When dreams come true…

Cocos Kealing Islands
Cocos Kealing Islands

Vivid dream

Twenty eight years ago I awoke from a very vivid dream where I was sat in a small plane next to my mother. I was looking out of the window down on a tropical island. Young ‘hippies’ were sitting on rocks dangling their feet into the crystal blue waters as coconut palms shaded their pale skin from the bright sunlight. I turned to my mother and said,” that’s paradise down there, Cocos islands”. I also remember telling my mother in the dream that it was situated just off the Isle of Wight.

That dream triggered a many years obsession discover if these islands existed and if so where they may be. The next coincidence was that when staying with friends in Yorkshire, I learned that during his global travels, and antique collecting, our friend had acquired a small box with ‘Cocos (Kealing Islands) ‘ engraved on the lid. Between us, our joint research had discovered their situation in the Indian Ocean, and their history.

Quarantine island

Cocos had become a British territory after an explorer had inhabited the islands and populated them with Malayian women and called it home. It became an Australian territory after the British sold it ( on my actual birthday) and it became a quarantine station for animals and goods en route to Australia.

Due to the abundance of coconuts grown there, Australiand students had taken to staying there for tropical island working vacations in the coconut processing plant, perhaps sitting oil the rocks during lunch breaks cooling their toes….

I was so obsessed with visiting the islands that I had investigated flights, accommodation and even wrote to a resident art teacher, who replied sending photographs of her painting classes.

My first husband even had a jewellery box made for me with a map of the islands inlaid in various woods in the lid.

Cocos Kealing islands jewellery box
Cocos Kealing islands jewellery box

Years passed and my dream of visiting was pushed down my list of ‘must dos’ and only reignited earlier this year when my son was travelling across the Indian Ocean and I thought he may stop off there.

He didn’t.

Tropical Bees

Remarkably, a couple of weeks ago, I was being photographed amongst blossoming wisteria, wearing my bee suit and in the April drizzle. A husband and wife team were working together planning the shots, and naturally conversations about bees and honey began. Rooke then mentioned that his brother kept bees, but he wasn’t fond of the very dark runny honey. The couple had travelled from South Africa, so when I asked where his brother kept bees I was gobsmacked when he replied ‘Cocos kealing islands’.

It turned out that Rooke was a descendant of the islands founder and the couple actually married there. We were all buzzing after this conversation, naturally I shared the details of my dream, and it was obvious to us all that I now have to visit the islands. What are the chances of me meeting him?


What puzzles me is firstly, why did I have that dream, so long ago, and why did I remember that one above all the other dreams I am blessed with each night?

Then, last week, I was at a ladies networking dinner and a group discussion brought up the subject of visualisation. One of the ladies asked the group how we can have positive visualisations when times are bad. Simultaneously, three of my friends piped up that ‘Paula can answer that!’  As a result, I was  asked to share my story. Each time I share it, it gets shorter and more concise as I look back with clearer impressions of that difficult time in my life.

When asked specifically how I knew I would walk again, whilst bed bound, I shared my repeated vision of watching myself, aged 98, walking along a deserted beach. A white crofters cottage was to one side and I knew that was where I lived alone..



This vision was actually seeded by a friend during a meditation practice a few months before I fell ill. We were paired off and instructed to meditate looking into each others eyes then to report on what we saw.

I saw nothing in my partners eyes. He was a friends’ husband and I felt uncomfortable staring into his eyes. It’s the kind of thing that gives me the giggles, as does ‘large groups of people ‘Ohm-ing’.

During my bed bound years, his brief vision of me being 98 walking along a beach of a North Scottish or Hebridean island, became a firmer vision that kept me focussed on the fact that I would walk again one day, even if it was fifty years in the future.

“It’s the kind of thing that gives me the giggles, as does

‘large groups of people ‘Ohm-ing’.”


When I shared this vision, the lady who’d asked exclaimed that I’d just described exactly her home on a Hebridean island. I have never travelled further north than Aberdeen so only had my imagination to help with building this image.

Lyme disease

The lady who lives in my vision, is much younger than 98, but is currently unable to walk, severely crippled by arthritis and Lyme disease.

Busy as a Bee, embroidery by Paula aged 8
Busy as a Bee, embroidery by Paula aged 8

It would be all to easy to brush aside any coincidences between my chance meetings , visualisations and dreams. I have learned not to brush such things aside. Every thought and meeting is carefully logged away in my. soul, waiting for it’s special purpose to be revealed.

Busy as a Bee

As my work with bees blossoms, I am learning that every experience I have had in my life has a special resonance and relevance to what I am doing now. Even if running an art gallery, painting, dancing, collecting fabric, collecting plants and maps seems irrelevant, it seems that each day a previous skill or hobby is being requested and assists with the work I am now doing.

I can’t help believing that the bees are bringing everything together. I had never even dreamt of keeping bees or working with them, and yet now almost every aspect of my life has a bee influence or association.


Artist to Bees book by Paula Carnell
Artist to Bees book by Paula Carnell

All aspects of my life are connected by bees and seem to be uniting, travel, herbal medicine, minerals, painting and bees. It helps me see that we are all. complex results of our life time experiences, it’s not about what we do, where we work, or where we live. Just ‘bee-ing’ myself attracts work and people into my life that helps me to carry on just ‘bee-ing’. Is that the lesson, is that my purpose?






As it’s swarming season, and my personal collections of bees has increased from three to seven, with a similar increase in the bees I’m managing for my clients, who knows what I’ll be doing or ‘bee-ing’ twelve months from now. For the first time in my life it doesn’t worry me, I have dreams, and goals but I am absolutely loving living my life one moment at a time, and grabbing opportunities and experiences as and when they feel right.

I really feel that all my dreams are coming true!


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