Friday, 8 November 2013

AGD, the AGD Elves, Soul Midwifery and Fluffbucket. A Huge Success in Bridport.

Eileen, the chief AGD Elf, sitting in a quiet moment at the Bridport AGD Soul Midwife Exhibition, at our tea tables.  There was a large amount of cake, flapjacks, teas and coffees for people to help themselves whenever they wanted, helping to ground us all if we needed it.
We, my team of AGD elves and I, had the most wonderful and exhausting exhibition of paintings, Soul Midwife workshops, talks, concerts, music, afternoon teas and deep and meaningful chats.

The AGD elves for this event need to be acknowledged and thanked for their cheerful and consistent hard work.  For their willingness to stay, to help, to take part, to anticipate and to communicate with the public who often needed to talk, and not least, for being nice to me even when I was so distracted that I could not finish a sentence.  And so -

The AGD and Soul Midwife Exhibition Elves Hall of Fame for Bridport November 2013

A big thank you to -

Eileen Rafferty - photographer and friend extraordinaire - quietly keeping everything going behind the scenes
Lizzie Hornby - musician, Unitarian minister, and friend - sweet hearted, efficient and enabling
Jackie Keogh - trooper! With chemo, picc line in your arm - funny, helpful, kind and supportive
Alan Bedford - experienced, kind, fearless - anticipating all needs and seeing to the details without fuss

The AGD and Soul Midwife Exhibition Contributers Hall of Fame, Bridport November 2013

A big thank you to -

Mandy Preece - for starting us all off with her Laughter Therapy Workshop. We needed this!  It was wonderful!
Felicity Warner - for coming to talk about Soul Midwifery, and inspiring new people in the art of gentle dying.  There were so many people who needed Felicity's words, and it was wonderful to have her with us.
Lizzie Hornby - For giving a concert on the Friday of her magical, wonderful and special music, for being so generous 
Jade Parsonage-Buck - for stepping in so gracefully and reading the AGD poetry like a star
Jane Saunders - for playing the harp like an angel on the Saturday afternoon amongst the paintings and afternoon teas
Sarah Weller - for once again giving a sound bath that knocked everyone's socks off.  For making us all laugh.

Setting up for Sarah's sound bath amongst the paintings.  Sarah didn't make us laugh here, it was all very serious and lovely.  She just does it at all other times.  She even calls Jackie "Fluffbucket."

Me and Jackie, aka Fluffbucket, having a quiet moment where I tell her my Grandfather worked for Cadbury's and I and my brothers got to eat all the reject chocolates.  This is the moment I told her Grandad brought home square cream eggs. Taken by Eileen, this is actually a still from a lovely little film she took of us having a chat in a lull at the exhibition.
A steady stream of people came to the exhibition, and there was much to talk about.  Our workshops took place downstairs in the White Room, where we had decorated it to look warm and welcoming.  There were sofas, colourful cushions, lights, candles and some of the more gentle and less challenging AGD paintings.  This is where Jade recited the poetry, I gave a talk on what I do, Lizzie played her concert, Mandy gave her Laughter workshop and Felicity did her Soul Midwife talk.  

The exhibition over the weekend, taken by Eileen.
I will tell you, in a minute, of the experience of one of our visitors.   

There was more than one result for the exhibition in Bridport.  The effect of the paintings is always important with the feelings, responses and emotions that the exhibition stirs up. We care greatly about this, and try to give time and space to those that may need it, and to listen to those who want to talk.   At this event, there was the added bonus of the Soul Midwife connection. The joy of the Soul Midwives meeting each other again, to do their workshops and talks, to visit the exhibition for the first time, to catch up on each others news, and to have Felicity who started it all with us, was wonderful to see.  It was a powerful exhibition because of input of the people involved.  Everyone was able to offer something profound, which added to the atmosphere.  Death and dying is not an easy subject, the paintings are challenging and some of the stories are really sad.  The films we show are true and real, and make us stop and think about how precious our lives are.  There is much love and life too, in A Graceful Death.  There is even laughter and joy.  The presence of the Soul Midwives, those who worked over the weekend with me, and those who came to visit, lifted the spirits of all who came and raised the energy of the whole event.  

