On Writing


I did a new moon meditation on Monday, December 14. It was a revelation. Meditating does that, reveals things, I know but this time it was different. This time, when I was led down the path of seeing dreams, of traveling anywhere in the world, of hearing a message, of reading a message…I saw what I see everyday; the view outside my home, the view outside Gertrude’s Writing Room. I didn’t hear a thing. No angel voices, no whispered wishes. There was no life-altering message written on the arrow that I was told to throw but couldn’t. It was Feliz-Navi-Nothing. And the dreams? Um. What dreams?

Deepest gratitude goes to Charis (Cotter – award-winning children’s writer), who listened and held me virtually through the phone as I cried and cried when the meditation was finished. She did the meditation too, and was gleeful and giddy what what she’d felt and seen. Why can’t I feel like her? My heart whimpered. After some necessary blubbering, we came to the conclusion that I was (I am) steeping in fear. That I’m slogging in the foggy world of I-Don’t-Know. That I feel like I don’t belong…and I don’t have a right to write. Furthermore, I seem to have misplaced my courage. And hope…well, hope is like the hardened chocolate icing in the container at the back-back of the fridge. Behind the jar of garlicky pickles…in the shadow of the baking soda box that should have been changed six months ago.

The thing about the arrow in the meditation really stumped me too. I saw a pink arrow. Thin. Metal. It had two fletchings (the little triangle doo-dads at the back end). The metal was smooth and cold to the touch. There was no message etched on its slender torso. And, when I was led to throw it back into the sky…well, I had no desire to do so. I kinda stared at it and then lifted it up, an offering of a sort, and then these two white ropes came from the sky and like little fingers, wrapped themselves around the arrow and held it there. Above my head. Like my own weathervane.

What does it all mean?

I keep thinking back to March. That terrifying week after the break when the virus swooped its black cloak over us. When we barely knew anything about its power. There was something about the not-knowing that stopped us in our tracks. We pulled in. We stayed inside. We faced our fears as a cautious…sometimes panicked collective. How we ‘work’ had to shift and so it did. Our basement turned into a small school. The ‘outdoors’ was an adventurous wonderland. We talked about how we were feeling. We listened to the new rules. We waited. And slowly, as our favourite places and things began to shift into new ways of being loved, we adapted.

It wasn’t long before the mirrors shot up. When things slow down on such grand scales; when groups stop for even a small amount of time and look around – they see differently. What matters is lifted into being differently. That’s because what matters is always mattering…under, inside, around…what matters doesn’t go away. What matters has no concept of time or place – it always is powerfully itself. But in the slowed pace, in the gasping-for-air faces of this never-before-experienced virus, what matters bursted from muddy grounds, from past wounds, from systemic issues, from the warming centre of the planet, from places known and unknown within ourselves as mirrors. Clear. Clean. Reflective.

I chose to write through it at the beginning. I joined tens of other writers through the Firefly Creative Writing team, and we wrote for twenty minutes three times a week. I wrote in my journal a lot. I cried a lot. I talked to friends and family a lot. Slowly, I averted my eyes and heart from the news. And, I got caught up in the rocky terrain of education with my kids. I changed my workspace and work life…And the heat of the summer had a calming affect on me.

But there was also a gigantic loss. My dear Nonna’s soul joined the choir of angels at the end of June. The foundation of me will never be the same. Perhaps that grief…the before, during and after of the loss which continues to shape-shift coupled with the shift in life…well, that can do something to one’s soul, to one’s hope, to one’s ability to dream.

I won’t deny that the US elections also took a role on the stage of my insides. Anxieties heightened to mountainous sizes. The mirror that is the out-going president is enormous no matter where you call home.

I escaped into books. Into television shows and films. Into fitness and health. I poured things that I’d previously poured here only in my journals for fear of…everything. And also…for the space of silence that my words or the lack of my words would offer.

I felt…at home at home. I felt safe in the slowing-down. I felt and feel an unfamiliar peace deep in the heart of the chaos that is all this adaptation. I think that’s why when I was given the opportunity to ‘travel anywhere’, I didn’t leave this place that is home to me. I like it here. At Gertrude’s too. I like it very much. And the arrow…I felt her arrow-ness. She was showing me the simplicity of being her complete self. No messages. No other meanings. She was an arrow.

That I couldn’t throw the arrow…that I didn’t want to? It’s taken me days to wrap my heart around this one. I believe the significance of the arrow’s movement is in the connection to the strings. I’ve reflected a lot on surrendering this year. It’s definitely one of my 2020 words: surrender. It’s tattoo-worthy, in fact. There’s a space on my wrist waiting for the ink. But the point is that the strings attached to the arrow represent a spiritual surrendering to love, to Spirit, to [insert your spiritual word here]. It’s okay to surrender the worry, the anxiety, the fear, the sadness, the grief, the unknowing – to something outside of myself. Something that still is 100% part of me, just outside of my body for the lengths of times it needs to be. The hovering is significant too. It’s not a haunting kind of hovering. It’s a partnership. A commitment to Trust.

Dreams don’t go away. They can’t be ‘given up’. Dreams are patient. Dreams are kind. Dreams know they can exist inside and outside of our hearts. So after months and months of…burrowing…of smacking into mirrors…of reflections big and small and everything in between…of the daily surrendering…what now?

For me…it’s more. More internal navigation. More surrendering. More quiet, private excavation. More reading. More learning. More managing the voices in my head that tell me what I have to say doesn’t matter, doesn’t have a place, doesn’t belong. More facing fears even when I have no idea how, no strength, no hope or energy to do anything but stare at them.

Maybe it means I’ll be writing here more. Maybe it means I’ll have courageous bursts of sharing. Maybe it means I’ll accept more vividly, with more hope and direction, that I am a poet. I’m working on re-igniting this voice. I have to. I want to. I need to.

For me…but also for my Nonna. Her legacy is inked on the pages of poetry I wrote for her…with her.

The cover is revealed! (Thank you and mad props to Ellie Hastings and Nick Shields for the brilliant design!) The release of thimbles gets closer and closer. Soon I will be planning my launch performance. Soon I will be building a tour. Virtual or not, the birth of thimbles into the world will soon have a due date, and I want to be ready heart and soul. It matters. I want it to.

And so…on the edge of the new moon and the hip of the winter solstice, there is much that continues to reveal itself. I will hone my curiosity. I will write. I will read. I will wonder why there’s a bleeding syringe emoji as deeply as I will wonder what words my soul will flutter out tomorrow. It’s dark here in the I-Don’t-Know. But that’s okay. It’s funny, this kind of darkness is not one of my fears. I know that light lives within the dark and that dark lives within the light. Just like I know that to surrender is as much an ending as it is a beginning.


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