Random Harvest 15

Well we’re moving steadily through January now and I always seem to experience the same feelings every year at this time. I sense a sluggishness from ‘out there’ : it may be with social interaction, personal motivation, or just a feeling of absence. I strive to get back into my usual rhythms while deciding to be open to new possibilities, to be refreshed as it were. But no matter how proactive I try to be, I still feel a sense of waiting for outside forces, and this time I’ve been trying to understand what is going on. I came across a quote on facebook by author, Elizabeth Erickson, which may go some way to explain it:

So, winter is a time of hibernation in nature, a time of going to ground, and because we are part of nature too, then many people can succumb to a lack of energy, both physical and mental. It’s also a time for catching colds and winter bugs – I’ve had one myself this week. Add to that the pressure of self-imposed goal making and resolutions, then we can  end up being too hard on ourselves if we don’t feel like cracking on. This seems to be the common scenario. As for me, I’ve been doing some family visiting, some marketing for After Black, I’ve finished a painting, and got back into my writing by picking up the threads of novel number 3 and have discovered creating is where I need to be. But I am looking forward to the energy from ‘out there’ to pick up again. If anyone can relate to this, then feel free to comment. Maybe I should find a January jaunt to go on next year?

There are three random harvests today:

1. A Tech Tip

First up is a piece of techy stuff for those of you who have multiple web links, or maybe because you engage with more than one creative pursuit and you strive to represent them collectively online, like me. Writer, Ari Meghlen, who gives masses of help to other writers on her brilliant blog, has talked about this tip and I’ve followed it through this week. It’s creating one link for all of your links which can be accessed for free through Link Tree . It generates a single link for you (like the trunk of a tree) and you list all the online places to find you or your work (you hang your leaves on). It’s excellent to have to cite in particular places online or on certain occasions, not necessarily for sole usage, but nevertheless, a neat little tool – your very own marketing tree.

2. Work in Progress

But enough of tech, over to painting! I finally finished my peony painting, now entitled, Peony Millefiori, after much deliberation. A friend said the finished background reminded her of stained glass, and that seems fitting as it was a blown glass pattern on a vase which gave me the idea in the first place, as well as my loving stained glass effects in my paintings. But the Italian term millefiori (a thousand flowers) popped into my head, for the multiple cane effects used in paperweights. Intense and colourful, so the term seems apt. Here goes with a visual reminder of the work in progress stages to the final result.

It was a bit scary doing the final stage, and I had to make the peony leaves and the stalk stand out further against the ground, but overall I’m very pleased and I’m happy to do another of a purple opium poppy to make a pair :>)

3. Spiritual philosophy : what we can learn from fighting ducks

January reflections led me once again to pick up what has become my absolute favourite spiritual growth book, A New Earth : Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, by spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle. I bought this book about 6 years ago after reading Tolle’s The Power of Now. I struggled with the first few chapters because they seemed too widely encompassing in talking about the whole planet, too idealistic and fanciful to me at the time, but always I am drawn back to this book, because every time I read it I gain some knowledge, some insights, and hopefully some wisdom if I can put the teaching into practice, which I try to do. What I love about Eckhart Tolle is that he draws upon many religions collectively to teach a healthy spirituality and a tangibly practical philosophy of life. And because the personal can become political, and because this can in turn affect the world through governments and social structures, who in turn have a significant effect on the health of the planet, then this is perhaps why the first few chapters have a fundamentally mother nature power and a biblical scope to them. These days, those first chapters seem so highly relevant. Soon enough though, Tolle gets down to plenty of wonderfully written specifics. He originally studied psychology along with literature and philosophy, so this may explain why he has an amazing insight into human dysfunction, unhappiness, and inner and interpersonal conflict, as well as identifying what is the healthiest and happiest way of being. All of this is addressed in A New Earth, and it truly deserves its spiritual place on this earth!

So where do the fighting ducks come in? Well, Tolle gives us a funny visual metaphor to demonstrate how we can learn from ducks to let go of negative energy after we’ve created some conflict with another person. And let’s face it, this is going to happen unless we live in a vacuum. And if you are anything like me, even though you may have behaved exactly in line with your personal values and would say the same thing or act exactly the same  way again, you nevertheless feel the upset and replay and analyse the ‘conflict scene’ for days afterwards, in direct proportion to the level of negative energy it stirred up. So when I began to read about the fighting ducks, my own recent conflict experience, and all the subsequent thinking I’ve been doing, suddenly  fitted with Tolle’s metaphor, and I now have a visual for my mind’s eye to help me in the future whenever this happens again – which it surely will!

