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Slow Living: what death has taught me about life

A consequence of getting older (50 is on my horizon in just over a year) is an ever-growing, deeper appreciation for this amazing thing called life. I suppose, in my youth, it was something I simply took for granted. After all, I was going to live for a very long time. Often reckless, I bumbled along always ready for the next crazy adventure.

 

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When my dad died four years ago, his life cruelly snatched in a car accident one rainy morning in Australia, I faced mortality in a way that impacted me more than any other person’s death ever had. Hell, if my dad—superman—could die, then what hope was there for the rest of us? My dad, who’d survived third-degree burns in a fire in Papua New Guinea, malaria, pneumonia, cancer (twice), triple-bypass surgery, was gone. Just like that.

 

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In life, I was all too aware of how different we were. I hadn’t realised, until his death, the things we’d had in common: workaholic and ambitious. His death was my turning point, and for that I am so grateful. No longer was it acceptable to work seven days a week. Seriously, what was the point? The only thing we take with us when we die is love. And so death taught me to slow down. Really slow down. I no longer put pressure on myself. I haven’t gone from Type A personality to lazy ass, but I have slipped into a way of living that rests on one thing: pleasure. Does it make me happy? Does it honour me and my loved ones?

Interestingly, today’s super Full Moon is in the sign of abundant, money-loving, security-conscious Taurus. When I held my dad’s hand in his open casket, thanking him for all the hard work he’d done so we could have an abundant childhood on our property in rural Australia, my overriding feeling was: what was the point?

 

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He had worked so hard. He’d earnt a lot of money (and lost it, too) in his life. He worked overseas for months at a time. All that work. All that money. None of it was with him anymore. That moment solidified for me the true meaning of wealth: it’s in the minutiae of daily life, and the joy we allow ourselves to feel. It’s never about money in the bank (or under the bed). It’s the wells of gratitude we feel for this amazing life, and the passions we explore. I actually don’t know how long it would have taken me to figure that out had I not experienced my father’s death or witnessed his dead body.

 

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I don’t measure my wealth by my bank statements, but by the feeling I have when I wake up in the morning (glad to be alive, and looking forward to the day ahead), and the sense of satisfaction that tingles through every cell of my body when I crawl into my cosy bed at night.

This Christmas will be the first time, as a family, that we will have one daughter at home instead of two. It was just yesterday, though, I’m sure, when I decorated the tree with all the baby booties knitted for the impending birth of my first-born child; and how my loving husband would massage my pregnant belly beneath the lights of the tree. And now, that daughter will be having a Christmas tree with her first-born daughter. She will be starting her own family traditions. Oh how swiftly life travels by!

 

Each day, I find myself wanting to slow everything down just that bit more. I bought baby clothes for our little granddaughter, Sarah, yesterday…always thinking ahead to what she’ll need. At 11 weeks old, and blessing our lives in such beautiful ways, I find myself looking at clothes for 6 month olds, and even a year old. And yet, as fun as it will be to watch her become more fully who she is, I want to treasure these moments of babyness forever, and to breathe in the delicious scent of her skin. But life doesn’t work like that, does it? And each day she spends getting older, is one more day closer to my mother (now aged 77, living in Tasmania, Australia) getting closer to her transition. I’ve not seen my mother for eleven years now, and each day I am conscious that I want to see her again, and wrap my arms around her tightly. I don’t want to find myself in Tassie at her funeral without having had more time with her.

 

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Death. It makes you want more of life. Makes you greedy for all the love, joy, pleasure, fun and happiness. Life is so precious. Grab it with both hands. Enjoy that cappuccino, laze in bed that little bit longer on a Sunday morning, slow kiss your lover,  throw out your scales, snuggle up by the fire with a good book, take luxurious walks in Nature, kiss your kids even when you’re busy, make time to chat with friends, be extra loving to your partner, create meals you love to eat. These are the things which make life rich and beautiful. These are credit in the bank of life.

