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Wild Sisters Rising : Marie Gallagher

Welcome to the second  in the series of Wild Sisters Rising!

 

The village raises the child.  The circle honours the woman.

(Lissa Orr ~ Wild Sister Rising)

 

It is a pleasure to introduce  Marie Gallagher ~ Writer, Musician and Mum.

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Which phase of life are you in?

In terms of the maidenhood, motherhood and sage model then I am definitely in motherhood simply because I have a pre-school age child! But your blog Wild Sister Rising has encouraged me to read up on pagan approaches to women’s growth and I really like that motherhood does not just represent having children. It is about harnessing your creativity, working hard, seeing it manifest and gaining fulfillment from it. I have been on a bit of a creative journey over the past few years which has actually culminated in my decision to go back to college and study music, which I didn’t have the courage to do when I was younger. So I suppose I am moving back towards the energy, potential and more spontaneity of the ‘Maiden’ phase!

With the benefit of hindsight and learned wisdom, what do you wish you had known at the start of your cycling journey?

When I was younger there were so many patriarchal and misogynistic aspects of life I just accepted.  I subconsciously believed that I had to strive to conform to society’s male-driven standards in terms of women’s appearance and behaviour.  Now I realise that I am not here for anyone else’s gratification but to do what I genuinely feel is right and healthy for myself and the others around me.

In terms of women’s physical cycles, I am really into being more open about it now.  Society treats periods exactly like we treat childbirth – women have to ‘get on with it’, look presentable and be discreet.  That is why it is so hard for women to talk about physical and mental illnesses related to their menstrual cycle or pregnancy/birth.  There are still so many stereotypical social ideas about and representations of women in the media as emotional/irrational/dependant/weak, yet we are under pressure to be strong when it would be inconvenient for society/men for us to stop.  It is a huge cliche but I think we have to listen to our bodies.  I stop a lot more now when I know my mind and body just need a break, whether that is menstrual or otherwise.  Whenever I do the opposite of what my body tells me I end up feeling worn out, resentful or even ill.

What do you do for self care?

During CBT therapy a few years ago I realised how much a routine helps me to manage my mental health, so self care is about self discipline for me. I’m not completely rigid but I like having set days and times of the week for particular activities, making sure I get up and go to bed at a certain time, etc. I also find tidying, organising and being on top of my to-do list are effective self-care activities for me, as well as sticking to commitments and deadlines. That makes me sound really boring, which is probably true to a certain extent!

Do you have a morning routine? If so, what does that look like?

My wee boy has usually found his way into our bed by the time I am waking up so I write in my journal (ok, scroll through my phone!) for half an hour while he looks at his books (ok, watches Youtube on his Kindle). In all honesty I am an awful excuse for human being first thing in the morning. I drink really strong coffee until I feel alive (I would take it intravenously if I could). One of my aims is to get better at mornings!

Which season in the year is your favourite and why?

Definitely summer. I don’t even care if the weather isn’t that great – I enjoy the lighter evenings and even a slight bit of heat. There is just more sense of possibility and I have more energy. There are also no commercialised festivals during summer (although I suppose you could say that summer itself is completely commercialised as a season!). I find winter pretty miserable despite all the cosy Hygge stuff and I don’t like Halloween, fireworks or Christmas! I hate enforced fun and trailing round the shops in cold and rain buying a load of crap that people don’t even need. Maybe I should change my approach to winter and Christmas and find new ways to experience it and manage it! I would really like to embrace more seasonal rituals like those I have read about in WSR blog, especially the ones relating to making fires!

What are you reading just now?

Coal Black Mornings’ by Brett Anderson. I am such a big Suede fan and the copy I picked up in Waterstones was a signed one which I am very happy about!

Which book has been most influential on your path?

‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’ by Elizabeth Gilbert is really inspiring. She has a podcast of the same name which is also brilliant.

What has been the most valuable piece of advice you have received?

I attended a workshop run by the author Kaite Welsh a few months ago who said someone once told her ‘You can’t hate yourself into a version of yourself that you like’. I think it is great advice that I wish someone had given to me when I was in my early 20s!

How do you like to relax and unwind?

Having a chat and a laugh with family and friends, singing, writing, reading. Also listening to 90s pop music really loud and getting all nostalgic – I always stick on Absolute Radio 90s when I am feeling a bit gloomy!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be your 3 must have items?

A radio

My guitar

A big pair of socks because, even if it is 90 degrees, I still have cold feet.

Do you have a mantra or affirmation that you live by?

I had a revelation a few years ago – that the word selfless is really horrible because it is basically saying that to be a good person and help others you need to be ‘less of self’, that you need to put yourself away in a box somewhere. Actually, I think if you are going to interact with people on a deep level you need to be ‘more of self’. Being authentic is much more important than trying to make yourself disappear for the approval of others – trying not to be yourself isn’t helpful to anyone.

