A protest against reluctance


This piece is called ‘This drove my mother up the wall’ – I bet it did!

This installation was created by Katharina Grosse and is currently at the South London Gallery. I was drawn by the colourfulness of the piece. I love abstract painting and bold colours, so her work immediately drew my eye. Once you’re in the room, it’s like being immersed in a giant painting.


Also running as part of the exhibition are two films. In one the films, Grosse explains her motivations and inspirations. She describes her work as aggressive and a ‘protest against reluctance’ a phrase which resonated with me.

Why be timidly confined by the boundaries of canvas and frame? Why not let the painting just burst out of boring expectations and fill a whole room with colour, life and vitality.

Some of Grosse’s other works have involved painting entire buildings with colour and shapes.

As you first step into the room the painting looks like giant graffiti but as you walk around and experience the room, you can see and feel so much more.

Looking at this side of the room made me feel like I was at sea.


The little patches like this one in the middle of the room made you feel like you were looking down into a hole.


The shapes of the white spaces left behind looked like they had been painted on rather than being the voids where the paint was not.


What a fantastic visual invitation to creativity and boldness.

Dropping anchor

Anchor by Chase Elliot Clark/Flickr under CC BY 2.0

It’s been a little while, just 4 months since I felt like I was bobbing around, disconnected, at sea, clinging to a prayer. Clinging to the home that is God himself.

So much has happened – little did I know that a few weeks later my beloved father would pass away. More than a little storm ripping through my already turbulent sea. I’ve moved to ‘another country’ – south London to join the Wellspring community and taken seasonal vows for the year!

An incredible amount of change, sorrow, and joy in a short space of time.

And yet I feel I have dropped anchor in a safe place now, ready to sow, plant and build.

Funnily enough, I felt prepared for my father leaving – I’d temporarily moved home and got to spend time with him. I’d had a dream 2 weeks before in which I saw him passing away and accepted it there and then. The events in my dream came to pass with incredible but not total accuracy. My immediate and overwhelming emotions were actually joy and acceptance. I was filled with wonder at how I’d been looked at by my heavenly Father. It’s been incredible and humbling.

I’m filled with wonder at how I’ve been looked at by my heavenly Father. It’s been incredible and humbling.

The grief and sorrow are hitting me more now though, the serrated edge of loss no-one can dodge. I can only ride that particularly salty wave till it’s done and find peace in the pause between the swells.

At sea


Happy new year!

The last few months have been characterised by the sense of being at sea. I’ve moved and am to move again – leaving behind family and friends to follow a deep call of the soul to deeper spirituality, to answer some deep longings to give back, serve young people and to live in a community.

Inside I feel like I’m reaching for solid ground, certainty, solidity, but the waves keep rising and falling the path isn’t clear. Where is my anchor? What is my rock?


The story of St Brendan has helped me enormously and I’m clinging to his prayer daily at the moment.

Brendan was a 5th century Irish saint known as “the navigator”, “the voyager” and “the bold” who set sail and founded monasteries in Scotland, France and Wales. His most famous journey was when he set sail out on a small boat with a group of monks to look for the garden of Eden. After praying and fasting for 40 days, they set sail and asked the question:

Christ of the mysteries, can I trust you on the sea?

They set off without knowing the destination but trusting God for direction and protection.
So often we want to know everything in advance, to have everything worked out as if this will protect and shield us from danger, harm or uncertainty.
But God knows what we need and he wants us to learn to trust him even in the dark, even on the waves of the sea in the depths of the night. Knowing he can walk on the waves, knowing he can calm any storms that arise.
I’m learning that the true question is not “where am I going?” or “what will it be like” but “who is with me” and “can I trust that this will all work out?”.
Another verse that has come up for me, again and again, is Genesis 12:1-2:

The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing

Abram got up and went, even though he didn’t know where he was going. He decided that God was faithful and true to his word.
I’m also being inspired by stories of wandering monks and saints being led by the spirit ‘holy wanderers’ going where the spirit leads.
Below is a prayer based on St Brendan’s prayer as a declaration of faith:
Lord, I will trust You.
Help me to journey beyond the familiar
and into the new and unknown.
Give me faith to leave old ways
and break fresh ground with you.
Christ of the mysteries, can I trust you
to be stronger than each storm in me?
I determine amidst all uncertainty
always to trust.
I choose to live beyond regret
and let You recreate my life.
I believe You will make a way for me
and provide for me, if only I trust You.
I will trust when in the darkness and know
that my times are still in Your hand.

I will believe you for my future,
chapter by chapter, until all the story is written.

