Category Archives: Gratitude, Art, Rich,

Goodnight Shirley <3

Apologies for the absence of my posts. There has been a bereavement among my ‘family’. It is difficult to know what words to say, to be sad for the loss or happy that the person who has gone has no more pain. Words seem insignificant and everyday happenings  seem a little duller, almost an inconvenience. You struggle to know the right way to say goodbye or to comfort those still here.

My post tonight is for my ‘sister’ and for the friends and family in my ‘chosen family’ who will miss her terribly. Bless them all.

Death is Nothing at All by Henry Scott Holland  

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

‘I’m ok!’

On The Daily Post today the post asks for us to think about the following..

‘You’ve been given the opportunity to send one message to one person you wouldn’t normally have access to (for example: the President. Kim Kardashian. A coffee grower in Ethiopia). Who’s the person you choose, and what’s the message?’

I read some responses and thought about who I would choose. Now, if I was to think with my head, I may choose someone who has world wide influence, or maybe a political figure who could make a huge difference, but I have very little knowledge about politics or war and wouldn’t be so arrogant to pretend that I had.

As ever, I listened to my heart. I would choose my mum. My mum died suddenly 8 and a half years ago, I don’t miss her with the intense grief I had at the start but I am still aware that it would be good to tell her little snippets of my life, small messages or statuses which let her know the simple message, ‘I’m ok’.

When I had bereavement counselling for my mum, the counsellor asked me what I missed about my mum. Although it was painful I told her. I missed her honesty, her laugh, her companionship, her listening ears and shoulder to cry on. In all, I missed her friendship. Then came the honesty I needed when the counsellor said… “Well your mum is gone, you now have to find these things you miss about your mum in the people you have around you.”

As harsh as it may seem to hear those words, It stopped me in the longing stage of my grief and forced me into acceptance. I had longed to have my mum back, to give her messages and let her know ‘I’m ok’, ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m sorry’, or just to tell her about my day but I knew deep down it was an impossibility, I just didn’t want to accept it.

Today I carry my mum in the friends I have around me. I have a wealth of people who hold the same values and give me love. I know I will never fully fill that hole left by the loss of my mum, but that my life will grow abundantly around the hole so the pain will lessen. For me this has been true. I give thanks every year that I haven’t been swallowed up by grief and that my life is rich because of what I’ve learnt.

When I see a robin, I see my mum and they inevitably show up when I am with people I love and care about. So what will my message be to that person that I wouldn’t normally have access to?

Simply, ‘Mum, I’m ok’ xxx

20140926-195514-71714604.jpg

The elephant in the room

There’s an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting,
so it is hard to get around it.
Yet, we squeeze by with,
“how are you” and “I’m fine…”
and a thousand other forms of trivial chatter.
we talk about everything else
except the elephant in the room.
We all know it’s there.
We are thinking about the elephant as we talk.
It is constantly on our minds.
For you see, it is a very big elephant.
But we do not talk about
the elephant in the room.

I am sure there are many blogs today about Robin Williams and the sad news of his illness. It would be wrong for me not to acknowledge his passing but also to raise him up higher than any other human who suffered with depression and sadly also took there own lives.

The elephant in the room can be any form of mental illness which debilitated a person. Depression just seems to be the most diagnosed. I am a sufferer and can relate to the thoughts of escape but thankfully I have never actually taken it further than a thought. Am I lucky, yes.

But why?

I grew up in a home where we danced around several elephants in the room. There was no mention to anyone of the happenings inside our home and although it was not a deprived childhood, it wasn’t normal.

I learnt from an early age to answer correctly, I didn’t know any different until I started to suffer myself. I didn’t know that depression was an elephant in the room and that it explained many behaviours that sadly affected my self esteem, trust and dependency from an early age.

I had always been creative and as a child I would write poetry rather than speak about anything that didn’t make sense. I hid behind a guitar and microphone trying above all to be the best Christian I could be. I walked away from church (not my God) when I started to feel emotions such as shame and guilt. These emotions I was carried for many years and I am sure contributed to the depression I felt in 2006.

Life has been like a pond. If you watch a pond, it is still. Occasionally something will come to the surface and will need to be fished out. My experience has been that aspects of my past have come up when they are good and ready and thankfully I have had people around me who carried me until I found my feet.

