Stunning beauty…

Breaking Surface

Let no one keep you from your journey,
no rabbi or priest, no mother
who wants you to dig for treasures
she misplaced, no father
who won’t let one life be enough,
no lover who measures their worth
by what you might give up,
no voice that tells you in the night
it can’t be done.

Let nothing dissuade you
from seeing what you see
or feeling the winds that make you
want to dance alone
or go where no one
has yet to go.
You are the only explorer.

Your heart, the unreadable compass.
Your soul, the shore of a promise
too great to be ignored.

Mark Nepo

 

Solitude and stillness.

Keys to connecting with soul.

Stand in direct conversation with the universe.

No intermediaries required.

solitude

Image by Colette Baron-Reid

 

Today the well is full of gratitude for poets.

Much love

Sarah

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Fragments of joy, part two…

When working, i put in 100%. I often went above and beyond, over-creating the role and making it stressful. The focus was always external, giving to others until the well was truly dry.  My needs got lost in the process, and there was very little left in the tank for fun and pleasure.

One great strategy taught by a friend was to always to have the next holiday, break or pleasurable activity planned for yourself. When she got back from holidays, she would book in the next long weekend or half day for a haircut and some pampering, whatever was needed. This could be a month out, but it was something to look forward to. She did it when she first got back when her energy was up and she was feeling good.

My partner is doing really long hours at work on a complex project at the moment, so we organised a weekend escape for some pampering and fun.  Here’s some of the lovely adventures we had in Sydney.  Should you find yourself in town, you might enjoy some of these options. Would love to hear about some of your special secret places in Sydney or other destinations!.

CHAMPAGNE AND CHEESE:

On the first night, we stopped in at Provenance Food & Wine Bottega Del Vino and they were giving out samples of this gorgeous French cheese Petit Délice des Crémiers

French cheeseOMG this cheese was so tasty with champagne and crackers!!

BREAKFAST AT YELLOW

www sydneyonsunday comImage from http://www.sydneyonsunday.com

The mornings spent drinking coffee and cooked brekkie in the sunshine. This historic old gallery and artist’s squat on Macleay Street has been converted into a delightful cafe. Particularly recommend the homemade bacon, homemade butter and jam, and fresh coffee.

SUNNING IN LIZZY BAY PARK, OVERLOOKING THE BOATS ON SYDNEY HARBOUR

IMG_20140621_110206_357Many of the Sydney harbourside suburbs have these delightful tiny parks that you can sit and enjoy the greenery, sunshine and the views.

TOFU BURGER WITH PEANUT SAUCE, AT BADDE MANORS CAFE ON GLEBE POINT ROAD www canberravegan blogspot comImage from http://www.canberravegan.blogspot.com

www rubyjacksonart com auImage from http://www.rubyjacksonart.com au

In the late 1980’s, when the Sydney adventures first started, I would often stay with family in Glebe and Newtown. There was nothing better than rummaging through the shops and soaking up the atmosphere on King Street and Glebe Point Road and the surrounding areas. They have changed over the years, there are less of the creative arts and unusual shops, but they are still beautiful. Badde Manors is a classic cafe, it was a wee welcome home – love it!

LOCAL FILM SCREENING, MORTARS, IN PARRAMATTA

www riverside parramatta com auImage from http://www.riversideparramatta.com.au

This film is interesting. Iqbal Barkat, a local film director, tells the story of a widow living on an isolated property next to an army base. She is seeking compensation for the damage to her house by disposal of armaments. A refugee man, who is lost and traumatised arrives on her land, and she offers him sanctuary. It explores their evolving relationship and attempts to communicate and connect. Delightful film.

CHAMPAGNE AT ‘LOVE TILLY DEVINE’ WINE BAR IN DARLINGHURST
www barzine com au

Image from http://www.barzine.com.au

I love these hidden away gems in the back alleys of our big cities. A warm and cosy bar, great for conversation and laughter.

