DECLUTTERING

DECLUTTERING

house 004Last night I decided to unpack the final, large, cardboard removal box which has remained in the garage, unpacked, since we downsized eight years ago!

It was crammed with files containing the course work and notes from my BA, PGCE, DELTA (an ELT exam) and MA. Talk about a trip back in time!

I thought I’d find it hard to throw all those years of work into the recycling bin but it was easier than expected, especially as a flood of rain had seeped into some of the files, fusing pages and rusting staples.

In the end, all I kept were the BA dissertations – one on Harold Pinter and one on the comic novels of Kingsley Amis. I’ll never use them, but they’ll remind me of happy days being a student.

The empty file covers have been dispatched to the local tip.empty files 008

The garage is still host to various toys, a lawnmower, an old chair, etcetera. That garage has never contained a car in its life and probably never will. But even if the garage doesn’t feel much different, I certainly do. I didn’t realise I was holding on to something I no longer had any use for, until I let it go.

With a light heart, today I’m savouring the extra space in my home and my head.

house 002

 

FINALISTS in the RICHARD HARRINGTON LITERATURE CHALLENGE 2015

'Fairy_Islands'_from_the_book_Elves_and_Fairies_1916_by_Ida_Rentoul_Outhwaite[1]

 

 

 

 

 

FINALISTS IN THE RICHARD HARRINGTON LITERATURE CHALLENGE  2015 – report by the Watford Observer

Entries were limited to 500 words. The theme was Fairytales.

My story is entitled ‘One Wish’.

After you’ve read it, check to see if Watford Football Club (known as the Hornets), really did get promotion to the Premier League.

Source: The remaining top ten stories in the Richard Harrington Literature Challenge 2015 (From Watford Observer)

SEKHMET – THE MIGHTY GODDESS

 

SekhmetSEKHMET – THE MIGHTY GODDESS

Recently I’ve been trying my hand at short stories.  I’m in that space between my latest book being in production and wondering what to do next. So I’ve been writing shorts and putting them in for competitions.

It’s been harder than I thought. A novel allows the characters to breathe, whereas short stories seem to be all about distilling the essence of the tale; forensically cutting out the extraneous. I’m even beginning to see the virtue of flash fiction, which requires the story to be cut to the bone.

The upside of all this activity, is that I’ve been studying the work of the various winners of last year’s competitions, so I am beginning to get an idea of what’s expected.

Writing’s like that. You start out writing freely, until you submit your work and the people in the know tell you where you’ve failed to follow the formula: like making clear what the protagonist wants in the first thirty pages of the book; introducing main players in the first third; when to bring in more conflict, etc.

My latest story is about a woman who’s arranged a meeting with a man she knew years before. She’s early, so she spends half an hour in the British Museum, one of their regular haunts when they were together. She goes to the Egyptian sculpture gallery to see her favourite statue of Sekhmet, the warrior goddess, depicted with the body of a woman and the head of a lioness –  the lioness was the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. 

The woman in the story reads the description of Sekhmet and begins to think about the past. When she returns home, after an unsatisfactory reunion lunch, she seems to have absorbed some of Sekhmet’s power, as she resolves to ‘keep hunting’.

This summer, I’m going to keep hunting for a short story prize to help me decide whether my next book’s going to be a stand-alone novel or a series of stories linked to a central theme. Only time will tell (sounds like a good title for a short).

‘Pandora’s Gift’, the third and final book in the Pandora series, will be out later this year.

RELEASE JUDGEMENTS AND STEP INTO YOUR I AM ness by Penny Wing

Release judgements and step into your I AM ness by Penny Wing

Almost from the moment we are born we are taught judgement – I am sure some of you have heard mothers say to their children: “You can’t play with that child, he is not from the same estate as us” or “We can’t go to that church because they hold different religious services to our church” that sort of thing….judgement is programmed into us from a very early age!

As we move into the energy of the New Golden Age it is so important, in fact it is vital, to be able to let go of judgement. Not always an easy thing to do especially when we are dealing with the human ego, eh? What you judge you attract, it is that simple! If you can learn to look at everything with an open heart and learn to love it all you will experience more joy and joy is one of the keys to Ascension. Source has created the perfect universe but has also allowed humanity to have free will. In essence everything is happening as it should be when it should be but that is not always an easy concept to understand when you see what is going on in parts of the world. It is important to understand that every bad thing that happens is an opportunity for people to learn and the most painful experiences are the ones that teach us the most. Of course we may not be able to see that when we are in the middle of that energy but take a moment to look back at painful times in your life and you will always find something that you have learnt from it and that is why we are here – to learn and to grow and to ultimately ascend!

