Be the Woman You were Born to Be with Guru Kaur

Be the Woman... Inner Circle

Be the Woman You were Born to Be is what I consider to be the minimum requirement for any woman.  It is a 42-day online course and private online community which allows women to uncover their femininity, recover their sexuality and discover their divinity.

The structure of the 42-day course is designed to be flexible and portable allowing you to fit it around you and your timetable. It is also very challenging at times, and I'm therefore available online to give support as needed.

I check in with the Be the Woman... Inner Circle (the private online community) daily and there's always something happening.  Sometimes it's just to post up comments on an article I''ve come across about women in the press, sometimes it's to answer questions, sometimes it's to laugh at a post a woman has written (some of them are hilarious), sometimes it's to cry (some of them are so very moving), sometimes it's to get in touch to be a shoulder to cry on, sometimes it's to support a woman through a transition in her life, or to share in her joy at how she is developing as a woman.

Be the Woman.. has changed so many women's lives, including mine. It's very powerful, but don't take my word for it.  Listen yourself to what some of the women have said here.

Here are some issues I've addressed on the Inner Circle:

Grief Is Not Gratitude

Friday, 09 March 2012

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

Two women in particular influenced my attitude to death. One was Tom's mother. The hardest thing she told me in coming to terms with her son's death on his seventeenth birthday was that her last words to him were harsh, she had just assumed he would always be there, tomorrow he'd just be a more grown up version of today. You simply never know when the Grim Reaper's going to come knocking at the door and turn your life upside down.

When Horace said "Carpe Diem" he really meant it, seize the day, because tomorrow will not be today. You create your tomorrow today, but will it be there, that you'll never know. Seize the day doesn't mean stuff your Filofax with things to do. Carpe Diem: enjoy each moment, cherish those you love as if this moment is the one and only moment with them. Honour how ephemeral life is: take inspiration that just one breath out more than in and you expire. Feel overwhelmed with greatness that you made it to this moment, this time, in time, for time immemorial, and that whom you're with did too, because it may never be again.

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The Genteel Art of Conversation

Sunday, 19 February 2012

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

Conversation is a unifying human experience, a coming together on a universal plane of words. More than idle chit-chat to pass the time of day, conversation is a process of expansion of ideas, a learning about life, and a joy to experience. Conversations are not lectures, diatribes, a parrying of opinions or putting the world to rights. They are an exchange where both parties leave having given and received something quite unique which could only possibly have emerged from the confluence of these two beings. It's not a place to use up your daily dose of 10,000 words.

Unlike a dialogue, which is more formal, written or performed, a conversation is informed, informal, often in a formal or confined space, creating an intimacy restrained by being overheard in snatches by your earwigging neighbour or waiter. A man will never feel more loved than when he's been listened to, he will never feel more inspired than when he feels understood and his eyes are opened to something outside his daily routine. It's pillow talk, unpreceded by sex, untinged by any expectation of any either.

The art of conversation is learned, preferably young at the family dining table. Here is my check-list. Just like watercolour painting, it looks simple but actually it takes lots of practice. Strangers you're travelling with are always a good place to start. Worth it though when you remember that this is how the world will be touched by you:

  1. Put your guest at ease by finding what interests them first
  2. Be interested and interesting because you are generally aware...

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Yoga and Meditation Kit

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

Of course, the answer is you don't actually need anything to practise yoga and meditation other than a clear mind, discipline and a body. Well, now we've got the holier-than-thou answer out of the way, let's get down to the real core of the matter.

Just as swimming is so infinitely more pleasant when wearing a swimming costume you feel comfortable in and goggles which don't leak or leave your eyes looking like pandas; just as painting is so much easier with a really good paintbrush; just as going for a long walk is made possible with a stout pair of walking boots which don't rub and need blister plasters; so it is with yoga and meditation. There are things which just make it all a much more welcoming and enjoyable experience. You obviously don't need them, really, but that warm and cosy feeling is a must.

Although all thoughts start in the mind, and it is possible to feel comfortable just by thinking it is so, getting the physical environment right helps a lot. I'm not talking about investing in a whole new room, but a little space.

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Grey Is This Winter's Blues

Friday, 10 February 2012

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

The Thames from Rotherhithe, Guru Kaur's Hipstamatic iPhone App"Is that bear depressed?" said the young girl sitting on her father's shoulders as they wandered through London's Zoo. "No, darling," replied her doting father, "that's what bears do in winter, they curl up and sleep until the summer comes. It's called hibernation." There was a long pause. "Mummy's doctor says it's depression, I heard her tell Aunty on her phone." And thus one of my friends learnt of his wife's medical condition.

