Saturday, November 22, 2014


It was fear that appeared in the window of my pregnancy test. Those two little lines represented the parallel that my life was running at that moment. In an instant I saw all of my hopes and dreams dashed and a new path carved out before me. I sat in the public toilets in Byron Bay and choked down the tears and looming responsibility that those two lines threatened me with and then I pulled up my big girl panties and I ran as fast as I could. I ran all the way to a grassy little hill and cried until I couldn't cry anymore. I closed my wet eyes, took a deep breath and placed my hands to my belly. Hello you......and then I was really in trouble. Fear was replaced by an ancient love. I already knew this little speck of shared reproductive juices. Her imprint had been lying within me since my beginning. It was if she had been echoing in my bones this whole time and like a powerful mantra,, had manifested itself into life. This manifestation came from the vibration of years of daydreaming, reckless love making and perhaps a little destiny. She was now submerged in her own watery universe, dividing, multiplying and changing. We were both changing. She into her physical form and I into a mother. My old self was slowly dying and I could hear the chain rattle in my inhales and exhales as I somewhat clung to my former life. But, I was excited about the birth of a new me.

Over the next few months my belly swelled, as did my day dreaming with my daughter. I would smooth my hand over my full moon round stomach and imagine I was caressing her sweet little head. I ached to just kiss those tiny toes that wriggled under my rib cage and prodded me awake in the depth of the night reminding me of her presence. Pregnancy is like one big acid trip. You float between moments of absolute euphoria, seeing colors, nature and people with new eyes and cosmic connection, then without warning you can be thrust into facing some deep dark skeletons which you have to deal with in order to melt back into a sublime state. There is nothing like pregnancy to hash up all those suppressed emotions and memories and to be made to shed them like an old skin before birthing a new one. And if you don't deal with your stuff during the generous nine months you are given then be sure it'll well up in birth and beyond.

During my labor with my daughter I had all sorts of denied emotions come up. It was like the more my hips and cervix expanded the more my embedded emotional dust got disturbed. Perhaps that why I opted out of my home birth and opted in for a spinal block. Numb the pain, oh god numb the pain. Numb the feelings, just numb everything. Yes said the doctors and yes says society. Suppress, deny, do not grieve, do not see the death of self as a rite of passage into birthing a strong grounded mother. I flipped the bird at vein chilling sedatives and detachment with the birth of my son. I stood bearing into the floor with bare feet and calling upon the millions of woman who had birthed before me, my birthing ancestors, to send their love and strength my way. Every contraction was met with a deep spiraling inside of myself. I can still see the place in my mind I went too. It was far far away, a small place that was filled with light and a glowing orange within its center. It was only in this place that I could handle the intense energy of my labor. Although I had wanted my husband to be my main form of support it was my mother holding me that felt most right. Draping into her arms and giving over the energy of my contractions to a seasoned birther and the woman who gave me the gift of life was one of the most poignant moments in my existence. It was like the contractions surged up through me from the earth, into her and then back into the earth. She was my copper wire, conducting all that power. Perhaps in that moment she became a new mother too.

I always liked the Christian notion of being reborn. But, I feel this does not happen once. We are constantly reborn on a daily, weekly and seasonal basis. Sowing our seeds of intention, shedding, hibernating and springing forth into a new life. I am not the mother I was four years ago or even a week ago. Its futile to think that this life is stable, we are constantly changing and evolving. Its merely the question of how do we flow down lifes river?

My birthing and motherhood experiences are shaping me in a way that I could not have fathomed. It is not what I thought and I have grieved those lost expectations. I am also not the mother I thought I would be. I'm weak in the areas I thought I was strong and strong in the areas I thought I was weak. I love it because I get to be creative and to be in touch with my inner child again. Birthing into motherhood has been a swirling pot of love, connection, dirty laundry, sleepless nights, loneliness, playing in imaginary castles, a lot of time outdoors, a lot of time indoors, a flow, a change, a constant rhythmic change consisting of high notes and low somber tones. In becoming a parent I have learned there is a constant teacher-student exchange. While we are mentoring our children through life we are also being taught by our greatest teachers. We grow and learn beside them. Welcome our babies to the world but do not forget to honor the birth of the mother.

