19. July 2013 · Comments Off on Unfolding, unrolling… · Categories: Uncategorized

Ferns in Spring at Burnside

When I facilitated my first Wednesday morning workshop in Proprioceptive Writing (PW) at The Orchard, Bridge of Earn, in May, I had one student. Financially it was a washout, but no matter. She (Vanessa) was the right student, who has since begun to make huge strides in turning her life around. June was a non-starter and I could have become depressed.  (Vanessa had flown back to Kenya to discover that while the country she had lived in over 30 years had not changed, she had – a quite startling realization that enabled her to stop mourning the old and move forward with the new.) I was recovering from being hospitalized and so my energy levels low anyway.

Anne, now back at work, and Vanessa, on her way back to university

Anne, now back at work, and Vanessa, on her way back to university

So two months passed with Vanessa keenly awaiting the next workshop, but no further apparent interest. But then a day or so before the morning session booked in June, I had a call from Anne in Falkirk. Did I have any space, she asked. Did I have any space! Yes, I replied, laughing with a kind of shocked pleasure. In fact my surprise was so intense that I forgot to take down her full name and any contact details, so was unsure until the day itself whether she would turn up or not. She did… … and yesterday along brought two more curious souls, Gail and Paul. So they were four. Not because Vanessa could attend: having decided after three years of painful transition that yes, she did live in Scotland,  she was home awaiting pets to arrive from Kenya. But due to the great surprise of a friend turning up with her Japanese partner from New Zealand to stay a few days. Jillian had done a very early writing course with me in Tokyo in 2006, so there was a magical synchronicity in her choosing to work with me again seven years on. So, from one to two to four…  with great enthusiasm all round. Keen to explore the new world of her inner being to which PW had so inspiring provided a key, Anne had done twenty-two WRITES since being introduced to the methodology in June, which I think may be a record.  While this morning Gail mailed me the photo I had taken of them on her mobile (to be posted on GALLERY asap), and said she would “see me again soon, truly!” As to Paul, he wants to take the first DOTWW writing course I can set up… As the work begins to gently roll out ahead me, and autumn schedules fall into place, I am more than encouraged. I am hugely relieved. Because without a meaning-full, use-full and help-full life, the future would be looking somewhat bleak.




Could we live in a more idyllic place?

Could we live in a more idyllic place?

And the current summer weather – the best for years, or so we’re told –   is far too beautiful for that .

13. July 2013 · Comments Off on Shape-shifter extraordinaire · Categories: Uncategorized

DSCN3714Yes, the sun is out and it’s warm enough to take off a fleece, just.  The shades of greens in the landscape are too numerous to count. Lambs are fattening; sheep are shorn and suddenly half their size.  Roses are burgeoning after the late Spring, and the air is redolent with the scents of wild honeysuckles, briars and meadowsweet.

So, summer in Scotland, and after the longest winter for years there are big smiles all round. It could be of concern that we are now this side of midsummer and already nights are shortening. But let’s not go there…

Rather I went to Denmark in late May for a retreat (reported in EAST TO WEST: Opening the Door, part 9 of my series for www.embrace-transition.com/

And most recently drove 700 miles around the east coast of Scotland from Ayr, through Cumbria  and the Lake District and back up through the borders  after a workshop near Kendal: http://scytherspace.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/scything-in-the-rain/

In tune with movement all round, Drawing on the Writer Within is also shaping up, shape shifting…. With three writers signed up for the PW workshop on July 17 (a step-by-step improvement on the one brave soul who turned up in April) and a meeting at another retreat next week, I feel ready to take the plunge back into the work I love and know.

Which reminds me of Emma, who turned up for the very first DOTWW course in Tokyo,  near on eight years ago now.

English Emma, who had been dragged along by Australian friend, Helen, was not especially thrilled by the prospect of having to write…. “I’m not a writer”, she insisted, and to some extent, despite having done all four courses over the years and her writing much admired, still does not regard herself as A Writer. Yet she is one of the most extraordinary talents I have come across in years; a natural story-teller, who has until very recently shown no interest in being published…

This may be changing, however, as she is changing.  She left her prestigious (but highly stressful) job quite recently – very brave in the current climate of insecurity, with so many clinging to jobs they often hate – and headed for South America.

I know because I mailed her, along with other DOTWW writers from those early days, asking them to describe how the work has sat with them over time, and where the written word have taken them. (In Emma’s case, Peru and Ecuador…) Now she is back in Tokyo and seeking meaningful employment, brimming with the quiet unassuming self-confidence that comes from ever deepening self-knowledge.

I remember that very first class, and smile.  Introduced to Proprioceptive Writing, Emma produced a piece of work that left us stilled and speechless with surprise and admiration.

Emma reacted to our astonished silence with angry defiance. “You see,” she said. “I told you I couldn’t write!”

We soon put her right.

Though little to nothing to do with PW as a specific ritual writing practice, this is what rose in her and – in full blossoming flower – spilled onto paper:

(3 February 2005)


Beware, for I am a shape-shifter.

I am the adder flickering across your path.

I am the snowflake swirling through the storm.

I am the bud that slowly unclenches under the first kiss of spring.

I am the whisper of the fern frond unfurling.

I am the far-off land that draws the swallow home.

I am the vine that hugs the ancient trunk.

I am the darkest recess of the deepest cave.

I am the vibration of the violin string.


I am the mountain torrent rushing from the glacier, and I am the expanse of the ocean. Beware the currents that will draw you far from shore.

I am the still axis of the tornado.

I am the perilous beauty of the sleeping panther.

I am the breath of a butterfly’s wing.


I am the life that runs through your veins.

You cannot hold me: I will slip through your fingers like smoke.

But take my hand, and we will dance together in the heart of the flame.






04. July 2013 · Comments Off on What is happening here? · Categories: Uncategorized
God's fingers separate night from day, light and dark, past and future

God’s fingers separate night from day, light and dark, past and future

The sun is out


in its thin light


promise of warmth

I’m finally,

at long


oh so







into summer