Meditation to Awaken the Senses
Lay down or sit anywhere outdoors. Ten breaths for each sense but stay longer if you like. The longer the more benefit.
Try to stay aware of your slow calm breath, breathe through your nose. See if you can count your breath but all good, if you prefer not too.
Close your eyes and begin to listen to the sounds around you.
Move from sound to sound.
Open your eyes and choose to gaze at the water, a tree, the sky or something else you find relaxing.
Close your eyes and feel the air flowing in and out the 2 nostrils. What can you smell? Breathe in the smells and feel how important our sense of smell is and how it can make us feel happy.
You may want to focus on a gentle cooling breeze brushing across your skin or it may be a crazy wind, refreshing and blowing away the cobwebs or the lovely warmth of the sun warming you. Or rain cleansing you and washing away negative thoughts. What else can you feel?
How many times have you eaten without really focusing on the taste?
Choose something you really love to eat or drink for this meditation and take it with you.
Sip your tea.
Enjoy a piece of fruit.
Have a picnic.
We feel nourished and content using our outward senses.
A Lemon Tree.
Lemon is one of the most important and versatile natural medicines for home use.
Not everyone has the space or climate to grow a lemon tree but if you do. Plant one!
My lemon tree was the first fruit tree I planted in the garden and it is my best and most loved. I sit under it in summer by the natural pool and watch dragonflies and birds.
When it flowers the smell of the blossom is so special and the bees love it.
The lemons stay on the tree for months. It is only a few months of the year I cannot go out and pick a lemon and when I do before using it I squeeze and smell...nothing is better for you than the smell of a freshly picked lemon.
You can buy the essential oil which smells lovely and is highly therapeutic but not the same.
Now where to start..so much to say.
It is my colds and flu prevention.
Cut half a lemon into chunks, place in a cup and pour on boiling water. Sip and leave the chunks in. It gets stronger and more therapeutic.
Add raw honey to soothe a sore throat and sweeten the tea.
Add ginger or/and a pinch of chilli if you are feeling cold and shivery.
Why would anyone buy chemicals from the shop, when a lemon tea is so delicious and beneficial?
I use them for guacamole and other dips plus my sultana, walnut and lemon cakes.
When we have too many in winter, it's time for Dave to make his delicious Lemon meringue pie.
Despite their acid content, lemons have an alkalising effect on our bodies.
They are anti-bacterial and a few drops of the essential oil on a cloth makes a wonderful cleaner.
They help prevent infections in the stomach, liver and small bowel.
They help strengthen blood vessels especially veins and capillaries and prevent bleeding gums and arteriosclerosis.
They are a general health tonic
Burn the essential oil through the house to encourage clarity, direction, awareness, concentration and liveliness.
There is more, research if you are interested but add lemons to your life.
A poem written by me
There are ghosts on this boat.
Happy times, memories,
My Dad with a glass of red wine,
Pam my lovely mother in law playing Pictionary,
What is that I hear ? Children laughing.
Happy times, memories.
Why, when, how?
I never believed in ghosts,
But now they are here, they are my memories,
I tell myself,
You should have enjoyed it more,
You should have laughed more,
You should have stopped time.
But the ghosts remind me,
Enjoy life more,
Live in the moment,
Let it go,
Let us go,
Live your life now,
We are always in your heart.
My garden is a regular size garden and yet I have 65 fruit trees.
I remember proudly telling a friend, who asked."Is that counting stawberries?"
"No!" I said indignantly.
You see I had a dream, a dream of growing most of my own fruit and vegetables.
I read and studied and planted, fruit like apples for example that were organised to fruit at different stages to spread your harvest over a longer period of time.
Some were dwarf trees; some were vines, like grapes on the veranda and bushes like blueberries.
And my harvest, is it amazing after 15 years?
No not at all. Fruit flies are the worst of my pests. I have tried every sort of bag and set organic traps. Each year I would get determined, gather strength, read a bit more and try again and each year I would sadly pick up rotten fruit!
Have I given up? Not at all.
I have learnt to look at things in a different way.
My garden is beautiful, the blossom in spring, watching the grapes grow and shade my veranda in summer. Watching the bees and insects that love my garden.
I always have lemons and mulberry season is amazing.
