WORDSMITH

I AM WRITING

I am writing because I love to

I am writing words on a page,

That dance,

And skip,

And run on paper.

Words that calm,

Excite, enthuse and trigger.

Words that have magic

When strung together,

In rhythm, or wild and free.

 

Words unique to me,

To my expression,

My history,

My emotions.

Words that warm the heart,

Or break it.

Shattering the world

To tears and deep blue sadness,

To gut wrenching fear

And the fiery gate of anger.

Words to ignite,

To aid our flight

Awaken our soul, alive.

 

And words that

Feel too small to tell the truth

Of wonder.

But, words it is and words they are,

That help me

Speak and feel

And learn and create

And feed a passion

Of mine.

 

I write because I long to write

It’s simple really

There black and white.

To write, to write, to write.

sharpen-snoopy-writing

 

When I was young I was a very good reader and had read all the set books by the time I was 7 and so became a “free reader:” a pupil who was able to read anything at all on the shelves. I don’t remember all the books, but I do remember visiting the book shelves time and time again. At home, we hardly had any books. I remember one of my grandmothers’s buying me a whole set of Enid Blyton books one year and I read them again and again. I read anything, even my brother’s “Fantastic Four” annuals or my mother’s Catherine Cookson.

I loved reading and escaping into worlds other than my own, enjoying adventures and imaginary places, away from harsh realities. When I was older, I read a lot of Jane Austen, which were one of many I read out loud in order to hear myself speak differently and experiment with how it felt to talk as they did in the 19th Century. This is something I still like to do. I am fascinated with words and language: how they sound, feel and what they can express. But words are not limitless and I feel there are many things where words are not enough, but words can and do express a whole realm of wonder, information and imagination.

At some point during my childhood and certainly by the time I was 12 I started to write a diary or journal and to this day I continue to do so. It has never really been a daily event and there have been long periods where I wrote nothing at all. When I look back at my diaries aged 12, 13, 14 or 15 I cringe at some of the topics; boys, what my friends are doing, that kind of thing. But in between the normal sort of teenage stuff are painful entries of insecurity, fear, anger, frustration and sadness.

Then as a teenager some of that expression started to form into poetry and is still a form I love as it can be uninhibited by form, structure or grammar. It can flow in any direction, made from three words or three hundred. When I was teaching English for a while, I told the students that everyone is a poet (which I still believe) and then I proceeded to read a short, but powerful seven-word poem by my son. After their exclamations of approval I would tell them Ben has Down’s syndrome and could hardly write when he thought of that poem. All he did was tell his teacher what he saw and felt.

For me, it is that simple, poetry is about your physical senses and most importantly your feelings. What can you see, hear, taste, smell, touch and feel? What colours are in that butterfly? What happens in your heart when you watch her flitter around your face? How do you feel when you see scenes of war on the TV? Or hear that teenagers are lazy? It is human nature to respond to everything around us. We can try to shut it down and do successfully at times, but never completely: there is always a feeling their somewhere.

I recently watched a great documentary on the BBC called “We are Poets” about the Leeds Young Authors.  These are a group of 13-19 year old who are taught how writing can help them find their voice and expression and even discover who they are and want to be. It helps many young people deal with difficult life circumstances and take them away from negative life choices. They performed their poetry, sometimes called Slam Poetry and what impressed me the most was the passion with which they wrote, the passion with which they spoke and also that they never shied away from difficult subject matter. They said it – as it is for them and thanks to the project they have discovered all this at a young age.

For myself, I am nearing 50 and it was only about  5-6 years ago that I started to tell others I liked to write and that maybe I would like to do this more and maybe I had something to write about. It wasn’t easy to say. I felt others would laugh at such a dream or read something I had written and confirm what I felt inside that maybe I couldn’t really write and like a tone deaf singer I didn’t know how terrible my voice truly was.  Starting this blog over two and half years ago was a big step and a big statement. It was the moment when I decided I had to stop worrying less about what others thought and just do what I love.

