Guid­ing light

Au­thor Alice Tay­lor to launch new spir­i­tual book.

Irish Examiner - County - - Front page - Áilín Quin­lan

Learn­ing to ap­pre­ci­ate the golden mo­ments gifted to each of us by life, na­ture — or each other — is the topic of best­selling au­thor Alice Tay­lor’s new book, to be launched in In­nis­han­non on Fri­day.

In a move away from her tra­di­tional style, which is deeply rooted in the phys­i­cal land­scape, com­mu­nity and West Cork tra­di­tions which sur­round her, And Life Lights

Up, the lat­est of­fer­ing and her 25th book, takes a more spir­i­tual tone and is a mix­ture of po­etry and prose.

The beau­ti­fully pre­sented hard­back vol­ume, whose jacket fea­tures a blaz­ing sun­flower which grew from a seed planted by her grand-daugh­ter El­lie Ang­land, will be of­fi­cially launched by singer Linda Kenny at the lo­cal Par­ish Hall on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 12 next, at 7.30pm.

“This book is about ap­pre­ci­at­ing the now, and liv­ing in the now,” ex­plained Ms Tay­lor, who added that the book is di­vided into sev­eral sec­tions - Aware­ness, Roots, Spe­cial Mem­o­ries in the Gar­den, Small Kind­nesses and Then and Now.

“It’s about the bless­ings that are be­stowed on us along the way,” she said, ob­serv­ing that the book’s roots stretched back to a very spe­cial golden mo­ment dur­ing her child­hood:

“When I was about eight, I was up mind­ing the bonabhs (piglets).

“I wanted to see what night was like. Our house was full of peo­ple and ac­tiv­ity and an­i­mals and I wanted to see what it would be like in quiet­ness when noth­ing was hap­pen­ing.” She was de­ter­mined to stay up, she re­calls, but fell asleep and woke in the very early morn­ing.

“I went out and opened the door as the sun was ris­ing, and the dawn cho­rus was start­ing. I thought it was so beau­ti­ful.

“Look­ing back there are spe­cial mo­ments gifted to us and it is so im­por­tant to be there for them,” she says, adding that an­other of those mo­ments hap­pened a year or two later.

On hol­i­day in Bally­bunion, she was sit­ting on a church wall wait­ing for her mother, who was at a recita­tion of the rosary in­side.

“I was look­ing at the field and sud­denly I saw this beau­ti­ful red poppy! I never for­got that poppy and many years later I wrote a poem about it.

“The book is es­sen­tially about our golden mo­ments that are ‘gifted’ to us,” she ex­plains, adding that it is a loss to us if we fail to be ‘present’ at the mo­ment the ‘gift’ ar­rives.

“Deep within each one of us is a vein of sa­cred still­ness hold­ing the seeds of our aware­ness.

“On spe­cial oc­ca­sions, a ray of light beams into this vein and these seeds spring to life ig­nit­ing dor­mant threads of our be­ing.

“Our in­ner world lights up and dances in tune with all that sur­rounds us. We glory in the won­der of be­ing alive. Such mo­ments are golden. Rare orchids scat­tered along the wood­land of our lives.

It is for these mo­ments that we scale moun­tain tops, pen­e­trate the depths, pit our­selves against the might of man and na­ture!

“Some­times na­ture can lay golden mo­ments out in front of us on a pal­ette of breath-tak­ing beauty,” she ob­serves.

“On a re­mote moun­tainy road, you may drive slowly around a curv­ing bend. And there it is an un­be­liev­ably beau­ti­ful hid­den val­ley. Na­ture holds the key to open our win­dows into won­der.

“Amaz­ing mo­ments can also be gifted to us by our fel­low hu­mans. We see it in a beau­ti­ful bal­let when the bal­le­rina be­comes a bird in flight. We read it in a soul-stir­ring poem. Words writ­ten long ago al­low us to see the world through the eyes of the poet. We see it in an ex­quis­ite paint­ing. On the can­vas, you and the artist are one. “When we are gifted with these rare mo­ments a ray of ra­di­ance en­com­passes us. It lifts us up and we ex­pe­ri­ence an in­ter­lude that in­fuses us with de­light and a pos­i­tive be­lief in the great­ness of our fel­low hu­man be­ings.” While we wish that these mo­ments could last for­ever, she said, if we mind­fully ab­sorb them as they hap­pen, we can en­cap­su­late them into the depths of our sub­con­scious, where they “mould” them­selves into the fab­ric of our be­ing and carry us over the stum­bling blocks that may be up ahead.

“These mo­ments en­rich our lives but can so eas­ily be lost if we are too busy look­ing in an­other direc­tion. They can then drift by un­ap­pre­ci­ated and un­no­ticed.

“And af­ter­wards we can never again re­cap­ture them. So it is good to be mind­ful of our golden mo­ments. To be aware, to ob­serve, and savour them. And ab­sorb the joy of now.

And Life Lights Up by Alice ■ Tay­lor is pub­lished by the O’Brien Press. €20 -

Pic­ture: Ir­ish Ex­am­iner

Au­thor Alice Tay­lor whose new book is be­ing launched in In­nis­han­non on Fri­day.

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