Monday, October 31, 2011

Of witches and wise women

At this time of witches, wizards, goblins and ghosties, I was reflecting on what I would dress up as. I always dress up as a witch. You know the rigmarole: black dress, pointy hat, big nose, ugly facial warts and a broomstick.

And this year I thought, actually, NO! No, I am not going to perpetuate this misogynistic myth.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway!

I am celebrating one year of the Dreaming Aloud blog! 
Oh what a journey it has been! And oh how wonderful it has been to share it with you all. I couldn't have guessed how much brighter and fuller my would become as a blogger. I have so appreciated your support, your insight and enthusiasm over the past year. Dreaming Aloud would not be what it is without you all. Over the next few days I shall be reflecting on the year... and looking forwards to what my new writing year holds... But for now, to say thank you, I have the most super-dee-dooper giveaway... 
My very favourite purveyors of herbal delights (in the most bee-you-ti-ful packaging around). Pukka is my tea of choice here at the Pink House, as all my friends know! Which is why I wanted to share them with you - it is the closest I can get to having you round for a cuppa and a chat at the Pink House.

So the wonderful people at Pukka, when they heard about Dreaming Aloud's celebration, wanted to get on board and offer one very lucky reader, a very, special prize...

Read on to find out more...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Yup! Over at Thrifty Christmas, it's Christmas already. This wonderful site has a hundred and one ideas for Christmas craft and cooking for thrifty women... and as creative mamas know you have to start early if you're making a handmade Christmas. Today's guest post is by Dreaming Aloud! It's all about Craft-teas which we started doing here in our corner of East Cork last year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The poo doula

Today I have been a doula.

For a constipated three-year-old.

We tried breathing, and laughing, and distraction, and pushing, and screaming, and squeezing hands, and talking about how mummy pushed babies out of her yoni.

We tried good cop, bad cop. We tried patience and gentleness. We tried insistence. We played hardball and said there was no going to her beloved playschool unless she did one.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Joy Pockets

Sharing my week's delights and gratitudes

So many new blog followers - welcome one and all - please know that your presence is deeply appreciated
Homemade pistachio macaroons - life doesn't get much better than that
Mr Dreaming Aloud's beautiful photographs - such precious memories of our family's life together made eternal
Red leaves
The vibrant Leonie's Goddess Circle
Creative projects brewing and simmering nicely 
A visit from my fairy godmother - bearing such thoughtful, beautiful gifts, including the above, specially for my blog!
Owning my first piece of Gudrun Sjoden - thanks to aforementioned, blog-reading, writer woman godmother
Being a grown up with my own mother!
Having a husband who made me stay in bed and rest with my cold, as I was about to head out and do the weekly grocery shop.
The change in global consciousness - Can you feel it? Can you feel it?

What, dear reader, are you grateful for this week?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What do we do now?

Walking down the road with my three and one-year-old girls they are oblivious to this international turmoil. The only winds of change which blow are the chill autumn breezes of this moment. I look at them and wonder how the world will be when they have little children of their own. Very different I presume. Not too hard I hope. I fear for them, for the world at this moment of transition. And I want to look back and say - in all honesty and conviction - we were there at that time of change, we played our part, we did our best.

As regular readers will know I have been blogging about transition, culture change and the economic crisis since Dreaming Aloud started. This time last year, on the verge of Ireland's economic bailout and General Election, I wrote this...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The thought birds

Sometimes we get our knickers in a knot about our thoughts. They seem to fly round and around. We are told to control them by the self help movement. They're only thoughts, so stop thinking them.

But what if you can't?

Because what if YOU are not thinking them?

What if they are not YOUR thoughts?

Listening to Byron Katie's Loving What Is (of which I have mixed opinions), and she says. You can't stop thinking your thoughts... they come to you, you do not create them, nor can you stop thinking. Your choice is not to attach to them.

Buddhist thinkers including Thich Nhat Hanh talk of thoughts as like clouds, floating over the clear sky of the mind. We need to not focus on them, or attach to them, simply observe as they float by.

But like much in Buddhist thought I find this too bland and beautiful an image for my jingly, jangly, chattering mind.

And then it came to me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

For the times they are a-changin'

Come writers and critics

Who prophesize with your pen

And keep your eyes wide

The chance won't come again

And don't speak too soon

For the wheel's still in spin

And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin'.

