Welcome to Carolyn Cowan Online; Designer, photographer, teacher, mother, counsellor and bodypainter.
Archive for September, 2008
I have been in Paris for a industry show. It was warm and sunny, there was a strike (which is now no longer a strike it is a social movement) on the trains through the city and I stayed with a friend and oh, it was a pleasure.
I took the Eurostar at 5.30am, amazed by how many people there were there so early, and after dropping my bag, found my way to the Exposition Hall. Huge, huge buildings, 5 enormous halls with thousands of people all dressed in black. A rising and falling sea of black everywhere.
The day was long and time seemed to be standing still as I walked the aisles and aisles of cloth, ribbons, colour charts, fake fur, suiting… it was amazing and I learned so much that I did not know.
The hardest part of the whole thing was me. My mind. Surrounded by the sea of black outside of me I also peaked and troughed through tunnels and avenues of darkness inside my self. Moments of calm followed by my thoughts karate chopping each other to see who could create more internal agony. It was quite astounding. I refused to go there, telling myself I will be fine, and then another crashing wall of fear landed and I was lost again, struggling to rise above my mind and calm myself down.
I think that for me, financial insecurity is one of the most unmanageable fears. I have had it all my life and still cannot just sit back and laugh at the insanity of my reaction to my thoughts.
All of this has led me to seriously look at what I am teaching. I have decided that a course on managing the mind is the way forward. As they always say: You have to teach what you need to know.
Here I go.
I had a day off yesterday. Ah, it was bliss. I confess to working in the morning, but I did not resist that reality at all, and from there headed off to Soho for Sushi and window licking.
It was a wonderful, bright, sunny day and a real pleasure to be out and doing exactly as I pleased within the confines of being in central London. I met up with people I needed to see, bought wonderful fabrics and ended up at Run and Become in Petty France.
It is a shop that sell running gear, but it is also more than that. It was started by Shri Chinmoy who proposed transcendance through running. He died about two years ago, but ran all his life and used it as a way to separate from the mind. The shop is great, in an alley off Victoria Street, and you can run in the shoes to see if they work and also for the staff to see how you run and from there, choose the right shoe for the style.
I turned up in heavy gold earrings, three necklaces, malas, bracelets, an 80 panel floor length skirt and a full size petticoat with a 6ft shawl.
I was asked to put on neutral shoes and show my running style. Charging up and down the alley, skirt hoiked over my arm and both hands trying to hold down breasts and jewellery was very funny.
I got to do it 4 times in all, to be able to choose an appropriate pair of trainers. Breathless, sparkly and laughing, I left to go and see Ben Stiller direct himself in Tropic Storm. The beginning was awful and I toyed with walking out, but suddenly it turned into a hilarious, witty film and I did not know until the very end, as the credits rolled, that Tom Cruise was the Producer character. Damme! He was fun. Awful, but fun. A real departure from his usual acting habits.
My mood is up. It is good. I feel positive, upbeat, confident and forward thinking. It will pass, I know, it always does, but it is interesting, in the face of the Global Meltdown that we are all meant to be bowing under, there is a spark of resilience.
I had a moment where I fleetingly considered becoming a victim of it all and caving into a prolonged bout of duvet diving. But what on earth is the point? If I cannot get the good parts now, how will I ever get them? So my mantra is Love the Hell. And I am. It is an empowered shift. Long may I stay shifted.
Rollo, the poodle with a fear of busses, and I ran this morning in the crispy dark at 5am. I just love it. I am sure it is contributing to my positive feelings. I either run with mantra constantly turning or do positive affirmations all the way. Today it was 45 minutes of absolute focus on the best and wow, it feels so empowered.
My moonbath with Isadora was great fun. She really is so into all things girlie. We slept well after and were happy that it is now passed, the equinox has happened and the moon is waning, and we can all move on.
I am not usually very aware of where the moon is in terms of its phases, but the past two months I have had an extremely heightened experience of it’s power. Perhaps pertly because I was camping at a yoga festival and then on holiday in France and so was outside more often and also in my mood and behaviours I could feel the rising energy. There were those around me during the Eclipse of the last moon that also profoundly manifested how strong her energy can be.
So I now know that the full moon happened at 09.10am today. Phew, frankly. This one has not been fun, the build up, I mean. All the feelings of being cornered and trapped are absolutely there and I look forward to them slipping back a little. They never really go away. I seem, so far, to endlessly resist my reality and meander between feeling like a rat in a chapatti tin and a tiger in a cage. This moon has been the tiger in a cage one. Pacing up and down trying to find ways out.
But a moon bath beckons. Tonight, in the garden, all us girls, ladies, teenagers and crones need to strip off and howl at the moon. I think it is the only way forward. Absorb all the energy and get empowered by the strength and vitality that comes with all the rising. We did it in France and it was fabulous!
