October 2018, Preparation.

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” ~ Jane Goodall

Hola friends,

There is a sense of déjà vu in this moment. I’ve been here before. The silence in the house, the fresh chill in the air, the world outside my house veiled in darkness. Farmers hours I called them last year. The secret time when the life within these walls still silently sleeps, dreams. I’m nestled at my computer, my feet cosy in my favorite woolly socks. There’s fresh brew of coffee tempting me to sip as I take this time to transpose the cacophony of thoughts that weave through my mind and into a story.

There is a feeling of this being a secret space. A safe space to honour what continues to call me. My secret world. And yet it is not because you’re reading. I know those of you who have found your way here also feel the world in a way that asks you to consider. To ponder. To reflect. To take creative action.

Without action there is no sense in my soul’s yearning for words. No productive sense. I think I loath that word – productive. But I want to learn to re-define words. To find my own meaning of what action looks like. I am here to find my way. This is my quest towards making something productive. Or is it? Perhaps the quest is not about the making but the being in this space. Making.

Some preparations have taken place. As you know I moved here. Will this be my final blog, the one I’ve been working towards? Only time will tell. I’ve held each one as long as they have served their purpose. Each story has asked for a new space.

It is as though I land at each new page in an egg. A fresh, newly laid egg. One that has some dust and dirt on the edges, the realities of life, but always full of promise and each time a little wiser. Bit by bit I begin to crack the egg. I emerge without knowing much and I wobble around, eventually finding some pace and when it’s time I fly away. Or am I a caterpillar wrapped in a cocoon wiggling free? Hmmm no I think I am a bird. I’m more of a wobbler than a wiggler.

The woman who sat in this space last year was answering the same call. Proudly, as I reread the words I wrote towards a book I realise I make quite a start. I have already taken some small steps, kicked a hole in the egg’s shell. I know it won’t be easy. My mind boggles with the notion of plots and characters. Fiction, non fiction. Sexy scenes no sexy scenes. It’s all part of the cracking out of the shell, finding where to start walking. The wobbles will follow.

I have taken to carrying a notepad and my notes page on my phone is filling fast … I think and see more than I can write.

I quiet my mind as I begin to formulate a plan. My character will be a woman – because that is what I know, that is what I am living. Writing a book is not about selling a book. It is my creative action. It’s jumping into the river that flows through my veins. I need to stabilise myself, pace myself because the initial excitement of lolling around in the river is always exciting.

This month I’ve been preparing. Dipping in and out of the following actions as I go. Is there a better word for action? It’s how I leap forward.  Taking stock of the infrastructure in my life and working within it. But PLEASE – shoot me now if I start using the word hustle. Another word I need to find peace with, gosh I dislike that word and the implied ‘push push’ kind of action that goes with it. I’m in my 40s and friends I’m not getting out of bed for the word ‘hustle’. Find peace … hmmm – I’m going to come back to that one though.

Withdrawing ~ Sometimes I feel lonely around people. Do you know that feeling? When you walk away and know there was nothing there? Vapid. Now that’s a new word I enjoyed learning last week. It’s often a good indication to me that I’m ready, strike that need to do something different. Otherwise I’ll go batshit crazy with boredom. And boredom without a direction is fecking lethal for me. Boredom does have its place. It leads to curiosity and as I have found so many times before – when I give way to curiosity if I’m lost, a path springs to life (and yes even in Autumn).

Curiosities and Synchronicities ~ All things have led me to Ireland this past month. Not in a melancholy I’m longing for the Emerald Isle way … it’s not helpful to long for greener grass (we know that right?).  The path. It started when I opened Richard Fidler’s conversations and following on from a podcast with a mountain climber I listened to one with Marian Keyes. Wow, what a storyteller. Me, no way could I comfortably tell a story with the same kind of enthusiasm, humor, candour and honesty. Or could I?

When I say led me to Ireland I mean all things.

Small coincidences like a conversation I overheard where a young person said to another … ‘I’ll kinda like Irish people, they’re cool’, to deeper pulls. Like the need to burn away the feelings and energies which have accumulated in my body and mind with a fire ceremony. As well a long anticipated smudging of the house.

That day arriving today.

Many endings and beginnings have culminated from this year on this day. There hasn’t been a time when I’ve been able to ‘smudge’ the house with my sage sticks until now. (The sticks were gifted to me by a friend who shares a love of pagan tradition and these gifts made from love with her creative energy). 

I’ve been waiting for this moment, this day to arrive and now everything is ready.

And here’s the kicker – today falls on the Samhain. Samhain, the time honoured by the ancient Celts – The Celtic New Year. More commonly now celebrated as Halloween.

Changing ~ I don’t come to this space from melancholy nor from angst. My trust in life has been restored after walking the long walk of the Camino de Santiago. However, I am carrying some residual habits and ways that I wish to change. I can no longer be held or blocked by these feelings and energies. I need to explore life without the burden of self sabotage.

Reading ~ I never know what book will trigger my next adventure. There was Paris Letters which sent me on a quest to minimise and buy some years out for our family. And there was Row for Freedom which sent me on a quest to stand for Girls Education and walk a month long camino. Often it is a memoir that speaks to me but this time it was a fictional book. Marion Keyes’s latest, The Break.

What a joy to read a book that enables us to escape. To step into a world that opens us. I most definitely don’t want a break from my life partner but I do want a break. I want a break from worrying about where I am and where I should be. I want a break from all that is vapid. And I want to be the hero in my own story. I don’t want pity, excuses or a pat on the back in this life, I want an honest life. If I am the hero of my story it will be because I am a flawed warrior.

Irish novelists remind me of what is worth fighting for. They write honestly. Their strength is a part of who they are. Women come from strong, strong stock – our mothers and grandmothers were courageous and they had to fight.

