Wednesday, 6 January 2016


This is a time of new thoughts and new actions. Who do we see ourselves as? What do we picture for ourselves over this coming year? Where were we happiest last year? Do we want to repeat those actions, or has the moment passed? And it's the time that we start to put those thoughts into proper resolutions: things we'd like to change about ourselves but so often these resolutions are forgotten before the month is out.

What about me? I wouldn't be writing about resolutions unless I had one for myself. I don't normally have resolutions, but this year there is something I want to change. Something big. But before we get to that, let me start at the beginning.

I am happy right now. My life is finally on track, and it feels like all the fighting for the past six years have finally been worth it. I struggled for a reason. I am in the place I want to be, my job is unbelievably brilliant, my house is lovely (though not the forever home thanks to those six years of struggle!) and I have a lovely flatmate that I miss when he's on holiday (come back, Blair!). I have utterly wonderful friends that I would trust my life with and some of whom have had a huge part in changing my life. I love them all so so much, and it brings me massive pleasure to have such incredible people in my life. Moreover, they keep introducing me to other wonderful people and the circle grows. It's heaven. I want to shout it from the rooftops, and sometimes I literally do. I AM REALLY, REALLY HAPPY, but...

There's always a but, there has to be a but. No one's life is perfect, and nothing is ever a dream. And my but is that I'm worried about the world. I have other buts as well, but they're kinda private, so butt out ;)

I'm worried about the world.

I'm worried about what we're doing, but more specifically I am worried about what I'm doing.

I try to live a good life. I try not to hurt people, though god knows I do, I try to eat good, but again, that doesn't always work out, and I try to not hurt the world. None of those things are easy. Sometimes we take an easy path and buy packaged rubbish, or drive when we should walk, or do other things we know we shouldn't. And this is where my resolution comes in.

I want to change my world.

I don't want to change the world, which is pretty hard for any one person to do, but I want to change my world, and if I can do that I have contributed to changing the world (without making it sound too scary, off-putting or unachievable). Someone once said to me "what's the point in recycling if no one else does?" The point is that even your tiny world-changing contribution has an effect. Even if it's only 500kg of paper recycled last year rather than 0kg you have changed the world, even better if you talk someone else into recycling too!

Anyway, I digress. This is my resolution:

Through thoughtful action and active thoughts I want to live my (exciting, joyful, beautiful, bewildering, astounding, jaw-dropping, exhilarating) life better

And I want to plot the progress, write about it and maybe share some of the tips I pick up along the way with you all. Sometimes hope does disappear. There is so much scaremongering out there, so much negativity that it becomes too easy to think "they say we need to change, but how...?", and that's what I aim to find out and also aim to demonstrate. I want to be able to bring a little bit of hope to non-believers, or to those that just plain don't know how to change. And I will be doing this while living a 'normal' life. I have a 9-5 job, I have to drive a car for that job, I live in a city but I enjoy the countryside, and there are some things I am not willing to compromise on....yet. No matter how many times I read that showers are better for the world than baths, every now and again I really, really love a bath. So, that's part of it. Can I change my world, while still doing those things that I love? Without breaking the bank (I am not on a big salary)? While making it accessible and doable, and without alienating family, without cutting myself off from modern life, without going to live in the woods, can I change my world???  

Stick with me on this journey and let's see what we come up with. I will be tweeting my blog posts (finally putting my long-dormant twitter account into good use) under the hashtag #changingmyworld and I will be sharing by Facebook too. 

We'll see what happens.  

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Bringing in the New Year

We went further afoot than I normally would for Hogmanay, and ended up in Inverie, a wee village in Knoydart. A band were playing and the group ended up as eight, all sharing a shed.

Home shed home; a warm place with a platform up top for sleeping and the downstairs for living. The downstairs became expanded sleeping space when the top became too crowded and others joined the group.

A storyteller, a busker, a forester, a gardener, a musician, a teacher, a jack of all trades and me, an ecologist. Together the group worked, we created memories through being with each other and the time was spent with music, dancing, stealing (borrowing), walking and talking.

As the old year left and the new was incoming, we were dancing, spinning and leaping over fire; for that's the way to bring in the new year. Raven people, tattoos, locals and thrill seekers, music, laughter, dancing, dancing, dancing.

On the first we couldn't bring ourselves to go swimming, but we could go rowing and the boats were there for our pleasure. Out on the loch the view was astonishing, every way we turned the eyes received a reward. We sang, singing songs of home, of beating hearts and water flowing.

We walked and had our bard jumping onto a stone to sing an impromptu song about being in these brown hills.

We walked and came across another opportunity: we all took our turn of jumping into a freezing waterfall, to warm our spirits and free our souls. (What is water there for but to make us feel?)

We were sitting at lunch, in the sheltered side of the hill, snow lying around us, and the sun darting over the surrounding hills. We were given a story about mountains, and giants and faeries. And this is what memories are made of.

This celebration was three days long. It was three days that seem to have started a new life for me. It's not just a new year, every step I take at the moment seems to be more magical than the last. To know that these adventures are there for the taking and that there are people out there in the world like that wonderful seven brings warmth to my heart and hope for the future.

Any happiness leaves a wee spot on the heart, a wee light that doesn't go out. This year ending-beginning has lit a torch that still has me smiling and my feet tapping and I am excited and exhilirated for that which is to come.

A happy, healthy, joyful, green, musical, creative, rewarding 2016 to every one!