#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘5 Steps to Writing a Poem’ #March2021 @Pixabay #Poetry #ThursdayMotivation

Today’s just one of those days…

The Moon's hiding
In night's black cave,
The darkest hour,
Seconds before 
You surrender,
The moment when
Hope has devoured
Your weary dreams,
Open your eyes,
Look up to sky,
The cloud has passed,
The moon is always there,
However dark the night.
@LucciaGray

Being almost 62, I’ve had a few dark days and the advantages of having so much experience is that I have some strategies to overcome some of those bleak moments we all have, now and again, sometimes for a reason, but often for none at all.

Here’s what I do. I have my WAM, or water and music therapy, described in this post, where I remind myself that I’m invincible. Other times I give in to my melancholy and write a poem. I love writing poems, and it comes fairly easily, but a proper poem to show the world takes at least two hours, plus sometimes I just leave it to rest in my mind and come back later or another day to revise or finish.

5 Steps to writing a poem when you’re feeling blue.

This is what works for me. You need pen and paper or your journal, that’s it. Optional: music, favourite poems, films etc.

First I just freewrite, stream-of-consciousness style. I get it all off my chest, but I put a time and length limit (I don’t want to (over)wallow in my misery), of about ten minutes or one page in my notebook or sheet of paper. This is really helpful, because it helps me understand how I’m feeling. That in itself will make you feel much better, but let’s continue.

Secondly, I look at the words and expressions I’ve used. In this case I had darkest hour, dark night, no hope, pitch black, dark cave, loss, sentences such as ‘the darkest moment is just before dawn’ came to mind, etc. . On another, clean page, write the main words or short phrases, taken from what you’ve written, each on a separate line. At this point You can think of song lyrics and poems or even film or book titles that align with your feelings and add the lines or words, or any other words and short phrases which come to mind.

Thirdly. Congratulations, your poem is there, but now you have to give your words a rhythm. I like to work with syllables, which is why I love haikus 5-7-5 or tankas 5-7-5-7-7. It’s simple, and it works. Order your words into the syllables and lines. You should be able to come up with a few short poems. You don’t need to use all the words, you wrote, just a few to highlight your feelings, and you can add synonyms for rhyming purposes.

Fourthly, Great! We’re nearly there. I play around with syllables and sounds, this time I’m paying closer attention to the meaning or feelings I wish to transmit. Here I often change the syllables and rhythm to suit my words and feelings. Today’s poem above is not a haiku or tanka, it’s mostly four syllable lines, except the last two which have six syllables.

This is how my poem started off this morning,

Finally, because fifthly sounds funny, you need a new sheet of paper and write out your rough version or versions, you may have more than one. You add the final touches and if you’re happy, type it out and show it to the world, and if it doesn’t sound quite right and your inspiration is in tatters, put it in a drawer and come back later to finish.

Whatever you’ve written, I bet you feel better already. I always do! And, of course, I don’t publish them all. Some never get properly polished, they’re just for me and my journal.

Do you write poems when you’re feeling blue?

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

#SilentSunday ‘SIX Things that Happened in March 2021’ #OneWordSunday #haiku

Six little flowers and six little big things which happened this month, because each day is made up of wonderful little occasions which make life’s happy moments. These photos were taken over the last few days during my walks.

Every small flower

Brings a huge smile to my lips

Little things matter

1- My daughter and grandson, who live in Germany, stayed for two weeks.
2- I walked 182 kilometers, an average of 6K daily, which is my best so far this year.
3- I’ve kept up my morning, blogging and writing routine which I planned in January, about 90% of the month.
4- I’ve completed all 3 edits of Blood Moon and a revised edition of All Hallows at Eyre Hall to be published in May and June 2021.
5- I’ve gathered research, planned the main plot and character arcs of Christmas at Eyre Hall, to be published in December 2021.
6- I’ve uploaded my first podcast of a blog post (yesterday’s) on Spotify via Anchor.

This post was written in response to the One Word Sunday challenge on Debbie Smyth’s blog, Travel with Intent. Pop over and join in!

#SoCS Stream of Consciousness Saturday ‘The Question is Who, and the answer is…’ #SaturdayThoughts #Tanka

This post was written in response to Linda Hill’s weekly Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. 

