IT WAS A MISTAKE
Mistake sounds negative, but mistakes contribute to learning and have more value than always getting things right.
Many of you will be familiar with or have visited the virtual environment of Second Life. If you haven’t, give it a miss, it is highly addictive and could ruin your life. I spent the better part of all my leisure time there for almost 5 years.
I used to role play in medieval fantasy sims. You’d create a character, wander around the purpose-built environment, bump into other characters and then start typing something your character would say or do.
I played dark, exotic creatures and worldly-wise warriors. It was spontaneous story writing and I found it exciting. It was like playing chess as you didn’t quite know what all the other characters were going to do next. Sometimes your objective was to topple the king. As my characters were often the queen, most players were trying to dispense with my invention.
When I look back, I spent 5 years making quite a lot of people frightened. Not every roleplayer is able to separate their character from themselves and would respond to the game as if they really are one of the pawns. I wasn’t creating a difficult situation for their character, but more for the person behind the character. Emotions would run high and I’m glad not to part of it anymore, although I do miss the sense of immersion gained when entering a complete fantasy world of your own making.
Safar was one of those characters, except when I created her, she was meant to be a she-orc named Saraf. I mis-typed the name when registering the avatar. This orc was so stupid that a mage thought it prudent to give her the gift of wit. This wasn’t a good idea as it was veritably dangerous during mating season.
A few months later, a player from Bangladesh started calling her Journey. Safar is an Arabic word and you’ll recognise the Swahili variant as ‘Safari’.
When I commenced the journey that I’m now on, I began to embrace the name as my own.
Safar has become adopted as a real name and in so doing, is enabling the transformational process I’m undergoing. Like crysalis to caterpillar, caterpillar to butterfly, humans are equally capable of self-evolution, but all too often become labelled, boxed and fixed.
Hopefully, Safar will journey from something dark and scary to a more inspirational source of wisdom. I hope the journey has many surprises along the way. More importantly, I’m living the journey now, taking time to peruse the hedgerows, veering off course and losing time by gazing at the sky.
I’ve been thinking about the Thistles and Whistles Take-a-Step Thursday event. For the initiate, this entails writing a post about what has inspired you this week and what you are going to do as a result.
Inspiration is to be found everywhere: on these blogs, TED talks, the perfection of nature, and in nature.
I have plenty of brambles wildly meandering around the garden, so took advantage of the harvest. From the periphery of my vision, I realised that a robin was close on my heels picking up anything I dropped. Finally, he rested on a branch that was overhanging some grass clippings, so I threw a couple of the berries onto the pile. He bravely lowered himself to participate in the pickings.
Earlier in the week, I joined Incredible Edibles to tidy up a couple of beds. Some of the plants had mature seeds on them, so I brought home a little collection. As an experiment I threw a few over a bed at home to see what happens, the rest I’ve saved. That robin swooped in. I pushed a few of the seeds into the soil just in case, but left the others on top and withdrew. The robin payed no mind to the seeds, but followed me instead. When I threw him a blackberry, he was suitably happy.
I love this life!
My thought for the week is that there is inspiration in doing. Taking that first step, having a little success, or seeing some fruit or benefit of the action is inspiration to do more. Days are becoming increasingly industrious by doing those things I’ve always wanted to do. So here’s my safar so far!
Eight Blisters In
Blister One: Steamed fingers
I bought a sewing machine and created a dress I even dared to wear out.
I discovered dress-making means ironing and steam scalded fingers was a product of the endeavour. I’m now in the middle of two more sewing projects, so sustainable clothing for a community is a possibility for the future. I did use to live in an artisan community in Ireland, where wool spinners and dyers created the best wool for knitting with. Missing them now! I’ve been sourcing natural, undyed fabrics and have become interested in the use of wild plants for dyes. I’ve not yet taken the deep breath needed to potentially spoil very good fabric. But I will.
Blister Two: Creaking knees
The cause of this is t’ai chi. Although I hope the problem is the solution.
The creaking knees are more due to being overly competitive at karate in the past. The t’ai chi is helping to strengthen the muscles around the joints, which may prevent any worsening of the condition.
Video above: Safar’s aspiration
I’ve commenced by learning the 24 forms. This was no small undertaking, but two hours have often gone by without me realising it. I’m proud that I can now move from the opening form to the closing without forgetting. I can’t explain the feeling gained from the fully flowing movement. At times I am almost brought to tears. It is simply beautiful. And when outdoors, it’s like adding ice cream to an apple and blackberry crumble.
Blister Three: Achilles Heel
I started running about a year ago. An activity I’ve often avoided as it is so hard. But I followed a 5K training programme and was motivated enough to follow it fully. I then decided to do a 10K charity run this coming November, and suddenly that little voice began to hassle me.
You know that little voice?
“Oh, it hurts so much”; “It doesn’t matter if you take a minute’s break at the end of this mile”; “you can go out tomorrow instead”…
It occurred to me during a recent run, that perhaps two hours of t’ai chi and a run in the same day is possibly why running IS so hard! So I reduced the time spent on t’ai chi in the morning and did an easy 5K later in the day.
“You’ve done well so far, still got energy left, why not go a bit faster for the last kilometre?”
Blister Four: Rolling Rs
Also about a year ago I invested in the Open University’s Portales six course books and CDs – a level 1 course in Spanish. ¡Hablo español! Well, not very well, but I’m understanding more than I did. A sesión per day and book 1 now complete.
Blister Five: Grammar
English grammar that is.
As we’re going travelling and given my teaching experience, there’s a potential income earner for the future. But I would like to know what I’m doing when teaching English. So a TEFL course has now been scheduled for the period between t’ai chi and Spanish.
The rest of the day is not so well-organised. I follow my mood and the weather.
Blister Six: Following a recipe
The person before Safar had a blasé attitude to cooking. It entailed a rummage in the cupboard, fling it all in a heavy-based pan, wait 20 minutes and hope for the best.
Safar on the other hand has followed recipes, or at least something similar to a prescribed recipe. With Verd now gluten, egg, dairy and yeast free and with a severe tightening of the purse strings, free-from supermarket trips are no longer on the shopping list.
I figure that if I’m going to feed a community, I should know how to cook the food I grow.
Blister Seven: Stings and Stab Wounds
From the great British countryside. A forager’s delight. Wasn’t I saying something about mistakes? Bring gloves and long sleeves!
Blister Eight: Mapping
I’ve created a world map and have placed markers indicating where a permaculture project is located that is looking for volunteers in exchange for accommodation and food. I’m working on a country at a time, with a view to plotting a feasible route to undertake in the future.
Don’t try this at home!
It will greatly improve your geography.