The Zen of Car Maintenance

So, my car broke down on Friday afternoon. I had gone to the local shop (which is actually a pub) to get the kids an ice block, and when I turned the key to return home the dashboard lights came on – then nothing. And then the dashboard lights wouldn’t turn off.

Damn! I thought to myself, ice blocks dripping in my hand. Well, this is why I pay my yearly membership to the NRMA (a roadside assistance service). Of course, there’s no mobile phone reception because I am near home, but still in the middle of nowhere…but there is a perfectly working phone booth, 2 metres away from my car. You know, those public phones where you drop 50c into the slot and then dial the number you want. I know, right.

The NRMA man will be here within the hour, I’ve tucked my ice blocks back into the freezer, and now there is nothing to do but wait. It’s hot, but there are wooden trestle tables under a long, deeply shaded wisteria trellis. The sign tells me that there is free wifi, but I haven’t bought any devices – nothing except my purse. So, I sit as comfortably as I can on the narrow plank of the seat and allow my mind to drift. There are a group of locals gathered around their customary table on the far corner of the verandah, and I can hear their laughter and good-natured ribbing filter across to me. The young man behind the bar is playing Kings of Leon on the sound system, and a man and a woman share a quiet beer behind me.

I’m trying to remember the last time I had to call the NRMA out, and I can’t. It was a different story when I was young…I was almost on first name basis with the operator :). I remember calling them out early one morning when I lived in Newcastle. I was on my way to work, and mysteriously, my car wouldn’t start. The man (they’re always men, and unfailingly polite, friendly and competent), opened my door, shifted the automatic gear shift out of drive and into park and then started the car. I gaped in horror and embarrassment – my flatmate’s boyfriend had driven the car the day before, turned it off in drive, and I hadn’t even thought to check :).

At one stage the Bear brings down my iPad and disconnects the battery so that the car doesn’t go flat while I wait and then returns home with the kids. After all, there’s no point in all of us waiting. The man arrives, takes apart the ignition under the steering wheel, rigs it up so that I can start the car with a screwdriver and sends me home, telling me firmly that it’s just a temporary fix, and to go and get a new ignition barrel as soon as possible. I grin at the thought of what kind of person would actually view this as a permanent fix, thank him, and go home.

It doesn’t escape my notice that on the eve of the Sagittarius new moon, as well as the Sun’s movement into Sagittarius (representing travel, freedom and adventure) I am effectively stranded. Sagittarius also represents the philosopher and higher learning, so I suppose I’ll be traveling in my mind. People, I live 25 minutes away from the nearest town, and there is no public transport.

The Bear asks me if I want him to handle it…I say no, I’ll do it. We have vastly different ways of handing these things and it will just lead to problems, of that I was sure. I ring the car repair place on Monday morning to book my car in, and they tell me that they are short staffed and can see me next week. Crap. Reluctantly I ring the mechanic who lives down the road – I don’t want to put him out, but I can’t see any other way around it.

He rings me when he gets home from work with it’s hot! it’s hot! it’s hot! It is – we’ve had days and days of over 35ºC, cracking 40ºC on Sunday and everyone is wearing a bit thin with it. He tells me to get the part and he’ll come and fix it after work. Awesome. I love that man :). I ring the spare parts shop and miraculously they have a new replacement ignition barrel for a 1996 Commodore. The assistant found this out for me after he had greeted my request with a surprised, we’re not the wreckers you know! Oh, actually – I think we have one of those.

John the mechanic pops in straight after work to put the new barrel in – and finds to his frustration that he can’t. No matter what he does, that barrel will not go in. Finally, he tells me that I need to get a steering lock, and this time I will need to ring the wreckers. So I do, and they have have what I want. The Bear won’t be able to pick it up until tomorrow afternoon. Sigh.

This is now 5 days of not having a car. The first four days I was accepting, curious and a bit amused – what have you got in store for me now, Universe? I do what I need to do, and wait for it to unfold. Today though, I feel defeated. I can see that the car isn’t going to be repaired in anything like the timetable I had hoped, through nobody’s fault. I can feel all of the emotions from the 12 months I was stranded without a car rising up – feeling alone, abandoned, like I have no help, frustrated and worst of all, trapped. I’m irritated that I’m spending money and time on a car that we should have replaced by now, but for various reasons haven’t. I am aware that none of these feelings are actually true, but nevertheless, I have a strong, irrational desire to hide, preferably somewhere warm and dark like my bed.

