Friday, May 8, 2020

3 Mother's Day Wishes for Mother Earth


You are invited to join me in wishing our Mother Earth a Happy Mother’s Day. Let’s make Mother’s Day 2020 a day where we not only show appreciation to our Mother’s but also to our Mother Earth which gives life, to the whole Planet.

Don’t let this golden opportunity pass you by. If you’re thinking “what’s in it for me”? The answer is simple – everything! For without our Mother Earth, we have nothing and we are nothing.

I encourage you to make this day, a day to take part in celebrating Mother Earth and to give her something to show how much you care about her.

1)   Think about What You Can Give Mother Earth Today

To Really Show You Care about Her

If you’re short of ideas of what you can do, the good news is you are already doing something amazing to show Mother Earth you care about her. You are more than likely not using transportation which requires fuel nearly as much as what you did pre-lockdown.

Check out this link to get some great ideas on how you can reduce your carbon imprint and give something back to Mother Earth This is just an example of one of many resources you may wish to research online.

Take this time to ask yourself if there are more permanent changes you can make when restrictions begin to lift. As a part of the Global Community we are all taking some really positive proactive steps during this time of Covid-19 lockdown and disruption. Now is a great time to reflect on changes you have made over recent times which have had a positive impact on the environment and see if you can incorporate these changes for the long term. It would be incredibly remiss of us as a sentient species if we just reverted back to our old ways when restrictions are lifted.

While we wait for government to take appropriate actions regarding the issues surrounding Climate Change and environmental sustainability, be proactive and change your life and your world for the better now.

2)   Think About Who You Can Connect With

To Help Heal Mother Earth

If we just point the finger of blame at Industry and Government for mucking up the Planet for everyone, we give away our power to influence and effect change. Covid-19 halting industry has been a great example to show us how rapidly the chain of supply and demand can be altered. This has given us some real insight into a quality of life rather than a life full of stuff we can quite happily live without.

This is the perfect time for us to remember that we hold the power. We, as individuals directly influence supply and demand. An example of this has been the massive drop in the value of oil on the stock market due to the lack of demand for petrol, as everyone has bunkered down and stopped using their vehicles. And we have adapted, because we have been called upon to adapt. Many people now work effectively and productively from home while their places of work have closed their business fronts to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Because of my concerns about the health of our Planet my family went on our first Global Climate Change Rally March last year in our local city. We did this because we really wanted to connect with others who wanted to try and influence positive change and action. There were lots of placards with great slogans. A woman gave me her placard with the words “Respect Your Mother” painted over the top of an image of the Planet on a background of recycled cardboard. This simple placard carried a message which resonated with me and opened my eyes to a different way of thinking about the overwhelmingly large problem of Global Warming.

Sharing my BLOG and PODCAST is one way I am trying to connect with other’s to share my passion to do what I can to help to heal Mother Earth. Having conversations with others about ways we can act to sustain our Planet through Social Media Platforms can connect with a wide-reaching audience and stimulate a powerful proactive response.

Take this time to think about who you might connect with and ways in which you might connect with others to support positive change.

3) Spend Time Visiting Your Mother Earth

The more we realise how intrinsically connected we are with Mother Earth, the more we will learn from her what we need to do and how we need to live to sustain her and all life with it.

Just as we understand how important making connections with our families are how important nurturing these relationships are; it is the same with our relationship with the Planet.

We have been fortunate to still be allowed to leave our homes during lockdown to go for walks. One of the many benefits to our overall wellbeing in doing this has been making a daily connection with nature. The more we immerse ourselves in nature, the more we are attuned to our inextricable connection to the Planet. We are nothing without it.

The land of my origin is Australia which is the home of the Indigenous Aboriginal people. Being a nomadic people they understand how all life is intertwined. If you are interested in learning about ways to become more connected to Mother Earth, learning from the profound wisdom of the Aboriginal people is a great place to start. They are one of the oldest continuous cultures on Earth.

Acknowledging we don’t have all the answers gives us a great opportunity to learn more about what we can do by seeking out knowledge from others who have the expertise.

Take time today and everyday to form a connection with nature, whether it be: noticing cloud formations in the sky, or the movement of leaves and branches as the breeze makes them dance this way and that, or noticing the sound of the song the bird perched nearby is making. These are just a few examples of observing and appreciating the intricacies of each living thing. Connect with it and appreciate it and acknowledge its part in the world. Whatever it is; it all matters.

