Adding Some Floral Fun to our Events

To celebrate our collaboration with the super creative Jess from Poppy and Fern Flowers and the styling whiz Rach from PeachyPie Events, we put on a little get together for some of our friends at a funky beach shack on Belongil beach.

The evening began with a flower crown workshop carefully demonstrated by Jess. There is something very special about women coming together and creating together. As we worked the energy shifted. We talked about the day we had, the week, our children, our jobs, our husbands. We shared and we listened while we weaved and dropped into the moment.   

We then came together in circle. We shared and we laughed and we cried. We let go of what didn't belong and we set positive intentions for the future, for ourselves,  for our community, for all women. Then we feasted! It was nothing short of magical! My dear friend Lauren (and extremely talented photographer!) from Avalon Lane captured the evening brilliantly.

 

130A8141-2.jpg

Tips for Getting Through the Festive Season

This time of year everything feels like it is speeding up. I orginally put together this little guide for myself when i felt things were starting to spiral out of control. I stuck it on the fridge, a bit like a positive affirmation, my christmas mantra. Its seems to be working, well so far so good anyway.  

Tip for getting through the festive season; 

* Stick to your exercise routine, or as my yoga teacher always says "don't abandon your practice when you need it most". It's so easy this time of year to shop, cook, clean, entertain, decorate a tree, wrap gifts etc etc instead of heading to the gym, going for a run or making it to your regular yoga class. 

* Food food food. This time of year is often associated with an increased consumption of rich foods, processed snacks (chips, crackers etc), sweet treats laden with sugar (think pavlova). This year we have decided to keep it simple, high quality produce that sings on its own, instead of fancy time consuming high stress dishes. Think fresh tropical fruit platters, olives, organic greens with a sprinkle of edible flowers, double smoked free range (stall free) ham, fermented pickles, grannies chutney and some organic spelt sourdough bread (thank you Sunday Sustainable Bakery for moving into town). If you do happen to overindulge (lets face it, it is the festive season) then an easy and accessible way to support your digestive system (and LIVER!!!) is herbs in the form of teas!! Try a combination of peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm and fennel for digestion, drink dandelion root for the liver and give your nervous system some support with passionflower, chamomile and licorice root.   

* Create an alter or a sacred space. A dedicated place for mediation, prayer, positive thought or just to remind you to smile and breath a little deeper. You don't need a lot of room for an alter or a lot of things, a few crystals, shells, a candle, whatever has meaning and reminds you to stop and just be, even if its only for a fleeting moment. 

* Smudge. I find smudging a helpful way to 'wash off' any unwanted outside influences, to shift negative energy. It is grounding but at the same time very relaxing and peaceful.   

* Safe guard your energy.  A little bit of self love and nurture goes a very long way this time of year. Take the time to have a bath, burn some essential oils, listen to relaxing music, look after and nuture yourself. 

* Gratitude. Yes family can be very painful and extremely grating at times, but take the time to cherish those around you, to be grateful for these moments together, for this precious life.

 

DSC_0913.jpg

Hosting a mama blessing (blessingway)

A mama blessing is a pre birth celebration, a ceremony where women gather in circle to support, empower and celebrate a women in the days leading up to birth. A mama blessing can be organised by friends or the mother to be and held as an alternative to a traditional baby shower.

It does differ however to a traditional baby shower as the focus is on the pregnant woman and giving her strength, love and encouragment, rather than being focused on the baby and present giving. 

The term 'Blessing way' is often interchanged with mother blessing or mama blessing. A Blessing way is a sacred navajo ceremony and out of respect for the navajo people we use the term mama blessing instead.

 

So what's involved:  

There are endless ways you can throw a mama blessing but here's a few ideas to get you started;

  • First step is to create a space.

As the mama blessing is a women’s circle the first thing you need to do is create a comfortable ritual space. Decide on the space where you are going to hold your circle, this can simply be a cleared lounge room or a backyard with thrown down rugs and cushions placed in a circle big enough to seat your guests. Creating a center-piece, such as a crystal mandala,  in the center of your circle adds a special sacred touch. 

