Thursday, March 29, 2012

Funding my habit...

You know I love painting, right? In fact I spent the whole of today painting, and looked up and it was five o' clock already. Thought I'd share the pics, before I tell you my big plan!

Painting has become quite a habit, and not a cheap one. So like any addict, I need to find a way to fund my habit...

So, I have decided to do my very first, very own painting exhibition. Woohoo! Rainbow streamers!

Now this is top secret news - between you and me, because I haven't asked the venue yet...and they don't read this blog -  but they'd better say yes because they're family and my paintings rock!

So there you have it - the year of abundant rainbows is where its at - painting - and making some moolah from it ... hopefully!

Plan to sell the paintings themselves and greetings cards made from them there - and I might just zap an etsy store together so the online world can buy prints and cards - wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mindful mama moon time

Welcome to the March Mindful Mama Carnival: Mindful Mama Challenge
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have challenges they've set for themselves toward becoming more mindful. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Over the past four years I have become more attuned to my cycles. Over the past year I have become more attuned to the moon's cycles. For the past six months I have been weaving the two together. The impact on my life, and my family's life has been profound.

I started by focusing on the full moon. By absorbing the high energy during my ovulation and retreating at the dark moon. I had the most common "white moon" cycle - bleeding on the dark moon, ovulating on the full moon. At ovulation I knew I would be full of energy from both the moon's phase, and my own hormonal balance. As the moon waned, my mood darkened and I would need to retreat, need to take more time to myself, need to remind myself that I wasn't actually angry at the children, but just pre-menstrual and needing more quiet, more head space. In this way I could be more gentle and loving with myself, and therefore with my children, rather than perceiving them as "the problem". I knew where I was at with myself. It felt good. So different from the intense, out of control mood-swings of PMS when I had got my periods back after our second child.

But then two months ago when my Moon Time book was at the publishers, and I was feeling full of understanding of my cycle and all women, my cycle flipped to a red moon cycle - bleeding at the full moon, ovulating at the new moon. And what's more, the full moon hid behind winter clouds for two months.

Suddenly  I could not look up and know where I was. I felt at sea. Neither rooted in my body wisdom, or the moon's cycles. I felt wobbly and unsure. My PMS felt more out of control.

I needed an aide de memoire to help me to re-connect to where I was in both cycles. Enter the moon dial.  

I had been considering stocking them on my website, and had ordered a sample to check it for quality. It could not have arrived at a more opportune time. My moon time arrived on the same day! I turned Day 1 on the outer petals to align with the phase of the moon: full. Then jotted on the first petal the day's date and my symptoms. Then I aligned the  inner dial to the Wise Woman phase, and the middle one to the month of the year. Now I had a beautiful, visual reminder to help me keep track.

This has been my (almost) daily practice since: a simple way of checking in with myself, and with the moon, of grounding myself once more in my own rhythms and those of the heavens. 

An interesting addition to this has been noticing how the moon seems to effect the children too. The full moon energises them, and yet, on a red moon cycle, my energies are low at this time as I am bleeding. This is a challenging energetic dichotomy, but again, one which now I am mindful of it, becomes easier to manage without blame and anger, but simply by observing.

And so as I write, I am trying to consciously shift my cycle back to the white moon phase, as I feel much more attuned to myself, the moon's energy and my children's energies, when I ovulate at full moon. We are bringing full moon celebration into our family's monthly life together. As well as celebrating on the blog, the children and I observe the moon together as she waxes, guestimating when she will be full once more. Last month we went down to the beach, drew a labyrinth in the sand and walked it together, before singing, strolling and dancing in the moonlight. Next month we are planning a ceremonial fire in our garden. 

Are you attuned to your own cycle, and to the moon? Have you any experience with realigning your cycle and any wisdom you can share from your experiences?

Mindful Mama Carnival -- Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!
On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy #MindMaCar hashtag. You can also subscribe to the Mindful Mama Twitter List and Mindful Mama Participant Feed.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sun-Day Blessings

An unseasonably warm weekend. A bonfire barbecue last night shared with friends: spatchcock chicken with rosemary, lemon and garlic, sausages, summer salads and marshmallows toasted on sticks. Washed down with a glass - or three- of Pimms.

