The hero or victim of your life

wonderwoman.jpgWe all live our lives, and we are all LIED to in childhood about what its going to be like – we are sold sanitized fairy stories where they took all the gruesome bits out because it might upset the children. Except we learn, that those gruesome bits are there for a reason, the gritty and ugly is a real and unavoidable part of life – EVERBODIES life, there is no escaping it whether you are rich or poor – people of all ages, all classes and all strata of society deal with “stuff” every day – nobody it totally immune from a messy divorce, a bully in work, a parent with a mental illness, cancer, disease, failure – no matter how protected and sheltered our life may be.

So why don’t we prepare our kids for it? why do we fill their heads with banal cartoons that don’t always mean anything, where the prince and princess always meet and fall adoringly in love with nothing messy, and no pregnancy or kids to report either. Nobody fails in our kid’s stories, everyone’s a winner, good always prevails and there’s ALWAYS a happy ending

Is life ALWAYS like that – not so much, so people still keep seeking it, the dream whatever it may be and keep chasing, without stopping to pause and be truly happy in this life here and now. The idea is in us that if our life doesn’t match up to their stories we were told it was going to be like then perhaps we are not really enough. There will also always be those toxic people who want to perpetuate that feeling in us to, so they can feed us their magical solutions. The religions who prey on our fears about death or lack of family, lack of a moral compass or guidance. The drug pushers with their prescription pills, making anything out of the box abnormal, keep your head down and obey the programme or you might just have something wrong with you – we can fix you but your wrong, not enough as they make millions in their industry. The companies selling us th solution in terms of courses and lifestyle changes – insecurity and discontentment are BIG business. Its good to push to improve yourself your life and your circumstances but be assured you are enough as you are

why?

It is because you are a hero. Sometimes when something bad happens in life, and we have something we have to overcome, whatever, it may be, maybe it is that messy divorce, a job loss,  disability, sickness, lack of love, poor economy and few local prospects. You can in a way, start to feel like a victim in life, perhaps you dropped out of college,whatever it may be – life can be tough and knowing how to navigate our lives is not something we are given a great deal of help with – life doesn’t come with a manual and even if it did it would be out of print pretty quick because the game is changing all the time.

So… if you have made it this far, bloody well done, your a hero of your life, not a victim , even if you didn’t get to have the life you dreamed of, because you can and will overcome everything that is thrown at you and even in a moment of defeat you can know its not forever with the right help, with time to reflect and learn. Read the gruesome fairy stories with all the hate and jealousy and grit and create your own. Because that’s what life is about – there’s a great blueprint for the journey we ALL go through in some shape way or another, where we make the Heros Journey -where we go from ordinary to meeting real and difficult challenges and finding our own way around our limitations. Sometimes we may get “stuck” – being stuck may last for years, but onward we go because life goes on and everyone gets some sort of success in the end – it just may not look like the traditional happy ending – there may be compromises but its all a heroic journey, even if its one of struggle every day.

So, If you like to 70 or 80 imagine how many challenges you have gone through and overcome – life is still beautiful – so that makes you a hero – even if it can seem like your a victim in some way.

Fantastical Tales by Michelle Smith

They want my life story, a neat little ditty to fit in before tea,
Who shall I be, a heroine strong or a victim that hides now and you never see
A girl lost not found that never moved beyond fantasy unicorns and never never land
Shall I embellish my tale and add fantastical things, fairies or an ogre or two
Magical winged beasts, villains to slay by the rising of the light
Do you want a story that makes you feel a little wiser than your years
Do you feel lucky for all the monsters that did not go bump in your night
The trials not all of us bear, but perhaps we do
War wounds and scars haunt us and keep us from flight

Into the deep comfort of that good night, where love conquers all
The happy ending guaranteed, well that’s not always how it falls
Some tales are sweet, dramatic and with rhythm
Others weak that let tears leak
On to the floor
To collect in puddles, swept away in a hall
Which tale shall I tell you because I was there I lived it all

 

 

Poetry – Laughter like a Jelly in a bowl

wibblewobbleOnce a month I love to take part in a traditional storytelling circle and this has now been promoted as a great way to maintain good mental and emotional health.

