'on embracing'

time for a shift of evening patterns
the darkness setting in
time for the flickering wicks of candles
hands wrapping round belly warming drinks
time for the gentle feel of knits
losing yourself in orange
burnt red yellow brown
time for the satisfying crunch of leaves
kicking through endless piles of them
time for the season change

sun rise roofs

'on recently'

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it’s just a stage
you’ve been here before
you’ll get through it again
i whisper on repeat
in menacingly hissing fashion
the toddler tantrums as of late
are leaving me depleted
of any tenderness balance or patience
we are late to everything
as getting dressed is now a negotiable
sun cream application
a screaming wriggling nightmare
and if you pass us by
when i try and wrestle
a karate chopping back arching
shouting two year old into a car seat
please don’t call child services
i really am trying not to lose my composure
over this evolutionary battle
of primal wills
it’s just a stage
i whisper on repeat
is 4pm too early for that glass of rosè
may be if you join me

my brain changers: june

'on changing the way i think'

what are my brain changers
come stay share your thoughts

'on unbecoming'

i first watched 'groundhog day' a few years ago. i loathed it. i found bill murray's character exasperating and andi macdowell's rita equally as irksome. her optimistic naivety felt uncomfortable. i didn't find it remotely funny. i was thoroughly disappointed it did not live up to my 'culturally and historically significant' expectations. 

we recently watched it again. life experiences and introspections aplenty since the last viewing. and it stayed with me. expectations free, i saw it anew. the way i couldn't have done before. the way that now made total sense. the unbecoming of bill murray's cynical weatherman felt acutely personal. aware of the mental effort and time it takes to start paying attention in a particular way, on purpose and non-judgementally. fascinated by how the mind interprets everyday experience and transforms emotions. falling down and muddling through counts way more than standing upright. contentment is a byproduct of intentionally celebrating natural highs. little reasons make up the big reason to live. create what you want right now and see what happens. make way for chances and trust yourself to deal with whatever comes your way.

have you seen it? does it speak to you? tell me

coffee in mirror

'on choosing curiosity over fear'

my recent interest in creative living was inspired entirely by elizabeth gilbert. her 'big magic: creative living beyond fear' changed my mindset and cured me out of an inner void. it urged me to find subtle but restorative meaning in creativity. the everyday kind. i talk about the effect it had on me in more detail when introducing 'creative companions' series. this conversation between elizabeth gilbert and krista tippett for 'on being' podcast was a timely reminder to keep on choosing curiosity

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'on new song discovery'

billie marten's 'bird'
haunting 

'on conscious parenting'

this insightful supersoul conversation between oprah and dr. shefali tsabary, a clinical psychologist, really struck a chord with me. it vocalises so much of how i feel and think as a parent. it confirms and explains my struggles. it uplifts and inspires me to keep on trying. the idea that a child shows the parent where the parent is yet to grow is something i subconsciously wrestled with and resisted. i have since embraced it. and while it doesn't take away the daily parenting trials, it helps not to be so afraid to look at my deeper self. it helps appreciate the connection with little humans through ordinary everyday moments. i hope it helps some of you also.  

'on new favourite book'

'birds art life death: the art of noticing the small and significant' by kyo maclear

a friend lent me a copy. i wouldn't have ordinarily picked it up. i am not a birder and a book about birds felt very out-of-character. yet i savoured it chapter by chapter. falling slowly in love with her writing and way of seeing. feeling like my coming across this 'sketch book' was somehow meant to be. timely. quietly addictive. insightful and hopeful. i have since bought my own copy. to return to and underline at will. 

