Saturday, 22 August 2020

A great wind has been blowing

How has this windy wind been making you feel?

Yesterday I spent the whole day bemoaning the wind and how it unsettled my soul, and I basically refused to go outside. Today however I got out there amongst it and it felt fabulous. Stepping outside this morning into the wind, with my lovely woolen beanie on, it simultaneously felt like old ways of thinking and being were blown away to make room for the new, and that the dull embers of my soul were being flamed. What currently feels like a dim light raged red with energy and excitement out in the wind.

I have worked very hard to build a nice, safe, comfortable life. If it is hot I put the air-conditioner on, if it is cold I put the heater on and generally if it is windy I stay inside, no reason to not be absolutely comfortable at all times right? We all love comfort. Most of my working life I have worked for other people, investing my creativity and passion and determination to make others money whilst I receive a lovely safe and sensible wage. I have my favourite television shows that I love to watch every week and we tick along in a pretty steady routine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a comfortable life, in fact it is a blessing but not if the comfort is killing me softly.

It feels like the wind has fanned the hot coals of the much larger furnace burning in my soul, the energy, the passion, the desire all being swirled around and like with a real fire it is  hard to contain and control once it gets a new energy source. It is the wind today that made the fire flare up. It is fear of the unknown, fear about what people will think, feelings of unworthiness and comparison that keep the fire under control and me sitting pretty in my comfort zone. 

However, the wind stirred up an underlying knowing deep inside of me and raised it to the surface. A big part of my day, each day, is spent settling for the mundane and I think it may be slowly robbing me of my physical health. My physical body and intuition is shouting at me yet I still I struggle to listen. Today's wind seemed to amplify the voice and the feeling to a level that was hard to ignore. Sure I felt very unsettled, and initially I didn't like it much at all, but then I could hear the whisper of God. That call to be courageous and strong and accept the invitation to step forward in faith and I know God rewards the brave, not only are there A LOT of Bible stories that feature bravery in seemingly very dire situations, but I have also witnessed it just in my own small life. 

It is strange that I am dragging my feet so long on this because to change the current situation  isn't even that hard, it just takes a huge leap of faith and some time and money but most importantly belief in myself. I actually want my girls to see that it is absolutely alright to take a risk, to step out in faith without any guarantee of the end result, to go on a journey of discovery and learn all the lessons along the way, and I think it is a lesson best learnt if you can observe and experience it, not just read about it on blogs or hear about it on Podcasts.

I would love to hear how you feel on windy days/weeks, and if you have any encouraging stories of when you were brave please share.

With much love on this windy day

Justine xx

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Fly like a bird released (obligatory Coronavirus blog)

The world pandemic that is Coronavirus has made us cling to safety and control much tighter than ever before. Keeping our job seems to have become more crucial and trying to save and plan for a really uncertain future has escalated in priority. Shaking hands or hugging anyone outside our own household has become a fineable offense, staying home in lock down, not crossing state borders, sanitising  before you enter any building, registering at every venue you visit, staying seated when you go to a Pub or restaurant ... we are living in truly strange times. The rules are currently endless, and constantly changing, and all are designed to keep us alive and well, so it seems like a good idea to follow them.

With all these rules it is easy to feel trapped and controlled which for me can trigger anger and the strong desire to rebel. Looking in from the outside it would seem I live a super conservative and comfortable life so why would a few more rules really matter, but being told to stay home and stay safe and keep your job and put more money in your superannuation account makes me want to sell everything, convert a bus into a really cool home, and run away with my family to become a full-time gypsy (check out @runningwld_mama on Instragram). For me this would clearly be a flight response. You know in Braveheart when William Wallace says "They may take away our lives but they'll never take our freedom",  well that true sense of freedom speaks to my soul. From when our girls were very young they have had an artwork on their wall of a bird cage left opened and all the birds flying free, freedom is important to us all.

