By Joanne Klassen
Who has seen the wind? Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through. (Christina Rossetti)
The heat is fierce at the cottage I’ve rented for our family vacation. It’s too warm this afternoon to even walk across the scorching sand at a nearby beach. The temperature has climbed so high that even the birds have stopped singing. I have taken shelter on the screened porch, nestled in tall pine and poplar trees.
As I pause to reflect, I notice the whisper of the wind. Tall white poplars sway gently as if bending into subtle yoga postures. Their heart-shaped leaves flutter, like tiny queenly gloved hands, waving to subjects below. Suddenly the movement stops, then after a what seems like a brief reflective pause, the wind is back, playing hide and seek, chiding, “Catch me if you can,” as it flits from tree to tree.
My life is like this day. I need refreshment, shelter, and time to reflect. Getting ready for vacation has been a whirlwind of activity, a pace neither the wind nor I can sustain. Pausing, I catch my breath and dwell briefly in an inner stillness. I drink deeply this spacious moment in nature with all my senses. Brief moments of reflection like this feel spacious, primal, and even blissful. I am rejuvenated as I bask in the wind’s gifts.
In precious moments of reflection
I see and hear, taste, touch,
smell, and feel nature’s wonders.
© Joanne Klassen 2016
Reflect was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.
Biography –Joanne Klassen
Author and Heartspace founder, Joanne began facilitating personal development programs in 1975. Her career and life changed in 1998 when she received a vision for Transformative Life WritingTM which is now offered to teens, adults and seniors around the world. Joanne’s ideal day includes writing, singing to a baby, visiting thrift shops and walking along the river with her husband Ted in Winnipeg, Canada.
By Anne Harding
I am a watcher; and the things I watch
are birds and love.
I too love to watch. I watch the goldfinches in my garden. They sit each side of the niger seed feeder for five minutes or so, daintily picking out the tasty seeds and throwing the tasteless ones onto the lawn. I watch the buzzard as it spirals above the house until it disappears in the clouds. At Woodbrooke, I watch and wait for the kingfisher. I have only seen it twice, but it is worth it when I catch a flash of turquoise and orange.
This week I have been watching love. The niece of a friend brought her toddler to see me. He is fifteen months old. The love between mother and son was wonderful. It shone from their eyes and faces as she dangled him on her knee.
The very next day, my niece and her partner arrived with their fourteen-month-old toddler. The three of them were smiling at each other with love and happiness and he giggled each time one of them swung him up in the air and down again. These are the precious moments in life for which to watch.
I give time for watching and waiting.
© Anne Harding 2016
Watch was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.
Biography –Anne Harding
Anne was a Primary teacher and worked with pupils with English as an Additional Language. Since retirement she has joined a Poetry Society and short story writing group. After attending a Transformative WritingTM course at Woodbrooke in 2009 she has returned for the Alumni Retreats every year since. The Tools of Transformation support her writing development. Anne is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and attends meetings in Telford.
By Erin Taves
After a while, that’s how we relate with hope and fear in our daily lives. Out of nowhere, we stop struggling and relax. We see our story line, drop it, and come back to the freshness of the present moment. (Pema Chodron)
His gums pull back to reveal sharp white teeth, his jaw pressing up against the passenger seat window leaves a trail of drool on the glass. He snarls at anyone who comes near. I try to determine his breed; he is white with a strong muscular build. A Boxer, or a Pit Bull perhaps. The word “bull” suits him; he looks like a bully, one that would show no mercy if he could burst through the truck’s window pane.
In strange contrast, a large black Labrador sits silently in the driver’s seat gazing calmly ahead. Both dogs wait for their master to return to the vehicle; one is crazed, the other still.
My own mind sometimes feels as mad as that Pit Bull, with unchecked thoughts leaving a wake of dirty spume in my aura. I can learn from the black Labrador, who quietly informs me to sit evenly in the driver’s seat knowing that joy and innocence await me upon the return of my awareness.
I sit poised and still knowing that peace is assured.
© Erin Taves 2016
Await was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.
Biography –Erin Taves
Erin Taves plays the role of wife, mother, friend, employee, and spiritual enthusiast. She attended a Transformative WritingTM program in 2004 and continues to enjoy gatherings with “Prism”; an eclectic group of women who provide her with inspiration and wisdom. Erin’s writing is self-reflective, based on her observations of the world and how it imitates her inner psyche. She reads books that promise to reveal some secret that has yet to be revealed.
By Brian Hay
Faith allows you to keep going in the absence of information. (David Sloan Wilson)
Every summer at the cottage I swim out half a kilometre to the middle of the lake to the “table top rock.” That’s a large house-sized flat rock, submerged about two feet under water, surrounded all around by very deep water. Each summer someone at the lake goes out to mark that rock with a buoy, so that the boats can go around it without wrecking their propellers.
For my first swim this year there was no buoy. There was no way to know with certainty where the rock was. I’m a strong swimmer for distance, but in previous years the thought of swimming out there and searching for the rock, not finding it and growing too tired to make it all the way back has always deterred me from trying.
Except this year, on a warm evening, the water warm and smooth as glass, I felt willing to take the risk. I would swim in the direction of where I remembered the rock to be and I would trust that I’d find it. And so I began: strong strokes, rhythmic breathing, sun setting, it will be there. Part way out I had doubts, insecurities, and worries.
