I’ve never really liked labels, but when I heard about HSP, Empaths, and the power within introversion, I felt a singing and a soaring and a happy ‘Yes-ness!’ and ‘at last!’ inside…
Initially, this post was just going to be about, ‘On not being a dumping ground for other people’s issues and crap – Any More! Yes!!’ (even typing the word ‘crap’, for me, is liberating! Even when, sometimes YES! that IS what it is!) …but the post has changed a bit along the way… If it resonates with you, please do comment :)
It’s wonderful to know that others’ issues, when energetically projected onto you, unconsciously, and often consciously, too, CAN be returned. They can be returned to sender - dumped into an imaginary rubbish bin that stands beside them, ready for when they are able to deal with them later, themselves. For this, you need to stay centred and strong and observe what is happening – it can take quite a bit of practising, but it works. You can also release any energies from your body, feeling them, their colour and shape, texture…and move them out, flowing down and through to the earth where they can be organically composted and transformed into good…. There are many self-compassionate ways to help the body release the physical aches and intense pains that these energies and emotions can create.
There are situations you might come across every day… at home, at work, even brief exchanges that can knock you out, zap your energy in a moment, leaving you drained, confused and upset and perhaps unsure why… ‘energy vampires’ is a term often used and it is so fitting. There comes a time when you also Have to extricate yourself from others’ issues that have had a long-term grip, (you realise the issues are still holding on to you because you are complicit, in some way) and also the time comes to let go of others’ limiting opinions and beliefs about you, and stay true to your own vision. You have to release the associated emotions and feelings from deep inside your body, too, and then you find quite often that these were Never your own feelings anyway, but they took up home and over the years you identified with them and they kept you hiding and fearful; the lack of self-esteem, the feelings of ‘being bad’ – they belonged to the Other Person – but you took them on, took all sorts on from others, from a very young age – struggling and feeling split, with guilt, shame and responsibility for their load.
As an adult, things have to stop being all about other people; it’s a time to take responsibility for your own feelings, not others’, and to find out who you really are, to stop abandoning your own looking and to come home to your own self and recognise the happiness that is there – it’s not conditional on others and how they are with you. Then you can release the past so that it is not also your present experience. You can honour and forgive in order to free yourself (and others) and then you are no longer a ‘match’ to be triggered by them – something in their behaviour is no longer highlighting a lack or a pain that you used to feel – (yet the Return to Sender technique still comes in very handy in the moment at times!!). After a while you can develop a very good ‘Narcissist radar’ too, as long as you trust your intuition, your body will always alert you to all the warning signs and red flags – you feel it very quickly on encountering someone like this and so can then focus, or leave, or use a ‘grey rock technique’ and feel stronger, less attached, less vulnerable. You can also, much later, perhaps years later, wish them well ...this is easier with casual exchanges but much much harder with deep hurts from childhood and personal relationships...but this too may come. We realise too that our essence never suffers or is hurt.
To me, it has been so important and helpful to recognise again and again, (as I felt deeply when so little), that at essence we are ‘simply’ (but simply meaning So much!) life force/ energy/ a spark of consciousness/ Being-ness – and ALL of us are that! We are all the same infinite essence, all one life source on this planet – it is so uniting-ly clear! to me, (but may seem 'woo woo' to others?!)…. and as humans, in our lifetimes, we are also uniquely different expressions of this essence, just as waves on the sea are different from each other, but all the same sea, all the water; we are different ‘human expressions’ of the same thing. It is only when this is forgotten, through growing up with societal conditioning, family conditioning, ego ideas of who we think we are, etc etc that our different expressions become so divisive and separating; it is only when we get further and further away from remembering our essential selves, believing we are ONLY our ‘different types of expression’, our bodies, our ego ideas - that we experience anguish, breakdown, hostilities, war in the name of religion and politics, aggression, disorders….and situations of power, control, violence and manipulation in everyday relationships.... and ego energies forcing themselves onto others, knowingly or unknowingly. If only we could remember who we essentially are, and also, so wonderfully, accept ourselves for our human differences ALONGSIDE knowing our essential One-ness. Imagine the ludicrousness of waves on the sea having a sense of ego, or jostling to claim superiority as the ‘right’ wave or the ’best’ wave…. and all return anyway and melt into the ocean from which they came and of which they were always constituted...just as our life-force energy.
