Wednesday Writers’ Well

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“The aspiring poet is constantly lowering a bucket only half way down a well. coming up time and again with nothing but empty air. The frustration is immense. But you must keep doing it anyway. After many years of practice, the chain draws unexpectedly tight, and you have dipped into the waters that will continue to entice you back. You’ll have broken the skin on the pool of yourself.”

 – SEAMUS HEANEY

Welcome to this regular slot each Wednesday, which I call Writers’ Well because: it’s intended to be a source of nourishment and inspiration for the writer in you, it expresses my belief that creative writing can benefit our well being on many levels, and…I love the above quote from Seamus Heaney. It gives me goosebumps every time. It also resonates with my own intention when leading writing workshops. It’s not about producing good writing, it’s about brave, real writing. Writing that goes down deep within to draw up something unexpected.

Writing Prompt:

Each week, I share one of the writing prompts used the previous Friday in my weekly workshop, along with an example of what was written in response. Today’s prompt (allow about 15 mins total) is…A Poem about Spring

Begin by making a list, speedily and spontaneously, of about 10 things you associate with Spring. If you’re doing it in a group, you can pass your list round to the right after each item and add to each others so you get some creative cross pollination of imaginative ideas.

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Here is what I wrote:

 

The air is full of it

sounds, sights, smells

the very taste of life’s joy

rising, flying, singing itself back

through brave green shoots

and fluffy white lambs

playing with a land

that is waking up

***

Feeling tender

yearning to grow

stretching my spirit

beyond the known

for life force itself

holds no guarantees

other than expressing itself

through trees dressing up

in new season’s leaves

it can’t hold on, hold back

press pause on rebirth

only celebrate the cycle

that turns with the earth

so dance barefoot

on sun warmed grass

and drink in the extra

warmth and light

to give spring

a worthy welcome

 

 

What does Spring mean to you?

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/upcoming-writing-workshops-and-some-prompts-for-you-to-play-with/

and here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/writing-prompts-the-elements/

 

 

 

Island

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This (beginning of a) song just came to me on a walk, and I wanted to share if with you as I’d love to know your thoughts before I play with it/refine it/add to it etc a little more. Have a listen. The lyrics are below.

 

Blessings All xxx

 

 

Island

He walks the street alone
then sings a lullaby to the sky
for the kids he left at home
he has no tears
his heart has run dry
because he knows he’s said his last goodbye

I don’t want to be an island
let no ocean keep me from you
I don’t want to be an island
so let’s start something new

Building bridges of words
without action’s worse than nothing
building walls with your hurt
isn’t safety it’s just suffering
so just stop
for a minute
won’t you stop
for a minute
because in your heart you know
we gotta grow together
we gotta grow together

Family

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I had a lot of fun writing some more ‘poetry on demand’ at another local wedding event this morning, and would like to share one here – written, as usual, in just three minutes – on the requested subject of Family. They gave me more background that just that one word theme of course, but I’ll let the poem speak for itself. Enjoy 🙂

A family as big in heart
as in number
where love runs
thicker than blood
and all are welcome
whatever the connection
but it’s getting harder
to stay in touch
more movement now
more spread out
but we do our best
to keep that glue
of love and connection
strong and true
and though it’s not
all joy and bliss
I wouldn’t trade a thing
for this
solid rock of family
foundations of a life
rooted in, but going beyond
that bond of man and wife

For more information Wedding Poetry information, check out:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/wedding-poetry/

 

 

Wednesday Writers’ Well

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“The aspiring poet is constantly lowering a bucket only half way down a well. coming up time and again with nothing but empty air. The frustration is immense. But you must keep doing it anyway. After many years of practice, the chain draws unexpectedly tight, and you have dipped into the waters that will continue to entice you back. You’ll have broken the skin on the pool of yourself.”

 – SEAMUS HEANEY

Welcome to this regular slot each Wednesday, which I call Writers’ Well because: it’s intended to be a source of nourishment and inspiration for the writer in you, it expresses my belief that creative writing can benefit our well being on many levels, and…I love the above quote from Seamus Heaney. It gives me goosebumps every time. It also resonates with my own intention when leading writing workshops. It’s not about producing good writing, it’s about brave, real writing. Writing that goes down deep within to draw up something unexpected.

