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The Bookends of Marriage

 

All marriages end. Whether by death, divorce or old-fashioned neglect, the rose-hued dreams we had for Happily Ever After become eroded in the passage of time. To love is to risk. Who here hasn’t gambled on love? And if we knew that someday it all would end, would we have taken even a single step in the direction of our dreams?

 

We’re just walking through life, minding our own business (although, increasingly, people are actively searching for love online), when slap bang onto our path walks someone who turns our head. Kapow! Gotcha! Whatever direction it was we thought we were walking in, suddenly changes. Our worlds collide, and in time we’re setting up home or having babies or travelling the world together. One thing’s for sure: when ‘the one’ comes along, most of us will tilt our world sideways to ensure longevity. Compromise after compromise after compromise. Afterall, why wouldn’t we want that wonderful feeling of love to last forever? (well, whatever ‘forever’ actually means in mortal terms)

 

The wedding industry is huge. As a wedding celebrant, my focus is purely on the ceremony and what I can bring to help a couple set the scene for their vows, promises and pledges. I bring my whole heart to this role, and in that wholeheartedness my deepest wish is that their intentions come to fruition.

 

 

But what of those at the other end of marriage? Where is the ‘industry’ (apart from greedy lawyers and divorce courts) or support systems to cushion those who find themselves walking out the other end of marriage – alone – their dreams crushed into the dust? Where are all the well wishers then? Why isn’t there a support team to help you move along with the next chapter/s of your life? Because it’s not pretty, that’s why!

 

When someone is widowed, sure, there’s the funeral, but what of the support for the person who is now living without the daily companionship of their beloved? The bottom line is that there is no one to fill that void. The loss of that vitality and life force that their loved one brought into their lives is akin to an earthquake. The landscape is forever changed. There are support groups for widows and widowers, but it seems to me that, as a culture, we simply don’t have the cushioning needed for this bookend.

And then there are people like myself who, for whatever reason, come to the end of what may well have been a long and happy marriage, and then find themselves separating. Not only does a marital separation of the couple ‘least likely to split’ terrify your friends and have them running in the opposite direction in case it somehow illuminates the fault lines in their own marriage, it also leads to people assuming the one who did the leaving is ‘ok’. The one who is ‘left behind’ is to be pitied and rallied around. It’s not surprising, really, given the litigious culture we live in. We’re virtually raised on the blame game from the get go.

I can hand on heart say, from my own experience, that grieving for a person who is still alive is even more painful that grieving for someone who is dead.

 

 

As a woman, wife, mother and celebrant, I have done enormous soul searching over the past 20 or so months since that first moment I became aware of the inner turmoil looming within me. It’s torn my heart in half over and over. If my husband had been a bad person, or had done something wrong, maybe this path I’ve walked might have been easier. I don’t know. All I know is that I’d irrevocably changed following my dearest friend’s suicide on Christmas Day 2016.

To those who ‘gossip’ that I’m okay and looking good, here’s the truth: I’m not! I just have an ability to know what my needs are and how to tend to my wounds in silence. Solitude is my healer. It always has been.

 

As a celebrant, I’ve offered divorce ceremonies right from the outset. People used to laugh and think I did it for ‘repeat’ business. That one day my wedding clients would come to me to be undone. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am a hopeless romantic (the unpublished romance novels on my laptop are proof enough of that), and do still dream of happily ever after, if not for me, then for every other person walking this earth with that longing. I’m also realistic and know that humans are deeply complex. My own evolution is also teaching me constantly, and as a result my work has to evolve alongside my personal life. In the past, I’ve always felt strongly that a divorce ceremony should involve both parties. I now see that a Parting of the Ways ritual shouldn’t be denied to someone because their ex-spouse isn’t willing to take part or has blanked them.

 

Forgiveness doesn’t require the other person’s permission. To forgive is to free ourselves.

I am so grateful for the 23 years of stability, kindness, love, laughter and care (and the awesome daughters we raised together) that I enjoyed in my relationship. At no level of my being do I see our parting as a failure, though that doesn’t stop the pain of separation. Honouring the change of nature in our relationship is something, that to my mind, doesn’t require a piece of paper from the government.

Into the depths of the woods I shall enter, and true to my nature as a solitary practitioner of healing, I will allow the wisdom and wonder of Mother Nature to be the altar upon which I heal this bone-deep loss. I trust in her to allow my ‘ceremony for one’ to bring both of us a soothing balm that will echo through time and space and love. And maybe, just maybe, my intentions for peace, love, harmony and forgiveness will heal others, too.

“When words are inadequate, have a ritual.”

