All posts tagged: Wellbeing

So grateful to be locking down here in the rainforest for COVID-19

Who wants to join me in a meditative new resolution?

Like all of us, I’m glad to have made it unscathed to the end of this year. Surrounding me have been lockdowns, high tensions about vaccination rates (we called it the ‘strollout’ at first here in Australia), and now the surging stress of Omicron. *sigh I am utterly blessed and grateful to live where I do, with my trees, birds, and nearby creek. My latest New Year’s Eve plans have all been shelved, with Covid cases soaring both locally and nationally, and a party in my pyjamas and living room is more appealing by the day. (Or an early night. I could handle an early night.) But today, I came across a blogging recommendation for the Insight Timer app. Have you heard of it? At least three of my friends swear by it, and I’ve been meaning to check it out… So I downloaded it, and listened to my first 20-min talk sitting on the [pictured] verandah in the early sunshine, after several days of rain. It felt great. Then I started thinking about all …

It’s official: Buddhism teaches that your buddies are your blessing

Hello Everyone, from the lush rainforest in Australia, where once a month I sit in a circle of women studying meditation and Buddhism. This month was the last meeting for the year, and our wise crone leader Yoda Carol chose to reflect on friendship for her talk, or ‘Admirable Camaraderie’ as Buddha called it. She’s lived in the same intentional community hidden in the hills for nearly 50 years, having been one of the founding members. She’s travelled the world, facilitating conflict resolution for all kinds of humans, from big corporations down to divorcing families… so her wisdoms come from plenty of lived experience as well as her decades of Buddhist meditation and study. She asked us a simple question, which I’m going to ask you: “Do you always call, or are you always being called?” Buddha talked of cultivating friendships, to offer and receive full kinship, as one of the most effective paths to Loving Kindness. So when did you last reach out to someone, in these strange times of lockdowns, travel restrictions, and …

How a silent walk made me delete the Candy Crush app (Part One)

Admit it: do you have a game on your phone you love unwinding with? Scrabble with friends? Chess? Candy Crush? A few years ago- I can’t remember why- my son and I both downloaded Candy Crush, and became a little competitive. Of course, he streaked ahead in levels, then quickly bored of it and never played again. I stoically continued, and got myself slowly but surely up to Level 691. Then 2 months ago, I had to get a new phone… and somehow, all my apps froze as I transferred the old info, so I found myself back at the beginning of the Candy Crush map again. What’s all this got to do with a silent walk you wonder? Well, last month I had the privilege of going on a 9-day Yatra, which is a Buddhist-based bushwalking adventure, filled with daily meditations, talks on Buddhist philosophies and practices, plus walks and meals in ‘noble silence’. 30 of us (mainly aged over 50) travelled to the South Coast of Sydney, which had been ravaged by bushfires …

Why my obsession with this spoon is re-wiring my brain

Hi Everyone, from cool Autumn days in Australia that make it worth putting up with the dreadful heat of summer. How are you all? I keep finding myself sitting on my deck, surrounded by the rainforest, staring at this spoon. Not just staring: stroking, smelling, turning and touching. Is it a magic spoon you ask? Well yes, in some ways it is. Because I carved it, from White Beech. OK, so for some of you ‘handy/crafty’ folks, this may not seem like a big deal. Or for those of you who know that spoon-carving is a bit of a ‘hipster’ fad at the moment, perhaps you’re rolling your eyes? But I don’t care. Because I’m the girl who hated sewing at school; who wasn’t allowed to do woodwork classes (because of being a girl), and who has spent 5 decades baulking at using tools/drills/saws because of an assumed ‘hopelessness’ with them. How did this change happen? It was my darling cousin’s idea: “Try this workshop with me G, it will be fun, and a bonding …

Chewing slowly: who knew it would change my life?

Hi there! 10 weeks since my car accident, and I’m slowly but surely feeling like my old self again. Just with a stiff neck, and a little more anxiety in vehicles generally, especially going round corners. But I’m getting some style of healing treatment every week (Osteo/physio/Kinesiology/Cranio-Sacral/massage), so I’m blessed to be recovering my physicality. I had a very quiet New Year’s Eve, as it was only 3 weeks since the crash then, and wondered about my new resolutions? To be honest, I just wanted to feel well again, without a permanent headache, and the disconcerting sense of a hand gripping my throat… So no one was more surprised than me when on New Year’s Day I suddenly announced I was going to eat more mindfully. Specifically: to count my chews, and do at least 25-30 per mouthful. First I conducted controlled research on how many times I usually masticate my food: 5 to 10 chews before I swallow. How many do you do? Then I practiced how many I could get comfortable with, which …

Mushroom growing update: me vs every forest creature. But I won!

Remember when I said I was making a Wine Cap mushroom bed under my old lime tree? Well little did I know, as I toiled to layer the cardboard, bark chips, and compost, but I was being watched by a number of excited forest crittters, waiting to see what gifts I was bringing them. I very quickly found little scratch marks and tiny holes dug out all along the sides of the bed… “No way buddies! I’ve worked too hard for this!” So as you can see, I went back to the hardware store, and bought metal stakes and netting to protect my magical mushies. Determination can be my middle name, and hang the extra expense. Didn’t work. Damn critters just dug in under the netting, even though I’d then weighed the sides down with rocks, boulders, and thick branches. I felt a little disheartened, and stopped checking every day, wondering if I should transfer the bed to my fully-fenced secure veggie garden… Can one dig up mushrooms and just shift them I wondered? But …

Cabbage, chandeliers, and cabaret

G, whatcha been doin’? Remember when you used to blog every week? Yes, but that was before forest and garden tempted me with their bounties. And before the pandemic made me stay home, cocooned in privilege and privacy, questioning the status quo of social media and blogs in general. So instead of writing, I’ve been planting/weeding/fertilizing/cooking and eating vegetables like a desperate herbivore. Plus making delicious sauerkraut with my own-grown red cabbage. Then there’s the not-so-small matter of a renovation project on my unused studio, which cried out for a chandelier! Finally I found one locally, covered in dust, in a glorious hand-blown deep red. I thought I wanted crystal clear and silver, but I’ve been blessed otherwise, so I’m going with the flow of that. Bringing it home was an adventure in slow-driving, letting other cars pass, and trying not to be hypnotised by the delightful tinkle tinkle of the swinging crystals. Then a wheelbarrow to get it down my drive to the front door, and the obsessive-compulsive challenge of cleaning & polishing every …

Reaching a milestone: being asked to join a cool Book Club

Dare I state the obvious? I LOVE to read. One way I resist Capitalism with glee is to lie on the couch buried in a book for a few hours. I’ve always been like that: as a quiet, dreamy child, I was never happier than when lost in the world of a book. Well, actually, playing with our guinea pigs was pretty good too (Lord Palmeston and Lady Windemere- photo sadly not available). So imagine my delight when last Sunday the phone rang, and my dear friend’s husband asked me in his deep formal voice if I would care to join his Book Club? I felt like a kid again, I was so excited. As soon as the invitation began to sink in, I immediately thought about what book I would suggest- somehow I have learnt along the way that this is the protocol. ‘”Girl, Woman, Other”, G, that’s a great book. They’ll think you’re edgy and cool/well-informed. And it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2019.’ Calm, succinct words continued to flow down the …

“Courage is Fear that’s said its prayers”

Hi Everyone out there :~) I was randomly wondering if you have a tattoo, and what’s its story? I have two: one on my right foot from 1997, and one on my left arm when I turned 40 in France in 2006. I had a vision or daydream about the foot image; went by myself into the scary tattoo shop in broad daylight, and bravely asked the huge bearded guy behind the counter if he would ink me. “No tatts below wrist or ankle, it’s the law. Go away and work out where else you want it, then come back.” I cycled home, disappointed and thoughtful. Spent the weekend trying to imagine where else I wanted it… but could only come up with my right foot. So Monday afternoon, I walked back in. “It has to be on my foot, there’s nowhere else.” “Fine then, take a seat, let’s do it.” Test passed. And the image was to remind me to walk without fear– or rather, to take steps even if I felt fearful. Getting …

The magic of mushrooms (but not magic ones please)

Hello everyone- how’s your pandemic going? (Never thought I’d start a post like that). I am one of the luckiest people I know: 2 weeks before our first Australian lockdown began, I moved house, up into the rainforest. I was blessed with an already-established veggie garden, and now I’ve improved it further. I’m also expanding: moving into specifically-chosen, dappled sunlight zones, under trees, where I can grow mushrooms. Not just any old mushrooms mind- and certainly not the ones which spring up round here after rain, gathered with glee by young folk who want to have a psychedelic experience… been there, done that, it was fun, no more thanks. I’m talking seriously edible treats, commonly known as Wine Cap mushrooms, or King Stropharia– ideal for the home garden. But first, the preparation. Mushrooms like to grow in the damp & dark; most of us who’ve survived share houses with cellars in our youth know this already. I was advised by an expert: a layer of cardboard, then woodchips; another layer of cardboard, and another layer …