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Watching her cry from across the world

In bed, snuggled with cat, computer, and early morning cuppa. Click link on generic Facebook newsfeed. Suddenly watching a grief-stricken Mum, mourning her lost daughter after the bomb blast in Manchester. See her blotched red face, and the grey roots of her dull brown hair. Notice her own mother sitting beside her, and perhaps that’s her son, sitting on the floor at her feet, holding her hand with his head bowed? See her swollen eyes and running nose, thickening her voice, wailing for her lost baby. And as my own tears fall softly, think:

‘This is the true good of social media; we can share our vulnerabilities and losses. Her life has just been fucking ruined, and she’s sharing a miniscule amount of her pain on this day with us. She’s held in this nightmare by her family who love her, and she’s not alone. Thank god she’s not alone.’

We are all in mourning, all across the world, all the time: for our lost family members or friends, our beloved dead pets, our forgotten dreams. For the departing freshness of the ocean, or chopped cool of the forest. For Peace, for Hope, for Equality, for Love.

We are not alone. We are never alone. And to reveal, share, touch, and unite is the only way through this, to the End.

candle

 

Moon Ate the Dark Challenge: Finding/Gabrielle Griffin

“Whaddya blog about?”
“Life really I guess: dating/love/teenage son/Mindfulness & thoughts… plus sometimes creative stuff, like this. Here’s my entry of between 100-750 words in response to sentence ‘Moon Ate the Dark’…’

Brave and Reckless

What leans a woman into her Life? Lean close to the Ache of pain or grief instead of away? Not Away into drink, sex, TV or buying. But instead Breathe hot and brave into heart ruptures, pressing pearl bones against trial and Mistakes, angled up close enough to see the Splinters as they happen.

Moon was such a Woman. Tall, strong, soft, wrapped in amber and citrus oil, Kindness like a long scarf trailing from her hair.

When Moon first kissed her with mint fire lips, did all the stars Stop to watch? It seemed so. She sank her black bags of Loss to Moon’s bare feet, who simply leant in, stepped over them, and Kissed her again.

When they first made Love, after 2 months of crawling round her Ugly walls, Moon whispered her name over and over, calming urges to Flee outside her frozen body, with the thin…

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Down the long lane

I was invited and encouraged to re-blog this old post of mine for the recent Mother’s Day, and #ForgivingFridays over at Debbie’s blog ForgivingConnects:
https://forgivingconnects.com/
So here it is

Bone&Silver

My mother, who lives in England, turned 80 on July 4. From Australia, I had organised a 3-day weekend get together in an old farmhouse on Dartmoor for our closest relatives, meaning 13 of us met up to celebrate. I hauled myself over to the UK, begrudging all those people who sleep easily on planes. Still, four good films in a row aren’t bad going.

A couple of weeks before I left, I treated myself to a massage. As usual, I wondered why I don’t do it more often? It was such a lush experience, with hot white towels softly lowered over me, and warm wheat-bags resting along each limb, feeding the air with that fresh bread scent. No tinny dolphin music, just silence. It was in a private home, so no exterior noise, or impatient clients waiting outside the door for us to finish. The masseur created a wonderful…

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Gift from teenage son…

I heard ‘Almost17’ in the shower at 6am (we had to leave for the airport at 7); he soon came into my room fully dressed, with still-damp hair, where I lay in bed reading before getting up.

Him: Move over Mum.

Me: [Really??] OK Sweetie. [Sliding over, slightly stunned, but pretending I’m cool…]

Him: Happy Mother’s Day.

Me: Thanks. You know I think it’s a load of Hallmark crap don’t you, but that’s still lovely, thank you. Are you bringing me peppermint tea in bed?

Him: No, I’m too tired. I didn’t get home from the party till 1am. *Rolls on his side away from me*. Spoon me Mum.

