International Women's Day...

self-portrait, capturing joy... "dance like no one is watching" March 2016 .................................................................

self-portrait, capturing joy... "dance like no one is watching" March 2016

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In the imbalance of our still-standing patriarchal society, there has been the need to mark one day of the year as International Women's Day. Is it just me who finds this absurd? Because obviously, every day is #internationalwomensday. I've seen posts on social media to celebrate "the strong women", and calls for women to "be bold". Because we live in a society with a skewed perspective, being bold & strong is what is seen to be 'best'. But here is what I've learnt: As a young girl, I was taught by example that the only way I could be heard was to be loud - a characteristic I did not possess - to talk over the top of the dominant men in my life (& there were many!). But when the fire in me sparked, triggered by a topic I was passionate about & needed to be heard, I was told to shhhh, shut up, be quiet, and "who do you think you are!". This I know is not unfamiliar to many, and has been acceptable behaviour in the past. But now, we are in transition. The female energy is bursting forth and it's pretty incredible to be alive right now, to be witness & part of it. And here's the crux of it: Women don't need to be 'bold' to exist. We don't need to be loud. We can be soft, we can be quiet, we can be gentle, or whatever the fuck we feel like being in the moment. We are enough, just as we are right now. 
Right now. And always. 


I've not told this story before, but when I was birthing Laly, I had the most wonderful knowing - all the bullshit I'd been fed over the years about being 'lesser' because I was female was stripped bare as I felt the eternal flow of birthing, of being female - there is nothing stronger or bolder in life than to be female: We ARE it. 


And to restore balance the call is to recognise & celebrate the feminine energy in you - no matter if you're male or female. To recognise & celebrate the feminine energy in nature and life. This is a special time of change in the world, and all of us are a part of it. We are opening. 

 

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Posted on instagram on Saturday, March 11, 2017. Here are some comments from the post:

 

jesse.made.itYes, yes & beyond yes! My perspective of these particular times has been exactly this...an opening...a time for healing...an emerging of what needs to come forth. It's been hard to explain to others, so it makes me feel at ease to read your thoughts. I feel confident as an American we will learn our most important lessons during these most challenging times. Where we are is exactly where we need to be. And, the female energy will rise because of it! ✨✨✨

 

anthesisbotanicalsYes, yes and yes!! As a female, and the mother of a male, I want {with ALL MY HEART!} to celebrate the feminine and masculine that shines through me, those I love, those I find hard to love and those I share the planet with. If I can achieve this I know I am evolving, expanding and growing. This energy that waxes and wanes is most certainly not of one gender only. Our genitals and genes are just exterior markers on maps that illustrate worlds we have yet to explore. Our energy is first and foremost HUMAN! Thank you @piajanebijkerk - Thank you!! Here's to the feminine AND masculine within us all. Here's to faith, love and tolerance. They have ALWAYS been the victors - no matter what the war. 💛💛💛

 

nylaadamsPreach, sister. Your words helped me connect with why my gut/heart finds this day absurd too. For me, it trivializes the all-pervasive feminine power that flows through ALL. I get that this day may foster discussion for some... but when women unapologetically own the power of the feminine every day, there is no need for a 24 hour reminder. Without intending to, the day is actually trivializing and demeaning. And who are we reminding of the "value" of women with this day?? Certainly not other women. There's no international men's day for a reason. When we no longer identify as a group who needs this "type" of recognition, we will finally realize that, as you say, we ARE it.

Adventure awaits...

Yesterday I dropped my little girl off for her first day of school. Her very first day. As we walked together toward our destination, hand in hand, I asked her, "So what can you think about when you're at school and I'm at home working?" She answered confidently, "our invisible string"*. "Yes!" I said,  "And don't forget about the rainbow that goes from my heart to yours".*  We contemplated out loud what she might do on her first day, our conversation was filled with lots of unanswered questions, lots of unknowns. We know that lots of unknowns simply means that an adventure awaits. I told her how excited I was for her, and that I would be so excited to see her at the end of the day and to hear all about it. When I left her she was drawing in her new classroom. We kissed, both of us quiet & courageous. I saw her pick up a pale pink pencil and draw a small circle in the top left corner of the paper, and then with the same pencil, begin to colour it in.

