Friday, January 1, 2016

The last day... and the rest of the poem

I saw you dancing last night on the roof
Of your house all alone.

I felt your heart longing for the

I saw you whirling
Beneath the soft bright rose

That hung from an invisible stem in
The sky,

So I began to change into my best clothes
In hopes of joining you

Even though
I live a thousand miles away.

And if
You had spun like an immaculate sphere

Just two more times,
Then bowed again so sweetly to
The East,

You would have found God and me
Standing so near
And lifting you into our

I saw you dancing last night near the roof
Of this world.

Hafiz feels your soul in mine
Calling for our

The Subject Tonight is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

In my very first blog post, all the way back on 2 January 2010, I transcribed this Hafiz poem to explain why I had called my blog I Saw You Dancing.

Today, in my last blog post, it feels fitting to return to it. Every time I read this exquisite piece, I am reminded of E. M. Forster's description of Constantine Cavafy: "a Greek gentleman in a straw hat, standing absolutely motionless at a slight angle to the universe".

I've always felt that I stood at a slight angle to the Universe, though rarely motionless. And by making this space, I found so many of you who are dancing the same way, so very near the roof of this world.

Thank you for all you have shared with me.

Please know that you are seen, that The Beloved hears you.

May your dance bring you moments of unmitigated joy. 

Until we meet again.


Thursday, December 31, 2015

No word

I am not going to choose a word for the year in 2016.

(I'm pretty sure I said that at the end of last year too! But then alchemy came and found me, hard on the heels of my Desire Map research.)

I'm open, sure. But I'm just not looking for anything else. (Anyway, alchemy feels like a word for life.)

Now that new year's eve is here, I am not even sure I have the enthusiasm for the Unravelling the Year Ahead workbook I've done this time every year for the past few years. To be honest, I think I'll get more out of tidying out my wardrobe while sipping champagne.

It's not that I don't believe these things work. I do, I'm living proof.

I think I am just over the work.


I don't want to improve my life, understand myself more deeply, manifest something new. I don't have a single lofty goal left in me.

I have every respect for folk who do have the energy for this and I trust completely that it will serve them well. It's just not for me any more.

I can't even bring myself to buy the cute and sparkly thing that will signal my intentions to the universe or sign up for the cute and sparkly thing that will take my dreams to the next level. I've been there, done that. It was gorgeous and I don't regret anything and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

And, strangely enough, I don't feel jaded.

It just feel... free... to love what is.

My life is going to continue pretty much as usual in 2016. I have a month of school holidays to enjoy, then we'll all step back on the treadmill in late January. We've put in our planning application to renovate and, all going well, will need to move out of our home in the middle of the year so the repairs, demolition and building can begin.

I've given up my writing studio and am taking an extended break from my manuscript. I will no longer be blogging, as you know. I'm not even seeking regular babysitting to free me up to pursue new projects. I won't have a day job and my budget for fripperies will be... nil.

Sure, there are a couple of things I'd really like to achieve in 2016.

I'm planning to hold a book sale in my front yard in late January, as part of a larger decluttering project. I find the idea of moving house daunting in the extreme but hope to use it as motivation to downsize.

I really want to learn how to do my hair in a victory roll. I want to keep tapping as a form of mindfulness and stress relief: I started recently and it's been brilliant. I suspect a lot more cocktails will be on the agenda. My husband gave me a gift of a breakfast tray for Christmas and I hope that I can find a volunteer to knit me the bed jacket pictured above so I can enjoy longer, lazier mornings with good coffee and a good book. And waffles.

I'm keen to send more snail mail. I am so very extremely keen to finish the crochet blanket I started four years  ago (!!!) for my best friend's housewarming gift. And there's a kielbasa and white bean stew that I can't wait to try in my slow cooker this Winter. I really miss swimming and my osteopath reminded me that it works wonders for my back.

That already feels like a really full agenda and yet it's the least ambitious I've ever been.

I'm grateful that I have twelve months -- and more -- to let it all happen.

But I'm even prouder that I am in a place where I can let it be enough.

P.S. I can't help but pray there's a Shinola Gomelsky Moon Phase watch in my future somewhere. But, until then... I've live.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The making of me.

It wouldn't be right for me to leave without sharing a snapshot of my family. Those of you who have been reading along since the beginning know that my children have been an enormous part of this writing journey.

I started blogging when my daughter was ten months old. My little 'un (as I called her then) is now almost seven. She still has huge blue eyes and porcelain skin. But now she is tall and missing her front teeth! She is every bit as beautiful as she was the day she was born.

And now we know, without a shadow of a doubt, something we suspected even before day one: she is one very special girl. She is unbelievably smart, unconditionally loving, fearlessly creative and disarmingly funny. After her first year in an immersion school, she is already confidently bilingual.

She's the girl who makes gifts for everyone and decorates the house to celebrate Christmas and birthdays and Halloween. She lets her baby brother play with her toys without a moment's hesitation. She worries about us if she senses that all is not well. (I see a number of my eldest daughter people-pleasing tendencies in her and it kills me. But then I also see a confidence and wisdom that I would do anything to nurture and protect.)

