17 August, Travelling to Scotland
Left London in a very sporty silver car, squeezed all our stuff into it, similar to my packing miracles. Jo and I traveled through London onto the M25 up to the M1 and onto Northampton to reach Market Harborough to the north.
Market Harborough is in the Midlands. It was definitely a trip down memory lane seeing all the terraced houses, the traffic soothers, the fields, hedges and stonewalls. Had lots of long conversations with Jo my friend gaining insights into the challenges of every day life, dreams and plans. I see myself in a space of freedom and I really love the thought of traveling and not caught up in rent, work or partners. I am traveling through the countryside as I am traveling through life, I am watching the passing parade of life happening.
It took us about an hour to get through Northampton, Leicestershire. It is a small town but so many roundabouts and turns this way and that, not that logical or linear. Market Harborough is to the north I would have thought it fairly straightforward, but we did have to get others to help us navigate out of the quagmire. I looked at people and got the feeling it may be depressed. These small towns were once lucrative rural properties that have now contracted as the global market has expanded agricultural production. So there would be more social issues emerging over time as youth have nothing to do and wealth diminishing.
As I got closer to Market Harborough I was nervous, my former husband lives there and I am going to find him. I saw familiar paddocks and yet I saw many changes, new buildings, as we drove in. It has been 15 years since I worked here as an analyst. I was proverbially sent to Coventry by my unqualified colleagues, I was not accepted as I was a skilled analyst and dressed as a city girl. The stonewalling experience went on for about 3 months and did cause me a lot of stress but it was my first real training ground for peace. However, I stood my ground until the issue was resolved. In the end it was revealed that someone was jealous of me. This negative behaviour contributed to the stress that eventually broke my marriage as I kept a brave face at work but brought it home and found sleeping difficult. Bullying has psychological implications and triggers a pain centre in the brain which is the same as inflicting physical violence. A person exposed to exclusion or bullying ends up punishing themselves which is far more subtle and damaging. Soon after the staff members resolved the issue and found I had done nothing, I resigned and felt strongly to return to Australia. I found the small town mentality as not for me. I missed easy going Australian attitudes and humour and I just wanted to go home. I asked Paul if we could do a quick trip around Scotland as a final goodbye as he was choosing to stay on for 4 months. Paul stayed on and I suspect he met someone when I went and then we broke up some months later.
As Jo and I drove into Market Harborough I saw the old wool grading building where my former organization, ID Magasin, used to be.
There is a canal nearby, Foxton Locks and I do remember Paul and I walking along it. Jo and I enquired at some pubs if they had seen him, then a fellow said he knew Paul and his partner Chris and he told us where they lived. We went door knocking but came up with nothing. I did feel despondent, this would be the only time I could see him as I will never return to Britain. I wanted to inform him of the likely future changes that will be coming.
Jo reminded me of the address I had saved on her computer, somehow I believed it wasn’t his. My friend Jo was persistent and drove me up there.
I walked up to the door as it was just about going dark outside. A young man opened the door and I asked if Paul was there. A tall man shadowed the doorway and at first I didn’t recognize him and said ‘oh you are not Paul, I must have the wrong person’. Then I saw his smile emerge under this wooly hair and recognized him. He was surprised but really happy, my friend said he lit up. It has been a long time and we were good friends for 11 years. So as we talked all the memories flooded back. I was surprised he came back to Market Harborough but I guess it is not dissimilar to the little town he grew up in, in New Zealand. For me I definitely didn’t want to live in a small town and in this part of the world, you are not really accepted until your family has been living there for a few generations. I saw that Paul had aged a lot. I said to him excitedly we should meet and catch up. I wanted to tell him all my news and how life had been. So we organized to meet at Enigma café. My friend took me there and we waited. Suddenly I saw him coming with a lady behind him, I knew this was Chris and I was open to meeting her. I understood she is in the work of helping children with real difficulties, the kids no-one wants. I knew she would be a special person and I felt a sense of connection with her before we actually met. My work is children as well and I did smile that Paul had chosen two women with similar compassion and calling to make a difference. I have to say when I first met her she did remind me of myself, she had a slight overbite, but very kind eyes. She had two older kids and it was good to know that Paul had supported her life and this important work. I knew my leaving paved the way for this connection and I felt it was a good thing. I didn’t have any desire to go back with Paul as I know life unfolds exactly as it should. I would have liked to spend time alone as I knew I didn’t have much time, but I accepted her desire to meet me and was willing to give the time to her. Paul watched somewhat silently from the side as we talked. I noticed a sense of fear in his eyes or lack of confidence. He joined in at points as they told me of their adventures at Yellow Stone in the States. I did wonder what would have happened had he not left me, but to be honest, becoming a peace clown is the greatest gift of my life and I cannot think of anything better than dedicating my life to peace, so really I am very happy at the end of the day.
