Gardening is good for the soul

I would love to share with you today some of the benefits of gardening! Oh how I do love it. I love it despite being possibly the only 27-year-old doing it. I am sure you can imagine the conversations, ‘Oh gosh Maddy I had the biggest weekend, hardly slept’ to which I might reply, ‘tell me about it, I was up until 2am myself… ..drawing up garden schemes in preparation for my Sunday trip to the garden centre’.

My lovely garden frame before I go to work on it.

My lovely garden frame before I go to work on it.

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But I’ll never let you go

Weekly Writing Challenge: Backwards

My heart races but I am only vaguely aware of the reason why. My skin is clammy, glistening with sweat under the gentle morning sun, oh god; I’ll never sweat under this sun again. I thought death would be rough, like an unyielding boulder that you might smash into if you didn’t check the water before you dove in, sudden, disturbing, final. It’s not. The trees in the distance mesmerize me, they are living, breathing, I am dying.

I cannot see my life flashing before my eyes; I can feel it though, my life, my heart, all that I have known in this world. It’s leaving me gently, drifting like a crackled leaf sailing on the tides of a meandering spring. My life, like the leaf bubbling along, nothing special but to watch brings a gentle smile to my lips. What have I to smile about, I am undone, my son will never see me again and know that his father fought for him. I feel his tender skin under my lips as if I where there with him in the birthing suite again, cradling him for the first time.

I smile, maybe this is what death does to a person, chemicals and hormones make their way through the body to numb the pain, to allow our minds the freedom to conduct our final act, as if we were the directors of a great theatrical production. My son walks toward me from within a bright white light. He is smiling.

‘I know dad; I know you came back for me. We found each other and hugged like we used to when I was little, you remember, you used to call them bear hugs and I would chuckle as you squeezed me hard.’

I don’t know what’s happening anymore, I can feel my body trembling, I don’t know if you are real Michael but I’ll never let you go.

She comes to me

Daily prompt – http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/daily-prompt-imagine/

The next time you’re in a public place — a coffeehouse, a park, a store — observe the people around you. Pick a person, a couple, or a group, and imagine what their lives might be like.

 

She comes to me each day.

Refined, elegant and kind.

She is different form the others, truer, more genuine.

I know nothing about her but her name.

I imagine her many years ago studying at university.

A little nervous, a little shy, effortlessly sharp.

I dare not imagine any more of her.

I don’t believe my imagination could do her justice.

I enjoy her as she is.

Mother

My dear boy Marcel,

You came to me in the most traumatic of ways, with the whole process ending with your perfect, delicate, little head bearing a swollen and bruised crown from the vacuum extraction.

You came to me and I knew you were mine. Mine to care for, to protect, to love and adore. I loved you. I loved you in that moment as if through all of time. Through every life past, through every life to come, and to the end of all that is.

You came to me and I cried for all of who you were. I cried for the blessing that had been so eloquently bestowed upon me. I cried for all that would come to transpire between us over your lifetime.

You came to me and I held you, and we were one, as it should be, as it was in the beginning, as it always will be.

Happy first birthday my darling boy, mummy loves you.

My first hours with Marcel

My first hours with Marcel

More about me

Thanks to the lovely person over at My OCD Diaries, I have become the recipient of the Liebster Award, an award design to support up and coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.

liebster2

Even though I know these awards are common, as a new blogger I was still more than happy to graciously accept. Whilst I don’t think myself receiving this award is something you are overly excited to hear about, I did think that my answers to the ten questions linked to accepting the award might be of interest or insight.

So just below you will find my answers to the ten questions passed to me by my nominator.

1. If you were the last person on earth, which food would you wish to have an endless supply of?

Pizza with anchovies, I love that salty goodness.

2. Which of the following celebrities would you like to grab hold of, shake, and scream, “You’re ruining your life!” at?
a)Lindsay Lohan  b)Amanda Bynes  c)Miley Cyrus  d)All of the above

I would have to say Amanda Bynes as she seemed to have a relatively nice and normally to life to ruin in the first place.

3. How many licks DOES it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

I have no idea what a tootsie pop is! So i’ll take a guess and say 12.

