Winter workshops by Alan FrancisJanuary-February, 2018
Pamela Lyndon Travers (1899-1996) was an Australian novelist, actress and journalist. She is chiefly remembered for her children’s books about the nanny Mary Poppins. Born as Helen Lyndon Goff in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia into the family of a bank manager, Travers began writing and publishing poems as a teenages, wrote articles for The Bulletin and Triad, and started her work as an actress at an early age. She joined a Shakespearean touring company, in which she toured throughout Australia and New Zealand, and then came to England in 1924. there she began writing under her pseudonym, P.L. Travers.
She wrote Mary Poppins in 1934, which became a great success when it was published and was followed by five sequels. Travers associated with a number of Irish poets, including George William Russell and William Butler Yeats. Later she met G.I. Gurdjieff who exerted great influence on her life. It is not clear when the meeting with Gurdjieff took place, but it was supposedly in Paris in the 1930s. She developed a friendship with Alfred Orage, after he published one of her poems in the New Age, and took part in the work of the Gurdjieff Society, where she helped set up and index the Society’s library, which included all of Gurdjieff boks, as well as works by Ouspensky, Nicoll and Walker and major texts and works on Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Neo-Platonism and Gnosticism. Later she arranged visual exhibitions on Islam and Buddhism, and encouraged studies of these and other spiritual traditions in the Gurdjieff Society.
Travers led a small group in the Society, which met regularly to study Nicoll’s Living Timeuntil a few weeks prior to her death. She continued her studies of Sufism and Hinduism throughout her life, including the time that she spent living in the United States. In 1977 Travers was given the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire. She died in 1996 in London.
Links to the articles:
There are worlds beyond worlds and times beyond times, all of them true, all of them real, and all of them (as children know) penetrating each other.
To anyone capable of suspending for a moment the cavorting’s of the rational mind, of accepting myth for what it is – not lie but the very veritable truth – it needs no great inward effort to act upon such advice. It’s a matter, merely, of listening.
Thinking is linking.
...if you are honest – you have no idea where childhood ends and maturity begins. It is allendless and all one.
It is in the crack between opposites – dark and light, yes and no, here and there – that the real thing happens.
It was necessary that I should become my own planet; the discovery that in lack lies treasure if you are willing to find it; and that by confronting the Unknown – not as though it were knowable but as an absolute – one receives, oh, intimations, the hard-won realization that life, like Coyote, is a trickster, conning one into expectations that have no basis in reality, that there is nothing to expect, nothing to be gained, and nobody to blame; that there are no rights of any kind but only a purpose to be served – was that my ‘something else’? I had to learn that to be vulnerable, naked and defenseless is the only way to safety, that the sieve knows a lot about water, emptiness of plenitude, meanness of kindliness. This is easy to say, less so to accept. But one can grow ripe on difficulty as a plum grows ripe on sunlight.