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

 

Gifts

I set myself a challenge over Yuletide just gone; to buy all my gifts from local/handmade/independent suppliers. I did surprisingly well and not only managed to hunt down some wonderful gifts but found the whole experience more pleasurable. I managed to avoid the usual cloud of guilt and frustration that comes when I spend money because I knew that my hard-won pennies were going to other hardworking creatives and not some giant corporation that is anathema to creativity, sustainability and a whole host of other things that are good in this World*!

In fact, I enjoyed buying my Yuletide gifts so much this year that it has gone on to affect my approach gift buying and shopping in general.

Etsy has become my new go-to-online-store, instead of Amazon. I’m getting braver when going into local independent shops and trying not to wimp out when there’s no-one else in there; instead taking the plunge, stepping through the ringing of the doorbell and having a root around, even indulging in conversations with the shopkeepers. Despite the residual nerves and the ‘I feel obliged to buy something because you’ve looked at me’ impulse, I now leave these stores with a genuine smile if not an actual purchase.

I am truly grateful for this new experience. I have a new appreciation for the skills and talents made avaliable to us through other people and also for  my ability to partake of them. My finances may not be 100% sturdy but I do occasionally have a few pounds to spare. Spending them well is a real treat.

 

I’ve been blessed with two packages in the post recently; one I purchased and one I won. Both came from makers who I came across through the 2014 Grow Your Blog Party and neither has asked me to promote them but both truly deserve it.

I won a giveaway during the party from Hettienne at Her Grace. Her beautiful package arrived yesterday,  smelling of incense and divinity and filled with two beautiful organza bags.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

In the first was some blessed salts and dried rose petals ‘that were touched to the St Teresa roses’.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

In the second, larger bag was more petals and salts and a carefully wrapped collection of Mary Blessing Seeds.These are intended to be buried in the earth full of prayers, wishes and good intentions.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

A truly wonderful gift that I feel blessed to have received. I am looking forward to using them. Thank you Hettienne!

My second package came from Shroo at Shroo’s World. I loved her blog when I first came across it and quickly signed up. This led me to her Etsy store where I saw this wonderful notebook…

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

I am undertaking a new adventure this weekend, going away to learn about ceremony and working as a celebrant and I needed a notebook to journal the process and record my experiences. I had thought to use something quite plain and simple, then I saw this and knew it was the one.

When it arrived it was beautifully wrapped in plenty of padding, as well as the cheerful pink and yellow papers you can see. I could immediately sense the care and concern that had gone into preparing and sending this item; it felt like Shroo was there, giving my hand a squeeze saying ‘Thank you’ and ‘Your Welcome’ and ‘Enjoy’.

After carefully unwrapping I not only found my beautiful notebook safe inside but also a small extra notelet book and some exciting bits and pieces that I can use in my journalling. And finally a card sending me wishes from Shroo herself.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

The care and attention to detail that obviously went into both the product and the delivery  are staggering and I am truly grateful to Shroo for her talent and my purchase. She helped me realise that shopping – even online shopping! – can still involve connection, sharing and care.

 

If you would like to see more items of loveliness please do check out both seller’s blogs and stores. Not only will you benifit from beautiful items but also an interaction that overshadows any lingering feelings of ‘shopper’s guilt’. You never know, it might change your shopping experience for good…

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Hettienne @ Devata

&

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Rachael Farmer @ World of Shroo

 

 

( * I’m the first to admit I’m being a little hypocritical; I do most of my food shopping in a supermarket and am not stalwart enough to go without milk or eggs if the only place open is a Tesco Express. That’s another swathe of guilt I tend to carry round with me and the topic of another post. )

 

Wonder of Woman

Over the past few weeks I have been working a lot with the energy of Woman.

Woman in myself, in other women, in words and art and Woman in spirit. It is a topic that you find quite readily in pagan/New Age circles (particularly those with a Goddess leaning) but I have never felt drawn or impelled to explore it with any great vigor until recently. Now I have, it is – like a fresh Spring bulb awakening from its Winter slumber – bursting out all over the place!

What I find most pleasing is that the work I’m doing, the things I’m reading, the ideas I’m chewing over don’t come with the tang of sour grapes. I haven’t yet been slapped in the face by any angry-female slogans or any unbalanced, man-hating edicts. In fact all that I have come across has been suffused with an open and encompassing love for women and for all living things; the kind of love that represents the creative, protective and emotive spirit of Woman most effectively.

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This is making my preparations for WtW’s upcoming Women’s Events a real joy to undertake. I don’t just feel like I’m researching for the people who will attend, I am exploring my self in the process. I am hopeful that this will make the events themselves richer and more powerful… that of course remains to be seen!

