Reflecting on the year in general, the most poignant thing about this year is summed up in one word...
Connecting with myself, my family and friends, and my surrounds.
|Me in April 2011. The best I've ever felt.|
Connecting with myself is about being in a place where everything in my life fits together. It makes perfect sense that what you do in life is the most natural thing and that you're doing what you are supposed to. I discovered a few years ago that I am at my happiest when I am active and fit. When I feel good about my body, I feel healthy and alive and I can taste the riches that life has to offer because I am right in the game - physically, mentally, spiritually and can enjoy everything there is to enjoy.
You can partake in life to its' fullest when you are physically fit and healthy, which becomes an affirmation of your mental state. And opportunities seem to present themselves in a serendipitous fashion. Of course, there must always be gratitude felt and gratitude expressed. There must also be that willingness to work hard and toil at times, because life isn't just handed to you on a silver platter. It means that when challenges present themselves, that you must be willing to tackle them head-on and believe that things will work out. Sometimes they don't work out exactly how you want them to. But I've been around long enough and experienced enough in my life to know that whatever happens, there is the ability to always land on one's feet and when you get up and dust yourself off, take that first step, look around and believe in yourself - life has the most amazing surprises in store.
Connecting with myself also means that I've worked out what I need to nurture my body and my health. I've worked out what food makes me feel and look my best and allows me the energy to train, work and play all the roles I play in my life, with vigour. It means that when my body needs rest, I rest. When I am injured, I know and do what I need to do, to nurture it back to health. I am so tuned into my body, I feel every little tension or schism or if it's out of kilter, and I know how to relieve it and bring my body back into equilibrium. And when I give my body what it needs, I can feel its' effect, sometimes very subtley, but I feel it nonetheless and it rewards me with continued good health.
Nurturing my body, I have come to recognise places, people and surroundings that give me energy and sustain my peace of mind, and I try to avoid the same places, people and surroundings that are energy-draining.
|Anthony & Philomena|
|Christmas Eve with the Warnholtz family|
|The Warnholtz wives & children|
|Philomena making her first recipe 'Creamy Scrambled Eggs'|
Connecting with my family is very important to me. Especially with my husband and daughter, Philomena. I think the reason it's so important now, is that as a child I felt very disconnected. It's not that my own family were unloving or didn't care for me. I know they love me and I love them, dearly. Much sacrifice was made to ensure my safety and well-being and I am grateful. It's just that they never really expressed it in way that felt overly positive or nurturing - not in the way that I feel close families should. I feel that affection, communication and love should be shared freely, unabashed and with respect, in order to help us understand each other and connect more deeply so that we form more caring and stronger relationships.
So it is with my little family that I wanted a family and home life where each one of us feels love and feels safe to express it freely. To feel safe, where regardless of the hurts of the outside world, they can come home and know that the people who they call family will pick them up and lift their spirits and be comforted with words of solace and encouragement. A home life where they can always be themselves, be accepted and encouraged to discover who they are. I want a family that is willing to share moments which are pivotal in their lives, not just family moments, but also individual ones. Recognising each others' need to pursue and express their own individual passions and pursuits.
|Our good friends Matt and Chelsea and their brand new baby, Fraser.|
|Me and Phil with my bestie, Cheryl|
Connecting with my friends isn't the be all and end all. I have to admit that even though I have alot of friends, I have few close friends. My closest friend will always be my husband, and then my other close friends I could count them on one hand. But I enjoy the company of many different friends. I love people. Not in a way which is stifling, but in an aloof way. I find people fascinating and I love how different they are and how their lives can be so varied. I love to see people excel. But I love them from afar. I am not part of any particular group, but I will drift in and out and enjoy the variety and stimulation of different friends when it pleases me, and then I drift out when I choose. I think its' because I love to have my family so close, but I need time to then be by myself to contemplate and observe and enjoy unfettered freedom. I can't do this with so many people around me all the time. I need my space, so I distance myself. I didn't realise this until recently. I like being around people, but I value my own solitude moreso.
