Carpe Memento Mori

I previously mentioned the shelved image that stepped aside to let the Architect’s Hand slide into being… Working titles of dancers? Death dancers? (Though now officially named as per this blog post title). As I pulled this image out for the day, I smiled as I thought that it was number 13 to be written about… Then smiled some more as again the Architect’s Hand had queue jumped and shoved Death into 14th place… Death becomes Temperance. It amuses me though I can’t explain why.

It was an image that I was unsure of… Did it fit? Should I let it live or die? I threw the casting vote over to C…

“Bloody hell… that’s hardcore! Yeah deffo keep it in.. there’s always a scary one in a deck … it’s kind of Kali like x”

A thumbs up from C channelling Caligula… OK, you live! 

I’m at a loss now as to where exactly in the process this image appeared. I entered “death” into the search bar and it seems to pervade most every postcard… So, instead of pinpointing the origin, I opted to pluck words which felt ripest today.

C is a much more organised scribe and probably could locate the birth of death… But here are snippets from her notes.

Jera 13.09.15 Discussion Of course we talked about sex. We talked about someone on facebook claiming to be a shaman and arguing about someone else not being a shaman but never leaving their computer and facebook. Creating a disturbance so that people are drawn to your page. ‘Why do you feel the need to bang your drum about being a shaman’. You’re gifted the title. Sitting on FB isn’t the same as doing it. We talked about Bruce Parry and tribe – about the personal connections he made with people and that he is probably closer to a true shaman. We had a conversation about race and national characteristics. We talked about the fighting blood of our island race and death before surrender as opposed to characteristics that are less ‘fighty’. We talked of self-hatred and how it comes back sometimes – about having your heart cracked open. Emotion and projections.

I find myself smiling as I recall that Jera is the 12th rune… Jera – Harvest…

12…13…14… All engaged in dancing around and inbetween each other, soft shoe shuffling… Le Batelur moving 3 cups… Cherchez la Femme Fatale… Is your number up?

I ponder on why death has become sanitised and shoved out of sight in modern times… Why we value length of life over quality of life… Why we don’t observe fully Quality of death… Maybe that will change?

In current climes, I hear homesick 20 year olds with heavy hearts wondering if they will see their grandparents die or if grandparents will see them die… When did we fall into assuming that Death respects or even recognises a natural order to life…

In ignoring death, we take life for granted… And in taking life for granted, then we risk a life unlived, which I guess is just Death by another name… But a much less sexy version! Carpe Memento Mori Seize Remember Death

