MBT Menu Tabs JavaScript

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Challenge of Acceptance, The Art of Nourishing


Have this playing as you read this.

I would love to come to you healed and say that all of your words had made a difference. They did. They do. But they do not undo, unknot, unravel the many shields of my self. I am deeply grateful for such kindness as has been shown to me and ever humbled that people whom I will most likely never meet, have taken the time to share their experiences, offer wisdom and advice (all of it good, sound advice) or to simply 'be' with me for a moment. It has been unexpected.

I am feeling a little less 'Noir'. There are moments of light, laughter and happiness - of course there are. It's just impossible at this point to tell what is going to happen next. I am, for once, not anxious to 'fix it'. I am allowing the 'what is' to visit and not feel like I have to escape from it. I know that I have been touched by some sort of sadness that goes very deep and that will not let me loose just yet. No matter how much I struggle against its silky grip.

I'm so tired and so weary to my bones of trying and getting nowhere. I'm so tired of never living up to my own expectations. So tired of always falling short and getting up and trying all over again. And so I have decided to stop. Not stop living obviously, that would be stupid. Just stop striving all the time. Stop trying to sit on my anger at the expense of my passion, my joi de vivre, my soul's yearning to be heard, to be free. Of course, it is easy to say and not so easy to do. Not so easy to 'surrender' when one does not know how to bend to the prevailing winds. How do you describe the act of surrender? What does letting go look like? Feel like? How do you know when you have achieved it? And what of anger? My anger is a part of it all too. I have yet to learn how to express my anger in more appropriate and manageable ways. I have sat on it for so long, all of my life really, and now it wells up at the slightest provocation and is destructive to the one person I want to protect from it more than any other. And yet. I don’t know how to let go and it’s not something anyone else can tell me how to do. How do you explain the process, the art, of surrender to someone who does not know what surrender feels like, what being empty feels like?

I have always known what I have to do. (Have to?) I have been searching for a way but seem incapable of actually doing it. Incapable of finding that middle pathway between self-loathing and self-love, between anger and passion, between nurturing others and nurturing myself. It was quite the revelation to discover that I don't trust myself. I don't think that I know how to.

My acupuncturist, Aisla, is an amazing and intuitive woman. Today, as I dissolved into tears in her office (yet again), grateful for just a moment when I could be 'me' and let the overwhelm come and not pretend to be on top of it all, to be coping, I realised that this is who I really am. This tear streaked, overwhelmed, oh so tired mummy who wants so desperately to be a good mummy and not a bad mummy all the time, who wants so much to be all that she hoped she would be as a parent, but isn't. This is it. This is as good as it gets. At least for now. And in her office, for those few moments, it's ok. Or at least, if not ok, ok that its not ok.

She sits her needles into my skin and they crawl or throb or itch and then she asks me what I think that I do well. I am quiet for a long time. Then I realise that I can offer her nothing. I can say nothing good about myself. Find nothing good to bring forward for us to talk about. 'That's very telling.' She says in her quiet way. 'Your inner critic is dominating. You need to bring out your inner encourager.' Yes. I'm sure I do. But what I need most of all is to let it go. Let go of the striving for constant perfection (especially when I don't know that this is what I am doing). I was moulded for the challenge, for the winning of battles, for being the best at stuff and honestly, it pretty much came easily to me. I didn't fail that much. But I did get scared of making mistakes. I don't know how else to play. So now I sit with the knowledge that this parenting, nurturing thing may be one battle that I cannot win. And why is it a battle anyway? Surely these things should be soft edged and soft focused and easy, not iron and unyeilding and frosty. If the way is hard, if the road you are on constantly brings you back to the same stiff, cold place of hatred and angst, then you are on the wrong frigging road. You'd think that would be obvious wouldn't you?

But its not. It never is. We can never see the beauty that stares us in the face or the courage we have in the face of adversity, when we are the ones doing the looking. I am well aware that this applies to me, of course I'm too busy looking at you.

It's not that I want to be someone else. I don't. I do sometimes entertain wild fantasies about being somewhere else, but I don't actually want to be someone else. Unless that someone is Cate Blanchett perhaps or Kate Bush. I'd trade lives with them for a day. But then I'd want to come back here and be me again and cuddle my girl and hug my man. So no. It's not about that. It's about not knowing who I am. It's about not being able to find something lovable, something bright and good and inspiring about myself to offer up to this life. It's about truly not understanding what about me makes this path so bloody hard when I have so much love to give to it.

If I abandon everthing to a single moment,
then I reach you.
O light-hearted beautiful of the world,
give me that heavy cup.

Give it,
and then I'll be saved
from sorrow and helplessness both.
I'm so tired of feeling oppressed by anxiety
and all of anxiety's troublesome friends.

give it to me,
for then I'll be drunk with God's glass
and be annihilated completely.
I'll open my wings in absence and fly away to the placeless place.

I have spoken before about the process of 'becoming'. And it is to this that I want to surrender. I have no choice really because what I am doing is breaking me into a million tiny little pieces. But how? How do I reach into the deepest still beating part of my heart and bring it forth into the light? How do we touch that little part of ourselves that is Divine and allow it to lead? I am so used to putting my intellect before my heart. My mind over my body. But thinking has brought me to here. Again and again. There is no thinking my way out of this.

