Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today I am especially grateful for...

friends...past and present.  Thank you for all of the friends that have touched my life thus far.  For those that I haven't been in touch with for some time - whether or not we shall meet again - thank you for the special role you played at the time.  I send you love and hope you are happy and healthy.  For those of you who are currently a player in my life, thank you for the joy and encouragement and inspiration you share.  I love you!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Simply Natural Life

Since 2003  I've had the domain name 'Simply Natural Life' (dot com).  I actually started a website for it years ago, but when I went to launch the site, the host no longer accepted that software (even though it was their own, and I was using that same software for another site that was already published, they weren't accepting new sites with it.)  I think that was around the time we were getting ready to move to Sedona, Arizona, but then that plan got ditched at the last minute.  Regrouping back in Vegas, and planning our move to Australia then took over everything.  Well, that and taking care of three children as well!

Over the years I've looked at the files that I had for the site and realised that I would probably do it differently now.  Every year when the name came up for renewal, I found I just wasn't ready to let it go, and I had a feeling that there was still something in there for me to do with it.  I thought about starting another blog, but in some ways, it's very similar to my Free Spirit Life.  I've already incorporated parts of a Simply Natural Life on this blog, especially when I wrote during our year on the road and the transition either side of that.  A part of living simply would be to have everything in one place on this blog.  I've even neglected my other project, Peace Ripple, but it is very forgiving.  I think I'll continue to run that alongside this, as a separate entity, whenever I am inspired to add to it.   I am working on a website for some parts of SNL, but I am drawn to blog about more aspects that I have been, so I am going to use this blog to do so.  Then I wondered if I should change the name of this blog to reflect that change?  Free & Natural Life?  Natural Free Life?  Simply Free Life?  Simply Free & Natural Life?  Simply Natural Free Spirit Life (now that's just too long)!  For now, I'm just incorporating the reference to SNL in the blog description up the top.

I think that there are three main concepts that I want to focus on - living simply, freedom, and the underlying Joy that is possible when living an authentic life.  As well as the usual family stuff and my ramblings.  Does using the 'free-spirit' give the impression of flowing dresses and fairy wings?  I am so not into dresses, but sure I'll show my wings from time to time.  Does the 'natural' imply that we forage for our own food, never go into supermarkets and don't use any plastic?  Well, sometimes, often and as little as possible are those answers.  Does using the 'free' imply that I'm referring to things that you don't need to pay money for rather than a state of mind?  Does 'free-spirit' already imply a certain level of simple living?  Does 'simply natural' imply a level of living free?  Maybe I'm really overthinking the whole thing, but I feel the need for a slight shift in focus and the name will reflect that.  Maybe I'm just procratinating when I really should be sorting and packing, but hey, I'm having fun playing with possibilities here!

Preparing to move out of the house is taking a lot of energy - physical as in time and the process of sorting through things, and also mental as I need to look at things and make decisions for 5 people as to the absolute best things to bring with us, and what to do with the rest of it.  However, whenever it starts to feel like a lot, I am able to remind myself that it will all be done soon, and that it will be great!  I can remember what it was like and the lightness and joy that I felt before, and that is  my main motivation.  I can also feel my creativity starting to spark again with other possibilities swirling.  On here, I want to write more about other parts of living simply that work for me in a practical way that anyone can use no matter how they live.

I'm feeling excited to get up in the morning!  oh, so much to do!  I'm trying to take time to just sit and BE with it all too and feel the deliciousness of it all unfolding!  mmmmmm so nice to be coming out of stagnation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Adventures in packing...

My house is a total mess at the exciting!!

When I was on our recent roadtrip, my sister and I were chatting about how different we are. Even though we were raised the same way, we've interpreted life so differently. Her main focus in life in stability and security. Mine are freedom and flexibility.  We love each other very much despite our differences, and we are very good friends.  A few times I thought I could settle down, but life keeps telling me that that idea is just not for me.

Since we returned from our roadtrip, I've been circling around the rooms of the house, wondering where to start packing up in preparation for life on the road again. We've already gotten rid of a bunch of stuff and packed up some things, so it's not going to be a massive process. But it is still a transition and I've had some periods of amazing excitement, and a couple of moments when I was a little unsure if we were doing the right thing. In those latter moments, I'd just remind myself that we don't HAVE to do this. Then I remembered that I knew that, and that I really wanted to do it! 

I eventually decided to start in the kitchen, and pack it up as if we were already on the road.
I remember a lot of our shortcuts and tips from the year we had on the road so it's not like I have to figure it all out. Doing this is making me feel as though the adventure has already begun. Well, everyday is an adventure, but this is great preparation for a really grand adventure!  I'm keeping out only the basics and wondering why the heck did I get more than that anyway? I see it as a challenge as to how little I can live comfortably with. I bought a pressure cooker to replace the rice cooker and the stock pot and another saucepan. I also want to get rid of as many electrical appliances as possible (not that I have a lot to start with), as I want functional kitchen pieces that can be used on any kind of stove or oven (electric, gas, or solar). Do I really need the food processor that only gets used a few times a year? Nope, I'm sure that any jobs needing that can by done by hand or the blender.  The blender gets a lot of use so that is definitely coming.  Out goes the sandwich press, the cast iron skillet will do just fine. I have a cast iron dutch oven as well which could be used in an open fire. I like having different options for cooking so that we are very flexible and adaptable depending on our situation.

My whirlwind of creating different piles in the kitchen has affected other areas of the house...kind of like picking up a rug and shaking it. There are piles of stuff everywhere. I don't enjoy chaos, but I am able to see this as a part of the process, not of waiting until this is done before the next adventure starts, but as a part of the adventure itself. It is liberating to cleanse and release excess stuff! I'm loving finding myself more through the letting go of stuff.

