The gift of time

Today, I was due back up at the Sill to facilitate a storytelling session for all around the themes of Hadrian’s Wall and the new Lost Words exhibition. Unfortunately, due to adverse weather conditions, the event has been cancelled.

Even though, I’d spent the last few days in preparation for the storytelling, which I view as time well spent not wasted, I’m grateful for the free time I’ve been gifted today. I felt as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulder and now I can relax into Sunday. And I’m not going to rush and fill this empty time with all the jobs I have piling up with the house or family or work related stuff.

What I intend to do and what I’ve been doing is to remain curious and allow myself to be intuitively guided towards what I feel I want or need to do. Okay I might have to do some dishes or we’ll be eating off our hands all day. But at the same time, I’ve been visiting my visual journal and experimenting with my resources; journalling, moving paint around, doodling, dreaming. Being creative but just enjoying the process and not really thinking about the end product.

Sometimes, I need to take the time and space to remember the benefits of my visual journalling practice, what it’s seen me through, supporting my healing and grieving, and how it supports me to remain curious about my creativity but also life, my life in general.

Recipe: Oven Roasted Potatoes

Today I thought I’d share something that I cooked. As I mentioned before, I’m a vegan and I receive emails from Vegan Bowls by Coconut Bowls weekly. This little beauty, Oven Roasted Breakfast Potatoes was in my inbox today and I just had to try it. Delicious comfort food is always a hit wirh me especially when it’s cold outside.

Recipe by @eatwithclarity

Ingredients
5 cups chopped red or yukon gold potatoes (about 4–5 medium potatoes)
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp old bay seasoning
Black pepper to taste
Chopped parsley, for garnishing

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chop the potatoes, onion, and pepper into small pieces and add to a large bowl.
Toss with the olive oil and minced garlic until everything is well coated.
Add in the spices, salt, and black pepper and mix until well incorporated.
Add to a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. You shouldn’t need to grease the baking dish since the potatoes are all oiled up!
After 25 minutes, turn up the heat to 425 and bake an additional 10-15 minutes to help brown the potatoes. You’ll know they’re done when they can be easily pierced with a fork.
Serve with ketchup, additional salt and pepper, salad, or any other brunch eats!

Blogging Reflections: one

Over three weeks into my #100dayofblogging challenge; the aim to post something everyday for 100 days straight, and I’m looking for some space to reflect on the task so far.

I’ve not posted anything mind boggling, or life changing so far but I have been showing up. Maybe not showing up in my fullest capacity and maybe not showing up with much of a plan either but showing up I have. And I’m noticing a turn. A turn towards wanting to write more, especially poetry after a rather dry period there.

So that’s a good thing. I’m also thinking of the three quarters left to go of this challenge and what I want to see more of in the coming weeks.

First, I want to see more poetry( already mentioned that Sheree!) Maybe trying out different forms. Already been writing some haikus. I’ve got an itching to try haibuns again. Love them.

Next, I want to start a series. I started a series in relation to Black British Art and I want to continue with this with a focus on different Black British Artists who have influenced me or who I’m just finding out about. I’m excited about this as I’m feeding my creative pot in the process.

I also want to share a vlog or two regarding my working practice, especially regarding visual journalling as I think everyone should be doing this! Amazing results in terms of how you respond and treat yourself.

Other posts I’ve been thinking about have been lists, personal facts and fictions, ‘how to’ posts as well as sharing my daily routines, morning and evening and what a productive day looks like for me as a freelancer etc.

I hope you stick around for the ride as I’ve been enjoying it so far. Yes there are days when I can’t be bothered to show up here but when I do show up, I’m pushing on through the doubts and fears and tiredness and bringing something into existence that didn’t exist before. I think that’s cool and it’s a good enough reason to keep on showing up here too.

#onwards

Not making any promises but …

It’s nearly 5 years since I adopted a visual journalling practice for everything. My life and troubles. My dreams and creativity. My sanity. And the practice of using text and images and collages and paints and washi tape and anything really I can get my hands on has been life changing and empowering. Visual journalling brought me back from the brink. It’s been my safety blanket, my confidant, my cheerleader, my vision. Visual journaling has taken me to Iceland and retreats, national creative projects and inaugural residencies. I can’t promise this is what happens to you when you try it. I can’t promise the results you’ll feel and see when you sign up for the current offering from @olwen.wilson which is safe and guided visual journalling. The only thing I can say is that this practice will change your life and how you centre yourself within it. Check out @olwen.wilson and see what she’s offering. You will not be disappointed. #visualjournalling #visualjpurnal #creativepractice #iamdreaming #patience #compassion #selfcare #selflove #selfempowerment #emopweringwomen #creativeretreaticeland #icelandcreativeretreat #power #claimingmypower

Monday Morning Blues

After a weekend of play and a disruptive night of sleep, Monday dawned eventually bright. But my energy levels were low. I could have clung on to some Monday blues if I allowed myself to as that would have been easier. It would have been so easy to not do the school run and stay in bed. Why is it you can finally sleep deeply after not being able to sleep all night, just when it’s time to get up? That bugs me that.

