Bitchy, sexy, bad-Breaking the Beast

  IMG_0161I'm in a storytelling mood folks, gather a blanket and a mug of hot tea and lean in.

I'm writing this because I'm confused and a little sad and I'm trying to understand. Sometimes, when I'm struggling with something, I tell myself a story in order to try and make sense of it all.

This story is about us all being good. Despite all the horror and hardship, I would like to think of goodness being the basis of our humanity.  In a hippy dippy shared-consiousness kind of way I think were all just a lump of peace and love borrowing a meat suit for the hundred or so years that we keep on kickin'.

The problem seems to lie in the fact that we all seemed to have hooked up with an interloper. We're all tied for life to a big ol' lummox called Ego. He's bossy and bad and shits where he eats. He's not interested in our perfection or our happiness or anybody else's.

He's into self gratification, envy, money and his own importance. He would rather look good than be good. He's nasty and judgemental and righteous - basically he's a massive d**k.

But he's tied to every single one of us. We exist in antibiosis- an antagonistic relationship between two organisms, in which one is adversely affected. The more he consumes, the less fodder for our good selves. He gets bigger and badder and we shrivel under the weight of selfies and stinking media manure.

The yoga world is sadly not immune. In fact, two minutes on Face(less)book will bombard you with perfect yoga bodies screaming "Look at me!" from some glamorous locale. Probably trying to sell something thats sadly not yoga- clothes, props, retreats, books, packaged green juices and plastic wrapped 'perfect.

Big ol' egos dressed up as idols.

It made me think about that antibiosis. The bigger he gets, the smaller we get. The more we allow him to strut around, beating his chest and bringing the poocake to the party, the more we aren't able to share the love. He thrives on drama, gossip, bitchy, sexy, badness. He likes fast food, shiny shit and look at me flattery.

When we indulge him we starve ourselves. This made me think about how I feed my beast and at what cost?

We grow when we feed our souls with connection and kindness, good food and true beauty. When our work becomes service, our financial freedom is aligned with authenticity.

I'm so glad I became a yoga teacher after I'd cut my ego down to a manageable beast. Thank god I didn't find this in my ego driven twenties. I have no aspirations of grandeur as a teacher. All I really want is to be of small service. I hope if my ego ever chucks on a bikini and splatters bendy bullshit on social media someone tells me I'm a twat. I'll thank you in advance.

What I really want is a small and simple life. Connection. I want to learn and love and laugh. I know I'm going to have to drag around this whiny egoist but I'm going to try very hard to keep him firmly in check. I'm still trying to break the beast.

I've spent way too much time caring what other people think of me. Thats a whole lot of energy that I should have been devoting to being a better person. That's Ego's sly trick to keep us meek and needy. It sounds trite but realising our perfection renders him redundant.

But what is perfection?

Connection. With ourselves. With each other. With the moon and the stars and the universe. And even with him in a strange sort of twist. Best to understand who he is and the great threat that he poses to our humanity and our happiness.

Namaste.

 

 

No Bunny Food for Breakfast!

IMG_1996 Hallelujah! Finally we've been sprung. The days are slowly getting longer and the sun has been high and bright. I love this time of year in Australia.

Its funny how much the seasons affect my mood (and my food). I get such a boost of optimism with the warmer weather and the garden gives up the good stuff. The zucchinis have gotten showy. Huge fulvous blooms that beg to be stuffed with lemon scented ricotta and fried in olive oil. One cannot live on green juice alone- a brisk (long) walk should take care of this breakfast treat before it slides south to my thighs. Tomatoes dressed in a little more oil ensure the calorific count remains high enough to present a challenge! Some pretty flowers provide a welcome distraction from any conscientious objections from the green-goodness police in my mind.

Life is short my friends and if you can't linger over fried cheese, it may not be worth the melancholy of a wasted spell. Eat up.

The back deck is warm by 7am and there is to be so much chatter amongst the butcher birds. They've learnt that we're good for a free meal and line up along the balustrade while the kids toss them half their breakfast. The dog looks on bemused at their good fortune.

We are all swept up in busy weeks at the moment. The kids are over scheduled, my beloved and I are go,go,go. Weekend breakfasts are a wonderful antidote to the push and pull of obligation. We talk about our plans for the garden and the future while my girl picks more tomatoes from the vine. Bliss.

No need for a fancy recipe here. Grab a zucchini flower, take out the stamen and  stuff with a mixture of ricotta, lemon zest and soft herbs. Crumb them and shallow fry them until golden. Eat them hot and oozy with tomato salad and lemon wedges. Grab a patch of sunshine and linger a while. No rabbit food today. If your feeling guilty about all this crispy fried goodness, wash it all down while a kale and quinoa smoothie. :)

Some days are better spent seeking pleasure and besides, the bunnies want their breakfast back. :)

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Michelle xx

Party mouth pickle

IMG_1946 I love a good condiment. Who doesn't right? But this recipe is going to make us friends. :) This is the one recipe that you'll try and you'll experience that crazy Pow!! moment when your mouth and your brain do some sort of MC Hammer happy dance.

"You're welcome, glad you could come to the party. Pickles are on me"

I'm serious. Next weekend, I want you to go to the farmers market and buy two big fat shiny aubergines and a couple of lemons. Check out your spice rack- add some chilli if you like it hot. Then chase down some nice ripe avocados.

Sweet-talk the bread man and pay way too much for a fat grainy sourdough or better still make your own. Skip home and open this post and get to work.

This recipe makes about three medium jars so sort those out. Boil them in water to make sure they're sterile. You could halve the quantity but then you'd just be devastated when it runs out. Better to double the quantity and give to people you love (or owe lot's of money to, debt cleared!). I like it for breakfast but it's also great on lamb or chicken or lentil patties or ice-cream or sandwiches.

Ok, maybe not dessert.

My son named this recipe. He took one bite and lost his tiny mind. "What is in this???" said he. " It's like a party in my mouth!".

Party on little man.

Who doesn't love a serious breakfast party?

Eggplant Pickle

2 large eggplant

2  lemons (zest and juice)

½ cup vege oil

2 T tamarind paste

1 T garam marsala

1 T yellow curry powder

1 T turmeric

1 t hot paprika

1 t ground coriander

1 t mustard powder

1 t powdered ginger

* Cut eggplants into 1cm cubes

* Heat up a big pot and toast your dry spices over medium heat.

* Add oil and lemon zest and then stir in eggplant.

* Cook over low heat with a lid on. Stir every 5 minutes or so, for half and hour.

* Add lemon juice and tamarind and cook for a further 10 minutes.

* Make sure it's all good and soft and jar up. Vacuum seal your jars by placing in a simmering bath for 5 minutes. (water half covering the jars, no higher).

* You can eat one jar right away because the smell of this pickle is similar to the total exhilaration of your first kiss. (You'll see) You're not going to wait. But the rest you need to leave for a week because it gets better.

* If you wish to send me presents I'll understand :)

The power of Positive

IMG_1876 Call me crazy but I still believe we can achieve a peaceful world.

I believe in grace and goodness and humanity. I believe we can heal with energy and intention. You might be fooled into thinking I'm a new ager but the truth is far more ordinary with a distinct lack of cheesecloth.

I'm a mum and a partner and dare I say house wife. I'm middle-class, middle-of-the-road, vanilla. The most 'out there' thing about me is that I believe in my ability to make a difference. I believe you can too. We make a difference in our words, our parenting and our purpose. We can spend our thoughts on the size of our backside or healing the pain of humanity.

Too big? Not really. Too simple? Says who?

See a news story that hurts your heart? Send the victims loving kindness and a prayer for their pain. Hear a sad story of a friend's friend? Spare a second to wish them well on their way and the sincere hope that their fortune might change.

Doesn't make a difference? .....or it might.

I'm not a religious person but I do believe in 'prayer'. I believe in a moment spent connecting with the divine. Om Shanti. We send a small energetic wave of peace into the universe. Better that than wishing for a small butt people! Teach your children that their thoughts are powerful tools for progress. Teach them to tidy their thoughts in the same way they tidy their rooms. Find grace in the privilege of parenthood.

I've started to use a mala in my meditation. I found a wonderfully ethical producer of beautiful 108 bead malas. Maha Mala believe in their unique contribution to this process of 'sending out' and it's reflected in their craft. Their work is made with care and a conscience, you can check out the range here. If anyone would prefer to purchase a mala in Australia (and therefore reduce the cost of postage) message me and I will pass on the details of an Australian distributer. It will be in your healing hands in a few days! :)

Join me in sending out a prayer for peace. Most days I perform 'Japa' . I start at the guru bead and pass each of the stones through my index finger and thumb while chanting a mantra for each bead. When I arrive at the lotus pendant I send a prayer for my family. By using a mala in your practice, you imbue the semiprecious stones with the energy of your intention.

In this way your mala becomes a energetic vessel, a holder of your highest vibration and a conduit for healing.

.....and no, as usual, I don't get paid to say nice things about this company. I just believe in sharing the love Folks. :)

 

Itchy, scratchy, cranky and a whole lot of gratitude.

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Agh friends, lately I've been a bit restless.

You know the feeling? Itchy, scratchy, cranky. Waiting for change or chance but not sure which? Snappy at the kids or just plain grummoxed. You understand I'm sure, like when you don't know why you're so out of sorts.

It started a week ago when a long term project I'd been working on ended. Unfinished. I just had a really strong feeling it was over and I had somewhere else to be. My energy shifted immediately and I haven't thought of it since.

But for the last week I have been doing some stomping about saying "What now?" to the ceiling.

Well.....today I found my answer and a lovely new friend. One of those gorgeous girls that feel like a soul sister and she had a really exciting opportunity to offer me. It proved to me that if we seek change two things are usually necessary.

We need to make room.
We need to recognise restlessness as a whisper of possibility..and be patient.

I used to feel like I was supposed to be doing something, but what?? I always felt like I was meant to be somewhere else. It wasn't until I relaxed into my life and occupied the fullness of each day that I was able to start figuring out my path. And amazing, kind, people showed up to help.

Present and patient my Friends. I am so grateful to that beautiful soul who showed me a little picture of a potential pathway.

I can't wait to begin a new phase. Today!!

What do you need to begin??

We are free....

IMG_1187 You and I are just a whole bunch of stories.

We might think we're skin and bones and hungry bellies, but thats just another yarn we hold close. And so we should. There's some precious truth in that tale after all, us being of the flesh and full of life.(Look after the vessel.)

But today we told ourselves a story.

And yesterday.

I am guilty of telling myself all about what I should have done and didn't. Moments all tangled in a past tense that keeps perpetuating. It's gone my friend. That story has no future if you'll pardon me stating the obvious. I suggest you thin it out, take only what you need and leave the rest for dust (and it's all just waste on the wind).

We're free you and I. Much more so than our busy lives would have us believe.

We are free to speak gentle words full of praise and pretending. Funny make believe fancies. Stories worth reading over tea and toast, with a blanket and a beloved. Or tell a tale of whimsy for your pint sized pirate or  sleepy eyed princess.

Tell yourself a nice story at 3am, when you worry the sun from the inky night sky, as the house creaks and shadows fall down the hall. Ask that fearful, cynical you to take a long nap while you write yourself anew.

Clean down the page and start again.

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You get to choose your character, make her good and strong and kind. And big. Please make her big and bold and let her fill the page with purpose. Make her laugh often and long. Fill the moments in between with words of friendship and gratitude. Make her a generous cook and a great listener and give her a strong back for all she holds aloft. Put a babe at her feet and fill her arms with family. Give her soulful eyes and a warm smile (and shiny locks).

Give her the strength to move past the wrongs in her wake. It's just dust out the door. Forgive all the villains, they didn't know they could be someone else, brave and strong and good. Be gentle with the scared ones and patient with the silly.

Life will be a glorious adventure my friend.

If you speak it so.

 

A High tide lifts all the little boats...

DSCN0068 What do you leave behind when you walk out of a room?

When was the last time you considered what you stand for, what you're dishing up or handing out?

I've spent the last week totally immersed in all things Yoga philosophy. But regardless of your beliefs (or mine), it made me consider my impression on the people around me. Am I doing a good job as a parent? Friend? Human being? What's my own philosophy on life and do I have the courage to look at my failings?

I'm interested in hearing your top three rules for life. What would you like to teach your small ones? Leave me a comment and share your wisdom. After all the terrible sadness in the news today, let's find some positivity. I thought about it for a bit, and here's mine...

"A high tide lifts all the little boats." A beautiful, evocative sentiment and a good way to live. Be happy and see the best in everyone and everything. Why not, where possible? Laugh a lot, forgive and play nice.

"Eat real food". I love the saying that if your great gran didn't eat it, you shouldn't either. There is so much confusion over what to put in our mouths today! Paleo, raw, vegan, macrobiotic and don't even start me on the crap in our supermarkets. So much unnecessary angst! If it's organic or homegrown. Perfect. If you can't afford organic, eat as clean and as local as you can. There's no need for deprivation or diets. Real food, not too much. Simple.

"Keep a secret, share a smile, tell the truth". Gossip is the language of little. Be a good friend and keep your confidences close. Thumper's mum was all over this. If you can't say something nice, don't say nuttin' at all. Try not to lie. It's difficult, but speaking the truth is a superpower! Become a truth speaker and concern yourself with the important stuff.

What's your truth?

Michelle xx

 

Lest we speak it.....

IMG_0169 What's the worst word in your vocabulary?

(Keep it classy folks!)

Yesterday, I embarked on a whole new learning journey to become a yoga teacher and I was reminded of the most dangerous word to ever run through my brain. Worse still when it leaves my mouth in the company of wholesome folk. Such a word really _____ be irradiated at all costs.

"Should". For me it's right up their with 'diet' and 'doctors'. However, the latter two are rarely uttered by my brain, preferring instead to avoid such unpleasant terms lest I upset my delicate disposition. 'Should' is the single greatest threat to our happiness and to a greater degree, our self acceptance.

"I should have studied more."

"I should be smarter."

"I should be more flexible."

There's a few happiness thieves right there. I'm tempted to remind myself that I shouldn't say it, but then it just takes my hand and leads me back to the problem. So instead I'm going to remind myself that I am in perfect place, in perfect time.

And more importantly, all is well.

Anatomy is going to infiltrate my brain with such force that I'll have no where to store such gems as.....Jellyfish eat and poop out of the same orifice or grasshoppers have ears on their knees. Or that ancient Greek dentists used stingray venom as anaesthetic.

Sanskrit is totally going to inhabit the dusty vestibules that house the really weird stuff like...kangaroos have three vaginas or 'almost' is the longest word with all the letters in alphabetical order. I still have a little room left in my grey matter for some important stuff.

I just need to trust myself and have a little faith in divine order.

All is well.

Michelle xx

 

A pause

The older I get the more grateful I become. I have more of those moments where you pause to notice all the good stuff this life throws up.

Just because.

Gratitude is a bit of a 21st century movement with social media making us aware of things like The Gratitude Project and Project 365. It's hip to give thanks for tumble down kids and green juices and funny goats and stuff. Things that make our hearts full and remind us that it's not all doom and gloom.

Hit 'Like".

It's wise to remember that the world doesn't turn because of what's on the six o'clock news.

To be aware that there is brilliance abounding through the fabric of our daily lives. People can be insanely kind and are often possessed by unnatural goodness. Children are in fact manifestations of perfection (even though they continue to leave their dirty soccer clothes on their floor.) Goats are ridiculously cute. There are in fact some ingredients that when paired together produce a pleasure that is palpable, a feeling of nostalgic ecstasy, even an audible hallelujah (or an amazing photograph on instagram).

All moments to be grateful for.

But can we dig a little deeper?

Can we find scope in our minds to be grateful for our experiences of heartache and loss? Those times that leave us feeling broken and bruised and that remove us from our Facebook loving fever. The things we wouldn't 'post'. Shameful, hurtful ugliness that scourges through our sunny days and darkens our sleepless nights.

The things that threaten our openness.

And tighten our hearts.

Can we be grateful for this?

I wouldn't 'post' my fears and sadness, nobody wants to see my catalogue of hurt and shame. I've had my share, but it's behind me and I'm better for it. All of it, not just the stuff I pick and choose. The older I get the more I see the lessons. The more I'm grateful for the learning hidden deep with the devastation. I wouldn't change any of the days gone past. Any change I need, I put ahead of me. The past just contains a record of hurts that shaped my heart.

....and the sweeter it is when the kids are laughing, my love calls and there's something good in the oven. Your friend has good news or someone sends you a photo of a baby hedgehog in a tiny hat. It rains and the world smells washed anew. Simple stuff that feels like magic.

Michelle xx