Weekend Inspiration #12

I had a massage yesterday. I know: in your mind, you’re conjuring up heated towels, scented candles and an hour or so of pampered bliss. My friends, it wasn’t that type of massage :). This is deep, deep body work, with emotional release and counselling as well. Today we were working on releasing the muscles in the front of the throat, chest, shoulder and abdomen. All of my vulnerable places. My job was to talk about whatever came up during that process. I found myself talking about my childhood asthma, motherhood and perfection. About how I had decided fairly early on that I wouldn’t have children, because from what I could see, even the best, most conscious parents hurt and damage their children. I could bear my own pain, but I couldn’t bear the thought of inflicting permanent pain on my own innocent children; so I could either be perfect (obviously impossible) or not have children. And then you know, I met the Bear who wanted to have children, and I thought it would be okay, we could do this hard thing together. I found out that I can do this hard thing called motherhood. I try very hard to be perfect, and I fail at that everyday. Like every mother in the world I cause my children pain, some of which will remain with them throughout their lives, and the very thought of that makes me weep, as I sit here, writing these words. I don’t know if I am a good mother, but I try very hard, if that counts. I have found out this about motherhood, as opposed to any other thing in this world: you can’t leave it. No matter how heartbroken, exhausted and sick of it you are, you can never leave. This fact means that once you are enrolled in the subject of motherhood in Earth School, it becomes a compulsory subject. For me, motherhood is about showing up, being committed (as in going crazy and keeping your promises!), consistency, respect, community and above all love. It’s not about perfection.

perfection

Best (short) Read:

This is a post from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page. She has been a speaker on the recent Oprah’s Life You Want Tour, and she wrote this after she saw Iyanla Vanzant speak:

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: “Have the courage to do what you need to do before you are FORCED to do it.”

Dear Ones -

Iyanla Vanzant was incredible yesterday at Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour. Like: ON FIRE. She’s a speaker of the truth, and I love it. So much of what she has to teach is about ultimate self-accountablity, and as she spoke I had more than a few moments of electric self-recognition about things I have done in the past (or am still doing!) that invite mess and dysfunction into my life.

Let me quote one particularly resonant passage of her speech:

“Have the courage to do what you need to do before you are FORCED to do it. And when you are forced to do it, don’t get mad at the people who forced you to do it.”

Does this make as much sense to anyone else out there as it does to me? Does it remind you of yourself as much as it reminded me of me?

I don’t like conflict. I aim for appeasement. I often dodge the chance to directly address problems early on, because I hope the problems will go away. I deny and I duck and I put my hands over my ears and say, “La-la-la-la-la.” And then, guess what? Sometimes those problems don’t away. In fact, they blow up in my face — often through another person’s reflexive or angry action. And then I think, “God, what a mess that person has made in my life!” When in fact that person was just acting out in a dysfunctional manner because of a completely screwed up scenario that I had allowed to continue for far too long — because I didn’t have the courage to address it earlier. It is not their fault that things got messy; it is my fault that I didn’t clean up my own house sooner.

I started to learn a long time ago that if we don’t take action in our lives, action will be foisted upon us — and you might not like how it plays out. You may stay passive as much as you like, but destiny will not rest. If you sit there long enough and do nothing, shit will go down, anyhow. So you can either change bad situations yourself, or you can wait for them to detonate upon you (on someone else’s terms)…but it’s probably better if you take it in your own hands sooner.

I am still learning this. I can see messy things that happened in my life this very year, because I didn’t want to cope with problems sooner. I’m not beating myself up here about it. (Nor should you.) It’s over. (As Iyanla says: “If it’s in the past…you passed.”) But I took note of this idea yesterday, and told myself, “Liz, stay alert. Heads up. Start speaking your truth sooner. You’ve been put on watch.”

And this is how we learn and grow.

ONWARD,
LG

Ahem :)

Best Astrology:

From Big Sky Astrology - click on the image to check them out.

From Big Sky Astrology – click on the image to check them out.