'on words underlined'

  • 'when you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. in one world - the world of fixed traits - success is about proving you're smart or talented. validating yourself. in the other - the world of changing qualities - it's about stretching yourself to learn something new. developing yourself.' mindset: changing the way you think to fulfil your potential, by prof. carol deck
     
  • 'it’s harder to look at yourself with this same sense of compassionate detachment. practice helps. as with exercise, you may be sore the first few days, but then you will get a little bit better at it every day. i am learning slowly to bring my crazy pinball-machine mind back to this place of friendly detachment towards myself, so i can look out at the world and see all those other things with respect. try looking at your mind as s wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. you don’t drop-kick a puppy into the neighbour’s yard every time it puddles on the floor. you just keep bringing it back to the newspaper. so i keep trying gently to bring my mind back to what is really there to be seen, may be to be seen and noted with a kind of reverence. because if i don’t learn to do this, i think i’ll keep getting things wrong.' bird by bird: instructions on writing and life, by anne lamott

'on good things'

  • me watching him watching the stage. awe and wonder on his face
  • our first ever rose blooming. blush ruffled coy and tentative
  • her legs in shorts. scrapes, bumps, bruises and all. somehow still little, yet already grown up too soon
  • evening whisperings of the garden
  • kefir moustaches
  • scent of home grown mint. in tea. in smoothies. freshly picked and unwashed in little mouths
  • emphatic t's as he tells us the name of his favourite bird 'greatttttt titttttttt'
  • scolding coffee sips
  • theatre date night
  • sprinkler squeals
  • being fast asleep by 9pm. two nights in a row 

have a gentle week and thank you again for your company

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'on not doing much'

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are you away for half-term
no, we are at home
any special plans
no not really
i start to think
it was much too auspicious
to hope get through
with our collective sanity still intact
while planning not to plan too much
reassured by a timely TED talk
i thought of it as weeklong mindset boot camp
to slow down
to embrace the empty time
to laud the natural highs
(accepting plenty natural lows whom am i kidding)
we survived and i think even enjoyed it
mostly and with daily mental effort
redefining how we interpret the experience
all hail neuroplasticity
and its habit changing powers
thank goodness it was only one week long

my brain changers: may

'on changing the way i think'

what are my brain changers
come stay share your thoughts

'on falling in love'

it happened at every yoga class i ever took. it went on for years. a surge of familiar yearning would start to simmer as i unrolled the mat. eager and hopeful. as my body strained and stretched into poses, i felt it boil up. craving and longing. by the time i lay down and tried to let my body sink into the mat, it was at near boiling point. this time it will be different. this time i really will fall in love with it. it really will change the shape and the size of my flesh. i really will become more at peace and loving towards myself. this is the one. i can feel it. i would pack up and head home. still bubbling up with potential. but it would soon turn into vapour. like it always did. i would be disappointed. i'd feel cheated even. everyone else is in love with yoga, what’s wrong with me. 

it has been months since i last went to sona’s class. then i was with a bump and mostly looking to get comfortable. falling in love was not on my agenda. but i remembered her soft spoken ways as nurturing and nourishing. now i was with a toddler instead of a bump. and with a year’s worth of therapy behind me exploring and carefully unpicking my subconsciousness. now i was trusting my gut more. now i started to see value in process over results. i was more curious and inquisitive. i arrived as a beginner eager to just give it a go again. 

i waited as i unrolled the mat. for the familiar yearning. but it didn’t come. or rather its echos were there, but depleted of force. of intensity. it has retreated from the forefront allowing me to stretch and strain mindfully. it watched from the sidelines. a bench player hoping for a substitution. by the time my eyes are closed atop a yoga mat i feel palpably slower and lighter. i continue to show up to classes. to explore what feels good and what doesn’t. i have my own back regardless of how far i can take a pose. i walk out feeling more open to possibilities. uplifted and inspired, instead of yearning. i accept my own limitations and am grateful for small steps of progress. i carry it inside till the next class. and the one after that. and then it hits me. i am falling in love after all. 

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on sona's recommendation, i have since started a 30 day (free online) yoga journey with adriene. i realise i did not play it cool and take it slow. but it seems to suit me for now. adriene is goofy and mindful at once. she makes me ponder and chuckle on the mat, often in the space of the same sentence. she fills me up without weighing me down. she nurtures and energises my beginner's mind. she is the ultimate aspirational girl next door yoga master. 

if you are looking for a disciplined way to show up on the mat, do give adriene a try. and let me know how you get on!

golden hour

'on modern love'

i got into the car to go to a pharmacy. the air sticky and sweltering. i listened to two episodes of the 'modern love' podcast to keep me company. a podcast of real human stories about love, loss and redemption read by known actors and based on the weekly new york times column. stories that make me feel things. lingering kind of feelings. the familiar instrumental is comforting. meghna chakrabarti's voice is soothing. sometimes i laugh with recognition. occasionally i nod with sadness. most of the time i am glad to have made time for an episode. boy, what a fabulous baker made me want to drive to the nearest bakery fast, buy a freshly baked warm sourdough and bite into it while no one is looking. a cup from the fountain of youth left me feeling strangely vulnerable. 

