New article: ‘Meditation, Meaning and Modern Life’ for PETRIe Inventory

Emerging briefly to announce the release of my new article for PETRIe Inventory, on the subject of what meditation brings to modern life. Always interested to hear what you think. Read the piece below, then come back and leave a comment?

http://www.petrieinventory.com/meditation-meaning-and-modern-life

 

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Swimming in Circles

In the midst of a challenging few months, I haven’t exactly known what to write here. So, I haven’t written, except for myself. Pieces that may see the light of day at some point, or pieces that may not. I’m trying hard to be OK with that.

In my spare time, I have returned to Matt Haig’s Reasons To Stay Alive once again. When my brain won’t just ‘Sit’ and ‘Stay’, I find audio-books very useful indeed. I’m not exactly sure why I’m writing here today, beyond wanting to convey that I haven’t quite fallen off the face of the earth.

The title of this post arises from my short-lived stint of swimming lessons. I can swim, but I’m not the strongest of swimmers. As you might imagine, swimming in circles is the result of one leg putting in substantially more effort than the other.

I have another piece in the pipeline for PETRIe, and a piece under consideration by Parabola magazine. Things are happening, but not necessarily at the pace which I would like them to. In the meantime, I’d ask you to be patient with me, whilst I work out how to move forward over the next few weeks and months. Thank you for reading this far.

Tending The SPARK: A Postscript

Last week wasn’t as productive as I would have liked it to be. There were other things that needed my attention, but I still managed to complete my response to my SPARK partner’s prompt. That said, I’m not writing much at the moment. It’s difficult to know what to write when so many words are forthcoming, but only scratch the surface of what I want to express.

I signed up for SPARK as a way of getting out of my own way, and forcing myself to produce something in the midst of this fallowness. Whilst I wouldn’t say I produced something brilliant, at least I produced something.

You can see the result here.

On Being Ready to Receive

Everywhere we look, the consensus seems to be that good things are coming. Being open to them is key, so we set up camp open-handed and open-hearted.

Eventually, we get tired of waiting, and begin to wonder where the heck these ‘good things’ are. Even when we’re working towards them with everything we can possibly muster.

I posted about SPARK last week, the project curated by Amy Souza. I ought to have worked on my response yesterday, but the muse had other ideas. The piece that spilled forth within the next 30 minutes might well be one of the best poems I have ever written.

I have spent more time writing lately, although little of what I have written is apparently fit for public consumption. I look forward to being able to produce something that I can share.

I think this recent writing puts me in a really vulnerable position. I am facing up to things that I have never explored before…or perhaps never needed to explore. I trust that something good will come of this, as long as I am ultimately ready to receive.

What do you do to get yourself into a writing frame of mind? Do you believe in being ready to receive?

Tending The SPARK – New Music and Collaborative Creativity

I seem to be on a weekly blogging streak, more by accident than design. I’m going to try and keep it that way. This morning, I received my prompt for the 29th iteration of the SPARK collaborative creativity challenge, brainchild of Amy Souza.

Until very recently, I have been submerged in a kind of creative quicksand. Pieces were emerging, but nothing that I wanted to share with the world. I’m hopeful that with the impetus of SPARK, I will be able to use the inspiration to produce something I can then share here.

I’m discovering new music, too. Granted, per usual, I’m late to the party. Really getting into Wilco, and enjoying a break from country heartbreak for a while!

I’m finding it difficult to traverse the line between writing for myself, and writing for an audience. If you write, how do you overcome that? Does it become clearer after a while, what’s for you, and what’s for them?

 

Guy Clark: A Player’s Perspective

Texas singer-songwriter Guy Clark passed away today (17th May, 2016) Here I offer a few words in tribute to one of my greatest influences as a songwriter.

Many column inches will be filled in the wake of the death of Texan songwriting icon Guy Clark. Countless journalists will pay homage to a hero of country music, cherry picking the most salient lines from decades of material.

Guy Clark, though, is irreducible to a few sage lines, or basic chords, or anything much. The Texas music scene itself is a three-legged bar stool – Guy, Townes Van Zandt, and Nanci Griffith – which will never sit straight again.

I came to Guy backwards, falling in from a deeply held affection for the late, great Townes Van Zandt. I learned everything I know about writing a good story song from those guys, and Kris Kristofferson.

I called this piece ‘A Player’s Perspective’, because although Guy’s prowess wasn’t necessarily in his playing, his music demonstrated simplicity. You can use five or six chords to add texture, but why bother when three will do?

People might walk away humming the tunes, but Guy demonstrated that it’s the stories they take to heart. From ‘Desperadoes Waiting For a Train’, to ‘The Cape’ and more, Clark crafted his songs in a way that left you in no doubt who you were listening to.

Guy passed the mantle, of course, to people like Rodney Crowell, and Jason Isbell. Though Guy’s stories may be ended, his songs will be sung down the generations, and leave footprints for the next outlaw songwriters to follow.

Rest easy, Guy. Your songs will echo down the ages.

Turning Toward – PETRIe article live

PETRIe Inventory published ‘A World of Looking Twice’ yesterday. This is a significant moment, as it marks the first time I have discussed my experience of life with a disability in prose.

To date, the article has had over 200 views. It’s a small fish in a big pond, like anything on Twitter…but I’m pleased. I feel as though there is more to be said, and perhaps I’ll write a follow-up piece in the future.

I’d like to pause and publicly thank all those who paved the way for this piece, Benjamin Thapa and the team at PETRIe, who initially believed in me. The Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, whose Pen2Paper contest allowed me to explore the feeling of writing my truth, in such a vulnerable way.

The two charities Active8 and Shine, without whom I would not be the person I am today. Both these causes are important in helping people with disabilities stand in their truth and grow as human beings, beyond the barriers that their condition might place upon them.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. I now invite you to go and check out the article on the PETRIe Inventory site. If you like it, share it. Let me know what you think.

A World of Looking Twice

 

Emerging

I’m in the midst of Tell It, an e-course by Liz Lamoreux. Today’s prompt invited us to explore the notion of gentleness, or ‘gentle’, and what that means to us.

Emerging

A hug in the right place
From the right person
Can heal old wounds
Or be salve to the fresh wounds of existence

Such gentleness
Creates space for a truth otherwise hidden
That spills out sideways
Through the averted gaze

We each have truths that demand to be heard
Stifled through years of half-existence
Coaxed from hiding by an inner knowing

This is it, the time and the person
The place where truth will be heard and held
The heart at last humbled and healed

It could take years, or lifetimes
But eventually, it must happen.

The Tree of Life

Went to a kirtan (devotional chanting) session today. This came out.

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life
Within me and around me
A channel for pure energy

Breath flows, in and out
Easy and freeLeave the world behind, and become complete.

Peace enters where there is space
Where there is peace, joy lives
Our nature is as peaceful, joyful beings.