Friday, 7 August 2009


Time I was writing something for this blog! I have been busy recently but life has been good and I tend not to write so much when things are going well. There is definitely something therapeutic about writing. I guess its true what they say - its the process of writing not the content that is important in making you feel better. No doubt this is why many journal entries have that "poor me" quality, a point discussed in Tristine Rainer's book "The New Diary" where one journal writer talks about the "negative" vibe to much of her writing. The book explains how it is by writing this stuff that we let it free from our life and so move on, whereas people who try to avoid dealing with negative life events store up a lot of grief which will ultimately surface in some form or another. So, I for one will keep writing my worries away, it is doing me a power of good.
Struggling to write any poetry just now too - thank goodness for that you might say - but hey! it does me good and you don't have to read it. :) Just thought I would share this little gem which came to me a few weeks ago while out walking at lunchtime. It was a stressful day.
Narcosis is familiar to divers, it clouds your judgement and the effects are exacerbated by depth. You can end up believing that going deeper is ok when really it is time to bail out.



NARCOSIS

Again, I descend through the trees.
Free of work for an hour I try to unravel
the knot that holds me
in this seemingly eternal pattern.
Futilely seeking the future beyond that black veil
which hangs before me,
forever just beyond reach.
Like diving into the dark abyss of Loch Striven
all those years ago, (two lives soon to be lost there).
Perhaps, if I just turn around,
as then, I will see
the diffuse green light revealing my steep descent
into the blackness yet illuminating a way back
to a brighter, warmer place.

Pushing on down into the cold and dark
searching for - something?
Some knowledge of myself ?
Or seeking a purpose, something to make
the discomfort
and fear worthwhile.
The experience is everything, or so I once thought.
But now - older and in a job that no longer,
if it ever did, resonate with my sense of self
or what I want to become - takes me to new depths.
Feeling my way through this dark
uncomfortable place that erodes my soul -
yet makes everything possible for those I love.
Difficult decisions.
I could make them once; deep in the sea or high on the crag.
Why then, this agony of indecision as life slips between my fingers?
If only I could see just a bit further.
Maybe there is a light - a bit further
- a little deeper down.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Fairy Lochs


A post for Spiral Dancer - This is a magical wee spot up in the hills near you. You probably know it well but I was surprised to hear about it only 2 yrs ago. I think they are known as the Fairy Lochs. That is my wife and my mother on the wee island, back in 2007. It amazes me how well my mother gets around despite having only very limited vision left.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

A Good Day - (and still the sun shines)

Had a good day today; been getting reports back from my team about how our boss has been treating them. He is now trying to be pleasant to everyone - except me, but I was prepared for that. They have also stuck together and all told him they were upset by his behaviour. I have spoke to my Union Rep and if my informal attempts to tackle this fail I am ready to take this further through mediation and formal procedures if required. Hopefully it will not come to that.
Best of all is I have received a lot of support from other people not directly involved but who also have to work with this guy. I'll just have to wait and see what happens next. Never a dull moment!
Thanks for the comments Spiral D, I can see you have been in this situation before from what you write. I suspect you are right, the fall-out from this will last a while yet, even if things appear to settle quickly.


Monday, 29 June 2009

Bad To Worse



Sure that was a Jim Steinman LP back in the 70's. He was the guy who made Meatloaf famous by writing such great songs. Maybe it was Bad for Good - I don't remember.
Anyway, life is getting tough again, had to intervene at work when my boss started verbally abusing my team, the worst he has been since March. I went to see him and told him I would report him if he behaved like that again. Since then he has been going around being very nice to most of my staff, but only to undermine any case I might try to make against him. A slick bully, knows all the tricks, and everyone too intimidated to speak up in their own defence. He can barely speak to me at the moment, I think he feels betrayed by my intervention. He has lost face by having to back down and apologise, at least to some staff, and he will not forgive me for that. I'll just have to see what happens next. I have a meeting with a Union Rep tomorrow to get advice. All adds to the stress, but I had to do something. Who knows he might back off, he won't want an investigation for bullying just as he is contemplating retiring. It would be a severe dent to his ego if the complaint was upheld.
Enough griping and complaining, I had a good weekend last week; Went to the Scottish swine flu hot spot to visit my mother who was reasonably well, a nice long trip on the motorcycle despite some heavy showers. This weekend I went to roast on the west coast; took my tent and spent the night, returning on Sunday. Excellent weather and breezy enough to keep the midges away. See pic above.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

One More Step On The Journey.



