Category Archives: Spirituality

How owning less is Free-ing

A few days ago a friend of ours interviewed us for her book on patriarchal hierarchies. Because with three kids and the whole shibam there’s really no spare time for special decor – and also because at times raw can just be beautiful – here’s the uncut, raw version of her transcript, some of it will appear in print next year. We really enjoyed t as it went far and beyond the usual focus on sailing which we’ve had during most other interviews.

Dini – “All of our friends started climbing the career ladder getting into mortgages and the possession hierarchy and we felt that wasn’t really our plan. We had to do what felt right in our hearts and what we valued most.”

Dini – “With a family even more so we felt that’s what we have to show our children – not something that society might say you should do, as in getting the house and a mortgage and a ‘proper job’. That really didn’t resonate with us.”

Pablo – “In my case I also wanted to do something completely different. You only live once and you have to give it a go for your wildest dreams.”

Background summary, Dini – Left Australia when oldest child was almost 2 and the now middle one was a couple of months old. Sold everything, ended house lease, resigned from jobs.

Pablo – “Those are the things an adventure brings. Getting to the unknown and doing things that you’ve never done before. For me, it’s all about the feelings from the trip – buying a boat, going to amazing places. These were the highlights.”

Dini – “I think you need to be prepared that whatever your dream or adventure is, you need to want it so much in your heart that it’ll push you through very low moments, because they will come for sure.”

Dini – “The obvious highlights are a typical amazing sunny day with a nice breeze and you set off to an unknown island and ideally you make some new friends.”

Pablo – “For me I’ll always remember and I’ll always miss: waking up anchored in some beautiful bay. And the first thing I’d do is to jump in the water, as my coffee to wake me up. How amazing is that! Jumping in the water, that’s how I started my day. It cannot be a bad day because it started in the best way.”

Dini – “I’d swim to the beach, do my yoga, go for a run… and a couple of times I’d come across these ruins, especially in Turkey, that in Australia would be THE national monument because they were so beautiful, so well maintained and so OLD – but because there’s so many of them it’s not even a tourist attraction… just those moments that you totally don’t expect.”

Dini – “When you get a beautiful sail and you’re in tune with the wind and the waves, just with nature. It’s sounds quite romantic actually, you always live in tune with nature when you live on a boat. But a part of it can be quite exhausting, because if you get a few days of strong winds you might not be able to get off the boat or you’re restricted in what you can do next. But when it aligns it can be really beautiful as well. And of course the sunrises and sunsets at sea….

P – “When we were in the middle of the Med, crossing for example from Malta to Turkey, at some point it’s just water. You don’t see land anywhere. You don’t see boats. It’s just your little boat in the middle of the ocean. And you know underneath you there’s nothing but 10km of water. You feel humble, like you’re such a little thing in the world.”

D- “And at the same time empowering because you have to be so self-sustainable. All our energy came from wind and solar (except when we had to run the diesel engine) – that’s how our kids understand it. You are your own little world. You need to make sure you have enough food. We made our own water through osmosis. It’s very scary and adventurous but at the same time very empowering and very humbling. Wildlife is always another big highlight. You don’t feel like a superior human species, as we often think when we live in a city. We’re not.”

P – “You realise when you go back to normal civilisation, in a country like Australia, we have it so easy. We take everything for granted: water, electricity, food, shelter. It makes you appreciate little things in life. I think that’s why we have some sort of crisis in our time because we just don’t appreciate a lot of things that we take for granted.”

D – “Also having time… on the boat, so often we would just sit there as a family, we might read, we might play games, we might talk, we might just sit there – that’s something you never do in land life. I don’t know any family that just sits in the garden and spends time together. People are always rushing.”

D – “It’s like the ocean: the waves of the ocean slow you down, and you’re forced to adjust to it. Maybe at the beginning you fight it and you still want to do a thousand things, and then after a while you have to give in because it’s the rhythm of nature.”

P – “Most people are scared to follow their dreams.”

P – “People create their own prisons. You are a prisoner of your own freedom. I think it’s about liberating yourself from your own prison. Your own baggage plays a big part of that. It’s a mental game.”

D – “To put things into perspective, they say there are about 10,000 live-aboard sailing boats out there at any one time of those just 1% are families – so there’s only about 100 families cruising the world like we did. So we were nuts!”

P – “Me being from Argentina – having instability is normal. That is what I got from my parents; they were in some bad economic situations but they showed me you can always get up and come back.”

D – “People slide into a mortgage because in our culture you need to own your own house. The way people talk is that the bigger the house you have, the more you must have achieved or the cleverer you must be.”

P – “Society is telling you that if you want to climb the hierarchy and you want to be at the top, you have to have a lot of material possessions. You need to have the big house and your wife needs to drive the latest 4-wheel drive BMW/Mercedes.”

D – “It definitely does exist, this hierarchy, especially in terms of possessions – but there is always the option to opt out. Maybe because we grew up in different cultures, it’s easier for us to step out and see that, that you don’t have to buy into it.”

D – “I’ve got three kids, I don’t have the energy to start a Che Guevara-style revolution. But I feel that it’s a silent revolution just being a living example that you can live a different life, rather than aggressively fighting against it.”

P – “I think a lot of people are realising that there’s nothing there in possessing, or climbing up the ladder in the corporate world, or trying to get the mortgage for the biggest house. I think a lot of people like us can see there’s emptiness there and it’s not going to fulfil your spirit.”

D – “People have realised there’s limits with possessions. They don’t really make you happy.”

D – “The more people have, the more fear they have of losing it. The less material stuff you have, the more you can just go with the flow of life and see where it takes you. And get all these wonderful surprises that otherwise you’d miss out on.”

P – “If you get rid of material things that you don’t actually need, you will feel freedom somehow, you will feel lighter with more options.”

D – “For example, we bought a boat with a relatively low budget compared with many other sailing families and we never worried about getting robbed – and our lock didn’t even work properly. Whereas we have quite a few friends who have boats worth 15 times as much as our boat, and talking to them I felt they actually enjoyed their experience much less than us because they were always worried about people kidnapping their kids or stealing things from their boat. So in a way it was freeing living on a boat that always looked like the poorest in the harbour.”

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Being in awe

A friend sent me a scientific article this morning which seemed to prove how optimistic feelings and moods influence positively on the body’s physcial health and well-being. More specifically, the feeling of being in awe was linked to reducing inflammation in the body.

It’s interesting how science more and more proves what is pretty obvious when you live ‘in tune’. Sailors would know that despite the challenges of living among the most hostile environments, there’s not much to beat sunrises at Sea. Parents would know there’s not much that beats that first little smile or gaze of a newborn. Anyone, who embraces live to the fullest would know, that being in awe can be a daily, casual thing which enhances our health and well-being on so many levels. So turn off your device  (I’d say it’s pretty unlikely to find  that feeling through a screen…) and look around you. Notice something to be in awe of?

With love, lightness and gratitude. Dini

Beautiiful Things

 

Learn. Grow. Love.

Sunday morning writing time. FIRST readers in Malta can look forward to the September issue which will include an insight into my personal journal of crossing the Australian Outback. (Blog readers will find a copy on my Media page a few months down the track). Finishing the article, I tumble across a quote which stayed with me from a visit to one of the remote Aboriginal communities out there in the vast, red land . An obvious fact which unfortunately has become less obvious in the obscure and crazy materialistic world we live in:

We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love and then, we return home.

  • How to make the most of our little time on Earth;
  • Envisioning your passion, practising yoga and connecting with your dreams;
  • Bringing more clarity to your path and life;
  • Getting inspired by someone who’s stepped away from security in exchange for a life closer to her dreams than ever thought possible;

All of the above and more, you can experience at my upcoming Bali Retreat. Feeling inspired? Learn more and join the other amazing yogis from around the world who have already signed up to transform the power of your dreams into your reality.

52 cm of perfection

We somehow haven’t ended up in India for now, but India has come to us in the shape of 52 cm of perfection.

While I still felt somehow lost in space when I closed Happy Dancer’s sailing chapter by finishing and posting last week’s video about our sailing summer in Greece and Turkey, since the blissful birth of our beautiful baby daughter last Saturday it all fell into place. It was and is so obvious that she had to be born here at home in Sydney with the best midwife, doula and friends’ support I could dream of. My Divine sisters and my gorgeous boys have been nourishing me and her to the moon and back and those little dark eyes have been drawing me into hours and hours of baby-bliss.

First Family Picture of all Five.JPG
First family picture as a family of five

Most new mums seem to see mostly the tough side of these early motherhood days which undoubtedly exist. But what I do, mainly, is compare what we have, to what this birth, including pre- and post-partum period, would have looked like on a boat. While it would have made for cuter blog pictures and a more adventurous story for sure, the reality of it is that it would have been a whole deal more exhausting, less supported and much, much harder on all levels. There’s many things I wouldn’t have wanted to miss like my fabulous doula and amazing midwife who’s been with me since pregnancy #1; my lovely post-partum Doula who’s just wrapped me up in a beautiful birth-sealing ceremony returning some of the qi which one loses at birth; and all the friends who shared food, baby stuff and blessings.