Describe your perfect day

I find it hard to think about questions like this. I struggle if someone asks what was the best day of my life too – I always feel like you should roll out the stock answers! There are lots of people I love spending time with and activities that I like doing. For me, genuine and deep happiness is always about my connection with others – when you have really amazing chats, laugh really hard or are absorbed in what you are doing together. This can happen in the most everyday situations, even in the workplace! Similarly, you could be in the most beautiful setting and be really depressed or with someone who doesn’t make you happy.

What does Wild Sister Rising mean to you?

In terms of the phrase but also Lissa’s blog and community of women, I think it is about following your intuition and thinking consciously about your personal development. It is also about women coming together to share encouragement, wisdom and compassion for each other. I think ‘Rising’ is the really interesting part of it as it makes me think of emerging, growing and becoming powerful. I think it is about women ‘coming up’ to take more control in their own lives, to influence society in their own way. It is rejecting patriarchal ideas about what power and success actually means.


You can follow Marie on instagram @fuzzypeachgirl, twitter @fuzzypeachgirl or through her beautiful writing at peachesandscream.blog 

More about Marie :

Hello, I’m Marie! I live just outside Glasgow with Kev, my husband and Flynn, my almost five-year-old son.   I’m having fun being a stay at home parent right now and my career background is in youth work and further/community education.  I’m a writer and musician in my spare time.  Very soon I’m going ‘back to school’ to study for an HND in Music Performance. (As cheesy as it is, I’ve decided to follow my dream!).  I love to explore wellbeing, mental health and creativity and the links between them, especially in relation to women’s lives which is why I started my blog.

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Wild Sisters Rising : Gemma Tierney

Welcome to the first in the series of Wild Sisters Rising!

The village raises the child.  The circle honours the woman.

(Lissa Orr ~ Wild Sister Rising)

I am delighted to introduce Gemma Tierney ~ 32 year old cat-loving, amateur cook and gardening enthusiast.

Which phase of your life are you in?

Although technically, I am in still in the maiden phase, I feel more and more strongly that I am very much a mother. I am sure that marriage and babies are not far from my future, but I have realised recently that you don’t have to have children to be a mum (I’m sure some of you parents out there will disagree). I am motherly and nurturing by nature, so whether I’m feeding the cats, tending the garden, making soup for Ben if he has the cold, or popping in on my friend who is having a crap week, I am confident that I’m now firmly planted in the mother phase.

With the benefit of hindsight and learned wisdom, what do you wish you’d known at the start of your cycling journey?

One thing I wish I’d learned earlier is self acceptance- more specifically, not putting myself in a box. For example, when I was 17, and trying to experiment with my Goth phase, I did not dare tell my goth friends that I was absolutely obsessed with musical theatre. I believed that they wouldn’t accept me, and convinced I couldn’t like both! Says who?! Like what I like, and fuck the boxes!!

What do you do for self care?

Self care is something I’ve spoke of for a long time, but only recently offered it the time, dedication and discipline it deserves. Someone recently said to me “Whatever you have confidence in, do more of that.” So my self care is cooking, baking, making DIY beauty products from herbs I’ve grown. Anything that sees me pottering in the kitchen. I also realise that if I don’t have at least one ‘slot’ of quality time with Ben, my mum and my dad (separately, one-to-one) every week, I become tetchy. And anything involving fresh air and some solitude – a long walk, a half hour weeding, a bit of time sitting in the sun.

Do you have a morning routine? If so, what does that look like?

Mornings are my time for quiet, slow paced solitude. On a work day, I get up at 6.40am; on a weekend about 9am, but I’m always first up. I make a coffee and either sit at the kitchen table looking out into the garden, or actually go out, depending on the weather. One of our cats is allowed outside, so she’ll join me in the garden if I do sit out. During my coffee, I sort of plan my day in my head, but not too rigidly (I’m stepping away from lists!). After my coffee, come rain, hail or shine, I go and check the garden, bird feeders etc, and ONLY THEN am I ready for some noise in my space, so I turn the radio on (BBC Radio 2) and make some breakfast. I’ve spent about 32 years struggling to eat in the morning, but, much like self care, have ONLY JUST REALISED how important it is. A few spoons of yogurt and honey, and by this point I have been gently eased into my day. On a work day, its shower and out time; on a weekend, I take a second coffee into bed and wake Ben up, whether he likes it or not!

Which season in the year is your favourite and why?

I used to say Autumn was favourite, and I most certainly do love it – being cosy, getting the blankets out, turning the heating up and started to make TONS of soup! However, nowadays, I really do love Spring. All the signs of colour and life just remind me of new beginnings. I can’t actually decide, but I know I love the transitional seasons!

What are you reading just now?

I have literally just got a new book from the library today called ‘Stranger’; its a historic mystery… I’ll keep you posted.

Which book has been most influential on your path?

I read a book last October called ‘I Found My Tribe’. Its a gloriously uplifting book all about surrounding yourself with those who build you up and don’t zap you of energy. Everyone should read it.

What has been the most valuable piece of advice you have received?

