The Unbound Journey

Thursday, 21 March 2019
Woweeeee!

This is the most terrifying and exciting process imaginable! However, you my wonderful friends and followers make it fun too and your generosity is incredible! Thank you!
It is also hard sharing the fruits of my pen (computer keys!) – it feels a bit like running around naked! And asking for money is Never easy!
But here we go – and I keep thinking of what a difference this publication will make to people when it’s published so – on with the brass neck and more emails to send.
This weekend I will start sharing some tips gleaned from the book- mostly in the form of little film clips. The phone is a wonderful tool for enhancing lives. It brings the outside inside and has a great ability to lift spirits when used carefully
Watch this space!

Saturday, 23 March 2019
10% in a Week!

Goodness me! 10% of the publishing funds raised in a week! That is surely fantastic! Thank you, guys! What treasures you are! I am quite overwhelmed by your generosity and support for this project.
One of my fellow Unbounders has raised 37 % in the same time – but then they have a scintillating title. Ageing and dying are not exactly subjects we as a culture relish thinking about – let alone reading about.
But in truth, as we now look at the possible demise of all that we hold dear (200 species a day facing extinction) it is clearly vital we face our own letting go – even if our own ageing might be denied us.
It’s like putting up two fingers to materialism – we want time not stuff, depth not glitz..
Learning to let go – seeing life as finite and everyday as precious – changes our lives – forever. There is a new vibrancy to all we do, every conversation and encounter. There are many layers to it but the first one is to think about it.
Please continue to spread the word. Leaves of Love not only shares stories but also tips and reflections on how we make practical plans and accompany each other at this time. It finds joy amid the pathos and love as the basis of everything. It also has the capacity to change lives – for the better.

Monday, 25 March 2019
16% raised – A Thousand Thank You’s!

As the pledges roll in, I feel quite amazed and, overwhelmed! Some of them are anonymous and some have names i recognise and others are unknown…. but i want to thank all of you, every single one of you, especially if you are supporting a stranger for the project’s sake.
Please know that even if you do not get a personal message from me, that my gratitude is immense!
It is the same as in life – there is so much to be grateful for and often no time to give those thanks. Or the person has already gone ahead of us and died. That is why being prepared for our dying will likely give us the opportunity to remedy all that has been left undone, forgive those who need forgiving and tell all those we love – what they really mean to us. Best not waste any more time – have those conversations while we still can!
Leaves of Love helps remind us of what is important in life.

Friday, 29 March 2019
Two Weeks in and still Flying….

Two weeks ago, sitting in the offices of Unbound, we pressed Go LIVE! Thanks to you we have now raised 18% of the funding. Thank you, generous supporters.
The everyday conversations about Leaves of Love continue to affirm to me its important contribution to life enhancing care. The power of Presence can be so undervalued – yet we ourselves can feel it so profoundly when we sit under a majestic tree and hear the breeze toss the new leaves and warm sun on our cheeks. Sitting with another is as simple – listening, touching and being fully present.
Presence is a valuable gift we can give each other.
Please keep spreading the word. We still have a long way to go and time is slipping away….

Sunday, 14 April 2019
Spring Fling

A huge thank you to those who have supported the project of a stranger. In this case Leaves of Love. I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate your contribution. Now thanks to you we are 27% funded, and only 55 days to go! Eeek!
With Spring energy under my wings, I have renewed vigour to reach the next stage – please continue to spread the word whenever you can. Leaves of Love needs you! I believe it to be a truly important contribution to the enhancement of the lives of our elders and those approaching their dying.
My 12 yr. old grandson has been staying. He is passionate about all things birdie, including photographing and filming them. He has now added a new skill to his repertoire… making little YouTube clips on how simple it is to enhance someone’s life. I am very proud of him. Thank you, Billy!
Here is a taster of what is to come. I hope it acts as a little reminder that nothing is too small or too simple. An Easter gift to someone you care for – just turn up; some fragrant oil in your pocket and a clean towel in your bag. Before you have completed one hand you may find other people queuing up! We all appreciate tender touch, a kindly smile and some gentle humour in our day. Life will not be the same without your presence.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019
Best Easter Egg Ever – much better than chocolate!

