Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Hello dear reader, I am here...

I'm just a little bit busy right now...

All good...

Just busy.

See you soon!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Question of Belief

This post is not suitable for 

the faint hearted 
devout Christians
or small children

So, for the other two reader of my blog - settle down and enjoy!...

Regular readers will be aware of the on-going saga of our "difference of opinion on the god issue" with our son's Catholic, state school - namely they believe, yet state that it's all very benign, meanwhile I sit and stew about my innocent child being brainwashed by a dogma to which we as a family most definitely do NOT subscribe.

One week before the annual Parent Teacher meeting, I happened to have a conversation with my son about saying what you felt, saying "you need to say what's important to you, because people can't read your mind."

"But god can" - he retorts, quick as a flash.

"Where did you hear that?" - I demand - knowing the reply before it comes

"Teacher said"

Cue fuming mama, planning careful speeches to approach teacher with one week hence.

The day of reckoning arrives. We talk reading books and my son's general lack of interest in the inane reading matter he is sent home with. She is suprised to hear that a child isn't riveted by it.

We talk reading ages and maths skills. I brace myself to bring up the dreaded subject. She gets there first.

The colour drains from her face, her voice goes quiet and slightly shaky. "There's just one other thing I need to talk to you about. There have been complaints..."

My mind races. Complaints about my dear, gentle, sweet boy?

"From some other parents. He's been upsetting the other children, going around telling them that it's not true... we thought maybe he was getting it from home..."

"No", I stammer, earnest in my need to please, "we believe, we're making sure he believes too, though I've overheard him rationalising the improbabilities of it..."

"That's OK so, because it's really important that they all believe...

In Santa!"

For flips sake! I daren't mention to her that in circles that I hang out in on the blogosphere that Santa is "bad". It might have given her a heart attack. He might have been kicked out of the school. It seems they can tolerate non-belivers in the god thing, just. But not Santa. That'd be a weirdness too far.

So I brought up the god thing. Tit for tat! She was understanding - said the priest had hotfooted it of the classroom the other day when the children started bombarding him with questions about what happens when we die.

Belief - a thorny issue. Adults are weird, it has to be said. But as long as we all believe in Santa then it's all OK!

Postscript: We took him to see Arthur Christmas this weekend just to ensure a thorough indoctrination!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Joy pockets

Though I have many joy pockets this week, I wanted to share one very special one with you. One that makes my work worthwhile, that makes risking talking about the untalkable so totally worth it. I went to bed beaming after having received this wonderful email about how my Honouring Your Crazy Woman talk at the World's Biggest Summit has helped to transform the life of a woman in Brazil (which I am sharing with her permission).... 

I´m writing to let you know how your words in the World Biggest Summit touched me.

It was SO strong for me to hear about the Crazy Woman! Sometimes I stopped what I was doing and just listened. I heard the audio about 2 or 3 times in sequence, in my MP3, while I was cooking the dinner.

That night, before go to bed, my kids and husband were sleeping, I sit down and made my Crazy Woman drawing. After I wrote the words associated to her. Finally I made an adapted altar with some rocks, shells and seeds and light a candle.


Next day I felt myself calmer and almost in peace. For the first time in years I felt less guilty about my terrible humor -- or at least less guilty to be crazy.

Now I´m trying to nurture the great Rainbow Woman and handle the huge Crazy Woman inside me.

The next day I started blogging again (I used to blog before I had my kids). My first post was a detail of my Crazy Woman.

I´ve been wanted to blog for so long... but I didn´t permit me until this time.
After I heard you, I allowed myself to do the blog and since than I´m keeping trying to allow me to do things that I like more often.:

Thank you, Lucy!


Alessandra, Brazil

Thursday, November 24, 2011

How to be a creative mama

"With the arrival of my children has come the arrival of a new burst of creativity, something which many of the mothers I interviewed for my book (on Creative Rainbow Mamas) experienced too.

There are so few words about the real experience of mothering and the real experience of being a woman. We tend to lack the language, the courage, the sense of value to be able to give words to our realities and our dreams. My upcoming book is an attempt to put language to the reality of being the most fabulous, and misunderstood of creatures: a creative mother.

My first child was just four weeks old when I realised that I need to correct my creative/mother balance. I started to follow The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Her morning pages exercise reconnecting me with my old sense of self, which through work, training (albeit in arts teaching), pregnancy and now mothering felt like a far-distant land, and one to which I had lost the return ticket..."

Lucy Pearce (aka Mrs Dreaming Aloud), being interviewed on the subject of creativity and motherhood. 

To read the whole interview, head over to Artisantopia (The Internet Filtered for Creative People), where you will find out:
  • How I weave my days
  • My views on TV and kids
  • More about my Creative Mama book, and other upcoming projects
  • What the mothers I interviewed for the book agree on... and what they hide
  • My key supports and tools for being a creative mama
See you there!

And if you haven't contributed to my research on creative mamas it's not too late - click here to find out more about how to contribute your experience to my book.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Supporting women's craft this Christmas

What are you doing for Christmas presents this year?