 This week’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday Linda has asked us to begin a post starting with the word ‘who’. Join in and have fun!

This morning, as I do most mornings, as part of my morning routine, I wrote my morning pages. There are many ways to write your morning pages, more in tomorrow’s post, but for me it’s just one page of free writing which takes about ten minutes to write in my journal. This morning I responded to Linda’s prompt and started with the word ‘who’. Here’s what I wrote.

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Click on the link to listen to the podcast The Question is ‘Who’, and the Answer is…. 

 

Who said life would be easy, or fun, or even interesting?

Who told you all your dreams would come true?

Who predicted true love and happiness were in your path?

Perhaps it was your parents, or a TV ad or programme, or a grandparent, friend, teacher, or even a therapist?

Or maybe You decided that You were worth it, that You were enough, that it was You who foretold and visualised your future and then made it come true by turning wishes into goals with careful planning, perseverance, hard work, motivation and determination? And why not? A little help along the way.

It was You who made the promises, and it is You who can make them come true.

Who said it was possible, valuable and deserved? You

Who said it was impossible, worthless or undeserved? You

Who is right either way? You

It is always You. So, believe in yourself, work on yourself, plan to make your dreams become goals and make them come true, because your life is a gift, and You have the power; it’s in your hands.

The question is WHO, and the answer is YOU.


Writing this post has reminded me of the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley.

Here’s the last stanza:

It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

I Hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday! Take care and stay safe.

#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘Invincible’ #March2021 @Pixabay #Haiku #ThursdayMotivation

Today I needed a WAM Morning, that is my Water And Music therapy. Step 1: I get up and jump into the shower while my favourite motivating song/s of the moment are playing, loud enough to block out my terrible singing!

The songs vary depending on my mood. Today it was The Champion sung by Carrie Underwood on replay, and by the time I went downstairs for Step 2: my first cup of tea, I already felt energised. I did 7 minutes of quick exercises, stretches and breathing while the water boiled, as usual. Step 3: I then carried my tea into my study and write my morning pages in my journal, again as usual.

I don’t follow any set rules for my morning pages; I freewrite whatever I need to say to myself or get off my chest, or what I’ve dreamed of, or what I’m worried or happy about, for no longer than ten minutes. I have a busy day ahead, so there’s no point in wasting more time than is strictly necessary on brooding or daydreaming.

And now I’m ready for Step 4: to face the day with a big smile on my face!

What do you do to bring a smile to your face on a challenging morning?

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

 

#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘The Sun Will Rise’ #March2021 @Pixabay #Haiku #ThursdayMotivation

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.  Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, 1862. 

After darkest night

Sun will rise on horizon

Bringing light and warmth 

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We cannot avoid dark nights, there will be one every day, as surely as the sun will rise. As the sun sets, the night gradually darkens until ‘the darkest moment is just before dawn’.

Black night will descend,

Dawn will break darkest moment,

Hope will rise like sun.

We cannot avoid loss, any more than we can avoid the night, but we can be comforted with the fact that daylight will always follow.  

Avoiding loss means avoiding love. If we do not love we will not mourn any loss, but it would be a loveless life.

Some philosophers like Heidegger suggest that as our being is finite, then an authentic human life can only be found by confronting our mortality and trying to make a meaning out of the fact of death. In this case, the acceptance of our mortal limitation is the basis for an affirmation of our life.  

And while we carry our pain like a backpack full of bricks, we must make a conscious effort to gradually lighten our load and live each moment mindfully, not only to be alive.

Advice and suggestions for coping with loss here in my post on ‘6 Ways to recover from grief.’ 

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘Butterfly Effect’ #March2021 @Pixabay

Don’t worry, I’m not going to introduce you to Edward Lorenz’s hypothesis, presented at the New York Academy of Science, in which he states that the flutter of a butterfly’s wings could set in motion a movement of air which could eventually lead to a hurricane on the other side of our planet. There are arguments for and against this theory, but I don’t have the scientific knowledge to enter into a discussion on the subject.

I’m going to write about the importance of apparently little things which can have a tremendous impact on our lives.

