What I’ve Learned

Here we are in May. I have been back to work in a major way for the last two weeks. Because elective cases were on hold, we now have a backlog of work to do. We don’t have enough staff, or energy for this, so most of us are working 9 to 11 hour days. It’s exhausting, and so, I’ll keep this short.

What I learned during the inward concentration of energy during the “quarantine period”, which I have to say, for me was delightful….

  1. I need more time for myself. When I have many days in a row of free time, I spend it constructively meditating, writing, musing, and enjoying the present moment, which I treasure. I am a much better person physically and mentally when I have more time.
  2. Things don’t need to be rushed. In retrospect, I realize I have always been a task-oriented person. This makes me a great nurse. However, thinking that everything has an expiration date or a certain TIME to be done is a terrible way to live life. Living as if we have all the time in the world….which we really do…..is a much better way to proceed. Perspective.
  3. Beauty is in the small things. Observing birds has become a pastime. I have always taken into account the small changes in the seasons, but now am more aware of insects, birds, animals…..it’s really amazing.
  4. Life is long. Time is just a made up thing anyway. People say life is short, but, I also find it to be long in many respects. We all have the same amount of “time” in a day. The way you proceed is up to you. Chose wisely.😊
  5. Money is highly overrated. Yes, we need money to pay for the essentials in life: housing, food, clothes, gas….etc. But, your expenditures usually equate your income after a time. I was surviving on less than half of normal for a month and it didn’t matter. Much longer, well, that’s a different story. I found much more comfort in the people in my life.
  6. Sleeping is important. Okay, I have always been a sleep hound, so this is no surprise.
  7. I don’t need to wear make-up, or fix my hair when push comes to shove. It’s a frill.
  8. Mother nature is amazing. Her remedy for decades of abuse has come into fruition. She has her ways of cleaning us up. The skies are clear, and the noise is almost nonexistent.

I am sure I have learned much more, but this is all the energy I have for today. I’m up for another 10 hours or so of work tomorrow and the next. Take care out there, and enjoy any peace you may have found! Cheers, Deb

Don’t Disturb the Fairy Forts

An Irish Fairy Fort

Last St. Patrick’s Day, while living in Seattle, I had the opportunity to pick up a small newspaper, published in Ireland. Interested, I started scanning through the articles until this one popped up, ” ‘Fairy curse’ behind dips in Irish road – Danny Healy-Rae”. Apparently, there is a stretch of new road between County Kerry and County Cork that is causing some bad luck due to disturbance of a “Fairy Fort”. What, you might ask….is a fairy fort?

A fairy fort is an earthen mound, a circular area surrounded by shrubbery, or trees that are now known as the remains of defensive outposts dating from the Iron age into the Medieval era. These circles have been considered sacred places for millenia. We know that Irish history is rich in folklore, and considered to be one of the great beds of wonderful storytelling, steeped in the supernatural. Most, if not all, people in Ireland believed in fairies until fairly recently.

The spirits of the “little people”, the “Gentry”, the “good people”, or the “Sioga”, have lived side by side with the Irish for as long as there has been storytelling. Water, tree and wood spirits were known to react certain ways depending on how you treated them. This is what we don’t understand; that because we have homes and technology, we can’t “commune” with nature the way people used to do. We don’t live in the woods or near the water 24/7. Isn’t it natural that ancient peoples believed the things surrounding them would have their own consciousness? Even as closely as a couple of decades ago (and as you can see, now, in some cases), Celtic people still believe in these spirits.

An article from 2018 reports that of 44% of British people claim to have seen fairies. 68% of these sightings have been with women; women who can provide detailed descriptions of the fairies and their activities. One woman reported not the tiny Tinkerbell type of fairy, but some people the size of a human dwarfs who danced to tribal drums all night in the woods. Okay…..maybe they’re just strange humans, but anyway….

