Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

65. family time - this christmas was spent with my partner and my mum, and Bobbie the dog. We were curled up on the sofa playing marathon Wii sessions and eating delicious nut roast and chocolate pudding with ice cream for dessert. I was reminded of how much pleasure I get from just hanging out with family, doing nothing in particular - just enjoying each other's company. The past four days were filled with laughter! The only thing missing? The rest of my immediate family who are in sunny Australia. Looking forward to seeing them in 2011!

66. Wii - sure I know video games can be addictive and can bring on moments of frustration and anger, but they're also a lot of fun! For christmas I got the Super Mario Bros game and we've had a number of lengthy sessions on it already! I love it! Not only is it fun to challenge myself and see how well I can do, but it also brings out the kid in me. I used to play Super Mario Bros on my gameboy as a child, and then on our Nintendo. What a great time that was! I'm grateful that the video game playing kid inside me can still come out to giggle and scream at the screen with excitement. I know virtual games can't replace the joys of reality, but man can they come close! :-)

67. spectacular scenic views - looking out my lounge room window today I am confronted with a dreary gray London winter's day. Normally I embrace winter as another beautiful season, but right now I am longing for a picturesque view of some sparkling water or some shining greenery! So I want to brighten up my day by including on this list a few of the spectacular scenic views I have seen on recent summertime trips away. I'm very grateful for the peace a beautiful, natural setting can invoke in me. It's why my partner and I travel so regularly - to see the wonder of the natural world.

Land's End, England. 2009 -

Switzerland, 2009 -

Lake Como, 2010 -

68. trees - I have taken a lot of photos like the ones below because I love the sight of trees meeting together over a path; their canopy forming a sort of green wonderland to walk through. There is something magical about it that I just can't describe.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

61. Christmas - our tree is standing tall in the corner of our lounge room with gold, red and silver tinsel and baubles. Presents are spread out underneath. I have a nut roast recipe ready to try on saturday and I've got a couple of family members to spend quality time with. The weather outside is cold and wet - perfect for a cosy christmas day! I can't wait! Three more sleeps.

62. my 2011 diary - I like having a new year spread before me and I love my new, crisp diary with its pages of empty day notes to be filled up with activities and events. Who knows what I'll get up to in 2011? Only time will tell. :-) Of course, there is one major event I'm looking forward to - my wedding day! Yes, 2011 is going to be a life changing year. One that will forever stand out from the rest. Bring it on!

63. friends - when my partner and I announced our engagement we were flooded with congratulations and well wishes from friends. I was amazed by the response. Not because I considered myself friendless, but because I was reminded of all the wonderful people I know and just how much I am cared for. It was brilliant to be able to share my joy with those closest to me; the people in my life who really understand what this all means to me. The people who will be with us to celebrate our big day. I'm so grateful for my friendships, and glad that I am able to be a friend myself. My only hope is that I am always able to offer my friends the same level of love, support, joy and compassion that mine give to me.

64. the moon - reading about last night's lunar eclipse got me thinking about how grateful I am for the moon's existence. And while I'm amazed by her celestrial magic and tidal forces, that's actually not the reason I've included her in this list. I include her because of a particular day in my life that occurred not long after I'd moved to London. I was home alone, in a new city, with nothing to do so I took myself off to see a movie...alone. I'd never gone to the movies alone. In fact, on that day as I rode the bus to the cinema I felt as if I'd never done anything alone in my entire life. This wasn't true of course, but the feeling of independence and freedom flooded me. So much so that I consider it a real turning point in my life. I was twenty-one years old and away from everything that was familiar to me, and yet I wasn't scared. It might sound crazy, but that simple act of going to the movies alone, in a foreign city, made me feel liberated and empowered. I spent the whole day out on my own, with a smile on my face, and that night as I was cleaning my teeth I looked out of the bathroom window and saw a beautiful bright white full moon staring down at me from the clouds. Seeing the moon then, in my enlightened mood, was life-affirming. I felt as magnificent and capable as the moon herself. And that was something I'd never, ever, thought of before. My mind and heart had opened a little that day. And it was the beginning of an important shift in me. Even now, whenever I spot a full moon, I'm reminded of how I felt on that day. And I always smile.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

57. swings - getting on a swing always brings out the child in me! I love them - another simple pleasure. I was afraid of heights as a kid so it took me a while to drum up the courage to swing high. But eventually I was able to swing ferociously enough that it seemed like the entire swing set might pop out of the ground with the force of it all! I was also brave enough to jump from the swing - I loved that split second when I was actually flying, before my feet hit the ground.

58. my first bike - one birthday (I think it was my ninth?) I awoke to find a bike in my room. It was standing there waiting for me. Great day! :-) I loved my bike. I loved riding it to school and around the neighbourhood. And it wasn't just about the freedom it gave me; it was mostly about how grown up I felt! I was finally big enough to have my own bike, old enough to be trusted to ride off on my own. Heading off somewhere on my bike, alone, helped me to feel strong and courageous and independent for the first time in my life.

59. pianos - I played the piano for many years when I was a kid. I enjoyed it so much. Nothing beat the feeling of getting a piece of music right after practising and practising for hours on end. Playing the piano taught me discipline and the joy of accomplishment. Playing the piano taught me to love music. I really should never have given it up (but kids do dumb things sometimes!). I'd love to own a piano now and to take up playing again; to have the sound of a piano fill the house once more.

60. my one and only trophy - I won a trophy for tennis when I was eight or nine. It was for 'Most Improved' and the engraver spelt my name wrong. :-) But boy was I proud of that trophy! I can still recall the moment I received it. We'd finished our tennis training for the day and the teachers had taken us inside the tennis club room and sat us all down. They announced a few other names first and then lo and behold I heard my own name being called. I was shocked, surprised, nervous, excited, and happy all at once. I didn't consider myself a sporty person back then (i'm still not!), but I knew I'd worked hard and it was nice to be acknowledged for it. I'm grateful for my one and only trophy because winning it was a giant pat on the back, from someone outside of my immediate family. And the shy little girl I was then had obviously needed that.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

53. Christmas trees - decorating a christmas tree takes me back to a time when I wasn't able to sleep a wink on Christmas Eve because my stomach would be churning with anticipation. It reminds me what it feels like to be completely consumed with excitement. I absolutely adored Christmas as a child. Now that I'm all grown up, though, its thrill has become a little tarnished. But hanging the tinsel always brings a bit of that old thrill into my life again.

54. fairy lights - they remind me of that christmas excitement too. And they make me feel joy because fairy lights always seem to come out during celebrations; christmas, birthday parties, weddings. A tiny light twinkling and sparkling - who would have thought it could bring such a big smile to my face? Ahh the simple things in life! :-)

55. bubbles - while I'm on a roll here, why not write about all those simple pleasures from childhood. :-) What was it about dunking a plastic wand (that had a circle or star shape on the end of it) into a bucket of soapy water and then dancing around the garden making bubbles? Why was that so much fun? And why does the sight of bubbles now, as an adult, still manage to make me giggle with glee?

