Weekly Inspiration #47

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It seems like every day this week has had its own unique climate. Today, it was partly cloudy with an unexpectedly cold wind that has me chilled to the bone. Yesterday it rained all day without drawing a breath. The day before it was a gorgeous warm day that extended into an evening that didn’t even require me to light the fire. Who knows what tomorrow will hold? The weather is not the only thing that has had its ups and downs this week, although I will claim more wins than losses – hopefully today being Friday, this is not too presumptuous :).

I have a couple of goal setting friends with whom I do a twice monthly check-in to see how the month’s goals are going. At the mid-month check in, I couldn’t even remember what goals I had set at the end of April for May, which is never a good sign – and when I did check, I discovered to my disappointment that I either hadn’t been able to achieve the goal (attend Grassroots Writers Gathering) or that I had set my goal too low and then not even achieved that (a goal of 1000 words a week on my book). I won’t even talk about the poorly formed goals that floated under the category if I can afford it/have time/have the inclination. I was just bouncing on the springboard of disappointment, ready to dive into the plunge pool of depression, when my friend said – don’t worry Sara, you’ve still got the rest of the month to achieve your goals! 

Huh. Well. So I sat down and re-did my goals. I decided that 1000 words was a pathetic goal, and that instead I wanted to write the first draft of a chapter a week (about 3000 words). I also decided that even though I had missed the Grassroots Writers, I was going to learn from my mistakes and plan my next writing event more thoroughly. So, I booked and paid for the events and workshop I wanted to attend at the Bellingen Writers Festival in a couple of weeks time, got the Bear on board, booked accomodation and even arranged childcare. Sorted. 

By Monday, with the Taurus new moon, I knew that I was back, baby :). By Thursday I had finished the draft of an entire chapter, just by working on it for 30 minutes each morning. I did my very first school newsletter (a new responsibility), a poem wrote itself and then managed to get by far the most likes I have ever received for a post – and in the middle of all of that, the Bear and I even liked each other. For a day. You can’t win them all, right?

There were lots of other little serendipities, too random to mention here, but they all contributed to that feeling of being in the flow. I love the flow. I think of being in the flow as gliding along in the slipstream. Everything is easy, smooth and effortless, especially compared to the inevitable times when you slip out of the slipstream and into turbulence. Buffeted and bruised, you know things aren’t going right, but damned if you know how to get back. After a while (hours, days, weeks or years depending upon your tolerance for misery), you have a good look at yourself, make some changes, tweak the settings…and bingo – you’re back. When I say have a good look at yourself, what I really mean is, nobody can push you out of the flow except you – and nobody else can you get you back there either.

So, how do you know you’re in the flow? And when you’re not, how do you get back?

Best Short Read

Danielle La Porte is an interesting woman. She is super ambitious in every part of her life, it seems – and sometimes ambition applied to spirituality is kind of disconcerting, or at least it is to me. Maybe if I was American I would resonate with it more :). Still, her book, The Desire Map, is on my to read list, and she introduced me to Paolo Nutini and Spotify, so it seems I owe her a debt of gratitude :) Also, she has a blog which produces some absolute gems, and this post is one of them:

What to do after you have a breakthrough
(Your’re going to shrink after you expand, so, listen closely)
by Danielle La Porte.

Be prepared for some constriction.

This is really, really important:

Expect to fall back — and be incredibly compassionate when the inevitable slip happens. This is the pattern of really big change: Big expansion. Slight constriction. Return to expansion. Micro constriction. Back to expansion — full, fuller, fullest. Expanded.

You’re learning how to do the new you. You’re reacclimatizing to truth and joy and power. You’ll forget for a minute that you’re more powerful than you have ever been. And you’ll dip into an old pattern or habit. You’ll get all jangled and unnerved by the shit you “thought” you just surmounted. That’s cool. You’re on track. You’re re-confirming your expansion. You may be testing yourself. You may even be trying to sabotage yourself. It’s okay, Love. Because you can step back into your new, bigger size WAY more easily than before. Powering up is getting easier. Can you feel it?

To read the rest of this article (well worth it) click here.

Best Wisdom

This was on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page this week:

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Ahhh…there is so much grace in this statement!

I think we get stuck sometimes in this crazy belief that — in order to achieve anything of value in life — we must become fearless.

I’m very much against that word: FEARLESS.

I don’t believe in it, and I certainly don’t strive for it.