Before the exhibition began, I was contacted by a lady I had never met.  She told me she was coming to make a weekend of it.  At the opening event, she introduced herself and after a while, told me that she was coming because she needed to bridge a gap between the last few weeks, at home, after suffering a miscarriage, and going back to work.  She loves her work, but felt that her miscarriage had taken her into a separate and private world of grief and sadness, and she was not sure how to move on from there.  She told me she would take from the weekend what she needed, and that she would know what that was.  I was very moved by her sadness and bravery.  

This lovely young woman attended everything on the Friday and on the Saturday.  After Felicity's talk on Saturday afternoon, from which she gained a great deal of comfort, I asked her how she was. She told me that she was ready to make that transition.  She had, she said, created the perfect life inside her, and then had created the perfect death.  She miscarried the baby at home, over some time, and she and her husband gave it a Viking funeral.  I asked her why she had come to such an event, after experiencing such a terrible thing.  I told her that she was very brave.  She replied that she had been afraid of being with other people's pain, but had come anyway.  What she had wanted was to link everything, her experience of loss, of work, of life, and grief, back to work again.  Her miscarriage, she said, was the loneliest grief. You cannot prepare for it.  She had known that she had to come, and was willing to see what she would learn.

After Felicity's talk, my lady had taken huge comfort and had felt that she had created both life and death, and honoured both, and that she had an innate knowing about death that she could tap into.  And instead of finding herself afraid of experiencing other people's pain at the A Graceful Death exhibition, she had found it a place full of love and warmth.  My new friend finished by saying that she was aware of a heart and mind connection, and at the moment, she was able to leave her head space to live in a heart space, and work from there.

After two days, she decided that she had got what she needed, and left.  I asked if I could use her story for the address I was giving the next day, Sunday, at the Unitarian service, and she agreed.  I think her story is a very poignant example of how A Graceful Death can work.  It can be what you need.  This time, there were a good many of us who had worked with the dying, and the bereaved, and were able to create a safe space for those who needed it.  I am grateful to this young woman, and send her love.  Maybe, I will put a little pot of flowers dedicated to the baby at the next exhibition.  I don't think she will mind.  She told me the name of the baby, and I will name the flowers for the little one.  

Candle by the Prayer and Memory Bowl at Bridport AGD Soul Midwife Exhibition last week.  Taken by Eileen.


Coming up next, fast and furious, hot on the heels of the Bridport AGD Soul Midwife exhibition, next weekend -

A Graceful Death presents a weekend of a Sound and Toning workshop, and One to One Astrological Soul Readings, at my house in Bognor Regis,  

  • A Sound and Toning workshop on Saturday 16 November from 2 - 4 pm, afternoon tea afterwards with discussions and talking.  £10 for the afternoon.
  • One to One Astrological Soul Readings on Sunday 17 November.  Each session is 45 minutes long, and very focussed on you.  You will understand so much about who you are, Sharon's Soul Readings are amazing and enlightening, and Sharon herself is deeply perceptive and intuitive.  Her Astrological Soul Readings are always very popular.  
  • Contact me on to book your session.  Each session is £35.  Sessions start at 11am.  Book soon as Sharon will only be able to do up to five sessions, as they are long and intense and wonderful.  And there is tea and cake included, as usual, all the time.  
Both workshops are run by my dear old friend Sharon, a Transpersonal Psychologist and Sound Healer.  Here she is -

"Sharon Galliford MSc a Transpersonal Psychologist and Sound Healer. Her work is rooted in her love of understanding the connections we all have to our inner knowing and intuition. She has a passion for assisting people through these tumultuous times as they realign themselves to the changes taking place in their lives. Sharon runs regular facilitated support groups, workshops and private client sessions in Lightwater, Surrey.

This weekend of Sound and Toning, and of Astrological Soul Readings is held at my home in Bognor Regis.  Email me at the above address to book your place at either or both of the workshops.

A donation from the proceeds will go to A Graceful Death exhibition and project.  I am very grateful, thank you.


I want to leave you with a small clip of Jane playing her harp in the exhibition area.  She plays it so gracefully.  It added a certain something else, something poetic and lovely, to the afternoon, and you can tell by the way everyone is tucking into the tea and cakes, that they think so too.  Jolly good harp, they are all saying.  Gives one an appetite.   


And finally.  The day Eileen and I left for Bognor Regis again, the car died.  A death of a different kind, and before we could get out and film it, the AA arrived and put in a new battery.  So the car got away with a near death experience, and did not have to join the exhibition after all.

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