Last weekend, Mars, the God of War and Action, left Scorpio and moved into Sagittarius. Seriously, can you feel the difference? For six long weeks, our energy has been directed at all things Scorpio – the hidden, the dark, the mystery, secrets, sex, taboo, deep personal work. It’s been great :) Actually, it has, and because Saturn is in Scorpio as well, you can be sure that whatever you learned about yourself (or other people!) during this time will be with you for a long, long time. But Mars in Saggitarius! Now that’s a fresh vibe :). Think: lots of action around travel, philosophy, higher learning, physical activity, adventures – and probably lots of foot in mouth situations :) Here are my two Mars in Saggitarius stories for this week:

  1. On Wednesday while at work, my boss told me that we would all be playing netball for sport. My blood froze for a moment, coagulating in horror. Netball?? Let me tell you something about myself: team sport is not my thing, especially anything with a ball. But netball holds a special place of fear in my heart, as it was the sport most girls knew how to play at school, except me and a few other small schools girls. However, I’m all grown up now apparently, so I metaphorically girded my loins, donned my bib and got ready to defend my goal against five 10-12 year olds :) We played for a sweaty, exhilarating 30 minutes, and afterwards I said to my boss. “I never thought I would say netball and fun in the same sentence!” Mars in sagittarius.
  2. I bought my daughter a new bike this week – a friend was selling her daughter’s hardly used bike, and it looked much better than the one we already had. It was more a hopeful purchase, because I hadn’t had much luck teaching her how to ride a bike – she just didn’t feel safe on the two wheeled bike, even with training wheels. So, we take the bike across the road to practise on the school’s flat grassy area. In five minutes she was riding that damn bike by herself. By the end of the week, she was starting herself off, riding down hills, weaving in and out of obstacles and going over little jumps. Mars in saggitarius. 

Take note of any new feelings of courage, yearnings for adventure or desire to expand your mind and your horizons for the next couple of months – honouring these feelings will put you in the universal flow, which is of course what astrology is!

Best Blog:

This is a little shout out to Nicole Cody from Cauldrons and Cupcakes, one of my favourite blogs. Nicole is Australian and lives in a similar part of the country to me, probably only 3 or 4 hours away. Her blog was nominated in the 2014 Best Australian Blogs competition and she has been Freshly Pressed. She describes herself as a psychic, metaphysical teacher, organic farmer, writer and lover of life. She is also a sufferer of chronic Lymes Disease. All that aside though, her blog is wonderful, full of wisdom, humour, food, spirit and beauty. I really enjoyed this recent piece from her, My Whole Life I Was Wrong. Just wonderful.

Best Anticipation:

It’s the first day of a two week period of school holidays (if you live in NSW Australia :) ). Already I am looking forward to a weekend away with the family on our favourite farm, a night and day alone, a friend’s birthday party, sleepovers and catching up with my friends that I don’t get to see during term time. No school lunches, no timetables, just freedom. Yippee!

Best Graphic/Words:

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Have  a beautiful weekend people :).

She let go

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She let go.
She let go.
Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear.
She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort.
There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

- Safire Rose

One of my favourite ever poems :)

A walk through my garden…

Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers. Let me keep company, always, with those that say, “Look!,” and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads.

~ Mary Oliver

There is a reason why there are so many poems written about spring – and paintings painted, songs sung…it’s just so damn beautiful! I can only imagine what Spring would be like in the cold countries after a long, bitterly cold winter – but even here with our relatively mild winters, spring inspires.

Come, and I’ll walk you through my garden:

It's early - 7am - but I have been up for about 2 hours. I walk outside of my studio cottage where I work, write and do yoga, and look down upon it from atop the grassy bank. The wild yellow roses are just starting to bloom, and the miniature daisies are standing straight up to attention like tiny floral soldiers.

It’s early – 7am – but I have been up for about 2 hours. I walk outside of my studio cottage where I work, write and do yoga, and look down upon it from atop the grassy bank. The wild yellow roses are just starting to bloom, and the miniature daisies are standing straight up to attention like tiny floral soldiers.

 

When I walk up closer to investigate, I am struck, as i am every year, by the perfection of the tiny rose, a miniature embodiment of the sun itself.

When I walk up closer to investigate, I am struck, as I am every year, by the perfection of the tiny rose, a miniature embodiment of the sun itself.

 

I walk back over to the house - it's nearly time to get the kids ready for school, but the light is perfect at the moment. The bit of the house you can see is part of our back verandah and main bedroom. Running alongside of it is one of my favourite places in our garden. Only shade loving things grow here, and these cliveas with their sturdy brightness glow like beacons in the night.

