The Hearth-less.

Good Afternoon Buddhafielder’s!

I firstly would just like to apologise for not writing anything on this bog for such a long time. I have ideas and things to say but then find that I don’t prioritise it in the way that I do for so many other aspects of the work I do with Buddhafield. If I am completely honest I think that quite a lot of this is fear based as well. Putting myself up on the screen is somehow massively exposing but what do I write for if it isn’t to reach at least one person heart?

I intend to be a bit more involved with this blog and my invisible audience this year and I want to do this to create some kind of hearth, or heart to draw all the people of Buddhafield together; through my stories of the glories of working for Buddhafield and the miseries of working for Buddhafield. It is nothing like sitting around a real fire but the storytelling element is something so necessary at keeping the idea of a hearth alive. I feel the lack of a hearth in my life, especially over the winter so this is for the follow hearth-less out there!

I have thought a lot about fire over this winter and interestingly I stumbled into a talk given by two women last week in Totnes. The talk was about there adventures of living a stone age life for 6 months last year in America.The spoke so deeply and authentically of what that experience meant to them, of what is it to be human and how humanity is losing it’s tender touch. I don’t know if anyone out there has had the experience of hearing a story and knowing it to be true, knowing that you already know that thing you are being told. This talk was like that. These two women were talking to an ancestral part of me and the ancestral part of me was delighting in being given a space to hear, see and integrate into my modern life.

The talk started with fire. They said that all creatures move away from fire except for humans that walk towards it, gather around it, use it, control it for warmth, light, comfort, dramatic effect! Of course!! It made so much sense to me in that moment. We as a species thrive with fire.

I believe that this is one of the fundamental things that our culture lacks these days, a place to gather to tell stories, sing songs, recite poetry and to practise all these arts. It is in this telling of ancient wisdom that, in my experience, makes us not feel so alone. We all need to feel more connected to our ancestral ways, we all need a hearth to tell our stories around and we all need to know how to make and sustain fire. These simple acts makes for a more unified society, more unified communities. I talk from a place where I cannot easily make fire in the winter months and it is one of the things that I look forward to more then anything else when the summer and the Buddhafield circus rolls into the fields.

Gathering around fire was the best thing about last summer, the songs the spontaneously arose during the Green Earth Awakening during the long July nights and at the end of the summer laying beside a roaring fire, wrapped in blankets in early October, after a month of focused inquiry leading to blissful understanding, underneath the clearest of night skies. The sense of completeness was unparalleled. I felt deeply connected to the land and humanity.

Last Summer is all a memory now and the coming season is getting more and more present as everything starts to gather more energy. Sitting around fires has never been such a real thing for me and I offer it to all wish to deepen the warmth in there hearts.

Becoming one with hearth and not hearth-less.

 

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Back in the Midst of Blood Sweat and Tears

Buddhafield seems to exist as a separate entity, a thing of beauty that no matter how much the people that work for her fall apart, she still manages to appear before our very eyes to provide people with an inspiring context in which to meet like minded people and forge connections that will last a life time. It is now that the few people that arrived on empty fields start to swell and expand to welcome more bodies who want to help create our own little temporary community, with its own little lovely niche.

I have come back to my mum’s house to rest my body after working in the Cafe at Glastonbury Festival and catch up with computer work. Glastonbury was the first event that I have worked this year and it was delightful! I have realised that it doesn’t matter how much or little I do for Buddhafield in a year, Buddhafield still requires my blood, sweat and tears and I give these things without a fight because I know that Buddhafield will provide me with compost, warmth, inspiration, love and this year fingers-crossed, some glorious sunshine in which to lay on the grass and gaze upwards to the heavens.. allowing it’s love to permeate my being.

Because essentially that is what we all need right now, I know for myself and for many others upheavals are abound. The Buddhafield team agreed to announce that there will be no festival next year which breaks my heart but I believe it is necessary. Buddhafield is at this time a very frail thing that needs much nourishment from it’s core and all it’s core need to be nourished by the love and appreciation that so many people have for this slightly large and cumbersome child. To strip something back to its core and see what its looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feels like.

