The King and Queen

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Once upon a time there lived a King and Queen. 

Their names were Alex and Sara. They lived in a
castle. They had two children. Their names were 
Nick and Alani. Alani was 5 and Nick was 9. 

All vines were covered all over the castle. It 

turned to night. Sara fell asleep. It was the afternoon.

Sara was still not awake, so Alex came and gave Sara a

kiss cuddle and Sara woke up.

 

- written by Alani Currin, aged 5.

 

I woke up one day and found this story stuck with sticky tape to my bedroom wall, next to the bed. Not only was I impressed at the amount of work that had gone into it, but I thought there might be some deeper themes at play :)

Weekend Inspiration #9

I was in a shop the day before yesterday, where I heard this conversation:

“Thank God, it’s Friday!”

“It’s not Friday yet, it’s only Thursday!”

“I know, I just can’t wait until Friday…”

“Everyone loves Friday…”

“Every day, I can’t wait until it’s Friday…”

As I was wandering around, I wondered about what they loved so much about Friday – or what they didn’t like so much about the rest of the week that they couldn’t wait to get to the end of it. Maybe I’m just lucky or something, but I like all the days. In my weeks. I have an ebb and flow of work, rest and play – my weekdays are not all work, and my weekends are not all play. Every day I have a mixture of all these things, because that’s how I flow best. I definitely don’t have so many days in my life that I can afford to wish them away waiting for a particular day of the week!

You know?

Best Short Read

The 3 Steps to profound Healing (of your broken bones, heart, spirit)click on the link to read.

Written by Ben Ralston and published in The Elephant Journal, I loved this article – not only because the three steps to healing are absolutely spot on and profound – but because he describes healing ourselves as our single most important work:

Somewhere along the line human beings forgot how to quickly and easily release trauma (wild animals do it naturally). We instead learnt to hold on to our trauma. And those instincts that helped us to survive the trauma stayed locked in place – permanently switched on.
So our lives became ruled by subconscious tendencies towards fighting (conquer, destroy, kill, argue, conflict, win, etc); flight (hide, run away, escape, remain passive, etc); and freezing (numbness, paralysis, stiffness, lock-down, tightening up, etc).
This is why you may be a highly evolved, spiritual person, but have health, emotional, or psychological problems. Because there is something in your subconscious that trips you up and interferes with your essential nature from expressing itself naturally.

When enough of us heal these blockages, I am sure there will be peace on earth, because peacefulness is the natural inclination of life. War is an aberration, like murder.

We have the tools to forge a new society, a new earth, a new humanity.

Healing ourselves is the ultimate environmental activism.

It is a political act.

It is an expression of Ahimsa (non-violence) and Satya (truthfulness) and compassion.

Let us heal ourselves and each other.

Let us heal the global heart that is bleeding and crying out for us to stop abusing ourselves.

You heard him people – healing ourselves, doing our work – is activism at it’s very highest level. Inspirational, huh?

Best Blog

My favourite blog for this week is UnTangled. Written by Dr Kelly Flanagan, a clinical psychologist and a writer, this blog regularly gives me insight into myself, my relationships and the world around me. He has a very personal, engaging style and uses stories from his own life to draw us into a conversation about being our best selves. This week’s post from Dr Kelly about the three types of relationships and the most important three little words in a relationship (hint: they are not I love you) really resonated with me. Given all the relationship work that the Bear and I have done this year, this post had a particular resonance.

Best Listen

Martha Wainwright's Come Home to Mama.

Martha Wainwright’s Come Home to Mama.

 

Daughter of Rufus Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, Martha Wainwright has an unrivalled music pedigree and a gorgeous quirky folk rock talent that I’ve been following for years. You might know and love this song like I do (careful! bad language):

 

 

Come Home to Mama, released in 2012, is her third full studio album and represents a new start for Martha. In the winter of 2009/2010, her mother Kate McGarrigle passed away.and she became a mother for the first time. Martha said:

This record is a culmination of my life experiences so far. Everything changed for me a couple of years ago and this record is a representation of that and a return to the reason I started writing songs. I’ve made this record as a motherless child and as a mother. Two things I had never been before. For me, it is a new beginning.