"In Madrid, tens of thousands thronged the Puerta del Sol square shouting "Hands up! This is a robbery!". In Santiago, 25,000 Chileans processed through the city, pausing outside the presidential palace to hurl insults at the country's billionaire president. In Frankfurt, more than 5,000 people amassed outside the European Central Bank, in scenes echoed in 50 towns and cities across Germany, from Berlin to Stuttgart. Sixty thousand people gathered in Barcelona, 100 in Manila, 3,000 in Auckland, 200 in Kuala Lumpur, 1,000 in Tel Aviv, 4,000 in London.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy days: celebrating autumn

I LOVE autumn - the changing colours, the bright berries, the bite in the air, the mellow afternoon light. Walking the country lanes and popping blackberries into our mouths. Another day, another warning, (for our first blackberry warnings see here!) This time, rats! Back off people and just let us ENJOY them!!

I also love celebrating. But we have no official mid-autumn celebration - harvest festival is past and halloween still a couple of weeks off...

So this is my own celebration of autumn, just because I can! We have an autumn wreath on our door, made of twined wild clematis (old man's beard), with fallen coloured leaves, hawthorn berries and crab apples attached with wire. 

Our nature table  (want to  make one of your own, see here!) is overflowing with finds, including a new little mama-crafted baby acorn boy in his own oak leaf snuggle bag. Do check out this season's Rhythm of the Home for craft and celebration ideas aplenty.

And walks, as many walks as we can, with gladness in our hearts. Happy days!

(with thanks to my dearest husband, Mr Dreaming Aloud himself, for his wonderful photography skills  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Buried treasure: Cooking with love

Mindfulness is not just a practice for our yoga mats or meditation cushions. It is something we can cultivate during our daily lives. Where better to start than whilst we are preparing food for ourselves and those we love? This is a favourite post from the 2010 archive, which is why I like to call it "buried treasure".

Buddhists say that the way we do things, influences the results. If we cook with love, we transmit that love into the food, and into those who eat the food. If we cook in mindful awareness, then we can quietly observe with our senses rather than forgetting the cookies in the oven, or adding too much salt because we are distracted. When we are there in the moment, we can be responsive and creative. We are are aware, we can consciously season our food with love.
The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. Or in yesterday's case, not pudding but hummous. I was cross yesterday: tired, over stretched and trying to do too much with too few mama resources. And so it was with huge anger and resentment I made my little boy some hummous. My temper was sour, so I added too much lemon. Then I tried a quick fix by chucking in a pinch of sugar. What I should have done was to calmly detach myself from the situation, taken a few breaths and come back to preparing food with love, rather than banging and slamming and making inedible food. My little girl took one mouthful and spat it out in disgust!

I remember fondly the part of Laura Esquivel's beautiful book Like Water for Chocolate when Tita cooks her passionate emotions into the food - once serving up a rose petal sauce which made everyone passionately amorous, and another day a dish which made the assembled party distraught with misery, as though the tears she cried into the pot as she stirred it were infectious.

I am thinking a lot about food at the moment: cooking and the production of the basic foodstuffs. If we accept that the way in which food is produced has an impact on us, not only our physical health but our emotional and psychological well being, then it is vital that we support food production practices which support people, the environment and the earth.

It is crucial that we cook and eat at home to consciously produce well being for our families. Perhaps that means cooking more, and ensuring you eat together at least once a day. Or perhaps (note to self) it means cooking a little less, having fewer expectations, a little less greed, but doing what we do with total devotion to ourselves, our families and giving thanks for the food, the animals that gave their lives, the farmers who grew the vegetables. Of cherishing our foods as we cherish ourselves.

Thich Nhat Hanh, the living Buddhist philosopher asks us to contemplate an orange. What do you see? Not just an orange, but the rain which fell to make it grow, the earth the tree, the woman who picked it, the man who packed it, the lorry and the roads it passed along, the wife who fed the lorry driver, the work we did to make the money to buy the orange, the factory where the bag was made to hold the oranges together, the oil which it was made from, the depths of the earth from whence that came. In everything he asks us to contemplate the deep interconnectedness of all things.

There is nothing simple or inevitable about the food that lands on our plates. It is a combination of love, hard work, miracles of nature and good fortune which allow us to have such an abundance of food when so many others do not. At this time of feasting, let us feast with awareness and gratitude.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Join me soul surfing!

You know sometimes how you can get a bit stale. You feel like you are moving in small circles and keep rubbing shoulders with the same old folk.  Even the infinitely creative www seems a bit, you know... blah! 