I walk back over to the house – it’s nearly time to get the kids ready for school, but the light is perfect at the moment. The bit of the house you can see is part of our back verandah and main bedroom. Running alongside of it is one of my favourite places in our garden. Only shade loving things grow here, and these Cliveas with their sturdy orange brightness glow like beacons in the night.

 

In this same garden, through the tiny path and out on the other side, is this Camellia. She is beautiful, but prone to long periods (years in fact) of sulking. It took years for her to get over being moved here, but she seems to have finally accepted it :)

In this same garden, through the tiny path and out on the other side, is this Camellia. She is beautiful, but prone to long periods (years in fact) of sulking. It took years for her to get over being moved here, but she seems to have finally accepted it :)

 

Out the back of the house, between the bathroom and the shed is my herb garden. Only the most hardiest herbs have survived our dry frosty winter - rosemary, yarrow, echinacea, evening primrose, oregano, mint, chives, thyme and some scraggly rocket. I will plant soon though - I want some lavender, and basil for starters :)

Out the back of the house, between the bathroom and the shed is my herb garden. Only the most hardiest herbs have survived our dry frosty winter – rosemary, yarrow, echinacea, evening primrose, oregano, mint, chives, thyme and some scraggly rocket. I will plant soon though – I want some lavender, and basil for starters :) There’s my beautiful daughter there in the background :)

 

 

Up towards the back of our one acre, near the chicken pen, is our vegetable garden. Any plant that has survived the winter is a true hardy survivor :) Calendulas, parsley, silverbeet, sorrel and oregano have all earned my respect this year :)

Up towards the back of our one acre, near the chicken pen, is our vegetable garden. Any plant that has survived the winter is a true hardy survivor :) Calendulas, parsley, silverbeet, sorrel and oregano have all earned my respect this year :)

 

 

Bordering our driveway is this grevillea, along with bamboo and callistemons. The rainbow lorikeets chatter and screech here every morning, enjoying their nectar breakfast.

Bordering our driveway is this grevillea, along with bamboo and callistemons. The rainbow lorikeets chatter and screech here every morning, enjoying their nectar breakfast.

 

 

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In the Jacaranda tree that stands sentinel at the corner of our driveway and the road are two beautiful tree orchids. Every year they gift us this display.

It's time to go in now - breakfast needs to be made, lunches prepared, home reading to be done, clothes, hair and teeth. But before all those shenanigans, Buddha and I take a breather :)

It’s time to go in now – breakfast needs to be made, lunches prepared, home reading to be done, clothes, hair and teeth. But before all those shenanigans, Buddha and I take a breather :)

 

There’s some little snippets of my garden, I hope you enjoyed it. Have a beautiful day everyone!

 

Letting Off Steam

The throat chakra, or Vishuddhi is represented by a 16 petalled lotus. In the centre of the lotus is an inverted triangle representing speech, a circle representing ether or space and the sanskrit symbol for vishudda, HAM (pronounced hum).

The throat chakra, or Vishuddha, is represented by a 16 petalled lotus. In the centre of the lotus is an inverted triangle representing speech and pulling in of Universal energy, a circle representing ether or space and the sanskrit symbol for Vishudda, HAM (pronounced hum). The word ‘vishuddha’ means purification.

The throat chakra is located in that little v at the base of the throat, and governs the neck, shoulders, arms, throat, thyroid and parathyroid, immunity, mouth, teeth and gums, hearing, speaking and communicating in general. The purpose of this chakra is to enable us to speak our truth, listen to other people’s truths, enable us to be heard and to find our true voice. Our throat chakras can be over-active, under-active or unbalanced, causing us to oscillate between the two. I think we all know people who have over-active throat chakras – they talk too much, too loudly, are insensitive and inappropriate with their speech. They are not usually good listeners. On the flip side are the people with under-active throat chakras who speak too softly, find it difficult to be heard, will find it hard to initiate a conversation and have difficulty in expressing how they feel. These people may be known as good listeners. I think most of us fall somewhere in the middle – sometimes we are loud and talk too much, sometimes we feel uncomfortable speaking and sometimes we nail it. And so it goes in Earth School :)

I have been thinking a great deal about my throat chakra over the past couple of weeks – ever since day 31 of my 40 day heart chakra journey, when I realised that my unexpressed emotions were blocking my throat chakra and causing my neck and shoulder pain and stiffness. People, I am a human pressure cooker :). I have discovered that I avoid conflict, suppress my anger to the detriment of my body and go way too easy on my female friends and too hard on the men in my life (I guess I figured they could take it!). Even though my 40 days of heart yoga is ended, something tells me that my 40 day heart journey was just the preliminary to the really juicy stuff – the throat.

