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Top-to-Toe Fifty-Two!

Tomorrow is my birthday and I am very pleased to announce that I will be 52 years old! Amazing eh? How grateful I am to have got to this age healthy, happy and wise…er than I’ve ever been. So I’ve written a little poem to celebrate my ageing and my age…

Namaste Lovely Ones!

TOP-TO-TOE FIFTY-TWO

 Look at Me!

I am fifty-two!

Top-to-toe fifty-two years and counting,

plus nine months in the womb…so fifty-three, nearly, really

White hair at my temples, contrast brown, red and gold

Eyes wrinkle-orbited, evidence my laughter

twinkling honey gold mischief in their off-white whites

Teeth yellowing with age, yet my grin is undimmed

Thread veins on my nose, my cheeks, chin and legs,

record pressures of life long passed

Stretchmarks on my skin, celebrate my babies carried and fed

Strong in my body, my mind and my soul –

testament to my journey, my yoga and my Fig

Slender flat feet that ran once so fast, wave back at me now with

well-exercised toes

I am top-to-toe fifty-two, nine months and counting

Wonderful, wise and strong

I am a woman. I am myself. A soul exploring…

Grateful

My own creation, in the end…as in the beginning.

 

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The Well

It’s an odd time of year now, isn’t it? The days between Christmas and New Year…We don’t know which day of the week it is or the date, the days are short and dark. We can feel tired, sometimes deflated after the Christmas celebrations, full-up of and fed-up with rich and heavy foods…Too much time in close contact with our family perhaps…especially when the weather is so bad, as it’s been this year, that we’ve felt like we’ve been shut in a dark cave for days and days…But there’s New Year in sight, another celebratory milestone…and then back to work for most of us…Another year, another beginning…

For me this time of year used to hold more of a sense of dread perhaps than for most people…the reason for which I only started to unravel back in 2012 with my counsellor, through an amazing ‘matrix re-imprinting’ therapy session…I feel differently now thanks to this work we did together…as I have begun to understand, embrace and rewrite my story…

So I am sharing this now with you, my blog readers, through my story The Well, taken from my book Visits to the Glade

Namaste Lovely Ones and Happy New Year! X


The Well

My painting for ‘The Well’ in Visits to the Glade

For as long as I can remember, I have imagined the calendar year as a crescent, the curve edge of a capital letter D, but with a more open arc, like a perfectly crescent banana. January is at the bottom, and the curve is sectioned off evenly between the twelve months, ending in December at the top. And so, there has always been, in my mind, a huge gap between the end of December of one year and the beginning of January of the next, with the space in between an empty void, black, deep like outer space. Along with this image in my mind, I’ve always felt a sense of gloom and foreboding about this time of year. My birthday is December 31st. I have been uneasy about this distance between my birthday and New Year’s Day. And I have never liked the first week of January. It’s not a serious sense of anxiety that I feel, more a low-level sense of malaise. I feel better as the weeks go by and I look forward to February – a positively cheerful month to my mind. I suppose over the years I have put this down to the usual ‘January blues’ that everybody feels after the jollity of Christmas and New Year. But for some reason I have had the sense that for me there was another reason for my disquiet.

So, with my birthday approaching in December 2011, I decided to ask Suki, as a manifestation of my Higher Self, to help me understand.

Relaxed in shivasana, I go to the Glade. But I don’t see Suki there. Instead I see something like a wooden-clad shaft going into the ground where the log fire would’ve normally been. The light is dull in the Glade, the sky overcast and threatening rain, but I can still see that the shaft ends in a dark hole pinpoint, deep in the ground. I hear someone say the name Freddy and then, in an unpleasant voice they say “I look ugly when I’m dead”. I feel there is a question about who should go down into the shaft. I have the sense that I am Freddy. The other voice-person is really nasty-sounding, but the voice seems to be coming out of me too. Is that me speaking?

It was about this time that my counselling sessions with Sally-Ann were coming to an end. But we had agreed to carry on seeing each other to try out some matrix reimprinting at the beginning of 2012.

We decided to explore the experience I had had with Freddy. So, with Sally-Ann this time, I went, in my mind, back to where I was Freddy, looking at the wooden-clad shaft in the ground.

