retreat

Pilgrim Soul ~ A Space to Become You Again.

unnamed "You're like a jigsaw and all the pieces are coming together". That's what my mam said to me recently.

"Hope and Memory have one daughter and her name is Art, and she has built her dwelling far from the desperate field where men hang out their garments upon forked boughs to be banners of battle. O beloved daughter of Hope and Memory, be with me for a little." ~ WB Yeats 

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When I recently came across this statement by WB Yeats, I immediately understood what he meant. I was blown away. I can't even tell you what it affirmed in me. Only a poet could nail it.

Ever since I can remember, I have sought refuge from the world. When I was very young, I remember imagining a secret underground space in our garden. In this space, me and my friends could gather and we would have a world, all to ourselves, in which we could play. My coveted world was a safe space, a fun place, a thing of wonder.

As I got a little older, I got my wish.

I grew up in the countryside. We spent long days building camps, forts and bases. This was our turf. We would gather, sit on blocks, arranged in a circle, they were like altars. We would tell stories, jokes and tales, tease each other and play.

Hay barns, fields, farms and forestry were the canvas on which to express ourselves and that, we did. We created a world of our own, we tended to it. We belonged. It was our place of retreat, the fortress of our becoming. 

Those were the best days. I feel blessed to have known them.

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I think I have always yearned for that again. A world in which I could devote myself, to be free again, to be me again. Because we should never stop becoming, should we?

We think 'adulthood' is the destination.. once we grow up, there's no more becoming, there's no one else I could be. This is it. This is me. We settle. 

I was just thinking about it today, it's not about growing up.. it's about growing out. Pushing out our edges. Embodying as much of ourselves as we can.

Unsettling

I think this has defined my journey all along. I now know, this is what my recurring dream, the one in which I discover secret rooms in endless houses, is about. I believe I have been all my adult years trying to find my way back to a time in my life I cherished. It was sacred. I believe it's what has brought out my creativity and why creative practice has become so important to me. It is my way in to the practice of devotion.

12 Years ago, I began envisioning an idea of a gathering place, somewhere that would act as a touchstone, somewhere I could gather with the likeminded and delve in again to 'becoming ourselves'. It's a world I have been itching to create. 

But first, I had a lot of learning to do, a lot of mistakes to make, a dose of what it costs the soul to settle. I had to get really fired up. Now It's clear. I've identified the way in, the way back to devotion is to exercise our creative powers. The powers through which we can express and shape ourselves.

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To me, this means to engage in activities and with people that help you reconnect with your true self, your essence. To keep alive in you, your hope, your joy, your spirit. To animate in you, the person you already know you are, want to be or are becoming.

I want to build a camp for that. 

Somewhere to retreat from 'the desperate field of battle'. To connect you (and me) with others who will get it and want the same thing. To find a tribe, a community, a sense of belonging. Think of it as a charging station.

I've been readying myself for years. It's time.

I'm in the early stages of building my dwelling, far from the maddening crowd; in honour of hope and the nurturing of memories of who we are, though creative self and soul nourishing activities.

I have found a space, in which I will host gatherings. It's in the vibrant and inspiring Craft Village in Rathcormack, Co Sligo. Right in the shadow of the majestic Ben Bulben, less than a mile from the resting place of WB Yeats and right on the Wild Atlantic Way. In this space, there are ancient faery forts, nature trails and authentic round wicker huts. There is a creative community and a weekly market. It's welcoming, it's recharging, it's enchanting.

There is such beauty and inspiration in this place. It feels so right (and a little bit wobbly). I know I have found a place to call home and to continue the work of becoming. And I want you to accompany me.

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We are all artists. We just need a space to find ourselves again <3

My new creative space, Pilgrim Soul has been born. I'll post more updates as they happen.

I'm so excited (and nervous) but mostly excited.

I'll be creating a mailing list soon (ahem, the perpetual long finger) so you can sign up & stay in touch!

Always, Amanda xoxo

 

Anxiety distracting Q&A... It'll probably bore you to death.

I have to admit, tonight I'm a ball of all over the place-ness emotionally. I'm feeling an uneasy combination of tiredness, worry, anxiety, disappointment, loneliness, neediness, confusion, frustration, doubt, anticipation, excitement... how can I be feeling all those things at once? Also, today has been a 'quiet' day so I've been in my head for a lot of it.

Terry left this morning for another long haul, we only had a short time together this weekend, so part of it is that.

We got our confirmation about the house today (hooray!) and gave our landlord his notice so the move to Enniskillen is set for the end of October, about five weeks. I'm 12 years living in this community. I'm not enmeshed here, but I am comfortable and content.

So that's another part, the move, being unsettled for the space of time it takes, the packing, the unpacking... the deciding what is coming with and what has to be stored. Getting settled in a new parish, finding my feet..finding some friendly faces, work and tapping into the creative community there.

The excitement comes with the idea of living in a forest! Yes, the house we're renting is in a forest and on a lake... hello! I can't wait to experience the dawn chorus there (Note this implies getting up at dawn, something I'm not known for).

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The transition is most of it...

Then there's the upcoming art retreat at Bantry House in Cork... only 2 more sleeps until that arrives and I don't know what to expect other than something a bit life changing; I hope that's not expecting too much.

Bantry House

Tomorrow evening will be 'throw a suitcase together' night... sounds feckless, but it's actually my packing system. Tonight I've been checking my supplies lists and all is gathered and ready to go.

photo

There was other stuff too, just personal, womanly stuff that plays with the emotions.. that'll be fine.

Photo Credit: Sherecovers.co

So I'm sitting here with not much to say other than to just say how I'm feeling and what's going on... 

Something made me think to answer some of these 'getting to know you' questions as a form of distraction... so, why not..

If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?

At the moment I think an art party would be fun. Especially after collaborating on this project over the weekend

If you could paint a picture of any scenery you’ve seen before, what would you paint?

I once had a dream years ago that was so vivid in it's imagery, I always wished I could have painted it. It was like some sort of gathering of people around a volcano for some sort of ritual.. everything was red and smoky...and dramatic, it was a bit eery though. In real life, maybe the Cliffs of Moher, they've always had the wow factor for me.

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

If you'd have asked me at 35, I would have said that age. Definitely no younger. But then, I met Terry at 36 & lost my age anxiety after that!

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes 

If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?

The land before time... Dinosaurs, definitely. Although the creation of the universe would be deadly too! Lol

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

What I'm learning now!

If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?

Creating Daisy Jane

If you were immortal for a day, what would you do?

Road Racing

If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

Alice

If you could know the answer to any question, besides “What is the meaning of life?”, what would it be?

Why is there no butter pecan ice cream in Ireland?

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

Daisy Jane of course!

Ok.... the night has officially been spent... Goodnight! <3

Always, Amanda <3