"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, 24 September 2015

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Wildest Dreams

"Say you'll remember me, standing in a nice dress, 
staring at the sunset...red lips and rosy cheeks, 
say you'll see me again even if it's just in your wildest dreams"

Taylor Swift's Wildest Dreams is my favourite song of the moment...it reminds me of a midnight walk I took with my soldier, by the ocean in Oban.  The night was cold, but the November moon was full and cast a romantic silver glistening on the waves. He was in his uniform, looking tall and dashingly handsome. I was wearing a long red velvet dress. It was the night I turned 40 and somehow this song takes me right back to that moment in time; walking, talking, laughing, happy.  All the best things happen to me when I am in Scotland!

I had my second night class this week and I'm happy to say it went much better than the first.  It was a fun class and I learnt a lot.  We had a traditional style lecture, which is how I learn best, so I enjoyed it.  Hearing the other students talk of their lives really made me appreciate things a lot more too.  It made me realize what a very nice life I have and that I have already made most of my own wildest dreams come true.  Psychotherapy training is just a back-up plan for me and an extra string to my bow.

I do think it is important to limit the drama in your life - by that I mean you should be careful who you allow into your space and if someone consistently pulls you down, cut them out of your life if possible.  I have stripped a lot of dead wood from my life over the last few years - I regret none of it.  In fact, I'm glad to be rid of the hangers on to be honest.  It's been one long sigh of relief since I dropped false friends. Life is too short to spend time with those who are only hanging around because they hope to see you fall, or because they have a hidden agenda and they want something from you.  Set yourself free and see how high you can fly without the dead weight dragging you down.

Real friends will always be there for you, no matter what. Betrayal simply doesn't feature in a genuine friendship - only in a jealous one.   Distance will only break a relationship if it is a purely physical attraction; if there is a genuine attachment of hearts and minds, you can work around the distance, and keep working around it until the time comes for a romantic reunion. Until then enjoy your wildest dreams and do whatever you can to make them come true.

Sunday, 20 September 2015


Autumn is a time for reflection and dreaming up the future...
It's early evening on a beautiful autumn day, as the equinox fast approaches.  The sun has been shining on the newly turning leaves and all the pretty autumn colours are just beginning to show.  There is a chill in the air as I type this so I'm burning a Yankee Cinnamon Sticks candle to create a cosy atmosphere and sipping on creamy white hot chocolate to warm up a bit.  I feel the cold far too easily due to my thyroid illness so flickering candle flames and spicy autumnal scents help to keep the chill at bay. 

This afternoon I went shopping with my mum. We really enjoy going shopping together and today was no exception, even though we had a completely different set of shopping goals. Mum wanted to buy some new lounge-wear for when she's relaxing around the house and I was on a mission for college supplies.

I have a pile of old work from the first three levels of my Psychotherapy training, which was just sitting in a heap in my study.  It looked untidy and I just can't concentrate or write in a mess - I need to be tidy and organized so I can think straight. Although this work is from previous levels of study, I might still need to refer back to it at some point, so I can't just throw it away, or archive it like old published work.  I need to have easy access to it, but in a tidy, organized fashion.  

So I wanted to get some sort of storage sorted out and I found some very pretty magazine files with a delicate butterfly design.  It looks feminine and elegant and I've spent a happy hour sifting, sorting and filing all my academic work to date, in order and sequence, so that I can find what I want without too much drama - there's nothing worse than being in the middle of a vital essay that counts towards your final grade and not being able to locate the written piece you need; it just adds to the stress.  Hopefully, now all my old work is in a butterfly file, I won't have this problem.

I also bought some note-books; some in camouflage print to match the binders I got a few weeks ago, and some in a pink tartan design that I love!  The camouflage ones are for college, but the pink tartan is for my own personal journaling and for dreaming up new writing ideas on the page.  WHSmiths have currently got some brilliant offers on, so I took advantage of those, even buying a set of 20 coloured ink ballpoint pens for when I'm keeping track of my current deadlines and academic assignments. This will be easier if each publisher I write for has their own colour, and collage work a different colour.  It will help me to keep things organized at a glance.  I almost bought next year's dairy too, as they have some really beautiful ones in, but I'm making myself wait for that - it is still a bit early for diary shopping!

Another thing I've been doing this week is purchasing the text books I need for this next academic year.  Wow, I'd forgotten how expensive 'required texts' are (not to mention dry as sticks to read)! Thank goodness for Amazon because the student book shops in my home town (I live in a city with two Universities) were twice as expensive.   

That's the thing about academic books as opposed to commercially published ones - because they are 'required texts' they tend to be on the pricey side, simply because students have to have them for their course.  It's a bit of a scam really and while I usually love purchasing books, my working class upbringing struggles to accommodate this type of elitist-based academic shopping list. I can think of better things to spend my money on to be honest.

