chronicles of a bespoke, simple, adventurous life

Author Archives: maree

how to be a fox in your own back garden

I like a ‘how to’ just as much as the rest of the populace.

Tips, steps, a game plan all wrapped in a soundbite – the internets burgeoning legion of online advisement offering you a panacea and nudge.  Well meaning I know, though I’ve always been left wanting.  Wanting an insiders peek into what the hell goes on behind the scenes – how hard the heart beats, lungs breathe and fear takes hold when you’re changing your world, that’s the voice I want to hear.  I’m not interested in half a story, it short changes everybody.  If you want to rise, feel good, do what you love – live in partnership with self, you’ve got to get on with change.

Knowing who you are, why you are and how to stay your ground when the ground is moving from under you, without a guarantee of stability.  Tapping reserves you didn’t know you had.  Being okay with not knowing, and continuing the conversation anyway.  Holding curiosity and belief beyond the parameters of what you’ve known yourself to be, that’s what the voice of ‘how to’ needs to start sounding like. That’s the conversations we need to start having.

Under no circumstances do I have all steps figured out on alot of things, but I forge ahead anyway and figure as I skate.  This makes me no different from anybody, though sometimes you wouldn’t know that, with all the social norms, pleasantries, supressed stresses and mouthfuls of media we find ourselves digesting.

How to be a fox in your own back garden?  First up ask yourself, do you want to be a fox?

Ask, what fires your pistons?  And if you can’t answer that then make that the conversation.

Start bringing discernment to what you digest and for the love of god, step out and look in.  No change will come from walking the well worn groove of what you’ve always done.

I want to be part fox, part black panther.  So what.  That’s what I want to be.  Our commonality comes in sharing the human condition and how we navigate it, not necessarily in the ‘what’, that fires our pistons.

My voice in this blog will be on all these things and more.


I’ll have mine round with lots of colour please

prototype number two has me happy.  thought I would share what I’m making for my future shop of love….




Changes under foot


There are changes underfoot for the alchemy of hustle.

The shape, size and story of the change is still in formation, but suffice to say I’m looking to realign what is shared on here and how I interact.  As yet there are no set concrete foundations though I’m feeling into handcrafted, bespoke, reused objects + stories crafted with love to support your journey through change and joy creation.  The success of my efforts will be in the telling over the next 3-6 months as I work a nine to five to keep me heading north and flush while creating beautiful bespoke objects and writing stories of people and love and heart and joy.  Juggling passion and foundation-laying while building my joy.   You know, what a lot of you are all doing – what millions are doing around the planet as I type.  Bringing heart to the fore.

For a taste of the handcrafted, bespoke, reused objects I want to make and sell in my shop I’ve shared this wee photo of my new creation – my version of a dream catcher.  I feel passionately about having beautiful objects that support your transformation and re-connection to heart up in your home, surrounds and on your person. They can only but make the change process that little bit more beautiful (when it doesn’t feel so beautiful).  They can remind you when sometimes you’d rather forget that it’s worth not giving up, that your joy and dreams are actually one of the most important things you have going on. I know I could have done with them while navigating the hills, valleys and peaks of change over the last couple (ahem) over the last swag of years.   So I’m hoping there will be a few people out there that might like some of my bespoke handcrafted objects.  I’ll see how it plays out.

To my wee group of readers (aka my friends and family) thank you so much for your support over the last couple of years it has been tremendously lovely, I hope to see you when I relaunch (and in a few shared stories along the way).  I like that I haven’t given up on the alchemy of hustle, it reminds me that success can also be in the not giving up, just as much as in the arriving.

Much aroha to you, Maree x

Be pulled by what you love

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” – Rumi


Artwork  by Maree Forbes (me)

What’s your heart telling you?

Welcome to your new week, I hope your heart is well and warm.

I’m excited to share that the alchemy of hustle will be launching a new series on following your heart in the next month or so.  I’m building this path of exploration for those brave enough to ask and follow their hearts call.  It will be a gentle invitation of nudge if you feel you’re not living your joy, doing what you love.  So if you’re feeling disconnected and unaligned with dashes of joylessness watch out for this series, it may just be your ticket!

On that note I thought I’d ask a question for you to hold gently throughout the week.  Be present to how you respond to its first saying – to your body, head and hearts response.  And remember no response is a response.

It’s a bit of a barnacle of a question to start a Monday with, but when’s a good time to get downtown with the business of your life, I say.  So in that spirt I’d like you to ask yourself;

What’s not working?  

There are so many layers this question can sit with, fall down into, open up.  Let it sink as deeply as feels comfortable.  And be gentle with it, and yourself.  Hold the dialogue for as long as you want, though giving yourself a space to stretch into – say of a week (or more) allows you to filtrate down to the pebbles at the bottom of the pond versus wrestling with the noise of first response.

I drew this sketch awhile back when I was thinking about what we I cover our my hearts song with.  I imagined my heart was a beautiful lush garden of green and my disconnect-discomfort-unauthentic living was sticky black tar – clogging access to joy.  I imagined the jug’s pour as the conscious, unconscious and gathered-learnt ways of being which guard and block our self’s leap into trust and action – into living our joy.  I imagined that jug as the history we’ve yet untangled ourself from – the story we sold ourself short on.

So again, I’d invite you to ask yourself;

What’s not working?  


Artwork: Sketch by Maree Forbes – me.




catalogue of gratitude and love

This week I’m grateful and have love for:

  • new beginnings.
  • family love and support.
  • friends. They bring the light, take off the edge, make me laugh and they give a shit – about me.  lovely and affirming much.
  • home soil. I still get a kick out of my neighbourhood’s natural beauty – I have abundant gratitude for living in this place.  abundant.  And I’m slowly warming to the unique beauty of Auckland city too.
  • lessons learnt.  See below
  • being okay with where I’m at.  Even though I’m not where I want to be or thought I would be (after taking a year out to realign my vision to my reality) I’ve made peace.  And more importantly I’m not letting that put me off going after my joy again.  Just because I didn’t get it right the first time doesn’t mean I can’t take the lessons learnt and create my joyful vision.
  • liberace.  On the last day of my year-long sabbatical mum and I went to the movies to see Behind the Candelabra.  It was a visual treat.  I just loved the story, jewellery, costumes, era, acting.  And Vegas in the eighties.  I loved everything about it.
  • shelter-food-security-stable government-democracy.  This quintet will grace my catalogue every week because I need reminding of just how good I have it in comparison to many other global communities who live in the absence of all five.  Imagine that; makeshift to no shelter, little to no food, zero security from a constant threat to yours/your families safety within an unstable government where democracy is a concept not a reality.  Imagine that when you think about what your grateful for, and what’s not working in your life.

What do you hold gratitude and love for this week? 









the heart of the alchemy of hustle

Have you ever had to succinctly describe yourself-your work-your passion-purpose on paper, in a speech?  It’s a really interesting exercise to do and the closest most of us get to it is in preparing our CV’s.  The production of my CV is a story for another time, but lets just say that the energy of ‘putting yourself out there’ can take an academic exercise and ratchet up the difficult.

I’ve been chipping away at honing in on what the alchemy of hustle is about and how I want it to support a community of individuals carving their own joyful lives following their heart.  Chipping for over two years like a faithful labrador sticking around for its owner, which in my case is a creative bloodline which has impatiently waited for expression for twenty years.  The progress of this blog is an external reflection of my internal machinations in moving into the creative light of left brain leanings lashed with self belief and love.  It’s been and is a process – what isn’t?

So the other day I finished a rewrite of my about page which you can read here and I drew-painted-created the below heart-dartboard as a visual representation of what will be explored on the alchemy of hustle (and what happen to be my passions-hearts desires).  If you’re interested I will be sharing how to make your own heart dartboard filled with all the things you love, that bring you joy.           

The heart-dartboard along with a whole lot of other goodies will be part of a series I will be delivering on ‘following your heart’, though first up will be a few exercises on connecting to where you’re at now – what’s working, what’s broke.  So if you want to join me and explore your heart you’re more than welcome.

Enjoy your Friday and entry into the weekend.

Love and light, Maree x




celebrate the death of old ways


It’s spring diddly ding and as I wrote here I was happy and ready for it’s arrival.  H. A. P. P. Y !

Trust me I don’t overload the significance of my lives movement based on the passing of seasons, though I do find them comforting and quietly powerful in supporting my joy and growth.   So in amongst springs celebration of light, birthing and newness I feel it’s also important to honour and respect those aspects of self that have been farewelled in the winter, to celebrate their death.   I only say it’s important because they’ve been tap dancing around the periphery of my temporal lobes, wanting recognition.  Wanting acknowledgement, and why not?

As I’ve written about before (and will again) making change and healing takes mother f*cking grunt, self belief, commitment, love and help.  Coal face, stripped back, at sea without a boat/life-jacket/paddle kind of stuff.  Change can also be joyful, light and engaged with ease (I don’t want to give change a bad name as I’m in the business of it).  Though truth be told the human condition, wounds, safety blankets and learnt ways of being can leave us on more occasions than not glancing around for the escape button rather than staying the course.

Which brings me onto celebrating our cycles of death – of the parts of our behaviour, beliefs, actions and self which we have worked hard to release – that no longer serve us.  I think we are so long in the grist that when we pop out the other side into the light of transformation the battle fatigue wearies our celebratory potential.  It’s more ‘thank fuck thats over’ than ‘woo hoo look what I did-created’!  Or worst still you don’t even recognise the difference. Plus I think it also has something to do with how we view celebration in the western world, more geared toward outward achievement and birthdays.

This morning on leaving the house I came across this bird on our driveway lying curled in death, it’s beauty and grace stilled.  It reminded me of what in death gives me cause for celebration.  Shit, I turned up to a situation recently which had a maturation I’ve never felt or acted with before.  It was a slow surprise which had me quietly proud a little after it’s delivery.  Many winters lead to its transformation into the light and I really honour and celebrate its passing-death along with the role it played in my life.  Though I’m over the moon that behaviour has shifted I recognise it was just trying to get a need met and you can’t be down on that.

So take a minute to reflect on what’s working, on your interiors achievements and shifts and transformation (realised or in the making or in the planning).  And feel into what came before, of what you have to celebrate in its passing – death.  So hard fought in the battle and little celebrated – remind yourself of your infinite capacity for a light filled life and the remarkable magical process of transformation fuelled by your engine room of desire and love.  Death is the conduit to light and life and transformation its child.

Keep on trucking x


photography: me – maree forbes.  deaths bouquet: made by me – Kauri leaves + moss on stick wrapped in copper and green silk ribbon.


The Spring Equinox – Birthing Newness

I spent the Spring Equinox In Raglan, NZ (a very beautiful part of the world) gathering, bathing in springs green, setting intentions and releasing what needed letting go of at the edge of the sea.  Oh, and reconnecting-hanging with old friends after a lot of time in between drinks.  It was a lovely way to herald in spring and the flood of new beginnings and birthing it holds the space to deliver.

God I am SO ready to birth, birth, birth that I was super happy at the Equinox’s arrival and the departure from the dark side of the year into the light.  And only a couple of days in and the season has brought me much movement!  I just love the anchoring that the cycle of the moon and the seasons bring.  What about you, are you feeling into the potential-birthing of newness that spring heralds?  Have you felt the creative tension between the process of letting go of the old and opening up to the new?  The Spring Equinox holds that potential for all of us if we’re willing, though to better explain this powerful time check out the below snippets that I gathered from this article on Belsebuub.

Enjoy this creative potential laden time and revel in the light, especially if you have been travelling through the dark for awhile.  The boon is there for the taking xx

“The spring equinox (also known as the vernal equinox) is the time in the earth’s annual cycle around the sun in which day and night are equal in length, before the days finally start to get longer after the dominance of darkness during winter, and life springs forth from death. Its deeper spiritual significance reveals the mysteries of spiritual resurrection.

“The spring equinox stands upon the point of balance, upon which everything pivots in its motion, in the universe, in the cycles of the seasons, and within ourselves. On one side of the equinox is the dark half of the year, and on the other the light half, representing the struggle between the forces of darkness (death and decay) and light (birth and life). It is this antithesis that gives motion to all cycles in the universe, and which is likewise found in the spiritual work to awaken”.







catalogue of gratitude and love

I’m introducing a weekly ritual of gratitude, which I’m currently calling my catalogue of gratitude and love.  I feel a bit wobbly saying weekly ritual as that infers commitment (which previously hasn’t been a strong suit).  Though in the interests of creating-living my desired life I feel it’s a lovely and gentle place to start, and if I can’t commit to 30 minutes per week in the 10,080 minutes available to me, well then what hope do I have.   So I’m ponying up and committing.

Doing the work to create change takes a fair bit of grunt, determination and sweat.  So I find placing gratitude for the things in your life you love-that are working a soothing-buoying-positive thing to do.  Plus done regularly it can powerfully dissipate what can sometimes become a stronghold of ‘whats not working energy’ a rather sticky, heavy all pervading anathema to the light of change you are pedalling into existence.

Think of gratitude as an alchemical injection needed to remind you that all is good, you have everything you need and it ain’t as bad-big-hard-immovable as you feel.  Gremlins and their negative naysaying ways would on occasion have you believe that what your wanting to shift-change-create-let go of is impossible, and giving them an alchemical wash of gratitude can quieten down their incessant chirping.  I recommend it.

So to kick things off, this week I’m grateful and in love with;

  • friendships.  The recent generosity, love, spontaneity and affection showered on me from my lovely friends brought home the power of friendship to affirm who we are and make us feel good in our person.   I am in love and full of gratitude for the friends in my life and this makes me so very joyful.
  • Spring onion and salt pancakes. We ate the best plate of savoury pancakes at Xian Noodle Bar (242a Dominion Rd, Auckland) today and they took me right back to my travels in China.  Right back.  And yeah they were fried naughtiness at its best, but good god did they ding my bell.  And to boot they were less than $5 for the plate, so I was in thrift-foodie heaven.   I find it essential to have my taste buds moan-groan in joy multiple times throughout a week, otherwise whats the point in living?  
  • a new playful hair-up do.  I twisted my hair into a new up do the other week for something different – just felt like it.  And low and behold I kind of like its playful-girlyness.  So I’m grateful for no other reason than I never thought I would ever think-let alone say a sentence that involved me and playful-girlyness.  Never in my wildest did I think I would utter those words as adjectives of my person.  Things are a shifting.
  • creativity and its magical genius force. And this ted talk by Elizabeth Gilbert is an awesome wander through its size, shape and magic.  I am so grateful for my creativity, I reckon I would burst if I couldn’t write and draw and imagine ridiculous things.  It helps me make sense of everything.  
  • shelter-food-security-stable government-democracy.  This quintet will grace my catalogue every week because I need reminding of just how good I have it in comparison to many other global communities who live in the absence of all five.  Imagine that; makeshift to no shelter, little to no food, zero security from a constant threat to yours/your families safety within an unstable government where democracy is a concept not a reality.  Imagine that when you think about what your grateful for, and what’s not working in your life.