Valerie HugginsValerie Huggins
Valerie Huggins


Oh, How I Want to Break Free...

I retired with a sense of optimism, expansion, and new possibilities…excited about managing the transition to a new phase of life.  True, I was based in the town where I had lived almost all my life, and so much of what surrounded me was gloomy and redolent with ancient unhappiness. But I had so many plans to fly, with new adventures to pursue.

Then lockdown after lockdown clamped me in, offering me no clear timescale or avenue for escape.  Little light. Little sense of personal achievement.  Little hope of doing something new, worthwhile, or successful, to replace my abandoned professional identity.

In this storytelling project I try to capture some sense of this situation by using ICM techniques, supported by mindfulness and journaling.  Can these new perspectives offer me an unexpected escape route?

Original prompts: 

Found along the way:  

Inspired and reassured by:  

  • A Beautiful Anarchy by David Duchemin

Original Inspiration

Final Series

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Where Do I Go?

Imprisoned.  A dark path ahead,
blurred and uncertain.

‘But a caged bird stands on the grave
his shadow shouts a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.’

~ Maya Angelou


I Can't Get Out

Lockdown limits life.
Possibilities emerge, confusing and daunting.

“I can never be all the people I want
and live all the lives I want.”

~ Sylvia Plath



Is This the Way Out?

Angry, resentful, railing.  
Do I want to go this way?

“Passion is the bridge that takes you from pain to change.”

~ Frida Kahlo



So Many Dreams

Swirling in confusion, searching for clarity.

“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself:
‘What if I had never seen this before?
What if I knew I would never see it again?’”

~ Rachel Carson



Get Up and Fly

Swirling and swooping together across the river.  On and out?

“It’s how we choose what we do, and how we approach it, that will determine whether the sum of our days add up to our formless blur, or to something resembling a work of art.”

~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


Something's Coming,
Something Good

Clouds lifting.
Optimism and colour trickle through.
But there are still barriers.

“Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from,
and where you will go.”

~ Rebecca Solnit


On the Way

Lycra-bright cyclists zoom on their way, straight and clear.
Freedom and hope in the air.

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”

~ Emily Dickinson


Thalassa, Thalassa

There will be better times.

“Just like moons and like suns
With the certainty of tides
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.”

~ Maya Angelou


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