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#Advance and Retreat

Image courtesy of flickr.com

 “Not to give up under any circumstances should be the motto of our life: we shall try again and again, and we are bound to succeed. There will be obstacles, but we have to defy them. So do not give up, do not give up! Continue, continue! The goal is ahead of you. If you do not give up, you are bound to reach your destined goal.”
Sri Chinmoy, The Jewels of Happiness: Inspiration and Wisdom to Guide Your Life-Journey

There are times when it feels almost impossible to find out why things happen the way they do. At other times the steps you’ve taken to reach a point can be all too apparent. It doesn’t always mean that either scenario is palatable.

Several months ago I determined that I was going to push myself to my limits – and beyond, in order to help with our move, relocation to Queensland. The aches, the pains, discomfort, at times the agony and tears were expected. Not always palatable but, “I’d signed up for this” so I was aware of the possible consequences. In fact, they weren’t possible but probable consequences of suddenly throwing a body, already reduced to what felt like a meagre existence limping through each day, into what was, beyond mere normalcy when contemplating the workload of packing and unpacking a household.

Since then, and our move to Queensland, there has been more of the same. Yet along with that there was also a greater sense of achievement. Here I was after so many dreary pain filled months, achieving more than I had for such a long time. My decision to make my body work, like a normal body would, in ways it had been unable to without a great deal of pain meant I would have to accept the natural consequences. The achievement, the sense of purpose made the pain and tears and discomfort worthwhile.

As the old saying goes, “I paid in spades.” Yet, to me it was well worth it. I was doing something worthwhile. That sense of achievement long missed was a heady drug which helped me feel a little stronger, a little happier and much more contented as each day passed. Such are the things we measure our successes by.

#Advance and Retreat

image courtesy of howtoraiseyourvibration.blogspot.com

I have yet to find a straight road in life. In fact, I sincerely doubt there is such a thing as a straight road through life. Each road is meant to have its bends, uphill, downhill, roundabouts and the usual missed turns which send you back the way you’ve already been. I believe it’s the way we are meant to learn our lessons. Often not simply learn them but by revisiting them, ensure we really have learnt all there is from that learning experience. Cliché’s abound for this, “Two steps forward, one step back” and “Advance and Retreat” seem the most appropriate right now, and yet, that is what life is all about.

The occasional hiccough, the down day or days when things seemed to pile up and that wonderful forward momentum trickled so slowly by, came along with the rich positives. My ever patient husband was my strength and support to help me through and a very dear friend was always ready to offer sage advice and cheer me up. Just sweeping those dark clouds away helped enormously.

 

So What Happened? Well, Life Happened.

 

I needed one final visit to the “No longer Lyme doctor” to get my Genetic Genie result explained. I decided that after going to all the hassles of getting the wretched thing ordered, completed, sent away and the long wait for the results that I might as well find out what it had to say. Learning about my genetic structure seemed a fair recompense for all the pain and heartache over the past fourteen months. In reality, it seemed ludicrous not to get something valuable from this learning experience I had been given. It was also immensely intriguing. Mind boggling but intriguing.

#Advance and Retreat

image courtesy of http://www.crystalinks.com

Then he beat me to the gratifying punch line. Rather than being able to tell him I would not be returning to see him again he jumped in and said he didn’t want to see me again! Hmpf! It was, in retrospect, an odd way to put it, but the end result was the same. However, before I could say, So long, it’s been good, but”…..I was whisked into the Naturopaths office, deluged with a tonne of information and the adjuration that I needed “X,Y and Z” to correct the enzyme breaks shown in my genetic coding.

Now I’ve been through the hoops a time or two and I know how my body reacts to a great many things, especially dietary and medicinally based items. Several rather stressful episodes in the past few weeks had seen my friendly ulcer begin to act up and the attendant gastric reflux rear its burning head once more. It’s no fun at all feeling as though you have a vat of boiling acid churning inside your stomach and flowing upwards to burst out of your throat like an enraged Mount Etna! Upsetting but it was something I could get back under control with a little rest and meditation.

I did tell the Naturopath all this, explained in great detail since they seem to think you have no idea what you are talking about if you are not graphic. I explained – decisively, that anything not in capsule form would act like a gigantic irritant wreaking havoc on my stomach. I mustn’t have been clear enough. My powers of description must have deserted me since it was apparent she failed to believe me. Did I really care that these things were supposed to help my stomach and ulcer? Not if they were going to feel as if I were dying in the process.

The lowest ebb if my day is early morning at present and I was supposed to toss this vile concoction down my throat into an empty stomach to start the day. I love liquorice, but this vile stuff is not liquorice flavoured at all – it’s a pale imitation, a foil on the very word designed to befuddle and cloud the senses. Feral, foul and disgusting.

