So what’s been going on then?

So what’s been going on then?

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The blog has been quiet apart from my two little house concerts.

I’ve been getting some communication asking if we are all ok, so this is really a little catch-up post about our lives since Covid 19 arrived. I totally get if some of you are all Covided out and give this one a miss – normal service will resume soon, but I think I need to write this down to mark the time here on my blog.

I managed to play two concerts this year before it became obvious that bringing hundreds of people together was not a good idea. The Enchanted Market in Bracknell and the Pagan Phoenix South West conference in Cornwall were both wonderful events, and I’m so, so, pleased to have experienced two Pagan gatherings before the lock down came into effect. Sitting here now writing this post the memories of hugs, singing, and dancing feel like a lifetime ago.

I thought I was pretty good at not taking things for granted. I was thankful daily for my life. But in truth I never thought there could ever be a time when I couldn’t see my children and parents. That I couldn’t just get in the car and go over for a cuppa, a chat, and a hug. I honestly never thought there would be a time when I wouldn’t be able to drive the the Adur and go for a walk with Oscar by the river, or go to the Long Man of Wilmington, or walk through a bluebell-covered woodland, go for a meal at a restaurant, or just go for a pint at the local. I was thankful for all of those things but did I foresee a time when all of that was impossible? No. It’s made me even more aware how blessed and precious life and contact with the things and people we love are.

I’m aware of an underlying bubbling of fear. The surface of the water might be calm, but just underneath the currents are churning, trying to pull me in different directions. A couple of weeks ago I let those currents drag me down. For a moment I lost rational thought. I surrendered to that bubbling fear and lost control. I got angry. I took Oscar for a walk to calm down, and as I walked so the turbulence subsided and my thoughts became clear again. I’ve had asthma all my life. There were times when I was a child, before Ventolin inhalers, when I remember sitting at a window literally gasping for air. I remember not being able to stand up without getting out of breath. Because of those experiences a lack of breath is a huge trigger for me. It terrifies me. So when I see those images on the news of people on ventilators, gasping for air, I have to switch the TV off. It was those TV images and childhood memories and fear that brought that turbulence to the surface that day.

But as I walked with Oscar and my mind slowly cleared I made a decision.

Right now I have my health. Anything could happen. Do I really want these healthy days to be spend in utter anxiety and fear? NO! Right now I have my health, so I’ll spend my time making every minute, every second of my life, count. Seek out the wonder again. Celebrate the seasonal changes more deeply than I have for years. Connect with friends and family over the internet and live every moment and smile. Greet every day like it might be my last and LIVE!

So what am I doing to keep that turbulence under control?

My daily spiritual practice has returned. Some days in the past I let it go, but now it’s a habit again that connects me to the morning, the new day, and life.

I take at least 10 minutes each day to meditate. The stillness of thought that comes with regular meditation is so important to me right now. I also use the Calm app on my iPhone – and although I might not be able to physically walk out into that bluebell-covered woodland, I’ve been training in creative visualisation for decades, and that woodland lives within me. I go there every day.

I take a walk with Oscar daily to get outside. I have to say that where I live almost everyone is considerate with space. It used to be rude to cross the road to avoid people. Now it gets a “thank you” and a smile. I walk just around the housing block, or we take a walk to the local beach and walk along the sea shore.

My concert income completely dried up. That’s a little scary for a professional musician. One moment the calendar was full of gigs, the next there are none. It’s not just the income (we all still need to somehow pay the bills), I really miss the interaction with people, the voices singing along, the community, the smiles. As I was walking with Oscar that day I made another decision. I’d bring my music to anyone and do free Facebook live concerts. I’m in awe of our NHS workers, the delivery drivers, the shop workers, the bin people, everyone who is keeping things going. Maybe I could help by doing these informal concerts? I thought it was worth giving it a try. So I announced one. The next night I went live on Facebook and 1300 people were there, all over the world, watching it live, chatting to each other, singing along in their own homes. I had no idea it was possible to get that kind of atmosphere through the internet. At the end I mentioned the tradition of the house concert ‘tip jar’ – that I had one through PayPal and would be grateful for any donation received. To those that donated, thank you, thank you, it really helped. I did another house concert on Facebook a couple of weeks later. 1500 people from all over the world. Probably my biggest live audience ever. And although you were all in your homes, and I was in mine, I could feel you all like we were in one great open air festival.

Amazing.

There will be many more home concerts during this time my friends.

So right now I am well. I’m still not at all used to the sudden changes that life has thrown our way, but I also know that others are being affected much worse, so again I try to be thankful for the joys in my life.  I’m desperate to get in the car and go to the bluebell woods, but I won’t. I so want to hug my parents, my children, my friends, but I won’t. But when we can, man, I will never again take any of those things for granted.

