Category

introversion

inspiration & influence introversion work life

Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

May 15, 2017

quiet light quote

As a proud introvert, I am keen to promote quiet voices speaking in the world.

I’m sharing a piece here that was originally published in Issue 1 of The Introvert Effect Magazine in February this year.

Just because you are quiet by nature, it doesn’t meant you can’t speak out and influence. You might do this a little differently to what feels like mainstream approaches. And it can take a little while to learn how your skills can best be played out.

My piece is an account of how I learned to understand and work the gifts of introversion. I hope you enjoy it and I welcome your thoughts especially if you have had similar experiences.

The second issue of The Introvert Effect Magazine – the Energy Issue – is out and is available here. The magazine is by introverts for introverts and this issue has some great tips for managing energy as an introvert.

*************************************************************************************************

Shining a quiet light 

I’ve always been aware of a sense of feeling a little different, a bit quieter, slightly outside the mainstream. Not necessarily in a bad way, but enough to feel at a distance from what was happening at times and to not say as much as I wanted.

As a young adult, I was drawn to the work of Carl Jung, to his visions, dreams and insights and to his writing on symbols, synchronicity and personality.

I found some of his Collected Works volumes with images of mandalas that I would gaze into as if they held something secret.

I became a teacher of adult literacy and then over time, a leader in adult education, heading up large work groups, honing the vision for my teams and business area, delivering educational programs that made a difference and developing the people that worked with me.

I’ve always been interested in personal development and creativity, mine and other people’s. Learning to me is paramount and even if the terrain is tough, there’s knowledge, experience and strength from that. I incorporated and shared these lessons in my work as a leader and in more personal writing on my blog.

With all of this, it wasn’t until I worked through my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type with a coach that I began to truly understand myself and the key to how I work.

I identified as an INTJ personality type – Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging – with a very strong preference for the I – Introverted.

I remember a single moment in the debriefing conversation when my coach said to me:

“Do you ever close the door?”

I can remember my stunned silence.

It seemed so obvious and still does. But the words were like a permission slip that I clearly needed to be authentic in my work in the world.

Leadership in our 24/7 world, filled with social media and electronic devices, implies always being available and accessible. These simple words about closing the door as my source of power and learning to respect this, ironically, opened the door to so much.

After that, I did start to close the door briefly and found it so valuable in getting peace and focus. I still do whatever I can to breathe, to collect my thoughts, to envision, to put the pieces together in a mind-map, to research, to craft words and to prepare for the next interaction.

A few years later, I read Susan Cain’s ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’. It was another watershed time and I understood myself more deeply as the words unfolded.

These words from Susan Cain spoke to me:

Everyone shines, given the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight, for others, a lamplit desk.

It’s true: I shine most brightly from the light of my desk or from the shade of trees at the beach where I sit writing, feet in the sand, staring out into the water and sunlight. All the incandescent ideas and visions flow from that inward space.

It’s not better than a Broadway stage, it’s just different. But it has taken me years to realise it’s just as significant a power as the brighter magic of a more extraverted and colourful performance. And it’s also taken me time to have confidence in this quiet strength as a source of expression and wisdom.

I’ve been told in my professional life, as I’m sure many introverts have, to “speak up more” and also to consider “voice coaching”.

There are times when this might be helpful and to some extent there’s truth in there. However, I gained the ability to speak up and influence more effectively through learning to work my introvert by sharpening up my practices of how I prepare, strategise, listen and write.

From this base, I can speak to large groups without undue stress and have impact in challenging negotiation contexts.

I can follow the flow of discussion in a meeting that meanders and then sum up the main ideas into a distilled message for future action.

I can listen in a very focused way and ask the right questions to help others move ahead. I can use my strategic writing ability to bring diverse ideas together to influence an outcome or argue for a position.

I have always had these skills to some degree. Over time, I have had to learn to recognise them as assets and to deploy them more appropriately and with confidence.

The linchpin has been the awareness of knowing the symbolic and practical power of the closed door and the lamplit desk, working from the wellspring of private moments however I can find them.

And it’s not that other people are not involved or important.

Connecting with critical others, listening to others’ ideas, engaging with creative communities and working with coaches and mentors are all part of the rich mix of input.

But it’s the quiet moment of distilling all of this knowledge and experience to its essence that is the vital catalyst for action.

We are all on a hero’s (or heroine’s) journey.

As Steven Pressfield says in ‘Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work’:

In the hero’s journey, the wanderer returns home after years of exile, struggling, and suffering. He brings a gift for the people. That gift arises from what the hero has seen, what he has endured, what he has learned. But the gift is not that raw material alone. It is the ore refined into gold by the hero/ wanderer/ artist’s skilled and loving hands.

You are that artist.

For the introvert, this important work of refining, distilling and reworking is more likely to happen if we can find space in our days.

And if there are silent walks along the beach, or elsewhere, collecting thoughts like shells.

And if we remember that the gentle light of ideas can be just as radiant as any stage performance, illuminating dark corners with presence.

The next step in my personal journey is to take this learning forward. As an INTJ, my dominant function is Introverted Intuition and I’m activating this power now with more awareness.