Anyway. It’s not solved yet people – I’ll keep you posted. When I come out from under my blankets :)

Meanwhile, please keep me entertained – what’s your best breakdown story?

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Weekly Inspiration #21

The week leading up to a new moon (Saturday’s Sagittarius new moon) has a distinct flavour to it – influenced by the dark moon, we have a tendency to become quieter, more introspective and sensitive. The best thing to do, is as much as possible honour those feelings by clearing your schedule of all but the essentials and include as many self-nourishing activities as possible. On Monday, due to a temporary loss of access to money, my schedule cleared itself. I could have run around, transferring more money here and there so that I could do what I had planned to do…but when I surveyed what was left, I realised that the essentials with which I had been left – work, writing and play – were perfect. Next week though… OMG.

A friend and I had been planning a play day at Bellingen for weeks – and Thursday was the day. We met in town and travelled up together, stopping for a lush breakfast and two big, beautiful coffees. My friend had an appointment, and then we headed out to The Promised Land…which I can only imagine was named because of its close resemblance to Paradise. The Promised Land is a perpetually verdant valley in the shadow of the Dorrigo Plateau, a particularly beautiful part of the Great Dividing range. We were headed to the river, a crystal clear mountain stream of infinite possibilities. Of course, we got lost. Then we found our way again and arrived here:

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We had a feeling of being within the womb of the world, part of it, yet protected from it as well. It was stinking hot out in the world, but here, we sat in our watery bubble and watched time dissolve. We swam, we floated and admired our auras, glowing blue and gold under the water, which you only ever see in the clearest and cleanest of mountain streams. We talked and talked…and all the time we just felt grateful that we live lives where we can go to such places. When I arrived home, at dusk, the Bear took one look at me and said smiling, so, you had a good day then?

Ever since, I have carried a piece of that river within me, behind my closed lids, as if gazing for so long has enabled the image to be embedded on my retina. Food, friendship, water and beauty – all of those things feed my soul.

What feeds your soul?

Best Read

Call Me By My True Names

Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to
Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea
pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and
loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my
hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to, my
people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all
walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

- Thich Nhat Hanh

The commentary from Thay:

“In Plum Village, where I live in France, we receive many letters from the refugee camps in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, hundreds each week. It is very painful to read them, but we have to do it, we have to be in contact. We try our best to help, but the suffering is enormous, and sometimes we are discouraged. It is said that half the boat people die in the ocean. Only half arrive at the shores in Southeast Asia, and even then they may not be safe.

“There are many young girls, boat people, who are raped by sea pirates. Even though the United Nations and many countries try to help the government of Thailand prevent that kind of piracy, sea pirates continue to inflict much suffering on the refugees. One day we received a letter telling us about a young girl on a small boat who was raped by a Thai pirate. She was only twelve, and she jumped into the ocean and drowned herself.

“When you first learn of something like that, you get angry at the pirate. You naturally take the side of the girl. As you look more deeply you will see it differently. If you take the side of the little girl, then it is easy. You only have to take a gun and shoot the pirate. But we cannot do that. In my meditation I saw that if I had been born in the village of the pirate and raised in the same conditions as he was, there is a great likelihood that I would become a pirate. I saw that many babies are born along the Gulf of Siam, hundreds every day, and if we educators, social workers, politicians, and others do not do something about the situation, in twenty-five years a number of them will become sea pirates.

“That is certain. If you or I were born today in those fishing villages, we may become sea pirates in twenty-five years. If you take a gun and shoot the pirate, all of us are to some extent responsible for this state of affairs.

“After a long meditation, I wrote this poem. In it, there are three people: the twelve-year-old girl, the pirate, and me. Can we look at each other and recognize ourselves in each other? The tide of the poem is “Please Call Me by My True Names,” because I have so many names. When I hear one of the of these names, I have to say, “Yes.” “

Thich Nhat Hanh ©Plum Village.

Best Watch

This video shows Mooji, a spiritual teacher, in satsang (a public gathering with the highest truth or guru). People come and ask him questions, or they try to – the oddest thing happens to them when they sit in his presence.

Best Graphic

This image has been used everywhere from Social Samosa to Bambuddha Bar in Ibiza...I have no idea who originally came up with it. Don't you love it?

This image has been used everywhere from Social Samosa to Bambuddha Bar in Ibiza…I have no idea who originally came up with it. Don’t you love it?

That’s it from me, folks…enjoy your weekend, and may you be blessed with joy and laughter!

