Bless you

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I want you to know that when I say “Bless you” I mean just that.

In those two words and in that precise moment I am wishing, hoping, praying and intending blessings upon you.

These might come from a deity you follow; a spirit you hold sacred or a being you hold dear.

They might be a moment in the future; of joy or pleasure or acceptance or understanding that you truly need.

They might be the gift of a smile, a hug, a kiss, an invitation; some kindness coming your way.

They might be a heart, a time, a space or a person that can hold and hear all you need to say and be… when you need to say and be it.

I want you to know, that when I say “Bless you” I am not being patronising.

I am not saying it because I can’t think of anything else to say.

I am not saying it because I secretly want you to shut up, get over it or change the subject.

I am not saying it because I feel helpless or powerless to aid you.

I am not saying it because it’s what you’re ‘supposed to’ say at a time like this.

In that moment, in those two words, I am actively offering you a gift:

the gift of my hope for you, for your life, for your situation.

I do not bless you for karma or to fulfil expectation.

I do not bless you to win points or to provoke reciprocation.

When I bless you I am doing so out of love,

Freely.

And that should not – and will not – ever be given lightly.

Keli, May 2014

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The Mindful Mornings I ran earlier this month really got me thinking about the words I use and things I say; particularly to people who don’t know me very well. I’m confident that those closest to me are able to read the intentions beneath my words, even when I’m not at my most articulate (which is rather a lot lately!), and I trust that this unspoken understanding will sometimes (not always) be enough to sustain their faith in me and in what I say.

However when I’m interacting with work colleagues,  acquaintances or new people I meet, I become very aware that they are not tuned in to this emotional undercurrent. Sometimes this is necessary – I don’t always want my heart exposed on my sleeve – but it can also make it difficult to foster a genuine sense of connection.

 One of my biggest bug bears in my early twenties was the “How are you?”/”Alright, how are you?” duologue, that seemed to preface every conversation I ever had, ever. It felt like wasted breath; asking another person how they are – right then, in that moment, how does it feel to be you? – without offering the right space or intention to hold a real, true answer. It also felt insulting, to both parties; a lazy, poorly considered façade of a real conversation.

So as I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to be better at using my words with intention and although I am still guilty of using flippant talk more than I would like, it is less now than ever before. I benefit from it greatly: it brings me alive in the moment and offers me an opportunity to check in with my own responses as much as the other person’s. My relationships have benefited from it too; I know more about the people I meet and like to hope that people feel held and heard when I’m speaking with them.

“Bless you” is a term I struggled against when I was a teen as it inspired all sorts of religious connotations that I wasn’t ready or willing to accept at the time. Now the concept of a blessing is much broader and more encompassing in my eyes; they are unique to every individual, they are the fulfilment of something we need either in that moment or in the grander scheme of things.

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Life itself is a blessing, all its component parts are blessings and being blessed is something we can all be, if we are mindful of what is offered to us.

Giving blessing is also something we can all do, by adopting a mindful presence and offering deep, clear, compassionate intention in everything we do.

So, blessed be.

(and I hope you are)

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Picture credits:
1) google.com
2) the pioneerwoman.com
3) imgion.com

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

 

Too Many Secrets

There’s a strange notion in our social consciousness that to make something happen or to make ‘magic’ you must keep your wish or will a secret.

You find it in our fairy tales and folk traditions, with heroes and villains often having to keep secrets that maintain their strength or magical ability. More recently it appears in many beginners guides to witchcraft or ‘practical magic’ (often of the neo-pagan kind). These books encourage clarity and determination in our intentions and desires and usually offer prettily worded scripts to help you in the early stages. This is good advice; of course your inner landscape needs to in line with your intent if you want to see something manifest, hence why we are told to ‘dream big dreams’ and ‘wish with all your heart’. Eventually though the books often urge you to work without words and to focus more strongly on internal/subconscious activity; this being the way to greater skill and thus success. But to focus exclusively on internal work disconnects us from the power and importance of our voice and our words in the outer World and the affect they have over on Self and on the reality we live in.

