The greater Findhorn community lost a dearly beloved Master Community Carer February 24, 2020, when Fay Blackburn died.
Fay, born in Yorkshire and a sometime resident in Canada had lived in Findhorn since the 1990’s.
Since her passing, Fay has been recognized, mourned, remembered and celebrated in Findhorn meditations, Taizé singing, at the funeral procession to her green burial site and at the reception following. So many people were touched personally by Fay as well as collectively as a community. Fay liked to stay behind the scenes in her many activities, but she was always there making a difference.
I met Fay 2 years ago when I moved to Findhorn and started to sing Taizé every morning. Fay was a faithful daily participant, lending her true voice to the Tenors but willing and able to contribute to any of the other Alto, Soprano (or even Bass) Voices who needed her vitality and guidance. Fay not only sang, but often lead Taizé – including the Sunday celebrations which included sacred dance along with the sacred songs. She so loved singing she was also a member of the Threshold Choir and the Georgian Singers. All three groups sang at her funeral service giving Voice to the sun and wind and flowers who attended Fay’s burial.
Fay’s long-time Findhorn friends have noticed her fulsome, wholesome and holistic life in many ways. I wanted to add a few words of appreciation to recognize Fay’s life as exemplifying many characteristics of not only an Integral Life – embracing thought, action, community and co-creation – but with a passion and intention that inspired many in her incarnated existence and continues to inspire us as she has moved to another dimension.
As I learned from watching the alive Fay and listening to the abundant stories of her life from family, friends, acquaintances and neighbours, I am impressed by how Fay lived the Integral Yoga that I call the Master Code of Care.
Fay modelled care for herself: In the daily practice of singing Taizé, of eating organically, of raising where possible her own food, of both tolerating early symptoms of illness as treatable by holistic means and then having the courage to take allopathic treatments (like chemotherapy), Fay was also able to release herself to the Divine path of the conclusion of her full, rich life, surrounded by family and friends.
Fay modelled care for others: As the stories of Fay’s life were recounted, we learned how faithfully she had hospiced others who needed and abiding witness and friend in their illnesses. She also cared for her own children and grandchildren and was a dedicated godparent. We saw how Fay had devoted 3 months a year to support a family in Spain who were producing organic vegetables, fruits and oils. She laboured physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually in all the ways she cared for others, never shirking the demands of such holistic care (embracing the cycles of birth and death as part of her acceptance of life).
Fay modelled care for her place(s): In Findhorn she was renowned for her simple life, living lightly on the earth. During the last 17 years in Findhorn The Park, she occupied a single room, in a home she shared in a (not-related-to-her family’s home). She resisted the accumulation of “stuff” but insisted on the quality of what she did consume and of experiences. She became renowned for mending her and others’ clothes (Jonathan caddy’s Scottish socks, the heart-shaped patch on her working pants); fixing the Nature Sanctuary drapes; lovingly maintaining the inventory of Taizé songbooks. Fay was a pioneer of the Caring Community Circle. She was even the first person to buy a plot in Findhorn’s green burial site. She was the official tea maker of the Hinterland Work Parties and doing her fair share of Hinterland forest care as well. One of Fay’s recent delights was to try her hand at the art of mosaics – being appreciated as a Saturday co-creator of the Cluny 1001 Angels mosaic project. Fay did so many of the in-between-connecting/caring services in Findhorn-related places, that we are challenged to find a way to replace the myriad of ways and means she so enthusiastically embodied.
Fay modelled care for the planet: Fay was an early co-organizer of “Trees for Life” – not only advocating for the value of planting trees to restore and sustain earth systems – but actually doing the hard work of planting the trees herself and then coordinating and directing teams for “seedling- nursery duty” even up to the Fall 2019 season of Highland mountain hiking. Fay was always an advocate for Nature’s wellbeing, but she was also a fierce advocate for the principles of life in the political realm – not only participating in local Moray Extinction Rebellion events, but even travelling to London in 2019, backpack and tea-making equipment in tow, to practice Non-Violent-Direct-Action with XR youth who could have been her grandchildren (Fay was 77).
When people ask me, how we can co-create Integral Cities – my key advice, process and path is to point to the Integral Yoga of the Master Code of Care. More and more people are repeating the invocation – to Care for Self, Others, Place and Planet. Some are even trying the Yoga as a daily practice (which I review at the end of every day for myself). But Fay has gone far beyond the repetition of the Yoga or just taste testing the practice. Instead – even though Fay and I never talked about the Master Code of Care – Fay had so aligned the Care of Self, Others, Place and Planet, that she essentially lived the Yoga as a way of life.
Thank you Fay for being such a powerful model in one community, its bio-region, whatever city you visited and for the planet that you so loved, that you chose a green burial where you could rest in the earth in the natural flow and evolution of life. Thank you, Fay Blackburn for being such a powerful model of the Master Code of Care. You have shown us all how to enact the Code simply, deeply, profoundly and integrally.