Wednesday, September 29, 2010

EAT, PRAY OR LOVE?















From the Tolkien Trees in Avesbury to the Giants Causeway in Bushmills I'm still generating feelings of serenity and calm. Meditating feels nice, really nice. It's seriously blissful. Nearly as blissful as chocolate or sex ;) It's easy to see how it can turn into a total addiction for some. I've heard of people getting hooked on meditation retreats and travelling the world, just as Elizabeth Gilbert, in search of higher and highers planes of consciousness. Apparently ashrams, orange robes and eating only papayas blisses you out so much that you believe you are enlightened enough to contemplate becoming a spiritual guru and enlightening others. And then they come home form their spiritual odyssey and are suddenly overcome with a deep depression. Remind me to stick to my trees, hills and cliffs, wearing black and eating whatever I feel like!! Forget the eating and praying, I think it's the love part which is the gift that leads to enlightenment. Love is something you give, not something you look for.

Monday, September 27, 2010

FETISH

So.....I seem to be developing a fetish for hats, headbands and noggin coverings. I picked up a couple more yesterday. Ones that will actually cover my ears as they've been getting a little bit chilly.




















I bought a hair colour yesterday too and applied it last night in the hotel bathroom but it hasn't turned out exactly as I had planned. It's simply dark again but the red is hiding! When I've got more time to hunt out exactly what I'm looking for I'll continue this mission.



Sunday, September 26, 2010

FUNK MY HAIR

This is the longest time I've ever gone without a haircut, colour or some funk with my hair. I feel boring and like a plain ol Jane. I'm at a crossroads as to what to do with it. Do I get a haircut and keep the short, shaggy look or do I continue to let it grow wildly out of control? On one hand, this is a great opportunity for me to allow it to get longer, something I haven't done for a long, long time. And since I'll be wearing a hat, beanie or some other form of warmth on my head for a while yet, it really doesn't matter that there's no shape or texture to it. Perhaps, a bit of colour could do wonders? Something outrageous like red or purple. Since no-one knows me here and knows what my "normal" (lol) colour is, it might just be a goer. Before we left Chipping Campden I let Sofie go to town with it a couple of nights to try and create a masterpiece that would work for me. What'd ya think?


Friday, September 24, 2010

FEELINGS ON LEAVING

I've been pondering today how I feel about leaving Chipping Campden tomorrow. Do I feel the same as when we left Bali? Is this a place we could live indefinitely? Did it meet our expectations? We're the people as we wanted?

I think I have to say that as much as our time here has been wonderful, it didn't live up to our expectations or deliver what we wanted from the village. We didn't really get known by the locals. I mean I come to the Noel Arms Hotel most days to log onto their wi-fi (which I have to ask for a code) and not once did any of the staff ask my name, how long I was here for (I could have lived here for all they knew), nor any other info about me. The closest we came to making friendships was our "night out" with some younger locals at another Pub. In their defence perhaps they get sick of speaking to people all the time who are mostly tourists and here for just a fleeting visit.

The town itself was fabulous. It had everything we needed. I used to grab my recyclable bag of a morning and walk the 50 metres to the fruit and veg store and the small supermarket which had almost everything we wanted. Church was beautiful. The gym served it's purpose until I gave it the flick last week opting to get more fresh air into my days.

I think our time here allowed me to dive deeper inside of myself also. I've had time to ponder life in this peaceful setting.

The weather sucks big time though and sadly, for me, it's only going to get worse :( I really like warmer weather, a tan, and being cleanly shaven. I've even resorted to trying to harvest a forest on my legs and arms to insulate me (lol).

Anyhow Chipping, you've served your purpose. Thanks for the memories. Ireland awaits.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

NUMBER WORSHIP ISN'T WORKING

These days, it seems there is a "right" number for everything: the right weight, the right cholesterol levels, blood pressure, grades in school, salary, square footage in your home. Moreover, if you have the wrong number, the assumption is that you are wrong. You're somehow bad, dysfunctional, and less valuable as a human being.

Indeed, we tend to glorify numbers to the point that we look to them almost exclusively for information on who we are, how we're doing, what we're worth, and what the future holds.