The few genuinely “fearless” people I’ve ever met in my life were all totally freaking insane. And all of them felt extremely dangerous to be around. And most of them were sixteen-year-old boys, or three-year-old children. And if they weren’t toddlers or teenagers, they were full-on fanatics or sociopaths, with sometthing vital and human and warm missing from their eyes. (Although, to be fair, as a friend of mine with several children once pointed out to me: “Behavior-wise, it’s difficult to tell a toddler from a sociopath.”)

ANYWAY.

What I’m saying is this: I am riddled with fears.

I’ve always been a shaky person, ever since childhood. (It took my poor mother years to teach me how to swim, because for me, “swimming” meant “clinging to your mother’s neck and howling in mortal terror.”) The world makes me terribly anxious. (Or maybe I make IT anxious.) I grind my teeth at night so hard that I just cracked a perfectly good molar a few months ago: Even in sleep, I am not relieved of my fears!

There is no fear you could possibly imagine that I have not experienced — especially in regard to creativity.

Basically, my body is made out of 60% water, and 19% fear.

The only reason I have ever been able to create anything, is because the remainder of my body is made out of CURIOSITY.

That’s right: I’m composed of 60% water, 19% fear, and 21% curiosity.

Curiosity always wins by a nose!

Thus, creativity has a chance to thrive within me, despite my many terrors.

So that’s my prayer for you all — not that you will become fearless, but that you will always be SLIGHTLY more curious about the world than you are frightened of it.

Because the victory of curiosity is the fertile field where exploration, invention, transformation and creation will all begin to grow.

ONWARD,
LG

Best Poetry

You are oceanic

All she wanted
was to find a place to stretch her bones
A place to lengthen her smiles
and spread her hair
A place where her legs could walk
without cutting and bruising
A place unchained
She was born out of the ocean breath.
I reminded her;
“Stop pouring so much of yourself
into hearts that have no rooms for themselves
Do not thin yourself
Be vast
You do not bring the ocean to a river.

Tapiwa Mugabe

Best Word

So. This is a wordy post. I keep thinking that I should be putting in more pictures or music or videos – but no. Just more words  – or words on top of pictures…or words however they come. I blame the Sun, Mercury and Mars in Gemini, those talkative twins – and I’m as happy as anything, because this is a perfect time to write :). Anyway, I can’t say this word, but I love it completely <3.

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Best Graphic

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This is my idea of love <3.
Also…the Bear sent it to me.
He knows that it’s my idea of love.
And…sometimes it’s his idea of love too.
Although in his idea of love,
I’m naked :)
As a prayer to love today,
may we continue to love each other
even when our ideas of love
are different.
Because ideas about love
have nothing to do with Love.
Love is knowing the other is different,
yet knowing we are the same
and not minding one little bit
when the two don’t match.

There you go, my dear friends, all the lovely people who read my words and make me so happy with your likes and comments, which I just see as little rays of love shot my way. Of course, this weekly post is my ray of love to you – I hope it lands where you need it most

PSSSTTTT

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 :).

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Hymn to the Mother

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I claim
the sun,
the moon
and the stars
as my kin.

I claim
the mountains
as my bones
and the rivers
as my blood.

I claim
the breeze
as my breath
and the rain
as my tears

I claim
my life
as my own
to fill with
light,
love,
passion
and sorrow
as I choose.

I claim
the Goddess
as my Self…
we breathe
the same
breath.

– Sara Foley (2015)

Weekly Inspiration #46

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Those of us here in the southern hemisphere are slipping into winter. The wind blows starkly off distant snow-covered mountains, the chill startling for we soft coastal-dwellers. It snowed not far from here during the week. The other day while my son trained for soccer, my daughter rode her birthday bike along the riverside footpath heading straight into the antarctic breeze. The clouds, stripped of all softness, rode high and dark across the sky, sending our gaze skyward to check for rain. None came though – the air was too cold to rain. After watching my son and his mates run after a round ball for an hour, short sleeved in the frigid air, I bought them hot chips for the car trip home, hands and bellies warmed – and hearts too. A warm shower, a hot cocoa, a lit up fireplace – these are the little luxuries of winter. I like it :)

There are other processes at work at this time of the year – we begin the inner journey as the year winds down towards the winter solstice, and this is amplified in the dark moon period before a new moon – which this month will be in Taurus, always a eventful time in our family. Our gaze turns inwards at these times and we come face to face with ourselves. This can be confronting and disturbing, to say the least, even if you, like me, pay regular attention to the journey of the spirit. I came face to face with myself (again) this week, and I didn’t really like what I saw. I didn’t like the way that I keep putting myself and my own needs last, how I blame other people for treating me how I treat myself and how little I think I deserve.

