Going through Mum and Dads belongings is a mixture of treasure trove, Cash in the Attic and a lesson in the joys od minimalism. I am tending more and more towards the latter. Two thoughts return again and again; that my boys should not have to go through this endless sifting and sorting and weight of responsibility and that we never really own anything, just pass it on to another generation. The latter remark was made by the nice man from the auctioneer’s. I thought it was pretty profound, and realised that a lifetime of presiding over auctions of other people’s belongings probably makes you into a philosopher.
I am keeping as little as possible. This has been a process over many months so there has been time for me to learn detachment from belongings or from feeling I ‘should’ keep things. So many things hold memories, but really the memories are not in the things. Photos are special. Sadly many of the really old ones have no labels so I am lost as to who these babies and stiff posing groups might be.
Does anyone else remember the era of slides? From the 60’s to the 80’s Mum took hundreds of pictures onto slides. Each holiday was followed by an excruciating evening ‘slide-show’ with friends. Nibbles like Ritz crackers with cream cheese were served as Dad took us through each slide with anecdotes and explanations. Usually these evenings were with best friends Mary and John and their son Iain and I would grimace and shuffle until allowed to escape to play table tennis. Monopoly or to watch TV. This week I have weeded out boxes by the dozen to try to save the gems but not hang on to every scenic view.
I found these two gems in a box with some other leather cases to match. One is a writing case with a special place for telegrams ( a forgotten missive in the days of email, fax and mobile phones). The other is the most beautiful sewing kit. Green leather case with a soft velvet lining with coloured silks still inside next to the pristine needles. Tiny tools with mother-of-pearl handles. I am keeping Mum’s writing desk, given to her on her 21st birthday in 1945 by my Granda. I think these will live in there to remind me of a time when writing was with pen and ink and sewing was an art all ladies learnt. I wont be that lady but I will use the desk and write.
I have no idea what makes people like what I write some days and not so much others. I suppose, like everything, there are multiple reasons but it certainly makes me curious. I find my best writing is usually those days when I have an idea and it ends up being quite ‘stream of consciousness’ stuff. Maybe that vibe comes through. Having “site stats” from WordPress means that I can see how many people visited my blog each day and today was my best day so far. And that was before i posted.
Of course being in the UK means that we are on a different timescale to a lot of bloggers/potential readers out there so sometimes that means people catch up on me the next day.
The things I like writing about most are: the journey with my mum through old age and towards what will come, the process and feelings around getting fit and losing weight and the recovery from depression and illness and the sort of daily ‘in my head’ meanderings that reflect on life and living it. Writing about mum is therapeutic for me, allows me to share some of the joy, sorrow and laughter in this part of our lifetime contract with each other. I hope to write about her always with respect. But the events and experiences we are living may shine a little light somewhere for someone else going through or thinking about dementia and care and these changes. That matters.
I don’t write too much about the other most important people in my life, my 4 nearly all grown up kids and my missus. I reckon everyone deserves their privacy and apart from the occasional reference or moment of pride that I just have to shout about I don’t think any of then would thank me for blogging about them. Or putting their photos up. The dog is a different matter, I reckon he’s fair game. And everyone likes a dog story, right?
I started this daily blogging in March, so I am now nearly 4 months in. From being a little girl I have loved words. I loved to read and remember writing stories as soon as I could write. Through primary and high schools I wrote. Teenage poetry, wordy and angst-ridden Im sure. I always imagined I would go on and study English and then maybe have a career in writing or journalism. And then I got sidetracked into Sociology. I loved it. It transformed me and filled me with another sort of passion. And I don’t regret for a moment where it has taken me. But along the way, apart from brief periods of conscious creativity the writing got lost along the way. And I forgot. Writing became about reports and essays. Emails and Facebook. Until now. This year is about recovery. I have a journal that I started last October. I wrote on the inside cover “The Journey Back”. I meant back to health, back to sugar-free living, back to life. And writing has become a part of that. Making a daily committment to be here, to just show up and get those words on paper. To share what I think and who I am. And I love it.
The thinking, the processing, the way the words race and tumble over each other to come out on the screen.Googling, researching and taking photos to fit. The weekly photo challenge adds another dimension of fun and spark of creativity with the visual image. I rediscover why I love playing with colour and seeing the world through a lens can be illuminating.
Showing up every day isn’t easy but I can’t bear to miss a day. I have a dream to write every day for a year. I am honing my muscles here. I want to do more. I want to write. I want to write a book, see those words on paper. Whew! I am sticking my neck out and stating my claim on the Universe. I am going to put in the work. Watch this space.
A good friend reminded me the other night of the work of Pema Chodron, the American Buddhist nun. Digging out one of her books today ” When things fall apart’, made me think about the thorny old problem of accepting what is, the experience of now as the only moment we have. In my pondering moment, usually when falling asleep or waking up, I had a little nudge from my subconscious to focus on what I want to grow. So talking, thinking , writing about health, life, abundance and energy is great but it can be all too easy to let it slip into focusing on feeling ill, worrying about the future, complaining that I’m not getting better quicker.
We use all kinds of ways to escape-all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain. Pema Chodron
So it seems to me that I need a bit of a plan 🙂
What works for me?
Daily affirmations: What do I know? I know they are best if they really resonate emotionally, so writing them for myself is the best way forward. I need to really look at my goals and then come up with an affirmation that fits the promise of that goal materialising. And its really important that the affirmation is in the present tense, my mind has to believe it is already taking place. And I know I can always fall back on the words and wisdom of teachers like Louise Hay whose ‘power ‘cards I have in my bedside drawer. Here are todays ‘random’ pickings:
An affirmation is a positive statement of (positive) belief, and if we can become one-tenth as good at positive self-talk as we are at negative self-talk, we will notice an enormous change. Julia Cameron
And here is my own for today : I am full of vibrant health and energy
Meditation – Meditation is an invitation to notice when we reach our limit and to not get carried away by hope and fear.
In practicing meditation we’re not trying to live up to some sort of ideal-quite the opposite. We’re just being with our experience, whatever it is.
Writing – I love this answer from Julia Cameron, author of the magical ‘The Artists Way’ on her Q and A
Q: One of the central themes of The Artist’s Way is the link between creativity and spirituality. How are they connected?
A: Creativity is a spiritual force. The force that drives the green fuse through the flower, as Dylan Thomas defined his idea of the life force, is the same urge that drives us toward creation. There is a central will to create that is part of our human heritage and potential. Because creation is always an act of faith, and faith is a spiritual issue, so is creativity. As we strive for our highest selves, our spiritual selves, we cannot help but be more aware, more proactive, and more creative.
Writing something every day is part of my path to wellness. I have always written since I was old enough to hold a pen, poems and stories, musings, posts and emails. But my creative writing had dried up along with my energy, health and general well being. No coincidence there then. So this period of the gift of being home and recuperating with spring in the air and the beginnings of new life all around has given me the opportunity to re-connect. My commitment is to write something every day. I may not always share, but the process of ‘putting something out there’ has a sort of symbolism of its own. I want to be accountable for my health, my creativity and for being connected. If I can write something tha connects with someone else then that is a joy and somehow part of my healing.
Today we heard of the death of a friend. A woman of life, laughter and fun, passion, committment and friendliness. This is for her. RIP Lynne wherever you are.