Astrid xx

Thursday, November 20, 2014


This title is the name of a song I wrote, it's one of the first songs I completely finished within a day or two it came about pretty easily but was anything but, this song sums up a moment In my life that I have struggled with for a long time. 

I wrote this song in 2008 I had been living in Auckland for about one and a half years. 

I had finally left home at 25 (better late then never) and was slowly building a life for myself, studying Theology and hanging with a group of friends that had made the move up from Welly. 

I was working part time at a clothing store when I received a call from my mum. 
She sounded nervous, she asked how I was going and how life was, me and my mum got on really well we were very close and we could really tell each other anything so looking back now I can understand why she had called me. 

After a a bit of a chat she went quiet and I asked her what was up. I didn't realize saying those three words would change my life. 

She paused for a minute and said she was moving to Australia to start a new life. 

At that moment I felt a sense of heartache in her voice. She went on to explain she was leaving my dad and had brought a ticket to leave in two days. 

My world fell out from underneath me. 

You see I looked at my parents relationship as the epitome of a solid marriage. 
They had a lot of struggles together both financially and relational but they seemed to come out stronger for it, so this call was a complete surprise. 

She asked how I felt about it and I told her I felt abandoned. 

She assured me that things wouldn't change that she would always be there for us but she needed to get away I asked her if she had told him about any of this and she replied with "No I haven't so please don't tell him." 

I told her I loved her and that whatever she needed I would be there for her. 

But I was angry I was gutted I was simply lost. 

My idea of relationships changed from that moment seeing only failure in them. 
I tried calling Dad for two days to tell him what Mum had told me and when I finally got in touch with him I told unloaded everything, he didn't know this was about to take place. 

I still get a moment of sadness when I think of what happened and that abandonment hits me from time to time. 

What I learnt from this experience is there is no real quick fix to feeling these feelings, I started to find hope in my own relationship and I started to realize that I could find happiness again but it took a while to come to that place. 
And thank God I have a patient wife. 
Heartache can happen at any moment in life and our ability to express ourselves creatively or otherwise doesn't diminish that feeling it doesn't take it away completely but it encourages the slow road to healing by opening it up and revealing it's true intention.
Whether that is anger, sadness, grief or complete bewilderment we are free to express through any vehicle whether music, poetry, writing or just talking to a close friend or loved one or even screaming at the top of our lungs at the injustice of life. 

For me my heartache was found in a song...

A Heart broken man in a distant land

I lost myself in all this grief
Found the pain deep down in me
If this is what it feels like I am sad

A heart broken man in a distant land

I'm broken now I can't see home
If this is what it feels like I am gone
The things I felt are only dreams

A heart broken man in a distant land
A heart broken man in a distant land
A heart broken man in a distant land

Days turn into nights
Feel like I lost my soul
What happened to me the boy I once knew

A heart broken man in a distant land

I lost myself in all this grief
Found the pain deep down in me
If this is what it feels like I am sad

A heart broken man in a distant land
A heart broken man in a distant land
A heart broken man in a distant land


Wednesday, November 12, 2014


"Fear is a natural reaction of moving closer to the truth" Pema Chodron

Have you ever watched somebody face as you tell them you're depressed? The crinkling in the brow, the slight glaze in their eyes as they subconsciously detach from the pain you are expressing. Even the nostrils begin to flare little as their breath quickens. All these subtle movements are a result of fear. We are afraid of our darkness. We shift uncomfortably when fear creeps into our peripherals, as if agitated by an itch we can't quite get to. Negative emotions are usually met with denial or suppression, but if we just sat in stillness with them letting them come to full fruition we would be amazed at the healing that would follow.

