Hourglass

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Hourglass

The sand falls through the hourglass. It begins in an eager tumble, steadies to a soothing flow.

Hunter watches, transfixed. Tiny pieces of mica in the sand shimmer and catch the light as the sand moves, falling from the top, piling to a mound in the bottom.

Mama. Look! This is where the light lives!

As the top bulb empties, I watch the hollow in the sand grow bigger. And, I realize Hunter is right. This is where the light lives. In the moments – tumbling so fast, piling up behind us – shifting, moving, being buried by the next moment and the next. The single shining moments that make up life, hold the light we crave.

Like the last slurp of bathwater swirling down the drain, the final grain falls though.

Movement stops. The shimmering ceases. Points of light still shine from within the spent pile, but the magic is over.

Again!

We snuggle closer, giggle, and turn the hourglass upside down once again. This is where the light lives.

Threads of Mercy

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Threads of Mercy

A year ago I signed up for a writing class. You know how people tell you about things they’ve done and say, in awed wonder “It changed my life”? Well, that’s me. Talking about Write Into Light. Or perhaps, more correctly, talking about the community of writers that emerged, strong, fierce, brave and ready to stand up in a world that doesn’t always reward tender vulnerability, and say “I choose love. I choose light.”

These writers have spent the past year fine tuning their craft and listening closely to the calls of their hearts, and now, one by one are stepping into the world with their offerings. Those offerings are as varied and intriguing as they are driven by a longing to be of service.

If you have a look at Mary Jo Cartledghayes Instagram account @mercy_now you’ll see she’s been layering and stitching morsels of Mercy and deploying them to all corners of planet Earth. After Mary Jo put out a request for Mercy materials, I pulled out a bundle of ribbon and buttons and bits and bobs to add to her collection. It’s been a long time since I opened those boxes. I’m delighted by the thought that instead of languishing in a dark cupboard, some of these goodies will find themselves part of a gift of Mercy.

As for me… I’m plugging away at a children’s story about suicide. Which I know, probably sounds like a terrible idea. But, it’s the call of my heart right now. While my fondest wish would be for no child ever to know the bewildering confusion and pain of a loved ones suicide, I know the heartbreaking truth is that some will. This book will be for them. With as much tenderness and love and gentleness as I can infuse into words on a page.

Mary Jo is right. We could all use a little mercy.

 

Where The Road Takes You

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West-of-the-tanami-off-road-tracey-hewitt

 Sometimes, all you can do is follow your nose. A bit like that time we drove across the desert. There weren’t too many signs to indicate precisely where we were, but we trusted that the road we were on would lead us out the other side. It did, and the next morning we woke to this view. And knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. How could you doubt you were in the perfect place, when presented with a daybreak like this?

Perhaps life is the same. God knows there aren’t too many signposts to reassure us that the road we are travelling is leading us where we want to go. As I think about that, it occurs to me we discovered  this beautiful spot, which is high on the list of places I loved most, after taking a turn off the road leading to our ultimate destination. The truly wondrous gems – the places and experiences that fill us up – are most often discovered via a detour, an unexpected deviation to the plan.

I have no idea where this decision to post a new blog as often as I can (I’m resisting saying daily, because some days, it’s not gonna happen) will take me, There could be astonishing discoveries, or it might prove to simply be the long way ’round to where I thought I was going all along. But I’m choosing to trust that I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and stay open to whatever I might learn along the way.

Here’s to the delight of unexpected discoveries along roads we never knew existed, much less ever planned to travel.

 

 

