Right-handed

I started painting this rock today and then I said to myself, stuff it, I’m going to paint this rock with my right hand!
koru hand painted rocks
And so I carried on, painfully at times lol painting this rock with my right hand. I’m left-handed, but there are sports that I can play right-handed such as golf. And I also use scissors with my right hand but the funny thing is, I can only use scissors with my right hand, not my left-hand but I can play a few sports with both hands, on both sides!
Don’t ask me about the scissors bit, I have no idea where that came from! But I reckon my ability to play sports such as golf have been because I hung out with my Dad on the golf course quite a bit as his caddie. He was also a sportsman that dabbled in many sports so it rubbed off on us kids.
So anyway, this rock took me longer than normal – of course – and it was, how should I put it – frustrating at times!! But I realised I need to do it more often because when I had finished, I felt SO different! I felt like I had really achieved something (with a time difference of course!) and my whole being felt different. I also felt like a child painting too which was kinda cool – it was like tapping into my creative child again.

And Todd says it’s the golden egg and I like that too.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Light and Happiness

When I think of red and yellow I remember my assignments I used to do in primary school. Yellow borders of koru and wriggly squiggles surrounding words telling stories that I can’t remember. But I remember the colour and the patterns.
koru hand painted rocks
When I think of red and yellow I remember the waiata (song) – red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue… I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too…listen with your eyes, listen with your eyes and sing everything you see…
Now I don’t actually know if these words are correct but as a child they were right for me at the time, and they are all I can remember!
Red and yellow – my favourite colours when I was a child. They make me happy, I think about sunshine, sunrays, sunlight and energy. These colours strong in my mind, I wonder if our connection to colour changes as we grow? I love red and yellow and painting this rock today took me straight back to when I was a child but now my favourite colours are purple and green…
A lighthearted kōrero today, these colours make me feel light and full of happiness, so sharing light and happiness today.
Arohanui,
Jo x

A Moment of Reverence

I am always in awe of nature – the rhythms, shapes, colours, sounds, movements…
When you see something in nature that resonates with your soul, that really touches you…how does that make you feel? Like standing at the foot of a majestic mountain, or a raging river, or looking into a flower. Connection…
Today’s kohatu is inspired by the kōrari – the beautiful flower that sprouts from our native harakeke (flax).
koru hand painted rocks
Eight of our nine harakeke plants that we’ve been growing over the past three years have produced beautiful kōrari – I’m so amazed at how beautiful they are! I’ve seen many korari in my lifetime but these kōrari are something else! Or is it that I am seeing with new eyes?
I removed some of the kōrari from the flax bush because I wanted the growth to go into the rau (leaves) and a couple of days later, the flowers opened up and out came this wonderful array of colour! Even after they had been removed from the plant! So I sat and observed nature’s awesome-ness, such reverence, it was a moment of grace for me.
And so when I look at this rock from all angles, I’ve rotated it 360 degrees – it is all of nature. And the stalk – the manawa line, the heart line that runs through the centre and holds everything together, supporting the beautiful flowers, it reaches up to the sky and down into the depths of the earth.

The colours are vibrant and strong, they challenge how I use colour in my paintings and inspire me to find the colours for them. Each turn of the stone reveals a new kōrari, a new kōrero that speaks nature – reflected back to me again and again and again.
Many of you will have a favourite rock but this rock for me is the rock of all rocks.
Day 302 and this rock says everything I want to say about life, who I am, the transformations, the journeys… this is all the rocks I’ve painted so far and all the rocks and stories that are to come.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Recycled Green

