Category Archives: Sustainability

Man versus Nature

So  last week we went to a beautiful park near-ish Sydney’s breath-taking coastal cliffs. It used to be THE Friday morning date for all the coolest (lol) mum in the area. We’d sip coffee and chat and the kids have hours of endless fun in, on and around the trees, greens and bushes there. Over the past month, however, we had boycotted Kimberly Reserve  due to bird swooping. Particularly Magpies and Butcher Birds can get quite aggressive during nesting and had attacked a couple of our most little ones several times.We knew it would only be about six week until this yearly season is over. No dramas.

Until today. We returned to the park super-cautiously sussing out whether the birds had calmed down. A couple of hours into the fun, a ranger came to chase us out. He had arrived with a huge ‘Bird Culling’ warning sign. His best man with the shotgun was commissioned by non other than our council. I was so flabbergasted I almost lacked words. Our own tax money  spent to fight nature which, apparently, we treasure all so much in this fabulous city of ours.

‘The birds have been a nuisance to humans.’ Really? Isn’t it us who are the nuisance to them, and, in fact, nature in general? Who are we humans to think that we are the greatest species born to dominate all the rest of wildlife? In fact, haven’t we proven quite incapable of safe-guarding our planet since we’ve sort of taken over, given the frightening rate at which we are extinguishing species – and therewith – our very own future?

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A Butcher Bird mum nibbling away on our compost waste in our garden

Shortly after the bird-massacre the pesticide guy came in mask and suit to spray every little corner of the park where our babies and toddlers regularly crawl and explore. Of course, with no birds left to eat the poisonous spiders and annoying insects, Man has to try and control it all.

I had thought – or hoped – that humans are slowly reaching a point where we understand that we cannot master nature, but simply have to learn to live in harmony and respect with it. Maybe living on a sailing boat should be compulsory for everyone to hammer what seems obvious to my mob, into all of us. If we don’t all work together on treasuring this shaken planet and trying to reestablish some kind of balance, humankind will soon have to learn the hard way that we are not the master of Mother Nature, but she is. She has been there before us, and will be there after us.

‘And what’s happening to the baby birds in their nest?’ my three year old asks? What am I to say – as I wonder what world are we leaving our children? #FeelingSad

We are living on this planet, as if we had another one to go to. T. Swearingen

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?!?

 

 

 

Mediterranean Rubbish

I hope today’s post title didn’t mislead you into thinking that the Mediterranean is rubbish. On the contrary. There’d be barely any other area in the world able to compete in terms of variety, diversity, culture, geography and cruising ease. What, however, makes my heart sad, my mind wonder and my soul cry is the amounts of rubbish we’ve observed, whether that’s in France, Spain, Italy, Malta, Turkey or Greece. The latter is by far the worst and it is almost unheard of to anchor off or swim to a beach where plastic is not a dominant factor. But even here in Turkey, where folks seem a bit more proactive and at least on paper there’s environmental protection efforts made, a thin layer of tiny plastic is most often than not visible, even if there’s only a handful of bags, old plastic bottles and cigarette butts on the beaches.

Probably not surprisingly, sea-life across the Med has been more than meager. I sometimes nostalgically remember diving in Thailand, Cuba, Vanuato, Fiji and back home in Australia. The quantity and diversity of fish, corals and other sea creatures is simply unimaginable for the average Mediterranean guy. Today we are anchored off in a secluded island, a mile across a massive tourist resort. Every morning at 8h30am a group comes over for a dive tour – in the graveyard we call it. While bunnies and mountain goats adorn the picturesque little island, below water there’s nothing by grey dead seabed, broken tree trunks and mostly rubbish. What a scam! In that regard, I can’t wait to get to the Caribbean late this year. Yet still, that won’t make me forget how we are treating the planet – and at sea there’s so many obvious signs for it. One day the ocean is going to talk back to us big times. And it’s loud, I can tell you, and if you are part of the species who thinks humans are bigger than big and we can dominate nature, trust me when I say you are wrong. It’s gonna bite back and it’s gonna hurt. Don’t throw away any more rubbish. In fact, we’ve stopped fighting the urge to collect rubbish on the beaches we go to. I don’t care that locals look at us bewilderedly thinking – ‘Since when’s the local council ordered foreign tourists (that’s me blondy, as Pablo always passes as a local with his Mediterranean looks, no matter where we are!) to collect our sh…?’. At least I’ll be able to look into my grand-children’s eyes and say that we’ve tried a bit.