Another sunny day today. Morning has broken, like the first morning...Whizzing down the road to the beach and a labyrinth in the sand ( wont you join me)

Finding a way forward in family communications using the tools of council sharing which I have learnt from women's group.

And now for a couple of hours quiet painting.

My gratitude for all this overflows. None of it is inevitable.

Holding in my heart the mothers in Toulouse. May they let themselves be wrapped in the Madonnas cloaks of all the women encircling them as they grieve.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Joy Pockets

Feeling the global feminine energy of transformation rising
My sister's maple and pecan cake 
Compulsive honesty
Kissing baby cheeks
Curry night
Painting with my fingers
Cherry blossom picnic
A sneaky, unforseen last breastfeed, six weeks after weaning
Getting going on books two and three - and feeling proud of them!
Ina May Gaskin - a living legend
Anticipation of Friday night comedy on TV
Another friend is a new mama

All in a morning's work...

Three kids breakfasts.
Two packed lunches.
One pooey nappy.

1000 more words of Creative Rainbow mama book written

30 questionnaires cut up and categorised by chapter - thank you all you dear Creative Rainbow mamas who contributed.

And, of course, these... 

I think I deserve my lunch!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Conception 2012 - Vision for a new world

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

To create consciously requires four things: vision, an impulse to create, a willingness to surrender to the creative power and action.

I invite you all to join me in visioning the sort of world you want to live in. Watch my video invitation here!    (First video - eeek! I AM BRAVE!!!!) For  more on the Birth 2012/ Conception Day project, see my earlier post. And for info on Wilde Tribe see here.

Before I share my vision - I invite you to open yourself to creating your own. Grab a pen and paper, perhaps some coloured pencils or paints too. Dream big, dream deep. Breathe deeply into your belly. Turn off the lights, light a candle. Close your eyes and ask yourself: what is my deepest vision for the world? Sit with that question. Breathe some more. Then without judgement or censorship spill this onto the paper. You can edit later, you can correct it tomorrow. For now, just dream... aloud!

Look at it with the eyes of love and possibility, not criticism and logic. Behold your vision in its completeness. It already exists in your mind and heart. Close your eyes again. Imagine actually seeing how it would look in reality in its completeness. Open your eyes, allow this glimmer to infuse the world in front of you right now. Breathe, feel the earth beneath your feet, and for this moment, do nothing extra.


Having done this process myself, here is my vision.

A community. Gathered round a candle flame, a bonfire, a central flame, a community is individuals are drawn together – through common bonds, common needs, a common love, to share their talents, to care for all, to celebrate and mourn.

This is how it has always been. Since the dawn of time. This is how it is now. This is how it must be. 

We have learned so much, come so far... and lost so much. 

I dream of a community connected through myriad interactions – that knows its powers and its frailties – that rather than seek to impose itself on all others, to decimate them, relearns the old art of hospitality of learning from and honouring the stranger. 

A community cradled in nature, rooted in nature, that honours its inter-dependence – that holds to permaculture priniciples, that knows what is enough and is deeply grateful for all it has. 

One that honours the spirit at the centre – the unknown and unknowable. 

One which honours its women for their creativity and life-giving abilities and its men for the strength of their bodies and their hearts. One which above all else, on every level is built on a partnership model. 

One which honours the development of young people on every level. 

One which uses its technologies with wisdom and compassion to the highest good of all.

One which understands that to heal is wholeness, that the mind as well as the body must be ministered to.

One that seeks to cultivate and step back, rather than force and control.

One that honours creativity and the voice of the individual and communal spirit- that does not denigrate one for the other. One that does not compel belief.

One connected to the cycles and the seasons – of world and individual life –which honours the changing seasons – that celebrates and mourns- that understands that nature is always in flow – as are we.

One which knows that the human heart holds courage, mystery which can so easily be clouded by doubt and fear. One which prompts us day after day, minute after minute to chose love over fear.

I see joined hands – tree branches round a lake reaching to the sky with gratitude and openness, reaching into the ground with roots for comfort and sustenance from the earth.

