a sunny week on Erraid

The last period felt pretty hectic. Quite a few weeks with a lot of cleaning and maintenance, preparing the island for the owners to come.  Parallel on that, making plans and risk assessments on re-opening conform the Scottish regulations regarding Covid-19. Last week felt more relaxed. To give you an idea about life on in the community, here is how it works and what I did. Finally reflections beyond the do-er.


There is a clear structure in our weeks and days here. On Sunday the week is opened with a meditation in the sanctuary. Daily there is the possibility of an open morning meditation, before the day opening ,  with sharing and offering out the work that’s to be done. On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are love in action days, on Wednesday we relax. Monday evening is for sharing a little deeper with the residents. On Thursday morning the members have a business meeting. Friday morning we have a slightly longer sharing to look back at the week and say what you’ve harvested out of it, then we clean our house.  Friday afternoon we have the end of the week mediation.  Once every two weeks we practise non- violence communication with the members, every other week we have a gathering with the woman. Saturday morning is for cleaning the communal areas. Most evenings we are free.

It’s my turn to hold the week, to focalise. Invited everybody to relax and release all expectations of the week to come, to trust whatever will happen will give what we need. At the end of the opening of the week in the Sanctuary, we all choose an angelic quality to accompany us throughout the week.  Picked the angel of Tenderness, or it picked me…. As I was holding the week I baked some chocolate cookies and black currant muffin, to go with the coffee and tea in the kitchen.

Together with two others, we walked over to Mull, the bigger island, to join a memorial on the Knockvologan beach. Our neighbours had organised it. Poems were shared in remembrance of a buried lifeboat from the cruise ship, the Arandora Star. It was requisitioned in the second world war and struck by a torpedo. The lifeboat came ashore with no survivors. It had quite an impact on me, as one of the participants shared her investigations. In the boat were Italian guest workers. Churchill didn’t want them any longer in England as they were a threat to England. They were sent off and all the life boats were sabotaged. It really struck me that in times of war or other threats, it seems to be so easy to alienate the other.

Morning repaired a table and tried to repair a leaking sink – without success.
Afternoon: melted a box of butter that had gone off, made ghee (clarified butter) that is perfect for frying.  Cooked for the community: vegetable curry, filled cabbage rolls with tomato sauce, Quinoa and a salad.
End of the afternoon: facilitated a laughter meditation in the sanctuary. Evening: sharing with all the residents.


Morning: Spring cleaned one bedroom in ‘community house’. It was the room where I stayed when I first came on Erraid. Community house is the only house that is not renovated, it’s located close to the pier.
Afternoon: did some administration (basically working on the risk assessment and procedures regarding our reopening Mid-august this summer).  Made the second batch of Ghee. Helped out Arran (garden focaliser) with preparing and blanching vegetables to freeze.
End of the afternoon: facilitated kundalini meditation

After a lazy morning I went with Gill to all our neighbours (one on the island, all the others on Mull –  the bigger island).  We wanted to let them know that we’re aware of the fragility of the islands. So we wrote a letter explaining the way we re-open in a safe way.  Cooked a turnip mustard soup for Thursday.

Morning: held the business meeting. Every member reports on the areas the look after. Whenever a decision needs to be made, the way to do that is to bring a proposal to the meeting. In a few rounds through a fixed procedure we come to a decision. It’s not always the majority that decides. If someone of a few members have objections, could be that the proposal is dropped.
This Thursday was an intense meeting as we spoke on reopening. And like the rest of the world, there a quite different views on the steps we have to take regarding a safe re-opening.
Afternoon: finally started to scratch the paint from the beautiful fence with the Erraid symbol on it. Have been wanting to do this for a long time. First part only, still quite some metres to go….

Morning: cleaning the house, end of the week meditation
Afternoon: wrote an article for the Round & About a local magazine for the august edition with theme: past & present. Asked feedback from a few native English members.

No community cleaning as we have a few structure free weeks, yahoo!
Didn’t do much, way too tired.

As much as I love almost all of the work here that needs to be done:  that’s not what brought me here.  There is a strong longing in me to go beyond the doing. This is definitely a place that supports that, if you’re open to it. The meditations, the daily quotes, the angelic qualities, and the island itself. The nature here is so raw, so close, so intense.

Somehow this week the angelic quality of the tenderness angel helped me to back down a little. In the first half of the week I experienced quite strongly how it is like when it’s not so much ‘me’ who’s doing it. Had a very strong sense of ‘Thy will be done’.  An easier flowing of energy, more an allowing maybe. Unfortunately lost that quality again. The do-er or fixer in me took over again.

There is only one activity that – no matter how grumpy I start it – always makes my heart sing. To cook here with the amazing vegetables for a group of people is such a joy. It opens up all my senses, invites my creativity. And as one of my favourite cooks ever used to say: “when I cook it’s as if God takes over”. 

If you’re interested how a community works then here is an inspiring article by Veda Dave.

For a more down to earth explanation about Erraid’s community life there is also a pdf to download. We wrote this for a local newspaper, ‘the Round & About’ on Mull.

Next…. might be about my holiday off island…

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