Writing back to Happiness

In 2015 I started this blog when I was dealing with treatment for a life threatening form of leukaemia. I kept the blog up for some while – it helped provide me with a focus – and when I was able to go out, I enjoyed taking photos and sharing them.

As life returned to some form of normality – I had survived! (needing checks every six months) – my blog writing slipped. I had a couple of attempts to rekindle it but somehow life got in the way. Yet when I wrote my first book “Life Happens, Live Happy” (available on Amazon – author Kay Underdown), I fully realised how both writing and blogging had helped me through some very challenging times.

When I eventually graduated from University in 2017 with my degree in Social Sciences, having had a whole year out due to my illness, the idea for Life Story Writing was born. Workshops and courses using my own unique approach combining coaching, creativity and sense of belonging.

Following graduation I had to negotiate some difficult, and unexpected, life paths. the outcome is living in the most wonderful area by the sea, one of my dreams that I had long wanted to achieve but never before had the guts to see it through.

There followed a period when I half-heartedly worked towards working for myself as a coach and running workshops but somehow the time wasn’t right. Life was good. I still felt as if I was on holiday whenever I had the time to wander but I lacked something and I just didn’t know what that something was. So I returned to University to start a Masters degree in Methods of Social Research and during this time I had a period of exploration and fine-tuned my direction. It was the Life Story Writing workshops I wanted to focus on. I had an inner conviction that they could really make a difference to people’s wellbeing, and could help increase happiness and sense of belonging.

After a few initial workshops on happiness and empowerment and life story writing, I started running a longer course for a local charity aimed at people aged 50+. That course has led to something very special to me – a small life story writing group. One of the outcomes from this will be my next book – “Writing back to Happiness” Life Story Writing the Waves and Pebbles Way. I started handwriting this book just after Christmas with a lovely new fountain pen, part of a set gifted to me by my group.

It is during these meetings that I have realised how much I really enjoyed blogging, and not really understood why I stopped doing something I loved so much. Anyway, here I am, back again!

I am excited for 2020. It somehow feels that it is a year of the unexpected but that it will be good, providing new adventures with opportunities to explore all that life has to offer and doing it in my own way.

I truly wish anyone reading this the very best for 2020 and the coming new decade. May you give yourself the gift of time to explore what it is you really want to do with your life – whether that’s carrying on doing the things that you love or allowing yourself to explore new avenues based on your own life values and future dreams.

Watch this space as I continue “Writing back to Happiness”. My focus for my Waves and Pebbles blog continues to be random stories about life, creativity and memories – with the addition of nature – which are all reflected in my Life Story Writing workshops and groups.

I live in Broadstairs, on the Isle of Thanet in Kent, England. We are blessed with beautiful bays, sandy beaches and amazing skies. In 2020 I will be running short courses at various venues, usually hotels and cafes where you can relax and enjoy a social occasion and do some life story writing back to happiness along the way. I am also exploring the possibility of offering online groups so if you might be interested in this, please let me know.

I hope you have all enjoyed the festive season and are looking forward to what the New Year 2020 and the next decade will bring. I’d love to hear your life stories and what your hopes and dreams are for the future.

Kay xx

Please feel free to comment here or visit my website http://www.kayunderdown.com. You will also find my page on Facebook @empoweringyoubeyondyourdreams (Kay Underdown, Happiness & Empowerment Coach). Like my blog, this has not been kept up to date and I am looking at developing my social media presence specifically aimed at Life Story Writing. I’d love to hear your own experiences of writing … or perhaps the reasons why you don’t write … I also encourage people to draw their stories if they don’t want to write or to do storyboards, a bit of both!

Unblocking creativity and releasing inspiration – 10 minute writing challenge (2 of 2)

Copyright 2013 Miguel Virkkuhen Carvalho, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

Copyright 2013 Miguel Virkkuhen Carvalho, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

This 10 minute writing exercise was written four days after the last one posted yesterday, back in January of this year when I was in hospital.  It was a very emotional time yet at the same time my emotions were somewhat on hold, still struggling somewhere with my new situation in life, having just been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia – a fast-acting life threatening form of cancer.  Fortunately the final report revealed that I had the type APL (Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia) which has the best prognosis.  

‘Let anything come to light. Light, sun, shade, depths. My favourite colours. Pink and turquoise. Where are they now? The luminescence of my favourite pink is in my hand leading this waltz of writing. Waltz – music is within me yet it has evaded me. The song of life, the thrill of it all. The lilting sound of creativity. Creativity is to be found all around – or is it? I need to search it out, to wallow in it and bring it back to life. Life, it keeps coming up. This new, unexpected venture. How does it feel to be here? But I am not ‘here’. I am soothing my soul to do something special with creativity. There is so much around, but where is it hiding. I am on a journey and that journey is just finding me. I must avoid the logic. That is not what this is for. Storytelling was my aim and that can stay with me. I will write a short story, one that wings in from the sky above. One that I don’t think hard about, it just comes to me. Will it be real? There will be more than one – but fantasy is what breathes through my veins. A new light. Get caught up in the colour that comes to me.  Take inspiration from all that has come to be in this vessel of a room. The cards and gifts. Where am I? I am with heart. I am loving life. All is not lost it is within me. To find the light and the story. To have music in my mind. To love and to laugh. To write music is a gift that I can bring to this time. I am soaring through the sky in Florida. Such a wonderful and special time. The cool air brushing through my hair as I swirl through the clouds like a swan sweeping across the ocean.’

