~ take rest ~


You
on your path to greatness
on the road
of rediscovering your truth.
As you rouse yourself
from the sleep of
conformity and
coping
and fear.
Forget not
there must be times
of rest.

Yes.
Strive and stretch
into and beyond
the barriers
you have built
the limits
that others
have imposed upon you.

Push forward
when necessary
crawl
on all fours
to move beyond
your present place
of pain and lack.

But remember too
that striving
can become
its own bitter state
of struggle.
That the quest for endless improvement
smacks
of self-dissatisfaction
and can in turn,
become its own
bottomless bucket.
Remember that
‘overcoming’
can be yet
another form
of addiction.

Dear One
take time
for yourself.

Go outdoors
get close to ground
burrow down
dig
with your hands if you must.
Gather up the roots
of your
recalcitrant nature.
Recover
from this
rebellious soil
your buried treasure
your best intentions
and pull them in
close
to your breast.

Cradle, coo
rock softly
with
your self
your intuitive voice
your deep inner knowing.
Find
a warm and sunny spot
and nestle in
lay there
and
let this old
sweet earth
hold you
honour
your deep
need
for
nourishment

take rest
for just a little while
let
everything
else
go

Lean in
to the larger body of
nature
to the wisdom and love
that lives
all ways
all around
and
inside you

silent
sacred
true

Allow her
to be
your lover
your mother
your friend
Heed the sound of your
own sweet song
soothing you
lulling your senses
loving you
loving you more

Be bathed
in the brilliance of
your simple breath
in
out
out
in
the
rhythm
repetition
releasing
and
realising
of itself
and
you
endlessly
effortlessly
and as you lay
grounded
patient
held

learn
to
listen
and
to
trust
again

the reason
why you came
and
your
very own
true, sweet
self

 

(C) Chandu Bickford 2018

Moonshine (renewal)

A full, silver moon is setting.
My house is quiet.
There is a gentle ease in my body, as I lay, still and warm, beneath my blankets.
The peace of pre-dawn enfolds this Sunday scape. Holds me, us, every thing, in its gentle grasp.
Like a newborn, I am cradled, close to the bosom of this night. And warm, beloved and belly-full, I rest softly against the rhythmic heartbeat and potential of a new day.
Silent, suspended here, between heaven and earth, with the moon slipping away and the sun yet to rise, I realise
I am birthing myself.

Over and over.
New versions of me
New levels of understanding, wisdom and truth.
It is, has been, painful and hard.
For with each birth there is a death.
An old idea, an outdated belief, a carcass of what was, to be cleared away

.
I have been blessed to attend many births.
In my days as a nurse, I supported women and their partners through physical births.
Now, as coach, mentor and guide, I serve and support in similar, yet slightly different ways.

I am there, in those exciting moments when they conceive – their business ideas, their relationship dream, their creative desires.
I sit with them, through the early stages of their pregnancies – the changes, challenges, hopes and fears.
I stay with them, the months or years, they take to grow into new shapes, as they learn to feel safe, as they prepare their world to accommodate the new arrival.
I hold them as they rock and cry.
I return them to their breath, their bodies, their belief in their ability and themselves.
I help them regain their focus and vision, when their thoughts fill them with fright, when their fears threaten to overwhelm.
I smooth the hair away from their faces and rub their backs with words of encouragement as their deep inner opening, brings them closer to birthing time.
I crouch with them and pant as the pressure builds.
And once those final stretches and pushes are passed, I cry and rejoice with them as their new creation crowns and is released into the world.

And then we pause.
And we celebrate together.
And we rest, and relish in the wonder of their dream realised.
And I step back and hold space for them, their creation and their glory.
And when that new life is pink and safely breathing on its own, I care for them still.
Them, and their blessed new creative child.

I am there as they navigate a new world of expansion and change.
I am there as their little one grows, and as they both step up and out into their creative power. I am there as they realise their dreams, their deep desires and their greatness.

We are forever birthing ourselves.
Over and over.
We are mother, babe, breast and womb.
We carry in us, the seeds of our own potential, the gifts of our own greatness.
We intuitively know how to nurture, how to nourish our new creations – be they businesses, babies or beloved, long-buried dreams.

Yet often, we deny our innate knowing.
We default to doubt, disillusionment, and sometimes, despair.

As we stretch into new shapes, discomfort sets in and we swing from suffering and surrender to delight. We can be shaky, scared by the shifts in our ideas, desires and dreams.
Our diets, once known and regular, become erratic. We develop cravings for crazy new things – quiet over loud, sexy over sedate,
truth over any thing.

