I’m planning to share my new practice with you, just on a Tuesday, even though I’m completing this task everyday. This practice came to me first via Alisha Sommer and her beautiful writing and photography. And this practice came to Alisha via Marie Howe being interviewed on On Being.
Within this podcast, Marie Howe talks about the power of poetry and the sacredness of the every day. Sacred space is there always just waiting for us to stop and pay attention. To stop and hold space for the now.
I love the thought of this. I love the idea of gifting ourselves the beauty and grace of our present moments. All we have to do is slow down and listen. Slow down and observe.
Marie recommends to her students to write down 10 observations of the actual world each day. No metaphors, no comparisons, just detail the world as it actually is. Simple. Engage the senses and be up close with the world around us. Be present.
After embarking on this practice for a few weeks now, I have to say it hurts, sometimes, to be so present as the tendency is to look away. To want to distract myself and move on. Get moving, get producing. But at the same time as the pain and is the simple joy of being present. There’s pain but also happiness to be found in being present. And this is amazing. Try is yourself and see.
Marie Howe calls this ‘a gift of holding sacred space.’ And you’re doing this for yourself, no one else, just yourself. I claim this as self-care to the max.
Each Tuesday, I’ll share my 10 observations. Feel free to share yours too, here with me.
When my days are lived at a pace.
When my time is filled with noise.
When my eyes are lit up by a screen.
I feel a creeping dread up my spine.
Red ants invade my hairline
and I feel as if there is no escape.
I’m uncomfortable in my skin,
taking only shallow breaths.
Heavy and awkward, never feeling rest or calm,
I forget who I am.
When I withdraw to slow down.
When I turn off external sounds.
When my ears become accustomed
to the voice deep within my being,
I can feel my soul and she speaks
from heart of love.
Over the weekend, our clocks went back. We lost an hour and gained the darkness. Usually at this time of year, I go into a bit of a slump. With the night’s drawing in so does my mind and emotions. I get a bit grumpy as this is the way I’m supposed to act. I’m not supposed to welcome the dark, to enjoy the dark, I should be reaching for the light, or so I’ve been lead to believe. But this year, I sense a change.
This November I plan to go within, deep within. Cosy up and settle into my new home at the same time as explore my internal darkness. I’m looking forward to the rest, to the reduction in the pressures to perform and show up. I’m looking forward to just being. and don’t get me wrong, I’ll not be idle. I’ve got plenty of things to keep me busy, to be getting on with behind the scenes. But allowing myself to rest and to take care of myself, is a change, is an advancement for me that I will continue to cultivate as I reap the benefits of such. But of course if these plans get disrupted, I have also learned to be flexible.
This time last hear, I was knee deep in curriculum planning, marking and examination preparations. Self-care amounted to getting to bed before 10pm and most nights that wasn’t achieved. Things weren’t really going to plan and I was constantly knackered. What I can take from that time now is my ability to be flexible, to not make a fuss but to just go with the flow because I learned that it was me and only me who was hurting. It was me and my unrealistic expectations that was causing the ruckus, not anyone else.
I carry this nugget of knowledge with me now, when my best laid plans go up in smoke because of unforeseen circumstances. I become disappointed and hurt and yet I also see that these things happen and I’m more adept at being centred, rooted in myself but still allowing my trunk to bend, and my branches to sway in an unexpected wind or storm. These things happen, it’s nature. It’s how I perceive and handly these changable circumstances is the development, is an indication of my growth as a human being.
My husband, Alan and I have been together longer than I can remember, yet I’m still surprised by the turn of events, sometimes. At these points, I have to chuckle.
Alan, annoyed, has said that I mine our lives for writing material but I do believe it’s not just my story to tell, so I do shy away from writing about our marriage as it is, while in the thick of things.
This relationship, when two individuals come together into a partnership, does play a significant part in my life and to not explore and reflect upon it in within my writing is denying a part of myself. As well as living a lie, as believe it or not, marriageland is not all hunky dorky.
During the years we’ve been together, Alan and I have experienced the rough with the smooth. They say a couple’s relationship changes when children come along. And that much is true. There’s had to be a lot more understanding and communication and patience. And sometimes it hasn’t always been there.