I’m combining my passions for learning, teaching, writing, Carl Jung’s ideas and MBTI tools to support people to harness their particular brand of brilliance to express their voice in the world.

Learning to work our introvert strengths to deploy our gifts ensures that the unique voice of what we love, who we are and what we have learned is not drowned out.

We can never know the difference our influence can make or the impact we can have on another’s life journey.

Recognising our abilities, crafting the raw material of our lives and then communicating the gold we find can be the greatest offering, enabling others to likewise shine.

shine a quiet light

Keep in touch

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Liketo keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on introversion, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and tarot.

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. New probono coaching opportunities and special offers coming soon. Be the first to know!

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Being a vessel or working with introverted intuition

Working your introvert

Background photo for featured image from pexels.com and used with permission and thanks.

inspiration & influence introversion intuition poetry

Being a vessel or working with introverted intuition

February 10, 2017


Practising introverted intuition

Introverted Intuition is my dominant preference as an INTJ Myers-Briggs Type. I’ve been working recently at how to tap more into this strength more. It’s a creative gift and I am focusing on how to translate this into words.

Learning to be aware of and capture my night thoughts has been a crucial part of this. This post outlines how I’m working with my introverted intuition to inspire my creativity and direction. I hope it may also inspire yours.

What is introverted intuition?

Introverted intuition is one of the eight psychological types developed by Carl Jung and described in his work, ‘Psychological Types‘ first published in 1921. Jung saw these different personality types as gifts. Introverted Intuition can be seen as having the gift of visionary insight. Angelina Bennet in The Shadows of Type, describes Introverted Intuition this way:

Introverted Intuitive types quickly see the connections between things and use these to create new concepts. They enjoy theory, innovative ideas and making connections. They are motivated by implementing original ideas and value inspiration and originality.

So true! Another phrase to describe the Introverted Intuitive is ‘The Seer’. Gary and Margaret Hartzler in their book, Functions of Type, describe the hallmarks of Introverted Intuiting skills, including:

  • insights that seem to come out of thin air and learning to rely on them
  • the ability to see intrinsic patterns and working with them from different perspectives, and
  • being energised by and making meaningful connections using visions, images and symbols.

From this you can see why an Introverted Intuitive like me loves poetry, imagery, writing, strategising, big picture visioning and imagining what might be. Balance can be provided by realising that some things are just as they are and by focusing on the senses more. This rounding out tends to develop more fully later in life. As Hartzler & Hartzler put it:

This leads the individual to being much stronger, both ethereal and real.

What a fantastic combination to strive for! This post describes and explores the experience of working with introverted intuition to make it both ethereal and real.

Listening to introverted intuition

On this occasion, I wake in the night with a word clearly in my mind. It happens quite often. This time, the word is ‘vessel’. I note the word down, knowing that, as clear as it is, it can be forgotten by the morning. When day breaks, I reflect on this word that spoke to me from my inner voice in the night.

I start with definitions and check in with Google and dictionary.com and come up with:
• a ship or large boat
• a hollow container, especially one used to hold liquid, such as a bowl or cask
• a duct or canal holding or conveying blood or other fluid.
• person regarded as a holder or receiver of something, especially something nonmaterial: e.g. a vessel of grace; a vessel of wrath.

In essence, I see it’s about being a receptacle or conduit, especially in relation to liquids or transportation, and apparently derives from the Latin word ‘vascellum’, meaning ‘vase’ and also ‘ship’.

Being a vessel

I think of what ‘vessel’ might mean at this time: being a conduit, a channel, surrendering a bit more, allowing things to move through me as blood moves, intuition, ideas, finding my purpose, what others might need, with me as a channel. Maybe it’s about a quieter way of being, without the ego chattering away.

I wouldn’t want to be an empty vessel making the most noise. I would hope that I could be a vessel that can conduct things of value, like: life, blood, music, words, something created out of silence and flowing, moving through to keep things, me, other people, alive. A receptacle: receptive, open, transporting, watery, fluid, flowing.

Then I remember I have written a poem called ‘Vessel’ many moons ago.

Only yesterday, I went through all my poetry files and created a receptacle for them, something I have been trying to get to for too long.

The placeholder, entitled ‘Poetry Working Files’, is now set up in the Scrivener writing software space, ready to be filled. Elsewhere, I have all the files organised in alphabetical order by poem. It’s a small but powerful thing now to transfer them in as a body of work. From there, I can conduct magic with them. I know where they are, where they’ve been, how I can combine them, coalesce, revise, add to, edit and seek to publish them, if I so choose.

It’s a receptacle now, an empty vessel right now, but one easily filled with the richness of years. Receptacle, coming from the Latin – ‘recipere’ – to give back, receive, be receptive. I now have a place to receive, and give back. I have a place for poetry’s heart; even if it’s only on my computer, it’s a start.

Vessel – the poem

‘Vessel’ is actually a poem I love, previously published in a writing anthology, Writers at the Raglan. I don’t know where the title came from. The titles of my poems are often a word or phrase that just arrives capturing something more than I know. Sometimes arriving in the dead of night.

