These joys have long since moved on from the original idea but I’m going to continue to add them occasionally because I want to.

I’m aching so much right now, tomorrow morning I’ll be aching even more. I’m also bowed down under the weight of a massive pile of books I need and want to read, a load of stuff I don’t understand, a bunch of looming deadlines. None of which is work, all of which I am paying for, and all of which I am doing in my ‘spare’ time.

And I bloody love it.

As well as my current edit on Novel 17 and my Fun Palaces work (the little matter of a new website, our annual evaluation, our annual short film to do by March 2020, as well as our ongoing work and new ambassadors to recruit and meet and support), I am coming up to 2/3 through my yoga teacher training. It’s a 200 hour training including yoga practice, philosophy, anatomy, pose analysis, Sanskrit, history and a VERY full weekend of training once every four weeks. I have also started psychotherapy training – I did a foundation term earlier this year in Person-Centred Counselling and am now studying Existential Psychotherapy in another Foundation course. If I am accepted, I’ll start a DProf in Jan or Sept 2020. (The course also allows for exits with an MA or Advanced Diploma if the PhD doesn’t work out. It does feel like a big leap right now, then again, there is an idea I would like to work on …)

I went to university from1981-83 and basically made plays the whole time, I bumbled through academically because that wasn’t what I was there for. I made friends, I grew up, I learned how to create work. In a few weeks I will write my first academic essay since 1983. I am stretching my body and mind (and my bodymind/mindbody) and I am loving it.

The workload is tough – and the psychotherapy training has barely begun – I can’t afford to study without income from writing and from Fun Palaces, and even if I could I wouldn’t want to stop doing FPs and writing, they’re part of me, at least for the next few years.

I have plans for yoga-for-writers workshops and yoga-for-creativity workshops – I’m not training to be yoga teacher per se, but because yoga supports my writing and making, so I figure it might also be useful others. Eventually I think the therapy element will connect with those two, but that’s a much longer path and a lot more to learn.

So much to learn and amazing new people to learn with – after another yoga weekend I am more than a little bit in love with our group. The support, the encouragement, the LAUGHTER is a massive joy, even when it’s mentally challenging and physically pretty tough.

In some ways this new path has come from my mental and physical health difficulties since my first cancer (almost 20 years ago) and my second cancer (almost 6 years ago), in some ways it is a progression of the work we do in Fun Palaces, in other ways it is simply what I am drawn to, have always been drawn to. It wasn’t planned*, it is.

I have no idea where these steps will lead me five or ten years from now and am excited to find out, one step at a time. Learning feels like Big Joy. Big (bit tired, very happy) joy.

*note to freelancers – I’ve been freelance all my life & pretty much never planned anything. It’s mostly been ok so far.