Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December...

 
Happy Birthday Sam!

 
 
Sam has wanted to be a redhead for quite a while.  I don't know if it's an influence from her favourite childhood movie, Disney's "The Little Mermaid", or not.  We watched that SO many times...she loved it!


 
 
Little elves...



Christmas morning...


Christmas Eve at the shopping center with a couple of angels...

Friday, December 21, 2012

For Andrew...

You were born 6 weeks before me and were the boy next door.  We crawled together, sucked on the same toys, discovered how to walk together, played together whenever we could, learned to swim together, had our first year at school sitting next to each other.  Our families all crammed into your mum's station wagon many times to go to the beach or on a picnic or to a park and that funny time when we all went to see the Pope and we were supposed to be quiet and listen to the mass but we just ran around all silly at the big oval.  We often got in trouble together, we giggled and thought we were oh so clever.

I remember....and I thank you for those first 6 years of memories before our family moved away.  Although we still saw each other, it grew less frequent with the years.  Our mothers remained close friends and I stayed in touch with you via them.  We lived on opposite sides of the planet and then opposite sides of this country.  Those childhood bonds were faint, but unbroken.  You were my first best friend.

So now you are free...no more pain.  Thank you for the special role you had in my life.  I'll never forget you.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

pics...

 
Saw this sign at a coffee shop...love it! 
 
 
 
We sometimes hang out with friends at 'Rainbow Beach'...such a beautiful spot and yes, the sand really is that white.



AJ & Sam...gosh she's looking so grown up! 

 
Nicholas' new eyeballs

 
 
Halloween...making vegan 'eyeball' cupcakes to take to a party..
 

 
AJ thought this sign suited him perfectly!
 
 
                                                                   And ...yeah....


...ha ha ha...  let's not be too serious!

Feeling Love in the face of Fear...

At 8:30 in the morning a couple of weeks ago, I parked my car outside of a jewelry store that was not yet open for trading as I needed to pop in to a place of business just across from there. I know that there was a sign stating that the car parking spots there were for those particular businesses, but I did not think that parking there for two minutes or less before trading would bother anyone. I was a little pressed for time as I had to take my daughter to an appointment so I was trying to be efficient and park close rather than at the back of the building and having to walk around.

The owner of the jewelry store pulled in and parked right behind my car as I was getting out of my car. I will note that there were two other spaces assigned to his particular store. He asked me to see that those parking spaces were ONLY for the shops along that little strip and that, if I was going to the business just across the lane from them, then I would have to go and park around the back. I said "but your shop isn't open yet and I'm going to be no more than two minutes". He didn't care and insisted I move my car. I could have kept going, and maybe even said that, with that attitude, he could be sure that I wouldn't be back there to consider being a customer.

I didn't though. I looked at him and just saw a man that was full of fear.

For one deep moment, I sensed it strongly in him...all of the reasons that he came to have that attitude, so protective of three little car parking spaces, his business, that things would be taken from him. So fear driven.

Before I turned to get back in my car to move it, I smiled at him and said "okay...you have a nice day"...and I meant it. I sent him love, and then I moved my car around the back of the complex. I just knew that the day was unfolding as it should so I said a quiet "thank you" to the Spirit guiding me. I wasn't concerned about being late for my daughter's appointment, I felt that it would all be okay.

I walked back around to drop off the thing that I needed to, which took only a minute, walked back around to my car, and then got green lights all the way to the appointment and actually arrived there early!

Thank you Spirit for guiding me today, for showing me a different way to deal with potential conflict, to not be attached to the physical nature of it, but to see beyond it to the fear driving those actions

Don't judge us...

(...another post that I wrote about 8 months ago, but didn't quite finish...)

We went to an op shop and when we walked in, the lady behind the counter said "isn't there any school today?".  AJ said "we homeschool".  "Oh" is all that the lady said.

We looked around and gathered up some general bits and pieces.  It was an older shop, with manual bookkeeping and the lady serving us wrote the amounts on a piece of paper.  She turned the piece of paper around to AJ and said to him "here!  You do this!".  AJ had been standing next to me, but paying absolutely no attention to what had been going on as he was looking at something else.  He said gently "what?".  The lady demanded "you do this!".  AJ again "what?".  I said to him "she wants you to do this sum for her".  The lady quickly said "well!  He said he homeschooled...I thought I'd have some fun with him!".  I said "he doesn't have to do that".  She said "I guess he's not up to that then." (Inferring that he didn't know how to do the sum.)  If I hadn't already paid, I would have walked out right then.  I was a little in shock to be treated like that.  And who thinks that forcing children to do math is FUN???!!!  Of course AJ could have done that if he had wanted to.  Who was SHE to test my child?!

Summer took something over to our neighbour at home.  When she didn't return soon after, I went looking for her.  I saw Summer and our neighbour outside talking to some other people.  I went over, chatted briefly and then left with Summer.  She told me that our neighbour had been asking Summer about school..."how's your schooling going?"..."how's your long division?"  WHAT???!!!  Excuse me...I was tempted to go back and ask her how HER long division is?!! 

What is it about homeschooling that makes some people suddenly become the judge and jury for our children?  Why do they think they have the right to test our children?  Why is the ability to do math a benchmark for the kind of people my children are?  Ask them what are they excited about?  Ask them are they happy?  Better off, don't ask them....just observe them...see how they can talk to anyone without peer restrictions....see how they stop in the middle of a crowded shopping center to rescue a dragonfly that has somehow been trapped inside...see how they jump in and help with a wide range of household tasks....see how they can work together and help each other...see how they know how to ask for things that they want and help in finding creative solutions to achieving those things...see the joy in them when they "get" a new concept because it actually makes sense to them, not because they were forced to learn it.

....I was a bit fired up when I wrote that!  Several months later,  I think I'm a little more forgiving towards others now who get a bit nosy.   Perhaps it's their ignorance, or maybe they are just interested in how homeschooling actually works and assume it's just like school, but at home (it is like that for some families, but not us),  and they are curious about how that works because maybe they would have loved that for themselves.  I still will not tolerate my children being disrespected, but I am curious about why people behave the way that they do.  We don't face these kinds of situations very often, but we're getting better about turning it around when we do.  If a shop assistant asks one of my children to do a sum again, we'll say...very gently...."do you need help with it?".  Or instead of answering a question outright, like the long-division situation, we'll just turn it right around and say something like (gently) "why do you want to know?....Do you need help with your long division?", or just say something random like "oh that is so much fun to do!".  I want my kids to be respectful and to maintain their joy.  I am amazed by how naturally they do both when treated with respect and allowed the freedom to express their joy! 

Before Speaking...

I have often found smalltalk...well, a little challenging. There are some people that it just seems easy with, the conversation just seems to flow. We connect and can talk about any subject either lightly or in depth.  Some others though, I find myself scratching for something to talk about, sometimes finding myself saying things that just seem 'not right' for me. Afterwards I might think "why on earth did I say that?". I assume that the other person might think that I am not interested or even maybe not interesting if I don't have a lot to say. It's getting to the point where I am preferring to avoid some social settings so I don't have to be involved in conversations that seem the same repetition of meaningless drivel. (too harsh?)