Here’s What Motivated Me to Extend This Invitation To You

These are my wishes for Mother’s Day. I am a Mother of four children, I am blessed to be a Mum. Because part of my role as a Mother is to take care of my children, I care about their future, I care very much about them having a healthy Planet, I care about future generations, I care about life and I want to do my part to make the world in which we live in, a better place.

Today is Mother’s Day here in Australia, the country of my origin. This is traditionally a day where families would be coming together to celebrate Mother’s Day with their Mother’s. This will still be occurring for families with children who are living at home, but for many when we are still observing Stage 3 Level of Restrictions because of Covid-19, we are unable to visit our Mum’s and give them a hug to let them know just how much we love them and how much they mean to us. Mother’s Day last year looked very different to this year when we were all free to come and go as we pleased. This time we are now living in, has intensified every aspect of our lives as we are being made consciously aware of the many freedoms which we may have previously taken for granted. These aspects of our lives which we now see are vital to our quality of life were perhaps regarded as entitlements rather than gifts. Now that we have lost some of our freedoms we are more appreciative of these things.

Observing Mother’s Day and celebrating the important role Mother’s play in life and giving thought to the many things a Mother does to love, nurture and support her children, and showing appreciation for these things - is a truly wonderful and worthwhile investment for each of us to make.

If we are able to adopt the same attitude towards the Mother that sustains all life and give thought to what we can do to show our love, gratitude and care towards Mother Earth the more we will be given back in return.  The Global Health Pandemic which has stopped industry all over the world in its tracks has given us all a clear view of how much healthier our Mother Earth can be.

Mother Earth is not just my Mother, or your Mother, she is the Mother who sustains all living things. If we do not treat our Mother right, she will die and all living things will die with her. If we could all start thinking of the Planet in this context, perhaps we would stop being so short-sighted and stop taking the Mother Earth for granted.

Perhaps if we looked on the catastrophic Climate Disasters as signs that our Mother, Mother Earth is sick, then we might be quicker to intervene with the appropriate actions to help her heal. She needs our healing, she needs our love, she needs us to take care of her. If we do not start helping her to heal, there will be no future for anyone.

We have quite clearly seen over recent times that we can adapt and make changes which are the healing tonic that Mother Earth is in dire need of.

Can we not look upon the symptoms of Covid-19 as being similar to the virus we are infecting Mother Earth with in the name of what? Money? Convenience? Can we not see that the decline in Mother Earth’s health will be our own demise? Isn’t it clear that the massive disruptions to our lives and the economies of the world are what we expect to experience more of in the future unless we begin to actively all take part in doing everything we can to make our Mother Earth better! Without every intervention available to us being put to use every day of our lives, we may very well see this Planet starved of oxygen like Covid-19.

We are all children of our Mother Earth. If we can all see ourselves in the light of being children, dependant on our Mother for the sustenance we need to grow, develop and thrive; then this may help us to see that we truly need our Mother and may make us more receptive to listen to our Mother Earth and what she is asking us to do to enable Her to continue to look after us.

Perhaps if we can also see ourselves as all being the children of Mother Earth we will be more able to relate to each other as part of one big family. If we can begin to grasp that we are all a part of one family we may be able to see how important it is for each of us to live our lives in such a way that we are showing care and support for each other. This realisation that we are all connected much more inextricably than we think, can empower us in so many ways. The more united we are as children of Mother Earth, the greater the influence we will have in healing our Mother.

This time can be so well used as a time for change, a time for intervention, a time for action, a time for connection, a time for healing.

My wish is that we will all be a part of the solution.

I invite you to connect, support, encourage and inspire others to make our world a better place.

I wish your Mother and all Mother’s and our Mother Earth a Happy Mother’s Day!

If you feel others will benefit from reading my BLOG or listening to my PODCAST please share the links.

You can also find me at

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Ways to Support Friends and Family when they Don't Feel Safe

7 Ways to Support Friends and Family when they Don't Feel Safe
The Key 5 min read.                   or listen           brokendreams Podcast


Safety is not just a Need – It is a Right. We are all being asked to stay home and stay safe. 

The trouble with this is, that home is not always a safe place for everyone. Thankfully the catch-cry of STAY HOME and STAY SAFE is followed by STAY CONNECTED.

If the saying “Out of sight, out of mind is true” in the context of normal life free from restrictions, then how much more hidden are underlying mental health issues and dysfunction issues while we are going through this period of social isolation?

One of the things we are asked to do to help us work through this period of isolation is to stay connected to the ones we love. 