The question remains, how do you and I react to such a belief system? Should we laugh and poo-poo the idea just because we now have technology? Does a belief system have to fail when science is involved? If you respond “yes”, then take this to heart: ALL belief systems will have to be discounted as well. If you can’t believe in fairies, then you can’t believe in evil spirits. If you can’t believe in evil, you can’t believe in goodness, saints, angels, the afterlife, or the mysteries of the great religions of the world.

I guess that what I want you to take from this is: what people believe is okay for them to believe. Believing fairies are funny, leaves you open to other people judging you about your beliefs. You can’t prove fairies are real, but you can’t disprove it either. I love the idea that there is still mystery and magic in this world; that just because we can calculate the distance of the next galaxy, does not mean we can’t believe in things we don’t know we don’t know. All things are possible, even if not probable.

Bring back the glorious days of oral storytelling (now blogging, etc.), which captures the heart and imagination. Isn’t that why we go to movies? Let your mind be free and open to the mysterious, magical things this world may have in it. And for heaven’s sake, DON’T MESS WITH THE FAIRY FORTS!

What do you think? Have you ever seen a fairy, or know someone who has? I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Cheers, Deb

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-40863737

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/fairy-forts-why-these-sacred-places-deserve-our-respect-1.3181259

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9k8n9p/women-believe-fairies-real-study

The Forest Voices

Have you been having a little anxiety lately? Feeling a little down? Not quite yourself? Okay, check out your mapquest really quick and locate the nearest forest, or even a park with a decent amount of trees. Because, as it turns out, the forest is a transformational place with ancient wisdom and quiet voices. Yep, I said voices. You see, I have been a little remiss in writing lately, because I am on vacation in Eastern Michigan. We go there every summer to spend time with my boyfriends family.

They have a beautiful home in a woodsy environment, where you can relax by the pool or out in the yard and listen to the trees rustling and locusts humming. It’s a magical, wonderful experience where time ceases to exist and the days last seemingly forever. My nephew recently bought 15 acres completely covered with thick woods. There are sections with different species congregating together; the fern section, the goldenrod section, the conifer section, and the oak section to name a few. One of the oaks is at least a 200 year old White, which is a tree-huggers dream.

As the six of us were walking around the grounds to check it out, you could feel the energy of the group change. People became interested in showing each other small things along the path. Feathers were found, and a frog. We enjoyed each other’s company and talked about how things would evolve in the woods with the building of a home and the changing seasons. We caught lightening bugs, and played with long blades of grass. At the end of the walk, any anxiety that may have been hanging around from the week before was suddenly gone.

According to Stanford researchers, walking in the woods leads to a lower level of depression. “City dwellers have a 20 percent higher risk of anxiety disorders and a 40 percent higher risk of mood disorders as compared to people in urban areas” (Jordan, R., 2015). Have people known about the positive impact that forests have on mental health for centuries? I am venturing a “yes” answer here. Why did ancient civilizations believe in wood Gods and Goddesses for so long? The Finns, the Celts, the Philippines, the Egyptians, and the Chinese, just to name a few, believed in tree deities.

Trees in Celtic mythology play a very important role. Each tree symbolizes something different: love, fertility, death, strength, or protection. You might get the idea that I am a huge tree-hugger, and I have to say YES, I AM!! If you go out into the woods, make sure to walk or stand around for at least an hour. Leave your phone in the house or car, you won’t need it. Look around you and get a good mental picture of things, observe the small flowers and insects. Now…listen….you might just hear the very faint whisperings of the ancient woodland creatures. Were there living beings embodied in the rivers, trees, and ground? I consider it an honor and a privilege to walk among beings much older than myself; to let the magic of the hidden communication between them carry on in my presence.

So, go! Get out there and forget time, technology, appointments, deadlines, and struggle. That’s what the woods are for….they’re for you. Enjoy.

Jordan, Rob, Stanford researchers find mental health prescription: Nature, https://news.stanford.edu/2015/06/30/hiking-mental-health-063015/