Sinead: Home-Work For Hollie

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Sinead’s black capsule, colourful garden (woke) and more

Hollie, you gave me a task and my completion date is today, 8th August 2023.  It was to do with my middle eye, something to centre me through adversity and difficulty and something to help me understand who I am, and to connect with the deep inner leader inside of myself.

The theme started with purple flowers – why purple flowers? Why do I feel so different in myself when I see a purple flower in nature? When we did the coaching, I kept on gazing and you enquired about it, I told you about fields of purple flowers…  I thought about this a lot and I started to remember associations of purple.

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South Africa  – back then; childhood

My mother hated purple clothes, she always said that it was ‘common’ and that only common people wear purple, so ‘god forbid’, if ever you see a purple dress – AVOID!  To be fair, when we growing up, colours were much more limited than now and there were probably only two shades of purple and most of the time they were shiny and they were pretty ugly – so granted, back then, mum might have had a point.

I remember Agapanthus flowers, a whole flowerbed, running next to our swimming pool in Pretoria. I remember my grandma’s most amazing Hydrangeas on the farm in her garden, flooded with purple, pinks and whites. They were huge, as if on steroids!!

London – 13 years ago.

When I excavated the garden at South Hill Park in Hampstead, it was a mammoth task and I was adamant to get at least 1.5 metres (I really wanted to remove 2 metres) of old soil and then replace that with new soil. I had so many counter attacks, so many tantrums, especially from my husband and his colleague, Chris. Yet, I was so bloody determined, I made myself swear that I would hire a skip and if I had to wheelbarrow soil from the garden for three days myself, I would do it.

I did order the skip, and bought a wheelbarrow and spade – and Chris felt so bad that he found 3 guys to come and help me. Old soil out, skip removed, next came a huge truck delivering 3 tons of fresh soil, next to the garden wall… In your imagination press rewind and fast forward, one girl, 3 men.. soil out.. soil in… you get the idea… many little mini trips, backwards and forwards.

Then the planting started, I had to choose plants… unfortunately I can never remember the names of the plants, far too complicated but I found these long, stringy, most beautiful flowers and a lot of them in whites, purples, soft pinks.. and from there it simply unfolded. I experienced the most profound peace when I looked at it; and when I look at that garden today, the combination of green, whites, purples and more – for me it’s love, peace, hope, sophistication. There is also something incredibly free and romantic about purple lavender in the south of France; the beginning of summer, the promise of heat and light to come!  Every year I plant Lavender both English and French.

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Current, my last trip to Edinburgh, we arrived back today.

I climbed Arthur Seat this weekend in Edinburgh. A climb that I have promised myself, for four years consecutively, that I would do and each year, there was an excuse, completely invalid, no substantial basis for it, it just didn’t happen.

I remember feeling so ‘yuk’ at the end of three days of Edinburgh Fringe- copious amounts of sitting, drinking, eating and NO exercise and I promised myself NEVER AGAIN. I can only do so many hours of sitting with a lot of other people in mostly unventilated, over heated rooms (can’t stand the smell of human beings in groups In confined spaces – reminds you of walking into a bedroom without any windows.. it makes me cringe at the best of times!). Thus, I travelled to Edinburgh this time, taking full charge of my emotional/mental well-being and I communicated that I would join the group by lunch time each day, however I was going to spend mornings by myself, in nature.

It was a decision that made my trip, and to be fair, I believe that my decision had a huge positive effect on those around me too.  I was nice, I was joyful and I was not ‘stuck up, stuffy and irritable’… It also inspired them to go for a walk themselves on day two.

The most amazing scenes along the river, Valley of Dean and up Arthur’s Seat and with that fresh nature in my lungs and heart – I was geared up for proper fun and I loved the rest of the trip. The view up there is incredible, a 360 degree view, over Edinburgh, the sea and the most amazing landscapes. I loved it!

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Sinead – and where she fits into purple flowers and nature… random, but I’ll give it a go

I was a big lover of Sinead O’ Conner; one of the things I have regretted most was not shaving my head, three of my friends had the guts to do it, Yvette, Nadine and Kabous! I never did…

I started to do a drawing of Sinead, that picture of her that we all know – the bold head, in black and white. Those stunning, downcast eyes with the thick eyelashes. I am not great at portraits, however this one just came out, I did not try to get it perfect, I felt free and confident when I did it… I was working on the vast black border around her…

I feel that she was incapsulated in ‘black’… I felt that she must have felt misunderstood, struggled to articulate herself accurately and that she was angry, frustrated, revengeful and in some ways destructive. I think she must have felt suffocated.

