Silent Wedding Vows

Silence is golden, my mother often used to say to me. I see now that it was code for the fact I talked too much as a child!

Kahlil Gibran, the Lebanese poet, wrote in his book The Prophet:

“You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.”


My brother Rene and his partner Chantal invited me to be the celebrant for their wedding in Australia in August. I was really taken with their last-minute idea of ‘silent vows’. Now, knowing my brother, it was probably due to the fact that neither of them had time to write vows! He assures me that what he really wanted to do was give them to her telepathically. If I put my cynic to one side, I am swept away by the beauty and romance of keeping this intimate moment of a wedding simply for each other’s ears and hearts.

There have been many times I’ve asked clients about their handwritten vows, and I’m eagerly given a bit of paper with their handwriting scrawled along each line. In some cases, these words have arisen straight from their heart. I’ve had moments in ceremonies where I’ve struggled to keep my tears inside because the words were so incredibly beautiful, raw and honest. On just as many occasions, I’ve read them and thought “oh hello Google”, as I’d heard the very same thing at previous weddings.

 

And then there are some couples who don’t write vows (or nab ‘em off Google) because the idea of standing in front of a gathering of friends and family to share their deepest feelings is way beyond their comfort levels. And that’s okay too.

 

Silent vows offer a wonderful way for couples to share their intimacy before their friends and family, but with the words kept safely for each other.

Photographs of Rene and Chantal exchanging their sacred silent vows by www.benbroady.com

 

Penrith’s Woodland Burial Site

At the top end of Penrith’s cemetery, up on the hill overlooking town, there is a quiet oasis: a little haven away from the busyness of town. It’s the Woodland Burial Site.

 

www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

Woodland Burial Site, Penrith, Cumbria

woodlandburial4

A peaceful haven: Woodland Burial Site

 

It’s fair to say that most people don’t think about how they will honour their loved ones or themselves after death in terms of funeral choices and disposal of the body.

 

www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

Penrith Cemetery

 

Increasingly, however, as people become more aware of the huge impact the funeral industry has on the planet, some are taking active steps towards honouring Mother Earth by choosing a low-impact burial. What does this mean?

 

www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

Penrith’s woodland burial site

 

It is about burying a body that hasn’t been filled with formaldehyde (which is used to preserve the body so a funeral can be delayed for a week or longer). Some people recognise that an eco burial also means thinking about the coffin. In some instances, families will choose not to use a coffin, though there a many eco ones on the market, and use, instead, something like a shroud. The only legal requirement is that the body not be seen. It is not a legal requirement to use a coffin.

 

20160914_152754_resized_3

wildflowers on the woodland burial site

 

A woodland burial site doesn’t use headstones, but instead is a natural and holistic way of honouring death by allowing nature to grow unimpeded. Personally, I find it beautiful, simple and inspiring.

 

 

woodlandburial3

A beautiful place

 

Oftentimes, people who have chosen the option of an eco burial will also practise home care: this is where the loved ones take care of the body, by keeping it cool with dry ice, and brushing the hair, cleaning the body, and keeping a vigil until the ceremony. Most people are unaware that using a funeral home is an option, not a necessity.

 

www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

Secluded and peaceful: Penrith’s Woodland Burial Site

 

 

We’re blessed in the Eden Valley to have such a wonderful resource as this woodland burial site, and I hope in time that it becomes the norm to bury our loved ones in this way (or on private land) as people move away from environmentally unfriendly cremations, headstones, and cemeteries that require constant upkeep through mowing and toxic weed killers.

 

Veronika Robinson is a funeral celebrant who is available to officiate ceremonies throughout Cumbria. Her work involves creating, writing and officiating ceremonies based on the wishes of her clients, and founded on their beliefs, whether they’re religious, humanist, spiritual or other. She is happy to work directly with families or via a funeral director. She is passionate about eco-burials, and opening up the conversation around death and dying in a conscious way. She is a supporter of the Natural Death Centre. https://www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant/funerals-memorials.shtml

www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

Penrith’s woodland burial site

 

,

Oma and Grandalf

When I was a little girl, there were two women who were large in my life although I never had the pleasure to meet them in person. These women, my Omas, lived far across the world from me. I was born and raised in Australia, and my grandmothers lived in Germany. Even though they weren’t part of my daily life, and I never got to sit on their knees or hear their stories, they were every bit as present in my heart as other family members.