It’s always hard to pick a song from an album, but this one is particularly good:

 

 

Best Object

Yesterday I took the plunge and bought an iPad mini. Eeeeeeee :). To say that I am in love with it would be a sad understatement :) I’ve been thinking about buying a tablet for about 2 years now (lol :D I know, I don’t like to rush these things – plus you know, it’s difficult to make these kind of expensive techy decisions). My kindle e-reader died about a month ago, and that really pushed me into action – do I buy another kindle (which is really only good at one thing – reading books) or do I get a tablet that can be an e-reader as well as do the other things that I want to: blog reader, emails, social media and mini mobile workstation that I can take anywhere, easily? After doing my research, asking friends and trying them out, I decided (finally!) on the iPad mini, which is small enough that I can read off it easily, but has a big tablet ability.

Best Poetry

Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in…

And someone’s face, whom you love, will be as a star
Both intimate and ultimate,
And you will be heart-shaken and respectful.
And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved whisper:

‘Oh let me, for a while longer, enter the two
Beautiful bodies of your lungs…’

Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for your eyes.

It’s more than bones.
It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It’s more than the beating of a single heart.
It’s praising.
It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.

You have a life – just imagine that!
You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe
Still another…

We do one thing or another; we stay the same or we change.
Congratulations if you have changed.

Let me ask you this.
Do you also think that beauty exists for some fabulous reason?

And if you have not been enchanted by this adventure—your life—
what would do for you?

Since then I have gone out from my confinements, though with difficulty

I mean the ones that are thought to rule my heart.
I cast them out, I put them on the mush pile.
They will be nourishment somehow (everything is nourishment somehow or another).

And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.
I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.
I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,
I have become younger.

And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world

― Mary Oliver

There is poetry…and then there is poetry written by Mary Oliver.

Best Medicine

This week, oh wonder of wonders – it rained. It rained and rained and rained until all the empty dams were full, the rivers flowing and the earth soft and green. We had more rain this week than we have had in 18 months. Never mind that it was in August, traditionally our driest month – it rained! I can see the tension relax on people’s faces – the cattle farmers who have to spend hundreds (or even thousands!) of money each week on feed and irrigation to feed their cows, the rural householders who have to buy water to drink and for their daily use, the gardeners who have no choice but to let their gardens go fallow – and the shopkeepers who get squeezed as the farmers do it tough. This is medicine alright, medicine for the soul.

Best Image

And to finish things off – I love wisdom that make me smile :)

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Lemons anyone?

 

Our little lemon tree - still stacked with lemons after all that processing!

Our little lemon tree – still stacked with lemons after all that processing!

It was a strange year for citrus – our oranges were non-existent, our mandarins were so sour as to be inedible by anyone except the birds – but the lemon and lime trees overproduced. We’ve been in drought for the past 18 months (we’ve just received drought breaking rain with the virgo new moon – yippee!) so no doubt that has affected them.

So, what to do with all of these lemons? I do what I often do when faced with a produce problem: go to my favourite cooking book of all time: The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander. Seriously, I have often thought that if I only had one cook book, it would be that one. This book is arranged in order of ingredients, so when I have lots of lemons, I just turn to the lemon section:

Preserved Lemons:

Photo fro beadrecipes - click to visit.

Photo from beadrecipes – click to visit.

250g coarse kitchen salt
10 thick-skinned lemons, scrubbed and quartered
1 bay leaf, torn into pieces
2-3 cloves
1 stick of cinnamon, broken into pieces
Juice of four extra lemons

Scatter a spoonful of salt into a sterilised 1 litre jar. Tip lemons into a large plastic container with remaining salt and mix well. Pack salty fruit into the jar, skin side out, inserting pieces of bay leaf, cinnamon and clove as you go. Press down hard on the fruit to release as much juice as possible, pour extra juice over the top to cover the lemons and top with the left over salt. Cap tightly and leave for a month.