The current Health Pandemic is seeing a rise in women seeking help because of violence in their home. This is a vital time for us to stay connected with loved ones whose safety may be at risk in their home environment. 

If you know someone who feels unsafe at home, here are some ways you can help.

 Check in on them regularly

If someone you love is feeling unsafe it is more important now than ever before, to establish a line of communication where you can check in on them regularly.

It is important to find a mode of communication that is safest for them. Let them lead you as to the best mode of communication and the frequency of communication to help them feel safe and stay safe. They know better than anyone what triggers they are dealing with in their home environment.

The key is to listen to them, be an ear. Show you hear them and that you are here for them in whatever way they need from you as a support. For them, just knowing that someone cares about them and is looking out for them and willing to support them, can make all the difference in the world.

Never Blame Them for What is Making Them Feel Unsafe

Victim-Blaming is a strange Psychological phenomenon which is multi-faceted and can be a very hurtful thing for anyone who feels victimized. 

People, who are already experiencing feelings of powerlessness within their own home because of their situation need to feel supported, not judged. 

Saying things like “You chose this relationship” will only serve to make the person you care about experience counter-productive feelings like Shame, Self-Blame and Regret. None of these feelings will make them feel any better, or help them feel any stronger, or more able to overcome the issues they are facing.

Take Blame out of the conversation and focus on exploring questions about how they are, how they are coping and if there is anything you can do to make them feel supported.

Don’t Make Excuses for the Person Who Is Making Them Feel Unsafe

Abuse in all its forms is not ok. Making excuses for the person who is making your loved one feel unsafe will not make their issue any better, or make it go away. 

What it will do is make your loved one feel as though you don’t understand what they are dealing with. Not only will it potentially make them question that this is somehow their fault, but it could shut down your line of communication.

If they start to feel as though you don’t understand the gravity of what is happening to them, or that they feel you are being empathetic towards the person who is making them feel unsafe, or perhaps even thoughts that you appear to be supporting that person’s behavior, then the strength of the relationship you have with your loved one who is feeling unsafe will be compromised. 

They may withdraw from you because they feel misunderstood and alone.

Support Them When They Need To Talk

Be a great listener. 

Ask them caring questions at the appropriate times, like “Are you ok?”, How are things at home?”, “Is there anything you would like me to do?”

You don’t have to be an expert in Family Violence, or Relationships to be one of the strongest supports your loved one could ever hope to have.

The biggest encouragement is them knowing there is someone out there who loves them and is looking out for them. 

You don’t have to have all the answers to solve the issues, so don’t feel as though you are failing them when you can’t wave a magic wand and make everything better for them. 

The relief they may experience from feeling supported may be a source of renewed strength they need to help them feel more empowered to address their critical needs. This is so important. 

Be a Part of Their Safety Plan even if you don’t think it’s needed

Now that we all have some experience with Safety Planning because of all the health and hygiene protocols we are required to follow to stay healthy and help others stay healthy too, we have a good understanding of what a Safety Plan looks like.

People who are at risk because they may not be safe in their home environment need to have a Safety Plan too. This plan will look different for everyone, depending on their situation, their issues, the level of risks and their environment. 

Support Services have lots of links to Safety Plan examples to help get an idea of what this might look like. Make a friend of Google and ask questions which you feel might give you some links which might help improve the situation for the person suffering. Doing some of your own research from a safe place might be a very good method to help find the right level of support for your loved one. You can then look at ways of relating this information to them at the appropriate times. 

When you have information you wish to share with them, you can let them know you have information which may help them and ask them to let you know how and when they would like you to share this information with them.

A good place to start is making you a Safety Contact and maybe having an alert sign worked out that they can send you via text or some other mode of communication in the event that things escalate and they need immediate help, but are unable to raise alarms themselves. 

As difficult as it is to make Safety Plans they are a very helpful reference when the anxious mind can become too confused to know what course of action to take. 

A great question to ask is “What do you need to help you feel safe?”

Identifying needs is a great start to a path of self-empowerment for the person who is affected.

Help in Practical Ways

You may not have the power to make their issues magically disappear but there may be ways in which you can still help in practical ways.

Maybe lead with a question like “Is there anything you need right now?” The answer to this question could be any number of things which could make a real difference to helping them meet a need which would otherwise be left unmet.

It might be as simple as sending them a message once a day to check in on them and see if they are ok.

It might be dropping in some groceries or other essential items if they are not able to get out themselves.