And what is nurturing?
I can tell you what it is not. It is not driving yourself daily to accomplish the impossible. It is not running like a greyhound around the same well worn track after the same scabby rabbit who is always out of the reach of your snapping jaws. It is not trying to make yourself something that you aren't and never were. But I cannot tell you what it is. I could reel off some trite magazine worthy observations about 'time for you' like having a long soak in a hot bath (my bath isn't long enough to lie down in - why do they not build them with a sodding head rest for Gods sake?), or taking a mini-break (not when you are mini-broke), eating well and getting enough rest. But then what if you don't cook well or just simply don't enjoy cooking? What if your rest is held entirely in two chubby little hands over which your deepest desire to get a full 8 hours have no dominion? What if you truly don't know what nourishes your deepest self? What then?

Nurturing does not come naturally to me. I've said this before. I can't tell if its because I'm lazy (as I sometimes am) or because I am just lacking in energy and inclination (does that class as lazyness?). Right now, with so little time and energy and freedom, it feels like I have nothing left to give. I am having to learn about nurturing myself and my family one day at a time when I thought that it would all come so easily to me. I realise now that I simply don’t trust myself to be a good parent. I believe in instincts, just not mine.

* Sadness & Light

So in this place of 'no trust' I sit. In this place of 'self-loathing' I wait. Inbetween these moments of sadness and light, I open. I wait to accept myself and this and it. And I know that nothing can truly change until acceptance seeps as deeply into my skin as the striving I wear like a tribal tattoo. I am unravelling and it feels raw and frightening and my skin feels blistered with all my shattered hopes and dreams. What comes out of this blistering darkness I wonder? I guess there's only one way to find out.

'Some hearts are ghosts and they drown in dark waters,
just as silt grows heavy and drowns with the stone.'

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Hello. I'm briefly back in my office after being away at my in-law's all week to avoid the Upwey bushfires which were, unfortunately, just down the road from us. Again.

We left on Monday due to the high alert, came back on Tuesday thinking that all was well only to hear (straight after our lovely nap) that we had to leave again if that was our 'fire plan'. Which is was. So off we drove again. Cat, Kid and Kaboodle. I don't honestly think that any of us know if we are coming or going but Belladonna has been busy trying to establish a new 'territory' (in Glen Waverley) against the cheeky black interloper that lives next door. As I tried to explain to her this morning, 'You don't have any rights here honey, you don't live here. At least not permanently. We hope.'

Now we are fleetingly visiting to collect car and to water thirsty plants. It's so nice to be home and so not nice to know that we will be leaving in an hour to return to the in-laws to wait out the extreme fire danger that is tomorrow's horrendous heat.

It has been stressful to say the least. Thank God for workable and generous in-laws though - what would we do without family?

I also just wanted to say a huge 'THANK YOU' for all of the wonderful comments that have been left on my last blog entry. It truly made a difference to feel supported and I do feel better - just not all better yet. Reading your comments made me feel so held and what's all the more amazing is that I've never met most of you. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all your words and thoughts and love. It means more than you can know.

So - I'll be off again. Brevity - who knew I had it in me? I'll post more when I have access to the computer again and have an uninterrupted 5 minutes to type.

I hope that we all remain safe and sound tomorrow and that the terrible bushfires come to an end soon. I for one am very much longing for the soft cool touch of Autumn.

Blessings on your Caravan

*Photo by loveyougraphics.com/2007/07/shining-heart.html

Friday, February 20, 2009

I Chose The Road Less Travelled...

Now where the hell am I?

Can I preface this post by saying that I am deeply fed up and therefore am sighing a lot. Perhaps it's an unconscious attempt at inspiration, inspire meaning to 'take in breath'.

I am so bloody over absolutely everything. I have had such a bizarre and stressful three weeks with my hubble working late and doing much overtime and with all the fire issues to work out and prepare for. And if I have to have one more bloody fire threat, I may just scream. My darling daughter seems to have decided that her raison d'etre is to 'Make Mummy Crazy'. This not only taxes the one shredded nerve I have left but also taxes my overburdened and severely burnt out adrenal glands. I struggle daily to find new ways to communicate with my increasingly defiant, willful and sometimes downright horrible child. I know that as the 'adult' (and I use the term loosely here), that I'm the one that's supposed to have control over my emotions and be able to step back and be all philosophical and reasonable and loving. What I actually feel like doing is throwing her in a box postmarked to her Nanna's and calling for a cab to drive me to the nearest fucking airport. There have been numerous smacked bottoms and smacked hands in these past few weeks.

What I hate more than absolutely everything else right now (and there is a lot that i hate) is that I am so not living the 'attachment parenting' life with my precious girl. I look at her sleeping and I am lost. I love her so much it tears me apart that I am this shadow of the parent that I want to be for her. I have no patience. I have no calm. I have nothing but anger and resentment and these moments of pure white rage that I struggle to keep under control lest I do something (else) that I'll regret and shed tears over later.

