to be grateful

plait shadow, desert 2006

On the last day of 2006, I want to give thanks to all the miracle moments, souls and journeys which has been such an integral part of my path.

I’m not sure where I’m going. I know it is somewhere beautiful, and mysterious. I know it is the journey back home into my soul ~ land. And I know it is necessary.

Just as every moment is, really. All of the parts add up to the sum of my life, the movement of my journey forth like the coil of a snake’s tail as it pushes its way through the earth and dirt, heading to the river.

I know that every part of the last year has contributed to that journey, that pilgrimage home into the heart.

Like the moment at lunch today, in the city, looking over the street below, dribbling laksa, seeing canyons and valleys and fields in my lover’s eyes. We talk of what we’re doing, where we’re going, who we are. And it all begins to make a little bit more sense, this teasing out of the divine truth.

I tell him: I’m challenged, and I’ve never been challenged before. Here’s my childhood dream come alive, and now I have to ride the horse. I’m not sure if I can ride it.

Him, in his simple, honest, wise way replies: But that is good, isn’t it? That’s what our souls are here for. To be challenged. To learn.

His eyes crinkle up, the mountains in his eyes fly in the light.

Yep, it is. So I walk, at the moment feeling like I’m struggling, grasping, in other moments feeling like I am roaring, soaring. Inside my eyes and in my breath, a smile erupts because I know it will all pass, that the days will move on, and into the love and knowing I sink deeper. After all, it is home.

It has been a blessed year indeed.

Let me count my blessings, let me fill my hands with them like heaped clutches of dandelions…

I am thankful to be the mentor and apprentice of the Wisest Happiest Healing Being on the Planet, my god~dog Charlie. I am thankful for his presence, the way he teaches me to play, for being my studio muse, my foot warmer and my furry friend.

I am grateful to be a womens circle sister. I am grateful to have been a part of the Jaguar Temple, and the Sacred Honu Tribe. And I am so grateful that this year I was given the opportunity to begin my own womens circle, to gather the goddesses, and step into the role of teaching. Always, I am a student of this great magic ~ of women finding themselves and each other in circles. I deeply thank Great Spirit and the Goddesses for womens circles. They have changed my life over and over, and make me even more of me. They are the richest of spirit treasures.

I am also grateful to have celebrated my first solstice in circle. One of many to come, I believe.

I am grateful for silly, funny, heartfelt moments in my wee lil family. Like Chris feeding Charlie the rest of my rice custard…

I am thankful for being part time at work, and for having such supportive bosses.

I am incredibly grateful that I have the opportunities I have, and the ability to feed energy into my dream business of LeonieLife Art & Writing & Photography & Miscellaneous Soulful Creative Adventuring (LLAWPMSCA).

I am thankful for the encouragement and advice of my agent who helps me dream even bigger dreams for LLAWPMSCA.

I am grateful for hilarious and wonderful workmates who make cubicle life as colourful and enjoyable as possible (and also make some pretty excellent frappes and cheese).

I am so very thankful for my first art exhibition. It was a momentous dream come true, to see my skin, my message on brightly coloured canvasses covering the room. I had to lie down on the floor to let all the goodness seep in.

I am grateful for my beautiful family ~

My mother for being who I am but in a different era, and in her own way. For being deeply supportive and understanding of me.

My father for being the best dad he can be and for loving me as much as he can.
I have learned so much this year from my parents ~ that they are souls on their journeys too, doing what they can the best they can. There is a great release and acceptance in knowing this, and in loving this truth.

My late great brother Clinton who was born on this day 31 years ago. Happy birthday Clinton. I am so grateful you were born, and to have had you as part of my life. You teach me about love and life, even after death. These great spirit linkages we have that move beyond time and space. You taught me muchly, most especially that we can have both a good heart and be human at the same time. bbbbb
How odd… just as I wrote this, Charlie leapt onto my lap, and placed his hands distinctly on the keyboard, as though wanting to tell me something. I know what he is trying to tell me. Charlie has always been the perfect messenger between the spirit and real worlds.