I used to think my self esteem was strong, and it is, as long as I think I am being useful to other people. The ground starts to get shaky when I want to focus on things that are just for me – like yoga say, or writing, or even a long desired University degree. Over the past few years I have worked through the feelings of guilt I have about putting time aside for these activities. Mostly, to avoid feeling guilty, I do these things early in the morning, before anyone gets up and wants me. As I have gotten better at prioritising my time, I will even write in the middle of the day when the children are at school and I am not working, like today for instance. I worked in the morning and now the house needs cleaning, there is dirty washing in the washing basket and there is my son’s birthday dinner to be planned and prepared. But I have carved out this time on a Friday afternoon to write the first half of this blog, and I give that to myself, willingly.

However, last weekend I discovered that I have not conquered this feeling of undeserving within me, I just work around it, avoiding it if I can. Sometimes though, I have to face it head on, and I have to battle through the guilt and fear. If I choose to not do that, to go the path of least resistance, then I will have to battle through grief and anger and shame, which believe me, is worse. Last weekend, as you may know, was smack in the middle of the Festival of the Cow. My daughter had her birthday party after school on Friday, my son had his first soccer game of the season on Saturday, plus we needed to buy my daughter’s birthday present – her new bike. Sunday was Mother’s Day. In a separate but interlocking world, I also had a local writer’s gathering to attend. I had paid the small attendance fee, reserved my place in the workshops that I wanted to attend – but logistically, I didn’t know how I was going to be able to accomplish my family duties as well as go to this writer’s event. I also didn’t know how to ask for any of it, so I didn’t. I just sort of hoped that it would all work out.

By Saturday morning, it became clear that it wasn’t going to just work out – and in fact, I wouldn’t be going at all. At first, I was angry at the Bear. I wanted it to be his fault – he should have been more helpful, easier to approach, more supportive. And then, although I wanted to pass the blame I knew in my heart that it was actually my fault for not prioritising my own needs, for not believing that I deserved to go to this event that had collided with the needs of my family. Not only had I let myself down, but I had let down the members of my writers group. Intense shame and grief wrapped itself around me, curling its tendrils around my heart and stomach. I felt like I weighed a ton, but at the same time I felt so insubstantial that a child’s breath could have dissolved me.

I wondered, as I slogged through the emotional quicksand of this week, if I was perhaps not just carrying my own grief but that of the women who came before me who did not have the opportunities I have – but all of the thwarted desire. In some way, I have the opportunity to lift all of us up by honouring and prioritising the needs of my spirit alongside that of my wife/mother/daughter/community/work selves. I need to take not just one risk on myself, but many, and not just in the early morning before the kids wake up, or in stolen hours while they are at school. I need to show myself that I am worthy of the highest possible investment of time, energy and money. I need to not back down from what I need to do. I need to take full responsibility for my life and the way that I want it to unfold. I need to be clear on what matters and what doesn’t, and make my decisions accordingly. Because if I don’t, who will?

Have you taken full responsibility for your life yet? Or like me, do you often put your own needs aside for the sake of others? Let us not do this any more, my friends. Let us find the life we need to live, and then go and live that beautiful life with all of our heart and soul.

Best Short Read

Life’s GPS: The Connection Between Creativity, Purpose, & Soul by Julie Daley for Unabashedly Female

Creativity is alive. Purpose is alive. That which keeps us from being creative and purposeful is stuck and stagnant.

In this image, I can see so clearly how important trust is – the trust of both what lies within me and my ability to hear it and act from it, as well as the knowing that every other human being also is creative and also has a deep well of creativity within them.

I see how often my attempts to understand my purpose, my reason for being alive, have insidiously come from looking to others, or my own Voice of Judgment, for information, validation, or ideas on what this purpose might be. Looking out there isn’t the same as true mirroring from those who know you and really listen to you. Effective mirroring can be a source. But, ultimately, even mirroring must be checked against the knowing that comes from an alive and trusting relationship with one’s soul.

And, I see it is a choice. It is always a choice. Sometimes, I go unconscious in the choosing process, and choose out of fear of humiliation, abandonment, rejection…. like everyone else.  We are meant to be in relationship and community. Our minds can get squirrelly when we think we won’t be.

