the road is light

Hello.  This is Toni aka kanzen sakura (www.kanzensakura.wordpress.com) bringing to you the prompt for this session of Haibun Monday.  In 1980, the Japanese began a type of healing/meditation/relaxation process called  shinrin-yoku (森林浴) or literally, forest bathing.  This has become a recognized health benefit in Japan and other countries.  Basically you immerse yourself in the forest breathing in the benefits of such volatile substances as a-Pinene and Limonene.  It is simple.  One simply visits the forest and strolls leisurely breathing in the benefits of the volatile oils.  It also is relaxing.  Of course, one does not take cell phones, tablets, or books or other things that can distract one.  For safety sake, I will take my cell phone but…it is cut completely off.

Another way is to simply immerse oneself in nature.  When was the last time you did that – took a long walk in a forest or a field or a park or along the shores of a lake or beach?  Planted bulbs or seeds, took a sail on the water (beach or lake), sat under a tree and napped?  And thought of nothing but the nature around you.

Today, I would like you all to write a haibun (one – three tight paragraphs) ending with a haiku (seasonal and cutting words used to denote the season and to distinguish between the two parts of a haiku).  I would like you all to write about the last time you totally immersed yourself in nature.

The light was what called me as I drove Northwards towards Wiston. A golden warmth illuminated the roadside’s treeline and I knew that when I arrived I would need to take a walk. I made good time and collected my camera, a tool that allows me to practice doing without doing. The camera is a mindfulness tool for me. It focuses my attention and intention upon the surroundings and it stills me to the point where the photographs are suggesting themselves to me with a whisper.

Late Winter sun is full of magic. I walk slowly in step with my own breath and look deeply into the land. The snow covered wonderland unfolded it’s magnificence and I am left breathless  not from the walking but from the pure majesty I am witnessing. Something about fresh snow calls me home to another space in time. I am reborn and wide eyed. Enraptured by the silence. Familiar views are offered as a complete newness, as if never before seen. The light is dancing. So is my spirit.

Winter light calls me

Illuminating the land

I am reflective

photos by me.



Samye Ling

The journey towards Eskdalemuir was made all the more pleasurable by the scenery along the way. Early morning mists sitting atop the hills, bathed in a serene kind of light, set the tone for the day for me. It was eminently peaceful, as if the land were whispering a good morning. On arrival at Samye Ling  I was immediately drawn to the golden statue of Tara bathed in bright morning sunlight, sitting in the  Medicine Garden.
Medicine Tara
It had obviously been situated there, facing East,  to catch the early rising rays and it was animated by a glowing luminescence. Almost as if it were dancing. The Victory Stupa sat by a Zen like garden complete with curved bridge and still waters. It was impossible not to notice the serenity. I sat. Just sat.
Reflected Stupa
Brings me to the Buddha Mind
There is only Now.
Victory Stupa
Afterwards I walked clockwise around the Stupa, mindful of the rhythms of the turning Prayer Wheels
Prayer Wheel House
Along from the Stupa lies another pond within which is a wonderful statue of Nagarjuna
Prayer flags flutter in the wind harmonising the elements in both person and environment.
Prayer Flags
The Cloutie Tree offers a chance to make a wish.
The Cloutie Tree
A final stop at the Temple offered me an opportunity to hear the prayers and chants of the Monks and to sit in silence for some time once more. I am aware of a death in the community, one of the founders, and the brother of the sitting Abbot, was killed recently on a visit to China. The pointlessness of this act sits heavily on me as I observe my silence. Such is the world we live in.
Tibetan Temple
The journey back to Wiston was also beautiful, as the dying sun bounced it’s last light of the hilltops, soft, warm and welcoming us home.
The Southern Uplands ~ Photo by Bob Hamilton
There is something about the play of light on the land that is very much about the present moment.
It sings very clearly….This is it.

Room to grow

5 weeks ago I alighted upon a field in the southern uplands of Scotland in Lanarkshire.

I have since then spent my time making tipi lodge poles, doing construction and deconstruction (nothing is wasted here). I have tiled floors and walls and slowly over the time I can stand back and see what I am helping to create. We hosted a wee music gathering and a conference to add Music to the ongoing curriculum here.

It is all hugely satisfying. I am happy.

I have also drummed a few times with visiting groups here at Wiston and each time the connections made have been strong. Workpaths are opening up here all the time. I am forging a new life here for myself and one that at the moment is without Mrs Scribbles, at least in the physical sense. We talk a lot and as a result of recent chats I am currently sat in her house typing this after a wonderful weekend visit. Our relationship is transforming. Into what we do not know. Soon I will board a train and head North again to what now feels like home. My home.

There is no question we are deeply connected and that will always be true. Mrs Scribbles has some time and space for her own personal quest now and I for mine. In between we can find time to dance together.


As separations go this is a powerful one. Yesterday we walked these familiar hills and saw a sight that said more in an instant than we could in a lifetime.

Two or one

As Metaphors go we thought it was a cracker. It made us both smile.

So I will journey North to be where I must and though I will miss her I will go with a deep knowing that each of us is holding the space for the other to grow into in the trust that all will be well….whatever it looks like.

But first I will avail myself of the benefits of civilisation and grab a good cup of coffee before I depart. 😉


New Beginnings

Here I am in Scotland. South Lanarkshire to be precise.

In a Bell Tent.

In a field.

On my own.

Aside from the community at Wiston Lodge that is, where I volunteer my time 4 days a week in return for wonderful meals 3 times a day. The company is good here and I am enjoying the space. The freedom from ‘work’ which as you know I love but has put me through the ringer this year. Good news on that front though. I have bookings from early October through till April 2014. Work is looking up.

