Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gatekeepers at the Creative Portal

Have you ever seen a sheelanagig?


These carved female figurines stood as guardians, carved over the thresholds of medieval church doorways in Celtic lands. Hand on their vulvas, holding them open, drawing our focus to the opening... 

They are the strangest discrepancy in a world that is hell bent on covering our womanhood.

Who dared to put them there? I have no idea... but the message of the sheelanagig over the door to the church - the portal of patriarchal religion - is a clear reminder to women that LOOK, the doorway to transcendence and sanctuary lies within you – this open vulva is the portal… this is YOUR way as a woman.

And the priest most certainly won't tell you that when you step inside – he will tell you your body is dangerous and dirty and not to be trusted. That birth is punishment and sex a sin…

It was at the end of writing my book on creativity for mothers, The Rainbow Way, that I realised, an embodied knowing, that the source, the realm of spirit, creativity, sexuality  is one and the same – the place we go to, the thing we touch and try to bring back… it is one and the same. And once we open fully to one, the others often tend to open too. Opening the portal takes you into the transcendent realm which is where the deep river flows… the deep, deep waters… energy, consciousness, formlessness…

And I can get there – through sex or meditation or breastfeeding or painting or writing… I can float on those waters, be held in the darkness of creation… but maintaining that connection within the mundane, during busyness… whilst my body does the daily eating, shitting, puking, housework, homework… this is the thing… 

I struggle with intermittent connection, I need to return again and again during the day to this connection which is drowned out by the noise and business of the world. But when I can, when I touch her, my portal of power, the electricity of connection comes through me… it is a direct line to the divine – making me a conduit, through my body of the physical realm and the dark lightness of beyond. It connects the primal, primitive, mammalian, instinctive with the transcendent and divine.

My birth canal, my passage to power...the sounds emerge...

Holy
This hole is holy.
This is what I say as the rush of ecstasy comes over me – hoooooooly……
H the ecstatic breath, O the opening portal, light at the end of the tunnel, ly a soft flowing

Holy mama is now a common phrase in my vocabulary – it expresses the wow of orgasmic understanding, the oooo of opening. The mama of creation, whose womb is a cave I stood in in France this summer, and felt for the first time, the earth as mother. Not just metaphorically, but TRUTH.

And as I stand at the cave entrance – in my own womb cave, looking out, I notice my mother. Standing there.

A couple of months back I told my husband clearly that I was reclaiming my sexuality from my parents…I was creating my own OKs, rather than the inherited not-OKs which have dictated so much of my expression in every sphere previously.

What gave me pleasure was OK… at last… It was allowed…Although they never really knew they had had a say... as a child I just assimilated it... they gave me so little to kick against. They were my Gatekeepers and I took on their rules as mine, unquestioned. Part of my own OKs was that yonis are beautiful and sexy... mine... and others... I was allowed to feel this and enjoy this... It was between me and myself. Openess without shame.

So it was a surprise to see my mother standing there. During each birth I had called out to her. A womb call. Calling back in the guardian of my space. She who gifted me life, who protected me as I grew and learned. But the truth was that I didn’t want her, the human her, there in the room. But her, that energy of the guardian mother, the mother we all long for, that the human mother can never truly fulfil. However much she longs to.

I see the Motherline going back… our mothers as gatekeepers, womb keepers and guardians to the erotic, the creative, to the ancient feminine flow. Their job was to keep it sacred, to guard it… to guard us from predators. To give us over whole to ourselves. Our holes whole and holy.

But they had little preparation for their role. The knowing had not been passed down to them. So they scrabbled in the dirt with their finger nails to do the best they could with the nothing they had been given.

For most cultures this holiness has been interpreted as virginal, meaning without sex… before marriage. And this is a misunderstanding, I think. And so we have been kept virginal our sexuality shamed or downplayed, until guardianship was passed on to our husband-keepers, and we would become mothers ourselves. We are not encouraged to open... fully... as women unto ourselves... because they and their foremothers going back for generations had not either.

Our mothers are our guides and permission givers...but often they... and we... misunderstand their role. Instead they keep us from It…through fear... of judgement, of harm, of what if... taking our hands from our genitals, shaming us for small pleasures, scaring us from boys, stumbling over our first blood…

They are... we are... the womb keepers – but rather than keeping it sacred in our innocence – until they can hand over the keys of entry to our place of power, or leaving us space to discover it ourselves… we are left alone and uninitiated. 

Our mothers in their desire to keep us safe, often not knowing, or not trusting their own eroticism, spirit and creativity, put themselves between us and it, often from their own fears. This has been passed down our lineage, each mother standing gate keeper in her daughter’s womb their whole lives. And we are all unconscious of it... until we go looking... 

A woman’s soul contract as a mother or a mentor, is to initiate us into this sacred space – to guard it whilst we are children, and initiate us into each level as we grow in awareness… to give permission and markers along the sacred way... hence my need to write ... for my daughters and all of us who are daughters – the deep need to initiate as I and my mothers before me have not been, to re-establish the Motherline- the line into women, into their bodies, spirit, creativity, erotic selves – to touch the divine in their own lives, and express it in the world through their own voices…. 

This is my calling. This is my work: a modern day sheelanagig. Holding myself open... look, look inside...


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Creativity is a cunt

I did warn you we were going to be talking sex... and this isn't even the post I had planned...

Cunt... it's been a bad word for too long.

So when I say creativity is a cunt... you may hear "creativity is a bastard, it's hard and mean and out to make your life a misery"...

And that's the way our culture sees it.

Creativity is a mystery which drives you crazy, metaphorically and literally. It is unreliable and unpredictable... just like women.

WE HAVE BEEN BRAINWASHED!

Creativity is as natural to us as sex and spirituality... BUT

Creativity... like sex and nature and true spirituality is kept out of schools. In fact it's actively shut down by them. It's seen as dangerous, fringe stuff. Frills on the knickers of life... rather than the MAIN EVENT. Society works best if we just skirt around it. They know it's untameable. So They talk in terms of the dangers... of having sex... or being a professional artist...

