January 7, 2014

My Sunday Run to Mondello Beach, and NEW New Years Resolutions

Today (6 Jan 14) was Sunday, with no planned jaunts and no jobs to do and no real agenda at all, and so a nice little run to Mondello, for me! (for the first time!) was on the cards. Another Mauri idea! We had originally thought about a centralised joining together for a mini jaunt - involving a car, a dog, a baby, a Papi and a Mummy, walking running and car-ing. But as it happened and with the weather, Mauri looked after Babacino and they did dancing and reading and playing and visiting Tata, and I ran to the beach and back! Mondello's beach lies between two cliffs called Mount Gallo, and Mount Pellegrino. (which is our family mountain by the way, just to mention!) King Ferdinand of Bourbon called it "a corner of paradise" just to give you an idea!
And so, one more last run, before we go back to London, for my feet and my soul to store and remember, for soul sustenance. 
Also, I know myself, I’m a bit of a tortoise in many respects (to do with the of the workings of the mind!), when it comes to change and endings and new beginnings, of which we have a lot right now. While I relish the adventure and look forward to the story, regards the future, I also need to make sure I keep grounded and devote time to pondering and mulling and just generally playing with Lego in my brain.. Running of course, as we know, does the trick! (and drawing and making, but for now and for this story my hands and my feet choose running!) 

And of course, given the time of year, this means that lately I have been thinking quite a lot (as you do) about my ideas of how I'd like the colours and shapes of 2014 to be, or at least start off, before it gets too much of a mind of it's own. I don’t know if anything could ever be quite as extraordinarily as 2013, but you never know! And for sure I think 2014 will be extraordinary too, in it’s own way. Everything to do with Babacino and Mauri, I have come to realise, is extraordinary! 

(To explain about the endings and beginnings thing: Soon our family goes back to London and I return to work, after a wonderful 6 months of maternity leave, most of which we've spent here in Sicily. Part of this has been the amazing gift of having Babacino’s Papi with us all of this time! I feel as if I am saying goodbye to this most remarkable time of my life, with all sorts of feelings and emotions, and in truth, with some sadness. But I also know that there are wonderful times ahead too, and no doubt in a week or two we’ll be fully into the next exciting chapter. 
But for now, perhaps this little story [and my series of 'last runs on this island' - for now] is just one of my rituals in saying goodbye to this time of Babacino’s first 6 months of his life, and hoping that we have done a good job in being his parents and helping him develop in the best way we can)

Back to how I’d like to envisage 2014! 
In grown-up speak, I suppose these ideas I’m playing with, (which hopefully will somehow emerge more coherently by the time I have finished writing this!) might also constitute 'New Years Resolutions'. 
In the first instance, this has been proving quite interesting for me, because normally when it comes to the end of a year, and preparing for a new fresh one, I would start off by scouring the net for all the new races I would like to run, where ever they may be, venturing towards longer distances, or higher mountains, or more remote destinations. Then, I would fit my life and my work holidays around that, and at the same time and in between, indulging in creating and making and colours, and they'd all be linked and it would be wonderful, but, it would be me, mostly, pretty much a solo entity. At least that is how I have made my life, for quite some time. (even though I come from a family of 6 kids!)
Now, I have a family again, I have Mauri and we have Babacino. Wow, a family, who I love and who make me feel more grounded and more human and more connected and more excited, and where I feel I belong! … but more later. 

This whole concept of ‘New Years Resolutions’ and plans and goals becomes different: it’s softer, with more fuzzy edges, and less of a defined list. Perhaps there is lots more room for wandering and exploring and a whole new space for deciding and exploring things together. 
I remember some months ago, when Babacino was still a Beetle, Mauri and I were nibbling and munching on the idea and the image of “The Axiom of Maria Prophetissa”, which is this:
“One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth” and this loops back on itself repeating the process again and again, becoming richer and richer. Essentially the axiom is a precept in alchemy, which I think is how we should aim for life to be, so that we give ourselves a chance to live more fully and more creatively and to feel more deeply. This way, hopefully we choose the paths that are as true to our soul as we can get and we live life and hopefully contribute too, more fully. 
Jung actually used the Axiom of Maria as a metaphor for the whole process of individuation. ‘One’ is the original state of unconscious wholeness; ’ two’ signifies the conflict between opposites;’ three’ points to a potential resolution; the third is the transcendent function; and the one as the ‘fourth’ is a transformed state of consciousness, relatively whole and at peace. 

