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Upcoming retreats, seven years without shampoo and saving a marriage!

14 February, 2019

Hello!

I am doing a special little post because I’ve had so many emails from you all recently saying “We never hear from you!”-  it’s delicious, thank you for those!

See you soon in real life I hope!

I am coming over! To the UK and to America! I am holding retreats; Dancing Forest Sisterhood retreats in the south (already sold out sadly) in the north (still places!) in Oregon (still places) and in New Zealand (one place left!)

I LOVE holding these retreats. They are such a treat for me. I get to meet my sisters from across the world in such a deep, held space. We share stories, dance (if we want to) sing, release into our intuition, creativity and wildness. You can find out about my retreats right here.

I’d love to see you there!

“Lucy holds the most sacred, real, nourishing and save space. She leads with love, honesty, humour, openness and deep integrity. Her retreat was opening – of self and of others, full of laughter, healing tears. empathy and silence. I felt able to be fully present to express my needs and give openly, when I could and wanted to. It was exactly what I needed and I left feeling so heard, loved and honoured.”
~ Laura Hamilton – Dancing Forest Sisterhood Retreat Participant

“Lucy is wonderful at creating and holding space for women, and this allowed our group to quickly feel connected and supported by her and each other. I felt safe to be vulnerable, and to release fear and shame that I had been holding on to. It was a liberating and freeing weekend, with amazing soul sisters, and one I would highly recommend.”
~ Elanor C – Dancing Forest Sisterhood Retreat Participant

(Included because I am trying to learn that I mustn’t shy away from endorsements! They are a gift, right?)

~
Shampoo Free For Seven Years!

I also have a brand new video out especially for those of you who first joined my journey through my hair experiments! This looks at my routine now, seven years after giving up shampoo:

To the radical mama who wants to save her marriage

Because it’s Valentines Day (I think? Hang on, lemme google that…) YES. It is. I thought I should include something about LOVE! So here we go- a post with some ideas for breathing life back into tired long term relationships. Love and solidarity to you.

Keep up with me!

The place that I am most active these days is over on Patreon. We have such a fun and radical little thing going on there. I tend to post at least weekly, with updates, thoughts, quotes, livestreams, poems and Patreon-only resources.  Increasingly there will be monthly conversations with exciting people.

If you have enjoyed my work and are in a position to be a part of my Patreon that would be wonderful!

You can check it out here.

Thank you and all my love!

writing

An absolute heart stopper!

16 December, 2017

I’m sitting in the library waiting for today’s Youtube to upload. Although we get wifi to the yurt it is slow like a sleepy snail slithering through Lavender Oil so on Youtube days I come into town.

I’ve been meaning to post here, on Lulastic, for days and days but because it’s been a while I feel like I need something deeply momentous to share. And, truth is? I got nuthin. I’ve been spilling my brain into all sorts of corners lately and today it feels like a string of those fairy lights that all hang down in the row, I mean, I guess they’re doing their job, lighting something, but so many loose threads! Jeez.

But then this old fella has pulled a seat up next to me. He just got an iPad and the librarian taught him how to use it. After a little set back “Google. Cars.” “No, CARS. you dipstick” he is now successfully on Google, googling all his favourite things and he is blown. away.

He’s every Granddad rolled into one. “Blimey! *laughs with glee* Goodness Gracious! All sorts on here!”

He’s every person coming across Google for the first time. “Oh, wow. This is incredible! They’ve got pictures of every electric car ever made!”

He’s every person who’s ever had a dream. “It’s showing me how to make my own electric car!”

He tells me he’s new to all this. I kinda got that. But his joy is absolutely infectious.

And I neeeeeed it. I need his infectious joy, especially about the internet! I’ve been feeling so internet-weary lately. I’ve been needing to drag myself to emails, to psyche myself up to do the normal everyday tasks that make up my job.lulastic

It’s true that too much time on social media makes it harder for me to be present. And it’s true that posting lots of really honest stuff makes me feel a little vulnerable or overexposed sometimes. And it’s certainly true that gardening lazily, painting badly and making very average mosaics is all stuff that brings me a different kind of life-fizz.