And you need something fresh, you want to be inspired. You need a bit of zizz in your life,  if you know what I mean? You know there must be something out there... but you just don't know where to start looking? 

You do? I was there too. And then a whole new vista opened up. I have spent the past couple of days soul surfing, discovering a whole world of other blogs and inspirational women out there who I have come across through the World's Biggest Summit, the Big Fat Lies Summit, and Twitter. 

There is soooooooooooooooo much goodness out there. So many wonderful women doing their thing, living their highest vision, trying to make a living from their passion, creating worlds of beauty and hope and strong communities of authentic people.

So I just wanted to share a few of these goodies I have come across with you - "like" the Dreaming Aloud Facebook page for even more...

Firstly and most excitingly...

My pick of the web:
Wild Sister is an online magazine which I know I will be submitting work to in the future. Inspired, uplifting, soulful. Now on its fourth edition at the moment - they have a super price for the first three back issues too! I bought the lot! This is  the sort of magazine I WISH was filling the news stands - so much substance, soul and beauty.

And ME on The World's Biggest Summit today! Speaking on the topic of Honouring your Crazy woman. Do let me know what you think!!

My pick of the blogs
Inspiring words, beautiful images, I adore this most recent post : She let go and more like this at

Beautiful inspiration for creative types - I love the design and feel of this blog, it's really inspired me!

One of my favourite authors, SARK - if you haven't discovered the colourful, creative, quirky world of SARK then head on over to I ADORE her Succulent Wild Woman book

And Jennifer Louden, spoke really honestly at the WBS - no bull shit, this woman is humble and REAL. Her site has lots of free goodies on it

This is a lovely natural parenting blog I hadn't come across before...

Celtic wisdom, creativity, flower essences, nature photography live here....

Happy soul surfing dear dreamers! What juicy new stuff have you discovered on your recent surfing trips?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Full moon - the last big shift is here

Please tune out if this is not your thing...

For the rest of you astrologically minded wise women and explorers of things unknown - welcome. We are in special times indeed.

It's the full moon tonight, I felt it before I checked on the calendar, I am getting more and more attuned to the moon's cycles. Sounds corny, feels good. I watched the moon rise, golden white and full over a newly ploughed field as the tractor went backwards and forwards planting seed. Seed which will lie in the ground, quietly gestating, establishing itself unseen, until the silent spring warmth beckons forth green shoots.

This is where I am at too. Planting soul seeds in my womb - with prayers, affirmations and visions. May good things grow there. I am fertile with ideas and creativity, with life itself, and for that I am profoundly grateful. The dark night has passed and a new day is dawning.

If you are that way inclined, head outside and moonbathe. Take your top off and bear your breasts to the moon. Feel the electric glow of moonlight and chill on your skin, take your shoes off, feel the dew beneath your feet. Wash your face in the dew, and your breasts. Imagine this purifying your bodymind. Invoke the timeless wisdom of the moon into your body and soul. Sing or chant, whisper your prayers. Root yourself in the earth, feel your sensitivities rise, your awareness grow, of your body, of the earth beneath your feet and the heavens above you, and your own place in this vast magical plane.

Yesterday was the beginning of the Mayan Seventh Day. This is the last day of the Mayan calendar. It ends on the 27th. Then that is it. The end of all cycles. Done. A new world will be shifting into place at the same time as the New Moon, Samhain, All Souls, Halloween, the end of British Summer Time. That weekend is a massive shift. And we in our way are marking our own shift as my husband completes his last day of work for his current employer, and our own new era begins.

I feel the dreams shifting and changing and possibilities growing by the day. I am consciously shifting through blocks on every level. Bringing darkness out into the light. As so many other people I know are too.

Some wonderful books have arrived in my life these past couple of days - which I shall be blogging about, both about massive shifts in the sacred feminine and in the human population as a whole. And the World's biggest Summit and Big Fat Lies Summits are helping shift stuff and light lightbulbs for me.

I feel honoured to be living in these times. Grateful to be here and now. Loving where I live in all its beauty and community. Loving my work. Grateful and honoured to be my children's mother and my husband's lover. Grateful indeed.

For other great blog posts on the astrological state of affairs right now, check out:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I am officially a Kreativ Blogger

How wonderful to be awarded the Kreativ Blogger award - thank you McCrenshaw for your very kind words...

