Category Archives: Travel

Poetry For The Soul

Each day I take my run through the woods, still with the freedom to walk through the front door at a time of my choosing. When I’m walking out the door the music up and I’m pumped – I am ready to move. Sometimes it’s putting the music on before I leave the house that gets me motivated. For all that has changed in the world we still have choices. Freedom. I’m not saying it’s easy but many of us still do – it’s in how we frame life.

In deciding to turn my phone off for a month yesterday I have effectively turned off the music to which I run. Something I hadn’t thought through. This is why it is best to leap rather than think sometimes! As I left I thought, ok no music, I can still do this. Without the music in my ears there was something else to hear. One of my favourite things actually. A kind of poetry for the soul. The sound of the chirpy Great Tit’s as they wax lyrical about the day’s events.

Looking back over these past weeks the biggest shift has come for me each time I accept the challenge. I was early in my preparedness, accepting the virus was on the way. This did not send me spinning into shock when things changed in a weekend. For a while I was angry. Angry that many ignored what was coming and in doing so spent no time considering the associated mortality of their choices and those without safety nets. I was angry that people saw this as a blessing when for many it is anything but. Eventually, once the world began to act to protect people I found a way to accept there would be mortality because at least now we’re trying to reduce this and also, that people are just where they are on this pandemic journey.

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When Everything Old Is New Again

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“It’s not a competition, it’s a doorway.”― Mary Oliver

Why hola amigos!

It has been a while.

What to do when the world is changing so fast? And what to do when in amongst that change there is a tightrope to tread? A tightrope between balancing the levels of emotion and discourse that’s currently bombarding our inner and outer worlds. We may well be in isolation but that doesn’t mean the world and its opining is in ISO!

Talk, yes we need it, of course we need to talk but how much do we need? How much do we really need to hear? This is the question I ask myself. For me it isn’t about blocking news or hard facts or heart felt conversations but to create enough internal space to think my way forward. As the introvert type this isolation thing is not the challenge I face.

I like time alone – except that I am not alone. Voices seem very loud right now. Louder than ever! And I feel I’m loud. Odd that isn’t it – people stay stay home and begin to scream louder. It is to be expected of course, there is a crisis we are all collectively living with. And the problem is is that while we are all living this experience, where we are, where we come from and where we want to go is different. Continue reading When Everything Old Is New Again

Lightening The Backpack

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Hola Amigas,

Argh! Decisions are hard sometimes aren’t they? Especially the ones that require letting go of something you once imagined for yourself. Mostly, I try to keep decisions simple. I keep mine and our children’s daily lives close to home, I wear somewhat of a uniform (currently leggings and a woolly jumper) and I am a creature of habit in the kitchen!

But every now and then we need to make a big one.

Continue reading Lightening The Backpack

The Sweet Spot

How does it look? The sweet spot? The place where there’s a moment exactly as you envisioned? Where you are where you want to be, looking as you want to be, living as you want to be.

Right now I sit. I sit cocooned in a woollen jumper and socks, glasses on, legs tender from having walked a good walk, coffee to the left, water to the right, the scent of incense lingers, the only noise – the gentle tap of these keys. This is one of those moments of sitting in a sweet spot.

Excuse me if I retreat dear friends. If messages go unanswered and birthdays are forgotten. You are not forgotten, no, in fact you are very close. Closer than you realise. It is you who read here, who landed (with) me here. It is your presence and appreciation of what I write, craft, contribute that has kept the flame burning.

Last week, a (new) friend who happens to (newly) follow my instagram asked me if I am writer. YES! Actually – asked me if I am a writer, she liked the posts I’d been writing. ‘I dabble’ I replied. I dabble a lot actually. I have 10’s of 1,000s of words and not a day goes by where a moment doesn’t pass where I think ‘yes, that will slot into the story of that day on the camino’. In my mind the story writes itself far easier than when I start tapping away :)

At a time when the world (IMO) is on the wrong side of the left and right scale I need to use what I know with what I have to create something. Something to remind us that joy and freedom is found on the left hand side. The side of nature, calm, kindness and it’s found in the magic of walking with open minds and with each other. This story is what I have got to give and it is where I keep finding myself, writing it. And whatever I do can only be done when it is married to purpose, a greater purpose. Purpose rather than passion drive me.

