Tattooing as Divine Conversation 

I could not access the words through the thoughts yesterday to write this. Those of you that follow me know how transforming my recent trip to India has been for me. I consolidated and signposted this with a tattoo yesterday. 

But, the journey for this tattoo started in January. So I think it is fitting that I close the year with it. 

In January, I received an email from Alana Fairchild promoting a Lakshmi retreat in India for late October. I felt the calling to go, trusted it, and replied that I would be going. It felt right. I knew I was meant to go. I didn’t realise how right it was at the time, just that I had to trust the calling and step outside of my comfort zone. 

In early March, I was informed that I was under investigation at work for failing to report the misconduct of other staff members. This investigation, ironically, lasted two days shy of forty two weeks (an overdue bub- yep). Whilst I suffered/endured/survived extreme bouts of anxiety and disconnection, the upcoming trip to India sustained me. I knew it would set me on the right path. 

In April, for my birthday, I was going to host a picnic but made the decision to postpone it until the investigation was resolved. After all, how long could it take? 😳

I also wanted to mark my birthday with a tattoo. I was thinking a mandala. I like them. I googled mandala experts. 

I came across a Sydney artist, Mark of Nara. His tattooing is distinct and his website suggests that he works with tattoos in a spiritual and healing mode. This piqued my interest and I contacted his studio to make an appointment. 

No more bookings for 2016. A wait list for 2017. 

Initially miffed, I trusted that what would be, would be. I didn’t look further for an artist. I’ve never been tattooed by an artist with a wait list. It was a bit novel. 

And then, India. A retreat and trip that would completely transform me. I integrated aspects of myself, and began to see myself as beautiful, inside and out. I saw myself as the Divine sees me, sees us all. A child full of light, love, compassion, power. A child who deserves to live her best life, create her best life, away from bureaucracy and limiting, ridiculous precepts. 

Alone in Dharamshala, at the Tibetan Cultural Centre, I was guided towards a statue depicting Green Tara; compassion in action – hand shown and foot ready to jump, sitting on a lotus. She called to me. Really called to me. Something inside was cemented when I saw her, transformed me. If I jump, was ready for action, coming from compassion, I could live my best life and become the best version of myself. 

She is my symbol for India. 

I came home, high, ready to embrace everything that could be, and fell into the drudgery of work. Returning emphasized how unhappy I was in the monotony of work, with no life balance or time/energy to do other things, to be all that I can be. 

Investigation over. 

One funeral after the other: reminders that life is too short to writhe in misery and I decide to take leave for next year. I plan travel, book writing, growing and transforming my business, casual teaching to sustain me. 

And then I receive an email to inform me that Mark of Nara is taking appointments for 2017. I had to send my idea to him. If it appealed, I would get an appointment. 

Green Tara. A brief explanation why. 

He rang a few days later. I booked in for yesterday. 

I was so nervous when I met him. Did not doubt the tattoo or his ability, but so nervous. In retrospect, my body was preparing for the journey ahead. 

We talked about the tattoo, what it meant to me and why. Just in conversation. A moment to mark transition, and a commitment to myself of my worth and my value. A reminder in moments of doubt to trust the Divine and the energy. 

Like India, I am now struggling to put into words the experience. There were periods of animated talk and periods of quiet reflection, for both of us. As we talked more, it became apparent that 2017 represents for both of us, a need to travel and move away from the normal confines of our working lives. 

Green Tara was representing both of our journeys forward; a reclaiming of our own selves. Synchronous. 

My talk of India inspired him, and when his partner came in, she mentioned that she had woken up with India on her lips. They will go, trusting that they are being called too. 

We have the power to create a better world with our intentions. Community is the way forward. I am realizing I am a part of a tribe. Together, through our intermittent interactions, we will transform our lives and our communities. This is the way. 

Mark finishes his tattoos with drumming and singing to seal the intention of the tattoo. 

I was in a meditative state for most of the tattooing process, the pain was intense. Shedding past and outdated beliefs about myself, and the expectations of what I thought my life would look like. With each line, each period of shading, they were ripped from my body and my soul, leaving me happy and returned to my peaceful, calm post India self. 

I am back. I am in control. I am in full trust. I have made the right decision. I am on the right path. This is where I am meant to be. 

