This is the twelfth in our series of interviews to deepen the connections between all of us who love the sea and Sea Soul Blessings. And today, we’re interviewing Angela Driscoll.
Angela talks about finding the joy in absolutely everything (even missing the bus), and about learning to appreciate the beauty of winter. She explains why we don’t actually need lots of stuff – or need to clean our houses as often as we think…!
Tell us a little bit about you:
I’m Angela Driscoll, I’m 58, I live in Penzance, and I have three amazing children.
I’ve lived in Cornwall for 20 years, and can’t envisage a day when I wouldn’t live here – because I love it here, the people are all so friendly, so helpful and kind, and I love having the ocean all around me.
What does nature, and the sea in particular, mean to you?
“The ocean reminds me that I’m connected to everybody in the world. It might sound a bit of a weird idea, but when I put my foot in the ocean here, I think those little molecules around my foot could have been touched by somebody in Mauritius when they put their feet in the sea.”
Also, our bodies are supposed to be 85% water – which is why I think so many people are attracted to the sea.
I love nature. I love seeing the different seasons and the beauty in everything.
I didn’t used to enjoy winter – I used to think that everything was just dead and grey, but I’ve learnt to see a different kind of beauty in the winter.
…Like the seed pods, that I now leave in my garden because the birds love them. They now look really beautiful to me.
And I’ve recently discovered that blueberry bushes, at this time of year, have the most amazing coloured leaves – fabulous reds and oranges, yellows – they’re really awesome.
How do you feel on a good day?
On a good day, I feel full of energy. I feel full of joy – I can look at everything and go “oh that’s wonderful!”. Even if something happens that could be perceived as awful.
Like you miss your bus – on a good day, I’d just think “oh that’s fine because it means I can stand here a bit longer, I get to do lots of people-watching”.
I was waiting for the bus outside Argos in Truro last week after doing jury service, and I noticed that there were these coloured flags opposite. I stood there totally lost in the joy of their fluttering, in the noise and movement of them.
I was probably the only mad person watching them and thinking that, but on a good day that’s how it is, I can see joy in everything – I’m really lucky actually. That’s the beauty of getting older isn’t it.
How do you feel on a bad day?
On a bad day, I seek to be lifted. To not wallow, or let the bad feeling sit with me all day.
“You know it’s there – and its fine, it’s a part of who you are – but all the same, you decide that today you’re going to focus on something else, because you know that’s what you need to get you through it without feeling heavy and being overcome.”
So on a bad day, I seek out people who will understand – instead of going “Oh that’s terrible”, I know that they will do for me what I do for them when I’m having a good day, they’ll remind me “Don’t look at it like that, look at it like this.”
Who or what is inspiring or influencing you right now?
Leif Olsen, my yoga teacher – she’s made a huge difference in my life – and not just from the yoga, but from being who she is.
You look at Leif and you think, “well, she does yoga, so she knows everything about everything,” but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have all the same struggles we have.
And she’s quite happy to share that with us, to share her emotions – and so we know that she’s human as well.
Thank goodness she’s normal. Knowing that, I can feel like I’m OK, that I’m doing the best I can do too.
Because if someone like Leif who knows all those things is having the same kind of feelings as me, then I’m both doing alright, we’re both getting there.
What do you worry about on a typical day?
I’d like to say I worry about the environment and politics, but I don’t – I refuse to worry about it, I block that out. I worry about my children’s happiness. I think that, because they’re young, they sometimes focus on things that I now know aren’t really that important – because I’m older.
Where do you find joy?
In nature. Today, I deliberately drove along the seafront because then I could see the ocean.
I find joy in any sort of nature really – in my back garden, in the plants, leaves – I love leaves.
And arts and crafts – making things from natural products – wood, paper.
What do you love to do, read, watch or listen to?
I love reading, and I’m happy to read just about anything, because I think every book will have something for me, so I don’t stick to a particular genre. I do particularly love reading about history though.
“I love to watch the ocean videos on Sea Soul Blessings! I think “I’m just going to watch the ocean for a minute or two” and deliberately go on there – I love listening to the sound as well.”
I’m not really a music person, I don’t listen to a lot of music, although I do enjoy it.
I love making stuff out of the things that other people throw away.
I’ve recently got more into making things just because they’re lovely, but generally I like to make something that’s useful.
What makes you cross?
Mostly, it’s me.
I get cross because I haven’t done something well enough. Or I haven’t done it fast enough. Or somebody’s asked me to do something and I can’t do it.