My brother Brett for honouring his soul contract with me. We love each other, get each other, press each other’s buttons, push each other and listen to each other. Whenever I’m with him, I know why I always say that he’s the best big brother in the world.

big sis & me, hotel

My big sister Rebekah for being solid like a rock and gentle like a river. We fall together into a comfortable rhythm of laughter and sharings when we are together. How blessed I am to have someone as close to me as a twin ~ she the darker haired, me the blonder. At this moment, I wonder where she is. Is she seeing a water buffalo, or riding an elephant’s back? Her and my mum have gone to Vietnam for an adventure over Christmas. I am so proud of the two of them I could burst.

My little sister Maryanne for our burgeoning new friendship, and for being a brave feeler in this world. We are much more alike than we tend to believe, but I think this may be the way, with so much water sloshing around in our starry connection (she a Piscean, me a Scorpio). I am grateful for her being her, no matter what. And that’s quite a beautiful thing.

My gran who is the most glorious 89 year old goddess to walk the planet. Talking to her on Christmas day, she was a cackle of giggles as she tells me she thinks my sister might be looking to court a young man as she’d been dressing very stylishly. I laugh uproarously and tell her she knows everything and that she is so full of wisdom. She replies that she likes to keep on top of goings on and knowings. That she does. She is the crone of my life, my guiding goddess who tells me that she woke up smiling this morning because she woke up.

And of course to the two little souls who now make up our family – my niece and nephew Josh and Alyssa. You both light up my light and tear up my eyes because of your energy, zest, love, joy, pain, heartfullness and discovery of the world. I wish I lived closer so we could paint everyday together. Maybe in the moonlight. Maybe using our hands. Maybe making ourselves so dirty we’d have to wash off under the hose.

I am grateful that a year ago I was celebrating the beginning of a new year with family and with firetwirling.

I am so very grateful that I had the opportunity to spend time in marvellous Moranbah in September, with my family and my sister and my niece and nephew, and a whole tribe of kids. It was the juiciest of paint strewn fun.

I send prayers of gratitude into the sky for my Uncle Alan & Aunty Sandra. I give thanks for my tribe, and I give thanks for the lessons of passing into the light. On Christmas Day, we toasted our glasses to those who had passed, and I gave thanks for both of you. Thank you for your life and your love.

I am grateful for celebrating a year of wedded bliss with a divine creature I could only dream possible.

I give thanks for turning 24 with an energy celebration on a mountain.

I am grateful for warm, wonderful, crazy and eclectic friends who will have 22 degree parties with me to celebrate spring. Who have picnics just for the heck of it. Who share their hearts with me. I am blessed to witness who they are as they unravel and find themselves.

I am grateful for the emergence of artists dates.

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to meet the desert. For having heard the heartbeat of that sacred place, Uluru. I am incredibly blessed to have danced in her dunes, and to have witnessed her sunrise.

I give thanks for goddess camp in March. Meeting with so many beautiful women to laugh, dance, sing, share, circle, adventure. How incredible. They each moved me so gratefully, the whole experience moved me.

I am grateful for the beautiful friends who have visited me this year. Goddess Sister Sone, Donn & Gabs on our miracle weekend, a soulful time with Shan, my mum and dad, muchos hilarity with PG & Furry.

I am thankful for our annual Sydney adventure. I am thankful for my friends there, and I am thankful for learning the art of the champagne frappe.

I give thanks for this online community, for those who share their stories, and those who support and encourage those sharing of stories.

I am grateful for the gift of a retreat in the mountains of Bowral. That cream womb healing space, just for me.

I am grateful for the gift of photographing gods and goddesses this year. The meeting of spirits to see each others’ beauty is a powerful thing.

I give thanks for all my dear friends. Ones here, ones far. All touching me in ways profound. So many to count. If my heart was a woven cane basket it would be overflowing with gathered wildflowers. Know this: you have taught me, and loved me into a greater place. You inspire this birdy to sing what songs she can.

I am so thank*full for the love of a man whom I still regard as the Beautiful Man on the Planet.

He is my teacher, my student, my lover, my muse, my journey~man and my friend. He is the wisest man I have been blessed to know. He gets it on so many levels, challenging me, both of us going deeper together. We walk onwards, both on our separate paths, but onward in our journey of love.

I give thanks for this path. I give thanks for this life. I give thanks for my breath.

I give thanks for the books that have taught me, the mentors who have shared lessons with me, the buttons that have been pressed, the laughter that has rung out, the healing that has occured, the dreams that grew bigger, and the heart that grew larger.

I am grateful for the journey, for the love, and most of all, Great Spirit. Whatever the name we choose to call it, it is the most beautiful mystery of all.

I thank you 2006 for being all you needed to be, and all you have blessed me with.

In gratitude, love and light,

divinely guided: summer solstice

A few weeks ago, a chance conversation happened.

We were driving through the toll booth as we do everyday. I was soaking up the attention of the old toll booth driver who we have named “Wilfred.” All in a day’s work really – talk about the weather, laugh about the traffic, anything to have some small talk with a stranger.
But this day he says something unusual:

Only a few more weeks until the longest day of the year!

I exclaimed my surprise, we waved our goodbyes, and drove on.
From the backseat Mr P berates me joyfully:

REALLY Leonie! What kind of PAGAN are YOU!!! Not even knowing about Summer Solstice! I mean REALLY! I thought you would have been up a hill celebrating it naked with your womens friends or something!

I laugh at my pagan ignorance. I’ve never had the opportunity to celebrate a solstice before in other circles, but now I have my own circle, and the opportunity lay before me.
A seed was planted, a resolve grew:
YES, I must celebrate summer solstice.

So I sent out the call. A few responded, as I expected. Christmas falls so close to Summer Solstice, I knew my sisters would already have plans.

I did some research, and felt like I was learning about a history I hadn’t heard before. I knew about Christian festivals created in the last two thousand years, but what of before then? Cultures all around the world have celebrated the longest day of the year with various festivals. In the ancient region of Sweden, a midsummer tree was set up and decorated in each town which would be danced around. Women and girls would bathe in the local river as a magical rite to bring rain for the crops. You can read more about the traditions of summer solstice here.

Last night I drove to the local river, dressed simply in a blue skirt, a black singlet and a serendipitous, sacred goddess necklace received in the mail today, woven with love from the hands of Darlene.

Another woman soon arrives by the river, and after waiting some time we decide the Universe has gifted us with the opportunity to experience a two woman circle.

We walk through water to create a simple circle of white summer roses. We ground to mother earth, watch father sun descending into the mountains, meditating, sending healing energy out into the world, chanting, telling stories of the old days, praying for rain, honouring the warmth, energy and light that the sun gives us.

When we close I follow the old swedish practice. I leap into the river water, baptising myself as the light fades, calling the rains with laughter.

When we leave, we look back. I say to Mich
“Would we have done this? If I’d said to you – meet me at the river, just us two, to meditate as the sun went down, would we have done it?”

I’m not so sure – and yet we DID.

And that is the most beautiful thing of all about this work ~ doing things we never thought possible, living life in the wildest, most alive way possible.

Happy Summer Solstice.

May your world be blessed with ancient traditions, divine guidance and ceremonies “just because.”

Today we paint the hallway spontaneously a deep red, womb red, henna red. An entryway into new possibilities, an initiation into the womens way.

Today a rain descends. I cannot stop from smiling.

Where it matters

I’m trying to find the balance between studio time and internet time.
I often find my energy getting swept away in what everyone else is doing, and what everyone else is thinking, with very little of my own intentions being manifested, and my own creations being drunk in, revelled in, birthed.

Ahh, balance, that dastardly thing, that thing I have tosselled with most of my life.
I’m a Scorpio, and those scales of balance land squarely with those Librans before us, not us intense little beans. We’re those all or nothing types, either climbing mountains on a major fitness spree or comatose on the couch.

I want my own balance, I want to live by my own clock and knowing.

And dammit, I want my art back. I want my Leonie back. I want that girl back who was happiest with her journal and her own thoughts. I want my sense of peace back, listening to the wind, drinking in her lover, playing with her dog, making magic with her pen.

So here is to my studio,
to my sacred time,
to my inside time.

There is a whole world in here waiting to be discovered.


One day left to vote for the Cheese Awards!

The First Annual Cheese Awards

This celebration season I wanted to create a new special little tradition of my own.
Something a little bit magical. A little bit silly. A little bit raucous.

I wanted to honour Smiling.
More specifically, I wanted to Honour The Art of The Cheese.

So this year at the celebratory occasions I’ve attended lately, I’ve took along my trusty wee point and shoot. And I began the art of the tacky arm outstretched, flash glowing head moosh. Only quality will do for these Awards I tell you!

The Awards will be voted for by the most important people in the world: You!

I’ll collate the scores, and award the winner a slab of Cheese of their choice.

Please note you can not vote for me. Obviously I have had a lot of time to practise the Art of The Cheese, and I wish to pass this baton onto all those Cheese Wannabes out there.

I would also encourage this to become a world wide movement – hold Cheese Awards wherever you go! (I made some new friends and smiled some new smiles!)

Let the award nominations begin…

Dream Big. You can Cheese.

And Vote! A Camembert is up for grabs!

To vote, simply leave a comment in the Comments section of this post. If you don’t have a blogger profile, simply leave an Anonymous comment.

awesome adventure pic post part 2

When I last left you, we were watching the sunset over the river.

Gorgeous view, huh?

This is part two of that story… the part of walking home… the slightly spooky, moody, twilight part of our discoveries.

As we walked back from the sunset, we looked up a hill to see this sight looming in the distance:

We continued walking… but I remembered my promise to myself to be more surprising and spontaneous… so I giggled, running back up the path to find vine covered stairs up the hill. To my delight, everyone else followed.

We found an abandoned old toilet block…

Further into the long grass, we found the old church that had enticed us there… it too was abandoned, and a forest of wilderness grew inside it. It formed part of the large estate of the former Gladesville Hospital for the Insane. A rather strange story that one, without much information on the internet available on it. Walking in the beautiful gardens of a former “lunatic asylum” that is now thoroughly overgrown was a thrilling, scary, intriguing experience.

The church was fenced off, but the adjoining building was fenced off only by draping vines and a moody feel.

So I did what all good spontaneous people do. I dared everyone to go in there with me.
they protested a little, and chris asked me not to, but I laughed back:
I have to do this.
So I pushed the vines aside, walking under the veil of mystery and spiderwebs.

It was quite beautiful under there.

The roof gone, and only barbed wire resisting the greenery, it was a blend of shadows and light, structures and organic lines.

We joked as we stood under there,
if only to take the eeriness off.

Sometimes it’s good to feel a little bit afraid.

We scrambled back down the path again, and walked on, feeling a little bit thrilled,
and a little bit more ready for more adventure.

We took another path home, walking us past cottages that were well lived in. A clothes line filled with dozens of identical blue striped tea towels waving in the twilight breeze, homes all blanched in 1960s red brick. A hundred metres away, another abandoned house. As though someone had left forty years ago and forgotten to return.

The back stairs grew trees.

The front door lay covered in leaves.
Where did they go? Where are they now?
Who left this waterfront home so quickly they forgot to close the fridge door and take the forks from the kitchen bench?
I am not sure, and it’s kinda nice not to know all the answers.
Only to know that here this house remains, empty, paint peeling, and an empty presence that resists you from staying too long.

The others waited outside in the parking lot with two brides and fancy cars as we crept through history, breathing in old moments.

As we walked outside to join them, we make friends with the hugest dog I have ever seen. He smiles widely at us, nuzzling our elbows, before gaiting off with his owner onto another adventure.

As did we…

(to be continued)

Signing off,
Adventuress Leonie