56. trampolines - my sister and I had a big blue trampoline. The amount of time I spent jumping on that thing! wow! And I wasn't one for tricks either. I might have done the odd somersault, but most of the time I just jumped. Up and down. I suppose I was doing what is called living in the moment. :-) Jumping up and down was enough for me. And it was fun!!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

49. snow - the past few days in London have been filled with snow. I love looking out my window and seeing the flakes cascading down. I love seeing the mounds of it settled on the rooftops and amongst the tree branches. I love how a dusting of pure white can really bring out the beauty in something. I also love that each snowflake is unique, and yet they are made up of the same stuff. Sort of like humans! :-) It's nice to be reminded of our uniqueness, isn't it?

50. my sister - there's only the two of us, and I'm the youngest. Growing up I idolised my big sister, as all younger siblings tend to do. And as most older siblings tend to do - my sister considered me annoying. :-) Eventually, though, we both got a little older and a little wiser, and now we're the best of friends. But that's the thing about siblings - you're more than just friends aren't you? There's a connection that goes much deeper than friendship. My sister knows exactly what it's like to be me because we share so many of our memories. My sister has been there for all the big moments in my life. She's supported me, unconditionally. I might still bug her from time to time, as all younger siblings tend to do, but I know I can always rely on my sister's love. I know we share a bond that can never be broken. And that makes me feel so very, very grateful.

51. angels - I choose to believe in angels and I've felt their presence in my life. I know they are always around, guiding me and protecting me. I'm a big fan of anything that brings comfort to people. And I know the angels bring comfort; I've witnessed the peacefulness that washes over a person when they recount an angelic experience. I've felt that peacefulness myself. Quite acutely, in fact. If I do anything in my life that could be remotely considered prayer, it is communicating with the angels. I ask for guidance and the answers always, always come in some form or another. Having faith (in whatever you choose to believe in) is an integral part of being alive. I'm grateful for my faith in the angels.

52. Louise Hay - anyone familiar with Louise Hay's book 'You Can Heal Your Life' would agree that she is a remarkable and inspirational woman. Not only did she heal herself of cervical cancer without any conventional medical treatment, she also found a way to reach out to millions of people and help them on their own healing journey. I'm grateful to Louise for what she taught me about positive thinking and letting go of old hurts and resentments. These old wounds do nothing but create illness in our bodies and minds. It's much better for us to forgive and let go. Learn from life, but live without regret.
Louise Hay has daily affirmations on her website. Today's affirmation is -
"I'm a student of Life, and I love it!"

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

45. Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition - this exhibition is on every year at the Natural History Museum and I always love to go. The photos are always amazing. I especially like the nature shots - when photos show how remarkable, and beautiful, Mother Earth is I can't help but be filled with gratitude and awe for this planet of ours.
Here are the links to my three favourite photos from the 2010 competition -

46. 'Conversations with God' by Neale Donald Walsch - when I first heard about this book I admit I was sceptical. And I wasn't the least bit interested in reading a religious book about a man talking to God. But years later I was browsing in a bookshop and it caught my eye. I read the first few pages...and I was hooked! This book isn't a religious text at all. It's a spiritual book filled with New Age ideas. God is love. God is life energy. God is everywhere and everything. This was the first book that spoke those words to me. This was the first time I was offered an alternative definition of 'God'. No longer was 'God' a white-bearded man in the sky. 'God' became an energy that is within us. This was my first glimpse of my own divinity. Reading this book helped me discover how magnificent each and every one of us is - that 'God' is not some special person we should all hope to be. We are all God. We are all divine. Already.

47. 'Avatar' - Ok, so plot wise this movie is predictable, but what I really loved about this film was its spiritual message. The Na'vi people live in harmony with their planet. They are one with Mother Nature. They communicate with animals. Everything and everybody is connected; they share a spiritual bond. Life is what matters.

48. my warm puffa coat - ahh my down-filled coat; I love you! It's like having a doona (that's a duvet for all you non-Australians!) wrapped around me all day long. And yesterday it was cold enough here in London to wear it. Yesterday my puffa coat had its first outing for the season. Freezing cold weather not something to be grateful for? Come on, winter is inevitable. We may as well enjoy it. Summer will come around again. It always does.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

41. 'F**k It. The Ultimate Spiritual Way' by John C. Parkin - this is one of those great books that gets you laughing, and yet it also has a profound message in it as well. Parkin suggests that life is fun, life is meant to be enjoyed, and that using the phrase "f**k it" is a strong way to remind ourselves of this fact. Parkin says fill your life with the things that give you pleasure and bring you joy. Life flows along, without any help from us. So wouldn't it be better to let go of fear and stress and just flow with life? Life is far too short to spend it worrying all the time. And that's what I love about this book because it's so true - I often find myself worrying about little things, flooding myself with tension and anxiety, and for what? How does this serve me in any way? All it does is make me feel awful. And that's no way to live. So F**K IT!! Let go, relax, and move on.
To quote Parkin - "F**k It is a most profane way of saying the most profound thing: that when we relax and give in to the simple flow of life, we will experience the ultimate freedom."

42. bookshops - I've always had a thing for bookshops. I can spend hours in them, just browsing. I love to see all those books lining the shelves, or stacked on tables, or being displayed in the windows. It's not only because I one day hope to see a book I've written on a shelf in a bookshop, but because I simply love books. All books. There is something comforting about diving deep into the pages of a book. I've learnt a lot about life by reading books. Some books inspire me, some books entertain me, some books help me grow a little wiser. Books bring me joy. So when I walk into a shop that is overflowing with books, I'm instantly filled with excitement!

43. 'Fragments. Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe' - this book was just published recently and I snapped it up quick smart! Marilyn Monroe has always intrigued me. I've read a lot about her life. I've seen her movies. But this is the first time I've read anything written by her. Marilyn wrote many notes and poems, as she tried to make sense of her world and of life itself. She wrote down her feelings, often in poetic form, in an attempt to heal herself of past pains and to understand herself better. This speaks to me because I have always done the same. Long before I turned my attention to fiction writing, I kept a journal of my thoughts. Writing has always been my way of working things out. In that sense I will always be a writer, whether my novels ever find publishing success or not. Writing is a way of life, and reading Marilyn's musings and poetry has helped remind me of this fact.

44. 'Mslexia' - this is a magazine 'for women who write'. I enjoy reading the interviews with women who have achieved success with their writing - it helps to keep me inspired and motivated. And it reminds me that the dreams of a writer can most definitely come true.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

I am grateful for...

