Four Months: Friday

50913C40-FC57-4BC4-B6A4-185F92E7B91A.jpeg

Friday is our last full today together. It is with great sorrow that I have to bring this circle to an end. I hate goodbyes. I usually sneak out in the dead of night, before anyone else is awake, to avoid saying goodbye. To avoid having to look my fellow travellers in the eye and allow them to see how deeply this time with them, this experience has touched me, changed me.

But today, this time, I stand before you and acknowledge how much you have brought and contributed to this retreat. I couldn’t have done it without you. I acknowledge how much our time together has left such an impression upon me. I know I’m not the same person who arrived here just a few days ago to facilitate this holding of space for you.

I don’t want our time together to end, but end it must but I stand before you saying goodbye confident in the feels that you are leaving here also changed; empowered and inspired and more secure in yourself and who you be.

Before we leave, let’s spend one more morning together with our visual journals. Let’s continue the magic one more time as we play with paint, visuals and texts. Let’s share those images of our days together; the sunrises over breakfast, the tears of recognition as we open up to each other, the smells of fresh cooked pancakes and strawberries and chocolate, the laughter late into the midnight sun. Let’s make a promise to ourselves to keep giving ourselves this time and space to think and dream and breathe.

In the afternoon, we drive to
Jökulsárlón. Jökulsárlón is a glacial lagoon, bordering Vatnajökull National Park in southeastern Iceland. Its waters are a strange turquoise blue, still and dotted with icebergs. On one side is a black sand beach. On the other, the route leads to the Atlantic Ocean. As mesmerising as this glacier lagoon is, it’s here evidence of global warming lies. What we do with this knowledge is yet to be decided. But the conversation has begun.

Advertisements

Olwen Wilson

B84F88CD-FB31-480A-950D-8CE77E4A6CD4

When you find someone in your life who encourages you to hold onto your dream, who supports you in making it a reality, you have to honour them. You have to welcome them into your life and give thanks for their presence.

One such person in my life is Olwen Wilson. Olwen has gently supported me in bringing our Iceland Creative Retreat to fruition. Olwen has not only been a cheerleader but she is also offering her skills to the retreat. I thank you.

Let me introduce you to Olwen.

1. Tell us something about yourself

I’m Olwen (pronounced All-wen) Wilson. I’m an intuitive healing guide, secret keeper, advocate and fierce mama bear. I’m also a yoga teacher, Reiki master and I teach English as a second language to children.

The loves of my life are my husband and our seven-year-old son. My fur babies include two rescue cats that quickly claimed our family as their own.

I love getting out in the fresh air, being creative and learning new things. In the past year alone, I’ve given hand thrown pottery a try (I get an arm workout every time I pick up the mug I made), I made some recycled metal earrings, did some beading and needle felting, and learned to crochet (guess what my lucky family got as Christmas presents). But I’m also the happiest hibernating in our home because it’s the best way for me to recharge.

You can learn even more about me over on my website echorootswellness.com.

2. What gets you up out of bed in the morning?

Connection. Funny enough for this introvert (who can put in the effort to be an extrovert when I want to but will need to have a lot of down time to recover) I would never have thought that connection would be one of my biggest motivators.

Caroline Reynolds wrote in her book Spiritual Fitness, “Whenever we are forced into a situation where we cannot express ourselves honestly we suffer from what I call non-alignment fatigue. It occurs whenever you can’t express your natural exuberance, quietness, optimism or sadness in any situation.”

When I first read this, my world started to make more sense. She expressed how I had been feeling for years and why I originally thought that I was not a people person. I knew I definitely wasn’t a people pleaser (I enjoy being an instigator at times), but I still secretly wanted to be liked, so I acted in ways that were exhausting to me. And I also found myself swinging to the opposite end of the spectrum and purposely closing myself off as a way to protect myself.

It also helped me realize that perhaps I had been putting myself into situations that weren’t ideal. I tried to make friends or stayed friends with people who were nice enough, but they simply weren’t my people. I felt drained in those situations and relationships.

