Intentional Year Guidebook 2021

 

Hello all, 

Here we are, at the strange end of an almost unfathomable year, where the unfathomable does not seem to be ending. It’s been a long and challenging, rough cut with learning which hasn’t quiet settled. Every single person on the planet has been impacted by the global pandemic, and each of us we are holding multitudes. I’m ready for a pause, to take stock, rest and renew, and in this threshold space of one year to the next, I am so looking forward to a few days of quiet and reflection to enter into inner conversation with what matters and listen more closely to the whisperings of what’s stirring within. 

This last year, I’ve found it so helpful to return to my intentions when things got rough. They were like plumb lines, bringing me back to steadier ground. Having clear intentions helped to keep me focused on what I can influence, and when I felt unclear about how to act or what to do, I had a way of reminding myself of what I value and how I seek to live into a life designed around those things. I am so grateful for the time I spent last December setting some intentional guide ropes. Little did I know how much I’d be holding on. 

As many of you will know, for the last few years I have been creating an Intentional Year Guidebook as a way of supporting that reflective process and a tool for helping to recalibrate intentions for the months ahead. And so, as we enter into this next year, I have updated the Intentional Year planner, and am delighted to be offering it out to you as in invitation to your own plumbline. So before moving into 2021, as a way of steading, the guidebook will take you back over this year, asking you to sense into the things you may need to release, grieve, acknowledge  while also giving space for the insights you seek to carry onwards. How might you lay your own guidelines for helping to steer you back to course and remind you of what matters in your own centre? What does your future self wish for you? And what will will be your support structure to offer scaffolding as you live your way there. These are just a few of the questions the guide will navigate you onwards. 

The whole process also comes with an ask: please bring kindness and gentleness to accompany you as you make your way though the guidebook- for yourself, and for others. They are qualities which acknowledge that this has been no ordinary year. 

I hope you find it all a nourishing process, filled with sweet whisperings from your own heart and ballast for journey ahead. 

Onwards, with love

Clare. 

Intentional Year Guidebook 2021- What’s Involved

The Guidebook is and intention setting process designed in three  parts 

Grounding, Sensing, Becoming.

Each part contains a combination of writing, meditation and creative practices, and includes a bonus practice.

Part One- Grounding: In which you will be invited to clear some space, externally and internally, find some stability within, and capture your learnings and insights from the past year. 

Finding Stillness Audio Meditation
2020 Review- journal prompts
The Enough Inventory and the Joy Inventory
Bonus Practice: A Note of Thanks (a gratitude writing practice)

 

 

 

Part Two- Sensing: This is all about tuning in with your highest future self, through creative visualisation and ‘future writing’. 

An Introduction to Future Writing
Accessing your Future Self- An Audio visualisation
Letter from the Near Future
Bonus Practice: Create your Imram (A Nature Quest)

 

 

 

 

Part Three- Becoming: This is where you will clarify your core intentions, articulate your priorities and think through the scaffold or support structure to help keep you close to your highest self for the year ahead. 


Refining Core Intentions
Priority Projects
Mapping the Year Ahead
Support Team & Accountability Partner
Blessing from your Future Self (Audio)
Bonus Practice: Making your Intentions Visible.

 

How much time do you need? 

I have designed this guidebook so it can be completed in about four hours, or over the course of a couple of evenings. However, you may want to create your own home retreat, clearing a full day to dive deeply into the process. You may choose to do this alone, or invite a circle of friends to join you for the day (which can be such a treat!)

If you are short on time, at a minimum I recommend completing the ‘Sensing’ practices in part two, particularly the ‘future writing’ exercises.

 

How I’m offering the guidebook: 

One of the things I love about living in West Cork is the abundance of honesty boxes. People grow their own vegetables, then leave them in little shelters by the roadside, with a box beside them,  trusting that a payment will be made in exchange for the home-grown produce. There is no guarantee that this will always be honoured, but it is an invitation to trust.

I have decided to offer the guidebook again this year on the same principle.

So this my invitation to you to make a contribution to honour the time, skill and experience I have put into creating this- my version of home-grown produce, while also honouring the time and energy you give to it and your own current financial situation.  The honesty box is experiment in trust, reciprocity, generosity and relationship.

When you invest, you will also be investing your energy, and your investment helps me to continue to develop my work, making it available and accessible to others.

The materials I share have been refined and tested, and come from my own personal practice.

If you are unsure about what to offer, think of what you would pay for the equivalent of a yoga workshop, or a self-led home day retreat.If you are low on money at the moment, then offer a lower amount. If money is not such a challenge for you right now, then perhaps offer a little more.

If you’d like to share the guidebook with others, please direct them to this honesty box (PayPal Me link), asking them to make their own contribution and download directly.

