Musings Archives - Dale Darley

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Reading Books And Scoffing Chocolate

Yesterday I was nibbling chocolate and reading while thinking about something I wanted to write when the idea to write about reading and chocolate came about. However, it morphed into something else and well, just because I can I decided to go with the flow.

Reading always inspires my creative flow. What I love about other people’s writing is that it takes me to another time and place and makes me think.

Reading makes us better writers – it’s a fact.

Let’s indulge ourselves because it’s Friday in chocolate and winding down for the weekend and maybe finding time to read and write.

I am sure you can think of a million ways that you could be enjoying chocolate – that is of course if you indulge.

And you may be a chocolate expert, indulging in only the finest raw chocolate delights, like my friend Dan from Elements For Life.

Many years ago I stumbled upon his Yummy Scrummy and immediately became a fan.

Following a nasty shingles episode which left me with something called postherpetic neuralgia, I can no longer eat foods high in arginine. So my darling raw chocolate has had to go.

Every once in a while and especially during the lockdown, I start to crave something sweet while reading or writing. To my horror, some deadly milk chocolate somehow finds its way to my mouth.

Of course, as a cake lover (healthy banana bread of course) I soon find myself in a battle – what should I indulge in whilst enjoying two of my favourite pastimes – writing and reading.

My mind as it does wanders off and I wondered what my friends were reading while indulging. It was with great delight I got some great replies back.

I asked my friends three questions for this blog.

  • What book are you reading? What made you choose it?
  • If you were to eat chocolate or cake with that book what would it be?
  • How does the book you are reading inspire you? (it could be beautiful writing that transports you, there may be something you are learning, there might be a message just for today that gets you thinking about change)

“Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.”  Jo Brand

My reading and chocolate answers

A few days ago I started to read and listen to Sonia Choquette’s book Ask your guides.

I choose it because I recently joined Sonia’s group and her vibe is delightful and I want to be more inspired by her wisdom.

I’d have a big triangle of dark Toblerone and nibble it slowly. Yes I know I am not meant to eat dark chocolate, but it called my name at the hardware store.

I’ve just started reading this book and already I know that my spirit family is all around me in various guises and soon I’ll start to recognise their signature energy.

What I also know is that my spirit family can’t steal my chocolate… Though of course, now that I have said that they may hide it…

Reading and chocolate with friends

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Charles M. Schulz

Sarah Arrow – I’m currently reading The Way of the Dragon. This book lends to tea cake and sencha. In the perfect world, it would be read with duck and pancakes. You can read what Sarah said back in 2017 here.

Dan Knowlson – I’m reading a few books at the moment.

  • The 1st book in the Dwarves series a bit of light reading tickling my fantasy liking
  • Earth Magic, learning about shamanic practices.
  • Moonology, learning about working the moon cycles
  • The Medicine Way, learning about shamanic practices

Chocolate wise, it’s either gonna be our Yummy Scrummy raw choc brownie, a divine raw choc mousse that I’ve made, or raw choc bars I’ve made. Or the scrumptious keto cheesecake I made last night. You can read what Dan said back in 2017 here

Allison Marlowe is more well behaved than all of us and commented – I’m currently rereading The Body keeps the Score, I’ve not eaten chocolate since February as part of a no-sugar month but cake which I rarely have has suddenly become a new daily favourite.

Currently devouring vegan ginger cake. I’m rereading this book as I saw a quote from the book and couldn’t recall it. So second read, picking up many bits of info that didn’t go in before.

Lianne Wright another 2017 commenter says – I’m reading “How to raise confident multicultural children” it’s the bilingual from the birth part that really interested me! I would eat all of the chocolate buttons but Libby has discovered that they are yummy.

Sarah Farrell who wrote Secret Spain Travel Guide: Visit Alicante’s Myths & Legends says she is reading Angela Carter’s Book Of Fairy Tales. I chose it because I’m falling back in love with fairy tales and these are incredible stories. When allowed out again, I want to explore fairy circles in Ireland and find out about fairies and witches in Spain.

Chocolate or cake would have to be Jaffa Cakes to nibble or my nan’s Victoria sponge cake. These are childhood treats to add to my comfort eating at the mo.

It’s a super inspiring book for the writing, the way the stories unfold and for the ‘moral’ to the tale. These fairy stories are certainly not for children! But I love revisiting children’s books for the way they tell a story simply but powerfully and for the incredible illustrations, such as Beatrix Potter books.

Hilary Stringer is another fairy tales fan shared A Treasury of Irish Fairy and Folk Tales. A birthday gift from my girls. It’s rich, deep and luscious so I will make a dense chocolate fondant cake and eat it sparingly, perhaps with a tot of Black Bush. It takes me into the land of my ancestors, bewitches me with stories of the Fee and reminds me that the human kingdom is not the only one sharing this earth.

