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Building Resilience at Bay Cliff

Prior to starting my current contract I knew that ‘time out’ would be important to my ‘time in’ due to the nature of the role I was undertaking. I underestimated how challenging that role would be and during the past 3 months have learnt just how important the type of time out is for building resilience to continue working in adverse conditions.

Last weekend I benefited enormously from spending 2 days at a fairly isolated location near Bay Cliff in the South Lakes, particularly from a few hours spent sitting on a secluded beach watching the birds pick their way through the mud flats as the tide receded.

That time spent ‘out’ in the natural world enabled me to better sustain my energy levels this week. I have noticed a significant difference in the way I have dealt with the constant, daily challenges and several nights of disrupted sleep from responding to emergency call outs.

I am now more mindful of how I can continue to build resilience through the weeks ahead, as my work is set to become even more challenging , and find myself wondering what you do to balance your ‘time out’ with your ‘time in’? What makes a significant difference to your week?

Scoring New Goals

In the past few weeks I have finally found time to score a few new goals and reach new heights by climbing the Barrow to enjoy the view of Braithwaite, Bassenthwaite and Skiddaw, and completing the 12 mile walk around Derwentwater.

In my spare time I have also been playing with the idea of putting together a poem ‘grown’ from words found within the name of the campsite where I am working.

I have selected a few of these words to condense my walking experiences into the following free form;

breathless air

hill view

wait

hear heart

new height

ate

lighter gait

white trail

wave

water brew

regale

late

Now, as England prepare to score new goals and reach new heights in the semi-finals of the Euros, I am taking time to reflect where to draw a new word hoard from, as I ponder the next walking challenge, and wonder what is next for you?

Tips for Ending a Short Story — A Writer’s Path

by Sara Kopeczky   It is a well known fact that short stories should go out with a bang. In shorter fiction, where you have a limited set of character and a shorter time span in which the action takes place (unlike novel), every word should bring the readers one step closer to the […]

Tips for Ending a Short Story — A Writer’s Path

Why You Should Build Mentoring Relationships with Other Writers

A great post about mentoring, connecting and encouraging. Ideas and suggestions can be applied to other areas of life by replacing ‘writers’ and ‘writing’ with words appropriate to your own area of interest and ask ‘What can I give to my community?’

A Writer's Path

by Kelsie Engen

When we authors first sit down to write, we are often young, always inexperienced writers, and we have a great deal of enthusiasm for the magic and myth of the writing life. But all too quickly, writing gets hard and enjoying writing can be difficult at best.

View original post 1,560 more words

Reframing with What 3 Words

What 3 Words is an app used by emergency and rescue services to find people who are lost. I was interested to find out what words it would come up with for my current location and used them to create this found poem:

In the alpha game,

teardrops smart like shampoo

trails of collapsed ants

Cherish the tortoise shell wing

noted in the fiery scrub

It was a difficult twelve words to work with, 3 for each corner of my pitch, but somehow seems to fit with the newspaper coverage of recent scrub fires in the area, many of which have been attributed to wild campers playing the ‘alpha game’.

You can create a found poem from any random selection of words. I have previously flicked through a dictionary or collected words and phrases that caught my attention while out on a walk. Items in lost property boxes or things you have lost or found over the years could be another source of inspiration for a poem or longer piece of writing.

You might even like to consider what you might like to lose or find in your life and how you might reframe these things to make changes and bring new meaning to your life or work.

However you choose to interpret this, I hope you have fun creating your own collage of words, images or ideas.

Connecting with Nature and your Natural Self

In a previous post I mentioned that I would be trying out forest bathing shortly after moving to the North Lakes. Yesterday morning I joined a group of 5 other ladies connecting with nature during a slow, mindful walk in Whinlatter Forest.

Guided by Jen of LakelandWellBeing we used our sense of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch to explore and engage with the flora and fauna of the forest. I was surprised to discover a Great Fir that smelt of grapefruit, wood sorrel leaves that tasted of apple and the softness of spiky looking larch needles.

Jen took us through a series of meditations to connect to the natural part of ourselves and gave us time to attune to the sounds of the forest and experience the healing power of trees. I was drawn to the hobbit house like area pictured above and found myself drawing and writing down my thoughts.

Forest bathing or Shinrin-Yoku is said to have originated in Japan but the romantic poets wandered in this way many years ago. William Blake’s poem The Wild Flower’s Song begins: ‘As I wander’d the forest …’ He goes on to speak of hearing a wildflower etc.

As I wandered the forest, zenlike thoughts kept dropping into my mind such as: ‘Neither One without the Other’ and ‘Everything comes from Something.’ I leave you to ponder those or develop your own, beginning with ‘As I wandered…’

Your nearest green space may be a park or a garden rather than a forest but it would be worth considering connecting with nature as often as you can. Not only has it been shown that 2 hours in nature per week significantly improves physical and mental health, recent research also indicates that one session of forest bathing boosts the immune system for up to a week.

Our session ended with a delightful cup of forest tea brewed around a fire circle. We reflected on the sense of peace, calm and increased wellbeing we felt, as well as how wonderful it was to find ourselves in the quiet, private forest bathing space while the rest of the forest was heaving with visitors.

If you are interested in connecting with the natural world, your natural self or exploring other natural wellbeing therapies, you can find out more about what Jen has to offer at http://www.lakelandwellbeing.co.uk

Inspired by a Sunset

silent as held breath

place of pause, rest and repose

broken by birdsong

The above haiku style poem was inspired by a sunset on site this week. It all looks very peaceful at the moment as we continue to prepare to open at the end of May, but the site is busy with contractors etc. during the day.