It seems I discovered my new why.

A long walk.

Its footprints recorded and shared daily. Footprints that delivered a remarkable story of kindness, generosity, inspiration and truth (and love, so much love).

All  captured in a daily blog, journals, scribbled a-ha moments, kind exchanges, photographs, poems and tiny squares.

With enough space (and life practice) between then and now, timing has arrived and it is saying ‘Fran, craft the story’. Oh, and the heron … who just kept showing up until I got it.

Friends, let’s go on a new adventure together. I’m not sure how it is going to look but the papers and notes have all been collated, the space is clear and the gentle ‘tap’ ‘tap’ is the pulse, the north, the cairn, the way.

Buen camino,

Fran xx

 

 

 

 

The Secrets Of The Woods

‘Creativity is experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.’ Mary Lou Cook

Hello there,

At the beginning of the summer holidays I wanted to find something. Something I didn’t quite know how to explain. It was a connection that doesn’t exist in the world of plastic and expectations, judgements and small talk, lists and rules. I tried to explain to a friend as we were cycling home from our last yoga class before the break. I think I said something along the lines of ‘it’s a connection to something deeper, a spiritual connection with what is real, you know, the universe’.

BIG ask right there. I know!

Of course she knew, she’d just lent me the book Awakening To The Spirit World.

‘ … toward our reconnection with Nature, for Nature is, and forever has been, the gateway into the invisible worlds that are all around us. and all the time.’ ~ Sandra Ingerman & Hank Wesselmann, Awakening To The Spirit World. The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation. 

I did get back in touch with it, the connection I was looking for during break. How? Actually it was quite easy. I followed the clues to find the path. And let me show you what happened. Here is a poem I published a few days ago.

Who will you be?

Today I wander the mother
She hurts, we weep, it’s time she says
Take my courage
Who will you be?
I choke with sorrow, her pain, my pain.

I held you as you grew, I hold you now
You are ready
The battle call no longer distant
Who will you be?
A surge of powerful tears.

I’ll be your armour
Will you be my grace
Brave enough to protect, or content to destroy
Who will I be?
I choose you, mother.

~ Frances Antonia, From the Woods Collection. The Netherlands. 2019.

It is not the poem that proves the connection, it is how the poem came about and it is the absolute ease with which I publish something that came from deep inside WITHOUT fear. The magic. Am I a poet? No. Have I ever studied poetry? Nope, never. It isn’t even something I remember at school. Not the ones I went to. Or maybe I wasn’t listening (more plausible). They lost me when I was shamed for not knowing a prayer by heart, truth. Do I know the rules of writing poetry? Also, no. I have zero ideas of the rules. Do I trust that it’s safe to put it out there? Yes. Yes I do. Do you know why? Because I’m not scared to be creative. Not in the way I live, not in the way I express myself, not in the way I role model living for my children. I don’t have any expectations for the poem, I don’t need to. For all I know it is shit! To find the magic, I just need to be unafraid to be creative, to try.

In fact I feel that strongly about being unafraid to try that I want to SCREAM from the rafters to my children  … PLEASE never be scared of trying kids. Of trying to live creatively, of playing with creativity and to seek a world and people who know where creativity lives. This will impact a lot of my parenting in the future … because to live creatively is to live without fear. It it to feel. It is the path into our intuition, our dreams and it is to be connected. Connected with the world in a way that goes beyond existing amongst only human kind. It is how we know there is more. It is trust. And it is lovely and joyful and sometimes it’s scary and painful, it is real. The only catch, and of course there is a catch – is no expectations. Trust that the reward comes in the form of living a connected life, a life well lived rather than one that is numb to what exists in the world beyond what humans have built.

“We are not separate from this Earth; we are a part of it, whether we fully feel it in our bodies yet or not.” ~ Sharon Blackie. If Women Rose Rooted: The Power of the Celtic Woman

A few times a week I do yoga in a hot room. I like to go to sweat it out and stretch in the heat. Frankly, my body with its aches and pains needs the heat. I find it a place to heal. Recently, I discovered that if I go early I can get a spot in the corner. From the corner I can see the sky through a small window near the ceiling. When I do my sun salutations (Surya Namaskar) I look towards the sky. I dedicate myself to the that sky. The same sky we all share. 

