Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thursday 13: Thirteen Things to be Grateful for in 2007 [1]

As the year slowly but surely winds down to the end of the calendar year, its time to look back and reflect on the year that was. This year, influenced by a conversation had around Genevieve's kitchen table last year, I intend to reflect back on what there is to be grateful for in 2007. As I've been cooking dinner I've realised that I have 'things/events/stuff' to be grateful for but also a number of people to be grateful for.

1. Finding FlyLady changed the way in which I was able to think of my home, the housework and my place in it. During January and for part of February I ranged through our old house, finally unpacking boxes that were near to two years old. I discovered that clutter, in all its shapes and forms sucks the light from your home. While I regularly fall off the FlyLady bandwagon - its finally a 'home' to come back to when I want to begin getting on top of a run away housework. To date, its the only system which has worked for me. The words 'FlyLady' and 'swish and swipe' are bandied about our home now, as if they were always part of our vernacular.

2. Buying our first home was a pipe dream that we never thought possible. With Dave's new job, beginning August 2005 we were finally able to start saving money and in Feburary (during Mercury retrograde that warns strongly against big purchases) we walked into our dream home, put a contract on it and a few hours later were told the house was ours!! It was only after the whirlwind buying period that we realised the house had more than adequately met the check list of 'must haves' ... it also had a pool, a cubby house, an aviary. It was also in a quiet street in the middle of a lovely leafy suburb, close to the motorway - but far enough away to not have the noise or pollution, close to school, the university is just up the road ... in March we moved in and despite some serious issues with the pool, which are only just resolving now, we feel incredibly blessed to be here! ... oh and our old housemate Phil (aka Uncle Phil) was able to move with us, so our 'family' remained intact despite the move.

3. The Bunya Mountains ended up being our only holiday this year. It wasn't the we planned not to have holidays this year, but I guess buying a house sapped up any spare money that was lying around and with Dave's change in jobs there were no more paid for jaunts to Cairns that we'd been able to enjoy in years past. The four days there were not long enough - we bush walked, stoked the fire, bird watched, walked some more and for me, I mediated, I journalled in a gushing purge that helped to clear my head and see my way clear for what was to come. I understood that there was a deep need in me to reconnect my mind, body and soul. I realised that I needed to discover new ways to indulge in my absolute need for freedom - walking and writing immediately came to mind and over the course of the next few months this took form.

4. The epiphany that I could just write for a living/career occured on the solar eclipse in September. This was on the back of six months of intermittent blogging and a growing sense of confidence in my writing, plus a desire to begin to voice, through writing, my ideas and opinions. Not to mention the insights that I had during our stay in the mountains. It didn't come in a blinding flash, it was just a simple dawning of something that I've known I wanted to do all of my adult and teenage life. It was incredibly freeing - I no longer had to worry about what to do in 2008 - study, a job, another baby? I would simply write and whatever is meant to happen as a flow on from that will be.

5. The birth of my neice Kira Lee Treggae bought up more baggage than I thought was possible. I realised that the anger I had in regards to my sister's birth choices and the innate sense of being a crusader for my unborn neice or nephew (though I was certain that she was indeed a girl the entire time!) was born from a need in me, that was being projected outwards. I understood that the anger was mine and was not with my sister's birth choices, but the choices that were erroneously made in regards to my birth. Itwas the first step in what has been a long journey this year ... culminating in writing this article

6. Completing The Artist Way changed the way in which I relate to my creativity and was the most powerful, profound and life altering personal development that I have ever done. Over the 12 week process I all but gave up drinking, I came to recognise my bad habits and destructive patterns and most of all, I came to realise that I am a work-a-holic and this stands in my way of enjoying my creativity, my family - really just living my life to the fullest. I understood that I seek validation of myself from those around me - from outside of me, and understood for the first time, that I need to find validation from within ... which I'm now working on. I'm grateful to understand now, that I am cranky and unhappy when I dont practise my creativity and that time out, alone with my inner Artist is not a luxury but a necessity.