I realise that I need to have an exciting life – full of passion and adventures. I know that I have created that!   I am so glad that I have chosen the free spirit path!  And that I have some pretty awesome people in my life to share it with!

Friday, May 06, 2011


That's my word of the season.  For many years my word was 'Peace'.  I surrounded myself with words, music, pictures and colours that would remind me of that, and until I eventually started to own it.  I've played with other guide words since then, but they didn't affect me the way that Peace, and now Gratitude have.

For quite a while I've been saying that I'm grateful for (something) and I really have been.  I've been deeply touched by periods of immense gratitude for the joys of life.  I've noticed that during those times, I also felt aligned with the deep calm within, and felt in tune with the song of my spirit. 

I feel that owning Peace opened me more to Trusting the unfolding of life, and to accepting the things that are beyond my control.  In being more aware of all that I am grateful for, I can take that deeper to living more consistently with Joy.  Whether that Joy is the quiet fullness of my heart, or the crazy, jumping up-and-down, let-me-at-it pull towards an adventure or a moment, I am living with it more often. 

I had a lot of external 'peaceful' stimulus around me when I was learning to adopt Peace into myself.  On this Gratitude journey, I am finding that I just need to remember to pause and reflect on any of the things I am grateful for.  It's triggered from within.  Then the Joy radiates out.  And I am so grateful for that!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

lessons from the floor...

...the bathroom floor actually.  I was lying there last night, massive migraine...why?  I felt grateful that my year of weekly migraines was far behind me, but it has been such a long time since I had felt so awful.  I knew it would pass, but it wasn't going to be pretty.  I remembered the years of abuse that I had intentionally inflicted on my body that had sometimes put me in the same position.  I am sooo glad I no longer do those things.  What was going on in my life that had brought me there last night? 

My body is used to eating a pretty clean, simple diet.  It chugs along quite comfortably with that, a little exercise and awareness of stress.  I know that I had eaten some things I don't usually eat while on our road trip, vegetarian instead of vegan, and a little more processed foods that the mostly fresh food I eat.  I didn't exercise a whole lot while we were away, but I was really happy that we had taken two hoops with us and I had more free time to play with those.  We would pull them out almost every time we stopped for any reason and hoop around a little - so great for loosening up the stiff lower back from sitting in the car! 

As I was lying on the floor, I was grateful for the efficiency of my body.  I was grateful for the awareness that there may be a lesson or two there for me. 

The other main difference yesterday was that I had had a cup of coffee.  I have had less than 10 cups of coffee in my whole life.  Now I remember why.  I love the smell, but it does not like me!  I think it was the final push after eating the other things. 

So, apart from not drinking coffee again, what else was going on?  I felt like there was more.  I felt a renewed promise to take care of myself, - my body and how I nourish it through nutrition and move it joyfully, - my mind and where I put my attention and awareness, - my spirit and living my truth.   I was aware that I had been complaining about someone who had been very judgemental, but in my complaining, I had been judging them!  (who's the hypocrite now?!)  I was aware that I have gotten away from some of my core values, just a subtle little side-step, but I made a promise to myself to fully embrace those things again.

Although my experience on the floor was uncomfortable, and messy, it was effective in giving me a little shake to get me back on track.  This morning I feel a little weak in my body, but stronger in my spirit.  I feel excited and grateful for the awareness that allows me to grow, even when I'm down and out. 

Monday, May 02, 2011

Road Trip!

The kids and I enjoyed our little road trip.  Over 1600km in one week, visiting family and friends, celebrating birthdays and Easter, seeing beautiful autumn colours, camping, sapphire fossicking, visiting the grave site and rocky hideout of one of Australia's most famous bushrangers, enjoying beautiful sunshine and rain, driving through green country fields and thick, lush, misty rainforest.

This pic shows all the kids, including Gypsy, checking out some of the sapphire wash.  They found a few little bits of sapphire which was pretty exciting for them.  We got chatting to some other people there...turns out they live in the same little suburb as us!  Small world!

Autumn glory!

AJ standing in front of 'Thunderbolt's rock'. ..he's a little hard to see, but he is standing next to a bunch of graffiti.  He and I climbed around it.  The last time we drove down the New England Hwy, we stopped off at Thunderbolt's cave (another hideout).  I just love stories of the bushrangers.  Thunderbolt was pretty well liked and a gentleman towards the ladies, but he was a bit of a bad boy and was shot dead at age 36.   AJ and I got into some of the crevices and imagined what it would be like for Thunderbolt there.  We saw a perfect place that his horse probably hid in and took in the 360 degree view which would have given the bushranger a good vantage point of the entire area.

Gypsy made a new friend in my sister's cat.  The kids and I slept in the tent in the backyard so that Gypsy could sleep with us.  The nights were cool, but not as cold as the first place we had camped on our trip.  Even though, Gypsy thought the best place to sleep was right at the bottom of AJ's sleeping bag...yes, IN the bag.  AJ loved that!

The Golden Guitar in the country music capital, Tamworth.

We stopped off at the little park across the road from the house we lived in when we first moved back to Oz.  AJ was thrilled to catch up with some friends!

Beautiful rainbow lorikeets.

We were mostly unplugged on our trip which was refreshing.  I just loved traveling and would have taken longer to get home if it hadn't been raining so much along the coast.  The kids and I listened to audio books along the way, and just chatted a lot about all kinds of things.  I love those close times in the car!  Gypsy was very relaxed in the car and an excellent traveller.  She was very mellow whenever we stopped anywhere and seemed very content to go along with whatever we were doing.

It was so special for us to spend time with family, I hope it won't be so long before we see them all again! 
When we returned,  I felt no attachment to the house and the stuff in it, and I can't wait to be traveling again!