This month we have a guest writer, Cate, who has been a regular reader of this newsletter/blog for a number of years. Many thanks to her for offering this contribution. If anyone else would like to see their words featured here, feel free to contact me.
In this Issue:
Reflections: Delving Deep
Guest Article: Geraniums and Life by Cate
Workshops and Events: Magic Carpet Ride Workshops and On-line Group
Coaching one-to-one intensives: special offer on 'Rediscover your Spark'
Reflections: Delving Deep
This time of year feels to me like a time to go within, to withdraw. The sun has passed the shortest day - the longest night - here in Cornwall, but the nights (and often the days too) seem dark. A time of rest, of hibernation even. A fallow time when most plants are resting too - even in the exceptionally mild weather here when some are flowering early.
The feeling of going within is also associated with the ending of 2015 and beginning of a new year - wherever you are in the world, whatever season you are in, this may still ring true for you. In the rush and bustle of festivities, of gatherings and celebrations with family and friends - it can be easy to let this opportunity slip past. The opportunity to pause and review; to reflect and look forward.
This year it feels important for me to take the time to delve deep: by this I mean to take time to meditate and reflect. Also to unearth .. unearth what? I don't know yet. To 'un-earth' - clear away the accumulated detritus that may be covering the jewels within.
There is a feeling that it is time to let go of many things, maybe physical possessions, but not just these. Some things I have no choice over: my youth, my energy, my smooth unlined skin - all of these are changing. That is as it is, as it should be for a woman of my age. The gifts those years bring are the treasures to be unearthed.
I am finding this very hard to articulate, to explain in words. The phrase 'letting go' is not quite it: some things feel as if they are being stripped away against my will. Others as if I am willingly relinquishing them, gifting them to others to treasure for themselves. The journey within will illuminate what those things are - what I need to allow to be stripped away and to pass on. What is to be un-earthed and cleaned, re-evaluated afresh and revitalised.
Sitting here, feeling into how to describe this, I see a series of images that are not yet real, that I need to visit in visualisations and meditations to truly connect with and receive their gifts. Many of the images I have already seen, and experienced in some of the Midsummer Magic Carpet Ride visualisations I have shared with those of you who were part of that group.
The first image is a huge gateway: there are guardians on either side, I can see light through the gateway but no detail. I feel as if a big decision is required to allow me to enter. Another image is of journeying. No detail, not even an image really, more a feeling: a feeling of distance, of miles, of months, of time spent with the people I will meet, conversations shared, meals cooked and eaten. There is darkness, and fog; cold winds, rain and snow. There is sunlight and birdsong; spring flowers, butterflies; soft, warm breezes. A sensation of all that is unnecessary being stripped away. Things I thought were a core part, the essence of me, turn out to have been acquired trappings. Deeper and deeper; a drum beat now. Deeper and deeper until another gate appears, this time with a wooden door and a lock. I find a key in my hand and know it is my choice to unlock it or to walk away. What will I choose? I won't know until I make the journey over the next few weeks.
As I write this, I realise I have put a programme of support in place for myself over this time. A reading, a coaching session, a workshop - and the preparation of the materials for my new workshops: "A Magic Carpet Ride to Rediscover your Spark, and Focus". I realise that is what I am longing for, a new spark - which will be the same spark that has always been within me. The spark I was born into this life with, the spark that may have been obscured and dimmed by all the accumulations that I will be relinquishing in my journey.
And, as I have been writing, the words of John O'Donohue's poem, one of my central inspirations have been playing through my mind:
“To Come Home to Yourself.
May all that is unforgiving in you
May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities
May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love.”
Guest Article: Geraniums and Life by Cate
On 22nd December, the shortest day of the year passes by. The dark mornings and ever so long, dark, late afternoons and evenings gradually shift to give the northern hemisphere its longer hours of daylight.
At present England seems to be experiencing un-characteristically mild weather with reports and sightings of daffodils flowering in Devon in November and December. However, it was only a few weeks ago that there were frosts. Noticing that several geranium plants in terracotta pots in the garden had been caught by a morning frost in November, I dutifully carried them inside. A friend undertakes this ritual each year. She carries in her pretty pink geraniums from her terrace and creates a mini indoor garden on her landing bookshelf close to the terrace. So this year, I carried in my geraniums indoors to see if I could revive them.
Geraniums can be incredibly resilient. Preferring heat and sunshine, they can get too waterlogged by rain and if left out in winter, frosts can lead these summer loving plants to rot. But geraniums will dare to blossom again if a little care is taken now. As I went about the ruthless pruning of these well established but disheveled looking plants a number of parallels to my life’s journey this year struck me.
A frost-bitten geranium is a sad looking thing. It wilts, and turns a strange shade of green, a dull grey/green and foliage appears lifeless. The plant’s branches shrivel and die. I too can become lifeless if I leave myself in the wrong environment for too long. Like the geranium, I also prefer the warmth of summer, plenty of natural sunshine for light and heat. So I have learned that it is important for me to get outside in the open air, to sit in the sunshine for a few minutes to boost my vitamin D and to relax for a while (as my doctor recommended this year).
