Thursday, 22 August 2013

Summer 2013

It has been a wonderful Summer for The Red Thread ~ amid the usual schizophrenic summer weather of this fair Island; stifling heat, beautiful blue skies and summer showers; our vibrant community have come together every two weeks as we always do. 

Joining friends who have been here since the beginning, we have welcomed many new faces and beautiful young families into the weave and it is a happy, chatty, busy yet relaxed atmosphere on Red Thread mornings.

Last week two of our number celebrated their first journey around the sun with cake (of course) and giggles ~ what better?

Yes we are a happy bunch ~ lovingly supporting and witnessing each other in our lives and our mothering. We strive for no judgment, just open hearts and open minds here.

I know that particularly this year I have needed the holding and love of this community more than ever, and just knowing that they are there is making the day to day a better place to be for me and my children. 

And THAT ~ well that's what friends are for.

 Blessed Be  x

 ...and make a wish x

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Heartwood Small School Project

For the past few years it has been my very great pleasure to be involved (albeit from the periphery) with a wonderful educational project, Heartwood Small School Project.

They began in 2010 to create a small, family-centred learning community based near Petersfield, in West Sussex and have grown over the intervening couple of years to offer a truly inspiring and stimulating environment for children between 11 and 16. 

My son came out of the state school system after suffering bullying. His confidence crumbled and our bright, happy child was wilting before our eyes. We had decided that home education was the answer although it didn't quite feel like an ideal fit for him. Through a chance remark from my acupuncturist I heard about this exciting new project and within 2 minutes of visiting, we were in love...

The love and dedication of the team behind Heartwood is evident from the level of care that goes into every detail. With aspirations of sustainability, mindfulness, and a gentle, community centred learning environment for our children I can't think of a better place for my emerging teen to spend his days. 

They study GCSE classes in the core subjects aswell as People and Places, Bushcraft, Philosophy and Ethics, Photography, Art and wonderful weekly drama classes. They spend as much time as possible outside and enjoy termly camping expeditions.

The proof is in him though. He is happy, thriving and sparkling once more. When he had a cold earlier this year he almost begged to be allowed to go to school & in his own words, Heartwood is like a second family to him. 

What more could we as parents, ask for?

If you are inspired by Heartwood or you think that your child could benefit from their inspirational approach to learning then please get in touch. 

I'm sharing the news about this exciting project today because places are now available for new students and families to join our learning community.

The Heartwood Open Day is on Friday the 15th March 2013, please come along and see for yourself... 01730 826665 or 07767 321271

Friday, 25 January 2013

Wholehearted Return

This year I decided to resume work as an Holistic Birthing Companion, a Doula. I decided to rejoin Doula UK after a break of 4 years, one way of letting the universe know that I am serious about returning to the world of Birth work. 

Even though I've officially been a "resting" Doula since the birth of my youngest 4 years ago, I attended 5 incredible births last year and have conducted many Mother Blessing ceremonies over the intervening time, also within the Red Thread we have welcomed many new souls earthside, and so I have never really been far from birth. 

When it came to writing my "Doulaography" however, I found myself sitting and staring for a prolonged time at an empty screen. I realised that being a Doula had become so much a part of Who I Am, that I hadn't really thought about it in a linear fashion for a long time! 

I started to think about how my attitude to Birthwork has changed and developed over the years and so I spent some time reflecting on this (while washing up, making lunch, hoovering… no such thing as quiet reflection in this house!) 

So much has happened in the 4 years since I decided to take a break. I have changed; I have grown, I have been burnt but emerged strengthened from the glowing embers, I have learnt wonderful new things and made some beautiful connections & soul friends and so, I suppose has my practice of Being with birth, evolved too. 

All of my experiences have informed who and how I am in my life and in my work, I realised in one startling moment of clarity how absolutely grateful I am for every single moment of my experience, even the moments that have felt dark and difficult. 

In spite of all that change, the essence of who I am and what I do as a Doula has stayed the same. My commitment to the work and my intention remain clear, untarnished and only stronger for the time that has passed. 