Architect’s Hand

Today my manager rings and asks if I can just nip to Bristol. I ask ‘When?’ and she says ‘Now.’ I’m more than delighted as a 300 mile road trip with my favourite person (me 🤣) is plenty of thinking time to mentally write up that D. O. card that’s been waiting in the wings. I think about the above image and during the course of the journey, memories and thoughts weave in and out of the tunes coming from the radio… I recall blogging about the card a couple of years ago and comparing it to the Ace of Swords… I cannot remember the name of the post… I have vague memories of it being about making editorial cuts and ruthlessly killing off ‘precious’ ideas that didn’t have true strength… Of returning with critical eye to see other merits that weren’t immediately apparent at the conception… I wonder if I’m drifting into another D.O. card that currently has working title ‘Sparta Baby’? Probably? This Oracle seems to be what a Statistician may describe as continuous rather than discrete data… No clear cut off point between one card and another… My thoughts turn to an old fieldtrip journey, a very earthy vision, grubbing about between the roots of a tree. A Norn asked me if wanted a sword or a spade to dig a big hole but I chose my hands. My logic being – ‘They’re easier to clean and harder to take off me.’. I got a voice echo from something that came from background TV noise a few days ago. The context escapes me, but the words that returned were something like – Yes you can use a blade to kill, but you can use a blade to heal. A surgeon cuts to heal. You can use a blade to butter your toast. Kill, heal, butter… A blade is a blade it doesn’t care which… That made me smile and think about card readings… In my hands, if I so chose, I can take those pictures… I could if I felt so inclined, butter you up… I could maybe prompt some kind of healing or I could just slay you… My mind flashed back to I’m not sure when. It must be a good while ago as it took me back to a tarot fb group and I ditched all of those many moons ago. My problem is, I see something in a newsfeed and if it strikes me as funny then I slap on a punchline, completely forgetting that it’s out there in public… Too many times I’ve accidentally landed in a forum, thinking I’m having bants with a pal… So, this one day, whenever it was, I saw just one line – ‘Tarot cards are dangerous’ Without thought, I type ‘People are dangerous’. Then the fb nonsense began. A complete stranger to me, decides she’s going to school me… ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about! Tarot is dangerous!’ I stand my ground and I think I made a flippant remark about yeah papercuts sting! She upped the ante and just for good measure started to tag in her buddies… ‘Tarot cards ARE dangerous! We’re not talking about fluffy oracle cards here. Let me put it this way. Tarot cards are electric knives, oracles are butter knives. I wouldn’t leave my child alone at the breakfast table with an electric knife but I would leave him with a butter knife’ She tags in more of her buddies who I don’t know. God knows who see is trying to impress but oh man… She’s brought in an audience and my inner cunt is awaking as I feel the mic drop coming on… ‘Oh, thank you! Now I totally get it! Though if I were you, I wouldn’t leave your child alone at the breakfast table. If he has your brains then there’s a good chance he’ll poke his knife into the toaster… Butter knife, electric knife… I’m pretty sure once in the toaster, the result is pretty much the same Boom!’ Yup… Tools sure are tools… Thoughts drifted back to the Ace of Swords and then in turn through each of the other 3 Aces. In all 4, the hand looms large. Sure there is power inherent in each element but the true power lies in the hand the weilds… Returning home, I decided to rummage through notes… What did I originally write about this card? “The Norns have been really dicking me around… could not for the life of me get Dancers to land… have a really weird image that I’ll shelf for now… may make more sense later… tried a couple more and wax just refused to co-operate… so eventually… I said – OK! What do you want me to see? This came out… it feels to relate back to that earlier session with the what do you want to dig with? Spade or sword? And I said hands… This image appeared and Norns laughed at me! Oi! Goofball!! Pick up your sword!! You’re not supposed to dig down into the dirt… DISRUPTION… take action! Pick up the sword and create an opening!! Cut yourself free and walk out… lol I think that is funny in relation to sleeping beauty… don’t lie there waiting to be rescued… be your own hero… ” I smiled as I remember my working title of “Awaking Beauty”. I decided to rummage further and unearthed some of C’s notes… “Journey five 26.01.16
  • Hagalaz (disruption) – Kenaz (opening) – Wunjo (Joy) With Berkano (birth) underneath Kenaz .. Ingwaz (Fertility) and Sowelo (Wholeness) on the sides.
…… The door opened out into a room where a man was at a drawing board. He was using the rune, Kenaz as a set square to measure something out. He kept thinking he’d finished and the Norn kept slapping his hand, saying ‘take your measure properly’. It happened a few times. ‘Go back measure it properly’. He eventually held the rune, Wunjo, to his chest smiling. He knew he’d got it now. The Norn smiled too. Colours exploded up like fireworks.” I smiled and made the editorial decision to put the pun title ‘Waking Beauty’ back to sleep and officially title this card “Architect’s Hand”.I think that’s a glove that’s a much better fit.

When Magicians Meet

Mystereum Magician

My intention this morning was to move on to another card in the D.O. The card has been chosen, the story lags behind and tells me it wants another day to brings lines into order. I decided OK, let’s take a break but then this story from 2 years ago today appeared in my time line memories and it’s a story that often makes me smile and so I thought I would share it here.