Ever.

Wherever you are I wish you stay well and safe.

May the stillness of the waters hold you, and may the undercurrent, if you are feeling it, stay at bay.

Peace, and blessed be.

25 responses to “So what’s been going on then?”

  1. Thankyou Dave the concerts are and will be a legend. Keep well and think you will have to superman dive in to the mosh pit of us to hold you high love and hugs forever to you and Cerri Xxxxx

    • Thank you Dave the concerts, which have been amazing! Just knowing that others are singing along makes me very happy…and for that time I forget the current situalition in the world.

      Like you I miss family and cuddles with children and grand children. I have missed the family walks in nature, especially amongst the blue bells! I have spent time communicating on the internet and have had drive and walk bys be my son and daughters family. Always respecting social distancing. It keeps me going and I feel blessed and am looking forward to a time when I can have that closeness with them again.

      I do feel that we will be stronger as a result of current times.

      Stay safe and blessed be. Xxxx

  2. Thank you Dave for this and your concerts on Facebook. Being in total lockdown has allowed me time to contemplate life. The last 2 years have been challenging. It is listening to your music and others that has kept the fear at bay. I can open a window and breathe the fresh air, but long to be out among the trees and by the sea.
    Stay well and blessed be to all your family

  3. Much love to you, Cerri and Oscar, Damh. May Covid pass by quickly and may Brigid hold us all safe in her arms until then.

    • Thank you , as always fir the music ! The therapy of song and the companionship with love which those concerts generated was amazing and so very much needed .
      As we move through this strange time , it is natural to feel the maelstrom of emotion , so strong . Yet it is in this turbulence there is that calm . Deep within the centre of my being , may I find peace …. and it is there . This long dark night will pass and give way to the beautiful dawn , but in the meantime , there is time to take in the beauty of the simple things .
      Stay safe and stay well .

  4. I too am missing the walks in the woods and especially the bluebells, though I have lovely memories and photos.
    I’ve been doing a lot of environmental work with an international group, which now means video calls.
    I’ve gradually been prioritising the videos and losing touch with nature.
    This was brought home to me when on my walk the other day, stopping to listen to the birds singing in the hedges and a blackbird that popped out, except now, they didn’t fly away!
    It took me back to my childhood, when this was the usual way of things.
    Now, I’m saying ‘no’ a lot more to the video calls and ‘yes’ to nature.

    • Thank you for these words Damh, the concerts are a wonderful way to keep in touch with people around the world coming together to share something positive and loving. I feel for you and Ceri at the moment together with all who have underlying health conditions. I can imagine it is so hard. But you hit the truth by saying how focused on this life it makes us. Raise a glass to the beautiful future that is just around the corner. Love to Ceri and a hug to Oscar.

      • Thank you for letting us know you are ok. I understand that fear bubbling under the surface you spoke of. I also had to stop watching the news as it was feeding my fear because of health issues with my husband and myself. I remember also as a child desperately trying to get that precious breath deep into my lungs. I am grateful, so grateful for Facebook and messenger which enables us to see our grandchildren and children. I am grateful for the fresh air we now breathe without traffic fumes from the roads around us. I am grateful for the birdsong we can now hear and the bees that are visiting our garden in numbers I have not seen in years. I am grateful for Angus our labradoodle who joined our family last year and who enables me to face my fear and go outside for walks. I am grateful for talented people like you who have shared their music online and have brought people together in community. Stay safe Dave. Love and blessings to you and your family..we hope to see you perform in Bracknell again next year if not before

  5. Thank you for your honest sharing, Dave. Things are so strange, and – whatever happens – this is going to echo for years. I feel as though I am driving a car with unreliable steering – emotions are mostly in check, but I am conscious of that undercurrent of fear and uncertainty. I am lucky that I can walk my dog in fields and woods, and I am holding on so tightly to that connection with nature. Your house concerts give such a sense of connection and community – I can’t express how much they mean to us. Much love, and thank you. x

  6. Thank you lovely soul – this all makes so much sense, and I really indentify with that asthma thing too – thank you for your honesty and your really wonderful house concerts, you are part of what is keeping me alfoat in my own little boat 🙂 <3

  7. Beautiful and poignant post. I am a health care worker here in Canada and its head shakingly unbelievably sad. I missed your first concert, could not check in with the second due to time zones but did manage to connect with it on You Tube the next morning. I cried (happy tears) my way through it, it brought me such joy. So, I raise my glass to you and all fellow humans. May we be well. Looking forward to the next house concert. Until then, keep well and bye for now. x

  8. Thank you so much for the sharing of your story and fears. It’s ok to admit your fears, and then pick yourself up, dust yourself off and have a smashing concert, which I for one, am very grateful that I have now been on the front row seat of TWO! I look forward to many more. It is a blessing to be able to share so much happiness with fellow pagans from literally around the world. Many thanks for your stories, songs, and love that you share so freely. Brightest blessings to you and yours my friend.
    May you all stay safe, and remain well.

