and so it goes,

and so another day passes. And another day. And another … And a week. And another week. And another … And a month. And another month. And …  And then it’s a year. And another year. And another … And so it goes.

Annie Dillard says “as we live our days, so we live our lives.” I hate to think that.

I’ve been out, doing some errands, both over due; apologising, explaining and now I’m home, flaked on my co-houser’s bed, chatting; thinking : “another day, another day when I planned and hoped … but…”

And then I think “another day passes, and so it goes.”  Wait a moment.  This is how I’ve been thinking for … I’m not going to say how long, I don’t want to admit to it. Doesn’t get me anywhere.

I pull myself up. Instead of thinking it, write it! And here I am! The quotes may not be verified, but I can fix that later.

There are always reasons; adequate reasons. I am becoming more compassionate and more understanding of my younger self and of my present self as I deepen my self awareness. I am amazing. I have lived with obstacles for many years and I have ignored them and carried on regardless. It is now as I learn more and understand more and reflect back that I am filled with compassion for myself and with forgiveness.

But those reasons can become crippling,  I think of Annie Dillard and  of Elizabeth Gilbert who reminds me to be active, to do anything, but break out of the passivity ( in Deep Magic).

So here I am. Not needing to say anything else, simply being present.

I salute so many bloggers who have continued on, who inspire me and who encourage me.

I acknowledger the truth of Annie Dillard and that scares me. Many of my days are spent – how? resting, being. Each day is fine, but is that enough? The sum total of my being?

On my wall,  above the computer I have reminders:

be good stewards of your gifts.

Protect your time.

Feed your inner life.

Avoid too much noise.

Read good books, have good sentences in your ears.

Be by yourself as often as you can.

Walk.

Take the phone off the hook.

Work regular hours.

from Jane Kenyon’s,  “A Hundred white daffodils,” a companion volume to her poetry,  a collection of her prose about the writing life, her spiritual life, her country community, her garden, and more.

I feel the truth of these, deep in my being.

the courage to speak 

the wisdom to write

the power to change.

Are also on my wall, challenge me. Why? Because it’s too easy to be irresponsible, to ignore my heart’s yearning.

And a question from Gratefulness( http://www.gratefulness.org ) to ponder:

“What are the riches in my life that cannot be lost?

If I were to write a post today, what …?

If I were to write a post today, what would I write?

It’s a grey day, almost winter, cool, windy. I’ve been pondering blogging,  I’m so out of touch and it’s so long since I wrote regularly. I’ve been reading the Daily Post, thinking about one of the short courses, anything that will move me to action.

As I think about writing, consider ideas and glance through old posts, my mind wanders to the garden.

The garden

After so many years of waiting I now have a garden- my second, a source of joy and concern and frustration and pleasure.     Yesterday we planted some bearded irises, one of my very favourites  and I’m anxious about how we should plant them. My brother advises to keep some of the rhizome out of the soil, but how much?  One rhizome has rotted and died in an earlier planting. I don’t want to lose any,  I have been wanting to grow them for so long. So I have just checked youtube- lots of videos, but now I’m worried that we may not have spread out the roots, the rhizome may be too exposed and we haven’t planted them in groups …  one expert suggests they are very social plants. Mine may be lonely.

not enough soil?

This is the second year for our roses, such splendid plants! They flowered abundantly last year, even being baby roses. This year they have grown very tall. My cousin, the rose expert, tells me these are rain shoots. We had a long and hot summer, then suddenly lots of rain. She tells me roses love such conditions. And here it is, almost the end of May and I haven’t finished pruning them. Another rose expert advised not pruning early as there could be a second flush of flowering- there was! They look gorgeous and smell so wonderful. I love   walking outside and picking a bunch of roses.

more roses- such pleasure.

joy- a bunch of roses!

Oriental lilies are another favourite and I have grown them for two years now. The plants from last year haven’t done well, so another question for youtube. Was it too hot? too dry? Should I have lifted them? What is their ideal climate?

Oriental lilies- if only you could smell their fragrance!