During this time of small time struggle Jesus has definitely taken the time to tinker (thank you Ps Shane for this great word) with my soul and prepare my heart to view the world, and the current situation, a little differently. For most of us being brave right now is more about staying physically put but not giving up, giving in or quitting. It is less about moving to a new town, starting a new job, travelling to an exotic country, selling everything to start a new business or abseiling off a cliff.  It is more about being spiritually and personally brave in this very moment, it is about turning up and being authentic, now more than ever we need to remove the superficial masks and let our true 'child of God' self rise to the surface - which is probably the bravest thing any of us can ever do. This strange time is our personal invitation to be courageous, dig deep, and as Ps Bobbie Houston says "step out, press in and press on". This kind of brave will not give you an Insta worthy picture to share, which can make it seem a little less appealing, but it is possibly a million times more important than anything else, ever.

There are endless stories of how the current pandemic has made people realise how important their spouse and or/children are to them, how much they have enjoyed exploring their hobbies again, how crucial their faith really is during times of struggle. Many people have experienced an unraveling of what they had previously believed to be important. Researcher and Author Brene Brown explains when you have a life crisis it is "an unraveling - a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you're 'supposed' to live. The unravelling is a time when you are challenged to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are".

Spiritual freedom is a concept that I have been contemplating. Living through a historic moment in time, like we are right now, gives all of us much more time to ponder, to consider what is important, what triggers us to respond in a certain ways, what stories we are telling ourselves and where true north is on our life compass. What makes us creates a "nice, little, safe, comfortable, complacent, ordinary life instead of pursuing a wild faith adventure?" (Christine Caine). The Bible tells us repeatedly to be strong and courageous, and this is the perfect time to consider what this truly means, what does strong and courageous look and feel like, right now, when the rubber hits the road.

So now that I have stopped raging against this perceived idea of control and lost freedom I have immersed myself in exploring the concept of spiritual freedom - how do we get it and what do I need to release from my life to truly experience the freedom that God promises us. Rather than feeling indignant about the Government telling me where I can and can't go, and seemingly gaining more and more control over our every day lives, I am trying to adjust the perception to consider what freedom really means. 

Whilst we have lost so much freedom due to COVID-19 for us personally we have  gained the freedom to plant a lot of trees on our little farm. This does not seem like much now but in 10 years time I can guarantee it will mean a lot. Considering the idea of freedom raises so many ideas, long held beliefs and thoughts within me, I start to think about what I have lost in the short-term and then what I have gained, and then when you extrapolate this out across the nation and globe it starts to blow my tiny little mind.

I would love to hear what the Coronavirus pandemic has challenged you to consider and think about?

With much love

Justine x

PS Just for the record I do think the time will come, sometime in the future, when we may need to fight to get some of our freedoms back but we can cross that bridge when we come to it, and this may call for a whole new level of courage and strength.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Earth wisdom

Throughout the tapestry of her life there had always been a thread of loneliness, in every relationship, encounter and memory, for as long as she could remember. She felt a deep yearning in her soul of a great purpose but the specific detail eluded her. Her purpose in life was something she couldn’t grasp. This knowing without really knowing kept her feeling slightly aloof from those she loved and liked, until she met him.

Together the loneliness dissipated and the need to understand the greater purpose no longer seemed quite so important.

“Let’s just do it Lach, come on it will be fun,” Jas excitedly declared into the still and peaceful room.

It was a sleepy Saturday afternoon in a quiet country town.  Lying together they could hear a housemate doing some dishes, the churning of an overloaded top loader washing machine, the occasional car driving past, the sound of a lawn mower in the distance and the high pitched protests of tired children fighting.  Then of course there was Costa, breathing heavy next to the bed, as he patiently waited for somebody to stir and maybe take him for a walk.

“Do what?” Lach sleepily murmured.

“Travel around Australia together. Let’s just quit our jobs, sell our stuff and drive around Australia,” in that moment, right then and there Jas thought it sounded so easy and brilliant.

Lach’s practical brain still worked well even in a relaxed and semi-sleeping state.

“What would we travel in, how would we pay for it, where would we go first, where would we work?” he rattled off a long list of practical and perfectly legitimate questions, while Jas who was getting overly excited by the idea was waving her hands around saying “Oh I don’t know, let’s just do it”.

Lach, trying to hide his own excitement at the idea, conceded “Righto, let’s save our money and plan to leave in a year, on one condition”.

