Flow

It has taken me a long time (and rather a lot of unfinished draft posts) to finally get this one written. I’ve promised it for a while and referenced it a few times already but today I can finally begin to explain the concept of FLOW and what it means to me.

To do so I’m going to share a couple of excerpts from my life; the first from a few years ago, the second this week just gone. I don’t always go into great details about my personal life but I hope that by sharing these stories, the reader might gain a more visceral understanding of what I’m getting at. Because at its heart Flow is a felt thing and I can only assume that other people feel it too.

Water in motion

Story 1

Living in London had grown difficult for us both. My partner and I were unhappy and desperately seeking the space and freedom of the great outdoors. In our spare time we’d begun reading books and articles about sacred landscapes, archaeology and the Land on which our ancestors lived. This inspired us to watch TV shows about similar topics, to expose ourselves to views and vistas of the rolling English countryside, bleak craggy moors and cities full of beautiful architecture. Suddenly – despite training and working in the creative industry for 5 years – we were feeling truly inspired for the first time.

We started talking about silly things first; going to live in a commune or backpacking around the World on all that money we didn’t have. Then one day I found a website about campervans and we spent evenings discussing the logistics of managing and affording a year long road trip around the British Isles, using blogs and advertising and bad poetry to pay our way.

A lot of these ideas felt mythic, dream-like, a little too big for reality. But at there heart was a seed of somthing that had settled in both of our imaginations and wouldn’t let us go. In fact it grew until our friends grew sick of hearing us talk about living on farms and in fields and returning to our roots and suddenly we were finding harder to find reasons to stay in London than reasons to go.

So we went. I can’t remember now what sparked the actual decision but we’d already been journeying down the path to our departure for some months. We quit our jobs, gave up our flat and spent the last of our savings on a tent, two big back packs and train tickets to get us to our first destination.

What followed was three months of seeing Britain on foot, by bus and by train, visiting so many sacred and beautiful places we couldn’t help but be overcome by a love for the Land itself. Three months of living in a tent, laughing and crying and sweating and soaking and always, always having the time of our lives.

By the time we returned home (to my parents until we’d re-established ourselves) we were already talking about moving to the Peak District. My partner knew he wanted to marry me and would ask me just a few months later. A few months we would be living in our current home and the first notions of Walk The Wheel were stirring in my mind.

We were already walking down the path towards the life we are living now. We were happy, blissful. We were living in Flow.

 

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Me, on the road with Flow

Story 2

After some rather exciting news in May, the Hubby and I have been coming to terms with the idea that our family is growing. News of a Baby has sparked an onslaught emotional upheavals as well as many more practical questions. Primarily: Do we have the space? and How will we afford all this?

Space has a large impact on my health and wellbeing; if I am living somewhere cluttered or crowded I quickly feel stifled and deflated. So I immediately decided that in order for us to survive the upheaval of a new life in our family and still maintain some sense of who I am and what I want to do I needed a new space to live in.

So we started looking at houses. Although the rental market is currently less than inspiring and we lack both the time and finance to really commit to a search, I have spent almost 5 months doggedly searching websites, booking viewings and complaining to anyone who would listen about how damn hard it was all proving! I have run the gauntlet of emotions; from hope to excitement, to disappointment to anger to fear till recently I reached a point of utter exhaustion and utter desperation.

The warning signs were clear: something wasn’t right about all this, it was too strenuous, too difficult. We were totally out of Flow. So iInstead of being consumed with thoughts of “We need a new house!” I focused on thoughts of “We need to trust the Flow. We will get what we need.”

And then something amazing happened.

We were offered a possibility by a loving family member; something that in 6-12 months might give us the chance of a space and future that feels more ours than any of the possibilites we’ve entertained so far.

And then just this weekend, after a few seemingly innocuous conversations with family and friends, both the Hubby and I reached a startling decision, pretty much silmulataneously:

What is we stay where we are? What if we trust that the house we are in and our desire to create a nurturing family home will blossom into something new and sustainable? What is we allow ourselves to stay safe financially and trust that we will find what we needed within the means we already have?