Me: [REALLY??] OK Sweetie. [Spooning behind him, completely stunned, gingerly resting my arm on top of him and the quilt because, you know, I’m Cool…]

Him: No, properly Mum, under the covers. Please let me sleep for another 15 minutes.

Me: Sure honey…

spoon

*Lie there holding my baby boy as he begins to twitch and dream, breathing deeply. For how many nights did I hold him until teenage-hood? How many times did I soothe him when he was sick or fretting? How rarely does it happen any more…?

I know none of these answers right now. All I know now is the utter peace of lying here, being ‘Mum’, and providing a safe haven for my child, however briefly, just like in the old days:

gg&A2001

2001

I want to stop Time.

Wishing every Mama out there a meaningful connection with her child or children, even if just for a moment. Also honouring each woman who chooses not to birth or parent, or who can’t, or won’t. Also acknowledging those of us who suffered postnatal depression or other challenges, and women who have survived terrible mother experiences or childhoods. There are endless complex stories, held by multitudes, and the simplistic myth of ‘maternal instinct’ can be deceptive.

But let’s remember and agree that we are ALL mothered and nurtured by our planet Earth, who deserves as much love, respect, and care as we can give her, today and every day.

earth

Image from NASA 

Thank you! Here’s cake for my 100 Followers! :~D

100

Yup, I just reached that sweet baby milestone, and want to honour all of you who’ve taken the time to read even one Post.

I’ve always wanted to be a ‘writer’, ever since I worked out how to make a word on a piece of paper (I remember the moment; it was of course c-a-t). I felt like I’d made magic, and sometimes still do. When I write or read something poignant or visceral, I’m so grateful for my blessed life, where I can make Art in peace and safety, with a roof over my head and food in my belly.

I’m going to donate $100 today to The Indigenous Literary Foundation here in Australia, whose mission is to provide language-appropriate books and reading classes to disadvantaged Aboriginal children in remote areas.

I’m also going to eat a piece of cake. If I could share it with all of you, I would. Thank you so much for your support and love, gabrielle xxxxx

The 3 Dwarves of Attachment: Grumpy, Stressy, & Happy (AKA Avoidant, Anxious, & Secure)

Ever wondered why some dates lead you to sex, romance, or even love, while others leave you cold? Have you dumped someone as soon as it got too intimate or demanding? Or endlessly analysed online messages, and started ‘deep & meaningful’ conversations, seeking reassurance? Alternatively, perhaps you’ve been happily committed to your ‘best friend’ for 20+ years, and have no idea what I’m talking about?

Attachment Theory suggests that our experience of being parented deeply informs our neural pathways, which are committed to repeating familiar patterns- a genetic programming designed to keep us ‘safe’, close to the tribe, and able to navigate back to the cave easily.

As I’ve said HERE before, after reading ‘Attached’, I’ve know I’ve been happily Avoidant, and now at the ripe old age of 50, am trying to change that. This dog WILL learn new tricks! As I reflect on friends, past lovers and partners, of any gender, I use my body wisdom to remind me what dynamic we were in together:

  • Holding me at arm’s length (as I did them), like I’m the enemy? Hello ‘Grumpy’
  • Leaning too close, always at a tilt towards me? Hi ‘Stressy’
  • Contentedly standing calm, letting me dance toward and away, with clear boundaries and needs I can understand and honour? Pleased to meet you ‘Happy’

I’ve been SO Grumpy; I can’t believe lovers put up with me. Here is my inner Avoidant, who toured with me across the world as my lucky totem when I was adult puppeteering- note those dismissive side eyes, defensive fists, and sturdy feet for walking firmly away:

doll

Cute but Dangerous

I’ve occasionally been Stressy myself; I hated it, and felt literally sick (again that body wisdom). I’ve been blessed to have dear friends, and a few generous partners, who gave me the Happy experience of secure, safe, predictable connections. Rare but precious.

