Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Where's my Igloo Gone?

For the last 7 weeks, I have been visiting Ysgol C'aer Felin with the Young Promoters Project funded by Night Out, the Arts Council of Wales. It has been an amazing journey. The children have learnt to become promoters organising the whole event. We have visited  backstage at Y Ffwrnes Theatre and had a marvellous tour, we have filmed a promotion video, learnt about advertising and marketing. It is magical to watch the children grow in confidence, speaking on the telephone writing letters, preparing speeches.

The children even made the cakes for the tuck shop this evening to raise funds so that can all go to the theatre together to see the welsh language panto. 

The children even made a lovely big pot of cawl for the team and the theatre company who came to put on the show Where's my Igloo Gone with The Bone Ensemble.

It was so wonderful to see the community out in full force, excited about theatre. WE SOLD OUT! Unheard of in our little village. Councillors, School Governors, local police, parents, siblings, friends and off course the children.

Well Done Everyone, I'm so proud of you. Thank you Mrs Davies, Head Teacher and Miss Tanner the class teacher for all your hard work and to all the staff for helping.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Featured Storyteller Anne Lister at Quiet Space Studio

It gives me great pleasure to welcome my dear friend Anne Lister, as Resident Storyteller at Quiet Space Studio for the coming month.  Anne and I have worked together as storytellers and songwriters many times over the years. We met during a Digital Storytelling Training Week but I was aware of her extensive back catalogue of songs and stories before this. Anne is an interesting combination of the consummate performer and yet indepth academic/ In this video she tells us of her fascinating journey through he current PhD and her forthcoming album/tour.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Set to Light the Night Sky

My ears may be deaf
But my heart hears you
Loud & Clear

Living with the onset of sudden deafness has enabled me to see a whole different side to humanity. Some people are so utterly kind, which touches my heart, and yet others make all sorts of negative assumptions about my abilities. It feels almost as if they believe that everything I ever did before my deafness, counts for nothing. 

Well, I have to say, that this has made me very determined to get my house in order and brush off my Superwoman cape. Quite frankly, how very dare they! 

It's funny how sometimes the most desperate of situations reignites a dwindled flame. I might have been lost in the dark but right now, I am very much a brightly burning candle set to light the night sky.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Facebook Sabbatical


I LOVE my facebook family but I found that I was spending more and more time on facebook. Having the app on my phone, meant that I was looking at it almost constantly on and off throughout the day, evening and even at night! 

I am absolutely determined to complete my new collection of stories & poems because I know in my heart that it is what I am meant to be doing. But I am so easily distracted,  browsing through my feed to see what my chums are up to.

So, I made a decision to step away from Facebook for a short sabbatical. I don't know how long for, just until it feels right to go back. So far, it's been a whole 24 hours! I have removed the facebook app from my phone and truthfully, I can not believe how much I have gotten done.  I will pop into fb once in a while to pick up & respond to inbox messages and I will leave my blogposts every week, but if folk want to get in touch there's always email:

It feels like the right time to step back and reflect on what happens next in my life. When I first experienced hearing loss, I didn't ever think I would be where I am now. I am healing ... and now it is time to work out what this means. 

Having a break from Facebook will also give me more time to Blog, so you can keep up to date with what comes next ... 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

The accepting kindness of children

Musician in Residence at Zhodina Orphanage Foto by Val Cousins

It is so wonderful to be working with children again. After 30 years of facilitating music and story workshops, I had to hang up my fairy wings in March, due to hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis. 

The Tethered Fairy ring

I honestly didn't think I would ever be able to return.

Tramore Street Festival, Ireland

It literally broke my heart. Inspiring the children via The Arts has been at the core of my lifetime career. Music, Story, Song, Poetry all being the magic that brought joy but all too noisy for my hyperacusis.

Children's Storytelling Trail, NBGW

Having a hearing aid has made all the difference and I am having a 2nd on in a week's time, too! The sound levels outside of me, are now increased to normal, which means the tinnitus in my head is less noticeable, so the dissonance from the hyperacusis is reduced radically when I wear my hearing aid.

