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I wrote this post for the Reykjavík Grapevine last Monday, after the Icesave verdict had been passed down but it didn't make it into print.  An almost palpable ripple of relief passed through Icelandic society at precisely 10.30 am on Monday, January 28, when the EFTA court passed a judgment stating that Iceland had been within its rights to refuse claims by the UK and Holland over the failed Icesave online bank. This put to rest one of the nastiest disputes in Icelandic history – one that had Iceland pitched against some of its closest foreign allies, and which polarized the nation into two camps incessantly hurling verbal assaults at each other. For those who don’t know what Icesave is ...

In the last while I've had a few people ask me what's going on with my new book - the novel for which I was requesting beta readers a while back. Well, the writing is done, the beta reading is done, the editing is done, I think we've nailed a cover for it [I'm so fortunate to have a graphic designer at my disposal in the form of my supremely talented husband], and now I'm figuring out the best way to get it out there, with respect to method, timing, and so on. Brief recap: the book is called Unraveled and it's a novel. In the story, an Icelandic woman named Frida has recently moved back to Iceland with her husband, a British diplomat...

Anyone interested in metaphysics or spiritual matters will know this: our outer circumstances mirror our inner circumstances. We attract or are drawn to people and situations that correspond with what we believe to be true, or somehow reflect what we are feeling. This has rarely been more starkly evident in my life than when I was going through the sort of deconstruction that I described in the last post - that drawn-out, painful death of old beliefs, attitudes and illusions that we all go through, in some way or other, and at some point or other, in our lives. It suppose it started with an inexplicable attraction to cemeteries. Instead of simply walking past as I always had done, I started going...

Within be fed, without be rich no more: So shalt thou feed on death, that feeds on men, And death once dead, there's no more dying then.                                     William Shakespeare, Sonnet 146 We are so conditioned to think of death as the surrender of the flesh to the Grim Reaper that we don’t realize that death also happens to us even when we are still alive. During our formative years we learn things that shape us, for better or for worse. We become conditioned. Often that conditioning is not healthy. It may be made up of negative patterns that our parents learned, and that they pass on to us. It may be made up of beliefs that we form because we do not have a...

Recently I was at a gathering where people were discussing Christmas, and the difficult feelings that are often associated with it. It seems like that time of year has the ability to highlight so many hurts in our lives, and it takes a lot of strength not to spiral out of control emotionally. What struck me as I listened was how many of us struggle to get our needs met by people who aren't willing or able to meet them. Sometimes this can mean our relationship with our spouse. Sometimes with our families of origin. Sometimes with friends, or people we are in love with. We keep hoping, even against hope, that those things we so desperately need - love, attention, caring, whatever...

Happy 2013 everyone! So the world did not come to an end [although apparently there is still a chance for the apocalypse], and now a whole year of possibilities stretches before us, blank as an unpainted canvas. It feels like a new beginning, even though the whole construct of time is just that - a construct. Minutes, hours, days, years ...

A somewhat unexpected and unconventional Christmas story has captivated the minds and hearts of the Icelanders this year. Just over a week ago, a prisoner escaped from Litla-hraun, this country's only maximum-security prison [although the "maximum" part is rather open to interpretation, as the convict escaped by crawling under the fence]. Obviously a major search was launched, but after seven consecutive days of searching, there was still no sign of the escapee. The prisoner in question was in for attempted manslaughter, as he had tried to kill a woman. During the investigation, it transpired that he had got in touch with her and threatened to finish the job, so to speak, so obviously his escape was taken very seriously [a couple of...

Christmas. Season of cheer and goodwill. The time when we are all supposed to love one another, to cherish one another, and to make each other feel special. That message comes at us from all directions - movies, TV commercials, adverts, songs. Happy families, loving couples, smiling people ...

The other day I was listening to a podcast [again] - this time Outlook from the BBC. They were interviewing a woman whom they billed as "one of American's most respected mental health professionals" - a Dr. Marsha Linehan, who has created a treatment program for severely suicidal patients, and who just recently came out of the closet, so to speak, to reveal her own history of mental illness. It so happened that, just as I was listening to this, I was mentally composing the last post in my head, and so much of Dr. Linehan's story resonated with me. Thankfully, my battle with mental illness was quite not as severe as hers - I was not schizophrenic, I did not...

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