Unblocking creativity and releasing inspiration – 10 minute writing challenge (1 of 2)

Copyright 2009 Trug Bui Viet, Flicks, via Wylio

Copyright 2009 Trug Bui Viet, Flickr, CC-BY-SA, via Wylio

I thought I would share with you this 10 minute writing exercise I carried out after a friend gave me a very special writing book while I was in hospital.  This is the very first bit of writing I did as a result of receiving this book.  (Try it yourself – set a timer for 10 minutes and just write whatever comes into your head.)  This was written in January this year.  I have in the past month started my story … I just need to return again.  This 10 minute extract conveys the kind of autobiographical fiction I would like to write.

‘Heart of my life. This moment. Where am I? I am in a new life. I am boarding a train at Platform Life. I have my ticket to an unknown destination. It is calling me. I have no idea where I am going but I have my inside filled with the fuel of inspiration. I am alone. Yet I do not feel alone. I feel that I have my spirits with me. The special light of those I have loved and lost. Yet there is the call of mystery. This is my story. I recall when I was given a signal to get on the train and know that I was on a special journey. I received texts telling me that I was not alone. It was scary yet somehow exciting. I love trains and I was on a journey to my mystery story, the one I am going to start.

I feel it is a fantasy story. It means I can go on any plane of life. The now, the future, the past, the unknown. The hidden depths within me. I may get lost but the fragments of me will collect themselves and save me from the hardness of life as I know it at this moment. I am on a soft journey to a fantasy world. I am going to soar into a story of such powerfulness that inspires me and connects me with the people who I love now and those I have yet to meet. I feel blessed to have this opportunity. And it is going to re-alight my creativity. Take me to a place that is beyond the bounds of special. A unique, timeless experience that is so touching, so enchanting, that I will create many special characters to join me on this journey. They will be colourful, fantastical, special, heartwarming …’

Time to Play – poem written 2010 (inspired by anxiety/depression following post concussion syndrome)

Copyright 2008 Hartwig HKD, Flickr, CC-BY-ND, via Wylio

Copyright 2008 Hartwig HKD, Flickr, CC-BY-ND, via Wylio

In 2009 I slipped on ice in my back garden.  My legs must have flipped up as I became horizontal and landed flat on my back.  At the time it was as if it was happening in slow motion, I recall suddenly looking up at the clouds – seemingly in a lying down position – and wondering what was happening.  Then there was a hard thud as the back of my head hit the ground.  The end result was post concussion syndrome which resulted in extreme anxiety followed by depression.  This poem was written at that time.

.

TIME TO PLAY

.

Sitting here the thoughts surround me

Memories I have for sure

Dragging me along the pathway

Thinking that there is no cure

.

Draining troughs of useless power

Taking all I have to give

Wish that I could be away now

Heal the hurt that’s like a sieve

.

Letting all the goodness leave me

Giving me a woolly head

Save me from this awful feeling

Keeping me still in my bed

.

Let the waves of colour surface

Brighten up the newborn day

Fill me with a breath of gladness

So that I may find my way

.

Life is like a roller coaster

Scared is what I have become

Spread my wings and take me forward

Lift this life so wearysome

.

Help me see that there are rainbows

Spread with dreams along the way

There is love and laughter waiting

Sitting there amongst the hay

The Trapped Butterfly – Poem

Copyright 2009 Donald Duss, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

Copyright 2009 Donald Duss, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

.

The following poem was written in 2010.  A woman I had met in Brighton had talked about being a trapped butterfly and other things she spoke about encouraged me to get on and write my book.  Yes, even back then I had the intention to write a book – maybe 2015 will be the year!  I have recently made a start on two books – one is a fiction story based in Brighton which I started writing a couple of weeks ago.  The second is a book on Memories and Creativity which I started writing today.  I have made many ‘starts’ over the years – I just have to keep the momentum up and see it through …  Anyway, here is my poem.

The Trapped Butterfly

.

Thoughts of freedom fill her mind

not knowing what to do

She cannot leave it all behind

to find that something new

.

Life has done it once again

entrapped her in its web

Amongst it all it is the men

that cause a constant ebb

.

The journey has been happy

it has not been all bad

Such gifts there’ve been for all to see

yet now she feels so sad

.

The spiders web surrounds her

it’s not a pretty sight

And nothing feels the way things were

so taking all the might

.

Yet through her fragile being

comes wonder and such light

That lifts and is so healing

she’s not giving up the fight

.

To break through all the limits

and fly to reach the sky

To take a look to where he sits

with not a tearful eye

.

So from this day now forward

she knows what she must do

To lift her high as like a bird

and give a happy coo

.

A butterfly is special

it flutters here and there

But her wish is now to settle

with one that wants to share

.

And the choices that she makes

are hers and hers alone

And it will be for all their sakes

though some of them may moan

.

Time is slipping through her wings

the moment is now here

To feel the joys of all life brings

there’s nothing now to fear

Tonight is the night all my dreams come true – Love Poem

Copyright 2008 Sabrina Campagna, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

Copyright 2008 Sabrina Campagna, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

.

Tonight is the night all my dreams come true

As you eagerly search for the four leafed clover
Amongst the softness of the lush emerald grass
The suns rays sprinkle the angels’ dust of love

When the magical starlight haze glimmers in the night sea sky
The warm bond of hugs nestles in the midnight breeze
And memories of a distant fountain spread everlasting joy

Special feelings are shared silently as the soft moon
Glows through the majestic bridge
And a time recalled when two languages declared their love

Standing forever caught in a tangled maze
Never reaching the point when two hearts join forever
Lost happiness as the twist of fate rips all hope aside

Yet tonight is an open book
The story unwritten
Our world is there to find

Perfection is an illusion
Yet the mystical journey to the dream can be shared
And all the special tender moments make all the days apart worthwhile

All there is to do is smile and believe it can be
Allow the chance to be free
To share a blessed and loving journey of life in its entirety

Tonight is the night all my dreams come true