Monday, 8 October 2012

I really enjoy this poem. It mentions that the act of attention is a form of prayer or meditation and has the same value as taking the time to be still. 

I also really love the question at the end of it.  


The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Over this long weekend, I made some space to "slow down the room" and did some lovely baking, singing along to some gorgeous music and just really relaxing and getting totally into it.  It was lovely to be so unhurried and creative, and for me, it is one way of getting in touch with myself.  You don't always need to meditate, to slow down your heart rate and your mind!

I have managed to sort out a whole lot of my old recipes and it has been magical discovering some of these old gems and making them again.  My best friend from school is Cypriot and every now and then her mom used to spoil us with those delicious Greek biscuits, Kourabeides - the ones dusted in icing sugar - and we used to go up to the far end of the field and just revel in the deliciousness of these melt-in-your-mouth biscuits.  When we were in our last year of high school, her mom gave us a lesson in how to make them and I wrote it down word for word, being very green in the baking and cooking department!  I only plucked up the courage to make them years later and every time I make them and read the recipe in my original green ink, I think of the excitement of the two of us, opening the lunchbox to these little moon shaped gems!

Thank you Mrs Economou for the wonderful memories and the perfect accompaniment to my cup of tea this week.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

I went to an amazing art exhibition at artSPACE in Durban today. Roz Cryer amazed us with her magnificent work, titled “Body, Vessel, Archetype.” It was really inspiring and her work beautiful.
Her centre-piece attraction, which blew me away, was a cleverly put- together-display with a very powerful quote and message.  WOW! Profound.

Note the cracks in the vessels

Note the tea light in the above picture on the left and see how the ceramic vessel pieces get smaller and smaller and the pile gets smaller and smaller ending in ceramic dust at the end!  So clever!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

I really, really, really do like this picture and quote.  It resonates deeply with the work we are doing in the Artist's Way ...

Friday, 7 September 2012

My cousin posted this poem on my FB page and I really like it.  It reminds me of our Embody Course with Angela Deutschmann at the magnificent Boondocks Mountain Lodge ...

Come dance with me!
We have come to be danced
Not the pretty dance
Not the pretty pretty, pick me, pick me dance
But the claw our way back into the belly
Of the sacred, sensual animal dance
The unhinged, unplugged, cat is out of its box dance
The holding the precious moment in the palms
of our hands and feet dance.

We have come to be danced
Not the jiffy booby, shake your booty for him dance
But the wring the sadness from our skin dance
The blow the chip off our shoulder dance.
The slap the apology from our posture dance.

We have come to be danced
Not the monkey see, monkey do dance
One two dance like you
One two three, dance like me dance
But the grave robber, tomb stalker
Tearing scabs and scars open dance
The rub the rhythm raw against our soul dance.

We have come to be danced
Not the nice, invisible, self-conscious shuffle
But the matted hair flying, voodoo mama shaman shaking ancient bones dance
The strip us from our casings, return our wings
sharpen our claws and tongues dance
The shed dead cells and slip into the luminous skin of love dance.

We have come to be danced
Not the hold our breath and wallow in the shallow end of the floor dance but the meeting of the trinity: the body, breath and beat dance

The shout hallelujah from the top of our thighs dance
The mother may I? Yes you may take ten giant leaps dance
The olly olly oxen free free free dance
The everyone can come to our heaven dance.

We have come to be danced
Where the kingdoms collide
In the cathedral of flesh
To burn back into the light
To unravel, to play, to fly, to pray
To root in skin sanctuary
We have come to be danced! We have come.”
~ by Jewel Mathieson 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

On rainy cold days like today - this is what is needed with a good book and duvet ... hmmm ...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Colours at play
 We had a delicious little break down in the Eastern Cape this past weekend and I had such fun playing with my camera, admiring the striking colours at the beach.

Monday, 6 August 2012

My oldest daughter has started lessons in oil painting, and I dug out my old art box for her to use and came across this lovely quote by Pieter van der Westhuizen, that I had written in my box.  It ties in beautifully with the theme of this blog ...