But, somehow in my head I’ve developed a dichotomy around the internet… about my internet stuff being hard and Must Do and, even maybe even, a little bit preventing my ultimate well-being. And everything off the internet being Virtuous.

Which, obviously, like many dichotomies, is bullsh*t.

The truth is that I need to hold my hands open loosely towards Everything. To let the good stuff settle in deep into my palms and let the life-sapping stuff sift away through my fingers. I need to use the internet to create (hey, my newest ebook all about Moon Circles is coming out in a couple of weeks! Hooray!) and be part of deep community. Not to scroll and answer every single comment I get on all my platforms. (They call that community, but it isn’t necessarily so. I do try and keep up with it, but often it prevents me creating and I need to be  mindful of that.)

I spent the whole of Tuesday just writing my HEAD OFF, on posts and books and the Parent Allies support group and I did a livestream on my Patreon all about parenting, and honestly?  It all Filled My Boots with energy. I felt transcendent afterwards. I was buzzing. Because, actually, the internet is neither good nor bad, it’s what you’re doing with it. Right? I know you know that. We all know that. But we forget and then we spend time doing silly things like checking the news all day to see if nuclear war has broken out.

So. There we go.

I thought I’d let you know some brilliant things going on all around the internet. (See how infectious this gentleman’s joy is?)

1- I made a beautiful calendar for Patreons, with the full moons and new moons and inspirational quotes from all my fave women and they are enjoying it and even sending it to print shops and that is making me so happy.  (Becoming a Patreon is open invite! I’m trying to make it win-win for everyone; you get to support my work and I get to create things for you.)Patreon Lulastic Calendar
2- This lovely, thoughtful post by the amazing Mel Wiggins all about handling the overconsumption and pressures of Christmas. I love Mel’s compassionate vibe, towards the earth, people, her children.

3- This say-it-like-it-is post by the brilliant Happiness is Here – reasons to scrap the naughty list!

4- The Sound of Music on Netflix. So good.

5- The On Being podcasts. They are just basically all wonderful.

6- The Hay House Meditations. I just pick and choose and have come across some absolutely beautiful ones. I listen while I water the garden.

7-  Lots of new stuff on my youtube channel! Just in case you’ve missed anything 😀

8- Some great tables over on Parent Allies, tables of our children’s developmental needs by Robin Grille and they are SO HELPFUL!

9-  There is ALOT of information about electric cars on the internet, my friend would want you to know. In fact, he’s just found ACTUAL VIDEOS of ELECTRIC QUAD BIKES. Being driven through town!

You would not believe it! This is just an absolute heart stopper.”

I hope we all get a little of his astonished glee sprinkled around all of our lives.

Much love and keep radical!

writing

Be not afraid

25 August, 2017

Don’t be afraid, though your child only wants to eat white bread, pasta and grapes and the food pyramid is burned upon your mind and grapes are so expensive. Fear not because one day, in a month or a year or five, they’ll discover that vegetables are delicious and they’ll crave carrots and mushrooms. Take a breath and think of my flatmate Mel who didn’t eat any vegetables apart from peas until she was 19 and now she is a healthy mum who love stir fries and curries and even salads.

Don’t be afraid, though your children are fizzing shards of asteroid bouncing up the street on a pavement right next to a road where the trucks thunder by and your throat closes as you imagine… fear not, because you call them close and wise them up on staying on the inside of the pavement and you let the next rush of wind behind a bus blow away your pictures so you can focus on the fireworks your child is lighting into the sky with her excited words about her day.

Don’t be afraid, though your daughters are growing up in an image obsessed world, where teenagers photoshop their selfies for Instagram and write their name and address on the depression database.  Don’t fear it, because you call yourself a Goddess and they will see you and know it’s true and they will hold their bellies and called themselves a Goddess too.