My most valuable piece of advise came a week ago: ‘Trust your gut’. I’ve spent so many years second guessing myself, worrying what people thought, running myself ragged trying to keep everyone happy, and its brought me no joy. None! However, in recent months, I’ve had to go through something quite challenging at work, and I’ve never once doubted my actions or cared about the opinion of others, because I knew in my gut I was doing the right thing. So from now on, I shall be trusting my gut and not wasting time worrying about anyone else’s opinion!

How do you like to relax and unwind?

I think I’ve probably covered this – cooking, pottering in the kitchen, a glass of wine, a good bubble bath and a natter with Ben are perfect ways to stop my shoulders from being all hunched together through stress!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be your 3 must have items?

I’d take a notebook (I’d like to think to record my adventure, but, knowing me, I’d end up making lists of some kind!), photos of my family, and a radio. I’d be lost without my radio!

Do you have a mantra or affirmation that you live by?

I have two: “What does your gut say?” (my new one) and “Is that helpful?” (that can be used in most situations- stops you from getting into a frenzy of self doubting and negative chat; but also questions why you do certain things, and if you’re actually helping a situation/ others)

Describe your perfect day

An early rise, some time in the garden, me and Ben getting the train to somewhere near a beach, a walk along the sand, a bar lunch (I LOVE a bar lunch!!), a potter in some wee independent shops, back home where family will pop round for a few drinks, a bath and falling asleep full of food and wine!!

What does Wild Sister Rising mean to you?

I’ve generally never considered myself as ‘wild’. I’m pretty quiet, and like simple things; I tend to stick to the rules, and I hate confrontation; my hobbies and interests are pretty inoffensive.

I doubt that anyone who ever has or does know me would describe me as ‘Wild’. One thing that I am, though, is true to myself. And I always have been. And that truth has kept me going through every difficult time and setback. That’s what Wild Sister Rising means to me- continuing to rise and grow and evolve through life, while being proud to be yourself. And in this lovely circle, I have discovered a community of like minded individuals who are doing the same thing


You can follow Gemma on instagram @greenfingeredgemma (for gardening)  and @gimes27  (for cats and food).

More about Gemma :

Hello Everyone!

I am a teacher, who lives in Central Scotland,  with my partner, Ben, and our two cats. I love all things food or fresh air related, and am prone to the odd blether over a wee wine or two… There are few things in life that give me as much pleasure as staying up really late with those closest to me, putting the world to rights over a few drinks. Bliss!

I enjoy learning about new cultures and beliefs – through travel (although our purse strings, and the fact that I’m increasingly becoming more and more of a home bird, don’t allow as much as I would like), reading, trying new food (most things come back to food with me!), etc.

I don’t exercise nearly as much as I should, but have recently FINALLY realised the importance of mental wellbeing and self care, so at least I’m taking care of one part of me.

I have gone through quite a period of change the last few years, and, in that time, have realised more and more that I crave female friendship (the nice kind; not the competitive, two-faced kind that I had in High School, which, unfortunately, put me off for years!). My male friends are fab, but not so great at the feelings chat. And my Mum is great, but she sort of has to have my back- I want a Sisterhood!

Looking forward to getting to know you all.

Gemma ❤

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When Women Circle

Circle of Women

When women come together in circle there is an unspoken bond, a sense of community, familiarity and sisterhood. Even amongst strangers.  How do I know? I experienced these very sensations and feelings just yesterday evening when I attended a Mother’s Circle, organised and hosted by Hollie of Winter Grace Circle.

I have been only to one other circle in my life, and it was a lovely, honest and refreshing experience.  It was held in a friend’s home and I knew most of the women there. It was a something I have wished to be part of again, but had never since found the time or place.

A circle is different from having a “girls night” with your pals. Essentially it is a gathering inwhich to be honest and free, let your guard down, to speak and be heard, for fellow sisters in circle to hold the space for you and for each other. It’s not gossip or judgement, it’s not material surface “stuff” but a chance to connect with a deep understanding, appreciation and trust. A space to just be.

What is shared in circle stays in circle.

Hollie and I have followed one another on Instagram and have mutual friends in common, but have never met in person or spoken to each other. I saw her circle appear on my Insta feed and felt compelled to find out more.  I went along to the circle, feeling a little apprehensive as I didn’t know anyone else who was going, having spoken with a couple of like minded friends to inquire if they were going, only to find out that they were not. However, when I arrived at the door, I was greeted with the most welcoming and warm hug from Hollie, and immediately felt so comfortable as I found my space in the circle with the women who had arrived before me.

The Circle of Women
Image from Pinterest

Our circle held 7 mothers, each with different stories yet each with an element of our own truth that resonated with every woman present. Through story and mediation, tea and relaxation, we shared that 2 hours in communal nourishment of the soul. I filled my cup back up, without the usual “mother’s guilt” that goes hand in hand with time out for myself. And I didn’t want to leave.

women in circle

This is such an ancient tradition that has been lost and since rediscovered and for that I am thankful. To be part of, and, sit in circle like this was just the medicine I needed, and am writing myself a prescription to attend the next one.

When women gather in circle, ripples are created, healing takes place. For all of us.

If you feel called, I encourage you to find or create your own circle.

Lx