 

‘Whilst the Earth Mother finds immense comfort, safety and satisfaction in marriage, domesticity, growing food and children, and enjoys order around her, the Creative Rainbow Mother regularly feels the need to fly free. And if she can’t . . . well, the flip side of her is the Crazy Woman: depressed, unable to touch her power, tied, numb, self-medicating, addicted. Crazy Woman breaks out if we try to spend all our time out in the world, or serving others.’  ~ Sharon Blackie, If Women Rose Rooted: The Power of the Celtic Woman

And thank you Sharon Blackie for this quote. This is why looking to the sky matters. It is a way to break free from the world. I think we need to break from the world to truly touch our creativity, to sometimes, fly free. To be in solitude with our creativity is not to be alone. It is only to ‘not’ be in the presence of human kind. It is to create some space for ourselves to connect with what matters most and it is where we can learn trust through feeling. Trust that there is something more vast, far greater and far more beautiful than the new modern world humans made. And it is here in my secape from the world where I found my way, my connection to what is real. This beautiful world of creativity and life beyond fear (of people).

The day after I found my sky window I set out on my daily walk. On this day I decided I would walk a different path. I am not sure why but I felt a strong pull to go in a different direction, towards North. And on this day I followed the pull, it was too strong not to (perhaps it was my experience with sky from the night before, I’d offered myself, trusted her). As soon as I stepped off my usual walking route it felt different. It was as though someone was singing to me. I felt I was walking where many had walked before. I knew immediately who she was. There was pain in her song. I believe she is in pain and I think she is worried for us (human kind). She being the mother. And I felt compelled to write and express not only her plea but also my promise. My promise to not be scared to battle for her, her life.

Along that path I cried. It was a deeply moving experience. I walked along the canal where soldiers had walked in the last big war and I let go of the fear I was carrying for others. I can’t carry it any longer. My grandad was a prisoner of that war, my mother born after his return home. I told him I loved him but if I was carrying his fear I needed to let it go. I needed to leave it here amongst the trees. Somehow in this plastic world we’ve forgotten we come from the DNA of many who have experienced lives we can’t possibly fathom. Do you ever wonder if we feel their pain? I think we do. More importantly, I think we can also let it go, when we get in touch with our creativity. Live creatively, with our hands in the dirt, the clay, the paint, the music. Whatever our soul calls for. And we need to be able to cry. I don’t normally cry in the forest, on this day I did and I know I was held. Held tighter than something we experience physically. The mother gave me courage that day. And as I left this spirited path guess who I would meet first. The heron, naturally and yes she is a clue.

This story needed to be written today because recently I had a conversation where I heard a judgement on the style of movies someone chooses. Like the books we read, does it matter? Is it not about what inspires us and where we are in our lives? Can’t we just be where we are and in our own place on our path without thinking we are more or less than others? it mattered that I found bravery and it’s timely for me to not be scared. I say this because next week I will re-enter the world after holidays and everyone has something to say. The world is filled with humans with loud opinions, expectations and burdens they wish for us to carry. You can be sure the school gate chatter won’t be about what magic they uncovered. Or maybe it will. I have two friends who are open the possibilities of the ‘more’ of creative living. The challenge, as always will be to know those kinds of opinion, judgement, burden shifting style of comments for what they are – creativity freedom crushers. Negative vibrations. Instillers of FEAR. And to be able to let them wash away without also becoming a negative viber. To fly free in order to continue to fight the good fight, to stand for something, to be true to myself. Thankfully, my connection with what is real has been cultivated this break. The joy of solitude and rituals that cement sturdy foundations. I want to continue stepping into this exciting and creative time. So I’ll need to mind myself as I continue to follow the clues and keep walking forward. Yes, this is the mythical and dream like space where I enjoy writing from and swimming in. It feels home to be here.

Fran

xx

Ps I know I am breaking every ‘blogging’ rule by not replying you your beautiful comments last week. I will when I can do so with the time they deserve. Thank you, you all helped me with the direction in which my book needs to go.

Pps Women are amazing. Go seek each other out the ones like you, who ‘get’ you.