On 100 days of meditation

I bought this book, The Secret of the Golden Flower, at the beginning of last October as I read something which implied that the book had set someone off on a transformative adventure. I thought I wouldn’t mind one of those myself, so as soon as it arrived, I bumped it to the top of the reading list. To be honest, Jung’s commentary aside, I couldn’t understand a lot of the actual text: it is very esoteric and requires a base knowledge of Chinese Buddhism that I do not have. Nevertheless, the author/s recommend that people start off committing to 100 days of meditation and I figured I could do that much at least. The last time I tried seated meditation was when I lived in France. It was excruciating: I could not still my mind at all, and it was physically painful to sit in the cross-legged position for more

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The promise

[I wrote this earlier this year for a writing competition which I got nowhere in. I still like it, so I am posting it as my final story of the year.] You are standing on a cliff overlooking the sea. It can be any cliff, any sea, but for me it’s a Scottish cliff and a North Sea. The wind is whipping around your head, but it is not so cold that it hurts: it is a rejuvenating kind of wind. You have been here before. It is a place you come when you need to think, when you are burdened with a melancholy that you need to set free. You stand for a long time like a sentinel—seeing but not seeing, watching but not watching, hearing but not hearing—allowing the wind to move through you, carrying away the heaviness until the thought beneath is revealed. Here, there is so much

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The deposits

[This was written for the Curtis Brown Creative Writing Bootcamp from the prompt “It was hard to believe it would ever rain again”. I had 45 mins in which to write it, and it has only been mildly cleaned up.] It was hard to believe it would ever rain again. How could the earth ever find more of it, for starters? It had been non-stop for the last 467 days and now… nothing. It was eerie, almost. Disturbing. Destabilising. People were coming out of their homes, tentatively raising their arms before them. Cars had stopped in the street, drivers’ heads craned out of windows. People looked up at the sky and then at each other, baffled, bewildered, and yes, perhaps a tiny tinge of fear. What might come next? No one believed the deluge was truly over, and they turned their gaze to the sky, fearful of what might come down

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My new newsletter

I’ve decided to move into 2015 and start my own monthly newsletter. You can sign up here. It will contain synopses of the previous month’s posts, links to three things I currently love (1 book, 1 piece of music, and one ‘thing’), and also a quote which has enchanted me. You can thank me later. Other people would probably just share these things by social media, but I’m obstinate like that. 🐂

On being a woman who walks in the woods

I went into my garden this morning to sow some wildflower seeds that I have gathered over the summer, and found this forest of mushrooms fruiting. There were loads all over the place, and it made me feel quite happy. It prompted me to post some pictures of the cool mushrooms I have seen these last few weeks on my hikes. I am still obsessed with hiking. I am doing around 20km every weekend and don’t know how I lived my life without this practice. I finally know what I want to be when I grow up: a woman who walks in the woods. I have been walking alone, in the main. I realised that group walks are not for me the day that I was in the New Forest and the people ahead of me had squashed a large amount of stag beetles as they walked and talked. No one

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