After a slow start, the Easter holidays have been a fruitful time for the Leaves of Love Crowdfunding.
You, my wonderful supporters have got us up to 33%. This is just so exciting! Thank you. Especially to those not known to me and who believe in the book itself – this gives me the courage and energy to push on over the coming weeks.
I am increasingly aware that if you are a carer, or know someone who is, there are few guidelines, as to what we can do, or what we can expect as we age and approach the end of our life. Even then they often overlook the fact that we can celebrate these later stages of life, garner our experiences and gain new ones. There is much richness and opportunity to be had but we are inclined to focus on the negative.
Enhancing each exquisite moment of those we care for is a beautiful gift. Leaves of Love can be a small ‘pebble in your pocket hand to hold’ ‘as you navigate this new territory. It offers simple stories to illustrate ideas and tips to hold you steady. A life-line.
Thank you again everyone. I ask you to please continue to spread the word – it is making a big difference. As will Leaves of Love.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019
Springtime – Seed time

Well I don’t know about you but this time of the year that gets my fingers itching – they just cannot wait to be in the soil, planting things. Whether it’s on the allotment, in a window box or taking a cutting from a house plant. Growing is in the air and I want to be part of it.
Imagine how it must be for someone with these primal longings when in a hospital ward or care environment. Their dreams and aspirations perhaps much like mine yet they are excluded from this miracle of greenness and growth.
We as carers, family members, lovers or children, can bring the outside in and make a huge difference to someone’s day – their week- their life. A truly heart-warming thing to do and very simple to execute.
In Leaves of Love, stories for ageing and dying well, there are lots of ideas to inspire you and give confidence; to make the unexpected happen. A wonderful gift to bring on a Spring day.

Monday, 6 May 2019
Woohoo! 35% and climbing!

Woohoo! We have now reached 35% of the funding target! Thank you all so much! We will surely make the deadline with your help!
I now have some Dandy Little Fliers if you know of any good places or organisations where I can distribute them. Please email me at: leavesoflovethebook@gmail.com with your ideas.
I am launching into Twitter today – perhaps belatedly but it will hopefully be another good avenue for continuing the conversations about ageing and dying well – the importance of heart centred care, being consciously prepared for our later years and knowing how to lovingly hold the space for each other as we come to our dying..
Last week I went to a conference in Glasgow organised by Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief, on Unleashing Compassion. @LifeDeathGrief. A very inspiring day. No shortage of conversations there!
So dear and wonderful supporters. Thanks again for keeping the fire alive – please keep throwing on the sticks; logs make an even bigger blaze!

Thursday, 16 May 2019
Incredible News! 45% of funding raised!

Greetings wonderful supporters!
I had begun to think there was no end to the rampages of my mind – updates and insta, emails and tweets. An endless merry go round of ideas and things to be done. A life on hold to funding deadlines – yet despite that, we seemed somewhat stuck.
One last look at the Leaves of Love page before I reach for my hottie and my bed – and there it is! 45%. Disbelief!
All because one amazing person, presumably woke yesterday and thought, ‘I am going to support a stranger today! I am going to give them the best part of £400 to publish a book that will help people age and die well’. What generosity!
I know who they are, they know who they are, but I’m not telling. It’s my precious secret! They have however turned my life around and the lives of many others. Thank you, so much glorious stranger and all your fabulous fellow funders. This important book will now surely happen.
I can see it already, stacked on the shelves of all the major bookstore, and independent ones too. Wrapped in ribbon and tissue paper under the Christmas tree.
We – yes, WE are nearly half-way there. You will get your copy, not wrapped in ribbon, but you’ll surely get it if it’s the last thing I do. Let’s make a noise, tell the world, and make Leaves of Love, stories for ageing and dying well, happen. Thanks again everyone!

Tuesday, 25 June 2019
Leaves of Love needs your help!