 

Vessel

Your hands are all encompassing
in their imminence,
but maybe you are simply
too large.

And I, the virgin field
of your imagining,
dressed in white
for your uncovering,
feel the widening flaws
expose the cotton armour
of my longing.

Will the hard rubbing
of your words
make me shine
above the clouds
I manufacture
in silence
without you.

The poem captures the feeling of being an empty vessel, waiting for another’s blessing, being alone and feeling vulnerable. There’s abrasion, exposure, a waiting to be filled.

It’s from a long time ago when I used to spend a lot of time waiting for others, waiting to be blessed, ordained, consecrated, to be made pure, to be approved of. It’s not a practice I engage in so much now, if at all, but it’s good to be reminded of the risks through these words penned from another time.

Preparing for transition

So I am now preparing this vessel again, this space to fill with words, receptive and ready to transport and be transported. I think of the imagery of the Six of Swords, the journey across the open water into the unknown and the card I used to symbolise the start of the Quiet Writing journey. It’s a message of surrender, but a soulful surrender, creating a vacancy for the new, for what is to come.

six of swords fountain tarot

 

It’s a watery journey, and there’s spirit involved, fire as well – all the elements coming into play, as I ground myself as a channel for what comes next. The destination is open-ended with an out-stretched sky, but a faint horizon to anchor me, there in the distance.

There’s receiving and giving – being open-hearted, flowing, dressed in white perhaps but not feeling quite so vulnerable. My own skin is now something I am much more used to and happy to be sitting within. The lifeblood of poetry is coursing through again and taking me to new places with the heart of the old whispering guidance.

I’ve learnt you need to listen and watch for signposts that quietly show the path: like two white feathers and a shy rainbow one day recently. And words that arrive in the night. Like the single word ‘vessel’ that started this piece and the train of connection to form a message winging its way through the dark to inspire a circle of light.

Thought pieces

For more on Introverted Intuition, one of the eight personality functions, this article is a great introduction. A key thought:

The powerful means by which Introverted Intuition reveals its solution are associated with a gut sense of conviction and certainty. INJs “know” at a deep intuitive level that it is correct. But they cannot stop there. Once they have received the intuition, they must work to flesh it out. They must articulate and illustrate it in order to render it accessible and useful to others.

Hence this article!

I would love to hear your thoughts on Introverted Intuition and creativity. Jung has described the Introverted Intuitive as one of the most difficult of the types to understand, one that has elements of mystery.

So I encourage your comments on this as we explore writing with spirit here. Please share in the comments below or on the Quiet Writing Facebook page.

Keep in touch

Quiet Writing is now on Facebook so please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on creativity, productivity, writing, voice, intuition, introversion, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), tarot and yes, passion!

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017 – including MBTI developments and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

introversion intuition

Trusting intuition and launching #IntuitiveFriday

January 17, 2017
Learning to trust intuition as a source of wisdom is a journey. I’m launching #IntuitiveFriday to help celebrate listening to that small still voice within.

trust your intuition

The journey of trusting intuition

Learning to trust intuition and understanding how to tap into it as a source of wisdom and power is a journey. It’s important to better understand and celebrate the valuable role of intuition in how we perceive the world.

As a Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) INTJ personality type, Introverted Intuition is my dominant gift and preference. Even though I naturally lead with this way of perceiving, working from my inner world, it’s taken me time to truly begin to understand and trust it. It’s so easy for my louder, logical brain to step in and not allow that still small quieter voice within to be heard.

I’m a work in progress in this regard and in 2017, I am wanting to experience intuition more, especially as it relates to passion, spirit and voice.  I am interested in working together with you as the Quiet Writing community to see how we can explore intuition as a concept and a valued way of perceiving.

Just as there has been a recent focus on the value of introvert strengths, I think it’s time for intuition to be explored and better understood. Even when it’s a strong preference, we can still feel strange about acting on what feels like ‘gut instinct’ or first impressions. Anyone can learn to strengthen this preference and value it as part of a balanced way of experiencing the world.

So what is intuition?

Intuition can be defined as:
the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.

Synonyms include: “hunch, feeling, feeling in one’s bones, gut feeling, funny feeling, inkling, sneaking suspicion, impression.”

In a Huffington Post article on 10 Things Highly Intuitive People Do Differently, Sophy Burnham, bestselling author of The Art of Intuition, says,

“I define intuition as the subtle knowing without ever having any idea why you know it…It’s different from thinking, it’s different from logic or analysis … It’s a knowing without knowing.”