Last year I harvested 10 bagged fruit from a nectarine tree bought by my son when he was seven. They were a bit hard but so delicious. You have to get in quick before something else does.
I always get grapes and they attract a lot of fruit eating birds that I wouldn't normally get to see outside my kitchen window. Fig Birds, Cat Birds, Bower Birds, Koels.
The King Parrots love the loquats and I love King Parrots. We had one year where we had so many loquats I remember taking them to a yoga retreat I was running for everyone to try. Fruit fly found them last year.
My loquat is a beautiful hardy tree that hides my neighbours house.
There was the year of the strawberries when my kids were little. We planted paths of them and fed them with casuarina needles from the reserve we overlook. All the neighbours kids came collecting. It was amazing....so many. Maybe I have a virus because even new plants don't seem to get many now...maybe I have a fruit eating bird that gets up early!
I was talking to some of my neighbours grown up kids recently and it is one of their happy childhood memories.
What I have learnt is you don't always get what you want.
You have to look at things from a different angle sometimes.
You have to live and learn.
You can't control everything.
Medicine grows on trees and all you need do is watch them to recieve it.
P.S. I am trying out a new type of fruit tree bag this year. Some people might say I have a stubborn streak. I like to describe myself as determined. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work.
My daughter is 17 and a great cook.
From being little both my kids have been encouraged to get involved with cooking. Every week a mess was made and a cake was baked from scratch. When they reached about seven they had to be responsible for cooking a meal. I was the assistant and they could choose what it would be. They are both great cooks.
This is a meal my daughter made up.
It starts with a bit of green salad, maybe lettuce or rocket and tomato if it is in the fridge
The veggies are roasted with some extra virgin olive oil in a pan with some fennel seeds, smoked paprika, cumin and salt. Use what is in the fridge. Carrots, beetroot, tomato, sweet potato, potato and onion are great.
The chickpeas can be soaked overnight and cooked for a couple of hours or you can use a tin. I cook up a big batch of chickpeas and make hommus with the rest or chickpea curry or both.
They were fried in butter or virgin coconut oil if you are vegan, salt, pepper and a bit of tomato paste
Add eggs if you want.
Maybe avocado and for us definitely Meredith Dairy Marinated Goats Cheese.
Are you walking towards happiness or running away from life?
We evolved to walk from one place to another, observing, picking and catching food as we went.
We evolved to run in short bursts, to chase but mainly to run away from danger.
Why are so many of us running or cycling with pain or strain on our faces?
Why are so many of us sitting with dull expressions?
Our brain doesn't know the difference between stresses caused by modern living and physical danger. We feel the urge to run, this is known as the flight or fight mechanism. When we run or cycle fast and long our body releases adrenaline which causes an increased heart rate, high blood pressure and rapid shallow breathing. Adrenaline is released when we feel stressed not only when we exercise excessively. It gives us a quick boost but it doesn't last long. Eventually adrenaline becomes exhausted and we do too! Our nervous system is calling out for the opposite response, rest and digest. To sit and breathe slowly and relax. This is not easy when we have a stressful job or kept busy at work or spend our days in a chair.
Walking in nature releases endorphines; feel good hormones that help us relax. Walking is what our bodies evolved to do. Walking gives us time to look, to smell, to chat, to eat, to be together, to connect with ourselves, family, friends and most importantly nature. To become fit, active and healthy.
Next time you feel overwhelmed, the urge to get away, panic rising. Open the door, walk out into the sunshine or rain, take your time, don't rush.
Our connections are what give us joy.
Plan walks on your days off with family and friends.
Make happy memories.
Laugh when things go wrong and learn from the experience.
Rest and Relax often in beautiful places, ignore the urge to keep moving.
Sit and breathe fresh air not traffic fumes, breathe as slowly as you can.
Spend your time wisely.
Walk towards happiness.
Some music is just for fun, for dancing.
Choose a favourite song.
Turn the music up, dance and sing.
A moving meditation. A way to release pent up energy and frustration.
"They say the best things in life are free.
But you can give them to the birds and the bees.
I want money - oh oh oh
That's what I want - oh oh oh
That's what I want - oh oh oh
This is a favourite song and I have sung and danced to it a lot."
It reminds me of how much we are constantly bombarded with the wrong messages.
