fiji love…
Posted in mini trips, nature, pia's photos August 13th, 2015 by pia

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White sand, bleached coral, palm trees, coconuts, and jungle… for six days, this was our everyday…

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Last week we decided to take a spontaneous and much needed break away to Fiji. Neither of us had ever been, and it was Laly’s first overseas travel – what a wonderful first place to mark with a stamp in her passport…

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We stayed on the Coral Coast, which is the southern part of the main island of viti levu (take a look at this gorgeous illustrated map of Fiji by Kate Evans). At this time of year it was quite windy on the south coast with the seasonal trade winds, and some days there was rainfall, but the temperature was perfect for dresses and sandals.

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Although resort life isn’t at all a representation of life in Fiji, I thoroughly enjoyed getting a glimpse at some of the Fijian traditions that were incorporated into daily activities, including singing, story time, weaving, dance, food and language.

Not far from the resort, the guests were invited to take a village tour of Malevu, guided by the chief who showed us some of the medicinal plants they have growing which included noni and the yaqona (kava root) plant. Along with describing some of the benefits of each plant, the chief gave us a brief history of the village and traditions. Below is the village kitchen…

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At the end of the tour we were invited into the village meeting house for a kava ceremony where we each drank kava from a coconut bowl, and then danced to traditional songs.

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It was such a lovely winter break, I felt my whole body and spirit finally relax. I look forward to visiting Fiji again and having the energy to explore some of the islands and surrounding waters.

xx

Insight:

Since we had limited internet access, I took a break from email and social media and I cannot tell you how much better I feel for it. I have more clarity of thought, and I feel my sense of freedom and creativity coming back.  I have kept it up since we’ve been back, and I’d like to maintain a better balance that works for me – to bring blogging back as my first port stop, and then letting people know about the blog post via social media. At this stage I have decided not to engage in conversation as much on social media, and would instead like to encourage communication and community through this space, where I can write freely and share images without space limitations, as well as include links to other artists and blogs and websites as these are aspects of sharing online that I have missed. Let’s see how it goes…

 

how to create your own edible garden…
Posted in australia, creative ventures, food, nature June 24th, 2015 by pia

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Earlier this year on a drizzly and rather misty Saturday morning in February, I drove down to the very beautiful Glenbernie Orchard in Darkes Forest, in the Northern Illawarra of New South Wales. I had signed up to talented baker Tara Mills of Mill Lane’s workshop on “how to create your own edible garden”, encouraged by my dear friend Jenni who was also attending and lives in the area (I’ll be showcasing Jenni’s gorgeous home here in the (blog)house very soon, in the meantime you can have a little sneak peek here).

I love turning off the highway upon entering the Royal National Park, like other times I’ve traveled in that direction, I wind down all the windows in the car and take deep belly breaths to absorb the gorgeous air. On this occassion, I was playing the latest album of Tenzin Cheogyal called Heart Strings, and so by the time I arrived at Glenbernie, I was well and truly at ease and ready to enjoy the full day workshop ahead. It’s an incredibly rare treat to have an entire Saturday to myself, and to spend it with like-minded people learning all about permaculture and enjoying a glorious home made lunch by Tara made it very special…

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These seasonal workshops, hosted by Tara, take place in a large shed on the Glenbernie Orchard property, looking out over the apple orchard. It is taught by Narelle Happ, horticulturalist and garden designer, who has over ten years experience in permaculture, and is filled with knowledge which she passionately shares throughout the day. She’s a great teacher, very patient and willing to share everything she knows about creating beautiful edible gardens.

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Throughout the day Tara served a delicious array of dishes for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. At lunchtime we sampled the orchards own apple cider, as well as indulged in a glass of sparkling wine, which relaxed us into the afternoon. In the morning we talked about the principles and ethics of permaculture, designing our individual gardens, and creating health soil, while in the afternoon we learnt about specific seasonal and perennial plants, propogation, and seed saving and raising. Narelle incorporated a lot of hands on activity, so we were able to learn through experience which I have always found the best way to soak in information, especially for those of us who are visual learners.

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At the end of the day we each came home with an armful of gardening goodies including our propogated plants, seeds, companion guides, notes, a wooden handled trowel, and some of Tara’s delicious recipes.

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It was a wonderful experience, and to be able to come home to my own garden and see it afresh, implementing Narelle’s advice and teachings over time spent in my own little borrowed patch of earth. I have more confidence now with things I wasn’t sure about like my compost system and soil, as well as the needs of certain vegetables. And I’m inspired to keep trying, keep planting and experimenting, and then to cook as Tara does, with pickings straight from the garden.