There is something primal and beautiful about a gathering of unique souls who each have tonnes of life experience behind them meeting together to share their stories, tales, poems, and songs and to laugh and celebrate life.

In our digital world this community sort of gathering which so common when we lived in big families or in tribes is not always so commonplace anymore – nor always is it found in our culture the ways or ordinary people coming together to share their wisdom and their unique perspective on life and their creativity – which is a gift EVERYBODY has in some way shape or form.

Creativity is reported to even being taken out of our state schools – so the beauty of sharing our creative inspiration and wonder is something that seems to be being placed in the hands of the few, while the rest are relegated to a life of passive consumerism.

So how to fight this – well I create every day – I may do some sketching or some poetry or just some writing about my ideas and outlook on life, which is also a kind of therapy – free writing, but you can get some really interesting fruitful stuff from that

I am also an esl teacher and with my students I ALWAYS encourage their wonder and their joy and their creativity – I may be teaching English as a foreign language but art is a universal language – pictures transcend the language barrier so I feel they are really important in both communicating the language and also empowering more effective communication in the students.

So anyway, in today’s creativity this evening, I wrote a poem about the joy found in being silly, making a joke and gathering to share stories, poems and lyrics – a joy that is FREE and available to everyone if only more would grasp it by using their gifts which may otherwise be wasted in our culture.

The poem has many uses, I can perform it in the storytelling event, I can use it in teaching children, I can read it to my son and family and friends, and I may one day put it in a book with my own illustrations. It would be GREAT for a laughter yoga session

If you want to try writing a poem like this, then a technique you can try is choosing a few keywords you want to work with such as laughter or jelly in a bowl – and then free write around your subject – just write freely sentences without punctuation or worrying about spelling on your subject and what you have on your heart. Then read your writing and pick the main words and phrases you want to include in your poem, note the general theme – then work on put the sentences together in rhyme – look at meanings of words and alternative words that rhyme – piece your poem together. Polish it off with a conclusion and there you have your poem. Give it a title and publish

Laughter like a Jelly in a bowl

Someone tells a joke
Spreads some fun or a poke
Does clowning like a jester
While being extra kind
Making mirth and playing the fool
Really isn’t a dumb thing to do
Laughing at the grey and serious
Is something great and quite hilarious
It sends love and light right out
into the world, for all to find
 
and soon we are all are smiling
and giggling in our bellies
like a jelly in a bowl
wibble wobble wibble wobble
Ha ha ha ho ho howl
 
Having fun is natural
and something all should do
send sunlight in our faces
is the joke on me or you
Loneliness, sadness only appear
when none are living in joy and cheer
Meet together, and be happy
share life, stories, poems, lyrics and jokes
And surely we will all be merry folks
 
Cause soon we are all laughing
and giggling in our bellies
like a jelly in a bowl
wibble wobble wibble wobble
Ha ha ha ho ho howl
 
 
Like jelly in a bowl
is the laughter in my belly
a bowl of joy and plenty
not for the few, but for the many

A good story- Dressing the Naked Truth

One thing I love is a good story. The story may be part of a film, or a favorite novel, or a biography or part of an inspiring talk – it may be a piece of outstanding journalism – but I do really love a good story.

A good story for me brightens my whole day,  it sends tingles in my brain, and joy in my soul. It may have been dramatic or moving and I would have had my emotions swept along with it, its just like a great rollercoaster ride at the fun fair – your with it all the way and once its done your delighted and want to hear it again.

Thats a good story for me

So, since I have decided i love stories so much, I especially love the spoken word and traditional tales told to a live audience. In a small cozy gathering often in comfortable surroundings with light refreshment and an inspired and talented storyteller, which we all listen to as a community.

I have explored religions through my life too and cultural frameworks of reality which holds what we feel we know to be true. These are all based on story – grand narratives and while there are many issues with religions, wars etc; one of the things I love is the talent of the priest or priestess or Buddha as storyteller, passing on their wisdom and insights in a way that makes better and more virtuous people, wiser, and more prepared for life and its difficulties.

