Saving Lives

I could make excuses or just tell the truth.

I’ve missed two days of being here. I didn’t post anything over the weekend. Did you notice? I mean who is actually reading my blog. Some days nobody and sometimes that hurts but then I remember I write for me first and foremost. But sometimes that harsh reality feeds into my desire to post or not post especially if I’m sick or low on energy. Self-care is one of my mantras as well as practice.

This weekend I completed my Outdoor First Aid training. 16 hours of intense learning, practical study all the way so that if anything was to happen while taking a group out into nature I could administer first aid.

60% of deaths in the U.K. could be unavoidable if more people knew how to save a life or give immediate, temporary first aid to give an individual who’s injured or had an accident a fighting chance of survival.

I found this figure staggering and unacceptable. Also the figures show that women and children receive the least amount of first aid, CPR really, as there’s a reluctance to touch for a fear of causing offence or being too heavy handed. I find this even more appalling and start to think what the figures would show regarding black women? I’m not even going to look because I don’t think those figures would have even been recorded, never mind be any better.

I shouted out in my class, I don’t care if you have to cut my bra and see my breasts to administer CPR on me if it saves my life. Of course this received a laugh and then jokes about having a t-shirt made with that same message on.

But I think there are people in this world who think that my life isn’t worth saving. And who has the right to think that or to act or fail to act in a way that endangers life?

I find this world maddening and angering a lot of the time. But I have practices in place that helps me to diminish this anger towards others and this society we live in so I can turn towards light and love. And that’s no new-age woolly all nicey kind of love but this is a fierce, fighting self- love which is self-care and feeds my self-worth so it isn’t dependent on anyone else’s opinion or actions. It has to be.

So yes I missed a couple of days here and I’m not tracking back to fill them in as I might have done in the past. I’ve made this decision because I think and feel, and I don’t need anyone else’s opinion on this, that I was doing greater and better things this weekend.

A day of meetings

Today was a good day for forward planning.

It’s good when you can have meetings with other people, particularly women, and find that you are on the same page and one idea leads to the next and the next and then before you know it you have a full year planned out with activities and events.

What was good about today is that the meetings were not for personal gain but were plans to share the great outdoors with others, the less fortunate, who might not otherwise have these opportunities.

It’s a good day when you can share what you love with others.

Launch Event

I was invited to the launch event of an exhibition bring the book Lost Words by Jackie Morris and Robert MacFarlane to life at the Sill this week. I’d seen the book and have admired the images, but I hadn’t spent much time with the text.

The premise is that generations of children are growing up not knowing the names of things in nature, or being able to recognise them. That this knowledge has slipped out of existence and this book was created as a way of recapturing the magic, bringing these lost words back to life. Such words and natural living things as bramble, conker and fern.

I had the most enjoyable evening talking to fellow visitors as well as hearing some of the spells within the book being read aloud. It was inspiring so much so that I intended to link into the idea of lost words, and lost worlds as I return this weekend to the Sill to facilitate a storytelling session about the multicultural communities from ether past who lived and worked around Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland.

Fern

Fern’s first form is furled,
Each frond fast as a fiddle-head.
Reach, roll and unfold follows.
Fern flares.
Now fern is fully fanned.

Robert MacFarlane

January Reading

I didn’t set out into 2020 with a reading goal. I didn’t set any numbers but I did say I wanted to read more. Vague I know. And not the ‘proper’ way to set goals that you want to succeed at but at the time it was enough for me. And it’s been working.

January saw me curled up with actual books and the iPad sporting the kindle a lot more times than I felt I did at the back end of 2019. Could I say the whole of 2019? I’m not sure. Maybe my memory fails me here.

But the reading habit, the muscle memory of turning off all distractions and getting lost in a good book, fiction, non-fiction even poetry, seems weak in relation to the last couple of years to be honest.

Hopefully, with January now behind us, I can say that the drought is over as I hurtled through a number of books this month. I’m pretty proud of my numbers but also about how expanded I feel in terms of ideas and language and joy. The joy of reading has paid a long overdue visit and I want it to continue. So look forward to a monthly round up of books read each month. You might even find a book you’re interested in reading along the way.