Woman isn’t just infiltrating my reading list either. I am currently half way through the ‘Red Tent In Every Neighbourhood’ World Summit, which gifts me (and all those taking part) with a free video every day from an inspiring woman, sharing her insights and ideas about Woman and the Red Tent Vision (more on that in a later post). This has already set a some new idea seeds to germinate in my mind, as well as leading me to a wealth of inspiring women who offer a variety of insights and services.

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Then on Saturday evening I took part in Miranda Gray’s Worldwide Womb Blessing. This was a new experience for me and I can honestly say I didn’t know what to expect; I’d never taken part in worldwide meditation before or a long-distance attunement. I hoped for an enjoyable meditative experience and little more; what I got far surpassed that!

The meditation was simple and effective, grounding me firmly in the energy of the Earth Mother; but what surprised me most was the power and energy that fizzed and fluttered and filled my womb area. I have always been confident with visualisation but this really took me on a visceral level. By the end I felt a deeper connection between my womb and heart and with my own Woman self. Perhaps being immersed in women’s wisdom for some weeks helped me experience it more fully? Who knows! Suffice to say I would heartily recommend my women friends sign up for the future blessings and to work with their own Womb/Woman energy in whatever way suits them. I feel stronger, more creative and somehow more loved for it.

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The final piece to the Woman puzzle that my life has become this month is one of luck and loveliness. After taking part in Grow Your Blog 2014 I won a giveaway over at Her Grace; a beautiful blog on the Divine Feminine by Hettienne. The gift is a selection of Mother Mary Blessing Seeds, designed to “Bless the earth…each of these seeds are imprinted with the divine image of Divine Mary and thus contains Her sacred energy.” I am so looking forward to receiving them; they really feel like the perfect accompaniment to this month of working with Woman.

 

What does Woman mean to you?
Do you have a personal way of connecting with the energy of Woman?

 

Picture Credits:
1) Janie Rose at beeswaxandbroomsticks.com
2) themoonandthewomb.wordpress.com
3) ravenessences.com

 

Smile

When were you last gifted with a smile?

Not a white-washed, Colgate-bright celebrity smile that screams at you from the cover of glossy magazines and sets your teeth on edge, but a genuine smile given person to person, in real time.

Sitting behind the plexiglass window at my day-job I look out at the customers as they file past me and try to smile as much as I can. Adults usually return the smile in a blank, soul-less kind of way that means they have a million other things on their mind right now and yes, they might be speaking to you but they don’t really see you. To be honest I probably give out that smile too; on a busy day when hundreds of people walk past me, shucking their clothes in the foyer to get themselves in the pool even quicker, I frankly don’t have the time or patience to meet everyone’s eye.

Springs Reception R4.3WS(credit)

But it’s different with the kids.

My desk sits quite low and puts me on a level with the children who come along to the pool; usually with their parents, sometimes (if they’re older) alone. It is a nice place to be because, when they’re not screaming down the customer microphone and deafening me with feedback, they look at and really see me.

I know this because as they stare through the glass, their expression is often one of intense concentration; the young mind processing who or what they are seeing and whether it is interesting or funny or a threat. I always try to smile at these kids – yes, because its my job – but also because I remember how overwhelming the world of Grown Ups can be at a young age.

Some of them see my smile and turn away; that familiar gesture on a stranger’s face is just too much to bear. They seek comfort in their Mum’s arms or behind Dad’s leg. Then, as they walk away, they often look back to see if my smile is still there. It is and I like to think that that constancy gives them hope that the Big Wide World might not be such a scary place.

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Others take my smile as a cue to strike up a conversation; mainly one-sided as they regale me with tales of who they are with, why they are here and what they had for lunch that day. I know I don’t have to use words to take part in this interaction, just keep smiling and maybe make the occasional nod or wide-eyes to give the kid confidence in their own voice, their own words. My smile is to tell them that they matter, that someone is hearing them speak and knows the things they simply had to say.

 

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Then there are my favourite kids: the ones who are somewhere in between the chronically shy and the helplessly confident, the kids who smile back. They don’t speak and their eyes are usually quite intense; checking me out, checking the smile I’m offering is real. When they realise that it is their gaze opens up, their eyes shine and their mouth curves into a smile: unique, utterly theirs and so genuine, loving and heartful that for a brief second I forget I am looking at a child. They are simply human, another being, another soul travelling through this life and connecting with me for a brief, beautiful instant.