Suddenly, where we had been running out of possibilites for change, the ideas were flowing. With the ideas came energy and we spent the weekend organising, decluttering and making adjustements that could be the start of this space’s transformation for us; and with that energy we drew more energy from other sources; offers of help, items of furniture, ways and means to make this house viable began to pour in from all sides.

All we have done is put aside the wanting and the thinking and the deciding we knew what was best and instead trusted in what we have and our ability to make it better.

The result: We have come back into line with Flow.

 

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Back where we should be

 

So What Is Flow?

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Flow is the driving force that allows our needs to be met in the most necessary and wholesome way possible.

Flow is the path that life seeks to place you on so that you might make the most of your unique situation.

Flow is the ease with which something happens when it is right, when it is meant, when it is necessary.

I have never been one to believe in Fate. I don’t think there is a book anywhere with our life all spelled out inside it and we are not simply characters acting out a tale that already has a beginning, middle and end.

But as I’ve grown older I have found myself in more and more situations where happiness and contentment have been born of listening to life, trusting its messages and following the path down which it leads you. And I have often found this path the be the one of least resistance. Not because Flow means no work hard and no obstacles, but because Flow calls you to approach these things in a less resisting way.

To be in Flow, to truly feel its benifits, you need to flow yourself. When obstacles appear you don’t fight, but allow them to shape and inform your decisions, making them part and parcel of your experience. When the going is demanding you don’t grow desperate but flow steadily, doing what you can, trusting that it will all be enough to see you through.

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Chalice Well - the perfect place to find and honour Flow

As you flow within the Flow you feel content, satisfied and enthused; all of which serve to energise you futher, feed your creativity and keep your spirits high. In this state anything is possible and I believe that what will manifest is not what you think you want but what you truly need. By fulfilling our true needs we can live in a state of harmony with both our emotional selves and our practical reality.

What I know most surely is that Flow does not abide with logic or reason, it does not conform to a pattern of events and often it does not seem sensible or safe. But it feels good, it feels right, it feels possible and it will happen with surprising ease if you simply allow it.

In recent years Flow has become my guide to live by. I can sense when I am not flowing and when I am making choices that are purely logical and not in line with the Flow. Sometimes I am too overcome with other feeligns and stuff (often fear or self-doubt) to see this clearly or to do anything about it. If I’m lucky I will recognise opportunities to come back to a more flowing state and thus come to see the path of Flow more clearly.

 

I have certainly been lucky this past week or so.

And (as is rather appropriate for this Harvest time) I am incredibly, powerfuly and humbly grateful for that.



Photo Credits:
1) Huffingtonpost.com
2) Me
3) Jon Rouston
4) 3drecursions.com
5) Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Sharing

I just wanted to say thank you to all the folks who reached out to me after my last post.

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I am a rather private person by nature and also somewhat obsessed with appearing cool, calm and in control. So the thought of putting my worries, fears and inadequacies (as I see them) out into the public sphere feels frightening and somewhat crazy to my ‘logical’ head. However my heart knows that sharing is the only way we learn and grow and so I did, I shared and… voila! I have learned and I have grown.

Since then I have managed to pin down some rather illusive decisions and for the first time in a while I have what feels like a solid dream to be reaching for. Don’t worry, it’s still fuzzy enough around the edges to the Flow carry it and shape it as it will, but it is also clear enough that I can actually reach for it without feeling like I’m kidding myself.

 

I have been gifted with some rather precious gifts too, as a result of my sharing; gifts I never would have received if I hadn’t opened up and spoken my worries and woes:

 

* a very kind friend has given me her old laptop to use for work and stuff; this means I don’t have to wait 20 mins for a document to download (my current laptop is slooooooow!) and can actually get back to things like Twitter and blogging, safe in the knowledge that I won’t lose an hour to one tiny task. I can make progress!

* another friend offered me kind words when she shared some of her notions of me and (as they often do when coming from the outside) they lifted my spirit and gave me a confidence I struggle to find within myself.

* another friend shared her presence at an event I had organised that wasn’t as well attended as I’d have liked. She stayed with me through the allotted time and allowed me to test and grow and talk through my ideas without once pitying me or being embarrassed for me. A gift of strength, truly.

