Great Heart

We were fortunate to be given tickets to see Johnny Clegg at the Lyric theatre tonight. I love his music and the sense of belonging and connection it gives me with the land of my birth. Tonight was the first time I have seen him perform live.

As he started singing “Spirit of the Great Heart”, tears started streaming down my face. You know how it is when you’re crying in a movie and you don’t really want people to see? The first tear falls and you surreptitiously wipe it away and hope that no one noticed, and also that it’s the last tear. But then another falls, and another and trying to hide the tears becomes futile…

It’s a moving song, but there is a little personal story attached to that song for me. It was 1986 and I was about 8 or 9 years old. My parents had taken my sister and I to Top Star drive-in to watch “Jock of the Bushveld”. Spirit was a song on the soundtrack to this movie about a brave loyal Staffie.

We all came home a little sad about Jock. My mom put the kettle on for a last cup of tea for the evening and my dad went out to take Jessie, our aging Boxer for a quick walk. He came in just a moment later, in shock, telling us our lovely white dog had passed away. I remember us all sitting at our round kitchen table, drinking tea and crying. It was the first time I ever saw my dad cry. My big,strong, strict, sometimes scary dad. Crying. There are defining moments as you grow up where you realize that your parents are just human. That was one of those moments.

“Spirit of the Great Heart” will forever be tied up with Jock, Jessie and my dad’s tears and I will probably never be able to hear or even think about it without feeling a little weepy.

I found my spirits of the great heart.

What’s a doula to do?

I am getting ready, mentally and physically, to be a doula at a birth soon. I don’t take on many births so this is a challenge for me.

I am refreshing my knowledge of the practicalities, accupressure points, aromatherapy oils.

I must gather the contents of my doula kit – it hasn’t been used in a while and the important bits have been relocated elsewhere – for example, the rescue remedy is in my medicine chest and the tea tree oil next to my bath, the rice bag is next to my bed.

It will be a home birth – I need to get my head around that. Most of my experience is birth unit based births. I need to consider all new aspects of birth that I may be faced with when helping to deliver a baby at someone’s home.

Most importantly, I need to get into the right headspace to be of value to the expectant couple.

I need to build up my confidence levels – know that I was chosen for a reason and they will appreciate my presence. Thicken my skin in preparation for dealing with a challenging midwife. 

And then I need to empty my cup

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands

I am trying to teach my kids the power of affirmations… but sometimes I need to remind myself of their power too.

This morning, my little girl woke up in a rather whiny, miserable mood. I hugged her and told her I felt the same – I was also tired, my tummy was also a little sore and I would also love to stay in bed in this grey rainy weather. I also told her that it is her choice as to whether she spends the rest of the day feeling sorry for herself or whether she perks up, puts on a happy face and approaches the day with a positive outlook. With very little prompting, she started to repeat the little affirmation that I taught her… “I am in a happy mood and I choose to have a happy day today”.

The first two times she repeated it, it was with a long face but by the third time, a smile was starting to shine on her adoreable toothless mouth and by the fourth time, her whole face had lit up and she really did seem to have shaken the bad mood. I told her I was saying it with her to make sure I had a happy day too. And so far so good. As I drove to work, I chose to listen to some loud happy music from my iPod to listen to instead of my usual talk radio… and what do you know… I am in a good mood and having a happy day today.

Happy Friday Everybody!

Downward Dog and other Achievements

I attended my first ever yoga class today. Something I have been wanting to do for ages but procrastinating about for just as long. Too many bad experiences in gym classes and general self consciousness about my weight has always put me off. But today I did it, I actually went to a class. And enjoyed it, despite being horribly inflexible and unbalanced. I am going again. 

I also had a confirmed booking for a birth in April. It’s a home birth with a lovely couple and the midwife is a seriously earthy one. I am looking forward to the experience and the challenge of working with this woman and of course the lovely peace of a home birth! 


Coulda Woulda Shoulda

If I did it all again

I would plan a home birth

I would hire a doula 

I would let my children be a part of the process

I would nurse for longer

I would cuddle my baby like I cuddled my first two

I would love my baby like I loved my first two

There maybe somethings I would do differently, but the love – I did that bit right.


I wasn’t the most popular mom in the world this afternoon – I bought my kids some canvases to play around with, but wouldn’t let them paint with my paints or brushes.

They probably would have done much damage, and my paint and brushes are not the most expensive around but they and my art “studio”  are mine, and special to me. These are some photos of my space. 

22/31 Choose Happiness

I have felt a little irritable and flat today. It might be a good idea then, it being a Sunday night, to get my headspace right for Monday.

Things I am grateful for right now:

My husband, my best friend for 20 days shy of 15 years.

My children, bright and beautiful.

My family, who have to love me.

My friends, who choose to love me.

My home, which is so much more than just a roof over my head.

My job, which allows me to live a comfortable existence.

My king size bed, dressed in crisp white cotton, which I am about to climb into.

Goodnight. x

Nicole posted two days ago about the lost art of letters. Yesterday, as my idea for my daily post took hold, I decided to write down my idea. An idea turned into a full fledged post as the thoughts flowed. There is a poetry in letting the thoughts flow out the hand. So if you will excuse the office note paper… 

24/31 Is there anything new under the sun?

“Originality is the art of concealing your sources” ~Benjamin Franklin

Last night I introduced my husband, via the wonders of YouTube, to an singer he was unfamiliar with. His comment was that he liked her general sound but she was not particularly original. I got to thinking then… Is anything ever original? And should we dismiss artists if we consider them unoriginal?

I can’t comment much with regard to music – I am not the audiophile my husband is. I simply listen and either like or dislike. I rarely remember names of bands or musicians, never mind song titles or lyrics. But I can comment as a visual artist.

I paint from references. It was the way I was taught at school. Sometimes the references are mixed up. A face from here, a hand from there and a pattern from somewhere else. I have often had people ask me whether I paint from memory or where I get my ideas from. They seem almost disappointed when I tell them that I paint from other pictures – mostly photographs, but occasionally other artworks.

I have a Jack Vettriano painting hanging on the wall in my lounge. Except it is not Vettriano’s work, it is my my own. I copied one of his paintings, as an exercise in technique. I was pleased with the result and had it framed. The lady at the framing shop tutted in disapproval as did a visitor to my home. I wasn’t trying to pass the work off as someone else’s. I was simply trying to learn the technique of an artist who I thought to be talented and was proud of my attempt.

Sometimes, my ideas an art piece are more abstract or I want to try working with different media. I then scour the Internet, searching for artists who may have tried similar techniques. I like to see their methods and results. At the moment, I really want to attempt a stylised picture etched onto canvas. I have seen it done and loved the effect. The only way I can imagine doing it is to paint Polyfilla onto canvas and then carve or etch into it. I am searching the web to find examples of this technique before I attempt it myself.

Perhaps a fear of failure or criticism makes me hesitant to just experiment and play? As a (mostly) self taught artist, I know no other way to create.

I often doubt my artistic talent and I wonder whether my concerns about lack of originality has something to do with my self doubt?

I would love to hear what other creatives think about this?