Don’t forget:

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

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

A Daily Practice Chart for the Seven Spiritual Laws

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In Buddhist psychology, they identify three character types: greedy or desirous, the angry type and the deluded or confused type. When told about this, the greedy type will carefully take in this information, thinking to themselves how useful and valuable this information is and how they will learn everything there is to know about it. The angry type may think to themselves, “How can everybody fit into just three categories? I hate this kind of thing where people try to pigeonhole me!”. The deluded type will feel confused and wonder to themselves, “Which one am I?”

I snorted with laughter when I read this, because people, I am so the greedy type :) If I come across something I like, then I want to know everything about it. Maybe I should call myself the Greedy Mystic! :)

On Saturday I reviewed Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. Being a greedy type, I of course wanted to know everything about it, and apply it in my own life! For me, something is only of value if it has a practical use, if it can make a difference.

The thing about The Seven Spiritual Laws that resonated with me so much is how familiar it sounded – each law is something that I try and live by, with varying degrees of success. The seven seemed to lend itself naturally to a daily practice, which led me to create a printable chart where I have summarised each law and listed the three ways each law can be practiced. And then, my friends, I wanted to share it with you :)

Enjoy!

PS To print out a copy for yourself, click on this link: seven laws practice sheet

Weekly Inspiration #20

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When I first started these weekly inspiration posts, 20 weeks ago, I wanted a weekly writing anchor, something that I could commit to creating a posting rhythm around, as well as a place to share some of the wonderful things that make up my week, both online and off. It’s part gratitude for my wonderful life, part journal and part sharing.

In the beginning I would wonder if it was worthwhile, but every week I kept coming back to it, for the simple reason that I received so much joy out of the process. Week by week though, as more and more people come and visit, read, watch and comment, both here and on twitter and facebook, it becomes apparent that my effort brings other people joy as well…and that’s just the best thing ever. So, thank you!

Joy is a big signpost for me, and it’s something I have learned to focus on instead of productivity, achievement and status. Some of the big lessons I am learning are patience, perseverance and building things gradually, block by block.

Okay, no kidding – as soon as I wrote that, I looked out of my window and saw two beautiful grey herons, one of them with a stick in its mouth. They walked up and down outside my window for about 5 minutes, just to make sure I saw them. And then vanished, presumably to build that goddamned nest, stick by stick.  :) 

White Faced Heron. Image by Tim Bergen Photography. Click on the image to see more of his work. Mystical Attributes: The ability to watch patiently for results. Dignity of movement, methodical procedure in matters. Gaining dignity and self-confidence for facing personal problems.

White Faced Heron. Image by Tim Bergen Photography. Click on the image to see more of his work.
Mystical Attributes: The ability to watch patiently for results. Dignity of movement, methodical procedure in matters. Gaining dignity and self-confidence for facing personal problems.

I have to do my time, and as Justine Musk says:

Everybody needs her period of apprenticeship, and it will be longer and tougher and harder than you expect or want it.

Over the years I have learned about commitment and grown to embrace it – 11 years of motherhood, a 15 year relationship, 11 years living in the same house, 6 years as P&C secretary, friendships dating back to my childhood – all of which paints a picture of someone who is very stable. And it’s true, I am.

What I had trouble with was committing to myself. 

The thing about people like me is that we want everything now, or better still, yesterday; we want things to be easy and we like to take shortcuts to success. That can work for some, for sure, but not me :). The first time I really committed to myself was when I did 40 days of yoga. That was the first time I did something I loved regularly, in my adult life, just for myself. It felt really uncomfortable and strange, and I had a lot of awful dialogue in my mind about being selfish and unproductive. Still, I persevered. Writing, both in this blog and out of it is like that too – I love writing, I love yoga, so I just keep coming back, day after day, on the mat, at the desk. I keep showing up, even when the voice in my head spins webs of doubt and anxiety.

This committing to ourselves – it is sacred work. It is how we uncover our purpose, what we have come here to do:

Everyone has a purpose in life…a unique gift or special talent to give to others.

And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.

- Deepak Chopra (The Seven Spiritual laws of Success)

How do you commit to yourself? What brings you joy?

Best Short Read

Elizabeth Gilbert. Again. She just keeps coming up with the goods – and while she’s channeling so much goodness, I’m going to keep drinking it in and sharing it with you guys. Here is a piece she wrote on her Facebook blog the other day:

IN PRAISE OF THE INNER CRONE!

Dear Ones -

OK, we all know about the “inner child”, right? The innocent being who still lives inside of us, who needs and deserves love and care, and whom we sometimes have to channel in order to learn self-compassion?

