Six years on an island

Dear Friends, I have heard there is a book called ‘7 years on an Islet’. It could be on a bookshelf here on Erraid, but I have yet to lay eyes on it. It was written by Ella Horsey who came to cleanse the island before the Foundation became custodians. Her portrait looks over us everyday in our meeting room.

Steve, myself, Jack and Libby made the move here March 2011. On 11/11/11 we became members of the Erraid Community. There was a deep sense of right time, right place. A calling of which still reveals itself to us regularly. We wanted to raise our children in a safe place that was close to nature, work with the elements and with like-minded folk. We also wanted to walk our talk and open ourselves up for the endless personal growth a small Hebridean spiritual community could offer.

Over these six years I have enjoyed holding many areas: child care, animal care, home care, bookings, cooking, wood splitting, fair weather boating and the focus of the Island. After much resistance I did the accounts and now love the role, but it became clear that once the position of Garden Focaliser opened up, this was where I was destined to be. After absorbing bits whilst helping out over the years, regular visits to Cullerne Garden and the World Wide Web, I now feel I am a fairly competent gardener.

About a year after arriving I was drawn to support the Island Focaliser at the time, my good friend Britta. It felt only natural when I was elected into the role following her move over to the Park. Thanks to Britta holding the light and her strong connection to the Foundation, it was an easy transition. It has been an enormous pleasure to maintain that bridge which she worked so hard to build. We worked well together. She held the vision and wisdom of the island and I had the energy and determination to make a difference.

I’ve enjoyed many visits and workshops over at the Foundation and love supporting the Family Experience weeks in the summer.

I would like to acknowledge and appreciate some folk who helped make it all happen (can’t possibly fit you all in)…. beginning with Heather Whalley who first boated 2 curious strangers (Steve and myself) over to Erraid for a cuppa and a nosey back in 2008 whilst camping across the water. Steve, my rock, Jack and Libby, my beautiful, precious teachers. Paul Smith, Erraid Co-ordinator, for our wonderful chats, his advice and the endless maintenance support. Britta, who still has a piece of her heart here and is always ready to approach her team for garden advice. Ex-member Ineke, hugley supportive of our family and our involvement with Family FX. Ex-member Kim for bringing clarity to our vision

and mission statement. Catherine for being at the end of the phone for accounts chats. Kajedo for his inspiration in the forest. Geoff for his worldwide PR. Gordon for facilitating S&PD weeks and introducing NVC, Sociocracy, giving and receiving feedback. Kathy for our current S&PD weeks and support with my initial struggle to release the role of Island Focaliser. Using constellation work with the Erraid family to define the role and trusting that all will be very well. Claire for her willingness to take on the role of Erraid Island Focaliser. (I wondered if stepping back and staying on would be a challenge. The whole process has been very graceful and ‘In Perfect Timing’. It has allowed the Julia to come out more). Also our extended family of guests including visits from ex-residents, co-workers and of course the ever changing Erraid Family itself (more to come on that)…..and last but not least the Van der Sluis family for providing the magical island and all its infrastructure. There have been many changes over the last 4 decades and the 40th birthday will be celebrated next summer. Also, many things are still very much the same.

In my experience Erraid thrives on diversity, especially if there is a family at the heart of the community. Residents and guests seem to enjoy the children around us as much as the wise elders to teach us how to love, laugh and breathe.

Manifestations have been fruitful. So much so that we have a full compliment of members and potential members.

So….this is not me signing out. When the Pittams finally do leave (for high school) it will be a huge adventure.

I hope Eileen and Ella would be proud if they could see Erraid now: A vibrant, thriving beacon of consciousness for humanity.

So as I begin my seventh year on an island I look forward to the next growing season and our next steps on this incredible journey.

Thankyou all xxx

Julia Pittam