Mel Wakeman (my partner in video crime) says – I’m reading How emotions are made, sat right now nibbling on some Cadbury’s fruit n nut. It came recommended (the book not the choc). I’m really keen to learn more about how we can learn to manage our emotions. This book is coming from an entirely different perspective. I’ll have to read more to find which way.

Here’s Mel and I talking about food and mood journals

Barbara Clarke who is enjoying her solitude says I actually just heard the narration of Neale Donald Walsh Little Soul and the Sun. So simple and so movingly inspiring. Forgiveness – it is what we all need. The Universe sends us nothing but angels – if we remember that we’re OK.

Norma Green is reading Victoria Hislop, The Thread. Would never eat anything whilst reading a book, my bedtime reading but if pushed it would be carrot cake, I don’t like chocolate. I read her book The Island and was mesmerised how such an awful situation could be portrayed in such a beautiful and positive way.

I love reading anything that involves Greek islands but I love her style of writing. You immediately feel as though you are part of the family she is writing about and although living through dreadful times, there is always a positive to cling to and I just love happy endings.

I love happy endings too…

Zhanelya Subebayeva – I’m reading Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, sipping a tea with milk and eating a chocolate brownie. The book makes me feel inspired and hopeful for the future and hints that there is a different way.

What about you what you?

“Chocolate says “I’m sorry” so much better than words.”  Rachel Vincent, My Soul to Save

  • What book are you reading? What made you choose it?
  • If you were to eat chocolate or cake with that book what would it be?
  • How does the book you are reading inspire you? (it could be beautiful writing that transports you, there may be something you are learning, there might be a message just for today that gets you thinking about change)

And finally some gluten-free chocolate cake inspiration for you – healthy of course.

Perhaps one of my journaling books could be the perfect companion to your chocolate moment?

My Mum And The Stuff She Teaches Me

It’s a few days after Mothers Day, mum and I haven’t been able to be together because of the lockdown.

We tried to execute a video call, but mum couldn’t find how to make her sound turn on her computer and I, already frazzled, didn’t have the patience today to work it out. I did try many things, honestly I did.

Instead, we chatted for a while, but because we are both isolated and bored it was hard to find anything much to talk about. This saddens me, because normally we can gas for ages.

What else I wondered would these strange times bring? What is wrong with me that I lost my sense of humour and just couldn’t find the patience to find the solution?

It makes me sad that I had let someone upset me on Sunday and the one person who has had endless patience with me, didn’t get that back.

However, getting this sorted when I see her will be a priority so that in future there can be no hold ups when we want to video call.

I sat reflecting on some of the things that mum has taught me, Readers of this blog back in 2016 will remember that I regaled you with tales of puberty, periods and menopause. These were, and still are some of my greatest mum lessons.

When I talk with mum later today, we shall have plenty to talk about because we shall reminisce.

So as I sit here, I’d like to share some of my musings.

I will always be her little girl

No matter how old I get, I will always be my mum’s little girl and there have been occasions when I have so needed her cuddles.

There was one evening when I was staying with her and I lay in bed tossing and turning over some stuff that was running around my head. By 2 am I couldn’t stand it any longer. I have no idea how she knew, but she was in my bedroom and arms around me while I sobbed in seconds.

She knows just what her little girl needs

As a young girl, my bedroom walls were adorned with posters, my favourite was the one with all of the words to Free’s Wishing Well. The chest of drawers next to said Free poster was where mum placed my special package. If you are of a similar age to me, you will no doubt remember packets of pads and delightful pink (in my case) belts to hold said pads in place.

Mum provided me with instructions on what to do when the blood arrived. What blood I wondered? It’s all very well to have a well-intentioned mum, but to my young mind, there was a disconnect between her words, the package and my body. To be honest, I had no clue about what she was on about. Until that day.

When that day arrived, as luck would have it I soon learned what that ‘stuff’ was for. Letting myself into the flat, I as usual padded off to the toilet where I was horrified that the blood that mum had previously described was here. I very carefully cleaned myself up and headed to unwrap my package.

Unwrapping and examining the contents again, I proceeded as instructed to place the unattractive belt around my waist and hook the pad on as she had described. Within no time doubts filled my mind.

What if, I speculated, this wasn’t one of them period things, what if, I contemplated I was mistaken and it wasn’t blood it was something else, what I wondered might this really be? The doubts circled like ravenous vultures to the point I removed all of my accoutrements and placed them very carefully back in the drawer and waited for mum to confirm that it was ok to wear my lovely new things.

Fast forward over 45 years and my mum just knows how to make sure I have the things I need. When I come to stay despite her knackered back she bakes me biscuits and cakes. Yum! Thank you, mum.