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I hope that somewhere, in thoughts that they may not have fully developed yet, they recognise that moment too. That gradually they come to know the power of a smile and sharing of a moment; the need to truly be seen by another person. It happens so rarely in our super-fast, self-service society that those moments are a precious gift to be treasured.

And if we received this gift more often perhaps there’d be less need for plexiglass windows and perhaps we’d all wear a real smile more often.

Who has lifted your heart with a smile recently?

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The greatest gift of all…

Tomorrow is the Solstice and I find myself sitting here shaking my head, utterly disbelieving that we’ve reached Midwinter already. The last month has flown by and suddenly I’m faced with a solid fortnight of visits and celebrations, people and presents that I have (in all honesty) been somewhat dreading. Not because of the people or the absolute joy and blessing it is to spend time with those I love, but for all the extra reasons to expend energy I don’t have and the struggle to somehow maintain a sense of Spirit amidst all the tinsel and turkey and talk.

It can be hard at the best of times to find opportunities for quiet reflection and deep thought. When playing host to friends or being a house-guest for others it becomes almost impossible. So I find myself staring through the darkness towards Solstice day and worrying that despite all my talk of taking notice and walking the Wheel I might not be able to fully appreciate this still moment in the year.

Now, starting the new year feeling disappointed in myself does not sound particularly appealing. But nor does the prospect of barreling into 2014 without taking some time to assimilate and rest; I can’t fully explain why but it feels important to do so, this year more than in years passed.

It has been a year of growth and change of new titles and new connections that all need some settling. And as I said before my energy levels are depleted and need a chance to refresh. More than that though it feels like I need some time in a dark and undetermined space to dream the dreams that will somehow shape my upcoming year. I feel a little lost at the moment; but not the fun kind of lost where you have a compass and daylight and a sense of adventure. More that heavy, sinking feeling when the compass is broken and you are surrounded by mist, unsure whether your next step will touch land at all.

I am desperate for some dream time and some dream food to feed it. I want to let my mind wander and my heart sing, to be soft and silent and still…

Instead – in the coming days -I will become some desperate, demented diva who skirts the edge of over-controlled madness and a rather messy nervous breakdown. She’s the one who writes lists, makes schedules and loses sleep over room plans. She so desperately wants to ensure that everyone has a great time, is happy and well fed and has all their needs met that she blocks out her own. An impossible task you might say, but this crazy lady doesn’t let such paltry things as possibility hold her back. She’ll dance in circles and jump through hoops and try her hardest (and then some) to be everything everyone wants or needs her to be.

But the Solstice is a time for the Self at its most stark, most bare. The land – if we dare to look – is revealed in its most basic forms: stone, wood, water, warmth and brutal cold. The trees silhouette against crisp winter skies and we breath air honed to a knife-edge and know that Death is clean and close; and that Life feels all the more vital and vibrant because of it.

In the face of such clarity we shouldn’t be spending energy on making mockeries of ourselves. That energy can be used to nurture the seed in our soul that carries our truest thoughts and deepest desires. In the winter darkness our simplest, most basic truths can be unearthed and the beauty of our unique self can be revealed if we let them. Right now we should be focusing on who we are regardless of the expectations, others’ or our own. Only then might we see where our dreams truly want to take us.

So perhaps this Solstice, instead of wishing for silence, stillness and solitude in my environment, I can cultivate them within me. I’ll carry them inside myself, to all my encounters and allow them to feed my soul with the energy of the season. And knowing that they are there, held safe within, I will wrap the seed of my Self in winter darkness and sit with it through a long night, trying to trust that even though my attention might not always be with it, that seed will will stir, it will absorb. Finally I will take a (fallen) leaf from the deciduous trees that stand so bare and so beautiful at this time of year and dare to expose my bare self to those around me. I’ll let them see the delicate connections, the startling similarities and the determined differences that make up my snowflake Self and allow them to meet me without the ditzy diva causing distractions.

Perhaps this is the best gift I could offer anyone this Solstice.

I only hope it is well received.

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This will likely be the last post of 2013, so to everyone who has read or followed this blog over the past month: Thank you! I hope you have a merry festive season and look forward to walking the Wheel with you in the New Year. 

Be blessed 🙂

UPCOMING POSTS IN 2014:

* Why I Walk The Wheel... – How following the Wheel of the Year has impacted on my life for the better

* How I Walk The Wheel – Looking at the core practices behind my Wheel walking

* Small StonesWriting Our Way Home is running a Mindful Writing Challenge throughout Jan 2014; see my input here

Copyright

All written materials and images, unless otherwise stated, are property of Kelly Tomlin 2016.
We gather together to Walk the Wheel; to share with one another and be inspired.