My Oma Minna (my father’s mother) would crochet me dresses. Oh the delight to open those parcels. She did this for years on end.

minna1929

Oma Minna Marie Herbers, 1929

When I was of writing age, I would exchange letters with my Oma Leiselotta. I was about ten or eleven when she died, and that was the first time I ever saw my mother cry. My heart broke that I would never get to meet her.

I keep their photos nearby, and often ‘chat’ with them in the spirit world. I have a kitchen oven hand protector that Oma Leiselotta once crocheted. It’s a simple thing, but it means the world to me, and has survived moving countries a number of times. Even at those times when I have whittled my whole life down to a suitcase or two, that yellow item of Oma-love comes with me.

20160903_150407_resized

Perhaps it’s because I didn’t have my Omas in my childhood the way other children have grandmothers, and perhaps it’s because my daughters haven’t seen their Oma since 2005 (she lives in Tasmania, Australia), that I feel even more strongly about wanting to be a living, loving and generous presence in my new granddaughter’s life.

 

It was such a joy for me to meet our little Sarah Hope a few days ago. What a treasure! I am so in love with her. Throughout Beth’s pregnancy with her, Sarah would visit me in dreams. I remember one dream in particular where I was teaching her to say Oma, and she was repeating it after me.

kissingsarah

Kissing my beautiful new granddaughter, Sarah Hope, who was born on my husband’s birthday.

One of the first things women who are already grandmothers ask me is “what are you called? Granny, Nan, Nana, Nanny, Grandmother?” I proudly say: OMA. For as long as I can remember, it has felt such a special word to me, and I will wear that title with joy for the rest of my days on this earth.

(I treasure this little video clip of me meeting Sarah)

For anyone who knows my husband, Funny Boy Paul, you won’t be surprised to know that he isn’t going to have a regular Grandpa tag! He jokingly said one day that he could be Grandalf! (for those who aren’t familiar with Lord of the Rings, there is an old man in there called Gandalf). Anyway, the name stuck! So, here we are, at a new point in our lives (Eliza leaves home this week for Glasgow University). We’ve become grandparents to gorgeous Sarah, and we’re about to experience life without children in the home.

grandalf2

Grandalf with his beautiful granddaughter, Sarah, born on his birthday: August 25th

grandalf1

Paul and Sarah.

What adventures await Oma and Grandalf!

 

Paul Robinson. Veronika Robinson. Sarah Carlile

We love Sarah to bits! I could just kiss her all over! She’s so scrumptious.

 

elizaandsarah

Our daughter Eliza getting to know her new niece, Sarah.

 

soup

My first role as Oma, apart from congratulating Beth and Chris on becoming parents, and giving kisses and cuddles to my beautiful new granddaughter, Sarah, was to make soups for my daughter’s freezer to sustain her through the Babymoon. A bit of edible mother love, so to speak.

mystic

I made two huge pots of soup from my recipe book The Mystic Cookfire.

mystic2

Saturn Crossing the Ascendant (Astrologer’s Notebook)

When Saturn first kissed my ascendant, a few days before Christmas last year, my elder daughter and I were sitting in the car at the train station. She’d just got off the train from university, and wanted a chat with me before I drove her home for Christmas break.

Dellmagazineoctober

I wrote an article for Dell Horoscope magazine about my love of the planet Saturn.

 

 

I had been wondering for months, maybe longer, what Saturn crossing my ascendant would tell me. As a Capricorn, Saturn is strong in my natal chart. I was determined it would be a conscious transit, and not wipe me out. After all, I love Saturnian energy. By nature, I’m disciplined, focussed, determined, a planner, reliable, responsible and every other Saturnian word.

“I’m pregnant,” she said to me casually waiting to see my reaction.

I almost had to laugh at how literal Saturn’s message was. Saturn, the great marker of time and age, was slap bang on my ascendant (identity). So, I am going to become a grandmother. This was the most amazing news, and I was overjoyed!

I knew at some point Saturn would retrograde, and discovered it would come back to this exact point at the time my grandchild was due to come Earthside, and also at the time my younger daughter would leave home for university.

eliza

Enjoying this last bit of time with Eliza before she leaves home for university.