Honesty Box Payment Process: 

Step One: 

Make a payment contribution via PayPal Me- the link below takes you there. Payment in multiple currencies accepted). When you have made the payment, return to this page for step two below.

https://paypal.me/ClareMulvany

 

Step Two: 

Once you have made an honesty box payment… click on the link below. The files will download automatically (check your downloads folder)

>> download the guidebook<<

(4 files in total- a pdf of the guidebook, and 3 audio recordings, stored in dropbox)

Should you encounter any technical difficulties with the payment or download, please email: clare@claremulvany.ie

 

 

Thank you, and enjoy,

Onwards, with love,

Clare. x

 


Reflective Practice for 2020

 

You can listen to the introduction here:

 

Is it still 2020? December is upon us, and the year that was knocks its tail end up against our backs with all its lessons and tricks, in ruffles or deep pleats, or maybe even resembling a car crash. It’s been bumpy, for sure, and in perhaps a twisted turn of glance, I find it reassuring when walking down the street that everyone I encountered – everyone- has been through a tough time. I’m not wishing ill, it is just that these months have been a leveller. That doesn’t mean, of course, that it is a level playing field- buttresses of wealth and privilege have both fortified and exposed the fault lines which run through our social and political landscapes; but not one person on this planet has been immune to the consequences of what this year has brought, and continues to ruffle up. 

Towards the end of each calendar year as we inhabit deep winter, there is what seems to be a natural urge to occupy internal space and navigate it for meaning. By December, I generally feel the call to a make some sort of sense of the year that was, but this year, something different seems to be demanded of me. Time has felt distorted, and the timescale of a single year feels too narrow a gauge to begin to unpack what this threshold of 2020 has carried us through. In fact, I am not even sure that unpacking is the action required. I’m thinking instead of magpies; how they search out pickings, the gleaming things, and hoard as a treasury, or a reliquary, for a day when that very thing is required again, or if nothing else, to weave it deeper into the fabric of their nests. What they build is an act of choice then, not consequence; architects of their future by virtue of their preference for sparkle and gleam. 

So, what is gleaming, and what is worthy to build our own future with? I am thinking here of lessons, moments, insights, savourings- bright or pointed projections along the ruffled timeline of these months which demanded our attention; sensing there is either energy in their amplification and continuance, or lessons contained within- diamonds in this blackened coal of time- to be excavated; still to be revealed, then polished. Moments, that is, to be treasured for their worth and weight. So rather than an attempt to unpack the year, I am drawn instead to bring my attention to those things which I want to build my future upon. 

From this intention came the a creative practice, which I share over on my site. Doing it, perhaps you may find some treasures to build your own nest, ruffle some feathers, fortify what gives you strength or builds your resilience. Perhaps, in the mapping of your own gleaming things, you will glean something of weight and worth, upon which your future is build. To the magpie in you, I bow. 

Blessings to all that you are, and all that you are becoming.

Clare. 

 

The Inner Magpie: An excavation of gleaming things- 8 Step Process. 

You will need: 

  • 20 – 30  minutes (min)
  • Large sheet of blank paper
  • Coloured pens or pencils

To begin your excavation of 2020, here is a little creative and reflective practice for you -should you care for some pause and space. Set a timer 20-30 minutes, then on a blank page, create a mind map, magpie like, of your ‘gleaming things’. Don’t worry about chronological order, or trying to differentiate ‘good’ moments from ‘bad’ moments. What you are trying to do here, is capture the year in a series of memories of poignant resonances. 

Like all creative practice, I find it best to approach it as an experiment. This may be useful to you, it may not suit you. But there is something to be learned in the attempt and in the approach. 

Happy excavating! 

The Eight Steps.. 

Step One

At the centre of your page, begin to map your personal insights, memories, or poignant moments of the year. They may be things which could be marked as a highlight, or it maybe something which was intrinsically challenging, even dark, but you have this gut sense that 10 years down the line, when you look back at this thing or event, there has been a strengthening force in it. 

Step Two

Continuing around the centre of the mind map, think about moments in the year which helped to build your stamina or resilience. What were your moments of courage? What were your moments of speaking your truth? 

Step Three

In a similar motion, think of moments in the year which moved you in some way. What were they? 

Step Four

Now, moving outwards, begin to do the same for moments or events in the wider social field. This could be something in  your community, country or the world at large. What stands out as holding particular resonance or significance? What was challenging? What was strengthening? 

Step Five

Take a moment now to survey the whole map. Do you notice any themes or patterns? Of all the things on the page what is really jumping out at you? What sparkles? Circle these things in a different colour. 

Step Six

Again, considering everything on your map, what are the things/ lessons you want to amplify in 2021? What are the highlights you’d like to replicate, or  events/ experiences you’d like to create more of? 