Now all I need to do is find some good recipes that use preserved lemons – what’s your favourite?

The next thing to do was to make lemon cordial. I’ve made this a few times before – my family loves it and begs me to make it all year round :)

Lemon Cordial

(makes 2 litres of cordial concentrate)

Photo by Yuppie Chef - click to visit

Photo by Yuppie Chef – click to visit

2kg caster sugar
1 litre of water
2 tbl citric acid
2 tbl tartaric acid
Juice of 6 lemons
finely crated zest of 2 lemons

Dissolve sugar in water over heat in a non-reactive saucepan (you, know, not aluminium). Add citric and tartaric acids. Stir to ensure that all is dissolved, then bring to a simmering point. Cool. Stir in juice and zest and bottle in clean, sterilised glass bottles. It lasts for months (technically)  :)

The other thing we heaps of are eggs…we only have 5 chickens – but when you get 5 eggs a day, things can get out of hand fast! Stay tuned :)

 

Service and the Virgo New Moon

From April Elliot Kent at Big Sky Astrology

From April Elliot Kent at Big Sky Astrology

I woke up yesterday morning with a list in my mind and a brain full of bullet points. That’s okay – it’s perfectly acceptable to wake up listing on the morning of the virgo new moon :). After all, there’s only one of them in every year! Even for me, a human with no virgo in my astrology chart, the virgo new moon, coming hot on the heels of the sun’s movement into the sign of the virgin will have an effect.

Everyone will feel this energy in different ways. Right now, some people are in a cleaning frenzy, some people are madly filing and organising their taxes and others have suddenly gotten a mad desire to fine tune their health and fitness programs. Not me :) Today, that other Virgoan specialty is on my mind: service.

This is what my virgo-themed day (off) looked like:

  1. Wake up, meditate.
  2. Read, attend to, file and delete emails.
  3. Make breakfast and a packed lunch for the kids, help them finish their homework, listen to their home readers, pack their bags, teach them some goddamn manners ;) and send them off to school.
  4. Tidy the house.
  5. Pay the bills online.
  6. Spend a couple of hours on writer’s group duties (I’m the secretary): type up minutes, change an advertised listing, send emails, pay bills, and liaise with the president and treasurer on some issues that were brought up at the last meeting.
  7. Order printer ink cartridges online.
  8. Start processing my tree full of lemons: I wish I could show you what it looks like, this smallish tree, laden with yellow fruit – but I’ve lost my camera, dammit! I made a huge jar of preserved lemons and 3 bottles of lemon cordial.
  9. Eat lunch: turmeric chicken noodle soup I had made the night before.
  10. With 20 minutes to go until school finished, I whipped up a batch of scones.
  11. I kid you not. Believe me, this is not every day, so don’t go getting all who do you think you are – super mum or something on me, okay?
  12. Do my daily heart kriya and yoga practice.
  13. The whole evening shenanigans – dinner, showers, teeth and bed.
  14. Journal, meditation, sleep.

On this day, I am serving my family and my writer’s group. Serving these groups is easy because I’m a valuable and useful part of them, and they fulfill certain core values I have (family, children, health, writing, community). It’s pleasurable and fulfilling work, even on my day off.

But what about the sorts of service that aren’t so pleasant or easy? That is what I woke up thinking about this morning, the second day of the virgo new moon. What about service where you are not valued, either by the community you serve or by the group itself? What about the sort of service where you have to learn to appreciate and value yourself and the work that you do? That kind of service is not so fun. Lots of people know about this kind of service – caring for children, the sick, disabled and aged is this kind of service. If you are doing this kind of service on a volunteer basis, it is most likely for a loved one, which doesn’t make the work easier, but keeps you in there when the going gets tough.

But what about the type of service that is not for family or loved ones? What about service for a thing, like a school or other community group? It may have started out as a cohesive, well-functioning group that was well supported and of which you became a valued member. Even though some of the people were difficult to work with, it didn’t matter too much because you were working for a common purpose – and that purpose was important enough to transcend any petty squabbles. But it’s changed over the years, membership has become smaller and smaller, and your work less valued and appreciated. It’s become a drag and a struggle, but still you persevere over the top of anger and frustration because there is still a need.

