What does your home say about you?

As I sit in my lounge, surrounded by boxes, I can’t help but reflect on the life we have had in this house. We are moving to our dream house soon, you can read all about it in this post here. In that post, I briefly spoke about Feng Shui and numerology. These subjects have been fascinating me, especially during the time when I knew that it was time to leave this house and to find the dream house. We were having a few (ok, a bit more than a few, lol!) problems and I was desperate for help. I read Tisha Morris’s amazing book called Mind Body Home and it gave me so many answers to the problems we were having.

What I realised from reading her book and more research along the way, was how much our homes are a mirror of who we are.

There are no accidents in life. We always align vibrationally with where we are at in our lives. And, our homes are a mirror of what is going on in our lives. Here are a few things to consider in your home and how it may be affecting you.

Clutter

The first thing that Feng Shui always talks about is clutter. Yes, I know, it’s not very sexy. Cleaning our space and moving things out that do not belong there anymore is always the first step in moving energy. If we have not decluttered, or spring cleaned for a while, we are more than likely feeling tired, sluggish and uninspired. I spoke a bit about that in this blog post.

So, I would like to ask you, where are the things in your home that you do not ever want to go to? Which cupboard is your messy cupboard? What are you hiding in there? Is it time to air the dirty laundry, so to speak?

One of things that frustrated us about our current house, which ended up being a huge blessing, was the lack of storage. It was so frustrating not being able to hide those things we brought from Melbourne. The ones we didn’t want to deal with. The physical things that brought up emotional baggage. Because, they had to go. And with them having to go, the emotional attachment to many things also had to go. We normally hide the things we don’t want to deal with in our garage, storage shed, or basement and attic.

We found this house so that we could release ourselves from all the things that were holding us back. I feel so much lighter without those things.

Front door and windows

Another thing about this house is the amazing amount of windows. I have always been a person who wants natural light and always will be. Which is probably one of the reasons I chose this house. But, the problem with so many windows (all sliding doors), is that the energy does not stay in the house. The front door is also in a strange place. Often, people don’t know where it is.

In Feng Shui, the front door is seen as the gateway through which all energy flows into the house.

In this house, the energy comes and goes everywhere, because of all the windows and the strangely located front door. You can see through to the back of the house from the street. Not good if you want a quiet and peaceful home. Very good if you want to get things moving in your life! We moved from Melbourne so that we could create our dream life in Brisbane. This house has really helped us to see all the possibilities for our life. I am looking forward to a quieter life now, I tell you :).

The soul purpose of a home

The biggest thing I learned in my journey with this house was that there is no such thing as a wrong or bad house, even though there are many inauspicious characteristics to this house. Every house has some inauspicious Feng Shui. We can work with it to improve it, but, ultimately, every house has a purpose. This purpose is determined when the architect draws out the plans for the house.

There is a soul contract between the land, the building and the occupants of the home.

The purpose of the home we are leaving now is to facilitate growth. The neighbour told me that we would not stay here for very long. She said that people never stay here long. And she was right. The energy of this home is about movement and the removal of masks. This home lays your soul bare. This home forces you to see exactly who you are.

And every home has a purpose. If you are frustrated with where you live, I would encourage you to connect with your home. I would encourage you to consider why there is a meeting of the soul of the home that you are living in and your own soul. I would invite you to listen deeply to what your home would like to teach you. And I would invite you to ask the home how you can support it. As we connected with this home, we realised that it has experienced a fair bit of unhappiness. And we have done all we can to help it by way of the work we have done here.

The way we treat our homes is a mirror of the way we treat ourselves. I believe that I have learned great compassion for myself in this house and I look forward to continuing to truly love myself in the way I am planning to love my new home. I now know that there is no separation between my home and myself.

If I am to love myself first, this has to extend to how I love my home.

So, I would love to hear from you. Tell me about the relationship you have with your current home. Or, perhaps tell me about the relationship you have had with any previous homes you have lived in? Do you see the connection between how you take care of yourself and how you take care of your home? Perhaps it’s time to start.

Lots of love,

Olga

xxx


 

The soul of a home

My family and I have been working on manifesting something amazing and it has been over 8 years in the works. Sometimes, things seems to take longer than we like. But, we need to accept that there is an order in things that we do not always understand. And when we manifest what we have wanted for so long, we realise that it would not be so perfect, had it not been for the journey we had taken.

