Weekly Inspiration #30

As I do every Friday morning, I am thinking about the week that has been, the stand out moments and themes that have emerged. The fact that this is the 30th edition of my Weekly Inspirations has not escaped me either – and I think that one of the reasons that I enjoy putting this weekly post together as much as I do, is because it does give me an opportunity to reflect and harvest the goodness from the week. It doesn’t matter how challenging the week has been, I can always find something to inspire me, always. Apparently people who are not writers do not mine their lives for gold in this way. How unfortunate :)

Some of this week has been spent adventuring around the Gold Coast with my family – we have spent the days playing in the Theme parks, exploring Mt Tamborine, eating breakfast in a funky Burleigh Heads cafe, exploring markets, swimming in warm ocean currents, eating beautiful food and most importantly of all, spending some really good, juicy times with my brother, his partner and my two year old nephew. Being in his house with both of us as bona fide adults – well, it was was the next phase in our relationship, for sure.

 

Picnicking in the Mt Tamborine Botanical Gardens. What you can't see here are 5 extremely hungry kookaburras who were cheekily plucking lunch out of our hands.

Picnicking in the Mt Tamborine Botanical Gardens. What you can’t see here are 5 extremely hungry kookaburras who were cheekily plucking lunch out of our hands.

 

Recharging with a coffee and a handmade chocolate in one of the many charming cafes in the Mt Tamborine village.

Recharging with a coffee and a handmade chocolate in one of the many charming cafes in the Mt Tamborine village.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My brother and I are only 12 months apart and as different from each other as chalk and cheese – he’s 6″4′, fair, Gemini and easy going. I’m 5″7′, dark, Taurus and…less easy going :). Up until we started school, we got on well. From the age of 5 until 16, when I left home, we fought and bickered almost continuously. My poor mother. Then we really didn’t see much of each other for the next 5 years. In our early twenties we found ourselves living in the same city, and started hanging out. To our surprise we liked each other again, although we didn’t understand each other, no not all (and I suspect we still don’t) :) And now here we are in our late 30s, with young families and grown up responsibilities. My favourite thing about my brother? He makes me laugh :) He is the kind of person that funny stuff just happens to.

In my early 20s I lived in a two storey inner city terrace with two other girls. We had a party one night, and my brother came, along with his Malaysian girlfriend and her three beautiful sisters (that’s a whole other story). The Bear was there too, come to think of it – we had only just started seeing each other. A group of us were clustered on the top storey terrace balcony, talking and laughing. A posse of drunken boys were riding down the road in a stolen shopping trolley, and as they careered wildly down the hill, they saw that the front door to our house was standing wide open. As we watched, one of them jumped off the trolley and came inside the house – and then reemerged, clutching an enormous white teddy bear that usually sat on my bed. I shrieked, pointed and said, “Ben!! That man has got my teddy bear!” Without hesitating, my brother and the Bear raced down the stairs and out onto the street in hot pursuit. The thieves were making a getaway in their car  which was parked just down the road when my brother caught up with them, shouting, “Give the bear back, bitch!” Those of us watching from the gallery just about collapsed with laughter at those immortal words – but after a bit of push and shove there was my brother triumphantly brandishing the bear, walking back up the street.

This is only one of many, many ridiculous, hilarious stories that involve my brother :)

How has your relationship with your sibling/s evolved and changed over the years?

Best Short Read

Stopping Before the Miracle by Tosha Silver

Sometimes we give up just before the miracle, you know? Take if you need:

Because on the one hand, everything, of course, is one dazzling miracle after another. In the right consciousness, just that you can blink your eyes, pet a cat, or chew an apple is utterly stunning.

But sometimes we give up right before something amazing is about to occur. I’ve sure done that at times in my life. Giving up in the sense of surrendering all to the Divine, is a wonderful thing. Then the right actions always get shown. That’s the focus of most of my writing.

But giving up, not even being AVAILABLE for the miracle, well, that’s a whole other deal. Click here to read the rest

Best Poetry

It is enough946340_668322296529445_1575286285_n

To know that the atoms
of my body
will remain

to think of them rising
through the roots of a great oak
to live in
leaves, branches, twigs

perhaps to feed the
crimson peony
the blue iris
the broccoli

or rest on water
freeze and thaw
with the seasons

some atoms might become a
bit of fluff on the wing
of a chickadee
to feel the breeze
know the support of air

and some might drift
up and up into space
star dust returning from

whence it came
it is enough to know that
as long as there is a universe
I am a part of it.

Anne Alexander Bingham

Best Playlist

Over the past few weeks, I have been compiling a playlist, just for you and me <3.  I will keep on adding to it over time, but it’s long enough now to share. I have called it Music for the Soul, and on it are some of my favourite songs and chants that plug me straight into the Divine. Have a listen here:

Best Quote

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Don’t forget:

Twitter – follow me on Twitter to see all of my other best reads that don’t quite make it on this blog, but are still awesome – I love a chat too, so come visit :).

Facebook – I have just set up a brand new Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there :)

Instagram – I am new here; why don’t you show me around :)

Weekly Inspiration #29

As I write this, I am in my brother’s house. It is early – the sun hasn’t broken the horizon – but the sky is light. In one of those minor miracles of life, we have been transplanted from our home, surrounded by farmland and sky, to a coastal suburb in a different state. We are on an adventure :)

Today will be a day dedicated to the children – we are off to play in the Theme Parks that are almost de rigueur in these parts, and indeed, if you are a kid, our parts as well. In another one of these minor miracles, our good friend and his two sons who live down the road from us, just happened to be driving up on the same day, as well as going to the same place we are today. That’s the boys sorted, always the most difficult bit in my opinion :).