Thousand of people are standing upon a tiny machine each morning - the scale - and asking it "How should I feel about myself today?" People are counting calories and fat grams all day long, leaving very little room for the deeper explorations of body wisdom, body awareness, and the enjoyment of food.

This way of living and thinking is inherently stressful, and therefore counter productive to healing of any kind. And so...it's time to "De-number" the world.

At the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, we believe in putting numbers in their place. We certainly notice numbers and value the information they provide. However, we put a much higher premium on the data and insight gained from body wisdom, the journey of the soul, and intuition.

Marc David
Institute for the Psychology of Eating

MEETING MENNA

Menna had been sick. In bed for the past three days with stomach cramps. She was feeling uneasy and something told her, in that moment, to get up and cycle into town, feeling unwell and all, to the van where her husband, Artur, would be selling his famous falafel wraps. She didn't know why but a "feeling" informed her. At first I arrived somewhat disappointed to not see Menna there. After all, it was her that has inspired me to master the expression of my brilliance. I wanted to say "thank you." To tell her what an inspiration she is. And in the three minutes it takes Artur to assemble his specialty she appeared, as if by magic. I wondered if it was her, a little scared at first to ask. But then without hesitation, as we connected eyes, communication was made. She told me she very rarely goes to the van and has been at home writing her next book for the past three months. According to Menna I'm an excellent manifester. I should continue on and forge ahead, sharing with me a name in the business. With the signing of my (her) book, "Congratulations & Good Luck!! With love Menna x," our encounter was over. Such a pleasure meeting you Menna.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MY GROOVY LITTLE GUY

On the weekend, at Woolacombe, and the first swim Dave took the camera out into the water a bit whilst I waited on the sand. The water being too friggen cold for me. In a split second he snap off this pic and it wasn't until we downloaded them that we seen what Jayden was actually doing. So cute and even with the right fingers. Did you know I was told once at the Australian Institute of Meditation in Brisbane that you don't use your index finger as this in the finger you pick your nose with - charming!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

M, M & C once more

She told me to believe in myself and be bold and I was. I took a month off work. I wrote a book. I tried to get it published. And I failed. I failed to become a writer.

I don't think you can say you've failed to achieve something until you're dead. Or until you've tried everything; and you haven't really tried everything until you've died. So you might have given up, but you certainly haven't failed.

You should be bolder. When life doesn't work out the way you want it, it's not a sign you should give up, it's a sign you should be bolder.

I think your main lesson is courage. I think you need to embrace being totally courageous. When you've really done that you'll achieve your purpose. When you take on and triumph your challenges you'll be rewarded with the life you long for.

If a publisher simply accepted your book, that wouldn't have required any more courage from you.

You need to keep stepping into life until you couldn't be any more courageous. I think you'll discover that your true happiness comes from being the bravest, most glorious being you can be.

It's time to take another courageous step. To start becoming the magnificent woman you were put on this earth to be.

Menna Van Praag

Bolder and more courageous I shall be!

WORD OF MOUTH

We were heading to Evesham again this afternoon and whilst at the library Dave googled and found a lovely little vegetarian/vegan cafe and asked me if I'd like to go there for lunch to which I replied, "I'd love to."





























I had a falafel burger and soy chai latte. The were absolutely delicious. The whole family enjoyed their meals. Maybe I'll convert them yet (lol).



















THE HILLS ARE ALIVE

I've been spending the past few mornings on top of Dovers Hill taking in the scenery and meditating. The stillness up there really is something else. In fact, it's the stillness in any form of nature that I adore and takes away whatever needs to go. I'm definitely a nature lover now and would prefer to spend my days in the great outdoors rather than cooped up inside. Yesterday, after lunch and my lunchtime nap ;), I took the family for a walk up there. I wanted to show them the little forest like area I've found where I've been parking my arse. For me, it was a kid-like experience. We played "stacks on" Dave. With our arms spread out wide to the sides and turning around ever so slowly we sang in our best and loudest voices ;), "the hills are alive, with the sound of music." We sat in a patch of clover and tried to find a four leaf one, to no avail I might add. And just before we left for the trek home we sat for a while and took in the views whilst I scratched Dave and Sofie's backs and we chatted about nothing in particular. It's so true that kids live moment to moment with not a care in the world. I want to be a kid again!