Jas was still caught up in her own fantasies, planning more persuasive arguments and nearly missed the fact that Lach had just agreed.  The conversation had just unexpectedly, and positively, accelerated and Jas wasn’t keeping up, she didn’t know what to say next.

“Did you hear me Jas, on one condition,” Lach repeated.

“Oh, sorry babe, what is the condition,” she said, still stunned.

“I want you to marry me before we go”.

Jas prided herself on being a level headed, sensible, educated and fairly rational young woman but in that moment she forget herself and squealed.

She sat staring dumbly at Lach, she was thinking to herself “This sort of thing does not happen to me. This is what happens to beautiful people, or rich people, or interesting and famous people but not me. Is it a joke? He wouldn’t do that, would he?”

Before she could still her racing mind and gather her thoughts enough to speak Lach reached over with a big smile and playful pushed Jas onto her back, looking intently into her face, his eyes filled with laughter, love, hope and a bit of fear.

Jas, trying to gain a little bit of control of this situation, used her hip to rock Lach upwards and pushed him onto his back. She looked at him and asked earnestly “Why, why would you want to marry me?”

“Because I love you and if I have to carry this ring around in my bag any longer my nerves will give me a bloody stroke”, Lach hopped up and in one step was over at his bag reaching in for something. He knelt beside the bed, opened the ring box and revealed a sweet diamond cluster ring. Jas cried, taking the ring, she slipped it onto her finger and she kissed her fiancĂ©.

After nine months of living like hermits and scrimping and saving every single cent their trip was finally a reality. At work Jas had printed and laminated the motivational sign “Laugh more, live longer”, and arriving home with a bottle of chilled champagne, she grabbed three glasses, raced out and stuck the sign inside the bus and declared “Now it is ready”.

Lach and his Dad, Bede, stood back from the now complete project and shook hands, and then reluctantly and awkwardly embraced. The father son duo had worked on renovating the bus and the end result was terrific but Bede knew his beloved son would be driving off into the sunset with no real plan to return.

Meanwhile Jas excitedly opened every cupboard, sat on every seat, opened the microwave and loudly announced “This is more exciting then when I got Strawberry Shortcake for Christmas”.

“What about when we got married”, Lach retorted and Jas dismissively and playfully said “Oh yeah and that too”, giving her husband a sideways grin.

Just weeks later, after most of their possessions had been sold and the rest placed in storage, they turned the key in their brand new home. It was the most surreal feeling and amongst the excited goodbye hugs, calls of good wishes and teary waves that feeling of loneliness began to creep into her consciousness once again. However, the anticipation and excitement on their very first night of camping alone was exhilarating and enough to overshadow any feelings of doubt.

“Well Mrs Milton, I am off to catch you a fish for dinner” and then in his very worst Neanderthal impersonation Lach added “You, woman, must prepare vegetables”, and he walked, more quickly than usual, towards the river.

“Whatever! I’ll wait and see if you catch anything first Rex Hunt” Jas yelled after him, as she reclined in her swanky new camp chair to read her book, and she cautiously opened her heart just a little more and let the feelings of happiness and joy wash over her soul.  

Only minutes later she looked up to see her hunter-gatherer husband wrestling with his line that was very obviously snagged, and giggling to herself she thought “It will be sausages for dinner tonight”.

Not too much later Lach returned heading to the back of the bus and loudly pulled out the old gas barbeque, but after a packet of matches and still no flame he banged around in the bus for a while. Jas then heard him open the microwave and soon she smelt the familiar scent of cheese and chives pasta and sauce.

She couldn’t help it, she laughed at him, Lach leapt out of the bus and picked her up, carrying her towards the river pretending to throw her in. She laughed loud and big and again let the love wash over her completely and the quote “I just wanna go on more adventures, be around good energy, connect with people, learn new things, grow” raced into her head and tickled all her senses. Right now life was better than she ever imagined possible and their journey was just beginning.

Each day of bliss was followed by another and another. The sense of freedom and excitement at the start of each day never got boring. They created and shared wonderful moments and memories together.  Days spent swimming in crystal clear beaches on the south coast of New South Wales, riding bikes through the historical regional townships of Victoria, stopping continuously to admire the endless beauty of the Great Ocean Road and surviving restless nights in the potentially murderous roadside camp sites.

