Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sunday Scribbling: Hospital

This week, the Sunday Scribblings prompt is Hospital.


Nana told us to go collect Mary from her friend's house. I was 7. It was my First Communion year. My sister wasn't long past her 6th birthday. We did what we were told... held hands crossing the road. But unfortunately, we didn't look carefully enough, or walk swiftly enough once we had looked - left, right, left again - to check for oncoming traffic, so when the car came round the bend, the driver kept coming, and then we were on the road. Lying on the road.

I have no memory of any of it. Later, I felt very deprived, that I'd missed out on the excitement, on the frantic emergence of Nana with a bottle of holy water; of the call that went out for Mrs. O'Brien's priest son to come quick, the children had been knocked down. I have no memory of the ambulance, and my sister has. The next thing I remember was a few days later, when a little boy on the other side of the ward kept crying that his bottom was sore. I remember a cage over my legs to keep the blankets from putting pressure on me. I could crawl right inside the cage. My sister slipped from her bed and came in there with me. We had no broken bones! We had bruises and some small cuts, but not a single broken bone. Yet, our hospital stay stretched to two weeks. Those were the days when no-one had heard of cutbacks, and humanity dictated that both sisters be allowed to stay together until the frailest was ready to return home.

There were gifts of books. Paper dolls. Neighbours came to see us. And my mother or father cycled to the town to visit every evening. It's vague. My memories. I remember a white smell, and stew that wasn't brown. I remember serious faces considering the question of "home" and wishing, wishing, wishing... and then, home came. The day of going home from hospital.

The house was full of well-wishers. There were treats and sweets on the kitchen table, but we were put to bed, for fear the excitement would be too much for us. I remember the voices in the house, and the feeling that something special was happening about us, but not for us.

And next day, the American circus which was set up on the fairgreen played its last show. My older sister went, to see the clowns and highwire act. We convalescents were protected again from excitement, only allowed to go visit the animals for a brief few minutes.

The summer was long, and there were constant reminders that we were "not long home". Hospital became a word that reminded us to slow down, to stop, to look, to watch, to not run, to not set foot outside the door without a prayer to St. Anthony, and a dousing of holy water. My memories of the actual events are few. My memories of everything it meant in my life are legion.

go visit some more people with Hospital Memories HERE

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday stuff

It's Friday, and one of the Fridays that I don't work. In fact, it's the start of my mid-term break, which sees me free for a whole 10 days, but as for many of them, I will be away from easy Internet Access, I may not be showing up here any more than I have over the past few weeks, so I thought I'd pop along this morning to see what's happening all over my favourite blogs. Feels good just to check in and see people are still out there, busy with stuff, doing interesting things.

After my last post (written when I should have been sleeping in my bed, I was so tired!), I alarmed Julie Marie by speaking of "NaNoWriMo" and "NaBloPoMo" as thought they were really nasty things causing me distress. I forgot to link to them or explain. NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which runs through November, during which participants aim to write a 50,000 word novel. Last year was my first attempt, and as the badge in my sidebar tells you, I "won" by completig 500098 words... skin of my teeth, in other words. (oops, I notice, now that the 2007 season has started, they've actually changed my badge back to zero!) It was great fun. I wrote through trips to visit family, and a dose of shingles. I wrote while I had visitors, and when I had other responsibilities to be seen to. But this year, I just know I cannot set myself the goal of writing 1600 words a day. So I'm not going to do it. Hoping next year will feel different. When I realised I wouldn't be doing NaNoWriMo, I considered NaBloPoMo, or National Blog-Posting Month, during which participants simply post to their blog every day during the month. But, as I'm going to be away a couple of times during Novembere, and internet access is impossible when I visit family, and not always easy in other places, it's not a runner.

So, dear Julie Marie, you didn't need to worry about me being upset about these mysterious things. They both are things I'd just like to be able to get involved in, and can't! Maybe you can, though?

Yesterday was a really good day for me. You know a day where everything just fits? A day where all the bits come together, and you feel like you belong in your place, and you meet the people you're meant to meet? I think my stars must have been perfectly aligned or something, because it was one of those days... from the pinkening sky of morning to the perfect moon of night. My work, my meetings went well. I came home to a most exciting email, inviting me to join with Seena B Frost to train as a trainer of SoulCollage(R) facilitators. It's a process that will take a couple of years to complete, and I don't begin until I attend a training in June of next year, but that's wonderful. It allows plenty of time for me to run a number of workshops that I'd been planning, and to introduce as many more people as possible to the process here in Ireland. This just really affirms my "following my nose" when I decided to go for the training in 2006, and returned for a facilitators' conference this summer. I am hugely committed to SoulCollage and really thrilled to have a chance to help more and more people encounter this life-changing process.

