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love, loss & longing

love, loss & longing transition work life

Finishing on a high note – closure, letting go and moving on

May 25, 2017

 Some of us think holding on make us strong;

but sometimes it is letting go.

Hermann Hesse

 

moving on

Finishing on a high note is important. As one thing ends and we cycle into new beginnings, it’s vital to pause and reflect on closure and tie up any loose ends. And depending on the situation, it’s also a moment to restore, forgive, show gratitude, bed down our learning and celebrate what we have achieved.

Here are some thoughts on unfinished symphonies and opportunities for ending on a high note and shifting into a positive journey in moving on.

Unfinished Symphonies

The beautiful ‘Unfinished Symphony’ card from Colette Baron-Reid’s Wisdom of the Oracle deck has popped up for me a few times in the past weeks. Each time, it’s reminded me of the power of appropriate closure and reflection on what has passed before moving on.

closure

The first time it appeared, it prompted me to focus on some administrative loose-ends – paperwork, small things I’d been putting off that were hanging over my head and stopping my forward movement.

The next time, it was about finishing off an e-course that was very valuable to me that I was close to completing and hadn’t quite finalised. It was a reminder to thank the creator personally for what they had given me through the process and to take the lessons forward and integrate them fully into my life.

Most recently, it was about honouring my skills, my body of work, as I reflect on my next steps in my career and vocational life. Skills are transferable and we develop many in our lifetime. It’s so easy to close the door on skills that are valuable as we shift into different roles or environments. It’s important to take stock of all the varied knowledge, experience and values we bring forward as we recreate ourselves again and again in career and vocational roles and through our own businesses.

Closure, completion and finishing off

As we shift to the end of something and into a cycle of completion and restarting, it’s so easy to rush forward and forget the reflection phase, the opportunity to pause and integrate what’s just happened.

As the Guidebook for the Wisdom of the Oracle says for the Unfinished Symphony card:

Take inventory so that emotional and psychological closure can occur and the answers you seek will be found. You can’t move forward if you are leaving things unfinished. Reflect on what has passed so that the symphony can finally end on a high note.
Page 37

We might be leaving something or somewhere because we choose to. It might be retirement or the end of a relationship or a move of location. Other times, it may not be through our choice. It might be a case of  redundancy, betrayal, just not fitting in any more or circumstances beyond our control.

Whatever the situation of finishing up or leaving something behind, it’s valuable to reflect on how we can leave gracefully with wisdom and a sense of completion. We can move forward with a spirit of reflection and learning, and with a practical attitude of taking what will serve us well on the onward journey. It’s important not leave loose ends, unfinished business or pieces of ourselves behind.

Ways to finish on a high note

Here are some practical ways to finish on a high note:

Tie up the loose ends

As Colette Baron-Reid says: “Tie up loose ends so you can move forward with surety, knowing you’re on a prosperous path.” It might be paperwork, it might be some difficult task still to be done you keep putting off, it might be picking up some special belongings from somewhere where they no longer belong. But this symbolic tying up and finishing can be a powerful way of stepping through into a new purpose.

See things through to completion and celebrate that

If you’ve created something valuable and special, see it through. Finish it, see how it can be developed further, update your CV to reflect your achievement and apply your learning in practice for positive outcomes. See where whatever you have created can shine brighter. Publish it, write about it, adapt it, finish off its potential and bed it down into the fabric of the world. Celebrate your part in it and let people know what you’ve achieved.

Say thank you

If you’ve finished a course, a book or time in a job role, say thank you to those who created the circumstances or the work. Finish the work, then round it off with appreciation and gratitude, sharing the joy of what you learned, what will take you forward and why it was important. The end of your cycle will help fuel your own and another’s journey.

If it’s a challenging thing like a relationship ending, the thank you might be in the form of an unsent letter or journalling, but still take the time to realise the benefits of what was given to you. Don’t lose the good in the shadow of the bad. Even if you feel bitter, it’s better to brainstorm the positives about what the disappointment or betrayal taught you than to drown in the juices of your anger. Find the pieces to take forward and let go of what’s not helpful.

