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Codependency can cause you to lose touch with yourself, your life and your entire identity.

Of course it isn’t bad to care about your partner. If you love someone, it’s natural to feel the need to look after them. However, there is a difference between caring for your partner and being codependent. Codependency can cause you to lose touch with yourself, your life and your entire identity

It’s true; relationships are about compromise. We give and we take. We care and are cared for in return. But how much is too much?

A couple with anchor tattoos

What is codependency?

In simple terms, codependency involves caring for another to the point where it becomes unhealthy. In a codependent relationship, an individual sacrifices their own needs in order to meet the needs of their partner. One party takes on the role of the ‘giver’ and the other, the ‘taker’. The ‘giver’ often loses their own identity while trying to heal or ‘fix’ their partner’s illness, addiction or dysfunctional personality. Eventually, the two begin to rely on one another for relief of insecurity and loneliness, rather than love.

What causes codependency?

More often than not, codependency stems from childhood. It appears in those who grew up in unstable households, where they were exposed to abuse, emotional neglect, family issues, and lack of communication. A dysfunctional upbringing can cause people to develop an insecure attachment style, which can lead to further difficulty in relationships. A person with an insecure attachment style is more likely to become jealous, clingy and constantly seek reassurance from a partner.

Individuals with low self-esteem, fear of abandonment, or trust issues, may enter a codependent relationship in order to feel wanted or needed. If an individual feels they are being relied upon, they are less likely to worry about being abandoned.

But I care about my partner. Why is that bad?

Of course, it isn’t bad to care about your partner. If you love someone, it’s natural for you to feel the need to protect and look after them. However, there’s a difference between caring for your partner and being codependent. Codependency can cause you to lose touch with yourself, your life and your entire identity. A Codependent’s life revolves around their partner’s needs and emotions, leaving them with little time for themselves. This leads to isolation and loss of connection to friends and family. If your partner struggles with addiction or mental illness, your codependency may be enabling them and preventing them from seeking help. This may have negative, and potentially deadly consequences.

Codependency warning signs

  • You justify your partner’s bad behaviour.
  • You want to ‘fix’ them.
  • You can’t enjoy yourself when they’re not around.
  • You feel like your world would crumble without them.
  • You can’t perform daily tasks, like driving or going to work, without constantly thinking about them.
  • You have no boundaries.
  • You constantly seek their approval.
  • Your self-worth depends on them needing you.

Healing a codependent relationship

If you’ve lived in a codependent relationship for a long time, it can become difficult to notice or accept it, let alone change it. Though it is possible to overcome codependency on your own, many couples require professional treatment or counselling. If both parties are willing to make a change, they can work towards a healthier relationship.

As codependency is complicated, it’s important to find a therapist with experience in dealing with them. A professional can help you to:

  • Identify codependent behaviour and take steps to address it.
  • Work through unsolved childhood trauma.
  • Work on increasing self-esteem and self-worth.
  • Help with anxiety and fear of abandonment.
  • Challenge negative thought patterns.
  • Help you develop an identity beyond your relationship with your partner.

Remember, in a healthy relationship, it’s important to:

  • Take breaks

In a healthy relationship, people are able to function away from their partner. Spend time with your friends and family, go to the beach, out to dinner, to a movie or a solo outing… maybe that shopping spree you’ve been dreaming of!

  • Set yourself boundaries
    • If your partner is constantly texting you, decide that you’ll no longer answer while at work or after a certain time.
    • Don’t cancel plans to spend time with them. If you planned a day out with friends, don’t cancel it just to be with them.
    • Don’t be afraid to say no if you don’t feel like spending time with them. If you’re sick, busy, or tired after a long day at work, tell them.
    • Organise a ‘date night’ with them, or plan time you always spend together. That way, you have time to yourself, while still having a scheduled time to spend time with them.

When you have become used to giving and giving, spending time on yourself can feel selfish and wrong. However, self-care is vital in relieving stress and anxiety, strengthening coping skills, and increasing resilience. Whether it’s putting on a face mask, taking a warm bath, or going on a peaceful walk in the woods, self-care can help revitalise your mind and body, leading to a calmer and healthier you.

  • Embrace positive communication.

Be open with your partner and express your feelings. If they do something to upset you, tell them. If they aren’t respecting your boundaries, talk to them. The more open you are with them, the easier it will be for them to open up in return.

  • Trust that your emotions are valid.

In a codependent relationship, it’s common to ignore or hide your emotions in fear of causing an argument. However, in a healthy relationship, both parties should feel comfortable sharing how they feel, without fearing the outcome. Regardless of whether you deem an emotion as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, you are entitled to feel it.

Professional treatment

If you and your partner both decide to make a change, a therapist who specialises in relationships may be able to help you. A professional can assist you in establishing healthy boundaries, work on self-esteem and self-worth issues, and help you to recognise unhealthy thought patterns. Since codependency often stems from childhood, a therapist may also work through any traumas or unresolved feelings that may be related to your need for codependency. Overall, the goal of treatment is to allow an individual to regain their sense of emotions and identify which, in turn, leads to a healthier relationship.

