chthonya: Eagle owl eye icon (owleye)
My apologies - to anyone who cares - for dropping off the face of LJ for a while. As some of you know, I decided I needed to move a few months ago. I found a place very quickly, but sorting the logistics was exhausting and once moved the little internet time I could snatch after work or at the library was needed for sorting out utilities and co-modding [ profile] hp_holidaygen.

This is roughly my 9th move since leaving Edinburgh in 2005. I really hope I won't have to do it again in the month of November!

I'm very happy to be living on my own. This place isn't perfect (show me one that is!) but it's within walking distance of friends and a train station and has a nice view. My finances have taken a hit though as monthly costs (financial, not psychological!) are more than house-sharing, and I had to effectively pay rent on two places in November, plus the usual costs of setting up home (some stuff I had, of course, but have needed to get knives, pots, a few lamps, bathroom stuff... and my one extravagance, a vacuum cleaner that unlike landlord-supplied rubbish actually does what it's supposed to).

One knock-on effect of this is that realistically, I can't manage MISTI-Con. :( I'm gutted, but making the trip would be flying in the face of all financial prudence, and I really can't do that two years running! And also my Dad is expecting me to be around for his birthday that weekend, and there's a family gathering in Canada this summer including a memorial service to my great-aunt (which I also won't be going to, but if I had money for one trip I couldn't choose MISTI-Con over that). I keep thinking of my parents telling me about a daughter of some friends of theirs who had to be bailed out from debt incurred by going on skiing holidays with higher-paid friends, and I do not want to get into that sort of mess. (that said, said daughter is now an internationally-headhunted civil servant, so perhaps not the best comparison!!)

So, for those of you going to MISTI-Con - please make sure it's so good that they do another one in 2015, and I'll hope to make that one! And if anyone knows anyone who would like to buy my registration (I bought it in the cheapest period, and transfers are allowed until 1 April, apparently), please let me know!

My other big news is that I've finally got it together to apply to do a Masters in Librarianship/info management (another reason for frivolous trans-Atlantic travel not being on the cards right now). I'm not sure this will ultimately pay off financially, at least directly - but I would like to put my knowledge and practice on a professional footing, and despite the public library recruitment desert, I have seen a few posts advertised elsewhere that require it, and the material is relevant to my non-library work too.

I *think* they've accepted me - according to the online system there's a conditional offer the details of which are in a letter they've sent today. A snail mail letter (!) which kind of makes a mockery of asking people to apply online, but still...

So it looks as if I have a few weeks to get organised, sort out my space, meet unmet commitments, and psyche myself up for the slog. I've done distance learning before and I dread falling behind.

Links to any news that's emerged hereabouts during my hiatus would be much appreciated! I am scanning back, but don't want to miss something (especially as LJ seems flakey on showing friends updates at times!)
chthonya: Eagle owl eye icon (Default)

I spent the weekend on retreat - sinking into the beauty of silence and the Dales landscape.

It was a blessed relief to set off from home on Friday with just a staff and a small rucksack - no computer, no book except for the one I took to take notes, and when I arrived no phone reception to interfere with God-reception. By Saturday night I was desperate for something to read. It was probably good that I couldn't indulge in that escapism at the time, though diving into [ profile] logospilgrim's book would have been appropriate and since my return I have been drinking from that well. Something that was said on the retreat opened my eyes to seeing my relationship with Lucius in spiritual rather than just psychological terms; when I've had more time to reflect on this, it is something I want to explore further with the person who gave the retreat, as in the last ten years Lucius has been a part of my life that I've never felt able to discuss with any spiritual teacher.

I missed the retreat last year due to family commitments, and my daily practice had long gone by the wayside. The weekend reconnected me and I pray that this time I'll be able to keep my feet on the road. I spend a lot of time in a vague sense of feeling I don't have enough time (even though by virtue of my unattached state and part time work I have more than most) and it is precisely then that meditation seems so difficult but is so vitally necessary.

Life is of necessity simpler at the moment anyhow, as I am paring my finances to pay off the Ascendio trip (and once that is done, to pay for various things next year). I'd forgotten how much freedom there can be in restriction - an unlooked for benefit!

The place we stayed is a 16-17 century farmhouse, which was adapted in the Arts and Crafts style into a home in the 1920s by a gentleman who left it as a retreat centre. It felt older than it is, rooted in the land and the gardens - which were open to the public, some of whom were undoubtedly a little baffled by our walking meditations!

Below the cut are some photos - may they bring you some of the peace that being there brought me.

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September 2016

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