Well I had a good holiday, bashed a few rocks and had a few canoeing trips into nice countryside, though one trip was interrupted by a low flying helicopter dodging through the trees and rocks.  Impressive flying but we had to move as it was dropping off fencing material along the side of the loch.  I did wonder what the orange marker was for when we arrived at this secluded spot!  
We had an epic trip back across the loch on the way home that day as the wind was the scariest I have been out in in a long time. Crossing open water far from shore and working with wind and wave sure focuses the mind.  Anyway, now back at work and wishing I was back in the waves.
 I had my dreams translated and with hindsight it is not difficult to see what my mind was getting at.  The guy in the bar was me, the version I am afraid of, the guy who walked out of his job the second it began to crush his need to create and be free.  He was happier, but financially poor, and seen by others as just a bit crazy.  
Too much freedom and creativity can do that to a man.  I have been considering just leaving my job and trying to survive as best I can but always run scared of actually doing it. 
My health would probably benefit from the reduced stress, unless I got stressed about the situation I found myself in when I had no income!
The other dream proved really useful.  My GP wanted me to take medication which came with warnings about how it was dangerous to take along with the blood pressure meds I am on.
I explained I was shortly going on holiday, I would be canoeing in reasonably remote areas and my blood pressure crashing seemed a dodgy thing to risk in those circumstances.  She insisted I would be fine despite the warnings plastered over the insert.  I decided to find an alternative treatment using over the counter stuff from the pharmacist. 
By the time I set off on holiday I had found a treatment regime with no hazard to me and 4 weeks later I feel good. Sometimes it pays to think for yourself and others the doctor knows best!  The trick is knowing who is right.
Life goes on, and I hope to try and find more time to write, especially poetry. Despite my rather naive attempts, I am actually quite pleased with some of my results. I never thought I could write anything even I would want to read.  Perseverance,  I must keep practising.
Thanks for the comments everyone, I value your feedback. Constructive criticism always appreciated as well.
Best Wishes and Have Fun.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Time to relax and try and find the way forward.

Two weeks of living my own life as best as I can.  
A holiday!  
I must shut out the pressures of work and use this time to find where I am out of alignment with my path.
 Later today when I have released some of my anxiety and fear I will journey and meet some old friends.  I need to listen carefully and hopefully learn something of the bizarre dreams I had last night.  
Who was the crazy man in the bar with the hand-written jotter, with whom, despite my initial fear of him and his strangeness, I was trying to communicate?  He had illustrated the book himself, quite well too, which surprised me.  I had difficulty reading his small neat script, written in blue biro.  Externally the bar looked rough, on the inside the beer and food were of excellent quality, the barman friendly and proud of his establishment and it's unique clientele.  So weird, but I felt at home there.
The other dream, equally vivid, ended in a stand-off with a very tall consultant (medical). I had been deceived into seeing this person who was deranged.  I escaped by brandishing an axe, which he had brought with him!  So vivid, so frightening too if I am to be honest.
Both dreams were in enhanced colour, the vividness seemed out of proportion to how they would appear in reality unless freshly painted and well illuminated.
Do dreams mean anything?   Do we just create imagery that tries to make sense of the flood of emotion and sensation coursing through us as we sleep?  I don't know.
 We all choose our beliefs or have them culturally conditioned, there bye  shaping our world view.  Hence the diversity in all of us, and long may that continue.  There are too many round pegs being battered into square holes.  
Let's all accept each other and cherish our differences, realising it is how we differ that ultimately creates the kaleidoscopic beauty of the world.


I need to see a future,
cleansed of this suffering.
I long for a freedom
from pain, worry and fear.

I wish to be whole,
in mind, body and spirit.
Enjoying each moment
the instant it appears.

Appreciating the beauty
that exists all around me,
not squinting through filters
of anxiety and tears.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Memory from first day climbing in Skye.


