Finally today I begun my chemotherapy it has been a long time in the waiting, many hurdles none of my own making however the day has been and gone the first two pills taken. I have not been one for medicines as previously mentioned but I just have to believe this will make a difference. I had been coping with my illness rather well and had been accepting and adapting along with it, even in times of needing to use a wheelchair. Lately however it has been a different story. I learned I had a small window before progressing into a Secondary Progressive diagnosis. It seems my immune system has been attacking me a little harder than initially anticipated. Adaptions have had to be made and considered so this chemo treatment has been very important in the coming. It is the best treatment to date which should (all going well) halt any progression for at least four years and by that time there will be other more advanced stem cell therapy treatments available. It’s also quite a commitment to make, not only is the medication very targeted in shutting down my auto-immune T & B cells it’s is also altering my DNA repair structure and I’m committing 18 months of my life to alteration and healing. It’s no big deal really it’s just 18 months and soon enough I should be able to travel which I very much look forward to, it just holds off other potentials.

This evening I just took a moment and swallowed both pills with the intention of them being a positive influence towards any future possibilities.

The delay has been quite harrowing and chemo at this time of year isn’t quite what I had imagined being the best of scenarios in terms of bugs and infection but I hope for the best and accept whatever arises.

We have entered winter, I love this season as much as I love summer. In fact for the very first time ever I have deeply appreciated autumn, it’s colour and it’s gifts. The falling of the leaves and the sense of healthy change. The benefits of the delay mean I have been able to get myself around a bit more and travel and visit places of interest, more time with my camera which in itself is a very healing thing. I’ve begun focusing more closely on this art project as many of you will have seen and have a few works quietly going on in the background. Also have a collaboration of work (eventually) with another artist and I am looking at putting together an opportunity for gathering and talking about life. I am also currently looking for the right place for the first exhibition of a series. These exhibitions will involve live installations and will very much invite the visitor to become immersed in an experience, hopefully evoking emotion and reflection.

I have much enjoyed the opportunity to get about and meet strangers, making lovely connections, listening to their astonishing and profound life stories. Getting to know people around me better and hearing about their lives too, how each of them have made meaning from their circumstances. Learning that nothing is so black and white and there are many endless ways to perceive, feel and react or respond to a given situation. It has been a privilege to listen and an opportunity to grow personally.

As previously mentioned with time I will begin public invitations for people to take part. There will be varying opportunities for this to happen, online video submissions, surveys, Skype/alternative and face to face interviews being a few to name. I am very much looking forward to this.

Within the Community Art Studio some people are sharing their stories and I am deeply moved to hear them, people make sense of things and make choices about this in so many different ways. Our very humanity is a work of art all on its own. Our beingness in the company of others is enough to influence, a shift, big or small, good or bad, helpful or unhelpful whatever the outcome our very existence affects others and also our environment.

I have felt deeply touched by life of late, I have felt inspired by so many others and in turn I have had some very beautiful things spoken to me. I’m moved and honoured and grateful for all of it.

We touch people mostly without touching them: We touch them with our words, with our smile, with our eyes, with our courage, with our madness, with millions of different ways! What are we? We are contacting beings without contacting!

~ Mehmet Murat ildan
Touched ©️
I have started a board on Pinterest where I am collecting many different ways that reflects how people feel and consider their lives. The following are some of the ones that stick out most for me with regard to my heart opening and personal sense making from within this work:
And mostly from all I have discussed within this blog and from my experience so far exploring this work the following is the most significant:

Lewis, Harris, the open road and I

Travel around the islands was a challenge so in day two I hired a car and the choice offered vast opportunity.  The views along each road were breathtaking! The journey between Lewis & Harris had me driving high up in some very large hills and the were hills rolling for miles.
I managed to spend time on most beautiful white & turquoise beaches around the islands, helping to find space within my soul.  I traveled from the top of Lewis to the bottom of Harris. Due to a lot of strong wind there are very few trees so the landscape is clear and you can see far plenty of places to stop and take it all in.

The waves were incredible, I spent some time watching surfers as they set to it.  

Found some amazing and quite isolated beaches lesser known. 

Should any of you wish to travel here then I definitely recommend a car.  There is so much to see.  In Bernera, a small island off the west coast of Lewis near Uig, archeoligists in the 90’s discovered an Iron Age settlement from around 600/800AD on Bosta beach. They found five houses and have made a reconstruction for all to visit.  I came out smelling of the smoke from the Peat fire.

Visited the Callanish standing stones which were placed there in the late Neolithic era, and were a focus for ritual activity during the Bronze Age. Quite an amazing sight, had hoped to stay for sunset but it was too windy.

The islands have been a great place to be.