That wasn't all! In a conversation later last night, my son enquired what I'd like as a birthday present (I enter my "Golden Years" in December, hitting the big 5-0). I didn't know, so he's offered to fund the trip my sisters and I are planning to Paris in May next year! See? I've raised a great kid!

See what I mean? One of those wonderful days, when I feel grateful for the people in my life, the paths I've been able to follow, and the places I've been able to visit and live.

It reminds me to give some thought to the many, many people in distress at the events in Southern California. It is horrifying to see pictures from the area, and my heart goes out to all affected by these terrible fires. My affection for Northern California has grown with my visits, but wherever it is happening, I find it awful to think of the devastation being wreaked on homes, land, and lives. My prayers are with you.

Hope, wherever you are, your weekend is safe and peaceful.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

What do I know that is true?

It's late. My body thinks it's even later, tired after travelling yesterday and busyness today and this evening.

Liz asked what do we know that is true, and I wanted to respond, and began to write, and I realised that I know these things (above) are true. Right now. I know I'd prefer to trust than not; that I'd rather someone wrote to praise my son for his qualities than to berate him for his faults.

I know that Poetry does make things happen, within me... that the right poem at the right time can crack the heart open and allow pain to flow out.

These words, (I heard them in the Slovene first, and found my face was wet with tears before the translator had even begun to read his version) opened up my heart:

...My mother is sleeping, white in the whiteness, a white face
...with white wrinkles, white with softness. White time shreds
...into white flakes. The moment swells with whiteness. The
...voice falls, falls away into silence....
..................Barbara Korun, translated by Theo Dorgan

So I know this poem is true, that so many poems are true. I know that October is a time of special beauty, with the magical arrival of the whooper swans. This is my truth. Part of it. Bits of it.

I know that words will fail me if I attempt to go any further. I know with certainty that I cannot attempt NaNoWriMo this year. I know that the temptation to settle for NaBloPoMo by way of consolation is a bad idea, running counter to the spirit of Blogging without Obligation, and causing angst about times when I may be away from Internet access.

This weekend just past was a busy poetry-friends-and-family-filled few days. I missed out on the chance to rule the world with Sunday Scribblings yesterday, but I've visited one or two kingdoms in which I wouldn't mind living. I'm rambling. Truth? My brain needs sleep.


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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Other Sunday Stuff

I've just posted a Sunday Scribblings post, but realise that I have the time and the inclination to keep going here and fill you in on some of the other stuff in my life, but it's seperate from what I had to say in Sunday Scribblings, so that's why this is another post. (Having said that, suddenly I'm sitting here, stopped, wondering "What was it I meant to say?")

Without having a decent picture to show you, I will say here that last week (was it Monday? it may have been Monday!) two wonderful gifts arrived from Liz Elayne. Way back, I won her birthday button-counting (or guessing) competition, and the exchange of addresses took a while, but was the prize worth waiting for? Oh, yes indeed. A beautiful tote-bag in shades of orange. Oh... what am I saying? No picture! I can link to her Etsy shop, where you will see, not the exact bag I received, but others like it! I've found a special use for it - holding my copy of Organising for the Spirit, my journal and vital "bits and pieces" for my ongoing project of making my home and my life places where the real me wants to live. It was such a thrill to have the notice of a package arrive! Hurrah! ... And not just one, but two packages from the same Liz, because, as a 9/11 memorial, she very generously gave away some posters of 'Awakening', a Brian Andreas Storypeople print. I wasn't familiar with them, but this resonates deeply with me, and I feel very grateful to have received one. I will be framing it to hang in my therapy room (the "where" just came to me right now... of course!)

She (Liz) asks in her latest post that we name "Five Really Good Things". Well, there's

1) Couscous. Good with almost everything, I'm realising. Fantastic when I need to prepare a meal in a hurry. quicker than defrosting. Add salad... Dinner!

2) Finding music I'd forgotten I had. Searching for a tape for a friend, I rediscovered Mary Chapin Carpenter, Janis Ian, Leonard Cohen, Guy Clark... Hurrah.