I sat at my kitchen bench oneday, my favourite spot in the house. It has the nice contrast of the cold marble beneath my arms and the warm sun filtering through the window heating my cheeks, turning them a dusty pink. My son all milky white sits at my feet which dangle off the breakfast stool. He's making his own magnificent orchestra with the pots and pans. My daughter lays sleeplily on the couch twirling a lock of her copper hair. I have everything to be greatful for, yet in the pit of my stomach there is a heaviness. When I start to become aware of it my heart is signaled to beat faster as I become afraid of this feeling. But, for whatever reason, that day I plucked up the courage to close my eyes and drop into that churning sorrow in the pit of my stomach. As I did this I felt as though I was falling off a high cliff into a deep dark crevice. As I fell into the engulfing darkeness the full realization of my pain began to take over. It was no longer islolated to my stomach, it soared through my body quaking with its power. Just when I thought I couldn't feel anymore grief I felt myself softly land at the bottom of the crevice. No longer did I feel isolated but instead a part of the darkness and the earth that surrounded me. It was if my bones were making themselves home in the rock and sediment. I was whole yet everywhere. It was a feeling of absoloute expansion. Then a memory came and I was a little girl again, seven years old, seated on my fathers couch afraid, tearful and angry. My brother and I had been subject to deep emotional abuse from another family member, only one of the many times. I remember hearing my dad come home from work and running into his arms, briefly taking in his comforting smell of sandalwood, house paint and cigarettes, then heaving into sobs trying to tell him through gasping breaths what had happened. My young self with her soul shattered was seeking comfort and justice. A justice that never came. So, I was going to see it right instead. I saw myself now as a mother and an adult take the 7 year old me into my arms and I cradled her and let her weep into my chest. I stroked her golden hair and kissed her soft rosy cheeks. I told her I was going to fight for her and she didnt have to be afraid anymore. I looked into her wet blue eyes and whispered that she didn't have to hold onto this pain any longer and I was going to take over now. I pressed my forehead against my young self and breathed unconditional love into her. I then held her even closer to me and with a very stern and powerful voice I told those who had betrayed my younger self exactly what I thought of them and that they no longer had the power to hurt us. They were deeply sorry and I saw their own pain and trauma in their lives. It was no excuse, but I had an understanding. I then took this younger me to a beautiful room with all of her favouite things and tucked her into a feathery soft bed where she could now peacefully rest. It was then I noticed that the grief and pain I had been holding onto was gone. I felt serene and empowered.

When I opened my eyes I took a deep breath in and wiped my tear stained face. I looked over at my children playing happily together on the couch, blissfully unaware of mummy's little trip to the depth of her soul. I felt like a better mother. A piece of me had been mended and so now I could love more fully. I embraced my darkness and it has brought me an immense amount of peace and reconciliation within myself. When I feel something tap tap tapping from my insides I no longer fear it, I invite it in and ask to feel all of it because it has been in my darkness that I have found my most brightest and most luminous light.

Astrid xx

Sunday, November 9, 2014


We only have to look to nature and the world we live in with its seasons and rhythmic changing to know how important and magic ritual is. We are evolving rapidly as a race and with that, a lot of ritual has been lost. We no longer rise with the sun and rest when her shimmering majesty the moon appears. We force crops to grow out of their natural season and environment. We alter our body clocks to fit in with our hectic lives instead of working with nature and our inner compass to guide us through the day. There is hope though and it comes with creating evening and morning rituals. 

There are countless ways to do this. Here is what I do to create a piece of harmony in my day.

We must begin in the evening.

Once little babies are tucked away in bed I head to the bathroom. A candle is lit in order to begin the wind down of my sensors and to let my body know that sleep is approaching. This dimming of light actually helps the release of mealatonin which is the hormone necessary for sleep. I massage some oil into my body and practice some pranayama while doing so. Usually just big deep breaths in and out. Into a hot steamy bath I go. Sometimes i'll drop a little lavender essential oil onto the bottom of the tub which releases a heavenly scent when mixed with the hot water and steam. I use a gentle soap to cleanse the oil and the day away. Generous amounts of moisturizer is applied after my bath session. Dozy and in a state of relaxation I curl up in bed with a hot cup of Golden milk. This deeply healing and sleep inducing drink is an Ayurvedic medicinal beverage made from turmeric paste which is known for its anti inflammatory and immunity boosting properties (recipe for golden milk below). Phones, computers and any other technological device is removed from the bedroom as they cause the nervous system to become over stimulated. I now put my nose into a good book or if anxieties are looming I journal my thoughts and release them onto paper. Little snuffles from my son often means hes ready for a nighttime feed so I turn out the lamp and nestle into him while he suckles away. I try to say a little prayer before drifting off to dreamland and thank my lucky stars for everything and everyone in my life.

And now the morning.

I am usually awoken early by my children but if you don't have little people prying your eyes open at sunrise then try to set your alarm for around 6am. Your alarm should be peaceful and rhythmic. Nothing too startling. Heavy with sleep I lie in bed for a moment and breathe in the new day. I try to flood my mind with positive thoughts so I start on a high vibration. A candle is lit and an intention is set for the day. Slipping into some comfy clothes and shoes I'm out the door for a big walk and yoga. I do a special breathing exercise while walking to get my nervous system up and going and I also repeat some positive affirmations. My incantation at the moment is "Everyday I know my worth more and more". 
Once I reach my local park I roll at my mat and settle in to a 30-40 minute practice. On days I am particularly tired or feeling worn out I will skip the yoga and just sit somewhere where the morning sun can warm my face and do a peaceful meditation. Before I walk in the door of my home I try to center myself and leave all my negative thoughts at the door and ask God that I be a blessing to my family today. This is a beautiful ritual my husband taught me. 

I fill my now hungry tum with a hearty helping of warm porridge. Always topped with seasonal fruits, kefir yogurt and honey. A big cup of chai tea ensues. And now I am ready for the day. Ready for the carrying of babies, the cooking, the sweeping, the peek-a-boos, the going this way and then that way and then the twirling around. The ebb and flow of life.

Golden Milk: Recipe and Photo from Healthy Holistic Living 

Step 1:
  • 1/4 cup Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Pepper
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
Mix all ingredients in a small a small sauce pan and mix well. Turn the heat to medium high and stir constantly until the mixture is a thick paste. This does not take long so don’t walk away from the pan.

Let this mixture cool then keep it in a jar in the fridge.

Step 2:
  • 1 cup milk. I use raw milk but you can use almond, coconut or any other milk you prefer.
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon or more of your Turmeric paste
  • Honey to taste

Combine all of the ingredients except for honey in a small saucepan. Turn the heat to medium. While heating make sure you constantly stir and do not bring to the boil. Add honey to taste. You can also mix with your favorite chai tea or even a smoothie!

Here is a good video on how to make it:

Astrid xx

Friday, November 7, 2014


He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

English Translation: 

What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people! It is people! It is people!

What a profound statement. When I read this I couldn't help but think of all those who I have met in my life, those who have challenged me, and encouraged me, and most of all shared in my story as I have shared in theirs.
It is because of these stories connecting and weaving that I can say I am truley blessed.
The past is filled with so many memories and yet none of them warm my heart with so much love than the memories of honest, authentic and open relationships that continue to teach me about life's greatest quest.
I believe this is the greatest gift we are given. 
That is the freedom to relate, to connect, to inspire and become inspired to create new stories and to share in this world with meaningful purpose beyond the throngs of oneself and into the arms of others. 
After all, the greatest form of love is the love we offer to others not the love we keep for ourselves. 
What a divine thought. Self love isn't about the self but about what the self can do for others. 
It's about finding hope within the stories of others, seeing their worlds unravel as you journey along side them like a voyager exploring a new world eyes wide open, ears poised for any sound, and arms ready to recieve any new discovery.
This sort of journey is one that takes patience and empathy and a healthy dose of perspective but the rewards are epic and I don't say that lightly.
Now of course some friendships are more longer lasting than others and some friendships can have the complete opposite effect. But it's precisely because of this freedom, the freedom to choose, that makes our lives all the more defined.
Looking back on my friendships both good and bad I can't help but feel the enduring sense of purpose each of these relationships have offered. 
The ability to relate fuels the hearts need for reconciliation and reconnection.
It is because of people that true relationships are formed and the beauty of life in its entirety can be shared.
But above all... It's nice to feel important!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Look at me. Look at my saggy tits full of stretch marks and scars. Ohhhh yea! Do you see them? LOOK!”  These were some of the first words I uttered in my introduction to Burlesque and Body Self-Confidence class. Staring into the eyes of a complete stranger I had to work my way up my body telling them to stare at all the parts I loved and all the parts I hated. My bony feet that have taken me everywhere I need to go in life, my mother’sknobby knees, my incredible thighs, my hips that had expanded to house children, my milk filled and overworked breasts, my slender neck and my face. A face I have admittedly stared into a mirror and spat how much I hated it. But here I was, commanding this stranger to look at me for all I am, flawed andimperfect and utterly ‘fabulous’.

Hold on, weren’t we supposed to be gyrating a chair in some slutty underwear whilst lip syncing some clichĂ© BeyoncĂ© song?Licking our lips and undoing all the hard work of our feminist sisters. Wasn’t I just here to spice up my sex life a little? As it had become about as interesting as a mommy and me group.According to our teacher, Cat, in her swirled British-American accent, “absolutely fucking not”. This workshop was not about pretending to be the epitome of what society thinks women should be, it was about creating a performance that brought out you or an aspect of you that had been locked away in societies little box of taboo.

And so the five week burlesque workshop journey began with my troupe. We were all there for different reasons but I think we all shared the same lust to embody our powerful and divinely beautiful feminine side. For me, I wanted to unlock my inner goddess who had been handcuffed by bad relationships, bosses who had berated me, women who had bullied me, people’s expectations which I’d failed to meet and a huge lack of self-worth. I also wanted to express a side of me that was lost when I became mother. My body is now shared, tugged and constantly sought after for comfort and protection. I wanted to feel like for a moment my body was my own again and I wanted to get back in touch with my sexuality.

It wasn’t easy coming up with poses and a whole routine. It turns out there is a lot more to commanding your presence on the stage than I had expected. And then I got my awkward little hands on a midnight black feather boa. It became an extension of myself and an integral part of my act as it was to be used to seek revenge on all those who had wronged me. I got to pour out all of my unforgiving thoughts and emotions into a sequence of sultry and powerful movements with that boa, that demanded therespect and presence of the space and energy in which I was creating. Sometimes it feels better than good to stop working at forgiving and to just do something that says fuck you, here I am and I’m taking my power back.

While I’m a long way off a dazzling polished performance or stripping down to nipple tassels, I catch myself now being able to look at people in the eye when they speak to me. My initial thoughts when I meet someone are no longer “they aren’t going to like me. I’m too weird, I’m too quiet, I’m too skinny and I’m not interesting enough. Save your dignity Astrid and walk away now!. Unapologetic for who I am and what I have to offer to the world is the skin I now reside in. It has also been a gift to see the other woman in my class express and evolve a part of themselves that has been itching to get out. I went to this workshop as I was always intrigued by the Burlesque world but never did I think it would have such a profound impact on my self-confidence. So look at me. I am a fearless and beautiful goddess and I’M FABULOUS!

Astrid xx

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Hey my name is George (my real name is Anthony, but that's another story)
And well, I have a fear of failure.
I pushed blame, created guilt, wallowed in resentment and proactively promoted procrastination. All to fuel my fear of failure. I have used every excuse to push aside any passions and ambitions and denied myself any sense of achievement by focusing only on my failings.

It seems easier to allow myself to feel stupid than to see the good in what I do.

I just simply punched in and out of life's "time clock" allowing my thoughts to play out the void my life was accustomed too.

I don't know when it began... or maybe I do, but I have allowed this fear to control my life and wipe away any memory of purpose, leaving fear standing over me, hiding in my shadows and controlling me like a puppet. I feel like Pinocchio waiting to become a real boy. A real man. Someone with purpose.

And what is it?

Fear sucks, it literally sucks. It actually sucks any ambitious thoughts into a whirl pool of "you're not good enough."

I have heard the subconscious reacts 5 times faster than your conscious mind and what your subconscious says to you is usually the response you have conditioned yourself to think. This is from years and years of conditioning that plays out faster than your conscious mind leaving your positive affirmations in the dust while your beliefs eat away at you.

Every excuse and anxious thought that makes up the fear we live daily is a constant reminder that we live in an imperfect world, this world has turmoil and chaos and yet so much beauty and magnificence.
This world is authentic and honest and we can decide to be the same or we can choose to live in fear. The greatest lie we tell ourselves is that something that hasn't taken place is real and so, it will be our demise.
But in reality its a fragmented memory that continues to repeat over and over again as if we needed a constant reminder, like an alarm clock that wakes us up from our dream filled with beauty and magnificence.

I guess the hope is that by saying hey my name is... and I have a fear of failure, it might just stop that subconscious alarm clock causing you to wake up to a new dawn filled with hope and wonderment where creativity awaits, longingly to be explored and ambition fills the air with a sweet aroma that brings out the wonderment and beauty of hope.

Maybe fear isn't the enemy maybe its an indication to finding what we are most passionate about maybe its the reason to carry on, in spite of fear, so that one day this world's beauty will be fully revealed within our most hidden treasures.




Saturday, November 1, 2014


Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Photo Credit Thomas Northcut 

Travelling and living in a new country has shown me many things about myself and the human race in general. I've come to have a deep gratitude for New Zealand. It's lush beauty and quiet abundance astounds me the more I am away from her. I have never felt connected, though, to my home land. I was always seeking that feeling of being rooted, that magical yoking I see in people when they see themselves as part flesh and part soil of the earth they call home. This was absent from my being. I think that's why my thirst for travel and exploration has always been so strong. Ever since I was a little girl I have dreamed of far away lands, vast oceans and remnants of ancient civilizations. I would pour over the Atlas's my grandfather gifted me on birthdays. I played pretend. Adorned with the saris and bangles my grandmother gave me from her travels to India, I would become an Indian princess ruling over the kingdom with her tiger in the jungle. With a strum of my magic sitar, tiger and I were whirled to new and exotic continents That young gypsy girl is still alive and well inside of me.

My husband and I have only had each other since being in Los Angeles. No family, friends or government benefits to bail us out when times get tough. We have evolved in our personal growth and relationship rapidly. We have fallen apart and knitted ourselves back together with new threads of love we didn't know existed. Finding strength in trying times often comes from realizing truths. Like the ones that hit you in the heart in the dead of the night. The ones that drag you to the bathroom floor where you fold into yourself and flood your hands which cup your sodden face with hot tears of unwanted knowing. To no avail, I would try to swallow these truths back to the dark well in which they were fetched from. My lesson is that releasing and acknowledging your emotions is incredibly healing. Suppressing them into a festering pit of pain will only cause them to bubble out from time to time in the form of physical ailments and disease. 

Our adventure has brought down our towers of expectations and exposed fresh lands of possibilities. It has made us look at ourselves with scrutiny but to invite a kindness when we do so. We continue to learn and reevaluate what is important to us. We still swing between wanting the American Dream and living a simple life on the road. We are somewhere in between.  I still may not feel rooted to any one place but I have come to feel at home on our journey. I am planted within the hearts of my children, family and my friends who are scattered throughout the world which I intend to explore with that little Indian princess, her tiger and sitar nestled lovingly within my soul.

Astrid x