This image began appearing after beginning to engage in direct dialogue with my soul, which isn’t the easiest of tasks. But, I did hear her clearly, after asking the question, “How do I begin to follow your lead in my life?” Her response? “Don’t make anything more important than me!” (exclamation point mine!!!)

To read more, click here.

Best Laugh

What people without children do not understand…this had me cackling and grinning – a wonderful comedic ode to parenthood :)

Best Words

An aging master grew tired of his apprentice’s complaints. One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.

“How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter,” said the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”

“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.

“No,” said the young man. At this the master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly,

“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

Best Image

Art by Dallas Clayton.

Art by Dallas Clayton.

Best Listen

BB King passed away this week at 89. I’m not sad – he had a good long life and I’m sure he was ready to leave. I’m very grateful though, that he left us the legacy of his music. What a gift to the world.

So here we are at the end of the Festival of the Cow. I had my birthday this week, and I managed to lift myself out of my emotional quagmire and have an enjoyable day, helped up by my lovely family and friends. The kids gifted me a massage (which I was lucky enough to be able to have on my actual birthday), plus the Bear gave me tickets for the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival which is coming up soon. I had breakfast with a friend before she started work, a cuppa and a chat with another friend, that delicious massage and then home to a meal cooked by the Bear. Lucky huh?

My son turned 11 yesterday (what?). More than anything else, he wanted a new guitar…

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Have a beautiful week everyone <3

PSSSTTTT

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 a Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there :)

The Long Road

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To you, my dear friend, on Mother’s Day.
I know that motherhood is harder than you thought it would be,
and that maybe you aren’t the mother you thought you might be.
I know you wonder sometimes if you’re doing it all wrong – that
you aren’t patient, loving, giving, disciplined, brave or determined enough.
I know that sometimes you look at the state of your house, your bank balance,
your job, your car that needs this or that fixing and the lawn that needs mowing,
and it all just feels so overwhelming.
I know too that you worry about your children – are they making friends, are they fit and
strong enough, are they doing well at school, are they healthy and kind. are other people
kind to them – and how much is too much when it come to social media and screen time.
It never ends.
I know you’re frightened for them and the pain they’re certain to face, one way or another
here on Earth School.
I also know that you’re worried because your life is ticking by so fast, too fast – and you’re
wondering if that something special inside you, that’s just yours, will ever see the light of day.
How do I know all this?
Because I am a mother, just like you.
Just like you I worry that I am doing it all wrong, I’m overwhelmed, I worry about my children
endlessly, and my life seems to be slipping alarmingly fast through my fingers.
Motherhood is the long road and we all walk it together, even if sometimes we feel like we
are walking alone. You are not alone.
And for all those times that you have walked beside me on the long road, I thank you.
I could never have made it so far without you.

– Sara (2015)

Weekly Inspiration #45

I’m writing this to you today from inside the gates of the Festival of the Cow. What is the Festival of the Cow and why on earth would you go to such an event, I hear you ask. My friend, that is an excellent question :). It’s a very small festival, and there are no actual cows, although the way that we think about food morning, noon and night and mill around doorways may give that impression sometimes :). No, my friends, this is an astrological festival, celebrating the mighty Taurus – and in our small family of four people, three of us are born under this sun sign..

On a good day. Taurus by Josephine Wall

On a good day. Taurus by Josephine Wall

The youngest Taurus has just had her birthday. This is a child who loves every little thing about birthdays. The first song she could sing all the way through was “Happy Birthday”. She was 1 at the time, and was a hit at every kid’s party we went to. When she was two, she got so excited by the birthday cake and candles event that she blew all the candles out before the birthday boy could get to them, causing great hilarity in the crowd :). On her own birthday, and the week/month/year leading up to it, she gets progressively more and more excited. Every present is received enthusiastically and with gratitude, making her an absolute joy to give to. When we sang happy birthday to her on Wednesday, she sang along with great enthusiasm – happy birthday to ME! Happy birthday to ME! Happy birthday dear me-eee :) I should note that this extreme birthday love comes straight from her grandmother, who would dedicate an entire month to her birthday and sing happy birthday to herself for weeks leading up to the event. No, not when she was a child, but when she was my mother :)

Today we are having a little party for her after school, but on her actual birthday we skipped school for the afternoon and went to the beauticians so that she could get her nails done :) She absolutely loved it :)

Getting her toe nails painted :)

Getting her toe nails painted :)

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Getting her nails painted a sparkly blue with Sharon <3

After that we had afternoon tea with Granma and Pop:

With my mother <3

With my mother <3

Blowing out the candles with Granma and Pop

Blowing out the candles with Granma and Pop

And then went home to cook up her favourite dinner – roast chicken, smashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and corn. Followed up with a deconstructed pavlova – meringue broken up into a glass and topped with fruit – blueberries, strawberries, kiwi fruit and passionfruit. Yum :) I actually had a go at making the meringue myself and was stoked when it worked :).

