Category: Uncategorized


Back!

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.

Enough

Enough

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

of wilderness

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

again.

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,

perhaps,

is indescribable beauty.”

Image

(‘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

Advertisements

pic by Dayawanti D'Sa

Happy New Year everyone! This is the first New Year in a while that I’ve really connected with a sense of fresh possibility and excitement – a feeling that I can break through old barriers. I don’t know whether that’s due to finally being more settled in my environment – last January I was still in-between homes – and therefore able to look outwards and onwards again, or because of the Solar Eclipse and recent Jupiter-Uranus conjunction bringing positive expansion, or because we are so close to 2012 and all that that means for our development as humans – but it feels so good!

Last year I had big dreams for myself: solid goals, like living in community, being in a loving relationship, and having completed my novel by the end of 2010. It’s wonderful to dream big but it can also put a lot of pressure on us. It would be easy to be depressed about the way those goals haven’t quite materialised, but when I look at it honestly I wasn’t consistently applying effort in those directions – I kept getting sidetracked from what I was trying to manifest, and letting life pull me every which way. It’s been an emotionally turbulent year, but I’ve come out a lot wiser. So this year I’ve decided to approach New Year’s intentions in a different way: making intentions that are totally down to me. And, just as importantly, are measurable in small steps.

My lifelong friend and fellow writer Rin Simpson blogged about approaching New Year’s Resolutions month by month – sitting down at the beginning of each month and writing down your goals for that month, rather than losing momentum halfway through the new year. I like that a lot. It’s really quite simple: I want to take small enjoyable actions, one at a time, that are related to my big dreams for myself, and that gradually narrow the gap between where I’m standing now and where I want to be. Most importantly, I want to enjoy where I am right now as much as possible: spiritually, emotionally and physically!

Something I found very helpful to do was mindmap around my ideal working day and my ideal home – I confess, I have a digital ‘vision board’ of my ideal partner too, and have a list of qualities I’m looking for in a partner that are constantly refined 😉 These mindmaps – which I plan to collage around too, because visual representations are so good at activating manifestation – were so effective at getting me fired up about my life, that it was easy to come up with concrete steps. So, here are some examples of my New Years steps:

To energise my dream of being a successful poet, novelist and short story writer, I’ve decided to, each  month, schedule in nine hours a week to write, and aim for one poetry/short story/article submission per month, as well as a poetry performance where possible.

To move me closer towards my dream of reaching lots of people with the empowering tools of Kundalini Yoga and the power of writing and journalling, I’d like to facilitate one Kundalini Yoga or writing workshop per month – my upcoming New Years Yoga workshop on 8th Jan will focus on New Year intentions and bringing in positive energy to 2011, and I’m very excited about teaching it!  I’ve also decided to keep my determination and focus and see one thing through at a time – e.g. commit to teaching a class for three months, putting my all into it, before trying something else.

    I have plans to take a ‘ready, fire, aim’ approach this year and start finally using the  skills and knowledge I have to reach out to people – for example, I am planning some workshops to help give new mothers basic tools such as breathing and meditation that can be practiced in amongst the chaos. For so long it’s as if I’ve been waiting for someone to give me permission to teach what I know, and I suddenly realised that it can start now!

    pic by Dayawanti D'Sa

    To work on my goal of becoming more organised and efficient, I’m going to do one ‘sort out’ project each month – e.g. file bank statements, throw out old papers I don’t need etc. I’ve been doing this regularly lately and it’s great how much energy it releases, leaving me free to create new things in my life.

    And motherhood of course is not exempt from self-improvement – far from it. I have re-committed to being very clear on my intentions each day, to connect with Jude and put our connection and loving relationship at the forefront of my consciousness when I’m with him. I find when I am clear in my mind about my intentions, I can re-steer my wayward thoughts and actions back towards them more quickly and easily.