Writing Prompt:

Each week, I share one of the writing prompts used the previous Friday in my weekly workshop, along with an example of what was written in response. Today’s prompt (allow about 20 mins total) is called…Take a walk around your inner garden

 

Set aside some quiet space and time. Imagine your life and current experience of living represented as an inner garden. Close your eyes if it helps, or find your own way to quietly, gently, imagine taking a walk around that garden. What can you see, hear, smell, touch, taste? What’s growing, or not…? etc etc. I don’t want to give you too many leads, for there’s no right or wrong way…just follow where this idea takes you.

seed

 

Here is what I wrote:

 

Full of beauty and potential, but unkempt and overgrown through neglect. It’s a peace garden, with a fountain at the centre, which still has water flowing, though less than it should because it’s all choked with dead leaves.  

There are four benches around this peace garden, representing; compassion, loving-kindness, equanimity and joy. Again, they’re covered in leaves, but still perfectly serviceable. I start to brush them off, and realise I’m just moving the problem, not genuinely creating welcome and space. So I go to the tool shed, get a wheelbarrow and a rake, and set to work. It’s cold and dull, but the work soon warms me up. The compost pile has greatly grown, and in big wellington boots I stamp, jump, laugh and dance on it to squash it down.

Time for a break.

I take my thermos from the tool shed , sit at a bench and pour myself a coffee, taking a biscuit out of my pocket, not worrying about my messy hands. As I smile, and sip (not together, that doesn’t work…in case you’ve tried…) I realise I don’t know which bench I am sat on. I turn to read the plaque behind me, rubbing it with the the sleeve of my coat to reveal what’s written beneath the dirt and grime; Joy.

I choke up a bit. It’s my starter bench. , always has been, the one I find it easiest to sit at, and the one where I rest, recharge, take a break, before taking a walk and admiring the garden from alternative places of perception. 

But wherever I sit, before me is the movement of water; sparkling, giggling, through, over, falling – a fountain of peace, freed from dead leaves to shine with clarity again.

Thinking about that word Joy has reminded me of this:

joystory1

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/a-ripple-of-joy/

 

Can you describe your own inner garden, as it is right now?

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/upcoming-writing-workshops-and-some-prompts-for-you-to-play-with/

and here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/writing-prompts-the-elements/

 

 

 

Sealed with a kiss…

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He looked deep into her beady black eyes

bright nights into which he fell

then took a deep breath, as his ears turned pink,

“Oh sweetheart, you’re blushing! Do tell!”

***

“I love you more than every star

shining now and that ever will be

you bring out my best, then still love the rest

Darling – will you marry me?”

***

And now it was she who’s pink nose blushed

as she cast her eyes down to the floor

“Of course my sweet,” she said to her feet

“it’s all I’ve been waiting for!”

***

He lifted her chin till she looked at him

and with eyes shining brightly said this,

“I’m yours for all time, as you too are mine.”

then sealed his sweet words with a kiss.

I’m attending another Wedding Fair to write and share poetry this coming Saturday, so today was the perfect opportunity to warm up!

Want to find out more about my poetry for weddings?

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Follow this link…

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/wedding-poetry/

 

Wednesday Writers’ Well

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“The aspiring poet is constantly lowering a bucket only half way down a well. coming up time and again with nothing but empty air. The frustration is immense. But you must keep doing it anyway. After many years of practice, the chain draws unexpectedly tight, and you have dipped into the waters that will continue to entice you back. You’ll have broken the skin on the pool of yourself.”

 – SEAMUS HEANEY

Welcome to this regular slot each Wednesday, which I call Writers’ Well because: it’s intended to be a source of nourishment and inspiration for the writer in you, it expresses my belief that creative writing can benefit our well being on many levels, and…I love the above quote from Seamus Heaney. It gives me goosebumps every time. It also resonates with my own intention when leading writing workshops. It’s not about producing good writing, it’s about brave, real writing. Writing that goes down deep within to draw up something unexpected.

