Weekly Inspiration #49

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You know how they say a picture says a thousand words? Well, this is my week in an image. What is that strange flower in my Jade Tree you ask? It is my thumb drive, lost on Monday afternoon, which I had spent the next three days looking for. To say that I was surprised to see it hanging there is a slight understatement. I mean, wtf? A friend commented that it must be meaningful that my thumb drive was found hanging in my money tree…we shall see if it is indeed meaningful or, as I suspect, just playing with my mind :).

My observation of the past couple of weeks is that people have been confronted with reality. When I say confronted, I mean slapped around the face with anything that they have taken for granted, handled badly, been dishonest about, neglected or refused to admit. This has not been entirely pleasant. The Bear is still trying to get his car fixed – I think it’s up to seven times back to the same mechanic, just to repair a handbrake. My retrograde reality slap has been around finances, and I have spent the last week trying to repair a changeover situation that I handled badly. I have been making progress, but of the one step forward two steps backwards kind, unsurprising during a mercury retrograde..

I have also observed that if you take full responsibility for the mess you are in and then take steps to clean up the mess you’ve made, then you’ll come out okay. If you insist on not taking responsibility, refusing to face up to reality or worse, blaming other people for your trouble, then there will be no end to your suffering. If there is something, even small that you have been thinking you should fix, replace or remove, do it, or it will be done for you.

Example? There was a large glass jar on my kitchen shelf that had a few olives swimming in a litre or so of olive oil. I had been thinking that I should really take that jar down, empty it out and give it a good wash – but of course I hadn’t gotten around to it. I heard a large thump yesterday afternoon as I was getting ready to go out, followed not long after with a tearful entrance by my daughter.
“I didn’t mean to!” she sobbed.
“What have you done?” I asked, following her into the kitchen.
“I was just trying to get an apple and I knocked the big jar over!”
Indeed, the jar had been knocked onto the floor, the lid knocked off and the bench, cupboards and floor were swimming in olive oil. I just laughed, because, hey, I’d been warned, and I ignored it. And then I got to it and cleaned the mess up without complaining about it, because that’s what grown ups do. You make a mess? Clean it up.

On the bright side, a dilemma that I have been tossing around for the past couple of months has had a big dose of clarity. Have you ever noticed that if you cannot solve a problem or make a decision, if you just let it marinate in its own juices for a while, the answer becomes so very obvious? I have shared with you all my desire to go to University, and the angst it was causing me – some of it generated by the Bear, most of it generated by me. As is so often the case :). Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, it became all of a sudden very obvious to me that of course I should go to University – that of course I would benefit and of course it was a worthy investment of my time, energy and money.

So, I started the application process, and I came to the question where it asked me to nominate three courses that I wanted to apply for. I stared at the question for a while, thinking, but I only want to do a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Writing…what can I put down as the others?Β So, I went back to the course list and started looking through it again, and what do I see? A Bachelor of Media and Communication majoring in writing. I click on the course and check out the subjects and realise to my joy that it seems almost exactly tailor-made for me :). It also follows on neatly from the Certificate IV in Communication and Media that I finished last year, and from which I will be able to hopefully get prior standing for some subjects. In perfect mercury retrograde style, the answer had been there the whole time :).

Going to University? A dream come true πŸ™‚

Have you felt the cold slap of reality this week?Β What do you need to take responsibility for?Β 

Best Short Read

Ursula K. Le Guin on Aging and What Beauty Really Means by Maria Popova for Brain Pickings.

When I take the time to read the wonderful Brain Pickings newsletter, I always find a jewel. And I don’t have to scrabble around in the mud for it either – I can assure you that Maria Popova’s work is always intelligent, well researched and wise. In fact, I freely admit that Brain Pickings is one of my inspirations for my own weekly musings, along with Jamie Wallace’s fabulous weekend column on Live to Write – Write to Live. I digress, however – I want to share with you this week’s gem that I have discovered. Ursuala K, Le Guin is all class, all woman and moreover, a wonderful writer. She writes here about dogs, cats, body awareness, humans, beauty and aging in this wonderful piece that starts off with a smile and ends in deep thought:

Perfection is β€œlean” and β€œtaut” and β€œhard” β€” like a boy athlete of twenty, a girl gymnast of twelve. What kind of body is that for a man of fifty or a woman of any age? β€œPerfect”? What’s perfect? A black cat on a white cushion, a white cat on a black one . . . A soft brown woman in a flowery dress . . . There are a whole lot of ways to be perfect, and not one of them is attained through punishment.
Click here to read the rest.