Hey there, Leaves of Love friends, loyal followers and generous supporters, we have reached a plateau in the Crowdfunding! I am not sure where to turn now and need your help.
54% is brilliant, but sadly not enough.
I must tell you that asking people for money is the hardest thing imaginable and the attendant exposure on social media, a considerable struggle.
There comes a moment when those who want to come alongside, already have, and those who are not able to for whatever reason, are not going to. And, the truth is, most people are already riding a tough pony in their own lives and do not deserve to be pestered. Yet… this book is IMPORTANT. So, if you are one of those who have been meaning to offer support but keep putting it off… please do consider it now! Leaves of Love needs YOU!
I am asking you my friends, loyal followers and generous supporters to help me push on to another level by sharing it, talking about it, or finding those who really can donate towards its publication. We can then ALL sing from the rooftops… ‘We did it!’
So much love, so much hard work and heartache have gone into creating, Leaves of Love, its stories and illustrations too, please help me get it out there, not die its own death in my computer archives!
Thank you!

Thursday, 27 June 2019
£2,295 still to raise!

I am overwhelmed by the response to my last update. Thank you all so much! The beautiful supportive messages and a leap in the funding have really warmed my heart.
Knowing so many people also believe in Leaves of Love has also made a big difference. Like the wild salmon swimming upstream to lay her life giving eggs, I remember that most big endeavours are a struggle. On we go.
Thanks to some fantastic conversations I am also encouraged to broaden my vision and apply for funding into the more corporate field.
Please watch this space!

Tuesday, 9 July 2019
Oh dear…

This news will come as a blow to those of you who are actively and emotional engaged in the journey toward the publication of Leaves of Love, stories for ageing and dying well – to whom I owe so much.
Recently I have been thoroughly over excited as it was suggested there might be outside funding available for a project such as mine. With heart racing and the end in sight, I laid the Creative Scotland Guide to Project Funding on the table. Scanning it carefully all seemed very positive. Then came the ‘ projects we do not support’ list. It seems self-publishing is one of them.
Unfortunately, even though Unbound is a very reputable publishing house, what I am attempting is still considered ‘self-publishing.’
An unmitigated heartbreak!
It is clear there are no short cuts to raise this last 2K. However, like a salmon swimming upstream to lay her eggs, I am equally committed and will just have to continue jumping the rapids and laying myself bare to the kindness, good will and generosity of you my friends, family and wonderful public.
Already overwhelmed by the support of strangers – I continue to be immensely grateful for every penny raised and the extraordinary encouragement of those around me. Thank you everyone. We WILL get there… the shining eggs will be laid and people the world over will benefit from the stories in Leaves of Love. Your help is precious beyond measure.

Saturday, 27 July 2019
while i have had my head under my wing….

I have been sitting on the proverbial river-bank, head under my wing, feeling very despondent. All the time wondering how to fan life back into my crowdfunding mission – how to make it sexy and exciting when clearly it is not!
Most people would prefer to do anything other than spend time considering their mortality or that of those they love. In fact, generally we run like crazy in the other direction, smothering life with distractions and chat about the weather.
Raising this last £2k has felt insurmountable. I am not a social media person. I sit and sing with ageing and dying people, massage their hands with fragrant oils and spend time with them in gardens, not pressing computer keys or studying my phone for updates.
It feels appalling asking people for money, twisting the noose around those I care about with plaintive pleas to their innate generosity.
However tonight, I gave up. I too stopped running and I opened my Unbound dashboard. There, while I have been sitting in silent despair, some incredibly kind strangers, and a few less strange, in fact wonderful friends, have supported Leaves of Love, stories for ageing and dying. How GREAT is that!! Thank you so much.
Your help and belief in what I am trying to achieve is very touching and very encouraging. At 63% perhaps we can make it after all. Let’s keep going….
Ignore the last update….
A poor me approach is not helpful right now. Standing in the shadows, no longer an option.
The truth is that Leaves of Love, an essential guide to ageing and dying well is also a handbook for our troubled times. Ageing might soon be a luxury. The opportunity to slow down, think deep and plan our future, something of the past.
Holding, loving, caressing the brow, cheek and hair of those we care for has never been more necessary. Why waste one more minute before coming in close, being real and honest and daring to be who we are destined to be – what else is there.
The ache of loss is all around us, the fear of fundamental chaos a groundswell movement. We are facing, not only our own finite existence but also that of all we hold dear… it is already happening. I grieve daily the empty skies, the lack of butterflies, the comparative silence of the dawn.
Europe is heating up. Change is inevitable. How we live, where we live, what we eat and the core values by which we live are all being questioned – and rightly so. Learning how to live on the point of the needle, dance the dance of life in all its magnificence and then let it go, demands a certain type of alacrity – a skill worth learning.
Cultivating confidence to tend to those endings and accompany our dying friends (the human and more than human, in creative, compassionate and fundamentally loving ways is another beautiful art worth re-kindling. We knew it once.
Waking up to the reality of climate change can also be an opportunity to wake up to what really matters in our own lives. The grief of loss is already too much to bear – let’s not add regret to that already heavy burden.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019
Whohoo!! What a day! We are now almost there!!!

