DSC_8263-1PIN IT“Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”
— Pema Chödrön

I don’t regret getting older. I can’t help but feel unbelievably privileged that I get to at all. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy being young… I did, but more so in hindsight. I’m more than happy to say goodbye to my twenties. My twenties where a rollercoaster of unbelievable experience and heartbreaking mistakes and gut-wrenching loss and spectacular beauty – parts of it were really great but for the most part it was just so intense – you know? I think a big part of that was because for the most part of my twenties I had no idea who I was. And when I started figuring it out, I never felt like I was enough. I was terrified of myself. Of my sexuality. Of my experiences. Of being in love and being hurt and being vulnerable. I had no idea how to handle myself in the world. I was so caught up trying to be what I thought everyone wanted me to be (and doing a pretty terrible job of it) that I totally lost myself.

Then slowly all of that fear started to fade away and I started to shed the skins of lives that I had lived because I thought that was what was expected of me… and over time, I discovered more and more of who I am.

On Saturday night I had my 30th birthday party. I invited a whole bunch of our favourite people up to my favourite farm and we had a bonfire and ate a communal meal, and played music and camped on the slab that will one day be the warm home of two of my favourite friends. I have been requesting ‘presence over presents’ at birthdays and christmases and things for a few years now… I’d hate for friends to feel like they had to buy me something. And this year my friends surprised me by filling my tent with little love notes and fresh cut wildflowers and homemade art and goodies from their gardens. For me.

Not because I’m being someone who I hope they will like, not because I’m trying to prove anything to anyone – but just because I’m me – flaws and all. For me, that’s pretty massive.

Good people. Good food. Good work for the greater good and the courage to accept myself for who I am.

If that’s what my 30s are all about then I’m welcoming them with open arms.

  • October 3, 2015 - 4:55 pm

    Reannon@shewhorambles - my sister died the month before I turned 30. Up until that moment I had been terrified of turning 30. I thought it meant I was old & my best years would be behind me but watching someone die far, far too early ( she was 27) taught me to be grateful for each day I draw breath. A new year, a birthday, it’s not a given. It’s a gift. And my 30′s? Well they’ve been pretty bloody fabulous. I’m living a good life, one I’m happy with. That’s a great thing.

    I’m happy to hear you’re stepping into your 30′s more you than you’ve ever been. That’s something pretty great xReplyCancel

    • October 4, 2015 - 8:50 pm

      Sash - Im sorry to hear about your sister – but what a beautiful attitude you have about it – it is a gift. Every year is a beautiful gift. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to make mistakes and to grow and change and be better. x Thank you for sharing your story xReplyCancel

communal spacesPIN IT

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing 
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.” 
― Rumi

Almost everything we do in our lives creates noise. We cook, we make noise. We build we make noise. We create we make noise. We connect through conversation we make noise. We live in a world that is so noisy all the time that we find discomfort in silence. We fill the silence in our lives by consuming in excess. We consume products and people and television and food in such excess that often we don’t even notice we are doing. We are taught to be afraid of it as if something might lurk in it, like the shadows on the wall in the middle of the night.

But the natural world is different. The natural world is for the most part very quiet. So quiet you can hear each sound as if it was the only sound in the world. If you stand in the bush you may hear the buzzing of the native bee, or the call of the galah. But behind you the great eucalyptus continues to grow in silence.

Over the past six years I have developed a love of silence and solitude – a space in my own mind and body that I was afraid of for most of my youth. Afraid that I would have to hear my own voice in my head. Afraid of the words that my subconscious had for me. Afraid of having to remember the things that had happened before, of past pain my mind would force me to relive. But as a got older I made peace with my past and I found acceptance in the things I cannot change and began to live a life without fear (of myself).

There is great resilience in each and every one of us. And that resilience lies deep inside us – in the quietest part of our mind. We have to be willing to stop and accept the thoughts that come for what they are – thoughts. The thoughts do not define the thinker. The strength lies on the other side. Thoughts are just voices, and when we learn to accept them but not dwell on them, we get to let them come and then we get to let them go. When we don’t fight them or feed them, the grow quieter. My voices are whispers these days, particularly the damaging ones. Whispers of lives that I once lived, whispers of old relationships and heartaches, whispers of self doubt and denial… they are still present, but they no longer have the same control over me.

For me when I discovered the power of active meditation – meditation through movement – I discovered a key to healing in my own mind. I first truly discovered it when I was living in Indonesia. Village life was not quiet by any means – the gaggle of the market place, the crowded village, the neighbours living on top of one another, but living in between language and translation allowed me to find a quiet place in my mind. A quiet place in the jungle. A quiet place in the waves. And through that I found great healing. I experienced some of the most traumatic events in my life in that village – and yet I was healed because I had learned to feel the emotions but let go of the story. I had learned not to be afraid of my own emotions but not to let them poison my thoughts. It’s a delicate balance of give and take, like the gentle flow of breath.