37. Cherry Blossom trees - this year my partner and I were in Washington D.C during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Hundreds (or even thousands!) of these beautiful trees surround the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial. We sat in the shade of the cherry blossoms and had a picnic, with the delicate pink petals that had come loose in the breeze raining down on our heads. It was magical!

38. green valleys - as I've said before, green scenery in nature makes my heart sing.

39. yoga - I love yoga as exercise - it's the perfect combination of movement and meditative breathing, and it always manages to calm me. But there is much more to yoga than exercise. I'm still learning about yoga as philosophy, rather than just its westernized association with Hatha Yoga and physical exercise alone. I've read that yoga translated from the Sanskrit means 'union'. As I understand it, yoga philosophy is about self-realization leading to connection to spiritual consciousness and union with the Supreme. A true journey of enlightenment. Just what the spiritual me is looking for in life!

40. meditation - I have a few different meditations that I try to include regularly in my daily routine. I use Reiki meditations, chakra-balancing meditations, crystal meditations and even the good old focus-on-your-breath meditation. I use visualisations to help me switch off my thinking brain and connect to my deeper consciousness. I use meditation to remind myself that life is about the present moment, the here and now, and that sometimes we just need to take a step back and breathe. Our mind will still be there after we take a moment to relax, but hopefully it will be a little calmer, a little less stressed.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

I am grateful for...

33. 'Friends' - yep, I'm one of those people who watches Friends repeatedly. I can't help myself. Even though I've seen every episode at least fifteen times, and I own the entire series on DVD, if Friends is on TV and I'm at home I'm most likely watching it. You know the great thing about Friends? No matter how much I watch them, the jokes still crack me up. It's like I'm hearing them for the first time. That's brilliant comedic writing, if you ask me!
I can't say I have an all time favourite Friends line; because there are way too many hilarious ones. But here are two that spring to mind right now -
i) Joey: "You don't own a TV? What's all your furniture pointing at?!"
ii) When Chandler and Rachel are eating cheesecake off the the floor and Joey walks up, looks at them curiously, takes a fork out of his pocket and says "All right! What are we havin?"

34. New York City - I've been to NYC four times, always with my sister. I can't imagine being in NY without her; it's almost as though the city was created just for us! And I can't really explain why I love NY so much. But it does something to me, that city. It makes me feel like the world is my oyster and that whatever I dream of in life can be mine. I think it has this affect on me because travelling to NY the first time, in 2004, really was a dream come true for me. I'd watched the city in movies (and on Friends!) for years and then there I was, being bustled by the crowd in Times Square, walking through Central Park, gazing down from the top of the Empire State Building, catching the Staten Island Ferry. I was livin' the dream! :-) NYC has also played an important part in the direction my life has taken, because it was while I was there in 2004 that I realised I wanted to write. I was a bit lost at the time but New York City inspired me to choose a path and here I am, six years later, still following the dream!

35. London - another inspirational and significant city in my life. London is where I met the love of my life. London is where I discovered who I really am and who I want to be. London is where I finally grew up. London is where I opened up to my spirituality. Without London, would any of this have happened? Without London, would I still be me? Just how much does our location in the world influence our very being? From my experience I would answer - immensely. Living in London has changed me for the better.

36. St James' Park - one of my absolute favourite parks in London. I consider it special because of the afternoon I spent there when I'd first moved to London. I was alone, sitting under a tree in the shade, notebook on lap, pen in hand, and surrounded by a city that was proving to be an exciting discovery every single day. And do you know what I felt as I sat there? Do you know what feeling was flooding my body, almost bringing joyful tears to my eyes? It was freedom. I was in a new city, embarking on a new stage in my life. I was twenty-one years old; the world was full of promise. Even now, years later, that same intense feeling comes back to me whenever I'm in St James' Park.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

I am grateful for...

29. mexican food - the Tex Mex version (which I know is probably a major insult to authentic mexican food). I'm a vegetable fajita girl. I love 'em with lots of sour cream and guacamole. I could eat so many of 'em that I could turn myself into a giant vegetable fajita. I love 'em, I love 'em, I love 'em.

30. lists - oh where would I be without my to-do lists? It would be struggle town, population me. That's for sure. I write grocery lists, reminder lists, presents-to-buy lists, people-to-call lists, things to do and even gratitude lists! :-) I just can't help myself. Maybe it's the writer in me needing to put pen to paper, for whatever reason. I don't know. Maybe it's because I can be so forgetful sometimes. Or maybe (and this is probably closer to the truth) I just like to be organised and in control. With lists I know where I am and I know where I've got to get to. Ahh the joy of ticking off a list!

31. J.K Rowling and 'Harry Potter' - I'm gearing up for the release of the second-to-last film next month. Can't wait! But it's not just the films that excite me, oh no. It's the books too, of course! I'm not the least bit embarrassed to admit that as a writer I certainly envy J.K Rowling's success. She did what we all dream of - she dedicated her life to her craft and it paid off. She got to write about what she wanted to, in the way she wanted to, and she was able to inspire us all in the process. I think she is wonderful and I admire her dedication to Harry Potter. I'm grateful for her imagination and how intricately she put that on the page. I'm grateful the world of Harry Potter exists because it has provided me with many, many hours of entertainment.

32. imagination - speaking of J.K Rowling's imagination got me thinking about just how magnificent the whole thing is. The imagination isn't tangible in the physical sense and yet, as any creative person, or child, can tell you; it's as real as everything else in this world. When I'm writing fiction and I'm making up characters and settings in my mind, they become palpable. The world I'm creating in my imagination is just as powerful as the 'real' world. And how brilliant is that?! How truly spectacular is it that we are able to conjure up people or places or events out of nothing, just with the power of our imagination. I'm so grateful for this ability. Without it I would scarcely be alive.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

I am grateful for...

25. incense - I am burning Nag Champa at this very moment. I love its fragrance and, of course, its mood altering qualities. That's right - the resin actually has a mood altering compound; call me stupid but I only just found this out! :-) I always knew Nag Champa had an effect on me. I always knew it made me feel calmer and helped me to meditate. But I never stopped to think about HOW it did this. Again, call me stupid...
I just love the smell. And there is something mystical about the way the smoke rises too. This was something I tried to describe in a poem I wrote many years ago. Maybe I was under a resin-induced 'high' at the time! ;-) Decide for yourself -

Smoke rises, curling like
a mini twister.
Out of the incense it burns,
a fire flame
of bright white hue.

A torch leading upward
until an invisible breath
blows the flame
into a cyclical dance.

Little smoke e’s
spin and spiral
like carvings
on an ancient cave wall.

Puffs dive as stingrays
might glide through clear water.
Or dragons might sneak
across a night sky.