I am in a garden. It is night. I am standing next to a wooden-clad well. It looks like an inverted wooden church spire, sunken into the ground. It appears bottomless to me in the pitch black. I am a young man, tall and dark-haired with a pallid face. To the right of me stands my neighbour. He is a man known to our family, aged about sixty, short, wiry, olive-skinned and balding. He isn’t a nice-looking man – I feel something mean and pinched about him, something vicious. He indicates to me that I have to go down into the well. I don’t want to as I cannot see the bottom.

“Why do I have to go?” I ask. I am scared.

“Because I look ugly when I’m dead,” is my neighbour’s brutal reply.

I look from the shaft to my neighbour and back down into the darkness of the well. I have an overwhelming feeling of reluctance and dread. I don’t want to jump in. My neighbour assures me that the well isn’t deep and that it will be safe for me to hide there. He explains that it is boarded up a few feet down where we cannot see it, so I won’t fall to the bottom. But I don’t want to jump in. I don’t trust him. I am scared of falling, scared that the fall will break my legs.

I come back into the room with Sally-Ann.

We then worked together with the matrix reimprinting technique to change this memory into a better one, to help me get over my ‘fear of falling’.

I go back into the scene. This time it isn’t the nasty neighbour waiting for me by the well. It is my father, balding and around sixty. He is there, with his kind well-meaning face. I trust him. He asks me to hurry into the shed at the side of the garden. At the back of the shed is a wooden panel which turns out to be a hidden door. Holding up a torch, my father opens the door for me to show me a passageway beyond. The tunnel goes underground, sloping away gently to a safe hidey-hole, where there is food, a lantern and blankets neatly folded on the ground. My father tells me that I will be safe here until I can be rescued and taken to safety by others in his network.

Sally-Ann then asked me to create a different future for Freddy, where I am safe and happy.

I see myself in America. It is the 1950s. I am a Hasidic Jew. I am fat with a big pot belly! I am wealthy. I have a wife and two young children. We are eating dinner. It is a party and we are joined by my brothers and sisters. I am the eldest and my siblings are much younger than me. We are all seated around a large dark-wood polished table, laid out with shining silver cutlery. There is a chandelier and deep red velvet curtains. We are laughing and happy together.

I come out of this scene and realise then that the Freddy I had originally remembered didn’t survive the war. His neighbour betrayed him to the Nazis after luring him to the well. Freddy was caught, stuck at the bottom, his legs broken. Freddy’s family didn’t survive the war either, but Freddy doesn’t know what happened to them.

My Grandfather, Horatio Bruzon, was in the resistance against General Franco during the Spanish civil war. I remember being told by my father that Horatio was a ‘great orator’, used to speaking in front of crowds of people and campaigning against Franco’s fascist regime. Horatio was nearly murdered by a firing squad in Tangiers – punishment for speaking out against the dictatorship, but was saved at the last minute thanks to his Gibraltarian-British dual nationality. The Bruzon family, including my father, then fled Tangiers for Gibraltar, from where they were later evacuated to London. I tell Sally-Ann this part of our family history, and she wondered if I might be a ‘cycle-breaker’.

I thought that the way I see the calendar year might change after this session with Sally-Ann. I expected the image in my mind’s eye to turn into a circle, December and January united. But in fact there has not been any such shift. I still see the extended crescent shape with January and December at each end. But the ‘distance’ between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day has lost its sense of foreboding for me. I have hardly noticed it the last couple of years. And if I do think of it, my mind now switches to happy Freddy, fat and jolly, living his well-to-do American life with his family all around him. I am aware of what happened to original Freddy, but it doesn’t frighten me or cause me any disquiet. I accept it, and I know at the same time that I have chosen an alternative reality for him.

It is my understanding that the past, present and future co-exist in our minds – the past in our memories and the future in our imagination, but that we only truly exist – we only really experience life – in the present moment. And so, with Sally-Ann’s help, I was able to recreate my ‘past-life’ memory of Freddy and the well and form a happy and hopeful image of the future for him, instead of the one that I was unconsciously reliving every New Year’s Eve.

Extract from Visits to the Glade by Brenda Bruzon, Balboa Press, Copyright 2015.

LIVING NAMASTE

I love the word Namaste. For me this word has become such a beautiful shorthand encompassing within these seven letters all that I believe.

