Voices

Today… inspiration, but also gratitude. I am thankful and deeply touched by the voices of those who read my words.

Creative folk will know how hard it can be to expose your work to the world. I’m often nervous about doing so, but take a deep breath and press the button to Save or Publish, before the doubt gets overwhelming.

The words I’ve received in return have been so wonderful.

Today was a hard day. I fought, but was unable to stop a watery meltdown this morning. This was fixed by Himself being fantastic (as always), but also by the ‘ping’ of comments arriving from my blog posts. And an unexpected gift from one very special lady. 

The Universe hears us, of this I am sure. Too many times, far beyond coincidence, the perfect thing has appeared, precisely when needed. This actually set me off again, tearing up – but now in happiness, overwhelmed with awe at the generosity and love stretching across the internet. 

I do what I do because my words find connection. I speak my truth, because to do any less would dishonour you, the reader or listener. Please know that I am so very thankful for you all.

The flame of my inspiration is rising. The breath of many keeps it alive xxx

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Reaching

I call to the wind
Feel its touch on my face
And its breath through the leaves
As is mine.

I call to the sun
Feel the heat in my fingers
Life running through
Inside and out.

I call to the rain
Touch the full clouds above
Taste the damp in the air
And beneath my bare feet.

I call to the earth
Questing down, rooting deep
And unable to find words…
So I stand.

I reach, all around
Heart to soul, spirit to spirit
So different and yet
Connected.

I see people stare.
They want to feel as I do.

And you know what?
You can.

Lessons in Story

It’s been a busy few months. I anticipated pauses in this blog, but the lapse shows how frenetic things have been (or how my own tiredness). But doing my best to resume with quality writing, rather than just a concession to mark a day…

Yesterday was Pagan Pride in Nottingham. The fifth year, and I’ve attended every one. So many people (always more each time), varied opinions as much as outfits, ideas and reasons for coming along.

The talk I gave was about Priesthood, but in the course of it, one small idea stuck with me. It’s still there now, and so it is being caught in a WordPress net, to share – as seems appropriate.

We all tell our stories. We live them, every day, uncertain of what will come next, but having to face the adventures as they arrive in front of us. Good or bad, and often without any sense of overarching plot or control. But these are our stories, and none are as valid or invalid as any other.

Yesterday, I spoke with so many people, listening to their stories and giving a little of my own. Today, I’m exhausted – all that energy deployed in that rush of hours and chatter, shared hugs and space.

I force myself to work, though. I have to, or I find myself dragged down with the sense of ‘should be doing something!’ So I’m picking up review books that I’ve been asked to write about.

Today’s offering has gripped me and pulled me into its world. The review will come in full, but suffice to say it’s an anthology of fiction, short stories of such breathtaking originality that every one makes me rather wish they were longer (even though that might well spoil the effect).

Stephen King said that a novel is a relationship – a short story is like a kiss. Both intimate, but in different ways. Each story I hear from people feels similar, as they open themselves just a crack to show me secrets, thoughts, anecdotes… and so I listen. I may review these in my head, but I try not to judge.

The good stories stay with us. Every one has a lesson, and not necessarily the one you might think (even a bad tale reminds us not to do things that way again!). If we pause to consider, to listen and review, we learn. That relationship touches us, just for a moment… and there lies its value.

People in front of us or via computer screen, voices from the pages of the past or across continents. Me, now. What stories do you hear today, and which do you hold on to moving forward? And what stories do you tell?

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.

Bibliomancy

Sometimes, what is needed throws itself at you.

After writing about my proposed ‘book diet’ yesterday, my mind was clearly pondering the idea as I looked about the multitude of titles on offer in my own home. Exciting prospects, all.

As I prepared for bed, one title in particular caught my eye, almost falling off the shelf, shouting ‘Me, Me, Me!’

So this morning, I took it down and opened it up. And was caught.

‘Too often our lives automatically get channelled into narrow, secure patterns, set into deadline routines. Some of us want out…

To do this, we have to live on the edge, between the lines, somewhere between matter and spirit, masculine and feminine, darkness and light, leader and follower, stillness and motion. We venture like tightrope-walkers over the abyss of the unknown. I like it on the edge. I take others with me. This is my work.’

(From ‘Maps to Ecstasy’ by Gabrielle Roth)

Stephen King said that if a long novel is an love affair, a short story is like a kiss. An autobiographical tale is an invitation to an intimate relationship, sharing secrets and seeing parallels between your own experience and that of another person. The words contain memories, experiences and ideas, and can inspire the same in the reader with that shared truth.

I love to hear the voices of others telling their tales. I walk with them on our brief journeys between the pages. And in the case of this tremendously creative lady, I dance with her, along the edge. Her voice speaks to me precisely at the time it is needed; I am both glad and grateful.

I read on.

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.

Openness

When I lived in a city, shielding was necessary – even instinctive. So many people, so much noise, bustle and emotion… everyone does it to some extent, I think, just so that they can think straight! From psychic ‘barriers’ to my leather jacket armour, I was ready to face that world.

But then as my Druidry developed, the shields began to fall away. I wanted to see beyond, even if that feeling was intense enough to knock me down sometimes. I didn’t want people to see the mask rather than me, hidden beneath. I wanted to feel the earth beneath me, the creatures around – and that meant the people too, of course.

Nowadays, that openness can be both a gift and a hazard. Given what I do, I would far rather be honest, giving what I can to those who honour me with their attention, or who come to me with questions. Although after a day of that (such as a conference or festival), rest isn’t just needed, but required. I have been known to give too much – and that’s the way I am. I’ve tried ‘holding back’, but that doesn’t come easily or naturally any more.

Most days, it’s a balancing act. I want to throw myself into tasks wholeheartedly, but then run out of energy after going for too long without recuperation or replenishment. I love seeing the passion of others, and do my best to help where I can – but I do leave myself vulnerable sometimes as well, when negative darts are thrown or toxic places have to be visited.

But I do my best. The hard times are more than made up for by the good, the connection with others that I feel so profoundly, the touch of a warm hug or sight of a true smile. Just kicking off my shoes to walk barefoot in the grass brings delight – and encourages others to do likewise.

I try to live my truth. If someone has a problem with me doing that… well, that’s their problem! And yes, that can hurt. But I’ll always invite them to come along, to try what I’m doing, just for a moment.

Exploring the world outside your shields may be scary – but imagine the alternative.