We are not there yet, though – for now the silence settles still upon our house, although the world outside is awakening. I pied currawong 01can hear the ever-present hum of traffic and the chatter of bats, drawn here by heavily laden mango street trees. There is a Currawong perched on the fence outside the window – he sat with his back to me, with his head swivelled to the side, regarding me through his golden eye, before abruptly flying off on other business. When I go looking for the symbolism of the Currawong, I find this:

Currawongs teach us how to find magic in the suburbs, instead of going out ‘into nature’ to find it.

Don’t you love it?

imageLast night we had dinner in the backyard under a giant Poinciana tree, one of my very favourite trees of all. There were candles and children, good food and laughter. We were sharing our “stress points” – the times that we know our stress levels rise. For my sister in law it is being punctual. For me, it is getting ready to go away. The day before we leave, I feel I must have the house and car completely spotless, the washing done and the fridge cleaned out before I can even think about packing. Now that I think about it, it’s the packing that is the stress point for me – I worry that I will forget something vital that will ruin the holiday. I am forgetful by nature, so this is by no means a baseless concern. I have a history of being so stressed on the day before we leave, that the Bear has “keep Sara happy” on his list of things to do. As it happened, I did forget my phone. :D

What is your stress point?

Best Short Read

12 Historical Women Who Gave No F*cks

women who give no fucks

Have you ever noticed that there are themes that arise each week? Not giving a fuck about things that don’t matter, giving a fuck about things that do – and knowing the difference – is something that I have noticed as a theme in my travels this week. As you would expect, there is a language warning on this article :)

Best Words to Live By

Be present.
Make love.
Make tea.
Avoid small talk. Embrace conversation.
Buy a plant, water it.
Make your bed. Make someone else’s bed.
Have a smart mouth, and quick wit.
Run.
Make art. Create.
Swim in the ocean. Swim in the rain.
Take chances. Ask questions. Make mistakes.
Learn.
Know your worth.
Love fiercely. Forgive quickly.
Let go of what doesn’t make you happy.
Grow.

- Paulo Coelho

Best Short Watch

This gorgeous girl is Maya Penn, a 14 year old philanthropist, environmental activist, entrepreneur, eco-designer, inspirational speaker, artist, animator, coder, illustrator, and writer. Because why the hell not? In the video she is only 12. If this is the future, it sure is bright.

Best Graphic

I am keeping it short this week my friends – I hope you don’t mind. Blessings to you all <3.

Don’t forget:

Twitter – follow me on Twitter to see all of my other best reads that don’t quite make it on this blog, but are still awesome – I love a chat too, so come visit :).

Facebook – I have just set up a brand new Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there :)

Instagram – I am new here; why don’t you show me around :)

Weekly Inspiration #28

We’re midway through the summer holidays in my part of the world, and the new year is well underway. Indeed, I feel all of the real world things calling me – appointments to be made, tradesmen to be booked, our holiday to the Gold Coast to organise, a newsletter to be created, blog posts to be written, 2015 goals to be planned, cupboards to be cleaned, preparation for work to be completed…my to do list is as long as my arm. It seems as soon as I tick something off, two more things arrive to take its place.

Still, there is something else that wasn’t on my list, that soon made it on there: my health. On Monday morning, the day of the Cancerian full moon, I woke up with a frozen neck and shoulder. Actually, to say it started there would not be quite correct – I had noticed that my neck had been getting stiffer over the past few days, in conjunction with some digestive upsets that I had been ignoring. Seeing as I wasn’t getting the message, my body turned up the volume. Fair enough, I hate to be ignored too.

I was hearing it now, oh boy, was I hearing it. To make it worse I was out most of the day, but when I got home, I realised what I had to do – I had to go off coffee and sugar for a few days and give my liver a break. Apparently all of those chocolate jaffa drinks over Christmas didn’t really agree with me – not to mention the champagne, cider and all of the rich heavy food I had been eating over the past month! It’s not as if I was trashing myself, it’s just that my body has a limited tolerance for all of these things, and it lets me know quick smart.

Fine. No coffee. No sugar. No problem.

Right :)

For people that are interested in complementary health and healing, I also took a few doses of my constitutional homeopathic medicine, Sepia, some of my go-to digestive cure: slippery elm powder and acidophilus powder mixed with plain yogurt, as well as making myself a fresh juice (apple, carrot and celery) each morning. I’m a basically healthy person with no chronic health conditions, so this works well for me.

How is your health after the Christmas period?

Best Short Read

Have I mentioned that I love Elizabeth Gilbert? :). This one comes complete with accompanying graphic, because I think it’s gold.

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Dear Ones -I learned this lesson first and foremost with myself (the way we all learn our big lessons I suppose).

The only way ANYTHING in my life has ever changed is when I was finally able to step outside of myself a bit, and regard my thoughts or actions with a dispassionate eye, and see how those thoughts and actions were contributing to these terrible outcomes, and finally say to myself: “Enough of this bullshit, Gilbert.”

Enough of what, exactly?

Well, take your pick.

Enough of the lies you’ve been telling to yourself, Liz.

Enough of the lies you’ve been telling to others.

Enough of saying, “I’ve got this under control!” when all evidence points to the fact that you totally do not have it under control.

Enough of the blame.

Enough of the shame.

Enough of being guided by fear instead of by faith.

Enough of waiting for somebody other than yourself to transform.

Enough of waiting for someone to speak your truth for you.

Enough of waiting to be saved.

Enough of not forgiving.

Enough of saying, “I’m too weak to do this important thing!”

Enough of the patterns of self-abuse, self-destruction, and self-ridicule.

Enough of saying, “But it’s not FAIR!”

At some point or another in my life, I’ve had to call bullshit on myself for all of the above. I get sick of my own bullshit when I become bored, saddened, and angered with the same garbage outcomes happening to me all the time. It sucks, and I get pissed off, and my life becomes unhappy. But at some point, I finally get it. Instead of crying out, “Why does this keep HAPPENING to me?!” I finally say, “Enough, Gilbert. Time to look at what you are doing to create these garbage outcomes in your life. And time to stop doing it.”

