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Surrendering to the Season

 

Autumn begins weaving herself, and me, towards Winter. I drag my heels determinedly against the prospect of months and months of ice cold weather. And yet, those annual mists and mellow fruitfulness lull me with their charms. Foolish me, I whisper. Deep inside, though, I know the truth. The energies of this season serve to remind me to balance the light and the dark. As ever, my deepest nurturing comes in the silence. I take myself into that delightful realm of intentional solitude.

 

 

My evening walks through fields, woodlands, up lanes, to the stone circle, and across the ancient cemetery beckon me to welcome the inner dark. Endarkenment, surely, is just as essential as enlightenment? The rich earthiness of fallow fields speaks to me of the growth which emerges from the dark.

 

 

 

The cave of Winter taunts me, and my bones ache in anticipation of the cold, but I know, if I try, that I can step, gracefully, deep into the essence of what it means to live authentically in this world of dilemma. Autumn is here to teach me, gently, about death. What do I need to let go of in my life? These are questions for all of us, of course.

It isn’t random that we have seasons. Metaphysically, they speak to us of change. As we become more attuned to the cycles, we come to understand our inner self more.

 

 

The abundance of the harvest season amplifies the gratitude I hold deep within. Golden leaves flutter before me, symbolic of just how generous an act ‘letting go’ can be. Silhouetted trees, their leaves now friskily flitting about upon the chilly breeze, are a reminder that nothing in life stays the same. Of course, we can’t hang onto the beauty of Autumn!  And perhaps, that is the whole point. The season of letting go serves to show us how beautiful it is to let ‘fade away’ anything that no longer serves us.

 

 

My walks are a gentle invitation to Mother Nature’s suggestion that we surely must die before we can be reborn. Conscious of change all around me, I take nurturing from the early sunsets which frame the sandstone church in the cemetery, and the smell of woodsmoke on the air.

Geese are on high, another reminder that times keep moving. With each rapidly passing day, I am reminded of my mortality. That I, too, shall die. My ego shouts ‘but there is so much left to live for’, and I agree (even if I’m not always certain what the point of life actually is). My inner alchemist just watches patiently, as always, knowing that no matter how much I forward plan and fill my diary, all I really have is this precious moment.

 

 

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Could you be a Community Celebrant?

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of me being a celebrant. I’ve had the joy of officiating a wide variety of ceremonies across three countries.

In a few short weeks, September 16th and 17th, my husband Paul and I will be hosting our celebrant-training programme here in Cumbria. You can find more information here. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant-training

I am delighted to say that, due to popular demand, we will be running the course again on April 21st and 22nd 2018.

 

If you feel drawn to the vocation of heart-led celebrancy, do consider joining us. ~ Veronika & Paul

 

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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!

 

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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

 

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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…)

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

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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?

 

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

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!

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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!

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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The heart of our family nest

 

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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?

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Roots and Wings

It is often said in parenting circles about the importance of giving your children roots in childhood so that they can fly and be independent as adults.

 

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The thing about roots is that they grow in the dark, searching for nutrients and moisture, and they tap down, down, down until they get what they need. Their work isn’t visible, but eventually their job becomes manifest in other ways.

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Eliza on Prom Night

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Eliza Robinson catching the train from Penrith to London

As I type these words, my 18-year-old daughter is on an aeroplane flying to Estonia. Solo. She’s had this dream for a number of years, ever since she wrote her novel Consequence at aged 14. The joy I feel at watching her take flight, literally and otherwise, is indescribable. So many people have said to her ‘how brave’ she is, and that they couldn’t do it. There are certain things in life that really define you, and I know from experience that travelling solo to a foreign land is most definitely one of them.

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I was raised by a mother who taught me that girls can do anything they want, if they put their mind to it. Powerful stuff!

While studying for her A level exams, my daughter has also held down a part-time job at the local leisure-centre café, and has earnt every penny towards her trip. Every last detail has been funded and arranged by her. That level of independence and self-belief has, I am sure, been founded on a childhood where my daughters were taught to dream big and reach for the stars.

In an hour from now, she’ll arrive in a foreign country where English is not the spoken language. She’ll be excited, scared, curious and adventurous. She will be completely out of any comfort zone. Those roots will give her everything she needs to grow and stretch and seek the light.

