Leading tours to Ireland with my husband came as a result of a happy coincidence.
I’ve organized, led, co-led, and facilitated retreats, tours, conferences and seminars along the West Coast, and many in the West of Ireland. In my practice as a transition/life coach, I love the transformations that magically come forward on retreats when one opens to possibilities, to fresh eyes looking at old ways, to allow the heart’s wisdom to lead ~ when we stop pushing on the door and realize it opens inward.
A door that opened inward for me was the notion of combining elements of two of my greatest loves ~ Ireland and writing ~ into a 10-day memoir writing retreat in Ireland. Though it happened by accident, the nudge was unmistakable.
As part of their preparation for a tour to Ireland, I’d been asked by a Unitarian church choir to share my experiences of working as a personal assistant to an Irish poet/author and to speak about traveling in the West of Ireland.
I didn’t need to be asked twice ~ the only thing I know that feels better than sharing my love for Ireland is being there. I met my husband in Ireland ~ a musician from America in love with all things Irish. Drawing from our rich experiences traveling in Ireland we created a half hour presentation for the choir, sharing stories, songs, and poetry accompanied by a steady flow of lovely Irish landscape photos in the background.
After the presentation we mingled with the crowd. Each of us was asked the same question by different people. When will you be running your next tour? And, will you take us with you? On the way home we compared notes and seized the idea in the moment. Looking back, it’s a wonder neither of us had considered it before. So we began leading tours to Ireland.
I encourage my clients to reflect on chapters in their lives that stand out in some way or represent moments to overcome -- sweet, bitter, or bittersweet. Given the gifts of time, distance, and perspective it’s possible to examine our lives from a more dispassionate or objective place. Through writing ~ pulling the words out of our heads and onto the page ~ we can liberate thoughts that may be holding us captive.
Memoir provides us the lens to put aspects of our lives into clearer perspective ~ the process can result in a legacy for family members or a catharsis for the writer or a glimpse of shared wisdom for the rest of us. At its best, good memoir serves as a touchstone for each of our lives, a way to relate and foster compassion and insight for ourselves as well as others.
There is something about Ireland. Whether it’s the stunning landscape, the rich history of its people and their interwoven mystical traditions, the deep respect for language and the written word, or a combination of all the above, there is something about being in Ireland that stirs my soul and supports my journey. They say the veil between worlds is thin in the West of Ireland. I know this to be true.
I have felt the song of the land course through my body as I’ve walked the landscape, felt the steps of those who have walked before me, and anticipate with each return trip the strong sense of coming home. Whether the land, the people, or the thin veil, Ireland supports a transformation, an opening, an invitation to tap into things that matter, including re-visiting the worthy events in our lives.
Memoir Tours was our happy coincidence ~ what presented itself as a conversation turned into a retreat/tour to help others mine their pasts for gems of memoir, while held in the embrace of the West of Ireland. We’ve assembled a lovely group of mentors to help us craft memoir and find our way through the untamed Mayo landscape...heeding our heart’s wisdom in the heart of Ireland.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.