I consider myself extremely fortunate to live in a peaceful and beautiful part of the country, close to Lough Derg on the River Shannon in Tipperary, Ireland. I grew up here, and as a family we have been connected to this place and farm for many generations. This connection is brought to focus on many occasions but one significant event occurred last year when my son decided to investigate family history as part of a primary school project. When we stood in front of his Great Great Grandfathers grave in the village I was struck by the fact that this man had been born in the aftermath of the Great Famine and would have grown up with stories of loss, death, emigration and destitution as normal discourse. Yet he managed to continue with his life, he farmed, married and reared a family and they got through hard times with few comforts, I can imagine.
As I sit here I am conscious of the fact that he and his family inhabited the same land we own here, walked the same lanes, viewed the same fields. We share the same DNA and my footsteps must often fall where he walked. Connection.
In recent years this country has been hit by recession and our community and nation has seen emigration, financial loss and hardship and for some people the threat of eviction from their homes has become a daily thought. As a coach I have worked with many people who have rebuilt their lives, created new dreams and new beginnings as they realised that in order to grow, they could change, reinvent and build resilience.
When I trained as a coach one of the intentions that I held at that time was to look at how I could integrate my coaching skills and possibilities with my rural holiday cottages located on the land here. Incidentally some of these cottages are restored farm buildings that existed before 1860. Connection and continuity.
This intention crystallised in a concrete manner over the last 18 months as I began to offer coaching retreats to clients who wished to take a few days away and use the time to explore career, work or personal issues and plans whilst staying in one of our cottages. This has become one part of my coaching identity and one recent client spoke of ‘my coaching farm’. New ways of using old resources perhaps!
During 2014 we also decided to rebrand our holiday cottage experience and my wife Inez and I went back to our core values in terms of what we offered and reenergised around the simple, authentic country experiences we can offer. Our garden, free range hens, lane walks, woodland meditation space, play area for children are part of what we offer guests at our ‘authentic rural experience’. A central part of our rebranding was finding a designer and artist who could capture what we have. We found our perfect match in Hannah whose Grandmother, my aunt, grew up here a generation ago. Hannah sensed the energy, passion and history here and Fuchsia Lane Farm was reborn. Connection and continuity again.
The integrating of my coaching and cottages was acknowledged and validated by the winning of the Health and Wellness category in the ICF Ireland Coaching Awards in December last. The feedback from clients who spoke about experiencing coaching here and being part of nature as being a ‘transformational’ experience was wonderful to hear and it really completed my learning journey as a professional coach.
2015 will bring changes and challenges, how we react to these will depend on our viewpoint and perspective. I am grateful that my ancestors survived and remained here, we can’t predict the future and all we can do is focus on what we can do today. Lets begin with gratitude and look for possibilities. Thank you to all of your for your support and interest in what we do here, without friends, we are alone.