Reaching ~ Are you a reacher? Perhaps you are if you’ve followed me here. I reached for you. All of you. The ones who want to come on an adventure with me. I needed a space to be able to share this part of myself and I wanted it to be one where I could trust who was sharing my thoughts. We need a tribe to move forward. And you are mine. Writing has become something I can’t do without. And like the stories that have shifted me to where I am and continue to propel me forwards – I want to write one. Mine.

I want to share my experience of the world as a woman. Women are finding each other through their stories and there is a powerful momentum building. My challenge has always been to find my own unique way to stand up. To balance the small and big wants in the quiet way I want to live my life. I’m dipping into that these next twelve months.

Practical ~ Dreams, oh how I dream them and I’m no stranger to putting them out there. Not all of them are ready for me. Last year I dreamt of writing a book … life had other plans. Fear became my enemy.

Fear from a situation and a person we found ourselves locked in battle with. Fear that eventuated into nothing. Fear of all the changes we made. Did we do the right thing … extending our adventure by starting from scratch away from our families and friends? Fear took a lot from me. Trust mostly but also peace. Inner peace.

‘Should we do the meridians now? Clear the blockages to create flow? Check my balance?’

I said to my new Chinese Practitioner after a session of acupuncture on my lower back pain last week.

Inside I was pleading with him. I desperately need to feel cleansed to release some of the tension and negative energy that was blocking my way.

‘In Chinese Medicine we relieve the symptoms first’ he explained … then we treat the blockages’

… he replied calmly.

And my heart found peace in that.

I know that story.

I must take this slowly and practically. One step in front of the other. (caminoism right there)

This month I am beginning. Reducing the stimulants, creating the space to write, withdrawing (from all that is vapid ;)), sorting the closets for winter, donating what is no longer needed, following curiosities down the rabbit holes as they lead me towards synchronicities. I even got around to setting up an online shopping grocery account and gave into the idea of meal planning (but just three days in a row). Lordy don’t take my spontaneity away – I know it makes sense but baby steps folks.

Marking ~ It has been a rather large month. Not a heavy one. A month where my energy has been shifting. Fear while causing me a terrible amount of angst this year has also shown me how to appreciate great love. It is time for me to make friends with fear and find peace with it. It is time for a new beginning. And I’ll mark the end of this month of preparation with a simple ceremony.

I have written what I need to release and what I wish to invite in to my life on paper and I’ll burn them. Following on I will smudge the house with my Sage Sticks from my ‘moo goddess’ friend.

There is no plan for how these next months will look, what rhythm each will follow … they are open. I know that if I live openly and treat them as stepping stones what need’s to come next will.

And with that I say goodbye to October and welcome November. A month where I will be focussed on rituals. Rituals a fancy word for routines, or is it?

Buen camino dear friends, lovely soul sisters/brothers, tot (till) November.

Fran xx

8 Replies to “October 2018, Preparation.”

  1. Oh my goodness. I listened to the same Marion Keyes interview and when I past the next book shop, I eagerly purchased ‘The Break’. I have just started reading it. I was transfixed with every word in that interview. I had to sit in the car for a good 20 minutes until it finished.
    She is delightful and I’m sure the book will be too.
    I was thinking about you recently and your book writing fears. There was a interview with a panel of writers (cant remember who) discussing the dilemmas writers find themselves in when beginning their writing journey. I wonder if I could find it for you?? Maybe you have listened to it??
    Great post Fran … I too dislike the word hustle!
    Liz xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How beautifully synchronic Lizzy! I might have to listen again … I was completely taken with her. I wonder what you thought of the book?

      Hmm the book … I have about 5 first chapters now. Excellent at starting not so great at keeping rhythm. I tried googling ‘panel of writers discussing writer’s dilemmas’ but no luck. Would love if you could send the link through if you know where to find it.
      Fran xx

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  2. Dearest Fran, as I prepare for bed, I saw your post and just had to read it.

    Moments before, I tweeted an author whose first novel I am reading. It’s a book I want to devour and to read more slowly than any other book ever, it is so good. Why? It is full of women’s stories. I don’t know where it is going to take me yet, but I know it will fill and break my heart.

    Your words tonight inspire me to kick myself up the arse, and be mindful to be productive with my creative gifts. I’m not a big fan of that word and hustle makes me want to spew, yet I have a responsibility to my gifts…

    Finding/following pathways – that was just in the chapter of the book I read, and then in your words too…

    Thank you for reminding me to be vulnerable and also deliberate, a dance I haven’t yet mastered.

    Onward.

    Together.

    Gratefully,

    Annette x

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Annette. These words filled my heart when I received them. Posting such a vulnerable piece of writing is easy at first but then fear creeps in. The fact that my words without expectation can resonate and create a connection are the ‘best’ kind of armour against such fear. As I find myself back at the screen after a break to get some other ‘stuff’ done I feel like here is a kind of safe and secret home. Writing. Reflecting. Expanding. I also think we need to be mindful about being productive with our creative gifts … one thing I learnt this week is that it can be the first thing that gives. I’d like to see where this uncovering of responsibility can lead. I wonder what could the next 365 days of vulnerable and deliberate look like? Glad your on the track jumping hurdles with me. I’m trying my best to not turn around from the hard ones.
      Fran xx

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  3. I’ve just read this a second time at leisure Fran, so raw and wonderful.
    Samhain for you..and ‘the veil is thin’..you see your path clearly.

    So with Beltane for us in Australia, I feel in sync with you though, and agree with Anette; you’ve got me thinking! And gently back on track.

    Thank you friend.
    Janet x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for seeing me in my words Janet. I see the path. yes I do and mostly I feel it too but there are a few barriers and obstacles I need to clear. I’m working on those. These dedicated months are my defence against them. Fran xx

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