Best Poetry

I Go Among Trees

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And then there is this offering, lovingly shared by the Bear, which made me cackle and snort πŸ™‚

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet around me
like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places where I left them
asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings and I hear its song.

After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.

By: Wendell Berry

Best Cake

The citrus is on here – we have lemons, mandarins, oranges and limes by the box full. I will make cordial soon and maybe some lemon butter too. Meanwhile, we have no cake in the cake tin, and lots of citrus…a happy problem :). It’s not very often I’m excited by a cake that I have baked, but this week I found a recipe that is so good and so simple I have made it twice, once with lemons and once with oranges. Both are delicious. My normally praise-reticent son told me that if I cooked this on Masterchef I would win. With that kind of praise, I don’t need to go on to Masterchef to win :).

Lemon Yogurt Cake – Donna Hay

Lemon Yogurt Cake by Donna Hay.
Lemon Yogurt Cake by Donna Hay.

3/4 cup olive oil
2 eggs
I tablespoon of finely grated lemon rind
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup plain Greek style yogurt
1 3/4 cup of sugar
2 cups self raising flour
2 tablespoons of thyme leaves (optional)

Lemon Icing

1 cup of icing sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon of boiling water
To make the icing, simply whisk the above ingredients together and voila! Done πŸ™‚

Preheat oven to 160Β°C. Place the oil, eggs, rind, juice, yogurt and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir in the flour and pour into a well greased 24cm Bundt tin (or whatever tin you have to hand, it doesn’t matter – if you do use a Bundt tin, make sure you grease it really well or it will stick like my first one did). Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave it sit in the tin for for five minutes and then carefully turn the cake out onto a cake rack and spoon the icing over the cake while still hot. Sprinkle with thyme leaves if using and leave set for 10 minutes before serving.

No, don’t thank me, it was my pleasure πŸ™‚

Best Watch

Julia Roberts narrates this two minute clip as Mother Nature. Watch:

Best Listen

I have been listening to Sacred Earth this week. A good friend has been telling me about them for years – they play around here sometimes – but for whatever reason, I haven’t followed up on her recommendation (sorry Michelle!). I saw a link for them in a group that I’m a part of, clicked it, fell instantly in love, and have spent the last few days listening to their back catalogue on Spotify. This my favourite one at the moment:

Best Graphic

And on that note, star babies, I am going to love you and leave you Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival, to which the Bear and I are goingΒ together,Β meeting with friends and even staying the night in a cute B&B

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 πŸ™‚.

Facebook – I have aΒ Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there πŸ™‚

36 comments

  1. Sara, congratulations are making your decision to go school. We here have been rooting for you to do just that What strikes me is that you’ve people all over the world who have followed your progress to your decision and here you are..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a deeply researched and thought provoking post. When we are in problem, do we face it or avoid it. And how do we clean the mess we get into many times in our life. There are no magic wands, yes you are right we have dirty our hands and clean the mess, once we know that we have do it and we leave it, it just multiples and becomes hard to get out of it.

    Julia Roberts on Mother Nature…is something we ignore to acknowledged and do something, indeed we need nature not the other way round. Nature has been there for billions of years and it will continue exist and evolve, if we do learn how to live with nature, otherwise we become extinct not the nature.

    The thoughts in the “Best Graphic” is something very interesting…we are there because the stars exploded and the parts of stars have what made our parts in our body…

    I am just trying to explore the Brain Pickings and Live to Write & Write to Live…
    Have a lovely weekend.
    Yes, your aspiration for university course takes beautiful wings to fly high.
    πŸ˜€

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    • Nihar, thank you so much for your thoughtful and in depth reading and comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the mother Earth clip and appreciated my musings of cleaning up your mess. I know you will love brain pickings and live to write as well. Enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I am enjoying the brain pickings…we have no existence without nature but we take it for granted and keep exploiting it. I always love these inspiration videos and keeps me thinking and also channelizes me to do something which somehow have neglected, nurturing nature should be part of everyone of us.
        You too…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ugh, I know firsthand what a mess to clean up olive oil is! Sounds like you had the right attitude on this one. And good for you on the University decision… Love that the answers were right there on the page for you!!

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    • OMG yes, the floor is still a bit slippery! Let that be another lesson to me to attend to things when they need to be attended to! As for uni, well I’m very excited!