Robby and I had been to a talk about six months earlier, when Jesus had given an example of a friend who had followed his passion to make music, sing and play his guitar. He had started off just playing for himself, just because of his love for it and over time as he worked through emotions and grew his desire he was now getting paid to do what he loved.  The story stayed with me and so the blog started. Since then, I have cried tears over all the years I didn’t follow my passions and dreams and having cancer really put into perspective the time I had wasted in not writing, not painting and not doing what I love and even discovering other new loves.

A creeping apathy had overtaken my life, a slowly creeping ivy where I had focused more on my son than myself, where I had found it easier to avoid feeling fear and live in it; avoid my feelings of self worth, therefore stifling and strangling my creativity. Suppressing sadness, fear, anger also suppressed joy, creativity, spontaneity and wonder. I had become addicted to struggle and made myself so grey, so small, I was barely there at all. I had sinned against myself, by denying a huge and vital part of who I am and who God designed me to be: creative, colourful, wondrous.

Writing this blog was the beginning of something – a place where I have explored my emotions, uncovered lies, truth and facade. It has been a journey of self doubt and self discovery, but most importantly it has been a place of growing confidence in my own expression. I have made mistakes, ones which devastated me at times, because I have an injury to always get things right, but which over time have taught me to be softer in these mistakes and just enjoy the process of writing. And I have enjoyed  it all and in the last few months my passion to write has grown, along with my confidence.

I have taken the first steps on this yellow brick road and I am loving it! I started writing the other day and a character grew from it, a character with a story. I found and edited a children’s story I wrote six years ago. I continue to write my journal and my poems and I am planning to go back through the boxes now with all the odd bits of paper in them of ideas and bits of writing in them and see what’s there. I have also signed up to a writing magazine and I sent a little article to a local one.

God has heard me and many Law of Attractions are happening to confirm my desire. A book appeared called “Freeing the Writer Within;” I was given a free ticket to a poetry and storytelling event; someone else has offered me a free place on a storytelling and performance workshop; I went to a cafe and got chatting to a lady opposite me and she turned out to be Marcia Willets, who has written 28 successful novels and then I met an amazing group of people who work for and with artists who are migrants or refuges and with the aim to portray a different message and challenge perceptions via music, writing, performance and film. Amazing hey?!

We were made to be passionate about what we love, to be passionate about life and all it can offer us if we allow ourselves to feel all the things that have stopped our passion in the first place and taking action will cause this. Writing and my deepening desire to write more is triggering issues of self worth, also reflected in the work I currently do to survive, rather than do work I love.  Every day I feel the pain of this in some way, but also feeling more will to keep writing and expressing and dancing with words and see where it takes me and what it creates in my life.

So in celebration of this dance here is a little poem I jotted down after watching “We are Poets.”  Thank you to the Leeds Young Authors for the inspiration and for showing me how to slam it, and to Jesus and Mary for helping me know it is good to do what I love and demonstrating to me the joy in doing do. If I could perform this poem it would not be meekly said.

I WROTE

I wrote when my heart was Breaking 

and I was Aching for more.

I wrote when my world was crazy 

and the in- fighting

Never stopped.

I wrote to make sense 

of the times when nothing did.

I wrote to soothe my pain

Or scream insane

When they did, what they did

To hurt me, ignore me, 

confuse me and taught me 

to hate me. 

Words were my only friends

The only honesty

In the lies that burned into

my heart

By the ones who were 

meant to love the most. 

But instead broke

me.

In words I found my strength,

my dance, my ‘I’ again.

In poetry 

I am me. 

 

Maxine Bell @2016

When Enough is Enough

Image

When you reach that point of enough is enough it is a powerful point of change in your soul if you embrace it. By that I mean embracing all the emotions within and below that feeling: the anger, the fear, the despair, the sadness, the anticipation. Today I reached an “enough is enough” point. Today I felt the fire in my belly as I cried from within and realised what I had been viewing as enough, as ok, was not: what I believed to be alright for me to accept for myself was not good enough anymore. It was small thinking, shrinking violet stuff, that does not reflect the true light God gave me. Instead I have been living the life others told or projected at me and I believed them! I saw myself as unimportant, incapable, untalented, unattractive and without impact, all my efforts unnoticed and irrelevant. But listening to the Divine Truth teaching the last couple of years has taught me that much of what I was thinking was irrational and illogical, from a wounded place and false beliefs. So when I think of these “small” and negative thoughts about myself it does not equate logically with my belief that I am a child of God and loved beyond measure. It is not that God doesn’t love me this “small” me: she does, but that like any true parent, she lovingly rejoices when I am doing what I love, when I grow into the soul She intended. As far as we know God’s plans for us are infinite. They are as wondrous or more wondrous than all her beautiful creations on this planet. Look at detail in a snowflake, the colours in a feather, the various songs of the birds, the individual cells and workings of our physical bodies: God’s creation is intricate, beautiful, fascinating,  and evolving. We are his children and we are all these things and more.

