Didn’t want you to miss out on a discount!

This feels a bit like confession – it’s been three months since my last blog. And since then I’ve been learning how to make videos in the fridge for my Instagram. Applying to be on the Late Late for Small Business (wasn’t pickedūüėŹ) Figuring out how to get started on Twitter. Getting (almost) comfortable on Facebook. Risking extreme embarrassment asking local shops if they would stock the cards – without success ūüė≥ while an adorable shop (called Sunfleck) in Dungarvan found me and asked to stock them! So, they’re in a shop! And today I sent my first newsletter.

These past five months since I launched Permission Cards¬†have been a blast and in case you don’t know, you have played a huge part in that. I didn’t know it when I started but a big part of selling online involves writing. Writing posts to different social media platforms, different accounts, groups, writing copy for the website, writing and answering comments, writing thank you notes to customers, writing emails, writing a newsletter. So all the times I was writing to you from our travels in the camper van or on the motorbike I’ve been in training for this season of my life. If you hadn’t been reading I wouldn’t have been writing to you. Go raibh maith agat! Look at what you did – you have been supporting my small business!¬†Thank you! May we continue to walk each other home for years to come.

And finally, just in case you don’t follow me on¬†social media I wanted to tell you about the discount I’m sharing at the¬†moment. It’s¬†15% discount off Permission Cards until Sunday 28th November. Go to https://permission.cards and use the code THANKYOU at the checkout.

No pressure, I just wanted you to know too.

Big Hugs, Mairéad

Social Media Links

Facebook –¬†https://www.facebook.com/PermissionCards

Instagram –¬†https://www.instagram.com/permissioncards/

I’m bursting to share this thing‚Ķ..



AAAAAh I was taking to someone over the weekend and they asked me what I was up to and I mentioned my Kickstart you Creativity course was starting in November. And as I mumbled and stuttered through some kind of an explanation I realised I couldn’t talk about it. I can’t talk about this thing I’m bursting to share…. It. Is. So. Frustrating. And of course my fallback for a solution to my inability to talk is to beat myself up. Today, I’m going to do something different for a few minutes, here‚Ķ.


(Love in the Mist)

Because I know most of you don’t live anywhere near the town on the east coast of Ireland and the west edge of Europe where I am going to run my course it makes it easier for me to tell you. I’ll write to you¬†about my tiny little dream that I’m too afraid to speak about out loud‚Ķ and I¬†can hide behind my writing. This post is just for me (note to self: is it time to admit that this whole blog is just for you?) I don’t know what I’m going to write. Maybe by the end I’ll have a moment of acceptance or a moment of clarity or just a big meltdown. I do know I will stop at the bottom, post it and tomorrow I will write about something else.


(Mushrooms… bursting through the soil)

But today it’s about this: I’m bursting to share a thing that brings me peace and calm! But it’s too, too, too precious for me to bring it out into the light. It might get attacked by marauding bands of baddies‚Ķ.. Ok that sounds crazy. I know. I know it sounds crazy, but‚Ķ Remember when you were little and you got this great present from your favourite uncle/aunt/mother’s best friend/rich shopkeeper? It was so great! And you wanted to show your friends, didn’t you? And you ran out to the green/road/school and you said in your little girl/boy voice “Look at this great thing Uncle John gave me!” And that moment when you stopped speaking was the happiest you were for the rest of the day because kids can be cruel and they didn’t share your enthusiasm or even your interest in your great thing or your wonderful Uncle John.


(Beauty underneath)

So you learned a clear lesson – keep the best stuff to yourself. Keep the stuff that means the most to you to yourself, hidden from the light in a safe place. Even if it means you can’t use it. Like the tiny china tea set that I got one year out of the blue from a friend of my Dad’s. It was fun sharing it with my dolls but it would have been so much more fun sharing it with my brother and my friends‚Ķ but I couldn’t trust my best stuff, the things closest to my heart, with them so we all lost out. When I couldn’t share my china tea set no one got to experience how great it was – not even me. I was afraid it was going to break or my heart was going to break because they wouldn’t think it was as amazing as I did!

Aaaaaah and here I am again!


(Fence in Altamont)

When this thing began it was a tiny dream and a minuscule little thought.¬†I wanted to uncover a process that would allow me to share what I found –¬†peace, calm, and the fun of creation – with others.¬†It grew when I was in France, when I went out to the garden each day and I felt myself connecting to peace¬†as I began the process. And it worked. I started to think I could really do this. I could definitely share this process and maybe it could help other people connect to peace.


(Moss growing quietly on a rock)

Then I began to have doubts‚Ķ Would it actually work? Is there a path through creativity to peace and calm in a human’s life? A sometimes difficult, challenging, even awful life? If there is would my little process find it for others? Who would want this, maybe I’m the only one who wants to connect to peace and calm? Now that I think of it, maybe getting basic physical needs met is more important. Needs like food, warmth, health, money‚Ķ.



