I sleep with tablets. They surround me. I try to minimise their lurking presence (lupus makes one a master of disguises). I use colourful scarves, drapes, jewel bright cushions, Neruda, Chanel, the latest Hello! or Elle. Thầy, Sai and Dalai, the lamas illuminate my walls. Friends tell me my room exudes peace.
Tablets, you see, don't speak. They lurk.
On this day, in 1848, at the age of 30, ill health was to take Emily Brontë. Having caught a cold during the funeral of her brother, she died two months later, having refused "no poisoning doctor" near her. My father being a doctor and all, I could never consider any doctor to be 'poisonous'.... but I have had to learn to become robust enough to cross swords (terribly politely, of course) with a long line of medics. The latest subject: sleeping tablets.
Now, I understand, I truly do, the RED ALERT FLAG that the words 'sleeping tablets' arouses in the average being. Successive flashcard: ADDICTION. But according to this medic, the worst of all, are little old ladies (his words) who, mid induced-sleep, go for a jolly little wander, and slip and fall and break. "I know it hasn't happened to you," (he paused, I nearly smiled), "not yet." Not Yet?!!! I've never asked him for a sleeping tablet before. I ground my teeth. I wasn't there to beg. "Sleep deprivation," he sweetly informed me, "is not a disease."
"And you, I suppose," my smile even sweeter, "pass into oblivion the moment your head touches your pillow?" He bowed in acquiescence. "It's about choice, a lifestyle change," he waved grandly.
I am an individual, I remind him. Not a statistic. Nor a morally reprehensible citizen. I was never asked to sign a consent form when the first barrage of drugs were pumped into my body. The steroids that nearly destroyed my sight were described as 'life-saving'. The immuno suppressant that caused needless, endless bleeding, was called 'a magic bullet'.
I stand my ground, and face the doctor down. "We could argue till the cows come home!" he attempts, jovially. But a few blusters later, he pronounced me, "Fascinating!" twice, hastily wrote me a prescription, and sent me packing with the fervent prayer, "We need to find a cure for you soon!"
Back to the needles on the ward tomorrow for more mabtherapy. And a few good nights' SLEEEEEP!!!!
And who knows, when I wake.... what magic will await? Sometimes a girl just needs to sleep. It worked for Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, don't you think?
' Good grief .' Is there such a thing? Grief rhymes with thief. That much is true. I am always grieving. Something has always...
STAFFORD SAYS, I LISTEN
Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt; ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.
I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.
A delicious treat from the author of 84, Charing Cross Road.
WU FENG ROAD
The art and heart work of my beloved Jeanne-ming Brantingham-Hayes.
JUST FINISHED READING
Utterly absorbing - the story of kung fu nuns in Nepal, young girls seeking refuge in Burma, this is a feminist tale for modern times.
JUST FINISHED READING
A reading experience unlike any other. I found it so hard to commit to, I've rarely resisted a book so much, but once I got a quarter way through, I was in. All the way in with Jude, Willem, Malcolm and JB.
I live a meditative life in a green village in England. I was diagnosed with Lupus when I was 18 and some of my poetry writes itself in response to living with such a peculiar, demanding and life-altering illness. And some of it is about love longing hope birdsong waiting for spring... I write about freedom. And heroes. I am often and very easily inspired!
Ann Patchett's memoir of her friendship with the poet Lucy Grealy. I was gripped, and for the first time in the longest time, ignored my protesting eyes and read it in one day. Beautiful.
WHEN PIGLET ASKED POOH
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. 'Pooh?' he whispered. 'Yes, Piglet?' 'Nothing,' said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. 'I just wanted to be sure of you.'
Life waits patiently for true heroes - Thich Nhat Hanh.
A HANDBOOK FOR LIVING
in pursuit of a room of my own...
There was a star riding through clouds one night, and I said to the star, 'Consume me' - Virginia Woolf
DISTANT CLOUD PHOTOGRAPHY
Photographer Chris Boland creates worlds of beauty here.
EATING POETRY by Mark Strand
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry.
KINDNESS by Naomi Shihab Nye
Before you know what kindness really is, you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment, like salt in a weakened broth.What you held in your hand, what you counted and carefully saved, all this must go so you know how desolate the landscape can be between the regions of kindness.
Breathing with Thich Nhat Hanh
the war of art
The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.
Have you heard of Somaly Mam? She is Cambodian, survived slavery, and transforms the lives of young girls every moment she lives and breathes.
I keep my guru in my heart, and Gandhi in my head.
Tenzin Tsundue is a Tibetan poet and activist, currently residing in exile, in Dharamsala.
Strengthened by Frida Kahlo
“I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you.”
Une Envie de Sel
The Unbearable Lightness of being Q... and her family by Maia Chavez Larkin
Blog Like No One's Reading
Agnes'_Pages_, one of my favourite places to travel.
it is only with the heart that one can see rightly
What is essential is invisible to the eye
Dr Karen Woo, the softly spoken British humanitarian aid worker, who was killed in Afghanistan last year. She was a dancer for years before realising she could not truly help be a changemaker through ballet.
In Shaista's Library
A place I draw inspiration from. My happy place :)
from Catherine at A Thousand Clapping Hands
Sent when I was at my worst in hospital, this was like a balloon filled with hope :)
A Year With Rilke
Daily readings of the maestro, by Ruth and Lorenzo...