One week later and I feel too wretched to get out of bed. My throat is raw, my stomach in turmoil and the thought of a drink, not even food, is palatable. Add to that the almost indescribably migraine… what was I contemplating? This strange thought keeps circling my mind like a shark through bloody waters….”Why?” “Why did I do this to myself when I was beginning to feel so much better?” I have, yet again, paid an obscene price to once again poison myself in the name of getting well.

#Advance and Retreat

image courtesy of academyoffood.blogspot.com

Frustration, pain and anger, not a good mix for a stomach in turmoil. Nothing to show but a return to the nightmare and another email suggesting a garlic cleanse (eight whole cloves of garlic swallowed with water, no food for a day and febrile reaction, followed by a coffee enema). PLEASE.

NO! I’m sorry, but enough is enough. I’ve done everything I was asked to for fourteen months only to learn it was all for nothing – I don’t and never did have Lyme disease. I warned you I couldn’t tolerate this kind of natural “stuff” and what would happen and you didn’t listen, just pedaled your potions. A day in bed contemplating the next step has seen me decide that a polite but firm email is all I need to do. I am retiring from medical experimentation.

I’ve reached my place of clarity. I’ve had my hard-won taste of a return to normalcy. It was painful but it was an achievement of being able to act like everyone else. I’m not ready to take even a small step back to where I’ve been. There will be other ways to “fix” anything which may need fixing but not at the expense of my sanity and health. After all, what is health? It’s being able to live, laugh, move, do the normal things of life without pain and agony. It’s feeling loved and being loved and being able to love life again. Slowly but surely I am reaching that beautiful place and I will get there, without needing to pour copious amounts of money into someone’s pocket for pills and potions.

#Advance and Retreat

image courtesy of healthsaints.com

“A quitter never wins-and-a winner never quits.”
Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Welcome back health and harmony.

 

I will Advance only and Retreat no more from this battle to be all I can be.

 

Blessings, Susan ♥

© Susan Jamieson July 2014

 

Postscript:
I admire and applaud all those who work in a health or alternate health capacity. What works for one may not for another and vice versa. I have recorded my feelings and responses to what I have been through and whilst they are true for me they may not be for another. I pray for good health for all people, including me. 🙂

 

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If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be?

At present I’d have to say “Steep dangerous descent and Beware Falling Rocks. I know that’s two but that’s about right at the moment.

#ShareYourWorld

image from http://www.gadling.com Which way to miss the falling rocks?

When you are with your friends, do your interactions include much touching—for example, hugging, kissing, rough housing, rubbing backs?

I’m not into the grandiose gestures seen on sporting fields these days – I feel it I a tad childish. I’m a touchy feely person by nature but then I’m also reserved. I have few friends from childhood or school (read none) and I don’t think my Senior would have been happy if I went around hugging and kissing everyone when I was in the police. Jeez, the question is loaded – my husband and I do Reiki, no rough housing there, everything has stages.  Now I need someone to rub my back 🙂 

#ShareYourWorld

image from http://www.dailymail.co.uk     Back slapping and hugging but no kissing I fear!

 

Would you like to have more of this? (Note: the answers may vary depending on where you live on this wonderful planet.)

Do I want the whole world to come knocking on my door, rough housing and rubbing my back? I’d probably toss them out with a helping hand for being a pest. I like my space and I’m happy to share it with people who ‘feel’ right, but it’s not a given. I love my children tho they are now adults and I have no grandchildren. Hugging, kissing and rough housing with them may be the order of the day but not yet. Do adults with a normal IQ and not sports ‘fans’ rough house amongst themselves?

#ShareYourWorld

imge from mg.co.za                 Lots of hugging and rough housing but if there is kissing in there I don’t want to know!

What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $100? 

At the moment we are really into the energy of crystals so…. I’d have to say that would be my choice and making sure I had some to donate along the way.

#ShareYourWorld

A small part of my crystal display

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week was so full on I didn’t have a chance to breath – not good. I’m grateful we got a head start in looking at a house which turned out to be great. This coming week – recuperating from overdoing things and planning on moving.

 

#ShareYourWorld

image from blog.extraspace.com   Packing – Moving – Shudder Argh!

 

As you can see I am not a rabid sports fan, but I can appreciate that others are. So this week I get to take the mickey out of the sporting bum huggers and back slappers. 🙂 My apologies for any bruised sensibilities.

Once you life the lid surprising things can come out.

Blessings, Susan ♥

© Susan Jamieson 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#Shareyourworld

image from artelartlivejournal.com

 “Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public.”
Paulo Coelho

 

Do you believe in extra-terrestrials or life on other planets? 

#ShareYourWorld

image from mensajesfedgalacticayashtarcommand.blogspot.com   Our Pleidian ‘cousins’

Without a doubt. I can scarcely believe that we, human beings are the most advanced species in the Universe. We haven’t yet learned how to stop killing ourselves at every twist and turn, nor how to love and cultivate our own planet. Give that, I find it dubious that “we” are the only species to be able to travel the vastness of space, and let’s not forget, space is a lot vaster than we have yet to travel.

