chronicles of a bespoke, simple, adventurous life

Category Archives: creativity

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)

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




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”.







a life of heart and right brained leanings



I’ve spoken about pathways and knowing and following my heart here, and have spoken-written-dreamt about it a zillion times before.  It’s the theme that is my theme and has got to the point where I need to find an accompanying soundtrack, its taken on feature film proportions.

Though all roads lead to follow my heart in work-life-home-food-partner I feel novice in my first steps.  Full blown novice.  I note this because it’s pretty much like that for anyone trying out their chops creating change in their lives.  Its a new muscle that needs flexing, and truth be told my heart muscle is-was rather atrophied.  Poor wee thing.  Previous sailings had me steering the ship from a more control command, left brain approach.  So recent adventures have been test runs as I find out how to let go, be in the moment and release expectations + follow my creative heart.    Let go-be in the moment-release expectations; now theres a cluster fuck magical wonderba of a trifecta.  Any of my old coaching classmates will attest to watching my brain fry as it tried to get itself around the process of having a desire-goal, doing the work and then letting go of expectations (reminds me a little of that quote from Seneca about luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity) .  And five years on from that class I still look quizzically at that trifecta, head tilted, chin cocked, eyes a squinting.  Though now at 41 I’m reconciling that the old ways haven’t bore the fruit I was hoping, and my fruitless bowl has me directing my energies towards a touch of heart-brain surgery (non invasive of course).

Though I would say that in defence of my want it now-control-command-want it now ways it takes a bloody deep well of self belief and courage to forge forward doing your thing in the absence of any evidence your on the right track, that your even in a track (not that tracks are important, that got a bit tracky).  That you really will manifest what you need-deserve whether that be connecting; to the work you love, your life partner, a healthy relationship with finances, your hearts home etc (and yes they are my core desires and yes they are curiously absent).  Please trust me when I say this is not a pity party for moi, I’m just expressing-getting it out, and I wish more people did.  Thats one of the joy’s of writing, on a good day it climbs out of my fingers voluntarily, I have nothing to do with it.

Back to manifesting and living from your heart and right brain.

Yes, I get manifestation can appear on the turn of a dime, and that I am the source and centre of my desired life.  But for anybody who’s been a dollar short and a day late on where you wanted to be with your beautiful hot mess of a life I just wanted to say I get it.  And from all my study-qualifications, reading and discussions with wise-evolved beings it seems all roads lead to bathing in the juices of the right brain while lunging forward in your hearts desire (while living in the present moment, with no expectations, in a vacuum of self belief while letting go).  Phew!

Still seems like a tightrope without a net to me, but doesn’t anything new feel a bit like that?  Reminds me of learning to drive, I just couldn’t get how I would pull up to a give way sign on a hill, slow-halt the car while changing gears into neutral and putting on the handbrake.  It was like fucken Einstein material to me, until I learnt, and now its second nature.

When your sizing up the rest of your life holding the same amount of potential as what you’ve already spent (unless you change it up)……then tightrope it is.  And though I’ve never worn a sequinned leotard I reckon I might just giggle it up a bit while wobbling along the the pretty much non existent line Im putting my life on.

This blog is about mine and all of our walks along the tightrope and onto the lush green grass waiting on the other side (actually underneath our feet right now if we just let go).  And it will include my resistance-fight as I wrestle from an old way of being borne from a trauma handed to me too early (everybody’s got something).  And just so we’re clear, I’m not knocking the left hand side, its got me places,turned me up to work and allowed me to do my job pretty well.  Though operating most of the time from that side of the walnut just hasn’t been conducive to me dancing in my joy.  I’m going for a tad more colour.  And balance.


Heart image: Ann Bond card, photo of card taken in Father Rabbit store.

Brain image: Mercedes Benz graphic.

lightbulb moment’s


Lightbulb moments, do you have them?

You’re walking along and then bam a wee ping goes off in your head and a collection of dormant former thoughts arranges itself into a picture you just couldn’t see before.  Or an image, feeling or thought just comes out of nowhere, new and shiny .  Either way its the bam and the newness of revelation, inspiration, insight or connectedness that defines a lightbulb moment.  The free dictionary describes it as A moment of sudden inspiration, revelation, or recognition.

I have them every now and again.  For me, its more like a long game of knitting where all my ideas float around in my head and then out of nowhere I find them stitching themselves together.  I sometimes get the new kid from out of town joining in my brain traffic, but not so often.  I’m more the slow burn, pull it together type.  Well thats how it’s been so far.

I saw this lightbulb today and it made me think about how we feel and see ideas and how they come to us.  I love that we are tuning forks for divine inspiration to resonate through.  Just as much as we are repositories for change with our ever growing feelings, thoughts and ideas.

It all feels like a little bit of magic to me, and makes me smile that not everything is factual, hard edged and evidenced based.  That we are powerful self resourced beings, and ready and willing vessels for creativity and change.

It reminded me of this fabulous talk by Elizabeth Gilbert called ‘your elusive creative genius’ where amongst other things she illuminates hers and others creative process, involving divine moments of inspiration.  I thought you may enjoy if you need a wee reminder that we are more than we think we are and magic is all around.  That you are the magic.


Spring into it



I love this saying from Leo Tolstoy, because it’s SO true.  Spring magnetically pulls me forward and has me renewed in faith.  Weather in Auckland at the moment is warm, clear and crisp and from September 1 I’ve felt a little different, more ignited.  I mark my seasons entries by the equinox which is September 22, though regardless I was so chomping at the bit that I heralded it in on the first!  I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and a new lease of space has been granted my person and plans, it’s all rather curious and exciting.  Thank you Spring I say!

Of plans and projects I have a bundle to keep me busy, focussed on – work, home, love and creativity (the small stuff!).  Though given experience too many on my mind means nothing moves forward, so I’m lightly holding them all with love.  And tending one garden bed at a time, a new approach for me which I’m finding a lot more enjoyable.  And doable.

I’m also right in the throws of making a Zine on creativity which I’m really excited about and can’t wait to share, heres a pic of the draft cover – its all to do with living with heart!


I hope this Spring time finds you well and engaged in a little forward momentum.  What project or plans have you got your gaze fixed on?  I’d love to hear xx

Image credit: Good Magazine, Sept/Oct 2013 Issue.