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 ... 






Become a Volunteer at Skanda Vale Hospice


One sure way to bring more love into your life, is to give more love.
  

That's why when Aquila, the  lovely Volunteer Coordinator at Skanda Vale Hospice in Saron, Carmarthenshire, contacted me to ask if I could help out with their Volunteer Open Day to recruit new volunteers, I was more than happy to help out.


I have been volunteering at the Hospice for the last 18 months as a Storyteller in the Sacred Space working with the senses.



 It truly is the most wonderful place. And no matter what your skill set or preferred way of helping, there is something that will not only give others great pleasure, but fill your heart with joy, too.

  

The gardens are just magical. 



You can physically feel the love of all the volunteers that helped to build and now help to maintain it.


The cakes made by volunteers in the kitchen somehow taste more scrumptious for all the love in them ...



The rooms are just sublime ... this is how caring should be ... 






 ... with lovely big windows and balconies.



And let's face it, when us or our loved ones have a terminal or life threatening illness, we truly deserve to be loved and given all the nurture possible.


What could be more beautiful than helping others to feel loved in their time of need?



For more information contact Aquila at https://www.skandavalehospice.org/






Back to Bhakti with Jim Fox



Since losing my hearing I have increasingly shied away from group situations. Indeed, I have restructured my whole life around being still and quiet. But when we lost Dad last week, something shifted. In that moment when he exhaled his last breath, I felt my own breath in the most profound way and I decided then and there that I was going to take steps towards reconnecting to song, rather than be almost bullied by my hearing disability to turn my back on music.

Before learning to live with tinnitus and hyperacusis, I was immersed in the deep joy of regular Bhakti devotional singing 3 times a week. It is the most heart opening of experiences and it is one of the only times that I feel totally connected to self.


Namaste: Kirtan with Jim Fox

So when my dear friends, Jim Fox and Kiera Jones from The Centre in Swansea invited me to come and join them in the recording of a double album of Bhakti Yoga, at the beautiful Yoga Place Abertawe in Clydach as part of a Kirtan, I felt every cell of my body wanted to say yes, but fear made me say that I didn't think I could make it.


Jim & Kiera have both had a major impact on my life, having trained with Jim as a Sound Therapist and trained with Kiera as a Level 2 Reiki Practitioner. I really wanted to join them.



In addition, the profits raised from the double CD are going to Skanda Vale Hospice, where I volunteer as a Storyteller & Poet in their sacred space.


Today was the day of the recording. I wrote to Kiera thanking her for the invitation and asked her if I could come for just 1 or 2 of the mantra so as to be a part of it. She very kindly said yes.


Kiera Jones
This was such a huge step on my healing pathway. It was the most amazing experience. As I sang with the 50 or 60 other people who had come to join in with the recording, I physically felt myself lift beyond my body. 

Jim was absolutely amazing. I knew he would be and he had just the most amazing musicians with him. When the tabla, tampura & flute joined in I couldn't keep still. My whole body wriggled with the beats, I felt my actual soul smiling.



And the people I was sat with felt the same, though we will never talk together about it nor even see each other again, we shared a knowing smile, a connection of soul through chanting.

What an incredible privilege to be part of something so absolutely human.

I stayed for the whole of the first half, but I didn't want to push myself too far so made a swift exist after pre-ordering the double album ... I can not wait to hear it ... 

You can pre-order it too if you like by contacting Jim Fox HERE.



Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Poetics of Dying


Our Dad passed away last weekend. In his passing, he taught the same lessons in death as he had during life;  courage, strength and grace. 

During this emotional time, when the world stood still, yet spun out of our control, I maintained a sense of being grounded by writing poetry. It is something I have done all my life. I have always kept a discrete notebook in my handbag so that my feelings can spill out, guarded by the cold blank pages and the ink. I find a great comfort in it. 

It feels cathartic to capture the poetic of observations, inner thoughts and meanderings. Sat encapsulated in the sterile ward environment, I scribbled on my page in an attempt to explain what was happening, while the platelets of my very existence seemed to shift. 

I did not realise what a great privilege it is to share death with a loved one in this way. To stay close and reassure them with pure love. I'm not sure I will ever quite feel the same although I can't work out  exactly what has changed.

We were in the Funeral Director's and I said that I had realised how important it is to plan for end of life and that I was thinking of making a beautiful End of Life Plan back at my studio, maybe inviting friends to join me. The Funeral Director said he thought that was a bit morbid. I couldn't help but laugh at the irony. Perhaps I would have found it morbid before, but not now. 

There was a postcard on the side advertising beautiful wicker caskets with ivy and flowers inter-twined. I commented on how lovely it was and how I would like one when my time came. The Funeral Director said I would need to start saving as they are very expensive. I told him with a wry smile, that hopefully I have another 40 years left and perhaps I could weave my own in that time. 