 

For a long time I clung to the notion that in order to successfully create anything I must keep it secret until it actually exists. As if, by putting my hopes and dreams into words, I risked their safety and eventual success. I grew up making many a silent wish upon a star and then, as a teenager, I began reading books – inspiring, important books – that broadened my mind and my possibilities but also reinforced this old idea; that my greatest strength would come from silent graft on the astral plane and not from sharing openly in the physical World. In fact I’m pretty sure I once read somewhere that sharing an idea or dream too early and to other  people actually disseminates the behind them energy likely causing it to fail.

Despite its good intentions this idea was holding me back and gradually eroding my trust in my own voice and in the listening ears and hearts of those around me. Somewhere deep inside an image was forming of a World that was out to destroy or steal my good ideas and my hard earned wishes and my only weapon against it was to turn inside and keep my words and wishes secret. Only then would I be empowered. Only then might I be able to make something a success. For a girl growing up (as so many do) with low self esteem and confidence issues this didn’t just seem logical, it felt right.

But of course it wasn’t, it was simply adding weight to an already debilitating struggle with social interaction and self image. By ’empowering’ my inner landscape I was losing faith in my ability to access and understand the World on the outside; something which I now count as one of my biggest sources of joy and inspiration. And my dreams and ideas weren’t making an awful lot of headway either because (as the ‘secret and safe’ idea fails to point out) the World they were made for didn’t know about them! Looking back into the (not too distant) past I almost mourn the lost chances and missed opportunities and advice that I didn’t access, because I never knew how to draw them to me.

 

I needed words. Real words. Spoken words. Words out loud. Words offered boldly to the Air with the same determination and trust that I held in my inner landscape. Because its all very well deciding to ‘do it alone’ with nothing but the power of your well-trained mind but the fact is that people aren’t mind readers and its people who will help you get to where you want to go.

To reach people you need to be with them, speak to them, offer them your words and ideas in neat little packages and let them play. I’m not saying you have to be a raging extrovert or an excellent conversationalist (I am neither of those), nor am I suggesting you give all your ideas away without some safety strings to tie them to you. But you do need to be able to speak about your dreams and wishes out loud if you want someone to help you achieve them.

In this World there is very little we can achieve on our own and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing (and goodness knows that’s a whole other strange social idea we could get into!). Last year I watched this amazing TED talk by Amanda Palmer called ‘The Art of Asking’ and it reminded me just that. It covers our difficulty as a species when asking for help and how we might benefit if we got better at sharing our words and sharing our loads; I’d urge you to give it a watch.

 

At the root of our ingrained need to keep our dreams a secret lies a common dragon: fear. We are afraid to lose what is ours, afraid to seem stupid if we do not achieve what we set out to and afraid to be judged on the things we want and the things we do. All these fears exist and are entirely valid experiences; I run through them all, regularly. But what I’m learning (slowly, carefully) is that the fear only exists because I let it, because I believe the old tale about the power of secrets. I believe that if I tell then the bad stuff will happen, why else have I been keeping secrets over every birthday cake I’ve ever had.

But what if I stop we believing that and instead take a chance on a different truth: Speaking dreams will make them come true.

I’ve already seen some evidence to support it.

I’m sitting at home, ploughing through Facebook, pondering on expanding events outside my local area. On a whim I send a message to a friend who lives in one of the areas I’m interested in. He immediately replies, we set up a meeting and after a nice chat over dinner he makes some connections and now I have a new venue to trial in the Summer.

*

It’s a quiet morning at work and the noise from the kids craft event upstairs is filtering down into the cafe.
A customer asks what’s going on and I tell her. “Do you do many things like that here?”
So I tell her; first about the current schedule and then, taking a deep breath I add on the two new ideas I’ve been toying with and considering sharing with my manager.
The woman’s face lights up when I mention one of them; her eyes are bright and her smile says ‘That sounds like my kinda thing’. As she leaves my belly is fluttering but my feet feel grounded and secure. I am joyful: she heard me and her smile has given me faith and confidence in these new possibilities. So tonight I’ll draft a schedule for my boss and see what happens…

 

Words are incredibly powerful things. They move us in ways we’d never expect; novels and poems are fine proof of that. Too often we forget the power they have on other people and even less often do we trust that power in the hands of another. But if we could find the strength to trust them, to awaken our voices and speak up and speak out then perhaps a few more dreams might start coming true.