I am in the land that inspired the romantic poets Coleridge, Southey and Wordsworth, surrounded by the environment which influenced their imaginations and creative processes. Coleridge in particular was inspired by sunsets, moonlight and the frost at midnight.

Wordsworth, as you may well know, was moved to write about the flowers he saw as his mind wandered with the clouds. What I did not know until recently was that he also wrote a travellers’ guidebook Guide to the Lakes in 1810.

I am wondering what element of nature inspires you? How are you influenced by your environment? What thoughts come to mind as you look out of your window?

Adjusting to life and work in a new place.

Photograph copyright Michael Turner.

Adjusting to life and work in a new place is something I have become adept at since starting work as a seasonal holiday site manager. In the past six years I have lived and worked in different parts of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. I have also adjusted to working online around the world as a creative life coach and had the pleasure of helping people adjust to changes to their way of life in America and Europe as well as the United Kingdom.

When moving to a new place one of the first things I do is research the history and find out which writers have been inspired by the area, as I enjoy reading books written in situ. I then find out what there is to see and do there, where I can get my shopping, medical help etc. Then I look at the social side of things and consider what opportunities the place has to offer, which I would not be able to do elsewhere.

This year I have the good fortune to find myself in the Lake District, surrounded by the nine fells that make up the Coledale Horseshoe. This is the land that inspired the imagination of romantic poets Wordsworth and Coleridge. It may be that it might inspire me to produce a new collection of poetry in a similar vein to my previous publication based on my ancestral homelands (Lifelines, Mudfog: 2013), but on my first visit to the area I felt impelled to draw the landscape.

I responded to this urge by immediately buying a sketch pad and artist’s pencils on the local market and started a project which I have called ‘Spooling.’ This involves spending quiet time in an area, sensing the place and letting the feelings flow into the pencil and across the page. It has produced some interesting spirograph like patterns. In addition to this automatic approach, I am also following a step by step guide and making a conscious effort to learn to draw.

Seeking out other activities, I have signed up for ‘forest bathing’ or shinrin yoku in Whinlatter Forest. This does not involve cold water, as a curious friend suggested, but being calm and quiet and observing nature. It is promoted as a way to de-stress and boost health and well-being. This may be an ideal and much needed outlet for me, given the fact that I love wooded environments and am adjusting to a new professional role. It might also complement the art idea.

You may not have moved house or place of work, but in recent times we have all had to adjust to changes to our way of life. We may feel that much of what has happened is out of our hands, but the one thing we can all do is choose how to respond to these changes. I invite you to consider what positive changes you can make to your life, perhaps even find out what is available near you and try something new. What can you do to create your best way of life?

Recasting

‘Recasting all one has learned’ is one of the development phases of a woman’s life described in Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Rider: 2008).

Recasting all I have learnt is the phase that I am about to enter as I move to the Lake District to manage a new holiday site in Braithwaite near Keswick.

The theory is that a woman’s life is divided into phases of seven years of learning and development, seven being a sacred number linked to the moon’s cycles.

Thankfully these phases are not tied to chronological age. If they were, then I would be some seven years older than I actually am.

Having studied the phases, I have identified that a gynaecological illness leading to a hysterectomy and the end of my physical moon cycles, at the age of 40, had the impact of condensing two phases into one for me.

It was one of the ‘rebirthing’ moments of my life leading to changes in attitude, tasks and values similar to the period of nine months that I am emerging from since my previous holiday site was prematurely closed last year.

Studying the stories in Women Who Run With The Wolves has helped me better understand the trajectory of my life, which has altered professionally roughly every seven to eight years, the seventh year being one of transition.

Although I have lived and worked in different parts of the world and changed professions several times, the one underlying thread in my life is education; be it teaching, learning, training, coaching or self development.

I have been a student, lecturer, therapist, librarian, coach, steward and holiday site manager. I am excited at the prospect of bringing all these skills together and recasting them to breathe life into something new.

I recommend Women Who Run With The Wolves to those of you wishing to deepen your understanding of the female character and gain new insights into the psychology and learning behind the stories we pass down the generations.

Responding to External Life Events

Last week I introduced you to ‘The Octagon’, an alternative life wheel adapted from coaching and the Feng Shui compass. I suggested that it might be used as a tool to develop both your self and your fictional characters.

This week I have taken ideas and concepts from life story writing and book categories to add a further layer to the sketch. This layer consists of external life events that impact not only fictional characters but also your own life story.

I have grouped these events into: local, regional, national, global, galactical, natural, imaginal and ancestral. In this post, I would like to focus on the global event of coronavirus, the consequences of which have been felt by us all.

Every day we see and hear of the negative side of this pandemic, much in our lives has altered and many of us have been displaced. This is the first time in my life time that an external event has caused major changes in our daily life.

Some of these changes will be captured in the 2021 Census for future generations and family historians to piece together, but I would like to remind you that, no matter what happens, you are the author of your own story.

You may feel that lots of your freedoms have been taken away as we fight to contain the situation, but you still have the freedom to choose how to respond to changes that have occurred in your life over the past 12 months.

A story may be made up of many twists and turns but there would be no story if the characters within it did not act. So, I invite you take a closer look at the octagon sketch and consider what you might change in your own life story.

What would you like to have more of, less of or get rid of? What would you like to move, keep or change? What can you do to make a positive change in your life ?

Last week I mentioned Jackanory and looking through windows to listen to stories. Another programme I used to enjoy watching was This Is Your Life. If you were to write your life story, which bookshelf would you like to find it on?

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