The lesson is: Two ducks get into an argument and fight one another, gripping each other around the neck with their beaks and wrestling. After they have finished their disagreement they paddle away in different directions. Each duck then flap its wings vigorously a few times thus releasing the surplus energy that has built up during the fight. Then they float away peacefully as if nothing happened.

Tolle points out:

‘if the duck had a human mind it would keep the argument alive by thinking and story making. This would probably be the duck’s story: I don’t believe what he just did! He came to within five inches of me. He thinks he owns this pond. He has no consideration for my private space. I’ll never trust him again. Next time, he’ll try something else just to annoy me. I’m sure he’s plotting something already. But I’m not going to stand for this. I’ll teach him a lesson he won’t forget. And on and on the mind spins its tales, still thinking about it days, months, or years later.’

Tolle explains, that as far as our human body and mind is concerned after this situation, the fight still goes on, and the energy it generates in response to these thoughts is in the form of emotion which in turn generates more thinking, and this becomes the emotional thinking of the ego. This is how so many of us live all the time. No situation or event is ever done with…Our duck’s lesson is this: Flap your wings and let go of the negative energy, the pending story, and return to the only place of real power: the present moment.

I love this because there is so much we can learn from nature, we just have to watch carefully and take in the hidden messages. So if the garden is lying dormant and ‘out there’ seems to be echoing this, then I must respect that, but maybe come up with some ideas to change my own repeating pattern for next January, where winter is still acknowledged, but my wings aren’t clipped by it.

Wishing you all the best for the nurturing of your creative ideas at this contemplative time of the year.

 

About lynnefisher

Writer and visual artist living in Scotland, INFJ type Writer's blog: lynnefisher.wordpress.com Art: lynnehenderson.co.uk Twitter @writeartblog Writers page Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lynnefisherheadtoheadhearttoheart/ Artists page Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lynnehendersonartist/
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21 Responses to Random Harvest 15

  1. Rick Ellrod says:

    Lynne — Fascinating point about winter! I wonder if that has something to do with why so many New Year’s resolutions don’t work out.

    Also, beautiful paintings.

    Rick

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, Lynne! I sometimes find it harder to write during the spring and summer because I just want to be outdoors, walking around, discovering trees and flowers and fowl. Too much energy to sit still maybe.

    Great painting and great ducky advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So many nuggets of wisdom in this post, Lynne. I really enjoy Tolle’s books, although I had completely forgotten about the ducks until you jogged my memory. Such a true metaphor. Let it happen, then let it go. I’ll have to check in to Link Tree and the writer you mentioned. I hope you are feeling better now. It is the season…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Yes, I used a product called ‘first defence’ to minimise the symptoms of the cold – it worked! Tolle is spot on about so much but the challenge is to put his wise words into practice whilst dealing with our social environment and that can be tricky! Good to hear from you, Cheryl :>)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. parkermccoy says:

    January is a great time for sleeping. I always hope that people are expecting as little as possible out of me. Then, even if I get out wave at them one day, it’s a victory! Ha. Nice ducks by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bryan Wagner says:

    Lots of good stuff. Thank you. Something that dropped in is “We are not our thoughts.” We are the one watching our thoughts. For me there is a lot of freedom in that reference frame.
    Thanks

    Liked by 2 people

  6. G. J. Jolly says:

    I rather like the month of January. It’s a time of rebirth from the inside out for me. I don’t make new year resolutions but I do think of January as a new beginning just the same. I do my spring cleaning this month, taking the darkened colors from the rooms that had been part of the holiday season and replacing them with pastels. I take time to look at my activities in a new light, hoping to achieve a new perspective in the way I go about them. Sometimes I find myself taking on new activities and discarding ones that don’t mean what they used to.

    Like

    • lynnefisher says:

      That sounds a lovely way to ‘organise’ oneself and surroundings for a new beginning and I know what you mean about hoping to achieve a new perspective. I think that is happening within me just now. I’m evaluating what I care about, what I perhaps need to let go of, and what I want to be open to explore, so in this light it can be turned into a positive! I’m not getting the answers immediately, but I’m working on them. Thank you so much for sharing :>)

      Like

  7. galenpearl says:

    So true. Winter is the season of stillness. New Year inspires us to undertake resolutions, but this calendar new year does not coincide with nature’s calendar. Spring would be a much better choice as a time for new undertakings as life begins anew and the light overtakes the darkness at the equinox. Interesting that the calendar new year marks the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere. I wonder what impact that has on internal cycles.

