Cheryl Beer

Cheryl Beer
Award Winning Creative Director making social change through the mediums of sound, story & mantra

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

When something isn't working

When something isn't working I tend to:-

Put up with it
Work out why and make changes
Work out why and move on

But this time I don't seem to be able to work out why ... it's just a feeling.

Today is Samhain, Summer's end, what a fitting time to light a candle, breathe, meditate and let my instinctive connection to Mother Earth, do the rest.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Count Your Blessings

When I was small, my lovely Nan would say to me 'Count your blessings' and I didn't really understand why until now.

When I wake up in the morning, usually I am exhausted. My tinnitus and hyperacusis keeps me awake most of the night. It takes about 2 hours to get off to sleep and then a random noise like the fridge or central heating might kick in and that triggers my hyperacusis to an extent that it wakes me.

When it's time to get up in the morning, some days it feels as though I have only just that minute gotten to sleep. I can feel my whole body is grumpy and this feeds  my mind as if it is being filled with negative energy. It's not a great start to the day.

So I have found a way to remedy this and it is quite simply by taking my Nan's advice and counting my blessings.

First I lay flat on my back and spread my body like a star fish in the bed. I count my blessings that I have such a lovely bed and that my body is able to stretch.

I give thanks for being warm and snuggled in. I look around my lovely bedroom and I give thanks that this beautiful cottage is my home.

Then I open the blind and look out at the tremendous view from our bedroom across the fields and hills. I give thanks for how lucky I am to wake up to this incredible gift from nature.

I pop my hearing aid in and straight away I can hear the birds singing. I sit on the side of the bed and give thanks for their tuneful welcome.

Then Maisy will come in, wagging her tail and I give her a cuddle, putting my face into her fur and I can't believe how lucky I am to have such a lovely furry friend in my life.

Jeff gets up before me and he will hear me counting my blessings upstairs and so brings me up a hot cup of tea and this is the biggest blessing of all. Not the tea, but that I have in my life a man that I have loved for 30 years ; my best friend, my soul mate through the good and the bad.

It's time to get up and dressed now ... what I find is that counting my blessings puts me in a lovely frame of mind that stays with me. I find myself counting blessings all day without even trying.

When it comes to bedtime, I take out my hearing aids and I lay in the darkness swamped by tinnitus, unable to sleep. This is the perfect time to count my blessings. To run through my day and wonder at how the most simple of things can give such deep joy.

I hope that this helps you; if you find yourself waking up, down in the dumps, maybe give it a try. 

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Many Trees: One Forest

I have at last, well nearly I think, finished my new book, Fallen Tree. Few editing tweaks and it's off to press.

I am left with such gratitude not only to the trees that feature in my new book, but to those who gave their lives, be it in a recycled and sustainable way, for the creation of its pages. 

To this end, I am in the process of making 13 lunar cycle, Tree Friendship Bracelets to wrap around their trunks as a symbol of gratitude.

Many Trees: One Forest is a tribute to the lessons that a tree can teach us, if we would but listen.

More than a Story at Parc Howard Museum

When Rachel Murphy of Artscare Gofal Celf invited me to Parc Howard Museum to run workshops for 60 primary school children, I wasn't sure if I should say yes. 

Now that I have lost my hearing I am learning new ways of managing and working with groups and I wondered if 60 were too many. 

When I first suffered hearing loss, I shied totally away from large groups. I suppose I was scared about the sound levels as my hyperacusis causes quite painful distortion in my head.

I have found that the best way to deal with it,  is to be completely honest from the get go. 

When I explain to  children that I am deaf and that I wear hearing aids, they are so understanding and they really enjoy learning sign language with me. I use signing to manage the sound levels. 

You know, during my 30 year career in schools, I have always found that children are inherently very kind and they never cease to touch my heart with their empathy.

Both of my workshops at Parc Howard were absolutely amazing because I couldn't have asked for a more perfect venue, more helpful staff or more wonderful children. 

