Some pages from the scrapbook of Henry’s January holiday fun…
2016 is going to be my year!
I got super organised in December. 2015 was reviewed, month by month, the lessons and wisdom extracted, focused vision, clear plans, goals and tasks for the year ahead. There was even a goal for the end of January – to complete a first project draft…
Image from http://www.bookkeepersoncall.net.au
And then life happened…
Image from http://www.teaplusart.wordpress.com
My father has become increasing unwell.
My sister and her two small children have been visiting from London.
We had a 10 day visit from a family from Southern India who have been dear friends to my parents for over forty years.
We’ve been displaced from our home for two weeks, house sitting and caring for house, dog (Pookie) and fish.
We have ended our decade long journey through infertility and other losses. Regrets, life choices, intense emotions, clearing out, etc
It’s been a pretty big time…
Image from http://www.sparkledaystudio.com
So having the energy and time to focus on my new project has been challenging.
I have been reading the book “essentialism” by greg mckeown and it suggests a simple filter for all of life’s decisions – “what is essential?”
Most importantly, “what is essential right now?”
Image from http://www.commoncorrelations.wordpress.com
Looking down from my tower of lofty goals and big plans, I asked, “What is important right now?”
Family took priority. Everything was set aside and the last three weeks (monday to friday) were spent playing games, cooking yummy food and hanging out.
So when i say life happened, i mean super, amazing, stupendous, fun and exhilerating life happened…
Image from http://www.letskeepbuilding.com
My 3 3/4 year old nephew and I created a collage scrap book of all our fun holiday activities – it’s rather thick, stuffed with imaginative games and adventures…
Image from http://www.transom.org
Of course, all this play had a serious side as well, to support my sister and parents with child care. I feel so grateful for this precious time to forge a relationship with my niece and nephew. Time, for me, is a hallmark of an abundant life.
It has been a fantastic time to clear out stuckness, to get energy moving, to reflect, re-evaluate and remember what is truly essential in life.
Naturally, I’ve been pretty tired most nights. It has also been a very intense emotional time of release, grief and sadness, lots of tears, but i’ve tried to be truly present as i’ve travelled through each moment.
Unexpectedly, I haven’t missed my home and all the associated burdens / work that come with a big property. Now is time to radically de-clutter, to go through everything and for each item ask – “is this essential?”
Also time to review the gardening strategy to create a lower maintainance garden. The fine art of gardening is as much about what you take out, as what you put in. This is a big shift in focus.
Image from http://www.startingwitha.com
But for today, with family gone and move back home, we’re having a quiet sunday of nesting and peace. Perhaps a trip to the local coffee shop for brunch.
Wishing you a peaceful Sunday and time on what is essential and truly matters to you!
One of my cherished early memories is of my grade 3 teacher, Mrs Webb. We had a special bond. We shared a passion for the creative arts, especially painting. She saw this in me and nurtured it.
I remember her classes in the art block at school, the old desks covered in paint splotches, the heavy wooden easels, paint tubs, brushes, paper, art materials etc. All the dark furniture squeezed into a overfull room, loaded with possibilities and excitement.
I would become totally absorbed in her classes. Entering a trance like state, i succumbed to the sheer delight of splashing away, mixing up colours, boldly and fearlessly scribbling, brushing and blobbing away on the page.
Mrs Webb encouraged me. She entered one of my paintings into a United Nations art prize, which won me $50 (a huge sum back then) and my painting was displayed in an exhibition at the local shopping centre.
I had a second painting on display called “Keep Australia beautiful like a pigeon!” (yeah, i know, seven, huh?!) I have such profound love and gratitude for Mrs Webb and the special interest she took in me.
My parents also nurtured my interest in painting and the arts. In grade 6, attending a year of Saturday morning art classes in Kelvin Grove, Mum and Dad came to one of the pottery sculpting classes. I still have the figurines we created together. I keep them in my display cabinet, a loving reminder of us three.
I loved a whole range of creative projects. The absorption into the process of creating is just as important as the outcome. I did sewing classes, played music, and other creative art forms. I remember a giant mural i painted after i saw the movie “Grease”, yeah i was an Abba chick too!
As i grew into adolescence, i started to fall away from myself, and pushed my love of art to back of the cupboard. I chose not to do art as an elective in high school, a decision that i changed by mid year 10. I have such clear memories of the euphoric day i switched back to the art stream.