In ‘Looking at Type and Spirituality‘, the high level descriptor of the MBTI Intuition preference type is:

  • Figurative meanings
  • Pay attention to imagination/insight
  • Theory, patterns
  • Focus on possibilities
  • Learn new skills, then innovate
  • Big picture
  • Trust inspiration/hunches
  • Impressions first
  • General concepts
  • Anticipation/vision

Ways to access intuition

There are many ways to access or create the right environment for intuition. Here’s a quick ‘Introverted Intuitive’ brainstorm:

  • working with tarot and oracle cards
  • reading
  • walking in nature
  • meditation, yoga, tai chi, gentle exercise
  • being in or near water – ocean, beach, lake, shower
  • mind-mapping, brainstorming
  • journal writing, free-writing
  • vision board, collage
  • poetry, found poetry
  • coaching and being coached
  • healing practices
  • asking for/receiving assistance from spirits, ancestors, guides
  • spirit animals
  • symbols and images
  • flashes of insight
  • dreams, listening to dreams
  • synchronicity/meaningful connections
  • considering multiple perspectives
  • identifying quotes that speak to you
  • using your unconscious more overtly
  • jigsawing pieces together – literally or figuratively
  • envisioning/imagining possibilities/affirmations
  • techniques for using imagination
  • pinning with Pinterest
  • strategic planning
  • trusting your feelings
  • knowing what to do in line with vision

Launching #IntuitiveFriday

If you are like me, this list is exciting and inspiring! There’s so much rich material here, so many ways to access intuition and to look at what it means. As a way of exploring this as a creative community, I’m launching a new hashtag project: #IntuitiveFriday. Similar to the #MondayBlogs and #FridayReads hashtags (both of which I enjoy), it’s a way of connecting across platforms on all things intuitive, especially on Instagram and at the Quiet Writing Facebook page.

I know intuition doesn’t only happen on Fridays but it will be a great way to be mindful and tune into the ways we are ‘knowing without knowing’ during the week. Then share and celebrate it, learning from each other.

So when Friday comes, let your creative imagination come into play. Share your poetry, quotes, images, tarot and oracle cards, symbols, collages, vision boards, dreams and experiences with synchronicity. Or any other signs of listening to that still small voice within or without.

We will mainly be on Instagram – just tag your post #IntuitiveFriday – and you can tag me in too as @writingquietly if you so choose. You can share ideas at the Quiet Writing Facebook page too. And I’ll be posting round ups and emerging thoughts on the Quiet Writing blog.

I encourage you to get your intuitive/feeling caps on and get ready for #IntuitiveFriday this week and every week.

It will be, well, intuitive, so I’ll keep it open to start, introducing some prompts along the way to focus our attention. And I welcome your thoughts and feedback as we progress.

I encourage you to get your intuitive/feeling caps on and get ready for #IntuitiveFriday this week and every week.

True feelings, hidden potential

I drew a card from Lisa McLoughlin’s Plant Ally oracle deck  to focus attention as we embark on #IntuitiveFriday. And this was the card: Bluebell representing ‘True Feelings’:

true feelings

The message?

Align with inner truth to unlock your hidden potential.

You are moving towards a period of personal blossoming.

Communicate what you discover about yourself.

Beautifully appropriate! I’ll be communicating what I discover and hope you will join me in this blossoming of true feelings and potential.

Keep in touch

Quiet Writing is now on Facebook so please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on creativity, productivity, writing, voice, intuition, introversion, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), tarot and yes, passion!

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017 – including #IntuitiveFriday, MBTI developments and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

intuition

‘Trust your intuition’ image from Pixabay, with thanks.

blogging introversion writing

Welcome to Quiet Writing

September 13, 2016

Quiet Writing

Hello and welcome to Quiet Writing

I’m so excited to be launching my new look blog. I’ve been preparing, quietly writing and crafting in the background for the longest time and it’s time to dust off this blog, formerly called Transcending, and transition it to reflect my focus for writing and new ventures going forward. It’s the heart of a new life and business and and I hope that you will join me here as I move through this time.

I’ve kept Transcending intact within Quiet Writing with its history over more than six years, as that journey has led to this one, coming out of pain and grief as its core. The spirit of Celebrating the extraordinary power of the ordinary self: strategies for rising above, cutting through and connecting will continue in Quiet Writing as its secret power. So if you have signed up to Transcending previously, I believe you will have transitioned over here to Quiet Writing and I hope you will stay for the next part of the journey.

So what is Quiet Writing about?

It is the summary of my passions and Core Desired Feelings of:

creative, intuitive, flowing, poetic and connected

To explain, I love the words of Monicka Clio Sakki, creator of the Sakki Sakki tarot deck:

The Artist is still an Artist even behind the closed curtains. Being an Artist is a process, not a state.”

Quiet Writing is about the strength that comes from working steadily and without fanfare in writing and other spheres to create, coalesce, influence and connect. It’s an opportunity to muse and reflect on my core values and the interplay between them.  In this, I draw on and connect my various experiences and interests as well as connecting with others who share them.

Many of us have been on what Elizabeth Gilbert calls, in one of her wonderful Magic Lessons, ‘the long runway’ and it’s valuable preparation we need to acknowledge. I want to honour the process as much as the product here; the being, becoming and journey as much as the arrival; the artistry behind the closed curtains and doors.

The Artist card in the Sakki Sakki Tarot deck beautifully symbolises this potential and opportunity:

the-artist

This is not to say that publication, product and stage are not important and a desirable outcome; but we can focus too much on that external validation and not value our work and its process as it evolves in the present. The act of quiet writing and the solitude to capture ideas and craft them, especially for introverts who so need this, is the space from which so much can flow, connect and be created. The conditions, environment, relationships and influences which enable our creative endeavours to flourish are also crucial shaping factors.