They daren't talk about the pleasures...

Otherwise everyone would be off doing it - self pleasure for breakfast and lovemaking for lunch, followed by an afternoon of painting with their fingers, eating tea on the grass under a blossom tree and writing from their soul in the evening (ah-ha, yup, welcome to my life!)

If people were turned on... to creativity, their spirit and their sexuality they would not be persuaded to turn up to a grey box, first a school and then an office, every day for the rest of their lives in grey in uncomfy clothes... No chance. Because they would KNOW... they would know that anything worth knowing in this life can be discovered inside... or soul to soul from others in beautiful co-creativity.... they would know that schools do NOT hold the answers to life, the Universe and everything... which in the end is the only thing their hearts yearn for.

Instead they would learn to follow their hearts... and their own pleasure, to relish their own bodies wisdom and their own authority above that of others.

So for the powers that be... and society at large... yes, creativity is a cunt. It is a big fucking mystery.

Just like cunts.

But they sense its danger. Because they can see what happens when people get empowered... empowered creative people tend not to pay much heed to social norms.

They're too busy cultivating their own non-normality... and creating their own world which is one fuckload more beautiful than the "real world." Oh and they're having fun... and not worrying how they can make... and spend the most money. Or comparing themselves to the Joneses.

They're pretty self sufficient and contrary. They set their own rules.

No wonder some time ago, when They realised the power that empowered women could wield when turned on - to their bodies, creative self sufficiency, to nature and their inner connection with spirit - was a direct threat to private ownership, capitalism, the rule of science and law, the paternalistic state and autocratic monotheism.

So they burned a whole load of us. Enclosed the commons. Outlawed all forms of sexual expression except that instigated by husbands for procreation. Removed women's assets. Enforced mindnumbing, back breaking work, and compulsory education. And divided us up from our sisters and mothers and friends.

They drugged us and beat us. And called us mad, bad and sad...

They built a wall around the vagina, with a big fuck off No Entry sign. Locked it up, literally, and gave ownership of the key to the menfolk. Husbands and doctors. And in many cultures go as far as to take away the magic entry button altogether.

And then dared to ask why we couldn't come to orgasm on demand.

Cunts!

Female orgasm should be the most natural thing in the world. As should creativity. Yet so many are faking... or hoping... or have given up hope and shut up shop.

We have turned off in such vast numbers.

Don't touch. Don't look. We have been left speechless, without language and a map. And without an inner voice we can trust.

No wonder we feel so rudderless... kinda crazy.... longing for someone, anyone to come and save us, to show us the way....

But here's the secret... 

Creativity IS a cunt... it's just the word that's a poisoned chalice... not the thing it refers to...

The cunt, the vagina, the yoni...call it what you will... is our portal to power. Our way back home. It is a physical way of learning the lessons of the soul. It is a fleshy portal to embodied creativity, to pleasure, to transcendence and empowerment. To belonging to ourselves. To co-creating our world.

It teaches us how to open to the unknown, relax into the arms of the universe, release our physical and ego control and surrender in the face of the unknowable.. whilst staying rooted in our bodies. It teaches us how to open fully to another, to receive, to grow life within us, and stand in our full power and give birth...

And these lessons open us to the two other invisible realms... that of creativity and spirit... the nouminal... Flow... whatever you want to call it. They all have the same modus operandi, the same entry portals...we try to enter with our minds... but we cannot... the way in is through the heart, the womb, the cunt, the soul... remembering how to release through the body.

But whether at the entry, at even the idea, or at some point of our journey inwards, we hit a wall.

Stop. No entry. Back away.

Tightness. Sadness. Terror. Pain. Fear. Anger....

Where are your walls? Your barriers? Who put them up? And how might you feel safe enough to scale them... or disassemble them... and perhaps use the stones to create a platform for you, a castle, a throne...

Your clue, your way in are the inner voices... the voice of No, of Stop, of Danger. The voice of the critic. These live in the wounds that have yet to heal. The places where we will not allow ourselves or others, in order to keep ourselves safe.

These are the places that need healing, and holding, and listening to. These are the places we need to go. With compassion.

Do not force yourself. Creativity is a cunt. Let it open to you.

Gently, gently, let her open like a flower.

My next post is on the gatekeepers of the portal...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

OK, sex it is so

Listen there's something I've been holding back...

For a long time now...

And for good reason. Mainly because my mother reads this blog. And, despite the rather obvious clue of three children, I like to maintain the parent-child illusion that sex is not had.

That and the fact that my father reads this. About once a year. Ditto.

Oh and my step mother too.

Oh and people I see at the supermarket. And the school gate. They read this too.

And my kids...  over my shoulder

And the fact that I am aware that sex gets done WITH someone much of the time. And that someone might not want HIS sex life shared in public. Cos he reads it too. And our mutual friends.

So all of you... you can stop reading now... full permission...cos writing is going to be done on the topic... at last! I've been skirting round it for WAY too long... (except HERE, the one entitled, The Dog's Vagina.that one was funny... and gets a LOT of dodgy Google hits !)

And then there's the fact that writing about sex is not the done thing... specially when the word rocks up in your Google searches... and your face and name are now attached to your professional credibility... and can be quoted in newspapers in all sorts of ways to make you sound like a right weirdo...

You may have noticed, those of you who read The Rainbow Way, that I let OTHER brave women do most of the talking about sex. I just dropped the bombshell... and RAN!

Listen, if you and I have a face to face conversation, I give myself 3 mins, at the outside, to come onto the topic of sex, scuse the pun! I LOVE talking about sex... especially because it's all taboo and shit... so it's like double fun and naughty.... it gives me a twinkle in my eye and a glow in my cheeks... you want to see me ALIVE, just get me onto the topic of sex.... and then TRY to get me off it!

I talk a LOT about sex...and adore innuendo... BUT without being all TMI (that's Too Much Information, peeps, let's keep with the program here!) about my own intricacies and orgasmic experiences - I'm all for openness without overshare...

