Not So Smart Phone

rain lashing on

wind whipped black

umbrella, barely

sheltering

us huddled

together

eyes fixed on

stark glow

in hand

gently, then more

aggressively, finger

punching at

tiny piece of

screen to

transport

us where

we need to be.

train times

halted

network

issue.

primate cooing

at fire

in wintery

glow, distracts

from fact

we could have

walked

there

by now

 

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Being Seen #2: High Sensitivity.

Severn Lichen

It has been a long time since I have written here about the vulnerability of being seen.  This is no surprise.  It is a fearful state for me, to be vulnerable and not know what will happen next.  In leaping into life as an artist, in creating time and conditions to explore the work that interests me, the issues that impassion me, I have opened up a great deal of uncomfortable emotion.  With a vow to not numb anymore, to be with my experience of life, I am tapping into deep pools of grief and pain that call me to action.  But this action will not let me avoid what needs to be sat with and fully experienced first.

I am, and have always been, a highly sensitive person.  I absorb the feelings and atmosphere around me.  I find busy environments draining after a short time. Sound, smell, the textures around me, the emotions of others, visual stimulation, I process it all deeply and reach my limits a lot sooner than many other people.  Around 15-20% of the population are highly sensitive, something I have learned from the work of Elaine Aron and other HSP focused practitioners whom I have been exploring over the last 18 months. Yet, I still struggle with accepting that this is part of me.  I try to out run it, test it, push it and I always, always end up on the floor.  When I listen to it, love it, nourish it I am happy, inspired, focused and creative. A great side of this trait, and it’s deep processing, is I see the nuances in this world in such a way I need very little stimulation to make me curious and keep me entertained.  Time alone, and with those close connections in my life, spent in nature, or exploring life in some way…  This is true happiness.  It is in overstimulation, when I want to rinse out my skin and my mind is whirring and pumping with annoyance, bile and suggestions for how to ‘stop being like this’ that I struggle to move.

To be the change that I want to see in this world means first allowing myself to be sensitive, emotional, fallible and whole.  To grow in strength and to take action to support others in this, through my teaching and creating, I first see myself in my wholeness.  To accept my sensitivity, to look after it, to take care of it.  To not busy myself with answers that sound about right or distractions that feel nice for a time, but leave me yet again alone staring into my unchartered inner waters.

In this process some big decisions are being made.  About my lifestyle, my career, my creative practice, my aspirations and my connections. I notice that I have been pushing for resolution in all of these areas over the last few months, but in writing this and looking at how far I have come and the desire to keep my foot to the floor and the revs up, I ease off a bit.

I am writing this here to give it space, a voice, to be noted.  To include it in the documentation of my creative growth and  practice without shame.  This is what fuels me in many different, but linked, guises.  A reminder to self that to enjoy the gifts of this trait I must also welcome and give love to the challenges it brings.  For it comes as a whole.  A whole heart.

—————-

High Sensitivity – Super information, resources and people:

Elaine Aron – The Highly Sensitive Person

Caroline Van Kimmenade – The Happy Sensitive

Ane Axford – Sensitive + Thriving

Highly Sensitive and Creative

Walk #2 + Walk #3

Walk #2

Walk 2.1

Walk 2.2

Walk 2.3

Walk 2.4

Night walk.

Hidden documenting.

Focus on present detail.

What do I notice?

Where are my eyes and ears drawn towards in the night?

——————————————————————————————–

Walk #3

Walk 3.1 Walk 3.2

Walk 3.4 Walk 3.3

Walk 3.5

Morning walk.

Focus on smell.

Playing with writing.

Writing as public performance.

Held between the lines.

Playing within parameters.

Traces

MJJ Hand written inscription

 

Soil Mechanics in Foundation Engineering: Volume Two – Theory and Practice. Z. Wilun and K Starzewski. 1975. Surrey University Press

Within the pages of old  books I find connection.  A space to rest. A space to enquire. I squirrel away plastic covered tomes from storage boxes. The neat handwriting of my late father. 1976. Aged 29. The same age I am now. November. The month I begin this project. Sensitive souls. Time spent alone. Alone or lonely? Thoughts that escalated and envelope. “You’re so like your father.” Meaning being made. Relationship developing. Understanding flowing. No absolute truths. No answers. I chose my perspective. I feel. I walk, I draw, I write, I think. You are with me. You are part of me. I create to express. To celebrate and validate the sensitive nature we share. I root my feet in the soil, to make stronger foundations. Traces of existence, activity, self, other.  Relinquish control.

 

Composting

It’s that time of year when the damp roads and pathways bubble with the beginnings of mulching leaves.  That smell that means the end of Summer and the beginning of warm socks, knitted jumpers and catching the scent of wood smoke on the breeze.

It has also brought with it a lot of internal composting too.  To be completely honest this has been going on since July (hence the radio silence) but at last the seasons have caught up.  Listening to the hiraeth draw I spent a fantastic and nourishing week at the beautiful Mellowcroft in Powys in August and returned home to West Wales.  Now, back in Bristol I am feeling quite in my element on park walks and in the corners of cafes reflecting and listening to ideas and creative bubbling.

The last few months have brought with it the beginnings of great transition.  An exciting and nail biting step forward in my creative life; returning to part-time freelance Art Facilitator and opening up more time and space to focus on creative practice.  I have had the great fortune to have the multidisciplinary artist (and lovely person) Melanie Thompson agree to mentor me in this step.  The beginning of our journey together has been fantastically enlightening, supportive and inspiring…. and we are still in the starting blocks!

One of the things I have been grappling with over the last few months is the draw for validation about what I am doing. The reassurance that my work, my thoughts, my feelings on life and creating are good, right, justified and worth pursuing.  A trust and confidence I have faced in those shadow moments where all you want is someone to come along and take you by the hand to guide you through… A trust and confidence that only you can truly give yourself, in the middle of those nighttime hours spent pondering your next move.  A patience that feels contradictory.  Grieving for an old life. Witnessing a new life spreading out in front of me.

This is where I find myself now. Slowing down and being with myself.  Digesting change and listening. With pushing and demanding of results, productivity, big, constant, unrelenting action from myself I find myself two steps back.  In staying as connected as possible to my body, maintaining my needs for sleep, good food, exercise, comfort and good connections life begins bubbling and fizzing in the compost.

Creativity from the mulching.  Feeling my way, step by step.

Gone Fishing

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 11.02.33

Mellowcroft – August 2013. Meadow Planting.

Mellowcroft Aug 13

Mellowcroft. August 2013.

Coppet Hall August 2013

Coppet Hall, Pembrokeshire. August 2013.

Back To My Roots

Practicing letter writing.  Bad signage pains me and good signage can make a venue/shop/event.  I have noticed this especially at festivals when working for Pieminister.  The best places with the tastiest food were the ones with the lovingly hand painted signs and menu boards.  Slowing down and taking care with your aesthetic, cooking, outlook and life in general… Well it simply makes everything quite delicious.

I am reconnecting with a love of making words larger than life and getting enthusiastic about learning and developing this craft a lot more.  Making connections between text and image, and allowing that 8 year old self who dreamed of being a sign writer out for a wee run around.

letterwriting

Letter writing practice.

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.53.52

Twit Twoo Tattoo – Edinburgh

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.55.32

Washed by hand. Painted by hand. Easton, Bristol.