Saturday, 27 May 2017

Is the Solution Coming?





It was a heavy night. The air was thick. Poor Maisy was flat out on the bed, almost unable to move she was so hot. I had just managed to doze off when I felt a bright light cut through my bedroom and the rumble of thunder seemingly cracking through the ceiling.

The lightening had a direct stargate through my window,  bouncing against my head as I lay upon the pillow. Perhaps, in so doing, it charged up my brain because when I woke up in the morning, I was fully wired.

I had discussed a problem with a friend the day before regarding a new online business venture I am working on. As she and I meandered along the river through the woods, we decided that the best way to solve the problem, was to set an intention for a solution. So, that's what I did. Right there, with the river and the trees, I decided to stop worrying about the problem and trust that a solution was coming.

And after a night of lightening infusion, I awoke with the whole solution fully formed, as if it had been downloaded. I ran to my computer and tried out my theory and yes, it worked.

Still filled to the brim with fully formed ideas, I found myself at my writing table overlooking the view, and without me realising, my pen was in my hand. I let go of all thought and allowed pure expression to flow through the ink as an extension of my veins. Poems came tumbling onto the paper as if they had been queuing up all night and were keen to lay still upon the paper.

Then I thought I best get dressed because I felt well enough to get on with my day and what a day it was (see last blog).


And so now, I am wondering about how I have previously lived my life. As a younger woman I was so urgent , pressing and pushing and thinking that I could force answers into being, when in actual fact, the answers are already fully formed, right here inside me, wrapped up lovingly in the questions. The solution is not coming. The solution is already here. In this thought I realised, that since my hearing disability, I have felt as though my life were shrinking, but for sure, by the same token, it is also getting deeper.





Her Last Performance is a Fairy Tale




Our story begins with my lovely friends, Chris and Justine Dodds, who decided to renew their wedding vows at the beautiful Ceridwen Centre, in Drefelin.


2 months ago, I visited Chris & Justine to interview them about their love story, so that I could write a bespoke fairytale, just for them, in celebration of their 20 year marriage, as part of the renewal of their Wedding Vows. 

Having found out about their love story, I set about weaving fairy magic, telling how they met, including their favourite trees and their favourite songs, the story of their children,  how the family came to be in Wales,  including personal references about the local area where we all live, as well alluding to their stained glass business Cariad Glass, where they both work together.



'Once upon a time, a long way into the future, there lived an old royal couple, who sat together hand in hand, admiring their beautiful castle. They were more in love with each passing moment, for never had two people been so right for each other.

The sun shone rays of rainbow into every corner of their home, built entirely from coloured glass, every window telling a story fashioned by their own hands, leaded with more love than any fairytale ever told: Him, her King and she, his Queen ... '


They were delighted with their fairy tale, so as a surprise, I decided to publish little books as wedding favours for them and their family.


They invited me to read the fairy tale at the Ceremony and I was so delighted I said yes ...  until I got home and thought about it. 


I have been performing on stage since I was 5 years old but now, after 46 years of treading the boards, my hyperacusis has put an end to my performance career.

My hearing loss is just about manageable on stage & I can learn to live with tinnitus but the hyperacusis (sound intolerance to certain frequencies of my tinnitus range) means that I simply can not be in environments where I have no control over the volume because it is as if the speakers have blown in my head. 

And understandably, when a large number of guests congregate for a wedding vows ceremony, their joy and excitement, relates to increased volume.


No worries, I slipped off and hid in a tractor shed until the Ceremony was just about to start. Besides, it enabled me to have a quick read through.




I found that once on stage it was ok because the speakers were in front of the bandstand, facing the congregation, so I couldn't hear them.




But when the audience all laughed together or clapped, it was as if someone had turned up the volume to maximum in my ears.






Likely, it was the least performance-like performance I have ever done. It was all I could do to hear my voice in my head above the distortion that had kicked in half way through.

BUT ... I DID IT ... which I am so pleased about because I really didn't want to let my friends down and it felt very important to be there sharing their day with them.

Chris & Justine exchanged their utterly wonderful vows to each other (not a dry eye) and then everyone went to congregate for the band, so we had to make a swift exit.

As I walked back to the car, I knew in my heart that this was the last time I would ever perform live.

It felt as if I had gone full circle because my first ever performance was on a bandstand at the Pier when I was about 3 years old and likely, it was the least performance-like performance, because I just sang from my heart, which is where my fairy tale came from at the ceremony, today.

Before I left, the guests said such lovely, kind things about the bespoke fairytale that I had written and performed for Chris and Justine and I told them how I have been working on a new website for the opening of an online business, writing love stories into fairy tales for weddings, hand-fasting, civil partnerships, baptisms, anniversaries ... any of life's ceremonies.


BESPOKE FAIRYTALES
COMING VERY SOON ... 