That doesn’t take away from the celebration of the lives we have been given and the choices that we make within this time we have all been allocated. I know that regardless of how much I cry, how much I sweat and bleed I am glad that my year rotates around the Buddhafield festival. Going back onto site tomorrow will be a blissful experience and I will watch with a curious awe how it all grows, how I grow, shrink and expand and how everyone moves around each other.

So to my dear Buddahfield sangha, I am glad to be home with you again and I eagerly await with open arms the sharing of magnicient and tender stories.

 

 

No Love Hearts Here Please!

This year’s Festival theme is Fire in the Heart. It sounds simple, effective as a theme but, to be honest, I have struggled with the concept, feeling that I haven’t had any fire in my own heart for what seems like a long time. This, in turn, effects my faith in my capability, as the Festival Decor Co-ordinator, to convey this theme visually to a festival full of people without just falling back on the obvious symbols of love hearts and flames. I can see that these do have their place, but there is much more underlying this theme and that is what I have been struggling to connect with. Intellectually I see inspiration, passion, determination, beauty and these are all ideas that I try to put very solidly at the forefront of my life. However, I feel that lately I have had a lack of emotional connection to these qualities. I have wondered why and have come up with two possible reasons:

1, I am scared of realising the full power of this theme to launch me into the stratosphere of emotional, spiritual, physical understanding.

2, I am not giving myself enough credit for how far I come in the last year and the lack of obvious moments of passion or inspiration make me feel that I have had no inspiration or passion. Which simply is not true.

It’s only now, after having been able to gain some valuable perspective over the shifts in my life, that I have realised there has been fire burning in my heart throughout it all. The determination not to be beaten, the pockets of inspiration that I come across all feed this fire that gently warms me and guides me to places and activities that will feed it further.

During this time I have had on my own I have faced many aspects of myself that I don’t like, have had many people reflecting things back to me in compassionate and not so compassionate ways. For much of this year I have felt like I have been walking through a thick fog only being able to see my hands in front of me. The more the fog lifts, the more curious I am in testing my strength to see what I am capable of. I watch others unfold as well, blooming more and more vibrantly in the promising sunshine.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Metta Bhavana, it is a practice of cultivating loving kindness for all beings including yourself, which for many people is the hardest aspect. It is the practice that I find most difficult because of its honest undoing of dark as well as light, accepting it all as something that is a part of who I am. The practice isn’t about trying to convince yourself that you are good or pure or to try to convince yourself that you don’t have an issue with someone you are having difficulties with. It is about bringing awareness around a situation, understanding how it is making you feel and what is behind that feeling so that you can move forward with a greater understanding. I get jealous often, it can be debilitating, drawing me into a world of not being good enough, not getting to a place, state of mind, quickly enough. What I have come to understand is that this is the reaction, when I get jealous it is because I am not meeting a need of my own. There is something that I have been neglecting and as soon as I go towards that need, the jealousy is diminished.

I see that this theme has brought into my awareness the things that do inspire me. Inspiration is the first step into making something in life a reality. Initially fire in the heart evokes a great image of a captivating blaze but a blaze will not last unless it is fed and as there is so much change and heartache going on in so many peoples’ lives, it is worth learning how to utilise those inspirations, practise the things that bring you joy and see that there is new life everywhere, all the time. There is a fierceness inherent within this theme, something much deeper then just a simple visual interpretation, it is an opportunity to turn the love, that is so easily bestowed on to others, inwards and let passion and beauty bring you guidance.

FInd out more about the Festival, and how to book on the main Buddhafield website.

Turning the Mind

The Turning of my Mind.

I have been struggling with a slight case of writers block recently and finding my way into writing something for this blog has been proving difficult. I think this has been due to a lack of Dharmic input in my life over the last few months. I have forgotten to keep my eyes open to the beauty that surrounds me every day. I have been in a very introverted space, reflected a lot over my experiences of the last handful of years and have really and truly begun to reflect and more importantly start to accept those things that make me who I am. The process is challenging but innately beautiful once there is respite enough to look back and see how much life has shifted. The explanations of how this works is what I am struggling with at the moment. I either know something intuitively or I know something intellectually and words fail me on both counts! In any case that is not a reason to stop trying to communicate something that has moved me in some way.

