I’m back after a long absence. I don’t know quite where to start, so I’ll start where I am. It’s Spring Equinox today and the astrological New Year. I am sitting at my desk with a breeze blowing through my window and a conspicuous cobweb in my line of vision. My friend Loi, who is staying with me for the week to research for a project on people’s lives in Brighton and Sweden, is sitting outside in the garden. Above me is my vision board for this year (picture to follow – camera being stubborn!) which has mostly pictures of outdoor scenes: a labyrinth on a field, a woman in a hammock in a summer dress, gardening, campfires.
For the first time I can remember, though, I don’t feel quite ready for the spring and summer – it seems to have crept up on me unawares. Through the winter I’ve been cooking some fascinating projects, and I feel far from ready to bring them to the light of day. I associate summer with fun and lots of time outdoors, which often feels incompatible with hard work – so the end of my semi-hibernation feels premature, since I am still in the work mode. Sometimes, it’s hard to let the grace – and peace, and fun – come in, when it feels un-earned.
Here is a poem that I wrote recently, its seeds sown in a journal entry at a 5 Rhythms Retreat in February.
of the sacred. We turn
and go, confront
mud clods and staring sheep.
In the end
you cannot stay with the joy
forever. The sadness
catches up, bleeds
through your flimsy bones
like translucent fire -
and the way the stones skipped time
on the river, and the moss
climbed the rocks, and we looked
at every knob and curl
of a thousand year old yew,
and Alex stood with her arms in a V
to the Welsh blue,
with the vivid scratch
of a branch on her cheek,
branding her with a kind of kinship.
You cannot hold it,
you need to burrow out again,
collect more of your soul
lost in tatters on the edge
learn to love the sound
of your own voice
howling in darkness.
I dance in the village hall
with its names of dead soldiers on the walls,
my eyes to the sheep
on the hills, the silhouettes
of trees as dusk catches
us in a net of mortality
One of the others, a man
who dances as if with every movement
it were possible to loop the moon
and its currents back into his body,
the warrior sun to take residence
in his joints and sinews -
says “I’ve felt sad the whole retreat.
On the other side of the sadness,
is indescribable beauty.”
(‘Seed’ by Pavel Jonka)
I am picking up the thread of this blog again, to chronicle my continuing efforts to weave threads between the different parts of my life: motherhood, writing, spirituality, nature. Lately there have been some pure moments of connection between these areas: one is the birth of an idea for a book that slowly grew out of some articles I’ve been writing (including one for an upcoming issue of Wild Sister magazine), which will explore mothering as a ‘juicy succulent woman’, one who endeavours to live out of her creativity in every moment. I envision interviewing mothers who are artists or spiritual seekers in one way or another, (and who of us is not, in some way?) and examine their stories alongside my own experience, to provide sustenance to others on this journey.
Alongside this I am editing my magical realist/ supernatural novel along with feedback from a fellow writer and friend, Sara-Mae, (here’s her satirical art blog), and have put my new novel on hold while I wait to find out if I’ve got onto the Creative Writing MA at West Dean College, a dream I’ve had since 2006! I’m working on two collections of poetry, one themed around Brighton, one around different summers of my life. My son is now 4 1/2 and is starting to make inroads into his own independence, flourishing and growing both physically and mentally and continually surprising me, making me laugh and frustrating the **** out of me! Right now he is at nursery school which he is loving, and this afternoon we will go swimming and do some mommy-and-J things. Things feel in balance at the moment – and it’s always a balance that requires presence and attention (and it was definitely NOT the case last week, when I had a severe case of freak-out and overwhelm, but hey…)
I am also working on starting a new family-friendly nature-based camp, inspired by the beautiful camps I’ve been to and have blogged about on here, called Heartsong Camp – watch this space! At the moment I have a few people interested in crewing and giving workshops, and a possible venue – the finer details are being worked out. I have moments of terror that I am even contemplating doing this, but whenever I feel that way something comes along and indicates that the project has its own flow, all I have to do is flow with it, and the right circumstances, people, places and times will occur.
I also turned 32 last month, and two weeks ago got my Breastfeeding Counsellor qualification after 3 years of study. Feels like a time of landmarks, turning points, and things being wrapped up – making the transition from student to practitioner being loosed on the public !
Overall, it’s all been about trust, trust, trust lately. I have been percolating so many different possible ways of living, taking steps towards them, then a few steps back – in December I went to Norfolk to investigate moving here, but have decided to stay in Brighton for now – and throughout I am learning to let go of the outcome, trust the next step, trust that I’m being led where I need to be – and most of all, that it doesn’t, and I don’t, have to be perfect. Allow myself to learn and make mistakes. I love this quote from Annie Lamott: ‘Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you crimped and insane your whole life. Perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while doing it.’
Until next time, keep dreaming your creative dreams and taking one step at a time. Love, Morgan x