Monday, April 29, 2013

sisterhood and breath

Wow, I had such powerful and moving weekend. I still don't quite know how to process it all, but I will try my best to share some of it here with you, and keep the memory alive of it for myself too.

On Friday evening I went to a wonderful women's full moon circle gathering. It was hosted and facilitated by the wonderful Beth Wallace. She blogs here and her facebook page is here.
We began the evening with a gorgeous meal, a feast for all the senses. There were four of us sharing the evening and we chatted a little over the meal about ourselves and where we are at. We talked a little about what had brought us there.
 For me I had gone to the evening full of gratitude. 
Gratitude for the place in which I find myself now and gratitude to the women who have supported and carried me through recent turbulent, difficult times. 
 Beth told us that she had invited some people to put their names forward, through her fb page, who wanted to be thought of during the fire event we were having later in the evening. Her intention was to write those names on pieces of paper and offer them into the fire as she wished for them what they wished for themselves.
 I thought this was a wonderful way to honor those women who have supported me and so I got some paper and a pen and wrote the names of those special, important women. 
Following the meal we smudged each other with sage before entering what Beth calls her temple. There we sat, eating pineapple and raw chocolate and we shared some more of where we were at.
 As I was talking about the support I had received and the gratitude I felt, I suddenly saw just who these women are.
 They are my sisters.
 I am one of four children, three of whom are boys. So I have never had a sister, I have never felt like I missed one. But this is what I felt, so strong and from the heart. 
These women are my soul sisters, who love me unconditionally, who wipe my tears and offer help, who listen to my rantings and ravings and who see me even when I don't see myself. 
Oh the joy and the truth of that realisation was so powerful it brought me to tears.

When we had all shared it felt like a good time to do some drumming. We took a drum each and after a while of sitting in deep silence a very slow, soft heart beat of drumming began. As the beat developed I felt a very strong urge to sing. I started to sing just what was in my heart.
'hey sister'
'hey mother'
'walk with me'
'sing with me'
'drum with me'
'laugh with me'
'dance with me'
'birth with me'
'hey sister'
'hey mother'
While I was singing another voice joined in, someone started dancing. The walls melted away and we were drumming and singing and dancing with every woman in the world. 
It was incredible, so beautiful, so moving.
Organically the music came to an end and when I opened my eyes I was so surprised to find we were still in the small room in west cork! We were all pretty speechless and awestruck. 
The time was right to go outside to the fire. We got on our warm things and walked out to the garden carrying little candle lanterns to light the way to where the fire was blazing. 
We stood around the fire for a little and then in the Beltane tradition I leaped over the fire. Then I knelt and by the candle light took my little stack of names. 
I sang each name in turn, from the heart and with deepest thanks before offering them to the fire. It was beautiful.
After the others had done what was important to them, we held hands around the fire and held each other letting the endless joy and wonder of the evening wash over us. 
We felt like we had really connected with each other and also with women (and men) all over the world and all over time. We felt part of something so big, so powerful, so strong.
One of the women had brought her ukulele with her and played us a very beautiful song she had written herself and then it was time to go in. To my complete surprise it was nearly 1am, a whole hour after I had told my babysitter I would be home (luckily she is very lovely and special and didn't mind at all).

The next morning I was still very tired, but I could barely talk. I was still so overwhelmed by the evening. I sat the kids in front of a dvd and I sat in the morning sunlight and painted, from the heart, trying to capture some of the essence of the experience.

 I painted being held by hands, by sisters, I painted the fire and energy of love,
 I painted women, holding each other's hands, strong, struggling, old, young, filled with fire, filled with fear.
 women holding hands, holding the world
 when I finished I pegged it outside in the wind, the wind that will blow my love to each of my sisters, all of my sisters, to you.

Friday night was a real out breath, I breathed out my love and gratitude, I sang out my love and gratitude.
Sunday was an in breath.

I was very lucky that on Sunday the chaplaincy of Cork University had invited some monastics from Plum Village who study under Thich Nhat Hanh to guide a day of mindfulness that was open to the public. Sunday is the day Andy has the kids, so after dropping them off I drove myself there and enjoyed a wonderful, very peaceful, very nourishing day. I learnt so much and it will really help to deepen my practice which I have been using for nearly a year now I think. It was a true breathing in.

