ciao bella winter

Today I farewelled my favourite season, Winter.

Why, you ask?  Well, for the last couple of years I’ve lived by the seasons, four lots of three month blocks.  I dont know about you but I find a year just so big and long and stretchy and easy to get lost in.  The chunking down of the calendar year really supports my rhythm.  I find it easier to bring my intentions and goals into a three month space, a little mini space of creativity and doing nestled inside the big daddy of a year. This way I don’t get as easily lost in the day to day, blink and its Christmas kinda thing…..”oh where did the year go” chatter.

Seasons have different meanings for different people and cultures.  For me its about death and endings in preparation for new growth. Attending to the heavy lifting in preparation for the higher energy months to come.  And I have had the most wonderfully gift laden Winter full of the closing and endings required for me to creatively expand into my authentic self.  It has been my best Winter ever, on record.  Challenging as a mofo, but just what the doctor ordered.

So I spent the last day of said favourite season driving down the coast, listening to my favourite tunes, eating glorious food and chatting to artisans and shop owners and people doing interesting things with there lives.  It was lovely to flex my alchemical muscles of hustle and to hear about others stories.  I took my little journo, writer interviewer out and it was fun.

After driving through the world’s second oldest national park I stopped at the beautiful, sleepy township of Austinmer.  I ate at the Fireworks Cafe on Moore St.  Its in the building which used to house the towns Butcher back in the day, the tiles on the wall tell the story.  It’s situated in a great little enclave which includes a homewares store, architects, bead store and hairdressers.  The food was delicious.

Fireworks Cafe

I ate the spicy sausages with kipler potatoes and asparagus.  Yes thankyou, please and more!

I drove onto the next township of Thirroul and checked out a second hand store – Retro Wombat, where I stumbled upon this little gem (I am in love with all things green).

And I had a lovely chat to the owner of ekho a store which stocks classic, handmade and vintage wares.  Its just so fascinating to hear other peoples stories about how they got to where they are, and why they do what they do.  And I’m drawn to artisans and those that tap dance on the outer and jig a bit to the left.

ekho's entrance in the township of Thirroul

I scooted back to Sydney and dropped in on my old neighbourhood of Newtown.  I snooped through Dragstar a wonderba clothing store of locally made threads and had a delightful little conversation with the owner, a lovely creative being.  I asked about how the business was born and what it takes to keep it alive and kicking.  It was a great little pocket of conversation.

And just before I headed home I stumbled across the uberly delightful Newspaper Taxi which is full of gorgeous gift cards, framed prints, artworks, home wares and handmade treasures.  It is a glorious little store.  And I had a great conversation with the owner (yes, Im seeing a theme) about all things unique, crafted, real estate and the building of community.

Newspaper Taxi goodness

I bought a glorious book which has the rare honour of simultaneously exciting my soul and eyeballs (it’s worthy of its own post me thinks) so I shall share on that delight another time.  And that was my farewell ceremonial tribute to Winter.

Bye bye Winter, I love you.  See you in nine months.

For noting: The orange text you see are links to further information

surrendering. sun setting on the old.

I’ve spent this winter working hard (and lightly) at bringing change to the parts of my life that aren’t expressing who I am and how I want to live.   I’ve started to ‘turn up’ in new ways.  I’ve started to let go of old ways of being that don’t serve anymore.  I’ve had the odd slip and slide.

What I didn’t see coming, was that as the sun sets on a part of myself that no longer serves me there is a midling place I’m existing in, like a transit lounge.  A place where you ‘do and see and feel’ differently on your way to arriving to the destination, the change your creating.  I feel opposite to the ‘self’ I’ve gotten used to for all these years.  In the creation of change, how I ‘operate and turn up to my day, life, relationships’ fundamentally affects me as a person ‘my self’, my identity.  I didn’t count on this.  I first noticed it when I started to make mistakes at work (something I rarely do).  I caught myself verbalising out loud at work ‘that I didn’t understand how I’d made a simple mistake’.  I knew something was up a day later when I made another one.  What a challenge for my ego (bloody good though).  It really shook my ‘work’ identity and made me question if my approach was serving me anymore.  If that part of my identify that needs to be right and in control serves me anymore.

Second time I noticed it was when my intuition had a chat to me in the weekend and let me know it was time to start ‘getting light’ with my house hold possessions and to become ready for a change in the country I live in and the work I do.  To start cleaning up my affairs.  I heard and am heeding the advice.  I am doing this without any knowledge of how it will come about, what I’ll be doing and when.  I’ve surrendered.  My intuition is the one thing I can trust implicitly, its always been right whenever I’ve been smart enough to listen.

It’s a pretty chaotic and expansive and unfinished space I’m in.  There are no clear road signs, there no clear rights and wrongs.  The change I’m making requires full surrendering.  Surrendering the need to know how, who and when.  Surrendering an identity.  And from somebody who has spent all there life needing control to make sense of the world, It’s just so very opposite to what I’m used to.  But I suppose that’s part of change, doing things differently in opposite to how you did them.  I just didn’t count on the shake up to my identity (how naive was I).

