Sunday, February 18, 2018

Should we be driven or relaxing right now?




Today, I have been considering how humans are the only 'driven' species. Yes, we can call it a ‘self determining’ species but I’m not so sure we are determining and deciding how we spend our days and consequently our lives. It is like we are driven by some invisible force shouting in our ears; do more, clean up, apply for that, take more exercise, cook something, do the shopping, ring everyone who might need to hear from you, apologize for that, work out how much money you’ve spent, be creative…And all the while, the cats sleep in two or three different positions around the house and garden. The pigs visit the pony then sleep in the shelter of the hedge, then forage a little by the stream. The dogs chew their sticks on the off chance I want to get involved in the game. The pony sunbathes standing up and eyes closed, pretending he doesn’t notice what everyone else is doing. 



Me? I cut 500 willow fronds from my epic hedge. I dig over two beds and plant flower and veg bulbs, on the off chance that it is not too late to put them in. I cut out endless strong brambles and rotting montbreti leaves to make way for the emerging geraniums. I clean the house, light the fire, carry in the animal feed and coal. 


I make dinner, try a raw banoffi pie, analyze why a gluten free banana cake was amazing the first day and not so nice at all the second, send messages to lots of friends and family, meditate, levitate, land and set off again, to re-wire the DVD player…total success! And think about who to invite to the Exhibition Opening on the 9th March, in the Café Kitchen in Bray. I have a glass of Guinness (thank goodness that is vegan now) and even watch the first Twilight to celebrate the newly working old technology. 




Is it possible that we as humans have lost the run of ourselves? Gone too far? Perhaps we should be practicing stillness more? Patience? Wait for things to unfold and not keep going so much. It just doesn’t feel in keeping with nature and when I look around, no one else at Harmony Hall is doing it. They’re just chilling out and living. Interacting and playful. Yes, sometimes they bicker but only for a few moments. They don’t go around with their heads wrecked by the contratemp! And there are as many cuddles and laughs and shared investigations as there is argy bargy. I take some credit for this at least because recently I cleared the power struggle that had dominated this place since time immemorial. Now, I reckon, I’ve got to learn to play well with others myself and practice less striving more arriving…or whatever that nice phrase was! 

Yes, that is Don Juan stuck in a blanket and Softie playing mercilessly with his tail!


For the moment, I carry stuff around mentally for days sometimes - currently the conundrum of getting organic pig food. I had to go in several times to order it. I had to be thankful that they could still get it as they have stopped the organic horse nuts. Then I have to put up with it being called pig finisher - just so some brute can make the pigs into sausages. Then I have to question whether they're as much of a brute as the non-organic pig farmers as at least there are standards of welfare and of course food that are better on organic farms. Maybe I'm being unfair to someone. Pretty sure that everyone eating meat still is alot more unfair though.

I think the key is to be sure we are governed by our souls rather than driven by ego need. We will know the former as it will be accompanied by an inner peacefulness.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Paintings selection possibly suitable for hospital




This is the angels of abundance arriving - also framed in the gold and glass











Blue Family, also framed in the gold!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Are Vegans Unfairly Accusing Farmers of Teaching Their Children To Abuse Animals?



I was asked my view on whether that was unfair treatment of the farmer and wrote this response.
 
Let’s see if there’s any truth in it first! I’m slightly of the belief that 99% of parents are handing down a complete indifference to animals and the planet, all in the name of convenience, fear of change and embarrassment that their child might turn out to be empathetic or allergic to something and have no friends at school and not be invited anywhere for tea!

So, at the moment, I’m planning to acknowledge the feelings of the 56 billion animals slaughtered each year plus the animals and birds enduring the endless cruelty inherent in dairy and egg production. I don’t think I have the emotional energy left over to worry about the feelings of a farmer or any lazy parents or other influencers, really.

I generally feel that the next generation are going to have to get over their addiction to animal ingredients anyway and get way more observant about chemicals too, to stop polluting the place, so teaching regard for and fresh observation of other lives is a good place to start. Also, teaching children to look at their choices and make changes if they’re not that kind or they’re going to have a negative impact on something or someone. That, as well, can only be taught by example!

As a vegan campaigner myself,  I have often been called names – I was called a wanker actually yesterday at the Hare Coursing Finals! That was just for standing there on the side of the road, saying nothing, with a poster of a hare sitting in a field! Luckily, I love that word, always have done. It brings me straight back to being fifteen and everyone called everyone a bit of a wanger!