You won't find an image of yourself
 in running water.
It's the still waters that allow you to rest
and find yourself.

Isn't that just lovely?

Friday, 3 August 2012

A friend of mine shares the following mantra with her hubby - “The fun never stops.” They apply it to their lives all the time in everything they do and I really like it.  Mentioning it to someone the other day, got me thinking about it again and how wonderful it would be to apply it to my family.  However, my immediate thinking then was, "oh, but it’s easier for them; they don’t have kids!"  
I sat with that thought for a moment and was quite taken aback by it – “so we can’t have fun because we have kids?”  Now where does that thinking come from?  I mean kids just LOVE to have fun; their lives are all about play and having fun.  They show us that all the time.  Fair enough, their fun might not always be my kind of fun, but what am I actually saying about my life?
So sitting with that thought, I wanted to know where it came from.  I know for me, becoming a parent was a big, grown-up, responsible job; not to be taken lightly.  I mean, we are dealing with children here, and their very important lives and futures!!  Therefore, perfect parenting entails that my children need to eat the correct foods, have their fish oil and vitamins, know how to swim from age two at least, get good marks at school, read well and read lots, take part in extra murals, do well at sport and school, have good manners, not have too much screen time, have the right kind of friends … now that REALLY sounds like a whole lot of fun to me!! My kids really love it too :-) Seriously though; how heavy is that and what pressure?
And with the synchronicity that only the universe could provide, a day after I started writing this, another friend of mine shared a quote with me, by Nietzsche, which is quite apt; “Maturity is to recover the seriousness one had as a child at play.” I had to read a few times to really get the essence of it and I just love it, because it highlights for me how serious I am about this parenting thing, and have lost the ability to really play.  I have been too busy trying to be the perfect parent. (I could substitute parent for package really, which includes mom, wife, friend, daughter, facilitator, cook, gardener, yogi, pianist and the list goes on.) This is a very heavy place to be in and truly just doesn’t work. It might in some areas some length of time, but it is not sustainable and I don’t think it is meant to be.
I have just realised, that this heaviness of mine is maybe why my eldest daughter jokes all the time – she’s trying to make me laugh and lighten up;  and my younger  daughter often asks me when I am cooking dinner (such timing!) to come and jump on the trampoline with her.  I mean, how can you not be light after jumping as high as you can with a bouncy giggly hair-flying-in-the-wind poppet?!  In doing some of the tasks from The Artist’s Way, I did some delving into my childhood, and my memories of it are also not always light – not enough play and too much seriousness about sport and school and here I am carrying that through with my children.
Now I’m not very good at playing some of my children’s own made-up games and just playing with them, especially when I have a particularly long to-do list.  However in working with the mantra, “the fun never stops” I feel I owe it to myself and my children to be lighter and sometimes just take 5 minutes with a simple game of noughts and crosses, a jump on the trampoline, dancing to a funky song, a quick walk with the dogs, playing piggy in the middle or maybe a swim in the pool for 20 minutes – is that really such a lot?  Nikki Bush, a parenting expert, recently wrote an article called “fantastic fun out of nothing” where she talks about spending Easter with her family, picnicking and playing soccer and volleyball in the park rather than heading off to Sun City for the day.  I loved the following words, “Children just adore playing team sports with their parents and other adults. Most importantly, all the adults took a break from their normal daily pursuits for an entire day, pressing the pause button to stop and play awhile.   It was more invigorating than going to gym, more refreshing than a walk, far cheaper than Sun City and more memorable than a meal in a fancy restaurant ”  Thank you Nikki for sharing that. How powerful a message about the joy of playing!
DON’T however let this bit of reading make you feel guilty about having to play more with your children, as that just adds to the heaviness.  Rather look at how you can you too can have fun, not just the kids. Find the games that you love too. I am also curious as to what play entails for me - what about my play?  What do I like playing at?  Do I do enough of that, or am I too busy being serious at life?  ‘Me thinks’ that is far too heavy and that it is time for some fun.  In fact, I think I am going to take a morning off next week and go to the movies! How deliciously decadent!  Or find a swing somewhere and just swing a bit – now that would be truly delightful!
May the fun never stop!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