I see how close we are. How all we need do is reach through the veil and we are there.

I see us all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Preparing for conception day...

I'm getting ready for Conception Day on Thursday as part of the Birth 2012 project - all of you who are up for it - get your stuff together - I'm going to pop together some of my own to share on the blog on Thursday - my vision is that as many of us as possible come together in virtual space and offer what we hope/ vision dream for our future planetary existence - draw a picture, write a poem, share a comment, a prayer, a video - on the Facebook page or here on the blog on Thursday evening.

What is your biggest vision? Your highest hope? Now is the time to dream it aloud!

See you here!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Community art: drawing over the cracks

Walking home last night, it struck me that the thing I find most dispiriting about where we live is all the grey concrete and tarmac.

This evening the children solved that problem for me. A neighbouring child called round, and had to almost drag my children out by the hair, so goggled-eyed and lethargic were they from too much post-school screen time.

They headed out with a box of chalks and began an impromptu street art competition. More flocked to join them. Soon there were seven kids, aged between 2 and 9, pouring their creative souls onto the vast blank canvas of the pavement - bringing brightness, exuberance, colour and life to the paths we daily tread.

Last year when dreaming up our Big Lunch, I wanted to suggest painting a mural on the grey wall at the end of our estate. It being our first Big Lunch in the community, and organising it single-handedly, I didn't want to put noses out of joint, or foist my mad creative projects on unwilling victims.

I love community art projects. A few years back I co-chaired a local arts festival. One of our most popular events was the family sand-sculpting competition on the beach.

This year I have a feeling there will be another pavement art competition for the Big Lunch, and perhaps a mural too - even if it's just in chalks.

Shared as part of The Big Lunch.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Welcome to my world

I remember loving the series a couple of years back in a weekend newspaper on writers' rooms.

I was fascinated, I longed for a room of my own, one dedicated to writing and books and creativity, where you get to be a REAL writer.

Well guess what? I have my own now, and here it is...

This is where I go to "work".

And it both is, and isn't "work". I don't get paid by the hour. But I do make money over the year. Some bits I love, some bits are very tedious, or soul tearingly hard. But this is where I come, for two days a week and do my thing - with words, ideas, paints and the (intermittent) internet. And this is where the flow happens. Sometimes!

As you will see, my desk chair is an oversize deck-chair with big soft sofa cushions. The table is polished rough cut natural wood. It feels absolutely nothing like being "at work". Which is truly wonderful.

This is a Japanese style tea house - at the bottom of my Dad's garden, a fifteen minute walk from our house. Through the glazed sliding doors, there is a panoramic view of a little lake, the bog and the sea and woods all around me. I walk down a meandering path between bamboo to get to it, the same path I walked with my husband almost seven years ago to our homemade marriage ceremony here. The same path that we walked to bury all three placentas. The herons swoop down from the trees to fish in the lake. Migrating birds stop over in the bog.

The heating isn't working so it's flipping freezing, and whilst it has an open fire, I can never manage to get it going properly, so I work in three jumpers and a coat for as long as I can then race up to the cafe for tea and hot soup, before heading down to work once more.

You see my desk? Full of books. Books have always been my life and now they are my living in so many ways: writing them, selling them, reviewing them, reading them... So we have three piles. The tallest pile includes The Artist's Way, Creating a Life Worth Living and lots of other titles to reference (including, most satisfyingly, my own, Moon Time book - oh yeah!) in the Creative Rainbow Mama book which I am getting back to writing. The smallest pile is for the Feminine Power course I am creating with my dear friend Tracy in Cork in April and the pile further back is my review copies for JUNO - this is only some of them! The net couple of days are full of book reviewing.

And then we have my (not-so) trusty laptop with the dodgy power cable which beeps endlessly. I took this picture whilst I was finishing off my feature on Ina May Gaskin for the Examiner. I have so much good stuff that I won't be able to use there, or for JUNO that I am going to put together a blog exclusive of the best bits.

And beyond it you see my painting table, with a couple of paintings visible. This is where I go first thing in the morning - and just before I have to do some boring admin! The painting flow has slowed down a little - but did some more today.

