Desiderata-living

My eye caught this beautiful scene of the sunlight through my front window this afternoon & I paused to take it in… the roses & green grass behind and, in the middle, this framed calligraphy of the beautiful, guiding poem Desiderata.

As I take time off following the end of a beautiful, hard job that stretched, broke (in bad & good ways), grew, shaped, blessed, fulfilled & thrived me…

As I take time off to think & feel & plan & be, before starting a new challenge & path ahead…

As I take time to enjoy art & reading & space & friendship,

this poem speaks to me anew & I am enjoying living it’s advice to (poem summary ahead):

Go placidly amidst the noise & haste & remember what peace there may be in silence.

Be on good terms with all persons.

Listen.

Don’t compare.

Enjoy plans & achievements alike.

Be at peace with God. See the beauty amidst the ugly drudgery it the world.

Be yourself.

Yes, be yourself.

Be yourself.

Through this hard year I have learnt the value of being more myself.

Of self-awareness, understanding & acceptance.

Acceptance which leads to better growth – of self & others.

And to the beautiful power & freedom of working, living, relating from a place of ever-more Me-ness as I continue to push on and let go.

As I continue to grow into the stunning living poem I am & write & draw my own story as I go.

Advertisements

Sunflower counselling

Yesterday evening, for a WILD Friday night, I had my first counselling session. It’s been a long time coming. And I found a therapist I related to, who gets my comments about gender and race and keeps up with my flicking between received pronunciation and street language. A therapist who is REAL, in her gold reeboks, natural black-girl hair & statement t-shirt!

So 50minutes of ranting/ mature sharing later and I’m feeling ‘yep, I could work with you’…. and then the price was shared. Pow! The tears which had been building as I’d so freely shared my anger & pain spilled out. Cos it felt like a door that was opening had suddenly slammed shut!

Fast forward five minutes, as I came to the bottom of the stairs of her office I saw that the cosy waiting room was empty (cos y’know, it was FRIDAY NIGHT!)… so I walked to it to sit, cry, pray, & process.

AND THEN I SAW THIS: a Sunflower painting.

And I knew. This is my place. This is my counsellor. This is my God / the wall (delete according to your theistic belief!) confirming it to me. Saying ‘I see you, I’ve led you here, trust and proceed’. To add a little context, my nickname is Sunflower. But it’s more than a nickname. My being is Sunflower. I am Sunflower. So I sat, cried, listened to soothing music & prayed: I will go forward & TRUST the money & timings will work out. As sunflowers move to follow the sun, I’ll keep moving into this space that’s been offered, following the sun & helping to put the shadows behind me.

The regret trinity

I generally think regret gets a bad name.

I regret a lot in life: not persevering with learning a language or instrument; not trying harder in school; saying I Love You back when I didn’t mean it (!!); having cheese and crackers tonight after a day of healthy eating; repeatedly going to bed too late, and lots more!

I think the idea that is oh so popular on inspirational Pinterest posters (ugh), that regrets are bad and we should have none just misses the whole point and deep value of regrets! They can be the best motivator and prod us to grow into the people we aspire to be; to be better friends and lovers etc, to improve at work, to save money and take better care of our health etcccc.

Regret isn’t shame.

Shame labels us and makes us stuck.

Regret labels behaviour and moves us forward (well, for me it usually takes a few regrets to get the lesson but hey, it counts!).

Anyway, I was mulling on this recently and this short poem came to mind…

Regret:

The gap between

What you do

Who you are,

And what you want to do

And who you want to be.

Shame:

The gulf between

What you do,

Who you are,

And what other people want you to do

And who others want you to be.

Freedom

Neither wallowing in regret,

Nor ignoring its painful lessons,

Rather striving to do and be

What and who you want to be.

And not letting others’ (imagined?) views hinder your quest.

NLB 3.1.19

Hair love as self love

It’s taken me *so* many years to LOVE my hair.

Having absorbed our society’s (& thanks to the globalisation of advertising, now ‘the world’s’!) ‘only straight hair is beautiful’ narrative which tells me and others harmful lies…

Lies which say:

It’s not curly, it’s ‘wild’

It’s not thick it’s ‘untameable’

It’s not strong it’s ‘coarse’

And…above all: its ‘frizzy’ and must be ‘fixed’.

Fixed with silicone and paid for at a high cost to both our purses and our self-acceptance and love.

I call Bullshit!

I call my hair what it is & always has been: BEAUTIFUL.

In celebration of nudity

I’m writing from the Lounge at the airport in Switzerland at the end of a greatly enjoyable, beautiful, tiring, snowboarding holiday with my hub and a bunch of mates. Beside the stunning scenery & our friendly, handsome instructor (hee hee) was the Swiss Spa. Cue FULL NUDITY, no British prudish reservedness, just let it all hang out!

Image: Amelia Allen

To be clear, I am quintessentially English in many an area, but when it comes to physical reservation (or speaking loudly or frankly!) my Ghanaian side wins over and I fully welcome the relaxing opportunity to set aside nonsensical British prudishness re nudity. I actually genuinely think more nudity in (safe, consensual, non-sexualised) contexts like this would be beneficial.

Firstly, if adolescents went to the local swimming pool & in a safe, relaxed, respectful setting regularly saw what NORMAL bodies look like-all different, with wobbly bulges, pokey bones & marks etc- it’d help British kids who use porn for ‘sex education’ (a commonly given reason) know that it’s fake, false & thus help their real-life expectations & awareness. Similarly, it could boost body confidence for teenagers and adults alike-esp females who are bombarded with adverts to correct our skin tone/texture/wrinkles/flabbiness etcccc. To see bodies that are normal, in all different shapes & sizes would be a great counterbalance to the deceit & stress of a society where even trim, toned, personally-trained, beautiful celebrities are routinely photoshopped! And as well as the relief gained from comparing oneself to normal, uniquely shaped bodies, one’s own body-confidence would almost certainly increase as nudity at the monthly spa would allow us to accept & relax with our bodies more easily & not to depend on external validation that all our bodies are wonderful, unique, beautiful things!

Image: Everyday Body Confidence

Finally, I think it would be SO helpful as a means to un-sexualising bodies! British culture is so hyper sexualised-again, mainly re women’s bodies but men get it too. Whereas seeing men of all shapes & ages wandering around, chatting to each other stark naked & not perving off me, or other women brave/relaxed enough to leave the towel, was so positive & so safe.

So, in a society where often the first & only body one sees aside from one’s own is in a porn clip or when having sex for the first time, I think it could help us be more aware, more confident, more relaxed, and more safe in our bodies if we were just around them more!