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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Winter solstice 2011


Happy solstice!

We celebrated our winter solstice this weekend.
It was the first time we celebrated it and it was truly magical.
I think it will be a celebration we will continue for years to come.

We spent the morning creating our winter table in the children's play area.
Annie said a prayer for the autumn table before we packed it up.
We finished sewing our little clouds and raindrops.
(Can you see the tiny one sewed by Annie?)
We hung them up and placed all our other winter goodies on the table.

We then planted some hyacinth bulbs.
Some in a glass vase and some in some soil.
They are being nurtured inside our home during these dark days.


We did not put any lights on that evening.
We lit candles everywhere.
A winter wonderland, we had.
I gifted everyone with a clear quartz crystal.
We ate gypsy soup.
Orange and green to encourage the sun to come back to us.
We made some hot chocolate and put it in a thermos.
And we went for a walk to the little creek near our home.


We drank hot chocolate under the stars.
We walked home in the dark.
And put the children to bed oh so peacefully.
Sohail and I sat up and drank tea by candlelight.

A truly magical celebration.

Today I am thinking about what I am letting go of with the solstice.
I have smudged our home.
I have donated some items to The Red Cross.
And tonight after my bath, I am going to do this special Wiccan self blessing.

Thank you, Katie.

I hope that you have a wonderful solstice.

Blessings to you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy birthday and a great find

Today is Sohail's birthday.
Happy birthday my love!

I am so happy that I get to spend my life with my soul mate.
You are a good man.
A caring husband.
A loving father.


We celebrated his birthday over the weekend.
It was Annie's idea.
She knew that we wouldn't be able to do it properly during the week.
Bless her heart.
She is a true angel walking amongst us.


Card painted by Xavier.
Words by Annie.
I only wrote what she asked. 


Sohail was blown away by the effort we made for him.

King for the day.


Can you see the birthday banner I made in the background?


Home made Polish chocolate cake.
Yum.
Just when we had polished off the last morsel today, Sohail came home with a cake which was given to him by his colleagues at work.

Oh well, I guess we have more work to do.

Polishing off birthday cake is such hard work, hee hee!


I popped out to Winterwood to look for some winter books today.
This is a great Steiner inspired shop.
I always walk away so inspired to create beautiful things.
I have even managed to create a few.
Not too many, but a few.
Have a look at their website, you don't need to live in Melbourne to shop there, as they deliver all over the world.

It turned out that they had just moved to new premises.
A beautiful, light filled space.

In a little basket, was a sign:

"Pre loved dolls."

Very excitedly, I had a look and found these three beauties for a total of $33!
That is how much you would pay for a leg of a Waldorf doll!

All of a sudden, we have a total of five Waldorf dolls in our home.
Annie couldn't be more excited.

I am thrilled.

Aren't we lucky today?

Blessings to you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The yin of winter

I have a passion for living in tune with the seasons.


In our modern life, it is so easy to forget to do it.
We can spend the whole of winter rugged up in our home with the heating on and never venture outside.
We can spend the whole of summer in our home with the airconditioning on and never venture outside.

To be honest, I spend some of my winters and summers like that.
I am still getting used to the different weather here.
I find the summer really, really hot.
 I don't have enough winter clothes to really enjoy being outside this time of year, so I would rather sit inside.

Which is actually also a good thing, this time of year.

Because winter is a time for stillness and reflection.
An inward time.
A time when yin is at it's peak.

Winter is the season of death and decay, when most things in nature reach the end of their cycle and and return to the earth.

I enjoy this time.
It is a time to rest.
Sleep.
Reflect.

If we try to keep going, we will burn ourselves out.

Unfortunately, that is what we do in our modern lives.
I once had a boyfriend who was so busy with his job and his head that he only realised that Christmas was around the corner when it was a few days away.

Living in this way is not sustainable.


If we don't live in tune with the earth's cycles, we are missing out on really getting to know ourselves.
It also affects our health.

If we live like the earth, we live better.
Wake when she wakes.
Sleep when she sleeps.

I read this fascinating article on surviving winter from a Chinese Medicine perspective.