Remember: it’s not your job to ‘fix’ your partner.

We all want to support the ones we love. But remember, you are not your partner’s therapist. It is important to love them without hurting yourself in the process.

You can stick to a budget and still have everything you need with some clever planning.

Welcoming a new bundle of joy is exciting, but with so many products on the market the prospect of preparing for life with a newborn can be completely overwhelming. Fear not, Offspring has created the ultimate guide to help you sort the essentials from the gimmicks.

 

The Australian Institute of Family Studies suggests a first child can cost between $3,000 and $13,000 in the first year alone – a marked difference between thrift and indulgence when it comes to preparing for your little one’s arrival. The truth is you can stick to a budget and still have everything you need with some clever planning.

 

Tip: Talk to other mums about what was useful and what was useless. They may be willing to loan you items, just check the safety standards and condition.

Tips for buying on a budget:

  • Question every purchase: is it really essential?
  • Plan ahead to take advantage of sales
  • Buy in bulk especially nappies and wipes
  • Borrow items
  • Decide on the brand/model and then check local Buy and Sell pages, eBay and baby markets.

Out and about

Before you hit the shops, what do you actually need to buy? Here’s a list of what a newborn needs:

Heading out with a newborn is like packing for a small camping trip and involves the biggest ticket items, so do your research to get the right equipment:

Essential

  • Car restraint:

The car seat will be one of the most expensive items on your shopping list. It is best to buy new, as car seats have a life span with most not made to last more than 10 years.

  • To trim costs, consider a travel system with a capsule that clips onto a pram frame. It might also mean easy transfers from the car to the
  • Baby capsules can be hired as they are quickly outgrown.
  • Convertible models that change from rear-facing to forward-facing will last from birth to four years and will save you the expense of buying two seats.
  • Pram/Stroller:

The price tag on a pram can vary dramatically and there are many features and accessories on offer so set a budget and do lots of homework.

  • When will the pram primarily be used – exercising or leisure?
  • Check it is easy to fold and lift
  • Check it will fit in your car boot
  • Are you planning another baby quickly or expecting twins and require a double pram or added accessories such as a skateboard or toddler seat?
  • Is it important to have a reversible handle or interchangeable seat to grow and change with your baby?
  • Do you need a rain cover, sunshade, cup holder or storage?
  • Look for second-hand alternatives as many mums change their minds or opt for different transport options as their baby grows.

Optional

  • A nappy bag
  • Pram Liner
  • Baby carrier
  • Window shades

Luxury

  •  Trolley cover
  • Breastfeeding cover
  • Portable Cot

Sleep needs

Unfortunately, sleep isn’t for sale, but you can set up a safe and secure environment for your baby to encourage a bit of shut-eye.

 Essential

  • Cot:

A cot is often one of the most expensive and difficult decisions faced by parents-to-be. All new cots have to comply with Australian safety guidelines but if you’re on a budget, ensure a second-hand cot meets current standards. To save money consider a cot that converts into a toddler bed. But, sometimes spending money on quality will ensure it can be reused for future siblings.

  • Mattress:

There will be many (yes, many) spills and accidents and years of use so select a good quality mattress that snugly fits your cot and invests in a waterproof mattress protector.

  • Wraps

There is a huge market dedicated to wraps, swaddles and sleeping bags, but they may take some trial and error to see which suits your baby. A large muslin wrap and some practice swaddling will work just as well.

Optional

  • A bassinet, Moses basket, cradle, cozy sleeper or hammock is smaller, more portable than a cot and great for those early days.
  • A baby monitor – to save money consider a monitor that doubles as a nightlight for those late-night feeds.

Luxury

  •  Light and music display
  • White noise machine
  • Room thermometer
  • Quilts, fluffy blankets, and cot bumpers

Feeding essentials:

Breast

While breast milk is free there are some things you will need to make the experience easier:

  • Breast pads
  • Breast pump – consider hiring or buying a manual one

Bottle

Bottles and formula can cost a pretty penny and there are so many options. Ask for recommendations and trial a couple of brands. Even if you are certain you will breastfeed, you may need bottles for expressing.

  • Bottlebrush
  • Drying Rack

Optional

  • A feeding chair/glider
  • Nursing pillow
  • Burp Cloths
  • Formula dispenser
  • A high chair, food processor, and plastic cutlery can all wait a few months.

Luxury

  • Bottle warmer
  • Bottle sterilizer

Change time:

Essential

  • Nappies and wipes:

Cloth or disposable – you will need to stock up and be prepared to use lots of them!

  • Toiletries:

Babies don’t need lots of products on their delicate skin. But having some baby shampoo, moisturizer, and nappy rash cream ready to go, is a good idea.

Optional

  • Change table – a changing mat on top of a dresser might be a cheaper option.
  • Nappy bucket or nappy disposal bin
  • Baby bath – to save money use the sink or an adult bath with a bath support.