And I think that’s what the yoga has taught me – it’s OK, you don’t have to do everything, or be everything. You have to be kind to yourself.
How do you look after yourself?
I do yoga. I use aromatherapy oils. I love putting natural things like epsom salts, oats and lavender in the bath. And walking – I love walking.
I love going on Pinterest – I have a board there which is called “Awesome”.
It’s just full of things that I think are awesome…
Lots of views, mountains, streams, oceans, lots of people – faces – maybe young girls with amazing make up on – or a piece of fabric in fabulous colours.
So sometimes I look after myself by going on there and scrolling through all these awesome things.
What would you most like to change about your life?
The thing is.. I’m really quite content. I guess I would like to be able to choose where I lived, and by that I mean, which house I lived in.
I’d still like to live in Penzance, and there’s a couple of houses at the bottom of Chapel St that I quite like the look of. They’re quite close together with similar doors, not very grand, and they’ve been there forever, but I just love them. I’ve always looked at them and thought “Ooh I’d love to live there”.
And if I couldn’t live in Penzance, I’d live in Boscastle – in one of the tiny cottages on the coastal path, overlooking the bay.
What have you learnt about life that you wish you’d understood earlier?
Not to take it so seriously. It really doesn’t matter.
“Less is more. All the things you strived for when you were 20, 30 or even 40.
I’m now nearly 60 and I’m thinking “What am I going to do with all this stuff when I downsize?”. I know it’s wonderful to surround yourself with beautiful stuff – and I know that’s what most of us do – but you don’t have to have that beautiful stuff to be fulfilled or joyful.”
All of those images I’ve saved on Pinterest, all the fabulous things we see, touch or hear – we don’t need to actually have the physical thing, because we’ve already experienced that in a different way.
So if I look at a beautiful postcard, and think “I would love to have that hanging in my wall”, I know now that I don’t actually need that – because I’ve got that image in my head already.
I could say to someone that “I saw this postcard, and it was beautiful, and she had pink hair…” and that’s enough.
“Sometimes, I pick pebbles up off the beach (and I do squirrel some of them home, and have little heaps all around the place) but often I’ll pick pocketfuls up, and before I leave the beach I’ll put them back. I’ll think “Well, I’ve had you for a little bit, and you can stay here now, so that someone else can appreciate you.”
If all my nick-nacks and stuff vanished tomorrow, I don’t honestly think it would affect me in a huge way. And oh the joy of not having to clean it all!
In fact, even better, just don’t worry about the cleaning at all.
I shouldn’t be saying that because of what I do for a living…). But sometimes, when I haven’t been to see someone whose house I clean for three weeks, and they haven’t done any cleaning in between, I’ll just think “That’s great, I’ve got something to get my teeth into today”.
The truth is your cleaning only needs to be done once every three weeks – but some people are obsessed with doing it everyday.
Get a grip – you could go and stand on the beach, and go to the ocean, or stand in the woods, or go to a craft class, or talk to a friend, or have fabulous coffee…
That’s what we should be filling our time with, not worrying about whether we’ve cleaned the mantelpiece and hoovered the skirting boards.
“On their exit from life, no one is going to say “Oh god, can you just dust the skirting boards for me so I can go easy?” – they’re more likely to say “Can you carry me to the window so I can see the birds and the sky?” – that’s what people want and need.”
How would you describe Sea Soul Blessings in 3 words?
Focus for the day (that’s four words…!).
I use them to set an intention for the day. Today I picked one, and got ‘may you find joy’ so that’s my thing for the day.
How do you use your Sea Soul Blessings? What do they help you to change?
I use them in the morning when I wake up – they help me to focus on the day. Instead of thinking about tomorrow, next week, next year, they help me to be here in the day I’m in right now.
If someone was thinking about trying Sea Soul Blessings, how would you encourage them?
I would say – just pick one. It doesn’t matter if you believe in it, if you think it’s nonsense of silliness. You can just pick one and read it and you might find something in there to inspire you. Or you might find you remember it later in the day – just a phrase from the card – and it will help you. Once you’ve read it, it’s in there….
To get yourself some Sea Soul Blessings, head here.
If you love the sea as much as Angela and I do, and would like to try some Sea Soul Blessings for free – join our Big Sea Giveaway. Every entrant wins a prize, and there are some lovely ones.
You might also enjoy the other interviews in the Sea Soul Community series so far: