2016 A year in review.
It’s hard to believe but I don’t think I have ever done a review post before, but 2016 you were different!
It was a wholehearted year where finally I felt like I could truly (and not begrudgingly) embody my belief that life is happening FOR me not too me (or AT me as some times it has previously felt!)
It was a strange year though in the sense that I kind of felt time got stretched in all sorts of weird ways and most of year actually happened some how all crammed into the the last few months. In fact the first half of the year felt like a different year all together.
Was I alone in this?
Something quite fabulous happened around September where all of a sudden all the work and planning that felt a little bit like it could be going nowhere suddenly went EVERYWHERE!
Lets start at the beginning shall we!
The seeds for the year were planted in Dec 2015 when I attended a Violet Gray intention circle. I wrote about it here. The gorgeous Alex invited me to one of their circles where each attendee makes their own crystal bracelet and my word for the year found me. SHINE.
I wasn’t quite sure what that word had in store for me, but it felt like backing myself, being seen, confidently standing my ground and letting my light shine. To be of service in the most bold and beautiful way. Letting the truth that I have the right to take up space really take hold I put my hand up and raised my voice.
It was a theme that unravelled through out the year so beautifully. I also moved into a gorgeous new home at the end of 2015 and the first few months of this year were filled with purchasing cushions and plants so much so that many of the planned furniture purchases still haven’t happened as I keep coming home from nurseries and Bunnings with even more plants! (who actually needs a kitchen table anyway?)
2016 had its heartbreak moments that I explored in this post HERE. And as I check in with myself enjoying the spaciousness of retrospect I can see an experience that will forever leave me knowing that I can do hard things with Grace.
It certainly wasn’t the most difficult experience of my life but the wholehearted way I took care of myself, the way I honored the process and let myself be guided by the ancient wisdom I offer to my clients was a bit of a revelation. Duh I know right!?
This experience has really shaped the way I have moved forward in my life since and the unapologetic way I choose to live through this natural lens.
There were daily walks with my four legged love
Lots of Live music.
My month long festival of birthday was celebrated in my usual over the top style for most of August. Yes all month, why the heck not?
And where would I be with out the fire works that Sydney puts on every-time I come down for my Roadshow!
A review of 2016 would not be complete without a mention of the amazing women that populate my life. I spent a rich and delicious weekend at Dr Libby’s Beautiful You weekend in June. (if you have not been GO it’s even more amazing than you think it will be! )
Celebrated like it was 1999 at the book launch of Ali Hills book Stand out. (go get it!) and found myself shoulder to shoulder with so many women I admire and look up to, whether it be at events or around my kitchen table.
A deep bow to the women in my world!
Again Dec 2105 saw the start of some amazing growth in my business and coaching practice that flowed through to the rest of 2016 .There was this article on Mindful Collective.
I featured on Nicole Mathesons podcast Unbreakable. You can listen to the episode here.
I adore this women and her way of showing up in the world. It’s irreverent, and feminine and wholehearted. Conversations with her are one of my favorite things.
I spoke at the Soul Sister Circle Sessions held at Warehouse 5 on the Gold Coast. And again found myself collaborating with women I truly admire and respect. Tahlee, Jasmine and Bec the founder of SSC are creative pioneers in their fields. The magic, and power of having 100 women in a room sharing their stories is not to be underestimated.
The big decision that I made in 2016 that shaped the end of the year and is very much providing the main flavour of 2017, is the choice to attend Tigress Yoga Female Yoga Teacher Training for a whole month in Bali.
Yup a whole freakin month in Bali. And you know what people (like me and perhaps you) say, that if it’s meant to happen it will but you need to take the first step. Well I took that step, not knowing where the money or time was going to come from but just knowing deep in my bones that this work was the perfect marriage of soulful restorative practice for myself and a necessary piece of the unfolding puzzle that is my coaching practice.
So it won’t surprise you that the money of course appeared, and then some. Going to further prove (in case you need proof.. sometimes I do!) that when you are truly in alignment with something, you will be supported.
The path, whilst perhaps not paved with unicorn glitter will naturally and with a degree of ease unfold in front of you. I’m equally excited and reverent about this experience which I know will be one of great revelation to me. I’m trying to approach that mindfully although every. single. cell. in my body also wants to cartwheel at the thought of being in that tropical heat with mango and coconut awaiting my tastebuds every day!
The new year is off to a wonderful start with the birth of my second niece. Little Abigail made her way into the world on the morning of the 1st of Jan. I had hoped to be at her birth as I was with her sister, but she had other plans. So another trip to our nations capital is on the cards!
I also thought it might be fun to share my reading list for the year. And also reveal my little addiction to teen fantasy fiction…. there really is no better escapism!
Lastly, if you would like an opportunity to reflect on the year that was using the 5 elements I have a play book for you. You can find it here.
