Friday, 28 December 2018

2019 here we come

                   Image result for dreaming by the sea


We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;
World losers and world forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

Yet another year. Gone. And it only seems as though it came and went in a heart beat. I think that it's like that: we never quite realise how quickly time passes us by. And, in doing so, we forget to appreciate just how precious time is.
I know that I do this. I forget. Why? Why do I not always grab Life and run with it each day? And, I suspect that I am not the only one who does this. 

I hope, sincerely to change this, for me, this year. Grab Life by the horns, so to speak, and live each moment fully. Whether it's just chilling, doing nothing, or going after my dreams.

I truly feel that in 2018, I put my own dreams on hold. So, in 2019, I intend to go after them. With joy and laughter. I have been quietly "setting the stage" for this. Getting things ready. Making decisions. Visualising. Being resolute. Because. Because sometimes, in going after our dreams, those things that our heart is pushing us to do, part of the "going after", is being firm with oneself. 

We all have our own story. Our own Path. I know that, for me, my heart urges me to do some things. And my gut, which is also such a big source of intuition, it pushes me to move away from some things. So that I then can follow my heart.  So that there is space for that, so that my dreams are no longer just desolate dreams.

I secretly think that this is truly the hard part: making that space. That heart-doing space. Sometimes it can be hard moving away from the obstacles. Especially if it ever involves other people. But that's not really what it's about. It's also about giving them their own space. Which, of course, is special to do. Letting them live their own story. 

So, amongst what I would like to do in 2019, this post is actually more about what is behind what I would like to do.

What is "behind" you? Food for thought, indeed.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

on being thrifty

                   Image result for papatuanuku goddess
                           Papatuanuku, our Earth Mother

Why be thrifty?

I confess that I am somewhat careful with money. And yet, I am often incredibly generous with what I have, when I have anything. A paradox, to be sure.

Why would I be this way? And not just with money, in relations to myself. I learnt, when I was twelve and went to live with my grandparents, and aunt who was less than two years older than me, that:

  • money and acquisitions are not synonymous with being happy or fulfilled
  • I learnt that how one's life was lived, was what made us have a better life
  • and that if we want to be affluent, it is generally not done by spending money unnecessarily
  • that if we look after what we have, and use what we have, we usually do not need to "get" more
  • I learnt to only buy what I needed, that looked good, and was quality, so that clothes lasted
  • I still live by all of this. I always have

Having said all of this, there have been many times in my life when being thrifty was a 100% necessity, when my income was extremely low.

What are the benefits of being thrifty?
  • for me, it means having a less cluttered life. Which I genuinely prefer
  • it's because I am careful with money that I am able to be generous where possible
  • I am independent, as I pay my own way

It's not just about the money

Gosh no. No, it's not. Not at all.

It's also about not trashing Papatuanuku, Mother Earth. Having respect for her and her gifts that she gives so freely, as we journey through life.

It's about ecology. Wanting our children and their children, and everyone's children, and the other creatures of our planet, to have a safe environment to grow up in.

It's about being grateful for whatever there is, such as food, water, fresh air. The real treasures of nature.

It's also about knowing:
  • I am enough
  • I have enough
  • there is enough if I need it

And certainly, as Christmas approaches, I feel this even more keenly. This year it will be simple for me, with a simple family get together later in the day, for those who can make it. 

And the thing is, when we are content with not having too much, we have time and space to live, and love. 

Friday, 14 December 2018

Are you a "slashie"?

              Image result for witty quote drawings about work

Are you? Are you a slashie?

"Slashie" is a new term for an situation which is actually quite old, as it's been happening for years. A situation which many people have been used to. And it's becoming more and more prevalent. More people are either having to "be a slashie", or are choosing to. It's just the way that the world, in particular the working world, has evolved.