So, in reality I feel we are fairly low on this totem pole and there are other species who can already travel, with ease the vastness of our Universe, and communicate with others. We would be in a pretty pickle if we found another sentient species – reduced to something akin to hand gestures. Or are we so full of our own pomposity that we expect them to speak in our language?  

What type of pet or pets do you not want to have?

#ShareYourWorld

image from http://www.news.com.au In Cairns, a Golden Orb spider tries to eat a brown tree snake.

Snakes, spiders, ants, bats – anything that creeps, crawls and slithers or reminds me of Vampires!  If I had to make a choice I’d take the Vampire over the bats, I may become the eternal undead, but I wouldn’t have a disease which kills anything it touches – oh wait, they do, don’t they. Still, Twilight reigns!

If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?

#ShareYourWorld

image from http://www.momto2poshlildivas.com Rainbow coloured heart shaped crayons

Purple is my hue, but then blue is too. We were given a rainbow for a reason…. So we could have all those beautiful colours, so I’d have a rainbow crayon which changed colours as you used it. Like a variegated crochet cotton.

What type of transportation would you be? Why?

#ShareYourWorld

image from http://www.caranddriver.com The unparalleled Maserati Quattroporte S

A Maserati Quattroporte S,  because they look so darned hot and the speed…..“I feel the need, the need for speed”. Thank you “Top Gun”.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

#ShareYourWorld

image from naturalhealthwarriors.com   The power of the mind.

Last week brought me some wonderful personal insights and growth… yes I’m being mysterious since it will be part of my blogs to come. I’m also grateful to the many WordPress bloggers who share my blog and their time. It is always a pleasure and has grown to mean something  special.  This week, I’m looking forward to getting the ‘go ahead’ on the new house we’ve just seen. Exciting times ahead, I’m sure of it. Your thoughts and well wishes that we get this house will be greatly appreciated, since I’m sharing my world, I invite you to be a part of mine too.

#ShareYourWorld

image from lifecoachingwithang.com    Intuition!

From the mouth of Alan Alda, and of course my favourite blue hue, and a butterfly as well. Now, that’s appreciation!

 

Another peek at me 🙂

 

Blessings, Susan♥

© Susan Jamieson 2014

 

 

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#Shareyourworld

image from artelartlivejournal.com

“The power of getting to know one another is so immense, eclipsed only by first getting to know ourselves.”
Bryant McGill, Voice of Reason

~

If you were an ice cream cone how many scoops and flavours would you be and why?

I have to admit that where ice cream is concerned, because I have so little of it, when I do my inner child comes rushing to the fore and so I really enjoy myself.

I love the waffle cones, there is something really childlike about trying to get around the cones and stop the ice cream from escaping. Since the cone is so large I’ve found two scoops more than enough, but I manage somehow to finish it all. Flavours, at the moment (and I’ll be honest and say I had an ice cream just a few days ago), I really enjoyed the white chocolate and macadamia vanilla ice cream and teamed that with the boysenberry ripple. I just love the boysenberry flavour so it’s a winner hand’s down.

Of course having a deep red/purple ice cream with a white one makes for some interesting inner child at work time. All I will say is thank heavens all those little serviettes come with it.

#ShareYourWorld

image from en.paperblog.com –

Are you left or right handed?

I’m right handed, always have been and never felt the inclination to try left handed except when I’m trying some automatic writing. It still looks more like an angry gerbil has scrawled across the page but I’m hoping for some improvement.

Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?

This is such a loaded question. If I’m on an information hunt I’ll have as many questions prepared as I think I need to cover the issue. I’m sure I may have driven some poor sales people to the brink of insanity but “them’s the breaks”.

If I’m about to tell someone what I think of them – because I’ve been on the receiving end of bad service, then I definitely don’t rehearse. I’ve found my creative juices flow and I’m wonderfully pithy and can shred the unwary with little effort. I even feel sorry for them occasionally.

If I have no idea who may be on the other end then I have a range of one liners to ditch them quickly if I have no reason to be pestered, but if it’s family then it’s time to let the loquacious beast loose. (My Mum and I used to talk for hours at a time and never noticed the time passing, and we could do this every day).

#ShareYourWorld

image from footage.shutterstock.com

How many rings before you answer the phone?

Psychology again. If it’s a return call and I need to read the riot act it’s always good to let the phone ring a little before answering. Yes, I know it’s cruel. However, most of the time I just want it answering as quickly as possible. I have yet to find a ring tone I really want to sit and listen to.

#ShareYourWorld

image from doggysstyle.wordpress.com

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I got my new computer last week and think I may have ironed out most of its peculiarities (fingers crossed, cross your eyes and spit into the wind). That being so I have to now get Skype set up so I can get in touch with my Bestie who is not well at the moment. (That’s fingers crossed and a nod and a wink to the powers above).