    Love those ducks! Especially the image of that last wing flap. That is perfect.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lynnefisher says:

      Ah, I think this is a great point, Galen! It must have a widespread effect and can still impact the aim to live each day to the full irregardless of the time of year. Yes, I’ll be remembering the ducks and the 2020 vision!

      Like

  8. A.P. says:

    Thanks for this, Lynne. I’ve been feeling much the same way. It’s a good time to develop contemplative faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thanks, Andy. It’s not so easy to articulate because its an ‘out there’ as well as an ‘in here’ feeling and they fuel each other. Contemplative faith or a plan to change the pattern for next year through doing something different with January is in order! (haven’t forgotten your email :>))

      Liked by 1 person

      • A.P. says:

        I actually did kinda get into the Moon late last night and there was an earthy form of contemplation that felt like a transcendence of out-there and in-here influences. (If that makes the slightest bit of sense!) I am as you know a highly charged person. It’s difficult to address the Winter which wants to remove some of my charge. But its own charge is of a subtler current, and one that bears attention. + No worries on the email. I’m generally more relaxed and confident than I was over the dread of holiday. Cheers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lynnefisher says:

        Staring at a night sky is transcending, isn’t it? The here, within us, and the out there which seems infinite. I think i’m feeling that Winter is taking some of my charge, Andy, kind of against my will, and that’s why it’s galling me. I’ll try to tune into the subtler current. Good to know you’re feeling more chipper :>)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my goodness, I’d forgotten the ducks! But clearly it made an impact because I still metaphorically flap my wings to let things go 🙂 I read Tolle years ago, I loved him and got so much from his first two books, but have never returned to him. Maybe it’s time. I have lived for many years understanding the seasons and the different ways they affect us. We are not separate from nature, though I understand that is not a generally considered concept any more. (And that’s the reason the planet is in the state it is) I am always enchanted (have I told you this before?) when you write about these inner processes and I’m glad to see you honouring them. I purchased ‘Back to Black’ early last December and still haven’t read it yet. I’ve just moved it up to the front of the Kindle list 🙂 I got inundated by books last year and my daughter, the bookseller, included at least half a dozen books in each gift for Mothers Day, my birthday and Christmas as well as sending the odd reading copy she had finished with and thought I’d enjoy through the year. Add to that the few books I buy and my Audible list which is also ever growing and I feel I must seriously consider taking up reading as my life’s work if I am to get through this pile before I die 🙂 Such a privileged lifestyle! And of course finally I must say what a glorious painting you came up with. You are so talented Lynne – it’s lovely to see your work xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Lovely to hear from you Pauline – as always! I’ve been through so many personal development books and I’ve gleaned so much from them, but Tolle’s New Earth is the one I just keep coming back to and it sits there on my kindle for when I feel the need. And I love the ducks because it’s so visual, visual remberings work best for me and I suspect for many artists. Regarding your point about us being part of nature, maybe the discomfort comes from the fact, as you’ve said, that it certainly ISN’T an accepted concept anymore, so we make no personal allowances or social allowances for this sluggish time of year at all. It operates within and outside of us but is not acknowledged much – and I think this not acknowledging must be what I find so annoying. In fact, I think this is exactly the problem! As for being sensitive to seasonal changes, that is certainly increasing the older I get.

      Oh my goodness, with a bookseller for a daughter, you must have a long to-read list! No rush, Pauline, honestly, just enjoy your reading. Thank you for the compliments and thank you for appreciating the inner process sharing – that is much appreciated in turn. Cheers, Pauline, and happy reading and creating :>)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sumi Singh says:

    Hi Lynne! Happy 2020! I feel the same about this time of the year where I hope for renewed energy and determination to achieve my goals, but before I know it I feel exhausted just returning to work! And so it goes day in and week in. I love your paintings btw, it always amazes me how talented you are – to write and paint, how wonderful! I’ve read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle a few years ago. I found some aspects that I could relate to. He makes it seem so easy to just be present and not allow outside interferences get the better of us. Although its harder said than done, we being human, filled with emotions and our non-stop thinking ways. I will make a point of getting a New Earth on your recommendation 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Oh thanks, Sumi! It’s very reassuring to know this slump feeling is shared. Regarding being talented, I honestly just do what I care about and relish learning and I’ve had more time (I’m 58 in feb) to pursue more than one creative outlet. This has not led to making much money though, so there is always a negative! Yes, you are so right about Tolle’s lessons being difficult to put into practice with those ‘outside interferences’ – in some ways it is a real achievement to get the messages into our hearts and minds at all! Cheers, Sumi, and happy 2020 :>)

      Liked by 1 person

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