You can think about this for ages and ages, like a little puzzle in the picture and ideas part of your brain. In fact, here is a wonderful blog post which explains it far better than I can and gives lots of food for the soul http://www.laranewton.com/my-first-blog-post/ 
I like to think of our family of 3,which it’s always been, and then with the arrival on earth of Babacino, we get the 4th! So something intangible and magical enters the space of all of our lives. And I am reminded that this magic of the Axiom and of Alchemy are both synonymous with synchronicity in some ways, another thing Mauri and I spoke about and enjoy to play with. I think it’s all about noticing the patterns and seeing what the eye can’t see. It’s like circles or waves, coming and going back and forth in different guises. We can never see them all, and some of them just tick along in the background doing ‘work’ for us, and when we are ready, we see them. We hope! Time for a Little Prince Quote I think: (The little Prince is another little family landmark in the territory of books and stories and pages, but that’s for another day…)

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.” 
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

To take this to an even more radical stance, which is always fun or at the very least a valuable excercise.. delving into both the light and the shadows, I have another few little ideas to float.. If we consider this magic of the Axiom, and Alchemy and then we think about what James Hillman talks about in his book ‘The Souls Code’ where he introduces the ‘Acorn Theory’. This is a myth really and he explains it in this way. In conjunction with this myth, he talks about each person being born with a “Daimon”. This is an ancient Greek word, which supercedes the word ‘demon’ and is synonomous with the Roman word ‘genius’, and the Christian word ‘guardian angel’. They are all a little bit different, yet each expresses something that you are, that you have, that is not the same as the personality you think you are.

Hilman says that ” the daimon motivates. It protects. It invents and persists with stubborn fidelity. It resists compromising reasonableness and often forces deviance and oddity upon its keeper, especially when neglected or opposed. It offers comfort and can pull you into its shell, but it cannot abide innocence. It can make the body ill. It is out of step with time, finding all sorts of faults, gaps, and knots in the flow of life - and it prefers them. It has affinities with myth, since it is itself a mythical being and thinks in mythical patterns.”

So you can see why it’s important to look at both the shadows and the light in our living. Each holds gravity and has it’s gifts.
"The “Acorn Myth” says that the roots of the soul (which is intrinsically linked to or IS the “Daimon”) are in the heavens, and the human grows downward into life. A little child enters the world as a stranger, and brings a special gift into the world. The task of life is to grow down into this world….Of course, parents have a strong role. The myth itself says that the soul chose your particular parents, and so they are part of your destiny, ... But that's not the be-all and end-all of existence. .. The story of the acorn is that you have your own destiny, and that your parents' tasks are to provide a place in the world where you can grow down into life and to help make it easier for you to carry the destiny you have, which as a child is hard to carry."
So Hillman is proposing that our calling in life is inborn and that it's our mission in life to realize its imperatives. This "Acorn Theory" — is the idea that our lives are formed by a particular image, just as the oak's destiny is contained in the tiny acorn.

I like playing with all of these images and myths, particularly now that we are 3, Babacino me and Mauri. I think the Acorn myth is such a creative way to look at life and our ‘roles’ so to speak on this planet and in the greater existence of humankind. It is a comforting feeling to know or believe that there is some greater power working for the better good of us and all people, if we choose to believe in it and pay it heed. Of course there are many more of these very delicious ideas and myths and stories, we discover them when ever we are open to them, and they tend to land when we most need them! At least that has been my experience, when I have been listening to my ‘daimon’!

And so, after all of that perhaps it makes it easier to understand how the universe can actually totally turn our world around on it's axis, and present us with something utterly of another place, so far out of the realms of even our imagination, and yet it can happen. For me I guess I can say, It HAS happened. I think I can probably say the same for Mauri. Think Terry Pratchet Disk World type turnaround! Ok, I have played a role and made some decisions and actually taken steps along the road, but it feels to me, as if the universe has given me a surfboard and a big wave and said: GO, RIDE!
(ps - perfect for a run to Mondello, wouldn't you say?? Synchronicity strikes again!!)

About the photos, these are, of course, pictures from my run today. I included one or two of things that are part of our life with Babacino here in Palermo, in case they seem out of place in the run to Mondello Beach. They are places - of types - that have become little landmarks of our life here, at this time, and now they are sort of visual symbols of happy memories being made. As usual I explain these next to the pictures. And then right at the end are some other pictures not from the Mondello run, just from our days of playing of late!!

Ok, finally, I get to the ‘NEW New Years Resolutions’ of the more traditional type! Here goes, this is some of how I would like 2014 to look, for me, in the context of our little family and our life. Sorry if they seem a bit corny but sometimes corny is good! (I’m copying them from my phone where I wrote them before New Years Eve, so they are real McCoy!) This does not include some of the more practical life living matters! Nor does it include running, that is coming later, never fear

• Be settled and grounded as a family where ever we may be (Me Babacino and Mauri)
• Always talk about our values, our directions, our wishes – the together ones and the individual ones, because they all make up the whole
• Consciously decide each day how I want to live my life (for me and Mauri and Babacino)
• Be excited, be courageous, take risks, be connected, be empathic, choose my paths
• Play and be creative at least a little every day
• Skype my family around the world at least every now and again
• Be the best mummy I can be for Babacino (attuned, attentive, listening, serious, fun, gentle, guiding, patient, allowing, encouraging, and being a constant secure base, with Mauri, for Babacino to explore and grow from)
And those are those! For trying my best!

