By Friday night this week I arrived home exhausted.
Driving home feeling vulnerable, reactive and teary, without any clear explanation. I’d been ‘fine’ all week, keeping busy, carrying on, trying to be there for others, but not really being present and tending to me.
Feeling her healing light pour down on me, all other distractions aside, the beings of the night around me, I just sat with the moon, present to myself, reaching inside, breathing in the night air, peace and healing. The feelings poured through me.
After a long time, i wandered back inside, feeling my body release its tension as i relaxed into the pillow and a deep healing sleep.
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.
From 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!!
Remembering 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!
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?
That’s not new or anything, but it is one of my passions.
The tragic dilemma for me, is that i love eating food but i’ve not been the greatest fan of actually making it. I’m certainly no chef, but there’s few bits and pieces that i can put together. One of the things I’ve learned over the last year is to enjoy the process of food preparation.
For 2015, I’ve set the intention to learn to truly love the art of food preparation and to allow it to flow with ease from my essence. To enjoy the process of imagining, experiencing, researching, investigating, gathering ingredients, sharing ideas, learning techniques, preparing, eating and celebrating healthy food.
I love recipe books. I love gathering ideas from others about food that is both tasty and nourishing. My mother has a delightful habit of lying in bed most evenings perusing a recipe book for ideas. I’m convinced that the act of flicking through a recipe book and experiencing the recipes is an act of healing. You can feel it in your body! Being in the kitchen and preparing food using inherited family recipe books is an amazing place to connect with the love, nurture and wisdom of ancestors.
The body is this incredibly complex and wise entity. When we are in tune with it, it is capable of giving us really clear messages about what nourishes or harms it. I suspect that we have only just started to understand on the complex connection between mind and body. The more we go into the silence and listen to the wisdom of our body, the clearer and stronger this connection becomes. The intuition of the body is very powerful.
I particularly love quick, simple and easy to prepare recipes. Here’s one that is dead simple and always tasty. The recipe is a mishmash of tips gathered from various lovely friends who’ve shared with me over the years. I made this for a snack and the next day i had left overs for breakfast. The children totally devoured it!
2 x avocados
1 x dessert spoon of sour cream
1 clove of crushed garlic
1 x dessert spoon of sweet chilli sauce
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and blend together. Vary the amount of each ingredient according to personal taste.
Serve with chopped vegies for dipping, such as cucumber, carrot, celery, fresh beans etc.
In my local neighbourhood we have a buy/sell/swap for people growing fruit and vegies. The cucumber, lettuce and beans came from my friend Rachel, they are amazing, so fresh and tasty!
What do you add into your favourite guacamole recipe? Love to hear your thoughts…
It has been a while since i last posted. There has been so much going on…
Completing the art studio build, de-cluttering, cleaning and redecorating the whole house, oiling and polishing furniture, sorting through boxes and boxes of stuff, working on the garden, hosting my family for christmas lunch, and loads of personal growth, leading to vulnerability and breakthroughs.
Truth is by the end of Christmas, I was totally exhausted…
What an interesting path we travel through this life!
December 20 came and went, the twelve month anniversary of leaving full time work. What at journey this year has been, not always an easy ride, but a beautiful journey into wholeness.
At this point I am overflowing with gratitude, feeling more grounded and whole, which also includes more openhearted, fragile and vulnerable. The journey into love, self acceptance and peace has been tough, but totally worth it. As i’ve embraced this life, my body is feeling so much better, my intuition is on fire and i am loving my role as homemaker and creator.
Friends came to lunch recently and asked how i was travelling. Tears welled up in my eyes, embarrassed to admit that i felt lost, overwhelmed, at sea in emotions, unclear of the horizon and lacking clarity. After 12 months shouldn’t i be starting to get it together?
I’ve noticed that the most disconnected and vulnerable times often happen before the big breakthroughs.
So i just decided to be kind with myself, gentle self nurture and learning to love and accept the place where i am. After weeks of sleepless nights full of painful dreams, i went inside and listened to the quiet voice within.
Seeing, owning and shining a light on shameful negative patterns has allowed them to dissipate. Speaking this shame to a safe, trusted and caring friend has been the perfect healing balm.
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!!
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.
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!
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.
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.
At the event, our friend was asked how she was feeling about her first big fashion launch. After many years, long days, hard work, creating original design and strategic product development, negotiating manufacture using old artisan methods, honing her entrepreneurial business skills, building networks and strategic marketing to her customers.
Her response? “I’m just giving it a crack!”
Another Aussie saying for “giving it a go.”
And that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Stepping up, putting ourselves into the game, not being weighed down by anxiety and expectation. This first step could be a giant splash or a gentle breath. It’s about learning, developing skills, preparing, thinking, observing, doing our thing, being strategic with time, resources and action. But at the end of the day, it’s also about taking the risk, jumping in, embracing serendipity and just being yourself. Going with the process with an attitude of joy, lightness and grace.
This is certainly not to say it’s easy. But it’s about not being overwhelmed by the fear of failure and the anxiety of putting ourselves out there. We all experience this fear, but it’s about doing your thing anyway – being bold and game, yet being gentle and kind to yourself. Being your own frame of reference.
Recently, I talked about health and particularly the challenge of a regular exercise routine. Well, I’m taking a leaf out of my friend’s book, and just giving it a crack!
Not over-thinking it, just blending passion and action, which for me, means being out in the garden doing my thing. Here are some of the results…
A few months ago we went to a garage sale and found a great bargain about 60 square metres of pavers for $200. The catch… It didn’t include delivery – so each weekend we’ve been going in a borrowed van and shifting the loads by hand – this is the result – paving for outside of the studio we’re about to build.
