A work in progress – nearly finished.

A few thoughts on painting …

I’m finding that I’m becoming more able to look at a rough shape in the early stage and “see” the thing I’m wanting to paint.

I’m working from a photo – I can see that, all the details, but I have to be able to see it in a different way – it’s as if I have to take the image inside and then project it back out onto the canvas.

And in that process things change a little – colours, composition.

It becomes real in my mind’s eye first – and then I need to create that on the canvas. That’s the challenge, the frustration – finding how to bring that inner vision into reality.

And another discovery – when I’m painting for someone else (as with this) it doesn’t feel right to share until they’ve seen it first. So I’m only comfortable sharing very early stages or oblique views – it’s as if – once I’ve started – it doesn’t really belong to me.


protect yourself

but stay soft in the centre

and reach out past your defences


Thoughts for the start of April, for autumn in NZ.

For all those bravely trying to be true to themselves, speaking, writing, creating, loving the world.

We need to take care of ourselves and be a little cautious, without becoming risk averse, without becoming hardened and cynical.

We need to find ways to please the eye and feed the soul. Ways to warm our hearts and sweeten our words.

To keep reaching out to engage with the world even when it’s tough – that’s the brave thing – the creative act.

Working out how to keep yourself centred and true – that’s the spirit work.


This little face !!

Eyes squinting into the sun, so easily misinterpreted as “grumpy-face” if not balanced by the smile. This smile right here.

I had glimpses of her over the years, but she was often lost. In these early photos here I am, staring straight down the line to the camera, smiling with a quiet confidence like I know who I am, like I know how I’ll be living my life.

The circle is drawing back round to the beginning and I am so happy to have found this little being again and been able to release her into the world before the circle closes.

Finding your own truth, your purpose, your voice – what is life otherwise?

This is me – someone just needs to untie my hair and I’d be complete.

the key

there are rooms in this house I’ve not walked into
doors unopened, windows closed
paths that lie unchosen

I used to think
give me the key and I will fear I’m not worthy
give me the key and I will lose it
I will hide it
I will throw it away

but now – where does this fearlessness come from?

I walk down a dark hallway lined with doors
there are rooms I’ve forgotten
rooms I remember
but I don’t seek to re-enter those

its these other doors that intrigue me
doors that will open onto rooms I’ve never seen

I place one palm flat against the next door I come to
regretting that I never kept the key that once was mine
but it swings inward as soon as I touch it
and a flurry of small birds fly out
and I stand staring in bright light
at the dry golden grass beyond the open windows

I know this place
I was here once when I was young
I had forgotten it still lived within me

I step forward into a white room
white-washed wooden floor, white walls, ceiling open to the sky
as warm winds blow sheer white curtains toward me
my hair lifts in the smell of ozone and wild thyme

and here, on the table, in the centre of the room
is a carved box and a small bronze key

I recognise it
the same key I once abandoned
I mistook its purpose
this was never a key to open doors
doors that I had only ever imagined to be locked

this is a key to the future
and some strange magic has restored it to me
a whole new fertility is setting seed and ripening
mortality is making me brave

I unlock the box, and inside there are pencils and pens and bottles of ink
I shut the door behind me
and start writing on the walls

if I ever need to leave
the windows are open



walking alone

walking alone
on the empty beach
through driftwood
piled up on the sand
sea-worn skeletons
of storm-torn trees

and the footprints of past visitors
crossing and re-crossing
disordered, cryptic pathways
and leading nowhere

it could be easy to start
worrying about purpose and meaning
to become lost in memories
and regrets

but I revel in places like this
the emptiness gives me space to breathe
I can expand into it
I feel lighter, pressure lifts

there is a change in perspective
as the natural world
goes about its business
and I am irrelevant
my worries are nothing

there is a calm excitement
as if at any moment the whole world
could shift and become something new