Green is one of my favourite colours (with purple) and I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I haven’t used green for a long long time! And the only reason I have green today is that this is a recycled rock from the rock pile that already had green paint on it!
koru hand painted rocks
I don’t actually have any green paint in my paint collection right now, perhaps it’s been for a reason but it just hasn’t been there to choose from so when I saw this rock in the rock pile – it was screaming at me – pick me pick me! And I felt like it needed to be a green day today – so here it is.
And this rock has been out in the elements for a while which is why the paint looks quite weathered and worn and peeling off.
So while we’re on the subject of “green” there were lots of calls for being “green” today.
I went out to the compost this morning and got a big shock when I opened the bin and there were heaps of worms all around the edges of the bin, hanging off the sides, inside, outside – there were SO SO many – I’ve never seen anything like it! The warm weather and the rain perhaps but these wormy worms were in heaven!
I weeded the garden today which is hard for me at times because I actually like the weeds, the dandelion leaves that taste great in a salad and some of the pretty weed flowers. It was great to get my hands in the earth again, to be inspired and then be able to eat the lettuce that our hands had grown with Papatūānuku.
And one last “green” thought for the day – sending much aroha to ngā tohorā… There have been strandings of whales in Papamoa today near Tauranga. One of the whales has died and the other two are being helped out to sea again. And the one question that people are probably asking is, are these strandings and the death of this whale because of the Rena incident and the oil spill?
Signs are presenting themselves everyday, mother nature is having her say, enough is enough. No more.
I read a wonderful quote today by Anne Frank – I read the diary of Anne Frank when I was teenager and was very much inspired by this woman’s life. She said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Start now.
Arohanui,
jo x

Listening to Hearts

I visited the Osteopath today – don’t you just love the French, they’re so passionate and expressive when they speak – well this one is anyway!
koru hand painted rocks
Anyway, while he was fixing me up and talking a lot lol, we got onto history and where we come from and I realised that some people just don’t get it and in order to understand, fully understand someone else’s perspective, you really have to put yourself in their feet. And even then, that is hard to do if you don’t feel what they feel.
And that is where the conversation went to – because I was saying that our people have a history and it is hard when that history is in your blood and is a part of who you are and yes we have to take responsibility for who we are today, we must heal from the past, but for most people it is not easy.
He got what I was saying but he wasn’t really listening. He was wanting to share his perspective assuming he knew my perspective but wasn’t really listening.

He made a really good point though about traveling the world and experiencing another land, another culture because it takes you away from your own little hub, your own experiences and history, just for a little while, into someone else’s history. And when we’re there, we realise that we are not the only ones in this world who are suffering, or who have suffered or whose ancestors have suffered, we are not the only ones.
And so the conversation went all over the place and it came back to what we have in our heads and what we have in our hearts. And at the end of the day – what is in the heart is what matters, and if there is something there to heal, then we need to heal it – because our hearts are where we feel and it’s bad enough when we deny how we feel but worse when we have heavy hearts that remain heavy for a long time, sometimes forever.
So I left there with more than what I went for – he is a fantastic osteopath by the way and read my body immediately. I take my hat off to people who can do that in an instant. And as I’ve said, everyone you meet has a message for you and I’m still trying to digest this one as there were so many parts to it!
And one last thing, our conversation ended on common ground talking about water and rocks and rock art and he mentioned a cave in France with some of the oldest rock art in the world. I have heard about this and will visit there one day. And our conversations about art and being an artist weren’t for nothing because when I was leaving, he says, I’m not an artist, but I am starting to paint more and more… and in that moment I heard his heart and I realised that my listening to him go on and on lol enabled him to get to that heart place and what he really wanted to say… and it was such a relief!
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Artist’s Way

I’ve been fully aware that ever since I returned from overseas, the rocks I have painted have definitely taken a turn. No longer do they always begin with the koru, they are now starting from anywhere.
koru hand painted rock
A part of that for me was about stepping out into the unknown, letting go of what I thought was the only thing I’ve known and allowing something different to come through.
It was about trusting, taking a risk and as I near the end of the year for this project I remember that first day in January – oh boy, that first day was such a huge risk – my self-imposed risks of rejection, criticism and not being good enough, I have traded these for acceptance, change and growth. I’m so glad I took that risk.
This rock I’m dedicating to my friend Jacq who lately has just blossomed with her creativity! She is following the path of “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron which some of you may know, but as long as I’ve known her she has always been an artist at heart like many of us – she has just rekindled that fire again to create. And I’m sure she’ll agree it is so good for your soul.
So here’s to the artist’s way and creativity and all artists around the world who choose the path less travelled! Art is not about creating good art in the eyes of others. Art is personal, it can be whatever you want it to be and the most successful art, is art from the heart because that is the art that is enduring and the art that people will remember.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Dolphin Dance