Then comes the digging, the owning, the honesty, the work.

I can still remember some of the places I was standing, and what I was wearing, and what the sky looked like at these moments of self-revelation.

I can only assume that — going forward — I will have to call bullshit on myself again and again, too…but only if I want to keep growing!

Because I’ve seen this happen in other people’s lives, too — the moment when they finally wake up to their own bullshit. What follows next is always amazing. It’s not self-hatred or shame (that was all part of the original bullshit) but LIBERATION. I’m talking about that electrifying moment when someone says, “Enough. I see it all clearly now, and I’m done with that chapter in my life.” It’s like they step out of an old self and into a new one. They enter into a new level of self-accountability, self-respect, and self-awareness.

It just makes you want to burst into applause.

Because that’s where it all begins.

Because what happens next is merely this: a human being ignites into life.

ONWARD,
LG

 Best Dance

Now, this makes me happy – by the 3rd of January, I had already been out dancing :) Going and seeing live music and dancing as much as possible are two things I had written down on my list of fun things for 2015, and while I don’t want to say I’ve ticked them off (I want lots more!), I’m very happy that my year has had such a fun start. Picture this: a little pub on the main street of a nearby country town set up for live music, two good friends, some new friends, a bottle of strawberry and apple cider, a balmy summer’s night and a funky band that pulled us onto the dance floor and would not release us until the last song had played itself out. Seriously good, energetic music and the best dance I have had in years. Love it <3.

My friend Lizzy, who I often go and have fun and adventures with, told me that they probably wouldn’t be on stage until 10pm. I laughed in disbelief – it’s not often I am even awake that late, let alone have the main event begin at that hour. It didn’t seem to matter on the night though – we chatted over a couple of drinks at the very cool local backpackers (owned by a couple of friends), which overlooks the beautiful Bellinger River, and the evening slid by in a pleasant flow of laughter and conversation. Before we knew it, it was time to go and dance.

Check out Caravana Sun, who describe themselves as Gypsy Fuelled Ska Surf Barefoot Rock :):

Oh. Didn’t I mention that they are four spunky boys? :D

Best Anniversary Present

Speaking of spunky boys, when I arrived home after 1am, this was waiting for me on my bedroom table:

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know. He stays home uncomplainingly with the children while I go out dancing with friends, and while I’m gone, he creates flower art for me. I should mention here that he could think of nothing worse than going out dancing, just so that you don’t start having unkind thoughts about me :). The 5th of January was our 15th anniversary, but for those of you, like us, who are in it for the long haul, starting early on anniversary celebrations are highly recommended <3. An old friend of mine, who knew me before I met the Bear, reminded me that he had started our relationship with flowers.

Do you want to hear a love story? Of course you do :)

gerbera-gift-box

We were living in Sydney at the time. His best friend and my best friend were in a relationship, and they wanted us to hook up. We, being contrary and disagreeable, were reluctant to be a part of such manipulations, so it took them about 6 months to get us to meet. Our first meeting was at a lounge night at a gay bar in Kings Cross where I was celebrating the end of exams for my studies in Homeopathy and Nutrition (albeit in an extremely unhealthy way. Hey, I was only 23 :) ). A couple of weeks later, while I was at work, I was asked to the front of the store where he stood, clutching a bunch of Gerberas. People, he had actually taken some time off work, bought flowers and come around especially to ask if I would go out on a date with him. As if I was ever going to say no – courage is a big turn on for me, as are flowers, so anyone who presents with both of those deserves a go in my book. I invited him around to my place and cooked him dinner (which isn’t as awesome as it sounds because my cooking skills were pretty minimal in those days) and we stayed up all night talking. He has never stopped giving me flowers and if we stop talking to each other, it’s a sure sign that something isn’t right. Happy anniversary my love – here’s to 15 more <3.

Best Quote

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That’s all from me folks – have yourself a beautiful week, and until our ways meet again, many blessings to you xo

Don’t forget:

Twitter – follow me on Twitter to see all of my other best reads that don’t quite make it on this blog, but are still awesome – I love a chat too, so come visit :).

Facebook – I have just set up a brand new Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there :)

Instagram – I am new here; why don’t you show me around :)

Taking Stock

I was over at Katie180’s cheeky little blog a little while ago, and she was doing a stocktake – not of her business, but her life. Ooh! I thought, that looks like fun :)

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Making: I’m making our old whiteboard into a blackboard – it was so old that when we wrote on it, the texta wouldn’t rub off because the protective coating had disappeared. So, two days ago my daughter and I painted it with two coats of blackboard paint, and then left it for 48 hours to set. I’m looking forward to using it as an inspiration/vision/job board :)

Cooking: I’ll be honest – in the summer holidays, straight after Christmas, there isn’t usually too much cooking in my kitchen. Or there is, but mostly short order things like pancakes, BLTs and salads. I am fantasising about a chicken curry, a yogurt cucumber raita and naan bread though :)

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Drinking: Coffee (organic and fair trade), made in my stove top espresso pot, milk heated and frothed in my heating and frothing gadget. Every day I’m excited about my morning coffee, every  freaking day :) In the afternoon, if it’s hot and the Bear is home, I’ll have some kind of alcoholic cider. Just one, or forget about dinner :) While I’m not drinking coffee or cider to give my body a break, I am making yummy fruit and vegetable juices in my new baby Oscar juicer.

Reading: I have just started reading Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier – I am enjoying it so far – as well as Leonie Dawson’s 2015 workbook. I am reading Pippi Longstocking to my five year old daughter and enjoying it immensely :)

hondaafter012Wanting: More than anything, dear angels, guides and anyone/thing else that helps facilitate these things, more than anything, I want a new car: the car in my mind is a medium sized, blue 4WD, with less than 150 000 km, in immaculate condition for the perfect price (which is whatever we can afford). Just putting it out there folks :)

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Looking: for the beauty in all things, always. Some people have to train themselves to do this, but not me. I have been a beauty hunter all my life (having 4 planets in taurus and a libran moon helps here :) ). I love to look at natural beauty, whether it is my children, the rainbow lorikeets splashing in the birdbath, the crystal clear water in our swimming hole down the road or the incredible shocking pink flowers of the Crepe Myrtle – but I can find beauty anywhere.