So it's a little out of kilter with my life that this old blog steers quite well clear of the subject. Well it does in terms of being a true reflection of me....But I've explained my reasoning thus far...

But, if we're going to break through to the next level, which is my commitment to you... and me... if I'm going to really fully integrate both sides of my work here at Dreaming Aloud... and really help you to find the magic... then there's going to be a good smattering of sex around here, and so.... having exorcised my need to keep to my parent's rules... which are really society's rules... in the bedroom a whole three months ago, (gosh how grown up I am!) I'm now doing it here too.

My space. My rules. I get to talk sex. And you get to be a grown up about how you deal with the information. Shame me... and we're over in terms of intimacy.

And I get to have you look me in the eyes in the supermarket, and you get to pretend to be all "I don't have sex, ever..." whilst knowing my philosophies on the subject.... and I get to play the double guess game as to whether you read the yoni post... or we can cut the bullshit and talk like old friends on subjects close to our hearts, knowing that the ice has been broken.... and we can be real, together... which is rare enough in this world... in fact sometimes I think this blog might be my subconscious' cunning way of breaking through small talk... which I hate... to help me get to the gold vein of deep connection on a mass scale. I like it! And my mum... well it's up to her to make that call, she's a grown up too you see! I'm done taking responsibility for second guessing what other grown ups may be thinking or feeling, or holding myself personally responsible for it.

Ahem... you have NO idea how big that last statement was! Far bigger than the fact that the word cunt may now be used round here with regularity!!

So I've come to an internal agreement, that I get to talk about my own musings on the matter... on any matter...whilst ensuring the privacy of Mr DA... just as I do with my family and friends in all matters on the old blogger.

I get to tell what's inside me... BUT I don't get to use writing to tell tales on others or tell stories which are not mine to tell. This is my sacred safety contract from me to my loved ones.

I get to be responsible for the information I share, and the motivation... and others get to be responsible for their own feelings. I think this is called being grown up!

Any ways, another layer of metaphorical clothes come off... another layer of vulnerable self exposed.

It's like hanging a painting exhibition all over again... boobs and yonis ahoy!

But you see, it's too integral to my work at this stage. It's all fucking joined up - creativity, womb work, embodied power, spirituality, world changing... sex is right there front and centre, intermingled and juicy...

To avoid it is to sing the song that we've been singing far too long in our culture, the one that says sex is shameful, sex is separate, sex is PRIVATE, and if we try really hard to ignore it, sex doesn't even exist. So we go around not talking about... not enjoying it... cutting ourselves off from it... and it out of our lives. And the colour leaches out of our lives... and the world is a hard, cold, dull grey... with strong doses of inappropriate pornographic content round every corner to further desensitise us... whilst real pleasure, embodied pleasure, in real bodies that look nothing like "acceptable" bodies are "supposed" to... is ignored, denied and avoided.

Just like your dreams to pain or write... your desires for soul-shaking pleasure from top to toe can be written down as "unrealistic", "greedy".... or not as important in the general scheme of things as being on time to work or paying the mortgage...

I call BULLSHIT.

Sex is everywhere, in the heart of nature, of creativity, we are made of sex, from sex... sex, creativity and spirituality are three long lost triplets, three threads plaited together... you cannot dive deep into one, without the other two.

This has been our culture's modus operandi - to cut women off from their sexuality. From their economic rights. From their maternal instincts. From their creativity. From their innate spirituality and intuition.

No more. Not on my watch. This is where we get to rediscover them all. To make the connections within ourselves... and connect with others who are doing the same.

BOOM! Another taboo being blasted on Dreaming Aloud... sex it is so!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Feminist, pagan, self-help, New Age, hippy...

These are some of the words that come up as people try to define my books...

And I always feel a little weird about them... cos none of them really fit.

Sure part of this is the creative ego yearning to be considered unique... but there is more...

When you write a book... or go about your life... you don't tend to spend too much time trying to fit yourself into categories... specially when you're not into dogma or clubs or labels by nature.

You just do your thing... and it all makes perfect sense. Because you're just being you... in fact you kind of presume that the rest of the world deep down thinks the same way... they've just developed a few strange surface layers which need peeling off before they get down to it.

Then the time comes when you have to try to use pre-existing labels in order to categorise yourself ... and your work... you know, when you do that thing called publishing a book.... or redesigning a website....if you don't no one will ever find you...

I tend to hang out in women's health... and creativity. They feel good... if a little mainstream... but then I find myself having to defend why I can't help people with fibroids... sorry!... and feeling like maybe I have to be a Dr to be allowed to talk about women's health.

But others in their reviews define me as feminist (we know my feelings on that word and me... and part two as to why) Or a self-help author... but I like to think that I am more substantial than most of what passes for self-help. And far less formulaic.

Amazon defined me as occult - which I feel very uncomfortable about... until I hit number 2 in the category... ahead of The Power of Now... and the Dalai Lama... at least for a day.

Pagan is a strange one for me... whilst much of what I do could be defined in those terms... I do not self-identify as pagan. But many have classified my books as this - must be the old moon thang.

And hippy... whilst I mockingly refer to myself as hippy due to a propensity for floaty skirts - in truth my sartorial choice has more to do with hefty thighs than philosophical allegiances... there is much of what I do... or rather, am perceived as doing, which is hippy.... but it's very easy to dismiss someone by using that word... And sometimes I do get dismissed as too hippy... or self-helpy... or new agey... due to my subject matter... and how I explore it.

But you would be very disappointed if you met me in real life having chalked me down as a hippy. I am academic by nature, a serious thinker, not a stoner or a drifter... I am a big-hearted, hard-nosed, socialist entrepreneur. That I chose to use the language of self-help, or wisdom, that I chose to write first person is a CHOICE, because I know that writing that way I will reach more hearts and souls than writing dry academic books... which I could very easily have done.