But truth is, i really struggled to embrace art on my own terms, particularly the competitive nature of exams, assessment, comparison, internal pressure of performing to a high standard. I always rated myself so poorly that doing art became a stress that played with my inner demons.
So i became a shadow artist.
Over the years, i dabbled here and there with art and other creative projects.
The boxes of half finished objects and art materials stored under the house, for knitting, sewing, painting, craft etc. These boxes travelled with me from house to house, and I lived in creative paralysis, neither creating nor giving the materials away.
Professionally, I worked alongside community artists to encourage homeless young people and young artists to develop their skills, express their perspective on life and find a place of belonging in our community.
The heart of my journey with art can be summed up in one phrase:
SELF LOVE (or the lack of it).
The core healing for me has been the journey into worthiness. To shift my internal beliefs that i deserved to live a creative, expressive life and that i was capable of it.
Walking, vulnerable and open, into the healing process, i have come to understand that each of us has or can create a cornerstone self loving habit. This is some activity, that when done on a regular basis is like a gauge that monitors self love practice in our lives.
This self loving cornerstone habit is totally different for each person. It could be going to the gym, meditation, cooking, swimming at the beach, playing music, or whatever it is that is both nurturing and makes your heart soar.
For me, that self loving cornerstone habit is painting. I’ve run from it for years, yet picking up a paint brush, mixing up colours and painting is a healing balm for me. The outcome is irrelevant, it’s the process that means everything.
What is your cornerstone self loving habit?
The thing, that when you’re doing it regularly, you know that you are caring for you.
Do you struggle to name it? find it? or do it regularly?
I’d love to hear your story.
Wishing you the very best today!
Max (my moodle) and I go on lots of walks, but once a month, we go on a really special one. We walk around the local streets delivering invites.
Image from http://www.123rf.com
A few years ago, our neighbours started a social gardening club. The challenge of managing an acreage property was one of the obvious connections in our community.
At the end of every month a different neighbour hosts a Sunday afternoon event. We all bring a plate of food, something to drink, and cuttings or plants to share. The emphasis is social. Instead of doing actual gardening, we tour the host’s garden, glass of wine in hand and celebrate recent projects, plantings and achievements. On the way we swap gardening tips, anecdotes and wisdom.
Image from http://www.lesleysgirlsvintage.com
I love being able to look out from my deck and think, “ooh that salvia came from Jan!” or “that suggestion to remove the climbing asparagus fern with a mattock made it so easy!”
It’s so fun! The first time i went to gardening club, (sans hubby), i rolled back down the hill after 9pm rather jolly on wine and cheer after a bubbling social evening.
During the second garden tour, we were shown a vintage E type Jaguar under restoration. Kev isn’t the only vintage car restorer on the block, so he’s been a regular garden clubber since! We’ve seen some amazing old cars, including an original 60’s race car!
Image from http://www.earthporm.com
And that’s just the start of the commonalities, there’s the yoga teacher who runs classes from her lounge, the tai chi class on the corner, the neighbour writing a book on mental health and philosophy, musicians, drummers, painters, artists, families with young children and horse owners galore! Many retirees with diverse backgrounds, who have lived all over the world, including out bush! Such extraordinary stories and wisdom to share!
I love the diversity in our neighbourhood. Some folks have lived here for over 50 years and others are new arrivals. We have a variety of ages, cultures, nationalities, personalities and interests. But we share one thing, we love to garden, or at least have undertaken the challenge of maintaining a large property. Living on acreage really is a lifestyle that involves a commitment to regular gardening.
Image from http://www.aroundyou.com.au
Since its inception, most neighbours have hosted an event. It’s a joy getting to know each other, our homes and sharing a bit more about our lives and families.
We emphasise minimal stress! It doesn’t need to be a show garden, but hosting it is a brilliant incentive to get projects moving.
Kev and I have hosted twice. The first, our garden was a mess, so we invited our horticulturalist friend J to show everyone tips on weed management.
By the second one, hosted last April, we had made significant progress on our site.
Coming into winter, i brewed up a big cauldron of mulled wine and tasty treats, comfortable seating, house relatively clean. We toured the just completed art studio, kev’s shed, the newly planted cottage gardens near the house, and the native revegetation work down the hill.