To finish off this disturbing topic, here’s a few stats which I just kindly was reminded off by one of the local Turkish boatyards as part of a completely overpriced haul-out quote from a completely rubbish-inundated yard… (random, I know – English corrected…):

Did you know?

  • Nearly half of the world’s population lives near coasts.
  • Approximately 250 million people a year catch respiratory infections and gastro-intestinal diseases caused by swimming in dirty waters .
  • Garbage being dumped into the sea kills more than 1 million sea birds every year.
  • 70 % of the oxygen needed to live is provided by the world’s oceans.
  • 65 % of anti-cancer drugs are developed from marine creatures and plants.
  • Each year, 450 billion cubic meters of untreated or partially treated garbage, industrial and agricultural waste are dumped or discarded into the sea.
  • 675,000 kg garbage of which 50 % are plastics are thrown into the sea every hour.
  • It takes paper 2-4 weeks, tin cans 100 years, aluminium 200-500 years and glass bottles 1,000,000 years to decompose in the sea.
  • 1 litre of oil can contaminate 1,000,000 litres of water.

If you suffer under the developed world issue of having no time but some money to spare, consider donating to this worthwhile OceanCleanUp project trying to eliminate the gigantesque rubbish collections floating in the Pacific Ocean.

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The SailingYogaFamily on radio

Listen to last week’s interview at Next Best Thing Radio right here – on yoga, sailing, family, doulas, life, love and more. Really enjoyed the Talk. Thanks Brett! See you in the Caribbean;)

Malta Monday with Cat from Butterfly Therapies

Another Monday. Another business. Another wonderful lady who leaves me feeling blissfully light everytime I walk out of a massage. Without further due, enjoy learning a bit more about my friend Cat from Butterfly Therapies – or even better, book in with her if/next time you are in Malta!
cat massage light with logo2
You in a few words
Part massage therapist, part mermaid, devout tea lover, dance floor addict, yoga student, life student in search of the best ways to just be
Your business in a few words
A colourful combination of physical and emotional bodywork, chilled out holiday experiences and healthy living advice. The core idea behind Butterfly Therapies is to inspire transformation. (>>www.butterflytherapies.com/blog)
Your greatest inspiration
I’m inspired by anyone who follows their dreams and lives in line with their core values. I tend to be inspired more by the people around me than faraway-seeming gurus, experts, celebrities or spokespeople. I think this is because we are able to see the real side of those closest to us, how they are in their tender moments, their victories and tragedies. So right now my inspirations are my Mum who defies convention and does the things that make her happy inspite of the opinions of her peers and my best friend who is at last fulfilling her dream of travelling the world and searching for her true version of happy. I’m also inspired by clear orators, those who are able to speak their truth in a way that others can really connect to. Maya Angelou, The Barefoot Doctor(>>>http://www.barefootdoctorglobal.com/), Einstein, AJ Leon (>>> http://aj-leon.com/pursuitofeverything/)
Cat
Your biggest dream
To run a BnB with my partner that offers guests unique opportunities to create space in their busy lives and reconnect with their core, through bodywork, meditation, walks in nature, swims in the sea, good food, sharing stories and just being human… in a beautiful setting. With 4 months off a year to travel ourselves.
Leap mid DanceWalk Malta
Milestone moments on the path to get where you are today
A trip to South East Asia in my early 20s that inspired my desire to be a bodyworker, 15 years in public service that gave me the skills I need to run my own business, a chance meeting with a gorgeous Italian cocktail barman in London that inspired the move to Malta, several lucky connections with inspiring people here in Malta that helped me set up my business on the rock, spread the word about my work and continue to inspire me to keep evolving 🙂
And the future?
Right now I am developing my skills in emotional release work by deepening my amanae practice (http://www.butterflytherapies.com/amanae/) and working on a 5 day healthy holiday project for 2015.
Favourite quote
Oh wow, so many! But as huge fan of EDM I am going to choose one from one of my favourite bands of my 20’s, Lamb: “Burn like a good bonfire, in what ever you do”
Arrival in Malta 2011 Hiking preparations at Manchester Picadilly

Confession from a wintering sailorette

I have a confession to make. It’s not always easy living on a boat. I have mentioned this before. After returning from a stunning, spacious and simply spectaculor villa on our Gozo Yoga Retreat I expected a sense of joy when coming back home to Happy Dancer. Instead I really struggled for the first few days. It was small. There’s always things to fix and improve on a boat. Everything is more complicated. I mean, having to move a whole pile of dishes and cutlery only to be able to open the fridge to then possibly be lucky and find the coconut water during the dive to the very bottom of the fridge (or wherelse could it be)? Or having to climb out in storm and rain, find a way through the laundry forest dangling everywhere, pull the wifi antenna further up the mast – only to be able to quickly check an email with the mechanics phone number in it? Nothing is easy on a boat. Ahhh! It’s out;)

Msida Yacht Marina Sun Rise
Sun Rise over Valetta, seen from Happy Dancer’s bow

 

And then there’s moments when I really enjoy the inconveniences of it all – or in other words, the simpler, back to basic lifestyle. For instance, having to take a bike ride to the marina showers in the morning – it gives me an opportunity to check in with the world around us between my lemon water and yoga practice pre- and family breakfast post- shower. It makes the whole journey more of a ritual and it makes it very hard to simply fall into every day routines. You appreciate little details. People who smilingly greet you every morning. Fish that jump in the water. Not to mention the sunrises over the marina. Sometimes I open the hatch or take a stroll to the bow bathing in Photoshop like sky-colours – just in real and without a screen… then I simply can’t find words to describe my gratitude. Or when I stroll back from a yoga class in the evening, over the pontoon, under the full moon, smell the ocean all around us, bath in the stars all above as I step onto our safe and sturdy floating home which could take us anywhere we want just at the mere throw of some lines… so often it’s all just a matter of perspective.

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one!” Brad Paisley

Malta Monday with Charlene from the Soap Cafe

The cinnamon tea is brewing, my newest raw cake creation served and the kids’ advent calenders hung up. Before this lazy Monday comes to an end, I need to introduce another fabulous and inspiring local woman to you. Several weeks ago I started this Malta Monday series to demonstrate the bustling creativity of this tiny island, this year’s wintering stop spot, not only through our own experiences and observations, but also through actual local enterprises which play a huge role in giving Malta the charm and sweetness it has today. Without further due, here’s the usual seven Monday questions for beautiful Charlene from the Soap Cafe.

Charlene 3

You in a few words

Stubborn, creative, passionate and constantly hungry for knowledge. I’ve worked in a variety of sectors and qualified as a beauty therapist, herbalist, masseuse and later on as a product designer. Even though at the time it seemed like I was hopping from one sector to another, my passions led me onto the path of a ‘beauty chef’ – creator and designer of natural cosmetics

Your business in a few words
My shop and my products are an extension of my personality. It’s all that I believe in – the importance of living a holistic life, the use of products which are not only beneficial to the individual wellbeing but also to be cruelty free eco sustainable and eco friendly. I try to transmit this passion to children by organizing SoapMaking parties which have been very popular. We also specialize in custom made products where we create a variety of handmade soaps and beauty products as wedding favors and other souvenirs for all special occasions. And to compliment our beautiful natural products we also pamper our clients with our skin loving facials and relaxing massages.

Your greatest inspiration
My clients are what inspire my work. Their needs and their dreams fuel my creativity.
To some, it might seem that a small thing like a soap bar cannot make a great difference to him/her or the environment. But when people start understanding and experiencing that ‘feel good’ sensation and notice the difference, they become completely hooked. That is an extremely fulfilling feeling.

Your biggest dream
All I want is to be happy, fulfilled, at peace – a life without any regrets.

Your favourite quote
If you really want something the world will conspire to help you achieve it

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Milestone moments on the path to get where you are today
My first was at age 16 – my tutor at the beauty school who believed in natural remedies (at the time i.e 15 years ago in Malta, such things where considered a myth) .
My second most significant milestone was when I got into design school. This is where I discovered my creative side and started putting it into practice
My third is when I opened my shop 6 years ago and got to experience what it means to run my own business

And the future?
New products, new events, maybe a new shop outside our little island …who knows! I definitely need time to plan some ‘traveling time ‘ soon which I’ve really missed since I had my own shop.

Charlene 1 Charlene 2