Like a mermaid, I breaststroke my way through the water. Each gliding movement takes me closer to a state of inner peace. I feel at home. In my mind I block out the stench of chlorine, the florescent lighting, the screaming and dive-bombing kids, and roudy testosterone-filled swim strokes around me. When I swim, if I close my eyes, I’m no longer in my local swimming pool but back to the wild swimming of childhood in rural Australia.

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Blessed to be raised on 700 hundred acres of beautiful bushland in South East Queensland, much of my wild swimming was done in muddy man-made dams, and the pure water of a dam at the end of a creek which wound its way down our mountain.

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Freestone, Australia. I grew up on this beautiful part of the Darling Downs.

It didn’t matter to me and my siblings if the water was muddy. That was half the fun. Clothes ripped off, in we ran and splashed about. Sometimes we’d ride our horses through. Just for fun. Everything was about fun. Not that my mother had that word running through her mind when we arrived back covered in mud.

The dam at the bottom of the creek. Oh how I dream of that place. I wonder if it is anything like that of my treasured memories? I long to go back. The creek flowed over granite rocks from a secret spring high in the eucalyptus-covered mountains. At the end of the waterfall, were bowers of maiden-hair ferns. We’d jump off the head of the waterfall with complete confidence. No one had ever reached the bottom of the dam. As far as we knew, it had no bottom. The leeches were the only danger. Those little suckers! Ruthless! But boy was it worth it. Not that our town friends agreed.

I would often head to the creek by myself, and sit next to the wild lemon tree for hours ~ dreaming about life, love and the Universe.

My first memory of wild swimming was before we moved to the countryside. We lived on the outskirts of Brisbane, and would go to a place called Dead Horse Creek. I don’t recall any dead horses. Thankfully.

 

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One of the things that really makes me laugh is how desperate my daughter is to have a 100% attendance record at school. She reminds me, when she’s ill and I say she should stay home, that I couldn’t possibly understand the need for 100% when I spent so much of my school days not at school, but down the river swimming naked with the boys. In fact, the other day my brother sent me a photo of my old High School and my first thought was that I didn’t remember it looking so good (especially compared to the local high school here). Of course I couldn’t remember. I was barely there!

 

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Swimming by the weir of the Condamine River was an invaluable part of my childhood. I loved to swim at the open-air swimming pool too, and I often won the breaststroke races (in the days before I actually had breasts!) but nothing compared to wild swimming.

 

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So as I make my way through several hours of swimming each week, I allow my inner mermaid to revel in her spiritual home: water.

And talking of water, this Sunday (March 1st) I begin walking 5-miles-a-day for a week to raise funds for Walk In Her Shoes.

Walk in Her Shoes: Please help me raise funds for this campaign to bring fresh water and wells to people with no ready access to clean water. Many women and children walk five miles a day carrying up to 20 litres of water. Let’s make a difference to their lives.

https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/veronika-robinson

 

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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Chantal and Rene, all loved up.

Hugs are so important for our well-being and happiness. It is said that we need about 12 hugs a day to thrive.

My mother always hugged me. Heart to heart, she called it.

If there’s one thing this family does well, it is hugging. When my 17-year-old daughter went to London on a school trip recently, she phoned and said she was feeling ‘hug deprived’. (For the record, she was also missing fresh fruit and vegetables. Happy mummy dance!) I understood what she meant.

I miss having my university girl to hug, too. I long to wrap my arms around her and breathe her in. We’ll be seeing her next month, when she turns 19.

 

 

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My little girl, all grown up now and at university.

 

My husband and I often pause in our day to hug, whether it’s at home or in the supermarket queue. It’s instinctual, natural and feels fabulous. Human skin has a deep need for loving touch.

I suppose I didn’t realise just how tactile we were, as a family, until a personal trainer at the gym called out ‘stop petting’ several times. He was joking, of course, as we weren’t doing that. We do, however, lean in and listen closely as the other speaks. Our interactions are emotionally intimate. We readily touch each other’s shoulder or back, or peck each other on the cheek. Eye contact is a given. These, like hugging, are the actions of bonded relationships.

I adore the fact that my daughter will readily ask for a hug, even in public. I hope that never changes.

A hug is intimate. Our arms open wide, and when we embrace another, we are heart to heart. Risky? Yes. Intimate? Yes. Worth it? You betcha!