Finding Power

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Tracey_Hewitt_Flower_Power
Five minutes into the yoga class, and Kathryn Budhig (the most fun Yoga instructor ever) from the other side of my computer screen tells me that if “that plank pose is too strong for you today, put your knees down. That’s power. Doing what your body needs, listening to your body and taking care of it is powerful.”
Not pushing, straining, hurting, or forcing. And it hits me. I sometimes forget the incredible power within myself. The power to take care of me. To put what I need first. Not what my inner critic tells me I need, not what others might think is best for me or expect from me, not what the world believes I should be doing or being.
It’s easy to get caught up in the popular thinking that power and strength rise from constant movement, constant achievement, endless ‘doing’. If you do it all, then you’re strong, if you catch and return every ball tossed at you, your power is in no doubt.
But, I think we’ve got it all wrong. What if the power is really in those moments when we listen to ourselves, choose to value ourselves and say ‘Actually, right now, I need gentleness more than being strong’, and in choosing to be gentle with ourselves we are in fact being incredibly strong and courageous?
That moment on the mat long ago, had me collapse in tears. Once the tears were spent, it felt as though the entire Universe and my understanding of it had shifted. I felt I could write ten thousand words explaining the epiphany – that’s how “big” that moment felt. Yet, the realization is astonishingly simple: Our power resides in our ability to choose to care for ourselves.
Of course, there are many times when pushing, stretching ourselves and expanding to meet a challenge are exactly what we need, writer Elizabeth Gilbert refers to this as healthy striving. It is indeed good for us to stretch and flex our muscles and try hard to do hard things. I do it all the time, and nothing feels better than pulling off something I’m not sure I can accomplish.
But, on those days when we are weary from the work, deflated by a rough patch on the road, hurting from the inevitable wounds life inflicts upon us, or feeling we are incapable of being kind to ourselves, those are the moments when we can become our own heroes, wielding the superpower of kindness and gentleness to our own precious selves.

Stay With Yourself

posted in: Writing Blog | 4

tracey_hewitt_stay_with_yourself

Stay with yourself.
When the darkness is
impenetrable,
and the tendrils of anguish and loathing
wrap their damp coils around your neck.
Stay with yourself.
You’ll long to leave, tell yourself
there are better places to go
better people to be with,
better people to be.
Stay with yourself.
When boredom smells like mouldy shoe boxes
and your line of sight offers flat,
lifeless
nothingness.
Stay with yourself.
Even when a light flashes and inspiration
floods the landscape with blues
and greens
and purples
and your heart fills with delight.
Stay with yourself.
You can share it all
when it’s time
When you
and yourself
are both ready.
Stay with yourself
until you can step forward,
into the sun,
into the joy,
into the light,
and bring yourself.

Following Mr Wordsworth’s Advice

posted in: Writing Blog | 2

 

When I started a blog – so many years ago now, my hair was a completely different colour – no one much read it, and I sat and hammered away happily at the keys, sharing thoughts about random things. Mostly the posts were about what I was creating at the time, but our life on the farm, and various other curious things found their way into my posts. I’d go out walking looking for things to photograph and always had one eye peeled for the next thing I might write about. And I loved it. I had fun, and it felt great to show up at the keyboard, load an image and write about it.

Somewhere, somehow, I lost the early delight in this blogging thing. I got serious. I began to see it as part of the ‘business’ of being an artist, and that idea has squeezed joy out of writing blog posts like an angry woman with a citrus reamer.

I miss it. So, I’m trying to write my way back there. Back to the simple pleasure of pouring my thoughts onto a page just for the fun of it. I’m not sure I’ll even share these posts with the world, right now they’re just a safe place for me to come and flex whatever muscle it is that has become stiff from lack of use. But, as I think about it, I probably will share these with the world, because writers write to be read.

I have no idea where this tab of Writing Blog might lead, and if the only place it leads me is back to delight in writing and leaving the words somewhere they might be read by others, that will be just fine with me.

I make no promises about what you might find here as time passes. I’ve discovered a delight in poetry – the kind that doesn’t rhyme, and has no rhythm or meter. Perhaps some of those poems will land here. I crave freedom to write about ‘all the things’, so that’s what I’m going to do. Show up and write about whatever I feel moved to.

I want to have some fun. Find some lightness, and when the mood strikes, trawl the inky depths of my own mind and pour that out too. Starting today, this is where that’s going to happen for a while.

Poems Should Rhyme, And Other Beliefs

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Perpetual_Change_Tracey_Hewitt_2017.Web Poems should rhyme and other beliefs
Perpetual Change Acrylic and collage on canvas 30cm x 30cm ©2017 Tracey Hewitt

 

Tell me I’m not the only one who has days where everything makes no sense and you feel all kinds of off kilter and out of sorts. (Seriously – I could use the reassurance!)

One of my go to activities to unravel a tangled mind is writing in my journal. Sometimes, a poem will pop out. As I write that, I can hear my Dad frowning – if it has no meter or rhyme it can’t possibly be a poem.

Sometimes the things we believe hold us hostage. Stop us from trying something new or doing something brave. These words may or may not be a poem, but spilling them out in my journal helped me understand that while I may be quite attached to some of the things I believe, they don’t serve me well anymore.
I suspect we all have some beliefs that are not helping us any longer… How about you?