Image from http://www.justhungry.com
One of the shifts from full time work has been less organic workplace social contact, so i’ve been intentionally creating these connections. This group is just one avenue for this. I now know most of the neighbours and feel a much richer sense of connection and belonging in my community.
In the last couple of years, with a bit more time on my hands, i volunteered to keep up the mailing list and send out the promotional flyers. I love this one simple thing that i can contribute to the club. Now i don’t claim to be the doyenne of community networking, in fact in previous homes, i’ve barely known the names of my neighbours. But it’s different here. Connectedness is not inherent to the suburb, we have chosen to create it.
Image from http://www.123rf.com
Now i have an ideological perspective and belief system about community and connection. The old saying thinking globally and acting locally. The healing of humanity through inclusion and belonging, but this just feels pretty simple. Just caring about and connecting with the people who live around me.
A gardener’s work is never done and we’re looking forward to hosting again next year. There is even talk of regular working bees on the properties of neighbours who could do with an extra hand. And our first garden club baby is on the way!
So each month, Max and i wander the streets.
“Ooh look at Eddie and Wilma’s camellias in flower!” or “Wow Claire and Nathan’s new horse fencing looks great!” or “Look how Adrienne and Peter’s native plants are coming along!”
At each house, we stop, i smile, (max often pees), and we deliver our wee blessing as we amble by.
I’d love to hear how you connect with your local community or is this something that doesn’t really happen in your neighbourhood?
Wishing you much love and connection
The first three months of this year have been busy. In addition to homemaking, i did some consultancy work for a local council, started a business course, and the development of a new online business. Now that involves a whole new layer of thinking and challenge which is the stuff of future posts, but this one is about following your intuition and listening to your fatigue.
Image from http://www.blog.simplyyouthministry.com
I’ve just come back from a five day break at Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island. I feel a strong spiritual connection with this place. When i was little, my godmother gave me the book “Stradbroke Dreamtime” by Oodgeroo Noonuccal, a Quandamooka elder, and i learned to read with it. I’ve been to Straddie for regular holidays for over 30 years. I love the beaches, the land and sea, the many moods of the tides, the fabulous wildlife – the birds, wallabies, turtles, dugongs, dolphins, whales, mantarays etc etc So many family and friendship memories in this place.
As soon as we drive onto the car ferry i can feel the tension fall away and the energy of the island infusing me with her healing balm. On arrival, we fell in a heap and easily slipped into the holiday routine. Morning swims, luscious home cooked meals, a long walk each afternoon with max, reading, naps and long peaceful sleep. Truth is, I had no idea just how tense and exhausted i was feeling.
Working from home sometimes feels like your not actually working, so the stress and fatigue can deceptively sneak up. We left Straddie before the Easter rush, but it felt too soon. There was still more unwinding and relaxing to get to the deeper layers, healing that long term exhaustion.
Image from http://www.intentionalworkplace.com
Arriving back, i’ve had an emotional couple of days. Old grief and sadness has seeped in at the edges and i feel split in two. My head thinks it’s a good idea to get back into working on the new business, but my heart is saying no, stop, rest, play…
Instead of pushing through, my heart has won out. This is breaking an old pattern – so yeah!! Heading up to the studio, i’ve pulled out some canvases, paints and brushes and i’ll spend the next few days painting and playing with colour. I’m not yet sure what will emerge, but that’s not really the point, it’s the joyful expression that counts.
Image from http://www.childrenstoy.biz
Perhaps it’s the energy of easter? The breaking of old patterns, releasing and letting go of the old in order to transform and create the new? Is this a familiar energy cycle for you at Easter?
Wishing you a most delightful break following your heart’s desire. Listen to what ever it is that you need right now. Most importantly, i wish for you gentle kindness as you go through your day. Know your own heart’s wisdom and the perfection in that.
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.
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.
Image from http://www.carisroane.com
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.
Image from http://www.imgur.com
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!
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)
Image from http://www.mymodernmet.com
Image from http://www.omgdays.wordpress.com
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
OMG this cheese was so tasty with champagne and crackers!!
BREAKFAST AT YELLOW
Image 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
Many 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 Image from http://www.canberravegan.blogspot.com
Image 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
Image 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
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
Image from http://www.sydneyshopgirl.com
HILDA RIX-NICHOLAS EXHIBITION AT MOSMAN ART GALLERY
Image 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!
So 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.