Luxury

  •  Wipes warmer
  • Nappy Stacker

Clothes

One of the best parts of preparing for a new baby is buying gorgeous teeny tiny outfits! But it is easy to go overboard and people will often gift lots of outfits.

Essential

  • At least six onesies get a mix of size 0000 and size 000 for an average-sized newborn (short-sleeved, long-sleeved, full length or a combination, depending on the season they’re due). These can double as day clothes and PJs.
  • Singlets or singlet suits
  • A jacket or cardigan
  • A hat (a sun hat for summer and a beanie for winter)
  • Socks (these can double as mittens)
  • Bibs

 Optional

  • Scratch mittens
  • Going out outfits

 Luxury

  • Shoes – super cute but not necessary

Sanity savers:

  • Baby thermometer
  • Grooming Kit
  • Baby proofing kit
  • A few rattles, teething toys, and books
  • A bouncer, swing or activity mat for play and tummy time.

Tip: If you’re having a baby shower, set up a baby registry. It isn’t offensive to ask for gifts that will be appreciated and well used.

Your newborn will not know if you purchased the most expensive nappy bag or put them in designer clothes. The most important thing your baby will ever need is your love and attention. Fortunately, that’s free!

This is a story about lost love, grief and the strength of one mother to keep going on after losing her husband the the father of her kids in a sudden and fatal accident.

On Saturday 25 June 2011, Graham Santich kissed his wife and two young children goodbye and left for work. He never returned home. A tragic accident on Perth’s Mitchell Freeway left a family shattered and struggling to find a new sense of normal without him.

The Santich family were in a state of bliss with their tenth wedding anniversary celebrations quickly followed by the birth of their second child Darcy, a much loved brother for three year old Charlotte. Sadly, their time together as a family of four was to be brief. Just eight weeks.

Michelle, still recovering from the caesarean delivery, vividly remembers the phone call from police telling her Graham had been in a car accident and how her world stopped in an instant.

“I have thought back many times to things that happened that day,” she recalls. “I was at the shops with the two kids when the police called and told me Graham had been in an accident and I needed to get somebody to drive me to Royal Perth Hospital as soon as I could. All I could think was that he was not going to make it and had horrific images going through my mind of what he might look like when I finally got to him.”

Her parents rallied to her aid, and soon they were met by uniformed police at the emergency department doors and led to a small conference room.

He was perfect. His eyes were closed. He looked like he was sleeping. There looked to be nothing wrong with him.

“It was then that I really knew,” she says. “I knew he was gone and the police confirmed my worst fear.”

Reliving the events, Michelle recalls seeing Graham for the first time after what seemed liked an eternity, on a hospital bed, in a hospital gown, with not a scratch on him.

He was perfect,” she says. “His eyes were closed. He looked like he was sleeping. There looked to be nothing wrong with him.

“I am grateful he looked the way he did but it was also very confusing, because what was in front of me didn’t match the images in my head.”

The details surrounding Graham’s death quickly raised more questions than answers. Police explained their suspicions that Graham had passed out while driving. It was a relatively minor accident, with minimal damage to the car. He became a case for the Coroner. And so began the long wait for answers.

The question of organ donation was raised and consent was given to retrieve his corneas. DonateLife quickly became the liaison between Michelle and the Coroner because, despite the retrieval, a transfer could not be made to a recipient until a cause of death was found.

In the weeks after the accident, as Michelle and her family struggled to come to terms with their loss, DonateLife offered counselling and information packs which included Bunnings vouchers to purchase a tree to grow in his memory. Michelle now utilises the free counselling service, which also provides some counselling to young Charlotte, and attends support groups.

Michelle describes one of the things that plays constantly on her mind is the memories the children will have of Graham and how the organ donation services have offered them ways to make special connections to him, including adding his name to a memorial wall at Lake Monger honouring all Western Australians that have made the ultimate gift and donated their tissues and organs.

“Since Graham passed we have always told Charlotte that her daddy is magic and lives amongst the stars,” she says. “So when DonateLife adopted a star for WA Donors, it gave us a place to send our goodnight wishes. Charlotte is always so eager to see if her daddy’s star will be the first one out.”

“As time goes on I know I am going to become more my own person and less the person I was with him. I don’t want to but I can’t stop it. I hate this new sense of normal.”

“For me, putting his name on the wall and having the coordinates to a star gives us more connections to him, more than just our memories. The kids will always know their daddy was someone special and did something wonderful. It gives us places to go and prompts us to tell stories about him.”

But it is the lack of personal memories the children will have that causes Michelle angst, in particular that Darcy will never have memories of his own and eventually Charlotte’s will fade.

“While family and friends will tell stories and teach Darcy about his dad, the difference will always be that Charlotte will have three years worth of photos with him, while Darcy has very few,” she says.

“I still go over the accident in my head and ask why him, what could I have done differently, worrying he was alone and if he suffered, and my anger that no one stopped to help him.

“I hope Darcy will develop a strong connection with Graham through our family, our love and our memories. I know that Charlotte will always feel close to him, she was his little girl and they thought the world of each other.”