Smoke spirits ascend
high in seamless air
they twist, they fumble
like acrobats of the mystical.

Or prisoners released
from an incense hell.

26. clouds - not the rumbling gray ones that spew rain at us, but the wispy ones that make patterns in the sky. Remember when you were a kid and you lay down on the grass to watch the clouds go by? Even as I sit here now, gazing out my window at the white fluffies floating in the sky, I can recall the wonder of childhood - when everything, even everyday clouds, had the potential to amaze you.

27. fireflies - it might seem strange for me to include these little beetles on my gratitude list, but writing about clouds reminded me of them. I've only seen a firefly once in my life and it was last year during a trip to the US with my partner. It was summer and we'd taken an evening stroll after dinner. As dusk settled around us I saw these tiny charges of light bursting in mid air. I was mesmerised! I felt the glee of discovering something truely amazing and I was instantly transported back to childhood where everything in the world was new and powerful and full of surprise. For that short moment my adult mind stepped aside and I was able to view those little bursts of firefly light with innocent eyes.

28. forests - green scenery in nature makes my heart sing; its as simple as that.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

I am grateful for...

21. Inception - I just saw this movie for the second time and I have to say it really blew me away...again. Of course you wouldn't expect anything less than magnificent from Christopher Nolan, the genius who brought us Memento. I love these types of films - the extraordinarily original ones, the movies that never really leave you. They hang around in the recesses of your mind for hours, days, weeks after you exit the cinema. They perplex you, they inspire you, they amaze you. They change your life. I lost myself in the world of Inception. It was unique and oh so captivating. Now that's the sign of a brilliant film!

22. driving - I love being in the car, either as the driver or a passenger. We were one of those families when I was growing up - the sunday drive type family. Especially when we were visiting my grandparents in Sydney. I have many a memory of driving through the city, my grandfather at the wheel. It was never about going to anywhere in particular; the act of sitting in the car and driving around was enough in itself. Once I grew up and got my own car, one of my favourite pastimes was to jump in my car, heading nowhere, and just drive. I'd sing along to my music and feel totally free. And maybe that's what it's all about - the freedom of movement. You're going somewhere, even if you don't know exactly where that is when you start out. Ahh, the joy of discovery, huh? :-)
Ironically, when I was an infant, travelling with me in a car was nothing short of torture. Just ask my family. Apparently, I would cry and scream from my car seat for the entire eight hour car trip from our home to Sydney. And then I would finally give up and fall asleep...five minutes from our destination!

23. internet - I often find myself saying to others - 'what did we do before we had the internet?' - and shockingly I just as often don't know how to answer my own question. One time I literally forgot how to look up a phone number without internet access. Yellow pages, anyone? It's probably a bad thing right, that we rely so desperately on this virtual world. But I don't know. Is it really? Everything is at our fingertips. You want information, you open your web browser. We have access to everything we could ever need. Surely this is great for our growth, our expansion as humans? Ok, I get that mindless surfing is an addictive and negative behaviour. But something I also understand is how the internet has opened the world to us. My eighty-six year old grandfather is online now. I can see him as I talk to him on Skype. This is invaluable given we live on opposite sides of the globe. And just think, without the wonder of the internet you wouldn't be able to read my blog. What a dreary world we'd be living in then! ;-)

24. dancing - much like my singing, my dancing is average at best. But no one ever said you had to be perfect at something to enjoy it. I know I'm in a good mood when I feel like dancing. And I know that dancing will only make me feel even more elated. Dancing puts a smile on my face! Right as I'm typing this I'm doing a bit of a shoulder sway, and a head bob, in my chair - Prince's 1999 is on the radio. :-)

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

I was away last week so this time it's a double gratitude list!!

I am grateful for...

13. gelato - I have just spent ten amazing days in Lake Como, Italy, where I managed to sample the gelato in many a village along the lake. My favourite is always to get a scoop of chocolate and a fruity type, say strawberry or mango. Love the combination of flavours! My gelato tip - always get it in a cup. I believe you get more gelato that way (which is of vital importance!) and all you get is the scrumptious taste sensation of the gelato itself, uninterrupted by an often stale cone.

14. purple - my absolute favourite colour. It does something to me when I see the colour purple. More than a soothing feeling, it's actually like a coming home, an embrace. It's appealing to my eye, that's for sure!

15. Dawson's Creek - teenage angst at its best! For those who didn't follow this show you might be wondering why I am so grateful for it. All I can say is that it was on when I was a teenager myself; I related to the characters. And the soppy romantic that I am clung to the Pacey-Joey storyline, viewing their developing love with such intensity you'd think it was real life! Embarrassing to admit, or not? I'm sure there are others (women!) out there who know where I'm coming from. Long did I dream of finding my own 'Pacey Witter'...and good news...I have! And my real life version is a thousand times better.

16. singing - I don't have a fabulous voice, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying belting out a tune as often as I can. Music is a wonderful creative gift and I'm so very grateful for it's place in our world. I admire those singers who can bring tears to my eyes with their soulful voice, or can make my heart literally expand in my chest with wonder. It amazes me how powerful an instrument our own voice can be, and how some singers sound like angels to me. Plus - singing is just fun! I love it!

17. The Sound of Music - keeping with the singing theme...I adored this movie as a child. In hindsight it was probably this film that sparked in me a love of singing. But it was more than that - it was actually the first movie that had a powerful impact on me. I remember watching it at a friend's house and just being blown away by the theatrics of it - ohh the singing, the Alps scenery, the love story. It was grand and amazing to my innocent, small-town-girl eyes. I think I wanted to be a part of it all. And so my love affair with movies began.

18. cinema - the whole experience of it! Nothing beats going into the auditorium, the lights going out and the music blasting out at you. Films are life changing for me and that's something I'm not embarrassed to admit. I adore them! I've found hope in a movie when I've needed it, I've been warmed by a love story, I've been broken by a tragedy. I know it's not real life, but on the contrary...if we allow films to speak to us, they will. If we allow movies to do more than just entertain us, we can discover something profound about the human condition - each film is a snap shot of a director's intention, a writer's vision and an actor's creativity. If that collaboration, with all its imagination and skill, is not a perfect example of how truely brilliant it is to be a human being, then I don't know what is.

19. turquoise ocean - last year my partner and I had a wonderful holiday in Zanzibar. The colour of the ocean there blew my mind. It was so incredibly breathtaking. I've never seen anything like it. In fact, words fail me, so take a look at the photos below. They say it all...