I’m interested especially in the gift of writing and finding our unique voice to articulate our place in the world and express the artistry of everyday life.

This is something I’ve been interested in and committed to in my working and creative life for a long time. One of my earliest blog posts from 2010, ‘The value of howling into the wind” captures this:

So ‘howling into the wind’ is about running with the wolves and the ‘longing for the wild’ as (Clarissa Pinkola) Estes calls it. It’s about stoking the creative fire with winds that might feel a bit uncomfortable and cold at first. It’s about the strength that might come from tuning into such intuitive sources, making connections and finding that to which we belong.

And through whatever means – writing, photography, a business idea, a new perspective, the shape of a poem – forming something unique that is your voice that others may also tune into, relate to and take something away from. So let’s keep howling.

It’s funny how we resonate more deeply with our own themes over time; though sometimes we need to learn to listen to ourselves a little more and honour our enduring passions as they play out.

You can learn more about me here but in short, I gain great heart from reading about the journeys of those who seek and enjoy things like creativity, the gifts of introversion, authenticity and celebrating a reading and writing life, and especially hope to celebrate the lyricism of this in my own journey and in connecting with others on similar journeys.

So what can you expect here at Quiet Writing?

  • Reflections on my experiences of quiet writing as I negotiate it as a central value
  • Ideas on the writing process and how to grow, express and value your unique voice
  • A focus on the strengths of quietness and introversion to cultivate depth and connection
  • A lot about the art and value of living quietly – creative spaces, our environment, relationships
  • Conversations about books, reading, influences and podcasts that celebrate this kind of life
  • Thought pieces on creative connections: tarot, astrology, symbols, Jungian psychology
  • An exploration of contexts such as leadership, innovation, productivity, planning, strategy and managing introversion in public roles.

And into the future, I am planning much more, with Quiet Writing being the core of a heart centred gathering of like minded people with sharing of influences and connections to bring us all alive.

Key influences:

In starting anew here, I’d like to express gratitude and acknowledge the key influences, connections and reading, writing and personal development projects that have brought me here. They include:

  • Susannah Conway’s e-courses such as Blogging from the HeartJournal your Life and The Inside Story and her inspiring journeys on building a heart filled creative life and business that have supported and nurtured my own;
  • Danielle LaPorte’s everything and especially The Desire Map Core Desired Feelings and Style Statement work, her energy, passion and constant encouragement in creativity;
  • Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn and her generous and informative blog, resources and podcasts and for the powerful and inspiring role model of her business and writing life;
  • Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking and The Quiet Revolution which have helped me make sense of so much and which I hope to build on in my own unique way here as a voice empowered by this strength;
  • Sage Cohen, writing mentor and author, whose books including ‘Writing the Life Poetic‘ and ‘Fierce on the Page‘ are always close at hand and who has helped me get back to writing and to navigate some very difficult times with courage and grace;
  • And finally, my creative buddy, Victoria Smith, who inspires me always with her mojo, wise words and practical magic and who has been such a valuable support in recent times as my life coach as I navigate new horizons.

I’ve written about my influences previously in this post and you can see that Susannah, Danielle, Joanna and Sage have been strong influences since 2010 so I owe them enduring gratitude for their inspiration and support.

Acknowledgements:

I also want to acknowledge my family and friends at this time of making a new start, for without them and their sacred place in my life, I would not be writing quietly here now:

  • To my partner Keith, for supporting, enabling me and loving me for who I am. Strong, independent women can make it on their own but it can be lonely; having the support of a strong and independent man who lets me shine is a rare and valued thing. I am lucky enough to have had two such men in my life: my Dad and Keith: Thank you, Keith, for your support and for our ability to negotiate tough times with humour and grace. Our love is deepening as we enter this new time.
  • To my daughter Caitlin, who embodies the spirit of quiet writing in her beautiful being with her love of language, reading and solitude: It’s the greatest of treasures being your mother and watching you grow into the independent and strong woman that you are. You teach and inspire me constantly in so many quiet ways as you always have and I love you so much.
  • To my father and mother: My father taught me so much about the strength of quietness without me even realising. No longer with us, I realise now that he was probably an INTJ just like me and my quiet strength, love of books and reading and so much more comes from him. And my beautiful mother who is the bravest person I know, who has loved me and my brother so fiercely and managed the most challenging times with such quiet resilience I can only wonder at. To both: the fiercest of love and gratitude back to you.
  • To my little brother Martin, who left us so tragically and suddenly by his own hand in 2007. The impetus of much of this blog and its creative work stems from the time of his death. I wish it had come to me another way than through the grief and learning from such terrible loss: The hole in my heart is so large and I try each day to fill it with light. I know you visit in the butterfly spirits that come by so gently and we need to learn to speak of you more. I will keep your spirit alive here, transcending into quiet writing and as I said at your funeral, in the words of ‘Crowded House’:

And if you choose to take that path
I will play you like a shark
And I’ll clutch at your heart
I’ll come flying like a spark to inflame you.