Michelle has tried hard to establish traditions in his memory such as taking the kids to the beach and collecting shells on Graham’s birthday, something he loved to do with Charlotte. On his anniversary there is the Crackerjack Cup lawn bowls tournament at the Fremantle Bowls Club, the place of his wake and where he spent many hours as a keen player.

Meanwhile, balloons and rainbows have become symbolic with balloons often released in his memory and rainbows bridging a connection to his unforgettable grin.

“Any chance I can get to keep remembering him, I do it. I want to feel like he is still part of our family and to include him in our lives even if though he isn’t here,” she says.

The question of organ donation was raised and consent was given to retrieve his corneas. DonateLife quickly became the liaison between Michelle and the Coroner because, despite the retrieval, a transfer could not be made to a recipient until a cause of death was found.

Listening to Michelle describe how she is learning to live with only half a heart without her soul mate, it is obvious the love and adoration this couple shared. Michelle describes Graham as loyal and loved by many.

“He was one of those people who made friends wherever he went,” she explains. “He always had time for his family and was passionate about sport and music of all genres, and he was exceptionally dedicated to his landscaping business. But above all he was thrilled to be a dad, uncle and godfather and was always full of life when he was with the kids.”

Michelle recalls how she often had to pull the reins to get him to hurry along putting Charlotte to bed after numerous songs, books and giggling, and how at birthday parties he was termed King of the Kids, usually swamped by a pile of ankle bitters vying for his attention. But for Graham, it was never a chore. He saw it as a privilege and revelled in it.

“As much as I still expect him to walk through the door each night after work and sometimes still pick up my phone to send him a text, I have settled into this new life and it is hard to accept, especially because it is starting to feel normal without him. As time goes on I know I am going to become more my own person and less the person I was with him. I don’t want to but I can’t stop it. I hate this new sense of normal,” she says with a heavy heart.

An answer to his death finally came almost five months after the accident. The Coroners Court ruled that Graham died from choking. Michelle still finds it incredibly hard to accept this simple answer.

She, like many others, suspected the Used car, which he had owned just two days, had played a part in his passing. But other than perhaps isolating him from vital assistance, three independent mechanics ruled the car played no role.

“I have had lots of appointments with police, DonateLife and even the Coroners Court to try deal with my ongoing confusion about how he died,” she says. “I still go over the accident in my head and ask why him, what could I have done differently, worrying he was alone and if he suffered, and my anger that no one stopped to help him. More recently I have struggled with the terminology used to represent his cause of death.”

As horrible as the circumstances, Michelle marvels at the love and beauty she has discovered exists in the world through the seemingly endless lengths of support and friendship offered, at times from complete strangers.

As horrible as the circumstances, Michelle marvels at the love and beauty she has discovered exists in the world through the seemingly endless lengths of support and friendship offered, at times from complete strangers. She explains there have been donations to a trust fund for the children, grocery shopping and cooked meals, Graham’s business suppliers wiping their bills, his favourite football team signing a card and the drummer of one of his favourite bands visiting and having a mini jam session with Charlotte, and everything in between.

“I know people often didn’t know what to say or do but somehow they got the balance right. And clearly the willingness to help me and the kids is a testament to the person Graham was and the influence he left on the world,” she says.

And so the saying goes, and never rings more true than here, if love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

 

For more information on becoming an organ donor with DonateLife visit www.donatelife.gov.au

I have a son called Jackson, and Jackson is an entrepreneur.

– A letter from a father to his son.

Jack came up with his first business idea when he was about 4 years old. We have a massive macadamia nut tree in the back yard. He knew macadamia nuts were expensive but what he didn’t know is that they are so damn expensive because they are so damn hard to get out of the shell.

But that didn’t stop him – so one day he collected about 60 or so nuts. He put 5 nuts each into a small paper bag and wrote $2.00 on each bag. He then put the paper bags into his little red wagon and took off by himself going door to door selling his nuts to the neighbours. He came back in about 20 minutes with $24.00 and no nuts.

One business idea led to another. His big break came when he was about 14 years old – selling waterproof iPhone covers. He shipped in hundreds of these covers for about $5.00 each and sold them on eBay for $30.00.

He water tested each one and he was making thousands!

I would come home and there would be a new PlayStation 4 on the table, an Apple computer or there would be a couple of technicians putting up a plasma TV on his bedroom wall.

His big thing though is making his own rockets. He researches and builds his own jet propulsion systems and makes rocket fuel from fermented potatoes.

One of the ingredients he needs for rocket smoke is potassium nitrate. He managed to find some online one time and shouted out from his laboratory one night, “Dad, we need to go meet this guy!”

Being the supportive parent that I am, I’m like, “OK.”

So I find myself standing in a Burger King carpark in the middle of the night handing over some cash to a stranger in exchange for a plastic bag full of a white powdery substance.

The things you do for your kids.

I find myself standing in a Burger King car-park in the middle of the night handing over some cash to a stranger in exchange for a plastic bag full of a white powdery substance.