Suffice to say, that I am now back in school, learning new ways to engage with the children.

The Art Hand, Bunmahon, Ireland

I have also learnt sign language which has really helped , and I have shifted my body language ...

Llanelli Library

... but the thing that has helped me most of all, is the incredible kindness and consideration of the children . Like this morning, my hearing aid fell out whilst in front of the class. I was mortified. Firstly I felt myself blush. I think I was embarrassed. I quickly picked it up and fumbled trying to put it back in. I couldn't get it to work and then suddenly it came back on. 

              'Euston, we back online,' I joked.

The point is, everything was fine. So, the next time it happens I won't blush and I won't fumble. I will just calmly put it back in. The children were so lovely about it. They sat quietly waiting for me to put it back in, with warm 'don't worry' smiles on their little faces. They are accepting of difference in such a way that it is moving and slowly, I can feel my confidence returning. Yes, I am deaf but I am not less than I was. Just different ... 

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Balancing Compassion

Compassion is the core of humanity. For me, it is one of the most beautiful aspects of being human. To be compassionate is to be loving, kind and giving.

When I experienced sudden hearing loss, I became distinctly aware of how I had neglected to be compassionate to self. But how can I be compassionate to self when I am so busy being compassionate to others?

I learnt how from a friend who has lived with hearing impairment her entire life. I watched how she managed her time and was in awe of her wisdom, the ways she was able manage her energy levels in a self compassionate way. She was still loving, kind and giving to others but was equally as good at being compassionate to herself. She always looked beautiful, took great care of herself, invested in different therapies and activities. Her diary was filled with things that fed  her soul and enabled her to support others at the same time.

But I never seem to have time to do the very thing that I long to do, which is to spend time with my stories and poems. So, last week, I decided to draw a diagram & see how I have been spending my creative time. (See above)

To my disappointment, the purple and smallest segment was the amount of time I have been spending on my own writing.

The green section is how much time I have been spending on paid contracts, facilitating others to be writers.

The large blue section is how much time I have been spending helping others through my community projects

And then lastly the red section, is how much time I have spent on healing and therapeutic arts to distract from my tinnitus and hyperacusis  ... mostly in the evenings.

Now that I had mapped out my creative time, I was able to see that the majority of my time is taken up helping others. Now this is fine except it is currently taking me away from my own writing.

And then I had an epiphany! What if my writing and the telling of my stories were the thing that helped people! YES! My stories are all written during my healing pathway, perhaps by sharing them I might inspire others. By doing the thing I love the most, I can be compassionate to others AND to myself, all at the same time.

So, I am swapping the purple and the blue segments of my life. This will be quite an easy shift because the biggest change can be made at Quiet Space Studio, which I set up to enable me to work on my stories and poems but that has inadvertently, become a drop in for people. I will still do drop in and make appointments to see people but not all week. Just at designated times.

We are the keepers of our own schedule but it is so easy to fall into the same dance. It's almost as if certain ways of being have made permanent grooves. But being aware of them is a good way to being able to change them.

The second major change is that I have stopped randomly trying all sorts of crafts in the evening to distract my tinnitus and started making books within which to put my stories and poems. This feels so exciting. 

Now the blue and the red represent how much time I am focused on my own work ... I've only been trying it for 3 days but it seems to have made such a big difference to how I feel. 

Sometimes we can make tiny shifts and yet massive change.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Learning to Heal through Creativity: NEW VLOG

Since opening Quiet Space Studio 5 months ago, I have found myself making little videos on my phone and then sharing them on facebook. I've had an overwhelming response to them, so I have decided to share them more widely with a VLOG page on my website. If you click the picture above it will take you straight to it. Hope you enjoy them.

When I have time I will upload them to Youtube but for now sharing them on facebook and my website, as well as with you, seems enough. 

They are personal glimpses into my healing pathway since the advent of my hearing loss, tinnitus & hyperacusis. I am hoping they may inspire you to explore your creative self in the development of your own healing practice.