I also enjoy telling stories. I tell stories in my work as an ESL teacher of Chinese children and I love to do all the dramatic bits and the funny voices to delight the children.

So as part of my work and also as a personal interest, I have started to collect little traditional stories as I hear them that are quite short and memorable and preferably have some sort of higher meaning or moral to them.  I have decided to share some of them here in my blog… obviously, in a written format, they are not fully alive, not like when they are performed or told by a teller – but I think it’s nice to share them with their bits of wisdom which others may appreciate in the online world.

One story I heard quite recently relates to my experience of church. When I went to church and heard the gospel about how we are all sinners destined for hell etc it didnt really sink in, I had previously been studying Hinduism and that says we are good with a divine nature, secular thinking also says we are all basically good people and after a while of hearing it and evaluating its truths, i did get a little angry with the idea that we are hopeless sinners in need of a saviour. Some people who hear those words stay angry or at least dismiss them as nonsense – but I never totally did that because while its true everyone is capable of good and if perchance we do any good we are the first to sing our own praises, it is also true, that we have a darker or shadow side which we hide and try to keep under control. Lack of awareness of this side of ourselves and refusing to admit that ok, we may be less than perfect can lead to all sorts of problems.

However, for the Priest whos job it is to present this truth to the people, with flourish and style, having the responsibility for the flock and their moral and spiritual welfare in his hands – he has a hard job to do, to present something that people may get angry about, dismiss etc etc

So I heard a story that could help with this. It’s a Jewish tale and it goes like this:

Once upon a time two very beautiful women met in the woods, they both had long luscious hair, big starry eyes, stunning figures and were both gorgeous in every way. So being a little vain they decided to have a competition to see who was the most beautiful woman. In order to test who was the most beautiful and the most powerful, they decided to have a competition where they would walk through the nearest town in all their beauty and see who would gather the most crowds

One woman’s name was called Truth, the other was called Story

So Truth went first, she was very beautiful and she walked through the town and people did gather at first, but not for long and mostly they then went away and carried on with their business – then thinking she wasn’t doing very well and that she would lose the competition she pulled out all the stops to appear more beautiful, letting down her long hair, shaking it in the breeze and still that didn’t gather the crowds – so feeling there was nothing more to do she decided to take off her garments and appear in the town completely naked

Although Truth was stunningly beautiful, she just still didn’t gather the crowds and instead, now she was naked – people ran away and locked their doors and hid from Truth.
So she went back to lady story and said sadly, I have been utterly rejected and even spat upon by the crowds, they even hid from me – I think I have lost this competition,  I must be very ugly
so Story’s turn came and off she went to the town – she was dressed in finery and when she went through the town the people all came out of their houses and soon there was a huge crowd gathered around her – everyone loved story and she had easily won the competition
So returned to the woods and the two women talked. Truth was humble – I have lost this competition – it must be that Story is more beautiful and more powerful than Truth
But Story replied is it not that I am more beautiful and powerful – it is just that people often don’t like the truth and they especially do not like the Naked truth even though you are indeed a very beautiful woman.
However, all is not lost because all that truth needs to be loved and accepted is the mantle of story and then Story took off her long feathered cloak and gave it to truth and she looked very fine indeed. So now when she went into town the people did gather to see her in her lovely long cloak and soon a big crowd appeared and truth was accepted and loved.
Moral – although Truth in itself is a beautiful woman people do not like her without adornment, they prefer in disguise – dressed in the mantle of story.

 

 

 

 

 

The Mystery of Creativity and Innovation

Creativity is a beautiful and amazing thing. So many people really love and admire true creativity when it becomes responsible for an amazing piece of art or a new innovative design, technology, fashion, books or a new product.