As I walked home, feeling emotion course through my body, I saw her as a baby in my memory: Swaddled, snug and safe in her cotton wrap like a caterpillar in its cocoon falling asleep in my arms. I only now fully grasp the meaning of the words spoken to me by the many wonderful wise souls who crossed our path in those early days. They would smile at me and my baby and say, "precious and fleeting times, enjoy this moment". And I did, I did enjoy those many moments.  And naturally yearned for the frustrating, helpless and hopeless moments to hurry up and pass as sleep deprivation took hold week in and week out. 

Although five years on as parents we both feel we are still catching up on sleep, and there are still frustrating and hopeless moments...it feels so different now. And being only at the beginning of this part of the journey, I'm just catching glimpses of how it will be different. I understand it's still precious and fleeting - oh to see those little ones in their uniforms, the little fish in the big sea! - as is every moment in life we connect with others: precious and fleeting.

In the afternoon as I walked to meet her, I thought about how proud and filled with wonder I was to see her brush her teeth all by herself with such gusto that morning. I realised she is so ready for this, and I am happy for her.

When I picked her up, she was tired but beaming. She showed me the picture she drew that morning at school, her very first drawing at school. Starting with that small pink circle in the top left corner, she had filled every part of the paper. It was our rainbow. 

xx

*These are in reference to two books we love and have been so helpful in dealing with separation anxiety. I'll be talking about them in my next newsletter, which will be sent out early next week...

a postcard from my younger self...

...piazza delle oche, where I once lived, in Rovereto, Italy.

...piazza delle oche, where I once lived, in Rovereto, Italy.

The other day I took Laly on a little overnight 'girls trip' to stay at my parent's home for a night while my Dad was away so that Romain could have the chance to wake up in his own time (this is our current luxury!), and rock out with his guitar for the morning. It was special to be there with her, just the two of us. We hung out by the pool, looked at old photos, played by the waterside, and explored the neighbourhood. At times I felt Mum was watching us from her bedroom window, or enjoying being in the water with us. There is always a connection, an 'invisible string', and I feel really lucky to be able to feel it so vividly. 

While making our dinner, I noticed a postcard I had sent my parents ten years ago from Italy that was still on the fridge - it remains one of the only items on their fridge.  Although it's been there for ten years, for some reason during this visit, I decided to turn it over and read it...

It reads:

November 20, 2006

CASA DOLCE CASA (home sweet home)

"Dear Mum & Dad, could not resist sending you this one. It is the strangest feeling for me being here, a place I know so well yet is so faraway from my life in Australia. I feel like a child in an adults body! Drinking mazzemino at Pizzeria Leno was so peculiar. We have walked the streets like I have longed to do. And when I walked under my old bedroom window [pictured here in the postcard] I felt like yelling up there, "I'm here!" All very surreal. A lovely, peaceful end to an exhausting but incredible 3 week journey. Miss you while here, makes it all the more peculiar not to be here with you Mum. See you in a week! Lots of love, xxx"

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For those who have followed my journey over the past decade, you may know that this postcard was written during that fateful trip to Paris, Amsterdam, and Italy, which I wrote about in My Heart Wanders. Brief as it is, this postcard says so much, that only my Mum would have felt and known about at the time. This trip was the catalyst that sparked my fire, it gave strength to my heart voice, and helped me rise up from my quietened life and follow my wandering heart. 

Ten years on again, as I look back at my younger self who wrote this postcard to my even younger self, I remember asking myself at the time, when everything seemed so chaotic in my life... Would I be bold enough to pursue my own dreams? To live away from my family? To live differently to my family? Will I be ok when my mother dies? Will I become a mother? 

Trust. Because, yes. I need to remember this every time I ask myself heart questions in times of messiness and chaos. "Trust. Because, yes." 

How to be reflective at such a busy time?

Left: our home at dusk, after dinner and little one is asleep. Sparkling wine I poured myself at dinner time has now gone flat and slightly warm. Right: the sky after a huge rather frightening electrifying storm, the clouds parted and the light that came through was breathtaking.  ...................................................................................................

Left: our home at dusk, after dinner and little one is asleep. Sparkling wine I poured myself at dinner time has now gone flat and slightly warm. Right: the sky after a huge rather frightening electrifying storm, the clouds parted and the light that came through was breathtaking. 

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In my new Festive Guide, I wrote how I've learnt about the importance in December to spend time reflecting on our personal journey over the past twelve months...