The ruthless pruning I embarked on with my geraniums, just as I do with roses in the garden is an exercise in faith. I take a pair of garden scissors and imagine where new growth may take place next year. I cut back long leggy branches as well as those branches that have grown at odd angles. This results in a pile of dead sections of the plant but helps to save the plant’s energy over winter. Pruning reveals the smaller centre of the plant, the strongest branches. A shadow of its fully flowering former self earlier in the year, the plant then looks rather exposed. Ultimately, however, cutting the geraniums back will result in a stronger and more revitalised plant and the opportunity for new growth.
I moved house twice this year. On each occasion I approached the need to move as an opportunity to shed things I no longer needed. Things that were cluttering my life, weighing me down, or keeping out the light in my, wardrobe, chest of drawers, my study, the loft and garage! I pruned away things that no longer served me well. Odd things I have collected on life’s journey that belonged to events in my life years ago that have no use for now. Whilst at times challenging and emotionally tricky to follow through with, the result was that I felt lighter, re-invigorated and sharper about who I am and what I have. There is more pruning to be done, but rather than see this as a once in a lifetime clean sweep, I realise it is to be an on-going annual affair, just as I prune the roses and geraniums.
Pruning of the geraniums, giving them the opportunity of new life, to dare to blossom again, also led me to consider the pruning I have begun to apply to my life. I am becoming bolder at pruning away people, places and things that no longer serve me well, sap my energy or take up space and block the light from my life. I do not wish to sound too ruthless, but I really do wish to take good care of myself and take actions that are in my own best interest. It concerns me now that perhaps I have not done this as much as I could have in the past. So, I am now applying physical pruning to de-cluttering and passing on clothes and things I have had around my home to charity shops where they may be needed by others. I am also gradually pruning away the activities I have engaged in that no longer serve me well, that sap my energy, or may not be in my best interest. I weigh up different choices or options before branching out into new ventures or continuing to spend my time the ways I always have – thus giving space for new activities and opportunities.
A few days after cutting away two thirds of each of the geranium plants – yes, it was a bold and ruthless pruning session, I was thrilled to see tiny, fresh, vivid green, new shoots appearing. As this occurred I began new behaviour too. With the help of a good friend as an action buddy, I have begun to do at least one thing a week that makes me feel really uncomfortable. A bit like experiencing growing pains, I am committing to this to see where it takes me. I do feel on the other side of the new behaviour, choice or action that there has been some growth, so I will continue. Otherwise, it’s like being a plant that has been located in an area with no space for growth, resulting in a stunted life, getting bitten by frost, sitting out there in the garden in winter, shriveling and rotting in the dampness and darkness. The plants contain a life force just as I do. It takes courage to move, to prune radically, to create space, be more exposed, to reach out and grow. So far it has been worth taking the courage to it.
The tiny, fresh, vivid green, new shoots on the geraniums are now medium sized branches with new shiny leaves, overtaking the older central part of the plant. Seeing the new growth so vividly is an encouraging daily reminder to prune away, let go and embrace new things too. Mary’s Dare to Blossom cards also gives me daily encouragement. Sometimes the word I have selected prompts me to think of an area of my life to be mindful of that day. Or, during the day a situation occurs where I can put a word into practice. Alternatively, I become aware of how another person has demonstrated this word in my presence and that I may wish to do so in the future. My friend’s care for her geraniums and life is now a ritual in my life also.
Workshops and Events: Magic Carpet Ride to Rediscover your Spark and Focus
As some of you will remember, during December I sent you a special bulletin about the workshops planned so far in Cornwall, and the on-line programme that starts on 1 February.
Thank you so much to those who have already booked for these events, numbers are small as yet - understandably so of course, with everyone being busy with the festivities. And I know already that the people gathering for the groups will be each bringing something special with them. A warm welcome dear friends, whether we have met yet or not, your presence is valued and appreciated.
Workshops in Cornwall:
Saturday 23 January, 10.00 am to 1.00 pm near Lostwithiel
Saturday 6 February, 10.00 am to 1.00 pm in Hayle
On-line programme - worldwide:
1 February to 29 February
Each event is priced at £25. If you would like to book a workshop and the on-line class, please contact me for a combined invoice at a cost of £40 for both.
Coaching Special offer: January Boost - Rediscover your Spark Coaching, or a 'One Card Reading'
One to one coaching session by Skype or telephone, at one third less than my regular rates,
Open only until Thursday 21 January - the next three weeks. A chance to refresh and revitalise for the start of 2016, and to rediscover your spark within, your drive and focus. Leap into 2016 with energy and enthusiasm!
One hour: £60
30 minutes: £30
Please email me by replying to this message to book your slot and arrange payment by bank transfer or Paypal.
More details about the coaching process can be found on the Rediscovery Coaching page.
'One Card Reading' Yuletide Special
People have found it is useful to receive some guidance on how the Rediscovery Cards can work for them. If you are not ready yet for a full coaching session, here is a chance to try a quick laser shot of insight and inspiration. For £2.50 I will draw a card for you and send you by email an intuitive response as to how that quality - the word and the colour - may show up for you.
The offer expires on 3 January 2016 at midnight (GMT).
Visit the Rediscovery Cards page on the website here and scroll down for details. (Yes it is just £2.50, to answer a question I have already been asked - but only until 3 January)
If you would like to own a set of cards to explore their power for yourself please visit the dedicated page.
Thank you dear friends for visiting with me again this month and sharing my musings.