I have struggled for so long with parenting and just when I think that I'm getting a handle on one thing, something else comes along to shift my centre of gravity away from me again. I am not someone to whom parenting comes naturally. I could sit here and blame my parents or my upbringing or my conditioning for all the problems that I have with parenting and I'm sure some of it would be true but the point is it doesn't matter. It doesn't help me to know where some of these patterins originate from if I can do nothing to change them IN THE MOMENT. It's no use telling someone who is about to explode after the 100th rendition of 'what you doing mummy?' when youare still doing the same exact thing that she asked you about originally, to take a step away from the situation and count to 10. I could count to 1000 and it still wouldn't help because she'd be right there with me saying 'What are you doing mummy?' Believe me when I say that the endless questions are aggravating in extremis. Then there is the 'No! I don't WANT to' which is also trotted out endlessly followed by screaming tantrums if she doesn't get her way. I never imagined that she would be like this and I blame myself. I know that some of it is my difficulties with parenting, with connecting and playing and being totally present for my divine little brat, being reflected 'child style' back at me. And some of it is just a two year old expressing her frustration, her anger, her will and not understanding that she can't have the lollipops that she loves because they make her sugar crazed for hours and drive her poor flaky mother to distraction.

So what do we do? I am so sick of trying a million different things. I am utterly sick of reading parenting books to try and find the solution to the many issues I find myself facing with my daughter daily. I am totally responsible for how I feel and how I react - somehow though I just can't seem to find the shift that will allow me to react differently. I've been to counselling and I've been to several different alternative practitioners to help me get my anger under control and to help Lily and I relate differently to one another. You name it and I've probably tried it. I still find it terribly hard to 'play' with her. I try so hard but I just don't enjoy it. And then there's the million other things I have to do daily. My business, cooking, cleaning, writing and all I want to do is sleep. I have one day a week to myself and its not enough. That makes me feel like a selfish asshole. I love her. I truly do. Yet I just want to get away from her at the moment because being with her brings out the worst in both of us and all i feel is shame and sadness and pain after the anger has gone away.

I had these great visions of myself becoming some kind of mother earth type when I had a child. I envisioned the wonderful home waterbirth, the carrying and breastfeeding (which we did for the most part), the blissful connection to my child and feeling nothing but serene and loving towards this brightl ittle being that I had so longed for. It all went to shit with the labour and it has not improved a massive amount since then. Ok. So maybe I'm being a tiny bit overdramatic but that's how it feels. There have certainly been a lot of very hard times. PND post-dated for the previous 16 months that went unnoticed by everyone, including me. The child that barely slept during the day but slept all night until she was 6-months old and has barely slept all night since. I am not a natural nurturer. I realise that now. It's not that I don't have some of the urges but they are simply not that strong. I take full responsibility for myself and for my failings and I am striving to do better, to be better but today, recently, its just been too hard. Too all uphill with very little improvement.

I believe in gentle parenting, gentle discipline, nurturing and respecting the child. I am doing none of it. I chose the road less travelled when it came to the parenting norm - I co-slept and breastfed until she was nearly 2, I gave unlimited cuddles and she could not be more loved (better loved yes, more loved, no), I read every 'Sears' book there was plus a whole bunch of other attachment parenting books. I mean, I have TWO shelves of a bookcase groaning with love and care. I believe that it is important how we treat our children and I don't think that what I'm doing is even remotely ok. Yet when faced with a defiant, challenging and difficult child, I lose my temper, yell and smack. I am NOT awakened in my parenting and I don't know how to change it. That's what kills me. I am not a stupid or ignorant person. I am pretty smart and pretty astute when it comes to other people but for some reason that I just cannot figure out (despite my analytical probings ad nauseum) I seem unable to change. Not unwilling you understand. God am I ever willing. Just unable. Whatever switch you have to throw to move into some kind of better relationship with yourself and your child is broken, missing or miswired, like most of the light switches in our house. I am overwhelmed with the magnitude of mothering and I don't do surrender very well (if at all) even though I keep trying to slow down and 'let go'. So where does all of my self-examination get me when I seem to be unable to do the one thing that matters most to me - mother Beanie well.

Here it seems. Dissolving into snot and tears, writing to simply ease the internal pressure and to give myself something else to do other than beat myself up. I am not the world's worst mother, I just feel like I am. I know that I have a good heart otherwise this wouldn't get to me the way it does but it does not help me to know that.

Nurturing seems to be such a natural thing for other people, so why not for me? Do you know that I struggle daily with what to eat because I lack imagination in the kitchen? I have a million cook books but if left to my own devices I will eat toast and drink tea as my main meal of the day. I have horrible cravings for sugar and starch that I cannot seem to control for the most part and I do not know how to nurture myself. Maybe this is why I am doing such a shit job of nurturing Beanie and Hubble. The poor man is lucky to get a home cooked meal when he gets in from his job. And, bless him, he never expects it from me. He can see how frazzled and tired I am and he just puts on his apron and gets on with the show.