I’ll list the books read and then give a review or details about just one of the books, as if I did it for all of them read this month, we’ll be here all day and come on, it’s the weekend.

Completed January books include:

1. Eat and Run- My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness – Scott Jurek ( started in December and completed at the beginning of January)

2. Turned Out Nice AgainOne Living with the Weather– Richard Mabey

3. Heavenfield – LJ Ross

4. Angel – LJ Ross

5. High Force – LJ Ross

6. Cragside – LJ Ross

7. Dark Skies – LJ Ross

8. Seven Bridges – LJ Ross

Ongoing January reading include;

1. The Last Wolf – Jim Crumley

2. Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

3. Coastlines: The Story of Our Shore – Patrick Barkham

4. Blogging Basics For Authors – Nina Amir

Book review in the next post. Thanks.

Today’s Objective

Today’s objective was one thing and one thing only; to walk. I’ve been feeling as if I’m standing at the edge of a deep black hole and that my footing was slipping. I know I’ve been doing too much lately and have been feeling the burn. So I know where the feelings are coming from but that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with or hold at bay.

So I made a promise to myself today to put myself first. And walking was part of my self-care objective. Walking for miles is a good way to root me back into my body, back into my present and out of my head and worries and that black hole.

Over 10000, 10k and 1000 calories later, I also made the decision of taking another social media hiatus for February. I’ll continue with my #100daysofblogging here because I’ve made a commitment to myself. However, I need to spend some quality time alone with my own thoughts and dreams and as usual social media has become a distraction. I’m also feel as if I’m falling into that comparison trap again and when that starts to happen I know it’s time to depart.

So I’ve created a creative residency for the month of February at home. I’m dedicating the next month to following my creativity on whatever journey she wants to take me.

So the last day of January saw me listening within and paying attention and acting on what I felt. And I already feel so much better for it.

Of course this website is going to receive the benefit of a concentrated desire to share. Let’s see what await us!

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

Why it’s important to share your practice

Just before Christmas, I sent out a Studio Note to my subscribers detailing what I’d been getting up to while recovery from spinal surgery. For some reason, I hit a really rich creative spot and I was making anything and everything.

Where I captured my adventure was in my visual journal. And yes this is mostly my private and safe space but I also think it’s important to share glimpses into this space. Maybe it will inspire others to get creative and carve out their own sacred space. I know through this sharing, it somehow acknowledges and recognises me and my practice and what I’m trying to do over here. It definitely makes me more open.

Within that Studio Note, I sent out an exclusive peek into my journal for my subscribers. I’m not ready to share it here.

If you want to make sure you get the exclusives sign up to Studio Notes now and enjoy being a subscriber to Living Wild Studios. There’s freebies involved.

Sharing Practice

Remembering the Fun

In December, I gave myself the task of painting practice. I started off with lines. It started well but I soon lost interest when I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. My pieces didn’t look as good as the examples I had seen been created by certain artists. I felt demoralised falling into that comparison trap. I gave up, telling myself I was no good and a fraud. I was being the party pooper.

This is a habit I’ve fallen into quite a lot over the years. Forgetting that it took the master painters years before they reached the point of being any good or gaining recognition. And some, for example like Vincent van Gogh, didn’t gain recognition until after their death. Right up to that point, Van Gogh still kept practicing and painting never giving up on his vision, his craft. And only through Jo van Gogh-Bonger, his sister-in-law, loaning and selling his paintings and publishing van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo, her husband, did he gain his rightful place in art history.

For this to happen, after his death which he had no way of knowing, he had to do the work. He still had to show up and paint and make mistakes. Face disappointments and worries and doubts. He still had to believe in himself.

When things are difficult and not turning out the way you envisioned while creating, it can be a Herculean feat to keep believing in yourself and what you are trying to do. It is easy to give up, as I did in December. The pressure I was putting on myself to be good just wasn’t warranted. It took all the fun out of it. I’d forgotten I was only supposed to be playing and having fun not creating masterpieces.

This year, I’m up for some fun. I’m taking the pressure off myself and taking more risks just for the hell of it. For the thrill. I’m excited to see where this leads in my practice. I’m keeping my eyes on my page and seeking all the delights it can bring.