This is one of my very last mailouts/ podcasts here on my website: do join me now on Patreon, if you want to stay in touch with what I’m doing:
This podcast is on simplicity… Thank you from my heart for all your support over the years with my blog and podcast: you’ve helped keep me going all this way!
The Embodied Shakti Summit continues, with the final closing ceremony on Monday. You can hear my interviews with Sama on Sunday, as well as attend a beautiful drawing workshop with me – see below.
THE NEW SORA
Tomorrow, The School Of Real Art will be launching a brand new, super-yummy free sign-up course, and we’ll be taking down the two current free courses.
LIVING IN THE GIFT
Inspired deeply by the Living In The Gift course with Charles Eisenstein, I’ve been setting up a website of the same name, to gather conversations about what it really means to live in our gifts – and how we can align more with all of our gifts.
The site is here – and with Charles’s blessing, I’m calling on other Living-In-The-Gifters to contribute towards this project.
Please contact us via the site, if you’d like to share a conversation – in video, podcast or written format – we’d love to hear from you!
Thank you for listening in, thank you for witnessing, and for being there – your presence and support have always been immensely enriching for me,
Tante belle cose,
***THE END ***
My art school website has moved, and is now part of this website: see here. You can also get access to all new course material as it unfolds, via Patreon.
A selection of my art is on Etsy – but see all paintings currently available in my catalogue
Welcome to the Art Of Life podcasts! This might be one of the very last blogs that I ever publish like this – listen to my three podcasts in this blog, to understand why… Below there’s news on new art, a new hardback art book, a new art school course, the Living In The Gift project, and tons more.
First, this is a special edition of my podcast – on embodiment – in collaboration with the Embodied Shakti Summit coming up online, 5th to 19th of April.
EMBODIED SHAKTI SUMMIT
Embodied shakti is speaking to the sacred feminine, or the deep feminine; the intuitive, the holistic, the very-long-term and far-seeing, the interconnected and sentient worlds. It’s not just about women, but this particular gathering happens to be a series of profound talks mostly by women, speaking about each of their unique perspectives on how we fully embody – how we really inhabit, occupy our full being, our biodiverse spectrum of interconnectedness.
This summit is happening alongside a worldwide awakening of the feminine; of horizontal (rather than hierarchical) working-together-for-the-good-of-all: are you feeling it? The walls are falling down between us, and subjects are being discussed in mainstream in ways that wouldn’t have seemed impossible just 5 and 10 years ago: we’re becoming so much more open collectively, to solutions, to sharing, to caring, to positive change rather than competitive consumption.
We still have a long, long way to go, but most of us see huge improvements in our lives, compared to our mothers’ and our grandmothers’ – and most of us can see practical differences in masculine behaviour – in their balancing power and responsibility, rather than arrogantly crashing through the world not caring about the effects they have on everything around them. These are signs that the feminine is coming into all of us, into the world. We are being liberated from times of terrible, unnecessary poverty-of-good-vibes, and are entering a much more peace-full era.
Come and hear much more about it! Sign up for this spectacular event via The Embodied Shakti Summit website – it will air from the 5th to the 19th April.
This is the first of a series of four new paintings on the go: I’ll be sharing the others (details of them pictured below) on Patreon this week. This is the larger of the four pieces. All are on reclaimed wood. This one in particular has some interesting details on the lefthand side, where a small edge-piece has been nailed onto the main body.
I absolutely adore connecting with old pieces of wood when they have marks, wearing-away from the ages. This is a particularly character-full series of wood pieces – some of it from a medieval door.
I am so happy to have mostly-finished a painting in just a couple of days! And I love it! It’s the first time in literally a year or more, that I’ve felt so at-one-with-myself, and able to sit and paint effortlessly. This is a hugely happy time for me, after the past years of consistent anguish-inducing disturbance, and I’m making the very most of it.
The ebook that I made your museletter sign-up gift, is now available as a hardback real-life book! It has been adapted (from the ebook) and had new artwork added, and though I am yet to check a physical copy, it’s there in all the colour depth and meaning, concentrated into 28 glorious pages.
If you would like to support this book project, you can donate via my Paypal account, to enable me in ordering a hard copy.
