the path to enlightenment: Holy Island March 2008

Been up on Holy Island for the 2008 “After the ABC” course which was intense and wonderful. We had snow, storms, sun, wind, sleet, hail and riveting blueskies.
It wasn’t a massive group but all the better for it. I found it quite challenging personally. There was a section right in the middle when we sat through the night and I went into a bit of a meltdown. But as I’ve come to appreciate, melting down is what goldsmiths do to refine dirty gold.
I think possibly the highpoint was towards the end when we all tried to re-imagine our childhoods as much more naughty than they infact were, in an attempt to shake off the dead-hand of ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’. Cultivating the liberating spirit of mischief and irreverence. The delightful ‘Why Not?’ The circle became lit up with giggles and chuckles and everyone went a bit barmy afterwards, stripping naked and streaking across the grass, wading, fully clothed into the sea, throwing horse-shit at each other and pinching each other’s bottoms.
Marvellous. I was proud of everyone.

The horses remained equanimous.


  1. duanefromindiana

    April 7, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    walk this way
    returning to the office today after a week off
    having not left town
    im now content
    after a big smile and laugh
    envisioning i was on the island
    observing the display and the weather
    the signs endorse that’why not?’

    i have dreamt i arrive for a course
    accomodations are overbooked
    i’m asked to sleep outdoors
    because the power is out
    without my c-pap
    i snore horrendously like a trumpet

    i sleep far out in the grass
    by a rock outcrop that breaks the wind
    from a gentle nudge
    i awaken at sunrise
    surrounded by curious horses

  2. Witchy

    April 8, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Reading your blog i was so interested to read ‘melting down is what goldsmiths do to refine dirty gold’. Thought it a very positive way of thinking. Thank you for giving me something positive from something id thought of as being negative.

    Here is my favorite prayer,

    Look to this day!
    For it is life, the very life of life,
    In its brief course
    Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
    The bliss of growth
    The glory of action
    The splendor of beauty,
    For yesterday is but a dream
    And tomorrow only a vision,
    But today well lived makes every yesterday
    a dream of happiness
    And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
    Look well, therefore, to this day!
    Such is the salutation of the dawn.

  3. Rick

    April 8, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Pinching bottoms & flinging horse-shit? Now that sounds
    like a fun meditation course!

  4. Jason

    April 9, 2008 at 8:27 am

    Streaking across the grass? I wonder what they’d say in Queens Park. I demand the same at the Abbey! 😉

  5. lori

    April 11, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    they should caution with signs if the grasses are
    shit-strewn! But sounds very liberating anyway.

  6. lee

    April 17, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    I arrived here via the usual route~although I have to say it was due to meeting you today in Sixpenny Handley~I was in the old Citroen and you kindly had a chat. Thank you.
    Your blog is very inspirational and the photos are just beautiful.
    I shall visit again.

  7. Lolo

    April 20, 2008 at 4:28 am

    I love your quote “Melting down is what goldsmiths do to refine dirty gold”. What a way to look at it. I meltdown quite frequently and am usually called “too sensitive”. I will never be ashamed again of a “meltdown”

  8. Duane Albertson

    May 10, 2008 at 6:51 am


    If I may, I’d like to request a few moments of your time and your input.

    I’m a human services professional in Indiana. I’ve just received eligibility to apply for a personal and professional renewal plan with outcome to regenerate and invigorate, bringing fresh ideas and energy back to human care services. I say you and your work fit the bill!

    My plan: attend meditation courses + possibly Holy Isle volunteer week, meet with respite advocates and practioners in UK, and attend International conference in Coppenhagen. Multiple excursions allowed – $8,000 budget. 25 grants awarded August 2008 to Indianapolis, Indiana area HSPs! Activities to be completed BY November 30, 2009.

    Awarded last year: 3-wk trip to Antartica, writer’s workshop in Italy, Alaskan cruise, arabic classes and touring Egypt. I think my plan’s a no brainer. I’m determined, even if not awarded this round.

    I’ve worked past 23 years coordinating services on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities. I’ve dreamt of this opportunity a few years now. I realize it can now become reality. If granted, I’ll expand my advocacy and implementation of lifespan respite services efforts. I’m a founding committee member of Indiana Respite Lifespan Coalition. I also have interest in implementing veteran caregiver support services.

    I have most information needed for proposal, due May 16! I can guestimate activity-course dates (aware Holy Isle courses run March-September). Proposals are brief, so I’m not necessarily required to have full details just yet. However, any input would prove helpful.

    Any suggestions, complimentary activities in UK?

    Projected dates for your courses September 2008 – November 2009?

    I know you must be pressed for time with next week’s course. However, any reply you can manage will be greatly appreciated.

    “Never stop. One always stops as soon as something is about to happen.” – Peter Brook, British Theatre and film director

    email or
    (H) US 317 745 3145 (London’s 5 hours ahead, I think)

    I left a voice mail earlier – doubt it made much sense – sorry.

Leave a Reply