Back to the human uniqueness and our individual expressions …! I’ve never really liked labels but when I heard about HSP, Empaths, and the power within introversion, I felt a singing and a soaring and a happy ‘Yes-ness!’ and ‘at last!’ inside – this certainly feels to be my expressive ‘type’ as a being in the world 😊 – (whilst knowing that the essence of all of us has no ‘type’ at all, it just ‘is’ life-energy).
Sensitivity is a strength and a gift and I am reminded of this every day – with the ability to feel deeply, with intuition and heightened senses, compassion, thoughtfulness, attention to detail, dedication, empathy, wholeheartedness, gentleness, the ability to see all colours - beyond the black and white in situations … yet so often HSPs can be taken advantage of, treated terribly, abused - as a consequence of having these beautiful traits, by others who are so far removed from who they really are they cannot experience these feelings but instead are full of entitlement, anger, grandiosity, superficial ‘masks’; they are controlling, manipulative, bullying, and void of empathy - yet often initially charming, flattering and ingratiating and very good at playing the victim. Every single one I have ever met has been destructively ‘agonising and tortured’ inside, in a constant struggle of identity – and this IS sad and was the hook that kept me stuck as I could empathise with this - yet what you realise, with an absolute shock, is that theirs is a manipulative game - there is no 'depth' at all, it is not 'real'... And they have no desire to change anyway, it is always everyone else in the wrong, everyone else, the f***ing idiots, causing them this trouble and when you do care, and empathise with them, giving so much love into a black hole, (and it is never enough) you will ultimately be treated terribly ...and despised too.
I’ve met many HSP friends over the last few years, whilst exploring, learning and recognising the strength of sensitivity, coming out of difficult times, gaining courage… and also whilst starting to create my art business and I am so very very thankful to them all.
There is a definite connection between being HSP and my style of felting, the poetry I love, intuitive painting, spirituality and also the way I approach my business… and I’m hoping to explore this further as I learn and experience more.
When starting, the name Rowena Scotney Feltings chose itself – and the association and pun was present, but I truly didn’t realise it! - with being deeply felt, meaningful and an authentic expression, and it has become more and more apparent to me. My personal name isn’t really important to me, but the ‘Feltings’ is, because it is through this form of expression, in my case, that joy and colour and love of life can be expressed. It’s a way of celebrating and being so grateful that I am alive as this life energy – my work is a kind of honouring of this. And it doesn’t have to be ‘good’ – but I’m so happy that others enjoy it too and that it communicates something to them x
The exploring of this, and feeling brave and more visible creatively, only happened after many years of recovering – and then thriving! - from life patterns that kept me stuck again and again that were so destructive and upsetting, with narcissists, bullies, alcoholics and abusers.
…Also, to go back to the beginning of the post, what’s great is that there comes a time when the projected energy from others doesn’t even need to be returned to them, as you see it, blowing around them, like loose windy threads, reaching, but not coming close – you can witness, acknowledge the other’s personal issues, know that it is not who they really are anyway, and remember it is not your job to be entangled in them, or to try to heal them – this isn’t kind to yourself or the other person in the long run (and of course, you can NEVER ‘heal’ them). But, most significantly you don’t feel guilt, shame, or that you have 'failed' somehow for that any more. Hallelujah!!! (So many women in patterns of co-dependent – narcissistic relationships NEVER escape this abusive nightmare and it is heart-breaking; they become hollow shells and shadows of who they beautifully are.)
I’m still trying to find ways to be able to articulate this more clearly and am hoping to combine all of these issues somehow in the future, perhaps to help and encourage others, too, and together to share resources and ideas? – issues of thriving after narcissistic abuse, finding your joy (that is always, always still there, your essence!), setting healthy boundaries full of self-respect, being HSP and an Empath, Introversion and creating a business, being a mum, a single-parent... art, poetry, healing, spirituality...
