Tag Archives: flow

The F words

Trekkers may be familiar with the word pfaffing (and I know that technically it is not an F word but it is acoustically an F word and I would know. And it can be spelt faffing.). You pfaff when you fiddle around with a task rather than actually DO it. Barry gives us a great definition here!  In the trekking context, the pfaffer may well be the person in the tent next to yours who is noisily carrying out an activity that seems to be relocating all the items from one lot of plastic bags into another lot of plastic bags in his/ her back pack. This is often done just as you are trying to sleep. One who is annoyed by a pfaffer may well someone whose back pack is less organised.

The are periods of time, sometimes long periods, where I feel like I am permanently pfaffing. Sometimes I can get out of this phase and sometimes I just have to go with the flow (another F word). It is in these often frustrating periods of pfaffing that I try to be grateful for furthering. The poet/ philosopher John O’Donohue refers to furthering in his Blessing on Waking.  He talks about giving thanks each morning for the furthering that the new day will bring. Some days, when my activities don’t seem to have resulted in much finishing, I try to be grateful for furtherings!!

I am still faffing around with / furthering my textured discs that I wrote about here.  Again I began with BTC 111 but this time systematically changed  the amount of Magenta. I was reminded as I looked nervously at the raw discs, of Tory Hughes’ wise advice not to judge an outcome too soon. I was relieved that after the boot polish treatment, the discs hung together more. Well, to me they did. I mustn’t have been a sweet gelati mood!  More of a distressed gelati frame of mind.

Here’s to pfaffing that furthers and even better, leads to flow!

Joy – an exercise in vulnerability

Last week, at WOMADELAIDE (a nearly annual pilgrimage) I spent three days listening to world music in Adelaide’s beautiful Botanic Park. The weather was delightful, the breeze cool, the food delicious and the music wonderful. I reconnected with old friends; I swayed with delight listening to Toumani and Sidiki Diabate, I sang along to Black Boys on Mopeds with Sinead O’Connor and I lay down for an hour and let the music of The Gloaming reduce me to joyful tears.

DSCN1065Within an hour of my return I was in a state of deep flow in a basket weaving class guided by my dear friend Ann Evers.  I learnt about the story telling of basketry; learnt about how plants and grasses from my local environment could be woven to create functional and beautiful items. I wove into my basket, farewell kattaks from Nepal and Tibet and a silk scarf over 35 years old that I bought in New Zealand.  It was hand printed, a serene and delicate mint colour and had become brittle with age but I could not bear to throw it out, so  I combined it with bells and reeds to make a very wonky but happy looking basket.

All this loveliness and I hesitated to write about it because I felt a bit guilty! Guilty DSCN1067for owning up to this seeming sustained self indulgence.  I felt like I should somehow justify it by sharing that I had a great need for something nice after a period of hardship. Perhaps I should itemise all the challenging things that have cropped up.  Perhaps I need to state that I am totally aware that the world is full of bad things and that having this joy doesn’t minimise my knowledge of that.  Why do I think this? Why is joy sometimes accompanied by a sense of…guilt?

The other thing I noticed has been so wonderfully described by Brene Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection.  She writes: Joy and gratitude can be very vulnerable and intense experiences. We are an anxious people and many of us have little tolerance for vulnerability…we think to our selves I’m not going to allow myself to feel this joy because I know it won’t last; or Acknowledging how grateful I am is an invitation for disaster.

I know as I lay there, feeling the power of the music of The Gloaming, tears of joy quietly rolling down my face, there was indeed that tiny little voice saying Yup and ain’t you going to come a cropper after all this loveliness?  And I realised that Yes, I might. I might be diagnosed with a terminal illness; the plane might drop from the sky on the way home; my hearing might finally give up its tenuous hold on usefulness and call it quits. Any number of disasters could befall.  But whether they happened in the future or not, right then and there, in that moment, I was experiencing joy.  I could miss it worrying by the future mights, or I could enjoy it.  And the memories of experiencing that joy could sustain me and give me resilience to face what comes.

So I did. Experienced joy. Grinning like an idiot. Counting my blessings – the dappled sunlight, the music, men with the voices of angels, the ears to hear it, the lovely bloke lying next to me (making it work!), gluten free cider….