Step Seven

From the challenging aspects, what are the lessons or insights you can carry from this? What do you think can serve you in the future? 

Step Eight

Look at what you have now circled on the map. Now, list one action to can take around each of these things to bring them to their next stage of development. That might mean needing to have a conversation with someone, spending more time journalling about it, organising a hill walk- whatever it is, what one small action can you take to bring you close to the essence of the insight/ experience you want to excavate further. 

 

Well done on taking time to support your own learning and growth

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Coming up:

 

Book your Tickets here

 


Love and Transgression

 

 

Love and Transgression: A Compass for our Times

 

You can listen here. (10 mins)

Love and Transgression: A Compass for our Times

My day starts with observances.

This morning: light bright; the shadows of dill seeds cast ornate against the white wall; a singular blackbird tweet, unadorned; heat low and promising; marigolds, the ones from grown from seed, bursting their orange domes towards the open space of sky; a blank page upon which to write this day into being.

I’ve been sitting in front of my house most mornings with my coffee and my journal, to write my list. Some days it reads like a poem, other days it’s more pedestrian. No matter, I try to stay close to the descriptive as possible. Noticing, seeing, sensing the small, incremental changes each day. The rhythm and ritual of the observances have offered a geometry of grounding, keeping me embedded to the forms particular to this place. When everything else feels in flux, the list-making has a gravity to it, holding me to account, and to notice.

The truth is, of course, that everything is always in flux, only at times it feels more intense and inconceivable, happening at a speed we are unaccustomed to. If ever a time I’ve felt oscillation, it has been now. Continually learning how to steady oneself feels like important internal territory.

Like so many of us, I’ve been trying to make sense of these times. But sense too has been illusive. Clarity rises for a brief moment, only to be blurred by some other insatiable news headline, some other murder or rampage on race, some incalculable atrocity us human beings seem intent on inflicting on this planet. How can one make sense, when so much of this should never make sense. Which is why, I seem to have abandoned any effort of attempt, and instead shifted some words around. Instead of sense, I have inserted reckoning, and instead of reaction, I have brought in response. So, the questions have moved, from ‘how can we make sense’, to ‘what is it we are reckoning with’, and from ‘what is the best reaction’, to ‘what is my most appropriate response’, and importantly, as a corollary, what is my own response-ability.

In a weird detour of memory I have been recalling a story from years back. It happened when I lived in Dublin, in an area of the inner city which had a bad reputation for drugs and community violence. I rarely experienced it as such, except on a few occasions, this occasion being a mild one. Walking down the street, out of nowhere, something hard hit the back of my head. It felt like a boulder. It turned out it was the tail-end of a raw carrot, which was surprisingly painful when thrown at speed. As I rubbed my head, I turned to find the culprit, only to see the eye of a young boy glaring back. He was about eight years old, scrawny, scruffy, looking like he was about to run away from me while holding out for something more. His body tensed. Here followed words from my mouth, which continue to surprise me. ‘Are you OK’?  I asked the boy, ‘Is everything alright? Can I help you? The boy was stunned. So was I. His attention seeking dramatics had backfired. He didn’t answer my question, but instead, as I walked on to the local shop, he followed, tracking a few feet behind. He waited outside the shop, then followed me home, like a stray puppy seeking solace and sanctuary. The following went on for a few weeks. Each time I saw him, I’d say hello, asking him how he is. He never talked, just followed and lingered. I’d smile. Eventually he made eye contact. I remember a smile in return. One day I bought him an ice cream. Everything eased.

I think now about that boy, and how our encounter still has lessons and reminders for me. What is it to respond out of compassion rather than rage; and what is it to remember that deep inside us we are like that eight year old, seeking to be loved, witnessed, cared for.

Stories return to us when we need then, so this one must have lessons for me now. Writing about it, I realise I’d like to be that person again, holding ground and space for another kind of outcome. Giving it time. Tending to the wholeness. Offering ice-cream.

Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of rants and reactions over these months. I have five half-finished essays, written over the last few weeks which essentially are long rambles attempting to craft a response to the current situation. I have needed to write these words, but I do not need to share them. They have been reactionary, not responsive. So it is that I have been coming to see that responsiveness is not a linear or singular act. It is not measured in numbers of tweets or blogposts. It is not about word count. But is about an inner orientation towards the act of dismantling, the act of loving compassion, and about curiosity.

To dis-mantle. To take off one’s mantle; one’s cloak. To examine. To question. To observe. It’s an act of transgression of ones own perceptions. It’s a way of saying: I don’t have all the answers; but I am willing to be open. 

