"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

All material on SHIMMERCASTDREAMS copyright of Marie Bruce and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

ONCE UPON A DREAM; The Art of Detachment

Detachment is a wonderful thing.  It is something I have a knack for.  I can cut myself off from disappointing or difficult situations with relative ease, retreating into a bubble of my own space, where none can touch me.  I suppose it is a kind of self-preservation.

Detachment is something I have done for as long as I can remember.  It is a common defence mechanism, but as a young girl I wasn't really aware of it - I just did it naturally, shutting myself away and retreating into a world of books and imagination.  This means that I developed a habit of withdrawing into my own world and it is a habit that continues to this day.

I can already feel myself detaching from my college course and class mates because we only have three classes left to go. Already I feel the need to separate myself from them and go into the bubble. It's not that I don't engage or interact with people - it's more that I keep interactions quite superficial.  I am polite, but not personal. People rarely get to know the deeper reaches of my personality.  I keep up a barrier between me and them; we can chat and have a laugh, but I've always got one eye on the clock, counting down the hours until the little performance is over.

There are degrees of detachment - the bubble is a way of separating myself from a situation I am not fully engaged with, which bores me or might upset me. Lots of people use this technique to get through divorce or funerals etc.  Isolation is a stronger kind of detachment, where I might cut someone right out of my life altogether, because I don't consider the drama they, or their associates, bring into my life to be worth my time.  This means that if I feel my time is being wasted, or someone has let me down, spilled my secrets or betrayed my trust, I can cut them off with barely a blink and detach from them. What's more, I am unlikely to be as easily drawn in by that person a second time - they will have to work much, much harder to capture my attention. And if betrayal is a factor, they will never have my friendship or trust again.  

My defensive walls are high and thick and made of ice.  I can literally feel myself moving through the process of detachment, because it is so familiar to me now.  It is like a frosty layer, icing over my whole being. Whenever I think of the person who came up short and let me down,  I turn into an ice maiden, retreating behind a wall of ice, untouchable and therefore safe from further harm. 

I support this detachment by eliminating all evidence of that person from my life, so I throw away all gifts, cards and so on.  I might block their phone number so they can't call me; or delete them on social media.  

And of course, I do forget people completely due to PTSD!  This can be both a blessing and curse, because not everyone deserves to be forgotten - but some do.    Eventually I will remember them in flashbacks - itself a traumatic experience - and then I might want to talk to them again, just to validate those memories, but this isn't always possible and so after a time, I have no option but to detach from them all over again.  And after four and half months of solid flashbacks, day after day, with no validation, that's kind of where I'm at right now. 

Because there comes a point when you just have to write people off, for your own peace of mind.  You can't keep flying round in circles, searching for those who are never there for you when you need them. You just have to write them off, for your own sanity. So that's what I do. I write them off - in my journal, on Twitter and Facebook and here on my blog - I just write them off, saddened that they let me down, cross that I was taken in by them in the first place, but ultimately the pilot of my own life, moving on to a new, as yet unknown, horizon.

Detachment is just a natural part of me. It's how I cope with loss; the big losses and the little ones. It's my thing. Let it go.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

ONCE UPON A DREAM; The Mothership

People frequently ask me why I don't have children.  It's because I'm smart.  It's because I'm observant.  It's because I noticed from a young age that motherhood changes women, and not for the better! I have always known that motherhood is not for me.  I didn't even play with baby dolls as a child - only fashion dolls.  It is a way of life that has never interested me in the slightest. 

I remember having a tantrum with my mum when she insisted on dragging me to the GP for a Rubella injection when I was 11.  I knew then that it wasn't needed - I was never having babies. She didn't believe me and gave me the standard grown up answer of "You'll change your mind when you get older".  I'm now 43 - and I still haven't changed my mind, nor do I have any regrets or worries that I might have made the wrong decision and left it too late. I have made the right choice for me - babies are just not my thing.

I have noticed over the years that something happens to women when they have a baby.  The first pregnancy is filled with excitement and joyfulness - they can't wait!  Subsequent pregnancies are much more subdued and quiet.  There is little fanfare in the announcement and the joyfulness isn't apparent - because they know what they are in for!  The blessing of ignorance has been stripped from them and replaced with experience of the birthing chamber and the day to day toils of childcare.

I have watched motherhood turn bright, ambitious women into snazzy, resentful individuals, envious of anyone with an ounce of success or freedom. I have seen kind, compassionate women become engulfed in entitlement, expecting the world to bend over backwards for them just because they have a few kids in tow! As if!

Motherhood diminishes women and dulls their sparkle. They lose their glitter.  Motherhood can derail a promising career; or render it completely out of the question, particularly if education has been forsaken in favour of getting pregnant as young as possible.  When motherhood is viewed as a career choice, as it is by lots of teenage girls; or a get out of life free card when women reach a certain age and realise that they have done nothing with their life so far except drift, resentment is the result; resentment that they are shackled to the home and a school run; resentment towards their man who gets to enjoy a career and the success that goes with it; resentment of women who don't have children and who live a life of more freedom. 

