All posts filed under: Wellbeing

My personal combination of healthy eating, dance, being in Nature, resting, learning, and asking for support

Want a ‘deep transformation of character’? Sit down & breathe

During the one hour ‘Blog Mentoring’ session I paid $250 for 3 years ago, I was told I had to find my ‘niche’, and write to it [with all the appropriate hashtags/images/Facebook groups aligned etc etc.] The ‘niche’ hunt continues. Last week I wrote about bushfires; 6 weeks ago it was a shortlisted Short Story, and next month it will be about a wilderness walk in Tasmania, similar to my Kakadu one (but hopefully without the drama). Would I be doing better with a timetable of topics, and a calendar? Maybe. Define ‘better’ though? I’m happy, I’m having fun, I feel connected and supported, I enjoy my blogging; there’s my motivation. And big credit has to go to my increased Meditation practice. It’s not daily [yet], but definitely at least three times a week. Plus one glorious Sunday a month, when I get to sit in a circle with amazing women from all walks of life, and meditate pretty much all day 9.30-3, except for a gloriously chatty lunch hour. Even the 30 minute morning tea …

Grappling with the spaciousness of uncertainty, by Yoda herself (Part 3)

Having finished our first 30 minute meditation from Part 2, and admitted any latecomers we’d locked out in a boundary-setting exercise in Part 1, the lesson began. ‘Uncertainty is one of the 3 main characteristics of human existence,’ Yoda Carol said, sitting her 70+ self on a floor cushion like the rest of us. ‘It’s difficult to endure, so we all cling to certainty. Yet clinging creates further suffering, doesn’t it?’ Well I know I’m clinging to my meditation aspirations as a way to calm anxiety, channel greater creativity, and nurture more peaceful personal relationships, that’s for sure. Is it not going to work? ‘We always want to make the “right decision”, weighing pros and cons, grasping for certainty. But we are just creating more attachment, and more eventual suffering.’ Damn. I thought my pros/cons list-making was a fabulous strategy. ‘There is more ease and wellbeing in letting go, so that we can focus on our actual needs in the situation as it unfolds in real time…’ Would that work for astronauts? Or brain surgeons? …

Can meditation help you set clearer boundaries? Perhaps (Part 2)

“Yes, this is good, let’s begin. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat,” I say to myself. [Where am I? In a yurt on a Sunday with 20 other women, practicing setting boundaries and the discomfort of that in Part 1] I sit cross-legged on my cushion at my Women’s Dharma Meditation circle, while Yoda Carol guards the door and taps the bowl to begin the session. “I love meditating so much, I’m damn lucky to be here. I wonder how I’ll go today? Hopefully I’ll go deep… breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. Ooh, it feels so good already, how great to do it with so many other women… did any of them bring dessert for lunch, or just lots of salad? I’m glad I made my brownies, such a cool recipe, remember that week I made them 3 times for those birthday parties that was fun perhaps I’ll go to that party next weekend… WAIT! Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. Welcome back Brain. Shit, it’s easy to stray isn’t it? I wonder how everyone else is …

Does setting boundaries make you uncomfortable? Good: you’re doing it right (Part 1)

Sunday was my Women’s Buddhist Meditation Day, and the group’s facilitator Yoda Carol began by shutting the door on any latecomers. ‘If you arrive late next time ladies, you will have to wait outside for 45 minutes while we finish our introductions and first Meditation circle,’ she cautioned. The group of 20 women shifted on their cushions, and glanced round the room, calculating who may be missing. ‘Oh, have I made you uncomfortable? It’s simply too disruptive to admit latecomers; we must each just plan to arrive on time.’ More rustling and looking. ‘We all have families, partners, children, pets, or jobs that may make us run late to Meditation, but that’s not the point. We close the door at 9.30am sharp, and that’s the boundary. I’m setting it, and happy to. If you’re uncomfortable with that, sit with it. Boundaries are not always easy, to set or receive, and especially for women. We are so trained to be ‘nice’, to be ‘good’, to not make a fuss or upset anyone… But boundaries are healthy, …

Literally ‘getting back on the horse’

I was one of those youngsters who loved horses, were you? Pretty privileged I know. I got obsessed at about 11 or 12, and luckily for me, Mum and Dad decided to assuage their parental divorce guilt by buying me a cheap old fat stubborn Exmoor pony called Christie. I had to babysit every weekend, and cycle a paper route before school to help pay for the feed and paddock costs; those animals can sure eat a lot of hay. After a couple of years trying out Pony Club, going hunting, and galloping over farmers’ fields without permission, I progressed to a Palomino called Holly, who was handsome, but with a crap personality. We tried cross country jumping, basic dressage/showing, plus lots of trail rides, and I fell off dramatically twice, getting concussion and then a fractured jaw. My Dad was not impressed. Still, Holly had the desired effect of keeping me away from boys… until I got to 17, passed my driving test, and suddenly discovered the freedom of nightclubs and dancing till 3am. Who …

