Sunday, 23 January 2011

Intention Eleven

Begin where you are, with who you are. In order to go where you want to go creatively, you have to start somewhere. And the best place to start is precisely where you are.
Julia Cameron

I have decided to do regular check ins here on 'Explorations of Elloaness' about my intentions for 2011.

If you remember, my intentions for this year are:

Self - to nurture little Ell by having one artist's date a week with her.

Family and Friends - to extend love to people by making them cards and buying them heartfelt gifts.

Spirit - to complete the lessons in ACIM and to remain committed as a student and teacher of the Course.

World - to continue to offer my blog as a soft place to land.

In naming my intentions for the year, I had some awareness of the blocks and resistance that would arise. The strongest area of resistance has been around the blog. I have felt removed from it, and somewhat disconnected from the writer inside me. I've been reading amazing posts by my companions, and a sense of quiet sadness has settled inside me; sadness that I haven't been writing, sadness that I still believe it has to look a certain way.

I feel sadness, yet it is not the truth. I recognize that tonight with relief.

When we do not act in the direction of our dreams, we are only "dreaming". Ask: Do I want to make this? If the answer is yes, then begin. Fire the arrow.
Julia Cameron

I am so grateful that every step I take towards the Creative Child inside is met by Spirit rushing in to greet me with open arms:

- Every card I have made so far, I've really enjoyed making; the process of creating has offered a window of focus for me, removing me from the senseless babbling on of my ego mind. I have experienced the power of transforming imagining into something physical and tangible. I have seen in my mind's eye and replicated that in the world. There is something quite magical about that for me, who as a child longed to make art yet simply didn't know how, didn't get messy, didn't believe it was any good anyway.

- Every artist's date has resulted in me feeling more connected, even if only momentarily. That moment becomes a sacred moment of connection with myself, and with Love. I wonder what this week's date will involve?
- I am keeping going slowly, slowly with the lessons. The struggle I've been having is not falling asleep when I meditate in the morning. One thing is for certain though - the immediate impact it has on me when I don't meditate is tangible to me and also affects those closest to me. It's been a bit of a wobbly couple of weeks, and I'm run down and exhausted all the time. Meditation is medicine, a soothing balm to my world-weary soul. I commit to sitting tomorrow morning before work (yes, before).

- Despite the resistance, I continue to check in periodically here. The point of this space is gentleness, not a word count or a weapon to beat myself over the head with.

My proudest moments related to my intentions this year so far have been making Nige a birthday card, making my sister Daisy a birthday card, and making Neala, my landlord's daughter, a good luck card for her first exam which is tomorrow.

I notice too though that lots of other creative moments are spontaneously popping up; drawing pictures with Nige in the restuarant on his birthday; giving away all the clothes I don't feel good in anymore; starting to look at Julia Cameron's "Walking in this World"; taking my first singing lesson; repairing broken jewellery; putting fairy lights back up in my bedroom; connecting with friends on the phone and in person (something I can so easily avoid); singing and dancing at a party on Saturday night; having a go at some sensory work with Nige; praying; learning the choreography for Annie... and on, and on.

May the unfolding continue... and may you delight in the creative child within you.

We take no step unpartnered. The moment we open ourselves to making art, we simultaneously open ourselves to our maker.
Julia Cameron

Friday, 21 January 2011

A poem for my friend Nige

I love you as your day draws to a close,

and I love you as your death advances nearer still,

and I love you as you die,

and I love you after you've discarded your body,

and I love you when you return, forgetting all you are,

and when you remember again,

I love you.

Doubting doubt

This evening, my lesson is undoubtedly to doubt doubt.

I doubt myself, I feel ashamed.
I doubt myself, I feel afraid.
I doubt myself, I feel constricted.
I doubt myself, I am restricted.
I doubt myself, I feel unhappy.
I doubt myself, I feel quite crappy.
I doubt myself, I want to hide.
I doubt myself, I believe that I
Am not enough, am talentless too,
Because I doubt, I think this true.

But truth be told, I know it's lies,
I know that who I am is fine,
I know that I can breathe, let go,
I know because God tells me so,
I breathe in deep and see the sky,
the stars, the moon, the dark, the light,
And when the morn' comes round again,
I'll wake up and I'll call me 'friend'.