I read cards for very many people in very many places and every so often things happen that you know you’re going to remember for a very long time and smile often about… tonight was one of those nights… So I’m reading at launch party for a new business office and I notice a guy who keeps peeping across the room. Eventually he comes over to the table and says- ok… I’m curious… what do you do? I tell him I just make up stories and he laughs and says great, that’s what I do for a living too! I hand him the deck and he pauses and says… yes…I’m very curious, I’m curious about the cards but I’m also curious about you and I wonder what you can tell me before I turn over the cards… Hmmm, I say and I smirk as I see the way he instinctively shuffles and his hands move without a downward glance and the cards dance into graceful glides… I say… ok… you’re either a poker player or a magician… what’s your hustle? He laughs and tells me that he used to do card tricks so I challenge him to amaze me… He fans the cards and tells me to pick a card…pick any card… look at it, memorize it and put it back… He leads me through elaborate rigmarole until ta dah! IS THIS YOUR CARD! Why yes! Yes it is! 🤣🤣🤣 I then take him through his first ever tarot reading and he’s completely fascinated… his P.A. is sat next to him and he turns to her and asks her what she makes of it all… She laughs and says omg she knows more about your life than I do! He looks at me and says… you know… I thought this was a parlour trick but there’s something to this… what’s going on? I laugh and say I told you… I make up stories… He says yes but this is my story! How do you tell MY story? Ok… now keep this a secret but magician to magician, it really is very simple… I just found your cards… 😘

Flying Kites

These birds flew in, alongside Dear Heart and Burning Beau. I remember thinking there was something a little off about them. Why Kites? They were very distinctly Kites in my journeyed vision, Red Kites with distinctive forked tails (though the V appears to have got lost in the waxing)… and that felt strange against the backdrop of the Bifrost Bridge… Kites? Why not Ravens? Surely this is where Huginn and Muginn brought word?

Back down to ground and returned to the real world sat with C, our field chat turned to free associations… And kite strings…

Oh! Strings! That’s what ties these 3 together! Our trio is a power c(h)ord! The Bard’s musical strings, the Archer’s bow strings and kite strings… We laughed as we noticed that the card we’d pulled for the day was Temperance… Strings, all examples of perfectly balancing tensions to get the right results, be it notes or goals… Without tension nothing works, notes won’t sound, arrows won’t fly and kites will disappear over the horizon or fall to ground…

Turning back to kites, we thought about the link between heaven and earth and how you have to keep your grip… I recalled a time when a kite whipped itself out of my hand, searing pain as nylon cord burnt a shortcut through the flesh of my pinky finger… How sad I was to see my kite whoosh away, then the relief that I wasn’t still holding it, as it found its way into wrapping around powerlines…

We agreed that sometimes it’s painful to let go but not as potentially fatal as holding on…

I thought about the phoneline job that I’d recently quit. I hated that job! It’s very rare for me to full blown hate. Sure, I rant a lot but that’s blowing off irritations soon forgotten… Phoneline readings, I thorougly bloody hated. I’d stayed in that job much longer than was good for me, justifying my insanity, by calling it a safety net, something to fall back on… But what kind of self-sabotaging lunacy is that? Staying somewhere you can’t stand to be? That’s not a safety net, that’s a tangle of knots you need to drop free of not back on!

Strings… Tension… Harmonies… Discord…When to pluck on and when to fuck off…

I look at this card these days with new thoughts… The Rainbow, I see it everywhere… It’s become a symbol of our NHS urging us to Stay Home Now in this flipped around world. In a world where pubs and churches are closed, the NHS has become deified… The only socially acceptable gatherings right now are the weekly 8pm doorstep claps for the carers. The NHS is our sacred cow that must not be slaughtered… In this topsy turvy world, it gives me wry pleasure to drive through one of the most bigoted areas of my town, an area filled with knuckle heads, jingoism, and St George’s flags, now banner waving for the NHS by culturally appropriating the Gay Pride flag and I wonder if they realise… But Gods bless the NHS, the only one thing that politician’s can find that unites all sides against one common corona enemy…

But back to Kites… Red Kites… They used to be far and few between and the best chance of seeing them was to go to North Wales. Then, a breeding program started in Rutland and the boom began and the Kites began to spread out… They’ve winged their way to one of my secret sneaking off routes. A scenic route which if the clock is on my side, I can detour, take in some views and still get back in time for duty. Sometimes I think to myself that it’s a good day for flying kites and I’m going that way anyway. Screw it, if I’m 10 minutes late. With the gab I have been gifted and odds are that I can talk myself out of trouble…

So some days, Kites soar and so does my heart! My heartstrings played to perfection as my own little peace of heaven comes down to earth…

Let’s go fly with kites! Where will you fly today?