Writing Prompt:

Each week, I share one of the writing prompts used the previous Friday in my weekly workshop, along with an example of what was written in response. Today’s prompt (allow about 15 mins total) is called…Magic Glasses

magic-glasses

Imagine you had a pair of Magic Glasses. These Magic Glasses will allow you to see anything you want to see, but can’t right now. First, make a list, speedily and spontaneously, of about 10 things you would like to be able to see. If you’re doing it in a group, you can pass your list round to the right after each item and add to each others so you get some creative cross pollination of imaginative ideas.

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So, you have your list, which was intended to wake your imagination up. Now choose one of those things, or something else if a new idea comes to mind as you start to write…

Here is what I wrote:

rd-hut

 

I’m reading one of his books, but I’ve read it so many times I could almost recite it word for word from beginning to end. Well, ok, that’s an exaggeration, but I could certainly retell the story in detail, and repeat verbatim those key, inimitable phrases and made up words. Such magic! But how did he do that?

I open the drawer and take them out, trying not to remember the last time I put them on because that might put me off. As fast as I can, I hook them round the backs of my ears, close my eyes, and tell them what I want to see.

When I open my eyes again I’m there, in his hut, and I see the old fashioned lamp angled towards the yellow pad on which he’s writing in pencil. I see the pencil moving, hear it even, because it’s so quiet in here. Every now and then he picks up a rubber, uses it, brushes the crumbs onto the floor, and continues. This continues and continues, and I realise I asked wrong. I close my eyes again, and when I open them it’s chaotic! There are chocolate rivers and terrifying giants all lining up before a door that seems to be placed right between the backs of his two eyes. They each wait patiently, knocking politely, and being granted entry, at which point they seem to dissolve into a mini tornado that descends down to the tip of his pencil.

But now there’s a backlog! The line is filling up faster and faster at the back, the knocks are getting louder and more insistent. I find myself pushed out, and I’m there watching again as he puts down his pencil, does up a few buttons on his cardigan as he stands, and makes to leave the hut.

What would you ask to see with your Magic Glasses?

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/upcoming-writing-workshops-and-some-prompts-for-you-to-play-with/

and here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/writing-prompts-the-elements/

And for some added inspiration, here is an interesting TED talk about fear and the imagination.

 

 

 

 

For Emergencies Only?

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meditation2image credit: www.insightmeditation.org.nz

A conversation with a dear friend yesterday, reminded of this piece I wrote over three years ago. I needed to re-read it, so thought it might have value for you too – enjoy 🙂

At the moment I meditate like I take vitamin C – in emergencies only. OK, I’ve used that word lightly, but it’s true. I find myself caught in the habit of using the preventative as cure, which works to an extent, but prevention is better. My mother once told me of a tradition where you paid your doctor every month – unless you were ill. That was the month you didn’t pay, because you doctor had not done their job well enough. Now THAT would revolutionize the NHS (our beloved National Health Service here in the UK, which itself is becoming rather sick due to government spending cuts…).

There was a time, not so long past, when I had a very regular and treasured spiritual practice. I would meditate daily for an hour, with days off being a rare exception. And there was a time, not so long past, when my diet was more balanced, when I was more aware of what my body needed and where it could get it. I didn’t need vitamin supplements

Before beginning to teach on this one month intensive English Language Course, I felt a sore throat coming and my left ear had begun to complain with an inner pain that hinted at possible infection. I bought vitamin C supplements and slept for the afternoon. I was lucky, and whatever had threatened to pay me a visit decided not to stick around. I felt well the next day. I was grateful to my body, but it made me think.

This weekend I noticed my ‘being VS doing’ scale was feeling overwhelmingly tipped in doing’s favour, so I went to our Sanctuary here. This is a dedicated silent room, with a candle in the centre and chairs arranged in circles. I went into Sanctuary with the intention of catching up on some ‘being’ time.

