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Books That Changed My Life

6 Sep

This week, I was set an impossible task by a dear friend: create a list of the 10 books that mean the most to me, or changed me, or touched my soul.

I immediately came up with 50 and had to cull ruthlessly. And then cheat, by tucking in 10 more at the bottom. Ahem.

So here are my ten, in no particular order.

1. The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

the-time-travelers-wifeI wish I wrote it. So original, so bittersweet & beautiful. Don’t watch the movie.

2. Daring Greatly, Brene Brown

DaringGreatly_largeWhy vulnerability is a strength, a beauty and a connecting force. This book changed the way I do everything and how I see my role in the world. Watch her Ted Talk for an abbreviated version.

3. Looking For Alibrandi, Melina Marchetta

Looking for AlibrandiI read this as I was starting high school and it was the first time I realised other Australians grew up feeling like they didn’t fit in anywhere, just like me. Informed my first inquiries into identity, family  and belonging.

 4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon Kavalier and Clay

A great friend put me onto this one. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

5. The History of Love, Nicole Krauss

History of LOVE

This one makes my heart ache, just thinking about it. I read it at a critical time and it was so healing. Made me believe again.

6. Wild, Cheryl Strayed

Wild

This memoir reminded me how important it is to go my own way, even if it doesn’t make sense to other people. And how important mothers are, so appreciate them while you have them.

 

7. Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert

eat_pray_love

Spurred my own overseas adventure, guided a different search for spirituality  and helped me realise I wasn’t alone in my wanderlust. It’s popular for a reason.

8. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist

The best 21st gift you can get anyone.

9. Travels, Michael Crichton

Travels

All kinds of journeys, described by an amazing writer. I aspire to his ability to communicate esoteric ideas in a tangible, pragmatic way.

 

10. In Full View, Lily Brett

In Full View

I read this at age 15 and could not believe how honest she was. Oh, to be so brave as a writer! I love the way she lets it all hang out…

And, because I feel GUILTY about not including these life changers…

Freedom, Jonathan Franzen

Incredibly Loud And Extremely Close, Jonathon Safran Foer

Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts

The Little Book, Selden Edwards

Conversations With God, Neale Donald Walsh

A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle

Bel Canto, Ann Patchett

Persuasion, Jane Austen

The Heather Blazing, Colm Toibin

Poser, Claire Dederer

What are your favourites? I’d love to see your lists…

Image

It’s A Trap!

6 Feb

Ego Trap

Fresh starts

10 May

Did you see it this morning?

There was an annular eclipse, when the moon passed across the sun.

Not a bad way to wake up!

Not a bad way to wake up!

It coincided with a new moon, which is representative of a new start.

Now, I love a bit of “woo woo” but astrology sometimes makes me raise a very skeptical eyebrow. However, a very real, very grounded, lovely friend of mine wrote an update that really spoke to me.

Meaghan (doesn’t she have a great name?!) possesses that rare ability to talk about “cosmic” stuff in a regular person way.

Hope you enjoy her ideas as much as I do!

“Many say the Taurus Sun Eclipse and New Moon is the start of a new cycle and the end of an old one. It’s a chance to let go of what is not working in your life, especially in terms of your feminine self,  i.e. the part of you that dreams, intuits, creates, romances, nurtures, reflects…
It doesn’t really matter if you “believe in astrology” here or not; what’s important is that ritual is useful. It’s our intention and focus that creates life mastery.
So you can use the imagery of an eclipse and moon consciously without necessarily handing your power over to a “cosmic event” and still reap big benefits.

Changing our attitude affects our actions, which changes our lives.

Use this as an opportunity: Light a candle, have a bath, write down some wishes, affirmations. Ask yourself. “what can I let go?”
This will sharpen your mind and polish your to-do list, and bring some magic starlight into your  soul to ready it for change.”

You can find more of Meaghan’s lovely ideas and courses on her website.

 Have a beautiful weekend with many delicious beginnings!

Star gazing is good for the soul...

Star gazing is good for the soul…

Cultivating Wonder: Shiny Song #4

8 May

How often do you look above your eyeline?

Do you see the nature around you, even in a city? Do you wonder at the clouds and the sky? When did you last stop and look at the stars?

I remember as a kid, often looking up to see the way the light filtered between the leaves in the trees. The sparkles the sun made as it danced through that yummy green. I was also pretty clumsy, and over the years, after tripping on various footpaths while dreamily staring at the sky, I got the message: “Watch where you’re going!”

Yesterday, I walked home as a storm brewed around me. By some miracle, I was managing to avoid the intermittent downpours. The wind whipped my hair around my face, it’s icy fingers biting at my ears and fingers. The clouds were gathering in clusters of white and grey, every changing, galloping around the the sky.

As I cut through a park to get home, a sliver of sun burst through the clouds just as I looked up and I was bathed in light.

It really felt like I was walking towards the sky, me and my feet, whole and complete.

This song came into my ears and I was in tears as I strode across the grass, against the wind.

Surrender (and get your feet wet!)

Surrender (and get your feet wet!)

Just a few minutes later, the sun disappeared and the rain began. I sheltered under a tree for a while, pressing my cheek against its protective trunk and smelling the earth come alive with each drop of water on the soil around me.

Are you seeing the world around you? Really, deeply breathing the air? I’m working in an office for the first time in a long time. I’m usually on a beach or overlooking a rice paddy with a notebook or laptop. I can see how much I have begun to take it for granted. That privilege of freedom, of open air.

Today, even for a few minutes, give yourself to the storm. To the air. To the sky above you. Look up! And breathe it in. We are so lucky to be alive.

Shiny Song #3

6 May

Today I’m jumping out of bed punching the air. 

I’m making choices for me.

Telling it like it is and taking no prisoners. 

Gone are the self-doubts, the second guesses.  

If there’s fear in here, it’s not stopping me. 

Today, I’m honouring myself.

Taking the last piece of fruit in the bowl.

Putting myself first. 

Making big, juicy plans that light up my life, 

Not waiting for approval or ducks in a row.  

Uncorking the bottle on the kick-ass genie that is me. 

Today, I command, I demand, respect. 

And I’m gonna dance to Aretha, to remind myself. 

 

One from me…

18 Oct

I have read this piece out at the start of classes…But I’ve always felt a little shy to post it up, because I wrote it myself.

In honour of my last week, I promised my students I would post it, so…

Today, I am my practice
Today, thousands of muscular impulses become tiny sparks of light in my body
lighting the way for what feels right

Today the heat I build in my practice propels me into my day
Into my life
Suddenly, I am fervour; I am focus
I am the master of my dreams.

The pose that challenged me is now a friend –
guiding hands to help my body be & grow & strengthen.

I am reborn in this moment, on this mat,
right now. And now. And now.

I release the baggage of my past and feel the lightness of my arms
and my heart.

Today my practice is love and light.
It’s the winged sandals lifting me to inspiration.

What a week!

9 Sep

Phew! Can’t believe I made it!

With the the Morning program on ABC’s Radio Australia and yoga and writing work (plus, a girl’s gotta play!) it has been a busy time…

Luckily, my gorgeous friend Irene is getting married, so I’m escaping to the sunshine of Perth for 10 days to be her bridesmaid!

My AYA classes will be covered by the gorgeous girls at the studio and I have told them to crack some inappropriate jokes so you don’t miss me too much.

I’ve just posted my Fairfax travel article link on the new “Writing” page and there are new interviews from our week on Radio Australia – I especially love some of the 9/11 interviews.

Have a wonderful weekend!