Friday, September 17, 2010

M, M & C continued

As long as you hate me, her body said, I will be heavy, carrying the burden of that pain. Fill me with love instead of hate, for love is light while hate is heavy. Take care of me, nurture me, cherish me, love me absolutely. Begin exactly as I am, and I will put down the burden, I will let the weight go, and I will become as beautiful as I was born to be.

Menna Van Praag

I've heard this before, Karla Cameron!

TRIVIA

Sofie is reading a book called "Why Do Farts Smell Like Rotten Eggs" by Mitchell Symons. It's a fascinating book about all kinds of unknowns. Why we burp? Why vomit always contains carrots? Why is dog poo sometimes white? Why does cream go stiff when whipped? And are we the only creatures to pick our noses? She's been reading five crazy facts to Jayden and myself each night in bed before lights out. And now I have a question. My question is "Why does eating asparagus make your wee stink?" Any guesses? I've googled and came up with it's because of chemicals that they break down when ingested, which your discriminating kidneys see fit to dump into the bladder. The effect is harmless and apparently only occurs in some people. So there you have it. Some interesting trivia for ya on this fascinating Friday.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

M, M & C

We're all born with hearts that hold our dreams and speak to us about them. As children we follow our hearts all day long, we live according to our instincts and intuitions. But one day we stop listening to our hearts and start listening to our thoughts instead. That's when people stop focusing on their dreams and become lost in their minds. Then the colours of life start to dull, and our excitement starts to die. Until you're trapped in a prison of your own making, looking out at life instead of living it.

Menna Van Praag

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

MEN, MONEY AND CHOCOLATE

Maya spends her days dreaming of a perfect life; a life filled with love, success and pleasure. She tries to find fulfilment in the pursuit of men and money, and when this doesn't work she looks for comfort in chocolate. But this only leaves her feeling empty and lost. Then Maya meets a mysterious, magical stranger and is set on a spiritual journey to discover what she's been missing all this time......

www.menmoneyandchocolate.com

MY MINDS' EYE

Sometimes I go to bed at night and lay awake, my mind racing with all kinds of thoughts. About others, writing pieces, dreams for the future. I am unable to switch off, even with focusing on my breathing or counting sheep, as I was told to do as a child. I succumb, as I have done many times before, to rising again. Afraid that if I go to sleep, without recording my minds' eye, and wait till the morning, my visions will be lost, just as the day gone by will slip into the past tomorrow. It feels like when inspiration strikes I have to grab it by the balls, with both hands, and run with it. I imagine all the other greats before me doing the same. Working endlessly throughout the nights in order to finish their masterpieces. In the dark, with only a glimmer of light from the moon above through the bathroom window, I slowly and would like to think steadily make my way down the stairs. But my mind is elsewhere and thinking I've reached the last step miscalculate and fall to the ground with a groan. So much for trying to sneak down quietly! Dave comes to see I'm alright. Nothing broken I moan. Just a freaked out, startled shoulder. I flick the kettle and wait for it to boil. Damn, out of chamomile tea. Peppermint will have to do. I love me teas. And sitting at my computer I can download my data in order to be able to enter shutdown mode.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

MISERABLE

The weather, today, is miserable. The kind that wants to make you stay in bed all day with a good book and a bottomless cup of hot chocolate. I'm unmotivated. Sleepy. And bored. We've been out for most of the day and upon returning home I just want to cuddle up in front of the fire watching a soppy chick flick with a jumbo bag of maltesers. I declined going to the gym with Dave, instead sitting here writing on my laptop with my second cup of green tea trying to warm up. Why is it I get so cold? Once upon a time I would have said it's because I don't have enough fat on my body but I can't very well use that excuse these days. I rug up with my scarf and corduroy coat that I bought a long time ago when visiting the snow in Canberra whilst the rest of the family get around in just a t-shirt. How does that happen I ask myself. We as mammals are supposed to be warm blooded but I swear I must have been a frog in my former life. I wish the gym was open in the mornings but as it's part of the school it doesn't open till 3.30 pm after school has finished. I've never been much of an afternoon exerciser except for walking and talking with friends when I felt that if I didn't go, on the days I didn't feel like it, I'd be letting my friend down (hi Nicole). I've been forcing myself to go 2 or 3 days a week, just to keep my foot in the door, and once there and I get going that "I'm on fire" feeling kicks in and I leave happy I went. Today just wasn't one of those days unfortunately. I couldn't be arsed. I didn't walk this morning either. I woke to the alarm at 6 am, listened to the outside and heard the wind, and thought "fuck that" and dozed back off to sleep. Even gentle exercise makes me feel great and without it my day just isn't the same. Maybe tomorrow, if the rain pisses off.

