Feel Good List

– Cold showers in the middle of a lethargic day

– Cold showers after a sweat at the end of a hot day 

– Lychees and Mangos and cold fruits in general 

– Cooking a meal 

– Watery porridge with coconut milk 

– Reading books that resonate 

– Diffusing the room with Rose and/or Ylang Ylang 

– Burning Palo Santo 

– Moving through Vinyasa Flows 

– Meditating 

– Working up a sweat somewhere 

– Writing about things that feel good 

– Driving long distances with the radio on 

– Taking a workshop 

– Learning from someone that inspires you 

– Listening to your body

– Making lists that feel good 

– Intuition 

– Following the impulses 

– Clearing the space 

– Buying re-usable beeswax foodwraps 

– Listening to electronic ambient music on repeat 

– Listening to mantra music when the mood strikes 

– Taking a nap when the body just wants to crash 

– Going to bed on time to be up early 

– Watching the sun dip up from the horizon 

– Yellow light on the wall at dawn 

– Yellow morning bathed rooms

– Morning air 

– Setting up new intentions for the day 

– Anything that tickles with excitement 

– Saying yes to life

– Dancing with someone and sharing a moments connection 

– Deciding that forgiveness feels better than resentment 

– Deciding that this is gonna be a new moment 

– Deciding that integrity matters the most 

– Setting into motion new habits of thought 

– Pressing play on life 

– Paying forward appreciation 

– Enjoying a buskers music 

– Remembering the moments that felt beautiful 

– Letting go of the rest 

Summer, January 2020

~*~

A part of something is only something that began within

I don’t want to be a part of anything that makes right something by making wrong another. 

I want to be a part of something that embraces growth, movement, holistic approaches to life. I want to be a part of something that takes a moment to question, a deep breath, a moment to ask… will saying this help anything? I want to be a part of something that takes that breath… holds that space… and remains deeply rooted in compassion and strength. 

I want to be a part of something that embraces the shadow as well as the light. 

I want to be a part of something that orients towards growth… that takes a breath and moves inwards towards personal growth… that expands and breathes out excitement, flow and clarity. 

~*~

What an Autistic boy taught me about being a rebel

I was teaching his older brother… who… had actually told me he was struggling at school. He was so candid about his mental health… I was taken aback. Then it felt natural, to briefly share some of what I had struggled with at his age and what I understood about our lives that might resonate or land for him, and hopefully, well… that says it.

One day, his young brother came up to me, seemingly transfixed by something. It turned out to be my earrings. Call it the rebel in me masquerading as style. A persistent and growing reluctance to buying fast fashion. Mostly because I love the idea of enduring, the sense of enduring, the feeling of enduring. And if I’ve come to the end with a piece, I want to know it’s not because it’s broken… or that the season has moved on and so should I, but because I’m ready to explore a new palette. I want to know that it’s not something I can easily discard. Love has transpired in the creation of it and love has transpired in the wearing of it. This sense of interconnection matters to me. 

So I was wearing a pair of earrings made out of wood. 

This little boy reached up for them and exclaimed, “diamonds!”. I was stunned because my wood earrings were in the shape of a diamond, a “geometric figure of four equal straight lines forming two acute and two obtuse angles,” but I hadn’t actually registered that. To me diamonds are expensive and shiny rocks with a sense of exclusivity about them. His frame of the world… constrasted so starkly with mine – the reality I shared with most people about what diamonds are, and there he was, seeing the world like a rebel. 

Now that I’m older, my avoidance has intensified into a reluctance to buying anything plastic meant for the fast lane and an interest in supporting businesses and artisans that make ethical practices and sustainability a focus. It gladdens me, that there are others who take this stance far more seriously than I. They keep me honest. And this desire, reminds me… wealth matters. Wealth matters because I want to be conscious about the choices I make in the world I live in, and to have the power to make them, I have to love the notion of wealth.

~*~

Sand

If nothing was unforgivable

‘All suffering is created from an illusion’,

someone said,

and before i could wonder if it were true,

i woke and it was dawn 

peeking through the blinds of my room,

haphazardly i wrote it down.

~*~

This is a Buddhist expression. The way I understand it… is that our minds are ferocious creatures. Abraham Hicks says that all subjects are really two subjects. And I feel that Taoism teaches the meaning of duality without actually teaching it. It’s not a philosophy in itself but a path of integration. Ironically, the moment we begin to philosophise on what it is, we’ve lost it. Nothing is more about a way of being in harmony. Alan Watts writes eloquently about duality – how the religions that have shaped western history, are dualistic. It was my first understanding of duality beyond the knowing of something by what it isn’t. But this pithy phrase catches it too. Sometimes, its fun, to go deep… but sometimes we can get tangled in the haywires as well.