However, not everyone finds it easy to accept the new, when the new comes along. Often if a culture is not ready for it, it can be shunned, labeled, locked away, hidden or otherwise removed from society as an aberration.  Sometimes in the case of technology, we have to wait for the infrastructure to change to accommodate the new as often networks of all kinds remain outdated. An easy example of this would be the fax machine – a really common item may be a bit outdated now but most offices do contain the fax machine somewhere – but when was it invented? it was actually invented in 1843 well before it was needed or could be accepted by the culture and also because it needed new infrastructure. Education too always takes a long time to catch, you may not know it but our education system is often hopelessly outdated and often fails to prepare people for jobs in a fast-paced changing world. New jobs become available and exist due to the rate of change and innovation, that nobody is equipped to fill because training hasn’t caught up.

So what skills can we learn in the modern world that would be useful in these times? Creativity could be one such skill. What is creativity? its often considered a little bit mystical a mysterious force that brings an idea from the ether into solid reality as something new. Creativity could be considered thinking outside the box or its ideas that have value.

Creativity is used to fuel innovation which is something that’s really important in these times of transitions and change in all aspects of society and in the ways we evaluate what we think we know about the world.

You may not know it but theres different types of innovation

Theres sustainable innovation which is looking at ways we can care for and sustain our planet

Service innovation – which is innovation around services

Experience innovation – which is all about providing an experience, for instance, Apple produced a product with a  specifically designed a box that was slow to open to provide the ultimate anticipation experience upon receiving and opening the product. This innovation can be anything to do with the user experience in a variety of different ways.

Then there’s my favorite, impossible innovation this is innovation that is way ahead for its time that seems impossible such as the moon landing initially was years ago something that seems impossible now, but actually, it may become reality one day.

Creativity and innovation is also really important in our society because it fuels social change. A recent example we could look at on this is the recent amount of technological innovation which has caused mass changes in our society now everyone has a phone which has changed peoples habits and behavior.   The internet has caused huge changes in the way people do things and continues to do so with new ways now of earning money online and the new easy connectivity around the world that didn’t exist before

So what is innovation? innovation is applied creativity. Creativity, a mystical gift we all have to some degree, applied usefully to create innovation and drive mass culture change. Possibly and potentially world-changing.

Fluidity modernity is a constant flow of innovation that is changing the world every second of every day.

Innovation while being fuel for mass culture change around the globe is also quite lucrative. In the UK alone in 2007, 1.8 billion was spent just on innovation and the generation of interesting ideas.

So the nitty gritty… how do you do it? is creativity and innovation truly so mystical a gift that is for the creative few, out of the grasp of mere mortals. Well not everyone thinks it is, many people think creativity is something we all have and is something we should all be using and if we really utilized it well could potentially bring about some amazing changes in society.

Creativity is all about divergent thinking.. that’s our out of the box thinking. So how do you do that? Many people claim to not be able to see the box let alone think outside of it – but is that really totally true.

A really easy process and an example would be – just think of all the uses for something like a pencil.

You may think ok – you can draw or write with a pencil so these would be the ordinary every day uses for a pencil but then if you decided to think a bit more creatively you may think well really what else could you do with it – you could use it to put your hair up its wooden and burns so it could be used to start a fire it could be used to make holes in the ground for seeds a weapon chewing erasing.

So this is a really good start in our creative brainstorming – but then what happens if we add something else to the equation.

Didnt mention the size of the pencil or the material

so what could we do with the pencil now – build a house a rocket ship  titanium pencil used to sculpt, edible pencil

So what happens when we say it doesn’t have to function as a pencil

ok so now we get new possibilities – its a ruler, chopsticks, fidget spinner table leg tree support.

But then when we get truly divergent thinking – we may actually have to totally suspend our ideas of reality and what we think the world and the pencil should look like in reality to get something new.

So how could we do that? well an example would be to take the pencil to a totally fantastical place and imagine its uses there

For example – lets take the pencil to the land of harry potter – so if harry potter was going to use the pencil in his land – what would he use the pencil for?  In this example, we can begin to suspend reality and begin to think in ways that are not totally logical or linear to produce new results.

Examples could be as a wand as a mind-reading device, for recording dreams, records conversations, write spells, mind reading pencil, or you could use a giant pencil instead of a broom to fly with, in the game Quidditch

So there we have come up with quite a few ideas that are a little bit out of the box that could potentially become something new one day.

