Spirituality and Soul Searching

As mentioned in my previous post, I have recently embarked on a spiritual adventure to find what calls to me, what inspires my soul and helps me to grow spiritually. My ancestral background is Christianity, mainly the Church of England. While I agree with most of the basic tenets of Christianity, some things from the Bible and from the religion as a whole, do not suit me. I believe that humans are not the only lifeforms with a soul – I believe all animals have a soul. To a certain extent I believe that everything has a soul, or a consciousness of its own on some level. I like the idea that there is a spirit of all things, for all things. I don’t agree with the idea that humans have dominion over animals and nature, we are on the same level. To me, much of the Bible and Christianity is based on fear and a belief that humans are evil sinners who must repent and bow down to God in order to have their souls saved. There are many other aspects of Christianity that don’t sit well with me, but I don’t want that to be the point of this post.

After a long time of feeling like something was missing spiritually, I started looking at nature-based beliefs which is how I came across Druidry. I’d read a bit about it before and was interested but never took it further. It called to me enough to buy a few books on Druidry including The Awen Alone by Joanna van der Hoeven and The Path of Druidry by Penny Billington. I highly recommend both if you are interested in learning more about druidry. I’ve just started reading Zen Druidry, also by Joanna van der Hoeven and am enjoying it immensely; the combination of Zen and mindfulness combined with the nature base of druidry really feels right to me. I’m still reading a lot, still trying different things and giving it a great deal of thought and soul searching. I think that is the best thing that anyone can do – go with your instinct and what feels right for you. As long as what you believe in doesn’t cause harm to any life and doesn’t impinge on another’s rights, you’re golden.

Bleu Cats Pagan Cats

One of the things I have been trying is using Tarot and Oracle cards as a starting point for soul searching and inspiration. A way to get in touch with my inner voice and start to learn to trust my instincts. The first set I bought is the Black Cats Tarot which calls to me so much! It is on its way from overseas and I cannot wait to get it! In the meantime, I really wanted to tarot out so I bought the Bleu Cats Tarot. Then a few days later the desire to have more cards won out and I bought the Tarot of Pagan Cats, Power of Flowers oracle cards and Mystical Cats Tarot. Squee! I love them! The cards are such pretty thing in themselves and are enjoyable simply to look at. I’ve yet to use Mystical Cats but shall do that tomorrow. I’m only new at exploring this area but I am really enjoying it. It has led to some good soul searching and clarity of thought.

Mystical Cats and Power of Flowers

I am participating in three photo challenges on Instagram this month and all three share a pagan theme so more photos are sure to come, along with more self knowledge, I hope!

New Beginnings

Daisy Photo

Hi, Hello!
I think it is about time I start writing in my weblog again. My very first blog post was fifteen years ago on my first blog called Bindi, before Blogger was even a thing; my first cms was GreyMatter, anyone remember that? Eventually I shall get all my old archives added to this site.

This is a brief post for now as I have spent a good while playing with the design and a few css bugs so I’m a wee bit pooped, but I shall be posting more regularly from now on. I will be writing about my crafty and geeky pursuits as before, but I will also be writing about my spiritual journey to discover what inspires my soul. I am learning about druidry, exploring tarot and oracle cards and setting out on my soul path. Yay! :)

Vulnerability and Shame

Ah, Friday. Best time of the week, I think. You have Friday evening, and then there is still all of Saturday and Sunday to come! I am chilling out watching some music videos on YouTube currently. After buying Darren Hayes‘ recent album, Secret Codes and Battleships, I have also been listening to his older albums and his music from Savage Garden days. So much good music!

Thinking on my lack of updating on here, and, well my lack of most creative pursuits, I realised that what stops me is my wanting to always be perfect. Whatever I do MUST be perfect. No mistakes. But really, that isn’t possible (and when I checked this post for mistakes, I had typed ‘that isn’t impossible’ hmm). I may want to keep everything all tightly wrapped and perfectly formed, but life isn’t like that. And living that way, you miss out on so much of life’s special wonders. There is no way to control everything, you need to learn how to let go of the things you cannot control. To do the best you can with what you have. And by ‘you’, I mean ‘me’!

I’ve watched a couple of Brené Brown’s talks (1 & 2) from TED recently, and her research and her message struck a cord. Shame and vulnerability. For me, they are a big part of my perfectionism. I don’t like to feel vulnerable, which is how I feel if I do things that won’t be/aren’t perfect; plus I feel great shame when my results, or even my actions, are the opposite of perfect. I don’t want to show vulnerability or face my shame. But in reality, I need to do both to move forward, to grow. I am inspired by Brené’s statement that “Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage”.

