I hear the jackhammer in the distance.
Someone is making something with skill and strength!
I see a single palm tree, leaning in thirst. How has it lasted?
It seems to have the face of an old woman in its bark.
The breeze carries the scent of saltwater
and I tune into four different bird calls at once.
One is a hummingbird. I can hear it!
The crows wake me up. It’s spring and all
new growth can’t help but point toward the light.
Why are some days so productive and others are not?? Answers on a postcard……
Today I rose super early, worked as a GP for the Covid-111 line for a short shift, planted bulbs in the garden, emptied the greenhouse and now I am here writing to you. On other days I barely manage to achieve more than walking the dog and tidying up. Most of the time I try not to get too stressed about my productivity levels but that is still something I need to work on. I find myself curious and interested in many things and sometimes I can feel overwhelmed.
All of this productivity really does need balancing and today I wanted to focus a little on awe and wonder. It’s obvious and may sound trite, but stopping and gazing up at the trees overhead, or birds in the sky, is so good for us. When my old school friend Kerry posted a breath-taking video on social media of a murmuration of starlings I just kept on watching it. You can see some stills from the video below but I have also posted the little video on my Instagram @anestofgentlemakers with Kerry’s permission. Do take a look at it. I love how this amazing natural phenomenon took place whilst Kerry was visiting her local waste and recycling centre (the dump!) and so the beauty of the starlings is contrasted with the perimeter barbed wire fence of a local business park.
The poet Jacqueline Suskin has written a beautiful book called ‘Every Day is a Poem.’ I heard her speaking about it on the Sounds True Podcast: Insights at the Edge. She has spent the last ten years writing poems for strangers. She sets up a typewriter at public and private events and folk come along, give her a subject that is personal to them and she produces a poem. She has written 40, 000 poems in that time and has gained a unique perspective on the human condition.
The first chapter of her most recent book is entitled ‘Be in Awe of Everything.’ She says that ‘If we allow ourselves to practice awe in any situation, conjuring up a deep reverence for all things, we never miss the splendour or the importance of the moment. Awe is what allows me to meet life with my eyes open wide. It’s my ever-growing admiration for the complexity of human understanding and it’s often my source of joy or pleasure in otherwise seemingly monotonous or trying times.’
I acknowledge that gazing at starlings is not a panacea for all of life’s ills. Sometimes the job you are doing is just too awful or you may have to navigate a very difficult situation. But even then, awe and wonder at the world around you can help sustain you whilst you implement the change you need.
Talking of Podcasts, I must share a recent discovery with you. ‘Dispatch to a Friend’ is the genius podcast of two Australian friends Gillian Bell and Annabelle Hickson. They are both seriously creative women who simply read out the letters they write to each other about their lives. It’s funny, endearing, self-deprecating and generally it’s the podcast I wish I had made myself! I have just binge listened to the last two years of podcasts whilst setting up my enormous weaving loom. Find it by searching for ‘Dispatch to a Friend’ from your usual podcast provider.
You may remember I wrote about the Stephen West Mystery Knit A Long that I joined in with my mum? Thousands of knitters spent the month of October feverishly knitting a shawl that was revealed in stages. We’ve knitted honeycombs and slipped stitches galore. I am definitely a ‘process’ knitter and so of course I did not finish by the end of October. I am now pootling along in last place and don’t expect to finish until the New Year as I have some Christmas knitting to do. Mum is further along than me and is giving me a bit of breathing space as she does some other knitting. My friend Artemis O’Connor in the US has finished hers and is proudly modelling it in the picture below!
Has been keeping me very busy. Those close to me know that I have taken on a friend’s ENORMOUS weaving loom. It arrived in the summer in 18 packages from The Netherlands. Instructions in English, Finnish and Dutch, I had to use Google Translate to help work out what each part was. I have now spent many hours putting it together, working out how a 4 shaft Countermarch loom works. It is just short of 2m x 2m x 2m. I am pleased to report that I now know what the raddle, heddle, lamms and treadles do and have started to weave on it! It is astonishing that something so big can actually be held together with wooden wedges and entirely operated by wood tied with nylon string. Amazing. If I wove everyday until I was incapable of doing so, I do not think I would reach the limits of the loom. Watch this space.
And so, a note from Kate’s mat:
Dear ANOGM’s, I hope you are doing ok during these increasingly challenging times, and that you are giving yourself permission to look after yourself with kindness, compassion and patience
If you are finding yourself struggling in this respect, you might benefit from opening up your Heart Chakra – the space in the centre of the chest where the energetic heart is said to exist – energetically this is our place of love, compassion, kindness and a sense of interconnectedness with every other being
I’ve been focusing on opening up my heart chakra this week, and I don’t know if it’s coincidence, but I’m finding more compassion for myself, and for a few other people who I might otherwise find a little tricky!
The good news is that it’s easier than you might think to do this.
As you read this, sit back in your chair, keeping your back nice and straight if you can. Bring your hands to rest on each other on your chest at your sternum. Close your eyes (once you’ve read this), and take your internal gaze into the space in and around the space of the energetic heart. Breathe deeply into this space, filling it with energetic potential. As you exhale feel a sense of the exhalation bringing a sense of grounding and settling into the chest. Continue breathing in this way for about 10 breaths, or more if it’s feeling good. Notice if anyone or anything comes into your consciousness during this time – with no judgement, just acceptance that whatever is, is meant to be.
Strengthening the connection to our heart enhances our ability to respond to life, to others, and most importantly to ourselves with kindness, love, forgiveness and compassion (and this doesn’t mean you are a pushover because balance in the lower chakras takes care of that!).
If you feel that yoga would be beneficial for you and you don’t already have a teacher you practice with, I would love to welcome you to a class with me. The first class is free for all ANOGM’s!
Namaste gentle souls
And so that wraps up our December Full Moon Musings. I hope that reading this newsletter helps you to feel grounded and present in our current turbulent times. I hope that you all stay safe and well and that you find time to do the things that make you happy. I also hope that you are able to spend some time looking at the world in awe and wonder. Please email me at email@example.com to share such things with me, or any other topics that you would like us to explore in future newletters.
Love, as ever, Charlotte xxx