I am very comfortable with myself and with my silence...when I'm by myself. I'm learning to be comfortable maintaining that in a social situation. I love this quote by Sai Baba:

"Before Speaking, Ask Yourself:

Is It Kind?

Is It Necessary?

Is It True?

Does It Improve On The Silence?"

I choose to live this! 

However the question does arise...just what DO you speak about in random social situations?  Do you really have to say anything if you don't feel inspired?  Other people may feel uncomfortable and say unkind things behind my back.  Who knows...maybe they already do?!  What others think of me in none of my business!  I can only be in control of ME....my state of mind....my inner peace....my balance...  and when I can do that, I believe that I will radiate the Love and Peace and Joy that I am feeling.

I found this other great article on 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Speak if you are interested in another opinion.  Worth a look!

.... I actually wrote that post earlier this year.  I've grown quite a bit since then and I no longer judge myself for what I do or don't say.  Wow!  I had forgotten that I used to do that!  It was great to read this post and see how far I've come!

Swell times....

I just found the draft of this post sitting in my post list.  I started it ages ago and was going to put a bunch of photos on it but I was having trouble with Picasa so I put it aside and, well, I didn't get back to it and I'm still not happy with Picasa so I'll just post it as it is.  I am toying with the idea of posting on here more regularly again so there may be more pics more often. 
 
 
Nicholas at roller skating
 
 
The next photos are a few that I took at the recent local SWELL sculpture exhibition which is held annually along a beach near us.  The WOW sculpture was very popular with photographers...


 
The kids liked the whale fin sculpture...



 
But their favourites were the series of five little people that were made by our friend, Leonie Rhodes..
.

 
 

Friday, October 19, 2012

lessons...

As we walked to the beach a little after 8am, we saw several children walking the other way, to the school down the road.  We were going to an entirely different classroom.

Golden sand, clear, gentle waves, water that was just a tad crisp as you first entered, but quickly got used to, and some major bonuses....a family of whales, close in, playing....lots of fin slapping and breaching...beautiful!  Then we noticed a dolphin swimming even closer, going in the other direction to the whales.  Knowing that they are rarely alone, we soon saw the larger pod following behind.   AJ and I climbed up the rocks of the breakwall so we could get a better view of the dolphins and to the whales....such a gift!  AJ declared it "the best day EVER!" 

Yoga on the beach, making massive sand castles, more swimming....our morning 'lessons' were heartfelt, expansive and memorable.  Such is our life...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bliss...

ahhhhh...yesss.....this is my absolute favourite time of the year....well, now and the next six months or so.   mmm...the sun...the surf...the warmth...so very sensual!

Yesterday we had our first good swim in the surf for the season!  The weather is warm and dry though the humidity is starting to build. I hope the wet season gets a late start this year.  Oh my golly...the beaches here are so freaking beautiful!!  So clean, so clear, the water changing from turquoise to a darker blue where it gets deeper, the pale gold sand oh so soft.   And never crowded.   I know I've raved about the beaches here before, but they still delight me....and I appreciate being here more than words can say.

After our play at the beach yesterday, we walked across the road back to our home....got dressed...had a simple dinner....and then sat out the front of our place.  The boys playing with friends around us, Sam chatting with us about some of the facebook posts that were coming through on her news feed, Cary enjoying a cigar, and me sipping a cointreau & ice.  We watched the blue sky get slowly darker, and the stars appear.  We lit a couple of candles and stayed out there, chatting to each other, and to neighbours as they passed by, totally enjoying our family just being together, the warm night, the perfection of the moment.  The kind of moment you want to bottle, but you know you can't so you just savour every single part of it.

It's school holidays at the moment so the park we live in has loads of extra kids.  Our boys are out and playing as soon as they get up, and they keep going until dark, often bringing new friends back here for a while, or grabbing a quick bite before heading out again. 

When I lived in Australia before I moved to the USA, I always thought I'd end up living in this state when I decided to settle down, but I thought I'd be further north.  I never even considered this area as it has a reputation for being touristy, glitzy and too busy.  I had not spent time on the southern end of this stretch which is where we have lived mostly for the last 4.5 years.  It's nothing like the glitzy, busy area just 30 minutes north of us, but is like a laid-back beach town.    It is such a fantastic place to be....not just for the beautiful beaches, or the lush hinterland close by, or the sub-tropical weather, or all of the great facilities - libraries, shops, theme parks, wildlife sanctuary, ...I could go on and on...  but also, every school holidays, the city council provides tons of free or low-cost activities for kids of all ages.  Actually, they have activities for people of all ages throughout the year (including free yoga and tai chi classes at local parks).  But they really step it up during school holidays.  Sam goes to a place that is dedicated to youth (ages 12-25).  They have free activities all day every Monday to Friday and provide free lunch as well.  Activities like painting classes, tie-dying, dragon boating, football, cooking, jewelry making, candle making, swimming, etc.   Luckily, that place is only a few km's from our place, so she can easily go there every day. 

There are lots of activities for the boys to choose from at different locations around the coast.  This morning they went to a free stand-up paddleboarding and sand games play activity for a couple of hours.  Had a blast!    Afterwards, I went to the grocery store by myself for a few things.  The checkout operator rolled her eyes and said "school holidays - so many kids around!".  I said with a huge grin "I know...isn't it fantastic!!".  She thought I was nuts, but I just thought about how much I love my kids, and I love being with them, and I love that we live in a way that they have lots of other kids to play with.  I used to think about moving further away, on a little farm, but I think I like being around other people too much to do that....ok, and the beach too!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

something else

We are all about ready for a change.  We do appreciate what we have here and now, we're just ready for something...else.

We're not sure quite what at the moment and we are discussing several possibilities.  Change depends on a couple of things that we cannot control, before we can do the something else.

Maybe we just need to shake everything out and see where the dust settles.  Maybe we just need a shift in attitude.

In the meantime, we are keeping busy.  The kids and I started going roller skating every week with some friends.  Gotta say...I was a little nervous after not having skated for 30 years, but it all came back to me and I'm loving it!  We meet with our Natural Learners homeschool group once a week which is always a great day.   Which sounds kind of ho-hum, but it really is such a great day....the kind where we all come home feeling nourished and nurtured and part of a community that values respect for all ages.  The kind of community that feels like all the very best bits of family.  The kind of family where you can chat all day and still have lots left to talk about.   

I know that I am lucky to have this wonderful, supportive group on this journey.  I know that others don't have that, and that places like facebook are really great for a lot of people (I'm really not against fb).  Even my own daughter loves fb for staying in touch with her friends, and it's been great for her.  I like being able to keep in touch with a wide variety of friends and family in one place.  My niece is in Spain for a year and it great to see photos of her travels and hear snippets of her adventures as they unfold.  So many other little snippets from my 'friends'.  Warm, wonderful insights....funny little jokes....mini milestones to celebrate....big and little things that don't go the way we thought they would.  Sure, there are some lonely people out there that use facebook to post many little moments of their day, others use it to build a following to then promote a business.  But overall, I see the place it has filled for many people.  I am just grateful that I have such a wonderful bunch of people around me that I connect with, mostly in 'real' life, but also on those odd moments when I turn on the computer.