My Mum and her endless patience

Oh god, I will never forget my mum trying to teach me how to use tampons. This was my second lesson on becoming a woman. What possessed her to use this day for this tortuous experiment will forever elude me. From the comfort of her bed, she opened up the box of white sticks and suggested that I try one. Much more practical she advised. It seemed like a good idea.

I returned to her bed eight times for a practice sit down, only to discover that I hadn’t got it in quite right, and painfully staggered back to the toilet to try again. On my final attempt, it got stuck and mum, by now in fits of hysterical laughter, tried to get me to relax so that she could get it out.

Can you imagine that? Having your mum fish one of them out. Such trust.

I feared it would stay there forever. If you have ever heard or seen my mum laugh, you will know that once it starts, it takes some time to stop. More humiliation, I couldn’t join the grown up girls club just yet. It wasn’t until I lost my virginity that I realised that they would fit!

She always has endless patience, while I… well I don’t. Don’t even ask about the time I chopped up a catsuit I was making because I ran out of patience. She on the other hand would have sorted it with her endless capacity to want to sort things out.

I’m confess that I have learned to be a finisher, because of my mum.

Get to know your body

Another of Mum’s lessons was for me to examine my vagina, inside and out. She said if you don’t know what it feels like how can you tell if something isn’t quite right? I was packed off to the bathroom with a mirror and my instructions.

Seeing my vagina at close quarters was a shock. It was ugly, pink, chubby and wet. Despite the peculiar creature staring at me with disdain, I duly did as instructed. Finger in, soft and smooth, finger out and up to my nose, no smell. So that was the examination over, I was normal or at least I confirmed to myself that my vagina was normal.

This has never left me. No, I do not examine my vagina endlessly, more that I am incredibly in tune with my body and have been able to heal all kinds, just because I know my body.

It’s never too late to learn something new

My mum has always been an artist. I have always written. One Christmas or birthday I gifted mum a journal, pen and a book on how to write a novel and she has not stopped.

Now that her spine hurts so much, painting is harder so she writes. She has written several novels using her amazing imagination. One children’s book and another in the works.

At no time did she say I can’t do this, she just sat down and wrote. Me on the other hand has always been freaked about writing fiction.

What she shows me if it is possible in the world at any age, it is possible for me. I’m slowly losing my fear and have made 2021 the year of the novel.

My greatest cheerleader is championing me all the way.

Have a strong work ethic

By now, you will have guessed that my mum is a super human…

Now this one amazes me. She never gives up and what she starts she finishes. She is currently writing what has the working title of the Tree house and while she just wants it finished and is bored of it, she will get it done.

Me on the other hand would have put it away and found something more exciting.

Yet, these days when I feel like doing that I think of mum and she inspires me.

Of course, my mum isn’t a superhuman

I just happen to think my mum is super special, but there are some things that drive me insane – they do mum – if you are reading this….

It’s not much but it’s her worrying. She catasrophises like a demon. But we do laugh about it.

However, I do thank her for this. Because she worries about the oddest things I do stuff so that she doesn’t worry.

All in all, I am so blessed to have my mum as my mum and as my friend. I like that I can be her friend and still remain her little girl. Everyone needs their mum.

Thank you for being my mum.

International Women’s Day – How Can You Be An Inspiration?

Today may feel like every other day. You get up and do what you have to do and hopefully what you love to do. Today is a special day for me because I was privileged to be able to practice my energy routine, drink tea and celebrate with my sisters – the furry ones.

I can start my day well because of the women and men that came before me and the people who surround me and who are an inspiration to me.

Today is International Women’s Day, and a day to remember that we want and deserve equality.

Equality for me, goes much deeper than just for women, we need it for all.

I don’t do bashing of either gender. I don’t agree with so much that I am witness to and I feel helpless to change the whole world, but I can support those around me – I can be an inspiration.

I am fearless in the face of injustice and I could regale you with many tales of the work place and my approach to sexual harassment – let’s just say I did not take any prisoners.

But equally I would defend a man in the same way. As my fellow workmates knew. I was once set up in a leadership training environment and I acted just as they knew I would. I defended my work colleague from what I perceived as bullying. I did laugh after – little gits!

This is such a massive subject and I don’t think I even know where to begin to address it or write about it. Instead I choose to think about those who have inspired me to be who I am.

Women and men who are my inspiration

I know I am who I am mainly because of two people. My mum and dad.

It wasn’t an easy relationship. They tried to tell me what to do and I did what I wanted. I fought and rebelled.

But you see home life was a bit of a battlefield. I’d been abused first by a babysitter at ten – which I couldn’t talk about and later groomed and abused by a local couple – which I was deeply ashamed of.

My dad drank and they argued.

But even in all of that they did their best, while I did my best to hide all of the pain and hurt. I could not express in a natural way. Later in life my suppressed emotions would emerge as physical illness. Strangely much easier to deal with.

