Taproot - Love Pillow

 
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That photo above first appeared in my Instagram feed many, many moons ago.  In fact, I think it may even have been about a year ago.  It was a time when I was gearing up for a work trip interstate and my kids were feeling anxious over me going away without them.  I left them in the trusted and very capable hands of their beloved Granny, however this was to be the start of a continuing journey with separation anxiety.

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Months later, I found out that the theme for Issue 26 of Taproot magazine was HEAL and I thought a tutorial for the Love Pillows we made in the lead up to that trip, would make a perfect contribution.  Lucky for me, they thought so too, however they very nearly knew nothing about it because as the deadline approached I found myself busy with Nature Play SA and Wild Ones mag and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to piece it all together in time.  Taproot accept what's known in the mag world as 'on-spec' contributions.  This is short for 'on-speculation' and what it means is that instead of pitching an idea and then setting to work on the article once it has been approved and all word counts, deadlines and fees have been discussed, you put the work in first and then submit your absolute very best version 'cold', with no guarantee of publication.  I use to go hard with both approaches when I was first setting out on this writing adventure of mine, but these days I tend to prefer to pitch and have it be secured before I put the work in.

However, Taproot is different!  Taproot is worth doing the work and going in cold, with no guarantee.  It's a publication that grows stronger with every issue and I have been a subscriber since the very first one.  I absolutely adore it and this is the second time my words have been included in their pages and it makes me feel very honoured and proud to have their title in my portfolio.  

So going back to the looming deadline, I knew I wasn't breaking any contracts or letting down Editors by not submitting.  But I also knew that I really wanted to contribute this piece, not only because if I didn't I would be disappointing myself, but mostly because there is so much I can offer around the topic of Healing.  I actually had to choose between several different ideas for contribution, but a tutorial around these Love Pillows was definitely the standout.  My only wish back then, was that I had taken photos the first time around but as it turned out, it is the detailed step-by-step images I took when repeating the making for this article that have been included and compliment the tutorial instructions so beautifully.  So instead I feel ever so grateful for the few late nights I had but mostly to the Tradie who rescheduled on me that day way back last November.  I was saved from having to deal with maintenance issues and constant interruptions and was instead, able to use the time for craft and photo-taking.  Without that unexpected turn of events, it's unlikely this piece would have come together in time.  Serendipity for the win!

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Childhood anxiety is becoming more and more widespread and there are many theories being documented for the reasons as to why.  I have some of my own beliefs but have also recently learned* that anxiety is particularly prevalent in children between the ages of 8 - 10yrs.  This is known to be a classic developmental stage where children feel excited, thrilled and intrigued by the newness of the young adult world they are stepping into, however it can very quickly become confusing, frightening and overwhelming.  They then step back again into the childhood world that is so familiar to them, and one which offers comfort and reassurance but can also be frustrating and boring.  All those feelings, all those emotions running rampant within the heart and mind of someone who is no longer a child, but not yet an adult.  It's no wonder our little darlings get anxious, yes?  

Within our family, there is certainly an ebb and flow to our personal struggles with the anxiety beast and when it rears up inside my oldest, those feelings become incredibly consuming.  For her, it's a compounding double whammy effect whereby her grief around the death of her dad gets mixed up with the fear of losing me, and then this is all muddled up with the extra sensitivities that come with her now being ten, the ripe developmental age for anxiety to be acute.  Truth be told, sometimes it becomes a complete mess and the two of us simply ride the wave as gently and graciously as possible, which usually means lots of tears and cuddles.  

Our Love Pillows proved very effective for that weekend and have been slept with every night since.  They are not a cure-all, but they absolutely do offer something.  They offer comfort, support and understanding, but mostly they offer the little bit of extra Love just when it is needed most.

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You'll find my tutorial spanning pages 54 to 57 in this current issue of Taproot and it's accompanied by loads of pretty pictures with detailed instructions, and a list of the materials you'll need, plus tools and notions.  There's also a backstory on why and how the original Love Pillows came to be but it's such fun giving a little behind the scenes insight here on the blog and through Instagram, don't you think?

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This latest issue was released last month but because of the international mail delay, I have only just received my copy and it's a ripper!  So many inspiring recipes, tutorials and stories inside and if you are in the U.S, well you're the lucky ducks!  It's widely distributed all around the States in what sound like pretty fabulous stores, but otherwise, if you're across big wide spans of ocean like us here in Australia, you can certainly grab yourself a copy through the Taproot online store, but for those more local to me, Tassie based Spiral Garden have it in stock too!

Enjoy friends!  And if you do grab yourself a copy, please drop me a line as I'd love to hear what you think xo

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* through our family naturopath who has deep roots in anthroposophical medicine and is not only a wealth of knowledge but also mixes us magical herbal tonics for all our various needs.

 

Wild Ones Issue 1

 
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You know the saying...

...one door closes, another one opens

We've all heard it, yeah?  And cliche as it might be, gee it's true.  Or at least it certainly has been in my experience!