High Energy

On Sgur nan Gillean
- after an epic day.
Late evening sun sinking
as we stare
at two small specks
circling on a thermal
far below.
Slowly - they rise and grow.
Eventually level with us,
every feather clear.
We share a moment
in this high place.
Majestic birds
in their elements of rock and air.
Spellbound, we watch
as the rising air lifts them higher.
Round and round they spiral
shrinking as they soar
until lost from view.
A memory stored.
This poem was inspired by the wee photograph of me sitting on the summit of Sgurr nan Gillean (Peak of the young men - in English), at the side of this blog. Although that picture was actually my second trip up that mountain, looking at the picture reminded me of the amazing first day I spent climbing on Skye.
It was a bit of an epic; we had attempted to climb this mountain via a route known as Pinnacle Ridge. We had no actual climbing gear as such and intended free climbing it. Saves carrying lots of heavy gear. However, after a few fraught attempts at a particularly tricky descent between a pair of the aforementioned pinnacles we retreated and chose another route. This was a long detour and we eventually went up the west ridge and arrived at the summit late in the evening. It was amazing standing on the top, drained from our exertions and the effects of the adrenalin, basking in the glow of the setting sun. Then I noticed the small dots circling far below in the corrie. A beautiful pair of Golden Eagles; we felt we could almost lean out and touch them as they slowly ascended past our perch on the small summit platform of this mountain.
That revived us for the descent and slog back to the pub. We were so dehydrated we actually bought shandies but don't tell anyone.
I wonder where the other two guys I was with are now. I remember one was called Bernie and he was a really funny man with a very tolerant wife. He was a bit older than me, but then I was only 18. The other chap, I never saw again after that trip, he was ex army and had been invalided out after the charge pack for the gun of a Chieftan tank exploded in his hand and blew him clean out of the tank. Luckily the hatch was open. He had been seriously injured but the only long term damage was that he limped a bit and had lost an eye! A miracle he had survived at all though.
Really I have been very lucky when I look back, and have many wonderful memories.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Moments in Time ... 37 Years Apart.

Friday at work, a routine request. 
A company name, long forgotten.
I catch my breath.....
he would be 55 now.
One year older: he had left school; had a job; had money.
A young tiger on rock.
Conquistador Crack on a late summer evening,
every muscle and nerve straining I try to match his ease and grace.
Later that year, a fall on ice.
Showers of sparks illuminating the way as he slammed into rock.
Then gone into the night. 
.... "Thats ok", I say, "same stuff, just another manufacturer".

Friday, 10 April 2009

Diary Techniques

A while back I was reading a bit about professional journaling and reflective practice. This led me to Tristine Rainer's book, "The New Diary" and a book by Jennifer Moon on reflective journaling. Both books encouraged me to use diary writing as a means of expressing myself and gaining a better understanding of who I was and how I perceived the world around me. This was a process that started with my enrolment on a series of cognitive behavioural sessions last year. I was starting to re-build my confidence and find ways to tackle the anxiety and panic attacks that were blighting my life. A technique mentioned in these books was the use of intuitive writing. A method of by-passing left brain cognitive processing and relying more on the nebulous right brain. I should try this more often and develop this way of recording my experiences. It is a good way of cutting through the logical censoring of what I write.
Here are a couple of examples from earlier this year.



2nd February 2009


Going home light in sky, first time.
Farm road geese calling.
Many - how many? A sky full.
Stretching across the sky silhouettes.
Row upon row all calling.
4000? 5000? Going home
like Gullane, just like home.

4th February 2009

Overcast rain puddles.
Kamikaze girl in pink - lives on.
Umbrella day, heavy spray,
a surprise - 3 waxwings on rose hips.
A wave, security guard,
Each morning the journey.

5th February 2009

Whiteness of snow, new land
quieter, slower all around.
Good to walk this day, joking with postman,
laughs.
How many journey's like this to do
What then I wonder

23rd February 2009

Appearing like magic - rooks, many rooks
all in a line heading where?
On a mission, they know the way.
On and on they come in the fading light - surely that must be all
but no, here are more and still they come.
A mystery, another unique moment on the larger journey.
For them, for me.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Happy Easter


Well it's been busy, we are a bit short of staff this week and it is challenging to say the least.  Easter holiday weekend but I'm working on the Friday and part of the weekend, but I will escape for all day Sunday. The joys of working in a hospital.
In just over 3 weeks I have 2 weeks and 2 days of leave - that will be so good.  Hope the weather is nice. I want to get out in my canoe and have some great days on the water. Good for the soul.  Can you spot the canoe in the picture above? (clue - it's not on the water).

Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Journey

Awoke to find a better day weather wise but my mind filled with anxieties about work on Monday and my health. Couldn't seem to reach a more positive place.  So I went on a journey to get some advice and now I feel a whole lot better.
I still need to put it all into practice . Can I let the drama unfold and avoid getting caught up in it? Can I keep my mind focussed on where I want to be and let it all happen?
Funnily enough I was looking at some other blogs, using the next blog option, and came across one from a Yorkshire lass. She had some quotes on her blog that resonated with what I had found while journeying in a shamanic state of consciousness earlier today.  I have not used the technique for a while - find it difficult to quieten my mind to attain the necessary state since returning to work.
Any way the result is I am in a better frame of mind for today and hopefully for next week and beyond.  
I've been reading a book on Transurfing,  the techniques of which I am trying to incorporate into my life.  If it works it should help transform the way I perceive my world.  I have been told by some that it is just the law of attraction in another guise.  Can't get away from the law of attraction these days it seems!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Still a wet Saturday