It has been a little while since I last posted.  With the school holidays, our lives took a completely different rhythm, with loads of reading, long lie ins, doing a beautiful big puzzle, snuggling with cups of milo and a quick visit to family in Zimbabwe and Johannesburg.  It was great.  We are back into the swing of a totally quick paced beat with school having started on Monday, but we are all rejuvenated and our wells filled.

Here is a picture of the puzzle we did.  It is a picture of giraffes done in the Tanzanian Tinga Tinga Art form which I really love.  It's funky, colourful and fun ...


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Last Wednesday I was reminded of The Four Agreements, written by Don Miguel Ruiz, and remembered just how powerful they really are.  I had them written up on my fridge a few years ago and then the board they were written on broke so I took it down and have forgotten about them.  So I am delighted by the reminder. It also jolted me into seeing how I had made an assumption with one of my friends the day before.

If you are not familiar with the four agreements, they are:

1.  Be impeccable with your word; 
2.  Never make assumptions; 
3.  Don’t take anything personally; 
4.  Always do your best

They seem so simple and so obvious, but are actually much deeper and far more powerful than meets the eye. I wanted to share with you a snippet of what I read up on the first agreement which blew me away (again!!)  

“The first agreement is the most important one and also the most difficult one to honor. It is so
important that with just this first agreement you will be able to transcend to the level of existence
I call heaven on earth. The first agreement is to be impeccable with your word. It sounds very
simple, but it is very, very powerful.”

First, let’s look at how Ruiz defines the word impeccability: “Impeccability means ‘without sin.’
Impeccable comes from the Latin pecatus, which means ‘sin.’ The im in impeccable means
‘without,’ so impeccable means ‘without sin.’ Religions talk about sin and sinners, but let’s
understand what it really means to sin. A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself. 
Everything you feel or believe or say that goes against yourself is a sin. You go against yourself when you judge or blame yourself for anything. 
Being without sin is exactly the opposite. Being impeccable is not going against yourself. When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself.” Brilliant.
So when we’re impeccable, we don’t use our word against ourselves indulging in guilt or shame.
We also don’t use our word against others in blaming, criticizing or gossiping. We also honor our
commitments and only make commitments we intend to follow through on.
How’re you doing on those fronts?"  ( ) 

If this resonates with you, get yourself a copy of the book.  It's definitely worth reading and putting into practice.  I'm going to try with this one first. :-) 

Friday, 6 July 2012

I enjoy the poetry by David Whyte, and when googling the other day, saw an interesting link to his poem "Sometimes".  I really enjoyed reading it and thought that some of the questions he asked were really real, really powerful, and definitely worth some pondering ...


if you move carefully
through the forest

like the ones
in the old stories

who could cross
a shimmering bed of dry leaves
without a sound,

you come
to a place
whose only task

is to trouble you
with tiny
but frightening requests

conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.

Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,

to stop what you
are becoming
while you do it,

that can make
or unmake
a life,

that have patiently
waited for you,

that have no right
to go away.

~ David Whyte ~

(Everything is Waiting for You)

Here is the link to his 10 questions that have no right to go away ...

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

My sister-in-law posted this on her FB page and suggested I post it on my blog.  I love it - in fact - I think I should make a big poster of it and stick it up in my kitchen!!

Don't you just love it; especially the "Be Legendary" - how daring is that?

Sunday, 24 June 2012

I am just loving trees at the moment.  I went for a walk this afternoon and fell in love with this one tree that I drive passed every day, but only really “saw” it properly today in the gorgeous afternoon light.  I couldn’t believe how many branches it had and how far the branches reached. It is just magnificent.

I am also loving these beautiful coral trees that are currently in full bloom.  They are so gorgeous.  I’m going to try and photo one close to our house in the morning light and see how that turns out.

