#1liner Weds: How to find your Writing Feet

“Tain’t no Sin to Take off your Skin, and Dance around in your Bones.”

Ray Bradbury’s book, ‘Zen in the Art of Writing’, mentions this little ditty above, which he describes as his ‘favourite tune’ when he was young. At first glance this ditty is deceptively quaint and whimsical, but I find it quite profound: it talks of the act of baring your writing soul, reveling in the freedom of unrestricted expression as you go about finding your voice, and the joy of being unrestrained and unconcerned about what everyone else might think of you as you do so.

I’m loving reading this book; I find it many things: humorous, informative, irreverent, wise, enthused, energising, reassuring, warm, honest, and all based on Ray Bradbury’s many years of writing experience and ‘living large’ even as a pre-teen. He delves into his childhood loves and fears and pains and talks about how these things carried him and informed him as writer and story- teller.

I’m quoting below from Chapter One- The Joy of Writing:

“… the first thing a writer should be is -excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms. Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches; God knows it’d be better for his health. How long has it been since you wrote a story where your real love or your real hatred somehow got onto the paper? What are the best things and the worst things in your life, and when are you going to get around to whispering or shouting them?”

I love writing fiction; expressing myself through storytelling- I find it cathartic, and I find it helps me to delve into my thoughts and feelings and reveal these on the page in the way that’s right for me. Frustratingly though, storytime too often ends up on the back burner as the rest of the stuff of life takes over. Not a good excuse, I know. Ray Bradbury would probably tell me to just Find my Feet, Hit the Page Running, and to Spill my Guts in the process!

Written for One Liner Wednesday at Linda G Hill

The Monday Begin-Again

I don’t normally reblog other people’s posts, but this quote is so perfect for a Monday that I couldn’t resist:

A new week starts. No need to hesitate. The windows reflect a new day with new adventures. Looking back is just too much work! With all that you know and all that you’ve learned, turn and follow the open road ahead.From this lovely blog that I came across while doing random searches on WordPress this morning: https://carriesbench.org/2022/08/29/mondays-door-6/

Happy Monday, everyone and here’s wishing you an upbeat start to the new week. Oh, and remember to keep your Beginner’s Mind with you at all times! 🙂

Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

Pause to Reflect: 5 beautiful thoughts for the later months of 2022

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In my garden: Purple Iris

I originally intended this post for January this year. I thought it was a nice way to get things started for 2022: some inspired wisdom following a year of unprecedented challenges on a world wide scale. A new year, especially when it follows a particularly difficult one, holds a promise of renewal and a fresh start, and we look forward with a sense of hope for better things to come. We look to embrace the possibilities ahead, and we feel the urge to move forward to dream bigger, do better and be better.

Fast forward to the last week of August 2022 and I find that much has happened since that fresh first month of January, and also that I never got round to publishing this post. It occurred to me that right now, now that the year has lost its youthful sheen, may be a good time for us to check in with ourselves. It’s fair to say that inspiration never goes out of date, and words that seem wise and uplifting are as relevant in August as they are in January. The later stage of a year is where we may well be needing a dose of that positivity that we started the year with. Even if we have done well with the New Year’s resolutions and goals we may have created for the year, life presents ongoing challenges and as we find our coping mechanisms being continually stretched, we may feel those frustrations and disappointments piling up. And that’s when we need to step back, take a breath (in AND out) and pause for some perspective and the energy to motivate ourselves going forward.

The following are not necessarily intended as maxims or mottos for life, although indeed they could be. These are all quotes taken from different sources: websites and blog posts, a newspaper article and an encyclopaedia entry. These are writings to reflect upon: Inspired and thoughtful words from the wise hearts and minds of humans past and present who, like you and me, no doubt had their good days and bad, and times where they had to dig deep just to get through the day. For me, each of these is a beautiful observation that makes the world a richer place and speaks of our ongoing human search for meaning, and our need to feel at home in ourselves and the world that we are a part of.

1.“The One you are looking for is the One who is looking.” (St Francis of Assisi). Beautifully explained in this post.

2. ““There exists a deep ecological tradition in Vedic culture by which human settlement, forests and water resources are carefully balanced. To achieve that balance, nature’s welfare and human welfare cannot be separated each other.”   Terry Sheldon explains the Vedic ecology at the core of the Small Farm Training Centre, in an article from the Huffington Post.

3. “Really, to have a life of doing you need to not do.” (Will Rosenzweig on the Tao). Read about the four levels of non-doing, and how it may sometimes be necessary to be detached from things that you care deeply about.

