Tag Archives: growth

Collecting seeds

After a slow and slightly wet start to summer, it’s great to enjoy the summery weather. However this means taking some extra care of my seedlings that I’m growing for an autumn planting session at the retreat.

The challenge has been in collecting seeds and growing them up into small trees that can then be planted out. Some of the previously planted trees have succumbed to last summer’s high temperatures, the resident hare and the kangaroos.

The chestnut trees were one casualty and as my friend’s chestnuts were eaten by cockies, I bought some from the supermarket, popped them in the vegetable crisper for a couple of months and was happily surprised when they sprouted. They were potted up and a couple have already gone in the ground at the retreat.


A Jacaranda tree grown from a seed of the next door neighbour’s tree has also gone in and is doing really well. I’m still deciding whether the Magnolia trees (also grown from seed) will make an appearance up at the retreat or to leave them in here in the city.

Another mini forest in the making are some peppercorn trees from seeds of a tree in the local town. I’m thinking of arranging these in a well spaced circle (20metres apart) from the oak tree in the centre of the paddock. Much like a Medicine Wheel or a living labyrinth.

Speaking of labyrinths – both labyrinths are in great need of refurbishment. Heavy rains (one day a neighbour recorded 70mm) have washed away the little labyrinth. I’m toying with the idea of creating a raised straw bale spiral garden instead to grow herbs and other useful shrubs. The larger labyrinth is very overgrown with native grasses and the jonquils in one of the central rings did get to flower this year. The pomegranates and olives around the perimeter continue to survive and the application of some organic fertilizer has helped the remaining oak trees to finally grow some height.  The previous attempt to refurbish the outline of the rings with rocks gathered from the paddock was a good idea in theory, but has affected the water flow and now looks untidy with the grass growing up and through them.


Trees and stress reliefWalking amongst the trees to observe their seasonal change and growth was the one thing I really looked forward to during the second lockdown here in Victoria. These trees were planted many years ago and the park is part of a precinct that now includes an art gallery and a library. The trees were most likely planted by some settlers of Irish origin who took up farming in the area who may not have envisaged the growth of the urban sprawl that has since happened.

I have a fascination with how things grow. From germinating seeds to seeing the growth of people when they have had a coaching or hypnotherapy session and have resolved a long term issue.

The metaphor of the seed, that it just knows – given the right conditions – how to germinate. The wind may blow a seed many kilometres away from where the tree stands, but if the soil is fertile and there is enough water and nutrients to  nourish it –  it will flourish and reward us with its growth.  Some seeds may lie dormant in the soil for many years, waiting for the right conditions to germinate.

So too with us humans…. we can wait until the conditions are suitable until we nurture the seed of a thought and allow it to grow, nourished by curiosity and a belief that anything is possible.


About Identity

who are you?Who are you?

There may have been periods in your life where you have played a different role according to various situations.

As you grew from young child to adult there would be many defining moments that shaped your identity.

Deep down, how do you define yourself?

What are you really like?

As you progressed through adolescence, it is possible that you tried on different character traits as you modeled yourself on peers or adults that surrounded you. When one fitted in with your beliefs, like a well made coat, you kept it. Even the most well made coat can become threadbare with constant use over the years and beliefs can also be outgrown or no longer serve us well.

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A Sense of Self

It begins with trust. You have to listen to your innermost being or soul and trust, without being led astray by the ego which is often distracted by bright, shiny things. A sense of self is the recognition that we are spiritual beings using the human body as a vehicle. Delve deeply and you will find that a sense of self is often tied to our identity.

Often we align our sense of “Self” with our identity of what we do for a living. For instance, I was a teacher, so often my conversations were defined by teaching, school, students and so on. Being a “school teacher” was a vehicle that has been superseded by other vehicles that I have chosen. I still use the teacher identity or vehicle on occasion, but it’s more like a vintage car that is garaged and brought out for special occasions.

The vehicle you choose to use can be changed so long as it works in a powerful way that allows you to be congruent with your inner self.  Ideally, what you do for a living should be aligned with your personal beliefs. There are many unhappy people walking this earth studying or working in fields that they “should” do or are expected to do, and this can be dictated by our core needs.

A sense of self and Maslow's Hierarchy of needsAnthony Robbins suggests that we have at least 6 Core Needs that have to be fulfilled to achieve success and ultimately happiness. Compare this to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs where he organized 5 basic needs into a pyramid where physiological needs like food and shelter and safety needs such as security form the base of the pyramid.