Creativity and innovation is not out of the reach of everyone –  maybe if we all applied a little creativity magic to our lives we could you come up with some amazing ideas to change your life, live with interest and colour and variety, and inspire the lives of those around you.

This blog post has been inspired by the talk by Josh Hart who used meditation and spiritual pracices to fuel innovation and design – given in the Tech hub, 3rd May 2018

JOSH HART
“The Mystery Behind Creativity and Innovation”

This is an interactive talk unpacking the mystery behind the nature of creativity by delving into the uses of divergent thinking. Cognitive barriers tend to prevent creativity being accessed whenever a person wants, there are structures and tools you can use to overcome this problem, to give yourself step by step innovative thinking, whenever you need it.

Josh Hart VA, author of Phenomenological Design. He has an MA in Design Futures. He is a Designer and Director of Mindfulness Design. “I am a multidisciplinary designer with a keen passion for design and mindfulness. I thrive off creative challenges and collaborative experiences.”

Mindfulness Design is a new company, based in Cardiff that promotes innovation and mindfulness within a business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What lurks in the shadows

Over the last few years I have been interested in the world of Carl Jung and his insight into the psyche – in particular, the ideas of the collective consciousness, the archetypes, and the shadow.

The shadow really interests me as an artist, as I realize that the darker aspects of our being, the parts that know exactly why good people do bad things, and the parts of ourselves we reject or are ashamed of are rich material for artistic expression.

Not only that a great deal of our gifts and creativity itself may live exactly in those shadows, the destructive dark traits that generate drama, mood, tone, variety and wildness amid order are all concealed in the shadow parts of ourselves, along with our rejected desires to be creative, to be wild, magical or to be an artist as society imposes its ways on us to conform and be “normal” and “civilised”, “good” and “polite” and just “fit in”.

So I’m becoming more and more excited to discover what lurks in the shadows – ok it could be on the surface of things just a jumble of mess – but just like looking at and sorting a dark cluttered room in a house which you may hide and feel ashamed of, great treasures and long-forgotten things may be found in there as well.

I recently invented a lovely arts practice to look at revealing what may lie hidden in our shadows.  If like me your an artist, and you have a regular art practice – you may  find that as you do your drawings, sketches or paintings you may accumulate a number of piles of drawings “that dont make the grade”, that you have rejected or discarded in some way, maybe because they were flawed, maybe because they are technically flawed or contain mistakes. The task I made is to go and find all those rejected drawings, or unfinished paintings, look at them honor them, decide why you didn’t like them, what was “wrong” with them which gives an insight into your own shadow and give them a new lease of life – transform them in some way – cut them up and collage them together and create a new image – an image of your shadows.

Hopefully, you can then look at it and see your shadows and hidden things are often full of beauty and light – nothing to be ashamed of and worth baring to the world in creative and useful ways.

Here is my picture of a shadow heron which I collaged together from 3 rejected drawings – the heron had mistakes on its wings, so I painted it black and used it as a shadow, the tree was boring and not to scale and looked wrong and the bullrushes were too thick.

Seen here in a new lease of life as an interesting picture – with a moon, coiled threads of fate and dramatic colours which are typical of the shadow

 

shadow heron

I regularly receive emails from a prophetic Christian Neil Vermillion and I believe great wisdom can be revealed in the biblical stories about human psychology and human nature.  I am not limited to Christianity and I love to study all stories and traditions but I find that God of the Bible often has a deep understanding of human beings that cannot be ignored, especially of our shadow natures that many people miss amid trying to be the light while avoiding all those inconvenient shadows.  Anyway, on the day I wrote this article I received an email from him that gives some further insight into those shadowy or hidden aspects of ourselves in the intuitive realm.

