Monthly Archives: April 2014

Creative Writing Workshops

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   Writing Circle

I am now running a writing circle, which meets on Monday mornings, 10.30am, venue given by request (Hull/East Riding of Yorks area) for contact details see Lavender Fields website. A small group of amateur writers are meeting to share each others work, offer support and critique, share publishing or information, and, of course, to share good company, good conversation, a love of words and great coffee (and cake!). We are already improving our writing and getting new ideas by helping each other – some having obtained publication as a result.

poster venue tba

Come along and join us and:

  • Write to improve your life & wellbeing
  • Learn techniques for tapping into your creativity
  • Turn issues into inspiration, problems into poetry
  • Write away your stress
  • Write your own personal history or herstory
  • Write that novel they say is in all of us

Expert guidence is combined with group critique and support in comfortable and sociable surroundings (good coffee and cake an essential part). Occasional writing workshops are planned for the future including journal writing, short stories, poetry, and … combining poetry and

journal art.                                                                  for blog

Personal development workshops – or as I call them – Goddess workshops – are also in the pipeline. These will be categorically fun, spiritual, and empowering; they will be themed, using art, stories, mythology, archetypes, and personal experiences. Themes may include archetypes such as dragons, the triple Goddess, seasons, unicorns, the Green Man, flowers, faeries and much more. Some of these workshops may be online in due course. Watch this space.

 

 

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Hidden Connections

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Hidden Connections (also read my poem Remembering Albion in Mythumbrian Dreams) Images: Water   Sky   Past & present     Flowers   Mythology         Colours              Peace Path/ways         Hidden ways     Stairways         Trees                Stillness            Eternity

Connections: I enjoyed another very interesting meditation the other day – this one looking at various images of the landscape. The aim of the meditation was to consider connectivity. It had two levels – firstly identifying links between the images (resulting, for me, in the above list) then searching for wider connections. The over-riding connection that I made between these images was a composite thing linking all of the words that I wrote in my journal – as above. From the images, and the connective words I got a feeling of otherworldliness. No! that isn’t right – not otherworldliness but hidden worlds, connected worlds, archetypal worlds. Worlds on the edge of this reality or within reality – worlds within worlds: worlds just out of sight down leafy pathways and up stony stairways; under and over rolling hills and moorland, or between whispering trees; under natural or man-made arches; or beside bottomless lakes and tide-washed beaches. Worlds that with only a pinch of stardust we might see for ourselves; Worlds steeped in the mythologies of a landscape and trapped, waiting to be awakened from within the memories of rocks, trees and water … and our own inner selves. These are images of infinity – images that evoke feelings dredged from deep within the psyche, innate feelings, archetypes recorded in our cells, perhaps within our very genes – reminders from when life was simpler and much more magical; feelings that lay hidden and secret until something awakens them; feelings familiar to ancient people and present folk alike, and that will still be apposite in eons to come, no doubt. Emotional landscapes linked to geographic landscapes; primal feelings – of peace, stillness, security, being connected, tribal, inducing a sense of deep belonging – to each other, to our ecology, to our planet. They are sad feelings too, invoking an awareness of our mortality, our transience on this ancient planet. Our time is fleeting yet eternal. The images evoking these feelings are also ancient, having remained virtually unchanged since prehistoric times – the same sea, the same skies, the same mountains, trees and plants – just a little older, a little more deeply etched within the sands (and other topographic or psychometric features) of time. Here the links take us back into the past and yet propel us forward into everywhere, every-when. They conjure up the possibilities of endless, multiple dimensions, nestled one against the other; each one a product of major cultural decisions over time yet remaining within those basic, all-connecting, archetypal templates. Dimensions we are able to slip into at will … maybe … just up this path, down these stairs, under those arches … or if we stare long enough at the endless sky or mirror-like water, or breathe in too much of that heady scent of flowers. There are stories in those images, stories within the feelings they induce, ancient stories lying hidden in the depths of our own souls, lying hidden, awaiting a chance to be reborn; ready to materialise at a particular sight, a specific sound, a certain smell, a special touch …archetypal image

Lemons & Roses

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When you meditate on a candle flame with the scent of roses and lemons drifting around you, it might be expected that it would raise issues of sadness (lemons) and hope (roses). Here is the result of such a meditation that I enjoyed (if that is the correct word considering the amount of tears it evoked) earlier in the week. When you’ve read this post take a look at the poem Soul Beacon which echoes the thoughts written here.

I’m doing a lot of meditation lately, and finding it very therapeutic – a way of putting back together my shattered and scattered soul. I quite recommend it. Anyway first is the journal images invoked by concentrating on the candle flame:lemon & rose candle

I’ve coloured it using watercolour pencils without the added water and so apologise for its faint subtlety. You will see that a variety of emotions were released both sorrowful and hopeful.

