Archive for July, 2013
Monday, July 29th, 2013
Thought I would share some of the ways in which I am getting creatively fed this week. I am getting re-sourced through a combination of creative excursions and Artist dates. I love August as it’s the one month of the year I take scheduled time off and have time to kick back, carry out new research, complete or scrap old projects and bring things together for what is now being referred to as the new January – September.
My creative nights out this week include:
A visit tonight to watch the theatre production of Amen’s Corner by African American playwright and author James Baldwin at the National Theatre
Tomorrow night it’s an evening attending Nights Out: Drinks With Virginia Woolf organised by The School Of Life. I love the outdoor events scheduled by the School Of Life. This event is described as being guided through a menu of conversation topics designed specifically around the work of Virginia Woolf around the grounds of Fenton House, Hampstead Heath.
And on Thursday evening billed as the hottest day this week I’ll be in attendance at what seems like an amazing local event close to where I live in Nunhead Cemetery as part of the Nunhead Festival.
Biped’s Monitor is described as a surreal performance at dusk in the trees, chapels and avenues of Nunhead cemetery. Can’t wait.
I guess the Muses are busy at work this week.
Monday, July 29th, 2013
Here are a couple of video clips from our event yesterday with the Fab At 40! Fullfilled at 50! Annual reunion breakfast hosted by Ladies Who Lunch UK:
Monday, July 29th, 2013
Our lovely meeting room at Carluccio’s in Covent Garden gave us a warm return welcome yesterday to our second annual reunion of the Fab at 40! Fulfilled at 50! gathering of women. Over Sunday morning orders of fresh mint teas and lattes accompanied with fresh juices and an Italian styled breakfast we enjoyed each other company as well as quality time focusing on ourselves.
Hosted by Ladies who Lunch http://ladieswholunchuk.com and facilitated by moi we had an amazing morning of live-shopping, stories that did make us laugh out loud along with a round of juicy conversations made up of conversations we don’t make room for in our everyday. This prompted some great connections amongst the group, with several overheard, “ Now that’s a great question,” along with lots of laughter.
Our time together could have easily stretched into the whole day but nonetheless was time well spent. We had time to hear updates on the journeys each woman has been on over the last year from staying true to their true life purpose, mindfully leaving a job that just wasn’t right to taking control of our health and well being and getting lives and health back on track.
Towards the end I did a couple of informal/impromptu coaching sessions as we shared over our delicious breakfast’s of a medley of tropical fruit, poached and scrambled eggs and what looked like flavoursome strips of well grilled smoky pancetta. Yes I was eating a bowl of fruit with yoghurt looking longingly into the other plates wishing……
We wrote letters to our future selves, which we will receive in a month’s time from a member of the group. It was great to see the gusto and the child like energy, which filled the space as the group creatively, decorated the outsides of their envelopes. We all commented on the noticeable absence of handwritten letters through our letterboxes and how much this was missed.
It was a great investment to spend quality time in the company of other women, reviewing, reflecting and refocusing on our futures as well as reclaiming the past.
We all left with one word that we will embody to take us through the next six months. My word was ‘Harvesting’
I look forward to year three of the annual morning breakfast for the Fab at 40! Fulfilled at 50! group.
In the meantime enjoy a few photos from our morning and time together along with a couple of video clips from the live-shop.
Saturday, July 27th, 2013
Last week was the second Writing For Our Lives writer’s retreat, which this year we hosted in the sensory and mystical landscape of Glastonbury
Here are a few of the images I captured of the trees on the grounds of the Abbey House retreat centre where we stayed. I love the photo where I captured my own shadow.
The images also include a few of the self-portraits that I ritually take of myself with trees. It’s a photographic assignment I always assign myself when amongst great trees. I spent half an hour clicking away to my hearts content underneath an awesome Pine tree on the grounds.
My whole face comes alive when I take self-portraits and I do feel that a different part of me surfaces and comes out to play.
I believe we take better photos of ourselves than the many attempts that are made by others often not very successfully to capture and really see our souls from behind the lens. Try it.
One of the writing rituals during our weekend included reading out aloud a chosen piece of writing that had been worked on during the weekend in the company and presence of a tree before it was read aloud in the main group. This turned out to be both a magical and shifting experience for many of the writers.
I can’t wait for retreat number three. More images to come on the blog.