I've already mentioned about the burnout that hit me last year (here and here) and I'm not going to keep going on about it, but that really was a turning point for me.  It was the catalyst for me to steer myself back on course, reassess everything and metaphorically close some doors. 

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That's what was needed for me to gain a fresh perspective and it was honestly only a matter of days before I woke up one morning to a message.

It was from Jason Tyndall, Manager of Nature Play SA.  He'd read my piece in Taproot :: SHARE Issue 20 and was wondering if I'd be interested in meeting and talking further about some exciting plans they had on the horizon. 

BAMMM!!!!  Another door opened!  And it was one so aligned with who I am, how I choose to live and the way I strive to parent.  It's like the Universe was just waiting for me to figure it out!  I love that!  It's that undeniable confirmation that things are back on course and I totally get that this level of thinking is not everyone's deal but as I said in this post way, way, waaay back, 'make of that what you will, we all find our own courage through our unique belief systems' (and here's a random point to note... I wrote that post 11 days (!!!) after Tuck died!  Spins me out when I reread stuff from those early days and I am so glad I wrote them because it reminds me of how far I've come).  Anyhoo...

I was already familiar with Nature Play SA and the amazing work their small team manages to achieve, but reading statements like this...

...we work tirelessly to bring the magic, imagination, joy, curiosity and wonder back to the childhood of today. 

Well, really, it was a no-brainer for me to accept Jason's invitation.

That first meeting held so much more than shop talk.  There was Life talk!  Good quality, rich, meaningful, authentic, absolute alignment, Life Talk.  And that's just how it is meant to be.  Eight or so months later, those 'exciting plans' that were on the horizon are now unfolding and coming to fruition, while even more plans are being formulated for the future.  

It is very worth taking the time to read their full story, but in a nutshell, from starting up in 2014 with a tiny team of two, yet attracting a promising 100 people to their first event, that has now grown to a team of eight and now attracts over 7,000 participants to sell-out events across SA!  They are a not-for-profit organisation who, after the first three years of government funding, are now stepping out on their own as an NGO.  The current team continues to grow (positions available) and smash their goals through burning passion and unwavering dedication.  They are hands-down the greatest, most fun and most supportive crew I have ever had the pleasure to work with, and they truly live and breathe their vision...

...to make outdoor play in nature an everyday part of childhood

Which brings me to the details of those 'exciting plans', well those that have been unveiled at any rate.

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Last October saw the launch of the all new Nature Play SA Collective with the roll out of the Educators Membership.  Then in December last year, it was followed by the launch of the Families Membership.  Being a not-for-profit NGO, these memberships are now the main source of funding and with so many different packages to choose from there is a membership perfectly suited to every family or educator, from principals to relief teachers, homeschoolers, Uni students and families of all shapes and sizes. 

My involvement has been with the Families Membership which gives access to an online portal; a true treasure trove loaded with nature play ideas, downloads, videos, podcasts, activities and endless inspiration!  Up on the portal now is the first bundle of several tutorials, including one by yours truly offering steps for creating your own Story Stones.  Soon it will be joined by the next collection of tutorials, which will be released in time for Easter and includes my contribution for natural Egg Dyeing

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Then there's their brand new print mag; Wild Ones - a nature play magazine for everyday families, which is included with every tier of Family Membership and published biannually, based upon the seasons; Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter.

It's the most beautiful magazine.  And just to give you a sense of what you can expect... imagine a finely curated blend of meaningful stories, knowledgeable articles and engaging family friendly craft activities, plus nature based life-cycle pullouts with Jason's very own watercolour illustrations!  All nestled within paper stock and print quality that has been environmentally and consciously selected, and offers superior results with a beautifully smooth finish.  Jason is a professional photographer as well as a very talented artist and it is his images which richly grace the pages and front cover of Wild Ones.  The mag holds three sections; Knowledge and Storytelling, Rhythms and Change, Home and Family.

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This first issue offers thoughts on outdoor play, homegrown carrots (plus a great dip recipe), gardening alongside your child/ren, watercolour painting, lavender play dough... oh man, there's just so much good stuff inside!  And there's a piece from me all about the significance of 'Turning Five'.  It's a milestone birthday in our family and one which invites a meaningful gift.  If you've been visiting here for a while, you may remember the Explorer's Satchel I put together for Noah's fifth birthday..?  Well two and a half years later, I've now written close to 1000 words on why and how that gift came to be and you can find that story in the opening pages of this first issue.

Right now there is plenty of behind-the-scenes work going on to get Issue 2 ready for it's release next month, so stay tuned for all the goods on that when it happens.  And just in case you miss it when perusing their website... they have an online shop!!!  Fair warning though... your cart will be loaded in no time ;)

Happy week ahead friends and lots of love xo

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1st February 2018

 
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Here we are!  Spring 2017 gave way to Summer and now, a fresh new year and already one month has passed.  Hello February 2018 and hello my long neglected but never forgotten friends!!!