I read blogs daily that celebrate nurturing from women who seem to just be able to create magic in the kitchen and I am jealous and perplexed and humbled by them. I just don't seem to have what it takes to move into this part of my life without frustration. I am not a domestic goddess. I'm more like a feral kat.

I know that this is terribly depressing but I need to get it out because if I don't then I'll explode and the callatoral damage from my anger is more than I can bear right now.

I am not looking for sympathy, I am looking for a way forward, for solutions, for something that will shift this twisted paradigm into a new and a great and a glorious future. Failing that, not being reduced to a screaming banshee every five minutes of the day would be just great.

I don't know what else to do. I don't even know how to begin to make this different, better, work. I am lost and split apart with all the trying.

*Photo by this amazing site

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Photo Meme #2

The Red Tent (as created by me for The Divine Feminine).

As I'm not feeling particularly inspired or inspiring today. In fact I'm out of everything today - energy, patience, cheerfulness. You name it, I'm all out. So, I thought I'd play a game and create a Meme. I've called it Meme 2 because I have a vague recollection of creating one before but I could be wrong. It's the best I can come up with right now and I thought I'd make it a 'Meme' for want of something better to do with it. So here tis.

I've called it The Omen (666):

Go to the 6th folder on your computer, open the 6th photo and blog about it. Then tag 6 more people to do the same, linking back to the person who tagged you.

Here goes my offering - it's called 'One Sophisticated Dinner Party'

This combination of photo's was taken by various members of said sophisticated dinner party during a little experiment I like to call 'Rubber Face'. To play rubber face, you must shake your head vigorously from side to side and get someone else to attempt to take a picture of the results. You can also vary and further add to the game by also playing the additional arm known as 'Trout Pout'. Here you simply put your lips together and, well, not so much 'blow' as make a 'brrrrr' sound using your lips not your tongue. Again, have someone with a camera handy to record the unnerving results.

Yes. This is as sophisticated as our dinner parties get. No deep and meaningful conversations for us. No. We play Rubber Face, Trout Pout and, occasionally, Cranium.

*NB: The other members of this photograph have asked not to be identified for reasons of shame and embarrrasment. That's right. Embarrrasment with 3 'rs'. Thank you.

While we are here, why don't we also play 'May The 'Fours' Be With You'. Similar idea to The Omen game above.

Go to the fourth folder in your photo archive, select the fourth picture in it and then write about it. Tag 4 other people to do the same, linking back to the person who tagged you.

Again, here's my burnt offering.

* Mamma and Me

This photo was taken after a birthday night out for me and my mum. Our birthday's are 6 days apart and my wedding anniversary falls in the middle of her birthday and mine. We had been to this local Hungarian restaurant and had the most wonderful (comfort) food and a few glasses of vino and had trundled back to our house for a cuppa before bed.

My little Beanie-girl was only 8 weeks old at the time and in other photo's taken at the restaurant, she can be seen sleeping peacefully in her bassinette next to me in our booth. Mum had flown from the UK to meet her first ever (blood) grandaughter and namesake (Lily's middle names are Charlott MacDonald after my mum and our scottish clan). As a birthday treat mum had bought me the entire outfit I was wearing and it was the first non-maternity outfit I had been able to wear - even if it does show off the baby belly a bit. I still have the outfit and I still wear it.

My mum is very cute.

I tag the following people.

Moonroot, DocWitch, Griffin, Sara, Mon,and Erin,

So that's it. I look forward to reading your offerings and to peeping into some quiet (shameful) corner of your lives. Feel free to spread the love (shame, embarrassment, fear) around. Oh and for those of you who prefer to remain anonymous, simply edit the picture and hide your face or feel free to chose a picture that you are not in.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How Brown (& Flammable) is My Valley

* Drayton Valley in Canada

This is going to be a 'thinky' post, so brace yourselves with a comfortable chair and a cuppa. It may take a while. NB: I will just warn you that I have a slightly inappropriate sense of humour. The way my family has dealt with tragedy and strife in our lives (and we have seen a fair bit of it) is to laugh and make light of the situation. That is not to say that we don't feel and that we don't care, it's just a way to relieve the tension without imploding or just dissolving into snot and tears. It offends some people.

We have spent the entire weekend preparing ourselves for possible tragedy. I know. Terribly dramatic isn't it? But certainly no less true for that. With all the horror of the Victorian Bushfires fresh in everybody's minds and hearts, it has been all systems go for us getting our home 'Bushfire Ready'. (Hopefully this will not be interpreted as an invitation for a bushfire to come and raze our property to the ground any time soon).

This past week or two have been a truly sobering experience for me. Not that I was giddy with naivety about the needfulness of such plans but still I was naive to think that it was something to be only marginally aware of. I am still wearing so many people's suffering on my heart and to be so close to the (very hot) action, has been both frightening and intensely motivating. We were, thankfully, not near enough to any of the danger for it to be a direct threat but there was a fire just down the hill from us and our suburb and the one next to us was put on evacuation alert in case they couldn't put it out. Thankfully the brave people of the CFA managed to put it out before it caused too much damage but seeing the damage it did cause was quite shocking. It was all around the train station my hubble catches his train from and it was quite extensive for a 'small' fire.