Forgive

Danielle LaPorte’s White Hot Truth has wise advice on forgiveness. When you’re ready, it’s a powerful thing and it’s often as much about forgiving ourselves and our perceived complicit involvement as it is about others. That’s where a lot of energy is being drained away as we carry it unnecessarily:

As Lady Ninja of the Light put it to me: “I see forgiveness as releasing congested energy that’s not needed by the energy body. No stories, no players, simply time to release and move on to brighter ways.”
You stop letting past hurt affect you in the present. You rinse down the story, you take what you want, and let the rest go up to the Light so it can be put to better use. You give yourself forward.
Page 119

The ways we forgive can be many and varied and don’t always need to involve the other party; sometimes it’s just not possible anyway. But diluting the negative impact of that story and releasing the energy is so important in moving on.

Take what’s valuable with you

Don’t leave what’s valuable behind and take what you can with you into new circumstances. Reflect on the transferable and portable knowledge and experience you can carry forward.

You might have been in an organisation for a while and suddenly there are changes which mean that they no longer value your skills and experience. But you can. Identify the ingredients, skills and experiences that make up ‘you’, your brand, that you can market to a new employer or use to build up your own business.

As Pamela Slim says in Body of Work:

No one is looking out for your career any more. You must find meaning, locate opportunities, sell yourself, and plan for failure, calamity, and unexpected disasters. You must develop a set of skills that makes you able to earn an income in as many ways as possible.
Page 4

Cycles, abandoned success and the Eight of Cups

The Eight of Cups tarot card has reappeared many times in the past year as I negotiate a time of transition and reflect on endings and beginnings. It’s a deep card that speaks of abandoned success and choosing to walk away but it’s also a reminder not to leave pieces of ourselves behind.

closure

The Rider Waite image of the card shows a figure choosing to walk away from the cups. As Benebell Wen describes in it in Holistic Tarot:

There has been an abandonment of past fruits, the Eight of Cups is about a soul-searching journey; ascending to emotional higher ground. The Seeker is leaving behind something he or she spent much effort and care to nurture and develop. There was disappointment in a past undertaking and this the Seeker has abandoned his or her previous work.
Page 167

There’s a suggestion of leaving on our own terms, but there’s that future we imagined, our identity we shaped there that we feel we are leaving behind. So there’s sadness and a kind of grief. As Jessica Crispin explains it in The Creative Tarot:

And it’s not just our work but our actual selves that we pour into what we do. Leaving it, admitting that the end result is no longer worth it, is difficult.”
Page 195

So there is often a sense of loss even if we are choosing to do the leaving or the finishing. Everything is so inevitably bound up together.

The stunning and wise Art of Life Tarot Eight of Cups reminds us that in each ending there is a new beginning. So let’s start as fresh, unencumbered and as energetic as we can, taking the positive and valuable learnings and leaving any baggage or drag on our energy behind.

closure

Resilience is as much about letting go as it is about moving through. Whatever the circumstances, let’s finish our personal symphonies as positively as we can, on a high note, with gratitude and reflection, bringing it home with the brightness of a new song.

And your unfinished symphony?

Would love to hear about any unfinished symphonies you can work on or are working on as you move forward into new times. Share in the comments below or via the Quiet Writing Facebook page or on Instagram so we can support each other as a community to move ahead positively.

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 coaching, books, tarot, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

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 tarot, MBTI developments, life coaching 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.