Bo and I escape the noise of life as often as possible, sometimes we do it simply by hiking in the dunes by the beach for an afternoon other times its for weekends away from technology and other people and other distractions. Reconnecting with the natural world with our feel in the sand or the damp earth and hard rock of the forest under our boots. Last weekend it was at a buddhist centre in the bush, a communal space shared by a lot of families who had come together for a wongkur – a buddhist family service on the dharma of generosity.

Life isn’t silent with a small child. In fact quiet is very hard to come by. But it’s not the noise that surrounds me that really matters any more – it’s the noise inside my head. Mindfulness practice has helped me so much in this regard. Understanding how to let go of ego and the power of my mind. Understanding how to accept the mind and let go of the need to talk when silence is what is needed most (and vice versa of course).

At the end of the day mindfulness (first learned by watching my muslim friends practice their faith and later following a more secular buddhist path) has taught me one thing that changed my life. There is only one thing that defines us in our existence on this planet and it’s not at all what we are told. It’s so simple. It’s just what you do. It’s what you do when things go wrong. It’s what you do to yourself. It’s what you do for other people. It’s what you do for your community. It’s your choice to act (or not act) in times of crises. We aren’t defined by what we have or how we dress or even the societal pressures that are so desperate to box us in. We aren’t defined by the words we use for ourselves.

Simply, the only thing that we ever own is our actions. Everything else is just glitter. Sparkly stuff that if we aren’t careful just might distract us from what is really important in this life.

It’s what we do that matters and to begin to ‘do’ mindfully starts in only one way…

It starts with a moment of silence.

  • September 22, 2015 - 6:06 am

    Michaela Fox - I adore this!
    I try and carve out some time for silence and solitude every day. Space- loss of space – has been one of the hardest adjustments to motherhood for me. Life with three little people is noisy. There is no space. No physical space, no mental space, no spiritual space. So I have made it a priority to ensure I get some of this space each day, even if it’s just a quick 20 min walk when my hubby gets home. My mind is so noisy and I find it can get overwhelming if I don’t give it a break sometimes!! Great post :-) ReplyCancel

    • September 22, 2015 - 2:11 pm

      Sash - Thanks Michaela! xReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2015 - 3:37 pm

    Jenny - This is beautiful, thank you.ReplyCancel

    • September 29, 2015 - 11:17 am

      Sash - Thank you Jenny xReplyCancel

  • September 24, 2015 - 6:51 am

    Annie - I was thinking that I don’t understand why you get so few comments here – I don’t write anywhere near as well or as profoundly as you yet I get way more – and then I thought of all the posts I have read here and been inspired and even healed by and how I never comment. So today I have. To say thank you. Please keep doing what you do Sash, voices like yours are the ones we need to hear above the noise.ReplyCancel

    • September 24, 2015 - 6:53 am

      Annie - Oops, there’s an embarrassing mistype there, sorry Sash.ReplyCancel

      • September 29, 2015 - 11:16 am

        Sash - No worries Annie :) I’ve fixed it up for you xReplyCancel

    • September 29, 2015 - 11:17 am

      Sash - I have no idea either – but it doesn’t worry me much!

      thank you for your lovely comment, it was such a lovely thing for me to read. xReplyCancel

DSC_8121-4PIN IT“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne

There is something spectacular about the first day in spring where you can fling the windows open and let the sunshine in to warm winter from the corners of the home. We’ve been throwing seeds into our garden and thrashing the old patch down to mulch the earth for the new seasons vegetables. We’ve been walking a lot, we’ve been doing a lot of yoga and meditating in the sunshine. I’ve been running the winter from my bones in-between work meetings and finding a work life balance that just never seems possible when it’s too cold. We’ve been sitting on the front steps listening to the radio in track pants with warm cups of tea between our knees.

I find something unbearably hopeful about the beginning of Spring. It seems as if everything is possible once more. Inspiration comes back with vigour. People venture outside and find each other again, making connections and growing stronger relationships. I get to spend lazy days off in the sun with my favourite people and our little people and good food and good conversation about the world and the heart and everything in between. It reminds me how good we have it and how much we have to offer those who have not. Let us open our windows, our doors and our hearts to the world around us and do everything we can to continue to strive for the just world I know is possible.

Spring… bringing hope and warmth and flowers and in our neighbourhood a surplus of foraged mulberries.

Purple fingers, lips and warm hearts for all.


  • September 17, 2015 - 12:25 pm

    claire Raciborska - Love this! so many of the writers I admire are in the northern hemisphere, so their musings always have a parallel bent to mine. In South Africa on our little farm we are also moving onto the front step and feeling the rush of inspiration and the flush of community growing.ReplyCancel

    • September 22, 2015 - 2:10 pm

      Sash - Thanks Claire! I read a few of northern hemisphere blogs too and always feel a bit disconnected seasonally – love that sweet spring air! xReplyCancel