 

So, my precious, beautiful, delightful, gorgeous granddaughter, Sarah Hope Carlile, has arrived Earthside. And what a joy! She also happened to arrive on my husband’s 68th birthday. Becoming a grandfather for the first time was a pretty awesome gift.

granny

Late at night on Paul’s birthday upon hearing the news that our granddaughter and niece had arrived Earthside. Oh the joy!!

sarahblog

Sarah Hope

sarahblog3

Chris, Beth and Sarah

sarahblog2

A natural waterbirth makes Sarah a 2nd-generation waterbaby! In 1995, I set up the National Waterbirth Trust in New Zealand to help other women access information on birthing in water.

balloons

 

And in nine days Eliza leaves for university, officially leaving me with ‘an empty nest’. Well, whoever came up with that term clearly has no idea that my life is anything but empty. But what is true is that Saturn crossing the threshold (over my ascendant), at the same time as my Chiron return (in my 5th house), is bringing change to who I am. I have invested twenty-one years of my life as a mother, for the most part in quite concentrated ways, such as home educating and publishing a holistic parenting publication for twelve years of that time span.

I may be a ‘young’ grandmother (48), but I plan to be a fit, healthy, happy and fab one.

firstrunasoma

My first run after becoming an Oma (grandmother). I intend to be one fit grandmother to our beautiful Sarah. Thanks to Saturn on my Sagittarius ascendant right now, I am discovering the discipline that comes from using my legs (Sadge rules thighs/upper legs)

 

I have had many dreams of Sarah during her mother’s pregnancy, and if there is one thing I learned in that time, this little girl will have quite a sense of humour. Our synastry shows that our bond will be strong, despite the miles between us. I look forward to getting to know her, and watching her parents blossom as their family life unfolds.

Next week, I will wave off my other daughter as she flies the nest and explores this amazing thing called life.

The family home will always be open to my little chicks, but oh my how full my heart feels to watch them flying, flying, flying.

Saturn may be considered a karmic planet, but let us remember that karma isn’t ‘bad’. It is the story of what you sow, shall you reap.

Astrologer’s Notebook: Life on Two Feet

One of my strongest childhood memories from school days was the humiliation of coming last in running races. Every single bloody time! And not just a little bit last, but a loooooong way last. Even though I was a bean pole of a kid, all skinny and gangly, my legs felt like lead. It was like running with a concrete building perched on top of me. I was not built for speed. That certainly didn’t change over the years! What I did learn to do was find a way to wangle sports days, and instead would head off down to the Condamine River, and there I would swim naked with the school boys who also fancied leaving the running to other people.

 

warwick2

The Condamine River, Warwick, Qld, Australia

 

A couple of years ago, after having private laboratory testing for my adrenal and thyroid health, the report came back with the firm message: medically advised not to exercise. It was like a kick in the guts. I’d been carrying excess weight for a number of years that wouldn’t shift regardless of calorie restriction or exercise. Being told that exercise was injurious to my health was the last straw. I, being a determined Capricorn, continued to walk, and added weight-resistance exercises to my daily life. I kept cardio limited to walking and use of the recumbent bike and a little bit on the rowing machine. Over the past two years I’ve slowly built my body up and have learnt to become friends with it after feeling betrayed by it for so long. I took up swimming and aquafit classes, too, until swimming in water for several hours a week had a negative impact (chlorine is one of the worst things for the thyroid).

I have so often felt at my wits’ end, and the frustration of living a healthy lifestyle, but having a body which doesn’t reflect that, has many times left me questioning everything I’ve learnt about nutrition and health. It would be (and has, at times, been) too easy to fall into victim mode, but each day is a new day and I keep searching, exploring, and experiencing ways to be as healthy as possible.

One thing I have learnt is that stress of any description is a massive endocrine interrupter and is no one’s friend.

C25K

I’m not sure what inspired it really, maybe it was watching my friend Sara learn to run, but I got to the point of thinking: I have to do something radically different. I have to do something my body isn’t expecting or thinks it can do.

I found myself standing in the magazine section at the supermarket looking at publications of interest: Vegan Life, Gluten Free, Yoga, Gardening, Rural Landscapes, etc.

Women’s Running magazine sat there as if to say ‘why not?’ I laughed at the idea. Me, run? Don’t be stupid! Apart from having a body that doesn’t run: big (okay, huge) breasts, legs like lead, shoulders which have dislocated more than a dozen times, poor adrenal history, low thyroid; the magazine whispered something to me. I left it on the shelf.

run11

A bit of bedtime reading!

 

Each week I’d pass the magazine section, and it would catch my eye. I wasn’t stupid enough to pick it up!

