Giving

Sometimes, people can be hard work. I love to spend time with others, but due to the nature and variety of People, there’ll be those who have alternate/opposing views, those whose understanding is very different to your own, and those with different ideas about what’s acceptable.

Broad terms, obviously. Sometimes, people can be frustrating, belligerent and stupid. Or just too ‘in your face’.

I’ve noticed this more since my books came out. People know me, but I don’t know them. They approach me to chat, which is wonderful, and I love it, as that’s where new friends are made. But sometimes, it can be rather overwhelming.

More often lately, I’ve felt the need to retreat, either to my own space or with those who know me well and provide company without demands. But too much of that can be unhelpful as well – the world seems even stranger when only viewed through the lense of the Internet.

Today, I worked hard. Lots of writing, making things, and generally Sorting Stuff Out. As I went, I realized – it was all for others. Everything I was doing for intentionally for a specific person. Which felt rather wonderful. I do my best, hoping that they’ll like it. It raises the bar.

And then the postlady arrived with a mysterious package. From one of my students – a beautiful image of a guardian that she’s spoken of often, drawn so evocatively that I was awed and deeply touched.

I think many creative people devalue their own work because they’re so close to it – there’s nothing special about something when you’ve spent hours swearing to make it just so (although the opposite is clearly true, artistic perspective can be warped and crazy).

But I came to a total full stop today, just gazing at this picture and feeling that connection with the lady who created it… words of thanks just aren’t enough. The work is unique and beautiful, because of the meaning behind it as well as the subject, the effort that’s gone into it, the intention and heart.

This is why I work. Not for the Stuff, or the thanks (although those are lovely!). For the relationship, the appreciation of what I’m doing and return of similar – the sharing of creative magic. My little community gives as well as takes. Overwhelming maybe – but generally with goodness, on a true and heartfelt level. That can be hard to grasp in this cynical world.

When those moments of connection come, I do try to hold on to them. I’m so glad that I have such good friends, that we work together to inspire each other. Know that you are honoured, truly.

I look forward to seeing what the Awen brings next, from within and without.

Morning Pause

I’m sitting with my coffee and knitting, just watching out of the window for a while before I get moving for the day’s work.

The garden is soggy today, but the birds are singing and the cockerel across the road is letting us know it’s morning. The trees are beginning to bud, and the wetness seems to bring out their greenery. Thick ivy on the old stones walls makes me feel as if my wee slice of land is a secret sanctuary, as it has been for hundreds of years… Perhaps.

I can hear cars going past on the road nearby, and think about all of those people rushing about, to school or work. I’ve been there too, but the quiet time then was the brief period before setting off. Or the journey itself, on a busy commuter train and bus. Or alighting one stop early to walk to the office, watching the world around me as I trod the city path.

We all have time, if we let ourselves. Those pauses are necessary, to gather our thoughts, come back to ourselves and remember why we’re alive. The world is busy too, but it’s there for us to explore, if we just stop to see.

Fog

Today, the hilltop is surrounded by a very thick fog. This isn’t actually that unusual here, given the river that runs nearby, but this feels different. According to the BBC, it’s due to intense smog and Saharan sand that’s blowing in from mainland Europe.

So this fog is a mixture of the usual moisture, as well as international debris… I can’t help feeling a little amazed by that, on several levels. Ultimately, it is tangible evidence that our world is very much connected, and our actions impinge on others. Awareness can only be a good outcome from this.

But more immediately, I’m feeling rather unwell as a result. I don’t have asthma, and I know others are no doubt suffering deeply, especially in the cities. For me, it’s more dizziness… literally ‘fogged’ thoughts, almost.

When it’s regular fog from the river, I welcome the blanket that surrounds my home. It’s calm and comforting, encouraging time for rest and contemplation. This is very different – the blanket is gritty and uncomfortable. The land seems aware that something is up; the birds are silent today, there’s no wind to move things… effects are being felt.

Perhaps that’s the direction our ponderings should take today, then. The fog will pass, but its lessons can be learned. Sometimes we can’t just charge ahead regardless of consequences, and our connection to our land (and air) is more present than we might think.

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Honour the Grey

A cold, almost wintry start to this March morning. I stared at the clouds overhead, feeling my spirits sink. Lots to do today, and not all of it good.

Then the thoughts begin to flow.

I’m only able to discern those shades of grey in the clouds because of the sun behind them. The wind is moving everything in a steady dance, while the rain waits in the wings, unsure whether to join in or pass over this hilltop altogether. People hustle past on the streets, worrying about work or school, oblivious to what’s going on outside their heads.

And I watch, from my window.

I’ve been reading lately of poets, philosophers and scientists who reject the value or sacredness of Nature because of its perceived ‘soullessness’, ‘silence’, or indifference to us. I find this hard to comprehend. Once you start to look, to feel, to acknowledge what’s outside yourself… there is so much going on!

Yes, a tree or a bird doesn’t necessarily care what we do, but we get cross at Nature for our own projected silly reasons, not any intentional ‘indifference’ on its part. The clouds have done nothing to inspire a feeling of lowness – we do that ourselves. And in so doing, we miss their intrinsic beauty, the value they hold just by being.

Like it or not, we are all part of this dance of life. We can see things in black or white, good or bad for us… or we can honour the shades of grey, for themselves.

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