**THIS IS LIKELY TO BE ONE OF MY LAST-EVER MUSELETTERS**
I’m methodically moving all my social media sharings, gifts and boons, podcasts and the art school, plus everything-that-I-create – all under one convenient-for-everyone roof: Patreon.
IF YOU STILL WANT TO HEAR ABOUT WHAT I’M DOING – join me there. It’s an artist-centric platform that supports creatives to keep doing what they do best: very straightforward sign-up process: choose whatever payment per month from $1: they’re introducing worldwide currencies very soon.
I’ve been thinking about this shift for A VERY LONG TIME! There are pros and cons about bringing all my sharings under one umbrella, and making everyone donate at least one coin per month, to be part of my world… It’s a way of creating healthier dynamics between the abundance of what I share with the world, and how I’m rewarded in return: making it a sustainable!
There are way too many ways in which art is devalued by the world, and in which real artists are under-appreciated, taken for granted and even exploited: for the sake of my sanity and wellbeing as a creative, it feels important to acknowledge the inappropriateness of this one-way dynamic: of artists giving to world, without being supported (and ultimately being faced with either commercialising their art, or with not creating it at all.
This is a way of symbolically calling for my worth. It means that I can keep painting, keep being real, and keep sharing it in the world! Thank you from my heart and soul, for supporting me on this practical level.
THE NEW SORA
In the next week or so, The School Of Real Art will be launching a brand new, super-yummy free sign-up course, and we’ll be taking down the two current free courses.
I’ll be writing to folks over on the Teachable platform in the next days, telling them about this, in case anyone wants to download the material from the current free courses.
It’s exciting! I have such new vigour and enthusiasm for bringing The SORA flagship course into being also – really inspiring the world to free-and-fulfil-and-inspire themselves creatively!
LIVING IN THE GIFT EVER-SUMMIT
Having been studying the most enlightening course of my whole life, Living In The Gift with Charles Eisenstein, I’ve been actively engaged with a social media group of the same name, discussing our experiences and visions for a better world…
Since the course finished, we’ve been in dialogue around how we can continue developing our connectedness, and the dynamic expansive learning of Charles’s teachings.
I’m extremely passionate about a vision I have of this online library, in the format of a summit, but without time deadlines or sign-up requirements… I’ve got the beginnings of the site started here – and with Charles’s blessing, am calling on other Living-In-The-Gifters to contribute towards this project.
I love the idea of this ‘ever-summit’ – with a non-hierarchical collective of diverse conversations and questions, speaking to this idea of gift culture, of living abundantly and fearlessly, in times where the contrary paradigm (of selfishness and greed) is so rapidly dissipating… We live in incredible times, and we’re all in this together!
ABANDONING SOCIAL MEDIA… FOR A CLEAN SLATE!
So, I’ve been on Facebook for thirteen years – and have beeen increasingly experiencing it as a deeply-cluttered, self-sabotaging exercise – when I’d love to have the option to regularly clear all data from the profile: to begin from scratch. Here’s a third podcast, on why our digital debris is something that we’d never accept in any other realm of life!
HUGE HEALTH IMPROVEMENTS
A profound positive change has come over my life, work and house this month, directly related to the passing of the elderly neighbour. Her granddaughter no longer screams violently for hours on end every day and night – and so the house is drenched in beautiful peace, as it should have been since I first came here 8 yrs ago!
My mind, body and spirit are now aligning and calming, unfolding, and my work is becoming prolific outflow again, as it used to be, before I entered this bondage with the neighbours… I have never been so grateful for normality in my life – it leaves me grinning, dancing, yippeeing and thanking the Universe, several times a day! So much love and happiness is flowing in all directions!
NEW TIERLESS PATREON
Oh heaven: I was just thinking that it’d be so good to have a completely tierless Patreon… and they announced that we can! Flipping beautiful synchrony and happiness: now you can join me there on whatever level of monthly donation – from $1 and up… unlimited choice! I’ll be deleting the tiers this week: it makes my whole Patreon campaign about a million times less complicated for me!
Thank you for listening in, thank you for witnessing, and for being there – your presence and support has always been immensely supportive for me,
Tante belle cose,
***THE HAPPY ENDING ***
My art school website has moved, and is now part of this website: see here. You can also get access to all new course material as it unfolds, via Patreon.
A selection of my art is on Etsy – but see all paintings currently available in my catalogue
It’s my birthday week again! And this is always a beautiful time to reflect on all that I have, all I’ve achieved, all that is coming true of my dreams.
