Categories
Holy Spirit Limpet

Blown By The Spirit

Photographed by myself, Diane Woodrow, whilst I was walking the dog this morning. It was from here that a poem emerged
Abergwyngregyn nature reserve June 2022

This morning I did my regular walk Abergwyngregyn nature reserve. I do this every couple of weeks. It is close enough to home but far enough away that I don’t see anyone I know. It also has a great dog friendly cafe in the village.

I walked and made notes and something about the limpet shells floated past me so I took some photos of them. Since publishing Inspirations From Walking in North Wales and getting such a positive response from those who bought it at the Abergele Arts Festival last weekend, I have been encouraged to work on a new collection.

So I had a few words and ideas about these limpets. I’ve recently done a QEC session around holding tightly to cliques/groups/tribes who are not good for me. So even though these thoughts were not foremost in my mind because when I do this walk I can just let my thoughts wander these things joined together.

But then what came next was James 3:8 where Jesus says to Nicodemus “The wind blows where it wants, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell from where it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.“. This comes after Jesus has told Nicodemus he must be “born again”. It is interesting but I have heard many preaches about being born again but very few of being blown wherever the Holy Spirit wills.

But as I pondered the limpet, the letting go of being in toxic groups and of being blown by the spirit, I came up with this poem

No longer holding tightly just to survive

Letting go was not as painful as you thought.

You drifted for a while until you came to land.

Now you lie and let the elements do their work on you.

Day by day, week by week,

with scrunch of food and pound of wave

slowly you are changed.

Then one day you wake and find you are small grains of sand.

It is then and only then

that the wind can pick you up

and blow you where it will

Too often, I think, we wonder why we are not freely flowing within the Holy Spirit. But I do wonder if that is because we are holding on to tightly to the rocks and things like limpets when in fact we should be letting the Creator of the Universe do their stuff and change us into something small enough that can be blown by with gentle wind of the Spirit.

Categories
poems Self-Publish

Inspirations From Walking in North Wales

Front cover of my book of poems Inspirations from Walking in North Wales. Photograph from above Aber Falls taken by myself, Diane Woodrow
This is the front cover of my book of poems!

I decided to have a go at self-publishing last week. Man, it is hard work. It took about 20 hours to get the poems all collated, into a PDF, and uploaded on to Amazon’s print of demand page. It is now available on Inspirations From Walking in North Wales for £5 per copy. Though the book is longer than I expect but that is because I’m not good at checking sizes. I would be the person who bought a cheap chest of drawers on ebay only to discover that it was for a doll’s house!

I’m not a great fan of Amazon but, after doing a wee bit of research I decided this was the easiest way to get it out there. I do still need to sort out the e-book but even the support blogs I’ve been looking at say it is difficult.

So why did I decide to go for self-publishing? Those who know me will know I am a bit snobbishly anti-self-publishing. But this weekend coming I am part of the Jubilee Arts Festival Abergele/Gŵyl Gelfyddydol y Jiwbilî Abergele. When the organisers first told me about it they asked if I’d be willing to read some poetry and it was whilst planning that the idea came to me to sort out a book that I could then sell. I am now running a writing workshop instead of reading poetry, which is great but the book is done.

I must say I am very proud of it and I would recommend anyone to do it. It is free to put together – just taking up my time – and I can purchase ones at author’s rates. But because I left it so close to the festival to sort I have had to buy a full price copy so I can have something to show for it. But others are on the way. And I’ve also put together a flyer to share.

I have gone from being anti-self-publishing to now being a bit more pro it. I have a great sense of satisfaction for now seeing my poems with the photographs I took with them [some of which can also be found on My Writing page] in a proper book.

I love The Little Yellow Boat as I would my first born but that was a collaboration and a bit scary because I wanted to get it right for the illustrator too. But then also I think I’ve had a bit more healing of issues to do with success and things like that which probably helps. With Inspirations From Walking in North Wales I feel a bit more confident, a bit more assured, and also dead proud that I have done this on my own.