As you know I am massively into supporting women to support themselves and their families through their creativity, and that includes in the developing world. I much prefer this approach, and micro loans, rather than charity. I try as often as I can to buy handmade gifts from women's co operatives, to help move money from our rich world directly into the hands of creative women - they bring colour and beauty into my life.

This year I want to bring your attention to some wonderful women and projects supporting them.
One of a Kind
Beadies - made by a woman in Uganda and sold via a new charity: Footprints in Uganda -these stunning beads (this pic doesn't do them full credit) are only £5 for a beautiful long string of beads made from recycled paper, handrolled and dipped in resin. I am buying  myself 2 strings for Xmas. Do you buy yourself Xmas pressies and birthday pressies? I don't know when I started, but it's a crucial part of my celebratory times - a gift of love for myself, and something that I wouldn't normally treat myself to. And it's ALWAYS just what I want!!!!

For cards - Sreepur cards - based in Bangladesh is a community which cares for 100 destitute mothers and 500 children. At the heart of the community is a paper-making facility, where the mothers transform locally grown jute into beautiful paper which in turn becomes handcrafted Christmas cards. The charity was set up by an ex British Airways stewardess, and BA transport the cards free of charge to the UK for sale, so 100% of the cards sale price goes directly to the mothers and children.  They sell at £13.50 for a pack of 16 cards - this year's sold out, due to great coverage in The Guardian, but you can add your name to their mailing list for next year, with subject line 'Priority 2012' to 

Oxfam - for a whole host of ethically made and traded crafts in the UK only (unfortunately the Irish branch has closed) - I'm asking for a beautiful embroidered sari from it as the foundation piece for my new red tent project (more of which very soon!! - see Facebook for a bit more!)

Serrv is based in the US and sells fair trade, hand made, non profit goodies - some beautiful jewellery,  linens and much more... I love these...
 Tree Of Life Table RunnerBandhook TableclothRed Blossom Teapot

And of course there's Etsy, brim full of beautiful handmade creative gems from gorgeous women around the world.

What are YOU doing for Xmas this year? All homemade? No pressies? A secret Santa arrangement? Or full blow out of beautiful gifts? Do you get organised early - or are you a last minutest? I HAVE to have all mine bought/ made or visioned by the end of November at the very latest or I FREAK OUT!! - I've been like this since I was five! So, needless to say, all ours are sorted.

What's on YOUR wanted list? I'm holding out for an i-pad - as a joint gift from everyone - for lots of creative fun.

And what are you making for Xmas? I have just dropped off the clay nativity set to be fired in the Pottery kiln. And I'm hosting our women's group Xmas Craft-Tea again this year- it's in two weeks so we're playing with ideas in anticipation. Do check out thrifty Christmas for lots of ideas.

Monday, November 21, 2011

In memoriam

A year has passed since a tragedy shook our local community. Barely a day goes by when I do not think of dear Una, who on one November morning lost her husband and two precious daughters. Each time I see her family I ask for her, even though I have never met her.  Each time I pass her house where her dear children died, I pray for her. Each time I pass the spot where her husband crashed his car, I pray for them all. 

For months the spot was charred, black and barren - a gaping hole of pain made physical, a constant reminder for the whole community of the pain of one woman and her whole family. I thought many times about going and planting some bulbs, some shoots of life, hope and colour in the burnt out hillside. But it was not my space to desecrate. 

But then one day in early summer, I drove past and the bank was a blaze of colour. Planted by someone, I know not who. Perhaps the family, perhaps the community council. A sign of renewal for Una, for the community who mourn still.  

May flowers grow for you again dear Una, may your life blossom in unforseen ways, may miracles find you. May love be with you everywhere you go.

Last year's post:

For Una, and all who grieve,

I send you a prayer with every breath. I cannot begin to comprehend your pain, the scale of your loss.

The storm winds of the mother soul howled around this house last night, and every other house in the area, the tears of God raining down upon us as we battened down our hatches and sent continual prayers that you are finding peace and comfort somehow. We are counting and recounting our own blessings with every prayer. Wishing we could transfer them to you.

Words cannot begin to express the sense of deep, deep sadness that every mother and father in our community feels at this moment. We hold our own, dear children closely to us, as though we can immunize them and ourselves from suffering and pain through our tiny, repeated act of love, wishing, wishing that this would bring your children back to you.

We wake to a blue sky, the rays of sunshine promising hope. But the mood is dark and sombre. The usual school gate chatter is gone. Even the playground is eerily quiet. We are united in your pain: we are all one.

We want to talk but talking changes nothing. Nor does the news. It is like scratching an itch, it momentarily makes things feel better, and then worse. The facts are not what we want. We seek to find a way through the shock, the senselessness, the destructive possibilities of the human spirit. The knife edge of normality which we unknowingly walk along every day and which disaster can shatter in an instant. As I feed our chickens and empty our bins, I wish you the soothing tedium of mundanity.

The mother soul is grieving for one of its own. Know that we are united around you, though you cannot see us or may not know us. We hold the space for you, for you to be as you need, in this moment. We open our Madonna's cloaks, fall into their soft folds, let us hold you and croon you a lullaby to soothe you into sleep and the momentary forgetfulness that it will bring, let us wail together, let us wash you clean of your pain in our tears, let us feed you and hold you as you cry and scream and rage and then lie silent.

