Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Fusion Inspire: How did I get here? Part 3

Pen Beili Cottage

During the same week that Mandy had Grethe's 90th at her place, I had been asked by a beautiful friend who is a Creative Artist, Sam Collins, if I would like to go on a 'Social Enterprise Weekend Training Course' being run by Nia Yorkshire, based at a mutual friend's house, Pen Beili in Nelson, Caerphilly, the wonderfully warm and inviting home of Fiona and Patrick Winter, who open their doors to host guests and run weekends such as these.

'No, I don't think it's for me Sam,' I said.

Amanda & David: Nia Yorkshire

Then Fiona herself emailed me the course details, did I want to come, Amanda and David were great friends of hers' and had won awards for running their own Social Enterprise and would I like to come to their training weekend at her place to find out how to start a Social Enterprise?

'No, I don't think it's for me Fiona,' I said.

Now, before I continue the story, there's something you should know about me in my life. If I am called 3 times to do something, I stop fighting it and go with it instead, understanding there must be a greater reason than I am aware of, as to why I should listen to the calling.

So, why is this??

Many years ago, in my 20's, I had a lovely friend called Perdeep. I knew her through work. Like me, she had a disability, I'm not sure what caused hers', but she had been living in India and had contracted something that made her legs swell up very big, painfully so. She took steroid medication and that seemed to keep it under control. But she wasn't happy, and tried all sorts to 'cure' her condition.

Eventually, she went to a new church with a friend to see a healer, who laid his hands on her and told her she no longer needed to take her medication as God would now look after her. She was very excited indeed.

'Do you think that's a good idea?' I asked her, but I was another sceptic and she put my question down to my lack of faith. 'But who is this Healer?' I asked 'How do you know he is who he says he is?'

'Honestly Sher, you have trust issues!' She laughed. 'Mmmm yes, maybe I do,' I thought.

It was amazing how quickly her legs shrunk, she was so happy; smiling, laughing going out to places she would never have gone before ... I was so pleased for her, that she had this new lease of life, it warmed my heart right through.

But after a few months, it seemed that the fluid from her legs was slowly seeping into her organs. Her legs were shrinking while her inner organs bore the strain of the fluid, and while she danced and laughed and did all the things she had longed for, one by one her organs became tired and heavy.

I visited her regularly in hospital, the last time I saw her she was on dialysis.

'Are you taking the meds and everything now Perd?'
'Yes ' she said in a whisper for it was all she could manage, 'Let me tell you why ... '

And in her breathlessness she told me this story that someone had shared with her and that had made her change her mind and receive medical help ... I will re-count it the best I can here from my memory ...

A man was ship wrecked at sea and drowning ... a Ship passed and threw him a ladder.

'Come aboard, we can save you!'
'No, it's OK I'm fine,' he replied, ' My Lord will save me.'

Then a helicopter passed and threw him a ladder.
'Come aboard, we can save you!'
'No, it's OK I'm fine,' he replied, ' My Lord will save me.'

Then a raft passed ...
'Come aboard, we can save you!'
'No, it's OK I'm fine,' he replied, ' My Lord will save me.'

The man struggled in the water and drowned.

When he got to Heaven he said to the Lord, 'How come you didn't save me?' And the Lord replied to him,
'I sent you a Ship, a Helicopter and a Raft but you chose to ignore them.'

2 days later, Perdeep died at just 23 years old. I went to her funeral to say goodbye. The story she shared with me has stayed with me for all my life, so that when I am asked a 3rd time to do something, I think ... best listen to this!

That is why, whilst sat in a Communities First funding meeting in Trevethin, when the Manager asked the team, 'Does anyone know anything about Social Enterprise? It's going to be the way the funding is moving now and we must get up to speed with it ...' I said, 'Well, funnily enough, I have an opportunity to go to A Social Enterprise Training Weekend with Nia Yorkshire ... '

I didn't mind giving up my weekend if it meant that I would be able to help the community to access continued funding for wonderful arts and music projects ... but little did I know that the weekend would be part of very personal journey back to my creative soul ....

The course was focussed around Fiona's big Kitchen Dining table and everyone on the course was a very special kind of person! How on earth had I landed at a table such as this! A creative hotpot of open and generous minds. The whole time I was there, sat around that table, I could hear my inner self almost screaming at me!


Everytime we were set a piece of work to do, writing lists or ideas, out would pop a poem or a song instead.

We had to write /draw what it was that we wanted to achieve, but rather than a 'want' we stated it as 'I will .... '

When other people read their's back, I said. 'Well, off course, what I would REALLY like to do and what I CAN do are 2 different things.'

By discussing with the group, I realised that they are NOT 2 different things! That I CAN do the things I would REALLY like to do!

It's funny isn't it, when we say to ourselves, 'I won't do that.' we don't have a problem believing it, but if we say 'I will do that' we start to have doubts! I remembering thinking ... If only I could believe that it were possible to return to my creative soul ... and almost in slow motion, like a soldier on the battle field too frightened to stand up at the end of the war incase a stray bullet may still have his name on it, a thought slipped like a small wave ready to swell ...

'Maybe, just maybe ... I could!'

And once I had allowed myself to think this, I spent the rest of the weekend devising my plan, sharing my ideas with the table of creatives as they shared theirs'.

When I got home, I reflected on the happenings of the last 2 weekends, at Mandy's place at Fiona's gathering. I took a deep breath and did the first thing written on my list ...

I visited the Individual Grant section of
The Arts Council of Wales

Here's the link

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