And then one day I noticed our local gym was going to start a Couch to 5k programme. Essentially you go from being a non-runner to learning to run 5kms over the space of about 9 weeks. I was on the verge of signing up. What stopped me? Was it because it was Winter and I was scared of slipping on ice? Yep, good reason not to do it! The last thing my shoulders need is for me to sleep up and cause more injuries to an already fragile body.

The REAL reason I didn’t sign up was actually because I thought my pelvic floor wouldn’t hold up. I’ve been on trampolines and rebounders, and figured running would have the same impact, and frankly, I didn’t fancy peeing my pants in public. So, I let go of the idea.

I felt like I’d let myself down, big time, but continued walking for half an hour on the treadmill (at 6kms an hour) several days a week, as a warm up to my weight-resistance work. Each day I could feel myself becoming stronger and faster.

Some months later, I googled C25k again. I read through the programme, and searched people’s success stories. What if I ran on my own, somewhere near home, where no one would see me? It was a Thursday, and I decided that come Monday I’d give it a go. I love Mondays, and knew it would be a good day of the week to start. However, the next day was a beautiful sunny Friday morning. I was out walking collecting feathers to use on an altar for a wedding I was due to officiate the following day. The Sun felt fabulous on my skin. I was alive, and happy with life, and suddenly the thought overwhelmed me: start C25k right now! And my legs moved. They moved! I looked at my watch and checked the time. And that’s how my first day of running started.

run8

No matter which way I run out of our village, I am blessed with beautiful scenery.

run4

I love running through woodland

c25k

 

Saturn was conjunct my ascendant. I love Saturn. Most astrologers and students of astrology pass on the idea that it’s a malefic planet which brings no good. But I love Saturn. It’s the Wise Elder of the zodiacal system. Saturn, to me, is the Fairy Godmother dressed in Crone’s clothing. She teaches us about plans, goals, discipline, and just getting on with things. She is the Goddess of Responsibility, and when we embrace that life is a pleasure rather than a slap in the face. I adore how Saturn just gets on with it all, without a fuss, and makes things happen.

 

firstrunasoma

A day I will remember! This was my first run as an Oma (grandmother!) I felt so high with love and joy about the birth of beautiful Sarah Hope, and each step felt like a breeze. I was covered in sweat in this pic, and so glad to be alive.

 

I’m now in week five of this programme (I had a week or so off between week 4 and 5 due to being away on work commitments) and am in absolute AWE at how I have adapted to life on two feet. My body wakes up and expects me to run, and the hardest thing for me at the moment is ensuring I have rest days in between so my muscles and heart have time to heal and process the increased work load. Yesterday I could have run twice. For someone who wasn’t a runner, I most definitely am one now. I am blessed to have had this transit of Saturn over my Sagittarius ascendant (Sadge rules thighs/upper legs). Every time I run, I tell myself: I am fit, I am healthy, I am strong, I have powerful legs.

run12

My daughter Eliza started C25k a week or so after me. She prefers to run in the evening, but on this occasion we ran together one night. Such fun!

 

I love the discipline of running: one foot after the other. Some days, the first part can feel like hard work, but by the end of the session my legs have loosened and warmed up.

 

run5

It’s an amazing feeling to be outside at dawn and be part of the Earth waking up for the day

 

The runner’s high is real, people! Running sets me up for the rest of the day. It’s like a happiness drug times ten. This past week Mars, the planet of drive, energy, passion and athleticism, has travelled over my ascendant, too. Bonus! All that extra high-octane energy pumping through my leg muscles. I feel ever so grateful for it.

Often by week five of the Couch to 5k programme, people are considering pulling out. But Mars has given me a boost, and I can really get a sense that in one month from now I’m going to be able to run FIVE kilometres without stopping. Just over a month ago, running for one minute was monumental, and frankly, I thought I might just die when my heart pounded so much. I’m barely aware of my heart now when I’m running.

I love to run in the mornings (the ascendant in our natal chart rules sunrise), and I get such a buzz being out the door while my family sleeps, and then watching the Sun rise over the hills.

There is a whole world in every step that I take: the breeze through the wheat fields; geese on high; birdsong; wildflowers in bloom; brambles, early morning mist shrouding the horizon, a red hot air balloon gracing the sky, hares bounding through the fields. Alone with my thoughts, I am creating not only a healthy and fit body, but a way of life in which I carve out some time for me where I am free of distractions. One step at a time.