I read in no particular order ……
A Year of Yes Shonda Rhimes
Rising Strong Brene Brown
Outrageous Openness Tosha Silver
Women’s Wellness Wisdom Dr Libby
Speaking Out Tara Moss
Cross Roads of Should and Must Elle Luna
Love Warrior Glennon Melton Doyle
When Women Were Birds Terry Tempest Williams
Stand Out Ali Hill
Celeste Roland Perry Wild Wood
The Wrong Girl Zoe Foster Blake
My drug of choice is teenage fantasy fiction and I make no apologies for my behaviour! (I can inhale one of these in a single Sunday afternoon)
Garth Nix The Old Kingdom Quartet
Cassandra Clare Lady Midnight
Claudia Gray Trilogy
Blood in the Beginning Kim Falconer
The final Terry Pratchet book.
Another trilogy I read at my sisters over Xmas!
Still currently reading from 2016 A Course in Miracles
Seven Thousand Ways to Listen Mark Nepo
I know there are some I have missed but I think thats as good a start as any if you are looking for a great read!
I truly hope your new year is off to a magical start and I look forward to connecting with you across 2017
The last few weeks have seen me re-arranging the furniture like crazy. This is a pretty normal habit for me. Seasonally I like to keep the energy in my home fresh and keep clutter from building up.
But after 3 moves in 13 months last year I was taking no chances so last week I had Feng Shui Consultant, Building Biologist and Nutritionist Kate Woods come to my house and check things out. Kate is one of the very few building biologists in the country. As corporations come to realise the link between productivity, staff health and that our environments directly impact that, this field is set to explode. And of course as an acupuncturist I wanted to make sure the energy in my house was being supported. I wanted to feel like the energy of my home was working WITH me. In acupuncture treatments we take into account the external causes of illness and these can include the obvious things like external trauma, too much heat, wind, and dampness but also other ‘pathogenic factors’. I looked at this like an acupuncture treatment for my home and couldn’t wait for Kate to work her magic. It’s an incredibly precise science, and I wondered how I would possibly measure the results.
The importance of magic and mystery in our lives is something that we need to honour more.
I attended a retreat last August with founder of Tigress Yoga Dévashi Shakti.
In this post about ritual I shared my experience of the water temple ceremony.
At the end of the retreat she encouraged us to not speak about our retreat experience, not from a hush hush ‘what happens on retreat’ point of view, but to encourage the acknowledgment that what we had experienced was sacred and personal and we needed time to integrate our experiences.
Talking and sharing about our experience with people outside of the retreat diluted that experience some how.
It also encouraged me to refocus on my own experience. In a world where almost everything now can be on display .. hello bloggers life! This mysterious experience was just for us.
It kept my focus on how I was feeling not how I would explain it to someone else.
This is extremely beautiful feeling.
This rich magical nourishing experience was just for me.
Over the last year I have been diving deep within my own psyche and subconscious beliefs.
I believe that this retreat was a real catalyst for some truly divine unravelling.
Necessary on a lot of levels.
Not always pleasant or comfortable let me be real here!
In Chinese Medicine we talk about Yin being the ‘mother of all things’.
In Taoist philosophy she is the divine darkness in the caves of the Kunlun mountains where all things originate. In these mountains Xi Wang Mu the Queen Mother and Goddess of Immortality resides.
In my sessions with Dévashi I had what I can only describe as an initial fleeting visit to my very own personal Kunlun Mountain.
The deepest yin recesses of my bodily awareness which I saw in my minds eye as caves filled with mercurial water, a place of great magnetic beauty and stillness, a place that felt potent and ripe.
It is this magnetic feeling that I have kept in my consciousness this last year, to remind my self that this magnetic place is the seat of my divine feminine power, and that all the striving and stretching and reaching and working and over doing that had lead to my burn out and physical dis-ease is the absolute opposite of that.
This yin power centre is infinite and as a women in a uniquely women’s body this power source has been here all along yet untapped and unrecognised as who has there been to explain this to me?
I will be forever grateful to Dévashi and the Tigress practice for showing me that all women have within us this unique power centre and way of operating and being in the world. This is just as powerful and effective as mens’ but so very different due simply to our feminine biology and wiring.
For so many women it takes an experience of burn out, illness and fatigue to look for an alternative way of being or more simply put, to stop the endless doing and seeking externally and look within for answers.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
It is possible to seek out the magnetic and the beautiful pathway for us to reach our goals and attain our dreams. This doesn’t mean sitting passive, on the contrary.
It means showing up as all of ourselves.
For women this means feeling safe, and healing that huntress warrior in ourselves that has been on the lookout for danger (often quite necessarily) our whole lives.
It means aligning ourselves with likeminded nurturing circles of sisterhood who by virtue of our mutual intention and numbers, together provide safety and nourishment.