Playing: I am playing online scrabble with my friends: one of them lives in America – it’s how we stay connected – and the other two live 10 minutes down the road. I lose more often than I win, but I don’t mind (except when I do :) ). I’m also playing backyard cricket with my family, handball, UNO and snap.

Listening: I am listening to music through my beautiful new sound system that the Bear bought me for Christmas. It really was the perfect gift – it is simple (it just plays music through bluetooth from my iPod), beautiful, has a lovely strong, warm sound and is big enough to look permanent and small enough to move around. I love it :)

Deciding: When to visit the Gold Coast. My brother and his family have moved up there for 12 months – my brother works on film sets as a carpenter, although he manages the tradesmen these days, and his team got the contract for the Pirates of the Caribbean series. With a house in Southport, and a view of Seaworld, it is the perfect opportunity to spend some time with them, stay at the Gold Coast which is somewhere I have only ever driven through, and take the kids to the theme parks, which they are very excited about.The Bear and I sat down with the calendar yesterday to pick the best time, and my brother rang last night to confirm – so I guess it’s decided!

Enjoying: The freedom of summer and everything that entails: leisurely breakfasts, swimming in the river, dam and ocean, sleepovers, picnics, visiting friends, adventures – and no timetables, lunch boxes or Saturday sport.

Wondering: I am wondering what this year has in store for us as a family. I wonder what kind of changes, adventures, opportunities, bumps and challenges will come our way. Will work stay the same, or will it change? Is the drought over, or has it just been a wet interlude? Will I ever be able to do a yogic handstand?:)

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Loving: I am absolutely loving our beautiful river at the moment. For two summers, it has been so dry that the river dried up to a trickle and even went underground in some places. Now, after the beautiful rain we have had over the past month, it is flowing in full force, clean, clear and sparkling in riotous beauty. Every day that we are home, the kids and I go down to the river, swimming, playing, floating, shrieking with the sheer joy of being cool on a hot day and being in the presence of such beauty. Also – the entrance is overgrown and neglected, so nobody is ever there except us :).

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Pondering: On the morning of the full moon in Cancer, I woke up with a tight neck and shoulders which became steadily worse throughout the day. Add to this a general feeling of digestive malaise – bloated etc – and I am pondering what to do. I had a massage, but from the wrong person at the wrong time (sigh). I am probably a bit toxic after Christmas, so I am having a break from sugar and coffee for a few days, have plenty of juices and be super nourishing to myself. I think that will do the trick!

Sue Miller

Wishing: Wishing is a funny word, which doesn’t really appeal to me – it brings to mind things that I would like but can’t do much about. Then I thought maybe prayer would be a better word. The things I am praying/wishing for are: for the global community to work together in a genuine, concerted way to reduce climate change, environmental destruction, hunger, poverty and war. For all women and girls in all countries to be honoured and respected as equal members of the human race. For perpetual growth as a standard way of operating business be dropped in favour of a more sustainable way. For the Earth to be once more honoured and respected as the giver of all life. You know. All the things.

Considering: Studying again this year. I am considering either studying a Certificate 3 in Education Support or a Diploma of Community Services Work. I think both would be useful in my work – but I want to do the one that will be most useful in the future. I will have made a decision by the end of this month!

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Watching: I am watching, as always, the turn of the seasons, which I never tire of. It is mid-summer now, and everything is in a growing frenzy. I know though, that the cycle is tipping slowly towards Autumn, where things will gradually slow and cool, towards winter where we become dormant, and then to spring where we unfurl and welcome the warmth once more. I am also watching the pattern of the planets and astrology, both the different patterns that are unique to a year, and the patterns that come around every year. The moon is a wonderful cycle to watch, and her effect upon me is constant. I am also, and always, watching my children – their health, their wellbeing, their manners :).

Hoping: I am hoping that we have a good time at the Gold Coast, that the journey there and back is easy and smooth, that we fit easily into my brother’s house, that the lines are not too long in the Theme Parks!

Marvelling: I am marvelling at the good fortune of my life – the beautiful place that we live, my healthy children, my loving Bear, my lovely job that fits in so well with my family and lets me have the holidays off, my wonderful, supportive friends, my parents who love me no matter what, the devices and internet that enable me to write and be connected to the global community, the space and freedom I have to do and go what and where I want (within reason :) ).

Needing: I am needing lots of rest, simple, good food, music for the spirit, good books, yoga, writing, peace, love and water.

Smelling: The blossoms are outrageous at the moment: gardenias are in bloom (my very favourite flower), the Crepe Myrtle and the Jaboticaba which is throwing out more fragrant blooms and fruit in a desperate attempt to take advantage of this season. There is also the smell of insect repellent and incense – the smells of summer :).

Wearing: For the first time ever, I am wearing shorts. I know. Normally in summer I just wear dresses, and I still am – but I also have three pairs of shorts, which look fine, and are very practical. Also swimmers, thongs (as in flip flips for my feet) and some beautiful rose scented body cream that Mum gave me for Christmas.

Following: I am following all of my favourite women – Elizabeth Gilbert, Tosha Silver, Danielle la Porte, The Moon Woman, Mystic Medusa, Astrosparkles, Jennifer Pastiloff, Nicole Cody, Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Momastery. And, I’m following all of my favourite men too - Eckhart Tolle, Humans of New York, Michael Leunig, Rob Brezsny, Neale Donald Walsch, Thich Nhat Hanh, Paulo Coelho and the Dalai Lama.

