Welcome to Carolyn Cowan Online; Designer, photographer, teacher, mother, counsellor and bodypainter.
Archive for May, 2008
I have been told that I do get out of my pram. So I will keep this succinct, with the realisation that the rules are made by the Rulers, not by the Councils themselves, and that everyone is just doing their job in the most jobsworth way possible.
To that end, I am making friends with the man from the Health & Safety. It seemed a good route, and he is charming. Endlessly fighting the system just seems to generate hell within, and I am past enjoying the sensation.
Talking of Hell Within, the Mind Body Spirit festival was fabulous. I confess to having been somewhat dreading the experience, but it was great. Such fun, mostly because of the Very Lovely Philip, and then due to the wonderful collection of people who came to the event. I taught several workshops, which were great, (I know I am not supposed to say so myself, but it is all based on feedback…) and laughed more than I have laughed for months. This alone elevates the spirit far more than the endless diet of stress.
I fell off the “No New Wagon” a while ago. I have to confess, like an addict needing a fix, I could not resist sneaking a peek at the state of the world and sure enough, I was sucked back into the world of blood, gore, fear, stress and uncontrollable visions of the way I do not want the world and it’s occupants to behave.
Not only that, but my coffee consumption has been shocking and it does me no good at all. In fact it makes me insane, dizzy and stressed. I am horrified by how many things I can do that create horrible reactions inside, but seem to be currently unable to create a full stop. Although, having said that I have not had coffee for two days and will save myself until Friday morning, where it is an important ritual that I want to keep for now. The news…. I am about to go to India and find myself needing to know if the rioting has stopped, if it is safe to go, so for now I continue.
Personal Health & Safety. I suppose it comes down to that. Perhaps that is what some us need, maybe not all of us. There are many out there who make no judgement as to how they feel, others who have no expectations of improvements. Yet another wave who feel there is no need to improve, and then versions like me who endlessly look for change. For I think that is what it is. I cannot eat the same food every day, I cannot endlessly do the same thing on a daily basis, and was a bad make up artist on films as I hated repeating myself. So I need and long for stimulation. Hence coffee, news and stress. Tra La.
Swathes, waves, armies, washes, epiphanies and arms full of experience that does not translate into weblog.
I could apologise, and have frequently done so in the past, but my recent experiences have been of such magnitude on the learning curve that is life, that I feel absolutely no need to explain anything.
Between friends and lovers there is much that is said, disclosed and
shown, but there are mountainous ranges of feelings, thoughts, reactions, experiences and behaviours that we never disclose to another, and sometime we hide ourselves, too, from our internal reality, using coping mechanisms, stories and addictions to mask the fear, pain, and loss.
I have done none of these things recently. I am a breath away from 17 years sober and have given up coffee except on Fridays when it is an important part of a potent experience. I am working hard and running has its place but us not an obsession.
I have not been able to express so much of what is happening to and around me for ages. But perhaps the curve is leveling out and softening into a more human and mundane life that moves easily onto weblog. I will, at the end of the MBS experience, write again.
This was a question that came up recently. It led to an interesting discussion on choice. Quite a thought provoking question, I feel.
He applied, but did not get in. Consequences. Consequences.
I ran again today. It is going well. I ran around Battersea Park in 21 minutes, with three stops on the way to catch breath. It was wonderful. Empty, silent but for the loud hum of the generators at the Flower Show being set up on the other side of the river. The sound carries very loudly over the water. But Louis, Deirdre and I made our way around with a glorious sense of the summer coming, everything in full bloom and a very real sense of achievement. T’was fab.
Life here is gearing up to the Mind Body Spirit Show that starts next Wednesday. Such preparations, forward thinking, pre ordering and packing. It is the biggest and the longest of the shows that we do, and takes huge amounts of energy to keep up with. By the end I feel like a husk of my usual self. Empty of smiles, energy and enthusiasm. So I am stoking the fires now, to make sure that I am as glorious as possible.