The universe does work in mysterious ways. We have to trust that everything that happens, is meant to. We need to act on opportunity and trust the intuitions we receive. They guide us to happiness and health. They empower us to be our best selves, living our best lives. Tragedies, ultimately, become opportunities to shed the old and embrace the new. 

Namaste 🙏🏻 

The Times They Are A Changing 

I think that it must be normal that your childhood heroes start to die as you age. They are that little bit older than you, and most have lived hard lives. It does leave me questioning though, who are the childhood heroes today? 

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go is my first choice funeral song because I imagine the people I love in tears, and then wryly laughing as the music kicks in. I’ve had an amazing life, and more often than not, feel blessed and grateful. I have experienced so many incredible things and known amazing people. 

Not that I intend dying today. 

Carrie Fisher has died today (US time). The trailblazers are passing this year, in droves. The people that inspired me to be real, to stand up, to fight for what I believe in, are dying in the year that shackled me. The irony is not lost. 

For a young girl growing up during the seventies and eighties, Princess Leia was a mainstream, socially acceptable, strong woman. Carrie Fisher embodied these qualities in her own life, maybe not always socially acceptable, but definitely authentic and real, fighting the good fight. A true role model, a true hero. 

Emma Watson is a positive role model for young girls. I think I’m struggling beyond her though. Maybe I’m just too old to appreciate what young women offer. 

I was also blessed to have had exposure to the life and work of Audrey Hepburn, an attitude that subconsciously pervaded my role as teacher. Especially relating to where I choose to teach. Her elegance and grace touched me, not necessarily with the language I choose to use. I’m more Carrie that way. Lol. 

I have been blessed to have been touched by female celebrity as much as by real women in and through my life. Strong women who never give up, even when they want to. 

My mother is there. Not always right, but always fighting to survive, to look after us girls, and to live her life. She has been hurt but has never given up. She is real. Her struggles have been real. She endures. My first role model. 

My second took the form of a friend’s mother, becoming my second mum. She struggled with mental health issues in a time when mental health issues were nowhere near as acceptable and understood as they are today. She was there for me, validating my experiences, my reactions, my existence, when all I felt was awkward and insecure. 

Most of my female friends are strong women, living their lives the best way they know how, battling and surviving their demons. 

My third role model is one of my closest friends. I often denounce her wisdom initially, so that I can process it before embracing it, but I acknowledge that that is what I’m doing. And acknowledge this to her. I’m a rebel at heart. Lol. 

Like me, she grew up in dysfunction. She is strong and she is a fighter. She is strong willed and strong minded, whilst being vulnerable in moments of, for want of a better word, defeat. She is unashamedly and unapologetically, her. And she has stood by me, even when I’ve pushed her away, consistently. 

She, too, has been fighting her employer, and through that fight, has confronted herself many times over, resolving little pieces of life struggle triggered by the present fight. Similarly to George Michael and Carrie Fisher, her heart has struggled with the enormity of her fight, but thankfully, her heart has not succumbed. 

I continue to be blessed. I surround myself with strong women who are real. I grew up in a time when it seemed more acceptable for women to not just be tits and arse. And I have been open to the power of love and the desire to survive. 

It is women like my mum, Anne and Donna, and Carrie, who have forged paths that empower and inspire others, that I am most grateful for. And it is important that all of us women who follow, forge our own paths so that we may become beacons for those that follow us. 

Moving Forward

Life really is two steps forward, one step back, but at least the motion is forward and I’m not treading water, or drowning. 

I’ve just sat down to look at my finances. If I work 6 days as a casual teacher each fortnight from the 16th February I will be able to meet my financial commitments without going into my savings. However, if we look at my travel plans, most of them falling during term time (i.e. no work) it’s not as clear cut. 

That is without taking into consideration the meditation classes I want to start facilitating, my group workshops, and tutoring (thank you Karyn for forcing my head out of the negative). I may not have savings at the end of next year but I’ll have had a great ‘gap year’. 

So, seeing the new year in in Eden, cruise in late January, Perth in February, surgery in March/April (I will aim for holidays if I have a choice), America in June, Uluru road trip and wellness retreat in September, Vietnam and Cambodia in October, and Morocco somewhere in there. Starting back full time work at the beginning of December. 

I think I’ll engage in some travel writing lol. 

What a year! For the first time in a couple of weeks, the fear has absconded and the excitement is back. 

