Big girl glasses…

Some of the best things about being human – our magic, our strength and our foibles. The last can be a source of frustration and amusement.

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Here’s my latest one…

Just recently, i went to my first optometrist appointment, did an eye test and received a pair of prescription reading glasses.

Now that seems like a pretty pedestrian thing to do, and it is.

Except that my eyes have been overcompensating and my reading has been fuzzy for a few years. The denial and avoidance was not just because i’m the procrastination queen!

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So why? Why has it taken so long?

I could make excuses, time, money, busyness etc, but that would be bollocks, cause we all make time and find the resources for the things that are important.

The truth is, it’s because i’m getting older!

Much as my ego likes to pretend that i’m not, that part of me, that bit that fears aging, focused on my eye sight and pretended everything was fine!  Just give it time, it will heal itself!

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I am also one of the few family members without glasses, and I kinda liked that uniqueness!

Don’t our egos tell us funny stories?

Quite a few years ago, my sister mentioned that 44 is often the age that people with otherwise good vision might need assistance with eye sight.

But not me! Forty four came and went, and i was fine, right?

My little ego danced away in denial about getting older for over two years.

come to the edgeFrom the Wisdom of the Oracle by Collete Baron Reid

So a few months ago, I called myself on it, put on my big girl pants, made the appointment and took myself off for the eye test.

Turns out i have presbyopia, common garden variety, age related, near sight degeneration.  It’s harder to focus on short distances, but my long distance vision is fine, better than 20/20.

The Chinese word for this “Lao Hua” or old sight. So it turns out that whilst i had myopia of the mind, I was evolving old sight of the body!

My body is one of my great wise teachers. Mental note, listen more!

Standing in the glasses shop, i spent almost an hour trying on specs for my hard to fit nose.  (This post is being written peering through said lenses.)  And of course, it was the best thing i’ve done in ages!!

IMG_20160203_143316Remembering how much I love reading, the last few months i’ve been ploughing through the stack of books on my bedside table. Most evenings are spent engrossed in some tale or wise tome.

Reading is an early love, it’s been missed and welcomed back with a big heart. Luckily my parents read to us as kids, instilling a life long love. Feeling gratitude for all our writers and thinkers.

The best bit, not only does it help with physical focus, but it also helps with concentration. Wearing the glasses, the book or computer screen is in full focus but the background is fuzzy, which reduces distraction. It’s like a tunnel of focus.

The cure for the mental myopia – to embrace aging, of course! Still working on that one!

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Here’s a question for you.

Is there anything you’ve put off that ultimately, will probably be really good for you?

Love to hear your story.

Wishing you a brilliant day of love and connection with yourself

Big love

Sarah

Some of the fab books recently devoured:

  • “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • “Daily Rituals” by Mason Currey
  • “The Go Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann
  • “Poke the Box”, “Tribes” and “We are all weird” by Seth Godin
  • “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle
  • “Zen and the art of making a living” by Laurence Boldt
  • “What I know for sure” by Oprah Winfrey
  • “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown

And a few others…

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Books come to life…

The whole of life has been a spiritual journey and if truly honest, and game enough to declare it, the endgame for me, is enlightenment. The illumination of the soul’s potential and oneness with the creator.

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Image from http://www.bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/is-enlightenment-the-goal

I don’t really know what enlightenment is and how to get there, but for me consistent meditation practice, gratitude and humility are some of the keys.

On the way, as i meditate, heal, release, learn and grow, spiritual gifts, intuition and awareness have increased or dropped in. These gifts are gratefully received, but never expected. Many years ago, i was instructed that it is easy for the ego to get caught in the illusion of these experiences, and to distract from the core task of spiritual evolution. The raising of the soul’s vibration and the arrival of wisdom.

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About five years ago, a strange thing started that i’d not experienced since childhood.  Books started to come to life! Or perhaps books are triggers that bring me to life? Quite literally, when reading particular books, i can feel it’s energetic resonance, it’s vibration. There are a few that have particularly touched me, affected my life and healing, and have given great wisdom. I am truly thankful to the writers of these books.

When this happens, I can experience a range of things.  These include: tingles all over my body; zappy shocks up and down my spine; goose bumps everywhere; my body starts to vibrate and pulse, particularly in the higher chakras; new energies can break through; visions may appear, seeing various colours, flashes of light or images; my ears ring; i can feel energies around me; amongst other things channeled wisdom or messages may drop through. Other things have happened as well, being lifted out of my body for example. Meditation has taught me to observe this occurring, with no expectation or judgement.

Although this video is an exaggeration, these experiences remind me of this scene from harry potter.

This scene always makes me smile!

It’s not something that i can explain. Some might see it as an active imagination, but for me it seems to be part of the process of spiritual awakening, and is stronger when there is something particular to observe or learn. Perhaps it occurs to draw my attention to these spiritual lessons? As i read, it’s like i’m tuning into the energy beneath the words.

