on that beach too perfect
to be real
where the freshness of the breeze
yet failed to move
a single hair
on the golden softness
of your head
You ran to greet the waves
who rushed and roared
like a pack of boisterous puppies
full of love and jump
and inevitably knocking you down
to lick kiss you,
but you just smile wildly at me
before wading deeper
to dive through the skin
between this world
I left you there
for I had worldly callings to attend
but I’ll return
to find you as dolphin,
or seal –
the same sure smile
and salty skin
goading the sun
‘come catch me!’
before disappearing below
• I want to mine the emotions for gems of truth and wisdom
• I want to show people how amazing they are by taking soul photos while they’re not watching, and turning these invisible images into words that can be read as a map to somewhere at once absolutely the same and completely different in the world of the one who reads
• I want to remind the world of all the important things we seem to be forgetting, even though they’re right in front of our eyes
• I want to make a life as well as a living
• I want to invite myself and others to the edges and learn to fly (or build bridges)
• I want to shine a light on the knots the world has tied itself in, so skilled unknotters can see them well enough to unravel us back into freedom
• I want to write the rivers within that carry people through the landscapes of joy and sorrow so that they can enjoy them fully – and keep on moving
• I want to say, ‘this is who I am’, and to ask, ‘who are you?’
• I want to be fearless, respectful, daring and real
• I want to give Love lots of places to feel welcome so that it sticks around a while
• I want to get to know this world so well that I can recognise myself as an appreciative visitor, whilst remembering it’s not all that there is
This was my way of consciously owning that word ‘artist’ and finding out what I would aspire to do with ‘artist me’ if I let her lead. There is context and background to this inquiry, which I’ll perhaps share another time, but for now I’m very curious to know how you would complete the phrase:
As an Artist I…
OR As a writer/painter/actor I…
OR As a creative being I…
Giving is the reflection of receiving, for one can’t exist without the other, and there is a playful universal dance that grows ever more expressive and ecstatic when we feed into that magic law with generous abandon.
So yesterday found me spontaneously doing a major sort out, and I began to fill a designated Box of Delights (had to call it that because there was a book and a TV series of the same name which I loved as a child…anyone else remember that?) with potential gifts, items I no longer needed but that would bring joy to another. So I have committed myself to giving one thing away a day for advent. Quite how this will evolve I’m not sure, but instead of recounting good deeds, for the next four Sunday posts I will detail what I gave away during the week.
Freedom is a huge word which has always had a powerful resonance with me, and I have gone through several different versions of it in my life, being lucky enough to have been gifted a lot of it in various ways. I’ve acquired along the way several different tools that bring me closer to Freedom in its purest form, and I believe giving is one of the most powerful amongst my assembled kit. May I wield it consciously, playfully and with love.
Good Deeds Received
A much beloved friend sent me a very beautiful long email which touched me deeply, and also a text asking for my current address (I must’ve made a real mess of her address book, as I seem to keep moving!). I wonder what she needs that for…?:-)
My mother unexpectedly turned up to pick me up from work as she’d finished early in the cafe. That saved me a walk to the bus station, not to mention a boring wait and a late arrival home. What a treat!
My sister sent me a wonderful letter, which included gorgeous photos, summing up the highlights of her year with her family (she is married with three children) along with a mini sweet filled advent calendar which she’d gift wrapped and presented with so much love and care, not to mention creative flair.
My new polish friend and now student was soooo excited by the book I lent her last Friday (a Paulo Coelho book called Like the Flowing River, which is a collection of mini stories and inspirational reflections) she couldn’t stop thanking me, and then on Monday she thanked me again and said she thought it was going to be her favourite book ever:-)
Another factory friend gave me her contact details and asked that we keep in touch when she left on Friday, as she had decided to finish her contract early.
A friend and her boyfriend, who’d been away for a couple of weeks, turned up spontaneously at the cafe last night and helped Mum and I clean up after a busy day – what a gift!
I opened my inbox this morning to a lovely email from a friend asking that we have a walk and catch up together soon, as I seemed to have disappeared or been ‘gobbled up by the factory and turned into a biscuit…I miss you.’:-)
Good Deeds Done
Sent one of the homemade Christmas cards I’ve been making to my sister in Germany, and included a letter to thank her for the advent calendar and photos etc.
Went to Mum’s cafe earlier than planned because she ended up being really busy.
Caught up with a couple of people who’d donated things to an auction I’d held to raise money for my Rwandan friend Beatha. The things they’d offered hadn’t been sold, so I wanted to return them or find other homes for them if the gifters didn’t want them back.
Picked up some glitter and glue Mum needed for her current up-cycling creative projects. I promise to share a photo of the Christmas Tree made from an old yellow pages (!!!) soon:-) It’s GORGEOUS!