I pray that you might find life after death. Someday, somehow.

With love, deepest love, dear Una and all your family.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Count your calories! ... but not the way you might think

So this is The Year of Enough...
Last week's "homework" was to make a list of everything you do in a day.

So you wrote everything down, right.

Or did you?

Have a little look over your list. Did you put in all the emotional stuff that you did that day? Chances are you forgot it... because "it doesn't count" right? It doesn't count in the real world, it doesn't make you any money... but it DOES count because it takes your life energy just as much, if not more!

So look over your list and write down every major emotional interaction you had too, so
  • Comforting a sad child
  • Dealing with a tantrum or argument
  • Consoling a distraught friend
  • Helping your sister with her financial worries
  • Worrying about a major life change
  • Having an altercation with a man in a car park
  • Having some couple time with your partner
Positive or negative it's all your energy which is being used.

And don't forget "passive" activities, such as commuting, talking on the phone, even watching TV... And minding kids for a day or be in work is worth 100 basic points before you add in the specifics!

So now you have your full list of where your energy went in one day. 

Now to "count your calories"

Just like in a diet program you count your calories (energy parcels) to see how much you're taking in. In this exercise you are counting your energy parcels that you are giving out. (Please note these are not actual calories - I am just using the term to make you aware of the energy impact of your day.)

The scoring system

Any action - emotional or physical which lasted 30 mins or less in your day = 50 calories 

Any action which took particular 
  • concentration, 
  • stress or 
  • took over 30 mins receives double points= 100 calories 
Add 250 calories for each of the following
  • have a full time job (including being a full time mother), 
  • have a baby under 1, 
  • are breastfeeding
  • are pregnant or undergoing IVF
  • are being woken more than twice a night, 
  • have an illness or disability
  • are caring for someone sick
  • are a single parent, your partner is working away or working late
Any deeply stressful, once in a lifetime event - a birth, death, imminent divorce, hospitalisation, major illness or hospitalisation = 500 calories a day

So add up your points. What did you get? This is how much energy you are using in a day... (for a worked example see mine at the bottom).

As with calories, an average, sustainable day would be between 1300-2000 points, depending on your energy levels, level of support, your enjoyment of what you're doing, and a good self care regime etc.

Anywhere over 2500 is unsustainable on a regular basis - you need to get more support, simplify your daily routine, off load commitment.

Now obviously, this is totally unscientific. But if you do this for a few days you will get a sense of:
  • How much energy you are using over a day. 
  • Whether you are front loading it or spreading your energy use evenly over a day. 
  • What events are recurring on a daily basis which you could consolidate, or avoid all together?
  • Where is your energy going?
  • Where is it leaking being drained?
  • Where could you choose to use it differently?
In short, where does it point to you how to sustain your own energy-use levels and apply the law of Enough in your life.

I'd love to hear your responses...

Example: My day's total was: 2250
  • 250 -have a full time job (including being a full time mother)
  • 250 -are breastfeeding
  • 250 -are being woken more than twice a night, 
  • 250- baby with a cold
  • 50 -Car journeying
  • 50 -Filled out my 75 things I want to do in 2012
  • 50 -Did a high speed local grocery shop
  • 50- Made all three kids breakfast and minded three all day
  • 50- Checked my email and wrote some
  • 50-Finished and promoted my blog post for Dreaming Aloud, and another blog
  • 50-Did JUNO correspondence
  • 50- Created a dinosaur scrap book with Timmy using Google images
  • 50-Got the kids to help me tidy their room
  • 50-Played musical statues with them
  • 50- Got us all dressed
  • 50-Fed the chickens and Fed us all lunch
  • 50-Emptied and filled the dishwasher
  • 50-Did a little house tidying
  • 50-Got three kids out of the house with shoes, coats and snacks
  • 50-Recycled 7 bags of clothes
  • 50-Took Meli to the nurse
  • 50-Got clay from the pottery - made a labyrinth and a sculpture
  • 50-Checked emails and Facebook - helped promote a friend's event
  • 100-Made supper for all tonight and for tomorrow
  • 50- Brought in yesterdays washing and hung up in side
  • 100 -Kids bedtime
  • 50-TV and Wrote my list!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Joy Pockets

Joining up with Mon over at  Holistic Mama to celebrate our weekly Joy Pockets.

joy pockets

My gratitudes this week include...

Fluffy slippers
Making clay angels
An email from Steve Biddulph
A disappearance of tantrums
Two whole tea house writing days – 15 hours child free!!!
A finished draft of my Celebrating Moon Time e-book
Watching a kestrel battle the storm winds over the bog
Happy days with kiddies and friends
Rediscovering the joys of Aldi's snack section!
A job well done!

And you, dear Dreamer, I hope you had a lovely week. What are your joy pockets? Please do share them below.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hello little voice...

A full day of work today. Productive contentment and focus in the storm tossed tea house.
And yet I noted when I was writing, a little voice in my head was my constant companion. It was always there and just kept saying over and over “But THIS doesn't count...”