But most of us live in the shadow of ourselves, crawling on the floor, when we were actually made to dance wildly. We continue in our low movements for a long time, until we develop a desire for something else. Sometimes it is a quiet stirring within, a gentle observation of the people and life around you. We start to notice what we are NOT and what we do not want to be; we start to question our lives, our work, our relationships. For many of us there are long periods of numbness, of a feeling of vague questioning of how we live: we have opened our eyes a little wider. In each of these moments we can continue to open our eyes to more or we can close them again out of fear, or swing back and forth between the two. In each of these moments we can decide to feel a bit more than the numbness, the confusion and instead to really feel the other emotions we are hiding.

So enough is enough gives us the opportunity to feel many things. I am still in the middle of it and as I write I can feel anger, frustration, fear and some deep underlying grief. I have had enough of financial struggle, I have had enough of not having a real home, I have had enough of not feeling who I am, I have had enough of not fully embracing my desires, of not living with passion. I have had enough! As I sit and list these a deep sadness arises, one I know I am only touching the surface of, but which I know is a blessing to feel. Not feeling this sadness has kept me stuck and wanting many times: a feeling of being half-alive or less. What low sense of worth kept me living in this way? Kept me from dancing my dance with zest and wonder? So many things, so many suppressed emotions which I am praying to feel and release. I can feel how afraid I have been of coming out of my shell, my little protective bubble, my cocoon as I call it. A cocoon I made way back in my childhood to survive that has now become my prison of fear. I have been trying to knock through the walls of this prison, brick by brick and I know when I hit an “enough” point it can involve me knocking through a whole section of the wall if I desire it with all my heart. And I do. I have reached the end of this particular tether.

Even as I write I feel so many things, but I am glad to feel the emotions in motion. Many times in my life I have felt so little and be so out of tune with what was true for me; what was real; what I desired. Now I know that to feel everything is how God intended me to be. When I shut down  the sad and bad feelings I also shut down to the joy and love. Even though for me to try to feel everything is a rocky road right now I really know deep in my soul this is what I  must do, what we all need to do, to get back, to be as God intended us to be: fully emotional beings and fully alive.

Enough is enough is a crisis point in our journeys and any crisis point is an opportunity and with any opportunity we have a choice. A choice to be more loving or a choice to be unloving. For me there is no choice right now than to be loving to myself, to open inch by inch, millimetre by millimetre to God’s love. In fact “enough is enough” increases my desire more and more, to be more loving, especially to  myself right now. And even though there is some anger to feel and feel below, I also feel passion. Passion to love myself, passion to live my dreams and desires, passion to help others with what I am learning and experiencing and feeling, passion to connect with myself and my soul mate and more passion to connect to my true parent, our mother/father God.

The Narrow way, as Jesus calls it, the Way of building a relationship God through Divine Truth, receiving Divine Love and humility ( the willingness to feel ALL of your emotions) is hard at times. It is so different from anything we have known. It confronts everything we think we know and in its process I have lost friends, confused my family and faced some tough truths about myself. But, I have also discovered how incredibly loving God has made this universe and beyond, for us. It may not appear so to some, but now I have an understanding of God’s laws and more of an understanding of why I have been unhappy and how to change that, I know this is The Way home; this is The Way to heaven. I have a huge way to go to say I have true humility. I resist, I fight, I beg, I jump back in fear, I rage: pulled between what I thought I knew, how I was existing, by not feeling much and the discovery of this new way which wants me to feel everything. But I have tried a million other ways to heal, to be happy and they have only been temporary. This Way is lasting…this Way transforms my soul to how God intended it: pure, innocent, loving, joyful and playful. This Way has become my Way.. not as a follower but as an active participant and creator of my own life. By my own will and desire I choose Love, I choose humility and I choose Truth: God’s truth. I may only just be letting go of the milk bottle in my growth, but I will not give up. I have had enough of what I have known before. Enough is truly enough and I am eternally grateful for the teachings I have listened to, that have now, in time sung their truth in my soul. Now I choose, I desire a new way, the Narrow Way.