So, for the last nine days of my 40 day heart commitment, I also worked on releasing my throat chakra. For me, yoga is

This hand position is called the Shankh mudra and is associated with the throat. It looks like a conch shell. Holding this mudra while meditating is very powerful.always the first place I go – it’s such a great tool box. I found a really effective asana sequence here – neck rolls and stretches (I added a couple of my own), downward dog going into cobra, child pose into camel repeated five times (I just do a half camel, with my hands linked behind my back), bridge (I use a block to support my sacrum), shoulderstand (in a chair – it helps me to get the correct action in my shoulders), plow and fish. I have also been singing (loudly!), wearing crystals and colours associated with the throat and using the hand mudra associated with Vishudda. Do you know about hand mudras? It’s basically hand yoga, used as another way to get energy flowing. The hand mudra for the throat chakra looks like this:

This hand position is called the Shankh mudra and is associated with the throat. It looks like a conch shell. Holding this mudra while meditating on the throat chakra is very powerful.

It takes a week for my neck and shoulders to come good – a week of doing the heart and throat sequence every day, as well as getting a really good remedial massage from an expert therapist. Focused as I am on my throat and neck, I start to notice when I am ‘building up steam’ – it can be something small: something I read, or hear, a conversation – something that triggers an emotion within me that I don’t know what to do with. Sometimes I might think a thought that I decide isn’t worthy of me, sometimes I get irritated or some button gets pushed. My neck gets tight and stiff, and starts to ache. Right then if I breathe and roll and stretch my neck, it lets the energy through, up and out. I don’t have to hold onto it, or analyse it or suppress it, It’s just gone. Obviously some things have to be dealt with, but most of the things that trigger my neck tightness during the day are just thoughts about what I am experiencing during the day – it’s not necessary or even possible to resolve them:

Now, listen here Prime Minister Abbott, I’m sick to death of your bullshit. I don’t like you, your government or your policies. I think many of your ideas are a crime against humanity. I would appreciate it very much if you would step aside and let me choose someone to run this country the way that I think it should be run.

You know? :) There is so much in life that we can’t control. Mostly, our only option is to breathe and let it all go…or not our only option, of course not. You can also do what I have been doing, which is sucking it up, suppressing, analysing and justifying it, then inappropriately expressing the rest!

The massage therapist that I saw during this time (and will continue to see – I have an appointment with him every fortnight :) ), said that it was unlikely that yoga caused my neck and shoulder problems. More likely, it uncovered what was already there, removing the coping mechanisms I was using to hide and compensate for it. This strikes me as spot on. Truly, there is an entire lifetime of emotional patterning to release, probably more than 40 days worth! Still, it feels exciting to be finally working with this area.

A yoga friend (thanks Andi!) on Facebook said to me the other day:

But sometimes we just need to be comfortable being uncomfortable while it works itself out. When you have things come up it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going backwards. It could also just mean that you’ve cleared out the more easily cleared out stuff and that you’re bringing up older, deeper memories. I consistently have to remind myself of that!

There is wonderful wisdom everywhere, you know?

Thanks for following my adventures into the heart everyone, I’m signing off now :) If you’ve just found me and would like to know more about the Heart Kriya I have been doing or 40 days of yoga, you can go here:

Opening Pandora’s Box (first 10 days)
Adventures into the Heart (second 10 days)
Wisdom of the Heart (third 10 days)

And this: because your self work is your first job.

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Weekend Inspiration #11

Yesterday started off badly. I had double booked two appointments at exactly the same time, one of which I had already changed from the week before. I can’t access my new work email, I’ve just got my period…and to top it all off, I went to renew my car registration online, and found out to my horror that it was not the six monthly renewal I was expecting, but the annual renewal – which means that I need to get my car inspected by a mechanic. Three points immediately spring to mind:

  1. How did I lose six months? I forget stuff all the time but at least forgetting implies that I once knew it. This was just dropping the ball, big time.
  2. The due date was Monday. Today is Thursday. I now have to drive my unregistered car into town and run around like a mad thing trying to get everything done before the kids finish school at 3pm. Shit.
  3. My car is a 1996 Holden Commodore Station Wagon. It’s 18 years old. Every year I say it will be the last year I register it – and here we are again! I have no idea what repairs it will need before the mechanic will pass it as safe and roadworthy. Shit.