Depression has almost become a fashion statement, along with stress, to define our state of mind in these transitory years around the millennium. Back in the 1920s it was used to describe the economy. It crops up regularly in the news, in the weather bulletin, usually sitting in the Atlantic. It feels like a shrinking black box, a parapet above which it seems impossible to rise, a very heavy black cloud which never seems to be blown on its way.

And that's the thing. You can't live in England without noticing the weather.

Chocolate though has changed my approach to depression and the weather: you can't temper chocolate easily when the humidity is above 66%. In the last six months there have only been two days when I've been able to make chocolates. There hasn't been a day in the last six months when I haven't wanted to eat a chocolate. In this time we have had almost no rain and no sunshine. There has been a black cloud looming overhead, something to do with a depression out in the Atlantic, as usual.

The heavy moisture in the air dampens the spirits.

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The Home Work Conflict of Women

Thursday, 09 February 2012

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

There's the adage that a man needs a good secretary, a good wife and a good mistress. In modern days we have the stereotype that one woman fulfils all these roles for her husband. She's expected to run the diary, plans and finances; the catering, laundry, decoration, hospitality, and mother, educate, entertain his children; and at the end of the day, after a candlelit dinner a deux of listening to his inflated exploits and concerns, elevate behind closed doors to be a lover beyondhis wildest dreams. It's a tall order, but we all see it's possible - in theory at least.

Where the problem  comes from is when a woman fulfils different roles for different men. It's the foundation of our modern economy and creates one of the great dilemmas we are faced with as women today.

Guru Singh one day was mystified why I didn't know where Nick was; saying he was at work raised his eyebrow. Drilling into me with those steel blue eyes he asked me why I had married Nick. "To spend the rest of my life with him", I replied without a shadow of doubt. "But you don't", was his harsh but fair assessment, "you're ships in the night; you never see each other; you dance to another man's tune."

It was a critical moment in my life. I realised that a large part of the tension...

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Inspiration to Kick Depression

Wednesday, 01 February 2012

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

The sight of Louise Speed at the inquest into her husband's death from hanging is one that will probably haunt many of us. What she is feeling we will never know, but "there for the grace of God go I" will be uttered by any woman who's been in a long term relationship with ups and downs and/or a husband who's experienced very high highs in his work life. These stresses and strains are part of the evolution of a marriage, part of what makes marriage the highest form of meditation, and a process which develops and supports both parties. But none of us would want it to end in a coroner's court.

Depression, Winston Churchill's Black Dog, is a heavy, overbearingly dark cloud looming overhead which, in many ways, affects men like the English weather. Men and women react to depression differently. Women, well we're used to our feelings going up and down daily with hormones, and deep down know that tomorrow's another day no matter how bad today is; we can create that tomorrow. Our depression tends to be tearful, melodramatic, hot cups of Tea, shoulders to cry on, withdrawn and solitary, tinged with knowing that there are people who depend on us. 

Men's moods are far more drawn out, they are more akin to seasons, or that heavy low pressure which sits out in the Atlantic for months on end, causing dreadful, grey, damp, depressing weather. A depressed man is a depressed man today, and tomorrow, and the day after that, until finally he is inspired to change the weather pattern and rise up out of it.

It is in these very moments when a man is broken, passionless, without anger, that he is at his most vulnerable both to his own self-destructive nature and to a woman's inspiration. It's a moment when his defences are down, the rampart has been breached and you literally hold his life in your hand.

It's a moment either to get professional help or to step out into the unknown and make him know that he is everything, not to you, not to his family, not to his work, but to himself. And it's not just one hop-skip-and-a-jump but taking him off on a a long haul flight to a new way for him to inspire himself in his own life. 

You need to give him...

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Separating the Men from the Boys

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

You can learn a lot about men from the BBC's iPlayer.  At the blokey end of the spectrum, occupied by the two triumvirates of Top Gear and Three Men in Some Sort of Boat, full of competitive bragging mine's bigger than yours, general all round camaraderie full of male bonding, and one-for-all and all-for-me stuff, these programmes are all about the presenters, their gang and their view of the world.

