Friday, 3 February 2017

Reel Therapy and Red Shoes

Thank you so much everyone for the support and encouragement that you gave me after I wrote my last post, I so very much appreciate your love, kindness & friendship.

It's interesting how powerful family can be. Even the concept of family can be a binding/blinding force in our lives & all that comes with it- joy, love, connection, duty, shame, embarrassment or blessing.
I know many people hold an unwavering belief in the importance of family & family loyalty, once you're signed up- it's for life. But for some of us, family can seem more like a life sentence of disenchantment, disenfranchisement, loneliness & damage. Even so, there's a yearning in most of us to make sense of who we are & where we have come from. It's often not until we put the pieces together & grow a fresh perspective that we can make the right decisions about our own lives & understand which bits we can make peace with, which to screw up & burn, & those parts worth embracing with all our hearts. One of the most useful ways that we have found through the years to put our stories in to right focus, has been through 'reel therapy". We discovered early on that we have the same taste in movies & television & it just so happened that last year Rob went searching through libraries & various places online for programmes & "reels" that we might both enjoy viewing. As it turned out, this has been one of the most powerful perspective shifters we could ever have chosen. It was like understanding our history by being there in person. One of our absolute favourites is a British series called Home Fires: 
"Based on Jambusters: The Story of the Women's Institute in the Second World War by Julie Summers, Home Fires follows the exploits of a group of inspirational women in a rural Cheshire community. They may be far from the front and the fighting, but the shadow of the Second World War has cast a dark cloud over their lives.
With their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers experiencing bloodshed on the battlefields, the women band together to prevent their world falling apart."

When we begin to understand the forces, events & nuances of history that have served to shape our own families of origin & therefore our present lives, in more compassionate, objective ways there is a certain peace that sneaks in & settles us down, envelopes us in an old feather eiderdown & whispers "there, there". A fresh gratitude for the opportunities, gifts & abundance that we have received in our own generation, arrives. And this is a very good thing. It has quite a different effect than the stories handed down through family members- many of which are stuck & lopsided.

It is interesting to observe that, together through the years, we have grounded ourselves by instinctively recreating the values & down-to-earthness resourcefulness that we discovered in these programmes. 
Foyle's War is another series that we love passionately.
When things go awry in families the mess & consequences can be huge. We can often end up feeling dis-connected, unsupported, alone & plain not good enough. We can try way too long & hard to find a sense of belonging & safety in our families of origin when, in fact, if we could only see that our legacy cards were just never going to match up or overlap beyond blood, we would then be free to walk away from the expectation of finding love & fulfilment there. You know the saying "Oh look, aren't they just peas-in-a-pod?'

 & other times it's- "Where ever did she come from- the milk man?" Well that's all quite true- sometimes the apples drop all nice & neatly around the tree & other times, oh my goodness, we are not sure what kind of fruit we even are & neither does anybody else around us. So what do we do?    
A really great place to start is in allowing our old well rehearsed ways of seeing things to dissolve & along with it, a great deal of pain & frustration.
This short Danish video is a perfect example of what I mean.

If we are no longer backing the wrong horse & permit ourselves to see the world in fresh ways, we will be ready to open our eyes & hearts to new connections, friendships & ways of belonging.
Life is a little like a game of snap -sometimes we serendipitously meet someone & when we turn over the next life card we both cry "snap"! & in that moment we are also both found & seen.
Last year I came across Elizabeth Mortlock. I have never met her in person, but just by seeing this "reel story" I feel a kinship, a connection & a sense of joy that I didn't have before.
 I adore her.

 Some 27 years ago now I met my very dear friend Cheryl. From that first moment to this, even though we lead very different lives, we always "see" each other when we get together. Cheryl gave me a gift 6 years ago that was delivered in the shape of a card, but was in truth, a golden key that was to unlock my life purpose. The card said Angel in my garden.
This Christmas I received another shiny, perfect gift, from Jude- this little book called Ruby Red Shoes by Kate Knapp. From the minute I held it in my hands, I found myself both enthralled & exhilarated- here was my new life story written in a childrens' book. Jude saw me when she picked up the book- the seeing & the book, both exquisite gifts.

Babushka Galushka encourages Ruby to be an aware hare, treating everyone's feelings, as well as her own with great care.
"Feelings are just like delicate bird's eggs," she would say. 
"Be as gentle as you can with them".
Ruby enjoys little naps in the cool grass.
Often she daydreams, watching the breeze tickling the leaves or hurrying lazy clouds through the powdery blue sky. 
Ruby Red Shoes lives in prettily painted caravan...with a very sweet & kind man.
And shares her happy Sunshine Vintage life with all who pass by.
"There are always so many things to do in the garden- seedlings to be planted & watered, busy, buzy bees to be calmed with gentle words."
This Ruby Red Shoes now has a bike called Wisp
that she rides all round the neighbourhood, looking over fences, collecting seeds & waving cheerily to all the nice people that she sees along the way.
She even has a little bell.
Just in case hedgehogs & other small animals come across her path.
Lucy & Wisp are now best of friends.
Ruby doesn't know what she'd ever do without them now.
At the conclusion of last year I wrote a personal manifesto. 
Here is a little of what it says:

...I fling open every window to wonder, curiosity & beauty & I am deeply thankful for the abundance that flows all around & through us.

These are the days when I will remember how to skip & play & dream.
My lost & uncomforted inner child will re-connect with goodness & love, & learn to believe in her own sacred calling & expression.
One day, I will truly learn to laugh with gay abandon.

Even though these times are hard for many, my path will be sprinkled (saturated) with flowers, bees & butterflies.
The trees & birds will be my friends.
am An angel in the garden & I am Ruby Red shoes.....

Generosity will be my trademark; friendship & kindness my coat of many colours.   

I will be healed.

Goodness will flow.

My floral, fragrant, light-filled legacy of joy & kindness will be a well-spring for many years to come & this- will change the world, for good.

Much love, Katie- the little girl who finally found her shoes, her wings & her destiny.


  1. Oh, sweet Gathering Katie! What a gorgeous post! I'll enjoy it again and again. ❤

  2. Hello Ruby Red Shoes ... just catching up on your posts after no internet for a while. Love your new Wisp with her Sanderson lined basket & her bunting. I am guessing "she is a she". Everything looks summery & gorgeous in your pics Catherine. Sending love to you my friend x x x

  3. You've mentioned some of my favourite programmes, Home Fires and Foyles War. I really do enjoy these WW2 dramas. I haven't read your previous post (will do so now) but I do hope you find joy and contentment in the small things and find inward joy and contentment. Sharon x

  4. Thank you for these words, from geographically so far away, and yet from so very near in what you describe. Your garden here is always a place of gentle wisdom and searching insight x

  5. Where are you, dearest? I love your bike basket. I shall copy. Sending heaps of love your way!


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