7. Beginning a Goddess journey started with the first step of throwing caution and excuses to the wind and signing up to go the the Goddess Conference, that was held on the Gold Coast. I was gifted two amazing pieces of wisdom which have finally transformed the way in which I can view my entry into this world and to begin the process of being at peace with it. The singing, the ritual, the wisdom, the being with over 90 like minded women and spending time with two special women made this the highlight of my year. It was also the first time I had been away from Dylan for the night .... which was a huge step on a different path. The Goddess journey is a path that I intend to pursue with purpose next year as I feel this is finally the 'right time' after a few years to embark on the next stage.

8. Completing my first ever National Novel Writing Competition now seems like a blur of a dream. Across November I wrote 50,300 words to fall over the finish line on the final morning of the competition, having had the week from hell as the final week of writing. I created some amazing characters and got to pursue ideas, and philosophies, quirks of human nature that I feel is a blessing. Although no where near finished 'Finding Aphrodite' will be finished and then given a major overhaul next year. The characters continue to wander around in my head, demanding that I find time to put them down into text. I learnt from doing NaNoWriMo that I can indeed committ to something and finish it, I am able to write an extended piece of work, I am able to surrender control and allow the characters to create their story and I am able to balance everything in my life so that writing can happen. It also allowed me to understand for the first time that my volunteer work encroached on too much of my life and I had allowed it to happen.

9. Down to Birth allowed me to be a conduit for birthing and parenting wisdom for the third year, but this year I really struggled. Moving house and being without both computer and then internet afterwards got the magazine year of to a really slow start, and the momentum never really picked up. As my interest increased in pursuing my own creative outlets, mainly writing, I came to resent the time that Down to Birth took up. In the final week of November I understood that it no longer functioned in a positive way in my life and I made the tough, and heart wrenching decision to give up editorship of the magazine in the new year. It felt as though I had amputated a limb and had been dropped by the great love of my life. But I'm moving on and I'm grateful for the opportunities that have been made available to me through my work and time with the magazine - the networks I have become part of, the wisdom and stories that have been shared with me, the opportunity to keep my hand in writing to the point where I felt free and confident enough to begin writing extended editorials.

10. The Australian Homebirth Conference took me to Sydney for four days and three nights at the beginning of November. It meant being away from Dylan for all that time, which was something that was huge for me. Although I came away from the conference deflated, tired and quite raggered feeling, it was another sign post that I am grateful of that my time as an active member of the homebirth community and lobby was coming to an end.

11. My Dad's visit in October to coincide with Indie was a short but incredibly heartening experience for all of us. After dinner on the first evening, and being encouraged to pour myself a small wine, Dad put forward a toast to Dave and I to congratulate us on the parenting decisions we had made, and stuck to - that he could see the effort and sacrifice we'd made shining through Dylan. It bought tears to my eyes to have this acknowledged, as when you tread the path less travelled the tendency for others is to deride, to question, to challenge and to be less than supportive. We've had our fair share of that over the last four years, beginnging with the decision to birth at home, then issues with cosleeping, full term breastfeeding and the choice not to vaccinate which has meant that one of Dave's sisters has chosen not to visit us for the entire length of Dylan's life. It just goes to show how powerful words really are.

12. Rites of passage continued throughout this year to dominate my thoughts. The blessingways that I have been able to be part of this year has continued to concrete my faith and belief in how important rites of passage are for women in our society. In February, under the big frangipani tree we gathered to celebrate Anna's impending birth and to name her 'Woman Giving Birth' and to draw mandalas for her to put on her wall. A few weeks later it was Genevieve's turn in an incredibly intimate and moving afternoon with a few of her closest woman friends and family members. Lastly this year, was Nicole's dusk blessingway, with a roaring fire, dressing callico dolls and angelic singing. Secondary to this, but not necessarily second in importance was reading Naomi Wolf's "Promiscuities" which spoke, among many topics, sex as a rite of passage. This ignited my desire to research and write the "Blood Sister Project" idea that I first had in 2006 having completed my Womens' Rites of Passage course. I am grateful that synchronicity keeps this idea alive, and expanding.