"I don’t know how I came across Dreaming Aloud, but I have become a big fan – to the point that missing a post in a day really sends an alarm off in my head! Lucy writes beautifully and truthfully. I am constantly amazed by her ability to put some of my own feelings into such magnificently worded posts. And her openness is raw – no making things “look right”, she tells it like it is. How many of us don’t fudge things a little to be more acceptable to society as a whole?"

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The autumn striptease

De-du-de-duh , de duh de duh!

If you listen carefully enough, you will hear Patricia the Stripper is playing.

With each coyly turning leaf, and cool morning breath, this is the suggestive feel of autumn.

How I long to cling to the warmth of summer. Or the fantasy of that warmth. To days on the beach, sexy bikinis...

But seeing as the trees feel free to disrobe themselves with gay abandon.

I thought I should too!

Dum, de-de, dum de-de!!

Fewer committments

A sloughing down of the soul

A winding down of worry

To cosy into winter, into my warm winter fur coat (shhh! no knickers!)

And there I shall sit, by the crackling fire. finally doing my patchwork,

Making blackberry jam

Settling down into my bones


Friday, October 7, 2011

Blackberry jammin'

There is something so precious about blackberries and their sheer abundance. They are truly wild, free and seasonal. I savour the timeless joy of walking slowly along our precious inheritance - the mixed hedgerow - and popping sweet berries into my mouth by the handful. Heading out with a pot to collect them in, and ending up heading home with a small haul, and a full belly. But what is best - they're good for you - a good hit of vitamin C as the autumn chills hit, and even better, all children seem to love them.

Each local culture has its own customs and lore for the harvesting of wild foods, and they are particularly unique for blackberries I have discovered. I am used to blackberrying in late September and early October. However, here in County Cork the superstition says that the witches piss on them after the last day of September, or the devil. In fact many Irish people do not pick them at all as they are the property of the fairies and to pick them tempts the wrath of their curses.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Everyday Zen

"Know that you are OK exactly the way that you are right now. There is nothing that you need to do. You are perfect exactly the way you are. The changes that you want to make in your life, there is a time and a place for them. And that time might be now. But being kind and gentle with yourself is a way to get things going faster. A lot of people try to use force. They try to manipulate themselves in to action. And actually the wisest thing that you can do is to be kind and gentle with yourself."

Inspiring words from Jennifer Hoffman - today's speaker at The World's Biggest Summit speaking on the wonderful topic of cluttered perfection.

Just what I needed to hear. And perhaps you do too?

Today I weathered a tropical storm Merrily, and kept my calm inside and out, whilst trying to make scones for my in-laws imminent visit. And as my dear husband and I were scampering round trying to make our house look slightly less pit-like, I realised, all this stuff that I am clearing, I am actually grateful for. Our filthy table is littered with the crumbs of shared home-cooked food, with scraps of creativity from felting and clay and pencil sharpenings and bits of Lego and pieces from games we have played. I give thanks for these three children who I bemoan so often. For our home and all of us that make it a mess. It is full of us. Full of life and love. And for that I am very grateful.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

She who has a hundred husbands

Yes. That's right. That really is the name of a new supplement I am taking which I cannot rave highly enough about. I first heard of it via the lovely Kate Magic Wood, our resident JUNO raw food columnist. Its Sanskrit name is Shatavari. It is a wild asparagus and one of the best women's herbs around, having been used in India for hundreds of years. According to one Ayurvedic website: "This herb is known to increase Sattva, or positivity and healing power. It also enhances the feelings of spiritual love, and increases Ojas." Come back skeptics, usually I'd be with you, running straight for the door at any claims to increase Ojas...
the leaves of the wild asparagus
It is a nutritive tonic, good for...
Women's menstrual health - balancing hormones, lightening bleeding, leveling mood. It is also good during the menopause, threatened miscarriage and infertility.
Supporting milk production and breastfeeding
Strengthening the libido.
And many more specific ailments such as peptic ulcers, and low sexual functioning in men.

As far as I have read it has no contraindicators. It is gentle but powerful. I feel a glow around me, an added strength of life force, and a shiny happy womb area and a very easy moon time! I feel really good in my body - I shan't tell you what happened when I reported these effects to my husband having just stepped out of the shower ;)

The blend I am taking comes from Pukka (my favourite herbal tea company) which also contains seaweed, ginger and spirulina to give you a boost.
and the roots!
I am not generally a supplement taker, or a tonic taker, as many frustrated friends who only want to help will tell you. But this, this is good. I could manage a hundred husbands with grace and aplomb. I'm now on the look out for "she who has a hundred children" I could do with a dose or two of that!

