On Brokenness and Unintentional Breaks

Dear friends,

I took a couple of days off from the challenge because nothing was flowing. I didn’t want to force anything if I weren’t truly invested in it. That said, I am back. This piece just flowed out.

Speaking of Brokenness

To be human is to be broken
And break we must
Before we witness our true nature
Divine beings in diverse Earth suits

It is our duty to seek the others
Who think they are broken
And sit with them
To draw out the Truth

In our brokenness
We are one step closer
In our wholeness,
Who we really are

There is no single atom
Which is not truly Divine.

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In Celebration of Friendship

Have you ever been moved or changed by a friend? I know I have. I’ve written before of the blessing it was (and remains) to know Chris Thomas. Our nightly chats about George Harrison and the other Beatles, and many more unconventional aspects of life brought great joy to my days.

My life is no memorial to her, but I live the way I do in part thanks to her example of how to face difficult circumstances. Tomorrow would be her 48th birthday, and although I will mark it in my own way, I thought it might be nice to spearhead something that others could take part in.

Without further ado, I present the ‘Birthday Love Blast for Chris‘. One simple random act of kindness is all it takes to be part of this event. It doesn’t have to be grand, and truly random acts of kindness often aren’t.

Feel free to spread the word among your connections on Facebook and Twitter (preferably using the hashtag #LoveBlast4Chris) and let’s get as many people as possible involved to spread the joy of friendship and love.

Chris stands beside John Lennon's piano in England, c.1982

15-year-old Chris stands beside John Lennon’s piano in England, c.1982

Re-entry

Since finishing the first round of Megan Devine’s 30-day grief writing course around two weeks ago, I have found returning to ordinary writing more difficult than I would have expected. I am continuing to make progress at a greatly reduced pace with Operation Gold Watch, although my crisis of confidence is still preventing me from working with the other project I have briefly mentioned here. Continue reading

On Forgotten Words

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Looking for something to share for World Poetry Day last Saturday, I had a bizarre experience. Since buying an iPad, I have become more organised with my documents – I keep all my university work together, all of my other documents…and all of my poetry.

Over the last four months, there hasn’t been much new writing in the poetry folder. I’ve been writing my way through my grief, by hand. The benefits of that process are for another post, which I will write soon.

I found the piece that I ended up sharing, but I also found something else…

A poem dated 27th November, which I have no recollection of writing. I know exactly what the 27th of November means to me, so it’s no surprise…but I really couldn’t be sure that it was mine at all. So I began by Googling lines – after I’d searched each line of the first stanza, I became fairly sure that it was mine. Also asked a friend, to be on the safe side.

I am well aware that grief and rational memory are in cahoots – grief erases things that we don’t know we need at times. Still, it surprises me that I could end up having no idea about this very short 18-line poem. It has shades of all my recent influences in it, which almost convinced me that it isn’t mine.

However, I suppose it is a great tribute to those who have influenced me that they show up so clearly in my work. Rumi and Rilke both appear to be present in the imagery of the piece, which questions how easily we forget that we are made for something more than just going through life passively.

I’ve enjoyed the conversation taking place on my Facebook page, but I’m curious as to whether this has happened to anyone else. Have you ever found a piece months later, and forgotten that you wrote it? Let’s talk in the comments. 

Cause For Celebration

Celebration

The past few weeks have not been without challenges, first on an emotional level, and subsequently on a physical level. Although it is no excuse, I hope that goes some way towards explaining the silence here.

I have been taking some time to attend to my feelings by working with Megan Devine, through her 30 day Writing Your Grief e-course. This continues to be a very beneficial practice, as it has allowed me to think through aspects of my grief I had previously been reluctant to explore in any depth.

Thanks to the variety provided by the prompts and the safety of the framework, I am able to spend a little time throughout each day directly exploring how I am feeling.

This was my gift to myself after the loss of Fred. Other gifts have emerged from past losses, and one of these bore fruit today.

Five years ago, Lauren Muscarella approached me and asked whether I would contribute an article to her Trauma2Art project. At the time, inspired by Muscarella, I had just founded Navigating Cyberloss, a site dedicated to providing support for individuals grieving the loss of online friends. I jumped at the opportunity to work with Lauren to craft my story into something that might interest her audience, and bring attention to the topic that I came to call ‘cyberloss’.

My article told the story of my friendship with an Argentinian woman who loved George Harrison’s music just as much as I do, if not more. Chris Thomas taught me a lot about life and the best way to face difficulties. ‘Dealing With The Loss of an Online Friendship’, which appears in Alice’s Law: Honouring Lost Loved Ones and Finding Deeper Meaning, released today, marks my first attempt to put what Chris taught me about life and love into words.

You can find out more about Muscarella’s book, and order your copy here. It was an honour to be involved with the project, and also to be asked to provide an advance review. Alice’s Law is a testament to what it means to live wholly after loss, and make a path through the broken pieces.

If you wish to buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/alices-law-honoring-finding-meaning/dp/193928841X

Have you ever found support through loss from alternative means? Will you be buying a copy of Alice’s LawHonouring Lost Loved Ones and Finding Deeper Meaning? Let’s talk in the comments. 

Faber QuickFic: Falling Apart

Today’s Faber QuickFic prompt was interesting – not least because I managed to write something. I have been on the fence with most forms of writing over the past five weeks or so. QuickFic is a great initiative, because it keeps me writing. I’m sure it does that for a number of others, but I am particularly grateful. I don’t think I would have written for pleasure today if not for QuickFic.  Continue reading

When The Best You Can Do Is Breathe

I am on a journey, for which there is no map. Others have walked similar routes, but none has been quite the same, nor will they be. I am trying to record what I am learning as I make my way through this journey, but there is only so much I can share. On a day when feelings have come out sideways, as four letter words, I offer this. I don’t pretend to speak for anybody else with these words, they are simply my notes. Continue reading