On the box lid to my pastels it says - Make a rainbow of your own. I think all kids should be handed one of those when they come into the world - 'Here kid, here's what you do. You might draw the conclusion from this world that what to do is keep your head down and survive like everyone else. Well, you don't have to. It can be scary as hell to be different, but you can do it. Paint with bold colours that are truly yours and make it one beautifully messy rainbow. Whatever happens remember we love you regardless. We believe in you kid, make it colourful.'
I was tagged by my favourite pixie a while back and I want to write my six-word memoir now:
Beautiful messy rainbow of my own
I'm writing long to-do lists of delights I now have time for, finding sweet-smelling natural cleaning products for the spring cleaning, letting my heavy thoughts play in a corner together while I do other things, writing inspirational words with bright pastels, smelling the hyacinths and thinking of my mum, going for walks and watching the ripples on the puddles, listening to the tinkle of bracelets, wrapping up tight in soft pashminas, breathing, sighing, sinking into my strength. Thank you so much for your comments, I take them to my heart.
Wishing you that turn of the wind where life suddenly beams at you with warm gusts of air on the dry street, your feet want to run, hop and skip, your heart wants to sing, your lungs can't get enough of that delicious air and your eyes crinkle in silent smiling thanks.
This is the photo dearest to me from my time in India, it just sums it all up. The bells tinkling, the deep colours, the incense saturating the air, the cool stone under bare feet, the chanting nearby. The temple elephant deserves a life far better than that, but the beauty of that photo just touches me... People come up to the elephant, hold out a coin, he receives the offering with his trunk and then blesses the person by touching their bent head.
I will write a longer post about India soon (and all the rest), but for now I just wanted to share this. I feel a light touch on my head, a blessing unasked for and I don't know what to say. I'm so happy you are there, so happy to be alive. Waking up to spring, feeling a change.
Hello sweet friends. I hope you are well and life is lavishing sunshine on you. I never intended to be gone for so long and didn't like leaving you like that, but I did need the space. Something heavy but necessary to go through kept me at first, then 5000 words of assignments to write by pure stubbornness alone, and finally a weekend promised to babysitting for our friends in London.
The last exams are looming over me at the end of this week and the results of the first exams will be sent the following. Even though I hope I managed to crawl over the pass mark it was difficult and I'm not at all sure. The burdens in your mind and heart are always so much heavier than anything physical bearing down on you. I won't talk anymore about it though. Being tired and weary is one thing, dwelling on it another.
After I've rested I've got so many things I want to do and they're like little sparkly fairy lights at the back of my mind. I know there are things to look forward to and I try to keep returning to those, forgetting and then remembering again as they twinkle in the background. Several wonderful things have happened too in the meantime to make me beam and believe in the beauty of life - one of my photos was on the front page and spotlight on Etsy, sweet people ordered my prints, I received unexpected gifts (from such amazing friends), I was given yet another You Make My Day award, I was tagged twice (ooh - I'm excited about that!) and I've still got the writing about writing post nearly finished.
The photo above I'd called the field on the other side of the lane, which it is, but someone in the comments on flickr renamed it gate to fairyland which I thought suited it better, don't you? I like door to the land of faeries myself. Whenever I'm not studying these days I disappear through that door, finding enchanted worlds and meaningful living. Faerie food doesn't sustain you unless you use it to grow yourself food in the real world though. I've been living a bit too much in dreams lately, it's time to grow a garden the other side of that meadow. This is my year of vitality, I try to remember that, a year of real life. Of warm, throbbing, exhilirating, hands-in-the-soil, feet on the ground, adventurous, colourful, shining, light in the eyes, far from perfect and delightfully human living.
I'll be back soon, and sooner than that to all you people I haven't visited in a long time now. Until then wishing you sprinkles of faerie dust and that sudden joy of being alive that makes your heart suddenly rush and your feet dance an extra step into your walk.
the magical garden gate with the twinkling fairy lights is my favourite too on the inspiration clothes-line. it's from this delightful online shop called cox & cox.
Hello you (yes you!) :) How's it going? I feel like I've not really been present here lately, though I have of course. When things get stirred up and haven't yet settled in my mind and heart I normally retreat from the world but I've been challenging myself recently. So in a way, I've been here but not completely. I've been living stuff that didn't have words so I wrote about the things that did.
Before Christmas I had two extraordinary acupuncture treatments that turned me upside down like one of those snow globes, and for a while I couldn't see and I was so afraid, and it felt like I had finally broken down. The thing is, I've for as long as I can remember wanted to break down. I was one of those kids who grow up a bit too fast I think, take on too much too soon. My parents loved me, I was the apple of my mum's eye, her quiet little helper. And I was ever so happy to do it, I took care of my younger brother when the second brother took all my mum's time, helped in any way I could. Including becoming invisible.
I can't remember crying, running to my parents with feelings too big to handle, complaining about being abandoned at daycare though I hated it or allowing myself to be weak or small. My favourite response to most things was and still is: I know. I've got it under control, leave me alone, I can do this! Inside I was getting tired though. I had no stable ground in me, no safe place to run back to when the world was overwhelming, which was most of time. Terrified of being alone with the fear, terrified of surrendering to someone else. I had never learnt how to be a 'mum' to myself, only to other people. Soldiering on stubbornly, angrily realising that I had missed out on something and I couldn't really blame anyone. Circumstances came about as they do and I chose to do what I did.
I wanted to break down, be helpless, for someone to scoop me up - you've done enough. But I couldn't. In the meantime I refused to give myself what I needed, slipping down the martyr route, waiting for life to become fair. The anger was so strong, holding me together, refusing to abandon that little girl who couldn't cry. My life couldn't be reconciled, torn in two.