Apart from being a great entrepreneur, Jack has an amazing generous and loving nature. He was happy to be the only 16 year old at a 4 year old‘s  birthday party after he was invited by a boy next door. He is the type of person who would line up at 7:00am to get the toilet paper, only to give it to someone more needy once he walked out. He does anything you ask and is happy to do it. He is one of a kind.

 

On August 11 2016 I was coming back from a business trip in Coffs Harbour.  I phoned Jack at about 4:50pm. He was in his laboratory and we had the usual conversation about dinner:

“What do you want for dinner Jack?”

“I don’t know, what about you?”

“Don’t mind.”

“You want take away?”

“Sure, if you do?”

“OK. What do you want?”

“Don’t mind. You?”

“I’m easy…”

 

40 minutes later I received another phone call. Not so good this time. Jack was in hospital and in bad shape. Although I didn’t know it, I instinctively knew. I calmly asked, “Suicide?”

The officer said yes. And a few days later Jack passed away.

It was short and sharp and sudden and totally unexpected.

I calmly asked, “Suicide?”

How has this affected me? Time helps. And I know you have to make every moment count. I get up early. I do something straight away. I embrace the day as you never know what tomorrow will bring. I find I complain less and do more. As that is what Jack wants.

It’s hard, but you need to keep living.

Jacks business name is “Vaknisa.” If you google this the only thing that pops up is Jacks name (spelt in German as this is Jack’s preference) and a link to his video play lists (or at least it used to).

The first one on the list is a science video about electricity entitled: “It’s not the volts that kill you, it’s the amps.”

I would like to think there is something profound in this statement. That the message is you can go out and do thousands of amazing and adventurous things and most of the time they won’t hurt you. But one thing just might. But you don’t know what that one thing is – so just live. Take the risk. The only things in life we regret are the risks we didn’t take. There is nothing to be afraid of.

Some people say I don’t know how you cope or how you keep going. And I say: It’s the love that keeps you going. It’s the love that keeps you connected. Grief is knowing that person is still around you, but you can’t see them or hear them or touch them. That is the love that keeps you and them alive. And Jack is alive. He may not physically be with us but to me, he is more alive than he has ever been. He lives in everything that I see, touch, and feel.

And that is why I will never say I had a son called Jackson. I will always say I have a son called Jackson.

Happy 21st Jacky. Love you xx

If you or a loved one is experiencing feelings of depression, suicide or need someone to talk to, you are not alone. Contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.

It’s a universal truth: cheaters stink. They’re disloyal, dishonest and disrespectful. But… what if you’re one of them?

Cheating is the universal relationship crime. And it is so common that Cameron Diaz reckons everyone will be cheated on at some point.

But let’s get something straight here: cheating is not just physical.

While cheating is generally defined as having sex with someone other than your partner, emotional infidelity is potentially even more damaging to a relationship.

In fact, one study shows that women are more hurt by emotional infidelity than they are by infidelity that is sexual.

Emotional infidelity starts small.

Thoughts and fantasies can quickly progress to flirting and sly hints with the other person. From there, most people assume you make the decision to cheat or not to cheat. And if you choose not to, then you’re innocent, and if you give into your fantasies, then you’re guilty.

But I’m going to go against the grain here and say that thinking – and I mean actively thinking – about cheating is just as bad as physically cheating.

As soon as you allow yourself to actively think about someone other than your partner in that way, you have taken the first step down the road of adultery.

Don’t get me wrong, we all have those involuntary thoughts that pop into our minds when we see an attractive-looking person. But there is a big difference between that and actively deciding to dwell on those thoughts.

Our thoughts are powerful, and what we think eventually affects how we feel. And how we feel has a lot of power over what we say and do in life. As soon as you allow yourself to actively think about someone other than your partner in that way, you have taken the first step down the road of adultery.

A bit harsh, you say! Maybe. But isn’t it true? Don’t you feel angry when you catch your bf checking out another girl’s backside? Isn’t that anger real? Isn’t it reasonable?

If it’s not a form of infidelity, then you shouldn’t be angry. But if it is, then your anger makes sense. Right?

Let me put it to you this way: would you rather your partner fell in love with someone else and didn’t sleep with them OR slept with them but didn’t fall in love with them?

Both are pretty awful, but potentially equally devastating to a relationship.

Let’s hear your thoughts! Emotional infidelity – is it just as bad as physically cheating?

These are fun to make with children. To help keep the pastry firm, one trick I use is to pop soft ice packs underneath a metal baking tray. You can then cut out the rolled pastry on the tray and it will stay beautifully chilled while you and your little helper work. If you don’t have time for cutting out shapes, you can make simple chocolate rounds by using the cheat’s version of the recipe instead (see Variation).