And we vacillate.
With the determination of a toddler, we dash out of safety’s grasp into the great unknown. Our bravado gives way to desperation when we discover our favourite legs are no longer there to cling to.
With wild monkey arms we swing between the vines of bravery and blatant disbelief, courage and cowering fear, a willingness to conquer it all, and a ‘what the hell was I thinking?!?’

Pregnant with potential we are prone to plan, push forward, feel some pain and then pull back.
A cycle develops.
It becomes a habit, and then….

Nothing.

Years pass by.
We never took the class, accepted the invitation, unpacked the idea.

We are under no obligation to do so.
No pressure to perform.
And there need never be.

But for some of us, many of us, deep inside, a subtle dissatisfaction develops.
And over time it erodes our relationships, our choices and ultimately, our hope.

We all have within us a host of creative children.
They are just waiting to be believed, conceived and received.

And so this blessed morning, as the full moon falls low in the west, and a new dawn graces the day, I am reminded of the richness of renewal, and the great rippling ocean of our deep, inner potential.
It can be dramatic, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes.
But more often, it is mute like the moon, silent like the sun.
It is patiently waiting for us to honour our true nature, to accept the seasons and cycles of change and to allow our earth, to turn.
It is waiting, for us to be willing, even when we are not fully ready.
To be courageous, even when we doubt.

Our potential is greater than both the sun and the moonshine.
It is here so we can rise.
So we can shine.
So we can light up the world.

 

(c) Chandu Bickford 2018

~ courage ~

~ courage ~

Do something
you are scared to do

think the thought
you have been avoiding

delve into the dream
you’ve silently
stored away

have that conversation
with yourself

allow
the awkwardness

embrace
the inner struggle
to say
to admit
your truth

It is there
whether you choose
to acknowledge it

the thought
the dream
the words
the idea

you can
deny
continue
to duck away
from its
existence
its insistence

you can
pretend
it doesn’t matter

but you know

you
know

your lie.

 

You know
the energy it takes
to remain
untrue

to continue
distracting yourself
disappointing yourself
with its
denial.

 

It doesn’t matter
what your dream is
or what stands in your way.
It doesn’t matter what
the source
of your fear
may be
or how
big it is.

It matters
more
that today
you see
you have
an opportunity
a chance

the fragile gift
of time
in your hand
the tiniest shred
of hope
in your heart

that you can make a start
a choice
no matter how small.

Take a seat
try it on
this
new thought or
dream.

Like a pair of shoes
there
on the shelf
admired

Take them down
hold them
and
gingerly
tenderly
slip your feet
inside.

Sure
they feel
different

they may be
impractical

outrageously expensive

your choice may shock
others
even yourself

But just
feel into it,
them,
walk around
find your
balance
look in the
mirror
for just a few moments

you are safe

there is no pressure
to purchase
no push
to take them home

stretch
into the tension
the mere
idea
of trying something new

and trust
yourself

allow
your tiny
courageous
urges

your
hope or dream

to have
a small voice
a space
a place
of honour

just for today
be courageous

allow yourself

to dream

 

(C) Chandu Bickford 2018

 

 

 

~ in honour of us ~

In honour of the woman
that birthed and raised me.

In honour of all women that have taught me well – what to do, and at times, what not to do.

In honour of my role models – my teachers, leaders, peers and contemporaries.

In honour of my ancestors – those I have known, those I have not known and those I will never know.

In honour of those who came long before and those who are yet to come.

In honour of us – we who have shared our stories – the myriad truths of the heartbreak, harassment, healing and hope of being a woman.

In honour of we who share gender and roles – and who also rise, magnificent, in the uniqueness of our diversity, of language, culture, background and beliefs.

In honour of those who identify as women and follow their truth through the trials.

In honour of those who have accompanied me, as sisters – birth or chosen, as cousins, aunts, grandmothers, mentors, coaches, god mothers, daughters and guides.

In honour of my countless beauty-full friends – those who have stayed when all else fell away.

In honour of the writers, the artists, the activists and avatars – those who have pioneered, and with passion, pushed on, despite the adversity, opposition and arrogance of others.

In honour of us all – we who are quietly, making our planet and our children braver, safer, more kind and aware, through the daily actions of parenting and leading others.

In honour of the good men, who have supported, respected and championed these women, we women, and all the good men who continue to do so.

In honour of a day that remembers the efforts we make every day.

In honour of the big journeys we are all still undertaking towards recognition and equality.

In honour of us.

