Musician vs Writer. A light-hearted look at my creative selves.

There’s a fight going on between my musician and my writer selves. Always the wrangling. My artist self is smaller and not as strong. The other two dominate. Musician self is an outright bully. Writer self likes peace and quiet and although driven, is satisfied when a piece of work is complete. Musician is a maniac that doesn’t want to stop until my eyeballs are bloodshot and my back is breaking. For musician self there is no end point. Creating just leads to more desire. I have to shut her out sometimes because if she gets even a foot in the door, before I know it, she has taken over and the hours whiz by while all around me plummets into chaos. I have been known to shut her out for months, even years. She’s too demanding. She has taken years of my life, and years off my sleep.

Writer self is more patient. Although she may inconveniently propose entire pieces of work at the most awkward moments—walking through town, or in the shower— and she forgets it if I don’t get it written down straight away, or loses the flow, remembering only fragments, if I ask her to wait and hold back her words, just hanging on to a keyword like a knot in a hanky, we can wait until I can stop and write. Then I give her permission to speak and it all comes out. There is a downside to her being so easily satisfied. She can be a little lazy, and a little quiet to speak up when other voices are clamouring for my attention. It is necessary to give her space, and quality time together, just the two of us. Musician self doesn’t need this kind of support because she just slams the door and stamps around when she really needs to be heard.

Musician and writer have been known to collaborate. They can inspire each other with their ideas. At this point artist might shyly step in and ask if she can do some cover art. Artist also likes to do photography, which writer finds helpful, and they may publish stuff together. Occasionally artist may do a little drawing, but this usually only happens when the other two are so burnt out that they’re both laid up, having a metaphorical lie in of major proportions. Drawing is soothing and relaxing. There is no screaming—of words or music—just a peaceful meditation on the subject. My drawing skills fall short of my imagination so it’s not long before writer or musician wake up and get the kettle on. Then we’re back to frantic typing and screaming in the kitchen. Hey ho.

© Janey Colbourne 2017


Lessons from Nettles



Nettles flourish on disturbed ground or highly fertile land, liking high levels of nitrogen, so they grow in abundance where human activity such as intensive farming or waste dumping has enriched the soil. The more we artificially fertilise the soil, the more nettles will grow. Every child quickly learns to recognise nettles through the experience of being stung, and is taught to seek out dock leaves to rub on the sting for relief. This is a lesson that nature provides comfort as well as pain, and that beings that complement and balance each other are found in the same vicinity. It reminds me of what has been said about disaster situations, ‘look for the helpers’- a life lesson that reminds us to see the hope and the connection when we are in despair.

Nettles are also highly nutritious once cooked or dried out to neutralise the toxins, providing iron and other minerals. As a medicine nettles can help with hay fever. So nettles have a dual nature of both warrior and healer/helper. This has led to the saying, ‘grasp the nettle’. If one grasps the nettle firmly and boldly in the right way, with the stinging hairs lying flat to the plant, it is possible to pick it without being stung. So the phrase is used to mean tackle a difficult problem with courage. My thought is that it also means once you face it bravely you find the positive benefit (the nourishment) within.

©Janey Colbourne 2017

Here is a good article about the teachings of Poison Ivy from Dana at The Druid’s Garden blog:

Poison Ivy Teachings from The Druid’s Garden

The Equinox and dynamic balance.

Equinox. What does that word mean to me? Balance, equal day and night, spring, autumn. The equinoxes come at a time of changing seasons, or rather, in the midst of the seasons that are changeable. Spring and autumn, while having their own qualities, are the shorter seasons en route to summer and winter. In my part of the world spring and autumn herald variable weather, on average mild, whilst nudging the temperature towards the following season. Most all when I think of spring and summer, I think of fresh air, breezes, blustery winds and rain, lots of it. I think of rain and sunshine together, heavy showers and low sun that dazzles my eyes. Possibly rainbows and possibly hail, although these are rare.