So, although today marked the end of live performance for me, it has opened a new door to step through, and for that I thank Chris and Justine for trusting my fairy magic at their most special of days, because although my hearing is fading, it would seem that perhaps my wand is still very much in tact.


As I left, Chris and Justine gave me a gift. I opened it when I got home and I am so utterly moved. What a thank you. They have made me the most beautiful, personalised piece of stained glass to hang in my window, inscribed from them and the children. How blessed I am to live in such a loving and creative community.



You can find out more about Cariad Glass here.
You can find out more about the Ceridwen Centre here.
You can find out more about me here.





Monday, 15 May 2017

A Safe Haven for the Writer



I sat down at my new writing table for the first time today. We found it in a little antique shop in town. It fits perfectly under the window, so that I am inspired by the forever green hills of West Wales 

To you, it seems perhaps a modest purchase, a humble 1950's formica topped specimen, with a lovely old green bakerlite handle and you would be right, except this table is almost identical to the one my Nan and Grandad had in their kitchen, tucked behind the door next to the food larder and an under-stairs cupboard where they hid during the blitz.

Sitting at this table brought back feelings of being loved, cared for, nurtured, safe. It made my heart sing to remember my grandparents in this way.

Perhaps that is why, when I put my pen to paper, the story I had intended to write dissipated as if it had never existed and instead, I wrote in my notebook ... 

Why does fear play such a big part of my life?

It was a question that answered itself. Before I had even finished asking it, my inner sanctum took the pen from me and made her mark, flowing endlessly upon the paper.

A table to the naked eye, yet a safe haven, it would seem, for the writer.


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Rain Scribble : An Artistic Collaboration with Mother Nature




Being in my shed is a lovely escape from the world. Today it was raining and I was a bit worried that the noise on the shed roof might be disturbing for my hyperacusis, which is a sound intolerance to certain frequencies in my tinnitus.

Anyway, the rain did not disturb it, on the contrary, it was actually very soothing and soon took me away from what I was doing, to wonder how best to artistically engage with Mother Nature.


I had to be quick because the rain might stop. Such is the way here ... showers/ on and off, sunshine/ on and off, as if someone were playing around with rain and sunshine switches.


So I grabbed my water colour pencils and started scribbling quickly and then hanging the water colour scribble in the rain to see what happened.



Then something very interesting occurred ...



I found that I really enjoyed scribbling ... just like when I was little in primary school and someone handed me a box of chubby crayons ... 


There was something very relaxing and fun about it and off course the excitement of wondering what the rain would do to the water colour pencil.




Then I brought the Rain Scribbles into the shed to dry ...



This blue one is my favourite and the next shower we have, I am going to dash back to the shed and write a poem in response to the rain, which I will then incoporate into the rain scribble.



And then I had to stop and smile at myself, joyous at what fun I was having.


(The term 'Rain Scribble' was suggested to me by my dear friend & fellow creative, Miranda Betts, after I had told folks on facebook about scribbling in the rain. Thanks Miranda)



The Smiling Labyrinth : What Women Get Up to In Their Shed

On Thursdays, Jeff  gives guitar lessons in our little cottage, which, as you can imagine, is a bit of a problem for me, now that I am living with tinnitus and hyperacusis, so I decided to tuck myself up in my shed.

I thought I might make a little booklet for a friend, showing her how to draw a Labyrinth ... 




And as I was working on the front cover ... I turned the little labyrinth around ...



... to find that upside labyrinths are actually smiling faces, which I have to say, filled my heart with joy and made me view them in a new way. I have always loved labyrinths, intrigued by their ancient origins and sacred nature ... but actually, not only do they foster deep reflective thought for mindfulness, they are also smiling at us. 

Then I got to thinking how this is a lesson for life. What if my hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis were turned on their heads? What if they are in fact, an opportunity to start again, making new, nurturing choices about my life. I am going to sit with that for a while ... 





Monday, 8 May 2017

50 Steps from Bluebells

You can find out more about Cheryl Beer here

Mother Nature is such a beautiful thing to be part of. She creates the most wonderfully healing pathways for us, her children.




Like the woods that lay just 50 steps from the front door of our little cottage in West Wales




The smell was intoxicating.



Maisy and I were lifted from the ground by it.



Swathes of bluebells spread like silk.



As if by magic, the lanes cut through the bluebells, as sure as if the ocean waves were parting just for us.




And I came home feeling grateful indeed, for such simple yet deep pleasures.






Saturday, 6 May 2017

Learning to Trust the Sacred Self on World Labyrinth Day



You can find out more about Cheryl Beer here

To celebrate World Labyrinth day, friends of mine were holding an event at their wonderful Farm, Gorslwyd, near Aberporth, on the West Wales coastline and kindly invited me along. 


They have 3 beautiful labyrinths on their land and also Jenni is a Qualified Sound Therapist, so she offered a wonderful Gong Bath .