What I try to do instead now is seek out connections that bring me joy, get me excited and challenge me for the better. I consider myself lucky that I have a few great people in my inner circle who I don’t feel I need to be anything other than myself when I’m around them.

3. What do you know to be true in your heart?

Integrity is sexy and honesty is always the best answer. Apathy is a killer.

4. What was the best advice you’ve received?

You are your best advocate. I first learned this when I was dealing with a medical issue, but it’s served me well in other areas of my life too.

5. What are your thoughts about a woman’s place/ position in society at the moment?

It’s whatever, and wherever, she chooses it to be. She will potentially shift and morph her place/position over time, but it’s important that she has ownership over her choices. That’s my ideal.

6. How do you hold a relationship with the land?

I tune into it often and give thanks. Mainly because it helps me ground and since the land (earth) is supporting me, I check in to see what I can offer, or do, to create or keep some balance in our relationship.

Over the last few years, I’ve been getting to know my local trees, herbs and plants better. There’s so much to learn, but it’s been an empowering journey understanding how they communicate, their role in our ecosystem and how they may strengthen my health and support my family’s wellbeing. Knowing how to make my own tinctures, teas, infusions and bitters feels like I’ve been given the key to so much wisdom and I’m eager to know more.

F0BCF556-7511-4F79-B29C-F7561CC9E62C

7. What are you looking forward to most about your time in Iceland? Why did you agree to come along for the ride?

I’m looking forward to EVERYTHING!!

I can’t wait to put my feet in the dirt and black sand, get splashed by a waterfall, get my hands covered in paint, explore my inner thoughts and feelings and enjoy time in this magical land around the summer solstice. Having a chance to spend some time with other women who want the same is a bonus.

Visiting Iceland has been a dream of mine for a long while now. Your (Sheree’s) posts on Instagram about your travels to the country made me even more curious about it. When you first announced that you were thinking about offering a retreat in Iceland I knew (in my heart) that I was going.

We met two years ago when we were both chosen to be community leaders in one of Mara Glatzel’s Facebook groups. I admired your words of wisdom and your honesty in all of your posts and comments. It didn’t take long for me to become a fan of yours and it was so easy to say “yes” when you decided to offer this retreat.

8. What are you planning to offer to the Iceland Retreat. What plans have to put in place so far?

My intention is to offer yoga sessions that include asana (yoga postures and poses), breath work and meditation to help you cultivate self-awareness. The focus will be on simple, yet effective, things you can do to feel better, and be more connected to your body and breath.

I’m a certified Curvy Yoga Teacher too so everything I offer will be accessible for all shapes, all sizes and all abilities. Plus, everything is optional… you always have a choice.

The biggest compliment that I ever received was from a student who said she felt like I would be totally fine if she just wanted to hang out in savasana (corpse pose) for the entire time and listen to my voice. And I would! If that’s what she felt was best for her during our time together, I would have been delighted to offer her a safe space for her to take care of her needs.

My goal as a teacher is to offer sessions where you feel cared for, challenged, and help you learn how to honour your body at any given moment.

I expect to include some Reiki, restorative yoga, yoga nidra (yogic sleep), as well as some massage techniques that will help soothe any muscles that you may have newly discovered after one of our more active sessions.

The best thing I can say about what I’ll offer is that no previous experience is necessary. You don’t need a fancy wardrobe. Simply wear clothing you’re comfortable moving in and bring your curiosity.

9. Anything you’d like to add?

Is it June yet? I may be a wee bit excited for your retreat.

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.

Visual Journalling Workshop

 

I’m moving forward. I’m taking a leap. I’m putting myself out there.
I’m planning a visual journalling workshop in my local area for 21st October 2017.
This is something I’ve been wanting to offer for a couple of years now but the time hasn’t been right.
But maybe there isn’t ‘the right’ time. Maybe when you do it that’s the right time.
I’m working with a local charity, Old Low Lights Heritage Centre. They have a lovely, spacious and light
community room that you can hire for events.

