I enjoy the time of year when the days turn to autumn, the air crisps in the night with the smell of woodsmoke, and yet the sunshine in the day is golden and warm. The hectic pace of summer slows and it is time for rest, retreat, sharing stories and sipping stew. Taking in and taking stock.
It has been over a year since moving out the small safe place of Mike’s flat, and my life since then has been a turbulent and at times exhausting adventure. But through it I’m coming to learn a lot about myself and maturing from a girl to a woman, and a woman who I am impressed by and respect.
After months of anxiety and uncertainty, trying to probe and prepare for the future with my over-educated mind only to find unexpected surprises, I’ve finally let go of some of the need to control what’s happening. I thought by this stage Jeff would have returned to the USA, but instead an impressive temporary work arrangement has been claimed – most of which he can do remotely in the UK. Right now he is in california but by this time next week, all being well he will be back in london, possibly with another 6 months here. We are claiming a life of creativity.
I have created for myself a week off – saved up the rent money so I don’t need to work this week, allowing me to run away from the noise of London to Bath Spa and my tribe-friend Mark. Having spent almost 5 months continuously with one man in a very intense relationship, I was a bit scared to find myself full of holes and troubles when said man was gone. Turns out the space apart only reveals to me just how much I have grown, stronger and clearer I have become. And the sense of calm joy to be able to focus for a while only on myself is beautiful – I’m no longer the girl that needs others to pour care into me, I can enjoy giving myself good things and create art directly with life and with friends.
I find London living hard. The cleaner air, the relative quiet, and the nature around me here in bath is a true solace. I have to make sure I give myself nature-retreat days once I’m back in the big smoke. Mark and I have known each other for over 10 years now, we spent the first evening going through old photos, remarking at how smooth and soft we looked at 20, and the stages of change and growth we’ve been through and adventures we’ve had. So much more to come! For the last few weeks I’ve been feeling a real sense of excitement and potential for my future – it reminds me of graduating university, when the world unfolds in front of you. With many of my contemporaries marrying, settling, forming families right now, it’s nice to enjoy a positive feeling of growth or alternative adventure for what I can do rather than a kind of failure of what I’m not.
I’m challenging every self imposed or society imposed limitation of thinking right now – smashing them down, and every chance I get allowing and encouraging an ever increasing space for something really awesome to be created. Many of my friends are feeling the same. Where I used to limit myself in fear – that I’m not good enough, or I can’t do something, or life is in the way, I’m starting to really believe that I can do anything I want to, that I have a fierceness and determination to create.
The success of Jeff’s art show – an event that we created together and supported by love, friends, and family – this was a symbol that convinces me a man and woman can run together and create as equals. We are both proud artists that have believed that the creation of art is ultimately a solitary, even selfish pursuit, to be done in the moments you can sneak off from responsibility or carve out and claim despite what others wish of us. To open up our art and share it with another artist – indeed to combine artistic processes and skills and let them mingle together with success – this seemed laughable and risky. But now we have shown ourselves and the world that such a thing is not just possible but brilliant. I am still taking it in. Since the art show we have created other smaller things, it feels like making children, whether it is a business contract or a perfect analogy, the art that we make together goes out into the world and affects people. And from that affect comes change. Within this is a seed for a whole new model of symbiosis between men and women. Now I’ve felt it once I’m not letting go. And I’m looking for other ways to create together with others through love – where once people had to force support on me, now I can call for it joyfully, weave it in to what I’m making, share the enjoyment of the outcome. Enthusiastically create again, and again. This is a creativity driven by pure enjoyment, and it reminds me precisely of how I felt drawing and writing as a child, creating “just because”, for the sake of it. Now I’m creating with my whole life, and I will use every skill and tool at my disposal. And I will invite others in joyfully, and we can marvel at what happens.
The magic really comes when you open up even further, when it’s not just you and your lover or your friends, but the whole of life and nature. When you let the sun light and the cool breeze mingle with your essence, when you see the very activities and dance of the day as a creative act. Where you are open to influence from the world around you and let yourself be shaped by it.
“Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. the new goodness that is coming to you, in the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, i.e. open.”
― Stephen Russell, Barefoot Doctor’s Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior
Mark and I had a whole day like this, dancing with nature, moving from high hills to hidden caves, feeling the sun and then the coolness, breathing it in, resting within it. I sat on the hill looked at the mingling of man and nature spread out below. I sent out prayers of gratitude with smoke, felt the sky and the grass under my feet. In the cave I felt solitude and myself and the blissful silence. We shared words and fears and stories and dreams. We reflected and we pondered. We just felt and were. I love the forest, the scents of the woods, the sunlight on my skin. I love seeing the mushrooms and the green leaves, the earth and streams that you can drink from. I took it all in and marvelled at the day we were creating for ourselves. After the woods was tea and cake 🙂 I’ve put some photos of our adventures in a gallery below.
Out of this day were some particular moments of magic. A fly landing on my hand just as we were taking some baphomet photos – as if nature was creating with us. A cat waiting on a path for us as we left the cave – quite how a cat got out that far I don’t know. Spider webs illuminated in sunlight reminding me of my fear and creativity. There was one especially magical moment : we sat in the cave watching smoke, and a beam of the golden sunlight came in and hit part of the rock deep inside the cave. It shone so bright it looked like liquid gold, or something magical in the rock itself. The video only captures an idea of it; something alive, flickering in the darkness. This made me so happy on many levels. I’ve been looking for new imagery of the way the male-female energies can come together in a dance — one of them in the sense of my feminine body-sexuality as dark rock or coal, deep inside a cave, that waits for the golden light of the sun and man to hit it, in doing so turning the rock to gold. This is how I perceive it and even tried describing it to Jeff – to see this image in reality, and to feel how it exactly matched in fact went beyond what I saw in my imagination just blew my mind. And I saw this golden light just seconds after declaring out loud that I was ready to create with life, in a much wider way than before. The timing was perfect. I love this feeling in co-creating with the Earth — it’s common to take in the beauty around you and then mix with your imagination to produce art. This experience felt like seeing something from my imagination become manifest — or perhaps more accurately helped me feel how deeply part of life-nature we are. The imaginations of my mind and the workings of life are one and the same. *cue sound of mystic overload* 🙂
“The sword is a handle onto the Way of the world that is offering itself to you. If you are willful it will weigh a ton and wear you out. If you lose focus it will cut open your hand. Mindfulness keeps your mind on the blade; and if you are mindful you will not think about the future or past, there will be no blocks to the flow of Tao, and the Way of the world will flow through the sword and through you. You will become the sword of the world.”
― Doc Pruyne, Persimmon