Taken from GOHOP‘s ‘Small boat, great big sea liturgy’

The accidental pilgrimist

I found myself on pilgrammage by accident last weekend.

A trip to visit my sister ended with a few hours at St Albans cathedral and turned into one of those serendipitous afternoons of wonder and rightness. I’ve always thought St Albans sounded like a place I wanted to visit – not sure why. Maybe it was calling me all that time.

St Alban was a 3rd century man who took in a Christian priest fleeing persecution.The area now known as St Albans was under Roman occupation and it was illegal to be a Christian.

Alban was so moved by the priest’s faith that he converted to Christianity. When the Romans came looking for the priest, St Alban exchanged clothes and was taken away instead of the priest. When brought before the courts, he refused to acknowledge the Roman Gods saying:

‘I am called Alban and I worship and adore the true and living God, who created all things’.

He was killed and became the first English martyr for the Christian faith. The town around this area grew to be known as St Albans has been a pilgrammage destination ever since.


The cathedral’s history is very long and riveting – kings, abbots and ordinary people involved in its construction, destruction and reconstruction. It stands chocked to the gills with creativity, a testament of adoration and worship.

There was a beautiful round stained glass window and an exhibition on the book of Revelation – depicted in colourful embroidered fabrics. I wandered round in a daze. The sounds of the choir rehearsing for evensong rising up from the heart of the cathedral.

It didn’t matter to me whether the bones inside were actually from Alban himself. Millions of people had travelled over several centuries from all over the world  to that little room and it throbbed with the presence of God.

Millions of prayers, millions of moments to remember and honour one man who stood up for his faith. It was such a powerful place – I felt such a connection to him and all the saints. I found myself moved to tears, doing the sign of the cross and asking for some of his strength to stand firm in my faith.

The book of Acts says that the first martyr Stephen was deeply mourned and I sensed that Alban is still mourned deeply here too. What I saw in the vaulted ceilings, beautiful lady chapel, wonderful north screen, medieval paintings and carvings was faithful devotion to God and so much honour for this saint. The cathedral was alive, living and preaching a wonderful silent sermon to the glory of God.

Just being in the cathedral helped me understand the veneration (honouring) of the saints, this cloud of witnesses cheering us on in heaven. I had faith to ask for his prayers. I’m not Catholic but the cathedral and its story helped me immediately understand that this was devotion, rather than worship.

I do think about whether I would have the strength and courage to give my life for what I believe – I can only pray for the courage to stand. All the disciples but one were martyred and he died in prison… More people around the world are being persecuted around the world for their Christian faith than ever – why should I be naive enough to think it could never happen to me?

I sometimes struggle to connect with the Church of England even though I’ve been in it for about 15 years or so! I know it is changing  but its heart still seems so foreign to me and so wedded to its traditions, but this I can connect with. In the stories of the various abbots and leaders involved in the church it was so clear who were the righteous ones with God’s agenda at heart and those who weren’t. God seems to find  willing people in history and I am encouraged by that.


I picked up a postcard and a pilgrim badge on my way out – hopefully this will be the start of many more less accidental pilgrimages.

Pulling things together

Happy New Year ;). No apologies, just posts. I’m planning on getting down to business more, stress and perfect less, create more – right, off we go.

What has inspired me this week?

This week I came across the creativity of Rich Wells – simply shared graphic images – his productivity and creativity is astounding – especially his collage work.


Collage was one of my favourite art forms at school. I’m not sure what I like about it. Maybe it’s the process of making something beautiful from disparate broken pieces. Rich uses collage as part of his prayer and meditation. Being quite a wordy person it inspired me to get drawing.

He gives himself 10 mins a day to do a collage and has made it part of his routine. I often get overwhelmed by life and so many things I want and have to do – especially if I’m tired. Breaking any activity down into smaller chunks always makes life seem more manageable.

So, I tried it this morning. Set myself 15 minutes – this probably took 30 mins in all including taking the photo, but there we are. Hopefully I’ll get faster….

Below are the results – what do you think?

photo of collagephoto of collage


Writing for joy: On Writing by Stephen King

Book cover of 'On writing'

I listened to Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ on audiobook recently.

It’s commonly quoted as being a classic text about writing. I didn’t have any particular expectations – I’ve never read any of his books so wasn’t a fan…until now. The book is fantastic – both inspiring and practical.

For a start it’s great to hear King tell his story in his own gravelly American tones. He has a sense of humour that is direct, down-to-earth, witty and often totally gross. I found myself laughing out loud many times. What comes across most though, is his intense passion for the craft of writing – it’s like a firebrand.