Haha! Hello little voice! What's that you say?

Writing an ebook doesn't count – because I might not make any money from it
Proofreading a brochure I'm getting paid for doesn't count – because it's easy
Spell checking and working on layout for my ebook doesn't count because it's just admin
Reading the Business Goddess book doesn't count
And lunch certainly doesn't count...

And this doesn't count, because it's just a blog post. And not even the post I was supposed to be writing. And aren't I lazy for not having posted anything for over 24 hours.

And it got me thinking – what DOES count for my little voice? What DOES it find acceptable?

Dear little voice. What do you want and where did you come from? Why are you so hard on me? I work very, very hard. I do work that I love with dedication. I endeavor to bring joy, goodness and learning into the world. I love my family very much and do my best by them. But still you scoff and scorn and chastise and beat me with your stick throughout my busy days.

Dear little voice in my head, this is the Year of Enough. Take a rest, you must be tired.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Community ... for Kids

I have always hated the idea of living on a housing estate. Too many neighbours, too close for comfort, identikit houses, and not our sort of people. No siree, not for me. And certainly not for my kids. They need a vast lawn. And a wood and meadows to run wild in. Perhaps a pony! Certainly an acre of organic veggie garden. And mama needs her own private glade for naked moonlight dancing and other mad notions!

But reality and finances mean that in order to live where we want to live, we needed to live on an estate.

And you know what?

I am so glad we do.

If only for one reason (though in reality there are many!). It is perfect for the kids. We live at the end of a loop-the-loop cul-de-sac, and so our children have a veritable runway of tarmac all to themselves, with a massive patch of grass besides.

So, rather than me driving here, there and everywhere arranging play dates and after school activities, they head out the back door and there they have friends. A pack of them to run about with. They range from 18 months to 10 and all take part according to their ability. They play on bikes and trikes, skate boards and push along tractors.  They play catch, draw in chalk on the pavement, collect caterpillar and grasshoppers, create elaborate mausoleums for deceased rodents which could rival the Taj Mahal and invent endless espionage games which usually end in tears. There is a lot of water play too, which always seems to take place in our garden - it seems that mud, gravel, stones and a hose can provide hours of illicit fun!

I feel so good knowing that they are out there creating their own little community of neighbours, another generation of connections being made. But where we mums and dads make it over cups of coffee and borrowed sugar, they make theirs over ice lollies and worms.

If you are interested in making this happen in your own neighbourhood, I have just discovered a new initiative which aims to promote and support kids playing outside together, helping communities to create safe spaces within their neighbourhoods for free play. Do check out this innovative website - even if just to revel in the pavement painting design. Let's help to get our children playing outside together.

And check out the winter edition of JUNO magazine for an interview with Tim Gill about supporting children and outside play.

This post has been written as a contribution to The Big Lunch blog. The Big Lunch is an annual community event held in early June each year  in the UK and Ireland where communities come together to eat and celebrate.

Friday, November 11, 2011

This doesn't count... The Year of Enough

Do you ever find yourself telling yourself this...

This extra chocolate biscuit (or three) doesn't count
This work doesn't count - because I enjoy it/ do it in my spare time/ don't get paid for it- (I do this for my blog, my JUNO work - in fact most of my work)
Kids leftovers don't count as calories, nor does any food destined for the rubbish bin... or eaten standing up at the fridge or in the car whilst driving
Mothering/caring/ volunteering doesn't count (so I don't deserve to be tired)

What don't you count? And what effect does it have on your health and happiness? I notice when I don't make things count I overload myself - because of all the bits which are real, in the real world, which I have struck off in my head as being "not real".

Are you with me? Do you do this?

So my simple conclusion is, if we are aiming for enough -which we are - given that this is officially The Year of Enough and we are getting real about our energy and material inputs and out puts - then we need to count our beans properly.

So I am proposing a little experiment.

At the end of today list EVERYTHING you did. The opposite of a "to do" list, this is a done list. (See my Mothering Badge of Honour post for an example of what I'm talking about. Or see PS below!) Or if you are struggling with eating then list everything you ate and drank.

Now look at this list. Appreciate everything you have put your energy into. Don't beat yourself up at what you haven't done or should have done, or did badly. So, if you cooked dinner, then you cooked dinner - no qualifiers. It doesn't matter (at this moment) if the kids/ your partner didn't EAT it. You COOKED it. So give yourself credit. That was a use of your life energy, it counts, so acknowledge it. Be mindfully aware about how you have used your unique energy, and, even if just for today, give yourself credit.

This is step one, I will be sharing step two later in the week for making your life count, as part of the Year of Enough.  Do please share your insights and observations here with us all.

P.S My list for today...

Today I...
Woke up early with baby after a night breastfeeding a baby with a cold
Filled out my 75 things I want to do in 2012
Did a high speed local grocery shop
Made all three kids breakfast and minded three all day
Checked my email and wrote some
Finished and promoted my blog post for Dreaming Aloud, and another blog
Did JUNO correspondence
Tried to fix the printer
Created a dinosaur scrap book with Timmy using Google images
Got the kids to help me tidy their room
Played musical statues with them
Got us all dressed
Fed the chickens
Fed us all lunch
Emptied and filled the dishwasher
Did a little house tidying
Got three kids out of the house with shoes, coats and snacks
Recycled 7 bags of clothes
Took Meli to the nurse
Got clay from the pottery - made a labyrinth and a sculpture
Checked emails and Facebook - helped promote a friend's event
Made supper for all tonight and for tomorrow
Brought in yesterdays washing and hung up in side
Did a load of washing and hung up inside
Put baby to bed
Wrote my list!