I hope you’ve enjoyed the light hearted approach to this week’s answers. It’s good to let the inner child out to play occasionally. You never know what might happen.

See you next week.

Blessings, Susan ♥

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.”
Audrey Hepburn

~

Would you prefer a reading nook or an art, craft, photography studio?

Anyone who has seen my previous posts will know how much I love books so it would come as no surprise to know that I would choose a reading nook. After saying that I would have to add that it would need to be a very large ‘nook’ or I would never be able to fit all the books I already have in it, plus leaving plenty of room for more.

Despite all the doomsayers telling me that print media is on the way out, I still adore the smell of a new book, the fresh print, the crisp pages and the delightful sound of a book opening for the first time. Yes, that’s me, a book lover!

#Share Your World

image from images.businessweek.com – Can you smell all that ink?

Would you prefer the TV in the living room or another room?

Ideally I would prefer to have the TV in a media room. Having said that we don’t always get exactly what we want the first time around. Working from home takes a lot of room, mainly because we both love stationery and office paraphernalia, so depending on how large a home we have – we may need to succumb to a smallish media room and as a last resort the living room.

#Share Your World

image from certifiedpropertyrestoration.com     Too cosy – No!

What colour would you like your bedroom to be?

I’m repainting my bedroom in blue or shades thereof. At the moment I really like a beautiful shade of aqua I’ve seen which I can get mixed up. Failing that I can go into blues and compliment things around that. It’s such a peaceful shade (either aqua or blue).

#Share Your World

image from http://www.mrkate.com              Yes – I could sleep here!

Would you prefer a one floor house or multiple levels?

No contest here, definitely a lowset (one floor) house. Being able to sit in the living room or library (nook) and look out the window to watch the wild life is really relaxing and I’m all for anything which allows me to relax whenever I like.

#Share Your World

image from http://www.mustdobrisbane.com            The beautiful Ormiston House.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful I was told I may not have Lyme disease, although it’s a double edged sword since we’re back at square one trying to work out what is going on. Now that is frustrating!

I’m looking forward to seeing a house we’ve seen on the internet. If it ticks all the points we may be moving. New house – definitely the way to go but the physical act of moving – oh no, what a bummer!

#Share Your World

image from chewychunks.wordpress.com Thankful for life.

Another corner lifted 🙂

Blessings, Susan  ♥

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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#Pushed to the Limit

image from ogdenutahcriminaldefense.com

“Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

There are times when, irrespective of how much you try to do otherwise, you fly off the handle. These episodes are usually preceded by periods of intense pressure, things not going according to plan or life generally not playing out the way you hoped. Colloquially they are called “knee jerk’ reactions. They are usually regretted almost immediately as soon as the blood cools down sufficiently for coherent thought to return.

If, like me, that cooling off can be fairly quick, most of the time, it leads to a great deal of soul searching and castigation for behaving in a manner which isn’t liked. However, many times the damage has already been done. Trying to set things right is quite often impossible.

All my life I’ve been told I should behave in certain ways. I was “better than my protagonist” and so held to a higher standard.  “I knew better than that” and so should have controlled that impulse to retaliate.  When you are placed on a pedestal and expected to live up to everyone’s perception of who you are, it can be extremely difficult to find the real you.  You may not even recognise the‘real you’.

#Pushed to the Limit

image from cstl.semo.edu

There have been times, over the years, when that pedestal has rocked alarmingly as I tried to keep my footing living up to so many other people’s ideas of who and what I was. Can you imagine how difficult it might be to understand what you want in life when you are so busy living up to someone else’s ideal? The saddest part of the situation is that it all begins with the best of intentions.

Hard as it may be to understand I was a very shy and quiet child. Head down and mouth closed so I drew as little attention to myself as possible. Yet all the time I was trying to live up to firstly my parent’s expectations of me and later my first husband, my work colleagues, my brothers, and then it seemed everyone else. Everyone had this idea of who I was and how I would respond in certain circumstances.  My first husband had a whole list of ways in which I was allowed to behave and respond that I hardly knew who I was. Sad, pathetic but true. The fact that I did respond as they expected, because it was expected, simply cemented these thoughts in their mind. Sadly, very few of these personas held more than a grain of the real me.

Not wanting to disappoint anyone it was easier to continue to play the roles I was ‘given’. It was safer in one particular area to follow the ‘rules’ than to face the consequences. At the same time I was able to hold down responsible positions, firstly as a police officer, later as a bank official and mother, school chairpersons and so on. I wasn’t actually hidden away where it may have been easier.

Realisation, when it seeped in was the beginning of the real humiliation. Knowing I had been this milksop of a person when I could think, had opinions and could do so many things was quite devastating. The fact that my husband was a police officer meant that I had nowhere to go and no-one to go to. Who would believe me over a serving police officer? It simply didn’t happen, not when the domination is psychological and emotional.