I got home shattered and I am still very tired today, but wow what a weekend. Certainly one I will never forget!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

knitted waldorf doll wig tutorial

ETA: this tutorial has been removed as I have decided to make it available as part of a full waldorf doll making tutorial available for sale in my etsy shop. To purchase this and other Under Rainbows Patterns please visit my shop:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

counselling - my graduation

I asked Benny to take this picture of me on my graduation day with my candle and my speech
 My final session at counselling had such a feeling of celebration and graduation which both my counselor and I really felt. I lit my candle and told her the story about having made it and hearing the message.
She asked me to make a speech (if I wanted to) and I did. She transcribed it for me as I spoke. Here it is:

My time here has been a study of my life.
I learnt ways that I could look at my life and see the manner in which I was living it.
I could see the effects that other people's actions and emotions were having on the way I was living and the way I felt about myself.

I saw my strengths and the roles I had
I learnt to see my armor and my shields
I learnt to see where I carry my emotions, my fears, my pain

And I learnt how to stop living in the outer circles of my life
and how to feel my feet on the ground
and feel my heartbeat in my chest
and feel nothing else.

When I had learnt to just be
I learnt that when I looked around I was filled with happiness
and light
and hope
and space

I learnt how to live as that being instead of within a whirlwind of chaos and influences

I learnt how to just be
and I learnt that I make my own light. 

My counselor rolled it up for me and tore the ribbon from her diary to make it into a scroll, which I shall put next to the other certificates of merit I have earned.

I left the office light and happy and filled with love and joy for myself and the world...

and to celebrate the kids and I had cake :-)

Monday, April 22, 2013



 Once there was, and once there was not, a young mother who lay on her deathbed, her face pale as the white wax roses in the sacristy of the church nearby. Her young daughter and her husband sat at the end of her old wooden bed and prayed that God would guide her safely into the next world. The dying mother called to Vasalisa, and the little child in red boots and white apron knelt at her mother's side.
"Here is a doll for you, my love, " the mother whispered, and from the hairy coverlet she pulled a tiny doll which like Vasalisa herself was dressed in red boots, white apron  black skirt and a vest embroidered all over with coloured thread.
"Here are my last words, Beloved", said the mother. "Should you lose your way or be in need of help, ask this doll what to do. You will be assisted. Keep the doll with you always. Do not tell anyone about her, Feed her when she is hungry. This is my mother's promise to you, my blessing on you, dear daughter."
 (an extract from Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes)
 During my second session with her, my counselor read this extract to me. It touched me deeply that she had made such effort to find a way to speak to my heart.
I started seeing my counselor a month or so after Andy and I separated in the summer. It has been a wild and wonderful journey into myself these past few months. It has been at times painful, there has been so much thinking and work to do.
 I have cried many tears of joy and pain and relief
 I have learnt so much.
 I have found ways to cope.
 I have built an incredible tool box of techniques to cope with difficult and stressful situations.
 I have learnt what I need to do to thrive: to fly and soar far above just mere surviving.
Throughout this whole time my counselor has been  the most gentle, touching and intuitive guide I could ever have hoped for. She has truly been my gift from the universe, the exact support and teacher that I needed just at this time.
My journey with her has led me back to a place, close to my source, a place that feels so right and good, a place I forgot how to be in when I was asleep all those years.
And now I am back, I am wide awake and I am feeling so many changes.
 I am very at peace, even in moments of crazy, single-mum stress.
 I feel very free and easy.
I have freedom to choose who I am and what I do.
 I am no longer smothered by 'being mother'. I love being the mother of my kids, and sometimes mother to myself, but it is a face of the prism and the light is free to shine bright and strong through other parts of myself now too.
I have become vegetarian again, something which has taken me quite by surprise, not a conscious choice, but one made by my body, by my soul.
And now, I am in a place to move on. I am ready to stop visiting with this wonderful, guide, this angel.
 I know I am strong enough to face whatever life throws at me and I know that I can seek out the glory and the love in everyone and everything. I have a tool box to build on and faith in the feet that appear on the right path in front of me.

To celebrate my last session I asked my counselor if I could make her a gift.  I made the Vasalisa doll from the story. A tiny symbol of my respect and deepest, deepest thanks for who she is and what she has done for me.
She had asked me what else I would like to do to mark the occasion and I decided I would like to light a candle for myself in that space, a candle I can then take home and carry with me as a reminder of this time of great learning and of finding myself again.
 I looked for something suitable for a week or so before it occurred to me that I had sheets of beeswax left over from Christmas crafting. So I rolled myself this one. While I did this thought occurred to me, as clearly as if a voice had said it...