Let them know they are not being any trouble to you to ask for help, in fact in asking you to help them, it is empowering to you too. If they can understand that if you are not making yourself available to help be a part of the solution, it makes you feel helpless. And in asking for help or support it does not make them a failure, just part of the human race.

Call Emergency Services if They Are In Immediate Danger

It seems unimaginable that there would be a need for this type of intervention, but there are times where this course of action is what is needed.

If the risks to someone’s safety are serious, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If there is an immediate danger do not hesitate to contact Emergency Services.

If the person affected has a Court Order in place contravening any acts of Family Violence, it is helpful to make reference to this when you speak with Emergency Services. Providing the name of the other party can also be helpful.

Don’t worry about the details; Emergency Services are trained to ask the right questions to get the answers they need to assess appropriate responses.

I hope this information I have shared helps you to receive the support you need if you are not feeling safe. Please share this with your loved ones if you feel it will help you communicate your needs.

And for the friends and family who read this, I hope that this helps give you some ideas to support your loved one. 

I am a Survivor of an abusive relationship and now that I am safe I am trying to connect with others who are dealing with the same issues I faced. My aim is to help them by being a support and help them by providing ideas and connections to the right supports.

I invite you to share ideas which may help support those who are feeling unsafe at home and build stronger connections to end the cycle of violence.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Look at how to add a positive flavour and deeper meaning to mealtimes

Hi I’m Sandy J and today’s BLOG is Food for Thought – Thought for Food

What does your dinner time look like in your home? Do you live alone or are you like me, living with others? Do you eat alone, or do you share mealtimes together with others, be it family or housemates? Do you want to come together with your loved ones at mealtimes and feel more connected by sharing this time together in a meaningful way?

Call me old fashioned, in my home, my family come together every day for dinner time. I was brought up in a family which upheld the same tradition. Before each meal, my brother and I helped to set the table and then when we had finished the meal, we would help clear the table and then we would help with washing the dishes and putting them away. We did this not just because this was expected of us by our parents, but because we were grateful to our Mother for the meals she made for the family.

Understandably with juggling work and children's extra-curricular activities many families have done away with family dinner time, in which everyone comes together at the same time to share a meal. Most days it would be much easier for me to leave everyone literally to their own devices and get them to help themselves to the food which I have prepared in their own time and take it to their own space to eat. Things would be much more peaceful if this were to be the norm.

But I don't, as much as I would love to give up, and give in to convenience, I persist, sometimes with great cost to my own peace of mind. I do this because I have this gnawing feeling deep down in the pit of my stomach that this is one of those battles, worth fighting. My children are growing up fast and before I know it, they will leave the nest and this opportunity for us to share this time together will be gone. I want us to feel connected. There is something sacred about this time. I know that this is an opportunity for us to share food and conversation with each other. It is a time for us to reconnect and a chance for us to exchange thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

What a family dinner time should resemble and what the usual family dinner looks like in my family, are often worlds apart. Dinner time meltdowns in the melting pot of a blended family which consists of a tween and two teens, a biological parent and a step parent, culminating in a total table of five strongminded individuals, makes many of our mealtimes the complete opposite of being an edifying experience.

One of the bi-products of going through lockdown because of Covid-19 for our family has been that we have nowhere to escape to. Before the lockdown we would have a multitude of diversions to help us justify putting any issues to one side. If there was a flare up, we would try and address it there and then. If there was no clear resolution, we usually let these issues either dissipate on their own or leave them until the next flare up to potentially try and address them. Much of the time these ongoing issues that did not have any clear resolution in sight would be put aside with the hope that "this too shall pass".

This unappetising, distasteful issue of regular meltdowns during mealtime and less than spectacular table manners is one that we have been dealing with for a very long time. We have tried many things to try and change the tone of our mealtimes and asked for better table manners, to make this time less volatile and more enjoyable for everyone.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for robust conversations full of flavour. I just don't want things getting so heated that the meal is spoiled and becomes indigestible.

Last night was one of those nights where profanities and argumentativeness seemed to be the main seasoning added to the meal which I had lovingly prepared for my family. I looked down at my plate which was a healthy colourful mix of rice with with hemp seeds, linseeds and chilli salt, with Mexican beans slow cooked with onion and diced tomatoes, nachos and a mixed green garden salad with fresh avocado, sour cream, grated tasty cheese, fresh lime, sriracha, and salsa on the side. It was a family favourite, with the children adapting their meal to their liking, forgoing the rice and substituting wraps to make their own burritos. I watched on in dismay as their wraps were literally thrown together and virtually inhaled, with big mouthfuls of food hardly chewed, before they were wolfed down, all the while talking with mouths full of food, without any real thought to what they were eating, or how they should be eating it. The children all having an attitude, I think it is fair to say, of getting the meal out of the way as quickly as possible so that they could leave the table and return to their devices. Even though there is an expectation for everyone to help clear the table after a meal and for one of the children to help with the cleaning up, with a rotating roster of whose turn it is to clean up, this is invariably done by all with an attitude of some injustice being asked of them. 

