One Picture So Many Stories

Today, feeling somewhat reflective, I decided to revisit my blog and discovered an unpublished draft that shared the link to a guest blog post I wrote last summer. I was really pleased to be invited by Suzanne of Raising Midlife Vibrations to do this and the post ended up being my journey through writing. Whilst I am rather late in sharing this, I do believe that sometimes this happens for a reason – yet to be revealed! If you find this post helpful at this time I would love to hear from you. The link to my post is below and I thoroughly recommend you take time to explore Suzanne’s wonderful blog.

https://raisingmidlifevibrations.com/one-picture-so-many-stories/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=one-picture-so-many-stories

“Pancakes!” How to start writing for wellbeing with the little random stories about life

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This post is for everyone who’d like to have a go at writing for their own interest and enjoyment but hasn’t known how to start.  The following is a suggested way forward, take from it what you will.  A little bit more about me and my book-writing at the bottom.

Morning pages

A method taken from Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way”, this is what got me started on using writing in my own life.  Either first thing in the morning, or last thing at night, when you are able to have some private space and time to yourself (I know this isn’t always possible but try to if you can).  All you need is some blank A4 paper and a pen.  Make sure you are sitting comfortably, take a few moments to concentrate on your breathing, notice any feelings of tension and just allow yourself to relax and let go as you breathe.  Once you feel ready to start writing, put pen to paper and just write whatever comes.  Don’t stop to think if it is right or wrong, or to correct anything, just allow your pen to wander across the page.  If you can’t think of anything to write, then just write “I don’t know what to write, I don’t know what to write” and keep repeating it until your own words slip onto the page.  Keep going until you have filled three pages of A4 paper.  This method gets you used to just writing without censoring anything, without thinking about whether it is being written in the right way or not.  Try doing it once a day for a few days and continue if you wish.  You may be surprised at what ends up on the page … the one thing there should not be is crossings out!  Once you have mastered this, you are ready to go onto the next stage.

Timed writing

This is something that I learnt while attending a creative writing class.  I now use this method regularly at our weekly writing group meetings.  Set a timer for 5 minutes (I use a colourful triple egg-timer but you can set your phone alarm, stopwatch etc.)  You can decide on a topic, anything of your choice.  This morning my friend in Scotland asked me for a writing prompt and I ended up saying “Pancakes” because we had a conversation the other day about them and it just popped back into my head.  So if you would like to use this same topic I would love to hear your stories if you would like to share them with me.  You may start off thinking about Pancakes but end up in a totally different place … that doesn’t matter and is entirely what is so fascinating about the process.  So … once you have your topic write it at the top of your page.  Then just start the timer for 5 minutes and start writing.  Don’t correct yourself, just write.  It is a good idea to have tried writing “morning pages” a few times so you get used to writing without correcting yourself or worrying about grammar, spelling or punctuation.  This is about bringing out stories from you, your life, memories, thoughts today, hopes for the future without being judged or criticised.  To use writing to communicate with yourself and as a way of sharing your stories with others.

Start a journal

Find a scrapbook, photo album, large notebook or whatever you might have to hand, it may be an old diary or just plain A4 paper that you can keep in a file, and choose a time each day to write about your daily life.  This can be very practical, just putting down the facts, or you can choose to go deeper and write about your internal thoughts and feelings.  You can add sketches, stick in cut out pictures that you like, anything you feel like that says something about your day.  You can decide to do this daily or whenever you feel like it so that there is no pressure, it is something to enjoy.  Let it take you wherever you wish, you can talk about past memories, what is happening now or your dreams for the future.  You can add complete pieces of writing such as that done as morning pages or timed writing.  You can stick an envelope in the journal and use this as a pocket for this writing or you can extract quotes, writing these into your journal.  Enjoy!

Life Happens, Live Happy … and start a blog!

However you are feeling in this moment, writing can take you on a personal journey that may surprise you.  It has therapeutic benefits and is something you can do anywhere with very little resources.  In 2015 I was seriously ill with leukaemia.  Writing became my saviour, providing me with a focus during my treatment.  This current situation that the world finds itself in has brought that time back to me and made me realise that, although I have continued to write and have been running Life Story Writing groups in the community, there is something about blogging that really helped me as there was no pressure.  People could choose to read my posts if they wished and it was a really good feeling when I was able to connect with people across the world.  Life takes over and my blogging has been sporadic.  Eventually I wrote my book” Life Happens, Live Happy” which is the story behind this blog.  I have reduced the price on Amazon to £0.99p for the Kindle version (it is free for those those who subscribe to Kindle Unlimited).  I believe that there are things in it that may be of help to others during this time, especially to be inspired to start writing their own stories about life.