And so many people close to me, including the Hubby and family and friends, have gifted me things like hugs and smiles and moments of utter normality that made me laugh and helped me remember that no matter how big my struggles feel they are all just part of the Flow that is Life and will never be the be all and end all;  just a strip, a strand, a tributary that will eventually re-merge with the whole.

 

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Harakeke River Flow by Philly Hall

Sharing my fears has brought me to this place where – for the first time in a while – I feel like I might be in (some semblance) of control over where I’m going and what I’m creating. I have no doubt that Life has a curve ball lined up for me sometime soon but for now its enough to count my blessings and to revel in the magic of sharing; something which was at the foundation of this blog and all my personal work but has become a little lost under the pile of ‘other’ ideas and fancies.

 

It’s good to come back to what you know. And to be reminded that at our core, in our very deepest heart, we know exactly what we need to do. We just need to remember it…

 

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Or if in doubt, listen to Mr Spock 🙂



Photo credits:
1) Helga Wigandt
2) Philly Hall
3) pintrest

 

When April Feels Like Christmas

I’ve just made my third cup of tea of the day.

The kitchen is in a state of organised disarray.
There’s dishes to be washed and put away and there’s not a lot of surface space left to actually make tea in the first place, but I managed.

It’s sunny outside.

Lots of cloud but no sign of snow; just a wind as brisk as the Arctic (especially at the top of rather tall Peaks) that makes you all the more grateful for the totally-seasonally-appropriate weather today.

The shadows are lengthening across the laminate floor and the light brushing our living room ceiling is golden and warm.

It makes the tea, the sofa and my mood in general as soft and sweet as maple syrup (which incidentally I had on my breakfast this morning).

 

It’s a Bank Holiday Weekend here in England and for the first time in a long time I’m not working during it.

A long time ago Bank Holidays and weekends would not be spent at work; they were enforced periods of time spent with family and friends, in the house or out and about, depending on your circumstance. The idea of going to work on these public holidays was (mostly) unheard of.

When I was younger, Bank Holidays were starting to be used by shops and pubs and public services as extra working days; which suited the people not working as it meant more leisure services were available for use. For the employees they were something of a bonus because working a Bank Holiday meant ‘Double time’; so, yes, you’d spend the day at work, away from family and friends (which lets be honest is sometimes preferable!) but your wage packet would be that much heavier. Okay then. Tit for tat.

Nowadays that incentive has been mostly taken away. Most places (even offices and businesses) are open all day, every day and employers no longer have the funds or the desire to reward their staff for missing out on valuable rest time. ‘Double time’ became ‘Time and a half’ became ‘a day in lieu’. Today, most people are lucky to receive even that for working a Bank Holiday weekend.

 

For my entire working life (until now) I have worked for companies who have expected me to work weekends, evenings and Bank Holidays as par for the course. No incentives (financial or otherwise) and no chance to decline them. No chance to put your family and leisure time first. I didn’t realise how much I missed having free weekends and Bank Hols until today, until right now even; sitting here, drinking tea on the sunny sofa and practically purring under my breath with peace and satisfaction.

It’s like Christmas come early.*

 

I spent yesterday evening in front of a blazing fire, eating good food, drinking the health of those I love and gazing at the beauty of the stars. 

Today I went walking up two of the three Peaks (Bleaklow and Higher Shelf Stones if you’e wondering) and caught my breath at the beauty and majesty of this Land that is my home.

I came home and cooked another meal for my Husband and friends, which we ate with gusto and polished off with thickly buttered bread and wedges of intriguing and exciting cheese (beer cheese, people, beer cheese!).

And now (as I’ve said) I am on the sofa; sated, softened and full.
The boys are playing a board game and we women are reclining in mutual silence.

The air is warm and easy, we are comfortably bubbled in joy.

And the kitchen is clean enough and the kettle is full and the cheeses have been gathered and wrapped in cling film in a way that only my mother could have done, surely.

And work and wages and time and incentives are all a million miles away.

 

I am more blessed than I know.