Sand

What are you proud of, Ikigai and 2020. <3

There exists in me a desperate yearning sometimes that I wonder if it exists for others. It is not that this thought soothes me… but that I find the threads of grace in the knowing that… I’m not alone in this. There’s a kind of grace in the shared stories and histories that can exist and intertwine between our worlds. There’s a kind of grace, in seeing you as you are. 

She said… what are you proud of? 

And the word pride seemed too yellow, too much, too uncomfortable… to frame my words through this lens. I did try… and when it came to the page in front of me and I, I discovered this was my relationship to pride. 

Nothing ever dies. Although, I speak of death candidly. In this context, I think, death simply re-animates, meaning. Takes something apart, disintegrates it… and soon enough, it will be something else. It will coagulate again… be part of something else, be different in its new expression… be more. Renewed.

Nothing ever ceases to exist… nothing… what does this word mean? No thing? It seems ironic, that here I am really referring to everything. 

Repressed pride in my shadow still exerted its influence over my life. The obvious… felt like a moment of realisation, long in coming… and with it, memories of childhood, now infused with sadness and acceptance. 

The way you see someone may not be the way they see themselves. Is it the years that are bringing on this sense of expansion? Or that I’ve arrived at a point where the pain of not expanding this exceeds the growth pains? 

I’m not averse to the pragmatism of life… or the practicalities of reality… when in rhythm, I enjoy them greatly… like the making of a meal and the maintenance of a sense of structure… for the purpose of joy and clarity. I love structure when it serves me, when it works for me. It has been a joy to re-learn what structure means to me.  

Some ideas haven’t blossomed and come to full fruition yet. Give it time. And in the meantime… find joy and daydream away. Because when the ideas do ripen… the action and the manifestation of them flows effortlessly. 

I am feeling this decade come to a close. It was an intense decade for me and I wonder if I will experience this level of intensity again in my life, or if, it will always be the darkest decade of my life… with its lessons and beautiful moments but also its pain and darkness. I’d rather like to hope so.

I don’t feel like I have given up anything that matters… but I have given up a great deal of what does not. I really don’t know what the future holds and I don’t really… care to know… yet… like growing fruit… it hasn’t ripened yet… but I can feel the seeds have been planted, and what do you do… but tend lovingly to the watering and growth of what you have planted? ❤  

2019, I am proud of:

– Quiting my role/job/work at the end of 2018

– Putting uni on hold at the end of 2018

– Spending 4 months in Spain 

– Spending 6 weeks alone in Peru 

– Getting a tattoo over my scars (nearly a decade long decision I finally commited to)

– Showing up on the yoga mat every day 

– Commiting to meditation 

– Dancing my traumas free 

– Having the courage to show up to be seen

– Letting go of shame 

– Letting myself cry – often

– Letting myself feel the pain fully 

– Finishing uni / final portfolio 

– A new role/job and work bringing and encouraging growth and expansion 

2020 themes/desires:

– Confidence, Integrity, Alignment, Empowerment 

– Acknowledging needs and boundaries 

– Exploration of the esoteric 

– Deepening yoga practice 

– Continued commitment to meditation 

– Courage, showing up, embodied dance

– To love my work and all that I do

– Flow and creativity 

– Deepening roots, classical music, L.mus.A 

– Seeking new ways of working with music and its connection to the emotional body 

– Abundance 

– Travel fund  

Books I read in 2019 for which I am grateful to, in shaping my thoughts, inspiring me and inviting growth:

The Road Less Travelled – M. Scott Peck

Awakening the Heroes Within – Carol S. Pearson 

Blue Truth – David Deida 

The Magic of Thinking Big – David J Schwartz

The 4 hour work week – Tim Ferris 

The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason 

The Law of Attraction – Ester, Jerry and Abraham Hicks

The Instruction – Ainslie Macleod

The Holy Wild – Danielle Dulsky

2020 Goal: Ikigai 

To wake up fulfilled and to enjoy a sense of warmth for the day ahead. To fill the day with beautiful moments and reasons for being. 

What are you proud of? What is your ikigai?

🙏🏼💛

We Remain

I remember back in 2016, I was listening to this song sometime after dinner. The house was deserted. It was the year that I found myself cracked open and this song buoyed me. 