I am now writing a new book, “Writing back to Happiness”, this is a work-in-progress and a collaboration with my wonderful small writing group that I was meeting with each week until this situation unexpectedly happened.  It will explain how I use an empowering life coaching approach to inspire people to write the little random stories about their life and to share them with others, with the many diverse conversations that arise from this.

Keep well, keep safe and I express my gratitude for everyone out there that is supporting the world in roles that are essential to our health and wellbeing at this surreal time.  If you are struggling, and notice your mood dropping, it can help to focus on the little things that we are grateful for in our lives, listing these, writing them down, can help lift our mood when we may be struggling to cope with what life has thrown at us.  Life Happens, Live Happy … and connect with others through writing and sharing your stories about the little things in life that bring you joy.

 

Kay xxx

 

 

My day of unknown delight – trees, squirrels and chocolate

Yesterday morning I wrote two lines on a fresh page in a notebook:

‘Unknown Delight

What awaits the day ahead’

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

I was perhaps hoping that a poem would follow. Instead, I was distracted by the beautiful sky view from my bedroom window. It was 5.30 am. I had to get up early to catch a train to London to see a specialist consultant. I was so worried about oversleeping that I set numerous alarms and then woke up before them all. I reflected on the day ahead – what would I be told? What effect would it have on me? I had tried not to think too hard about it. So instead I was energised by the early morning sun, looking forward to my outing.

When I arrived at the station it was 7.00 am, the unusually deep heat of the sun was beating down on me. Apparently today was the hottest day for 9 years according to my daughter. The station was peaceful as the silent commuters marched to their favoured positions, aligning themselves with the anticipated spot where the train doors would be. I wondered if I would get a seat but there were plenty.

After one change of train, I arrived at my destination. On the way to the hospital I discovered a park which I decided to explore later. I found the staff and visitors restaurant and had a quick breakfast. It was not a place I wished to linger. It was hot, stuffy and surprisingly small for the size of hospital. My local hospital has a pleasant cafe with an outdoor terrace where I can enjoy reading a book with a milky foam-topped glass of hot chocolate.

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

I had time to return to the park before my appointment. The grass was dappled with light and shade and I was surrounded by the most beautiful large trees. It was an oasis in the midst of the city, with the traffic steaming past. I wandered awhile and came across some squirrels darting through the branches and scooting down the trunks and across the leafy emerald grass. I took a few photos before making my way back through the park. I discovered a charity there that encourages trees in the city. There was a gigantic weeping willow tree dominating an area designated for growing new trees, and next to that there was a community vegetable garden that anyone could get involved in. I knew nothing of region, on the outskirts of London, and It felt that I had just discovered an area where community development was embedded in the environment.

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Somewhat reluctantly I left the park and attended my appointment. With relief, I came away feeling positive and, whilst there is still some way to go, I now had something of a plan and an end in sight towards normality.

With the intensity of heat, I decided to catch the train towards home straightaway and stop-off at a favourite shopping centre rather than head towards the centre of London to explore the sights. I ventured into the divine up-market chocolate shop and savoured a free meltingly delicious concoction that purported to be a cocktail. Hints of lime, mint and a kick of alcohol lingered on my tongue. I wanted to return for another but guilt moved me on.

After a while ambling around the cool indoor shopping precinct, I was hit by a wall of hot air as I entered the High Street and haphazardly made my way back to the station, buying a pale pink straw hat that provided my head with yet another different look and checking out furniture and wallpaper as I’m trying to give my home a bit of a makeover.

Back on the train, I pulled out my book and tried to get into the new story I am reading. It was just not happening. It is one of the early books of a popular author that I have enjoyed so am hoping I will soon be engrossed. I felt relaxed and calm, enjoying life day by day. That’s how I see it, a day at a time, and it makes life so fulfilling. Each day is different and so much happens.

I ended the day sitting out in the garden till late, feeling refreshed by the softness of the warm night breeze and watching the moon and the stars above. Always such a magical moment.