….hmmm it will all unfold in its own time, little by little maybe, and gently…I can just feel it 😊
*** See also, for starters:
The Happy Sensitive - Empathy, Narcissism and HSPs – and much more invaluable info!
Dr Christiane Northrup – podcast on Narcissism/ energy vampires
Melanie Tonia Evans - Narcissistic Abuse Recovery expert - a mass of free videos and articles
My blogpost on Narcissism and Codependency
'Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers' by Karyl MacBride - You are NOT your mother's NPD burdens, even if, as a loving and sensitive child you wholly took them on, setting up patterns for the future... this is not about blame or guilt, but about taking personal responsibility to understand, make sense, clean up the inner wounds and create a healthy, happy life and also, crucially, to break the generational patterns, so that we do not keep these wounds going, inflicting them onto our own children.
The Wellspring of Compassion by Sonia Connolly - beautiful book for trauma of all intensities - and with lots of helpful techniques - including asking, 'What if this energy isn't mine?' - if it isn't, you feel instantly lighter :)
...also many many other wonderful books and resources that I could recommend!
A few intuitive paintings ... over the years, expressing the journey...
Please click to see fully x
Just to say 🌟thank you🌟 so much to everyone for all the support, encouragement and kind warmth, likes, messages and comments on my FB page, Instagram, Twitter and via this website. And to all who have bought my feltings, prints, cards and sheep. So much gratitude x 🌻
When you have said to me that the feltings bring you happiness, that they help to evoke memories of treasured times in Cornwall or that they make you smile... it means so much, my work being enjoyed by others ...and so helping in a small way, to spread colour, joy and poetry far and wide x
It's such a learning journey, creating a business part-time, bit by bit and has been a couple of years for me now, starting from deep fear about calling myself an artist and showing publicly anything that I'd made, due to enormous fears of criticism and self-judgement, and my natural introverted inclination for hiding ... and also knowing very little about business necessities ... through to gaining greater courage about my work and developing an increasingly braver visible authentic expression! This has also involved time and healing through self-compassion and much inner-work after many years of darker times, recognising and dissolving deep family patterns, and creating necessary, healthy boundaries for both emotional and practical care. Without these measures there would be no business or artwork... the flourishing is the natural joyous outcome of great shifts and inner work, as well as much outer work too :-) More on the inner work here if you'd like to read more x
Sometimes scary too, as a single-parent to make the leap, reduce the 'day job' hours and hope very much to be able to pay the bills, juggle all and still be a good parent too! - Perhaps some of you have done this too? I'd love to hear! - And taking various other seasonal jobs that fit in with childcare, some extra teaching, gallery work, creating my own artwork far into the night ... A free-range style living! one dedicated to listening from the heart and taking one step at a time. ❤️ It can be lonely too at times (but wonderful and like-hearted friends!) and many friends discovered all around the world, in online communities along the way - i love the internet!) ... and times of tears of frustration at my non-techie mind, just not 'getting it' - re websites, social networking accounts, newsletters etc etc etc oh and businessy things like accounts, money, selling etc arrrrrrg, so alien to me! ..and then... always getting it in the end... :-) just taking quite a long time...
I love love love how it all unfolds, one step leads to another and another and it's so beautiful I can hardly believe it. x🌿🌱🌻🌷
Thank you again.
Creating a felting inspired by a poem by Nessie Dunsmuir has been a process full of developing greater understanding and inspiration.
W.S.Graham is a fascinating poet, writing profound and exciting poetry and letters and his partner, Nessie Dunsmuir has a presence that is woven lovingly throughout his life and work. I’ve wondered about her, a quiet, supporting strength to WSG and resolved to find out a little more about her, in her own words.
I’d discovered that a slim volume of her poetry had been published, but couldn’t find a copy until I thought of The Hypatia Trust which collects, and makes available, published and personal documentation about the achievements of women in every aspect of their lives. I contacted them in Penzance, Cornwall and they have a copy in their poetry collection! housed in the beautiful Victorian mansion that is Morrab Library.
It was emotional and sensitive and I felt like I was meeting her at last, Nessie in her own words.
Reading the poem 'By the Window' created such strong visuals for me and I just had to create a felting!