Czakry[2]A useful technique I have learnt from Melissie Jolley, the founder of Colour Mirrors, is called going into your I AM ness and I use it a lot!! It is very simple yet so effective, try it and email me to let me know how you get on!

So this is what I do when the going gets tough. I take a deep breath in, bring golden energy up from the earth and anchor it into my base/sacral/solar plexus chakras, I also bring down white energy from Source and feel that in the same chakras whilst affirming “I AM” – I then bring both the gold and white energy up to my heart whilst affirming “WE ARE THE I AM” – the last stage is bringing both the gold and white energy up through the throat/3rd eye to the crown whilst affirming “WE ARE THE ELOHIM”. This simple technique brings me straight into alignment with who I really am – a powerful energy being in a human body (just like you!!).

If, for some reason, you don’t have time to visualise the energy moving, just saying the words out loud will raise your energy vibration and consequently shift the energy around how you see and deal with all situations.Work on letting go of judgements and see how your life changes into one of pure joy!!

Namaste, Penny WingCelestial Light Academy, www.pennywing.com

Source: Diana Cooper’s June 2015 Newsletter – Diana Cooper

THE GODDESS WITHIN

THE GODDESS WITHIN

512px-Kwan_yin_(green_gulch)[1]The eastern goddess of compassion, Quan Yin, has a walk-on part in all three novels in the Pandora series. I’ve been looking through some old papers and I found this healing prayer addressed to Quan Yin.  If you want to send healing, loving thoughts to someone, here it is:

I love the love of God in my soul and I love the love of God in the soul of (name of person). 

This is to be said three times morning and evening and benefits the recipient greatly.

If you feel like flexing your compassion muscle further, try meditating with the Buddhist goddess Tara.

Start by picturing her sitting on a lotus in the middle of a calm nectar sea.  Breathe deeply in and out of your nostrils, breathing in pure light and breathing out all negativity.  Intone Tara’s mantra: Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha, the meaning of which is very far-ranging but379px-Green_tara_1947_wk[1] includes the exhortation for the goddess to swiftly liberate us from suffering and fear. Visualise white nectar flowing from Tara’s heart down through your crown into your body and mind and contemplate Tara’s wisdom entering into you so that you receive all the wisdom that Tara possesses. 

Secondly, while still reciting the mantra, imagine nectar entering your heart while you receive all the power to guide others that Tara possesses. 

Thirdly, visualize the nectar entering your body and mind and with it the great compassion that Tara possesses.  Continue to recite the mantra and imagine the nectar in every atom of your body. In this blissful state, wish all beings well and resolve to benefit all with whom you come into contact. 

Finally, imagine becoming one with goddess Tara so that you are an identical being of wisdom, power and compassion, spreading your goodness to all you meet and liberating them from suffering and fear.

Quan Yin’s prayer and Tara’s meditation are perfect examples of using ‘the goddess within’.

 

HEALING WATER

Bernadette

Bernadette

HEALING WATER

Bernadette Soubirous was a girl of fourteen when, on 11 February 1858, an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared to her as she was out walking with her sister and a friend.  The lady appeared again; on one occasion a small spring began to flow after she told Bernadette to dig in the mud. This water was seen to have healing properties and Lourdes has become a famous destination for prayer and healing.

When I was fourteen I joined a school trip to Lourdes, organised by the Servite  nuns from the convent school I attended. It was summer, but Sister Alban, the headmistress, gave us a dispensation from wearing our regulation (awful) straw hats and issued us with a navy beret apiece. It still didn’t make us look French.

In those days, only children from orphanages in France wore a uniform so when we helped out in the large refectory, serving pilgrims, they thought we were poor English orphans. The nuns told us this but I don’t know if they told the French we weren’t  – maybe they gave orphans bigger portions 120px-Lourdes_bidons_vierges_1[1]so the sisters decided to  keep quiet. Anyway, we threw ourselves into it and even submerged ourselves in the healing baths. I don’t remember much more about it, except that we bought tasteful plastic containers and filled them full of the water to take back home to give to the mums and aunties.

