Thursday, 21 June 2012

Failure.. or a different sort of success?

I love gardening and usually have a very productive organic vegetable plot. However, earlier this year I didn't get on top of the weeding and only managed to deal with about a third of the garden where I planted some potatoes, beans, onions, garlic and salad. The veg I did plant is growing happily, the borage and himalayan purple poppies have self seeded and are appearing in strange places. Some potatoes are appearing unexpectedly so I must have missed a few when I dug them up last year. The currants, gooseberries and raspberries are laden with ripening fruit but I haven't done anything to them!

Bistort and Buttercups

Like most parts of the country the weather has alternated between hot and sunny and torrential rain and so the bits of the garden I didn't weed have gone absolutely beserk. The wild grasses are about 5 feet high, the nettles and wildflowers are prolific and it is far too late to try and get on top of this unruly garden now. I was a bit frustrated that there won't be as much produce as I would have liked but now I've just decided to let nature take over. I have weeded around the veg and cut down a few nettles so I don't get stung on my way to the washing line but there is something quite amazing about how quickly the garden has gone so wild.


My apparent failure in trying to control the weeds has actually turned out to be extremely beneficial in other ways. There are many more buttercups, bistort, cornflowers, daisies, lemon balm, wild thyme and cornflowers than I would have liked.. but the garden is teeming with insects, bees and butterflies so it's actually been a huge success in attracting the wildlife. As there are more insects and wildflowers I have also seen many more birds in the garden than usual, especially green and gold finches.


The whole business with the garden reminded me of a poem about the joy and triumph in failure by Pete Armstrong. I know Pete through a local mindfulness meditation group, he has a website with the wonderful title Holy Bloke Many of his poems are on the website and some collections are also available to download.

Don’t keep your failures to yourself
Don’t keep your failures to yourself:
you and they will get lonely.
Share them with those who will listen,
then you and they can transform into joy.
Enjoy your failures as they appear:
like waves approaching the shore,
emerging perfectly formed from the sea;
like the moon emerging from behind a cloud,
illuminating a golden road across the sea.
Celebrate the perfection of your failures
as heartily as your more mundane triumphs,
and then you will double and redouble
the joy you bring into the world.

If you like that then you might be interested in Pete's book  The Commitment of the Lark: Poems for Looking Deeply
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Sunday, 17 June 2012

Laughter Yoga with Bosom Friends

I went to an event in Barnoldswick on Saturday which was organised by the charity Bosom Friends They do great work supporting people in a variety of ways in the Craven, Pendle and Ribble Valley areas. The day was an opportunity for local people affected by cancer to come and have a chat with some artists and therapists who might be able to help support them and their families.

There were several talks and workshops and we started off with a Laughter Yoga session led by Gill Lowe. I know laughing is good for you and releases endorphins and happy chemicals but had never experienced it myself. Gill was brilliant at getting everyone involved with some simple movements, clapping and of course laughing!

Gill and her husband run a laughter club in Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales and they meet fortnightly on a Saturday morning. For more info on Gill and her work

She also does workshops and if you are in the area for Grassington Festival then you can join them in the incredibly odd surroundings of The Luminarium on Saturday 23rd June. This is an enormous inflatable, colourful, maze-like structure which makes me laugh just looking at it! There are a wide range of events taking place inside this unusual venue including story telling, poetry, life drawing and laughter.
This is a short video in which John Cleese meets Dr Madan Kataria founder of Laughter Yoga, discovers Laughter Yoga and visits a Laughter Yoga session in an Indian jail. 

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Friday, 8 June 2012

It's festival time!

It's June, it is pouring with rain, gale force winds are forecast so it can only mean one thing ..  the summer festival season has started!

Summer for me, and many fellow homeopaths, means helping out at festivals with the Travelling Homeopaths Collective (@THChomeopaths on twitter) who have been providing low cost clinics at festivals and events since 1990. I usually work at Glastonbury and a couple of local ones but with no Glasto this year I'm staying closer to home and will be off to the wonderfully quirky Beat-Herder Festival at the end of the month.


The Travelling Homeopaths Collective is a charity set up by Marcus Christo and we see thousands of people every year at festivals throughout the country. We offer treatment for acute conditions such as hay fever, sunburn, hangovers, cystitis, digestive upsets, coughs and colds, anxiety and panic attacks.

One of the best things about festivals is that many people come back to tell us they are feeling better. Most people we treat have no idea what homeopathy is or they are a bit sceptical and so they are often very surprised about how effective the treatment has been.

It is not appropriate to treat long term problems at festivals but if it is something that we feel might be helped by homeopathy we can put people in touch with a registered practitioner in their area.

Many people just pop in for a chat and want to know what homeopathy is - that is fine too. We have plenty of books and leaflets for people to read and we all like a chat over a cuppa!

This year we will be at over twenty festivals throughout the summer from Wychwood this weekend at Cheltenham Racecourse to Bestival in September on the Isle of Wight so have a look here and see where we'll be.

Glastonbury in 2005

Since 2008 the Travelling Homeopaths have held an annual camp which is like their own mini-festival. This year it will be held between 9th and 12th August on an organic farm close to the Uffington White Horse in the Oxfordshire countryside. There will be an array of well-known homeopaths doing talks and workshops but there is plenty for partners and kids too and there will be a children's area, circus skills, story-telling, Indian Music workshop, Night time entertainment, showers, sauna, camp fire and a fabulous Vegetarian Cafe.

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