Listening to my ocean music today, I painted this rock. Hearing the waves, the flow of water and dolphins playing and singing beneath the sea…
There is something about dolphins that move me – perhaps their friendly loving nature, I feel like I’ve known them many times before…
koru hand painted rocks
And they are becoming more frequent in my thoughts especially since I dreamt of a dolphin migration a few rocks back…
Yesterday, I had a sudden overwhelming desire to be home – home being in Rotorua where I was born, where my Te Arawa roots are, my mother’s strong lineage…and Taranaki by the sea, our mountain and land so spiritual…but I also had a desire for another home…
So the dance of the dolphin I was listening to today, it took me to many lives ago, in another time and place and hearing the dolphins sing and seeing them dance in my mind as I listened, it took me to a place so familiar – home.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Collective Exhalation

So we’ve won the Rugby World Cup which is fantastic – you can feel the energy around the country at the moment. There were thoughts today about how the country would be if we had lost – I’m pretty sure the energy would have been a lot different!
koru hand painted rocks
But celebrations aside, we have a real game on our hands not just here in Aotearoa, but around the world. Our environment needs us and our environment needs us now. And right now I’m sending much aroha to all those affected by the recent earthquake in Turkey – such contrasts in our world, celebrations in one direction and devastating loss in another.
I watched the live coverage in downtown Auckland today, the All Blacks were doing their victory lap and thousands of people had come out to celebrate. Add to that the thousands around the rest of the country too.

I can’t help but think if we all collectively gathered together, had one big collective inhalation and then a collective exhalation just as we felt last night when the All Blacks finally won, what if we shared that same positive energy into other areas that need attention. What would happen then?
There was a post here on FB last night while the rugby was on about child poverty – and the question was asked, why has our country allowed child poverty to come this far and all I want to say – change is driven by emotion, you can’t tell people what to do.
So if we look at all those passionate rugby supporters, what is it that drives them to support rugby so much and how can we transfer that same energy, that same passion, into bringing about change in the world?
Yes we desire change, but a desire for something does not make it happen. Change begins with us and if we are truly honest with ourselves about the change that needs to happen within then I believe the world would be a better place. Respect for one another, for self and love.
Arohanui,
Jo x

All Blacks

So this is the day! We’ve just finished pizza and are now getting ready for the game of the year – the All Blacks vs France!! It’s going to be an exciting game I know that much!!
koru hand painted rocks
So why rugby for me? Why am I so interested in this game, why am I interested in rugby in general, why is the country rugby mad?
Why rugby for me?
Because it is in my blood. Rugby has been a part of my life since I came into this world. Both my parents are sports fanatics, Dad actively involved in many individual and team sports and Mum who has always supported our sporting endeavours for as long as I can remember!
And rugby? Dad was a representative rugby player and a coach and Mum has got to be one of the most supportive All Blacks supporters I’ve ever known! No matter what the time of day, she’s there in front of the TV supporting our team.
So it IS in my blood. Sport is in my blood. And this is why I am watching rugby. This is why I support the All Blacks and watch this game. I also remember my parents, the support they have given rugby and the support that they have given me as a sportsperson.
THIS IS WHY I WATCH THE ALL BLACKS.
So if you don’t want to see my status updates during the game, then temporarily unsubscribe from them and yes there are other things that we could be focusing on right now, such as Rena and earthquakes and the state the world is in at the moment and they are not out of my mind for good, but when this game is on, there will be nothing more important. This IS something to celebrate as far as I’m concerned!
So C’MON the All Blacks!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Two Stones

I’ve painted two stones today – one for my darling niece Rawinia who turned 10 today (left rock) and one for my dear friend Di. Ngā mihi aroha ki a kōrua i tēnei rangi whakahirahira!
So I have two stories that merge into one because when I painted these I painted both at the same time so both stories are contained in each of the stones…
koru hand painted rocks
For Rawinia:
I remember when you came into this world, you waited for everyone to go and then you came out! So I missed your entrance into this world, but I remember you were so tiny and beautiful. With eyes like greenstone you were sensitive and alert.
At two years old I remember you bossing your older sister around – you told her to get in the garden and help Koro – you were definitely assertive then. You loved being with Koro in the garden and you and your brother have always been wonderful grandchildren for Koro and Nan.
I also remember a big mop of curly hair you had, you loved having it all out, you would never tie it up! You love roaming up the road and playing at your friends house, just like your mother and I used to be when we were kids.
And now you are 10 and will be a teenager soon… you have grown so fast – 10 years have gone so fast. Your birthday helps me remember how precious life is and how much we need to treasure those we love.
Sending you all my aroha on your special day my darling and see you soon!! xxx
For Di:
Unfolding koru, like unfolding life, taking me on a journey into the unknown, revisiting past lives and places…
Knowing self, rolling with the waves and the clouds, two sides to the story, balance of all that is seen and unseen, mind, body and spirit all coming together as one.
Releasing into this journey, a new journey that is not just mine but all those that have lived before and all those that are to come. Past, present and future merge as one…
A sacred journey I am, life, I appreciate every moment… rā whānau ki a koe Di xxx
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Sound of Trees