We are nearly at the end of an extraordinary marathon: The Vegetarian Cooking DVDs are almost there! Oh, My God! Never again. Two years work. I really, truly had no idea when I had the epiphany. Does anyone know where an idea will take them? This has been huge. But they look amazing and wow, to get them out there will feel like such a monumental event. It needs a whole now look at how we promote, sell, advertise and distribute, so I am now turning my thoughts to new pastures for outlets, suppliers, shops and so on. All suggestions most welcome.
Lastly, I am organsising a wonderful friend, teacher and healer to come and teach a 4 hour workshop at my house on the 1st of June. It will be 4 hours of Sat Nam Rasayam. If you are interested, let me know as soon as possible as there are only 6 places. It will go onto the newsletter, but I know it will close quickly. SO this is an advance offer for all of those interested in expanding their talents as a healer, mystic and intuitive.
Baptiste and I were sitting the very lovely Le Chandelier café in Dulwich today. It is my new favourite place.
I love the food and the coffee, the tea, the chandeliers and the cakes, so I do tend to go there and sit in my favourite chair for a while, on my days off.
I have a new toy. It does, in fact, rise far above the description. The word toy does it no justice at all. It is an iTouch. The latest techno gadget from MAC. It does everything except phone calls. I love orange and will not move from a human answering my queries and I hate O2 advertising, so I am stuck with out an iPhone, but the Nokia N95 has the best camera on the planet, in mobile terms, and I cannot move from that, so the world is great and you now know that not only am I a techno bunnie, I am also a techno snob.
It does not stop there. I love Chanel lipstick and cannot go out without my moisturiser from the Pharmacia Santa Maria Di Novella. I use Eskandar bath oils and love good, raw chocolate. So if you are ever stuck for a present, my likes and dislikes are clearly delineated.
Back to the Chandelier. I was telling Baptise, and it was gently floating over his head I feel, that I was feeling much more positive about the MAC store recently, having had to return a couple of things and the marvels of my new “thing” fresh in my mind. The very delightful waitress floated over to take our money and joined in the conversation: she had just bought a new lipstick from the MAC store and it was really good. She was surprised by the quality and they had really gone up in her estimation too.
Baptiste shut his eyes and sat back. I merged into the new dialogue seamlessly.
I am not yet alarmed by the prospect of going to Jaipur, despite the bombs there last night. But I am supposed to be working on the next two collections of clothes. And what am I doing? Stroking the puppy and writing weblog. Anything except what I should be doing. I will gird my loins and apply myself at once.
Psychics, Mystics, Witches and longings
I am recovered after the time at the Mystic Arts. It was hot, oh, so hot, but good. Lots of charming people all hovering on the edges of normal. Some dangling off the side, too, but most had a grip on a version of reality. It may not have been a totally pukka version according to all that says these things are Pagan, and I am not naming names, but it was good.
The flowers are outside the shop as usual, all enjoying the sun before the next trip along by the truncheon of police and the very charming Oliver with his council posse. I feel rebellious and naughty, but what is new? I think the rules are deeply silly, and until anyone gets deeply out of their pram enough to take me to court I will resist the rules. Me and the fishmonger, the vegetable shop, the nail parlour…… all down the street it is as if it never happened. So I am not really so brave and out there, alone.
I have watched the fabulous weather from inside for the past eight days or so, and it has been OK. I thought I would log to be basking, but no, I am happy watching the gradual undressing of the majority of the female version of human and wondered what is it that happens to taste, style, self esteem and any kind of modesty.
Oh, I sound so old, I know I do, but I come from the place that likes to look elegant and stylish. I shun bulgy, skin tight and transparent over very tight G-strings. I do, I do. But here in South London there is no such hindrance to total exposure of all that could be shown. No imagination needed. Plus the Primark Label is showing a lot, too, so people are not using their wallets to protest against the treatment of Tibet, just Facebook.
The body image is such a fascinating subject. Being a shopkeeper, resisting fashion and going along the stylish and elegant route I do work with a lot of women and their body image. Probably no more than most boutiques, but from a particular perspective in as much as I can say yes to anything up to a size 30, and help to work towards a positive and empowered way of dressing. A woman yesterday returned clothes that her husband refused to let her go out it. An interesting moment, hearing that, but it got more challenging as she then proceeded to take herself to bits in front of the mirror, was going to weight watchers and probably barely glanced at being a size 10. She had her mother with her who really did help her by saying that her figure was appalling and she would fit nothing in the shop.