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Thank you everyone who attended that day for the wonderful conversations and a big thank you to Tara, Narelle and Jo who owns the farm, for having me along. I am keen to get back down there for Tara’s baking workshop now, called “the art of making French breads” ah oui!

xx

 

……….

all photographs by Pia Jane Bijkerk

mother. nature.
Posted in australia, mini trips, nature June 8th, 2015 by pia

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A few weekends ago we flew up to Northern NSW  to spend some time out in a beautiful cottage nestled within a macadamia farm, offered to us by a wonderful friend. One morning I walked down to the creek at the bottom of the hill,  alone, and with gum boots on I stood in the middle of the gentle flow of icy water…

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I breathed. I watched. I tried to let go of my thoughts to connect more deeply with the surroundings. In my effort I heard the loudness within. My body and mind throbbing with busyness that I recognise comes from the city we live in and the people that inhabit it, and the intensity of events of the past few months. Years. Instead of feeling at peace to be in natural surroundings, I became more aware of the battle within. And I know for me that open awareness is the first step to healing.

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I’ve been craving nature – to be surrounded by wild nature – and although this craving has always existed within me as a low hum, it is louder and feels more intense and insistent of late. When I explore this craving, my mind is cast back to my childhood, and how being in nature, playing with nature, always felt like my true sanctuary and was often the place I’d run to when I felt the urgent need to escape.

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Today I understand with more clarity why I love being surrounded by nature. It’s where I connect. To myself, and to the world and universe. It’s where I feel freedom. Of spirit. Thought. And emotion…

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As I gain clarity, I continue to observe. And remain open. The winter darkness allows me to rest more. And to be.

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And I write. And write. And write. I know I am in the midst of making another book. I can feel the energy of it. In time, it will take form. For now, I write.

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bird by bird…

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Yes that does happen to be the title of one of my favourite books by Anne Lamott, recommended to me by sweet Kylie some years ago while I was writing My Heart Wanders. It helped tremendously as I had spent many days sitting looking at a blank screen, wondering how to start the mammoth task of writing a memoir of that time of my life.

But I digress! Do you recall this bird mobile I made for Laly’s room, which I featured in Little Treasures: Made by Hand? It’s on pages 208-211, with reference to Spool sewing who released the pattern some years ago. I made the birds using the pattern then attached them to some twigs with ribbon, and embellished the mobile with vines and dried fern fronds. It hung above Laly’s cot for many months, but once she began to be able to stand – and reach up to the birds – I took the mobile down. The birds were added to her toy basket until a few months ago when I found an abandoned birdcage. I gave it a good clean and then Laly and I painted it in an array of her favourite colours. I let her paint it in her way (mixing colours together, with big dollops of dripping paint). We added a couple of twigs inside the cage et voilà, the birds have come out again to play…

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I’m thrilled to have found a way for the birds to be played with again, relevant to Laly’s new skills: She’s right into inventing her own games and role play. To decorate the cage we went out to forage for some vines and ferns. Of course I had plans for her to be part of the photoshoot for this blog post, but she didn’t want to and I’m doing well now to let her make her own decisions when it comes to play. So while she was out with her Papa I took the opportunity to play with the birds and cage in my own way…

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Happy weekend mes amis!

xx

PS new music on the way, I hope you’re enjoying my growing collection so far. Thanks for your downloads and encouraging comments thus far, so appreciated.

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music time: Spirit & Flight part 2…
Posted in nature, pia's music, pia's photos, piano May 14th, 2014 by pia

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So I’ve been playing a series of notes on the piano over and over again since I shared my last composition with you, Spirit & Flight.  I didn’t think it was ready to be recorded as I hadn’t really been able to move it, shift it, expand it. I finally let go of thinking I needed to make it into something it wasn’t, yet continued to play it over and over again this past month because there was something in it that spoke to me…

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…something in it that I needed to hear. Then last Saturday morning, while Romain took Laly to the park, I sat down at the piano, pressed record, and played.

This is my rawest, published piece yet, so full of little “oh I could have played that better”, “hmm that’s not quite right” notes  – however it captured how I was feeling so completely that I felt it was worth sharing with you…

 

 

If you listen carefully, you will hear me take a deep breath towards the end of the first part of the piece. Then I play on, higher, quieter…

 

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After I played, I understood what it was that I needed to hear: my anger. I have always pushed it away, bottled it up, kept it locked deep inside. But I’m learning that by doing so it doesn’t go away, it just grows then screams out in pain in various parts of my body. When I sat down to play this time, I felt it well up in me, echoing the frustrating morning I’d had with my little warrior girl Laly, so defiant, not afraid to protest or go against her mother. She’s not like me and when I’m not in awareness, I can hear my quiet, bottled up voice within screaming out “I don’t understand you, why aren’t you like me! Why can’t you listen to me!”.  Of course I don’t want her to be like me, I just want her to do as I say.

So this piece, Spirit & Flight Part 2, is a storytelling of my battle with motherhood, my struggle to adapt, to surrender to how I was mothered and how I mother and want to mother.

In the second part of the piece (at 2 minutes 40 sec), I relinquish.

These photos are from our few days in Byron last month. “Spirit” and “Flight” are two words that resonate with my time there, and the energy of our little Laly.

Thanks for listening again dear friends, I hope you enjoy this piece. Don’t forget you can download all my pieces to listen on your music devices for free.

With Love,

Pia x