Tag Archive: motherhood and creativity


Creative Soulful Motherhood

Hi ūüôā If you’ve landed here and would like to check out what I’m up to these days, head over to my latest creation:¬†Wild Motherhood, a portal for creative, soulful mothers with free resources, sliding scale coaching services, and a new blog! I’m writing about subjects like being an introverted mother, the wildness inside us all, and the messy imperfection of life as a single mother creative. There’s also more information on there about my writing workshops for mothers, including Wild Motherhood workshops which combine yoga, writing and sharing circles. You can find excerpts from my upcoming book, ‘Wild Motherhood: Keeping the Creative and Soul Fires Burning‘ and join the Wild Motherhood Tribe. As a taster of the book, I am giving away a free E-book, ‘Creative Fuel for Wild Mothers’, which you can get your hands on over here.

If you want to know more about my published writing and copywriting/content creation services, check out my main writer website. 

Hope to see you there!

Creative tips for mothers

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(Jon Steel).

I’m having one of those smooth flowing days that seems to often come after dancing the 5 Rhythms¬†movement meditation practice- and I was lucky enough to make it two classes this week, Saturday in London and Wednesday in Brighton. Somehow surrendering into each rhythm of the dance and following my own changing moments lays a pathway for going deeper into my creative work and also for relating to others in a fresh way.

Funnily enough the effects seem to have nothing to do with how much fun my dance was – at both classes I struggled with self consciousness, inertia, crippling self-judgment, and many other shades in between (interspersed by moments of beautiful connection with both self and other). I guess it’s just about being with all those different states and not running from them, and feeling the river that runs underneath them all. After two years of doing the 5 Rhythms practice regularly I can feel like a complete beginner on the dancefloor all over again, just as when I show up to the blank page, or to a day of mothering, I can feel totally clueless. I start over, and from somewhere the impulses come, and as the facilitator on the inquiry group I’m in says, ‘I happen’, it just happens, life happens.

In my continued effort to get my work more ‘out there’ as a way of motivating and encouraging myself, and feeling part of a community of writers, I’ve had some pleasing results in the past couple of weeks. My flash fiction piece, ‘The Idea of An Aeroplane’ appeared in Flash Flood Journal, a¬†flash-fiction journal created by writers and edited by a team of volunteer editors on behalf of National Flash-Fiction Day 2012. A¬†75 word version of this piece has appeared on ‘Paragraph Planet’¬†on¬†May 27th, where the challenge is to make an impact with exactly 75 words.¬†I am also working on a guest blog proposal for the American natural parenting¬†Mothering Magazine, as a follow on from my article on ‘Wild Motherhood’ in¬†Wild Sister Magazine¬†(April issue). Watch this space!

Writing in an unlined moleskine notebook for the first time is bringing out some lively pieces I look forward to developing, which I think would have struggled to break out of my usual traditional lined notebook. The suddenly sunny weather has meant more longhand writing rather than being hunched over a laptop. I am still laboriously reading through my novel and just itching to write some scenes when I am familiar with the plot again; I’m also 2/3 of the way through a children’s story and nearly finished editing 18 poems for submission to the Mslexia poetry pamphlet competition. I am delving deeper into the subject matter of spirituality, creativity and motherhood for my future non-fiction book by compiling a list of possible interviewees – there are so many juicy women to interview! – and looking at other books and blog posts on the subject. I came across this one, which condenses a lot of wisdom in one place.

I particularly loved this quote from Gangaji, from her question and answer session printed in ‘You Are That’:¬†What is inherently free is who you are. Who you are does not¬†become¬†free. It¬†is¬†free. In recognizing this, there is the natural ability to¬†respond. Before that,¬†responsibility¬†is a concept of duty or of something to be shouldered. It may be tempered with love and care, but it is also something to be born. Therefore, your child becomes an objectification, a separation between you and that which you really are. (emphasis added).This is a deadly joke! You are this very child. Recognize this and you are not searching around for personal freedom. Then nothing can be an intrusion.’

This has certainly been my experience lately. As I have been exploring the work of Byron Katie to investigate thoughts that cause me pain and suffering and finding the truth underlying them, I have been astonished at the changes in my experience of parenting Jude. It is literally like having a narrow beam of light being expanded into the sun. When I look at him I feel I am seeing him properly sometimes for the first time, without the barriers created by needing to control him so that my own desires can be met, and the separation melts away to make space for a new way of enjoying being with him. Where every moment I can be led into greater joy and playfulness. So, much material for my book, coming from real life experience!