Don’t be afraid, though there are facists marching under a president that won’t condemn them and there is more racist grafiti on the walls and vehicles driving into crowds in all your favourite cities. Rest in this; love is more powerful than hate. Humankind’s love is an ocean deep that can absorb the trickle of sewerage. Don’t be afraid; you are raising your children to look into the eyes and hearts of their neighbours, you are raising a generation of people bound by their humanity not cut off from each other, severed by difference.

Don’t be afraid, though it sometimes seems the whole world is doing things differently to you and someone told you you should be doing this and you need to have done that. Fear not, because you are listening to your heart, feeling deep and thinking hard and you know exactly what to do. Lean on your wisdom and shrug off convention and hear thousands of women through the ages whispering to you “we did it that way, too.”

And, finally, don’t be afraid of that, because that hasn’t happened yet and right now, in this moment, you are here and you are trying your best and just this morning you heard your children’s laughter ring out like a peal of bells and you understood that happiness flooded them from head to toe and your love for them is the sea and they are the boat.

Rest easy, mama. Don't be afraid

***

My Latest Youtube Videos:

writing

Good things come in threes… (SO MUCH EXCITEMENT)

6 July, 2017

Four days ago we left our yurt in the wonderful hands of a little family that came to dog, duck and cow sit. We endured a 26 hour plane journey that included a full belly vomit on my lap. But now we are here in sunny Blighty and it feels SO GOOD.

I have three incredibly exciting things to share with you:

PARENT ALLIES IS LIVE

One of the dreams of my heart is live and kicking TODAY (undisputedly thanks to the support of my patrons that gave me the room to make this happen) and I am utterly full of hope and ambition for it. You can find the Parent Allies website here and the Facebook page here and hopefully you are reading this i time to catch me live on Facebook at 9:30AM British time, 8:30 pm NZ time Thursday July 6th. If not you can always catch up with it later.

I would love you to join the network of parents committed to being allies to their children. Please like and share the posts and do all that wonderful stuff that builds a movement.

WILD AND HOPEFUL UK TOUR

Oooof! A tour! So glam! Says she, who hasn’t brushed her teeth for 24 hours.

I am coming to a town near you and I would love, love, love to see your face:

Wild & Hopeful – Bishop’s Stortford
Wild and Hopeful – Bristol
Wild and Hopeful – London

They are going to be super fun events, with lots of laughs and deep, meaningful conversation with some incredible local mamas. You can also catch me in the Guardian Literary tent at Camp Bestival or in Manchester on August 17th (more details to come ASAP.)

 

PATREON

Here are four reasons right now is the best time ever to support my work through Patreon:
1- We have a whole mini-series coming up on how to journal your way to a better you. A more YOU kind of you. If you get me. How to be more intuitive, less triggered, happier and more the you you really are. So many yous. It is all about you. Please join us!
2- Some incredible discount codes for Patreons for the Attachment Parenting UK Positive Discipline Course. One of the best courses I have ever seen with so many wonderful, respectful ways to have a harmonious relationship with your child. Plus other discounts codes for all sorts of things in the pipeline!
3- Free entry to all the Wild and Hopeful events for Supremes and above.
4- Access to all the posts of the last three months worth of rewards including never-seen-before poetry, parenting mini-series and e-book downloads.

lulastic

I feel so full of thanks to all of you, patrons, readers, passionate parents. I love that we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. Just making the world a sh*t tonne more beautiful.

PS – Speaking of beautiful things, here is my latest video, all about an amazing idea Ramona had…

writing

I’m sad today

15 June, 2017

My chest is fizzing and my tooth is throbbing. I hack out a cough and drop my head to ease the worry my shoulders are holding.