It means choosing when to be vulnerable with our men, men who its appropriate to be vulnerable with and knowing the difference.
Most importantly its about knowing when we need to walk away from our relationships and commitments even briefly and reconnect to the infinite magnetic resource that is our inner world and the natural world around us.
I am committed to continuing this journey of personal discovery, and in my work sharing this magical magnetic process with every women I have the honour of working with.
My wish is for each and every women on the planet to know this resource within them.
So mote it be.
From the archives is the post all about the Po. The alchemical spirit of the lungs and how we can incorporate this ancient wisdom of the most primal aspect of ourselves into our modern worlds .
I have all these incredibly intellectual ideas and theories to share on the soma; the physical body, and its responses and how the Po is an expression of the innate wisdom of our cellular bodies. And I”m sure I’ll get to that at some point… there is an endless amount of information I can share from this elemental point of view.
What I am really feeling tonight when I think about the Po is the gentrification of the body and the senses and how thats effecting our health and our relationship with our bodies wellness. Oh is that all… the ‘gentrification’ of the body!!
The Po is experienced through our senses, taste, texture, scent, sight. Its the automatic functions of our bodies like breathing and peristalsis (digestion). Its experienced in that space between our skin (our awareness of where we start and stop) and the outside world. Its the animalistic aspects of our functioning bodies and our psyche.
Its all the bits we have no control over yet constantly inform our likes dislikes and urges.
And as highly functioning modern upright people, we have a few issues with these urges and tastes don’t we? ( This is where the gentrification bit come in ) Our minds and intellect, and our hearts and dreams would have us operating from an almost utopian platform. We have been culturally disciplined to detach and suppress the so called less attractive aspects of our bodies and minds. There is much that still today we wouldn’t dare discuss ‘in public’ . And yet much of these taboo subjects include basic bodily functions that are quite essential to our wellbeing and survival ( think poo and sex ).
So what happens when we suppress the Po and ignore the innate wisdom of our bodies and trust that connection between the body and the mind? Pain and ‘psychosomatic’ symptoms ranging from stress-related skin disorders, eating disorders and chronic undiagnosable pain.
Our bodies only ‘language’ is our nervous system and its through this system that it will try and get its messages across to us. They sound something like this.
“Hey, you up there! ” (patient pause for response) “Hey! We don’t think you should be eating that… (another patient pause) HEY!!!! (huddle together for a brain storm) I know, we’ll create some pain, that’ll do it. (patient pause) Damn it they just took a pain killer….. hmmmm Ok Ok I’ve got it, some red skin that always gets them ok GO!
Ok so this isn’t exactly scientific but you get my point. The bodies wisdom; the innate cellular wisdom, that gut feeling, intuition, or a ‘sense of knowing’, does actually need to be heard occasionally! Or, quite simply there are consequences. Now this doesn’t mean that we have to go all primal and throw out all the other functions. The other spirits have their place.
Ideally they work together. Depending on our own make up and our cultural learnings some are going to be more easily integrated than others. Myself, I live in this visceral world of experiencing life through the Po. I probably give this spirit way too much free rein! What does that look like?
Senses, texture and environment are paramount to the Metal element. There are always scented candles burning and fresh flowers and my house has always been full of animals (lets not mention the bats here ok). I work physically with peoples bodies. I have a bathroom full of more oil and lotions than any one body is ever going to be able to absorb and I spend almost more time in the ocean than on dry land. In winter this is replaced by the bath tub (Tonights blog is proudly bought to you by Embody Bath Salts). Textured cushions, natural fibres, LOTS of colour, really I could go on and on. If this sounds like you and your saying, well thats every modern woman surely, I’ll tell you sadly this is not so.
This genuine external expression of the Po is matched with an internal nourishment and respect of that animal instinct. The ability to ‘check in’ with our bodies and interpret its metaphorical language. This I believe is becoming quite a rare ability as we seek to cover up, pretty up and medicate the aspects of ourselves that we don’t like, don’t ‘fit’ or are fearful of. To bring that full circle and back to the bodies I spend my day working with, this results in disharmony. Disharmony of mind and body expressing its self in pain and inflammation of increasing severity.
As I read this I realise this really is my primary function with my treatments. To work as an interpreter for the body and to translate the pain and inflammation that my clients are experiencing so they might heal themselves. What can you do to nourish your Po? Well, any of the above is great, experiencing your senses, in what ever way is fun for you. (You don’t have to turn it into the extreme sport as I tend to do)
One of the easiest ways is to simply ‘check in’ with you body. When I think this or eat this how do I feel? more or less calm? more or less tight in my shoulders? BREATHE! yep just slowly calmly breathe. You’ll be surprised to find just how often your holding your breathe.
To finish off, here is a quote from one of my favourite books “Five Spirits” that so beautifully articulates the place I wish to take my practice.