Finally though, there aren’t enough members to fill out the group anymore. The work hasn’t disappeared and and neither has the need for that work – but the people willing to do the work have gone. And still, you weigh it up, consider options, fight to hold it together. It’s hard for you to let go of this one, so hard. You hate to be a fucking quitter :)

I have learned this lesson well over the past decade or so: I used to be a quitter. When things got tough, I would just throw my hands up and walk away. But the Universe has arranged things to teach me how to be a stayer. Don’t like where you live? Bad luck, make the most of it. Trouble with your relationship? Stick to it and fix it. Work on it, work on yourself, make it the best you can. And I learned that the best things take work, every day, when it’s easy and when it’s not. Do you want to be a writer? Write every day. Do you want to become a conscious human being? Do your spiritual practices every single day.

So I guess it really shits me when something I have worked so hard on – quits on me! Ha :) I’ve finally learned to stay with something until it gives up before me – OMG I’m going to take that as a small, pyrrhic victory :)

Maybe everything is already perfect, just as it is, and your only job is to figure out your place in it, and to do the best you can with what you’ve been given. Figure out what the world needs from you, and organize your life in such a way that you’re able to give it. – April Elliot Kent in her essay on the Virgo Moon

Happy virgo month friends – have you noticed any virgo themes in your life lately?

PS My next post will be the recipes for the preserved lemons and lemon cordial – just in case you too have a lemon tree that is groaning with fruit – or you want to come and get some of mine :) You can have them for free if you want!

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Inspiration #8

Hey, happy weekend everyone :)

I don’t know about you, but I’m happy that it’s the weekend because it means that this week is finally over, and hopefully I won’t have to revisit any of its frustration, anger and difficult communication…yep, it’s just been one of those weeks and I’m glad to see the back of it.

On the other hand, the world keeps on turning, and there are delights to be found everywhere :) Check this out:

Best Prediction

I follow Mystic Medusa, who is my favourite sassy modern astrologer of all time. I subscribe to her website, but somehow I missed my stars for this weekend. Luckily the Universe was looking out for me and had the Bear send it to me instead:

Taurus/Taurus Rising Daily Horoscopes for Weekend

The conjunction between your ruler Venus and Bitch Goddess Lilith is ruthless but regenerative. Being the kind, understanding Saint Taurus character in any relationship or attraction scenario is not going to work now. Screw being the confidante or meek power-behind-the-throne. You will star or find another script.

And here was I thinking that standing up and speaking out was just my personal process – which it is, but backed up by the  heavenly energies to supercharge my efforts :) Consider yourself warned…

Best Short Read

Things you Should Know About Introverts – by Stephanie from Playfully Tacky

Are you an introvert? Probably :) I think most bloggers and readers are! A good friend of mine, someone I have known all my life, looked at me askance the other day when I described myself as an introvert. Really? Is that how you would describe yourself? he asked doubtfully. Yes, really. I’ve trained myself to be sociable, and I am not shy (introvert and shy are two different things). But, I need heaps of time on my own to be at all friendly, networking and making small talk is my kryptonite, and big parties are torture! Have a read, and tell me what you think.

Best Long Read

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  1. Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

This is yet another beautiful book by Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks, Australian author and journalist. Her other books, People of the Book, March and The Year of Wonders are just as wonderful. Published in 2011, it’s not new – but I’m assuming some of you might be like me, and just not able to keep up with all the books out there!

The story of Caleb’s Crossing is built on the slender story of Caleb, the first American Indian to attend Harvard in 1665. Narrated by a female character Bethia, Brooks takes what little is known of Caleb and spins a rich, fully imagined story around it. I gobbled this book up in less than a week – I just loved it. Has you read this book or any others by Geraldine Brooks?