I adapted my new story Fallen Tree by taking the main character from it, Child of the Trees and placing her in Industrial LLanelli in 1912, the year that Parc Howard was opened as a public Park.

I took this picture early morning when I arrived so it was a bit overcast, but you can see how absolutely magnificent it is.

I incorporated the wonderful collections into the storytelling at the museum as I felt it was important for the children to engage with their local heritage.

We made storytelling concertina cue cards, as well as talking sticks.

I was so touched because the Chinese language asst. said that she had really loved the story and it made her think about her own roots. It was quite something to see her notes about my story, written in Chinese.

My hearing aid did distort during the session ... but it made me realise that it's ok. I have been avoiding any situations where it might distort because it is not pleasant, but it's not the end of the world either. 

I just have to learn how to manage it and the best way to do that is to re-introduce myself back into the environments that give me joy in my heart, like this one. Because the joy in my heart outweighs any distortion that might happen. 

I figure it is time to either learn how to manage the sound levels of my distortion or completely lose touch with the things that I love to do, the latter not being an option!

When I got home, I had a real sense of getting my mojo back ... and for that I am very grateful indeed. Massive thank you to Rachel from Artscare who has kept in contact with me throughout this journey, touching base to see if I was ready to come back to work, even though I didn't think I ever would be. 

Heartfelt thanks to Rhian from Communities First for funding the week long Arts Event in partnership with Artscare.

BIG thanks to Morrigan who is the new Development Officer for Museums. She has been in post for a year and hats off, she is working really hard to bring creative innovation, exciting activities and equal access to our museums.

So, although it has felt at times like a tall staircase to climb, I can honestly say that this week was so much more than a Story. 

It was one almighty step forward in terms of healing. I hope this inspires you to think about your health needs and helps you to think about opening up to the possibility of change management, enabling yourself to re-birth into the same but different.

Please note that all parental permissions for photographs was obtained by Communities First.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

A Crystal Clear Calling

It's funny, but all the things that healed me when I was small, are the very things that are healing me now. I have always been a collector of nature's gifts. Indeed, my Mother would long for a child that kept toys under her bed instead of sticks and stones.

I remember one Christmas, asking Santa for a clever little machine that turned stones into crystals. It looked amazing on the black and white TV advert, but sadly, it didn't work.

As I grew older, so I began to collect crystals. I didn't know why I collected them nor what their qualities might be, I just knew I wanted them in my pocket and different ones seemed right for different occasions.

I have to smile because yesterday, I thought, gosh my handbag is heavy and when I emptied it, I found a handful of acorns, a moss covered twig, a ball of hand dyed silk merino wool and off course, a crystal.

I decided early on, that I would like to have crystals at my Quiet Space Studio, Llandysul. 

I talked to a woman in Carmarthen who has a Crystal Stall about her having space with me and then my dear friend Debbie Larwence, who is a trained Crystal Therapist, contacted me out of the blue to ask if I had thought of having crystals at Quiet Space.

We arranged for her to come over and the plan was that she would rent space and keep her crystals at the studio but as soon as she opened the case with them in, I was 4 years old again. 

My whole heart fell into the bag with the crystals and I knew from that breath, that the they needed to be mine.

I chose some big ones which I had planned to go around my Buddha in the garden but I just can't being myself to take them from Quiet Space. They belong there with Ganesha. 

They really are very special. In particular the Shiva Lingam is just magical. 

The rose quartz is oozing with love, the moon stone is a wonderful relief for my third eye chakra. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have them in my life.

I also bought the whole display rack of crystals do that other people can try crystals in their life. 

I am making lovely little bags of 7 chakra crystals based around individual energies.

I have also had an idea that I am most excited about, as soon as we have a good day, I am going to take the entire collection to the beach and make a labyrinth with them. Then bathe them to the mouth of the river as it meets the sea, before it goes off to new adventures.

I have taken my HUGE gong into Quiet Space and everyday I charge the crystals and meditate an intention of love and protection.