What is visual journalling?
This is something I get asked and it’s something I’ve tried to answer here on the website with different posts about my practice.
At it’s basic level, visual journalling is play. Play in a safe space; your own journal.
It’s a space where you can explore your thoughts and feelings without fears or worries or judgement because those barriers are sidetracked through the doing.

Within any visual journal workshop, we get rid of the blank page straight away with paint. We use disused credit cards and gift cards to smear the colours that are calling to our souls over the white spaces. Just by doing this small, simple act our energies have shifted, we’re out of our heads and into our bodies, feeling joy and excitement within creativity.

From this point, while we allow the paint to dry we can start collecting images. Images that we are drawn to, that are calling us, that are the answer to a certain theme we’re exploring in our lives, a question we are holding in our minds, or an issue we are trying to work through. Theses images will become part of our journal pages as well as our journeys. Images have a way of cutting right to the chase, right to the core of an issue and anchors into us to create a shift in our feelings and thinking.

Once we’ve laid down some images, we work with a specific writing prompt to get us to open up to ourselves more. This is all taking place in a group yet the details are all within your unique journal. You experience the support of the people around you, the sisterhood, as you bravely dive into yourself.

But enough for now. The details of the workshop are on the flyer above and you can always contact me for further details.

Talking about my practice

IMG_2904

This is a visual journal entry I completed a few months ago while continuing with my Creative Facilitator Training with Lisa Sonora

22/04/2017

It feels weird coming back to DOP ( Dreaming on Paper) after two years absence. I’ve tried to do it again but just didn’t get into it. But now I’m doing the Facilitator Training, it seems important to get back in. I need to post to the group.

Yes I’m skipping through at a pace as I still do the techniques I learnt back then but it’s good to be refreshed on the techniques I haven’t done in a while -like the stamping as well as the textured page, the wallpaper and marbled effect. I haven’t used a wet one in a while or the stripped effect so it’s good to do this and to not feel any fear but be comfortable with it – like second nature.

—————-

So yes weird but also reassuring that a lot of the habits and techniques have stayed and also how far I have developed since the beginning with flaps* and stuff, and extensions and tearings and pockets and stuff. I’m proud of myself I am, of my progress and practice. I’ve come a long way in the journey and I’m still on it. Thank God.’


*flaps = additional pages added to the journal, see visual journalling post for further explanation.


Technique:

The journals I use most frequently are the Pink Pig pads. I usually pick these up in town, not online, bought three at a time because there is usually a discount on them and they definitely have more pages in.

I prepare my pages with paint ahead of the time I want to use them. So when a journal is coming to the end, I start prepping the next one with paint, so it’s ready with no breaks in between.

I pick the colours that are calling to be at the time. Here for this page the dominate colour is bright orange. I use ready mixed paints, craft paints, kids paint and start with just one drop of paint in the middle of the page. I smear it across the blank page with a disused credit card. I love this part. The spread of colour makes me happy. A simple task, a simple pleasure but oodles of fun.

I’ve gone on to add pink and blue to the orange after this. Using the same credit card for each colour, sometimes all paint rubbed off before a new colour is introduced and sometimes not. I’m not doing this to be neat, to cover away all the white of the page. I like my smearing of paint to be quick and messy.

Sometimes I do right up the edges sometimes not. I prepare three double spread pages at a time and then leave them to dry, sketchbook open with a paint bottle propped between the pages either side so they don’t stick together.

Once dried, I can write on it. Gel pen was used here but ball point pen works just as well. Here I’ve added images of nature and travel and adventure at the bottom of the page. I use glue sticks. I’m not loyal to any particular brand either as long as it does the sticking. These were cut from a tourist leaflet about visiting Scotland.

The images I select usually tie in with what I’m writing, they talk to each other. While sometimes they don’t and this might because I’ve skipped ahead in my journal and stuck in some images to break up the page already. But all the images I include I love, I have an emotional connection to. I’ll talk more about that in another post.

After the writing, I return to the page and use the leaf shaped stamp. See what I did there? I wrote in this journal example about the techniques I haven’t been using in a while and rubber stamping was one of them. I rectified that here.