20. ladybirds
- they're so cute!! When I was a little girl I went through a bit of a ladybird obsession. It probably had something to do with the fact that they weren't scary in any way - unlike the heaps of poisonous, or hairy, or just generally freaky, spiders that reside in Australia! So one day I caught a bunch of ladybirds from the grass in our backyard and kept them in a hand-made garden; I used a tupperware container that had a lid with ready-made air holes in it and I filled it with grass clippings and twigs and leaves. I enjoyed playing God - creating a 'natural' environment for my new ladybird friends. I spent hours watching them climb up and down the blades of grass, intrigued by these harmless, beautiful little insects. I especially loved watching them take flight, spread their ruby red wings and dash from one side of the tupperware to the other. Spectacular!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

9. The Pyramids of Giza - I lived a dream come true when I travelled to Egypt in 2005. I'd been fascinated by all things Egyptian since childhood and I fantasised about seeing the Pyramids with my own eyes. At that time it was the grandest dream I had for myself, something I pledged to achieve within my lifetime. Back then, as a little girl growing up in Australia, having never even been on an airplane, I assumed it would take a small miracle to get me to Egypt. As destiny would have it, I was fortunate enough to holiday in Egypt not once, but twice! It seemed dreams really do come true!
When I first laid eyes on the Pyramids, I cried. It was as though everything in my life had led me to that one particular moment in time and I was absolutely flooded with joy. I now use that feeling of stomach-twisting excitement as a benchmark for signalling my heart's desire. Whenever I get that feeling I know I am living a moment of magnificence; a moment that I'll remember forever.
On that first day in Egypt I went to the roof of my hotel; there was a clear view of the Pyramids a short distance away. I sat and watched the sun set behind them, its crystal light shining on their tips, the pink hue of the horizon blending with their golden stones. I sat there and watched until darkness fell and the city’s lights began to come on around me. All the while those three magnificent pyramids gazed over the land as they have done for thousands of years, and I felt at peace.

This is a photo I took at the time -

And the Great Pyramid by day - just look at the mind-boggling size of it! :-)

10. horses - I was the little girl, like many others, who dreamt of having a pony. I wanted to gallop with the wind in my hair. I read about horses and I drew horses everywhere. I went on a couple of shaky rides during a family holiday and a school excursion. As an adult I did a short course at a stables in Sydney. But I am still, to this day, a novice rider who knows very little about the realities of horse ownership. That doesn't stop me from loving horses though! I think they are the most beautiful creatures on earth.

11. tulips - my absolute favourite flower. There is a precious quality to the tulip's beauty; an innocence. The buds are so perfectly shaped - curved and delicate. They awaken something in me; a remembrance, perhaps, that nature's gifts are pure expressions of the divine.

12. pens - or pencils even, anything that let's me get my words and thoughts down on the page. Of course, I use my computer to write the majority of the time. But I still love the art of sitting down with a notebook and allowing the pen, as an extension of my hand, to record that which I hold dear to me. Writing longhand is a direct link to creative energy, one that puts my physical body to use as well. In that way, writing becomes a complete 'being' experience - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Today is Gratitude Day!

Continuing my list of '100 Gratitudes', I am grateful for...

5. dogs - their loyalty, their carefreeness, the cute way their tails wag, and their wonderful intuition; dogs just seem to know when we are feeling down and need some cheering up.
I have vivid memories of the three dogs who are no longer with us - our first ever pet, Tip, the kindest, gentlest dog there ever was, our little dog Maxi who lost hair by the bucket load but was the cutest thing alive, and my sister's dog Indy who used to spoon with me on the couch, just like a human, and was my buddy when I really needed her. I'm grateful for the time I spent with each of these amazing animals and I'm so glad they were a part of my life.
These days I spend some time with my Mum's dog Bobbie, a real teddy bear of a dog, so charming I just want to eat him up! :-) And I look forward to the day, sometime in the future, when my partner and I will bring a new dog into our home.

6. affection - touch can heal and inspire, it can be romantic or platonic, but it is never without tenderness. Touch can remind us that people care, that we are loved, that we are not alone. Touch can help us feel safe and strong. Touch can help us overcome grief. Touch can remind us we're alive.
I am so grateful for my ability to give and receive affection, to reach out to others and have them reach right back to me. A hug can invoke more joy in me than anything else.
I do like witnessing public displays of affection. Not overly passionate kisses, but those intimate moments stolen between lovers, friends or family - his hand resting on the small of her back, a peck on the cheek, an intertwining of fingers, a piece of hair being brushed from a face, a child reaching up to take her mother's hand. These innocent affections, whether experienced by me or witnessed in others, are what life is all about, to me. They show love.

7. aquariums - I love the peacefulness of watching a school of fish circle in the water. Back when I first started writing I was inspired by three striped fish swimming within a crowd of others at the Sydney Aquarium. At the time, I wrote a poem about them -

A glass wall, from
floor to roof
displays this underwater world

All blue and aquamarine, all
and fishes
and bubbles.

Three fish, all striped in black and white,
back and forth

Across the glass in
as though choreographed.

The invisible energies of life guide them
side to side

Where one goes,
the others follow
A dance made just for three.

8. laughter - the kind that has the tears rolling down your cheeks, the kind where you grasp for air, where your tummy tries to jump right up out of your throat with unadulterated joy.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

New Blog Project - a weekly Gratitude Day

I have come across an exercise entitled '100 Gratitudes' - this exercise allows you to reflect on your life by having you list 100 things you are grateful for. In need of a regular blog project so Healing Scribe does not continue to go untouched as she has done in previous weeks, I've set myself the challenge of my own Gratitude List. I've decided to compose this list over the course of the next six months and post it here once a week.

So here begins my very own '100 Gratitudes' List - Today is Gratitude Day!

I am grateful for...

1. Waterfalls - the cascading water has a calming effect on me. This photo was taken in 2007 during a holiday in Australia with my partner.

2. Ben and Jerry's ice cream - there is nothing better than curling up on the couch with a tub of B&J's. Not so healthy, but oh so yummy!

3. 'The Lovely Bones' by Alice Sebold - the novel that inspired me to write.

4. 'The Time Traveller's Wife' by Audrey Niffenegger - the novel that inspired me to write about love.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Writing my way to Freedom

Last week I came across Joanna Paterson’s blog Confident Writing. Joanna started a group writing project asking the question ‘Can writing keep us well?’ I believe the answer is yes!

The magnificent thing about being a writer, for me, is that creativity is wrapped up so closely with spirituality. When I write in connection with my spirit I feel ‘out of this world’ so to speak. I seem to disconnect from my physical body and float along peacefully, effortlessly, with my soul. And when I write from my soul the words flow with grace and purpose. It’s still me writing, but I’m writing from a place of serenity. Any issues that I may be burdened with in my life at the time slip away, for a moment, to allow the energy of creativity to flood through me.