ToTheStarsAndBackWhen giving birth, a woman and a family need a nourishing, supportive community around them and that’s one of the very things which boat-life compromises on as you constantly move from one place to another. We’ve had to promise the boys to sail the Pacific the day all three kids can swim and snorkel like little champions while they keep asking for their Happy Dancer pretty much every day. But in the meantime, I’m still treasuring all those beautiful things which land-life has to offer – especially now, bathed in oxytocin, the love-hormone which makes the world go round.

We have a secret in our culture. It’s not that birth is painful, but that women are strong.

 

Phases of life

Has it really been over two months since we got back to Sydney? It’s been hard to think clearly since – and still is. Often our years sailing on Happy Dancer seem but a distant dream and I’m left in free-fall trying to understand how this dream was ripped out of my hands so unexpected and suddenly.

Not to say that we are not enjoying being home. Life’s just too ridiculously good and easy in this city whose only main nuisance is its seemingly constant fight for its ranking amongst the top most expensive places in the world, eg smoothie 12 A$, average parking fine 106 A$ (and I swear it’s impossible not to get one every now and then), average daily kindergarten cost per child 120 A$, one yoga class 20-25 A$, grocery expenditures 30 % higher than when we left only three years ago. Ok, admittedly we do live in Sydney’s sweetest spot – but who wouldn’t wanna live by the most beautiful and varied array of beaches in its East… while you are here and somehow can?!? But then again my horoscope said something like – ‘Face it, if you don’t earn more than 500,000 A$, the Eastern Suburbs are just not for you!’

As you can tell, it’s all back to the rat race and while compared to boat living, believe it or not it’s comfortable, so easy ( eg dish-washer, washing machine, massive (read tiny if you are the average US citizen) fridge with freezer, comfortable house with so much space is just the start…) and definitely less strenuous, demanding and exhausting (eg no unsettled anchors, no night-watches, no potential hose, clamp or sea-cock failures leading a direct road to massive catastrophe…). Paradoxically I can’t remember ever having been able to spend so much quality time with my kids while living on the boat as I can now. Not to mention date nights, regularly yoga classes to teach and to attend and the indescribable luxury of having friends just around the corner.

Despite all that, I can’t help but dream about the Pacific some time in the future… Now fingers crossed Pablo doesn’t read this as he seems so happy and settled it sometimes scares me, lol.

It’s really hard to describe what I’m feeling as gratitude shakes hands with nostalgia, and happiness and laughter with a deep void and unstoppable flow of tears in less than a few minutes. Yes, a reminder, I’m not only a live-aboard sailorette trying to readjust to land-life, but also a good six months pregnant which doesn’t make mood swings any easier.

Everything is a phase I tell my yoga and doula clients – thus no need to waste time in aversions or attachments towards any particular situation. One of my favourite authors, Herman Hesse, summarizes this ways better than I ever could. So let me simply share his poem which our boat’s ex-owner just kindly send in a very sweet email – impossible to reach me at a better time. Thank you Klaus!

Allow me to put both English and German versions and if you can , refer to the original later as the former doesn’t do its beauty any justice.

Embrace wherever in life you are these days – before you know it, your current phase, this moment is gone and it’s time to move on again!

H is for Happiness (10)

Stufen

Wie jede Blüte welkt und jede Jugend
Dem Alter weicht, blüht jede Lebensstufe,
Blüht jede Weisheit auch und jede Tugend
Zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern.
Es muß das Herz bei jedem Lebensrufe
Bereit zum Abschied sein und Neubeginne,
Um sich in Tapferkeit und ohne Trauern
In andre, neue Bindungen zu geben.
Und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne,
Der uns beschützt und der uns hilft, zu leben.

Wir sollen heiter Raum um Raum durchschreiten,
An keinem wie an einer Heimat hängen,
Der Weltgeist will nicht fesseln uns und engen,
Er will uns Stuf’ um Stufe heben, weiten.
Kaum sind wir heimisch einem Lebenskreise
Und traulich eingewohnt, so droht Erschlaffen,
Nur wer bereit zu Aufbruch ist und Reise,
Mag lähmender Gewöhnung sich entraffen.

Es wird vielleicht auch noch die Todesstunde
Uns neuen Räumen jung entgegen senden,
Des Lebens Ruf an uns wird niemals enden…
Wohlan denn, Herz, nimm Abschied und gesunde!

