One morning this week I decided to whip up a quick fried rice so that my daughter and I could have it for lunch – she for school and me for work. I had some cold rice in the fridge, some grated vegetables from the day before, a jar of homemade garlic, turmeric and ginger and peas in the freezer so I just chopped up some bacon and shallots, heated up the wok and started frying the ingredients. When I added the grated vegetables, I started laughing and called Alani over to look: the fried rice had turned bright red because of the grated beetroot and carrot mix I had just added. She wanted to look, and then she wanted a taste. “Yum! It doesn’t matter that it’s red, Mum, fried rice is my favourite!”
That night, over dinner, I told that story to my mother, and said that it reminded me of the green quiche story. She laughed and told it again:
The first friends I made when we moved up here were a farming family who had goats. We used to buy goats milk off them and they took me under their wing. After all, a single mother in her early twenties fresh from the city with a four and five year old in tow wasn’t something you saw every day back then. One day I invited them to dinner. We were vegetarian, so I made a delicious quiche with foraged greens – stinging nettle and other plants that we had picked from the fields. My mother was a herbalist, remember, so this kind of eating was quite normal to us. I got dressed up in my best silk petticoat dress, and picked a
beautiful bunch of red lantana flowers for decoration, putting some of them in my hair. Being new to the area, I didn’t know that lantana was a weed, or that red lantana killed cattle; I just thought it looked beautiful. We didn’t have a table and chairs yet, so I just laid a table cloth on the floor like a picnic and scattered cushions around for us to sit on. In the city where I came from, all my friends were hippy girls and students, and my effort would have been most appreciated. When they arrived, I heard my friend say to her husband, “she hasn’t had time to put the curtains up yet!” They had bought their two children with them, a couple of years older than you and Ben. When they walked in and saw where they would be eating, they couldn’t believe their eyes. They had never seen such a thing before. We sat down, quite comfortable, but they didn’t sit, they just stood there awkwardly. The quiche looked fantastic – the crust was beautiful and golden and so was the top. I thought it was a great success. When I cut into it, the inside was bright, fluorescent green. Perfect! They looked at the quiche, and the kids said to their mother, “do we have to stay here?” And so they left, without eating a bite.
Now, this story conjures up lots of things for me, not all of them humorous. I didn’t particularly appreciate being the weird hippy kid in the farming valley lost in its own time warp. The happy thought that lingered though, was how much this area has changed over the last 35 years. The children are so open minded now, and love to try new things. Most of the children have at least one parent who has come from somewhere else. Back when we arrived, most people had never been to Sydney, or indeed anywhere past the neighbouring valley. It was very insular, and running at least twenty years behind everywhere else. But times change, even here. People come and bring new ideas and the internet has opened us up to the world. Thank goodness for that – and may your food be any damn colour that you like!
Justine Musk and her article: you are the power you don’t give away.
Personal boundaries are the place where I AM transforms into I AM NOT.
People can knock on your doors all they want; you are under no obligation to let them in.
Your invitations are sacred.
If you never invite anyone inside your walls, you will die of loneliness. If you invite everyone, you will also die of loneliness – or exhaustion, or disease, or violence.
So there needs to be a velvet rope and a guest list.
The enemy will smash your art and rewrite your manifesto. They will hollow you out into a puppet who might wear cool outfits, but gets no respect.
A soul is not a static thing – it grows if you nurture it, and withers if you don’t. It glows with magic or disappears beneath layers of muck and graffiti and crusted blood. You can save your soul – but you must kick out the enemy. You must mark out a safety zone, so you can tend to the wounded, give your dead a proper burial, and rebirth your sense of self.
The stronger and more powerful your I AM becomes, the lower the walls need to be.
Yes is an invitation to merge. No is a declaration of self.
You are the power you don’t give away.
You’re welcome <3.
Podcasts! I have already shared Elizabeth Gilbert’s awesome Magic Lessons podcasts with you, so if you haven’t started listening, go and download them on your device and begin already! A couple of weeks ago, she did a podcast with Rob Bell, and she reminded me that he has his own podcast series called The Robcast, so I’ve started listening to him as well. Yesterday, while I was cleaning, I listened to him talk to MC Yogi, a really cool musician, yoga teacher and spiritual adventurer. They had a great connection, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable listen. There were some memorable moments, but this one leaped out at me:
The meaning and purpose of yoga is to soften our strong parts and strengthen our soft parts: to strengthen our core and soften our hearts.
Yes, OMG that is why I love yoga so much – and isn’t that the purpose of life?
Half the school was away on an excursion to Sydney this week, including my son. When I say half the school, I mean eight children were away, leaving seven children from kindergarten to year three, including my daughter. The Principal, also the only full time teacher, went away with them, leaving the two part time teachers and me. One teacher, who has been there for years and years and can do this kind of thing in her sleep, was teaching on Monday and Tuesday, and the other teacher who is relatively new to the school taught Wednesday to Friday. I watched the second teacher with great interest, wondering how he would go with the little ones. He teaches them music and technology during the week, but he mostly teaches the older children, as well as teaching highschool students at another school. He is also a renowned music teacher and musician who has been teaching people, my children included, to play instruments and sing for decades. I chatted to him on Friday afternoon and asked him how his week had been. He said, “It was like paradise. I was thinking about why I loved it so much, and I think I know the answer. They are all geniuses!” He paused and shook his head. “I’m so happy I could cry!”
That’s the kind of teacher I want teaching my children <3.
The past few days I have been (re)learning how to research, summarise an argument and compare and contrast two arguments. I am learning how to read something deeply, not just skim it once as is my wont, but to read and reread it until all the goodness has been sucked out of it. I am learning how to pull the essential concepts out and put them in my own words. I am learning about research terms, peer-reviewed articles and the university’s online library system. I don’t know that I would describe it as difficult – this kind of work falls well into my capabilities – but I am rusty and it takes time. I can feel the cogs creaking and groaning in my brain, put it that way 🙂 I have an assignment due tomorrow, and while it is mostly done, I have to edit and reference, which always takes longer than you think it will. Guess what I’m doing today?
So, my dear friends, that is all from me today. I think we may go out today, maybe to Happening Farm where the Bear works – we haven’t been for a while, and we love it out there. 500 acres of beauty and freedom – what’s not to love? We may even stay the night and watch the big moon rise up over Mt Yarrahappini. Who knows? I know one thing though: it’s Sunday <3. I hope you’re finding something that you love today.