This weekend is Mother’s Day, then it’s my birthday on Tuesday, then lastly my son’s birthday on the Friday with a sleep over party on the Saturday night. A friend asked me what I was doing on my birthday. The thing is, after I make sure that both of the kids have special birthdays, I never have enough energy to make my own birthday special. Next year I will be 40, which deserves a special effort (right kids, no parties next year – it’s going to be allll about me :) ).

There is something I would like to do this year though – one of my favourite restaurants is moving into a new premises on the 18th of May – and the space they are moving into a place is one that holds significance for me. The Bear and I lived there for a couple of years when we first moved here, before we had kids or a mortgage – it was like our honeymoon house :). Set in a rainforest at the foot of Mt Yarrahappinni, five minutes from the beach, it had been a restaurant but had closed down so was rented as a house – open plan, windows all the way around, huge glass circular fire place in the middle of the floor, commercial kitchen out the back and even Men’s and Ladies toilets :) I’m thinking a dinner out with my friends to mark the end of the Festival of the Cow might be in order :).

How do you celebrate your birthday as an adult? 

Best Short Read

I found this post on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page today, re-posted from this time in 2013. It is common for us in our culture to dismiss our inner spiritual/creative journey as self-indulgent and pointless. The feminist in me says that this is because the hero’s journey (going out into the world, conquering, then bringing home the goods) is valued more in our culture than the heroine’s journey of deep inner work. Believe me, there’s a part of me that’s cracking the whip and shouting, “Do more! Earn more money! Be useful!” The thing is, I spent many years following the dictates of this voice, and it really wasn’t that helpful. It’s still there, but it shouts from inside a box, so his voice is greatly muffled :).

QUESTION OF THE DAY: IS IT SELFISH TO GO ON A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY?

Dear Ones –

Somebody asked me this the other day and it made me smile, because it reminded me of the years between 2006 and 2010 (what I call “The Eat Pray Love Years”) when somebody (often a reporter or interviewer) would ask me this question EVERY SINGLE DAY.

It’s been a while since I’ve had to answer it, so I will take a trip down memory lane here, and answer it once more.

The answer is: No.

No, it is not selfish to go on a spiritual journey. For that matter, it is not selfish to go a vision quest, or to embark on therapeutic/psychological self-examination, or to go on a pilgrimage, or to devote yourself to prayer and meditation, or to set aside time to improve your physical health, or to honor your creativity, or to take any sort of investigative voyage into the self whatsoever.

Because:

1) It is your divine and intrinsic right as a human being to discover who you are, and who God is, and what your purpose is, and what your talents are, and where your joy is to be found, and how to ease your own suffering and the suffering of others. (In fact, seriously: What else are you going to spend your life doing, if not, at some point, taking a bit of time to try answering even one of those questions?)

2) Going on a true journey of self-exploration should not be confused with going to a spa for a weekend. It is not a way of spoiling yourself. (NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH SOMETIMES SPOILING YOURSELF!) It is not a luxury. It is not a mani-pedi for the soul. Nor is it a relaxing endeavor — as anyone who has gone deep into meditation or self-examination can attest. We don’t necessarily take on the central questions of self and divinity (Who am I? Who is God?) because it’s FUN. Often we are driven toward those questions by great suffering, and can only work our way through those hard questions with tremendous courage. Sometimes we don’t even want to ask those questions, but simply must. What’s more, these questions can be asked at any moment, from any place in the world, in the midst of any situation. These are not questions for the rich or the privileged only. You don’t need a plane ticket anywhere to explore this stuff. I have a friend who is investigating these questions from within a prison cell right now — and trust me, even from within his seven-by-ten-foot cage, he is ON A JOURNEY.

