COMMUNITY AND COURAGE

(This is reprinted from my recent Aphrodite Rising newsletter at Constant Contact. There has been some positive feedback so I thought I’d also post it on my blog.)

I’ve been considering all the upheaval we see in the world around us, the way the deckchairs on the sinking vessel are being frantically rearranged by the powers-that-be, and the fact that we are in a time of great change.

What does this mean for each of us spiritually and, of course, in practical terms in our daily lives? There have been lots of doomsday theories spouted about the end of the world, zooming into the fifth dimension, and so on. Yes, it would be nice if we could all transform into deeply spiritual beings chanting peace to all overnight.  Although, to be very honest with you, it sounds rather boring.  The valleys and peaks of our life experience keep us on our toes and fuel our soul’s growth and maturity.

So what is the reality?  More likely that we are nearing the end of the industrial era and a new era is taking shape but it’s still a shadowy wannabe.

Change can be a time of great fear.  Or great opportunity. These times are paving the way for a new stage in humanity’s development and one which I feel offers us exciting opportunities to embrace fearlessness and excitement at being on earth in such amazing times.

I want to return to something which is colouring our planet for the next few years – the meeting of the astral giants, Uranus and Pluto, which are scheduled for their first square on 24th June. It’s a bit like a display of cosmic fireworks except we don’t know quite what fireworks are going to spark up yet – Catherine wheels, rockets, starbursts, whatever.  These planets have profound effects on us here on earth because they are both what are called “outer planets”. They have long orbits, have a long stay in each of the houses in the astrological chart – and affect the greater community in quite profound ways. Yes, these planets throw down challenges to individuals but it’s as stirrers-in-charge at a global level that their effects are now making themselves known.

Keep an eye out for happenings just before 24th June and through to early July.  There may be big blow-ups, or perhaps small ones which appear innocuous but which pave the way for fundamental developments further down the track. The trick is not to get bogged down in the details of these happenings, but to rise above, get an overall perspective on what is happening and seek to understand what these challenges mean for you and your development at all levels – spiritual, emotional, mental and physical – here on earth.

Whether we like it or not, the process of change is an integral part of life on earth.  The important factor in present times is that we don’t try to hang on to what is over and done with in our lives or what we may have been clinging to out of fear of change – whether it’s emotions, negative emotions, old patterns, people who are in any way having a negative impact on us, whatever has played a role in our lives but which now needs clearing out to make way for the new.

Fear can blind us to the fact that we can take courage in both hands and ride the tidal wave of change so that we can move into the future easily and creatively.
I have been thinking about how we can start creating the shoots of societies of the future since I read a comment by an artist friend of mine who, sadly, has decided she’ll have to find a job as she can’t sustain herself with her art. Her dilemma reflects that of so many people who are highly creative or who think outside the ballpark, but are faced with the reality of financial survival. All too often, artists, writers, designers, and others are up against the fact that original work costs far more than cheap, mass-produced schlock which, when people are unemployed or barely surviving, appears to be the main option.

Then today I read the following article which is about grassroots activists initially organising to sell potatoes directly to buyers to circumvent  the middle person and survive financially. Not only has it taken off like wildfire, it’s led to other community initiatives:

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/06/2012611102126662269.html

If you’re struck with awe (as am I, by the way!) at my ability to link a creative artist with potato-selling , it’s because I feel strongly that we have to develop new ways of supporting ourselves and each other as we move into the future. We live in increasingly dis-spirited communities and we need to create ways to re-spirit ourselves so that life has heart and meaning, not simply a daily grind for survival.

I’m not unrealistic. I realise that this simply isn’t going to happen overnight and in the meantime people have to make difficult decisions in order to provide for their daily needs. However, the seeds of the future are being sown right now and staying on the alert for these tender shoots of more spiritual living is a choice we can all make as we weave these shoots into a future civilisation.

The potato sellers had the guts to take direct action to support themselves and it has actually led to more community organisation: ways are emerging to build helping hands between people hard hit by economic crisis.

Moving into the artistic sphere and my artist friend, I don’t think there are short-term solutions as such, but  we as a community need to look to the long-term: to sustain those among us who put their heart and soul into their work not only to nourish themselves but also nourish us by gifting us with work which is imbued with individual creative energy. 

