Changes to the blogroll

Anyone who clicked the Grow Your Own Gorgeousness link in the least few days will have noticed that it has been made private. This is for unforeseen and complex reasons but should my review of the book have tickled your fancy, please get in touch with me privately and I can make sure you have the means of getting hold of a copy.

A new blog caught my eye the other day: Midnight Fire. The article written about self publishing really resonated with my own thoughts. Go and explore.

Mind Mountains

This one is for Shafali….I dreamed about mountains the other night and it made me remember this poem;

Mind Mountains

I can see mountains

Beyond the distant trees:

Monumental alps

Snow-capped and stark.

Twig and branch

And budding leaf

Obscure my view,

Soften and distort it.

The spring wind blows

And my mountains

Scud along briskly,

Vapourous and thin,

Mere horizon clouds.

But there is a world

Beyond the confines

Of my daily life,

Filled with wonders:

Mountain, lake and forest,

Desert, tundra and sea

Await my searching mind

Beyond my garden fence

And my limited thoughts.

Becalmed

I’ve been working very hard the last few weeks, teaching and touring with my students and I’d forgotten  quite how exhausting I find it and how much it takes out of me. While I haven’t taught all day every day, I usually come home and the first thing I have to do is prepare the lesson for the next day. It’s hand-to-mouth stuff, responding to both the requests of a class and to what I have observed they may need. There’s not a lot of me left over many evenings, and that tends to be taken up with dealing with family needs of one sort of another. I’m not exactly a workaholic but to be honest, if I do something I like to do it properly and no stint at it, so I undoubtedly do more than I am paid for at work, for the sake of both professional pride in a job well done and for the students. Today I said goodbye to the class I have taught for the last 3 or so weeks. I cried a tiny bit too. They got cookies and brownies, though.

I’m finding it hardest at this time of year to find that delicate balance between allowing my creative self to flourish and putting her into a state of suspended animation until the summer is over. Some evenings, if I have been home by lunchtime, I have been able to write for a few hours. The trouble with this is that like any delightful experience, I don’t want it to end and then am unable to get to sleep at a sensible time to allow for a 6am start the next day.

Now the sheer tiredness is starting to take over. I went to give blood last week and discovered that while not fully anaemic, I was close enough for them to send me away without taking any blood. I have had a few other health niggles and now, I have one of those annoying colds that is just hovering there, making me sneeze and giving me sore sinuses.

Creatively, I am stuck too. There are ideas there but they are too nebulous to really focus on and I suspect a self-protection mechanism is stopping me. The number of visitors here has dropped to a low number and I feel like a sea- going vessel that relies on the wind, when the wind suddenly drops and the sails go slack and empty.

Becalmed. 

I’m sitting in a silent sea, with nothing but seagulls for company and no wind in my sails.

What to do? Well, blowing into the sails is a rather futile gesture and weather magic is unpredictable, so this is what I propose to do:

I shall sink anchor, see to some housekeeping aboard my boat and hunt out my fishing rod. I’m going to just slump on deck in the sunshine, see what bites and just wait. I may even go swimming.

You can’t fight the weather any more than you can fight the internal  doldrums. Maybe it’s time to enjoy some down time. God knows I am about as flat at the ray below!

A new review of Strangers and Pilgrims

I was deeply touched to read the following review by Fibi:  

http://searchforwisdom.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/my-heart-is-breaking/

Thank you so very much!

Guest posting

I have contributed a guest post about the creative life over at Journey of Life found at the link below:

http://controlyourdestiny.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/when-the-wells-run-dry/

I’m rather proud of this one so please go and read and comment too. I hope it helps explain the hiatuses in the life of a creative soul and perhaps some clues about the whys.

Sandalwood meditation(Monday meditation)

 ..from the Aromatic meditations book in preparation.. 

Chapter Five

 

Meditation One 

Sandalwood. 

Background: 

Sandalwood is obtained as you might guess from the wood of an exotic tree. Most sandalwood plantations are in India, though some colonies have been planted in Australia. The wood has been used for statues, beads and incense for thousands of years and the essential oil is used extensively in both aromatherapy and in Ayurvedic medicine. It has a sweet and woody aroma that is very persistent; like frankincense it is used to slow and deepen the breathing to aid meditation. It is available as essential oil but can be expensive and it can be hard to obtain high quality oil. It is also available quite readily in the form of incense sticks (joss sticks) but the same caution applies here. Many joss sticks are named Sandalwood that have very little or no sandalwood present in them and while they may smell pleasant, they will have few of the beneficial effects offered by sticks made using high quality ingredients. The wood is sometimes available as shavings or chips and may be smouldered on charcoal to release the scent. If you are lucky enough to possess beads made from sandalwood, they release the scent when warmed by the body. The daughter of a good friend brought me some beads back from India recently and I love wearing them in hot weather as they continuously emit glorious but subtle wafts of fragrance as my body heat warms them.

For this meditation I recommend using a stick of sandalwood incense. If you have problems with smoke, light the stick in the room you intend to use for your meditation and once the stick has burned for ten or so minutes, put it out and leave the room for a further ten minutes to allow the smoke but not the aroma to dissipate. Then return to your room and shut the door. Make yourself comfortable and begin your preparations for meditation. When you are ready, relax and breathe deeply of the fragrance in the air.

Meditation.

 You are standing in a narrow street, surrounded by old buildings. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around right now and the street is very quiet and empty. The road is paved with cobblestones made shiny with centuries of feet polishing them. In front of you is a half-timbered shop with a low door and two wide windows on either side of the door. The door is slightly open and you can smell a lovely fragrance of sandalwood; indeed you can see a fine thread of smoke curling through the opening. This is very inviting and you step forward and push the door open and peer inside. Just inside the door a stick of incense is burning, filling the air with scented smoke. The shop appears to be deserted so step inside and look around you.

The shop is a fabulous emporium of arts, crafts and gifts from all around the world. For a moment, you stand entranced, unable to take it all in. There are so many things that attract the eye. Glass cases are filled with imaginative displays of jewellery, all lovingly created and set out to their best advantage. Hopi and Navajo silver lie alongside Celtic brooches set with amber. Statues are dotted around on shelves, carved from wood and bone or moulded from clay or resins. Take your time to look around and see what is there.

There’s a finely carved bookcase filled with rows of books. Some are empty journals, meant for you to write down your thoughts, though the majority are filled with the wisdom of a dozen or more cultures and philosophies. Take a moment to look through the titles and see if there is anything there that appeals to you. You may return later to the books if you choose.

Deeper into the shop, you see boxes of all different sizes and shapes, made from all different materials. Polished and worked silver and rough wooden boxes sit side by side, their lids a little open to invite you to see what they contain. Each box holds a different treasure; go and see for yourself what is in them.

You have the shop entirely to yourself today; you may look at anything you wish to. When you touch them, the locked glass display cabinets open for you. You may take out and handle whatever you like. You are trusted here.

When you have finished exploring the main body of the shop, walk further back and you will see there is a heavy crimson velvet curtain at the back. Pinned to it is a sign that says, “Welcome!” If you choose to, you may go through this curtain and see what is through there waiting to welcome you. If you prefer not to, then please go on exploring the wonders of the main shop or return to the books to browse further. I will return in a little while. 

* 

It’s time to go now so step out of the shop and into the street again. There are people bustling around, so leave the door ajar so that the scent can invite someone else in. In your hand there is a parcel; this is the gift from the shop to you. Take a moment or two to see what you have been given and then allow yourself to return to the room where you began your meditation.