I’m a big fan of the notion of the inner child. It can be a really healing construct. Once, when I was going through a particularly dark season of self-loathing, I taped a sweet photo of myself (age 2) on my mirror, and taught myself that any harm I did to me, I also did to HER. It made me kinder and more tender to myself. Imagining other people’s inner children makes me kinder and more tender to them.

So the Inner Child is a good thing.

These days, though, I find myself spending less time thinking about my Inner Child, and more time focused on my INNER CRONE — the old lady who lives inside me, whom I hope to someday be.

Because she’s a serious bad-ass.

The really old ladies always are bad-asses. I’m talking about the real survivors. The women who have been through everything already, so nothing scares them anymore. The ones who have already watched the world fight itself nearly to death a dozen times over. The ones who have buried their dreams and their loved ones and lived through it. The ones who have suffered pain and lived through it, and who have had their innocence challenged by ten thousand appalling assaults…and who lived through all of it.

The world is a frightening place. But you simply cannot frighten The True Crone.

Some might consider the word “crone” to be derogatory, but I don’t in the least. I honor it. The crone is a classic character from myth and folklore, and she is often the bearer of great wisdom and supernatural power. She is sometimes a guardian to the underworld. She has tremendous vision, even if she is blind. She has no fear of death, which means: NO FEAR.

I keep a wall of photos of some of my favorite crones, for inspiration. The photo below is of a Ukrainian babushka named Hanna Zavorotnya who lives in (get this) Chernobyl. There are a group of about 250 such women — all tough elderly peasants — who have all recently moved back to the radioactive area around Chernobyl.

badass russian crone

You know why they live there? Because they like it.

They like Chernobyl because that’s where they came from. They are natural-born farmers, who got kicked off their farms when disaster struck. They hated being refugees.They resented being shunted off their land after the catastrophe. They hated living in the shabby and crime-infiltrated and stress-inducing government housing in the city, and much prefer the independence of living off the land.

So they moved back home — illegally — to the most contaminated nuclear site on earth. They have formed a stupendously resilient retirement community there, in what some would call the world’s most terrifying landscape.

Is it safe? Of course not. Or, whatever. After 90 years of hard living, what does “safe” even mean? (If you survived World War II and Stalin and famine and communism’s ravages, how worried can you be about “safe”?) They drink the water. These women plant vegetables in that radioactive soil and eat them. They butcher the wild pigs that scavenge around the old nuclear power plant, and eat them, too. Their point is: “We are old. What do have to fear from radioactivity? At this age? Who cares?”

All they want is their freedom. So they take care of themselves and each other. They cut and haul their own wood. They make their own vodka. They get together and drink and laugh about the hardships of their lives. They laugh about everything, then they go outside and butcher another radioactive boar and make sausage out of him.

They are living longer and healthier lives than their peers who stayed behind in refugee housing in the cities.

I would put these women in a Bad-Ass Contest against any cocky young alleged Bad Ass you’ve got going, and I guarantee you — the Chernobyl crones would win, hands down. Put the lady in this picture in a survival contest against any Navy SEAL; she will endure longer.

We live in a society that romanticizes youth. We live in a culture where youth is considered a real accomplishment. But when you look at a seriously powerful classic crone like the woman in this photo, you see how foolish we are to obsess over youth — to imagine that the young offer much for us to aspire to, or learn from.

No wisdom like the wisdom of survival. No equanimity like the equanimity of somebody who plants a garden right on top of a nuclear disaster and gets on with it.

So these days, when my Inner Child gets all fluttery with the panic of living, I just ask myself: ” WWMICD?”

“What Would My Inner Crone Do?”

Ask yourself that same question. See what she tells you.

One thing I can promise you she will never say? She will never say: “WORRY.

She will more likely tell you this: “ENDURE.”

So listen to her, and get on with it — get on with the powerful act of LIVING.

Hang in there, all you future awesome crones!

ONWARD!
LG

Best Book

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – a practical guide to the fulfillment of your dreams.  – Deepak Chopra

7-spiritual-laws-of-success-300x405Okay, now you might have read this book – it’s 20 years old and a phenomenal best seller so odds are that you have. This is the first time I have read this book, and it is the first Deepak Chopra book I have ever read. Why? Because…I had formed some sort of half baked judgement on him and his work some time in my distant past and had never thought to revise it! There you go, you can’t say I’m not honest :). Ill-advised, judgmental and stubborn, yes, but dishonest, no.

