• Eimear Stassin

Day 16 ~ Ocean of Possibility

It's Day 16 of the Be Yourself Writing Challenge.  


Today's writing prompt is to tell a story about a piece of your family folklore.


"Hard is the heart that the soft sweet smelling air of the sea wouldn't take the grumpiness and sadness from them." Peig Sayers


Hated by many for having to study her prose in Irish for the Leaving Cert Examination, yet her poetic words came to mind for this writing, translated into English for this blog.


I was feeling more and more excited as I got closer to the possibility of being at the ocean again, of feeling more at home, after yesterday's experience (see Day 15 Home) .


Of the soft seas sweeping away the sadness in my heart of un-belonging.


Peig Sayers earned her place as a fine native Irish speaker poet and storyteller. Living her married life on an island off the Dingle Peninsula called the Great Blasket Island.


A magical coral sandy coves greets you as the little fishing boat lines up by the peer. You have to time the rhythm of the waves to jump off onto the slippery rocks, stepping up and up to the village, now deserted since 1953. Evacuated as the population dwindled to mainland Ireland, America and beyond.


From afar, the island looks like a humped back whale. The largest of the cluster of Blasket Islands. Arranged like stepping stones of possibility of a new and prosperous life far off across the vast ocean to America. Leaving the native wealth of culture and richness behind.


Up close, the towering lumpy mass of the land looms. Walking along it's spine, steep cliffs guard against the wild Atlantic ocean waves below. Beware of the feral donkey that's very territorial of it's patch of island!


A special kind of silence exists on the island. Now visited by tourists when the sea allows. A silence of waves; gulls and wind. An utter magical peacefulness wraps around this piece of land, cast out and cut off from the mainland.


The drama of her natural surroundings wove through and around her storytelling, like a great big Irish symphony that English words could not express.


She spoke of tragedy and hardship; the sea and the weather; mythical and real. Fairy tales, ghost stories, stories of island history and her current day life. Preserved now as she has long since passed. A strong lady. A leader of her time.


I read now that it was how she told her stories that made the difference. The lilt of her voice; her poetic turn of phrase; her gestures and drama; how she held the listener's attention in suspense, savouring every single word as the turf fire smouldered beside her rocking chair.


At least that's how I imagined it to be.


I was equally captivated today. On my travels. In and around the South of England. Choosing my seat I wedged my suitcase in out of the isle. An elderly man opposite me had his eyes closed and headphones on. I took out my large roll. A late lunch. Eating on the move. Eager to get to the ocean.


'That's a feast you're having there', he said.

'I couldn't eat that now that my stomach is a third of the size!.'


His blue eyes holding my gaze as I pause between bites. Digesting his words. Recognising a familiar lilt. That lilt of Irishness in his voice. We connect. He talks. I listen. Nodding. Commenting. Asking the odd question. I learn so much. About him. His life. His recent operation. His positive attitude. His wisdom. The treatment that is working. That will work.


His kindness to staff at the hospital. His humour and twinkle in his eye.


Many stories to tell. And I'm savouring his words as much as my roll.


As the train pulls in we say our goodbyes and step off the train. Which tube? he asks. It turns out we're going on the same tube line! And so he shows me the way, unfamiliar as I am with the tube system. Enjoying this all. Sitting on the tube, he tells me more. About his life in Galway as a child. His reasons for emigrating to London and making a fine living as a builder.


Ordinary yet fascinating. I'm captivated.


As my stop approaches, I say goodbye again. He says we might meet again, that you never know. I remind him of his daughter.


An hour's train journey later, alone with my thoughts, I have arrived. By the sea.


I have this metaphoric landscape developing. For my business. Where I have stepped out of the rainforest after bathing my feet in the clear cool rainforest river waters. I turn and walk across the warm sand towards the sea. There's a fire. A bonfire right on the edges of the sand almost touching the oceans foamy waves.


I speak of the importance of metaphor when coaching in Day 14's blog. As it's the language our subconscious mind.


Water and the sea for me represents my soul. Calling me. Asking me to slow down and listen. Listen to it's stories of wisdom and direction. Being at the edge of the sea is an important place for me to hang out, metaphorically. Since that is on the edge of my knowledge. Of my client's knowing. Allowing new knowing to emerge naturally.


Today I listened.

To the quote from Peig playing around in my head.

To Declan on the train.

To the sounds of the sea.

To the real desire to clear my mind; body and soul.

And just be.

By the sea.

Sitting.

On the pebbles.

Watching.

In awe.


The sun. A perfect red circle of warmth and light . Slowly slowly merging with clouds; then the sea. Silently. At it's own pace.


When soul based coaching, I listen. I hold space for you to slowly tell your own story that's as perfect for you as the red sun setting over the vast ocean of possibility. For you (and me) to be surprised with what emerges. And yet still feel at home with it all.


"Oh won't you come with me Where the ocean meets the sky And as the clouds roll by We'll sing the song of the sea" - Song of the Sea

Please get in touch if you would like to learn more.


#21DaysOfReflections Day 16

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