Something for the weekend

It's alright to turn up empty-handed... with a full, open heart.
Empty your head, stop trying so hard. Stop, open, be. End of!

This is what came to me during my 11/11/11 meditation. Quite good advice - so I thought I'd share it! I hope you managed to take some time to just be at 11 on Friday morning, or perhaps to reflect in the full moon light this week.

This has been a full week at Dreaming Aloud. So if you've missed anything I invite you to check out this week's very popular posts:
Full moon Rising - November -reflects on 11/11/11 and how to engage with the moon cycles
Yearning for A Simple Life - where I fantasise about living in a zen space and show you round the tea house.
The Year of Enough Starts here - on how I decided to start my New year's resolution in November and commit to enough on every level. Will you join our band of Dreamers in committing to enough in your life?
Taste A Memory - as part of this month's Carnival of Natural Parenting on food and children, I share why it's so important to leave my culinary legacy to my children
Joy Pockets - this week's gratitudes - do share yours!

And the blogoversary winner was announced. Do check out the Dreaming Aloud Facebook page to see the picture of the MASSIVE stash of Pukka teas that the lucky Claire from Free Your Parenting won!

Joy pockets

My gratitudes for the week...

Rejuvenating the autumn wreath with auburn dock seeds, fairy apples and ruby rose hips

My female friendships - Paula, Becky, Mary, Leigh, Tracy...

An impromptu breakfast party with my new neighbour friend 

A wonderful winter edition of JUNO waiting to be read... sorry, proof-read!

The scent of freshly baked granola pervading my home - vanilla, cinnamon, maple - yum!

Clear, uncluttered surfaces - hurray me!

Snuggling in our cosy warm bed with our three kiddies listening to the storm winds blow, knowing we are safe, warm and full of love.

The tea house.

Belonging to a global circle of moondancing wonder women!

Eating better - lots of fresh fruit and veg feels GOOD!

A big potential new word smith client - came to me dontcha know! (wish me luck for this morning's meeting!)

You, my commenting tribe of blog readers - you add so much joy to my life. Thank you!

And you, dear Dreamer, what are your joy pockets for the week? 
Joining up with Mon over at Holistic Mama

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Full moon rising - November

So we are rocketing towards 11/11/11. In true human style, people are getting excited about the day with the triplet date. Mayan elders have been crossing the width of the US with 13 ancient crystal skulls, between the last day of the Mayan calendar (October 28th) and 11/11/11. Some are claiming it as a portal date of a new era, or a transition time - see this post on  From the Wetware if this is your sort of thing. Do you have any wisdom you can share on this date or is it all a load of hoo-haa? (see comments section below for events going on at 11:11, 11/11/11).

But dates aside, tonight is full moon. Do you celebrate full moon? Mark it in your diary? Plant by it? Find your children go a little loopy? Does it affect your menstrual cycle in any way?

I have found that my own cycle is now totally aligned with the moon's phases. I ovulate at full moon and my creative energy surges at this time. I find this energy enhanced by going and being outside in the moon light - to recharge my intuitive/ creative energies. (For last month's full moon post see here).  It really is quite mystical and magical. If you haven't tried this yet, perhaps you will tonight?

My dear friend Becky Jaine of Monkey Chi, Monkey Do,  is coordinating another Full Moon Circle. You may remember we started doing this back in August. I extend the invitation to you...

 "This is a special invitation to a Sacred Full Moon Circle to honor the November Full Moon and celebrate each other and our life's intentions. This month's Circle will focus upon Renewal: renewing our commitments and intentions that serve our bodies, minds, spirits and our purposes on Earth.

This November's Full Moon offers tremendous powers to help us reconnect and reignite an intense focus on our most important intentions in our lives, our calling and our purpose on Earth. We each can renew our commitments to how we wish to live and create our lives. If this speaks to you, please take a few moments this week to write down your closest heart's desires and intentions. Feel free to share here, to create more energy around your intentions and help one another by collective focus, and thinking of each other's aspirations during our Moondance. This will increase our personal power and help to draw and create our intentions for each other.

It really doesn't matter WHEN we do it, OR if you can see even see Mother Moon. She's there, rain, clouds, full whether appearing to our eyes or not.

Together we dance under the moonlight and create energy around renewal and intentions. If you want to actively join us, list your name and location on our beautiful planet, and your intentions for renewal (if you like) we'll be sure to keep you in our minds and hearts."

For some beautiful moon poetry follow this link!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Year of Enough starts here...

I wrote a couple of days ago of wanting to live a simple life, in the tea house. I tried to think practically how much of our stuff that we could live without. That was quite easy until I got to a clothes line and bike shed and all the stuff that comes with daily life that would inevitably clutter up a zen space.