 

Bank Holiday Greetings everyone!

 

 

 

* And there is likely some irony there, what with Christmas being the other big Christian holiday alongside Easter (which is also this weekend)… but I’m too blissed out to find it.

 

All Mother’s Day

Here in the UK is it Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day as it is more commonly known.

As the energy and impact of Woman has been on my mind and in my flow a lot recently I find myself feeling strongly connected to it this year; despite the fact that in most communities I know and certainly for most of my life it has always been one of the more commercialised ‘cards and flowers’ holidays as opposed to the more meaningful ‘heart and soul’ ones.

I think it comes from having a rough few days recently. Days where I’ve felt frustrated and overwhelmed and down right stubborn; every bit the teenage daughter I once was. In those moment I have wanted nothing more than to be taken care of, without question or judgement, to simply be held and petted and given things* without question of reason or return.

And who is known for giving in such an unconditional, all encompassing way?

Mothers.

Yearning for some mothering and opening my heart to the power and strength of Woman and the Divine Feminine has laid the perfect foundation for this day: a day to celebrate Woman’s (arguably) greatest achievement: being Mother.

 

Now before anyone starts feeling marginalised or left out, I don’t simply mean women who bear children. Heck, I don’t just mean women. We ALL have the energy of Woman within us, by which logic we also have the instincts of the Mother. For some people these instincts may be quite low down in their emotional hierarchy and there may be other qualities and abilities that take precedence. But many of us will have opportunities or outlets in life that require a mothering touch; I believe part of being a balanced human being demands this.

So perhaps you are a lady with lots of cats (crazy or otherwise).

Or perhaps you are a gentleman who loves nothing more than tending the garden, watching your seeds blossom and grow with great pride and also sadness, knowing they will leave you come Wintertime.

Perhaps you do have a brood of children running around your house, raising hell and loving you for letting them… but perhaps they were birthed into this World by another.

Or perhaps you have no desire to corral children at all, preferring to corral ideas and letting them chase around your brain before settling them onto paper in words that bring you joy.

Whatever form our offspring take, we are all Mothers.

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As a participant at our Honouring Woman event so eloquently put it, the World needs mothers and a mothering instinct to allow things to grow. That nurturing, nourishing energy is vital to the growth and survival of all things: plants, livestock, ideas. Without it the creative process would not exist and by default neither would anything else, neither would we. But we do exist and not just as the behest of women-kind; their are men out there nurturing and encouraging growth in everything from people to possibilities. We are all creative beings, we are all Mothers.

And regardless of our relationship with our own birth Mother we are also surrounded by Mothers whom we can celebrate on this day. Those who fill our lives with nourishment, protection and care.

That someone who was mother to a dream of yours, facilitating and allowing it to be birthed into the World, through their kindness and generosity.

That someone who birthed an event/idea/invention/book  into life that you simply can’t live without.

That someone who has held you in safe space – over a pint of beer or a cup of tea – to unpick and understand your darker times or your conflicting emotions.

That someone who has supported you from afar, always fighting your corner, always there to encourage and inspire.

All these someones – and so many more – bring the energy of Mother into our lives.

And lets not forget the greatest Mother of them all: Mother Earth herself. The Land that grows and nourishes all Life upon it, that watches us grow and thrive, then fade and die, without judgement or question. That offers us beauty and inspiration and encouragement at every turn, if we are only able to put aside the stubborn teenager and see it. On this day of honoring Mother’s it seems foolish not to take a moment to appreciate the ground you stand on, the sky above and all the intricacies in between and give thanks for that in whatever way you see fit.

 

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So today I will go to my own birth Mother’s house and spend time with her and my Grandmother and the photographs of the Mother’s in my family line. And I will also see my Father who encouraged me to grow so much in my younger years and my Hubby who always cares and protects even when he’s not aware of it. And I will remember friends and old acquaintances and teachers and colleagues and celebrate all of them.

 

Let’s subvert ‘card and flower’ extravaganza into an opportunity to remember the Mother’s in our lives with fondness and gratitude and to connect with them any way we can. Perhaps it is with cards and flowers, or it could be over a phone call, in a letter or over a cup of tea.