In doubting doubt, I find my home,
The place inside where all is warm,
Where softness greets me at the door,
And where my full heart doubts no more.

Just as I can write this poem in five minutes, so too can I find her within me and gently coax her to the fore... and have fun in the process! It's just art, after all - a chance to simply express without fear. And I do so love expressing myself!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Post-Proposal Blues and How to Overcome Them

On 27th December 2010, my best friend asked me to marry him. It was so beautiful. The days after drifted by in a haze of happiness and sense of oneness (enter dreamy music, the sound of soft violins and birds chirping and tweeting in the background...)

And then fear arrived.

Ever since the week after Nige asked me to marry him, I have felt a bit strange. 

I have been afraid. Terrified, even.

I am like the soothsayer in the recent pantomime I took part in – “Woe, woe! All is doomed.” 

I keep waiting for the moment to arrive when he changes his mind, when we stop liking each other. And I find myself being triggered by his words, judging him and thinking that I don't like him, and that I especially do not like me.

It’s time to return to innocence.

This much I know – being asked to marry your soul mate does not make the ego disappear.

I had a glimmer of awareness that this would be a time for much-needed vigilance, and I have done my best with it. As I reflect on the last few weeks, I realise that all my darkest thoughts, lurking in the shadowy corners of my mind, like the 'baddie' waiting in the wings, have come to the fore and are taking centre stage in my mind.

My ego is doing a fine job of making it extremely personal.

My quest is to stand for the Truth of Innocence. So many thoughts, behaviours and habits are currently masking innocence from my awareness – but that doesn’t change the truth. The truth is there, waiting to be experienced, waiting for my welcome.

It's time to return to Love.

Tonight, as I enter my house with a lingering sense of dis-ease, I decide to throw my arms wide open and say, “Bring it on.” Ms. Ego, you want confrontation? I am ready to dive right into the ring of fire with you.

Here are some of the thoughts I've been battling recently. Somehow, today I am ready to answer back.

He will leave. Or die. Yes, that's it; he will DIE.
And I will be so grateful to have spent countless minutes, hours, and days in his presence.

But he won’t BE THERE anymore for you to be with. 
Oh, he’s here. He’s always here. There’s a part of me that is forever changed, forever remembered, from knowing him.

Someone else is going to come along – someone prettier than you. Someone wittier, and funnier, someone more like him. A woman who he fancies more than you, a more talented actress, writer and singer. Someone you can never live up to. She will appear just when you've got your guard down - at a play, or through a blog, or in the coffee shop. She will destroy your life by ripping him away from you. YOU WILL BE ABANDONED.
No. Do you hear me? I said, NO. 

Today, no more of this. No more.

Everything that is pure and innocent and loving whispers gently to the depths of my soul that it is safe to trust, and that I am enough, and that if only I would let go, I would experience such peace that it would touch the very core of my being and reverberate around the world.

I know jealousy. I know insecurity. I know comparison - oh so, so well. Moodiness, feeling attention-starved, being on the outside, worrying, experiencing that sick-to-my-stomach feeling that knocks the wind out of my sails.

And I do not want to live my life carting these burdens around with me.

Perhaps the most valuable lesson I have ever been taught is this:

I can choose once again.

Today I am choosing once again because I have invested my faith in fear and it hurts. 

I will greet my life with a willingness to hear the Holy Spirit’s Voice in the middle of all things. I cannot control what may or may not happen, but I can choose to put my faith into the teachings that I have experienced as giving me the only true stability I have ever known. 

Only the Love is real in any situation. 

I am enough. I am safe. I cannot be abandoned, for I am part of God and connected with all my brothers. The connection I have with Nige cannot be threatened. I am not a body, I am free. I am as God created me. I can greet pain with arms open, gut wrenching sobs with surrender, deep loss with gentleness, and when I remember, I can ask, “What is this for, Spirit? What is this for?”

Life is precious, beautiful and alive right now. I am growing, remembering and returning to innocence, and every time I forget gives me a valuable opportunity to remember again.

So I'm sorry Ms. Ego, but there is no going back. In fact, I want a divorce.

I choose to go to his arms this evening with adoration, openness and delight. I choose to offer a soft place to land. I choose to choose again every time I am triggered.

