Category Archives: Seasons

Easter 2014

Wishing you and your family a blessed Easter in 2014.

May you find peace in your heart as you value the gift of service. Our inherent nature is to serve – find that peaceful place within where life flows through you.

Take the time to laugh, play and just be.

Blessings to you.

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In praise of the afternoon nap

Hi gorgeous!

How are you doing? If you are reading this and it also Autumn for you, I hope that you are managing to slow down. When I wrote about Ayurveda’s take on Autumn in this post, I mentioned how Vata time (the quality that is most prominent in this season) makes us a bit heady and spacey. This is because the qualities of air and space are prevalent, so we naturally amplify those qualities within ourselves.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is how different times of the day are also more prominent. These are rough guides and they can vary based on the time of year and your latitude, but, generally, Vata is most active between the hours of two and six. This is applicable in the afternoon and in the evening.

Do you ever wake at two in the morning? Ha, ha, that is Vata time! Meditation is recommended before six a.m. because Vata is the most “airy” time of the day, so we are very receptive.

But, this is a post about afternoon naps, I digress.

Basically, if you have Vata in your constitution, a Vata imbalance or it is Vata season (windy, cold, dry) outside, you need to take extra precautions at Vata time to stay balanced.

Vata needs warmth, grounding, sweetness and routine.

An afternoon nap (20 minutes or so) is a perfect way to ground Vata, since it slows down the movement that is inherent in Vata. If we don’t consciously slow down at this time of the day, we can get a bit frazzled and feel really worn out by the end of the day. Do this for a couple of years and you start waking at 2 a.m. (I know because I have done it!)

When I first started working on balancing my constitution (My Vata was out of balance), I would nap every day if I could. On the days that I couldn’t, I made a point of sitting and having a cup of tea.

Now that I feel much more grounded, I still have a nap if I feel like it.

Or else, I make myself a cup of chai with a cookie (remember I said Vata needs sweet – I have just given you permission to have some cake in the afternoon!). I also read or watch something inspiring, sit outside, or just lie in bed. I do this between two and three p.m. before I pick up my children from school. When they come home, we have some more afternoon tea, all together. (You can’t have too much afternoon tea, I say!)

My husband has a job in the city and does not have the luxury of lying down for an afternoon nap, so I have encouraged him to go for afternoon tea with his colleagues and to eat something sweet (fruit is really good to have at this time) between the hours of two and six. He says that it really makes a difference to his day and he also doesn’t come home ravenous.

I hope that is helpful to you. Give it a try and let me know if it makes a difference to your day.

Blessings to you.

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Progress on Claude Monet’s garden

Hi beautiful.

I hope that you are well. It is definitely cooling down over here and this seems to have reignited my enthusiasm to create a magnificent garden like Claude Monet’s in Giverny. Due to my inherent Pitta (fire and water) constitution in ayurveda, I tend to find the warmer weather a little bit challenging. I have to watch that I don’t over heat and I need to make a point of really cooling down my activities.

I thought I would share a few photos and tell you what I have been doing in creating the garden of my dreams. I am learning that creating a garden of my dreams in such a hot and dry climate is going to be a life time of learning. The soil in our garden is very poor. Sohail has been digging holes for me to plant a few fruit trees and he digs up sand and rocks! I am filling up those holes with lots of compost, rock minerals and potting soil. So far, I have planted a Japanese plum, a Brazilian cherry and another Japanese plum is planned to go in to the ground soon. I am hoping that the trees will provide us with shade on the lawn in summer and beautiful blossoms in spring.

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If you have a look outside Monet’s house, near the front door, you will see that there is a sea of forget me nots, with pink tulips growing amongst them. I have endeavoured to create the same thing with a pot next to my front door. I have planted some tulips in a pot with the forget me nots. One thing I have added to my organic potting mix is rock minerals. This really nourishes the soil. I am noticing that my seeds have started germinating just four days after planting. I always add a handful of rock minerals to whatever I am planting.

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The first thing that Monet and his family did was to plant a vegetable garden that would supply them with delicious food. I have got four vegetable planters in the backyard and here is a picture of one of the tomato plants going crazy. The tomatoes are all green. Even though it was very hot in summer, the summer has not been very long, so I suspect that is why the tomatoes have not ripened. I have picked and put them in a bowl near a window, but they are also not ripening. Can anyone give me some wisdom on growing tomatoes? Should I just let the plant die down and wait for the fruits to turn red, or is it too late? I have some peas that have self seeded and are starting to climb up the bottom there. I love how mother nature is just doing her own thing!

