Wednesday 27 May 2015

Portugal Take 2: Time out

It all started with an idea to get away, to take time to help others, to gift my time to something other than myself and my everyday circumstances. A little over three weeks ago, I was supposed to be volunteering on a community farm outside Lahinch. I had been dreaming about the pleasure of having nothing else to think about except working my hands through the soil, tending to seedlings, turning compost, cooking pot dinners and surfing in the evening. Such planning, it seems, was something the universe laughed at. Hard. 

The car company was a disaster, there was a two day bus strike and then I checked the weather forecast. Three N.O.'s. Sometimes the universe is just trying to tell you that you're walking down the wrong road. I know for a fact that I would have had an immeasurably fantastic time working on the farm but not this time round. All I could think about for months previously was how good it was going to be getting out of the city and trampling through mud rather than on concrete paths and tarmacadam. When it all fell through, I felt helpless, like time was escaping every inch of the small, withering grasp I thought I had on it. When I finally calmed down and weighed up my options, I realized just how exhausted I was and how futile it was to try and make it down west. In the strangest of circumstances, it was easier and cheaper to go to Portugal for a week. So I did. I booked my flights and ventured off.

Even though it was only three weeks ago, I had forgotten all about my photographs and my experiences of my trip until I met the wonderful Éadaoin for tea on Monday. There were these beautifully simplistic prints on the wall of the cafe with block texts of background information on them. One related to time.

"Time is your friend and your foe. Your healer and your killer. Your future and your past, from your first memory to your last. Is it any wonder that the four faced liar has a bare faced cheek? You may not agree with the stories she tells or the tone of her voice, but remember;... she has all the time in the world for you."

Time has always been a topic of discussion on my blog and myself and Éadaoin discuss its meaning and relevance in our lives in relation to ourselves, our work, our creativity and our outlook on life, all the time. I adore those conversations. We talked about the certain feeling of not having enough time, running out of time, pushing against it, squeezing sustenance out of it, overcoming its constraints on some occasions, bashing against it on others and sometimes giving up and relinquishing all semblance of control. We talked about how our minds raced at the endless bucket lists we had compiled for our creativity to show itself and then, laughing at ourselves, realized how much we think we need to get our entire life's creative work completed to the highest level in the next few years. 

Portugal was about surrendering to time. I realized that instead of doing things, helping others and racing around doing, that I needed a break and that if I was willing to admit to that, act on it and let go, time would become my best friend. In seven days I read four books. I had a nap everyday. I went to bed at eleven each night. I ate right. I rested. I didn't rush anywhere. I didn't engage in conversations unless I had the energy and the desire to do that. I swam and wrote and read and slept and it was fantastic. I had the same twenty four hours and the same responsibilities were waiting for me once I got back to Ireland but time was my friend, my healer, my past, present and future, all rolled into one. 

Some people thrive on busyness. Others need absolute rest and little mental stimulation. Portugal Take Two made me realize what my needs were. I took the time to get to know myself and how to rest. Here's hoping that knowledge will serve me well. I often get asked how I get the time to write this blog, why I do it, where the energy comes from. Really, it all comes down to how I want to spend my time. This post, I wanted to share some photos with you of markets, old buildings, lane ways and elderly farmers. I hope that it will inspire you to write, read, photograph or even take time from your busy life to peruse through some photographs that might make you curious or smile or simply take your mind off things. I hope you realize that I, Éadaoin and everyone else I know struggles with the same and that, once you listen to what you really need, time can be your friend too.


  1. Time is our friend! Love it Grace, nail on head, completely.

    1. aha!!! You got the comment thing to work! Thank you for commenting. Time really IS our friend! Thanks for the love awesome lady! X

  2. Beautiful! Both pictures and words ♡♡

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! Delighted you loved the words and photos. I'm thinking of having an exhibition later in the year. What do you think?