This year is fricking spectacular: the freedoms I sought when I stepped out of what precious little security I had had in Scotland… The freedom was this, and it is now here, as solid and mysteriously epic and wildly magical as I could’ve ever glimpsed in my visionary imaginings: my own home; the deepest and most fulfilling of loving partnerships; my time filled with art and creative living, love and beauty; my view each day as glorious and inspiring as a panorama could ever be; the liberty to express myself deeply and meaningfully in a great spectrum of ways, as the mood takes me; being rewarded for what I do and am – financially yes, but also with friendship, community, heartfelt appreciation; people being inspired by what I do and believe in; being able to contribute to the world, to the universe, in the fullest of ways that I was born to do…
It’s important for me to reflect on how I got here, and to appreciate how hard I worked for it – how hard it was to get to this: 8 yrs ago when, driving from Scotland with my cat and paintings, all the way to Guardia Sanframondi in Italy… Parking my right-hand drive car – barely remembering which side of the road I was meant to drive on each day… Not knowing even how to pronounce the word for ‘bread’, and walking around the town with that particular sense of vulnerability that comes with being a foreign woman alone in a new country…
It was easy, when I first arrived in Italy, to get drawn deep into the panic of having given up all my taken-for-granted familiarity. Despite the fact that there had been a fire under my arse chasing me to Italy, the first months were full of my dwelling on that familiar discomfort of a place where e.g. I was capable of talking on the phone to resolve a bureaucratic issue… where, even if I was cold and damp and miserable, at least I knew where to buy my vegan-organic goodies, and had friends aplenty to discuss Buddhism and ecstatic birth with.
The superficial mind perpetually seeks stability, pattern, anchoring: if it could, it’d probably put the brain in a jar and have it in a secure room, fed by wires and artificial nutriment. In some ways, we’re heading that way – kids not even allowed to learn from experience that fire burns and falling down on concrete breaks skin; no-one letting germs circulate their home any more; everything packaged and everything truly natural to all intents and purposes outlawed. At the end of the day, it gets good-comfy to be laid back on a soft, sterile sofa with the perfect-coloured cushions, in front of an ever-busy TV screen and munching on sugar and slurping down caffeine to keep us perky – to maintain our ‘interest’ in life.
And it’s nice to have the steady drip of a wage: the knowledge that every single month we will have a familiar amount of money deposited in our lap, which corresponds roughly to the amount that we’ll have to put out into the world. This rhythmic symmetry makes us feel like everything is under control, despite life distractions regularly popping up inconveniently.
What does it mean to throw all that comfort out, and to go out on a limb – to stand at the end of a diving board above a mysterious ocean, and to simply jump: to enter a new country and culture and start a new life from nothing… what happens? What would happen if we gave up all the comforts and trappings, and chose the unknown, the new, the unfamiliar? (Wouldn’t it destroy us? Or fuck our lives up?! Shouldn’t we be fighting with all our domesticated life force, to hold onto what small territory we have?!!)
But seriously: what happens when we up give up an old life and start in a completely new, unfamiliar place? I’ll tell you:
First, it creates a void: a void is something we are all terrified of, and yet it is the space into which the better, the best, the life we REALLY WANT to be living can grow. The void – space to think, feel, to be present in – it’s one of the greatest hidden secrets of our time: the best of us are lured into this mythology of time poverty, and of being full to the brim, overstimulated, and ready for terror, in every moment of every day. We seek all kinds of therapy and antidote to this, from holidays in countries with better weather, to titillation of the senses (hard or soft) and over-indulgence: staying up late or pressing the boundary ever-so-gently, but never stepping outside of it. Ultimately however, we all seek peace and gentleness – we want to be more sensitive and quiet, and we want our day to be full of love and significance: to have this, we need the space, the void. There is no room, otherwise, and to cultivate this space, we have to wean ourselves out of the fear of not being filled up. We have to allow life to open up around and in front of us, rather than clawing to get back in the box we’ve made for ourselves.
It makes us realise what inner resources we have – because we have to actually draw on them; use them. In a comfortable life, we rarely challenge ourselves beyond the fluffy yum-numb of our routine. It feels like fulfilment – but it really isn’t: the human soul needs to experience friction and challenge in order to grow, in the same way a tree needs natural soil and wild weather to get it to its potential.