Many of you know that the journey to conceive my son was long and arduous and, for a while there, it seemed as if he might never arrive. Some of you may also recall my bewilderment on discovering I was going to have a boy. (I only have one sister and my male cousins live overseas. I knew nothing about raising boys!)

My bambino is now almost two. He looks so much like his sister, because they both look so much like their dad: big blue eyes, fair hair, porcelain skin. But he also looks quite a bit like me.

From the moment he arrived, we all fell head over heels in love with him.

It somehow seems perfect that he arrived when his sister was that much older. And I see just how wise it was of this soul to choose to be a different gender. To be honest, they are so different  in terms of personality and milestones, it just feels pointless to compare them. I love that. My beautiful amazing girl changed our lives completely and I know she will go on to do great things. My sweet clever son arrived in his own way, in his own time. I have no doubt he will be able to forge his own path, in no way dimmed by his sister's shadow.

My little fellow is calm and funny and so very affectionate. He is an empath and gifted communicator and has a fascinating way of exploring the world around him. He does everything with such love. I named him for my paternal grandfather and he has something of his gentle, wise demeanour. His smile could light up the universe.

It's hard to believe that he is going to start attending some short creative play sessions next year (the same ones his sister attended at the same age) and thus begin the part of his life that is independent from me. I am so excited for him -- and for me -- but my heart aches a little at the thought.

[Many of my friends do not have children. In some cases this is by choice, in others not. All seem to be at peace with the way their journeys have unfolded, leading rich lives that are full of love and joy. There are times when I envy their freedom (and their uninterrupted sleep). But I what I am about to say is in no way intended to judge or pity or belittle anyone else's choices.]

My children have been the making of me. They've required me to dig deeper than I ever thought possible. I've felt triggered by pretty much everything and have not been allowed to fudge my way out of anything. I'm reminded on a daily basis that doing my best does not always amount to much and even when it does, it invariably falls short. I've learnt the hard way that it is just not possible to tend to anyone else's needs if I've neglected my own.

If it hadn't been for my daughter, I would not have stepped off the corporate treadmill, started blogging/writing/artmaking in earnest and opened up the possibility I could infuse my life with beauty and creativity every day. If it hadn't been for my son, I would not have realised that I could not continue to be all things to all people and discovered what self-care, self-compassion and self-love were really all about.

I'm still a work in progress and as each day passes I feel less perfect, less in control than ever. And yet, I like and respect myself more than I ever have.

Funny, the way that works.

(Therapy helps.)

Monday, December 28, 2015


Thank you, dear friends, for your beautiful comments on my last post. I was so very moved... and reminded of all the best things about social media and... well... just... humans in general.

I just wanted to say that I'll still be around. I'll still dip in and out of twitter and instagram from time to time. I may even make good on my threat to join Facebook! (Yeah, right.)

I'm also reachable the good old fashioned way. My capacity to respond to personal emails in a timely fashion is beyond execrable. But I rock the snail mail! You can find my P.O. Box address in the Contact Me section of this site (or on the footer of your Reverb emails).

I'd love to nurture some of the beautiful friendships that have bloomed in this space and see how they blossom "In Real Life". I remain convinced that I will meet many of you face-to-face some day. There's a North American book tour in my future. There just has to be.

Anyway, I have the feeling that I'll be back. Blogging has given me so many gifts, it is hard to imagine a life without it completely.

At this stage, though. I have no idea where my writing life is going to take me. It feels like my job is just to stay open.

So I am.

And, whatever happens, I promise I will let you know one way or another.

There are so many good people in this world and I am lucky to know so many of them.

And that includes you. Especially you. x

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It's time to go.

On 20 November 2015, I decided that I would never write again.

I'd just had the first 3,000 words of my manuscript savaged by the participants of a Novel Writing Masterclass and -- in the midst of the savaging -- been informed my the facilitator that he'd been discussing my work with the publisher who'd been reading it, and her assessment was that it was "severely lacking".

I cried all the way home on the train. I cried to my family. I crawled into bed early and cried some more while I played the events of the afternoon over and over in my head in some kind of masochistic loop.

The worst thing of all (even worse than discovering that my manuscript was badly constructed, unevenly written and highly inappropriate for my target audience) was that I'd previously confided to the group how much I'd loved writing this novel and how proud I'd been of the end result... and how much more vulnerable that made me feel than if I'd had doubts or still felt it needed a lot of work.

Proud. PROUD!

I cringed to the core of the earth and cried until I could hardly breathe.

Clearly I was not cut out for this writing life. I never wanted to write. Anything. Ever. Again.

When the official rejection email arrived from the publisher a few days later, I hardly felt a ripple of emotion.

I'll spare you the rest but suffice to say, this all happened during one of the busiest weeks of the year. I had a major commitment at my daughter's school's massive end-of-year event. I was putting the finishing touches on Reverb. I was preparing for my husband's birthday and my sister's. And then there was Christmas.

I was lucky: I had incredible support. My husband, parents, friends and therapist all rallied to the cause with empathy, pep talks and space to be angry. I came through, stronger and wiser and much more discerning. I even returned for the rest of the Masterclass.