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The last thing I will show you is my nasturtiums. I am so pleased with how they are growing. Monet has a Grande Allee underplanted with nasturtiums on both sides. The nasturtiums creep all along the path and cover it completely by the time it is autumn. I have planted them near my vegetables and they have grown beautifully. I am so pleased with them that I am planting some more on the other side of the vegetable garden too. I think that if I work up the soil, they will grow even better next year.

I will leave you with a quote from Elizabeth Murray, who helped to restore the Giverny gardens in the 1980s:

“Cultivating beauty nurtures spirit, which blossoms into creativity, rooted and sustained in love.”

I am wondering if you are doing anything special in your outside space? If you would like to see what else is inspiring me to get outside, you can have a look at my Pintrest board. If you have one too, I would love to know what it is, so that I can see what inspires you.

Blessings to you.

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How ayurveda can be supportive in the changing times of Autumn

Hi gorgeous ones!

I am working on a post to update you on the progress I am making on Monet’s garden, but I feel an urgency to get this information out to you first, so here goes. Today we went to the Diggers Club Harvest Festival. It was a lovely day out for me, celebrating the end of summer and embracing the harvest that comes at this time of year. I noticed that the weather was very typical of autumn – cold and windy. And I noticed that because of this weather, some of my family members did not enjoy it as much.

From an ayurvedic perspective, autumn is the time of heightened vata. Vata is the quality of air and space. If we think of the qualities of Vata, they are dry, rough, light, cold, subtle and mobile. We see these qualities in the weather and we can also see them mirrored within ourselves.

If we look at individuals who have a predominantly vata constitution, we will notice things like:

  • Thin and bony build.
  • Either very tall or very short.
  • Skin and hair is dry.
  • A variable appetite, one moment feeling ravenously hungry, the next, forgetting to eat.
  • Poor digestion, prone to constipation.
  • Very fast and erratic speech and quick moving movements.
  • Very light sleepers that are prone to insomnia.

If we look at celebrities, someone like Kate Moss comes to mind. She is very thin and light. You almost get a sense that she will float away. That is vata. Like the air – light and mobile.

From an ayurvedic perspective, the best way to support any element is to give it the opposite. Like attracts like. Imagine a glass of cold water, if we put it in the freezer, it will freeze. The quality of cold will be even colder. But, if we put that water in the kettle and bring it to a boil, it will warm up.

I find ayurveda so empowering, because I am learning that I can stop an imbalance from taking a deeper hold within me, by understanding which dosha is imbalanced and taking steps to overcome the imbalance.

If you find that you struggle with weather that is cold and windy, you may have strong vata in your constitution. It is my secondary constitution, so I have to make a real effort to keep it balanced. It is also the first dosha to go out, so even if it is not your primary constitution, it is most likely affecting you.

A few ways to know whether your vata is out of balance: *

  • Overly active thinking.
  • Restless, cannot sit still.
  • Inclined toward fear, anxiety and depression.
  • Feeling spacey and ungrounded.
  • Feeling emotionally delicate.
  • Quick to judge or make decisions.
  • Disorganised.
  • Tend to procrastinate.
  • Moody and emotionally volatile.
  • Interrupt or zone out in conversation.
  • Impatient.
  • Arthritis.
  • High or low blood pressure.
  • Cracking or popping joints.
  • Muscle stiffness.
  • Headaches.
  • Insomnia.
  • Constipation.
  • Gas and bloating.
  • Low energy, depleted life force.

So, what can we do to support ourselves when our vata is out of balance:

  • Vata is dry: This means that we need to give it moisture. Foods that are dry are very agitating to vata. Think of things like crackers, salads and packet chips.
  • Vata is light: This means that it needs lots of grounding. Think of things like connecting to the earth and being in the body. Since vata governs the mind, we tend to become very “heady” when vata is too active. We need to take active steps to come back into the body. My most favourite way is through ayurvedic self massage, which I wrote about here. It is the number one thing that has helped my vata.
  • Vata is cold: This means that it needs warmth. We need to make an effort to eat warm foods. Lots of soups, afternoon tea and hugs, lots and lots of hugs. Vata needs LOVE. My recipe for chai tea for PMS, is not only for PMS. If you haven’t seen it, you can get it here. Have a cup every night before bed, it will make a world of difference, I promise.
  • Vata is mobile: This means that it needs stability and routine. Vata really settles down when we follow a regular daily routine. When we rise with the sun, eat our meals at the same time each day and live in a peaceful environment, vata is able to express itself in a healthy way through creativity, flexibility and healthy communication.

I think that a really quick and simple (but not always easy) way to pacify vata is to come back into the body through the breath. Just taking a few deep breaths brings us right back into the body.

