Knowing and knowing…

When i started high school in the eighties, we were given a choice of four languages to study – French, German, Italian or Japanese.

I chose Italian. For no logical reason, it was just an intuitive feeling, with implications for my life that i could not have foreseen.

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In year eight, (the first year of high school), each class was streamed according to gender and language of study. My Italian class was the smallest in the year, with 24 students, 20 of whom were daughters of Italian and Greek families.

My school was located in an inner city suburb with a fairly large immigrant settlement population. Post war Australia received many southern European immigrants, all with their own culture, experience and stories to tell.

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This class, was the first time in my mostly white, middle class, suburban childhood that i experienced being in a cultural minority.  It was an eye opening, expansive and in many ways challenging experience.  Of course, you are often not aware of cultural norms and your cultural lens until taken out of your environment.

Later, in my early twenties, i travelled and experienced being in a minority in overseas countries. Truth is, i was culturally blind and naive in many ways, and these experiences opened my eyes to complexity and difference.

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One of the many things I love about other languages, is learning words for concepts where there is not direct translation into English.

For example, learning the Italian verbs “to know”. In Italian there are two words for this, “sapere” and “conoscere”.

The first, “sapere” is to know through the mind, theoretically through ‘book’ learning.  The second, “conoscere”, is to know through lived experience, to know through the heart.  For me, it’s even deeper, a knowing from your soul or your essence.

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Sometimes it feels to me that the journey of life is scattered with opportunities for the ignorance or knowing of the mind to be transformed into knowing of the heart and soul.

I had such an experience this week.

Last weekend, we were out to dinner with friends and the topic turned to discussion of the Irish living in post war England.  A time when racism took the form of violence, exclusion from jobs, education and life opportunities, social exclusion and slurs in the form of “Irish jokes”. I grew up hearing (and telling) Irish jokes, ignorant of the political implications of using humour to point out the assumed stupidity of a whole group of people, supposing it to be funny.

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During the conversation, it was implied that I, being the daughter of the white, dominant culture, couldn’t really know and understand what it was like to be an oppressed minority.

I was slightly rattled by this, hadn’t i spent over 25 years working against injustice on both a personal and political level? My husband is Irish and we share everything equally in partnership. I hadn’t been through it, but I thought i was a card carrying member of the inclusive, tolerant generation? How could it be implied that i didn’t really understand?

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During the week, i watched the first season of the series The Man in the High Castle. Based on a book by Phillip K Dick. It is set in a fantasy  early 1960’s North America. The story is located in a dystopian world, where the Japanese and Germans won World War Two.  North America is partitioned into the occupied Japanese and German States, and the neutral zone.

It is a totalitarian system, anyone who is not Japanese or German is an oppressed minority and anyone who does not support the regime is exterminated.  It was a shocking world where people were treated appallingly. This was done in many overt and subtle ways, such as standing back in a secondary taxi queue whilst the dominant culture received preference, remaining silent in the presence of the dominant culture, living in impoverished housing, employment in lowly jobs, living with curfews and starkly, arbitrary arrests, mass graves etc.

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This was confronting, but there was a deeper layer in my response. For the first time I was seeing my own culture being treated as an oppressed racial minority. My gut turned as i experienced it coming to life in the unfolding drama.

What i learned, was not what it was like to be part of an oppressed minority, but that i truly don’t know and can never know.

I knew this in my head.  I had been told many stories, read books, seen movies, spoken to people, did “brown eyes / blue eyes training” etc. I thought I was fairly aware of racism but the experience this week enabled me to “conoscere” or experience that I truly do not know.

It is often said that we don’t know what we don’t know.  The first step to knowing is to become aware of our ignorance. For me, this is to know not just in my mind but also in my heart and lived experience.

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There was a part of me that has been blind to my own racial privilege. Not in my mind, for a long time i have know this, but in my heart, to truly feel and own this.  To ‘conoscere’ this.

Things have changed and come a long way in our society, but there is still so much further to go in achieving peace and justice among all peoples, especially for Aboriginal people.  One of the deep fears of an oppressive culture is being treated as badly as we have treated others. When I look around, I sometimes wonder how we can ever get to a place of reconciliation.

Racism, particularly subtle, internalised racism, is both a dirty secret and an uncomfortable truth. Yet when we look it straight in the eye, we can own it and move beyond.

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The courage to do this gives me hope for the future.

What this experience does for me, is to strengthen my resolve to stand against oppression.  To not take my freedom for granted and to demand that others be free. To challenge injustice that any person, race or class experiences.

I’d love to hear your story or your experiences where knowing of the mind became knowing of the heart and soul.