I can and I do resonate with all of the above emotions, at one point in my life I felt very much imprisoned as I felt that I could not articulate or express myself. I was my own warden, the regimes in which I was schooled were strict and very much black and white, however I won’t blame any of that, I lacked the advocacy in myself to express what I felt, what I believed in.. I did not allow myself to give my heart, my dreams, the full girth that I truly longed for. I kept my dreams small and I played safe.

Sinead was incapsulated in black in my picture and I was then drawing a garden full of flowers surrounding her… exquisite flowers, with tentacles and deep, rich colours as I believe that that was the gift she brought to me (us), the world. I feel myself being free and fully expressive in those flowers – in that garden I feel safe, I feel as if I belong… the garden is free, yet it is sophisticated and there is some sort of a ‘norm’. The norm is harmony, things have a place and a time, not necessarily in order, merely a place and a time; ‘when the time is right’, ‘when the fruit is ripe’.

The flowers speak the truth, they don’t supress, they don’t dominate, they don’t strangle.

I was busy with her sky, it is a bright yellow/gold, not a blue (that would be far too simple for Sinead) and the top of the sky had trees, they embody dreams, continued growth…. And I was going to work some blue into the bottom of the garden, as I believe Sinead’s life has been turned-up-side-down so many times; as so often our lives are too. But perhaps that is the golden thread, things do not always make sense, until they make sense…

Current crisis  – realisation as I got home.

The sad dilemma:  I have forgotten, misplaced, lost my artbook on the train at Kings Cross. I have no idea whether I will ever see that art book again, Sinead and her garden, upside-down and so many of my other art pieces are in that book, and somehow, it’s going to find its way into the bottom of a dustbin or into someone’s hands who I hope will be inspired to create… I am sad, super sad, however I cannot dial the clock back. I took one picture and for that I am grateful.  Maybe, perhaps, later this year in the South of France, I will start again…

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Grandma, my inner leader…

I want to close my random story with: Purple, Peace, Sophistication and Love.

My grandma Rina is my Inner Leader, I knock on her door (so to speak) when I am in my deepest of sorrows, and she somehow is the only one that can take my hands. I won’t open my hand for anyone else when I find myself in that space. Instead, I am a brittle clam, and you would not be able to pry me open with the finest of instruments… Only my grandma can access me during these times (and my dear friend Linda).

I have gone through a bit of a ‘black enclosed capsule” myself over the last 2 months. Let’s find reasons, explanations; age 47, possible menopause, post-covid, 2-year delay on launching new business, horrendous political and economic circumstances, shit, dire weather, not summer what-so-ever, a polymyalgia rheumatica diagnosis resulting in a grumpy old husband, thus conflict with grumpy, old husband – and in general feeling like an irritable, ruthless cow/bitch. The number of things that irritated me… off the scale. The worst of all, the irritation of myself and the absolute agony of being trapped in my miserable self!! What reasons, how many… are any of them true, are all of them true? Or is it as simple as, at times, your life is turned upside down?

Finding joy or finding sun – take your pick. Impossible on both accounts. Sleep deprived, head non-stop catastrophic thoughts… too bloody miserable to continue to even think about it, never mind write about it. STOP.

Grandma came to visit me in my sleep. It felt 100% real, it was so vivid, I honestly felt as if she was sitting/lying next to me, I could smell her, feel her hand, and hear her voice. She held me and all she kept on telling me was how much she loved me, and she kept on telling me that it will all work out, that I will be ok. Then we changed places, and I rubbed her back… and told her how much I loved her and I told her that she was going to be ok. She then asked me to give her a little bit of space, and she asked me to hold her hand, which I did.  She died. I felt completely at peace, I folded her arms over her chest and I covered her up and I knew that It was right, it was how it was meant to be. The strangest thing, I had no sadness, I did not feel alone I felt completely at peace and at one with myself. I truly think it is the first time ever that I think of grandma where I am not stained with a bit of pain, sadness and a longing…

That was my ‘purple change’. I think that the colour purple belongs to her: Peace, Sophistication and Love.

I truly feel that I am standing at a ‘new beginning’, I feel that I, for the first time, in totality, am ready to articulate what I do and how I do it.  To make my dreams come true, to help people in the way that `I dream to help’ – I will only surround myself with sophisticated gardeners to care for and to nurture the flowers that are planted in nutritious soil. I do not wish to be called to work in gardens without the intent for enriched soil, even if it means skipping weeks/months of hard labour and costs for long-term; sustainable gain. An awakening, articulated.

When life is upside down and you feel like a monster – enter a garden, there and only there will you find peace.


Suz – Aug 23

*It just dawned on me that a garden can only exist when there is a collection of plants, free growing or installed, living in symbiosis with one another. They have to co-exist, a bit like a band, a loving family, a successful business.

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