The brighter eyed among you may notice that the title today doesn’t include “at home” – although I am [at home in Scotland], as I type this, and many of you are likely at home reading it. Perhaps leave a comment to say where you are at this moment?

And as you fill in the gaps in the following BrainDump, you might like to let your mind idle over whether the boundary between “at home” and “out there” has become more blurred over the last few weeks, as at least some of us make the difficult transition towards an unknown exploration of “the new normal” and post-vaccination freedoms. Freedoms that (for me at least) feel utterly scary after a year of being a Hermit.

BrainDump (if you are new to BrainDumps you might like to look at my 2019 writing exercise : threes of things, a fuller version of this)

Today I am [at this moment] …

Today I am not …

Today I wonder …

Today I wish

Today I worry …

Today I did not bring …

Today I intend …

Today I am grateful for

Last Tuesday I identified that I was becoming envious of some of my English friends who seemed to be partying from dawn to dusk, albeit in a distanced way. Dancing, visiting, going on long journeys in full cars or by train, eating out, forming new relationships, starting to attend classes,

And yet I was [trigger alert] shit-scared of opening up my home, and my heart, for renewed physical contact – even and especially with family members.

Which is rich, isn’t it, coming from a home that I have longed to share as a sanctuary, a creative retreat space, a schoolroom for life, a refuge from trauma and hurt, a place of soulfulness, easefulness, acceptance… a play space for inner children.

And coming from a person whose aspriration, even vocation (at last recognised) is to witness The Other with kindfulness , in all our humanity, in the midst of this messy, difficult business of being human, and to encourage Each Others (plural).

Starting with witnessing, encouraging, myself. Which has taken all my energy and stamina for the last sixteen months, years, quartets of years.

Anyway, work in progress, work in processing a lifetime of memories and patterns.

And part of the work was last Wednesday to invite a friend and her three-year-old to chocolate cake in the garden, and to receive my first hug for many, many months courtesy of two little warm and willing arms snuggling in close. I cried!

And to take an outing on the Thursday, which for the benefit of those who are not on Facebook, I am sharing again here:

I do love finding out the significance of wild nature beings who make their way towards me on Nature Medicine Walks, as you know.

Today after a much delayed annual health check at the Helmsdale branch of my GP Surgery, I chose to stretch my clipped motoring wings and to head into Caithness – the top right hand corner of mainland UK.

En route for Latheronwheel, in the rain, I went to my favourite cafe (the River Bothy at Berriedale … after a gap of 15 months) where I sat (in the tastefully converted Estate Laundry – my favourite room) with my Cullen Skink soup (and then delicious lemon and lime CAKE) socially distanced from a solo young man who clearly had been out walking – his ample rucksack was very wet.

I tried to behave myself and get on with writing in my Journal, but something (Puffin = Confidence?) pushed at me, and I made an opening gambit. You can do that when you are not far off 70.

Turns out I am over twice his age; he’s on the 69th walking day of the long march to John o’Groats, and supporting Marine Conservation Society.

And has been (like many of us) on a bigger journey with his inner being and life direction.

We had an enchanting, deep chat and parted friends, with an elbow-salute.

Later when the Tearoom Laundry got fuller (with seven bikers with large appetites) I moved over to where my friend had been sitting, and there was a Puffin drinks coaster just behind, in the gift display

.It was still raining when I finished lunch and headed for Latheronwheel Harbour, to sit with my ThoughtBook under the cliffs, as the tide started to turn.

And to pen some hopes & dreams.

When I looked up, the puddles were drying, so I spent a half-hour on the nearly pristine cobble beach picking up plastic and fishing line šŸ™ and looking (more happily) at the wildlife: kittiwakes, lichen, sea-thrift, red campions, may-weed, pied wagtails, black slugs, sea anemone, and a bumble bee.

According the the shamanic toolkit I am learning at thewayofthebuzzard.co.uk :

Wagtail for the gift of allowing Mystery; Slug for Flexibility (yoga class tomorrow to help my cronky back to emerge from a late winter); Bumble Bee for all that is Unconventional and delightfully Unexpected in my new life as a Scottish resident; and Sea Anemone – sitting like a sulky blob in an unexpectedly exposed spot – for Idling.

Idling in full view, blatantly wandering and meandering, doing not a lot but musing and dreaming, my favourite pastimes.Idling has its place in well-being.

Just spending a day of increasingly improving weather, doing nourishing, soul-nurturing things… Making friends and reinforcing existing connections; eating healthy food; being in close contact within community, all the while keeping my own safe boundaries (like the Hare = Freedom that I am); and being brave and relaxed with the driving (because the A9 shrinks down to a small, very bendy and up-and-down-y road that requires a calm nerve and a steady hand on the wheel).

And as I left the cliffs (two more human-chats later) to head back to Brora, in the woodland around the Latheron Burn was the glorious song of my Soul-Bird, Song Thrush, sharing its true Voice, and encouraging me to share mine.

There, I feel much better having got that off my chest, and offering it up as a mega-gratitude, extended appreciation exercise.

And as the title suggests, I also want to rabbit on (or Brown Hare) about intentions. And I shall try to keep this brief, referring you instead to this post from exactly a year ago, which towards the end has an exercise about choices, aspirations and intentions.

If like me you worked with that exercise in June 2020, it might be fascinating to look back at your Journalled Intentions as we approached the Midsummer Solstice last year – and to repeat the exercise this week.

Maybe incorporating it into a simple Midsummer Ritual, marking the high point of the track of the sun (in the Northern Hemisphere).

At the fiery golden South, in the Wheel of the Year.

As I shall do with my wise friends Nicola and Jason Smalley at The Way of the Buzzard, this year online on Monday 21 June and – who knows – maybe next year in a face-to-face wonderful circle, down (for me) or up (for many of you) in Lancashire, England.

With the members of that community, and of the The Way of the Buzzard Mystery School, who have been such inspirational soul-companions and friends over the last year.

Appreciation practice

~ for you to write your own, before mine

Today I am grateful for:

~

~

~

Today Iā€™m grateful for:

~ the opportunity to revisit parts of my life through my ThoughtBooks. A mixture of pathos, bathos, jaw, awe, sniggers, triggers ….


~ the prospect of further hugs, in my own good time, maybe with some of you, dear readers? Whoooppppeeeeee!


~ Katherine Grace McDaniel, Founder & Director of Synkroniciti magazine, for reasons