 

 

Best Graphic:

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From a gorgeous blog I follow – Nature and Mind (click on the picture to visit) This is why I love education – this is why I love my job as a teacher’s aide and this is why I have volunteered for years at my local public school. It’s not a perfect system – and  I’m okay with that. I just have this thing where I like to work with what I have and make it as good as I can. And as for the people who teach our children every day – in my experience, they are doing a most difficult job and doing it well, with passion and integrity. Here’s to education and teachers!

 

Best Blog

The Manifest-Station – a place for words

I follow lots and lots of blogs, and it occurs to me today that here would be a good place to nominate my favourite blog for this week. Now, when this blog appears on my feed, my heart skips a beat because I know I’m in for a heart squeezing, mind expanding ride of a read. The writer is Jennifer Pastiloff, a writer, yoga teacher and travelling inspiration maker – sometimes it’s her writing, and other times there are fabulous guest bloggers. Check it out here, it’s wonderful.

Best Words

From my friend, the lovely Nelli Gallop:

I am what I am;
in having faith in the beauty in me,
I develop trust.
In softness I have strength.
In silence, I walk the higher realms.
In peace, I understand myself & the world.
In conflict I stay calm.
In detachment, I am free.
In respecting all living things, I respect myself.
In love, I unconditionally accept the evolution of others.
In freedom, I have power.
In service, I give what I have become.
I am what I am….
eternal, immortal, universal, infinite.

…from a warriors prayer…

That’s it from me this week – kinda short and sweet :)

Have a beautiful weekend everybody!

 

 

 

 

 

Adventures into the heart of the matter

Imagine that you had gone all your life without ever washing, and then one day you decide to take a shower. You start scrubbing away, but then watch in horror as the dirt begins to ooze out of the pores of your skin and stream down your body. Something must be wrong: You were supposed to be getting cleaner and all you can see is grime. You panic and fling yourself out of the shower, convinced that you should never have begun. But you only end up even more dirty than before. You have no way of knowing that the wisest thing to do is to be patient and to finish the shower. It may look for a while as if you are getting even dirtier, but if you keep on washing, you will emerge fresh and clean. It’s all a process, the process of purification.

- Sogyal Rinpoche (Glimpse of the Day)

I am on day 20 of a 40 day heart opening practice. My commitment is two-fold:

  1. Do a daily heart-based kriya or yoga sequence
  2. Deal honestly with what comes up

Why 40 days, and why make a commitment in the first place?

I have done 40 day practices before (40 days of yoga and 40 days of meditation) and I find that 40 days is long enough to break through the resistance and really have a practice settle deep within. Big changes can happen in 40 days, long lasting, life altering changes. I make a commitment to myself and I share that commitment to strengthen my resolve, because I know for sure that I will meet serious resistance along the way and want to give up. For all kinds of reasons. A commitment means that I can hear my mind telling me that it’s too hard, or too easy, that it’s not working or it’s working too fast or that I don’t need to do it anymore, that my work is done…and then I get up and do the practice anyway, because who the hell cares what my mind thinks?

What would it know, when it got me into this trouble in the first place?

Check out here what happened over the first 8 days. Warning: it ain’t pretty :)

Days 9 and 10: I still feel fragile after the tumultuous first week of my practice, but the insight I received on day 8 has slowly been settling deep within, the truth percolating and simmering. Most of my anger, rage, judgment and irritation have vanished, leaving me with the feeling of being in the aftermath of a storm: relief that the storm has blown over but looking at the wreckage and wondering where to start. Cyclone kriya. There is the matter of the Bear: not only has he copped some of my toxic overload, but he has had a terrible week in his own life and is not disposed to look kindly upon me:

Look, to be honest, I really needed you this week and you weren’t there for me. It’s going to take me a while to get over that.

Sigh. Later on, I tell him about my new insights into my anger and where it’s coming from. He nods and says:

“Guess who cops the anger that you can’t suppress and you can’t express?

An image comes to me of the Bear just taking all of my shit, absorbing body blow after body blow. I realise with a sinking heart how my unconscious behaviour has affected him and the pain of that realisation is almost too much to bear. I sit with the pain for a while.

