In this Issue:
Reflections: the balance of dark and light
New writing: a collaboration and a prose poem
Forthcoming Events: autumn 2016 Dare to Blossom workshops
Inspiration: featured blog
Reflections: the balance of dark and light
Everywhere in life there are opposites: hot/cold, night/day, summer/winter, sweet/sour, wet/dry, up/down, north/south, east/west, and black (or dark) and light. Some of these are observable, many are subjective: one person's 'hot' is another's 'cold' (or cool at least).
As human beings trying to make sense of our lives the tendency is to make judgements based on past experience. This can mean that what is happening to me now, in this instant, the only moment that is actually 'real' - this instant is seen through a filter of assumptions. These may, or may not serve me well. Some have been acquired through my own physical experiences, and others learned from those around me. If all those people who influenced me as I was growing up as a young child believed that a certain thing was 'good' and another thing 'bad' - it can be very hard for me to un-learn those prejudices - in the sense of 'pre-judgements. (I find it interesting that I have to explain that - am I 'prejudiced' against the word 'prejudice'? And, I feel I need to say, I am very purposefully writing in the first person today to do my best not to assume that anyone else makes the same 'pre-judgements' as I do).
What I can be doing is making assumptions that one thing is 'right' and therefore the other, the opposite, must be 'wrong'. I come to see more clearly now that usually I benefit from some of each quality. This is necessary to enjoy the temperate maritime climate here in Cornwall - I love the sunshine, and I know that rain is needed to enable the land to remain as green and fertile as it is, so I wouldn't say rain is 'bad'.
So, when it comes to black and white or dark and light, as in the title of these reflections today, there are so many centuries of culture, tradition, superstition, story-telling behind me, that it is an interesting exercise to tease out some of what I feel about those terms. The picture shows our 'yin yang' garden just after it was freshly laid last year.
Read more: July 2016 - the balance of black and white
A special blog post today to as part of the 'blog tour' to mark the publication of this collaborative book, the second in the series of '365' books by Jodi Chapman and Dan Teck. There is an interview with the two of them below so they can tell you more about their work in their own words.
I have found it such an unexpectedly wonderful experience being involved in this book project. The life of a writer is often a lonely one as you may know yourself. Beset with doubts and worries about being 'good enough'. In this collaboration, yes, we each paid a 'fee' to be part of it, and for me, regardless of the success in sales and publicity for my business, the community has been worth every penny spent. Jodi and Dan have provided private FaceBook groups where the contributors have been able to get to know each other; read and give feedback on each others' submissions; and make new connections around the world.
Why did I sign up? I wanted to share my own experience of grace more widely and I wrote about a chidhood moment that has spread ripples throughout my adult life. What does 'grace' mean for me? Something that is hard to define in words: a feeling of coming home to myself, of belonging, of just being in flow. This photo is just one of many I could have chosen to illustrate this feeling for me, a fleeting moment as the sunlight shone through the clouds.
Here is the link for Amazon UK:
365 Moments of Grace: Volume 2 (365 Book Series)
When you buy, there is a page here where you can access the bonus gifts (available until 31 August) created by the contributing authors – including guided meditations, ebooks, and ecourses.
I am not listed there myself - but you can always take up offer of a complimentary 20 minute Dare to Blossom Rediscovery Coaching consultation to find out moreabout how the process can help you move forward in your life. Just contact me here to book.
Below you will find the interview with Jodi and Dan. As the title suggests, there are 365 pieces in the book, and when my copy arrives I plan to use it as a daily inspiration.
There is another new book in the series being planned "365 Life Shifts" Click on this link to learn more. I have already signed up to contribute two pieces, maybe you will join us and become part of another best-selling book? "365 Moments of Grace" reached number 1 spot in several Amazon categories around the world.
Read more: Celebrating the publication of '365 Moments of Grace'
In this Issue:
Reflections: Midsummer Magic
Dare to Blossom Events
Reflections: Midsummer Magic
It is almost nine o'clock in the evening, and here in Cornwall, at the end of May, still three weeks until the longest day - it is still light. Today has been a perfect early summer day, warm with a cool breeze. As the sun sets there is sea mist in the air, creeping in from the coast just a few miles from here.
The garden is producing well, and we are surrounded by luxuriant greenery and flowers. The bird feeders are visited by small birds such as chaffinches, blue tits, sparrows and great tits, as well as the dramatically coloured great spotted woodpeckers.
Writing now on 31 May..... tomorrow I will be celebrating a full twelve months running Dare to Blossom full time. After setting up the business in 2003, I had always worked within organisations, at first with a local college part-time, that contract ended and the post was made redundant. Then I found work with a new business start-up support programme and worked there for nearly six years - coaching and training dozens of people. That again ended when the funding disappeared and all the staff made redundant.