So, without further ado, let me share our news…

soul-of-a-home

We bought a house! It is the most perfect house and I can’t wait to get in there and start loving it!

Let me share our journey to our new house with you:

In 2008, we moved to Australia, from South Africa. We had been living in a beautiful home over there and we were really happy there. When we moved to Melbourne, we rented the first house we could find. Basically, we needed a house that would take all our furniture, particularly our beautiful 10 seater dining room table. We ended up in a townhouse and lived there for 4 years. I was pregnant with Xavier in that first year and a lot of that time was spent adjusting to a new life as a stay at home mama.

I never connected with the home. It was in good condition, but, it did not have much of a garden. I felt quite claustrophobic because of that. I have grown up with a love of nature. My mum and I would spent weekends at the garden centre, picking plants and enjoying the garden at home. We spent a lot of time outdoors and I knew that I wanted my children to have a similar experience.

I started my teacher training and for the first time in my life, had a really visceral experience in manifesting exactly what I wanted. I was dreaming of a house that would allow me to connect more with nature. And I was dreaming of space. I was dreaming of a place where I could practice and teach yoga. In 2012, I manifested that house and we moved there. It was really magical. And we were really happy. But, we were renting. So, it was not our home.

In December 2014, I announced to Sohail that I wanted to move to Brisbane. As much as I loved Melbourne, I did not love the weather. People in South Africa had warned us that Melbourne has bad weather, but, at the time we were leaving South Africa, we did not care. We said, “It’s just weather.” And yes, it is. But, if you understand Ayurveda, you understand that your environment affects you deeply.

The weather in Melbourne is so changeable, it can really aggravate our Vata. Moving countries aggravates Vata. So, I had moved from South Africa, which aggravated my Vata, had a baby, which aggravated my Vata and was living in a beautiful city that was aggravating my Vata. My health was not doing well. And I intuitively knew that I needed the sun. The prospect of the stifling summer heat did not appeal to me (it’s VERY hot!!), but I knew that the weather for the other 9 months of the year was wonderful.

Besides, we had to live in a city because of Sohail’s job and I feel very strongly about my children receiving a Montessori education. So, we had to work within those parameters. We came to visit. Sohail fell in love because the climate is just like his homeland of Mauritius. I spent the 3 weeks of our visit locked up in an air conditioned room (we came in January – the height of summer heat and humidity), but was nonetheless excited about starting a new life in a place where I could spent time outdoors and grow tropical plants.

We moved here in 2015. Rented a home again. But we were sooooo ready to buy our own place by then, that we only planned to live here for a year before buying a home. I did not anticipate how difficult it would be to adjust. I assumed it would be easy because we were still in Australia. But, no, it was like moving countries again. The children took a while to settle in their new school. Sohail had to create a whole new client base and build new relationships and I had to focus on my health.

I took time off from teaching yoga and dedicated myself to really living Ayurveda and reclaiming my vitality. A year after we moved, we realised that we had not even been looking for a home. So, we signed a new lease. And then we experienced so many problems. Our marriage took a lot of strain, we were burgled, things in the house started breaking and I started to feel really unsafe and unsettled.

This is when I started learning about Feng Shui and the soul of a home. I learned about house numerology and how the location of a home and its number affects us. I realised that the house we live in is in a very inauspicious location. We are near an intersection, which means that we are affected by the traffic that is constantly driving past our house. It is also on a straight road, so the cars drive really fast. It is a number 1 house, which is not a good number for relationships, as it represents independence. Interestingly, our first house in Australia was also a number 1 house.

I started space clearing, placing crystals strategically and seriously decluttering. All of these things were helpful, but, ultimately, every home has a blueprint. Every home has a purpose that is set when the architect draws up the plans.

I accepted the purpose of this home.

The purpose of this home is to facilitate growth so that people can move on. This home has very minimal storage, which means that you can’t hide any of your shit. You have to deal with all your demons. The neighbour told me that people don’t stay here for very long. She told me that the couple who lived here previously had marital problems.

Basically, any unresolved issues – this house brings up. We have had some of the most challenging times in our marriage in this house. And this house has helped us to heal everything we did not know had to be healed.