TAKE AWAY VIETNAMESE DINNER FROM MISSCHU

www sydneyshopgirl comImage from http://www.sydneyshopgirl.com

HILDA RIX-NICHOLAS EXHIBITION AT MOSMAN ART GALLERY

www events mosman nsw gov auImage from http://www.events.mosman.nsw.gov.au

We went on sunday morning. The gallery is attached to a church, so we wandered through the exhibition to the reverberating sounds of ‘How great though art”. I suspect Hilda was a bit of a kindred spirit, she studied art in France before world war 2 and travelled to North Africa painting as she went. Her story was marked with tragedy, losing her mother, sister and husband in quick succession when she was young. The paintings created during this time are vivid and colourful. Our artists are such a treasure!

OPENING THE DESK TOP LOCK AT MY SISTER’S OFFICE

Finally, an unexpected treat. After moving bags of books across town, my partner was able to jimmy the lock on my sister’s desk and open it. To our surprise, the key was locked inside! An unexpected puzzle!

IMG_20140621_130137_386So wherever you find yourself, take time for whatever brings you joy and pleasure. It’s self nurturing and you totally deserve it!

We’d love to hear some of your tips and adventures in colour, sensation and joy!!

Wishing you many, many joyful moments in your day.

Much love
sarah

 

Thoughtful kindness makes a day…

I just heard this delightful story about my friend Mich.

Her 90 year old neighbour Norma, is celebrating her 68th wedding anniversary today.

www karinasussanto wordpress comImage from http://www.karinasussanto.wordpress.com

Sadly her beloved husband passed away four years ago and she misses him terribly.

So today, my friend surprised her with a bunch of flowers and a happy anniversary card, left on the doorstep for when Norma got home.

www etsy comImage from http://www.etsy.com

Norma was delighted and popped in to tell Mich that she made her day.

Best of all, to be able to make Norma’s day, made Mich’s day as well!

www htyear3 global2 vic edu auImage from http://www.htyear3.global2.vic.edu.au

I’m so proud of Mich’s beautiful kind heart!!

Don’t you love the happy feeling you get from such spontaneous and thoughtful kindness? In it’s purest form, there is a beautiful exchange of loving energy.

Both giving and receiving is a wonderful blessing!!

www susiesheartpathblog wordpress comImage from http://www.susiesheartpathblog.wordpress.com

Wishing for you unexpected kindness and the opportunity to give the same to others

Loving communities start with us, so thank you Mich for the inspiration!!

Much love

Sarah

 

The gift is the passion…

All of the stories in my blog posts are retold with permission.

One of the blessings of working in community services and teaching is the people one meets. Rarely did I come across someone who wasn’t wise, passionate about social justice and cared deeply for others.  Here’s an example: during a lunch break one day, a gorgeous, wise colleague told me a story about her daughter.

www timclayton photoshelter comImage from http://www.timclayton.photoshelter.com

Her daughter was tremendously talented at physical activity, sport in particular. Anything she tried was highly successful. Hers was a restless passion, not unusual for her age, every couple of years she moved from one thing to the next. My friend was feeling rather down, as her daughter had been a State champion in one sport and had to decided to give it away.

In a reflective moment, my friend said the most amazing thing:

“I suppose the gift isn’t the talent is it? It’s the passion!”

She was exactly right. For many years I had thought that being naturally talented was the important thing, but really it’s the passion.  To pursue and keep pursuing that thing, whatever the natural talent, that is the true blessing. Of course, I mean something that is not destructive to self or others, however you may define this.

Here are a number of beautiful examples of passionate people in my life.

www characterstrengths co ukImage from http://www.characterstrengths.co.uk

One of my sisters has always been academically successful. I remember in early primary school, my sister would arrive home from school with a new assignment and immediately start working on it, pursuing it methodically and with fervour. She has gone on to be at the top in her chosen field, medicine, and she recently told me:

“I was never motivated by success. I was never motivated by getting good grades or competing with others. The truth is that I had a thirst for knowledge and loved learning. This was my passion!”