And the big bongo drum and a stack of CDs for mad moments, because dancing, yoga and singing are "work" too... right?

Have you got your own creative workspace, or do you long for one? How would it be?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What life taught me today

I am brave. I really am.

There's no point writing a book and then not wanting people to read it. Apparently if you write a book then you do believe in it... and yourself on some level. So stop doing battle with yourself. Let everyone know you have a book...and let them decide if they want to buy it! No really! You do not need to make apologies for it...and if people say it's good they mean it. They could just say nothing.

To be gentle and forgiving of myself. Other people tend to be a lot nicer to me, than I am to myself.

I have many, many supporters in this world, and touch many lives for good. I have inspired 5 women to get painting again. And have taught a lot of women more about their cycles, and the Crazy Woman.

I don't always get it right. Understatement! But I live to love and laugh another day.

What did life teach you today?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Active Birth - Mothering the Earth

According to many 2012 is the year of the end. Of Life, the Universe and Everything. To quote Douglas Adams.

Nah! I don't buy it!

But what if it were the year of birth? The year of possibility. The year where we acted to co-create the sort of world we do want to live in? An opportunity to stop saying what we believed and really, truly lived it - all day, every day? What if we took 2012 as the marker in the sand. A symbol. To co-create the death of the old and the birth of a new world?

As those of us who are parents know - growing a fully mature adult isn't the work of a day or a month. It is the work of a life time: growing, tending, loving, hoping, praying. The first step goes on unseen. The dividing of cells, the multiplication of life in the dark womb of hope. So let us become pregnant with our visions for a world remade - one where equity and fairness are the norm , where beauty and caring are endemic. Let us apply the same skills that we give to our mothering to the world. Let's actively birth the world we want for  our children, using everything we have learnt thus far along the way from our pregnancies, birthing and mothering.

There is a movement just launched which suggests just this. Fronted by Barbara Marx Hubbard (and nicely linked to the launch of her new book and TV channel !) March 22nd (Spring equinox) is the day of conscious conception. The next nine months are gestation. Followed by the birth, at winter solstice of a new vision of the world in action. It is no coincidence that this is close to Christmas and many other festivals of light, as well as the official end of the Mayan calendar.
We're putting out a global call for visionaries, healers, change agents, artists, pioneers and lovers of humanity (like you!) to join us for our free Conception Day 2012 
Join visionary Barbara Marx Hubbard, plus Neale Donald Walsch, Jean Houston, Michael Beckwith, Jack Canfield, Lynne McTaggart and other top transformational leaders - all sharing their insights on how we can make best use of 2012, empowering you to envision and conceive a new story for humanity. 
Conception Day 2012 is the launch of our nine-month campaign that builds towards a planetary Birth Day, in which we're envisioning 100 million converging worldwide to celebrate and activate the birth of a new era. 
This historic campaign has already attracted top leaders, dozens of organizations and the buzz of 65,000 participants in past events, who want to help our world turn the corner in time. 
And now we take it to the next level on Thursday, March 22nd - cocreating a field of love and resonance that spans the world! Get all the details and register for free here:

And I think hell yeah - putting her self-publicity aside - this is a great idea. Imagine, dear dreamers if you will, if this energy co-incided with the renewed spring energy of the Occupy Movement - and other yet to be known coalitions. If rather than thinking we can't, we just did. We made our voices heard, lived our dreams for a better world out loud, connected ever further with others, did our thing... what if we all did this together, at the same time... what would happen?

The answer is we don't know... but what have we got to lose? If we're living the way we always wanted to live, and doing all we can do to live mindfully, sustainably, creatively, joyfully, co-creating supportive social and environmental structures and speaking our truths, uncovering lies, in every way we can - if we do this - and nothing else happens but that we're happier - then we have gained everything.

But the chances are if you do it, then you will impact your family, your community, many of those you come in contact with...

I'm in!

In the year of abundant rainbows I'm doing it creatively and with money already - and I'm leading a workshop here in Cork on April 15th to help empower women in truth telling and owning their power (a little self promotion of my own there!) The Dalai Lama says that the hope for the future of the world lies in the hands of western women - I tend to agree with him!