You might also enjoy:

Movement, stillness and navigating challenging times

Shining a quiet light: working the gifts of introversion

Intuition, writing and work: eight ways intuition can guide your creativity

Healing with words of gold: The Empress, Kintsugi and alchemy

Featured image by Roman Samborskyi via Shutterstock and used with permission and thanks.

family history love, loss & longing poetry transcending

Remembrance and unconditional love: thoughts on ANZAC Day

April 28, 2017

unconditional love

Anzac Day

25 April is ANZAC Day here in Australia. It’s a day of remembrance for those of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps who served and died in war and related activities including peacekeeping. And a day to remember those who serve now. Celebrated on the day of the Gallipoli landing on 25 April 1915, the spirit of Anzac and its qualities of sacrifice, courage and mateship have immense meaning for Australians and New Zealanders around national identity, bravery and freedom.

For me, it’s always a very emotional day. As a Queen of Swords, INTJ, Virgo, (some might say ice maiden) type, it’s surprising how this day seems to touch me so deeply and I am in tears for much of it.

I don’t know exactly why but it’s the stories that touch me, the young men and what they went through in World War I and II and other conflicts. Stories we really can’t fathom or ever truly know. And our own personal connections with that through our family history or people that we know directly involved now.

It’s the families and loved ones left behind and impacted when they came back. It’s those who serve now and what they face and experience. The solitary courage of it, the fear, the silence of those who cannot or could not tell their stories. The inner strength they need to search for and the support of each other. It’s the sadness of it all, that it just should not happen, the unnecessary waste of life; that people should not have to go through all this and the aftermath of physical, mental and spiritual pain and suffering.

It’s also that we can be thankful that we have people who can be strong when it’s needed to do this work for the freedom, support and safety of others. Mostly men, mostly young, mostly strong but also vulnerable.

Postcards from the war

In the last few years, I received a box of memorabilia and photos that belonged to my great aunt, Vivie, who died in 1992. A strong woman who never married, she was a connector and recorder within the family, capturing daily life in photographs and keeping in touch with many in the extended family.

In this box was a beautifully embroidered postcard sent from the Western Front in France in 1916 by my great uncle Walter to Vivie, his sister back in Australia.

WWI postcard

The stitching, perfect and precise, must have caught Walter’s eye and he has written on the back of the postcard. It’s a message saying he is well and not really saying much more except that he will be in touch with other family members too. What could you say about those horrors of war except that I am here, standing now? And I am thinking of you and love you.

I knew a little about Walter’s war service but I looked into his war records on Anzac Day this year. Joining up with the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) on 1 February 1916 and leaving the country on 13 May that same year, he was on the Western Front in France in the 55th Battalion and saw active service amidst some of the most difficult conflicts of the war.

He served in the Anzac Light Rail as part of this, building and running light railways on the Western Front to provide transport through the difficult terrain. I cannot imagine how hard all of this work was and the terrible conditions in which it was carried out. He was discharged from the AIF on 16 July 1919.

Walter received a Military Medal in 1919 for:

“conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an attack on St Denis Wood Perone on 2/9/18. During the initial stages of the attack heavy machine gun fire was encountered. This man, noticing this with great courage and deliberation worked his way forward into a position from where, by sniping he was able to place an enemy machine gun out of action, not withstanding that he was under enemy observation and continually fired at the whole time. This soldier’s action in silencing the enemy machine gun enabled a Lewis Gun to be brought forward thereby greatly assisting the attack. The man’s courage and disregard for personal safety during the operation was most noticeable and his action through-out were a great incentive to his comrades.”[1]

This is not to condone violence or war in any way. Personally, I find violence in any form hard to contemplate or witness. But it happened and for Walter it was real. The postcard is a poignant reminder of the fragile and powerful connections with home in all of this – beauty amidst chaos and war; love of his sister and family sent from afar; such vulnerability and risk.

I cannot imagine how precious that card was once received in Newcastle in Australia on the other side of the word, in so few lines saying so much. Or hard it was for Walter to find words to say along the lines of “I am okay” when the reality was most likely far from that.