Here is a summary of the article:
(Words mostly from the article, some of them, mine)
  1. Sleep: In an ideal world, during winter we would be in bed not long after sunset and wake at sunrise. Our working day would be short and slow paced. Get to bed earlier, this builds up our yin reserves so that we can burn our yang in summer.
  2. Keep warm: The kidneys hate the cold and are most susceptible to it in the winter. Although the kidneys are organs of water, they are the source of fire in the body. This fire can be diminished when the body is invaded by cold, wind and damp, leading to symptoms of cold extremities, lower back pain, sore knees, lack of libido and fatigue. Wear a scarf and keep covered up especially in windy and cold weather. Wind can drive cold into the bladder channel, causing a stiff neck and can lead to cold invading the organs which leads to pain and disease.
  3. Be quiet: Reflect on what is past, observe what is now and dream of what is to come. Inspiration and insight comes to us in still, quiet moments. Now is not the time for huge projects, it is the time for rest and recuperation after the business of spring and summer.
  4. Eat for the seasons: This is one of the reasons that I get my veggies delivered and I eat organically. I know what is in season and that is what is good for my body right now. Foods have heating and cooling qualities, so if I eat a tropical mango during winter - which grows in hot weather - I am sure to be cooling down my body, something I don't want this time of year. Eat lots of soups, stews, beans, lentils and if you eat meat - increase your quantity. Meat is very grounding and this is a time for going deeper into the earth and it's energies. It is normal to gain up to 4kg in the winter. This makes up part of your yin for the yan months.
  5. Keep up your water intake: The kidneys govern and regulate the water in the body and maintain the electrolyte balance. Be mindful of increasing your water intake, our homes also become drier due the us heating them up, so this tends to dehydrate us more.
  6. Exercise: Gentle, mindful exercises are good for this time of year. Think yoga, pilates tai chi, feldenkrais, or just a brisk walk in nature.
  7. Treat yourself to a massage: Have a Chinese massage. This is a great way to get qi and blood moving without exertion. Reflexology is also great for this time of year because of the connection of the kidneys to the feet.
I hope that you are keeping warm and that you are being mindful about slowing down.
If you are in the Northern hemisphere, I hope that you are enjoying the salads, sunshine and expansiveness of the season.

Blessings to you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weekending

Joining Amanda today.

Our weekend was a long one.
It's the queen's birthday weekend. I'm not actually sure if it really is her birthday because not all the states here are celebrating it.
I am still trying to figure that one out!

It doesn't matter, I had Monday off today.

Saturday morning was spent going to my usual yoga class.
Bliss.
As always.

The rest of the day was spent preparing for my dear friend's 50th birthday party.


I got her this beautiful print from Heather.

Her birthday celebration was beautiful.
Close friends.
A feast of food.
Champagne.
Wine.
Laughter.
Poetry.
Singing.

And so much love.

I was honoured to be invited to share this day with her.


And I had to share this photo of me all dressed up with hair and make up.

I have spent the last three years in jeans.
It was so nice to get dressed up in heels and a dress.
We used to go to functions in South Africa all the time.

This was the first time we have gone out to something like this since we came to Australia.
And the first time that we left Xavier with a baby sitter.

(Well, we tried about eight months ago, but we had to come home because he woke up and wouldn't be consoled, he need his mama.)

He actually woke up just after we left and fell asleep on our friend's lap.
She said we have wonderful children.
Bless her.
And them.


I put up another print from Heather in my study.

Doesn't it look gorgeous?


Sunday was spent relaxing at home.

Today we went out for lunch.
It is really cooling down now.


We watched the ducks.
Enjoyed the sunshine.
Baked a cake.
Celebrated Sohail's birthday that is coming up on Wednesday.

He is turning 32.

So young.
Yet, not so young.

I hope that you have had a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Montessori playgroup

The natural playground for the little ones at Annie's school
It has been a while since I have taken Xavier to Montessori playgroup.
We would go, and he would just want to leave and explore the beautiful natural surrounds at our school.
Gum trees, pine forest, ducks visiting, blue tongued lizards and birds everywhere.

A wonderful place for children and one of the main reasons I chose the school.

In true Montessori fashion, I "followed the child" and let him move his limbs and explore to his heart's content.

But, since he has turned two, I have seen a shift in him.
He is becoming a little boy.

