Country life: snakes alive!!

This photo, taken in my home town, has been doing the rounds on the internet these past few weeks, and well, it looks a bit creepy!

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

It’s an image of a carpet python crawling through a gap in a bath room ceiling heat lamp.

We live in a country area, so there are heaps of snakes, including these carpet pythons, and we have the same heat lamp in our bathroom. It has a small bulb and there’s a big gap. Truth is, I’m quite scared of snakes! But spiritual growth involves facing your fears, doesn’t it?

A couple of days ago, after seeing this photo,  i was sitting on the loo contemplating what i would do if a snake came through the ceiling heat lamp just above my head. I developed a great emergency plan. Grab Max, shut him in the lounge, close the doors to the other rooms, open door to verandah, pull down the bathroom magnetic fly screen, grab a broom and encourage the snake out through the verandah door or bathroom window.

I had it all worked out!

www nmsu eduImage from http://www.nmsu.edu

Today was another hot day working on the build. Jim, my father in law, is building a studio extension on our shed. We spent the morning putting up the posts and joists for the verandah section.

IMGP0037About lunch time, I was no longer needed, so i headed to the bottom of the garden to weed and put plant protectors around all the native seedlings planted over winter. An urgent job given how much it’s heated up recently.

IMGP0039Walking back up the garden, sweating, pushing a full wheel barrow, my father in law comes quickly out on the verandah “you have a snake in your bathroom!”

Cause for panic??

Wait a moment, here’s a handy snake evacuation plan that I prepared earlier. I swing into action, Max in lounge, doors shut, brooms in hand, Jim and I open the bathroom door in anticipation. Slowly we look around, but…

There’s no snake!

www clker com

Image from http://www.clker.com

There are two possibilities:

– either the snake has gone back up into the roof through the heat lamp or

– the snake has crawled under the bathroom door (that Jim had quickly shut) AND he is hidden somewhere in my house, RIGHT NOW!

But wait, there’s always a contingency plan. So here it is: take Max, who chases anything that smells and moves, into the bathroom on his lead, let him get a whiff of the scent and then sniff around the house for said snake.

Foiled again, Max goes into bathroom, thinks he’s in trouble and does his submissive floppy dog thing on the bathroom floor! So cute, but no beagle or guard dog be he…

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Jim is quite impressed by the my presence of mind, as most women he knows would have run up the road screaming! What does he expect? I’m an Aussie gal! He compliments me and departs, after kindly checking under the bed for no snake. True story, I didn’t even ask! :o)

I ring hubby, who is skipping yoga and coming home early tonight!  In the meantime, i sit here in blissful ignorance, with an earl grey tea, writing this blog post.

My hope is that i don’t have the same experience as my neighbour, who (so the story goes) was in bed taking an afternoon nap, and a carpet python fell from the ceiling onto the bed beside him!

ww dailymail co ukImage from http://www.dailymail.co.uk

I comfort myself knowing that snakes in this country were on the menu for thousands of years, so rightly, have far more to fear from us than we do from them. Sensibly, they usually make themselves scarce.

I recently decided to do more things that challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone. As they say, be careful what you wish for! :o)

Much love

Sarah

PS We think it was this lovely green tree snake that lives in our ceiling.

www redbubble com

Image from http://www.redbubble.com

We’ve previously seen him or her on our verandah, lying on our window sill and just last week, in the garden. It’s probably a bit disorientated, as all the gardening i did over winter will have disturbed it’s usual haunts. I know, not quite as intimidating as ‘old carpie’ in the first photo, but a good story nonetheless! :o)

Here’s a before and after peek at my new garden bed next to the shed. We’re hosting our neighbourhood garden club in November so we’ve been hard at work!

IMGP0015IMGP0016 IMGP0034IMGP0035PPS Hubby arrived home and headed straight to the cake on the kitchen bench. Smart man! I gotta work on this damsel in distress thing! Too funny!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Keep the change, perhaps…

Recently a friend of mine invited me to an upmarket women’s lunch, a beautiful invitation to a fashion event at a swish hotel. Quite an ‘out of the box’ thing for me to do. It later transpired that i couldn’t go, but that’s another story. The lunch cost $95, even when i was working that was a lot of cash, but it was a one off treat. I caught up with my friend a month later and i gave her $100 to cover the cost. I started to say “keep the change…” but then i stopped. In the intervening time, I had stopped working, so my relationship with money and physical resources had shifted. I gave myself permission to receive the change and be clear with myself about it’s value to me, and no guilt trips for seeming ungenerous.

It’s about perspective. Once $5 was a couple of times daily cup of coffee or some loose change…

sm-artjohn-mills-coffee-20140113123548399684-300x0Image from www.goodfood.com.au

but now $5 looks more to me like this…

IMGP0049A $5 bargain box from the local fruit shop.