In that way, writing is very similar to meditation. When I meditate the same thing happens – my thoughts slide away and I am left with a gentle energy that brings peace and relaxation to me. Daily meditation has long been suggested for those seeking a quiet mind and a feeling of tranquillity. I believe for a writer, writing can offer that same sense of well-being. Writing can be like breathing – essential and life-giving. Without air we fade away. Without my writing I can lose myself in pessimism or hopelessness. Writing restores me.

Being able to shift my attention away from my worries and anxieties is the true definition of freedom to me. I long for freedom so distinctly that it shapes everything I do in my life. The freedom I seek is everlasting peace and stillness, a break from my chattering mind, and writing brings me pure moments of this. That’s how writing keeps me well.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Musings on Creativity, with a little help from Elizabeth Gilbert

In the space of a week I have, quite literally, devoured two books by the wonderfully talented and inspirational writer Elizabeth Gilbert. Those of you who are familiar with the phenomenon that was Elizabeth’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love will recognise her name. She is a brilliant writer, an extraordinary woman, and someone I felt a kinship with from the very first moment I read her words. This kinship is not because we are both writers. What made me recognise my connection to Elizabeth Gilbert was the way we view the act of writing itself, the creative process, and how closely it links with divinity.

All artists, across all disciplines, often speak of an entity or thing that resides outside of themselves, a thing that helps their creative projects, that provides inspiration and, sometimes, drops the fully-formed work of art directly into their minds. Artists have described experiences whereby they feel they have become a channel through which art and creativity are manifested into our physical reality. I have felt this myself. When I am in the ‘zone’, you could say, when my writing is flowing from my mind down through my fingers and onto the page with almost lightening speed, I know that something else is working through me. Something outside of me is helping me, nudging me along.

As I’ve continued to develop both my writing and my spiritual life over the last few years, I’ve come to realise that these two aspects of life can not be separated. In fact, as Julia Cameron talks about so passionately in The Artist’s Way, art and creative pursuits are a spiritual process. Being an artist is a direct link to the divine. Artists work with the divine to create works of art. That’s the beauty of a creative life.

In a video I discovered on You Tube, Elizabeth Gilbert gives a thought-provoking speech about her belief that the artist is not a genius, rather the artist has a genius – that entity or thing that resides outside of them but who offers support and guidance during the act of creation. Elizabeth discusses this idea with reference to ancient Greece and Rome, where people believed creativity came from another source, not from human beings. “People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source.” The Romans called this “sort of disembodied creative spirit a genius.” The genius was the entity that provided creative inspiration to assist the artist in their work. Elizabeth goes on to say that during the Renaissance, when the human being became the centre of everything, “above all gods and mysteries”, people began to refer to specific artists as being a genius, instead of having a genius. This put a lot of pressure on one individual and “creates all these unmanageable expectations about performance.”

As a writer, I sometimes suffer from crippling self-doubt; it seems to come with the territory. I do not consider myself a genius, far from it. But I do feel pressure to write something brilliant, to prove my abilities. Yet something I have learnt of late, and something that Elizabeth Gilbert’s speech has given substance to, is that my only requirement as a writer is to turn up to the page and to write. That’s my job; to turn up, to commit to writing, and then to get out of the way. Because if any kind of creative energy is going to come through me from the divine source, the ‘genius’, that is waiting in the wings to assist me, I must be, first and foremost, open to it. When I step out of the way, stop trying so hard, stop trying to write the most perfect sentence ever constructed (which I say is an expectation placed on a lot of writers, even if only by their own egos) then a true act of creation can occur.

What Elizabeth Gilbert is saying in her speech was informed by the situation she found herself in, after the monumental success of Eat, Pray, Love, as she was trying to write her next work, with a world’s expectations on her shoulders. Would she ever write something good again? Could she ever top that success? And that’s when she realised; to have “the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up”, to continue to write was all she could do. Writers live a creative life; we must turn up to the page. But creativity itself is not something that comes from the self, from the individual. Creativity is larger, grander, than mere human existence. Creativity is spiritual, it comes from the divine.

If you feel so inclined, and have a spare twenty minutes, watch Elizabeth’s speech –

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The Creator in Me

May proved to be a very inspirational month for me, both in my writing and my spiritual life. It began with the Reiki training I completed over two weekends to become a Reiki Master/Teacher. Not only was this a blessed gathering of five beautiful and inspiring women, it was the realisation of a goal I set for myself some two years ago, not long after I’d studied Reiki 2. For those reasons, it was a powerful experience – I was surrounded by love and unwavering support from my fellow students and my amazing teacher, and I was fulfilling a dream. What a blessing!

But the blessings didn’t stop there. In fact, as is always the case with Reiki – the course is only the beginning. The real journey is what follows, as the energy body shifts to release old blocks and stale patterns that only hold us back. Since finishing the course I have felt much more connected to the creator in me – the artistic, creative person that resides deep in my heart. She’s probably that same little girl I once was who loved to spend time drawing or writing or playing the piano. I’ve managed to hold onto the writing well into adulthood, but admittedly the others have fallen away. And yet she’s still inside me, the little artist, and now I’ve opened myself up to commune with her again. Through strengthening my connection to Reiki, my connection to my true self has pushed to the forefront. I’m ready to embrace the artist in me!

Once I’d put this intention out into the universe it should have come as no surprise – as of course it didn’t – that opportunities would present themselves and I would be guided to shake the cobwebs from my artist self and get proactive. So now I find myself out of writer’s block and in to free flowing creative expression. It’s a wonder I can keep the smile off my face, as any writer knows - overcoming the debilitating writer’s block, whether self-imposed or not, is like seeing the sun shining after a long dull winter. There is no better feeling for any artist than the act of creation, in whatever medium. For me, it gives me not only a focus, a direction and a sense of purpose, it also allows me to feel as free as I can be. When I’m creating, I just work better – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. That elusive equilibrium I wrote about in my last post seems entirely within my grasp. In fact, I’m living in balance every single day, so long as I don’t deny the artist in me. She’s got a loud voice, and she must be heard.

I am also nurturing my artist self in two new ways, things that have been in my life’s periphery for many, many months, and which I have now both the courage and opportunity to attempt. In two weeks I will be starting a weekly drawing class to encourage the little artistic girl I once was to make an appearance in this adult me. And I am also setting up a collaboration blog with my wonderfully talented sister who is a photographer. She’ll take pictures and I’ll write some flash fiction. Two artists coming together to create. Wow, another blessing!

And so the inspirational month ended, in a small village during a trip to Yorkshire; I visited what was once the home of the Brontë family. I knew the Brontë sisters to have been authors, but on the walls of their home I saw fabulous art works by Charlotte – she was a creative entity, a true artist whose creative expression, it would seem, was her purpose in life. As I stood staring at her accomplished drawings I knew I owed it to all those magnificent, inspirational, artistic women who have gone before me, to not let fear hold me back from self-expression.