 

run3

There are no words for being awake, alive and experiencing a new day come into being. Sunrise here in the Eden Valley.

run7

Sunrise through the trees

run6

Mist over the river

run2

Peak-hour traffic

run1

 

My natal Saturn is in Aries (the athlete). For 48 years, I have felt held back in terms of body movement (I was expelled from ballet class aged five for not being able to touch my toes!!). And now, Saturn, that Goddess of time, aging, discipline and dedication, is showing me that: if you have a body, you’re an athlete. Consciously using the energy of Saturn allows us to become the ‘author’ of that part of our chart, and the energy it contains. Bit by bit I am learning about the best way to use Aries, both physically and emotionally.

 

murakami

A gentle read by a Japanese novelist about his experience of running

run13

One of the BEST books I’ve read in a long time. So inspirational. It’s about so much more than running: it is about life, love, the power of the mind, and about being the best we can be.

run10

From Your Pace of Mine? by Lisa Jackson

run9

As much as I am a Sun worshipper (I am an Aussie girl stuck in the cold north of England), I really love running in the rain

Veronika Robinson is the author of many books, both fiction and non-fiction.
I Create My Day: simple ways to create a beautiful and nourishing life, is one of her most recent publications. All her books are available as signed copies from www.veronikarobinson.com She is a second-generation astrologer, a women’s mentor, and a celebrant (weddings, funerals, namings, and other rites of passage) who officiates ceremonies throughout Cumbria.

,

The Spider Grandmother: living the life of the red thread

In Native American myth, The Spider Grandmother (Spider Woman), created all life by spinning her web, and connected all living life together using her magical thread.

 

redthread2

 

The web that is woven in myth also symbolises how we weave a life for ourselves, and have the ability to always choose what and when to thread next; which way to weave, and, of course, how to weave. Spider woman teaches us that we are all connected.

As a celebrant, I have many red threads that I have been blessed to acquire over the years. The Blessingway ceremonies I officiate almost always feature the red-thread ritual. I have my old ones woven into old journals, and used as bookmarks. The miles may separate us, and the years may roll forward with increasing speed, but these women, with whom I once sat in sacred circle, remain connected with me through time and space.

The reason I choose red for the thread is because it is the colour of blood, and is what links all humans. During a Blessingway ceremony, the ball of hemp or wool is passed to the pregnant guest of honour who then wraps it around her wrist several times. She throws the ball across the circle to one of her guests. That woman also wraps it around her wrist several times before throwing it to someone else in the circle. This continues until everyone is linked into the web. This circle is a wonderful symbol of connection.

The guest of honour cuts the string each side of her wrist, and then cuts the string around the circle. Each guest wears the string until she hears the joyous news that the baby has been born.

Even after the string is cut, we recognise our connection: that we all still come from the same ball of yarn. Women of the medicine wheel sense this energetically, and really feel connected to the circle in the weeks to come, and for some of us, for years to come.

As I prepare to cross the threshold to becoming a grandmother (a beautiful expression of Saturn conjunct my ascendant, by transit), I am mindful of Spider Grandmother and the red thread. Around my wrist is a red thread with three beads. One to represent me: grandmother. One for my daughter: mother. And one for baby: child.

redthread

Motherhood is written within each of us whether or not we are mothers, daughters, sisters or friends. Even if we have never given birth, the code of motherhood is within.

Seconds after giving birth at home, by candlelight and Mozart, to my daughter Bethany.

Seconds after giving birth at home, by candlelight and Mozart, to my daughter Bethany.

I call in my ancient mothers, now, those who’ve walked before me and birthed babies, to gather together in spirit and guide and protect my daughter as she transitions from maiden to mother. Birth is an experience that in our culture almost fully focuses on the physical, but is equally emotional, sexual, mental and spiritual. We are never more open in life than when we give birth. When we say ‘yes’ to this, the whole Universe rushes forward and claps!

I wait now for baby. Poised. Grateful. A heart filled with SO much love for this human being that once lived in my womb as an unfertilised egg. An egg of promise. An egg of beauty. An egg of wisdom.

An egg… that is waiting to tell a story.

 

Veronika Robinson is the author of many books, fiction and non-fiction, which honour the story of motherhood, including The Blessingway, Cycle to the Moon, and Sisters of the Silver Moon. She is also a celebrant and an astrologer.

www.veronikarobinson.com

c2m3D

 

 

SotSM-sara-mockup-1b

The Blessingway: creating a beautiful blessingway ceremony

The Blessingway: creating a beautiful blessingway ceremony

 

Astrologer’s Notebook: Gifts from the family tree

As I eagerly await the birth of my first grandchild, I can’t help looking at the alignment of the planets, and wondering just where those personal planets will fall exactly. I already see how her birth will impact me (and herself/himself, of course) through the outer planets. (If she’s born while Venus is in Leo, it will fall in my 9th house of grandchildren, indicating to me that she is, in fact, a girl.)