I also attended the Women’s Mitra study week – click here for Lulu’s report – and found that it was just what I needed, an injection of Dharma as the spring tries its best to burst into life, battling with the snow; a reminder of things I have already been taught (For anyone interested in listening to the talks on the four mind turning reflections, you can find the talks on Free Buddhist Audio). My attempts at routine haven’t quite manifested after moving to Bristol two months ago so to get immersed into Dharma and supported by Sangha felt like a really positive turning point in my year so far. Just being surrounded by my Sangha, in a different form was incredibly healing, actually seeing and experiencing a continuation, new life after a death, the turning of a wheel helped me to put aside some of the fears that I have had concerning about how Buddhafield will strive forward.

Getting out of the city and standing under the starry, starry skies of Devon also helped to put many things into perspective; that I can imagine pulling Orion’s sword from his belt to battle with delusion is quite magnificent. I have a capacity understand that human life is precious, brief and very rare. I have a body that, for its aches and pains, takes me places, allows me to dance. I have a mind that can imagine the most incredible things, takes in and filters information, forming opinions and allows me to reflect on the fact that I am here on a planet that supports my life, all life and that I have come into contact with a set of teachings that is helping me to see these incredible things more clearly. For some reason I still take this information for granted, I quite flippantly say ‘yeah, I know’ like the stroppy teenager I once was. My mind, or maybe all of me, still wants to cling to the negative, somehow, somewhere along the way the negative became the easier way to live.

But life is also impermanent and things do change, shift, transform and this sucks quite a lot of the time but occasionally and sometimes more than occasionally, the utter joy and relief of seeing something shift is amazing. So what shifted for over this week?

It sounds simple but the fact that I can change my mind, my perspective on how see things. Turning the negative approach into the positive approach. I try to look out for the changes and watch my emotional response to these changes. I find these initial responses fascinating and exploring how to move forward from that initial response is also fascinating!

When life starts to be seen as deeply connected as it is then all the actions that are taken must be taken with, at least, awareness and at most with awareness, kindness and compassion for yourself and for others. I have had to go back to myself, to understand my cravings, my fears and my inspirations and by knowing these things deeply, challenging the things that frighten me, questioning why I crave something, moving towards the things that inspire me I can strive forward and feed into a bigger picture of positive conditions.

Love.

Love.

Love has almost destroyed me recently.

I have had to gather my strength up again to beat that sinking feeling that comes from losing or being rejected by a person you felt so deeply for and fell so quickly for. The feelings of a tentative uncertainty about whether I want to put myself through this destruction again have permeated my being for a while, and now I say, of course I will because that which destroys also creates.

I have recently moved away from the Buddhafield community in Devon to find myself, by choice, living in Bristol. This move signifies the start of a independent continuation of my life, something which I have not fully had for almost all my 20’s. I can feel myself starting to unfurl in a way that I have never had a chance to before, testing the waters, learning how to swim again. I have bought with me is a mess, cluster of experiences of love all of which fed me in varying degrees of good and bad. All the bits where I felt like a fool, all the bits where I thought I understood something but really didn’t, all the beautiful encounters, moments of sharing I have woven into a shawl to keep me warm; for the days have swung between being long and lonely to being full and connected.

It has been important for me to learn not to reject all it in hatred for these people but to take it all up and be lifted by what I have been given by them all. By bundling up all these lessons I have felt safely and carefully held by the sheer capacity that people, including myself, have to throw themselves wide open for someone to either accept or to cast aside and the depth of the emotion that comes with that. I have begun to find it magical again and want to spread that magic.

