Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Christmas has passed, and I'm still following my personal star...Різдво минуло, а я все ще після мого особисту зірку. С Новым Годом,

Happy New Year dear friends around the world.   Over the years I've been writing this blog, 2000 of you in Russia  have read it, 2050 in  Ukraine, 8000 in the US, and thousands  more in many other countries.  How I  wish I knew who you were.

At Christmas my heart is pulled between South America, Spain and Scotland...I want to be here and I want to be there....

 in San Pedro Prison, La Paz, Bolivia, this Christmas Ivan Nogales 'chicos' perform for the 350 kids who live in the jail with their dads, then they had a wonderful  Chocolatada fiesta.   I wasn't able to organise our usual  community fund raiser...but an 'anonymous' friend donated 1000€, so the show went on!
for many people in Europe Christmas has little  to do with Jesus.
 for hundreds of kids living in severe conditions in the Andes of Peru Christmas is a Chocolatada fiesta, a mug of hot chocolate and a sticky bun and sometimes a little toy.....

in Europe many of us have the luxury of experimenting with recipes..
This year a great inspiration for the world  has been  Malala...
 and also  Dr Mads Gilbert....both have exceptional missions to complete
and another truly inspirational person in my life this year has been my young friend Merxe, the emerging professional  photographer...
Pope Francis is reputed to have said:
It is not necessary to believe in God to be a good person. In a way, the traditional notion of God is outdated. One can be spiritual but not religious. It is not necessary to go to church and give money — for many, nature can be a church. Some of the best people in history do not believe in God, while some of the worst deeds were done in His name.

According to  www.snopes.com he did not say this, but I think many of us  would agree with these words.
 there's been a lot to think about this year....
and as you can see the treatment is going well, and I am still being drawn by that star!
...Різдво минуло, а я все ще після мого особисту зірку.  С Новым Годом,  

   I wish you a wonder-filled 2015 where ever you live.
and finally...
“(For) last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."

(Little Gidding)”
T.S. Eliot


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Another new beginning.

Today my first chemotherapy treatment was a colourful mixture of many new experiences and strange sensations. Now home I’m little tired, a little headachy, bit of a sore arm, but otherwise fine.

The peace and calm I’ve felt thanks to all your healing vibes, is amazing. Thank you so much.
I had No Fear at all today, just some moments of dread when they told me they will have to  operate again.  They’ll have to put  another implant in my chest. The one they put in  last week has turned turtle, it’s useless. Bummer !

This  implant is mega important because it’s where they inject the chemo.  Today they had to put it in a small vein, hence ‘the bit of a  sore’ hand tonight.

Half way through the morning, after coming back from the loo, I fell off my chair and caused a crowd of nurses to swoop down on me in seconds. 

I felt like a goldfish trying to make sense of an assortment of staring, shocked faces. Then everybody laughed, and gently, 5 caring women hauled me back onto the chair !

Later a smiling  elderly volunteer called Jaime wheeled a little  red trolley in front of me, and gave me a tough bocadillo ( a large roll, no butter, with  a slither of local ham), and offered soft drinks. The bocadillo is not on the healthy diet , but I scoffed it seconds. And another one later!

Finally , we came home, and friend gave me a wonderful  Reiki session. 
So now we are snuggled in for the night. Tomorrow we go back for a repeat performance, but without the chair and the implant  ‘scenes.’ 

We =  myself and my very dear young friend Merche who has been with me through thick and thin since the beginning of all of this on the 4th of September.  Merche has many talents.  One of them is photography.

It was humbling beyond words to be alongside about 30 other folk today, all ages,  all going through the same challenge.  There was a sense of dignity among them which touched me deeply.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

A new chapter begins...

Tonight was another special occasion with two of the village children.  Nerea (9) it seems had never broken an egg. Maria (10) had never used matches. We arranged yesterday to make brownies together this evening.

Every stage was done with full attention, and lots of giggles. They weighed their hands, the eggs, the chocolate. While we waited for the brownies to cook we watched their fav music videos and sang along.

They poured the sticky mixture in little molds in the shape of rabbits. 

15 minutes later:
‘Oh dear,’ said Nerea as she tried to tip hers out, ‘a dead rabbit!’ 
‘Oh dear,’ said Maria, ‘another dead rabbit without ears!’ 
‘Oh dear’ said Maria, ‘not sure I like the taste!’

‘Never mind your brother will eat the lot.’ I said. 

Then we lit the candles, not sure why, but it seemed like a good idea. They were frightened of the matches, but delighted with the flames, and eager to make wishes when they blew the candles out. 