A slashie is someone who is someone who has a number of different jobs, simultaneously. This can be:
  • by choice, in order to define oneself. Which is especially wonderful for busy people who have a passion which they would like to express. I met an accountant (her work pays the bills) recently, who does some healing (her passion), in the weekends
  • when I was training yoga teachers and aura healers, one of the first things that that I would say is: "keep your day job". The yoga teacher and healer situations are saturated in New Zealand, and I really wanted people to know that it is rare to be able to make a decent living out of doing just one of these two. Both groups of people need to be quite versatile to have steady work
  • often people will set out on a particular direction in life, and somewhere along they way, they will realise their deep correct calling, and start making the time and space for this. I have a yoga teacher friend who became drawn to ceremonies, and ended up also being a marriage celebrant. For myself, I was a yoga teacher who also became an aura healer. Over time, I found where my heart belonged, and became a Maori healer, and studied deep Maori spirituality. The yoga drastically receded in my life, the aura work is no more
  • I honestly would include working parents here
  • when it's hard to find full-time work, it makes sense to have two part-time jobs. So, in this case it would be out of necessity. I did this for years. When my youngest was a teen, I worked the equivalent of one and a half jobs, teaching yoga, and doing healing and regressions. These days I give clairvoyant readings, teach a bit of yoga, do healing, and write. It is much easier for me to just do one thing, over and over, in one place, but, for now, I do not see this happening. So, I keep being a slashie
  • there are some incredibly talented people who manage to create a couple of businesses, which they work at part-time, for each, and love it
I find that I need to be incredibly organised, as a slashie (the term makes me chuckle). Because so much time can be taken up with travel. And you also have to fit in some work to suit your clients, so you can be working unusual hours. This does make life interesting. For example, I just love, on a quiet evening, when I am on my own, to give a clairvoyant reading (no, I'm not a tarot reader, by the way). It's just such a peaceful happening.

Sometimes, though, it does seem as though we have to put our passions, our hearts longings, on hold, due to circumstance, and time. But, even just doing a wee bit here and there of what we dream of, as we are able, simply sets the wheels in motion, and we can just keep going like this until we are able to do more. Maybe morph from one way of life to another, if needed.

Myself, I do feel that having a few creative outlets is a wonderful way to paint our dreams. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

The weight loss chronicles: muscle memory

                  Image may contain: 5 people, including Alinta Okan, people smiling, people sitting, shoes and sunglasses

(with some of my sisters, many moons ago. I'm second from the right, during my "health food" and early days of yoga, years) 

What on earth is "muscle memory"?

A study earlier this year, to do with athletes actually, found that muscle memory is to do with genes inside our muscles. A gene is for storing information. And in this case, the study was looking at periods of muscle growth when we were younger, and how the memories of that growth, are stored in muscle genes (phew!!), in relation to exercise. 

But, even more importantly, that those same genes can be reactivated, later in life, through exercise. Of course, not only genes are involved, but also our brains and nervous system. But the bottom line is that 

muscle memory is laid down during periods of learning and practising (in this case, to do with exercise)

What does this mean for us?

If we stop using our bodies in some form of movement, our muscles will atrophy. Which means that they gradually waste away. Once we get past thirty, our muscle to fat ratio changes, and if we are not doing some form of exercise regularly, we can look the same as we did when we were younger, but inside, on the muscular level, we are not. We have more fat and less muscle, and those ratios can keep altering to our detriment. We finally end up flabby.

So, keeping up with some form of regular exercise is important. Not just for how we look, but also for how our bodies function.

Can this be reversed? Studies have shown that yes, muscle atrophy can definitely be reversed. Those patterns of movement which we had done previously, that kept us trim and toned with good muscles, they are still inside of us. They can be kick-started.

Regenerate and rejuvenate

We can regenerate our muscles. Especially when we do the same patterns of exercise as we did when we were younger. Those memories are inside of our body, awaiting to be reactivated.

What does this mean? To put it simply:

what were you doing when you were in a good physical condition?

This is me:

  • In my childhood I was a star athlete. I only was that way because I wanted to win races, and be good at netball. And win prizes. I've never been able to swim, by the way.
  • In my High School years, I walked miles everyday. And played cricket (I was a fantastic bowler) and hockey (I was tiny and could run like the wind, and weave in and out of the bigger girls) during the week and weekends. I loved to move.
  • When I became a young mum, I walked heaps, as we lived in a semi-rural area, and I had no car.
  • In my early twenties I took up Hatha Yoga. Not Iyengar yoga, which is when poses are held for quite some time, with props, and which actually makes me anxious. No, it was more doable than that. I was useless at yoga when I first started. But because I hated being uncoordinated and unhealthy, I persevered. I became good at it. 
  • Ironically, when I went to an Ashram to live where we we expected to hold poses in rigid positions for about three minutes each, I lost all of my gains from the previous years. I overheated and became stiff. I lost my flexibility. I hated that style of yoga. 

Looking at this, what shines out for me is: walking and Hatha Yoga. Those were the exercise forms which I most enjoyed, and which gave me muscle tone.

                   Related image

            (Auckland's West Coast beaches are just so beautiful to walk)

What suits you best with muscle memory?

I've known quite a few women who learnt ballet, even if not for long, when they were children, and who love yoga for its precision. I could always tell if a new lady in yoga class had learnt ballet at some stage: they were so flexible, and moved differently.