Gosh this wasn't intended to be a rant... not at all... I guess though because I cultivate a rainbow coloured exterior, I am tired of having to get past certain perceptions... which come with lots of baggage. What I'm doing is deadly serious... and words like "hippy" have always been used to dismiss, to trivialise vital messages... Add that to the "trivial" topics of "motherhood", "creativity" or worse "non-professional, WOMEN'S creativity", or the flipping menstrual cycle... and people are like, is that even a topic? Why would you write a book on that? Does anybody want to READ a book on that? Well, the sort of mainstream people who wouldn't touch my books with a barge pole.

And then I can feel a bit yuck. A bit stupid. With cherries on.

Yeah, I waste my time self-indulgently writing on weird pointless hippy pagan feminist subjects...pity me.... do you want to see my fan mail... and my sales figures?

But of course I'm far too polite to say that.

I have a career doing what I love. Nothing to justify here...

Yet every time I feel the patriarchal burn of shame, the smell of burning witches in my nose and the feeling that I am a marked women... and if people had ANY idea just how powerful this work was... they'd run in terror... either away from me... or ask me a whole lot more and dive right in... because this is BIG, life-changing, world-shifting stuff we're dealing with... re-making not one but three generations of empowered, embodied women who will help to shift our culture... and economy...

I know that. My readers know that... And yet sometimes, sometimes I wish I could shake the mainstream world awake... wake up guys... stop mocking and smell the coffee... there's a whole world within, there is such glory and joy to be had in your body, in your soul... if you would just pay attention.... wake up guys, it's not just about you, we need all the open hearted, creative, fully-embodied human beings we can get on the planet right now...

I love that I'm niche... I love that I'm loved by the niche... but I long for the message to hit the mainstream... I thought I was mainstreaming it... so I guess this is the problem... I intended to ... for reasons I will share in another post... but despite avoiding many touchpaper words... there's not a goddess to be seen in my books... still they come out smelling of hippy.

Because in the end loving fully... living fully... embodying your passion are not the messages of the mainstream.

And for good reason... because if people woke up on a mass scale this whole edifice would come crumbling down.

Happy Oestara!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Clearing

Every so often I feel the clutter in our house build up to screaming point... or suffocation.

When I have been preoccupied with big creative projects, I don't have the energy or headspace to do anything other than get meals in front of people, keep the mountain of dishes from toppling and burying us alive, and making sure that homework gets done most nights.

But the clutter builds and grows.

Our girl turned six yesterday. The kids have just switched rooms, which required a swap of belongings, and trying to configure a way for our eldest and youngest to share the biggeset bedroom in a way that works for them both.

I have written before about how I struggle with taking up space. And moving into space.

The first thing that needed to happen was to clear off my dressing table, which also acts as a minor altar space.

Ahhh, breathing space... what had seemed to impenetrable and overwhelming, was sorted and cleared in a matter of minutes... and then I moved on, patch by patch through my bedroom. I sorted my new bookshelf, which I hadn't even been able to reach, and re organised it shifting my books I live by to it, and bringing others up from downstairs which I previously felt vulnerable about visitors seeing... you know the Vagina Monologues sorta thing! And another little altar.

And then onto the kids room...

Seven bin bags of clothes and three large boxes of books for charity shop. Five bags of rubbish, three of recycling... 

Sun shining outside. A picnic lunch on the green. 

 I feel really proud of myself. And I can breathe.

I feel that I... and my kids... have spaces that reflect our needs and passions... we are at home here... and no longer camping or living out of boxes.

There is space to think... and be... and breathe... for the light to shine in.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Life-changing, paradigm-shifting books by women, for women.

The industry says there’s no money in publishing. They talk about the death of books.

A visit to the London Book Fair tells a very different story.

There is PLENTY of money there. With a couple of thousand stands. Each manned by 2-20 publishers, editors and agents. Suited and booted to the nines. Talking with calculators in hand. Hunched over desks making hushed deals. There is plenty of money changing hands… what they mean is there isn’t much money for authors. All the money is being spent on staff. And offices. And glossy brochures. And dinners. And printing pretty books. And erecting huge stands. And lots of over fed middle aged white men and ladies with very expensive hair. That is where the money is. Not in the pockets of those who created the work. Who were having to grovel to get a place at a table to talk to a powerful editor.

As an author I can’t tell you how wrong this felt. Intentionally intimidating and phony. Corporate yuck.

Then I headed to the self publishing area. Authors were crowded around, standing room only, straining to hear. The authors, many shipped in from the US, they spoke a different language – of telling stories, and community, and creativity, and entrepreneurship, and lots and lots about readers, about what readers want, and reaching readers, and maintaining financial and creative control… about building long term careers. They weren’t into cleverness, but into doing what they loved, and giving readers what they yearned for. And they were all millionaires. And in the audience were tens of authors like me, not millionaires, but making our livings from writing.

I knew I was in the right place.

It confirmed completely to me the way I want to go with my books. And the way I want to support others. In helping them to self-publish through education (e-courses and more... coming soon!) and publishing services.

And by creating a niche publishing imprint for voices that matter, that the women of our world are longing to hear. Life-changing, paradigm-shifting books by women, for women.



A publishing company which is co-creative. Collaborative. Which shares the work. And the money. Equally between author and production team. Which harnesses new technology. Which is small enough and clever enough to manoeuvre in changing times. Which is dedicated to the authors. And books. And readers. Not to saving face with the big boys in the industry or maintaining the status quo in any way. One which celebrates wisdom, not cleverness. Depth not superficiality. Which is focused on the future. Co-creating a bright new future, through seeding ideas and sharing voices.

Western women will change the world… so says the Dalai Lama… and who am I to argue? 

This is Womancraft Publishing. Our new venture.

It feels completely natural and right.


And we are really excited.

PS We're not officially supposed to have launched yet... we're still a few weeks off being up and running... but I am so breathlessly excited and USELESS at keeping secrets, especially with my inner circle, that I just HAVE to share it with you because it's on my mind, it's my everything at the mo - compiling the e-course, writing copy for the website, setting up our procedures.... (You can follow us on Facebook here!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cherry Blossom Picnic

This weekend saw our annual much-anticipated family celebration of spring, adopted from our soul- heartland Kyoto, Japan: o-hanami, the cherry blossom picnic. We have really made it our own at this stage - we are now on our third one.