Bring on an exciting (fingers crossed) 2017!

No Idea What To Call This Post

In the interests of living life because it is short, and in honour of all of those who have passed and can’t make the most of each day in this realm, I am trying to reclaim Christmas spirit and my friendships by spending time. 

I have, for the last many decades, put work first so often that I stopped living fully. At the time I would have argued that I was living fully, and maybe for some of it, I was. Maybe it’s only been since the IVF journey that I stopped. I’m not sure. It’s all a bit muddy. However, I learned this four years ago and it is only now that I’m attempting to do it all differently. 

I process emotion well but in the past I have shut myself off from others to do so. As a result, when one of my closest friends died four years ago, it had been a fair while [read, way too long] since I had seen her. I carry that regret. I can’t go back and change it, and I know that. I have to breathe and accept that that was the way it was. 

And, I have to learn from it. 

So today, I spent time with some of my longest serving friends who are family to me. We have experienced trials and times when we have been distant, but there have been significantly more beautiful and happy times. I am grateful for that, and for them. 

I think, that when someone dies our hearts never really get over it, but we learn how to assimilate their loss into our lives without them. We memorialize them in different ways. For me, it’s been four years in the making, but I’m trying to be my best self living my best life. Some moments I am more successful than others but the important thing is that I haven’t given up and I keep trying. 

I have had many chats with my friend since she died. That is the liberating part of what I believe in, and it helps me to still have that contact. I’m still trying to make sense out of something that will never make sense but I’m also accepting that there will never be a satisfactory reason. So, I must stop hiding in work, stop needing to be the martyr and the perfectionist, and focus on building a calm, loving and happy life. 

I love all of my friends, past and present, wholeheartedly, and even after bad endings, I never stop loving them. I like this about myself. I focus on what existed that was positive, and the fun and laughter that was shared. Even if I don’t like them any more (one person only really). I remember the love. 

Man, thoughts are messy today lol. Yoga in an hour will go a long way to helping that. Hopefully. A little bit of a headache too – repressed tears methinks. The body is such a strong mirror to the mind. 

I am okay. The process of life is never smooth. And it’s beauty rests in the contrasts. Without contrasts we can’t appreciate what we have that is good. A paradox, and one that often stings on days like today. A necessary paradox. 

And on that note, time to fester a bit more before yoga … because that’s how I roll 😉.

Namaste 🙏🏻

Rejuvenation 

Having most of the family here on Saturday has made me realize how small my home is but more importantly, how much stuff I have. And, I think, most of it isn’t vital or even necessary. 

I want my life to change. It has been work-focused/heavy for too long, probably since coming home from Europe in 2010. Finishing my Masters whilst working full-time didn’t help the anti-social lifestyle I adopted to get it all done. Moving last year forced me to downsize but I think it is time to cull again. 

These last two weeks of 2016 are going to see me rearrange my space and remove unnecessary bits and pieces. Myculling will focus on leaving the things that will support and enable the rebalancing of my life, and I will remove the things that do not support this end. 

It will be interesting to see if my will is as strong as my desire lol. And, if I can find some creative storage solutions. 

Nothing Prolific 

Anxiety and fear have passed. Gone. Faith in the universal order has been restored. Friday, my last day at structured and guaranteed work for a year, felt surreal. Yesterday, I hosted a partial family Christmas. 

Surrounded with reasons for gratitude. There was a moment that I sat back, and just soaked in the conversation around me, and felt truly grateful, peaceful and like, yep, this is what life is about. 

Nothing else really matters. 

It was my first Christmas being really present after Natalie’s death four years ago and my miscarriage three years ago. 

Time. Weird concept. There hasn’t been a single day where Nat hasn’t been in my thoughts. Her passing doesn’t feel that long ago. I try to honour her life by trying to live my best life. I’m not always successful; I am human, after all. 

Sixteen years ago, on the same day I miscarried three years ago, I woke up and went to work as usual. When I arrived, the day of Year 10 Graduation, we were all informed that one of our Year 10 students, one of my students, just hadn’t woken up. The kids, the staff, her family – shock doesn’t describe it, and then the grief. My. She, Erin, has visited my classroom through the years. Some of my more sensitive students have felt her presence and one heard her call out. An interesting lesson that was lol. 