A passion is a gift, but an enduring or lifelong passion is a blessing indeed!

www ebay comImage from http://www.ebay.com

Another of my sisters is a successful art historian at one of Australia’s leading Universities. She has published many books and travels each year for research. She has secured research scholarships at some of the world’s top universities. But here’s the thing, my grandmother told the story of her as a little girl, whenever she visited, she would explore my grandmother’s china and decorative arts collection. Never for the purpose of acquisition, but to appreciate and admire the beauty of the fine china jugs, the tea sets, and other beautiful objects. What an amazing lifelong passion!!

www flickr comImage from http://www.flickr.com

My dear brother, I think of him as the man with the magical ears! For as long as i could remember he has loved music, it feels like music flows in his veins. He plays numerous instruments and spent many years composing and arranging music. I feel so blessed to have him introduce me to jazz, classical and other great music. The work of fabulous jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespe, Chuck Mangione, etc. He introduced me to a whole world of magic and melody. When I’m really lucky, he still sends me compilations of music and suggestions for emerging musicians. Over the years, he has found innovative ways to weave his passion into his life, including music for community events, lighting for bands and photography at gigs.

I’m immensely proud of my siblings, particularly having seen first hand the years of hard work, dedication, courage and personal sacrifices that have gone into their success.

www s463 photobucket comImage from http://www.s463.photobucket.com

Not everyone has a clear passion. I certainly didn’t seem to. For many years I felt lost and unsure of my direction and purpose, and the truth is, that’s ok.  It took me a long time to come to understand and accept myself. I’d spent many years closed off and numbing my passions. After loads of healing and spiritual work, I’ve faced my fear of failure and found the courage to pursue some passions. Here are some examples:

www casnocha comImage from http://www.casnocha.com

At the end of my first Vipassana retreat, (total silence for 10 days, 12 hours per day of meditation), I was on such a high and so happy that I saw two paths unfold in front of me, one totally dedicated to the spiritual path, the other, going back home to my current life with spirituality woven throughout. This is my passion for spiritual development and following a reflective path.

www lovebugstudios comImage from http://www.lovebugstudios.com

At my first quilting class, I distinctly remember sitting at the sewing machine, overcome with a wave of exhileration. In that moment I thought that I could do quilting for the rest of my life and couldn’t remember having been so happy. This is my passion for colour and creativity.

www empiricalmag blogspot comImage from http://www.empiricalmag.blogspot.com

Finally my garden, each day it calls to me and at the moment I am finding it hard to do anything else. The digging, weeding, mulching, planting, it’s so exciting to see the birds and other curious animals drop in to see what’s happening (and find snacks in the upturned soil). This passion involves creating habitat for the animals and a beautiful environment for healing, helping Gaia move back into balance. My garden reflects my passion for justice, love and beauty.

It’s ok to be restless or unsure of your passions, but the key is a willingness to play, explore and uncover them. To stop being afraid, (or despite being afraid), dedicating yourself to that which you love. Sometimes when we’re are truly blessed, we are able to derive an income from pursuing our passions, if not, then there’s other amazing and creative ways we can weave our passion into our lives.

red miniImage from http://www.cariseasy.com

My partner has a lifelong passion for how things function, particularly metal work and vintage cars. He fixes computers for work and pursues his car restoration hobby in his spare time. I love supporting him to pursue his passion.

So here’s to you and your passions!!

Whatever they may be, let you find time for them and may you manifest them in your life on your own terms.

If your passion is unclear, then I wish for you time for play, exploration and experimentation. It may not be a thing that you do, it might be a love of justice, exploring ideas, socialising with friends, raising children, community building, caring for others or something else.

Whatever it is, enjoy it because you totally deserve it!!

Much love
Sarah

PS Here’s a photo my brother Tim wanted to include, it’s of the Australian Greens. He’s also passionate about environmental sustainability and social justice.

Tim Roberts photoImage by Tim Roberts

 

Divine recipe #1

amberalleneverydayherbs blogspot com

Image from amberalleneverydayhearbs.blogspot.com

Instructions:

1. Walk out to the garden or herb section of your local shop

2. Grab a handful of fresh basil

3. Shove your nose in it (if not allergic to basil) 

4. inhale deeply…

5. and sigh! :o)

Variations: also works with lavender, parsley and other aromatic herbs.

Have an olfactory satisfying day!

