Early autumn thinking

As August appears to be beckoning autumn on the island it is a natural time to take stock.  It has been the busiest summer I have had for some years and I need to reflect on that.   That said, there are lots of positive things going on so it is very important not to grumble.  Scottish island mum continues to go from strength to strength and I feel blessed that the support remains strong.  Radio work continues to come in as does work in online contexts but I recognise that I need to devote more time to the work that is, arguably, my natural home.  The 2013 daily blog challenge cemented writing someone deep within and I have been frustrated that the summer has diverted me somewhat.

stepping-stones-0302.jpgI am delighted to have completed my latest course in mindfulness and chronic illnesses and that I already have clients where I can see a difference being made.  I am deliberately keeping my clinical practice small so that I can work with people for as long as necessary.  I am building my online course portfolio which include mindfulness and also intuitive journaling.   The combination is being very well received by all my students.  I now have a dedicated facebook page of this work that you might like to follow.  I have just launched my first e-retreat entitled ‘Place, Space and Identity’  so I am holding my breath to see how it is received.  Retreat is not an easy concept and certainly not for everyone.  But it is a completely cleansing experience that asks lots of questions while trying to offer solutions to issues that have been trundling around in our subconscious for a while.

Moving forward in this area I am currently planning my programme for 2015 that will include an extension to my short course programme which has been so popular this year.  I am a fan of bite sized learning in a world that is increasingly complex and busy.  Online learning is offering my students the chance to take the course in their own time and in their own space and it has to be the way forward for many of us.

eco savvyMy work on the island as part of the eco savvy community has been very rewarding.  Quite some time ago I shifted my business to reflect a more sustainable approach so when eco savvy became a living and breathing thing I could respond immediately.  I now have to fit some sewing in most days to keep up with demand and I am currently working on my Christmas range.  Our willow crop has done really well so we are looking forward to an extended season through our Christmas wreaths.  We are also hoping to move into mail order through our etsy shop selling the willow bases so that others can make their own wreaths.  George (now 16) discovered that he is superb at willow weaving so we will be working together on this venture and splitting the profits 50/50 as we should.

In recent weeks I have stumbled across a couple of truly inspirational people that I will be featuring as we go forward in the early autumn months.  Using Scottish island mum as a way of connecting us all with people capable of inspiring seems such a good thing to do.

cropped-sunflower.jpgThe island continues to be a haven to live on and I never forget to give thanks.  I am looking forward to the quieter months ahead when we, once again, reclaim our beaches and long autumn walks are the order of the day.  I do my best thinking on the beach but I rarely leave a footprint on it during the summer months.  I want to revisit and extend my beach mosaics and I also want to include light hangings in my Christmas collection so these projects give me the perfect excuse.

sue fProject Poppy is reaching its climax as Scottish island mum continues to showcase breath taking work made as a tribute to all those who lost so much in the First World War.  We have a number of pieces still to be showcased and all the pieces will form an extended tribute on Remembrance Day this year.  It has been an honour to showcase the work and include the maker’s feelings about the project and the place of the causalities of this dreadful war in their hearts.

So, as we move into a small transitional time between late summer and early autumn Scottish island mum takes this time to reflect.  Just at this time all the children are resident and we also have Molly’s boyfriend, Scott, joining us soon as well.  With Molly now 21 and Harry almost 19 I take every day we have with them as a blessing.  It is so lovely to have the whole family together as it is what makes my heart beat.

Santa sparkle 026For anyone out there that finds the commerciality of Christmas a real challenge I am offering an online course that aims to offer an alternative Christmas experience.  Drawing on a deliberately wide range of traditions and practices we will spend October to December (inclusive) exploring the joy of belonging, the creativity of the season and the special relationship with Mother Nature as autumn turns to winter.  This three month course is designed to offer us regular bliss moments and I do hope it delivers what it promises to do.  Encouragingly I already have some students signed up so if you would like more information visit my e-course page.

Sending you all late summer blessings and as the leaves start to turn you might like to join me on an annual ritual where I dry and press leaves before making them into a garland for the sitting room.  It is a simple ritual but one that recognises the start of autumn and for many of us the time to fill our larders with autumn preserves.

Speak soon,

xx

 

 

Standing together to say thank you.

Scottish island mum very much wants to take her place beside the millions of people who will be saying thank you today.  100 years ago today we entered a war that should have ended all wars but history revealed that was not to be the case.  Four long years of fighting finally delivered the victory that secured our way of life.  The sense of freedom that was preserved has been tested since but no other test witnessed the scale of loss and heartache endured by the soldiers and their families from the First World War.

In 1914 Rupert Brooke penned this poem -

Peace

Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour,
And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping,
With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power,
To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping,
Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary,
Leave the sick hearts that honour could not move,
And half-men, and their dirty songs and dreary,
And all the little emptiness of love!

Oh! we, who have known shame, we have found release there,
Where there’s no ill, no grief, but sleep has mending,
Naught broken save this body, lost but breath;
Nothing to shake the laughing heart’s long peace there
But only agony, and that has ending;
And the worst friend and enemy is but Death.

At the beginning of the war people believed it would be over by Christmas….. 

 

By 1918 Wildfred Owen wrote this poem -

Arms and the boy

Let the boy try along this bayonet-blade
How cold steel is, and keen with hunger of blood;
Blue with all malice, like a madman’s flash;
And thinly drawn with famishing for flesh.

