What are you plugging right now?
My new book “Spilt Milk Yoga – a guided self-inquiry to finding your own wisdom, joy, and purpose through motherhood.” It’s the book I wish I’d had when I became a mother. The spilt milk is the challenges we face as contemporary mothers, the yoga isn’t poses, it’s yoga on the inside — how we react and deal with all that spilt milk, from the shock of birth and the shift in identity, to managing our own behaviour while we manage our kid’s behaviour, and navigating the paradoxical social invisibility even though we’re doing the hardest most demanding and important work of raising the future. On a personal human level we can use the challenges to become more the people we want to be, to thrive not just survive motherhood. At a social level I’m plugging for recognition of the worth of mothers everywhere, as our biggest and most influential investors in raising the future. Mothers are at the heart of our social health and right now our social structure largely ignores this. We do ourselves a major disservice by over-looking the work of mothers and then wonder why we have an increase in social and health illnesses.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Connection; feeling connected to my sense of purpose, connecting my actions with my values, connecting meaningfully with others, connecting to the beauty of the environment, connecting to my appreciation of the moment I’m in. Working from that place, to create greater connection for others, and generating the experience of loving and being loved. Isn’t that what we all really want?
Which living person do you most admire?
The first three that spring to mind are singer/songwriter Nick Cave – because he creates in direct address to nihilism and suffering, the Buddhist nun Pema Chodron – because she so honestly reveals the flaws that catch us and commits to the path of softening into the pain of being human, and my husband Christian Penny is up there too – because he is committed to creating good work, with good heart, honesty, and with best intention, with whoever is in front of him. It is a wonderful thing to admire one’s partner.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
Honestly? Sending back a runny egg to a Nepali woman whose house I was staying in because I couldn’t stomach snotty eggs and wanted it hard. What an obnoxious thing to do! I was walking the Annapurna circuit alone at 21yrs old and staying with families along the way, it wasn’t the highway it is now by all accounts. It embarrasses me still that I did that.
Ever stolen anything?
As an act of defiant solidarity to make up after a falling out, my friend Wanda and I shoplifted from the dairy across from our intermediate. I got a mint trumpet and Wanda got chocolate biscuits. We had to bike home 5km uphill, so about half-way we stopped and ate everything sitting on a stone wall. We’d had enough but we felt obliged in our excited state of complicit rebelliousness to eat the whole lot. We’re still friends, but now we pay for our afternoon tea.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
At 50 I’m happy to have a healthy, strong body that does what I need it to – but appearance… hmmm…I guess when my clothes don’t work I dislike my wardrobe.
Which living person do you most despise and why?
Donald trump – no brainer.
What life lesson would you pass on to your children?
Know what fulfils you and choose to be happy now. Success is not about material wealth, it’s about the quality of your connections and a sense of fulfilment. The focus on getting best grades, to get into best course, to get best job, to get best income, to get into best rest home doesn’t have any bearing on what value you add or how loved and loving you are.
What job would you do other than your own and why?
Surgeon — something reconstructive (not vanity surgery) involving bone, stitching, detailed construction, deep concentration, and improving people’s lives. Or research into applications of clinical, social and neuro-psychology in sociological structures (architecture/policy everything) because humans are endlessly fascinating, and with a few simple but significant shifts we could make life exponentially better for everyone.
Questionnaire with CATHRYN MONRO in the Sunday Star Times (though people will insist on misspelling it with a ‘u’!) #smy #spiltmilkyoga #realmothers