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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Running Away to St Ives to Be Alone via At Least Five People.


Two weeks ago I contacted an old school friend who lives in St Ives.  I have not see this friend since we were at school, which was in 1976, so you can imagine she may have longed to keep it that way.  But no, this friend has offered me a restorative holiday many times before and this time I was determined that only my own violent death would prevent me from going.  It was all meant to be;  15 year old son went effortlessly and happily to his cousins in London, 19 year old son did what 19 year old sons do (I don't know what they do) and the lodgers were given a peashooter each, told to repel all intruders and to put the bins out on Friday morning.  I put on my best spotty dress and pink lipstick, and left.  I ran away.

The idea was to be alone.  To anyone who would listen, I said, I must be alone, I must go to where no one knows me, and I can just stay silent for days, thinking things through.  As it turns out, I planned my total alone time thus:
  1. Lunch en route with Felicity Warner, this means lots of what my brothers and I used to describe as Windmilling, going round and round and round, like a windmill, chatting.
  2. Three days with Jane in her St Ives cottage.  I know for a fact that Jane talks a lot and so do I.
  3. Lunch in Penzance with Soul Midwife and lovely lady, Joy, and we both have much to say
  4. On my way back from St Ives, lunch with Lizzie Hornby, who has written and performed the most beautiful music on this link- http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/elizabethhornby, and who is a teacher on this link - www.busymisslizzie.com.  Someone with two websites does not sit in a corner silently watching the world go by.
  5. A night with my dear friend Fern, the witch, Soul Midwife and Reiki Master.  Along with two others, the next day, I am going to do my Reiki 2, making a total of four of us, not including Fern's family.  That is not about me seeking solitude. It is more like me seeking  a party.
First stop, then, lunch with Felicity www.soulmidwives.co.uk.  A lovely sunny day, a cottage in Dorset and chats with a wonderful friend. Felicity has a huge job to do, she has trained hundreds of Soul Midwives and has started something large and powerful.  It is hard to keep all that together, and so she is writing the definitive book on Soul Midwifery, a kind of bible/hand book answering and explaining all aspects of working with the dying.  Felicity is including the spiritual side of Soul Midwifery in this book, which I think is terribly important.  She has much experience working with this side of end of life care, and I am very interested to see how it is received.

Feeling happy and restored by Felicity's company, I set off again for St Ives only stopping along the way for chocolate and crisps from petrol stations, arriving at last in St Ives at 8pm. 

St Ives, on my arrival, looking perfect
  Oh! The narrow streets.  Oh! The masses of people on those narrow streets!  My car could barely fit through the tiny passageways.  Even driving at 5 miles an hour, with all the people milling around, I feared that I would arrive at Jane's front door with holiday makers plastered all over my windscreen, on my roof and wrapped around the bumper.  Jane's cottage, here on the St Ives sea front, is so tasteful, so perfect, so clean and tidy that I knew I would be healed of all ills and discombobulations within minutes - and so I was.  The cottage is painted white top to bottom, white wooden floors, white walls, white ceilings.  Into this whiteness Jane has brought clean bright colours, beautiful objects, but more astonishingly, she has tastefully removed all clutter... there is no clutter, none, nothing, it is not possible you say, but I say, it is so.  Maybe Jane has deep clutter warehouses beneath the floorboards, but I doubt it.  My bed not only has a headboard painted as a bright blue summer sky with white clouds, it has a memory foam mattress too, and everything is here for my comfort.  Oh I can get used to this, I may just call home and get them to send all my stuff and not go home at all.   And Jane says things like, Shall I run you a bubble bath with candles and bring you some tea?  My soul, it healeth but it stayeth quiet, in case she stops.

Wonderful and tasteful kitchen - and, note the paper on the floor.  Jane has been ploughing through her paper work at the computer, and has been chucking it over her shoulder onto the floor.  I think this is clutter.  
 Lunch in Penzance today with Joy, was a joy.  I ordered sweet pea fritters by mistake but got the correct sweet corn ones.  Joy is a healer and a Soul Midwife who wants to bring A Graceful Death to Truro Cathedral.  She has already spoken to the Cathedral about showing it there, with the attendant workshops, talks, discussions and presentations.  I like this idea, though if  we did go ahead, it would probably have to be in 2014.  Joy is a trained bereavement counsellor and aromatherapist, she also uses Singing Bowls to treat people in need of healing.  Being healed with Singing Bowls is a seriously brilliant experience to undergo.  You sit comfortably, and the bowls are struck to produce a single gentle tone that can be prolonged by the practitioner.  There may be one bowl, there may be many, each with a different sound and all of differing sizes but all very powerful and pure.  The bowls, singing their single pure note, are passed about 8" away from and around your body, and where there is a block in your energy, the tone of the bowl will change.  The experience of the sound of these bowls and the silence that surrounds them when they stop ringing, is magic.  I had a session once, and was transported by their grace and power. I did feel very strong and clear in the head afterwards.  So if Joy, or any other trained practitioner offers you a go, take it and write to me to tell me how fab it was.  I will believe and agree with you.  However, on the Truro Cathedral plan, I will update you on any progress, and look forward to Joy doing some workshops for A Graceful Death if it comes to Cornwall.

 And ...

I have to leave St Ives tomorrow morning.  I will go home via Lizzie in Dorset, and on to stay with Fern somewhere else (I haven't actually checked where she lives yet), and then will land back in Bognor Regis on Saturday night.  I came here to be alone, but what that really meant was I came here to gather my thoughts and to talk to as many excellent people as I could.  Without housework, without family stuff, without responsibility.  I am rested, inspired, hoarse, fat (Jane feeds me a lot of treats)  (I eat them all), and I feel normal.  I must remember to do this again, it is one of those things we all need to, do but most of us don't.  I must have Go to St Ives tattooed onto my forehead, so that I am reminded not to let it pass by when I need it again.  Jane has given me so much kindness, support and peace, that I feel renewed, happy and full of admiration for her.  So, thank you Jane, I hope Bognor will one day revive you.  
 I will have to buckle down too next week.  My next exhibition of A Graceful Death is at an event for LOROS Education in Northampton, at the end of October, called Spirit of Caring - Spirituality and Well-being in End of Life Care.  I will be speaking at that event, and showing the exhibition.  And it will showcase the two new paintings that I am doing now for AGD, of Caroline Soar and Winne from Woodleigh Care Home in Notts.  I will also have a rather snappy and wonderful essay on death by my dear friend, the author Olivia Fane.  Olivia is not sure whether AGD is ready for her, but I can assure her, even if they are not ready for her, they will be entertained.  Crack on, Olivia, I said, crack on.  We can handle it.
  Am I healed?

Temporarily.  I will be back.  I may start to cultivate meltdowns so that I have to come back here and get fed chocolates on a memory foam bed, and take buses to Penzance to talk to Joy, go to Dorset to see Felicity in her orchard and Lizzie in her cottage, and Fern in her home, somewhere, in the South, all will be clear when I find her address.  

St Ives Harbour.


This is what Cornwall is to me, rocks and pebbles on the beach and no one for miles around.  I am but a pebble on the beach of life and so on.