It makes us see that we can actually reinvent ourselves; change, travel, upheaval – particularly when they are consciously chosen rather than imposed on us – are the most useful of tools to get us to stretch our minds into what we might also be/ achieve/ dream of. Staying at home can be satisfying to a degree, but the longer we don’t stretch our legs or hearts or energy, the more accustomed we become to the atrophied version of our self which we’ve elected to prioritise.
It makes us work hard; on ourselves, on our work, on our life and friendships… There is a profound satisfaction in having to make new connections, networks, structures to hold us; there is the deepest meaning and beauty in our having to build a new household, in having to harmonise a chaotic new reality, in having to learn a language and legal system, cultural and religious norms… And that hard work is more honed than it might be if we are living a stagnant life: it is more specific and necessary. Our compulsion fires up our engine, and gets us more streamlined.
It brings us into a realm of raw creative flow. Most lives are full of complacency, and this sense of ‘this’ being ‘all that there is’ – why bother changing anything, if we already have someone to drink coffee and complain about the weather/ our partner/ our boss with? If someone is telling us where to go each day, and we still get to ‘wild out’ on payday by buying a new pair of shoes, or getting drunk and laughing excessively, why would we want to re-accept the power-that-flows-through-all-things-when-we-are-aligned-with-our-life-purpose?! Hmmmmmmn – I wonder.
Possibly most importantly of all: putting ourselves into a new and challenging situation like moving to another country makes us appreciate the value of things: we see how hard it is to find a thing which before was always a bancomat and a supermarket trip away. We being see how communication is so much more than constructed word formations, and that a smile or being touched on the cheek can be profoundly moving, confirming our place in the world. We learn to enjoy what little we have, essentially, rather than seeking more-more-more without questioning whether a thing is really improving the quality of our life. Perhaps our values can even deepen, in time – especially if we’re immersed in a culture which is more rooted in family, spirituality, friendship and nature…
I wanted to make a statement here; yes, about what the positive side of a challenge like moving abroad can be, but also to remind folks that NONE OF THIS COMES ABOUT EASILY OR INSTANTLY OR BY LUCK – NOR CAN IT BE BOUGHT: it has to be earned, slowly and through hard graft, humility, concerted attention and commitment, love and optimism, and by pushing oneself always to be a better human being. We have to know ourselves, and then too, to know craft and hone this self into the best we can be.
I wanted to remind myself, and to folks who are inspired by what I do: none of this happened here by accident, nor was any of it handed to me on a plate. More importantly is that I came from a place of significant fear, grief, illness and imbalance: I didn’t stride over here in confidence like many people assume, throwing it all together in happy nonchalance… I arrived neurotic and shaking, overwhelmed and reactionary, paranoid and terrified, even: nothing flowed well when I got here, and I hated most things about the country and culture. There was a dark night of the soul where I KNEW that I had fucked up phenomenally: that I’d thrown it all away and had nothing, and that I was a mess-up and useless and had sabotaged my future…
And though things got a tad better when I acquired the house, and began settling my roots into this blessed land and my heart into the community, it didn’t get any easier. There was a good 6 + years of anguish and panic, interspersed with tiny blisses and occasional profound beauty… just enough to keep my spirits above the mire, but not always. I struggled with health and social stresses, with financial fears and the strain of trying to stabilise ideas and feelings in a completely different reality.
I want to express this, even if I am repeating myself over the years, because I know that many people don’t ever change their lives because they think that one should be strong, confident, healthy, in equilibrium, solvent, and sure of what one is doing, to move abroad, or to make a big life change. You don’t, you simply have to do it, e basta.
Happiness, freedom, fulfilment grow like plants in a well-tended garden: they don’t appear overnight; they flourish according to whether or not they are planted, and whether or not it’s in the right season and soil, and the good care and attention given to them. They live to their potential not through one big showy action, but through myriad small ones. They yield fruit according to the accumulation of all these tiny attentions and harmonies – and when they are happy and in the right place and time… the fruit is bountiful – and heavenly delicious… And their seeds go on to produce more and more and more life and growth and fruit.
The arthouse now has a series of windows open for folks who love art, and who’d like a one-on-one, individually tailored, painting-with-the-artist holiday: go and see VAWAA’s beautiful site, to hear more about it.
