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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Standing strong

Since the launch, things have been happening at lightning speed. I can’t believe how much everything has changed. I knew this was going to happen of course. But if the change brings you into an area in life that has, up until this point in time, been unexplored and unknown then it’s pretty difficult to estimate how the changes will be experienced. So… here I sit, on the sofa in my Mam’s place in Arklow, to breathe and witness the movement that’s ongoing.

The whole of August flew by. The first week I ran to my aunt’s place in Kildare to get some writing space, I came back to get the last things for the launch prepared and 5 days later I eloped to Ennis (the west of Ireland) for nearly 2 weeks to sit little a Buddha and withdraw myself from this world. I never really had time to process that whole experience or to get ‘over it’ gradually, which I knew would be the case. So it’s all well and good… I've not a single regret to have 'eloped' to the meditation course, because without it I’d not be managing to keep myself grounded and focussed. As soon as silence broke, it was time to open up to the world good and proper; within 3 days I was speaking to 1000s on the radio! That really WAS going from one extreme to the other! 2 days after the radio interview, I had an interview with the local paper (today the interview was featured in the Wicklow People!) and a few hours later I was standing in front of my nearest and dearest to set my little project free. It’s no wonder that when I sat down on Friday afternoon I was almost zombified… but satisfied… ooooohhhhh so satisfied and more content than anyone could ever imagine.

Saturday I was overwhelmed by the responses that came through email and Facebook. Wouw… It was the strangest thing to find that people were contacting me, people I’ve known for years but not been in touch with. I never expected anything like that at all! That was a huge day… and a burst of life came out of nowhere… But Sunday, again, I was zombified and slept for Ireland… a very rare treat!

Ever since, I’ve been going through these moods and moments of thinking ‘Oh my god, it’s actually happening’. Slowly people will be recognizing me, feeling inspired by my story, connecting with me through my writing and seeing me as an example or a representation of what can come of a life if someone gets through a very tough time. This is so new to me… I’ve only ever dreamed of being recognized as a writer with substance. Now it’s no longer a vision in my mind, but a reality on every level…

There they stand: a writer and a reader of the book. The writer has poured their heart and soul into a piece of work, but doesn’t feel it’s anything huge. The reader stands in front of the writer who is starting to share their deepest darkest fear with the world. There’s a feeling of admiration and motivation coming from the reader. And the writer wonders… ‘Why feel so inspired to stand face to face with someone who has simply put truth into words and, for the sake of LIFE itself, will do anything they can to spread it? Isn't this a normal turn of events? Doesn't everyone do this?' Hummmm… The reader’s response and their enthusiasm are like a gift the writer graciously receives. But, due to not fully realizing the extent of work that has so far been done on the writer’s behalf, they feel such responses to be overwhelming.

Yesterday I realized just how life-changing this is going to be. This is full exposure of my everything… And it’s a huge test: Can I stand strong and be the representation of spirit I eventually describe, as a result of recovering from anorexia? Can I be the physical presence of the spiritual essence that comes to life in this book? Do I have it in me, to never feel negatively judged, criticized or labelled by society, now that I’ll most likely be speaking of the writing that is slowly reaching people? Can I cope with any possible scrutiny that may come my way? This is a test of the ability I have to be the strength of LIFE that comes when living in alignment with spirit.

If I pass the test, I can say ‘yes’ to all of these questions. And I’m not even going to consider it possible to answer anything else other than a definite 'yes' to these questions. Only the word ‘yes’ injects strength into everything. So, I’ve passed already!

So I keep myself balanced, grounded and centred. Is this a selfish act? Am I then self-centred? Not at all! On the contrary; it’s selfless act… Without centring myself, I can’t give what I’ve got… So, for the sake of giving to others, I have to consciously be giving enough to myself—on every level. Only then I’m in-tune and won’t ever lose sight of myself, won’t ever forget the intention that lies behind this journey and won’t ever shower myself with pressure, stress or feelings of doubt and fear. I’ve no space or time for such ‘showers’! Life is too precious, the doors are too open and opportunities are too welcome.      

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cover story

The cover of the book is something that might be of interest to anybody who is looking for it... Something I actually forgot to share with most people! Oops... So, here it is...(without the black border). 

There's a story behind the picture, of course, as there always is. It was taken in India in 2010 only a few days before I was due to leave. It was actually taken by Jayanthi, a dear friend from Chennai, who has opened her home to me on several ocassions. She took it when we were visiting Pondicherry, a tourist destination south of Chennai. The elephant was standing outside a temple, and you had to place a 5 rupee coin in the palm of your hand. The elephant would take the coin from your hand, put it in a basket, and pat you on the head with it's trunk--as a blessing. He was kind of unpredicatable with his trunck, swinging it around... But somehow Jayanthi managed to get this picture perfect, with the elephant and myself both seeming to be so calm! I'd never have thought, as I stood so close to this elephant and looked him in the eyes (which were HUGE by the way!) that it would be a captured moment I'd get to share with anybody and everybody! Isn't it amazing...