  • To my family, friends and especially my creative friends in real life and on Instagram and in other special places like the Mojo Lab Inner Circlelinking with you gives me such great heart for the journey and I love our connections each and every day.
  • And to my ancestry, my lineage, especially the women in my family who scribbled poems that I have found, tucked into recipe books and who signed their names as an X: I am sure you wrote quietly in your heads, hearing your own voice, and who knows what might have been in different circumstances. I thank all those who have gone before me to enable this room of my own to be able to have the voice that I have and the ability to use it. May I use it wisely and with passion and influence to likewise blaze a trail for others.

Thank you for staying to read to this point. I know it’s long but for reasons I don’t fully understand yet, these things need to be said here as a threshold piece in moving forward. The card I drew today, the Six of Swords (shown here from the Sakki Sakki deck) is a clue I think – there is a passage, a crossing over, a heading into and a leaving behind at this time.

Six of Swords

So let us begin here.

I look forward to connecting with and learning from you and I encourage you to connect with me.

You can sign up at the top so you receive ‘Quiet Writing‘ posts and information via email. I promise I won’t bombard you and I’ll respect your space. I’ll be aiming for about 1-2 posts a week that I hope will inspire you and this way, you can also keep in touch with new developments here as they unfold.

In the spirit of connecting and commencing here, I’ve opened up about ‘Quiet Writing‘, its background and how it expresses my unique voice. I’d love for you to say hello and tell me in your special two words (or more, given I’ve taken so many!) how you express your creativity and uniqueness in the world.

Let me know your thoughts as I start out anew. I’d love to hear from you so I’m not just howling into the wind, as valuable as it is.

Terri x

Terri Connellan

creativity inspiration & influence introversion

A sense of home

August 3, 2015

 

I’ve been working away from home and travelling a lot as part of this work role. This past week, I was in a different town pretty well each night. So it was with much pleasure that I arrived home on Friday night with a few days in my blessed and special home and village.

It’s hard to describe what makes a sense of home but loved ones being there or close by is a central ingredient. For my home and village, it’s the sunshine, the water, the birds that visit that like the kookaburra above who joined me for my breakfast on my return, my personal library of favourite books, the feel of familiar carpet and river slate tiles under my feet, my own bed, a warm bath and trees outside every window rustling in an early August breeze. And it’s all blissful.

I’m lucky. I live in a special place, a village I choose to call home that is surrounded by beach and bush. As an introvert who works hard with many people interactions in my day job, both my village and house are places of retreat and recharge. A place to rest, walk, feel the sand under my feet and the water flowing over them; a place to read, write, reflect; a place of solace and replenishment; of good food, words and wine; and a place to be myself with people who love me.

IMG_3641Being away so much and coming back, it’s easy to focus on what is not right: the weeds in the garden beds; the renovations still not finished after months of weekend work; the stuff that’s not tidy or finished; the clutter here and there. But this weekend has been about focusing on what is right and perfect now in this house, this village, my life: a loved and loving partner; a gorgeous independent daughter with so many skills, passions and opportunities; my gentle beautiful mother; the view, the trees, the beaches and bush, the books, the creative inspirations and connections and my independence to explore it all.

I’ve gone back to a couple of my favourite authors too in coming home: May Sarton and Marion Milner, both of whom wrote journals and explored a sense of home and happiness. Their words are thoughtful and reflective identifying the passions and the hopes in being and coming home:

My daydreams are nearly all of country cottages, of little gardens, of ‘settling down’ with flowers in vases and coloured curtains. I don’t think of backaches, dish washing.

I want to live amongst things that grow, not amongst machines. To live in a regular rhythm with sun and rain and wind and fresh air and the coming and going of the seasons I want a few friends that I may learn to know and understand and talk to without embarrassment or doubt.

I want to write books, to see them printed and bound. And to get clearer ideas on this great tangle of human behaviour.

To simplify my environment so that a vacillating will is kept in the ways that I love. Instead of pulled this way and that in response to the suggestion of the crowd and the line of least resistance

From “A Life of One’s Own”, Joanna Field (Marion Milner), Virago Press, p 51

I am here alone for the first time in weeks, to take up my ‘real’ life again at last. That is what is strange – that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened. Without the interruptions, nourishing and maddening, this life would become arid. Yet I taste it fully only when I am alone here and ‘the house and I resume old conversations’

From ‘Journal of a Solitude‘ by May Sarton, Norton, p 11

I also remember that the book I am currently reading is ‘Coming Home’ by Rosamunde Pilcher. Home and the significance of its sense of place in the midst of coming and going and change is clearly on my mind and I am seeking its comfort in both a physical and spiritual sense. I take these reflections with me as I head into a new week and new month full of opportunity.

FullSizeRender

introversion poetry

Poetry and me – into the light #2

September 20, 2014

IMG_8996

Poetry and the writing of it is to me a sacred creative, transcending thing. It has always been something secret, special and introverted, not something I talk about. It’s been an intermittent relationship, a journey with many stops and starts, but a desired and committed journey nonetheless, like an old friend I know so well who is always there to connect with, to rely upon, to give to and to learn from.