 

 

Want It All

I’m trying really hard to come up with something meaningful and interesting for you to read.

The Wheel is turning wonderfully, the Land is greening all around us and the days are longer, sunnier and offering up more opportunities for both adventure and repose. Things are growing, gaining momentum and as the energy builds so does the excitement; as demonstrated by the almost endless birdsong that now wakes me in the morning.

I have any number of beauties I could describe to you here; to marvel at and count as blessings to be grateful for. In this bright Spring season I simply can not deny my good fortune… no matter how hard I try.

 

It is hard sometimes to be happy. To always see the beauty and the blessings in things. It seems to take an enormous amount of energy and attention and vulnerability. For the acknowledgement of one wonder leads irrevocably to another and another until suddenly you realise that you can never, will never, be able to know or appreciate or achieve all the wonders that are possible in this wonder-full World.

And there is a sadness in that.

A sadness we don’t talk about and are often encouraged to ignore. To bury deep and hide away or to gloss over with fake smiles and empty words.

Is it a sadness born of greed perhaps; a consumerist inability to settle, to always want more. I am living proof that it doesn’t have to be flash cars or fashionable clothes that you covet, in order to swim in that strange sea of desperation and endless desire. I long for sunsets and sea breezes, vast moorland vistas and the Spring breeze on my skin at all times. I constantly crave the deep connection to earth, sky and sea that I feel when I am in the midst of a long walk, a quiet meditation or a vibrant woodland. I want to feel that full, that aware, that whole all the time.

But I don’t. And there are times when I wonder whether it might not have been easier to never see the World through well-jaded eyes. To have avoided the Wheel and the wonders altogether and found my buzz in television or chocolate or meaningless sex instead; all things I can access with (relative) ease and at a moment’s notice.

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For it strikes without warning this unusual apathy, this longing for less and more simultaneously, and I’ll be honest I’ve yet to discover a reliable cure. It often feels a bit like a systems crash; too many programs loaded in at once (joy, love, gratitude, hope, dreaming) overwhelming the hardware and leaving me with a strange blankness in my head.

Because anything I do or say or think in those moments simply isn’t enough. Can’t be enough. Because it can’t be everything.

So here I am, trying to think of something to say to you.

 

Perhaps…

 

Perhaps the sadness isn’t really sadness at all: perhaps it is actually peace. A peace born of the acceptance of one’s place in the Web of all things. One tiny spark of life amongst so many others, that shines brightly in the light but is a truly cosmic beauty when viewed as part of the greater, grander whole. To be a part of it one can never step out of it, not even to see and marvel at the wonder of it all; so I will never truly experience it fully. Instead I remain steadfast and explore the beauties that are unique to me and try not to mourn those which are not. Perhaps I can appreciate those and trust that they are – in their own way – microcosms of the awesomeness that is everything.

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This awesomeness.

And though everything can not be mine to possess I can claim it as my heritage, my lineage, my reality. Things which will last far longer than the biggest chocolate bar and will bring more comfort than the most mind-blowing sex. And when I recall this, remember this and truly believe it then I perhaps I won’t need anything more than what I already have. For even in my blankest moments I’ll know I am whole, connected, part of It All.

And I can be at peace.

 

 

I tried really hard to think of something meaningful and important for you to read. Apparently I’ve ended up with something meaningful and important for me to read.

 

Thanks for sharing it.

 

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Photo credits:
1) spiritualjounreyguide.com
2) nationalgeographic.com
3) http://peoplesadvocacycouncil.wordpress.com

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

In The Air

The weather has been all over the place today, dashing from one type to the next, reminding itself of all the variations it can (and will have to) manage in the months ahead. There was warm sunshine brushing my skin in butter-yellow, followed by a sharp winter breeze dragging storm clouds in its wake. Their raindrop cargo fell in fast fits and sudden starts making the asphalt glisten in the returning sunshine. The glare was blinding and the grey sky smudged with the remnants of an almost rainbow.