Closer to home

The other overlay of emotion for me on Anzac Day is about my brother. Martin served as an Australian Federal Police Officer in East Timor in 1999 as part of the United Nations peacekeeping effort and was awarded the Overseas Service Medal in 2003. Martin is no longer with us now, having passed away tragically in 2007.

The memory of Martin as an unarmed police officer who went to East Timor, now Timor Leste, to provide support, peace and justice to people in the most challenging of circumstances, fills me with pride and love. It symbolises the strong sense of justice and fairness that drove his passions and focus in his career and life.

Here he is in action in East Timor, featured at that time, in Time Magazine on 27 September 1999 and in Aussie Post Magazine in October 1999:

Martin Ryan

I don’t know what he saw there. I don’t know what he experienced there. Like many first responders and police officers, they cannot always talk about what they saw, experienced and felt. And whilst I am proud, I sense that the experiences in East Timor somehow had a deep impact on the sensitive soul that was and is my brother. How could they not.

A poem of remembrance and peace

So in the early hours of Anzac Day this year, these words come to me:

On Anzac Day

I lay a flower in the remembrance
of my heart,
wreathed there,
amidst the days, red poppy lights
flare occasionally,
lighting up your smile,
buried beneath granite, grass,
days of pain, cascading
hours of grief.

I lay a flower in the remembrance
of my heart,
at nearly dawn here,
for you, my own service,
my own dawn,
my own not forgetting
that war somehow
touched you
and led you down a path
I wish you had not gone.

I lay a flower in the remembrance
of my heart,
amidst tarot, words, books,
the morning’s nearly dawn,
the marching of feet,
to come,
the early days towards
ten years of remembering you,
to come.

I lay a flower in the remembrance of your heart.
I shift that stone of trauma laying there.
I hold the hands of our hearts in peace.

Rose, rosemary and remembrance

Shortly after on Anzac Day, in an Activate sessions with Amber Adrian, working with healing energies and guides, both rose and rosemary comes up as energies to work with, with remembrance as a strong message.

We are reminded to activate our inner love, work with remembrance and our true divine self, and to connect with that unconditional love that is our essence. We are reminded to work with protection techniques every day especially around protection of judgement of others and ourselves.

It’s an emotional day. You can see why the tears come.

Tears of memory, gratitude, appreciating sacrifice and remembrance. And the lessons I’m still learning of unconditional love.

Let us all keep focused on these immense qualities in moving forward:

  • focusing on the beauty in life
  • maintaining a passionate sense of fairness and justice in everything we do
  • and finding a love that can transcend every difficult moment.

And may we all be peacekeepers.

Sources

[1] Source: Ancestry.com. Australia, WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: National Archives of Australia: B2455, First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.

The Rose of Unconditional Love in the featured photograph is from the beautiful Plant Ally Healing Cards deck by Lisa McLoughlin.

Thought pieces

Ask for help, talk to others

This was not an easy piece to write especially with regard to my dear brother. However, I felt it needed to be written as there is too much silence. I also want to highlight the power of remembrance and unconditional love in healing and moving towards peace.

I am aware it may not have been easy to read for some people. If anything I have written in this post triggers anything for you, I encourage you to reach out to others for support. Talk to a trusted family member or friend. Or contact organisations set up especially to provide support. In Australia our key organisations for support are Beyond Blue and Lifeline. International support organisations can all be found here.

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 books, tarot, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

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 tarot, MBTI developments, coaching and other connections to help express your unique voice and truth in the world.

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

You might also enjoy:

Healing with words of gold: The Empress, Kintsugi and alchemy

Overwhelm, intuition and thinking

inspiration & influence love, loss & longing

The unique voice of what we love

November 30, 2016

A way forward is to find the unique voice of what we love, whether it be through journals, poems, speeches, blog posts, conversations, novels or any scribbled piece of the heart.

Recently I drew the ‘Bone Collector’ card from Colette Baron-Reid’s The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards.

bone-collector

I don’t know about you but this image evokes lots of different reactions in me. It sounds a little grim and the bones hanging about are a bit confronting but there’s smiling and a sense of richness. My initial  feeling – there’s much to work through with this card.

