Saturday, 24 June 2017

Stepping into the light





This photograph is of the inside of a tree that has been chopped down in our woods. You can see how old she was by all the rings and cracks but in editing this image, these crevices are where the light comes in. The light is shining through my cracks this week and I am stepping into it with a lightness of heart. I have my new hearing aid & it really is a miracle. Every time I hear something that I have missed, I weep with joy, write poems about it and sing in my heart so that my whole body dances within. When I put the hearing aid on, it is as if someone has turned the light on.

In 3 months, I go back to audiology and if things have gone well, I get the 2nd one. I can't wait.

My tinnitus is much less noticeable when I have it on and built into it there is a tinnitus surpressor. Off course, I have to take it off at night but I have been given tinnitus supressors to put into my pillow. I haven't tried them yet but I will let you know how I get on.

Off course, now that I can hear my own voice in my head, I have been singing. I didn't think I would ever hear my voice again. When I sing now, I can feel it in every single cell of my body.

I could list a 1000 things that have touched me since getting this amazing piece of technology, but instead I will pluck up the courage to record the poems that I have written and share them with you because they say everything and more.

If you have hearing difficulties, please get some help because truthfully, my hearing aid has given me back my quality of life.





Thursday, 22 June 2017

Work as Nurture: Quiet Space Studio & Gallery



The more my tinnitus and hyperacusis have taken a grip of my life, the more and more isolated I have felt myself becoming and so I made the decision to be my own Arts Consultant in a cunning plan to find solutions.


I have been an Arts Consultant working the field of Health and Well Being for 30 years and yet oddly, I seemed to have forgotten this incredible resource of self in my own healing process.




So, I thought long and hard about what I would advise and support someone with my needs.

The first thing was to write down everything I can still do, rather than that which I can't do anymore.

For instance, instead of saying 'I can't drive very far anymore.' I asked myself .. 'How far can you drive comfortably?' and the answer to this is ... to the village and back.


Right then, I need to be based in the village. Most importantly, I need to be in control of the sound environment within which I am based and my place of work tailored around my needs for meditation, creativity and aromatherapy. 

Mmm ... I know, a Tinnitus & Hyperacusis friendly Studio and Gallery within which to create a healing environment for myself and potentially down the line, for others.

Very quickly after I had set my intentions, a beautiful little shop that I have often lusted after as a studio/gallery came on the market for rent in the village. The Universe had heard me and agreed that the time is now. I can work here to write and publish books. I can make things and paint, sell quirky pre-loved things that I have love collecting, start a Grandma's Sewing cupboard for vintage needlework accessories, display and sell my beautiful beads from around the world. I can exhibit my work but most of all ... I can simply 'be'. I feel so excited to be taking this step back into the world instead of retreating into my shell.

You can read about the ongoing journey at www.quietspace.weebly.com though I will leave more personal indepth blogging here, my Quiet Space Blog shows the daily challenges and joys of setting up a Studio and Gallery in a village. I would love for you to pop over and see how it's all going.

If you are struggling with a change in your health needs I know first hand how frightening it can be. I offer one to one Creative Business Advice through my Consultancy Small Talk Your Big Ideas . For more details or to book a session, feel free to get in touch.









Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Collecting Beads as a Healing Therapy




When I was 6 years old, I started collecting beads. It was 1971, the decade of flower power and the whole school swapped beads at break times, keeping them in lovely boxes, organised into compartments. I stopped collecting beads when I left Primary School because, 'Big girls don't collect beads ... '

During the development of my healing practice for tinnitus and hypercusis I have returned many times to the child within. It is funny that we think we know best as grown ups, but when I was stripped back from almost everything that I thought I was, I started to re-find who I really am. I am sure anyone with a chronic health condition or long term illness can identify with that.

As a musician, I have travelled all over the world and now I can not travel more than 30 minutes in my car before my hyperacusis kicks in. I was feeling a bit miserable about never touring again when it occurred to me that I could collect beads from the countries that I would re-visit if I was able; Egypt, Africa, America ... it was so exciting but the most thrilling bit was still to come.