The thought that I could just be utterly, unabashedly in love with Nigel Atkinson has terrified me into withdrawl and guardedness of late. 

What is this for? Perhaps, I muse, it is a perfect opportunity - a gift! - for me to see myself and my past differently - this fear certainly didn't begin in this relationship. I have carried it with me, probably for lifetimes, but certainly for 27 years.

The little girl inside me is convinced that she was abandoned, and that if only she'd been different, it would not have happened. Today, I gently unravel the tightly wound cord that binds her, freeing her hands and feet, her ribcage and her heart, until she looks around and realizes with astonished wonder that she is safe, she is whole, and she is Love. 

Changing my mind about myself means forgiving my past, forgiving the perpetrators and allowing the truth to caress me and embrace me.

Dear God, please help me to change my mind so that I can remember the Truth...

... and suddenly, a light begins to dawn...

... I was not abandoned, was I?
No Elloa, you were not abandoned. I have always been with you.
... I was not damaged, was I?
No Elloa, you were not damaged. You are whole, complete and pure.
... I was loved, wasn't I? Little baby Elloa was loved beyond words!
Yes, little baby Elloa was and is loved beyond words.
... And little girl Elloa was delighted in; she was pure delight, wasn't she?
Yes, little girl Elloa was delighted in - she is pure delight!
... They did the best they could. They really did the best they could. 
Yes, Ell... they are all doing their best, even when it looks like their worst.
What is not an extension of love is simply a cry for it. Hear only that and you will hear My Voice.
... And the hush of Heaven holds my heart today...

Yes, the hush of Heaven holds your heart today....

"Father, how still today! How quietly do all things fall in place! This is the day that has been chosen as the time in which I come to understand the lesson that there is no need I do anything. In You is every choice already made. In You has every conflict been resolved. In You is everything I hope to find given me. Your peace is mine. My heart is quiet, and my mind at rest. You Love is Heaven, and Your Love is mine."
ACIM, lesson 286

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Daisy's Birthday Card

Embodying one of my four Intentions for 2011, I have made my sister Daisy a birthday card... 

Inside, it simply reads:

You are 
beautiful. love elloa

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

My First Artist's Date of the Year

I have just had 12 of the most nourishing minutes of 2011 so far - on my first artist's date with Little Ell.

Having set my intentions, I wanted to do something today to spend just a few minutes with the precious, innocent child who lives on inside me. Following my own inner guidance, I simply tuned in and asked, "What do you want to do, little one?", and the answer came back clear as a bell...

Watch Button Moon!

I find it astonishing that I am just as enraptured and overjoyed by watching 'Button Moon' as I was over 20 years ago; this tells me that the inner child is a living being who does not disappear in the mists of time. What a beautiful realization today!

I literally giggled, guffawed and howled out loud as the 27 year old woman stepped aside and watched on as the child in me returned once again to her favourite TV programme. Look out for the cross-dressing bottle and Freddy Teddy, a personal fave. Those of you who know me will realize that Ragdoll is scarily like my sister Rosie. And I love that Mrs. Spoon is much taller than Mr. Spoon - classic!

Button Moon used to fascinate me, and what fascinates me today is that I find myself having the same inquisitive, curious-minded questions and thoughts - how big are the puppets, and the set? How do they move the characters? How do they make the spaceship take off? I wish I could make my own Button Moon...

I had never watched this episode before, which thrilled me even more (especially given that it's my little sister Daisy's 20th birthday today!). If you want a few fun minutes with your inner child (or perhaps your actual child!), or perhaps to get to know me a little bit better, watch on and enjoy...

For me, it's time to go act - two months of rehearsals are over, and tonight the pantomime begins! I love this beautiful, adventurous life I lead...

Sunday, 2 January 2011

2011 Intentions

I intended to write my intentions for the new year (or "yecade", as my father calls it), a while ago... and somehow that intention didn't manifest. Oops!

The Clearmind community in Liverpool did an exercise recently in which they set their intentions for the New Year by videoing themselves. I knew that I wanted to do mine, so here they are...

P.S. I do not normally have such a massive lisp! Nige tells me I have a little lisp sometimes, which is news to me...