The Banks are happy and so I can take out this block of time for me. Mrs Scribbles is doing the same, for less time, elsewhere before she returns to work in September. I will be here until the early October work calls me southwards.

I may muse here from time to time…I am hoping to keep a journal of some kind. My very own ‘Walden’.

This is my temporary home for two months.
Bell Tent

This is what I have been doing this week. Any guesses?
Draw Blade

My morning view to the left.
Megs Tree

My morning view to the right.

The woodland close by.

See you All soon.

Luv n Peas
The Scribbler x


Away, away.

It has been too long dear blog reader…much is transpiring and has transpired in the world of the Scribbler…Bankruptcy was avoided and now a deal is about to be struck with my creditors that will tie me up to a relatively small monthly commitment for the next 5 years. I have no idea if I can make my business work/survive for that long but I will be giving it all of my attention. Right now there is work and I am endeavoring to outlay a little less and try to actually save a tad…a brave new world for this confirmed lifelong spendthrift…we shall see where this ends.

On a more personal note it appears that another long term area of stability is crumbling. Mr and Mrs Scribbles are to be no more after a dance of some 30 years. It is with deep sadness that I report this but I have to also add it is not the first time that our deeply independent attitudes have led us to walk separate roads…In the past they always led back to each other and so it is with uncertainty that we walk away in opposite directions, knowing that only in this moment, is it the right thing to do.

For now we co-habit and make do. Some days are good, some not so. Soon my working contracts will end and I will head North to Scotland to live in a teepee for the next few months…to be still…and to find my own  centre once more…beyond that I have a drum circle training to run, also in Scotland and then a growing desire to go and walk the Camino

Where I will be geographically and emotionally come the end of this year is open to the four winds.

May they blow me into a place of peace.

Elemental, Paul's Rhythm Journey, Scribbles, Spirituality, travel

Heading North

It’s Saturday morning and I am heading northwards to cross the border into Scotland. I arrive in time to catch up with some old friends and my fellow drummer but remain invisible to the workshop participants for whom I have agreed to drum.

I am to be a ‘Drum Spirit’ at a Shamanic dance workshop. The dancers, who have been working all day together, process out into the night, their way lit by candles held out in front. They wind their way up the hill to a clearing in the woods, where myself and my partner  Drum Spirit are waiting for them, masked and costumed to represent our other worldliness. We break into 6/8 rhythm and lock together, weaving our spell across the space in front. From behind my mask of straw, dangling downward to hide my face, I spy shadows of movement, caught and thrown around by the licking flames of the fire. Is it the fire or is it the dancer creating this movement? Or perhaps the drum. In reality there is a merging of spirits. Those of the dancers. Those of us drummers. Those of the Fire. Those of the wind. Time shifts and moves with the rhythms and we engage in a moment to moment experience of NOW.

The music eventually winds down in volume and tempo as the dancers complete their movements. We ‘Drum Spirits’ make ourselves scarce but not without shenanigans with drums and vans in mud and giggles!!!!

I sleep a few hours and I am in the van and heading further north. My destination is The Findhorn Foundation nr Forres in Morayshire. The journey is incredible. A beautiful crisp spring day.The further north I go the more spectacular the scenery. Snow capped mountains cut jagged lines into the blueness of the sky, Everything feels like it is fully alive today, me included. I make a few stops just to step out of the van and breathe the clean air ( and take some photos) I arrive at my host Carol’s house and we load some extra drums into her car and head for Findhorn which is 3 miles away. (A big thanks to Carol for organising and for being a fantastic hostess)

We land in plenty of time and begin to set the circle. All the time we are chatting about the set up, the circle to come, as I have agreed to Mentor Carol, a new trainee from the Arthur Hull training I currently manage. We are just done bringing drums in from the vehicles when the first drummers arrive. Before you can say 1,2 let’s all play there are 50 people in the room and the groove is on. As well as all our drums and percussion we have a visiting guitarist from Holland. A very sensitive soul, he listens well and weaves a wonderfully simple melody around the rhythms.

Our community is a mixture. Men, women and children, young and old. I run through a variety of techniques, all designed to connect the group to itself, and the community in the room responds by producing music that is deep and connected.

It is magical. See for yourself. Click on the image below for larger file.


We drum, sing and enjoy a guest Boomwhacker slot from Steve Sharpe. It is a perfect example of a Community Drum Circle. I wish I had filmed it now. (Note to future self). Two hours pass effortlessly and we close. The feedback from people is heartwarming. Carol has witnessed her first full Facilitated circle and this will hopefully help her towards her goals.

We head off to the pub for a welcome ale and a view to savour across Findhorn Bay. We have a wonderfully chilled musical jam in the evening, a fine curry and a good nights kip in my own caravan space.

The following day I visit the Studio of Andrea Turner a local Artist and fellow drummer. Her work at present is connecting in with the Findhorn river that runs through the area and to see the work up close is a real treat. I also mange to get some more  photography in before heading back to the caravan. In the morning I am away.

I stop in Glasgow to visit my daughter and to chat with her about her upcoming show and am reminded once more of her amazing talent. I am a very proud dad.


I have in recent months been struggling to get enough work. The economy is affecting what I do for money. My income has fallen to dangerously low levels and I face a period of financial ruin. I will, I am sure survive the next phase, and as I prepare to enter into Bankruptcy and I know from this weekend that my passion for what I do remains unaffected.

In fact this weekend in the country of Single Malt Whisky, of which I am fond, I have found that my own Spirit has been distilled.

I am now in possession of a purer form of what lies within.

It bodes well for the road ahead.

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