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I understand that this experience is different for everyone, as each individual will resonate with different books.

Have you experienced anything like this? Have you ever physically experienced the energy of a book? I’d love to hear how you experience and explain this phenomenon. Perhaps you experience it as the flight of imagination?  How do you make sense of it? Love to hear your story.

Have a juicy and inspired day!

Much love

sarah

ps I couldn’t fit many in this post, but for something fun, google image search “books come to life” or “magical books” and enjoy all the fab images! :o)

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Fragments of joy, part one…

On a whim, we went to Sydney last weekend. We booked at the last minute, using frequent flyers, found a cheap hotel in Potts Point and visited some of our favourite haunts. It was the last chance to catch up with my sister before she heads overseas for 12 months. So the short time was focused on enjoying some relaxing time together and helping her get away.

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Sydney is one of my favourite play cities. I have visited every couple of years since my late teens. Beloved family and friends live there.  We love catching up and indulging the senses in the sunshine, sights, creativity, beauty and sounds that make up this lovely city.

In thinking about this post, an old dilemma resurfaced. Writing about joyfulness, pleasure and beauty – does it present a false picture of my life? Am i entering into that egoic social networking space of “look at me and my fabulous life’? This creates an illusion and can generate a negative backlash.  This got me thinking about the kaleidescope of emotions, especially the ones that are less palatable.

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“A person who wishes another ill, is jealous, envious, or angry towards another person, is said to have the evil eye.”

When travelling in the middle east, we were given similar interpretations of the evil eye. To avoid this, one does not draw attention to successes or blessings, as this may provoke the ‘evil eye’, or envy reaction, in others and bring down negativity on oneself. Instead, one humbly and gratefully accepts the gifts one is given without showiness.

Now most of us quietly admit, that there are times of being possessed, or at least lightly touched by the evil eye or the little green monster. Usually this comes from a place of feeling something is missing in one’s life. This can be generated by negative self comparison and not feeling good enough. Envy is one of the emotions that can be stigmatised, so we often hide it, ashamed and embarrassed.

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Recently I was inspired to read in Conversations with God, that envy is quite a normal human emotion, and to use it as a tool to identify what is missing, and become inspired to create that thing in one’s own life. To see it as a message from the soul about it’s aspirations, and to use it as motivational, rather than destructive energy.

It also helps to examine that which makes us envious – is it a constructive thing, like love and connection, or destructive? Often envy of material things is a metaphor for what that thing represents, eg freedom, opportunity, relief, security, fun, feeling worthy and esteem about oneself, happiness, etc. So it can help to dig deeper to uncover what it is we truly desire which is aligned with our values. This is our personal ethical journey to unravel.

To assist in writing this blog, i drew some wisdom cards to examine it further.

THE SCRIBE AND THE HEDONIST.
scribehedonistImages from Carolyn Myss Archetype Cards

Well I couldn’t get a clearer set of cards that focused on the question of writing about pleasure, beauty and joy.  There is a balance in these two cards, the first is reflective, contained and focused, the second is open indulgence. The blue of communication in words of the throat chakra and the red of the sensual pleasures of the base chakra.

It is a about finding the balance between the two. That to write about joyful things is not done with the intention of a self indulgent boast but rather in a measured way, to reflect, celebrate and inspire.  To value the small blessings that we are all given. The key to resolving this dilemma is authenticity in the intention and manner of the writing.

What stood out for me in the first card was the pages laden with words and information. Everyone has their fabulous gifts to share with the world – one fabulous gift is sharing information about delightful experiences, places and opportunities that can be explored later.

This post is about all that great stuff, but also about the broader emotional landscape, that through its contrast, makes the joyful stuff so special. The truth is that joy coexists with moments of intense darkness – pain, sadness, loneliness, that stuff we all experience. The light exists in contrast to the dark, perhaps our task is to experience it with love and compassion, rather than judgement?

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Brene Brown’s work on shame and wholehearted living, tells us that we can’t selectively numb our feelings. If we choose to engage in the fullness of life, it includes the vibrancy of both the light and the shadows. At this stage in my life and writing, I choose to focus on and share the light, love and wisdom gained from these experiences. It has not always been like this for me, so I honour this and choose to experience without judgement, the whole kaleidoscope of emotions in order to lead a richer life.  It is not always an easy path but it is authentic and real.

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Getting back to the weekend in Sydney, well that’s for part two.

In the meantime, experience the fullness of life with a whole and joyful heart, and be very kind and gentle with yourself during those darker moments.

Much love

Sarah

 

 

Releasing the burdens 2…

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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.

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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!

Wisdom cards and me…

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” William Shakespeare

mythic tarot the starImage “The star” card from the Mythic Tarot deck.