And now, it is telling us to go. We have listened. And we have found an amazing home.

242a7627

Image: Kate Cornfoot Photography

I knew that I wanted a number 6 house, because they are very good for families and are really happy homes. I have been searching for what seemed like an eternity and then it just showed up. It is a townhouse that is situated along the river. It is 20 minutes from the city. And it has a whole shopping strip 5 minutes away. The pool is taken care of by the body corporate and it has aircon in the whole house for me! It is the best of both worlds. Nature that I so need, but also, all the conveniences of the city that I enjoy. And minimal maintenance. So, we can spend our weekends biking together, decorating the house and enjoying ourselves as a family.

I have no doubt that the house has found us, just as much as we have found it. Everything is a perfect match. We align with the house that represents who we are.

I am looking forward to being embraced by this home that I can call mine – where I can paint the walls, renovate the bathroom and not worry about a house inspection.

This feels like a big journey that we have been on. From leaving our beautiful home in South Africa, to finally finding one that we seriously could not have imagined.

It has been an amazing journey of growth, love and discovery. And I would not have it any other way, I trust in my ability to manifest, more than ever. I look forward to taking you on the next phase of our journey. No doubt, some new learnings will come from this new home and this next phase of our lives.

I would love to hear some of your “soul home” stories. Do you believe that your home represents who you are? And, what is your home teaching you? Please share with us in the comments.

Lots of love,

Olga

xxx


 

Inspiring Peace – Conversations with Wise Women – Kate Cornfoot

Inspiring peace

Welcome to the Inspiring Peace Series. Showcasing mothers all over the world who live by the philosophy of creating peace in the world by parenting from the heart, in a way that adds love to the world. Sounds good?

Today we meet Kate Cornfoot from Kate Cornfoot Photography. Kate is an amazing photographer and friend and my family and I have been lucky enough to have an amazing photo shoot with her. I can’t wait for you to soak up the wisdom this incredible woman has to share with you.

What was the catalyst that inspired you into mothering the way that you do?

There are so many different elements that have shaped the way I mother my children: the way I was mothered and grand-mothered by sensitive, kind, loving women; my experiences of transitioning from a girl to a woman; feminism; my experiences of being a high school drama teacher. I couldn’t point to any one, single, catalyst, but I would say that everything that has made me the woman I am today has influenced the mother I am too.

If you could tell a new mother just one thing that would make her journey of parenting more joyful, what would it be?

Be kind to yourself and be playful! Life is so serious, and we have such awfully high expectations on ourselves as mothers. I really put myself through the ringer in those first 2 years of being a mother, worrying I wasn’t doing it right, worrying I wasn’t meeting some ridiculous, fictional standard I had set for myself. Learning to tread gently with myself and coming back to my sense of humour have helped me to find more joy and let go of a lot of stress.

How do you honour your femininity as a mother?

This is so important. It’s really easy to be consumed by motherhood, to not honour your womanhood outside of it. I found photography when my oldest was a baby and it has been a hugely important outlet for capturing and expressing my femininity. It started with me taking photographs of myself, fairly regular, everyday sorts of photographs, because I was quite absent from our family photographs and wanted to rectify that. Then, as my skills improved, it became a creative outlet for expressing bigger, bolder ideas about me as a woman. Now, I’m including other women in this journey; I’m currently working on a series of images that celebrate the beauty of all women – all different body types, ages, sexualities, backgrounds.

What are your non negotiables for your own self care?

I read a wonderful book when I was pregnant with my first child, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, by Dr Sarah Buckley, and she wrote about the ‘mummy tank’ – just as a car needs petrol to run efficiently, we mothers need to keep our own ‘tanks’ filled up with whatever classifies as petrol for us – time alone, a massage, going for a walk, seeing a movie, yoga, etc.. – if we are going to be happy, patient, relaxed mothers. This concept has stayed with me, even if I haven’t always diligently made time to fill up my tank. The things that restore my sense of equilibrium include going for a walk, reading a book in a quiet, shady spot outside, catching up with a girlfriend, doing something creative.

What is one practical thing that you do on a daily basis to make your daily life run more smoothly?

Slow down and stop. Even just for 5 minutes. I don’t have the constitution for being over-scheduled and over-stressed, so I make sure I keep my pace at a level I can sustain without burning myself out.