My gremlins are like the old guys in the muppets, sitting in the good seats looking down shouting jibes. They’ve been shouting out lately “don’t get ahead of yourself Maree, look at all the other parts of your life that aren’t where you’d like them to be, aren’t authentically aligned.  Who are you kidding thinking you can change those parts, you cant change who you are”?  And to them I say – “Go fuck yourselves”.

Nobody said I had to surrender gracefully.

p.s Winter sunset taken from my balcony in Glebe, NSW, Australia.

the weekend in review: food, friends, an awakening and a near death experience

Friday night a friend and I enjoyed the delights of the Eathouse Diner in Redfern (I recommend).  I read loads of good things about it and loved its fun look, affordability and tasty blackboard morsels.  We shared a Pork Terrine served with a cranberry pickle onion combo, which I have to say rocked.  I followed up with Wagyu Corned Beef and Colcannon and we couldn’t help ourselves and went splitsvilles on a delightful old school Banana Split.  Washed down with two glasses of pinot noir.  Much girl chatter ensued and it was nice to be some place new, in a suburb I haven’t explored much.  It was nice to be out on a Friday night.

pork terrine goodness at the Eathouse Diner

I wake up Saturday morning and I am ungrounded, there’s mind chatter, work going through my head and a dose of unease……..argghh!  I reclaim some grounding by getting my house in order (I start cleaning at 7.00am!) and telling myself to think about work when I go back Monday morning.  I head off to visit a friend and meet her beautiful bambino (baby energy is so very grounding). Mother and I skip off for a great little brunch at Angel in Freshwater; my corn fritters, bacon and relish hit the spot.  And a good catch up natter was had.

a heavenly brunch stack at Angel

After visiting my favourite store in Freshwater, John and Ginger  I head up the coasts Northern Beaches and smooch through design and curio stores in Newport, Avalon and Palm Beach with the obligatory stop at Whale Beach (love the place).  Reminds me a bit of home.

glass parrots from 'John & Ginger' (sorry pic is a bit out of focus)

Sunday I rise at 6.45am.  I spend the day working on my business particularly my finances, there is not alot of pleasure derived from this exercise.  I motivate myself by embracing the future satisfaction I will feel at the completion of the tasks, this works.  I plan a trip home with many anticipated catch up’s pencilled and little trips to favourite places dreamed.  I talk to family.  I call some old friends.

And what was the awakening you ask? I fully woke up (as in stopped sleep walking) to the fact I NEED NEW and DIFFERENT in my life, alpronto.  It’s been brewing for awhile, but this weekend I got it good.  I’m going stir crazy with the sameness of parts of my life.  I courageously ponder on what brave acts I’m going to perform to create change.

Oh and lest I forget the near death experience – I nearly killed a child, and no I’m not joking.  A skateboard holding, ‘cap to the side’ wearing pre teen who couldn’t be bothered to use a crossing (over a four lane major road) comes from nowhere and the first I see of him he is just about to run in front of my car. Literally. I have a heart attack. Slug the horn. Slam breaks and come to a total stop.  I swear alot while glaring at said individual.  Kid has stupified freaked out grin on face and I think the need to change his pants.  I thank god, regather and drive on.  My adrenals are super charged. I’m surprised I don’t need to change my pants.

dear body, thank you (and sorry)

Im forty next year and I’m really looking forward to it (seriously). I’ve always loved birthdays and I love ageing as I’m becoming my true self as I get older.  In my pre forty state I have been reflecting on where Im at in life and how I’m travelling.  I’ve also calculated (which could be seen as a tad morbid) how many years I’ve got left on the clock.  Which if your interested had me exiting at about ninety (give or take) giving me another 30 years of unencumbered living and 20 years where the creaks of age would slow me down a little.  And its had me visioning how I want to spend what could be another fifty years of living, but I’ll get to that in another post.  Now this 30 years of unencumbered existence is predicated on the small fact that I ‘wake up’ and start giving my body and mind consistent love from here on in. And features hope that any legacy of bad living up until this point is washed away (I’m not saying its fully scientific, but hey).

So outside of the washing away of previous sins (which is in the hands of the gods) I’m left with consistent loving to self = self care.  Oh the good old ‘self care’ how I have valiantly fought you and lost countless times, how I have resisted your charms to my detriment.  A quick snap shot (and even quicker if you viewed up close the stretch marks that resemble a resting Accordion) will show that I have had an ‘on again off again’ connection with my body.