 

 

 

Chandu Bickford IWD (C) 2018

~ magic ~

There is a little old shed in my back garden. A sagging, sad looking lime green structure, that was either plopped down on an angle, or has simply become lopsided with age.
My friends have often commented on its appearance – likening it to something from ‘The Far Away Trees’ Topsy Turvy Land.

It has been part of my yard for years and it’s been neither useful nor endearing.
But this weekend I, long rested and refreshed after some sweet summer holidays, felt her latent beauty call to me.
So with a tub of old paint, a brush to match, and an inner rise of inspired action, I met this old shed and her deep need to be freed from her rickety former self.
She was never going to be a show piece or made to stand out. Somehow, we inwardly agreed she would simply be helped to blend in, harmonise, be made to feel natural and perhaps finally, at home.

As in many areas of life, a seemingly simple task often becomes more complex once we begin. And before I could begin to paint, she needed weeding, sweeping and scraping back.
But it was a joy.
And as I worked, I sang. Loud.
And I skipped about on the grass, barefoot.
And I danced.
And the day turned to dusk and I kept going.
Because I could.
Because this little old shed wanted to change.
It was her time. And mine.
She was calling to me, singing with me, shaking me from the inside.
And as I worked I realised…
That she was me.
All the old bits. Her faded, funky frame that doesn’t seem to sit straight, is the me that doesn’t always fit in.
Her lopsided, left out and ignored bits were all needing attention, looking forlorn, waiting for me to recognise her beauty, her value and her quiet inner potential.
Her ragged exterior reflected some outdated amour I no longer needed, and her weed-riddled foundations became an invitation for me to wrangle out some old, dry tendrils from around my own heart.
As I tended her needs, (and my own), I thought about many of the people I have worked with over the years – the homeless, the divorced, the migrants, the ‘high school drop outs’.
The marginalised, the stereotyped, the disenfranchised and ignored.
They, me, us, who may not have fit the mould.
They, me, us, who because of hardship, heartbreak or heritage, have struggled at times to find their space or value or beauty when placed alongside their peers.
I reflected on all the times when I had been labelled or categorised into similar groups and how it had affected my sense of belonging, contribution and community. I felt into times when my apparent ‘differences’ seemed to decide my sense of worth. When outside appearances were judged as evidence that no further enquiry was necessary.

Tugging at the weeds, I thought about my teachers who had been tough on me, training me to discern what it was that I really needed and how to choose what would best serve my path.
As I scraped away the peeling paint, I remembered my managers, bosses, supervisors and ‘friends’ who had criticised me, put me down, wasted my time or made me feel small.
I felt the sting slip away from those memories, knowing that despite the hurt, they too served me, for they have made me strong.
And applying those new coats of paint, I felt the fullness of life and beauty restored and breathed once again onto her walls and also into the walls of my heart.
The freshness was palpable.
Her beauty, radiating.
That little shed, was feeling loved, and she was loving me back.
And I realised, standing there – barefoot and grubby, be-speckled with green – that the main ingredient in any task I do, is love.
That whomever I teach, coach, mentor or guide, whether I am a leader as a parent in my home or as a facilitator in the workplace, regardless of my role or my responsibilities, that my main task, my truest truth, is to offer the other, my deepest and most pure love.

For this is what inspires their safety and sovereignty.
This is what helps them to shine.

It is easy to feel able to give love when I am rested and inspired, less so, when I feel depleted and tired.
But working with my sad old shed, reminded me how sometimes loving another can be an act of deep self care. How sometimes, even the most forlorn of things, when given time, care and attention, can become radiant, splendid and beauty-full.
As twilight passed and night crept in, I strung some fairy lights, atop her freshly painted facade. They sparkled in the darkness and became her delicate crown.
And deep inside, I felt another layer of my old, restless and wandering heart slip away, and I realised, that my home can be every where and that every where can be my home.
As I stepped back to admire her, I saw the silver whisker of a new moon nestled just above her roof. The gentle slither of celestial magic completed fully her earthly transformation.
And with this new moon came a knowing for this new year.
That we all have the ability to love and to shine.
That we all have the opportunity to reinvent and refresh ourselves, to transform ourselves and others through our inspired actions.
And that we each can choose to witness and to realise, the wonder of the mundane, made magnificent, with a little extra care, sweat and magic.

~ the storm ~

 And the text messages were bouncing between us.
They seemed benign enough.
And read something like

“Looking forward to catching up!”

“Oh, so I just remembered, I’ve got an appointment.”

“Um. Ok.”

