That moment – A Portal

Bang! Crash! Here it is again.
One of those moments –
Maybe you will recognise it too
If I show it to you…
Instead of hiding it
Brushing it under that carpet.

So here and now
I choose to acknowledge it,
That moment –
Of battling frustration
Of being overwhelmed
Of emotions bubbling
Of insides churning
Of fog in my brain
Of letting my tongue run away.

When it makes an appearance,
I simply know
(Through repeated experience)
That I cannot eat my way
Or rant my way
Through to the other side.

In that moment, I recognise
It is time –
Time to listen
Time to stay with my feelings
Time to suspend judgement
Time to go within
Time to connect
Time to care for myself
Time to nurture my being.

And as I practise,
The time will come
When I am ready to break the cycle,
No need to consciously set aside
Chunks of time to nurture.
Instead, to weave nourishing moments
Into the very fabric
Of my every day and night –
Yes, now you are privy to
My heart’s joyous desire.

 

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Reflecting and Reviewing

Nearly a year of allowing the seasons to dictate the manner in which we learn as a family! A gorgeous year full of discovery, tangents and new pathways leading us deeper into a wondrous way of life. A year when what little structure we had has gracefully bowed out to the more connected powerful way of learning simply through living.

As we have gently tuned into the seasons, we have gravitated towards the natural world. We are learning science, botany,  geography, geology and so much else all melded together, just by spending more time outdoors, be it in the woods, up in a tree, by a lake, going on guided walks through areas of woodland, wetland, farmland. Learning, learning, learning all the time, not just through our five senses, but through our very essence.

This autumn has been a season of revelation as we have been completely fascninated by colourful and beautiful fungi, how trees communicate in a forest, how the countless little mites, earthworms and other creatures living in the earth are constantly working under our feet to enrich the soil, the relationships that exist in the natural world, both symbiotic and parasitic. We are learning everyday about the world we inhabit, how the earth nurtures us, feeds us, houses us and this intense sense of connection that is developing makes us want to give back to Mother Earth and nurture her in whatever small ways we are able, especially in a time where greed of a few is bent on maximising profits, uncaring of the destruction of everything that sustains us, totally insensitive to what we are leaving behind for generations to come. Clearing plastic and carelessly thrown bottles and containers from the parks near us is just a starting point. Let’s see where this aspect of our journey takes us.  Exciting times indeed!

When we started out on this journey of flowing with the seasons, we never dreamed it would lead us to living with more awareness – awareness of other living beings, awareness of the beautiful and intricate balance in nature, awareness of how we can eat and live in a more sustainable way.

A lot of my choices in reading material has been influenced by this subtle shift and I love the dark evenings when I read aloud to my family, be it a snippet from a book about sustainable farming, or a superbly written prose passage from a book about trees, or some lovely poetry about the seasons and the natural world or…or.. or.. oh, that pile of books ain’t going to stop growing. Happy to recommend some, if anyone is interested.

Spring has been my favourite season for a few years now, but in many many ways, I have come to adore the glories of the autumnal months just as much, if not more. Of course, my tropical blood and bones still shiver in the strong November winds – so, bring on the layers and the hot wholesome soups, spiced lovingly with lashings of warm nourishing ginger. All is well with some chilli, ginger and garlic 😉

 

The Summer of 2017

It has been five months since I wrote a blogpost. I almost want to go ouch! Almost,  but not quite. When I think about it, I actually want to whoop with joy. Do you know what this gap means?

We have truly done what we thought we would when I started the blog in the depths of last winter.

We have tuned in to the seasons in our home ed life.

And it feels wonderful.

So, here’s a quick update about our beautiful dynamic summer. My mum came for a two-month visit and our home was filled with even more love, joy and laughter. The kids loved having their Nani here to participate in their lives, to pamper them and love them like only a grandparent can, to go on adventures and exploration trips. Mum pampered us and we, in turn, pampered her.

And as always, Mum left a part of herself with us through all the things she taught us. We went foraging for blackberries – eating more than we brought home, of course. Mum taught us to make preserves with all the fruits we picked on our many walks, tramping through the picturesque English countryside – blackberries, gooseberries, apples, plums. Each time we eat the preserves, it brings back memories of all the fun we had in the summer. In return, we taught her to make delicious desserts (using almond flour) and sourdough bread and healthy pancakes to eat with her preserves. And we cooked and ate lots – old favourites and new. The girls did quite a bit of cooking with Nani, who is infinitely more patient than Mum Bear.

The other big change that my Mum brought about was getting us started on growing some of our food in containers and pots. I always thought the green fingers of my family had bypassed me, but it appears all I needed was a little loving guidance to get started. I am really enjoying caring for my plants now – takes me to place of calm and peace, nurturing my spirit as I tend to them.

My mum is a very wise woman. She quickly identified my weakness of forgetting to nurture myself in the midst of raising my children. She came up with simple suggestions to incorporate in my daily life and though she is thousands of miles away now, she checks that I am looking after myself.

Distance shrinks each time I think of all that we shared this summer. And it won’t be long before we meet again to create more special moments.

Meanwhile, the trees are withdrawing chlorophyll from their leaves, allowing all the other colourful pigments to have their day in the autumn sunshine, wind and rain. The trees are preparing to turn inward for the winter and so are we. I look forward to writing more on my blog through the long dark evenings to come.

What was your summer like? I would love to hear about it if you would like to share your summer highs and lows in the comments section.

 

 

Babe, the sheep pig guru

It was a perfect evening – the girls and I, big milkshakes, popcorn the way my mum always made it when I was a girl, a blanket and Babe.