Sending big love today!

Sarah

 

The healing moon…

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.

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We’d been staying in town for four nights, busy with family, playing with the kids, running errands, working on my new project during the ‘in between’ moments – busy, busy, busy!

Rolling into bed with a book at about 7.30pm, half a page read before my drooping eyes hit the pillow.

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The truth was i felt ‘off’, not quite myself, for a couple of weeks.  It was subtle, slowing building, the cause unclear, my energy not freely flowing, my critical mind quietly snipping away.

Self care is not my default option, as i carry on, often focused externally, keeping busy.

Looking after me often gets lost, so I need to actively remind myself to stop, connect with how i’m feeling, what i’m needing, and take action to care for me.

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At about midnight i woke in the dark, overwhelmed by sadness and fear.

It suddenly hit me how deeply sad i was feeling in watching my father’s decline, this once strong and active man, his health failing, the impact on him, family and friends.

I had been so busy carrying on, doing practical tasks, supporting and being strong for others. At this moment in time, there was now clear space to truly feel.

At 1am, I took myself outside, bottle of water in hand, max at my side, i sat for a long time in the middle of the garden in the moonlight.

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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.

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If you’re going through something big, remember to take time for you, to stop and be present to yourself. It can be such a healing balm.

Sending healing love your way.

Much love
Sarah

A little update on finding me…

It has been a while since i last posted. There has been so much going on…

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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…

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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?

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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.

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I admitted to myself what my heart truly desired and opened myself to creating that in my life. Now i’ve moved to a place of clarity, peace and allowing.

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If you can relate to this, then know that i am standing in love and solidarity with you!

May you be filled with kindness, love and self compassion.

May you be open to healing, breakthroughs and clarity.

And most importantly,

May you be totally loving and accepting of whatever space you are in and where ever you find yourself.

The whole thing is absolutely perfect! Know this.

Much love

sx

 

Dare to dream…

 “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future”. Nelson Mandela

Years ago, when working with young people experiencing homelessness, I noticed that one of their greatest fears was to dream. There was this overwhelming feeling that life and people had let them down. Whilst they often secretly yearned for something different, they were afraid to dare dream, lest they be shattered again.

“It’s always easier to sabotage dreams myself, than to wait for it to happen, the waiting is the worst!” I was told.

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My heart always went out to them, and secretly dreamed there was an easy way for them to move forward and unlock the life they wanted. A life based on self love and acceptance, nurture and connection, being at peace. In reality, it was a slow process of listening, being respectful, offering practical support and strategies to gently move someone into their future.

The key was to honour the story and its impact, to shift perception, and to gently create and experience a new reality. For example, after listening to a life story of hardship and abuse, we would take time to pause and acknowledge the young person as an amazing survivor. This would often be a new way of seeing themselves, as more than a victim of circumstance.

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Sometimes there were big shifts, sometimes small, always tempered by the complexity of human beings weathered by unjust circumstances. Even now, years later, i hold each and every young person close in my heart and wish them the very best in their lives. I particularly hope they have created the loving family they often craved.

So how do we gently nurture our hopes and dreams?

In they busy-ness of life, the paralysis of fear or adversity of life circumstances, how do we keep those secret yearnings alive and bring them into reality?

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What strategies work for you, especially when you’re feeling stuck or fearful? Perhaps a dream journal, a vision board, a gentle shift in your state of being or another method? What gets you motivated? How do you gently nurture yourself and your dreams?

Love to hear your suggestions…

Wishing you a magical day, to release fears and unlock your beautiful dreams.

Much love

sarah

Lighting the path…

Last night I had a rather unusual, yet insightful experience…

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I received a phone call last week inviting me to a market research consultation with my superannuation company. Two hours of my time to give my opinion and receive a payment. Sure – I’m not working, some extra cash is always handy!

I dressed in my work gear for the occassion, it would have been a more accurate reflection of my current life to wear my overalls covered in mud, but i was stepping back into my work persona for the night!

I arrived at 5.45pm, as instructed, sat in the lobby with a big group of others, awkwardly crammed into a small space, waiting quietly, unsure what lay ahead. I started chatting with a lovely woman next to me, had she done something like this before? Did she know what to expect? You know small talk…

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Running a bit behind time, we were ushered into a corporate meeting room, complete with cameras, recording devices and silent observers in another room. We met the guy who was to facilitate the discussion, a bit older than me, a relaxed and friendly man.