Everyday the Postie comes with beads for me from different countries, a daily gift from around the rold  ... today is Egypt and these beautiful hand carved scarab beetles are worn for good luck. In Ancient Egyptian religion, the scarab was a symbol of immortality, resurrection, transformation and protection. Wearing the scarab amulet gave confidence in the knowledge of reincarnation.

That feels very poignant to my life right now, in transition from a hearing person to a hearing impaired person, from a musician to the next phase of my creative journey.

Maybe collecting beads is not the thing that would heal your spirit in the way that it is healing mine, but perhaps there is something that your 6 year old self would like to gift you ... 











The Aroma of Spirit



As part of my healing practice for tinnitus and hyperacusis, I have been falling in love with my other senses through holistic therapies and creativity. I spoke in an earlier blog about how wool and aromatherapy have been a Godsend. 

Hugging Cherub Set for Mother & Daughters infused with Geranium Essential Oil

So now, I have started combining the wool and aromatherapy, putting all my love into making aroma infused spirit bracelets. It really is such a beautiful way to heal.


Sunshine over the Hills: Commission with Frankincense Essential Oil for Cerebral Well Being

For sure they lift my spirit when I am making them, I put all my love into them.

I shared pictures of my Aroma-Spirit Bracelets with my friends on facebook and they started commissioning me to make them. 


Love & Passion Buddha Commission with Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

They are totally bespoke to the size of the person's wrist and choice of chakra colours, as well as the essential oil that will ease their mind & make their heart sing; from ylang ylang to chamomile, from frankincense to cedarwood. 

I use DoTerra 100% therapeutic grade, ethically sourced, essential oils

Whatever the focus for their healing, I infuse the wool as I am making it. It's wonderful because I get the healing benefit of my woollen tactile mantra infused with wonderful aromas and I am helping others at the same time.

Air & Sea Commission infused with Frankincense

Something so simple and yet so utterly heart warming. If you would like more details come and chat with me on facebook








Wednesday, 7 June 2017

100,000 BLOG-TASTIC VIEWS



WOWZERS! 100,000 views. Thank you so much for joining me on the ups and downs of my Journey Through the Creative Mind

It blows me away that here I am in my little cottage in West Wales, connecting with folk all over the world. You mean the world to me and I love sharing with you in this way. 


I get excited about looking at my statistics and seeing which countries have been reading which blog posts, countries I have never been to, some I have never even heard of!

You have become part of my heart circle. When I am up to my creative shenanigans, I think ... OOoo I'll tell people about that on my blog. I take photo's with you in mind and I care about you.

So, I'll raise a glass here and think of you and hope that wherever you are, you'll do the same for me. 


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

In the background




I spent this afternoon designing a new background picture for my blog and here it is. The photograph of me is a Selfie that I took during a night time candlelit meditation. I like the way that the light of my candle is captured in my eye. 

The second overlay photograph is a bright daytime shot of the sky in my favourite woods where I go very often to think about the world. Trees share such lessons for life.

So. in the one picture, I hope to have captured the night and day of my journey through the creative mind, reflecting the cycle of life, the ebb and flow of it ... 


Storytelling for Health International Conference




One of the most exciting International Storytelling Conferences is happening right here in Wales next week and I am so proud to be part of the team that is making it so.

Based in Swansea, the Storytelling for Health International Conference is led by Prue Thimbleby who is Co-ordinator of Arts in Health as part of ABMU Health Board in collaboration with The George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling at the University of South Wales, The University of Wales Trinity, St.David's, Swansea University, as well the Glynn Vivan Art Gallery, The National Waterfront Museum and Volcano Theatre.


My role has been a small cog in what is proving to be a Storytelling Movement in terms of changing the perception of storytelling in health based practice. 