It always seems better to wrap up the shame, the things I perceive to have done wrong or not perfectly and cocoon them into a ‘hidden’ ball. But then they just snowball and the layer around them gets bigger and bigger until they start to hinder future goals. Like a roadblock. A landslide. A wound. A splinter.

But how to you learn to not be so caught up in perfectionism? How do you face the shame and let it go? How do you learn to be vulnerable, but go forward anyway?

Some of my thoughts come from waiting for the results from my cataloguing assessment which was completed on Wednesday just gone. A big part of me wants it to be 100% marks or it is a failure. Another recent assessment saw me obtain 42 out of 50. My first thought was that it equalled failure. Not good enough. Silly, I know. But…

Do you also want to have all your creations be perfect? Or have you learnt how to let go of that need to be perfect? Have you discovered how to let go of shame? Please share! You can email me at alyshajane@gmail.com, if you’d prefer to respond that way!

Librarian Girl

As you may guess from the title, dear reader, I have decided to complete my Library and Information Studies course ( I may have previously alluded to this). I had gone back to web design for a year but found my heart just wasn’t in it and I was completely sick of demanding, rude clients who thought they could take as long as they wanted to pay invoices. Do not want! Some of my current subjects are Cataloguing, Acquisitions, Databases and Information Research. Those are not the exact class titles, but sum up each class quite nicely. When I finish, I would love to find work in the Cataloguing/Archival areas.

Now that design can be for fun, I’m slowly starting to find my creative spirit again, particularly in terms of my own sites. This site will likely change a bit, every now and then, as I tweak the design and get it to look just so. In working on this site, I was browsing through my archives and discovered that on March 20, I will have been blogging for twelve years! There have been a few pauses in there, but hey – I’m still one of the early bloggers from before Blogger itself and even the ability to post a comment on a blog! That dates me a bit, too!

With some travel time each week, I’ve gone back to working my way through The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I’m almost up to the end of the second book; no spoilers, please! It is amazing how fast time flies once I start reading, I’ve almost missed my stop a couple of times.

I shall post a few photos next post; some of the Kittens who are growing in leaps and bounds (or should that be fluff and meows?) and also some general snaps, including some of my latest stitching project. Mmmm stitching, I think I shall do some tonight!

Pink Haired Woman

I’m a day late joining Blogtoberfest, but better late than never! Hoping to post every day for the rest of this month. Hello to other Blogtoberfesters and to non-Blogtoberfesters!

Changes. As well as changing the appearance of my blog, I’ve also changed my appearance. I have wanted pink streaks in my hair for years, but had been nervous about doing it. I’ve spent far too long worrying about what others might think and missing out on doing the things I really wanted to do. No more! My new hair is a start of me being me. Of discovering the real me. It is quite a fun journey!

The whole process of getting my pink streaks took a bit over two and half hours. First was the bleaching, then rinsing, then a little more bleaching, more rinsing, then dyes applied and yet another wash + treatment. I am *so* happy with the results! I love my pink hair, it is so me. I am already planning on adding a larger blonde slice with pink in the centre, at my next visit to the hairdressers. Yay, for pinkness!

Cooking for the Queen!

Okay, not really! But it makes for a fun title, dontcha think?

While I did not actually cook for any members of the Royal family, I did cook a British meal for MY family for us to enjoy as we watched the Royal Wedding. We had Coronation Chicken & Potato Salad, Eton Mess and to follow, Lemon (and Lime) Squares Cake with Matcha/Green Tea Frosting. I wanted to choose classic British recipes and was excited to try Coronation Chicken for the first time! Very delicious and I shall make it again. I was very naughty in taking the photo below; I did not notice that I had inadvertently messed up the lovely table setting that my Mum made! Very bad Lysh! ;)

Baking & Coronation Chicken Salad and our pretty table!

Thank you to those who sent messages after my last post; your warmth is muchly appreciated. I am still very much missing my lovely Max, and I always will. I am emerging from my cave though, and trying to get back into things – including this much neglected blog! Cooking has been one of my mercies (as well as craft) and has helped me to return to my old self. I really enjoyed making my Royal menu, even with it taking most of the day! It was quite fun. If you’d like the recipes, see below the photograph of my yummy cake; which just had to have hearts!

Citrus Matcha Cake

  • Coronation Chicken & Potato Salad
  • Eton Mess
  • Lemon Squares Cake. I used lime zest & did not use their icing. I found that the cake did not rise as high as expected, but was very tasty. The lack of rising could be due to my using an oven that is quite old and in Fahrenheit rather than Celsius, so could be my error in getting used to the oven.
  • Matcha Icing. Icing recipe near the bottom.

