“In my longing for depth I have been re-rooting in the earth, in myself and my creativity, in my community, in my spiritual practices, honing in on work that is not only meaningful but feels joyful, listening with less and less judgment to the ideas and efforts of others, having visions that are long term.” Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy
Get ready to immerse yourself in the Great Outdoors on this special day when everyone is encouraged to think about nature.
Bring the #OutdoorsIndoors on International Earth Day
Northumberland National Park’s writer in residence Dr. Sheree Mack loves immersing herself in nature. She has learnt to destress through nature and found inspiration for her creative writing in the great outdoors.
Join Sheree and National Park Ecologist Gill Thompson on International Earth Day to discover how to get the most out of your personal nature experience.
Date And Time
Thu, 22 April 2021
11:00 – 14:30 BST
From some hints on where and when to find hidden natural delights to practical tips on capturing your own precious memories through journaling, this online workshop will prepare you for a meaningful connection with nature.
Joining details will be sent ahead of the event.
This is the first event I’ll be facilitating in relation to my writer in residence with the Black Nature in Residence Project.
I find this card difficult to read. I think it is a warning towards becoming narcissistic as well as falling into the comparison tap. This month I returned to social media and I wonder if it was for the right reasons. I must say I’ve been happier without it.
We may look into a mirror and see ourselves, but we can also look at others and see ourselves reflected back and maybe not like what we see there. There’s being honest with ourselves as well as distorting the image. The mirror is all about self-perception and this can be a construct.
This image is a shard of a mirror, a portion which can become a trickster if allowed to gain purchase between me and my true self.
In the poem by Juan Jimenez, ‘I am not I’, the translation reads,
I am not I.
I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
I attempt to remember myself, commune with myself, the one inside through my creativity. The words and images I work with each day are my practice of holding up the mirror as well as letting it fall, and not relying to heavily on what I see or others see, but on what I feel, and hear when I pay attention and listen within.
I appreciate this card’s appearance more now than before because we all need these checks and balance to stay on our own path.
The Crone was the first card I pulled for the theme of my year, 2021. I thought this card was very apt as I’m moving towards my 50th birthday on October, as well as this card being the thirteenth in the Wild Unknown Archetype deck. This is my number. So I feel that The Crone has a wealth of wisdom to impart upon me this year and beyond.
The Crone is the third figure in the triple goddess path, and she has been around long enough to have seen it all. She has reached the point of rejecting dualities in life and accepts it all, the beauty with the suffering, black with white.
Often present with crows, a symbol of wisdom as well as death, the Crone gives and takes life, using all energies to reveal hidden knowledge. The Crone resides in us all but is often feared because of her power.
I accept whatever she will bring this year, and look forward to deepening my relationship with her rich and unapologetic magic.
I see The Crone’s appearance now as a reinforcement of the decisions that I’ve already made. I don’t have time for any superficial and petty discussions or relationships. I feel in order to heal myself, that I need to go deeper, deeper within even if this means I travel alone.
This going deeper will be supported by further study into such goddesses as Dhumavati, Hecate, Baba Yaga and Lilith.
I was hoping to finish for a Christmas break sooner in December than I actually did. I wanted to ease into the holidays, getting snug and cosy and reading to my heart’s content. Of course even the best laid plans go awry. But I still managed to clock up some reads, as I got ready for 2021. What is going to be my focus the new year? I think there’s some clues within my December reading list.
Here are the books I read this month:
- Black Bodies, White Gaze – George Yancy
- Keep Going – Austin Kleon
- Creatrix – she who makes – Lucy H. Pearce
- Slow: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Hectic World – Jo Peters
- The Year of Less – Cait Flanders
- The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
This month was a bit sparse on the reading front but there were still books that got finished.
- The Festive House – Alison May
- Autumn Skies Over Ruby Falls – Holly Martin
- The Taxidermist – Shazea Quraishi
October turned out to be a great month of reading after I set myself the Sealy challenge; of reading one book of poetry a day for a month.
Here’a the books I got through:
- Other Poetry, no.23 – anthology of poetry
- Writing for my life – Nancy Levin
- The World Don’t End – Charles Simic
- Our Dead Behind Us – Audre Lorde
- Butcher’s Dog 12 – anthology of poetry
- Butcher’s Dog 13 – anthology of poetry
- What to look for in Autumn – Ladybird Book
- Facts about the moon – Dori Anne Laux
- Undersong – Audre Lorde
- Postcolonial Love Poem – Natalie Diaz
- What the Water Gave Me – Pascal Petit
- It Ends With Her – Brianna Labuskes
- I am an Island – Tasmin Galidas
- The Crossroads of Should and Must – Elle Lune
- Danger on Peaks – Gary Synder
- The Goddess Oracle – Amy Sophia and Mara Rashinsky
- Blue Front – Martha Collins
- The Autumn House – Alison May
- The Winter House – Alison May
A few weeks ago, when I was in the thick of my separation and wondering how I was going to get through the rest of 2020, I made a commitment to myself to designate October as a creative retreat month. I’m not going anywhere, but I am protecting my time to retreat from the world and outside commitments in order to focus on my creative practice.
Due to circumstances, I’ve allowed things to get lost in transition. Focusing on what brings me joy, like reading and writing and creating haven’t been top of my list for ages, it feels. So protecting October, my favourite month of the year, my birth month, as time and space to re-engage with my creative projects and start some new ones felt right for me.
Only a few days into October, and I was inspired in a poetry workshop to attempt #thesealychallenge. This challenge is to read thirty-one poetry books or chapbooks in the thirty-one days of August. I know it’s October but I’m coming late to the party. But I feel this is just what I need to relight my fire, put pen to paper and write poetry.
So far this month, I’ve read 5 poetry collections and chapbooks. What I’m doing while reading is also collecting words, single words which I like the sound of, or I find are being used in new and usual ways. Words that stir my interest and create a reaction.
What this reading is doing is inspiring me to write again. So from just reading other people’s work, immersing myself in the world of poetry again, I’ve created 6 new poems. So I’m going all the way this time, and trying for 31 poems by the end of the month; 31 poems in 31 days.
This has already gotten me through a block, a fear that was starting to take hold of me that I might be only able to write while in crisis, while in an unhappy state. But by producing something over the last few days, I’ve now put that fear to rest. I’m back, reading and writing, writing and reading.
It’s been a while since I’ve share my reading with you. For a while there I got lost but I enter the changing season with a commitment to myself.
From the bookcase in my bedroom, I made the commitment to read all the books over the next 3 months. I’ve begun. But let’s backtrack and just get a record of the books read over July, August abs September. Not as meant as I’d like, but when you read the titles you’ll see what has been occupying my mind for the last quarter.
July, August and September Readings:
1. Peace from broken pieces – Iyanla Vanzant
2. How to be chic in winter – Fiona Ferris
3. The Autumn House – Alison May
4. The Winter House – Alison May
6. Escape to the French Farmhouse – Jo Thomas
The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well – Louisa Thomsen Brits
7. Break up and shine – Marissa Walter