I was reminded of my trip when I read a message from Patricia Cota-Robles on www.eraofpeace.org. Her followers have collected Healing Waters from all over the world, including, of course, Lourdes, to create a Sacred Blend of Healing Water. She is offering a small vial of starter water to anyone who contacts her. The starter water needs to be activated so the vial comes with instructions on how to do this.

Science Museum, London, Wellcome Images (cc by 4.0)

Science Museum, London, Wellcome Images (cc by 4.0)

As you can imagine, I was only too happy to receive this gift (Patricia sends it free but donations are welcome).

In ‘Squaring Circles’ a healing circle produces an elixir of life which has the remarkable effect of turning back Pandora’s biological clock. I’m not saying that the Sacred Blend will do that for me, but I’m slightly excited about taking it and wondering if my bikini body may be on its way back from the grave.

Whatever we expect from our Healing Water, the great thing is that now everyone can have their very own supply without having to leave the country or take part in a pagan ritual!

 

 

A LYRICAL LIFE – WRITING FOR PERSONAL GROWTH

A Lyrical Life – writing for personal growth

256px-Codex_Manesse_Schulmeister_von_Esslingen[1]

 The more you focus on something, the more automatic it becomes, and writing regularly can lead to a fluency which is often referred to as ‘being in the flow’. In Taoism, the concept of ‘flow’ is life being lived in balance and harmony, like a river finding its natural course. The act of writing connects you to your creative nature, which in turn attunes you to this ‘flow’.

The following is an encapsulated version of a short correspondence course I wrote on the subject of achieving a positive shift by means of guided writing based on the CHAKRA system.  The course is no longer active, but you might like to try this taster for yourself.

Czakry[2]

 

Instructions: Simply write down the answers to each of the questions in as brief or expanded a way as you like. Pen and paper is best for this process. If possible, find someone you trust to read your work and discuss it with you.

 

 Practice 1Red Base Chakra – Security and Survival

What was your first memory/impression of the world?

What is your favourite childhood memory? And your least favourite?

What people or things in your life do you value highly, and why?

Do you provide support for anyone? Could you help anyone feel more supported and secure?

Assignment: A horror story!

 

Practice 2Orange Sacral Chakra – Feelings, Sexuality

 Did you experience the anxiety of separation when you first went to school/nursery?

What is your friendship circle like? Do you sometimes find friendship demanding? Do you demand a lot from your friends?

When were you last moved to tears? And laughter?

Do you think that males and females have different expectations of sexual encounters?

Assignment: Write about one of your friends or lovers.

 

Practice 3Yellow Solar Plexus Chakra – Power and Wisdom  

 Can you recount any instances of risky adolescent behaviour, relating to you, your friends or your own children?

What do you feel self-assured and fearless about? What makes you apprehensive because you lack faith in yourself?

How would you answer the question: Who am I? Are you fairly constant in character or ‘all things to all men’?

Can you sum up what being wise means to you?

Assignment: An article entitled ‘How I would like the world to be’. Make it as surreal as you like.

 

Practice 4Pink/green Heart Chakra – Love

 When do you feel you truly became an adult?

Describe the best and worst jobs you’ve ever had. What would be your perfect job?

Have you any reservations about giving and receiving love? Do you sometimes feel dependent on, or even addicted to, another person?

To love others, first we need to love ourselves, and so it is with forgiveness. Is there something you find hard to forgive – in yourself – or others?

Assignment: Have a go at writing a love poem. Write a love story, truth or fiction.

 

Practice 5Sky Blue Throat Chakra – Communication

 What are your thoughts on middle age? Do the positives outweigh the negatives?

Do you tend to be trustful or mistrustful? Do you find that people live up (or down) to your expectations?

Do you have the freedom to express yourself as you would wish? Do you give others the opportunity to communicate effectively with you? Do you ever overstate your case?

How do you think your attitudes and opinions affect others?

Assignment: When you communicate with Source through meditation you open a channel of potential creation. Writing can also be a means of communicating your intentions. Write down how you’d like to create the coming year, after each intention, writing one positive step you will take towards that goal.

 

 Practice 6Indigo Third Eye Chakra – Intuition

Do you agree that physical signs of ageing are a result of our expectations? Is society ageist? Are you looking forward to retirement?

Of the knowledge you have acquired, what do you value most highly? What course of learning would you like to embark on, if time and money were no object?

How developed is your intuition? Have you noticed any increase in your intuition since you’ve started writing regularly? 

Assignment: Suspend any disbelief you might have, and write to your guardian angel. Give him/her (they’re gender neutral) a problem or two to solve on your behalf, then write the reply. You might get some good advice back!