I am the Creative Digital Developer for the Conference and have been focused on designing a website called Stories for Change to help New Storytellers, as well as devising Creative Evaluation techniques for the training and at Conference itself.


At Conference I will collate evaluation from delegates and create ethnographic poems from their feedback. I am also leading on the Storytelling Coat from a Doctor's Coat interactive installation.




I will be based in Volcano Theatre to take account of my own health needs with regard to hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis. 

Massive thank you to all the volunteers in knitting groups across the UK that have been knitting flowers for our Storytelling Cloak, with the intention of Reclaiming our Well Being. 

After Conference I will make a little film to go on the website showing the story of how the cloak came to be. so, keep an eye out for your knitted flower.



Heartfelt thanks to Prue and the Storytelling Conference Team for what has been nothing short of a joyous 6 months run up to this incredible event. 

FULL DETAILS HERE ...


Monday, 5 June 2017

A Love Affair with Yarn


When my friend Caroline said she would come round and teach me how to crochet, little did I know that she was gifting me a love affair with yarn!


By focusing on my sense of touch, I figured that crochet might distract from the constant ringing in my head that is the nightmare I live with called tinnitus and I was right.



After she had gone home, I thought the crochet hook seemed a bit fiddly, so I decided to use my fingers. It was bliss. I was like a heady teenager falling head over heels. Pretty soon wool seemed to be manifesting itself all over the house.


Trouble is, you can't really do that much with finger knitting. Let's face it, a finger knitted scarf isn't going to help too much when the cold sets in. 




I ended up with miles of it and then it struck me.

I have always yearned for yarn bombing. I think it's so jolly and there, right in front of me, waiting to be yarn bombed, the newel posts to our stairs.

I was on a woolly mission and nothing could stop me.


Worried that my dog may end up yarn bombed if she sat still for long enough, I started to think of new ways to apply my passion ... which I am working on at the moment.


Then facebook friends started sending me other types of finger knitting and yarn bombing. So I have learnt to finger knit with 2 fingers, and then 4 and now I am thinking I might learn to arm knit ... Good Lord, I may even learn to knit with my toes, who knows.

Thing is, if you had ever told me at any point in my life that I would be a yarn addict, I would not have believed you. But I am drooling over hand dyed & lusting after new blends.


And all this from the kindness of a dear friend who gave up an afternoon to come and teach me something that she knew would be very healing, but if she had told me, I could never have realised just how much.

Now I completely understand why Grandmothers are always knitting and why we love wearing their jumpers.


Saturday, 27 May 2017

Is the Solution Coming?





It was a heavy night. The air was thick. Poor Maisy was flat out on the bed, almost unable to move she was so hot. I had just managed to doze off when I felt a bright light cut through my bedroom and the rumble of thunder seemingly cracking through the ceiling.

The lightening had a direct stargate through my window,  bouncing against my head as I lay upon the pillow. Perhaps, in so doing, it charged up my brain because when I woke up in the morning, I was fully wired.

I had discussed a problem with a friend the day before regarding a new online business venture I am working on. As she and I meandered along the river through the woods, we decided that the best way to solve the problem, was to set an intention for a solution. So, that's what I did. Right there, with the river and the trees, I decided to stop worrying about the problem and trust that a solution was coming.

And after a night of lightening infusion, I awoke with the whole solution fully formed, as if it had been downloaded. I ran to my computer and tried out my theory and yes, it worked.

Still filled to the brim with fully formed ideas, I found myself at my writing table overlooking the view, and without me realising, my pen was in my hand. I let go of all thought and allowed pure expression to flow through the ink as an extension of my veins. Poems came tumbling onto the paper as if they had been queuing up all night and were keen to lay still upon the paper.

Then I thought I best get dressed because I felt well enough to get on with my day and what a day it was (see last blog).