By Lorie Eve Dechar. Lantern Books 2006
“When the acupuncture needle penetrates the surface of the skin, there is a moment of silence, an emptiness, a wondering and not knowing. When the metal needle meets the living body, there is a silence, a pause …before the tiny whirlwind spins and the qi redirects its course. For thousands of years, the intentions of healers and patients have met in that single breathless emptiness, that turning point of the soul that is the moment of transformation.
Perhaps, as we open to another form of consciousness, the present silence of our world will become that empty turning point, that breathless moment of change. Perhaps, if one by one we humans reclaim our vision of a living cosmos imbued with intention and intelligence and illuminated by wisdom, we will become like ten thousand silver needles penetrating and healing the body of the earth. Then perhaps , through healing our planet, we will heal ourselves and hear again the songs that the stones of the earth are singing to the clouds of heaven .”
Ah Yes! The good ol’ a picture tells a 1000 words!
The 5 elements that I have been banging on about for practically ever work together in this 5 pointed star type arrangement. If you follow around the circle in a clockwise direction you get the nourishing cycle. This is how things work in harmony. You can simplify it if you put it into terms of what would happen in nature. For example we need water to nourish new plants (wood) so there can be growth and then in turn those trees feed fires… and on it goes around.
The star cycle that criss crosses shows us how things are kept in check. Keeping it simple as I can metal ‘controls’ wood….(metal chops down trees) makes a bit of sense right? It does get a little bit trickier when we bring the organs in, especially knowing how complex their functioning is from a western point of view, let alone Chinese Philosophy!
But keeping it simple… you know how I love to keep things simple, an example would be when we eat lots of cold forming foods, e.g. dairy and our digestion doesn’t process this effectively the Earth function of transforming our foods into fuel we can use diminishes. This affects his friend the Metal element (next in line) resulting in a build up of phlegm in the lungs, skin issues or constipation…….. kinda making sense Yes? Think children with allergies resulting in rashes.
So here we have a super fun chart of all the stuff that can go wrong when the energy is going in the opposite direction! In this picture we are looking at what happens when our negative thoughts and emotions start to get away with us!
Earlier on in this blog I talked about how our Qi (energy/ fuel) follows our Yi (thoughts/ concentration). This theory works in regards to all our mental / emotional experiences as wherever we are placing our focus and attention our energy will go. So when we experience an excess of any emotion this begins to tax the correlating organ and can set up, in long term situations, real physical pathology.
Now, I’m not one to want to bum out my readers so I’m going to turn this little chart into a silver lining. When we understand the very real interactions of these emotions and the physiological effects they are having on us we can begin to see and slowly master what we need to do in order to regulate these feelings that are not always super helpful.
I’m not saying here for a second the emotions are not an essential and necessary part of our biological vocabulary, but sometimes for a whole range of reasons real and imaginary we can get stuck in one or two of them, long after the correlating situation is long gone. Challenging situations in life can also be ongoing and without some way of managing our emotional responses these situations can and do often get on top of us.
My favourite example to explain this is by looking at the liver and the lungs.
The Liver is damaged by anger and frustration, or conversely an unhealthy liver ( one fed with chips, refined sugar and alcohol for e.g.) creates the emotional state of anger and frustration. Either way over a prolonged period of time this unhappy liver consumes more energy than can be created by its pal the kidneys and the water element and this sets up the right conditions for fear to become the predominate emotional state.
As a side note this also very simply explains how some recreational drugs damage the liver and set up the conditions required for paranoia and other fear based behaviours.
Anyway I digress…. Where do we look to balance and mediate this grumpy liver syndrome? Across the way to the lungs of course! The lungs positioned where they are above the diaphragm and above the liver on the right hand side are in the perfect spot to massage the Liver into a much better frame of mind. Slow deep breathing, gentle exercise or yoga is the ideal way to nourish this controlling cycle and re create balance in the five elements. Now I have to admit a grumpy person is not as likely to respond so well to …. darling do some downward dog…… but maybe a house rule of “walk off the grump” is a good idea?
The elements all work in their own way to regulate their counterpart;
The liver with its decisiveness and ability to create strong boundaries steps in when the the earth elements tendency to worry and obsess gets out of hand. The water element cools the fire of impatience with humility, this might be in the form of increased hydration or extra sleep, I mean, how hot headed are we when we’re over tired?
The stillness and meditative qualities of the spleen are helpful when managing an over worked water element. Remember this relates to will power and our adrenals. Each has its place and role in maintaing our overall emotional health, which in turn helps create our physical health and visa versa.
Keep this in mind next time you find yourself stuck in the rut of the same old emotional story running around our minds. Let the emotion move thorough you, and do what you can to support yourself.
(And feel free to let me know if any of this makes sense or if I need to do a little more explaining! )