I have noticed so much how my mind has tired to eat itself with stories when it comes to the attachments that falling in love bring with it. I have watched the stories spiralling more and more out of my control. Without that precious truthful communication it is a futile to keep imagining what might have gone wrong, why was I not good enough, why is that other person better then me.. and unless that courage is there to actually ask for answers to these questions then the stories will continue to dominant. Even so if you do ask sometimes that basic respect to respond is missing, relying on someone to hold the same values of honesty as you have.

So why is there so much weight put on that phrase of ‘I love you?’ Why can’t it just be a simple statement of fact that in that particular moment in time there is a lot of love spilling from my pores that is, at that same moment directed at the person I am facing and that it’ll probably remain for a while. That doesn’t mean that I have trapped you or want you to stay by my side forever and always (the ‘forever and always’ is definitely one of the biggest stories that I have had to deeply understand and let go of). Love is an emotion that provides me with a brightness and a by saying it out loud to someone else I hope that it will provide them with a brightness also.

So from something destroying my faith in love I feel like I have travelled in a circle and have been inspired again by those simple gestures that I see everywhere and will tell the world today and everyday that I love.

Mid Winter Reflection

I went to midnight mass last night with my mum and her new fella. Not to take communion or pretend to be christian for this christmas but to honour something in myself, where I orginated, to see what it had to offer me and to sing some carols. I would love to go to midnight puja but there are no centres around where my Mum lives so church is where I went to feed that little bit of spirituality in me.

Christmas is not and hasn’t been for a long time anywhere close to my favourite holiday. Give me all the humbugs in the world but unless there is snow to play in (more then unlikely in the south east of England) then you are unlikely to get me to come to life. It sucks, I get bored, I get lonely. I battle with this every year but that is just how it seems to be.

And I want to enjoy these festivities, I long to celebrate the lengthening days and share joy and comfort to my friends and family. Celebrate all those good and bad things that has happened over the year. It is such a quiet affair at my mum’s. I find the festivities to be fairly alienating as I often go inward, feeling stuck in front of the TV set and end up getting more and more lost in the bad decisions I have made. More harm then healing comes from this time of year.

It is different though, life is impermenant afterall. Things have definitely changed and I am still working through how these changes impact on my life. The vicar in the church spoke about surprises and the joy of either being given a surprise or receiving a surprise and thinking about it I have had some beautiful gifts of friendship this year which still surprises me. My dad got a surprise birthday party on Saturday, the third surprise birthday party in as many years and I just love the look of childlike joy when he realises that something other then what he thought is happening. He never expects anything either and that I love as well. It is when you are not expecting something, I find, that the dearest of surprises appear, for me at this time of year the sun brings me the most joyous of surprises, it just appears sometimes and smiles before hiding behind a cloud again but just that surge of light upon my skin brings me me alive for a short while.

I have been surprised this year and this Christmas and I am still accepting is the chance to go inward at this time of year and actually learn something of who I am, what I have done with my life and forgive those things that I always end up hating myself for at this time of year. I feel oddly blessed this year as well for the lessons I have been given. For the last year of my twenties it feels significant. I am not saying that these lessons have been all roses in fact I would say that I have been awful company in the last couple of months as I slide in and out of difficult mental states but still people have offered me light and love every step of the way and I thank everyone for that.

So I don’t really know what I am trying to say here about christmas but maybe to just remember with love and acceptance anything that has bought you pain or anger this year. I am as connected with anyone who reads this as I am to my own mother. Everyone sees something amazing in everyone else and everyone can help everyone else in some way.

I am grateful today for my mother, the woods near her house and the candle light.

Merry Christmas, new year, solstice, yule, mid winter, whatever you wana call it..

A Body Made Entirely of Emotions

In in the last few months I think I have felt into my emotions more deeply then I ever have before.

I am coming up to my second year of working with Buddhafield and feel as if the last two years of my life have taught me immense amounts about my capabilities, about trust and faith, about exploring my inner landscape. I feel both intensely vulnerable and mighty at the same time.