At that point in my life, I was 'digesting' the story that sits behind the cover. Little did I know that the 'digestion' was taking place at that time... Only hindsight reveals what was really going on during moments that have come to pass.

So, a month after this picture was taken, I ended up in Ireland. I didn't want to stay, all I wanted was to write the book. And I did. By december of 2010 it was finished. But it actually had a different title. I was first of all calling it: Feeding Fays Freedom. I was so set on that title. Once I left to China and later moved onwards to India, I'd been editting the whole script and contemplated the title. In India (when I was staying with Jayanthi again in October 2011), I found the title was too much of mouthful and also too soft for the strength that actually comes to life inside the book. I had a great time when I thinking up a new name! God, it could've been ANYTHING... and I was the only one to decide what the title was going to be... (now I kind of know what new parents go through too...when choosing a name for their newborn baby! It's quite a big responsibility).

Then one day in Jayanthi's house, I was taking a cold bath and the music from the temple was playing in the background. I'll never forget that particular moment. And suddenly I said outloud: Digesting Wisdom. I thought...humm... that's catchy... maybe that would work. After that I never let the title go.

When I came back to Ireland in February, Lorraine and I first started working on ideas for the cover. I thought first of all to use a symbol of some sort. I didn't consider using a picture of myself. No way! I didn't think I had the right to put myself on the cover of my book! 'Who on god's earth do you think you are, putting a picture of yourself on your first book?!' Hummm... So I contacted my cousin Mark, who designs posters and runs his own business. He suggested a picture from when I was travelling. Instantly I said I didn't want my face on the cover of my book. Either way, we continued to work together on other ideas, but he was still adament that a picture of me would have the best effect. It took me a while to actually realize that he was right. So I gave him a selection of my 'best shots' and he did 2 examples. When I looked at both covers, I loved this particular one. But I waited a while and let it sit with me before deciding for definite. I slowly realized that I'd never be able to gage how the cover would come across once the book was in  print. I'd never know for sure how eye-catching it would be when scanning the bookshelves. So I trusted that the picture on the front would tell a story in itself and even give the book yet another dimension.

When it was printed and I held it in my hands, I knew it suited the story perfectly. It's real life, it's powerful and the connection I made with the spirit of the elephant comes out. Elephants just so happen to be a symbol of wisdom. What a 'coincidence' for Mark to have chosen this... I only put this link together AFTER he suggested to use this picture.

And here we are, with a title, a cover, a story and someone way too eager to get it out there. The book has arrived a new stage in its 'young' life and I feel a time approaching of proper promotion coming on!  


Friday, August 24, 2012

Where's this book?!?!?!

Okay, this is the question many have been asking: Where to get the book I've been ranting and raving about for so long?!

Well, for anybody living locally, the book is being sold at Julie New's shop, Kustom Kidz, in Arklow.

For anybody living inside of Ireland, from the 4th of September it's available in 'all good book stores' (meaning the biggest chains throughout Ireland). But orders can be placed in any bookstore from now onwards, both inside and outside of Ireland. Basically any bookstore in the world that supplies English books, will be able to stock the book, provided the customer places an order and is patient enough to wait a few days :-)

It's also available on amazon.com and waterstones.com. At the moment, it's not in stock, but it can be pre-ordered--because the batch is on its way! It's also available in ebook format, for Kindle and Ipad. YAY!

I'd of course love to sign every single copy... But  for now, the distance makes that a little tricky... I'm sure I'll eventually get to sign... if and when we meet again. Because I always believe that our paths have crossed once ONLY to cross again... at some stage in life. And until then... isn't internet such an amazing thing to keep us all so connected!!!! What a life ;-) 

A launch to remember

The book has been launched! Wouw… it came around so fast, was over in a flash… But what a brilliant night it turned out to be. Really, it was perfect. 

All day yesterday I was preparing myself, mentally. I was trying to keep myself balanced and calm, with as little nerves as possible, so my speech would flow and I’d get my message across loud and clear. Preparing the speech was quite tricky. To over-prepare, means it’s unnatural. To under-prepare, means we’re not too bothered about the whole thing and don’t make an effort to actually say what we want to say. I had no clue if I was preparing too much or too little… But the more I thought about it, the more I realized: I’m gonna be in a room with mostly friends and family… so really, what’s the worst that can happen if I’m lost for words and making an ass of myself? Nothing… I’d simply laugh it off… So, with this in mind I was trusting in ME to say what I needed.