 

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Fatherhood is a sacred journey

Last night, my husband and I drove through heavy winds and torrential rain from Glasgow back home to our cosy cottage in rural Cumbria. We’d just left our younger daughter, Eliza, behind to begin her new life as a university student. Messages came through on my phone from friends asking me if I was ok. I guess they figured I’d be a blubbering mess: after all, I now live in a home with no children, and after 21 years of parenting, it’s a new land. Sure, the terrain is going to be different, but the traveller is well equipped for the journey.

 

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My overriding feeling, though, as we drove, was one of immense gratitude. That amazing man beside me, driving us safely through wind and rain, has been by my side every step of the parenting way. Not once did he ever say he was too tired to change a nappy, or rock a teething baby (even when he was up at 4am to work as a breakfast announcer on radio). On days when I flailed around hopelessly (and there were many), he was there, steady as a rock, providing practical support and humour by the bucket load.

 

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It might seem odd, given that I founded, edited and published a magazine solely dedicated to the holistic path of mothering for more than a decade, that I would today—the first day of living in a poorly named empty nest—be writing about the sacred journey of fatherhood. The truth is, though, that my path through mothering was made possible, and enhanced, by his constant high-level of awareness to my needs and those of our children.

 

 

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

My husband Paul catching our baby and passing her to me straight after birth.

 

Whatever decisions were made regarding our children, and there were many that flew in the face of popular culture, he was intimately part of and proactive in those choices. Not once, not in more than two decades of our parenting partnership, did I ever feel I was in the job alone.

 

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Parenting with another person is the ultimate business partnership. I used to joke with my daughters: don’t have sex with anyone you’re not prepared to have children with! But it’s not a joke, not really. The older (and hopefully, wiser) I get, the more conscious I become of the enormous responsibility and privilege it is to be a parent, and bring a new being Earthside. Surely the person we choose to share this parenting journey with should be up to the job? But, like mothering, there is no manual for being a fabulous father.

 

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To father consciously and from the heart means knowing one’s self, and constantly choosing ways of being and living that allow you to become the highest version of who you are. Sometimes this happens in the presence of children, and sometimes it doesn’t.

 

 

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I saw a post on Facebook this morning, which although was clearly meant in good humour, upset me quite a lot. Why? Because it was pretty much about how awful being married is, but you know, we stick at it anyway because that’s love. It went on and on about the fighting and screaming and inconsideration and suchlike that happens in parenting. I read it twice, and thought: that doesn’t happen in my home or marriage.

Did I just get lucky? Yeah, maybe. But actually, each of us is responsible for how we show up in relationship. It’s far too easy to blame our partner because they did or didn’t do something. If we truly love our partner, then we live in a way that respects them as well as ourselves. We only want the BEST for them. If that is the foundation of our marriage/partnership, then this absolutely flows into the relationship we have with our children.

 

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Many times over the years I’ve heard comments like: “If the dad bottle-feeds the baby he can bond with it.” NOT TRUE. This isn’t how bonding works. A bottle is an inanimate object. It does not connect father and child.

 

If a father truly wants to be connected to his child (and the child’s mother), he needs to spend time with them.

 

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It’s not just women who have hormones in relation to parenting, men do too.
Vasopressin (also in women, but to a much lesser degree) is a ‘monogamy’ hormone which promotes strong, paternal behaviour. This occurs when a man is living with his pregnant partner.

 

Testosterone drives a man, encourages aggression, and tempts him elsewhere. Vasopressin has the opposite effect. It encourages a father to be dedicated to his partner, protective, stable, and want to touch and be touched. It helps him bond with his baby. The hormone is triggered through being near to the mother in pregnancy, and with mother and child during and after birth. The ability of his body to interpret his partner’s hormones is due to him detecting the change in her pheromones (steroid hormones on her skin).

