There I find some solace in the waves that smooth the jagged edges, and by the time my latte is done, I am smiling at the day ahead as I watch the surfers gracefully tickle the ocean. I am filled with wonder at the power and magnitude of this incredible entity, and sitting at its edge I notice how small and insignificant we seem, and arrogant to suppose we could control the world we inhabit.

However, despite my mornings at the beach, I do miss that space between dreams and consciousness, those moments of bliss where I sense that everything is exactly as it’s meant to be and I can somehow make perfect sense of the chaos that is reality. I miss the slow realization of my soul inhabiting my body, as I notice my placement of the pillow and the waking thoughts that wash over me. I yearn to hear the whispers of my heart that speak so clearly when I’m not listening to logic or the multitude of concerns and responsibilities that seep in so quickly once the brain stirs into action. I crave that awareness of who I am beyond the person in the life I’m living, but as a force of nature and a spiritual being, without form or boundaries, limits or ambition. And yet I’m acutely aware, that when I’m not here I will miss the ocean, and it will fill my dreams with it’s overwhelming power and mystery, and I will wish I was on the steps at the beach, sipping my coffee : )) Blessings & love Hxx

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

Morning medicine

lue cup

Good morning everyone!! Today I woke slowly, from a series of dreams, invaded by a presence that swanned through my thoughts as nonchalantly as it wanders through the chambers of my heart; feeling I admit, half delighted at the sight, whilst half annoyed that it continues to permeate those layers of protection and sanity we all attempt to surround ourselves with. I lay in the mists that seemed several times about to lift yet descended again with sleepiness, despite the attempts of a cough to waken me, as I spluttered from the depths intermittently before drifting off again. I surveyed my internal terrain, noticing the soft spots of vulnerability, pretending to myself that I am perfectly fine, yet truthfully feeling a little less courageous, on a dark wintry morning waiting for spring to return.

The coughing eventually won, waking me to the realization I have a temperature, my body aches, and my head is pounding, illness is always so inconvenient isn’t it!? It seems I have a flu, which curtails my plans for a while, as I’m not one to martyr on and generously inflict my contagion. I believe that when the body communicates it’s struggling, that the best course of action is to listen and spend energy on healing quickly. This hasn’t always been the case, I have previously subscribed to soldiering on, dragging it out as I refused to make my health a priority. The truth is I’m not very good at being ill, in fact I’m absolutely rubbish, I’m not terribly brave and impatiently wish the time away, waiting to get better.

However, I remember a favourite lecturer from uni, a kind soul who told me once that being ill was something we should embrace, a time to stay in bed and read all day without feeling we should be doing something more constructive. He taught me that nothing is really so important it can’t wait for us to get better, and it’s an opportunity to gain perspective and assess our priorities. So I’m remembering his words of wisdom today, and taking time out rest, sleep, and be kind to my body; not minding the grey skies beyond the windows as it’s cosy inside, and refusing to feel guilty for all the things I ‘should’ be doing. I hope that you’re not sick today too, but if you do happen to be feeling under the weather, please be patient with yourself, as your body is busy repairing. ❤ Blessings & love, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via pinterest}

2013 Let’s do this!

lets

Happy New Year everyone! It’s a beautiful sunny start to 2013 with blue skies stretching across London in every direction. I woke late after welcoming the year at a very chilled, elegant dinner party thrown by darling LS, laughing our way from one year to the next as we decided 2013 is going to be gorgeous. I stayed in bed for a while, searching my heart for clues as to my wishes and aspirations as I set my intentions and goals for 2013, and decide upon a plan of action. Eventually the sun pushing through the curtains tempted me out of my nest, so I stretched my full length and sent love to those I care about, before bouncing out of bed and downstairs for coffee.

The sun sends shafts of light through the windows, bathing the room in happy positivity as I sit with my coffee and feel truly grateful. 2013 has just begun, a fresh new chapter waiting to be written, one I intend to embrace with optimism and enthusiasm, to appreciate all those moments of ‘now’ that thread together my story. I am so grateful for the people with whom I share my journey, celebrating friendships and appreciating the opportunities we will meet along the way for lots of love and laughter, creating happy memories. I’m looking forward to the adventures that await and pray that I’ll face the challenges with grace and dignity. I hope the year will teach me to become a kinder, gentler, more patient and accepting version of myself; and that this will enable me to empower others to discover their truth and beauty. I’m wishing for peace and love for everyone, so c’mon 2013, let’s do this! ♥ Blessings & love, Hxx

{Artwork sadly uncredited, via Pinterest}

Women’s wisdom

We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives, we have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something, we have to be content with what we are. ~Marjorie Pay Hinckley

{Photo credit: Fernand Fonssagrives, Paris}

Feeling..

The ludicrous element in our feeling does not make them any less authentic. ~Milan Kundera, Encounter

I think our most ludicrous feelings, those that we are bewildered by and afraid of, those that threaten our equilibrium, that we are embarrassed about, and often irrationally ashamed of; are the ones that we really need to pay attention to. Because if they are still clinging steadfastly to our hearts when we can’t make sense of them, when they threaten our idea of control, and persist in rocking our world, then their illogical presence must indicate their strength, and maybe even suggests some intuitive connection that maintains their existence.. well that’s how it feels to me! I wonder if understanding them would change anything anyway! Maybe we just all need a little madness to appreciate sanity, which btw is terribly over-rated IMO! ♥ Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest. Quote ~Milan Kundera, Words ~Hayley Darby 26.Sept.2012}

Not doubting, just wondering..

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be. ~C. S. Lewis

Thank you C.S. for being an open and true man of faith, prepared to share your fears with the rest of us, to help us feel that our struggles are not uncommon. I adore you even more, than I thought was possible! Thank you ♥ Hxx

Listen.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. ~Stephen R. Covey

Listening is such an important and under-rated skill IMO, listening is a gift and an art, one that should be practiced and appreciated. When we truly listen, we don’t just receive words and information, we GIVE attention, acknowledgement, and value to the speaker, respectfully hearing them. Let’s listen more, and maybe we will learn better communication ♥ Hxx

What if.. we heard them?

What if we saved our kind advice, stopped suggesting solutions, and instead of searching for words, listened instead? Not just hearing, really listening, opening our hearts with empathy to really try and gleam an idea of the feelings being expressed.

What if we all listened to the gaps between the words that were spoken, and noticed the silent cracks of the almost broken, as they spill quietly searching for understanding? Making room in our thoughts exclusively, to hear their voice over our own internal chattering.

What if instead of trying to fix things that are irreparable, we reached out with the intention of fully appreciating the perspective of another; acknowledging their pain and frustration, so that they might be able to let it go, with the assurance you know how much it mattered, because you truly heard them.

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; words ~Hayley Darby 20.Nov.2012}