I wanted to start by saying that this post isn’t intended as some lecture from the moral high ground about material resources. It’s a reflection on my journey, some of which may resonate for you. If you are living on a low income, a single mum with three children or another low income circumstance, then I’m telling you nothing new. In fact you’re probably highly conscious of the value of money and a total whiz at making the most of very little and i could learn a lot from you.

The experience above, caused me to pause and reflect on my relationship and attitude during my life to physical resources. To acknowledge the privileges i have in my life and highlight areas or attitudes of lack. Sometimes this has been blind privilege, not just in relation to  physical resources, but to other gifts, such as health, personal attributes such as intelligence, motivation, opportunities for education, family and friendships, the capacity to love etc. In fact when i open myself to it, i am so grateful and thankful for these blessings. I sometimes think we’d be such a kinder society if we were not so blind to our own privileges and blessings.

When i stopped work i received a payout. A useful amount that we put straight onto the mortgage. When the payment came into my account, i expected to be filled by joy and relief. It was the celebration of the end of this phase of my life, the culmination of a dream and a handy payout to accompany it. Instead I panicked and was filled with dread. I was struck with the reality that this was the final pay, no more money was coming in from me for the foreseeable future. A friend of mine who’d made a similar leap of faith a couple of years ago, reassured me that this was normal and she experienced the same. So it wasn’t about lacking gratitude, it was my fear of stepping away from a secure income into the unknown. For me money had become a symbol of security, independence and freedom. I now question that. Was I actually a slave to this belief system? Was I compromising my essence to earn the money?

BU010606Image from skintdad.co.uk

Since i’ve been working i’ve been reasonably canny with money, bought a house early to minimise paying rent. The hard work and forgone opportunities over the years have set me up with a few more options. This has been a conscious choice. Mostly though, i haven’t had to think too much about money, no clear budget, i have been accustomed to being able to purchase items at will, as there was pay coming in next fortnight. Fortunately my financial aspirations were never too high – no yachts, concord tickets or high fashion items in my wardrobe, but i’ve always had enough to buy a book here, a crystal there, a take out meal out without thinking too much about it.

When i stopped work i worried that i would find it hard to stop spending. To my suprise, it was very easy. The day i stopped work, spending just came to a halt. I realised that i used shopping as a balm to nurture myself and as a reward for the amount of time and energy i was giving to others. Once my time became my own and i stepped into my own self nurturing power, the desire to spend just fell away.

Now i have the time and energy to scour the shops for bargains, to do the research and find the best prices, to keep an eye on ebay, go to garage sales, 2nd hand shops, school fetes, to come back tomorrow or next week when things are on special. I am now consciously aware of what i have, and have the headspace to work out how to be clever with it. The difference between needs and wants is now so much clearer. I now have time to grind the beans and make myself coffee each morning.

single guys house blendImage from eatdrinkandbekerry.blogspot.com

Study after study has shown that money only affects happiness if it makes the difference between surviving or not. Beyond survival, money has no impact on happiness. Once your basic physical needs are met (food, water, shelter, health care, physical safety etc), happiness beyond that is about expectations and attitude.

So abundance and happiness are an internal state of being.

(Although i still laugh at the joke that i might not be happy but i can anchor my yacht next to happiness and have a great view of it! )

Some dear friends of mine are from a pacific island country and i am blessed by their perspective. They grew up on subsistence level living, where having crops for food and a few pigs and chooks was abundance. I learned from them that wealth is not about material resources. A person’s wealth can be measured by their relationships with family, friends and community. My dear friends spend a lot of time, energy and money on sending money back home, nurturing their relationships, taking time to yarn and tell stories, they would literally give the shirt off their back if someone needed it more than them. When my friends go back home, everything they take with them, all their clothing and material possessions are given to their community. They come back with love, memories and beautiful connections that are far more valuable.

chookImage from www.svquest.com

A couple of years ago when i travelled to the middle east and north Africa with my sister, i was confused that items often didn’t seem have a price on them. “Why?” i asked. The answer i was given was that there is no fixed price, the value of something is how much someone is willing to pay and what the vendor is willing to sell. So the value of something depends on attitude and negotiation, how much it means to the vendor and buyer.

In the last year, when work felt more of a drag and effort, i started to look at the price of items in a new way. Previously i was accustomed to having a pool of cash or credit and just drawing from it if i felt like it. I had disconnected my own work and effort required to bring in that money. The shift happened when i started to calculate the price of items according to my hourly rate of pay. I began to say, that item is 2 or 4 hours work. Is that item worth two hours work to me, or not?  This helped me to value my time in a new way.