It was as group of seven women in the 35-44 demographic, gathered together to discuss superannuation, financial planning, life expectations, retirement etc. It was a fascinating, random snapshot of women in my city, my peers, checking in about our lives and how we’re travelling, both financially and in other ways. I rarely get a chance to step outside my mileau, so i was pretty intrigued and honoured to hear everyone share their stories.

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I must confess to recently watching episodes of Sherlock Holmes, so at the start, while we were waiting, I quietly observed each person to deduce what i could about them. The truth is not very much, the facilitator wore a wedding ring, many of the women looked tired, fatigued, perhaps overworked, parenting pressures or some health concerns?

Thankfully, I didn’t have to rely on my ‘deductions’ alone, we did introductions around the table.

A younger lawyer recently left the government, a woman working in admin with three children, a teacher with two children, the creative woman i met at the start worked in film and tv, a woman with no children who was very focused on financial security and retiring as early as possible, then me, who is ‘cough’ between jobs or how do i describe it? Having a forest change?

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We got chatting in a friendly and open way, each providing comments and insights, listening to each other. The atmosphere was friendly and calm, this was going to be a breeze!

About 15 minutes later, the final participant arrived. She was late due to a large accident and horrendous traffic. She was a single mum, casual work, struggling, health issues that she described in some detail. I could feel great empathy for her situation.

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Despite being late, she went on to take most of the oxygen out of the room. She would have spoken for a good 50-60% of the time – long winded answers, jumping in when others took a breath, talking over others, commenting and asking questions about everyone else’s comments – strong opinions.

Well the energy in the room changed immediately, everyone took a step back into heavy silence, less willing to openly share and it became a matter of enduring what time remained. The facilitator did his best to keep redirecting the conversation to others for input, but it was a challenge without direct confrontation.

I had a series of responses, firstly tolerance and openness to the diversity of people who make up the world. I tried to remain calm but something inside me started to well up, feeling annoyed, should i say something or let it just pass through? I did the latter and wondered how many other people just walked away from this woman, how isolating and frustrating for her to experience this reaction from others.

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The most fascinating thing was the insight into each woman. The life choices they had made and how they reflected on this at mid life. A few women had lived for long periods overseas, some had children, some did not, others were very career driven, others keen to leave the work world behind. It was interesting to see the impact of these life choices on the women themselves.

One woman described how exhausted she was with three small children, mortgage etc, she was into phone apps, and loved using them on the train home. Others described having virtually no superannuation and not being able to rely on it, they were very subject to the changing policies of government. One was very focused and in control of her financial planning, with a view to retirement as early as possible.

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One woman, described the unbearable pressure of being on a moderate salary and paying for two children to go to private school. Another 5 ½ years of this pressure to ensure her children have access to the best education that she could provide. The single mum challenged her “well you’re lucky you can afford to send your kids to a private school”, she softly replied “we work really, really hard to afford it, we forgoe many things.”

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At the end of the session we all left as quickly as we could, as we exited the building some women expressed disbelief and anger about the woman who dominated the group. I could feel their frustration, but at the same time i felt for her, as she would wear the consequences (as we all do) of who she is in a social context. Perhaps she constantly experienced the anger and rejection of others? What complexities drive behaviour?

I had a wee chat with the lovely woman who i first met, and then we jumped into our cars, driving off into the night, never to see each other again.

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Life is such a fascinating journey. We can make a lot of assumptions about people’s lives but this can deepen when we hear the story from within. When we consider who we are, the choices we make, perhaps our lives could only be exactly as they are, a mirrored reflection of ourselves. If we wish to make changes in our lives, perhaps the initial change is internal?

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Making life choices can also be really tough, especially when the way forward is unclear. We live in a complex society that can be difficult to navigate. We rely on personal qualities, social skills and fortune of circumstance to have friends, mentors and wise elders who can assist.

Almost like negotiating your way through a maze, one can get lost in the detail. It feels like a combination of active decision making and plain dumb luck has led me in life. Whilst who i am is a big factor, it’s not the whole picture either, as the choices i’ve made have also created me.

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Ultimately this whole experience felt like a gift from the universe, to pause and reflect, to consider my life and a small snapshot into the lives of others. It has brought into greater focus the blessings, and i feel honoured to share stories with others.

Wishing for you great insight, harmony and peace in you life choices.

Much love
Sarah

 

Playing with colour…

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.

seekerImage “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.

530541_429779097116484_773411582_nHere’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).

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Suggestions for this mandala meditation:

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.

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MULADHARA – THE BASE CHAKRA

Grounding within your body. Instinct, sense of security, stability, survival and physical needs. Sensuality and sexuality. Basic human potential. Dormant Kundalini energy rests here.