Ok, running, yes, I need to add my running goals, these I am just writing intuitively without any real research, and also I havent given it a great deal of thought really, partly because a lot is in flux. And of course partly because I need to keep them flexible for Babacino, who always comes first. AND I need to chat to Mauri!
In no particular order:
• I would love to run the Mount Etna trail in August, the 64km one, but if that is not possible, then I would be still very happy to run the 24km one.
• I cant wait to run with Babacino in the Baby Jogger in London, but only if he likes it!
• To keep exploring and learning from running, no matter what the distance is or where it is
• To enjoy running and keep challenging myself, being open to new and different ideas and experiences, especially now that my ultra running needs to take a back seat, rightly so.
• Before Babacino turns a year old, I would like to run a trail marathon, just for fun
• I would love to run through the finish of a race, with Babacino, if the right race presents itself.
• To run in the mountains and in trees and nature, at least sometimes!
• For me and Babacino, but also on behalf of Mauri, that we can continue to go to some more lovely racing jaunts for Mauri to do his magic with photography, running stories, and linking up with all our lovely Sicilian running buddies!

Ok and that’s that for now. 
"My Sunday Run to Mondello Beach, and NEW New Years Resolutions." 
I hope it makes some sense, I think maybe I've tried to include too many ideas and so they are a bit rough and perhaps not quite formed enough, but there we go, maybe there are some clues to explore, certainly for me, it works that way when it comes to things being a bit all over the place!
As it turns out, it wasn't a lot about my run, but, for sure the run must have written a lot of this! And as usual, and with gratitude and love, my ending must be to thank Mauri and Babacino for being so kind as to read and play and wonder so patiently while I go running and writing stories!

(Quite a lot of the James Hillman stuff is quotes, which I got off the internet, but I cant remember where, so just to say, in case it looks as if my vocabulary has tripled over night)

Note to myself in public to write about my thinking and ramblings about what I thought it would be like to be a mummy, before Babacino was born, compared to what it is like! (although, one is still very much a mummy for the whole 9 months of carrying but its a different kind of mummy-ness) There wasn't time or space to put that into the NEW New Years Resolutions and really it is very linked. Next time!

Here is the link to the FB photo album, which has little explanations next to the pictures and of course is what this blog is about sort of!
Mondello Run FB Album

But just in case here are a few little pictures from the Album, just for the non FBers

On my way, one of my favourite local streets, you'd think it was still summer, its so green and there are even flowers!

This is the church where Mauri and Tata go for Mass once a month, where they remember people the people in their lives who they've loved and cherished and who have passed away. The actual church is being renovated and so the Mass is held in the hall next door, see the next picture

In Italy, (the Catholic) Mass happens every day, sometimes even more than once a day! In the summer time, me and Babacino played outside when Mauri and Tata go to the Mass, because we like to go along too, but we make too much noise when all the grownups are trying to concentrate! so we play on the steps outside. But in winter its a bit cold!

Here are the pillars again. During the week, there is a lot of traffic, so you have to be careful. I often run up this little road in the mornings to get to the mountain, or to run in the Riserva Naturale orientata Monte Pellegrino

Some stairs in the park that I often run up just for fun! They look quite majestic in real life. I am sure they were intended for something rather important when they were built, or perhaps they are just a sort of a symbol for ' A Stairway to Pellegrino and Saint Rosalia,

I often run past these, I think they are meant to be for bees, but I have never seen anyone actually go and do anything with them, but something does get done, that's for sure. It's a mystery

This is part of a goat farm, and this must be their house. If you go too near the goats or stand there too long, the dogs bark like crazy, protecting the goats I presume!

Who would ever have thought that you could put your feet in the sea on the 6th of January, without living in the Southern Hemisphere!

In the distance you can see the little harbour town, where we sometimes go for a walk and some coffee, with Tata and Raul and Frida.

And now its time to head back home, interesting how different things look from the opposite side!

Every where you look in Palermo, and Sicily you will see immense beautiful mountain ranges and most of the time blue blue sky. Sometimes it's nice to see the city with some clouds, it and different light, it makes it feel altogether like a different city in a way!

Proof that we do get autumn in Palermo , even if 'winter' is debatable, there is definitely autumn!

This is the shop where we get all Babacino's gear - eating and wearing and playing! The shop is on both sides of the road, this is just one side.

Home!! There is Frida!!  The End!

And now for a few non-running ones ...

Mauri and Babacino working!

Our recent acquisition of the soundtrack to the film - to be released 'Long walk to Freedom' which is based on Mandela's autobiography. It doesn't have Morgan Freeman acting as Mandela this time. That was the other film about the world cup rugby in 1995

Me and Munka Punka Babacino being South African! (probably laughing at something Mauri is saying!)

The Dudes!

Me and my monkey, I love my monkey!

Until next time... ciao!!

No comments: