Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I'VE MOVED!

THANKS FOR DROPPING BY!

PLEASE HEAD OVER TO DREAMING ALOUD'S NEW HOME


SEE YOU THERE!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Walk in the Blue

We headed out on an adventure yesterday, down to West Cork... bluebell woods are a spring family tradition...


I remember walking the bluebell woods with MY granny. Now my girls get to do the same.


This ancient woodland is right next to the sea with lots of little coves branching off it...





An ancient holy spring under a tree.




 The breath taking view from the top of the cliff which the walk emerges out onto.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Grandmothers, Paint and Books...

Lots of excitement here.

The new Dreaming Aloud website is moving ever closer, it's being created day by day... lots of lovely colour and fresh white space... I'm loving it and can't wait to show it off... only about 2 weeks to go till I get to share it with you!

Today we were doing a photo shoot for it... so I got to do some painting! Hurray!




Well done clever Mr Dreaming Aloud for the lovely pics. He is quite the right hand man - formatting, designing, photographing, editing... amongst his other rather wonderful skills he shares with me (wink, wink)!

So today I have been sorting through my grandmother Lucy Helen's papers, for a top secret project, and found so many wonderful letters of condolence on her death - she sounds such an incredible woman... I'll share more about her one day... suffice to say she was a paradigm-shifting creative rainbow mother, a fine cook, avid writer and thinker, and always had strong opinions on everything! But synchronistically I found a 5 page handwritten letter from Elizabeth David, the British cookery writer in amongst her letter, I did a little happy dance, as Ms David is one of my all time fav writers - and I am going to hear Jill Norman talk about her this weekend at the Ballymaloe Lit Fest.

Tomorrow I'm taking part in a full day food writing workshop at the LitFest - can't wait!!

PS: Just a reminder to local folk: my paintings are in a group exhibtion for the Mid May Arts Festival this weekend in the Courtyard Gallery, Midleton, and I will be doing a reading from the Rainbow Way and a signing at Midleton Books, 11.45 on Saturday.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Getting Sidetracked... Overcoming the Distraction Saboteur to Creativity

Getting sidetracked is my number one epic fail... as my dear son would put it.

I caught myself doing it last night. I was attempting to cook dinner. I then realised I had enough pastry to make a second quiche. And then put on sausages as well. I was helping our boy with his homework. Girl on the sofa demanded her tights fixed, and whilst I was looking for a needle in the sewing bag, decided she'd prefer to do weaving. Which I had to set up for her. Whilst our littlest suddenly decided that she needed to needle felt and have a drink of squash. At the same time.

I smelt the sausages singeing.

At THIS point I realised that I needed to say no. To everything bar making dinner. Rather than trying to keep everyone happy and help everyone.

I can only do what one can do... but what one can do, I will do it.

These words are my mantra.

But so often I get pulled off focus, my energy pulled off centre by the demands of others. And being a helpful sort of soul who seems to see their existence on this planet defined by helping as many people as possible, this happens quite a lot.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy May Day

Happy May Day! 




A day to celebrate fertility, and the Earth coming into bloom once more.

To celebrate there's 20% off all my books - paperback and e-books - today only from The Happy Womb - all books come signed and with a bookmark! 

Use code mayday20 at the shopping cart


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

On Commitment... And Being a Polygamist.

Marriage is the stupidest, craziest, most sensible, soul opening, frustrating, enlightening, heart opening thing I've ever done.

Hands down.

I doubt it. I doubt myself. Many times.

But because I've made a commitment I have to show up every day. Whether all is plain sailing. Or rather shitty.

And as a child of divorce commitment is the thing in the world that most scares me. Because I know there are no guarantees. No happily ever after.

Sometimes I think I should be committed... in the other sort of way.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Donut Man

My mother emailed me last weekend to tell me the donut man had died.

He was only 53. Just dropped dead.

I only met him a handful of times. All in the short exchange of buying fresh hot donuts. A profession which would naturally endear anyone to me. And I still feel sad that I will never see him again.

Last time I was over in the UK, one of our first stops was the donut man. To introduce my children and tell him how often I reminiced about his donuts with them.

He was a kind man. A caring man. Someone who appeared to do what he loved, with what he had, where he was.

He made great donuts. The best I'd ever eaten. And served them with love. I always felt great having interacted with him. He cared about his customers, what he made... and did it for at least 15 years. He was a part of the high street.

It's rare in this world to come across people who love what they do. Who do it whole heartedly.

We have a man who runs the petrol pumps near us. In his 70s I'd guess. I go away from our interactions with a full tank of petrol. And a full heart. He calls me lovey, and always has a smile and a kind word.

Doing what you do wholeheartedly. Whatever your chosen work.

It fills me up.

I remember you fondly, donut man... your kindness, and your delicious donuts will be missed by many, many more than me, I know. Bless you.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Swimming with Sharks

She sat in the boat. Soaking wet. Hair tousseled. Trying to talk to camera. Her voice starts to shake. Tears welling up.

I realise now I don't need to be scared of the sharks.

They're just getting on with their lives, doing what sharks do. I was always terrified that'd they'd hurt me, eat me. But when I got in the water they were curious. But they had no interest in hurting me.

All my life I've been so close to sharks but never dared to get in with them. I was scared for my life.

But I just did. And it was Ok.

It was exhilarating.

It was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life. But it was so worth it.

And I know that I don't need to be scared of them any more.

This is all true. Something my kids were just watching on TV.

But it's a mighty fine parable for us about fears. Creative fears. Fears of speaking out. Of swimming with sharks...

Prepare... and dive in. Your fears will not consume you.

As I have found again and again...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gatekeepers at the Creative Portal

Have you ever seen a sheelanagig?


These carved female figurines stood as guardians, carved over the thresholds of medieval church doorways in Celtic lands. Hand on their vulvas, holding them open, drawing our focus to the opening... 

They are the strangest discrepancy in a world that is hell bent on covering our womanhood.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Creativity is a cunt

"Whenever a taboo is broken, something good happens, something vitalizing."
~ Henry Miller


I did warn you we were going to be talking sex... and this isn't even the post I had planned...

Cunt... it's been a bad word for too long.

So when I say creativity is a cunt... you may hear "creativity is a bastard, it's hard and mean and out to make your life a misery"...

And that's the way our culture sees it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

OK, sex it is so

Listen there's something I've been holding back...

For a long time now...

And for good reason.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Feminist, pagan, self-help, New Age, hippy...

These are some of the words that come up as people try to define my books...

And I always feel a little weird about them... cos none of them really fit.

Sure part of this is the creative ego yearning to be considered unique... but there is more...

When you write a book... or go about your life... you don't tend to spend too much time trying to fit yourself into categories... specially when you're not into dogma or clubs or labels by nature.

You just do your thing... and it all makes perfect sense. Because you're just being you... in fact you kind of presume that the rest of the world deep down thinks the same way... they've just developed a few strange surface layers which need peeling off before they get down to it.

Then the time comes when you have to try to use pre-existing labels in order to categorise yourself ... and your work... you know, when you do that thing called publishing a book.... or redesigning a website....if you don't no one will ever find you...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Clearing

Every so often I feel the clutter in our house build up to screaming point... or suffocation.

When I have been preoccupied with big creative projects, I don't have the energy or headspace to do anything other than get meals in front of people, keep the mountain of dishes from toppling and burying us alive, and making sure that homework gets done most nights.

But the clutter builds and grows.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Life-changing, paradigm-shifting books by women, for women.

The industry says there’s no money in publishing. They talk about the death of books.

A visit to the London Book Fair tells a very different story.

There is PLENTY of money there. With a couple of thousand stands. Each manned by 2-20 publishers, editors and agents. Suited and booted to the nines. Talking with calculators in hand. Hunched over desks making hushed deals. There is plenty of money changing hands… what they mean is there isn’t much money for authors. All the money is being spent on staff. And offices. And glossy brochures. And dinners. And printing pretty books. And erecting huge stands. And lots of over fed middle aged white men and ladies with very expensive hair. That is where the money is. Not in the pockets of those who created the work. Who were having to grovel to get a place at a table to talk to a powerful editor.

As an author I can’t tell you how wrong this felt. Intentionally intimidating and phony. Corporate yuck.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cherry Blossom Picnic

This weekend saw our annual much-anticipated family celebration of spring, adopted from our soul- heartland Kyoto, Japan: o-hanami, the cherry blossom picnic. We have really made it our own at this stage - we are now on our third one.


Monday, April 7, 2014

The Myth of Happy Families - Why it Just Can't Work... and How You're Doing Just Fine

How's your day?

Chances are you're tired. Or beating yourself up at getting cross with a child. Or have just had to break up a fight. Or are hiding on the internet just to get five minutes peace.

Or perhaps you are feeling very chuffed because for the last half an hour everything has gone perfectly. You are, for the moment anyway, living the dream. You ARE the perfect parent.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Creative Integration... what happens when you decide to stop hiding and claim your whole self.

Thanks for all the feedback on Facebook and by email about my mega freak out yesterday.

I walked in the door and announced to Mr DA that I'd just had a freak out.

"I know" he says " I read it on Facebook."

Ah, yes, Facebook is public! But always good to know one's husband follows one's ramblings.

"But I'm freaking out"

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A New Name?

As you can see I have just put up the new blog header to try it on... but something is stirring in me ... the powerful need to combine the content and approach of The Happy Womb with Dreaming Aloud... rather than having my split personality over two blogs  - so the focus will be on nurturing, supporting and empowering women's self expression and embodied creativity... This is where my uniqueness as a writer and teacher lie. And it's where the power is in my voice... and the insight I have to share.

The initial purpose of the redesign was to cut down to one blog... but that was going to be by dropping The Happy Womb and becoming a more mainstream creativity blog. But actually the women's work COMBINED with creativity is absolutely where my soul is.

Dreaming is not where it's at right now in my life I feel...

So I'm feeling that it might need an ENTIRELY NEW NAME... as originally Dreaming Aloud came from my time at Juno magazine, which is now in the past ( my time there, that is, the magazine is going from strength to strength). And I'm not sure it really expresses my new vision. (obviously I am VERY hesitant about rebranding... as you can imagine, having built up Dreaming Aloud over four years....

This is a very last minute turn around having spent weeks creating design and copy for the new Dreaming Aloud... and I have a designer starting work NOW!!!!

But I feel it's better to turn it around now, when I'm at these early stages than after having launched the new site.

Tell me does what I've told you resonate with Dreaming Aloud as you understand and know it, or do you think a new name is in order?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Let's Make a Date!

Well dreamers, it looks like a busy couple of months ahead... lots of chances for us to meet... and dream aloud together. You could get one of my books signed... Talk about a publishing project... blogging... woman craft... writing...

I've always found it so exciting meeting blog readers, and book readers in real life... and this next few weeks offers lots more opportunities for making real life connections...

Here's my action packed schedule!

April 1st, East Cork Red Tent - Ballymaloe
April 8th-9th, London Book Fair, Earl's Court
May 4th, Home Birth Conference, Dublin
May 7th, East Cork Red Tent, Ballymaloe
May 10th, Get Blogging with Lucy Pearce, Ballymaloe Cookery School
May 17th-18th, Ballymaloe LitFest (not speaking there this year, just schmoozing!)
May 16th-18th - Midleton Arts Festival - art in exhibition and book reading.
And just added...
July 11th-13th Dream Gathering... soaking it all up

Where will we meet?


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Books for Mothers

“Motherhood can be one of the most intense experiences of a woman's life. While there are many books that offer the “dos and don'ts” of effective parenting, few offer guidance on navigating the tumultuous inner experience of being a mother, with all its joy, pain, change and uncertainty.”

Eden Steinberg, from Finding Your Inner Mama 

Like buses three wonderful books of motherhood have come along at once into my life...which I really want to share with you. So, being me I've gone the whole hog and am sharing ALL my favourite books on mothering to celebrate Mother's Day here in the UK and Ireland this Sunday.

Now I need to be clear here: I am NOT talking about parenting books, (usually written by smug nannies or doctors with willies... which tell you how to do it all -if you're perfect, have no feelings, aren't exhausted, are perfectly patient and have an angel child), and let's all feel guilty cos we're not doing perfectly enough - gah! How I hate those books...

No, I am talking about books of soul, written by mamas, for mamas. Books to nurture, support, inspire, to reflect back the myriad emotions of motherhood through the lens of words and images... and what I love most is that they are published BY women, FOR women - long live indie publishing, it's putting the soul back into books and giving authentic voice to women!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dreaming Aloud... Together. Your ideas needed...

Hello lovelies

You know why I've been quiet?

Cos I've been scheming, and planning... and worrying and dreaming and doodling and journalling and fiddling.

Alone.

Trying to dream aloud the new Dreaming Aloud by myself.

Who it's for, what it's about, how it works, how it will look...

When will I learn?

I'm trying to second guess what YOU will love, what YOU will want. So I can reveal it all fresh and new with a big TA-DA! in about 6 weeks.

Durgh!

If it's about YOU, then I need YOU onboard.

I know, I'm a little slow...

Note to self Lucy - YOU ARE NOT IN IT ALONE. You have support out there. A massive, wonderful, dynamic crew of creative geniuses... 

Do you remember when we dreamed aloud the title of The Rainbow Way? That was pure magic. So let's do it again. There'll be a thank you pack of my greetings cards going out to the winning idea, or the one that most helps me to get there.

So first of all I want to do a big reveal of the header, which is almost, almost there. It has been evolving a while now and hit completion at the weekend... my newly created font, my art behind it, my logo of the Dreaming Aloud stone spiral - in rainbow colours - and his computer magic...



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Feeling Guilty Cos You're Not Doing Enough?

People ask me all the time - "what's next, Lucy?"

Knowing, me being me I'll have something up my sleeve.

"Have you started another book?"

Ummm, yes. I have 8, yes eight you read that right, currently downloading into my brain. Each with a separate folder on my computer, and random sheets of paper floating around my bedroom... and backpack... and journal pages, and quotes highlighted and book pages folded over (yes, me too, I HATE it when people do that, books are precious... but needs must, otherwise I'll never find them again! My kids always run off with my little stickies).

So eight books. Three e courses... or potentially four.

A website redesign.

And a number of top secret, mega exciting, dream come true projects which I will reveal all in due time.

This is not to mention finishing up my JUNO work (ah, breathing space!), doing the post-pub proof for The Rainbow Way, various book promotions, two blogs and my consulting work...

And three kids. One of whom rode a bike by herself yesterday. The other two are turning into bloggers in their own right!

And you know what... I'm feeling guilty cos I'm not doing enough.

Yes, you read that right too.

I'm feeling guilty cos I'm not doing enough.

Or at least that I'm not focusing on one thing. Perhaps that I haven't finished a book by breakfast time yesterday. I do some of one project, and give myself a hard time cos I should be working on something else. What a prize nutter.

And breathe.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Essential Parenting Collection - FLASH SALE TODAY!




Just a quick post to share that there is a flash sale on the Essential Parenting Collection today. You may have spotted it on my side bar for a couple of weeks - and if you've been tempted then this is a great time to buy, as there's 10% off today.

This fabulous bundle offers a very wide array of eProducts, including eBooks, audiobooks, eCourses, workbooks, audio, coloring pages.... including Juno magazine and my book for girls - Reaching for the Moon.

There are dozens of valuable gentle parenting resources valued at over $750! Do head over to the site and see for yourself just how much is on offer.

Topics include natural health in pregnancy and birth, attachment parenting and positive discipline techniques. Great for parents with kids of all ages!

If money is an issue, or you're just wanting to focus on the area of parenting you're at right now, it has also been divided into 5 age specific mini bundles which are available for $18 each today.
  • Pregnancy and Birth
  • The Early Years
  • Child Development
  • Resources for Parents
  • Mindful Guidance

The  10% discount is for purchases TODAY ONLY - which means that the full collection is just $44.97 (offer is also valid for the mini bundles). Use code MONDAY10


Friday, March 7, 2014

Life in Technicolour

I remember many years ago I went to a counsellor.

I was sixteen and struggling with anxiety and the beginnings of bi polar.

She said to me something that I will never forget. For all the wrong reasons.

"Life is not black and white, Lucy," she said - "there are so many shades of grey in between."

Yes, I thought... and I am NOT a grey person, nor ever aspire to be one. In her mind grey was good - grey was reliable, normal, stable... to me grey was dull, boring, normal, lacking in life or authenticity.

No grey for me. I'd leave the rest of the world with their suits and office hours and grey lives.

I understood her point - but what she was pointing out was my bi polar perspective on life, as though I could, and more importantly, SHOULD rationalise it away.

But grey does not equal happy. Or fully alive. Or creative.

Life is not grey - she is every hue - she is all and nothing.

Every once in a while I would wrestle with her words again. Understanding her intention. Physically and emotionally disagreeing with grey.

Yesterday I was talking to some really special designer women from Dream Inspired Design. We were dreaming aloud together new visual stuff for Dreaming Aloud...

I was explaining my vision really clearly to them, and the layers of soul meaning behind it. When sharing how the new site (shhh! it's a secret, right ;)) would look (I am SO excited about it!!!!) I explained - I want lots of white space - clarity, a holding space to breathe, reflect and be held... and I want vibrancy - in the design and content. My current site has been bootstrapped. I have taken it as far as I can alone. So now I need the support and creativity of others to help me to more clearly express my vision. Clarity... and vibrancy. Space and technicolour, life and creativity.


They really got it - "you can't have one without the other," one said, "you need balance, to have the two in harmony. It sounds like you're wanting to have the site reflect where you are now."

Yes. This is what I am really embodying in my life. For years I thought I needed to control, apologise, calm down my technicolour - it was too weird and threatening for others - but trying to be grey that shut me down. So then I went for full on colour. Overcrowded, overwhelmed, too full. Which is unsustainable - so I'd crash and have my body impose the blank bits through illness and depression....

My new living mode... and blog design is full technicolour... held in calm space. And this is how I am living now - not damping down the colour - but allowing space for  it... and me to emerge... and to recharge. Yoga or meditation in the morning (previously things I have DONE many times, cos I SHOULD.) Breathing. Praying. Reflecting. Dreaming. Red tenting. Moving. Factoring in holidays, self care and connection as PART of my work, not instead of.

Technicolour and white spaces.

She is right, life is not black and white. And never will it be grey for me.

This is living in full colour.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Revolutionary Thoughts: Doing it Together

I am a lone wolf by nature. Who loves community.

In truth I find trust hard. And know I can rely on myself to get shit done. I prefer to motor on ahead than spend hours in meetings where no decisions are reached, or pandering to egos that want the power but not the work that comes with it.

For my 20s independence and self sufficiency was my intention in every area of my life. I wanted to live a self-sufficient life - growing and making all our own food, clothes, education... everything... but in a perfect intentional community. A strange combination.

I get a lot done, and done my way. But somewhere along the line realised my energy was not as infinite as my vision. I got burnt out a lot. And felt isolated.

Last night I was going through in my head the various work I've done. The things I started or helped make happen - arts festivals, play group, a school, a women's group, a magazine, a chocolate business, classes of all kinds...

Last night though I led, and did a lot of behind the scenes leg work for, our new red tent, it wasn't just me - we are all in it together - co creating... Just like I realised like a bolt between the eyes, as I wa freaking out about metaphorical tables and chairs with this big secret growth that's going on here in Dreaming Aloud world...  it's not just me... I am supported. There are lots of us, invested in it together. Collaboration. Shared responsibility. Shared visioning.. shared work.

And again this morning, whilst I have put in a lot of time and energy in to the continued unfurling of our red tent... I feel the co-creative energy there -  it's as though its unfolding by magic, as each woman weaves in her ideas and quilts and needs....

I cannot tell you how beautiful the space looked last night. The floor covered in red cloths and handmade quilts, soft pillows every where, a beautifully co created centre piece and twinkling nightlights. We each did our bit to create this magic, and set up and clear up were easy, stress free... a collaborative loving joy.

And I recognise that was there before... collaboration... but I didn't trust it to take my weight... for people to do what they said... part me, part them... but it usually ended in tears and burn out...

But now I'm really seeing and feeling, online and offline the beauty of collaboration in all areas of my work... now I have a wide circle of dreamers, conspirators and collaborators who are on the same page. We are standing in our authentic power. We value honest, clear communication. And it is pure magic. Weaving different people's energies together to co-create things much bigger than any of us can do alone. We hold each other, and each others visions, with clear agreements as to what we can do or give. And we are all blessed by the creations that unfold.

Here's to doing it together!

Tell me how are you with collaboration? Does it come naturally? Are you inclined to go it alone? Do you burn out? Have you got a strong circle of collaborators or are you still looking? 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Red Tent Rising - A Resource-Full Post

I am just getting the supplies ready for our very first red tent gathering... a box of womancraft books for the red tent library, a piece of embroidery for the centre piece, a welcome sign, some futons for resting and reading.... It will be the first I know of in the south of Ireland... I am very excited.

Held on the dark moon, a red tent is a women's circle which is open to all women in the community and offers a place to rest during menstruation, to connect with other women, share wisdom and be held in every stage of our female unfolding.

(Want to know more about what a red tent is? Watch my short video which I made for the red tent summit or grab a copy of my free red tent booklet - Password= love.)


I planted the seed of this red tent when I wrote Moon Time I had never been to a red tent, and there was little information out there about them. I was hungry for knowledge... so I reached out to some of the movement's leaders, gathered all the information I could lay my hands on, and shared it in the book. That's how I roll! Mine was the first print book to explore the phenomenon and support women in setting up their own. I have been told that it has inspired and supported the creation of red tents in the UK, Canada and Australia as well as an online one which I am a member of.

And now we will have our own real one, in our community.

My stomach is churning and I am being a little short with my family as my brain goes into tables and chairs mode. But the excitement is overriding it... the fact that this long held dream is being born, that so many women are curious about it, that this work, and a dedicated women's space is opening up for our community... I just think of the growth, love, support, magic, empowerment, connection and healing that will emerge from the very existence of this space and shivers run down my spine...

More women sitting in circle together than ever have before in our community. Learning to speak their truth openly and be heard. From learning to listen with an open heart and without judgement. In having a place to come and be held, to rest and recharge. A place where new ideas can take seed, new books found, new friendships formed. Where women can learn to understand and trust and even celebrate their bodies.

How it came about...

I set myself a challenge out loud - which meant I couldn't go back on it, by promising the proceeds of the e-versions of Moon Time would go towards establishing a local red tent! And since then I have researched and reflected and waited. I knew I couldn't do it on my own, I was waiting for conspirators... and when I met them I knew right away... I did not say anything to them at all about it -  I was in the midst of launching The Rainbow Way and I had only just met them... I just held the vision consistently affirming it, and gently released the women's group I had run for 5 1/2 years which had run its course. Numbers were dwindling and we couldn't find any more new participants...

And then two months later, the time was right for us all.  One of the women asked on Facebook if anyone knew of a women's group or red tent in the area... and the flame was lit. Within an hour we had a FB group. And the other woman jumped right in as an admin, unbidden. Within a week we had a date and venue. In a month we have gotten over 100 women to our group, organically. We only invited 35 between us... the rest were just drawn to us. 


We have had minor bumps in the road naturally, including our first venue cancelling only days before. But we have a new, better space now.

And our first meeting tonight and are expecting about 25 women.... many of whom I know personally, some I have only met online, one I taught blogging to, and others are completely new to me. For some it will be their first time doing women's work with me... others have done much before having been part of our long running women's group ... there is an excitement tinged with deep nervousness, as no one knows quite what to expect. What is a red tent any way, they wonder... will it be for me? Will I be expected to sit around talking about their periods, will I know anyone else?

I try to allay the nervousness with information - links to the red tent summit which I have just spoken at, my booklet on starting a red tent, with reassurance and love...  but this is new, uncharted territory... of course there is apprehension.

Some are travelling nearly an hour to join us... others are following by Facebook - we hope to inspire them to start their own in their own community.


Are you ready for a red tent in YOUR neighbourhood? Wouldn't it be wonderful to have one in your city, town, village, or community?
Imagine not having to wait any longer...
Imagine knowing exactly how to create a Red Tent, monthly, where you, and your women friends, can simply BE, rather than DO...

DeAnna L’am who created the Red Tent Summit has created an Online Class designed to inspire, motivate, support and equip you, to start your own Red Tent.

The Global Tele-Tent Class starts on March 12, but you can register today.

I believe that the vision of a red tent in every neighbourhood - is possible in our life time!
And I want to help you make it a reality in YOUR neighbourhood!
Please join me, and women from all over the world, to make it so!

If you are looking for more resources I would recommend:


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lost in Living - Film on Creative Mothers... free to view this Women's Day

Creativity is so much more than just a “job”. It is a calling, an urge, a fight for freedom, a path to sanity. And it can be a very lonely, dispiriting business as a mother when you are driven by this compulsion, and those around you don’t understand it. Or think you should be doing something that pays better. Or is more reliable. Or that you should just give yourself fully to your children.

This is the life of the artist-mother. Pulled in two directions by two equal passions. Floundering to form her own identity.

This is what my best-selling book, The Rainbow Way: cultivating creativity in the midst of motherhood  focuses on – every aspect of this conundrum, and how to solve it in your own life.

In the book I reference a very special film, which also focuses on this topic.

lost-in-living-movie-poster

Lost in Living is a documentary film by Mary Trunk, filmed over 8 years, which follows the lives of four creative mothers: an author, visual artist, painter and film maker, as they navigate and reflect on the challenges of making art as they mother. It is a very powerful film.

If you haven't had a chance to watch it yet... now's your opportunity... and for FREE!
Lost In Living will be available to stream for free on-line for 24 hours on March 8, 2014 to coincide with International Women's Day at this link
https://vimeo.com/67761940 (active for 24 hours from 8:00 am PST time.)

So watch it yourself... get a group of friends, your women's group or red tent and watch it together... Let it reassure you... start conversations... inspire you...

As film maker Mary Trunk says: "Women's stories need to be accessible and this will be a unique and exciting moment for everyone to take part in the conversation about balancing family, work and creative passion."

lost in living

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Great Clearing

I walk the beach, the sky is blue, the air clear and still, fresh frozen February chill, the mist lying in the hollows of the valley, the skylarks singing as they begin their mating season: picturesque...


But here too are signs, everywhere, of what has been.

The rock pools are pulverised, shattered by the sheer force of the sea. The birdsong mingles with the sound of a roof, which was torn off like a candy bar wrapper, being replaced. The shoreline has been redrawn by the wind and the waves, since last time I was here, and now stands 10, 20 feet in places, further back than a week before. Skeletons of poles stick up, rooted in concrete, standing lonely on the new bare sand. In weeks gone by they held life buoys, to rescue life from the waves… now stolen away by the sea. 

What will emerge here in this newly uncovered sand, stripped bare? Which wild plants will take root, stones find their resting place, picnics be had?  I am minded that even after devastation, life always finds its way back. New, different, but life all the same. 


The bog is bare and low. In summer you can barely see across it for the waving reeds but now it looks like a hummocky field. The inlet wide and deep now, more like the mouth of a river, weaving its way through the bog with grace. The tea house peeps out from the trees. And the massive arboreal stand that my father in the great optimism of a ten year old, planted, that now shelter and cradle his home and family.

And I think of the winds that swept through here last week. The worst in a generation… or maybe more. An ominous sign of things to come, perhaps, as our environment kicks back. We were all shaken by the winds. They swept through our souls, as well as over our houses. The eye of the hurricane rested here. Trees thrown over like pick up sticks, trampolines like tissues. We saw how poorly rooted these things were. How the wind if she wishes can make us her puppets, rags dolls to be thrown through the air at will.

These winds cleared out the dead wood. The rains washed out that which was not deeply rooted. They forced resilience. Forced us to look again at where we live and how… and how we need to maintain and live within, not simply build over, nature’s systems. Shorelines and floodplains, river valleys and mountain tops may be beautiful, but they have purposes beyond our need for beauty, they are functional parts of a dynamic whole. We cannot live wherever we want without consequence.

These two months of storms are the weather equivalent of the financial storms which started back in 2008, which we are still only recovering from. They are a clearing out of all our systems. Leaving us feel exposed, vulnerable, being forced to reconsider, rebuild, rethink the way we live.

We long to return to life as normal, the way things were. But these shocks and storms will keep coming, intensifying the need to rethink everything, and pull together, to find a new way forward, on this newly exposed ground. There are no life buoys, all we have is faith in the great unknowable mystery, our earth, ourselves, and each other. That is more than enough for magic to occur.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tables and Chairs: Creative Downloading and the Anxious Brain

You may not know that I catered for my own wedding.
I also led the ceremony.
And wrote it.
And made the wedding invites... with my dear hubby.
And designed my own dress.
People say their weddings are the best day of their lives.
Mine was truly the scariest.

For months before hand, including 6 days of a 10 day silent meditation retreat my mantra was "tables and chairs... tables and chairs..." Where to source them, how to fit them into the room, who should be sitting next to who... That and menu planning - how to make a feast for almost 100 on a tight budget.

Because you see we paid for the wedding too!

Tables and chairs is my brain's way of dealing with the larger panic of "holy fuck I'm getting married and is this a good idea and what if it's not and what if we get divorced...." and all of that lightweight stuff.

So I am starting to see a little pattern emerging. Event planning. Shoestring budget. Control freak nature. Wanting to make everyone happy. Wanting to do it uniquely. Anxious highly sensitive tendencies. High stakes... My brain is currently in tables and chairs mode.

If I focus on the logistics of the tables and chairs. If I make enough lists, I can control my feeling of being totally out of control. Of facing the unknowable. That's what I tell myself. I'm not sure how true it is... but it certainly makes use of some of my adrenaline and acts as a distraction from the anxiety.

It also makes me pretty distracted company.

And I tend to TOTALLY lose sight of 1) why I am doing the thing in the first place... and 2) that I'm any good at it, and everyone actually likes me...in the process.

So I'm here. Trying to remind myself of the whys. Whilst my brain screams HOW? and my little girl self curls up in a corner in the foetal position, refusing to come out cos she's SO scared.

So how did I get here?

First I was excited. Super, mega excited.

The blueprint for the next year downloaded into my head a couple of weeks back before breakfast. I scribbled down the details as fast as I could. Said yes and thank you for the information. Told Mr DA who also said yes.

And now here we are.

My stomach feels sick with anxiety. I am researching like there's no tomorrow - all the techie things I'll need, all the new learning, the things that need to be done to make it happen. Techie stuff is NEVER my strong point... it always brings out the jitters. As does spending money. Oh, and getting help.

Hello fears. Looks like we're all hanging out together once more...

This is when I ask myself why I don't, why I can't just settle for a job in TESCO to support the family. Why the need to challenge myself at this level.

But lists of information and planning downloading as I drive... or walk on the beach... or try to sleep. I wake at 4.30 every morning and keep downloading whilst the house sleeps. 6 hours is never enough sleep for me, but my body just won't do any more.

It is not hypomanic... everything else is calm. This is creative download. This is how it happens for me.

I spend months working away uninspired at stuff, then suddenly, like buses it all comes along fully formed. Only thing is, then it's up to me to make it happen.

And it's usually something I find scary. Bigger than anything I've done before. And the agreement seems to be you get the info, you get the income at the end, and the glory... but you gotta to the hard work. You've got to push yourself to the far reaches of your comfort zone. There are no guarantees. But this is what is needed and how it is to be done.

And I'm like - really, me? But I'm scared, and I'm tired and I'm sick, and I have QUITE enough work to be getting on with.

And then I'm like - why the obsession with "helping" people - they'll get on just grand without me.

But I know... and the Uploaders know that once the idea's planted, it'll be done. That's how it works.

I've just got to figure out how. Find a way. Stop whining and get on with it.

Which is where we are now.

Deeply, deeply uncomfortable. Researching like mad. Energetically calling it all in. And my inbox is proof to that - two unbidden emails within an hour telling me I was on exactly the right track.

Deep breaths.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A-Z of life at Dreaming Aloud

I have been quiet on the blog - I have been called on to share so much of me in the book launch, with radio, newspaper, magazines and online, that I needed a little private space to recoup.

I'm aware that I haven't kept you in the loop about what’s been going on behind the scenes – I find it hard to verbalise when I’m doing new things, and also am rather superstitious that if I share things too early on, it can jinx them…

But now the time for New Year’s resolutions is well and truly gone… and my plans are taking firm form, and results are being seen… I feel able to share.

So here is my A-Z of what I am letting go of and what I’m calling in, (created thanks to Leonie’s mindbogglingly fabulous Create your Amazing Year planner - it's NEVER too late to start creating an amazing year!)

Assistance
Realising I needed three of me to keep up with my work, now I am finding myriad ways, large and small, to support myself whilst I continue to build my work. Including paying for help. Wow.

Bottlenecks
Last year I hit a couple of bottlenecks – literal and metaphorical – where my neck and shoulder froze in excruciating agony. Both times coincided with my busiest times of the year. So this year is the year of avoiding bottle necks.

Connection
I tend to zap in and out of connection with everyone in my life – my kids, my partner, my family and friends. I find maintaining connection hard. So I’m starting with Mr DA in cultivating physical and emotional connection. It feels good.

Depression
Since coming out about my mental health last year, I have had the most stable few months of my adult life - in the middle of lots of sickness and a book launch and being called onto a bigger stage than I’ve ever occupied before. I’m monitoring myself, Mr DA and close friends are now aware – we all keep an eye on me.

Energy
Really focusing on being aware of my energy levels, and doing this revolutionary thing called resting. A lot. And saying no. A bit. From my planner, in bright red ink: “It is up to me to set limits. Energy in must be equal to or more than energy out.”

Facebook
I am LOVING Facebook as a way to connect, and am really focused on extending connections from real life, work and email contact over to Facebook. (Do connect with me on the Dreaming Aloud page, or perhaps my personal page.) I am getting (a bit) better at reaching out to people I know less well… and not presuming that the person I am reaching out to wants me dead. Or thinks I'm weird.

Goddess Sized
So since writing my popular post on shopping when goddess sized, I tried dropping wheat and sugar for a month, my skin was so excruciatingly itchy, and someone suggested it might help. It did. I’m now eating about 1/3 of these that I used to. Which means I’ve had to learn other ways to deal with anxiety than pasta. Or cake. Or alcohol. Or sugar. I’m also leaning consciously towards eating much less meat – being what is known as a flexitarian. And I am eating according to appetite. Not fear. And I’ve lost eight pounds. Without dieting. Whilst immersing myself in images of beautiful curvy women. Celebrating my curves… caring for my health. It's all good!

Happy
Our favourite song in the pink house is Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” – we sing along to it almost every day. We have more music in our lives since I had to prepare for a radio show where I shared my favourite tracks. I never made it on. Vomiting bug. Not seen the video? Then watch it here - to enjoy people of all ages, sizes and colours being HAPPY! I dare you not to boogie along!




Income Streams
My income streams have gone from tens of tiny trickles, to fewer, more substantial streams. And what’s more exciting is that I have a plan for the next year plus. Which will consolidate my work and earning further. Very exciting!!

Juno
Big news. I’m leaving. My choice. And quite a sudden one, although it’s been a long time coming. I need to free up the energy and head space I pour into it. It’s been over 7 years I’ve been involved with the magazine. It feels like a death. And also like it's allowing space for new growth.

Kids
They are growing so fast it’s scary. I try really hard to be fully with them when I’m with them. I’m semi successful. They’re great, just so completely themselves: quirky, cute, clever, creative and flipping strong willed!

Listening
I keep practicing. I still like to talk more though!!

Moving my body
I’m going for a walk on the beach by myself a couple of mornings a week, after dropping my youngest off at play school, and before I start work. It’s a good little window of opportunity for what others call “exercise”.

No
I am practicing saying No. As much as I can. It doesn’t come easily for a girl who likes to say Yes, is turned on by life, hates missing out, and can’t stand disappointing people.

O... 
Painting
Painting is NOT happening again. L Stuck, stuck, stuck… Here's one I made earlier...


Q

Reach … Roots
Reach is my word for the year in my work life. Last year my social media followers went from 2000 to 8,500. They’ve grown by an extra 1,500 in the first six weeks of this year. Roots is my word for the year in my soul life.

Sex
I decided to grow up about my sexual self, following a simply incredible e-course with Pixie Campbell. It feels really good, following my rules, not my internalised parental and societal ones, choosing pleasure and connection, giving myself permission.

Tents
As in Red ones… After a couple of years of dreaming we are only days away from our first Red Tent. There are nearly 90 women signed up to our Facebook group in less than 2 weeks! It seeks there is a hunger for something like it in the area... and a nervous curiousity. We let our old women’s group go with love and intention for finding a different form to support ourselves and each other in December. A new co-conspirator and new excited women mean that we will have the reality of a red tent in our neighbourhood soon!

USA
We have a family dream goal that I have set for us – 5000 copies of The Rainbow Way means a family road trip to America to visit my family there. We’re not there yet, but well on our way… I’m hoping we will make it for the Fall. I haven’t been over in 4 years – before this whole creative entrepreneur and writer extraordinaire adventure began! I’m longing to meet my cousin’s new baby – who’ll be 3 in a couple of weeks – and see him, he’s like a brother to me. And to see my cousin, Kevin Pearce, the snowboarder you may have seen in Crash Reel – last time I saw him he was only recently out of hospital and still in recovery from his horrific accident. I am also longing to meet a number of women who I have met through my work and the wonders of the web in person – and perhaps do a couple of book signings along the way!

Videos
After being invited to take part in the Red Tent summit, I had to submit a video - you can see it here. My e-course (s) will have videos in. So I’ve set myself a challenge to make a video or audio every work day. I haven’t made one yet!!

Writing
My writing is flying when it comes to my new books. With shorter pieces like articles and blog posts I am struggling to find the time, energy or desire. I signed up to a wonderful writing e course in January 2013. I have only done one assignment. I don’t have time to write. I don’t know how to write - I tell myself… Ridiculous I know, from someone who makes their living from it! I spend most of my time it seems writing emails, newsletters, advertising copy, web copy for the Cookery School, or on Facebook.

X,Y,Z...
Are top secret I’m afraid… REALLY, REALLY exciting new developments lie ahead in the next year which make my heart nearly explode with joy. I’m so glad to have you here with me on this creative adventure and look forward to unfolding more as the time comes!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Unplugged

The winds here are Biblical. Planes and boats grounded. Our 10 foot trampoline is currently hanging out in a tree. Wild does not begin to describe it. With each gust I am sure the windows will blow in.

And then, silently, the power went out.

Welcome to life unplugged. Suddenly it is apparent just how much of our lives depend on this invisible power source that we take for granted – except for monthly grumbles about bills – first and foremost no light, and no heating. No phones, or internet – so my Skype interview was now off the cards… but I had no way of contacting the woman – cos no email, or Facebook. No internet so no research, no blog posting, or updating social media. Suddenly I feel very disconnected. Powerless. My lap top has 3 hours of battery. Suddenly so very precious. What will I do, I wonder, when it runs out? Tragically I can feel my anxiety rise at the thought of it.

I think of this evening – no hob or oven – so beans on toast… only to realise that that means no toaster too! So it’ll be beans on top of the wood burning stove, toast made on it.

The women in the office here have gone home – with no computers or phones there is little they can do. Downstairs the pottery is ominously quiet – no power means no till, no lights in the clay store, no pug, no wheels, no kilns, no way of heating the wax, no loud ram press thumping the clay into moulds. Quiet. Stillness. Except for the wild wind outside. We are returned to a slow, less distracted state of being. It is less easy to be busy, to be rushed or overwhelmed.

