Ideas and Projects

(That’s the English Channel out there)

Day 2 here and we are on the high seas (not high at all, in fact very flat thank you, sea) and I want to tell you about the ideas I had when we got home in June. First one had its birth in the Donnybrook Fair cafe just three months earlier. To go off on a tangent again for a moment… somewhere years ago I remember hearing about cafe society in Paris in the late 1800’s. My impression was that the intellectuals and artists came together informally over an espresso and possibly a croissant and had ideas and made plans. Well, as a big fan of the coffee and croissants I was very attracted. Not just for the croissants but the ideas and plans sounded so exciting especially the particular idea of a community of like minded people supporting each other. It was all a little bit intoxicating. So… subliminally at least since about 2012 I must have been attempting to rejuvenate cafe society. Up until the birth of this particular idea in March the only thing I was birthing was more kilos on the hips and by then I was addicted to the croissants.

Anyways, to get back to the cafe and the birth of… let’s call it, selling-my-art. To be honest this idea had birthed many, many times and had died many many times, also. For so many reasons, mainly shame though. For those unaccustomed to attempting to sell their art I need to tell you it’s a lot like taking all your clothes off and running up your town’s busiest street shouting, Look at me! Look at me! Oh and in this scenario you don’t look so good, you haven’t been working out and you forgot to shave. Maybe you’ve experienced something similar in a nightmare? If you have you are familiar with the shame.

(First sighting of France)

I put my clothes back on many times and gave up this idea but it just kept coming back. On that faithful day in Donnybrook Fair back in March a community of two of us decided we’d take off our clothes and run through the streets… together. I can tell you it’s less shameful when you’re running naked through the streets with another human. (Note: no clothes were actually taken off and we didn’t run either.)

By the middle of July I had sold something! To a stranger! The following week my mother bought a print over the Internet. Not my print – I didn’t have any prints and I definitely had no way of selling them over the internet… but it gave me a little nudge.

(There’s a tiny shop on the ship)

You learn a lot taking off your clothes and running around naked and one of the things we learned was that there was a lot more to learn, a lot more to do and unless we took the very first plunge we wouldn’t even have something to sell. So Idea1 back in June was our first plunge – to find a way to produce prints and sell them. The funny thing is that mostly everyone who hears about this wants to help. I have an idea (another one! Told you it was a superpower) that this community will keep developing and grow into… who knows what?!

Idea 2 is different, it involved turning our house into an Airbnb destination while we were wandering Europe in the motorhome. Seems like a good idea, right? But just as I was decluttering like a ninja and wallpaper stripping like a professional the government changed the rules and it’s become a bit more complicated to let a whole house. On the bright side the house looks 100% better than it did! And so does the garden. The wallpaper stripping continues, the garden needs more work and we can’t get into the shed yet so we will need a skip when we get back. Even if we’re not ready for business by the next trip we will have a decluttering house and a colourful garden!

(Don’t like the sound of that immersion suit…?)

And then there was the retreat. The Nurture in Nature Retreat was my friend Linda’s idea. She designed it based on what she would want from a weekend nurturing the spirit. Funny enough designing it was like being in another cafe society – a community supporting each other. Planning it was a lot like going on the retreat.

After I set up the web page to attract a tribe of people who wanted to attend what we were designing and planning I began gathering seeds, pressing flowers, making journals (our craft project) and wondering what I would be able to bring to the table.

(It’s a beautiful day in France)

Linda loves Nature. She and her husband, Paul, designed and built their own garden earlier this year. They love good food, Paul catered the entire weekend and I’m not just saying it – the food was amazing. Linda had attended a retreat some years ago that had a profound effect on her life. She wanted to combine her love of nature, her love of healthy foods and her desire to teach skills that relieve stress and anxiety to others. I was at a bit of a loss what my contribution might be. Linda was convinced the retreat had to take place over three days including a dip in the sea at sun rise! This was two days longer than I though possible to be “on duty” and there was definitely no way I was getting into the Irish sea…

(I love the colour and the angles)

The thing about a community that supports ideas or projects though, is that the energy generated by the community is more than the combined energy of each individual. In the end I had no problem being “on duty” because it didn’t feel like duty it felt like being with friends. My biggest worry that I would forget people’s names was unfounded and I even took my clothes off (I did have my swimming togs on!) and ran screaming into the Irish Sea! I loved it! And the thing I brought to the table? Me, just me and it was enough.

(That’s the captain’s spot hanging over the side up there…)

When I wrote at the end of our trip in June about the little voice in my head that was telling me I never finished anything I was hoping that by sharing it I would somehow silence it. Turns out it can’t be silenced but it doesn’t have to be. Just don’t give it attention. Give your attention to the act of continuing and doing the next thing and taking the next plunge and doing the next project and bringing yourself to the table in a community that supports your ideas and your projects.

Within sight of the French coast, Mairead.