Dare to Blossom Life Coaching with Mary Lunnen

Welcome to the Dare to Blossom Newsletter 
First, may I wish you the best possible year ahead in 2021. I am aware that many people have had the worst of times in 2020, maybe you have had Covid 19 yourself; maybe you are still unwell. Maybe family or friends are; maybe you have lost someone to this awful disease. Maybe you are a key worker and have not had a proper rest for so long, and now find yourself back in the midst of the new upsurge.

Alongside all of that, maybe there were some wonderful moments: nature in her beauty and glory; the kindness of strangers; the friendships sustained even when we could not see each other. My wish for you, for us all, is for a happy and healthy year ahead, and an appreciation of every moment.

Reflections: Weaving the New
Reader Reflections: On The Light Within
More New Artwork 

Dare to Blossom Monthly Circle on Zoom 8th January
From my archives: January titles poem
Three free Taster Circles and the new 2021 programmes

Reflections: Weaving the New

If nothing else, 2020 has shown me that no one can predict the future. And yet, I can choose how to weave the new into my life. I am so grateful to everyone who has connected with me this year. The last six week deep-dive circle was entitled 'Weavers of Shadow and Light' - and there will be another run of this programme beginning in mid-January, as well as another 'Your Powerful Voice' programme.

As you may have seen in the extra bulletin recently, I am also offering a New Year's Day gathering on Zoom (read on for full details below) where we can explore 'weaving the new' together and welcome in 2021.

As I begin reflecting for myself on this year and all that has been happening, so much has changed. Looking back, around this time last year I was writing the book 'The Powerful Voice of the Quiet Ones - Reflections on an Introvert's Life', which I published in January. For me, it feels a whole new chapter in my life has emerged since then. Such a strange year: In January I hosted the first of the six workshops scheduled at the Blue Lotus Therapy Centre, and intended to flow right through the year to November as usual. That day in January turned out to be my last in-person workshop for the foreseeable future.

In February I travelled to Glastonbury to celebrate my friend Soleira's 70th birthday along with other dear friends. In March I exhibited at the Cornwall Business Show. That was on 12th and we were already aware that we shouldn't exchange hugs or even shake hands. Big announcements were imminent from the UK government, and the show closed early.

Since then I have barely been anywhere except in the local area. I was hugely grateful when lock-down was eased a little and I was able to drive the few miles to my favourite places to walk on the cliffs.  And yet, life has continued. I am so lucky that most of my work was already online or easily transferable. Death continued also. I have not as yet lost anyone close to me to the virus, and yet the deaths that have occurred are made so much more difficult to cope with by the circumstances.  At the same time, I honour every one, every person who has left their body this year (for me personally, that is two family members and several dear friends), and celebrate the gifts they gave me . And still do in the memories and insights that arise in reflection.

Weaving the shadow and light together without judgement of which events could be seen as 'shadow' and which as 'light' has been my way to cope. One of the participants in my groups this year recently sent me this quote: “The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.” from Carl Jung. My first response, as I write now, is to think of the bright lights of those I have lost in the physical world, who are still there, even if not in body, and who I believe are simply shining in a different way. Does that mean that the shadow of my grief is 'darker'? Deep maybe, not necessarily 'dark' - although it is all an interpretation. I find it hard to separate my own assumptions and judgements - those ones so automatic that somehow represent 'light' as 'good' and 'dark' as 'bad'.

If I have learned anything, I know that is not true. One small example is that I love very dark chocolate, and don't like white chocolate at all..... Other people may feel the opposite. And that does not mean one is good and the other bad - just a matter of taste. (Maybe not the best of examples....it could be argued neither is good!)

The beautiful deep shadows in this photograph would not be there without the light...



So - I am not quite sure where that piece of flow-writing without self-editing has taken me. I am choosing to leave it for you to read, or not, as you wish. Part of my own weaving the new is allowing that to be OK. To allow my perfectionist side to sleep peacefully and not awaken  in horror when I dare to send something unpolished out into the world.

In the new world that is coming, as it always does, I am choosing to see all the shades of dark and light and especially colour. The rainbow colours in my photo caused by the bright light in the camera lens. All those extraordinary colours and aspects of nature which would not be possible without the contrasts. Night, day; winter, summer. Deep in the earth, high in the air. All those things we cannot change, yet we can choose what to focus on what to celebrate, what to leave behind, how we respond. 

So, this year, I am making plans, as always. At the same time I am more aware than ever before of how the world can change in an instant. Whether that is a global pandemic, the sudden death of my brother, or the equally shocking loss of a close coaching friend. there is nothing I can do to change what happens. As  a human being, I am sometimes afraid, grief-stricken, worried, wobbly - all those things. And those are all part of just that, being human. And, I can weave a tapestry of love, joy, memories, light, shadow, new ways of being. 