Burning Beau

This image in the D.O. formed part of a trio that came through together in a single journey. Burning Beau, was accompanied by Flying Kites (most likely my next post) and Dear Heart (as met in previous post).

In many ways Burning Beau felt to be a counterpart to Dear Heart. His image forged through fiery heat and melted wax, her’s flowed through watercolour… Her waiting, him roaming… His driving rhythm a counterpoint to her song. Burning Beau a hero returns.

Affectionately and privately my pet name for him is Sag Rising. It may or may not be now visible in the image but on his belt, a buckle carrying the Sagittarius constellation. It amuses me that his jubliant stance reminds me of how it felt to go from birth time unknown to diagnosis of Sag Asc and the air punch I gave as suddenly Astrology, the clock that had always failed to click for me, tick tocked into life and made sense of my ‘anomalies’.

But back to this Archer, with crossbow rather than longbow…

Above him, 3 runes. At the time unschooled, I saw them as a signpost, Harry Potter’s scar and a pathogen. That seemed quite ridiculous at the time but 5 years on as the world’s direction is being pointed out by the seeking of magical cures for Covid-19, I wonder if it was a premonition?

Looking at the runes now with new learnings:

Nauthiz – the need fire. When I first came across this rune name as being ‘need’, I thought about it from a position of poverty… Further thought and it becomes ‘What is needed now?’ This translates in my mind into resourcefulness, necessity is the mother of invention… Adaptability… How can I rub my twigs together to get this fire started?

Sowilo – Sigil… Sun… Success… How am I branded? How do I shine?

Othala – this is oft referred to as the homeland but digging back into word origins, takes us to the Anglo-Saxon word ‘Aethling’, meaning ‘prince’ or ‘noble’. Returning to the homeland… A return to your spiritual nobility?

Which is all probably a long winded way of saying what James Lane Allen said succinctly:

Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.”

What do you think?

Dear Heart

During lockdown, my house is filled with myself, Mr S, and 3 of our brood. We’re all absorbed with our own little things going on in our own little universes. Sometimes ripples sound out from theirs into mine… Daughter asking if I have a spare sketch book? Middle son drumming out beats, other son and Mr S noodling out riffs. Sometimes the TV gets left on and words seep and filter through my daydreams.

I’m not sure if this is a quote or not, nor whether I repeat it correctly. Peep Show was on in the background and words caught my attention – There’s no such thing as great History, only great Historians. Mentally, I added the words ‘and the greatest Historians are bards’. My mind flooded with an image from the D.O., the Venusian looking lyre lady above…

I wondered what she was singing. I felt her sounds ripple out… Across battle torn lands… Songs of Heroes, Songs of bittersweet sorrows… Histories recorded to be sang down the generations…

My mind switched back to my recent conversation with a passenger “Why are the sad songs the best to sing?” I mused on it and thought how strange it was that you can sing a song so often and get the lyrics wrong… How your mind skips or changes words… Hmmm… Maybe the music of Bards was not about passing on stories but something else…

This morning, work was a very early start. I sat in the carpark contemplating my route… Hmmm… Sure the temptation to cannon down an empty motorway held a strong appeal but no! Today was not a day for tarmac, the countryside called to me…

Driving out at daybreak my mind soon drifted back to My Lady, the urge to write about her was growing but what to call her? What was this card’s name? My idle daydream was interrupted! Strange movements in the road ahead. I slow down my Galaxy… Oh? Animals? Big dog? No… I get closer as they gambol about. 2 animals bounding around. Deers! Hart! A flash of tales and they disappear through the hedgerows off into the woods. Deer Hart… Deer Hart… Dearheart… Oh! Dear Heart! That’s the name!