But the doubts (even if they are valid) are just a smokescreen‚Ķ they are hiding my fear and my sadness.¬†And I can’t blame the children who taught me the lesson. I can’t blame their parents. I have no one left to blame but myself‚Ķ and that isn’t working too good‚Ķ. so I’m going back to my precious things. The precious things, the china tea set or my course are so connected that I may be able to free one with the help of the other.


(Butterfly and Lavender)

I don’t need encouragement, I have lots of encouragement, I have to step out on this ledge on my own‚Ķ.

I don’t need anyone to tell me you big eejit just do it!¬†I am telling myself that all the time‚Ķ. and it isn’t working.

I don’t need anyone to tell me it’s easy…

I don’t need anyone to point out that I have been encouraging others to follow their dream and I can’t even do it myself‚Ķ I know.

I don’t need encouragement¬†not¬†to do it‚Ķ‚Ķ I am bursting out of my skin to do this‚Ķ and I am scared shirtless.

And that reminds me, I read a quote this morning: Fearlessly accept the reality; then fearlessly set about transforming what needs to change. — Elena Brower.

So while I’m revving up my fearlessness, maybe you could share your precious thing? Mairead.

The Apron of Focus.


(My ceramic apron)

It’s been a really beautiful day here today in Greystones – sunshine, blue shies and little fluffy clouds. I’m still working on my wall painting, but I sense there’s a strong possibility it won’t in fact take five months to complete. I seem focused in a way that has not been my experience in the past. I think my creativity work is effecting even this little project.


(Paper aprons)

When I started my art, craft and design course last year one of the tools we had to supply was an apron. Fair enough, I had lots of aprons for cooking so I used one of them. But although I had lots of aprons to use while cooking I didn’t. I mean, I didn’t use them while cooking. Don’t know why. So I was surprised by how much fun it was to wear them for crafting. Yep – fun. I know – weird.


(Painted crepe paper apron)

Then when we went to France I brought along my favourite apron (you do have a favourite apron, don’t you?) It was natural, crafting was now connected to wearing an apron. Over there putting my apron on seemed to draw me towards the trestle table and work (by work I mean play‚Ķ with direction!) In the afternoons I kept the apron on for writing the blog post.


(Apron Strings)

Now I think there was a connection between wearing an apron and getting things done. Wearing an apron became an anchor (a strong response to an external trigger) to focussed creative work. And the anchor is still working. Because… the wall painting (I’ve been wearing an apron again and also painting-clothes –¬†wall painting is extremely splatter-y) is definitely getting done.


(And a fuzzy picture of my other ceramic apron)

It was only as I searched for pictures for this blog post that I remembered all the ways aprons inspired my crafting in the past year. I’ve been making aprons in one form or another all this time not realising they were also making me ūüôā

I like that, Mairead.

Getting forgetful?

21 1c

(Morning! Or afternoon?)

As I sit here at 8.30am on Monday morning I wonder why I don’t sit here at 3.30pm on a Sunday afternoon. Why wait until the last minute? Why set up a habit that doesn’t support the good and the healthy? Why not set up a habit that makes life and the living of it easier? Why indeed?

21 1a

(One of my buttons on my art project)

It’s something I’ve considered previously, with some success too. There was the walking for twenty minutes a day habit, the drinking three pints of water a day habit, the blogging at 3pm every day habit, the photography every day habit, even the drawing every day habit.¬†But for some reason it’s much easier to let those kinds of habits go and forget that they were even a consideration.

21 1b

(Focus on the important things….)

Now I’m considering‚Ķ. and it seems like this might be the perfect time to reinstate some useful habits. I’ll have to be ruthless when I’m deciding which ones to reinstate. Probably best if I ask myself what I want to be doing in six months time (when my habits have taken hold.)

This could take a little time, Mairead.

Pause‚Ķ. now, have a look at that thing you did‚Ķ.

30 7a

(Seagull, taking a pause in Bath)

I was digging in the garden yesterday and my project is very close to completion. You might remember the garden was overrun by weeds and I wondered how I might clear it? Turns out clearing it one step at a time works! At the moment though it looks very bare and I almost miss the green of the weeds‚Ķ There’s a layer of weed control membrane and pink-grey stones, soon it will need some pots and colours, but not today. Today my body is aching and it may be a little time before I return to the land. In the meantime I can enjoy just looking at the stones…

30 7b

(Taking a pause looking at the sea in the ferry)

This looking got me thinking about all the times I’ve completed something and I didn’t take time to appreciate it or me for the completion. Take something as simple as cooking dinner, when it’s cooked we eat, we clear away and we go onto the next thing to do. When I finished school I went straight into exams and then worried about getting into college. Last night I had a dream that I was back doing those exams! When I finish posting this blog I will get my breakfast and go straight to my to-do list.

30 7c

(Pausing to look at the coffee in 3fe, Dublin)

Maybe not today. Today, I will remember something I learned a long time ago on a mindfulness course. It was about pausing between tasks. When one thing is done, pause, before beginning the next. When you do this there’s a chance you notice you have done something and you prepare yourself to begin something new. Noticing that I have done something gives me a sense of completion. Completion is nice!