I have cried more then I coud ever think possible. Not just a few simple tears but sobs that have the full force of my body behind each, slow and deep. They have me clawing at my skin to try and escape the pain of it, I imagine trying to massage my heart to try to sooth it. Each sob has a complex story behind it, shed, and wiped away in a matter of seconds, resulting in a very wet face and what feels like new but also very old eyes. The energy in the aftermath that this provides me with, the utter sense of peace and resolve after such a consuming action is incredible. I have witnessed others in this same state and I have willingly waded into the mud with them to offer then a shoulder to cry on and a body to lean against. I am so thankful to be people that have provided this for me.

To cry in front of a room full of people is something that I would never have put myself through before coming to Buddhafield, I am like a cat taking itself off to die peacefully under a beautiful hedgerow that used to be such an exciting playground. I will take myself away to cry my unrestrained tears and the worst thing for me is to expose myself openly in front of others. I want to keep the depth at which I feel things secret, something I keep only for myself. The process feels so sacred to me. Sangha, though, takes me out of my comfort zone because of the ability that my sangha has to just simply see me. I have to admit this frustrates me beyond distraction but I also feel so honoured that people take the time to even notice a tiny detail.

I love the woodlands and someone that I barely know once asked me, whilst in a state of utter despair, ‘what was it like in the woods?’ Such a simple question bought this emotion to the surface even more. All I could answer was ‘peaceful’ and I still feel that peace today. The ability that this man had to notice something about me I find so comforting. Buddahfield is a massive sangha and it doesn’t seem to matter how new or old you are there is just an acceptance and a friendliness unrivalled by anything else. This extends to all the temporary communities I have come into contact with through the retreats that I have been on and the retreats that I work on. There is just a simple understanding that you are like me and that is something that I embrace however out of my body I may appear or seem. My smaller sangha within Buddhafield is beautiful, supportive, exposing and at times utterly uncomfortable. It feels like such a paradox but the fact that I live and work with a group that holds all kinds of extreme emotion with such tenderness amazes me still.

The teaching that all our lives are interconnected is something that I have been immersing myself in recently, how easy it is to forget someone or forget your own needs and how destroying it can be when you remember that thing you had forgotten. I have a strong identification with the idea that all of humanity are like mushrooms, connected by mycelium, tiny imperceptible threads and that within our own lungs, the patterns of the capilliaries can be seen in the branches of the trees, in lichen. So much of nature (including us) has repetitions of shape, form and texture.

It is so easy to see ourselves as separate and more important then anything and anyone else because we think ourselves as so but to see ourselves as connected to all of those around us, to all the trees, birds, fish, is a powerful reflection. Everything is worth considering for a while and life will become something different, something more precious, robust, mysterious, at times completely ridiculous.

Like the tears that come flooding out of tiny tear ducts, covering your face in water. It is essentially just water and a body in need to releasing something, to shed a skin to get to the core, to get to the essence of your particular existence at that point in time. Life is impermanent, the tears wont last, the despair, anger and joy wont last. Whatever is going on right now, that is your experience so why try to make it something it isn’t.

Just let the tears flow.

The Silence of Walking

“The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.”
Basho

For someone who enjoys silence and solitude I jumped at the chance to be apart of this year Sacred Landscape Yatra. Buddahfield’s Yatra is a walking retreat where the walking is done in single file and in silence. This year the retreatants walked from Goring-on-Thames to Stonehenge across the Rigdway before leaving this ancient trackway to walk across the plains to our destination. We passed through hillforts, places of mythic significance, through Avebury before ending with private access to the stones just as the sun broke clear of the horizon at Stonehenge. I was on the team so I joined the retreatants in walking every other day.

The Yatra was wonderful, so simple in its transience, toucing the ancient and the present as I passed though it, deep and resonating. The first bluebells bursting out to greet the growing days, leaves breaking free from their winter homes, expanding and lifting to the sunlight. The myths, dragon hill where St George slayed the dragon and where the dragon’s blood fell no grass grows again. The ancestors and gods, goddesses that we called on to follow us. There was no pressure on me to conform, to interact, to be any other way then what is me. A break from normal to experience in as close as way to nomadic life as the modern day can provide, following the white chalk trackways. Moving through landscapes, noticing the colours of the dawn and dusk sky, noticing and rejoicing in the raindrops falling on my head. Noticing how my body moves and sways with each new step. Not needing to think, just move and observe whatever caught my attention.

