Remembering last year

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A year ago, March, I was on an artist residency in the #westfjordsiceland – remember? I created this time and space alone for me from scratch because I wanted to return and experience Iceland again after my island tour.
Wow want a difference a year makes. I got lost a bit out there, in the dark and desolate place. But I also found out stuff about myself; that I love solitude, exploring new places, and sharing my joy on my own terms. I’m planning on doing just that in June, when we have a #summersolstice creative retreat happening in #Iceland. This is going to be an intimate affair. Only space for 5 women, including me. It’s half filled already. Writing, art, yoga, nature, Wild swimming, good food, good company, laughter and no doubt tears.
If you’ve been itching to visit Iceland, this is your opportunity. Time away from your everyday,experiencing the sublime within a supportive sisterhood as well as space and time for solitude. As I said, I like my solitude and breathing space. Just to be. Check out the details in my profile. DM if you have any questions. #practice #visualjournal #selfportraitureasmedicine #seeingmyself #wildawimming #outdoors #womenscreativity #walkingwriting #walkingwomen #creativeretreaticeland #icelandcreativeretreat
 

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Artists’ Residencies

While coming to the end of my first trip to Iceland, while relaxing after time at The Blue Lagoon realising that I wanted to return to my life back home with Grace, I made a promise to myself that I would return to Iceland. I had to return.

It was from this point onwards that I started to look at artists’ residencies. I had just spent a week touring the whole of Iceland, so I was looking to base myself in one place for the duration of a residency in order to give myself a different experience.

The only place I couldn’t get to this first time around was the Westfjords. I’m not sure if I did this on purpose so I’d have to return or because it was about 8 to 9 hours drive to get there from Reykjavik off the Ring Road. This gave me a good enough reason to return as well as to fix my sights on a retreat in the Westfjords.

Through my research I found The Westfjords Residency.
“We seek to create encounters between nature and man, foreigner and local, the remote and the connected.“
A Danish-Belgian couple came to Thingeyri in 2005, started to rebuild an old, historic house into a coffeehouse called “Simbahöllin” in 2009. They then went on to create a cultural space with the Residency program being part of this. They offer group residencies that can be applied for but also self-directed individual residencies.

Before I worked out what I really wanted to do with my time in the Westfjords, I put in an application asking for a two week stay in winter 2017. I knew I had to immerse myself in the landscape of Iceland more, to explore this curious relationship and connection I had formed with this place. Basing myself in a remote and isolated fishing village was the ideal situation to do so.

I look back now at the time I spent in the Westfjords, while still in Iceland but this time in the south, and I wonder what happened then. What did I do with my time out there? What did I achieve, if anything?

I could judge this endeavour along productivity lines. I could judge it by the all-doing, all- going and all-singing-and-dancing routine that are the external markers of today’s society. It’s how we function.

But that would be missing the point. A residency or retreat, for that matter, is about the time and space away from the everyday not doing the usual. An opportunity to settle deeper into the self. It’s a chance to take your foot off the accelerator and to press on the brakes, gently. Allowing yourself to come to a complete stop and just be.

Breathe, deep breaths not the shallow sharp ones that you’ve been getting by on for years. But really deep juicy breaths that fill you up with wonder and awe and reignite you again from the core, from your true self.

Taking my cues from this definition of a residency then my time spent in the Westfjords was time well spent. I look forward to repeating the experience.

Iceland Insights

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I’ve been thinking of 2018. I’ve been making plans. The New Year will see me visiting Iceland again for a few days. I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. While on retreat in March in Pingeryi, I briefly got to witness some pale ivory lights by down the sea shore. Their movement was magical and sublime. I’m getting ready for more.

In preparation for the creative retreat planned for June, I’ve revisiting in January to complete the final touches also. As a means of getting me in the mood over Christmas, I’ve been creating an Iceland Oracle deck of cards through a course from Tara Leaver. These cards are linked in with #icelandinsights; a photo/ journal prompt challenge I’m running during the month of January.

I’ll be posting images and text each day during January 2018 on IG, Facebook, Twitter and here. And you are more than welcome to join me. Use the #icelandinsights and we’ll be able to find each other.

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1. Re-entry into my everyday after being away is harsh.
2. The sun glows low.
3. We walk the shore alone and smell the waves.
4. My everyday life is full of kinks.
5. The terns dance within the foam.
6. Strong black coffee steams.
7. Luther Vandross ‘Searching’ on the radio.
8. Emails plying up as is the washing.
9. Box set bingeing late into the night.
10. Not ready to start it all again tomorrow.

best day of 2017

Day 3 of December Reflections and the prompt is : best day of 2017.