Sometime during the whole process Nerea, as ever totally spontaneous, decided to baptize me with a plastic spoon and some water. She made the sign of the cross on my forehead and announced:

‘Ok,’ she said ‘now all your sins are forgotten… or is it forgiven !!!!!’

A perfect beginning to a new chapter in my life.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Stop-Expecting-Too-Much-from-People, Mrs!

At the end of a radio interview when  69 year old , Jewish, Hungarian born Canadian physician  Gabor Mate was asked ‘ is there more love in your life now?’  he paused.

‘I think there is more space in my heart for love,’  he said quietly.

 I think  there is more space in our hearts for love when we pass 60. What we do with that space depends on lots of things.

And sometimes that space shuts down !

This morning I was deeply disappointed with our village doctor, again.
My heart door slammed shut.

There seems to be  a Berlin Wall  wall between us.
I cannot communicate with him without judging him, severely.   He speaks to me like I'm a teenager with many serious learning challenges.
I see in front of me an  arrogant adolescent with mother issues!

 LOL !! I thought I'd stopped judging people !!

I'm angry that so many folk in our village seem to suffer, month after  month, year after year. Yes I know the  difference between healing and curing.  A kind encouraging word can be powerful medicine.

Those who visit the not too far away faith healer do get better.
The whispered stories about her in the village are amazing.

I need the hip operation, so I have to follow the doctors instructions.

Oh that he would be a clone of Gabor Mate!

Comparisons get you nowhere Meg, thought your knew that?

So when I returned from the surgery this morning, heart pounding, but  tongue in cheek I Googled, ‘ What to do when somebody disappoints you.’

Wow,  was I in for a pleasant surprise.

Why was I so churned up about our mocking, cynical, smart- alek,  foreigner disliking,  bearded, 54 year old  doc who looks 74?

Because I had forgotten my ' Highway  Code for Living' -   Don Miguel Ruiz’s  4 Agreements.

Without fail , they always  get me right back on track - within  seconds.

Why did I lose the plot again  with Dr Don't Look Me in the Eye?  What happened?

I reacted instead of acted.
I took the  doctors (extreme) disinterest  in my 'condition' personally. I also made an  assumption he didn't care a  F*%*!

Don Miguel’s 4 Agreements:

Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Be impeccable with your word.
Just do the best you can.

So here’s what  Google told  me this morning:

Never expect someone to know how you're feeling, if you haven't told them. Many times we expect people to understand how we feel just by looking or talking to us. People's emotional landscapes are entirely different, so they should not be held accountable for something they were unaware of.

Shy away from self-help literature. While these books can be helpful for creating goals and positive thoughts, those goals can also be unrealistic. Few people are their "best self" every day, so take into account that everyone you interact with is often cycling through highs and lows and may not be their "best self."

Consult someone who you believe has realistic expectations of people. Perhaps they can explain to you how they form expectations of people. Try using their method in your daily life.

So.  Can I flip this around?  Drop the assumptions, zap the pride ( how dare he treat me like this), see the bigger picture, share with a  wise friend, see the situation as a gift.  What can I learn from this?

Is this not  the same man -  an  aspiring poet  who’d much rather be writing poems about his beloved Espana than be a doctor - who gave me 2 of his books  last year, inscribed and  personally dedicated ?


This morning it’s raining, it’s cold , it's gray and it's misty.  Just what the local farmers were hoping for !

The wet weather reminds me of my previous life in Scotland.  18 years ago my heart  was hidden under  a kind of  blanket addiction to  sadness,  all that childhood stuff,  all  my inherited Jewish/Irish ancestry heartache, bereavements, the list could  go on and on !.

The  soul  can never be a refugee Gabor Mate says. I love this man!  I came to the same  conclusion 14 years ago.

Gratitude for teachers like Don Miguel, Jesus, Buddha, Rumi, Ram Dass,The 12 steps, my south American friends,  in no particular order, inspire and relight the inner bonfire.

Time for a brownie and a coffee!

So here's  some candles  and pics for anybody  feeling disappointed with somebody this morning.

This too will pass.

Aren't we all wonderful ??

miracles happen.. yes  I know this is Photoshop !!!!!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66cYcSak6nE Dr  Gabor Mate Ted Talk.

http://www.futureprimitive.org/2014/01/a-scream-for-unconditional-love/ The interview I referred to with Gabor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_%C3%81ngel_Ruiz Don Miguel's Ruiz's 4 Agreements.