I then wrote a letter to myself in response to these identified emotions and thoughts. It is a strange piece of writing for me, written as a flow of consciousness with very little forethought and planning – simply responding to the images and words I drew in my journal. I found it odd writing objectively to myself … but the results are interesting, relevant and personally, very helpful. It was if someone else was directing the words – my higher self really does know best.

Dear Elvenstardancer                                                                                                                                                                     8th April 2014

It distressed me to read the words you wrote down on your Rose and Lemon candle page. Many of the words are indicative of Heartbreak and a fragmented Soul. You feel that you have been let down, abandoned by those who love you whether deliberately or not, and yet, despite the hurt shining so painfully from the page, I detect Hope there, too.

I know you feel abandoned, lost in the Dark, but Light pushes the darkness away. Light will always overcome the Dark, it is a matter of Universal Law. Yet the Universe is a place of Balance and without the Dark the Light cannot shine. Sometimes we need to experience the Dark in order to shine all the more brightly. You have had more than your fair share of loneliness, fear and emptiness and I know that your Heart aches with longing for a true, and deep, reciprocal Love. Be strong Sweetling, there is plenty of Love in the Universe, plenty enough for even you – yes even you! I think you know this, from the words you have written, scattered amongst the Heartache.

There are many positive words there that suggest healing is possible and maybe even begun – words such as dancing, guiding, beacon, a flame in the dark, a seed growing towards the Light. These all suggest to me that you are looking forward not backwards. They tell me that your Heart is open and ready, waiting for Love to settle there.

You tell me that you have an abundance of Love to give, which is true – hold on to that, my Sweet One, for if Love is given, Love can only be returned – to fill the vacuum that is left behind. Be that beacon you saw in the candle flame, be the guiding light in the Dark and draw Love to you for it will surely come. Love responds to the Light so let Love shine from you. Let your Dreams be known to the Universe and shine, Lady, shine in the Darkness. Send your Love out into the Void and allow your Heart and Soul to grow within your own inner Light, and that of Universe Light. Then watch Love return to you Threefold.

Be Light, Be Love, Be Laughter X x

The Void

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The Still & Silent Void

Devoid, empty, vacuum

Negative concepts

Expressing existence, time, thought, Without

 

Not so …

 

Space binds matter, links galaxies

What is Not

Is a vessel to be filled with opportunity, potential transformation

 

Just like …

 

A cocoon, cauldron, black hole

Metamorphic pools of Nought

Bending light and matter so life and death merge

Evolutionary point-blank where boundaries confuse

And patterns ebb and change

Places where the product of Zero becomes infinity

 

And so …

 

Imagine the Void within

Paradoxical points of swirling stillness

 

Crushing crystal lattices of existence with such Non-weight

Re-building life in stronger, brighter rhythms

From the spaces between the atoms of the soul

Like an apple-tree is born from an empty star.

Finding Stillness

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Continuing my Mindful Meditation Course: identifying where stillness might be found:

accessing stillness apple

Stillness (also see poem in Mythumbria Dreams)

Stillness: such an elusive state to be in, in this modern world where people are accessible 24/7 via technology and social media – expected to be available, expecting others to be available; minds full of activity and over-stimulation, rarely finding time or space for stillness in order to rest and refresh their minds, bodies and spirits. What might this be doing to our newest generations who have and are growing up within this new paradigm? Many children no longer know how to sit still and read, losing themselves in imaginary worlds; whilst that necessary state of boredom is a stranger to them. Yet it is a state required regularly for the mind to relax and reboot. Burn out must be a real and increasing possibility, with escalating stress problems and mental illness, a world where inactivity, thought, silence is condemned as time wasting, unhealthy or unsociable: Dystopia indeed.

Yet the opportunity for stillness is all around us. Travel brochures woo us with visions of exotic beauty – lakes, mountains, forests; even, unbelievably, in space (Virgin); visions of peacefulness in a chaotic world for a cost.. Yet even in a city stillness is to be found. Our nation is a nation of gardeners and there are wonderful oases of stillness, certainly in my city, from the tiniest urban roof plots to huge spreading suburban gardens and parks. Even a back yard can be transformed – with a few pots of herbs and flowers, a colourful climber or a potted tree – into a place of stillness and serenity.