 

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Getting ready to board the plane

 

Eliza lived in three countries by the time she was a year old, and took her first steps in Dubai airport. I have no doubt over the years that she’ll have many foreign journeys. Her roots were not only nourished in the fertile soil of our family life, but in her ancestry: grandparents who emigrated from Germany to Australia. A father who emigrated from England to New Zealand. And an Australian mother who has lived in different countries. It’s in her blood to travel; to seek new shores. She will search, and she will discover joy and love wherever she travels in this world. Why? Because they were found in abundance in the fertile soil of childhood. These are what she will expect to see, and what she’ll draw to her.

She will return in two weeks from now a changed woman. I wouldn’t expect anything less. The wrench we, as a family, will feel when she leaves for university in two months will be all at once happy and sad. We will miss her vibrant smile, inspiring conversations, her laughter and humour. But we will cheer her on as she finds her way and place in this world, and brings some magic to this thing we call life. My husband and I have been blessed to share in her company for eighteen years. It’s time that other people get to share.

Fly, sweetheart, fly!

 

You can follow Eliza’s travel blog here:

http://elizaserenarobinson.com/travel-diary-day-one-26th-june-2016/

Eliza Robinson & Veronika Robinson

Saying goodbye at the train station to my lovely daughter.

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Grey hair: the great taboo in the field of female beauty

Want to find a topic that will divide women? Ask them what they think of grey hair on anyone under the age of sixty.

 

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I had my first two silver hairs by the time I was 27 years old; it was around the time of my wedding day. I’d already been dying my hair on and off for a good ten years, for fun, so this visible sign premature aging was just another reason to continue. My fast-growing hair meant that I was pretty well putting toxic chemicals on my head every month or so. Sometimes I’d use henna or other so-called natural products, but regardless of what I used, the intention was the same: to deny the natural expression of my body.

 

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I was about 42, when I looked myself in the mirror and knew that if I wanted to truly walk the talk and be as authentic as possible then I had to face the truth: I was someone who was going grey (or silver, as I prefer to call it) early. I decided that I was no longer prepared to coat my head in dye (even the so-called natural ones) every few weeks. I felt ‘too young’ to be going grey, and it was a bold step, but one which I felt was important. My life’s work was about living with integrity and being authentic, and yet, staring me in the mirror everyday was a person who was covering up! So, I cut my hair short, and let the process begin. I had an image in mind: by the time I entered my crone years I’d have long silver hair, and would look like a radiant Goddess. Hey, a girl can dream!

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I’m not there yet−it’s a work in progress−but I’m so pleased that I stuck with it, even on the truly bad hair days. I’m grateful that I respect myself enough to value the health of my body, and also that I’m no longer contributing to the massive environmental impact caused by the hair-dye industry.

 

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One of the oldest female models. She’s soooo beautiful!

 

You have probably heard it many times: a woman choosing to go grey or silver can only mean one thing: she has ‘given up’ on herself. Remember the outrage when The Duchess of Cambridge was seen with a couple of grey hairs? The media reaction was disproportionate to the crime.

Our culture tells us that youth and beauty are mutually exclusive, and any sign of age is an indication of decay and of impending death.

 

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Grey hair reminds us of the eternal truth: we are all going to die. Grey hair scares us! Grey hair is a constant flag in our faces that time is running out. For God’s sake will you just dye your hair! Stop reminding us that everything we’re getting stressed about is meaningless because sooner or later we’re going to end up in the ground! Dye your hair! We don’t want to know about death!

 

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It makes me laugh, now, because this obsession with hanging onto youth only does one thing: it strangles life. You’re not going to slow down the passage of time by putting a product on your hair that contains 5000 chemicals. What you are going to do, though, is increase your chance of ovarian cancer by 75% (*women who dye their hair between one and four times a year).

 

When I created the character of Azaria for my novel, Sisters of the Silver Moon, I knew this: I wanted to show a woman who was in the Autumn of her life, but as beautiful and radiant as you could imagine. And I do believe that is why readers fell for her, and found themselves wanting to be her: she portrays what it is like to be comfortable in your own skin. She is the embodiment of self-love, and is there anything more beautiful in a human?

 

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This beautiful Danish lady inspired my character Azaria. Isn’t she just gorgeous?

 

As a feminist (not a man hater, but someone who is passionate about women’s rights and equality), I am curious as to why greying men are portrayed as sexy. Whoah, look at that silver fox! Why is it, once again, that there is one rule for women and another for men? He’s hot, and she’s not. He’s coming into his prime, has authority and substance; and she, poor lass, is letting herself go.