                                           Thank you Rachel for introducing me to Gabor.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Springing back to life -the 5th visit to the healer.

When talking about healing, words often get in the way.

Change  is such a mysterious process, isn't it?.

Spring arrived in Andalucia  yesterday,

and this coincided with my 5th visit to the  faith healer.  Her name is Pura, she's about 62 years old.  She wears a  red crocheted shawl and looks comfortable in her brown soft slippers.   She calls me  'bonica' ( lovely)  and carino ( darling).  She's asked me to paint a portrait of her husband.  Each week I go back  she's forgotten to look out the photographs. He used to be very guapo ( handsome) she  tells me. Can you paint him without too many wrinkles?

Healing  and curing are not the same thing....

yesterday, at her house, some real magic happened...

impossible to explain with  words...

 so I'm using images to explain the awe I feel.  Images speak to the soul... 
energy miraculously and mysteriously shifts in healing...

energy  shifted yesterday...

Gracias Pura, nos vemos pronto.

For six weeks, once a week, I've been visiting a healer in a tiny village not too far from where I live in southern Spain.  I leave at  5.30 in the morning in order to be there when she opens her door at 7.15.  She gives each person a number.  If you come after 7.15 you don't get a number, so you don't get to see her!  No exceptions, except  parents with babies and young children.  
If 30 people turn up at 7.15,  you could be waiting till evening. Each person gets about 15 minutes with her. People come prepared to wait. People are patient. People come from all over Spain.

I was hoping for an instant miraculous cure, but it hasn't happened, yet !!!!!!!!!!!!!  

What has happened though is a slow gradual feeling of wellness.  The constant pain in both hips and legs has gone, but still I'm seriously  disabled.  I walk uphill like a 101 year old!  I need both hips replaced, but in the meantime,  it seems the rest of me is springing back to life. Thank you Pura. 

You can paint me beside my husband she said. Not too big. He really was very guapo when he was young she added.
I look into her dark eyes and smile.

My next trip to  south America feels a long way away, but I'm confident, super confident I'll be back. 

Click on any photo to start  the slide show.

Doors, bird and boot photo thanks to Pinterest.  Flower photos mine.

Monday, 17 February 2014

A misty mysterious light.

Part 2 of visiting the healer.

At  around 5 o'clock this afternoon, a  misty mysterious light filled the valley surrounding our village .
My fourteen year old neighbor Angel (pronounced Aangh-hel)  had just asked me if he could put his baby  rabbit  beside my wood stove. He's dying of cold he told me. Of course I replied.  Joni, his cousin, sheepishly stopped firing pellets at my  pink flamingo garden sculpture.  He had temporarily tied it to the almond tree!

Aangh-hel disappeared into his dads  chicken  run and came back carrying the tiniest bundle of white fur.
It was stone cold.
I think it's dead.
I put an old towel on top of the newly lighted wood stove, then 10 year old Adrian joined  us in the kitchen. Joni,  having taken the flamingo out of the tree,continued to enjoy firing at anything metal.  He's 17. Then Merche arrived.  She's my cleaning angel, cousin of Aangh-hel, also cousin of Joni.  She'd come to  finish a little bit of painting she started the other day, the day I went to the curandera (the healer).

'Put it (the rabbit) next to your skin,' Merche says, 'under  your shirt, not on the  wood stove.'
Aangh-hel  raises his jacket.
 'It's dead.' she says.
 'No it’s not.' says the 14 year old.
The baby  rabbit disappears under layers of clothing.  Joni knocks on the  door.
'Your dad wants you. Hurry.'
Aangh-hel leaves.

Can we make brownies  Adrian asks.  'Ok,'  I say, 'actually I was just about to make them.'
 Adrian loves to cook and loves to eat.  We start to make the brownies.  Meanwhile Merche paints the patches where the rain flooded in last weekend then joins us in the kitchen.

She shows Adrian  photos of her wonderful adventure yesterday, to which I was invited, but didn't go..  With a friend and  4 children ( including her own 5 year old son)  she hiked towards the semi derelict  village of Bargis, clambering over  the  almond blossom clad mountainside to a  special, secret location  There  they made a  fire and cooked chicken, pork and  sausages..  They  climbed trees, told stories, played cards, and came home six hours later exhausted but happy.  Merche talks to Adrian  about the adventure with great respect, as if he were an adult.

Aangh-hel slides back into the kitchen.  'He's alive.' he tells us, grinning, his eyes bright..  'My dad’s got him by the fire.  He's Ok.'
Then I notice  a  misty mysterious light filling then lifting itself above the valley.  Merche also notices it and photographs it. ( See last pic).