We require a sunny day with a soft spring breeze and the snowy blossoms in their fullest glory. A picnic rug. Fushi - as in fake sushi - as in marshmallow rice crispie buns rolled around jelly snakes to look like sushi.


And spring tea. This is my favourite ceremonial part. I gather all the fresh spring flowers and herbs to create an energising tissane. This year we had:

Dandelion for energy
Daisy for innocence
Lemon balm for calm
Red raspberry leaf for strong wombs, crucibles of creativity
Sweet cicily for natural sweetness
Violets, cherry blossom and primroses for beauty and love.

It looked beautiful... and tasted... odd!


And of course we sang the Sakura song.... making up the words for the middle bit that we can never remember!

And our family dressed in their own unique styles for the occasion!



Happy Spring to you!



Monday, April 7, 2014

The Myth of Happy Families - Why it Just Can't Work... and How You're Doing Just Fine

How's your day?

Chances are you're tired. Or beating yourself up at getting cross with a child. Or have just had to break up a fight. Or are hiding on the internet just to get five minutes peace.

Or perhaps you are feeling very chuffed because for the last half an hour everything has gone perfectly. You are, for the moment anyway, living the dream. You ARE the perfect parent.

But then the baby will start screaming uncontrollably... the older kids will start yelling...you will long for a moment's peace.... and, if you're anything like me, you'll feel like a failure, again.

As a mother your job is to be the creator and sustainer of love, peace and harmony. At all times. Anything less and you've failed. Especially if the outburst is coming from YOU at the end of your tether. (I may, perhaps, be speaking from experience here!)

The biggest myth about having kids, is that everyday is supposed to be saccharine happy, with everyone in perfect harmony. And that it is your moral responsibility.

STOP THE LIGHTS and BREATHE!

The best thing you can do for your sanity, is stop believing this rubbish!  It's only taken me 8 1/2 years to realise this!  So if you're just starting out, go easy on yourself!

We were standing in the kitchen this morning, Mr Dreaming Aloud feeling despondent because our girls were being cranky with him, I was being cranky with him, the kids were bickering on the sofa… and had been since the moment they woke up.

A sudden realisation hit me: this is how it is 70% of the time.... Someone in the family is out of sorts about something. Yet we spend our whole time denying this, resisting it, getting angry about it: thinking it should all be roses and hearts, holding hands and walking into the sunshine. Because that's the way were told it should be.

All the movies show it.  All books show it. Permanently smiling children. Permanently smiling parents.

We know they're fiction - but some part of our souls holds it as incontrovertible truth, and holds us ransom to it.

Sure we can do it in the outside world.  We do with our friends, they do it with their friends. We're pretty good at playing happy families on best behaviour.

But the door closes. And here we are, together again, in private with the housework and homework, tired, hungry, overwhelmed, wanting space, frustrated, bored, sick…

Home is where we do real life. Home is where we get to be real people. Where we hide away our unshowable parts and get to be antisocial when we are sick, feeling alone, tired, when the weather's bad, when life's just kicked us hard between the teeth, when our hearts are breaking or depression pulls us down. This is where we get to be unvarnished, veruccas, stretch marks and all.

And a lot of the time it aint pretty. At least not in the way we are taught pretty SHOULD be... But it is real.

This is where we get to grow. Home is our growing edge. Our creative crucible of soul.

Our perfect vision of how parenting will be, should be, is a cardboard cut out.  It doesn't leave any room for human mess: surfaces covered in junk, unwashed dishes, peed on sheets, engorged breasts and milk stained tops, bickering over who got the least sleep, the sour milk in your coffee, baby waking up just as you manage to get into the shower…  after hours of waiting.

In a movie it's funny, we see the ridiculous side of it.  But in real life, it often feels rather depressing. We want to be living in technicolour, we just want the kisses without the tears; the cute paintings without all the mess; the well-fed baby without the puke; the sleeping angel, without the bed time nightmare that precedes it.

What we want is the life that we see in the perfect family portrait: well lit, clean faces and clothes, everyone smiling, hanging on the sitting room wall with pride. We define ourselves by this. This is who we REALLY are, we tell ourselves. The rest is just a mistake, an inconvenience, a failure. We conveniently edit it from our memories, write it off as "not really us".

But what if the crankiness, mayhem, madness, mess, mishaps and tears are an integral a part of the process that creates that magical moment which we capture and frame? They are us too. Life is the creative process, the endless churning and changing of a family in flux, individuals like atoms spinning here and there, only for a moment vibrating at the same frequency, then it takes just one to shift slightly and we have dissonance again.  Dissonance, not harmony, is the normal state of affairs... though our peace loving hippy selves wish otherwise.

Family living is the ultimate creativity.  There will be paints on the table, puke on your shoulder, poop on your fingers...  And possibly the bottom of your shoe!  Tears and tantrums are all part of the process.  From all of us!  This messiness behind the scenes, is like the artist at work, creating the most beautiful work of art: a human family.




Being a first-time mama is an amazing experience. The New Mama Welcome Pack blog hop is a celebration of this life changing event!

Follow the links to discover more unmissable advice, stories and essential tips. And if you’re a new mama who wants to rock motherhood without guilt, overwhelm or losing yourself, check out the New Mama Welcome Pack here.