It seems to me that the only person a woman can really trap with the 'accidental' pregnancy plan, is herself. But she knows that an empty nest just isn't enough to keep a man coming home every night to a wife he never wanted, or has tired of. And if she can't have more children herself, she'll use the grandchildren to fill the void. 

Men will take any and every opportunity to leave the house that has become a creche, whenever they can.  They take on jobs that mean they work away a lot; they stay late at work for meetings; they have to play golf with the boss at weekends; they work overtime to gain promotions.  And ultimately, a man is always free to walk away from the relationship and start again with someone new, possibly even having more children and a whole new family.  Men are never really trapped by parenthood in the way that women are, for it is always the women who are left holding the babies. 

Call me crazy, but I am not prepared to take such a high risk gamble with my life and the freedom that is so important to me. I want to be as free as any man, and the only way I can achieve that is to remain blissfully child-free. I certainly don't feel as if I am missing out on anything. My nurturing side is given over to animals and my counselling work, and my ambition has never been derailed.  I generally achieve my goals, because I can commit to them fully; I am not distracted by childcare duties. 

So I am content with my choice to remain child-free. What does irritate me though is the resentment I get from women with children, because I have more free time and disposable income than they might have.  I can spend my money on what I want. If I want a new Chanel perfume I can buy one, with my own money, not a husbands - I don't have to wonder if the kids need new shoes first.  If I want to go away alone on a nice holiday, I can do so - I don't need to organise childcare first and then worry all week! I am free to do as I please.  Spending my life hiding behind a pram has never been my aspiration, but for some women, giving birth is the best way for them to avoid life, tucked far away from the working world and the responsibilities that go with it. 

This doesn't go down well with some mums who seem to think that their life choice is more valid and important than mine. It isn't. The fact that they work to provide for their kids isn't more valid that the fact that I write to provide for myself.  But I often get comments like "Mmm, it must be nice"  Yes, it is.

I make no apologies for my life. I chose not to get married or have children because I knew it would make me feel trapped and I need to feel free.  I had the sense to think ahead - I took a good long look at motherhood and I didn't like the end the result I saw, so I didn't go down that path.  Which means that I don't wake up in my mid-forties wondering where my life has gone and why I haven't done anything with it!  I wake up knowing that I have achieved most of my goals and I am still setting new ones that I will achieve in the future.   I'm just not interested in being beamed up by the mothership.

My journey is one of freedom and fancy, of glitter and glamour. My path is artistic and creative.  I have the freedom to follow my heart wherever it leads and to chase after my wildest dreams...to go where the whim takes me, because freedom is my bliss. 

Saturday, 3 June 2017


Midsummer fey-dreams
I am a day-dreamer, a fey-dreamer...It is that time of year again, as the summer solstice approaches, my mind turns to all things fey and faerie, to the wondrous and the whimsical.  As the earth embraces the bright season and all is lush with new growth, I fall into fey-dreams of possibility.  Hope is renewed with the lengthening days and the magic within me stirs restlessly, eager to be cast out into the wider world with a heartfelt cry of Blessed Be!

I cast daily charm spells for all who need a little boost - for people I know and those I have never met; for my readers and my clients; for family and friends alike.  Charms are simple acts of magical kindness, like lighting a candle and dedicating the flame to those who need a little more light in their lives. Or blowing wish bubbles out into the clear blue sky, wishing joy for the sorrowful, or healing for the sick.  Random acts of magic like this help to keep me positive and optimistic. Because someone, somewhere needs a bit of magic in their lives and I am happy to share mine. It takes no time at all, but it puts a spring in my step as I think of the good wishes reaching the targets I know nothing about.

Summertime is all about faerie magic and it is nice to get out into nature more. I make daisy-chain crowns and wish on stars on a summers eve. I cast a pebble into the seventh wave of an incoming tide and state my desire to the merrowmaids.  I write goals on leaves and bury them to bring them into reality. I float feathers on a river to cast troubles away or dance with the sylphs of air on a windy day or invoke the winds of change by hanging wind chimes in my home. These are all simple charms to keep the good magic flowing in my life. 

The long winter can leave us all a little stagnant, but spring and summer bring oceans of opportunity if we are open to it.  Faerie magic can open your heart to love, joy and abundance, which is why I wrote a book and composed music about it. Reading books on fairy-lore and ritual can help you to rise above the mundane and see the world in a completely new light.  

I love reading books about Otherworldly places, allowing my imagination to take flights of fancy with the elves of Middle Earth, or the water kelpies of Scottish folklore.  

I believe that flights of fancy are to be encouraged at any time of year, but especially through the faerie season of midsummer.  I was going to write a Book Nook post about my favourite faerie books and music, but I honestly have too many to choose from. So instead I plan to Tweet about various fey books from now until the end of August - it is the best way to do them all justice!