Tried out the soup recipe a friend had shared and made lunch for Mum and I. Mum’s response, ‘Sensational!’ So…make a basic leek and potato soup, then, once the potatoes are completely cooked, add a bag of fresh spinach, a tin of coconut milk and a dash of curry powder. Wizz it together and what have you got? Utter deliciousness, hot in a pot!!!
Took a moment to fill out a feedback form I found on the table in a cafe I went to, thanking them for their wonderful service.
Dug out the beautiful pre-loved advent calendar I’d been gifted by a friend and her son when they returned to Germany earlier in the year, and set it out ready for opening tomorrow! They’d been using the same one for years, as they loved it so much, so I will certainly be thinking of them as I enjoy it myself for the first time.
It’s interesting how quickly life can turn the tides on you, and I notice the good stuff seems to gather around me when I’m willing to genuinely listen. I shared last week how I’d been turned down for a care job I’d applied for. So, I got that letter on the Saturday and by Tuesday afternoon…I had a job! How? Because I started listening…
Last Monday night I was alone in the living room after Mum had gone to bed with nothing I particularly wanted or needed to do. ‘Do it!’ I heard, and I listened. Now this thing I was being told to ‘do’ was something I’d wanted to do for a while, and I’d talked myself out of it a hundred times with a thousand excuses, and I fully expected those to resurface. They didn’t. There was inner silence, and my fingers skipped lightly and happily over the keyboard as if they had a life of their own and no effort was required from me. They were writing an inquiry email about a job at the retreat centre I’ve been to twice this year, the deadline for which had, with my complete knowledge and acceptance, already been and gone. What my fingers were writing was a question – would it still be OK if I submitted an application, and completed with, ‘For the well being of all at Gaia House I sincerely hope the perfect person has already come along to take on the role. However, if for any reason you are still looking and a later start date would be possible then I look forward to hearing from you.’
The next morning brought an answer. They’d love to receive an application from me! OK, this was getting a bit real. And there was another issue. This job was very much about service, with a small monthly allowance and room and board in return for my full-time work in their kitchen. So now I needed money. ‘Just do it!’, so I did. ‘Could you come for an interview this afternoon?’ And so it was that in less than twenty four hours I’d opened up the possibility of a job I’ve dreamed of for months AND secured a temporary job in a biscuit factory (!) to earn the money I need to make the dream job viable!!! Super cool!!!
Do you know that feeling? That feeling when the loving Universe says, ‘Ah hah, well done, you’re listening again at last so sure – now I can help you. Ok, what do you need?’ There’s a sense of inevitability and flow. And you know what – it doesn’t even really matter what happens next. Rediscovering that sense of following through on intuition, gut feeling, calling, whatever name you want to give it, is such a gift the result is almost irrelevant. There’s a letting go that accepts that life holds no guarantees and living from trust means I don’t ask for or expect them, but if I’m willing to listen, I can be more responsive to whatever comes. That feels very alive.
Good Deeds Received
A dear friend whom I hadn’t caught up with in a while responded to my invite for a cuppa and we had an amazing conversation, during which we delved into multiple layers of life and she mentioned a book she wanted to lend me. That evening, I found the book on my doorstep. The last book she recommended was life changing, so I’m a little nervous – but also very excited to start this one…
The lady who interviewed me gave me a job at the biscuit factory on the spot, and invited me in for an induction the next day!
The following day my induction included a tour of the factory (which has just a hint of Willy Wonka…) and one of the other women on the induction, whom I’d just that morning met, smilingly helped me to tuck my hair fully into the obligatory hairnet, as it’s hard to see round the back.
A friend whose husband works at the factory very kindly agreed to give me a lift home when she picks him up, as there is no late bus back to where I live, and I’m on an afternoon/evening shift like him.
My Mum was more than understanding and supportive when I told her I might be moving to Gaia House, and assured me I must do whatever will make me happy.
The woman in charge of the applications at Gaia House emailed me within a hour of my having sent the completed application, thanking me and saying they’d get back to me as soon as possible. So, friends, please keep everything crossed for me.
The friend whose house and cat I’m looking after while she’s away left a fire ready to light, all laid out ready in the wood stove – how sweet!
Good Deeds Done
Texted a friend who’s just released her small flock of Guinea fowl into the area where I’m living in my other friend’s house, to say I’d just seen the Guineas and counted only five (there should be six!) She immediately went looking and number six (Sam his name is) can’t be found. I hope he’s ok and, if he’s not, I hope the others are now a little wiser!
I hung up some fresh laundry and folded the dry stuff when I dropped in on my Mum’s house to pick up some stuff.
Have been spending regular quality time with the cat here, who’s called Cinders, and hanging out with her on the sofa. I love the warm sound and gentle shake of a purring cat!
Organised for someone else to drop in on Cinders in the early evening when I’ll be at work during the week, to give her her ‘supper’ and keep her company for a bit.