Okay, don’t panic – let’s stick to what I do know: the car needs to be registered, today. It needs two new tyres. I ring up the tyre place in town and book it in at midday – it’s near where I get my hair cut, so I can get both done at the same time. Next I ring the mechanics. The receptionist says they’re booked out – but she relents at the slightly panicked tone in my voice and said that if I bring it in at 9 and leave it there, someone will hopefully be able to look at it. 9? What time is it? 8:10. I have to leave at 8:30 to get to the mechanics. Shit. I won’t go into the details, but somehow, both my kids and I left the building on time. On the way into town, I can feel my anxiety levels rising…I say Dear Divine and all of your beloved helpers – I need to get my car registered today, can you sort it? I immediately feel calmer. I walk to my yoga class from the mechanics, no problem. Yoga, then coffee with my friends (phew – don’t make me miss that bit of Thursday!). I return to the mechanics – by some miracle, all it needs are two new tyres (which I already knew) and brake lights. OMG thank you Divine and all of your beloved helpers :) I ring the auto electrician and he fits me in at 2pm. I take the car to get new tyres, get my hair cut, do the shopping, then take my car to get new brakelights ($20!) and back to the mechanics to get the pink slip. I drive home and arrive neatly on 3pm. Take from this story what you will :)

Best (short) Read

Hacking happiness: The new radical self-reliance by Dina Kaplan (click to read)

This article rattled around in my head for quite a few days after I had read it, mostly because of this paragraph:

I believe true happiness comes from living with a core set of values you’ve chosen for yourself and then ensuring each of your actions, all day, stems from these values. At the end of the day you can ask yourself if you lived in accordance with your values. If you did, you should feel happy. Not a momentary high from a fun night out or a win at work, but a deeper feeling of happiness. A sense of inner peace. Calm.

It made me think about my own core values: truth, honesty, fairness, friendship, community, respect, family, freedom, integrity, commitment, discipline, education, compassion, participation. It made me think about how I feel when one of my values is compromised, either by myself or someone else. It made me realise that the things that I have found difficult to forgive in my life have all been actions that have compromised one of my core values. This article triggered many interesting discussions with the Bear, and many interesting thought trails.

What are your core values, and how do you feel when one of them is compromised?

Best Astrological Tidbit

I love astrology, so for those who don’t love astrology, move on :) I was driving home yesterday, following one of my thought trails on my core values, when I remembered something that Mystic Medusa had said in her mini lesson about the importance of the God of War in your chart: wherever you find Mars, is where you will find your passion, your purpose, your core values, the men you like – and where you will find what really pisses you off. If you don’t know your chart, go here and get one – it’s quick, easy and free. In my chart, Mars is in Cancer, traditionally thought to be a weak placement (by old men astrologers :) ). Having Mars in Cancer, the sign of the mother, the divine feminine, family, community, healing, the Home, stability, every day magic and spirituality…means that I pick up my sword when I feel that my home, family or community is threatened, I am a born feminist, have tiger mother tendencies…and I love men who prioritise family and the home. It means that I get passionate about health and healing and how the every day is a source of spiritual enlightenment. Weak? Pppfftttt :)

What about you? Do you know where your Mars is? What does it tell you about yourself?

Best Live Music

The Bear and I went and saw Harry Manx last Sunday. I have been waiting for years to see him – he’s Canadian, and while he does come to Australia every couple of years, I couldn’t see him last time he came because it was on my son’s birthday. This time though – nothing was going to stop me :) He played in Bellingen, in their delightful community hall in the centre of town, at the most civilised time of 3pm. Don’t worry, I was smiling to myself that I’m old enough to think that 3pm Sunday afternoon is the perfect time to see music :) The Bear remarked that it was the first time that he’d ever been to a gig where they served chai and biscuits :) Me – I think that chai and biscuits should be served at every gig! I loved the simplicity of Harry’s set up – just him, Clayton Doley, a talented keyboard player and his instruments – an acoustic guitar, slide guitar, a home made cigar box guitar, banjo, harmonica and his famous Mohan Veena, a 12 string Indian instrument.