This week sees us back in the swing of our school routine and me mapping out my current deadlines, while deep in reflection over the year that was and the year that is to come.  I know I'm not alone when I reveal that, for me, 2017 kinda sucked!  But a good kind of 'sucked' if there ever was such a thing. 

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Astrologist heralded it as a 'Number 1 year', with years moving in 9 year cycles.  I've not ever studied Astrology (or Astronomy) so I really don't know the ins and outs of it all, but I value the teachings and certainly believe that our cosmos holds a special influence over us.  I've never doubted the power of the Moon and Her magnetic charge over Earth, so of course it is only natural that I would be open to the powers of all things galactic.  

A 'Number 1 year' is about planting seeds and building foundations.  It's about letting go, transitioning and diving deeply into the discomfort and messiness of all that that holds, including embracing the unknown.  I haven't blogged all that much over the past 12 months mostly because my inner and outer world proved to be an absolute perfect reflection of what it meant to ride the wave of a '1 year'.  As the year opened, I had no clue of what lay ahead for me, I simply set my intention for the year around the theme of WORTH and went about my merry way.

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It wasn't really until we hit mid-Winter, six months in, and there was an energetic window between 2 Eclipses that brought me smack bang into the centre of what that '1 year' really meant for me, and as it turned out, it was perfectly connected to my word of intention.  Without going into all the nitty gritty I will simply share that I've now nicknamed it, my Trifecta of 2017!

Right during that time, mid-Winter, 2 Eclipses, July/August, was when three big things in my world met the junction of the Astrologic '1 year' and my personal intention for WORTH.  

  1. I hit burnout within my career which brought on the realisation that I'd veered onto another track that was not as authentic or honouring to who I truly am.  It took burnout and some deep unplugged time before I could clear my scramble, refocus and redirect myself to get back on track.
  2. We changed schools and are now head over heels in love with the Bush School and community of which we are are part.  It was a huge and terrifying decision but one that was completely intuitively directed and six months later, has had a profoundly positive effect upon all 3 of us!  And the final piece within that trifecta...
  3. A romance and the difficult (but right) decision for us to go our separate ways. 
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So, three major turning points all mushed into one and each carrying the theme of WORTH, plus those energies of a '1 year'!  

It was a year that pushed me in very unexpected ways.  A year that for the most part, was so deeply uncomfortable and held so much learning!  Yet also, was deeply empowering and I finally feel like my big-girl boots are now firmly upon my feet.

It was a year for which I am immensely grateful.  For without that discomfort and without that learning, I wouldn't be where I am now.  When Tuck died, I was forced into a metamorphosis and ironically, this online space use to be called The Conscious Caterpillar.   One of my earliest articles, published in the U.S. mag Mabel, was titled 'Metamorphosis' and my words offered insight to what this very process meant for me during those very early days.  I had no clue as to who I was.  I don't mean in the sense of my name and date of birth.  I mean my essence, my identity as a woman.  I knew I could no longer be the person I was when I was with him because he was no longer here to be with.  And I knew I could not return to the person I was seventeen years earlier before I had met him, because I was 21 years old then, not the 40 year old I turned on my first birthday after Tuck had died.  So the caterpillar had to start creating a cocoon for itself and three years later, I have now emerged from that cocoon and while I test out my new wings and am stepping into who I wish to be and feeling stronger, clearer and more empowered than I have in a long long time.  Perhaps even ever!  So 2017 felt like it was a year of emergence, one that is to shape the years to come. 

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Which brings me to here, 2018.  A 'Number 2 year'!  Growth, patience, balance and collaborations, that is the essence of a 'Number 2' year and I can't help but be curious as to how those things will play out for me over the months to come.  Certainly some seeds were sown throughout the year gone by and I am excited to nurture them as they grow, but more than anything, there is this clarity and sense of direction that has eluded me the past few years.

I think it's going to be a fun year!  No doubt there will be a few more lessons to learn and adventures to be had, but mixing those up with enthusiasm and love will surely make for a wild, wild ride.  From here I can tell you for certain that my year ahead holds some overseas travel, some interstate travel, a weekend filled with inspiration at the very first Soul Craft Festival - that's the brand new baby of Fel's, creator of The Craft Sessions - some new ink upon my skin - tweaking the final design this weekend - and some new super exciting work, part of which is my involvement with Nature Play SA.  I'll be sharing loads more about them, their new membership packages and brand new print mag, Wild Ones, in a post very very soon!  Promise it won't be another 4 months away!!!

Oh, and how's the timing of this blog post, eh?  Crazy that these words have spilled out of me right when we are in the wake of yet another cosmic event... the energies of this most recent super charged, super Moon - a full Moon Eclipse and a Blue Moon to boot - are profound!  If you are here in Australia, did you stay up to watch it last night?  Here where we are in the Adelaide Hills, it was cloudy right up until the moment of action and then the clouds broke apart to reveal the magic!

Happy Days lovely people, let's rock this '2 year'!!!! 

xo

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