4. If you could be any animal, which would it be and why?

Gosh, I would be a cat. Not because I love or admire them particularly,  but because their attitude is probably the best fit for my own. I don’t like strangers, except that odd one here and there who I adore. I don’t like too much affection, especially on someone else’s terms. I have a nonchalant glance that has been know to kill and I love to lay in the sun.

5. Will Ferrell, or Will Smith?

At age fourteen my netball bared the words ‘I love Will Smith’, now that same netball would read ‘I love Will Ferrell’.

6. Do public restrooms creep you out?

I don’t know, I’ve never been brave enough to enter.

7. What’s the first thing you’d do if you had a million dollars?

Take a holiday with my beautiful boys, Alex and Marcel. AKA – son and husband.

8. French toast, French fries, or French bread?

French Fries, there’s that salty goodness again.

9. You’re running late for an appointment and you come upon a turtle that’s trying to make its way across a busy street. Do you:
a) Pull over, run out into the street when it’s clear, snatch up the turtle and bring him safely across;
b) Keep on truckin’ along. You’re not one to be late…for anything;
c) Decide that he’d make a great stew and toss him in the trunk of your car.

I am still wondering why there is a turtle on the road!

10. You rub your hands against your starbucks cup to warm them, and a genie pops out. She declares that you’ve been granted 3 wishes, and that your macchiato is a little bland today. What do you wish for?

1. I know this sounds like a cop out but I can’t revel my first wish as I can not risk offending the person involved. Just know its a great wish, thats a little sad.

2. A Finished book, with my lovely initials on it.

3. For my son to come to me one day when he is all grown and up tell me I was a good mum.

The final part of this honour known as the Liebster Award is the nomination of ten other new bloggers to receive the nomination. It is with great pleasure we now induct -

1. http://theclocktowersunset.wordpress.com Fascinating to read.

2. http://caseynormando.wordpress.com I just loved this bloggers fiction tale titled ‘Mr Tiffin’, so eloquent.

3. http://presentsofmind.wordpress.com Always inspires me to write my fiction novel! Not sure how many followers this blog has or how to find out, so if they have thousands my apologies.

4. http://rangelz.wordpress.com This blogger conjures up the most beautiful images and emotions.

5. http://theparadoxism.wordpress.com Great writer, with interesting posts!

6. http://icythunder101.wordpress.com I cool new blogger on health, great see from a young man only 17!

7. http://peterolson17.wordpress.com Effortlessly made me laugh with the first sentence I read.

8. http://littlewordworm.wordpress.com Who doesn’t need a little poetry in their life! Very pretty site too.

9. http://amberjedwards.wordpress.com Love this bloggers attitude!

10. http://auburnhairgingertea.wordpress.com Variety, humour and good looks!

My ten questions to you ten fantastic nominees are -

1. Do you believe in reincarnation?

2. Who is you favourite author?

3. What is your favourite reality TV show?

4. Do you prefer lollies or chocolate?

5. What book has changed you?

6. Cats or dogs?

7. Would you go skinny dipping?

8. Is lying bad? 

9. Do you wish to be famous?

10. Are tidy or messy?

Best of luck to you all with your blogging careers! a special thank you gain for my nomination also.

Choosing Peace is hard

Who here wants inner peace? All of you hey…

If I asked you how much you wanted this inner peace how would you respond? If your anything like me you would probably say a great deal.

Although we often desire inner peace deeply I have noticed that often, when push comes to shove we choose otherwise. It is as though when the going gets tough, the peace gets going. If diligent we can however start to curb this tendency to abandon our peaceful minds at the first sign of disturbance. Through mindfulness we can begin to use these disturbances to enhance our levels of peace instead of shattering it.  Ill give you  a little example.

Read the tale!

At the dawn of love, did they part.

Maddy:

I thought this was too beautiful not to share. So many talented writers to be found and inspire us.

Originally posted on A Few Handpicked Things in Life:

She- a wanderer, from moor to meadows,
ocean to land, and woods to willows,
-sat by the woods, thinking of those faces,
that have walked past her & left no traces.

A handful of faces, stayed forever in her heart.
Some came, left & came again for their part.
Some left to never look back,
others stayed & played the sly jack.

A fellow wanderer walked in & sat beside her.
Not a glimpse she took, at that stranger.
They sat there watching the day turn black.
He got up & walked into the dark.