So, those of you who watched and enjoyed the Royal Wedding, what did you think? Didn’t Catherine and Prince William look wonderful? I watched the whole thing wearing my tiara. A common girl gets so few chances to wear a tiara – why not grab the chance when one can?!

Although, I am sorry to report that when I put on my lovely tiara (from my Husbitect and I’s combined Hen’s Bucks night) I found that one stone had fallen out. *sob*. I’m hoping it is safe within a draw or bag and I shall find it soon. It may only be glass, but I love it all the same!

Until We Meet Again, My Gorgeous Boy

On April the 1st, at about 9pm, our darling Max passed away in our arms. His precious little head, cradled by my arm. He became very ill and was starting to feel pain from his illness. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, and I am lucky that I had my darling Husband with me. The veterinary hospital staff were lovely, and we had a private room with a lounge chair.

Max was (and is) my darling Kitty for over 15 years. He was my best, and for most of that time, my only friend. He loved me through my sad times and always knew when I needed some Kitty snuggles and purrs. We crafted together, listened to music together, watched birdies together and at night, he would sleep on my pillow or under the bedclothes, snuggled by my feet. I miss my little Max more than words can say.

Not having a house of our own, or a special, safe place to bury my baby kitty, we chose to have him cremated. Again, the veterinary surgery (Small Animal Specialist Hospital) and the cremation company (Pet Rest) were lovely and helpful. Max was returned to us safely and in only a few days.

I have his little casket with his ashes in one of my vintage cabinets. On either side are my two large black Cat statues – one for Max and one for Puss, my first kitty. They guard at either side and at the front I have four little miniature ornaments of black cats. I also have a special box with some of my first Cat’s fur and now, some of Max’s fur. I have surrounded them with Max’s favourite toys.

The picture I hold in my heart, the wish, is that Max and Puss, my two black Kitties, are together now in Kitty Heaven. All safe and not alone as they have each other. And one day, I hope I can be reunited with them once more. Until then, I trust that God will look after my Kitties, because I believe that God is there for animals too.

Goodbye for now, my darling Max. Thank you for your love and for being such a wonderful friend. Trust and stay with Puss, she’ll protect you, and you her. Until we meet again, my darling Boo. xxxx

Springing Forward. Blogtoberfest Day 12.

This afternoon I had a lovely time playing with my photos in Photoshop. The Lily above being one such photo. After titling it ‘Spring’. I thought about what I want to change and learn in this season of growth and freshness. There are too many things to list that I would like to change and learn to list them all, so I will stick to ones that more obtainable and immediate. I can always do another list!

  • I want to learn to be more accepting, more comfortable with what I do and where I am in life. No more holding back because I am scared of what other people think, or worse, that I could never be as good as others so why start in the first place. Very self-defeating.
  • I want to finally get more serious about photography and try selling prints of of my photos. I’ve held back till now because of fear of failure and also, not wanting to have someone steal my work or claim it as their own. But if no one ever sees the photos that I take, they lose their value.
  • I would like to learn how to draw, both with paints and canvas as well as digital illustration. I have plenty of paints, watercolour crayons and ideas; I just need to start.
  • I have dabbled with the older version of Terragen in the past and really enjoyed it. Now that there is a much newer, more advanced version, I want to learn how to use it in more depth. One of my images from Terragen is at the end of this post.
  • When I was much younger, in my late teens and early twenties, I used to enjoy writing and coming up with short stories. As I got older, I lost my confidence (I can see a pattern developing) and stopped writing. Time to dig out those old stories and get back into writing.
  • I would be over the moon if I could stop being so disorganized. Not to mention scattered in my approach to things. I know I will never be one of those perfectly organized people, but I would like to be better at it than I am. Being able to find things easily would be so wonderful! To start, I should create a filing system for myself.

I think that is enough to be getting on with for now, don’t you?! Writing that list highlighted just how much my confidence in my abilities (or lack of) has affected my life, particularly in terms of creativity. I want to go back to having that wild, carefree abandon in creativity that I used to possess. Deep down, I know I still have faith in myself somewhere, I just need to nurture that tiny flame and help it become a fire once again.

An ocean scene that I created a few years ago in Terragen.

We’re getting Married!!

We Are Engaged!!

On the 1st of September, my beloved asked me to marry him and I said yes! He is the man I completely love and adore, the one I want to spend the rest of my life with; my answer could only have been yes! He chose sunset at Sublime Point road in Leura to propose and it was so beautiful, romantic and a moment I will always treasure. I’ll never forget the way I felt when he asked me to be his wife; it was the most magical, breathtaking moment of my life.