And so, this weekend was dedicated to preparing and putting into action our 'fire plan' as we live pretty much surrounded by and on top of gorgeous trees in every single direction. Plus, we live at the bottom of a hill with no-where to run to should things get dicey. We have spent time and energy figuring out what we would do if we got 'caught out' by a fire that we had no idea was coming or that started suddenly. We have planned our escapes and safety zones, borrowed the correct fire gear from relatives (anything longsleeved and made of natural fibres - cotton flannel shirts and jeans are good teamed with a solid pair of leather boots to prevent your feet from burning, gloves to protect your hands and a wide-brimmed hat (which I've still to get). Our shopping list this week consisted of: Goggles, 7 smoke alarms plus batteries, indoor sprinkler misting system for under the house (because embers can blow in and start burning the house from the basement up), proper masks (to deal with smoke), blankets (for wetting and wearing if we have to hide or run), metal buckets with wooden handles (because we read an account of a man trying to use his plastic bin in the fire and the handles melted off in his hands), oven gloves (because we may be handling things that feel like they've just come out of the oven), several hoses for both indoor and outdoor use (to combat embers and to put our fires), torches and batteries (for if we can't see because of smoke and we're trying to hide or run), pump driven water pistol, wide brimmed hats (to protect our heads and necks) and batteries for our radio so that we can hear it if the power goes out.

We then proceeded to clear the gutters (which we had already done once since moving in a mere 8 weeks ago) and the roof of all leaves and tree debris, fill the downpipes with little sandbags and then go and savage our beautiful garden in order to remove all brown, dry and tinderlike plant life so that our garden doesn't just incinerate in minutes the moment an ember lands in it. With a 12-year drought on our hands and a week of unseasonably hot weather over the 43 degree mark, there was a lot of that to remove. My mother-in-law generously donated all of her weekend to help us in the endeavour and even sowed little pillow shapes for the sand to go into for our pipes. She's a mighty useful in-law that one! I think I've raked up a squillion dead leaves, cut the brown useless branches and fronds off a million trees and ferns and picked up my bodyweight in firewood. And I know that in just a few short weeks, when Autumn is welcomed to Victoria with body and soul, the ground will be littered with enough leaves from our oaks alone to create a magnificent floor length cape and train for the Green Man himself.

The work has been backbreaking but satisfying in some strange way. It has also made me tetchy, nervous and paranoid. I know it makes absolute sense to do what we have done and is very sensible in view of the fact that we have a bit more summer to go and there are (seemingly) an innordinate amount of very troubled people about. It's just that it seems so prophetic somehow. As if on some level I am expecting things to go very badly wrong. Everything that's happened is so vivid to me, so clear and sharp and real that I feel almost like I'm inviting trouble by even beginning to think that I am 'ready' in the case of a real emergency like the one experienced by so many. Some part of me doesn't want to be ready. It just doesn't want to face the possibility of such disaster happening to me, to our little family. Yet here we are - knowing what the options are, knowing what choices we will make should things get dangerous, knowing where our hoses are kept, what clothing to wear and having enough supplies to battle it out if all else fails. Let's hope all else doesn't fail us.

I can't help but compare it to what it must have been like for all those people in the 50's who really lived with the possibility of a nuclear war. Building their backyard bunkers, saving food and staples to 'wait out' the passing of the poisonous gasses, which in all reality would have killed them once they stepped outside the bunker door. I'm not saying that a bushfire is as catastrophic as nuclear war but it is still pretty catastrophic for the people who go through it. We are preparing for that catastrophe in case it happens to us. That's not a good place to be.

Doc's beautiful and thoughtful post on the aftermath of the fires (though aftermath isn't really the right word as there are still fires raging uncontrolled as I write) has added to my thoughfulness today. I agree with her that we cannot simply carry on and pretend that nothing has happened. It is still happening, there are people suffering great losses, there are people trying to get their head around rebuilding their lives, there are people without homes and without hope. I can't just turn my head away from that. There but for the grace of God... Unfortunately, we do have to go on. Whilst we must offer our hands and our hearts and our strength and do what we are able or called upon to do, we must also feed the children, organise lives, attend to businesses and jobs, deal with family shit - life goes on - always. It feels uncomfortable, even wrong, to do it and yet all we can do is help where we can. We can never be sad enough to end someone elses suffering. I think its a Zen proverb that says, before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. Like Doc says, we must hold on to our empathy, to our sense of community, to our desire to let our hearts lead our heads and to help in any way possible, but we must also chop wood and carry water in our own lives. Hopefully, we won't lose the open-heartedness that we have experienced as we have grieved with people who truly know loss and sadness. I think that is honestly the best we can offer.

As I write, we have had news of a fire right opposite our old home - its currently at 5 hectares. The CFA has issued a warning that embers may come this way as it has already entered National Park nearby. We literally lived on the road opposite the spot where the fire is currently burning. The hubble is upstairs packing a bag and we are about to decide whether to evacuate or to stay and potentially fight. I am torn between a desperate desire to have a complete meltdown and let the panic that has been slowly building, explode out of me or laugh hysterically and drive like I imagine Animal from the muppets would if he could drive like he drums.

