A Very Inspiring Blogger

I recieved a comment on a recent post from a lovely lady over at another blog (which I’ll come to later) that said she had nominated me for a blogging award. I quickly realised this wasn’t one of those Pokemon-eqsue “out of all other bloggers I choose YOU!” awards, it was actually something rather more lovely.

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The Very Inspiring Blogger Award is passed from blogger to blogger, some might say like a chain letter, but I like to think of it as a thread of gratitude, sharing and connection. It links bloggers with similar notions and ideas together; but by similar I don’t mean people who agree. As the title suggests it is about linking people who inspire and that is one of the things I’m most passionate about. Inspiration – and people inspiring other people – is a big part of Walk The Wheel and is at the root of the sharing process it embodies at its events.

So I was really thrilled to find out someone out there in blogging land, who I had never met nor heard of, not only reads my blog but finds it inspiring. Inspiring enough that she picked me out alongside a handful of others to share with her readers and friends. That gave me a nice warm, proud feeling but it also excited me to think I could then do the same for bloggers I find inspiring…

 

So this is me saying a HUGE HEARTFELT THANK YOU to Julie over at Becoming A Family for gifting me with such an honour. She writes beautifully about creating a life and home for her two sons, alongside her husband. I am looking forward to getting to know her better in the coming months and I hope you might go and check her out too 🙂

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In order to fulfil my part of the ‘nomination acceptance’ I need to – in the spirit of sharing! – share with you a few facts about myself (which I have done at the end of this post). I also get to nominate and share with you some Very Inspiring Bloggers of my own.

They are:

A Diary Of A Mom – who shares her family’s journey with autism in a way that is open, heartfelt and full of love.

The Ditzy Druid – who shares her Druidic path and how it flows with her family in wonderfully clear and colourful snippets.

Beeswax and Broomsticks – who shares her journey through beautiful pictures formed in photographs and words.

Scene By Minerva – who shares regular updates of beauty caputred by her very talented eye on camera and inspires me to remember the beauty in the small things.

Drops of Awen – who shares snippets of thought and present and moment with such clarity that it can inspire ponderings for the rest of the day.

I hope by sharing them they will reach even more hearts to inspire and perhaps also enjoy knowing how appreciated they are.

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To finish I give you a few random facts, in no particular order:

* I decided I was going be an actress when I was 3 years old and was allowed to play the ‘Star’ in the school Nativity play because the original girl cast for the part was stuck at home with measles.

* I grew up surrounded by pets. One of my closest companions as a child/teenagers was my dwarf albino rabbit Mittons. I told that rabbit everything and he was the best listener I’ve ever known.

* I drink my tea with milk and two sugars despite the horrified look on most people’s face when I tell them this.

* I would rather travel in the UK than fly abroad… I hate flying.

* In my teens and early twenties I was (and still am) a Scaper. *bonus points to anyone who knows what that is… and doesn’t know me already!*

* I went to my second year Ball (/Prom) at University barefoot because I had no shoes to match the dress I was wearing.

* I got married last year to my wonderful husband on a glorious, sunny, May day. Our first dance song was a cover of ‘Feelin’ Good’ by Muse. I was wearing shoes for that one.

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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.

 

 

Words Are Enough

A large part of my lifestyle and the ethos of Walk The Wheel is devoted to encouraging and deepening soulful connections to Life and the World we live in. My first instruction will always be to get out into the Natural World; there aren’t enough words to describe the positive and inspirational effects it has on our hearts and minds but I will never stop trying. That’s why I follow the Wheel in the first place and why I choose to live somewhere as close to the wild Land as I can.

That being said there are other ways we can experience that same sense of wholeness from within the (relative) comfort of our homes; and in a World where we are often overworked, underpaid and living in the midst of a concrete jungle being able to find moments of connection within our restricted circumstances is a vital part of survival.