Monday, 18 June 2012

I spent a few days in Mumbai last week and while waiting for my hubby outside the local super market, I had the pleasure of watching a street vendor serve masala tea to a whole lot of passersby. I was totally fascinated and really wanted to take a photo but was a bit shy and was also not convinced I would be able to catch the essence of the vibe with the photo. In hindsight, I should have just asked him if I could take a photo of his tea pot on the stove, but such is life.
It was clearly home time (a good time for tea) and the vendor was really, really busy. The man serving the tea had a huge teapot on his little stove and he poured the tea into little glasses and handed it to his customers. There were all kinds of customers, ranging from business men to what looked like some local policemen. They stood around on the wide street corner drinking and chatting away, while the traffic blared on by. When they finished, they rinsed their glass in one of the two buckets of water next to the vendor and placed it back on the serving table. When we left I glanced into the buckets and just saw some grey, milky water. Not sure if my spoilt little "European" tummy could quite stomach drinking out of those glasses but clearly they had no problem with it.
What fascinated me even more was a beautiful young girl, who was with her mom and two younger siblings, walking confidently up to the vendor, through a small crowd of men and obviously asking for tea. What happened next blew me away. He proceeded to pour her some tea in a clear plastic packet. He twisted it at the top, whipped it over and tied it just like we do when we buy loose fruit. Then off she went. I thought to myself - but now how on earth is she going to drink that? A minute later her younger sister walked up to the vendor and he gave her 3 paper cups. Aha - okay that worked better for me; but still?!  Tea in a plastic packet?! I assumed that the vendor was maybe doing them a bit of a favor by giving them some extra tea. Then a few minutes later, he poured some more tea for someone else in a plastic bag and gave him paper cups too.  He had a few more customers like this in between the others who drank from the glass cups and then it dawned on me that the tea in the plastic packets was a take away!!  Why it wasn't served into the paper cups immediately, I have no idea, but that was take-away masala tea mumbai style!!  I loved it!  I just wish I had taken that photo.

Mark and I took the train from a little station in Powai into Mumbai central which was quite an adventure for us.  We bought tickets in a station that seemed like it was in a real slum area, but all kinds of people were walking in and out getting their tickets as if it were perfectly okay.  Interesting to note was that there were separate coaches for men and women so I hopped onto the ladies one and Mark onto the men's one next to me; we could see each other from the coach, and off we went.  It was amazing being on the train with all these Indian women dressed in their beautiful attire on their way to wherever. It was a 40min train journey and we got to see quite a lot of what I don't think we would see in a taxi.  It made me very grateful for what I have in life! The slums and piles of litter everywhere were very, very sad .
On the way back, we went in peak hour traffic, and we were lucky enough to get into the train at the start of the journey as boy were people crammed in.  They were literally pushed onto the train else they would never have gotten off. I have never seen anything like it.  Mark and I both ended up in a men's coach, but were assured it would be fine.  Again lots of curious stares.  Getting off was a another whole adventure.  We got into the "slip stream" and were all pushed off by those behind us who were also wanting to get off!  Wow!

The gate outside Jain temple in Mumbai - I love how the photo turned out

Floating flower arrangement at the hotel in Mumbai.  Everyday the arrangement was different