So yes enough is enough and now there is more…

With love, Maxine

(if you want to know more please see the “about us” section and the links in the extra section)

 

 

MOVING OUT, MOVING ON….

ImageMoving house is always interesting. Moving house on a tiny budget with a minimum income is another experience. We have three more days in our current house, which is being sold by the landlady because she has to financially. It is not a tragedy to leave this house, we were ready to go and the need for her to sell was the gentle kick we needed. This house has served its time, as have many houses for me. Before we even knew each other, Robby and I had both moved many, many times.

Mine started as a child: we moved frequently. I was used to forming friendships and then saying goodbye and never seeing them again. It happened many times. Part of my childhood was spent in an area of the country full of Royal Airforce bases. My class at school was full of kids who had also moved frequently. The difference was I was the only one without a dad who was a pilot or an aircraft engineer. Getting used to it was one thing, liking it another.We didn’t get asked how we felt, we just moved.

This nomadic, unsettled life seemed to infuse my being as I have continued to move around as an adult: restless, seeking, making choices – sometimes good, sometimes bad. It is as though I have never given myself permission to put down roots. Putting down roots is what happens to other people. However, this time, I have been tuning in to myself more: feeling the variety of emotions, moving again has brought me. Having so little money to move with has made both of us feel very vulnerable and triggered fears about feeling safe in the world. We haven’t even found a home yet so we are faced with the unknown and the likelihood of another temporary place. Anxiety about money, accommodation, being judged for not having money, not being able to provide the basics of life for ourselves. It has helped us reflect on the level of self- love, or rather the level of lack of self love we have indicated by not creating enough to have a secure roof over our heads.

This lack of self love and self worth, the past feelings of “being undeserving” to have a home, to have a place we love, that expresses us as individuals has been a huge reflection, a sad and fearful place. I have looked around at my things as I have been packing and clearing. Much of it is furniture I bought because it was cheap, not because I found it beautiful. There are only a few splashes of “me” and fewer of Robby. I have most things I need, but it is a story of “making do.” Ironically, last year I fought a battle in court for my son, who has special needs, to get him into a great college. I didn’t want him to go to the local college whose standards for young people with special needs was adequate. Like many parents, I knew my son deserved better than adequate, he deserved the best for himself, the greatest opportunity to learn and grow into an independent adult. But for myself, I have accepted “adequate” without question. Why? Somewhere down the line, of course, that is what I was told as a child. But I am not a child anymore, and regardless of any false beliefs or messages given to me back then, I can make a choice. It is much the same for Robby.

So this time, we choose differently. In allowing ourselves to feel all the fears and truths in this move, it has created a deep desire to change what we have: to create an abundant life and take steps to create a home we will love. It is time to put down roots: to put together a home, brick by brick ( or straw bale by straw bale is our dream). We have chosen a beautiful part of the UK and that is a good start. Devon has things I love: stunning coastline, wild moors, wild, natural rivers, pretty rolling hills and woodland.

We do not how yet, we do not even know where exactly, but we do know it is time to use our will in a loving way for ourselves. Being truthful about all the fears and pain of being in this situation has empowered us to change our perspective on what we can do and given us more focus and determination than ever. We are still pretty scared, but feeling the fear is not the same as letting the fear dictate your every move. Fear it just there existing anyway, but acting despite of it, is what helps it go. Feeling any grief over how we got here too has been important and something new for us to really acknowledge. Feelings just need to be felt, but it doesn’t mean they have to stop you from making changes and choosing to be responsible for yourself. In fact, in my experience the denial is what has held me back. It can feel terrible for while, but the truth really does set you free.

But the best thing is, the truth we have realised is: we deserve this.