However you do it, honouring that energy in your life is vital, so that you too might reflect and cherish it in yourself.

 

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* By which I mean a cup of tea or a good meal, as opposed to flowers and cards and yotz.

 

Photo Credit:
1) doitchoco.wordpress.com
2) Karen Koski
3) Wentworth Garden Centre

In Flow

It’s been a little quiet around the blog recently; my apologies to all, especially those folk who have kindly chosen to follow me over recent days. Until recently I had been posting quite regularly (which surprised me too!) then life semed to stand up, shake itself about and go a bit crazy. But hey: it’s Spring time, it happens.

 

All that green and growing energy buzzing across the Land has given  things a real stir. Both the hubby and I have new jobs and we are both making tentative but determined steps towards spending our days doing things we love and believe in rather than things that simply make us money.

The whole work/life balance has always proved an interesting (and infuriating) concept for me. Being of the firm belief that we should only have to work for and at things we truly love and believe in makes stability in this society (financial and energetic) both difficult and dangerous.

One way I try to mitigate this is by trusting my instincts and trying to remain ‘in the flow’ as much as possible. I’m planning a longer, more elaborate post on what I mean by ‘flow’ for later; for now, know that it is simply my way of describing the path of least resistance. Far from being the ‘lazy’ route, this path is where you should be, where Life wants you to go and where your actions are in harmony with your Self, you needs and the needs of all other things.

A lofty ideal? Yes; but one grounded in my own experience and heart-felt truth. Truting the flow is what keeps me from going completley batty when I lose the thread of my own intentions and dreams.

 

This Spring the flow has really made itself felt in our lives. The repercussions of choices we have made in the past based on instinct and trust rather than logic and ‘sense’ have proved to be joyful and promising. I now have more time to spend on creating work of my own devising, walking the Wheel with more determination and sharing it with others (including here in the blogosphere!). I have been able to attend classes and workshops that inspire me, meeting inspirational people along the way. And when I am earning money I am doing so in an environment that promotes the things I believe strongly in: community, sustainability and good health.

I am immeasurably grateful for all these changes taking place in both myself and the hubby’s lives but they do come with provisos. The house is currently in disaray as we both adjust to new schedules and I find it almost impossible to work in a cluttered space. There are also new ideas and opportunities popping up all over the place provoking excitement but also nerves, anxiety and no small amount of administration! So things may be a little shaky around here for a few weeks yet, with posts not being as regular or as well planned as I might like. That said I learned right back at the beginning of this blog that sometimes a little wildness can make for an interesting read. 

I will however do my very best to get back on top of things as soon as possible, to keep offering ideas and insights into how the Wheel is turning for me and how it might be turning for you, wherever you are in the World.

 

So a big warm welcome to all newcomers to the blog and a hearty hail and thanks to those sticking with me. You are all part of the flow that I am following as diligently as I can and I look forward to seeing where you and it are taking me.

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Shelf Brook
Image from Wikipedia

Times and Trials

It’s been longer than expected since my last post. Despite a lot happening lately and a Drafts folder that is comfortable full I still couldn’t find a time or place or way to put anything into words. Here’s what’s happened since we last spoke:

 

Walk the Wheel’s two Woman events happened on Saturday. They were a success – I think – certainly an enjoyable (if exhausting!) experience with wonderful support from our regulars and some new faces too. Money was raised for an excellent cause and I took another step on my path of creating and facilitating and offering all that to the World. There was laughter and deep thought, careful silence and joyful chatter, and an abundance of food for feasting that came from the generosity of the attendees and for which I am hugely grateful. A full write-up will follow in the coming weeks.

If nothing else, our Woman events demonstrated a coming together of community: the creation of a safe and sociable space with a sacred and specific focus. A lovely balance and an inspiration for the future 🙂 A future which, right now, is feeling a little more real, a little more possible.