MAKES APPROX. 20

INGREDIENTS

150g (1 cup) white spelt flour (see Tips)

110g (2⁄3 cup) wholemeal spelt flour (or wholemeal plain flour)

25g (1⁄4 cup) raw cacao powder (see Tips)

1 tsp baking powder

120g (7 tbsp) preferred brown sugar (see Tips)

200g butter, chilled, cubed (see Tips)

1 egg

2 1⁄2 tbsp jam of choice

PREPARATION

1. Place all ingredients, except jam, into a food processor or high-powered blender and process until mixture balls around the blades.

2. Transfer onto a floured work surface or a silicone mat and lightly shape into a ball. Divide dough into two portions and form each portion into discs, then wrap in plastic wrap and place into refrigerator for 1 hour to firm.

3. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper and set aside.

4. Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough portion to a 4mm thickness. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter (approx. 7cm), cut out biscuits and transfer onto prepared trays. Gather off-cuts, gently re-roll (to 4mm thickness) and cut out remaining biscuits (approx. 40 biscuits total).

5. Using a smaller heart-shaped cookie cutter (3cm), cut hearts out of half of the biscuits, so they have a heart-shaped hole in the centre.

6. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until cooked. Biscuits will be slightly soft.Transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

7. Once completely cooled, spread ½ teaspoon of jam over each whole biscuit and sandwich together with remaining (heart-shaped hole) biscuits to serve.

TIPS

If you don’t have spelt flour or wholemeal flour on hand, you can use regular plain flour. The wholemeal adds a fibre boost to these biscuits.

If you prefer, you can use regular cocoa powder in place of the raw cacao powder. Use your preferred brown sugar in this recipe, either regular brown sugar or a less refined option such as rapadura sugar (panela) or coconut sugar. (Note that the weights of these sugars can vary, so the gram measurement will be more accurate than the cup measurement.)

Try to source organic, grass-fed butter, as it’s the more nutritious choice. You can store these biscuits in the pantry in a sealable container for up to 1 week.

The biscuit dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

VARIATION

Cheat’s version: If you’re short on time, you can bake these biscuits as jam-free rounds. Simply form each of the two dough portions into a 20cm log shape.

Place into the refrigerator for 1 hour to firm, then cut into 8mm-thick rounds and bake as per the recipe (omitting step 8).

Courtesy of Sweet Nourish by Louise Keats. 

If you’re searching for your Soulmate, the law of attraction is your key to success! By effectively using this universal law, you’ll have the power to attract a lifelong partner. 

1. Be Clear About What You Want in a Mate

Each “failed” relationship has given you clues about what you desire in an ideal partner, but be careful not to focus on the negative. For example, if you say that you don’t want another partner who “puts work before love,” you’re focusing on the negative, and this tells the Universe to send you more of what you don’t want. However, if you know what you don’t want, you also know what you do want. In this case, it would be a partner who puts your relationship before work.

Let go of the past, and refocus on the positive. You can tell if your thoughts are positive or negative by the way they make you feel. If thoughts make you feel good, they’re positive. If thoughts make you feel bad, they’re negative. It’s that simple! So, if you find yourself thinking negatively, simply turn it around and focus on positive desires. Once you do, you’ll immediately feel better, and you will be in alignment with love.

2. Continue to Dream!

The power of imagination can transform your love life. So, if you are ready for love, one of the best things you can do is day dream about your perfect mate. Through imagination you can create, and improve, a desired relationship until it meets your highest ideal. As you imagine your ideal partner, you’re sending positive images to the Universe, and the Universe receives these images as a command to create. Once you have an ideal image in your mind, replay it over and over until it actually 

manifests. 

3. Be Your Real Self

By hiding your Real Self and wearing a façade, you attract people who reflect or complement the false image you present to the world, and this makes it difficult for your soulmate to find you. No doubt, your soulmate is a perfect match for the Real You, and since you never know where, or how, your paths might cross, it’s important to always be your Real Self! Since the law of attractions loves authenticity, Shine Your Light!

4. Fall in Love with Yourself!

Since it feels great to be around people who authentically love themselves, it’s no wonder that self-love attracts potential mates. Therefore, if you want someone to fall in love with you, you must fall in love with your Real Self. Moreover, since self-judgement resonates a negative energy that repels potential mates, it’s important to clean up self-critical thinking.

5.  Get Your Beliefs in Order

Life is a feedback system that reflects your beliefs, whatever you believe, you’ll

experience. Therefore, if a belief doesn’t support what you really want, it’s time to drop it and develop beliefs that do. This means that it’s important to examine all your beliefs about love, and, then, clean up any negative beliefs that don’t support an ideal relationship.

6. Say “No” to Jealousy

It’s natural to feel jealous when we see someone experiencing the love we desire, and don’t yet have, but jealousy is a negative emotion that repels love. Therefore, when you see someone living your dream, rather than reacting with jealousy, celebrate their love. Indeed, when you bless loving relationships, it tells the Universe you’re ready for love too!

7. Don’t Give Up!

When it comes to love, people get disappointed when potential mates don’t meet their expectations, or they don’t see evidence that true love is coming, and, then, out of disappointment, or fear of disappointment, they give up. However, “giving up” is the number one reason the law of attraction doesn’t (appear to) work. Giving up is like ordering a delicious meal and walking out of the restaurant just before your order arrives. Therefore, once you are clear about a specific desire, commit to it for as long as it takes, and this also means don’t give in to doubt!