As I comfort you in your times of despair and uncertainty I will simultaneously begin to birth new vision, hope, and optimism. My comfort will not disappoint you, but will empower you according to what I have in store for you not only today, but also for your future. I know you have hurts, but my comfort will allow those hurts to heal. My comfort will replace hurtful memories with hopeful anticipation. I know you have confusion from time to time, but my comfort will replace confusion with clarity. My comfort will spawn vision where vision is lacking, and will inspire direction when direction is not clear. (1)
So allow me to minister to you by my heart. For my heart is great, and so also is the fruit of engaging with my heart. For I will speak to your mind and offer my instruction to you, but I will also speak to your heart by my spirit, offering the full bounty of all that is included in your relationship and engagement with me.
In this you will absorb me moreso than you will understand me. You will be impacted by me even though you will not fully understand within your cognition what is transpiring. I will impress upon you and move within your heart, and do so gracefully, but unmistakably. And over the course of repeated encounter you will come to know me not just by the sound of my voice, but by my presence and the familiar aroma of my fragrance. For the knowledge and experience of my fragrance is accessible only through personal and intimate encounter. It is not accessed from a distance, or by proxy, but by one-on-one interaction through meaningful engagement and bonding together. My fragrance will only be known by what I give you by intimate experience, not by logical reason.
While there are many aspects, details, and components comprising who you are, know the aspects that are illusive and intuitive are also worthwhile and valuable. In the same manner, the many components, details, and aspects of who I am are also mysterious, yet undoubtedly distinct, subtle, and valuable, and are gained by face to face encounter. Though you may not be able to explain or fully process our interactions and engagements, particularly in the moment, they are valuable and worthwhile even still. (2)
(1) 2 Corinthians 1:4-5, Philippians 4:7
(2) 2 Corinthians 4:18

 

 

 

 

 

Learning art for Free

If like me, your an artist already but realize you need to practice your skill and craft to become really good and to develop a portfolio, then ideally you want to experiment with and learn as many styles as possible with plenty of tips from experienced artists.

 

Some of us may not want to go to art school or find that you learn better independently from home. The good news is, that if this is you, the internet is brimming with opportunities to learn the arts and even better, you get to choose your teachers that may have a style you admire or a technique you would like to learn or perfect.

If budget is a problem you may want to check out this new FREE art series called Sketchbook revival – it’s specifically for sketchbook practice and it features 2 lessons or workshops every day, with minimum materials to get you started, from every style to drawing birds in ink to drawing more mundane things such as what you had for breakfast (ideal practice for illustrating a recipe book).

If your interested in this course then it’s only available for a limited time but if you go ahead and sign up now, you can catch up and have the opportunity to share your work in the Facebook page associated with the workshop.

Brilliant practice and experience and all for free. It’s available here https://www.karenabend.com/sketchbook-revival/

Amazingly each lesson also comes with a free gift – like a print some tips, a percentage off paid classes or even an art therapy course for free.

So if you sign up you may see me on the facebook page and I hope you enjoy.

Some of the art I have produced on the workshopheronlavenderrosesroses1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The white horse that carries us home

Death – the final journey.

This is something many of us choose NOT to think about, after all, if you are young perhaps there is no need to contemplate the finite nature of our existence.

But here and there we get reminders, we see our grandparents growing older, their struggles and pains as they need assistance with their daily tasks.

Our pets may die and leave us bereft of their company

and as we grow older and older ourselves, some of our companions and friends leave this world, sometimes suddenly, it may be a murder, or a heart attack and sometimes in really horrible circumstances such as a long struggle with an illness like cancer.

For myself, I had a health crisis which came on quite young, it wasn’t a fatal illness but there were many times I thought I may die due to being sick – so this caused a change in me. I became religious, I studied the sacred texts of many religions. I experimented with meditation, reiki, studied and made mandalas, prayed long and hard, sat long in silence, and thought deeply. Then I rejected religion altogether when my health was much better and TRIED to go back to my old ways of just living but I found that I was different and changed by my experience and the sacred was with me to stay along with my wounds.

Now I make art and had just started an every day drawing art challenge, when I got a message from a friend, that another mutual friend who has a disability and had been struggling with cancer for a long time, many months wasin fact, is going to die.  First it had been breast cancer they beat that, then it had been leukemia, they battled that, and now it seems they had found another mass in her liver and it’s cancerous. So now the doctors say there is nothing they can do. Visitors requested for her last hours,  days or weeks to make her comfortable before she leaves this world.