How important is rhythm in your life?

Rhythm has been quite tricky and elusive at times, for me. I’m more attuned to it now, 6 years into motherhood. I listen to my body more and honour when it needs to slow down, when it needs to stretch, when it needs to drop everything and be alone. I know when I’m in a good rhythm in my life because things tend to flow more easily; and I also know when the rhythm is all out, requiring me to re-evaluate what I’ve got going on at that time.

Finish these sentences:

  • I am happiest when: I feel truly present.
  • Love is: Everything! It is the single unifying element of all the parts of my life – motherhood, marriage, family, friendship, work, photography, art.
  • My greatest wish for my children is: That they feel free to be themselves. Unapologetically, kindly, boldly themselves.

What does being a peaceful mother mean to you?

It means loving myself and taking care of my own needs as tenderly as I love and care for my children. It means having the awareness to reflect on my mothering with a light heart. Being peaceful also means I don’t need to get swept up in the emotions of my children when they are angry/sad/frustrated/confused; I can be the calm eye in the storm. Finally, it means feeling grateful and happy for the mothering I do well, and gentle and accepting of the things I find challenging or wish to change.

About Kate

Kate is a high school Drama and English teacher, and a documentary photographer. She is happiest outside: gardening with her two munchkins, drinking tea and shooting the breeze with her husband, or reading a great book in the shade. Kate is passionate about capturing real life, real moments, real relationships in her art, because real is beautiful. You can find her at www.katecornfoot.com.au, on Facebook or on Instagram.


 

Allowing ourselves to dress well

Allowing ourselves to dress well

Image Kate Cornfoot Photography

“You look nice, are you going somewhere special?”, my friend asked me at school drop off one morning.

“Thank you. Yes, I am going somewhere special. I am going home to tidy up.”, I said. That morning, I had decided that I was done with wearing yoga pants to take my children to school. In fact, I was done with wearing anything that was not flattering. And, let’s be honest, who looks nice in yoga pants? The day before, I had donated all the clothes that did not represent who I wanted to be and how I wanted to feel.

Unfortunately, like many stay at home mums, I had fallen into the trap of frumpy, because, guess what? I was *just* a stay at home mum. I was the taxi driver, the chef and cleaner, and I was too busy to have anyone over anyway, so, why bother, right? When I was working in a “real job”, I got to wear pretty suits and blouses, I got to wear make up and do my hair. I had clients to impress and I had to look the part. But, as a stay at home mama, there was no one to impress, so, I didn’t have to put in the effort.

I also believed that I was too *spiritual* to care about such trivial things. After all, yoga teachings were telling me that I should be unattached to things, as this would make me unenlightened. Only selfish and shallow people cared about fashion, lipstick and nice things. I was more concerned with my enlightenment, than how I looked in a pair of jeans. Jeans that were inevitably contributing to some suffering to someone in a third world country somewhere. I could have no part in that if I was to “heal the world.”

This was such a dangerous trap I was in.

It saddens me to see so many beautiful mothers in this trap. We believe that, since we are not contributing to the family coffers, what we do doesn’t matter. And, if what we DO doesn’t matter, it means that WE don’t matter. So, we dress the part.

This is the thing – what we wear, and the way we present ourselves to the world sets the tone for our lives.

Have you ever noticed how confident you feel when you make the effort to get dressed up? Have you noticed how nice it feels to take the time to do your hair, to choose an outfit, to put on some make up? Why is that?

It is because you are practicing self love. And when we practice self love, we fill up our cups. And when our cups are full, we are overflowing with love. This benefits everyone around us, especially our families.

Having a European upbringing, meant that I was raised to care for my appearance. The way we present ourselves matters in Europe. My mum always told me that every woman is beautiful. This affected me deeply, which is why I feel sad when women don’t see how beautiful they are.

When I met my husband, I was impressed with how he carried himself and I noticed that his dad was always well dressed. My mum had taught me to always look at a potential mate’s father – as that was who he was to become! So far, my husband has not progressed to wearing his pants under his armpits (it seems to run in their family, lol!), but, he always looks so presentable. I will be honest, my knees shake a bit when I see him going off to work in his tailored suit, wearing his cufflinks and smelling like a million bucks.