3) Going on a journey toward the self is actually a public service. You know why? Because until you get to the bottom of yourself — until you humbly investigate the roots of your own suffering and nonsense and misery and destructive patterns — you will just keep causing mayhem, misery and trouble…not only for yourself, but for others. A friend of mine who has been savagely unhappy for years finally started therapy a few months ago, and he said to me, “It’s super helpful, but I just feel so selfish, spending this much time and money on myself…” To which I replied, “Trust me, dude. It is benefiting ALL OF US.” (His wife and children most of all. But seriously — all of us win whenever a loved one gets helped or healed.) To put it even more simply: Going on a spiritual journey might ultimately make you less of a pain-in-the-ass.

4) I was once told that in Mandarin there are two words that both translate into “SELFISH” in English. One means “Doing something that benefits you.” The other means, “Doing something that benefits you at the expense of others.” In English, we don’t have this distinction. But there is a recognition in Chinese that these are two different notions — that it is not necessarily true that anything you do for yourself harms others. Sometimes you can do wonderful and important things for yourself without taking a thing away from another human being. This is the difference between self-care and greed. Self-care = GOOD. Greed = BAD. They are critically different. Never forget it.

5) Remember that only happy people can truly love and serve other people. My husband pointed this out to me the other day, when he made this simple but hilarious observation: “Even happy people think only about themselves most of the time — let’s say, 95% of the time. But miserable people think about themselves 100% of the time, because nothing is more all-consuming than depression and suffering. So if you can find a way to make yourself happy, then you immediately free up about 5% of your time, in which you will now have space and room to think about other people…which means that — the happier you are — the more you can finally serve others and love others!” All of which is to say: a spiritual journey is all about finding ways to relieve your own suffering and discover a deep and truthful well of personal happiness and peace. After which, you can finally begin to love the whole world. Which is our highest and ultimate destiny.

THE END.

Best Flood

You know how I was telling you it was a little wet last weekend? Well, it ended up being more than a little wet – we ended up having a huge flood, so big that the old timers reckon they’ve only seen one bigger, and that was in 1949! It was a big flood, but what was truly remarkable was the speed in which the water came up. Fortunately it went down just as quickly and by Monday morning the roads were clear in time for school. A few years ago I set up the Taylors Arm Community Facebook page, so over the weekend I was posting and sharing photos of the flood that my friends were sharing, as well as what the road and bridges looked like as the water cleared and left behind flood debris and damage. That’s the wonderful thing about social media – sharing events as they happen, and connecting people who would otherwise be isolated. We were fortunate that our power and internet were not affected – places south of us had been hit with a similar storm the week before and some of them still didn’t have power a week later. Check out the page if you’re interested in seeing the photos – most of them aren’t mine so I can’t share them here – but check out this photo that I did take of the damage done to the bridge close to our house – this photo ended up on the front page of our local paper :).

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Best Words

A friend sent me this the other day – I love gifts, don’t you?

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Best Education

So, I mentioned briefly last week that the English Major that I had enrolled in through Saylor Academy had been downgraded to a community run course while they focus their attention on courses that are more popular or can lead to credit at University. I could have still stuck with it and pursued the course purely for increasing my own knowledge, but I realised I needed more. I wanted to study literature and writing for real, at a proper University. The Bear was a little taken aback – he had hoped, he said, that we would be earning more money at this time of our lives rather than creating a bigger debt for ourselves. What exactly did I hope to get out of it?. How was going to University going to further my career goals? How would a University education benefit our family?

These are all reasonable questions, but I felt my heart sink. How could I predict the exact benefits that a University education would bestow upon me? How could I know exactly what doors would open for me as a result of studying? All I know is what my heart tells me – that when I think about studying literature and writing, that my heart expands and I feel joyful and excited. I know that this will leave us with a debt – but the Bear has had his chance – he has his degree – and now I would like to have mine.

So. I started looking around. The University of New England is the nearest major University and they specialise in Distance Education, which would be perfect for me. I could undertake a Bachelor of Arts majoring in literature and writing – it is government funded and I wouldn’t have to pay for it up front. I am well aware that it will be a big investment of both time and money and would no doubt affect my family as I push to get assignments and essays in on time. Sure, there are more practical things I could study – things like education support or even a teaching degree. The thing is, I don’t want to study those things. I’ve made that mistake before with education – choosing things that were useful and practical, things that I was interested in but not passionate about – and it’s no good. It doesn’t work for me.

I’m just going to sit on this for a (little) while. After chewing it over and over in my mind like a dog with a bone, I decided to hand the whole thing over.

Dearest Divine, if I am meant to do this thing, please show me the way to make it happen. Also, please help me to have the courage to prioritise my own needs. Finally, if I am not meant to do this thing, then please help me to let it go. Yours truly, Me <3.