Inspirational input wise, I’m into short fiction at the moment. Maybe it’s the short attention span and reading time afforded by motherhood, but I find it much easier to pick up something I can finish reading in half an hour. I’m currently on ‘Don’t Know a Good Thing‘, a collection of stories by women writers edited by Kate Pullinger which is just mouth- and eye-wateringly good. Not a single story in it so far that doesn’t move me, confront me, or make me want to put pen to paper. Any good novel recommendations welcome though – I need something to grab me from early on!

Jude is starting ‘preparation for school’ mornings at his new school tomorrow morning. It’s hard to take in he is at this stage already. Two more months of nursery and then long summer days! I’m looking forward to our adventures, and in particular circle camping, dancing on the land and celebrating the summer solstice at Midsummer Camp in two weeks time. Bye for now, and enjoy the sunshine :). Thanks for reading!

It looks like autumn is here, teetering on the edge of summer like a surfer poised to take a wave. It brings with it a gust of feelings, memories and images – but many of them, strangely, are to do with summers past. And even though I am now the veteran of six winters in England, I feel the same terror of the sudden stripping away of warmth as the sun deserts us.

Its visit is so fleeting compared to the seemingly endless summers of my South African childhood and early twenties : I have memories of churning up mud with ecstatic feet beside sprinklers on the lawn, of eating peaches in the pool, dripping juice onto the sizzling tiles, and melting Smarties while paging through Archie comics – all under a mind-blanking curve of lucid blue sky.

Back then, it seemed easier to relax into the natural gaps in life. I think my addiction to ‘busy-ness’ began at university – the sheer workload of a Psychology degree combined with trying to have a social life. Yesterday morning I sat on the seafront while Jude was at creche, and what seemed like a million to-do lists were cascading through my head. Aware that this was probably one of the last days of good weather, I wished I could just listen to the waves and let myself float with them.

But I’ve been facing a big decision, which was churning around in my mind: whether to continue working an 81-hour week looking after Jude (i.e. unpaid childcare) and studies, or to take the plunge and convert sixteen of those hours into ‘official’ work – i.e. what the government recognises as taxable income.

Even though I would be doing things I love for money – teaching yoga and writing freelance – because I don’t want Jude to be in significant amounts of non-parental childcare, it would mean giving up some of my already very limited fiction-writing time and ‘dreaming time’ and cramming work into every single gap in my life. Like so many decisions, it’s hard because both options involve gains and sacrifices – so it’s a real process of sifting through my values and defining which ones are non-compromisable.

If I choose the working route, I’ll have more money, of course, and the freedom that brings. And the satisfaction of sharing my gifts with the world. But I’ll also lose the freedom to rest when I need to during my child-free time – and to be available for spontaneous things like contemplating waves, or going for an Artist’s Date.

These may seem like indulgences, but it is the very space to breathe that allows the rest of our life to exist, whole: the same way that music could not exist without spaces between notes.

In my last post I wrote about the stress that creeps in – as it would if you were working an 80 hour week at anything – simply because of the lack of space and, crucially, silence. In ‘Finding Sanctuary’, Abbot Christopher Jamison says some compelling things about the downside of being too busy – how it denies the soul’s yearning for silence and is a sickness our society perpetuates to keep us consuming more and more.

Even I, who consider myself a very un-materialistic person, fall into this trap because of the powerful messages that equate working (as defined by the government) with self esteem and money with security, happiness and freedom. Let’s be honest: ‘single mother on benefits’ isn’t a label that inspires pride.

But I’ve been encouraged of late to see that some of the gaps I’ve written about here are starting to be filled in a very satisfying way – and not through me ‘trying’ to do anything. Community, for instance. I’ve been bumping into my neighbours in the park and having good conversations, and in fact there’s an event called ‘Hanover Zocalo’ happening in my neighbourhood this weekend where people put their chairs outside and hang out with the neighbours.

Then there’s nature – another of my core values: I’ve been spending more time in locations like Stanmer Park, picking blackberries with Jude – which he loves – and even in ‘ordinary’ Queenspark up the road, Jude has been enjoying playing ‘Pooh sticks’ in the (admittedly smelly) stream and ‘fishing’ with a stick. It’s been so heartening to see him enjoying nature, trying to climb trees, wanting to explore, when I was starting to fear he’d always prefer urban concrete playground environments.

So…I guess real life is in the gaps, sometimes. The unscheduled connections and synchronistic meetings, the times you let go of what’s been planned to follow an instinct – to walk into a gallery to have a closer look at a bewitching painting. It’s often only when I allow gaps to exist without compulsively filling them, that a solution to a problem will¬†appear. Those gaps, I think, cannot have a price put on them.