How to start to establish a community theatre company based in Newport, Shropshire whilst managing the demands of being a parent and maintaining an income?
Well it’s now midway through 2021, and much has fallen. My previous blog feels somewhat nonsensical to me now as so much has changed. It’s like all that is not meant to be in my life for me to fulfil my highest purpose has ‘crumbled’. The part-time work triangle I detailed in it is no longer.
In the ‘best woman’s’ speech I said at our wedding (and I’m so glad I spoke up as a woman entering marriage), I declared that the universe had made a fool of me and I’m so glad it did. Aged 17, I vowed under the moon never to go out with Ed de Quincey. And there I was marrying him aged 32. The moon is fickle. And it’s done it again.
How to explain? (And I want to be brief this time!!!) Well, in short, I’ve had a series of unfortunate events much like the Lemony Snickett series – at times it did indeed feel like some sort of Count Olaf character has been ‘out to get me’…
It started with contracting coronavirus just after Christmas, having the most harrowing fourteen days waiting it out and staying strong, concerned it had somehow been passed on to my mother-in-law. Something worked as all was well. My mum-in-law says she couldn’t have got through without me and the strength I willed into us all – all I can say is it was a ridiculously intense, raw, surreal start to the year when the outside world was suspended for us as the snow fell. I’m certain this angel card, and the attitude of laughing to relieve even the most difficult situations helped us stay afloat as we connected daily in the evening via facebook messenger and it’s ‘funny faces’ option which I think quite literally was a life saver! It then took 5-6 weeks for me to recover, I was lucky our son could attend school so I could plan in rest and recover fully, taking on board friends’ sage advice who had already had it.
Coming out of the starkness of the virus and doing an online module which got me to list my top 5 passions, I realized I had to drop being a UW Partner. I realised it was taking me away from my priority passions, and it was time to let it go. I am open to the possibility it could come back in once a creative career is more established but for now I’ve had to accept it’s one ball too much. Also my contract to teach LAMDA at Wrekin College ended in March. It wasn’t meant to last as long as I had hoped. Although these aspects of my work-life have now crumbled, I am grateful for the time I spent with UW and Team LAMDA; I’ve gained experience and skills, grown in awareness (see previous blog) and worked with the most beautiful people of all ages, types and backgrounds. I’m in a much richer place than if I hadn’t taken up the opportunities. ‘No effort is wasted’ Buddhism would say. Then in February into March, I got excited by a job vacancy to teach drama at a local high school thinking that was why everything had fallen but that plan proved false.
The moon indeed has been fickle. As Woody Allen has quipped, ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans’.
I had a month or so of ‘nothingness’. I processed a lot of rage and some deep despair at the injustices of being a woman and mother and creative, expressing myself through poetry helped me through. I was then able to access mentoring from Nicky Kent of Social Heart CIC around how to make your business sustainable which has helped me regroup and re-evaluate. Nicky helped me set up the CIC in 2017 so it was beneficial and timely to be able to access her excellent, passionate mentoring again. As we (fingers crossed) emerge from the pandemic, there are some projects emerging, which feel wholesome and better than stretching myself between very different worlds. I really just want the one focus of having the CIC solely as my work, co-creating arts projects in nature, which is ONE of my passions, another being my family. Threads are starting to weave; roots appear to be starting to delicately knit together. One project that is now flowering is ‘Drama in the Forest’ which I am elated and thankful is coming to fruition. Since leaving mainstream teaching in 2017, all I’ve ever wanted was to be a present mum to my son and have a sustainable business in Moonstruck Astronaut CIC – is this now possible?
At the moment it is still tentative, I wanted to post to share my journey, not to feign I have the answers. So many of us feel that we have to posture that we know the answers. Saying ‘I don’t know’ is not a crime, it can be heroic. Part of doing this blog is the hope that when things do emerge powerfully, those who follow can see the path, and find comfort that the CIC became successful despite many hindrances, and be encouraged to honour what excites them, no matter the hurdles.
Indeed, I hope I will be expressing profound gratitude for this ‘crumbling’ of plans in the future, as I still express gratitude that the moon broke her side of my wounded teenage heart’s vow and I ended up married to Ed de Quincey. The moon sees much further than my eyes. Humility is vital in this age of light.
I am doing my best to be humble and open and flexible to those opportunities that speak of soul satisfaction, beyond the ego’s surface judgements and its’ fears of the ‘new’. I would love to be working in collaboration with good, good people and building up a network of interdependence behind Moonstruck Astronaut. I’ve never wanted to work solo, there is such joy in sharing, and connecting with like-minded others brings out the best in me and enables me to focus on service. Indeed, it’s other’s sincere encouragement and consistent kind support that helps keep me in touch with the ocean of truth beneath us, and brings me back to centre when I am afraid. Thank you so much.
I would like to end by sharing the donkey card from Diana Cooper’s ‘Archangel Animal’ Oracle decks. You too may feel you have undergone or are undergoing challenges. The card advises to simply ‘accept’ the challenges, being aware they help you ‘to develop qualities of patience, forbearance and courage’ and to above all ‘keep your heart open’, using all experiences to ‘strengthen yourself’. I find this image of the donkey very touching; it reminds me that love is all that matters and to laugh kindly at myself with a donkey bray! Indeed, it’s led me to imagine myself as some sort of unicorn-donkey hybrid at times which I find strangely fitting!!
The prospect that Moonstruck Astronaut CIC could now work out in a post-pandemic world deeply fortifies me, as does the clarity that it is work that satisfies my soul.