My first class was last week and it did not go well.  I'm not sure about the new tutor as he is very full on, with an intense stare, and I think he was trying to scare us all a bit, laying the pressure on us at a very early stage in the course - day one! I appreciate his passion for his subject, but all of us in class have real jobs to maintain and simply cannot make the course the 'center of everything' as he seems to expect, so most of us will fall somewhat short of his expectations in that respect, especially those who have kids to juggle too.  I'm certainly not prepared to put the course ahead of my writing career, but I think once we get into the syllabus, it will be easier to assimilate the course work into my writing day, as I have for the previous three levels.

So it was a pretty fraught first lesson - we didn't really learn anything, other than what a task-master he is clearly going to be.  This might not be a bad thing, as we are at the stage now where we will need to begin working up our voluntary hours in clinical practice.  This means that we will be training with real people who have real problems, in GP surgery's and clinics, so we have to be ready to perform to a high standard of clinical practice.  But it still sucks to be brow-beaten in the very first class!

I have quite a bit of academic reading to do before next class, but for tonight I'm going to put away my new stationery (yay!), shelve the textbooks (boooo!) and settle down to watch BBC2 Special Forces, before taking Philippa Gregory's new novel, The Taming of the Queen, up to bed with me to read. That sounds like a nice plan...and I do deserve a wee rest after all that shopping :-)

Saturday, 12 September 2015

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Sit Down With Your Ego

"You just need you to take you higher...
Off you go..."

Don't forget to cure cancer while you're at it.

One of the best 'Good Riddance' anthems around!

Beware of the Frostbyte.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Hello September Studies...

Nearly time to hit the books again

It's just after midnight on a chilly, wet evening as I snuggle into bed and settle down to write this blog post on my laptop. I'm burning a Yankee tart in Rain Washed Berries and sipping on a chai tea latte. 

September has just begun and with it the season of autumn. Next week lots of children will be going back to school, packing their school bags with new pens and pencil cases. It's an exciting and very nostalgic time of year.

I'm feeling a little emotional tonight because this evening I got the much anticipated news that I have been granted a place on the next level of my course.  At the same time I found out that two of my fellow students from the previous level haven't been offered a place.  It has left a hole in our group and I am really going to miss our old crowd.  Also, it's hard to celebrate when you know others have been disappointed.

After the disruption of the last level, some students just dropped out of the course altogether - those of us who stuck with it have formed a nice bond and I am sad to think they won't be there in my next class.  They are smart women though, and I know that they will do well, whatever path they choose to take now.

I had my own interview exactly a week ago, so it has been a week of hanging on tenterhooks waiting for the news - then when it came it was bitter sweet.  But I am delighted that I have a place and I need to take a deep breath and focus on my own path.  This is what I have been working towards.

I start the final level of my training in a couple of weeks time, with a new semester and a new tutor.  It's the final two years and I'm exactly at the half-way point.  It feels similar to when I'm writing a book - at the half way point I'm convinced everything I've written so far is rubbish, but it's too close to deadline and I've come too far to start again, so I just have to get my head down and press on with it, having faith that it will turn out well.  I sort of feel like that tonight. I have another two years of studying ahead of me - so still a long way to go - and I'm hoping it will all be worth it in the end.

At least it is still only one night class a week, so I can keep up with my main job of writing, which is after all, how I make my living. The courses have never taken precedence over my writing work, it's more that the reports, essays etc, are just another deadline to meet.
And because I'm studying psychotherapy, then it is good fodder for my column and my work as a self-help author.  It is all very interconnected and relevant to my writing.

It seems hard to believe that just two years ago I was preparing to go back to college, albeit night school, and starting at level 1.  Now I have levels 1, 2 and 3 passed and under my belt and I'm preparing to move on to level 4 in a couple of weeks, at the end of which I should hopefully be a qualified counsellor, which will add a new string to my bow of self-employment and writing expertise. I could even set up my own private practice! So far, it has proved to be a good back-up plan!

Sometimes when you set yourself a goal you don't really know what path you will take to achieve it - in spring 2013 I set myself the goal of taking an academic night class that autumn, wanting to do something that would enrich my writing and make me a more insightful columnist.  
I had no idea then, when I enrolled on a level 1 counselling course, that I was embarking on what has turned out to be a four year Diploma!  I've already given it two years and now I'm going to give it two more.  

It looks like my plan to help soldiers really will come to fruition at some point, so my new camouflage stationary will not be going to waste!  It will be a good reminder of why I'm attending night classes in the first place.  In two weeks time, I'll be packing my college bag with new green camouflage stationary, pens and books...ready to learn and press ahead with my long term plans. It's a long road, but Scotland waits for me at the end of it ...and in the meantime I have my new theme song to keep me motivated, courtesy of Little Mix...wish me luck!