Day 1 of January 2014's Mindful Writing Challenge hosted by Satya Robyn.

I have no idea what to expect from this month-long practice, but as this whole blog is about 'Another Deep Day', I figured I needed to get into the habit of mindful writing, as part of my hope to live a more mindful life, so here goes...

The dark silence shatters
as the heating clicks on,
and the cat yawns.

The dark sky lightens 
from new-moon black 
to royal blue, 
as the new year dawns.

Day 2 of January's Mindful Writing Challenge.

Satya's suggestion was to write about a 'small unnoticed lovely detail' along with this quote by Evelyn Underhill: 'For lack of attention a thousand forms of loveliness elude us every day'.

Stand in the light -
for even a plastic bauble 
becomes a shimmering orb 
in the tree lights' glow.


Day 3 of January's Mindful Writing Challenge.

Yesterday, I stood in the light... today we're asked 'to drink the stupefying cup of darkness and wake up to ourselves, nourished and surprised', Edward Hirsch.

Dazed by lack of sleep,
Windows rattle, 
Gates clang,
Trees bend.

I reach for my Mary stone.

I finger its edges,
I trace her contours,
I pray for grace
~ and peace.


Day 4 of January's Writing Challenge.

Grey, grey, grey,
Joy slipping away...
I need tea.

On the sill overnight,
The cactus has bloomed -
Pink joy unconfined.

 Days 5 and 6 combined of the Mindful Writing Challenge (because yesterday was Silent Sunday).

See things with fresh eyes...
The essence of Epiphany.
We see a baby,
They see a king.
We see a pauper,
They see a prince.
We see a winter tree,
They see new life...

Whether you 'believe' in the story of the Epiphany, the message is clear...

Epiphany: a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something 
in a new or very clear way
Merriam Webster Dictionary

Isn't this the lifeblood of mindful living??

PS I've just drawn my card for today - perfect or what???


Today, Satya suggested 'you could write a small stone about what is happening right NOW', so...

Cloud-thoughts scud across my mind
on this grey, windy day...
from despair to hope 
and back again, 
stopping briefly at every
station in-between.

But I've actually disembarked at Hope as this was my card today :)


Day 9 of January's Writing Challenge.

Yesterday was a strangely busy, interrupted day... just couldn't gather my self together to write.

But I won't beat myself up. I'll just get back on this unsteady, unpredictable writing horse...

Transported by Tavener to a sacred place.
Mary's candle-lit shadow large on the wall.
All is well with my soul.


Day 10 of the Writing Challenge.

Ah, Satya's suggestion today is to 'write a small stone about something you want to change but can't, or can't right now'...

I want the right hand I had seven years ago -
It held magazines, and wore beautiful rings,
It had long fingers and manicured nails,
And it never formed into a fist!

Harsh, but true... sorry!

Day 11 of the Writing Challenge.

Satya's prompt today is to write about 'an object that is showing signs of age and impermanence', and she quotes Robert Bly:

It is not our job to remain whole.
We come to lose our leaves
Like the trees, and be born again,
Drawing up from the great roots.

Paper-thin skin, protruding veins,
Where's that young, spring leaf
Of a girl?

Day 12 of the January Writing Challenge.

Today's prompt is to be quiet and listen... 
'The quieter you become, the more you can hear' ~ Ram Dass

My soul is a singing bowl,
A singing bowl, a singing bowl.
My soul is a singing bowl,
Hear her ring.

Day 13 of Writing Challenge.

Today's prompt is to have a bit of fun, to 'look out for something whimsical'.

Well yesterday, I saw this, and had to take a photo before I ate it :)

Dark chocolate is good for you, the papers say,
Especially with fruit, nuts and smiley faces in it, I'd say.

Day 14 of the Writing Challenge.

Today's suggestion is all about hands - 'to write your small stone about something you can touch'...

Marble hands make an offering of leaves,
Holding autumn's beauty lightly.

Day 15 of the Writing Challenge - almost halfway :)

Today's prompt reads: 'Write a small stone about your body today'...

Stepping from warm water
Into cold air,
Fine hairs stand erect 
With shock!

Today's suggestion is 'Write a small stone about a small thing'...

Smallest of birds
Fitting here and there,
Singing a big song
To find his mate.

Day 17 of the Writing Challenge.

Sad little rose bud
Never got to bloom,
Missing the moment
To take Anais' advice.*

*Anais Nin's famous quote: 'And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.' 

Day 20 of the Writing Challenge.

The weekend passed in a haze... disrupted sleep, foggy thoughts...