New Mama Welcome Pack / Lotte Lane / Dreaming Aloud / Zhendria / Birthing in Conscious Choice / Natalie Garay / Eli Trier / Knecht Ruprecht / Lise Meijer / Naomi Goodlet / A Lifestyle By Design / Story of Mum / Like a Bird / Holistic Mama / Birth Geek / Joyful Parenting / Stroller Packing / My Healthy Beginning / Mums and More / Kate Beddow - Growing Spirits / Joyful Courage / Ellen Nightingale / Stacie Whitney / Maternity Leavers / Photography for Busy Parents / Close Enough To Kiss / Atelier Susana Tavares / Offbeat Family / Katie m. Berggren ~ Painting Motherhood / Winship Wellness Blog / Liberate From Weight / Jessica Cary / Art + Craft / Raising Playful Tots / Peaceful Mothering / Play Activities / Lauren Nenna / Nurture You / MummaBliss / The Adventure Mama / Be Wise Be Healthy / b.a.d.momGoodmom / Doula in Your Pocket / Making Mom Strong / Adrienn Csoknyay / Joyful Parents / Alison Hummel / Simple Solutions for Photos / Lynne Newman / Euphoric Birth / Mumpreneur Mentor / A Walk in the Clouds / Parenting on the Fence / MiaMily

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Creative Integration... what happens when you decide to stop hiding and claim your whole self.

Thanks for all the feedback on Facebook and by email about my mega freak out yesterday.

I walked in the door and announced to Mr DA that I'd just had a freak out.

"I know" he says " I read it on Facebook."

Ah, yes, Facebook is public! But always good to know one's husband follows one's ramblings.

"But I'm freaking out"

"Because that's never happened before!" I nearly whacked him one. But remembered I was a peace loving hippy and so laughed hard instead. The bugger has been through a few of my self-doubting creative tantrums in the last decade and a half.

They always seem new to me though! A sign that BIG SHIT is shifting.

It's been a powerful 24 hours of transformation and clarity. Of feedback. Of being witnessed. Of really claiming myself and my power. Leonie's right when she said that being an entrepreneur is the biggest  soul work you'll ever do (except being a mama).

I'll give you a whistlestop tour of the whirlwind of growth that is my life...

Yesterday morning started with a powerful meditation and set of life-shifting realisations before breakfast thanks to a rather wonderful e course I'm doing -kids' breakfasts and lunches, then off to work for a Skype chat with a new contact, a fabulous writer woman - you'll definitely be hearing more about her here... we laughed, cried and gave each other reality checks - even though we'd only just met. Writing the web copy for this (shhhh! it's top secret!) Dinner and kid time. Followed by a seriously powerful co-created ceremony at our second red tent - with some other women I've only just met. Sleep. Followed by an incredible working breakfast with Mr DA... and lots of powerful Facebook conversations in between.

I. FEEL. WHOLE. and witnessed in that wholeness.

And I'm doing what I love... with people who make my soul sing.

Ahhhhhh! What a life! I seriously cannot get over how lucky I am.

So... the long and the short of it is that Dreaming Aloud is here to stay. The consensus is that what I'm proposing is a perfect fit (and the megalithic boulder making it impossible was all in my head - sound familiar?!) And what is more, the creative women who read it are really excited to see me combine my two sides. Creativity and woman craft. Cos that's what makes me me... so I might as well stop running from it! I have had a life time of dividing myself into parcels which would be accepted in different places. My watchword now is integration. Authentic inhabiting of my full self...

So tell me... how do you parcel yourself up? Which bits do you separate off... especially in your work or creativity? Why do you do this? Have you considered integrating the disparate parts? How do you feel when you do?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A New Name?

As you can see I have just put up the new blog header to try it on... but something is stirring in me ... the powerful need to combine the content and approach of The Happy Womb with Dreaming Aloud... rather than having my split personality over two blogs  - so the focus will be on nurturing, supporting and empowering women's self expression and embodied creativity... This is where my uniqueness as a writer and teacher lie. And it's where the power is in my voice... and the insight I have to share.

The initial purpose of the redesign was to cut down to one blog... but that was going to be by dropping The Happy Womb and becoming a more mainstream creativity blog. But actually the women's work COMBINED with creativity is absolutely where my soul is.

Dreaming is not where it's at right now in my life I feel...

So I'm feeling that it might need an ENTIRELY NEW NAME... as originally Dreaming Aloud came from my time at Juno magazine, which is now in the past ( my time there, that is, the magazine is going from strength to strength). And I'm not sure it really expresses my new vision. (obviously I am VERY hesitant about rebranding... as you can imagine, having built up Dreaming Aloud over four years....

This is a very last minute turn around having spent weeks creating design and copy for the new Dreaming Aloud... and I have a designer starting work NOW!!!!

But I feel it's better to turn it around now, when I'm at these early stages than after having launched the new site.

Tell me does what I've told you resonate with Dreaming Aloud as you understand and know it, or do you think a new name is in order?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Let's Make a Date!

Well dreamers, it looks like a busy couple of months ahead... lots of chances for us to meet... and dream aloud together. You could get one of my books signed... Talk about a publishing project... blogging... woman craft... writing...

I've always found it so exciting meeting blog readers, and book readers in real life... and this next few weeks offers lots more opportunities for making real life connections...

Here's my action packed schedule!

April 1st, East Cork Red Tent - Ballymaloe
April 8th-9th, London Book Fair, Earl's Court
May 4th, Home Birth Conference, Dublin
May 7th, East Cork Red Tent, Ballymaloe
May 10th, Get Blogging with Lucy Pearce, Ballymaloe Cookery School
May 17th-18th, Ballymaloe LitFest (not speaking there this year, just schmoozing!)
May 16th-18th - Midleton Arts Festival - art in exhibition and book reading.
And just added...
July 11th-13th Dream Gathering... soaking it all up

Where will we meet?


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Books for Mothers

“Motherhood can be one of the most intense experiences of a woman's life. While there are many books that offer the “dos and don'ts” of effective parenting, few offer guidance on navigating the tumultuous inner experience of being a mother, with all its joy, pain, change and uncertainty.”

Eden Steinberg, from Finding Your Inner Mama 

Like buses three wonderful books of motherhood have come along at once into my life...which I really want to share with you. So, being me I've gone the whole hog and am sharing ALL my favourite books on mothering to celebrate Mother's Day here in the UK and Ireland this Sunday.