Monday, September 13, 2010

LOTS OF FUN, FUN, FUN

Off the top of my head, in no particular order, over the past three days I have:
  • Got pissed
  • Got stoned
  • Smoked a couple of cigarettes
  • Had wild sex
  • Lifted some weights
  • Walked lots
  • Slept heaps
  • Read two books
  • Ate chocolate
  • Got chatted up by an Irish tour guide
  • Laughed with some locals
  • Eavesdropped on local happenings
  • Witnessed a car accident
  • Went to Church
  • Found new inspiration

Saturday, September 11, 2010

READING

I'm reading a book at the moment called Bread Body Spirit, Finding the Scared In Food by Alice Peck and, as usual, certain pages have spoken to me.

Sister Miriam Therese MacGillis in Food As Sacrament writes:

"Our present cultural experience of food has degenerated into food as fuel, for supplying the energy for our insatiable search for that which will fill the hungers of our soul. When we understand that food is not a metaphor for spiritual nourishment, but is itself spiritual, then we eat food with a spiritual attitude and taste and are nourished by the Divine directly."

and Marc David in How We Eat writes:

"What nourishes? What is it that truly feeds us and provides the satisfaction we seek? We believe that good nutrition nourishes us, and it does, yet it is easy to lose sight of all that nourishes and focus on nutrition alone.

The question of what nourishes is often difficult to answer because our dietary notions change constantly. What we thought was good to eat yesterday is not always what we think is good today.

Most nutritional assertions that originate from authoritative sources have a brief shelf life. Our nutritional information is not based on what is ultimately good to eat, but what we believe is good to eat at the time. Within this unstable state of affairs, one thing does remain constant - the connection between our relationship to food and our inner world. How we eat is a reflection of how we live. Our hurrying through life is reflected in hurrying through meals. Our fear of emotional emptiness is seen in our overeating. Our need for certainty and control is mirrored in strict dietary rules. Our looking for love in all the wrong places is symbolized in our use of food as a substitute for love.

The more we are aware of these connections, the greater the potential for our personal and inner satisfaction. For in changing the way we eat, we change the way we live. By focusing attention while eating, we learn to focus attention in any situation. By enjoying food, we begin to enjoy nourishment in all its forms. By loosening dietary restrictions, we learn to open up to life. By accepting our body as it is, we learn to love ourselves for who we are. And by eating with dignity, we learn to live with dignity."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

GUIDED MEDITATION















I'm a big believer in meditation and it's ability to still ones mind and calm ones body. It's a spiritual practice I engage in most days. It affords me the authority to listen, to hear my inner wisdom and receive answers to the questions my conscious mind asks. Although I do not always heed the questions nor hear the answers I want to hear I am often brought back to these moments in the future. Some time last year I was told to "trust yourself" and I've never forgotten it although when I need these words most I don't tend to remember them (typical)! Yesterday, whilst amongst the spirited stones in Avebury I was led on a guided meditation by the audio commentary we had hired. I like to hear the history of what I'm seeing, to feel their life. Otherwise I'd just be looking at bloody rocks! It was amongst, what is referred to as, the Tolkien Trees I sat. I was asked to imagine the tree roots, where I was seated, connecting me to the earth, a light being channeled from the top of my head to the sky above. To feel the spirit of the stones surrounding me and hear their words of wisdom. As short and sweet as they were I will remember to "keep trekking and trusting." There are many different forms of meditation. I tend to flicker between them all not practising one specific kind. It is my time to tune out of the world and take time to simply just "Be." I am able to get in touch with my innermost essence and be fearless and free. Whereever I go or whatever I do I can then carry this stillness within me rather than the turbulent mind that once was. Oh, how my life has changed!