Today i splashed out and bought a take away cup of coffee, i took the time to savour it, taste it and it felt abundantly luxurious to not have to make it myself. Best coffee i’ve had in ages!

Wishing you a day of peace and abundance!

Much love
Sarah

PS I’d love to hear some of your experiences and perspectives on money.

PPS Just been sent this. A good link to the economics and manufacture of desire.. When i was 19, i studied marketing at University, it was mostly about psychologically manipulating people to spend money on products they may not need. Interesting read!

Random signs? Perhaps…

Yesterday afternoon was spent on the computer setting up and publishing the first blogs. By dusk, Max, my small dog, jumped up on my lap. He’d been well behaved, quiet for hours and wanted some attention. I took him on his very long lead up the hill to the bushland at the back of our property. Just inside the entrance, in the middle of the path, there lay a beautiful cockatoo feather. Not just any feather, it was huge, about 9 inches long. (that is longer than the black shoe box!)

IMGP0046I got a strong intuitive hit that it was a sign.  A gift from the universe, to say i was on the right path. You might think, it could have been any old random feather just sitting there. Perhaps it was. But it meant something to me. This feather was massive, sitting right in the middle of the path where many walkers come and go. I always seem to come across cockatoo feathers at significant times and I’d never seen one this big. I also get strong body sensations, pins and needles and other energetic signs when something bigger is happening.

I asked for permission to take the feather and waited for a response. Yes it was there for me to find. I picked it up, and as i walked on i pondered – how do i know when i’m on the right path? Is there a right path? If there is, it certainly doesn’t appear linear. Sometimes, i don’t know that i’m actually on the right path, but i always seem to know when i’m off it.

lighting the pathImage from marybeasullivan.com

Being on the path or being in flow, can bring a feeling of quiet knowing, rarely are there the big lightning bolts or significant signs (but sometimes there are), but my intuition or my body always lets me know if i’ve strayed, if something isn’t right for me. Often it screams at me. I’ve become better at listening and trusting this inner voice.

So the evening was uneventful and i went to bed, settling in, then it hit me. A panic attack. A total adrenaline rush, freak out, oh my god, what have i done?? I’ve told the world (or anyone kind enough to listen), that i’ve seen fairies and other spiritual stuff! OMG! OMG! OMG! (oh my god!!)

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The scream by Munch from travel.usatoday.com

Now I’ve been blessed during my lifetime to have found many like minded souls, especially in the last few years through my spiritual mentor, Nicole. This is my tribe, other beautiful souls who are spiritual, who work with crystals, spend time with fairies, guides, angels, nature spirits etc. They’re on a spiritual path of discovery, just like me. They are grounded, real, intelligent and creative people. Then there are people I have yet to meet, who might be led to my blog (welcome!). I’m totally cool for these two groups of people to know about me.

But then there are my friends and family from various parts of my world who i haven’t talked to much about my spirituality.  My rational, logical, scientific, atheist, agnostic, religious, professional colleagues, gorgeous friends who i haven’t talked to about this stuff. (Although I’m not sure how many will be suprised by this!)

Well I’ve put it out there haven’t I? Talk about feeling like i’m running (i’d prefer horse riding) naked through the main street. It hit me and I freaked out. I wasn’t going to get any sleep.

I wandered outside, barefoot under the almost full moon. I stood there bathing in moonlight. Drawing down the beautiful light from the moon and visualising my energy connecting and grounding into the earth. All the fear, all the panic, all the negativity draining away. Thank you Gaia! I know this body that i travel around in comes from her and will go back to her, so she always knows how to restore it to calm and balance.  I just need to make contact with her, (physically touching her is stronger), ask her, reach for her calm and thank her. The calm was almost instant.

What came to me, is that It is my obligation to be authentically me and for you being authentically you! The universe needs our authentic wholeness.

I wandered back inside and had a very deep sleep.

drawing down the moonImage from www.sparkpeople.com

May you know your truth and it always be respected!

Much love and blessings

Sarah

PS Back to screaming, which i personally love. I live half way down a valley and we regularly have flocks of wild cockatoos screaming up and down the valley in a joyous celebration of life.  Cockatoos are beautiful, fairly large birds with white and yellow feathers. They are sometimes kept as domestic pets and can be trained to talk and say various words.

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Image from www.allposters.com.au

There was a story on the news a few years back, about a domestic cockatoo, who had been taught to swear. It escaped, joined a wild flock and trained them to do the same. Unfortunately they roosted right next to a primary school. Letters were sent home to parents to warn them, so they could take another route home with their children if they wished to avoid them. Crazy old world huh? Must be true, i read it on the news!! :o)

Here’s a fab blog by my shamanic friend Tracy, she describes this process of following the signs from the universe: Do you follow the breadcrumbs?