Day 11: The next day, I take a moment alone with the Bear and acknowledge the truth of what he said. I tell him that while I can’t promise it will never happen again, I know it now, I’m aware and I’m working on it.

Things get better between us very fast after that :)

Day 12: I wake up feeling so blissed out, it’s like I’m stoned, but a million times better :) My heart feels so different. Normally I can visualise my heart centre as being a smallish circle in the middle of my chest – now it feels as wide as my collar bones, vast and deep. Today I have an appointment with an aura photographer of all things – a friend of mine is hosting an event at her house, and I made the appointment a couple of weeks ago. It’s kinda tricky to fit in, but everything falls into place and I arrive on time. The photo itself takes 10 seconds, and then Emma, the beautiful photographer, sits down with me to talk about what it all means.

She looks at me for a moment and asks me how I’m feeling. I tell her I’m feeling fine. I then tell her about the heart practice I’ve been doing, and she unwraps the photo from its packaging, saying “Well, that explains your photo then.”

aura photo 2014The colour above my head tells me what I am experiencing right now. As you can see, it’s green, the colour of the heart chakra. The blue and purple to my right is is my outgoing energy and signifies an internal spiritual journey. The green on my left side is where I am moving to, signifying change and new growth. Emma’s prediction is that the spiritual work I am doing now will have a physical effect on my life, bringing in change and new growth. Can you see the orbs above my head? They are my spirit guides, and they’re heavily supporting the work I’m doing. And can you see the green over my heart? That’s my newly opened heart centre :) Emma can’t believe it – she has been taking aura photos for years, and has rarely seen such a clear, heart-centered photo before.

This is a great gift for me, and helps to validate the journey I’m on. Sometimes you know, spiritual work is invisible work. Not this time.

Even more interestingly, I go home and dig up the aura photo I had taken at the end of 2012:

aura photo 2012Wow, how’s the difference? The first thing that struck me was how cloudy my aura is: I’m not even visible. This indicates I’ve got a lot of stuff that I’m not letting go of. And look at all that red, close into my body! Yes, all that red, magenta and gold are signs of a person who knows how to make things happen, but I see a lot of anger there, and I can’t let it go. Understanding myself and where I was back then, I was very frustrated and I felt locked into a situation with no escape. I was trying to make the best of it, but it was very difficult. Compare it to the top photo, where I’ve just let it all go. All of it. It’s just me and my heart :)

Yay!

Days 13-16: Things are settling down, and peace is becoming the normal state for me. I am noticing differences within myself, like how open hearted I feel in my relationship with the Bear. I just want to hug him all day long, and press my heart against his. Finally, I feel like that soft woman he always wanted. It feels wonderful to be so receptive and open – I wonder how long it will last for? Will I allow the pain of the world to shut me down again? I hope not.

Days 17-20: I am paying more attention to the physical side of the heart sequence now that the emotional side has died down. I had started off doing each arm movement for 1 minute, increasing to 1 minute and 20 seconds in the 2nd week, and then upping it again to 1 minute 40 seconds in the third week. It’s challenging, but I’m pushing myself to see what I can do. On day 17, my arms and shoulders feel weak and achy – I decide to go a bit easier on myself and drop back to 1 minute. I don’t want to injure myself less than half way through the process.

Who knows what I could miss out on?

For those of you who are interested in embarking on your own adventure of the heart, you can pop over to the Yoga Lunchbox and download a copy of the heart kriya for only $4.99 (which also gets you a whole month’s membership!)

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Inspiration and Wisdom Through Seven Sacred books – Part Three

Outrageous Openness

Letting the Divine take the lead

By Tosha Silver

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The first two books on my list, The Power of Now and The Artist’s Way are books that lots of people know about. Outrageous Openness? Not so much. Up until recently, Outrageous Openness was self published by the author and promoted solely through her Facebook page – which is where I first came across it. I was intrigued – who was this zany, funny, wise astrologer/psychic/wise woman/writer/poet? Obsessed with the Divine in all of her forms, Tosha constantly tells stories of how she and other people come across the Divine every day, all day. That’s what drew me to her actually; she tells funny stories ALL the time. It was her poetry (which are really just prayers) that led me to her book though, and this one in particular:

Change Me Prayer

“Divine Beloved, Change Me into someone
who can give with complete ease and abundance,
knowing You are the unlimited Source of All.