 

 

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The character, Isaac, in my novel Sisters of the Silver Moon is based on this man. Sigh.

 

A woman with dyed hair gives the illusion that she’s young and fertile, therefore, still attractive. This is what our culture would have us believe. But fertility takes many forms. Is it not also about expressing creativity? As a woman standing in front of the door called menopause, I feel more creative and alive than ever. The creative fire burns so brightly. They aren’t called hot flushes for nothing, you know!

Reclaiming the right of our body to express itself naturally takes courage. The world is constantly feeding images to us that youth is life and longevity, and age is something to be hidden away. Ironically, for many people, myself included, the older we get the more dazzling and exhilarating life becomes. My only complaint about having silver hair? It’s taking a lot longer to come through then I expected.

There are now some modelling agencies which are promoting older woman with lustrous silver locks. I hope this isn’t a passing fad.

The radiance of a woman shines through her eyes and the width of her smile. Silver hair is not going to make her less attractive or feminine. In fact, many women who stop dying their hair feel more confident and authentic.

All the hair dye in the world will not give you a zest for life or a skip in your step or inject you with happiness. These come from within, and are evidence of a life well lived and loved. As we age, our skin tone changes and the harsh truth is that dying our hair isn’t the elixir of youth we’ve been led to believe. Our skin requires a softer look now, and Nature gave us the perfect solution: silver hair.

Embracing each strand of silver hair is a celebration of growth and change, not something which needs to be feared. If we think plucking out a few stray silver hairs or religiously dying our hair is going to hold back the years, then we’re wrong. Feeling alive and passionate about the life we walk means honouring ourselves fully.

It is worth noting that premature grey hair is often an indication of a nutrient deficiency, such as iodine, copper or B12. If your thyroid is low, you might find your hair feels rough or dry (or is, indeed, falling out). I recommend eating seaweeds each day, or taking kelp. You will also need selenium (3 or so Brazil nuts every day). This will improve your hormone balance, and give you lustrous hair, though it may take a while for you to see the changes.

Many women, once they make the decision to go grey or silver, tend to wish it would happen all at once. If you have naturally dark hair, the process can seem agonisingly slow. Find a hair cut/style that suits you, and is easy to look after, and before you know it you’ll have embraced your silver crown.

Many people seem to forget that our skin is one of the main indicators of health and well-being. Eating a nutritious diet and drinking a couple of litres of water each day, as well as thinking happy thoughts, will do far more for your looks and attractiveness than a bottle of hair dye every month.

If you’re taking the bold step of embracing your silver hair, there are wonderful support groups on Facebook, such as Going Grey Gracefully. Do join them, and let yourself be inspired.

Reclaim your beauty with each strand of silver, and dance with that crown. You’ve earnt it.

It is a privilege to grow old, something which is denied to many.
Author unknown

Carlafferty

I based my character Car Lafferty on this beautiful woman

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The Sacred Yes

If you were to look at your life through two words, yes and no, which one do you think is more dominant? When you hear the words, can you sense the different energies they convey?

 

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Yes. No.

Yes, to me, implies more. I equate it with abundance.

 

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No says stop. I don’t want it.

A person in the dizzy heights of orgasm is unlikely to yell ‘no no no’; and a woman who is birthing her baby has an altogether different experience of it when she says ‘yes’ to her body opening wide, and ‘yes’ to bringing her baby down through her vagina. YES.

Yes and no. Such powerful words. Indeed, they are life changing. Shall we do this? Do you want to try this? Can we go here? These are the direction signs on the road of life. How often do you think life changes are made on major decisions? The truth is, it’s actually the daily ‘yes and no’ choices which tilt our lives in certain ways.

 

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Have you ever had times where someone has asked you to do something, or you’ve felt obligated to follow a course of action that didn’t make your heart sing?

For me, one of the most important lessons I learned in life was that when I say ‘no’ to someone else, I am saying ‘yes’ to me. Of course, this doesn’t mean never helping anyone, but it does mean paying close attention to your heart and recognising your own worth.

I was thinking a lot about yes and no this morning, and how I’ll often say to my husband with glee: this is one of my favourite times of day! The truth is that I have many times in the course of my day that I consider ‘favourites’ for the simple reason that they are an expression of me saying YES.

 

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Yes is about opening up to life. Yes is a positive affirmation. Yes says ‘sure, no problem’. Yes is about certainty. Yes is the ultimate optimistic word.

My yeses in the day look like this:

That moment, when before I’ve even opened my eyes, the sweet sound of birdsong fills my heart and I am awakened to a gorgeous new day. Life awaits me.

The blessed moment when the Sun begins his rise over the Pennines.

When daylight arrives in my garden.

 

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And, on days like today when I awoke to the sound of rain, I said ‘yes’. Rain is beautiful. I associate it with nourishing the land, cleansing the air, and fertility.

Standing in the steaming hot shower, the characters from my novel chatting away in my head, the exquisite scent of lemon myrtle soap invigorates my senses. The shower is my sacred space, a psychic chamber where I am nourished by my deep love of hot water, privacy, and writing time (very little writing actually happens at the laptop!).

Sipping the green smoothie that my husband has made me while I’ve been in the shower is another ‘yes’.

Driving my daughter to school en route to the gym, and us singing out loud together (sure am going to miss that when she leaves for university in three months and three weeks).

Now, here’s the honest truth: the gym is not my natural habitat. I’m no gym babe. Me and my ricotta belly, which does an excellent job of disguising my ab muscles, don’t go anywhere near skin-tight lycra. I can’t stand the smell of the men in the gym, as their sweat reeks of protein shakes and garlic and whatever else…[gag] (a lot of NOs in there, right?), but here’s what motivates me: my big fat YES. When I get on the treadmill, which in itself is boring, I either put on my ‘gym music’ playlist and exist in a world of ‘yes’ music, or I watch the morning breakfast news/magazine style chat show and enjoy various interviews. My feet know what to do, and they just get on with it. I nearly always find myself laughing or learning something new when I’m here. I spend between 10 and 30 minutes on the treadmill (walking quickly, not running) before going on the bike and then doing various weight-resistance exercises. The thing about exercise is that it gives you endorphins. Your body’s cells start to sing. My body says YES!

 

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When I arrive back home, there’s a huge YES waiting for me in the shape of my wonderful husband. Can’t wait to see him! He makes the most gorgeous coffee with decaff, rice milk, coconut oil (to help my metabolism) and a hint of maple syrup. I could just take this coffee to my writing room and get on with work, but I don’t. Paul and I sit down together, either in the lounge room or out in the sunshine, and we drink our cuppa in a leisurely fashion. It is, indeed, one of my favourite times of the day.

 

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By now, a good chunk of the morning has gone, and it’s time for me to work on a book, or write a ceremony or prepare a client’s astrology chart.

 

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I adore my work, and I never come to it thinking: I hate Mondays, or I hate my job, or any other such NOs. My three careers (writer/celebrant/astrologer) are all founded on a beautiful, love-filled, soul-infused YES, and such a deep gratitude to have found my callings in life.

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I’m bound to need a pee break. I head downstairs, and find myself lured out into the sunshine. Now, being skilled at listening to my YES, where possible I take my work outside. Any sort of editing, for example, can be done in the garden. I spend a few minutes pottering about outside, absorbing the sunshine, admiring fruit blossoms, marvelling at bumble bees. These stolen yeses nourish me.

There may be washing to hang on the line. This is my favourite household chore.

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Work calls to me, and I say YES.

At some point, Paul and I realise it’s time for lunch. One or other of us prepares something nourishing, and on days like today, we’ll eat out in the sunshine. YES YES YES. Indeed, hot sunshine is one of my ultimate YES times.

Lunch isn’t rushed, but savoured and enjoyed. Afterwards, I’ll check on messages from friends and my children, and address any important emails, before continuing with writing for the afternoon.

Another big yes for me is when my daughter comes home from school, and we sit and chat about her day. I love this time, the three of us sharing what’s happened, and laughing. YES.

By now, I’m having to put my chef hat on and think about dinner. Generally, I love cooking (if I’m not rushed, and just coming in the door). Eating a plant-based diet, and cooking meals from scratch, puts me in touch with the food I eat in a meaningful way. YES. And then, together with my family, we sit together and eat. YES.

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By late evening, I am still hearing YES. I listen to my weary body, and get ready for sleep. At the moment, there are scented stocks in a vase by my side of the bed. YES! And here, lying in bed, cuddling with my darling, breathing in the scent of his skin, listening to his breath, and chatting about things, is one of my other favourite times of the day. I always look forward to it, and hold it as sacred.