Everyone started showing up between 7 and 7.30pm. It was quite overwhelming at first to realize that all these people (between 60 and 70) had come for… me?! Or just for… my book? Or for both? These people were there for the simple reason that Niamh would be presenting a book for the first time in her life… wouw…(no pressure to perform then! haha) I was able to keep myself calm (the person who was probably more nervous than anybody else, was my mam… poor thing... and she didn’t need to do anything! Haha…). Gradually though I really wanted to say my piece. I really wanted to give something back to all the people who had shown up.

The speech started around 7.45. First Lorraine (the publisher) gave a short introduction. Then Diann spoke. She was my therapist throughout my recovery. We’re still in good contact… I consider her the soul-friend I’m blessed to have found throughout my treatment. Anyhow, she spoke briefly about the methods of treatment available, about various books that have been written on eating disorders and how different everyone’s recovery process can be. She highlighted the fact that my recovery was unique in the sense that I embraced the spirit that’s beneath the illness which enabled me to bring soul into my life instead of self-harm and destruction. 

When she was standing there, talking so clearly, the room was silent. I could see the faces of those in the ‘audience’… everyone started to look so bleak, so sad… There was tension around me… It was as if everyone was thinking the same thing: ‘Oh god, this is dark stuff, this is tough stuff, this is stuff we’re not supposed to be smiling about and maybe not even supposed to be talking about…isn’t this word ‘anorexia’ taboo?!’ I don’t know if these were everyone’s thoughts, but I picked up on a strange vibe. Then I had a moment: ‘Oh no, I’m supposed to stand here and speak about something that everyone in this room considers a taboo…’ Actually, I don’t know what others were thinking. But I, myself, have always had issues when it came to saying the word anorexia and speaking so openly about something that once tore me a part. For so long, it was taboo in my world... And only over the course of the past months has this started changing... and last night I was truly putting my change OUT THERE.

So, still standing there, Diann continued to speak. I knew I couldn’t afford to be driven by fear. So I kept my focus on her and started to feel I was home, safe and not alone in speaking of something that’s ‘taboo’. I thought: Thank you so much for doing this; for speaking so clearly and for getting people to see that yes, it’s tough stuff to recover from an eating disorder, but it’s real stuff and can become equally light as the darkness it represents in the minds of most. I was so grateful for her presence THERE… and it made everything seem RIGHT… because everything I was about to say WAS (and still IS) RIGHT. 

Then came my time… First of all I thought: ‘Please smile and lighten your mood guys! Everything really is MORE than okay!’ I had to dispel the darkness that I felt had gathered in the room and show what can really become of a person, if they dispel the darkness from their lives.

Was it my moment to shine or my moment to get soppy, emotional and disheartened by recalling some minor bleak moments in my past? It certainly was NOT a moment to crumble and fall but a moment to be real.
Presenting a book like this to the world—however small the ‘world’ in Gorey seems to be—was many things. But overall, it was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done! It was the most powerful speech I’ve ever given. 

There were moments when I choked up, but I was able to breathe through it and keep myself focussed on getting the message of the book across. I released my inhibitions, I let down my guard good and proper and really didn’t care what others would think of me, or how they might judge me… I felt so FREE to express ME and to speak openly about the true meaning of life. It was so different to hear my voice saying words that I’ve only ever written… words that can affect others positively and motivate. It was like I’d awakened something inside of me, by standing strong and saying: Life is amazing, I love life, I love myself and EVERYONE has the right, or duty even, to love themselves. Because this is the truth of life: loving ourselves doesn’t mean we’re self-centred with an inflated ego. No way… It doesn’t mean we’re feeling better than anybody else… Because we’re not expecting another person love to us more than they love themselves. No way! When we love somebody or something outside of ourselves MORE than the person inside, then we’re neglecting and harming ourselves. True love for life means true love for the person within. 

The way in which I stood there last night, wasn’t for the sake of Niamh wanting others to think better of her. I wasn’t searching for acceptance and I wasn’t trying to fill in the expectations others may have had from me. No… I spoke and, without force, an extra energy came. An energy I experience so easily through writing and whilst speaking one-to-one with ‘light’ people. It’s like something awakened inside of me… I was no longer hiding behind a laptop writing words of truth but I was speaking words of truth in front of a crowd. They were words that, up until a few years ago, I’d have feared to be condemned for speaking. But by overcoming that fear, breaking down that barrier and setting my story free to heal others and to do the work it’s meant to do, I was experiencing true freedom! Yes!!!!!!!! It was so exciting to share my passion for life and the beauty that lies in suffering, for the first time in my life, with my close family and friends. I know this is only the beginning… Because I spoke only a tiny fraction of the things I wish to share and I expressed only a fraction of the energy inside that I know can be put OUT THERE to help in some way.