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Noticing: How my back and shoulder pain has eased with the movement of the moon, from full in cancer to waning in Leo. I am also noticing how just one day without coffee and sugar has both improved the way I feel and highlighted how much I like to eat something sweet after lunch.

Thinking: I am thinking about 2015, and how actively participating in the visualising and planning of a year makes me feel so much more confident that I can do the things that I want to do. In the Leonie Dawson Create Your Shining Year Book, I am in the process of doing a rune reading for each month, which is fun, and then after that I am going to break down a big project that I want completed this year into manageable and achievable chunks. This is all new for me, and it feels exciting.

Sorting: Laundry! I seem to be constantly sorting dirty laundry into piles – darks, whites and colours – and then sorting clean laundry into piles for people that own them.

Buying: A menstrual cup, finally, after thinking about it for 18 months. I shared an article on Facebook about how distributing menstrual cups in East Africa has made such a difference to the lives of women who cannot afford to buy pads and tampons and end up using all kinds of unsanitary things to absorb their flow. In addition, lack of private facilities means that girls and women were unable to attend work or school while they were menstruating. These are the things we take for granted. Anyway, it started up a really interesting conversation where a few of us donated cups, and some of my friends talked about what a difference using menstrual cups has made in their own lives. So I finally bought one :)

Bookmarking: In my bookmark list at the moment is the homepage for Melissa Billington’s MYOGA Freedom, where the yoga videos are for my home practice, links to Amazon kindle books and my wishlist and a retro swimwear site that sells some funky looking swimmers :)

Disliking: Mainstream media news, the attitude of my menfolk who think watching cricket is a sacred activity that is above the law, squabbling children, Federal politics, the jam-packed Pacific highway, where traffic came to a standstill for 28km on either side of my closest town on the weekend, combing the knots out of my daughter’s ridiculously long, knotty hair (!) and finally: having to wash all of the dishes by hand because my dishwasher broke in between Christmas and New Year when all the tradespeople are on holidays! Phew, it was good to get all those off my chest, thanks for listening ;) 

Giggling: There’s a lot of giggling in the holidays – ridiculously wide balls, missed catches and big swings in backyard cricket, for sheer joy in the river, at the terrible, mildly offensive joke my brother told them at Christmas time, which is now my son’s favourite joke (thanks Ben!), funny YouTube clips, fart jokes, wrestling on the lounge room floor, practical jokes…and more :)

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Coveting: A new iPod :) I keep dropping my iPod touch, much to the joy of my children, but only on the very hardest of surfaces such as concrete and tiles, resulting in a cracked screen. I have my eye on the iPod classic with its small screen and massive storage capacity.

Helping: I am helping a friend with his yoga practice – he has been coming down three times a week to do yoga with me. I knew he had been wanting to do yoga, but he didn’t feel like he could go to a class, and wasn’t really confident to do it at home. When I started doing the MYOGA program, I thought to myself that he would be able to do this kind of yoga (it starts at the basics), so I invited him along. It’s been lovely.

Hearing: Birdsong, crickets, frogs, chickens, children laughing, squabbling and talking, music, television, the squeak of the trampoline springs, my breath, the rush of water over the rocks, the clink-swish of dishes in the sink, the whirr of the washing machine…

Weekly Inspiration #27

happy new year

My friends, everywhere in the world it is now 2015 – Happy New Year!

There’s a different smell in the air, don’t you think? Speaking for myself, emotionally, this year does not even resemble this time last year, and for that I am very grateful! There is a freedom this year, a sense of possibility, hope and adventure. There is a sense that whatever small step we invest in our lives, the Universe will step in to double it. For the first time in a long time, I can feel myself sensing the vast horizons which lay beyond my life, and imagining myself in that spacious vista. I feel like I want to step out strongly into the new year, to start out how I mean to continue

2014 was a tad challenging, yes? It was time to clear the decks, to focus on what really matters. One of the ways that the Universe helps us to figure out what matters is to either a) take it away b) give us some things which we don’t like or c) a combination of the above. How quickly we cottoned on to what was happening decided how much we were going to suffer. That cycle is finishing now, thank goodness. Hopefully, we are looking at our newly renovated lives with its streamlined decor, and we are thinking to ourselves:

This is me and my life, and it’s the only time I am ever going to live it. How can we shine?

In the week before Christmas, I bought something I had never bought before: a 2015 year planner. It wasn’t just any old planner though – it was a Leonie Dawson 2015 Create Your Shining Year workbook. Leonie is a kooky, effervescent Australian hippy chick with a cracking sense of humour, a love of cussing – and who also happens to be a millionaire artist and business woman. Every year she puts out these amazing, beautiful workbooks, available digitally and in hard copy, just for women. And totally affordable too. So, for the last couple of weeks I have been working my way through it – first the 2014 closing ceremony where we celebrate and release 2014 – and then the dreaming, planning and creating 2015. This is where I am entering totally new ground.

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Click on the image to check it out. Seriously, it’s awesome – and life changing too.

Friends, I am not a planner. There’s something in me that thinks if I plan then I reduce my spontaneity, flexibility and my ability to pick up on opportunities as they come up. Maybe that was true once, but it’s not now. Now, I feel like I know the direction I want my life to head. I’m done with experiencing life through the lens of okay, so I don’t like that, and right, I definitely don’t want to do that. Now, I’m more like: wow, I love this, this and this and I want to put more of it in my life because when I have more of that good stuff, I am happier, kinder, fuller and good magic happens to me! 

Already this year I have created ritual days (a writing day, a weekly family movie/game night, regular dates with the Bear, health maintenance days, family adventures) and then plotted them in my calender. Yesterday, the workbook asked me to plan a retreat for myself. I wasn’t sure what to do at first, and then I remembered that I wanted to see Elizabeth Gilbert when she comes to Byron Bay in late February (I know) and I could plan a retreat around that. So I booked the ticket ($35), and wrote it on my calendar. An hour later a friend rang, offered to be my travel buddy so we could split expenses and told me about her favourite place to stay in Byron Bay. I emailed them and they got back to me today – they have a vacancy on that date, and even though they prefer to do five night stays, they are happy for us to do a two night stay. Do you see what I mean? The act of making that first little step is just magic.