FOND MEMORIES

This morning, on my walk to a neighbouring town, Broad Campden, 1 3/4 miles down the road I was reminded of Pokolbin, the vineyard district of the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. In all my time I lived in Singleton, only a 15 minute drive away, I really didn't get to see very much of its beautiful landscape. I guess babies, breastfeeding and later, as they grow into children, tends to deter you from partaking in wine tasting events, which usually end up smashings, and the like. And I wasn't really interested in admiring and appreciating the land back then. Of course I do have many fond memories of occasions in the vineyards, my proposal from Dave being one. That's another story though. Here, I walked past a big, old, stone house and the sign out the front says "Malt House, A Country Guesthouse" and I recalled a time that brought a smile to my face followed with a giggle. A group of us had rented, for the weekend, a huge guesthouse in Pokolbin, just like the Malt House. We'd all pooled our money in and someone did a group shop of food that would feed us heartily for our stay. Copious amounts of alcohol were purchased and brought along. There were lines of coke snorted (I didn't do this) and joints smoked freely (I certainly did do this). I think we had prepared for this event with an afternoon of rolling spliffs at my place or maybe that was for another event (lol). Those days were still somewhat complicated at times but a different kind of complication. I think as we grow older, and some say wiser, we tend to over complicate matters rather than being young and free as we once were. Dave and I were still kinda new at being a couple therefore I'd already done the stupid young marriage thing but was rewarded with Jason as the outcome of that so I had to be responsible and motherly every second weekend. Perhaps that's why on every other weekend I was wild and reckless? I was still in my early 20's justifiably. My two accomplices, whom I shall refer to as J & J, and I were the smokers in the gang. Cigarettes that is which also meant that we were the main tokers also. I don't remember all the intricate details other than us being as stoned as they come, laughing our heads off, and somehow me being caught sitting in front of the fridge, with the door open, consumed with the munchies, ripping the skin off the barbecued chook and eating it. J & J, looking for me, busted me and we all rolled around the floor laughing before they too joined me in the chicken munching. We had some of the best times together. I fondly refer to those days as some of the best days of my life. Melancholy? A little! We all have these fond memories. Perhaps not the pot smoking, drug induced coma ones but we have something. Sometimes though, sadly, they seem to get buried under all of the shit and when the shit gets scraped away we're left with the better days that make us who we are today.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

SINGING LIKE A BIRD

A Rumi poem says, "I want to sing like birds sing, not worrying who listens or what they think." I, sometimes, feel like that bird singing my song with attitude not knowing or caring who is or isn't reading my words. Ever since I started, I have loved writing and allowing my creative juices to flow, although I may not be deemed good at it. But who determines what is good or bad? I find it very therapeutic, calming and tranquil. Writing allows me to participate in detaching, allowing me to let go of any ideas I may have about how things should or should not be. I can then enjoy all the fun, mystery and magic in every moment in the journey of my life and remain open to all possibilities, and embrace the uncertainty of my future.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

TOUCHING MY SELF

The English countryside is breathtakingly beautiful, specifically The Cotswolds, as I have probably said so many times before. It is just as I had imagined all those months ago. Hypnotic, gentle and serene. It is here, atop Dovers Hill, I have come today to get in touch with my Self through meditation, to put pen to paper and see what unfolds. Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. I am brought back to the present moment to dwell on what a wonderful moment it is. I have been reading a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, brushing up my mindfulness skills using conscious breathing processes to truly be alive in my present experience and reality. This "adventure" was also a spiritual quest for me. A time to hear what makes me tick. I'm using warning signals such as church bells, traffic lights, washing up and children's laughter to bring me back to my true Self. I once wrote that we are "spiritual beings having a human experience" and it is now, more than ever, I feel the most profound satisfaction sharing this again. The air is cool, crisp and fresh and blows gently, swaying each blade of grass. There are birds chirping their language and communicating with another. Tourists pass by photographing the rolling hills that lead to the vales beyond. I smile at them and they smile back. There is no need for words up here as there is no need for thinking. We can just "Be" and encounter the beauty of everything just as it is. I wonder how I will ever return to a big city and all of the chaos associated. Come back Shelley, come back. Here and now, here and now.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

YOU KNOW WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THESE

Besides the fact they taste delicious?











































The cute little bumble bee with a message just for me.