All the ways that you think you know me,

All the limits that you figured out,

limits that you figured out,

mmm,

had to learn to keep it all below me,

just to keep from being thrown around,

just to keep from being thrown around,

yeah,

every single time the wind blows,

every single time the wind blows,

i see it in your face,

mmm,

in the cold night

there will be no fair fight,

there will be no good night,

to turn and walk away,

so burn me with fire,

drown me with rain,

i’m going weightless

screaming your name,

yes i’m a sinner

yes i’m a saint

whatever happens here,

whatever happens here,

we remain.

I was drawn to shadow work, not out of mere curiosity but because I had this sinking feeling that if I didn’t confront my demons, I would live out the same stories again and play the same scripts in my life with others.

Winston Churchill once famously said, “if you’re going through hell, keep going.” It was my refrain.

My naivety died that year, opening me to what I saw as weakness for landing myself in that relationship to begin with. Were I to speak to that younger self now, I would say, no sweetheart, you are not weak, you are human, experiencing a bottoming out of life for the first time. Grow.

I found expressions for rage, for anger, vulnerability, for love and tenderness, sensuality, for courage and strength, to fight and to surrender. Movement and dance became an invitation to drop in… judgement ceased to exist when one flows. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains this concept as a state of consciousness we experience when engaged in creative work where our skill set is equal to the challenge… or simply, whatever it is that lights us up.

In the healing, I realised I was the one that had no boundaries. That bottoming out could be seen as an invitation to develop strength and courage… that we don’t have to be psychic to deepen into our intuition. To experience our emotions more fully, to experience my dysfunction more entirely, to experience the barren landscape of despair, so that I learned, the extent to which we experience despair is also the extent to which we can feel joy.

In the healing, I realised that whatever was dysfunct in my life and yours, did not begin in our dance but was rooted further back in our lives. Does anyone come through childhood unscathed? How crazy, to settle for believing that’s just the way the world is. Would we still be here if women said that to themselves 200 years ago? 

I realised how sad… how sad… how sad I was. How sad I was becoming, that there was a reality looming on the horizon that made me uncontrollably sad… that this life could disappear beneath the waves and I would have failed in all that I came to do. In that moment, crouched by the side of the road with the darkness and the streetlights around me, that possibility scared me more than the unknown… the kind of death with no rebirth.

As Clarissa Pinkola Estes put its, you fight to save your instinctual life. Her essays in Women Who Run with the Wolves, brought the archetype of the Wild Woman back into our consciousness… a reminder that domestication kills the wild spirit in us. It kills the part of us that is regenerative, full of creative life and power. In the culture of patriarchy, we lost this. In the political interest of patriarchy’s dominant religion, we lost our wisdom keepers. And in that loss, it is not merely women who can feel this emptiness but men too. 

Choices that feel like life or death – the slow kind, where one goes through the motions of life and work… drowning the truth of what has happened or is happening, is a death choice, no matter the reasoning. When I see you, I see your story and how it could’ve also been mine… perhaps with different characters and changes in the plotline… but you did not arrive at this point in your life without making all the choices you did… and I forgive myself. When made, life choices draw beautiful energy to them, doors open and you go through them and what you need arrives like a gift.

Fear is not a dragon to be slayed but a curious ally sometimes.

Halfway around the world… all things from childhood began surfacing. Understanding began to dawn in places that held shame and blame. Events that once held a shape larger than they merited… began to shrink in perspective. I learned that I could draw boundaries, that I could offer forgiveness and kindness and still express where my boundaries are. That I am enough, that I am worthy and my needs are real and they matter. I could offer that nothing we do… is unforgivable… and still choose not to re-experience the past. 

What does it mean… that a woman can judge another for being too free in her expression? Too playful, too flirtatious? What does it mean… when the offhand remarks she makes, places blame on her own sex? Is she aware of her own patriarchal conditioning… or has it faded into the background of life? How far would she have to go, to uncover her own pain?

How much it would hurt, to have everything heaved open, to upheave the life that has been built over decades… how much hurt is repressed?

How many years of patriarchal conditioning have we experienced in our histories? How did patriarchy take root? Sometimes there are no answers that suffice.

Out here, climbing mountains, stone walls, trudging across abandoned farms because I’d forgotten which path I’d taken… I learned to trust myself. Witnessing the chaos of life, I love it. I love the blue skies, the surrounding mountains, the traditional garb, the stray dogs… the bareness… of what is real. Of this life. Of my own privilege… I’ve learned, what that truly means.