And so now, I am wondering about how I have previously lived my life. As a younger woman I was so urgent , pressing and pushing and thinking that I could force answers into being, when in actual fact, the answers are already fully formed, right here inside me, wrapped up lovingly in the questions. The solution is not coming. The solution is already here. In this thought I realised, that since my hearing disability, I have felt as though my life were shrinking, but for sure, by the same token, it is also getting deeper.





Her Last Performance is a Fairy Tale




Our story begins with my lovely friends, Chris and Justine Dodds, who decided to renew their wedding vows at the beautiful Ceridwen Centre, in Drefelin.


2 months ago, I visited Chris & Justine to interview them about their love story, so that I could write a bespoke fairytale, just for them, in celebration of their 20 year marriage, as part of the renewal of their Wedding Vows. 

Having found out about their love story, I set about weaving fairy magic, telling how they met, including their favourite trees and their favourite songs, the story of their children,  how the family came to be in Wales,  including personal references about the local area where we all live, as well alluding to their stained glass business Cariad Glass, where they both work together.



'Once upon a time, a long way into the future, there lived an old royal couple, who sat together hand in hand, admiring their beautiful castle. They were more in love with each passing moment, for never had two people been so right for each other.

The sun shone rays of rainbow into every corner of their home, built entirely from coloured glass, every window telling a story fashioned by their own hands, leaded with more love than any fairytale ever told: Him, her King and she, his Queen ... '


They were delighted with their fairy tale, so as a surprise, I decided to publish little books as wedding favours for them and their family.


They invited me to read the fairy tale at the Ceremony and I was so delighted I said yes ...  until I got home and thought about it. 


I have been performing on stage since I was 5 years old but now, after 46 years of treading the boards, my hyperacusis has put an end to my performance career.

My hearing loss is just about manageable on stage & I can learn to live with tinnitus but the hyperacusis (sound intolerance to certain frequencies of my tinnitus range) means that I simply can not be in environments where I have no control over the volume because it is as if the speakers have blown in my head. 

And understandably, when a large number of guests congregate for a wedding vows ceremony, their joy and excitement, relates to increased volume.


No worries, I slipped off and hid in a tractor shed until the Ceremony was just about to start. Besides, it enabled me to have a quick read through.




I found that once on stage it was ok because the speakers were in front of the bandstand, facing the congregation, so I couldn't hear them.




But when the audience all laughed together or clapped, it was as if someone had turned up the volume to maximum in my ears.






Likely, it was the least performance-like performance I have ever done. It was all I could do to hear my voice in my head above the distortion that had kicked in half way through.

BUT ... I DID IT ... which I am so pleased about because I really didn't want to let my friends down and it felt very important to be there sharing their day with them.

Chris & Justine exchanged their utterly wonderful vows to each other (not a dry eye) and then everyone went to congregate for the band, so we had to make a swift exit.

As I walked back to the car, I knew in my heart that this was the last time I would ever perform live.

It felt as if I had gone full circle because my first ever performance was on a bandstand at the Pier when I was about 3 years old and likely, it was the least performance-like performance, because I just sang from my heart, which is where my fairy tale came from at the ceremony, today.

Before I left, the guests said such lovely, kind things about the bespoke fairytale that I had written and performed for Chris and Justine and I told them how I have been working on a new website for the opening of an online business, writing love stories into fairy tales for weddings, hand-fasting, civil partnerships, baptisms, anniversaries ... any of life's ceremonies.


BESPOKE FAIRYTALES
COMING VERY SOON ... 

So, although today marked the end of live performance for me, it has opened a new door to step through, and for that I thank Chris and Justine for trusting my fairy magic at their most special of days, because although my hearing is fading, it would seem that perhaps my wand is still very much in tact.


As I left, Chris and Justine gave me a gift. I opened it when I got home and I am so utterly moved. What a thank you. They have made me the most beautiful, personalised piece of stained glass to hang in my window, inscribed from them and the children. How blessed I am to live in such a loving and creative community.



You can find out more about Cariad Glass here.
You can find out more about the Ceridwen Centre here.
You can find out more about me here.