Good Friday

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A Little Reframe
Today is Good Friday and, while I know that means a wealth of religious things – into which I have very consciously chosen not to meddle, despite being tempted – I would like to present you with a little reframe of my own in the hope that you might get something of additional benefit and insight out of it. After all: variety and experience are the spice of life.

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In Situ…
I am sitting in a sunny cafe in Palma, Mallorca as I write this. It is a healthy 20 degrees. My backdrop is a beautiful old building – gothic in structure; part of an old palace, I think. In front of me, standing proud, is the cathedral proper. To the right, gathered around a small, manicured roundabout filled with shrubs and trees are three carriages, each with two horses and a driver. It is a long weekend and tourists spill everywhere, filling the streets.

My ears pick up a variety of languages, most of which mean nothing to me. Every so often, I hear a word, a phrase, and am impressed with my brain for being able to pick something out of the noise . I feel peaceful, positive, inspired. March, for me, has been much more of a fresh start, a new beginning, than January was and I find myself emerging as if from a dark shell, a place crowded with thought but pitiful in its lack of action. I am excited about the future. I am planning multiple changes. I see a new path and am eager to get up and tread it.

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My heart goes out to those of you in England, with your arctic conditions and endless winter. I wish you sunshine and warmth. I wish you spring. I wish you flowers and colour. I shudder to think that that used to be me and I am careful not to be complacent about how it used to affect me. I am not here by chance. It was a very conscious decision to escape winter and it was hard to win.

For all of you – near and far, in sickness and in health, in sadness and in happiness, in warmth and in cold, I would like to highlight the ‘Good’ in this particular Friday and present a little exercise of my own.

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Yesterday I co-hosted a weekly knitting group. In attendance were women of all ages and several different nationalities. Some came with babies and young children. One came with her sister. Another with a friend. a. Third in the company of a strong stick. We sat. We talked. We shared. And as we did we learned from one another. It was beautiful and peaceful, as it always is, and every one of us gave and took away something of worth. It is that special, precious something that keeps us each returning week after week. Yes, we knit. And, yes: we are productive. But it is the conversation and the nature of that conversation and the opening up and reaching out that is important. It is also a chance for the young to learn from the old and the old to teach the young and a sense of family and community to be kindled.

A relative stranger here, I am honoured and touched by the warmth and generosity of these women and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for embracing me and for pulling me in and for reducing the enormity of my sense of isolation. It is hard to predict how finding yourself in a new country will feel. Even harder when you have failed to take into consideration the different tongue and your current ignorance of its song and dance. While I study hard at school and do my best to master this new language, practicing it at every opportunity that I get, I gain strength from this grounding which gives me an insight into a possible future if I choose to keep at it and keep trying as hard and as genuinely as I currently am.

However, what I wanted to share wasn’t about me but about one of the gifts I was given yesterday: an idea, a reminder, of a beautiful temporary preoccupation which, with a little concentrated effort, can deliver great things.

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Creative Exercise
So, on this ‘good’ Friday, I propose you take yourself to one side and borrow for yourself an hour in which to focus on no one else but yourself.

  • Take a sheet of paper
  • Take a circular object – one that you can draw around and one that fits onto the piece of paper you have chosen
  • Find a pencil
  • Find a collection of coloured pencils or crayons or felt tips or paints
  • Sit in a peaceful place in a chair and at a table that are comfortable
  • Trace around the circular object, placing it in the centre of your page
  • Then go ahead and fill the circle with whatever imagery you like
  • Concentrate
  • Draw on your subconscious
  • Let out what has been suppressed, ignored or trapped inside
  • Think deep
  • Think about the past, the present and the future
  • Split the circle, if you like, into halves or quarters
  • Let your images fill the space around it
  • Focus and draw for a complete hour and do not judge or try to overly think until you are satisfied that you have finished
  • Then get up and stretch and go and boil the kettle. Make yourself a cup of tea. Return to your seat and take several minutes to observe what you have drawn and what that might be saying to you.

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    On a separate sheet of paper or on the back of the one in front of you, write some notes.

    Ask yourself:

  • What insight can you gain?
  • What lessons are there to be learned?
  • What learning can you take away from this exercise in order to improve upon the nature and quality of your future?
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    If this is hard: step away, leave it for a few hours, leave it for a day. No hurry. No pressure. The meaning will come when you are ready for it. It may appear to you as a sudden flash of insight, a voice in your head, a vivid dream. Or perhaps the simple process of sitting in quiet contemplation, a meditative state, was gift enough and adequately cathartic? We all take and receive in different ways. There is no right or wrong way.

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    Taking the Baby from the Bath Water
    In my next post I will present to you another exercise, taking what you have gathered here and working it into a tapping script so that the ‘Good’ of this special Friday can be put to use.

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    Further Education
    In the meantime, here is a little extra information about the drawing exercise above:

    Mandalas are circles used for meditation and vehicles for change. They are spiritual teaching tools, and a sacred space. Geometric patterns, they represent the cosmos, or a harmonious system.They can be used as a metaphor for ongoing healing and empowerment over trauma.

    The word mandala means completion in Tibetan and appears in the Rig Veda, an Indian collection of hymns.

    Mandalas can be used to represent a personal journey into the centre, revealing the wholeness and stillness that lies at the core. No matter what storms surround us in the external environment, their creation can provide us with a temporary peace.

    Here are some examples:

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