GFI have done a bit of GRATEFUL here before, but recently got invited to do a little exercise over on fb. It's a kind of social media in-between world that I often find odd, but having so many friends living out their lives in other towns and states and countries, it continues to allow me to stay in touch. I love knowing what article a friend is reading / posting, or seeing pictures of friends children that I might otherwise miss. Not to mention all that good youtube tomfoolery. So when my friend Sophie asked me to take part in a five day challenge, I thought 'lovely'. For five days I shared three things I was grateful for. I found it to be a pretty wonderful thing to do - not for the listing it myself, this is something I try to do most nights before bed, in my head, but because I was so touched by how many friends commented and liked and got involved. Friends I haven't heard from in a while took the time to share their thoughts which I found really special. I've included my bits and pieces below, in case you were wondering...

DAY ONE: *After a weekend at yoga teacher training I am feeling sore and tired but very grateful that I have a healthy body. A healthy body that allows me to stretch and move and bend and hold and flow and sweat, and a mind that allows me to learn and explore all these ideas and concepts and philosophies. Yoga is one of the reasons I feel so happy in my body and with what I have. * Spending an evening cooking dinner and listening to The Moth podcast (wonderful storytelling). If I am feeling stressed or tired or overwhelmed, an hour in my kitchen. barefoot, with a glass of red wine and good music or stories is the best thing for it. It calms me and nourishes me inside and out. * Honey, pure and simple. I'm coming down with a head cold so am very blocked up and have a killer sore throat, so have drunk about five cups of chai and am on my second chamomile tea, all thick with honey.

DAY TWO: * Today I watched part of the LIFE documentary, which is a longitudinal study that follows the development of a group of kids at ages 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9. Life at 9 focused on the benefits of creativity in young people's lives, and part of it was filmed during a workshop at the Sydney Story Factory. It was so good to see my amazing friend Matt and lots of our other volunteers in action - I am grateful to be a small part of this community, because I think what we do is super important. * I walked home from work just after 6 and it was still kind of light. I am grateful for the longer days and the changing of seasons - dusk is my favourite hour, the in-between of daylight and nighttime where things feel softer and a little more special. Walking though Prince Alfred Park on this mild evening the sky was rosy and the lights flickered on just as I got to the intersection. * I am grateful for the postcard from my sister that was waiting in my letterbox when I got home. It made me laugh (a lot) and is one of the many hundred we have sent each other for the last 15 years that we have lived in different houses and states and countries.

DAY THREE: * After getting all swoony over last night's sunset, today I am grateful for the sunrise. I work out in Glebe some mornings, in a park by the water and it's dark for the first ten minutes or so, and I am so busy trying to stay warm and kick arse, that sometimes I miss it. But today's sunrise was all bursting, rosy clouds. 
* I am grateful for hamburgers, generally, but especially the Luxe burger with pickles and fries I had in Bondi tonight. And, as a side note, the glass of wine I washed it down with. 
* I got paid for a small writing project this week and I am grateful for a bit of extra pocket money so I can buy a new Turkish rug for the lounge room.

DAY FOUR: * I get to work my own hours and today I left at 4 PM just because I felt like it - so grateful. I walked home and bought a bottle of rosè. Game over.
* My parents are actually the kindest and most generous and supportive people in the whole world and I am ALWAYS grateful for their love. They are in sunny Queensland right now on a well-earned break. Peace-out folks! 
* I am grateful that today I got emails and messages and phone calls from some people that I love who just want to share their day or thoughts with me. That this happens most days and that these people are amazing is just the best.

DAY FIVE: * So VERY grateful for and amazed by my hilarious, hard working and generous friends and family who pitched in to help me at the Sydney Story Factory today as we cleaned, unpacked and counted 3 million tins for stocktake. What would have taken Vanessa and I three days was a dreamy 7 hours and the Embassy looks outstanding. Thank you! 
* This afternoon was the last class at my yoga studio with the spectacular Persia. She is the most inspiring, kind, intelligent and funny teacher I have practiced with and she has been a shining light for me this last year - always grateful. She lead us through a strong and engaging class that had me sweating buckets and feeling amazing. * Exhausted and very pleased to say I am grateful - already - for tomorrow's sleep in. For the first time in over a month I will be able to sleep later than 7 AM and I am bursting with happiness at the very thought of it!

{image by L}


20140521-205725-75445996.jpgSome things to know about yoga retreat:

  • Seven days of seven AM practice feels good but tiring. Two hours makes for a lot of vinyasas so you should use the afternoon breaks to read The Goldfinch because it is both restful and a completely amazing book and you never have enough time to read when you're home and working.
  • The best part is probably going to be the food - breakfast, lunch and dinner all prepared for you with love and care and out-of-this-world delicious. Breakfast especially. If on the first day you feel greedy for making a pot of Earl Grey and a carrot, apple, orange and ginger juice to go with your date and cinnamon porridge and apple and coconut bircher and that big dollop of yoghurt don't worry, because you'll do the same every day, and usually add toast and jam. And often a banana. And dried apricots. Eat it all. It is goodness.
  • Kirtan, or call and repeat Hindi chanting is one of your favourite things so you should give up on pretending to be cool and just be OK with that. You've always loved it. You should do it more often. It doesn't matter that you have an awful voice, it is about being joyful.
  • When you think you've packed enough knickers, go ahead and pack some more. Sweaty daily practice and bushwalks and swimming in the magnesium pool and two showers a day because the rainwater is so lovely means you might go through more than you'd thought. You might end up washing a few pairs of cotton-tails in the sink in your room and stringing them up to dry by the window.
  • Silent bushwalks are better than talking bushwalks. Your senses come alive as you follow the pink ties through the dappled light. You can smell the mandarins and lemons before you get to the orchard. And as you wind down the mountain, you can smell the damp earth and the eucalypts. You can hear only the birds and the crackles of the bush, and the footsteps of your friends. It's a kind of deep and steady thud with rhythm and purpose. It's nice to let your brain rest for a few hours, to just let it think about the path and the rain that is looming (OK, and a little bit about the leaches).
  • The hinterland is wonderful and the days start out with soft rain and heavy mist, then open out to beautiful sun. And the smell of the woodfire burning in the morning reminds you of home, of growing up in the Hills and having to chop firewood. Each morning when you walk up the dirt path for practice you are grateful to see the soft patches of grey smoke from the chimney.
  • You'll sleep like the dead and love every moment, but coming home to your own bed is everything.20140521-205726-75446448.jpg20140521-205725-75445716.jpg20140521-205725-75445112.jpg20140521-205725-75445415.jpg20140521-205727-75447197.jpg