 

Practice 7Violet Crown Chakra – Spirituality

What do you expect to happen when you die? Who will you see? Where will you be?

Have you had any experiences with formal religion? If these were negative, is any anger or lack of forgiveness now resolved?

Write about a loss of some kind you have survived. Is someone missing you? Do you need to contact someone?

What would you like your obituary to say?

Assignment: Start a daily journal where you ask advice about decisions you need to take and jot down anything that’s on your mind.256px-Codex_Manesse_Schulmeister_von_Esslingen[1]

I trust you’ll enjoy the writing practice and, on a more subtle level, the chakra cleansing and clearing that can occur as a result of addressing the relevant issues. I hope you achieve a lyrical life, and will always be ‘in the flow’.

IS ‘SQUARING CIRCLES’ A BOOK ON GEOMETRY?

cover - Squaring Circles

IS ‘SQUARING CIRCLES’ A BOOK ON GEOMETRY?

Like most of my generation, I was brought up to be modest and self-effacing. We were told to leave the praise to others and never blow our own trumpets. But O tempora! O mores! How times have changed. The revolution in book production, marketing and publicity means that nowadays all authors – from best-selling to non-selling – have to push themselves forward to be noticed. Not only do we have to blow our own horns, we have to get others to swell the chorus along with us.

Here’s a conundrum. Called upon to pick up a friend’s daughter from school recently, I was surprised to find myself the object of attention of a clutch of eight-year-olds. On the way home, my young charge revealed that she’d told her class I was ‘a famous author’. (They’d been reading ‘Harry Potter’ and the fantasy must have gone to her head).

             ‘No, no!’ I protested. You mustn’t say that.

             ‘But I’ve seen your book,’ she said, ‘and you’re on the internet.’

             ‘Yes, but I’m not famous.’

Scarce had the words left my lips than my inner voice whispered: Be careful what you wish for. Oh dear. I’d caught myself in a heinous act of subversion: namely, sending mixed messages to the universe. What’s the point of (quite understandably, surely?) wishing for huge sales on the one hand, while trying to maintain as low a profile as possible on the other?

Uråsa_kyrka_Ängel052[1]

Uråsa church, Sweden. Bernt Fransson

Having spent months – years even – gestating a living, breathing book, we owe it to our creations to give them a decent chance of surviving and prospering. So here’s the opening reveille for Squaring Circles, due to enter the world on 26 September 2014.

BACKGROUND
The main character, Pandora, debuted in Transforming Pandora, which gives the backdrop of her life from the age of eighteen. Squaring Circles opens with her mother’s burial in a paddock in Glastonbury.

WHAT’S WITH THE TITLE?
You may well ask. One of the reasons I chose Squaring Circles was that the expression ‘to square the circle’ means ‘to find a way around a difficult problem’. Pandora encounters quite a few of these, the first at the very beginning, when her mother’s grave is disturbed. In an effort to find the culprit she turns detective, staying in Glastonbury, away from her family home. This is bad timing for her marriage, as her partner, Jay, is working closely with another problem – Gaby, a predatory singer who has designs on him. An extra complication arises when Pandora comes across Zac, an old flame, who offers her a tempting new job in a completely different sphere.

The title also relates to her social circles and how they could be healed or ‘squared’. Pandora’s present family circle includes Jay’s five children, three of them teenagers, unfamiliar to her until four years earlier. What’s more, a blood relative turns up whose identity has been kept a secret for over thirty years.

There are other circles, too: the Glastonbury community her mother was part of and the clients Pandora meets through the sound therapy work she does. And there is the Circle of Isis – a healing group her mother was involved with, which a scheming couple want to use for their own ends.

128px-Squaredcircle.svg[1]Finally, there’s a geometric connection. Rosemary, a character who also appears in the first book, describes herself as ‘a practical alchemist’ and practises her art within the Circle of Isis. A common symbol for alchemy is a circle within a square within a triangle, within a circle. If you look closely at the cover you can see all those shapes.

Have I convinced you that the title passes muster? I hope so. Just don’t ask me where the triangle comes in. Wait a minute, that must be the Jay, Pandora, Gaby triangle and the Jay, Pandora, Zac triangle. Thanks for helping me work that out.

There’s one more Pandora book to come, so now all I have to do is square the circle of what she does next and what to call it when she’s finished doing whatever she decides to do!