Maslow then orders “Belongingness and Love” relating to friends and relationships and “Esteem” which relates to accomplishments are our psychological needs. The cap on Maslow’s pyramid is Self Actualization which can only be fulfilled once all the other needs below have been met.

Four of Robbins Core Needs relate to our personality and he outlined these in a much viewed TED talk. These needs are Certainty/ Variety; Uncertainty/Significance and Love & Connection and there is a certain level of contradiction between each core need. For instance if we have too much certainty in our  lives, then there is no variety and if we put too much weight on achieving significance, then often we will neglect our connection with loved ones.

What does certainty mean to you? Robbins puts forward a list that includes safety, stability, security, comfort and order and you can certainly see how they would fit into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  There are many people in the world today that would love to have certainty in their lives, yet are denied it by shifting political and environmental confines.

“Variety is the spice of life” is an old saying. Without it we wouldn’t have our intrepid explorers who craved adventure or being able to rise to a challenge as we seek to make changes in our existence.

Significance is about the need to feel needed or wanted. Taking pride in what you do demonstrates the core need to feel special or important whether it is for personal satisfaction or for others. Volunteering is a wonderful example of meeting our need  for significance. We can also be quite unresourceful when attempting to meet this need for significance. Who hasn’t been the recipient of gossip or had to listen to endless sad tales about someone’s life?

Love and connection is innate. From birth we crave connection as we are essentially social creatures. Business networking, memberships of clubs and associations fulfill the adult need for connection, even if it may seem overly purposeful at times.

The remaining two core needs are Growth and Contribution and these relate to our needs of the spirit. To nourish our spirit we need to feed it with emotional and spiritual activities. One of my favourite sayings (& I can’t remember where it came from) is “You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting”.

To get a clearer sense of self, ask yourself the following questions. Make a list or a table of your answers and include alongside them your skills and unique characteristics.

What have you achieved?

What do you believe you can still achieve?

What are your limits?

What are your values?

What are your fears?

Who are you becoming?

Need a little help in getting clear about your core needs? Call to discuss which coaching package is best suited for you.

Adding an Olive Grove

olive-grove-6A milestone birthday saw the gift of 6 olive trees to be planted at the retreat. Two of one variety and four of another. In my enthusiasm, I have left the labels in the shed, so am not sure about the actual variety.  I have been assured that there is a difference between table olives and oil olives. Either way, I’m sure I’m going to learn how to work with the crop. (Update:  they are Kalamata and Lecchino)

Presently there are plenty of flower buds on 3 of the trees.  Apparently the olives are too bitter for birds to be attracted to them, but I have observed a olive-grove-5large flock of cockatoos in the olive plantation down the road, so if I’m serious about getting a crop, I’m going to have to net them.

With the heavy clay soil waterlogged at times, I decided to work on the soil and wait for better weather before planting them out.  After the holes were dug, a liberal application of gypsum was applied and dug into the clay. Previous applications have worked well in conditioning the soil along the lines that mark the labyrinth.

Each visit since June, the soil has been turned over and the holes re-dug, partly to aerate them and partly to allow the winter rains to reach deeper into the soil and to get the gypsum to mix in with the clay.   With a revitalized Oak tree at the entrance to the labyrinth & possibly another acorn germinating at the northern edge, I decided to put the olive trees about olive-grove-7a metre out from the labyrinth, spacing them out…3 on each side, resulting in approximately 5 metres between each tree. That should give them adequate space to thrive.  The soil on the Eastern side is quite poor and very hard to dig as it is heading toward a section of the hill that has quite a bit of scoria, and I’m hoping that the addition of the gypsum and compost will be adequate.

The composting process has been improved and composted buckets have been transferred to a large compost bin and topped up with extra sawdust. Some early warm spring days have resulted in some good quality soil. This was well mixed into the previously dug holes and the trees planted. olive-grove-4

John, our friendly neighbour, advised that wallabies are partial to olives, so some sturdy wire was purchased and the trees surrounded by this. Also taller stakes were used as I have observed the kangaroos using the stakes around the oak trees as chin scratching poles!

Planting done…..an appropriate addition to the 7 ring Cretan labyrinth and I’m hoping that the energy of the labyrinth will help to nurture these Olive trees.….

One day, far into the future, long after the labyrinth path has subsided back into the paddock there will  be a small olive grove…..