  9. Hello Dave
    Every day I have taught myself to worry less about dying alone in a hospital bed and more about living in the moment. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or next week but I do know that at this moment I am well , I have people out there who love me and I have achieved many things in my life that others have not had the good fortune to do. I also know that if I die I have everything covered including a niche in the burrow in All Cannings for my ashes to rest. So for now I am thankful to the goddess and her gifts ( one of which is definitely you and your music)

  10. Thank you for this honest and heartfelt post. It’s timing is perfect. Your concert was also perfect timing and made such a difference to uplift me. I’m a front line worker in the NHS and these are not easy days. Thank you for acknowledging us. You have no idea how much this helps and how humbling it is to hear. You will get through this also both healthwise and financially. The pagan community won’t let you down and you will be roaming those woods for many a year. Thank you for all you are doing. Bright Blessings x

  11. Thank you for your beautiful and meaningful words.
    Bernie my wife and myself enjoyed both your tv concerts but cant wait to see you live again.
    We are fortunate to have beautiful local walks near us here in wales and noticed how much louder the birds seem to be and how the local wildlife is a lot more brave around us like the old days and makes us appreciate them more as life goes on.
    Blessed be to you and all your family.
    Keep safe.

  12. Thank you so much for this post- sadly can’t see your live shows as I only do Instagram. But I’ve just ordered your first two Mabinogion CDs and both your songbooks. Been putting that off for a while, but Hey, why wait!?? Carpe Diem. As a fellow asthmatic I share your feelings about breath.. And it can overwhelm even the calmest of us at times like these. . Entering the OBOD Ovate Grove coincided exactly with the start of Coronavirus…. and my Druid practice helps sustain me through these challenging times. I try to post reflective, and meditative images on Instagram: @annevansstarsndstone if you’d like some diversion when feeling low. We are all having those times. Love your music- many blessings

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this and your inspired music with this community! My dream is to see you live one day, when we can fill a physical space with our voices, together. Until that day, I’m working to appreciate every day in between. Thank the goddess we have our dogs to encourage a walk in what is now cleaner air for most of us. May you continue to breathe easy.

    Peace and Blessed Be
    Justis

  14. I am lucky in that my life has not changed day to day, I work in mental health and spend a lot of my time giving support and reassurance.
    I miss time spent with family, the big family roast and hugs. WhatsApp is how I can still see and speak to them but it’s not the same.
    I am learning to not take things for granted and am grateful for what I have, I am blessed.
    I love seeing you at festivals and it’s a shame we can’t for some time but your house concerts are brilliant, it’s great that we can still sing along and see the audience even if it is virtually. Thank you Dave for your time and kind thoughts xx

  15. beautiful blog! may you keep peace in your heart every day! may we all come to realize the things you have. and may you continue on with your concerts. they are so uplifting! it is such a privilege to see you play live even if it is on the computer! it is probably the only way i will ever have of seeing that joy in your face as you light us all up with hope and laughter and love and song!! bless your heart!! nothing but love for you, man!! 🙂

  16. Thank you for sharing your fears and how you cope Dave it’s really helpful knowing others can feel the same. I’ve loved both concerts even though time constrictions meant seeing them afterwards. Wonderful uplifting events. Last time I saw you live was pagancon Preston . I was the strange woman who gave you the large wood earth Goddess that your music inspired me to create.

  17. Maybe we can learn from the dogs, and make a better job of living in the Now.
    I do what DWP is pleased to call “therapeutic work” as a home dog-boarder, and I am missing my canine guests like crazy; so I totally get your missing the woodland walks, and the Long Man of Wilmington.
    But I keep telling myself each day is one day closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.
    Please give beautiful Oscar a hug for me.

  18. Thank You Damh for your words of encouragement. As a child and some of my adulthood I have had Asthma also. My fear of not being able to breath has been with me through my life. That being said I am healthy and have much gratitude! We will get through this because we have each other. Looking forward, as you are, to hug my Kids, Grand kids, Parents and dear friends. Sending Love and Blessings from Washington State USA>

  19. Thank you Damh. Even though I can listen to your music and Mabingon anytime you are right the atmosphere even in the recording listened to later is so different. You energy and love for life comes through stongly. It’s so hard to believe the Adelaide get together was only just on a year ago, I recall the energy and hugs at the end of the nine herbs charm. Thank you for supporting the wider Druid community at this time – I await Mabingon 3. Speaking of Adelaide your story telling was fabulous, so have you considered recording some myths/tales – I do hear you on CMP.

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