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SWADHISTHANA – THE SACRAL CHAKRA

Centre of creativity, emotional balance, reproduction and fertility. Relationships, violence, addictions, basic emotional needs and pleasure. Joy and enthusiasm.

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MANIPURA – THE SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA

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.

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ANAHARTA – THE HEART CHAKRA

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.

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VISHUDDHI – THE THROAT CHAKRA

Growth through expression, communication, voice, words, song, music or written text. Independence, fluent thought and sense of security and lucid dreaming.

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AJNA – THE THIRD EYE

Intuition, spirit vision, insight, visual consciousness. Spiritual information often comes through this chakra. The end of duality, balancing the higher and lower selves, trusting inner guidance

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SAHASRARA – THE CROWN CHAKRA

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.

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THE SOUL or SKY STAR CHAKRA

When open links to higher levels of consciousness and your soul’s purpose. Is opened with your express permission. If blocked, say “I give permission for my sky chakra and higher chakras to open”.

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Here’s some extra tips:

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 Dance and 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.

Sarah

 

The manic call of passion…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love

Sarah

 

Finding your tribe…

Just recently I had lunch with one of my best friends from University days and it was an amazing experience! We had been really close during our second year, studying Italian, hanging out, organising events for the Italian club and socialising (a lot). There was this beautiful ‘simpatico’ or compatability between us.

companionImage from Carolyn Myss, Archetype cards.

At 21, I left to go overseas for six months and came back changed, reeling from culture shock and transformed by the experience. Unexpectedly we drifted apart. We still can’t explain it. No conflict, no decision to disconnect, our paths just took us in different directions and we had little contact for the next 20 years.

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In the intervening time, we made interesting life journeys.  Me, working with community arts and youth work in health promotion, services for homelessness, drug use, mental health, abuse and violence, and later teaching and education for future workers. My friend went on to lecture at University in nursing, the arts and community health, delivering health care informed by social justice, culture and community participation. Different paths but common threads!

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

Enter facebook friend finder and we hooked back up. We’ve caught up a couple of times since and after a rapid life update, we very quickly fell into the comfortable pattern of simpatico. Listening to each other, excited by our stories and journeys, we sparked off each other. You know the kind of conversations where words seem to trip over each other. What fun! Not only were we sharing our experiences and practically finishing each other’s sentences, we lifted and extended each other ideas to new territory and new creative possibilities.

Afterwards, it got me thinking about tribes and what is my tribe? For me, people from your tribe are like a mirror to your best self and your passions. They are where you feel at home and remind you of who you are.  Here are some of my tribes:

My social justice tribe – those with a passion for justice, participation, diversity, inclusion, those who imagine and dream of a more just and peaceful world, where we share our loving humanity and celebrate our diversity.

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

My eco-warrior tribe – these folk understand humanity as living in a connected web with all beings who live on this planet, those who fight for sustainability, protect and restore habitats and seek to live lightly on the planet. Those optimists who seek innovative, ethical and creative solutions to the challenges facing humanity.

www habitatadvocate com auImage – Miranda Gibson Styx Valley protest, in http://www.habitatadvocate.com.au

My creative arts fairies and happy travellers tribe – these are my friends who experience their life as a creative expression, this might be through the arts – music, visual arts, dance etc or through the way they explore and create life on their own terms, living with love, compassion and peace with themselves and others

kayeriakweks wordpress comImage from http://www.karyeriakweks.wordpress.com

My spiritual crew – these are my fellow journeyers who experience the multidimensional nature of human existence, they experience the divine and know themselves, as spirit, as a piece of the divine and they see it in others. They play with crystals, fairies, angels, beings of light and they are willing to journey through the shadows for the higher evolution of their souls and the human collective. They are wayshowers, holding the torch, they are catalysts for change as they have the courage to seek to be all that they are.

www domesticdiva caImage from http://www.domesticdiva.ca

When i’m really lucky, the same friend comes from multiple tribes and there is that particular spark!! When i reflect on my tribes, they’re not just thinkers and dreamers, they’re also do-ers. Living from their essence of love, they bring change to the world not only through their creative thoughts, words and actions, but particularly when they are true to who they really are.

communityartscollective orgImage from http://www.communityartscollective.org

My dear friend is moving overseas with her family to pursue her dreams. I am so pleased for her new adventures and glow with the blessing of knowing, that we are from the same tribe and we will always be connected. These kind of heart connections can never be severed.

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

Who are your tribes?

I’d love to hear where you feel at home and who reminds you of who you truly are.

Blessings and light for a day of simpatico!

Sarah

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.

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

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.