This post has been hard to write. Writing about spirituality, for me, is like picking up a single thread from a great tapestry, and whilst there is insight and truth in that thread, it does not capture the whole. The unfolding spiritual journey often involves threads of truth emerging, but using words limits and never fully captures it. It is like a sign post or symbol which points in a direction but is not the thing itself.

Many, many years ago, in my late teens, I bought my first set of Tarot cards. They were the ‘Mythic Tarot’ set, a good beginner set, with clear cards and book of explanations. At a young age, I was eagerly hoping for insight into my future – romance, work, career, travel etc. Naively wishing that my perfect future lay waiting for me, all i needed to do was to know about it and step into it. It would arrive fully realised!

Well maybe this is a slight exaggeration, but I was certainly quite naive and passive. The wise part of me always took this approach to tarot card readings with a grain of salt.  As a benevolent sceptic, open to anything but believe nothing, I intuitively knew there were other approaches.

In my experience, there is not one set future, rather an infinite number of possible futures and that we create it, in partnership with the universe, through our own free will, thoughts and actions. Events and experiences occur beyond our control, yet we have the capacity to create how we understand and respond those events.

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Every experience in life has a potential for learning and allowing us to become our highest, expanded self. What are the lessons and opportunities that present in life that enable this? It is easy to get caught up in the story. It seems so vivid and real at the time. Now I acknowledge the story and my reactions to it as great teachers, but also try to dig deeper and see the egoic pattern that underpins these stories. The story changes, yet it is often the same pattern recurring in different forms. It will continue to do so, until we resolve this pattern, understand the lesson and realise the opportunity to become our highest selves.

I usually draw a card each day for myself, a little wisdom card that might help to focus or understand the key themes and energies for the day. How i approach this has changed remarkably over the years, hopefully an indication of some maturing on my spiritual journey. Now i have few questions and don’t seek details of the future. Instead I approach it with openness, and seek wisdom and insight for the highest good for myself and others.

I now call them wisdom cards, and i see them as channelling tools to access universal wisdom. For anyone wanting to access this wisdom, they could use any tool – poetry, artwork, song, dance, books, music, any object or experience. I love the randomness of a set of cards.  I rarely use the ‘guide book’, instead i tune into the card and whatever messages or wisdom might emerge at a particular time. This can change for the same card at different times.

Here’s are some examples:

seven of cupsThe SEVEN OF CUPS from the Rider Waite tarot deck. This card has been coming up in my mind for some months now. For me it represents living within the constraints of 3 dimensional, linear time. Within finite time and energy, what are our priorities and how do we choose to direct our life force energy? This might be: the acquisition of wealth; achievements and victories; adventures, play and travel; nurturing an abundant hearth and home; being of service to others; time with friends, family and community; creative expression; unfolding on the spiritual path, or other priorities.

We might like to have everything, but this rarely resonates with experience. Attention given to one aspect may result in less time for other priorities. How do we consciously choose to direct our time and energy? What do we focus on? Do we spread ourselves thinly across a broader range of goals or perhaps pick one or two to pursue in greater depth?

It can also suggest a lack of clarity. What is our heart’s desire? Are our decisions based on this? Is it flowing from our essence, rather than ego? Perhaps it is a good time to reflect and focus on what we want in our lives?

hero_heroineImage from Caroline Myss Archetype cards.

Here’s another – THE HERO / HEROINE. What mountains do we build in our minds and life? What barriers do we create that stop us from living from our essence? Do we feel like we need to undertake these massive tasks and achievements in order to feel worthy? Doing a momentous thing is of value in itself. Being good enough, being awesome is a thing in itself. The two things are not necessarily interrelated. How do we allow them to stand alone as pillars in our lives?

poetImage from Caroline Myss Archetype cards.

Over the last few weeks, this card – THE POET has been drawn 8 times. Day after day, i was being given the same message. Was i getting it? Not just in my head, but was i understanding it in my heart and my experience? Was i living the message? Often when we put up ego blocks to messages, there will be repetition. For me this card is about self expression and creativity, particularly through words and voice. These can be words of truth, love, peace and beauty. This blog and the canvases have been calling me back.

Finally I have listened!

Today i wish for you creativity, insight and wisdom.

Much love
Sarah

When sorry is not an apology…

oceana

Image from Doreen Virtue “messages from your angels”.

I used to say sorry a lot. An awful lot. It can become a meaningless habit, a short hand word, a social lubricant used to smooth social situations. Often ones in which there may not be anything for which to apologise or for which someone may not be genuinely sorry. Other people may find it virtually impossible to apologise, to say sorry for how they have impacted on others, the shame of engaging with their own imperfections, the guilt of what they have done or perhaps the fear of rejection or intimacy is too great. Others may be unaware of their impact on others.