Maybe this is the answer. I know there is a trend for turning off our technology, for screen free time. But totally powering down, in the way that is being forced upon us, immediately forces our hands. It insists that we engage with the outdoors and each other, with our immediate surroundings. Suddenly I am not a global citizen, but very much rooted in the immediate environment – reliant on sun for light, fire for heat. I am powered down… and the irony is that when cut off from the grid – both power grid and extended human grid – I am once again turned on to myself and my immediate surroundings. I am reconnected with reality.

I love the internet… adore it in so many ways. Ditto ovens and TV … but part of me realises that this could be the way of the future – as power outages become more common due to adverse weather, energy wars and rising prices.

With our wood burner and store cupboards, candles and torches we are more resilient than most… but isn’t it incredible how quickly everything changes when the lights go out?

And so I wonder how we as individuals, as a family, as a community can remain powerfully connected, when we are power- less.

I guess we're going to have to start learning fast!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Joy Pockets

Little gratitudes in the midst of everyday living...

snowdrops in the garden

being a comforting mama to a sick girl

a safe, warm house as the storm blew around us

a really exciting top secret project

eating avocado with my fingers

a boy who has discovered an unstoppable passion for reading

a husband who is fully on board with my next big plan

Facebook connections

this review of me - from a blogging course I taught at the weekend: 

"She was immediately likeable, a ball of energy. It was like crossing the ultimate earth mother with Bridget Jones (not just down to the English accent) with Oprah Winfrey... She remains the adorable yummy mummy of her blog and three kids. Most importantly she's real..." 

Please do share your joys - big or small - in the comments section below or over on the Dreaming Aloud Facebook page ... and if you're not a member of the page, do join, there are daily doses of inspiration there and a great community.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Saying No

Sorry so quiet here, dreamers, it is not that I don't want to be here. Blog posts form in my head, or seeds of them get parked in my drafts folder. And then time or energy desert me.

I cannot tell you how insanely busy life is at the moment. Good busy, exciting opportunities dripping like honey from almost every moment and interaction I have.

Exciting... and overwhelming... and of course I have been sick for weeks...

It's decision central here. Every day.

I'm really having to step into my Yes and my No to keep my head above water and sustain my energy. I get all excited and say Yes, Yes, Yes... forgetting that I cannot do it all... and that No is essential to my sanity and physical health. It has always been my weak spot. I don't like to say No - to turn down opportunities that will not come again; or turn down money that we could use; or not want to seem anti-social, or unfriendly...

I was delighted, therefore, to re-read my own "wisdom" as I was proofreading the Spring version of Juno magazine (out March 1st) and came across my column on just this topic.

"No need not be negative. It is simply a statement of clear boundaries. A wise man I know taught me that the greatest gift I can give my children and myself is to learn to say No with an open heart. To say No with great love and compassion for them and for myself. 

Saying No with deep love centres me in my own power and connects me with the source of my own creative energy once more. By saying No I free up the energy that was attached to the situation or event, so that I can use it in other positive ways. It takes me out of alignment with my ego, which so desperately wants to be liked and admired, which wants to have and do everything. Saying No moves me from passive to active. From observer to participant. 

No means I respect myself and my needs as much as yours. I do not say it lightly when I say that learning to say No without fear is one of the most empowering things you can do. "

How are you at saying No? What helps you in decision making?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Creative Living with Jamie Ridler

So if you're wanting to know a bit more about the story behind The Rainbow Way and how YOU can cultivate creativity in the midst of motherhood, do check out my interview with the awesome Jamie Ridler of Jamie Ridler Studios.


 I've had a big fan-girl crush on her since I discovered her when we were both on Leonie's World's Biggest Summit - here's my talk on Honouring Your Crazy Woman - it was my first telesummit, and I have just started writing The Rainbow Way, whereas she was an established pro.

She's interviewed so many of my heroines including Jen Louden, Brene Brown, Julie Daley, Miranda Hersey of Studio Mothers, and a pair of creative authors who inspired my online book launch. So I was VERY honoured to be invited to speak with her.

And then I got really, really scared. And sick. And beyond freaked out. And postponed our interview.

And then at the beginning of our interview I told her how much of a knot I had my knickers in about it... and how she was so talented and super nice that I knew it'd be OK...

And I think it was.

I  daren't listen to it myself. The sound of my own voice recorded brings the anxiety flooding back. I hear every stumble and strangeness.

So will you listen to it, my love, and tell me what you get from it?

OOOO
If you haven't gotten yours yet, Amazon Kindle versions of my new book, The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood are STILL topping the Amazon charts!!! Kindle versions are currently 99p in the UK99c in the US plus tax and apparently a ridiculous 87c in Australia JUST until the end of January.

The best price on paperbacks is from The Book Depository at 29% off and FREE worldwide postage.

Buy a copy. Tell your friends. Buy them a paperback copy. Leave a review!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

#1 Best Seller on Amazon... Me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow. Just wow.
You've been with me for the journey. From seedling idea. You KNOW how much this means to me! 
The Rainbow Way is currently #1 on Amazon.co.uk in 3 categories (Motherhood, Craft, Craft and Hobbies kindle)  and is #3 in self help behind The Secret and The Power of Now! I also have three top five places, including a number one spot, in the US Amazon Kindle store.



It is every writer’s dream, and it really does feel as good as I predicted! I am walking on air!

I have been thanking the muses and heavens all morning, that trusted me with this work.

My success is your success too, dear dreamers, dear creative mamas, dear soul friends and supporters.

Thank you for every act of encouragement when I was feeling scared. For everyone who contributed to the book itself. Or has bought a copy. Or left a comment. Or written a review. This one's for ALL of us!
It was so funny sitting up late into the night watching the rankings rise and rise knowing that not a single soul in the village knew what was going on.

I woke up this morning to an email from my old English teacher telling me to go check the rankings. It had hit #1 over night! I ran around the house screaming. But then it was life as normal – making packed lunches for my 3 kids and trying to find lost shoes before doing the school run!!


I am so excited to have knocked Super Nanny off her number 2 perch in the Motherhood section, replacing hard love with rainbows! And to have pushed The Artist’s Way out of the way too (for the time being!)  is beyond my wildest dreams!

Thank you for the part you have played in making this dream come true! I am so excited that my book is getting the opportunity to reach so many people! I have been humbled, honoured and tickled not just pink but rainbow colours with the amount of social media shares, lovely comments, and of course purchases. That so many mamas are getting their hands on the magic in the book that I was fortunate enough to have come through me brings me to tears.

Wow!