The kids have been watching docos on different aspects of the USA - early history, and current docos on different states.  They love to stay in touch with that part of them.

Sama and I have been going to the Curves gym for a few months.  Haven't lost a pound or any inches, but we are feeling fitter and a bit stronger so that's something.  Sam is finding strength in other areas of her life... we recently got the annual passes to three of the big theme parks around here (too good a deal to pass up).  We had seen a new roller coaster at Movie World when we had passed it on the highway.  'The Green Lantern' looked pretty scary and we weren't sure we wanted to try it.  Deciding to face our fears one day, Sam and AJ went on it then I went on it with Sam, then she went on it three more times!  Then, she and I went on the 'Superman' ride which we never wanted to face before, but we did it, laughing most of the way when we could get our breath cause that thing is SuperFast!!  oh my!  I think I like The Green Lantern better actually and look forward to more rides on that.  There's just one more of the big roller coasters that we need to conquer, but we wanted to save that one for another day.

We did a big spring clean here today, took all of about 2 hours for a thorough job!  I still love living simply!

Feeling blessed....totally loving the warm spring weather we've been having, and quiet moments lying in the sun, and fun moments playing along the beach, and so very much more!  The warm, sunny weather energises me so much on so many levels!  So much gratitude right now....

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ah yeah...random stuff...

I can totally understand how facebook and twitter took over from bloggers.  Often, when I used to blog kind of regularly, I would get snippets of insights that I thought I could build on for a post.  Often, as was proven by my lack of blogging, I did not keep up with those insights, and those little snippets drifted off into some mysterious never never.

And I'm okay with that.

I don't deny the facebookers and twitterers their joy, but I just can't get into posting every single insight or morning menu or exercise milestone, into cyberworld.  It's just not me.  I 'get' why others do it, and I'm not judging them.  I understand that posting on those forums is a form of community, or marketing, but I do question when one appears to post for the former, when in fact it's the latter.

I could post that my daughter just had a cute haircut, or that I'm sooo loving the warm, dry spring weather, and appreciating that before the summer wet weather comes, or that Cary's back is still giving him pain but he's in pretty good spirits despite that, or that AJ just had a huge growth spurt and we had to buy him some new clothes, or that Nicholas responded beyond anyone's maturity when a friend insulted him.  Do you really care that I just had my first dental filling in 33 years or that I'm sipping on a cocktail as I watch the sunset??  There are so many little moments that could be recorded on facebook, but honestly, I'm too busy living in those moments to write about them then and there.

And so it is with this blog.  I just do not have the urge or the inclination to write like I used to.   I'm okay with that, too.  It will continue to be updated randomly...about whatever, whenever.

I went to a very nice shopping center the other day.  It's huge and it has all of the big department stores and it has many smaller stores as well.  (I know that Australian's usually say "shops" instead of "stores", but, after living in the USA for 13 years, I prefer some of their sayings, including "stores"...and  while - not whilst - we are on the subject, I will not ever have "tea", but I will always have "dinner...unless I'm at someone else's home who prefers "tea" to "dinner").   Just as a sidebar....It's 12:06am....the boys in the family are all asleep...my daughter is on a conference call with some of her girlfriends...I had a coffee today so I'm still up and powering on!  Yeah, I'm sensitive to caffeine...should I post that on facebook?  

Anyway, back to the shopping center....I looked around at the clientele...so many of the women had the 'nice' hair and clothes and bling.  As I walked towards my old car in the carpark, a stunning young woman drove off in her brand new BMW SUV....I wished for her that she was happy....the long-term kind of happy...not the "oh I just love my new car and new hair-do" kind, but the "I am so grateful for all that I have" kind.  I thought of people that I know that appear to have a lot of neat "stuff", but are just not happy.  And I felt very grateful for my simple life, my close family, my freedom, my lack of debt, my flexibility, my love, my breath.  

Today we went to a big garage sale at a local school.  Again I was grateful for the way we live as I was just not tempted to look beyond anything we might need.  Although I had just bought new clothes for the boys, I kept an eye out for anything else they might like (they are both very fussy and have particular styles).  But you know what?  When I lived in a house, I would just look for stuff that we may - or may not - use...just because we had the space.  Now, I only look for stuff that we absolutely can use.  Because space is a huge issue and nothing comes in here that is going to be wasted or not loved.  I will say that I bought another rat cage - for $5 (should I put that on facebook?).  It is a large cage but a little smaller than the big one we have, so I thought it would be a good one to take camping with us.  Yeah, we have three rats, and yes, we love them.  Rodents are awesome!

Speaking about space and cool stuff, I could post that I just bought a milk frother thingy (oh dang, I forgot to mention that on facebook!), so I can make my own mocha soy lattes at home and save $5 a pop.  The kids tried it out with making hot chocolates and thought it was the BEST hot chocolate ever.  So that's a keeper.

I  have a bunch of other partially written blog posts that I just haven't finished, and maybe I won't, and yeah, I'm okay with that.  So while I'm on here catching up with random stuff under a caffeine buzz, I'll try to fill you in on some recent happenings...

Our daughter has decided to go back to her birth name.  After being called 'Summer', at her request, for the past five years, she is now wanting to be called 'Sam'.  Not 'Sami', which she was for her first 9 years.  Gotta say, it's a bit tricky, but she's okay with me calling her 'Sama', which is almost a combination of Summer and Sam, and the first four letters of her legal name.  She is a real girly girl...she loves clothes and her friends and the beach.

AJ is discovering his individuality and sense of self....He is loving playing the online game / program of 'Minecraft'; he likes t-shirts that are quirky / funny (not beachy or muso related).  He no longer likes to play with Nicholas in 'imagination' type games, but he still loves books that are all about facts.  Gosh, that boy is so deep and wide sometimes, he is like the ocean, or maybe Space,  with the way his mind works.

Ok, so the thing that happened with Nicholas.....he had a slightly older, schooled, friend over.  He and his friend were drawing and the friend decided to write something and sign it from the both of them.  He asked Nicholas how to spell his name.  Nicholas replied that he did not know how (come on...he recently turned 7 and that used to be kind of young to do academic stuff...anyway, in our world, the child is free to unfold at his/her own pace and to learn in their own way).  He told the friend to ask me as I would know.  The friend said "no offence, but it's kind of bad to have a friend that doesn't know how to spell their own name".  Nicholas didn't miss a beat...he shrugged his shoulders and said "no offence taken".  Wow!  He totally understood what his friend meant, but he didn't buy into it, he knows that he will learn what he needs to learn, when he needs to learn it.  Now he knows how to write his name, but it has never occurred to him to name each individual letter to "spell it out" for someone else.  I'm sure he will know that soon enough, but that boy's sense of confidence and joy is such a huge lesson for ME!