Saturday, July 27th, 2013
This time last week I was half way through leading our second annual writing for our lives retreat at Glastonbury. Our wonderful writing family, as I now refer to them as, were everything a retreat leader could have asked for. They were inspiring, energising, so full of wisdom and commitment to the writing and creative process we just had a ball.
On our first night as we sat under a huge Oak surrounded by candles sharing our writing commitments for the weekend a badger streaked by behind the group. I was the only one to see her speed run but she was a welcome sign that we had arrived and that were in the right place.
The Silent space set up as part of our time together has proven to be one of the most valuable parts of our retreat time together. It’s where we have permission to be with ourselves, to sleep, to walk, to eat or write or just simply be. When we broke silence on the Saturday mid morning some people wished that our time in silence could have gone on for longer. Silent space is one of my favourite parts of retreats whether ‘m in the position of running a retreat or a participant I always welcome and embrace the silence.
Our 4.30am walk to the top of Glastonbury Tor on the Saturday morning to watch the sunset was the perfect start to our day. The howling wind beat against our bodies and faces as crows circled the Tor and the sun slowly edged her way up the skyline and greeted us full force.
The Abbey House in Glastonbury was the perfect location, with so many delightful writing spots to choose from we spent most of our weekend writing outside in nature, underneath the shade of some of the great trees on the grounds or reading our work aloud to one of the many trees.
The annual retreat is where writers come to replenish. There is a packed programme of writing exercises, with spots and time for feedback and discussion on our writing as well as teaching and tips from me. But our time is also perfectly balanced with time and space to breathe and walk and nourish our bodies and souls in different ways
Our time together was full of laughter, connection, love, warmth, healing, and transformation and was over all a spiritual experience for us as a group and community of writers.
We get to do this all again next year but this time in June 2014. Dates will soon be loaded up onto the website and on the Alternatives website at www.alternatives.org,uk
I will also share some of the video testimonials of our time together in a later blog post, so more to come. In the meantime enjoy some of the images shared with permission of our time together.
Monday, July 15th, 2013
In this gorgeous weather today I had the opportunity to walk along the residential streets parallel to my local High Street.
It was great for the senses to take in all the different sounds, smells and colours. I enjoyed sauntering along.
I snapped this photo of a tray on the wall of someone home. They had placed small bunches of delicate flowers in a jar and asked for £1.00
donation for each bunch. There was a sign advising you to drop the pound coin into the jar.
How lovely was that?
- What acts of kindness have you seen people in your neighbourhood do?
- What acts of kindness have you given to others in your local area?
Saturday, July 13th, 2013
By now you know how much I love trees. Today whilst driving in my car in traffic with the roof down I stopped under the sprawling branches of a shimmering Oak tree dancing in the light of the Sun’s rays.
That’s why I wanted to share this quote today sent to me by a former colleague Esther Waldron who posted the following excerpt from Thomas Merton, Seeds Of Contemplation on, The Soul Of The Rose website: http://estherwaldron.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/the-divinity-of-trees/
‘A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying Him. It “consents,” so to speak, to His creative love. It is expressing an idea which, is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree.
The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like Him. If it tried to be like something else, which it was never intended to be, it would be less like God and therefore it would give Him less glory.
…This particular tree will give glory to God by spreading out its roots in the earth and raising its branches into the air and the light in a way that no other tree before or after it ever did or will do.’
Religious or not the quote draws parallels with the tree being uniquely itself and reminds me of how we can also mirror this in our writing by writing from a voice that is our own and not trying to imitate the voices of others.
I find this comforting when at a time when the market place is crowded with thousands sharing their message. Having a voice, a voice that pitches from the authentic realms from within will enable your writing to stand out from the masses.
Our best writing comes from when we write from who we are not who we want to be or who we think we should be. Your writing voice is when you find that ping in what you want to write about and express it in a voice that is your truly and authentically your own.
I believe wholeheartedly that there is much for us to learn from trees. I will be drawing on their energies and how they can inspire us both on and off the page at my writing retreat next Thursday 19th July until lunchtime on Sunday 21st July 2013. There are still places left. Go here to book: http://www.alternatives.org.uk/site/EventDescription.aspx?EventID=111
Remember who you are is how you write. You’ll never see an Oak trying to be a Willow or a Rose masquerading as a Daffodil. It will be a weekend of recovering your true voice and discover how you bring new ideas and a new perspective to your work.