So here I am, many miles away from my home in Dublin, making a new life in the south of Spain. My Authentic life, as I like to call it. That is not to say it wasn´t real before hand but the term for me adds a hidden depth to the million dollar question, "What is the meaning of life"? There is not one answer but in a nutshell I feel it is buried deep down in how you live it both mentally and physically. Of course it goes without saying that for me, there is a spiritual dimension too which has been a fundamental part of my journey as far back as I can remember. I was raised Christian and I´ve been Buddhist now for over 15 years.
An interesting philosophy I recently discovered, which has made a profound impact on the way I look at life on all levels is that of the concept of ´Integral Theory´. A term coined by the renowned 20th century philosopher, Ken Wilber, who developed his model AQAL to explain how all aspects of our lives and environments are mutually inclusive (click here to discover more).
In a similar vein, another great 20th century and somewhat controversial philosopher, Martin Heidegger, described the idea of an ´Authentic life´ as being ´real´. Where we take responsibility for our actions and choices if we are to be truly free and to reach our fullest potential. Even if, and it is a likely price to pay, this freedom can cause us to be at times anxious.
This website was originally one that I used exclusively to showcase my art (more about that later). However, over time it became more and more obvious to me that my ´Purpose´ or perhaps one of them, is to express myself not only through my art but as a reflection of my life as a whole.
Maybe, sharing parts of my life is just another form of creative expression. Think of literature, poetry, performance art and contemporary installations. Just as art is said to be subjective with it having a personal impact on the individual viewer, might it be possible that this website as a creative endeavour, may also impact differently on those who see it? Time will tell.
Without wanting to sound arrogant or full of myself, I would be flattered if my experiences, thoughts and observations, might inspire, at least for some to search for their own ´truth´ or authentic life. Or perhaps, serve simply as a talking point, a trigger for discussion. Personally, I´ve had many ´ah ha!´ moments through talking with others. I love a good debate or discussion that challenges me and makes my brain light up with curiosity. I´m not saying I´ve got it sussed, just that it intuitively feels like I´m walking on my right path for now and there´s so much more to discover.
Fair warning !
I should say here at the beginning that I have designed this site to be best appreciated on a large screen such as a laptop or tablet. Whilst possible on a mobile, it has been written more as ´a read´ i.e. a book including many chapters and images rather than a series of short snappy social media posts or a punchy, flick-through mini-article. In fact, in addition to the text (Ok, I know I can be a bit verbose at times, but that´s me being authentic!) and images, you´ll find short videos, voice recordings, art galleries, virtual art exhibitions and hopefully more as time goes on. So trust me when I say, this is much better enjoyed on a lap top for example.
How did I get here ?
Just before I go on to talk about this, a little bit more about where ´here´ is first.
Here, is a home at the upper part of a mountain village in the region of Malaga, Andalucía, Spain. The views are spectacular. The photo above was taken whilst sitting on my bed ! Imagine waking up to that every morning ? The one below shows my beautiful rescue dog, Heidi. She is quite literally the love of my life and I am sure you will hear about her again in my blog as she is with me almost 24/7. What you can´t see is that to the left, almost two thirds of the view looks over at the sea in the distance (about 15 mins drive to the south) and over the typical whitewashed houses of Spanish mountain villages. Up the lane from me is just country, trees and more mountain and valleys. So many hiking opportunities. There will more about that in due course.
Now to the how and where from. I grew up just outside Cambridge in the UK, in a large Irish family. Our house was a constant hive of activity. A typical Irish home with religious pictures, holy water fonts and statues of the Virgin Mary and The Child of Prague wherever you turned. To say it was a stereotypical Irish family is about all I can do for now if I want to keep this brief. For those that know about Irish mammies and daddies, I need say no more. For those those that don´t , maybe I´ll write about it sometime. In hindsight, it was a happy childhood and we were taught many life skills along the way though it didn´t always feel like that at the time.
So by way of a one paragraph bio ..... After leaving school I did a couple of years at a technical college studying Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. I always seemed to be working in hospitality in almost all departments at some point or another. I´m a ´dab hand in the kitchen´ as they say, and as my mam used to say ´Sure, lucky the woman that gets you !". Years later, my surprisingly progressive Irish catholic mammy rephrased that to, "lucky the man that gets you"! God bless her. To continue, I managed a wine bar and restaurant in central London, worked in a famous luxury goods store and finally went back to Uni for a business degree. I worked in Paris for a few years first as an English teacher and then in marketing. Moved to Dublin and together with a good friend and business partner, set up a fashion design company. Over time we became a high end couture house. Needless to say it was a steep learning curve! This period lasted for over 20 years, during which time we had the great pleasure of dressing women from all walks of life, from business professionals, music stars and film Oscar nominees and celebrities to political figures and presidents. You can read all about my journey through the world of fashion and couture including a broad selection of press coverage and celebrities´s photos here. And if you just want to look at some pretty pictures of our work over the years click here. Finally, at the end of 2013, I returned to the UK to be my mother´s full time nurse and carer. It was a great privilege to look after her and was possibly the most profound three years of my life. My Father had died in 2008 so as the orphan I now was when she died, rather than return home to Dublin, I moved to Spain to heal and start a new chapter of my life. My art had always been something I did in addition to my other work activities. Now it was time to give it my full attention.
I hope you enjoy my website. I will continue to add content and the blog will serve as a kind of a musing diary/note book with links perhaps to articles and things I think you might find interesting.
If you would like to make a small donation, from as little as a price of a coffee, to help support me as an artist and the running costs of this site, it would be very much appreciated. You can ´buy me a coffee´ by clicking here
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Full disclosure: As an artist and creative despite living in a corner of paradise, I still need to earn a living. Occasionally, I will add links that will take you to trusted sites I think may be of interest. Sometimes, through affiliate programs I will receive small commissions for doing so.