Monday, 30 June 2014

Dare to Blossom Newsletter July 2014

July 2014 

Welcome to the Dare to Blossom Newsletter

Blossom, Fruit and Seed 

Today as I begin writing this piece for you,  I am sitting in my garden surrounded by flowers and luxuriant, burgeoning growth. Coming to the end of my week's holiday at home, I have - at last - been able to put aside worries and even plans. I had thought I would spend a lot of time at the computer, working on all my "what next?" ideas for my future work. Instead, the weather has kindly distracted me and it has been far too glorious to spend much time indoors.

Today, with just the weekend to come, I am gradually (but only slightly) re-orientating myself to begin thinking about these things. Sitting here, surrounded by flowers, I am once again prompted to notice the lessons of the natural world all around me.

The blooms are being what they are - one stage of the cycle of life for each particular plant. They fulfill their function of attracting bees to pollinate them, all in good time. If and when that happens, the fruit will develop, and gradually ripen holding the seed of future life within it's depths.

Maybe the plant needs help again once the seed is ready to be distributed. Birds and small animals eat the blackberries and juicy soft fruit (sadly also our strawberries and raspberries if we are not quick enough in picking them). Other types of seeds are taken by the wind, all are spread far and wide.

All these processes work to nature's cycle - there is a 'plan', a time scale of the seasons, and there is also no sense of urgency. Slowing down to nature's rhythm has helped me to appreciate anew the value of each stage of my own creative cycle.

As you know if you are a regular reader, I have often talk about periods of dormancy and germination. And also that I relish learning from other teachers and coaches working with the same aims as me, to enable and empower each one of us to blossom and reach our full potential. Reflecting now, I see that this slowing down on holiday has been a welcome period of 'lull' - the concept from Kaizen-Muse Creative Coaching I learned about from Kathy Kane. 'Lull' is not simply a rest, it actively includes 'Pause, Diversion and Gratitude' (see more in the book 'The Nine Modern Day Muses' by Jill Badonsky).

And this slowing down for me is also a time of 'Stillness, silence and space' - as described by Julia McCutchen at our recent Conscious Writing Retreat. In Julia's model the next stage is 'Inspiration' - and I just experienced that when the phrase 'blossom, fruit, seed' popped into my mind a short while ago. Then 'Imagination' - adding detail as I am doing now. Then on to 'Creative Expression' - putting this piece, currently being written by hand in my notebook, into the structure of the newsletter - and sending it out to you. (I know that Julia is working on a new book describing the conscious writing process in full detail - I am really looking forward to reading that, and I will let you know when it is available).

My observation of my experience is that these creative cycles can be operating on different levels at the same time, and the different levels can be working to varying time scales. So, in my example above, the first stage of relaxing during my holiday lasted a while: Then the idea and the chance to expand on that followed each other quickly; and I have my target of 1 July to send this out to you - so the expression and completion will now need to run through quickly as the end of June has almost arrived.

At the same time, another creative cycle playing out for me is a larger 'what next' question: how to develop the body of work produced during my year-long reflections on the Rediscovery Cards into something that will support and serve even more people. Spreading the word about the value of  rediscovering our inner wisdom and coming home to ourselves. Expanding on the new Dare to Blossom Rediscovery at Home workshops. All will be achieved by a series of small steps. Small steps during which I will enjoy the journey; small steps that will help me learn more along the way (or should I say, rediscover more?) to inform and clarify my work in the world.

For you: some suggestions for your journal or meditation reflections:
- What is your personal creative cycle?
- Where are you right now?
- Would you benefit from recognising your need for a 'Lull' and some 'Stillness, silence, and  space'?
- Or are you ready to move on into action of some sort?