Let me be an easy open conduit for Your prosperity.
Let me trust that all of my own needs are
always met in amazing ways
and it is safe to give freely as my heart guides me.

And equally, please Change Me into someone
who can feel wildly open to receiving.
Let me know my own value, beauty and
worthiness without question.
Let me allow others the supreme pleasure of giving to me.
Let me feel worthy to receive in every possible way.

And let me extend kindness to all who need,
feeling compassion and understanding
in even the hardest situations.

Change me into One who can fully love, forgive
and accept myself… so I may carry your Light
without restriction.

Let everything that needs to go, go.
Let everything that needs to come, come.
I am utterly Your own.

You are Me.
I am You.
We are One.

All is well.

I bought her book at the beginning of 2012 – actually, I think it was the first book I ever bought on my brand new kindle – and, like all the other books on this list, it has been transformational for me.

Divine Order and Aligning with the Divine

Divine Order is the understanding that every problem or situation already has its own ready made solution, just waiting to come to us. If we would just, for one minute, quit racing around, panicking, trying to control every damn thing – that solution will come to us.

Divine Source says there us a natural Universal Abundance that knows how to meet every need. Harmonising with this Force of Love – call it the Shakti, God, Goddess, One Mind, whatever you will – is the golden key to everything. If a state of radical openness, acceptance and attention is held.

Sometimes it seems that our main task on this Earth is that of Problem Solver. It seems that if it’s not one thing then it’s another, oh boy. It never ends. Or at least, that’s how it seemed to me, when I appointed myself chief problem solver of my own life. Got a problem? Find a solution, and then make it happen come hell or high water – that was my motto. The thing is though, there are a few difficulties with that approach: the main one being that life seemed to be full of problems – and the harder I worked to solve problems, the more I seemed to create.

I’m often thinking about the topic of doership and who in fact is the one ‘doing the doing’. Life changes radically if you know you’re a conduit for what wishes to happen as opposed to the one making it all occur.

Divine Will

God only gives us three answers: ‘Yes, not yet, or no, I love you too much.’

Okay, so there is our puny human ego-driven will that wantswantswants nownownow, and then there is the Divine Will.

Yes, our minds are vastly powerful. We have enormous power to manifest. What we think and anticipate often we do attract. But if we attract it with grasping and attachment, suffering will inevitably follow, as night follows any day.

Although I was as ego-driven as anybody and just as convinced of the rightness of my solutions as any despot, I’ve never been attracted to the idea of vision boards and The Secret style manifestation process. There is something a little ungrateful, this constant sending of want lists to the Divine, have you ever thought that? It’s a bit like: one week after Christmas, my kids start drafting up their birthday lists – and I tell them to put those damn lists away and go and play with the toys that were so desperate to get only last week. That’s us, with our vision boards of new cars, fancy holidays, iPads and designer clothes – this perfect life. It never ends, you see, this grasping.

Anything forced into manifestation through personal will is always ‘ill gotten’. – Florence Scovel Shinn

When I read that line, something really clicked into place. I thought about all those times I had used my personal will to bulldoze something into happening before its time – or worse, when it wasn’t ever meant to happen – and it never ended well.

In fact, when I first read Outrageous Openness, I had lost all faith in my own ability to know what was good for me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and nothing I did seemed to work out. I was frustrated and I felt like a failure.  Little did I know that was the absolute perfect place for me to be to read this book! When I bought it, I sat up in bed and read it from cover to cover in almost one sitting – and then, unheard of for me, I went to the start and read the whole thing again. Do you mean that I don’t need to have all the answers? Do you mean that I don’t need to solve all my problems by myself? The relief I felt was extraordinary. So, when a situation came up, I practiced doing this:

Hold the question in your heart. Ask with complete focus and conviction for the Universe’s guidance. Then let go and see what breadcrumbs come for you to follow. If you don’t get an answer, just keep asking for a while until you do.