Hey everyone! Stupendous day!
Now we are almost there…. anyone with £67 to spare then we are rolling!?
Next step, Leaves of Love heads off to the editor!
More thanks to you all than I can possibly express. Xxx

Friday, 9 August 2019
Editing….

A wet day- torrents of rain. It could be November. A perfect time to be editing before the final manuscript is submitted to Unbound. To my surprise I am really enjoying revisiting Leaves of Love. Exciting!

Tuesday, 24 September 2019
This is where we are now at… exciting times.

Apologies for the silence.
It’s not silent here, however.
The Editors have come back to me after their initial perusal of Leaves of Love. I was expecting to find this a traumatic experience and it was. But in a wonderful way. I was shaking with excitement throughout the conversation.
Such positive feedback and only half a dozen small comments/ queries. Plus, the request for a few more paragraphs around the whole process of learning this role and then living it. I enjoyed writing about all this and nearly got carried away…but didn’t. The manuscript is now back to The Editors for the second round. Fingers crossed this stage goes as smoothly.
Meantime I have filled in the first questionnaire about the book cover. I get the opportunity to have my say throughout the whole process which feels very empowering and adds to the thrill of this publishing journey. I am hoping they will use the large leaf lino cut that I made specifically for this purpose. I wonder how it will look.
So dear and wonderful friends and supporters. The weeks are whizzing past and we are ever nearer the Big Date in March. Thanks again for your help thus far. I cannot wait to send you your copy of Leaves of Love, stories for ageing and dying well.

Winter is past – Spring has arrived!

As Winter moves on and Spring moves in,  it is a cause for celebration!

Birds wake us from sleep and at last we can sit outside in the warm sun and drink coffee with friends.

This time can however  be doubly frustrating for those who are in a care or hospital  environment, removed from the natural world.  Perhaps they can witness the burgeoning green haze from their room, but also, perhaps not.

Taking the outside in is very simple.  A posy of primroses, some fragrant lawn mowings in a bag, a fallen birds next or little chicks in a box.  What a joy this can be – a jubilant moment to share and treasure.

Its important not to underestimate the value of  these  small thoughtful gestures. What is everyday and ordinary for us can be a delight for someone whose life has become restricted.

For more ideas, please pledge to my Crowdfunding page and support the publication of my book, Leaves of Love, stories for ageing and dying well. 

https://unbound.com/books/leaves-of-love-stories-for-ageing-dying-well/

 

 

Leaves of Love has just been launched by Unbound for Crowdfunding

Leaves of Love has just been launched by Unbound for Crowdfunding which is exciting and terrifying!

I am  hopeful we can make the target and get it published.

https://unbound.com/books/leaves-of-love-stories-for-ageing-dying-well/

I would be really  grateful if you could support this process by making a Pledge and/or by sharing the link with friends, colleagues and perhaps in your newsletter if you have one.

There will be regular updates on social media and this website: leavesoflove.co.uk

Lucy Aykroyd