Steps

As every blossom fades
and all youth sinks into old age,
so every life’s design, each flower of wisdom,
attains its prime and cannot last forever.
The heart must submit itself courageously
to life’s call without a hint of grief,
A magic dwells in each beginning,
protecting us, telling us how to live.

High purposed we shall traverse realm on realm,
cleaving to none as to a home,
the world of spirit wishes not to fetter us
but raise us higher, step by step.
Scarce in some safe accustomed sphere of life
have we establish a house, then we grow lax;
only he who is ready to journey forth
can throw old habits off.

Maybe death’s hour too will send us out new-born
towards undreamed-lands,
maybe life’s call to us will never find an end
Courage my heart, take leave and fare thee well.

Pictures Courtesy H is for Happiness, Malta, 2015

Interview with the SailingYogaFamily

Notice since the beginning of year I have changed the Sailing (via the Travelling) to the Sydney Yoga Family. On Facebook we have stayed the Travelling Yoga Family and on Twitter the original Sailing Yoga Family. What remains the same is the Yoga and the Family, my base pillars – and I guess, the undeniable fact that we are nomads who love and live the sea and the mountains, blue and green in all its shape and everything life has to offer – from the depth of our souls, past the doubts of our minds, to the highs of our hearts.

Interview

Here’s another recently published interview with us – the last which was done on Happy Dancer just before this third pregnancy threw all our cruising plans upside down and led us back home to Sydney (for now…). Thanks Hannah for another great piece and all the efforts you put into it – elephant journal or not, lol.

Enjoy the read and say hello – here or on Naturally Healthier – and be!

Little sailors missing their home…

Namaste, Dini

Reverse Culture-Shock

Many articles have been written and movies (Tom Hanks in Cast Away comes to mind) featured around the topic of coming home after a long, deep voyage. You have changed, but nothing else has. People run around in their busy lives as they always have, while you feel like the disconnected, slowed-down by-stander. Everyone talks about wanting to slow down (especially when working as a Yoga Teacher…), but no-one really does it. People rush into the yoga class, and out of it barely managing to switch their phones off. We spent the days with a little screen in front of our faces and call it progress. You feel at home, but at the same time strangely out-of-space.

Our life aboard starts feeling more and more like a dream, and less like it had actually been our reality for several years. People expect you to summarize three years of voyaging the high-seas with your family in one or two sentences. Does no one have more time to listen? Is it all too hard to take in (the reality that you CAN get out of the rat race if you truly wish to…)? Or simply too far remote a lifestyle to even fathom thinking or hearing what it really entails? Or still yet enough to be with us and, through the way we have and haven’t changed, understand all that there is to understand off and from our voyage?

BBQ_749

Our lives have arrived. We are working like before, we are regularly catching up with friends like before, heading to the beach with the kids like before, loving Sydney’s great quality of food, organising jamming sessions and having everyone over for BBQs. But my Soul? Or my heart-adjustments to deal with the old/new relationships? It hasn’t been easy. I’ve been feeling quite lost and at times – despite all the amazing community and support around me – lonely. However, as days pass and I tap more and more back into my old community and spent long-due treasured shakti moments connecting with goddesses, girl-friends, spiritual sisters, mothers and women who understand like no-one else could, Old cruising friends are virtually there for us from the other side of the world. They understand the half that no-one else can – but they haven’t ‘returned’ yet. I have never chosen the easy way, but always the adventurous one which comes with personal growth. And personal growth never comes without an edge of pain.

Sapiens

When everything around me gets too much, I give in at times, through my earth-mother ideas and ideals overboard, juck the pizza in the electric (so easy!) oven, put on a DVD for the kids, make myself a cup of tea and sink into a book. The current one is Y. N. Harari’s ‘SAPIENS – a brief history of human kind’. One of my dearest Australian friends back in London gave it to me as a sort of farewell present and universal timing has once again divinely come together. So many paragraphs I more than relate with as I feel like the Neanderthal from boat life back in the overwhelm of a big city with all its myths and stories that people take as THE reality, not realizing that all their run for is constructs of their own minds:

People easily understand that ‘primitives’ cement their social order by believing in ghosts and spirits, and gatherings each full moon to dance together around the campfire. What we fail to appreciate is that our modern institutions function on exactly the same basis. Take for example the world of business corporations. Modern business-people and lawyers are, in fact, powerful sorcerers. The principal difference between them and tribal shamans is that modern lawyers tell far stranger tales.

Happy 2016SIDE NOTE 2 SYDNEY-SIDERS

Why not join me for a heart-opening yoga class at Prana Space Yoga Studio in Rose Bay, 1st January 9h30-11 am to set the road of 2016 into more lightness, joy and good vibrations?!?