Anyway, a fellow blogger recommended this book to me a few months ago, and in the context of the conversation we were having, I resolved to read it. I also keep my promises :). To cut to the chase, I loved it. Each law resonated deeply with me, and I discovered that these are the very laws I strive to live my life by – beautifully and succinctly expressed in an easy to understand, readable way. Note the word practical in the title – not only does he explain each law to you, but tells you how to apply each law in your own life. I love that :)

I found this book deeply true, helpful and affirming of my own spiritual practice – and, it’s short. At just over 100 pages, there is no room for repetition or for filler. There are no wasted words, and I love that too.

Best Laugh

A friend posted this on my wall last week. Funny? Yes. Cynical? Yes. Maybe you will watch it, and like me, snort with derision – and then wonder if this is how other people see you. Using humor to illuminate our flaws makes it less painful, yes?

My friends, that is all from me this week. Have a beautiful week.

Don’t forget:

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

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

Weekly Inspiration #19

This has been such a gentle week for me. I don’t know if it was the Taurus full moon shining its soft light over me, or just the fact that I had taken my own advice and was resting and having fun. We spent last Sunday at a BBQ on our friend’s farm by his huge spring-fed dam –  we swam, talked and laughed, the kids were knee deep in mud and we ate well. I realise that if you are not Taurean then you may not find this scene as pleasant as I did. Nonetheless :). The Bear and I went out to a movie (I’ll tell you all about it later), it RAINED, I had FOUR different healing sessions, I journalled, did some more on my writing project, created a band new Practical Mystic Facebook page to go with my blog, wrote, did yoga, worked – and even snagged a surprise day off on Friday. Again, maybe it was the Taurus energy, but I was happy to be in the kitchen as well. This isn’t surprising to people who know me, but I have been lacking a bit of inspiration in the cooking department lately. This tends to happen when you make everything you find fun into work, apparently ;). I made a trio of dips (hommus, beetroot and feta and tzatziki) to take to the BBQ, as well as a delicious lentil, feta and beetroot salad. I made this yummy lemon yogurt syrup cake on my day off, and then last night, because I had the house to myself (the Bear is away for two days and the kids were on a sleep over – well one was – the other came back because he wasn’t feeling well) I made a delicious mushroom and pea risotto, topped off with a delicious organic sauvignon blanc. Risotto is one of my dishes that I make just for me – because nobody else likes it! I know, crazy right? I don’t have room for all these recipes in this post, but maybe I’ll do a Taurus Special Recipe Post next week. If you’re lucky :)

I took this picture from my back verandah on Friday, and posted it on Facebook with this caption:

On a day that has fallen open like a book upon my lap, I sit on my verandah and ponder the great questions, Taurus full moon style. Like: what cake shall I bake? Lemon or sticky date? What should I do first - yoga or writing? Is it possible for this day to get any more perfect, with the soft cool breeze, jacaranda flowers falling and the ground still rain softened? Tough questions indeed.

On a day that has fallen open like a book upon my lap, I sit on my verandah and ponder the great questions, Taurus full moon style. Like: what cake shall I bake? Lemon or sticky date? What should I do first – yoga or writing? Is it possible for this day to get any more perfect, with the soft cool breeze, jacaranda flowers falling and the ground still rain softened? Tough questions indeed.

Best Short Read

How to be Spiritually Fit by Marianne Williamson

There are reasons why we call our spiritual work our practice. We have to use our spiritual muscles everyday, we have to work it, we have to practise, just like with anything else we might want to do well. In this article, Marianne Williamson gives a few simple spiritual practices, that if performed every day, will result in spiritual fitness. The reason I love this concept of spiritual fitness, is that it means you have to move from reading, listening and thinking about spirituality, to actually applying and using spiritual practices in your real life. As a practical mystic, this appeals to me :).

Strong physical muscles give us the power to navigate the external world more effectively, while strong spiritual muscles give us the power to navigate the internal world. With physical musculature, we gain the power to move; with internal musculature, we gain the power to sit still, to be nonreactive, to be centered and calm and wise. (click here to read more)

Best Watch

The Lunchbox

This week, the Bear and I headed out to our local cinema for the opening night of the Travelling Film Festival, a yearly event that showcases the best films from The Sydney Film Festival and sends them out to rural areas like ours so everyone can share in the joy :). I’m not a big film watcher – not because I don’t like movies – but because I’m so fussy. I hate to waste my time and energy on dross that doesn’t enhance my life, I really do. The movie that was opening the festival was an Indian movie called The Lunch Box. I love Indian culture and books or movies that are set in India, a bunch of my friends were going, and the movie looked like something I was going to enjoy. I was right – I did enjoy it. I loved it in fact, and I was completely charmed by it. Fortunately I bought the tickets online before we went, because it was completely sold out!