The overall message of the card is positive and reminds us:

You are whole and have everything you need within.

However, there is a dark side about what is buried and casting shadows. The Bone Collector particularly focuses on life experiences when young and how we can become wounded and feel less than, damaged in some way. The wounds can dive deep beneath the surface. We may not talk about them or even be aware we are acting a certain way because of them. We may feel essentially flawed. There’s a message about the Bone Collector as an inner resource to help us to “reclaim lost or stolen power”.

Speaking up to let love live

Not long after, I was working with Alana Fairchild’s Sacred Rebels Oracle Deck, when this card came to light, developing that same theme:

release the dark wound

This card reminds us:

You are being asked to honour the path of your own love – what inspires you, what feels exciting, joyful and perhaps even rather different? Let that live! Release the dark wounding of false belief.

And a key way this ‘false belief’ plays out is as a tendency to perfectionism where our ideas and thoughts wither on the vine and do not even make it to formation or light. The dark wound especially “demands perfection and denies process”.

What a tragedy of spirit this is.

A way forward is to find the unique voice of what we love, whether it be through journals, poems, speeches, blog posts, conversations, novels or any scribbled piece of the heart. Every word, every piece, should be a fight back, a healing process, a spiritual journey to uncover our possibilities and potential.

And part of this is knowing it is all already within us if we can only be kinder and more trusting with ourselves and let our ideas live.

Discovering our unique voice

The New Moon in Sagittarius is gently beaming energy into these dark places too right now. Mystic Mamma has a fabulous New Moon post which brings together key messages about the moon energy and how to work with it.

The words that spoke to me, reflecting the spirit of Quiet Writing, are from Patricia Liles:

It may also be pushing you to take care of yourself in ways you never were able to see before. Speaking up for those parts of your self that have not had a voice before.

There’s a whole raft of reasons why these parts of ourselves have not had a voice before: time, distractions, pain, fear and dominant discourses where these voices just don’t seem to fit or be heard.

But as Colette Baron-Reid reminds us (via The Enchanted Map #47 Sacred Pool – reversed):

Dimming your light serves no-one

We need to value process and not silence ourselves with concerns about product and outcomes. We need to challenge that perfectionist part of us that won’t let ourselves shine and or even turn the light on in the first place. We need to quiet those voices that stem from ‘comparisonitis’ and feeling envious, less than or better than. You can easily see there is nothing to be gained from going there and there are no winners in this intellectual warfare. So why is it so compelling that we go there, allowing it to deny our unique abilities so savagely?

Time to collect the bones

It’s time to collect the bones and honour them. It’s time to release the dark wound, like returning a fish to water to enable it to swim, upstream if necessary, into the sacred pool where we accept what we love and find a voice for it.

With my natural creativity to guide me at this time, I’m digging deep into wounds and possibilities, knowing that I have so much to give, as we all do. This collecting of the bones is about not being afraid to go there and being able to speak out and not worry about what other people think. There’s been too much silence.

And a key part of this digging is hearing my voice now weaving spirit into words – finding the broken pieces to heal them, holding on to words like fins that can propel me and linking with other kindred souls also now speaking up.

The advice from the Bone Collector is:

Act as if you have what you need and you’ll find you have it after all. Anything is possible.

Even the strength and ability to collect those bones, to honour those wounds and to speak up and in doing so, find that unique voice that others may recognise.

unique voice of what you love

This image is from pexels

Thought pieces:

Reviving the Ancient Sisterhood is an excellent article that came to me via the sisterhood at The Mojo Lab’s Inner Circle. The article focuses on feminine wounding, women’s collaboration and community as a healing force, archetypes, traditions and sacred aspects of women’s connections including equality and mastery of expression.