 

You might think I am going to start declaiming the benefits of meditation or yoga-in-your-living-room or the latest health food craze? Well, I’m not. My suggestion is much simpler and requires far less time, money and has no requirements for your living room space. While all these popular holistic practices (and others like them) can and do have enormous benefits and act as instigators towards an all-round more mindful way of life,  they also carry something of a stigma. For some they are part of a ‘New-Age’ lifestyle full of crystals and fairies in which they are (quite frankly) not interested. For others who already have elements of holistic practice in their lives (fairies notwithstanding) they can sometimes feel too much like hard work when we need their gifts the most*.

Sometimes you want to feel whole and connected without having to exert a great amount of energy. Perhaps you’re exhausted and simply don’t have the reserves or perhaps you have a scant few minutes before you will  be called back into the line of duty and you simply don’t have time for a 15 minute mega-meditation.

 

If that’s the case I have a suggestion for you…

 

Read a book.

 

I know, I know, not particularly original right?

I am well aware I’m not breaking any new ground here, but coming off the back of a busy few weeks I have found myself firmly in the midst of a classic dilemma; I want to feel better, to reconnect to my heart and to Life but I just don’t have the spoons to get out there and be proactive about it! The thought of walking to my nearest park or Peak makes my tired body quiver. My brain can’t bear the pressure of meditating or holding any sort of solid concentration. My nerves are so shot that all they want is soothing but I don’t have the money to go see a film or an exhibition or even to go see friends down the pub.

So what do I do?

 

I read.

 

Yes it is partly a distraction technique. I am lucky enough to be one of those people who can lose herself in a book at remarkable speed; hours will disappear around me, hours that feel like days or weeks or years depending on the story I’m living inside my head, and reading can be a welcome escape when you’re tired and aching and life seems a little much to bear.

I have often wondered whether this truth makes reading as bad as TV or junk food; is it merely escapism, nothing more? Does it prevent me from connecting and living fully by instead allowing me to sink into a world that is not my own?

 

I don’t think so. In fact, this very morning I decided to let myself off the hook and put that criticism to bed forever. Because it occurred to me that the beauty of books is that they are immersing you in a world that might not be exactly your own but will (in some ways) be modeled upon it. As products of a human mind and soul books are expressions of our lived experience; even the most fantastical of novels with the most outrageous of characters will echo our societies, our relationships, our truths. Books take us on journeys in our mind just as our feet take us on journeys in the great outdoors and the experiences we have within both environments offer us countless opportunities to explore and experience and expand our heart and soul.

 

I imagine everyone will find different authors and different genres that do this for them; just as some prefer to walk in a park whilst others seek windy clifftops above the beach.

At University I was briefly introduced to some French female authors, a couple of whom have stayed with me for many years. Marguerite Duras was the first and the floating lyricism of her language is enough to lull me into peaceful sleep if I am not careful. The other is Anna Gavalda who is decidedly more grounded and (for me) more inspirational.

Gavalda’s books are all about human connections, meetings, relations. What makes them so evocative and inspiring for me is the stripped back nature of her words in direct contrast to the rich and sometimes unexpected meanderings of her characters. She often writes conversations without any ‘he said’ ‘she said’,  just the words in scripts or lists, as they would come from the mouth of any real person. But she will also spend pages giving extensive commentary on the seemingly random thought processes that our hero or heroine flits through as he/she walks down the street. Her characters are often dealing with happenings that are not hugely dramatic (on the outside) but that stir a tumult of memories and feelings and healing within each unique person’s heart.

I’m currently reading Hunting and Gathering (for the second time) and I would heartily recommend it; particularly to anyone who (like me at the moment) wants desperately to feel and to be connected but just can’t summon the energy to risk it in the big wide world. Yes it serves those usual escapist joys; sending me out there to a different land, experiencing new places, new people and new adventures. But I also find that my heart has opened, that I can breathe a little easier and can feel a little more, thanks to the introspection and honesty of her characters. The beautiful way she paints the ordinary has the same healing effect as the green currently painting the landscape; it inspires new life, new energy and an encouraging desire to find one’s place in it all.