Best Blog Challenge

Ready to go :)

Ready to go :)

You may have heard me mention Nicole Cody‘s blog Cauldrons and Cupcakes before. Nicole is a writer, a metaphysical healer, psychic and all round beautiful person. A couple of weeks ago, she invited her readers to join her on a month long Journaling Challenge to help us navigate the intense energies of November. Each Sunday in November, she gives us a theme to work with and questions to answer during the week to help us identify and release the burdens we carry around with us. I can’t resist such an invitation, so I jumped on board – I had a spare exercise book, and each week I have chosen three runes and a crystal to help me hold and create the space for my journal work. So much fun, I love this stuff :)

My prize! Aren't they beautiful :)

My prize! Aren’t they beautiful :)

Last weekend Nicole announced that she was giving away a beautiful set of hand made carnelian runes. Guess who ended up winning them?? Me!! Not only did I win the runes, but she told her community about my blog, and a whole heap of them came over to visit :). So, sending out a BIG thank you to Nicole over at Cauldrons and Cupcakes today.

Best Healing Experiences

Image from Singing Lotus. Click for more information on Singing Bowl healing.

Image from Singing Lotus. Click for more information on Singing Bowl healing.

This week I have received not one or two, but three personal invitations from three different healers who all wanted to give me treatments; because that’s the kind of ridiculously fortunate life I lead. The first one was a Singing Bowl session. I’m guessing you may not have had one of these before, so picture this: you are lying down on the floor, surrounded by large, metal singing bowls. The practitioner hits each bowl with a felt covered hammer, sending the healing vibrations straight through your body. Each of the bowls are attuned to the same vibration of a particular chakra, so by the end of the treatment, not only are you completely blissed out, but all your chakras are vibrating the way they should be. Amazing.

A client on the treatment bed.

A client on the treatment bed.

While I’m there, my mother asks me if I can stay longer because she wants to give me a crystal healing. I mentally cancel everything I had planned to do that afternoon, because a crystal healing from my mother is not to be missed. Ever. You probably haven’t had a crystal healing from Belinda Foley, so picture this: you are lying on a low bed in a purposely designed healing room. There are beautiful crystals everywhere. Crystals are chosen specifically for you and what you need. Magical things happen: there are feathers and brushing, gentle murmured words and a deep, deep feeling of relaxation and connection. When I am finished, I am not quite the same person. Colours look brighter; I feel transformed.

A few days later, a friend rings – she has learnt a new healing technique, and wants to try it out on me. I pick Thursday to come and see her – after yoga and my fortnightly torture session massage. This new technique is called PSYCH-K, and uses techniques such as self-empowering statements, muscle testing, visualisation and left brain-right brain balancing. The idea is to quickly and painlessly change sub-conscious beliefs that are holding you back from living your best life. While I was talking to Michele, I heard my voice saying:

For some reason, my family (partner and children) are totally disrespectful of my boundaries, when everybody else I interact with are very respectful…I think this is because I hold myself back from true intimacy because I am afraid of losing myself and feeling vulnerable, but then I feel guilty about that and have poor boundaries to compensate.

Right. Right. Oh my. That explains so much. We made a couple of positive statements to override that belief:

I am energized by intimate relationships.

I feel safe and comfortable sharing my inner self.

And the treatment began.

Many thanks to Gordon, Belinda and Michele – I am honoured. If you are in the area and would like to try any of these modalities, leave a message for me in the comments section below.

Best Laugh

My son showed me this Looney Tunes clip today – and damn, it is so clever and funny, I just had to share it with you guys. Ready?

Have a beautiful week everyone, and I’ll see you next weekend :)

Connect with me on social media:

I tweet here – mainly articles that don’t make it as my best read, but are totally worth reading and quotes.
I Facebook here – come join me on my brand new facebook page. I never saw the need for it before, but I was pushed to set up a page this week, so come join me :)

An alternative to the Hallmark brand of wisdom

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Lakshmi (Padma) poster from Jumbie Art. Click on the image to visit the store.

Have you ever read Women Who Run With the Wolves? My father bought me that book when I left home. My mother eyed it askance and said: I hope he’s not trying to turn you into a feminist. I eyed her askance and said it’s too late, I’m already a feminist. That was a funny exchange – it makes me smile to think of it now, because my mother has always been a feminist (she left my father in 1978 with two tiny children, studied Homeopathy while working as a signwriter, moved to the country (still single), lived on a farm, learned and taught yoga, then became a successful Homeopath and Naturopath, owning and working in her small practice for over 25 years. Along the way, she re-married, keeping her own name) – she just didn’t identify with the word ‘feminist’. I wonder if she does now – I’ll have to ask her!