But I swam on and soon saw something just under the surface of the water. It was the old buoy, from last year, submerged but visible from up close. I had faith that the rock would be there, that it would support my feet to stand and rest, to turn around and swim back. And it did. (BHH)
I have faith that the solid rock will be there beneath my feet to stand and rest when I need it.
© Brian Hay 2016
Swim was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.
Biography –Brian Hay
Brian Hay is a retired lawyer and a writer. He completed Transformative WritingTM studies at Canadian Mennonite University and received facilitator certification at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Center, European Centre for Life Writing for TransformationTM, in Birmingham, England. Brian took motorcycle lessons after he turned 60, consistent with Michelangelo’s motto: “I’m always learn-ing …” He loves reading books about writing and daily personal/spiritual reflection. Since 2012, he has envisioned and helped guide this book to completion.
Who Inspires You to Write?
Is there someone in who inspires you to write about the things that matter to you? My friend Joy Playford once told me that her father, a successful businessman told her, “When there’s a big enough WHY, the HOW will be found.” We all need to find our own personal, compelling reasons to write. Sometimes the reasons come from people who have guided our steps toward expressing ourselves through writing.
Three people come to mind right away for me. The first in my mother, Peggy Hindal who longed to write and share her knowledge in the field of nursing, specifically child and maternal health. She also wanted to share her faith and the inspiration she found in travelling a miracle-strewn path through life.
Mom’s pursuit of helping others, any time of day or night, kept her from finding the time and discipline to write. She was an avid supporter of my writing and sent me more story and project ideas than I will ever fulfill.
The second person is Norm Taylor who was a driving force, in life and death, for my creation of Heartspace Writing School. I have written about Norm and love to share how his unwritten stories motivate me to write and encourage others to write and share their authentic selves, to be known for the persons they truly are.
Matthew Hindal, my beloved nephew, was not yet thirty when he wrote, “I know that what I am about to do will hurt you, but this is the last time I will hurt anyone, including me. The truth is that it hurts too much to be me and it has hurt too much for too long. . .”
Accompanying my brother to identify Matt’s body was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Matt was a brilliant young man who wrote with passion and promise, but without living long enough to find a supportive, appreciative audience for his writing.
Transformative Writing circles are safe, accepting, encouraging havens in which writers face, write about, and share essential aspects of who we are; how we see ourselves in relation to others, and how we interpret and interface with life’s full, terrifying and empty moments. I wonder if a nurturing community that affirmed his unique gifts may have changed the course of Matthew’s life?
I write because Eric, a 13 year old friend, consistently wanted to hear what I’d written and always gave the enthusiastic endorsement, “That was a good story!”
My oldest daughter, Tiffany was living in Chicago when I started Heartspace Writing School in 1998. She emailed me to ask for stories, which she read and emailed to her friends, who passed them along to others. The feedback I got from strangers in far away cities was uplifting and encouraging. Tiffany is the cheerleader every writer dreams of.
My youngest daughter Anna has an innate, deep spirituality that she expresses in so many ways. I have decades-old reflections and poems she has penned in quiet moments in her busy life that uplift and encourage me. As a teenager she literally pressed her head on the dining room table when given a writing assignment in school. She would groan, “I can’t write!” When she accompanied me to a mother-daughter Transformative Writing retreat she reminded me that she probably would not write. After the first exercise she surprised me by being the first person to raise her hand to read what she’d written. “That was easy,” she told me. I love what Anna writes and it reminds me that the transformative tools do their job in removing blocks to expressing our creativity.
Finally, my husband Ted tells me I am the best poet he has ever read. He urges me to publish the filing cabinet full of poems I’ve written, assuring me they are not ‘way too personal’ as I insist they are.
As I reflect on the people who inspire me to write, I realize that this is what I hope my writing classes do for others: connect them to an inner team of encouragers whose lives remind us that we have a big enough why, the time is now, and we know how.
Thursday April 4, 2013, 4:45 p.m.
By Eleanor Chornoboy
True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.
(Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
Seed after seed, the perky chickadees, sparrows, brilliant American finches, and Common Redpolls peck sunflower seeds I’ve left for them in the bird feeder. They are a generous lot, spraying seed onto the ground, to ensure the chipmunks and bunnies below have plenty to eat.
Their chirps and songs sing of their zest for life, savouring every moment, worry-free, knowing nature and the neighbours will provide food and fresh water in the bird bath. They only need to be. For a song, supper is served.
At the end of my garden, Tibetan prayer flags breathe zest, reminding me that beauty is in the moment, giving joy that sinks into my soul.
I glimpse the apple tree blazing with mature fruit. Its boughs have room to spare, holding a red and a green hula hoop, tempting the child in me to “have a go.”
My purple benches, rescued from auction sales by my father and painted a bright purple to zing the white winter landscape with colour, sizzle with happiness throughout the year. In winter, they beckon shy deer to rest beside them, finishing the silent landscape—breathing deeply and fully, in and out—beauty and a zest for life abound.
I take my happiness from nature’s creation.
Beauty + calm + breathing =
Zest for the moment, for life.
© Eleanor Chornoboy 2016
Zing was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.
Biography –Eleanor Chornoboy
Author of Faspa and Faspa with Jast, Eleanor writes to capture moments in history. Through co-facilitating Life Writing for TransformationTM classes, she has had the joy of joining writers on their journey as they put their stories on the page. To delight the child in her, she has authored Snow Angels and Pajama Tears. Eleanor and her husband Larry live in Winnipeg, Canada.