What a night! It happened at high speed but the response was exceptional. And I cannot thank everyone enough for showing up. Without the support and the ‘listeners’ I’d never have stood up and been able to speak the way I did. And for that, I’m eternally grateful. Signing the books afterwards was quite surreal… every single copy I know is going to a new home, it’s going to be read and interpreted differently by every individual but hopefully always respected for the truth that’s inside, regardless if the reader finds it too heavy, too light, too complex or too simple. The book is real, the book is out and now it arrives at a new stage… as do I.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Flowing to the launch

Tomorrow might be a big day and those around might be building the anticipation and excitement. Some may expect an explosion and for a comedown to be experienced the day after. But holy smoke… This really isn’t how I’m approaching the launch at all! What I’ve learned only recently is that, when there’s no build-up to an event there’s no expectations that have to be met. Without expectations, there’s no anticipation, there’s no stress, there’s no fear, no nerves. There’s no expenditure of energy throughout the days leading up towards the event, so the isn’t deflated once the actual event arrives. Without anticipation the event then is only ONE single step that will lead to another. And life simply continues to flow, even after the event!

Yesterday for example, when I was going on the radio, I felt others were more excited and nervous than I was. (It went really well by the way, but we can't listen back to it online, like we could the last time! bummer... so i don't know how I actually came across... but it felt good and the response was great.) Luckily I was able to keep myself focussed on what I was doing and not take on the anticipation others were feeling. And this is the same for the launch. Whatever nerves others are feeling, it’s theirs to keep! I don’t need their tension—it will only take my focus away from what’s actually happening, by trying to cope with the fear of what could happen if things don’t go the way I’d expected them to! I’ve found that when we’re nervous about something or other, we see that certain something as a bump, it’s something we wish to have ALREADY DONE, it’s something we wish we didn’t need to have to go through. There’s tension and we get lost in that tension instead of embracing the moment at hand. 

Just before I was to go on air, I sat at reception and I thought, ‘this interview isn’t a bump! It isn’t something that I want to get out of the way, but it’s something I actually NEED to DO and SAVOUR’ I wanted to actually BE with the interview, instead of wishing for it to be over (which is what I’ve always felt towards ‘big’ moments of exposure in the past). I realized yesterday that those 10 or 15 precious minutes on air were the minutes permitting me to say what needed to be said, regarding the book and my personal experiences with anorexia. Why would I wish away such short moments that are valuable, if my spoken words reach the ears of anybody who can benefit? Out of fear, I’d want to do so, but for no other reason. And why would I be fearful?! No reason at all. I’ve come so far and this is only the beginning… As a wise lady only recently told me: ‘you can’t cop out now’.

So… no fears, no anticipation and no more rejecting what I’ve done and what I’ve so far become. With this approach, every single person I speak with regarding this story and every written or spoken interview I may give throughout the upcoming period, will have ME totally THERE. Just like tomorrow evening: the first time for me to stand up in front a room full of people and say, ‘this is me…’ I’m going to be totally THERE… without tension, without stress, without seeing it as the ‘bump I wish I didn’t have to face’. On the contrary, it’s a step I wish to make. I DO want to face the world. And I will start from the place on earth where also the base of my story is found (being Arklow). And with time I’ll move a lot further beyond this little green island in the west of Europe.

Being real about me

Morning thoughts… the day before the launch. Wouw… the 22nd of August and tomorrow can, in many ways, be considered the biggest day of my life. For this reason, I have a feeling that I should be building up the excitement and waiting in anticipation for the moment to arrive when I stand up and start being recognized for something I once wanted to keep a shameful secret. Anorexia.

Since yesterday, after talking on the radio about the illness and my experiences (sitting with the book in my hand!), I definitely feel it’s finally opening itself up to the world and it’s opening myself up too. Because, to put it simply: the book is me. Without my experiences, this book would not BE. Without having recovered, the book would not BE. And in the same sense, without the writing, I wouldn’t BE who I am today either. It sounds maybe farfetched and deep, and I guess it is. Which is fine. Because the illness was deep, recovery was deep and now, everything I do seems to be from the same depth. 

People from my past, who only remember me as being a drinker, a party animal, a traveller, have heard through Facebook that I’ve written this book. But that’s all they’ve heard: ‘Niamh has written a book’. And instantly, they want to read it. ‘Yay!’ I say, of course! They’d have no clue what it’s about. So I know the topic of the book is something that will take many by surprise—especially those who haven’t been in touch with me for many years. This is full exposure.