 

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Paul, Eliza and Beth

 

When my husband and I met, I invited him for dinner. He moved in the next day. Six weeks later, I was pregnant. Our relationship has been a creative partnership of raising two wonderful daughters. Now, as we explore life as a couple (thinking ‘honeymoon time’) without children to raise, I allow my heart to be filled with an immense ocean of gratitude for a man who not only loved me fully, as a wife, a woman, and a mother, but who always had time for our children. It has been a sacred journey, this path of loving our babies into adulthood. I know with absolute certainty that I couldn’t have been the mother I was without his excellent fathering skills.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Paul and Sarah.

What adventures await Oma and Grandalf!

 

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

 

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

 

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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.

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

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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.

 

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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.

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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

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The Blessingway: creating a beautiful blessingway ceremony

The Blessingway: creating a beautiful blessingway ceremony

 

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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/

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Saying goodbye at the train station to my lovely daughter.

A Time To Gather

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to hang out with likeminded people for a five days? We have a few places available on our family camp in August (18-22) in North Yorkshire.

 

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This is a wonderful chance to step into Nature, and watch your children run through wildflower meadows. You might like to take part in one of our many workshops, or simply enjoy a walk in the woods on your own. Perhaps you dream of gathering around the campfire at night, and sipping tea under the stars. Maybe you feel drawn to gathering with others for a ceremony in the Ironage replica townhouse, or sampling some reflexology. You might be inclined to take part in a drumming workshop or engage in art therapy. The forest school activities are always a hit with young and old.

 

Labyrinth at The Mother magazine camp

Labyrinth at our previous camp

Lunches and dinners are being prepared on site by Rocket Catering.

 

Camp kitchen at The Mother magazine family camp 2013

Camp kitchen at our family camp 2013

All in all it will be a nourishing experience.

You can find more information here, as well as a booking form. Places can be secured with a 20% deposit.

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

 

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N is for Nourish

When I’m asked what I mean by ‘creating a beautiful life’, the answer is simple: infuse each day with beautiful experiences. Let yourself be nourished at every level: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

 

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. Oh how I love sunshine! After seventeen years living in the north of England, my being still hankers for a good dose of strong Aussie sunshine. Regardless, I make sure I get sunlight where I can. We need the light for our happiness and our health. It’s not enough to have it streaming in through a window. Even on cool or cloudy days, do try and get yourself outside.

 

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. Flowers bring instant beauty into the environment. Whether they’re wildflowers you’ve gathered from the roadside, some blossom from your garden, or a bouquet made by your local florist, allow their scents and colours to adorn your home. This level of beauty speaks to us every time we pass by, even if we’re not consciously taking them in. If you’d rather not cut flowers, enjoy them in situ and take the time to really absorb their beauty.

 

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. Food isn’t just about sustenance; it’s designed to be pleasurable. Two of my favourite places to eat in my local town of Penrith (Greenwheat Florist and Café, and The Yard Kitchen) always leave me feeling sated.

At lunchtime today, I was eating some leftover chickpea and cranberry curry from last night’s dinner. Why does curry always taste even better the next day? I was aware that I was making food noises. Ever heard the term foodgasm? Yep, that’s me. If I enjoy a meal, I find it hard to suppress my experience of it. It’s not just the taste, though. Aroma, texture and memory play a huge part. Cinnamon always has me right back in my mother’s kitchen.

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. Love is a basic human need. With it, we flourish. We’re nourished at our deepest level. Without it, we wither.

LOVE YOURSELF. This is the most important relationship you can ever have. With great self love, loneliness isn’t possible. With tender loving care of our self, our inner world becomes a rich and vibrant landscape that is a constant source of nourishment. We become self contained in the most beautiful way.

You can develop the art of love, tenderness and kindness by taking care of a pet or plant.