Try it now. Sit upright, place your hands on your belly. Feel into your belly and take ten deep, conscious breaths into there.

Do you feel better? More grounded? Simple, yes. Like I said, not always the easiest thing to remember to do when our mind is all over the place :).

Perhaps you can start a ritual and have a cup of warm chai before bed? Or some morning ama buster?

Whatever you do, just be kind to yourself. Like I said, vata needs love and I am sending lots and lots of it your way. You are doing extremely well and should be so proud of yourself. Making any effort to nourish yourself and take care of you can only benefit you and the world around you. We can only change ourselves, we do not need to carry any responsibility to save the world. Just loving ourselves is enough, the rest just naturally ripples out.

I hope that something has inspired you here.

I would love to know if you have any things that you do to support you when it is autumn or when you are feeling ungrounded? Please share, I am sure that it can inspire many people.

Blessings to you.

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*Yarema, Rhoda and Brannigan

How to create a garden like Claude Monet

Hi there beautiful!

Today I would love to tell you about how you can create the garden of your dreams.

I have inherited a massive garden in the house that we are living in at the moment. I am sure that there are much bigger gardens out there, but this one has felt quite overwhelming to me. We live an hour outside of the city, in a semi rural area.

It is beeeeeeeautiful. We live on a dirt road, we have kangaroos hopping outside and beautiful Australian gum trees all around.

I really do feel like I am in heaven.

You see, beauty is one the most important things in my life. I live and breathe my life to create beauty all around me. It fills my soul.

The problem has been that this incredible garden that I have inherited is a lot of work. So, for the last year, I have sort of just let it deteriorate.  it wasn’t in the best shape when we moved in, so I used that as my excuse not to do anything about it.

Have you ever done that? Felt so overwhelmed by something that you just leave it.

I am a recovering perfectionist and the typical tendency of perfectionists is to procrastinate. We procrastinate and procrastinate and then things become so overwhelming that we panic. The 3 p’s of perfectionists: perfectionism… procrastination… panic.

Not a good combination, is it?

The thing is that we are never complete. Nothing can ever be perfect. It can only be perfect when it is finished. And nothing is ever finished.

Everything is a beautiful, ever evolving process. When we stop growing, we die. Not that anything ever dies, energy just transforms, but that is is topic for another day, ha!

Anyway, I realised that if I wanted to create Monet’s garden at Givenry, I would have to start somewhere. (Yes, that is my dream, to have a garden like that!)

Givenry

I have started just being in my garden. Just going out there with no agenda. Seeing what calls me that day.

I have tidied up my vegetable garden. I have put up a mini greenhouse which has been sitting in a box for over a year, I have planted seedlings, I have started building up my soil, I have been mulching, I have planted sunflower seeds in the shape of a teepee and I have started nurturing my compost bin and worm farm.

And when I say I, I actually mean me and the children. As a mother, you know that your children follow you wherever you go. I like to think of my children like little puppies following me around. Always happy, excited and wanting to know how they can be involved in my latest project.

So, Annie and Xavier have been doing all of this with me. And they have been inspired by the garden just as much as me.

It took Monet 40 years to create his garden. He had 8 children helping him and 5 full time gardeners. I have 2 very small children and an occasional helper in Sohail, who works in his corporate job in the city all day.

So, I may not achieve Monet’s garden in the next year, but I can appreciate the beauty in creating it, all the same.

It is never done. It will always be changing. And it will always need my attention.

One of my teachers says that when you step outside, all your problems disappear. Truer words have not been said. The smell of the earth, the feel of the soil in your fingers (I very rarely wear gardening gloves), the crunch of the leaves under your feet, the sounds of the birds, the wind. The appreciation of the passing of the seasons that can only be appreciated when we spend time in nature every day.

So, please, gorgeous one, get yourself and your children outside!

Plant a tomato plant. Or a box of beautiful flowers. Learn how to grow your own food. A wonderful place to start is with Nicola Chatham. She has got great tips, e-books and courses that will take all the perceived hard work out of gardening for you.

Whatever you do, just do something in the garden! Even if you only have a windowsill. Connect with nature. Nature is the ultimate healer. Nature connects you right back to your soul.

It won’t be perfect. Especially when you have little people around you. Little peeps who want to do everything you are doing. It will take twice as long. It will not look like you envision. You will kill a few plants. You will cook a few worms (guilty as charged).

And you will be forever changed because of it.

So, just DO IT!

Go, go, go…

Get off Facebook and this blog and smell the earth. Feel the wind in your hair. Get some cow poo from the local farmer and go and love your soil.

Enjoy your connection.

Blessings to you.

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