I did not expect to enjoy the film as much as I did. And talk about synchronicity- it was completely in keeping with my post, ” Hush, a belief is being born” – not limiting ourselves by boxes created by society and by our own thoughts and belief systems.

The simple and beautiful story reiterated some of the qualities I need to keep in my arsenal as a home educating parent, and yes, they stand me in good stead in general life too. Tuning in and listening to my intuition, trusting myself and my family, trusting life and not being afraid to walk my own path. Living life this way is exciting and adventurous, not to mention joyous.

And as I grow into this new skin, my wish for my children is that they carry on being  free spirits flowing through life with a thirst to learn. Uncontainable undefinable energy.

In fact, that is my wish for all children – my positive energetic visualisation for a generation dancing in tune with the Chi of the Universe.

Time travel is real – come join me

When I was a child, I did not come across too many stories involving time travel. Since I began to read to my children, it constantly amazes me how many stories there are in this category. I would even say it classifies as an entire genre in its own right. Among other things, it stretches the imagination, makes the impossible possible, takes you to times and places long gone or yet to come.

And what better way to learn History – stories that seamlessly weave fiction with fact are a huge favourite in our home.  It makes History come alive with people, their thoughts, emotions and actions as opposed to the dull drab History lessons, crammed with dates and battles, from my school days.

In my mind, time-travel is not only possible but in fact, a reality – especially through the medium of food. We will overlook the highly negligible fact that access is limited to times during my life and which have a special meaning to me.

Whenever I knead dough for chappatis, I am instantly back in the kitchen of my Nani (maternal grandmother). I can hear her instructing me – “when you are done, not a bit should stick to your hand or to the bowl. You should be able to see your reflection in the metal bowl once done.” I mentioned this to her during our phone conversation last week and as we laughed together, I could feel our love, our connection and am comforted, knowing  that she is always with me.

Today, I have cooked my favourite Sindhi meal, Sai bhaaji, a pot of delicious and simple flavours, a wholesome mix of lentils, spinach and veggies. And I am in my mother’s kitchen. When I cook a tomato curry and carrot rice, I am sitting under the big trees in my school campus, opening my lunch box to share the contents with my friends.

Pasta sauce has a special meaning in my life. Macaroni in a tomato sauce was the first meal my two dear friends and I tried to cook together. That kitchen, the mess we made, the huge amount of time we took to cook something so simple, the constant giggles and laughter and the kindness of my friend’s family as they ate our concoction…. all unforgettable.

No wonder I enjoy food so much. It is not merely nourishment for my body. Food denotes moments, people and memories filled with love and laughter. I have so many such moments, I could fill a book, fill a lifetime. A simple aroma can take me back and forth in time.

And I am not the only one. One of my favourite bits in a bilingual Spanish and English book (Me llamo Celia Cruz) about Celia Cruz is the bit where she describes how Azucar (sugar) – lots of it in warm milky coffee always takes her back to her mother’s kitchen in Cuba, surrounded by family and friends. “When I walked out on stage, I would simply say “Azucar!” And the audience would know exactly what I meant – home and love and lots of kisses.”

Now it is your turn to tell me about your personal time-travel medium. I would love to hear your story.

Hush, a belief is being born

As part of my quest to take better care of myself, I read a lot. I watch videos on YouTube and various websites – lectures, philosophies, meditations etc etc.

Something that has really got me thinking is the concept of beliefs. Where do beliefs come from? Are they set in stone? Why do we resist it tooth and nail when someone questions or contradicts our beliefs?

Most of us identify and define our personalities in some way. We use phrases like “this is so me” or “that is just not me” etc. When did we decide who we are exactly? What parameters did we buy into in order to decide what we believe in or don’t? And why did we bow down and let ourselves be limited by our “beliefs”?

I have way more questions than answers here, but these very questions are the starting point for my thought process – a chain that will lead me somewhere and that is one thing I can say with certainty. Every change in my life, every decision or detour has always started with questions – Why? Why not? What if?

So, how is a belief born?

It is conceived as a single thought. It could be a thought that we arrive at as a conclusion to something, or a thought based on something we read, hear or witness. It does not matter where the thought arises from. If we buy into the thought and think it often enough, we end up with a belief. And then, we live life and make decisions based on this belief. And quite often, we allow this belief to define us as individuals.

Time for an experiment – one that is going to require quite a lot of awareness and questions.

What happens if we don’t limit ourselves by our beliefs? What happens if we examine our current beliefs and trace them back to the thoughts from which they were born? What happens if we then ask ourselves whether that thought or pattern is adding value to our lives now? And then, what if we just let go of the thoughts that are limiting us and replace them with something that is true for us at this moment? Is it really that simple to change a belief? Why not?

Maybe it will set us free of a pre-defined notion of “me”. Maybe it will allow us to expand and just “be” at every moment in time. Maybe, maybe not. Who knows? Only one way to find out. Are you game to join me on this quest? There is no time limit on this journey of discovery. The only rules are

  • ask questions
  • introspect
  • enjoy

And feel free to share your findings, if you so choose.

A versatile slice

Hmmm my kitchen smells divine. Our weekly double batch of gluten-free high-protein sourdough bread is nearly ready. It is one of the food items that all four of us love and will happily eat anytime of the day.

Thinly sliced, buttered and toasted on a pan or griddle,
On its own or slathered with raw honey,
Dunked in home-made soup,
Generously topped with hummus and avocado,
Or just either one as the fancy takes us,
As an accompaniment to eggs
Be it poached, scrambled or an omelette,
Heaped with delicious green pesto
Rich with kale and asparagus,
We each take our pick
Satisfaction guaranteed
To taste buds and stomach.

And now with the menu taken care of for the next two days at least, we are free to enjoy our time going on walks, playing board games, reading, learning, loving and laughing together.