 

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I am greedy for this glorious thing we call life. Following my ‘yes’ satiates that yearning.

And then, as I begin drifting off to sleep, I give thanks. It is a profound and heart-felt thanks for all the yeses in my day. I am raised, and I am lifted to great heights, because I have allowed my heart to follow the road pointing to YES. The sacred yes.

#creatingabeautifullife
www.veronikarobinson.com

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If Tomorrow Never Comes

Anyone who knows me well is aware that the first song Paul ever sang to me was If Tomorrow Never Comes (the Garth Brooks version). To this day I can’t hear the song (especially if it’s Paul singing) without tears in my eyes.

If Tomorrow Never Comes…will she know how much I loved her?

 

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This song is a beautiful reminder, if one is needed, that all we have is today. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m the Queen of having projects on the go, and writing to-do lists, but that’s because my Capricorn nature is founded on having a goal. The goat wants to climb to the mountain top. We Cappies need little things to work towards. But I also know without doubt that whether I actually achieve these is irrelevant. What’s important is this moment. This is always where the point of power rests, and is where our greatest joys are to be found.

 

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If tomorrow never comes, my lists and plans won’t matter. If tomorrow never comes, you can be sure: Yes, I did know how much he loved me. I also know that the incredible magic that exists in today is so positive and meaningful, but if we live our lives without seeing the abundance at our feet we end up missing out on the whole point of our existence.

 

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So, today, think about this: If tomorrow never comes, does your partner/best friend/child/mother/co-worker know what they mean to you? How about your mechanic or accountant, or what about the friendly person at the petrol station who is always singing a song when you come by?

 

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If tomorrow never comes, can you say that you’ve lived according to your heart?

If tomorrow never comes, did you leave this world a better place, whether by a smile or a kind deed?

And most importantly, if tomorrow never comes, what might you do differently today?

 

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Five inspiring cookbooks

I was beyond delighted yesterday to be sent this link: http://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/articles/5-cookbooks-that-have-inspired-peace-and-parsnips-author-lee-watson

 

 

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Author Lee Watson (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Peace-Parsnips-Vegan-Cooking-Everyone/dp/071817951X?ie=UTF8&tag=prh10143-21) has chosen my recipe book, The Mystic Cookfire, amongst the five books which have inspired his own cookbook called Peace and Parsnips.

This is what he wrote:

The Mystic Cookfire – Veronika Sophia Robinson

This is one of my partner Jane’s favourite cookbooks. It was a tough choice as there are so many amazing vegan chefs out there writing brilliant books; Aine Carlin, Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Angela Liddon to name but a few, but my cooking influences come from all sorts of angles.

The Mystic Cookfire is beautifully written with an open heart and lovely illustrations. It’s the rare kind of cookbook that you could quite happily read like a novel, tucked up in bed, with some hot chocolate. On the rare occasion that I have a day off playing with pots and pans, this is Jane’s go to cookbook, we eat from the ‘Mystic Cookfire’ (what a name!!).

I love eating food with soul, something so intangible, but you know the kind of food I’m talking about. Home cooked happiness! These recipes are simple, plant-based and nourishing; the kind of food that can make a house a home, dishes that will become family staples for years to come.

This book also focuses on the deeper relevance of food and cooking. How it is much more than just throwing some ingredients together. Cooking can be a daily routine that accentuates the lives of cooks, families and loved ones.

I’m a sucker for a good quote and this book is packed with amusing and informative references and quotes. Good cooking for me comes from a place deeper than just sound technique. There has to be some love in the mix!

 

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If you’ve not got a copy, and would like one, signed ones can be bought from my website www.veronikarobinson.com or from https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mystic-Cookfire-Creating-Nurture-Friends/dp/0956034446?tag=prh11181-21

The timing of this really made me smile: It’s National Vegetarian Week, and I’m in the process of editing my second cookbook, Love From My Kitchen.

Have you taken part in NVW16? If so, what vegetarian meals have you been cooking?

Love, Veronika xxx

 

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Dandelions and the Wild Woman

My mother was the first person to teach my daughters, Beth and Eliza, about eating dandelion leaves.

To my eyes, dandelions are beautiful: first, with their bright yellow flowers, and then with their fluffy ball-like seed tops which beg me to blow them off with a wish.