I have been drawn back into the work and words of bell hooks, a Black feminist writer, activist and educator. Her writing around transformational education, in particular, holds such necessary wisdom for this time. As I move into more formal and informal educational settings, teaching more at the university and with my own workshops, it’s helping to ground my practices in a pedagogy of both hope and transgression. In her writings hooks reasserts of the role of education as a fundamental practice of freedom, and as a vital component to the restoration of our sense of wholeness. She speaks about education as a transgressive act which should be dangerous, and, in a word not commonly associated with mainstream education, she asserts it as an act of love.

Love and transgression: how about these as vital signs for the health of our systems.

These days, it feels like the world is our classroom, and whether we feel ready or not, the times we are in are offering us an opportunity to break some moulds, transgressing what we know to be true of ourselves. We are seeing the flaws, but to what extent are we tending to the possibilities? I think it would be such a shame to come out of this time of Covid and not be transformed in some way; not to have examined our set of beliefs, what we hold to be of worth, or what values we seek to live from. It would be a shame to emerge from this time, back to a normal, when normal was so far from what is just or sustainable for our planet. And so to be responsive right now is to be willing to put ourselves into the role of learner and undergo an inner transformation- our own transgression- in order to see more, and to tend to what’s possible.

So maybe it’s no wonder I find myself thinking back to that eight year old boy and the butt of a raw carrot. The response we both had; leaning into the space between us, for witness and for hope, is, I think, what is needed now too. Spaces to gently grow into our wholeness without fear of recrimination, or rage, where we can figure each other out, where we can hold the pain of our experiences, and give each other a chance.

“As a classroom community, our capacity to generate excitement is deeply affected by our interest in one another, in hearing one another’s voices, in recognising one another’s presence’, writes bell hooks, and as the poet Elizabeth Alexander similarly asks, ‘Are we not of interest to each other’.

When everything else feels in flux, the list-making has a gravity to it, holding me to account, and to notice.

So I make a list of new writers I want to read, and voices I want to get to know better. I list the ways I think I have been complicit in the systems I seek to reform.  I write down the values I seek to live by. I write out my commitments to my own transgression. I make a list of all the ways I seek to serve. I realise I am in this for the long haul. I look at the blank page, to write my dismantled self back into being. I notice the budding marigolds and now the sunflowers. My hope, for all of this, is wholeness; I do this for our earth.

 

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Coming soon: 

Live a New Story: Online Retreat, 2-4th October. Find out more and book online here.


Care Package for Messy Times Part Six Evolving

 

 

 

 

You can listen to this post here. 

 

 

 

We’ve heard of ‘thin places’ before. It is in such locations where communing with the deeper nature of our truth is said to be more accessible and where the veil between the animate and spirit world has a translucent quality.  There are pockets of West Cork, elemental places, where ‘thin’ seems to be the constant condition; threshold places which have a transitory function of bringing those who step through, into mystery, wonder and the finery of their own creative imaginings. But right now, I think we are also living through a ‘thin time’, a pocket in our own evolution where were are getting to ask those fundamental questions of who we are, where are we going, and what is our deeper nature — for ourselves and for each other. 

In this ‘planet on pause’ moment the veils of our separation are down. As the fallacy of our individualism gets exposed, we are not just seeing but also experiencing how interconnected we really are. None of us are safe until all of us are safe. But this seeing more clearly also means we are getting to see the challenging, messy parts too, the ugly side in the mirror of perception we don’t always want to face: our inequalities; our systems perpetuated with fear, mis-information, isolationist ideologies, racism, xenophobia; and the shadow of a politicised and industrialised world built on competition, all of which are, sadly, likely to be played out even more in the coming months.

I was feeling particularly overwhelmed the other day with all these layers, and the realisation that this is not going away any time soon. And then I looked over at the grass, the humble grass in front of my doorstep. A strong gust of wind had come in and the grass and trees around me shook with vigour. Watching them I had this sense that the wind- this invisible force- was a strengthening factor- helping the grass and trees develop sturdier root and support systems; that this thing that can’t be seen is a factor in their evolution. I love the word evolution. It is so close to revolution. 

It might be a wild leap from here to Corona virus, but for the sake of metaphoric liberty, I indulge. The leap offers us similar questions- how can this be a reckoning with our root and support systems? How can it even be a revolution. We are being shaken by an invisible force, and it is bringing us back to awareness of our connectedness, if we let it. 

You see, in my experience at ‘thin places’, the insights gained there are not a given. It’s an approach that has everything to do with openness and reciprocity. I’ve brought some people to these places who were so locked in themselves, their hearts blinkered to the beauty, that the place could not open to them either. To receive one must also be receptive. As with thin places, so too with thin time. I think to experience the lessons of this pocket in history, we must be open to receiving, not just at an intellectual level, but, essentially, at the heart. Those lessons may shake the root systems of our lives, where we begin questioning our identities, roles, vision and the life we have built up around us. But perhaps the wisdom to get through this is closer than we think. When the trees outside are shaken by the wind, they must not stiffen, but yield to the force, bend, move and root even deeper. Strong roots equals more resilience. 