It was on the Nullabor Plain that the spirit of the country started to become undeniably noticeable.

One night, not far from the West Australian border she stood barefoot on the earth. A surge of ancient and wise energy came from the dirt and moved through her body. She had never experienced such raw spirituality, especially not generated from the ground. In that moment an appreciation of the spirit of the country began to awaken in her.

In the setting sun Lach was walking towards her, she wanted to tell him that she had a revelation, that she felt so loved, deeply loved and accepted by the land but before she could speak Lach had his own announcement to make.

“Don’t go to the toilets, they are chock a block of crap, stinks to freaking high heaven in there.  You’ll have to pee behind that tiny bit of scrub over there”, which for some reason he thought was amusing.

Jas smiled to herself , up until that very moment she always assumed spiritual awakenings happened in Churches, or at retreats, or at the very least in a room with some incense, but no, wisdom can come to rest on your soul in the most unusual and unexpected places.

It was right there that her thinking shifted forever. The barren and relentless Nullabor Plains had tugged on her heart and pulled a thread in what she had always held as true. As her feelings of loneliness started to unravel she caught a glimpsed at the truth. Life really could be good and abundant and fun so long as she always kept her feet firmly planted on this great and ancient land.

Friday, 3 June 2016

What if my life is a direct result of lyrics from songs of the 90's

Maybe it wasn't Mum and Dad, or the schools I went to, or my childhood experiences that have made me the adult I am today.

Just maybe I am the direct result of a bunch of lyrics from the songs I listened to for a decade, or more.

Last night I had a revelation that the music you listen to  really really matters, so this morning I woke up and deleted most of the current pop music off my daughter's iPod and replaced it with great classics to help guide her in life. She is only eight so I got away with it and she thinks ABBA is cool so we are sweet, for now.

I went to the school musical on the weekend and the basic premise of the play is the 'popular' senior girls at a high school form a pop-band to win a Talent Show title and a three year music deal and when the boys find out they form a rival pop-band. It was set in the 1990's - awesome!!

As the music played out I knew all the song lyrics, word for word (I was in High School and University in the 1990's so a huge part of my life), it was such fun.  I began to think these songs may have played a major role in the formation of my thoughts and beliefs and possibly influenced some major decisions in my life.

Can't Fight the moonlight for example, could be responsible for my great love and respect for the power of the moon, check out these lyrics:
Underneath the starlight - starlight
There's a magical feeling - so right
It'll steal your heart tonight
You can try to resist
Try to hide from my kiss
But you know
But you know you can't fight the moonlight

My addiction to self-discovery and self-love, constantly improving my understanding of how my mind works and trying to be my most authentic self, probably comes from Mariah Carey and the song Hero:
There's a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don't have to be afraid
Of what you are
There's an answer
If you reach into your soul

I like to talk waving my hands around and adding expression and emphasis for effect, I like to tell stories with just a touch of exaggeration and I think, for that, I can blame Boyz II Men, how dramatic is End of the Road:
When I can't sleep at night without holding you tight
Girl, each time I try I just break down and cry
Pain in my head oh I'd rather be dead
Spinnin' around and around
Although we've come to the end of the road
Still I can't let you go

I live fairly independently, we live a long way from family, I like to think I can do most things on my own, I find it hard to ask for help sometimes, often to my own detriment and if I don't want to be somewhere or do something then I am gone, I think MC Hammer might be behind this:
I told you homeboy (You can't touch this)
Yeah, that's how we living and you know (You can't touch this)
Look at my eyes, man (You can't touch this)

The idea of settling, of this being as good as it gets, frustrates me, I feel we are always stretching, improving, growing and check out the lyrics to Moving on Up:
Cause I'm moving on up, you're moving on out
Movin' on up, nothing can stop me
Moving on up, you're moving on out
Time to break free, nothing can stop me.

