I hope you are very well this Tuesday!
Here, we have now put some plants on the balcony – two tomato plants from my dad, some lettuce, some rocket, mint and thyme. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it will be warm enough for the tomatoes to grow bigger and ripen!
When I visited my parents to collect the plants, we also dug up the first potatoes that I had planted together with my dad during lockdown. It was a beautiful moment! They were still a little on the small side but were delicious with a salad.
As soon as we put the plants out on the balcony, I felt so much more at home. Before, the space didn’t feel alive. Now, with just a few plants, I feel like it’s a space where I can feel the current of life.
Plants make amazing friends and I love to go out there and sit with them and speak with them. They have this way of helping soften the heart and offering soothing and comfort in times of need. They connect me to what is real and true.
Last Wednesday I hosted the final virtual gathering for the first round of Poetry and Place, a writing course combining spending time in nature, listening to life and giving expression to the soul through poetry and expressive writing.
We were a group of nine women on this first Poetry and Place adventure and like all the groups and courses I run, I was nervous for our first call back in April.
However, I needn’t have been, as the group of women who gathered for this journey were quite spectacular and there was a sense of connection and ease from the beginning.
I learned a lot from spending time with these women and I’ve recorded some of my reflections in a video at the end of this post if you think you might want to join me for the next round which will be starting on the 1st July.
One of the things that stood out to me the most was the way these women listened to and held one another without any need to jump in with advice. This meant that everyone felt relaxed and safe enough to share openly and vulnerably. One person described it beautifully as a warm nest.
For me, and I know for many others like me, I tend to retreat from sharing because I’m too often met with advice that feels like it’s trampling over my immediate experience of being human.
Advice, of course, can be brilliant, when it’s what’s needed and requested. But I, like so many of the people I work with, find that what I really need is to be listened to and heard. It’s about trusting that a person knows what is right for them and offering a space of acceptance whilst they explore and uncover that for themselves.
Our weekly calls flowed easily. We talked about being highly sensitive in the world, about the Divine Feminine, about grief, about being ourselves and the struggle that sometimes is. We talked about so many things! And there was lots of silence too. We laughed and cried. We shared poetry and books and photos of the nature spaces we were connecting with for the course.
At the end of our journey, I asked the group if they’d like to share a poem they wrote during our time together and so it is with the greatest pleasure that I’d like to introduce you to three members of the group and their work…
Poem for the May Full Moon
by Pamela Coggins, USA
What do I wish to release under this Flower Moon?
Apologizing for how I am, who I am:
Trying instead to be
I can be these hardened things, at times
But only for a time
Before those rigid masks begin to chafe.
Don’t mistake this for being
This quiet, gentle power speaks in tongues
Indecipherable to those
who listen to the world through hard stone.
I Listen to Your Call
by KJ, Ireland www.solaceinself.org
Closed eyes bathed in sunlight,
I listen to your call,
A thought melts through the silence,
What bird is this?
The thought wants identity,
But I was enjoying the sound as it is,
Do I have to give you a label?
The beings are like this too,
Enjoying themselves as they are,
Until the labels define and give birth
to something unrecognisable.
by Nicole Tenter, Canada
Grief of the here and now pulls on the grief of yesterday
Of needs not met, of pain unseen
Of remembrance and absence
Calling to the love known and unknown
To the yearning, to what will never be
To allow right death allows new birth
Dance in the darkness
Feel the hole to feel whole
Sometimes it rolls in gently like soft smooth wind
and lays a blanket of melancholy
Other times it grips with tsunami like strength
leaving me stunned and swirling for ground
And on occasion it strikes the heart like a piercing knife
I grasp for breath
I brace myself and hold on
Remembering that love still is
and always will be here
Every time I run a group, I feel such gratitude for the people in this community. We seem to have so much in common that it’s often like meeting long lost friends.
I would love it if you would join me in honouring the sharing of these women in the comments section below and of course sharing any of your own thoughts and reflections on anything in today’s letter.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being the wonderful community that you are!
Love and courage,
P.S. If you’d like to join me for the next round of Poetry and Place, you can read the full details and book you space here. You can also see the video with my reflections on the first round of the course just below. And of course, if you have any questions before you jump in, just send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Interesting there was 9 of you as 9 is the # of completion.
I am guilty of giving advice so it was helpful that you brought this issue up.
Lastly, the poems were FABULOUS.
Thank you for sharing them.
I didn’t know that about the number 9!
Ha ha, I guess we all have our way of being in the world, I’m just particularly sensitive to advice 🙂 And thank you for honouring these women and their poems!!!
Christine Noble Seller
So much in this post! Yay to your balcony garden and having plant friends. For hearing about the first Poetry and Place. For sharing Pamela, KJ, and Nicole’s poems and inviting us to celebrate them and their sharing. For creating and sharing a video of your reflections Leah.
Nicole, I connect with my own experiences of grief through your poem.. viscerally and visually.
KJ, the beauty of birdsong. Grateful link to your website was included. Happily checked out and explored your website. Let silence show you the way (I feel happy reading those words).
Pamela, I feel the words, the emotions, the wisdom in your poem… and… celebrate the moon.
I’ve just signed up for the next Poetry & Place!
Thank you so much Christine! I can always count on you to take the time to really witness and honour everyone’s sharings and individual journeys! See you soon for the next round!