DSC_3129PIN IT DSC_3140PIN IT DSC_3184PIN ITThe crash of the ocean, the call of the seabirds, the salt on my lips are all sensations that bring me back to earth when my head is in the clouds, instantly feeling connected once more to the land. I grew up on the coast line of Western Australia and being by the coast is where I feel most at home. I’m drawn to the ocean and particularly to the landscape of the south west, the white sand, the rocky shores, the dunes and the thick carpet of pig face under my feet.

It’s not often I find the urge to travel inland, there is days of driving between us and the next city and whilst it is beautiful it can also feel never ending… I once drove across the country on a journey to live in Melbourne and I was in awe of the red rock and the dusty plains, so far from the sandy shores that I had always known as my home.

A while ago Bo and I took a trip inland with some friends of ours, it was the kind of trip you take that quiets the mind and opens the spirit. The four of us drove late into the night, winding paths through tiny towns and drought stricken farms – we drove out to the property one of my friends was raised on where standing on the verandah of the house his parents had lived in as newlyweds everything the sun touched was theirs. Endless horizons of earth and scrub and the spectacular balance that comes from equal parts beauty and isolation.

I always feel incredibly blessed to be alive when I stand in nature. It’s as if something rises up in me, a force that I forget exists when I’m knee deep in the monotony of every day life. But it is so easily awakened again. Simply by turning off the phone. By leaving the house. By standing somewhere where you can truly hear the call of the world. By being with people you love and you trust and you can crack yourself wide open and just exist without needing protection of any kind at all. Thats what real friendship is. It’s simple. It’s raw. It’s real.

We spent those days climbing rocks and driving dirt roads and throwing nets into dams and discovering caves with handprints and paintings that showed signs of life here from well before any of our time. We watched lizards bask in the sunlight, and snakes lazily trail across our path and sat squat on red dirt tracing the lines of the ants as they ran to escape the rain.

There was nothing to do but talk or not talk, sleep or not sleep, walk or not walk, sit or not sit. And no matter what we chose, everything was well in our worlds.

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When I feel like I’m suffocating in the heaviness of the world, being squashed by the over-connection and the tragedy and the over stimulation that comes from work and life and everything we are entrenched in… I always find myself drawn to the land. When I’m disconnected from the world and standing in nature I am always struck by the incredible synchronicity that exists between us and the natural world. When you stand on earth that has been walked on for so many generations of both human and animal, i can’t help but feel that connection with all that has come before and all that will come after. The call of the bird that echoes the thought of the mind. The wind in the leaves that carries whispers of the land. The big red ant that carries its brother home, and in that moment, teaches us all we truly need to know about the world.

The natural world has an enormous amount to teach us when we quiet our lives enough to be able to truly listen.

I can’t help but be thankful for the freedom we have to find what we need. For good friends. For children. For nature and for the lessons that come when we least expect them.

Travel inland. Travel to the ocean. Travel to the forest and get amongst the stuff that matters most with the people you love and live the shit out of the spectacular life you have.

It’s a beautiful thing, this living business. x

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  • April 4, 2016 - 6:02 pm

    Tamara - These photos are just stunning and would convince anyone to head inland. Theres so much Australia in these images and post.. beaut writing… thanks.ReplyCancel

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“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.” ― Cheryl Strayed

I use the term radical acceptance all the time. I use it with my friends. I use it with my clients. I use it as a way of encouraging compassion in people who are finding it hard to be compassionate, compassionate for each other and compassionate for oneself.

But more than using this term for other people, I use it for myself. There is a little mantra that goes on in my head that reminds me to accept, radically, that what is is what will be… I use it to remind myself that people are flawed and still beautiful, that situations can be both difficult and wonderful, that past trauma can be lived and learned from, I use it to remind myself to be compassionate to myself and to be open to positive beautiful things happening in my life. I use it to slow down my mind when it’s moving at a hundred miles an hour trying to guess how things are going to turn out and when I begin to feel anxious and out of control.

But what is it?

What Radical Acceptance Is: 

Radical acceptance is quite simply the ability to sit within our lives, within ourselves, in truth and experience what is happening for exactly what it is.

It’s to take a good hard look at our lives, at the shitty things and the wonderful things that have happened to us and to understand fully that some things happen that are desperately painful. Some things happen that are traumatic. Some things happen that change us irreversibly. It’s to understand that sometimes we will be the one who is doing these terrible things and some times there are terrible things being done to us because we are all flawed, we are all imperfect, we are all rough around the edges and we all make mistakes.

