The Invitation ~ By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know 
if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesnt interest me
what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain mine or your own
without moving to hide it
…or fade it
…or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know 
what sustains you from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/the-invitation-by-oriah-mountain-dreamer

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The Passing Of The Lost Lands

An abyss falls within, an unwelcome weight, pulling down into darkness where the other lost wait.

Each soul is crying in heaviness of grief, (There is hope though for that pain to fall away …like a leaf)

It takes time for each soul to find their own special way out, be it to crawl, to climb, to meditate or to shout.

The abyss keeps falling creating a deep and dark path, this journey a great depiction of a raw aftermath

Healing or pain? neither can be forsaken. No-one can know which, nor the general time taken.

…whether this abyss is temporary or not?Or if it’s overwhelming and the lost become caught?!

This darkness however is an opportunity for growth, tis in here seeds are planted and there is a moment for oath.

For in times ahead the light will again shine. Hearts will feel familiar fuelled by all that is divine.

Stacie Amelia ©️

(poem about depression)

But who in the world am I – Alice In Wonderland

In order to begin exploring the labels that I attach to my sense of identity I must begin by exploring what my sense of identity is, what I am attached to and the stories I give behind that. This is the beginning of a very interesting journey, I have had conversations with people about their emotions, their clothing, their families, their bodies, their health, their preferences and dislikes as well as what they feel is morally right and wrong (their stance in life), their gender identity and expression of ‘self’

I learned whilst studying both social sciences and early psychology about how as we grow up most of us have a need to find a place of belonging and how this creates a sense of ‘me’ and ‘them’ how we wear metaphorical badges be this clothing, hair styles, attitudes, material items, how we have our house decorated, how we tend to our gardens all the things that give each of us an individual sense of identity but also as sense of belonging with others.

Us humans are very necessarily social creatures, compared to animals we are quite vulnerable on our own particularly as very young children when we are completely unable to defend ourselves safely and effectively for a good number of years. We are not like ducklings taught to swim by our mothers and then free to go, not like kittens who can stand within a week or so and then within 8-9 weeks live independently as long as there is a source of food. Not like horses whom are born walking rather quickly, we are utterly defenceless, helpless and completely reliant on attaching to a caregiver for safety.

This makes us hugely vulnerable and makes us attach to a sense of felt identity, feeds a belief system which in turn feeds our sense of identity, of belonging or not. The latter has serious detrimental effects on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. As we grow we are exposed to each of our cultures, our wider societies, our closer communities… expectations are given to us very early on from our families (which were previously placed upon them or based in their sense of achievements or fears) all of which contributing to this experience of our sense of ‘self’.

Drink me, eat me. You will be better, faster, thinner, stronger, wiser. Believe me and you will be with the right crowd and experience happiness, fulfilment, disbelieve them or you are fundamentally wrong and will suffer incredibly.

So who are we? Each of us? What is this sense of self made up of in each of our circumstances? What has informed our feelings and our physical, emotional and mental growth?

(Stacie Amelia ©️)

I’m taking some time in this process of change that I’m facing right now in this chemotherapy to really reflect on my own sense of ‘self’

I have no hair, my eyelashes and eyebrows are beginning to thin, what is my sense of face and appearance? what changes am I noticing?

First I have to find a sense of who I feel I am in order to begin exploring each label deeply to find of this really is ‘me’ or a mirage? I need to explore who I think I am to discover if this is really who ‘l’ am.

So I begin my journey….who is ‘me’? I also ask you…who are you?

I am working on collages, creative journals and some sculpture to explore this.

(This is an image I created a long time ago back in 2004/5 when I first began contemplating this idea of ‘self’ ~ Stacie Amelia ©️)

Update

Today I’m feeling much better since my initial round or tablets but it was rather taxing if I’m honest and quite the experience, I don’t remember knowing anything quite like it. It’s doing the job though (feels that way anyway won’t know until after the second round in December and I have my bloods tested). I am pleased with my choice however as arduous as it was/is. I was not one of the mild symptom crew it was pretty full on but worth it so I’m ready for the next round. Wondering how many others there are out there going through similar big changes and what they may be? What’s your story and how are you making sense of it?

Reflections And Making A Step

Very recently a long time friend of mine turned up at the Community Art Studio with the above gifts. A little hand decorated box filled with some shamanic love. I have been lost for words other than thank you for some time. In this past week these have played a beautiful part in preparation for my treatment and general healing.

Beautiful. Thank you Joy 💖

I have taken some of the little trinkets that accompany this bottle with me on my travels and I have used them to meditate and reflect deeply. The biggest gift from this is to trust in the now, the here and now and also to trust that whatever will be will be. Life has its own unfolding pace.

So a little update from my treatment:

It was a little stronger for me than assumed but I had prepared for this as I am aware just how medication sensitive I am. It will be different for everyone. It was quite heavy but not drastic particularly the second evening, much nausea and fever but all manageable. I am preparing for my last tablet of my first round in an hour or so and I’m feeling grateful for the opportunity to be afforded such a chance to slow down or halt progression of this autoimmune disorder. This morning I awoke to my hair falling out small at first (already had signs yesterday) then as I was about to take action a couple of rather large clumps came away

so suffice to say I’ve taken the lot off and there are patches of bald skin and small spikes of hair remnants. So far I still have my eye lashes and eyebrows may this continue 🙏

Looking far better today than I have others. Less facial sores anyway.