Coco Chanel said:


Coco Chanel

 


The way we present ourselves sends a message. It sends a message about how we feel about ourselves. It sends a message to others about our self worth. The way we present ourselves is not superficial. The way we present ourselves sets the tone for our day, which, in turn, sets the tone for our lives.

It is worth taking a few extra minutes to do our hair, to put on some lipstick and to wear something flattering. We teach our children about self worth and we stand a little taller.

The first pose I teach in my yoga classes, is Tadasana – the mountain. It is a pose that teaches you how to stand well. I believe that all women should know how to stand well, because it literally raises our vibration. And a higher vibration makes for better choices, more joy and a better life. Yes, we can practice Tadasana in yoga class, but, here is a short cut for you – we practice it naturally when we wear a little lipstick!

Allowing ourselves to dress well

So, I offer you two things today:

  1. Remove anything from your wardrobe which does not make you excited to wear it – I promise, you will thank me.
  2. Upgrade one thing in your morning routine. Put on a necklace, dab some essential oils behind your ears, put on some lipstick. Start a Pinterest board dedicated to your new style. Anything that elevates your mood.

And when someone says, “You look nice, are you going to meet someone special?”

Respond with, “Thank you. Yes, I am going to meet someone special – myself!”

I would love to hear how you feel about dressing well? Do you take the time to dress well and in a way that is flattering to you? Do you believe you are worth dressing well for? What do you wear when you take out the trash? Please share with us!

Lots of love,

Olga

xxx


 

Inspiring Peace – Conversations with Wise Women – Vanessa Teklenburg

Inspiring peace

Welcome to the Inspiring Peace Series. Showcasing mothers all over the world who live by the philosophy of creating peace in the world by parenting from the heart, in a way that adds love to the world. Sounds good?

Today we meet Vanessa Teklenburg from vanessateklenburg.com. I found Vanessa when I bought her Deluxe Abalone Set. I was so amazed by how it worked to shift the energy in my home. I knew that whoever put it together had to be really special. And then I found out that she loves essential oils as much as I do and I knew I had to have her in this series. I am sure that you will love this interview.

What was the catalyst that inspired you into mothering the way that you do?

I had to ponder this one to try and unravel all my thoughts around this, because I see my two boys as being a major catalyst in many ways for the way my life has unfolded, for the way I have evolved and for the decisions I have made. But looking back, I suppose the real catalyst was my upbringing. I grew up in the Middle East with my English mother, Egyptian father, a sister and a brother. My mother was (and is!) beautiful and loving, and she did everything she could – both my parents did the best they could – and yet I experienced much harshness and spent my childhood doing things that were very hard on me. As a highly sensitive child, living with constant fear and dread at school, church and elsewhere, I always had this question floating in my mind: is this all there is to life?

Behind this question was a deep knowing that life needn’t be that way. I knew the answers all along. I knew, even at a young age, when things weren’t right – when choices were made out of fear, pleasing people and following old patterns and behaviours without questioning them.

So that when I became a mother, I couldn’t help but want to choose a different way. One based in love, consciousness and awareness. I’m grateful for my sensitivities because it allows me to choose what’s right intuitively. I can tell when I’m parenting out of fear, and from a conditioned place, and when I’m parenting out of love with the sole intention of allowing my children to be who they are. So yes, the catalyst was really in the rubber band analogy – I was pushed so far in one direction and experienced much pain that it propelled me to a whole different perspective where freedom, joy and empowerment are the values I lead with as a mother.

If you could tell a new mother just one thing that would make her journey of parenting more joyful, what would it be?

Let them be. Let it be. 

We spend so much of our precious energy trying to control, fix and direct our children, to the detriment of our relationships with them. Instead what they have taught me is that children have as much to teach us, if we simply open ourselves up to it. My eldest who is now 8 has taught me over the years how to be a true individual just like him, and to let go of trying to please others – of trying to do things simply because it’s way they’ve always been done. It’s the most liberating feeling in the world. I used to fret over their sleep, over their diet, over their learning, over the thumb sucking, over their speech. 

Let it be. Question your beliefs. Come back to the truth and let them be. My youngest taught me that each person does things in their own sweet time. He did everything “later” than what was expected, but therein lies our pain. I have brought so much more peace and joy into our lives simply by letting – allowing! Elevate your perspective and I promise there is so much joy there.