 

And that is very much what my life and what the ethos of Walk The Wheel is all about.

 

What are you reading at the moment? Do books lift your spirit? If so, which?

* I spoke about this in my last post. You can also see another wonderfully articulate explanation of a very similar feeling here at Nimue Brown’s blog, Druid Life.

 

Happy Women’s Day!

A very Happy Women’s Day to all!

In honour of this International event I would like to share with you the thoughts that formed the basis of my introduction to last week’s Honouring Woman event.

Taking place almost directly after Being Woman, Honouring Woman was quite a dramatic shift in energy; going from holding a space for women to quietly and intimately explore and experience their core self, to creating a shared space where ideas, inspirations and thoughts of Woman could meet and interact and in the open. I like to think we pulled it off and that everyone who attended left with some deeper sense of the importance and beauty of Woman.

Both men and women attended the evening event which was a real blessing, ensuring the space remained balanced and grounded. No room to spiral off into conjecture, prejudice or politics, just a safe place to encounter the energy of Woman and consider how it might manifest in all our lives; the question at the heart of it all:

What is Woman?

It is, in its most practical sense, an energy; or rather how the life energy of over half the human population chooses to manifest itself in the World. It is the ishness, the very nature of all women and influences certain traits and states of being that are shared by them all to one degree or another. Woman is cyclical, emotional, nurturing and protective. Woman is half of human history, of human experience…

But Woman is not restricted to women alone.

Woman is a gift we all inherit for we are all of woman born. Whether we have a relationship with our birth mother or not we still receive the gifts of Woman through her. For we all carry within us a set of DNA – mitochondrial DNA – that passes exclusively down the maternal line and this DNA has allowed scientists to trace the lineage of every person in Europe back to just a handful of ancient women. These women are our Ancestral Mothers and we all – male or female – carry a part of them within us. So we are all entitled to know, experience and benifit from the gifts they created, cultivated and gave: the gifts of Woman.

Most obviously these manifest – in both men and women – as aspects or traits of personality or Self. The ability to nurture and rear, the need to create and sustain, the joy of emotion and expression; all are essential elements of Woman and all can be cultivated by anyone who wishes to live them more fully.

Woman is not all sweetness and light. She is often the parts of us that are unpredictable and unreserved; that encourage us to experience life to its fullest.  She can be destructive in her drive to maintain balance and she is the root of all life itself. Woman dives deep into feeling and emotion and is not afraid to express it. Woman trusts instinct and internal wisdom as much as (if not more than) rational logic. Woman works in circles and waves avoiding straight, logical lines; flowing through life, dancing with the ebb and flow of time and mood. Woman is changeable, adaptable and always evolving.

All of us will recognise aspects of Woman within us. But for many it can be difficult to trust or even access them as Woman’s ways are often discouraged in ‘modern’ society; seen as too fractious, too hysterical, too unpredictable. But by holding and cherishing these aspects alongside the masculine energy within us we might discover benefits not just for ourselves but for the World we live in too.

Because Woman is an energy that inspires and empowers us to preserve and protect life.

Many people will be familiar with one of the most poignant manifestations of Woman: Mother Earth. The idea of our Land being inherently female and imbued with Woman energy feels right because it is the Land that holds, grows and supports all the life upon it. From keeping seeds warm in her Winter womb, to the birthing of shoots and grains on her surface, the Earth is Mother to it all. And (as someone rightly pointed out to be at ‘Honouring Woman’) she is not adverse to a little aggression and destruction to maintain the balance and success of all her progeny (who stretch far beyond we humans).

Woman is often more easily accessed through the abstract than through our self as it is rare for us to clearly see our own true facets and depths. Throughout history there have been recorded instances of the Divine Feminine; some cultures even venerating Her over and above any male deity figure. From Mother Mary to Mother Earth, across cultures and pantheons, Woman has been honoured throughout time as a vital, life-giving force with a myriad of lessons to teach us. And I am glad to note that through various movements (Intenrational Women’s day included!) and shifts in interest and perspective interest in Her is gradually returning.

