Open Windows At Night

Life Design Action: Open your windows at night – even if it is just a crack. Your lungs and dreams will love you.

Requires: A window and maybe some earplugs (if you live on a busy road or have neighbouring cockerels)


If The Mountain Won’t Come To Muhammad …

For the last few weeks of 2012 I was dreadfully ill. Bedroom was knee deep in snotty tissues, wrapping paper, ribbons and ibuprofen. Fever at night unbearable. Ongoing cough/nausea made ten times by visualising anything to do with pan fried salmon. Urgh. Lost all opportunities to wear glamorous Christmas dresses and instead stumped around house in unflattering dressing gown with non-matching belt. Sweating Perspiring and coughing.

Then just as I began to recover, Roo got ill.

And in the perfect overlap with Roo, Pix got ill.

Thankfully Christmas = unusually well stocked fridge. And unusually well-stocked television itinerary. And most reassuringly, well stocked bad weather which meant that no one else was going out and skipping in the starlit snow to make us feel bad.

Not so thankfully = we missed Jolls’ End Of The World Party. (Part of me was disappointed, but part of me relieved. After all, if it was to be the End of the World I wanted to be with kids and not falling over drunk. Another friend had also copped out saying, if it was the end of the world she wanted to be on beach with large bonfire. Naughty N said she’d rather be at home having sex with her husband, but obviously she didn’t really, because she went dressed in a wig and gold backless dress. So.)

Problem with my recovery was that, as kids were getting poorlier and I was getting better, serious cabin fever set in.

I suffer badly with cabin fever.

It comes from being brought up in the country with no bus stops, no neighbours and a parental taxi that used to limit services at the drop of a hat. Back then my remedy was stomping over fields and hitchhiking along nearest road.

However hitchhiking out of being a parent/nurse isn’t an option and in develping cb fever, I suddenly knew EXACTLY how tiger in Life of Pi felt.

Except he had it better.

He didn’t have the whole teeth-gritting, self-battle of “I Can’t Go Out, Therefore I shall Eat. And Eat. And Eat.” Did he? I bet with all that fish, Pi’s Tiger ended up with an amazing pelt and shining eyes and feeling like he could take on the whole of Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Unlike Pi Tiger, I had space to pace.

And food.

Too much food.

 Paced to the fridge, then back to the sofa. Then back to the fridge. By night found it increasingly hard to sleep. House felt all stuffy and hot and claustrophobic. By day found it increasingly hard to do up trousers, so reverted back to dressing gown.

Then one night, in all of my stuffed up, claustrophobic irritation, decided to leave the window open. Yes it was raining and yes the wind was threatening to have the whole forest behind the house crashing through the wall, but I just needed to let OUTSIDE IN before my head exploded.

That night the air was clear; oxygen rich; crystal pure.

Had an amazing dream about summer, heat, loganberries and holly hocks.

Next morning woke up and the window sill was wet and the room was freezing, but the air was like liquid mountain oxygen in my lungs. That day felt a million times better. It was asthough by letting the outside inside, I’d suddenly opened up a portal to outside again.

Got myself out on a run and discovered that the land nearby our house had slipped and a crack was snaking its way over the tarmac. Ran further, relishing cool rainy mist on my face, then back towards the town, down to the little cove where the waves were smashing salt foam on the shingle, then back up the steeper hill to my house.

This blissful oasis was enough of an oasis to break the cabin fever. It got me through the next few days of rain although, must admit that on 29th Dec found myself standing in garden barefooted at midnight, letting rain and wind batter me to bits. Was still wearing dressing gown, although had by now upgraded to Ads’ new Christmas one as it had slightly more flattering cut.

Then yesterday, 2013, the beautiful serene little angel that she is, tiptoed up to the front door and rang the bell.

“Hello,” I smiled.

“Hello,” she said.

“Thank God you’re here!” I sighed.

In she came, got changed into her running gear and we ran out of the house, down the road, past the crack (now being inspected by a head scratching highway inspector), into the next village and up the long, slow road to Blackgang lookout point. Then together we ran back.

“New Year?” I panted as we did the final sprint to the garden gate. “You know we’re going to do this again tomorrow. Even if it is raining?”

“Of course,” 2013 panted back. “This year we are going to run, we are going to laugh, we are going to plant a loganberry bush in the garden of This House and a herb garden and a vegetable garden. We are going to learn to surf and go spear fishing, see a medicine man in Edinburgh, sleep on the beach under the stars, climb Snowdon, run a half marathon, dream well, reach high, push through boundaries, surprise ourselves and …”

I looked at 2013 speechless and hopeful. And what? Could there be any more?

“… and we are also going to go on an adventure to Gambia. And hang out with lions.”

New Year grinned at me. I gawped at her. Then we opened the door, and together with the air and sunshine, staggered into the house, sweating.

(Key Point: we are Nature. There’s only so long we can remain tucked up in rooms, play stations, watch soaps and reality TV shows before our souls start to itch, pace and cry out. The more we can let Nature into our lives, the more aligned, clear and ferociously expansive we will become.

This year, resolutions aside, I am symbolically opening the windows and letting the air in to this Life/House. The food I eat, the place we grow it, the time me and the kids spend is going to become increasingly enmeshed with the natural world.)