This year has been long and short, amazing and disconcerting, a breeze and a challenge. But I started with an intention – this year was one of the ‘voice’. My voice.

In January I attended a writers’ retreat for finding our voices to talk about the issues we care about.

Visiting #Iceland twice, strengthened my relationship with the land, my vision as well as my voice talking about my body in the world.

And now into the final month of the year, my time with @Idlewomen #shiftingloyalties is coming to an end and the signs I have been receiving are that I am on the right path. Sometimes that path might be lonely, I might be the only loud voice quaking ( we have ducks here) about an issue but support and encouragement is not to too away.

Last night I shared my poetry for the first time since I lost my voice in 2015. I’m emboldened. I heard my voice. My voice is strong and true and she is me.

Inner Truth

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Click here to visit The Phoenix Soul.

We are raw & real. Grit & grace. Truth-speakers. Heart-on-our-sleevers. Love-believers. You are. I am. We are The Phoenix Soul. – Amanda Fall

I chose the wrong month to be on a hiatus as I’m bubbling with excitement. There  are so many amazing things I want to share with you, what are happening right now, in this moment. And they fill me with joy. Big-wide-smiling-joy. You know the kind, you’ve seen my self-portraiture. You know it’s that smile.
It gives me great pleasure to share with you my Truth Tribe interview with the lovely Amanda Fall, creator and publisher of The Phoenix Soul magazine.

The Phoenix Soul has been on my radar for a few years now, ever since I read Beth Morey and followed Teresa Robinson, creator of Right Brain Planner.
What appealled to me about this magazine is the openess, the honest sharing and communication between a sisterhood of inspiring and creative women. I aspired to be part of this community as I worked through the trauma and grief of being alone, ostracised without such support and encouragement.

Over the past couple of years, through my work and practice of becoming my authentic self, I have enjoyed the privilege of sharing my words, images, thoughts and feelings via social media, which at one time was the death of me. Within this digital space, I have found my voice again. So it is really humbling and awe-inspiring when someone I admire, who is doing great work out there, reaches out to me and asks me to be involved in a beautiful project.

I jumped at the chance to be interviewed for The Phoenix Soul because I appreciate the truth-telling that this magazine shares. I gasp at and empathise with the women who share their stories within, expose their vulnerabilities with such strength and courage. I aspired to stand amongst these women. And now I do.

Selling for $6, each issue of The Phoenix Soul magazine is packed with oodles of  juiciness. Pages of hand-crafted mixed media backgrounds in full color with handwritten love notes from Amanda fill the reader with hope, healing and love. Soul-centred and truth-telling, words and imagery combine to provide a powerful, intimate read.

Have I mentioned  how honoured I am to be part of this tribe? Head on over and grab your copy today and I’d be mighty surprised if you aren’t inspired, affected and empowered by what you explore within The Phoenix Soul.
Click here to visit The Phoenix Soul.

The Creative Retreat Iceland Is Here


When I was at my lowest a couple of years ago, I channelled what little energy I had left into a pipe dream.
I didn’t have much money or direction. I was working on myself from the inside out but wasn’t sure of the path. But my soul whispered to trust; trust in myself.

I’m not sure when Iceland came onto my radar, but it has always captivated me. It always seemed to me to be a distance mythical land that would remain thriving within my imagination and never become a reality. Until I took action and made the decision to invest in myself.

I booked a flight to Iceland with a credit card without much time to reconsider or second guess myself. I didn’t have a plan, I just took one small step after another to create this trip away. Booked the flight, then thought about places to stay. I thought this would be my only chance to get to Iceland so I’d try to see as much as the country as possible. I booked a hire car, and started to plan my route around the whole island, stopping each night in a different place. Hotels, motels and hostels, whatever was available I made the bookings. My dream was becoming a reality because I was believing in myself. Believing that I could do this.

By the time I reached Iceland, May 2015, I had a map and a plan but I was still scared. I’d never visited the country before, I hadn’t driven there, and I certainly didn’t speak the language. But I’d been dreaming about this and now it was happening so I made a promise to myself to just enjoy it. Go with the flow and enjoy.

The sun was shining that first day I drove north out of the Reykjavik, onto the ring road, heading to the Western peninsula of Snæfellsnes. It was just me and Beyoncé’s Lemonade, in that car. This trip to Iceland changed my life. And that’s not hyperbole because by the end of my time there, I felt empowered, I felt free and back to me, the authentic me. I had done it all by myself for myself and I felt amazing. I also knew I had to return to Iceland, and keep returning to develop our relationship as we were speaking to each other on a deep level, on a soulful level.