Small, often improvised decisions or sheer luck, can have long-lasting positive or negative effects on our lives and the lives of the people we interact with, regardless of whether we are aware of the consequences. In fact, we may never know how our words or actions changed the course of someone’s life.

Chance meetings

How many of you met the person you are currently living with by chance? If I hadn’t visited a friend of a friend on a specific day, I would never have met my husband. By the way, I never saw her again, so she doesn’t know! Many friends have mentioned similar experiences. Job opportunities, finding the right house, etc. are often the result of a chance encounter.

Minor Changes to Our Routines

I recently reviewed ‘Feel Better in Five’ and ‘Atomic Habits’, two books about how minor changes to our routines can make a tremendous impact on our lives.

For example, imagine never brushing your teeth, and now imagine doing so three times a day for 2 minutes, and what a great impact that makes on your oral health.

Five or ten minutes of exercise, or meditation, or journaling will improve our wellbeing enormously.

Happy Moments

What about your happy moments? Some of your happiest moments were life-changing events, such as a birth, a wedding or an official ceremony. These moments are few and far between.

Most of our happy moments are smaller, often intimate events such as a photograph you took, a letter you received or sent, a coffee with a friend, a text message, a phone call, a kiss, a hug, words of encouragement from a friend or a stranger. Our lives are full of a multitude of small moments, which make us happy.

The older I get, the more important little things become, because every day is made up of moments and I’m determined to make each one special.

It’s a bit like the saying, ‘Take care of the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.’ So, ‘Take care of the moments and the days will take care of themselves.’

I looked up the quote, just in case, and as I had supposed, someone else said something very similar, first!

In this case, anglo-Irish, 18th century writer,  Maria Edgeworth said: If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.

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Do you practice any small actions which impact your life?

Has a chance encounter or event changed the course of your life?

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

#MondayMotivation ‘Happy International Women’s Day 2021’ Isabel Allende ‘Soul of a Woman’ #MondayBlogs #IWD2021

For the women I love,

And the women I have loved and will love,

For my mother, who fought to be free,

For my sister who died

Before freedom was grasped,

For my friends, whose love I crave,

For my colleagues, whose support I need,

For readers who devour our adventures,

For writers who spread their stories,

For my daughters who were born free,

For my granddaughter, who must remember

To share our journeys,

And for everyone who is lucky enough

to have a woman in their lives,

Happy Day and Happy Life,

I’m proud of you all.

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Today I’m sharing a very special book, by a very special writer. Soul of a Woman by one of my favourite writers, the fabulous Isabel Allende.

The Soul of a Woman by [Isabel Allende]

From the Blurb

When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, I am not exaggerating,” begins Isabel Allende. As a child, she watched her mother, abandoned by her husband, provide for her three small children without “resources or voice.” Isabel became a fierce and defiant little girl, determined to fight for the life her mother couldn’t have.

As a young woman coming of age in the late 1960s, she rode the second wave of feminism. Among a tribe of like-minded female journalists, Allende for the first time felt comfortable in her own skin, as they wrote “with a knife between our teeth” about women’s issues. She has seen what the movement has accomplished in the course of her lifetime. And over the course of three passionate marriages, she has learned how to grow as a woman while having a partner, when to step away, and the rewards of embracing one’s sexuality.

I listened to The Soul of A woman on Audible. It is a short but intense memoir of her feminist journey and includes topics that would interest women of any age, such as womanhood, feminism, parenting, and she also discusses aging and love.

This wonderful little book is full of real-life experiences, knowledge and insight of one of the most fascinating contemporary authors writing in Spanish, although she speaks perfect English and all her novels have been translated into English.

Isabel Allende reminds us that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers paved the way for us, and there is still is a lot to be done, all over the world, but young women today, especially in countries which enjoy greater social freedom must be reminded of what previous generations have done and are still doing to further equality.

I like her inclusive idea of Feminism, which is not against men who are also victims of patriarchy, but in favour of women and our struggle to be seen and heard.

Listen to Isabel speaking about the Soul of a Woman.

Take care and stay safe.

Here’s the link if you’d like to read my other posts on #MondayBlogs and on #PersonalGrowth 

Check this post out to find out about my Blogging schedule.