I come to the page not knowing what I’m doing.

I come to the page not knowing what I’m doing.

I might have disrupted the page already with paint, or marks or collage. But this was done to eradicate the blank page. And this was done with that one purpose in mind and then left to see another day.

I come to the page not knowing what I’m going to do. Will I make a mark with paint, pencil, piece of paper, what? I just know I need to start.

I might want to cover the white spaces. I’m drawn to colour. So using colour excites me. So I drop a dollop of paint, red maybe and then I know I need to move it across the page. But how? Finger, card, roller? Each brings a different texture to the page, each brings a different coverage to the page.

So now I’ve started but still I have no idea what I’m doing or where this piece is going. But I start responding to the mark that has just gone before. What do I need to do next to work with this last mark or interruption? What would speak with it? What would speak against it?

If I have no idea, that I pick up a pencil and allow my hand to loosely move it over the page, making circular marks. This gives me a moment to think, to look at the page and see what is missing, what is needed.

But when I say thinking, I don’t mean conscious, logical thinking. Let’s call it musing or dreaming instead. As my mind is empty when I’m in the creative process. The outside world falls away. My cares and worries fall away. I’m just focusing on the page in front of me. And not in a concentrating way, or a hard stare kind of way. Just like my hand is holding that pencil, in a loose kind of way.

I come to the page not knowing what I’m doing. But I’m listening. Being attentive to what the page, the piece now coming together wants from me, wants next. One mark, then the next, communicating to each other and then the next.

At some points in the process, I’m up close, working on just one corner of the page. At other times, I take a step back and allow other parts of the page to come into my line of vision. At some points, I fall in love with just a section of the whole. I give it some care and attention. I bring it up and out further. I make it sing, because in the process, I sing through it too.

At this point, the rest of the page needs, deserves this care and attention so I start listening elsewhere. Keep coming back to the places I love and savouring their presence.

I come to the page not knowing what I’m doing but being open to the dance of possibilities. I make myself vulnerable to the process as I feel this it the only way I can move forward with the process.

I come with no expectations, no desires to make pretty art.

I come to the page to feel and express.

Honouring My Wholeness

It’s nearly been a couple of weeks now since we, Olwen Wilson and myself, completed facilitating our online visual journaling retreat called Honouring Our Wholeness. For three sessions spread over six weeks, we created space for a self-care visual journaling retreat for women, feminine and non-binary people who are Black, Indigenous or a Person of Colour.

This was a unique and well-needed safe space for us to come together and just be. To let down our loads and know that we weren’t going to be judged but held. It was such a nourishing and nurturing space that without it, I feel a bit remiss. This space came along at the right time when I needed to take things slow and lean back into my visual journaling practice. What I need now is to remember what I learned from this experience and continue the journey; this healing journey I’ve been on for over six years now.

Six years ago, I started my visual journaling practice through a virtual course run by Lisa Sonora called Dreaming on Paper, at that point. It came into my life when I needed to explore my voice. When I needed time and space to get in touch, probably for the first time, with my true self. It provided me with an anchor when everything around me was disappearing, had been destroyed. Visual journaling kept me afloat, when I could have easily drown.

These are the things I need to remember when I do get a bit lost because of outside demands, or when I’m being far too critical on my own arse. Self-compassion. self-care and self-love are waiting for me when I open my journal and just play. Just try. Just turn up for me.

It was such an honour to be gather with these beautiful and generous people during Honouring Our Wholeness because that’s what we did for each other and ourselves, we showed up and offered ourselves compassion, care, grace and love.

All I can say now is MORE. I WANT MORE.

SnowDay/ SlowDay

The snow is falling slow and silent. The light is reflected, brighter, bolder. The trickling melt underlines the heavy silence. Under the duvet on the couch, cocooned in creativity, I’m enjoying the process of slow writing. I’m enjoying touching the writing everyday. I’m enjoying how random feelings and thoughts, ideas and experiences take shape. I’m mindfully pulling things together, holding fragments up to the light, turning them this way and that, questioning; do you fit, do you sing? Not even losing most of the writing I’d already completed for the mixed-genre memoir, and I mean lost, gone, never to be seen again writing, is deterring me or derailing me or worrying me. It’s like I’ve seen the light, something has shifted into place and I’m just enjoying the ride, not bothered about the destination. And that feels so good.

Pulling the cards for 2021

Seeing in the end of the old year and into the new is a time I always take for reflection. Visioning and re-visioning my dreams and plans for the year to come is something I do to focus my energies for moving forward with purpose and grace.

As I mentioned in my last post, my guiding word for 2021 is SLOW. To support this process of living into my word with intention, I spend time working through Susannah Conway’s workbook Unravelling Your Year. This year, the pulling of a tarot card for each month of the year is missing from the workbook for some reason, but I’ve followed this ritual for so many years now, that I didn’t need anyone else’s guidance to do so except my own intuition.

So using Kim Krans’ The Wild Unknown Archetypes deck, I proceeded to pull a card for each month of 2021, and one final card as a guiding theme for the year. When I pulled the final card, there were two stuck together so I went with the two as my guiding principles. The Crone and The Hunter were the two cards that will become my over arching cards of 2021.

I intend to go into detail about what each of these cards signify and could mean for the year ahead in the following posts. I will also share about each card pulled for each month in a post within each month moving forward too. This is a good way to keep focused and coming back to the magic and potential that each card can offer as I journey through this coming year.

December Reading

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:

  1. Black Bodies, White Gaze – George Yancy
  2. Keep Going – Austin Kleon
  3. Creatrix – she who makes – Lucy H. Pearce
  4. Slow: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Hectic World – Jo Peters
  5. The Year of Less – Cait Flanders
  6. The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton

My Voice in Virtual Places

During these changing working conditions of moving into visual spaces to connect and share and create, I’ve been enjoying a lovely run of being a guest on a number of different podcasts, separate from The Earth Sea Love Podcast, connecting women of colour and nature.

As mentioned before, I was welcomed onto the Prompted By Nature Podcast with Helen Forester where we talked about working to get more black bodies out into nature with funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

Since the first one, I’ve gone on to be a guest with Yarrow Magdalena with Daydreaming Wolves, where I enjoyed the opportunity to share about my creative practice and sea swimming and not being able to foretell the future but being okay with that.

On Speak from the Body, a podcast on practical ways to reconnect with the body and nourish your soul, hosted by Avni Trivedi, I had the opportunity to speak at length about my creative practice, visual journalling and how it saved my life, 5 years ago now.

And the final one I’ll share with you today, as there are more to come, is from the countryside charity CPRE, Campaign to Protect Rural England. In this episode I’m a guest with Professor Jules Pretty from the University of Essex, where we discuss the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in the countryside and nature.