I feel the past
the timeline of history
in every scrap of wood and sand
and dog-print and shell
and I sink into it
and becoming absorbed by it all is affirming and healing

a bird flies right past me
I look up
sea birds fill the beach and sky

I watch one
repeatedly flying up
then down again
to the low tide line

I realise it is dropping
a shellfish
over and over
persisting until it breaks open
and it can feed on the sweet flesh

that’s life really

we keep going
until the work of living
reveals its secrets and rewards

and on days like this
in places like this
I have no doubt
my footprints join the rest
my pathway just as hidden
my dreams fly with the birds
my intentions just as clear


© Claire Griffin 2016

attention brings connection : part III

I was leaving
and just as I drew away
three girls dressed in black walked past
and you approached them
in the same way
you came to me
head forward


they take your photo
discussing how to make you turn
so they can get a better angle

somewhere, sometime
you learnt to approach people
and now you still do it
even when we have nothing
to give you
though perhaps we do
is it too much to think –
is it our attention you seek?

I wonder if your curiosity
will be respected

I worry for you now
you have entered my mind
I carry knowledge of you
you inhabit me

you gave me your attention

I am not disappointed

I am not alone


© Claire Griffin 2016


Regret is such a difficult thing.

Its been nearly two years since I was rocked by the death of a dear friend, a significant person in my life. It would be their birthday tomorrow.

We hadn’t been in touch for a number of years, but I’d always felt the sense of connection, and even more, the growing need to thank them for the time they’d spent with me. The discovery they were gone was made at exactly the same time I committed to contacting them again. I’d been writing to them at the time. I had missed them by just a month or two.

The shock was intense. I spiraled into a strange emotional place, struggling to process the memories and emotions that suddenly surfaced. I could not believe how raw my emotions felt, and how conflicted.

Grief is bad enough, but my feelings were magnified by regret. Regret that over the years I’d had opportunities to make contact and not taken them, had reason and not acted upon it, had been held back by misplaced pride, or fear of rejection.

Talking this through with two trusted friends helped me to gain some perspective, and I wrote, and wrote, discovering imagery and metaphor that helped me to gain insight into my feelings and into the events of the past.

Coping with all this was difficult. I had no option but to sit with this regret, I couldn’t deny its presence, I couldn’t make it go away. I had to simply sit with it, side by side, and then gradually take it inside me, to accept it as mine.

But regret was in no hurry, it sat heavily for at least a year. The difficulty lay in adjusting to the reality that there was no way to reconnect, no way to tell someone how I felt. They were gone and nothing would change that. It took a long time to accept that reality, to stop beating myself up for not acting sooner. But gradually the pain eased, writing helped.

I think there are some things that just take our brains a long time to adjust to. Memories that no longer fit with the present. Desires that have no way to be fulfilled. Neural pathways need to be reviewed, and rewired. It’s a process that happens slowly and I have been changed by it.

I learnt that regret can teach us about acceptance – accepting that I made the best decisions I could at the time – and though I may regret those decisions now, I can’t change them. My only choice was to accept – staying with the pain of regret would be unbearable, There would be no future in staying in that place. So I guess acceptance is also about surrender. Surrendering to the truth that there are some things that can’t be changed, and looking for the most positive path forward.

This process did help me to engage more fully with the things that mean the most to me. I finally had a concrete example of why we shouldn’t put things off – there may not be a future time in which to do them. Hence, my renewed commitment to writing which has led to my being present in this alternate universe.

coincidence or more?

how strange it is to choose the raven when first representing myself here, and to focus in recent work on my need to “speak” – to give voice – and then register for a newsletter, receive a free gift with it and discover this gift was a series of online workshops called “sacred voice – bootcamp with raven” … this is not “just” coincidence – there’s something more afoot – I take it as an affirmation that I’m on the right track – following perhaps the raven’s footsteps …

pt 3 – speaking

Thoughts from two months ago … catching up with myself at last

I used to think that I wanted to be heard, to be seen, to be known. And perhaps that is still true. But just recently, just in the last week or so, I realised that what I need is simply to speak.
Of course I’d like to be heard, to be recognised – but now – the most important thing is to speak for its own sake – for my own sake. I’m using the term “speaking” as a way of describing the declaration of my own thoughts, feelings, beliefs – I might speak aloud, I might write – but I will give voice to my self.