Now I need to be clear here: I am NOT talking about parenting books, (usually written by smug nannies or doctors with willies... which tell you how to do it all -if you're perfect, have no feelings, aren't exhausted, are perfectly patient and have an angel child), and let's all feel guilty cos we're not doing perfectly enough - gah! How I hate those books...

No, I am talking about books of soul, written by mamas, for mamas. Books to nurture, support, inspire, to reflect back the myriad emotions of motherhood through the lens of words and images... and what I love most is that they are published BY women, FOR women - long live indie publishing, it's putting the soul back into books and giving authentic voice to women!

Musings on Mothering - edited Teika Bellamy, with a foreword by Naomi Stadlen, Mother's Milk Books 2013. 

I was invited to contribute to this book, a fundraising initiative for La Leche League. The words I contributed were some of the most powerful I have written on motherhood, and I was very honoured to hear that they were shared at the inaugural Story of Mum retreat last week.

This book is a celebration of motherhood, attachment parenting and breastfeeding. An impressive collection of writing, poetry and art on the theme of motherhood. The talent of the contributors was humbling, and much of the poetry and art truly breathtaking, each expressing in their own unique way the ineffable nature of motherhood. Sensitive, reflective and beautifully compiled - it brought me to tears many times.


An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice - edited by Suzi Banks Baum, Laundry Line Divine, 2013. 

In the introduction to this treasure chest of a book, Suzi opens with the image of a bus with 36 women already seated, each has an open seat beside them. You are invited to sit for a few minutes and enjoy the journey with each of your companions as they share some homemade cake along with their stories.

This is precisely the experience of reading this book. Like a fruit cake full of juicy currants, cherries and toothsome nuts, it is SO rich and deep and true.

I cried many times, tears of recognition and empathy. And many times I felt myself holding my breath, or my heart missing a beat as I listened to these sacred stories of the inner life of mothers so rarely told. It is a pocketful of mothers: wise real women, who speak of the tender, tragic and mundane moments – we hear of miscarriage and premature births, of babies lost and children grown, of domesticity, creativity and connection. Many of its contributors words will be carried always with me in my heart.


Birth, Breath and Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy and Life as a Doula - Amy Wright Glenn, Create Space

We are born, we die, and in between these irrevocable facts of human existence the breath weaves all moments together.

At the age of fourteen, Amy began to question her family’s strict faith and embarked on a life-long personal journey towards spiritual truth. Her quest has taken her around the world, to further studies and to both ends of life’s spectrum, in her dual callings as doula and chaplain to the dying and their families.

This little book is exquisitely written and is full of profound insight, reflection and compassion on the subjects of life, love, birth, mothering and death. Reading it is a meditation in its own right. It is a book of soul which leaves you richer.


What Mothers Do (Especially When it Looks Like Nothing), Naomi Stadlen

I read this book  religiously when each of my babies were infants on the breast, bathing in its loving wisdom. I hated it when Mr DA would come home and ask what I'd been up to - there I was exhausted, covered in vomit, shaking with hunger... I'd cast my mind back and "nothing" is all I could think of. I had no words for the invisible acts of mothering that I had been doing. This book helped to give me language... and value to what I did day after day in the early years. I have yet to read her second book, How Mothers Love, but have heard many good reports of it.


Moods of Motherhood - Lucy H Pearce, 2012.

Moods is a compilation of my best-loved posts on motherhood from Dreaming Aloud, my columns from JUNO magazine and many new pieces, never before published. It is a book full of my trademark searing honesty and raw emotions. It will make you laugh and cry - wherever on your mothering journey you may be.

Topics include: tenderness, pregnancy and birth, happy days, anger and fierceness, playfulness, love, patience, homemaking and much, much more... it is illustrated throughout with beautiful black and white photographs. I have put it together by topic so that you can dip in and out, wherever you are in your mothering journey. Pick it up for wisdom, reassurance, a laugh, some empathy. Take me to the park in your bag, keep me by your bed, or on your bookshelf... what a funny concept!


The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood. Lucy H Pearce, Soul Rocks Books, 2013 

My Amazon #1 bestselling book, featuring the words of over fifty creative mothers: visual artists, writers, film-makers, potters, performers and crafters.

Visioned as the guide and mentor that most creative women yearn for, but never find in their daily lives, The Rainbow Way explores the depths of the creative urge, from many perspectives. This positive, nurturing and practical book promises to empower you to unlock your creative potential within the constraints of your demanding life as a mother. It has been credited by women across the globe for kickstarting their creativity and making them feel seen and accepted as creative mothers.


Finding Your Inner Mama: Women Reflect on the Challenges and Rewards of Motherhood - Edited by Eden Steinberg. Trumpeter, 2007. 

“Motherhood is not what we imagined. It is more delightful, more heartbreaking...It is not the calm after the storm we have been led to expect. It is almost more than a person can bear. Almost."  -Ariel Gore, The Mother Trip

A soul-manual of mothering, sketching the landscape of the mother-soul and speaking truly of the vocation of motherhood, the dark and the light, the unspoken and unspeakable. It is written by women of courage, insight and vision who are putting into words a realm of experience which has traditionally been left without language.

Divided in to four sections: The Reality of Being a Mother; The Inner Work of Motherhood; Why is Being a Mother so Hard?; and Finding Balance, this collection of writing by psychologists, poets, novelists, spiritual teachers, and everyday mums explores the rich, transformative journey of motherhood. Amongst the contributors are some of the most talented American women writers of our generation: Louise Erdrich, Adrienne Rich and Ariel Gore.



And finally, hot off the press - the New Mama's Welcome Pack - which includes an e copy of my book Moods of Motherhood, as well as inspiration and resources from over 60 other mamas - this is the ultimate gift for new mamas to give wisdom, reassurance and practical help. The mama receives one short email a day, with words of love, and a resource.

Delivered over three months direct to their inbox, the New Mama's Welcome Pack is bursting with supportive and uplifting digital goodies, all designed to help a new mama make the most of this precious and exhausting time.


What are YOUR favourite mothering books?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dreaming Aloud... Together. Your ideas needed...