Bit by bit, step by step, we got there. Back and muscles getting a good workout, but progress towards one of our goals.
Remember this disaster? The citrus orchard…
Well after digging out the weeds by hand with the garden fork, laying weed matting, mulching and planting, the bed now looks like this…
The shrubs have been recovered, (syzygium paniculatum dwarf, grevillea rosmarinifolia lutea and syzygium wilsonii) and i’ve planted the native blue flax lily (dianella brevipedunculata) which will form a great border as a tufting plant, interspersed with some winter flowering bulbs – jonquil and iris.
There’s still more work to do and my back is sore, but it’s my thing. It’s taking the first step and then keeping going. Not thinking too much, just planning and getting on with it, putting one foot in front of the other, savouring each step and trusting my intuition.
One of the tips i’ve learned is not to set daily task goals.
There’s an overall goal for the whole garden to be completely restored using native revegetation and permaculture methods, but i don’t set task goals for each day. Instead, i decide what i’m going to start working on, bring myself into the present moment, walk out the door, start working and finish when it feels the time to finish. This way i’m not engaging the critical mind in what i ‘should’ be doing, i’m not setting myself up with any expectation or possible disappointment.
When I do this in my garden each day, it feels energetically lighter and the irony is that i achieve far more than self imposed goals that engage the judging self!!
Here’s an example, if you’d like more happiness in your life – start by feeling happy or reaching for the energy of happiness, then do things that make you happy, which in turn creates more happiness in your life. Ok, so this might not be the magic panacea for everything, but I’ve found it a useful tool.
As for my foray into garden high fashion? Well these overalls fit the bill perfectly!
Looking at the big picture, the life changing transformation, leaving full time secure employment and stepping into the unknown, being my essence and allowing life to flow from this place with ease…
At the end of the day – I’m just giving it a crack!
Wishing you the very best in all your endeavours!
May they flow with ease and may you be filled with peace and joy!
Hot garden tip
The syzygium wilsonii, a native plant of Northern Australia is an absolute cracker! :o)
One of the blessings in my life is the 444 Spiritual Development Group. It’s a small peer based group of spiritual seekers. We take it in turns to facilitate sessions and sometimes we have guest presenters. This group is very diverse, yet we are all open to spiritual experience and exploration. In case you’re wondering, 444 is the number of our local bus route, which reflects the group, grounded and local.
Image “The seeker” from Carolyn Myss archetype cards
For the past twelve months, this group has flourished with the energy, enthusiasm and generosity of two beautiful soul sisters Julia Chai and Karen Langford. Julia posted a beautiful abundance and prosperity mandala to our facebook page recently, and it reminded me of my love for colour, mandalas and spiritual exploration.
Colour is one of the passions of my life. I love the way colour can impact on us, shifting our moods and altering our perceptions and experiences.
Here’s a fun and a quick energy healing…
A mandala meditation to bring your energy centres or chakras back into balance and flow.
Here’s the chakra system. You’ll notice two extra chakras in addition to the usual seven, these are the earth star (located about a foot below your feet, which anchors your energy into the earth) and the Soul or Sky Star (starting about a foot above your head, there are multiple chakras that link us to higher levels of the consciousness).
1. Start with focusing on your breath, slowly in and out, deep belly breaths.
2. Allow you mind to settle. Open to calm energy in your mind.
3. Scroll down through the mandalas, focus on one at a time. With calm breath and relaxed mind, look at each mandala. Allow your eyes to relax and drift into the energy vibration of each mandala.
4. Feel where the energy of each mandala resonates within your body. Each mandala corresponds to a different chakra.
5. As you become aware of the energy shift in your body, move your awareness to this chakra.
6. Stay with each image for as long as you need for the chakra to open and rebalance.
During this meditation you could play a musical soundtrack. Here’s an option posted by Yellow Brick Cinema:
Let’s get started!
THE EARTH STAR CHAKRA
Grounding you into the earth, connecting with Gaia, earth energy and the lower realms. When open allows stuck energy to drain out into the earth. Enables you to send good energy into the earth and for Gaia’s energy to flow into you.
Centre of identity and personal power. Abundance and prosperity. Fear, anxiety, opinion -formation, introversion and transition form simple or base emotions to complex. Digestion, expansiveness and all matters of growth.
The emotional centre. Compassion, tenderness, unconditional love for self and others, equilibrium, rejection and well being. Love and relationships. Connects the upper and lower chakras. The heart sets the beat of your own rhythm. The magnetic centre and anchor for your energy field or aura, particularly your etheric aura. Blood circulation, passion and devotion.
Link to spirituality and the state of pure consciousness, opening of channel to beings of light and the divine. Spiritual wisdom, moving beyond the physical body. Release of ‘karma’, meditation, universal consciousness and being.
1. To increase the energetic resonance, you could place a crystal on your body for each chakra you’re working on. It could be a crystal picked for that specific chakra, or you could choose one that feels right. If unsure clear quartz is a great option for all the chakras. Although, heavier ones such as bloodstone, black tourmaline or hematite, are generally better for the base and ground star chakras.
2. If there’s a chakra you’re particularly trying to heal, you could save that mandala (or find one that resonates with you) as a background for your computer desktop. Feel it’s healing magic work as you do your everyday tasks!
3.There a great CD called Chakra Danceand it takes you through music, dance and movement for each of the chakras.
Please share. I’d love to hear how you’ve experienced this activity.
Wishing you a beautiful day of harmony and balance.
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!
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:
diet and exercise
adventure and exploration
art and creativity, and
community and connection.
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.
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.
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.