Have I ever wondered why I can't focus?
 Yes. 
So what conclusion was drawn?
I have a frantic imagination with a strongly visual way of perceiving the world.  That is why I have been working on developing diary/journaling techniques to slow my thought processes down and get time to appreciate what I am feeling.
In this way I hope to develop a better understanding of who I am and how I can develop myself and my life experience.  To find harmony and peace beyond the wreckage of the mental trauma's I have been exposed to. 
( I used to draw and paint as you can see, but my mind will not rest long enough to create images such as these any longer.  I am not playing my flute or bass guitar).
Is it working?
I don't know, I really don't.  I feel at times I make a step forward but the old ways are so ingrained I probably can't see a clear path out.
As NLP devotees say " If you do something and don't like the results try something different until you do."
Sounds so easy but to try living your life differently and risk great loss takes courage and perhaps I just don't have enough of that any more.
Maybe I'll look out some old photo transparencies tonight and look into my past and just maybe get a clue to where my future might lie.

Saturday - rain.

Well it is not great weather for biking. So I will enter a couple of wee poems I have been meaning to record here.




Stress busting today
library erotica
Long hair all in black




Tattooed and dark hair
for me unattainable
she would taste so sweet




Burning as in hell
A long dark night of my soul
the sickness fights back




XT 600
Winding road mile upon mile
A meditation




Equinox today
We walk,Loch Maree in sunshine
Magic all around.




As if by magic
rooks on a mission flying
directly, somewhere




Sad little bastard
ranting and raving at me
Inspiring contempt

Friday, 3 April 2009

Friday Night

What a hell of a day - everything that could go wrong at work did, and I was hoping to start catching up today!! Not a snowball's chance in hell!
Glad it's Friday night, I've had a beer and now I can start to try and unwind.  It was a beautiful day outside today which made it all seem worse.  I hope the weather is better than forecast and I can go for a blast on my motorcycle tomorrow; that usually brings me back to life again.  There must be a better way to live but my job pays the bills and they don't seem to get any smaller or less frequent.
Major lifestyle change may be called for if I can only make the leap.  But where to?

Sunday, 29 March 2009

In the wood, well there used to be trees!




Out for a walk in weather more appropriate for March; back to snow after last weeks "summer" weather.

Went to a forest I used to visit many years ago; a dark intimate place full of spirit. Now the hillside is mostly bare on one side of the glen and is cut by large forest roads made for building the wind farm on the summit of the hills.
The place seems to have shrunk, the difficult routes following the small burns through dense trees now seem inconsequential when the eye can traverse the previously hidden places in an instant.

I walked up to the wind farm, bizarre roaring as the wind drove the turbines, a buzzard gliding down into the trees on the far side. An imminent snow squall approaching with spindrift rising. Time to leave for the lower ground; took a short detour to descend through a small patch of surviving forest. I found some of my old landmarks leading down through a dark tunnel in the trees, a small roe deer was startled by my presence, no one had passed this way for a long time. The trail was obstructed by many fallen trees and branches yet too soon I reached a dense tangle of felled trees and branches and open sky. I clambered over and through the tangle of dead wood and slithered down a 10 meter embankment to reach the new, industrial scale, forest road. Such contrast. I continued the descent and spent the rest of my time examining a new rock exposure created by the blasting for the new roads. Good exposure of well folded ?gneisose semi-pelite with pegmatite veins cutting through it. Beautiful rock with lovely banding. I must return despite the carnage at this site; there is still much beauty here a point accentuated by a male hen harrier flying past and the ravens calling above me.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Sunday Morning

It is a reasonable day outside today - should really go for a walk or a run on my motorcycle.  But - it is the last day of a weeks holiday and the anxiety levels are rising as I anticipate all the problems I will face tomorrow.  The stress and strain of my job takes it's toll.  At the end of 2007 and early 2008 I was off for 5 months suffering from burnout and high blood pressure.  The tablets keep the blood pressure in check but dealing with the anxiety and panic attacks was harder.  A work in progress you could say.  One result has been developing and intensifying my diary entries, hence starting a blog as a way of working through my anxieties and hopefully find a way to a place of grace and ease in this world.  Perhaps you too have walked this path and have created a better life for yourself.  I have decided to stop fighting the injustices of the world and focus on getting me better first.  Conserving energy and time towards healing.  I also intend to write and use Haiku's to converse with myself and with anyone who may be interested in this journey.  

Saturday, 21 March 2009


Hi hope you are all well, I've just arrived tonight and I hope to share some thoughts with the rest of the world out there. 
I live in the Highlands of Scotland and took the photograph heading my blog while out walking yesterday.  There is a Ravens nest, fantastic birds, on this particular chunk of gneiss.  
In the meantime take care and think good thoughts.