Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Buried Jewels




 Photo by Jene Yeo on Unsplash

An emerald is as green as grass;
A ruby red as blood;
A sapphire shines as blue as heaven;
A flint lies in the mud.

A diamond is a brilliant stone,
To catch the world's desire;
An opal holds a fiery spark;
But a flint holds fire.
Christina Rossetti 

 "The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them."
Elizabeth Gilbert

Writing prompt:

  • What 'strange jewels' are buried within you? Write about them.
  • Are there some jewels still waiting to be found? If so, what do you think they are? What would you like them to be? Explore these questions in your writing for seven minutes. 
  • Maybe there is something buried within that is more precious than jewels, but that you have ignored, or dismissed because it lacks lustre, or seems useless. What important 'flint' is waiting to be discovered and how could you use it?


Monday, 26 July 2021

Accidental Learning


Photo by Manny Becerra on Unsplash

"Each day I move toward that which I do not understand. The result is a continuous accidental learning which constantly shapes my life." Yo-Yo Ma

I learnt two new, random things today: the meaning of the word 'alexithymia' and the identity of a beautiful moth outside my back door, a Swallow-tailed (Ourapteryx sambucaria). This was 'accidental learning', and I think that Yo-Yo Ma may be right that our lives are being constantly shaped such small discoveries, be they trivial or complex.

Writing prompts:

  • Make a list of of the things, so far this week, that you have not understood, maybe events, words,  emotions or perhaps even another person. How did not understanding make you feel? 
  • Make another list of all the things you have 'accidentally' learnt this week. Write about how what you learnt might effect your life. 

Friday, 23 July 2021




Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

Full Moon

One night as Dick lay fast asleep,
     Into his drowsy eyes
A great still light began to creep
     From out the silent skies.
It was the lovely moon's, for when
     He raised his dreamy head,
Her surge of silver filled the pane
     And streamed across his bed.
So, for a while, each gazed at each-
     Dick and the solemn moon-
Till, climbing slowly on her way,
     She vanished, and was gone.

Walter de la Mare
Tomorrow, at 3.36am, here will be the next full moon. The waxing Gibbous moon has been clearly visible in the night sky these past few days while we've been enjoying beautiful weather and clear skies. Let's hope the clouds clear by tomorrow so that you can you can gear yourself up for a bit of moonbathing. "Fans of the practice believe that harnessing the moon’s lunar energy brings the body's systems into harmony and promotes healing and wellness." You'll need to arm yourself with some Himalayan bath salts, frankincense and rose tea! Click here to learn how to take a simple moon bath. You may want to chill out to Santana's song 'Full Moon' while doing so. 

It's the light of the Buck Moon that will soothe you tomorrow. The fascinating Royal Museums Greenwich website tells us, "Male deer, which shed their antlers every year, begin to regrow them in July, hence the Native American name for July's full moon. Some refer to this moon as the thunder moon, due to the summer storms in this month. Other names include the hay moon, after the July hay harvest."

Writing prompts:
  • What do you need to 'shed' right now. Write about all the things you don't need and want to let go of at this time of the full moon.
  • The Buck Moon provides an opportunity to start again and grow something new. Write about what qualities, ideas, or schemes you want to grow in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

'Butterflies are free to fly ...'


Photo by Louise Smith on Unsplash

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." Maya Angelou

This lovely Comma butterfly started life as a tiny egg then, became a nettle-guzzling caterpillar, before hiding away as a leaf-like pupa, finally emerging as this scallop-edged beauty.

Writing prompt:

  • Write about the changes you have gone through in your life. 
  • Choose one of those periods of change and describe it further in your writing for seven minutes.
  • How do you think you will change over the coming years? Use you imagination to explore a future metamorphosis.



Monday, 19 July 2021

Reject That Stereotype


 Photo by little plant on Unsplash

"We must reject not only the stereotypes that others hold of us, but also the stereotypes that we hold of ourselves." Shirley Chisholm

I'm guessing Shirley Chisholm busted a few stereotypes in the 1960s as she rose from a young girl in Brooklyn to be the US's first African American Congresswoman. The title of her autobiography, "Unbossed and Unbought" says it all. 

Writing prompt:

  •  Do you think that people have a set (wrong) idea about what you are like? If so, write about what they think, why you reject that stereotype, and why they are wrong.
  • Write about who you think you are. Are you limited by the stereotypes you hold of yourself?
  • Make a list of all the things you could do, starting from now, to bust those stereotypes. Write in more detail about one of them. Perhaps you could turn this into a story. Don't limit yourself - you can be anything you want to be.
Please share your ideas, or your writing in the comments box below.


Monday, 12 July 2021

Time to Pause and Reflect



Photo by Andrew Moca on Unsplash


Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself to this world
so worthy of rescue.

by Martha Postlethwaite

Euro 2020 is over, the Covid restrictions are about to be lifted, so perhaps now is an apt time to pause and reflect.

Writing Prompt:

  • Can you 'create a clearing in the dense forest of your life' and wait there patiently? What might fall into your 'cupped hands'? How might you 'give yourself to this world?'

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Be Proud of Your Accomplishments


"No matter what accomplishments you achieve, somebody helps you."
(Althea Gibson)
Today I spent a few hours mindfully learning about and using watercolours. I managed to produce three small pictures thanks to expert instruction at The Crafty Owl Studio in Elland. I felt I had really accomplished something, albeit in a very basic way, but this was thanks to the help, patience and encouragement of tutor Kev.  

Althea Gibson was right; throughout our life there are people who help us along the way to accomplish things we may have never thought possible. She was the first black tennis player to win a Grand Slam, but her talent was spotted when she was a youngster in playing in a Harlem street. She was taken to a tennis club where she had the opportunity to develop her skills and, against all the odds, become a prize-winning athlete. (Click above for her remarkable story).

Writing Prompts:
  •  Make a list of five things you are proud to have accomplished in your life, then next to each one write the name of the person who helped you.
  • Choose one of your accomplishments and write about it in more detail. Tell the story of what happened and of how it made you feel.
  • What have you accomplished today, great or small? Write about it for five minutes. Don't plan your writing, just set a timer and begin. Let the words flow without stopping. When you've finished, look back at what you have accomplished.