By the Window
by Nessie Dunsmuir
Here by the window blackthorn and elder tree
sharpen my sight to love. The shadows of
small birds descend and raise,
clearer than print on page,
deeply forgotten colours of my stumbling days.
The Easter fields of children turn again
the legend’s wheel. The painted eggs begin
to roll our death away.
In the cold April day
each child is blessed and lies with Spring within.
Here by my head blackbird and beaded tree
borrow me back from Easter’s cross and kiss.
Bracken fronds hand me light.
My own beginning eyes
load at the sill the buds breaking to white.
I love the themes of newness, beginning, Spring, peace, love, light, reminiscence, looking onto a brighter, more hopeful world -individually to universally and the cycle of life…
I loved the imagery of Easter, children, painted eggs, a cold April day, a blackthorn, buds and flowering, the elder tree, the flying birds in the scene falling and rising and the image of the printed page…their shadows, marks and meaning… and the blackbird had to be Nessie, a female blackbird, looking out, observing….
Finding out more about the symbolism of the elder and blackthorn was fascinating, too, I’ve always known these twisted, gnarled branches as witchery fingers and that they are associated with the dark side of the year and quite sinister, however the Celts observed that this tree produced some of the sweetest berries among the sacred tribe of trees, at their most succulent and sweetest after a hard frost… the blessing comes after the challenge.
The elder too, as the Goddess tree, the Elder Mother, The Queen of Herbs, full of magical, sacred properties; a tree of beginnings and endings, of birth and death, a spirit of transformation and the crossing of thresholds…
I met the lady who bought my felting in the exhibition at The Gurnard’s Head and she told me how much she loved the poem and that her friend would too.
It felt so wonderful, knowing that Nessie Dunsmuir and her poems are here, present in this W.S. Graham exhibition at The Gurnard's Head, Zennor where she used to visit, sing and meet with friends ... and that her poems are bringing happiness to others who read them and love them.
It's wonderful to be a part of this 20 minute film about Penzance, Cornwall and the local area, by Italian filmmaker Sara Pozzoli.
Sara contacted me a while ago after seeing my exhibition over the summer, and asked if I'd like to take part in her film, featuring the town and its traditions ...
I watched the finished film over Christmas and it's a beautiful, gentle portrait of a day, from sunrise to sunset... with the Battery Rocks Belles and Buoys wild swimmers, wild food foraging, Newlyn fishermen and market, rag-rugging, St Michael's Mount, fish and chips, an artisan shepherdess & basket-maker, local singers, the Golowan band and much more....
... including me at 11:55 mins in, for about 1.5 mins, bundled up due to a cold and blepharitis! walking to Portheras Cove with Jake :-) and then back at home with the star - Charley the cat! - helping me with the finishing touches on my skylark felting x
*** You need to sign in the first time, to watch, but then you can cancel again. After the sign-up email the channel does not send you any more emails ***
There's no need to understand Italian to enjoy the film - the sounds of the seagulls, the music and the filming express all!
Happy New Year wishes!
I've been reading the wonderful 'A Year with Rilke' translated and edited by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows; these are daily readings which bring together many of Rilke's beautiful works, and for the 3rd of January is the poem 'Entering', from 'Book of Images' - just right for the year's beginning:
'Entering' by Rainer Maria Rilke
Whoever you may be: step into the evening.
Step out of the room where everything is known.
Whoever you are,
your house is the last before the far-off.
With your eyes, which are almost too tired
to free themselves from the familiar,
you slowly take one black tree
and set it against the sky: slender, alone.
And you have made a world.
It is big
and like a word, still ripening in silence.
And though your mind would fabricate its meaning,
your eyes tenderly let go of what they see.
Rilke's poetry often explores beginnings and departures, seeing and creating anew, being on the verge of the undiscovered... and stillness - evoking a presence beyond words and concepts. I always see strong visuals and colours when I read his work and love the creating and letting go in this poem...
Do you find this too? That when reading poetry or any form of writing, you experience colours and visuals?... I'd love to know whether reading inspires you to paint and create.
Please click here to read more, in the current newsletter...