I choose to experience my creativity fully. And that ones sexuality, is never, an invitation. That erotic energy is also creative energy and that the dance of life comes out of this spiral. 

Here, I learned to love. A different kind of love. A forgiving kind of love. A love that says… bloom… bloom… bloom.

Out here, away from everything else that is there, I understand the only person we can begin to heal is ourselves and that is enough. That we came together to witness each other, and that perhaps, we can carry the truth of each others innocence, deep within.

When you express the love you feel, when you express a desire to see me more fully, when you invite others to expand, when you see beauty… without needing to possess it… when you bear witness and offer strength and solidarity, you bring the healing. 

I am deeply grateful for your presence… for your guidance… for your truth… and for your faith in me. I am moved by the love you extend to me, the compassion you extend for me… not out of sympathy or pity but out of a deep inner knowing. In the way you witnessed me, you empowered me. 

I learned, to ask… what is here? What am I learning? And in my frustration, near to tears, the answer that came was merely, patience.

I know that stories will evolve and shift and wear new costumes as times change, but ultimately these stories belong to the collective and where there is resonance, there is universality. I have compassion for where we are in the process of becoming. I have compassion for the parts of me that have been afraid. For the parts of me that I disowned. For the parts of me now yearning for expression. To have boundaries and to honour them. To taste the mysteries of life. Eve’s story needs a re-write. To live is to experience life’s joys and life’s sorrows. Knowledge is not a sin and women are not responsible for men’s repressed lust. Before the snake was re-appropriated to represent ‘evil’ it was a symbol of regeneration.

To hear the judgements… and say… I know… and I am sorry. I know… and I forgive you. I know… and I am choosing a new story. I know… and I honour my truth, my boundaries and the life I am creating. That really, endings are merely beginnings… all beginnings come out of endings… so death, can be a doorway to life… to all that renews itself. To the rebirth, come Spring… and to the re-awakening of what is true for you.

July, 2019

Sand

On lessons and Stoic philosophy

Here’s a quote from Arno Rafael Minkkiren, a photographer who wrote an essay called The Helsinki Bus Station Theory:

“… be the caretaker of your vision. Make it famous. And above all, remember, that art is risk made visible.”

Arno Rafael Minkkiren

Not a single moment of the journeys we take will ever be wasted.

Some of what I’ve learned and un-learned along the way:

  • Other people will always give you advice based on who they are, their life experiences and what worked for them.
  • Research. No experience is off limits in the name of research.
  • If you feel shit, after listening to someone give you advice, then you’re in even deeper shit if you internalise it.
  • Take your own advice. It’s best… because you’re accountable for your own life and you’re the one steering the ship.
  • When a truth is universal… it will resonate, regardless of what age and era we live in. Here’s a quote from Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, emperor of Rome in 161 AD,

“What humans experience is part of the human experience … Nothing that can happen is unusual or unnatural, and there’s no sense in complaining. Nature does not make us endure the unendurable.”

Marcus Aurelius
  • Because you’ve already endured it. You’re enduring it.
  • Re-read Victor Frankyl’s auto-biography of Auschwitz and watch Frida Kahlo for inspiration on the human spirit’s capacity to endure.

To feel affection for people even when they make mistakes is uniquely human. You can do it, if you simply recognise: that they’re human too, that they act out of ignorance, against their will, and that you’ll both be dead before long. And, above all, that they haven’t really hurt you. They haven’t diminished your ability to choose.

Marcus Aurelius
  • There’s always another way to see things. Perspective, paradox and paradigms are some ways to approach thinking.
  • Negative thoughts are the most unproductive thoughts to exist. Choose another thought.
  • Emotional alchemy is the process of transmuting your shadowy feelings into inspiration, strength, power. The key is always acceptance and presence.
  • Everything has a cycle, a rise and a fall.

Marcus Aurelius’ asceticism sometimes comes through too strong for me, then again, I am not a Stoic, but this is one of my favourite lines from Meditations,

That way you’ll see human life for what it is. Smoke. Nothing. Especially when you recall that once things alter they cease to exist through all the endless years to come.

Marcus Aurelius

I love the poetic way those words are put together… and that it’s also a reminder of death and that death is not so taboo. Rome as he knows it, is gone… but his wisdom can be quite beautiful to read.

… Earth’s offspring back to Earth but all that’s born of Heaven, to heaven returns again.

Marcus Aurelius

Sand