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LAURA AZIZ


gather

Therefore, tell me:
what will engage you?
What will open the dark fields of your mind,
    like a lover
        at first touching?

Mary Oliver

I had a beautiful moment of dot joining this week - I got a few messages about my scrapbook style website and project, more about the screenshots I save constantly (it’s an obsession, what can I say) and another about how I seem to nourish myself really well. (that was, quite honestly, one of the compliments of my life). And I thought ’these things are one and the same’- my life is the scrapbook filled with small nourishments, and I’m dedicated to the practice of gathering them. 

The scrapbook is my religion.

I wrote about it in my pages:

“I’m like a magpie, collecting small, shiny pieces through the day, bringing them to build this nest of ideas and inspiration and nourishment. Small prayers and blessings. The seeking. The attention paid.” Now stick with me dear reader because I am going to mix these scrapbook and nest metaphors until they are one and the same but I trust that you get it and can ride this ride to the end.

I spend a good portion of my day, every day, seeking, sifting, sorting. This shit is intentional. 

The light on that tarp. That writer, those words, that poem. The water droplets on that blade of grass. The guitar practice that makes my fingers hurt and my brain ache and leaves me feeling like a compete noob and a motherfuckin badass all at once. The feeling on my fingertips when I run them over the curve of his back. Those lyrics that get chanted over and over, like a hymn. Watching that documentary about that artist I love and diligently taking notes. Staring at the sea. Standing alone.

I cut the pieces from the fabric of the the day, take them to the nest and build.

It requires practice. It takes time. More than anything, it requires a surrendering and a kindness extended to yourself that might be new to you. To do these things - to see, to feel, to seek, to remember - it requires putting yourself first. It requires saying yes to yourself, which often means saying no to everything and everyone else. No to that work, no to that family member, no to that chore. THIS IS THE KINDNESS. The kindness of seeing yourself, of tending to your own needs. The kindness of not abandoning yourself in that moment, and the many that will follow.

Next? You have to keep doing it. Over and over. This is the surrender. You will surrender to the fact that your nourishment, even in, especially in, those small moments, are who you are, and are non-negotiable.

The scrapbook mentality is a way of life. It’s feeling and looking and cutting and sticking. It’s messy and playful and deep and meaningful. I wholeheartedly encourage you - start feeling your way in to it, palms and eyes open. 

Ask yourself  - what do I need

listen,

seek it out.

Do this over and over until it becomes second nature.

The very excellent news is that one you start, you won’t stop. You’ll do it without trying. It will all just appear. Of course sometimes it won’t and you’ll dig and dig for that for that one nugget of gold in amongst the crap. But generally? So much more beauty and tenderness and feeling will show up. 

Grab your scissors. Get the glue stick.

Make your nest out of the truest, shiniest shit you can find and b u i l d. 

I’m ready to be blinded.




missing

Grab a pen and paper.

Write:
I miss
I miss
I miss
I miss

fill in the blanks.

Keep going until you’ve let out every thing, big and small, that is sitting somewhere in your chest. 

The ache for missing friends, 

time alone, 

swimming, 

hugging your Mum, 

holding hands, 

not being a 24 hour a day snack machine, 

the sound of silence, 

being close enough to whisper secrets, 

 getting dressed up for a night out, 

stroking friends faces, 

pissing yourself laughing about nothing at all but actually everything with your very best people, 

being cooked for

IGof being apart long enough to miss your kids.

All the things are welcome here.

Do NOT justify any of these feelings. On the paper, or in your head, or out loud.

Feel them. Acknowledge them. Sit with them.

I did this yesterday during my morning pages (see IG highlights or my blog if you don’t know what they are) and I can’t tell you how good it felt to take some time to properly honour all these things I love by giving them space on the page.

My biggest lesson learnt during this time of lockdown has been that my kids do feelings better than anyone I know - they literally feel the pain that dropped ice cream/missed party/wrong kind of sock WITH EVERY FIBRE OF THEIR BEING. They sob and feel and ask for comfort - and then they’re done. They move on. The feeling passes. They don’t shove it down or distract themselves or tell themselves ‘it’s not that bad compared to x’. All that shit we do as adults. Spoiler alert - it doesn’t work!

The momentary ‘forgetting’ comes back harder as a remembering somewhere down the line.

I’ve been letting myself feel all the things and yeah it sucks at the time but ultimately? I feel better after a sob. Maybe you will, too.