The first photo was taken on the balcony of our room on Hamilton Island a few weeks ago. The second is my beautiful engagement ring (and our hands entwined) and the third was taken not long after my wonderful Fiancé proposed. Another couple had walked down to the lookout and offered to take our photo together which was lovely timing.

Squeeee! x 5 trillion zillion and into infinity. I’m engaged to the most wonderful, handsome, intelligent, amazing and talented man in the universe and I absolutely love and adore him!! :cupid: :heartbeat:

This is it

This New Year has been the most wonderful, the most relaxing and also, the most inspiring New Year of my entire life. I came back a couple of days ago from an absolutely wonderful holiday with my love at Port Stephens. Every day was wonderful and amazing; and like other recent events, it inspired me to make some changes in my life.

I’m about to move to Sydney, to the Mount Colah area. It may be very late in coming, but it’s time for this little bird to leave the familial nest and learn to fly. There are two main factors that inspired that decision, a) I’ll be closer to he who makes my heart go boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom and b) I’ll be in an area where I can find work and hopefully, start a new career.

My life has changed so much over the last two months. In a short amount of time it’s going to change even more. It does make me nervous on some levels, not in a bad way, but in that “ok, this is a big thing for me to do, and I’m nervous as anything, but I really want to do this” way. I know and can feel in my heart that this is the right time for me to do this. It is the time when I need to do this.

So if anyone knows of any job leads in Sydney, preferably right in the city or North Sydney, let me know! I’m already in intense job seeking mode (which will cause skill update mode) and have applied for as many as I can find. I’d also love to join some of the groups in Sydney now that I’ll be closer, ones like Stitch and Bitch and the Sydney Photobloggers.

I’m risking more than I ever have in my entire life. I’m changing my life and turning it upside down. And that makes me feel a wee bit scared. But delicious scared. Delicious, because I can see that the life I’ve always wanted is finally within my reach. All I have to do is take the next step. And I will.

Sam: This is it.
Frodo: This is what?
Sam: If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.
Frodo: Come on, Sam. Remember what Bilbo used to say: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Murphy's Law?

Oh dear, I think I’m coming down with a cold! It would come on today of all days when I have so much to do. I hope it’s just one of those 24 hour things, because I will not be at all happy if it lasts past this week. I didn’t think it was actually possible to get a cold during summer. Ugh. Time for heavy duty orange juice and ‘fever’ inducing naturopathic drinks to try and fight it off. Wish me luck!

One of the things I’m working on at the moment is selling prints of my photos. If you’ve got some spare time, I’d really appreciate it if a few people could have a look at my Flickr stream and tell me which (if any!) photos they think would make great prints. You can comment here, email me or leave a comment at Flickr, whichever you like. Thanks in advance!

Two Less Lonely People in the World

I’m really teary as I sit here now, writing this. My life changed forever today. It changed in the most positive way I could ever imagine. Earlier I had realized how my emotions were heading, but today I knew for sure – I’m in love! In love with the most wonderful, handsome, amazing man that I could ever dream to meet. He’s everything that I ever dreamed I would find, and more. So much more. I just never thought that he existed, I certainly didn’t think I would ever be fortunate enough to find him.

And now, I seem to be having some kind of delayed reaction, because I’m crying. Not in a sad way, in a happy way. In a way, that means there is just too much inside my heart and it needs someplace to spill over. I never ever dared to hope that I would ever meet a man who could make me feel like this. And now that I have, I don’t want it to ever end.

Oh gosh, talk about turning on the waterworks! As we were driving back earlier, I was watching the sky and the clouds and the thought that popped into my mind was that not only has my life changed, the way I see the world has changed, forever. Everything, every tiny little thing looks so much brighter and more beautiful.

I don’t know what I did to ever be this lucky, but I’m thinking that I must have done something pretty wonderful in a past life, if there is such a thing, to have deserved to experience what I have today. I could say more, but I think the more that I have to say is just for his ears only. And oh, I can’t wait until I’m close to him again.

How can one life suddenly change so much? How can it suddenly mean so much more. All I know is that my life will never be the same. In a very, very good way. There is this tiny part of my heart that can’t believe this is happening to me. How can I be that lucky…am I really awake or I am dreaming?!

And Mr. Wonderful, my adorable, because I know you will read this; you know you have my heart. I just hope you don’t mind all my gushing. It was just too much to contain inside! :wub:

Today will be the day that never shall grow old
~ Someone, Air Supply.