Namaste is an ancient Sanskrit greeting most often heard on the Indian subcontinent and in yogic and other spiritual traditions all over the world. It was in a workshop facilitated by Deepak Chopra in London back in 2012 that I first heard the word’s true meaning:

The Divine Light in Me Honours the Divine Light in You

Prior to this I had only heard Namaste used in yoga, often said without explanation by the teacher at the end of classes. I had on occasion heard the word translated as “from my heart to yours”, but it wasn’t until I heard Deepak Chopra’s definition that I truly grasped the word’s deeper and more far-reaching intention.

As my spiritual development has progressed, Namaste has become a beacon for me. A light that I strive to reach myself as well as to shine, and through which I try to see everyone and everything I encounter. Namaste reminds me that we are all one in consciousness, regardless of outward appearances and situations and that at a soul level we are all equal. It expresses mutual respect and connectedness, and acknowledges the light that shines in each and every one of us, our unique gifts and purpose. Namaste also reminds us of our divinity, as spiritual beings on individual and interconnected soul journeys.

So much in one little word!

I have recently been told by a teacher of yoga philosophy that when we say Namaste to one another, we need to look into each other’s eyes. This makes absolute sense to me and I seem to have done this unconsciously anyway, whenever I say Namaste to others. If we want to really see somebody we need to show them respect and acknowledge them as an equal by looking into their eyes don’t we? Without the distraction of peripherals, circumstance or hierarchy.

Now you might have noticed that I use Namaste when I say hello and goodbye to you. I also use it in email sign-offs and in my Facebook posts. So now you know where I am coming from, if you didn’t already… 😉

And whenever I find myself judging anyone or anything for how they look or for how they behave, whether it be someone I know or a stranger, I try to remember Namaste. Whether I say it out loud or to myself, Namaste reminds me to see the beauty within the other, especially when it is hard to see ‘on the outside’. Namaste helps me to see with the eyes of my soul. It also reminds me of my own true essence when I inevitably make my own mistakes.

We all deserve the love, respect and acceptance of Namaste don’t we?

X

 

 

 

The Mirrors

Some of you know that my balancing act between following my heart, making the most of our resources and managing finances means that I am now juggling three businesses – my SHINE coaching business, creating and selling my artwork and hosting foreign students in our spare room.

Eastbourne has a plethora of language schools, and all year round we have langauge students in the town from all over the world. The peak season as I understand it is between April and September – and of course July and August are the busiest times.

We’ve now hosted six students from two schools in Eastbourne, from Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Finland. The experience has been on the whole very positive – at the same time interesting and surprising. And we have had such laughs with the students we really connected with – not least about the weird and wonderful eccentricities of the English language!

It’s so amazing to see the UK / Eastbourne / the British through our students’ eyes and to find out a little about their home countries and ways of life…Between us, Dave and I speak French, Spanish and German, so we can communicate with most Europeans in some way if we have to, although we of course keep to English for the most part for the students’ learning sake. We have both lived abroad, so we also understand the wonders and difficulities of learning a language and living in another country where our mother tongue is not spoken.

All of our students have been female, and most aged between 18 and 25 years old, so it’s been like having another daughter in the house. We did have one mature student, however, the same age as Dave and I which was also wonderful – like having a friend come to stay!

And one thing I’ve noticed is the open-mindedness of many of the students that we have hosted. I guess they don’t have a choice where they get ‘placed’ by the schools, and at the same time I also know that nothing in this wonderful magical Universe is random. I believe in divine purpose, and that we attract everything into our lives that we need to grow…so it is interesting to me that over the last few months our students have asked me so many questions about my spiritual beliefs and how I see things. I’ve ended up having such deep conversations with many of them and it is a joy for me to be able to offer them an alternate world view. I guess the students read our family profile and see what I am ‘into’. They then come into our home and are surrounded by my artwork and our ‘way of life’. We cannot help but embody what we are passionate about and what we believe…and they are young and inquisitive… 🙂

Most recently our conversations have been about multidimensional existence…so I guess it feels right now for me to share my experience, The Mirrors, from Visits to the Glade. This isn’t the only experience that I have had that suggests to me that this human existence may not be the only one we are having. I’ll save the others for another time… 😉

Namaste Lovely Ones X


The Mirrors

I am in a dark room, standing in front of a freestanding mirror where I can see my head and shoulders. The mirror itself has an ornate burnished gold frame and easel-type legs. There is nothing else in the room.