 

I am unsteady

I don’t know what I know
or, is it that I know what I don’t know?

I’ve told myself stories about
How I am
Who I am
What I am
What you think about me
My beliefs sit at my feet, looking up at me,
askance

Am I true?
Where did I come from?
Do I get to stay?
Will you choose me?

I see fear in their eyes.
Rejection is death to a belief.

Can I bundle them up in my arms,
hold them close, and reassure them
that even if their work here is no longer needed,
I have loved them dearly?

Can I let them go then,
to scamper off like scolded puppies
scurrying to hide under a chair
until I’m not watching.

Until they sneak back to chew on my heels once again?

No. It seems not.
They must be banished
for my own good.

Oh, but their pleading eyes!
How can I reject those eyes 
that I have loved
that I have trusted.

But, set them free I must.
Oust them from the comfortable cushion of my being.
Cast them away for good.

If I am to know my own freedom.

Wise Woman Sonnet

I Wasn't Expecting To Cry; Wise Woman Sonnet
I Wasn’t Expecting To Cry ©Tracey Hewitt 2017 Mixed media on watercolour paper.
Session Three of the Write Into Light course is about to start, and I promised myself I would publish more of my writing here, so I’m diving in to share one of the pieces with you that was a BIG challenge, before I launch into the final session. The image above is from one of my art journals – her eye leaked, and she cried an unplanned and unexpected tear. And don’t we all do that on our way to knowing ourselves and learning to love the flawed humans we are?
This particular assignment was to write a sonnet. Yes, like Shakespeare. My initial thought was something along the lines of: “You’ve got to be kidding.” (Something along those lines, with perhaps an expletive in there for emphasis).
Armed with the technical requirements: iambic pentameter, rhyming couplets – all the sonnet rules and regulations –  I set about counting syllables and weaving words. Not sure if Shakespeare would approve, but if felt pretty bloody good to bend an idea into such a regimented shape!

Wise Woman Sonnet 

I railed against the longings of my soul,

which yearned for freedom, joy and a light heart.

Believing all the lies my culture told –

“You must always be busy, act real smart.”

 

Then, though I tried to be the same as them –

the ones who made the rules and held the gate,

My heart found joy in paint and words and Zen.

The quest for busy led me to self hate.

 

So, to my heart a promise strong was made.

To find what makes me happy and that choose.

Compassion for myself I would now trade

for busyness and ways to self abuse.

 

Contentment can endure throughout the years,

Your joy is found in ashes of your fears.

 

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Writing: Exploring Square Pegs In Round Holes

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Heart Writing

 

That box that people put you in – the pigeon hole which satisfies their need to classify and order their experiences – you don’t quite fit, do you?

There’s that sharp edge that grabs and catches. You try to smooth it off, sand it away, for your comfort – and for theirs.

Stop. That sharp edge is your power. File it away and your unique shape is lost.

It’s tempting to force yourself into that box shape. To fit. To fit in. But, that sharp edge digs into your side and deep down you know this isn’t the shape of you. It would not be this uncomfortable if it were.

Your place is not inside any box. No pigeon hole can contain your complexity, your contradictions, and the fullness of who you are. That sharp edge? It’s your reminder that you don’t belong in any box, and it’s your sword to cut yourself free.

Dear lovely ones,

I wrote the piece above recently in a writing class with Martha Beck called Write into Light. I want to tell you that I wrote it for you, and that I am way past any feelings of doubt about my own worth and belonging in this crazy world. But I know you know that’s not the honest truth. For I can’t write or paint anything that rings true for you without it being real for me also. My own sharp edge – the part I feel unsure of, the piece that I’m certain is proof I don’t belong – is the thing I need most to embrace. I long to write and paint and share so much with the world, but recently I have found myself here staying quiet, hiding in my busy life, using it as an excuse not to be brave and bold. Jamming myself into a box that isn’t my shape.
I’m nervous about how this writing may be received – it’s not always bright and colourful like the artwork you find here. But, as more people read my book, and talk with me about the themes that resonated for them in it’s pages, about how they’ve found the reading of the book helpful, the greater need I feel to share more of this writing. To share more of the pieces of myself that dig into my side – the pieces which try to tell me I don’t quite fit. To use the sharp edges of those pieces to cut myself free of my own fears and insecurities. I hope my doing that might inspire you to find your own sharp edge and free yourself, too.
I’d love to know your reactions. Love it? Hate it? Wonder what the hell I’m on about? Share it all!