Much love

sarah

The manic call of passion…

We’ve just come back from a holiday in Melbourne. We started with a family wedding and then spent a week at Mt Martha on the Mornington Peninsula.  We stayed at the holiday home of friends of the family, such a generous gift.

On the first night, i scoured a guide book to pick out things to do. For me, a good holiday is a fine art, a balancing act between doing nothing but relaxing and doing enough to get inspired and enjoy the adventure. Of course, finding this balance is a completely individual thing.

I have some friends who schedule activity from dawn til bed time, others who plan absolutely nothing. I like to have a list of possible activities and plenty of room for spontaneity and the unexpected! I love to be able to go with my mood, how i’m feeling, rather than expectations. For me, the whole point of a holiday is that it’s “our time” to be scheduled however we choose.

As per our usual holiday experience, food was a bit of a focal point and we loved time driving around the sites and relaxing on the beach. Here’s the pick of my favourites:

The Peninsula Hot Springs near Rye. We spent five hours floating around these springs one cold morning, wiith a break in the middle at their cafe. We loved the corn fritters and buttermilk pancakes with berries. Hot tip, arrive before 9am and it’s half price.

www searoad com auImage from http://www.searoad.com.au

The good coffee with dark chocolate and berry muffins with lemon icing at Via Battista cafe at Mt Martha.  Totally irresistible!!

14 4 muffinsHanging out with one of my best mates Jane, who has just moved to Melbourne. Playing board games including Dr Seuss trivia; eating lots of good food; playing ukulele and our impromptu photo session at the Mt Martha beach boxes.

10320615_10152779404127678_4339151203260370930_nDrinks at a wine bar and seeing The Grand Budapest Hotel at the cinema in Mornington. The ticket seller at the cinema had the best sense of humour! It’s a cracker of a movie! Hysterically funny, fabulous cast and acting, starring Ralph Fiennes and directed by Wes Anderson.

grand budapestAn afternoon at the Arthur’s seat auto museum – inspiring for my partner who has a penchant for vintage minis and morris 1100s.

auto museumInspiration for me? The fabulous Heronswood, the Diggers Club at Dromana. These permaculture gardens use heritage seeds which can be ordered online.

10007251_10152443142390992_2433039613436638751_n IMGP0030 IMGP0055And, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne. Landscaped gardens only using Australian native plants. They won a gold medal at the Chelsea Garden Show last year. (Yeah – that’s there bragging rights I say!)

IMGP0124 IMGP0130 IMGP0137 IMGP0135We also slept, read books, relaxed and did a lot of nothing. After much trial and error, I think we’re finally mastering the art of a good holiday, our style.

On the last night, I expected to have a really good sleep as I had every other night. Instead, I was awake from about 1am to 4am. My mind was alive. I was being shown images of each of the garden beds and nooks in my garden back home, along with ideas for the planting i could do from the gardens at Heronswood and Cranbourne.  I could feel the excitement and motivation building and i was bursting to get home.

This week? I’ve been heeding the manic call of passion. I attended to the “have to do” things, but cleared out my diary, donned overalls and boots, and headed outside.  (Thank you to my lovely friends who have been understanding about me not getting out this week!) I’ve spent each day pottering about digging out weeds, repairing irrigation pipes, potting up tubestock, researching citrus trees, pruning and fertilising etc etc. Here’s the before shot of the citrus orchard.

IMGP0006I’ve also had some beautiful encounters with nature spirits. I had a serious conversation with them about working together for the benefit of us all. Particularly, for all the native plants and animals who call our property home. I talked to them about my plans, asked about what’s important to them, and suggested we could work together. When I go into the stillness and listen, I can hear them more clearly. Here’s tawny frog mouths sleeping in our frangipani tree, one opened his eye as i approached – sprung!

IMGP0006I’m pleased with the progress. It’s a start, there is such a long way to go, but it’s one step at a time.  Being in the moment and working together makes it so much easier.  Here’s the orchard after some work this week.

IMGP0009I hope you find inspiration and listen to the manic call of passion in your life this week.