Your holiday will include prior consultation on how we’ll craft your art activity; we’ll hone in on your specific goals and needs.
We design the 4 day session just for you: you can focus on skills development, wild expressive work, creative catharsis, a personal project – or even work completely spontaneously.
I’ll be there throughout, and will also show you around this magical town, in which I’m protagonist of a growing international creative community!
It’ll be a highly inspiring break, guaranteed! A completely unique experience, super-nourishing to your creative spirit!
Please share this blog if you know someone who would love such a holiday!
Keep in touch with all my news, and with the Real School of Art, via PATREON and on THIS WEBSITE
My online art school is up on Teachable – it’s a pretty damn huge achievement for me – though it’s only just phase one of the school (year one)!
The pace I set myself these past 6 months was a bit over-the-top: I had in my head to create a course which would have over 150 videos, and which would take both myself a year to create and the learning-artist a year to complete…
But at the beginning of this month, it was clear that, well, first of all, my schedule filled up with prizes, precious guests, my painting practise, and other important parallel activities… And there was a feeling of fullness already to the draft course, so I slowed to a halt with the making of videos and writing of worksheets…
THEN I realised that I had actually already made a year’s course! Holy guacamole / holy shit! My wonderful guests and patrons helped me see that, rather than my being 6 months behind, I am in fact 6 months ahead! Woohoo for over-enthusiastic ambitions and bloody hard work!
The getting of all these lessons and worksheets – I made 67 so far – into a digestible format for presentation to an audience…. Hmmmmf. That was challenging. It’s all there now, but I had to wrestle with multiple different platforms, contexts, structures, before my eureka moment.
So now the Real School of Art is finally being elegantly led into it’s right stable, as it were – no mean feat, for an artistic creative flow which is like a wild horse galloping along a high mountain top. (Wild horses don’t have much interest in stables, and in performing or behaving well…)
This has been an extraordinary year: the making of this school has been like a process of alchemy; the concentrating of the magic of creative flow, into a series of transformative compounds, medicinal bites to take the ‘artist’ into the real realm of art.
Working away like this, made me think a lot about how (real) artists have to occupy a slightly different realm from the average body: we have to step into a space where we disconnect from the humdrum of life, and yet somehow become even more deeply immersed in it.
This makes us – relatively speaking – more volatile than your average being. We slip easily into a transcendental state, or a dreamy thought process… This is the pre-creation state, and is utterly vital to a human being making anything which isn’t firmly anchored in logic and science; it’s the ‘gap between thoughts’ or the hazy fog before the picture clears.
We need to exist there, in order to transmute what we see around us into our art: if we’re awake, we’re working; we are interacting with the world in a completely impassive way, but we are also bypassing a lot of the pointless distraction – the chitterchatter – of the unfolding of the everyday.
This state of being-in-creative-flow becomes more enhanced, more developed, as we mature our practise, which is something to do with why artists, writers, creators, can appear strange, rude, distant, out-of-place… It’s nothing personal* – it’s simply to do with the letting go of line and convention, and of allowing ourselves to be swept into a concentrate ‘letting in’ of energy and inspiration, raw information and inner vision. The fact that we ever manage a ‘normal’ conversation, and a semblance of regular customs, is rather astonishing!
They can have all the fun and satisfaction – and money-earning potential – of a regular shop, but without the ball and chain of having to be there long-term, 9 to 5!
If you’re doing a pop-up event in your own house, your creativity can really go wild, too – and we’re not held back by any of the restrictions of the old days, where location might be a hindrance… with the internet, we have access to infinite networks, and the limits are only our own imagination and ambition.
Here are my top tips on setting up a pop-up event:
photo by Jenny Di Meola
ONE: Your ‘why’ – a really good reason to do one; do you, like me, have an excess of glorious old clothing which you could iron and arrange attractively? Do you want exposure for your art? Do you have a service which you’d like to practise, or a skill which needs to start building a client network? For me, it’s all of those things, and more!
Installation at the Arthouse, Guardia Sanframondi (now the shop!)
TWO: The venue – is there a room in your house, a garage, a garden corner? Could you rent or borrow a space temporarily – council buildings can often be rented out, sometimes free, if there’s any educational or social benefit… Could you piggy-back on another event or space, in a way which is mutually-beneficial? I’m extremely blessed to have my arthouse, but it wasn’t always so: I’ve done pop-up events in tents, car-boots, market stalls, village halls, allotments, beaches, woodlands… I love a bit of guerrilla art!
