Crazy cravings…

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!

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

In the last six months, I have set the intention for this to change and to thankfully welcome optimal health.  Recently James Clear wrote a fabulous blog outlining a broader definition of health. He suggests health as containing four aspects:

  1. diet and exercise
  2. adventure and exploration
  3. art and creativity, and
  4. 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.

meditationbenefits coImage from http://www.meditationbenefits.co

Regular meditation and spiritual practice has helped me to become more sensitive and aware of the needs of my body. As we listen to our bodies, they’re incredibly good at telling us what we need. This includes listening to the needs of the heart and mind, and guidance from intuition. If you’re a spiritual person, you can ask for assistance from your healing teams in spirit as well!

Meditation helps to calm the critical voices and self analysis enables understanding. Seeking health has also been a journey into self love, self compassion and kindness. I am so grateful for my health, many dear friends experience compromised physical health and they have taught me, amongst many other things, to treasure this blessing.

As for physical exercise, I find it so much easier doing activities i love – gardening for hours, walking my dog max, dancing to some funky music, moving meditations, walking on the beach or mountains or other beautiful environments etc. When i blend pleasure and exercise, it’s so much easier!

A bit further along the path towards health, my body has started to crave the good stuff. Today there was an overwhelming urge to eat something green, broccoli in particular – go figure! Glad to find this broccolini on the discount shelf at the local fruit shop! Steam it, cover in butter, add a little pepper – yum!

BroccoliniAs 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.

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

This bone broth recipe is a great basic stock that can be used as the base for soups, pasta sauces and loads of other dishes. It’s full of nutrients and juicy flavours. I make it about once every fortnight. Tonight we’re using it to make this Tomato, bacon and lentil soup recipe.

www cauldronsandcupcakes com 1Image from http://www.cauldronsandcupcakes.com

I’ll write more stories about my unfolding spiritual journey and Nicole’s mentoring in future posts, but in the meantime enjoy her gorgeous recipes…

Wishing for you vibrancy in your life. May you know love, connection, creativity, adventure and cherish the beautiful physical body that has been gifted to you.  May you know joy and freedom from pain.

Much love

Sarah

Btw – the soup recipe is awesome, very hearty and filling and oh so healthy!! Thanks nicole! :o)

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Releasing the burdens 2…

www brainpickings com 2Image from http://www.brainpickings.com

Wow these last three months have been a roller coaster! So much energetic clearing since i left work. I guess when you make a commitment to yourself to heal, well, the universe just brings it on. So i’ve just held on for the ride!

One of the first tasks crying out to be done, was to de-clutter my home. I joined a 28 day de-clutter boot camp run by Helen, a friend, at Clutter Rescue. This helped with motivation and useful strategies for getting my house organized.

We have a family story where my Mum is a minimalist, organized person and my dad has a love of stuff. As i grew up there was dividing line down the centre of my parent’s bedroom, one side organized and neat, the other, well? Let’s just say I was born on my father’s side of the room!

De-cluttering might be an understatement considering what i was dealing with. Perhaps total renovation is more accurate. Here’s the worst example, my messy back room!

IMGP0007I am someone who exists on the physical, mental / emotional and spiritual planes. I experience the material world as consisting of differing energies and in my cosmology the outer world reflects the internal world. Stuckness, or clutter, in my physical environment reflects energies stuck in my body, heart and mind, and the auric field. The truth is that not just my physical but my internal environment and energy field also needed de-cluttering. I was carrying a massive burden.

Here are some wisdom cards to help describe the experience.

TheBurdenImage from Osho Zen Tarot.

For me the first step is to identify the burdens that we carry. These include the physical possessions, the emotions, the beliefs systems, the thoughts, the old patterns of behaviour that are weighing us down. Some of the baggage includes self criticism, guilt, procrastination, perfectionism etc

The tanaste

Image from the Celtic Wisdom Oracle.

The second step is to make the decision to drop or release these burdens. This card (the inverted tanaste) suggests dropping the patterns of the ego – self criticism, fear, shame, dropping the lies that the false self tells us.

The Way-ShowerImage from the Celtic Wisdom Oracle.

The third step (the way shower) is to create an internal place of calm, to step into the stillness, the empty space. In this place of silence, it is about learning to hear, trust and follow your intuition. It will show you the signposts, the strategies, the tasks needed, when to take action and when to have a break.

The Prophet

Image from the Celtic Wisdom Oracle.

Final step (the prophet) – Learning how to be in your essence, that place of stillness and to allow all action to flow with ease from this beautiful energetic place. For me this energy starts with an open uncluttered heart and illuminates the expansiveness of the clear mind. It’s not just about listening to intuition but trusting it enough to follow it as well. In a way this is about handing it over and trusting the universe to assist in resolving it. When we do this, things seem to have a magical way of falling into place.

Going through the shedding process, the letting go can be confronting and challenging. Ask yourself – why am i holding onto this stuff? What fears are driving me or stopping me from letting go? For example – I recycled about 20 boxes of work materials, old papers, teaching materials, project materials, research material etc. I was holding on to these as they represented my employability skills and my fear of not being able to generate an income.

So how did i go? In some ways i felt like a failure as i didn’t achieve the goal within the timeframe. The first two days i was sick and barely got out of bed. My goal was massive, to organize my whole house within 28 days. The time frame, for me was a little unrealistic.

back room decluttered

The truth was that i was absolutely exhausted and burned out after leaving work. All i wanted to do was sleep, take it slowly, cook luscious food, heal and nurture myself and my family. I did go slowly, did a walking meditation each day with my dog Max at the local dog park. As I gently flowed through each day, lots of the ego stuff came up to be examined and released. I learned to be kind and gentle with myself whilst stepping through the work. I committed to at least one action each day towards de-cluttering.

The 28 day boot camp was the start for me and it extended into a cleanup that still continues. I am so proud of the results. I can definitely recommend making this a priority in your life.

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

I wish for you every inspiration, clarity and joy in your living space. Your home is your nest and a place for your heart to overflow with love and your mind to soar with creative inspiration.

Much love
Sarah

Out of this process, I’ve developed some workshops. The first is “Making your home into a heart space”. If you’d like to know more about these, please contact me – email thespiritualhomemaker@gmail.com

Wishing you abundance, profound peace and joy!

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.