Monday, December 20, 2010

Happily chagrinned

Before turning my light out last night, I sent a late-night note to my friend, Nicola, who lives on the other side of the hill from me and whom I'd anticipated seeing and celebrating yesterday. . . (It was her birthday last week and she'd arranged a Sunday evening gathering in the park below her house; white lights, white food, white clothing. . . ). 

I didn't get there in the end, despite the fact I'd been looking forward to it, had hunted out a white ensemble and done some white baking. In my e-, I wished her a Happy Birthday and then I added the (absurd) comment, 'my life's not my own at the moment; it's a wriggly creature, intent on not staying within the lines. . . '

My life's not my own? What a shocking thing to say. (I do know better - what on earth was I thinking?) 


Nicola sent her post-party reply just after 2.00AM. She's a Sagittarius, thoughtfully succinct. . .
'Dear Claire

Thanks for your message.

Your life is always your own!

. . . "

Yes. Yes. And yes. Every step of the way, it is - and thank heaven and earth it is so; and people and plants, star dust and dust motes, fireflies and stinging wasps, knots and silk threads, onions and bunions and all else that's part of the mesh. . . We know these things, but from time to time need reminding. Thanks, N. 


  1. Perhaps both statements are true, Claire. Ours to choose but not always ours to direct.
    Are you wearing and eating white today, for fun?

  2. Hi Pen - lovely to think of you right there, right now; each of us stepping through the computer's 'thin skin', across a threshold, into a shared moment, a liminal space.

    I might wear white today, yes. Why not? Something interesting might happen because of it.

    Light and white makes sense ; ).

    And yes, perhaps both statements are true - ours to choose, but not always to direct. . .

    Thanks, Pen.

  3. I know there are moments in my life I'd rather not claim as my own - unfortunately they are for all their lessons wrapped in between their toes. there always seems to be powers out there that guide the circumstances of our lives. We have control and we don't. But what always remains is we each see the world only through our eyes, in our breath, in our bodies.
    It is good to have such friends and their reminders when we unknowingly reach out to them. That is what they are for in the end.

  4. Sadly, I've had many moments when I felt I couldn't go to the celebrations (wedding or funeral) that I wished later I'd gone to....something was wrong and I couldn't bear to be at that occasion... I wished I'd had a life where I felt free, safe, encouraged by my self or circumstances to go...
    take care..

  5. One should never make excuses.

    Happy Christmas.


  6. '. . . We have control and we don't. But what always remains is we each see the world only through our eyes, in our breath, in our bodies. . .' Dear Rachel, I hear you saying we are co-authors of our scripts, not solo authors? I think of it as drawing the map for any given territory as and when we find ourselves standing in it. We are at once prepared yet taken by surprise? I can generally appreciate and accept this about our journey, but sometimes it feels as though the ziggedy-zag of it all just might upset the apple cart! You're right, though, it is very good to have friends who draw us up or back or towards the things we need reminding. L, C xo

  7. Dear Melissa
    It's wonderful to find you out and about, blogging and commenting again. Thank you for coming by.
    I wonder whether we need to be kind to ourselves about the times we can't physically - or emotionally - 'be there' for this occasion or that. More and more I believe there are ways to be present that go beyond turning up in the flesh. Sometimes I think that might be a more potent way to be present? Absence need not necessary mean we are absent? I wish you peace about the occasions you haven't been able to make it to. Especially when not being there was hard for you. Take care, too, dear Melissa.
    L, Claire

  8. Hi John

    One should never make excuses? Hmm. Yes and no. It depends, I suppose, on how one defines the word 'excuse.'? After all, there really are times when life delivers up more than feels manageable and when it is important to step back, to say 'thank you, but I'm unable to do this right now' or 'thank you, but no thank you'. . . or when it's simply necessary to reign oneself in. I believe you understand how this can be; how, sometimes, despite our best intentions, things come along to play havoc and trip us up.

    I hope you are well? My best to you as ever - and wishes for a Happy Christmas, too.

  9. We certainly didn't make the apples fall from the cart, but I think it is our choice then to pick up the apples or to leave them. But only of course when we are ready. There is a period, a very important period, where we must sit and be still and watch and breathe and cry and throw things.
    Your drawing a map reminds me of a quote from the Joni Mitchell movie I just watched last week. I'm going to butcher this, but it went something like: "Joni wrote the map while she drove."
    I feel we do that a lot.
    Take care of your heart. Baths and tea and chocolate and art help me a little sometimes.
    Sending love.

  10. Claire,

    I see your point. Thanks.

    Happy Christmas to you too, and thanks for everything you are.


  11. Dear John
    I'm glad you came back and do wish I could still come and visit you. Sigh. But, so long as you are well - I did so enjoy hearing you read and am sorry that 'real life things' have meant I've not been able to get back to sort out why I couldn't upload your recording of 'Tunnel'. Do keep in touch? I have appreciated our blog-conversations this year.