 

11264890_1536895856451824_4541509004496869169_n

My gorgeous aunties

 

What intrigues me is the place of ancestry and family of origin in the natal chart. What I do know, with certainty, is that this baby will have personal (inner) planets in either Leo or Virgo, or both. These are such strong themes and archetypes on our side of the family.

My MC (midheaven: the highest/most visible part of the birth chart) is Leo ~ the storyteller (novelist) and performer (celebrant), not to mention editing a magazine for twelve years about raising children (another Leo theme) consciously. I have Saturn resident in the natural home of Leo: the fifth house. It’s a deeply creative house, as well as being considered the house of children. I also have my Chiron (wounded healer/teacher) and North Node (soul’s purpose) there, in the house of Leo (5th house).

 

22121_10206536158064164_7005396567020312157_n

females in my family tree

 

I have three planets in industrious Virgo, and Lilith in my 6th house (the natural home of Virgo). And that’s just me!

My husband has Mercury and the Sun in Virgo, and Pluto, Eros and Saturn in Leo.

My daughter Eliza has a Virgo ascendant, North node in Virgo and a crazily jam-packed sixth house. Her fifth house (Leo’s natural home) is blessed with Venus, Mercury and Neptune resident there.

My mother has Neptune conjunct Moon in Virgo, and although I don’t have her birth time, am almost certain her Jupiter is in the 6th house. My mother’s mother was a Virgo.

My father had Moon in Leo and Neptune in Virgo.

 

11252114_698643903595702_4641626073973844345_n

My ancestresses

Obviously this blessed baby is going to have DNA from her father’s side, too, but one thing is certain: we are not born blank slates. It’s understood that when we’re born we are encoded with every thought our parents had up to the point of birth, every thought their parents had, and so on for seven generations. Frankly, I find it quite scary! On the positive side, though, and certainly when I look at my grandchild’s family line on her mother’s side, there is an immense amount of creativity and skill to draw upon. She will be our fingertips as she steps forward into the future. Oh what a joy it will be to watch her create her life! I trust that whatever we have achieved, enjoyed and learnt, will be there in her DNA for her to claim, if she chooses, as helpful and useful in this journey called life.

 

bl10

Not long to wait now 🙂

Leo: the storyteller, actor, performer, children, creative flair, fire, drama, great hair!, solar energy.

Virgo: nutrition, health and well-being, earthy, mind, body and soul health, apprenticeships, mastery, perfection, attention to detail, editing, writing, gardening.

Veronika Robinson is a second-generation astrologer with an international practice. She works by Skype, and also offers face-to-face consultations from her home in Cumbria. www.veronikarobinson.com/astrologer

Finding Balance During Turbulence

If you’ve ever been on an aeroplane during turbulence, you’ll know how unsettling it can be. Life itself can feel like that too, can’t it? You’re just going along, minding your own business, and then —whoosh!— the air currents become unstable, and you lose your centre!

 

photo-1450101215322-bf5cd27642fc

 

Recently, I published my book I Create My Day: simple and beautiful ways to create a nourishing life. At its heart, the message is about discovering spiritual grace. It provides the tools for, hopefully, creating less turbulence in your life, and for recognising that you have the inner tools and resources for navigating any turbulence you might fly into on any given day.

 

syegwytiqjg-michael-durana

For the most part, I have now created a life fairly free of turbulence. However, I live in a world that involves other humans, and this in itself offers just the ingredients that set faulty air currents into motion! I have, many times over the years, been left speechless by what appears, to my mind, a lack of awareness, consideration or respect between humans. For example, if someone says they’ll do something for you, or agrees to arrange something, and then they don’t. Why I still, after all these years, expect people to honour their commitments is beyond me. (laughing). We’re all wired differently, and while integrity, keeping one’s word, honouring sacred space, awareness, taking responsibility, etc., is something I adhere to, I am (still) learning that these are my values and not necessarily anyone else’s.