During my relationship course last week, we learnt that attachment styles can change according to context (i.e. someone Avoidant can flip you into being more Anxious, which I’ve experienced, much to my Grumpy badge-wearing surprise). Statistically, the dating pool is full of Avoidants, circling round the love-seeking Anxious like sharks, while Secure folk are cosy at home or out exploring the world, side by side with their Beloveds. *sigh

But cheer up, less-Happy folk: we can create ‘earned security’. We can practice new behavioural responses, being Mindful, and making healthier choices about who we get involved with, plus how we treat them. Communication is the key- we Avoidants tend to ignore or downplay conflict or uncomfortable feelings. My new love ‘H’ and I have some awareness of our challenges, and much yet to be discovered… but when I read this INCREDIBLE POEM HERE at Brave and Reckless, my body told me we’re on the right path together.

 

Eating with teenage son…

We’re chatting & laughing as we share my yummy nachos, when suddenly:

Him: Mum…

Me: [Giggling, cheesey corn chips halfway to my mouth] Yes Sweetie…

Him: Have you seen that meme online which says ‘If I can hear you chew your food, I’m fantasizing about killing you’?

BlogNachos

 

*Disclaimer: my son ‘Almost17’ is fabulously kind, sensitive, smart and honest. We spent 2 months sitting in an old Barn in the Dordogne region of France a couple of years ago, cooking, reading, & talking. HERE’S one of my fav longer posts from those days, if you’re interested ❤

In the dance of intimacy, who wants head-banging to death metal?

I love to dance. I’m a 5Rhythms woman, and blogged about it ages ago (incl a clip in France) HERE. I did 10 years of ballet classes, which I loved, although the best bit was pretending to be a cloud, twirling free around the long sunlit room. I goddamn LOVE Disco, and anything funky sets my feet a’tappin’ and my knees a’bouncin’.

Last week at the Attachment course I’m doing, our teacher said:

“Emotion is the music in the dance of adult intimacy”.

My studious ears pricked up. Ooh, are we gonna dance? We all relish the heart-fluttering sweet ballad of new romance don’t we? Every love song making sense. Or the passionate, sweaty, sexy tango. But who wants to turn up for that surprise ear-bleeding death metal concert by Dispute, Stress and Shove? Not me thanks!

That’s what conflict can be though. One minute you’re chatting over a cup of tea, or pushing your trolley down the aisle (I once dumped a boyfriend at the checkout. On my birthday. *sigh. I was young… But I digress…); the next moment one of you says something ‘wrong’, and that’s it: the music between you flips to a seething soundtrack of drums and wailing electric guitar, roaring backwards down a dark rollercoaster tunnel.

How does it happen?? Who’s in charge of the music for god’s sake? Well of course, no one is. Not straight away. Once triggered, our brains and nervous systems literally flood us with Fight/Flight/Freeze chemicals, while our lower limbic system takes over our rational, patient, meditation-favouring prefrontal cortex/more evolved brain parts.

What can we do? Stop. Breathe. Breathe in for 4, and out for 8. Tune in and take note. Feel your feet on the floor, your hands on your legs, your place in the room. Come back to Here and Now. Relax your eyes and tongue. Run warm water over your hands, or touch your lips. According to the latest research into brain plasticity, neuroscience, and our nervous systems, all these measures can soothe anger, anxiety, and enflamed emotional reactions. A 20 second hug can also relax the body, and stimulate the release of Oxytocin (known as ‘the love hormone’), for bonding and closeness.

It generally takes women 8 minutes to calm the production of stress chemicals in the body after conflict, and 20 mins altogether to come back to ‘normal’; men take a little longer. This means that the terrible music slowly gets turned down, then off altogether (with apologies to death metal fans out there- perhaps for you it’s opera, or even [*gasp] Disco?). But no one can talk kindly or lovingly when bad music is blasting. So take note of your inner DJ, and the sound battle going on between you and your partner.

“When we are no longer just reacting on automatic, we can choose how we navigate and experience our world.”

heart