The juxtaposition of modern life against the peace of natural world present every step of the walk. Didcot power station central in the view from the rigdeway, smoke rising against the rolling hills of Oxfordshire. The light pollution from Swindon against the bright moonlight up on Barbury Castle, An ‘A’ road cutting in front and behind the ancient wonder of Stonehenge. Swallowhead spring in Avebury, bone dry, no river to feed, tree roots on the riverbank no longer drinking from water that no longer flows past, such saddness inside a special space. Good and bad is present in all moments in life, like the symbol of the vajra, notice each and find the place of purity that presides in the middle, rest there as often as it feels necessary.

The simplicity is what I am taking with me, the need to not attach my emotions and thoughts to the good or to the bad. The present moment as being the most important moment and to stay away from the problems that sit on my horizon waiting for attention, they are not in this moment so I will not attend to them. I will feed my imagination, I took my family, my ancestors to the stones as well. May my tears for the dragon heal the hill top where he was slain so new life, new dragons can rise from the chalk. May my water bring the spring to the surface once again. Tasty food nourishing my body, warm tea warming my hands and insides on cold frosty mornings, my foot hurts, I’ll look after my foot. I’ll tickle the Ash flowers and stones of Avebury with a pheasant feather and look with wonder at people’s talismans as they offered them in whatever way felt true to them. A staff of security for so many peoples treasures ceremoniously and lovingly carried across the country whilst an egg of new life in the form of a sprouting tendril of a hawthorn is carried in the other hand. A blade of grass is my talisman, forever present wherever I treat, grounding me, humbling me.

Dropping sweet nectar into my inspirations.

I will hold this retreat dearly in my heart of many years to come. Thank you to all that made it special.

Touching the Earth

Finally the festival season ended at the end of September and the cafe and me both breathed a huge sigh of relief. It’s been good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s been tiring. Usually Out of the Ordinary in Sussex is the last cafe gig of the season but this year we were asked to cater the Young Persons Retreat. The 4th of such a thing and an annual event. It is a place in which young Buddhists within Triratna can gather. This year Buddhafield were asked to cater the event and so it was that I had to rouse myself out of my, slowly dispersing, but still very present lethargy to travel to Uttoxeter, to an old boarding school, to prep more veg but this time in a very different context.

Quite appropriately, I felt, the theme of the retreat was ‘Energy for Enlightenment’. Considering I have been struggling with my energy levels for most of the summer I was interested in what might transpire. So, here I was, inside a posh private school, feeling very out of place in such grandeur and feeling incredibly shy. It was a reluctant start.

I was curious at how the weekend would pan out. How would the school gym be transformed into a shrine room, what were other young Buddhists like and what would a puja be like with so many people!

The dedication ceremony on the first night was good. It was startling to hear so many voices in unison. It felt like a good preparation for the following night, puja night. It was amazing to chant a mantra for such a long time and to really immerse myself in it, letting go a tiny bit.

Finding myself out of context as a Buddhist was both refreshing but provoking. I am mostly to be found in a field or woodlands. Meditating in a dome with just a thin sheet of plastic, carpet and cushions between me and the earth below. I like it this way, it gets me closer to nature and the elements. This is what I found most challenging, to see myself within the wider movement and to take myself out of the Buddhafield bubble. I took me a long time to see myself as a living, breathing Buddhist and feeling apart of Buddhafield definitely helped me in this. The connections that I have made with Buddhafield have helped me so much in all aspects of my life. Triratna however still feels slightly alien to me although I do totally respect it, I felt like I had to embrace this retreat and make those tentative links with people and order members from outside Buddhafield.

