“I’m OK” – repeat after me…..

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Kindred Spirits at the Douglas – We’re OK!

It’s amazing how many years we can live with lack of self-esteem. I am in my late sixties, I’ve had a career as a linguist and another career as a textile artist, and I can speak 3 languages more or less fluently. I have travelled widely with my work, in Europe and America, sharing my skills and ideas with other highly motivated people. I have three amazing kids and two amazing granddaughters, and yet…

I can easily, so easily fall into “lack of self-esteem” mode even after years of proof that I’m OK, that I can be a good friend and parent, and I can motivate my self in the course of serious illness.

So where does this come from? I think in my case as in many other people, it has to do with inner recordings, statements which have been repeated to us as we grew up that we eventually believe. These are small messages that were shouted out to me as a child and which now take the form of whispered messages, constantly making themselves heard; “Who do you think you are?”; “You’re too proud”, “You cause disruptions”; “Your never listen to anyone but yourself”; “you’re too fat”; and most of all “You aren’t good enough to be loved”.

Instead of having the courage to acknowledge our strong points and realise that we are “good enough”, we listen to those inner recordings and let them influence who we are and how we relate to the world and other people.

So what’s the solution?

1) Become aware of these inner recordings  and recognise them when they try to make themselves heard.

2) Recognise the feelings they bring of inadequacy, unworthiness, etc.

3) Stay still for a while and in your mind turn these messages into positive statements about yourself.

4) Write a list of 10 things that are good about yourself, denying those inner recordings.

5) Meditate and pray for help in transforming these recordings into a force for good, instead of destruction.

6) Trust that you’ve done all you can do and that you will gradually feel stronger and more positive in your life.

There have been many books written on the subject of identifying these recordings and letting them go out of our lives. This shows that we are not unique in feeling this way and we can gather strength from friends, acquaintances and colleagues who think we’re OK.

The last couple of days have reminded me that I can be a social being again, though not yet at full volume. A lovely afternoon at the Douglas Hotel with Fiona, Bev, Angela and the gorgeous Bijou Baby and our new friend Kathy who Fiona and I have met recently  through the Rewild Challenge. So good to meet a new kindred spirit who loves Arran.

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Glen Cloy from the Cruize Bar

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Rogue Sunflower in the Rosemary Pot, defying the onset of winter

Today I caught up with my friend Maureen who has just returned from living in France for six months. We drank tea and scoffed scones at the Cruize Bar at the the Auchrannie Hotel watching the cold, rainy weather outside.  We have layers of memory that go back nearly 40 years. What a gift!

“An emotional sort of week”

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Looking up to the top of Holy Isle.

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From the far side of Holy Isle looking out on the Firth of Clyde

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Lighthouse on the east side of Holy Isle looking out over the Firth of Clyde and the Ayrshire Coast.

I’ve written in previous blogs about the summer of 2003 when my younger son and his classmates lost two of their friends suddenly within weeks of each other and how it was essential that we as parents help them through the grief process while we were grieving ourselves.

Now it’s happened again. In the space of the past year. 3 of our young people have died, two to suicide. This week, Connor Smith, age 19 ws killed in Italy where he was competing in Quad Bike European Championshps and favoured to win.

The thing is there is a population of only 5000 on Arran, so everyone is eventually connected and and in this case Connor’s grandparents are my long-standing friends. I grieve for them and Connors parents and his 16 year old sister who with the rest of their family will be broken hearted. I don’t have a grieving child in this case, but I feel for the parents who do as they find a way to help their children to some sort of understanding of life and death.

I am putting my notes together for the Rewild Challenge which I started at the beginning of the month. I plan a “Memory Rewild” since my time in hospital and the events of this week have affected my walking again and I’m finding it difficult to walk outside.

My plan was to feature Holy Isle in my next batch of photos for the Rewild website. The other sad news that has shaken our island this week was the murder of the Tibetan Buddhist leader in China, who was killed along with his 13 year old nephew and his driver. He was the monk responsible for negotiating the purchase of Holy Isle, renovating the farmhouse and converting the lighthouse homes into retreat centres.

I was happy when a compromise was reached so that locals and visitors to Arran could still sail over to the island, not the original idea when the island was sold. Too much of my early days on Arran were spent there with the children, rowing over from King’s Cross, climbing to the top with a picnic and stopping on the way down to collect heather tips for the most spectacular golden yellow dye, made special by the gorgeous smell of bog myrtle which grew among the heather and scented the wool with a sort of eucalyptus-y scent.

Dyeing with plants from Holy Isle always seemed to have that extra spiritual dimension, permeated with the history of the island, which began with the Irish monks stopping of there on their way to Iona to spread the Gospel to Scotland.

This week Holy Isle has been a source of strength and a reminder that in the worst of times,  the hills are there for us to find support and renewal and most of all peace.

Pearls and Oysters – 12/10/2013

“FROM 0 – 12 IN 12 YEARS”

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Today my gorgeous granddaughter Blythe turns 12. She was born in Boston and is growing up in Galway, Irish speaking and well versed on the surrounding culture and landscape. Her birthday kilt links her to her Scottish roots. She has inherited that multi-cultural childhood that I’ve written about in earlier blogs. Her Dad is Scottish, Her Mum is Scottish-American she has link to a Scottish and an American Grandpa and both of her Grannies are Scottish.

She bakes shortbread and imports IRN-BRU for the international days at school and is aware of the subtle cultural differences of her heritage.

At age 12 I had just emigrated to America with my parents and begun the process of assimilation which carried on through high school and college, always aware that I had another cultural reference, different from the life I was trying to adapt to. There was always a residual sadness that I couldn’t be two places at once, but now with the wisdom of hindsight I can see that I was given a gift in being able to see another dimension to “the way things were”.

This week has had its moments of annoyance. I had to be in hospital from Tuesday – Friday for a routine procedure which got a bit complicated and outside the sun was shining and the sky was clear blue. I had to reign in my “Rewild” Challenge and put my growing strength on hold which was developing from spending 30 minutes per day outside taking pictures regardless of weather and practicing walking farther each day. I will give myself the weekend to recuperate and start again on Monday.

Garry's Rainbow1

As we came out of my building on Tuesday there was a full rainbow over Goatfell. When I expressed frustration at not being able to photograph it, the ambulance driver offered to go and get my camera. We stopped round the corner on the Brodick seafront and he snapped some more photos of the rainbow over the mountains. When we got to the hospital I realised there was a yucca tree growing outside my room and that I had a view of Lamlash Bay and village.

Hospital Yucca1

I spent time meditating and counting breaths to settle the frustration and that helped. I managed to find a comfortable angle where I could read. I chose “Around the World in 80 Gardens” by Monte Don from one of my all time BBC Gardening Series. It was great to escape into descriptions of gardens designed by artists and stories about organic gardening in the center of Havana to produce food for the local community.

Autumn Weaving1

I’m proud to be one of the first contributors to one soul many hearts .This new website was launched yesterday by Fiona Doubleday with the intention to create a haven for people who want to foster their creative journey. My first piece “Weaving in Autumn” (see above photo) and is intended to be part of a series “Weaving Through the Seasons”. The hands on creation of a small piece to go with the article was a great move forward for me after not being able to weave during my illness.


Scottish Island Mum

One Soul Many Hearts

Miracle Design

Angela Elliott-Walker

Nordic House

Simple Abundance

Illustrated Journaling

Useful Website:


Pearls and Oysters 5/10/2013

Rainy Day3 Rainy Day7 Rewild Day 301 Rewild Day 302 Rewild Day 306 Rewild Day 309 Rewild Day 310 Berries1


It’s so easy to forget when we’re caught up in everyday events that there are time frames at work in our lives which don’t follow the clock as we know it. I had ample evidence of this during this past week, a timely reminder that I can let go and let things take care of themselves.

Through my friend Fiona I found out about the Rewild Challenge which involves being outside in nature for 30 minutes each day for 30 days, regardless of the weather. I was completely daunted by the possibility because I can hardly walk let alone be out in nature – hey, wait a minute, those two things are not mutually exclusive! So for the past few days I’ve taken my camera out into the garden and even though it was wet and miserable most of the week, I could see the beauty in it and the photos show that beauty as well.

So part of the challenge will be to modify the things I used to take for granted and I have plans to climb to the top of the String Road where there is a “Disabled” path with a view to die for and I will ask a friend to take me near the beach so I can leave my footprints in the sand. Mentally, this challenge takes me from thinking about being ill and contemplating well-being, the most important shift in consciousness for me at the moment.

Otherwise the week has been about meeting friends for lunch, taking part in the Balance Gym Class with my neighbours, getting my regular foot care pedicure – my toenails are now “Vexed Violet” and catching up with my reading. Philippa Gregory’s “The Other Boleyn Girl” completes my reading which was sparked off by the BBC Drama “The White Queen”. It made me very glad that I live where I do and when I do so that to a large extent I’ve been able to forge my own destiny as a woman, rather than being a pawn in someone else’s game.

The biggest shift in the week is that I bought a hank of yarn. I hadn’t done any weaving since before I got ill, except for a little piece to cover my Meditation Journal. Now I have written the first of a series of pieces on “Weaving through the Seasons” for a new creative website “One Soul Many Hearts” which will be launched in 11 October. You can read about it in Scottish Island Mum (see the link below) and find out what it’s about on the One Soul Many Hearts website. In the process of writing my piece, I decided that it would be good to have a new piece of weaving to illustrate what I’d written. I have woven small piece called “Autumn”. More than a weaving it is an expression of my return to creativity with yarn when I least expected it.

To celebrate all of this aliveness, I am off to the pictures with a friend. The Screen Machine is in “town” – an articulated lorry which tours the Highlands and Islands and opens out to make a cinema. Tonight they are showing “Sunshine on Leith” which was only released yesterday and billed as a Scottish “Mamma Mia” with music by the Proclaimers. I’m sure the audience will join in on the music and the sounds of “I will walk 500 miles” will reverberate up the glen. I’ll be singing too, though I’m not sure about the 500 miles……


To read about my textile and artistic work see:

The Arran Knitting Company

Rainbow Textiles

Blogs I love:

Scottish Island Mum

One Soul Many Hearts

Miracle Design

Angela Elliott-Walker

Nordic House

Simple Abundance

Illustrated Journaling

Useful Website:


The Hazel Tree


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Spiritual Dragonfly


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Personalized nutritional counseling

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Every designer needs a sandbox - a place to create, experiment & get a little messy...and how about a blog to share these pieces! Welcome to my Sandblog :)

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More than just yoga videos. Your practice, off the mat.

Pearls and Oysters

Creative Thoughts and Observations

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The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.