I am smiling as I tell you that for the last two days my Rediscovery card has been 'Action' - after 'Opportunity' on Saturday before I left home for the workshop (and 'Emerging' there, see more below). Also huge thanks to Fraser, who provided the unsolicited testimonial: 

"This is not a polite little thank you note for your rediscovery cards, but a full-on raving fan letter! It has been such a positive experience using them in my journaling - affirming, insightful and fruitful.  They are a terrific resource......" Continue reading here

Dare to Blossom Rediscovery at Home workshops

The first of these workshops took place last Saturday. I am so grateful to the person who invited me and acted as hostess. The three hour workshop was everything I hoped it would be. If I receive any detailed feedback with permission to share with you, I will of course - in the meantime the 'one word feedback' comments people made at the end of the morning include:
*Inspiration  *Support *Relaxation *Safe *Grateful
*Nurturing *Welcoming *Gentle *Open-Up
(two words, hyphenated, are allowed!)

As a description of 'Coming Home to Yourself', I feel these words are perfect. Thank you so much to the people who were there, and to our wonderful hostess who shared her home with us for the morning.

It is not easy to describe exactly 'what happened'. What we did was share conversation; followed by a flow-writing exercise where we each drew a card and then we chose a spot - inside or out in the garden - to write without our inner critic piping up.

It is not for me to presume to write here about the experiences of others. As mentioned earlier, the card I drew was 'Emerging'.

Having described to the others the concept of flow-writing - keeping the pen moving on the paper even if what you are writing makes no sense - I laughed when I had trouble with this.

I wrote:

"I've been afraid to be seen, why? ....[long pause here]... Keep the pen moving! Not stopping is good, no need to think at all. Listen - a whirring; the birds tweeting, cawing. They are just themselves. Earthy red-brown like the Devon red soil on those wonderful cliffs. Delicate emerging - nurture and care but know when to let go and give a shove to fly the nest."

As you see, this makes little sense, and that is fine, it doesn't need to. As with doodling and having fun with paint or crayons - this sort of writing is not for sharing (even though I have chosen to do so here). 

Then we discussed what we had felt while we had been writing, and if we wished, shared a little of that writing. Some people found, as did I, that this elicited more unexpected words. when talking aloud All part of rediscovering our inner wisdom - my experience is that if I can provide an environment for myself, and here for others, where I can write, speak (and draw) from the heart - unexpected insights emerge.

After a refreshment break, the second part of the morning consisted of creative play, where
 people could make a greetings card for themselves. I provided the cards and envelopes, coloured pens, some pretty wrapping paper covered in butterflies, and a selection of packs of stickers with hearts, flowers, birds, stars, and more butterflies (such a powerful metaphor for transformation). The words people wrote in the cards as messages to themselves were private and everyone went away with a beautiful creation. How long is it since you allowed yourself to play without expectations - and without a child being present to provide 'an excuse'?

Other parts of the workshop were short opening and closing meditations and several inspirational readings that I chose carefully to share with those present.

For me, the fact that the workshop took place in someone's home meant that it had a very different feeling to other workshops I have run in the past. These have been equally successful - just very different. I felt a connection with the ancient land, in this case of west Cornwall. A place inhabited by generations of miners, farmers and fishermen and their families. Wives who were strong women who managed households in days with no labour-saving devices; women who also worked alongside the men as well as bearing and raising children. A connection with humankind; with inner wisdom and coming home to myself - to the larger Myself that we are all a part of; feeling a part of the web of life stretching back into the past and forwards into the future - all connected by individual people.

That last paragraph is a total surprise to me - a piece of flow writing that I choose to share with you unedited and untouched by my internal critic (which is jumping up and down a bit, and I am choosing not to hear).

I look forward to connecting with other places as well as people. Places such as a terraced house in a town, a suburban bungalow, a country farm-house - will all have their special characters and connections.

If you would like to host a Dare to Blossom Rediscovery at Home Party, please contact me. at present I can offer them in Cornwall or west Devon, on a limited selection of dates. In the future I will have more flexibility and be able to travel further afield. The person hosting the workshop receives a free place in return for providing a room and refreshments (tea, coffee, biscuits etc), and recruiting  at least four paying guests. Within Cornwall the price is currently £25 per person for a half day workshop. That will vary for locations involving more travel or for a full day event.