3) Memories of my sister's wedding. My attempt to post after the 14th September wedding was frustrated by computer problems, and a few days later, my attention was focused on the loss of my little dog, Trixie, so I never got to tell any of you about it (and I'm not sure she'd appreciate having her photos up here in public), but I will tell you she was a beautiful, elegant, radiant bride. More than one of us noticed her resemblance to Grace Kelly. It was a happy, happy, day - filled with emotion, laughter, poignant memories and moments, and some tears. She and her new husband make a beautiful couple. His tender care for her is a joy to witness. Her total love for him is open and profound. His family's embrace of my sister is full and open and reassuring to see. Their words of that day echo in my heart. Their happiness is a Really Good Thing.

4) My Autumn/Winter wardrobe. I never did this before. I usually buy budget clothes far too often, running into a shop, buying somthing, finding after a couple of wears that it really doesn't suit, (or fit, or wear well...), and running into a shop again... a neverending wheel. Well, not this year, because when I was shopping for the wedding (see 3 above), I consulted a personal shopper (another one of my "If I could do anything I wanted..." items from the Artsits's Way), who outfitted me for the wedding, and for work-wear to take me through the coming months. I have trousers, blouses, sweaters, jackets and shoes that co-ordinate and match, are easily-laundered and pose me no dilemmas when I wake up in the morning! Hurrah!

5) Baraka, the movie without words, that is soul-filling, soul-lifting. It makes me feel my real relative size in the world, and the size of the world around me. It stretches me and connects me. This is a good thing.

Hmm.... there were other things I meant to speak of, but that little list took me in so many directions, I'm a bit scattered. I've decided that, as the balance of my life has shifted, in terms of time devoted to (employed) work, it's really important for me to make sure to schedule in friends time, Baha'i community time, me-time. (This counts as friends time, I guess!) A few days ago, one friend and her son came to dinner. Yesterday, I went to visit a friend - just an hour, but good, good, good to see her. Today, I'm heading out to enjoy some October in the countryside, going to one of my favourite places. I'll be going soon, in fact, so it's time to wind up this post.

Oh... and because my 50th birthday is coming up, my sister and I have been planning, and decided that, instead of celebrating it all at once on a single day, we're stretching the celebrations, and are going here (oh... can't get any pictures to post! OK... It's Paris!) in May. We'll be visiting Monet's garden at Giverny, and May is the best time. I'm so excited!

I know I won't get to visit and read up on everyone's posts from the past few days, and if I do, I may not comment, but I hope all my BlogLand pals have a really good weekend, and a great week ahead too. Au revoir!

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Sunday Scribblings included!

This week, over at Sunday Scribblings, the theme is Work: First job, worst job, dream job... and this struck me as apt, because the reason I've been largely absent from Blogland over the past couple of weeks is work. I won't be saying a whole lot about my new job here, but after a lengthy period of training, preparing and planning (since April, with holidays in between, of course), I've finally started the work I was hired to do - with young people, counselling in school settings. And it's great to be doing the actual work! It's not easy to be in a job while not actually doing what you're meant to be doing!

While this work (right now) is taking my full-time attention and is a full-time commitment, it is, in fact, a part-time job - seeing me in schools 4 mornings a week, so I am able to do other work as well: I'm continuing an afternoon's voluntary counselling in a women's centre. I'm teaching a psychology class one evening a week. Some weekends, I'll be doing workshops in SoulCollage, and next Friday, I get to do one of my favourite things - a poetry workshop with 11- and 12-year-olds in my home-town library as part of a poetry festival.

This is what I've wanted for a long time (and wrote about, as a dream-future, during The Artist's Way), and now it has fallen into place - a range of work, in the fields of therapy and creativity. I've heard the exalted term for it is a "portfolio career". I cannot believe at times that it has come to pass in my life. I have the space for flexibility. I can still see clients to work with them with Bach Flower Remedies. I'm wondering about taking level II and III of Reiki and offering that as a complementary therapy to my other work. There are a whole range of possibilities still available to me.

Right now, I feel I am doing what I'm meant to be doing in my life. Maybe the balance is a bit unsteady, as I am so much in transition into this new pattern, but overall, it seems there is space in this worklife for all the things that are important to me. Much of what I do doesn't seem like "work", in fact, even if it is something for which I may earn money; and some of what I do (writing, volounteer counselling) doesn't provide an income, but I approach it as seriously and professionally as I would if it did.

I feel immensely grateful that the journey I've taken in the world of work has led me here, through accounting and administrative jobs that didn't feed my soul in any way (but from which I learnt much about being systematic, about detail), through 21 years of motherhood and years of study in a new field, to now, on the cusp of my second half-century with the feeling of being of use in the world, with the sense that what I do is important for me, and useful to other people.

