Skyros, Greece

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Friday, 1 July 2011

Skyros: Far away from the madness we call life. By Sarah McIntosh

There is a place, far away from the madness you call your life, where you are given permission to play, to be creative, to be free. It is called Skyros and to me it will always mean release...

I live in the north ea
st of Scotland, a place of immense beauty but a place that challenges me with cold and intense light. For someone who was born and brought up in the gentle climes of South Wales, I find it tough at times. So tough that last year I had to take a holiday, from my children, my husband, my house.

Skyros was a name I had known from my London days, years ago, but popped back into my head just when I needed it. I booked. People asked where I was going for my holiday. “Alone?” they said, but I knew I would not be alone. Skyros is not a place for alone.

I arrived with no expectations and was surprised with the choices I made. I did not do yoga, but completed my solitary yoga salutations before the eight oʼclock class each morning. I took a course in sailing. Sailing? Me? But it was girl power with sails thanks to Shaz. I did Sound Therapy with Suzie and was party to the most amazing transformations of emotion whilst experiencing something that had only ever happened to me before in a floatation tank. To be sung to operatically without the distance of stage to audience is a truly incredible thing. For the eight oʼclock class, I chose Morning Pages with Mandy. The simplest things have the most profound effect. Mandy gave us permission to write. Just like that. After quite a few years of pro
crastination I was off, because Mandy sat in front of me and told me to do it. Each morning writing four or five pages of thought and feeling. On day four I wrote the beginnings of a short story. Just a sketch, but enough to now work on. It gave me the confidence to start the Creative Writing Masters I am now halfway through. Just because someone who didnʼt know me as a wife or a mother sat there and said “Now write...”

Back at the ranch, of course I donʼt do yoga every morning, though I always feel better for doing it when I can. I donʼt write every day, though when I do,the flow is confident. What changed on Skyros is that I did things that I didnʼt know I could do, I met people I wouldnʼt normally meet and I had the space to think my thoughts, not those for the benefit of other people. It was because of that that I was happy to return to this tough life in the far north, to the people I love, knowing that there are now more people I love and appreciate.

All because of that week on a small Greek island.

Thank You. x

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