 8. Create the Space 

The law of attraction loves the energy of anticipation, and, therefore, do your best to anticipate your ideal relationship by creating space for your partner. Therefore, consider all the ways in which you can prepare for your soulmate, such as cleaning out a closet, emptying a draw, or replacing worn-out wallpaper.

 9. Live Your Best Life Now!

Don’t wait for a partner before you live your best life. Live it right now! Therefore, do not focus on “what’s missing” in single life, but, instead, create a full life where nothing is missing! Since you attract “what you are,” if you are a couch potato, you will

attract a coach potato. So, if you desire an active mate who skis and likes to read, you better get on the slopes and hang out in bookstores. If you start living your best life now, you will be super attractive for that special person to spot you in a crowd.

 10. Follow Inspiration

When it comes to attracting a soulmate, your job is to clearly define what you most desire, and, then, get in alignment as described above, but it’s not your job to control manifestation. So, if you want the Universe to perform its magic on your behalf, you must release control and get out of the way. However, this does not mean that you should sit home and do nothing, and, in fact, it’s important to take inspired action.

Since the Universe communicates to you through intuition, inspiration, and gut feelings, always take action accordingly, and this means that if you get the sudden urge to go to a new coffee shop across town or call an old friend you haven’t seen in ten years, just do it! The more you follow inner guidance, the more the Universe can guide you to true love!

There is nothing you cannot be, do or have when you know how to activate and use the unlimited power that lies within you! So, have fun using the law of attraction to find (and keep) the love of your life!
By being who you really are, and doing what you love to do, you’ll be a perfect match for your perfect mate!

Nanice Bio:
As a Conscious Creation Coach since 1997, Nanice teaches mastery level manifestation. Using quantum principals, human dynamics, consciousness techniques, and real life experiences, her powerful coaching style is often referred to as the “Nanice Effect.”  Nanice is the author of several inspirational books including, “Is There a White Elephant in Your Way? – a comprehensive guidebook to awakening and self-empowerment.” Sign up for Nanice’s Free 7 Part Awakening Series at www.Nanice.com/Awaken. To find out more, please visit www.Nanice.com

Beyond ego and facades…

Of all the life-changing events, this course has affected me, and improved my life, like no other.

I was surprised to learn I held deep-rooted Rage and Shame in being a woman. I had been blocked by a fear of not being good enough. A fear of rejection. We ALL feel a sense of isolation and anxiety over not being accepted. We NEED to belong.

The Mighty Gum

Not unique, not special, one of many … at first glance.

Omnipresent from where I sit, and common throughout the world.

But look closer and you will see the power of the Mighty Gum.

Erect and tall, it reaches high and higher, its stem gradually growing depth and bulk as it metamorphoses into a solid trunk, over time.

Its branches spreading outwards, expanding to take in more of what the air has to offer.

Its delicate leaves multiplying, more and more and more, and dying and dropping off and falling; the tree, never once grieving the losses of these, as it knows in its heart, its soul, its guts, that more will come.

It is strongly rooted in the earth, spreading underground in gentle, continuous search of more nutrients, more moisture, to sustain its blood and body.

It doesn’t resist the searing sun, it moves gently with the breeze and allows the rain to gently fall from its leaves.

Opening to the sun, soaking in its energy, that it needs to feed all its elements – the leaves, the branches, the bark, the trunk, the guts, the roots… all of her.

Which then feed the many creatures that like to visit, stay a while or stay longer – the ants, the beetles, the birds, and bugs.

And then, as it ages and understands the elements won’t keep its body alive, there is no terror as it looks down and sees its two healthy, enthusiastic little saplings thriving – full of optimism, hope, and energy, eager to continue the cycle of the Mighty Gum.

 

I wrote this poem on the Path of Love retreat recently, during a small assignment where we reflected on Nature and its symbolism to us.
It was about my journey as a Woman and as a Mother.
Surprising for an editor perhaps, I frequently agonize over writing, but I wrote this poem in 10 minutes.

I wrote with freedom. Self-doubt didn’t suffocate me, instead a bolder, richer and more creative part of myself emerged; overpowering my usual insecurity and self-criticism.
I credit this to the Path of Love.

The Path of Love (PoL) is a powerful, seven-day course, set in natural bushland in the Hunter Valley, NSW, which is formulated to break through limiting, personal barriers that block people from achieving what we really want out of life. It is designed to help us develop more Love, and to live a more meaningful life.

It enabled me to go within, to the core, beyond Ego and facades such as appearance, life-situation, and personality; which cleared the way for my natural drive and passion to return.

I went to the Essence. I experienced an authentic me.

People had different personal motivations for being there – relationship problems, a lack of career direction, a personal crisis of some kind, dealing with childhood and past traumas, or, simply, because they felt at Crossroads and wanted more passion and direction in their life.