The story in itself will be both torturous and uplifting to read, for anybody. But also the way in which it’s been written, will be challenging. Because the way I write, is deep, painful and requires the reader to be totally ‘there’ with the story, for the light that eventually comes from the darker side of the book, to reach home. Anybody who will be reading this book, either close family or friends, distant relatives or acquaintances, friends from my past (who may be inclined to think it’s a book on Niamh’s jolly holidays!) or people I’m still yet to befriend, will hopefully have the determination to read through the darkness I experienced, as they too can ‘come out the other side’ and realize the lightness that can be experienced ONLY due to having fully embraced that darkness. This is the message of the book.

Now that I feel the deeper layer of myself, that I’ve been so ashamed of having ‘owned’ for years, is starting to open itself up to the world, this is how I’ll be recognized. Initially. With time it will change, as my writing develops, grows and other experiences will be shared. But, to start with, people will be recognizing and learning from this darker side of my past. I’ve recently had moments when I’ve panicked and wasn’t sure this is really what I want. But these were fleeting moments and I’d realize it’s not a case of whether or not I want to be recognized as the girl who recovered from a dark mental illness and is now putting herself out in the world. This process is not about wanting or not wanting. It’s about simply doing my duty. Writing brought me to recover and I always said, even in my darkest days, that I’d get my written story printed and it would make a difference in this world. I never once sat and actually contemplated: ‘now… do I really want others to know what I went through?’ I never once asked myself this question. I simply knew it had to be so.

This book has since become an expression of gratitude for still being here in this life. And I’m privileged to be sharing the gift of healing I was given, through the written word, with those in need. Also it’s about giving anorexia a HEALTHY place of acceptance in my own life. It’s about no longer feeling ashamed for WHAT I’ve experienced or for HOW I’ve written this book. It’s for no longer letting myself be held back by the thoughts that others could condemn me if they just so happened to become aware of how I choose to place myself in this world today and what I choose to place my focus on in this life. Also it’s about believing that anorexia comes into a person’s life for greater good and that it can guide a person to express themselves in the manner that feels homing to the individual. The greater purpose of my past anorexia is now starting to become clear. The clarity is no longer only my clarity (which it has been, for 3 years!) but it will be become anybody’s clarity, anybody who is willing to open up.  

Expressing the gift that I found in anorexia, is basically expressing what it is that’s brought me to be living the life I’m living today. It’s made me the person I am right now. And how amazing is it that I’m able to stand beside my book, to give my book and to say: this book is the truth of my past that brought me the truth of my present. And the tool—being writing—will keep revealing the truth of my future.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I can start singing!

The 10 days of silence were quite amazing. It ended yesterday morning, so I’m still putting it all into place. Right now, I’d love to sit for hours writing about the whole experience: the physical pain I went through and how I overcame that torture. The anger that arose, the strength I found and the fears I faced. I’d love to talk about how those 10 days were like a silent movie, about how I observed others, about how I created stories for all of the women I was surrounded by (who were initially strangers, but slowly—even in silence—spoke their moods, their trials and their triumphs and we all became soul friends). I’d love to fully express how the souls were coming alive in each individual person, how their egos were getting dissolved as the week progressed and they developed their meditation practise. I’d love to say how I saw some of them drowning in their emotions searching for something to grab hold of and how I slowly felt the love being sourced, which turned out to be the tool to pass through the 10 day journey as ‘sanely’ as possible. I’d love to write deeply about how I felt the energies of the walls of our residence (that was previously an all-boys catholic boarding school).

BUT, it’s almost too much to put into a blog post today! I really will write a book on the experiences Vipassana meditation have brought me—on both occasions. For now though, I’ll keep it ‘brief’.
From the start of the course, I was comparing my experience to the first one I took in India, 11 months ago. And it was so enlightening. Last time I was definitely in a much darker place, within myself. Even though I was in the tropical part of India, in 30 degree heat, with jungle-like surroundings, it didn’t take away the reality of my life that there was a lot of personal shit I needed disposing of (to put it bluntly). Even still, with all of my shit, I loved that course so much, because of how revealing it was. It opened up a new world to me and I loved that I was able to remain strong whilst realizing the fact that all the pain I was experiencing in my life, was brought on by myself. I loved this particular meditation technique in itself as well, because of the depths it can bring you to, ONLY if you work your ass off!

What I loved most about this particular course was that I was able to compare my inside world NOW with my inside world THEN… And I’m blown away by how much I’ve grown. For the past year I really HAVE been changing my ways for the better and I’ve definitely been disposing myself of the shit that no longer has a space in my life.

