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-course
that I hope will support you to lean into our dear Earth
- 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 dear Earth's love. <3
Hello Dear Earth.
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.
Material shared here is presented for study and review. Poems, photos, and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, usually the authors. 'Letters from Satya' images and text © Satya Robyn 2020.
What a wonderful idea, Rosemary. I have been reading yours, which are inspirational, but haven't had the time to take part in the course. I'll look out for Satya's posts in future.ReplyDelete
I signed up for her newsletter and am following her on social media.Delete
I feel sure you'll enjoy her newsletters, Kim. In some ways, such as the love of nature, I think you'd be very much on the same wavelength.Delete
Keeping you busy aren't they. I hadn't known about this one, the daily letter sounds good, seems I always a small fire to put out here, my schedule won't allow me. I peeked in at "Earth Letters" and found another FB friend there. She has a job a bbv and more chores than I have but is much younger than I am. I will remember though. I do have a Friday post on another blog that I've been doing for several years, post time is 4PM CDT.ReplyDelete
LOL, I keep myself busy, I think – but only with things that I like to do.Delete
Now I am wondering what a bbv is. (Many Americanisms are mysterious to me, and this was one thaT Googling didn't solve.)
LOL, I wondered too.Delete
Hmmm, Helen, maybe a typo for baby.Delete
I have subscribed to her newsletters ....ReplyDelete
I love the thought of small stones. Much of my time is spent as co-administrator of three art challenge blogs, and I try to keep up with dVerse and Poets & Storytellers. I really enjoy your Wild Fridays! By the time I get to Friday, I'm feeling a little wild myself!!ReplyDelete
I'm chuckling at your last remark! And glad you enjoy the Fridays, dear Bev. (THREE art challenge blogs! I only knew of one. What a powerhouse you are.)Delete
@Bev, Fridays have that effect on most of us! Grins.Delete
I cannot watch anymore. Just cannot take it.ReplyDelete
I am sure many feel so just now – or just now more than ever. This little 'Hello Earth' exercise offers relief.Delete
I absolutely love this idea and just might try it out myself, Rosemary!❤️ There is so much that needs addressing. Thank you for introducing us to Satya's work! xoxoxoReplyDelete
I’m glad it appeals to you, Sanaa. I think you would find it a great new springboard for your creativity, and would do wonderful things with it.Delete
I remember Satya. She introduced us to "small stones". I participated in a challenge to write a "small stone" a day about a decade ago. "Small stones" are supposed to be, well, small, but i wrote some lengthy pieces. But i think it is a tool to assist writers. It can be a way of meditating, calming and recharging. you turn your attention and sight to other things. in 2016, i did another small stone a day project, and i found it richly satisfying.ReplyDelete
Now when i am blocked, i think of small stones. rest. do other stuff. play a video game. and write again. 😁
Ha, some of mine were quite long too. It's a powerful tool, and I always thought the real secret was that it got one to look outside oneself. However the earthellos are proving equally powerful – and what they get me to do is look inwards at least as much as out!Delete
ah, yes. looking inwards is as important as opening our mind outwards. perhaps even more difficult. :)ReplyDelete
It's the 'mindfulness' that does it, I think, the being in the moment even when we look inward. I'm tickled to think we both took part in those daily small stone projects – as did many other names we know well from online poetry circles. I still occasionally look through the collections that were produced; some lovely stuff resulted from that simple exercise. That exercise was a godsend for my dear Andrew when he got a touch of Alzheimers in the months before he died and could no longer write anything lengthy after a lifetime of writing. He could produce small stones and was delighted to do so.Delete
I am convinced that during this time of terrible chaos, anything that can make it better--even if just for a moment--is pure magic. I checked out the "Small Stones" page, and as you might already suspect, I completely love it. What an excellent idea.ReplyDelete
They are such a gift; a joy to write. I'm finding the same to be true about the earthellos.Delete
The small stones idea is utterly charming! I wonder what a string of them might look like done over a specific period of time.ReplyDelete
Everyone's individual string would be different. In 2011 we used to visit each other's blogs of them; each unique and each delightful. And they produce good collective chains too – Satya and Kaspa produced two books of small stones after the 2011 and 2016 projects, which remain a joy to read. The Morning Porch blog, ongoing daily from 2008, which I have featured in the past (see our archives) originated as 140-character twitter posts but is essentially a series of small stones, and joined those small stone projects at the time.Delete