And we have been through so much. From early times, when I learned to love the value of words as a passion ignited from some deep place I was unaware of. In ‘The touch and reach of poetry‘, I reflected on these early influences and my enduring love, noting that:

Poetry especially can feel like a driven art with not many places to go. It’s easy for it all to go underground for a while in between other things like work and family, but it springs back up eventually. You cannot keep it down forever it seems.

I have woven poetry into the tapestry of my days, if unevenly. When at university studying education, I also studied literature so I could keep reading poetry and study the writing of it. When doing my Honours year on education and literacy, I chose to do a research project on ‘Poetry in Education: developing affective response’ about the aesthetic reading process, how poetry is taught and why this does not generally ignite a love of poetry. It worried me that so many people leave school without a love for poetry and that the teaching of it seemed to miss its heart.

Poetry became the way I transcended heartache, sadness, hurt and loss – finding the words to hold a moment just so, to fix it, to crack it apart or to recreate it and fashion what could never be except in the shape of the words I laid on the page. It was a way of saying good-byes that could not be said in any other way.

I wrote in Poetry: into the light about the freeing up of poetry and the revisiting of it. Sage Cohen’s book, ‘Writing the Life Poetic‘, became a touch-point for poetry being pulled down from its pedestal and integrated more into my daily life. I re-engaged with my poetry writing, organised and reworked my years of drafts of poems and engaged directly with Sage and her teaching through her inspirational online poetry writing courses.

Wanting to reconnect more with poetry and modern poets, I’ve recently started the Massive Open Online Course, ModPo, Modern and Contemporary American Poetry, led by Al Filreis through the University of Pennsylvania. It’s a wondrous journey and community and especially celebrates the ‘close reading of poetry as a social act‘ via online connection. People from all educational backgrounds from all over the world link to discuss poetry for mostly no other reason than the joy of poetry. It is simply so grounding and freeing to see and hear poetry being discussed, read and enjoyed in this way. Starting with Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman and stretching to the present time, the language and art of various American poets is widely shared.

And then there’s the world of publishing poetry – old and new. Once upon a time, poetry success was judged by publication in literary journals and only very few poems could be seen this way. This option still exists but poetry accessibility is now more opened up with people publishing their work through the internet on their blogs, through print on demand, chapbooks and various other media, and with Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook as ways to get poetry out there and to communicate with readers. Though it seems poetry has remained a publishing challenge generally and especially for e-readers.

Witness however: ‘Tyler Knott Gregson’s poetry cracks the best-seller’s list‘! Tyler has been incredibly committed to poetry and to social media, writing “at least one new poem a day for his blog over the past five years”, sharing his work on Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook without missing a day. He now has 259,000 followers on Tumblr, 184,000 on Instagram and 31,000 Twitter followers. And from this, his first publication of poetry has hit the best-seller lists. According to the Wall Street Journal article:

Mr. Gregson doesn’t edit or revise his work. He simply types the poems on scraps of paper—boarding passes, receipts or pages torn from notebooks—and posts a new one online each day.

It’s refreshing and inspiring to see how far poetry can be freed up and communicated and loved so widely.

I am learning from Sage Cohen, ModPo and Tyler Knott Gregson about how poetry can be taken off its pedestal and loved and communicated widely via new approaches, especially via online learning and social media.

And for me? Writing poetry has been a key love of my life but it’s been a stop start affair, partly because I make it so sacred sometimes, maybe too sacrosanct and special. I have a body of work of some nearly 200 poems now, crafted over time. I have been published – in literary journals, in a local writers’ anthology and online including on my own blog (apparently that counts as publication these days!).

It’s time though to dust my work off and let it shine and let more light in so there can be more growth and more light.

As Sylvia Plath famously said:

Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.

So I will learn from these key people about freeing up the writing, the reading and the publishing of poetry. A first step will be gathering what has been published of my work here in one place as a starting point, getting this, my body of work, into the light. Then working on the next steps…

What are your thoughts on freeing up poetry – writing, reading and publishing…I’d love to know!

introversion music & images

Waterlily thoughts

September 7, 2014

IMG_8498

One image can sum up a holiday, a phase of life. You wonder what draws you to photograph certain sights, certain objects. What makes you strive to capture this particular image this way or that. Or when you take so many photos like I did when in Japan recently, it’s surprising how one or two images can capture the whole time and experience, the reflection in the lens coming back.

The image and symbol for that recent holiday and right now is the waterlily. The photo I took of two waterlilies in a pool of many at Yahiko, a little village in north west Japan, somehow captures this time now.

I’ve always loved waterlilies, the beauty rising from the mud, the perfection blossoming, the majestic clarity they carry and hold.

They have popped up at different times in my life. An etching I did once years ago at a time of immense change when I was pregnant, features me jumping from one lily pad to another in some archetypal riotous spiralling motion.

IMG_9196

At another earlier time, Australian author Kate Llewellyn’s ‘The Waterlily: A Blue Mountains Journal’ became a favourite reflective piece, read at a time of great turmoil many years ago when my heart was somewhat broken.

