"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.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

BOOK NOOK; Moving On by Sarah Ban Breathnach

It is often said that a woman's home is a reflection of her soul and in her book Moving On author Sarah Ban Breathnach explores the psychology of home making and the nesting instinct in women.

I have always had a very strong nesting instinct; though there are areas where I fall far short of expectations!  I don't garden for a start, until its absolutely necessary and then I do so with much resentment as I think of good writing time being wasted.  I don't/can't/won't cook and as I eat like a bird and remain single and child free this has never posed too much of a problem for me personally, but I dare say it is likely to put off any potential beau.

I do enjoy putting together beautiful rooms and creating spaces which make the soul sigh in comfort and joy.  A little imagination can go a long way, and with a weekend of hard work a room can be completely transformed from a mediocre space into an enchanted realm of magic and wonder.

The place we live says much about our personality; our tastes, hobbies, work life and general interests.  Anyone can see from a tour around the rooms of my house that I am a romantic, a dreamer, a writer, a book worm, a music lover, a film buff, an ice-skater, dancer and equestrian; they would deduce that I am single, a home worker and that I enjoy my own company and have no difficulty in keeping myself entertained.  In Moving On SBB states that a woman's home is also a mirror of her psyche and her state of mind is revealed in the state of her house.  All that clutter could be a sign that you feel overwhelmed; a neat freak may well be trying to hide the fact that her life is not as perfect as it appears on the surface; a messy wardrobe and piles of ironing waiting could indicate a lost soul trying to find her way back to herself and her own identity; a disused vanity or dressing table could hint that you feel unattractive or invisible and so on.  Moving On is not a book about home decor or decluttering; it is about what happens when a woman reaches the point in her life when she is ready to settle into her own pattern as a woman in her own right, rather than simply being someone's wife, mother, daughter... when she is ready to move on and live life on her own terms.

There are some quite clever observations in this book; although it is a safe assumption that most women have a 'catch all' closet or cupboard (mine is the cupboard under the stairs - it is in desperate need of a clear out, but each time I open the door...I close it again and procrastinate!) other observations show more insight, like how using only the back door (as I do) is a subtle way of self-slighting, the back door traditionally being the tradesman's entrance.  I also have a large Gothic settle in the hallway which slightly obstructs the opening of the front door...could it be that I sometimes feel invaded and so I have created a subtle and beautiful barricade?  Possibly.  Could it also be that by using the back door and disusing the transitional space of the front hallway, that maybe I have an aversion to change and life transitions?  Absolutely!

I like the way SBB talks about the feeling of safety we expect from our home as this is something I can relate to - I try to ensure that my home is the safest place I know.  When this level of security has been compromised in some way; for example by a burglary, an marital indiscretion, a violent interaction or a betrayal of some kind; then the sacred space of the home has been violated, which may in turn lead the residents to hold onto the psychic residue of the violation. This residual fear will eventually begin to express itself in how the house is being kept and cared for.  As the title suggests Moving On has lots of tips to help you identify the problems areas and deal with them so that you can move forward in your life, even if you have no intention of moving house. It is a book which embraces the skills of the feminine nesting instinct and which honors the comfort those skills provide.  While it is not my favorite SBB book, that being Romancing the Ordinary,   it is an enjoyable and insightful read; the only thing I didn't like were the prayers at the end of each chapter which I found to be OTT and slightly nauseating, but that's just my personal opinion.   Moving On is a great book for those days when you know you really ought to be doing the housework but prefer to procrastinate and read about home-making instead!  It's a book to curl up with in bed in the middle of the night when you can't sleep, or in the middle of the afternoon when you're playing hooky from work; it's a book to inspire you to begin sorting out those jobs that have been niggling at you for ages, or just for taking extra pleasure in the beauty of the home you have created for yourself and your family. Curl up beneath the duvet, sip something festive and enjoy the comfort of home sweet home with this heart-warming  hearth- honing book.

Saturday, 19 May 2012


Those of you who follow me on Twitter will be aware that I have not been too well of late, hence the lack of blog posts.  Whilst I have been sick I have been reading through old diaries, trying to remember past events more clearly so that I can pin point certain events, people and places etc.

I usually enjoy flicking through my diaries - and there is a pile of them to get through!  Its always nice to see the dreams manifest as reality with the passing of months and years...the steady progress of my life plan and the general plodding on to achieve my goals.  What I hadn't realized until now though is just how goal orientated my diaries are; often to the detriment of more personal things.  I do not like to dwell on sad times but I was quite shocked to find a pattern emerge within the pages of my diaries - a pattern of very short entries whenever I was dealing with quite major life issues such as the death of my grandmother, my mother's battle with and victory over breast cancer, an important trip north of the boarder to Scotland, and more than one special moment, all virtually lost to the page.  Instead of pouring my heart out during these emotional times, my diary is full of lists of goals, deadlines, editors' names and project ideas.  It made me realize that I have an unconscious habit of throwing myself into my work during times of acute stress. It is almost as if I am trying to pretend the bad stuff really isn't happening by focusing the diary entries on work related topics instead.  I am sure that I am not alone in finding solace in my work when life throws a fireball; the surprise is that, at the time, I was completely unaware that I was using my career as an avoidance tactic to numb the pain of grief, worry and loss.

I also noticed that I rarely write down the seemingly insignificant stuff - the compliment, the flirtation, the winning smile from a dishy doctor - those little moments of joyfulness which can turn a mundane day into something quite magical and special.  I write about the weather, being a weather geek; I write about the things which have annoyed me that day; I write about my friends, my cat and my day to day activities such as dancing, riding and skating.  But perhaps I should have written about the last conversation I had with my grandmother or the strong arm of a very dear friend who was there for me at her funeral, supporting me and surprising me with what can only be described as the silver lining in a sorrowful day.  Luckily I have fond memories of these things now and I have been reliving the silver linings during my sickness, but I can't think why on earth I didn't write about it in my diary at the time.

I have come to the conclusion that I need to focus more on the little things and put more balance in my life - its all well and good to have lists of goals and to tick off various achievements along the way and being a work-loving Scorpio control freak, I am sure that I will continue to do this as I have the Bruce need to press ahead. But I will also write down more of the  moments which make each day special - the way a handsome stranger turns his head to look at me as I walk by, the romance of a pair of amorous swans on the water, the unexpected meeting with a long forgotten dear friend, a beautiful sunset, the way my cat Pyewackett wakes me for his morning fuss, the things that make me laugh, a pair of handsome blue eyes twinkling at me across the doctor's surgery room, a secret shared in a silent glance...in short, the little things I have been taking for granted and which have been lost in the quest for bigger goals and greater achievements.  What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare..?  I plan to do more staring - and to write down what I see in my diary, recording the moments that make each day magical.  From now on I will enjoy the secret anniversaries of the heart, the soul stirring moments of possibility - and I will record them in the pages of my diary so I remember everything that matters.