4. “Animals move; people can learn about movement from animals. House pets stretch all day long, creating space in their joints. Animals sit in different kinds of positions. Monkeys and apes do things with their hands. Perhaps as humans we need to reclaim our four- leggedness. Getting down on all fours stimulates the pranic flow. Sitting in chairs tightens the hamstrings and the lower back. Animals don’t sit on furniture; they have not built things contrary to their nature.”  (Denise Kaufman) from the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Nature

5.”Whats in your cup? ….When life gets tough, what spills over for you?” and “The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step” from ZEN FLASH

Because today is Earth Day

sunflower during sunset
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“For we forget our origins; in our towns and cities, staring into our screens, we need constant reminding that we have been operators of computers for a single generation and workers in neon-lit offices for three or four, but we were farmers for five hundred generations, and before that hunter-gatherers for perhaps fifty thousand or more, living with the natural world as part of it as we evolved, and the legaccannot be done away with.” From “The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy”, by Michael Mccarthy.

And similarly, from marine biologist and human being truly in love with nature, Rachel Carson, whose book Silent Spring first ignited the Environmental Movement back in the 1960’s: “Our origins are of the earth. And so there is in us a deeply seated response to the natural universe, which is part of our humanity.”

International Earth Day 2021 is today: 22/04/2021

Prompted by Linda’s #1LinerWeds Challenge: 21/04/2021 : Random

Knowing when to Run

Clarens 2021
View of Golden Gate, near Clarens, South Africa

‘True self-care is not bath salts and chocolate cake, it’s making the choice to build a life you don’t need to escape from’ – Brianna Wiest

Talking of escape, that’s exactly what I happened to do this past weekend. We (my husband and I) spent a weekend in Clarens, a little town about three and half hours from where we live in Johannesburg. It is a beautiful little town, surrounded by hills and mountains and with an abundance of little shops and restaurants and places to enjoy a home grown craft beer or two.  Amazingly, the place seems to be flourishing despite the devastation of Covid, although sadly there are probably casualties that I am not aware of. From Wikipedia: Clarens is a small town situated in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains in the Free State province of South Africa and nicknamed the “Jewel of the Eastern Free State”. It was established in 1912 and named after the town of Clarens in Switzerland where exiled Paul Kruger spent his last days.

The weekend had been planned some weeks back, and I was looking forward to the break- a change of scene, a breath of fresh air, the pleasure of a mini holiday at a place that we had visited and delighted in over previous visits. However I was not really thinking of it as an escape. That’s a strong word. The feeling of escape came towards the end of the weekend, while we were driving back on the Sunday afternoon, when I reminded myself that I had not checked my phone for messages or notifications, or even gone online the entire weekend since the Friday morning.  And it felt good. It felt liberating. There is a kind of delight in the nonchalance of not feeling inclined to keep checking your phone, when you really feel in your bones that it’s just not important right now, that you have bigger fish to fry, and that fish is called Enjoying Your Day, Unimpeded. And I think that we all need to go there sometimes, to that place where you don’t feel FOMO tugging at your sleeve, or your heart strings or whatever, because that thing that’s REALLY tugging at your heart strings is often what you see when you just lift your eyes from the screen and look beyond your arm’s length to the trees and the clouds, and the Maluti mountain range out there in the distance.

  

Prompted by Linda’s #1LinerWeds Challenge: 31/03/2021 : Had To Run

Looking to where truth lies

blue and white planet display
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Perhaps the truth lies in the spaces inbetween. When we stand back and truly take a look at what is in front of us, at what surrounds us. At what we are in fact a part of. A term known as the Overview Effect may be just the wakeup call that is needed here on planet Earth. Wikipedia describes the Overview Effect as “…a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from outer space.”

The genesis of the term is credited to Frank White while on an airplane flight in the 1970’s: “Anyone living in a space settlement … will always have an overview. They will see things that we know, but that we don’t experience, which is that the Earth is one system. We’re all part of that system, and there is a certain unity and coherence to it all.”

Or as described in stronger terms by Edgar Mitchell, the Apollo 14 astronaut who clearly knew how to call a spade a spade: “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.”

For more on the Overview Effect and similar kinds of different, you can visit Kyle Kowalski’s beautiful website HERE.  

Prompted by Linda’s #1LinerWeds Challenge: 17/03/2021

#SoCS: The path to enlightenment is a slippery slope…

 

 

06/03/21: Butter

Don’t say But, she repeated.

But… he started.

She rolled her eyes. There you go again. Why can’t you just be decisive for a change. Assertive. Focused.