Like Nat, life cut short way too soon. And then Luke and Steph, followed by Jamie, Nich and then, last year, another Nicholas. Lives all ending way too soon. 

In my head, it has become important to honour their lives by living. I think, in part, that inspired me to take leave for next year. I also promised myself when I stopped all fertility treatments, accepting that I wasn’t going to be a birth mother in this lifetime, that I would really do something in my life, beyond the every day; my legacy would not be in the realm of birth children. I would travel and have adventures. I would create a different life. 

A Tina type of life. 

One of the ways that I have already started to do this is by saying yes more, and making plans. If someone asks me or suggests to me something, and it feels right, I don’t pause to think of the practicalities, the anchors, I jump and am trusting that the universe will provide or know that my savings will be lost in travel next year. 

One of my inspirations for this is another ex-student, Justine. Justine was one of Erin’s friends. She created a bucket list of sorts, things to have done before she turned thirty. What a rich life she has lived in honour of herself first and foremost, but also in honour of Erin. Amazing inspiration. 

There are always ways to make money to pay the rent 😳🙏🏻.

Hehehe. 

So, I’m going to write my book, I’m going to grow my business by sharing my strategies for healing and living, I’m going to travel, and I’m going to host game nights at my house. 

Living is more than safety, more than routine, more than working yourself to the bone. My ‘gap’ year is going to explore the potential for my life, for me. Not as youthfully as it would have when I was eighteen or in my twenties, or even in my thirties, but ‘appropriately’ for now. I will foster the things that I love and see where it leads me. 

Jumping is scary, dying unfulfilled and without passion for life though, well, that’s terrifying. 

The Adventure Begins ğŸ˜³

My last day at my school of eighteen years for fifty weeks. It doesn’t feel like the end of the school year let alone my time there. I might be a little numb; it’s a bit surreal. 

My family Christmas tomorrow, here, and I should be cleaning. I need to take a moment to process. 

I will be back. But life will have changed by the time I do return. My life will have changed. My gap year will have been an experience, and I will be clearer about what I want in the next few years as well as what is possible to achieve. 

At this time I hope my business will be moving forward, I will have completed a book, I will have better balance. And, I will be happier because I will have been living my best life. 

Fingers crossed. 

A Moment

There are moments that dredge up all of your normal paranoias and fears. One of them is the moment of waiting when life is in transition. 

I finish work tomorrow. By mid-February (hopefully) casual work, writing, travel and building my business become my new normal. But tonight, waiting for tomorrow to end, and relaxation and release to begin, I am experiencing a moment of … something. 

Negative self talk, doubt, exhaustion, have crept in. Yoga helped calm the mind but not silence the voices. 

I know they will stop. I know my life is waiting for something wonderful to grow. I know this moment will seem really stupid very soon. 

But I wanted to acknowledge it. 

Recording a life’s journey is not easy. I questioned writing this. I’m having a weak, feeling sorry for myself moment. We all have them. [I hope, oops] Even strong, resilient, courageous people have moments where they aren’t. 

Suffice to say, it’s okay. I’m human. Tomorrow will be different. Change is imperative for growth. And I finally realise my worth, and that has lead to me believing I have the right to live my best life doing things that bring me happiness. 

After all, that is the purpose of life. 

Showering by Candlelight

On Sunday my anxiety was a twenty on a scal that goes up to ten. Monday it was probably at a thirteen/fourteen. This morning it started at an eight. Dropped to a five/six after moving my office back to English. A zero after yoga. 

Calm again, feeling a little India bliss (my yogi has just arrived home after her own Indian retreat), drove home, decided to shower in candle light. 

Amazing serenity. The light was bouncing off the walls and reflecting in the mirror. No noise apart from the boys playing. Just calm. Peace. Quiet. Happy play. Water washing away a forty plus degree day. 

Reflection on the relaxation. An image of me leading my first workshop for next year. Now needing to write the program, advertise it, find a space to run it in, find a date, and done. 

This world truly can be your oyster. Courage. Patience. And more courage. And it will be. 

Namaste. 

Today

Will be a better day. My body has settled and my mind is quieter. I have woken up. My pets are happy. The sun is out. I have a double period of Year 12 – our last together. I can hear the birds. I am picking up a friend to take to work – our last ride together before she embarks on a huge adventure. 

Life is good with strong potential to be amazing. 

Gratitude.