But maybe that's the problem.

We seek to possess or inhabit something so that we might embody its qualities that we admire... and yet in the act of possession or inhabitation, we bring our own mess, our own baggage with us, and the object of our affections becomes sullied in our eyes.

Bugger it, the Buddhists are right again – I am clinging, this is attachment. It will and can only lead to suffering.

There is another way. Just to hold and enjoy and release, rather than possess. I guess the thought bird practice is a good one for cultivating the mindset of peace and clarity, to learn to embody these qualities within myself, rather than seeking to grasp them outside of myself.

I have recommited myself to “The Year of Enough”. After all, this is stil 2011, and it is never too late to start again. We can always recommit ourselves in the endless Now.

And so I have started shifting junk – again! Ripped children's books, plastic containers, cardboard boxes, medicine bottles with only a teaspoon of syrup left, endless children's drawings – gone. Odd socks and unworn pants – gone. The top that makes me feel fat and has a hole in the sleeve, even though it's practical – gone! Bags of hand-me-down clothes waiting for “what if”... going. The surfaces are clear - ahhhhhhhhhhhhh that feels good! My house is transforming into one big zen space

I realise that I have many clogging patterns which I have inherited and nurtured: in my body, my emotional life and my home. These include:

Waste not want not... – so I eat more than I need, including the kids left overs.
Waste not want not... – hang on to it because it might be useful some time – scraps of fabric, a ripped book, bits of string, used elastic bands, an extra, extra coat, that-little-plastic-thingy-that-no-one-quite-knows-what-it-does-or-where-it-comes-from-but-it-might-come-in-handy...
Comfort fullness – I like the feeling of being contentedly full – until it overwhelms me and I feel bloated – in my body and in my house. I don't like feeling empty/ hungry/ in need – I like to be set up for the day/ for life. I am a good Girl Guide and I like to “be prepared”
Taking on other's stuff – if people chuck stuff out, they come to me to see if I want it – this way I keep myself and the kids in clothes for free... but I also get a lot of stuff that we don't need, that I'm not very good at moving on and moving out, so I keep it for just in case... in bags, in corners, that children unpack and scatter around and get attached to. Beware other serial hoarders - they try off-loading their stuff on you so they don't feel bad about getting rid of it!
Taking on other's stuff mentally. I'm good at this one too – you have a problem, I'll get upset on your behalf, I'll get agitated for you, I'll worry and cook you meals and get really involved. Until I end up spending more energy on your life than mine. Then I get really tired. And don't shift my own stuff. So it builds up...again!
Buying more stuff – because I really believe that we “need” this, that this is “different”, that this is a good deal or will bring greater happiness, that THIS isn't too much, it's all the other stuff that is bad... and the problem is, sometimes I'm right... and then a lot of the time I'm wrong
Mental dread – I prefer to get caught up in head stuff (reading/ writing/ TV) to avoid the “pain” of tidying and shifting stuff on a daily basis – this is part laziness, and part the drudgery of not again, please God, not again I feel tired from the last time I washed up/ tidied/ sorted stuff. I experience tidying and sorting stuff as energy depleting, not energy building. And a waste of time. Not the real stuff of life, just a monotonous bind which I resent.
Mental dread – I can plan the perfect healthy eating regime – but doing it – no siree, I get caught up in the head stuff

Do you recognise yourself in any of these?

I can see the roots back into my own unique childhood – child of divorced parents, often very lean parental incomes, being told not to waste food, wanting to assert this is how much I eat, that I deserve to take up space...

With the amount of diet books and decluttering books on the market, I know I am by no means alone in this. I recognise the teachings of the Buddha, the words of Jesus about the lilies of the field... to be human is to struggle with worries about if we have enough, of how to deal healthily with the material world - without hoarding, anxiety, greed...

I recognise that my habits are built on faulty beliefs...
That hanging on to stuff will make me happy
That fundamentally everything will NOT be OK, so I need to be as prepared as I can for impending disaster
Sugary food/ pretty clothes/ another book... make life easier to cope with
That I am not enough, not good enough...
That stuffing myself fuller and fuller will make everything safer, better, happier
That feeling full is better than feeling my feelings
That tomorrow is a better day for dealing with shit
That I am too tired
That I can't face it
That I mustn't say no or be ungrateful
That if I don't take it/ eat it this opportunity is gone for ever... and I'll regret it. So take it just in case
I am scared of being hungry or without what I need
Waste is bad
Not knowing how much I actually need rather than want
Believing the voices in my head, letting them dominate
Believing on a deep level that stuff is better than space

But all these are just beliefs and open to examination.

And so here I sit, in the tea house, grateful that I am here, now. Not wishing away my home as it is. Not fantasising about living here. Just writing these words with the sun rising higher in the sky over the light house, the sea shimmering, migrating ducks flying in over the bog. I am here... letting go.

Awareness is the first step. The next is action. Both are happening here.

Our fridge is full of fruit and veg and I am really focusing on creating lighter health filled meals and snacks. Our surfaces are clear, and I am rededicating myself to sustaining it with joy! I'm practicing saying no and monitoring how much I take on. This is the Year of Enough, starting here, and now. Away with overwhelm. Away with bloatedness. Welcome enough. Welcome natural balance and abundance.