Sunday, 10 June 2012

I was recently reading an article in the May 2012 edition of the British Good Housekeeping magazine, and I highlighted a paragraph in it.  I reluctantly write the title of the article, "Eat well and still lose weight" by Dr Oz as I am very uncomfortable with the wording around weight.  I think there is far too much emphasis and pressure placed on losing weight and on diets.  I am a firm believer that dieting is a not solution to losing weight, as eating less, or less of a certain type of food or more of a certain type of food is just another pressure we put on ourselves and does not really look at why the body is "behaving" in a certain way.
From my own experience with diets, from workshops and from my own personal growth, I have come to see that the body has a mind of its own, speaking for you where you cannot speak for yourself.  So this particular article, and I am not sure why I started reading it as I usually skip over dieting articles, caught my eye, and in particular, a sentence in it that really resonated with my belief around the body.  Dr Oz says, "As a physician I see the burden that people put on their body with overeating and can't help thinking, what went wrong? What happened that you stopped loving your body?"  Now that last sentence is really powerful, very daring and very bold.  To me, it speaks volumes.  For many of us, our bodies do not look like we want them too, whether it is our weight, our shape, our ageing skin, our health, our physical imperfections, our physical limitations, our drooping boobs and bums, etc. It is so often a source of deep shame and pain for us.  So we set out in so many different ways, whether it be dieting, exercising, bingeing, starving, cosmetic surgery, botox, whatever, to try and make our bodies look like we think they should.  We stop loving them for what they are; when in fact they are complete miracles, housing our precious souls and we cannot hear what they are trying to tell us.  We listen to our mind, to society, to the media of what our bodies should be like; but how many of them in reality are really "perfect?"
So I invite you to ask yourself the question, if you feel it applicable,  "What happened that you stopped loving your body?" And sit quietly with it, no distractions, and just listen to what comes up; really listen.  That takes guts, because your body is always saying something on your behalf that you won’t let yourself say or acknowledge.
I highly recommend reading Women, Food and God, by Geneen Roth. It is a very insightful and powerful book, and for me, did not just relate to weight and food, but other personal issues that in fact had nothing to do with weight for me.
Then, if you really want to go big J book yourself on Angela Deutschmann's Embody workshop.  You'll never look at your body in the same light again.
In the meantime, be grateful for your magnificent body and what it allows you to do everyday.  Be gentle with it; be kind to it and hear it.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

When I Talk to You: A Cartoonist Talks to GodMy sister in law gave me the most divine little prayer book a while ago and it is a real gem. 
I would like to share one of the prayers in it with you that I think is very apt for us in the Southern Hemisphere at the moment...

Dear God

Let us prepare for winter.  The sun has turned away from us and the nest of summer hangs broken in a tree.  Life slips through our fingers and, as darkness gathers, our hands grow cold.  It is time to go inside.  It is time for reflection and resonance.  It is time for contemplation.  Let us go inside.


This is the picture accompanying the prayer - not great quality as I just took it from my phone but I think you will get the gist of it.

Monday, 4 June 2012

"Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent." C.G.Jung

In working with the Artist's Way, we came across this very profound quote and Donna-Joy Ford has written an interesting article on it that is very well worth reading.

Article on the JOY! Blog

Sunday, 3 June 2012

 I JUST LOVE this!! Wish we could all truly practise this

Saturday, 2 June 2012

These beautiful plane trees in their autumn colours were just magical to walk under yesterday.  They had such a presence.  Had a beautiful day filling my well with friends at Art in The Park

Friday, 1 June 2012

I just love this - it appeals to the little girl in me and what a fun idea.  I'm very keen to try this

Thursday, 31 May 2012

I read an interesting article by Martha Beck, Making Time for Nothing which was, preceded by a lovely quote … Finding yourself doesn’t require that you fly to Tibet, join a convent, or build a meditation room. Just consistently keep a minimal commitment to empty time.”
We all know how busy our lives are and it’s almost the standard response when asking someone how they are; “Ja, well, busy.”  I think many of us are struggling with this crazy busyness, but have literally accepted it as the norm; out of our hands; just got to live with it.  Yet do we really want, as Martha Beck so aptly puts it, our lives to become an exhausting sprint with no finish line, no real purpose, and no way to win?  I find that deeply scary. 

So I took another look at a reading I have by Angela Deutschmann’s  Insights From The Edge (Angela Deutschmann ), called “Fundamental Rest,” and it brought to mind again some powerful ideas.  These are the ones that stood out for me …

The only way you rest at a deep essential level is by allowing yourself - strange as it sounds - to put down your entire life and identity for a while. You do not have to do this for very long at a time to get very deep benefits, not at all. It’s much more about the permission to do so, and a regularity, than it is about the length of time.