The Top 7 kidney ‘bad boys’, & I’m sure making a lot of green pulp too

Week One done of my 4-week Adrenal Recovery Program, and it’s a good thing I love celery: 500ml every morning first thing is a LOT of celery, and includes the leaves. Mmm, green and bitter, just how I like to start my day… There are also 7 Big Bad No-Nos I have to avoid at all costs- They’re not in order of importance, and call me Fussy, but it looks like 10 to me really #justsayin’-: Gluten & dairy Soy & corn Pork Eggs Canola oil Caffeine (tea & coffee) Alcohol The hardest one for me is eggs- I’m mostly vegan at home, but vegetarian when I’m out; sometimes I just crave a fried egg on [gluten-free] toast to fill me up in the morning. Without doubt, the other participants are struggling most with coffee and alcohol, which makes me super-grateful once again that I’ve somehow missed getting those vices. Any differences in my energy or sleep? I must admit the ‘Eat-every-2-hours-especially-fruit regime’ seems to suit my metabolism, and I have felt more consistent energy …

Then together, we walked peacefully off into the sunset, my kidneys & I

I’m a pretty healthy chick for 52; most of my friends would agree with that. But I’ve just signed up for a 4-week ‘Adrenal Recovery Program’, that includes 2 consultations with a Naturopath, plus 2 sessions with a Kinesiologist, as well as a weekly support group meeting with the 6 other participants. Why? And this is where most of the fellas may wanna tune out: because the ‘warm/hot flushes’ of the menopause are driving me a little crazy at night, and I’m hoping a kidney/adrenals re-set will help. If I’ve had the magic  8.5 hours sleep I need, I feel like I can run the world (and let’s face it, I’d do a fabulous job compared to Trump). But waking up hot half a dozen times, throwing covers on and off, then wrestling with annoying pillows just because I’m a bit cranky does NOT make me a good world leader (still better than Trump though of course). Part of the benefits of this Recovery program is supposedly deep, restful sleep; that is the new Black …

In my next life, I’m coming back as a sculptor, & here’s why

The little seaside town 10 minutes down the road from me just hosted its 3rd ‘Sculptures by the Sea’ event. It was simply wonderful, and began with sandy shoes scattered in the grass- hands up who hates sand in the house or bed after a walk on the beach? There were dozens of pairs, of all different types of shoes, re-purposed from the local op shops. The Spring weather was glorious, and it was lovely to just stroll around the parks and break wall, marvelling at the local creativity and talent. I was in such a relaxed daze though that I barely registered any artists’ names, so can’t give credit where it’s due; my apologies. That big old kangaroo had a good story though: a social worker told the artist she advised angry young boys in her care to take up a kangaroo stance, and send their fury down their tails into the ground behind them (an Indigenous strategy). My favourite aspect was the emphasis on recycled and found materials being re-purposed; the weaving with …

Treat me like a pin cushion if that will help

Jetlag recovery? Tick. 100% gratitude to be back home in Australia? Tick. Delighted cat and reasonably delighted-but-still-cool teenage son? Tick. Bullshit lung infection which had me sleeping almost sitting up for three nights then coughing my chest inside out for almost a week? Goddam tick. I AM SUCH A BAD PATIENT. As in, totally IM-patient. Don’t come near me; don’t sympathise with me; don’t tell me I’ll be better soon; don’t tell me about your neighbour who had it too, and how long it lasted, or the worst cough you ever had… Just leave me alone to wallow in my pathetic, grumpy, spoilt-brat sick bed, and give me a wide berth until further notice. Unless you’re my acupuncturist of course. In which case, I want you to come back early from your much-deserved holiday, and stick every single needle you have into every possible meridian point, all over my body, even if they grab or make me wince, and please just help make me better. Thanks. [The illness has actually shifted now, but this petulant rant …

“How much time have I got left?” Part Two

Deep in my essential core, I’m a dancer. I may be 52 now, and not quite as nimble as I used to be, but I still go to Swing Dance once a month, and my beloved 5Rhythms every week. Not to mention the regular groovy late-afternoon outdoor queer dance parties I sometimes see my son at. At age 28, living in Newtown, Sydney, and dancing at techno raves all weekend, I began to wonder if I could make a living with movement somehow… which led me to an extraordinary teacher, Janis Claxton. Her free, wild, & fiery moves still live in my body, while her feisty attitude found a match in mine, inspiring me to pursue performing/Clown/dance & Improvisation (which all still rock my creative world). Last week she died of lung cancer, aged 53.  At the Women’s Buddhist Dharma Day Part One last Sunday, facilitator Carol Perry asked us to reflect on the question I’ve titled this post with; of course, none of us know the answer, and therein lies one of the causes of …