'on mothers and promises'

'i will continue to fill your spirit with immense love and light, so you don't have to go outside yourself to look for it' to my daughter. and son

'on true hard work of love and relationships'

i could listen to alain de botton and krista tippet chatting for always. so much human wisdom in this episode of 'on being' podcast, one of my favourites. they discuss alain's views on love and relationships he expressed in an essay her wrote for the new york times entitled 'why you will marry the wrong person'. alain believes that 'compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition.' what about you? 

'on the stork and the beanstalk'

a mother's journal. it has inspired me for several years now. ashley has a raw and human way with words and photographs. her thoughts on motherhood and other life happenings always leave me wishing for more. her documentary captures invariably tell a story. my heart skips a beat when i see a new post. i always walk away feeling things. and wanting to tell stories in scribbles and captures. i hope you enjoy her as much as i do.

air stream

'on words underlined'

  • 'advice-giving comes naturally to our species, and is mostly done with good intent. but in my experience, the driver behind a lot of advice has as much to do with self-interest as interest in the other’s needs - and some advice can end up doing more harm than good...the human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. it simply wants to be witnessed - to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is. when we make that kind of deep bow to the soul of a suffering person, our respect reinforces the soul’s healing resources, the only resources that can help the sufferer make it through' the gift of presence, the perils of avice
     
  • 'no one ever told me that i would remain, fundamentally, myself. sure, motherhood changes you, but it's not a magical metamorphosis. motherhood hasn't made me an expert at spinning plates or juggling, or...becoming a morning person. i think it would be so helpful if we talked more about the ways that mothers—and all parents—learn to adapt and less about ways that they miraculously transform' by erin boyle who writes reading my tea leaves - one of my favouritest blogs
     
  • 'i will not die an unlived life
    i will not live in fear
    of falling or catching fire. 
    i choose to inhabit my days, 
    to allow my living to open me, 
    to make me less afraid, 
    more accessible, 
    to loosen my heart
    until it becomes a wing, 
    a torch, a promise. 
    i choose to risk my significance; 
    to live so that which came to me as seed
    goes to the next as blossom
    and that which came to me as blossom, 
    goes on as fruit.'
    by dawna markova

'on good things'

  • their matching summer shoes
  • spontaneous pizza dinners on the green
  • stillness and calm that comes with watching birds fleet around a garden feeder 
  • all the shadows that come with more light
  • first scribbles inside a new notebook
  • appreciating yoga classes for what they bring you (slow and mindful), instead of being disappointed about what they do not (immediate results)
  • nights with open windows
  • coming home from a weekend away
  • a new to me old desk that makes me feel like a writer
  • one more new plant for the house. no, we surely don't already have enough plants. yes, i realise my love for them may be bordering on obsession and likely require an intervention at some point soon
  • goldilocks temperatures as of late - shhhhhh, too scared to say it out loud in case i jinx it
  • the smell of barbecued dinners

have a gentle week and thank you again for your company

sunset in kent

'on mental health awareness week'

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this time last year
i asked for help
reversing an eerie state of inner void
help finding laughter joy connection
enjoyment of my everyday
i thought it was a transient phase
one i can pull myself out of
only to realise
i was not equipped to deal with it alone
no one is
so i asked for help
it felt shameful defeatist daunting
in hindsight the bravest step to take
when you are scared, lonely, empty
do ask for help
because when you get to the end
there is always another beginning
a thorny unchartered road ahead
but even just naming the beast
is already part of the moving
forwards and backwards
you look for an opening
the knowledge and motion
helps with the wobbling
take pit stops when you need them
but push on ahead
it takes time and effort to get to the end
but there is always another beginning
do ask for help

