(I didn't have to rove very far to find the following; it turned up in my email.)
I'm writing to you during times of pandemic, race riots, dangerous politics. Looming over all of this terrible suffering is the ongoing destruction of our beautiful planet, which is already disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable of us. It is appropriate to feel grief, fear, rage, disconnect, or despair.
How can we live through these times without being consumed by the darkness? How can we find the balance between denial and overwhelm? How can we steady ourselves in order that we may enjoy the gifts we've been given, and do our little bit?
For me, the answer is always refuge. We need to find something bigger than us that we can lean into, and then we need to lean. I've written a new free e-coursethat I hope will support you to lean into our dearEarth - with all her complexity, wisdom and beauty. It will take you ten minutes a day and involves finishing the sentences of a magic formula. I've written it as an offering to her, and to you. I hope you like it.
It'd be good to hear how you are. Reply to this email and let me know.
Sending many blessings from the temple here in Malvern, a little piece of paradise, with the blackbird singing and the sun shining down. I'm feeling humble, grateful, and overflowing with dearEarth's love. <3
HelloDearEarth. Here I am, at my desk on this Sunday morning, thinking of everyone who will receive my email. Earth - you are quiet here, and in other places people are screaming. Leaning in, I feel sadness welling up. Listing gratitude - the cornflower blue of my office wall, wildflowers in the little vase next to the Buddha, two sleeping dogs next door. Offering you my grief about the riots, and my joy at the peony bud opening in the garden.
I subscribe to letters from Satya Robyn. Satya is a lovely writer (both novelist and poet) as well as being a psychotherapist and a Buddhist priest who, with her husband Kaspalita Thompson, runs a Pureland Buddhist temple in Malvern, Worcestershire, England.
As some of you will recall my mentioning a few times, she created a form of mindful writing which she calls small stones (which could be either prose or verse) and in January 2011 invited people all over the world to join her in writing them daily, posting them to our blogs, and sharing the links with each other via a facebook group. A delightful thing to do! I've continued the practice on and off ever since. I do it because I like it. Also, on the rare occasions I get stuck for something to write, I can look around and find a small stone.
She and her husband have also offered various online courses over the years, all involving writing. I've done a few, and always loved them and got profound re-energising from them. The one she's come up with now is in perfect timing for me, just when I needed something like this. Furthermore it's free, and – being essentially spontaneous – takes hardly any time at all from each day.
I'm doing it!
You can either just go ahead with it on the basis of what she says in this letter or, via the link included, you can sign up for daily emails – brief, and offering gentle guidance as to what you might focus on each day. Personally, I always so enjoy anything she writes that I choose to get the emails.
The course goes for four weeks, ideally fitting neatly into June. Yes, this is a bit late to let you know. (She only put it together quite recently.) But it's fine to start late.
Because of time difference, I get her emails in the evening instead of the morning, so even though I began on June 1st, I am always a day late implementing her specific suggestions and will end up with one 'earthello' (as she calls them) extra. That's OK too. This practice is meant to empower us, not hang us up with logistics. (And there's no rule against continuing on forever if you so desire.)
If you take this on, you might like to share a few in our Writers' Pantry from time to time. Or you might rather keep them as private journalling.
If you do wish to share, please wait until a convenient Sunday. Putting links in the comments here and now doesn't really work. Wild Fridays are intended as your input time, hopefully inspirational but not meant as immediate prompts, so a Mister Linky is not included. You can try things at once and share later; or you can mull something over, play around with it at your leisure ... or simply take it in and absorb it.
I've been sharing my earthellos on Instagram. People say they find them calming to read. That's lovely! I think Satya's intention is that they might be calming to write. I find it so.