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  4. Where do I start… I often think when I lose something (see http://ardysez.com/2015/05/16/the-yellow-challenge/on my blog) and find it again, there is a big lesson, or a big reminder in it for me. It behooves (is that still a word?) us to pay attention. I love the photo illustrating your week. Some weeks are like that. Also love, love Maria Popova, and yes, I get a lot of inspiration from her for my blog and for life. Also Julia Roberts–excellent. Also that ‘best graphic’…YES. That nearly brought a tear to my eye. How special are we all? As you were telling the story of the olive oil, it was as if in slow motion my eyes widened and I was saying ‘Noooooooooo’. But yes. Mia culpa and then deal. Have a great week. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Morning Ardys – mia culpa and deal indeed πŸ™‚ I read the yellow challenge and loved it – I swear I was there with you. There is most definitely a lesson in lost things…sometimes it’s just to be more careful, but other times there are other lessons as well. Beautiful photos. I also chortled at the vegemite on cake analogy lol I hadn’t heard that one before! So glad you enjoyed my musings again this week xo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So excited to hear that you’re going back to school and deciding on a degree in media and communications! I finished my Master’s in media and comm last year and I loved the material, even the hard ones. So I’m thinking you will enjoy your course very much as well. πŸ™‚ Hope you have a wonderful week ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You did that degree as well! Awesome πŸ™‚ I can’t think as far ahead as Masters, but who knows? If I love it, then I’ll go as far as I can. You enjoy your week too, Lillian xo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good morning, Sara!
    Love what you’re written here about taking responsibility and just getting down to cleaning up the mess. The cleaning up the mess part applies even if you weren’t responsible for making the mess. I mean, sometimes, we just have to get things done if we have any hope of moving on. Take this weekend in my world, for instance – I am working all day both days of this weekend because a client came to me at the last minute with a crazy & urgent request. Not my fault. Technically, not my problem. But – it’s a mess that needs to be cleaned up, so guess what? πŸ˜‰ Part of me wants to lament the lost weekend and cry over having to sit here at my desk instead of going out to play or curling up with my book, but once I made the decision to say “yes,” I’ve been doing my best to face the situation with a smile. Much like you with your olive oil. There’s just no sense crying over it, is there?

    I’m saving the two videos you’ve shared for later in my day. I know I’ll need a little mental break, and I have a feeling they will be just the thing to rejuvenate me.

    And – hey! – thank you so much for the lovely shout out. That absolutely made my day. (Especially being mentioned in the same breath with Brain Pickings, which I adore … right along with the amazing Ursula K. Le Guin. That woman rocks.)

    Hugs and writerly love to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I saw that you had an Ursula K.Le Guin article in your article list this week – I read it and found it slightly horrifying (damn you Amazon!) although I must say that the Amazon bestseller list, or indeed any best seller list doesn’t decide my reading habits. Anyway πŸ™‚
      I know what you mean about cleaning up other people’s messes, just because it needs to be done to keep things moving. I think women understand this concept better than men to be honest. I hope you were able to find a little bit of time in your precious weekend for yourself, and that your sacrifice was worth it.
      As for your mention – it’s totally true xo

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      • That was a pretty horrifying article, wasn’t it? Like you, I’m not a follower of best seller lists. I prefer to pick my reads organically. πŸ˜‰ I do love reading anything Le Guin writes, though – stories, novels, essays. She’s amazing. Such a strong, and (I use the term with the utmost respect) “spunky” character.

        I didn’t get any down time this weekend, which was particularly painful because I LOVE the book I’m reading and would have liked nothing better than a whole day lost in its pages. I did, however, kind of enjoy bopping back and forth between my work and helping my daughter with her project about writer and scientist Rachael Carson. (I may have to read Carson’s autobiography, now – fascinating woman.) And – of course – stealing a few minutes to visit here made my day more enjoyable.
        πŸ™‚

        Have a lovely week!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve only read articles from Ursula…I must read some of her longer forms. Organically…that’s a perfect description of how books come to me as well. I bought a couple of books at the writers festival which I’m pretty excited about…
        What a pity about your weekend, although it does sound like it had unexpected rewards :).

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  7. Lovely post Sara, and yes Personal Responsibility works its way through the things we do.. As does allowing things to flow within the Universe’s ‘Jucies’ often we worry too much over something, and if left alone for a while things usually sort themselves out..
    Love the Cake.. and the poetry..
    Many thanks for your weekly inspiration..
    Enjoy a great week.
    Sue

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love letting problems marinate in their own juices and then wide eyed wonder at the obvious and obscure answers that can come.

