Today I would really like to share a poem written during the early morning hours, when I had woken myself coughing again, my brain immediately wide awake, preventing further rest. This is a glimpse of the internal me, I am embracing vulnerability here and hitting the publish button before I talk myself out of sharing.
I carry warm rain drops, shaping puddles of spirited solitude.
I carry a full heart, with my eyes its transparent windows.
I carry a leaden, bewildering fatigue; icy fingers gripping relentlessly.
I carry the rippling sea at midnight, with the moon’s shimmering reflection dancing.
I carry bookshelves labeled overwhelm and exasperation.
I carry a bright red envelope, cradling fragments of permission written on crumpled pages.
I carry allusive emeralds, sublime impressions of perfection.
I carry a patched cape around my shoulders, each permanent thread a woven story.
I carry a tiny silhouette of a silent, powerless child.
I carry a labyrinth of layers, twisting and winding with both perplexity and resolve.
I carry illuminated embers, housing memories of gathered flames.
I carry a faded, enameled kettle, wisps of gentleness wandering cautiously.
I carry the potential of a chandelier of piercing light.
Over the Christmas period - and oh how long ago that time seems now - I read a poem about suitable times for drinking tea, written by Hsu Ts’eshu all the way back in the sixteenth century. It was in an alternative German advent calendar, Andere Zeiten - different times. Each day there was a text to sit with; sometimes to make you think and question, sometimes to make you smile, sometimes to make you take action. It was a really thoughtful lead up to Christmas, giving the whole period more substance instead of only looking forward to that piece of chocolate each day. Not that there is anything wrong with looking forward to chocolate I hasten to add! I am a tea lover and strongly believe that drinking tea is a powerful ritual in many ways, so brew yourself a cup and sit with me a while my friend, whilst I share my own moments with you:
Tea drinking moments.
Secrets need to tumble out at midnight and with abandon.
Nights are sleepless and the hours seemingly never ending.
You connect with a kindred spirit.
Despair threatens to swallow you whole.
Inspiration calls to be digested.
Spirits are sky high in a perfect moment.
Your bones are chilled to the core.
Stars invite you to gaze.
A sneaky biscuit is called for - when you should be working.
Fried nerves need soothing with steam and a little spice.
Solitude longs to be treasured, hands and mind meditate.
The rain thrashes against the window panes.
Wise words envelop your soul.
Candles burn and the twinkle lights smile softly.
Will you share your tea drinking moments with me?
(P.S. after writing this I checked my inbox and found an email from Twinings Tea. Serendipity at work!)
Oh my goodness, it has been a tough few days as the boiler decided to break down during the coldest period possible. It happened on Friday morning and an engineer wasn't available to come out to us until Monday late afternoon. Thus, no central heating, no hot water - a test of endurance and a return to old fashioned living. Not for the faint hearted I can tell you! Luckily a lively fire in the front room and a borrowed electric heater (why do they always smell of burning dust even when the dust should have burned long ago?) for the bedroom, saved us from completely turning to ice.
In the midst of all this I made the conscious decision to not let this situation take control over me, although what I really wanted to do was hibernate completely. Prompted by the wise Liz Lameroux, I decided to go on a photo adventure instead, to capture the moments of goodness and warmth, to live these moments mindfully instead of giving in to that horrid sense of overwhelm. It made me feel surprisingly childlike again, hunting out the treasure and infusing me with a little of that gentle sense of humour I am currently seeking to let in. I am proud of what turns out to be my first themed photo collection.
This alphabet is inspired by Susannah’s ABC of important things. Having enjoyed reading hers so much I thought it would be a fun way to see what I consider definitive parts of my own life.
The Milena Alphabet
A is for artwork. I stopped creating when I left school and for many years I shied away from it; suppressed it for fear of not being good enough and because I wasn't in the right mind space to open up to the joy of creating. Here is my latest piece to prove that those times are done and dusted.
B is for blogging. I love this space dearly for being able to document part of my life, and wish to develop it in much more depth this year...watch this space!
C is for cats. I am a mad cat lady. Shadow, Charlie and Smudge, who all had terrible starts to their furry lives, but who are all truly contented puddies now, bring much meaning and love into my life.
D is for detective series.Monk, Marple, Poirot, Murdoch Mysteries, Jonathan Creek, Body of Proof, Risoli and Isles, Silent Witness, Maisie Dobbs - yes there are many ( and I know my husband will roll his eyes at this list;)
E is for e-courses. Life lines. Sources of knowledge and wisdom. Wondrous communities that I can feel a part of, not an outsider.
F is for fatigue. This seems to have become my constant companion. Sometimes I can sit with it, more often I feel such frustration.
G is for garden retreat.My favourite mug states: I garden therefore I am.
H is for hurry. I do far too much of this, and know very well that if only I would slow down, many things would become more meaningful, easier, more developed, richer, healthier etc etc etc
I is for introvert. I always smile at myself when I call myself this because as a teaching assistant it is impossible to be an introvert. Somehow I have mastered the art of shaking off the introversion with children but the rest of me fits totally into that definition. I like quiet, I like time with myself, people and events tire me greatly even when I am really enjoying them. For years I thought there was something wrong with me but now I wear the word as an invisible crown.
J is for journaling. I have writing diaries since my teenage years, oh the stories they tell!
K is for kindred spirits. Ever since the first time I watched Megan Follows as Anne of Green Gables this phrase has struck a chord in my heart. I have always searched for them and when I find one it is like opening a treasure chest.
L is for lights. Twinkle lights, lamp lights and candles. Magic in the making.
M is for mental health. This is a topic very close to my heart and I am feeling inspired by the current Time To Change campaign, which sets out to break the stigma attached to mental health. Find out more here.
N is for nieces. Those two little girls have stolen my heart so completely.
O is for observation. I am a people watcher, a people listener.
P is for photography. Had you asked me a couple of years ago what I thought of photography, I would have shrugged and said that it was not my thing. However, since taking Susannah’s Unravelling course two years ago, I am hooked and on a tremendous journey. I’ve just seen one of these lovelies and would love to add its instant wonder to my collection for that finite thrill of not editing.
Q is for quality. I would rather do something to the best of my ability than to do something that is average. This of course leads to self doubt and that old devil Perfectionism ( see how important it feels, I even gave it a subconscious capital), but when I have achieved something that my quality standards approve of, tis the most satisfying feeling in the world.
R is for reading. There wouldn’t be a Milena without books.
S is for stationary. I am an addict and proud of it. Currently I am into the delightful Smash journals thanks to Liz’s video. I’ve just found this gorgeous washi tape to use within too. Do share your online stationary shops with me :)
T is for teaching. Believe it or not, something I swore I would never enter into throughout college and even university!
U is for unabridged. I am working hard on being the whole me, expressing truthfully who I am, facing the fear in some cases and being me anyway. I think I have a habit of showing different parts of myself in different circles, quite often because I feel the situation and the people involved demand it of me. But I feel I am getting stronger as I learn more and more about myself.
V is for vocabulary. Something I really wish to extend. I read such delicious words used by others and long to magpie them and use them myself.
W is for wolves.Women Who Run With Wolves. Life changing.
X is for eXperiment. Outside of the comfort zones. I need to do more of this.
Y is for yoga.Mariannechanged my whole perception of yoga with her brilliant online courses. She made me realise that there is yoga out there for everyone. Yoga doesn’t have to be perfect to heal and strengthen, for each body is unique and will do what it is able to do.
Z is for zoo.Twycross Zoo is truly special to me for the care and conservation that defines it.