Magical hiking shoes…

There is so much to know about hiking shoes!

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

This week, much time was spent researching.

So many details: materials, waterproofing, weight, thickness, soles, inner soles, arch and ankle support, proper sizing on flat and inclines, light boots, heavy boots, light weight shoes or sandals.

Let alone advice on foot care: breaking in boots, lace knotting, taping, powdering, oiling, foot soaking, elevation of feet, cleaning, drying, trimming nails and treating blisters.

And I haven’t even started on socks, gaiters, trousers, backpacks and other equipment.

And that’s not the end of the list, just the beginning.

www businesscomputingworld co ukImage from http://www.businesscomputingworld.co.uk

It’s quite amazing to live in a world transformed by the internet, where there is so much information accessible for just about every topic.

But information and knowledge are different from wisdom huh?

That deeply felt wisdom of the soul.

In the wake of big transitions in my life, living through grief, my deep intuitive knowing is calling me to do something big, something honouring, something monumental.

Each night, during Dad’s final days, i’d tuck myself into bed to read Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild”. The story about Cheryl’s trek along the Pacific Crest Trail following her mother’s death.  I’d often be so tired that i’d only get through a few pages.

Since my father’s death i’ve felt a fire energy rising within me. Times of fiery anger, burning me away, extinguishing my core in preparation for renewal. Cleansing me, healing me. The call to action, to do something big.

www blog designsquish comImage from http://www.blog.designsquish.com

We’re in the early planning stages of a walk from Southern France into Spain. A trek of about 780km over 50 days.

We’re not doing a sacred religious or spiritual pilgrimage, or for personal healing or transformation.

We’re not going hard or toughing it out in order to suffer or prove something. We’ll average about 15km per day, which for us, as first time hikers, feels manageable.

We’re seeking to create a ripple, an experience in our life, something big that marks the passing of our father and honours the grief of childlessness, in a way that embraces this creative fire of life.

www pinterest com 13Image from http://www.pinterest.com

In addition to advice from friends, the guides and website research on the trek, the locations, equipment, hostels etc, we’ve also been reading books about the art, the history, landscapes, the people, food and wine in this part of the world.

We don’t have a big wad of cash saved up, we’re going into debt, and although this makes me anxious, i am thankful for this blessing.

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With death around me, i’ve looked it in the eye and have its measure, its finality for this life is certain.  It’s a such a cliché, but to fully embrace death makes life searingly precious.

It’s time for me to stop putting life on hold and to prioritise people, experiences, dreams, and focus my energy on what really matters.

What is important to you? How do you hold it sacred and embrace it wholeheartedly?  What is the spark that calls you to action? I’d love to hear your story.

Any trekking tips or advice for a novice would be greatly appreciated as well.

Big love

sarah

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A most underrated quality…

“Kindness is a language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Mark Twain

Recently my parents, now in their mid seventies, downsized their house. From a large double story old Queenslander house, they moved into an apartment in town. A brave and adventurous move for them and the start of a new chapter of their lives. It has been inspiring to watch them release the burdens and responsibilities of possessions and bask in this new found freedom. They have been tremendously generous to me and my siblings with the gifting of their cherished items. One of my beautiful gifts was this Royal Doulton stag and deer sandwich platter. An item that came from my father’s mother, my grandmother Hilda.

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Now I love this platter. In fact i love it so much that i kept my eye out on ebay and bought a few companions for it. This was in the days of working when i had some extra money to spend.

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This item means a lot to me. Not just because it is a gift from people who i love deeply, but also because for me it captures the essence of close family members. The stag and deer  represent gentle strength. These are qualities that my father and partner Kevin have in spades. My grandmother Hilda also had it. It is easy to assume that someone who is gentle is weak and easily manipulated. Nothing could be further from the truth. Public images of masculine strength often involve outward displays of physicality, toned muscles, testosterone, fire fighters rescuing vulnerable people from burning buildings or tough guys in action movies.

The strength that i admire is far more subtle and for me more beautiful. This is strength that comes from within. It is an internal core of strength disguised in a covering of gentleness and often kindness. Kindness is a most under rated quality, but one which i love. I am not a naturally kind person, but i have been fortunate to learn from others who are kind in their essence or who have chosen to nurture this quality in themselves.

Kindness is not about being patronising or diminishing another, nor it is about manipulating another or giving with expectation. It isn’t about being cheesy or operating from obligation. It is a quality that comes from the heart. Being thoughtful. It stems from a core belief in the goodness and value of other beings. It’s about supporting them in their wholeness. The best kindness is gentle, unexpected, when someone reaches in and softly touches your heart. Genuine kindness always moves me.

gentle strength

Image from www.quotesvalley.com

This is not the false kindness of social role or duty, but it is about being authentic and genuine. I particularly admire social kindness, such as:

  • valuing relationships as part of connected community, rather than competitively scaling a social hierarchy
  • welcoming someone into your world, listening to them and sharing from your heart, gently filling in the awkward conversational gaps,
  • speaking to the best attributes of another, seeking more information when you don’t understand,
  • choosing gentle silence or diplomatically avoiding topics that may cause discomfort,
  • being truly empathic in seeing the world from their perspective, giving someone the benefit of the doubt,
  • knowing, accepting and loving people in their wholeness and differences, including their imperfections
  • being self aware, particularly of the your own egoic triggers, managing and taking responsibility for them and not projecting them onto others.

Kindness is the ability to suspend judgement, to listen to another person’s story and to feel it on an emotional level, to feel how they experienced the situation. It’s not about being stepped over, having no boundaries, it comes from that core strength, not being afraid to be gentle and vulnerable. People sometimes say they feel “political correctness” has gone too far, but i always think of it as being kind and thoughtful to others, of which i’d love to see more.

I have a few friends who are wildlife carers, really they are animal whisperers. An ability to connect with the essence of the animal in a way that makes them feel safe and heard. This incredible ability comes from being kind, gentle, yet strong. Loving the animal and knowing its true nature, not their projected image. They are in touch with their own vulnerability and gentle strength. They take the time and create the space for animals to come to them on their own terms.

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Image from worldtravaillers.com

This morning i woke up feeling very emotionally flat. Fuzzy head, a bit sad and down. In the past i would have looked for the reason, the story that justified these feelings or i’d reach for a cup of coffee to chemically numb myself or talk myself up, pep myself into action to get things moving and push this behind me.

After many years, i’ve learned to be kinder to myself. I do this by taking a deep breath and just allowing myself to be wherever i am. To suspend judgement, to gently observe myself, to quieten my thoughts, perhaps to meditate, to observe the energy patterns, where do they sit in my body? Where are they stuck? I may lie in the pillows and drop into a nurturing space of allowing myself just to be. I quietly got up and took Max down to the dog park, just allowing myself to be, I gently walked five laps of the park and by the end the feelings had dissipated with ease. On the way home i stopped for a lovely unexpected chat with my neighbour who was riding her horse down our street.

Today i wish kindness and gentleness for you and for others when the moments present.

Much love
Sarah

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?