The Mirrors, illustrated by Corina Stupu-Thomas

Then, to the right of me appears another version of me, looking into an exact same mirror. I have the sense that I am the wiser of the two Brendas, that I have something to teach my ‘younger’ self next to me. I am teaching my ‘less conscious’ self about the people in the mirrors – our reflections – and helping her to practice looking.

But young Brenda is giggling nervously as she looks at her reflection. She is also afraid. She is young and new. I am old and knowing.

I look deep into my reflection in my mirror. As I look deeper, my reflection slowly turns its head a little, without me doing so, and smiles back at me, always holding my eyes. I understand that my reflection is another version of me, standing looking back, but I have to really concentrate to see this. If I don’t look deeply enough I just see myself as I would in any other mirror.

And so, I am trying to teach my younger self to do the same, but in her own mirror. I am explaining that if we focus hard and look deeply at our reflections, we can see that there is more than one of us.

But young Brenda is still afraid. She tells me that she doesn’t like what she sees in her mirror. So I move to stand behind her, to see what she is seeing.

In young Brenda’s mirror I see a dark, fuzzy outlined face with no distinguishable features. Now I can see why my younger self is frightened.

But I am not afraid. I understand.

I say “Don’t worry. Just look again. There’s nothing to be afraid of. We must look after her.”

And I go back to my mirror.

We look again at our reflections. And there we are, the four of us. All the same, all unique.

Extract from Visits to the Glade by Brenda Bruzon, Balboa Press, Copyright 2015.

 

My Serenity Prayer – more on the theme of Letting Go

A week before my last public OPERATION SHINE! workshop I had only two people booked and paid for, so I was starting to think I might have to cancel the session. For a few weeks prior to this, I’d been working hard on promotion, through social media, networking events, paid-for advertising, announcements after yoga classes, leaflet drops around the town and to my neighbours. I even asked Dave to pass my flyers to his clients. But all this effort didn’t seem to make any difference. Still not enough bookings to go ahead and only 6 days to go… I wondered if this was the Universe’s way of telling me that I’d got to the end of the line with the public workshops, that I needed to concentrate instead on the inhouse workshops for groups…Or, when my self-doubt was at its worst, whether I was barking up the wrong tree completely and OPERATION SHINE! was not going to continue…Worse still, that I’d made a mistake and OPERATION SHINE! was not part of my life-purpose after all…a thought that left me feeling dumbfounded and sad.

You see for so long I have believed that it is only through hard work and effort that I can achieve what I most desire. This is what I was taught when I was young – and I think that’s what most of us learn. And for the most part I have achieved my life goals, focusing my efforts, working hard and getting to where I want to be, creating, launching and managing new ideas and projects successfully. All this effort over the years has come at some cost, however – imbalance in my life, too much work and not enough play, an over-busy mind, too much planning and not enough spontaneity, being over-controlling for fear of failure, creating stress-related illnesses and exhaustion. Too much effort. Not enough surrender.

But I have learned through my own self-development journey and spiritual path that I can let go more, I can DO less, and BE more, and by so BE-ing, I can actually achieve more. I allow space for the wonder and creativity, the ideas and inspiration when I take time to just BE. I can let the Universe put things into place, if indeed this is what is meant to happen…It’s an amazing idea isn’t it? DO less and ACHIEVE more. Counter-intuitive for most of us, I know! Of course, in the case of my business, I have to let people know about my workshops through the communication means I have available to me – they wouldn’t find out telepathically after all! But what I don’t need to do is get so anxious – about whether the workshop will take place or not, about persuading people to come along,  about how I tell people I need to cancel if I have to…I can promote ‘just enough’, let go and see what happens. I can trust. That’s the difficult bit, however. Trusting and letting go…I’m not used to that. But my recent life has shown me that when I have trusted and let go, things have always worked out…usually even better than I expected…

But of course, three weeks ago I forgot all this and with only two people booked I worked too many days and too many hours to make OPERATION SHINE! happen. I worried. I tried not to, because of the above learnings. I tried to be philosophical, but somehow my inner saboteurs kept creeping back to undermine me.

