Thursday 27 September 2012

The road to “Finding Artemisia”

After my first visit to a community of traditional Aboriginal women in the middle of the Australian desert, I couldn’t stop thinking about how different the women were to modern women.

I’m a psychologist, specializing in anorexia and it occurred to me that these Aboriginal women had never heard of eating disorders, or psychology for that matter.

At the time I was also facilitating workshops in New York State and people were asking me about the Aboriginal culture and as I began talking about how different it was, I thought I should write about my time there, as well as my professional experiences with eating disorders.

Because they were such extreme opposites I wanted to put them together somehow, and that’s how “Finding Artemisia: A Journey into Ancient Women’s Business” began.
It’s an inspirational book, in that takes the reader into an image free world where women value each other for who they are and not what they look like. Not like the modern world of women: booby-trapped by the dieting, plastic surgery and body shaping industries.

It’s not an academic book, (there are already many on the subject of eating disorders), but it is an experience, a transformational and nourishing journey for women and their families, because its about its about matters that deeply affect them: food, sexuality, body image, and relationships. It’s a journey book that takes readers into a world they would otherwise not experience, that of ancient women’s culture. It also takes them into the hidden world of anorexia. 

AND it honors the special relationship between mother and daughter. No matter how difficult that relationship might be, all women have mothers, and if they can’t be at peace with that relationship, they will rarely find peace within themselves

Saturday 22 September 2012

Just arrived back at my coastal home to find a surprise package  from the women who attended my Finding Artemisia : a journey into ancient women's business, Desert Retreat at Uluru, in Central Australia. Thank you wondrous women and thank you for your fine words too: "life-changing" "So much blossoming still...," "so much love and gratitude," "thank you for being our guide," "I've never felt so safe with a group before," "thank you for the opportunity to connect with such wonderful women," "Thank you dearly, beautiful and wondrous woman."
Our retreat was an image free zone, where we explored the negative body image and self image issues that hold us back AND in the presence of the ancient sacred women's areas, caves, billabongs and ponds we reached back in time and caught a glimpse of what those women had, some still have: a spirit of sharing, collaboration, holding, support, strong identity and belonging, in the absence of body image matters, competition, confused identity, anxiety, eating disorders, narcissism and vanity. What a joy to be free of these modern things. What  a taste of things to come for women willing to step forward into ancient wisdom. Come join us,

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Welcome to an IMAGE FREE ZONE

I am an Australian psychologist, mother and educator and I am so excited to be able blog and start a conversation about some of the issues that fire me up: women’s bodies, minds and relationships.  What is great about a cyber blog is that it can reach women all over the world. And I have had many wonderful opportunities to talk with women from many different cultures and in many different places, in jails, refuges, board meetings, schools, universities and remote indigenous communities. And whether it be on an indigenous reserve in Arizona, a New York prison, an Australian Aboriginal community or a suburban neighborhood,  I have found that women talk about the same things: their rights, their body and self image, their food and weight issues, their kids and families, their relationships, their futures and that of the planet.

And what I sense in all of them is a frustration that they are not being seen and heard for who they are. And that they are tired of being objects of desire, second class citizens, victims of violence and subjugation.  So I would like to start a conversation with women about these things so that we can find another way of seeing each other, so that we stop competing with each other and judging ourselves and each other by criteria set by those who do not have our best interests at heart.

As a psychologist, I see many girls and women whose lives are destroyed by their negative self beliefs, their hateful self images and their fears of not being good enough. But psychology happens in a closed room, in isolation. And if there is no change outside the room then there is no support for the healing process.

And if women do not begin to change the way they see and think about themselves then it is almost impossible for girls to grow into their full potential. So it is my wish to create a better world for girls that drives me to appeal to all women, to start to change the way we see ourselves.

When I traveled to the Australian desert to stay with a community of Aboriginal women and met women who did not define themselves by their physical appearances, I realized I was in an image free zone for the first time in my life.  It was liberating to be with women who were not at all conscious of how they looked, because it began to rub off on me. After days without make-up and mirrors I let myself be seen by these women whom I knew were not judging me by my looks but by a very different set of criteria. And these women had a wisdom and connection to with each other that is rarely found in modern women’s relationships.  They are so inspiring, I want to share their wisdom, their networking and connection. And I can’t think of a better launching pad than cyber space to propel modern women into an IMAGE FREE ZONE. 

Sunday 16 September 2012

Hello from Alice Springs. Such a colourful place, dripping with Aboriginal desert art and alive with people visiting from all over the world. AND I am enjoying it all, so full of life am I after our amazing desert retreat. Five wonderful women, took time out from their lives to explore women's business in the presence of the sacred ULURU, the largest monolith on earth.   Five women, freed of their roles, their body image and their worries, stayed open to exploring the ancient art of women's business :  a world where women weren't judged by their looks. A liberating experience, in safe and inspiring environment. Stay tuned for photos and comments by the participants. Blessings.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

One more sleep before I go to Brisbane to meet one of the wonderful women who will join me in following the steps of my book "Finding Artemisia: a journey into ancient women's business." On Saturday we arrive in Alice Springs where my character, Diana, had her first spiritual encounter. See page page 34. "...she drifted into sleep. Sometime later, she had no idea how long, she was awakened by a br
ight light. She sat up. The blinds were still closed. She was sure she had turned everything off except her mobile. She glanced at it. There was no light coming from it. She sat still. Suddenly she could feel it, the light. She was immersed in it. It had substance, and it was moving. Like some diaphanous serpent, it wound past her; its opalescent scales of breathtaking proportion. As it brushed past her, the hairs on her arms stood on end. She thought she should be scared, but she wasn't. She was holding her breath, not out of fear, but out of anticipation..."

Tuesday 4 September 2012

After a number of wonderful book signings, local and in Sydney, on Monday Sept 10 I will accompany a group of women in the footsteps of my book "Finding Artemisia: a journey into ancient women's business." We will be meeting at Uluru, camping and following my character's journey around the biggest monolith on Earth. We will be visiting an Aboriginal community as the guest of a traditional elder and spending some of our days searching for medicinal plants. Imagine stars so close you can touch them, blazing night fires, wild flowers and sandy dunes. This is my inaugural retreat. There will be another next year. Meanwhile, if you haven't read my book yet, read all about it