It does involve choices. It’s easy to use a supermarket, it requires more time to visit individual outlets. In the long-term, we may be reminded that the community built up by supporting individual initiative is a very powerful element in the new society taking shape.

Similarly, we can buy cheap products because it’s easier, but for me I’m not happy at the lousy working conditions of those who produce the goods we have such ready access to because they are cheap. If we’re downright honest, the great majority of stuff you see in cheap, bargain shops is schlock and utterly unnecessary. Added to that,  these goods are produced by soul-destroying work which leaves no good energy in their essence when they’re in our homes.

OR we could exercise our choices consciously to support the creative elements among us by making different choices in order to be able to afford the prices of individually created products.  Not that I’m suggesting you buy art, jewellery or whatever for the sake of it. It obviously depends on what you love in your life.  But perhaps a bit less “bling” leads to ways for each of us to support individual people seeking to enrich our lives and, in the long-term, opens the way for the foundations of a different community where we take responsibility for our community and support each other.

INNER CHILD HEALING

As I mentioned in my blog about the Heart & Soul Expo here in North Cyprus, Bryan had a reading with a Scottish medium who was incredibly accurate, insightful and uplifting.  He seemed drawn to her from the moment we entered the exposition and I was interested because all week he had been talking of getting a reading.  Normally my husband goes into black gloom when I go to these new age-type fairs, but he’s very psychic and I think he had a presentiment that he would meet a reader who could dish up some inspirational information for him.  He certainly looked very happy when we finally started driving home.

Bryan’s reading is private to him but I was so impressed by his reading, that I decided to break my golden rule of not having two readings in a row.

It’s interesting that, in the lead-up to this mind, body, spirit fair I’d started to get quite emotional (and couldn’t work out why), but on the morning I started getting butterflies and felt quite uptight.  So at some level I was picking up also that something important was awaiting me at the expo. I mentioned it to Bryan afterwards and he said that if I was so uptight, I should have given the fair a miss. But it’s precisely when you have those sort of uptight feelings about going to something like this or to a workshop that you need to go, because your intuition is letting you know that need to face up to your fears and go, not fudge it by hiding at home, because something of significance is in the air for you.

When the reader started, I almost wished I’d scarpered when I’d started heading for the exit before I changed my mind about the second reading. The Scottish lady just looked at me and said: “You are an extraordinarily sensitive person.  You hide it behind a facade of cheeriness and positivity, but you are really one of the most sensitive persons I’ve met.”  I felt quite shocked that she’d looked so deep within me, because I’ve seldom let on about the sensitivity. I feel awkward about being open at how painful life is, how I suffer when I read about young children in trouble, or see a stray dog or one that’s has a limp. It tears at my heart and it’s very hard to cope.

But more was to come and this was a real killer. “Your sensitivity must have meant that your childhood was very painful and unhappy, you had a very angry father, and were protective of your mother.”  Well, talk about sticking her hand down my throat and ripping out all the old, hidden pain – I just sat there speechless.All the buried childhood pain came screaming to the surface and I realised why I’d been feeling nervous about attending the fair. Deeply buried stuff was being hauled into the light of day!

Because it’s true, I had a very unhappy, lonely childhood. I never fitted in at school and was incredibly lonely.  I felt undercurrents in our home which left me feeling uncomfortable and alone. My father was distant, angry, a bully and a control freak. And so I retreated into daydreams,books and nature. My favourite place was my grandparents’ home in central London. I knew my grandparents loved me unconditionally, and I loved their home which was in a tucked-away laneway surrounded by fields and a lovely woodland. Quite amazing for central London.  I’d wander for hours among the wildflowers, admiring the flowers, loving the sea of blue-violet when bluebells were in bloom in the woodland, watching the birds, admiring the golden poker flowers, picking blackberries, and just absorbing the calming, nurturing feeling of nature.

And then she went on to advise me how to heal that very sad, very wounded child of so long ago. She told me to get a photo of myself as a child, put it in a frame, and then place a gold star on it to acknowledge my painful childhood and to give myself credit and validation for the fact I survived and did okay. She also suggested I gather some wildflowers for what I now view as my sanctuary, and perhaps light a candle.  I knew exactly which wildflowers she meant – they’re blossoming now in North Cyprus all over the place and these are the flowers I used to see in my childhood. 