    To keep me connected to the spirit that sustains me through all of these things, keeping my focus on the internal rather than the ever-changing external – Yogi Bhajan taught that ‘all things come to those who are stable’ – I want to read, watch or listen to one inspiring thing every single day. It’s amazing what a difference it makes when I take the time to connect with the wisdom of teachers and writers such as Yogi Bhajan, Wayne Dyer, Abraham-Hicks and others who remind me of the greater purpose of my life beyond the roles that I carry out and the actions that I take. It eases stress and uplifts me out of the often narrow focus that can result from chasing after things.

      On that note, here are some quotes I’ve found on my web trawls recently that I found inspiring and uplifting, that deal with creating and manifesting in one’s life:

      Walking with faith tends to turn out better than just having a “concrete” plan. A flexible planwith faith creates miracles! ~Mastin Kipp TDL

      Recognize that you have the courage within you to fulfill the purpose of your birth. Summon forth the power of your inner courage and live the life of your dreams. ~Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

      Life is a handful of short stories, pretending to be a novel.-~~Anonymous
      If we fill our short stories with love a beautiful novel has the opportunity to transpire!~~~Margery@Angelhealingwaters

      Finally, I leave you with an affirmation I like: “I am open to beneficial change’ (vs ‘I wanna stay the way I am!’) (from ‘Simplify, Simplify, Simplify’ on Facebook). Really, all we can do is be open to the flow of change in our lives, and co-operate with it rather than running away. Bring on 2011!

      “Every city has its own internal logic” – Angela Carter, “The Kiss”.

      I knew my city from the first time I saw it. Strange that it is ‘mine’, now, when I was born in Cape Town, but there’s something different about a city that you have chosen to live in. And Cape Town seems increasingly distant and abstract to me now, after six years in my adopted country.

      I first ‘met’ Brighton in June 1998, on a gap year holiday to England filled with pubs, pool and boys. It was only for one summer’s day, but it reminded me very much of the seafront in my home city, and I felt instantly at home. I saw it in an idealistic way, and Brighton stayed in my head for long after that.

      I spent longer in Brighton during November 2003, when I came up for my best friend’s wedding. The unaccustomed cold didn’t put me off: I was in love with the place, taking photographs of the beautiful University buildings, the Pier, even the pebbles on the beach, to show eagerly to my then boyfriend when I returned home (I was trying to convince him to join me when I moved to England).

      Brighton is both more and less innocent than Cape Town with its laundromats and rastafarians competing on street corners with glue-sniffing little boys offering to clean your windscreen. When I first moved to Brighton I thought it was a haven compared to the perpetual threat I felt in my home city. The lurching Big Issue sellers with their cheeky or frozen smiles depending on how much hope is left in them, and the clink of change in Londoners’ pockets as they walked past beggars under Trafalgar Street bridge – all seemed harmless in comparison. All I really saw were the lights and bonhomie of the North Laines, the way people could wear any hairstyle or costume without it attracting ridicule – unlike in conformist Cape Town – and the sunshine glinting off the pebbles on the beach which were still a novelty then.

      In Cape Town there was no way I’d walk through the centre of town at night without a man at my side – so when I first came here the freedom was intoxicating. I walked everywhere without fear. Recently, though, I’ve been noticing the underbelly of Brighton a lot more.

      Maybe it’s having a child, and an awareness of what I don’t want him exposed to – but the gap between the ‘ideal place to live in’ and the place I actually live in, seems to have become ever wider. Every time I walk down Western Road or North Street there seems to be a fight going on – even in the daytime – and I have to positively gird myself up to face London Road and the Level with the perennial alcoholics at midday.

      It’s also the sheer unstoppable force of the city – the way there’s always something stimulating happening, and finding peace in the face of that can be challenging. I feel like I’ve become hooked on it, though, because everytime I consider moving somewhere quieter – like Totnes in Devon, a recent bee-in-my-bonnet, I feel paralysed with fear of boredom, and something missing.