    In terms of cold slaps of reality…it feels like they are a coming, and our current life is giving me a few more weeks of gentle ponder. My gratitude today was to Dave For giving me a slap of a kick up the butt to partake in some of the bookings and plannings aspect of our last phase of the trip (it must be said I had withdrawn from it completely. My energies for such efforts critically low). So Dave has been patient.Today I needed to organize or accommodation, it wasn’t much, just ring the place, sort through the miscommunications of language and then be the first up the Beach path to confirm our accom, in fact that we had no accom at all for the first 5 mins, then they found us a room. The slap of reality was a gift, as it often is…so good to just do it, get out of my funk towards such things. And then also half hour yoga practixe to nurture that part of self that makes these types of things difficult in the first place.

    Wendell Berry again a beautiful read. I am looking forward to Libraries on my return. Ebooks being good, but cozy fire reading a book…no that makes winter worthwhile.

    Thanks for prompting the sharings, again πŸ™‚

    Oh and You and University. YIPPEE!!

    Sent from Samsung tablet

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    • Hi Kate,

      I can well understand your headspace at the moment – I wonder if you’re a bit traumatised and in shock after Nepal. Having to be the grown up ALL THE TIME is incredibly wearing. Good husbands are awesome at butt kicking in a loving way – Alex also does a bit of that when needed. OMG University – I just received an email that said that my application was successful – just like that – and I should be ready to start on June 29th. Holy. Sending to you big hugs, some time alone and a good book. How long until you’re home?

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      • Home 20th June, we found a $$ doable flight change and decided to go for it, only 12 days difference in arrival time…but it made a profound difference. good book, yes indeed. Im currently listening to Paul Kelly “how to make gravy” Audio book…my son plays mine craft in one bus seat, I sit with the ear plugs in the adjoining seat. Minecraft bleeps echoing in the background of the audio book. June 29 for Uni – Whoa! Best wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the mother nature clip. I’ve been reading mythology lately and apparently the earliest peoples worshiped the mother (nature) Goddess and saw themselves as needing to be in accord with her, Instead of dominating her. I guess they didn’t get (and we don’t get) how we can’t really dominate her. Hurt her and we just end up hurting ourselves.

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  10. Thank you. Thank you πŸ™‚ We got back on Tuesday night from a quick busy trip to TA and I scanned a few blog posts. This among them. That cake stayed with me into back-at-work Wednesday, where I realised for me this Mercury Retrograde has manifested as repetitive, tedious and annoying technology hassles. Sigh. But at least it had 5 days, 9-5 bookends. For which I’m thankful. Wednesday evening when he walked into our kitchen the G.O. was a little taken aback to me baking rather than cooking dinner! I did that too, later, but when the cake came out of its Bundt tin, he looked a little surprised and impressed enough to remark “that’s an fantastic looking cake”, and it smelled amazing. I used an orange that needed another frost the neighbours insist we take, macadamia oil and big yellow Bowraville eggs. There’s half a cake left… That’s why I don’t usually bake.
    I imagine your Mercury Retrograde has been more entertaining for me to read about, rather than to live it, and a little messy both literally and figuratively. I felt the other energy I was dealing with accompanied the lurgy we had to be accepting and necessarily live with the limitations in order to get through it, a micro lesson. It was a few weeks of living efficiently and doing only what had to be done. It felt ok, sometimes things are just the way they are. For now. Wait. I thought I’d covered that lesson but there it was again.
    I’m so pleased you found a course, or it found you when the time was right. It does follow on neatly. A reward for your efforts, and ability to put your ideas out there and ask. Powerful.
    I remembered Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival was on, so good you managed to get there and a weekend away together.
    I see another interesting post from you in my In-Box. Excellent πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • You baked the cake, Dale! Awesome πŸ™‚ It would be perfect for those too sour to eat oranges that float around here sometimes πŸ™‚
      As much as I’ve ahem, complained about this retrograde, it really has had some fabulous results. Clarity and purpose are back, as well as a bit of gumption. The computer I thought broken magically worked again and the Bear’s ute finally, finally was fixed yesterday after more annoying snafus…all good in the end. Learning to accept constriction and limitation and even to embrace them are absolutely perfect lessons, and I’ve also had experiences around these themes.
      The writers festival was fab, we had a ball, soooo good πŸ™‚

      Like

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