He walked in again at the break of dawn.
She peeked at his mask that resembled a fawn.
She wondered what lay behind his mask,
the truth or a lie!? – It’s a tough task!

They sat silent all day, fearing each other’s masks.
At the brink of dusk he left for his tasks.
As…

View original 179 more words

Karmic Yoga

I first encountered the concept of Karmic Yoga whilst working as a live-in volunteer at a Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist teaching and retreat centre located on the Sunshine Coast named Chenrezig Institute.  Just prior to volunteering with the centre I was all knotted up inside, well actually I suppose I had always been knotted up inside to some degree for most of my life.

Either way, at this particular point in time I was knotted up enough to know that something must be done. An avid reader, I had been learning a great deal about a variety of different spiritual philosophies and practices and was quite taken by Buddhism and its approach to ending personal suffering. I had just resigned from job as Youth Worker in preparation for a trip to Cambodia and thought it was the perfect time to end my own suffering and arranged to live and work at the centre until I left for Cambodia.

A Buddhist Monk in Cambodia

A Buddhist Monk in Cambodia

Needless to say, my time living and volunteering at the centre was powerful. Apart from developing a deeper understanding of what living well meant to me I also developed an excellent dose of tonsillitis. I was walking with a member of the Sangha (one of the nuns) one day discussing the apparent bad timing of my bout of sickness. The nun told me that it was very common for people to fall sick with such things while volunteering as it can be understood as the physical manifestation of the burning off of past accumulated negative Karma, interesting eh! I thought to myself, shit, I don’t know who I was last time around but it mustn’t have been good because my tonsils are killing me!.

Whilst there are a truck load of stories I could share about my time in such a special place I would like to cut to the chase about ‘Karmic yoga’ if I may. So, while volunteering I managed to develop myself a little crush on another volunteer. What? I am not a saint yet! In a bid to spend more time with this particular young man I volunteered to work in the kitchen on his shift (this was on top of my required volunteer time hours). Anyways I was in the kitchen working and things had started to slow down after the lunch rush when a staff member responsible for managing the volunteers came to visit. I explained that I had been lending a hand over the lunch rush and she replied ‘oh just doing some Karmic Yoga, great work’. I had no idea what she meant but she seemed please with me so I thought great.

Sometime later I Eventually discovered the meaning of Karmic Yoga via a yoga class I was taking. My teacher in passing mentioned that Karmic Yoga was action taken in the service of others without anticipation or regard for the fruits of your labour. When I found this out I was disappointed with myself for not having pursued the meaning earlier, as it was such a beautiful approach to service. Since this time I have mindfully practiced Karmic Yoga and found it has an indirect enhancing impact on the quality of my life. With Karmic Yoga, it is not the action that you take that truly matters but the mind with which you do it. Perhaps take a moment now to consider actions you have taken in the past which on the surface appear selfless and question if in fact their was a desired outcome in it for yourself? If there was, this does not mean it was not worth while or positive. It does however provide you with a comparison to help you give Karmic Yoga a go.

When I have found myself in a state of anxiety, so caught up in ‘myself’ and ‘my problems’ that I can no longer see clearly, I have chosen to stop trying to help myself and instead act to serve others. I guess I just got to a point where I said, well if I can’t fix myself and my problems I might as well use this body and brain to help someone else instead. I did not want anything from my actions, no reward, no praise, no recognition, no warm and fussy feeling inside. Whilst I did not seek any personal gain from my actions the removal of a self-centred mind delivered so much benefit. My troubles become mirages in the distance, real to look at, but some how had no substance any more. This benefit alone was more than I could have prayed for as often my anxiety would become so unbearable I would not know how to take my next breath.

As I said earlier I am by no means a saint and do not practice Karmic Yoga daily. In fact, even if I wanted to I don’t think I could as it must arise from a place void a self intention. I just wanted to share my experience of this practice with others and how through the abandonment of ourselves we can in fact find the greatest of gifts.

It was lovely talking with you.

A flower at a Cambodian Temple

A flower at a Cambodian Temple

Myself having a talk with a local Cambodian girl.

Myself having a talk with a local Cambodian girl.