It was a clear calling from the crystals themselves, that led me to the idea of training to become a Crystal Therapist. Debbie has been a wonderful mentor and is advising me with regard to training.

So, folks, I am fully enrolled and in the process of becoming a qualified Crystal Therapist because it feels right.

This will be a HUGE undertaking for me. Since losing my hearing the only people I have stayed overnight with are my dear friends Fiona and Patrick Winter and my family. 

I have not travelled far nor stayed anywhere alone but it feels like this is the right reason to tentatively step independently, back into my world.


Lazarus Carpenter at Quiet Space Studio

It is so lovely to welcome storytellers, poets, authors and writers from all over the country to come and share their work at Quiet Space Studio. 

Every month I have a Resident Author in so much as they are resident on the Quiet Space Website and their work is promoted within the studio.

This month it has been a joy to promote the work of Lazarus Carpenter. Although he is best known for his award winning songwriting and festival events, he is in fact a prolific writer.

In my last blog about him he gave a deep insight into his first book the Ballad of Penygraig and in this interview, he tells us about his new trilogy, The Prophecy. 

It is sounds absolutely intriguing based on part legend, part history and a good part of Lazarus' never ending creative mind, he explores ... well ... I won't give too much away ... have a listen and hear it from the man himself ... 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Gwenhwyfar Garden: Compassionate Mental & Spiritual Well Being

For the last few months I have been working on a very exciting website indeed. Click the logo below to be transported to nothing short of a coastal oasis of  nurturing love.

Gwehwyfar Garden is an act of pure kindness so beautiful, that to be part of it in just a small way, is a great privilege.

My dear friends Jenni & Ali Chapter own Gorslwyd Farm and from this wonderful place, they have set up the West Wales Sound Healing Centre, housing one of the only set of interplanetary gongs in Wales.

It is proving to be more and more popular but they were concerned that the very people needing their support, might not be able to afford to come and so they made a radically kind move to open access for all. They have reserved their beautiful Cornflower Holiday Cottage as accommodation for those experiencing crisis with regard to mental and spiritual well being. 

Not only have they reduced the fees to less than half, to make sure anyone who needs to come, can, they have also introduced a number of bursaries every year and the opportunity for folk to exchange their labour and skills on the Farm, in exchange for their keep and therapy.

Each stay includes a daily hour of holistic therapy with Sound Therapist & Soul Mid-Wife, Jenni, your accommodation in the beautiful cottage, access to the labyrinths, the farm animals, secret garden and meditation spaces such as Anjeli Chapel, as well as your self serve breakfast and a hearty home cooked evening meal.

So if you feel that Gwenhwyfar Garden is just what you need, if you are experiencing crisis and think you have nowhere to turn, get in touch with Jenni and Ali. They are just at the end of the phone.

I am reminded of the great Sufi poet, Rumi who says that, 'Your acts of kindness are iridescent wings of divine love, which linger and continue to uplift, long after your sharing.'  - Rumi

Quiet Space Author in Residence Lazarus Carpenter

What an absolute gift to be joined at Quiet Space Studio with the wonderful Lazarus Carpenter who opens up and tells us about the spiritual and sometimes ghostly connections that conected him to the Ballad of Pen Y Graig that started as an Awared Winning Folk Song and led to a book and play script.

I'm not even quite sure when I first met Lazarus. I think perhaps he is one of those people you feel as though you have always known. For sure we have played on the same line up at the same festivals and I have always been in awe of his hard work and determination in promoting live music and newcomers.

So, I have known him as a songwriter, a teller of stories through folk song, not so much an author. That's why I invited him over to Quiet Space Studio as our Resident Author this month.

It is almost as if he was chosen to tell this story by destiny itself. As if the spirits of the Swansea valley had waited for him. Have a listen yourself here ... 

Come back next week to hear the next installment from Lazarus where he will telling us about his exciting new trilogy ...