I got a nice photo frame with hearts all over and, as I don’t have any photos of myself as a child, I found an image on the internet of a young girl in a rural setting gazing into water.  The gold star was unfortunately impossible to find, but I found a lovely gold ribbon bobble which is just as good. I added a heart and yellow rose for love. And THEN I found a teddy bear with “Love Me” embroidered on it, stuck a big puffy heart in his arms, and felt really nurtured as I never had a teddy bear as a kid. Don’t ask me why, I never lacked for lovely toys and presents, but somehow I never ended up with a teddy bear. So now I’ve got my own teddy bear.  I decided against the candle, and have opted instead for a vanilla incense stick as this felt “right”.

My own extra to this sanctuary is something which to me is playful, invokes a sense of fun and really is quite off the planet. Bryan’s quite appalled that I came home with this completely mad, purple hat with gold trim. But it’s fun and it’s playful and, while I still feel somewhat emotional about this whole experience, it’s reminding me to be childish and playful, as I didn’t play too much as a kid.

I’m sharing this because it might give you some ideas for creating your own sanctuary or altar for healing any painful areas in your own life. Obviously what you create relates to your own particular issue and need for healing, so perhaps you  might get some inspiration from my own experience.

There was a fair lot of other stuff which was also spot on, and she said she was amazed how Bryan and I complement each other, real yin and yang. She did look a bit startled when I told her we’d moved in together the first night we met, but 35 years later we definitely made the right decision!

She also said that we had a purpose, both of us, in coming to Cyprus. I have no idea what it is, but I do know that we feel really content and happy here.  It’s a completely whacko place, but the humanity of the people here is quite enchanting. They will go out of their way to help you and have a lovely sense of humour. Nor are the backward in coming forward to say how much they like my purple hair and laughingly tell Bryan to dye his hair to match. Life is hard here for local people but they retain their good humour, kindliness, friendliness and helpfulness. I know I’ve said it before, but we both feel that, after many wanderings, we have finally come home. And it’s a very lovely, heart-warming feeling.

 

 

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD

I was reminded to write about food here because this morning we raided the huge fruit and vegie shop at the top of our road to top up our supplies.  It is always packed with customers and is very, very reasonable with prices. It is really enjoyable to be back in an old-fashioned fresh produce shop and see mounds of vegies and fruit piled up in all directions.

It’s why one of the things I’m really enjoying in North Cyprus is the food, because it’s back to basics. There are no mass-produced vegies and fruit here that have been fiddled with so they can last a long time between producer and consumer. Here all food is seasonal (apart from imported bananas and mangoes) and it comes au naturel – no washed and brushed spuds and carrots here, they come straight from the farmer and are covered in dirt. Very little is bagged up or packaged, you do it yourself. Nothing’s  sanitised for fussy consumers!

So, given the nature of seasonal produce,  we’ve just worked through a glut of juicy strawberries and cherries which tasted fantastic because they’re picked locally and sent straight to market. No freezing. No packaging.  Just fresh fruit which is full of flavour.  Now we’re heading into the tomato and apricot season. Tomatoes are down to 45 cents/kilo and they taste absolutely marvellous. As for the apricots – they are heavenly!  I used to find in Australia that they were pretty tasteless and dry, but here they are sweet and so utterly juicy.

Oranges and lemons are always dirt cheap because they’re grown locally in vast quantities. Cucumbers are the Lebanese variety and are in full swing at the moment. You go into the greengrocer’s and there are mounds of these small cucumbers at around 45 cents/kilo.

Because pomegranates are grown here and in Turkey, pomegranate molasses which costs a bomb in Turkey is dirt cheap here. And I came across naturally dried apricots which leave chemically dried apricots for dead. They are sweet and soft, not like leather, and it’s a pleasure to chew on them as a snack during the day.

When you go into supermarkets, there’s a big array of salads to take away, done freshly because there’s a demand for these products so there’s always a quick turnover. I buy tahini, humous, tzatziki (called cacik here and pronounced chachik), pickled cabbage, a tomato-chilli salsa and freshly-cooked beetroot from the local supermarket because the prices are so cheap it’s not worthwhile making your own at home.