The next day I invited Paul for breakfast he came over to the hotel around 10am as Jo and I were leaving for a walk. I saw his lovely old dog with one eye and he and I went for coffee. It was nice to discuss politics and how the world is changing. Paul had a successful career as a design engineer and traveled to China and the US. He visited cities that were engineering oriented in China, a little like silicone valley in the US. They end up being cities dedicated to one type of industry, I can’t say I am keen on that as they lose that sense of community as the workforce can be just there for work, rather than living in traditional homes and work supporting life. So we discussed the state of the world which is precarious at best. I expressed to him my views and my belief about 2012 not in the doomsday model, but as a major transition point for humanity. I wrote about this in poetry and I am sure there is something in it. I feel a sense of preparation to learn to live off the land as I believe the world will significantly shift. I also believe we will have our culture of peace. I shared this and he said he wanted hope. I felt that was why I came to see him, to share what I know and wish him and Chris well. I did plan to visit the school but Jo wanted to go, so Paul and I ended up getting a memory stick and I gave him my REAL HOPE peace and nonviolence program to pass on to Chris to help in her work, I passed on some UNESCO reports and other material that may assist troubled kids and cultivate peaceful behvaiours. We took a picture together and said goodbye. I told him this would be the last time we see each other. He looked up surprised but we both know that is true. It was really nice to see him. He was my best friend. We blew each other a kiss and with that Jo and I drove away.
Jo and I drove further north and we tried to find a place to stay south of Edinburgh we went to the friendliest caravan park to discover it wasn’t so friendly.
One of the guys took one look at me in my head band and rap around rug and projected some negative thoughts he was afraid of difference I noted. He thought because I wore a black head band I was into magic and he speculated suspiciously what I had under my wrap around blanket, like I was concealing something. I jokingly said many people all over the world have wondered what is under the Scottish kilt, it is a mystery, I smiled with humour in my eyes. But he didn’t see the joke in it as he was fixed on the magic. I wasn’t concerned about his comments, I felt peaceful. I smiled inside and didn’t feel the desire to tell him I am a peace clown dedicated to joy and happiness. Projection is 100%, and what he is seeing in me is in himself. I reflected on the superstition of the Scots and was thankful we hadn’t met 100 years ago as he probably would have pulled out his sword. Jo and I laughed as we left at the fear of perceived difference. How projected fear and negativity affects what people see.
We ended up finding a nice little pub in Rossborough and it was comfortable and quiet. We met the patron and he was a jovial Scottish guy. More the type of Scots I was expecting. He was quick to tell us stories of mysterious chambers (there is the magic again), I think he was referring to chambers beneath Edinburgh Castle. He explained there were tours down there. One tour he had been on he explained the guide asked the men and women to separate at a point on the tour. He told us a ghost was behind the man, apparently it didn’t like females. Two American women were on the tour and keen to get out after the ghost was seen. I love those stories, all we needed was a nice fire and a glass of wine. Jo and I went up stairs, we did plan to go down to the pub but we were both tired so got a good night sleep. Jo wasn’t well in the morning but has tenacity and was able to get going. I wanted to help her with driving but she didn’t have insurance, so she had to do all of it. She managed superbly. Very capable woman I discovered.
We drove past Edinburgh and up to Inverness. I had met some people at a peace camp and they had advised me to visit a place called Anam Cara which means Soul Friend. We fortunately go the satallite navigation and we dropped in and met with Margaret.
. We talked with Margaret about the future and she explained that Anam Cara was a spiritual community where she had left a 20 year marriage (happy one) and felt strongly to create a community. She said much of her changes have been intuiative. She is doing a lot of reading and has had spiritual experiences. She said Anam Cara is a small group. They have built these incredible sites for mediation and they have a living area for visitors who wish to spend time at Anam Cara.
We talked and really hit it off. The next morning Margaret showed us the living quarters where guests stay. They were were refitted caravans turned into little homes where 3-4 people can stay. They had a communal kitchen with grey water and solar energy. There was an earth hut where people can sit in there and meditate. There were a few sites on the property for ritual and reconnection with the planet. Margaret also was aware that 2012 is significant and she is preparing to live off the land. They had their own vegetable garden and endeavour to live as lightly as they can. It was a beautiful space. Later we were to go to Findhorn, I didn’t really get so see much but felt that Anam Cara was more the model I was looking for.
I am looking for ideas to live in harmony with the planet. This is part of my peace work. Not only can we talk about peace we must live it in mind, body and spirit. It is not possible for me to continue contributing to the destruction of the planet. To me where we are heading is clear.
The Celts have an interesting spirituality they worship the moon and the life force of the sun. they saw gods close to sources of fertility and belonging. They were a nature people and they felt their deepest belonging and affinity. Celtic nature poetry is suffused with this warmth, wonder and belonging. This is the essence of peace.