Examples of the use of sorry could include:

– The expression of egoic imperfection such as “i’ve forgotten your birthday” or “i’ve managed to use really clumsy words and emotions to express myself and i have offended you”, sorry
– Social graces and politeness – “i’ve stepped in front of you”, sorry
– Social embarrassment for someone who doesn’t take responsibility for themselves “you’ve walked into me”, sorry,
– Apology for your truth “you haven’t listened and i’m trying to state my truth”, sorry
– Apology for someone else’s stuff, their emotional reaction to something you’ve done “you’ve had an emotional reaction”, sorry
– An apology for being “I’m speaking my truth or taking up too much space”, sorry

Women in particular are good at apologising for their truth and the space they take up in the world. Here’s a fab talk by a young woman Lily on Upworthy which articulates it incredibly well.

taking up too much roomImage from http://www.anonymousartofrevolution.com

A genuine apology is an act of tremendous courage and an act of forgiveness is a gift of incredible loving kindness.

So what is a genuine apology?

Some years ago i attended a Festival of Ideas and saw a lecture by Johan Galtung, an international peace negotiator and academic. He spoke wisely about the nature of a genuine apology. He said it involved three parts

  1. An account of what you have done, stated in the first person, not “i am sorry that you got upset when…” but “i am sorry that i did, said…”
  2. A willingness to listen to an account of how this has impacted on the other person
  3. A commitment to learning, change, healing or action to ensure that it won’t happen again

So what are or can we be responsible for?
– To accept responsibility for ourselves, for our actions, omissions, our imperfections stemming from our ego, the courage to be imperfect to be truly seen
– To accept responsibility for ourselves and our reactions, bearing in mind that most of our reactions come from the human ego not the divine spirit within us
– To listen, truly listen to how we may have impacted on others, being mindful that we are not responsible for the reactions of others, merely our behaviours
– A commitment to seeing our imperfections, accepting them, lovingly embracing not criticising them and embracing growth and change. What action do we need to take to ensure we are not continuing to repeat these patterns? What do we need to learn and/or to heal?

john-lennon-self loveImage from linaway.com

In my experience, when operating from a place that is not self loving, i am more likely to act in a way that negatively impacts on others. When i am off centre, operating from unchecked ego, out of balance with my loving core, then i may not be kind or loving towards other people.

Some patterns towards others when we are not self loving include:
– Loss of self, giving up of self to the expectations of others, giving and merging with others, can also be used as a way of controlling others
– Making oneself invisible, accommodating to the needs and expectations of others to the point of giving up one’s own power and own agenda
– Controlling expectations of others, often developed from a young age when a child feels powerless, they might use their mental expectations of others as a way of asserting control

This week i was offered and gave a precious gift. It was the gift of reconciliation. A dear friend and i had a conversation about a misunderstanding that had occurred about 18 months ago. We entered the conversation with open hearts, speaking our truth and listening to the other, really genuinely listening at a very deep level. It was scary, it was painful, it was brave and courageous, it was sacred.
reconciliationImage from filipspagnoli.wordpress.com

Reconciliation is a precious gift. It is the gift of a second chance. A willingness to engage in a conversation that can lead to forgiveness demonstrates faith in another person’s capacity to grow and change over time, to take responsibility for their actions. The passage of time can allow someone to be in a different place and have a different perspective.

There is a lingering pain that can stem from the regret of a friendship lost, particularly if you have changed, learned the lesson and not been given the opportunity for reconciliation.
Reconciliation can take time, authenticity, listening, speaking your truth, being vulnerable, being whole hearted, allowing oneself to be seen, including one’s imperfections.Brene Brown has done some great social research on embracing your imperfections and living wholeheartedly.

Reconciliation is the meeting of equals, it requires listening with an open empathic heart to another person’s truth and speaking your truth with insight and courage. Some of the most courageous people i know are the ones who see their flaws and own them as part of their whole being. Empathy is listening and feeling the experience from the other person’s perspective, not from your own. How did they feel about the situation? How did they experience it? How did it impact of them?

Trust the processLet go & Trust the Process: Unveil Your Gift, Libby Creagh. Image from www.elephantjournal.com

Where possible, i also suggest entering into the conversation with no expectations of an outcome, trusting the process and not being afraid of silence, to listen and digest what the other person has said. The friendship may or may not continue. Sometimes the best outcome of such a conversation is to allow you to move to a place of peace and letting go of the stuckness and conflict. It may be that you no longer continue the friendship, but you’ve let go of it from a state of grace, rather than holding on to pain and regret.

Conflict is an inevitable result of diversity and difference, when it arises it can be an opportunity for intimacy and growth.One thing i have noticed is that conflicts that occur over and over in different relationships may be a repeating pattern where we haven’t learned the lesson of our own ego. In which case, it is likely to occur again until we get it.

I wish for the blessing of healing and reconciliation in your life.

Much love
Sarah

I’d love to hear your feedback and reflections on this.