So perhaps this is not a time, necessarily, for all the solutions to the systemic problems, but it is a time for seeings more clearly, experiencing the shake and, at an inner level, doing the preparation work to keep our hearts open so we can approach this moment with reciprocity. 

Which leads to what on the surface may seem like a simple question: How to keep our heart open? I think, in a foundational way, our own hearts know. For me, it is about noticing- paying attention to the myriad of miracles surrounding me- the way the sea is in perpetual motion, the seeds finding new life, and as I write these lines, noticing the beauty of the bird chatter in the open language of the sky. That is even before paying attention to the stories of hope and re-imaginings happening right now, in the ways communities are coming together, and the proliferation of acts of kindness (but that is whole book in itself…) Personally, this ‘thin time’ has taken me right into the centre of my life so I can see more clearly its essence, and some of its possibilities. When things feel wobbly, I know that I can go in search of a tree, or even a blade of the most humblest of grasses, and invite it to be my teacher. These are the wise ones, after all, and we the perpetual students, learning through this thin time how to be the revolution itself so we may live into the finery of our collective creative imaginings. 

 

 

A Care Package for Messy Times: Evolving

In this final care package of the series, the meditation practice brings you inwards, and invites some supportive qualities, such as tenderness and compassion to join you. The poetry salon brings you a selection of readings which probes into the essence of our evolution. The nature connection practice examines our inherent interconnectivity, and a video journalling prompt asks you to notice the inner evolutions at this time. 

Thank you all so much for following along. The packages remain available over here and the honesty box is open for contributions to support of the work (a huge huge thanks to those who have made contributions- as a freelancer, this is a lifeline). I have been learning so much through the creation of these, and I hope you have found them nourishing and supportive too. 

 

>Download Care Package Six <<

(files automatically download.

>>Honesty Box <<

 

Find all six care packages over here. 

 


Care Package Learning

 

You can listen to the welcome note for this care package here.

Welcome Letter

I’ve come to the shore again. A particular stone, beside another particular stone, has become familiar to me, taking my weigh for a while, as I listen to the waves. Returning to the same spot offers a kind of ceremony: simple, perhaps, but pared back to its stone and basics, the spot becomes a window into the unknown. From here, I am learning to ask questions.

How can I get to know the movement of the tides better? Where do the goldfinches go in the winter? How do the limpets hold on so successfully? What is the name of that bird call? The place is alive with questions. I gather them, not for immediate answers, but as a way to remind myself: there is always so much to learn. Each question becomes a pathway to inquiry, and each inquiry a way to realise, that from this stone, the world is revealed. We don’t always have to move from our spot to understand our place in the world.

I think of this sitting as a kind of ordination too, a transit into a world of learning, but not the kind I thought had been ordained for me. As the weeks of this Covid lockdown have rolled into the next, I’ve found myself falling into a rhythm which, with a different pace and a different set of expectations, has given me permission to explore in a new way. The boundaries of what I have known are being pushed. ‘Stay’ has become a new perimeter of being.

I keep noticing goldfinches. I wonder if there are more than usual or am I just noticing more. I’ve watched the buds ripen, open, bloom. I’ve tracked the moon each night, a full cycle, through waxing and waning, in conversation with the tides. I’ve planted more seeds. The home I rent has become a kind of sanctuary; every corner, every book, every beam of light, a blessing. In a world full of flux, to have a place is an ordination of belonging, and is not something I take for granted. Here, has become a whole new world, and that new world full of ever revealing wonders which the restrictions have illuminated.

I came across a poem the other day from a poet whose name keeps appearing, like the moon, in phases, but at the moment with such regularity that I began to take more notice. I listed to a reading of ‘I do not want to be a Spice Store’ by Christian Wiman. I listened again, and again, finding that the poem is asking questions of what is essential; what gets pared back when we remove all the unnecessary choice. I love this line in particular;

‘I want to be the one store that’s open all night
and has nothing but necessities.
Something to get a fire going
and something to put one out’

Yes, this kind of essential: something to get a fire going, and something to put one out.

I return to the stones, this place of elemental unknowing. There is so much I don’t understand. There is so much I can not do. There are so many people I can not help. I’m not a doctor, nor an epidemiologist. I’m not a frontline worker nor a manufacturer of PPE. I’m not in a position to offer opinion on when this lockdown should end, or the particulars of the political and social strategies which will enable it to happen. It would be ungrounded speculation, and I am ignorant of so much. But it is into this space of my particular unknowing that I can call myself into being.