Anam Cara means Soul Friend and it is about awakening. The anam cara experience opens a friendship that is not wounded or limited by separation or distance. They have broken through barriers of personal and egoism and find the unity of their souls. It is not so much to find love but let love find us. No-one can hurt you as deeply as the one you love. When you love you open your life to an Other. All your barriers are down. This person is given permission to come into the deepest temple of your spirit. It takes great courage to let someone come so close. When that happens they become part of you. In the sacred kinship of real love two souls are twinned. In the Celtic tradition there is a beautiful understanding of love and friendship. It is the sharing of the inner most self. This friendship is an act of recognition and belonging. Celtic spirituality can be encaptulated in this invocation:
The Sacred Three
My fortress be
Come and be round
My hearth and my home
We drove on from Inverness some few hours north to Findhorn. Findhorn is a unique spiritual community education centre and eco village to evolve consciousness and create a positive and sustainable future. The community is home to around 400 people who creatively explore new ways of living in harmony with each and with the natural world. There are courses and programs for personal and global transformation. The community began in 1962 with a small group of individuals who were committed to practicing spiritual principles in everyday life. This led to the communication with the intelligence of nature and resulted in amazing gardens. They affirm the interconnectedness of all life and the values of love, service, integrity, responsibility and leadership. The community includes holistic businesses, artists, builders, health practitioners, shop, printing company, café, organic farm, retreats and workshops all linked by a shared positive vision for humanity and the earth. Education at the Findhorn Foundation is a process of self discovery, bringing each person closer to knowing his or her own potential. It was late when we got there and we had coffee at a café there. We met an Asian lady from Japan holidaying there and in the line I met Andy a really lovely musician and had lunch with them both. I felt connection with Andy and exchanged numbers. I gave him my poetry as he need lyrics for songs, so hopefully he has success with songs that have some meaning.
Jo and I went to find a place to stay and just up the road was the bed and breakfast. We met Keith who seemed a hippie (compliment here) and had a beautiful two story place. There was a large meditation space and he was very hospitable. Jo and I jumped on our computers to sort out emails, car insurance and couch surfing (for me). We uploaded and exchanged photos. It took quite a few hours. After we finished we went up to the local pub for dinner. Jo and I had a bit of conflict, it was essentially a misunderstanding but as a result she left and I went up to the bar. I chatted with a few people trying to find out the distance to Orkney’s. Met a nice Australian guy, around 65-70. Jo stayed on and I decided to walk back to the B&B.
I felt the cold wind on my face and the darkness. I am not afraid walking alone at night, I do it a lot at home. I enjoyed the wild clouds and looking at the water. Some youth walked behind me, nothing happened (of course). Life is kind and not the drama we witness on television. I walked in the dark and saw a little rat like guinea pig run across the road, never seen one of those before. I was tickled. Got back to the B&B and went and meditated in the large room.
Next morning I challenged Jo to either talk about it so we clear the air or I will go. I didn’t feel angry at leaving, I had no idea how to get going from Findhorn, but I knew I’d find a way. I felt better to not be dependent, be clear. I didn’t want bad blood between us, and felt it is better to sort it out. So we spent the next hour being frank with each other. It was a positive process and the two of us felt better. From that point on our friendship deepened. I believe all conflicts should be faced, so many people internalize and it doesn’t help. Conflict is a natural part of life, we are not meant to be the same. Always people see differently, the challenge is to share what we see without demonizing others or hating the other. My friendship is unconditional.
We headed further north through the Scottish countryside of rolling grassy mountains and pristine streams meandering their way into creeks. The hydroelectric energy production would be huge given the size of the mountains. Scotland has an energy that is both mystical and freeing. It is a beautiful feeling meandering through the country. We stopped at points taking photo’s and noting the purple hew of henna. We stopped at a small town and had some lunch. There was a festival going on in the village. We saw a guy with a huge motor bike, part of the festivities. We then were told it will take 1.5 hours to get to John O’Groats ferry terminal. So we high tailed it to try and make it. I was peaceful as we get there right on time, even if we are late. I have a philosophy that everything is in order. Jo got onto her partner in London to find out the ferry times and see if we can get on the car ferry. So we arrived around 4.15 and headed to the car ferry. I said to Jo it could be late. Turns out it was, we waited around half an hour. It was 30 pounds each way for the car and 13 pounds for passengers. We drove onto the ferry, it was exciting. The ferry then headed out past grassy islands with little buildings dotted around. There would not be much population. The wind was cold and we braved the conditions as long as we could. Then I had to go down for a cuppa. The guy at the counter complained of it being to hot with the ovens. I was surprised management didn’t give him a fan. Anyway, sat down and then came up on deck the closer we got to Margaret Hope dock. We docked there in a little sheltered cove with a village glittering in the distance. We drove off the ferry and headed for Kirwell. All is well in Kirk-well. Maybe we meet a captain kirk? You never know in this neck of the woods. Although I should say hills, there are few trees here.