I agree it’s probably not a great plan to blame one person at a time or accuse people of perpetuating abuse but I don’t see any harm in saying it. Animals are vulnerable and always exploited – and I’m on the ‘If you see it, say it’ buzz at the moment. If you are producing dairy, you are also producing calves that never get their mother’s milk at very least and more often than not become veal or beef themselves and often get pneumonia for the first few months of their short few months’ of life as any youngster would without the colostrum and being sent off from it’s natural setting (it’s mother, the dairy cow). And don’t get me started on the artificial insemination. Let’s just say, I don’t think any of us would like it. I know that farmers are also a bit vulnerable (to the meat producers, dairy giants and vets, with their price setting and endless shots, respectively) and so are also a bit abused.

But is anyone really okay about using animals and the massive emissions from agriculture or have we all just been taught not to think about it? As George Bernard Shaw said, it is not hatred that is worst, it is indifference.

I bet you 50c though that that farmer in question was questioning himself a bit that’s why he found himself in the conversation with vegans in the first place and getting offended. That or the activists actually observed abuse happening. I bet another 50c that he really is totally passing on to his children every detail of what he thinks is okay and what is not okay. Everyone else does it too but still, why not say it?!

I’m just delighted that someone bothered to write the article. Doesn’t anybody realize how silly it is to be annoyed with ‘vegans’? Be annoyed with the ruthless people, the ones making money at some one else’s expense, the ones trashing the environment, the ones scaling up their animal agriculture operations and providing none of the 5 freedoms an animal should get as basic. When a ‘vegan’ says something just take it as probably a wake up call that there is another conversation or investigation we need to have and another change we might need to make. After all, all a ‘vegan’ is just someone who has bothered to look in to various practices and has decided to no longer support them, buy them, eat them for a variety of valid reasons – all of which they will elaborate on, if anyone asks (like our interview where we got to outline the 30 or so reasons hare coursing should be banned!) Vegans are also good role models for children as we show that if you don’t think something is right, you don’t have to do it.  Most in society are madly addicted as far as I can see. People are slaves to technology and meat and convenient processes and substances and money. If someone who manages to abstain from something (like a vegan for example!!) says something, the likelihood is that they have considered it in some detail.

The thing about addiction is that it favours impulse over deliberation. I’m all for deliberation!! Otherwise, isn’t it just a race to the bottom, with everyone teaching animal abuse and ecocide as perfectly fine to overlook.

 

New Exhibition Opening Tomorrow at The Kitchen Cafe in Bray


Flying ahead with a new catering challenge and new exhibition, both at the Kitchen Café in Bray!

My great friend Omar Sherlock has invited me to come on up and tomorrow, for starters, I will bring veggie sausages and soya milk…two staples for any self respecting café offering the best breakfast in town! They probably already have them but  maybe not enough for my healthy appetite.

In the future, there may be a pop up vegan Sunday Lunch club or raw organic vegan meals on wheels or maybe a week’s supplies to distribute to those people transitioning to a plant based diet but for tomorrow…Valentine’s Day, it will be just the first expedition and the hanging of the paintings.

For a woman who has become a little cynical, it will not be obvious from the romantic collection I have put together to display at the café. I think there is room for four but I will bring a few different ones and see what goes best and where.

Home For The Summer

Looks Like Our Ships Are coming In

Valentia

Beginish

Seven Elephants

Autumn Walk

The Deer of County Clare

Reflections On The Dead Sea

A New Element For The Lioness

Dance it out!

 


Monday, February 12, 2018

If you see it, say it!


Just your average day at Harmony Hall is intense.
There’s snow on the ground and the sky looks ominous but out I must go to feed the animals and set off, I must (while I’m using some sort of Yoda grammar!) to the protest at the Hare Coursing Finals, to be there at noon.

I woke up with the ultimate realization of a self-employed person. I have to find a way to make some money from what I do. On my way to the kettle, a post-it note fell out of nowhere, apropo of nothing (as Cheryl Crowe would say). It had a little Venn diagram on it.
First circle: Things you can do
Second circle: Things that people will pay for
Third circle: Things you love doing

The little section where the three overlap is the activity you should focus on, I imagine.

While I was on a roll, I got my pendulum out and asked 1) how many and 2) what changes do I need to make, to make a livelihood; make it rich; immerse myself in abundance; cover my costs; exist, get my message of the divine spark in each one of us out there; bring my food and art and the healing of consciousness and sacred geometry to the world... You can see that sometimes I feel more ambitious, sometimes less!!

Here I combine my painting and use of sacred geometry in a depiction of Plato's water symbol

There were 11 changes to make! 5 of them were in the gold bedroom! No wonder it was blue for so long!





3 were left by a lodger with many darknesses around him (including poltergeist and an entity). One was an ambivalent wwoofer girl and one was a friend of years, who’d stayed many times, until a final bust up.

Just have a think, yourselves. Have you had any visitors that might have inadvertently left obstacles in your future path?

 If you want to learn how to clear obstacles read my book or another energy clearing guide.