But a new week, and a new prompt: 'Write a small stone about something you can smell' and a wonderful quote by John Betjeman:

Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.

Fresh, roasted coffee,
Frothed, warm milk,
Sweet vanilla muffin -
Smell, taste, savour
Every moment of
The morning ritual.

Day 21 of January's Writing Challenge (only 10 days to go...)

Today's prompt is easy in the sense there is soooo much to be inspired by...

Write a small stone about nature today.

Click on the picture to enlarge and really see the frost flakes!

Crystalline frost,
Like salt or sugar,
Adds interest to
The death of winter.

Day 22 of the Writing Challenge.

Ah, today's prompt... difficult in so many ways - the title 'A kind of brilliance', the prompt itself: 'See if you can find brilliance as you write your small stone today', the quote Satya shares:

One day passes and another day comes along, and everything happens the same. 
But basically, we are so afraid of the brilliance coming at us. and the sharp experience of our life, that we can't even focus our eyes.
Chogyam Trungpa

Then add my own issues to the mix - say the word 'brilliance' and I immediately thing 'mental acuity', 'genius' 'exceptional', 'once-in-a -generation skill' *sigh*

Too, too much internal pressure!!

But I'm learning...

I breathe through the dialogue raging in my head:

Breathe in love, breathe out judgement...
Breathe in calm, breathe our anxiety...
Breathe in light, breathe out fear...

And find a photo to inspire a small stone...

A sudden flash of sunlight
Catches the window sill,
Catches the glass jar,
Making the feather quills shimmer.
Can I capture this moment
In ink?

Day 23 of the Writing Challenge.

Too funny after yesterday's post that today's prompt is: 'Practice non-judgement as you write your small stone today' :-)

And Satya adds Osho's famous quote:

Don't say this is good and that is bad. Drop all discrimination. Accept everything as it is.

OK, the lines are faint, wonky and uneven,
Lack of skill and confidence are obvious,
The 'fruit' are strangely indeterminate,
But you can tell what it is, right?
Then, it's good enough.

Did you see what I did with the shape of the small stone? 
Sorry, couldn't resist :)

Day 24  of the Writing Challenge (just a week to go...)

And today's prompt is interesting, in so many ways: 'Today you could write a small stone about something you feel resistant to writing about...'

Satya mentions 'cobwebs in the corner of the ceiling' - of which we have many (I've never been houseproud!), but instead, I'm going the way of Gloria Steinem, whom she quotes:

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. 

And it's why the link to Satya's website is blue rather than the usual dark red...

I like texture - 
it makes clothes,
paintings, people,
more interesting.

That's why I like
to throw the odd
F*CK in - 
to season 
the conversation.

3 small stones

I had a VERY busy weekend with the Grow Your Blog party (so much fun!), so the small stones* rather slipped from my grasp...

So today, you have 3 for 1 - aren't you lucky?? 
(Maybe judgement should be reserved till you've read them...)

Saturday's suggestion was 'write a small stone about something vulnerable or fragile...

(the only Misty Mawn painting I own - 
my treat to myself when eventually I re-learnt to use the computer in 2008)

Fragile wings
Settle on a delicate shoulder;
Hold this moment,
Before it fades.


Sunday's prompt: 'Look up into the sky to write your small stone today'...

Today's sky?
Heavy grey, rain, hail...
Thank God for memory
And hope.


And finally...

'Today you could write your small stone about yourself, or about what's around you after sitting quietly for a few minutes'.

Suddenly I got very creative with Picasa...

Enjoy your Monday - Beautiful You...

* I forgot to add the usual link to the Mindful Writing Challenge - sorry!

Day 28 of January's Mindful Writing Challenge, and today Satya's prompt focuses on taste, with a cute quote from Lewis Grizzard:

It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts 
while eating a homegrown tomato.

It's the wrong time of year to grow tomatoes in England, and too early in the morning for me to think of cooked food, so...

A tall glass of
Crystal-clear water -
Life-giving, but dull.
Plop in a slice
Of fresh-cut lemon -
And taste the Life!

Talking of crystal clear... I don't know if you've seen/heard this - Ashana's voice is as crystal-clear as the bowls she plays...


Day 29 of the Writing Challenge.

Today's prompt: 'See if you can find yourself a small stone today'...

love 'found poetry' - Satya found hers in the names of paint in a Farrow and Ball paint shop...

I found mine in the titles of the books on the sofa next to me...

Know life -
Cultivate balance
Writing books

The books are:
We'Moon Diary 2014: Radical Balance

Day 30 of the Mindful Writing Challenge (one day left to go...)