Two cards drawn this morning – MENTOR and CHILD: NATURE.
The message received – Let nature be your guide.
Images from Carolyn Myss archetype cards.
Max sat on my lap during the writing, so I cannot take full credit for this work! :o)
There are times in our lives when we all need our nurturers, teachers and mentors. These don’t always arrive in human or even visible form. We can have spirit teachers, guides, ancestors, teaching angels, nature spirits and others who assist us on our journey. We simply need to ask.
One of my gurus and a great joy in my life is our moodle (maltese x poodle) “Max”. Although small in stature, Max is big in wisdom and character. Max came into our lives at the start of a long and painful journey. Our friend J owns Ruby, his mum, and the neighbour’s dog, Ralph, is the father.
We went over a few times to visit this wee puppy and loved him from the first moment. When we arrived, Max took one look at us, said hello and ran off to play!
We discussed names and felt drawn to “Max” as he was the larger of the two puppies in the litter and well, it just suited him, it just felt right. When we told J, she laughed, because without us knowing, Max had been the name she’d been calling him since he was born, but she’d left the final naming to us.
On the way over to pick him up the last time, we stopped at a coffee shop in a wee panic. Were we ready to take on such a big commitment? A dog, for us, this was for life. Fortunately we did and Max has been the best companion.
So here are some of things I’ve learned from Max:
Max is the embodiment of joy! He has a pure loving heart and is full of curiousity, courage and a sense of adventure. He lives in the moment. Max has his own little joyful dance. Up on his back legs and waving his front legs up and down. Whenever someone comes to the door, they are of course there to see him. He does his joyful dance and goes through his excited greeting ritual, which involves loads of bouncing and joyful squeals. He got so excited once, he pee-ed on our friend’s foot, luckily a good friend! Now the first thing I ask when guests arrive, “are you a doggy person?”. He has a particularly special bond with a few of our friends.
Max is naturally a very gentle and kind dog. It took him about 18 months until he met a dog that was aggressive towards him and he was literally taken aback, surprised at the hostility of another being. He used to always roll over and be submissive, but he has learned to stand his ground now. Regular dog park visits and training has socialised him well.
Everything in Max’s life is a treat and received with gratitude and joy!
Max lives life with intensity and focus, he actually has full body thoughts. Just by watching his body language I can see him change his mind, problem solve things and express his feelings. Even if he has been left alone all day or experiences something he doesn’t like, he doesn’t dwell on it, he literally shakes it off and chooses to just be happy again.
New sniffs, new smells, new adventures, the world is an exciting place, full of adventures and discoveries. Things to be chased and barked at, conversations to be had, and of course at the end of it all big long naps!! There is nothing better than hanging your head out of the car window, smelling all those new whiffs and feeling the breeze rushing through your coat.
As a poodle, Max is very clever. From a young age he would problem solve situations and change his behaviour according to how he read people and situations. When we go to the dog park, he runs the whole circuit and says hello to every dog and person. Recently we were there and he came bounding up to a pair of small dogs, one was very nervous and started barking aggressively. Max ran away but the next time round he stopped about 2 metres from the same dog and allowed him to approach on his own terms. They became best of mates. He’s a whiz at managing other dogs, he very good at putting young silly puppies in their place, whatever their size.
Max is also very good at reading and managing people. We took him to dog training and he picked it all up immediately. The thing is that he turns his obedience on and off according to his judgement of what he can get away with, so he is a bit of a chancer!! For example, he is the model of a perfect dog when my father in law visits. When he first met our friend, a dog whisperer, you could see in his body language he was so excited that he was noticed, understood and could communicate so clearly.
Whenever we go somewhere at night, if it gets too late and max is tired, he’ll go and sit by the door ready to go home. When he’s tired he just takes himself off to bed, content with his predictable and loving home, and his regular routine. I’m sure on those long days, left alone whilst we were at work, the fairies came and tickled his paws to keep him amused!
Then of course there’s the help in the garden, which isn’t the most fun, that mower sounds awful, but he gets to hang out with his pack, one of his favourite things. Max is authentic, honest and completely true to himself. He is also a comfort dog, if you can’t find Max, you can guarantee that he has found most comfortable place in the house. Which in the past has included the pillows on my in-laws bed, this only happened once!