We went to the beach today – it was a beautiful day and there were so many bits of driftwood laying about all over the place! I was in heaven, waves lapping into shore, a chillybin full of food (well not exactly – but there were two blocks of dark chocolate!), a good book to read and a beach full of driftwood!
koru hand painted rocks
I sat in one place for a while, grabbed a stick and started to play on the many pieces of wood that lay around. Where did they drift from? What kind of wood is this? How old is this tree? A different sound resonated every time I hit a different piece of wood, I was excited to hear the next sound each time. Had this wood drifted from Australia, what forest did it come from?
All these thoughts wondering through my mind as well as the concern for the rubbish that I would spot in between pieces of wood – some people just have no respect…
And what also fascinated me were the shapes and colours of these bits of wood. I’ve brought some home, (to add to the rest of the collection!) to explore the natural patterns of nature lightly etched into the wood or deeply ingrained – it’s always been there – but amazed as usual at nature so beautiful, flowing shapes that make you feel real beauty. You know how beauty makes you feel, when you see it – well that feeling!
So I have my sticks, new ideas, smelling like the sea, inspired to share more messages about Water and Trees and the importance of looking after our environment. Now is the time to pay attention.
Arohanui,
Jo x
I deliberately posted this out of focus photo – sometimes you can feel the beauty or see the spirit of something when your eyes are slightly out of focus…

Yellow

I felt like I was in a scene from Finding Nemo when I was painting this lol Like a whole lot of seaweed or hair or grass growing from the earth but under the sea…
And then the bit at the bottom, like little seeds ready to sprout to push up through the surface, getting ready to rise and bear fruit.
koru hand painted rocks
Yellow is everywhere right now – bright and sunny! On the kitchen bench at one time there was pineapple, lemons and dandelions that Teia had just picked and then when I placed this rock there, it fitted in perfectly.
So what does yellow mean and what kind of emotion does it bring out or express? Right now, it certainly isn’t a mellow yellow colour for me where you chill out with it – I don’t feel like chilling out at all – but it is bright, the future is bright and brightens a room – amazing what yellow can do!
And it’s everywhere right now… spring, even the pollen that gets stuck in corners and ends up on cars is yellow…
Hopefully! A sign that summer is just around the corner. But you never know these days, you just can’t seem to predict the weather, the seasons have changed, it’s time to be ready for whatever and yellow seems to bring some hope for the future even where the future is uncertain.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Always a Reason

People are brought into your life for a reason – you may know them for many years or you may meet for a few moments in conversation, in the street, but every person has an important message.
koru hand painted rocks
As a teenager, I rarely paid attention. I was too busy living my life to even see opportunities for learning but not long after when I did start to pay attention, I realised that every person I met had a story and somewhere in that story was a message for me – another step in my journey.
When I look back, the signs are even more clearer but at the time they were not so obvious. And these lessons would present themselves over and over until I learnt them!
But when I look back, there are no regrets for not learning at times because I understand now that I was simply not ready to receive.
But when I was ready – boy did life speed up (in a good way!) and so many wonderful things have happened since then. The past has made me the person I am today, as hard as it was sometimes – these experiences have made me strong and resilient.
So whenever I’m out and about, I’m always on alert for opportunities to learn, even when sitting in a crowd and tuning into conversations and what is happening around me. And I ask myself, how does this make me feel? Every moment there is something to learn and every person no matter who it is, where you meet them, when, why, how, they have a message for you!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Digging for Treasure