I think it might be time to climb in our caravan and not spare the horses.

* Psyche's Journey Home

Between my strong desire to flee and my desire to not panic - we sort of hovered. Indecisive but true. Hubble barely raised an eyebrow, he simply went outside wet the underside of the house, filled up buckets, readied mops and put on a check shirt. (He looked quite dashing). I went into high stress mode. I am, after all, a fully fledged drama queen and postgraduate of the Adrenal Exhaustion Club of coping.

We listened intently to the ABC updates. It was actually quite serious. We are still on the alert for embers or ash blowing this way but we don't appear to be in any real danger.

Can I just say for the record. What the...? Was I not just saying that it seemed vaguely prophetic to be preparing for something on the offchance? Well - it looks as though the PTB (Powers That Be) have once more got their belly laughs at my expense. Har de bloody har.

I am so NOT stay and defend your home material. My greatest fear is that we will go to bed safe in the belief that it is all 'under control' and it will creep up on us in the middle of the night and poof - my short unrealised life will be over. I know I'm being a bit dramatic but still - this is the second time in two weeks that I've have genuinely worried about our safety from fire. It's getting harder to feel safe in my beautiful home.

So, we are still here. Our caravan is primed and ready but we are planning on staying for the moment at least. And this has been, yet another, reasonably stressful weekend. I will be genuinely glad to feel the cool wet kiss of Autumn.

* Valley photo from here
* Psyche's Journey Home by Susan Seddon Boulet

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Twenty-Five (Random) Fings About Me

With the sub-heading 'Which You Probably Couldn't Care Less About' and a sub-sub heading of 'And that's ok with me - I'm not sure I care much either - I'm just curious to see what I come up with.'

*Are We Having Fun Yet?

And so - here tis. The Grand Presentation of Twenty-Five Things About Me (in no particular metaphysical, spiritual, physical, mental, elemental or logical order) as encouraged by the whimsical dark lord Mon.

1. I adore thunderstorms, rain on my roof at night and the dark. I am also a secret fan of primal screaming. Especially at the sea, in a thunderstorm at night. I once led an impromptu group primal screaming session at the sea in Penzance in Cornwall which left us all hoarse for a day.

2. My mother Glaswegian and a proud and fiery MacDonald and we are direct descendants of Flora MacDonald, who helped bonnie Prince Charlie escape by dressing him up as a serving maid. We have visited her cottage and there was an oil painting of her over the hearth which I swear was the spitting image of my mum.

3. I am a love child. My father emmigrated to Australia (Melbourne we think) when I was born. Apparently I looked exactly like him when I was born. I would like to meet him one day just to see.

4. My favourite flower is the Stargazer Lily (like Earthenwitch). I wore them in my hair when I got married, had them in my bouquet and named my first born after them. Lucky it was a girl, huh. I am also entirely too carried away by the smell of Jasmine, Gardenias, Frangipani's and Lemon tree blossoms twining around a soft summer's night wind.

5. I can never remember where to put apostrophes despite living with the King of Grammar himself.

6. I have met a rather large number of famous people. I have been mostly underwhelmed by them.

7. I'm never sure whether to call myself 'psychic' (though I come from a family of fairly gifted ones) but I am sometimes spookily intuitive. It is unfortunately not a very reliable talent and cannot be called upon at will. I would like to develop it but I have no brain cells left with which to study. I have a 2-year old instead. I did once 'cloud-bust' at primary school and predict that a someone on the playground would need to be careful on her way home. She nearly got run over. I also had a precognitive 'shiver' when I met the hubble and knew I'd end up with him.

8. I can tap dance. I used to be a very gifted dancer in most areas actually (and have the medals to prove it). I still love dance and cry when I watch So You Think You Can Dance. That show literally gives me chills.

9. In the words of my favourite cartoon character, Lola, I do not never, ever want to see a ghost but like Mulder, I believe. I also seem to attract a lot of people into my life who CAN see them. Spooky buggars.

10. Though I love the outdoors and have the deepest most passionate love of nature and our beautiful world, I am not a happy camper. Literally.

11. I have very strong craft envy but cannot sew or knit or cook (not as well as I'd like anyway) or bake or crochet or paint. I do enjoy working with clay and occasionally stuff just comes through me and I create something truly magical without meaning to. I like those days. I did once win a medal for painting at primary school. I painted a picture of what I thought the queens dress would be like for her Jubilee celebration. Medals are cool providing you don't have to fight a war to win one.

*The Nornir or Fates

12. I don't believe in fate. I believe we come in with a set of lessons to explore but that we still have the choice about whether we do them or not. That's where free will comes into incarnation and where we have numerous opportunities to stuff it all up royally or learn from it. I believe there is a higher power guiding us throughout our lives and I try to connect with that as often as possible and then get the feck out of my own way. And that is just about as hard as it sounds.

13. I love mythology. All mythological and spiritual traditions interest me but I am particularly drawn to Celtic Mythology, Shamanism particularly Celtic and Native American traditions and practices. I love the simplicity and peacefulness of Buddhism and the mystical fire and wonderful imagination of the Egyptian and Greek pantheons. I also have rather a morbid fascination with the religious practices of the Maya and Inca. Disappearing civilisations fascinate me. I want to know what happened.