It is still hard for me to write these words, to accept them as reality and realise what I allowed myself to become – a doormat. I was a slave programmed to perform to command. I can never look at a woman in a domestic violence situation and condemn her, man, woman or child in that situation because it can be started so insidiously that it is too late by the time you realise. I was a slave to my ex-husband’s drive to achieve financial stability. The fact that he failed to support his children after I left, usurped part of my settlement and told the children it was theirs, all added to the ongoing manipulation. He is still doing this to my children, though they are grown and through them he is doing it to me because he knows they are the only way he can reach me.

#Pushed to the Limit

image from paulissakippisms.com –

Why have I told you all this. Because if it happened to me it can happen to anyone and if someone reads this and recognises where they are in this cycle and can get out, it is worth my embarrassment. If it helps someone reach out, to me or to someone else it is worth the embarrassment. I am tired of allowing him this hold over me. I am taking my life back, all of it and I refuse to allow him the space in my mind, in my life ever again.

This is real. It can happen to anyone, at any time. Please, if you recognise someone who is drowning under this type of treatment, offer a helping hand. Tell someone in authority and help them before it’s too late.  Life is a precious gift and shouldn’t be destroyed by insecure bullies.

#Pushed to the Limit

I am a woman, flesh and bone, heart and soul.

“Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.”
Shannon L. Alder
Everyone has the right to respect, like breathing, take it away and the soul dies. – Susan Jamieson

Blessings, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from www-josephinewall-co.uk

The drive to the Ben Gurion airport was straight forward. For the rest of the tour group it was with mixed feelings that they were leaving. We had seen so many delightful things, the history and the way of life in Israel. For me, it was just a hiatus.  After the tour was concluded I was coming back to Tel Aviv for a further two weeks, I wasn’t finished with Israel yet.

What a difference having a tour guide made at the airport. The speed with which we were ushered through the checking in process was awesome, until it ground to an unseemly halt. Both Mel and I were selected to have our bags thoroughly checked out. Why were we chosen? I have no idea. Well, one, we were the only “single young females” in the group. Perhaps rifling through our underwear was part of the thrill of travelling overseas? Finally through we had our tickets, instructions that we would be met at Cairo airport and we were off on the next stage of our adventure.

#In Search of..Airports and Cairo

image from http://www.timesofisrael.com      Searching for the smallest thing

We traveled on Egypt Air this time and the plane gave the impression it might shake itself to pieces before we arrived in Cairo. No-one was inclined to walk around the plane this trip! However, it didn’t take long before we were landing and lining up to go through customs. The tour official who met us was a strange man indeed. He had a high pitched giggle which seemed to pop out far too often. Definitely not a laugh to make you feel comfortable, and then it all began again.

Mel and I were pointed to as we lined up with our luggage. No, they didn’t want to go through our clothes, this time they wished to search us! Much pointing ensued as we were hustled over to two semi partitioned cubicles where the ladies were searched by female airport security staff.  I’m sorry to say I was attacked by the humour of the situation and had an attack of the giggles. I don’t think the very stern looking, short and fat female security ladies found me amusing. At all!  Prodded and patted and twirled around, the prodding and patting down continued and then out came the wand to be whirled up and down our body. I nearly choked in the effort to stop laughing. If it hadn’t been for the tour official running around, his high pitched voice clearly audible where we were, I think we may have been retained a while longer.

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from www-demotix-com. Egyptair

Finally released, we collected our bags and made our way through the airport, at speed, towards the bus awaiting us at the kerb. The bags seemed to be dispatched at greater speed into the bowels of the bus, as we were hurriedly ushered inside. Then came the most amazing lesson of all. Transport in Cairo.

I should explain that the main entrance into Cairo, from the airport, had six lanes, three each way. We are all fairly familiar with the road system, whether we drive on the right or left hand side of the road. Nothing however, could prepare anyone for this. The three inbound lanes became six! Two vehicles per lane, and it made no difference whatsoever how large either vehicle was. Pedestrians scuttled madly across this hurtling, screeching, nightmare of metal to reach either the centre of side of the road.

#In Search of..Airports and Cairo

Egypt, Cairo traffic

Stunned silence enveloped the bus as we watched these kamikaze pedestrians risking life and limb to cross the road. Sensing the quiet the tour official popped up out of his seat and said, in his high pitched giggle, “Not to worry, they’re made of rubber, just bounce if they hit the cars.” I’m not quite sure what was more astounding, that people ran across the road as they did or that this person seriously thought we would believe people bounced off them if  hit. Well, they do bounce but it’s not very good for them when they land. The honking of horns filled the air as we made our way to the hotel.

