Blackberry picking and clearing my head are all I am able to write about at the moment. I know I’ve been absent and it’s been a difficult couple of weeks. I’ve a lot on my mind and I’ve been trying to work through it but I have felt overwhelmed, lost, and frustrated like it’s all getting too much and the plates I’m spinning are about to crash to the floor.
Wow! That’s some kind of blog introduction, I know and I don’t mean to sound dramatic but at the same time, this blog is supposed to be a place where I can be honest and share our journey, the ups, and the downs. It’s not all picnics and rainbows. My husband and I have been arguing, I’ve not been consistent with soaking the beans, meal planning, or even preparing our overnight oats – the one thing that kept me from spinning out when we got back from hospital .
After our weekend when we went wild camping, I’ve been uninspired, and grumpy, and haven’t even been writing down what we’ve been eating each week. But, there have been blackberries!
Clearing the clutter
As always my biggest comfort during times of stress and when I need space is getting outdoors. I’ve not done much walking but we did go blackberry picking together which allowed both the connection and the conversation (mostly about how the thorns were ripping our clothes and skin to shreds)
It also gave us the space to be alone. To be present in the moment or get lost in our heads, whatever we needed. I enjoyed listening to my husband and youngest son chatting from the other side of the bush. I also enjoyed clearing the clutter from my mind.
The night before we went blackberry picking, the rain came and the morning was chilly and damp. It was really nice to be wearing long pants again and feel the coolness of the air. It made the picking process nicer and we came away with almost four kilos which is not bad given, at first glance, it looked like we were too early!
I think I mentioned in my last post that I’m ready for autumn now. While it feels like we’re on the edges of it, I’m also impatient. September signals the start of the most magical part of the year for me but here in Spain I’m still in flip-flops, shorts, and a t-shirt most of the day when I really want to be wrapped in blankets. I did need a blanket actually last week when I sat with my cup of tea in the woods waiting for the sun to come up. It was lovely!
It still feels too early to be blackberry picking and even though it’s September it doesn’t feel like September. In my head I’m in some small American town, surrounded by pumpkin spiced lattes, fairy lights and the glorious shades of autumn where the mornings are crisp, the evenings are cold and I get to embrace hygge to my heart’s content.
I am trying not to grumble about the heat and that it’s not dark and witchy enough for me yet, by bringing the taste of autumn into my kitchen with blackberry jam. Lots and lots of blackberry jam!
I found a recipe that doesn’t require pectin (not even sure what that is) and it’s a low sugar recipe too which works for us, even though it looks like there’s loads of sugar in the pan. I had to use our giant stew cooking pan as it’s the only one big enough to hold all the blackberries and it took all the other pans in the kitchen to separate and wash the blackberries properly.
It also took ages to make! I had my whole day planned out and the jam-making was supposed to be done and dusted by 12 but at 2 pm I was still standing by the stove in the steam watching the bubbles roll across the top of the pan.
It was worth it though and despite my initial impatience and ‘wanting to get on with things’ being forced to stay in the kitchen and watch the blackberries bubbling in the pan made me realise that I am still stuck in old patterns of rushing and always looking for the next thing to do which means I’m never in the moment long enough to really appreciate it.
I help my clients with this aspect of quitting drinking all the time, yet I have been struggling with it myself, despite the walks and the hikes and the sitting in the woods wrapped in blankets.
Leaning into my heart and following through feels scary and strange, but freeing and soul-nourishing at the same time.
It’s hard to slow down yet it’s the most important thing we can do if we are to truly live a calm, present, joyful life that is aligned with our values and dreams. If the events of the past few months have taught me anything, it is that life is short, it’s precious and I have to live it to the best of my ability every day with as much joy and compassion and fun and fire as I can.
It’s time to do the things I have been putting off like yoga in the mornings, writing as much as I want, and walking at every opportunity. I am learning that when I do slow down, put myself first and do the things that genuinely bring me joy, then not only am I better off but so is everybody else!
Leaning into my heart and following through feels scary and strange, but freeing and soul-nourishing at the same time. You’d think that at 45 I would have discovered this already, but nope. I am only just finding the courage now. Why is that, I wonder? I’m sure I will find the answer amongst the trees and the pages of my journal.
Blackberry picking gave me more than jam
After our morning blackberry picking and jam making, we ended up with 6 x 500ml jars of delicious blackberry jam, plus a couple of smaller jars that will last us all the way until next year with a bit of luck. So far, we’ve not had the jam on toast yet but it goes amazingly well in yoghurt and overnight oats.
Perhaps more importantly I am learning that it’s okay to let go and relax and slow down. The resistance I’ve been feeling about doing what I want and need comes from fear. Fear of what, I’m not sure exactly but I’m open to exploring that a little more. Maybe I’ve just let things get on top of me, maybe I’m tired I don’t know. I am usually upbeat and positive so I’m not really sure where all this is coming from and it’s a little unnerving, but obviously necessary.
I’m sorry if this post has turned into something deeper than I intended, and I don’t mean to sound grumpy and negative, but it’s funny what happens when you just go with the flow and allow yourself to create without expectation.
That’s my suggestion for you today. If you can, take a moment and just stop. Feel into what you see and hear and feel, use all of your senses and ask yourself – “What do I want?”
By the way. Yesterday we spent the morning in the woods again, and I did enjoy the warmth of the sun and the feeling of my feet on the ground. I was happy and grateful to be with my boys in shorts and T-shirt enjoying the chatter. The weather is set to turn cooler tomorrow with rain and storms on the way so my dark side will be satisfied this week too!