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What Are Your Lifeboats?

About a month into lock down perhaps a bit less I signed up last minute to Carol Day’s Storyteller Practitioner Course ( I invite you to look her up and an interesting thing I learnt shortly after I signed up is that she did some of her shamanic training alongside Imelda – what a small world we live in. It was literally on the last day of registration being open. This meant I was “late” I had missed the preparation time and preparation tasks I still had them to do but felt like I was playing catch-up, in fact I still feel like I’m playing catching up. I seem to permanently be “late” with the weekly tasks. When out this morning I realised that this has been a thread through my life that was raised at one of the Jane Hardwicke-Collings workshops I went to. We talked about the story of our birth and I said that I was “late”.

This morning I was laid in a funk on the sofa, scrolling through social media, thinking everyone was having more fun than me, a better life than me, more adventures than me, more swimming adventures than me. My rational mind knew this not to be true, yet that’s how I was feeling in my irrational mind. As I lay there the dog woofed, he needed to go out. So far today I’d let him out the door into the garden, which is a big garden and plenty of space for him to run around, pop into the woods and all sorts, but I decided I really ought to take him out for a proper walk.

Off we went to look at the river, it was swirling, making patterns in the foam, rushing through the rocks. The bracken smelt beautiful reminding me of childhood holidays walking in the Lake District the smell of fern especially after its been raining and it begins to warm as the sun comes out. Harebells one of my favourite flowers all different colours of blue and purple, heads nodding in the breeze. I noticed one of the Haworth trees, the berries beginning to turn to red. Now then here’s something I didn’t know – squirrels eat unripen hawthorn berries. Yesterday I stood in the sun watching a grey squirrel feasting on berries in the sunshine. I tired to take a picture but the camera on my phone wasn’t up to the job, but I had fun stood watching him and wondering if this is the reason that the elder tree has been stripped of berries and are my thoughts of making all sorts of autumn berry concoctions and dyes to be dashed and squashed by the local squirrels?

Back to my walk as we wandered further along the river an oak tree, with the beginnings of acorns. Autumn really is sneaking in and peeking her head around the corner before August is with us. Though as I mentioned in a post the other day this weekend does see the Festival of Lammas upon us the first harvest festival of the year.

On we wandered until we reached a pool in the river, it was inviting, the sun was shining on the water, Daniel was happy with a big stick. Clothes were soon hung upon a tree and into the water I went. I was joined by a dipper, this little bird has been my swimming ally for many a year now and it was good to see one stood on a rock watching me, I’ve not seen them for a while. We had recently wondered if a second brood was to be hatched but I don’t think that got any further than dippers having fun one day.

We walked home barefoot, I say we, I did, I guess Daniel is always barefoot with his paws. Trying to walk and carry his big stick. I carried my wellies, enjoying the earth beneath my feet the different textures of rock and grass, mud squelching between my toes. For various reasons I haven’t done much barefoot walking this summer and it felt great. I suddenly realised as we headed home that I had a great big grin on my face, my funk had well and truly gone. I was grinning and the dog’s tail was wagging a happy pair heading home a snooze for him and a cuppa for me.

Back to where I started writing, I realised on my way home that I had well and truly made use of my lifeboats. On the Storyteller course we talk about lifeboats, you’ve probably come across this idea under a different name, I think the idea is quite a big thing now in mental health, self-care and so on. Perhaps lifeboats works for me so well being a sea lover, a water lover. Our lifeboats are things that make us happy, allow us to escape, things that bring meaning to us, that literally save us “when the sea gets choppy and the going gets overwhelming.” To quote Carol. A list that we keep to hand that we can turn to when the going gets rough, when we find ourselves in a funk. I don’t keep a list to hand, I know some people do they have a list of what to do to “fill their bucket”, a list of things to “plug the holes” in their bucket. We all have different phrases, different terminology, but they all boil down to the same thing. I know that just connecting with nature, becoming one again with nature, I believe that we are nature, we are not separate from it. I think perhaps this is one of the reasons I like Jackie Morris so much she often says this tool. I know that by being stood barefoot, watching the trees, going to the river, having a swim, I know that all these things are just some of my lifeboats and today I jumped in my lifeboats and came out grinning.

I’m looking forward to bringing this new work to you soon, I look forward to weaving it into the work I currently do, weaving the threads of our fate, of our lifelines, of our influences. I believe that initially Carol had intended this to be an in person course, but as ever fate took over and it became online, which has worked perfectly and I see how I can bring this to you online and in person. Enabling me to reach more people who are unable to come and see me. I love how so much of this work has overlapped what I already do. We are currently in the direction of South and have been discussing the three goddesses of fate which are often linked to the Norns that I work with in Norse Cosmology, although we see the Norns a bit differently. This is just one of the overlaps, there are many more. It’s also been a perfect time to delve into this work when we are well and truly being influenced by our surroundings and having time to reflect and review on our lives and on the influences around us and how we deal with them.

So I encourage you to write a list of your lifeboats, acknowledging that perhaps you have different lifeboats for different funks and different times of the year. Maybe you might wish to make a vision board of lifeboats – now there’s a thought and perhaps another workshop in the making ……

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