I was talking with one of my sisters who taught in a gym, many years ago. She must have been like a fitness pioneer. For herself, she used light weights, and yoga stretches, for muscle tone.

So, what suits you? What were you doing when you were fit and healthy? Your body remembers it.

Have I used this? and what happened?

I started being more dedicated with some morning yoga. Now, I don't have much space to do it in, nor tons of time, so I just do the best that I can. I am not a "stretch and extend" type of yogini. I just do it. I have a basic system which suits me, and I just adjust it, when and how I need to. But, I did add some extra flexibility type movements to help deal with my natural stiffness and morning-sore back. So, I do it five to six mornings a week, no matter how tired I am. What with breathing practices and some meditation, it takes less than thirty minutes.  

Honestly, some of the moves in yoga are not at all easy. And many require strength to do, as well as also making us stronger. So that is what is happening. I'm getting stronger. I'm not trembling so much in the hard poses, but I'm still not good at holding them a long time. I never was good at that. And I'm more flexible. And less tired. My muscles are remembering lots of different movement. And surprisingly, the moves which I was never good at, I still am not that great at them. So, the muscles seem to be remembering that, too. 

As we go through life, we have various mishaps. I developed adult asthma from the virus from hell, about eighteen years ago. It flares up with vigorous exercise. And I had an accident to one foot. The bones in that foot still "slip" and make me suddenly limp. The opposite hip was damaged another time, and this can cause problems. My lower back was damaged as a child and at various other times. So, walking long distances is a bit daunting for me. It really can be an effort. So this is the area where muscle memory plays tricks. They are remembering those aches and pains as I trot around. I would dearly love to be able to walk long distances. I want to so much that I am sure that I shall do it. But at the moment, walking is gradual, little but often. And it hasn't taken too much effort for the body to respond, happily and favourably to frequent, quick walks. I was a quick walker, so that's the way I've resumed it.

So, I would say that my muscles, which are of considerable years, are remembering lots of movement, and are restoring themselves. I am really happy about this.

Monday, 26 November 2018

The Weight Loss Chronicles

                                Image result for surya namaskara
                                       (yoga salute to the sun)

Food advice from a friend

I was talking with a friend, and admiring how disciplined and organised that she was, about her diet. She said that she "had" to be this way, to keep her on the straight-and-narrow with food, and to help keep her weight stable. She is not young, but she does indeed look great. Youthful and glamorous.

So, being me, I asked her about her diet. Her answers were interesting:
  • she has 1/2 cup of a Sanitarium muesli for breakfast each morning, with a vegetarian milk, and mixed berries.
  • she packs a lunch each work day: the same lunch each day, with a couple of protein/muesli bars for snacks
  • she has fruit in season when she walks in the door after work, each early evening. At the moment it's an orange and a kiwifruit
  • dinner is the same every night: potato crusted fish, which she buys in frozen packs; and mixed peas and corn kernels. Because she loves those two vegetables 
  • and two decent sized squares of chocolate every night
I have friends who would find this boring. I think it's fantastic. Decisions made, and kept to. Wonderful for someone who prefers not to cook (moi). But all based on what my friend likes, and what suits her tastes and keeps her body feeling good.

                        find out which foods suit you

She recommended:
  • eat according to your values. For example, if you don't approve of the chicken and egg industry, (she doesn't), then don't eat them
  • eat little but often
  • do some research about food, to find out what to eat for your own needs. Scientifically. 
  • when you know what you need, adjust it to suit your needs

What does adjusting to your needs mean? She explained it as: 

  • if you need a mid-morning snack, and you have had a good breakfast, but are hungry at 9am, then have your morning snack at 9am. Eat it at the best time for you, not when the "best" recommended time is
  • and eat what suits you and your body
  • eat the food that you like. That nourishes you. On many levels, not just with the nutritional aspects. Food should involve the senses. It should be enjoyed

The whole food-diet thing does seem be crazy. Especially as the "best" and "latest" differs each year. I found it a bit upsetting trying to keep pace with it all. So now I honestly try not to get involved in the latest and greatest diets. (Sometimes I forget that I'm not being involved, though)

What is happening with moi?

I only weigh a kilogram less than before. The weight loss so far is holding, so that is very important to me. My tight fitting jeans are now quite loose, so that is something. But I confess that I'm not doing too well on the diet thing. I would be happier readdressing this, and soon. 

I am physically stronger than before, too. Thanks to doing two to four planks, and a few yoga salutes to the sun as fast as I can (makes one sweat, or should I say "glow"), five to six mornings a week, followed by a couple of poses. Sun salutes can be aerobic when they are done fast, and if you use a kneeling lunge. But it is harder than languidly moving in and out of poses. I don't do much, but, hey, I do it.