Dad used to have sayings. One was you can only get wet once when he would push my brother and I out to play in the rain. Later I came to realise that (at least to me) he was saying go on try it, it’s only scary once.

He had another saying you can do anything you like until you get caught, this I knew meant he would give me a hard time when he caught me out. He did, but he also supported and defended me when I got into trouble – which I did often.

I loved them the equally, but in different way. I would never have stayed married to my dad. He’d have been ditched pdq. Just like the last one I was married to. (look out for a blog on be careful what you wish for). Yep, I chose well. Deceptive during our whole relationship, this man was far worse than my dad. The stuff I found that ended the marriage was rather interesting to say the least. I am however eternally grateful to him for the gift of freedom and the space to find me,

When I moved here following the break up of this marriage, I got to know my mum as a person, not just a mum.

Mum didn’t get to do what she loved until later in life, and now she paints (not so often) and writes (nearly every day). She has osteoporosis, had seven fractures and is in constant pain, yet she smiles through it, she is intuitive, kind and caring. A woman you would want by your side. For me, she demonstrates beautifully that no matter how old you are, you can still live with passion.

On her 80th birthday we tricked her. She came with us for a casual drink and there in the tea room was over twenty of her friends all delighted to see her.

My mum who didn’t and couldn’t know such love while my dad was alive has bloomed and is having a ball.

She inspires me every day to be a better person.

I wonder who inspires you to be a better person?

Who are the women that inspire you? Who can you inspire?

Indulge me while I just focus on women.

All over the world women will not be able to live the way they want and are still being subjected to the most horrific treatment. Their suffering is something we could not imagine and yet it happens.

In January 2020 The Independent ran a dreadful story about Turkeys Marry your rapist bill. You can’t imagine it can you?

Women and young girls are trafficked into forced labour and sex slavery. My friend Ulrika runs Do Good Now Global who’s aim is to stop human trafficking. Another abomination. Yet it happens right under our noses. It is not just in far away lands.

Since knowing Ulrika, who is an amazing woman, I have learned so much that saddens me. You can only wonder what drives the people who want to control innocent women and girls.

In February 2020, The BBC ran a story about Atsede Nguse who had been subjected to an acid attack by her husband. She still amazingly believes that there are more good people than bad.

Menbere Aklilu a Women’s rights activist heard the story and stepped in to help and I am sure has inspired Atsede to dream big.

These are just a few stories.

Then there are the women who give up the terror of their homelands to suffer dreadful hardship to find a better life and end up in disgusting refugee camps with little hope of finding their dream life in the near future or maybe ever.

Imagine living in some of these countries as you and I tuck into our cups of tea and dunk our biscuits. They may be a million miles away, but they are still our sisters and brothers.

Closer to home the Domestic abuse bill is delayed because someone decided to prorogue parliament and hold an election last year. I cannot even begin to wonder how this one will ever get solved.

I imagine every one of us reading this knows someone who has had the cr** kicked out of them, strangled or psychologically abused most days.

There by the grace of God go I.

And yet this is the world we live in. These few things do not show the extent to which humanity needs saving.

And I get it. It’s not just women, guys I know you get mistreated too and my heart bleeds. It truly does.

Then there are the animals and the land. Where will it end?

All over the world there are men and women like Ulrika doing something to change the world.

We can do the same. In each of our hearts is a space for something that we care passionately about.

Mine is animals.

How can you do something – big or small to help create change in your life, community or the world?

What each of us does is about doing something that is impactful to us. That could be within your family, the community, your county, country or the world.

What matters is that it is meaningful to you.

Today and every day – start with you

For me, the best place is to start within. We might not be able to change the world, but we can change our world and the world around us. We can be the change we want to see in the world. We can honour, respect and love ourselves and our fellow humans so that they can find strength in our connection, discover their courage and passion for life.

We can challenge the mindsets of men and women who don’t believe that change is overdue. And we do that with compassion.

Today we are lucky. We can come together in circles to share our love and energy so that the person sitting on either side of us can feel the strength of our love and know that there is someone by his or her side who will listen and will support them.

Today I ask that you consider the women and men who walked before you to enable you to have the life that you have.

Today I ask that you spare a moment to walk in the shoes of another woman or man who’s life may not be as great as yours.

Today I ask you to take steps to support and inspire your fellow humans no matter where they are or who they are, in some way.

The womb of the world within us is connected by an invisible force to Mother Earth and to the Universe (God, Grace, Cosmos). We carry the future; we are the future. Equality, diversity, respect and love starts with us – use your gifts wisely. Be an inspiration.

Today celebrate who you are because my friends – you rock

Join me for 8 weeks of Manifesting Magic – it’s a course, a program, a circle and most of all it’s a safe space to explore who you want to become on the way to getting what you want. And you will be inspired to be your best self.