When you're stuffed to the gunwales with male ego, testosterone, petrol and hot air, you can always settle back into the comfort of your armchair to be encouraged to get out of your comfort zone by the Hairy Bikers and the Baroque Barolo presenters of Sicily Unpacked.  These pairs would be cool to meet because you get the feeling they'd be interested not in telling you how brilliant they are, but how brilliant where you are is and how you're just going to love that special ice-cream they discovered.

Finally we reach the solitary presenter, usually a rent-a-don who deals with his loneliness with Adobe After Effects and finding some old relic, living or not, to interview or eulogise about. Rarely does any earth shattering conclusion emerge, but somehow the worthiness of one man and his doctorate gives the illusion of an hour well spent. Wow, it gives you all the ammo to out-Clarkson Clarkson with big hitting swagger - if only you had his chutzpah. 

Freddie Flintoff's Hidden Side of Sport was billed as one of these wallpaper programmes of meeting up with some mates to pontificate. We could have been forgiven for assuming it would be to talk about themselves, their outstanding achievements and my showcase is bigger than yours. Freddie was off to chat with the giant egos of multiple World Champions.

Looking back to now from the future we may well say that Freddie's programme was the starting line for a new generation of men and a whole new ball game for programmes about them. This was not about ego, opinion, lightweight education and amusement, nor emotion. This was about the rawest emotion of them all: depression.

The underlying theme was eye-opening for many: you could be at the peak of your chosen sport from boxing, cricket, football and snooker, representing your own country no less and still be floored, just like the next man, with near crippling depression. This was the coming out programme taking depression from being spelt P45.

This was probably one of the best bits of television I've watched for a long time. Freddie was thoughtful, low budget, discreet, comforting and accessible. He had been, after all, the most macho of them, the type of guy that I'm guessing Clarkson and his petrol-head chums who play Sunday village celebrity cricket would most like to be like (or bowl out). He raised questions, accepted responsibility and was very matter-of-fact manly about it. It wasn't touchy-feely, nor voyeuristic. It was human with huge doses of a commodity we rarely see on the box: humility.

The obvious conclusion to draw from Freddie's observations was that as long as what you're looking for is outside you then you're never going to find health and happiness, contentment and satisfaction. That comes from within. How do you find that? That's the question on the back of which is an answer with far more consequence than which car, holiday, dinner or wife to choose.

When I first read that Yogi Bhajan, a few decades ago, foresaw a time when the newspapers' court pages went births, deaths, marriages, suicides, and fratricides, I could barely comprehend it. However, the news over the so-called holiday season is already beginning to look like that with a handful of families murdered by someone so depressed that they wanted to destroy not only themselves but also those around them.

Handling depression is one of the great dilemmas our society faces now, with its fellow presenters of obesity and diabetes. Depression is a lack of inspiration, a lack of oxygen and red blood cells, and a lack of feeling you belong to something worthwhile. All of these have solutions which don't need pills to fix. I very much hope that the BBC in its wisdom recognises that it has a duty to explore this further and offer up solutions other than just that found by the snooker player who feels he's confined in the purgatory of taking The Pills for the rest of his life.

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Frugal Advice is Feminine

Monday, 16 January 2012

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

The thud on the doorstep of January's crop of French magazines I subscribe too usually heralds the tone for the year ahead. The crise economique is undoubtedly the backdrop for 2012. Marie Claire Idees, Elle a Table, and Marie Claire Maison are all taking the view that this is a great opportunity to reclaim a part of us which we lost sight of during the heady heydays of a blast of the consumer economy.

All of the advice given on how to cut your coat to suit cloth and get a grip on finances at a household level which will both reflect and lead a national debt rehabilitation, both in advice columns and throughout the whole tone of the magazines, has a hidden benefit of getting us in touch with our feminine side.

The overriding attitude is get back to making your own:

Specifically yoghurt and jam feature highly as a way to save money in the kitchen and also to be a better housewife with a healthier family

  1. Making your own beauty products from leftovers in the kitchen
  2. Recycling vintage - the flattering way of describing second hand - furniture with a fresh lick of paint, and getting out your sewing machine to give new life to curtains.
  3. Making toys...

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How Rounded Is Your Education?

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

I am passionate about women's education, which is one of the primary reasons we launched the Be the Woman You were Born to Be Course and Community online.