 

My nose has proved its mettle as my seasonal indicator, for Spring has arrived here in the Peaks. Snowdrops are fading, giving way to the bright beauty of crocuses and the tips of tentative daffodils. The air is warm, the Sun is bright and the sky is the brilliant blue of imagination. Time feels more fluid, flowing out ahead but also circling and spiraling around us, in the moment. The World is offering itself up to be enjoyed and now the events are finished I feel I can give it the time it deserves to be thoroughly appreciated.

The earth is softening and so are my Winter defenses. I am opening slowly, with the still-cautious daffodils, to the notion of growth and change and happenings ahead. I might even say I’m a little excited…

For more on the approaching Spring look out for our next event announcement in a few days!

 

I am also awash with relief. Standing at the end of a somewhat traumatic few days following a late night hospital visit, I feel like I’ve faced the Minotaur and found my way out of the labyrinth with my limbs – miraculously – in tact. There were long hours and even longer minutes at the end of last week where I wasn’t sure that would happen. I was convinced I’d lost an arm or at the very least a finger or thumb* and that without them everything would simply slip out of my grasp.

But I made it through in one piece and in the clear light of hindsight I can appreciate that I have actually gained much from that long night and the even longer days of worry that followed. I am full of gratitude and humble joy that myself and my loved ones are healthy and here. That I can revel in the pleasure of a night on the sofa, leaning against his arm and letting my heart slow till I’m dozing and not worry that when I wake up he won’t be there.

I am blessed to be alive and to share that life with people who love me and who allow me to love them too.

Knowing that makes the labyrinth worth facing every now and again.

 

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks but one that’s ended with sunshine and smiles so definitely no complaints here. The excitement isn’t over; this week I have a day out with my sister, the hubby is having his wisdom teeth removed and I finish my current job on Friday! All that, topped off with a weekend in Matlock meeting and working with Glennie Kindred and Annie Keeling on creating ceremony.

 

Overwhelmed? A little. Excited? Definitely!

 

( *Not literal limbs folks, metaphorical ones! )

Hands

My hands have always been a good indicator of my general well being. When I’m tired or low on energy they tend to dry out, the cuticles fray and even the bones start to ache a little. This could be genetic (arthritis is rife in my family) or it could simply be because my hands also act as a barometer for my mood.

When I am tense, my hands curl into fists, becoming solid lumps that hang from the end of my arms, weighing me down, unnoticed for hours with the joints often creaking in protest.

When I am anxious or worried they curl and uncurl, slowly, the fingers rubbing and writhing like restless serpents or affectionate cats. If I become nervous, or skirt the border of panic then those cats grow teeth which they turn on my poor nails and cuticles.

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Sometimes my hands can tell you my mood better than I can.

Years ago, at University, I would pick and peel my fingernails and tips till they were raw and bloody. I would wear plasters for weeks to cover the damage or eventually as a precautionary measure if I knew that something stressful was coming up; those plasters were shields not against germs but against my own anxiety.

Thankfully I kicked that habit a while ago and it’s been a long time since my fingertips have been stained red. But they are still the part of me that suffers first and most when I’m feeling in any way threatened or under pressure.

My hands also reflect the good times in my life. I gesture frantically when I’m talking about things that make me passionate, so to see my hands in motion, fluid and frantic in front of me, is a sign that I am engaged and enthused by life in that moment.

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Hands as a symbol of commitment. Photo by Alice Roskams

My nails have never been as healthy and strong as they were in the weeks around my wedding and on the day we were married I bound my hand to my husband’s as a promise and a commitment. Now my hands are dressed with the symbols of that commitment (my wedding and engagement rings) and if you ever see me with nail polish on then I must be up to something exciting because, dammit, I’m too lazy to wear it otherwise!

For years I have hidden these hands or tried to forgot about them. They were not a part of me I particularly liked or appreciated because they have always appeared older than I actually am. The skin was never clear and smooth, the fingers not tapered or graceful. There is age in these hands, a feeling of time that I can not escape. Sometimes I think I have ‘Old Hands’ instead of (or as well as?) an ‘Old Soul’.