Psychoanalyst Karen Horney wrote extensively on these issues many years ago including the impact of such dynamics on women’s sense of self. Marcia Westkott’s The Feminist Legacy of Karen Horney offers an analysis of this work:

In breaking through the inner fear, in embracing what she has dreaded, the female hero shatters the internal form of her victimization. External shoulds are driven from their internal stronghold, and conscious choice rather than fearful compliance informs her actions. She experiences, finally the extraordinary power of her ordinary real self.

 

spirit-into-words-wings

creativity love, loss & longing poetry

Poetry into the light: Sapphire

October 25, 2016
sapphire_garie

Sapphire

Letting go the lovely images
I watch them slide
out to this sapphire stretch
of water, your eyes riding
sometimes between the waves,
grass catching in the dark
lines of your hair,
silver turning into grey,
translucent with the sun’s
invitation upon your warm skin.

Can you feel your body
superimposed here
upon the landscape,
your face,
the varied impressions
I study?

Sometimes between the sound
of the waves curling
and the calls
of birds catching in the wind,
I can almost hear your voice
inflecting the most
commonplace words,
marking my stare
as the blue of the ocean
intensifies.

Thought pieces:

Experience October 2016:

This post had its genesis in Experience October 2016, initiated by Rae Ritchie and mostly taking place on Instagram. Sapphire was the prompt for day 12. Some prompts take you to a moment in time on a given day; some take you much deeper as this one did, back to this poem written many years ago. It’s been good to brush it off and bring it into the light. Thanks Rae for a thought-provoking and inspiring October and for this creative nudge especially. You can go to #experienceoctober2016 on Instagram for more creative inspiration and connection.

Poetry into the Light:

A key focus in Quiet Writing is bringing poetry into the light: the writing of it, the celebration of it, the reading of it, the sharing of it. Poetry is often the quietest writing of all – unseen, unheard, but the lifeblood of so many of us especially at difficult and threshold times.  You can read more about my thoughts on this here: Poetry into the Light. I’m still working out how to do all that here but have shared quite a few of my poems here along the way. I am less inclined towards chasing the submission/rejection and formal publication process at present and leaning more to sharing here and self-publishing. With social media and online creative links, I think poetry has the opportunity to reach more people that way. I look forward to sharing more here and connecting with other poetry writers and lovers.

Recommended poetry blog:

On that note, I recommend Claireylove: a Poetry Shaped Life – the beautiful blog by my online creative buddy, Claireylove.  I love how she is sharing her poetic works and creative endeavours. Here’s a quote from Claireylove’s blog to round off our thoughts here:

Poetry is about connections and their ambiguity: how meaning, sounds and images create associations and how these associations are interpreted. Writing poetry can help us to make connections about the events and patterns in our lives. It strengthens our intuition and satisfies our souls’ deep need for spiritual meaning.

I so agree that poetry is about connections, intuition and spiritual meaning. One of my Core Desired Feelings  is ‘connected’; others are ‘poetic’ and ‘intuitive’…..all such lovely words that coalesce so well.

So do please connect here and tell me your thoughts about poetry and bringing it into the light, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

love, loss & longing transcending

This past week, this year

December 23, 2014

IMG_0869This past week was long and difficult. Monday last week started as it usually does – off to work, getting organised for the week and at this time, getting ready for Christmas celebrations and a final busy week before winding down for the festive season.

About 10am on that Monday, everything changed with the news of the siege close by in the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place. Like many other Sydney workers, I found myself in lockdown, then being evacuated, then unable to return to the workplace.

And emotionally connected to the unfolding events.

The overwhelming feelings were of horror for the hostages and intense terror for their helplessness and fate. Like much of the country, I watched for hours into the night, breath held in a surreal landscape of fear of what might happen.

The early hours brought the news of the tragic outcome.

In the following days, the mood has been sombre, a different atmosphere on the train into the city, a sense of collective sadness. The flowers cascading their way down Martin Place reflecting this.