 

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YES

 

 

 

 

Sometimes the smallest words, like ‘yes’ and ‘love’, have the biggest, most life-changing meanings.

 

Yes is an open door. It says “I’m going through”, unlike no which says “Go no further. No exit. Stop. No entry. THE END.”

 

Such different energies. Such different life paths.

 

 

Every day our lives are based on yes and no. Every single day.

 

Are you aware of how many times you’ve said yes today? How about no? Do you even hear yourself saying them? Every single time we say them, we are moving in one direction or another.

 

As a wedding celebrant, I meet couples because someone has said “yes!” Someone has said “I want to walk through that door with you.”

Weddings are joyous occasions, and are such a delight to be part of. And for me, always an honour.

 

When my couples and I agree to work together, one of the things that happens is that I take the time to get to know them so that I can tell their love story. After all, I want their ceremony to be unique to them.

 

This working relationship begins by asking them a series of questions. They have plenty of time (usually) to answer these, but I ask that they send me their answers independently without sharing them with their partner (though obviously they’ll see what their beloved has written when I send the script back).

 

It is quite a process. I’m not, by any means, a marriage counsellor. I’m a celebrant. However, I do take my role seriously. Some of my clients really revel in answering the questions and truly ‘get’ the process. Others get quite stuck. Why? Because one of the first questions I ask is “Why are you getting married?”

 

You’d be amazed how difficult that question is for some people to answer.

 

The question and answer process makes couples think. And, from my perspective, I learn a huge amount by how much thought and care goes into the answers.

 

I’ve been officiating weddings since 1995. One of my first weddings was for a young couple with a baby daughter. When I asked my question/s, his reply was that he was marrying her because “she had great legs!” Maybe I’m just a bit too serious for my own good, but even then (in my mid twenties), I’d have hoped for a more solid answer. To my incredible sadness, not long after their wedding, he committed suicide. The relationship wasn’t as he had hoped. It still haunts me.

 

My job isn’t, at any level, to say whether a couple should or shouldn’t get married. My job is to celebrate their love, their love story, and wish them all the best for a wonderful future. To honour their YES.

 

 

I hope, when couples go through the process of answering my questions, that they truly understand what the journey of marriage is about (you know, other than asking each other what you want for dinner every day for years on end!).

Marriage is a dance. What happens if we have two left feet? What happens if each person hears a different tune? What if one person loves to dance, and the other is a wallflower? Could it be that you love bellydancing and he loves rock ‘n’ roll?

What if one person has a free spirit and the other needs routine? Can an introvert and extrovert co-exist? So many questions!

Marriage is a constant course in personal growth. We are invited, daily, to learn more about ourselves. It is about give and take. It is about we and us. Me and you. Indeed, it is a balancing act that no one can ever tutor you in. Looking into the mirror of relationship means we are always receiving feedback about who we are, and what we expect. What do we project onto our partner? How much do we expect them to fill certain needs?

 

Sometimes people start out on the same page (like my parents), and then as the years roll on, one of them changes. And they keep changing until eventually there is too much distance to keep them under the same roof.

 

But this is a ‘yes’, too. When we say ‘no’ to another, we are saying ‘yes’ to ourselves. The door to self awareness is the first door we should walk through.

 

Yes. It’s a beautiful word. Life affirming. Encouraging. It’s an invitation to something better. Maybe it’s someone holding your hand inviting you to somewhere you’ve never been before.

 

Perhaps, when crafting vows for couples to answer, we, as celebrants, would serve them best if we asked questions in such a way as to see if the answer is ‘yes’ rather than “I will” or “I do”.

 

Yes, for as long as love shall last.

Yes, for better or worse.

Yes, in sickness and health.

Yes, because in that moment, when we’re wrapped in the power of love, we truly believe we can step through the door into a future together.

 

Yes.

 

Yes.

 

Yes!

 

Three simple letters.

One word.

One syllable.

It says “I want to walk through the door…”

 

More importantly, it speaks of hope. And in this life, hope is something we all need.

 

I Create Love

Love. It is essential to human happiness. But where does it come from? How do we grow it in our lives? Why do some people have an abundance of it, while others are deprived?

When I wrote my book, I Create My Day, I chose to include the twelve areas of human experience so that the reader could go about creating a full life based on intention, clarity and desire. Intimate relationships are an important area of human fulfilment. They help us to see ourselves. And they show us where we are ‘asleep’ and where and how we are ‘awake’.

