Tuesday, 17 September 2013

There's No Place Like Home

Glen Affric
Calgary Bay, Mull
I've been wondering what it is about a place that attracts me, or makes me feel I could be at home there.  One of my favourite walks on Rum is the old pony path to Bloodstone Hill - the track passes under the Mordor cliffs of Orval and winds around the top of Glen Guirdil and up to Bloodstone, where Canna is laid out like a toy island and the Outer Hebridies are  strung out in an ever decreasing series of bumps on the horizon.  There's one section of the path I particularly love for no reason I can pinpoint; it slopes down to a river crossing below a steep waterfall, then wends up and around a bend.  There's just something lovely about it, something familiar and comforting.
Harris Bay, Rum
I recently had a friend visiting who talked about past life memories unconsciously drawing us back to places we've inhabited before, either because we felt safe there or because something happened that we need to revisit.

 I'm not sure I have much time for past-life theories, but wonder if there's something within the sub-conscious or unconscious mind that recognises something in the lie of the land, the curve of a bay or a river bend.

Sango Sands, Durness
Driving north on the A9 where the road begins to descend toward Inverness, with a view of the bridge and the Black Isle beyond, the moray firth stretching out below, always felt like coming home.  It was one of the reasons I eventually decided to stop moving away from Inverness and to just setlle there (before I moved away again, further west).  There are other places that feel like home, though; some I only passed through once and noticed the gravity-tug of wanting to stay.  Some I return to again and again - yet I don't live in any of them.

Part of me thinks that if I could just find the perfect place, the place I can call Home, then I'll be happy.
Anywhere with a view of Suilven

Monday, 2 September 2013

Doing and not-doing

I have not been blogging.  I have not been meditating, practicing yoga, or running very much at all.  Apart from a short spate of munro-bagging on my holidays in July, I have not been climbing mountains.  I have not been doing any of the things that would have recharged and revitalised me.  I'm left wondering why it is that when I feel a bit down, a bit hopeless, I can't even muster the energy to do the things I know I enjoy.  I don't do them, and then I give myself a hard time for not doing them, which is hardly helpful.  It seems I'm not alone in this - I have been given a gentle telling-off by a good friend who also has a tendency to behave this way.  I think of myself as a thoughtful, self-aware person, and yet it took someone else to point out that I've been behaving in a thoroughly self-destructive way without even realising it.  

At some point I have become consumed by my job.  The lines between what's work and what's just being part of a small community have become so blurred over the past two years that I have completely lost sight of who I am, separate from what I do for a living. Life is too short for me to want to spend the majority of my waking hours toiling away at "just a job", but equally I don't want to feel the way I do right now, which is that I'm never not working.  

Things will change, because they have to and because now I understand what's been happening.  I need to re-establish some boundaries, go back to doing things for myself, take as many Time Outs as I feel I need.

I found this, by Thomas Merton, who was a Trappist Monk in America; it seems like good advice to me, and to my fellow Development Officers:
"Do not depend on the hope of results . . .you may have to face the fact that your work will appear worthless - achieve no result at all - or perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. . . .you gradually struggle less and less for an idea - and more and more for specific people... In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that will sustain you".

From now until the end of the year I will endeavour to write more regularly. Not about work, but about all the other big and small things that make up my life.  And mostly the things that make me happy or appreciative.  They are so easily overlooked.