So then there were 4 environmental changes to make.
1) Get a water turbine. Do not go for a grid tie system. Make sure it moves forward the exciting and necessary plan of being self-sufficient and off-grid. I have asked some experts, who produce micro hydro for 3rd world countries and other remote areas, which way to go. Should I aim to just power the pump for the stove and back boiler? Or should I aim to power the storage heaters with their ingenious heat retaining blocks inside? If they were each on a timer, the turbine would only need the wattage to kick start one at a time. I will report back what I learn.

2) Investigate whether Ireland can support herself in wood. It is the only truly renewable energy. Turf has to stop as that takes 10,000 years to form. Plus it is like the Amazon jungle – considered the lungs of the planet. The peat bogs are a real carbon holder.  It’s extraction means emissions beyond our wildest nightmares. And I must look at Bord na Mona’s idea of putting up wind turbines on the bogs. In principle, good but if they are planning to use the tall ones – rejected as old technology by other countries, in favour of large flat satellite dish-esque turbines – then I believe they have to dig down to a great depth to secure the turbines. That would do even further unrecoverable damage.

3) Change my approach to animal rights. So far it has been a scatter bomb system interspersing letters and suggested improvements to government, articles to papers, protesting, developing a referendum for animals (to ‘ask the people’ how they want animals treated in various industries), rescuing, starting a pet farm so guests can hang out with pigs in person, practicing my animal communication, asking for guidance from animal spirit guides and learning what I can from their individual powerful energies (today I studied the hare, the elephant and the lion – as they had shown up in my paintings recently). 




Finally, I offered energy healing for animals at a reduced rate to that of people. Interestingly, I found the vet environment exacerbates a trauma. It is obvious really but the last 3 times, I was in there, they were having to put someone down. What do you think the energy would be like and how you would feel in the GP surgery, if often when you went, the last patient came out on a stretcher with a sheet over their face or as Ice T sings. ‘He went out for a drive and came back in a body bag’

So this last few years I have been trying to hold my nerve. Instead of jumping in the car with the animal in distress, I just get still and quiet inside and put my arm around them. Then I ask if there is anything I can acknowledge right now. For people and animals, all pain is unacknowledged suffering. It might be emotional, mental, spiritual etc but if you never stop and take time for yourself or whoever is complaining in front of you, it will eventually manifest as an accident or injury or developing physical condition. 



Anyway, back to the change I need to make: I should treat Harmony Hall as the microcosm of the whole. Deal with the power struggles, insist on the respect, cultivate the attention and affection each creature needs and most importantly don’t see myself as inferior or superior to anyone else. For too long, I have allowed the following dynamic to ensue: ‘Never neglect your work for another’s, however great his need’. The change is that I must no longer respond to crises. Every person and animal ultimately only has responsibility for him or herself. Let everything be.

4) Fourth environmental change: Document the journey to off-grid, sustainable living in Ireland; all organic, local, plant based, in touch with nature, empathetic, inclusive, healthy, entertaining, creative and awe-inspiring. Sometimes it gets messy and or mundane but not often and not so far!

Stream with turbine pipes in place


So that was nine changes. The first though to actually come to me was a financial management change.

Spend a time every day in the office or amongst my receipts and see what I’ve spent, what it may cost to complete each mission and how it adds up with any income being generated. The key to this is starting now, while it’s only February. I started jotting down notes for 2017 and doing the accounts recently was a walk in the park, for the first time ever. 

Tidy upbeat place to do admin is essential!


I have put a few quid into new bedding, curtains and rugs for the guest rooms. I have invested in organic farm manure, a multitude of edible flowers, fruit trees, vegetable seeds and mushroom starter kits as well as organic pest, cat, weed etc solutions to streamline food growing here.  Readier Than Ever for Veggie Visitors Post

Practice makes perfect.

That was an insight from a friend a few weeks ago. She said ‘You play the piano! Use that disciplined application and resulting mastery in every area of your life’. Don’t worry, I said to myself later, I can still do things just for fun and without expectation. The balance is to take oneself just seriously enough to put some work in to things, take risks and be receptive. This reminds me of when I took the unprecedented step of becoming a life model!

Portrait by Leslie Fennell


I had worn many, many, many layers all my life. Even on the beach.  And my intuition alerted me: How outrageous to go through life in a state of semi-apology for one's body. For most people, it masquerades as modesty but underneath there is a lot of poor self-image around. If you think badly of yourself on any level, it’s a bit of a disaster. Especially if you have reached the conclusion, like I had, that ‘the story you tell about your life becomes the foundation of your life’. So, I started right then to make it a great story!