I’ll keep you posted :).

Best Graphic

Is this not Divine?

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It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday in my part of the world – and my mum is coming to breakfast. I want to cook her something yummy, but I’m not sure what that yummy thing is yet :) I’d better go and find something! I hope you have a beautiful weekend  – and I’ll see you on the other side xo

PSSSTTTT

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 a Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there :)

Weekly Inspiration #44

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If you can, follow my line of vision as it extends over the top of my computer screen and travels outwards. You can see what I see, but there is more: fat drops fall heavy off palm fronds, crashing into tiny boughs and blades on their journey to the ground. A bossy breeze pushes the branches and silvery leaves around and low rumbles of thunder vibrate across the heavens. There is a cyclone forming north of us, although this far south this kind of weather is not called a cyclone but an east coast low. Whatever, it’s sending some wild, wintry weather our way.

The good news? We have lit our first fire for the year. What a blessing, what a luxury a slow combustion fire is on a day like this. The bad news? Apparently in my desire to stock up the cupboards with food in preparation for a flood, I forgot to get toilet paper. Oops. Ahem. I have some more good news. Hang on a moment, pull your chair closer to me. Are you ready? Terrence, my second Dad, is home. Yes :). Now, I know that only last week they were forecasting months in hospital. Apparently T had different ideas. Once he decided to return to the world of the living, he quickly passed all of their tests and was assessed as ready to be released on Wednesday. When I spoke to him on Thursday he was sitting at the kitchen table having a cup of coffee, waiting for breakfast and slyly badgering my mother for a second cup (he’s got no chance, by the way). Have I told you that my mother is an experienced Naturopath/Homeopath with well over 30 years of clinic experience? Along with his local doctor, he’s in good hands I think. Gratitude <3.

Despite the wild weather, this has already been a perfect day for an hour’s early morning yoga practice with a friend, a delicious breakfast of banana, ricotta and honey on sourdough toast with a good espresso coffee, a morning’s work of helping young children with their literacy and numeracy, an eye popping episode of Games of Thrones with my mate…and now writing my weekly blog for my online people. I call that a good day, my friends :).

We call the month of May the Festival of the Cow in our house, because in my wisdom as a hormone addled potential mother, I had both of my children 9 days apart in the first half of May, with my own birthday plunked in the middle as an overlooked adjunct. Yep, that’s right, three birthdays in 9 days. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: ((whispering)) I don’t like parties. It’s hard to know if I dislike hosting them or going to them more, but whatever, it makes no difference, because my kids love birthday parties. One  of my mottoes in life is: never let fear win. So, in that spirit I give parties for my children. My son, who will be 11 wants what he normally has – a sleepover party with his best mates where they binge on xbox, ipods and fart jokes. My daughter, who will be 7, wants a ‘free range playing party, Mum, where we all just run around.’ My tendency has been to micromanage children’s parties in an attempt to micromanage my fear. Now that I have gotten more comfortable with this aspect of motherhood I have become more relaxed, and the idea of a bunch of girls flinging themselves around my backyard is not quite so terrifying :)

How do you feel about parties (especially kid’s parties)? Do you have a motto?

Best Short Read

Think big, love small by Glennon Doyle Melton for Momastery.

Listen up people – I don’t have a religion and no religion has me. I have this thing about dogma and righteous people – and religions seem full up with both. Nevertheless, religions do have their share of wise people – Thich Nhat Hahn, Gandhi, Jesus, Buddha and the Dalai Lama come to mind :). Another of these wise, beautiful people is Glennon. In this article, she replies to a letter by a transgender teen trying to find their way in a hostile community:

Hey, J. G Here.

Holy texts are like shovels—some use them to dig up the earth and plant new seeds and some use them to bang people over the head. Most of us do both.

Let’s dig, J.

Check out this scripture. It’s from right there in the beginning- the beginning of the Bible about the beginning of time.

So God created mankind in His own image; in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.

J, did you catch that? It says that when God wanted to create people in God’s own image, God needed to create two genders to express God’s self fully. Could that mean that God’s image is both male and female, too? Both, J? Just like you? Maybe God is just like you, J.

– See the rest here.

My eyes kind of bugged when I read this, because this is a deep, wise truth – and if the average person is starting to grasp it, then humanity is in a better position than I thought. Read the rest, it’s worth it.