"This is the time of year to reconnect with ourselves to inspire peace, joy and a sense of renewal. It’s a time we are most open to the universe, instinctively connecting to earth and cosmos. It’s a grounding time, a time of becoming more aligned with ourselves through this openness and connection, creating conscious internal wisdom." The Everyday Alchemy Seasonal Guide, Festive Edition, page 15. 

Meanwhile the activity all around us and media screams: "buy buy buy, be busy busy busy, do do do, don't stop, don't stop, don't stop!" 

So how can we reflect at such a busy time, without adding to the busy-ness? 

In the ebook I share a number of beautifully creative ways to open to reflection, and this week I had another wonderful idea that came to mind and which I've implemented in our home, and I want to share it with you today.

It started with the simple act of writing a list of events that have happened over the course of the year. I usually do this in my journal, but this time I wrote the list on our chalkboard so we could all read it. And as I looked at the list, I realised there was much more to add - not just events, but new skills that we've each developed this year, and life lessons...

Left: enjoying fresh organic cherries now in season! Right: the original list of big events to reflect upon.  ...................................................................................................

Left: enjoying fresh organic cherries now in season! Right: the original list of big events to reflect upon. 

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So I thought what would be great is to have a big sheet of paper that we can all write on over the month of December, to create a kind of map of what we've each encountered over the year as individuals and also as a family. Each of us can add to it whenever we think of something that was significant to us, and for Laly she can also add to it with drawings. At a glance, when we are sitting on the couch or going about our daily activities at home, we can reflect on the year's events, giving the space needed to let these moments be honoured and valued...

And it's not just about the 'good' stuff, or the happy/pretty stuff. Because there are life lessons and goodness (=value), in all. So for us, I've included the pneumonia I had in January, which was a huge deal for us, me being in bed for weeks on end, bringing up so much again about not having any extended family help at challenging times, but showing our resilience and connectedness as a couple; Laly having her tonsils and adenoids out, another huge event for us, after years of health issues and trying almost every single alternative method on the planet to reduce the size of her tonsils without operating. In the end it's exactly what she needed, it couldn't be avoided and again, as a family just the three of us, we did it, she recovered and is thriving. 

And our trip to France and Amsterdam! An adventure we have worked hard to make happen for five years, each year faced with new obstacles. But not this year. This year, it all came together. Laly met her French family for the first time, and I got to spend time with my friends in Amsterdam who I had been longing to connect with and hug again for all those years. 

What I realised is that with each event, there come achievements, new skills, and life lessons to also honour. So on the paper, there is room for these too. 

Perhaps you'd like to create something similar in your home. The above prompts will help for significant milestones in your journey to come to mind. If something comes to mind but you don't think it's significant, still write it down, as it might be revealed later why that is significant and has come up to the surface from your sub-conscious. And most importantly, not to get stuck on what the paper looks like! Let it be messy, it doesn't have to be a work of art (I'm writing that as a message to myself as well, letting go of the way things look and focussing on how they feel). 

I'd love to know how you're going with your reflections, if this is a new-to-you tradition at this time of year that you are introducing, inspired by the Festive Guide, or if you're allowing more of it in. 

Also to keep in mind, it's not about focussing on what we haven't achieved this year that we thought we would, but what we have achieved. Because there is value in all of it, even if we can't yet feel it's value, it's there, and taking the time to reflect will deliver that valuable gift to you and open you to the new opportunities that await you in the new year. 

Happy reflection time, mes amis

xx

 

 

The Everyday Alchemy Seasonal Guide, Festive Edition is here!

This time last year I wrote a post on Instagram about how I'd been working toward reinventing this time of year for our family - creating what we want without family pressure, social or religious conformity, hype, consumerism, drama or stress.

I wrote, "Rather than focus on Christmas, it will be about reflection and slowing down toward the end of the year (rather than speeding up), with attention to journey (rather than destination), giving (rather than taking, including care to self), and a time to strengthen connection to earth." I ended the post opening to others if they were interested to know more about what this time of year will be like in our home, and that if there was interest I'd write a longer journal post about it. I got quite a lot of interest as it turned out ! And many people stated how much they resonated with this idea of reinventing this time of year.

Here were some of the comments:

"After a really stressful and exhausting trip to Toys R Us, you have inspired me." Melinda. 

"Please write more - love this and am wanting to move toward more of this..." Johanna

"I know what you mean, Pia. I lost my Mum this year, and am attempting to create some new traditions around Christmas, to help with my sense of loss". Jan

So, in my usual fashion, my heart heard all, took hold and over the past year I've been creating  a very special ebook that transforms this time of year from stressful to nurturing, all the while retaining the enchantment and wonder that we all love...