Teia says to me, that’s not a lot of paint on there and Todd says, wow that’s different lol Even the people I live with have expectation of what my rocks should or could look like and so when something looks a lot different to what I usually paint… it stands out.
koru hand painted rocks

And yet I feel very comfortable painting this. This rock feels old, and the symbols feel old, like rock art left in caves, on rocks, on trees as reminders of times gone by…stories of old…

I’ve been reading a lot about Lumeria, Atlantis and Avalon and feel a strong connection to my Celtic roots. I’ve been wanting to explore more the Celtic symbols and stories and in looking back to when I was a child, I’ve realised I’ve been drawing these symbols all my life and now I’m starting to understand them…

Another journey in the future to a far away land is on the horizon, a heart and soul connection – reconnection with a part of who I am…

And the digging for treasure – Teia and I went digging in the garden today just outside her bedroom window. A while back her crystals fell out and we became archaeologists today to excavate the site and find the hidden treasures. We found many things including lots of worms and four of the five crystals she had lost! So it was a successful day! We will set out on another mission during the week to find the other one!

So all our crystals are now outside getting a good dose of rain – we’ve had four seasons in one day today! We gathered some sea water from the beach this morning to bathe the crystals in and then the sun came and charged the water ready for cleansing and now – rain! Perfect – all the elements coming together…

Arohanui,
Jo x

Moments Remembered

So many things I could talk about today…
The way the kōwhai flowers from the neighbours tree fall onto our driveway creating a bright yellow carpet, soft…
koru hand painted rock
The kōrari (flax flower) – I love, it’s bends and curves and many colours, it stands poised like a dancer, elegant and graceful…
A conversation with my mother is never a dull moment – she makes me laugh, sad and hurt all at the same time…I miss her, I miss her early morning calls to me to see if I am ok, even at my age…
My sisters who I share conversation with, conversations that I can have with no other…
And the comforts of home, of partner, of children, of family, the familiar in life where you know that it is ok to be you no matter where you are…
Laughter at the simplest of things and children… so in the moment and enjoying life…
Planning for the future – so much to think about, but actually it’s really quite simple! Know who you are and what you want and then it’s easy to make decisions – going through my mind today… sorting out the purpose from the clutter…cleaning out…letting go…
Life – full of moments to remember… each experience, each thought, each moment moving into the next, a constant flow of life, continuous and changing, changing, forever changing…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Equanimous

Now I know I’ve got a bit of a challenge posting this rock tonight because I will be competing with at least half the country watching the All Blacks vs Australia game, which also means most of Australia too and a good portion of the rest of the world who will wait anxiously to know who will play France in the final.
koru hand painted rocks
And I must say, I’m slightly nervous despite not following rugby all year, I’m still nervous! There is a lot of confidence in the All Blacks tonight, but I’m not so sure… there is just something about them that I’m not confident about!
Perhaps it is there inconsistent history of stuffing it up at times (am I being too negative?) or just that feeling that it is going to be a close game…
But what I want to say is… I watched all those Welsh rugby fans at the Millenium stadium and saw the looks on their faces when Wales had lost the game. Some were crying, some were utterly shocked, some got angry and took it upon themselves to settle the game off the field, but none-the-less, there was a lot of emotion involved.
And this is the feeling here in Aotearoa too. You can’t go far without seeing an All Black flag flying somewhere! All Black fever is well and truly alive here in Aotearoa and all I want to say is that expectation of ourselves and “our” team, is SO SO high. And what happens when our expectations aren’t met and we lose, we go into mourning for two weeks (Todd says more like two years) and it affects many on a deep emotional level.
So all I want to say is (and you probably don’t agree or don’t want to hear this but that’s ok!) expect nothing, enjoy watching the game, and whoever wins wins… and here is the big one… it is just a game! The sun will rise again tomorrow, there will be another world cup and we will… eventually… get over it… but that’s if we lose!
And if we win, we celebrate for the next two weeks, two years… but it is still just a game! And the sun of course will rise again tomorrow…
So I’m trying to be as equanimous as possible going into this game, I’m neither here nor there, no expectation and WILL accept what is… well that’s the plan! Breathe in, breathe out! Haha…
Arohanui,
Jo x
He nui tonu ngā whakaaro ki a Tauranga moana. Me mihi atu hoki ki ngā tāngata e awhi ana kia whakatika i tō tātou moana.