I have returned to Iceland twice since then and I’m planning to return in 2018. And I’d like you to come with me. I didn’t have anyone with me to show me the way, so I found my way around one step at a time. I would love to be your guide, your safe and supportive passage into Iceland. I would love to share my love of Iceland with you. Go check out the Iceland – The Retreat page, to see what I have planned for our time together. Any questions, just get in touch.

Dreaming of Iceland

I’ve started a portfolio for Iceland. It seems an age since I was last there, but I am making plans to return. Bubbling under the surface of everything else that is happening in my life, is the body memory of how I felt while I was there. How I felt I opened up like blossom  to who I really was inside. That I thrived on the silence and solitude and the beauty of the landscape. Some how the serenity and honesty of the landscape, reflected something inside me. I recognised myself there, and I want to capture that feeling again as well as replicate it here, in my every day life.

How is the question?
I need to return to find out.

From the WSW vault: synchronicity

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September 2015

“I was never that keen on The Commodores’ song, Easy Like A Sunday Morning. It got on my nerves. But now knee deep in family life, I can really embrace the sentiment.
It’s Sunday morning and after being up for what seems like hours, I’ve finally managed to sit down to some ‘me time’ with coffee, breakfast and journal. And that pisses me off.
Apart from being woken from 5.30am onwards by the little one who wanted to come into mum and dad’s bed. Then spending the next few hours trying to get some sleep with a child clinging around my neck like a little marsupial. Then it’s the constant chorus, Can we get up now?
Then when I get up with a struggle (far too early for a Sunday morning) there’s breakfast to be done, dishes to be cleared, washing to put in, clothes to put away. A whole multitude of tasks to do before I can sit down and savour a moment with coffee and thoughts. And that pisses me off.
Call it what you like, I’m calling it synchronicity, the experience of two or more events popping up in my life that seem to be related. The concept of this experience of things popping up a few times having a meaningful coincidence was described by Carl Jung back in the 1920s ( again someone who keeps popping up in my life lately, coincidence?)
Anyway, over the last couple of days there’s been three instances that I can recall where having a morning routine or even ritual was important as a means of starting your day in the right fetal. And to be honest, I’ve just skimmed read the email, the blogpost, and the pdf. document, just thinking this is not for me. Yeah right if only I had the time. But now I’m hellbent on making this my thing. Making the time.
I don’t want to go through the rest of my day pissed off. I don’t want to carry this resentment around with me for the rest of the day. I love my family but sometimes they can just get in the way. There I’ve said it.
So I need to create a way for me to ease into my day with my good head on, Worzel Gummidge style. Ease into my day with grace. Ease into my day being the authentic me.
So this Sunday, I make a pledge to myself to trial out a morning ritual. I prefer to use the word ‘ritual’ instead of routine because it adds an element of the sacred to the proceedings. And a morning ritual should be placed at that level of sacred because then it is honoured and protected. It’s going to be my time to gather my thoughts and feelings, listen to myself and honour the person I am before I bring this person out into the world, ready.
That’s it, I wasn’t ready this morning to meet the world but if I took the time each morning to be alone in silence and at peace with myself, I’d be ready to meet the world, best face forward.
So yes I’ll be spending the next couple of weeks getting up early, hey why not 5.30am, it seems a popular time these days! And spending this time before anyone else is up in my house to experience some quality time in communication with myself. I’m getting excited about it already.
Tune in again and find out how things are going. I hope to present a less pissed off version of myself here very soon. “

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I’ve brought this posting out of the Wild Soul Woman’s vault because this need for a morning ritual has raised it’s head again. It’s the summer holidays, and my time is not my own. Before I know it the day is over, and I don’t feel as if I’ve given myself the time and space to breathe.
I’m also embarking on a more healthy and balanced lifestyle which needs commitment as well as the time and space to prepare and be organised for each day ahead. So what better time to do this if not before the day starts with it’s demands and responsibilities.

Ideally, I would like to use this quiet time to ease into the day. To continue my yoga practice. To start a mediation practice, undisturbed. To write and touch base with myself. To maybe get out into nature as the sun is rising. Have the sea all to myself. Also to have breakfast and plan the rest of the meals for me for the day. Spend the time looking after myself.
It sounds so selfish written here, but I know it is so very very needed and necessary, if I am going to succeed in this commitment to me and my health.
So yes, as I start this practice again tune in and see how I get on. Hopefully share more of my experiences and insights as they unfold.
Please wish me luck, thanks x