“So, I might be able to speak to you later. Or I have twenty minutes now.”

(Sort of joking)

“I’m sorry.
I cannot be squeezed into a twenty minute slot”.

“No you’re not”.

“No I’m not, what?”

“Sorry”.

And that was it!
Like a bullet to my heart, the truth exploded.

I WAS NOT SORRY!
I was SO not sorry!

And from some old, deep, gnarly place within, a volcano erupted!
And a huge rage came bursting forth.

It caught me by surprise.
I’m normally pretty easy going.
But not this time.

One minute I’m sitting quietly on the side of my bed texting a friend. The next I’m a speeding locomotive, racing down a winding mountain track.
The brakes have failed.
It’s hurtling forward – out of control.

I’m feeling mad. So mad.

And the question arises, comes screaming at me.

“Why do you say you are sorry?”

And all of the different times I’ve said it, come rushing back.

Embarrassed by the behaviour of someone I’m with, I’ve apologised for them.
At the supermarket, knocked by a stranger and their trolley, I’ve said ‘I’m sorry’.
I walk to approach a colleague at their work desk,
‘Sorry for the interruption’.

Small, seemingly insignificant, sorry’s.
But all born out of back-peddling and fear.

And then came all the sorry’s I’ve heard over the years.

The person, who instead of asking to pass me, bumps and pushes me aside. As they move away I’m left with their half-hearted, ‘Sorry’.
The hurtful comments, hastily mopped up with a half smile
“I’m sorry. It was just a joke!”.
The outright lies, the big betrayals, the long reaching let downs – all accompanied by a pitiful crumpling of the eyebrows and prefaced with … ‘Sorry’.

They are remembered now.
And are raging anew.
All the pain. The pretending.
The peacemaking.
The disempowerment.
All the times I’d acted like ‘Sorry’ was enough.
All the times I needed a real apology, and it never came.

But anger, as we know, changes – it twists and turns upon itself – and suddenly I find myself sliding, slipping deeper into its fold.
I’m seeing how little I ask of others, and just how available I make myself.
I see how resentful I sometimes feel when others get what they want, while I let my own needs go by the wayside.

And I get madder – at myself.
For always slotting in, for being so damn flexible.
For not speaking up, for not stating my truth, when I need to, when it’s time.

I sit with it all.
The agitation, the rage, the misery.

And when the initial roar and sting begin to subside, I see beneath my rage a vast and empty landscape. And within it, sits a large, still lake.

It is a lake full of disappointment.
Of old abandonment.
Of ultimate disregard.

And I also see, sitting there, alone, beside its banks, a child. She has a face as desolate and melancholy as the land around her.
And inside me, somehow I know, that it is her loneliness and her neglect, that have fuelled this rage.

So I sit down beside her.
For a long time.
And I listen to her heart.

She is quiet.
Unaccustomed to being heard, she wriggles her toes in the dust, averts her eyes.
And when she finally speaks, it is a whisper.

She feels small.
She grew up with threats and violent storms all around her.
She never felt safe.
No one noticed her, answered her cries for help.
So she became silent.
And eventually she left – fled to the relative peace, yet emptiness of this barren place.
It was such a long time ago.
She is lonely.
So lonely.
And she is still afraid.

I watch her draw patterns in the dirt beside her.
I realise that in her tiny hands, she holds the tools that could dig us both out of this underworld of wounding and despair.
That my big-ness could help make her bold, that her gentle spirit could help soothe the scars and scratches on my angry soul.
We realise, that if we walk together, we could move away from this land of endless longing, loneliness and lack. That we can share the journey and draw on the strength of our combined insights and experience.
That we could make our way back, together, towards the light.

The storm passed, as they do.
It blew in, blew up and blew over.

And I was left to mop up the mess.
The damage thankfully was not so big.
But the shock of it left a shudder in my world.
It had opened up some big, old wounds.

But in a group I subsequently lead, and in conversations with my friends, it has opened up opportunities for us to address our anger, to explore our experiences of insincerity, and to share the secret inner landscapes where our anxious thoughts and fears abide.

It has created space for sincere apologies.
For beautiful, healing moments and a sharing of heart-felt humility and honesty.

And it has reunited me with a sweet and sensitive part of myself that this rogue rage might otherwise have further repelled.

The text messages lead onto conversations.
And the conversations lead onto greater respect and heart openings for us all.
There was no blaming or shaming.
Just a sense of deeper love, the rich reward of compassion, and a clear re-commitment to honour my choice –
to know and speak
my truth