I also believe that little by little, step by step, day by day if each one of us does good we can change the world, through constant commitment small actions lead to big changes and what if this 'wisdom' comes from New Kids on the Block:
(step by step)
Step 1: We can have lots of fun
Step 2: There's so much we can do
Step 3: It's just you and me
Step 4: I can give you more
Step 5: Don't you know that the time has arrived

Then of course I love to laugh and have fun, there were so many good fun songs in the 1990's like Teenage Dirt- Bag, Too sexy, Who let the dogs out. Songs that don't take themselves seriously and are sung and danced for fun, pure fun and silliness.

I am writing this a little bit tongue-in-cheek and just having a bit of fun, but maybe you might like to check the music you have playing in your office, home and car just to be on the safe side!!

I'd love to know some of your favourite songs from the 1990's.

I got highlacked by anger but laughter grounded me


Oh my goodness, I took life way too seriously this week and it hurt my soul and made me tired.

When my life motto comes from planet Sark "Saunter slowly in the sun, eat chocolate cake, and carry a blanket so you can nap", seriousness just doesn't sit well with me.

I know life is serious sometimes but I am a little bit embarrassed about the issue that made me take life so seriously. The school Principal announced he was cancelling school girl netball ... and we love netball and we love(d) our school.

We love the game, we love the community, we love playing for our school and it was unceremoniously being taken away without consultation and that made me really mad and deeply sad.

It seemed like a great injustice was taking place and resistance was called for. It was a terrible decision that impacts not only our school community but the health, social and economic fabric of our wonderful district. School girl netball is a forty year tradition in this district, it is inclusive and it is very affordable, it is really really fun, and the decision maker(s) didn't seem to give two hoots.

For me life is about relationship and netball was a place where many great and diverse relationships were formed and strengthened. I could not find peace so I did what I do, I wrote a lot of letters to the Principal, the Mayor, the newspaper, the local member, and shared my concerns on Facebook.

Writing always makes me feel better but not this time, the fury kept rising. Even after an hour and a half of Radiant Light Yoga I could not find peace. I think I contaminated the energy in the yoga room too with my negative vibes ... oops.

However as the sun rose this morning my soul felt lighter. The problem is not solved but last night we went to the school musical and as four big-hearted, semi-talented teenage boys stood on stage singing and dancing to "I'm too sexy for my shirt" the anger faded, when the senior teachers sang "Teenage Dirt Bag" my spirits began to lift.

I was reminded again that life is fun, being funny is awesome, light-heartedness is a good thing.

Smiling and laughing centred me, it gave me a bit more clarity and perspective. Feeling part of our fun school community again made me happy. Seeing students shine joy and fun was fabulous.

There is always going to be seriousness in life, it is absolutely unavoidable.

We are called to stand up when we see injustice and wrong-doing.

We are called to be the light of this world and it is our intent to fight the good fight and finish the race.

We are called to use our blessings to bless others.

But seriously, I don't need to take life too seriously because none of us get out of here alive.

I need to remember to laugh, and find joy and look for the miracles and the magic and the kindness and the softness because these are the things I love.

So even though I am still really mad about school girl netball being dumped, and I really do not agree with the decision, I am choosing the higher perspective. I will be part of the solution with other proactive and passionate members of the community and I will probably make fun of the Principal behind his back, because it will make me feel better because I am a mere-mortal after all, and surely Principals are totally accustomed to that :-)

So as I skip off merrily to enjoy today I am sending you all loads of light, love, laughter and blessings
Justine x

PS If you agree with the decision to dump school girl netball please do not comment on my blog ... it will cause me to judge you unfairly and unkindly and I don't want to do that!!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Go with the flow

I often run out of puff ... today is one of those days.

Like everybody living in a busy world I have a million things circling around my head, a long list of 'to-do's' and the spinning merry-go-round of life keeps on turning.

I love my life. I am proud of how we live.

We try hard to live with intention and we try to make conscious choices all the time, and try to avoid  living on auto-pilot.

We are conscious and committed to learning  new and better ways to do life, to help make the world a better place, but the journey is slow and continuous.

Often what is important to us as a family, and me as an individual, is at odds with what our society tells us is important, It takes constant energy to stay true to what we believe, and to also let our knowledge and beliefs continually evolve and grow.