Best Yoga

Some of you have been following my 40 day heart opening yoga journey (boy was that ever a journey into the deep). I’ve finished that now, but one thing leads to another, and when you start moving energy around in the heart, your throat chakra needs to be clear and open, or you’re going to run into some issues…like I did. So, I needed to do some work on my throat chakra. This is what I love about yoga, you see: it’s like the ultimate DIY spiritual tool box. I’ve been doing this sequence for nearly two weeks now, and in addition to some bodywork and some other tricks I have up my sleeve, my neck and shoulders feel great. I’m really excited to be doing this work, because it’s been a long time coming – my neck is like the last frontier, you know – it doesn’t seem to matter what I’ve done or had done to my neck in the past, nothing released the tension. Now, I know where that tension is coming from (unexpressed heart emotion), I can finally work on it.

The sequence is simple: some neck rolls and stretches (I add a  couple of my own to the sequence), downward dog, cobra, pose of the child/half-camel sequence (I don’t do full camel – my back doesn’t like to bend that way :) ), bridge (I use a block under my sacrum), shoulderstand (I mostly do shoulderstand in the chair so I can get the correct shoulder action), plow and fish.

Best Image

Artist: Morgan Davidson

Artist: Morgan Davidson – click image to see more of her work.

Best Words

This quote came with the above image, and I thought it was a fitting end to this week:

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.

– Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

Have a beautiful weekend everyone xo

It’ s all in our minds…

Today’s lesson: It’s all in your mind (take if you need).

Yesterday, my daughter, who is 6, thought she was going to a friend’s house and got on the bus when she wasn’t supposed to. The fact that she managed to escape the notice of the teacher on duty, myself and the bus driver is a topic for another day. Luckily, I was able to stop the bus as it came back past the school and get her off.

What seemed like a funny misunderstanding to me was a cause of great mortification for my daughter, and she hid in her room for over an hour in case her brother teased her about it. Not only that, but this morning, she flatly refused to go to school for the first time ever. She loves school.

It didn’t matter what I said, that no one would remember or think it was a big deal, she was sure that everyone was going to tease her and laugh at her. She is extremely thin skinned, just like her mother (ahem) :).

I considered letting her stay at home…but I had to go to work – at her school. Bigger than that was the lesson that she wasn’t going to get if she avoided reality by staying at home. My daughter has a very vivid imagination, and she’s super smart. This is usually a good thing, except for when it isn’t, like now.

I decided that I would make her go to school, so that she could start to get an understanding of what happens when we let our minds take over and lose touch with reality – that is, what we KNOW is happening as opposed to what we think might happen. I won’t go into the details of how you make a 6 year old who doesn’t want to go to school – go to school – you may already know, and if you don’t, it ain’t pretty.

Finally, we both struggle across the road to the school. I’m un-showered, still in my daggy early morning trackies and hair sticking up everywhere. We walk in through the gate, she nervous and reluctant, me sweaty and wary. One of her friends bounces up to her on a big red ball. “Hi Alani!” he says cheerfully, and proceeds to tell her about his cousin’s birthday party yesterday.

Across the playground, a year 6 boy waves at her and calls out, “Alani! Come here and watch me do the hammer throw!” Yes, this really happened, because I saw it. The school that may children go to and that I work at, is not your average school.

By the time we reached the top of the path, her fears had evaporated like incense in the breeze. I was still traumatised, but never mind about that :) And it occurs to me how often we do this to ourselves, even as adults. How we tell ourselves stories, then believe them, and then torture ourselves with the made up story!

Just for today, my friends, let us stick to the facts. Let us not believe our own imaginings and get carried away by our fantasies. There’s a time and a place for stories – and that is in between the pages of a good book.

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Weekend Inspiration #10

One of this week’s highlights was definitely the massage I had with an awesome local body worker. If you’ve been following my 40 days of heart opening yoga series, you would know that I’ve been having some pretty intense issues with my neck and shoulders. I had to wait 10 days to get in and see him, but it was so worth it. Not only was his knowledge of anatomy and physiology excellent:

Me: I’m having trouble with my right shoulder – I can’t pick anything up.
Justin: Okay, well that’s usually sub-scapularis or infraspinatus…let’s find out.
(Little known fact about me: I love anatomy and physiology. I topped my year in HSC biology and and have studied it for both massage and nutrition. Talk bodies to me baby, I love it :) )

…he also knew which meridians each muscle lay on, the emotional and chakra issues associated with each one – and he had just finished a 600 hour emotional release course. The timing could not have been more perfect for me. Our conversation sounded like this:

“If only we would stick to the facts!” I mumble, my head stuffed into the hole at the head of massage table. 
“Facts? How do we know what the facts are?” he asked.
“What is happening to us, right now. That’s all we know. All the rest is made up.”