Such a lot to worry about when you garden. My co-houser says that she thought gardening was all about digging and weeding and planting, then flowers and vegetables and trees would happen and … a garden! Instead she says it’s all killing and chopping and  destroying … the aphids love our plants, there are various other sucking insects, black spot, rust … and several varieties of grasshoppers  … how do you get rid of grasshoppers? big brown ones? even baby greens? You can’t spray a grasshopper. The garden books suggest catching and squashing or vacuuming them up. I can’t quite see how to vacuum without sucking up the plant. And squashing? the big brown ones?!? Yuk!

I remember one afternoon, sitting on the ground and weeding, it occurred to me that gardening was like life. I realised how ridiculous such an idea was- gardening isn’t like living, it is life. Isn’t my life whatever I am doing at that moment? Watching Grantchester last night, Sydney’s sermon concluded with “This is our life. Not yesterday or tomorrow, but today. We owe it to ourselves to live it.”

And writing? blogging? Pondering, reading, reflecting … I owe it to myself. In spite of aphids and grasshoppers I will keep on gardening; in spite of disruptions and long interruptions I will keep on.

and maybe I’ll have a friend to help.

 

a very overdue thank you!

 

rabbit and bag, a prize to be won!

rabbit and bag, a prize to be won!

Roma of Craft Odyssey had bought some wool which was very colourful (see the post) and after turning it into a bag and a very attractive rabbit, offered it up as a prize. I entered, just for fun, after all how often do you win a lottery or raffle?  And I do hanker after one of her more historic rabbits. (I have so much stuff. How could I justify it?)

Last year was, well, unproductive for me. To say the least. Events somehow kept on snatching me away from my plans. My health pre-occupied me.  My blog was neglected. WordPress itself was ignored. My learning was interrupted. My heart was downcast. Each day I would promise myself that tomorrow I would sit at the computer and do something, but another day would pass.

The email from Roma arrived to  notify me of my momentous win- Yes, way down here in Australia, I had won the bag and the little rabbit!  But it was ignored. I’d reply tomorrow, then the next day then … it became easier to put it out of my mind. The parcel arrived, very soon after. More excitement and it was so cute. Still ignored. The Craft Odyssey blog post announcing my win? No response from me.

flowers for you from my garden.

flowers for you from my garden.

Do I have an adequate excuse? No, how could I? Such generosity from Craft Odyssey, to donate her work and then to post it all the way from the UK to rural Australia. The gift delights the children who visit as does the story of how it comes to be here. The win thrilled me; the arrival thrilled me; I am ashamed.

Your kindness lives in my heart!Craft Odyssey, thank you a thousand times. Forgive me ten thousand times.

 

Heritage Rabbits

Source: Heritage Rabbits

Some of my favourite rabbits from Craft Odyssey. (click on the above link.)

Not only is Roma a creative and skilled craftsperson she is kind and generous. I commented on her work soon after I had discovered her blog. Sometime in the ensuing conversation I mentioned my baskets of wool waiting to be knitted or crocheted. One obstacle to my creativity was my difficulty in finding patterns and teachers. Roma, faraway across the ocean, offered her help. Such a generous soul!

And, a postscript on the rewards of blogging. A comment may lead to unexpected and unthought of rewards. I delight in the community I am joining around the world-of friends made- passions and joys in common, wisdom shared, kindness, support and encouragement offered … mentors, role models, teachers … a rich, international community.

Imagine walking a mile in someone else’s headline: Monica Lewinsky speaks at TED2015

In praise of a noble woman.

Monica Lewinski. We are all familiar with that name. But we can forget that behind the name stands a human being, a person, a woman.
I have thought of her over the years; I have wondered how she was; aware, in some way, of how much she must have suffered; wondered how anyone could possibly survive such a maelstrom.
I am so glad she has survived- through great pain and at great cost and has become a person of great integrity, honesty and compassion. I am awed by her courage- in choosing to live, in facing the pain and now in choosing to stand tall and proud, to hide no longer.

I have been moved and inspired by her TED talk and by her recent essay. This is the TED blog summarizing the talk she has just given. The post contains links to the talk itself and to the essay in Vanity Fair.
Thank you Monica Lewinsky, firstly for your courage in choosing to live and now for your courage in choosing to speak with vulnerability and integrity. You are a hero of our time.