For more on it check these links

Monday, October 3, 2011

How we are born

A fascinating article on JUNO online has reawakened many thoughts and feelings for me about the impact birth has... on the one being born.

Perhaps another reason we find it so hard to look at birth trauma is because it touches our own unresolved pain. This operates on many different levels; physical, emotional and psychological. On the physical level if we do not resolve the birth patterns, which may involve compressive and rotational forces held in the body, we grow into them. Although we adapt around these tensions to some degree, the adaptive patterns themselves introduce new strains into the body. As we grow older this interweave of birth and compensatory patterns create a myriad of health problems. The most obvious of these that crop up in my work are back problems, migraines and headaches, dental issues, muscle tensions and a myriad of organ dysfunctions. Unresolved trauma also acts within the nervous system, sensitising it to stress that evokes survival responses based on early overwhelm, rather than at a level appropriate to the present moment issue. Childbirth pioneer Dr. Michel Odent likens this to a thermostat that has been set too low so that it comes on when it is not needed. (Odent 1986) This tends to make emotional self-regulation difficult and creates ongoing problems in relationships with others. It is often at times when we are under pressure or going through a transition of some kind that these survival responses are most readily stimulated.

In our current birth climate, the emphasis is on the "safety" of the baby, and the mother. Nothing more is of any importance or relevance. We think little about the psychological, emotional or even physical impact that the act of birth has on the mother, or the child.

I was a forceps delivery. Pulled out by the head. shiny metal tongs yanking me out. I didn't want to come. I was not in control. Does this affect who I am today? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Who can tell?

But I do know that a few years back I was have a massage and cranio-sacral session with a good friend who I trust very deeply. Suddenly, in just the way he was holding my head, I was back there, being born, being pulled out by my head - I couldn't breathe, I was full of anxiety, terror, I needed to scream, but my voice would not work - and then suddenly I began to sob uncontrollably for about ten minutes.

I was not intending to be "re-birthed", just have a massage to get rid of some shoulder tension, so it was not like I was consciously planning or creating this experience. But its reality was breathtaking. I had always felt before this that how we are born matters, this experience confirmed it.

I recognise the high sensitivity, the migraines and muscle tension from the article above, the need to scream and the lack of control, the being dragged through life early, before I'm ready, feeling.

I am sure my first daughter's birth, blue and unbreathing to a depressed mama, had a huge impact on who she is now and her intense needs to be held and her need to scream and scream.

We can never know, and the last thing we need is to attach blame or guilt to births which were not as we would have planned or hoped. But this awareness can enable us to be mindful of how birth is planned, and how it occurs, and how we deal with birth trauma in the days, weeks and years afterwards. To say that it is real, and it does matter, and it can be dealt with.

To that end do take a look at this fascinating article on the JUNO website - especially if you have a baby, as the difference between needs crying and memory crying is fascinating and links in with Aletha Solter's ideas about holding a baby and allowing it to cry rather than trying to distract or soothe it.

How were you born? What effect did/ does it have on your life? 
Have you noticed that different birth experiences have had different impacts on your children?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Making loving connections

Today I have a guest post over at Dulce de Leche as part of her wonderful sex education series.

Have you ever wondered how you were going to do “the talk” about “the birds and the bees”. What to say and how, and of course when and how much? We know it’s important that children learn about sex and relationships at home, but how to do it without toe curling embarrassment on both sides?

 Few of us have good examples from our own childhood to follow and we’re aware that if we don’t broach the subject it will be left in the less than capable hands of peers and the media. Nowadays, due to living in such an over-sexualized, titillated culture, the job of “the talk” is not to generally explain anatomy or mechanics, as it was in the past. Contraception and disease are now part of the school curriculum, where kids are told all the reasons not to have sex, to be careful, to watch out for predators. But perhaps the most important parts, the reason why we all want to “do it”, the emotional, hormonal and very human relational aspects of sex are what we can really provide a solid grounding in at home. This is something we are all experienced in. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we can show how we ourselves try to navigate these crucial paths. Home is where we can make the connections between love and sex, between bodies and feelings, between children and sex. The reason we often struggle with Sex is because we isolate it from its surroundings, we take it out of relationship. Talking about sex is not just explaining reproduction. Sexual education involves learning about our bodies, feelings of love, affection and attraction, companionship, passion, art, the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, self-esteem etc: sex is not just something that happens in bedrooms, its roots are in all aspects of our lives and our world.

Head over to Dulce de Leche to read the rest.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...