 

Lend him to stroke these blind, blunt bullet-leads,
Which long to nuzzle in the hearts of lads,
Or give him cartridges of fine zinc teeth
Sharp with the sharpness of grief and death.

 

For his teeth seem for laughing round an apple.
There lurk no claws behind his fingers supple;
And God will grow no talons at his heels,
Nor antlers through the thickness of his curls.
Anyone who thinks of war as being the domain of men deludes themselves.  Many boys were sent to fight……

Scottish island mum begins a few weeks of showcasing creative memorial works made by a small group of ladies who want to leave their personal thank you legacy in their family.  With no living personnel alive now it seems even more important to say thank you.  So Project Poppy will do this that.

project poppy collage                                             Work by Sue Forey, Di Harris & Fiona Doubleday

Each piece will be profiled in full over the coming weeks.

We can all take some time out of our lives to come together by one single candle light and say thank you.  This evening at 10pm all lights should be extinguished save for a single candle flame.  In the next hour we will stand together and give our deepest thanks to all those who lost so much so we live a free life.

More details on the special hour can be found HERE.

I would like to end with my own personal tribute -

‘It is in this thinking that I feel most humble.  It is in these images that I feel most pain.  It is in this gratitude that I feel most sorrow.  To all that gave so much – I salute you.’

 

Speak soon.  xx

Gently expanding wings

It has been a very busy time at Scottish island mum.  The summer season is well and truly underway on the island and the endless days of sunshine are making it sparkle.  I never grow tired of my route to the village along the shore but it is rare that I see people venturing into the sea.  This summer appears to be the exception as more and more people brave the cold waters.  Of course for many islanders it is a very busy time and we rarely have time to even dip a toe in the water.  I therefore make a point of walking along the shore rather than the roadside for my shifts in the community shop and I never forget how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place.

eigg day 3 010The last couple of months have witnessed Scottish island mum return to study as an advanced course in mindfulness and chronic illness seemed a logical step to take.  Regular readers will know that I have suffered from Fibromyalgia for over 10 years and in that time I have tried many alternative treatment options with varying success.  Without doubt the most successful has been mindfulness which I arrived at through many years of meditation.  Mindfulness teaches us about the moment.  It teaches us about stillness and quiet and it teaches us to let go of negative thoughts that are capable of dominating our mind through the day and into our sleep.  But it has done much more than that for me.  It has helped me see myself and my illness is a new light and it is connected my mind and body in a deeply empowering way.  Chronic illness has the capacity to sneak up on you when you are not looking.  It has the capacity to blight a life.  My illness does neither and I owe that, largely, to mindfulness.

Finally, I have made the space in my life to gently expand my wings and start my own practice.  In reality I have been doing this for some time but my recent studies have enabled me to focus on mindfulness and chronic illness and this is where I think I can offer the most help.  So from the beginning of August my client list will open for a short time to ensure that I keep the practice small.  This, in turn, ensures that I am confident that I have enough time to offer the support that I know will be needed.  If you would like to know more about what I can offer click HERE. 

Just as I ease myself into this new venture in comes an email offering media work that I can get really excited about.  Although nothing is confirmed as yet the potential is exactly what I like to get involved in using the Scottish island mum brand in a sensitive and appropriate way.  Once things are a little clearer I will share with you all.  I get lots of requests for media work and most of them are politely turned down.  This is not your typical blog because it is not interested in promotion for promotion sake.  Scottish island mum will always remain very loyal to her readers who expect her to make the right decisions in what media work to pursue.

My work at the Eco Savvy community shop is taking me down a little path that has always fascinated me.  The history of fashion as an indicator for the changing role of women in society has always drawn a second glance from me.  Last week a Gucci dress was unearthed in a bag of donated clothes.  Hours of searching finally revealed that this was an authentic 1960s Gucci dress and my excitement was clear for all to see.  Last night the search to authenticate a Prada handbag was less rewarding as it proved to be a fake but the process was just as interesting.  I am hoping that these finds signal a responsive approach to what comes through the doors of our little community shop.  We put together a whole display based around the Gucci dress and almost immediately a lady purchased a small print from the table declaring that it was a snapshot of her life in the 1960s and before…….

Ella and Peter Stevenson

In that moment in the shop I understood the real merit of lives as stories and that these stories should be acknowledged and celebrated.  I often celebrate the life of my Grandmother, Ella Stevenson, and describe her as a remarkable woman.  She inspired me in so many ways and as I sat behind my market stall today with a table crammed full of my ‘Make Do & Mend’ collection I smiled.  Ella Stevenson would have approved.  She lived through two world wars and she was a professional seamstress.  Do I need to say more?

On a very similar subject Scottish island mum is almost ready to start her campaign to remember and honour all those who lost so much during the First World War.  100 years have gone by since the beginning of the war that should have ended all wars.  Project Poppy is my way of remembering and saying thank you.  Over the coming weeks this site will be featuring creative work made by a number of people who all wanted to make their own personal tribute.  I consider the sharing of this work to be a true and lasting honour.

So, it is a busy time for Scottish island mum and it is also a time of gently expanding wings.  My favourite creature on this planet is the dragonfly.  I wonder why?

 

Speak soon.  xx