14. I want to learn to play the guitar (accoustic) and I want to re-learn to play the piano as I am very musical and learned the piano, flute and violin (which I hated with a fiery passion) at school. I actually simply wanted to play the guitar, all the other things were offered as an alternative. I was part of both the orchestra and the choir at senior school. I played a mean variety of percussion. I sing well (strong mezzo soprano) and loudly when no-one else is around.

15. I am an actor. I want to return to it one day. I was drawn to it because I get to be other people all the time. There is nothing more fascinating to me than other people. Paradoxically, for a people that thrive, nay demand, attention, I am also terribly self-conscious.

16. I absolutely love the sea. It calls to me like a Siren and I will drive for many hours to be in its company but I am always very nervous when in it or on it.

17. I have never really felt safe. Ever. I am like this character from the Catherine Tate show. Having said that I am stubborn and willful and extremely capable - I tend not to let fear stop me from doing anything.

18. My best(and oldest)friend is a giant queen. We met at school the age of 13, saw Desperately Seeking Susan at the cinema and danced all the way home. We were deeply united through this love of dance - he's never had a lesson but he was so good and the only boy I've ever met who could dance 'properly' as in express himself through it. We've seen each other through a lot of change and we still make each other laugh. That's priceless.

19. I wish I had been at woodstock. In fact, I would have loved to have lived in the full swing of the 60's. I am a card carrying, bead wearing, incense burning, ankle-braceleted flower child and no mistake.

20. Jobs I have had: Shower model, podium dancer, burger slinger at MacDonalds, waitress, PA, masseuse, shoe shop assistant, record shop assistant, workshop co-ordinator for this bloke, New Age Centre assistant manager (the shop has changed hands and focus now but it was wonderful), writer and theatre dresser. I am currently the owner and creator of The Divine Feminine - offering spiritually nourishing alternatives to things like baby showers and hen nights. It's good fun and we do it all in a beautiful red tent!

21. I love receiving letters in the mail. I think that though email is definitely more instantly gratifying, there is something lovely about receiving a letter via post.

22. I am completely addicted to books. I am a pathological (and totally unrepentant) book slut. I can't get enough of them and I am royally abusing my local library at the moment in an attempt to stop spending vast quantities of money on them. It's very hard because I wants it. My precious....

23. Motherhood does not come easily to me but I love my daughter fiercely, passionately and with all my heart. It is my dearest wish to be a better mother.

24. I believe in a higher power and I believe that I am here to do something that only I can do. I am just sifting, exploring and waiting to discover what it is.

25. One day I'd like to train to be a tantra teacher, write a book that makes people laugh out loud, cry like babies and open their hearts to the world and get my (24 year old) body back - preferably through the art of bellydancing. Yes - I want a body like Shakira.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

An Award

Well, aren’t I a lucky girl. I’ve just been nominated for another blog award. I’m always deeply touched when people enjoy what I have written and if what I write can help someone who might be struggling a bit, as we all do from time to time, then that is a massive bonus.

The prize is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, & personal values transmitted in the form of creative & original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection & gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.

Though I am not sure that my blog really qualifies in the’ cultural, ethical and literary values’ categories, I am deeply chuffed by this award. Thanks so much The Journey for your nomination. Like you, I have enjoyed discovering and revelling in all the wonderful new blogs out there.

The Rules:

1) Accept the award by posting on your blog along w/ the name of the person that has granted the award & a link to his/her blog.

2) Pass the award to another 5 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.

In accordance with the ‘Rules’ I hereby pass on this flaming torch - as is right and good.

My Top 5 Blogs are:

1. Mon from Holistic Mamma. A woman of enormous heart and much earthy wisdom she has quite a few blogs including one entirely dedicated to all things herby and hearth-y. Check her out. In the words of Flight of the Conchords you got it goin’ on’.

2. Soulemamma – because her photography is just beautiful and because I enjoy her soulful posts so much. Check out her Winter Manifesto for some ideas of how to really savour the present.

3. DocWitch from over at The Dark Side of the Broom – because I love her blog the most and though I have nominated her for other awards, I think her stuff is full of culture, is very literary and I know her to be an extremely ethical woman. This is where I go for spiritual succour and a good laugh.

4. Simple, Green, Frugal because we ALL need to have access to this information and I’m trying my very hardest to be more of all three.

5. Happy Earth. This is fantastic work and I am really inspired by what these guys have been able to achieve. Take a look at what can be done with some imagination and a lot of hard work. Wonderful stuff!

That’s it. Looking forward to a bit more of a proper post when I have more time. You know. In between looking after small fractious (bordering on feral) 2-yr old and the business and maybe squeezing in a visit to the bathroom by myself.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Devoted Heart

*Fire Woman

Well, with temperatures increasing again towards a scorching 43 degrees tomorrow - we are girding our loins, packing our bags and heading out of the hills to the relative comfort of St Kilda beach. The horror heat along with the forecast 100mph winds are definite bad guys in the war against bush fires and we are in no way prepared to stay and defend our property, hence our decision to get thee hence! When I say 'willing' I actually mean we have no credible fire safety plan rather than being prepared to stay and fight fire with, well hopefully, water. Besides which, our house feels like its on fire even when it's not - we have no air conditioning, a fractious toddler and a whinging pom (that would be me then) to deal with, so it's really best for everyone concerned if we stay away for the day.