I took off my shoes and socks to feel more connected to the earth and before entering, set an intention to trust inner self with regard to a new business venture that I have been working on since January, that although I totally believe in,  I constantly seek affirmation as it transforms, from my partner, when I know the affirmation I need is from within me.



'Labyrinth, I set an intention to learn self trust.'

I walked with my head up in the knowledge that every step took me further to the middle. No need to watch my feet, instead I saw the wonderful Llama who had come over by this point to see what on earth the humans were up to. 

I looked to the blue sky and the trees, listened to the seagulls flying above and the pigs snorting in the pen opposite  ... but then I noticed the rest of the group were reaching the middle before me.

Ali, who lovingly built the labyrinth for Jenni, was passing me in the opposite direction and she smiled. I simply couldn't stop myself,

'Am I going the right way?' I asked. She nodded.

And then I smiled too because even in a labyrinth my self doubt runs so deeply that I had to ask the person who made it, if I was going the right way.

I couldn't possibly have been going the wrong way. It made me chuckle at myself and I smiled at the Universe for teaching me this lesson and showing me very clearly that once committed to my goals, all I need to do is trust each footstep that I choose.

When we had all arrived at the labyrinth centre, Jenni connected us to the ancients.

I could hear the Universal Mantra, calling all spiritual teachers and leaders to bring peace to the world, singing in my head. When we opened our eyes, we all held hands and I asked if I might chant the mantra for the group. They welcomed this addition so, I closed my eyes and sang the Universal Guru Mantra.

This was a big thing for me. Since my hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis I have avoided chanting or singing outside of my own practice because I can only manage to sing very quietly before my voice distorts in my head. 

The wind carried my voice and I sang as if I were chanting just for the sunshine beaming into my face. It felt so beautiful inside, I could have cried. How I have missed chanting for and with others.

I kept my eyes closed and waited until I could feel everyone had made their way back. Then, I set another intention ...

'When I open my eyes the first thing I see will be a message.'

I opened my eyes and there right in front of me, a robin. Given that it was a beautiful sunny May afternoon, we don't usually associate robins with this time of year, so I was surprised. I watched him sit in the tree and then fly off.



The spiritual significance of being visited by a robin, according to www.spirit-animals.com is the stimulation of new growth and renewal in many areas of life, that changes are made with joy and laughter, with a song in the heart. Being shown how to ride with winds of passion within the heart and become independent and self reliant through this change. The energy of Robin teaches how to move forward with grace, tenacity, perseverance and assertion.

Well, could that really be any more relevant in answer to my intention for self trust, set before entering the labyrinth?



As I left the first labyrinth to go to the second two in the other field, Jenni took me to one side and asked if I would lead a kirtan. 

Now, before my hearing loss, I would have had no hesitation, but I declined, saying that I couldn't because I would need people to sing quietly and that's not fair for me to ask of them. I felt that I might compromise their kirtan experience through my own needs, which seemed selfish.


We went over to the other labyrinths. I started at the heart labyrinth and with bare feet walked on the pebble shingle mindfully and then moved onto the grass labyrinth which just made my heart sing in every part. 




There was something mesmerising about the natural synergy between ancient, sacred geometry and the earth. 


As I walked these words circulated in my soul,

I am daisy
I am buttercup
I am blade of grass

I am labyrinth
I am Earth
I am the Universe 

By this time, I was floating. We sat on the bench before going in for handmade banana cake that Jenni had lovingly made for us and herbal tea. 

Ali said how she would have liked to learn the Universal Guru Mantra and I thought that actually, it was selfish of me NOT to share it just because of my needs and to trust ...  so I took a big breath and told the group what had been happening for me and if they didn't mind us chanting quietly, I would love to teach them the mantra. They didn't mind one bit. In fact the quietness made it feel more sacred.

I sang each line and they repeated quietly. Afterwards, I chanted a prayer to Ganesha which is a mantra to clear blockages and obstacles.

The group were so lovely, saying wonderful things about the mantra and my voice. I never thought I would be able to touch people in this way again ... and this time I was moved to tears and explained to them that this was the first time that I had held space in this way since losing my hearing, and how my heart was so happy to have done it.

We all hugged and I had to leave before the Sound Bath that Jenni was kindly sharing. She showed me her gong room. 



Oh my days. The energy literally came rushing to the door to greet me. I have never quite felt anything like it. 


I wished I could stay, but the gongs for sure, would be too much for my hyperacusis so instead of leaving, I went and sat in one of the summer houses and imagined I was in the room with everyone. By being on the land, I felt that I was still connected to the group energy.


And now, reflecting on the afternoon, little wonder such deep and magical things would manifest when one trusts ones intentions to the labyrinth.

Here's a link to Jenni and Ali's Farm: -
www.gorslwyd.co.uk  be sure to connect with them if you would like to visit and walk their labyrinths throughout the year.