When I was younger, the desire to be heard and known was strong. And I wonder now what lay behind that need – why did I feel so “unknown”? (Recent events have led me to reflect on my past, my childhood, and I’ve begun to gain insight into why that need was so strong.) But, I had no idea how to be heard, to be known, and I did not understand that I had to present myself in a way that could make this possible. I was waiting – without moving toward the thing I sought.

Someone did recognise me once years ago. They knew me, understood me – but it was before I was ready. They heard me before I had anything to say. They heard the essence of me, they recognised my possibility. And because of this I made the mistake of thinking that I didn’t need to act, to create, to speak myself into existence. And over time they became frustrated by my passivity. We were out of synch. We met out of time as if we were circling through our lives in our own spirals, and somehow had reached out and touched as our spirals passed each other, but weren’t completely aligned. But maybe there is no wrong time. It happened and I understand it now.

But there was always this residual feeling that there was something I wanted outside of myself. I’ve been looking for the thing outside of myself that I could work towards.

A few weeks ago something happened that rocked my sense of self, and my sense of the true nature of someone I thought I knew. Somehow this had the effect of jolting me into myself. I realised that I need to look within and trust my self. Painful as it was – this has been, as some say, “a gift”. I feel released, I feel lighter, and that surprises me.

And in the last few days I realised I also need to trust the thing that has always been there, the thing I’ve always felt good at, the thing that I’ve used to help me understand. I need to write. That is how my voice will be spoken – and I’ve reached the point that it doesn’t matter so much now whether I am heard or not. It’s the speaking that is important. It’s the speaking that makes me real and true and alive. And I will focus less on seeking and becoming, and more on being who I already am.

But now I wonder – am I speaking or am I being spoken?

pt 2 – finding voice

So – reflecting on the episode when I lost my voice – it really seemed to be a very clear message – when confronted with my childhood I became again the voiceless child.

These thoughts were written a month or two later… about October last year

What I had for a long time thought was a harmonious relationship, I realised was based on the fact that I never challenged, or if I presented ideas that were disagreed with, I withdrew, submitted.

I’ve always had an overriding need to avoid conflict, to keep the peace. It has held me back, it has damaged relationships because it has stopped me from speaking (and there it is – the link to the silence that hit me after the lifemap experience!!!), from saying what I needed, wanted, wondered – to the point where I said nothing and this had been interpreted as not contributing, not sharing, not engaging deeply enough in a relationship. When the truth was, I was so deeply invested, so deeply engaged, I had silenced myself through fear of disrupting what I had. (and I cried when I finished writing this – that sudden emotional wave that breaks when you realise you’ve touched a truth)

I realised that my physical needs had been catered for, but much less my intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs. No-one really inquired into me, wanting to know what I thought, what I’d been doing, how I felt.

Hmmm – time to change the story, to shift the narrative. But to do that I need to know what I want, what I need.

Talking with friends a few weeks after this, the subject of purpose came up and I was wondering “Maybe I could be doing…, maybe I’d be good at …” and finally – “maybe I am my own purpose, my own project – maybe its enough that learn to I understand myself.”

So – I need to find my voice. I think this is my purpose. Speaking – on whatever I want, whatever I believe is important, or fun, or beautiful or interesting. It is enough that I want to say something about it. I need to tell my own story, share my own thoughts and opinions.

And so here, on the page, maybe I have found the right place to be myself.

and reading this now – its hard to believe how far I’ve come in just a few short months – the commitment I’ve made to write and write really does make me feel true to myself.