Sama is still on the phone to her friends, and my caffeine buzz is starting to wear off.  Cary just got up and reminded me that it's 1am now.  Probably time that I start winding down.  Maybe I'll go look at facebook and see what my friends are doing!  Oh, does that make me a lurker, if I read but don't post...is that kind of weird?  What.ever. 
I do hope you are all happy and healthy and loving living your lives as fully as you wish.

 In Joy  xo

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lightening...

I cut my hair very short.  I just didn't want to be bothered with it anymore.  I've gradually been going a bit shorter for a while, but I got to the point where I could really understand why some women, and men, shave their heads.  The feeling of freedom and lightness...of projecting a different image of yourself that is less based on how you look.  I've never been one to fuss with my hair, but it was definitely a part of my personal image.  I'm getting older, and I want to find a new image that suits this stage of my life.

Yeah, it's different, but I like it for now.  Just for fun, I bought a box of hair colour from the health food store.  My hair goes darker during the winter and I don't really like that.  So the colour I bought was supposed to turn my hair "golden blonde"...instead, it went kind of orange.  Oh well, it will grow out.  I have a bunch of grey hair and the new colour covered them up.  Surprisingly, I missed the grey.  I didn't miss the darker colour though.
The letting go had a ripple effect.  I pulled out a couple of boxes of files.  Some of which I'd been carting around with me since I was a teenager.  A lot of notes from books I'd read, insights I'd had, goals at different times in my life, poems, old receipts, old brochures from companies I had wanted to support.  I over-filled a shopping bag with bits of these papers that I no longer needed or wanted.  We also have a lot more scrap paper now, using the other side of some of the papers I was getting rid of. It felt good to get rid of them. 

It is as though we slough off layers....and then things settle for a bit...and then it's time for another layer to go. 

It is so nice to live with just the things we use, or really like.  To get rid of excess.  In some ways, I kind of miss having a bit more home space.  I don't miss extra housework, I don't miss extra "stuff", but every now and then, just a little more space, another table, or shelf, or cupboard, would be really nice.  Mainly because of the kids and their projects.  It's all good though.  I have so much to be grateful for right now.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Permission and Love...

Beautiful breakthrough....to a greater awareness and acceptance of my past.  An enormous feeling of relief and peace...moving to a new place where I GIVE MYSELF PERMISSION to feel good, right now.  In healing my past, I feel expanded in my present.  Lighter, fuller..

Now I am contemplating Love - in its pure form, unconditional.  How many people have experienced this?  Perhaps at times, maybe as a very young child from our mothers, before we started doing the 'wrong' thing and being punished and having love withheld at times because of our actions - often stemming from just not knowing how to play the game.   Maybe from a new friend or lover in the early stages before little irritations became bigger ones.  Maybe from a best friend if we are lucky enough to have one of those.  When we experience moments of unconditional love, it's a glimpse into possibility, infinity even, but the sheer fact that that kind of love didn't or doesn't last at that level surely makes it a conditional love.

Given the nature of humans as we traipse through this existence, it's a pretty safe thing to say that the only person you can ever rely on, is yourself.  You may have a fantastic relationship with your partner and think that you know them inside and out, but to be on the same wavelength 100% of the time, is extremely rare dontcha think?  Are there times when those little irritations get in the way, or they appear distant, or you want a little more space?  All natural.  I'm just trying to grasp what relationship based on unconditional love, would actually look and feel like.

Want to know what I think?  I don't think you can experience that with anyone else.....

....until you have it for and with yourself.

How would your life be different right now, if you gave yourself permission...to love yourself unconditionally?  No guilt, no regrets, no apologies, no holding back approval of yourself....just acceptance....and peace....and feeling oh so good with this very moment, every single moment? 

What kind of person would you be if you stopped judging yourself and just filled those spaces with loving yourself?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Seven!!!



My baby recently turned 7!!!  Of course I know he is not a 'baby' anymore, but he is my youngest child.
With those big-boy teeth, he sure doesn't look like a baby anyway.


On his birthday morning, with "the girls", our three pet rats.  AJ still has his Rosie.  Nicholas' rat Ratsta died last month (she was THE BEST pet rat ever!!!).  After a few weeks, Rosie seemed a little lonely so we went to get another rat but ended up with two more.  Nicholas chose Cupcake - a dark grey rat with a white heart-shaped spot on her chest (which we didn't discover until after we'd come home).  She is hiding in his shirt in the above photo.  Summer chose Sally - a little tan coloured sweetie.


Our little tough guys!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Absence of Calm

Stress.  Oh yes.  It just creeps up on me. 

It's not that my life is overly stressful, although being a parent 24/7, taking care of the kids and the home and with Cary away.... there is just an absence of calm.

I try...deep breathing...walks along the beach with the kids...living simply...but it just is there, underlying everything else.  Waiting to rear its ugly head.  Proving that I still have work to do.  That life still grates me when I let it, when I don't remember to be the calm within the storm.

I love my life, I do.  I feel grateful.  But I just can't get on top of it at the moment, and I feel as though it's weighing me down.  I get overwhelmed so easily, and there always seems to be too much to do.

....a week later...

With our small space, we have to be very efficient, but there was always a mess lately which just did my head in. I see now that I created a situation that had a sheer absence of calm. The stress wasn't always great, but it was constant.

I am grateful to have very forgiving children, and to have the awareness now of what was going on. I don't think it was all in my mind though. I think it was also my chemistry. I haven't been eating properly - I often skip meals, or suddenly realise that I am hungry and then eat something quick. After talking to my naturopath and some other people, I also realise that I have just not been having enough protein. I think I have a sugar addiction. My naturopath suggested that I go a couple of weeks on a high protein diet, pretty much eliminating carbs for that time. The idea freaked me out and I refused at first.   I also realised that the coffee's I've been enjoying lately were actually making me more stressed and even quite cranky at times as it pushed me over the edge. So I went to the opposite extreme and had a couple of scotch's, and I totally mellowed.

I don't want to get back into a drinking habit, but I do need to change things here. I need to change my eating habits is a big part of it. When Cary gets back next week, Summer and I are going to join the Curves gym and start working out. Plus I'm just not doing as much extra stuff for a couple of weeks so that we can try and work on some things around here. We've been sorting through a lot of stuff from storage and trying to fit more of it in here for the kids and figuring out what to donate.
We've made so many changes to simplify our lives, but there is still the mental conditionings to overcome. God, why can't I just remember?! I cruise along, and then I hit a bunch of potholes and it throws me off.    I am so sick of the cycle.  I'm ready to do it differently.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

freedom, flexibility and adventure...

While we were on our trip, someone remarked to me "you're so flexible!".  I hadn't really thought about it but..Yes... yes I am. She was referring to my ability to adapt to change easily, to pack lightly and sleep anywhere. I used to wonder if it was because I have a lack of commitment to things.  Not as much with people, but I can lose interest in places and activities fairly easily.  I don't finish things.  I get overwhelmed.  I get fired up for something but if I don't have a good response, I just let it go.