Many of us, it seems, have in our individual ways reflected, been touched, reassessed much.

For me, the return to my office and buying my morning coffee filled me with sudden and overwhelming emotion. The ordinary every day action of so many Sydney-siders suddenly poignant in the aftermath.

The sense of vulnerability, that it could have been me or so many people close to me. The harsh reality of its randomness.

The collective response has been heartening though sad: the growing sea of flowers reflecting the grief of so many individuals pieced together; the emerging sweet fragrance in the air; the multi-faith ceremonies and statements of support and the solidarity across religious boundaries that re-emphasise that we are all one community; the wave of support for Muslim women and others possibly affected by intolerance arising from this event.

IMG_0856I have engaged with Susannah Conway’s December Reflections, 2014 this month. It has been a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the year and as always with Susannah’s initiatives, a chance to reignite our own creativity and look around us with new eyes.

At the end of the week, the day 20 prompt in December Reflections was “this year was…”. I have to say this year has been intense for many reasons. But as the events of recent days have reminded me, there is much to be thankful for: supportive and loving family, friends, work colleagues; having a beautiful city in which to live and work; summer arriving; creativity always; books to read; maybe books to write; and the power of collective feeling..

This year and these past days have reminded me of what is of value.

IMG_0860

 

 

 

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.

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love, loss & longing

I am not resigned

July 21, 2013

More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

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This week, two funerals within five days. They are both people very much loved and close to people I love and am close to.

And I feel the pain. Having been so close to this space, I feel it keenly. It’s a place I  have inhabited: I know the sharpness, the shock, the unreality, the sweetness of feeling, so full of love and loss concurrently.

This poem by Edna St Vincent Millay captures for me that rawness of death, the shock, the denial, the rejection of the idea that I still feel. In that, it celebrates love. It’s the poem I placed on my brother’s grave the first time I went back after the funeral, with flowers in my hand and that overwhelming sense of helplessness in my heart.

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the
love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Sometimes poetry is almost the only solace.

love, loss & longing

Farewell Maisie girl

June 30, 2013

What you taught us:

Go to the beach
Stand in rock pools, feel the water and look out
Take a walk whatever the weather and be excited by it
Life is a minute to minute adventure
Stop to smell and sense the detail
Just be quietly close by when anyone is feeling sad or sick
Greetings are important and show how much you love
It’s okay just to be your beautiful self

I am sure there is more and this will evolve in our learning from you. But in these days of raw and recent grief for you, Maisie, these thoughts are the most immediate.
You taught us so much and we often didn’t realise it.

You will be very much missed.
xxoo
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese beautiful photos are by my daughter Caitlin. Fortunately, Maisie loved the camera and Caitlin is a gifted photographer so much to reflect on.

creativity love, loss & longing transcending

Rebooting

July 16, 2012

Restart and reboot yourself

You’re free to go…

Shout for joy if you get the chance

Password, you, enter here, right now’

  from ‘Unknown Caller’, U2

It was a small, old, blue, beach cottage, up the coast, hidden in trees, shells everywhere suggesting a time to be spent collecting yourself. The cottage even had a name, ‘Chill-out’, written in shells and hanging on the lounge room wall.

There were magazines, books, TV, DVDs, day beds. There was no network connection, no phone line, no internet. You could hear the roar of the sea’s thunder from the back room open out onto the air.

It was also across the road from where my parents used to live for some 15 years, before they moved back to the city about eight years ago. Since then, my brother and father have died, and I was bringing my mother back to where she lived before all this, back to happy places and old friends. My aunty also was with us; she lost her husband six weeks before my dad died. We had all come to visit and stay in this little town for most of our lives. And so we returned, and lots of thoughts came along with us, of people we loved who had also loved this place and who came here to recharge and unwind.