The Vipassana meditation is an amazing gift that brought my purpose so clearly to the surface, on both occasions. This time, however, the purpose is clearer, nearer and accessible. The purpose doesn’t stop with writing, but it starts with writing. I saw so vividly how I can use both the meditation and the writing to go even further into my own depths. By going further, I can reach the people and eventually offer others a place of refuge from this surrounding world, so they can face and dispose themselves of their own shit. I’ve found that writing is only the start of what I can do and Digesting Wisdom is like the foundations I need so I can move forward and hopefully come to a point where I can offer those who are suffering a safe haven.

Withdrawal really is a beautiful thing. And many will say it’s running away from the real world. But it’s actually running towards our own real world, so we can deal wholeheartedly with this apparent ‘real’ world around us. The fact that someone needs to run away for a while, DOES say that a person isn’t dealing with daily life in the way they wish they could. And closing oneself off is an amazing escape and a courageous step… Because the fact that a person isn’t facing the surrounding world in the way they feel is intended, means they’re aware that something INSIDE themselves needs more attention, more healing, more focus. Only by closing oneself off can a person properly open themselves up again. A person finds the strength to be out in this world, but connected to something deeper. And living from a deeper level means ‘mundane’ life becomes richer, more satisfying and rewarding. The only conclusion I can come up with it that alienation, refuge, retreat, isolation (or whatever word it can be given) is beautiful. And running way from the physical is a must for everyone… at some point in their lives. Only in isolation can a person learn to embrace themselves. Only then they’re fully capable of embracing everything beyond themselves.

On a course like this, which is actually taking refuge in meditation, a person needs bravery, courage, discipline and determination. I can safely say that those elements within myself are developed to such an extent, that, during this particular course I was able to push myself deeper into ME, for the sake of writing, for the sake of giving and for the sake of standing strong in this physical world and being truthful about what I wish to bring forth. And the timing for this to have come my way was more than perfect—taking into account that I need to be more real than I’ve ever been. I’m at a stage in life where I’m going to be ‘singing’ my song. And for it to be clear, loud, gripping and affective I have to be stronger about what it is that’s brought me to be living the life I’m living right now. It’s so powerful.

So… just as I’m putting this course so briefly into perspective, I got word that tomorrow morning I’ve got an interview on the local radio! Yes! On East Coast Radio, at 11.30am, I’ll be giving an interview about the book… This is the first one. Wouw… 2 days before the launch! Again, perfect timing! God, I just love how the universe works. I’ll attach the link of the interview in my next update…

Belated update: 8th of August

It’s Wednesday morning the 8th of August and I’m sitting at Connolly station in Dublin city centre. I feel I’m in travel mode… But at the same time, I feel like I’m going home… Since yesterday evening I’ve been starting to feel more ‘me’ than I’ve felt in quite a while. How nice to realize that moving actually makes me feel at home. Wouw… travel really DOES bring me closer to myself. How exciting to be sharing this piece of ‘news’ this morning. Lol

Anyhow… I’ve been up since 3am, left Arklow at 5 to start the 7 hour bus journey taking me over to the west of Ireland (7 hours isn’t long at all, but when you consider how relatively small Ireland is, it seems quite a trip). I’m on my way to the meditation course. Yes, it’s Vipassana-time once again and silence will resume from around 8pm tonight. I can’t wait… I’ll be in silence until the 19th of August. It will be the same drill as the 3-day course I did in Donard, Co. Wicklow (in June) and the 10-day course I did in Kerala, South India (in September last year): 10 hours of meditation a day, no contact with the outside world, no reading, no writing, no music, no physical contact with other students. Nothing… For most this will sound like torture, but at this moment in time, it’s come to represent HEAVEN in my eyes. 

I’ve a fair idea now what to expect, schedule-wise. I know I’ll be grand to get up at 4am each day and I’ll adjust to eating 2 meals a day with the last meal being lunch at 11.30am. I know the aches and pains I’ll physically feel (the knees will suffer the most and the legs will weaken after a few days of in-actively sitting cross-legged on a cushion. I know it will be tough and I’ll probably want to run into the nearest field to escape… I know I’ll shed many tears and see many fears… and this is all great really. Because the most important reassurance I have, is that I’ll always come out stronger and more together than before. I know the journey will reveal things… things I don’t know about myself yet. But I’m open and I can cope. I can cleanse myself of stuff that’s weighing me down at the moment and I can move forward, simply by sitting still and observing what’s behind my eyes. It’s quite exciting and high-time for this withdrawal. Because, seriously, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Just before things are starting to change so drastically for me.