Which is probably why the traveling life suits me so well!  A constant smorgasbord of experiences and people...always keeping it interesting...keeping me stimulated.

But is that really what it is?  I've been thinking about this a lot.... maybe it's also a safety thing. 

Safety in that it keeps me from getting too attached...and it decreases the possibility of loss or hurt or rejection.  I have experienced a LOT of that in my life and I want to limit that for the time I have left.  So I try and stay ahead of it...I leave before I get too close to someone, or too involved in some project.  When I start feeling overly sensitive to the things going on around me, then I start to feel the call of the road...time to move on.  A rolling stone, a gypsy, a free spirit.

So what if it is a self-preservation thing?  It's also an adventure thing.

Years ago, as an almost-14 year old girl, my father announced that we were moving from our beautiful home in Sydney, to the Central Coast (1.5 hours north).  I. was. devastated!  The boy I'd had a crush on since I was 8 had just moved into our street, I had a great group of friends at school, I felt safe and very confident in getting around by myself.  I had imagined the fun that my friends and I were going to have through our teen years, and I thought that one day, I would leave from that house with a wedding gown on.  Oh yeah....it was all planned in my mind!  Maybe we could talk Dad out of that idea...out of the promotion that he had been offered.  Couldn't he see that staying in Sydney would be better for ME?!  no.  Through my anger and my tears, I realised that I was powerless and had no choice but to move.  I hated feeling powerless!  At my new school I ran with the "bad girls", I got into trouble...messy and awful and in hindsight totally stupid.  But I didn't care.  I was 14 and angry and I wanted everyone to know it!

Eventually, I came to realise that "this too, shall pass".  I realised that I wouldn't be powerless forever.  I was not far away from being able to drive and the feeling of Freedom that that thought gave me, was very empowering.  I decided to just make the most of the time I was there.  I played music.  Loud!  I made new friends, but I held back a little.  I went to the beach, I flirted, I worked part time, I did well in school until I realised that no one really cared about that so I slacked off.  I didn't want to be at home, so I went out whenever I could.  I experienced a lot of different people and places and realised that the move to that area, had given me the gift of a taste for adventure!  As soon as I had my drivers license, I went to all kinds of places by myself or with friends.  I found a very quiet beach in a national park that hardly anyone went to.  I would lay there, naked, feeling more free than I had ever felt in my life!   So at peace...so in touch with Spirit...and myself.  I went there every chance that I could.

I think that the move with my family when I was a teenager put me on a fast-track for growth that may have taken me years to achieve if I had stayed in Sydney.  Maybe it made me a totally different person.  Maybe I wouldn't have been so restless if I had never left Sydney, but I also wouldn't have been as brave.

Who says that not sticking with something is a bad thing?  Maybe I just realise quickly when something is just not in alignment with me...at that time.   That has happened, but I've had a taste, and come back for more later, at another time which felt more right.  It doesn't matter.  I am sick of judging myself and thinking that I "should" do things.  There are enough other people doing that in regard to my life and their own.  I choose to be gentle with myself.  I choose to give as much of myself to a person or a situation without apologising....with the possibility of being hurt, or having it not work, because every single thing that I do, is an opportunity for me to be Authentic.  Whether that is giving everything I have, or backing off for a while....it's Me.   And seeing myself as whole -  I have a better view....

I am a diamond....many different sides and together, they make me shine ever so brightly!

Monday, May 07, 2012

going deeper on the road

I feel like I missed an important part when talking about our road trip in my previous post.

I spent most of the trip embracing a feeling of richness...of expansion...of freedom.  I was in a state of Joy! 

There is something about driving along the highway, with all of those windows around me, that makes me feel like I am a part of that wider view.  It makes me feel larger.  I makes me feel like anything is possible. 

Traveling lightly gives me additional freedom to release attachment and to Be in the moment.  I am reminded to Trust...that anything I don't have with me, and may need...will be provided.  That doesn't necessarily mean that someone magically appears and says "oh, you're cold...here is a blanket" (though that has happened).  But that the opportunity to fill a need will be made clear and will perhaps bring with it other bonuses as well.  It's like treasures appear when we are open to having our needs met in unexpected places (or even in expected places).  And the treasures might not be material things...they might be experiences. And we might not even recognise the need until it is staring us in the face.

I could talk about the time when we went looking for an information center for a map and found a delightful environmental center, or when we went to the op shop to get some warmer gear and were treated better than we would have been at a fancy high-end store, or the friendly bus driver we met who took extra time to explain where I needed to go, even though there was a long line waiting behind me, or the wonderful time we had with our family along the way and the gems of memories that we co-created, or the amazing time we had with the new friends we met at the camp.  I had met a few of the other campers at a previous conference, and it was wonderful to see them again and make new friends...friends that really understand us, that we just connected instantly with.  Yes, so many treasures!

The way that Summer connected with the teens at the camp made it obvious to me that she needs more of that.  Unfortunately, she hasn't made quite the same degree of connection here, as she did there.  The trip has helped me to become more aware of that need for her, and more understanding of the type of person and activities that interest her.  We will be trying different groups and options in this area and other areas and seeing what treasures we come across in the process. 

There were a few times on the trip when my shadow side showed itself.  When I was tired, overwhelmed or hungry.  It wasn't often, and I soon recognised why I wasn't feeling so positive.  It's okay...I'm not going to beat myself up or feel guilty because I slipped.  We all do.  I've realised it's impossible to stay "Up" all of the time.  I think that 47 years on this roller coaster of Life has helped me to appreciate so much.  Especially the little moments, the connections with real people, being in nature, living outside of walls, living in a community - our tribe - even if just for a little while.  Yes, I choose to feel so rich with the joy and with gratitude of each experience. 

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Journey of the Road...

Nicholas had been reluctant to go on our planned road trip.  I wanted to honour his feelings, but I also knew that Summer, AJ and I really needed to go.  He is a very determined young man and his pleas were getting to me.  The day came to leave.  We took Cary to the train so he could get to the airport to get his flight to the USA.  Then we came home, loaded the car with our things, closed up the caravan, and got on the road.

As we drove down the road, I realised that I did not have the same excitement that I usually do when we head off on a trip.  I felt a lack of attachment to our plans, and I almost could have turned around and gone home.  Nicholas would have been happier.  A string of different thoughts went through my head...would it really matter if we went?...we could just get back into the same routine that we were in...maybe that would be okay...is the van going to be alright while we are away?...did I turn the gas off?...maybe we'll have a terrible time and wish we had stayed home...will the car be okay?...will we be safe?...    I drove along the highway with beautiful countryside next to me.  Usually that area fills me with Joy and a feeling of freedom.  In the first hours of our trip, I felt very little.  I needed to change my state, to get back into the moment, to make the most of our trip.