The key to creating more love in your life is to see that it already exists within you. No one can give it to you if you don’t recognise it, and equally, no one can take it away. It is always there, though for many people it is shrouded beneath fear and layers of pain. We are, quite literally, a manifestation of love from the Unlimited Universe. What another human being can do, though, is show you how much love you allow to live within yourself.

To create a love-filled life, it is essential that we can feel what love is because otherwise we will sabotage every relationship we ever walk into. I am so grateful to all the men I’ve loved before because they were stepping stones to a relationship in which I would finally see my full self. What do I mean by that? Every relationship in our life is a mirror. We see our reflection in the face, arms, smile, heartbeat, habits, life views and love of another. When we ‘fall in love’, we are usually falling for an illusion. That is, we ‘hold up high’ what it is we like about the other person. Then reality sets in. Sometimes we don’t like what we see. But, blaming and shaming another is no better than throwing our hairbrush at the mirror because we’re having a bad hair day. It’s not the mirror’s fault! (It’s my dad’s fault for passing on hair with curls in the wrong places! ~ just kidding.) The mirror of relationship shows us who we are. If we don’t like what we see, we can go within and change our behaviour or inner irritant (or we can keep pointing our finger at what we don’t like in that person).

We can give thanks for this crash course in personal growth. But does someone’s annoying behaviour mean we have to lose sight of our true nature: to love? If we’re clear that what we’re seeing isn’t something huge within us, and that we’re ‘vibrating’ on an entirely different level, we might choose to walk away. I’m a firm believer in the saying: we become like the five people we hang out with the most. I’m incredibly choosy about who I spend my precious time with! I simply don’t want to spend my days with people who bitch, moan all the time, are unkind or critical.

I choose to be with people who vibrate at a level which seeks to see all that is beautiful, pleasurable and wonderful about this world. A rich and fulfilling life is one whereby we consciously choose what we want more of in our days. I choose love, beauty, abundance, fun, pleasure, creativity and kindness. How about you? What do you choose? What would you like more of?

If someone we’re intimate with has an annoying behaviour, we can let it irritate us and we may seethe, or we can speak up kindly and express how we feel by said behaviour, or we can rant, rave and shred that person to pieces. Whatever we do, it’s always a choice. The difficulty with the latter behaviour is that is quickly becomes a habit that destroys the heart and soul of an intimate relationship. To truly be close to someone, you need to feel ‘safe’. I’m not talking about ripping off your clothes and having a ‘shag’. Anyone can do that! By true intimacy, I mean baring your heart. Putting your feelings on the table with a purity and vulnerability that means you TRUST the other. That simply doesn’t happen unless you feel safe, and you’re not going to feel safe if someone is ready to shoot you down. Love allows you to feel safe.

Some people are under the false illusion that because a soulmate is someone you have an intense connection with, that can mean you might be inclined to fight all the time. But you love each other, so it’s ok! Not in my world. A soulmate would never tear their partner in half, or be spiteful, nasty, patronising or disinterested.

It’s often said that marriage is hard work. That has not been my experience in almost 22 years (next month) of living together. There are essentially two states of being: love or fear. A marriage which has two people choosing to love openheartedly and consciously, and choosing to do this every single day, is not hard work, and never will be. One which constantly brings fear-based behaviour is going to be hard labour (with no time off for good behaviour!). But you know, it doesn’t have to be like that. Egos cause more damage than a War Lord’s arsenal. Fear comes about in a relationship because we aren’t feeling the love. Where has it gone? Was it there in the first place? Or was it just lust that brought you together? Love doesn’t ‘die’. How can it? All another person can ever do is show you how much love is within you already. They can, by all means, help you to express that.

Love begins and ends with us. The quality, harmony and happiness of our intimate relationships is in direct proportion to our level of self-awareness, self-love, self-care and self-nurture. If we are unable to love and tend to our selves, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, then we have no ‘well’ (or experience) from which to draw on in order to bring such care to another human being.

I often witness people in marriages where they are cruel and destructive (emotional and mental abuse is just as vile and unacceptable as physical abuse/violence), or allow themselves to be treated in this way. We only ever get in life what we tolerate.

Here’s the key: no one has a gun to our head. No one forces us to stay in relationships that don’t bring us to Higher Ground (in this culture, anyway). We choose it. Each day we stay with someone who doesn’t reflect the beauty, love and kindness within us, is a day of our life we’ve thrown away. It’s another day that we say: “It’s okay, I’m not loveable, treat me like shit. It’s okay not to respect me because I don’t respect and value myself.” Quite simply, we get what we put out. What’s in our heart is written on our forehead.