 

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that beautiful happy face!

In the early years of mothering, I would take my daughters out for our daily walk around the block (about three miles around the farmers’ fields), and we’d sing a song called Dandelion, Yellow As Gold.

I would sing:
O dandelion, yellow as gold
What do you do all day?

And then Beth & Eliza would sing:
I just wait here in the tall green grass till the children come to play.

Me:
O dandelion, yellow as gold, what do you do all night?

Beth & Eliza:
I wait and wait till the cool dews fall and my hair grows long and white.

Me:
And what do you do when your hair is white, and the children come to play?

Beth and Eliza:
They take me up in their dimpled hands, and blow my hair away.

 

They never tired of our vocal trio, and indeed, the dandelion song was the soundtrack to their early childhood. (It is from a book called Sing Through the Day. The song was written by Noreen Bath).

Dandelions are cursed by those who cultivate manicured lawns, and by farmers. They’re sprayed, pulled and trodden on. Millions of people, worldwide, use Monsanto’s toxic Roundup to kill something they consider a weed.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/09/monsanto-roundup-herbicide.aspx

Why do I love dandelions? Apart from their obvious beauty, there is something about their tenacity that makes me smile. That persistence in growing through asphalt, and finding the light, is deeply inspiring. What a life force! And here’s what really makes me laugh: no matter how often people rip those plants up, or knock ‘em down with toxic products, they come back year after year. Do you think they’re trying to tell us something?

Maligned and unappreciated by many, dandelions have so much to offer us.

Imagine if Wordsworth had written about dandelions rather than daffodils? Perhaps we wouldn’t be poisoning our gardens!

 

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My garden is a reflection of me. A bit wild.

 

 

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Clearing the vegetable beds after Winter.

 

 

 

I see similarities between myself and a dandelion: I have been a source of food, medicine, nourishment, wisdom and strength. My hands-on mothering days are coming to an end, as my younger daughter leaves for university in three months and 26 days.

 

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Eliza Serena Robinson

 

 

Reflecting on this, I am reminded that dandelions have been my teacher: they’ve shown me that I have put down roots, and even when the culture around me had completely different values, I continued to grow. I mothered from an intuitive place, and learnt from watching my children play and live free from formal education. Dandelions have also taught me the importance of being adaptable to changing circumstances.

Like my garden, my wild mothering heart is a place that’s overgrown, and the paths have to be navigated through thick, so-called weeds. It was always in my blood to mother from this fertile ground. Dandelions have shown me that I can be a woman and live with beauty in this world, even when the culture tries to trample me down. I stand tall, and continue to do my work both as a mother and in my career.

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Enjoying sunrise in my garden

 

Dandelions always have a home here in my garden, and are amongst the first flowers in Spring that bees can rely on as a source of food.

I rejoice at this time of the year to see fields, verges and, indeed, my lawn, bustling with these happy yellow faces. I don’t see dandelions as evil and pesky weeds. Quite the opposite. They’re welcome in my garden for their beauty alone. But did you know that their leaves are highly nutritious, their flowers are also edible, and their roots make a wonderful caffeine-free coffee?

Dandelion greens have found their way into my fresh juices, salads, and even steamed with other vegetables. Medicinally, they’re brilliant for treating gall-bladder and liver complaints. The bitter leaves are an excellent tonic. Ideal for treating skin issues, such as acne or eczema, dandelion is excellent for purifying the blood. The dandelion is rich in nutrients including protein, calcium, iron, Vitamins A & C.

Daffodils, gorgeous as they are Mr Wordsworth, have inedible bulbs and let’s face it, no one ever told the time using them. But dandelions, oh beautiful dandelions, can be used from root to flower.

NOTE: Do not pick dandelion greens from a roadside, near railway lines or telegraph poles (due to toxic car fumes and weedkiller).

 

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oh how I love to rest amongst the daisies and dandelions

 

In my book, The Mystic Cookfire, you can find a recipe for dandelion fritters.  You can buy a signed copy here: https://www.veronikarobinson.com/author/non-fiction.shtml

 

My upcoming book, Love From My Kitchen, has more dandelion recipes: gluten-free bread; pesto, jam, coffee and a tart.

Now, sing along with me:
O dandelion, yellow as gold
What do you do all day?

 

Love, Veronika xx  #creatingabeautifullife

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