Belly round, baby kicking, breasts bursting we visited the hospital on the mainland. Heavy body shuffling round the maternity ward. Options were non existent. No choice, no say.First babies were born in the only hospital with the facilities. Twelve years ago, as today, the hospitals on the Isle of Skye could not safely deliver first babies. We travelled far from home, to labour wards elsewhere.
I did not like my visit. The hospital was big and dirty. It was busy and noisy. I dreamed of a gentle place, a different way. I refused to attend the big city hospital. Someone suggested Dr. Gray’s in Elgin, said it was small and friendly. Yes, I said, that’s the place for me. But they had no accommodation. I tried to find somewhere to stay. I telephoned bed and breakfasts from Nairn to Buckie. Just when all seemed impossible Ramon answered my call. He was the manager of NewBold House at the time. He heard my plea. He opened the door of NewBold to swollen bloated me with a bump the size of a space hopper.
It was late February 2003. Giant snowdrops burst through frost, they lined the avenue, the flowerbeds, the borders. Snowdrops dominated the woods, the corners outside the kitchen, even the tables in the dining hall.
NewBold House was the strangest place I had ever been. It was, and still is, a mansion filled with folk living together in a community. I had never seen a meditation cushion before I arrived there, yet, I became accustomed to venturing to the meditation space at the top of the house. This community showed me, taught me, the art of sitting, breathing love. They were the most generous compassionate family I could ever have wished for.
Ramon and the team at NewBold offered me sanctuary. They fed me, cared for me. When my daughter was eventually born I named her Sarah Snowdrop – and they cared for her too.
As well as Ramon, there was Myrta, James, Jo, Myles, Mirjam all working and living together. Every day they cleaned the house and tended the garden. They made bread. They looked after the guests staying for workshops or retreats. They placed Angel cards on tables, they lit candles. There were notices in the bathrooms asking guests to respect the water angels. The entire mansion was protected by a love and compassion greater than anything I had ever encountered and I loved it. I was safe, I was protected. I was relaxed. And it was into this world I brought my daughter Sarah Snowdrop. I was so very very lucky.
On Saturday, after twelve years, I met Ramon again. Over coffee I told him the impact of his actions on my life. He cried as I said I carried his philosophy of compassion and generosity into my life on the Isle of Skye. I told him I always fed someone when they needed it, or sheltered them, or helped in any way, if I could. Ramon, Myrta, James, Jo and Myles transformed my outlook on life all those years ago. I taught my daughter to always do the kindest thing, no matter how hard. She knows to do no harm, to always show compassion, even when faced with very difficult situations. He cried and we saw his heart fill.
Sarah Snowdrop took Ramon out in the wee boat and paddled him round Findhorn Bay. On Sunday he took her to NewBold House, where her life began. He came home for dinner – and that’s where the new story begins. Ramon has been quietly researching religion, comparative religions and alchemy for 30 years. He has written poems, essays and novels. They are all currently in Spanish or Catalan, but that will change. They are all currently free and available on his website – but that too will change.
For anyone who reads Spanish and who has an interest in alchemy, comparative religion, esoteric spirituality – here’s a gift #compassion