Personal, writing

On Standing and Staring…

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‘What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.’

‘Leisure’ by W.H. Davies

 

I stood and stared in the grass this morning. And marvelled at how at peace I felt right there, my bare feet grounded in the earth.

My life has changed so much from two and half years ago, when I first found out I had severe endometriosis. I became really unwell over the next year, suffering from so much pain, fatigue and anaemia that I couldn’t physically move from my bed on some days. What was once my ideal job (as an academic lawyer) became a chore: I could no longer muster any enthusiasm whatsoever for teaching let alone research and writing.

This led me to leave London to try and get back to a place where I recognised myself again. It wasn’t easy because it meant giving up on not only my work and my home but also my identity.

When I first got to Mauritius, I ‘hid’ because I needed to mourn. I shun nearly everyone apart from my close family members as I tried to make sense of my new life. But as the months went by, I started taking roots (again), nurtured by my family’s love and support.

My journey to better health continues. I still have a long way to go (when I tell people that I once trekked the Himalayas all the way to Everest Base Camp, which is at a similar height as the Kilimanjaro, it feels like I am talking about someone else!) but I now no longer need iron tablets and this week, I have woken up energised enough to walk for 20 minutes without being in pain. Something I am amazed at and grateful for.

What I have learnt in the past 8 months since being back in Mauritius (apart from navigating around bureaucracy!) is that it is important to slow down sometimes, to relax, to go at your own pace and do your own thing, to not be afraid to take risks, to open your eyes and heart to novel opportunities and connections, to pursue joy above all else…

Here’s wishing you a lot of standing and staring!

 

 

 

Workshop, writing

On Atelier Gintzy’s First Creative Writing Workshop in Mauritius…

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Everyone hard at work 🙂

 

I facilitated my first Creative Writing Workshop in Mauritius on Saturday 20 April 2019 at The Corner Lounge (a cafe) in Quatre-Bornes. It was sold out (14 seats) – although one participant couldn’t make it in the end because of transport issues.

There was a mix of people, from different age groups (minimum age 16) to different backgrounds to different parts of the country – some coming as far as the North and East of the island (which can take more than an hour to get from to the cafe)  – but all, with a common love of and for writing. As I got to know everyone a little bit, I felt so privileged and honoured that they had chosen not only to take the time and effort to come to my workshop but, more importantly, to trust me with their stories.

” [The workshop] allowed us to give [ourselves] permission to explore our creative side and be playful with it, while being with like-minded people.” Victoria Desvaux

It was a great morning of laughter, eating, drinking (non-alcoholic, I hasten to add!), writing, creativity, sharing and connections – everything I could have hoped for…and more! But don’t just take my word for it, read more about the thoughts of the participants, the real stars of the workshop, and see the pictures and posts from the workshop on my Instagram ‘Workshops’ Highlights. It truly brings a smile to my face every time I think back on it.

“This creative writing workshop is not solely about writing, it is also about feeling less lonely when you story tell, it is about connecting to people who can relate to the voices in your head and it is strongly about finding your own voice and style.”

Sidharta Runganaikaloo

Participants on the workshop are given ‘homework’ to do for the next week: to try and write for a maximum of 10 (if they’re only just starting out) or 15 (if they’re already writing) minutes every day. They receive an email check-in from me a week after to find out how they’ve been getting on with their writing because I only know too well how after the energetic burst of a workshop, the tiny matter of everyday life just seems to get in the way! Certain feelings of doubt or ‘block’ also come knocking, and it is sometimes easy to simply give up.

I support them by reminding them why they want to write (an exercise we do in the workshop), and to be compassionate towards themselves, to allow themselves to play… because writing is joyful. And it is important for them, for us, not to lose sight of this. Of course, at times, it will be hard – as you’re not able to express yourself properly, as the words feel clunky, as you don’t know where you’re going with something, as you just sit and stare at words that make no sense, as you feel frustrated with not being able to finish something… but the main thing is not to give up. Because soon enough, the clouds will clear up, the sun will shine again, and your writing with it! Trust me. Continue reading “On Atelier Gintzy’s First Creative Writing Workshop in Mauritius…”