“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,