The sea, the sea and a West Cork Calling..

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‘I want to live by the sea, not die by the sea’.

Sometimes you’ve just got to dive in. In diving you can’t but go under.

It’s not what I had been expecting, the radio silence on my writing and creative output but that is exactly what’s happened. You see, I have been literally swimming in a world of newness.

For years I have been talking about a vision of mine- to live in the countryside while running a creative school or venture. I always saw the sea and a dog by my side, yet it always seemed in the future. But as the years move on, I realise the future is now, and the future is not coming any sooner unless I act upon my dreams.

It is such a hard thing to give up something that is going well for the risk of something better, deeper, that may or may not work. The questions and doubts are hard too- How will I sustain myself? Will I be lonely? What about my yoga classes? What about my friends? What if that dream was all but an illusion and I will come out the other end with no other dream.

But my body knew. Back in January while on a retreat in the UK, it became clear to me that, for the sake of my very being, it was time to move and the time was soon. I did not feel ready but I knew intrinsically I had to immediately take action. There was a particular part of Ireland calling too; a place I knew well as a teenager, and a place which over the last few years had re-planted itself deep in my heart. West Cork.

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Once I made the decision it all happened pretty fast, which is often the case with these things.

The day I returned from the UK I sent a message to one of the few people I knew living in West Cork, asking if she knew of any housesits available. She told me that they are hard to come by but then said that her mother was actually looking for a someone. So I immediately contacted her Mum, and yes, I could bring my dog, and yes I could borrow her car.

It only took one email.

Flow is a sign of the right course of action. This almost seemed too easy.

But what about my room in Dublin? I sent an email to my friends wondering if anyone would be interested in subletting while I tested the Cork waters. Immediately I found someone.

That only took one email too.

So, ten weeks ago I found myself in Schull, West Cork, with a sea view and a dog by my side. This had been the dream for so long there were days I had to pinch myself. Has it really been that easy?

Sometimes we can be led to believe that what we really are called to do is not the right thing unless it is hard and challenging. Yet this whole experience shows me that the ease is a signpost too. The ease is permission and a gateway. ‘Follow’, it says.

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Ten weeks ago I took that housesit in Schull, really knowing only one person in town. Now, ten weeks on, I find myself walking down the street constantly stopping to chat. One day I went out for milk and came home seven hours later- there was the milk, and then the many many many conversations I had with people along the way. They stop to say hello to Milly and then the conversation opens. It is that kind of place. People have time and space and it is leading to very interesting connections. I am not sure where they are heading, but what’s important is the time and space.

There have been many surprises. I had thought in moving that I would have so much more time for writing, painting and new creative projects, but instead, the silence. Over these weeks there has been a lot of quite and a lot of listening. I have walked and walked and walked the coastline. I have listened to Spring turn into Summer and watched the clouds shift in an instant. The landscape offers its daily gifts. It is a landscape which thrills and embraces and it is a landscape which is alive and supportive. Even when the weather is bad it offers its wild intimacies and the unexpected turns of its stormy ways. The sea is in constant dialogue, the birds and wildlife too. It’s never a dull moment out there. The aliveness of it all envelopes and invites me into a deeper conversation too with my own particular wildness and aliveness. I indeed feel I am living by the sea.

When I first left Dublin I knew it was a trial run of a bigger and more substantial move. Ten weeks on, the housesit is over but I’m still here. I’ve a new friend has kindly offered to let me stay with her from the summer and am looking for a longer term house, trusting that the right one is out there for me. I gave notice on my house in Dublin and packed my bags last week. I’ll miss my yoga classes, and my friends, and all the good things that Dublin has to offer, but I knew I just had to leap.

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And so in the time and space, another aspect of that long held dream has evolved, with relative ease too. I launched Thrive School, and with a bit of marketing effort and conversations with people interested, it is now up and running and fully subscribed. The flow was there, telling me to keep on moving and developing it.  And so, with such gladness, I can say that my vision of the school is alive and evolving too. My plan is to launch Thrive School again in Dublin in the Autumn and a new class in Cork too. How exciting is that!