Oh sweetheart, it doesn’t work like that. The vegetables I’m growing can’t be drowned in water one day and left thirsty for the next three. Little and often. My children’s novel won’t get written if I wait for those times when I have a whole weekend free. Little and often. My soul will not find its way closer to God if I think I can make up for regular daily practice by sitting with great intensity and purpose for, oh, a whole hour. My mind is like a well composted garden bed; it grows weeds with as much success as flowers and veg.  If I weed it every day, the flowers will thrive. If I leave it too long, the weeds will have taken much of the nourishment for themselves, not to mention they’ll have grown tall and thick enough to hide the flowers completely. Weeds are powerful, believe me, I played tug of war with nettle roots recently and it was a closer run thing that I’d like to admit.

As I was weeding, liberating the spent daffodil bulbs from their cages of ground elder and nettle roots, my compassion began to grow for those thoughts, that light, that love and creativity that is missing out on my attention and energy, because the weeds of ‘To Do’ and ‘obligation’ have been allowed to grow out of control. When they reach this point of overwhelm, it’s already too late for ‘little and often’, and ‘one thing at a time’ must be engaged instead. To manage the overwhelm I have to focus on one task at a time, in order to be fed by the satisfaction of seeing something completed before digging for the energy to focus on the next.

I did spend a few precious moments with our sweet peas though, checking on their progress. When I saw how the delicate, finger like tendrils had perfectly and neatly curled themselves around the string of the rough frame I’d created for them, I was mesmerized. How do they know where the string is? How do they know they must wrap, and climb, and stretch towards the sun in order to flower and thrive? How many years, hundreds, thousands, of evolution has it taken to create this plant with such precision and perfection that it follows some divine inner instruction with such grace and lack of effort that we barely notice how clever it is?

How do I come to such a place of busyness that I believe I can catch up on my journey towards greater wakefulness by having a single hour of silence?

Writing this has brought me to humour, which has brought me to a more peaceful place, which has brought me to a willingness to accept what I already know – I have to give conscious attention to the important things ‘little and often’ or the unimportant things will grow to hide what really matters, and it will take much more time and effort to re-reveal those true priorities again.

Happy inner gardening folks🙂

Gardens: sweet peas  //www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/oct/19/gardens-sweet-peas

 

Patchwork of Peace

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I find it’s time for me to offer this patchwork I’ve been stitching together over the last couple of weeks, made up of words of my own, words of others, woven through with the intention to warm and sustain. If you don’t like the design of my quilt, I welcome that. Unfold yours and show it to me – I want to see. Blessings be!

peace-quilt

(image from peace quilt ideas on Pinterest)

I’ll start with this poem I just wrote:

Shout louder! We’re not being heard!

Listen deeper – is there something I’m not hearing?

He’s wrong, we have to stop him!

His actions hurt, how do we heal them?

Come together, we’ll be stronger!

Dare to differ, can we stretch each other to expansion?

It’s a crisis! Act now!

I’m in crisis, should acting wait ’till I’m more peaceful?

We need answers!

I’m sitting with questions.

gratitude

image: http://markromeromusic.com/

My Thank You Note to President Trump

A radical, perhaps unexpected, note of thanks.

 

And let’s close with a song:

Wednesday Writers’ Well

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“The aspiring poet is constantly lowering a bucket only half way down a well. coming up time and again with nothing but empty air. The frustration is immense. But you must keep doing it anyway. After many years of practice, the chain draws unexpectedly tight, and you have dipped into the waters that will continue to entice you back. You’ll have broken the skin on the pool of yourself.”

 – SEAMUS HEANEY

Welcome to this regular slot each Wednesday, which I call Writers’ Well because: it’s intended to be a source of nourishment and inspiration for the writer in you, it expresses my belief that creative writing can benefit our well being on many levels, and…I love the above quote from Seamus Heaney. It gives me goosebumps every time. It also resonates with my own intention when leading writing workshops. It’s not about producing good writing, it’s about brave, real writing. Writing that goes down deep within to draw up something unexpected.