I love those forgotten areas of a city – the derelict buildings, tumbles of rubble strewn everywhere but nature reclaiming it with splashes of golden buttercups and dandelions, snow white dog daisies, delicate shepherds purse, fragrant ground elder, hawthorn and bramble, butterfly strewn buddleia and nettle, even the occasional lavender or rambling rose- an artist’s palette of everyday ordinariness accompanied by the twitterings of tiny brown birds and cooing pigeons. Step off the pavement into this forgotten space, away from materialism and crowds, and immediately you can feel the peace descend. It is like stepping inside a stone circle. Indeed I have had the same sense of peace, distance, and history within one of these ruined buildings as within the circles on Salisbury Plain, the North York Moors or Machrie Mor. It’s as if the stones – whether deliberately erected as sacred or just time-ruined happenstance – form a bubble around a piece of primal space linking us to the All, the Everything, to Nothing.

Water always has the capacity for promoting stillness for me despite its innate dynamism – the sea, in all its moods, calms my heart, and trickling water can be as meditative as music, maybe more so as it reaches deep into my soul to touch whatever remnants of ancient connectedness remains there. Creating stillness in a city garden is always enhanced by a water feature no matter how ubiquitous. Just that bubbling or trickling noise combined with the sun or moon or starlight reflecting from the droplets of falling rivulets or spinning spirals has the capacity to transcend me. Add the aromas and colours of herbs, roses, scented flowers, the symphonies of songbirds – even if it’s only a common or garden sparrow – and it can lift me away from mundanity and into a tiny piece of peaceful heaven-on-earth.

The sky has a similar effect, if a different cause. Light here is the trigger for stillness – whether the brilliant blueness of a summers day or the watercolour translucency of an icy winter one – both have the capacity for instilling stillness within my crazy heart. Add a few clouds – white fluffiness or brooding menace and the mood is not broken just changed yet stillness remains. If you have the imagination to cope with the grand scale – and to some the vastness alone is a threat – there is a wonderful peace to be found in the contemplation of eternity. I find it infinitely reassuring. Out there is Everything! I might be just a tiny, insignificant part of that – but I am part of that … that Everything. The almost orgasmic feeling of expansion is especially true under a starlit sky – with or without our close neighbour Lady Moon to watch over me. The vast arc-ing velvety spread, with its sparkling embellishments can still even the most turbulent of my thoughts, calming me almost instantly. Similarly with music (of varying kinds) – as my mind expands with the changing notes, it also somehow and conversely, contracts into that still place at my core. Whilst zoning out, as I paint, craft, write or meditate, has the opposite effect: it takes me deep inside my self, narrowing my view yet expanding my mind. How can expansion and stillness be the same thing? They would appear to be paradoxes of each other. I’m not sure if that is true – it is the expansion of my thoughts that lead me to stillness in my mind and heart – perhaps they are the same thing? Stillness can be found in the tiniest flower or the vastness of the universe – both touch my heart, my soul, with peace.

We haven’t had any this year, but I love the stillness that can be found after snow, when the world loses its identity, blanketed in anonymity and soft whiteness. During a snow storm, those feathery twirls of snowflakes hypnotise and calm my mind, sending it down swirling tunnels of infinity and nothingness. Like water (which of course, snowflakes are a form of) stillness here is born out of chaotic movement, fractals of frenzy drifting in unknown patterns that my mind, in trying to understand, finds restfulness within.

Though it’s a long time, now, since I experienced this, I found stillness in that time, after ecstasy had rippled away, following sex with a loved partner, when still lost within the other, not yet separate entities once more. Echoes of this feeling where to be found later, in the eyes of my children and grandchildren, as I held them after their birth … eyes you could fall into, drown in, like a lover’s eyes; eyes that hold the wisdom of the universe (as indeed they do before their new body takes over from their older soul, and they forget their previous lives). That stillness – in either sets of eyes – babe or lover – I would find compulsive, mesmerizing, meditative: I could lose myself in them forever.

Yoga stills my mind and body in ways that defy logic. In the effort of moving the body, in time with the rhythms of my breathing, my mind finds peace and stillness in a way not possible for me in many other forms of exercise, except, perhaps dancing (inaccessible to me now) and Tai Chi. Once again that paradox of stillness out of movement. Somehow out of the calm of the breath-led asanas, a mindfulness of the body emerges, lending me understanding and tolerance of my body’s weaknesses.

Driving in my car, especially long distance, and especially down motorways, I find is a meditative state leading to stillness, without losing attention. That linking of mind and machine; the dance of moving up and down the gears, in and out of lanes, calms me in a way as perverse as eating chocolate is good for my health. Both are true. Driving in my car was where I found the peace and stillness to enable me to make such enormous, life-changing decisions as divorce. Driving round and round, hardly knowing or caring where I was going, freed me to explore opportunities and possibilities, consequences and solutions.

So many forms of and opportunities for stillness in a raging world …