Special offer for readers

For those of you interested to explore the Rediscovery Process in more depth, there is a special offer open to readers of this newsletter:

One Hour in depth Rediscovery Coaching Session: £35 (usually £65)

'Short and Sweet' Rediscovery Session - 15 minutes £12.00 (usually £16.50)

These sessions are on the telephone or Skype, just contact me to book your time slot, some evenings available.

Offer expires on 31 October 2014.

As always, please feel free to comment with your thoughts and comments. 

If you would like to own a set of cards to explore their power for yourself please visit the dedicated page.

Thank you dear friends for visiting with me again this week and sharing my musings.

Until next time,

with love,

*if you have any difficulty accessing the 'blogspot' service, you can also read here on the Daring to Blossom website, or find 'Dare to Blossom Life Coaching' on Facebook.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Immense Gratitude

8 June 2014

Dear friends,

The title of this unscheduled email is 'Immense Gratitude' - as that is what I am feeling. Thank you to YOU, the person reading this, for the way you have supported me. Simply by choosing to stay on this mailing list (or reading this on Facebook or where ever else it may appear) - you are supporting me. Even if you receive the newsletters and don't always open and read them - that is fine too. Maybe one day you will open one and it will be just what you need to hear at that moment, as happens to me with all the wonderful writing I receive and do not have time to read for a while.

Since completing my weekly newsletter/blog on each one of the fifty cards in the pack over the last year, I have returned to drawing one daily. I wrote a little about that in my monthly newsletter that most of you also receive.

Over the last three days, even with vigorous shuffling and splitting and cutting of the pack of cards, this word 'Gratitude' has come out three times running. OK, I get it! A gentle reminder to make 'an attitude of gratitude' a part of my daily way of life. All too easy to slip into moans and groans and forget all my blessings.

Yesterday an email popped into my in-box - and I am still beaming. Thank you so much to Fraser for taking time to write these words, and for permission to share them with you;

"Dear Mary,

This is not a polite little thank you note for your rediscovery cards, but a full-on raving fan letter! It has been such a positive experience using them in my journaling - affirming, insightful and fruitful.  They are a terrific resource. Aside from the benefit of using them they are delightful in their own right - beautifully produced and lovely to handle. I've taken to carrying them around in my bag in case I have a spare few minutes to sit and draw one out to reflect on or write about.

As someone with a particular faith I have found that they dovetail very well my other practices of prayer and contemplation, and that often my writing blends these elements together to nourish and sustain my spirituality.

So a big thank you for devising and creating them, and I hope they continue to be a blessing to all those who have acquired and use them.

Best wishes,


Fraser was the first life coach I worked with - he was there with me through my first redundancy, helping by offering me a listening ear, a reflective and thoughtful response and tools for me to help myself. He is the reason I trained as a life coach and his book 'Why do I do this every day?' was a great inspiration. Thanks once again Fraser, and I am sure you are making a big difference to people in your new field of work.

I will be writing more on the 'What next?' question that I took to the Conscious Writing Retreat with me. Some ideas have been evolving and becoming much more clear over the last two weeks. I will be building on the work of the last two years with the Dare to Blossom Rediscovery Cards, and exploring some new avenues as well.

An image to share with you, at the end of a very special day yesterday of meditation, inspiration, writing and connection - not to mention gratitude - there was the most stunning sunset I've seen for a while. One of those where the colours spread out across the whole sky from west to east, in an ever-changing display of brilliance. In the west there was a clearance coming in and the sky was a bright turquoise at one stage, with the bank of clouds above me gradually darkening from yellow to orange, from red to purple.

Au revoir for now, until the next time, go well and cultivate that attitude of gratitude, may it serve you as it is me.

As always, please feel free to comment below with your thoughts and comments. 

If you would like to own a set of cards to explore their power for yourself please visit the dedicated page.

Thank you dear friends for visiting with me again this week and sharing my musings.

Until next time,

with love,

*if you have any difficulty accessing the 'blogspot' service, you can also read here on the Daring to Blossom website, or find 'Dare to Blossom Life Coaching' on Facebook.