Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ship in harbour...

Graffiti is sometimes like a spontaneous street poetry fest. I was driving past this open door and just had to get out and photograph this bit when I read it:

‘A ship is safe
in harbour,
but that’s not
what ships are for’
- William Shedd

Of course, being in harbour is partly what ships are about – unloading their cargo and being repaired and made sea-worthy again – but it’s not their full story. Not the only point to their existence.

Similarly, sometimes we might need to unload stuff and take care of ourselves in a safe, nourishing place. Perhaps even be hauled out of the water and dry-docked every now and then, to have the barnacles scrubbed away. To be mended and healed and made ready for the next part of our journey.

(Where might your own safe harbours be? How do you find your nourishment and repair? Is it about place? Solitude? Or is it more about peace within certain relationships for you?)

And, what about ‘what ships are for’? What else might your life be about?
When you leave your harbour and return to the ebb and flow of things, where do you usually set sail for?
Do you travel the same shipping route again and again?
Or do you sometimes want to set a course for new shores and maybe see where the tide takes you?

What might your ship be made for?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Welcome to wonder...

This shop window sign actually says ‘Welcome to Wonderland’ but the reflections on the glass have blocked some letters out – and an invitation just to ‘wonder’ sounds so much more evocative somehow…

A chance to:
• ponder, be curious and perhaps even to question some things
• and to marvel at the unexpected.

What might it be like to take up that invitation?

What could that kind of curiosity unearth about who you are?
Which parts of your life or relationships might you investigate or perhaps even query?
Are there any other ways of being that you might like to try out?

And what about the other bit? The wonderment part.

Is there much of that sort of surprise or joy in your life just now?
What meaning do you make of that?
Do you want to allow space for a little more of that stuff?
(If so, how might that happen? Maybe you need to heal something first. Is there one small step you could take in that direction?)

For whatever else today holds – whichever pressures or obligations or challenges or habits – it also holds your life.

And you’re welcome to wonder…

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Take a seat...

The streets are alive with metaphors sometimes. Just recently, I came upon this scene and couldn’t help but wonder about it.

It seemed to speak of having ‘an armchair view of the world’ somehow. Or perhaps about deciding ‘where you sit’ on an issue.

So where do you sit?
Where do you routinely view the world from?
Have you got a particular perspective that you automatically seem to take?
Perhaps it’s a slightly skeptical stance, where you habitually find it difficult to trust other people? Maybe a spot where you doubt your own self-worth and automatically assume that others are somehow ‘better’? Or maybe something else entirely….

Where do you drag your chair to, to get your view?
Is it isolated? In an environment you feel comfortable in, or somewhere you never quite seem to fit?

Could you imagine shifting your chair to another location?
Or are you staying put? (Sitting pretty)

And what kind of chair is it that you’re in?
Brand new?
(And what difference might that make to how you sit back into your life?)

Out here, on the street, it seems clear that if you change the chair, or where it’s placed, you change your view.

So if you could choose any kind of chair,
in any kind of place,
what would that look like?

What might you be able to see from this new vantage point? (About your life? About your self?)

And how would it feel to imagine taking a seat there, even for a moment?...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Time out...

It was just after daylight-saving ended that I happened upon this clock in the gutter, abandoned in a bag of rubbish.

It’s been ticking over in my mind ever since – something about the way time was literally thrown out; while, collectively, we decided to shift our clocks back an hour, in a joint decision to make time suit our needs.

Hours can seem like such solid, set measurements. Until you remember that they’re an invention…

What does it mean to live our lives according to these arbitrary periods? To divide each day into 24 bits and then fit our experiences in around them?

And, more broadly, do we also live our lives according to other, greater, timelines? Like the things we’re ‘supposed’ to have done by the time we’re 20, 30, 50 or 70?

Who decides this stuff? Who sets out what a ‘good’ life should look like? Who gets to say what is ‘normal’ for each of us to achieve or to become by a certain age?

(And what might it be like to stray from that timeline, and wander off on a course of your own setting?)

Come time-travelling for a moment; away from our fast-paced world, and back, back, to an era of sun-dials. On overcast days, there are no shadows… and no time to measure on the dial. No hours, no minutes. Just life to live. Now.

Returning to the present-day, if there were no hours here, and no fixed timelines of a ‘good’ or ‘normal’ life, might you change the way you live your ‘nows’?

If you clocked-off for a moment, and let the flurry of deadlines drop, what else might come into focus?

How else might you measure your days? (Your life?)

And, if you were to set your own timeline, what might be important for you to achieve or to experience or to become?

(c) Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

For everything, a season...

Wandering along the city streets, it’s impossible to miss the seasonal shift as the trees lean into the rich tones of autumn. Everywhere, leaves are starting to fall.

It’s the season for letting go, it seems…

What does letting go mean for you?
Is it something you find easy?
Or is it a challenge fraught with questions of ‘what if...?’
(What if I need this later? What if I’ll regret giving it away? What if I never have a chance at something like this again?).

The western world often seems so focused on accumulation – of possessions, achievements, wealth, ‘happiness’, and even friends (think about social media networks) – that it can feel uncomfortable to contemplate letting some things go. It’s as though, collectively, we’re out of practice.

But where might that leave us? Can we really have everything anyway?

Some would suggest that the body already holds the answer.
Just try breathing in.
And in.
And in…
At some point, letting go of the breath is just as vital.

So what might this mean in your own life?
Are there any areas you might want to release?
Any habits or attitudes or assumptions that you might feel more alive without?
Any extra baggage you’re sick of dragging around?

What might it feel like to set these things down?
To let these ‘leaves’ fall? (Who might you be without them?)

And, much like the trees, would letting go make space for new growth?

(c) Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar 2010
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