On another side, the running is going spectacularly well. But I have had to adjust to running in the dark when all the park gates are locked, thank God, and Rollo the poodle and I take to the roads of Camberwell. It is surprising how many people are about at 5am. The smells of cigarettes, shower gel and perfume seem to waft through the streets and the occasional smell of delicious coffee makes my taste buds squirm.
The entire hard running in France has made it much easier here and I feel so amazing after. There is a moment, about three minutes after getting hoe, when all the endorphins kick in and I am bathed in bliss. I sat down and closed my eyes to really enjoy it today and Ah, wow, feeling all the energy in the body, the heat, the vibrancy and the ecstasy from the hormone rush. Total bliss and worth the 40 minutes of effort, running up Camberwell Grove.
I have been on several planes over the years that have landed very bumpily. It is a profoundly unsettling experience especially when I imagine one of the brakes not working and the other one creating a crazy spin in the plane as it hurtles down the runway.
We my feelings about being back are rather similar. Locked away in an old house in the depths of France I was blissfully unaware of the words so common to the London experience: soaring prices, betrayal, death, recession…. Each one leaving a cold stab of fear as I pass another poster for the Evening Standard. I think all these politicians need to read the Secret. Maybe that should be standard reading for the next political party.
But I am back, at work, smiling away, a layer of blissful ignorance smeared across my reality as I lie awake at night wondering where we are all headed. They want to ban Steiner now. Demeter in all it’s forms has gone because it has no additives. Confusing, to say the least, but I think that the general direction is to make sure that we are all as numb as can be, plugged into our ipods, mobile phone and computers, filmed, fined and processed at every turn and kept in neat serried rows whilst they, the invisible baddies, control everything around us and we just work and pay taxes and fines.
I have been driving since I was 18. Clean license,. Gov, until now. Well, almost now. I was filmed speeding at 34 miles an hour in a 30 mile an hour zone. I can pay the fine for £60 and get points on my license or pay £95 and attend a speed awareness workshop and I will be patted into a better driver.
I am working to find a lighter note, but cannot. It will pass, it always does, good and bad, but this is today.
As I write, we are driving back up France. Why it feels like an upward journey is hard to understand, but it does. The holiday was manifique, the sun shone, the ghosts glided and the children are little brown berries. I did not sleep as much as I intended, nor did I read as much as I had hoped, but we did photograph all the new collection of clothes over 10 days so I forgive myself in the other areas.
Moving through France as a vegetarian is nearly as challenging as being in France as a recovering alcoholic. I am assuming there are people who do not drink 24/7 or smoke themselves into a husky fog, but I have yet to find them in the haze of cigar smoke and 20% proof air.
So we did not go out much to restaurants as mozzarella and tomato salads have lost their charm along with dried up pieced of old toast with a sliver of goat’s cheese. Ah, such a bitch… But our journey back took us to a Gites last night. A Gites is a place where you can rent a room for the night. We stopped at the Priore. A beautiful old farmhouse with a working farm built in 1027. Very lovely, with those pale, flabby cows so notorious to the area.
We had to eat. The day’s drive had not produced much that could be consumed without massive weight gain, guilt or fear so we asked out very chatty hostess if she knew where, as vegetarians, we could eat.
“Mais oui!” and she telephoned the nearest La Routier.
“What’s a Routier, Mummy?”
“A place where truck drivers eat…”
Excited, and greatly buoyed by her discovery, she bounced into the room, the phone cord about to snap with the distance it had stretched.
“They can do Truite sans arettes”
I turned to Baptiste: “What is that? Non stop trout?”
“Non. Trout without bones.”
“Ah…. No, thank you. What about an omelette avec frites?”
Quick consultation et “Voila! “
She was thrilled as she was snapped out of the room by the exhausted phone cable.
We piled back into the car and careered along beautiful country roads to a truck driver’s diner.
“We are the vegetarians.”
A couple of heavily jowelled and gloriously bellied drivers nodded wisely at each other. Would we like “une assiette de charcuterie?” (A plate of salami to start?)
We were waived towards the cold buffet. I bravely headed west to give it a look. Boiled eggs, sweaty and black-hearted, minced beetroot with lumpy magenta mayonnaise, balck sausages curled menacingly around themselves with very sharp knives lying alongside, soggy old potatoes with long-dead parsley morsels clinging bravely to their edges.
“We had a big lunch. Just the omelettes, sil vous plait..”
The omelettes and frites were lovely. (Ironic) Mine was “baveuse” which means raw and lying in a pool of fat. It was a meal where you just did it and tried not to think about what was being eaten. The children found ketchup the colour of dried blood and Baptiste found me mayonnaise and Tabasco to mask the taste. We earwigged the waitress discussing the difference between the smell of donkey and horse meat, and when we finally gave up on the fizzy fromage frais, paid the bill with smiled nailed to our mouths, everyone smiled and waived, careful not to knock over their carafes and nodded to each other that they had met some vegetarians in France.