Manual Everybodys Got An ITCH (What lies beneath the surface Book 1)

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The fact that so many people love their religions as much as, or more than, anything else in their lives is a weighty fact indeed.

I am inclined to think that nothing could matter more than what people love. At any rate, I can think of no value that I would place higher. I would not want to live in a world without love. Would a world with peace, but without love, be a better world? Not if the peace was achieved by drugging the love and hate out of us, or by suppression. Would a world with justice and freedom, but without love, be a better world? Not if it was achieved by somehow turning us all into loveless law-abiders with none of the yearnings or envies or hatreds that are wellsprings of injustice and subjugation.

It is hard to consider such hypotheticals, and I doubt if we should trust our first intuitions about them, but, for what it is worth, I surmise that we almost all want a world in which love, justice, freedom, and peace are all present, as much as possible, but if we had to give up one of these, it wouldn't — and shouldn't — be love. But, sad to say, even if it is true that nothing could matter more than love, it wouldn't follow from this that we don't have reason to question the things that we, and others, love.

Love is blind, as they say, and because love is blind, it often leads to tragedy: Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: There's nothing you can do that can't be done Nothing you can sing that can't be sung Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game It's easy.

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We all been playing those mind games forever Some kinda druid dudes lifting the veil. Doing the mind guerrilla, Some call it magic — the search for the grail. Love is the answer and you know that for sure. Love is a flower, you got to let it — you got to let it grow.

'I have three seconds before she draws blood': life with extreme eczema

We have come by curious ways To the Light that holds the days; We have sought in haunts of fear For that all-enfolding sphere: Deep in every heart it lies With its untranscended skies; For what heaven should bend above Hearts that own the heaven of love? If you believe in peace , act peacefully; if you believe in love, acting lovingly; if you believe every which way, then act every which way, that's perfectly valid — but don't go out trying to sell your beliefs to the system.

You end up contradicting what you profess to believe in, and you set a bum example. If you want to change the world , change yourself. There are three lessons I would write, — Three words — as with a burning pen, In tracings of eternal light Upon the hearts of men. Though clouds environ now, And gladness hides her face in scorn, Put thou the shadow from thy brow, — No night but hath its morn. Where'er thy bark is driven, — The calm's disport, the tempest's mirth, — Know this: God rules the hosts of heaven, The habitants of earth.

Not love alone for one, But men, as man, thy brothers call; And scatter, like the circling sun, Thy charities on all. Thus grave these lessons on thy soul, — Hope, Faith, and Love, — and thou shalt find Strength when life's surges rudest roll, Light when thou else wert blind. Far above the golden clouds, the darkness vibrates. The earth is blue. And everything about it is a love song. Before our lives divide for ever, While time is with us and hands are free , Time, swift to fasten and swift to sever Hand from hand, as we stand by the sea I will say no word that a man might say Whose whole life's love goes down in a day; For this could never have been; and never, Though the gods and the years relent, shall be.

Is it worth a tear, is it worth an hour, To think of things that are well outworn? Of fruitless husk and fugitive flower, The dream foregone and the deed forborne? Though joy be done with and grief be vain, Time shall not sever us wholly in twain; Earth is not spoilt for a single shower; But the rain has ruined the ungrown corn. I had grown pure as the dawn and the dew, You had grown strong as the sun or the sea. But none shall triumph a whole life through: For death is one, and the fates are three.

At the door of life, by the gate of breath, There are worse things waiting for men than death; Death could not sever my soul and you, As these have severed your soul from me. You have chosen and clung to the chance they sent you, Life sweet as perfume and pure as prayer. But will it not one day in heaven repent you?

Will they solace you wholly, the days that were? Will you lift up your eyes between sadness and bliss, Meet mine, and see where the great love is, And tremble and turn and be changed? Content you; The gate is strait; I shall not be there.

The pulse of war and passion of wonder, The heavens that murmur, the sounds that shine, The stars that sing and the loves that thunder, The music burning at heart like wine, An armed archangel whose hands raise up All senses mixed in the spirit's cup Till flesh and spirit are molten in sunder — These things are over, and no more mine.

These were a part of the playing I heard Once, ere my love and my heart were at strife; Love that sings and hath wings as a bird, Balm of the wound and heft of the knife. Fairer than earth is the sea, and sleep Than overwatching of eyes that weep, Now time has done with his one sweet word, The wine and leaven of lovely life. Odd, I thought, then tossed the sleepsuit aside and forgot all about it. The cuffs of jackets seemed too harsh for the petal delicacy of her; the circle backs of poppers and the undersides of zips were a metallic outrage, printing her with red, raw lesions.

Her skin never looked like skin should. It was patchy, hot, sand-dry, crepey.

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By the time she was a month old, she was encased in the livid, raw bodycast of eczema. Her skin split open if she flexed her wrist, her arm, her leg. Please, I was silently willing them, find something nice to say: When I think back to those days, I am overcome by an urge to go up to the person I was then, put a hand on her shoulder and say: At that time, you see, I still thought it was something that could be sorted out.

It was only eczema, right? How bad could it be? Eczema affects one in five children in the UK and one in 12 adults. Its causes are mostly genetic, but environment plays a large part. Most people think of eczema as dry skin, but chronic eczema is scalding, fiery, scarlet in hue. That even though her skin seemed as bad as it could possibly be, it would get an awful lot worse. That it indicated more serious health problems. That eczema, at its most severe, can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

That her skin would dictate our lives, our home, our plans, our holidays, her schooling. That it would torture her every minute of every day, and that it would absorb my time, attention, concentration, patience, stamina and a not inconsiderable amount of money.

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Some weeks, it seems to be on the wane; others, it will colonise and rampage over her. The discomfort of it is a constant presence, like tinnitus or background music. All those cyclical daily tasks that go along with small children become intensely problematic, often impossible. I might be feeding the baby or cooking dinner or helping with homework, and I will catch sight of Astrid starting to scratch. Here, I must move fast: I have three, maybe four seconds before she draws blood, five or six seconds before she creates a wound that may take weeks to heal or, worse, become septic.

Two minutes later, repeat.

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And repeat, and repeat, until I, my child, the floors, the furniture, my baby, the table, all my clothes and hair are sticky with lotion. And still the itch will not stop. More than anything, what I want for Astrid — for all my children — is for her to be herself, for her to live her life as it was meant to be. How is she to engage with the world if the world makes her ill? I want a reason. I want an explanation. I want a way out. I am awake, reading and researching, until the household rises for the next day. I come down to breakfast armed with a list. On the basis of an article by an American scientist, I decide to banish all detergents from the house, even plant-based ones.

According to him, instances of atopic illnesses such as eczema and asthma rose sharply after the second world war, which is also when detergents were introduced as a household cleansing agent. Every single one, that very day, is removed from the house. We are, I tell my baffled family, going to use only natural soap products — for everything, from laundry to hair. It is a long shot, I know, but we have to try it.

At this point, I am the definition of desperate. I would hang upside down from a tree in the moonlight, chanting spells, if there was even the slightest chance it might work.

I also go through the fine print of what we have been using on her up to now — the battery of NHS-prescribed products — and what I discover makes me so furious, I hurl most of them across the room. Several standard products for eczema contain ingredients that are known skin irritants. Sodium lauryl sulphate, isopropyl myristate, sorbitan laurate, triethanolamine, phenoxyethanol: A few days later, a friend points to the algae-coloured shape in the kitchen sink. Strange, lumpen parcels begin to appear at the door: I have to find an alternative to these conventional moisturisers.

I am a woman possessed. Never underestimate a mother on the warpath. In the evenings, I melt and mix and stir.