I have suffered from feeling inadequate, incapable and totally lacking in confidence. I have experienced the imposter syndrome, (and don't doubt that any or all of those experiences could await me tomorrow, next week, next month or next year) but right now, at this moment, I'm glad to be asked to reflect on Work, because right now, at this moment, I feel good about it. This feels good.

Want to visit other workers? Head over to Sunday Scribblings!

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Saturday & Sunday Scribblings, Scraps, Stuff

It's been a week since I posted here, but because I blog without obligation, I know I don't need to apologise for being absent, but I did wish I had time to drop by Writers' Island, and to chase down this week's location for the Travelling Poetry Show, perhaps to post something, or even to say hello to my pals and just say "Sorry not to have time to visit properly". So, even if I know there's no obligation per se, I feel the gap and want to do something to bridge it, if only by waving and shouting "Hi there" as I rush by. When I went looking for this week's Travelling Poetry Show, I found it's winding up too. So whoever feels the urge will just continue to use Thursday as a Poetry day, and post a poetry-related something on Thursdays. I'd like to do that occasionally.
It's been a busy week. My work's finally moved into gear. It took a long time, but I'm now up to my full complement of work, and it's going to take me some time to get a smooth schedule running.
My sister came up for a short visit, too, so we had a couple of evenings out, and went visiting. I really enjoyed having her here. I think she needed to come to check that I really, really am ok since losing Trixie. I am ok. I still feel unutterably sad at times, but the times are becoming fewer, and shorter, and I am getting on with all the other things of life that are important for my wellbeing.
Last Saturday, I spent at a poetry workshop followed by readings in a magical place,

with a crowd of wonderful poets. There was good food, great music, storytelling, candlelight, tears, and it fed my soul in a special way. On Tuesday evening, I got together with my writers' group, and tomorrow, I'll be away to an afternoon of poetry with a few of Ireland's best-loved poets. (Am I a lucky girl? Do I know it?.... Yes!!)

My camera and computer aren't playing nice together, so I cannot post a picture of the lovely gift that the wonderful Kara sent me. She sent one of her creative heart seeds. To hold it in my hand gives me comfort. It is a beautiful little talisman. AND she sent one of her precious daily lumps - a coyote, with just the energy that my heart and home need with the absence of Trixie so present (if that isn't too strange a contradiction-in-terms for you!)right now. I've put these two tokens on my hallway altar, just where I've left Trixie's collar for now. The lovely reaching out of blogging friends has given me great comfort. There have been emails and poems, and I know that many of you have sent prayers and special thoughts my way. I know that it has all helped. Thank you to all of you.
And now.... There's a word used in the blogging community that I don't particularly like, even though I know it isn't always really used negatively, but LURKING (the word) smacks of something sinister to me, while I know that many people who read blogs without commenting do so for a whole range and variety of reasons. When I first discovered blogs, I read quite a few regularly, but never knew where the space really was for me to step in and say "Hi!". I felt there were groups of people who knew one another well, commented out of a familiarity with the background of the blogger, and that they were welcome to participate in the chat around any post. It felt to me like jumping in would be making myself comfortable in someone's living-room, without being sure the invitation was really there for me. My admiration for the blogs brought me back time and again, and my shyness kept me from saying anything. So I have been a lurker. I still am on a few blogs where I'm not sure what to say. Then there are Typepad and Wordpress blogs that can be just simply awkward to post comments to, and when I try, I end up seeming to be anonymous when that's not what I meant to happen.
It's a minefield, in other words! And I understand! I have no idea whether there is anyone who visits here that's not yet commented. I don't have a sitemeter or any way of knowing how many "hits" I get. Maybe there's nobody. Maybe there are people who know me, and think I'd be bothered by their appearing here. But if you are out there, and you haven't said hello yet, come on and say hello now. I'm told it's National Delurking Week. I'll choose to call it "National Beat-your-Blogger-Shyness week" and invite you in.
This week, for the first time in 80 weeks, there isn't a prompt for Sunday Scribblings. Some people are feeling very discommoded in the absence of a prompt, so they've turned the "Sorry, No Prompt" post into a prompt, and in a sense that's what this post has been, too. A weekend post, catching up with no particular focus, but a wish to connect in here, to let my BlogLand pals know I'm doing fine, and to just touch base with some of what brings me here. Now to finish, and try to get around to visit some of you. If I don't stop by, know that I think of all of you, and hope October has started well for you all.

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