On the back of the name rode more thoughts… Yes, Songs sing out and ripple across to touch people, doubly so in times of trouble… A soulful prayer offered up to all…

Another snippet of another conversation came to me.

“What’s the difference between a girl and a woman? When men are being stupid, girls cry and women laugh!”

I laughed at the memory of my Portuguese passenger’s words and added mine to his… “And Ladies sing.”

The Bard’s song, a beacon signalling, a pulsing waiting calling her love home… Not like a siren luring hapless men to their deaths but patience… a sonic reminder of home is where the heart is… Dear Heart return…

At the time of painting this Lady, whilst waiting for her to dry, I came across a quote which could have been about her… So I’ll leave you on this note:

“A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.”

John Steinbeck – East of Eden

A Caterpillar Calls

I’ve still not ventured to the other side of the room to dig out my old fieldnotes from the D.O. journeys with C.

I’m guessing one of the reasons is that I have terrible handwriting and often I can’t read back my own notes anyway, or if I can, then odds are I would have written them in some sort of code that amused me at the time but whose key to cracking evades me at later dates…

Fortunately, although somewhat haphazardly, I took out insurance against my own stupidity and forgetfulness and even though I had forgotten about these typed up notes, today, I accidentally found them…

Here is a note I sent to C :

I’ve just been reading about our very enlightened caterpillar… he will turn into the Cinnabar Moth – remember that red and black day moth that was on your fish tank… anyway… good job we didn’t touch him as he is highly poisonous, enough to cause rashes and irritation to humans. He’s usually around July/Aug… Voracious eater and mostly eats ragwort (which is poisonous to horses…) he’s never in a rush, even as a moth, and has a very flimsy cocoon – he seems to rely on his poison to not get eaten. He has few predators but there’s a species of ant and also the cuckoo who will eat him… This reminds me again of the Linden Leaf / Achilles heel myth… Also I found interesting his tendency to cannibalism … sometimes when food is in short supply (side effect of having few predators…) but sometimes and for no apparent reason… he will eat his brothers and sisters… which made me LOL as that seems to be an Old God type of diet…

I also found a conversation between myself and C about a rooster. Fun stuff! But too rude to share here. (I’m open to PayPal bribes and appeals to reveal, from the nosy🤣)

Timing is Everything 

Artistically, this image from the D.O. is not my favourite, but looks aren’t everything and this card earned it’s place in other ways.

This strange image came after a journey with C and a conversation piecing together the visions we had seen. Four maidens sat in a behind the scenes room, around a table like four points on a compass. They were wise keepers of life’s secrets but in order for their words to be accepted into the world, they had to hand them over to the Hierophant, as from his mouth those words would be accepted without question…

This collective womanly wisdom disguised itself as an egg. Upon the egg, the rune Fehu…

The Heirophant’s hands releasing the egg… The table turned into spinning wheel… A spinning wheel of fate, deterministic through initiation… A first motion unfurling into and out through a sequence…The end already held in the very beginning.

I sent the image to C and she found it strangely similar to the dream she’d had the previous night… Mr S arrived home from work that day telling me he’d found a very strange object. That he’d held it in his hand and was told that it belonged to me and that if he brought it home today, it would hold great significance for me. He handed over the marble egg in the photo as I was sat storing my Hierophant’s hands image to file…

At the time, my knowledge of runes was at best rudimentary and I knew that Fehu meant cattle and pondered on why that was relevant. Further along, I now know that Fehu represents your personal power and also ‘luck’. Luck in a Norse sense is an inherent energy in your ‘hamingja’. Hamingja is a concept I’m still exploring…

But, my LWB description of this card would maybe be something along the lines of :

Destiny arrives when you release your inherent power out onto the cosmic roulette wheel of life, thrusting the odds into your favour.

I dunno? I’m still working on it…

Air Traffic Control

This was a relatively pain free birth.

A couple of things differentiated this image from the others in the D.O.