Where are you at with this? Will you join me at re-dedicating yourself to enough before the winter blowout of Thanksgiving and Christmas? Let us shed our "too much" just as the trees are shedding their leaves. Let us enter the winter bare and simple. Let us celebrate the winter holiday season in mindfulness.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Taste a memory

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
If I can leave my children one legacy, it will be that they can cook. It won't be me who teaches them to fix a puncture or start a fire with just sticks. But I will ensure that they graduate from my care able to not only sustain themselves, but thrive with flair and health, woo potential partners and entertain future friends.

For me cooking and good food is my heritage, it runs in my blood, and not to pass this on to my children would be a failure at the most basic level.

One incident crystalised this intention for me, long before I had children of my own. A flatmate I had at University, on her first day alone in her own house, finally a grown up out on her own in the world, came towards me, grasping a potato as though it were an alien life form, and asked, in all seriousness, "how do I cook this?"

Cooking is not a moral imperative - you can survive or thrive on a raw diet, on ready meals, or on a family who cooks for you. But like learning to drive it gives you freedom, like learning to sing, it gives you creative expression.

My children cook with me pretty much every day - cupcakes, cookies, pizza, fruit salad, mushroom soup, bread, popcorn - these are our favourite things to cook - and eat - together. Chopping, mixing, whisking, kneading, rubbing - my children have cooked alongside me since they were old enough to hold a spoon.

I remember like it was yesterday the first thing I cooked all by myself. The crisp juiciness of the apple sprinkled with sugar and the revelation for my seven-year-old self: nutmeg! With its almost citrusy exotic Christmas smell,  its tiny wood shavings snowing down from the mini-grater onto the virginal white apple pieces beneath. I have never eaten it before or since. But it was the taste not only of a new flavour sensation, but of freedom, of creativity, of feeding myself my way.

My son experienced this this summer aged just five. He snuck off one evening whilst we were out in the garden, to make a tray of his very own recipe Rose Lemonade, to serve to the whole family. He then set up a stall outside his room with a hand written "Open/closed" sign and a tray of drinks to "sell". This, I know, will stay with him until adulthood - the taste of a memory, that he created all by himself.
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 8 with all the carnival links.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

And the winner is...

Well we had 55 entries
So we went old-school and cut up 55 little pieces of paper and wrote your names on them!

You had a very serious draw mistress who takes no nonsense!

An the winner of the year's supply of Pukka and the jar of Shatavari is...

Drum roll please....

That is, for those without X Ray vision, FYP, Free Your Parenting, which is edited by a lovely lady called Clare, who is based (I think) in the UK. So FYP drop me an email (pearcelucy @ and let me know your postal address and I shall pass it on to Pukka!

Congratulations Clare and enjoy!!

And now for the Favourite Comment Award. I'm sorry, I chickened out, I couldn't pick. So into a second hat go MF, Kirily, Loo, Laura, Andra, Anna and Zoe... in real time

And the winner of the needlefelted pouch and selection of Pukka teas goes to...

Really and truly, by complete and utter random chance, my dear, dear friend and ally who has nourished and sustained me over the year, even though we have yet to meet in real life... a true soul sister... the one and only... Mother Funker - who hangs out here It is with great delight I will pop that in the post to you tomorrow xx

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A deep yearning for less...a tea house dream

So many people, myself included on one level, crave for more, more, more. It is the driving force and message of our society: the promise of more and better. I remember when we were planning to build our own house the plans just kept getting bigger and bigger, with a room for this and that added by the day.

This year I allocated "the Year of Enough". Enough racing about, enough trying to do too much, enough buying stuff. Yet here we are in November, and nothing has changed. What creates most discord in my life is tidying up endless mess and being deeply distressed by the level of chaos in our house - caused by too much stuff. With kids come stuff and, scarily, we are not particularly materialistic. Nor is our house particularly big. But on every surface is stuff and more stuff. And it exhausts me. It is messy, excessive, unnecessary. I yearn to be free of it.

We were down by the thatched Japanese tea house in the woods of my father's house today, where we were married seven years ago, and where I now work, and a real fantasy formed in my head.

What if we were to live there? That for me would be heaven. And it would force me to down size. Force us to simplfiy. We lived in a 7 foot by 5 foot room in Japan for a year with roll up futons and a small shared bathroom, kitchen and living room and we were so happy. There is so much about the Japanese way of living that we loved, so much that we miss - including the open air hot bathing pools.

The tea house is one big Zen space. It could only be lived in uncluttered. It's about 12 foot square with a 3 foot by 12 foot space behind for a shower/ kitchen, and sleeping platform above. It looks out over the bog, the sea, the island. You see the sunrise and set, the moon over the water. You hear the wind in the trees. You are always immersed in nature, in the seasons and the magic of the natural world. But you are warm and cosy and safe. Beside it we would have a compost toilet and the outdoor hot tub we dream of, and of course a little herb patch. It would be a Japanese life in an Irish wood, uniting all that we love.

