A Little Time Out

Last week, while counting down the days till Bank Holiday Weekend, planning what to do, who to see, how to get there and when would be the best time to travel, I realised that throughout those three days, I didn’t have a moment to spare. A moment for me. A moment to be quiet. To stop.

It was on Monday evening, while I was brushing the hay from my hair (I’d been to Sherborne Castle Country Fair – not that this is an excuse, I honestly don’t know how the hay got to be in my hair!) that I decided to stop. To grab one of those face masks I buy in Sainsburys and to actually sit down and take the time to indulge myself.

So between the piles of clean washing and drying neatly piled on the bed, I blew the dust from the sachet and smeared the sticky mixture onto my face. What a relief. The heavenly honey scent created a sense of calm and luxury, that otherwise was lacking from my life and it was in that moment that I vowed to try and make some time for myself each and every day.

Be that an extra few moments in the bathroom using some of the lotions and potions I buy myself with the very best intentions of using, or be that a few moments in the car before heading to work or home. Or possibly I could fit it in during my lunchbreak, or perhaps whilst washing the dishes, or hanging up the neverending cycle of washing… the more I tried to find time, the harder it felt and the more it feels as though this too is part of my daily chores. Or if I managed to syphon a minute or two for meditation from my day, I found that it would be rudely interrupted by the list of errands still to do or alarm bells for meetings I had to be at. So, I realised, maybe I was overcomplicating this, overthinking and instead I should get out of my head, out of my house and into nature…

The minute I hopped out of the car and started heading into the direction of fields and gorgeous sumptuous greenery, I felt as though a whole new lease on life had been granted to my aching body. Moving strongly and powerfully through the long tall grass and I took the time to marvel at the sun hazily shining through the leaves, creating a slightly dappled effect on the field as though the light was dancing on the pasture. What a world away from my living room, my kitchen, my office, filled with mounds of to-do lists and things to be cleaned.

Breathe. I told myself. Breathe more, breathe deeper, breathe happily.

Run, I heard myself urge me on, and so taking a quick look around me, I broke into a slightly awkward trot, that morphed into what can only be described as a gallop. What a feeling! I found myself laughing – how silly must I look I thought! What a feeling of freedom! I don’t care said another right back at it.

It is so seldom that we get to misbehave or indeed have fun. As we grow, we forget the importance of play, and infact how to play! It is only when we allow ourselves and give ourselves the permission to be silly that this euphoric feeling of wild abandoment crashes over us and we don’t know what to do with it. But oh! What a feeling! One that has certainly rejuvenated my soul (and I’m sure the farmer had a funny old time watching a lady and her dog galloping around the nature trail!)

I certainly urge you if you are of the city sort, working and spending most of your time staring at a screen and on your bottom; get out! Get on a bus, explore. Find a train to somewhere you’ve never been. Or get in your car and find something beautiful to marvel at. Get on your bike and pedal, pedal, pedal until your little legs can’t take it. Sometimes being mindful and finding time for yourself to breathe, means taking yourself out of your current surroundings and breathing in a new air.

Enjoy exploring, breathing and playing! Reignite that spirit and passion and find that little child within.

The Three Crested Ducks

Once upon a time there were three beautiful snow-white ducks paddling in their pond.

From looking, you would think that these were no ordinary ducks, their feathers were most wonderfully thick, their plumage quite grand and their beaks a bright shade of gold. Out of all the ducks paddling in the mossy pond, these were considered the most beautiful and were treated almost as though they were royalty. For upon their little heads, a mounted cloud of fluffy white feathers was perched which they wore like a crown.

Onlookers would coo and ooh and ahh at these three beautiful snow-white ducks, something that the average mallard would get rather annoyed at. “Why don’t we get the same attention?” sqwacked Old Mallard to his wife. “We are just as beautiful as them and we only get half as much bread.” he complained. It was unfortunately true. The Old Mallards were looking rather skinny in comparison to the three beautiful snow-white ducks. Their feathers weren’t as downy, they were a deep brown and tan colour and they had no royal cloud of feathers atop their heads.

No matter how much Old Mallard complained, he would never dream of saying so to the three beautiful snow-white ducks. For these ducks had a secret; they had a mischievious glint in their eye that made you feel as though they knew something you didn’t. Their heads gathered together as though they were in secret conversation gave you cause to believe they were plotting something wild, and their little beaks would curve upwards in a sly smile.

It was rumoured that these three beautiful snow-white ducks had wisdom beyond that of an Owl, cunning beyond that of a fox and could predict the future, or rather the weather beyond that of a cow.

One day, their little heads bowed together in quick, excited conversation. Every now and then one of their golden beaks would peak from their little group and steal a piece of bread from the onlookers watching them. Their little eyes shined with glee, their feathers ruffled with joy and their little tails started to wag with delight. With their yellow webbed feet padding the ground they started to waddle away to a far deep ditch over in the north of the field.

All the ducks watched them with curiosity. “What are those old girls doing now?” asked Old Mallard to his wife, “Where are they going? They’re leaving all the bread, quick lets get some!” Just in that moment, one of the three beautiful snow-white ducks let out one of the most elegant quacks the land had ever heard “Rain!” she said joyfully at the top of her lungs. Mrs Mallard flapped her wings with excitement and ran after the three ladies in white. Old Mallard noisily eating all the bread ignored his wife and the animals around him following to the north of the field and instead filled his belly muttering, “Rain? What do they know? It’s the beginning of June, there won’t be any rain. Silly old women.”

Just as Old Mallard was finishing his last piece of bread, and plumped himself down on the floor holding his full belly, he felt the first big, fat raindrop fall onto his beak with a splash. Then another.

And another.

And another until,

WOOSH!

The sky let rip their full bountifull clouds and started to bucket down big globs of water on Old Mallards head. The onlookers screamed and ran for cover under the barn, holding up their umbrellas and chattering at the shock of the sudden downpour.

“What did you know.” Said Old Mallard, “Those old birds were right!” Getting to his feet, he tried to run to the north of the field where he could see wife and friends and the three beautiful snow-white ducks frolicking in the rain and the freshly made puddles. But he was so full! Why had he eaten all that bread he thought to himself. Why had he been so greedy? Holding onto his belly he waddled as fast as his little yellow feet would allow him over to the happy group.

“Oh, Mrs Mallard” he said, “What fun!” Mrs Mallard was jumping and splishing and sploshing in the puddles. She ran up to him and splashed him with water, making him laugh and hoot with joy. Chasing her and quacking with happiness at the splish, splosh, splashing of rain and muddy puddles he ran past the three beautiful snow-white ducks.

They smiled at him warmly, their little crown clouds wet and flat against their heads, their feathers splashed with mud . They looked just like any average duck he thought, why had he been so jealous or afraid? “Ladies,” He hooted, “What joy! What fun!” they quacked back with happiness and continued in bathing in the muddy puddles making their beautiful snow-white coats as brown as Old Mallards.