So come follow me on Twitter and set your inner Faerie Queene free as we tread softly upon the petal path of faerie dreams, venturing deep into Elphame to dance with the Sidhe...for this is where the magic happens!

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Banking Karma

It's 3am as I start to write this post. I have been up all night writing essays for my counselling course, which I am happy to report will soon be at an end.  I have only five classes left to attend and a couple more essays to write, and then the training will be over.  I am looking forward to crossing the finish line!

It will be nice to get my freedom back.  When I embarked on the course I didn't imagine that it would infiltrate so much of my life, but it feels as though everything else has had to be put on the back burner for the past four years.  It will be nice to have free time again, where I'm not thinking about the latest college assignment.

I miss day-dreaming. I miss being able to sit in reverie, without feeling guilty because I'm not writing essays!  I miss reading books that are nothing to do with psychotherapy.  In the past four years, I have had to think of my course as a priority.  This doesn't sit well with my rebellious, Bohemian spirit. I like to be free to drift through the days, doing what I want, when I want to.  

I hate writing essays.  It is the most tedious writing I have ever had to do. Essays leave no space for self-expression because every word has to meet a certain target and you are shackled to the criteria.  This academic hoop jumping has really stifled my creativity.  The best way I can describe is, it is like writer's block, but instead of being blocked out of writing, you are boxed in to a corner and a particular kind of writing -  a kind that is zero fun to produce and feels very much like a complete waste of your time. It's not that it is hard intellectually - it's just very tedious to keep repeating the same thing over and over, because all essays are simply a variation on a theme. At least I keep passing them though, that's a blessing. 

I feel less like myself because of it, which is surprising because I was assured that this course would make me much more self-aware - so shouldn't I feel more like myself then?  Apparently not. 

All this will change once I have my life back in July - I will no longer have to wear the student hat, and I can go back to just being myself.  I won't be trapped in a classroom every week, bored and fed up of endless navel gazing. Instead I will have my freedom once more - freedom to look up at the stars and dream magically, rather than examining all the crap in the world and trying to identify where it came from!  Freedom to focus on my real job of writing once again, taking it in a new direction;  freedom to take the dance class that I've had to put off because it falls on the same night I'm in college; freedom to play, to be filled with wonder at the beauty of the world, rather than focusing on that one inevitable imperfection and discussing it to death!

There is one good aspect to the course though and that is my placement.  I love doing my clinical hours.  It is the only part of the training that makes me happy, and which validates my original theory that you really don't need a diploma to help people - counselling is little more than basic common sense and human kindness. I said as much at the beginning of my training, and four years later I stand by that assessment.   I have used nothing I have learnt in class on my placement because each organisation has its own way of working.  My placement is with a counselling organisation and totally separate from the college, so it is a nice break from the lectures.

I never expected that working for free as a psychotherapist would be the best part of the course, but it is.  Obviously it would be better if I was getting paid for my time, but that will come eventually, just like it did with my writing.  I love my placement.Because everyone is voluntary there is no hierarchy, and people are nice! There is no bitching, no snottiness (some counsellors I've met in the past can be quite snotty) and no veiled put-downs masquerading as 'concern' like you sometimes get with doctors.  It is just a really nice environment. I enjoy working there and I come home feeling elated that I have played a small part in helping my clients through a very dark time in their lives.  It is the one part of my course where I feel like myself again.

Of course helping people with their troubles is all part of being a witch, so despite the academics trying to remould me, I am still doing exactly what I have always done - and that is, I help people, bringing a glimmer of light into their darkness, as any wise woman of old would have done.  As a messenger, I can sometimes bring comfort to those who need a sign, but mostly I help people to keep living, as best they can, when they think that their life is over. 

I see it as banking good karma - I help those who need me, for free, and that skilled kindness will be returned to me by the threefold law at a later stage. Its a win-win situation.  I wish all good things for my clients, just as I do for my readers.  Spreading kindness and gentleness helps to shine a light in the world and it makes a positive difference. But I'd be lying if I said I'm not looking forward to the eventual cosmic pay-day! Good things come to those who wait. 
BB x

Sunday, 21 May 2017

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Patience is a Virtue, But Mine Wears Thin!

"But it never is time for the waiting to be over, until its time. No matter how much wringing of the hands, crying, begging or bargaining we do, the waiting will continue until its damn good and ready, which is rarely soon enough...

The truth is that waiting is when the magic happens. Waiting is the mystical space between the dreaming and its coming true."

from Romancing the Ordinary by Sarah Ban Breathnach

I'm good at waiting, but sometimes my patience wears a bit thin.  Its not so much the waiting that bothers me - its the silence, the false endings and the lack of news that irritate me and make me wonder if my time is being wasted. But this is what I need to remember - it will all happen in its own time, not mine. Be patient. Keep busy. Play music with meaning and wait for the magic to happen, because this really is just the beginning...better to wait and make a fresh start, than to rush and make a false start.


Monday, 8 May 2017

MUSICAL DOLL; Half The World Away

The sun comes up in China
The lights go on in Rome
Half the world is waiting...