Best Astrology Words

On Thursday I had the oddest day. It felt like a bunch of things that I had thought were sorted, were in fact not. The Bear and I (temporarily) returned to an old way of communicating that was abrasive and impatient, some work plans turned out to be much more difficult than we had hoped and most disappointing of all, the English Major that I had enrolled in through Saylor Academy had been downgraded to what they call a legacy or community run course, meaning that no certificates would be issued, and that the Academy would not be maintaining the course online. It also happened to be the day that I looked over my goals for April and saw that the only goal I had achieved was to maintain a daily meditation practice as part of a 40 day commitment I had made (I am on day 33 as we speak). I was sitting there all brow furrowed and pouty, feeling bad about everything when I saw this:

Saturn is now retrograde in Sagittarius – he will cover old ground as he tacks back into transformative Scorpio in a few weeks time. When you find yourself face to face with reality-checks & blockages you thought you had dealt with I want you to hold on and take a deep breath. This review of structures is in harmony with the tides of life right now, so work with it, not against it. We revisit an area of our life of self development through the retrograde movement of a planet. Saturn is about structures, ordered systems, bone-level realities and the foundation of who we really are (not who we would like to be). Work constructively with this Saturn retrograde by taking the time to return to the foundations of your life, check and double check that the structure is as you wish before you do anymore building. If you want to build something significant taking time to check that everything is sitting as planned is never a waste of time – it can be frustrating but ultimately it will pay off. – Asha Maria, Astrologer

Ah. All of those things – speaking without thinking, education and lofty goals are Sagittarius themes, and Saturn was casting his eye over them. Do you really want this, even if it’s hard? he seemed to be asking. To tell the truth, I didn’t know, so I sat with it for another day. Do I want to study? How much? Do I want a loving relationship? How much? And also – are the only important goals the things that I write down at the beginning of the month, or could it be as a friend pointed out to me:

Sara, don’t be disappointed. Your unplanned achievements for the month were the amount of love and support and strength you gave your family during this difficult month. And your dad’s recovering and that’s a celebration worth having in itself. – Diane <3

Is Saturn giving your choices the once over and finding them wanting?

Best Poetry

Welcome Home by Joel McKerrow

I love spoken word poetry – in fact, I kind of think that poetry is meant to be spoken, not read. There’s just something about listening to poetry that sends it straight to the heart, whereas if you read it, it sometimes gets lost in the maze of the mind and misses the heart altogether. Anyway, I have such a treat for you today, oh my. Watch this:

Best Music

Mama Kin. I had heard of West Australian singer/songwriter Mama Kin before – one of her songs featured on a blues and roots compilation I bought a couple of years ago, but for some reason I hadn’t gone and looked at what else she was doing. This week though, I came across this song from her new album Magician’s Daughter and was immediately head over heels in love:

Both Magician’s Daughter and her debut album Beat and Holler were put on high rotation straight away. So good <3.

Best Graphic

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Well my dear friends, that’s it for me on this sodden, wild, flooded day. There is no point resisting what it is you know, so today I will just enjoy the warmth of the fire, the chatter of my children, the embrace of the Bear – all with a few movies and books thrown in I think! Enjoy your day wherever you are and whatever you’re doing <3.

PSSSTTTT

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 a Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there :)

Change – a poem

Change

Change doesn’t come the way you think it should.
You never know if she is going to scoot
in like a new puppy, or kick your damn
door in with a steel-toed boot.

However she appears, change comes:
and she doesn’t care who you are,
what you do for a living or
the make of your car.

Puppy or boot –
it hardly seems to matter
when change is served up to you
with a kiss and a clatter.

A long held dream,
a brand new love,
a new place to live
on the wings of a dove.

A heart ripped to pieces;
Irrefutable proof.
Your savings evaporated:
A shock fall off the roof.

You can rage and shout
and shake your fist at the sky;
you can wail “why me?”
or crawl under the covers and cry.

Or you can stand up straight,
tilt your chin and square your chest.
You’ll need a calm mind and
an open heart to surf this crest.

Where do you start, what do you do?
Overwhelm comes easy here, it’s true.
Do the thing that’s right in front;
and when that’s done do the next one too.

All the skills you thought you needed –
independence, planning and attitude,
sit unused as you cultivate your heart,
polish your soul and grow gratitude.

The way ahead appears piece by piece,
lit up briefly like glimpses of the moon
through trees from the car window.
You can’t see the big picture yet – soon.

And then one bright day you’ll look around,
and the life that looked so unknown,
so damn scary and friendless…
now looks like home.

– Sara Foley