If you haven't gotten yours yet, Amazon Kindle versions of the book are currently 99p in the UK/ 99c in the US plus tax and apparently a ridiculous 87c in Australia JUST until the end of January – and the best price on paperbacks is from The Book Depository at 29% off and FREE worldwide postage.

Buy a copy. Tell your friends. Buy them a paperback copy. Leave a review!

Thank you!!!



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quick, grab The Rainbow Way for just pennies



I know many mamas are stuck for cash right now. I get emails telling me how much they want to read my new book, but it's just not affordable for them at the moment... I wish I could give every creative mama who contacts me a copy - as I KNOW how much transformation it's bringing to the women who have read it already.  Well, this is as good as I can do, and very nearly free!

The Rainbow Way is currently just 99p/ 99c from Amazon on Kindle... so grab your copy fast, and read it at your leisure, as this offer only lasts until the end of January. Grab it here Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com and regional Amazons around the world. And tell your friends!

If you have just got a new Kindle/ i Pad/ tablet/ android phone and are looking for great new books to feed it with, then snap it up at this incredible price... and please do leave me a review on Amazon when you've read it! (And if you don't have one, you should be able to download the Kindle app onto your laptop or desktop computer and read it on that!)

Not into e-books? Well the cheapest place to get a paperback copy right now is from The Book Depository - they have it at 29% off - so £11.32 and FREE world wide postage. There are also copies for a similar price (when you include postage) from Amazon marketplace in the UK.

Want to know what readers are saying about it.... then let me share some of the incredible reviews with you ...(PS If you've read it and haven't reviewed it yet, I be really honoured it you took a couple of minutes to leave a review on Amazon!)

I particularly LOVE this one from a very wonderful sounding husband...
"I ordered this book for my wife, since having our children her creativity has been stifled as she has devoted her time to being a mother. This book has re-energised her and re-ignited her creative spark, there is a twinkle back in her eye it is wonderful to see. A great buy."
         seamps, Amazon review 

"It is an amazing book with huge potential to change your life. It has dramatically altered by perception of myself as a mother ... The Rainbow Way is an exceptional experience to read and follow. I highly recommend it."
         Amanda, UK Amazon review
"I started your book last night, and I had a hard time putting it down.
I'm feeling a spark I haven't known in years bubbling to the surface- a drive that I buried. It's a feeling of recognition and relief that others feel this way, too.
It's fantastic! Thank you."
Julie, USA, by email
"Wow, I got my copy of the book today and I'm so excited! It's so chunky and looks jam-packed full of amazing stuff! This is the first book I've read of yours Lucy and I've now read the first chapter and I think I'm in love with it already... I can't wait to read more!"
Catherine, UK, by email 

"I’m so f***ing glad Lucy wrote this book. I know that she wrote it because she was told to. I know it was dictated from the heavens. I know it because I can feel it when I read her words.

When I got it, I consumed it whole within two days. I just couldn’t stop reading it. It felt like such a balm to my soul. I wish I’d had it at the beginning. I’m so glad it’s here now.

Recommended for: Mothers. Every single one of them. Seriously. I mean it.


Leonie Dawson, Australia 

Also till the end of the month you can listen to my interview on Look and Feel Great for Mothers on Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood - just sign up for free. And check out the interview with me on Jamie Ridler next week.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Belonging - Of Soul Friends and Heartlands

I was gifted a beautiful book, Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World - by my own dearest soul sister. She gave it because she knows what feeds my soul. And she knows how deeply I was recently hurt by being judged harshly which reawoke my sadness that I do not belong here.

I have never quite belonged anywhere. In England I have always felt Irish. In Ireland I am most definitely English. In Japan I was most definitely Western. Though each place holds a piece of my soul, I am always aware that I do not belong.
Artist unknown
Belonging. It is the most basic thing that we yearn for. But for me has been quite hard to come by.

With each of my soul connections in this life - people and places - there has been an instantaneous feeling of belonging. Of knowing beyond knowledge that a piece of my soul was forged here, from the same stuff. As though the heavens have for a moment come into perfect alignment and time stands still. I am home.

But home does not last. Mundanities and misunderstandings seep in. And the sense of belonging becomes a little less clear. I feel I belong - but you do not.

Often I feel like I have to defend my right to be here in our little corner of Ireland. My family's right. That it is the land of my birth does not seem to matter. Nor that it is the land of my heart. 

In superficial day to day living I am perceived as other. Except by those who know me for who and what I really am. I perceive myself as other - having neither the correct lilt to my accent nor the native language. Sharing in neither the sporting nor spiritual practices which bind tight knit rural communities together I feel my difference as a nagging ache which colours all my interactions. All I need do is to open my mouth and feel that I do not belong. Who are my people I wonder - who has my back and who is talking behind it. Am I safe, am I safe? How much can I be me and be safe?

No matter that my children are the fourth generation of our family to live in this village. No matter.

I have been consciously reminding myself that this land is my land too. I am of it, it is of me. 

This swathe of sand and stormy seas that feel as much part of me as my own blood - a contour of coast that I have walked and talked and danced and drawn on, swam and fished in and made my own over more than three decades. Always, always this coast calls me when the furies race in my head. I walk the strand and allow the wind that caresses my hair to blow the anger from my mind. And always, always the lighthouse on the island, ever there, still presence in the stormy sea, the ocean unfurling to distant shores, the starry sky above gently reminding me of my own insignificance.

This is home. I belong. I know.

The sand and stones make way to reeds and tufty grass. The bog, this precious limbo land of tufted grass, hidden pools and sinking mud, of migrating birds rising as a cloud and rolling mists. Magical, mysterious, silent and untouched. Wild heaven.

Rising up from it the trees of my father's land, tall trees which have known 60 silent years since first being planted by his hand as a tender boy. Trees reaching, branching above and below. Sheltering us from the storms, and sharing their yearly cycle of flowers, foliage and fruit - an annual miracle of which I never tire. I know each tree by name. The herons in their penthouse nests do too.

This is home. We are rooted here.
Celtic Flow by Joanne Taylor
It feels good finding a deep belonging to this land, one that precedes the Catholicism that I so often find myself at ideological logger heads with. This land came first. And the seasonal celebrations that sprang out of it. And the art and music and songs and stories which my soul resonates to. The dances and design, the spirals and spirit that infuses me... and you. We are woven together through spirit, art and earth.

These are our shared roots - a spiritual understanding that was rooted in this landscape, in the understanding of soul, of beauty and friendship. Celtic history is what unites my various parts: grandparents from Wales and Scotland, a childhood divided between the south coasts of England and Ireland. Circles of stones and festivals of fire. The land of the Celts is my heart-land, my soul scape. 

This is our shared ground, our heartland. These are our roots.

PS. For more lovely Celtic images check out my Pinterest board - Celtic Dreams

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