Having no internet was challenging. Life is all so very connected and I realised this past week how dependent on technology I am. Apart from the obvious work reliance on email, I have a strong need for personal connectedness it seems. I read the papers on the net; do sudoku and crosswords; connect with family, colleagues, friends and fellow bloggers and online friends who value creativity, reading and writing as much as I. I read a book and find out more about it online; I connect through Goodreads and find out more about the author. I find out what’s happening in the world through the news in my twitter feed. I research online content to inform my writing and read a huge range of blogs through feedly.

I write a blog, I create content, choosing as my focus ‘Transcending’ and dealing with love, loss and longing, strengthening yourself through reading, music, writing, strategy and productivity, whatever it is that gets you through, takes you up and onwards. I connect with other creative people through this and am keen to progress my blog writing during the week away. I find that without the internet, I can’t connect the parts, do the research, create the images, and even instagram fails to work.

So I take photos on my iphone. I enjoy the company of my family; we eat, we drink, we relax, we walk through a canopy of trees on a boardwalk beside the beach, we read, do sudoku, play scrabble, catch up with our old neighbour, now a sparkling blue-eyed 86 years young. We reminisce, we talk about those not with us any more as the place brings them back into our conversation and our lives.

I take two books to read that week that both turn out to be about the presence of those not there any more in the physical sense. ‘Poet’s Cottage’, by Josephine Pennicott, set in Tasmania, is all about family, ghosts, old houses and their history and the interplay between them. As reviewer, Elizabeth Storrs, comments, ‘If you ever have doubts as to whether ghosts exist, then you should visit Tasmania.’ This is true – I’ve felt this when travelling there, in old houses where you can feel a strong presence of others no longer there. ‘Poet’s Cottage’ was an atmospheric read about the past and its influence on the present.

Then I read Anne Tyler’s ‘The Beginner’s Good-bye‘ in which the main character, Aaron, loses his wife when she is struck down by a tree. He starts to see her again and have conversations with her, never sure if they are real or not. Through this, he begins to re-establish a new and different life.

It was only last night, coming home and reflecting on the week, that I realised my head was fully engaged in reading about the presence of those not there any more, of reflecting and moving on.

When we got home last night, our ipads were not connecting to the wi-fi. To get mine to work, I turned off and rebooted, suggesting to my partner, “Sometimes you just need to restart to make all the connections again.” Even when the words come out of my own mouth, I don’t get it straight away. The universe must think me so slow.

So today with time to reflect on a deeper level and stumbling across the words above from U2’s ‘Unknown Caller’ in one of my notebooks, I finally gather together what the week was about: the opportunity to turn off some of the input, unscramble the data, to recalibrate and reboot, knowing I have the password and the resources to shift up and on to what matters, with the love of those who have left us, still ringing in our memories, somehow cheering us on.

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Full review of ‘Poet’s Cottage’ coming soon as part of the Australian Women Writer’s 2012 Reading and Reviewing Challenge.

love, loss & longing poetry

Poetry: Optical Illusions

July 1, 2012

Personal poems recount lived experience so it is re-felt, but with resolution, rising above the tragic.

Writing Personal Poetry,’ Sheila Bender, p4

Sometimes, eyes can play tricks. What seems solid and tangible is only a shadow, possibly your own. You try to get hold of what you love, but it fleets downstream. You choose a setting, you hold a camera, you level a fixed lens, you get just the right aperture and the shutter clicks firmly. You have a perfect image, but not the original you desired. At least you have that image to hold onto for a long time afterwards. Even then, it can still play tricks, watching you, reflecting the light this way and that, catching a smile, wandering and jagging like a fishing line pulling at something, possibly your heart.

Optics

Every night that river chased dreams
like sleek fish
running from the echo
of sleep.

Rivers seem so simple now:
just filling themselves
endlessly,
no emotion to speak of.

You stood in a doorway,
I took a photo,
and there was a river
dancing behind.

You, the one clear eye
I craved and strived to
capture neatly in a
single frame.

That horizontal string
of sparkling promise
you always offered,
that river I can still taste.