A BBC programme about the ground-breaking education 500 years ago of Margaret More, whose father was a chief adviser to the King, was therefore a delight to find.  As part of her studies she was taught astronomy by the Tudor equivalent of Stephen Hawkins in a trail blazing attempt at equal opportunity education, and went on to publish the first book in English of prayers by a woman causing such a stir that we can barely comprehend.

However, in the middle of the programme The Presenter PhD revealed this attitude:

"Thomas More had been well educated and he was determined to give his daughter the same education as his son.  
We take that for granted, but then it was a truly radical idea. 
At the turn of the sixteenth century the majority of women barely needed an education.  Most would have to cook and clean when they grew up so that is what their mothers taught them.  My experience is entirely different. 
 I'm a terrible cook but I got a brilliant education."

I consider myself exceedingly privileged to have received a brilliant academic education, better probably than my brother (although he might split hairs on that) and, like this presenter, was actually quite proud that it had left me devoid of culinary and domestic skills, seeing that as a positive bonus.  This education propelled me into a wonderful office-based career, as indeed Tudor education intended.  But it had only trained my mind, man in Sanskrit.  It failed to address that other part of me, the wo in woman, that creative, nurturing part which would give me the confidence and skills to run a household.

This idea that a brilliant education is purely academic, shunning traditional feminine arts and sciences, is surely to be challenged now in the face of the overriding evidence that there is a fault line in our society.  Not a day goes by when the news is not peppered by reports of failed parenting and a failure to run a healthy and happy household.  That our nation is sinking into obesity is surely symptomatic of a whole generation of women who didn't learn to cook.

They thought cooking was what you do when you're standing in front of the stove.  Wrong.  It's what you do when you're planning a balanced diet for the whole family of three square meals a day, wherever they are.   Cleaning isn't just about killing germs in the loo, it's about sanitation and stopping your family getting sick in the first place.  These are things which are passed down generation to generation, not things to be discarded and then relearned from a celebrity chef whose keen for you to cook his calorific main dishes every meal.

Until we include education for the whole woman, not just her brain, we as a society will fail.

As long as we allow the media to perpetuate this notion that being brilliantly educated excludes being a good cook, housewife, mother, backbone of society, and inspiration, we are doing the next generation of women to come up the ranks no favours at all.  They deserve better than that.  What are you doing about it?

This all inclusive approach to women's education as an embodiment of this new femininity for me has recently included Making Your Own Bra and Tempering Chocolate which undoubtedly are at the fiddly and time consuming level of sewing and cooking but ones which I have found immensely rewarding working all aspects of my creativity and tapping into my education at many levels.

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New Femininity: Making Your Own Bra

Saturday, 31 December 2011

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

Think bras and women's lib and the vision you're probably conjuring up is of burning bras freeing up lots of wholesome breasts to bounce their flower strewn way to the heaven of equality with men. After all, they didn't have to deal with that Shangri-la search for a bra which fitted, was comfortable and looked sexy and alluring in the process.

Although I never actually burned my bras I did stop wearing one for a long, long time. Signing the release papers for my mother's mastectomy shook me to the core, as did reading the book Dressed to Kill, which revealed the link between the modern bra and the epidemic increase in breast cancer. I was fully aware that Yogi Bhajan advocated that women wear non-underwired bras, and had heard many stories from those hippies that he had castigated for ditching their bras at the expense of their posture and muscle tissue. I gather that even he was in despair at the time that properly fitting bras were not available and talked of designing a bra which would be suitable. Sports bras were probably the best on offer, but they don't meet the sexy criteria do they?

Last year when I was asked what was the thing which was most beyond my wildest dreams which I most wanted for my birthday: I asked for a pretty, comfortable, supporting and most of all correctly shaping bra. And so my search began again...

and I discovered that there's a whole new wave of women who have found happiness, feel lighter and have literally built their own self-esteem: they make their own bras. I now have joined and there are simply no words to describe how wonderful it is to wear a bra which fits like a glove.

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The Chick Flick: Senna

Saturday, 31 December 2011

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

SennaThis is the chick flick which every woman must watch to learn what a man is. If you think that Senna is going to be about a man with deserved god-like status then you're wrong. This is a film about relationships. Ayrton Senna is one of those men who was pure man, pure spirit, pure universal mind in service to God. His death, aged 34, means that he will forever be young to the millions who recognise his extraordinary, outstanding, maverick, divine nature. Here is his story told in one of the best documentaries that I've ever seen with such sensitivity and subtlety that watching it became a life-enhancing experience. It's worth saying that this is a boys' film too with all that engine revving and politics so don't think you're going to have to watch this in secret; the soundtrack's pretty spectacular too.