Firstly, this is the only card where I sacked off the original image and went back to the drawing board. At first glance, the fledgling image seemed to capture the vibe I was looking for, but stepping back… Oh dear… I had drawn a figure surrounded by clouds. With a bit more space between my nose and the page, the image took on a new form and the clouds made it look as though the figure, rather than flying, was bouncing across the heavens on some kind of gigantic testicular spacehopper…

I rubbed my eyes, surely not? I shot the image over to C with a short note. “What do you see?”.

“Hmmm… He’s a little bit ballsy?”

“Yeah, I thought as much…”

He was denied access to land and was later replaced by the image above.

The second point of interest was that this card unlike the others told me instantly what it wanted to say… Unedited, this is what it told me.

It matters not what ye call me, I am Mercurial spirit and when I travel I travel beyond the speed of sound and leave your words floating in my wake… I’ve been known by many names by men and Gods alike… I sweep the skies… I catch dreams lost into the ether and bring them back down to ground…Nudged towards their mortal keepers… I keep the flight paths clear for Gods to move unhindered…

I’ll leave that there, as today, I have to fly.

Oyster Spit

“Jabez”

I mentioned this name in my previous post and said I would return. Jabez, a name meaning borne in pain. This image from the D.O. was a dark humoured joke with myself. During fieldtrips with C, I would often find myself sliding into lengthy, often cussed filled Rantras as I clawed at whatever it was that happened to be getting under my skin. I’d eventually run out of steam and weary laugh three words.

Oyster…Grit…Pearl…

I guess I’d swallowed that ridiculous archetype of Artists owning a tortured soul…that you can’t create anything beautiful without visceral churnings… That art must be ‘Jabez’ borne in pain!

What a load of bollox!

At this point in my life, my body had been put into lockdown by physical pain. A back injury, whose source failed to be identified through X-rays, MRI, etc. A pain which refused to budge via remedies medical or mystical and had taken over my life. The only escape I found was through, sitting in fields, making images, and driving my car…(0h and at a slightly later date – swimming).Needless to say, I was pretty prolific during this time but frustratingly so, as away from those pursuits, normal everyday tasks felt insurmountable.

A string of physios were baffled and each one tried a new approach. Every step was a Herculean task made more complicated by the fact that I had lost my sense of balance. Finally a physio realised I couldn’t rather than wouldn’t follow their advice and sent me away to practise standing on one leg as often as possible throughout the day to force my muscles to switch back on their receptors. She told me “You’ve suffered an injury and your body protects the pain but sometimes the mechanisms won’t switch off and your body shields against pain that’s no longer really there.” .

My final physio was a guy who asked me to feedback on the remedial exercises classes I’d been attending. I asked him if he wanted an honest answer? He said he did… So he got it. “They were fucking useless! Like being stuck in a prison yard, nobody wanting to be there, everyone sideways glancing each other, the only conversation “What are you in for?” Ffs! You sent me to knee replacement camp! I’ve got a sodding back problem and you put me in a room with a bouncing neutron fitness freak, who can’t even comprehend that I’m in the wrong place! Yeah, well fuck him! I binned all his homework! ” I paused suddenly realising that I’m on an open ward, everyone can hear and oooh. .. I’m abusing NHS staff and maybe security is on the way.

But no, my physio is smiling “So Karen, I know you’ve been doing some excercise, it’s immediately obvious. What have you been doing?” I revealed that I had started swimming. He told me he was discharging me. I protested that I was not better. He laughed at me ” Ok, this is your problem, you’re comparing yourself with where you want to be and you’re not seeing any results. I’m comparing you to when you first got here and there’s massive progress. But the deciding factors in discharging you are that you’re angry, you know your body, you’re fighting back and you’re getting results. You’re the best type of patient, you’ll get full recovery because you’ve decided you don’t need us. Though of course, if you do happen to relapse, don’t panic, sometimes it happens, but you can get referred back here and we can annoy you again”.