Connecting with surrounds, is about living a life and lifestyle which resonates with who I am at my very core. It's one which feels a strong pull towards all things earthbound. Trying to find the words to describe it is difficult, but I feel it most when I am outside in bare feet and I can feel the earth and the energy it gives. When I am toiling in the garden and my hands are digging...immersed in the soft, dark, rich soil full of life - its' texture and heady smell -and that connection becomes strong. Knowing how much life it gives and sustains is invigorating.
To be amongst the forest and trees for me is to feel ultimate peace and bliss. To listen to the sounds of the trees rustling in a soft, balmy breeze and watch them sway, then drop their leaves as they drift and glide gently to the ground. To watch and listen to the birds sing their beautiful songs; cheekily chase each other and dip and dive with such alicrity. For the butterflies to steal my gaze as they dance so fleetingly but so gracefully. And to watch things grow...that is one of the most amazing experiences. How much pleasure is derived when a plant gives you the most wonderful display of flowers as reward for nurturing it with love and tenderness by giving it everything it needs?
And who can argue with the tempest of nature...its' power - that sweet smell and quiet in the air before it unleashes its' fury. The change of seasons and the feelings they bring with them. One of the best depictions of the change of seasons and the strength of the feelings which they wrought in our very beings is from the movie 'Chocolat'. The movie begins with Vianne (Juliette Binoche) telling the story of her mother and childhood to her daughter, and describes the lure of 'the clever north wind'. That's the power of nature and its' seasons and shows us how strongly peoples' feelings are influenced by nature and how deeply connected we are to it.
Connecting with surrounds is also about our home and the aesthetic pleasure it gives. To create a home that feels warm, inviting and relaxed for me is very important. I believe our home should also be a reflection of who we are and allow us to express ourselves at our most creative.
So 2011 for me was a pivotal year as I endeavoured to form better and more genuine connections. We waste so many years not realising these connections and all its' subtleties and so, fail to feel satisfaction in our lives because we pursue that which is not conducive to who we feel we are or are meant to be. If we can find how to better connect with people and places dear to us, and most importantly...with ourselves, I think we could all be so much happier.
|The view from our back patio|
|Our house 4 months ago when we bought it. There's more grass than weeds now. It's bigger than it looks in this photo.|
|Our back patio|
|The latest additions to our little family...Barney and Molly|
|Building the compost bays which are now in full swing|
And the best part about 2011 was that I've felt the most connected since being here, in our Secret Place, as Philomena calls it. It's 'Secret' because you can't see our house from the road. You have to come down a driveway and our house sits in a gully and backs onto a forest remnant and creek and it's so very private and quiet.
It's here that everything has really come together and the best parts of me are here. It's really weird, but when I saw this place and I walked out to the back patio and looked out into the forest, I felt an instant connection, and all manner of heaven and earth it seemed, came together to ensure that we would call this house our home. It was a a hard slog and the going wasn't easy, but it was worth it. Because now I wake up to the most splendid mornings, and I am greeted by a couple of Eastern Whipbirds singing their most spectacular song as I eat breakfast on our back patio and I feel privileged to such enjoy such peace and tranquility.
Philomena has room to run and play and have her little adventures. I built our compost bays. I'm still building our vege and herb gardens, and we've recently acquired a couple of fluffy bantam chickens which are such a delight to watch and we look forward to when they start laying eggs. We have so many plans...the playhouse, native garden, building in our carport; new kitchen and dining area opening out to a deck overlooking the forest; landscaping and retaining walls, etc, etc. So much to look forward to, but still enjoying the present - everything we already have - the relationships with family and friends we have. I feel truly blessed.
|Building the vege garden|
|Tawny Frogmouths viewed from our patio|
|An amazing flower from a cactus plant which I think is a Dragon Fruit flower. It flowers for one day and dies. We had a tree covered with these flowers with a spectacular display.|
|Rainbow Lorikeet feeding on the nectar of one of our Grevilleas|