When we love another human being, we ALWAYS want the best for them. We instinctively and lovingly want to raise them up. It wouldn’t occur to us to be unkind or envious of their success or creativity or joy. When we make the choice to share our lives with a significant other, what we’re saying is: you are so important to me that I’m prepared to blend my life with yours, and I will do everything I can to support your dreams while honouring my own.

At the heart of a truly loving and harmonious relationship is: balance, peace, and fairness. In many ways, an intimate relationship is like a plant: it requires care. If you neglect to meet basic requirements, it will wither and die. Relationships, like humans, flourish and grow when given optimal care. It is our nature to reach for the light.

If it doesn’t come naturally to you to put the well-being of your ‘loved one’ first, then it would be worth looking deep within to see which part of you is malnourished (as well as looking at why you stay in the relationship). To create love in our lives, we must BE love. And that inner artesian basin of love with one’s self needs to be continually renewed with life-giving nutrients. Intimate relationships are wonderful learning grounds, and show us exactly how much we value ourselves (or not).

Marriage need not be a prison, but a way of life that is deeply liberating. It can be a place from which we are given a mirror that shows us our full beauty and capacity to love.

Love is a deeply creative force that brings forth life. You can’t bake a cake without ingredients. You can’t grow a relationship of joy, abundance, and kindness if you don’t use love to nourish the soil.

Veronika Robinson is an author and celebrant. She’s been officiating weddings for almost 22 years. www.veronikarobinson.com She absolutely loves being married, and is so grateful to enjoy every second of loving and being loved.

The Life You Want

One of the questions that has been dominant in my mind for a few years has been: “What am I really good at?” Yeah, sure, there are plenty of things I’m good at, but what I really mean is: “What do I excel at?” I’m a classic ‘Jill of All Trades’, and have lots of skills at my disposal, but do I actually have any God-given gifts?

 

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The thing about having various skills is that it doesn’t allow one to master a particular skill when we’re being all “butterfly” about it, skipping here and there to enjoy the next passion. I even toyed (ever so briefly!) with the idea of going to university so I could become an expert in a particular area.

 

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And then something happened: something that changed my perception. It was mid December last year, and as much as I’m not a fan of the British Winter, I do look forward to Christmas. I genuinely love it (my family’s version, not the commercialised one) and was savouring the sweet and gentle crescendo of having my younger daughter come home from uni, and then the three of us travelling to our other daughter and her partner, and scrumptiously gorgeous granddaughter, for some more family time.

 

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I had an overwhelming ‘push’ to go and visit my dear friend. She’d been struggling for a long time with life, love and loss, and was the Queen of “Putting up the Drawbridge” (her words). I tried ignoring the voice telling me to visit her, thinking that if she wanted to be in touch she’d reply to one of my emails or visit or pick up the phone. We’d been friends for 18 years, and she knew that our door was always open to her, day or night, no matter what.

I followed my intuition (rather than ego), and turned up at her door unannounced. It took her a long time to answer. When she finally did, I didn’t recognise her. I cried. Had we passed on the street, I wouldn’t have known it was her. That she was standing in her doorway, was my only clue that it was with her. She was skin and bone, and her skin was shrivelled to that of someone twice her age. Hunched, with more than 50% of her vision gone, I knew there was a LOT of work to do to try and repair her health.

She was ashamed that she’d gotten to that state, and didn’t want to let me in the door. Well, I was hardly going to leave! Damn that bloody drawbridge! Her house reflected her inner and physical state. For someone who dearly loved their home, it was quite shocking to witness.

I spent a few hours with her, and promised I’d return. I then spent a whole day with her: cleaning her house, washing her hair, giving her a little foot massage, and just chit chatting all day long about this and that. The big stuff. The little stuff. I had made a couple of big pots of soup to put in her freezer so she could just take a portion out each day and heat it up. I knew my efforts were a drop in the ocean, but I’m also an optimist and truly believed that with time and love we could get her back on her feet. If I could help her get strongly physically, then we had a better chance of shifting the emotional and mental health. I begged her to come and live with us, but she wanted to stay in her own home.

Despite the grim situation, we even managed to laugh several times. It was a joy to see the light flicker in her eyes. All was not lost! We hugged for the longest time, heart to heart; and we both sobbed. We had eighteen years of friendship under our belt, and knew each other’s deepest secrets.

As I was leaving, I asked: “What can I do for you?” She replied: “Take me to the vet!”

The truth is that had any compassionate person seen an animal in that condition, they would have taken them to be ‘put to sleep’. Pain and misery is uncomfortable to witness if you have any level of empathy.

 

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I drove away with a heavy heart, and the light bulb went flashing on! “Veronika, you are really good at looking after yourself!”

Hell, yeah!