So it’s not about sleep and it is not about having to take an hour each day to meditate.  It’s about regularly giving yourself the permission to have some empty time, even five minutes if that is all you have.
‘You cannot hope of yourself to have all the energy you need with which to embrace your joy if you are not resting properly. It’s just the same as a high performance athlete presuming that she can push and push and push herself and that her muscles will continue to perform magnificently. It does not ever work that way for any athlete, not any. And it is just the same with all human beings.’
We have seen with ourselves and others, if we keep up the pace of our stressful, busyness, at some level, the body gives, in one way or another – it has to.
Perhaps more important than any other, the benefit of Fundamental Rest is increased self-esteem: ‘Most of the other pursuits you do as a human being are to try and get from the world what you think you don’t have yet, or have enough of yet. However, the activity, or the non-activity, of simply being still, of fundamental rest, is a clear declaration to the universe that you think you are okay as you are, even for just a few moments.’
‘There is not a more powerful declaration of self love than sitting in nothingness.’  … ‘[Allowing yourself a few moments to be without] or learning or improving or worshipping or listening or working or anything - is the strongest route to developing fundamental self love’.

Now how profound is that?!

So in light of all of this, I have decided that I would do just that - start a little ritual going, that every day when I have a cup of tea, I will just sit and drink it, doing nothing else but drink my tea and just be, no matter how rushed or harried I am feeling.
It took a great deal of courage to do that this morning as I have a to-do-list that is miles long, but I managed it! Crazy how taking ten minutes out to have a cup of tea is so hard?!  (The mind finds all kinds of excuses and reasons not to.) Yet it was so rewarding. I got to relax with my two old dogs that I rush past daily as I run in and out of the house and my naughty little cat that came and sat under my legs for some love.  I felt great.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

I had a bit of stoep time this morning out at the front of my house, sitting in the sun, with some delicious Earl Grey tea and some bread with Nutella. I have loved Nutella since I was a little girl; it was always such a treat. 
So I resonate at some deep level with this quote in Winnie the Pooh, about anticipation, and this is how I feel about opening a new jar of nutella ...
"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best -- " and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.”  

 And then, this resonates strongly too ...  "When Rabbit said, `Honey or condensed milk with your bread?' he was so excited that he said, `Both,' and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, `But don't bother about the bread, please.'”  
Hmmmmmm pass me that teaspoon please!

Friday, 25 May 2012

In this one, I was just playing with the new scarf I had just bought and was loving.  Again, the lighting is mid morning, but I had such fun!

The light is not right for this photo; it was taken mid morning, but it is an archway over the start of a walk and the thoughts that came to mind were about the different walks in life that we all take and what the roads that lie ahead of us hold  ... so I really wanted to capture it

I grabbed an opportunity to take some precious me-time at the Buddhist Retreat in Ixopo two weekends ago, and had a bit of fun, playing with my camera.  These are some of the shots I took.  I particularly love this one of the giant protea.  I just stumbled upon them and was really stoked to enjoy them.

I’ve been working through The Artist’s Way (by Julia Cameron) with a few girlfriends these last few months and it has been a really wonderful and insightful journey.  I have loved delving deep into long forgotten dreams, ideas, and memories; some pleasant, some not so.  I find myself really excited to take my children to their extra murals these days, hurriedly dropping them off and heading to the nearest coffee shop; book, journal and pencil in hand and having a whole hour to myself to read, delve and write. Bliss!  I’m so pleased I’m not filling that gap with grocery shopping anymore.

Living authentically and living deeply is really important to me, yet I find it challenging.  Being the good girl (substitute mommy/friend/wife) and people pleaser myself (I would like to say an “ex-people pleaser”, but that would not be totally authentic) there are all kinds of situations that hold me back from being completely true to myself.  Working through the book and discussing it with my girlfriends, has definitely put in motion my ability to start living more from my joy.  So I am just loving it at the moment.  This blog is one the hopefully many creative harvests of the book.