And tomorrow night, I’m going dancing.

How is 2015 feeling for you? Do you use a workbook to help you plan your best life?

Best Short Read

How to Begin Rebuilding Your Life and Make it Ridiculously Amazing at The Mind Unleashed

Of course, this is excellent timing for this article to appear on my radar – and chances are that it will be excellent timing for many of you as well :). This article grabbed me at the opening quote:

Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.

~ Joseph Addison

…then hooked me in with this:

If others mistreated you in the past it doesn’t mean you have to continue their work. Look how beautiful Mark Twain talks about this: “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

Trust me, it’s a good read to start off the new year :)

Best Watch

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On Tuesday it was a stinking hot day. Usually it is hotter where we are, in the hinterland, but on this day, with a hot westerly wind blowing, it was hot from the ocean to the mountains. The kids and I were at home, and it quickly became apparent that to do anything but lie gasping on the couch was impossible. I had heard about a tv series called Our Zoo, and suggested that we watch a couple of episodes. We all loved it so much, that we spent the whole afternoon watching one after the other. In fact, we watched five hour long episodes in a row :) In no way did I feel like that time had been wasted.

Our Zoo is a 6 part series set in the 1930s and is based on the story of Chester Zoo in England. George Mottishead is a World War 1 veteran, traumatised by his experiences and struggling with life. He is volatile, sensitive and emotional – and then he starts bringing abandoned animals home. A parrot, a monkey, then a camel. This proves to be the last straw for his family, in their tiny semi-detached townhouse. Something has to happen, and it does. Chester Zoo is born. But boy, does it ever have teething problems :) It’s a wonderful watch, and your kids will love it too.

After that, we went looking for a river to jump into. To our delight, we found that our previously dried up, stagnant creek has been filled by the rain that we have had over the past couple of weeks, and is now clear, clean and flowing. We stayed down there until it was dark, riding the rapids, shrieking and becoming human again :)

Best Words

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Best Long Read

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Wild – A Journey From Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed

This book has been on my to read list for 12 months, so in that peaceful gap between Christmas and New Years, I finally read it. In fact, I inhaled it over three days.

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.

I loved it. I was by turns sad, bewildered, outraged, annoyed, impressed, respectful and relieved. I liked her because of her honesty and humour, her doggedness and bravery. I loved walking the Pacific Crest Trail with her. I love that she wrestled her life in her two hands, shaking it to the ground and refusing to let up until it let her in. Yes, she is a big fat idiot (her words), but a resourceful and determined one as well. A good read.

Best Art

I think MJVK stands for Melissa Kooijmans - but I haven't been able to confirm that. Anyway, it's beautiful isn't it?

I think Mjvk stands for Melissa Kooijmans – but I haven’t been able to confirm that. Anyway, it’s beautiful isn’t it?

That’s it from me – have a beautiful week won’t you :)

Don’t forget:

Twitter – follow me on Twitter to see all of my other best reads that don’t quite make it on this blog, but are still awesome – I love a chat too, so come visit :).

Facebook – I have just set up a brand new Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there :)

Instagram – I am new here; why don’t you show me around :)

Weekly Inspiration #26

I got by this week with a little help from my friends. And family.

Thank goodness for them.

This is the most regularly recurring theme in my life: I often find myself tackling huge projects with little or no assistance, and getting sad, frustrated and overwhelmed, thinking thoughts like why do I end up doing everything on my own or why does nobody help me?

That was me on Tuesday. The Bear was working right  up until Christmas. I had bought all the presents, wrapped them all, made edible and drinkable presents, created the yearly family calendar, dressed the tree, organised where and how Christmas was going to be – and now I was trying to clean the house and make everything look nice. On my own. And I was so done, so over it. My darling children fed off my despair and turned into rascals, culminating in a baby powder incident in the bathroom after I had cleaned it.

So I packed everyone up and we went to Mum’s :). Where I was saved, thank Goddess. They had already cleaned their house :). We were fed, loved and put to bed. And then in the morning, there was breakfast and wisdom:

“Darling, your competence makes everything look so easy – people don’t think you need help.”

(I don’t need help, I want help, my mind whispers. Woah. Even when I’m exhausted my mind is still insisting that I can do it all.)

“You were born like that, you really were:”

“Look mum, nappy!” Pointing to my nappy. “Where’s your nappy?”
“I don’t wear a nappy, darling.”
Look of shock. Then: “I don’t wear nappy either!”
But I don’t wet the bed, my love.”
Glare. “Neither do I.”
And I didn’t.

Competence.

My mother is a little concerned: her otherwise bright two year old doesn’t speak. Then she comes across me in my bedroom with the door shut, practicing saying my words in full sentences. I like to speak properly :).

Competence.

There isn’t anything wrong with that, it’s just the way I am. If I do something, I like to do it well. It’s not competitive, it’s competence.

“Darling, you need to learn facilitation – the art of including people in what you are doing and utilising their core competencies. You are so competent that you don’t leave any room for people to help.”

With a light-bulb flash of understanding, I realise that I have almost no skills in bringing people along. For me, it’s a matter of does it need to be done,  can I do it and does it fit in with my core values. Tick, tick, tick. Right then, let’s get on with it. I am bewildered and then frustrated beyond belief when I realise that other people don’t have the same thought process. People lack confidence, they want an invitation, they need encouragement, to be nurtured and empowered – like children, except they’re not cute. Which drives me completely mental, so I just do it myself. Ha!

Guess what I’m studying next year? Facilitation.

And hey, after that Christmas was just lovely. I went to a friend’s house for Christmas Eve dinner, which was beautiful, and everything Christmas should be. Christmas Day was perfect; we went to my parent’s house, feasted, talked and laughed. Awesome presents too, by the way (job well done).

