Author Archives: Kaspa

reconnecting with mindful writing

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.

Franz Kafka

Writing by Bianca Moraes

Writing by Bianca Moraes

Kaspa writes: I am reconnecting with writing small stones

marigold dawn – cardinal red poppies  

We have been in the temple for 20 months. We never really know a place, of course, but there are shallow and deeper ways of knowing, and I feel like the temple and I are close to each other. We know each other’s rhythms, and foibles, and it’s easier to rub along now than it was in those first few weeks, and months. Not just easier, but a joy.

alice blue clouds in a powder blue sky

Satya and I have just returned from Buddhafield. A festival in the hills of Somerset, two or three thousand people, camping together for a few days, taking part in workshops, listening to music, eating good food and walking barefoot in the grass. A couple of people mentioned mindful writing to me. My teacher recently mentioned it to me, as well.

dry petals – slivers of finger nails – around the vase of wildflowers

I have been writing. Satya and I wrote a book. I have written articles for local magazines, and my journal is full of words that no one will ever read. But my small stone practice has slipped, and I feel poorer for it.

The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.

Edward R. Murrow

I’m starting up my small stone practice again. I’m running Awake August so that you can join me, and I can have some support. It helps me to write knowing that you are writing too.

Writing takes me out of my own small concerns and brings me into the world. It lets me see myself from a distant place, in the context of this vast, beautiful, universe. I’m looking forward to mindful writing again.

the echo of a coffee stain on this old carpet – red pen on the side of the chair – cat hair sticks to my damp hand 

Step one: Relax…

When we can relax, the change that needs to happen occurs of its own accord. ~ Nick Totton

Kaspa writes: Read below about the importance of relaxing, if we are ready to change. I also wanted to let you know that I have two slots available for therapy clients, via Skype. If you’d like to find out more or book an initial session visit kaspathompson.co.uk or email me.

The facts are always friendly, every bit of evidence one can acquire, in any area, leads one that much closer to what is true. ~ Carl R. Rogers

Early this morning I was sitting in the garden under grey skies, watching a couple of solitary bees buzzing to and from the bee box I had installed earlier in the year, and thinking about a conversation I’d had the night before.

A friend had been worrying about something in their own life and I was encouraging them to see the bigger picture. The more I tried to do this the more their worry increased; this was the exact opposite of what I’d intended.

In the quote above Carl Rogers encourages us to pay attention to all the evidence we can. It is this that will lead to understanding and acceptance, to moving on or to making changes. I thought that’s what I was encouraging my friend to do last night. I thought that I could see some of the facts that they were missing, but I was missing a more important fact: my friend’s anxiety.

We are not rational beings who can impassionately gather up the objective external clues and come to a neat conclusion. The facts we gather can produce emotional reactions as they remind us of something that happened long ago, or plug in to an irrational fear. When this happens we can feel derailed, and fact-collecting on its own is probably not enough to get us back on track.

It often seems to me that the central function of therapy is to support the client in relaxing – as simple as that. When we can relax, the change that needs to happen occurs of its own accord. When we are in a state of tension, it doesn’t matter how much we understand our stuckness – we still stay stuck. ~ Nick Totton  

I should have listened to my friend’s anxiety last night, and given them some space to unwind and relax. They’re not stupid and they would have figured out the facts, the big picture, for themselves. In was also doing the same thing this morning as I reflected on our conversation.
I picked up a pair of secateurs and smiled to myself as I started to dead-head the sweet-peas. I had allowed myself to relax in the garden, and seen that I’d been unskillful in the conversation the night before. It was the combination of collecting evidence and of being relaxed that allowed me to come to the truth and to accept my own unskillful behaviour.

I wanted to rush my friend out of their anxiety for my own sake, and not for theirs. With clients this doesn’t really happen. We meet for an hour once a week and I’m happy for them to work at their own pace – but perhaps I need to keep an eye out for rushing my friends.

Visit my therapy website or leave a comment here.

Image by Line Sabore used under a Creative Commons licence, with thanks.
 
 
 



What I learnt from staying in bed

Kaspa writes: 6.00am. One of the cats comes in to the bedroom, meowing like the drawn out glissando of a singing-saw. I roll over in bed. The room is already light; the bedroom curtains are too thin and appear to glow in the dawn.

I try to ignore the wailing cat, who is just looking for attention, or breakfast, and pull the duvet over my head.

Satya slips out of bed and whispers to the cat. I hear her going downstairs and the quicker footsteps of the cat following her.

It’s quiet again. Perhaps I can go back to sleep. But it’s too hot underneath the duvet and too bright in the room. I reach over the bedside table, where I keep an eye mask (like the ones they give you on long haul flights), cover my eyes and return to dream-land.

An hour and a half passes. I begin to wake up again. My awareness wakes up slowly, first into the middle of a strangely fraught dream. Some time passes and the dream drops away like a backdrop falling at the back of a stage, to reveal another scene behind.

Incoherent thoughts wash across my mind. They are a mixture of old memories and fantasies about the future, none of which are grounded in reality. There is a selfish quality to these thoughts. I watch them grasping at superficial ideals, and angrily pushing other things away.
Some more time passes. The curtain of these thoughts falls away too.

I’m conscious of the room, of the bed beneath me and of the day ahead. The thoughts I have now are more grounded in reality, and less selfish. I’m ready to get up.

Sometimes this process takes just a few moments. Sometimes the thin tendrils of the dreams and selfish thoughts hang around throughout the morning, like silver threads of cobweb caught on my jacket.

