I wanted to repost a Love Letter here to give anyone who’s curious a taste of the sort of content I share in my fortnightly emails. They’ve taken over from blogging for me and it’s feeling really good to share in this more intimate way. This week’s email seemed to strike a chord with many so I’m sharing it here in its entirety. You can sign up for the Love Letters over on this page xo
“When you live on a round planet, there’s no choosing sides.”
— WAYNE DYER
If you subscribe to a few newsletters like mine you’ve probably been getting emails lately about how to navigate this world when it feels so upside down. There is bad stuff happening everywhere and with so many different forms of media available we are learning about it faster and more viscerally than ever before. It’s impossible not to see it, not to feel the grief and fear and anger that is warranted when faced with the brutal reality of what humans are capable of doing to other humans. I’m not qualified or even remotely intelligent enough to be able to tell you how we can make any of this better in the macro world but I wanted to share something that happened on Monday that put everything back into perspective for me.
I’d spent the weekend with family at my mum’s house on the coast. It’s the place I grew up and was the first time my tiny nephew, Sam, had visited our childhood home (and dipped his feet in the sea!) so it was a special few days. After saying big mushy goodbyes I got on the train and prepared myself for a noisy two-hour journey back to London. As usual, the train was packed, but I managed to get a seat by a grey-haired lady who was wearing a very proper pink suit. After half an hour of minding our own business we got chatting over our shared dislike of the crappy coffee they were selling on the train and from there a beautiful conversation blossomed. Margaret had been staying with her daughter in Dorset after arranging and attending her sister’s funeral the Friday before. Iris had died suddenly and out of the blue and as Margaret told me the story I had tears streaming down my face. They’d been best friends and spent every day together, going to bingo and arranging little trips away. Iris had never had children but she’d loved Margaret’s daughter like her own, and as I listened I couldn’t help drawing parallels between her life and my own. Margaret told me stories of their childhood (they were two out of six children!) and how she’d “borrow” Iris’s silk scarves and curlers only to get into trouble with her big sis :-) She told me Iris had been crazy about butterflies, so much that she always gave her something butterfly-themed for her birthday — this year it has been butterfly earrings. While walking in the woods the day after the funeral Margaret and her daughter saw the most beautiful butterfly flying past. They’d both looked at each other and burst into tears.
“That was definitely your sister,” I told her and shared all the strange things that had happened in the months after I’d lost my love. “They find ways to let us know they’re still around us.”
“But it’s not the same as them being here,” Margaret replied.
“No, it’s not,” I agreed and we were quiet for a moment.
“I wonder what will come out of this?” Margaret said and when she looked at me she looked just like my grandmother. “Maybe I’ll meet the man of my dreams!” That made us both laugh.
“Maybe you will!”
After an hour of talking and sharing and crying (me mostly) we arrived at Margaret’s station. I took her bags down from the rack and we had the biggest hug ever. Margaret asked my name and wished me all the best and I told her I would be thinking about that butterfly for the rest of the day. She waved to me from the platform as the train pulled away and as I settled back into my seat I immediately texted my sister.
In the cab on the way home I thought about how easy it is to fear others and how quickly that “otherness” disappears when we bravely take a moment to connect. I’m always very aware of how other people might perceive me because I have very visible tattoos on my arms. I’m probably the least threatening person you’ll ever meet, but my beloved ink is considered unpalatable by some and I fully expected Margaret (who’s in her 80s) to be wary of me. But she wasn’t. In fact, I think we were supposed to have a conversation that day. It’s not the first time I’ve been able to talk to someone about loss and grief as it was happening for them. ALL of us feel pain. ALL of us feel loss. We all want to be understood and appreciated and loved for who we are. Being human is actually really bloody hard and I truly believe we are all doing the best we can. When you consider where we are on the evolutionary scale, collectively we’re still toddlers. We’re still putting our fingers in sockets and burning our hands on the stove. We still lash out when we’re scared. We still hurt others when we’re hurt. Maybe it will take thousands of years for us to evolve past this stage, but I do believe it starts now. If we can stop and see that the “other” is simply us reflected back, maybe things will begin to change.
Click on the image above to download the wallpaper
(There are lots of other wallpapers + ebooks and meditation audios in the Inspiration Library which you’ll be able to access when you sign up for the Letters)
It’s that time of year again! Back in August 2010 I realised I needed a break from blogging so decided to only post photos on my blog that month. I don’t remember if I kept this up, but I invited my readers to join in and just like that, the yearly August Break was born.
This is a community project that has no real rules – the idea is to simply take a photograph every day for the whole of August. That’s it. Pause, look around you and shoot what you see. Live inside each moment. Pay attention to what’s there. If it’s the summer where you are it’s a lovely way to be present to the moments that will be gone before you know it. If it’s the winter, what better way to liven up your day than with a creative project to play with? :-)
You can use any camera. You could shoot every day or every other day or just on weekends. You can share your photos or just enjoy taking them without sharing. You can start and not finish. You can join in at the end. Anything goes!
As always I’ve put together a list of photo prompts (can’t wait to see what everyone does with day 15!) and we have a Facebook group, Flickr group, blog roll and an Instagram hashtag so there are plenty of ways to gather as a community and discover the world through other people’s eyes.
This month’s cards are from the Mary-el Tarot
The first card I’ve drawn, The Magician, tells us we have everything we need inside us — all the potential, all the magic, all the inspiration needed to make change happen in our lives and in the world. If everyone remembered how powerful they were we could change this world overnight. This month I feel we’re being asked to remember this light inside us and to work towards integrating the light AND the dark we hold within. It would be so easy to let fear overtake our thoughts but that won’t solve anything. The second card, the three of Disks, reminds us that when we work together we can birth new life. It says to me: we are all in this together.
Questions to ponder:
What fears am I holding in my heart?
How can I begin to release these fears?
How does the light flow through me?
When you next leave the house look for opportunities to connect with someone you don’t know — chatting in a shop, in the line at lunchtime, on the bus, saying hello to a new colleague. When you get home journal about how it made you feel. Where you able to see any of your own experience of life reflected back in this person? Could you see how two humans can be the same even if they seem to be different? That the differences are really just an illusion?
I’m still thinking about Margaret’s butterfly <3
Sending you all my love,
The Love Letters also include info about any courses that are currently enrolling plus discount codes. This week it was a £30 discount for The Inside Story — it’ll be sent out in the next Love Letter, too, I promise :-)