It's wonderful to be showing my new works alongside Marg Mason's beautiful paintings and Katrina Slack's quirkily fantastic wire sculptures in the current exhibition at Morvah Schoolhouse Gallery.
Exhibitions can be exhilarating and rewarding. They also take a lot of practical preparation and are often emotionally challenging too - with the old faithful 'imposter phenomenon' turning up once again, attempting to influence, derail and even sabotage the day, with its questioning, mocking and varied array of voices. The physical sensations in the body of fear, sickness, shakiness, shame and vulnerability, amongst many others, can take a strong grip too. Sometimes so strongly that not turning up, not going through with it seems the absolute best option. (Certainly not a 'for she is of the tribe of tiger' -type feeling! - see pic above :))
Does this sound familiar to you at all? ... whether exhibitions or any situation where you are 'being seen'.
Fortunately, in my experience more and more, these voices and sensations which occur can be observed and acknowledged for what they are - emanations from 'the monkey mind' :-) (I like this term, often used in Advaita pointings) or the ego, 'the conditioned self' that each of us has as our persona. The learned responses from over many years jump in on cue. These can be limiting beliefs, notions that keep us stuck, hiding... entrenched ideas of who we believe ourselves to be. Ironically, they could be seen as trying to keep us safe, too, when we're in situations that could threaten/are difficult... however, often these very situations are those that help us grow and therefore, ultimately, enable us to shed those layers of voices and conditioning. The ego doesn't want this to happen, of course, as it's secure in its comfort zone, believing itself to be the CEO, (because we let it) and needing us to stay where we are, so it can continue to exist and control/manage us, business as usual.
Recognising that as our real self, we are not our responses or feelings or fears or thoughts or behaviours has been a wonderful liberation for me, a sense that I've felt for so long, since very young, but have not actually 'lived' the truth of...
When new experiences and opportunities unfold, the fears can be recognised, acknowledged and even respected as intense sensations that are a part of who we are in the world; we can say hello to them and not 'mind' them. We can remain unattached. It's ok, they can be right there whilst I continue to plan, to organise the exhibition, to meet others on the day, to socialise... they fluctuate in their strength and presence too, whilst I bubble-wrap my work...' You're not good enough', 'who do you think you are?... yes yes, I hear and feel you, thank you :-) - they hate to be ignored and will up-level until I listen, then they're more at ease... and as Eckhart Tolle would say, on letting be and allowing, try asking yourself, 'Can I be the space for this?' - and that's what I wrote on the inside of my palm, in Biro pen yesterday, when the anxiety was very strong just before driving to the event.
And it was genuinely fun, fresh, spontaneous and enjoyable and yes! I could be the space for this, for all these emotions and I could let them 'be' and they didn't derail me... and they even disappeared into the shadows to rest for a bit at many points throughout the afternoon.
I often do EFT, meditate, read inspiring authors and poets, watch and participate in satsangs online, listen to music, carry rose quartz, write on my palms :-))) for learning, grounding, self-compassion and reassurance and pointers in the moment.
I'd love to know what you do to help at particularly anxious times.
Some photos from the (truly!) wonderful afternoon...fears and all
... and to be the space which does not change :-)
I love this 7 min video by Robert Holden which is so clear on the unconditioned Self, the conditioned self ..and ultimately all in Oneness x
My son and I have recently returned from an amazing and memorable 3-day holiday in Iceland exploring Reykjavik, The Golden Circle (a wonderful guide with ‘Grayline Tours’) and The Blue Lagoon… an adventure full of geysers, hot springs, tectonic plates and famous fissures, the original Viking parliament, a beautiful waterfall at Gullfoss, bubbling mud pools, silky milky-blue mineral rich waters, elves and trolls, moss covered lava fields and much more..!
I was also on the lookout, a little bit! for sheep on our travels, as always hope to find some strands attached to bushes and branches but we only saw a few sheep, roaming wild in the far distance beneath the mountains, eating moss and herbs…and apart from a few Icelandic birch there are very few trees to catch wool on….