There’s nothing better than growing your coat long and collecting whatever you can on your long walks. One of the disadvantages of very short legs is that the ground isn’t too far away, which is great for collecting leaves, dirt, sticks, smells etc. Rolling in things, like dead birds, ooh the smell!
Not very keen on getting washed, he avoided water for a long time until he realised the value of water cooling you down on a hot summer day, and afterwards, you can run around to dry like a total lunatic, letting the excitement zap through his body! No one throwing you something to chase? That’s alright, you can pick up anything in your mouth and lob it across the room – shoes, bones, even dog bed mattresses!!
There are clear rules in the house (no jumping on sofas or bed, no begging for food) but by his very nature, Max is one to take advantage of opportunities (including a pair of very malleable owners!)
So here’s to all the teachers, mentors and joyful companions in your life. May they fill your home with love and laughter. May we be wise enough to observe, listen and learn from them!
PS This also includes cats, turtles, birds, gold fish, guinea pigs, snakes, possums, spiders, or any other living being that graces your home! :o)
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.
Image 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.
Image 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!
Image 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!!
Image 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.
Image 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:
Image 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.
Image 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.
Image 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.
Image 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!!
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.
One of the of the major priorities in my life these days is health. I’m not a naturally physically active person. Some people I know go stir crazy if they haven’t exercised, well that’s not me, I don’t even watch sporting activity. While there have been many attempts in the past, they were not sustained.
These attempts were also undermined by perfectionism and negative self talk which demolished any motivation – “you should be exercising more”, “you should be eating healthier”, “you’re not doing enough”, “you’re not good enough”, “you shouldn’t, blah blah blah..” How frickin’ miserable!
Image from http://www.slate.com
In the last six months, I have set the intention for this to change and to thankfully welcome optimal health. Recently James Clear wrote a fabulous blog outlining a broader definition of health. He suggests health as containing four aspects:
This definition is more holistic – considering the physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and contextual layers of health.
For me, the quest for better health has been a spiritual journey. Each day, I revisit the intention, to create health in my life. I have consciously shifted into an energetic space of just being and being healthy, and the rest is falling into place. I’m not saying it is easy, as it’s a step by step reaffirmation of this commitment. Most importantly, when there are slip ups, it’s about being kind and self compassionate, rather than harshly judging.
Image from http://www.meditationbenefits.co
Regular meditation and spiritual practice has helped me to become more sensitive and aware of the needs of my body. As we listen to our bodies, they’re incredibly good at telling us what we need. This includes listening to the needs of the heart and mind, and guidance from intuition. If you’re a spiritual person, you can ask for assistance from your healing teams in spirit as well!
Meditation helps to calm the critical voices and self analysis enables understanding. Seeking health has also been a journey into self love, self compassion and kindness. I am so grateful for my health, many dear friends experience compromised physical health and they have taught me, amongst many other things, to treasure this blessing.
As for physical exercise, I find it so much easier doing activities i love – gardening for hours, walking my dog max, dancing to some funky music, moving meditations, walking on the beach or mountains or other beautiful environments etc. When i blend pleasure and exercise, it’s so much easier!
A bit further along the path towards health, my body has started to crave the good stuff. Today there was an overwhelming urge to eat something green, broccoli in particular – go figure! Glad to find this broccolini on the discount shelf at the local fruit shop! Steam it, cover in butter, add a little pepper – yum!
As health has become a priority in life, naturally more time and actions support this, which in turn creates this feedback loop of greater energy and more vibrant life force.
Today I’m making a bone broth recipe from one of my spiritual mentors Nicole Cody. She has documented her inspiring and tough journey towards health whilst living with late stage lyme disease.
Image from http://www.cauldronsandcupcakes.com
This bone broth recipe is a great basic stock that can be used as the base for soups, pasta sauces and loads of other dishes. It’s full of nutrients and juicy flavours. I make it about once every fortnight. Tonight we’re using it to make this Tomato, bacon and lentil soup recipe.
Image from http://www.cauldronsandcupcakes.com
I’ll write more stories about my unfolding spiritual journey and Nicole’s mentoring in future posts, but in the meantime enjoy her gorgeous recipes…
Wishing for you vibrancy in your life. May you know love, connection, creativity, adventure and cherish the beautiful physical body that has been gifted to you. May you know joy and freedom from pain.
Btw – the soup recipe is awesome, very hearty and filling and oh so healthy!! Thanks nicole! :o)