How can I live my values onwards?
How can I learn more from nature?
What is the sound of that bird? And the name of that cloud pattern?
How can I best use my gifts and resources right now?
And what can I offer of necessity: something to get a fire going, and something to put it out.

Here, among the stones and the moonbeams, I want to learn how to ask better questions so I can live into my quest. The learning may not be in the answers, but as Rilke so fundamentally asserts, in the questions themselves.

 

 

Included in this Care Package..

In the meditation practice, we will be learning to inquire inwards. In the recorded poetry salon, I share poems on the theme of learning and leaning into the essential. In our video journalling practice, you will be invited into further into that question of learning about the essential. I also have included a nature connection practice which invites you to pay attention to the interconnections of life around you.

 

I am offering this out with an honesty box attached. If you are in a position to contribute to the work, your offerings in this box are greatly appreciated and enable me to continue to offer this work out and develop further resources.

 

>> Honesty Box <<

You can download ‘Care Package for Messy Times’ here. (The files will automatically download. Please check your download folder)

 

>> Download Here <<

 

 

You can find links to all four care packages over on my website here

 

I hope you enjoy and find nourishment and delight in your own discoveries.

Sending love from my place, to yours.

Clare. x

 

 

 

 


Care Package Listening

“The unexpected action of deep listening can create a space of transformation capable of shattering complacency and despair.”

― Terry Tempest Williams.

One of my favourite writers is conservationist and wise activist, Terry Tempest Williams. Her voice and words are great companions, offering a kind of comfort and alertness to what is needed at an inward level, and an outward one. Every time I listen to an interview with her I feel like I am sitting down with a dear friend, bringing me into the deeper meanings of our collective experience, cracking open complacency and yes, even the despair. She helps me to listen for my own words, and is a reaffirming presence in the writerly life: that our silence, our feelings, our grief, and our ‘sacred rage’ is where our truest words spring from. She reminds me to write from that place.

And it is to that place I found myself daring to enter this week, in the privacy of my journal, and then by attending to the way my words are coming out these days, through the care packages and also my poems. It all feels a little raw, fragile and tender, but the truth which is available to us, always is. The forming is also in the sharing, for we are forever created through what we must make. That is the power of our language, and our entering into the life force moving around us, with us, through us. It doesn’t always make sense, but our writing, or art-making, our transforming the raw ingredients of one thing and making it into another, the planting of seeds then the tending of them- these are our healing balms and our sacred wings. Alert to our creativity, we are alert to the openings which we can then move through. But that alertness is also a form of listening, and sometimes it hits us hard.

It hit me hard the other night. I was watching the news headlines, when the day’s Covid numbers were announced. Simultaneously a wave of grief and a wave of rage washed through me. Cold and sterile, the numbers were not the full story, until the Chief Medical Officer, said the word ‘condolences’. The moment he said it, a poem literally rushed through me. I grabbed a pen, caught the gist of it, and then spent some time weaving and editing the words into a shape which felt whole, with a touch of rawness, and still a touch of grief. I cried my whole way through it. Its those moments when I know I am writing from that place.

That place is never sanitised or fully formed. It’s not linear. It’s not pretty. It may never win prizes or be published in the top literary magazines (or galleries or baking magazines, depending on your art form), but it does not matter, because it is real and raw and comes from a place you know is both deep within you, and deep beyond you too.

I read the poem ‘C19’ in the poetry salon I am hosting. I think we all had a sense of ‘that place’; a sacredness descended, and a sense of the beyond us speaking. It was a beautiful thing- not about me, not about any one of the people in that circle, but a larger awareness which the poem seemed to hold with solemnity and grace. The poem was the gathering place of so much unspoken and so much still to be said.

When we can make from that place it really is never about us. We are just conduits. We are the ones who are actually made.

And so it is in that spirit I invite you into this week, to listen to the space beyond yourself, and life-force that awaits there.

To support you the next Care Package for Messy Times is here, Listening.

 

In the meditation practice, we will be exploring the sacred space of listening inwards. In the recorded poetry salon, I share poems on the theme of listening beyond the ordinary to the self beyond the self. In our video journalling practice, you will be invited into listening to the heart space and what you hear when you tune in there. I also have included a nature connection practice which invites you to sense into the ‘baseline symphony’ of the world around you.

 

 

 

 

 

I am offering this out with an honesty box attached. If you are in a position to contribute to the work, your offerings in this box are greatly appreciated and enable me to continue to offer this work out and develop further resources.

 

>> Honesty Box <<

You can download ‘Care Package for Messy Times’ here. (The files will automatically download. Please check your download folder)

 

>> Download Here <<

 

 

You can find links to all four care packages over on my website here

 

Thank you and happy listening,

Clare.