I suppose because I take my level of self-care and nurturing for granted ~ because it is so ingrained in what I do and who I am ~ I had never fully recognised it as one of my greatest gifts (even though, ironically, my friend had mentioned it many times over the years). Between her home and mine, another book was gestating inside me. The seed was planted. I would dedicate it to her, and she could use it as a workbook on self-love. The way my friend and I were mothered in childhood was completely different. My mum was the ultimate role model in self care!

 

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That friend, who had shared many Christmases with us over the years, and joined in family meals, and talked on the phone with me for hours, and went to the movies with me, and helped me plant an orchard, is never going to read that book.

She chose to leave this earthly world at Christmas. Her pain has ended, but I feel mine has only just begun as I try and ‘process’ everything about her life, my life, our differences, and my eternal optimism that the second half of her life could be so much better than the first fifty years, and that she could have joy, pleasure and meet a true soul mate who could be fully there for her. She is never going to walk through my front door again, or sit in the garden with me sipping tea. We’ll never discuss books or philosophy again. Certainly no more shared walks through the woods when the bluebells are in flower. There are no more hugs to be shared.

My grief is raw, deep, harrowing. I can only hope that I emerge as the Wounded Healer, and do for others what I couldn’t do for my dear friend: help them love themselves so much that they thrive in this world. That they recognise that self-love is priceless, and the fuller we are with a high-level of nurture, the more we can give to the world around us.

 

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Last weekend, I posted some pictures on Instagram of what I’d been doing. I’d gone for a run in the lovely countryside around my village. There was a pear and vanilla gluten-free vegan cake on the bench that I’d baked. Snuggled on the sofa by the woodstove, I immersed myself in a fabulous book. When the Sun beckoned me outside, I did my first spot of gardening for the year. I was in a state of joy and peace.

I started receiving messages from people saying things along the lines of: I want your life.

I guess what they were witnessing through my photos was a sense of contentment. And that is (grief aside!), how I feel about my blessed life. I’ve had more than my share of ups and downs over the years, but through it all I have always honoured my fundamental need for pleasure (and every human is born with that need).

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My senses are nourished on an hour-by-hour basis, through beauty, integrity and simplicity: love, flowers, wholesome food, my husband’s gorgeous coffee, music, friendship, water, solitude, lovemaking, nature, hot showers, essential oils, touch, laughter, and so the list goes on. It never occurs to me to deny myself the joy of pleasant scents in my home, or to not take advantage of gorgeous rays of sunshine. Whenever I can, I make time to meet with friends for a cuppa or a walk. I exercise most days of the week, whether that’s walking, running, gym or aquafit. Meals are made from scratch, and with love. I cherish the hours I spend with Mr Sweetheart. The key to my lovely life is that I don’t assume I’m going to be here in a year, though I most definitely plan ahead! I adore my diary!

My joy for life comes from today: here. Right now. And with that, is always the intuitive pull towards what I enjoy. Rainbows on my walls from the sunshine going through the window crystal. Yep. Fresh fruit in various hand-carved wooden or glass bowls. Yep. Flowers here, there, and everywhere. Yep. Beautiful music in the background. Yep. Jasmine essential oil infusing the air. Yep. Woodstove on. Yep. Cuddle with my darling. All day long! Company. Yep. Solitude. Yep. Reading. Yep. Walking. Yep. Time for a run? Yep. An urge to be creative? Yep. Doing work I love. Yep.

 

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Creating the life you want is about listening, and saying yes. It’s what I call the Sacred Yes.

There are times when I’m faced with something I don’t enjoy, like annual accounts or washing the mud off my car because it’s always getting filthy with living rurally. And grief isn’t one of my favourite things, either. But when I’m faced with such things, big or small, I find cushions to bring me comfort. I can do the BORING accounts with coffee in my favourite mug, and a candle burning. I can rest my eyes on beautiful flowers in between inputting figures into a database. Music can soothe my soul while the maths part of my brain is being tortured.

 

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When washing the car, I tell myself I’m getting strong leg muscles each time I squat! I fill the bucket with warm water and a hint of lemongrass oil (for my pleasure, not the car’s!). I let the piano music CD nourish me while I rub that pesky mud off.

And as for grief: if it flows through me, it helps. I give myself permission to hibernate and just be with the tears. I allow myself to snuggle into bed that bit longer, or allow the shower to get that bit hotter so I’m warmed down to my bones. The dawn chorus makes my heart lighter, so I listen for as long as I can before the rest of the day beckons.