And then, two weeks before the workshop I felt so tired. I remember walking back from town and I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. I had to have a lie down when I got home. This is not usual for me and I suspected I was going to get a cold – or even worse the flu. When I have felt like this in the past I have sometimes managed to head off illness  with a good night’s sleep, but not this time. And it was a humdinger of a cold! Started in my chest, then up to my head and nose, then back down to my chest. Lovely! I was out of action over the weekend and for most of the following week, with my worst two days falling on two of the hottest days of the year.

Magical Me

Over the first weekend, however, not wanting to go out or able to move much, I spent a lot of time in our lovely Ikea rocker rereading The Magical Approach  – one of the Seth books channelled by Jane Roberts. And lo and behold! this book is all about letting go…making less effort and reminding us that ‘behind the scenes’ so much is going on to support us all in our lives…the magical laws of attraction, of intuition, creativity and divine economy…I’d forgotten what this book was about and it had almost jumped off the shelf at me when I was looking for something to cosy up with. I laughed out loud when I read it again! A perfect reminder. How magical was that? Ha!

Then three days before the workshop, when I was just considering how to cancel and following days of quiet as I looked after the tail end of my cold, I found I had six people booked in and paid for! The workshop went ahead and was a delight.

What I have learned from this situation, is that there is a subtle ‘tension’ for me (and for us all I guess) between action and surrender, effort and letting go. So how will I know next time when to let go and trust the Universe to ‘do it’s thing’? How can I avoid moving from the good-feeling of ‘just enough effort’ into the uncomfortable-feeling of over-efforting based on anxiety and fear, which led to my exhaustion and illness? And there, in my own words, is my answer! I can notice, HOW DOES IT FEEL? Like all situations in my life (and yours I guess) when it feels light, natural, effortless, uplifting, GOOD…carry on, I’m on the right track. As soon as it starts to to feel heavy, tiring, anxiety-led, uncomfortable, BAD, that’s when my body and mind is telling me it’s time to do things differently, time to let go. And I realise that this feeling started in my mind, with the fearful thinking, and was followed by the feelings in my body. Hm. A prime example of how our thoughts affect our bodies, eh? I hope this situation has raised my awareness enough to help me let go sooner next time…Perhaps, remembering what happened this time, I could stop myself and review what I am doing as soon as I start to feel the anxiety creeping in…

I am reminded of the well-known serenity prayer…

Grant me the serentity to accept the things I cannot change

The courage to change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference

And I have created my own version for Letting Go, to remind me of the magic that lies behind it all, for me and for you:

Grant me the serenity to know how much to act

The courage to trust and let go

And the wisdom to know when to effort, and when to surrender

Namaste Lovely Ones! X

THE ART OF HEALING

In June 2017 I felt inspired to create paintings for two strong, honest, wonderful women. Two women I barely knew. Something I had never done before and which took me completely by surprise!

The Angels of Healing

As you may already know, I only started to paint a couple of years ago and since I started, over thirty paintings have tumbled out of my imagination onto canvas. The images in my paintings have come to me in various ways. Some are based on what I have seen during meditation, such as The Angels of Healing, when I was feeling under-the-weather in 2015, and the images of Fig’s other dimension alter-egos, Sheba and Eric, described in my last blog post.

Glastonbury Impressions

Others have come to me following meaningful experiences – such as Impressions of Glastonbury , after a trip with Spiritual Companions in 2016, and Split Screen, which popped into my mind after visiting an exhibition at the Towner.

Split Screen

Since I started painting, I had never created or wanted to create anything for anyone else ‘on commission’, however, and I do not generally paint things that I see ‘outside of me’, like objects, landscapes or people.

That is until June this year…

The brass giraffe

The first painting I ever made for another person was for Glynnis Wisbey, who I’d met at Bizzybirds Networking for Women. Glynnis’ moving story about how she and her family are raising funds to take her severely disabled daughter, Elke, to Giraffe Manor in Kenya, touched me at a very deep level. Another group member had suggested that I paint a giraffe for Glynnis – something that could be auctioned or raffled as a fundraiser. I remember mumbling something like ‘Oh I don’t know…I don’t really do commissions…’ in response. Little did I know that the seed was planted, however, and an image soon came to me of Elke, as a fit, well and vibrant young lady, reaching up to a beautiful gilded giraffe…An image that stayed with me for a while, ‘hovering above my right shoulder’, waiting to be ‘downloaded’ onto canvas.  I then began to wonder how I would paint the giraffe and I pondered on this in meditation. The answer soon came to me when I remembered the brass giraffe ornament that’d been sitting on my shelf for years…! So this is how Elke’s Wish was born, and the painting was presented to Glynnis at a Bizzybirds event in July.