I have to admit that there are vegies here which I can’t identify at all, they are quite strange to me.  But I’ve just come across a cookbook which I am to track down which is about Turkish-Cypriot cooking and identifies the different root and leafy, green vegies.  I’ve also found that local people will take to the mountains and paddocks to gather “weeds” which are, in fact, very nutritious and, of course, free.

And eating out is divine.  Food is fresh, cheap, beautifully presented and waiters and restaurant owners are always so friendly, helpful and cheerful.

We’ve both been geriatric gypsies over the past couple of decades but here in North Cyprus we feel we are finally at home – happy, relaxed and very, very comfortable with the energy here and the wonderful people we’ve met.

 

 

GATHERING CRYSTALS

Yesterday we went to a Heart and Soul exhibition at the Acapulco Resort which is on the east side of Kyrenia.  We are now pretty much in summer, glorious sunny days, the Mediterranean is like a flat, glittering pool in the sunshine, but we also get the sea breeze so we had a pleasant drive through Kyrenia to the Acapulco Resort which is on the other side of Kyrenia to our apartment and is set right beside the sea.

To be very honest, the Resort is – to me, at least – Bling Central.  It’s huge: rows of hotel rooms one above the other and more in the new extension being built; flash swimming pool complete with rows of sun loungers; and security people in all directions. Not my idea of a holiday but it takes all sorts and I guess if you’re working all hours under the sun, sometimes all the want to do when you do go on holiday  is flake out  by a pool and sunbake.

Convention Centre hall

The Heart and Soul exhibition was in the Convention Centre, another huge part of the resort. It took us a long while marching around the inside to find the Centre, but the space where the exhibition was held was huge and felt lovely and airy. You can see the size of the hall where the exhibition was in the picture on the left. There were numerous such huge halls which we came across in our search for the exhibition, and it’s a reminder of the serious tourism sector operating here.  Interestingly, North Cyprus is a holiday haven for Turkish people as much as for people in other parts of Europe as it only takes an hour to reach here from the mainland.

The exhibition catered for both Turkish and English-speaking visitors, so some of the material was quite incomprehensible to me. It also catered for the hungry hordes – a sort of smorgasbord was on offer with a chef preparing plates of sandwiches and other savouries, along with yummy-looking garnishes, plus Nescafe and Turkish coffee. We’d had lunch before we went to the exhibition but it always interests me how much attention Turkish-Cypriots pay to presenting even simple food with flare and care.

As for the language barrier, I have become a fully paid-up  member of the Charades Club, as I have great fun acting out anything I need to communicate if someone can’t understand me. I have found a great joie de vivre among the locals here and they enjoy themselves and laugh their heads off when I do mime to describe what I’m trying to communicate. But there’s one thing that overcomes the language barrier – crystals!!! One of the things I absolutely adore about being in North Cyprus is that prices for rocks, stones and crystal jewellery are very, very reasonable. So I came away clutching a haul of an amethyst ring, a polished labradorite wand, and a spectacular fluorite tower which I could never have afforded in Australia.  The ring is a huge, faceted amethyst – a right knuckleduster which I waved menacingly at my husband, Bryan, to huge mirth among the stall holders – and that was $20. The polished labradorite wand was $12.50, and the fluorite tower was $40. I really dithered over asking the price of the fluorite piece because I thought it would be beyond my means. But I was relaly drawn to it and was so relieved when she told me the price.  I think in Australia I’d probably have paid close to $120 for the tower.

There were some challenges as many of the stallholders were Turkish or Turkish-Cypriots who didn’t speak English. Doing mime went a fair way but sometimes we hit an impenetrable barrier and had to just smile and wave at each other. I did have the interesting experience of getting a Tarot reading from a Turkish lady, who spoke not a word of English, but one of her friends interpreted for me.  It was fascinating seeing how she worked with the cards, quite a different way to any that I’ve seen before.  She provided me with some interesting information, told me that the book I’m writing would be successful, and that I was a powerful woman, much to my surprise. Big smiles and hugs all around when I left.

In another blog tomorrow I’m going to talk about the reading that Bryan had with a very, very intuitive, mediumistic lady from Scotland. So good was it that I broke my golden rule  not to have more than one reading and also had a second reading with her.  She was so accurate with both my husband and myself that we’re still sitting around in a state of shock. But more about this later.  I’ll wind up with a photo of the laboradorite wand I also brought home with me, once I’m going to work with in body and aura massage.