The treatment I had is used for letting go, letting go of whatever it is that possesses you, devours you. I had come to a place where I was ready to let go, but I couldn't. I still don't know if I've completely let go, but I do know that there is a voice in my head that wasn't there before. When I throw my hands up in the air and want to crawl back to the only safe places I know, the places that ultimately hurt and steal your time, she comforts me. I broke down, on the inside, in the quietest little heap, but I broke down enough for that little girl to feel supported. She can deal with all the little things that used to be overwhelming now. And when we can't deal with it, we take it one small step at a time. There's a hand to hold and a voice to say, it's ok, honey. you're doing fine.
Be helpless, dumbfounded
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
to gather us up.
We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we're lying.
If we say No, we don't see it,
that No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.
So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.
Zero Circle, Rumi
I'm so glad you liked my doors. It was part of my therapy to draw the imagery I had been asked to create in our session as homework, so this drawing is from then. That's what came up when I was asked to see three doors so they are part of my reality, not part of the exercise. I didn't make that clear, so really, your doors might not look anything like it! For me of course I was drawn to the little blue one on the left, I thought this is my future. And it was.
The beauty of that therapy was that it lasts though, and those doors keep taking on different meanings. I still don't know what it all meant. I love the rainforest and for a long time abhorred the dead parking lot and meaningless crowd in the kitchen. But maybe those doors were just as important? Maybe I just needed to make them mine? I wanted to take down that wooden door heavy with obligation, respectability and rules and make that empty space a peaceful haven to retreat into. A safe place with only myself, the silence and possibility to cradle me.
The kitchen had always both terrified me and enthralled me - I couldn't stand being with people and I couldn't stand not being with them. That place is still hectic and a scary place, but it's far more colourful and that shabby white door is really quite beautiful now. I've realised I'm welcome there as far as everybody else is concerned but the panic lies in me, I can only stay for as long as that little girl is comfortable. And that's ok. :)
Thank you for understanding and sharing your stories. It makes me so grateful to know you are out there, wonderful people creating your lives, making them yours. Wishing you clarity and colourful paths.
"I feel the response to a changing world is not about going back; I like to think that human ingenuity and what we've learned over the last 150 years will take us safely down the oil curve into a more abundant, healthy and happy future. We're now living in the most extraordinary time, where we have the chance, perhaps the last chance, to rebuild our civilisation on a new paradigm of true balance with the earth and with each other.
Whether that happens, or whether humanity's impulse to continue to grow at any cost continues, with escalating wars, inequality and panic, is impossible to tell. But as Vandana Shiva, the Indian activist, said recently, "The uncertainty of our times is no reason to be certain about hopelessness". In the myth, hope was what was left in Pandora's Box. So let's move forward with our eyes open and with hope. Life with less oil could well be the the best thing that could happen to us."
Adrienne Campbell, Surviving and Thriving in the Feb/Mar issue 2008 of The Green Parent.
The day I learnt about peak oil something changed in me. I remember being amazed at how something could stir me so fundamentally, because I am not the passionate type. I am the slow burning, understanding and patient type, which I think the world needs equally. My reaction wasn't outrage or despair though. Perhaps I should be ashamed to admit it, but I felt relief. Relief and sudden exhilaration that this world was real, not a structure set in stone by people represented by anyone who has ever exerted their authority over me.
It dawned on me finally that this was my world as well, and things change. The future looked more uncertain than ever, the gnawing fear and sorrow over where we are and where we are going that had been with me for years was confirmed, but the reality of it made me giddy. Being in the midst of what you fear is never anything like the fear itself, is it? You are suddenly filled with energy, the certainty of your situation giving you space to act, freedom from that paralysing state of hesitation. The future was broken open, finally free to be open for anything - horror perhaps, but also the possibility of something else.
Similarly, when I decided to drop out of med school five years ago the image arose in my head of a railroad going dead straight ahead, the endless career slog filling me with no inspiration, surrounded by desert. I hadn't realised how infertile my future had become and in a way always been. How the lush plants I had dreamt of had quietly died, but more importantly, that there had not been that many in the first place.
I hadn't considered it my world so I had only fitted in as many little plants as I could, in the empty spaces between the rules and obligations, to feel as comfortable as possible, but in the end you can't thrive in a place you don't call home. This was not my home. No possibilities, only shoulds. When that world all of a sudden went up in smoke with my decision I was shocked. My future that had been so real as if I had already lived it was no longer there, it had never existed. Apart from in my head, where it had ruled me.
There are three doors in front of you - what do you see? my psychotherapist at the time asked me. Behind the large wooden door in the middle I saw a parking lot, stretching on endlessly, without a soul in sight. I am a loner and knew that sight all too well from when I retreat too far into myself. Behind the right door I cowered in anxiety - the place was a steamy kitchen packed with hurrying, loudly arguing people. I don't deal well at all with groups or crowds, especially rowdy ones. The door to the left was so small I had to crawl through the opening, under plants and vines into humid greenery and birdcalls. Someone was waiting for me there.
(What is behind your doors? It's easy - just close your eyes, relax and let the first image to come to you expand. Then move from there. You might be surprised.)
I still have to choose between those doors, always tempted to withdraw into the parking lot where I know I will be undisturbed forever, but also wither away. To overdo it in the busy kitchen, spending time with others but not being myself, and then want to run from it. Bending down to open that tiny door isn't always easy, I have to persuade myself when I am tired and bitter.
But all in all I feel like I have grown up, in that I know that it is my world, my home, behind all those doors and I choose to dream colourful dreams rather than accept the current railway destination. What we have in our heads is infinitely powerful, whether we know it or not, and there is always more possibility than we dream of. The world is a dream in our heads and hearts.
ps. Thank you so much for your sweet comments on my loved one's post, your well-wishes have warmed both our hearts. Thank you.