Monthly Archives: December 2012

Sprouts – and hints…

This is a strange time of the year. Christmas over, family gone, New Year not yet started. Limbo land.
The present moment for me is a mixture of lethargy, bloated over indulgence and restlessness.
Tired after the excitement of visitors, stomach unsettled after eating differently from normal, and now feeling flat and wondering “what now”? Surrounded by leftovers and uncomfortably waiting for…?

Today the rain held off for a while so we ventured to the allotment for the first time for a while where we were greeted by a mess of wind blown plastic weedblock and muddy puddles. But also in the mud were tall green white leeks and hidden swelling sprouts waiting to be picked, and small pink rhubarb shoots hinting of sweetness to come. And as we trudged in wellies along the squelchy track with our winter harvest the sun appeared from behind the clouds. Little reminders of life and light inspite of dull December’s end.

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Night-time visitation

Awoken by sudden troubled dreams at 4am,
I peer through curtains
At the grey deserted street and silent trees.
And catch the merest hint of angel wings –
A surprise of birdsong
And a “fear not”
In the dark before the dawn

A reminder perhaps that the old story is still relevant ….

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Icy moments

20121215-112358.jpgSome wonderful moments of music and visuals this week to celebrate the season of cold and ice. A visit to the live streaming of the Royal Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker was a feast of professional music making, theatrical artistry, costumes, sets as well as amazing technique and physical prowess. Magical and entrancing, and I loved it!  Also this week the (more amateur!) singing group my husband belongs to did a moving and beautiful concert with professional soloists. They performed The White Book Of Winter, lyrics by Gillian Anderson, music by Helen Porter.  More about this in a moment.

But in other ways this week has been grim. Not just the frost, ice and/or damp affecting homes and bodies and souls. But also the horrific sadness of the chilling murders of children and teachers in an American school. Breathtakingly shocking and numbing in its trauma and tragedy.

This week it is in the art, the music, poetry and dance that I have found hope that speaks into the withering cold sadness of some of our world. Just like the Fairy Tales traditional at this time of year, hope can often be expressed better in stories and imagination. Whether it is the evil spell of the Mouse King over the Nutcracker, or the freezing chill of fear and hatred in the human soul, the only hope of warmth and the thaw of a new beginning is the sacrificial work and creativity of Love.
So I am posting the words of this song to help us consider what words of love we can each write on frozen pages of the winter of fear we may see around us.

The White Book of Winter

Pages of white
Cover the land
And secrets unspoken
Hushed by the season’s cold hand
A down deep song muted
By the wither of wind
The White Book of Winter has come.white winter

The birds have departed
The earth is in-curled
In a scroll of forgetting
Drawn in ice-lettered whorls
Burrowed in silence
Borne on a dream
The White Book of Winter has come.

Love’s lane untrodden
It’s margin of flowers
A memory painted
In a monk’s Book of Hours
Lies pristine, unwritten,
Words lost in a veil
The White Book of Winter has come.

The blank sheets lie empty
Field upon field
But his pale cheek, breath’s rhythms
Wait on the yield
The young scribe is sleeping
’til the love letter Spring
The White Book of Winter has come.

by Gillian Anderson

Challenge to change

mindful writing challengeIt may seem a bit premature to be thinking ahead to the new year but I am looking forward to a new challenge in January 2013

For the last two years I have taken part in Writing Our Way Home‘s mindful writing challenge called a “River of Small Stones”. I know from my own experience, and from my work with people battling with depression and anxiety, just how helpful a meditational practice it is to slow and stop, notice and observe one thing in the course of a day. Capturing that moment in a few words is like picking up an interesting pebble on a walk along the beach, and can help us come into the “now”, stepping out of a raging stream of anxious and negative thoughts.

Last year for the first time I shared those “small stones” moments here on my blog. And I will endeavour to do the same again this year!

Why not give it a go yourself!? Find out more by visiting the Mindful Writing Challenge page. You can also download a book here about writing “small stones” and beginning to change your way of seeing life.

December sunshine

sunshine-award

Well I have been nominated for a “sunshine award” – just what we all need in the dark days of winter I think! The Sunshine Award is ‘given and passed on to bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogospher.’ Thank you Carolyn Hughes of The Hurt Healer who writes a blog of “Inspiration for anyone who wants to live their life as the person they were meant to be” . She has nominated me and I really enjoy reading her blog as she bravely comes to terms with hurts and wounds from her past. Click on her link to be inspired. And thank you again Carolyn.
I find I am reluctant to answer some of the interview type questions posed by the award. I don’t think this is just an opt out, but an awareness that I am increasingly certain of being uncertain about things!! For me Faith is increasingly often about not knowing, but still trusting. My favourite “philosopher” is Jesus and he advocated faith as being important for when you are walking on water, not when you are on solid ground!
However I do like coffee to drink, and I spend a lot of time scribbling down my thoughts, and playing around with words. I have a passion for books, and a love of textiles, and I have a belief that creativity of all kinds can be healing and transforming. Here are a selection of blogs which bring me gentle sunshine and encouragement of various kinds.

mindfulbalance.org
writing our way home
hot-textiles.blogspot.co.uk
janeville.blogspot.co.uk
rozcawley.typepad.com
thecourseofourseasons.com/about
lifestream.org/blog
richardrohr.wordpress.com

Some are more frequently updated than others but I hope they may enlighten your December day.

Advent service

We walk the drizzled flagstoned path,
Bells pealing out in complicated changes.
Step down through heavy doorway, into a past
Where for a thousand seasons, the earth’s turn
Has deeply shadowed cold stone pillars
Branching high towards a roof of stars.

A poetry of darkness and distant chants
Glimpses of candlelight flickering on walls
The robed procession step slow, and swing;
Their faces glowing as they move and sing.

Then flaming candles are brought to us
Proffered to our own unlit wicks –
A moment’s pause, and then, a flare…
And now, I too have light to share
Along the row. We stand, we sit,
Old words, new sense. We listen, speak and sing.

We hold the flickering burning flames,
And watch as wax melts, drips away
Through time. We leave, hearts re-ignited, and
Dark enlightened by unbroken covenant of Love.

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