As I completely buggared up my back last weekend and then had the chiro add insult to injury on Thursday, leaving me in great pain and in need of ice packs and a babysitter, I am currently about as flexible as the mummified remains of an episcopalian priest. This adds to the desire to get the hell away from any potential fire lest I become good kindling. Tomorrow is also the St Kilda Festival and that is very definitely another reason for leaving my home and heeding the call of the Siren of the Sea.

So - I am currently bubsy free (and missing her a bit if I'm honest) and am likely to be so until tomorrow morning. I know that I whinge a lot about wanting some time off from the crazy path of motherhood and then, when someone kindly obliges, I miss her horribly and fear that I will never see her again. I had to have my Bean fix, so I called up nanna and had a long discourse with Beanie about the relative merits of hanging up washing with pegs and a book that had a cow and a duck and a horse and a duck and a sheep and a duck in it. It was delightful. I'm a very lucky woman even if I often feel like a Banshee in dire need of prozac.

My darling Docwitchy is going through a tough time right now which has come unfortunately swiftly upon the heels of extricating herself from another tough time. My love goes out to you dearest rose of my heart. Remember to breathe and take it all one step at a time. It is often better to let go of the ultimate destination and simply trust in the step that is currently being illuminated.

Apart from the heat, the aching back and the sadness of dear friends, I am feeling more centred than I have in a long while. Mothering often produces more downs than ups for me and I end up in this giant whirlpool of regret being sucked under by guilt and by my concern about my ability to parent Beanie well. I know that regret and guilt are self-defeating emotions but it doesn't always help to know that. If that makes any sense. I am, more often than I wish, a not very good parent. I won't go into long boring detail about it all. I've said it all before. It just seems that despite my understanding of why I do what I do, I am still unable to prevent myself from doing it. Knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing.

This morning, after the first uninterrupted nights sleep in a long while, I meditated not once but twice. I immediately felt calmer and more present. It reminded me of my desire to connect more readily with Spirit and to really fully awaken the Divine within me. I have often said that it is not a matter of changing who we are but of becoming who we really are. I like that idea so much more than the idea of having to become someone different from who I am. It's not that I won't change, it's more that the changes will not be enforced upon me from outside of myself - like squeezing myself into an ill fitting shoe. Unravelling is really where its at. Peeling back the layers of 'stuff' that accumulate upon one's soul and around one's true heart. The layers that mask our true selves from each other and very definitely from ourselves. I sometimes think that my heart is like a ruby covered by dirt and dust and leaves and 39 years worth of misunderstanding and hurt, shame and confusion. Every time I meditate, I feel like I start the process of lifting some of that debris from around my jewel bright heart. I start the process of allowing that heart to breathe some love into me. Of course, I often ignore it completely and find myself too 'busy' to meditate or find that something or someone pops up to prevent it from happening. I think that maybe this is just an outward sign of my inner resistance. I have to be prepared to do it anyway. To take this time to reconnect and to find my stillness and my breath and my ability to simply surrender to the moment, no matter what it contains.

Parenting takes us so often away from ourselves. From our needs, our desires, our dreams and our creativity. It need not be this way. I mean, of course we have less time to devote to these things and to ourselves, but we do have time. We simply have to reclaim it from the myriad of things we lose ourselves in or that we think just cannot wait. TV, reading, tidying up, browsing the internet, writing emails, texting, answering calls - all of these 'needful' things seem to interrupt the flow. We can take back 5 minutes here and 15 minutes there until we have an hour or more of time that we can call ours. Nap time and after bedtime are really good times to try and do something creative when your babies are still small. As they grow in independence, so does our time for ourselves. So even if you can only find 15 minutes in an average day, take it for yourself and use it wisely. Meditate maybe. I write down anything creative as it occurs to me in a notebook I carry with me for this purpose. It helps. I forget less and it doesn't matter if I get distracted once its written. Anyway - that little bit of time for myself this morning helped a lot. I had a bigger smile for strangers and a gladness of heart that is not often present. And of course it made me miss my Beanie very much. I wanted to share my happy heart with her and to show her that sometimes mummy can be very, very good. I think its time I started my 5am vigil again. Time to once again let the Beloved in. What have I to lose except my chains? And what might I yet gain?

* In the arms of The Beloved

When you find yourself with the Beloved, embracing for

one breath,

In that moment you will find your true destiny.

Alas, don't spoil this precious moment

Moments like this are very, very rare.


* Fire Woman Picture courtesy of Fire Fairy

*'In the Arms of the Beloved' picture courtesy of Cheryl Alexander Creations

I hear my tribe calling to me as leaves fall like green rain from the oak beside me. I will answer that call today.

May your caravan carry you safely back home to the beloved.