I am an artist, after all. The creator in me sings proud and true.

"I'm just going to write because I cannot help it."
- Charlotte Brontë

Monday, 19 April 2010

Ebb and Flow

The only constant in my life, it would seem, is my total lack of consistent equilibrium. I find myself swaying from peace to fear, and back again, quite regularly. Here I’m not talking only of the emotions that play out in my life, but the deeper state of being that influences how I experience everything around me. When I’m living from a state of peace everything flows smoothly and I am awash with joy. Conversely, when I’m living from a state of fear everything seems harder and my self-confidence is a little shaky.

I know swinging back and forth between extremes is no way to live life, so I’ve spent a lot of time and energy over the years trying to maintain balance. I’ve used various methods – writing, meditation, Reiki, travelling, and just plain old fun – to help me tap into that deep peace that I know resides within me. I’ve felt the peace intensely at times. I can identify it, when it happens, in an instant. But developing a way to hold onto that peacefulness has eluded me. The fear always seems to creep back in eventually and it’s usually around this time that I start to berate myself for still not having found that treasured balance. And once I turn against myself, the fear takes a firmer grip.

This vicious cycle, I’m realising, is the product of my insatiable need for perfection. I suppose I’ve always been a perfectionist, but I found my desire for this ideal (where it relates directly to me) increased once I began my spiritual journey. It was as though once I became aware of my divine essence and connected to that sublime peaceful feeling, anything less was a monumental failure. If I wasn’t living in peace and joy and happiness and all those wonderful things, I felt I was failing at what I perceived to be my divine purpose – living in a constant state of bliss. The fear state became the quintessential negative, a trait I felt had to be squashed and overcome completely if I was ever to find peace. If I felt, for no apparent reason, afraid or angry or sad I figured I had been swept to the negative ‘dark side.’

Fortunately, over the last few days I’ve had some powerful insights aided by a Crystal Healing course I attended (taught by a wonderful friend of mine) and my reading, and completion, of the thirteen temple initiations I’ve been working through in the book 'The Temples of Light' by Danielle Rama Hoffman. These insights are helping me greatly right now.

On the crystal healing course, during a very deep meditation, I was reminded that it is ok for me to be my shadow self just as much as my light self. I am a well-rounded entity and self-acceptance means embracing both the yin and yang of me. They are not necessarily ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ traits, more like two various aspects of me, differences that when embraced as one give me a solid grounding in life. I don’t need to release, or squash, my shadow (fear), rather I need to merge with my shadow and know that its place within me is just as valid as the light. Every part of me has an opposing part that complements and strengthens the whole. One is not ‘bad’ and the other ‘good’, instead they simply are.

Danielle Rama Hoffman’s words added to this. She talks about the expansion and contraction of life, the ebb and flow of energy –

“Energy is most often described in a wave form: a peak and a valley, a crest and a fall, sun and moon, low and high tide; energy expanding and contracting. You probably recognise this flow in your own life; there are times when you feel your life expanding and others when you feel your life contracting.”

On further introspection I realised that I had a pattern, an ebb and flow of energy, occurring in my life. When I’ve connected intensely to my divinity, essentially expanding my energy, its opposing contraction has always inevitably followed. Until now, I’ve viewed this contracting force as failure; as soon as I felt my energies shifting towards fear I considered my spirituality to be abandoning me. But now I realise that the contraction of energy is necessary – just as both high and low tide are necessary in nature. Energy moves in waves and just like life it is never static. That is the beauty of life, after all. Things are always shifting, seasons change and life blooms anew. People learn and experience and grow.

That’s the perfection of life; the all-encompassing ideal I’ve been searching for. I am whole. The light and the dark. The ebb and the flow. If I was static I wouldn’t even be alive. Now there’s a revelation!

To live in peace and bliss is a conscious choice. I now recognise it is possible to find a joyful equilibrium in life, but not until I’ve embraced my shadow and accepted its valid place within me. Whenever I feel my energy contracting I know not to berate myself. Instead I’ll work on acknowledging the wonderful ebb of life.

To ebb is not to fail.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Maintaining Integrity in a Critical World

Despite the burgeoning global awareness, criticism and separateness still abound. Spiritual awakening is a process we, as a unified whole, are all going through at this time. However, spiritual growth is simultaneously a very individual pursuit. We each move along our spiritual path at a pace that is fitting to our own needs and circumstances. We can not force people to be where we are, or expect them to agree with our every move. Compassion, love and respect for ourselves and others is necessary as the world moves into a higher, unity, consciousness.

But sometimes you come face to face with a person in your life who does not understand your spirituality. A person who is stuck in separate consciousness. A person whose criticism is hard to swallow.

It’s even more difficult when this person is someone close to you.

Being ‘different’ and standing up for what you believe in, what you know to be true for you, takes courage. This week my courage was tested. Someone close to me passed judgement on my way of life, the choices I have made and my priorities.

I allowed the criticism and negativity of this person to derail me. I allowed myself to be knocked off course. My writing suffered and I stopped meditating. I went from feeling joyful and bursting with love one minute, to questioning everything I’ve come to believe in the next. As you can guess, this person has always been a big influence in my life. I wasn’t able to take their words with a pinch of salt. Instead, they seemed to bore deep into my heart and soul, and bring forth a number of personal issues I had yet to process.

One of these issues was my ability to stand up for myself, to maintain my integrity, to speak my truth. I faltered under the weight of this person’s criticism and it was a big warning sign that my personal power was still on shaky ground. I fell into despair. I wept. And I felt completely lost.

Thankfully, after a few days of self-pity and regret, my determination fought its way back to the surface. I wrote out how I was feeling, the ugly truth of it all, my fears and failings. And through that came the spark of inspiration. I went back to my meditations and connected once again to my divine essence that had been lingering in the background, waiting for me to push through this very physical, ego-driven crisis.

Once again my spiritual practices brought me back to life, back into balance with all that is love and joyful in this world. I knew then that my path is true for me, no matter what anyone else has to say. I realised that this person’s criticism and lack of understanding is more a projection of their own fears, rather than any direct attack on my choices in life.

It was a hard lesson to learn, but I see now that this person’s critical words came at just the right time in my life, as everything seems to do. I needed to be reminded that my strength comes from within, and that to maintain my integrity in this often narrow-minded world calls for my deep inner reserves of bravery.

I am courageous and brave. I am strong and powerful. My spiritual song comes forth straight from my heart and I’m excited to be a part of this world as we raise our awareness and awaken to our divinity. I can speak my truth and live my own existence from the realms of higher, unity, consciousness.

As the Louise Hay affirmation says - “I now go beyond other people’s fears and limitations.”

