The celebration of the feminine…

I should be working this evening on my assignment but I endlessly seek to distract myself from any left brain work… I was looking through photographs from my Yoga teacher training in Bali in August and was reminiscing how beautiful, connected and loving the experience was… and I remembered that on the last day of our time together we each had to share with the beautiful group any meaningful piece – a poem, a story, a song… it was a really sacred feminine way to complete what was a deeply transformative process and the strength and lightness of this poem is such a gift for all women (and hopefully all men too)…

Maya Angelou’s amazing delicious poem “Phenomenal Woman”… It is worth hearing her read this and to listen to her velvet voice…

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou

Too much money for little return…

I spent Thursday and Friday learning about the Enneagram and our personas and shadows and fixations and just love the tool – think it has all manner of incredible ways to be used in corporate life… One thing I always struggle with is the notion that our personality is fixed possibly when we are still in the womb… and yes there are nurture issues and socialisation processes but ultimately we are who we are from day dot… and I love the idea that somehow this is more fluid and not as stuck and rigid… and I certainly have spent a king’s ransom on therapies, complementary medicine and the odd charlatan or ten in this misguided hope that suddenly my personality would be altered… so imagine my laughter at the mirror back to me when I opened my facebook page to find a message from a woman I haven’t laid eyes on since school who as part of the commentary on my blog says the following “Merle, you so have not changed”… Imagine what I could have done with all the money I have spent over the years… what fabulous shiny object I could have purchased with this squandered resource…

A journey of learning

I have turned into the new course junkie… I am loving every minute of learning (the exams scare the hell out of me and fill me with dread and lack of ability) but the actual process of learning something new, something different, something meaningful is profound for me at the moment. Today and tomorrow I am on the Enneagram for Leaders training – so in two weeks I have moved from a left brain financial, accounting, risk course to a deeply psycho-spirtitual examination … you really can’t get much more extreme in their opposites… and I love both equally and differently… I feel so delighted to have this time to really integrate some of my learnings and certainly the Enneagram will be included in future people and culture-based work… So now I am swanning off on a beautiful balmy evening in Sydney to listen to the dulcet tones of Martha Wainwright at the Opera House… today life is sweet.

Sweet treats

Okay so I wrote my first closed book exam in 500 years and still feel shell shocked… I think I am scared of multiple choice because it forces me to make a decision and I hate that (and they all looked right which I think was wrong)… Having falling briefly in love with accounting, the exam managed to rid me of this lunacy and I am back to being right-brained and numerically challenged… anyway I stumbled out of the room after 2.5 hours and felt like I need to gulp a gallon of gin… but instead the delightful catski all the way from Londontown came to visit with me to teach me how to be a better blogger (bugger)… and not only will my blogs be better (one can only hope) but she also bought with her the yummiest of adriano zumbo’s macarons

like wasabi and pickled ginger (yuck) and coconut and pandan (delish) and a deathly sweet toasted marshmallow which thankfully we washed down with soothing oolong tea…


Firstly to those friends around the globe who have emailed and called to find out if my family is safe… thank you… and yes everyone is safe and well but as my niece studied at Canterbury Uni she still has many of her friends there… Having visited Christchurch, it appears gentle, innocuous and sort of English in sentiment which makes the footage even more dramatic… it is unimaginable that it lies in ruins and that many people have lost their lives or their loved ones… I did yoga early this evening in a packed class and at the end as we sealed our practice with some fairly dramatic “OMs”, we sent our combined energy to those in greater need than ourselves in Christchurch…

The Not Knowing

The further I journey away from my old corporate life this piece has a resonance that I have not heard before…
“Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
This is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.”

John O’Donohoe

Alpha Waves

I have been pretty anxious this last week as a lot of things have come up for me and have felt distracted and also chronically aware that the mind and spirit talk through my body… yet last night at dinner I felt calm, relaxed and pleasant… not just because of the company but the most amazing ALPHAmusic was playing in the background… John Levine has created a music series that works on the alpha state of mind which my guess is what in yoga they talk about as the parasympathetic nervous system and stimulating that through the practice of both asana and meditation to find that deep knowing calm… So now as I begin to study for my exam this week I would usually work in silence but today I am listening to “Silence of Peace”…. I hope it helps me pass the first exam in 25 years 🙂


I have been struggling to find a place in Cape Town for my sojourn this year… everything I have seen looks slightly wilted and unfortunate and overpriced… and as I sit here gazing at the magnificent Sydney skyline in my office I am unwilling to trade down even if it is only for a few months… Today I was extremely grumpy, I am not usually a moody person but I felt beset with grumpiness and discomfort with everything… my sister sent an email this morning telling me about a website she’d used to find a groovy little apartment in Portland when she went a-visiting and that it had Cape Town offerings as well… so still filled with grumblings I checked it out and there was this place that just felt simpatico… that it was meant for me… pity then it was more than double the price I was prepared to pay….so I wrote a note explaining how my life was in flux, I had recently left my job after 20 or so years and was returning a bit like the prodigal daughter for a brief stay in the mother city… and guess what… I now have the most divine in-a-garden-eco-meditative spot that I am delighted with sight unseen … without putting a hex on it I do hope it lives up to expectations… but it is one of those moments when I have to acknowledge that the universe is supporting me – and I need to honour that, accept that and be deeply grateful for that…

Numeracy… Numerals… Numerology

Accountancy, Psychology or the Occult – perhaps there are similarities and that’s why I was suddenly taken with accounting conventions last week 🙂 …I have just completed the long version Enneagram questionnaire in preparation for a course next week and needed to complete it as if I was in my late teens (long time ago…) The Ennegram is my new favourite, wisest way of looking at the complexity of personality types with a strong spiritual perspective… Although you may recognise yourself in all nine fundamental personality types, your most defining characteristics will be reflected in one major type… To date I have been convinced I am a 6, The Loyalist – largely because I am so bound by fear… but I am actually a 2 The Helper with 6 leanings .. think I am happier being a 6…. maybe a bit like an asset and a liability really… or maybe this little gem from Henri Tracol is more relevant ” Whenever a man awakes, he awakes from the false assumption that he has always been awake, and therefore the master of his thoughts, feelings and actions”…