      I know that the sheer amount of choice I have on a day-to-day basis in this city is something to be tremendously grateful for. There are centres where we can connect with others in similar circumstances, have access to communal organic allottment gardening free of charge, many different parks to choose from, some of them beautiful, and of course the unchangeable sea – having grown up by the sea, I’ll always have a bit of an attachment to it.

      I know that my long term dream is to live communally and close to nature. In the meantime, though, and until I find the right people to do that with, I’m faced with the question of where’s best for a growing boy and his mother? How do we meet both of our needs? It’s clear that Jude loves the city and thrives on the excitement. He’s not yet noticed the things that make me cringe. And I have to sit in the gap and know that sometimes peace has to be cultivated regardless of my surroundings. After all, as meditation teachers say, wherever you go, there you are.

      Lately I’ve managed to touch that, but it was only when I decided that I could and eventually would leave Brighton, despite my love for it – that like a relationship with a lover, you don’t have to wait till it’s all falling apart to see the sense in moving on – it was only then that I started to feel the peace even walking down the busy streets with the shouting teenage mothers and the clamouring shoppers. Only then did I start to re-discover all the things I once loved about Brighton, and still do. It had to be a special place to become my adopted city, and often what I hear in people’s voices when they criticise the place, is a cynicism I don’t want a part of – a lack of appreciation for what we have here.

      Sometimes it is about accepting that nowhere is going to be perfect. Obvious as it sounds, this is something I really struggle with! For now, it’s about just taking baby steps towards my vision – and right now, that looks like it may be moving to a smaller town or village in Sussex, where Jude can still easily see his father and I can still see my friends here.

      It’s not perfect – it’s not rural idyll, and I would be giving up a lot, and facing the uncertainty of having to build up a network of friends all over again. But I’m reminded of the huge risk I took moving countries six and a half years ago, and how I have never truly looked back since. In the meantime, I’m hunkering down for winter and aiming to enjoy this city as much as I can while I am still here.

      Hello everyone and welcome to my blog. As a mother, writer and yoga teacher, I’ve been thinking lately about the gap between our ideals and the real messiness of life. As a mother, so often I’m measuring myself up against some idea of the perfect mother, and I know from talking to my friends that this is a not uncommon experience. Whether we’re ‘attachment parenting’ or following Gina Ford’s schedules, we’re all trying our best to do the right thing, and this can be a lonely journey.

      But it’s other gaps too. In many areas of life. The gap between doing and being: between going after your goals and just allowing things you need to flow towards you. The gap between focusing and multi-tasking. The gap between  my mom friends and my friends who haven’t crossed this bridge yet, or may never do so. The gap between being a writer and a creative person and, as a parent, having to put another being’s needs first. Negotiating these differences can feel like stepping across a chasm at times. Other times it happens in a more fluid space.

      I’ve just returned from a wonderful week at Midsummer Camp in which many of these contradictions could exist side by side. I was able to be a mother and also a woman, friend, dancer, hedonist. I could play, dancing around a fire, and also be serious and soulful with long conversations under the stars. I could take my son for a fun wheelbarrow ride and pretend we were going to Africa, and have a release of tears in a singing workshop a couple of hours later.

      Most importantly the co-parenting that evolved from the communal living situation at this camp showed me that the different parts of me could be held in a space, allowed to be, and flourish, as I was not carrying the full burden of my son’s wellbeing – and let’s face it, in our society where parenting is done largely alone, it is set up to be something of a burden. He benefited from it too, and I could see him blossom as he interacted with others and experienced the freedom of movement that is so difficult to find in the city.

      I want more of this, and I want to explore how to do this in our everyday lives. Join me to share ideas on how you do it – whether you are an artist, writer, office worker, businessperson, parent or non-parent.

      I will share my tips and ideas on how I live with these gaps or attempt to do so, including: simple yoga and breathing exercises, visualisations, books that have helped me, etc. So join me on this journey as we attempt to not only straddle the gap but be comfortable in it!