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

My journey to Reiki and beyond

Reiki came into my life, like all good things, because I listened to my intuition. I’d heard of Reiki but knew next to nothing about it or how it could possibly help me. I was going through a time of change in my life, everything was new, and I had no idea which path to choose or what to do next. And then one day, like a single snowflake falling from the sky, the word ‘Reiki’ came into my mind. I found a local Reiki Master and booked myself in for a session. I didn’t know what to expect, but I trusted that it was the right place for me.

As it turned out, my Reiki Master noticed something in me that day, something that I was not even aware of myself – a desire to study this healing art. So by the end of that first session I’d signed up to do the Reiki First Degree course. The energy had a plan for me, it would seem, and I was grateful to be along for the ride.

I often think that my attunement to the Reiki energy during my First Degree course was really my attunement to life. Not that I wasn’t alive before, but I was living a sort of half-life. A life devoid of real awareness. Reiki became my initiation into the spiritual world. I began to view things differently – with love rather than fear. I began to write - something I’d talked about doing for years. I connected to my creativity. And I began to read - devouring spiritual and New Age books. I felt my mind expanding. I was desperate to know more, to feel more, to live more. I started meditating. I started tuning into my chakras. I bought crystals. My path had become illuminated.

Reiki is energy healing but it is also a spiritual path of self-development. Working with ‘invisible’ energy, feeling and seeing its healing power, had a transformational effect on me. I felt a shift in my consciousness, as though a door had opened. Through that door was the world of unlimited potential, the place where I could connect to my infinite divine essence. A place where love and joy abound. I’ve never looked back.

Since that initial burst of spiritual awareness, I’ve continued to develop regular practices – meditation, chakra balancing, and of course writing – to maintain my connection to the divine. Reiki has become a consistent part of my life; I completed Reiki II in 2008 and later this year will do my Reiki III Master/Teacher course. I continue to move deeper on my own journey within, the journey of my soul. And Reiki is the light that guides me.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Meditation for Survival

We breathe, and eat, and drink, and sleep every single day to ensure our survival. Without food or air or rest our bodies would shut down and our time here on Planet Earth would cease. We know this. We do it all without question because it is an absolute necessity.

But what if our lives depended on another daily necessity? What if to make sure you lived to see tomorrow, you were required to find a quiet spot, calm your mind and focus your attention on your breathing for thirty minutes out of your day?

What if our existence relied on essential meditation? What kind of world would we be living in then?
I'd hasten to guess that we would have never known war or poverty or murder or deceit. We would honour one another, have respect for each other, live our lives from the state of unconditional love. If meditation was a daily practice for all, just as eating and breathing and sleeping are, everybody would be tapped into their own divinity and our world would reflect this magnificence.

The world around us, right now, is magnificent; it always has been. But the majority of us have lost our way. We aren’t aware of how brilliant we shine. We walk around in a daze, focussed on our individual achievements. We are separated from one another in competition. We are so tied to our physical existence that food and air are consumed without a second thought, without awareness, often without gratitude.

Those of us who have experienced the benefits of meditation have committed to a regular practice because it allows us to transcend negativity, anxiety and fear. Meditation gives us peace of mind. Meditation helps us tap into our strength. Meditation brings us closer to ourselves, so we may know our heart’s desire with clarity, so we may commune with our soul and align ourselves with our true divine essence.

In this time of change, as humanity evolves to live in a higher consciousness, spiritual practices like meditation are becoming as necessary as breathing. We are all searching for something more, trying to find our way, looking for answers.

Those answers can be found with meditation. By putting aside some time to quiet our minds and focus solely on our breathing, we learn to look within and trust our intuition. We re-mind ourselves of our true Self.

The something we are searching for, those answers we desire, already reside within us. We just need to remember them.

Sunday, 14 February 2010


Valentine’s Day got me thinking about love and relationships. The greatest lesson I have learnt lately is that when I focus on myself my relationship with my partner runs much more smoothly. In Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch, ‘God’ says that if we’d only focus on ourselves in relationships, and stop worrying about the other person, everything would be harmonious.

“Let each person in relationship worry about Self – what Self is being, doing, having; what Self is wanting, asking, giving; what Self is seeking, creating, experiencing, and all relationships would magnificently serve their purpose.”

It's an interesting concept to grasp at first as it appears to go against everything we’ve ever thought about relationships – that in love you put the other person ahead of yourself.
But I have experienced this harmony when I’ve concentrated solely on myself in relationship. It doesn’t mean we ignore our partner’s needs or trample over their dreams to fulfil our own. What it does mean is that instead of taking our attention away from our partner, nurturing ourselves first actually fosters more love, compassion, affection and attention. If we are full of love for ourselves, we are better able to love others.

This is all about what we are subconsciously projecting. When we are worrying about the other person before ourselves, we are unknowingly projecting a certain neediness which even the most adoring of partners will pull away from. When we are, instead, being true to ourselves first, loving and nurturing our needs first, we become more open and even more attractive to our partner. Not attractive in a physical sense, but attractive in our open, loving nature. When we are content in ourselves, happy in our own life, all of our relationships with others run smoothly. It’s about energy exchange – how we feel on the inside will be reflected on the outside. Our lives will be full of the same love that we have for ourselves.

Make your own happiness the focus of your life. After all, if you don’t, who will?

“The purpose of relationship is not to have another who might complete you; but to have another with whom you might share your completeness.”

This all comes down to not relying on others for our own peace of mind. Being in a loving relationship can fulfil a number of valuable needs, but our own sense of well-being - that part of us that sings with the blessings of life - can only be found within. External validation is fleeting. It does not answer our soul’s call for divine experience on earth. And that is all our soul wants in life - to experience the divine in everything.

So if we attend to our own needs, speak our truth, nurture our own dreams then we give our soul the experiences it craves. In turn, we are happier and more content and our external world will move to match this. Seek to be happy first and our world will become more magnificent than we could ever imagine.

To find our happiness, we must connect to our heart – it knows our truth, it is the gateway to our soul. Know what our heart truly desires and live our life accordingly.

Don’t betray your own heart.

That is the key lesson here. That’s what is meant by looking after ourselves first. If our own heart is nurtured by us, we will attract a nurtured heart in another and together the two will create a balanced, harmonious relationship.

“Agree at a conscious level that the purpose of your relationship is to create an opportunity, not an obligation – an opportunity for growth, for full Self expression, for lifting your lives to their highest potential, for healing every false thought or small idea you ever had about you.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Quotes from Conversations With God. An Uncommon Dialogue. Book 1

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Great quotes

"One writes to make a home for oneself, on paper, in time, in others' minds."
Alfred Kazin

"No one is asking, let alone demanding, that you write. The world is not waiting with bated breath for your article or book. Whether or not you get a single word on paper, the sun will rise, the earth will spin, the universe will expand. Writing is forever and always a choice -- your choice."
Beth Mende Conny