Which brings me nicely to the best read for this week:

Best (short) Read

Don’t Worry About What Other People Think. Just Go Be You. Written by Jennifer Pastiloff for MindBodyGreen.

In this article, Jennifer Pastiloff writes:

We need to stop thinking about what we think others may think and just do/write/be/go/not go. Whatever it is, don’t let what you think you know about what others think stop you. That’s what I woke up thinking about this gorgeous morning.

Besides, someone once said to me, “It’s worse than you think. They’re not thinking about you at all.”

Do, or don’t do it anyway. Know what you know. And what you don’t know, what we all don’t know, is as big as the sky. It’s a world of We-Just-Don’t-Know out there. What others will think is the most overused, tired, put it to bed already, who gives a flying rat’s ass, enough already reason for making choices, whether they are conscious ones or not.

And before I have my first of many cups of coffee, remember the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others thought of you when you realize how seldom they actually do.”

Ha! You know? :)

Best Watch

This little 6 minute clip is part of a talk by Dan Savage, and is titled The Price of Admission. He starts off with a question from a member of the audience:

I can’t stay interested in a guy for more than two months. What is wrong with me? I find a flaw and just can’t get over it – for example, if a guy chews with his mouth open, I could never see him again.

After he suggests that the questioner gets a fully programmable sex robot if they’re going to be that damn picky, he explains his idea about the price of admission, which is basically the price you have to pay to be in a long term, loving, stable relationship. The thing is, there are the deal breakers, which we have to decide on (and you shouldn’t have more than 5) – and then there are the imperfections that are part of the deal. I guess in the same way that we acknowledge our own imperfections and accept them as well. This is a funny, wise piece, and is totally worth the 6 minutes of your day.

Best Listen

Now, I woke up with this song in my head, at stupid o’clock. Clowns to the left of me and jokers to the right…here I am, stuck in the middle with you. This was probably because I was literally stuck in bed between the Bear on one side and Alani on the other, and I had no choice but to lie there on my back, ramrod straight. Finally, I thought fuck it and got up, quite a snazzy manouevre in itself, without waking them. I do love this song though, and it reminds me of my dad (Happy Father’s Day for Sunday Dad!)

Best Spice

A friend (thanks Anissa!) gave me a big bag of fresh turmeric root from her garden a couple of weeks ago. I thought to myself, what on earth am I going to do with all this turmeric? As it turns out – everything! It’s gone into my chai, along with the freshly sliced ginger, it’s gone into chicken soup, and it’s gone into these yummy savoury pancakes from The Witches Kitchen. People, do you know how good turmeric is for you? It has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers, which has seen wonderful benefits for dementia and alzheimers, heart disease and inflammatory conditions of the gut. Turmeric also boosts the immune system, stimulates the gall bladder resulting in better fat digestion, and reduces blood sugar levels. Awesome huh? Hey, here’s my recipe for yellow chicken soup, adapted from a friend’s recipe:

Yellow Chicken Soup

From taste.com.au

From taste.com.au

1 onion, diced
2 sticks of celery, chopped finely
2 small carrots, chopped finely
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbl of fresh turmeric, grated (or 2 tsp dried turmeric)
1 tbl each of fresh or dried oregano and basil
1 litre of chicken stock
2 cups of water
1 cup of diced left over chicken
1 cup of mixed vegetables
1 portion of dried noodles (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion, celery and carrot for five minutes. Add garlic, turmeric and herbs; sizzle for one minute, and then add stock. When stock is simmering, add chicken and vegetables and as much water as you need to create the consistency you like. Simmer fro 15 minutes, add noodles for the last five if using and serve

Best Poem

I have been known to write poetry – I’ve even won a prize, goddammit – I love spoken word performances…but I mostly don’t like reading poetry. There are exceptions to this – Maya Angelou being one of them, and Mary Oliver being another:

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

-Mary Oliver

Best Image

Which does kinda bring me to my favourite image of the week:

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Have a beautiful weekend everyone!