The film starts with explaining the sheer beauty of a racing car and how racing is about a man and a machine, firmly putting on the starting grid the whole allegory of the spirit of a car. Swap the word car for woman and you're pretty much on the way to understanding how the Universe operates. Here's a key quotation from one of the journalists interviewed:

One thing that a driver hates above all else is a car which changes its behaviour in the middle of a corner... most cars either understeer or oversteer, but really bad cars have both, so that they change from one to the other in the blink of an eye, in the middle of the corner, when you least want that to happen.

This is very disturbing for a driver because it destroys his faith in the integrity of the car and that's absolutely crucial for a driver to develop that complete trust in the car's temperament.

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If by Rudyard Kipling

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

 If, by Rudyard Kipling is probably the best example I know of a perfect translation there is, unfettered by a word-for-word dictionary strait jacket. Instead it is the flowing robes of wisdom. If is the start of a conditional sentence but here it has a more optative stance: make this your life mission. Rudyard Kipling, the author of several of my favourite books, including Kim, the Jungle Book and the Just So Stories, was raised in India. If, to me at least, seems to convey the essence of Krishna's speech to Arjun in the Bhagavad Gita better than any commentary, translation or exposition.

As a slight tangent to this, those of you in the UK may smile: I used to love it when

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To Be Or Not To Be Vegetarian

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

One day Grannie asked me, with some curiosity, much forethought, great seriousness and enormous respect: "Is Vegetarianism a religion?" It was one of those questions which is so on point that a vague dismissive answer is absolutely not appropriate. "No," I replied, "it's a way of living, a life style". "Well," she signed deeply, "that's a great relief all round," and the subject of food choices, diets, fads, allergies, intolerances, likes and dislikes was never mentioned again.

For me, what I eat is not based on any dogma but an understanding and choice about what I want to include in my life, what I want my body to be made up of, what I want to influence how I think; ultimately what I want to be, and what I stand for. Food touches every area of our lives. I didn't stop eating meat because I found the way the carcasses in the back of the local butcher's swung as if still alive a bit horrid. My diet is not how it is because I exclude things from it. Each item is consciously considered and then included.

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[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

Yesterday we were involved with Painiting in the Park, one of the series of free events held in Russia Dock Woodland, of which Meditation in the Park is the flagship.  Our friend, the artist John Gustard, who also painted Millie-Pup's portraits, went round to each of the participants to inspire and teach them.

At the end of the day, I asked John what had been his highlight moment: was it the beautiful sunshine glinting through the trees of a woodland in zone 2, seeing the kingfisher darting across the pond, or the vista of people with their art materials laid out appreciating the beauty of their surroundings?

"None of those" he replied.  "It was when I went to see those women at the bullrush pond."  I cast my mind back to when I'd been to visit them bearing the large tin of biscuits not long before Hari Karam went to serve them a cup of tea.  This little pond is idyllic, with an orchestra of rustling bull rushes and moorhens, and the irises' seed heads rattling in contrast to the fluttering of the large wispy feathery leaves of some of the water plants, all surrounded by the jewels of rose-hips and ripened sloes.  As I bent down to look at what she was painting I did a double take.  When had the Loch Ness Monster arrived in Rotherhithe?

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Parenting? What Parenting!

Monday, 19 September 2011

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

Unicef has just issued a report saying that British parents find parenting tougher than other countries.  Here's a response to my blog post on the Inner Circle from a woman who is taking the Be the Woman... Course:

"What you say, GK, about Aquarian parenting ("If their experience is that you don't deserve their respect then you can whistle in the wind to get them to do what you want.  You can't be bossy to get things done any more; it has to be open, transparent, cooperative, sharing, and most of all based on trust and not fear. Aquarian parenting requires inclusion, understanding, respect") so rings true with my experience. You really hit the nail on the head. That's why this kind of course is so essential for mothers. We have to do a lot of work on ourselves to feel we deserve the respect, to love ourselves so we can love our children, and so we can be totally transparent with them."

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How To Heal Through Surgery

Monday, 19 September 2011

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

Vikki asked us all an interesting question here a couple of weeks' ago about how we would recommend recovering from surgery. The simple answer is that the physical body is only one piece, maybe 10%, of what needs healing and that is what the medical profession bases all its efforts on. However, in my own experience that's not enough. It's a waste of a thoroughly good opportunity not to heal more than just the physical surgery.

