Croeso/Welcome to ‘Eye of the Storm’, the hub for the courses I run under this name in the vicinity of Anglesey, North Wales, and online. I have long been interested in running courses and days that sets writing in a ‘depth’ context, where the writer and the writing are of equal concern.
With this in mind, I have decided to set up some courses and days, both locally and online, which explore themes and topics relating to interconnection, personal development and creative empowerment. As a writer, as well as a tutor, I’m well aware that the writing process and the act of poesis can bring us into relationship with ourselves, others and the worlds of inner/outer. I work with the belief that everyone can add their voice to what my friend, poet Paul Matthews, calls ‘singing the creation’.
I have been teaching creating writing since the early 1990s, first at community level (WEA) and then at university undergraduate and postgraduate levels, for the Open University and, when it was running, Bangor University’s Department of Lifelong Learning. My current work continues with the OU, along with running creative writing workshops locally, but ‘Eye of the Storm’ aims to work thematically, in a ‘writing for exploration’ context, and will offer topics that I care about, in the hope that some of these will chime with you, too. I am, I suppose, tending the notion that, to get the most out of life, we must at least try to integrate the parts of ourselves that contribute to being a whole human being, awake to life and its processes, complexities and challenges. As Jungian writer James Hollis puts it, ‘The goal of individuation is wholeness, as much as we can accomplish, not the triumph of the ego’.
My aim with Eye of the Storm is to facilitate and share the exploration of writing and reading as an act of generative empowerment and self/world enquiry (from the Latin quaerere meaning ‘to seek, to ask’), which can foster curiosity in being here, as inter-relating subjects. Interestingly, ‘curiosity’ (which, we were told as children ‘killed the cat’) is akin etymologically to ‘care’ (Latin, ‘cura’), perhaps because when we are curious, we are drawn closer into relationship with others and this can lead to caring, and when we care, we become curious, in this sense, about the other’s wellbeing.
Please see my website for more about me as a writer/poet and musician, including my publishing/recording history: www.rhwng.com
Why ‘Eye of the Storm’?
This is the name that pushed its way forward in my imagination quite a while ago, so I have decided to go with it as an ‘umbrella name’ for these courses and days. The ‘eye’ obviously carries with it meanings of ‘seeing’, and paying attention, of vision, of regard. I love what poet Mark Doty says in his wonderful book Still Life with Oysters and Lemon – meditations on Dutch still life paintings, also part memoir – that ‘what we are is attention, a quick physical presence in the world, a bright point of consciousness in a wide field from which we are not really separate. That, in a field of light, we are intensifications of that light’. What helps us to ‘intensify’? That is what I am interested in exploring. The ‘eye’ is also a homophone – it sounds like ‘I’. The ‘I’ of the storm creates, to me, a touching image of each of us as unique centres, as bright points of consciousness in that ‘wide field’ that Doty mentions. A life is rarely experienced without some stormier aspects. Yet, in our weathering, perhaps we can come to see ourselves as ‘wrought’, brought more fully into being ourselves. We hope! Life isn’t always ‘stormy’, of course – thank heavens – just as the weather isn’t, but all living systems shift between periods of darkness and light, shadow and bright sunshine, the seasons serving as useful metaphors for this. I am interested in the journeying self that is each of us, and in our connection to the ‘more than human’ world of animal-kin. My retreat days, workshops and courses offer space at the ‘eye’ of the ordinary storm of busy-ness and ado.
I am also a trained Focusing practitioner and this approach also fits with ‘Eye of the Storm’. a natural, life-enhancing practice. When we Focus, we learn how to listen deeply to what is going on within us. The body is akin to a ‘field of experience’ infused with implicit meaning. In Focusing, we learn how to pause and connect, or reconnect, with the articulate intelligence within ourselves, gently and gradually building bridges and forming relationships with what is there. We learn how to become more empathic as listeners, for ourselves and others. All of this seems central to what we are, or can be, as human beings; relationship is at the heart of life, in simple and complex, explicit and implicit ways.
Focusing can aid the innate ‘maturation’ process, as we come increasingly ‘into touch’ with precisely who we are as particular embodied beings within life/time, and this includes the parts within and the parts without; the parts that flow and the parts that are stuck; the exiled and the integrated.
In practical terms, Focusing can help us to feel more alive and engaged, more accepting of ourselves and open to new possibilities that present themselves. When a situation that has been stuck starts to shift, we can feel it in our bodies, as relief.
Please see my entry on the British Focusing Association website for fuller details.
Exploring the BFA website will provide you with more information about Focusing as a practice.
If you have any questions, do ask! If you are interested, please click ‘follow’ and you will receive information about the courses.
Diolch am ddarllen/Thanks for reading.
Warm wishes/Cofion Cynnes,