And, in the end, I finally saw the truth: I'd been so attached to writing my novel for a particular age group, spurred by the hope that it would be picked up by a particular publisher, that I had been doing something of a disservice to the story.

And myself.

With all of those expectations gone, I suddenly felt free.

So, I am going to leave it for a bit. I suspect what I have written is actually a novel for adults. I wonder if I was afraid of writing this particular story this particular way. It feels like time to step up to the task.

It also feels like time to let go of all my writing commitments. Including this blog.

I'm sure you've noticed, I have been dragging my heels a little this year. This is partly a time thing. Most evenings, by the time I have a moment to myself, I just want to collapse into bed.

But also: after five years, the reasons I started a blog no longer compel me. I don't feel quite so drawn to engage in a particular conversation or process my experiences in the same way. I also note the urge to reserve my creative energy -- in limited supply while my bambini are so young -- for other things.

This space has been so important to me and I'll always be grateful that I made it, not least for the incredible people it brought into my orbit. I'm so proud of what we've all built together, particularly the reflective writing challenges April Moon, August Moon and Reverb. I do feel a little wistful and sad to let them go.

But it feels like the right time to move on.

I want to know what it's like to write when I'm not doing it because I think I should. I want to see what I write when I am not trying to please or impress anyone else. I want to write just for me.

I'll be back with a few last posts before the end of the year, tying up a few loose ends as it were.

Until then, I want to thank you for travelling with me to here. You are a big part of the reason why I still proudly call myself a writer... something that was a tiny, tentative whisper when I started blogging five years ago.

Grateful for you,
Kat x

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Reverb15 the day after

Hard to believe... but our 21 days of Reverb are over for another year!

It's been such a beautiful experience. Dare I say a gentle one? For me, there was something about this year's prompts -- particularly the amazing guest contributions -- that invited a quiet introspection and this felt very welcome.

A small number of committed bloggers showed up Every. Single. Day. They responded to every post, submitted their URLs in the daily linky, then visited other bloggers to leave heartfelt messages of support. You know who you are, my friends, and I can hardly begin to describe my gratitude for your generosity of spirit.

A huge shout-out to our magnificent guest bloggers: Kathleen Jowitt, Cindy Mearns, Jennifer Williams-Fields, Alana Lawson, Julia Inglis, Lisa Sadikman, Deborah Weber and C Streetlights. Gals, I am forever in your debt! THANK YOU for your beautiful words and indelible images. And for giving us a new way of seeing the things that truly matter.

A special thanks to Alana for letting me inhabit the Wolf and Word Facebook page for the past three weeks! It felt good to try something new and I was so lucky to have such a capable and reassuring hand to hold.

And thank you to Camille Condon for her time and talent: I love the Reverb banner and blog button today as much as I did three years ago!

Friends, I hope you are nourished, fortified and sustained by everything you discovered during your Reverb15 journey. May 2016 be your most (extra)ordinary year yet!

Much love,
Kat x

P.S. It's become a bit of a tradition for me to pass on some resources for those of you who feel motivated to take your manifesting to the next level. This year, I will just mention the ones I am using myself. They are:

* Susannah Conway's wonderful Unravelling the Year Ahead workbook and planner (I am going to do mine on New Year's Eve!). This is an amazing resource and it is absolutely free.

* Moorea Seal's The 52 Lists Project: A Year of Weekly Journalling Inspiration. I love how quick and deceptively simple this project is! The book is absolutely stunning too.

* Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. An oldie but a goodie! A delicious little morsel to savour before sleep each evening.

* Amy Palko's annual Goddess Reading. I am so excited to receive a reading for the third year running. My travelling companions (Bast in 2014 and Artemis in 2015) led me to some seriously extraordinary places!

P.P.S. I’m not an affiliate for any of these i.e. I don’t receive any sort of commission for endorsement, I’m just keen to share the love. (Just saying.)

P.P.P.S. If you have a spare moment between now and Christmas, do stop by again and say hi! I have a bit of an announcement that will... er... change things quite a bit, actually...

Monday, December 21, 2015

Reverb15 Day 21: your 2016 manifesto

Your last challenge for Reverb15 is to write your manifesto for 2016. 

If you’re not sure where to start, I'd highly recommend checking out Alexandrea Franzen's 5 ways to write a blow-your-mind manifesto!

For bonus points, make it into a work of art.

If you're still stuck you could always follow the model of the past two Reverbs i.e. complete the following sentences as fast and furious as you can:

In 2016, I am open to...
In 2016, I want to feel...
In 2016, I will say no to...
In 2016, I will know I am on the right track when… But when I find myself veering off course, I will gently but firmly…
In December 2016, I want to look back and say...

I'll be back tomorrow with a few last messages but, in the meantime, please accept my heartfelt thanks for showing up and giving your all to this journey. It truly means the world! x

You are warmly invited to share your response in the linky below. Be sure to check out the other amazing responses while you're there! (Trust me, this is how the magic happens.)

This prompt is part of the Reverb15 reflective writing challenge. You are welcome to dive in at any time! If you’re catching up, you can check out all prompts so far in the Reverb archive.