Wild Self Stories - Laura Ireland - Part Two

Wild Self Stories - Laura Ireland - Part Two

Welcome to part two of my interview with the wonderful Laura Ireland. In this second half, Laura shares her vision for the Sacred Sister community and imparts her wisdom on the simple yet sometimes uncomfortable journey of maintaining a connection with your inner self. Additionally, she delves into her deep connection to owls and offers a beautiful and profound method for gaining insights from books without necessarily reading them cover to cover.


My next question is about how your spirituality, your practices and your rituals, how they fit into family life. It's so lovely that you have the list on the fridge. So your children can go there and even your partner can go there and ask, what can I do right now? But how do they deal with your practices and your rituals? Are they respectful of those? I assume they are. But how does that fit with your family time?

I'm really lucky in terms of the fact that I grew my kids up with me. So their dad left when they were very young and sadly died when they were five and ten. So for a long time there was no one else in their life other than me. So they've grown up around that.

They know if they fall over, they need arnica, they can't sleep, they reach for the lavender. They’ve been brought up around the kind of woo woo world, as my mum would call it.

So where my family are concerned, do they get behind me? You know, I've got dreadlocks. My son, he went to a Steiner school and asked, are we hippies, mum? I don't want to be a hippie. I was like, no, dude, you can just be whoever you are. And that is one of the things I struggle with the most with kids at the moment is that there's this pressure for them to label themselves in some way, whatever it is, whether it's their gender or that how they show up in the world or their pronouns.

I will accept and acknowledge them however they are. And that means I think they feel the same way. They can accept and acknowledge me however I am. So in our home we've created a vibe where it's just OK to be you. And that means they deal with my stuff.

One of the big drives for me at the moment is to create Circle in every community, to not make that something that weird hippies go and do. Can you invite your friends around for a pizza on a Friday night and just sit together and consciously create a safe space where anyone can share whatever they need to without it feeling weird. Even with our friends, we want to fix it for them, we want to make it okay, especially as women..

We're fixers and healers and we want to nurture everybody, and actually most of us, we just offload it so that it's not in our nervous systems anymore. So, a really big drive for me is how can we bring that back to community?

So, in terms of bringing these communities together, bringing the circles, how do you deal with the fact that some people just go, oh, it's just woo, as you mentioned. What is your sort of answer to that?

Invariably, I leave people where they are like in their own time, and if I could wave a magic wand and change the whole world's reality on that right now, I would, because actually I've seen the difference it makes. But for most of us, especially amongst women, right, we have deep trauma in the sisterhood. We don't trust each other, we've been pitted against each other. I use my own example quite a lot.

I was 23 when I got married the first time, I was married for a year and a half to a police officer and he was very violent. I'd moved from Portsmouth to Scotland and I didn't know anybody. I had this guy who was beating me up on a daily basis and telling me that no one would believe me because he was a police officer. Then I found out about his affair and my first instinct was to go after the other woman.

My first instinct was: Who is she? Of course, it's nothing to do with her. She had no idea that I even existed - he's the one in the middle here - but my instinct as a woman was to go after the other woman, because we are pitted against each other, competing against each other, and that's how it's been for eons.

For me, the first hurdle for most people is just getting over, what would it be to just go and trust enough to sit in this space? I stay away from the conversations around safe space. What we're aiming to do is create safer spaces, because what feels safe to me might not feel safe to you. So we're aiming towards working... to what we're doing in that space.

I've got hundreds and thousands of women's stories from coming to our gatherings and coming to community and suddenly going, wow, this is amazing. And my life is transformed. I never thought I'd be able to be in this space with women. I say women, because that's predominantly my work now. I never thought it would be.

I didn't have great relationships with women. I thought there's absolutely no way in this world that I'm ever going to want to work with women. That's not my bag. That's not my thing, because my own experience with women haven't been good when I was younger. I wasn't the cool kid and didn't fit in with the geeky kids and I didn't fit in with the cool girls. I just didn't have a place in the world. So I just carved my own little niche and spent a lot of time on my own and did my own thing.

I told my Mum about how I felt really lonely as a kid and she was like, wow, I thought you were really popular and you were always out and you were always with your friends and you were always connected and you were always talking to someone. And I told her, no, I was really lonely mum. And that's the thing. Do we really know how what's going on for each other if we don't dare open the door and speak to each other?

Yeah, it's a lot about vulnerability, isn't it? Able to say what's really going on and not putting on that stiff upper lip. Everything's OK. It's all fine. And I think people do generally get quite scared about being that vulnerable, particularly in front of others.

Yeah, absolutely. We don't want to take up someone else's space. Someone else is busy and I want to tell them but I'll just be a burden to them. We hold it in because we don't want to be a burden. So that’s the real pandemic, I think it's more of the pandemic than the pandemic was.

The pandemic reality of loneliness and not talking to each other. We live in these square boxes that we call home and someone else lives in a square box next to you outside and yet you don't talk to each other even then. You're probably all of you lonely and watching the telly every night rather than interacting with each other.