I do this work to support and to care for women in Birth. I do this work because I Love it ~ I love Birth, I love babies, I love to bear witness to such beauty & to glimpse the mystery. I do this work because it is one of the things that I am meant to do in this lifetime ~ along with Mothering my children and Celebrancy and other things I am yet to discover but can feel just around the corner… I do this work because it is a part of Who I am. 

Today I am so grateful for this clarity and excited about all that is to come.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Creating Ceremony, Creating memories

One of my very favourite things, is creating Ceremony.

Regardless of our spiritual or religious direction, I believe it is an integral and deep rooted part of our soul and our community that we nourish, when we come together to celebrate and mark our passage through life with meaningful Ceremony. 

Our society is ritual poor and it shows; in tired, consumer driven "Baby showers" full of gifts but lacking in substance; in women approaching birth in fear and isolation; in our young men and women coming to adulthood unmet and unacknowledged in their teen thunder; in both grief and joy equally muted by pale traditions and conventional stereotypes...

Don't get me wrong, I know that not all traditional ceremonies are like this but I have borne witness to my fair share and it has angered, saddened and deeply distressed me at times. 

And so I love to Create Ceremonies. Just writing this sentence makes me smile. 

In joy, the height of our happiness is declared as we introduce a new baby to our clan, to the elements and to the earth our home. Rhapsodic, we declare our commitment and love for one another in a Handfasting or Wedding Blessing. We can recognize and embrace the changing shape of our families as we welcome in adopted children or blend existing families together into a whole new loving entity.

There are so many happy moments in life when we are moved to celebrate and there are also painful and sorrowful times that it feels just as imperative to mark, such as divorce, a passing or the anniversary of a death. At such times, heartfelt, personal ceremony helps us to mark time, to remember and to process our feelings. It is a way of saying, 'you are not here but you are always with us' to those that have gone on ~ and how beautiful to sing our loved ones on their path into the next world lovingly and uniquely, in celebration of who they are and have been in this lifetime. Importantly, it is within these moments that we honour and draw comfort from the fact that life goes on, and the wheel goes ever round.

Ceremony is a chance for us to give thanks for what we have, what we have let go of and for what we will have in the future. Through rituals such as the Phoenix Ceremony, we can choose to let go of what no longer serves us, in gratitude for the lessons that we have learnt. In doing so we are allowing the possibility of new growth from the flames of our past. This is the place where we can nurture and create intention, our vision for the future, and strike out towards it with purpose and clarity. 

We honour each other and the very essence of life in our festivity and so it feels right to me that each and every Ceremony should be unique and tailored to those celebrating. We should chant, drum and dance; raise our voices and our hearts in prose and song; we should laugh, cry and smile with eyes and hearts full. Every emotion is accepted here as living, breathing, heart thumping, messy proof that we are indeed, here on this human journey. Acknowledging and celebrating our path, we are creating Ceremony and weaving a rich blanket memories to keep us warm for always.

Please get in touch if I can help you to create a Ceremony however large or small ~ 

Monday, 9 April 2012

a new home

Times and tides change and so must all things adapt. Much as sometimes we might like things to stay the same, especially when life is good, change is an inevitable part of life, forward movement and growth. 

and what better time for a new adventure for the Red Thread than in the surging green energy of the blossoming Spring.

We have had 3 very happy years at the pavillion in Fernhurst and so I am sorry to say Goodbye to it but we have found a peaceful and very beautiful new home for our meetings in Surrey.

The new space is a converted barn set within an orchard just south of Guildford, much more accessible for everyone that comes along. This was the main aim of the move, to be a bit closer for everyone, as our community has changed and moved over time and most of our families, old and new, are now coming from that direction. 

Also, best of all the outside space at the barn is absolutely amazing, a wonderful and safe place for the children (and grown ups) to skip, run and play freely. It helps that since we relocated the weather has been glorious but I feel that this place is quite magical with or without sunshine! 

On one of our first visits we were treated to an auspicious sighting of a hare at the bottom of the orchard. I can't really think of a better sign of the energy of the land.