‘on weekend getaway in an airstream’

airstream in kent

i often wonder
which ordinary moments of our getaways
will stay with them into their own adulthood
the candy smell of roasted marshmallows
the chirps and tweets of morning birds
the sound of fire crackling and spitting
reading harry potter
in evening woollen layers soaked in smoke
the sleeping all of us together
the comically loud snoring of the littlest one
shaking up the airstream and fields afar
the fairy lights enchanting
the ‘let’s have nutella toast for breakfast
and watch a film in a still warm bed’
meeting new people and their pets
running towards the sun
to catch it shimmer as it plunges
inevitable bickering exchanges
close quarters living does beget
waking up to no plans
the novelty of an outdoor
old red telephone box shower
the moment we are at home
sad and happy it is all over
i often wonder
which ordinary moments
of our getaways
will stay with them
into their own adulthood

‘on posthumous apology or the thames below westminster'

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at once
brushstrokes washed out
and exquisitely determined
each canvas tells its own light story
fog mist sunrise shadow
bright delicate reflection
each as ephemeral as the other
and as i step away
i see it come alive
alight and glowing
each canvas tells its own light story
dear claude-oscar monet
i never until now truly
appreciated your unique creative glory
i am so very sorry

creative companions: inna turchik

who are creative companions?
come join us

'me on her'

at the end of december a card came in the post. a print of a cherry tree in bloom growing atop a whimsical creature. ephemeral and calming in palette. romantic and endearing in scene. a kind of creation that uninhibited imagination would conjure up. on reverse she wrote neatly in black ink that i inspired her to 'be a big dreamer, never stop being creative and also sometimes just stop and admire small things’. i smiled. grinned even. because that is exactly what she inspires me to be and do. and none more so than when she herself feels uninspired. she starts up conversations of raw, vulnerable and honest kind. she is hard on herself seeking, yet gentle on those seeking alongside her. we have not yet met in real life. i hope one day our paths do cross. till then, her card is safely tucked into my notebook, one i scribble in when i want to understand what it is that i am feeling. quietly inspiring me between the pages to seek and create

it may sound nonsense, but i create in order to destroy. i want to destroy that hard shell around true me that i have made through the years

'on what creative living means to her'

i can’t recall a day when i wasn’t creating. for me living on this earth in the first place is creating. it doesn’t really matter if this is something huge or small. the feeling of something that was born in your imagination appearing in real life and becoming tangible is giving me the energy. i never think too long before plunging into a new project or new ideas - if my hearts starts feeling faster when I think about it - i go for it

when I was a kid i used to do all kind of things - as mostly all kids do. i was growing older and even being a teenager i didn’t feel myself without making. i was embroidering, knitting as my mom taught me, writing poetry, prose, painting and designing clothes. i have a very good friend and we always were spending summer days at the huge balcony in her house. it was our sanctuary and all the craziest ideas came out of that place. we hid from the whole world and let our imagination work. i once created a big piece of poetry about my classmates. i wrote some words about them i loved all of them sincerely. they read it and they made me read it aloud, how embarrassing it might sound. then the teachers heard about it and i had to make copies of that notebook on xerox machine so they gave it to other teachers and so on. it was a piece of funny, sincere and wholehearted poetry that i am afraid i might not be able to write again. such things can’t be repeated

that how i imagine my creative living - making something for myself in the first place but then it will help people, make them happier and more fulfilled. there was a period in my life when i was studying in university and i had to work, no time left for creativity. that were the hardest times for me. i didn’t feel alive and whole without making, so at the end of my studies i started photographing everything with my phone. i didn’t have instagram yet and i didn’t know anything about photography, but there was some inner desire to show people how i see this world, how it is reflected in my eyes

at this moment i am in a constant search for myself. it feels like creative living now is creating myself. trying all kinds of arts, fitting different crafts on myself, looking for things that would fit my image of the world and also help other people. creating vehemently, self-obliviously, disconcertingly - until i find the thing that would feel absolutely 'mine'