Read more: June 2016 - Midsummer Magic
In this Issue:
Reflections: Going with the Flow
Forthcoming events in Cornwall, Glastonbury, and online
Inspirational links: Books and talksReflections: Going with the flow
'Going with the flow' - has been emerging as a repeating theme just recently. On reflection I recall that years ago someone suggested this image to me: often I cling on to the banks, to overhanging trees, rocks - anything; breaking my fingernails, bruising my fingers; clinging on desperately to where I am, where I think I should be. So, what if I just let go, let the flow take me down the river? Not struggling, certainly not drowning, just being carried along with no effort. At that time I was in one of those 'hamster wheel' situations where I thought I could not possibly stop clinging on - a lot has changed since then. And yet...... the image arising now is equally powerful.
Where am I going? Am I going with the flow? And if I am, what does that mean? Is it giving in, or is it just letting life carry me along for a while? Will I pause to consult the wisdom of the ancient trees along the banks? (Such as the one in the photo above, taken on the River Fowey near Respryn Bridge a year or so ago).Do you know, I thought I would be writing a long piece about this, but I now find I have no words today. I feel I need to allow myself to be with the flow instead of trying to 'do' it.
And I will leave you to do the same with a few prompts for your journal or meditation as usual:
- Are you clinging on too tightly to the banks of your river?
Read more: May 2016 - Going with the Flow
Choosing the title of 'Daring' for these reflections, has grown out of a piece I wrote on 26th March in one of my daily Dare to Blossom Rediscovery Card posts on my business Facebook page.
That was prompted by two cards: 'Beginnings' and 'Self-love'. Here is that piece for those of you who may not have seen it:
"Beginnings, with the deep green, is of course perfect for the spring here in the northern hemisphere, and for Easter with the themes of death and rebirth. Re-emergence after the winter, new buds, green shoots.
Self-love, soft purple colour. Today, this relates closely for me to reflections prompted by the book I have just finished reading: 'Daring Greatly' by Brene Brown. Like many of you, I have watched some of her TED talks, but this is the first book of hers I have read.
The sub-title is "How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead." In the book Brene describes her research and shares interview stories, with her own experiences included. I found myself nodding and recognising so much of what she writes about. The way many of us are subjected (and subject ourselves) to shame when all we need to recognise is guilt. She defines the difference as shame being 'I am bad.'; guilt being 'I did something bad.' (substitute any word - wrong, stupid, etc.....) The first is about you as a person, the second about one particular action, which may have been a mistake but can be learned from.
Read more: April - Daring
Reflections: Coming Home
Sitting in the garden on a rare (for this winter) sunny day, wondering what the theme will be for my reflections this month. Smiling at myself - wrapped up in layers of warm clothes - and a sun hat. There is a chill wind blowing in the trees around me. It feels like a March wind even though it is still February as I write. Crows cawing; small birds singing; two young cats (no longer really kittens) playing rough and tumble nearby.
I can also hear hammering from work on the conversion of old farm buildings, saving them from decline and ruin and giving them a useful purpose once more. Observing, observing not only the sights and sounds around me - ooh, the flutter of a sparrow's wings almost ruffles my hair as it shoots past low over my head. Observing also my chain of thoughts - that take me next to remembering that despite the conversion of the buildings, we have seen barn owls again recently. And what a glorious full moon has been shining the last few nights.
Not random thoughts, even if the chain that links them seems tenuous or even disconnected. They are, in reality, very much connected. Linked to this place, this physical place, my home for almost forty years now. And connected with my internal home, myself. This past year, in fact the past several years - have been a process of coming home to myself.
Only very recently, as I continue to focus on refreshing and renewing my coaching work under Dare to Blossom, has this seemed to open out into new potential. Into the rediscovery, not only of myself, but of my power within, my sovereignty (to use one of my words for this year).
This has been about recognising and reclaiming many lost or overlooked parts of myself - and about reintegrating them into my life. I was going to say 'my working life', but my intention is to create a life. A life that includes work and that also has a good balance of all the other things that are important to me. Now, for me, (unlike in the past) I feel there is no separation between these essential aspects of me, and my business.
Art, creativity, health, spirituality, family, friends, walking, nature, reading - all these things are part of me - part of the 'myself' I am coming home to at last. Including the work I love to do. I have begun to realise that all my past experience is becoming integrated - many of those experiences have been uncomfortable, even painful at the time. I don't believe that bad experiences are necessary, but they are the way most of us learn what we need to know - in coping, in finding strength within we had no idea we possessed, in coming through.
The more I allow myself to live a life I love, to allow it flow with ease and grace (my other two words for this year) - then the more I have to offer to others.
For you, to reflect in your journal or meditations:
Read more: March 2016: Coming Home