I push my nails around this rash I’ve got. It’s a political rash. It arrived last week when I heard mining operations had begun on our mountain. And then it ebbed when Corbyn did so well in the UK. (YAY CORBYN AND YOUNG PEOPLE!) Like it disappeared for the whole day. Then the DUP turned up and my rash came back. Someone tell me you’ve had a political rash before? It’s real itchy. And symmetrical.

There’s an ache in my throat because I shot a lot of footage on Sunday and then deleted it all accidentally as I left the house before dawn this morning.  I’m holding back my tears because it seems pathetic to be so sad about that.

I am sad about that.

It was exciting to be up on the mountain with Protect Karangahake and a hundred other people protesting the mine. And I’d captured the feel of it and was so ready to share it with people.  And then on the way out this morning, heading up the mountain again, this time to try and stop the miners from going to work,  a blur of sleepiness made me hit Erase All On Card.

But I guess, underneath it all, if I admit it, which I’m not wont to do because I am trying to see our mountain activism as privilege and an honour, rather than a drag, perhaps I’m sad about the mining. karangahake conservation land from mining

I’m wracked about living in one of the countries most well known for being clean and green, and they can’t even keep their exploitative hands out of Conservation land.  The only parts of the country we have marked off as being out of bounds from destructive capitalism. Being destroyed.

I’m wracked about the disconnection between humankind and the earth.  That there are millions of people who feel fine about ravaging mountains. Mountains! The jewelled crowns of earth.

And in amongst this grief is this fidgeting sense of having too much to do (the mining, my writing, the parenting stuff – ohhhh, the parenting stuff! People are supporting me on Patreon to do parenting stuff and my whole brain and body is in earth warrior mode and there is guilt around that. For sure.) There’s not enough time to do it and I can’t focus and I’m useless but I’m really not hello I got up before the larks but it still feels like all my energy is dust and I feel like saying sorry to everyone. Sorry for being rubbish.

Ohhhh.

So maybe I’m just sad today.

Someone told me last week that they would never have guessed I had bad, loose-my-shiz days from the internet. I was gutted to hear that as I try REALLY hard to kick out any pedestals set up for me and other mamas on the internet. I only ever want to be completely real and honest.

But thinking about it, I NEVER type when I’m really feeling all the emotions. My writing then comes out in illegible Biro on journal pages my children have already felt tip penned all over. Black scratchings of mind monsters that can’t be read, least of all understood.

So. Here you go. Pedestal builders.

Today I’m sad.

(Sorry for not meeting your expectations.)

It may be because of my video footage, or maybe because of the mountain, or my uselessness. Maybe it’s because every so often sadness swells up in us like the squalls of wind that toss up the burnt leaves in autumn and it’s a seasonal thing. And we welcome it as an honoured guest, a guide. And all that. Yeah.
~

“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
 
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

(Thanks Rumi.)

(Not sarcastic thanks. Real thanks. Honest. Several times a day I remind myself being human is a guest house…)

~

And, well. HAhahaha. After all that. Here’s my video about the protest. My friend took some great video on the day and I have used it in here. It’s not the same but still captures it. And I still feel sad. So there you go.

writing

When Facebook meets Non Violent Communication (Seven tips for being kind online!)

7 June, 2017

I try not to get into debates on the internet. Because I make my living online I need it to be as safe a place as possible. Not a day passes without someone saying something cruel on my Youtube Channel so I try hard to keep the other corners of my internet safe. Most of the time this means me biting my tongue, even when it comes to things I am *really* passionate about.

Sometimes it’s too hard though, just the other day on my Facebook page I was urging people to vote in a progressive government in the UK election this week and couldn’t help rebutting someone who shared an alternative opinion. I was feeling so much in that moment, all the weight of the people who are going hungry, dying because of the stripping away of health services, the rising poverty. Since that interaction I’ve been thinking about how our interactions online must reflect how we live in real life. I mean for most of us, most of the time, they do, right? We use the internet to connect with friends, to laugh and feel joy, to take action on things we care about.