Money is a huge fear for most of us....not having enough.
We exchange our precious time for an office chair, a computer screen.
We need this, we need that....we need to spend more time together, we need to spend more time doing things we enjoy, we need to spend more time helping others!
We need a simpler life.
We work for stuff we don't have time to enjoy.
We miss out.
What do you need to be happy?
Now choose a song with wonderful lyrics one that touches your heart,
A quieter, softer song,
Lay down and listen,
Absorb the words, listen to the melody,
Start to notice the negative and positive influences around you.
A meditation to look at your emotions and learn to accept and let go.
I have just bought some more flowers for my terracotta pots on our veranda.
This morning Bobbie our character filled Cattle dog cleaned his bony mush on my flowers. Not for the first time. Squished and snapped them. He is always doing stuff, digging up plants, chewing his bed to pieces. Why did I get such a nuisance rescue dog? I said. "No more cattle dogs". I said. "Foster only". I said "No one else will put up with him, he is too agro with other dogs on walks, it would be unfair to give him to someone else, he runs off if you don't pay attention. We are his third and last owner."
But looking at my flowers I felt only, anger and frustration.
A CHANGE OF MIND
Holding the snapped flowers I went inside and found a little glass bottle. I filled it with water and the flowers look so lovely. They brighten up the room.
Two years later and we have 3 little vases dotted around. First it was freesia the smell of spring, my husband collects those, then Jasmine which my daughter picks, bush flowers and nasturtium fill the vases at the moment.
Next time you feel angry about something. Experience the feeling, it is only a feeling and it will pass. With your thumb massage the area around your big toe and first toe which is an acupressure point for releasing anger.
Now see if you can make something positive out of that fiery emotion.
I know when I am busy, rushing around, he gets excited too; he barks and rushes with me. When I practice Yoga Nidra both my dogs sigh and settle down near me. He is teaching me a lesson, making me more aware of my emotions and I am grateful.
Summer is the time for quick and easy meals.
Summer is the time when tomatoes are ripening in the garden or at least cheaper and in season if you are buying them.
Summer is the time when basil is flowering.
Summer is the time that I can harvest my spring onions
I am hoping one day that my avocado tree will start to fruit but until then they are always on my shopping list....as well as goat's cheese.
I like to use organic sour dough bread for this recipe.
I freeze all my bread and toast it when needed.
A quick and easy summer lunch
While your bread is toasting.
Chop up a couple of tomatoes, an avocado, spring onions and basil ( I like to use other herbs sometimes, coriander is delicious or a mix of whatever is growing in my garden)
Place in a salad bowl and crumble in some goat's cheese
Drizzle in some Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
Add an egg if you like.
The beautiful flower is purple basil, you can eat them, usually I strip the stalk and I have some very pretty small purple flowers to decorate a salad. They taste the same as the leaves.
What does your medicine look like?
What does your body feel like?
How do you spend your days?
I studied mainly at home to become a Medical Herbalist. It was interesting and a step away from Modern Medicine. But somehow there I was again in a room, listening to stories of dis ease. Every one wanting a quick fix, a magic pill. This time in the form of Herbal Extracts rather than an X ray and possible surgery.
I learnt about herbs and flowers and imagined gardens and sunshine. I learnt the importance of eating natural foods and looking after yourself with exercises such as yoga and walking.
I took a deep breath and left it behind. I stepped into my garden, planting herbs, flowers and fruit trees.
I started to practice yoga at home in snatches as my garden and children grew tall.
I am now incredibly flexible and feel strong and healthy.
I walk and sit and lay down in beautiful places.
I teach yoga and meditation one day a week. It is the best job I could imagine, inspiring others with words of wisdom from an Ancient practice. It brings out the best in me.
I appreciate all I have.
My life - this is what my medicine looks like.
04.03 | 08:03
Amazing news about your book Julie, am so excited to see Bird Song in print. Signed copy obviously! 🙏🏻💚
02.02 | 20:18
Thank you for your kindness in sharing. I'd love to participate in the online learning
05.12 | 19:45
Morning Julie, would you have a spot in today’s 9.30 for a casual? Josephine
18.10 | 03:57
Hi Julie 😊,
Can I please go on the waitlist for Monday 8.15am class ?