How do you honour your femininity as a mother?

By taking care of myself. By reminding myself to breathe, deeply and often. By taking in all the beauty around me. Being in nature, being quiet, honouring the voice within. I’m a sensual being so I love what essential oils have given me – not just physically, but emotionally as well. Heavenly scents to wear, blends that fill my home, and checking in with my body throughout the day is such a beautiful practice for me. Eating, drinking, wearing, taking in the best Mother Earth has to offer us – whether it’s clean organic food or the sounds of the ocean. And very importantly, learning to receive and surrender to all that is. We’re all givers and nurturers and most of us have had to remember how to receive and enjoy that flow. 

What are your non negotiables for your own self care?

Quiet time! On the beach, in a corner of my home, or in the car alone with my thoughts. I need space from everyone regularly, and so does everyone else in our family, so we talk about ’needing quiet time’ as a very positive and healthy thing. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or tapping allows me to process what’s going on inside and remember who I am. Lemon oil in my water every morning to cleanse, Frankincense under my tongue to enliven my cells and wake me up to my truth, Wild Orange on my wrists to energise and remind me of all that abundance in nature. A quick stretch on the yoga mat – even if it’s only 15 minutes, and even if it’s not every day. Telling myself every day in the mirror that I am expanding, that I am learning, and to be open to all of life’s possibilities. Seeing the ocean. Lots of water throughout the day and filling my mind with uplifting, encouraging, awe-inspiring stories of real human beings.

What is one practical thing that you do on a daily basis to make your daily life run more smoothly?

Getting good quality sleep and starting the day with intention. I know, that’s two things! It might be on the yoga mat, it might be my journal and a cup of coffee sitting in the sun, or it might be a little tapping to get me unstuck. It depends on the morning but if I bring a little awareness to my body and mind it makes a difference to the rest of the day. 

How important is rhythm in your life?

I think this is an area I could practise more. Because I like to feel into things and lead my life intuitively, it means that the tactical nitty gritty can sometimes get lost. We have a beautiful rhythm as far as dinner, stories and bedtime go. Because we’re not a school-going family, no two days are the same and I like this, but for instance I resist meal planning and goal setting. I’ve always been curious about this. I’ve tried both and they don’t really work for me. On the other hand, what is important is ritual. Our ritual of expressing our ‘gratefuls’ over dinner, or a morning ocean swim in the summer followed by gentle pottering in the afternoon, or our ritual of cleansing and charging our crystals under the full moon, offering a gift and receiving a bowl of ‘moon milk’ in return (this one has been going for a couple of years now!), checking in with myself throughout the day and asking what I need as I hover over my essential oils and start playing. Bush walking in the winter, snorkelling in the summer – it’s all very special and very important for connection. 

Finish these sentences:

  • I am happiest when: I have quiet, spaciousness, nature around me… swimming in the ocean, lying on the earth under a tree.
  • Love is: peaceful, free, healing… giving myself and my children the freedom to be.
  • My greatest wish for my children is: to know who they are, to know their innate power, to feel connected to themselves and their greater purpose. To be free to live their fullest life.

What does being a peaceful mother mean to you?

Taking care of myself and putting my needs and self-care high on the list. It means freeing myself of all the guilt and self-sacrificing tendencies of old. It means continually working on myself to clear out old patterns, old thought forms and negativity so I keep remembering the peace that I am – so that my children know this too about themselves. It means being okay with things when they aren’t okay. Rising to the challenge of honouring my role as a mother but also as a woman and free-spirited entrepreneur with big dreams. It means anchoring into the greater why behind many of my choices, when those choices can be hard. It means tuning out to the noise out there, cultural norms and societal beliefs, and tuning into who I am and who my children are. It means choosing to have an elevated perspective about everything. Always.

About Vanessa

Vanessa lives with her two boys and husband on the Central Coast in NSW. Over the years she has taught everything she has needed to learn herself – from resistance and self-sabotage to having an abundance mindset. Her intention is to return to her circles very soon to have conversations around conscious parenting, money and what it means to be free. She is also a mentor and has been supporting a growing tribe of women who seek to enrich and elevate their lives through the power of essential oils. You can connect with her through her Instagram account.