Prince Charles & The Gift
At the end of 2009, I had been questioning my ability to carry on with SamiArt & The Silk Road, it felt too much to cope with home educating, working as a company secretary and keeping house as well as being creative and pushing SamiArt forward. I was feeling overwhelmed and disheartened and I was ready to 'give up' the creativity because what was the point anyway? Then I had this dream....

Start dream:
As I sat down inside the Queen's golden horse drawn carriage silk blinds were drawn down over the windows. I was in the dark, the carriage moved and the horses pulled the golden carriage straight ahead. I wondered where I was being taken, my senses filled with the intrigue of curiosity, I relaxed back and trusted that the horses knew where they were going even though I couldn't see. I was calm, I was in the moment. Some distance later, the carriage came to a stop, simultaneously the blinds rolled up, the door was opened and I stepped out to find that I had been led to the front gates of Buckingham Palace. It was sunny, no-one else was there, just me, the horses & carriage.
End dream.

Ok, ok, ok! I get it, I said to myself on waking, smiling at the doubts and fears that, in reality, my ego had hitched itself onto. My heart warmed, filled with the reminder to TRUST & I watched these little dark negative clouds move out and away from my vision. As I did so, the message from my dream grew and filled me with serenity on the matter of all things SamiArt. Life moved on and I was able to focus on my responsibilities, unconcerned by what SamiArt needed to do next, no longer feeling overwhelmed.

3 months later, I was made aware of the VIP launch event, 'Spirituality in Action' for the Centre for Spiritual & Cultural Advancement in Old Trafford. The tickets for the event were priced out of my range, so I didn't think to go, but I looked into it anyway as it was a very worthy cause. Then a whole load of things happened all at once - the remaining tickets were reduced to an affordable price, Shaykh Hisham, Deputy World Leader of the Nagshbandi Sufi's who set up the charity was going to be at an event in London where my sister was, we learnt that the VIP guest was going to be HRH Prince Charles and with a clear cut 'plink' my dream dropped back into my frontal lobe..glistening, glimmering and grinning at me. 'Do it, do it, do it' is what it would have said, if it had a mouth.

Clarity & JOY in an instant - got to be one of the most invigorating feelings on earth. I know exactly what my heart wants to do..let's make HRH a beautiful silk painting to commemorate the launch of the charity and to thank him for all the selfless work he and his family do for the people of this country. I call my sister, I share my idea, instantly inspired, she knows she has a template she designed that would make the border of the painting and we start work immediately in the Community Art Space that I was co-ordinating in Sutton High Street. I was of the impression that I'd get the cheap ticket and Hana would try and speak to Shaykh Hisham, but that wouldn't be until a few days later. TRUST, that was part of the message. So we trusted and we created.

A few days later, the silk is well underway - it's been stretched tight over the frame, the beautiful central calligraphy has been lovingly created by the talent that is Hana Horack Elyafi (google her work), there is gutta & silk paint. We are remembering to breathe through our unspoken excitement. We've been working together on this beautiful gift, creating it with love and trust, not knowing whether it will really reach the intended recipient - well, if it doesn't make it to him, we'll give it to Shaykh Hisham and the Centre can enjoy it! It's win, win! Anyone - any age, ability, from baby to grandparent - who walked into the Community Art Space that week was invited to add a careful dab of paint to this very special silk painting gift for, potentially, HRH. And we trusted.

Now it's a Friday, the event is the following Thursday, Hana is heading off to a gathering with the founder of the charity. It's time to ask the question! She speaks directly with Shaykh Hisham that evening. Without seeing the work, he loves the idea and gives us his blessing, saying 'Good ideas must be acted upon. Too many people have good ideas and do nothing about them'. So we breathe even more now, grappling with butterflies. We already know that Hana can't be in Old Trafford for the Launch event (no babies allowed and my niece is still breast feeding), so it would be up to me to do whatever I could to make sure I was in the right place at the right time, standing my ground. TRUST, that was the message.

It's ready, ironed, rolled up, bound and covered. I am exhausted and tomorrow is the long drive up to Manchester. I have to get through security, need to speak to Dino, show the piece to Shaykh Hisham, then what...who knows. Having had the go ahead from Shaykh Hisham, I had also let the local paper know what we'd been making in a little bit of LB Sutton and where it was headed so they picked up on the story and put a little piece in the local Guardian. Then, on the Wednesday, the thought comes to mind that I should perhaps contact Buckingham Palace press office and let them know. A fortuitous idea. As it happens, the fact that I'd already let the local paper know meant that the Palace had to take note as the news was in the public domain. I had unknowingly broken all the protocols, oops, and now the lovely lady on the other end of the line puts me hold for a moment, 'while I check with HRH if he is happy to receive this gift'. I wait. Butterflies, flittering everywhere, internal chaos. She is showing him the .jpg I emailed her as requested, she's back. 'His highness says it is beautiful and he would be delighted to receive it'. 

Ahh and breathe...and cry...

I am in Manchester, wearing a beautiful suit, shoes and bag loaned to me for the day by my mum. My italian mother in law has called and and is proud of her daughter in law. We are all excited. I am only sorry that my sister can not be with me. I am helped by the people I give a lift to. They know Dino, they find him, he takes me to Shaykh Hisham. I unravel the painting...he speaks 'Beautiful! Dino, take this lady into the VIP room and I want you to make sure she presents this to HRH in person'. My stomach is beginning to feel like the butterfly greenhouse at RHS Wisley in mid February when all the pupas have hatched.

I am in the right place, at the right time, thanks to a dream. I am not one to get flustered around people, no matter their 'position'. Today, I am an internal mess. He is coming, I don't know if I can fit anymore butterflies in my greenhouse. This beautiful gift is hanging, third in line. He is here. He has spoken to the first artist. He is speaking to the next artist. Now he is speaking to me. Unable to contain my butterflies I launch into a spiel, answering his question, What does the calligraphy mean? and promptly continuing, seemingly without pause for breath. I tell him about the who, where, what, why, when and how. We chat. Someone takes some pictures. I don't tell him about the dream. I do share the gift.
It's over. I sit. I breathe. All I want to do is sleep. I can't. I have to drive the 4 hours home. 

The moral of this project is: follow your dreams, listen to your heart, let love be your guide, trust. The fears and doubts can be replaced by love. I bring the following motto to all my work

 'Love Life, Life loves You'

Samia Tossio - inspire & share through creative communication
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Prince Charles & The Gift