With Glynnis

The second painting inspired by another was Transcendence, made for Kerry Knight. Another member of Bizzybirds, I had met Kerry only a couple of times and read some of her Facebook posts. Kerry’s husband, Shawn, was seriously ill and I found myself very moved by what she wrote about his illness and his subsequent passing. In one of Kerry’s posts she had spoken of Shawn as a beautiful butterfly, and how she wanted to celebrate and honour the time he had been with her, rather than lament his ‘flying away’.  Kerry also often spoke of Shawn ‘getting his angel wings’ after he passed. So this is how the combined image of butterfly and angel wings came to me…

Now I absolutely knew without doubt that when I was painting Elke’s Wish and Transcendence these paintings were not meant for me. They were meant for the women that had inspired them. Both paintings were created almost simultaneously over the same weekend at the end of June. They just flew out of me! Glynnis’ and Kerry’s stories had so touched my heart. Looking back now, I guess that the urge to I create these paintings came from my heartfelt desire to offer both women them my love, understanding and support. And I did this in the best way I knew how, through my recently-discovered ability to ‘download’ images from my mind onto canvas.

My sense is that these two paintings are ‘healing’ somehow. For Glynnis and Kerry, their families and friends… Healing for me too somehow? I certainly went through an emotional and uplifting process whilst creating them. I see them as a gift from my soul to theirs. They came from me, and through me at the same time…A recognition of our connection, as wives and mothers, as women and human beings, as souls journeying together and apart. An absolute joy and honour. So much love…Perhaps this is healing for us all.

Namaste

The Divine Light in Me Honours the Divine Light in You. Because we are all One in Consciousness.

X

Transcendence

 

MY BELOVED FIG…SHEBA…ERIC…

When I first laid eyes on Fig she was in a perspex-sided pen at Raystede animal rescue centre . She sat at the front window, quietly looking up at me and as I stared down into her beautiful dark brown eyes my eyes filled with tears. I turned to Dave and I said – ‘Here she is – this is my dog.’ All the other dogs were going bonkers around us, running to and fro in their pens and barking…Fig stayed very still and just looked up at me. Zen dog. Dave smiled and said the choice was up to me, as this would be my very first dog…

It was December 27th 2013, a grey and wet day.  The doldrums between Christmas and New Year. Dave’s sweet rescue dog Rizzy, a Doberman-Manchester terrier cross, had passed away two years before and we felt it was now time to bring another canine friend into our family. We’d originally been going to try the retired greyhound place over at Hove because I had fallen in love with ‘long-dogs’ after walking with my friend, Jenny Binnie and her lurcher Roxy. But, unbeknownst to Dave, I’d also been looking at the Raystede website and I had spotted this beautiful ginger lurcher needing a home…So I suggested we check out Raystede before heading over to Hove…I held my breath, not wanting to get my hopes up in case she’d already been chosen by another family before we arrived…And there she was…waiting for me!

She’d been at Raystede for a month and nobody had chosen her, even for a week’s trial. We were told there’d been a few lurchers brought in and she was the last one left. As it was around Christmas, a number of the strays had been given festive names like Tinsel, Holly and Fairy, but for some reason they’d decided to call this beautiful being Shabby. Hmph! To be fair she did look a bit bedraggled. Very thin and scarred. She looked like she’d been in a few scrapes…Raystede didn’t know much about her. The volunteers told us she’d been found as a stray with no identification chip or collar and she wasn’t spayed, so they’d taken care of that. And as no one had claimed her or chosen to take her home with them, they couldn’t tell us anything about her temperament, if she was house-trained or could understand any commands. We took her for a walk around the grounds and it was like ‘walking a cloud’, she just floated next to us, no pulling on the lead at all, which we’d got used to with Rizzy. We hurried to get the paperwork completed and to our surprise Raystede said we could take her home with us that day. They gave us a bed, bedding and food for her and off we went!