 

7pgehyh7o64-leonardo-wong

 

Turbulence came into my yesterday from easily six different sources. I found myself reacting emotionally in ways that weren’t pleasant for my body, and at complete odds with the centred, balanced place within that I have strived to create more and more with each passing day. I found myself becoming increasingly angry because other people were acting in ways that were, at best, inconsiderate and selfish. But, you know what? The only person suffering was me.

 

EY5VVQUOYB

 

Do I feel any different today? Yes, I do, and this is because of two things:
1.) I gave thanks. I truly expressed gratitude for each of those situations, even though they are not what I expected or would have consciously chosen.

 

3SVF6UX37U

 

2.) I remembered my golden rule of: every thought and feeling is a choice. No one can make you feel anything you don’t want to feel.

EC0O8DQK1S

So, yes, while I still have disbelief surrounding the way some people can be, I honour my well-being enough to ‘let it go’. Again and again, I come back to: what will be will be. What is, is.

 

20160427_160901_resized

I Create My Day (paperback & Kindle)

 

It is so much nicer to fly when you see the clouds or country below you, and all is calm. Compared to the adrenalin rush and instability of turbulence, I know which I’d rather choose. I choose peace. I choose love. I choose calm. I choose forgiveness. And always, every single time, I choose gratitude.

flowers

, ,

Holistic Family Camp

 

Recently, Paul and I went to visit Pete and Irene who own Limetree Nature Reserve where we used to host family camps when we owned The Mother magazine. It was so hard to leave there without having the urge to gather once again with likeminded people for a camp. SO…in case you don’t know, Paul, our daughter Eliza, and I are hosting a five-day family camp there next month.

 

Labyrinth at The Mother magazine camp

Labyrinth at one of our previous camps

This camp will be different from our other ones in that we have caterers in so that we can spend our time with guests, and lead workshops and activities. But it will be the same as previous camps, in that there is a strong ethos towards creating a nurturing, safe and holistic family space.

Rocket Catering has an excellent reputation for providing wholesome, quality, nutritious food, and can cater for gluten-free, raw, vegan and vegetarian.

There’ll be an assortment of activities and workshops available (all optional). Limetree is such a magical place for the young and the not-so-young!

 

bethanyviolin

Mike and Petra’s Handfasting ceremony at one of our previous camps

The theme for this camp is: Celebrate Your Creativity.

When: August 18th – 22nd 2016
Where: Limetree Farm, near Ripon, North Yorkshire

Camp fees:
Adult: £95
Children aged 14 and under: £35
Children aged 15-18: £50.

This fee includes any workshops you’d like to attend, camping, lunch and dinner for four days. (BYO breakfast). I’m sure you’ll agree this is an excellent price for a family holiday!

If you are interested, download the booking form from here:

https://www.veronikarobinson.com/creativity-camp/index.shtml

Love, Veronika x

 

a

, ,

Home Sweet Beautiful Home

As I type these words, there’s a new Moon in Cancer: the zodiac sign of home, mother and nurturing. (And breasts, digestion, emotions, ancestry…)

 

clothesonline

 

Home is my favourite word, and indeed my favourite place. For me, it is a sanctuary; and I am quite content to spend my days tucked away in my home and garden. Just this morning, I was giving thanks that the majority of my work is done in the comfort of my home as I simply adore being here.

 

cb10

 

My thoughts are never far away from the love and beauty to be found in this place that I cherish, but probably more so than ever am I thinking about what home really means.

I left home at the age of sixteen, moving some two thousand kilometres away from the place of my childhood. I was ripe for adventure. Having been raised primarily in the countryside, I was itching to see the world!

 

trees

My childhood home. Freestone, Via Warwick, Queensland, Australia

 

That itch I had to scratch so desperately doesn’t seem that long ago, and yet, here I am, watching my younger daughter, aged 18, venturing away from the family nest to see the world.

She’s travelling solo in Estonia at the moment, both intrigued and enchanted by being in a foreign country, but also experiencing moments of homesickness.

 

eliza

What is it about home that often draws us back? The nurturing touch of our mother or father? The comfort of feeling you don’t have to wear any masks? Familiar meals on the table? It’s probably all those, and more. Maybe, as it is for me, it’s being able to surround yourself with things that make you feel calm and at peace? Nothing like some beautiful music, flourishing pot plants and burning incense to make me want to get comfy on the sofa. Or what about that soothing cup of tea in the garden?

 

IMG_20160522_100700_resized

My daughters have often said that, to them, home is soup simmering on the stove.