Kate captures twelve months of making a life in the Blue Mountains in her poetically infused language and style and especially the sense of being present through the flow of days and the feelings that ebb with them:

Shall I say in similar fashion, that it is now clear to me it is all visitors coming and going and then being alone and then visitors and cooking and cups of tea and talking and picnics and looking at the vast blue valley and the fire and the autumn, and then meals and making dinners and breakfasts and then looking at the plants and feeding the birds and stoking up the fire and writing in between. Something like that.

IMG_9186I must reread this lovely book and lose myself again in the rhythm of her days to refocus mine. There is pain and longing there but the calmness of the moments being harvested is soothing.

The Book of Symbols tells me that the lily generally is connected with queenly divinities, identified with purity and innocence. Further…

Highly regenerative, the lily surfaces even after fire or drought. Alchemy honored the lily as evoking the very essence of Mercurius, the spirit of pysche’s unconscious depths and transforming opus. As the quintessence, the longed for goal of the adept, lily represents psychic integrity that is no longer pulled apart by affect.

The waterlily particularly symbolises the cycle of life, birth and death, and with its ability to produce blossoms and fruits simultaneously represents universality.

In the spiritual arena of Hinduism, the concept of resurrection is symbolically denoted by the water lily. This is because at night (or during darkness) the lilies close their blossoms and with the first ray of the sun, they open. It is also a symbol of purity, because even though the plant grows in mud, the flower is pure and free from blemishes.

From What does a water lily symbolise?

So many ways of interpreting this image, so many waterlily thoughts.

So what does the waterlily symbolise? For me, it’s a symbol of renewal, of optimism, and of quietness, recognising the stillness and productivity in each moment and in the everyday. It’s about beauty and positivity rising from an environment of muddiness and complexity. It’s about honouring the fact that the mud the plant grows from is the anchor and grounding for so much more. Without it, the beauty would not exist.

What images are you noticing and what are they saying in your life?

creativity introversion

You must have a room

September 1, 2013

sacred space 2

You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers this morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you might find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.

Joseph Campbell, ‘The Power of Myth’

Read more:

The Power of myth and Joseph Campbell on art – making

Inspirational notes – Joseph Campbell

The power of myth

introversion love, loss & longing poetry

People hide their love

July 28, 2013

Flower in the karst landscape, Co ClareWhen I was in high school, I used to travel to stay with a friend and her family at a little cottage high on a hill overlooking beaches on the south coast of New South Wales. It was a wild place, wind-swept and exposed; you could sit on the bed at the back of the house and see hang-gliders cruising past like coloured seagulls surfing the wind’s current.

The house smelt of kerosene lamps, wooden floor boards and that not disagreeable but musty smell of holiday houses. Above all it was homely. There were books, blankets, beds and beaches. You could lie on the bed and read and sleep. There was nothing you absolutely had to do.

In that house, in those holiday breaks, I discovered something of the essence of poetry. I found an old edition of ‘170 Chinese Poems‘, one of Arthur Waley’s books of translation of Chinese poems, originally published in 1918. In there, I found what has since been one of my favourite poems, ‘People Hide Their Love’:

People Hide Their Love
By Wu-Ti, Emperor of the Liang Dynasty (AD 464-549)

Who says that it’s by my desire,
This separation, this living so far from you?
My dress still smells of the perfume that you wore;
My hand still holds the letter that you sent.
Round my waist I wear a double sash;
I dream that it binds us both with a same-heart knot.
Did you know that people hide their love,
Like a flower that seems too precious to be picked?

This poem, these words, have stayed with me over the years like an underlying theme. I owe to them, to Arthur Waley’s book of translations I found in that musty holiday house, my love of poetry. It was about this time that I started to write. I was not aware at the time but these words and the spare and simple beauty of Chinese poetry stitched their way into my heart.

I don’t even know what it all means that people hide their love. I do know that there are reasons why we might hide our love: circumstance, loss, not knowing if our love will be reciprocated, just not finding the time until it is too late, not knowing if it is the right thing to do or say, not knowing if it is the right person, not knowing if we are good enough, or so we say to ourselves. And through all this, there is a sense of intense longing that this poem so delicately captures.

Perhaps my love of poetry also is something I hide. I don’t talk about it, like it’s some rarefied jewel or hidden piece of me, sometimes held a little too preciously. I let it languish and there is a distance I feel from it despite it being the essence of me. The poems I have written over many years are the heart of me and yet feel so far away.

Perhaps there is something there also of not knowing if it is the right thing to do, if I am good enough (or so I say to myself), if there is really any point, of who will read these pieces of my heart anyway and what does it really mean to be a poet. And for these reasons, the distance can grow across the years with some time before anything else is written or said.

Perhaps we hide our love of valued things like poetry as well as people because it is too much for us, too precious, or we feel a sense of not being up to them. Sometimes this might be out of our control due to circumstance; sometimes we might impose this on ourselves, this hiding of our love becoming potentially a loss of ourselves and to ourselves and what we might otherwise be or create.

Why are we not saying what we think, what we feel, to people? Why are we not writing the poems that are in our hearts?

You can see why this quiet poem can be the voice of a lifetime.

IMG_6110