In a quirky way this has given me a gateway to begin exploring the artist formerly known as Stacie.

For some time now I have been exploring the labels that we humans attach to ourselves in order to create a sense of our identity and I have been wondering if we were to start removing some of these what would be left, would we be who (or even what) we thought we were?

So I begin with removal of my hair, challenging what society tells me is beautiful, what I should be aiming for so that I will be viewed by others as beautiful and desirable. The Buddhists have this approach as a main way of letting go of attachment and a sense of pride, to see the illusion of the myths we accept.

At first sight it felt shocking and shaming but I took myself off and washed my head and looked again and saw something different. I saw a human being…as is. Acceptable hair or no hair. Hair became meaningless other than what I had thought of it in the past.

Over time I plan on taking away some of the labels I use to identify ‘myself’ may this expose some of my own habits and ways in which I have used and attached myself to words, feelings or things to describe my own concept of ‘self’.

What is this?

As with the first gift of three waters I am learning to let go then to go with flow.

As with the second gift of the three waters I’m trusting that whatever this self is it will flow strong amid all of the changes that are consistently shifting every moment, beginning with my treatment and letting go of the hair as it once was understanding how temporary it is and how it will change again, many many times.

As with the third gift of the rivers may this path lead me to a less attached more honest sense of whatever this self is and may that bring a sense of freedom and joy.

Everything begins with motivation, intention then a first step.

I hope by just being and sharing with you that some of you may explore some of your own questions.

D-day

Finally today I begun my chemotherapy it has been a long time in the waiting, many hurdles none of my own making however the day has been and gone the first two pills taken. I have not been one for medicines as previously mentioned but I just have to believe this will make a difference. I had been coping with my illness rather well and had been accepting and adapting along with it, even in times of needing to use a wheelchair. Lately however it has been a different story. I learned I had a small window before progressing into a Secondary Progressive diagnosis. It seems my immune system has been attacking me a little harder than initially anticipated. Adaptions have had to be made and considered so this chemo treatment has been very important in the coming. It is the best treatment to date which should (all going well) halt any progression for at least four years and by that time there will be other more advanced stem cell therapy treatments available. It’s also quite a commitment to make, not only is the medication very targeted in shutting down my auto-immune T & B cells it’s is also altering my DNA repair structure and I’m committing 18 months of my life to alteration and healing. It’s no big deal really it’s just 18 months and soon enough I should be able to travel which I very much look forward to, it just holds off other potentials.

This evening I just took a moment and swallowed both pills with the intention of them being a positive influence towards any future possibilities.

The delay has been quite harrowing and chemo at this time of year isn’t quite what I had imagined being the best of scenarios in terms of bugs and infection but I hope for the best and accept whatever arises.

We have entered winter, I love this season as much as I love summer. In fact for the very first time ever I have deeply appreciated autumn, it’s colour and it’s gifts. The falling of the leaves and the sense of healthy change. The benefits of the delay mean I have been able to get myself around a bit more and travel and visit places of interest, more time with my camera which in itself is a very healing thing. I’ve begun focusing more closely on this art project as many of you will have seen and have a few works quietly going on in the background. Also have a collaboration of work (eventually) with another artist and I am looking at putting together an opportunity for gathering and talking about life. I am also currently looking for the right place for the first exhibition of a series. These exhibitions will involve live installations and will very much invite the visitor to become immersed in an experience, hopefully evoking emotion and reflection.

I have much enjoyed the opportunity to get about and meet strangers, making lovely connections, listening to their astonishing and profound life stories. Getting to know people around me better and hearing about their lives too, how each of them have made meaning from their circumstances. Learning that nothing is so black and white and there are many endless ways to perceive, feel and react or respond to a given situation. It has been a privilege to listen and an opportunity to grow personally.

As previously mentioned with time I will begin public invitations for people to take part. There will be varying opportunities for this to happen, online video submissions, surveys, Skype/alternative and face to face interviews being a few to name. I am very much looking forward to this.

Within the Community Art Studio some people are sharing their stories and I am deeply moved to hear them, people make sense of things and make choices about this in so many different ways. Our very humanity is a work of art all on its own. Our beingness in the company of others is enough to influence, a shift, big or small, good or bad, helpful or unhelpful whatever the outcome our very existence affects others and also our environment.

I have felt deeply touched by life of late, I have felt inspired by so many others and in turn I have had some very beautiful things spoken to me. I’m moved and honoured and grateful for all of it.

We touch people mostly without touching them: We touch them with our words, with our smile, with our eyes, with our courage, with our madness, with millions of different ways! What are we? We are contacting beings without contacting!

~ Mehmet Murat ildan
Touched ©️
I have started a board on Pinterest where I am collecting many different ways that reflects how people feel and consider their lives. The following are some of the ones that stick out most for me with regard to my heart opening and personal sense making from within this work:
And mostly from all I have discussed within this blog and from my experience so far exploring this work the following is the most significant: