A new feature today… I wanted to profile an organisation that does some amazing work in this world… and how we can become goddess angels for other people’s dreams… I’ve chosen Kiva as a do-gooder sponsor this month, because their work touches my heart and spirit.
A lot of people have heard about the amazing work that Kiva does. My lovely name-sister Leonie Wise introduced me to Kiva a couple of years ago, and I’ve been a proud Kiva-ette ever since.
For those who don’t know about Kiva yet – I’m really excited to be your first guide of it. Kiva is one of those ways you can “donate” and help third world countries.
But – it’s not that boring, and it’s not that one-ended.
Instead of making one-off donations, you become an angel investor.
Say you’ve got $25.
You choose an entrepreneur from a third world country who wants to grow their business to make more money for their family. They could be a family wanting to buy another goat so they can sell more milk in Cambodia. Or a group of women in Peru who want to buy a shop so they can sell clothes.
They have an idea about how to become more profitable, and just need some investors with the capital.
You lend them your $25. And over a period of time, they pay it back to you (without interest).
Talk about self-empowerment.
To them – they aren’t just being given a gift. They aren’t being thrown a fish. They are buying some line so they can keep catching their own fish.
Individuals, families and communities get to take control of their destinies.
And here’s the amazing thing – there is less faulting on loans then there is for a first world bank.
It’s a win-win situation every step of the way.
And once all your money is paid back to you? You get to withdraw it and buy yourself some cupcakes, or invest in another entrepreneur.
I’ve studied economic history, and community development, and social policy and anthropology at university. And it taught me a whole lot of really big words and concepts that I can never remember enough to use. All I know is, when I hear about something as thrilling and empowering as the work Kiva is doing, I get excited deep in my belly.
Obviously, Kiva is doing something very, very right. In the past couple of years, their use has exploded.
This week alone, nearly a million dollars has been lent to people in countries all around the world who just need a bit of investment to help them make their big dream come true.
When businesses become more profitable, their owners become more abundant, and that income keeps on flowing back, growing and developing their community and country. It’s healing and fixing a whole bundle of issues all at once – just by enabling development.
That’s so smigging exciting that my toes are bunching up with happiness.
And the best part?
With every non-profit, you wonder just how much of your money is going in to making the impact – not administering the non-profit. With Kiva, any amount you lend goes totally to that entrepreneur. And they actually explain that if you like, you can donate to helping keep Kiva doing what it does. And that whole part of total transparency makes me feel so empowered and in the loop, I always donate more for them. They are doing it so right.
I’m now onto my third loan at Kiva – still a baby entrepreneur by Kiva standards!
So far, I’ve helped a group of women in Pakistan buy more sewing machines for their business, a group of farmers in Peru buy more cattle to farm and helped a woman in Bolivia who sells from a food cart build a wall around her property. My loans have been 40% repaid so far, with money coming back in each month. I’m so heart-thrilled at how the experience has been.
Want to learn more?
Pop on over to www.kiva.org to find out how you can get involved, and check out the faces of all the beautiful people you can become angel investors in.
I really, really heart things that change this world.
Know any other awesome do-gooder organisations around? I’d love to hear about them! Or have Kiva experiences of your own to share? I’m all ears 🙂
I’m so excited to announce that I’m re-opening the Creative Goddess Circle again on September 28. It’s been… oh… nine months since it was last open…. and it’s one of my favourite, transformative courses… so I’m utterly over the moon to be doing it again.
The Creative Goddess Circle is a private online message board that we treat as a sacred women’s circle for the Creative Goddess e-Course. During the rest of the year, you can take the e-Course as a home study course… but the Circle means you get to share your journey with other Goddesses doing it too. It’s precious and sacred and blessed and wonderful.
The Creative Goddess e-Course is my most popular course – it’s six weeks to discover the Creative Goddess inside you. It’s not just about art and making pictures though – this is about sacred creativity, and connecting with the amazing goddess you are with art.
Each week, there’s:
a video from me and Charlie the happy healer dog
a 30 minute long goddess meditation
a sacred creative project to create
a hand-illustrated ebook.
There’s weeks of healing, and transformation, and overcoming creative stucknesses, and dreaming big, and finding courage, and being the Goddess you are. It’s beautiful, precious work, and I’m really blessed to share it with you.
The Creative Goddess Circle is opening for six weeks on September 28. To be a part of this circle, sign up for the e-course before then, and you’ll get an invitation in. You’ll get access to the course materials before then incase you want to start playing right now – or you can wait and use them with the Circle.
This circle there will also be three goddess helpers who will be helping me in holding the sacred circle space, and making it a magical, shining experience for everyone there. Hoooorah!
Questions? Just let me know dearheart. I’d love to help out.
And if you’re called – I would be utterly delighted to share the Creative Goddess Circle with you…. A magical journey awaits ~ I am jumping up & down with glee!!!
You have permission to say no to demands on your time that don’t light you up, and don’t give energy back to you.
You have permission to not give a crap what’s happening outside your world, and keep your energy focussed on what you are creating.
You have permission to let go of friendships that make you feel like shit.
You have permission to say no whenever you like, however you like, in whatever kind of voice you like, without feeling like only Mean Girls Say No and Nice Girls Say Yes. That’s bull. Yes and No have equal weighting – what’s important is if you use them when they are the best thing for you, not out of fear, obligation or guilt.
You have permission to know that Yes is powerful, and so is No. The power comes from you using either from your highest spirit and truest integrity.
You have permission to change. You have permission to not be the person you once were.
You have permission to get angry and self-righteous, and to also glean the wisdom from those emotions. They are leading you to where your boundaries are, and where they have been crossed, and what you need to do from now on.
You have permission to be exactly how you are.
You have permission to not be more like anyone else in the world, even if you think they are better, wiser or more popular. You have permission to be more like yourself, your gifts and your wisdom.
You have permission to not care what other people think of you.
You have permission to not try to change what other people think of you. You can’t ever argue that you are a good person. They will either know you are, or not. You don’t need to spend time with people who don’t believe in you.
You have permission to do things that your friends and family do not.
You have permission to be wild, expressive, truthful, exciting and outspoken.
You have permission to not accept friendship requests on Facebook, or anywhere else in your life. You have permission to block people whenever you like.
You have permission to share as much or as little as you like. You have permission to blog, or not blog. You have permission to Twitter, or not to Twitter. It doesn’t really matter. As long as it’s making you happy, that’s the best thing.
You have permission to suck at a wide variety of activities. It’s okay. You make up for it with your million other brilliance particles.
You have permission to be whatever body shape you like.
You have permission to choose, and choose again. And then choose again.
You have permission to not always be a perfect image of something.
You have permission to be a contradiction.
You have permission to not go to your school reunion, unless it really excites you and delights you, and you would love to really heart-reconnect with people you went to school with.
You have permission to not be interested in the newest fad: harem pants, geek glasses, polaroid cameras, scrapbooking, macrame. You also have permission to be totally obsessed with them, if it makes your heart light up.
You have permission to cut people from your life. You have permission to surround yourself with people who are good and loving and nurturing to you.
You have permission to be a disappointment to some people, as long as you’re not a disappointment to yourself.
You have permission to do nothing whenever you like.
You have permission to make your big dream come true.
You have permission to not do it all perfectly, or have all your shit together.
You have permission to not forgive people. You have permission to forgive people when it’s right for you.
You have permission to think some people are crazy. You have permission to think some people are smigging ice-cream with chocolate and wafers and sprinkles and cherries on top.
You have permission to not have the perfect relationship.
You have permission to not have a relationship.
You have permission to take whatever time you need for you.
You have permission to make ridiculous choices for yourself.
You have permission to use and listen to your intuition. To feel when things are off, and to remove yourself from them, even when you don’t quite know why. You will always find out why. Our intuition is here to serve us.
You have permission to be down. You have permission to be up.
You have permission to still believe in unicorns and fairies.
You have permission to believe in things that other people think are very very odd and strange. You have permission to not care. You have permission to believe in things that make your life wholer, richer and deeper. You have permission to make your own world that is the truest painting of you.
You have permission to suck at colouring in.
You have permission to say bugger off to anyone who has ever told you that you’re not good enough, you’re not worth it, you are not beautiful, you are not lovable and you are not the most divine, wise, delicious Goddess to walk the planet.
You have permission to know that you are.
You have permission to swear when you like, however you like, to your reckless abandon.
You have permission to not be the best of anything – just the best of yourself. And some days, just the best you can do that day.
You have permission to not always give. You have permission to fill your own cup up first.
You have permission to have things around you that delight you.
You have permission to live in a tipi if you want to, or a mansion. Whatever makes your spirit shine is the right thing for you.
You have permission to make choices on whether it makes your spirit shine.
You have permission to know you are a goddess, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Even when you feel utterly human. Even when you want nothing more than to climb under your blanket, or light up the sky.
You are a goddess.
You have permission.
You have permission.
You have permission.
Last night, under a growing, glowing moon, I curled up in my caravan & recorded it for you as an affirmation meditation.
This is one of those really difficult posts to write. In writing this, I am not judging any soul for any choices they have made, or will make. Another person’s journey is theirs, and it is holy and right for them. I just wanted to share my thoughts and my journey and the way my spirit is leading me through some big choices. So I really want to preface this by saying: it’s really okay if you feel totally different from me. However your spirit leads you is just perfect.
Okay. Deep breath. Onto the story.
A few weeks ago, we had our first ante-natal appointment at the doctor’s. We were so “first time” that we didn’t even know it was called an ante-natal appointment.
This is a correct rendition of the appointment booking:
Hi, Doctor’s clinic, this is Nathan.
Umm, hi Nathan. My name’s Leonie. I need to book an appointment.
Sure. What do you want to book for?
Well, I don’t know if it’s a special kind of appointment. I’m up the duff, and haven’t gone to see the doctor yet. Is there a special thing I need to do for this? Is there such a thing as a pregnancy appointment?
Oooh. Good question. I have no idea! Let me check.
(Checks. Comes back again).
Yes! Apparently there’s something called an ante-natal appointment. You need to come in and see the nurses first, and then the doctor.
Huh. Awesome. Ante-natal it is then!
I think we all learned something that day.
So one Wednesday afternoon, me and my hunkie went to the doctor’s. We hung out at the nurse’s station, kids bouncing around us, guys with broken legs looking a bit sorry for themselves, me trying not to hurl on all of them. A sweet nurse came and collected us, and took us to an ancient weighing station where they use weights and slides and scales to work out your weight. And I tried not to hurl as the weights slid back and forth, and found out I was already up 2kg.
She took my blood pressure, and it was something crazy high, and she looked at me with concern on her face. And I shrugged. Then down to get a urine sample, where I managed to pee all over my hand and the cup in the process. Pregnancy is for the elegant.
And she tested my pee, and let me know “it’s all fine”, which we guessed meant that I was still up the duff.
Some darling US goddesses have been asking what “up the duff” means. Especially when I say “up the sacred duff.” “Up the duff” is Australian slang for pregnancy, and when I say “up the sacred duff”, that’s just me being an Aussie hippy.
Then the doctor.
My doctor is sweet and calm. If she was an animal, she would be a mouse. A very friendly helper mouse. We talked about pregnancy stuff for a while. She rechecked my blood pressure, suspecting me to be one of those “high blood pressure when being watched” types, and she was right. Blood pressure perfect.
And then… she asked us The Big Question:
Have you decided yet if you want to do tests to check on birth abnormalities?
I looked at her blankly. What does that mean?
Well, we’d check if the baby had Down’s Syndrome or other birth defects.
And what if it did?
Well, you’d only really do the test if you knew you might want to terminate the pregnancy if the tests were positive.
I was speechless. I looked at Chris, tears brimming in my eyes. His eyes were wide too. We had a conversation with our eyes.
We turned back. Chris said softly No, that won’t be happening.
I explained, tears still brimming over. My brother was born with cerebral palsy and I wouldn’t want him to be any other way. We’ll take whatever Great Spirit gives us. Whatever we are given is perfect.
Our doctor listened softly. That’s okay. I’ll make a note that you don’t get asked about those tests again.
Good. Thank you.
We didn’t know we’d have to make such huge decisions so early in our pregnancy.
That night, over the dinner table, we talked about it again.
Hon, did we make the right decision? Are you comfortable with it?
And in that gentle, wise way of his, he said Yes. Whatever we are given is the right thing for us. We will cross whatever bridges that arise when they come up, not try and find out where all the bridges are so we can avoid them.
It might be the perfect choice for other people, especially if they have no idea about living with disabilities, or they don’t feel able to care for them. But you do, and your family does. Your mum is a disability support worker. Your two sisters are disability support workers. We know that things can be okay no matter what.
Whatever we are given is perfect.
And I was emotional and tears broke their river banks, my heart beating strong.
And I was so glad I was with this man who really gets it, already.
It is only now I look back to the date, and realise that doctor’s appointment was exactly thirteen years to the day since my brother had made his rainbow journey onwards.
What I want to talk about
I really want to send out an impassioned plea…
for people to know and understand that children and bodies do not need to be “perfect” in order to be perfect.
My eldest brother was born with cerebral palsy (brain damage) due to birth. My mother was 19 at the time, and had never held a baby before she held my brother. She was incredibly young, had no idea about child-raising, and had a war veteran husband who had his own trauma issues to deal.
My brother wasn’t diagnosed with a disability until he was six. My mama made it her mission to be the most supportive, nurturing, educated mother in the world. She read to him for hours each night (as she did with all of us). She helped his mind and body and soul grow and develop and bloom. She had my other brother, left her husband, and moved to a small country town. She cleaned churches and did whatever she could for her sons to have a healthy, happy life. She met my dad, moved to the farm, continued populating the universe with three more daughters, and continued on with her own self-proclaimed destiny of being the best mother she could be.
And my brother, for all his own personal challenges, was one of the greatest gifts to our family possible. He was funny, and smart, and knew how to do the practical things that the rest of us couldn’t. He was the one who would sit in the front seat of the car, directing my mum through big cities because he was the only one with a sense of direction. He’d get mixed up between the words “left” and “right” so he’d just use his hands to direct. He was the one who got out into the world and did his own thing however he liked. We often joke – he got his driver’s licence on the first go. My other three siblings took two or three attempts. Me? The apparently brainy one who graduated in the top five percent of the state? Oh yes. It took me four.
We all have our gifts and our challenges.
My brother taught us to accept people for their rich, wide and varied differences. He made our family wider, deeper and more loving. He showed us that no matter what you were given, you could do anything you wanted.
By the time he was 25, my brother had more licences to use farm equipment than anyone else in my family. He was assistant manager at an Endeavour Farm – a farm worked by people with disabilities. He had a hot, older, non-disabled girlfriend. He lived with his mates. He was North Queensland’s number one athlete in all events. He joked about wishing he was more disabled so he could enter more sporting events. He was #2 in Australia for high jump.
And he made us laugh. He would drive home on weekends to re-tile my grandmother’s kitchen for her birthday. He was rare, brave, wise, and intensely loving.
He died in a farm accident, fixing farm machinery, doing the thing he loved the most.
He was my brother, and I wouldn’t have wanted him any other way.
He had a disability, and he was perfect, just as he was. Just as we all are.
The best moments of my life
My family would go to sports competitions for disabled people – before he died, and after, to award his Commemoration Award.
If you ever want your life changed, rocked, expanded and made a thousand times better, go to an event like that.
If you want your heart expanded at the beauty and bravery and courage and precious spirit of some of the most amazing souls you will ever meet, meet disabled people.
My mama always likes to tell one story of watching a 50 metre running event that took three minutes to run. When one realised he was losing, he sat down on the field and cried. And everyone who got to the finish line? They turned around, walked back to him, and encouraged him, pulling him to his feet, and finished the race with him. And the crowd cheered louder than it ever had before.
They will teach you that they don’t give a shit what you look like, or what’s wrong with you – as long as you laugh, and have fun, all the better.
The best parts of those competitions?
The extreme-dance-off (thinly veiled as an awards ceremony and dinner) that night. Sure, there were awards to give out, and food to be eaten, but as soon as the music started, there was a mass evacuation to the dance floor where people boogied as much as their bodies could.
The year after my brother died, we went back again to the awards night to award his trophy. And with us was our Japanese exchange student, a sixteen year old named Shintaro, who spoke only a little English. My mama was concerned before we took him – in Japan, disabilities are often kept hidden in families, and aren’t always seen out and about in public. So using a Japanese phrase-book, she tried to communicate that we were going to be going out with 200 disabled people. She wasn’t sure how well it got translated.
That night, we ate dinner in that giant room, still grieving our brother. And the music started, and we sat around still, mopping up tears with napkins, my dad taking it in turns to scruff up our hair with his big hand, sighing as he did so. After a few moments, we realised Shintaro was missing. “Oh no!” said my sweet mama. “He must be feeling really frightened somewhere!” We tried searching outside, and the toilets, worried that Shintaro must have been uncomfortable with the combined wa-bammy of grieving and a room full of differently abled people.
And then we found him.
He was in the middle of the dance floor, hands up in the air, shrieking with laughter, dancing his booty off. Over the music, he yelled “These People! Are Best Dancers! Ever!”
And that’s where Shintaro spent the rest of the night. And so did we.
Embraced in the moving, pulsating beat of humans in all their splendid grief, challenges, joy, bodies, life… dancing and loving together.
My moral of the story?
Our lives don’t have to be perfect in order to be what is needed.
Some of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever met, who have changed my life, may not have been ones who passed those pregnancy tests.
But in every single way, they are our truest bodhisattvas, joy teachers and acceptance gurus.
And yes – there will be massive challenges. And huge lessons. And pain and grief. And transformation.
Just as it is with every single child born.
But it will all be worth it.
We will be deeper and richer and wiser and more beautiful because of it.
It’s just perfect, as it is.
We are given whatever is needed.
I had lunch with one of my dear friends who I adore. And she mentioned something about healthy babies. And I said – you know, I just don’t believe in bad things. Of course I would love for any child to have wonderful health. But if they don’t? It won’t be the end of our world. We will be okay. We’ll receive lessons and blessings from that too. However things happen, it’s perfect.
So that’s what I’m feeling. That no matter what “imperfections” make their way into our life – we will be better for them. We will be okay. And we will be blessed.
Sharing this with a gentle heart, and gentle spirit…
Whatever you choose for your journey is absolutely perfect. I just wanted to offer up my experience that “imperfect” is utterly perfect too.
In the interests of Comments Zen, I ask that any comments back be shared with a compassionate, non-judgemental spirit. We’re all doing the very best we can.