Children see magic…

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‘Children see magic because they look for it’!

Christopher Moore

I knew at the age of 11, that one day I would be involved with children in India. Whether it is the universal intelligence laying a path before me or a deep desire on my part emerging from an inner, unconscious ‘well’ of wishes and intentions, I don’t know.  However, I do know how much delight children bring to my spirit. What I love about them is their unbridled joy and their seeking of magic in every aspect of their lives.

I was invited to teach yoga to 30+ little ones in the newly established ‘Uluru Early Learning Centre’.  Yes, whilst in Australia ‘Uluru’ is the name of our most prominent cultural landmark, it is also a Tamil word, meaning ‘Land Deep Within’.  And that is where you will find The East West Overseas Aid Foundation (TEWOAF), deep in the heart of the state of Tamil Nadu.

It wasn’t difficult to teach these little ‘vege mites’, as all children can pretend to be a cat, lion, frog or tortoise.  I don’t speak a word of Tamil and so our lovely friend, Naga, translated and at the same time became fascinated at how the kids could transform their limbs into pretzel-like shapes and jump two feet off the ground whilst he could barely reach his knees, let alone his toes.

And in this warm, rural community how gorgeous it is to have a child tip-toe up to you,  take your face in their little hands, kiss you on the forehead and say ‘please come back’! How could I not?

What an extraordinary feat to create this little haven in such a remote part of the country. A children’s home for the orphaned, abandoned and destitute; an early learning centre; an environmental education centre; a health care clinic; and much, much more together with a global community of donors.  To give one child an opportunity to grow and to break the shackles of grim poverty and abuse, is surely an achievement that we can all manage. In our free society, isn’t eradicating poverty our duty?  And isn’t education the most powerful tool to do this?

And what do my visits to this foundation remind me to do?

  • Be free-spirited
  • Be spontaneous
  • Be curious
  • Observe everything with a child-like mind
  • Play
  • Be gentle
  • Be kind
  • Be polite at all times
  • Respect my elders
  • Giggle (a lot)


Look for the magic in everything…

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If you would like to contribute to the education and health of these children, please tap into The East West Overseas Aid Foundation’s website.  There is a lovely video on the home page which may interest you.


with love

Annemaree x





With all my heart…….


It is said that the people we have in our lives are here for a ‘reason, a season or lifetime’.  This expression rings so true to me.  Many have left my life whether by death or circumstance and at times I have felt as though my heart would break in two.  Actually I think my heart is simply an accumulation of cracks, more than even I realise.  And yet, I also reflect on the words by the poet/song-writer, Leonard Cohen, ‘There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in’.

How often, do we explore why someone landed on our doorstep; entered, re-entered or left our life completely; brushed past us in the street with a smile; or picked us up and dusted us off without question or the desire for something in return? Oh, the times I have been so loved and cared for without recourse would fill a tome.  And I feel so privileged that so many have stepped into my world even if only for a ‘season’.

In my home I have dedicated a whole wall to photographs saying “Thank you.  I love you.” It is my ‘gratitude’ wall.  I constantly look at it (sometimes with a heavy heart and sometimes with a joyous one) and enquire as to why that person actually paid me a visit.  What did they awaken within me? What beauty did they bring to my spirit?  Why do I love them and what was their greatest gift to me?  Sometimes I also wonder – What was ‘their reason’ for finding me?

People to me, my friends, are as much a part of my make-up as my DNA.  So when I lose them it hurts… really hurts.  It is said that the depth of sadness is equal to the depth of the love. Sometimes I am a little sad and at other times I feel as though I shall shrivel up and dissolve with the pain.

On the other hand, I also realise that in the words of the great philosopher Krishnamurti, ‘Sadness is a vain attempt to possess’.  One has to ‘let go’ to free the spirit of binding attachment.

And what is pain?  Teaching yoga opens me to understand every small nuance of pain.  I conclude through my own experience that most of the physical pain we feel is a camouflage for an emotional issue.  Physical pain takes our focus away from the self-enquiry, from confronting ourselves and bringing ourselves ‘home’.  Of understanding our sadness.  What is it I am not observing?