So from being a “don’t do it” I would say “give it a go” and see what your work looks like in print.

Categories
peace Transition

Transition

Photograph of Pensarn beach taken one warm evening by Diane Woodrow
The shoreline is always a place of transition. Taken by myself May 2022

I’ve just read this great article from Godspace about Transition and creating healthy boundaries for it. Whilst reading it I got a bit grumpy about how easy it is to create these boundaries when you are in control of the transition – which is not what the article says but what my brain decided to put in to wind me up because there had just been a transition within our family that I had not been brought into the discussion about and which, though not out of the blue, had wobbled me a bit. Only a bit.

But then actually if one reads the article without that grumpy, poor me attitude then it is about having things in place for when transitions come so one doesn’t get wobbled by them. I won’t go through each one but to say that it was the last one Transitions cannot be rushed that really got to me. But once I had calmed down – which involved taking the dog for a walk in the rain. And I do think there is nothing quite like North Wales drizzle to sort one’s mood out. Or at least it always works for me.

I came back realizing that even though the family members appeared to be rushing the decision they had probably been talking about it for a while. Just because my counsel had not been sort for whatever reason – and that is another thing – don’t go second guessing other people’s reasoning for asking or not asking for you counsel. That is very much a “grow up and get over it” that we have to say to ourselves and our attitudes when it comes to our children, I think.

Another aside – why is that often we find it so hard to see that our children have grown up and don’t need us to ‘parent’ them any more? Thoughts for another post one day maybe!!!

Anyway just because someone else is transitioning doesn’t mean that I have to go so fast. I can sit and ponder their decisions, their transitions, and I can slowly allow their changes to seep into my consciousness. And also though their lives are changing mine is staying the same and slowly but surely as I adjust to their changes I can allow their transition to become my transition.

I found this all very exciting. Sometimes though I do wish I didn’t have to have a grump beforehand. Though, and I know I keep pushing it, since I’ve been doing the QEC work around my issues, hurts and past traumas so I have found the grumpy times are getting shorter, the wise voice is coming in sooner and the peace is deeper.

So now as I process this transition – among the many other transitions that have gone on in these last couple of years – I feel a profound sense of peace. It is not my decision to decide someone else’s lifestyle choice, whether they are family or friends, and that really does give me enormous peace.

Jesus said “my peace I give to you” and as Naked Pastor said about love so I think is true about peace. It is all around us and there for anyone but we do just have to open ourselves to it. And being grumpy does stop that peace.

So as I transition into my family transition so I lean into that love, take it slowly and all that “peace that transcends all understand “to guide my heart and mind [Philippians 4:7]

Categories
holidays Remembering

Remember All Things Can Change

Photographed by Diane Woodrow on her 61st birthday
Isle of Kerrera 2nd May 2022 taken by myself

We’ve just been away on a week’s holiday up in Scotland which is why I haven’t posted for a bit. It was lovely to hang out together, walk, talk, eat, drink and just be. One day my husband went off up a mountain and the dog and I stayed back at the cottage, did a couple of little walks and I wrote. The reason for going away this last week was that it was my birthday.

Birthdays are great times of remembering, of noticing the changes, of connecting. Last year on my birthday we were sat on a more touristy beach in mid-Wales watching jet skiers buzzing about and listening to children asking for ice creams. This year we were sat on top of a hill looking out to sea. It was peaceful but I’m sure when the castle was built there it saw its fair share of noise and mayhem. And then two years ago we were trapped in our house on lockdown enjoying the back garden and quiet of our town as next to nothing was driving about. How things have changed in these last couple of years. Now our town is back to its normal noisy self.

It got me to reflecting on seasons. So for now this castle of the Isle of Kerrera is a peaceful walkers destination, but once it was the site of a major battle towards the end of the Jacobite wars. But even before then it would have been a home not just of a nuclear family but to the entourage that goes with castles.

We also visited Hadrian’s Wall which is now a peaceful deserted haven for walkers, but I do wonder what it was like 2000 years ago when it was filled with Roman soldiers defending the borders of the empire.