I would encourage anyone interested in exploring Woman energy to look at images of female divinity – Mothers, Goddesses and spiritual leaders – and consider which ones speak to you? What gifts might they offer you? What traits might they encourage you to develop and explore? This can be a reflective process; the first step to recognising how we embody Woman in our own Self (male or female!).

At this time in our human existence, I believe Woman offers ideas, energies and approaches that our World desperately needs, to redress some of the imbalances that exist between all current life on the planet. If Woman’s energy and traits could take their rightful place beside the energy and traits of Man we might return balance to one another and compliment one another to ends that at the moment we can only imagine.

For now let Woman be something we all embrace, celebrate and cultivate in ourselves and in our lives. I have no doubt it will bring inspiration and growth not just to the individual, but to the World as a whole.

*

To end the evening we all took part in a little folk magic to tap into the energy of Woman that had been generated through our sharing. I asked each attendee to bring a length of ribbon and a flower/leaf/natural object.

Taking the ribbon first everyone chose an aspect of Woman energy (e.g: fiercely protective or nurturing or flowing) that they felt was vital to life and concentrated on imbuing the ribbon with that trait. After a few moments we then wove the ribbons onto a red wheel I had created especially for the event. The result was a web of Woman energy and attributes woven strong in the centre of our circle.

Then everyone was invited to take their natural object and think of a woman/group of women/manifestation of Woman that is in need of support and again imbue the object with that person/persons. Finally these items were carefully laid onto the web where they were held and supported by the web we had woven.

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Our shrine for Woman

In the final moments when we gave prayers and blessings to the web and all it stood for I was overtaken by the power – delicate but utterly vital – that the web exuded. It felt sorely needed and yet also strong, steady and supportive.

I hope it continues to be such a symbol – for those who attended and everyone else – on this International Women’s Day.

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The Web complete

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.

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

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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. )

 

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 🙂

January’s Small Stones #3

 

13th Jan
This land rolls like the ocean
Tall Peaks rising to crash on the distant horizon
And though my feet stand on dry land
I am adrift.

 

14th Jan
Ripples dance in circles round rocks buried deep beneath the water’s surface;
In fairy rings.

 

15th Jan

The sky, burns.

 

16th Jan

Morning tea in a pretty china cup.
Warmth to soothe, colour of eggshell.
And the promise of a tickling buzz that will clear this sleep-full head.

 

17th Jan

No small stone today.

 

18th Jan

The moss has hairs, which stand as tall as trees on their own tiny mountainside.

 

19th Jan

Galloping over the horizon,
Fluffly white clouds hurry in to view, moving aside the great grey mass overhead,
Its edges gilded by the Sun;
A promise of brighter things to come.

 

More small stones can be found and enjoyed at Writing Our Way Home and over on my hubby’s blog Outside Life.

January’s Small Stones #2

6th Jan

Black blood bottled in a cheap plastic cocoon
Fed slowly to the page – course undetermined –
By this hand that is lost for words.

 

7th Jan

Pretty primroses scatter the border; they’ve sat all through the winter (so far).
Still stretching their bright button faces to the sky.
“We’re here!” They cry in rainbow colour. “We survived!”

 

8th Jan

The scent of rain fills me, soothes my soul with its cool acceptance.
Watching the drops bleed slowly down the bare winter trees I realise:
Pain is universal, we are not the only species to feel its touch.

 

9th Jan

No small stone today.

10th Jan

The pages are cool and smooth beneath my fingers,
Carrying the weight of a whole world,
Balanced perfectly on each.

The black marks of reality give way to the white space between,
Where I pause for breath and hear it echoed by those who live within.

 

11th Jan

Smoke caught in shadowed candlelight.
Flickers like fairy wings, dancing round the flame.
This is scent, seen;
A glimpse of elemental magic in action.