Take this quote:

“… it’s writing, damn it, not washing the car or putting on eyeliner. If you can take it seriously, we can do business. If you can’t or won’t, it’s time for you to close the book and do something else.

Wash the car, maybe.”

54 novels, 200 short stories and over 350 million books sold

The first half of the book is King’s life story before he published his first book Carrie, and gives you a deep insight into his upbringing and his journey into writing.

That journey was quite random. King started by helping his brother write a newspaper at a young age. After that he tried to go it alone, plagiarising a story and getting caught out at school. This got his talent known and he was then pointed in the direction of a sports newspaper.

From there King started writing and submitting manuscripts for publication. He worked poorly paid jobs and struggled for money for years until one day, a publisher saw the potential in his manuscript for Carrie and the rest of his success grew from there.

Talent, belief, persistence

What is clear is that the key to his success was both his talent and persistence – he just kept going and kept believing in himself – with help from his wife and family.

King is also totally single-minded and focused about pursuing and practising his craft, and advocates switching of the TV, shutting the door and focussing exclusively on writing every day:

“So okay― there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You’ve blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want.”

King shares his of wisdom and advice about writing, and trying to get published but starts with explaining the basics, the ‘tools of the craft’, – grammar, structure, characterisation.

Also why writing is a craft like being a carpenter, or builder – building great masterpieces one brick at a time. Sometimes you feel like it, sometimes you don’t – the most important thing is to keep writing.

You can’t listen to King without catching the joy he finds in simply putting words on a page:

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”

Courage and writing

He also talks about having courage in writing and how important this is. Courage to say what you want to say and not be afraid of what people will think. Be bold, be fearless.

“I have spent a good many years since―too many, I think―being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction or poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.”

Write for sorrow, write for joy

I write because I love to, because I love sharing knowledge, wisdom and information.

I write because I’m  compelled to. I write because I have something to say.

I write because it’s a way of being able to say exactly what I want, how I want for as long as I want! Yuss!

I write to express, sorrow, joy, frustration to feel the joy of finding exactly, the right words at exactly the right time.

I’m getting happy, ok, I’m getting happy.

Hashtag Bring it

new year in scrabble pieces

Happy new year!

Welcome to the first post of 2015, I got here at last! I was determined not to leave it till May…

I’ve been looking back over my old posts and I’ve had this blog for 10 years now. I haven’t been very regular – I went for 5 years without posting, but one of my consistent habits has been to do some new year reflections. Now, I know it’s a little late. Well OK, very late but done is better than never :).

Most years I have a phrase or theme that pops into my head and I feel that that is what my theme is for the year. 2014 was ‘a good year to die’ by that I meant die to myself and be less self centred. Not sure I really achieved that one or kept it in the centre of my heart but I like having these phrases to set my mind for the year.


This year I’ve had this phrase in my heart – Bring it. To be precise #BringIt (What is it about a hashtag that adds that extra je n’ais ce quoi?)

Bring it. Instead of looking at situations and complaining about what’s missing – #BringIt

Instead of holding back on my gifts and talents – #BringIt

Instead of telling other people how it should be done – #BringIt

  • Bring the noise
  • Bring the joy
  • Bring the skill
  • Bring the love
  • Bring the peace
  • Bring the truth
  • Bring the song
  • Bring the words
  • Bring the life
  • Bring the healing
  • Bring the prayer
  • Bring the heart
  • Bring the poetry
  • Bring the light

There are some things only I can do my way. It’s not my job to tell people what they should be doing, or only watch people in the element of their gift or talent.

I need, I must, get on with the things only I can do.

This blog is part of that, so I’ve re-jigged the blog a bit and commit to posting at least once a month.

So to the rest of 2015 – Bring it on!

Get ‘er done!

I’m currently halfway through an awesome 30 day challenge – it’s called screw work let’s play – yes really, check it out!

The basic idea is to set yourself a challenge so complete a project, task or goal in 30 days, choosing something you love in order to discover your natural talents and energy orientation and yes find something that may help you make money and give up work…eventually!

I’m doing it because I am a paid up, procrastinator. If you want ideas, I’m your gal, if you want it finished well…let me get back to you on that. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh as I’ve found I can blog every day for a month or so if I set myself to do that, but I easily get bored especially when my mind gets taken with a shiny, shiny new idea.

So, I thought this would be perfect to get me into the discipline of doing what I’ll say and saying what I’ll do. And so far its been far better than I could have imagined. This blog post is testament to that! Thank you John ‘screw work’ Williams and co for inspiring, motivating and teaching me the importance of play.