TED Blog

At TED2015, Monica Lewinsky calls herself "Patient Zero" for online harassment. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED. “Public humiliation as a blood sport has to stop,” says Monica Lewinsky onstage at TED2015. “We need to return to a long-held value of compassion and empathy.” Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED.

Monica Lewinsky is one of very few people over the age of 40 who has no interest in being 22 again.

“At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss,” she says bluntly as she begins her talk on the TED2015 stage, her hands clasped in front of her. “At the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences. “

Lewinsky asks for a show of hands: “Who didn’t make a mistake at 22?”

“Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of my mistake, and I regret that mistake deeply,” she continues. “In 1998, after having been swept up in an improbable romance, I was then swept up into the eye of a political, legal…

View original post 1,157 more words

The Creative flow.

My creativity needs some attention, as does my garden!

My creativity needs some attention, as does my garden!

Somehow, it’s just not happening! the creative flow seems to have dried up. As I drive or wash up or garden the writing happens in my head. It flows, the ideas keep coming and EACH time I feel sure I’ll remember it. But when I sit at the computer or take my writing pen and paper, it’s gone.

I take some responsibility for this. I believe that writing in the morning as soon as I get up (and make a cup of coffee!) is as necessary as breathing. But have I been practicing this lately? No. Do I have a reason for this? No. I’m reminded of the statement of St Paul (and you must remember I had a most religious upbringing) that the good that we would, we do not. Too true. I was pleased to discover that a paradox in mindfulness simply says this another way ” We often practice things that are unhelpful and  avoid practicing things that helpful.” We humans are strange beings.

So the days go by. I start writing. It’s something I care about, but it doesn’t hang together. I leave it unfinished and walk away, dissatisfied. I eat something, have another cup of tea. I’d go for a walk or weed the garden, but it’s too hot.

Maybe it's good enough?

Maybe it’s good enough?

I have a little bubble of enthusiasm, go to the computer, start writing. Frustration, it sounds awkward, doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Is this a moment when I persevere, doggedly? Push through this dullness? In this humour, of course I don’t!

Barbara Kingsolver, one of my writing heroes, describes putting her daughter on the school bus, going to her desk and staying there for the next six hours. When does she do the shopping? keep appointments? see her friends? I’ve spent most of my life in full-time work. When did I fit in all those other demands? Where does my day go? How does time fritter away so easily?

Anne Lamott, another writing hero, describes how, even when she was hung over from both alcohol and drugs, still struggled to her writing, every afternoon. Her book “Bird by Bird” says that’s exactly how you do it- bird by bird, or, bit by bit.

I confess. I have been neglecting my practice. I have let any discipline slide. Any excuse has been acceptable, or, no excuse at all. I’m finding it hard to live with myself. This Kathryn I don’t like all that much. I guess it’s what they say about riding a horse- so, you fell off? get right back on again. So, I’ve had a moment of slackness? Get over it, keep going.

Peanuts can always cheer me up.

Peanuts can always cheer me up.

I remember back last year when I was going to write a blog. I worried over a name. Asked everyone’s opinion. Couldn’t settle on a theme. What colour? What picture? How would it be best to introduce myself? What was my voice? The tone? Then one day I sat down and wrote something. And clicked on “publish.” What a moment. It wasn’t perfect, not any of it. In fact it wasn’t even good enough, depending on your point of view. But there had to be an end to the dithering.

And one day I’ll rewrite my “about”. I’ll change the header; I have plans to customize; I aim to go back and edit early posts. I remember my mantra

NEVER GIVE UP.

Perhaps I need another pink bridge in my life.

Perhaps I need another pink bridge in my life.

I’m not giving up. I’m not going away. I wrote this morning and I’ll write tomorrow morning. If I miss one day or even more, I’ll start again, but I won’t give up.