I am left with this thought ... 

There is poetry in death 
Just as there is in life
Yet we are too afraid
To speak it

There is a poetry in death
Just as there is in life
Yet we are too afraid
To hear it








Saturday, 9 September 2017

Experimenting with Hand Dyed & Hand Spun Wool




At Quiet Space Studio, I have been experimenting this week with handspun, naturally dyed wool. 

My friend Caroline Lane from Hembra Crafting kindly gave me a drop spinning lesson and left me with some examples of her hand dyed wool. 

                                      

The pictures above and below of my Circle of Friendship Bracelets are hand spun on drop spindle and then woven. The wool has been dyed with Advocado Skins. Interesting dusky colour & not the green you might expect.




I have woven the Circle of Friendship Bracelet below  with 2 pieces of wool, one is dyed by Caroline with banana fibres, the other with indigo and gors, which are little yellow flowers from the hillside in New Quay.




I have also been experimenting this week with the original 1970's Retro wool that Caroline also kindly gifted me. This Circle of Friendship Bracelet is made with retro acorn beads. 



And this Circle of Friendship Bracelet, I have woven with merino silk wool that was kindly handspun as a gift from my dear friend Susan Berry on her spinning wheel. I have started experimenting with making my own charms for my bracelets, like this little wooden love heart.



I infused all the wool with essential oils by hand whilst weaving using Neal's Yard. I love Neal's Yard because it is a UK based company that doesn't test on animals, is pure and organic. 

All the oils are 100% pure and are literally, nature in a bottle. I LOVE them. Click the photo to have a browse of all the lovely oils. 




All my Circle of Friendship Bracelets are available at Quiet Space Studio or my new Facebook Shop. Here's a link if you'd like to pop over and have a gander.




Or you can read all about my 
Quiet Space Studio here ... 










Stepping into My Power & The Laws of Attraction



As you may have read in my earlier blogs, to create a nurturing work environment for my hearing conditions, I have taken an old shop in the small rural town of Llandysul near my weaver's cottage in West Wales and am in the process of converting it into my studio. 

I've been there 2 months now. When I took the shop I didn't really know what I would be doing there, I just knew that I had to find a new way of working that nurtured my hearing needs. I have let the space and the community within which I am based and off course, the Universe in her infinite wisdom, inform me as to how Quiet Space will 'be'. 

By doing this I have found myself getting up to all sorts of capers that I might never have thought of had I worked in my usual way, before my hearing loss, which was to have a great BIG plan.

Having no plan, other than to create a nurturing environment, has worked a treat as 2 months on I feel ready to step into my power. In short, I now know the seed of what I am and what Quiet Space is, and am ready to grow it like a beautiful rambling rose, that twists and turns as time ticks by.

By creating a nurturing environment for myself that is easily accessible and on the main street, by offering the things that are nurturing me, I am attracting the people that would like the same nuturing &/or advice and guidance with regard to Holisitic Arts, that is the combination of Creativity and it's therapeutic benefits with the Holisitic Therapies, such as Essential oils, Reiki, Guided Meditation and Mantra.

Through this process, I have learnt two of the most valuable lessons of my entire life: the first is a lesson in trust. I think perhaps I previously made big plans in an attempt to have some sort of perceived control over my life but waking up without my hearing, replaced by constant tinnitus and hyperacusis has really shown me that I can plan all I like, but control is a figment of the human imagination.

I have spent the last 10 months focusing totally on creating a nurturing and healing environment that made me feel as though life was a joyous place to be, rather than a prison. And now, I can step into my full power and offer these learnings to others through my Holistic Arts Consultancy at Quiet Space Studio because people who want this, are walking through my door. 

And here in lie the 2nd lesson: Attraction. Simply by being, I am attracting folk who also want, need, wish to 'be' in the same way as me. I hope that makes sense. I didn't really understand the laws of attraction before, but I can see it clearly now. I haven't even got a sign above my door and yet folk are attracted to come and talk to me about alternative ways to live with their health needs because they can see through the shop window, that's what I am doing.

Here is another small example of Attraction. I put a unit in my Studio window with small boxes to rent out to other crafters and artists on a peppercorn rent to help with my bills. I didn't advertise it. The empty boxes themselves attracted people who came and asked me if they could have a box. Now, the old me, would have made a poster and put a whole advertising campaign together to attract folk to rent the boxes but the empty boxes themselves did all the work. That's a real insight, isn't it. It's made me think about where else in my life I put things in place that do not need to be there.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I have designed a new poster today that I have shared at the top of this post. I feel it represents me fully stepping into being an Holisitic Arts Consultant at Quiet Space Studio. In my next post I will tell you all about the painting I have used in the poster. I'm not much of a painter, but this angel came to me in a very special way indeed ...