Installation at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens, 2007
THREE: Your clientele – how important is income from this event? Decide what your aims are, in terms of who you want to serve and earn from. Start connecting with them beforehand, and build up through word-of-mouth and face-to-face, wherever possible – these connections are the most sustainable; build up ‘your people’ and your presence, by making a lot of small, meaningful links, rather than doing a flyer-drop; all projects are strongest when built on robust foundations and genuine dialogue, rather than pushed and strained for!
Art stall at the Out Of The Blue studios, Edinburgh, 2008
FOUR: Your produce or service! Less is more; though it can be tempting to cram a pop-up shop with a ton of goods, it needs to be presented in a way which it can be both digested and be seen as available (e.g. if it is for sale). Having everything under an umbrella topic or brand name can also be very useful: if your own name is appropriate, use it! If not, take time to make up a snappy event name – ask your friends or set up an online questionnaire; this can glean great solutions. I highly recommend using an online font provider (there are some free, some which can be used for a small fee) to get a striking logo or heading.
Art stall in Ex Libris, Capua, Italy, 2010
FIVE: Make it fun for you! Don’t get burned out before you’re all set up: I insist! It’s a classic artist’s mistake, to work like a donkey up to the opening night, and then appear stressed or haggard when it’s time to be the face for your event and your art. Yikes! Plan your time, get the details dealt with well before the opening hour, and make sure you have the final hours before the event to run a long bath/ have a seriously regenerating massage/ nap and empty your head of thoughts: enter the quietest, most nourishing time, before you have to go on stage – it’ll mean that you arrive looking like you’re on top of it; professional and sure of yourself, fresh and happy – then your energy will be infectious!
I hope these tips are useful: they certainly would have helped me in the past when I was a pedantic newby to pop-up art stalls! I invested a lot of energy in details and a lot of money in places which didn’t fruit for me…
Over the years, having built up a colourful presence and unique reputation, and because people know where my house is, I can now knock out a pop-up shop like ARTE-ALCHIMIA (currently running throughout Vinalia in Gaurdia Sanframondi) in a relatively breakdown-less manner.
Yippee! Off I go to set up for this evening – hope to see you there – tante belle cose, Clare
Seven years in Guardia Sanframondi have a big significance: there’s a 7-yearly religious festival (taking place again in the summer of 2017) in which literally the whole town is involved, plus many members of the extended family, world-wide media representatives, curious foreigners.
It’s a festival which shocks those-who-are-easily-shocked at first glance: hooded participants reminiscent of sinister American racist gatherings; bloody chest-beating; the collective following church dogma and having to painfully repent their sins.
The real event is something else entirely: a collective catharsis with a tangibility which is beautiful – executed with precision and care, love and dedication: 5,000 souls gathering to release all that has happened in the past years; to be cleansed and made new.
‘Seven years’ also has huge significance in the human growth cycle – we literally replace every cell in our bodies with A NEW CELL, in that time period – EVERY SINGLE 7 YEARS OF OUR LIVES. Think of what that means – of what it could mean, if we were able to consciously harness that creative power… it’s mind-blowing! And it blows away the cobwebs too, from the rigid old school thinking around our limited potentials as humans.
Il mio settimo anno this year in Guardia, and I too feel the deep significance of a cycle well-lived: the energetic wheel is coming round to completion, and all the sacrifice and sweat is bringing riches of good relationship, profound nourishment, harmonious community -an upwards spiral of personal and collective significance.
So many meaningful conversations and connections, tears and successes, new friendships and celebrations – all of them now deepening, as we enter a period of truly settling into this new dynamic. Guardia Sanframondi has been changed in myriad ways by the incoming cultural flux, and the town continues to react positively and dynamically to all that we bring in – which in turn exponentially grows the well-being of all.
The seeming ’empty canvas’ of the mostly-abandoned centro storico – in this new period of riempiendo – started as something of a melting pot; a cooking experiment, with tons of new ingredients being thrown in willy-nilly, and all mixing and contrasting together – the resulting soup not entirely edible!
