The distant sound
of cricket on the radio
drifts hypnotically through
the open window.
Sitting at my desk
I struggle to stay awake,
work seems irrelevant,
not made for summer days.
Even the sound of someone
the cheers of the crowd,
the raised voices
of the commentators,
fail to rouse me
from this mid-afternoon torpor.
At the end of the garden
the bench in early evening sun
I read a new book,
Chinese mountain poetry,
a subject about which
I know little.
it seems we write
about the same things.
Then a sparrow chirps
in the hedge,
pulls me fully
into the present moment.
Always, and only,
Boredom sits heavy.
don’t drive it away
with endless scrolling
or unnecessary busyness.
Let it be.
Feel a little fed up.
Just when you think
you can’t take any more,
you will notice something.
Within the boredom,
a little seed of creativity
Give it space.
Wait, then watch it blossom
An empty holiday cottage on the Dorset coast. Everyone else has gone out. At first, the peace is bliss, then I get bored.
Then eventually the boredom transforms into the wish to draw. But all my sketchbooks, pencils and paints are at home.
My eyes fall on my nephews’ drawing book and gel pens.
My fingers itch to draw.
I have an idea.
I go and find their favourite toys, scattered around the house.
I draw each one, 2 monkeys and 2 cats, on random pages.
Tomorrow we all go home.
Sometime in the future, when my nephews look for a clean sheet of drawing paper, they will find my drawings.
And when I get home I will get my paints out. And maybe add some gel pens to my ever expanding range of art materials.
Thank you boredom!
The moment I accept
the reality of what is,
is the moment
Saturday morning, 4.30am. Jet lag kicks in and I’m not sleeping. I should sleep. I need to be refreshed. I’ve crossed an ocean for the annual tai chi workshop and I want to be rested, relaxed. So I worry about not sleeping.
Oh, the irony.
Every year that I attend this workshop I arrive with a suitcase of worries. Will it be too hot? Am I good enough at tai chi to be here? What if the travel plans go wrong? Did I do everything I needed to do before I left work, before I left home? What if I don’t feel well and miss some of the workshop? What if, what if.
And every year, I love it. I have the most amazing time. I learn, I reconnect with friends, I make new friends. I relax, deeply. I gain insights in my practice. Yes, sometimes it’s too hot, occasionally I’ve felt a bit under the weather, but I still have a great time.
4.30 am, Saturday morning. I must go back to sleep. I am anxiously awake.
Then a thought pops into my head. Should I really be asleep? Really? Is that true? No. I am awake. That is the reality.
What would happen if I just accepted that I’m awake? That it’s OK to be awake at 4.30 in the morning and it won’t ruin my whole week?
So I did. And suddenly I’m just lying awake, relaxed, in a comfortable bed. I just enjoy lying there in the darkness, listening to the first tentative notes of the foreign dawn chorus.
And all the other things I am worrying about just dissolve in the dawn.
There is such ease to be found in living life this way, accepting what is instead of fighting reality.
This is my new practice.
How many creative ideas, however humble or life changing, have withered and died in tidy houses and organised, outwardly perfect lives?
Allow your creativity to flow. Give it time and space. Take your ideas seriously.
Make time in your week for your creative projects. Add them to your to-do list.
Don’t wait until the perfect time or place. Don’t wait until you have a studio, until
your kids leave home, until you retire.
Do it now!
Maybe you get up in the morning to a whole new shiny day, and think ‘today is the day’, but then you think you must wash the dishes, clean the house, you think ‘I’ll do it later’, but later never comes. Don’t wait until the washing up and tidying is done – do your creative projects first. How many creative ideas, however humble or life changing, have withered and died in tidy houses and organised, outwardly perfect lives?
Wear your creative work lightly.
Create, create, create…..
Go on….you know you want to!
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I’ve been feeling a little frazzled today; working, preparing for house guests who arrive tomorrow and getting ready to go on a tai chi workshop next Wednesday in the US. All good things, just they have given me a rather long to-do list!
So, I spent some time reading old blog posts instead, turning to some relaxing poems to calm me down.
And then I decided to quickly turn them into a little ebook, for you to download.
Poems to bring a little calm and relaxation to your day.
And now I’m off to do some tai chi in the garden.
Camping in Eskdale in the Lake District. Life slows down.
Near our tent, two little girls play in a stream. They pick buttercups and place them on a narrow slab of blue slate, laid across to make a bridge.
Both of their fathers appear through the trees. The girls put their arms around each other, hopping with excitement.
Come and look! We’ve made you something for Father’s Day!
The dads approach the streamside.
Walk across the bridge and it will give you happiness!
One dad walks straight across, over the buttercups, the other looks a bit hesitant.
Come on dad, walk across and you will get happiness for Father’s Day!
He walks across, somewhat reluctantly. Perhaps he has enough happiness already. Consequently there is some leftover happiness on that bridge.
The girls are corralled into waiting cars, parents complaining about stream-wet clothes, holiday over.
After they leave, I walk slowly over the buttercup-festooned bridge, walking through happiness.