Creating a beautiful life doesn’t grant you immunity from the shitty times, but it does offer you the grace to humbly see just how much there is in life to be truly grateful for. Even the hurt offers up beauty, if only we can see it.

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We are humans incarnated on this Earth to experience BEING HUMAN. We have this idea that we do all our growing through pain, but I don’t believe it has to be that way. Why can’t we grow through joy? Love? Passion? Contentment? Satisfaction?

I start and end each day with the affirmation: I am so grateful for my beautiful life. I repeat it in my mind throughout the day, too, whenever I’m not having to think about anything else.

Gratitude is life changing.

My guiding purpose in life, and for the rest of my days (and maybe years, if I’m around that long), is to create as much pleasure, love and beauty as is humanly possible. Like the flowers that grow in my garden, I want to hold my head to the sunshine and sigh with nothing but bliss. To melt into the warmth and light. That’s the life I want. That’s the life I have.

 

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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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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?

Astrologer’s Notebook: Venus in the Twelfth House

Seductress of the Night? Or Priestess of the Dawn?

Pick up just about any astrology book or magazine article which includes a section on Venus in the 12th house, and you’re almost certain to read that she is destined to engage in clandestine affairs. This is, after all, known as the house of secrets.

 

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Astrologers, old and new, will tell you that she’s the mistress of the night. She’ll steal your husband. And see that woman over there? She’ll poach hers, too. But don’t worry, it’s just for a little while. Just long enough to scratch an itch or feed an unidentifiable longing. Don’t fret, you can have your man back when she’s done.

Many astrologers will warn you that when Venus resides here, she is subject to doom and gloom, and her love life will be sorrowful. But let’s be honest: it’s a rare person who hasn’t experienced heartbreak at some point, generally starting in the teenage years. If that weren’t true, I doubt we’d have a music industry.

Another common misconception of the twelfth house is the idea that it’s a blind spot in the chart, and that we don’t have any sense of our experience of the planets there. This may apply to some people, but not all of them. Everyone is at a different level of evolution and consciousness, and astrologers are best not to rehash stories but to let clients speak for themselves. Our potential for happiness is up to us, not our birth chart, nor an astrologer’s interpretation of it. We are here to outgrow the natal template. It seems to me that those who suggest the twelfth house is a psychological prison—some dark, karmic place where we have no free will—perhaps don’t have any valid real-life experience of the magic and charm of this terrain.

 

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As with any astrological teaching, themes and stories continue to be perpetuated if we don’t listen to other experiences. The fault may indeed be with astrologers themselves, rather than the people seeking an astrological reading. The art of listening to our clients tell their stories, rather than assuming to know their level of consciousness or how they live out the template of their chart, is key to authentic astrology. As modern astrologers, we are the torchbearers for a more enlightened version of stellar stories.

 

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As a 12th house Venus denizen, and one with Scorpio for added secrecy and sexuality, I believe it is time to disrupt the script, and reveal the truth about Lady Venus and her so-called hidden pleasures.

I have been happily married to my soulmate for more than two decades, and not once been engaged in an affair, physical or emotional. I have, however, been a keeper of sexual secrets, both as a friend and as an astrologer, and am a sealed vault containing the knowledge of other people’s hidden relationships. Women readily tell me their secrets, confiding that they couldn’t share them with even their best friend. I can reveal that the dozens of women I know who’ve had, or are having, affairs have Venus living in their 4th, 5th or 7th houses, not the 12th. Not a single one.

The IC (fourth-house cusp) is the midnight hour. The ascendant is the light of dawn: sunrise. Venus in the 12th isn’t hidden away: she is walking in the mists of early day. Perhaps too many people are still in bed at that time to recognise she’s up and about communing with the elementals and fairy folk, or catching the whispers of other lifetimes she has walked. Could it be that Venus has long gone by the time the rest of the world is downing their coffee and reading the newspaper? That doesn’t make her hidden. She’s simply the early bird! How could you possibly understand her world when yours is so different?

The light of dawn: when night meets day. It’s an enlivening time when the birds are urging the world to wake up, drawing us from slumber. If you’re not Venus, barefoot on the grass at dawn, you may not ‘wake up’ till the jarring shrill of your alarm clock. Lady Venus steps, like an oracle from ancient times, forward through the shrouded fields, content in her own company. Of course she’s alone, sleepy heads. She is at one with Mother Earth. Her soul listens to the sounds no one else can hear. Voices from another world sing in her ears. Even with both eyes closed, she can see.

 

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To suggest that this placement is about illicit affairs is to degrade her purpose in the house of spirituality. Her sexual trysts are with a lover to whom she has bonded across all eternity. Nothing else would suffice.

