Goodbye 2007; Hello 2008! Life, Vol 8, Nov 3, 2007 – Jan 18, 2008:


Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a stellar holiday season, filled with joy, laughter, friends, family, and relaxation. May we all have had time to pause for a moment, reflect on our lives, give thanks for the good, honor the bad, and make plans for our collective better future.

Well, time has been flying by. Two months have passed since my last ‘life volume’ post and much has transpired as usual.

Since early November we’ve logged 31 days at Wainui. We’ve been living in this strange duality as we alternate, almost weekly, between city life and country life. When in the city, much of my time has been dedicated to running around locating things we need for the country house, spending endless hours on the internet, and keeping the garden going. Then we pack up the van for a weeklong stint in Wainui, lugging out a weeks’ worth of food and whatever gear I’ve managed to source. Once on the property, we live a quiet life on the land, almost always never setting foot off the property until it’s time to head back to Christchurch.

Bruce mowingMuch of our time in Wainui has been spent mowing the lawns with our electric mower. We have several areas (front, side, and back areas of house, the orchard, and two other sections) that need tending to and by my count, we spent on average about 10 – 12 hours per trip mowing! That’s a lot of grass cutting and a time consuming task as not all the land is flat. However, we make the most of it, looking at it as a source of endless mulch for the trees and also as an opportunity to observe and learn the contours of our property. I find it to be quite zen.

Speaking of zen, earlier in December I attended a three-day ten-hour yoga workshop that was organized by Anusara yoga instructor Katie Lane and featured world-renowned Anusara teacher Desiree Rumbaugh. I’d never been to an Anusara yoga class before and had only recently even been made aware of it, as I’d come across an article about John Friend, the founder of the practice. Anusara means flowing with grace. The yoga style combines the asanas (poses) with a focus on the heart (or the divine within) and uses Universal Principles of Alignment. It is very uplifting. (I am second from the left in the photo below).

Anusara yoga

Desiree was joined by another instructor, Andrew Riven. Andrew holds classes in San Francisco, at YogaKula on 16th & Mission. All you San Francisco friends – go check him out. The weekend was great, I loved the practice, and I met a bunch of cool people from all over New Zealand, including several Americans who have also migrated here. I have promised myself that I will do more of these long workshops and hopefully even go on a weeklong yoga retreat this year.

Silent Night singingHappy SolsticeGavin Raina

We rolled through the holidays with a bang. We honored the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday by dining out with a few American friends. December came along and Bruce & I decided we should have a holiday party complete with homemade eggnog, the UV-blacklight-flouro reactive snowflake room, and kris kringle game – similar to the Christmas Eve parties we held in San Francisco. It’s summer here and December 21st is the solstice, so we did a combined theme of solstice and holiday party. All the ex-pats were invited as well as our usual friends. We had a great turnout with close to 45 people. I think the highlight of the party was when the majority of us went outside, formed a circle, a few people said words of thanks to the universe, we sang a round of Silent Night, and one of the couples sang a Maori blessing. That combined with the hilarious kris kringle game really made for an excellent party. It felt like Christmas! And I got my soul necklace to boot, which made for an awesome present to me (see previous post).

Gang in WainuiPizzasRogue guests

We spent a week in Wainui for Christmas and New Years. Alex, Tobi, Ingrid, Mark, and Dennis (and a few gate crashers) spent a few days over Christmas with us. We made pizzas, and my favorite, stuffed shells. Maggie & Roelf joined us on Boxing Day for a day of eating, playing games, and a bit of R&R. The weather was glorious and we managed to get down to the beach in between rounds of mowing. New Year’s Eve turned out to be quite spontaneous with Amba and Gen coming out for the night. More pizzas, chatting, dancing, and star-gazing were on for the night.

So here we are at the beginning of 2008. According to the Chinese Zodiac, it is the Year of the Rat and the beginning of a new cycle. We can expect 12 months of plentiful opportunities and prospects relatively free of turbulence. Sounds pretty good.

New beginnings. New opportunities. New intentions to set for ourselves. Let’s open our hearts more, open our minds more, share with one another more, and take one small step to further ourselves along our path.