I remember another paradox: “Self blame will slow the process of self development, not speed it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How embroidery is helping women in Pakistan stand up to honor killings and inequality

My local book club that I started several months ago, has now also become a sewing group. Some of us meet in local rooms to sew, whether that is clothes or embroidery or patchwork or knitting or cochet or making curtains or …if you’re me, until now…to talk and be with others. Doing things together has always seemed to me to be a powerful communication. Busy hands seems to free up the mind; talk follows and often, true community. Here’s an inspiring story of change using a traditional craft. Enjoy it and be inspired!

ideas.ted.com

Khalida Brohi grew up traveling between two very different parts of Pakistan: the bustling city of Karachi, where her parents moved so that she and her sisters could go to school, and a small village in Balochistan, where her family has its roots. Brohi got a modern education, and also developed a deep reverence for her tribal traditions. Those two threads often tangled — especially when it came to the treatment of women.

As a teenager, Brohi watched as, one by one, her childhood friends entered arranged marriages, sometimes against their will. When she was 16, she received word that a close friend had been murdered by her family in an “honor killing.” She set her mind on starting a movement to stop these practices. But as it gained momentum, it also spurred a backlash.

“We were challenging centuries-old customs in these communities. They stood up, saying we were spreading un-Islamic behavior,”…

View original post 2,683 more words

Blocked

?????

?????

I feel overwhelmed. Stuck. Blocked. Frustrated. Can’t move forward. Can’t move back. Can’t move sideways. Haven’t been writing, haven’t been to the gym, the “to do” list just keeps on getting longer.

Know that feeling?

I live in a spacious house. All by myself. Large rooms- back deck and front porch; wide, long room downstairs; gracious loungeroom and a huge, sunny family room + kitchen. When my co-housing partner lives here, there will be the grand total of two of us

scary, isn't it?

scary, isn’t it?

But. I can’t settle my work space. Right now I’m camped in the dining room (yes, there’s a dining room as well) – computers set up on the dining table, papers strewn everywhere, books stacked…Angie, my co-housemate suggests the second bedroom is my space and some stuff is in there-  left over clothes of mine that don’t fit in my bedroom, a largeish table, full boxes and plastic crates, all my paperwork, stationery…Downstairs is stuffed with furniture- a desk, a workbench, cupboards, bookshelves, books and books and books, filing cabinets, plastic crates full of stuff belonging to both of us, all my parents’ family photos waiting to be sorted, my notes from courses I have run, old letters (of course!), boxes of Angie’s…all waiting to be sorted. There’s no garage, so downstairs is where it’s all at. My stuff, and it is stuff, is scattered in three places. No wonder I keep losing things.

Where do I settle my study? upstairs? second bedroom? downstairs? the dining room? turn the loungeroom into a work space? Where do we put guests?

questions,

questions,

I haven’t mentioned the garden. You remember the garden? One of our aims is to be as self sufficient as possible, so the garden is a top priority. Well, here I am, eighteen months later, and I’ve only been playing around the edges. Where will I create the beds? How will I make them? Where do I start? Treated pine edging or colorbond or?  If I put a tree there, will it stop the sun?  Questions, uncertainty, indecision… and I’m back where I started from, feeling stuck.

By now, you’re probably feeling irritated with me and want to tell me to “stop carrying on , just get on with it!” I’m irritated with me!

However. And there is usually an however. I have watched people talking about how they feel blocked and I have seen that they have solutions. I’ve watched them reject any options or possibilities. For some reason they didn’t want to move forward.

What does this tell me now? That I am refusing solutions? Choosing to stay stuck? Why do I keep rejecting any possible solutions?  What am I frightened of?

This is a life lesson, of course. It’s not just in our homes or gardens we get stuck. How many times have you been at a point where you have felt powerless, you can’t make a choice and  your life’s been  in a holding pattern?

And isn’t it an uncomfortable place to be? No energy, restless, I take to prowling about, unable to settle anywhere. Nothing gets done.

What was I told once? It doesn’t matter where you start, you’ll always get to where you need. Here and now, it doesn’t matter what choice I make. All that matters is to start. It’s my old friend, fear- the fear of making a mistake. What did I learn, many years ago, from Susan Jeffers? To “feel the fear, and do it anyway”. What do I have to lose?

a Spring bouquet to cheer me up.

a Spring bouquet to cheer me up.

P.S. If you have an idea about the garden or the house, I’d love to hear it. Think outside the square!