But when a polarising topic comes up it seems all of our values disappear.

And at the moment the polarising topics are in abundance. We have the British election, a huge vaccine debate here in NZ, intense opinions on the terrorist attacks. Over the last week alone I have seen my friends in interactions on all of these topics that have bought out intensely disconnecting behaviour, engagement that pushes each other further and further away.

So a few days ago I met up with my friend Rosalie. Rosalie is trained in Non Violent Communication and works in a community organisation delivering programmes that helps families live without violence. Her business is restoring relationships and helping people keep their connections alive. I wanted to know how she manages polarising debate on social media. I wanted a vision of Non Violent Communication meets Facebook.

Firstly, Rosalie said…

if you do ANYTHING different let it be this: 

Do two minutes of deep breathing. 

When someone says something COMPLETELY IDIOTIC (lol) on Facebook the first thing you must do is turn your back to your laptop and take a deep breath. It’s legit, my friends, take a big breath in, fill your belly, your lungs, right to the top of your chest, hold it in and breath out as though through a straw. For good measure, imagine you are floating on the ocean.

(For even better measure, imagine you are floating in the ocean and the person who said something stupid on Facebook is swimming towards you with cocktails and chocolate and is singing a song- they have a surprisingly nice voice!!-  with lyrics that go like “I think you are truly great and I’m so sorry that I’m such an idiot on Facebook”)

People being cruel or idiotic on Facebook can actually trigger our bodies fight or flight reaction – a biological response that bypasses our the parts of the brain where empathy and reasoning is centred. This flush of anger can set in motion a response that aims to maim someone. Causing emotional pain rather than physical doesn’t make it any better.

If we take just two minutes to breathe and consider that the person receiving your comment is a human being, possibly with a mum in hospital and a child being bullied by her best friend, and job cuts at work and a dog that just did a vomit on the rug, we are SO much more likely to flick the switch on our Kindness function. (All humans have that function, some have just forgotten where the switch is, or the knobs fallen off.)

Last night I watched a bit of David Attenborough’s LIFE on Netflix with my daughters. We watched a bug, the Stalk Eyed Fly, blow bubbles of air into its eyeballs until they were sticking way out on stalks on either side of it’s head, getting a good look around.

I’m going to be like the Stalk Eyed Fly. Taking those big, deep breaths in order to get a better perspective. Keep it kind online

Next, we spoke about activating the empathy centres in our brain. We do this by taking a minute to understand the needs the other person is trying to get met.

Identify their needs

A few years ago my family went through a heart wrenching Non Violent Communication process. The main thing I took from it was that even these people, the people we were in conflict with, were simply trying to get their needs met. We felt deeply betrayed by what they had done, and still now can’t fathom their actions, but I can understand why they did it. I can see that they were trying to meet a need that they had – and every human need is valid.  Understanding this is our first step towards empathy.

It can be really helpful to take a few moments to consider what of their basic needs the person on social media is trying to get met. A good starting place for our basic needs is provded by the Centre for Non Violent Communication:

Connection
Physical Well Being
Autonomy
Play
Peace
Meaning

The person arguing against raised taxes is feeling their need for autonomy is undermined. The person arguing about vaccines is trying to meet their child’s needs to stay healthy or even alive.

Thinking this through can really help us move into a more empathetic conversation.

Make observations rather than judgements

Beginning a conversation with an observational statement without our own values placed on it allows room for engagement. 

“You told me to shut up” (an observation)
vs
“You told me to shut up, wtf, that’s bullying!” (evaluation)

“You shared a post that claims that Islam should be banned” (observation)
vs
“You shared a racist post that claims that Islam should be banned” (evaluation)

Share your feelings

We need to be able to be more free with our feelings, to be vulnerable and honest. This helps the conversation open up into connection but it also can remind them that YOU are human too! I read an article by a marriage counsellor lately that said that the word “OUCH” can help keep a marriage on the right tracks (or some grand claim like that) because instead of revving back at your partner when they say something hurtful, you take a second to tell them that that really hurt you, even though you kinda wanna just barge in and get them back with something more hurtful – which obviously then gets you on a ferris wheel of hurtful comments. Stating our feelings can do the same thing on social media.

