Archive | January, 2014

Reflections on a Mote of Dust

27 Jan

Pale Blue

We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot.
That’s here.
That’s home.
That’s us.
On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

– Carl Sagan

Image

Happy Australia Day

26 Jan

1st Dog Australia Day

How To Be An Explorer

24 Jan

It has been 79 days since I’ve been on a plane.

Backpacking

This is not unusual in itself: I’ve been longer without travelling, of course. But this summer has been an experiment in staying put: in commitment, in consolidation.

It has been an interesting process. And by “interesting”, I mean, “a massive challenge.”

I’m used to a life that is not planned for more than a couple of weeks ahead. I’ve loved that I could, at any moment, jump on a plane or a train and be somewhere new. I’ve been addicted to that feeling.

I admit it’s much easier to feel that sense of awe when you are travelling. Being overseas, at any given moment, I can see something I’ve never seen before. That I might never see again! Of course it’s interesting: it’s NEW! It’s a surprise! 

The experiment has been in finding that feeling in the “every day” – how can you have a job and go to work and find time to exercise and see family and do laundry and eat well…AND maintain a sense of wonder?

It turns out, you can.

Don't remember days but moments

I started thinking of some of my best moments while travelling.

For me, they’ve often involved being outside: hiking, swimming, diving, exploring a town…
Overwhelmingly, the moments I remember best are ones where I stop, take a moment and breathe in exactly where I am.

(And, according to my photos, throw my arms wide and exclaim “I can’t believe I’m here right now!”)

The challenge of a few months in one place, my hometown no less, was to find that same sense of taking time and applying wonder.

I think when we’re back in our familiar surroundings, especially when we’re working, it’s easy to get into a grind that can make us forget all the beauty around us. The first step for me was making time to stop and notice. Scheduling a walk. Being outside at sunrise or sunset. Taking the dogs out and noticing how they interact with their environment.

Instagram has been an amazing tool for this.
(Check out my summer: @shinyhappyhealthy)

I tried to find one thing – a scene, a bird, a tree, a certain slant of light – that captured my eye. Just that act of stopping, snapping and sharing, helped me reconnect with my surroundings. And it helped me feel connected with my travelling community, when I saw how beautiful they found my hometown.

Then, last week, I came across this list from author/illustrator/creativity guru, Keri Smith. 

Explorer Keri SmithI love this list.

Here’s the thing: people come and visit where I live as tourists and exclaim how beautiful and amazing it is. Exactly as I do for places I visit overseas or interstate. The only difference is perspective.

I love the idea that I could be anywhere, at any given moment and completely surrender to and appreciate the beauty of where I am.

To be an explorer in my own life, throw my arms wide and exclaim: “I can’t believe I’m here right now!”

Shiny Song #19

23 Jan

I find it impossible to listen to this song without smiling.

It reminds me of great times travelling…

Beautiful friends…

And that “home” can be whatever I want it be.

The Invitation

21 Jan

Butterfly Hand

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithlessand therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

– Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Shiny Song #18

20 Jan

Sometimes it’s a case of be careful what you wish for..!

“All year long…
We wait for sun…”

We certainly have summer this year in Perth, Western Australia.
My hometown has been scorching hot, dry & suffering from bushfires.

But it’s also incredibly beautiful: endless blue sky, bright sunshine, pristine beaches and the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean.

#nofilter #seriously

#nofilter #seriously

This song reminds me to enjoy the seasons as they come…
Especially summer.

Gratitude for Today

19 Jan

Bird in Flight

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginably You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

– e.e.cummings

Shiny Song #17

18 Jan

My yoga practice this morning consisted of sun salutes…

…and about an hour of dancing around to this song on repeat.

Because, let’s be honest, when was the last time you you felt like a room without a roof?

Pharrell Happy

By the way, if you fancy an extended happy dance session yourself*, check out 24hoursofhappy.com

*Dancing in the street optional

Yoga Body: The Backlash

17 Jan

I loved this piece.
It’s such a great reminder that yoga is for EVERY BODY.

Also great to remember that “yoga” is many things: breath, balance, meditation, awareness…

Never just the poses.

body divine yoga

1-blog5

Two years ago I wrote a popular post titled Yoga Body: The Conspiracy. At the time it was very warmly received, generating thousands of hits, hundreds of shares and loads of positive comments. But lately the commentary hasn’t been very affirmative. In fact, its been making people pretty angry. One yoga teacher was enraged enough to call me an ignorant, lazy, pissed off “fat chick”. Nice. So what I wondered, was suddenly getting people so upset?

A lot of commentators disagreed with my claim that the ‘perfect’ yoga body used to sell yoga mats, clothes, DVDs, books, workshops, festivals, retreats, studio memberships, etc. was not a healthy ideal, that it was a body overworked and underfed. They saw it as a glowing icon of inspiration, the natural outcome of a wholesome yogic lifestyle (i.e. self-discipline and dietary control). And as one person pointed out, if I didn’t have a yoga…

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Reborn in the Movement

16 Jan

My feet are planted and I rise from the ashes

Like a phoenix headed toward the sun

Sigirya Rock Sunset 2

Hands connect, reaching toward the sky, and I

I am connected

I am here

I am present

And I am grateful for Mother Earth

I am grateful for the warmth I feel on my face

And as I breathe deep ujjayi breath into these precious lungs

I feel the link between the sun, the earth and myself

And I begin this practice of thanks

Through linked breath and movement

Stitching the threads of the fabric of these moments with intention

First lengthening, opening and then surrender

Flowing, not unlike Life itself

And in these moments I realize that

The differences between us

Are much slighter than they ever seemed before.

– Temple Symonds