Created a mini shell sculpture on the beach to thank the sea and entertain passers by, until the next tide gobbles it up.
Turned up with a cake to a birthday party with a difference – it was to honour the lady I used to care for who passed away earlier this year, and whose birthday it would have been, had she still been alive. It was a sweet gathering, as many of us hadn’t seen each other for a while, and it was lovely for her husband to have his home filled with cake, chatter and company again. The party had been his idea.
The cake I’d intended for the party wasn’t needed there, so I took it to Mum’s cafe and we ate it there, sharing it with several lucky customers over a cup of tea.
I believe there’s truly magic in listening – let me know your own experiences/thoughts in the comments below, and have a great week my friends!
What is work for? Is it just, or primarily, to earn a living? How much worth does a living earned have when it’s taken up so much time and energy there’s little life left to be lived? Is work the measure of a worthy person? Or is the worth of any human being, and any being come to that, something far beyond it’s measurable ‘productivity’.
…and I believe they so fundamentally missed the point by even trying to answer that question that I’m shocked into gormless jaw dropped silence. You can’t put an economic value on something as complex, magnificent and profoundly interdependent as the ecosystem of our planet, anymore than somebody working for £6.60 an hour gives you any indication of just how valuable that human being is to their loved ones, their community, humanity as a whole.
I had a job interview on Wednesday, and on Saturday I received a form letter regretfully informing me that I had been unsuccessful on this occasion. At first I was gutted, and wanted to turn the letter into a thousand (recyclable!) tiny pieces in passionate fury. Then I closed my eyes for a moment to get curious about this powerful response that was happening. In that brief space of presence I heard, ‘you should thank them’. I found myself laughing out loud, for there was an ironical truth in this. Even if they hadn’t helped me find the work that’s right for me, at least they had helped me tick off another job that wasn’t, and for this I could be grateful.
I still have the letter. In fact I’m getting quiite attached to it. It makes me smile each time I look at it as I continue to think of other ways to view it:
– Thanks for giving me one side of blank paper I can now use to write my shopping list on. (Actually, I used the envelope instead…)
– Thanks for giving me something to frame as a reminder of the moment when I started to understand more deeply my relationship with work and with money.
– Thank you for being more honest with me than I was able to be with myself. You knew, from less than 15 minutes in the same room as me, that ‘caring’ for people as if they were merchandise on a production line that just needed to be fed, washed and dressed, wasn’t something I could do well or willingly. That I take as a compliment and I thank you.
So as my bank balance goes down and my blood pressure goes up, I find myself at a familiar crossroads. Do I choose to shrink or do I choose to grow. Do I drink from Alice’s bottle or do I eat from Alice’s cake? I did shrink a little initially…
…but I can feel myself expanding into creativity again.
So I intend to eat and drink magic in moderation that I may find the perfect size for me, and a purpose that truly fits.
Good Deeds Received
Dad treated us (Mum, my brother and I) to a wonderful dinner, and in so doing taught us the wisdom and the joys of http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ – as we ate in a restaurant I’d known about but never visited…in 9 years of living here!
My brother made me laugh sooooo much when I spoke to him on the evening of the day he’d returned to England and asked if I wanted to hear his Scottish accent. I laughed so hard when I heard it that when I asked him to say it again he went all shy and refused!
Received a very warm hug and hello from a friend I haven’t seen for ages, but saw through a cafe window and went in to greet. We’ll meet up soon.
A dear friend and all round wise and kind woman brushed aside my response to her question of have I started the work yet, when I said I hadn’t got the job. ‘Not that work’, she said. ‘the real work!’ (by which she means the poetry collection I’m wanting to put together for publication).
A treasured friend sent me beautiful text message to thank me for the postcard I’d sent her and to share a sweet synchronicity that made me smile.
Was wonderfully entertained by a very talented guitarist and his band at a concert we went to to celebrate my brother’s birthday.
The trees all around me are painting their teaching of impermanence more beautifully every day.
Good Deeds Done
Rushed to the shop to buy tomato ketchup just before Mum served up dinner on my brother’s birthday as there was none in the house and I knew he would ask for it. He did:-)
Took myself off to read a book in the park when I found myself in a bad mood and wasn’t good company. A little over an hour later I was human again – I love books! (and parks!)
Made time to write an email to a friend to whom I owed a catch up.
I made a delicious apple and banana crumble (trust me, it works) to welcome my father and brother on the evening of their arrival for a five day visit last Sunday.
I helped Mum in her cafe when the woman who was supposed to be working with her called in sick.
Sent back my brother’s wallet when I found he’d left it behind.
Had a chat with an elderly lady at the cash machine who apologised for keeping me waiting as she was struggling to remember her pin number. ‘I’m allowed these moments’, she said, ‘I’m seventy seven!’ I agreed with her:-)
Eat, drink and be fulfilled – have a great week dear friends:-)