This is an old painting, one you may have seen before. One of my favourites. Every time I look at it I see something different. Just now I see the 'green sprite' as I call it, in the centre. I see all the shades of light and dark in the green. I see the weaving together of all the other colours in the painting.

When I look back at 2020 I see something quite extraordinary. What stands out for me now, in this moment, is all the little kindnesses of thousands, millions, of 'ordinary people'. All those actions that they may feel are insignificant. All adding up to a different way of being in the world.

That is one of the 'strands' that I will take forward with me into 2021, to weave into the new I hope to see. And I am a little surprised, but then again not at all - to realise that the sadness of loss is another strand I will weave afresh. There is always loss. In nature many plants, insects, even animals only survive one year. Others such as the giant trees of the forest will out-live me by hundreds of years. The cycles of life and death in nature turn, as does the wheel of year. In my experience I know I never stop grieving for people I have lost. And yet, the presence of that grief, every day, can be woven into my new tapestry of life, as a contrast, as a counterpoint, as a downbeat note to balance the upbeat parts of my tune. Making everything seem richer, more resonant, more luxuriantly textured.

For your reflections, journal, meditation, art or doodles:
- What stands out from your reflections on 2020?
- What strands will you take forward with you to weave into 2021?
- Are you intrigued by any of them?

Enjoy reflecting and exploring and  go gently with yourselves and all around you dear friends, as we step together into a new year, a new turn around the sun.

Reader Reflections: On The Light Within, from Catherine

Last month I received a number of replies to my reflections on 'The Light Within', which was accompanied by this painting. One of those was from a long-time subscriber, Catherine, who says this:



"I loved your painting of the light within. I felt a great familiarity and affinity with what you had depicted. I felt compelled to write in response.

On the recommendation of a friend, I recently began to hug trees on my walks in Bushy Park, near where I live. There are all sorts of trees there, scattered around the woodland garden: oaks, beech and a fantastic avenue of hornbeams that look as though you are standing inside a cathedral. It’s not a huge old forest, but here and there in the park are oaks which are clearly hundreds of years old - judging from their girth and shape.

I wanted to write to say my experience of hugging an oak is one of the most grounding things I have felt since lockdown. I feel the solidity of the tree. I’m aware of the branches above, the canopy of leaves (still a few at this time of year), but more strongly the rooted quality of the tree firmly planted in the soil beneath my feet, whilst standing on a pile of crunchy golden autumn leaves. I enjoy hugging trees so much that I dwell there for some time and it stills my thoughts and heart. It’s as if I can feel the strength, wisdom, and life force of the oak. There is an energy just like the light you depicted in your painting. 

I introduced a friend to this tree hugging activity recently. She and I have shared some walks and cycle rides this year at social distance - but we hadn’t hugged trees before. She is going through the grief of losing her sister to cancer a few weeks ago. My friend also had a deep response to the delight of tree hugging. We became more playful with this tree hugging business by comparing the sensations we felt from different species of trees. The oak came out top. Something about the ‘wise old oak’ perhaps?

My friend and I both live alone, so to hug a tree has been very comforting in the current climate of no hugs. I wondered if you or your readers are tree huggers? I thoroughly recommend it. Anxiety, worry and fears seem to fall away whilst connecting with a ‘wise old oak’. I have found being in nature to be refreshing, grounding, healing and good for my well-being. A presenter on the BBC’s Autumn Watch programme explained some of the science behind the benefits of walking in nature recently. For example, they commented on inhaling the air in a wood and smelling the soil. I have loved the smell of autumn since childhood, that cool fresh air, even on a misty, frosty morning. I open my bedroom windows in the mornings with excitement at this time of year. Now I know why, it’s actually good for me!

If you’d like to post this to your readers I would be happy for you too. Hugging trees is a real joy. Just a word of caution, do ask them to be careful of brambles, roots and uneven land, and to step carefully before or after! "

Thank you Catherine. If anyone else would like to contribute to future editions of this newsletter, whether with a response as Catherine has, or thoughts on a new subject, please do submit something. I rarely reject anything, although I do reserve the option to do that if I feel what is offered does not fit with the ethos here.

More New Artwork 

After I wrote last month I continued to play with new artwork. I have added more on the website. Here are two examples for you. This time I was experimenting with a selection of coloured papers, a vibrant red on which I used yellow, orange, and black waxes. And a cream, which lends a slightly different effect to the blue shades than my usual bright white base paper. Even though the photos are not equal, these paintings are actually the same size, 4" x 6" in 6" x 8" mounts - giving you little jewel-like paintings that do not need much space to display. Having said that, some people have them double-mounted and framed in a larger size, which is also very effective.