Our Figgy, soon after we found her

As soon as Shabby jumped into the back of our car she visibly relaxed. I sat in the back with her, stroking her and holding her paw and she dozed peacefully for the whole 40 minute drive home. Very soon we agreed that we wouldn’t be returning her to Raystede, and during that week’s trial we found she was indeed house-trained and could understand commands. We bought her a soft new bed, a tartan raincoat, and a new collar. We also came up with a new name for her.  The choices were Biscuit, Peanut, Ginger and Fig. In the end we chose Fig, short for Figgy Pudding, our Christmas dog.

Fig is such a gentle and sweet being. She sleeps much of the day, preferably on one of the sofas, especially in winter, when her bony-ness and lack of fur make it uncomfortable and cold for her to be on the floor. In the afternoon she starts to perk up for her walk and in the evenings she goes bonkers in the garden chasing shadows, cats and foxes, imaginary or real, we are not sure. We didn’t hear her voice for a couple of weeks after she arrived and we wondered if we’d adopted a dog that didn’t bark, but gradually, as she settled in she claimed ‘her garden’.  She’s now happy to shout to protect her space, especially at night!

She is fast like a bullet when she feels like it – chasing mostly after birds, cats, squirrels, rabbits and foxes if she gets the chance… and of course, the occasional thrown ball. She is still scared of dogs bigger than her, however, especially if they come and sniff her for too long. At first she used to try to hide from her pursuers. She cowered and shook between my legs. But after a year with us she started to say no and now snaps at dogs that bother her for too long. Nothing too aggressive just a ‘back off that’s enough’ snap. And I am glad to see her defend herself. True to her nature, she loves all long-dogs like herself – greyhounds, lurchers and whippets alike…they recognise their gentle kin.

And because she is the first dog I have ever chosen I wanted to ‘get it right’. So, on Jenny’s recommendation, I read Jackie Drakeford’s The House Lurcher from cover to cover to learn about lurchers, my Fig and how best to look after her. A great book that described her to a tea!

Since Fig arrived in our family, she has always been my dog. She sits next to me when I do my morning meditation and my yoga practices, she grabs my slippers and sits with them as soon as I leave the house and I feel totally at ease with her. I understand her little ways and the way she communicates. And I never ever get cross with her. Not even when she stood on the painting that I’d left on the lawn to dry at the weekend…We have such a strong bond, Fig and I…. I love her absolutely – her funny ways, her soft fur, her sweet smell and especially her head-to-toe wiggle and ‘hello song’ when she greets me at the door. She is my ‘strawberry’…

But more than this. I gradually started to get the feeling that I’d known Fig before. A sense of connection and familiarity that I have never experienced with an animal. So one day I went into meditation and asked the question – how is it that I know Fig so well? And straight away I saw two images.

Sheba

The first was that Fig was my horse and her name was Sheba. She was a beautiful palomino – ginger coloured coat with a creamy white mane and tail. I saw myself standing in the woods with her in a sunlit clearing, stroking her neck. I only saw the back of myself, but my hair was long and braided, shining down my back. I wore  long blue velvety robes and seemed to be a young noble-woman, of late teenage years. Then a darker image came to me that Sheba was injured – her front leg was hurt and she couldn’t walk anymore and she had to be put to sleep. I was so distressed and heart-broken that I vowed never again to ride a horse.

The second image came to me soon after. Fig was a giant ginger-coloured hare being carried in a rucksack on my back. I was a teenager again, this time I think around 13 or 14 years old. Again, I could only see the back of myself, lolloping down a corridor towards big glass doors and flanked by lockers. The hare was called Eric. His head and fore-paws stuck out and his ears were up. His long legs dangled through holes at the bottom of my bag – like a child in a baby carrier.

Eric

Now I have always loved palominos, although I only recently learnt that this is the name of these horses, when I started to tell people this story…And I have never, ever in this lifetime wanted to ride a horse! No way.

And when I look at Fig, I’ve always seen a miniature horse, and a hare too! Ha! Sometimes she is mistaken by other dog-walkers for a deer, running in the trees…

How funny…and interesting eh?

So I decided to paint my two Fig alter-egos as I saw them in my meditation…this helps me explain to my friends how I see her and how we’ve been together before…

So that’s the story of Fig…so far. Dave has recently given her a much more salubrious official name – FigWilliam Tinsel Littlepockets… Crazy I know! Just a bit of fun because we like how these words sound when we say them…

And we continue to give love to our Figgy Pudding. We are so grateful to have her with us and for the love she brings into our home.

Namaste X