Samhain: different dimensions touch in passing. I wish I knew more about this and other ancient festivals. Perhaps if I stop and pay attention I'll find I know more than I think - that happens.
Tomorrow, 1 November, is the first Mindful Writing Day, organised by Fiona Robyn and Kaspalita Thompson of Writing our Way Home. They're inviting participants to pay attention for a few moments during the day and write down something of what we experience: a 'small stone'. It's lovely to see that more than one thousand people have signed up. You might think, if you don't write much, that this is not for you, but you might be surprised, because when you stop and pay attention you find things you didn't know were there. Or you might think, if you a prolific writer, that this is small stuff and not for you, and you might be surprised too.
Mindful Writing Day celebrates the publication of A Blackbird Sings, the second anthology of 'small stones'. I'm so glad to be part of this movement and to have contributed to both this new book and the first anthology, pay attention: a river of stones.
There's much light and lightness in this new, small book and the project behind it. Like the title, it sings out - a long peel of 'small stones', each a brief meeting with a different voice and perception. Much lightness, but I also want to try and say something 'heavier'.
I think 'small stones' are big stuff because they are a form of mindfulness practice. As health service professionals are increasingly starting to admit (amazingly, really amazingly!), to cultivate a practice of being present, being mindful, paying attention, is a big, big deal in our societies of screaming distraction and endlessly fragmented attention. Here's a moving article that bears vivid testament to this (via online friend and fellow mindfulness practitioner Jackie Bradley). Writing 'small stones' is a mindfulness practice that works well for me - and for very many others, to judge from the numbers signing up for Mindful Writing Day. These are the things that keep me somewhat sane and hopeful. They cut through less helpful habits and propagate a kinder and more lively relationship both with the world out there and with my own consciousness.
The first anthology included prose reflections on the process from the editors and from a few contributors, and a guide to writing your own 'small stones'. A Blackbird Sings also tops and tails the rich selection of 'stones' with personal notes from the editors and this time takes the process and the movement further, with Kaspa's inspirational and structured short programme for writing 'small stones' over seven days.
It's a lovely book. You can download the Kindle version FREE until tomorrow here (UK) or here (US). And buy the paperback, a beautiful small object, here (UK) or here (US). and please join us tomorrow for Mindful Writing Day.