So, this was also a moment in my life where I had decided I didn’t really want religion and in particular Jesus of religion in my life anymore – sickened and dismayed by the actions of many Christians and also in toxic shock over some of the more poisonous and difficult to swallow parts of this religion. BUT just the day I got the news about my friend, doing my art challenge, I had drawn a picture of Jesus with his white horse which indicated as a rider He was faithful and True.

jesus

My friend had been going to church before she got ill which is how i knew her and had dedicated herself as a Christian and had stayed with the faith during her long illness and now she was facing the final journey.

So I looked at my art and what I had drawn and decided that yes there would be a use for this – Not only had my art reignited my own faith in a way, but also I realized that this picture was for my friend to brighten up her room.

 

horse

 

I drew some more, just a white horse on its own no rider. The horse we ride to take us home. I scoured the internet for inspiring images and saw a beautiful picture of a single boat, and suddenly I saw it in my mind’s eye with flowers – so I used the image and drew my vision and then came the poem – about the lonely boat and our final journey.lonelyboat

A lonely journey

a lonely journey all alone
to a place that is just unknown
from the shore well wishing hands wave farewell
so many cheers and prayers and thanks to dwell
with us on our passage through the time
to the place of endless rest
and know there isnt any test
Just love and peace thats eternal too
although we will miss and think of you
sweet memories of a friend and her smile
Goodbye for now, until one day, we reconcile.

So, I realise now the benefit and need of religion in our lives…. it for these moments, to express the inexpressible, to appreciate life in all its ups and downs the dramas and the darkness and the light times, to find hope and meaning when there otherwise appears to be none to comfort. It may not be literally true but it certainly contains truth that is experienceable and felt by millions of people, enriching their lives and causing them to enrich the lives of those around them. Sometimes it does go a litle awry people fight and kill over truth, or threaten small children with hell – but otherwise religion, especially the Christian religion, and your following Christs instruction is all about guiding the misguided, caring for the sick, the elderly, the disabled, the homeless seeing people through major passages, birth, marriage, parenthood, death and providing wisdom that cannot be learned, that is just a little inspired and supernatural. Cures that defy all understanding, and soothing and bringing peace to the disturbed. The cries to God do not go unheard.

So yeah, I’m going to go visit my friend who is dying and bring her my pictures and help brighten up her room, tell her and weave her some stories and help her die in dignity with hope for the journey. Then when my time comes I too am going go peacefully into the night hopefully fully prepared.

Melting Ice

ice4In the past I have thought about the ephemeral nature of things, changes transitions we all have to go through. Sometimes this can be dramatic as life and death but sometimes it can be something smaller like moving house or thawing ice. Moments of time that were and are now no longer, and most importantly the in-between time before that transition, the moments in between and ending and a new beginning.

I have seen two such moments recently, I have over the last few months moved from a big three bedroom house in the suburbs into a tiny flat near the town. In the process I have had to get rid of most of my belongings and clutter – as they just don’t scale down well. Very cathartic to realize most of the stuff you owned and gathered and took delight in for a while wasn’t stuff you really needed or even used very much. However there was an attachment, now released, let go as I reside in a new neat clean minimalist space with my bare essentials. I feel lighter as I moved, the snow was beginning to fall down and was the start of the cold snap – but now today I took photos of all that cold and ice thawing away, returning to the water.

Warming sunlight now fills my flat, winter is leaving and spring will come soon, another ending and beginning like endless cycles but in gentle transition. I went for a walk this morning to my new park which will be where I can now go for relaxation and nature, art and poetry and walks. I have frequented my new local – Zincos Lounge, its a lot better than my old one. I feel this transition has been a little painful, but overall positive, better health, fewer belongings, closer to a community, easier to see my relatives and those I care about. Years of history swept away apart from a few souvenirs, clear out the old and make way for the new.