#In Search of..Airports and Cairo

Tourist entrance Cairo Marriott Hotel

What an incredible transformation. We were staying at the Marriott. I know I felt awkwardly under dressed for the reception. Opulence greeted us everywhere we turned. I simply wanted to find my room, bathe and change into something more respectable. Somehow jeans and joggers didn’t seem quite right amidst the gilt and grandeur.  For the first time the group was spread all over the hotel. I was in the far wing, far enough away to need a map to get back to reception, and of course, I got lost in the labyrinth of the hotel. Thank heavens for bell boys.

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

Cairo Marriott Hotel and Casino

Mel and I had decided to buy water for our trip and so had arranged to meet in reception after we had time to get our luggage into our rooms and felt a little more respectable. Perhaps it was due to the fact that my room was in the far wing, but it took an age to get my luggage up to my room. In fact I was waiting so long I had time for a coffee and Mel called to find out if I had a problem – Um mm yes, my luggage hasn’t arrived.

Buying water at the hotel was exorbitant, plus they only sold small bottles. We wanted to stockpile sufficient to take us through our Egyptian sojourn. The instructions to reach a shop, outside he precincts of the hotel, were simple. We needed to go down through the rear of the hotel to the “tradesman’s entrance”, then cross the road and turn left, and the shop is on the corner. Simple! Yes?….. No!

Uniformed bellboys, ushers and waiters were delightfully helpful. We found the rear entrance, or should it be exit, with no problems. Then we took a good look at the road. Three marked lanes and six, seven lines of hurtling metal, all heading past us. We noticed, just one of those strange things which happen at these times, that there was not a single vehicle which had even one panel without a multitude of dints in it. I have never seen a more motley collection of vehicles which looked as if they should be heading for the wreckers, and ‘they’ apparently thought pedestrian were made of rubber!

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from http://www.theguardian.com                  Running the Gauntlet

Taking our courage in both hands and a large serving of insanity, we charged across the street during a slight lull (a one car space) and reached the far side. The shopkeepers and their customers came out and looked, some clapped and the car drivers all honked their horns, and waived at the two crazy western women. Laughing we looked round for the shop. No, it’s not here. Wait a minute, right across from where we were standing, back where we had just come from, was a little shop with a sign out front indicating water was sold there. It seems our guardian angels were looking out for us.

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from http://www.non-competes.comWater! The ice would have been nice.

It appeared the road we needed to cross was the driveway to the hotel, on the same side of the street. They really didn’t want us buying water outside the hotel. We looked at each other and then at the once more speeding traffic.  Suddenly, one of the other pedestrians strode out into the maelstrom of speeding madness and held his hand in the air. The universal signal to STOP! We cringed, waiting to see the inevitable happen, or if he would ‘bounce’. With a screech of many brakes the traffic stopped, every single car stopped without hitting anything. We hurriedly crossed to road to the sound of good natured calls and waves. Waving back we reached safety back where we started five minutes earlier.

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from caieg_phototour149 Promenade, Cairo Marriott Hotel

Buying our water supplies we headed back to the hotel. We decided a cup of coffee and a short respite was in order before we explored a little. We were served coffee in beautiful gold embossed china cups and a Turkish delight that melted in your mouth. Life was wonderful and a short while later, refreshed and glad to be alive we set out to explore the hotel.

Blessings, Susan x

Next Week  – Sandstorms, Light Shows, Poverty and Riches.

© Susan Jamieson 2014

In Search of….Part 14

In Search of…Part 13

In Search of…Part 12

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Spirit of Christmas

image from http://www.josephinewall.co.uk “Snow Flake” #spirit of Christmas

“Christmas, when observed with the right spirit, still has the power to call miracles from Heaven to Earth.”
Richelle E. Goodrich,   Smile Anyway

Spirit of Christmas

I’ve let myself down this year. More than this I’ve let everyone else down. I lost the spirit of Christmas.  After meditating for a long time to gain some perspective, some equanimity to look at everything I’ve made some remarkable discoveries.

  • As well as an existing back/neck problem which has seen me ‘confined’ for long periods I finally discovered:
  • I have Lyme disease and a host of companion diseases to confront.
  • From being “flat on my back” from the injury now I’m “flat on my back” from the medication, most of the time
  • I have been challenged to re-define my approach to the spirit of Christmas
Spirit of Christmas

image from caixinhadepirlimpimpim.blogspot.com

I found that I had allowed my existing beliefs about who and what I am, my beliefs about “how” Christmas should be and my role in it, the very spirit of Christmas, to push me into a position where I was severely depressed because I could not meet these expectations. What was more devastating was that I allowed this to almost ruin Christmas this year.

Spirit of Christmas

image from http://www.superstock.co Remember – if you were naughty you got coal in your stocking?

I have found, with the help and support from my husband and some very dear friends that this does not have to be my reality at all. The spirit of Christmas which is so important to me is still alive within me. Whilst this may sound such a simple thing it is, in itself, incredibly profound.  Anything which alters your perception in such a manner is life changing, if you allow it to be.