Much love

Sarah

 

Releasing the burdens 2…

www brainpickings com 2Image from http://www.brainpickings.com

Wow these last three months have been a roller coaster! So much energetic clearing since i left work. I guess when you make a commitment to yourself to heal, well, the universe just brings it on. So i’ve just held on for the ride!

One of the first tasks crying out to be done, was to de-clutter my home. I joined a 28 day de-clutter boot camp run by Helen, a friend, at Clutter Rescue. This helped with motivation and useful strategies for getting my house organized.

We have a family story where my Mum is a minimalist, organized person and my dad has a love of stuff. As i grew up there was dividing line down the centre of my parent’s bedroom, one side organized and neat, the other, well? Let’s just say I was born on my father’s side of the room!

De-cluttering might be an understatement considering what i was dealing with. Perhaps total renovation is more accurate. Here’s the worst example, my messy back room!

IMGP0007I am someone who exists on the physical, mental / emotional and spiritual planes. I experience the material world as consisting of differing energies and in my cosmology the outer world reflects the internal world. Stuckness, or clutter, in my physical environment reflects energies stuck in my body, heart and mind, and the auric field. The truth is that not just my physical but my internal environment and energy field also needed de-cluttering. I was carrying a massive burden.

Here are some wisdom cards to help describe the experience.

TheBurdenImage from Osho Zen Tarot.

For me the first step is to identify the burdens that we carry. These include the physical possessions, the emotions, the beliefs systems, the thoughts, the old patterns of behaviour that are weighing us down. Some of the baggage includes self criticism, guilt, procrastination, perfectionism etc

The tanaste

Image from the Celtic Wisdom Oracle.

The second step is to make the decision to drop or release these burdens. This card (the inverted tanaste) suggests dropping the patterns of the ego – self criticism, fear, shame, dropping the lies that the false self tells us.

The Way-ShowerImage from the Celtic Wisdom Oracle.

The third step (the way shower) is to create an internal place of calm, to step into the stillness, the empty space. In this place of silence, it is about learning to hear, trust and follow your intuition. It will show you the signposts, the strategies, the tasks needed, when to take action and when to have a break.

The Prophet

Image from the Celtic Wisdom Oracle.

Final step (the prophet) – Learning how to be in your essence, that place of stillness and to allow all action to flow with ease from this beautiful energetic place. For me this energy starts with an open uncluttered heart and illuminates the expansiveness of the clear mind. It’s not just about listening to intuition but trusting it enough to follow it as well. In a way this is about handing it over and trusting the universe to assist in resolving it. When we do this, things seem to have a magical way of falling into place.

Going through the shedding process, the letting go can be confronting and challenging. Ask yourself – why am i holding onto this stuff? What fears are driving me or stopping me from letting go? For example – I recycled about 20 boxes of work materials, old papers, teaching materials, project materials, research material etc. I was holding on to these as they represented my employability skills and my fear of not being able to generate an income.

So how did i go? In some ways i felt like a failure as i didn’t achieve the goal within the timeframe. The first two days i was sick and barely got out of bed. My goal was massive, to organize my whole house within 28 days. The time frame, for me was a little unrealistic.

back room decluttered

The truth was that i was absolutely exhausted and burned out after leaving work. All i wanted to do was sleep, take it slowly, cook luscious food, heal and nurture myself and my family. I did go slowly, did a walking meditation each day with my dog Max at the local dog park. As I gently flowed through each day, lots of the ego stuff came up to be examined and released. I learned to be kind and gentle with myself whilst stepping through the work. I committed to at least one action each day towards de-cluttering.

The 28 day boot camp was the start for me and it extended into a cleanup that still continues. I am so proud of the results. I can definitely recommend making this a priority in your life.

www brainpickings comImage from http://www.brainpickings.com

I wish for you every inspiration, clarity and joy in your living space. Your home is your nest and a place for your heart to overflow with love and your mind to soar with creative inspiration.

Much love
Sarah

Out of this process, I’ve developed some workshops. The first is “Making your home into a heart space”. If you’d like to know more about these, please contact me – email thespiritualhomemaker@gmail.com

Wishing you abundance, profound peace and joy!