Friday, 31 July 2015

August 2015 - Learning

In this Issue: 
Reflections 1: The Midsummer Magic Carpet Ride
Reflections 2: Learning
Inspirational links

Reflections 1: The Midsummer Magic Carpet Ride - on-line, by email and in Glastonbury 

As I sit down to write this for you, I have no idea right now what the topic or theme will be. Usually that is already in my mind well in advance. This month so much has happened that I feel I need to review first.

The Midsummer Magic Carpet Ride groups have been running - on Face Book and as an email group - since 21 June. If you are reading this and have been involved, probably on email as many of the people who like to keep in touch through this newsletter are those of you who prefer not to use Face Book, then some of the news here will already be familiar to you..

The group ends on 31 July - after being extended from the original four weeks into six to encompass the workshop in Glastonbury. It feels to me that it will be good to review that in more detail later, giving some settling time. This being the first time I have run groups such as these, rather than simply participating, it has been an interesting experience. Most people have - as I do in the groups I join - been enthusiastic to start with, then found other priorities taking over; maybe popped in once or twice; and then not at all. I imagine there are things I could have done to keep it more exciting and involving for people - but that is making an assumption, so I will wait until I have been able to ask people for their feedback before jumping to too many conclusions.

For me the experience of 'leading' (though as you see by the inverted commas I hesitate to use that word about myself, interesting...) - of leading the groups by example has been a profound and at times rather challenging one. I have deepened my meditation and visualisation practice considerably. I have always been able to do this visually: 'seeing' as well as being able to write down what I am experiencing in some way. Over the years I have (mostly!) been able to suspend disbelief and self-judgement, though not entirely to silence that very talkative inner critic. And in recent years I have shared some of this writing with some close friends.

Sharing with a group of around forty people has been quite another thing though. Putting the writing out there, even in a secret, private space, has demanded a lot of 'feel the fear and do it anyway' practice. Accepting - allowing - that most people won't comment (and of course may not read it in any case). Accepting that the people who have joined the group are in tune with my way of witnessing, of very often not giving any feedback, and certainly not of the "That's lovely, dear." type, which while well-meant, is actually no support at all in this work. I am hoping - now - that this is making sense to you as I am flow-writing it onto the screen, trying to explain something that is more felt than articulated.

Another fear I have encountered is the "Who am I....?" one. "Will they think I am mad/talking nonsense/trying to show off....." - any number of permutations have been popping up and needing gentle contradiction. At the workshop in Glastonbury these feelings raised their heads again. As I prepared the room to welcome people, I felt greatly supported by the words of one of the email Magic Carpet Ride group who had told me that everyone would be there with me in spirit (catching a lift on my very over-loaded magic carpet, which made me laugh at the picture this painted in my mind). This led to the idea of taking a list of everyone's names to read before the event started, and for people to send me any words they would like attached to their name. Both the two people who had booked (it was a small but perfect group) were delayed in traffic so I did this before they arrived and took some photographs to send the wider group that I will share here with you. Not the best portrait as I had to use the timer on my camera.

The morning workshop was a beautiful experience,  I am so grateful to the two people were able to join me for this first experiment, and for their trust in jumping in and playing on our magic carpets. We used the Dare to Blossom Rediscovery cards as a starting point for our introductions. For this I had arranged them face-up as you see in the photograph, so people could choose a word (and/or colour) that appealed to them. We also spoke about the precious items we had brought with us.

It is hard to remember, and even harder to describe, what actually happened during the morning. I had an outline plan, but had trusted (more testing myself!) that the inspiration for the actual order and type of activities would flow as needed. And it did. At various points I used three readings that I had brought together when revisiting my inspiration for Dare to Blossom and the Rediscovery Process. We did two exercises: the first a ten minute flow-writing about a card drawn at random. My word was 'Generosity' and I found myself stuck and having to make myself keep the pen moving on the page.

Later we also did a Magic Carpet Ride visualisation and people wrote afterwards and shared as much or little as they wished of their experience and thoughts. This was one time when I did not participate - I felt that my role was to hold the safe, quiet space for people to feel secure in their journeying. At some stage we had a break for hot drinks, and later people made a greetings card for themselves using coloured pens and stickers with whatever message they wished to give to themselves written inside. I took them away with me and posted them later.

At the end we stood in a circle and I read the John O'Donohue piece again before we three women shared a group hug which felt very special to me. Thank you once again dear friends if you are reading this.

Here are the pieces I read during the workshop:

Revisiting sources of inspiration

The quote from Anais Nin that I have had on a card on my cork board by my desk for at least twelve years:

"... and then the day came when the risk to remain right in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

A poem by John O'Donohue that I read three or four years ago and struck such a deep chord in my heart:

"To come home to yourself.
May all that is unforgiving in you
Be released
May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities
May all that is unlived in you blossom
into a future graced with love."

My deepest gratitude to both these writers, and many others, who share their gift of words in such a way that has deep meaning and resonance for so many people.

The third reading was the well-known piece by Marianne Williamson (also quoted by/attributed to Nelson Mandela):

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves:
‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people around you don’t feel insecure.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone.
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically releases others.

During my time in Glastonbury I also had time for walks and reflection in the Chalice Well Gardens, the Abbey and the lovely, and tiny St Margaret's Chapel and Almshouses, as well as spending a day at a workshop run by Diane Kutz, a very good friend who I have only actually met once before - another very special connection.