The Icelandic sheep is an ancient North European breed, slightly smaller than modern varieties, whose double-layered coat is uniquely suited to cold and wet conditions. The inner layer, or thel, is insulating, superlight and very airy, while the outer layer, or tog, is long, strong and water repellent. Carded together, these two layers make lopi, versatile wool used to knit lopapeysa, the distinctive traditional Icelandic sweater of concentric rings. I'd love one of these but they are hugely expensive and my knitting skills are not exactly up to the 'lopapeysa'!
‘At summer’s apex, the number of sheep in Iceland outnumbers the human population three to one, at approximately 500,000. Allowed to roam wild in the summer, they are ubiquitous on the island’s barren, rocky landscape, sometimes scaling giant mountains in search of edible moss and herbs, where they can only be seen as tiny white, black and brown specks thousands of feet in the air.’
Excerpt taken from: ‘Why Farmers and Knitters Are Fixated on Icelandic Sheep’
A wonderful chance meeting with a visitor to Morvah Schoolhouse recently inspired a new venture in 3D :-)
Mary makes felted pots and vessels and also keeps alpacas and she very kindly gave me a large bag of last year’s shearing from her 12-year-old, Josephine. The fleece is beautifully soft, a wonderful quality with subtle stripes and colour variation and a slight crimp too - such a joy to handle.
It's fantastic to know the provenance of the wools and fleeces, especially to this extent! and in feeling sure that the animals are treated with kindness and respect. This is fundamental to the work I do - further details here.
To make the pot, you can use a cheapy resist (£1 silicone baking sheet) and table mats. I cut a large circle in the resist and pre-felted three layers of wool around it, then, with a good amount of felting, the resist starts to buckle as the fibres shrink and you can cut a smallish hole in the felt and pull it out. (In the final layer I added a few strands of French D’Arles Merino for a little more colour contrast - darker brown - and then decided to sew a few ridges into the surface for interest whilst wet.) Finally, shape the pot and fill with bubble-wrap then leave it to dry in the sun (and the airing cupboard).
Felted pots/vessels and pods have such an organic nature, they feel truly beautiful to hold and you can create any shape, size and design, and each type of wool will create a different texture. The alpaca wool is very fine and soft so adding a little more of another wool such as Merino or maybe Texel (quite bulky and resilient) might be a good idea next time to increase sturdiness and I don’t think I felted mine for long enough this time... I might still sew a few more ridges too... they resemble texture on bark a little...
I can imagine future designs with simple embellishing, birds, ferns, flowers, plants, insects …maybe felt plates, platters, dishes, pots, sculptural pieces….endless!
The wonder of felt is that you are creating the form whilst also making the fabric and it's great to watch what happens and unfolds along the way :-)
There are many online tutorials for making felted vessels and I think I might follow one next time to get some more handy tips and hints. I'd also like to start working out how to film my work to make time-lapse videos (my son can help me with this!) and when I create another pot/pod I'll write more detailed notes... this first time was a real (pretty messy!) experiment :-)
Thank you Mary and Josephine for the inspiration, the tips and technique using resists - and your beautiful fleece xx
I was so happy to take part in a charity art auction this month, for Cornwall Hospice Care at The Exchange gallery, part of 'Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange' in Penzance. The event raised much needed funds for this important charity and was attended by many.
It was an honour for me to show my work alongside many well-known and inspiring local artists and it's wonderful to know that my felting, inspired by a line in a poem by the local poet W.S. Graham has found a happy home.
'A few scattered rooks blown against the pewter sky' from 'Waiting for Snow' by W.S.Graham
(please click for catalogue of artworks in the auction)
My feltings to illustrate an accompanying resource for a life-changing course
So happy that some of my feltings, prints and cards are in The Blue Bramble Gallery in St Ives.It's wonderful to see them amongst so many beautiful artworks by artists I've admired for quite a while and in such a unique gallery! I've taken some feltings out to show at Archie Browns in May and June but then hopefully will be making some more....
I've missed felting, with all the preparation, measuring for frames, painting frames, arranging prints and cards...I'll be happy when all is complete and I can get to work again :-)
Blue Bramble Gallery
Folt Bolt Shop
Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)
R S Thomas
Thank You :-)