Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Two Dancing

Journal writing, remembering a recent day with my daughter
And then in the freedom of the dance that delights in the cool touch of bare feet upon the wooden floor of a very special place. We welcome the exploration of the air that we encircle with our arms, and float as if expressing freedom from the space that confines our existence. We welcome the space and we listen to our singing voices that echo throughout the building. This is a time that makes us so happy as we dance into the sunbeams that pour through the tall windows from the parkland. We spin and whirl and dance in total freedom. This has brought us a treasured moment that brings happiness and light to our day. This special place. We are here. We are now.


I was disappointed to miss John O'Donohue at Greenbelt this year. Here is a passage from 'Divine Beauty':

When the mind is festering with trouble or the heart torn, we can find healing among the silence of mountains or fields, or listen to the simple, steadying rhythm of waves. The slowness and stillness gradually takes us over. Our breathing deepens and our hearts calm and our hungers relent. When serenity is restored, new perspectives open to us and difficulty can seem like the invitation to new growth. This is also the exprerience of prayer. ... Rather than taking us out of ourselves, nature coaxes us deeper inwards, teaches us to rest in the serenity of our elemental nature. When we go among nature, clay is returning to clay. We are returning to participate in the stillness of the earth which first dreamed us.

Autumn Morning

Journal writing from this morning
The autumnal mornings close in with an enveloping mist and coolness that brings the knowledge of coming darkness, cold and woolly jumpers hiding in the wardrobe. I see the orange sun rising in the east above the darkening trees whose leaves are about to change to rainbows and tumble in the wind. This becomes a time of year of dewdrops and enlightened cobwebs. I welcome this time of sleep when the landscape seems to melt into the earth. Where does everything go? The plants, insects and birds seems to just dissolve into nothing around me. Lignified decay becomes the browning landscape.

And yet how can I celebrate this passing of warmth, colour and plenty and almost waken to the song of the increasing winds and drammatic cloudscapes? The earth cools the soles of the feet and breath clouds the air. Will this winter really be a winter I wonder, or will it just be another long autumn?

In the business of life it is so easy to loose presence.

I am awaiting the touch of something - and yet rarely do I sense the touch of anything like the 'other'. Human perception and emotion clouds the knowing ... I am only able to stand in the awe and wonder of Nature - to touch her earth beneath my feet. Sure, I have been in the presence of times when others have experienced things, and I won't deny that perhaps subtle things have influenced my life and guided my path. But I am unsure how its all fits together.

I am not sure I can TRY and have an experience that is other-worldly, or to have dreams and visions that reach into the Other - and would I want to? Some would say "look to Jesus" other would look elsewhere. Each claims their ground, even church on Sunday was unwavering in its focus.

Is Nature like that? Creation is so diverse in its manifestations. The truth is in the experience of the clouds, the eweather, the earth, the stones, the landscape. And the manifestation or experience of nature is in the diversity of the wildlife and ecology and habitatas. Each is right in its own place, but does anything seek global domination? Man does. In the same way man seeks to control Nature, so man creates religions that seek to control his fellow humans.

Man dominates Nature
Religions dominate Man

Prayer is touching a leaf and holding it in your hand.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

The Mists of Creativity

There are two areas of personal creativity which I would like to explore. Both seem to be rolling around in the mists of uncertainty and I feel I am feeling my way though a deep mist, not knowing quite if they will emerge into something or not.

Tribal/earthy eco illustration
I am slowly developing a sort of tribal nature based illustration of charcters/landscape. I find much pagan artwork a little depressing, scary and uncomfortable - if you know what I mean. When the Green Man, or the anthropomophisms of trees is created I often feel they lack something joyfull, positive and light. My sketchbook is filling up with a whole range of ideas for images that I am trying to work up into something lighter, more 'fun' and more in-keeping with my sort of Christian-pagan ideas. I want my art to reflect a deep human-Nature based relationship which will help me spiritually, emotionally and creatively. Art that can reflect basic principles of walking barefeet in grass, touching trees, holding stones, belonging in the landscape etc, but without associated links to the ideas of fairies, nature spirits etc. I don't work on that level and I don't want to paint images that reflect what I do not perceive.

I would really like to collect or write liturgy based on green/nature principles. I have come across samples on the web, and need to search more. One problem is that I have slightly stepped out of an environment (church) in which I could develop something like that usefully. I could create my own book prayer/ritual/worship. Like with the artwork mentioned above, I would like something holistic, that can be used in many situations, that was almost neutral and didn't make assumptions as to whether you were talking to Jesus, Mother Earth, a Goddess or anything else. Just simple prayers to help people think, relax, meditate or perform simple rituals for whatever. I really need a situation in which to use and explore such ideas with people. I'll just begin to collect some ideas and see what happens. I have the confidence to do something with people if I had the right format and words.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The Difficulty of Balance

For someone who has researched long and hard about finding a healthy work-life balance, I am amazed at how darn ****** difficult it can be! Now what I find hard is this: not actually doing things, because all that I have to do is actually easy and straight forward (well sort of), but it is the anxiety and adrenaline that wells up within me that creates the probems. On the one hand I am anxious because I am frustrated at not being able to do all I want to do as I am so inspired by the world around me. On the other I feel that I can't let all the adrenaline loose that builds up daily because I feel anxious. I find it amusing that even trying to be relaxed can be stressful! Somehow I think that computers create within me a sort of build up of energy that has nowhere to go. I love them and have to sit at one all day for my job, but I do try and get away form the screen when I can.

I have now decided to keep my bike at work and go out for a quick spin in my meagre half hour lunch break to try and dissipate this energy and loose a bit of weight!

Leading a SLOW lifestyle is not easy as a wage earner, commuter, husband, dad and creative thinker. In theory it should be so easy - I could write a whole book on how to. In reality I feel a hypocrite at not being able to be the green, slow, eco-spiritual being I feel is true to me.

Life gets in the way, and I have to deal with the demands of work, dripping taps, shopping, tax returns, watering the garden, darwing, sleep, and everything else. I love it all, but I just wish I could do it SLOWLY without getting anxious about it all.

Hmm, must dig out the books on creative visualisation, do my daily journal, pray, relax, ... etc etc etc...

Looking forwad to the day in London next week celebrating the work of Thomas Berry Earth is Community