The Magic Carpet Ride has encompassed the whole month, but thinking back to 1 July, it has been an extraordinary time.The beginning of the month brought extremely high temperatures (especially in London where I just happened to be, where it reached 36 degrees Celsius, phew!), and is ending with forecast night time temperatures this week down as low as 3 degrees, even in Cornwall.

Reflections 2: Learning

Having written most of the piece above I had a time of uncertainty (what I call a 'wobble'!), about whether this was all too much about me, that it wouldn't be of interest to anyone at all, etc, etc. Good old inner critic again, trying to sabotage my fragile confidence.

So I decided today that I would return to the Rediscovery Cards to take me back to my inner wisdom, and help me continuing the next stage - unleashing my inner power - which I feel this current phase of my work is all about. Doing my best to do this myself, authentically and with ease and grace. And by daring to do that, and daring to share some of that process with you here and with other people, maybe providing a model in some way that may help others - not to do what I do, but rather to go out and do what they want to do with their inner power, in their own unique way.

So - shuffle the cards well, cut them a few times, and out comes Learning. And that made me laugh - if nothing else this month has been all about learning for me! The first thought I have is that the purple colour combines the blue of peaceful reflection with the red of action.

For me, the most deep and powerful learning takes place when I allow time, space, and most importantly, take a non-judgemental attitude to my own self-evaluation and reflection. And then, having distilled the best of the learning - I go out and apply it again. For some reason that phrase from shampoo bottles just popped into my head "Rinse and repeat." No idea why really, though I could apply it by saying that 'rinsing' in this context is actually the process of giving myself that space - that safe, quiet space that I aim to provide for others - so that I may be refreshed and revived before moving on to new experiences and further learning. As you will see below in the details of events, I am making that quite a short 'rinse cycle' at the moment - though I am finding the variety of activities that I am giving myself each day has that effect.

For y
ou: for your meditations or journal:
- Is there a recent experience you would like to reflect on, to distill the learning contained within?
- If you have a pack of Rediscovery Cards you may like to draw one (or any other pack, or method, such as opening a dictionary at random, that you like to use to spark new thinking)
- settle yourself in a quiet place with your journal to hand and flow-write about the word, letting go for now of the experience you had in mind and letting your hand and pen lead you where it wishes - whether into lists of 'don't know' and 'I'm stuck' as happened to me in Glastonbury, or off on a journey
- when you have done, take a highlight pen or a different colour and read quickly through highlighting any words or phrases that stand out.
- that may be enough guidance for you, or you may like to work further on a more polished piece of writing
- if writing doesn't appeal to you today, simply use your usual pre-meditation relaxation, settle in on your magic carpet and rest. You may find you stay just where you are or take off on a ride to interesting places.....................

Finish your 'rinse cycle' with a good stretch, a walk in your garden - whatever helps you to reconnect before 'repeating' your next stage of learning.


Mind, Body, Spirit Fair at Lostwithiel Community Centre on Saturday 8 August 11 am - 4 pm

I am attending my first ever show as Dare to Blossom (rather than Pydar Crafts which was my business for many years when I made copper enamel jewellery). I will be talking about coaching and the Dare to Blossom Rediscovery Process.To add to my display of my books and the Dare to Blossom Rediscovery Cards I have gone back to producing greetings cards and pictures using the technique of wax painting. My skills are a little rusty but I am loving it so much - playing with colours and textures.

Here is a piece that is not yet mounted in a greetings card. I lovely the depth of these blues, I think I will try out a larger piece to frame as a picture.

Autumn Magic Carpet Ride to Rediscover your Inner Wisdom - dates and venues to be confirmed

Building on the success of the Glastonbury workshop I am currently planning Autumn Magic Carpet Ride workshops here in Cornwall The first near Lostwithiel (see more below), and one in the west. If anyone can offer a location for a workshop in west Cornwall do get in touch.There will also be an autumn on-line and email group if there is enough interest from people, more on that soon.

Autumn Magic Carpet Ride Workshop East Cornwall: provisional date Saturday 19 September 10 am to 1 pm, location between Bodmin and Lostwithiel. Numbers will be limited at this lovely location in a private house. I will be confirming the details after I visit there on Tuesday 4 August. To register your interest - no obligation at this stage - and get 'first refusal' on places, please email me now via this link and I will add names to a list to contact you as soon as the details are finalised next week. Price £25 including tea and coffee, plus materials for creative activities - bring your journal and pen and be prepared to fly!

Dare to Blossom Rediscovery at Home Workshops 
A reminder that you can book a workshop in your home and receive a free place for yourself in return for inviting at least four paying guests and providing teas, coffees etc. More details are currently to be found here on the Daring to Blossom site (though that will soon be amalgamated, along with the Rediscovery Process pages, into the new website that is currently being developed for me, a task long overdue). Please contact me to discuss dates and further details if this appeals to you. (Sorry friends and relatives in other parts of the world, I haven't invented my time machine just yet ;-) )

Inspirational Links

Harvest Time - Writing the Mellow Fruitfulness of Autumn.
Here is a workshop I am very much looking forward to as part of my own 'rinse' - or maybe relax and refresh is a better expression here - with fellow writer
Jenny Alexander on 17th October:

Gourmet Ladies on Tour (Face Book group here ) I joined this group for lunch for the first time recently. They meet on the last Wednesday of each month at different places around Cornwall for lunch and conversation. The subject of what we all do in our businesses is discussed, in a beautifully collaborative and helpful way. I loved reconnecting with old friends and meeting new people. Do join us one month if you are based in Cornwall.

Meet a 93 year-old Park Ranger - this is a fascinating article, I hope the link connects you OK.

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 month and sharing my musings.

Until next time,

with love,