Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube. Feel welcome to leave a comment below.
It's a question most of us ask at some point in our lives, if not several times. But in this case, I'm not talking existentially. I'm posing a question you may have been asking yourself: who is 'Beautiful Sky'? By now you may have seen the occasional poem or quote, and lots and lots of photographs. But who is the human being behind it all...
Well, I'm quite a shy person – it doesn't take a genius to work that out (!!) At a party you will find me in the kitchen (cos it's quieter) chatting to one or two people. Never do you find me 'holding court' in a crowd. And yet... having said that, on occasion I have been known to get up in front of a crowd of strangers to tell a story as part of The Story Collective. And anyone who knows me in real life can tell you the huge effort and anxiety I go through in order to do it. Hmmmm.... it seems that sometimes I am pushed out of my comfort zone. Recently, with the publication of my mantra book, I am pushing myself again and this time it is to be more visible online. So please bear with me – it takes some getting used to (!)
There are not many photos of me, as I tend to be the one behind the camera rather than in front of it. But I appreciate that people might want to know a little bit about me. Ok – so I am a writer, editor and, most recently, photographer (though I feel a bit cheeky saying that as I am still learning). I am also learning to be more mindful and present. Last year I began to develop a practice for myself that involves mindful walking and taking photos. As a result of my mindful practice, I am listening to that little inner voice a bit more – or maybe it's becoming louder (who knows?) And the result was the idea to combine my photos with a selection of my favourite mantras. And to write a book about it!! It was a coming together of my skills AND my passion. How joyful it is to do what you love! So the upcoming mantra book is an offering straight from my heart.
But this book is just the beginning. I feel there are more books to write as I continue on my journey towards wholeness and presence. Thank you for walking with me so far. Be ready for more posts and photos to come...
Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube. Feel welcome to leave a comment below.
I have set a date for the publication of my mantra book Essential Mantras for Everyone. At last! I hear you say :) Well... I wanted an auspicious date, and I reckon the first New Moon of 2018 is just perfect! It will be out on 17 January. Meanwhile, a chance to get acquainted with a truly beautiful mantra, sung by the extraordinary Carrie Grossman. I am so honoured that she has given her blessing for me to make the video below - putting my photos to her beautiful music. Enjoy!
And so another year is upon us... and here we are, a little bit older, a little bit wiser? I guess so. At least I have realised one thing: I need my daily practice! So off I went on 1st January to 'my happy place'. And (in the words of Kate Bush's extraordinary song 'Somewhere Inbetween') 'It was just so beautiful, It was just so beautiful, It was just - so - beautiful...'
These days I don't make New Year's resolutions – they feel too restrictive somehow... a bit of a negatve vibe about them. But I do take time to reflect on what I want less of and what I want more of. Less anxiety, more trust. Less worrying and more dreaming. Less consuming, more creating. Less procrastination, more action!
And each year I have a word to reflect on. This year it is Transition. (Lots of depth in that word – lots of ideas and possibilities). Do you have a word? I highly recommend the practice of taking just one word and finding out what it tells you throughout the year. Don't get too hung up on choosing it. Just go with it – whatever word comes to you. (Sometimes the word shows itself in a dream!) Gift yourself this word, and open to it. Be prepared for synchronicities! We live in an amazing Universe!
I went for another walk this morning (2 Jan)... and I saw my friend the heron! Now, that has to be a good sign, right? I did a quick Google just now and was delighted to discover that one of the many symbolic meanings of the heron is 'easy transitions' Yay!! It also represents the 'in between' state of being (reference the Kate Bush song!)
I do love a bit of Synchronicity! I hope you are feeling refreshed and ready for the new year. May it be just as you dream it to be.
You are welcome to leave a comment – or just say hello! You can connect with me on Facebook and Instagram.
In her poem 'Wild Geese', Mary Oliver begins:
'You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.'
Her poem goes on to speak of how we are all part of Nature and we all have our place 'in the family of things'. It seems to me that the point she is making is that all our 'wrongness' is created in our minds. We need to let go of these intellectual concepts and allow ourselves to just be.
Recently I listened to a podcast by an Indian yogi called Sadhuguru, in which he was talking about being more receptive to life and life's gifts. He said that one thing we need to do is to stop 'being good'. 'When you are full of yourself "being good", there isn't much room for anything else!!" And he is right!
It's not that we should never be kind, or helpful or generous. But we should stop trying so hard. It's all about balance. Being good comes naturally when we work on letting go of the ego and accepting ourselves as the imperfect beings we are. We are just fine. Can we accept our imperfect selves?
