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. 


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'

roasting marshmellows.jpeg

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

my brain changers: april

'on changing the way i think'

what are my brain changers
come stay share your thoughts

'on how to craft a memorable story'

there’s a continual narrative at work in each of our lives that’s being shaped and honed by our choices. storytelling provides the lens through which we can see those choices more clearly. it gives us perspective and helps us make sense of our experiences. we write these stories down to expose the unexposed, to appreciate our choices, vent our frustrations, sort out our confusions, and untangle threads of our imagination
'how to craft a memorable story' by kacie mcgeary

in her post kacie talks about helpful techniques to craft an engaging story
ones that help to take hold of your audience

'on healing through photography'

lyubov slyusareva celebrates life in its most ordinary and vulnerable moments
imperfect and struggling
plain and beautiful

'on raising a human'

cool is an emotional straight jacket, by brene brown
i must remember these words when time comes for awkward teenage years
oprah's supersoul sundays really are 'emotional chasers' at any age

'on inspiration'


humans who make room
for their passion
whatever that may be
abundant in enthusiasm
they draw they pull me in
despite the usual mortal imperfections
there is a wholesomeness to them
they nourish by osmosis
even if i only know them
at virtual arm’s length

inspired by recently discovered thoughts and writings of quietly uplifting mel wiggins

'on words underlined' 

  • it’s often personal stories that help us see the bigger picture: landscape and history suddenly come alive and ordinary objects take on a new meaning. our personal connection to a place can provide missing links and a new way to look at the world 'a thread in time'
  • you would be surprised at how hard it is to be open to new and different good things. being open to new things that are bad - disasters, say - is pretty easy...but new, good things are a challenge, by amy fussleman
  • i understand getting stuck. i understand wanting to make a change while circling around the same neural cage. i understand that sometimes, when you are at the stage of life when you have given yourself over to mothering and daughtering and you get to keep very little of yourself, it can be hard to live with open doors. yet in an effort to hoard solitude and keep people out, there is a risk that you all you end up doing is fencing yourself in 'the art of noticing the small and significant' by kyo maclear
  • i write because i don’t know what i think until i read what i say, by flannery o'connor

'on good things'

  • a rare sighting of the bottom of the laundry basket
  • daylight still after supper is cleared up
  • her 'can you believe it?' face every time she sees her bean stalk shoot up a little taller
  • a bag that fits my camera and lense
  • way such bag makes me feel a more 'legitimate' creative
  • finally finally finally manually adjusting iso on my nikon
  • daffodils, on kitchen table and all over the garden
  • her declaring our road a 'wedding street' for all the blossom
  • freshly printed smell of new issues, of not one but two, favourite magazines
  • making new memories just her and me
  • familiar pull of an unputdownable book

have a gentle week and thank you again for your company






introducing series: 'creative companions'

one day i stopped feeling much at all
an eerie state of inner void
i disconnected as a mother
wife daughter sister friend
i stopped laughing
i opted out of enjoying 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
and all the while
took photos and scribbled down words
for 365 days straight
of my ordinary life happenings
it helped to nurture my old new self into recovery
as i fell in love once more
with daily patterns and rituals
forming the fabric of our lives
so here i carved a virtual space
to carry on with stories of the everyday
and newfound creative living

half way through my 365 project, i came across a book that felt all sorts of serendipitous at the time. i gulped it down in one sitting. uplifted and emboldened by elizabeth gilbert's interpretation of creative living as 'a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than fear'.  an existence more enchanted and less mundane. it felt at once so obvious, yet unfamiliar to me. i brewed on it. i went back and reread it slowly. resisting temptation to underline in continuum. it shifted my mindset. it encouraged me to feel creative in my own skin. it gave me perspective to 'appreciate the value of my own joy' - to take pleasure in creative pursuits for the sake of pleasure it gave to me and to me only. no one else. it helped me to feel like i was more than 'the sum of my daily obligations and duties', like i was 'making something of' myself, like i was 'making something with' myself. it encouraged me to live creatively even through the days when i lost all perspective and meaning of that really means. it urged me to give the creative muscle a regular workout patient in the knowledge that

they come
they go
they visit when
you least expect them
with total disregard
as to your wantings
stay still
don’t make a sound
they’ll circle round and settle
then you can stretch your arms
and grab hold
for a delectable degustation

since then i have come across a community of creative companions, on instagram and in real life. all practising creative living because it is 'still the best way [for us] to unfold a certain beauty and transcendence within' our lives that we 'cannot seem to access in any other matter'  

this series is a collection of stories of creative companions i have encountered along the way. some closely, some admired from afar. told in their own words. through their own longings, aspirations and feelings. stories i wanted to share with you because their company made me feel things

i hope they make you feel things too  

*all quotes from 'big magic' by elizabeth gilbert