Surgery, of the calibre it now is in the 21st century, is a miraculous rebirth. Back in the day before hip replacements, hernia meshes, wisdom teeth extractions, you would have been left to grin and bear it. The thing is you still need to journey through that grin and bear it phase and then accept the gift of life on the other side. Back to our cost-price-worth-value model.

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Come On Baby Light My Fire

Thursday, 08 September 2011

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

Man, Fire and MarshmallowsThis is a prime example of how to motivate men to do something: you need to let them know what's in it for them.  Then they'll say that they were totally inspired and found a solution which was nothing at all to do with you, nor that you made or found online the marshmallows.  Just praise the fire, praise him for fetching the sticks for the marshmallows and the firewood, don't let the fire go out, keep up the supply of marshmallows and keep quiet. 

There's another reason that I love this picture too: raw food just isn't that good for you and most food needs to be broken down by cooking before you eat it.  As an Ayurvedic doctor said to me in India "it's either fire outside your body, or fire inside your body which will cook your food."

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Me Isn't Out There But In Here

Wednesday, 07 September 2011

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

I've lost count of how many women have basically told me that they would love to leave their husband and go travelling to find themselves, as Lucy Valantine did according to an article in the Telegraph; it's what they wanted to do, might still do, will do, all because they think that life would be better and easier after such a bold move.  Believe me, I know, because I did that.  Actually that's not true because Nick and I did that.  Never once did it ever enter the equation that I would abandon Nick in my quest to change my life.   For me, and I stress that this was my experience, the whole point of putting our lives into free-fall was so that I could be a wife to him, serve him as my husband rather than spending all my waking hours with men whom I had made no contract to spend my life with.

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My Top Sewing Tips

Wednesday, 07 September 2011

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

  1. Weary as it sounds, my number one tip is to go forward back forward at the start and finish of every seam for about an inch. It stops them unraveling when you cut the ends off, otherwise you need to do little knots. I lost several skirts to this oversight of my mother. Check the tension is absolutely correct before you do a seam, if it's off either the seam will pucker or undo - neither of which you want.
  2. my second tip is be meticulous with every seam if they are supposed to be the same length then make sure they line up exactly. When matching curved edges ensure that you line up the stitching line not the edge of the fabric.
  3. press seams open or to the side with steam. If you didn't oversew the edges of the piece when you cut it out (to stop fraying) then you can oversew both the edges together and trim off excess, but still iron and press, iron and press (with a damp cloth tested on a test swatch).
  4. only have your foot on the pedal when your hands are in place to guide the fabric otherwise your foot is on the floor. Switch the machine off EVERY time you stand up adn then switch it back on. Leave the iron on, but safe, most of the time, but when you leave the room STOP and go back to turn the iron and the machine off at the mains (my brother managed to start my mother's sewing machine when he was learning to stand up from crawling because it had not been switched off at the mains).
  5. be meticulous about what you put in the bin, any obvious rubbish goes IMMEDIATELY into the bin; larger off cuts go IMMEDIATELY into a scraps back; NEVER break this rule. When you have cut out a garment do not take off the paper pattern until you are ready to stitch it unless you have to reuse the paper patter piece again in which case pin a large post-it note to the piece saying what it is, which way up it is, which the right side of the fabric. Always transfer all markings from the paper pattern to the fabric - don't guess.

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Does My Bum Look Natural In This?

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

[Excerpt from Guru Kaur's blog on the Be the Woman... Private Online Community for women...]

Another almost Royal behind has very much captured the imagination since the April wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  Pippa Middleton, sister of the bride, wore a dress which showed off her honed figure to perfection.  It cut just the right amount of singleton sazz with nuptial decorum.  But everyone wanted her bum, not just her dress.  The headlines in the glossies are now that Pippa's bum has become the rear-end of choice for those undergoing cosmetic surgery, outranking Beyonce and J Lo.

My, oh my.

This is a classic example again of our cost-price-worth-value model.

Cost: Pippa is a great devotee of yoga, goes to the gym, has a personal Pilates trainer, does extensive vigorous outdoors sport, runs, swims and cycles - all of these are paid for in membership, fees and so forth; and yes, if you add it up it's probably the same as a plastic surgical operation.


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