 

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. It is said that we become like the five people we hang out with the most. Take a look at the people with whom you spend a lot of time. What does that say about you? Are they loving, compassionate, kind, joyful, humorous, grateful, loving, focussed, passionate, mindful? Maybe they’re gossips, cruel, spiteful, self-centred, fearful, angry, inconsiderate. Consider why they are in your orbit.

. If you spend time on Facebook, how does your newsfeed make you feel? Are you nourished or irritated? Does it feed you in ways which are inspiring, or does it bring you down? Every thought we think shapes our future.

. Music is a unique language, which crosses all cultures. It has the ability to soothe, nourish, engender fear (think tribal drumbeats, and the countdown to the news), haunt the soul, and make us happy. Choose your music like you choose your friends: carefully. Allow music to be part of your daily life.

. Reading provides food for the mind. Find a writer whose work you enjoy, and allow yourself the pleasure of unwinding or being inspired by their books, blogs or articles.

 

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. I am not a gym babe. Not by any stretch. However, you can find me there most days of the week doing weight-resistance exercises and some cardio. I also love to swim and do aquafit. My favourite exercise of all is a solitary walk through woodland.

 

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Exercise boosts our endorphins, and endorphins make us happy. Go for a walk. Take a run. Ride a bike. Go dancing. Move your butt. Exercise isn’t just for the body, it’s brain food too. It creates space from the rest of our life.

. Create space for quiet and stillness. To me, this is the heartbeat of a beautiful life. Whole worlds exist in these places.

 

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. Beauty may come through flowers, food, friendships, and what we read. It may be a starry sky, or woodland walk. Beauty may be that dandelion pushing its way through concrete, or sunlight peaking around dreary clouds. Maybe it’s making love at sunrise on a lazy Sunday morning. Perhaps it’s the first smile of an infant, or a snowdrop coming into blossom. Beauty is all around us, if only we look. It is with us every step of the way. For many people, it’s easy to be blinded because we’re so busy racing to something less nourishing. Slow down.

 

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. When we live with integrity (meaning what we say, and saying what we mean), everything in our life changes: relationships, jobs, income, home, health. In short, it’s about acting authentically even (and especially) when no one is looking.

. There is beauty in simplicity. How easy is it to fill our lives up with things, people and activities? When we strive to simplify our lives, everything takes on more meaning. The world does, indeed, look beautiful.

. For me, the most vital aspect to creating a beautiful life lies in the art of gratitude.

Saying thank you

throughout the day

is enlivening, humbling, and life changing.

 

There is no higher vibration. Some people spend their days looking over the fence and being envious of other people’s apparently perfect lives. Resist the temptation. The grass is always greener where we water it. Focus on what is important to you. Create love, beauty and joy by noticing those colourful wildflowers growing at your feet.

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Creating the life you were born to live

For the next couple of days I’m offering a 2-for-1 deal on my astrology readings. £75.00 (worth £150)

Simply book a one-hour session on my website, and receive a second reading free (for yourself, friend, family member). I record calls by phone Skype, and can do readings wherever you are in the world as long as you have an internet/Skype connection.

 

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https://www.veronikarobinson.com/astrologer/index.shtml

The readings need to be ordered by Monday night, UK time, but can be taken at a time to suit. Some people are choosing to have face-to-face readings with me at our family camp in August (in North Yorkshire). https://www.veronikarobinson.com/creativity-camp/index.shtml I can also do in-person sessions from my home in Cumbria (near Penrith).

 

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Spring is a wonderful time for an astrology reading. It’s when Nature reminds us that there is hope after the long dark Winter.

I’m not a doom-and-gloom astrologer. My goal is to inspire you to live to your potential, and to follow your soul’s calling. There is nothing to be fearful of when you entrust me to interpret your chart.

 

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Not sure if you think astrology is useful to you? Have a read of some testimonials on my website. Love, Veronika x

 

 

 

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Happily Ever What?

When my younger daughter was three, she asked me “What’s at the end of forever?” It’s the sort of question that makes you realise mothering is not going to be a piece of cake! Most of her questions were of that ilk.