Diving in, I’m sinking deeper into beingness, into an exploration of what it means to track a dream. I feel lucky, so very lucky, to have the sea and my little dog by my side, and how can I ever be lonely with the wildness outside and the bit of wildness I am rediscovering inside too.

To be continued…


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On the Tale of Marrakech.

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Ah, the delights. It had been on my wish list for a very long time. The thoughts of wandering a warren of red hued streets, of exploring a rich craft and design culture, of hearing the call to prayer and the guttural sounds of Arabic through the soundscape. Then there were thoughts of tagines, and rosewater, and Riads, and succulents, and even a nervous curiosity about what going to a local hammam would actually entail. I had wanted to go with my camera, knowing we would get lost only to find our way again. It all happened, on a whirlwind visit, which turned out to be just a taster. Now I want to return, for the place has so much intrigue and hospitality. Plus I have never felt cleaner in my life after a lovely (and brave) woman scrubbed layers off me. Marrakech, you delight with your charms and your ancient, beautiful, crazy and chaotic ways….

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I travelled there with my housemate, Eavan, who not only has an amazing flair for design and an appreciation of elegance, also took on the mighty task of chief navigator and map reader. For those who have been, you will understand when I say that getting lost is an inevitability. But that is the fun of it. We walked over 30km one day, circling and spiraling through a maze of souks (markets), dodging the traffic and navigating the haggling hoards. Our haggle skills got honed too, as we tuned into the psychology of it, and the game of it too. Our adventures through the markets were intercepted with the occasional sweet mint tea or a delicious juice to give some pause. The light did the rest.

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In the evening, our Riad (courtyard home) was a genuine oasis and simply to ponder its proportions and elegant design was a treat. That we got to stay there, even more so.

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We packed so much in I felt I had been away for much longer than 3 nights, and the whole experience was like inspiration fuel- stepping into another culture to learn, see, experience and soak in the magic and beauty of this world we live in. Thank you Eavan. Thank you hosts. Thank you Marrakech. We will be back, and hopefully soon….

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This Creative Island…

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So folks, I don’t have a Creative Islanders interview for you this week but I do have a series of photos and a writing extract from my recent travels around this very creative island, when I was fueling myself with inspiration and lining up some more interviews for future editions…

Travelling around the South West and West coast I was reminded over, and over, of how amazingly beautiful this country is, how fortunate I am to call this home and how much more there is to discover. This land is charged with potential and possibility. This land is alive with story and myth.

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Here a little extract from my journal while on my travels, offering a sense of what is on offer.

I needed time, away from words and screens. Instead this happened…

I got birds, in abundance- blackbirds, swallows, herons, egrets, greytits, cormorants, crows, wrens, gulls, moorhens, swifts and a whole number of little finches whose names I do not know. They potter and swoop, telling tales of distant lands and the ever wonderous majesty of flight.

Instead I got the sea. Inhaling and exhaling, offering a slower pace; a steady inevitabilty of change. There was the necessary meeting of cold salty water on my skin and unapologetic mud between my toes, marking trails of adventure.

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Instead I got hedgerows, their edges all fired up with mombrisia and behind, the budding blackberries- some still in bloom, some just ripening, some ready to pick. Then the ferns- at various stages of unfurl. And the moss and the fushia, and the little yellow flowers in bloom, unnamed in me also, and those purple too. Their beauty is name enough.

Then the sunsets, cliched in magnificance, defiant of words, interjected only with the sounds of flapping sails, birdsong and the music from another peninsula.

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Instead I got time with little Finn. Her first sea swim. Her claiming of empty crab claws, and dried seaweed fronds and abandoned sea clams. And the hours and hours of shore wandering and exploration of headlands. And the time we saw dolphins. And the boats we took. And the days we lost track of time.

I needed time away to come towards. Towards the natural life, the one which does not need to be switched on or plugged in but consequently plugs you in and switches you on.

The sun is out now, and we are off again with no agenda but to wander, with no aspiration but to be. Me and my four legged friend.


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