I thought about our packing process.  We were going to be doing a mixture of staying with family in different places, and camping for five nights at a homeschool camp.  To make things easier all the way around, we slept in our sleeping bags everywhere we stayed.  We also needed our tent and sleeping mats, and other camping supplies.  The car we have now is smaller than the previous one we have traveled in, so we needed to be very efficient in our packing.  We had a small bag of food and cooking equipment, a small bathroom bag, pillows and each person had a small backpack for clothes.  Shoes went into another bag (two pairs each - one on our feet and one in the bag), one towel each, and then we each had another small bag to put in toys / games / books.  The back of the wagon was packed but we had even managed to include 5 Nerf guns and a razor scooter.  The boys were on the back seat and in the middle of the back seat was two travel cages for the rats.  Summer rode shotgun and took care of music and audio books as well as snacks along the way.  All I had to do was drive...and think...and aim to stay calm and balanced and set the tone for the kids.  I like traveling lightly and efficiently!  When packing my clothes, I was able to have a really good look at my already light clothes closet, and pick out my absolute favourites.  Since coming home, I've been able to donate some of the clothes I had that I realised I've moved on from.

Driving...thinking...processing...releasing...
Did we have enough stuff with us?  Would we be warm enough?  ...whatever we didn't have we could get along the way...or maybe we really didn't need it.  I was very pleased with what we had with us.

Finally, the last energetic string of attachment let go...and I was free to Be in the moment...to get into the spirit of the trip....In Joy.

We spent two nights with my Mum before heading to Sydney. I have to say, I was a little nervous about driving to and around Sydney as it had been 23 years since I had driven there.  I was open to the possibility that I may get lost, and I just decided to go with it for the adventure..wherever it led us.  I was almost surprised when I got everywhere I wanted to go with no problems!  Childhood memories flooded my senses and my instincts guided me in the right direction.  It was so comfortably familiar!  I had expected it to look very different...expecting that progress had made massive changes.  It really wasn't very different.  I was thrilled to see many familiar landmarks....

beaches that I used to go to...


my old primary school, though I am sure the playground was SO much bigger when I was there...


watching my children appreciating areas that I had loved.  Nicholas got caught on to my excitement and forgot that he didn't want to be on the adventure.  He absolutely loved the rest of the trip...


the pool where I took swimming lessons  (oh that pool scared me - I was sure a shark would get over the edge and into the pool at high tide)...


I loved exploring these rock pools when I was a child and I loved watching Nicholas and AJ enjoy them...


then they found a new park nearby and had fun on this...


...the house where I had lived in Sydney, (I loved that we had a bridge from the street level to our front door!)  It was hard to see the actual house as the bushes and trees had all grown so much, it really seemed to be a tree house now.  It was a pole house and my parents had enclosed the area underneath to make a large rumpus room.  The actual house seemed smaller than I remember, but I think that's all a part of me getting bigger and older. 


The roads seemed shorter and I was surprised at how quickly we got around the place...well, except when I forgot about peak hour and got stuck in afternoon traffic.

A high school I went to...it still looked very uninviting to me and I was glad to drive quickly away from there...



We spent a day exploring the city.  Our day there began with a trip on the Many Ferry (from Manly to the city).  It was a trip I had taken so many times as a child / teen, and I was excited to do it again.  My kids were thrilled and loved sitting outside and watching the boats and the beautiful scenery.  It was so fun to watch them squeal when they saw things they had only ever seen on TV, like the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.  It was a bit chilly out on the deck, and Summer looked very cute in her new beanie made with love by her Nanna...



We walked around the Opera House and took a rest with the big coat hanger in the back...



Another ferry over to Luna Park...the famous amusement park where I played as a child...


After that we had actually walked back into the city by walking over the Harbour Bridge and through The Rocks historical area.

We spent five nights with my Step Mum which went by way too quickly.  We were able to spend a little time with my step Brothers including Coop and his beautiful family.  He and his daughter Viena are on the billboard below which had been donated by someone who was touched by their story.  Such a challenging time.  Viena is such a sweetheart and so strong!  She has had the first brain surgery and is recovering from that.  We think of her every day and send love and prayers to her and her family.  My kids love their Sydney uncles, cousins and Nanna and are keen to visit more often.



Another day in Sydney we had the adventure of trying to find the PowerHouse Museum, which we finally did and it was a lot of fun.  The kids favourite part was the machine that explained how chocolate was made and then gave free samples!  AJ liked this bike too...



After leaving Sydney, we headed north to a homeschoolers camp.  I detoured off of the highway to the Central Coast, an area that I lived as a teenager into my early 20's.  The house below is where I lived during those teen years, and it didn't look very different, though I don't remember the palm trees along the side being so tall. 


The central coast is where I learned to drive and I had no problem getting around there.  The area had grown a bit, but I had a new appreciation for it.  I was amazed at how beautiful it was and I knew that I had totally taken it for granted when I was in my selfish teenage years.  Oh how I couldn't wait to leave it and go in search of adventure...and freedom...and myself.  I found all three, but it was not without cost.  I could feel the circle coming fully around, but I had evolved so it felt more like a spiral.  I felt a little sad for all that I had left there, but also full of gratitude.  Without those lessons, I might be a different person.  I had never wanted to leave Sydney as a teen, but doing so helped me to create a new life on the central coast...and it also helped me to know that change can be exciting, and new places can bring a host of new experiences.  I think that could be a whole blog post in itself so I'll put that train of thought aside for now.

We pushed on up the road to the camp.  It was fabulous!  The weather was a little chilly, but it was nice to rug up.  For the first time ever, I didn't mind being a little cool and was grateful that it wasn't wet as well.  There were around 20 families with children from babies to 16 years old.  There was such a natural flow to the days.  Nothing was actually planned.  We had several circles, a community dinner, and lots of other time for chatting one on one or in smaller groups.  The children arranged themselves into all kinds of activities either with the other kids, or within their own families.

There were some possums living near the camp kitchen that were quite friendly.  AJ could hand feed them and give them a pat while they were eating.  It was one of the highlights for him...


We hired the go karts a couple of times.  Here, Summer is in the front one with the boys in a double cart behind her...


Another Mum hired some paddle boats and the kids took turns playing in them.  AJ is in this one with a new friend that had trouble reaching the peddles...



Mini golf was another bit of fun.  We put our own spin on it by playing a speed version.


The teens enjoyed just hanging out in various places including the jetty at sunset....beautiful!


We were so lucky with the weather on our trip.  We did have some rain on the last day of camp, but we hung out with some friends who were staying in a cabin and watched a movie and chatted.  Oh my golly...I chatted so much to so many new friends during the camp...the days just weren't long enough!   Such an inspiring and wonderful group!  I've never seen Summer so happy and animated as she was with her friends there.

After the camp, we drove over to my sister's place to celebrate her birthday with her.  It was lovely to catch up with her, and we were able to let some of our gear dry out a bit.  Two nights there before the 8 hour drive back up the road to our place.  Which seemed to take longer than usual, or maybe I was just tired after a very full two weeks.  I do like the drive up the New England Hwy, with the country areas and Autumn colours and light traffic.  It felt crowded and strange to come back to our place.  Nicholas was happy, but I just felt detached and like I'd been gone for a month or more.  Summer and AJ are both keen for another road trip south to catch up with their new friends.  Soon!    I have left all of our camping gear in the car and we are looking into campgrounds in the different areas our new friends live in.  I might just catch up on some washing and some sleep first!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Opportunities

We were watching 'Evan Almighty' last night.   One particular scene has stuck in my mind.  When 'God' is talking to Evans wife in the show, he mentions that "when people pray for patience, does God just grant them patience, or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? 