This morning, we went to playgroup.
Xavier made his own, freshly squeezed orange juice.
He peeled a mandarin and divided it into segments.
He cut up an apple and a pear.
He arranged all of them on a platter for the children to share for  morning tea.

The pride that was bursting from his heart was palpable.
"Mommy I cut!"

I was reminded why I fell in love with the Montessori philosophy.

Children feeling like they have value in this world.
Developing a peaceful core that can sustain them through the chaos of our modern world.

Exactly what I am trying to achieve through my yoga practice.

"Help me to do it myself" is what we say in Montessori.
My little boy felt so capable and confident today.
He was beaming.

Here is a little video of him using tongs to plate up his fruit.

Notice how peaceful and quiet it is in the room.
Happy children, doing purposeful, joyful work.

video

Blessings to you.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Weekending


Joining Amanda today.
Talking about this weekend.

I started my Saturday morning with my weekly dose of soul satisfying yoga.

I popped out to the organic veggie shop to top up on my supply of green, leafy vegetables.
I have been having green smoothies in the mornings and I feel like a new person.
Light and happy.

I spent the afternoon in a shopping centre.
I realised that there is nothing there that fills me up.
No natural light, no fresh air, too many fluorescent lights and all the shops just enticing you to buy, buy, buy.
I am trying to simplify, simplify, simplify.
Shopping centres are no longer for me.
They just leak my tank.
Great realisation!

I woke up on Sunday morning, ready to go the the Fill Up Your Tank yoga and meditation workshop.
And I was already feeling filled up!
It could only get better.

I had the most incredible experience.
I peeled some more layers away.
I am getting deeper and deeper into the core of who I am.
I came home light, happy, grateful for all that I have and all that I am.

I am still walking on air!

How was your weekend?

What filled your tank? 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On compassion and giving

I have been much more conscious about connecting to people lately.
We are all connected to each other.
If we only pay attention and listen to the whispers, we can hear the secrets of life.

The other morning, I thought of a friend on the way to school.
I have realised that when I am thinking of someone, it is for a reason.
I saw her at school and asked her if she would like to go for a coffee.

It turned out that she had been having an exceptionally bad day.
She said that having a coffee with the friend was exactly what she needed.
My trust in my intuition was spot on.

The coffee morning also filled me up.
And she was so grateful to have some TLC.
She had a bad cold too.


I went home and made a healing herbal broth, which I found here.
(It is a really good article, which has transformed my approach to our diet at home, I really recommend you have a read.)

We were having it for dinner that night.

So I made double.
No extra effort.
And I put it into a little jar with a little label.
I printed out the recipe and put them into a pretty bag.
Five extra minutes of my time.

She was so grateful.
She said it was one of the nicest things that anyone had ever done for her.

And it really filled me up too.


This afternoon, Sohail took two cardboard boxes and stuck them together.
He cut a hole in them.
And put the cat's bed inside.
It has been cold.
And our poor kitty sleeps outside because he is too scared of Xavier.
A little extra warmth for the cat.
Decorated with love by Annie and Xavier.

Some compassion.
It goes a long way.

Like John Mayer says: "I believe that my life's gonna see the love I give, returned to me."


Do some giving today.

It will come back to you one hundred times over.

Blessings to you.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Adding some green


My mom always had plants in her home.
It was my responsibility to water them.
Her love of nature was so tangible.
Her home was really so beautiful.


We have been in Australia for three years now.
And I somehow forgot how easily one can create a home by adding some green.
I suppose I have been so busy with children and trying to ground us here, that I have forgotten to ground us.


Plants are the easiest way to beautify and ground our homes.


I have added a few plants.
And it looks like a new space.


Green.
Alive.
Vibrant.

A tangible connection to Mother Earth.


A new pot for my orchid.


And the biggest pot I could find.

I have planted a Japanese Maple in there.
It is sitting in my study, which I am slowly converting into my ashram room.

I am feeling so much more connected.
Grounded.
Peaceful.

And I am looking forward to the third Fill Up Your Tank workshop that I am going to tomorrow.
A whole day of yoga, meditation, self reflection and the best gluten free chocolate muffins you ever did taste.

Life is good.
Yes, it is.

Blessings to you.
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