How was your Christmas?

Best Short Read

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

This article is one of the most well written, true and just downright beautiful things I have read in quite a while:

Should is how others want us to show up in the world — how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do. It’s the vast array of expectations that others layer upon us. When we choose Should the journey is smooth, the risk is small.

Must is different—there aren’t options and we don’t have a choice.

Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us. Must is what happens when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own. Because when we choose Must, we are no longer looking for inspiration out there. Instead, we are listening to our calling from within, from some luminous, mysterious place.

…read the rest of the article here

Best Christmas Drink

Now, I don’t know what happened to me this year, but I came across this recipe for a chocolate cointreau drink at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, and for some reason, I made it. And then, OMG, I drank it. It is the best thing I think I have ever drank :) I put some in small bottles and took them to a friend’s house on Christmas Eve. We poured it over ice, clinked our glasses and sipped. She stared at me in a shocked silence. I grinned back at her.

“I cannot believe that drink . It’s amazing. How did you make it?”

Jaffa Cointreau CreamCointreau

350mL Cointreau
125g good quality chocolate
1 x 395g can of sweetened condensed milk
1 x 375g of evaporated milk
1 x 300mL of pure cream

Melt the chocolate, either in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or in a microwave.

Pour a small quantity of Cointreau into a large bowl, then gradually whisk in melted chocolate, the evaporated milk, the condensed milk, the cream, and then the rest of the Cointreau

Pour the divine chocolate orange cream through a sieve into sterilised bottles, store in the fridge and drink over ice.

Oh. My. Goddess.

Best Heroic Moment

Now people. I know that many of my readers are city folk, and I know that many of you harbour fantasies about country life: you know, rolling hills, verdant beauty, no neighbours, space, quiet nights, starry skies. Yes, yes – all of those are true. But what you don’t include in your fantasies are all the unwanted animals – the snakes, the flies, the goannas, and the rats:

Last night, I was home alone. It was a friend’s birthday, but I was feeling unwell, so the Bear had taken the children and left me at home. A heavy shower of rain came over, and the gutter over my herb garden was blocked and overflowing. Standing on the edge of the garden on tip toes, I plunged my hand into the gutter to pull out what I thought would be leaves, and pulled my hand out quickly. It wasn’t leaves. What was it? After a few seconds, a scaly tail floated to the surface. Oh no. A dead rat is blocking the drainpipe, and nobody else is home. I can’t pretend I didn’t see it – if I leave it in there it will poison the water – so that nasty thing has to get out. I look around for a likely implement – I pick up a trowel and then a gutter scoop. No good. And then I remember the over-sized BBQ tongs. Gingerly, I pincer it out and fling it quickly away from me into the garden. The water stops spilling over into the garden and flows peaceably into the down pipe once more. I, on the other hand am feeling quite traumatised :).

Best Words

Yes. You know this one. I know it too. Beauty. It’s good to be reminded.

Those who don’t feel this Love
pulling them like a river,
those who don’t drink dawn
like a cup of spring water
or take in sunset like supper,
those who don’t want to change,

Let them sleep.

This Love is beyond the study of theology,
that old trickery and hypocrisy.
If you want to improve your mind that way,

Sleep on.
I’ve given up on my brain.
I’ve torn the cloth to shreds
and thrown it away.

If you’re not completely naked,
wrap your beautiful robe of words
around you,

And sleep.

– Rumi, as rendered by Coleman Barks

Best Solstice

Photo taken by Elizabeth Bond. On the morning of the summer solstice we met at the beach at 4:30am (which meant a 3:20 alarm call for me). Pyjama clad and giggling, we walked down the bush track to the beach to greet the dawn. We lit candles, sang, laughed, contemplated the past year and wondered about the next. We watched the sun come up,  drew messages in the sand with driftwood, and skinny dipped in the warm summer currents.  Rejuvenated and blissed out, we gathered at Lizzy's house and ate, drank coffee, hooted and talked. Love :)

Photo taken by Elizabeth Bond.
On the morning of the summer solstice we met at the beach at 4:30am (which meant a 3:20 alarm call for me). Pyjama clad and giggling, we walked down the bush track to the beach to greet the dawn.
We lit candles, sang, laughed, contemplated the past year and wondered about the next. We watched the sun come up, drew messages in the sand with driftwood, and skinny dipped in the warm summer currents.
Rejuvenated and blissed out, we gathered at Lizzy’s house and ate, drank coffee, hooted and talked.
Love :)

Best Graphic

The Bear sent this to me the other day :)

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And that’s it for me this week: have a beautiful week – and I’ll see you here next year (omg :) )

Don’t forget:

Twitter – follow me on Twitter to see all of my other best reads that don’t quite make it on this blog, but are still awesome – I love a chat too, so come visit :).

Facebook – I have just set up a brand new Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there :)

Instagram – I am new here; why don’t you show me around :)

Weekly Inspiration #25

What a week! We’ve really had it all, haven’t we? On Monday we had the fifth of six astrological clash of the titans – Uranus square Pluto – and I can tell you, this astrology is not for the faint hearted. It’s breaking apart, cracking open, fierce and unexpected energy, rare and a massive game changer. The first square occurred in mid-2012, but it could be said it all really started when Pluto moved into Capricorn, at the same time the Lehman Brothers collapsed in the US. In an even bigger picture, this whole cycle could be said to have begun in 1965, when Pluto and Uranus met at the same degree in Virgo.