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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I spend several hours a week swimming at our local swimming pool. It is inevitable that I get to observe many parenting styles.

 

There are the parents who love being with their children, and teach them to swim with laughter, fun, passion and joy. Their energy is contagious, and I really enjoy witnessing parent and child. I have favourite times of the week to swim because I know I’ll end up smiling as a result of seeing the way these families interact. It truly is such a pleasure to be nearby.

 

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Bethany and I collecting seashells, Pakiri beach, New Zealand. 1997

 

 

And then…there are the parents who run a military-style boot camp and use yelling and aggression and rough physical behaviour to ‘teach’ their child. These are parents that I find myself swimming away from as fast as I can. Their energy is poisonous. The child doesn’t have the option of moving away. Sadly. It breaks my heart. No child deserves to live in that atmospheric nightmare.

What strikes me about the latter type of parent is the complete lack of awareness by these people as to how their brutal actions and harsh manner impact not only their child but anyone in listening distance. I find myself wondering: if they behave like this in a public place, what on earth is their parenting like in private? I shudder to think.

Parenting is not an easy job much of the time ~ it’s demanding, relentless, and 24/7 ~ but one thing is clear: when we parent from the heart, it’s a win/win situation for all concerned.

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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Someone asked me recently why Paul and I are having a Vow Renewal ceremony. It’s a good question, though I thought the answer would have been obvious.

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People grow and change in life and in relationships. It’s easy to have a ceremony in the early years of getting together when love is new and fresh, but when you’ve been together for 20 years, there is a different energy in the relationship. Life is still full of exciting possibilities. We’re not dead yet! We have life to live and a love worth celebrating.

For some people, they live together as strangers, perhaps even at war the whole time. For others, there’s a compatibility even if the love has long gone.

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For us, the love is as strong as ever. We’re also entering a new phase in our relationship. Next year, our younger daughter leaves home for university. Paul and I have spent the majority of our relationship as parents (I was pregnant six weeks after we got together). I am excited about our upcoming honeymoon phase and about spending lots of time together, not as parents, but as lovers. But it’s more than that. It’s about honouring that, in many ways, yes, we are the same people we each fell in love with, but we’ve also been witnesses to each other’s lives. We have grown together. We support each other’s endeavours in this world. And we nurture each other in the privacy of our home.

At our 10th anniversary vow renewal ceremony, Paul said that he would go through all the hardships we’d been through all over again if it meant I was by his side. I was so touched by his words, and wholeheartedly agree. Standing side by side has made all the difference. We’re a team, we’re a partnership. We’re here for each other.

 

New Love April 1995

April 1995. Our first day together.

The lady who takes one of my aquafit classes also leads my Pilates classes. I pointed out to her the other day that the ‘script’ she uses in each one is quite similar: Tighten your core muscles, and breathe. She says ‘breathe’ a lot. And the truth is that exercise is so much easier if you’re breathing consciously.

Relationships are an exercise, too. They are a daily emotional work out for which, if you intend to have a conscious relationship, you must breathe. It is this oxygen which sustains marriages as much as life. You can breathe deeply and bring richness to your relationship or you can shallow-breathe your way through a ho-hum existence. It’s a choice. Life is too precious to be in anything but a relationship which fills your heart and nourishes you at the deepest level of your being.

It is very common in relationships for people not to share how they feel with their partner. But it is in our very vulnerability that we touch the other. And if they’re not touched by our nakedness, our rawness, our willingness to expose our true self, then I venture to say that perhaps we’re not in the right relationship. This isn’t to say that someone can’t learn how to be open to another’s vulnerability, and to respect them accordingly. But they have to want to. They have to be willing to unpack their baggage and see what’s holding them back.

If a partner says something which hurts, embarrasses, intimidates, insults or bruises you in some way, why would you not tell them? How can you hope for a different relationship if a light isn’t shed on such behaviour? And if you’re a parent, what are you teaching your child about relationships if you shy away from something as basic and fundamental as how you ‘feel’? There’s an old metaphysical law that says: you can’t heal what you can’t feel.

If you’re always shoving your feelings to one side for the sake of ‘peace’ or because you feel your partner wouldn’t give a toss anyway, then you’re living a half life. And you know what? You deserve better than that. We all deserve better than that.

Our relationships are a reflection of how we value our selves. When you know how to treat yourself with love, kindness, fairness and care, then you won’t accept anything less from anyone else.