Writing Prompt:

Each week, I share one of the writing prompts used the previous Friday in my weekly workshop, along with an example of what was written in response. Today’s prompt (allow about 15 mins total) is called…Gratitude Backtrack

First, make a list, speedily and spontaneously, of things you are thankful for. Aim for 10…

  • Thank you for…
  • Thank you for… etc

Now, choose one of those things from your list. Take a few minutes to track back where it came from, for example a new job, how did you find out about it, and if you found out through a friend how did you meet that friend, and…. etc etc. when you find a good point to start, write about the journey from then until now.

 

Here is what I wrote. It’s a little more raw/personal than I would usually share here, but I want to support you in being brave, and this prompt can be quite profound. It’s not about writing beautifully, it’s about writing bravely.

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As I track this back it’s interesting to notice that not all the stages were comfortable, or even welcome, but without each stage, this time that I’m enjoying right now, alone in a beautiful, cosy thatched cottage, deep in the quiet of the countryside, slowly listening, surrendering to, nurturing and preparing to grow into the next expression of my creative journey – wow, without the crap times as well as the blessings, I wouldn’t be here, doing this, learning so much about myself and what I want from my life, far away from the expectations, advice, suggestions of others – unless I invite or ask for them, when they are of course a huge blessing and a welcome resource.

And yes, part of why I’m here is because I needed to find a way to recover my finances a little, and a random meeting with a friend on a train (if I hadn’t missed the earlier train, which had annoyed me at the time, we wouldn’t have met) led to an invitation to take care of this house and its darling cat for a time, at no cost to me, save the petrol, and – oh gosh! – even before that, Dad asked me to have his car while he’s away, without which I couldn’t have offered myself here, because the location is too remote to be without a vehicle.

When I look, gently and appreciatively, at all the intricate strands of my life and those of others that had to come together to knit, weave, blend together to create this web that has caught me, and provided the trampoline like bounce I needed to move onward and upwards; when I see all of that, I know life loves and takes care of me. I know it’s all meant to be, I know I can breathe, and relax into trusting life’s purpose.

What are you grateful for?

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/upcoming-writing-workshops-and-some-prompts-for-you-to-play-with/

and here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/writing-prompts-the-elements/

and we also did this last Friday, if you missed it the first time 😉

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/a-poem/

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Poetry – Gratitude

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It was such a joy writing poetry for those who attended the wedding fair on Sunday. The time flew by, and I wrote 12 poems in the four hours I was there, on a huge range of topics from giraffes and butterflies, to marathon running to the timeless expression of the meeting of the personal and the universal ‘I’ve just become engaged to the man of my dreams’. It was fun, it was deep, it was magical, it was moving, it was community building it was heart expanding. A privilege.

I’ll share three of the free three minute free taster poems I wrote here (try saying that five times fast!), unedited and full of feeling if not finesse 😉 Enjoy, in Joy!

Butterflieswritten for a young girl who adores them, and has their image on her bedroom lamp.

Beautiful colours

delicate wings

so free and so flighty

such magical things

 

You land on the flowers

or rest in the trees

and there in my bedroom

you’re close to me

 

Not real of course, no

that wouldn’t be fair

for you like to be

in the fresh open air

 

I can’t wait for summer

(you don’t like the cold)

to see you again

brave, bright and bold

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I had a little help from this lucky charm with that one 😉

 

 

 

Pearls and rosesthis bride to be told me how she’d always loved pearls, which are her birth stone, and roses are her favourite flower

Ever since I was a girl

Their precious sheen

has held me enthralled

as the gem of my birth

they feel close to me

their beauty, purity

born of the sea

Roses in contrast

are birthed from the earth

bold and red, their heady scent

speaks of love and luxury

Together combined

the magic’s complete

A salty pearl

a rose so sweet

And so I wish

our love to be

as rich as a rose

as deep as the sea

And finally, I’ll share this ‘Man of my dreams’ one, which had the mother of the bride to be excitedly proclaiming. ‘You could include that in your ceremony!’
man-of-my-dreams

 

So much fun! Can’t wait to do it again 🙂