I try, he said. Maybe I just lack those qualities.

I don’t think it’s that, she said, I think that things just stick in your throat. Stop you from speaking your truth. From saying what you mean. So instead, you’re a Butter.

What?

A Butter. You skirt issues by not addressing them. You don’t get to the point. You keep saying But. So that you don’t have to go there.

Where do you think I need to go?

Only you can answer that.

Except I can’t.

Here, have a teaspoon of ghee, that might loosen things up for you.

The teaspoon was silver and with it she scooped up a golden spoonful from the small bucket. It glowed, warm and yellow and shiny. His mouth watered.

But…. he began again, looking doubtful, anxious even.

She rolled her eyes. And there you go again. Don’t be so fearful about everything. It’s only clarified butter you know.

What will it do?

With any luck, it will loosen your tongue for you, make you sing your own song. Speak your truth, so to speak. In India when people go down to the river, to the Ganges to sing and pay homage to their god and to nature, they swallow a spoonful of ghee to loosen the throat, to add sweetness to their voice.

He opened his mouth. He leaned in, and swallowed.

Seconds later, he opened his mouth again. Then, Ommmmmm.

On no, I’ve gone from a Butter to an Ummer, that’s even worse.

No, that didn’t sound like an Um to me, that sounded like Om.

You mean, Om as in Om Shanti?

That’s exactly what I mean! I think you’ve become Enlightened!

He frowned. I don’t feel Enlightened. Not that I would recognise it. I don’t think so anyway. I kind of feel the same.

That’s ok, ‘before enlightenment chop wood, carry water, after enlightenment chop wood, carry water’, and all that.

Okay. He sounded doubtful, still frowning.

Well, maybe it was just an Um, and that’s fine by me too. Anything’s better than listening to you go ‘But…’ all the time. Here, have another spoonful, just in case.

 

Prompted by Linda G Hill at 
Stream of Consciousness Saturdays #SoCS 

 

 

 

 

 

Are we still waiting for Normal, or is there a better way?

sunflower during sunset
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A friend said to me recently, “It feels like there is nothing to look forward to”. He was referring to Lockdown and  the limitations that it imposes upon his normal life, the constraints on his ability to move around freely, where his options are being sorely compromised by the realities of dealing with this pandemic. No longer can he just go online, cherry pick from a wide selection of wonderful and exciting destinations, and then make his travel plans accordingly. My frequent-flying and adventure seeking friend is in the same boat as the rest of us: his plans are on hold while bigger things are busy running their course. “Life is what happens while you are making other plans.” I don’t know how he is doing right now, I have no idea how he has adapted to the situation that most of us find ourselves in- dealing with the shock of enforced change, rebuilding aspects of our lives where necessary, and just generally trying to rise to the challenges of navigating this strange and scary new space. Maybe he is waiting for things to ‘go back to normal’, where he can book his flight online and then hop on a plane to fly off somewhere different for a while. For now he will have to continue to wait. We ALL have to wait. But waiting can be painful, and frustrating, and even spirit- crushing. Waiting for change, for that desired outcome or result, is difficult. It can lead us to feel powerless and helpless and anxious. Thank goodness there is a choice. It’s called “Wanting what you already have.” Ok, so it doesn’t replace the satisfaction, the sense of achievement and the thrill of getting that thing that you’ve been coveting and working towards for so long, but never underestimate the power of the little things. The things that are already part of your life, the things that you may forget to notice, are sometimes easily overlooked and taken for granted because the big stuff, the stuff of dreams, just seems so much more exciting.

Continue reading

As Wise as Water

orange mason jar in body of water
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I enjoy collecting quotes: those handy and comforting adages that can offer cheer and relief when things don’t make sense, when the world doesn’t make sense- when you can’t help wondering, despite the wisdom of your years that has taught you that the world does Not have a personal vendetta against you or anyone else, why bad things happen to good people. Even today I received a Whatsapp message from a younger relative, and in my response to him I found myself typing ‘This too Shall Pass.’ Sometimes (usually in fact) there just are no perfect or fully satisfying answers in life, and we find ourselves with more questions than answers, and that kind of waiting period where we try to fix or at least to ‘adapt’ to a difficult situation, only to find ourselves dealing with the next crisis or a different challenge soon after! And we rise to the challenge once again, and sometimes life feels like just a series of events that asks (almost) more of us than we have to give.

Nevertheless, he seemed to appreciate my ‘This too shall pass’ comment, responding with a smiley face 🙂 and hearts ♥♥♥, so I’m glad I could help. Continue reading