 


C19-A poem in the time of Corona

Tonight in the poetry salon I read a new poem I wrote in response to the crisis we are in. It was a poem which came to me, and through me, bringing tears and a sense of witnessing. I was asked to share the poem more publicly, and so, here is a reading and the text. I offer it out that it may bring some accompaniment to those who have lost loved ones. May we treasure the gifts of their memory.

Thank you, with love. Clare. x

C19- A Poem in the time of Corona

 

Every night the numbers are named.
Eighty four.
Thirteen thousands, two hundred and seventy one.
Four hundred and eighty six.
Seven hundred and twenty four.
Over two million.
Median Age. Notified. Transmissions. Clusters. Deaths.

Somedays I almost mistake it as a game of bingo, or possibly
roulette. Until the Chief Medical Officer, whose steady and consistent voice
has become a kind of reassurance, remembers to say the necessary word:
coldolences.

To the grandmother, to the grandfather, to the lover, to the best friend,
to the woman who loved to knit teddybears for the children in the hospital,
to the nurse about to give birth, to the soldier with the polished war medals,
to the school teacher with extra gold stars for the child who made the most effort,
to the novelist who was not quiet yet there, to the cartographer who had many more
elegant maps to draw, to the cook with the secret ingredient, to the doctor with the
special touch, to the gardener who coaxed even the stubborn corners into bloom,
to the brother who had just given up the chip on his shoulder, to the neighbour
who always checked in, to the bus driver who knew the city like the lines on the back of his
hand, to the refugee who had just found a home, to the single mother who had
saved everything to put her daughter through college, to the migrant who posted letters
home with the simple words, ‘I love you, I’ll be back soon’, to the bingo caller who
always remembered that behind every number is a winning smile, full house,
a game of chance.

‘Condolences’, the Chief Medical Officer says, and across the airways,
the people count to ten and hold their beloved in their breath.
Tomorrow, we are the ones who get to live another day,
so we can name the dead by their gifts, and live then onwards
with the days we are still lucky enough to count.

 

Clare Mulvany

16 April, 2020
West Cork,
Ireland.

 


Live a New Story: Writing in the Time of Corona

We are living through a monumental time in human history. The story of who we are and where we are heading is changing rapidly.

Throughout time, stories have offered us a way to make meaning and orientate ourselves to the challenges and opportunities which are unfolding. We are in the midst of re-writing our future, and we get to choose which story we want to live onwards.

But at times the rate and scale of change can seem overwhelming. It can be hard to focus and ground. We may feel anxious, or isolated. Writing, as ever, provides a way for us to land into our thoughts and ourselves, and can help us make meaning of what we are in and where we are heading. To support you, I am hosting a live online retreat, spread a weekend, with 4 live sessions, writing practice and community support.

1-3 May- Live Online

Find out more and book online here.

 


On Release… a letter to you all.

You can listen me reading this letter here.

 

Dear reader,

I’m not sure about you but I’m losing track of days. My usual markers have either disappeared or shifted direction. It’s as if time itself has changed shape. What is a week now, or a month?  These days, minutes of genuine connection with a friend are amplified, made all the more precious in absence; pixelated and two-dimensional perhaps, but our touch is also in the timbre of our voices and the way sentience is carried across the space between us. The currency of what actually binds us can never be touched.

In truth my day to day here in West Cork is not so much different than how I have been living over the last few years. I still walk, swim, cook, read, write, and have come into a rhythm with my kind of ‘alone’. But I am also noticing that ‘aloneness’ has taken on an added texture too. Those daily encounters in the coffee shop, that hug with a neighbour in the aisles of the supermarket, the knowing that in a few days there will be a party or a picnic punctuated with real life, in- person conversation- things perhaps I have taken for granted-  these are now rendered as gold. Sometimes the real value is shown in absence as much as presence.

And isn’t it one of the gifts of this time- to pause, to take in our losses alongside our grief, all the while, quite literally, counting our blessings. 1 Beach. 2. Space. 3. Friendship. 4. Home. 5. Family.

My list lengthens as I notice each pebble on the shore, each note of bird song, each sprig of budding green, and the silence which is settling so crisply between it all. Things, perhaps, we have all taken for granted, only now we get to see their real, immeasurable worth: infinitely essential.

One of the pleasures of this pause for me had been taking out what I call my ‘proper’ camera; my DLSR and lenses. I’ve started a project which I am calling ‘2km radius’, documenting what I am noticing in my designated zone of being right now, and what that noticing arises in me. In my walks and with that lens, time also seems to be changing shape again, and my own sense of self dissolving. This is a ‘flow’ state: the camera, my body and the subject matter come into a dynamic relationship. The images appear, my body responds in dialogue with the light, and something of the ‘essence’ in front of me arises. The image I take is co-created as such, emergent from the moment of presence. If I try to think too hard about it, or strategise, I loose it. The photography is a ‘co-arising’, where between us something beyond each of us is born.