When I ‘come out’ after the 10 days, I’ll be going back to Arklow and getting ready for the launch, on the 23rd. So, a new period of my life will be starting, and I’ll be as fresh and free as a daisy to totally embrace the experience, with vibrant energy, clarity and deep gratitude for what’s happening. And with such an approach, only more goodness will come.

Before I start the course this evening, I’ll be meeting Lorraine, the publisher. She just so happens to live in Ennis (which is where this course is taking place). We’ve arranged to do a photo-shoot for the press-releases that will be spread, around the same time as the book is being launched. So, we’ll be taking pictures, with myself and the book! Yes THE book… I’ll be holding it in my hands later on today for the first time! God… this is huge… The first book that I’ve written—an original story that exists NOWHERE else in the world—and I’m gonna be holding it soon, PHYSICALLY!!!! This is when everything really will feel more real than real can be! What an adventure this is. Wouw… Oh… I’ve got to go, the bus is about to come, so I’ll update in a couple of weeks, about how it all planned out. A happy journey awaits!     

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Distance Beyond: It's starting to happen...

A Distance Beyond: It's starting to happen...: It’s August 1 st … I’m in Kildare… Yesterday I got word from the publisher that the date and the venue for the launch of the book have b...

It's starting to happen...

It’s August 1st… I’m in Kildare… Yesterday I got word from the publisher that the date and the venue for the launch of the book have been confirmed!! The invitations, posters and advertisements in the local papers, can now start to spread! Yes! So, this is how it stands today: the book is at the printers and 100s of copies should be ready by next week (not sure of the exact amount). The book will start to spread across the country and further afield (seeing as though we’re using our great friend Amazon and Kindle!) from the end of August. The celebration of the release will be on the 23rd of August. This is our ‘big’ launch date!  

The launch itself will be held in a little book café in Gorey town (10 minutes south of Arklow). We weren’t initially going to organize a launch, but the way it came about, was too coincidental for us NOT to do it. It happened a few weeks ago. I was walking down a laneway in Arklow, passed by a flower shop. It had a box of second-hand books outside and there was one of Paulo Coelho that caught my eye. I hadn’t read it yet, so I picked it up and went into the flower shop to pay. I’d never been in there before, but saw that there was an extension at the back. It was full of arts, crafts and more second hand books. I was browsing and amazed by some of the paintings that a local artist had done. Then the lady running the shop offered me a tea! Who am I to say no! So we started chatting about the artwork and we got on to the subject of writing… For some reason she said: ‘you must be a good writer’. That’s something debatable I guess… but I slowly started telling her I was getting my first book published. 

She went on to tell me about a book launch she’d only recently been to, and the venue of the launch. It had taken place in a little snug coffee shop (called the Book Café) in Gorey town and she really 'sold' it by saying how perfect it was for a personal, more ‘intimate’ launch, as it was small and in a relaxed atmosphere. She knew the owners were willing to host more book launches to support local authors who are only starting out… Of course hearing this, alarm-bells started going off! It sounded perfect: a coffee shop (ANY coffee shop is where I love to write the most), a book shop (well, needless to say, that’s almost toooooo suiting!). Also the fact that it’s outside of Arklow means we’ll attract more of a variety of people and word on the book will hopefully spread faster. So, I was buzzing with excitement, when I was speaking with this lady. She was too. We exchanged numbers, promised to be in touch, we hugged (only strangers 15 minutes ago!) and I went on my way… 

I was totally blown away by what had just happened! Why? Because, when I woke up that morning (and when I walked in to pay for the book), I wasn't looking to find an answer as to what road to go down, in regards to the launch and the publicity of the book. I wasn’t searching for anything when I walked in, but when I walked out I felt like I’d been given the ‘go’ sign, to put the happening of the launch into motion. So what did I do?! I jumped on the next bus to Gorey town to see the Book Café for myself and to speak with the owners. And 3 hours later (after sitting the in café (that actually WAS exactly how the lady in the flower shop had described it), drinking yummy drinks, taking in the atmosphere and writing my heart out in my journal) I spoke with the owners, who were more than happy to host the launch... We exchanged numbers, I promised to be in touch, I hopped on the bus…and couldn’t believe how amazing life can sometimes be! I know it might sound so petty to a lot of people that something so ‘normal’ can be so exciting… But it’s like this: everything that comes along my path, WITHOUT me searching for it, is confirmation that I’m on the right track in life and that things really ARE unfolding, even when I'm not trying to control these forces. It’s all simply meant to be! Wouw… this is life in full flow!

The publisher was just as excited as I was, when I told her about the venue. And so we set the date for the 23rd of August. I’ll be giving a reading, probably do some talking and book signings. A few local newspapers are being invited as well as presenters from the local radio station. After the launch, the promotion will start. But that's for a later date... Because for now we’re taking it one step at a time. And today I’m soooo excited to see it unfolding like this! I’ll be sure to update on where exactly the book will be available and of course how the promotion will take off. Happy days!    