I'd almost forgotten what a rainbow looked like.


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(credit)

As small as it was, that rainbow looked how the world smells right now: like life, like action, like…

Wet woodland and shivering green grass after a sudden sunshine-y shower.

My feet treading bare and brave on the green earth, hands pressed against 
bark that is mossy and damp as it crumbles beneath my fingers.

Days lounging on the hard ground, head pillowed on blankets or a human knee, discussing ritual and magic and why we're all here in the first place.

Standing in circle, seeing friends and fellows and fairy magic gathered all 
around us in certain celebration.

It smells of the tent and the sun-hot shadows it cast over us as we slept,
exhausted and exulted and Summer under our belts.

Of walking, of movement, of taking steps along a path that might
not be visible on the map but that stretches strong and sure on the map of my 
soul.

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Image by lord-hellbunny @ deviantart.com

When I first began walking the Wheel I would never have guessed that my nose would be the thing to tell me when the season had truly turned, but gradually I have come to trust my olfactory sense more than any other.

I tend not to expect any true changes in energy or experience until my nose tickles with the scent of the new season. Only then do I allow myself to start feeling the excitement and pleasure that comes from feeling the turn of this timeless cycle. And only then will I start to take steps into that new season; moving myself forward instead of just dreaming and planning for what might be.

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(credit)


Right now, the world smells of Spring and so many wonderful days and wonderful things I’ve experienced and found that I am bursting with anticipation for more.

But I won’t let its succulent scent weave a spell of forgetfulness over me. I want to live the Spring of here and now, appreciating it and enjoying it in this moment, not losing myself in scents of the future or snifters of the past.

Outside four walls
I walk swift and sure and scent Spring on a Winter breeze.
It reminds me that life is so much more than all this.
That work is hard but that life, 
life is free.


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Stirring

If you’re looking for my Grow Your Blog post for 2014 go here!
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As we approach the end of the month and step into the New Lunar Year I am filled with a rather unexpected feeling: Hope.

Imbolc is approaching and life is opening itself to new beginnings all over the place so it might seem ridiculous that hope should be unexpected, but recently has been as elusive as a cool spring of water in the driest of deserts.

I delved deep into the darkness of Winter over recent weeks. It wasn’t always poignant or meaningful, a lot of the time it was scary, unpleasant and deeply unsettling, and it was difficult to imagine anything beginning or feeling hopeful whilst I was there. But it also gave me the one thing I’d been craving, that gift which the season offers but so few choose to take: Rest.

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Taking a rest was almost a challenge, especially as a lot of it was spent alone and without distraction. I struggle to keep my mind focused on the present when I’m alone and this can lead to worry or fear creeping in, which are not restful in the slightest. But through perseverance and hard-won acceptance I discovered that I was able to trust my Self to want and do the right things, the things that my body and soul needed to rest and heal.

Sometimes those things were quiet and solitary – lots of long walks and spots of meditation – others were more vigorous – writing stories and planning events (more on that to follow in future posts!). All came together to weave a soul-bed in which I could allow my self to rest and ponder and dream; the kind of space that Winter holds so well. And not only did I benefit from it with a renewed energy supply and new ideas, I also felt more in tune with the World than I have in quite a while.

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So now, on Imbolc Eve, I can truly feel the first stirrings of Hope and Inspiration that the Goddess Brighid comes to bless us with. I am also aware of a New Moon shining tonight; the beginning of a beginning as it marks the start of a New Lunar Year, which the Chinese are calling the Year Of The Horse. I am hopeful that all these auspicious signs are weaving together with the land itself, as it starts to wake from its Winter slumber, to urge me (and all of us) into new beginnings and new opportunities  of our own.

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Happy New Lunar Year!

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Having woken from my brief hibernation I can promise a round of new posts in the coming days and weeks. Look out for an Imbolc Musing, an update on some new real-world events, the final collection of my January Small Stones and some in-depth looks into Walk the Wheel – how it works and why.

I hope you’ll join me there 🙂

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.