Becoming aware of this waking up process leads me to be kind towards myself. I feel less guilty about the days when I struggle to bounce out of bed bright eyed. I have learnt to respect my unconscious mind working things out in its own way.

My ‘waking up’ karma will be different to yours. Perhaps like Satya you will wake up early and do an hour of something before anyone else in the house wakes up. This morning Satya spent time gilding whilst I was still emerging from sleep. The standing Buddha I bought last week is almost completely covered in ‘gold-coloured leaf’. Perhaps like me it takes your more enlightened mind longer to wake up than your foolish mind.

Those early morning thoughts and dreams are a window into my unconscious mind and show me what fears and hopes are swirling around in there, affecting the actions I take in my daily life. As I get to know myself more deeply and accept those hidden parts of myself I can begin the process of letting go.

If there is an exhortation in this email it is to become truly intimate with your own processes.

What can you learn from watching your own minds rhythm throughout the day? Can you work with the nature of your own mind, rather than against it? What can you see in the liminal spaces of your own mind as it wakes up or in the twilight moments before falling asleep?

Image: Asleep by Ginney, shared under an attribution share-alike licence.

Why I love “Finding Your Way Home”

pastKaspa writes: A few years ago Satya and I sat down to create an e-course that encapsulated the spirit of writing our way home. Of course that’s true for all of our courses, but this was the first course that we wrote together and we wanted to make something special.

Satya wrote four stories to go alongside the course. In them Joshua slips into the lives of the un-seeing and helps wake them up. He sees small stones all around him and encourages others to do the same. He changes the lives of the people he meets, and although these are fictional characters in a story, we have seen the mindful writing practices we champion making a difference to real people’s lives.

We recorded four videos to go alongside the course too. Watching them now is like looking back into the past. Since then Satya has become ordained, received a new name, and published another novel, I have started a private psychotherapy practice and my hair has grown!

What pleases me when I watch them again is that the ideas we are talking about still hold up. We talk about our relationships with special places and with people and about coming into a new relationship with ourselves. I find myself nodding along and saying, “Yes, that’s right!”

I love this course. It guides you through exploring your whole world using mindful writing, leading to new ways of seeing and to a deeper acceptance of yourself.  It shows us what’s important, what we’ve got left to work on in our lives, and helps us hold what we’ve got left to work on with compassion.

We called the course Finding Your Way Home because it helps you find your home wherever you are, through exploring your place in the world right now.

Sign up now for Finding Your Way Home (Starting Thursday) or for the e-course Satya is running, the wonderful Writing and Spiritual Practice.

 

Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by Ian Sane

Day 28: January Mindful Writing Challenge

italySmooth, rounded edges of cobblestone, lime washed walls tinted red ochre. Sun-baked bricks. This sunny, chilly morning, Cefalu village in winter. On Via Duomo old women open up their shutters.

*

Ilona Martonfi

We’re on the twenty-eighth day of the January Mindful Writing Challenge – please post your small stone in the comments below.

If you’re not already signed up, our 31 Days of Waking Up daily email package was designed to accompany you during this (or any) month of mindful writing. Keep writing!

 

image:  Some rights reserved by christine zenino

Day 27: January Mindful Writing Challenge

sparrowPuffed up against the cold
But still cheerful
Hopping and chirping
In the cold and the dark
Learning from sparrows

*

Nina Mallozzi

We’re on the twenty-seventh day of the January Mindful Writing Challenge – please post your small stone in the comments below.

If you’re not already signed up, our 31 Days of Waking Up daily email package was designed to accompany you during this (or any) month of mindful writing. Keep writing!

 

image: Some rights reserved by barryskeates

Day 26: January Mindful Writing Challenge

rugpray mat flapping
my dusty mind
downswing

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Ken Sawitri

We’re on the twenty-sixth day of the January Mindful Writing Challenge – please post your small stone in the comments below.

If you’re not already signed up, our 31 Days of Waking Up daily email package was designed to accompany you during this (or any) month of mindful writing. Keep writing!

 

image:  Some rights reserved by cordelia_persen

Day 25: January Mindful Writing Challenge

rainkids at the bus stop –
the phenomenology /
of mobile call plans
rain last night again /
the valley saturated /
the same old mistakes

*

Pip Williams

We’re on the twenty-fifth day of the January Mindful Writing Challenge – please post your small stone in the comments below.

If you’re not already signed up, our 31 Days of Waking Up daily email package was designed to accompany you during this (or any) month of mindful writing. Keep writing!

 

image:  Some rights reserved by Skley

Day 24: January Mindful Writing Challenge

snowfresh snowfall —
shadows of bare branches
crisscross erased paths

*

Theresa A. Cancro

 

We’re on the fifteenth day of the January Mindful Writing Challenge – please post your small stone in the comments below.

If you’re not already signed up, our 31 Days of Waking Up daily email package was designed to accompany you during this (or any) month of mindful writing. Keep writing!

 

image: Attribution Some rights reserved by Colynn

Day 23: January Mindful Writing Challenge

stormknock out punch
trees fall
in a winter storm

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Nancy May

We’re on the twenty-third day of the January Mindful Writing Challenge – please post your small stone in the comments below.

If you’re not already signed up, our 31 Days of Waking Up daily email package was designed to accompany you during this (or any) month of mindful writing. Keep writing!

 

image: Attribution Some rights reserved by blahidontreallycare