The talks, all three of them, were so exhilarating. Vajratara, Singamati and Dharmashalin spoke so personally and their words are still resonating with me now. If you wish to hear the talks for yourself please follow the links below. I have been noticing more and more since these talks how energy gets blocked and misused and I how struggle with keeping my energy clear and bright. I am still thinking about the answers to all the questions that were posed over the weekend. What do I really care about? What do I need to do to focus my energy? What symbols do I connect with the most and why are they relevant, how do they help me. I might not know the answers to these questions just yet but to keep them in my mind feels important especially right now when I am searching for that thing that will allow me to fulfil my potential.

The puja was just incredible. I am not sure I could put into words just how much it moved me. No one seemed lacking in energy, the room felt ecstatic, such beauty echoed off the walls, into my ears, into my heart and back out with my voice.

I am glad that my curiosity was justified and I didn’t pander to my reluctance too much!

Click on the links below to listen to the talks.
Vajratara: Energy for Enlightenment (57 min).
Singhamati and Dharmashalin (36 min: two talks back-to-back).

My Creative Practise — Poetry

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I have always found it difficult to talk about my feelings, if there is something bothering me I will keep it as buried as possible. This is not a good habit of mine something that being with Buddhafield has foreced me to really try and change.

I always write, if you want any kind of insight into who I am and who I have been in my life read my poems. The are full of states of mind, feelings, actions, and words that I cannot speak out loud. I feel like a can understand my states of mind better when I watch my pen writing it down and turning it into imagery. There have been times, and I have written of it often, that my pen or pencil becomes separate from my being. As I watch the ink flow out onto paper my mind calms down. 
What I write is not about having some amazing epic poem at the end of it but of its process. I started writing as a teenager in college, and in my first year at Brighton University I went though a really creative stage. I wrote everything down and found mysef being inspired often. I love reading what I wrote then as I can see how much I have moved on. I have not written for such a long time, the odd pearl of wisdom came to me occasionally, but for a long while my state of mind was not at its best and I found writing to be frustrating more then anything. Nothing inspired me and if something did I couldn’t find the words to express it properly. There was much of the same feelings going on, trying to break out of the cyclicar patterns I found myself in was really hard. This was not changed until I changed my environment last year. That was what I needed to leap out of the vortex that had me trapped.

Here are three of my poems.

Inspirational Stirrings
Interesting lines in need of attention
And many more to add to my collection.
A single tree in a far off hedgerow
Soft rain on my toes.
I will heat my body up to sweat
And cool it down on damp grass.
I will watch the shadows write these words
That come from depths or outer regions.
Tensions high and thoughts entangled
My work stunted. Stop.

Push the right buttons, write the right phrases.
To tease out the boundaries, over and out.
Nonsenical ramblings and half finished poems.
Wonderful compliments to expand on.
Inspiration stirrings don’t come to fruition but get knocked out by numbness.
How to start after months or years of nothingness.
How to stop a battle raging and start again.
People who listen but do they hear,
A fear rising every time its my turn,
It’s a choice between truth or tears or
Closing it off and smiling OK
Astrological charts, intuitive thining, intentions and guides.
So much to think apon, act apon.

Stunted again at first chance of expression, fall back inward
So rest it will take a while.
ljmh July 2010

