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.

 

All Mother’s Day

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

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

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

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

Mothers.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Whatever form our offspring take, we are all Mothers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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.

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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.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

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.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

The Web complete

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

 

Celebrating Woman with Walk The Wheel

International-Womens-DayTo celebrate the approach of International Women’s Day, Walk the Wheel is holding not one, but TWO events at Hadfield Community Hall.

I am pleased to say that ALL PROFITS from both events will be going to HIGH PEAK WOMEN’S AID – a local Women’s charity that provides support to victims of domestic abuse.

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So if you are local to Derbyshire/Sheffield/Manchester why not come along and support a good cause and celebrate Woman in her many guises.

 

 

EVENT 1

Being Woman

A workshop for Women only.

Join us as we come together in a safe, sacred space to share our individual and collective experience and expression of Woman.  As we sit in circle together we will explore the magic of our Womanhood, seeking insight to better know ourselves:

Who is the Woman within us?

How do we see her? How do we feel about her? How do we love her?

And who are the Women in our past? Our future?

How can Woman inspire us on our path?

Using crafts, chanting, silence and visualisation, the spoken word and simple ceremony we will aim to connect more deeply with who we are and the ephemeral, earthy energy of Woman.

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EVENT 2

Honouring  Woman

Open to EVERYONE!

As we approach International Women’s Day, Walk The Wheel invites you to share expressions of Woman and how Her energy and influence is present in your life and the World around you.

Whether there is a Woman you particularly admire, an expression of Woman in myth or history that resonates for you or it is the ephemeral energy of Woman itself that most inspires you, we would love to hear how!

We will work simple ceremony to honour Woman and raise energy for the Earth and those who would benefit from Woman’s warm and powerful embrace.

Participants are encouraged to bring something to share with the group – it should be suitable for all ages and inspire in you the idea of Woman!

 

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When and Where

Hadfield Community Hall (above the Library)
Railway Street
Hadfield, SK13 2AA

‘Being Woman’ : 5pm – 7pm
‘Honouring Woman’ : 7:30pm – 9:30pm

COST

Both Events (women only, 16+yrs) – £20 per person

Evening Event (everyone) – £5 per person (suggested donation)

 

Email walkthewheel@hotmail.com for bookings and more information.

Picture credits:
1) internationalwomensday.com
2) highpeakwomensaid.org.uk
3) Janie Rose @ beeswaxandbroomsticks.co.uk
4) awakeningwomen.com

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.