I found:

  • I have pain, at times intense and unremitting pain, but it does not define me, it is not ME
  • I have some nasty bugs running my internal programs but they do not define me, they are not ME
  • The lack of support for the spirit of Christmas I have always held as a family tradition is not defined by the presence of others, they are not ME

Most importantly I have found that:

  • I am a unique spiritual being having a human existence, my spirituality is not affected by any pain I might suffer, I am ME
  • My unique spiritual  being is not the zillion bugs attacking my human body because I am ME     and
  • It is my spiritual being which creates the magic, joy and belief in the Spirit of Christmas because I am ME

Such a simple and profound statement: I am ME.

Knowing who and what you are, is something which people search for their entire life. I have not found the full scope of Who, and What I Am, but I am content that I have found the ME who is here, right now.

I have always known and accepted I was a “work in progress” since that is the purpose of my spiritual presence here. I simply forgot that changes in the lives around me, which affected my own life, did not change my purpose. I had to learn how to adapt to those changes, to learn something new perhaps, but I retained the essence of who I am. I can retain the spirit of Christmas within me.

I am so grateful that this incredible appreciation has arrived now.  I have been struggling with my meditation but today I found it was there all along.  I have welcomed it back with so much happiness that it feels as though a great light has been re-lit and a beacon now shines in the place of the darkness the depression had enveloped me in.

Spirit of Christmas
“Beacon of Light” walking into sunshine  Spirit of Christmas
  • I am celebrating Christmas Day with my husband, our first alone together and it is going to be uniquely special because we are together.
  • I am celebrating Boxing Day with my son and his girlfriend, a first, which is another uniquely special occasion.
  • I will see my daughter when I can before New Year’s Eve, and I am grateful I can see her then. Whilst she cannot be here “at Christmas” she is here in spirit, in my heart, which is all I need at the moment.
  • Most importantly, my parents, Mum and Dad, will be here in spirit. I miss them more each year but I now know, beyond any doubt, that they will be with me as I sit at my dinner table with my husband eating our Christmas dinner.
  • In all of these and many more the spirit of Christmas I rejoice in is alive and well within me.

It may be the first time I have been ‘alone’ on Christmas Day but it will also be the first time that I have been able to put aside the crushing loneliness their absence brought – even if it is just a little. It makes it a little easier not to have my family physically with me at Christmas when I have always believed that family and the spirit of Christmas were synonymous with each other. I have no idea when or why that changed but since it has and I cannot turn back the clock, I have to “move with the times”.

As the saying goes, “life goes on”, and it does, whether we will it so or not. Whether it hurts or not, life always goes on. It is a spiritual lesson our human selves must accept. When we do, life isn’t as bad, even if just by a little.

Whilst my family may be moving in other directions, as their lives change, then so has mine. Now I have a wonderful and loving husband who spoils me, not just on Christmas Day but every day. As our love grows it encompasses all the changes which occur.  Our spirit of Christmas is alive and growing each year.

Spirit of Christmas

image from twu.ca

When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.”
Bob Hope

When so much seemed to have been taken away I looked and saw that I have so much to be grateful for, a family who are strong and capable individuals, who care enough to want to be around, and a husband whose love will wrap me round and always keep me safe and warm.

The Spirit of Christmas – what a wonderful thing to be grateful for,  I know I am. I hope you are too!

Blessings for a wonderful Christmas with the Spirit of Christmas alive in your own hearts.

Merry Christmas,  Susan x

© Susan Jamieson, 2013

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In Searcdh of...Jerusalem

image from www-josephinewall-co.uk

It’s taken a while but I’d like to explain why I use this image for each of my entries “In Search of”, The simple reason is that the title of the work is “Spirit Elements” and it seems fitting for my story. I hope you like it a much as I do.

Once on the coach at the Dead Sea Hotel we traveled through the Hebron Valley towards Bethlehem. After many calls and ‘agreements’ our guide had been given the all clear for those of us who wished to go into Bethlehem, to do so. It was explained to us that it would be our own decision and no responsibility would be held by the tour operators. Since Bethlehem was inside the West Bank, a Tour Guide from inside there had been arranged and he would look after us whilst we were there. There was still a set protocol to be followed to visit Bethlehem. At the time it seemed slightly odd, from the perspective of hindsight it was a trifle more ominous.

The tour bus driver was allowed to drive up to the West Bank access point, whilst the tour guide had to exit the bus a couple of blocks before the checkpoint.  The driver had been given instructions that he was not allowed to leave the bus under any circumstances, although we were not totally aware of the magnitude of that little statement.