It has caused me to reevaluate my relationship with stuff and belongings as well, we live in a consumer society. It screams by more stuff from every advert on every street corner and screen, but I have decided I’m not going to do that so much anymore. In my parents generation they made things last, our culture makes things to break, but I have realised I have had a bad habit of hoarding and this just won’t be possible in my new place, so this should save some cash as well in terms of not constantly being things we don’t need because an advert or trend says so. Will our friends still love us if we don’t have the latest iPhone, the latest flat screen tv or gadget? I would hope so

My new beginning is letting go of the past, reducing clutter, reducing waste, recycling, making more time for positive life-enriching activities, art, poetry, performance, writing, dance – all of which are mostly free but are essential human activities long forgotten in being a passive consumer, watching tv, eating, buying things. I don’t want to be just an employee or a consumer, a robot in a suit. I want to be free to be me and this requires less stuff to be free.

The winter changes, the ice melts, new pathways emerge, spring is coming and may 2018 continue to be the best year yet. (photos Rosehill quarry Wales UK 4/04/18)

 

Wisdoms root

white

Inspired by Robert Burns poem the Bards epitaph. I’ve been reflecting on wisdom as a tree of life described in books like the Bible and what it means to be wise. Self control and prudence is her root and shes truly beautiful a white reflection of something glorious and greater than ourselves. I wrote my own poem and made some art(above) in honor of Lady Wisdom. The gnostics believed lady wisdom and the Bride of Christ were one and the same 🙂

Wisdoms root

Silver lady standing tall
whos the fairest of them all
moon maiden bright
white goddess of light
no image is found of the woman renowned
shattered mirror, lost dreams
beauty is not as it seems
but thats how you learn, cause you just cannot earn
a place in the hearafter
fairy bells and laughter
an island of song there to rest.
A serenity of heaven the place, thats the best
Wisdom divine is the luminous woman so fine
self control is her root, and her graceful foot
a reflection to sigh of the Glory on high
Prudence her name and she gives gifts of fame
and old age ripe and healthy, and probably wealthy
a sure sign of Grace on the old human race.

EDIT

Since I wrote this post i have had news that im going to be part of an exhibition with a group of artists called the Last Foundation – the exhibition is on Last Foundation – New directions. So basically the new directions all of us ex-students are going in since passing the course. The ex-students that make up the group Last Foundation have gone onto various fields – fine art, fashion, textiles. For myself I have developed my poetic and storytelling voice, writing short stories in a creative writing class and performing my poetry around Swansea and also being creative in training to be a copywriter – but I have decided I really want to explore the amazing world of new media and digital storytelling. So, Im going to apply for the New Media Degree in Carmarthen and learn everything about videos, film, animations, apps, UX design and so on. So the exhibition will reflect this – im going to do a digital storytelling version of my poem on wisdom and a semi-animated video using after effects and my digital art will be displayed in a cut up mosaic form like a smashed mirror. Ill also include my artwork in the semi-animated video along with royalty free images and sounds I’ve collected from the internet.

I did some further free writing on the project to see what else my poem and artwork could tell me

Wisdom is a tree of life and all those that hold on to her will be blessed (proverbs 3:18)

wisdom is alluring – but she is not to be enjoyed or partaken of by men she is chaste and a reflection of the divine, her gifts are a measure of His Grace – she does not act independently

mirrors reflections – smash the mirror for looking at self – selfie culture, lost in broken dreams and unwise living – beauty is not found in self reflection its found in being the mirror reflection of the Greater Glory a spark eminating from the source of it all. Its in reflection on Him that we may become beautiful and wise – joyful, clean, holy, white with hair like wool

wisdom as a moon maiden
The moon is a reflection of the sun, and so too is true beauty but a reflection of the Creator and its His light that gives delight in the an otherwise barren and bereft form. So it is for the Christian, our job is to be reflections of the Light of the Great Light – the source of all illumination and Glory. Without Him we have no light, we are not radiant or beautiful in ourselves but by cultivating the gifts of the holy spirit and turning our faces to greet the Sun of Righteousnes we too can be beautiful and reflect the His light in an otherwise dark night of an unbelieving sinful world.