10 years after I was given it, I finally read Women Who Run With the Wolves. What was I doing in those 10 years? Learning about all the things I didn’t want to do with my life. Anyway. The book changed me in some indefinable way, and connected me both to the wild woman in myself and to the wild in all women everywhere – damped down, drowned, silenced, shattered, slapped – but still wild, still there. Each one of us who re-kindles our own inner flame can then go and re-light another. Our wildness grows stronger with every new flame; with every new flame we women grow bolder, braver and brighter.

I found this a little while ago on the facebook page of Dr.Clarissa Pinkola Estes – and I’ve been saving it for you, my friends, for a day in which you might need it. I think today is that day, and maybe I need it more than you, who knows, but I kind of feel that if I need it, then maybe you do too.

Dear Brave Souls: about wise souls, truly.

If one were to seek in oneself or in another what some colloquially call ‘a wise person’… I’d suggest one go to those who and that which is not cleaned up, those who live and have lived in the roots, not as a temporary tourist excursion but because of a twist of fate, an unwise turn, a struggle to surface from underwater whilst bearing up under the wearing of concrete shoes.

Nice cleaned up Hallmark card ‘wisdom’ is ok. But it’s a map with all the broken gravel blue highways and rough pathways through the woods and across the desert, missing. If you want the skivvy, ask a soul who has been trapped in the broken places for a time, whose scars not only still show, but they GLOW in a certain Light of goodness and love and humor and alertness and aliveness to many things.

And consider this: my great loves– amongst them Avrohim Heschel, Dorothy Day, Thich Nhat Hahn, Dalai Lama, Rigoberta, Maya… lived face down in the dirt, often fled for their lives– that… that creates the kind of indelible wisdom that is from the ages, across and outside of time, uncorruptable, unsentimental, un-darling, and would never go on a Hallmark or other kind of greeting card without setting the entire paper of the card on FIRE.

I have been for years, threatening in good humor, to bring out my own line of greeting cards with my paintings on the fronts, such as… perhaps the time is NOW to do so. First card thereby from small card publishing company known as ‘planet cpe publishing’… this card when opened, reads:

“Tell the person who tells you ‘what doesnt kill you makes you strong,’ to get lost… permanently. What kills you, kills you, and you lie dead with bones scattered. It is resurrection, for sure that is our great untapped strength, a rough reality you will come to know by screaming, reeling, and scrabbling upward, breaking your fingernails to the quick as you climb the slime wall in order to snatch back your illicitly stolen life again… that, THAT is worth the striving, that you can and will come back from the freakin’ ‘land away,’ where you have been left for dead.

Listen to no one who says such travail is surrounded with flowers and pretty script and lace. It isnt, it’s surrounded by bloodshed and splashed brains and an eerie light that is NOT the end, but rather is The Presence despite all else, The Presence of Holy Hell on Earth… and you will rise. You WILL rise out of Hell, leaving Hell behind and bringing the Holy back with you to the topside world. Well worn, shined and you have earned the right to wear that kind of true Wisdom hard won.

Thus, now: Courage. Courage. Courage.”

And with love, and I mean it…
dr.e

excerpt from The Dangerous Old Woman manuscript: Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype, © 1993, 2012 by Dr. CP Estés, all rights reserved.

Weekly Inspiration #18

I realised at the beginning of this week that somehow, I had forgotten to have fun. My work is so engaging, enjoyable and fulfilling (working with children (heart), writing (mind) and yoga (spirit) ) that I fell into the trap of thinking that work was the same as fun. It’s not. I became aware that something had gone awry on Sunday afternoon, when the Bear, sick to death of my foul mood, packed us all up and took us to the beach. It was stinking hot at home in the valley where I live, but at the beach, the cool sea breeze lifted all of our spirits. The kids rode their bikes up and down the long break-wall that juts out into the water, and then we tossed ourselves into the crystal clear ocean. The currents are still cold this time of year in contrast to the air temperature, so when I emerged from the water, I forgot that I had ever been hot. While we were swimming, the Bear had gone and bought dinner, and we sat at a picnic table in the dwindling day and ate our fill. We were out for about 4 hours, and I was completely transformed.