All this fresh air and movement-movement of air and water, and in autumn, falling leaves, creates negative ions in the air. The result is very refreshing, clear air. This contrasts with some of the dry days in autumn when disintegrating leaves combine with dry, loose soil, no longer covered with vegetation, to create a dust storm in the swirling winds of autumn. Some spring days can be warm and humid, with the first rising pollens, and later the cherry blossom dancing on the air, creating a stifling perfume that takes the breath away and makes me sneeze. But still, I love it all with a passion. Spring and autumn are my favourite seasons. I love the change, the moderate temperatures and promising feeling of things to come-cosy winter nights by the fire, crisp snow and fairy lights, or the fattening buds preparing for summer’s burst of abundance and moments of sun in sheltered spots that warm my bones and remind me how summer feels. Spring and autumn make me feel like making a fresh start. They have far more meaning to me than the traditional calendar New Year date.

At the equinox day and night are of equal length, and the seasons are held balance, although it is a dynamic balance, fluctuating through the transition to summer or winter. Balance in nature is not a static thing. Stasis means death, stagnation. Homeostasis, the name for the whole process of our body’s maintenance of balance, is in fact a misnomer. Homeostasis is far from static; it is a never ending minutely adjusting state of balance, a constant process of flux and movement. In this energetic dance of change a balance is achieved that gives the impression of stability, the illusion of ‘stasis’. The moment of balance at the equinox is fleeting. To remain balanced in life, we constantly have to adjust our stance, our actions, to re-evaluate and adapt. The equinox is a good time to reflect and to look at our life balance, to take stock, contemplate, make changes and fresh starts. This equinox, I am working on integrating two sides of myself that have not been working together. This is something I was not conscious of, until I had a clarifying dream very recently. In order to achieve this I had to let go, to some extent, metaphorically closing my eyes and trusting to my inner sense, my ‘spiritual proprioception’ so to speak, to find the right balance. Rather than blowing away-as I feared I might-or remaining rigid and tense, and therefore brittle, letting go and surrendering to the winds of change, while staying aware of my rootedness, means that I am flexible and strong. As I finish writing these words, I look up, and at that very moment, out of my window, I see a rainbow. Synchronicity is a lovely thing. Happy Equinox.

© Janey Colbourne 2017


A special thank you to my dear and wise friend Karen from One Heart Healing, Lancashire and everyone in today’s group for an interesting and inspirational discussion and meditation on acceptance, receiving and balance.

Karen’s website:

Expanded awareness: being in the present for emotional wellbeing

When I’m feeling stressed, frustrated, tired or even just bored I like to expand my awareness out of myself. I begin by focusing my awareness on my points of contact with the world: the sun or wind on my face, the ground beneath my feet. Then I extend this awareness from my feet into the earth, down deep and also outwards across the curve of the Earth. I am conscious of the vast earth that supports and sustains us all, and of all the beings that live in or on the earth. With practice, this can be achieved in seconds, and can be done anywhere, quietly and discreetly. For me this provides a sense of security and of perspective.
It’s a form of meditation that allows you to still be present and aware of your surrounding circumstances, in fact all the more so, whilst maintaining a greater equilibrium. It can be momentary or more involved; there is no need to complete a process, so it is not an issue if you are interrupted. I would exercise caution when driving or other similar activity.

©Janey Colbourne 2017

A Thank You To Earth Pathways Diary

This year I was for the first time a contributor to Earth Pathways diary. Once again, next year I am honoured to be contributing, not only to the diary but also to their beautiful calendar. 2018 is Earth Pathways 10th anniversary. These diaries are so beautiful I have kept every one I have ever had. The selection of gorgeous artwork, photography, inspiring words and lovely hand drawn and decorated layout by Jaine Rose is a perfect combination. I feel honoured to be a part of it. The Earth Pathways team are a lovely bunch of people, unsurprisingly, and I wish them continuing success. you can find out more about Earth Pathways and their contributors on the Earth Pathways website.


If my wounds

are the source
of my greatest power,
then my gift is the gift of insight.

I am gifted with knowledge
of how it feels to be old,
while I am still young.

I could sink into despair,
frustration and bitterness,
or I could flip the coin

and use this experience
to expand my compassion,
to share that knowledge,

my understanding.
Patience is the lesson
that comes from pain;

and courage of heart.
True strength is not
what you think.

I say to the young,
when you are old
you will know

why I do as I do,
for now you can only

and listen,

most of all, listen.

© Janey Colbourne 2017