Mobility slowly improved, still much slower than I would have liked, the pain gnawing like a donkey had sunken it’s teeth into my butt and refused to let go. Confidence in my body was low…I just didn’t trust it that much. A hypnotherapist friend had learnt a new technique she was very excited about. She contacted me “Karen, I think I can help you. I’ve been seeing amazing results with this. I think I can get you completely pain free in one session. I’m not charging you for this. This is reciprocating all the wise words you’ve given me over the years”.

I wasn’t entirely sure that I believed her but as recently pointed out to me, I am often overly curious, so I accepted this kind offer. It might work? If it didn’t then the worse that would happen was that I’d touch base with a friend I had not seen face to face for a while. Sat in her office, she put me under… Directing me into focusing into the pain and the point of origin. I dissolved into ugly crying tears and streaming snot… The point of origin, not in my body but in the trapped memory of a conversation… September 2011…

I left her office pain free and with a spring in my step. The first time I’d felt myself bounce along the ground since who knows when…A week later, she gave me a follow up call. The pain was inching itself back in. She gave me advice on how to sit with it and remove it myself and said that if it didn’t budge then come back in and we’d hit it again.

I followed advice and kept it at bay but still trust was not full and I found myself moving gingerly. One evening, I went out to do a tarot reading, leaving the person’s house and heading towards my car, I tripped over thin air. My brain did that slow mo’ thing where time distorts and myriad thoughts all fly at once crammed into a split second. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! I’m going to lose my teeth! Bollocks! My bag! New glasses! New phone! I’m gonna smash everything! FUCK! This is gonna sting! Heading into what surely must be a monumental faceplant, my arms took on a life of their own. Left hand flinging bag out of harm’s way…Right arm moving into forearm smash, world circling around me and then somehow back upright on my feet?! I looked around the empty street… Ah! No one around… Did that really just happen? I dunno? Hmmm… My bag is over there a good 6 feet away… Something happened? I swooped it up, in one graceful curve as I headed to the car. I drive home feeling a little spacey…

Walking into the house, Mr S looks up at me “Jesus! Karen, what’s happened to you?”

” I’m not sure… I either tripped over or I tripped out… ”

“Well you’ve got blood pouring down your arm. Sit down, let me clean you up.”

I don’t argue and I let him Mommy me. He gently removes all the grit from my arm “How have you done this?” . I describe the scene and he laughs “That’s textbook Ukemi. When did you learn karate?”

” Ukemi? Karate? What are you on about man? I’ve never done karate… Oh… Though I did do maybe a year or so of Judo but I got bored and quit as we only ever seemed to do forward rolls… Forward rolls? When am I ever going to use that? ”

“Forward rolls! UKEMI!!! Idiot! You just used them!”

” Oh God dammit! You mean to say my body just pulled probably the coolest move of my life and no fucker even saw it?! No one will ever believe me… ”

“Sorry, maybe I should have left the grit in so you’d have a nice scar and a story to tell”.

My back pain vanished for good as faith in my body had finally returned.

Returning to my D.O. I realised that one of my many blocks in writing it up was that I just didn’t want to immerse myself in the mire… Getting myself entangled in my Brer rabbit briar patch of oyster…grit…pearl…In earlier years when I’d been writing lots, I could never bear to go back and read. Whilst writing my head would be filled with so many things screaming loudly that even though I edited out 90% I still thought my reader could hear all that shit going on. Recently an old friend directed my attention back to something intensely personal that I had written and I read it back with fresh eyes and without the noise in my head. I read it with distance and I liked what I read… Another block in writing things up was the first time I dug the D.O. out again, I was feeling quite happy and perversely I thought that I was maybe too happy to write… Yeah, well now, myth busted! I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been and words are flowing… Mojo is moving…

My back pain saga taught me that the mind quits before the body does…

‘Jabez’ borne in pain. That’s only a portion of the story. The Biblical Jabez led a blessed life as his faith removed the birth curse of pain.

Oyster…Grit…Pearl… I’m done with that spit. There’s no need to nurse life’s grit when you can gently rinse it out and get back onto your feet.

Blessed is as blessed does.