Today, I had an hour to spare before work, and I decided to read my novel (yes, novel!) on the lounge with a cup of tea. I knew I might have been taking things a bit too seriously when I was so excited to be reading a novel in the middle of the morning I could hardly contain myself :).

That’s when it clicked:

Woman, you haven’t been playing enough. You’ve become all dried up and cranky because it’s all been about work (which is very enjoyable, meaningful and fulfilling), but you need to play more! Note to self: yoga and writing, although enjoyable activities, are not play. Cleaning the house, cooking, shopping and kids activities are not play. Work – although fulfilling – is not play. Got that little Miss Serious?

Best (short) Read:

What Gets Us Into Trouble – by Jennifer Pastiloff on the Manifest-Station.

This is a personal post, written by Jennifer to her hero, Wayne Dyer. It tells about her journey from self-hatred and shame to where she is today, a yoga teacher, writer and manifestation retreat leader. It’s an inspiring article, and well worth looking at. That’s not why I shared it though, or not the only reason anyway. My favourite thing, the bit that made my heart squeeze and dragged my eyes back up the page to read it again was this:

The Cookie Thief by Valerie Cox:

“A woman was waiting at an airport one night,

With several long hours before her flight.

She hunted for a book in the airport shops.

Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.

She was engrossed in her book but happened to see,

That the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be.

Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between,

Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.

So she munched the cookies and watched the clock,

As the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock.

She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by,

Thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye.”

With each cookie she took, he took one too,

When only one was left, she wondered what he would do.

With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh,

He took the last cookie and broke it in half.

He offered her half, as he ate the other,

She snatched it from him and thought… oooh, brother.

This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude,

Why he didn’t even show any gratitude!

She had never known when she had been so galled,

And sighed with relief when her flight was called.

She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate,

Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.

She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat,

Then she sought her book, which was almost complete.

As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise,

There was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.

If mine are here, she moaned in despair,

The others were his, and he tried to share.

Too late to apologize, she realized with grief,

That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.”

Best Name Change

I’ve made some changes to my blog this week – as you can see, not only have I changed the way my blog looks (I love it! So beautiful :) ), but I’ve taken the really bold step of changing the name of it too. The name arrived in a flash about a month ago: I had posted this quote from Meister Eckhart, a 12th century Christian Mystic:

“Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.”
― Meister Eckhart

In response, A friend of mine, Matt, a theologian and mystic himself, posted this on my wall:

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Just like that, I heard in my mind The Practical Mystic, and I thought, yes, that’s me! Trying to make the everyday sacred is what I do. But how can I use it? I can’t change the name of my blog – that would be too confusing- or would it? So, I sat on it for a month. I changed the name of my twitter account first, just to see how it felt – and then I felt pretty bold, actually :) so I changed the name of my blog as well – same address, different name. And then I thought, damn, my new name doesn’t go with my old blog theme anymore! So I changed that too :) What do you think?

Best Play Day

So, this week, I asked myself: how do I want to play? This is what I came up with: for six whole, lovely hours on Tuesday, I put aside my writing work and…read my new book, bought specially for the occasion – in between episodes of the fifth series of Downton Abbey- and watched the birds play in the bird bath. That’s it. Nothing was accomplished nor did it need to be. Sooo good people, sooo good :).

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Twp rainbow lorikeets frolicking in the bird bath, along with a photo bombing chicken.

Best Hard Thing

Last night was the launch of my writer’s group 25th anniversary anthology – Stepping Off a Cliff Naked. A piece I wrote last year was selected to be in there – oh man, it’s exciting to be published, in a real live book, but I can’t read that piece – I just wince and look away. Apparently this is quite normal I’m told - and I was also asked to read my poem, The Rainmaker. Reading out my work, and indeed most public speaking is terrifying for me, but I was asked to do it, and I know I can do hard things :). I also knew that I had been doing lots of work over the past few months on my throat chakra to help me with this very issue - and it was time to give it a run. Through the week I practiced reading it, doing my best wonder woman stance – and rather than getting nervous, I was feeling excited. Strange! Finally, I’m standing up there in front of 50+ people, reading my rather intimate poem – and I feel good all the way through it. I speak it just how I have been practicing – and people love it! A new era? Let’s hope so :) As my writer’s group friend Roby said – you are so brave Sara, and you used to be such a wuss!

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Me reading my poem.

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Check out that look of joyful relief :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It strikes me, somewhat belatedly, that this weekly inspiration is all about me. Nothing to watch or listen to and only one recommendation! Oh well, some weeks are like that, apparently :) Have a beautiful weekend everyone, and I’ll see you on the other side :)