13. The Circle of the Sun was begun this year by my friends Alex and Mercedes to travel through the zodiac and explore our creativity. This has had profound implications not just for my soul journey this year, in more episodes of synchronicity, but for my creativity journey. My desk is surrounded with my Circle of the Sun projects - a collage of me dancing as a child in my jeanie outfit, my dark and brooding mandala, my ceramic leaf bowl and fnally the red tissue paper covered mask. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to be part of this throughout the second half of 2007, to have sat in circle with women in an arena not dominated by birth, to have shared and shared in wisdom, to have journeyed within and beyond myself.

... and now the 13 people who shaped my life in 2008. I give thanks and appreciation to you all.

Dave, who despite all my crazy and often self centred idiosyncracies remains calm, focused and loving ... and with me after five years. His support in my decision to write has been unwavering and his patience saintly, as I continue to unravel and heal my life, so I can be whole, bold and authentic. I'm ever so grateful that he's my companion on this journey ... a lesser man would have given up by now.

Dylan continues to inform, educate, push my boundaries and buttons, love me unconditionally and talk non stop! Without him, I would never have known it possible to talk non stop about Spiro the Dragon for more than half an hour, when he himself knows nothing of Spiro! His passion for life, and all that it holds reminds me daily that this needs to be my credo as well.

Phil who is the fourth member of our family, is the glue that holds my sanity together when he's home. The five minutes he takes out of an evening to read a book to Dylan, play lego, or unwhingingly to do the dishes for the umpteenth night in row or takes the washing off the line without being asked - really makes a difference in my life. And boy can this fella cook ... congratulations to Amy for snaring him!

Kirsten has been a friend for quite a few years now, but taking on the reins of HMA convenorship bought her more intimately into my life. Her ethos of 'no martyrs welcome here' really made me look hard at my life, especially the time and effort put into to HMA. When I was busy with the magazine, she took Dylan into her home and allowed me to work from a cafe down the road. Her gentle nature, her passionate parenting and her wicked sense of humour make her addictive to be around and leaving is often an hour long ritual. She loved and gave me her unconditional support when I decided that I had to walk away from HMA. And that to date has been her greatest gift to me.

Anna this year indoctrinated me into 'the sisterhood'. No that's not some sort of secret society - though it may as well be for me. She allowed me to experience the joy and closeness of a sister like figure in my life - which has meant more to me, than words will ever express. Over the year she's had Dylan so I could work or get to an appointment. She's given me the opportunity over and over again to practise my gifts of generosity. And I've had the chance to be an honorary aunty and enjoy seeing Saskia's face light up when she sees me (I should also mention here that Kirsten's son Lucien also does the same - even to crawl into my lap for a cuddle which is truly special!)

Nickole inspires me to be intensely creative, deeply woman, to not just survive but to shine. At her blessingway a few weeks ago, we were able to hold each other and have a good cry. Knowing Nickole this year, but also for the past few years, has taught me that if I look inside me and I dont like what I see, then I have the strength and resolve to change it. Nickole's nurturing of my talent has been cornerstone for my development as a writer .. through her example of 'giving it a go' I decided that I could also 'give my art a go'.

Annie was a partner in crime for yet another year. She, without a sensible word, urged me to abandon all sense of decorum and scream like a woman possessed when we saw Adam Hills on stage in the Spicks and Speck-tacular (just as an example of how one woman can be your partner in crime) She supported me passionately and without question when I chose to walk the writers path, introducing me to her friends as 'a writer'. We took a number of day trips away together, I went to the Ipswich Train Museum for the first time, she baby sat so I could see The Chaser boys, made me innumerable cups of Rooibos tea and always had a reserve of new YouTube clips to share. Here's to more adventures in 2008 ... and was always, always pushing and challenging me to be a more honest and authentic woman in all that I do and say!