Curiously, Christmas reminds me of how this 'being good' vibe is drummed into us at an early age. "Have you been good this year?" we ask our children. "If you have, then Santa will bring you some presents!" How about we rewrite this story? How about we say "Have you been yourself this year? Have you been sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes inbetween? Great, well every gift in the Universe is yours – and it always has been, no matter what you did or didn't do."
Now wouldn't that be something!!!!??
Happy Christmas! xxx
Such a beautiful moon last night – glowing in pink and purples of a sunset sky. The full moon represents completion. It is time to contemplate all that you have done in the past month, to enjoy the fullness and satisfaction of what you have accomplished, and to let go and clear the way for new ideas and projects.
For me the huge task of writing, illustrating and designing my mantra book is done. The hardest part is over – now I just need to make a few adjustments and corrections and it will be ready to set sail into the world!! I am so excited about it!
The full moon is also a symbol of enlightenment. What new insights have you experienced this past month? For me there have been several 'A-haaa' moments. These seem to be accelerating, the more I tune in and say, 'Yes'.
A luminous face,
watches over the night,
Listens to dreams...
I am a writer not a TV personality. I say this because publishers these days kind of expect you to be both. Ever noticed how easy it is for a TV chef or wildlife presenter to bring out a book? I'm not knocking them – good for them – but what about the people who don't like standing in the limelight? They may have something important to say – but who is going to listen?
It all comes down to 'marketability'. Publishers are running a business; they want a sure thing. The TV chef is a 'no brainer'. But a relatively unknown author – that's a bit of a risk. But don't mistake a publisher's reluctance to take you on as a measure of your artistic worth. It's simply a business decision.
So what can authors do? Well, we write (cos, let's face it, we're going to do that anyway). We work diligently, submitting our pieces to journals and entering competitions. Many rejections later... and a few successes... gradually, gradually we build up a presence.
That is all well and good. And it does work. But what if you have a book that you want to 'get out there'? You can't sit around and wait. So you self publish.
And if you are going to self publish – you have to do the whole self-promotion gig. That means, blogging, social networking... and generally 'being seen'. Now for someone who doesn't like being in the spotlight, this is uncomfortable. But it's necessary.
When I wrote 'Essential Mantras for Everyone' I quickly realised that I would have trouble finding a publisher. I began to doubt myself... Why on earth did I write it? Who would want it? What is the purpose...? The answers are easy:
Why write it? Because I want others to experience mantras and enjoy the benefits. Also to prove to myself that I could have an idea and see it through to completion (for me this is HUGE).
Who would want it? Anyone who is interested in meditation and spiritual development. And that's a lot of people.
What is the purpose? To communicate, connect and share. To encourage me to create more books!
And so I have decided to publish the book through CreateSpace. It's on its way.... I am feeling VERY uncomfortable – but excited too. And, you know what? It's OK to feel self-doubt. It's human. I just have to keep telling my inner self the mantra below:
Looking at this picture, I am reminded of sperm whales (can you see it? the big grey head and little mouth?). It actually shows the 'northern arch', a cloud formation that sometimes occurs along the coast of Christchurch when there is a nor'westerly wind.
I wanted to be sure I had the name right, so i Googled sperm whale, to discover that only just yesterday there has been another beach stranding of these awesome creatures, this time off the coast of Aceh, Indonesia. Check out this link on National Geographic. I always find it distressing news; but I am always heartened by the masses of people who turn out to help at the beach. People just love these creatures and don't want to see them die. Apparently, some of these bystanders can get in the way - but you can't blame them for wanting to help. Even experienced rescuers and wildlife experts face a huge problem - the sheer size and weight of the whales. How do you get a 40-tonne whale safely back into the deep ocean? Ropes and manpower are sometimes not enough and it must be heartbreaking when all your efforts are futile.
It took the innovative spirit of a New Zealander to come up with a solution – and one that works. Living near the ocean at Farewell Spit, Deb Ward has witnessed many whale strandings. (It's the most common spot for strandings in New Zealand.) She owns an Auckland-based business with her husband Simon that designs and builds machines for loading and unloading shipping containers. One day they came up with the idea to adapt their lifting gear to make a whale-lifting machine. They asked around for a sponsor, but could find no one willing to stump up the cash. So... they spent $40,000 of their own life savings on building the prototype. It is now in use and being refined to be even better at gently lifting the big beasts and delivering them into the sea. The Wards are hoping that the whale-lifter technology can be taken up and shared around the world. Find their story on this link.
I am on Instagram and Facebook - connect with me!
Just a few words and a picture.