11) The last change I had to make was also money related: Don’t oscillate between being totally abstemious including rehydrating dried goods from the back of the cupboard, when things get tight, to trying to borrow €8,000 to buy a log cabin that would offer some independent accommodation for retreat guests! Just take one step at a time. Stay in balance.

 
So, it has been a great day. The protest was great because Off The Ball (Radio Sports Programme) came and interviewed us. What a breakthrough to have the conversations we needed to have. 

This  included the fact that they can’t find enough hares anymore. They are a protected species, the Irish Hare. For example we are not allowed to rescue one and keep it. But the coursers have been made exempt. 

The grey hounds are also mistreated, dumped, surrendered to pounds to be put down or sent abroad to race again. 
 
Welfare legislation says that no animal should be terrorized. No one could argue that a hare is terrorized; being trapped, held in a cage for weeks and then set upon by two grey hounds on a track. It is banned in England, Wales, Scotland and everywhere else already and yet we allow it. 

We said that the Irish coursing club's power is in that every greyhound owner who wants to race a dog has to belong to the coursing club whether they agree with coursing or not. 

We mentioned the government subsidy to them using tax payers money, despite public opinion. We talked about the vote in government on it last year where party members were told to vote in line or not vote at all so that meant all TDs against against coursing did not vote unless they were Independents. 

We answered the claim that it is natural for hares to run from predators saying that in the wild this contrived situation would never happen and certainly not pre-empted by a traumatic captivity and doping and trafficking from one coursing competitions to another. 


We said that there was nothing sporting about coursing, asking if it was purely the gambling that attracted people and the money that meant everyone still supported it. 

They asked whether the muzzles improved things. We said no, the hare does not know that the dogs are muzzled and furthermore, the dogs can do the same serious damage of tossing them around and breaking their backs, with the hard plastic muzzles on. Obviously, the hare doesn’t know whether the animals pursuing them are muzzled or not. 
 
We also said how sad it was to see families in there. If we can gloss over the suffering and stress of hares in coursing, it is a lesson to the young in reducing empathy and their humanity later on. Like Gandhi saying that the state of a nation can be seen from the way they treat their animals, we pointed out that Ireland is a disaster for animals in every industry. It seems like if it makes any money for the revenue then anything goes, however little regard for welfare – such as the puppy farmers. 

If people are alright with what happens to animals, it becomes more and more likely that they will be okay with witnessing bad treatment of others. 


The demonstration was organized by the group, Ban Blood Sports. There had been 60 people there yesterday which was a great turnout. Sadly, on the other side of it, one campaigner had gone on their website and seen that so many people wanted to come that they were laying on more coaches! Also, it was said that lots of people had traveled from the UK to it.

Please don’t think that just because it’s popular it is justified. Don’t shut your eyes and hearts to the plight of fellow lives. To quote one of the Go Vegan World advert ‘Their lives are as important to them as yours is to you”. 

Also why aren’t more people protesting? We decided today that it is not fear as such, it is more a sort of embarrassment. That is not good though is it? We’ve got to defend each other. 

In a timely way, as I drove down there in the blizzard, someone on the radio said that, in Ireland, you are never more than 5km away from people who are living in some sort of slavery; passports taken, not being paid, working without rights or reasonable hours. Do not let anyone or anything be exploited on our watch. And as they say on the trains, about inexplicable left luggage or dodgy behavior “If you see it, say it”


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Readier than ever for Veggie Visitors!

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Wonderful vegan times on the road in England and Ireland. I can't recommend it enough! Mainly I was gardening and campaigning for animals, peace, the environment and not least the inordinate amount of people too that I found in trouble along the way. As many of you will have found, once you have woken up there is no going back to sleep. It is like you have a radar on your head that recognizes the life and trials of others. Empaths get no rest until they learn to switch off at bedtime.  That is what has made me come back to Harmony Hall with renewed purpose. There is a need for a place like this for people to get back in touch with nature.




Photographs by Frances Micklem

If you are just such a traveller, this bio-architecture vegan sanctuary might be a place to visit in Ireland. There is a meditation garden, some very friendly animals and energy clearing, all part of the service.




Cody Buckalew Photography

I have returned to Harmony Hall to move my idea of a food brand forwards…apparently sales of vegan foods have risen 967% but let’s see if a cheerful and resourceful, but previously unsuccessful, entrepreneur can participate in that supermarket sweep!  I have offered a raw vegan organic ‘meals onwheels’, which was really delicious but even providing for my first customer proved to be a full time job. There’s a café in the offing now where I plan to offer slap up Sunday lunches and also hand over pre-ordered weekly supplies!

In the meantime, I am hopeful that I can offer to guests at least a good night’s sleep. The sacred geometry of the building and the acoustics mean you will also get inspiration to finish your project if you are a writer, researcher or musician. Although it is off the beaten track it has a funny way of getting people back on track!