TAKING TIME OUT

We all need to take time out of our usual routine once in awhile, to re-group, renew our energy, and see different places. I also thinkit’s important to see and visit different cultures and peoples every so often –it helps to widen our vision. We see things in a more expanded way as our mindsare opened. In this way we broaden our horizons. I’ve really only realised thisfully as I’ve grown older, having always been something of a workaholic withlittle time off. But nowadays I do build-in essential re-couping time for me.We can’t be “on duty” all the time.


It’s not been easy for me to take time out during the lasttwo or three years in particular.. My elder cat Cricket became very demandingin the last couple of years of her life – especially during the final fewmonths, needing constant attention. And now my slightly autistic younger cat Chloeis getting on in years, and we’ve got a rather unique problem (she’s a veryunique cat). Cut a long story short, she has been eating toxic plants in thegarden – mainly ones that give her a “high”! She’s been doing this since wearrived here a few years ago – first crocuses (our first spring here was anightmare), then bluebells, then progressing on to several types of creepingplants that clearly put her in an altered state of consciousness, as evidencedby her dilated pupils and erratic behaviour. I’m living with a feline junkie! NowI’m not averse to anyone having fun and enjoying themselves in their own way,but unfortunately this habit has given Chloe major digestive upsets, with theresultant diarrhoea; and Chloe has very long fur – I’ll leave you to imaginethe unpleasant messy result. She hates having the rear end washed, or beingtaken on yet another trip to the vet to get it clipped and cleaned up, so it’sa lose- lose situation all round, to which I have had to call a halt, for thesake of her health and my sanity! All possibly toxic plants, in both the houseand garden, have gradually been carefully weeded out and got rid of, and I haveto keep a careful eye to make sure nothing re-grows.


So, given the issues with Chloe, and badly needing a breakand some sunshine and warmth after three months of constant rain and grey cloudin the UK, I made very careful preparations in the garden, left Chloe in thecapable hands of my intrepid neighbour, and managed a few days in Madeira –somewhere I have always been very drawn to visit. This is probably becauseMadeira is part of the ancient land of Atlantis, and as an old soul, I recallat least one lifetime there.  


On the flight as we flew south, gradually emerging into blueskies from the many thick layers of cloud covering the UK, I felt my spiritsstart to lift out of the doldrums of the past few months. Some trips are aRetreat or pilgrimage – these are the sort of adventures that are ideal forsolitary travel, needing to be undertaken alone.  There are times when we need to be solitary –within our own bubble – to process and shed on many levels. For me this was oneof those.


Landing in Funchal, the higher energy vibrations wereimmediately apparent. I spent a lovely few days walking in gardens, takingtrips to different parts of this dramatically mountainous volcanic land, seeinga different way of life, and enjoying the constant  warmth and sunshine and temperatures of 20 C.I was told the weather was unseasonably warm and dry for February.. My earswere popping constantly from the changes in altitude - we went up to 1810mabove SL. I met some nice people too - in cable cars, buses, on mini bus andJeep tours – and it was good to strike up interesting conversations withstrangers and compare experiences. Madeira is Portuguese, and the people arevery welcoming and kind. Indeed, someone commented to me that the alliancebetween England and Portugal is probably the oldest in the world. So I had agreat time there.


Returning, it was good to see the UK mainland come intoview, with few clouds and some sunshine! This is a funny little island, but inthis lifetime it’s home for me. Flying back into Bristol I felt how small andinsignificant we each are in the grand nature of things, but each one of uscontributes to the collective energy, and it’s important to keep our own energyhigh and raise ourselves out of the doom and gloom which can afflict us here inwinter.  Escaping for a short while to adifferent  land has cleared my mind. Ihave arrived back centred in a very quiet, deep space and with an expanded viewof things. And there’s a feeling of something else : healing and atonement forthat past life, which was the esoteric reason for the trip. When we take timeout and get away like this, we get things in perspective and find out what’simportant. It feeds our soul and nurtures our spirit. We need these types oftrips to re-connect with the mystical – that deep inner knowing that we are onewith All That Is. I think Man needs wilderness in order to come back tohim/herself, and for me that is mountains and high moorland – the more remotethe better. And the mountains in the central area of Madeira are truly majestic– you can feel their Presence.


So now I am home it’s back to work, but with renewed energyand vigour - ready for the fray of everyday life but with a wider understandingand greater awareness. It’s the first time I have taken a winter break, but Ican highly recommend it if only to get away from the dismal UK winter. I evencame back with the beginnings of a tan! And arriving home to my beloved Chloe,she had coped OK and was very glad to see me back, and there were no messydramas while I was away, thankfully. A win-win situation all round!


Sheila Whittaker 3/3/20


 


 


 


 


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