It has been clear for a long time that we do not hold the same values about this part of our daily routine. What I see as being a Sacred time is seen as some sort of inconvenience to the children. The result for the most part is that this point of contention spoils this time and spoils the meals that we are all trying to digest for our sustenance. What should be edifying is anything but. The food is good, packed with great nutritional value, but the atmosphere is often so rancid it spoils the good food.

In my despair, I sat down after dinner and my husband lovingly offered me his favourite book, (The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking, by Adiraja dasa). It was easy to immerse myself in the pages of this beautiful book. I will say that neither my husband nor I are Hare Krishna. We are both Spiritual and Vegetarian, but not followers of the Religion. Like the many walks of faith, there is innate wisdom in many of the teachings of this faith. What captivated me immediately was that this book dedicated itself to the Philosophy behind Vegetarianism, as being a means to a Higher End.

This is what that pang of inner hunger deep down inside of me was longing for; deep down I believed that food was more than just a physical need to sustain us and an integral part of good health. There was a deeper understanding that I wanted my children to recognise and value.

Because food is a form of life and helps to form life, it is truly deserving of our reverence, our gratitude, and our best effort to make times of eating enjoyable for all.

Reading the philosophy of the Hare Krishna's Philosophy on Vegetarianism articulated in words that I had been long trying to convey to my children was like stumbling on a pot of gold. For the first time in a long time I saw hope that things may change for the better for us as a family at mealtimes.

Today I wrote down some of the thoughts expressed in the (Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking, by Adiraja dasa) on a Blackboard which sits leaning against a wall at the end of our dining table for the whole family to reflect on (see above picture).

I am not expecting things to change overnight at our dining table because I have made this sign for my family to try and digest. I expect we will all have to stew on it awhile for the deeper meaning to rise to our consciousness. Just like a stew, the longer it simmers, the more the flavours become infused and robust and tasty.

The children did take time to read over the Blackboard and that was the first step, they laughed and joked as they read it out irreverently, which makes it clear that these ideas need more time to seep in. Before we said our usual Blessing or Prayer before starting dinner, I asked everyone to put their cutlery down and take a moment to look at their dinner plate, which was laden with good food and give some thought to where things may have been grown, the work it took to harvest and to transport it and to get it to our home and to get it onto our table. And finally, to give thanks for all of this. To my delight, the children did as I asked and there was a real reverence when we said our simple Prayer of Thanksgiving before we ate our meal. At that moment I felt truly connected to my family.

Tomorrow I plan to invite everyone to dinner and ask them to bring with them conversation that is edifying to everyone at the dinner table. My husband introduced a conversation starter which he called "Fun Facts" quite some time ago and it worked for a good long while, to stimulate some really interesting thoughts and conversations. It also gave me an opportunity to see how smart my children really are. Instead of the on-line, gaming diatribe that is often the main focus of conversation with the children at the dinner table, I am surprised and impressed with the wealth of knowledge they all have. This also reinstates my faith that the internet is an amazing resource for the children to broaden their knowledge base outside of their school curriculum. Not just a gaming and social media vortex.

What makes me really happy is that aligning myself with the Spiritual Wisdom of the importance of a positive tone to be set and upheld at the family dinner table has brought things back into focus for me. Rather than hold onto feelings of resentment towards the ones I love because they have yet to reach this understanding, I feel happy to keep persevering with daily mealtimes together, even if the change is a slow one.

Now, moreso than I have felt in a long while, I am really looking forward to cooking, serving, and eating in joyful reverence. It is all an act of love as well as an act of life.

Lockdown has slowed us down to a point where we can give food for thought and thought for food. As much as we would like to escape and be anywhere else but facing the prospect of another unruly mealtime, having this opportunity to face our issues and try to look for ways to rise above them definitely seems like a blessing in disguise. And I am going to lap up every last opportunity I see to make my family stronger, happier, healthier and more connected.

Maybe you have ideas, thoughts and feelings that you would like to share with me and others about ways in which you have made mealtimes more special too. I welcome your input.

Stay well, stay healthy, stay happy.