Since the visit to the healer  life feels a little like the mysterious changing light outside.

 Everything in the valley in front of my village house is familiar, but with this different light, it looks different and feels different.  It’s almost like seeing it  for the first time.

Photo of Alcázar by Merche.

At  the healers house on Friday I had a feeling of the ‘mysterious’.  Well, you wouldn't be there if you didn't believe there’s more to life than  work and sex and food  and holidays and winning the lottery, would you!.

However, things with her didn't start off too well.. I annoyed her. I arrived 5 minutes late.  I sat in her chair, she pointed to the small  stool.  Despite all of this, there was something mysterious happening, I was certain. sure. When I left, apart from the donation, I gave her a gift of a tiny bag of strong smelling lavender.   She loved it.   I’ll put it in my wardrobe she said.  Bring me more next week.

Why was I late after waiting an hour in my car ,so close to her house ??
Aha !! Well…I would like to explain this to you in Spanish .. because I just learned the perfect  Alpujarrenan expression for this today.
 Bueno,  !estaba tarde porque me cago por la pata abajo, in other words,  tenía descompasición por los nervios !!!!

So,  I had to  go rushing hunting for a bush, which meant I was not there when she opened the  door to  give me my place- no 4 on the list- remember ? Yikes, she gave me number 20!!
She was very annoyed.

Now I was not going to confess in front of the group of about 16  people assembled all around her in  the waiting room,  that  I'd had to run out of the village  to find a bush, extremely urgently, nor could I find the courage to say I’d been sitting there in my  car since  6.30am .

No  20! Oh God I thought, I will have to wait all day.

‘You have to be here when I open the door.’she said ( to get your number).
 ‘Oh '’ I said ‘I didn't realize.’
Then a very kind woman who must have seem  me  rushing/hobbling round the corner chipped in, and the result was my ticket was changed for no 8.  This meant a wait of only 5 hours.  As soon as we got our numbers  almost everybody  disappeared.

Everybody who came out of Pura's shine/healing/ room  came out with a  smile.  Myself included.  Apart  from what transpired between us which I think needs to be private, she prescribed  some  herbal medicines, and an ancient practice of putting  a slice of prickly pear  heated in the oven, on the painful joints.

My  80 year old  neighbor Maria  told me this is what her mum used to  do when she was a girl.  My joints feel calmer, my legs feel different. I am still hobbling, but, like the mist this afternoon, I have a sense that something's changing, moving, transforming. Big word transforming.

  How?  Why? That's the mystery.

Words  don't hit the spot, but mystery always does, for me.

Photo by the multi talented cook photographer writer explorer cleaning angel Merche Martin, this afternoon.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Her name is Pura.

Yesterday , at 5am, I left my village and drove though the inky darkness with the  full moon beaming over the mountainside.  At 6.30am I arrived at my destination and for the next hour, sitting in my car, I waited and wondered. It was cold. It was still dark. What was going to happen?
Shadowy shapes occasionally  moved inside  other cars. Am I imagining this ?  The church clock chimed  raspingly every quarter of an  hour.   My name was written on a piece paper  pinned to  the brown  wooden door of the house behind me: Margarita 1. There were three other names before mine, and  six  after.

Every now and then, a vehicle swung round the side of the  church.  Dazzling headlights  momentarily disturbed the stillness  of waiting.  Turning 180 degrees the new arrivals  drew up behind me stopping beside the small ,two storied white house with 101 flowers pots outside.  In threes joined together,the chairs sat empty, impartial, and old. It is very unusual to come  alone I was told later.

Bargis. Photo by Merxe.

Gradually dawn peered around the far end of the tiny Andalusian village, a soft orange light, a mango mixed  with cream color.  It  swelled quickly over the  old  clock tower and  the empty vegetable patch below it,  revealing the beauty of  one of  many magical villages here in  southern Spain.

We are all here to see the curandera - the healer. She will open her  door at  7.30am,

her name is Pura.

'Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.'
Saint Augustine.

I'm here to ask for a miracle.

New title  pic by Merxe Martin, others, by me .

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

New Year without Internet

Sometimes we need drastic measures to get things into a new perspective.

... sometimes a good laugh is all that's needed....

 ... another Christmas has passed...

... time to start dreaming again...

and feeding body and soul with love....

Happy New Year friends.

Alczar has been without Internet for a week,  I've been without internet for 3 weeks.  Quite nice!