Arriving at the checkpoint I noticed the high concrete wall around three sides of the ‘square’ and the shapes of armed soldiers along the top of the wall, all carrying machine guns! An ominous start. The access area looked, for all the world like a cattle grid, or the gates at the entrance to the Brisbane Exhibition grounds. Once off the bus the driver left immediately, and we were on our own. We moved towards our  entrance. There were swarthy looking characters watching our every move. It was increasingly tense as our every move was carefully watched.

At the other side we were met by the West Bank tour guide, Ibrahim. We later found out that the real tour guide was Ibrahim’s son, but since the recent conflict, the tourism trade had been badly affected and he had therefore decided to take the tour himself.  After the time we had spent in Israel it felt like a different world completely. The buildings were, for the most part, covered in steel grills and the windows or glass in the doors was papered over also.  Everything seemed dustier, the people less cheerful and much more aware of our presence. We were escorted to a restaurant for lunch and had little option but to order something. We were not leaving until we had eaten! We saw Hezekiah’s tunnel, the Church of the Nativity and spent some time being closely scrutinised in a large square in front of an official looking building.

The ‘tour guide’ seemed to disappear into the surroundings as we reached the square and we were left milling around wondering when he was coming back.  Finally, he strode into our midst from within a group of soldiers. We were hustled up the street quickly. The very unfriendly looks made for a tense atmosphere. At one of the unremarkable doorways we were ushered inside. It was a souvenir shop which appeared to sell religious knick knacks of a huge number. The women in the store had coffee, sweets and savouries which they pressed on us at every opportunity at no cost. We had been told that as soon as we were ready to leave we should ask the tour guide to radio ahead for the bus to be at the check point to pick us up. The driver was allowed ten minutes to be at the exit and collect us so timing was critical. However, despite being asked by more than half the group our tour guide was in no hurry to allow us to leave, in fact the door had been locked and bolted – for our protection! It soon became apparent that unless everyone bought something from the shop – which he owned – we weren’t going to leave any time soon.

After a hurried discussion we all bought a small trinket and the guide called for the Israeli bus. We made our way back to the gates under the watchful gaze of the locals and a soldier or two. I am rarely uncomfortable when out and about but it was with a very odd sensation between my shoulders that I made my way through the exit. The Israeli bus was a very welcome sight. We drove several blocks away and collected our Israeli guide, which is when we finally learned of the tension surrounding our visit to Bethlehem. If we had known I doubt that as many people would have gone.

From Bethlehem we drove to Jerusalem. It was such a strange transition, driving through lush countryside after the drab and desolate surroundings inside the West Bank. I am not making any criticism of the area, either the people of the place, yet I can say with all honesty that the only time on my trip I felt at all uncomfortable was whilst I was inside the West Bank.  The air of “something about to happen” was very real.

Jerusalem was yet again a completely diverse mix of modern and ‘ancient’. We saw the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives. Nothing was as I expected, probably from too many movies. We, that is Mel and I, had an exciting trip to Ben Yehuda mall to find a new suitcase for me. Pulling an empty suitcase over a paved or cobbled area was hilarious. We were so hungry we stopped for Schwarma in the mall. The looks we got were priceless and watching the flow of people as we sat there was enough to write fill a novel. We managed to find a nifty little store that was crammed with everything imaginable and I bought a few laugh a minute items for my children when I got home.

On the way to the hotel   we stopped at a little coffee shop. They were really nice letting me drag this large suitcase inside with us. We had the most delicious chocolate mousse filled with hot syrupy chocolate. It was so delicious I could have scrapped the plate clean!

The next day we set off for a tour of the old city. We walked from the Western Gate to the many churches and the ‘birthplace of Christ’. There was so much to see and not enough time. We stopped for a while at the Wailing Wall and walked the length of the Via Dolorosa, the “Way of the Cross”.  Stopping at a sidewalk café for drinks and something to eat seemed surreal and at the same time so ‘every day’ that I wondered if I was just an observer in a strange land.

After an exhausting day we went back to the hotel and, being the first two in the business centre, Mel and I hit the computers to write home and keep a running diary of events.

The next day was spent exploring further and a haunting visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial. It was impossible not to be moved by the enormity of all we saw.  Mere words and photos cannot really do our time in Jerusalem justice. It could easily fill a small book.

The next morning we packed up and the bus headed for the airport at Tel Aviv, the Ben Gurion airport for the next leg of our tour in Egypt. But first we had to get through customs!

All around us was so much history, it was impossible not to try to capture as much as possible so we could have our memories with us later.

It was a beautiful and challenging visit. The two sides to the same coin, but the differences were so great. After the tense and uncomfortable trip to Bethlehem, it was difficult not to make judgement calls….. rightly or wrongly, we were all glad we were in Israel. I felt I had been protected, and I also felt that ‘we all’ would be safe. It was good to have an angel on my shoulder.

I hope you have enjoyed this…. previous chapters are located throughout the archives. Please use “In Search of..Part “..” and you can catch up if you need to.

Next Week –  Airports and Cairo

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