When someone prays for courage, does God grant them courage, or the opportunities to be courageous? 

If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm, fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"

How are the opportunities in your life right now, helping you grow the things that you most want?

Me?  I'm finding opportunities to work on maintaining balance and inner peace; as well as opportunities to radiate love. 
I am grateful for all of the people in my life and for their part in helping me learn these things.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Attachments

I often talk on here about living with more Joy in the moment....living without attachment to material things....living with depth and connection to Love, to people, to nature, to Spirit.

I thought I was pretty good about living without attachment, and for the most part, I Am.  There are some material things around me that I enjoy either because of sentimental reasons, or the fact that they just delight me.

Last week we were at a BBQ / swim party at a friends place.  I was having a lovely soak in the hot tub and Cary offered to get me a towel when I was finished.  As he brought me the towel, I noticed that, out of the bag of towels that I had brought for us, he had chosen the towel that my brother had given me for Christmas when I was about 16 years old.  He held it out and I saw the rainbow of colours and I thought of my brother.  I remembered what great friends we were when we were living at home, how he was my idol, my mentor, my best friend.  I was full of gratitude for my brother and for what we had shared when we were children / teenagers.  As I wrapped that towel around me, I also wrapped myself in that love.


We went over and joined the others. I got changed into warmer clothes and left the towel hanging over the back of a chair.


There was a metal pole fence between the yard and the pond on the other side, with plenty of room in between the poles to be able to see the pond and the birds that live or visit there.  My children noticed an ibis that was being attacked by a bush turkey.  The ibis was limping and it was obvious that its leg and wing were broken.  Several of us went through the gate to shoo the bush turkey away and to see what we could do.  A lady volunteered to take the ibis to the bird hospital nearby.  Someone found a box, but it didn't have a lid so someone went back to the swim area to get a towel to put over the top.  Yep, they took my towel. 

I knew that the ibis was covered in lice.  I thought of my towel, now covered in lice.  The towel that my brother had given me.  That just a short time ago I had wrapped myself in, and through it, I had also wrapped myself in memories and love for my brother.

I whispered to Cary "they took my towel".  He said that he had given it to them.  I said sadly "that's the only thing I have that my brother ever gave me".  I watched the lady walk away, happy that she was helping the bird, but sad in my heart that that 'thing', that old towel that was starting to fray in the corners, that trigger to what my brother had meant to me....was leaving my life.

I sat with that feeling for a few moments, it wasn't long, but it was deep.  I realised that I really didn't need the towel to remember my brother and those early feelings.  I could revisit them any time in my mind and my heart.  I laughed with delight, and I let go of my attachment to the towel.  I was more concerned about the ibis and I was grateful that the towel could be used in such a noble way.

I forgot about the towel until the lady returned from the bird hospital with the box she had left with.  I saw her and thought that it was odd that she returned the lice-infested box.  But she had brought the towel back in the box.  Cary had gone to her when he heard that the towel had been special to me, and he asked her, if at all possible, to bring the towel back. I was touched by his effort. He even soaked the towel in boiling water to kill the lice. The towel though, was now just a towel to me, it no longer held attachment, but it did signify a good lesson, and a reminder that the material things around me can serve as triggers to memories, but those memories are always inside of me and the only thing that I need in order to access those, is the desire....a simple thought.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Make Every Moment Count

I've had some powerful dreams lately that keep reminding me to Make Every Moment Count.  I hear that phrase in my head at random moments during the day.   There is a sense of urgency for me to really understand and implement that message.

Make Every Moment Count.

There is an emphasis on the 'Every Moment Count'.  Each word.  Every single moment.  Make them matter.  LIVE them....LOVE them....IN JOY them! 

The message is a reminder to be fully present in each moment.  To not wait for opportunities to live in Love and Joy.  To choose that Right Now!  To give Love to each moment.  To allow Joy in every moment.   Doing so makes our life feel so much fuller and deeper and richer.

Yeah, I know...you've heard it before and probably thought "yeah yeah...I know that".  But do you DO it?  Consistently?  Or just every now and again when you've finished the housework?  Or when the kids are quiet?  Or when you get home from work?  Or when the planets are aligned?

 How distracted are you from yourSelf?  How often do you take the time to stay connected to You?  It's no wonder so many people can't connect to other people on anything other than a superficial level....it's because we are not even connecting with ourSelves first!

So just how do we stay connected?  When there is chaos all around us?  When there is just too much to DO?!

We choose to.

We make it a priority.

We act AS IF we would if we knew that this was our very last day here.  Not in a morbid way, just in a reality way because come on...we just don't know when our driver is going to come and get us.  "Time's Up!" they will say...."But I'm just not ready" you may argue, "I still have things to do".  

What....what would you do if you had an hour left to finish your business here?  Or a week?  Or ten years?  Would that be enough time?  What IS the most important thing in you life? 

Only Love.

There are all kinds of practical ways of Making Each Moment Count.  Doing things that you enjoy, making the things you don't enjoy more pleasurable by playing groovy music, spraying essential oils around the place or having some tea brewing, ready to enjoy when the task is done.  Whatever works for you.

But it always always comes down to slowing down the mental chatter. 
To living in a state of gratitude for every single thing in your life. Even the things we don't like or understand.
To making Love THE most important thing in EVERY moment.
Remembering that. Over and over and over.

And gradually, we realise that we are starting to live in that state more often. 

Yes, there are a lot of practical things we do have to DO in this life.  It's the mindset that we choose to do them In, that makes all of the difference.

We make it so very complicated!  It's really not!  And when you realise that....then you feel like you've discovered the biggest secret in the world and you just have to laugh!





Friday, April 06, 2012

storage..stuff...spiral...

It's kind of funny...we live simply, but sometimes it still seems like we have too much stuff.  It's usually when things start to pile up...too many library books, other things not being put away properly.
We have found that keeping things fairly organised helps things run smoothly around here. 

We recently downsized our storage unit from a 6 x 3 meter to a 3 x 3 meter.  When we moved out of the house last June, we put everything we still had into storage while we went camping.  I know, storage costs money and was our stuff really worth what it cost to store it?  Yes and no... yes to the photos and sentimental stuff, no to everything else.  But we were running out of time and needed to do something with it all so we made a decision and there you go.  When our big caravan arrived, we got a lot of things out that we moved into the caravan - books, craft supplies, clothes, practical stuff etc.  We brought over our washer, dryer and large refrigerator too, just to make it really comfortable here (they are all in the outside area).  We are happy to sell the fridge if we get a buyer though.  We sold off some larger items such as our couch and we took our mattresses to the tip as no charity will take them and they didn't sell.  It feels good to pay much less for storing our extra stuff.  Every time we shuffle our stuff around, we need to reorganise.  Every time we reorganise, we get rid of even more stuff.  It feels like a spiral, going around, up and down, in and out, but always moving and getting lighter and more focused as needs change.