Hello lovelies

You know why I've been quiet?

Cos I've been scheming, and planning... and worrying and dreaming and doodling and journalling and fiddling.

Alone.

Trying to dream aloud the new Dreaming Aloud by myself.

Who it's for, what it's about, how it works, how it will look...

When will I learn?

I'm trying to second guess what YOU will love, what YOU will want. So I can reveal it all fresh and new with a big TA-DA! in about 6 weeks.

Durgh!

If it's about YOU, then I need YOU onboard.

I know, I'm a little slow...

Note to self Lucy - YOU ARE NOT IN IT ALONE. You have support out there. A massive, wonderful, dynamic crew of creative geniuses... 

Do you remember when we dreamed aloud the title of The Rainbow Way? That was pure magic. So let's do it again. There'll be a thank you pack of my greetings cards going out to the winning idea, or the one that most helps me to get there.

So first of all I want to do a big reveal of the header, which is almost, almost there. It has been evolving a while now and hit completion at the weekend... my newly created font, my art behind it, my logo of the Dreaming Aloud stone spiral - in rainbow colours - and his computer magic...



But I don't currently have a tag line... and I think they are useful for new visitors to a site, so that they know what it's about and what to expect...

(WTF's a tag line, Lucy? It's the one sentence description of what a blog/ website is about, which goes under the main header....so for example, Leonie has Amazing Biz, Amazing Life, Hands Free Mama has Letting Go... To Grasp What Really Matters...)

The new look website will of course have plenty of rainbow colours but lots of white space too. It will of course be home to the blog that you know and love, but will also have my shop with my books and art, there will be lots of creativity resources, e courses, the Facebook community and creative coaching... ( do let me know what else YOU would like on it, especially in the way of e courses...)

I am so excited about it - the design is nearly there, the web guy hired and he starts to build it on the 1st of April.

So back to tag lines... I spent all last weekend distracted by logos. Which was fine as the kids were with the grandparents for a sleep over. But I am single mama this weekend whilst Mr DA goes for a very well deserved skite to a big design conference. So I want to get tag lines sorted by tonight so I'm not distracted from kids all weekend with it going round and round my head. I'll share my current shortlist here - please do vote for the numbers you like. And also tell me the ones you can't stand. And please do add in any variations on the themes below - or something totally unique in the comments section below.

And remember, the winning entry gets a pack of 5 greetings cards.

My current shortlist:
1) Creative rainbow living
2) Living outside the lines
3) Where dreaming is allowed
4) Free thinking in creative colour
5) Life in full color
6) Where dreams take root
7) Vibrant, creative living
8) Inspired living for creative spirits
9) Your life, your way!
10) Courageous living for creative souls
11) Inspire, empower, transform...



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Feeling Guilty Cos You're Not Doing Enough?

People ask me all the time - "what's next, Lucy?"

Knowing, me being me I'll have something up my sleeve.

"Have you started another book?"

Ummm, yes. I have 8, yes eight you read that right, currently downloading into my brain. Each with a separate folder on my computer, and random sheets of paper floating around my bedroom... and backpack... and journal pages, and quotes highlighted and book pages folded over (yes, me too, I HATE it when people do that, books are precious... but needs must, otherwise I'll never find them again! My kids always run off with my little stickies).

So eight books. Three e courses... or potentially four.

A website redesign.

And a number of top secret, mega exciting, dream come true projects which I will reveal all in due time.

This is not to mention finishing up my JUNO work (ah, breathing space!), doing the post-pub proof for The Rainbow Way, various book promotions, two blogs and my consulting work...

And three kids. One of whom rode a bike by herself yesterday. The other two are turning into bloggers in their own right!

And you know what... I'm feeling guilty cos I'm not doing enough.

Yes, you read that right too.

I'm feeling guilty cos I'm not doing enough.

Or at least that I'm not focusing on one thing. Perhaps that I haven't finished a book by breakfast time yesterday. I do some of one project, and give myself a hard time cos I should be working on something else. What a prize nutter.

And breathe.

So, if that little voice in your head is giving you a hard time, telling you you're not doing enough, or you need to do more, it's a cousin of mine, and it's speaking bollocks, so kindly tell it that from me.

You're doing a super job. Well done. Thank you for being here with your gifts and using them so fully. The world is a brighter place with you in it.

Or as I said rather eloquently in The Rainbow Way - "The products of creativity – the books, the paintings, the sculptures – are whispers from your soul or the communal soul: they are by-products of the journey. When we run dry it is because we have fallen for the mistaken belief that they are it, and that we are the source of our creations. We only have two jobs – to turn up with our skills, and to get out of the way and let the process guide us."

Now take five minutes, have a cup of tea and get that niggly little voice to have one too. You both must be exhausted!

So tell me, what's next for you... and to what degree are YOU giving yourself a monstrously hard time, whilst being an unrecognised (by you) rock star?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Essential Parenting Collection - FLASH SALE TODAY!




Just a quick post to share that there is a flash sale on the Essential Parenting Collection today. You may have spotted it on my side bar for a couple of weeks - and if you've been tempted then this is a great time to buy, as there's 10% off today.

This fabulous bundle offers a very wide array of eProducts, including eBooks, audiobooks, eCourses, workbooks, audio, coloring pages.... including Juno magazine and my book for girls - Reaching for the Moon.

There are dozens of valuable gentle parenting resources valued at over $750! Do head over to the site and see for yourself just how much is on offer.

Topics include natural health in pregnancy and birth, attachment parenting and positive discipline techniques. Great for parents with kids of all ages!

If money is an issue, or you're just wanting to focus on the area of parenting you're at right now, it has also been divided into 5 age specific mini bundles which are available for $18 each today.
  • Pregnancy and Birth
  • The Early Years
  • Child Development
  • Resources for Parents
  • Mindful Guidance

The  10% discount is for purchases TODAY ONLY - which means that the full collection is just $44.97 (offer is also valid for the mini bundles). Use code MONDAY10


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