20160430_153226_resized

 

Just a few days ago, my husband and I were in Wales to help our elder daughter and her partner move into their first home together. I feel their joy to finally be away from student accommodation (they each have a year left of their university degrees) and to create a nest before their baby arrives in 5-6 weeks. It was so lovely to hear her voice yesterday as she described how nurturing it was to have their kitchen filled with bowls of fruit and vegetables. Oh how I felt her joy! Can’t wait to hear from her when she’s unpacked everything, and has her beeswax candles on, incense wafting through the rooms, and Mozart on the stereo.

 

20160522_171450_resized

 

It’s a rare person who doesn’t have a strong sense of what home means regardless of if their experiences are positive or negative. At the heart, though, of what it means to be human, is a part of us which seeks to be nurtured, loved and cared for. To feel safe and protected. When this need—and believe me, it is a deep, biological need encoded into every cell of our being—has been met, even if only adequately rather than abundantly, it makes it so much easier to then go onto nurturing the next generation.

 

20160704_124258_resized

I’m so thankful for the myriad ways my mother (and father) created such a nurturing, vibrant and creative home for me and my siblings. I have no doubt that it made all the difference to the way I was able to pass that onto my children.

 

10

So, I watch now, as one daughter creates her own home and crosses the threshold to motherhood (with tears of joy in my eyes), and my other daughter prepares to leave the comfy nest of home to make a home of sorts in the halls at University. My job, on the day-to-day practical level, of being a mother is almost done. The emotional side of being a mother is never going to be over!

IMG_20160703_205140

 

Someone said recently that they couldn’t believe how calm I was given that I had one daughter, over a hundred miles away, just weeks from giving birth, and another travelling in a foreign country on her own. Calm? Hmmm. To be honest, I hadn’t given ‘worrying’ much thought before that point. My heart is split in three places, of course: there (Wales), there (Estonia) and here (Cumbria). But as for worrying about them, sure there are points of concern, obviously, but I am not riddled with anxiety. My girls were bathed in a nurturing and loving home, and raised to be thoughtful, mindful and independent. There will be bumps and scrapes along the path of life, but that’s the nature of living on this Earth. We get bruised, we get up and keep moving. While I’m on this Earth, they know I’m always here. When I’m no longer on this Earth, I will still be with them. I won’t be making soup or giving hugs, but oh how I will be loving them in ways that they can’t even begin to imagine!

 

IMG_20160703_122641_resized

And what of my home? What happens now? Who do I nurture when there are no ‘chicks’ in my nest? The beauty of going through the intense pressure-cooker world of parenting is that over the years you find yourself asking ‘But what about me? What do I need?’ Thankfully, I have become skilled at meeting my own needs. I am finding more and more that I have a lot of time to focus on what I love, enjoy, savour and need. No longer am I at the back of the queue, but wooo hooo I’m at the front! This is fun. I guess this is what it’s like for a kid in a candy shop. I get to choose anything I want.

IMG_20160520_164836_resized

This fortnight, with Eliza overseas, has given me a taster for life when she leaves home in two months. Yes, it will feel oh-so different. There’s no question that it will take adjusting to, and I will surely miss that radiant smile and her wise and witty chatting, but I am confident in my ability to make the most of the years ahead and my dedication to self nurturing.

 

IMG_20160703_182725_resized

The truth is, though, that long before I had children I would love to create beautiful and nurturing living spaces for myself. I honoured my need for healthy and vibrant meals, and created them from scratch. My rooms were filled with the sound of music. My friends would come for dinner. Home was, and still is, my foundation in this world. My garden and our cat still need tending to. I have books to birth inside these walls.

20160604_173911_resized

My husband is rather fond of curry, so I expect he’ll see that on the menu a lot more often when it’s just the two of us here. My main thought, though, is how quickly I can get used to shopping and cooking for only two people. Already it feels like there’s something major missing! However, I found myself standing in the speciality food section this morning and smiling: all those goodies I can get to experiment with in my cooking.

IMG_20160626_084303_resized

 

I am so grateful for these past twenty plus years as a stay-at-home mother, and being able to create a nurturing space for my family. More than anything, though, I am grateful that I can pass on the baton of ‘home, family, mothering, love and nurturing’ to my daughters, and for them to express that in ways that are meaningful for them.

 

home

The heart of our family nest

 

5

***
What does home mean to you?
Do you feel that your style of homemaking and nurturing within the home is similar to how your mother/father created the home of your childhood?
What are your favourite ways to nurture yourself?