In the past week we've been having another sweep through and it's surprising at how much excess we were able to take out of the van.  Some of it was donated, and a little of it will go back to our storage unit.  Mostly extra books and toys that the kids aren't using or needing at the moment.

We are all enjoying the lighter feel of the place, and the smoother flow of energy.  I remember a time when accumulating material stuff was fun for me.  Now, getting rid of it gives me a thrill!  Just living with the things we actually use and that delight us suits me so well.  I've realised that I get overwhelmed fairly easily and too much stuff probably added to my stress.  I don't like it when there is too much to do and I need to pace myself during those times.

I am grateful that my children have gotten into the mindset of keeping a couple of  boxes of their  favourite toys and really enjoying the things in there.  When they are ready, we rotate stuff in and out from some of the extra stuff we have in the storage unit.  Summer loves clothes, but she is very aware of only keeping clothes that she loves and that she feels great in.  When something no longer feels great to her, she will easily let it go. 

I doubt that we can ever totally get rid of some kind of storage unit for a little excess and sentimental stuff.  I do fantasize that we can though.  For now, I'll continue to enjoy to gradual lightening of our load, a little ebb, a little flow....it's all as it should be.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Celebrating...

...Me!!!

Not just because it's my birthday this month....not even that reason actually.  I don't like thinking that there is one particular day each year that is dedicated to me.  I like having the mindset that I can celebrate myself. every. single. day!

In my quiet little way, I feel delight that I have given myself the gift of Health and Awareness.  I even feel as though my eyesight has become clearer.  I've been waking up with energy in my body, excitement in my mind and a stronger connection to my Spirit.


...just deepening the thoughts behind some of my previous posts...
In recent months, I feel as though I haven't always been living in alignment with Who I Really Am.  I am not proud of some recent behaviours. Not just the post about alcohol, but a few other things too.  I have felt a swirling, undercurrent, pulling me back and forth, testing me, teasing me, confusing me.   I have felt a shifting all around me - with some of our friends, our activities, with things the children are interested in now, new business ideas, and just a lot of big and small changes.

I have felt myself withdrawing in order to ponder, to try and put my finger on what is just not working and what does not feel right to me.

Now I am coming through that tunnel, I am seeing the Light and I am grateful for the period of contemplation.

I am clearer in my priorities.... which is still strongly focused on our free-spirited life.  But I have renewed passion to improve my physical health, add to my mental strength and deepen my Spiritual connection.  Rediscovering this felt so right that I am celebrating every day!  It seems as though, after having the intention, these things are finding ways to weave throughout the fabric of my days - all of those aspects, working together.  Which is probably because I'm aware of the opportunities to take seemingly ordinary events, and add a new dimension to them.   I am growing in all areas, and feeling the joy of that.

For me, the deep joy in each moment mostly stems from gratitude - for each breath, for the sun, the warmth, connection, playing...every. thing!  I feel such a giddy delight in living simply!  Some people don't understand the attraction we have to this lifestyle.  They infer that they are superior because they have more material stuff.  That's okay, we're happy for them.  And we're happy for us.

You know, what other people think of me is none of my business.  I just need to feel Right about being with myself.  When I can walk proudly because I know that I am Being the Best I Can Be, then I can be grounded in my own confidence, and I can ripple out the Love and Joy that I feel.  The Love and Joy that comes from within and from taking time to connect with Spirit and it all just gets better...deeper...stronger...

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Give Up

....alcohol. 

I've given it up before, for over 12 years.  I started having an occasional "one or two" sometime after we moved back to Australia.  We would get together often with friends and, well, it just seemed to be a part of the Aussie culture...what I had grown up with...old conditionings surfaced.

I thought I had a handle on it and I would usually stop after one or two.  For some reason...those old conditionings... drinking made me feel kind of grown up / part of the crowd / like I was interesting.  Thinking about it now, they are probably the exact reasons that I started drinking as a teenager and through a lot of my 20's.  If I wasn't being the 'party girl', I was on the opposite side of the spectrum being the 'health nut'.  Back and forth swung the pendulum.  After too much partying, I'd vow to stop and get healthy again...but the call was strong.  From the time I was a young child, I witnessed the "grown ups" around me drinking and partying.  A lot.  Why did I think that I needed alcohol to join the party?  Why did I think I wasn't interesting enough on my own? 

OK, I admit, when I was younger, it certainly helped me act wild and crazy and ...stupid.  It helped me feel as though I was part of the crowd.  I had often felt kind of on the outside.  The double edge to that is that, through observation, I often didn't even want to be a part of the crowd and some of their petty ways.  But I always kind of wanted to feel as though I fit in somewhere.  I don't enjoy a lot of small talk, but with alcohol, I could handle talking about any kind of rubbish that I sometimes didn't even remember the next day.

The kids and I were out camping this week.  In tents that is, because we kind of live the camping life anyway.  We went with a group of homeschool friends.  Someone brought red wine, which is the only alcohol I've been drinking when I do have "one or two" lately.  I hadn't eaten much that day.  For some reason, I didn't stop at one or two.  I didn't have too much more than that, but without much food, it hit me.  Hard.  Ugh.  During recovery, I kept feeling my Dad around me trying to help me - not with the physical recovery, he didn't seem to mind that I was having a hard time as it might help me to get the message.  The message that I don't need to drink in order to join in the crowd or be more interesting or more relaxed or the life of the party or whatever trigger might have been interfering with my ability to say to myself "that's enough".

I don't have to be super chatty, or dance around, or tell funny stories in order to have a good time.  I can have the best time just being deeply connected with myself, and letting that light shine through in all interactions with others.      ahhh...nice revelation...I think that was part of the problem too - I was not feeling very connected within.  You know, that's probably the reason this post was getting me out of bed in the middle of the night to have some quiet time to ponder all of this.  To remind me of how important it is to Be Connected to my deeper self...the one that knows she's okay, just how she is and doesn't need to prove a thing...the one that feels comfortable being silent when others are talking a lot...the one that doesn't need a wine glass because her inner cup is already full...the one that remembers that authentic connection is really what she is all about...the one that can dance freely just for the joy of it...  Now this is what it feels like to be a "grown up"!

...PS...I am not passing judgement on anyone else who chooses to drink alcohol.  It just does not work for me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Love is all that matters...

Sometimes I just "get" life!  The reason for it, the grand design.....then the ridiculous pettiness we waste time on makes me just want to laugh!

I remember that the only thing that is really important...is Love.

How we relate to each other and ourselves.  Does it really matter who is "right"?  That's ego.

I remember to Trust....that everything is unfolding as it should...that everything I need will be provided. 

I let go of attachments and I feel lighter and brighter.

I let go of having to Do anything in particular....and it frees me up to just Be Who I Really Am.  In that state, I feel more productive if I choose to be.  Operating from a center of Love makes all tasks joyful.


Now if I could just remember all of this!!