You make your own light

How true and what a lovely way to think of this light, my light and my place in the world.
Thanks for letting me share :-)

Friday, April 19, 2013


My garden ends in this funny little triangle. I have long wanted to make a bean tee pee for the kids, so today I thought I'd try and wee experiment...
 Joa and I went into the field next door and cut lots of long lengths of willow that is growing there.
 Andy had made planters all around the edge of the garden. So I stuck the ends of the willow branches as deeply as I could into the planters
and tied the tops over. In a few weeks when the weather is more stable (please!) we will plant a little bean seed at the bottom of each branch and come the summer I imagine a shady and delicious den at the bottom of the garden. My garden guru also said the willow might well grow. So we will watch this living den with interest and see if my vision fulfills itself.
 the kids certainly find it a perfect place to eat a post school ice cream :-)
 The post man delivered a parcel today from a dear friend, in it among other things, this beautiful yarn, which I will knit into something for me,
 and lots of lovely pieces of fabric and some very brilliant 'cat agent' sew on badges for the kids. Happiness!
 We made pasta salad for lunch
 which we ate in the garden.
 I got another present from another friend (my lucky day today!) a vegetarian haggis brought back from a recent trip to Scotland.

Today was so lovely, filled with these wee moments of pure bliss, happiness, joy, carefree, love.

 There seems to have been time for everything and the evening sun is setting and the peace continues,
bodes well for a good weekend, which is what I wish for you x

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

my garden

Oh I'm so excited and happy. I spent the morning in the garden. For the last few weeks the kids and I have been following instructions from a friend on getting the garden ready. She has really green fingers and has taken us under her wing. She very kindly planted a couple of extra seeds of everything she is growing and today arrived at the house with boxes filled with tiny, beautiful seedlings for us.

my herbs all lined up (and a daisy the kids planted I can't bare to discard)
 She showed me how to transfer them into the ground and gave me instructions about watering and weeding and airing.
peas, blue berries, red and black currants and a goji berry bush

calendula, spring onions, cut and come again lettuces
 She helped me to imagine and space out the plants in the green house
nasturtiums, rocket and sweet corn

lettuce, tomatoes
 I feel so excited and happy to be gardening, I think I am really going to enjoy it and I think I am going to learn a great deal!
I'll keep you updated on how it is all fairing.
Oh the joys of it all!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

a lovely morning

After nearly a week of the household having a tummy bug we're back to our normal selves today and it is so wonderful :-)
After we dropped Rebe to school in the morning the boys and I had a quick walk on the beach before coming home to spend some time in the garden together.

 getting stones out of the planters in the green house, ready for the arrival of seedlings

 Benny found a great way to get rid of the sprouted peas that had been 'planted' by the kids in the wrong places

 wonderful big skies
 and a great big wind. We hung up this large piece of blue fabric on the washing line for the boys to play with and while I sat knitting a few rows I could hear the most wonderful games of ships and houses and tents being played with it
in inappropriate and ill fitting shoe wear. We've been waiting for nearly 2 years for these handed down sandals to fit someone, and they still don't but lots of games have been played with them, reminds me of that slipper that Rebe and Benny loved a few years ago.
marble runs in the sunny playroom
Jack love
and of course lots of time for stories.

We're about to go and get Rebe now then take part in the National Spring clean by doing some litter picking on the beach. A lovely morning and no doubt a lovely afternoon.

Friday, April 12, 2013

this week...

there has been an abundance of:

I finished this very sweet little custom boy doll. I have also come to a sort of decision about my doll making that I will think a bit more about before sharing it here. But because of that I would love to clear my shop, so am offering 50% off what is left there, using the coupon code SALE123.

 practicing embroidery stitches for a project I want to start soon

There has been lots of  baking, making and cooking:
 cashew nut and dried fruit bars
feta cheese and spinach quiche
  mung bean and rice soup (Joa was supervising the making of this right next to where I keep the camera... hence the photo)
 Short bread biscuits to give to our friends the bin men who very kindly brought the kids Easter eggs on Monday

There has been lots of weather: the beginning of the week cold and wet and windy
 a very wet walk

 the wind blasting the sea foam up over the cliffs onto the path

There has been some (but not too much) cleaning...
 with fabulous shoes
and there has been time for me...

Hope your week was just as lovely and that the weekend is filled with joy and laughter x