The prompt title is 'Go gently', and Satya quotes a favourite author, whom I met a number of years ago in Santa Barbara CA, Anne Lamott, a wise, wise woman indeed!!!

The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines.

Write a small stone of what comforts you today...

Clean laundry blowing on the line,
Beds made, tidying done,
Time to eat, drink, read -
Feeding soul and body.

Day 31 of January's Mindful Writing Challenge - I made it! 

I've written 27 small stones this month - including this one :-)

I used to walk this path -
ancient hazel and hawthorn, 
willow and sycamore.
Now, I retrace my steps
in rhythm and word.

Thank you to all those who have joined me on this journey, and left lovely, encouraging comments along the way... Companions make every journey more enjoyable, so thank you!

I have decided to keep writing these small stones (but not every day!), and I invite you to join in and share your small stones with me. Maybe we could create a small stone circle :-)
There's a button to grab in the right sidebar...


Writing through Lent 2014

Shrove Tuesday

Throughout my life, I've had a somewhat complicated relationship with the Anglican Church...

As a child, it was my sanctuary - the only time I could 'escape' my mother's demands was to attend Sunday School and choir practice in the village church, we lived opposite. It's the church where my parents married, I was christened, where we were married in 1989, and our first child, Connie, is buried in the churchyard at the back.

The rhythm of Anglican services and seasons are deep in my spiritual DNA... and I find comfort in them (while being challenged/disturbed by the Church of England's internal and external politics, especially regarding woman and gays). For several years now, I have observed both Advent and Lent by using books written for these special 'seasons'.

This year, I have chosen these companion volumes by Paraclete Press, mainly because they're beautiful hardback books with stunning artworks and entries written by several favourite authors like Richard Rohr, Kathleen Norris, Lauren Winner...

My plan is to read each day's entry throughout Lent and respond here - with either an image, a thought, a small stone - hoping to deepen my experience of the season with you, my blog-friends...

And we start here today, Shrove Tuesday - and yes, we'll be having pancakes for dinner :-)

5 things I didn't know about Shrove Tuesday

1. 'To shrive' is Old English to impart absolution.
2. From the Middle Ages on, the 40-day Lenten fast was preceded by some serious feasting and revelry!
3. Mardi Gras means 'Fat Tuesday' - eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we fast ;-)
4. The word 'carnival' originates from the Latin carne levare (removal of meat), which also ties in with the feasting before the Lenten fast.
5. The word 'Lent' comes from the Middle English lente - the season of Spring (which I have on good authority is still the Dutch word!)

Images of these paintings are in the book

'Ra-Ra' Haitian Carnival Scene by Wilson Bigaud

The Peasant Dance by Pieter Brueghel, the Younger

Ash Wednesday

While I don't attend church services in Lent, I do find the concepts raised in the 40-day period important...

Yesterday was all about living, feasting and making merry, and today, the main focus of Ash Wednesday is to remind ourselves that we are made of dust, and to dust we will return...

I know some find this morbid/difficult, but it's a universal Truth. The Japanese call it wabi-sabi, Buddhists practise the truth of impermanence, and spend any time in Nature, and you'll see it all around. All things live and die...

The book I'm using shows this painting by an unknown French artist from the 17th century. Painted in the tradition of vanitas - popular in the 16th and 17th centuries among still life painters. They took their inspiration from Ecclesiastes 1:2: 'Vanity of vanities... all is vanity'
Knowing - and accepting - that all things live, flourish, then die, is an important Truth to live by, I think. The West has trouble accepting this with its elevation of youth and beauty (though there are signs this is changing...)

To me, there is a different beauty to be found in impermanence...

Nothing endures but change - Heraclitus

Nothing in the world is permanent, and we're foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we're still more foolish not to delight in it while we have it.
W. Somerset Maugham

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Paul Gauguin, Christ in the Garden of Olives, 1889

The Gospel reading for today is from Luke 9 and Jesus' saying, 'whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life will save it'. I'm immediately reminded of Joseph Campbell's great quote

You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.

Sometimes, we and our great Plans, just get in the way of living the life we have!

If at this moment, this life bring pain, breathe through it...

If at this moment, this life brings joy, cherish it...

If at this moment, this life brings loss, sit with it....

If at this moment, this life brings triumph, savour it...

The fact that life and death are 'not two' is extremely difficult to grasp, 
not because it is so complex, but because it is so simple.
Ken Wilber

Life is never either/or, it's always both/and...


  1. Beautiful Writings, Claire! They encourage pondering and reflection.
    I love your pictures as well.

    1. Thank you, Betsy, that's a very lovely, encouraging to say :) x


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