Venus in the fourth, near the midnight hour, may well seek solace in the arms of someone else’s lover.

 

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In the fifth, Venus wants to play. The house of risk taking and gambling urges her to slide down upon his forbidden silk sheets, or to linger longer in that motel room on the edge of town. Venus here wants to laugh some more into the afternoon at that little-known café down the dark alley, as you slide your foot against her leg beneath the table.

Venus in the seventh is respectably married. Of course she wouldn’t have an affair! The ring on her finger is proof. Or is it? This may be the last place you’d look for her to play out secret love affairs, but remember: it’s far away from her sense of self (first house). Who would think to go looking for ‘naughty’ Venus here? In my astrological experience, this is one of the most common placements for an ‘unfaithful’ Venus.

Looking to my natal Venus, one that’s not living up to other astrologers’ expectations, I ponder: how does Venus in the 12th best express herself? For me, she’s a lover of solitude. The deeper in Nature she walks, the better. The more solitary her journey, the more alive and feminine she feels. She is sultry, sensual, and sexual, for sure! She makes love between the Earth and the heavens, in a world that may be mysterious to strangers, but not to her. Venus is intimate with her surroundings. She seeks to master the energies of her pentacle: earth grows, fire glows, air blows, water flows. Spirit KNOWS. This is her message. If you were awake at sunrise, you’d know this too. You sense something mysterious about her, but don’t know what. And this is where those pesky rumours about her start: from people who don’t understand the dawn.

Venus here aspires to usher us to a new age, a golden dawn. But how can she if everyone keeps putting a pillow over their heads and hitting the ‘snooze’ button?

Venus in the 12th is not of this world. She’s been here so many times, exploring the themes common to mundane living. Her soul has bouts of divine homesickness. There’s no need for ambition here in the twelfth. It’s not relevant to the journey she’s on. After all, she has everything she could possibly need. Sorrow? A conscious Venus experiences sustenance here.

Venus is our ability to give and receive love. This may or may not include sex. To assign extramarital or secret affairs to a Venus who resides in the 12th house is to not understand her at all. Maybe those who make that prediction are projecting their unspoken impulses?

This Venus seeks to make love with the Divine. What mere mortal man could sate her appetite for universal love? Why would she fritter away her physical energies on a man when she could have so much more? For her, sexual expression is a way to touch the face of Goddess. To denigrate her to sordid affairs is to miss the point: the greatest lover she could hope for is not of this world. If that’s where her sorrow lies, then fair enough, but let’s not forecast the sorrow of ‘human’ heartbreak onto her.

Returning again to my Venus in Scorpio, I have, in the past, wondered if all the men who’d sexually abused me in childhood were hooked by her. Did I attract those men who wanted to do dirty deeds in secret? Instead, I see that Mars in the 3rd house of early childhood is a more likely culprit: I was learning about sexuality (Mars) from the time I started kindergarten, when a male teacher couldn’t keep his hands off my innocent three-year-old body. No, Venus in the 12th isn’t about sex. Pleasure, comfort, love, yes. Sex, not likely. Unless, of course, it’s of the tree-hugging, kundalini-awakening, tantric, soul-mate variety.

 

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Me as a little girl with my uncle. You have to wonder, don’t you, what sort of man would think it was ok to sexually violate a child?

 

Venus in the 12th is a Goddess. She is a living embodiment of true spirituality: compassionate beyond measure. Her emotional quotient is high, here in the otherworldly home of Neptune. Venus in this landscape weeps at soul-stirring music, and cries at the exquisite feel of a newborn nuzzled against her cheek. Vibrational medicines which channel elemental devas are her ally. Art can leave her speechless.

She sees far into the future, our 12th house Venus, and, like a mermaid, brings lost treasures up from the ocean floor to share with others. Well, those who can be bothered to get out of bed at dawn! Her role is to guide us to the New Age, to taste the dew as the Sun greets morning, and to remind us that, as we go forth, we are so much more than we think we are. She delves, like the ancient priestess that she is, into her rich inner world, and speaks a language that crosses all cultures: love.

William Wordsworth painted the message of Venus in the 12th so eloquently for us when he wrote:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting
The soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar
Not in entire forgetfulness
And not in utter nakedness
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Oh yes! Venus dances naked in the 12th, draping herself with clouds of glory. She hasn’t forgotten where her star is set.

Love makes the world go around, and Venus wants to show us that divine love will have us all living happily ever after. We just have to remember where we’ve come from. And if you are willing to wake up, the Priestess of the Dawn will guide you.

