Just over a year ago, I quit my job, my husband and I sold or got rid of almost everything we owned, and we bought one-way tickets to Costa Rica. We knew we wanted a drastic change and that we wanted to create a life of creativity and freedom, and we knew it wasn’t going to happen in England. Costa Rica came up in one of those divine inspiration moments, and after a lot of research and thinking, we knew that it was the place for us.
I’m telling you this, because my answer to the question about chaos is that these days, chaos is coming from absolutely everywhere. Every single thing in our lives is new and intense and vibrant and somehow in need of our attention and is in another language! So these days I am spending a lot of time practicing calm on the inside in an attempt to balance the intensity on the outside.
When I looked back at my previous vision boards or dream boards, I found that on nearly every one there was an image of a woman with her arms wide open. So now when things start to shrink and get tight, I stand outside in front of the best view I can find, fling my arms open wide, smile as big as I can, and ask for more of that feeling.
I also write. I walk. I find trees to talk to. I fast. I clean. I leave hours open on my calendar. I pray. I find water. I stretch. I move whatever needs moving.
I struggled for a long time because I felt like I had to have A Practice to find this mythical place of calm that other people spoke of. What I’ve discovered is that when I am in a place of overwhelm, I always neglect or forget any practices anyway! So now I’m learning to just bring myself to the present. I simply stop and breathe a few deep breaths while I focus on the air that is going past the tip of my nose (sometimes if you are really out of sorts, it helps if you put a drop of water on the tip of your nose first). I do this until I feel all of myself arrive in the present. If that doesn’t work, I do something else small and physical to bring my energy closer, like a quick comedy mudra or a self-hug, and then I try the breathing again. It’s all about being in this place at this time. I believe that's the ultimate lesson.
Today clarity looks like the beach. When we get all wrapped up in our problems and the crazy-making of building a house and a life in another country, we drop everything and go for a walk on the beach. As soon as my feet touch the sand, I remember why we are here and what we are doing. Every single time we go there, we see something wonderful. It’s magic.
Women Who Run With the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes was the first book that showed me what women’s writing could be. It gave a voice to the deepest longings of my heart – longings that I didn’t even really know were there. It opened me up to the dirty, wild, unexpected path through my soul, and I will be forever grateful.
Writing Down Your Soul by Janet Conner was a big turning point for me. I had been doing Morning Pages (The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron) for years, but was getting very tired of just hearing my own voice. This book turns the practice of morning writing into a conversation with the Divine. It was this practice that helped me realize that everything can be a conversation with the Divine – so it continues to influence my work to this day.
Finding Your Way in a Wild New World by Martha Beck found me at about the same time as Janet Conner’s work. The irreverent reverence in this book combined with the conversations I was having with God and the magic that was appearing in my days filled me with such wild delight and such a belief in magic, that I haven’t been the same since.
This is the tricksiest piece of the puzzle for me. I am naturally really rebellious, so I spent years creating or finding practices only to rebel against my own ‘rules’ and not follow through. Showing up for a practice is actually my biggest practice!
Right now wake up, have a cup of tea or a juice, and then I listen to a guided meditation that I recorded for myself. It incorporates meditation and visualization and reminds me of my sacred and secret missions. When that’s done I focus on what else needs moving. It could be morning writing or moving my body. It all about me doing what feels right and choosing to support myself, and it is absolutely not about giving myself more rules to judge myself against.
Right now I am writing my second novel, which is all about women and the importance of the balance between light and dark. I am also developing plans for a medicinal garden - mostly for teas! - and helping my husband design a trail system through our land. Our vision is that this land be a creative and healing centre complete with trails, sculptures, labyrinth and an art studio/ gallery. Truly, in all ways, right now I am creating a whole new life.
I believe that we have no idea of how powerful we are. I believe in magic and miracles and laughter and that we are all tiny pieces of the Divine, having a human experience. I also believe – to my soul – that circles and community are vitally important. I am drawn to the essence – of a person, a thing, a feeling – and I know that it is where the real truth lies.
I am the author of the inspirational novel Unfurl – which you can find more about here.
I am a writer, a seeker and a finder of magic. My writing is about seeking truth through story. The screen has replaced the fire as the centre of our lives. My mission is to inspire you to find that sacred flame within yourself.…and I believe that a good story has the power to change this world.