The initial buzz, and resulting chaos, brought about by the TV show in 2012, and then multiplied by the several subsequent transmissions, attracted some really beautiful folks and vibes, but it also attracted (and brought out of the woodwork) a pile of negative qualities. In particular, greed and manipulation; over-excitement about wanting to take advantage of this (presumed at the time) brief window of opportunity to make $$$s without much effort.
It’s a subtle and alchemical work to inspire and nurture and nourish a community to continue: to encourage it to be authentic and responsible, collective-minded and without negative power dynamics.
photo by Charlotte Sørensen
I’ve been super-disappointed at the various frictions which have come up in Guardia in the years I’ve been here – all seeming so very unnecessary in a win-win-win situation like this – old houses being repopulated, the local economy being stimulated, whilst foreigners find dream homes and idyllic life-styles: what could possibly be found to stress about?! (That’s a rhetorical Q!)
I was talking with close friends this week, about how harmony in community is not something which comes by accident, nor in a static way: perhaps that is an older concept of harmony; simply the absence of chaos/ violence. I think we are in an age where we now know that there is so much more to our presence in the world, and that our authentic presence -our integrity and vision – is something which radiates out into the long-term. Either positively…. or not.
We’re not educated to look at the far and wide consequences of our actions and thoughts, our intentions and ambitions. But we do live in an age where it is becoming increasingly obvious that everything we do/ are/ consume/ discard, goes out into the world with epic knock-on effect… And that we have both a personal and a collective responsibility to be GOOD, as we’ve never been so bound into rhythms of interconnectedness in the history of time. We’ve never been so dependent on each other for survival and continued evolution: the whole depends on the decisions and actions of the individuals now, today, more than ever.
fun and cultural exchange with international guests and locals
What I’m saying, is that the tiny, every day actions and words we use, we use either to create, or not to create. But we live in a time where we cannot pretend any longer that life (or our interaction in it) is static; that our influence only goes as far as the end of our fingers and toes, and no further. We are beginning to really wake up to awareness that we can either be channels for energy… or not. But that the world needs our genius, our creative activity, our love and our authenticity and commitment, in order to continue.
photo by Anna Wiraszka
And in order to access those aspects of ourselves, we need to be in a safe, nourishing place.
I am super-heartened by what I see transpiring in Guardia Sanframondi: it is a collection of dreams, held lovingly in the hands of those who want to support those dreams. It’s a landscape being loved anew, and the eyes and hearts of those who perhaps were taking it for granted, being opened.
It’s a brand-new, delicious cultural inter-exchange, like a fabric of glorious bright threads woven thickly or the most wonderful recipe perfectly blended and baked to bring into reality a dish never before tasted.
At first I thought of this ‘filling up’ of Guardia’s medieval quarter as a practical necessity (quick, before the houses fall down!), and a cultural-economic stimulation exercise.
Now I see it as so so much more: as dreams being woven together to create a collective dream; as the sacred feminine and masculine being honoured and awoken; as individual healing turning into collective healing; as lives liberated – stranieri and locals alike – by shared wealth and feasts and small joys and beauty and mutual, loving respect.
I also see our individual and collective responsibility as having to call out when manipulative, unscrupulous or aggressive behaviours are trying to take root: the long-term flourishing of any town depends on healthy power dynamics, and on those who will flag up when unhealthy frictions/ conflicts of interest arise. This in turn can lead to resistance, psychological projection, denial, threats… I’ve had more than a fare share thrown at me since coming here!
But there’s a definite sense right now of the collective being on a more even keel – powered by fulfilment and shared purpose -and that everyone is learning to be more precise and honest in their business, because this creates the greater long-term energy for all parties: the old competitive model of win vs lose, melding into the new cooperative model of win-win-win.
My own body, heart and soul have been healed by these 7 yrs. My quirky house and my quirky relationship with everyone in this town, my intuitive and spontaneous activities (often misunderstood, even by myself) slowly becoming more purposeful and productive, my business developing to a place where I really am working my life purpose and being rewarded for it… and all the time, relationships deepening and enriching beyond even my excessive, positive imagination!
photo by Kat Tan
Guardia provided me with all the challenges and the nourishment; in equal measure, and in the correct dose – even when I didn’t want to take my medicine.
What we’ve created here together, and what we continue creating, is truly a precious and magical thing, from which an inspired sense of wholeness is radiating out and out to the world.