How about you - are you in?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Full moon: Shining bright on International Women's Day

Grandmother moon glows bright. It is the first time I have seen her in her fullness for two months. Last month was so cloudy, the month before I was sick. But this month, driving home as she rose, we could not help but follow her glow down to the sea where my son frolicked in the waves and I drew a labyrinth in the sand which we both walked.

This month I echo her fullness. I shine as brightly as she. I feel that the clouds in my life have pulled back.

Tonight I was honoured by my family at a special dinner to celebrate the birth of my book.

I am so deeply touched to the responses that I am getting from women about it. When asked what my book is about, I balk and take a deep breath before divulging the topic. And then the magic happens. Without fail. With women aged 20, 40, 60, or 84 the silence is broken. They share stories and feelings. Women who only five minutes before were strangers, and women who have known me since before I was born.

This effect is exacerbated when women read it. My openness, my vulnerability in writing the book, the topic invites reciprocal openness. Stories, thoughts, feelings, drawings, poems are coming my way. Women are opening their hearts and lives to me, sharing what is normally taboo in our culture, with such grace and ease. I am so honoured by them, by this work, by the need, the desire in women for greater self understanding, wholeness, self love, connection, healing.

Two wonderful posts have appeared this week on the book.

Erin, at Starving Artist Ink and Laura at Nestled Under Rainbows. Do hot foot it along to these two very special blogs.

Today is also International Women's Day. I share my blessings dear sisters, to all women around the world on todays post over at The Happy Womb

Love to you all.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I am brave!

I am brave.

These past weeks and months, this has been my mantra.

Though a lot of the time I really don’t feel it. I keep on doing it.

Enough of fear being my best friend. My comfort zone is now a far distant land, somewhere near Kazhakstan.

What scares me? Putting myself out there to be criticised. Making contact. Risking rejection. Making new friends. Asking for money. Talking about women’s things. Conflict. Writing. Painting. Not knowing if we’re going to have enough money to get through the year. Calling myself a writer/ creative.

Just little things. Except they’re as big as the Himalayas! To others they may seem little things. But they are my peaks of courage, my initiations.

So here I am, with sword in hand, courage in heart, swiping though the brambles of fear…

In Flora Bowley’s wonderful Bloom True painting course that I am doing this week the topic is BRAVE! She says that you have to be prepared to get out of your comfort zone to get to the place where magic can happen. So true. I am loving painting again, but oh goddess did it take courage to get started.

My book: Moon Time: a guide to celebrating your menstrual cycle is officially OUT. This is brave on so many levels – brave topic, brave personal writing, brave self publishing, brave first book, and then having to be brave, write PR and ask people to buy it!

It’s on and (though please don't buy from the UK site as I am not getting a penny from it), from the Book Depository, Moon Times and soon from Susun Weed’s Wise Woman Book store. This required more courage than you could imagine.

So I’ll be brave, and ask you, dear reader, take a chance on my little book, it might just change your life. It’ll certainly put you back in contact with your cycle and creativity and other women.

Please do buy from me at The Happy Womb! I would be delighted to sign a copy for you and write a personal dedication.

Please accept this discount as a little thank you for being a devoted reader DAMTB and to entice you to buy it from me in the place that best supports me and my family’s finances.

This week I feel just how brave we are being taking a financial chance on my creativity as the bills mount, and the money is yet to come in.

A book I had ordered weeks ago: The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer arrived yesterday. Getting back into teaching, teaching my stuff, woman-craft, from the heart is taking massive courage. My dear soul sister Tracy and I will be teaching our first workshop on April 15th in Cork City. The topic: touching your power, but  of course!

Today I am sending off emails to big names – Ina May Gaskin’s interview questions (to appear in The Irish Examiner and JUNO), Lynn Andrews to get permission to quote for the next book. Scary, scary - shaky hands and butterflies in my stomach!

And so synchronicity of course, Goddess Leonie’s latest blog post popped into my inbox today – all about courage – what a truly inspiring, and brave woman she is! Do take a moment to check it out

How are you being brave in your life? Do you really own your courage? Where are you right now in relation to your comfort zone? Feel the fear… and do it anyway!


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