12 thoughts on “Open Windows At Night

  1. Don’t know the conversion of Celsius to Farenheight but we are at 17 degrees F here at night. Much as I would love to open my window even just a tiny sliver, I fear intruders as well. There was a time in my old home (2nd floor bedroom) that I would sleep with my window open and wake to snow on the sill, you’ve reminded me how wonderful that is.
    A wonderful & Healthy 2013 to you and yours.

    • Hello lovely Mountain Gypsy! I totally get the intruder fear … I had to stop and consider for a few minutes before posting that blog in the sudden thought that I might be advertising my home to local burglars. In the event it was only a loganberry bush in my dream that crept in. I hope one day you can have snow on your window sill again!! A hugely wonderful Happy New Year to your good self. xxx

  2. I love your posts!! And particularly like getting them by email.
    I regularly refer back to each one and love your top-ups of coaching.

    Even me as the Creator of my House Energy! I’d love to do that in my 17 year old son’s room but each time I try it rapidly declines back to what I would call a disgrace. Hopefully the rest of the house will have some positive effect on my 3 teenagers!

    I’d like to comment on all your posts but that’d be too much.
    Your interpretation of Truth Providers was oh so true though. I remember that my dad hated Media and Materialism but I couldn’t understand his point of view in my young days. It took me into my 30s and 40s to see exactly what he meant (and now I think I’m worse than he was!) – I’m just hoping that my own kids come round to this some day too. The brainwashing is everywhere that we can’t get away from, seen by everyone everyday.
    Like you, he also advocated your idea of Open Windows at Night! We are nature! So why not embrace that 🙂 How would you suggest I coax my reluctant teenagers (2 boys and a girl) to “become increasingly enmeshed with the natural world”?

    Please keep up the posts!! And as you say in your book “when we begin to view our experience of life…as something we can shift at any time, we become artists of our daily life” and “our experience is created by what we choose to focus on”!

    Sorry this is long and hopefully it all posted OK…

    • Hello C, thank you for your loveliness. My entire house rapidly disintegrates into chaos on a daily basis – especially at this time of year when everyone is stuck inside. I continually seem to be minimising our belongings in an attempt to find some order but as long as a family live here I don’t think it’s ever going to be the Zen Spa I dream of.

      I so loved hearing about your dad! I think that after a while people will begin to see through the media at least. It seems that the government are becoming increasingly aware of the effect certain marketing is having on the people’s self esteem, however, the media is too good a brainwashing tool to be stopped (in their eyes). I believe that what needs to happen is some sort of education in schools to help kids become a little more media savvy and at least then there is some choice for people.

      Re. getting your lovely teens babies “enmeshed in nature” … Well, I’d say your first step is to look around your environment. Where do you live? City or village or country? We live on an island, right near to the sea. There’s an amazing surf culture. My plan is to get the kids ocean-meshed first … surfing, diving, all things that are fun but teach them to really respect and work alongside the nature elements. I’m also encouraging the 12 year old to run with me. If you run music-free in the countryside it is almost like a meditation/communion with nature within itself. Give me an idea of your environment and I’ll get my thinking cap on …

      Thanks again for popping by and a Happy New Year to you. xxx

      • Hi there,
        Thanks for your reply 🙂
        Well, we actually stay at the foot of the Pentland Hills but the outskirts of Edinburgh city – the kids would prefer to go into town now! When they were younger, and somewhat within my control, they did lots of outdoor activities and sports – maybe that’s still in them somewhere… I actually took my 13 year old daughter on the train to Glasgow today – she was tempted by the shopping but at least whizzed through some countryside on the way! Better than nothing?! 🙂
        Your home setting sounds wonderful! I will eventually retire to the Isle of Skye – my goal in life 🙂
        Thanks again for your reply.
        Love and bestest wishes for the rest of 2013!!!
        C xxx

      • Hurrah! Good start with your daughter. Another idea … are any of them into art/photography at all? That could be a good lead to get into the wilds? The Isle of Skye looks gorgeous. I would love to go there at some point. I have never been to Scotland, but I’d love to. There’s a chance I might be comeing up to Edinborough soon … xx

  3. Ooh, do let us know when you’re up in Edinburgh!! I can’t get a signed copy of my Kindle version of your book so I’ll need to by a paper copy too! 🙂 Are you up for your book?
    Skye is amazing – I think it’s the best in Scotland – wonderfully dramatic.
    My daughter does like arts and fabrics etc so I took her to the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow yesterday! I’ll think of more to do that might suit her better in Edinburgh 🙂 Your post had come at a really good time for me and I’ve since convinced my 15 year old son to do a course at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena 🙂 it’s a start, small steps 🙂
    Thanks again, C xxx

    • Hurrah! That’s amazing. You could get your daughter to go out and photograph natural landscapes then create stitched fabric collages of the views! As for the International Climbing Arena? Fast work C … I’m v impressed! xxx PS. Edinburgh is not for the book – but it could be a good chance to do a signing. Are there any independent book shops you think could be worth contacting?

  4. I’ll put the collage idea to her… I’ll let you know the outcome!
    You could try Blackwell’s Book Shop on South Bridge – it’s big, covers everything, attracts all ages and they sell your book so they must be good 🙂

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