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My teenage years were spent with my nose inside Mills & Boon romance novels living vicariously through women courted by Mr Right. Sure beat biology classes, anyway. I have long believed in happily ever after. It’s not a myth. But, like “what’s at the end of forever?”, it may not be easy to answer.

My marriage to a good man certainly feels like ‘happily ever after’ but the reality is that at some point one or other of us will be saying farewell when our beloved leaves this Earth. The love, however, will continue throughout eternity. Of that, I’m certain.

Whatever it is that we’re seeking when we search out a soulmate isn’t just about how good a person is between the sheets or how good they will look in a wedding dress, but it is absolutely about how they feel in our heart. The best way to choose if someone is right for you is with your eyes closed. There’s nothing wrong with physical attraction and chemistry, but it’s the icing NOT the cake. True love that lasts through the years is about something deeper; something which transcends the physical.

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When I write love stories they may well have a happily ever after, but what I’m really writing is ‘I’ll leave you happy for now’. That’s not to say that happiness can’t be ongoing, but the only thing we ever have is now. I wish for my characters a Happily Now. And I wish that for myself. I wish that for you.

 

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How do we create happiness in our daily lives? Isn’t it just a by-product of some external activity or experience? Something that ebbs and flows like the tides?

For me, happiness isn’t necessarily walking about with a smile on my face (though that is lovely), but about an inner contentment. It’s about savouring the small pleasures of life, and ensuring I meet my sensorial needs each day. It is about awakening my senses and experiencing pleasure. These are never about the future, but the present moment. As I type, birds sing beautifully in the trees outside. Why would I wish that for ten or fifty years from now? HERE, today, right now, is where I am experiencing their joy. Birdsong becomes my joy.

 

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Tulips on my windowsill make my heart sing. Now, not in the future.

I sip spring water from my glass. Now, not in twenty years.

Chatting with friends isn’t something I dream about years down the road. I engage and cherish the experience now.

I smile when I open an email from a grateful reader. Now, not in some distant future.

Confession: over the years I’ve spent a small fortune on psychics and fortune tellers. What’s interesting is that I have come to a solid and secure place in my life where I recognise that I CREATE my future by what I think and feel today. And this goes for all of us. No one’s future is set in stone. We are the masters of our own Fate.

No one puts the thoughts into our heads but us. We choose them. We can filter them. Weed them out. Plant new thoughts. As gardeners of the mind, we have the power to transform our lives one thought at a time. This isn’t about being the archetypal Pollyanna so much as holding a state of grace and gratitude.

If you’re searching for a happily ever after, start here. What are your prevailing thoughts? What way does the wind blow your feelings? What are you most grateful for? Being mindful of how and when and why you are grateful is the best fortune teller of all. The more your heart expands with joy and gratitude, the bigger and brighter your life.

Start where you are: the roof over your head. The food on your plate. The company you keep. A grateful heart is a happy heart.

 

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Veronika Robinson is the author of about seventeen books (she’s lost count!). Her most recent publication is I Create My Day: simple ways to create a beautiful and nourishing life. Signed copies from https://www.veronikarobinson.com/author/non-fiction.shtml

Discover the path of spiritual grace. I Create My Day is a sacred journey into the heart of attitudinal healing, and invites you to create the life of your dreams one day at a time. Regardless of how you currently experience the world, this book promises to show how you can create a magnificent life that is nourishing, beautiful and authentic. At the heart of a handcrafted life is a spirit of reverence, gratitude and grace. By including the simple ideas in this book as part of your every day, you will witness your life unfold in ways that are miraculous, meaningful and, always, from the heart. Creating your day is one of the greatest spiritual decisions you can make.

Or available from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Create-My-Day-Beautiful-Nourishing/dp/0993158625/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459266654&sr=8-1&keywords=I+Create+My+Day

You can also ask your local library or bookshop to stock copies.

 

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