It's a very difficult concept to contemplate, isn't it? When I'm listening to your story, it seems that it's so much about connection for you.  In terms of advice that you would give to other women, I say other women who are exploring or seeking to deepen their own spiritual practices, what advice would you give to them to maintain a connection to their inner self?

Yeah, Stop doing. That's it. Just stop doing. We are literally on a treadmill of doing and the minute you stop doing and you start being and you start to connect with yourself. We're programmed into this working reality. You get up in the morning and from the minute you get up, you start doing. You do by grabbing your phone, having to have a shower, by having to have breakfast at a certain time because, there was a breakfast company in the 50s that decided that, cereal and breakfast was a thing. We are designed by time. I've got to be here at a certain time. I feel very fortunate that that's not my life.

So, when I say stop, I really mean that, like the quickest way to deepen your spiritual practice is to stop doing and just to be.

So I think the fastest way to come back to yourself and spirituality is to, if needs be, to set an alarm on your phone every hour, just to breathe for a minute.

And there's no special breath, you know, magical breath. Thank God our body knows how to keep us alive without us having to do anything. Otherwise we'd all be a mess.

But, stopping long enough to consciously go, okay, where does my breath enter my body? Through my nose or through my mouth? Where does it leave? And that's enough. I used to run some courses that were called, if you could breathe, you can meditate.

You know, it's not a big deal. It's just breathing. I think it's so important to really just come back to yourself. Ask what do I need right now? And that can sometimes be enough to reset your whole day.

So I've got one final question for you. It's very open. What inspires you?

Oh, that's a beautiful question. What inspires me is usually whatever my passion is of the moment. What am I doing?

Where am I, you know, where am I coming from? But I think what inspires me most is seeing the change happening around me. When I begin to watch these women in circle and I begin to see them relax into a space with each other. Those things inspire me to carry on going. I've got this crowdfund running right now and the amount of people that want to give me their advice on how it's not gonna work.

And you know, for every one of those, there's another three women saying to me, keep going because we know what magic this will bring. And so that inspires me, just those reminders of what it is to watch women, howl at the moon, cry together, connect together. And to know that that will bring about change.

My biggest inspiration is, when I sit with myself and I really come back to that place of love within myself, that inspires me to keep going and to keep sharing that with others.

Thank you so much. It’s been very inspiring listening to you talk. Very inspiring indeed.

Is there was a specific book or teaching that you've read that you would recommend to other women to build that connection to themselves?

Yeah, there's so many. And I'm not a big reader, to be fair.

I find that my biggest inspirations for books come from just allowing a book to show itself to you and just opening a page and seeing what message comes from that page. I feel more connected to that than I do to this reality of sitting and reading a book.

One of the morning practices that I created for myself and for the community is something called Evolve. So you wake up in the morning and the first part of Evolve is to just connect back with yourself in silence. The second part is the V is for visualisation. So you spend some time visualising how you want your day to be, how you want your week to be, how you want your month to be. And then you affirm your vision.

So you affirm your visualisation with an affirmation that really anchors you into your day and into your connection.

And then you journal. So a free flow of five minutes of getting everything out of your head that's still moving in you.

And then you move your body. Because emotion is energy, by moving your body, you're moving that through. So again, how can you exercise your body without exercising, because most of us don't want to get up and go for a run or exercise, but actually, it's just moving our bodies to get you through.

Finally you read something really inspirational, 15 minutes a day, and it kind of sets you up for the day. So that was the only way really I got back into reading books, because if I read 15 minutes a day in a month, I've read a book. I don't have to sit there for hours and read the book.

It's just that thing of like doing everything in small chunks, isn't it? Small steps. It will get you there in the end. Practice takes practice.

Can you tell me a little bit about the owl behind you on the drum? Is it, has it got any significance for you?

So these are the drums made by a friend of mine called Magdalena and she hand makes drums. She's like the most amazing creative and artist.

Every time she had put a drum up on social media, I was like, wow, give me a drum.

The first was a dragonfly and dragonflies are a spirit animal for me. So I was like, okay, I'm going to get the dragonfly, to the point where I kept saying to my husband, Christmas is coming, you know, nudge, nudge.

The second was a lion. I was like, that’s me, I roar. And then the following day, she shared a third, the owl drum! I am very, very lucky that I fall asleep to the sound of owls nearly every single night.

Also I recognised that actually my lion wisdom was my roar, that I'd like take on the world. And I'm past that place now and that's probably menopause. I'm moving into that place of being wiser and sharing from that wisdom rather than shouting from the rooftops. It's a deeper, inner knowing. So I messaged Magdalena in the morning and I went, I think I really want the owl drum.


I sincerely hope you found this interview both inspiring and empowering, and that you've gained valuable insights to incorporate into your daily life. I certainly plan to do so myself. A heartfelt thank you to Laura for her time and energy in sharing this invaluable gift of wisdom and love with us. 

If you'd like to learn more about the Sacred Sister community please visit www.sacred-sister.com or follow Laura on Instagram @sacredsistercommunity, @rev_laura_ireland 

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