“You told me I was stupid and it made me feel angry.”

“You shared a post that claims that Islam should be banned. I felt sad because my best friend is Muslim and she walks my children home from school every afternoon and gives them juice and biscuits while they wait for me to get back from work.”

Share your needs

It is, as mentioned above, your own basic human needs that are at the root of the feeling. So share that too. This adds to the picture you are giving the other person. It adds the context needed for that conversation, it gives them more of you and keep connection firing.

“You told me I was stupid and it made me feel angry. I need to be able to share my opinions on my page without being insulted.”

“You shared a post that claims that Islam should be banned. I felt scared because my best friend is Muslim and she walks my children home from school every afternoon and gives them juice and biscuits while they wait for me to get back from work. I need everyone in my community to be safe.”

Make a clear and do-able request

Making requests rather than demands recognises that we are all free and autonomous humans, simply with the job of being kind to each other. It gives you a chance to get your needs met and gives them an example of how to get their needs met. This is a slowly, slowly thing on Facebook, but, hey, they might read or do this one thing and even that would be a step towards progress in someway!

“You told me I was stupid and it made me feel angry. I need to be able to share my opinions on my page without being insulted. Would you consider engaging in this conversation without insults?”

“You shared a post that claims that Islam should be banned. I felt scared because my best friend is Muslim and she walks my children home from school every afternoon and gives them juice and biscuits while they wait for me to get back from work. I need everyone in my community to be safe. Would you consider reading her article about the attacks?”

Go long

I notice on Facebook threads that people just try and swoop in with one excellent paragraph. We try and squeeze into that paragraph all our braininess and wit and then we swoop away. We come back, of course, because *PING* someone replied to your comment with all of THEIR BRAININESS AND WIT! How very dare they! And we. just.can’t.resist. letting our righteousness shine again.

But the thing is, these huge remarks back and forth are not a conversation! Conversations go: question, answer, comment, comment, question, answer. They are engaged and open. They often build a context to work within. Not fired off in a burst of anger.

To help me see this in action I stalked Rosalie on a thread with a very, very, very angry person. Someone who had a deep unmet need and was taking it out on everyone who had a different opinion. I watched her gently asking questions, being polite, asking someone to read something. It looked SO different to normal Facebook debates.

In a way, it mimicked real life conversation. Gentle questioning and observations and feelings. The best conversations hardly ever look like even the above NVC examples, they are usually spread out with gentle back and forthing. And lots of thank yous. “Thanks for sharing your feelings about that.”

We need this kind of conversation on social media.

***

Before we left Rosalie told me the story of how First Nations people view emotional well being and community.  A Yankton Sioux elder,  Phil Lane Sr., was talking to a large gathering of tribal people. He took a stick and drew a circle in the dirt. “Our people used the circle to explain many things,” he said. “For instance, the circle represents the hoop of the people. All of the people are a part. No one is excluded. The hurt of one is the hurt of all. The honour of one is the honour of all.”

Even though the internet feels like a different world sometimes, it IS our world and the people we interact with on there are our community.

When we hurt each other on social media, in order to make an excellent point, we break the hoop and we all suffer. Every time we put connection at the heart of our interactions we keep the hoop whole and we honour our community, and ourselves.

 

***

 

PS – Thank you for reading this! I’ve had such an urge to write it after failing so hard earlier in the week. If you find my blog helpful, please do consider supporting my work on Patreon through this link!

PPS- I am joining in with the awesome Keep It Kind Online campaign today. You can find their website here and their twitter here. 

PPPS – It is Kindness Week over on my Youtube Channel – see our first bit of kindness in my latest video: