All posts tagged: Wellbeing

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 …

From the madness of 1000-strong bush parties, to the miracle of broccoli

Hello everyone, from here in Australia, where we apparently just had the largest social gathering in the world since the pandemic began. 30 minutes from my house. I know people who went. Hell, the guy who put it on is a friend of dear friends… it’s a small town. So last weekend, while most of us were still at home binge-watching old series they missed the first time around (hello ‘True Blood’), approx 500-1000 mainly young people arrived on a private property in the rainforest to party. They parked their cars along both sides of a narrow, dark, muddy lane, and danced gloriously till 2.30am. Please click the link above or this same one for the ABC news version of the event, including footage from Instagram. I was shocked to say the least. Disappointed. Scared. Angry at both the organisers and the attendees, many of whom were backpackers and travellers, not locals. And more than a little jealous, to be honest. I used to love ‘bush doofs’ as we call them here. Dancing for hours …

I’m crap at transitions, & ’empty nest’ is a big one (Part Two)

So as you saw in Part One, I have a new dream of moving onto a community in the rainforest, 20 minutes from my current cute Australian town. But I was struggling with anxiety. ‘What’s underneath it all?’ the therapist asked me. ‘You sound informed, supported, capable, ready- what’s going on? What are you scared of?’ I sat, twisting the sodden tissue, cursing my sensitive stomach while I dug down through the layers… And came face to face with a desperate fear of failure. It just seemed too good to be true, and I couldn’t accept it. I couldn’t believe that after a year of fruitless searching for a rural property, & listening to my growing yearning for a tree change + a sense of community, it had actually fallen into my lap via word of mouth, perfect timing, and feasible financial gymnastics. I couldn’t delight in it. I had to worry about the details, and foresee as many problems as possible. It almost felt like my duty to do so, even though it didn’t …

I’m crap at transitions, & ’empty nest’ is a big one (Part One)

Most of you round here know I’m 53, & that my darling son ’19’ moved out a few months ago. Thank goodness he hasn’t gone far: 10 minutes up the road to his cousin’s place. When I was 19, I emigrated to Australia, where I still am, and didn’t see my Mum for years… no mobiles, no internet, barely even a phone… I just used to write her once a month. Or so. If I felt like it. But anyway, now I’m here, at a similar point, and as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, am thinking about moving out of the suburbs onto an ‘intentional community’ in the forest. I’ve been looking at real estate on and off for a year, knowing that the ’empty nest’ was coming; I grieved it when it actually happened, and of course found things to celebrate about it too- no need to cook dinner or keep the fridge fully stocked/minimal washing loads/peace and quiet/no car shuffling in the driveway/a tidy house and clean bathroom- the list goes …

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? …