Of course so much of our ‘pain’ is probably unconscious tension, years of it, accumulating over time…..and perhaps the only way to rid ourselves of it is to be ‘aware’ of this very fact.  Perhaps the issues will not surface for us to recognise them exactly, but will surface enough for us to accept them?  Only an idea really!

And immediate emotional pain?  Well, ‘fear’ is a word that resonates with me here.  And again that goes back to self-enquiry.  What have I experienced in the past that has come back into this moment to give me grief, to haunt me?  Is it desolation, abandonment, isolation?

I have also come to learn that in order to let of the waves of sadness and to understand that ‘this too shall pass’, is to sit with the sadness for a little while (after all one is only human), and then to revert the experience to a more positive picture preferably peppered with snippets of love and laughter.  Likened to dissolving grains of sugar into a glass of warm water.  The drink of memories will always remain sweet.

I believe the ‘unsaid’ needs to be ‘said’, even if just ‘quietly’…….

‘Thank you.  I love you’

Annemaree x


P.S. This photograph is of my 9-year-old nephew, Thomas.  I think he is perhaps an old soul who has come to visit me.  Who knows?




My Yoga Journal: The Y&M Effect

I’ve been feeling like a complete fraud lately. Until last Tuesday I hadn’t practised yoga or meditation for six weeks – in which time I also joined two committees.

Fortunately, unlike medication, meditation doesn’t wear off – so I was able to keep the monkeys at bay and a relatively still mind for the weeks that Annemaree was traipsing through India.

In fact, I had a bit of an epiphany about The Y&M Effect. I thought – and had been feeling – that I was supposed to be feeling calm – all the time. In actual fact, it is about being mindful; being present; being aware; feeling fully and letting each thing pass – as it always inevitably does. The trick is to notice how you feel, feel it fully, sit with it and examine it for a moment and then let it go. The thing NOT to do is feel it, feed it, succumb to it and take as many people as you can hostage on the way through (recall: Christmas / husband / headlock).

Being calm all of the time – whilst a refreshing change from being completely loco – would be a bit dull. Variety is the spice of life after all, and who wants to sail through it like a lobotomized chimp anyway?

Over the past months I have actually come to quite like myself. Being kind to myself, instead of being my own harshest critic and taskmaster, has brought me to appreciate my quirks and idiosyncrasies. Meditation has opened up a rather pleasant internal conversation – which results in my own happiness, contentment and gratitude by and large. No, I’m not hearing voices – it’s not THAT sort of internal conversation.

I know that I am warm, generous, funny and kind. I have a lot to offer and want to offer it  up in any way that might help my local community or others less fortunate. This seems to involve becoming a committee-tart – but as a home-based Mum I have the time to give and so I give gladly.

Liking yourself is quite handy when you embark on spending extended periods of time alone with yourself in a dark room, with your eyes closed under a blanket. As far as I am aware, meditation never made anyone go blind either.

As an Aussie, liking yourself, ( or daring to admit  it), is just not the done thing. Our mob subscribe to more of a “tough-love” approach, believing that life is bound to disappoint you anyway, so best we let you know you’re not ‘much chop’ before you hear it from strangers. But to be a part of our mob you must be smart and by God you’ve GOT to be funny.

Our mantra could be this saying I came across recently “If you find yourself losing an argument, start correcting their grammar”.  Aussies are sometimes the product of long lines of intelligent, slightly depressed individuals with superiority complexes and smart mouths (albeit, on the whole, hilarious).

It is exhausting trying to maintain the mask of being the funniest / wittiest / cleverest person in the room and, for me at least, all behaviours were a form of armor to keep people at bay, so I couldn’t get hurt. Oh, and ALWAYS with a drink in hand.

Through Yoga & Meditation I have softened – I have ALLOWED myself to soften through letting go of the armory.  I am easier on myself.  I am easier on myself because I have come to quite like myself.  Today I prefer to let my character develop and manifest through my actions, rather than just being the ‘cleverest Dick’ at a dinner party.

I am finding it much more rewarding and fulfilling to simply learn and become educated without having to form an opinion which must be defended to the death.  Attaching to an opinion – for me – shuts down such a big part of my brain’s ability to take information in – like trying to “live in the moment” whilst thinking what your next facebook status update will be!

Until next we meet,

Om & out.

AQA xxx

This article has been contributed by student, writer & eternal work-in-progress, Anita Quigley Atherton.