The ebook is 40 pages and highly illustrated - each page is full colour. Written in the style of My Heart Wanders, it is peppered with personal stories and transformative ideas that can be integrated into your current festive season traditions to bring the deeper meaning and nurturing that so many of us crave at this time of year.

There is so much within the pages, it's a guide that will open itself up to you in layers, over time, like My Heart Wanders, it can become a reference, something to come back to over time to unearth new layers as you grow and learn on your own personal journey...

This is the image of my festive table garland I posted on this day, December 6, in 2015, on Instagram that sparked so much interest. Within the The Everyday Alchemy Festive Guide, I've added my illustrated butterflies. Butterflies have been fluttering around me for the past few months... a sign of my own transformation. 

This is the image of my festive table garland I posted on this day, December 6, in 2015, on Instagram that sparked so much interest. Within the The Everyday Alchemy Festive Guide, I've added my illustrated butterflies. Butterflies have been fluttering around me for the past few months... a sign of my own transformation. 

To see more and purchase your copy of The Everyday Alchemy Festive Guide, please click here. It will be one of the best gifts you can give yourself at this time of year! And if you'd like to purchase a copy for a friend, you can add their email address in the order details, and it will be sent straight to their inbox.  

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to send me an email or comment below. 

With Love, 

Pia xx

The Alchemy of Assemblage Workshop 2016

On the afternoon of Sunday, August 27, I hosted my first workshop at the beautiful warehouse of Elements I Love, here in Sydney. After enjoying a few sips of champagne and a chat in the boutique, we lead fifteen wonderful women down the hall, past the antique rocking horse, French cabinets and dress mannequin to draw back the velvet curtain of owner Brooke and Tim's restoration workshop filled with wooden work benches and shelves overflowing with hammers, nails, sandpaper & beeswax. It was so special to be invited to host the event in the workshop itself, it felt like we'd been transported to an alchemist's secret lair. It was a creatively spirited afternoon of learning the alchemy of assemblage while drinking champagne and nibbling on Simmone Logue baked goods and French bread & cheeses. Everyone was eager to get started on their assemblage, it was wonderful to see...

With feathers, strips of vintage textiles, dried ferns leaves, painted sticks, old newspapers, and antique French lace along with the most gorgeous strings from String Harvest and hand dyed silk ribbons from Tinctifolia, everyone gathered the pieces that resonated with them and were soon assembling...

The two hours flew by, and before I knew it, everyone had created something so unique while learning about creative direction and assemblage from me and some woodworking tips from Brooke. It was a lot of fun...

At the end, while I was helping to wrap an assemblage in cloth for transportation, a rainbow of light from a tiny window high up fell on the table beside me, it was a beautiful sign of the magic that was made...

Brooke has written a great wrap up post on her journal, with lots more photos, check it out here

Many thanks to Brooke, Tim, Sarah and the whole team at Elements I Love, my dear friends Kaspia, Louise & Jo, and Zoë from Tinctifolia for supplying the gorgeous ribbon samples, and Cassie from String Harvest for supplying the incredible strings and yarn, Simmone Logue for the food and of course to all the beautiful souls who joined us. 

 

I will be hosting more Alchemy of Assemblage workshops in 2017, announcing the dates and locations in January. In the meantime if you'd like to express your interest in attending, please email me. 

With Love, 

Pia xx

A letter from me to you, each month...

...beach combing with my Love. 

...beach combing with my Love. 

I've just sent out my first introductory Everyday Alchemy newsletter. With some personal stories woven through, it's about easing into our creative flow...

"easing into the flow of my own energy", my mantra for this October. 

"easing into the flow of my own energy", my mantra for this October. 

The only way you can read it and get access to the information I'll be sharing in it is to sign up. So if you haven't signed up yet and would like to receive this first newsletter, you still can, just type in your email address below:

In more wonderful news I have a half price sale for My Heart Wanders, and if you sign up for the newsletter you receive a further $5 to make it just $25. I only have a limited number of copies, so the sale is on for just one month only while stocks last. It's the perfect time to buy the book for friends for Christmas. Shipping is available all over the world. And if you'd like more than 5 copies and live in Sydney, let me know. 

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. Henry David Thoreau

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. Henry David Thoreau

With love, 

 

Pia xx