This week, I have been thinking much about the word ‘release’, and asking myself, what do I need to release in order for the next form to be born or co-arise through me. Nature stamps this in its own cycle, of course.The form of the seed is released to make room for the tree. The form of the drop is released to make way for the ocean. The form of the fruit is released to make way for the seed again. Every cycle is embedded into the next. This means that the seeds for the next cycle are already embedded into this one. In this pause, our task and chance now may be to really think about the form we are seeking to release, so as to allow the emergent form to come into being. Maybe these forms are still in the undercurrent of our individual or collective subconscious, maybe they are already sprouting, but we get to choose what we nurture, and here, in this interim phase, we also get to listen.

At a personal level, I’ve had to release certain pre-held expectations and forms of myself, about what I can achieve right now, plans and ideas I’ve been plotting, and how I can show up in my relationships. I am sure I am not alone in saying there have been bouts of tears, and moments when the uncertainly has an ominous edge. But I also know, through practice (thank you wisdom traditions), that unless I welcome these feelings to sit by my side and teach me, I won’t be able to release their form into their next evolution either. So, as uncertainty shows up, I sit for a while and I ask uncertainly to tell me the lessons I need to hear right now. I listen, and feel reassured that I too am subject to the universal human condition, and yes, I can feel infinitely grateful for what I have, and still feel wobbly. Once this is acknowledged, the uncertainty may be released.

Other times, it is the turn of sadness. Hello sadness, my old friend, you’ve come to talk to me again. And so, sadness and I have a chat for a while, and sadness tells me about all the things that are happening in the world that I can do nothing directly about: the people who are loosing loved ones; the overcrowded hospitals, refugee camps, prisons or places where the walls people are contained in are not safe. Sadness is bringing me to empathy here. I breathe. I allow their presence and thoughts to be by my side. I shed tears for them, and by entering into the sadness, I am brought onwards to compassion. I thank sadness for the gift of feeling, I release it, and I take up my pen and begin writing again. It’s what I have now – this blank page, this pen, and the tools of digital communication. The form of sadness is released, via compassion, to the form of solidarity.

Gratitude or compassion does not, of course, seek to deny nor veil the challenge we are all facing.That ripple of worry, of fear, it is real, and has its place. Those images from the hospitals, and the way the front-line staff are facing this; I think there is a timely invitation to let those images in, to move us; they make us feel our shared humanity, and our interconnection in ways we may not have felt so viscerally before. Our vulnerability is our common inheritance too. But, we can ask, what of this time is seeking to be released, and what is seeking expression and new life. The seeds of the new, after all, are already here and we get to choose what we seek to nurture and transform. 

With love,
Clare. x

 

 

A Care Package for Messy Times- Part Two, Releasing, is now available.

Find out more about the care packages, and download over here.

Includes:

Printable PDF with practices.
10 min video journalling prompt.
‘The Breath of Release’- a meditation
A recorded poetry salon with poems on the theme of letting go.
Nature connection practice.

 

 

Announcing….. Salons and Sanctuaries.

The online poetry salons are continuing. So far there have been participants from Ireland, UK, India, Australia, Holland, Greece, Portugal, and it has been amazing to have poetry, and the spirit in which it arrives, be a bridge and a bond between us all.

Fridays, 7-8pm GMT +1 (Irish Time)

 

 

 

 

 

From Sunday 5th April I’ll be hosting a weekly Sunday Sanctuary, in which I will share some journalling prompts and you will have time to write, reflect and gather yourself. There will be time for shared conversation and dialogue around the theme.

Sundays, 5-6pm GMT +1

 

If you’d like to  join either, please email me (clare@claremulvany.ie) and I will send you the zoom link.

 

 

What to stay on touch?

Sign up to my mailing list for more letters, creative resources, care packages and meditations.

 

 

 

 


2 km radius day 4

 

Leaving the house today, sadness was visiting too, sensing into the deep losses of this time. As I walked, I noticed how my attention was being brought to that which is fading; the flowers, the peeling paint, and yet how the decay, when witnessed, holds a hidden, fragile beauty too. From here, I was able to draw my gaze upwards and outwards again, to that which is being born, in its opening and rising; to the new growth, the bird and the birdsong, the clink of blue in the changing sky. The sadness receded, and I was left with awe at the longer, deeper cycles of time and wisdom. Nature always knows. To bare witness to the shadow is also to give room for the light.

#2kmradiusphotos