Breadcrumbs come in all sorts of forms – a phone call, email, chance meeting, dream, song, Facebook post, book – anything! Our job is to be awake and watchful – and be aware:

Divine Timing

You may wear out your iron-soled shoes searching for what arrives without effort when the time is right. – Chinese Proverb

In practicing this new way of approaching life – and believe it me, it takes practice – I had to let go of this idea of putting my own time constraints on things. Look, this was hard for me – five planets in taurus and an aries rising: omg I want things when I want them, how I want them – and I want them yesterday. But as I began resting back into the Divine, trusting the process and following the breadcrumbs, I began to understand the value of Divine Timing. I would say to myself:

My life is unfolding in Divine Timing. All delays are beneficial. I’m always in the right place at the right time.

More and more I began to see the value of moving with the flow of Life, rather than constantly paddling upstream. When I let of the need to control what was happening, how it happened and when it happened – I found that what I wanted found its way to me in magical ways. I wanted to find ways to explore writing – in short order I received details of a social media course, an invitation to join a writers group and the opportunity to study media and communications. I wanted to develop a yoga home practice – I received an email asking for people to edit a book called 40 Days of Yoga – breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice – which not only enabled me to create and sustain a home yoga practice for the past two years, but has given me many other gifts besides. Whereas before I would have come up with a strategy to get what I wanted, now I was offering up my preferences – and leaving the what, how and when up to the Divine to sort out.

What I needed to understand is that there is a big, big picture that I don’t have access to. My puny human mind just doesn’t have the capacity to understand or grasp the complexity of what it actually takes to make something happen.  The thing is, I don’t even have to try. All I do is move in the direction of what makes me joyful – offering up preferences as I go.

Right Action

Often the right action in life can be felt as a palpable inner pull in almost any situation…if you listen, you’ll be shown step by step the way to go.

For me, the right response in any situation has always been action. Or at least, it used to be. One of my most freeing realisations has been that often the best action is to do nothing. Just wait and see how the situation unfolds. This alone has been so transformative for me, for the biggest problems to the littlest scenarios. It has lead me, indeed, to ask myself every time something ‘goes wrong’ – what if this is actually perfect? Mostly, if I let a situation play out, instead of jumping straight in trying to fix it, the solution presents itself.

You just never know what blessings an obstacle or problem may be creating, and what larger nightmares you might totally be spared.

Like: I had a job a while ago, in social media. After about 8 months, I was totally sick of it and said to my boss that I was done and he would need to find someone else to do it. He asked if I could keep working until he found someone else; I agreed, and kept working. He had trouble finding someone to do my job, and it seemed to drag on and on – I still kept doing the work, but I was very tempted to just jump ship. Out of the blue, I was offered another job, which I was happy to accept. Two days later, my boss emailed me and said that he had found someone else. This is a kind of gentler life, and there is a  beauty in this kind of unfolding of events – certainly much more beautiful than what would happen if I had orchestrated the events :)

Sometimes, by jumping in with an action, we stop the natural correction process from occurring, resulting in a forced, unsatisfying solution. Sometimes we do need to make an action – and if we are aligned with Divine Will, we will know what that action is – and if we don’t know what to do, or we are undecided – do nothing. You might be surprised at the results – I know I was :)

For me, one of the beautiful things about this book is its easy readability. It’s light, funny, honest, personal – and none of those things detract from the deep truth contained within. In fact, it makes the truth accessible, and that’s really what I’m interested in: truth that everyone can get a hold of. I don’t like to wade through wordy philosophies that are overly complex and appear to have been dictated by someone’s ego. Tosha Silver is a writer and a story teller as well as lover of the Divine – and that simple fact makes her book enjoyable to read as well as life changing.