I didn’t have a clear reason for going on this retreat. I just noticed a few coincidences around PoL and was compelled to sign up, not knowing very much about it at all.

I am glad I listened to that inner whisper, because of the University degrees, travel, relationships and other life-changing events, this course has affected me, and improved my life, like no other.

PoL is a deep inquiry into the Self, involving meditation; music; dancing; writing; time in nature; sharing experiences, thoughts, and emotions; reflection; and silence.

There were 30 participants and the same number of staff, our ‘Angels’, who supported us through the intense, exhilarating and, at times, confronting, journey within. They formed a nurturing womb which held us while we shed outmoded and decaying belief systems and habits, allowing for a truer self to emerge.

We worked intimately in a group of eight where all exteriors washed away. I now consider these people another family. The bond we formed during this personal process was profound. And, under the skillful, compassionate and deeply insightful guidance of our facilitators, Samved and Mairead, we were safe to allow raw vulnerability, which encouraged trust, truth, unconditional love and deep, personal breakthroughs to happen.

I faced the scary, dark fears, and also celebrated the light-filled, majestic parts of myself.

I was surprised to learn I held deep-rooted Rage and Shame in being a woman. It was a low-level thing. On the outset, I was reasonably accomplished and happy, but deep down, this self-subjugation was killing the inner fire. In an effort to avoid being a “hard bitch,” I had suppressed my natural Womanhood.

I had made myself ‘small,’ in what I thought femininity ‘should’ look like. I had believed I was an empowered woman! But, through the course’s penetrating process, I experienced a different, new and beautiful kind of power in the Feminine.

The experience helped me take ownership of myself as a woman and as a mother.

Opinions, self-support, sexuality, sensuality, inner strength and a Voice to express what I want and need, as well as love and compassion. I found a Lioness. Protective of her children, and herself. Protective of women.

I identified issues I’d been harbouring since childhood, adolescence and adult life, and was then encouraged to nurture these wounds, and to let them go.

I also found a need to Speak my Truth, overthrowing fears of reproach or judgement, and I’ve been amazed at how well this has worked since in my relationships, work and daily life. I was too afraid to do this previously for fear of rejection, conflict and ridicule.

I realised I have been quite a fearful person, which, despite appearing confident, manifests as shyness and me avoiding social situations. I felt awkward and nervous of intimacy, and actually found it almost impossible to look people in the eye.

It was humorous and a great relief at the end of this course to be able to do this apparently basic exercise, that had seemed so terrifying seven days earlier.

I had been blocked by a fear of not being good enough. A fear of rejection. This, I learnt, is inherently part of the human condition. We ALL feel a sense of isolation and anxiety over not being accepted. We NEED to belong.

I learned that all have our insecurities, weaknesses, fears and pains. Of particular interest, was an insight into the male psyche and heart. I was ignorant to just how vulnerable men are too, and they, like women, are just as in need of love and meaning in their lives.

Here is a snapshot of what my new friends experienced on PoL:

Gunter, a husband and father who traveled from New Zealand to attend the course, shares:

“I felt pretty much done with life – I was depressed, fed up, over it, tired, mainly with my relationship in particular, and came away with the support and feeling that I was still ok, that I was not banished, cast out… I have always known that I’m not perfect, but I gave myself such a hard time, from quite early on. I feel I have made a quantum leap.”

Tanya was overcoming childhood sexual abuse and trauma:

 

“The loving kindness of PoL fast-forwarded the healing of childhood wounds that I did not realize were holding me back in love and life.”

Mark, a devoted husband and father, says, he was tired, stressed and depressed.                                                                                                        “I had lost the passion and connection with my life purpose. Life post-PoL is completely transformed. I am excited about the future and have a new perspective on what contribution I can make.”

Carol, a powerful, sophisticated, charming woman reveals:

“Path of Love helped me understand I had a longing for connection – with my Self and with others. Since I have been able to meditate easily and to find the real “me” within. I’ve also been more aware of patterns where I may self-sabotage and I am able to connect with friends and with life at a much deeper level, which is enriching my life. I feel an inner peace.”

Troy, a devout Christian, father and husband, says:
“I came to learn and grow, and discovered I really wanted to see the bits of me I always hid from. I was encouraged to share, to cry, to listen, and to dance, and to realize that I was loved and divinely bespoke.”

Wen, a charismatic woman coming to terms with the ending of her marriage, shares:                                                                                         “I was able to look at my self-doubts and love for myself. Old beliefs are hard to confront but when you are in a loving, gentle, understanding surrounding, you can feel pure bliss.”

Ant, a clever, eloquent and successful businessman and father of two, explains:

“Its formula is genius and gruelling. On the course, I was semi anxious most of the time with that simmering turning up of the requirement to keep going deeper. That constant inching forward of the intensity and that escalating demand to face yourself. I found real power there. It was enough of a taste to show me that most fear can be transcended.”

I recently read somewhere: “Once you wake up, you can’t come back.” 

The Path of Love enabled this to happen and it feels great to be alive, present and loving, and Real.