I have metal shutters, internal ones, that roll down, noisily, when I have peaked on listening to crap. They crashed down yesterday.
You could say that I am judgemental, you could, but I don’t think it is that. I suppose having always struggled with my own body image and finally come to terms with it in my 40’s, I can see how endemic it is, the dysmorphia that we all live with. Not all of us, I know, but many.
We had a large number of police in the street today. Sun shining, police everywhere.
I went towards one who was calmly leaning on a bollard basking in the sun, and asked him what was up. Apparently the council were giving shop keepers tickets for having A boards out side their shops.
Oops, that’s me.
Well it was such fun. The police were there to protect the councillors from us shopkeepers. And it took a big deep breath to keep smiling through the highway, by way and council regulations. Ah, me, the delights of 21st Century victim culture.
Well I got fined for having flowers and an A board, threatened with court, a criminal record and then the policeman, 7 of them, noticed that we had no tax disc on the car. No tax disc at all. It had been stolen honest, governor. Finally they gave me 5 days to get another. Oh, it a great afternoon in Balham. But it was all smiles in the end and I waved them off as cheerily as I waved off the Born Again Christians on Monday.
The house is garlanded in wisteria, the frogs are chirping? Or is it ribbitting? Endlessly. And we have had breakfast and lunch in the garden several times now. Ah, it is so nice. We have also had the joint cased several times today and a wallet stolen. Horrid. But at least it had no money in t and was nothing more serious. Just boring and time consuming nonsense.
Talking of which, I had an amusing time on the weekend and could, I know, easily cause offence. But that is not my intention. If it upsets, I am sorry. But, three people in printed T shirts came and ranged themselves around me in the shop on Monday. I could see what was coming: They were Christian Fundamentalists wanting to convert me.
It is not on my list of experiences, so I was polite but firm, and in the end had them all praying for me as it was all I was willing to accept. It was a long prayer, as I am obviously an infidel. (I have been told this by several different people including the Hari Krishna lot,) But finally my soul was rescued from purgatory and they moved onto the Muslim Fishmonger.
I do think it is important to admire the chutzpah of standing in a shop on a busy day in a prayer circle over a woman dressed head to toe in black with her hand on her hip standing on one leg.
Another Ah, it was lovely was the experience of letting our son save up for a Gameboy PSP. It took a while and we contributed £22 to the final effort. Let him drown in it for 4 days, seeing him emerge from the playing experience with his aura shredded, blinking with red, sore eyes. A few more days of intermittent playing and I carefully planted the thought that an ipod would be so much more fun.
A few days later he asked what he could get for him Gameboy. 24 hours on ebay and it was gone! Oh, joy. Ah, it was lovely. A quick trip to the MAC store (the computer shop, not the make up shop) and he is in bliss. We go to school with a whole DJ experience that everyone can share in and we do not have that horrible PSP in the house any more.
I am working hard at really enjoying making clothes. I do not know why I have to work at it, but it seems that I am not fabulous at enjoying this. I seem to excel at suffering, though, which is excessively dull and it is time to move on.
So to this end I have been making an effort to thoroughly enjoy the clothes that I make. And they are turning out to be a real pleasure. I spend hours refining the shapes with a tailor in India, but when they get back here, all wrapped in plastic I somehow do not feel that I can just take. So they lie and wait for customers. Patiently dangling on hangers until someone comes along, and with a slight intake of breath, lifts the hangar off the rail to devour the colour, fabric, style and shape. Once on, they are taken home to be made the owners own.
So I am now playing this game and have been tempted into wearing a delicious, very sexy, short A line top in black. Heads are turning, let me tell you, and at 48 that is a treat!
Otherwise it is raining. Oh, so lovely. But it is all so green. I will be running tomorrow in Battersea park at 6.30am then breakfast at Borough market. Anyone interested in a run and a good coffee, meet me at the top car park at 6.30am. (The one by the river.) Come rain or shine. But be warned, I am a beginner……