  • Flowers

Ask each guest to bring a flower from their garden to contribute to the centerpiece. A flower crown for the mother to be is also a wonderful way to celebrate her beauty.

  • The ceremony

Burning sage or smudging is a great way to begin your circle as it is grounding and relaxing. Smudging helps to ‘wash off’ unwanted outside influences and can help set the tone for your circle.

  • Meditation

Beginning with everyone sitting still in guided meditation is a way for your circle to relax, be present, to set intentions and to manifest joy and positivity for themselves and for the mother to be.

  • Ritual

Sharing a blessing through either the salt or water ritual is a key part of the circle. This is a time for each guest to speak beautiful and positive words to the expectant mother, to give her a blessing, a wish or a positive affirmation. The infused salt or water is given to the mother to use during labour or after birth to soak in your blessings.  

The string ritual is a beautiful way to close the ceremony, linking everyone together to maintain the connection. A reminder of the support, love and encouragement within the circle of women. 

  • Feasting

Eating together is a big part of a mama blessing, whether it be catered, 'bring a dish' or prepared by the host. 

 

130A7560.jpg

The Birthday Circle

The day was busy preparing, organising and styling our space for our women’s circle, which was mostly for us to get together but also for my birthday. It was a huge thing to organise and only an hour or so before everyone was to arrive we hadn’t even arranged the naked teepee, which was to be our space for the circle. Eventually my neighbour helped set it up, even adding the fairy lights (which were amazing later on!) and was an angel sent from heaven. Everything just fell into place as the girls arrived and everyone assumed a job. By the time everyone had arrived the space was looking fabulous and the food platters were gold star (thanks Nicole!!!), all fit for queens.

We sat around the low table, eyes googling the food and chatting about whether we should just eat first(!) when someone let slip that they were pregnant! (not me by the way). It was a beautiful surprise to start the circle with and secretly we had been waiting for our girl to announce that. We have all known each other since we were pregnant with our first born’s, meeting in our various pregnancy support classes and after birth ‘mama baking’ together. We have been meeting regularly since then and all attended each others mama blessings for our second and third babies. So I guess you could say we know each other pretty well.

The circle began shortly after with M smudging and cleansing us from tip to toe. Now I don’t actually smudge that often but the smell of the sage together with the floral’s smelt absolutely divine and so grounding. It was such a beautiful way to start a circle and prepare for sharing. When we were all seated M led a short, relaxing and arriving meditation. She then asked us to think of a couple of words to send around the group as we held hands. I must note here that the privacy of a woman’s circle is that whatever is shared in the circle stays in the circle – for confidentiality to each member. However I can say all of us sitting together was very powerful, focussing on each other as a group. I felt so much love and connection. Tears were already welling within me.

After that M asked us to say a few words about how everyone met (me) and then a few words about how we were feeling and where each of us were, in short, were at in life. It sounds like an intense thing to ask but because of the circle space with everyone listening to the speaker, it creates a special atmosphere, that is respectful and non-judgemental.  Going around the circle I was amazed at what came out.  These women had seen me.  It was only in circle, where time was set aside specifically to share and listen, that these feelings were able to be shared.  I’m still so amazed and filled with love and gratitude for everyone’s words.  When each expressed their own story I witnessed so much bravery, courage and honesty.  Their were tears and laughter, sadness and joy.  All witnessed, all heard and all held by each other.  This to me is the real sisterhood.  Women lifting and supporting women. And in our case mums helping mums.

I think we all came away with a better understanding of each other and possibly ourselves. I was totally uplifted and feeling love from the ritual, the listening and sharing, and the birthday circle.

Love

Justeen xx

A very special thank you to M. for hosting this wonderful moment and facilitating a beautiful circle. All my heartfelt thanks and love .

p.s. Even though this was a women’s circle for a birthday, the circles for a mama blessing or bride to be are similar – all gathering to support, bless and well wish a sister.

130A6882.jpg
130A7220.jpg
Did I mention how delicious the food was???!!!

Did I mention how delicious the food was???!!!