You’ve come to the end of reading, pause‚Ķ‚Ķ. Mairead.

My garden is in the work phase.


(Not my garden… another view of the Birds and Bees garden at Bloom)

The sun is shining and it was very easy to get out of bed, not least because I’m off on an adventure with Ashleigh and Megan today. I’m not too sure where we’re going (the location has changed three times since Monday:)) but I will bring my camera and if there’s any good shots you’ll see them tomorrow. This reminds me of how excited I was to get out of bed when I was pulling weeds in the garden. Since we got back from holidays I kinda forgot about the gardening. I did have a quick dig on bank holiday Monday but for some reason the excitement has gone out of it and all that remains is the work‚Ķ.


(Not my garden yet… also from Bloom)

I do know that I enjoy digging and pulling and planting and watering. I know that I like the colour that appears within days or weeks of ¬†sowing and watering a plant. I know there’s huge satisfaction when an area that was overgrown is cleared. It’s just that in this middle phase there’s no excitement and my garden is in the middle phase. The excitement was in the beginning when the possibilities were huge and the work was small. The excitement was in the impact I was making very quickly and‚Ķ.. could more be possible? The excitement was in the energy I had and the energy I was willing to expand.


(Not my garden either… also from Bloom)

Willing to expand energy is a different thing than¬†expanding energy. One is a promise and the other is work. In the work phase the promise comes to haunt me. A promise I made to myself and to others. A promise I see in the before pictures. A promise that I really want to keep, really. In the work phase it’s only this promise that keeps me going. Not going in a light and happy way but in a heavy guilt and shame-filled way.


(Probably never my garden‚Ķ that’s a rabbit hutch on the left under the raised bed and it leads to a rabbit hole in the middle of the lawn… very cute… from Bloom)

And then I look at my garden and I see no monster forcing me to keep my promise. I see no signs that I will be punished. The garden will carry on as before whether I do the work or not. The plants already sown will flower. The older ones will even search for water on their own. The weeds will thrive again and all will be well in the garden. It is not the garden that pushes me to fulfil my promise, it is myself. My dream, my hope, my intention to have something I want. Somehow I need to let this sustain me in the work phase, guilt and shame-free.

Working it, Mairead.

Look! It’s the break light!


(Graffiti in cafe toilet – I didn’t write it)

I’ve uncovered another of my patterns and this one is big (for me). I’ve been working away for the past month on productivity. I’ve read the book, Getting Things Done by David Allen. I’ve had sessions with my friend Ashleigh. I’ve started using the PomodoroPro. I’ve devised a schedule with thirty minute time slots. My diary was full of next thing to do’s. I had three weeks of amazing productivity.


(Rowing on the Liffey in Dublin, with the Ha’penny Bridge in the background)

And then I crashed. I’ve been tired and motivation-less since last Thursday. I know this is a pattern‚Ķ it was pointed out to me that I do this regularly. What do I do? I drive myself forward, paying no attention to the vehicle I am driving. I run out of fuel. The vehicle stops. For the duration of my life the vehicle is my body. I do feed my body and lately I feed it well, but I have not been paying attention. A light on the dashboard was flashing and I ignored it. It was the “break” light.¬†When I pay no attention, I don’t know it’s time to rest.¬†To take a break, a siestas, some free time, do some day dreaming, be at ease.


(Scary but true)

There are probably lots of reasons why this is my pattern. As with all patterns, it starts because it’s necessary and it works. There is a¬†clue as to why it continues. It’s part of my normal thinking, something I didn’t realise‚Ķ.. I think taking a break is unfair,¬†unless you work exceedingly hard and I experience extreme shame when I take a break unless I am exhausted. The good news is that it’s like my “I have to eat meat every day” belief – crazy but normal for me. And as we saw with the meat belief once you become aware of your normal thinking it’s possible to let it go.

I’ll be taking baby steps with this one, step, rest, step, sit down, up we get , step, Mairead.

Pause between the Cycles

(Raspberries in Liam and Kate’s garden)

Today I’m doing housework. Sitting here on the sofa, squashed up between the upside down side tables, the books and the cushions, it looks like I’ve been very busy. I like this moment. Before everything goes back in its place. If someone walked in now they would think I was a great housewife (as long as they didn’t notice me sitting down).

(Seemingly Lavender keeps the flies at bay?)

There’s a similar moment when I do the ironing (which I love doing). The moment when the shirts hang crease-less, the t-shirts and jeans stand in their towers, and the sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases look like they’ve just come from the shop. I make this moment last as long as possible. Sometimes, it’ll be days later when I put away the finished ironing. Until then I’ll smile inwardly every time I see it. Of course, the longer that moment takes, the longer it will be before the cycle begins again.

The cycle of washing, drying and ironing.

(Wrinkles on the old tree – beautiful)

Breathing is a bit like that. We breathe in……… we breathe out…….. we pause…..¬†Then the cycle begins again. The pause is like noticing the ironed clothes and smiling inwardly. Notice it!

Breathe, Mairead.