Photographed by Diane Woodrow
Part of Hadrian’s Wall at Millcastle photographed by myself 7th May 2022

So from looking back on 3 years of birthdays to 600 years of Scottish history to nearly 2000 years to the Roman Empire it got me to thinking how we hold so tightly to the now as being the full reality.

And I know in mindfulness we are encouraged to be in the present and not to worry about the past or the future, but sometimes I think it helps to know that this present we stand in is not how it always has been or how it will always be.

There was much talk about yesterday – 9th May – Europe Day – which marked not only the end of the Second World War but also Schumman’s speech which led to the founding of the European Union. The world has not stood still over the last 75+ years. And as we see war in Europe again with the Russian invasion I think it would help to see that, awful though this is, it is just a phase that history is going through and hold it lightly. Who knows what things will look like in a year, in two, in ten, in twenty, in a hundred?

I’m sure those standing guard on Hadrian’s Wall or in the castle on the Isle of Kerrera when it was being besieged would ever have imagined their land being a place of tranquility but it is. I’m sure at the time they prayed for peace and now it has come.

So let us pray for peace in our world and know that one day it will come.

Categories
Awe ordinary well-being

Awe in the Ordinary

A view of Pentre Mawr park looking towards the Gopa taken by Diane Woodrow
A view of my “ordinary” park looking back towards my house and onward into the hills beyond taken by me this morning, 13th June, at 7.45am

I’ve been doing reflections on Rest and Silence with Lily Lewin’s Gift of a Sacred Summer kit These are only the first two of many more but is so much meat in them I don’t want to rush through them.

For me Silence is just taking Rest to the nth degree. Silence is mega rest! [Maybe a longer blog on this some other time?]

The key thing which has struck me so far is the importance of finding “awe” – “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder” says Google dictionary.

I read somewhere that seeing and feeling awe calms our blood pressure, our breathing, our sense of well-being and much more. Experiencing awe is good for us so we need to do it as often as possible.

I am lucky as I live close to some amazing scenery, don’t need to walk far for some amazing views, but most days, due to various constraints, I walk round my local park. It is an ok park with lots of green spaces, trees, a couple of ponds, A55 running along the bottom of it. I could focus on the noise of the A55 and very easily miss the awe of my every day walk.

So from pondering some of the things in The Gift of a Sacred Summer and from reading through the Warrior Goddess book I am working on getting the feeling of awe into my every day, getting awe into the ordinary, and stop seeing “feeling awe” as something that only happens when I go somewhere extraordinary.

It is too easy to stomp round the park – because walking fast is good for one’s heart; making sure to say hello to all the other dog walkers I know – because I’m a polite person; to see it as just what it is, a town park. Instead I have been trying to combine these important functions of my walk with checking out the flowers, of which there are many different types, colours and hues; of listening to the bird song which is different depending which time of day I go and what time of year it is; of seeing what is going on in the ponds, the ducks, moorhens and swans, but also the growth of reeds, algae and more; of checking out the trees and how they change and alter. At the moment things are that solid green of summer whereas only a month ago the leaves were that vibrant green of excitement of springtime. I even made sure I felt awe as I walked the path by the side of the busy A55; for the amazement of the motor car, the way that things speed by and most of the time they are safe, the wonder that it is now possible to go on holiday whereas only 12 months ago it was not.

As I go round and let the awe of the ordinary take me over I am more inclined to have time to chat to the people I pass because I am no longer rushing by, even if I am walking quickly. It is possible to walk fast enough to stimulate one’s heart without rushing. I wonder too if it is possible to walk slowly but still have one’s head in a rush and not have time for others?

From doing this my ordinary has become an extraordinary awe filled place. I arrive back home much more contented and ready for my day. Feeling the awe of the ordinary place I visit every day has stimulated me creatively too. A totally creative awe-filled time that benefits my whole day.

Give it a go. Take your regular ordinary walk or drive or whatever you as a habit each day and find the awe within it. It will change you.