On the same day of this astrological square, coincidentally we had a crazed gun man hold a shop full of patrons hostage in Sydney and a terrible massacre of children in Pakistan. These events are opportunties for us to open our hearts, to be compassionate and connected…or they are opportunities for us to close our hearts, harden up with hate and retreat. Humans are strange creatures, quite beyond understanding sometimes, and worse, some of us are completely insane, inside insane structures which reinforce that madness. I am not sure what kind of people could kill 132 children nor how they are able to justify it in their minds and hearts. I am not sure what kind of a man could hold 20 terrified people hostage for 17 hours and kill two of them. I know this though – those kind of people are insane. They have lost touch with their hearts and their souls and descended into madness. We owe it to humanity to not follow them there with thoughts, words and deeds of hate.

Hold the light, my friends.

At the other end of the week – school has finished for the summer, as has my job. The children received good reports and some lovely end of year awards and praise. I will have more work at the school next year, which makes me very happy, and everybody loved the year book that the children and I created. In the last week I have touched base with almost all of my favourite people around me – and the couple that I haven’t seen, I soon will. It feels like all the loose ends have been attended to, a wonderful feeling.

How has your week finished? Are you ready for Christmas?

Best Short Read

TAPAS SQUARED
(or The Joy of Letting Go)

By Tosha Silver
In Sanskrit, tapas means the suffering you feel as you learn to surrender to the Divine. It’s the cosmic fire that burns away the impurities that make us chase, manipulate, and grab. Tapas can be painful as all heck cuz it’s actually the purification of the ego. But as the small self offers itself to that Divine flame, over and over, it begins to let go, like a hard fist that opens.

Or a flower.

In Spanish, tapas are another deal. You know, they’re those little dishes from Spain that are so delicious :)

Last spring when I was in Mexico, someone suggested I go to the far edge of town to a tapas bar run by a renowned chef from Barcelona. She said for thirteen dollars you could get his ‘special’ and taste the whole menu.

Well, I hiked all the way out there, and when I arrived it had just opened for lunch and was still empty. I was excited to order that special.

But the waiter said brusquely, shaking his head, “No, no, senora, absolutamente not! Too much work, we can only make for two people.”

“Ok,” I answered, “No problema, I understand. It is a lot of work!” I was a little disappointed and hungry after that trek, but I didn’t really care. In the big scope of things, it didn’t matter. So I just offered it all to the Divine. And I asked the guy if they could make me ‘whatever’ for the same cost. I said I trusted him to pick.

He was gone a long, long time. I started to wonder if they’d totally forgotten me.

Then suddenly the waiter returned, beaming, and carrying a huge tray of tapas, each one a tiny, perfect gift. A few mushrooms grilled with garlic, a couple sauteed pink shrimp, a miniature Spanish omelet, a little seared tuna, a ruby-red tomato salad, a bite of roasted monkfish, some spicy potatoes with salty olives, exquisitely charred calamari, on and on.

And on.

Each dish was more delectable than the one before, a culinary aria to Abundance.

“Wow! Que paso?” I asked. “What on earth happened? I thought you said no!”

“Well,” he said. “You were so relaxed about it and didn’t complain, so we figured why the heck not?” He started laughing, “ An American who didn’t complain, Dios mio, oh how we loved that! Once we started making them, we couldn’t stop!”

I swooned my way through the first platter and then… oh my god, he arrived with another! I was so full I couldn’t take another bite so I brought the second batch home for a Mexican friend.

Which just goes to show, sometimes (even often) when you TOTALLY let go, stop bitching, moaning, and pushing, give it ALL to the Divine.. and have NO idea what the freakin hell might happen next, you get more–much, much more–than you EVER could imagine.

Even with tapas :)

Best Christmas Watch

Guys, you know I’m not much of a watcher – I’m slow to pick up on the good stuff, and often I miss it altogether because I have my nose in a book or my fingers tapping away on the keyboard. Even for me though, this 2003 movie constitutes dropping the ball in a big way – do you mean that I have missed out on 11 Christmases where I could have watched this movie? On Thursday night, a magical alchemy occurred where I had the whole house to myself for more than 24 hours. I know. I was under strict instructions to rest, not work. I am very obedient, so I did just that :). A movie popped into my head, as they do from time to time – Love Actually. I didn’t even know who was in it, only that it was a Christmas movie about 8 couples. When I saw the cast – Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth and on and on…I knew I was going to love it. Eight stories, eight couples and Christmas. Funny, sad, romantic and very well played. Gorgeous stories, delicious character development and just a joy to watch, from start to finish. I’ve never really had a favourite Christmas movie before, and now I do – what’s yours?

Best Graphic

It really says it all, doesn't it?

It really says it all, doesn’t it?

Best Blog Post

Editor’s Picks of the Year

This is a great end of year post by the WordPress People, featuring what they consider are the best posts for the year. Like me, you might come back to this post a couple of times, not only because of the fine writing, but because what they write about is different to what I normally read, and it piqued my interest. Well worth a look.

Best Yoga

MYOGA Freedom Online Yoga School

My yoga practice had become…stale and verging on non-existent over the past month. Busyness, stress and exhaustion, rather than being a trigger for me to practice more yoga, had resulted in less. I wanted to reinvigorate my practice, had been thinking about ways to do it, and then I saw this on a friend’s page yesterday. MYOGA is an online school run by yoga teacher Melissa Billington. If you choose to, you can enrol for the entire program, which goes for 2 years and 3 months – or you can go month by month. It starts at the basics which is a six month course, then it takes the student into yoga for the seasons and chakras, and after that a series of flow sequences. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I signed up – the first four weeks are free. This morning will be my third practice – just the basics: breath, feet, hands, a simple mantra – and I’ve got a friend coming over to share the process with me. The course is crafted for beginners and experienced yogis alike – I am neither, but I am enjoying returning to the basics.

Speaking of which, it’s time for me to go and get ready for that yoga practice, so I’m going to love you and leave you :) Have a beautiful week, won’t you…and the next time I write here, Christmas will have already passed…omg :)

Don’t forget:

Twitter – follow me on Twitter to see all of my other best reads that don’t quite make it on this blog, but are still awesome – I love a chat too, so come visit :).

Facebook – I have just set up a brand new Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there :)