Anyway in the process and progress of getting the kid ready for school and straightening the house, my self kicked in and thought I needed to do something to shift the funk. To shift my energy into the light.

School run down and then down into the bay for a quick dip in the sea. The sun was shimmering on the dark metallic waves. Calm. But my nerve endings and flesh and skin and bones were screaming as I entered the sea. The cold bitter and painful. But my mind was alive and sharp and grateful. I was now awake and smiling.

Add to this, once I reached home, a quick change into my running gear. And this was major for me. I haven’t been able to run for a few months now, especially after my operation. I had it on my list to start in the new year, but fear has been holding me back. The fear of not so much the pain of running. But the fear that the pain might stop me from running consistently and far from now on.

It was like starting from zero again. Couch to 5K was my training of choice and off I went with the first run of week 1. Every step I took, I was conscious of my back but it made sure that I focused on my posture as this could make or break this habit. So I want to start as I mean to go on with the right posture that supports my back which means engaging and strengthening my core. I like the sound of that.

So moving into Monday afternoon, I still feel tired after little sleep last night but I also feel proud of myself after conquering a number of fears today by recognising them, acknowledging them and then doing the thing anyway.

Looking forward to a better sleep tonight. I think I deserve it.

Little Deaths

I discard boots before I hit the sand.
Dense turfs of grass tickle my ankles.
Raised veins single the cold.

White winter light under a wolf moon. Deep. Red. Heart.
The sight of seagulls.
Wingbeat to wingbeat song.

Stripping down to my costume
rich flesh graces the air.
Dip one. Slip one. Soon come.

Into the sharp shallows.
Howling with a hunger.
Dip one. Slip one.

Handfuls of sea slipping
through fingers towards
total immersion.

Welcome these little deaths,
to be born again and again.
Here and there and afterwards,

in solitude, as traces of you linger.

Dear Strong Black Woman

I finally got around to buying Jennifer Sterling’s book, Dear Strong Black Woman: Letters of nourishment and reflection from one strong black woman to another. And beginning to read it.
I think I’ve been reluctant to read it as I was thinking it wouldn’t tell me anything new. And I think I was also not in the right place to face it, to face a big chunk of harsh reality.
I know what it’s like being a black woman in a predominately white world. In a world where my worth is questioned and examined daily and always come back wanting.
I’m a strong black woman and have had to become this way or live this stereotype for good reason. For survival. And being vulnerable and showing my weakness or even asking for help has been for decades non-negotiable. Not happening.
But I was wrong. This slim but powerful book is just what I need right now. As it speaks to my soul, it speaks to my suffering. It legitimatises my experiences and struggles. It’s a witness and a testimony to my existence. And I thank Jennifer for writing these letters to me and to other strong black women like me.
As hard as some of these letters are to read, they are the balm I need to keep moving through this world, strong but also vulnerable, open hearted and beautiful.

A Love Letter to the Sea

Oh my. I have missed you. My life. I didn’t know how much until I re-entered you again this morning at first light.

My soul began to hum again and then began to sing once more. I’d almost forgotten what she sounded like. I’d almost forgotten myself.

There was colour in my life but not technicolour; fizzy, vibrate reds and oranges and yellows and turquoise. These singing colours have been missing until this morning. Thank you.

I do feel cleansed and purified and detoxed and lighter. My skin is stinging. My feet are tingling. I might well lose the sensation in my toes but it was worth it to get back together with you.

You hold me captive but not against my will. You just keep coming at me. Light upon a crest of a wave. A constant. Washing a little bit more of me with each cold, cold caress. Until I can take no more. And I don’t mean I leave you. No. It means I need more of you, all of you. All over me. So I sink down and take you in, all over me. The pain and pleasure mingle together to escape into a deep guttural sigh. Relief and release. Joy definitely.

But also a sacredness which colours me with grace and gratitude and love.

I’ve never through of us together as a spiritual experience. But this is the most holiest of communions for me. Nothing else compares to this, not even sex.

Here I can take you whenever I want or need. But this is not possession. There is no possession of you because you are wild and free. What it is is a surrender. Almost like praying. An appreciation and inspiration. A giving of thanks. An admiration. You are so beautiful to be with. With your dark seeping liquid, this morning like mercury, tomorrow maybe like glass.

You fill me up with love and goodness and joy. And it’s the kind of love, I want to share. It’s the kind of love from which patience and compassion flows freely. There are no obstacles, boulders in its path. It gushes this love. At times like a geyser and at others like a waterfall. Never ending, always flowing from source to sea.

Or should I say seas as you are never the same sea twice. And for which I am in awe as well as in deep appreciation.

I know I depend on you but I never knew how much until now. Until this moment. This time I come to you bruised and wounded and scared and without hope.You have renewed my hope. You have blessed me with you just being you.

I planned to be with you this morning and I made it happen. But you did all the work that needed to be done almost effortlessly. You made me whole again. You healed me. Thank you.