Until the tide turns..

Love image


There have been words. Many words. Words of pain, of grief, of anger, of despair. Words which search for reason and can find none. Words that grope in the darkness. Words as blame and words as balm. There will be many more words.

In times like these we can wonder if words really matter; but sometimes they are all we can turn to, as way finders in a wilderness of doubt.

As I write these words, I read too of retaliation; more fighting, more fear. I try to remember that every killer was once a child; free from ideology or notions of difference, until he was taught so. And until a series of choices to act led to something so heinous it belies words.

So, what to do? What to do as a citizen of this world who believes in the citizenry of this world.

It is a huge question, and today, as it seems like the world is spinning on an axis of self destruction, I took solace from a two year old. Yes, her.

It was a simple moment. I was travelling on Dublin bus. There was a young girl, a mass of curly hair, sitting in a buggy. Her mum was playing with her – doing high fives, enjoying her company, and her father smiling on with pride. And then the little girl started to sing. She sang out loud, at the top of her voice, singing ‘Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle’- yes, that was the entirety of her song, but gosh did she sing it with passion, wholeheartedness and joy. Her parents didn’t hush her. Soon her joy filled the bus. I could hear laughter and smiles. A few stops later, as she was leaving the bus, she turned around in her buggy, smiled, and waved goodbye to everyone in a fanfare of pure delight. The journey was transformed, for all of us.

That passion, that joy, that delight in utter beingness. Her innocence as shield.

That little girl got me thinking. Despite the fear, the bombings, the pain, what would it be like to reclaim our passion and our wholehearted beingness and sing our own song as an act of transformation, for ourselves, for those we travel with, for the journey we are on.

To live a life of joy and to share that beauty openly is a radical act. It does not deny the fear, nor the pain, but finds the undercurrent of beauty and rides it until the tide turns.

I am not sure when the tide will turn but I sense this: to ride the tide of beauty in our everyday lives means to look into the stranger’s eyes and see the eyes of each other, it means to welcome the other as our own, it means to invite love to be the dominate force. And when we are hurting so much, or fearing so much that we can’t look into the eyes another, can we ride the tide of beauty into our own hearts, find the stranger within ourselves, and grant permission for our fear, our anger, our judgement and our pain to soften, if only for a moment, so we can listen to ourselves. A when we learn to listen to ourselves, we make room to truly listen to another- that too can be a transformative act.

Today I needed to listen. I turned off all media and instead stepped into my yoga mat, seeking out the intelligence of silence. In the silence I found fear, pain and confusion. I found judgement but I also found something of the current, carrying echoes of a song; I found something of that two year old.

So now, it is back to words, inadequate as they may be. I write these words for myself as much as another. I write these words to let the current take me deeper. I write these words to find my ‘wiggle’. I write these words to sing.

Childhood Inclinations.

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What did you enjoy when you were younger?

And are you doing it now?

The chance that our natural inclinations or leanings were evident at a young age is high. Did you love to sing or dance? Did you love to play sport? Or do jigsaws? Were you passionate about bird-watching, or whales, or baking? What made you tick as a kid? And is that in your life now?

For me, when I was little, I can remember four main things- writing, drawing, making crafty things, and dogs. I was so passionate about dogs in fact that I wanted to be one. Alas not all dreams can come true! Art, however, I knew even back then was intrinsic to being. I would draw just for the sake of it, make things just for the love of it, without any expectation of the outcome. The point was the making; the doing.

Somewhere along the way I forgot all that.

The turning point had come with having to do my Leaving Certificate (final school exams). I had studied art all the way through school with the guidance of a brilliant art teacher (thank you Sidella O’Brien) and I really loved it. However, when exams loomed suddenly the enjoyment was substituted with ‘I need to get lots of points for this to get into college’, and something flipped. Once I sat my final exams my drawing days came to a sudden halt- it is there my portfolio ended as my focus shifted to college, and more exams. Academia seemed to push away the core my creative expression and as the academic system took a bigger hold on my life, I had less and less time for sketching and playing with clay figures -just for the love of it.

Unbeknownst to me I was pushing back a vital part of myself.

That is, until last year when something else happened which shifted it all again, beautifully so.

You see, I’d had a health scare. Awaiting test results and sitting in the unknown of it all,the vitality which I had pushed away however came suddenly and surprisingly running towards me, calling me back to this forgotten part myself. A deep urge arose, inviting me to my pen and paper, to draw again, just for the love of it.

I was skeptical at first and initially pushed it away. But the urge was strong, so I started to listen. As I did something else started happening too- a sense of calm arose, and much less fear. Time almost stands still when I’m drawing. Hours and hours can go by without me really noticing- I get absorbed. And so it was that I was fully distracted from thinking about test results. Boom. There it was again, that feeling from childhood, which had been with me all along but which I had chosen not to notice. But when I needed it the most it came, as a gift, like a familiar friend- the simple act of drawing.

I’m lucky. That scare turned out to be just that, a scare- thankfully.

But in the jolt was a big lesson for me- to tune deeply into what nourishes and vitalises my creative spirit, just for the sake of it.

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And so it is that these little creatures have started to visit. To me they are welcome guests, each bringing me healing, hope and giving my inner child a home again. I am happy also that a little doggie by the name of Finn is in my life now too, a steady companion to the creative process- in a waggy tail kind of way. She is a dream come true too.

What did you love to do as a child? And are you still doing it?


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