Radical acceptance is a way of letting go of blame and pain and anger. It is a way to stop fighting with the stories that we tell ourselves, and accepting what is the reality of our lives. It’s a place from which we can grow and change and live in peace both in our relationships and within the landscape of our own mind.

It’s also to understand that we as humans, we are all in this together and dwelling on the negative stories we tell ourselves about people or experiences, doesn’t leave us open to the beautiful, spectacular, amazing things that life has to offer.

Radical acceptance is to understand that despite the heartache that life brings, it is still beautiful and everything is going to be ok.

What Radical Acceptance Is NOT: 

Radical acceptance is not an excuse to act like an asshole and just do whatever you want because you are accepting yourself the way you are. Radical acceptance is not an excuse to not work on yourself and to try to be a better person. Radical acceptance is not an excuse to stay stuck in your own ways, repeating damaging cycles of trauma or emotional pain, over and over again.

Radical acceptance is not a reason to stay in a damaging or manipulative relationship of any kind. You can accept a person for who they are but you can also step away from that person if the relationship is hurting you. You are the only one that can bring true and lasting change into your own life.

***

Radical acceptance isn’t always easy, in fact it’s probably one of the hardest things that I’ve been able to master and even with mastery there are still moments that are difficult and that bring up a lot of emotions and pull at the negative stories within. It is in these most difficult moments where I have to breathe very deeply to find that place where acceptance is possible. But when we find that place the end to suffering and the peace that follows and the healing that it allows is a gift that is worth the work.

Give peace a chance.

x

  • March 22, 2016 - 7:00 am

    Dale - Yes. Crucial. Or we all become victims for the rest of our lives.ReplyCancel

  • March 22, 2016 - 7:11 am

    Cath - Timely post – we’re going through a bit of a sh*t storm at work and people are blaming each other for stuff that just can’t be helped. I’m trying to act like a swan – calm on the surface, legs churning below the surface – and practice and encourage “radical acceptance” (I think I’ve been using slightly different language 😉 ).
    Just keep swanning!ReplyCancel

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At the end of summer Bo and I took a road trip with two of our favourite people to spend some serious down time on a gorgeous farm out in the middle of the Western Australian Wheatbelt. There is something very grounding about being in the middle of nowhere, with no phone signal, with nothing to do except play cards and throw nets into dams and drink beers and talk about life with people that you love.

It’s been a very full start to the year for us, I’m working more than I ever have since having Bo and we’ve had to make some big adjustments to find that elusive life-work balance that we all strive to find. Bo is at school and the landscape of our lives is shifting in exciting and wonderful ways. We’ve been really lucky to meet some beautiful new people and have some incredible adventures and open ourselves up to worlds of new experiences even when they seem a little scary at first… but isn’t that what life is all about anyway?

I was very fortunate to be invited to speak at another TEDx event which I’m almost prepared for but still totally nervous about. So in this time of excitement and nerves and the usual battles with self doubt and worthiness I thought now was a better time than ever to sit down and take stock of life where it sits right now. To sit in this moment and gratitude and to check in with myself.

It’s been many, many months since I’ve done one of these… and I invite you to play along!

Making: words on pages
Cooking: veggies from the garden – hello pumpkin glut my good friend!
Drinking: Far too much coffee
Reading: Yoko Ono’s ACORN – Gifted to me by a lovely friend after I accidentally bought one in spanish (oops)
Wanting: the people I love all around me
Looking: At street art being thrown up on walls all around our regional town
Playing: A lot of old music
Wasting: nothing at all
Sewing: holes in little leggings from days spent climbing trees
Wishing: for time to slow down just a little
Enjoying: new friends
Waiting: for the winter
Liking: cute pictures of new babies and friends falling in love
Wondering: Where we are going to camp for Easter… (any suggestions?)
Loving: Dear Sugar – what a spectacular podcast that is.
Hoping: to see my grandfather again sometime soon
Marvelling: At the incredible wisdom of a four year old
Needing: that salt water on my skin
Smelling: The roses
Wearing: cotton t-shirts and not much else (hello autumn, are you coming soon?)
Following: little footsteps along the beaches
Noticing: how fast the grass grows
Knowing: that good things are coming
Thinking: about time and how we use it
Bookmarking: Zadie Smith essays and musings
Opening: my heart
Giggling: at the very bizarre musings of that same (wise) four year old.
Feeling: excited, content, hopeful

Have you taken stock lately?

Taking Stock is the lovechild of Pip from Meet me at Mikes she’s a lovely soul and her little corner of the internet is always worth a visit.