I’m not offering marriage guidance here as I’m not an expert is marritable bliss. I only know what works and doesn’t work for me/us. So we’re still in the thick of moving house. This follows on the back of months of ill health, cancer treatment and hospital visits. You don’t realise the calm within your day to day until it is disrupted. You don’t realise the love and companionship and trust within your relationship until it has disappeared.
This isn’t a post about Alan and I spliting up, far from it. But it is a post about holding on and appreciating what you have when you have it. It’s obvious but sometimes we fail to acknowledge it, fail to act upon it, fail to live it.
As we settle into our new home, the time and space has arisen to speak my needs and concerns to Alan as well as to check in with him about his needs and concerns. We’re still part of this dance, growing all the time as individuals and together. But it never ceases to amaze me as you hold a crystal up to the light the myriad of shapes and colours and delights that are revealed.
This is weird right! Or it is just meant to be?! I’ve just competed my first 3 card spread in the new home. I was asking the questions: who was I/ am I/ will be.
This spread is nearly identical to a recent reading I had with the lovely @rootandrattlesnake regarding my business. The only difference is the middle card.
The cards are telling me something and I am listening.
My old self has gone. The Sheree of many years giving to please everyone and needing outward success and other people’s approval has gone.
The woman standing here now is artistic and introspective with a dark intensity which I claim and nurture.
Those four wands waving at me again signify a completion. In business I saw it as Iceland – The Retreat coming to fruition watch @livingwildstudios
As a person, I see this as all my hard work from reaching rock bottom, from stripping away all the shit and facades in order to see and accept authentic me will pay off/ is paying off each day as I continue on this path, as I become complete – whole.
Even though the last few days have been full on with the house move ( and we haven’t finished yet), I am pleased to say that I have managed to find the time and space within each day to stop and admire my surroundings. I can recall moments of stillness when I have been present; catching myself smiling into the season, noticing the changing light, sensing the coming chill. Relishing the ruby richness of the berries.
It really has been a gift to experience these moments of clarity, these moments of bliss in the sheer speed of passing time, and the sheer frenzy of activities.
Time is running out in terms of getting the house cleared as well as for my favourite season being here in all her golden edges.
Tonight while driving back from the council dump, high up in the sky in front of me is a sliver of the moon. She moves out from the dark, slowly revealing a pale silver cheek. I feel blessed in so many ways, to be living this life now. Thank you.
Deep within the still centre of my being may I find peace.
Silent,y within the quiet of the Grove may we share peace.
Gently within the greater circle of humankind may we radiate peace.
– Cairistiona Worhington
There are three slender things that support the world; the slender stream of cow’s milk into a pail; the slender blade of green corn in the ground; the slender thread running over the hands of a skilled woman. – ancient Irish triad.
A recent book I picked up is The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for thr Turning of the Year, by Caitlin Matthews. The quote above is featured for today, 22 October.
Within the Celtic world, the cow is important. It is a unit of wealth along with grains used to make the daily bread. Before the industrial revolution, all clothing was made by hand. Labour intensive procedures carried out by the women of the household took the unwashed wool, into spinning, into creating the fine linen cloth to wear next to the skin of all the family.
Foodstuff, grain and material; three ordinary things that support any society in it’s existence. To survive.
Today’s meditation ends with the question, What three ordinary things are the supporters of your life? Make your own personal triad.
Only when the question is asked do I consider what are the essentials for my existence. Ordinary things on a day to day basis I probably take for granted. But when I stop and consider it, I may not be thinking of them every single minute of the day but I know what I am grateful for, especially during this period of change; personal and seasonal, when things are dying but only for new life to be born. In time.
My personal triad, those three clear notes that resonate throughout all I do in life are: water, within and without; creativity feeding my body, mind and soul; and love that wraps around me for myself and for/from others that makes sure I am home where ever I roam.
Now I ask you the question, What three ordinary things are the supporters of your life?
The sun moves west. You walk the road out of town to meet it. Your progress is slow as you keep stopping to hold the moment. To wonder as the pinky peach light. In awe you question this reality. As the water lights up from within a golden glow that draws you closer. Close enough to touch. Something stirs inside you, deep within that sings in tune with this present.
A lonely concrete hut
rusty roof taste
metallic mixed with fear
April – A Poem A Day