'on why she creates'

for a very long time i was thinking that i am creating because it can somehow change the world. now i also believe this but from the other perspective. i do it because it helps me to change. when i create i grow. when i grow i can help other to do the same. i do it to break the walls that i once built for myself and hid behind them. i do it to show myself that i don’t need to follow the ridiculous rules that i made for myself alone. i do it in order to tackle that terrible self-doubt and some distorted image of how i should be and what i am supposed to achieve. it may sound nonsense, but i create in order to destroy. i want to destroy that hard shell around true me that i
have made through the years. and if i fail in my creativity - that is even better. because it will show me that being perfect is okay. being light-hearted and not always so responsible is fine. being a human and not an illusion of a perfect daughter, wife and sister is absolutely great

'on how she feels when creating'

it has been one of the most powerful emotions - the feeling of butterflies in my tummy that lasts since the moments when ideas comes into my head until i start making it. i think i have it from my father. when he has an idea he just can’t wait. he goes all in. spends money, time and energy and he loves it

the same with me. when i want to do something it’s so hard to wait. i need to go buy materials for my sewing, or write a poem right in the middle of a workout - no matter where i am - there is no such thing as patience when it comes to creating

the same with photos. when i have an idea i want to do it right away. it’s a pain sometimes because in photography there should be a combination of many things to make it work - light, time and circumstances. one day i did a stupid thing while being on a work trip. i so desperately wanted to take a photo with a mirror in a hotel (it was a really nice vintage one) that i took it from the bathroom into a room. i took a photo, it was nice, but i dropped the mirror after that. sometimes i have to pay for my impatience and creative rush

the main thing in my creativing is not a result, it’s the process. it is the moment when i do it that gives me most satisfaction and energy. i tend to get lost and the outer world can’t reach me at those moments. for example when i am working on some new piece of sewing i forget that i have to do work around the house, i have to go eat and stuff like that. i know this is not always right but i just can’t stop. it makes me feel so alive

'on her earliest memories of creating'

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my family is not working as creatives but they are certainly very talented and creative people. my mom was knitting beautiful sweaters at the time when there was barely anything for sale in ukraine at the beginning of 90ies. she was looking for some foreign knitting magazines and doing brave designs that other people would never think about. my dad does everything by his hand. he can build a city by himself. they taught me that anything can be done by your own hand and mind if you really want it

but some of the earliest memories of some crazy creativity was me embroidering. i loved cross-stitch so much that i spend all my summer holidays doing it. i had a blanket and pillow that i took outside the house; i was sitting in the cherry garden and embroidering for many hours in a row. my grandma showed me some basic stitches and i made a piece by piece. they are still hanging on the wall in my parents’ house. those summer days were the best - a nice shadow of a cherry tree, a cup of tea and i am sitting there all covered in tangled threads, trying to finish the piece of embroidery until my parents come back from work so i might show it to them and they will smile

'on what inspires her'

my biggest inspiration is people who are not afraid to go against the stream. i have always been lacking courage and do something that might not seem right. strangely may it sound but i am inspired by rebels - people who do things that society would expect them to do. people, who drop their jobs to create their own small business, people who don’t get discouraged when they fail. i look at them and they give me strength, because they are living, they don’t waste their time. even if they fail, they tried - and it takes up some guts to do it

and my other source of inspiration is nature. i grew up in a small town, lived in a big house near the forest, lake and we had a big garden. it was very simple life, with a lot of work outside, helping around the garden, having dirty nails and heels, running barefoot in the morning and touching the grass wet from dew. me and my brother spend all the free time outside, so now i try all my best to get the most from the nature which surrounds me here, in a big city i live in now. my heart is longing for a backyard with trees and grass, and most of my ideas come when i go for a walk in the field or in the forest

nature is simple, and at the same time very mysterious. all the plants, insects, animals live in harmony. yes, the world of nature is also not very perfect but at least you can see how all parts of it fit together, i love seeing the change of seasons, contemplating on it. i love the change in how the air smell in all different parts of the year. i am totally a countryside person and hope soon enough i would be able to spend more time outside of the city