We would simplify, simplify, simplify - live lighter in every way. There would be no worry about each child having a room - no one would have a bedroom! It would demand us to be uncluttered.

 And then I think - but would you change? Don't "what if", start from where you are - down size here. Unclutter here. But here we live in a normal house, one which demands furniture and has space to be filled. I cannot get my head around getting rid of lots of stuff here. Then it would just feel too austere, because we live a different way here. Oh how wonderful a thought the tea house life is... the children dreamed with us... it would be a simple life, one closely attached to the seasons, living in a place which is secluded yet in the village. In a beautifully handcrafted space, with cedar floors and underfloor heating, a thatched roof. Like a modern yurt.

We would need less money to live on, so the sense of "need to earn" would diminish yet another level. I cannot imagine it being viable for the next four years or so, it would not be a fun existence with little energetic children with lots of toys. But when they are all at school, that bit bigger...

I trust in the magic which happens when visions are articulated clearly. I trust in the magic of putting it out there. Dream with me!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Joy Pockets

This week's gratitudes...

Post Halloween dinner - all three food groups - fish, veg... and smarties!
Autumn leaves - 31 years of seeing them and they're still so awe-inspiringly beautiful
Creating the happy womb. com - just the name makes me feel good
Daily book deliveries
My first day of work - a warm up of yoga, drumming, singing and tarot, followed by 3 blissful hours of writing in my soul space (beginning an e-book on celebrating meaningful moon time) 
The goddess circle - daily inspiration for my creative but vulnerable spirit
Celebrating abundance and the constant opening up of possibilities
Visiting a soul sister, and her children, my little ones' soul cousins
Needlefelting a pouch for my favourite comment in the blogoversary giveaway- filled with a selection of Pukka teas - (the mini giveaway is open worldwide!)

 Less than 48 hours till my mega Pukka giveaway closes (the big giveaway excludes US/ Canada)- do enter if you haven't already!

What are your joy pockets this week? Do link them up or share in the comments below.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Because I love you...

Because I love you, I want to share all the goodness in the world with you
Because I love you, I want to wrap my arms around you and tell you it will be alright
Because I love you, I want you to be happy to the tips of your fingers
Because I love you, I want to share my cake with you
Because I love you, I want you to care for yourself as the most precious possession
Because I love you, I share this with you...

This morning the weekly goddess circle e-zine popped into my inbox. In it was an e-book - Message from the Angels - beautiful words, precious images, created with love. It lifted me, and I deeply want to share it with you all. But I can't, unless you choose it for yourself. And that, you see, is the rule of life. We have to let goodness into our own hearts. We have to help to co-create magic. It's all there, just there within your grasp - but you have to reach it yourself.

For the record I am not big into goddesses and angels myself. But goodness, love beauty, celebration, inspiration, support, creativity, practical tools - it's all in the goddess circle, the e-courses and books, in bucketloads. I cannot begin to express what wonders it has helped me create in my life this year. And that, that is what I want for you too.

I KNOW it costs money. I know you might not be sure.  But please, dear one, if you are at all curious, if you feel a pull in you, do come and join me in the goddess circle.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What's in a name?

So, dear reader, I realised that I never shared with you how I got my name. Dreaming Aloud, I mean! Like all good names, there's a story to it.

When I started to write a column for JUNO magazine, I needed a name. A name which summed up my way of writing, my fluid prose style, my meandering living philosophy, my desire to ponder... and to inspire.

A few months earlier when I was pregnant with my second child,  I was training with Pam England, founder of Birthing from Within, on one of her rare trips to London. She told a story which stayed with me.

She said that a certain tribe of Native American people used to ask each other "what are you dreaming?" Meaning what is going on in your life, your thoughts, your head. She said that we all take our lives so seriously and believe in the reality of them. But actually we are all just dreaming our dreams. What we think is reality is just our own dream. The reason we often do not see eye to eye with another is that we are each dreaming the meaning of the situation, dreaming our relationship differently. And once we can see that we are dreaming, once we can acknowledge this, then we can begin to awaken ourselves to reality as it is. And we begin to take ourselves a little less seriously, and understand others a little more, when we have the compassion of the dreamer.

We can begin to dream lucidly, to dream bigger and brighter, to dream in technicolour, to change the channel, to choose another dream.

And so Dreaming Aloud was born. A place for dreaming better visions of the world. A place to dream my own dreams out loud. The column has existed in JUNO since Spring 2009 and on line for a year this Saturday.

Dream on!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

An Experiment to Change the World

I am very excited to share with you this month's issue of Wild Sister magazine which focuses on Gratitude; how to cultivate it, really feel it, share it, and live it.

You may remember me raving about it when I discovered it last month. Full of beautiful artwork, photography, inspiring, uplifting women's words...

Well the editor, Jen, contacted me and asked if I could contribute to this month's issue on Gratitude.

So of course I said yes!

Mine is the cover- "An Experiment to Change the World"

Visit their website via my blog to check it out for yourself, it costs you the same - and that way I get paid for my contribution! And whilst you're there, why not take advantage of their super deal on back issues - I did and LOVED it!

Click here to visit Wild Sister.


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