I believe, I believe

No, there are no fairies in this woodland,
I believe, I believe.
But to see an old ash stump, covered in tiny tumbling mushrooms
Growing out of the soft green moss,
Like the ones that where there one day
On the great old black poplar tree.
Thoughts of fairy cities are conjured
And I take off in search of stories.
And though no fairies live in this garden
I believe in the majesty of nature.
I believe, I believe
That nature fills us with marvellous visions
And the glory of that is enough.
But still, the idea of fairies has its own faculty in my imagination.
A search for stories of magical beings
Float around its own little mushroom world.
Now my childlike joy of otherworld beings
Runs alongside my joy of nature.
The fascinating sights and sounds
That would usually pass most by
Have captured mine fully and I can tell you,
I believe. I believe
That I heard a hillside of bluebells
Closing up for the night to get some glorious rest.
(And that sound of gentle raindrops pattering on ancient oak leaves was actually bluebells snapping shut).
A rapturous round of applause at the end of a startling day.
And as my imagination is fed more by amazing reality,
My mind has more space.
In my stillness, one moment of clarity,
Sunshine through a green leaf is a pure light.
Amazing reality offers me more and more each day.
The subtle movements of a tree,
I believe, I believe,
Like a pair of lungs exhaling
And inhaling.
Grounds impermanent me.
ljmh nov 2010.
Talking Stick
Within a circle a purba was placed,
An impliment for killing off demons was explained
And off we went in fear or non committment,
To a hasty meditation to bring some clarity.
Eyes stayed shut to ignore the silence
Until sounds of a voice far off in the distance
Started to speak.
Awkwardly subjects raised, feelings said.
The purba clumsily passed and quickly discarded,
On what has already been a difficult day.
This day for me, a return to a state of younger years,
So familiar a feeling I took it happily and
Wallowed more and more, further removed from anything real.
I stopped for a bit to think it all through.
To write it all down and looking back
Over the things gone past, I see this cyclicar pattern
Revealed before my eyes off the pages of a blank writing book.
Familiar scenes unfold before me as I picture myself
alone and attempting to analyse a school of emotions,
And finding the only strong imagery written down
Was the nature of the sun or
The light touch of a raindrop.
A revealation strong but still no progress.
Talking stick continues,
I get handed the purba and asked a passive question:
Examples of cold life and warm life?
And fear bubbles to the surface.
My voice so seldom heard in matters of the heart
Attempts an answer, a trembling first word appears,
Then two tears,
Then a torrent.
Breath meets sob, a collision unmistakable.
A voice almost takes shape.
Hastily the purba leaves my shivering hands.
A blessed relief.
A few things stir in solidarity for
Words spoken about similar feelings and fears,
and allies.
My allay, just discovered, an elegant elastic figure,
With grace much unlike my own,
A green woman, imp like vision.
She gives me strength to feed my demons
delicious nectar.
I remember her simple words, all day forgotten,
Her reassurance and instruction.
And breathing deep and drawing her energy
All about my veins,
I hold my hope in my hands, something now textured,
And relief streams out in an exhale.
ljmh july 2010
Being involved in Buddhsim has had a really positive effect on how I write and why I write. I am at my most creative with the written word. I chose these three poems as I believe that signify a change in my thinking. To start with Inspirational Stirrings is about my realisation of the patterns that I fall into. I was feeling very unworthy back in August and very out of place so I went to the solitude of my van to think and I ended up reading everything I had written since I had left university in 2006. Aside from seeing on the page in front of me loads of very similar themes I could also see that I was not the same person, the poems I had written were full of sadness, anger and very little stength. I had changed and it was worthy of being written about.
There is something about writing when I am on my own that sends me to another world, a world of stories where I run alongside the words scrubing some out and squishing some in. The second poem here speaks of this, a lot of my earlier teenage poetry was about creating a story, creating characters and the oddest things I could dream up to happen to them. I still love dreaming up fairy tales but I dont find that very real anymore and the second poem here describes the shift in my thinking.
The last poem is an account of my first experience of a Buddhafield talking stick. I had been apart of a talking stick before but this was written a day or so after Inspirational Stirrings and my state of mind, as I said before was not the best. Buddhafield festival this year was my first Buddhafield festival and it had such a profound effect on me that I think that off the tail of this was why I was feeling a bit down. I was trying to work out what had happened and how I was to hold on to it. The most powerful thing I experienced at the festival was the Feeding your Demons meditation of which I was invloved in a more initimate group, being that I was apart of the decor and rituals team. I had forgotten about my allay and as I spoke in the talking stick I remembered her and felt such strength coming into me as the tears flowed out. I don’t know if I portrayed that feeling as well I had hoped to but it was an enpowering thing! 
So that is my main creative practise, I have others but this is the most prolific and the one I feel most comfortable with. Next time you write, watch the ink or the graphite form the curling letters, watch the pen or pencil meet its shadow in a point on the page and listen to the scratch as the words get etched into the paper and see what comes of it.