'on what creating taught her about herself'

i have learnt that i can do much more than i expect. people started saying me many things that i can never believed - that i am talented, that my work helps them. i learned that i am much more worth that i thought. and i am still struggling with these self-worth issues, but with creating it’s becoming easier. diminishing my value was a normal thing for me. with opening up to people and showing my work i learned that i have been way too harsh on myself. accepting the fact that i matter was the biggest thing for me

i am undergoing a very interesting and at the same time vulnerable period in my life. the struggle between old me that is afraid and new me who want to be brave and making a leap. when i don’t know what to do - i create. even if it not something great, i just do it for myself. i paint, i write, i photograph. it’s me first who needs this to move forward. and at the same time creating gives me a chance to slow down and feel

sometimes i think what is my WHY - what is the purpose. and i came up with an answer that the purpose should not be huge. it can be as simple as that. because creating is ME. the same as i have brown hair and green eyes, i can’t live without being a maker and creator, and it doesn’t matter what exactly i create, but as long as it is not harmful for me and the world - it is my way of saying - i love this life and this world. saying every day, each minute and hearing as the world says it back

'on how she lets herself know she is loved by her'

it’s interesting, because i chose 'balance' as my word for 2018. but it’s been three months since then and  haven’t thought thoroughly about how i can make my life more balanced. one of the areas that definitely need some 'balancing' is my online/offline life. i try to limit my time on web, because it’s eating up all my free time and i have not so much of it at the moment. when i feel overwhelmed (and it happened often recently) i just go for a walk with my dog. i don’t bring my phone with me. other way is to go for a run outside

walking with a dog requires my attention because i have to look after him and play with him, so i forget about all other things. when i go for a run, my body feels so good and mind has some time to rest and become clearer. i often forget that first of all i have to be kind to myself and only then hear this from other people. and in most cases its other people, like you, who remind me about that. being in the loving community, talking to people and taking some downtime give me that valuable balance

'on three things that are part of her everyday'

  • my black notebook: i love paper more than any other objects. i have so many notebooks but this is the first one that i use every day for my notes. it is made in ukraine by one very talented brand and it’s simple and practical, but at the same time very beautiful. i love writing in it in the morning - what i am grateful for, what do i feel, some poetry. i always carry it with me in a backpack, and soon the clear pages will be over. i am glad that the inner part can be replaced and i will start it all over again. journaling is one of the habits that i want to build and do it consistently - writing had a very good effect on me - calming down emotions, bringing mindfulness, clarity of mind and sticking the stickers is so much fun
     
  • my vintage coffee grinder: i was strolling along the flea market on a sunny summer day and i have seen it - a perfect old and rusty outside, but new and working inside, this austrian coffee grinder. every morning i put the handful of coffee beans in it and turn the handle. it produces the most ridiculous loud sound - scratchy and old, but it’s like a music to my ears. it wakes me up better than coffee itself and all my neighbors probably feel the effect too. i like freshly ground coffee with a hint of nutmeg, cinnamon stick and sometimes even ginger. my hand-made mug serves well for slow sipping and hand warming. one of the quietest times of the day
     
  • old table: when we moved into this rent apartment, there was only one piece of furniture in a room - big old table. its legs were shaky and it was full of pots with some dead house plants. my husband fixed the legs and now i can't imagine my days without it. it’s a place for my work and dreaminess. i move it almost every day, and we moved it to different rooms at least four times. it’s not an expensive table and it’s falling apart but so many projects were done thanks to it. i love when it’s clean - there is so much space on it. when i have a clean table and only pen and paper - inspiration is visiting me more often because it knows that i have space for it. i know that when one day we will move to our own space we would have to leave this old table here. and i already feel nostalgic about it

'on how hearing a song she listened to when she was thirteen makes her feel now'

first, 'the nostalgia machine' just sucked me in. i already created a queue of songs and i will be listening to them all day long. second, my choice felt on a song 'you and me' by lifehouse. that was a legendary band when i was a teenager and my romantic soul responded to all their sweet lyrics and guitar melodies 

the words that struck me today were:
everything she does is beautiful
everything she does is right

how much I want that 'everything i do will be right', but of course you never know what exactly is the right choice. the only way is to stick to the first line and strive to do everything in my life in a beautiful way

thank you so very much for joining us
you can see more of inna's work and words on her blog and instagram