My elder daughter said to me recently, about relationships: you and Dad have set the bar too high. What she meant was that she didn’t want the bog-standard relationship but one where both people really wanted to be in the marriage, and honoured and adored their partner in such a way that they’d never intentionally hurt them with their words or actions.

In the words of my exercise teacher: breathe deeply.

Let your breath bring your feelings to consciousness, and share them with your partner. For better or worse.

 

A blustery day: Green Bay, Auckland, New Zealand.

A blustery day: Green Bay, Auckland, New Zealand.

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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In this issue of Starflower Living magazine, FREE to download, you can find the following articles:

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• Sage by Claire Thompson
• First Blood Ceremony by Veronika Robinson
• Slow Parenting by Veronika Robinson
• Water Meditations by Samantha Rock Cooper
• Health Notes
• New Moon in Aquarius
• Walk in Her Shoes
• In My Kitchen
• The Moon and your Fertility
• Fitting in by Paul Robinson
• Barefoot Birth by Fleur Parker

http://www.starflowerpress.com/living/index.shtml

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About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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Yesterday afternoon I awoke from a nap to find my 17 year old daughter standing next to my bed, smiling. She said to me that I looked happy.

I thought about that a lot for some time later.

 

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This is how I always think of my mother: smiling.

 

I’ve become so mindful about weeding negativity from my life in all its insidious forms, that I’m at that point now where every word that comes from someone else’s mouth seems like it is in neon lights. When I hear someone speaking negatively (about themselves, others, the state of the world) I want to say: listen to yourself. Listen to the words you’re putting out there. Don’t you realise how powerful they are?

 

What happens if someone’s been in your life a long time and you are at your wit’s end of listening to their negative self talk? Do you allow them to keep up the mindless chatter or do you pull them up on it (every single time)? Or, do you go your separate ways? Maybe they’re showing you the last places of negativity still inside you?

 

As a parent, we are 24/7 role models for our children by what we say and what we do, and by our body language.

 

In my 12 years of editing The Mother magazine, I heavily focussed on meeting a child’s biological needs. Many people missed the importance of this and took it to mean that somehow they’d have to sacrifice a huge chunk of themselves to meet someone else’s needs, and frankly, that just seemed like hard work and incompatible with modern life. The truth is, though, in meeting our child’s needs we cement our bonding. And a bonded parent is a happy parent. Biological parenting isn’t just about the child. It’s about the relationship between parent and child.

 

Regardless of our parenting style, and how committed we are to attachment parenting, being happy is one of the greatest gifts we can show our children. Happiness and gratitude. These foundations shape our children for the rest of their lives. It doesn’t matter if you own a house or have three overseas holidays a year. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get to eat in fancy restaurants or wear boutique clothing. What matters is that you are happy within your skin. And happiness, to my mind, comes from being grateful for this amazing life we have. If you’re on a computer reading this, you are in the top percentage of people in this world living a luxurious life. If there are aspects of your life you don’t like, then work to change them. It all starts with the words which rattle around in your mind, and those which come out of your mouth. Yes, it’s really that simple (and that difficult).

 

It’s too easy to moan about the price of food or cost of electricity or council tax rates. It’s too easy to moan that the car registration is due. These things are luxuries. That you’re not roaming around forests or the desert trying to find your food is not something to take for granted.

 

Yes, things happen in life which are upsetting: the loss of a loved one, ill health, debts, loss of a home, and so on. But we always have a choice as to how we experience them, and the healthier we are (on every level) the more readily we can cope with such events.

 

As parents in the Western world, unless we’re in extreme physical pain all the time, then we really have very few reasons not to be happy most of the time. It’s a choice.

My mum didn’t have an easy job raising eight children (virtually single handed, as my dad worked overseas), but when I think of her, I always see mum with a huge smile on her face. When she phones and leaves messages on my answering machine, I hear the laughter in her lyrical voice. Yes, I was blessed to be raised on 700 acres on Queensland’s Darling Downs, and to be surrounded by wildlife, my mum’s creativity, and a houseful of siblings, but what I remember most of all is my mum’s zest for life.

 

I hope, as the years go by, when my children think of me that they can look past all the years I was in physical pain and can remember that I, too, smiled. That I loved to laugh. That I was passionate about living this amazing life on Mother Earth. And more than anything, that I lived to create a happy family life.

 

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With my daughter Bethany, 1996.

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Sledging with my babes.

 

 

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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