Veronika Sophia Robinson is an author, astrologer and celebrant living in rural Cumbria in the north of England. www.veronikarobinson.com

Fight, Flight or Inner Calm?

It is said that the instinctive response to stress or danger is either fight or flight.

These may well have been the only choices for our distant ancestors, but why do we go to this place within ourselves for every little stress in our lives? Have we become so conditioned by our genetic patterns that we forget we actually have a choice in how we respond to the circumstances of life?

 

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You and I are not going to meet a sabre-toothed tiger on the way to work, and it is unlikely that most of us are going to be taken hostage or experience a famine in our lifetime. What do our first-world stresses actually look like?

 

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Maybe it’s a trip to the dentist?

Perhaps it’s opening a bill and fretting that you don’t have the money to pay it.

Or, here’s a common one: mother-in-law is coming to visit.

What about for children? Stress is there without fail every time their parents fight. And it’s bound to be ignited whenever there is a test or exam.

Maybe you’re experiencing menstrual stress due to nutritional deficiencies.

Your stress could be because you’ve just had an underlying health condition diagnosed.

Coming home to an untidy house is a stress, whether we’re conscious of it or not.

 

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What about the stress of caffeine, sugar or even your daily visit to the gym?

It is absolutely true that stress can trigger the instinctive fight or flight response. But has anyone told you lately that there’s another way? A mindful approach to stressful events?

The difference between our ancient ancestresses and us is that we have the benefit of awareness. We can choose our response.

As someone who has experienced adrenal fatigue twice, I have learnt slowly that I don’t have to respond to so-called stressful situations by zapping my adrenals till there’s nothing left of them. In almost all cases, our ability to deal with stress in a calm, Zen way is based on how healthy we are, not just mentally, of course, but physically. Any deficiencies in core minerals, such as magnesium, lead us to a precipice where it’s really hard to respond calmly, even to ‘little’ incidents.

 

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Most people are terrified of going to the dentist. Me? I love going there. It means about half an hour being horizontal in the daytime, with my eyes closed, resting peacefully.

Here are my top tips for nourishing your adrenals so that they have everything you need to survive should you bump into a sabre-toothed anything.

Nurturing Your Adrenals

Keep an infusion of liquid magnesium. Spray it onto your skin at least twice a day. Not only will you sleep ever-so peacefully, but you’ll find your attitude to most things to be calm and measured. I purchase a brand called Better You magnesium flakes, then mix it with boiled water (just enough water for the flakes to dissolve). This is kept in glass jars with spray nozzles. If you’re going through a lot of stress, ensure you spray every day.

Menstrual migraines? Spray magnesium onto your skin (it’s 8 times more absorbent than tablets or food). Eat three Brazil nuts every day. This will give your thyroid much-needed selenium. Find a good quality kelp for iodine. Limit caffeine, processed foods, and sugar. Get plenty of sleep.

An apple a day not only keeps the doc away, it balances blood-sugar levels as it contains chromium.

Gossip is acidic. Be mindful of what you listen to.

Drink plenty of water. Keep a record, if you have to, to ensure you’re having a couple of litres each day.

Try a floatation tank as part of your regular routine.

Consider weight-resistant exercises to build up your strength and fitness, without the stress of cardio.

If you can’t meditate, devote at least find five minutes a day for some slow, deep breathing.

Be mindful of the company you keep. Some people thrive on being miserable. Don’t let this contaminate your energetic field. To be clear, there’s a huge difference between supporting someone who is going through a tough time, and being around the perpetual moaners of this world.

How often do you get out into Nature? Where possible, spend time barefoot, or lying on the ground. The Earth allows us to dispel radiation from our bodies.

Take time to do NOTHING. Just be. Feel the sunshine on your skin. Listen to the birds. Close your eyes and breathe in the fresh air. Your body needs this.

Listen to nourishing instrumental music.

The most important lesson I’ve learned when healing adrenal fatigue is to take time for having fun. It’s so underrated in this culture. I firmly believe our purpose on this Earth is to have pleasure. Making this a priority in your life will transform the old fight-flight demons. Laughing, joking, spending time with people who make you feel good, will all send loving vibes to your adrenal glands.

 

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At any given moment, we have a choice in how to respond. We can fight. We can fly away. Or, we can tap into our inner calm and recognise that our point of power is in this moment. We can choose to face our ‘stress’ and trust that we are safe, protected and have everything we need.

 

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The truth is that there are many things in life we can’t control, such as the death of a loved one, but we can choose how to take each step. Slowly, mindfully, and with the certainty that as we lean into the situation, we will take what we need to learn from it, and move on. Stronger, wiser…and peaceful.

 

 

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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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