risking the relief of unfurling

I’m fascinated by the buds on one of my cyclamen.

cyclamen budsI’ve had  a soft spot for this flower since the evening in my 20s when I was given a small bunch of wild cyclamen. They were carried to me by an old woman with a basket of tiny posies and sent from an ‘across the restaurant’ admirer in Perugia, Italy. We only spoke briefly as he and his friends left the restaurant. It wasn’t the prelude to anything, just a moment of being seen; a rare meeting with someone I never saw again yet a courteous meeting and a potent appreciation.

This particular cyclamen is eager to bloom. So eager that it hasn’t waited for its leaves to form. Instead its buds curl against the naked corm until the right combination of moisture, warmth and light lure them upwards on straight stems. From a spiral of coiled tightness pointing towards the earth, each bloom flings its furl of petals upwards with an abandon I can’t help but relish.

As humans, we can risk letting parts of ourselves expand out of constricted spaces. I have pondered this phenomenon with a friend lately as we both relinquish fetters and taste new aspects of life. The extraordinary power of unfurling is usually achieved after we have let go of some old pain, allowed ourselves to see life freshly, freed our heart from its limitations. One moment we feel tight then miraculously and in a gesture probably started deep within and long before, unfurling begins. New parts of ourselves seem as keen as my cyclamen flowers to reveal themselves to the world.

To explore this phenomenon of unfurling, on Thursday 15, 22 and 29 March from 1-3pm, I will host a series of three ‘word pilgrim‘ sessions around the themes of letting go, transformation and renewal. You can join me for $100 or $85 (concession). Of course there will be the usual mix of creative and collaborative exercises to help us make sense of our lives and bring our spirituality into daily action.

Please let me know if you would like to come along.

clearing soul congestion

Sweep-Return-Bristles-Broom-Close-Cleanliness-667324.jpegA friend of mine and fellow writer told me she doesn’t like that term. ‘It feels thick, clumsy,’ I think she said.

‘Exactly!’ I thought. ‘That’s right’ When we’re in the grip of soul congestion then our heart feels shrouded and wooden. We can’t feel or we over-feel what is going on. We shift between panic and low moods, excitement and despair. We need a soul decongestant but we usually just give in to a familiar reaction instead. Continue reading “clearing soul congestion”


ferns growing beside a narrow side door in the chapel wall at Tocal

Returning from a conference on the theme of ‘life and living’ at Tocal Agricultural College in the Hunter Valley,  I feel broadened and deepened by the wisdom of Craig Holdrege of the Nature Institute, of Helmy Abouleish, the leader of Egyptian community Sekem, and of Gunther Hauk of Spikenard Farm. This came after four days in Melbourne at the moral technologies conference basking in the teaching of Orland Bishop* of Shadetree Multicultural Centre. Continue reading “become”

meeting trust

One of the exercises that I find most useful in my own life and offer to others who are experiencing emotional stuckness, is to imagine an encounter with a feeling. It may be one that’s bothering us, like grief or frustration, or perhaps it’s one that we’re seeking to encourage; one that doesn’t come so easily to us. The task is to picture the emotion as a character and interact with it. Continue reading “meeting trust”

reactivity and creativity

cracked footpathOften when we become aware of some part of ourselves that is stuck, we want to fix or change it STRAIGHT away! ‘OK,’ we say to ourselves when we’ve caught ourselves involved in a soul pattern we don’t like, ‘I’m NEVER going to do that again.’ We just want to be well rid of our habit of self-sabotage, our lack of trust in ourselves, our tendency towards criticising others, or whatever unhelpful habit our soul slips into. Continue reading “reactivity and creativity”