And I do special yoga breathing, which is reducing my body inflammation. It's also helping the weight loss to maintain. I have seldom ever taught this, but I learnt it decades ago, when I first started yoga. 

But, time to step things up, and remember:

find out what you need to do to maintain your weight losses

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Budget beauty

                         Image result for roses and rosewater

I read recently of a woman in her thirties who looks like a teenager, and she puts it down to using Savlon antiseptic cream, twice a day. Hmmm. This lead me to thinking that I would compile some budget beauty hints, both from myself and from people whom I've known.

Budget beauty from within

The first I would have to say, is to let our inner loveliness shine. Everyone is lovely, we just need to let it show. When I was young, I read of an Indian yoga celebrity who was famous not only for her yoga, but also for her youthfulness. She recommended to treat everyone as if they were your friends, and I like this. It is a nice way for our own beauty to show.

You can eat well on a budget

If we mainly eat rubbish food, it really shows on our complexion and general vitality. When I was a young mum, I really got into healthy eating for my children and myself. It really showed, as we all looked vital, and good. 

And rubbish foods really means processed foods; pretend foods; foods with added sugars and preservatives. When we eat foods which are not tampered with, our body doesn't have to work so hard to cope with any "invaders" in the form of chemicals. Our body can just do the work of digesting and storing. It doesn't get tired trying nor unwell trying to cope with said invaders.

How can we choose budget beauty foods when we don't have much money?

  • drink plain water. Our skin and whole body loves being watered
  • eat plain porridge for breakfast
  • eat local fruit in season, it's healthier and cheaper. You don't need much, maybe two pieces a day
  • as I write this I am using leftover uncooked vegetables by making them into a soup. Nutritious and cheap.

Water your skin on the outside

I have some beautiful strong smelling red roses which one of my daughters gave me, from her garden. As the petals drop, I am saving them to make rosewater. When that is finished, I shall probably make rosemary water with the rosemary stalks that she gave me. And I saw that she also has lavender growing. 

How to make rosewater:
  • place the petals in a pot
  • squish them down then just barely cover with water
  • bring to boil then turn off heat
  • I like to allow them to steep for at least a few hours
  • drain and store the water
  • I like to keep this in the fridge as it doesn't last long

Obviously, you would just use rosemary branches, or lavender flowers for waters of these. You can also make a strong small brew of chamomile tea, even using a teabag, for sensitive skin. Use the waters as a skin toner, or tonic, under your moisturiser.

                               Image result for lavender
                                        (beautiful lavender)
Skin care
  • use up everything that you already have before rushing out to buy more
  • use an oil for your body. When I run out, I'm going to use cold pressed grapeseed oil from the supermarket. It's quite inexpensive. 
  • you could use an oil like almond or apricot for everything: taking off make-up; moisturising body and face; as a conditioning hair treatment
  • sometimes in Indian or Asian food markets, you can find Ponds cleanser and Vanishing cream, quite cheaply. There are also inexpensive body lotions and oils
  • or the good ole $2 shops. Sometimes you can find ends of skin care lines there
  • for older, or dryer, skin, there is also Nivea original, and Vaseline. Warm up a little bit on your fingers, then pat onto the skin. With Vaseline, you can also add a few drops of water
  • use cheap salt on a wet flannel in the shower to exfoliate your body
  • mix baking soda with some water, oil, face cream, or yoghurt to exfoliate your face, and be very gentle!
                            Image result for baking soda to exfoliate

  • it's way better to look after your skin and go without a whole pile of make-up. It looks better, is better for your skin and your wallet
  • there are some great inexpensive make-up lines, such as LA girl, Elf. Don't be afraid to use what younger people are using. They know whats what with all of this
  • there are also great outlets which sell ends of lines, very cheaply
  • I use up my foundations as my own BB creams: I dot a strong SPF over my face, then dot my foundation, then blend them both, over my face

  • you can get good cuts cheaply in suburbia, of all places. Especially those where you just turn up with freshly washed hair
  • if you wear a fringe, learn how to cut it yourself, from youtube. Then get trims for the rest of your hair, less often
  • if you get your hair cut, coloured, or whatever, skip paying for a blow dry
  • if you colour your hair, you can always do that at home too


I do not get manicures nor pedicures. I prefer to save the money.

I find, for myself, when I consistently make a small effort each day to look, well, nice, just nice, I obsess much less about having "stuff" for beauty. That's just me, but it does make a difference.

the chic files

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