We have clear goals that we are working towards but sometimes it is tiring and feels like too much and not enough all at once.

In order to live the life I want, I require quite a lot of rest. It appears I need more rest than my husband, children and most people I know. But that is okay I think.

We live in a world where rest equates to laziness and I feel this. I often feel guilty about the amount of rest I need so I tell myself my body needs to rest on a biological or chemical level so my cells can keep doing what they need to do so I won't get cancer. Disclaimer this is based on no medical knowledge at all. This is just how I justify my need to rest, to myself ... so silly but it works so hey.

At the beginning of the year I chose a sacred word for 2016, a word that would help me set my intent for the year ahead, and after much prayer and meditation my word was flow.

This year I want to go with the flow more, listen and respect the rhythm of life, let go of constant expectation and to discover the joy in the moment.

I have not done this exceptionally well in every instance, I am still me after all with a lot of learnt behaviour under my belt. However I have honoured my 2016 sacred word and intend to do so even more as this year continues.

This morning I took some time to rest, and the word flow rested on my heart again. Despite the massive list of jobs I 'should' be doing, I went with the flow and listened to a fantastic talk by Tsh Oxenreider on the art of simple living, living holistically with your life's purpose.   I am super keen to read her book "Notes from a Blue Bike" which will require me to rest even more so I can read it. Yay!

Now, almost three hours later I think I am almost ready to brush my hair, clean my teeth, get out of my track suit pants and head into 'the real world' to complete at least three tasks on that pesky 'to-do' list.

I would love to hear your thoughts on rest and its value and importance in your life.

With much love
Justine x

Monday, 16 May 2016

Time is the most precious gift

Our free range chickens and our first ripe orange in 2016
Time is possibly the one thing each and every person on earth has an equal quantity of.

The number of minutes and hours in each day does not change no matter how wealthy, how important, how old or how tall we are.

No matter where we live, how many children we have, the colour of our skin, our level of education, nothing changes how much time we have in each day.

The saying "The best things in life are free" is not entirely true because the greatest gift in life is time and it is priceless.

When somebody spends time with you, or takes time to do something for you it is costing them their time that they can never recoup.

No matter what they do they can never get that time back again.

Time is the most amazing and generous gift.

I saw something recently on Instagram that said "I have never bought anything with money. Everything I have was bought with pieces of time I sold from my life to a job that will never have paid enough when my time is up".

Time is this uber valuable commodity that we have limited access to, who knows when our time will be up, and we choose what we do with it each and every day.

The very first trees being planted in our orchard in 2012
Our little family dreams of living a more sustainable low impact life together, building this takes time.

We are trying to take time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. To live in peaceful dwellings, creating an undisturbed place of rest, sowing our seeds and letting our animals range free (paraphrased from Isaiah 32:16-20).

In hot old dusty Roma growing anything takes a lot of time, but we are certainly making progress and it is so deeply rewarding and it is a fun way to spend our time on earth.

We have helped and witnessed hundreds of trees grow, and we have seen many many hundreds die.

The sense of achievement we get when we harvest anything we have grown is overwhelming, and therefore must be shared on social media.

We eagerly await the day when we can share our produce with friends and family and when more people can come and share in this amazing place to draw near to mother earth.

The capacity to grow and eat our own food, a practice that would have been part of every Australian life until maybe a generation ago, is exhilarating.

We are learning new things, appreciating new things and witnessing new things everyday on this little journey of ours.

Like today for instance, when I went to buy a cauliflower from the supermarket and it only cost me $4, it blew my tiny little mind. For us to grow our own cauliflowers from seed takes many months and daily love and tender care and here is one for $4. If I calculated my time into the production of our half a dozen annual cauliflowers they would cost approximately ten thousands dollars!! If I had never grown a cauliflower it would not be possible to recognise how insanely cheap this was.

Time is a marvelous thing.
Don't take time for granted.
Time spells love.
Don't sell your time too cheaply.
When you say yes to something, you are saying no to something, or someone, else.
Time is limited.
Love is all that matters.
Time waits for no one.
Enjoy your time.
Recognise the true value of time.

I would love to hear your thoughts on time.
Much love
Justine x