I inherited these hands from my mother and my maternal grandmother. I see both of them clearly in the shortness of the bones, the wrinkles in the skin and the knuckles that are freckle-covered and carry an unexpected strength within them. My hands are not delicate or graceful, never have been; they are working hands and they serve to remind me that life is often a struggle but that I have the means to survive it all here, waiting, at the end of my (conversely) thin wrists.

I am tied to history by these hands, family history, the good and the bad. I see the skin crack and dry and I fear that I will live out old patterns, suffer the same problems, fulfill unwanted fates. I worry that these hands are signs of all I cannot escape. But then I remember how soft my Grandmother’s hands felt when I was a child and how pretty my nails looked on my wedding day and I realise that these hands do not bind me to anything (except my husband, by choice and choice alone). They offer change and a means to create that is shaped by the strength and determination of my ancestors, but that reveals itself in swirling gestures and shapes as intricate and unique as I am.

 

“If you ever need a helping hand you’ll find one at the end of your arm.”
Yiddish Proverb

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The hands in question. Photo by Jon Rouston

Which parts of yourself speak loudest to you? Do you have features that connect you to your family or ancestors?

Beginning

Here I am, fingers flexed, running ever so slightly late…

I had planned to start this blog on Dec 1st 2013; beginning a new project at the beginning of a new month and on the cusp of a new year. The idea felt all crisp and orderly – starkly beautiful in my mind – and I no doubt hoped that such stark beauty would invest itself into this whole blogging experience as a result.

Suffice to say things have not gone quite to plan.

You see, my parents visited this weekend and there was no time to fit words and wonderings and sensibility into the carnival that is their presence. They fill my house relentlessly with laughter and sarcasm and sharp Northern tongues and it is a real challenge to keep all the balls flying and my feet on the ground. It is so, so easy to drift off into that lovely holiday-space that they bring with them, to let go of all my usual responsibilities and simply LIVE.

Today is December 2nd, 2013. The blog is late and my mind is running low on starkly beautiful imagery.

All I can think about is a necklace, all tangled in a junk shop box, that takes a few patient moments of mother/daughter weaving/unweaving to reveal it as something bright and colourful and beautiful in its gaudiness. About how it feels warm and weightless around my neck.

I can taste a cider, sweet fuzz on my tongue that is supposed to be lemonade but isn’t, courtesy of my Husband’s rather glassy eyes and irrepressible smile.

I hear my Mum laughing as we decorate the table for Sunday lunch with Christmas decorations and crackers and my Dad’s boyish glee when he realises he can colour in the pictures on the paper tablecloth and does so, forgoing seconds to keep his penmanship perfect.

I hear her early-morning cough and the hiss-fizz of my his infernal e-cigarette.

And there’s a pull in my cheeks from smiling too much (or not enough).

It always amazes me how tightly I’ve been wound and how little it takes for them to unwind me. And I’m always shocked by the energy I expend in that unwinding; I become a frazzled, giggling mess of flyaway curls, dropped ‘t’s and endless smiles that I just can’t shake, all crackling with laughter and joy but inevitably needing my bed by 9pm.

I spend the whole weekend feeling like my heart will simply explode in my chest, too full of gratitude and pleasure and joy for one person to manage. Or like I’m carrying an armed-explosive under my coat and having tea with the Johnny Depp at the same time: fraught with panic and exhaustion but never, ever wanting the moment to end.

But it does.

They went home yesterday. Now I find myself drained and dizzy and perfectly at peace with myself and my lot in life (which, let’s be honest, doesn’t happen to anyone very often) and I’m savouring it. It is creeping up on me though, the return to reality. I am slowly rewinding myself into a fully functioning adult who enacts her own needs and desires and responsibilities with crisp efficiency and dreams of stark beauty and a blog that runs in precise calendar months.

But for now I’m here, running a little bit late, curls still flying and trying to punch out something wise and wistful with fingers that still remember being gripped around greasy pizza at 1am Saturday morning.

And I’m beginning to think that cracked, carnival madness might make for more interesting reading (and writing) than stark beauty after all…

What do you think?

Copyright

All written materials and images, unless otherwise stated, are property of Kelly Tomlin 2016.

Further reading

We gather together to Walk the Wheel; to share with one another and be inspired.