I am one of the lucky people who heard Marianne Williamson speak last night in Dublin and hence the quote above. She is truly inspiring in her clarity of thinking, the depth of her analysis and her passion to spread the idea of 'Miraculous Thinking' by deepening our connection to ourselves through meditation and prayer and opening ourselves up to new possbilities and ways of being in the world. Her central message is that when we act out of a place of LOVE we can clearly see who we are and what we need to do in this lifetime, not only for our sake but for the sake of the planet and future generations. I recently read her book 'Return to Love' which Nelson Mandala quoted an extract from in his inauguration speech in 1994 (bottom of page).
On the subject of inspirational women I had the good fortune to be invited into the 77 Women of Richmond Barracks Quilt project. The project was spearheaded by artist Marja Almqvist and historians Mary McAuliffe and Liz Gillis. The 77 Women were involved in a variety of roles in the 1916 Easter Rising and were held in Richmond Barracks briefly after their arrest before being transferred to Kilmainham Jail. These women were mainly unknown and their contributions devalued and not acknowledged as part of Irish history. This project writes these women back into our collective historical knowledge. It is so important that we know about the women who went before us who were instrumental in creating the Ireland of today, the diversity of roles and positions they held in society, and what they stood for.
The '77 Women of Richmond Barracks Quilt' and the book 'Richmond Barracks 1916: We Were There – 77 women of the Easter Rising' inform us of who these women were and their contributions to Irish history. Historian Mary McAuliffe, says 'the women had strong uniting ideologies they were passionate about feminism and socialism as well as nationalism'. They had experienced and witnessed first hand the poverty, injustices and inequalities that mobilised them to action. They were fighting for a just, equal and free ireland. The picture below is of me beside the quilt which was presented to President Higgins on 8 March International Women's Day this year.
Each of the women from Richmond Barrcks was twinned with a woman living today and I was lucky enough to be twinned with Meg (Maire) Carron a 19 year old member of Cumann na mBan, who was stationed at the Four Courts during the Rising. It was one of the garrison's that came under the most fire and in these dangerous circumstances she despatched important messages to the leaders who were stationed in different garrison's across Dublin. She also provided First Aid to the wounded and cooked and cared for the Volunteers. After her release from prison, tireless in her efforts and passionate about supporting the famillies of the dead or imprisoned volunteers, she gathered information and organised ceilidhes and other fund raising events to ensure they were financially supported from the Dependents Fund. There is so much more I could tell you about her but I will save it for a future newsletter. Reading about her life has brought tears to my eyes and yet there are still more questions than answers. One of the great moment's of sadness in my own research about her was finding out that her grave in Glasnevin cemetery is unmarked (see the picture below) and that is why the artist Marja Almqvist designed her panel in the quilt with an image of a a headstone and two wreaths of flowers. The inscription I dedicated to her is 'Brave, Beautiful, Protectress'.
For now, Meg Carron lives in my heart as a someone who believed passionately in a cause and devoted her life to its achievement, one of many women who time had forgotten but who is being remembered now by our inspiring historians and artists. Thank you Mary McAuliffe, Liz Gillis and Marja Almqvist! For information about the fascinating book: 'Richmond Barracks 1916: We Were There – 77 women of the Easter Rising' http://www.fourcourtspress.ie/books/2016/richmond-barracks/ For information about the 77 Women Quilt http://www.richmondbarracks.ie/women-1916/
Is There an Issue, Cause, Idea, or Project You are Passionate About?
Over the Easter weekend, inspired by the recognition of women's role in Irish history, I designed a new course and am excited to be sharing it here: The Passionate Woman: Facilitator Training, is for anyone who wants to design and deliver their own workshops, has specialist knowledge or information they are enthusiastic about sharing, and are ready to step into their courage and creativity by putting their talents and passions out into the world. The next two-day course will take place in November and each participant will leave with their course content, structure, format, guidance on delivery/facilitation approaches and promotional tools and an e-book outlining everything they have learnt with additional tips and advice.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world.There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.We are all meant to shine, as children do.It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - Marianne Williamson, Return to Love, 1992.
'Life isn't about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself' - Buddha
September 22, 2016
On poetry and being authentic...
June 15, 2015
Report from Calais 'jungle' Refugee Camp Fundraiser