Checking in and Letting Go

This is an unusually speedy post to say I’m still here, the Wheel is still turning and I am most certainly walking with it!

So much is happening in life at the moment and I have been blessed with numerous real life opportunities to meet with people, explore the chaning seasons and our changins selves and to celebrate those changes and transitions through conversation, laughter, ceremony and song. I feel like something significant has shifted in the last week or so. I can’t quite put it into words yet but it is exciting and inspiring… and of course the baby bump keeps on growing…

Lots of do and lots lots more to be grateful for. I am sure some of it will come out into more coherent thoughts in the coming days but for now I am off to Norfolk for a lovely break with the in-laws in a aprt of the country I have never visited. I’m excited to experience my favourite season in a new place… I can’t promise photos but likely some word pictures to follow.

Until my return here is a short something that snagged in my mind a couple of weeks ago and had continued to sit comfortably and courageously in my soul…

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A Lesson from the Trees

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The Equinox is just behind us and I can almost feel the Wheel clicking into its new groove. Autumn is fully upon us, mornings are inevitably misty and cold and I am waiting (im)patiently for the leaves to start turning in earnest. I look to the trees every day on my walk to and from work and whenever I get out into the parks and outdoor places otherwise, remembering why at this time of year they are my greatest teachers.

Their beauty is unblesmished by the change in temperature; in fact some are still resolutley, summer-green. And yet…

…their energy, their sense, the feel of them tells another story.

I ponder, reach out and taste this difference; wondering what has changed that I can’t yet see. Slowly I begin to realise that although the trees still look mostly the same they have in fact begun to draw deep into themselves; some are already deep in their root hearts, retreating from the busy World above. They have accepted the turn of the Wheel with silent grace and acquieced to its encouragement to sleep, to dream…

They have let go.

Although their canopies are still full of leaves, those leaves are mere shadows of what they were scant weeks earlier. No longer do they hold the vibrancy and energy of life, growth and regeneration. They are empty, hollow; no longer vessles for chlorophyll and light, they now embody the memory of what has been.

Soon those leaves will fall away, no longer supported by the tree’s heart. They might fall quickly or slowly, gripped by wind or winding through air; but always they will fall with gratitude and with grace.

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And the tree will no doubt mourn their passing, but is not weighed down with grief or regret. It is not clinging to those leaves in desperation or fear of the supposed emptiness that lies ahead. Instead the tree has accepted – with its timeless wisdom and ease – the need to release all that has been. It has accepted this even before its leaves have started to fall.

And this – I realise – is what makes the trees of Autumn more beautiful and more striking than any others.

Although we don’t always recognise the exact moment of its happening (just as we don’t see the exact moment a tree loses all its leaves) letting go is a part of nature, a part of life and we achieve it in our soul before we see the result of it in the World.

When we finally realise the process is complete the shedding has already occured and we are revealed standing, strong and certain, in our new skin.

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That is the lesson I learned from the trees.

Photo credits
1) picturesinlivingcolor.wordpress.com
2) www.donnan.com
3) www.twelve22.org/blog/
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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

January’s Small Stones #4

If you’re looking for my Grow Your Blog 2014 post, go here

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This is the final installment of January’s Small Stones, covering the last two weeks. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them 🙂 Look out for more in 2014!

 

20th Jan
This smoke doesn’t hang in the air.
It is off the hook, out of the wardrobe and dressing the air around it,
In a white shift of sweet smelling scent;
The ghostly shadow of burnt incense.

 

21st Jan
Dead roots cast aside in a desiccated clump.
Clinging together in a final embrace.
Their passion so fierce and determined,
So strong it must be warm at their centre;
Where new lives can sleep and grow and fester.

 

22nd Jan
No small stone today.

 

23rd Jan
It is as if each pip of hail that lands, realises on impact that is has managed to miss the designated landing spot.
And so, before it melts into nothingness, it must make a mad dash – skitter, skatter – towards its intended resting place.

 

24th Jan
Black lacquered pavement glows in disco orange light,
Dance floor for the rain drops that bounce and bop and shine.

 

25th Jan
It is tired of hanging there, in defiance of the natural order,
Hiding the wounds and battle scars of a fight with apathy.
Perhaps because a net curtain belongs beside a window,
Maybe it misses the fresh air, the morning sunshine, the view?

 

26th Jan
Funny how the wind through bare trees seems to wave the branches in a form of greeting,
And how each tree’s wave is distinctive, as each person’s is also.
The delicate, regal birch,
The eager, energetic oak;
All stir from their Winter slumber to say ‘Hello’.

 

28th Jan
Inhale the scent of bark and crumbly soil,
The citrus rush of wind fallen fruits,
A comforting wreath of steam rises;
This cup of tea is just what I needed.

 

29th Jan
You flutter, air-full and fast-on that silent tree branch,
Embodying the energy of a forgotten empire.
Empty plastic bag;
Flag of the fallen,
and the wild, forgotten places.

 

30th Jan
Wood pigeon sits on bare branch,
Aged Councillor surveying his constituency,
Fluffed up fat in his Winter feathers while below him the world is still grey and cold.
But his breast tinged with the pink of approaching daylight – Hope.
Soft, silent, sentimental.

 

31st Jan

Snowdrops stand in a line
A choir of school children, hunched and weaving
Making their way through their new, spring song.

 

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!

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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.

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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!

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(credit)

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