I have dealt with many issues over the past 8 years and I have learnt through bereavement counselling for both parents that it is always best to talk about the elephant in the room. At times I can wind myself up to the point of total depression and unmanageability. At this point nothing makes sense and I fail to trust my own thinking let alone the advice of others. Left to my own devices God knows what I would do. Never say never.

So today I make sure that I don’t suffer anymore, that I welcome the elephant and introduce it to my friends. Eventually it will be finished with me when it realises that it has no chance against the support I have around me.

It will return and try again from another angle but thankfully I know that I no longer have to hide anymore, that I am free. My friends can usually see it before me. Those that have walked away due to ignorance I can only hope never experience the illness themselves.

I am grateful for those that have stayed and for the new friends who have been part of me finding me. I dedicate this post to all who didn’t make it.

Karen W. Terry. Linda. Paul. Marita. Robin W. God bless you and your families. Xx

It took all my life

According to the story, some decades ago a woman was strolling along a street in Paris when she spotted Picasso sketching at a sidewalk cafe.

The woman asked Picasso if he would sketch her, and charge her accordingly. Picasso agreed.

In just a few minutes, she had an original Picasso sketch of herself.

‘And what do I owe you?’ She asked

‘Five thousand francs’, he answered.

‘But it only took you 3 minutes!’ She said.

‘No,’ Picasso said, ‘it took all my life.

Quite often, I forget the experiences in life that have made me who I am today. I forget that my artistic ability is the result of a lifetime of love for colour, creativity and ideas generation that inspire the different artistic disciplines I engage in. I also forget that this insular type of activity has acted as an escape route when I needed to just disappear.

I have generated artwork which has reflected times in my life that have been problematic for me but have turned out to be a great source of strength.

‘Smashing the addict’ is a piece of work I created about 8 years ago. My need to escape led me to a place where I became so self absorbed that I failed to see what was real or imagined. I became enclosed in a way of life that was unbearable for not only me but for the people around me who loved and cared for me. Thankfully I was helped to ‘smash the addict’ and obliterate the negative way of life.

So when I read this abstract in a book I thought about all the time, life experiences and love that is poured into every piece of work I create, every photo I take, every brush stroke, every movement of a mouse and line of a pencil and I begin to value what each piece is worth.

I’m no Picasso and would never profess to be any like an established artist yet but I have a lifetime of experience, 37 years of drawing, creating, painting as well as 13 years teaching. It’s a never ending journey of developing personally through the ups and downs of life.

Of course I refer this to my art because that is what this blog is about but I also think about those friends who underestimate their own worth. Each day they look after another person or persons life as a parent, what a responsibility that must be. How much time, effort, love and affection is given to being there unconditionally for another little person. The little person(s) who relies, trust and waits to be held, read to or played with.
This in itself is an art and I am forever amazed at the shear unselfishness of such people.

I urge any one of my followers or readers to sit back and truly look at how far they you have travelled to be where you are today. and realise it also took all your life to be as perfect as you are.

20140809-214950-78590686.jpg

Richness

‘Catch yourself feeling rich. Notice those moments when there is nothing else you need. Nowhere else you should be, and no one else you would rather be with because in that moment, you too are already rich.’
John Williams.

I read this today and was torn between this quote and another (I will save for tomorrow). How fabulous a quote is this? Am I the only one who forgets to be grateful for the richness I already have in my life? So often I can get bogged down with unnecessary ‘noise’ that I forget that I am healthy, that I am loved and that I am creative.

I am an avid reader of books about how to develop myself personally. I have often felt that somehow I wasn’t ‘good enough’. Over the last 6 months I have learnt that I am good enough, that I am perfect for me. In a world of education where anything less than ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ was insufficient, I often felt like I was constantly proving my worth.

Thankfully that is no longer the case. I am outstanding and I now view myself to be an asset in the world of education as well as a creative contributor to the world of art, photography, printmaking, collage and many more subjects I still need to explore. One thing I know is that today my life is rich and although I may need reminding from time to time, I certainly do not need to be ‘approved’ or graded. For that I am truly grateful!

Ps. Thank you for following! May you find your richness too xxx