Juggling July

I’ve eloped from Arklow… I ran to the countryside on Sunday afternoon (or I should say, I caught a bus, and made my way to Kildare). I’m now visiting family for the week. I’m sitting at the kitchen table that looks out on their gorgeous luscious green garden. No sun just yet, but instead dark low clouds, swaying tall trees, a wind-chime in the background and 2 dogs at my feet wanting my attention… There’s a stove right beside me and a burning fire in the front room (even though it’s 15 degrees outside!). God, it’s good to get away!

Life has been pretty strange/different/odd as of lately. The past month has been one of the most revealing times I’ve had in a long while. July really brought so much to the surface and last week I realized that the amount of change I’ve been undergoing is almost too much for me to keep up with, if I fail to be at ease and keep the head clear. What’s been going on? To summarize briefly:

There’s the story of this next book that’s starting to take over (even though I’m hardly able to do any work on it at all (due to lack of focus), it’s always there in my head, working away nicely, growing in strength and waiting (sometimes) patiently for NIAMH to find her space and time so she can sit and let it flow, without distractions).

There’s the Reiki course I was introduced to (which took me more than a week to get over; my body was drained and many old fears, stale emotions and real truths came to the surface, which I had to deal with. I’m still up and down if I’m honest).

Then there was the Vision Seminar of last weekend that opened up many doors (this amazing event initially catapulted me forward to envision huge forthcoming potentialities, but then life around me—as I experience it from day to day—didn’t hold off in pulling me back down to earth to remind me of the work I have to do, HERE and NOW. This really shook me about, led to my questioning of realities and as a result, I was drained for days afterwards).

Alongside this I got stuck on the idea of moving SOMEWHERE... (I didn’t want this idea to remain a floating thought…but wanted it to happen sooooo badly. I therefore spent hours on end, for days at a time, searching the internet for a place to live in the west of Ireland. Did I find one? I found 100s! Did I choose one? No! Because I realized I was forcing something to happen and that it would backfire if I followed it through. So I’ve put it to one side for now).

As well there’s been the building anticipation of the upcoming book release. For months I’ve been feeling that I constantly have to reassure those around me (as well as myself) that the book REALLY IS on its way (simply because it's taken longer than we expected--wise lesson: we really should NEVER expect things to go in a certain way...oops!). The whole publishing journey has brought me to practise patience like never before. And I’ve been succeeding nicely by accepting that it’s on its way and accepting that I can't control the HOW and WHEN of its reveal! However just because I’m learning to feel at ease with the fact that the process of publishing takes on a life of its own and a time period of its own (which the author and publisher can only control to a certain degree…due to there being so many other different people involved, who have different priorities than the publisher and author have), doesn’t mean to say those around me have the same sense of ease and have let-go of anticipating what’s going to happen. 

Looking back, I’m actually shocked at how much pressure this has put on me. I know though that I’m the one who puts the stress on myself, so I can’t blame anyone for how I interpret their interest, love and support for what’s happening in my life. On the contrary, I’m sooooo grateful for everyone’s support, healthy anticipation and excitement for the launch of the book! It is quite huge for this to be happening, so of course people are looking forward to it! But, just so I can avoid putting the pressure on, I need to learn to NOT get tangled with other people's expectations and perceptions. Doing this only leads to confusion and chaos... we then lose focus, clarity and start to fear everything that's unknown... we get into a vicious spiral... on and on it goes... bla bla bla... I guess we know the drill by now... And everytime something happens that brings us off-focus, we're actually being subtly reminded of this: we MUST keep perceiving life through our OWN eyes, and not the eyes of people who are outside of ourselves. Just to avoid pressure... So simple! 

So, I've been juggling things, trying to get the balance right so I can keep dealing with the changes and continue flowing with life. Last week, I couldn't see clearly anymore. I was tangled, confused, lost in my positivity! How strange and contradictive... I guess just stepping out of everything for a while, clears things up. And now I see that these changes of the past month are really in aid of moving me forward and onwards from where I now am, in a balanced flow. Even though it’s overwhelming and almost too exciting at times, I have to go with it… Or else I hold myself back and life becomes rigid and I'm lost! I have to make conscious effort to feel balanced, so I can deal with everything that comes along my path. That way I don’t lose focus of what’s happening right HERE AND NOW… We can't force ease, or balance... it simply has to happen... and it only happens when we let-go... And right now, by letting-go, I'm seeing that things really all ARE happening... A move will soon be made and the book will soon be launched!!! Yay! Life is magic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!