Dare to Blossom Monthly Circle on Zoom 8th January

As you may have seen last month, I have been asked to set up a 'light touch' circle - one where there is no commitment to a regular private group as with my in-depth circles. Of course people receive big insights from those, and - it is not always the time to do that in practical terms. Also, many people, especially those of you who subscribe to my monthly newsletter, do not wish to be involved in groups on Facebook.

This is simply a monthly Zoom gathering, an invitation to a 'pay as you go' monthly circle on Friday mornings at 11.00 am UK time. The fee is £20. As well as taking part, you will receive a photo of the cards I draw for you, and a recording of the call (only sent to those  who are present live). Full details and booking are here, Or simply contact me by replying to this email if you prefer. You can book in advance, or choose to receive an invoice after the event, I will leave that up to you, and trust that if you enjoy the experience you will be happy to offer that in exchange for the love and energy I put into creating the Circle for you.

The monthly dates for 2021 are here, the next after January will be Friday 5th February at 11.00 am UK time.

This is a chance to gather, as if sitting chatting around a table, and simply share some time together. We will use the processes that are familiar to many of you, the Compass Rose Speaks opening and closing meditation, the Dare to Blossom Rediscovery Cards and the Magic Carpet Ride guided visualisation, to explore whatever is arising for us on that day. If you are thinking 'I am not familiar with those...' and would like to know more, please contact me. We can always chat on Zoom over a cuppa - and that is a chance to set up that service if it is new to you. Even though I describe this as 'light touch', the insights and experiences are no less powerful for that, for the fact we do not interact in a group between the monthly circles. In fact, people who enjoy being in the deep-dive programmes would probably tell you that the Zoom gatherings are the essential part of the whole process.

From my archives: January titles poem

Endings, continuations, and new beginnings
Simplicity
Old Year, New Year
New Year Review
A Joyful New Year
Reflections on A New Year
Finding solid ground (before leaping)
On 2013 and looking ahead
Trust
Delving Deep
Unleashing our power within
Simply Reflections
Cycles and Changes
 
Cycles and Changes
Simply Reflections
Unleashing our power within
Delving Deep
Trust
On 2013 and looking ahead
Finding solid ground (before leaping)
Reflections on A New Year
A Joyful New Year
New Year Review
Old Year, New Year
Simplicity
Endings, continuations, and new beginnings

This month I have recorded myself reading the poem for you, let me know if you enjoy this - use this link to Soundcloud to listen,.

Three free Taster Circles and the new 2021 programmes

The first event of 2021, is on New Year's Day, 1st January,on Zoom at 2,30 pm UK time. Book your place by replying to this email, or through the Facebook event page here.

The six week 'deep dive' Circles have attracted people from around the world during 2020, some of whom have returned time after time. I have two new programmes beginning in January 2021, with different themes, and differing times for the live Zoom circles to allow for as many people as possible in different time zones to join us.

The first step is to come along to a taster circle:

Tuesday 5 January at 9.30 am UK time: "Your Powerful Voice" taster. You can book on Facebook here, or simply contact me by replying to this email. The six week programme begins on Monday 11 January, in a private Facebook group, with the weekly Zoom gatherings at 9.30 am on Tuesdays. Full details here.

Thursday 14 January at 2.30 pm UK time: "Weavers of Shadow and Light" taster. You can book on Facebook here, or simply contact me by replying to this email. The six week programme begins on Monday 18 January, in a private Facebook group, with the weekly Zoom gatherings at 2.30 pm on Thursdays. Full details here.

For those of who have attended these circles before, you will know that the magic happens in individual ways for each of us, almost regardless of the theme I have decided upon. Of course there will be differences between "Weavers of Shadow and Light" and "Your Powerful Voice", and - whoever comes along, even if the choice is simply on the time, whoever comes along will receive exactly what is right for them.

I provide a structure, a container, with weekly and daily prompts; the weekly live gatherings with cards drawn for each of us, the Magic Carpet Ride guided visualisation, the Compass Rose Speaks meditation - and it is always the case that the true magic happens 'in the gaps; between all that. In the laughter, the witnessing for each other, in the tears, the tender moments that are shared. One of the processes is a group card, twice a week, so two cards for each place and point of the Compass Rose, building up into a beautiful pattern. Here is an example from a recent Circle. As we begin in the centre point, in Peace, and then return there in the final week together the only place to put those last two cards is as 'wings'.

Thank you dear friends for visiting with me again this month and sharing my musings.

Until next time,

with love,
Mary

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