When I’ve been ‘on’ I feel incredible, full of energy and ready to take on the world and be amazing.  I’ve learnt (from some incredible healers) that food is a key fuel that lights your fire.  Crap in = small, barely burning fire.  Great food in = roaring fire (and may I say a really positive frame of mind).  My roaring fire = lots of protein, green anything, brown rice and exercise and no sugar, processed foods and flour.  So back to the purpose of the post, I would like to thank my body;

Dear body thank you, you have religiously turned up and performed every day.  When I have ignored your signs that you are not well you have still turned up and forgiven me and done your job.  Actually you are the most forgiving ‘anything’ that I know.  You tolerate when I slip every time.  Your so forgiving and tolerant that at the first sign of me looking after you, you reward me with speedy regenerating. Your elastic stretch means I can transform my wellness within a jiffy.  And yes, I too freaked out in June when I couldn’t last on the dance floor for more than a couple of tunes without going into a cardiac arrest (I remember how I used to dance for hours).  So thank you for diligently doing your job even though I haven’t returned the love at all times.  And as a way of thanks and to ensure I give this new phase of my life some ‘good legs’ heres what I’m going to do:

  • pursue with zeal my passions (I know doing what I love makes you sing)
  • quit smoking (its been twelve days and counting).  And yes, I too don’t know why I went back to it after five years off.
  • eat well
  • exercise
  • create
  • meditate (I’m really going to try)
  • laugh, love and forgive
I’ve drawn a wee picture of my happy body full of creativity and wellness.  I see it like a garden.  What would you say to your body if you were having a chat?

shake your tale feather – the art of seduction

I caught the end of the ‘Rituals of Seduction: Birds of Paradise’ exhibition at the Australian Museum last weekend.  Im in love with birds and feathers at the moment, birds along with the black panther are my favourite animal.  To give you the vibe of the exhibition, here’s the official blurb: Rituals of Seduction: Birds of Paradise - It takes the visitor to the vine-tangled forests of New Guinea, Australia and Indonesia where the exotic birds of paradise engage in extraordinary rituals, and helps answer the perennial question: what do you have to do to attract a mate?  As noted by eminent naturalist Sir David Attenborough, more than any other animal species, male birds of paradise have evolved the most varied and surreal answers to this question!

I was so inspired by the colour, the intricacy and the boom boom wow factor of the ornate head pieces worn by Papua New Guinea (PNG) tribes people.  And by the dazzling beauty of the birds, they are amazing.   The traditions and the pageantry from both the birds and the tribes was so exotic and alive and vivid.

The boy birds have the most showy plumes and do these mad courtship dances to attract the ladies…..the exhibition showed how some modern dance; – hip hop, simulates the birds movements (by coincidence or mimicry). The men of the tribe wear the head pieces as a symbol of status and to attract a mate, I was having a bit of a laugh thinking western women are lucky if a guy slaps on a bit of aftershave.  And I was thinking how different it is in my world where the emphasis is on women attracting…….as we preen our tail feathers, coif our hair, wax what we don’t want, remove blemishes and ‘make up’ the rest.

I really enjoyed seeing how the tribes approached the age old question of how to attract a mate, with the help of the mighty feather.  I haven’t touched on the destruction of forest that’s slowly eroding these beautiful traditions, or the exploitation of the practices for tourist pleasure.  It’s a Friday morning and I thought I’d just like to share the beauty of difference and how were all connected.  Seems how to attract a mate is an age old universal pre occupation.  Feathers are the go in PNG, no online dating required.

Get your vision up where you can see it!

Wow what a mad two weeks.  New opportunities have been flying at me like bees to honey, and my vision for my working life is starting to taking shape. Lately I’ve spent a lot of energy on getting really clear about whats important and how I want to be spending my time.  I wrote it down.  Created a vision board. Genuinely acknowledged I had no idea where to start, and how it was going to happen. Let it go.  Trusted.  And then wham, I got a break.  Believe me I am happily surprised, I’ve been listing and visioning for an age with what felt like little movement, so somethings changed for the good.

I’m a really visual person and I find having my ideas, vision and goals up in my house really helps keep things ‘alive’ and front of centre.  So I create vision boards (see above for my favourite one) and planners and stick up quotes of inspiration. I place them where I’ll see them most, for me thats in my kitchen on the wall in front of where I stand to prepare food (the pic below is a snap shot of what I stare at when Im in my kitchen), and in my lounge.  I love creating them, there so much fun.  And most importantly it helps keep the main thing the main thing.  Which for me is gold, I can easily fall into old routine and loose sight (literally) of the change I’m wanting to create.

want to make your own ? 

You’ll need;

  1. old magazines and/or newspapers
  2. scissors
  3. pin board or cardboard
  4. pins, blu tac, glue, sello-tape
Have some quiet time to yourself and vision, dream up and get clear on a topic/s where you want to create change.  Then let go and jump into creating, and snipping and pinning.  Theres no right or wrong, it just needs to be yours, definitely don’t go for perfect, just do it……..and you’ll be surprised by what you create.  Don’t forget to put it up somewhere you can see it.  Oh, and this is great fun for kids too.  Below is my latest creation…….