Danae exploded into my life like the best possible evocative perfume, that boldy and beautifully enters a room. We met firstly on Mystic Medusa's blog, then through Dan's blog when she put the call out for someone to do The Artist Way we were meshed together on the rollecoaster ride that is TAW. Her honesty, her rawness, her wild woman passionate intensity, her generosity in sharing her wisdom and the uniqueness of her views have helped to shape not just my writing, but the way in which my view on the world, on mothering, on being a woman is evolving. Dan allowed me to see me desire to keep digging for the truth - and to hold that in high esteem. And she told me that I have an altar of initiation in my birth chart ... which put to rest the desire I've always had to find something 'special' in my chart!

Catherine is the second of my Mystic Medusa blog mates who crept into my life, via email. I rediscovered the thrill of getting email and corresponding late at night - a fellow procrastinator. her wry wit and well of knowledge (or ability to get said knowledge) is awe inspiring. It's been a long time since I've had a confidante in bitchdom - and Catherine stepped up to the job with creative aplomb! My inbox quite simply will never be the same again. And was she was able, on ridiculously short notice to share in the experience of The Chaser live at the Tivoli.

Jacqui and I sat next to each other on the first morning of the Goddess conference, and we struck up an easy conversation, in amongst my mess of nerves. I later discovered that she was a midwife and a kinesiologist. Her wisdom has helped on at least two occassions now to put my life into perspective and that's not when I'm lying on her table, having my energy rebalanced. Meeting her opened new and powerful opporunities for me to heal myself and after only a few visits I'm reaping the rewards.

Scott sms-ed me one afternoon as I was pulling into a service station to fill up with petrol. A single lined text message after 14 years of silence. He was my first boyfriend back in 1991. I had searched for him on and off for years. Excitedly in 2003 I found him registered on a school friends website but got no reply. After a few days of intense text messaging, I could finally put aside the restlessness I had always had about him - he is now married with two primary school aged sons. It's crazy how the universe works. It also got me thinking again about sex as a rite of passage - his appearance back in my life coincided with me finishing 'Promiscuities'.

Kate is my mother-in-law, though more affectionately known as Mum2. This year she's made a number of trips to Brisbane to be with us, and most especially in November to care for Dylan while I was away in Sydney. I'm always grateful for the fact that she really understands what its like to parent in isolation from your family, the love, support and down time they can provide for you as parents. With this year being a tough one for my Mum and I, I really appreciated and valued the time Kate spent with us this year and for the many long hours of conversations about everything and anything.

Karen is my soul sister, she's also a very old friend of Annie's (thus how Annie and I know each other). No year goes by without Karen's input into shaping and making sense of my life. Though we haven't had the opportunity to hang out in person this year, nor to indulge in really long and regular phone calls, I know that she's always there for me. No list is complete without her!

I have many other beautiful men and women in my life, including my family of birth, who have contributed in small powerful ways to my life over the last year ... and I honour you also, and give my thanks for your blessings, gifts and opportunities. 2007 has been a transformative year for me and on this foundation I look forward to exploring and adventuring confidently into 2008.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for including me in a pretty impressive list of interesting people in your life throughout 2007 Jodi. It's an honour to be nominated.

I feel pretty blessed to have had you pop unexpectedly into my life and inbox too.

I was also more than happy to join the 'Jodi Cleghorn School of Potentially Rabid Chaser Fan's' for the evening. Huge laughs, good time.Thanks again for the opportunity.

I'm having another spazzy blogger moment so I'm coming in as anon...sorry brain still fizzy from Chrissie...


d sinclair said...

aw shucks, I feel pretty darn honoured too!

I believe that whoever and comes into my life is an expression of an inner event - so Jodi to me you were always there, just as I've always been here in you.

we wild women run in packs, you know ;)

2008 is set to be THE year, can you feel that yet??

d xx

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