Your PLAN for inner peace

In my earlier post Staying Present I wrote about those moments when our peace is disturbed by predictable and often repetitive scenarios. For example when family members or close friends say or do things that ‘press our buttons’. I suggested that these predictable scenarios are a fantastic opportunity to practice self-awareness in maintain our inner peace by creating ourselves a PLAN. With this PLAN in action in predictable situations it will hopefully become easier to maintain this awareness in other less predictable circumstances.

So..what does this PLAN look like you ask? Well it will look a little like what you see below, I have hypothetically filled in the PLAN to give you a head-start with your own.

 

Situation: My dad says he is going to do something and then lets me down at the last-minute.

Key emotions: Disappointment, anger, abandonment.

Physical sensation: Tightening in my chest, tingling in my hands.

Why do I feel like this?: My dad has been letting me down since he and my mother separated when I was 1-year-old. He would tell me fantastic stories of what we might do together or where we might go and then not turn up or let me down. 

The wisdom: I know that the only moment that truly exists is this moment right now. I must address what is happening now, not what happened yesterday or 10 years ago. In this moment what can I do? If I can do something I will do it. If I can not, I will accept what is.

Affirmation: My happiness is not dependant on the action or inaction of others. I find my peace within, I am my peace.

Techniques: Conscious breathing, squeezing my stress ball, yoga pose (child’s pose).

Support person: Your support person should be someone who understands both the context of the situation as well as your wishes on how you are planning on dealing with the scenario.  They are there to remind you of your peaceful intentions and to cut through the emotions that might otherwise overwhelm you.

 

The ‘why do I feel like this‘ section of the PLAN is meant to serve as a final statement on the history of your distress so as to prevent you from being drawn back into old wounds while dealing with the real-time circumstance. Re-living and experiencing pain from the past will hold you prisoner in the now, we most definitely want to avoid this!

The wisdom‘ section is arguably the most important part of the PLAN. This is where you must draw on your inner knowledge, teachers, books and experiences to inform your approach to revealing your inner peace. I can not tell you what to write here, even if I did, if you did not know the meaning of my advice if would not be successful for you anyway.

This PLAN alone is not the key to inner peace. True inner peace is beyond words, actions and plans, it is a knowing. This PLAN may however provide you support, guidance and encouragement on your journey to the knowing. It may also help to alleviate your suffering in the given situation.

I wish well in your planning and am more than happy to answer any questions.

A perfect plan in motion

A perfect plan in motion

Chasing a healthy mind

To my dear seven faithful followers, I would like to start by letting you know that if you were hoping that this next post would be about the ‘PLAN’ for dealing with personal challenges that disturb our peace, dont be sad as I promise I will be writing this next.

I came across this Daily Post challenge http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/writing-challenge-health/ and it was just so relevant personally, and to the meaning of my blog I decided to write a little something in response.

I, and my family as a whole really, have always been blessed with good health. The worst health issues I have experienced have been injuries incurred through my clumsy walking and running styles. When I would run to my father to tell him the tale of my latest stack attack he would playfully ask me if I had tripped over another ant. So when I read this challenge about health, my awareness automatically travelled to my inner health and wellbeing as opposed to my physical health.

An anxious child, I suffered internally with feelings of not belonging, but externally performed the role of an intelligent, happy little girl. This performance kept me and my secret anxiety safe from the people around me. I am 27 years old now, a mother and wife. Yet inside that little girl still hides away, she has always been there. She has been with me through high, school, university, travel, preganacy, marriage and my day to day life. I love her, and my heart breaks for her, but my quest for health has always been the search to find a medicine to make her better.

I’ ve tried everything really, being popular, being alternative, being in love, being angry, being sad, seeing doctors, seeing psychologists, taking medication, eating special diets, quitting drinking coca-cola. Somethings helped a little, somethings made it worse, much worse. I have come to the realisation that my precious little self will always be with me, exactly as she is. I have found my peace with her now and accept her whole heartedly. The journey to this place was to say the least, was tough. The benefits and learnings from this journey will transcend this body and lifetime. It is this journey and these learnings that inspired me to start writing this blog. To share with others the wisdoms, practices and techniques that I have found that have changed me and my inner wellness. In writing this blog I have  also found a wonderfully cathartic process that helps me  to remember to enact the things I share. To not merely understand but to know.

I wish you all the best of health and happiness, whatever this may mean to you.

A step in the journey, myself, my husband and my son.

A step in the journey, myself, my husband and my son.