I've been so happy to witness Red Thread becoming a real community effort in the first half of this year. The group has pulled together to make sure that our meetings will continue to provide a fortnightly space in which to relax, unwind and connect with like minded families.

Feeling positive, supported & blessed in our new start

Blessings from my family to yours this Spring, 

Keeley x

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Fire and Midwinter Wishes

In celebration and remembrance of another year rolling by, my children and I lit the solstice fire tonight with friends. 

At bedtime tonight we gathered by the indoor fire and talked about what we would like to take with us into the new year when the sun rises on the Winter Solstice tomorrow. I love opportunities like these in life ~ here on the longest night we are given pause, a moment to stand on the threshold of the new and look back on what has been. 

It is at these moments that we can truly create our reality by paying attention to what seeds we are allowing to take root in the dark fertile soil of our interior. Its a chance to leave behind that which we do not wish to take with us and to choose better things for our journey; things that make us smile, lift our spirits, make our hearts swell with gladness and love. Of course the shadow side of life is there always and there is little point in pretending that it isn't, but as long as we can learn from, accept and be grateful for our experiences, whatever they may be, we are free to move on from them and to soar into the next phase.

For the Red Thread it has been a wonderful year, there have been trying moments of course, but for me the absolutely glorious ones are the ones that I am choosing to take into 2012 with me. 

We had the brilliance and excitement of Nurtured Family Nurtured Earth, a day that I will never forget; the supportive, comforting familiarity of our regular meetings; the joy of witnessing each others children grow and the warmth of the deepening bonds of community and love that we are forging here together. 

We have seen much loved members of our circle leave to continue their journeys elsewhere and their faces, energy and contribution to our lives I will never forget. In turn we have been blessed by new Mama's and their little ones joining our group, new babies to hold, stories to hear, new friends to make.

There have been blessingways, bumps and brand new babies to welcome, what joy! As always there is playing, learning, crying (not always just the children) & chatting ; sparkly play dough to play with and lots of tea to be drunk. 

We are sharing the journey of motherhood in all its colours, and supporting & witnessing each other as we expand and blossom into the women and Mothers that we aspire to be. 

Yes, it has been a good year for The Red Thread and I am proud of what we are creating here and excited to see what will grow next year from the seeds of this one…

Blessings of light and darkness to you this Solstice.

Love Keeley x

Saturday, 6 August 2011

In the Summer time...

For our last meeting in July, one of our Red Thread Mama's, Kate, came along to give us a talk on Herbs for Mothers and Children. It was a lovely meeting and Kate gave very generously of her time to answer questions and share her extensive knowledge with us all. Thank You Kate!

The Red Thread is taking a break over the Summer this year, for the first time since we started. We are returning in the Autumn, in September and I am so looking forward to seeing everyone again and hearing all about their Summers..

Wherever you are reading this blog, I hope these Summer weeks have been warm, nourishing & fun for you and your family. 

My family joined many others at The Mother magazine's annual family camp in North Yorkshire. It was a lovely break for us all, amid the beautiful surroundings and many lovely families, all coming together to share time; prepare & cook meals together; play, tie dye and knit; witness a handfasting; attend free workshops; dream & chat at the camp fire long into the night

Community Damper bread making
Once again, Veronika & Paul of The Mother magazine put heart and soul into providing and holding this space for us all. They should be proud of all they achieved this year with another lovely camp that was loved and enjoyed by so many families.

Veronika & paul at the camp fire for the launch of The Mystic Cookfire

We certainly came back happy & with a heart full of lovely memories to keep us warm & inspired.

Back home again, with Lammas just behind us, my thoughts turn toward Autumn. Even though we are still surrounded by the abundance of Summer, the seeds of next year can be seen in the crops, plants and flowers all around us, and harvest is on the way. The children have picked (and instantly eaten, naturally!) the first blackberries and our apples & plums are almost ready on the trees.

This is a time of year when I can really feel the wheel turning, light into dark, flower into seed, the glowing potential of pregnancy into the beauty & raw power of birth, Maiden into Mother; early into late Summer and then on into Autumn. Long and hopefully warm days still to come allow us all to spend more time outside, making the most of the late Summer, as the seasons dance on...