Reflecting on a poem written when a special friend was fighting cancer … It now seems so relevant to me

As I continue to sift through my journals, I have discovered my initial writing of this poem a few years ago.

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Copyright 2011 Alice Popcorn, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

Copyright 2011 Alice Popcorn, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

Sometimes when we least expect

life brings us such a clout

It takes away the certainness

and leaves such rays of doubt

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Why is all there is to say

then numbness takes its toll

Leaving not a thread of power

or strength to set a goal

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We may not know the reason

we may not have a clue

Yet here it is before us now

we are one of the few

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Chosen is not how we feel

and not a choice did make

And there’s a hint of loneliness

like lost within a lake

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Then when it all seems hopeless

and dreams will slip away

Our precious jewels come to light

and rise above the hay

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People that we love so much

those that really care

Treasured memories, special thoughts

arise as much they dare

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Our life is such a journey

the ups, the twists, the downs

And we can choose to dance along

and sometimes be like clowns

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The happiness, the sadness

our feelings are the best

And it’s OK to laugh and cry

to worry and to jest

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Life is a timeless moment

that mindfulness can bring

Don’t worry what the future holds

for now is here to sing

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Yet let your dreams stream onwards

with hope for what’s to come

Such wonder in creative play

and life is like the gum

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There’s strength for when you need it

and friends will stick around

The treasure map will come to life

and joy will then be found

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You have the tools to make it

you have the heart and soul

The special person that you are

will find and seek your goal

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Enjoy the days that follow

take from them what you will

Let angels guide you on your path

to bring you up this hill

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Let love and laughter join you

amidst some sadness too

Till once again the sun shines bright

upon your life so true

Journal find Summer 2014 – poetic lines written following spiritual experience by the sea

Copyright 2013 Matthew Hartley, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

Copyright 2013 Matthew Hartley, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

Just found these words scribbled on their own following journal entries on a very special visit to Tenby in Wales, a lovely place.

Happiness draws me through the tunnel of light

the whispers so precious have given me fight

Where will it take me?  Oh I know not for sure

but now it’s life’s journey, so precious, so pure

Words – what would we do without them? Random poetic writing

Copyright 2012 Denise Krebs, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

Copyright 2012 Denise Krebs, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

I have just stumbled across these verses written early one morning in the summer of 2010 sitting by the river whilst holidaying at Statford upon Avon.  The desire to write and getting stuck seems to have remained with me!

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Aren’t words the wonder of all

they bring such treasures our way

Without them we’d fall with nothing to call

and life would be dull day on day.

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We’d sing, no lyrics would come

we would hum, laa laa, dee dee

What would be the point, well ok for some

but for most so lost would be.

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So writers what would they write

no way to convey their thoughts

However they tried, as hard as they might

they would drift and be out of sorts.

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How would we share all our joys

that come bursting through our voice

Whatever we feel, whatever the noise

the message is not our choice.

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With no words no wonder is

unless an artist could be

With colour and light, some pencil and vizz

would say all there is to see.

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Words are the key to my life

without them what would I do

Be lost for a while, my thoughts would be rife

till vision could see them too.

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A lesson it is for me

to be the best that I can

A story will write, for all it will be

for children, for women, for man.

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A puzzle this has become

it didn’t set out to be

I will paint and draw, I will sing and hum

till the words they come to me.

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Morning Pages and an untitled poem

Many years ago I came across Julie Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way.  One very important thing I gained from this was the practice of morning pages (which can be done at any time of the day when you have peace on your own).  For those that don’t know, this involves having pen and a large notebook, a quiet and comfortable space on your own, and then writing a set number of pages (I believe it’s 3) without stopping.  Write about anything that comes to mind, don’t think about it or plan what you are going to write.  If you don’t know what to write, just write ‘I don’t know what to write’ repeatedly until something else appears on the page.  This may sound silly but from my own experience it really works and it is really surprising where the writing may lead.  Sometimes I have written poems this way and below are some verses that appeared one day.

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Whatever dreams you may have

Let them sway

Like the trees in the wind going with the flow

With good roots, know that they’re OK.

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Whatever thoughts you may have

They’re precious

Like jewels sprinkled on a moonlit pond

With respect, know that they’re secure

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Whatever love you may have

t’is a gift

Like nothing else in the world

With love, know that you love.