 

12th Jan

They could be tiny flames,
Frozen in a moment of curled, orange beauty.
Huddling together like bats on the branch,
Seeking the warmth that Winter has sucked out of them
(these brittle, beech leaves).

 

Plenty more small stone offerings can be found at the official blog for the January 2014 Mindful Writing Challenge here.

January’s Small Stones #1

 

As part of January’s 2014 Mindful Writing Challenge (organised by the lovely folk at Writing Our Way Home) I am aiming to write a small stone every day.

The rules are very simple:

“1. Notice something properly every day during January.
2. Write it down. It’s that simple!”

The resulting small stone does not have to have a set style/format or a certain number of words of syllables; but they do tend to be short and sweet.

I am sharing them here in the hope that they might inspire others to make some small stones of their own, and to give you a glimpse into the world as I see it each day.

Enjoy!

*

Jan 1st and 2nd

I missed the start by a couple of days so no small stones I’m afraid!

 

Jan 3rd:

Deserted;
This woodland stands, roots deep in frigid leaf mulch,
Chilled, stilled and abandoned,
It echoes with birdsong.

 

Jan 4th:

New year’s New moon
Shines its silver, lopsided grin
Making promises for 2014.

 

Jan 5th:

Those clouds are gold, buttered gold
Spread thick and shimmying at speed across the sky.

*

I will share these snippets in ‘week long’ collections, so pop back next Sunday for the next installment. And please feel free to share your own in the comments.

Here’s to a bright and inspiring January for us all!

1820c-January_skating_scene-English_print

(credit)

Enough

I’m sitting here, staring out of my brightly lit concrete box (aka. the office) at a cool, blue sky. The night is drawing in fast and a procession of dark clouds are marching along the horizon. And perched just above them – like a mascot of sorts – is the New Moon; brand new in fact as the Dark Moon or no Moon* was only yesterday.

It’s not often I get a glimpse of the New Moon so soon after the Dark, but when I do it always steals my breath with its beauty. Such a thin sliver of light is carved out of the sky and it always brings to mind the sharpness of steel and the sound of ringing metal. The curve is more pronounced than usual; for that is all it really is, a delicate shining curve that grows brighter and stronger as all around succumbs to darkness.Image

It is a simple beauty, but a striking one. And tonight it brought a single thought to mind:

“Just enough.”

This New Moon gives just enough to satisfy the need for light and beauty without being excessive or overwhelming (as the Full Moon can be). Its flavour isn’t rich, it is tart and tempting. It offers a tantalising glimpse of the richness and fullness ahead, in the months to come, if we commit to looking for it. It is a delicate spark that can fire the heart to feel great love, great awe and great joy if we are willing to tend the flame.

In our world, we are often encouraged to be ‘more’. To try harder, to do better, to surpass expectations and to give more of ourselves than is asked. For creative people it is considered gospel that in order to be worth noticing we have to bear ourselves, fully and without reservation; we must be open to anything and everything, all the time. The people who do so are the ones most likely to succeed, to be chosen or praised, the ones who will shine.

I’m wondering tonight if the New Moon might have a different message for us: that, actually, as long as we are being true to ourselves and our nature we don’t always have to strive to be more than we already are. Sometimes – particularly on cold, dark nights – it is plenty to offer just a slice of ourselves and to keep the rest hidden in darkness, for another time perhaps, or simply for our own pleasure.

And that slice will be just as beautiful, will shine just as brightly as any other.

Because sometimes it’s okay to be just enough.

* The term Dark Moon refers to the time when no Moon can be seen in the sky, a period that might last anything from 1-3 days. Although lunar calendars often only include three stages in the Moon’s cycle – Waxing, Waning and New, with New encompassing both the time of no Moon and the first sighting of the new crescent – it has become popular in some circles to refer to the Dark Moon as its own phase, leaving the term New Moon to refer to the new crescent only. See this short page for more.

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.