Stars of the Sea

We’ve just got home from Taradale so I’m posting my rock that I painted yesterday…
There’s a party going on inside this house and I’m out in the garage painting my rock for the day…
koru hand painted rocks
It reminds me of a starfish with all it’s arms (or legs); amazing little creatures that look stiff when you see them on the side of a rock but I imagine they move quite gracefully with their water vascular systems that actually help them move through water…
Like many of our ocean’s creatures they are so important for the ocean’s ecology, intricately woven into life’s cycles, systems and beauty. There are many stars of the seas, each with their own patterns and shapes adding to the richness and diversity of life…
And at the end of each arm, they have an eye that sees and feels their way through light and dark……
We often forget about the intricacies of nature, the amazing stories it has to tell and the amazing creatures that inhabit this place we call earth. Next time we’re at the beach, or in the forest or in the garden, look at a sunflower, a ladybug, a sea urchin and ask – what part does this have to play in life?
Arohanui,
Jo x
Thanks to the Dobbie whānau for looking after us last night as we celebrated Kahurere’s 2nd birthday! : )

 

 

No Name

When choosing a photo of a rock that I’ve painted, I don’t necessarily choose the best looking photo but the photo that portrays how I feel and what I want to say at that time. And most times it’s the best photo!
koru hand painted rocks
This photo speaks volumes about a journey that I am on. It is a lonely pathway, one that feels like people are looking at you funny, either that or they’re going in a totally opposite direction.

This journey is about speaking your truth, being who you are, acknowledging feelings and emotions and knowing who you are. We’ve become reliant on external environments to reward and acknowledge us and dictate to us the lives that we should live. We crave recognition and attention from others, if only we would recognise ourselves…
I don’t even know what to call this rock today, it’s a spiritual journey full of many things – and I’m far from lonely on this journey, so I’m not going to call it lonely. Although at times, I do feel like I’m on a totally different waka… but such is life I guess, we’re all on a waka going somewhere and some of us know where we’re going and some of us don’t.
Arohanui,
Jo x
Feel free to name this rock – right now it is called “No Name” because I just don’t feel like naming it, but I’m sure it will have a name soon 🙂

Mokopuna

koru hand painted rocks

I thought it was about time for a change of scenery – looking at all those devastating images of oil on the beach and wildlife – now dead – can get a bit depressing after a while… but it is the reality at the moment…so very very sad, devastating, you can only try and express the feelings that are conjured up by this…and I’m not even there. I watched and cried as people cried, their lives affected so deeply, no longer being able to go to the beach to gather kai – food source now gone. Many wildlife, now gone.
koru hand painted rocks
Mokopuna is the Māori word for grandchild and when you break the word down there are many other words within the word mokopuna. There is moko, there is puna, there is kopu, mo, ko, pu, na so many meanings within this one word.

They are the spring that comes forth into this world, the next generation, the future… a spring of water, a puna, that comes up from the earth as life and wellbeing for people and for the earth. Mokopuna are so important and when we think about moko, the art of Māori tattoo as being something that is very much a part of us, that we celebrate, our art and creativity, mokopuna is embedded in this too…

So I thought I would share some of the words in mokopuna and their meanings…

mokopuna / moko – grandchild

puna – to well up, flow, spring, well, pool

moko – Māori tattoo

kopu – belly, womb (often referred to for wahine)

mo – for, for the benefit of

ko – here, now, in the future, to sing, to dig

pu – blow gently, flute, lie in a heap, root, base, origin

I felt the need to share something beautiful today and what better than another example of our Māori language – conceptual, eloquent, connected and beautiful.

Rā whānau ki a koe Kahurere Moana – kua huri ki te rua i te rangi nei – yay! Ka kite akuanei!

Arohanui,
Jo x

Outside the Koru

I remember when I first started painting kohatu 13 years ago – I would always start with the koru and then everything would flow from there. For a while, I did not sway from this, I was tūturu to the koru, the whakaaro behind the koru, it’s meaning, beauty, balanced shape, it was also very healing for me to paint.
koru hand painted rocks
But there are some things that after a while need to change. It’s a bit like our traditions and values that we hold on to so tightly because they guide us and teach us the right way of doing things and in many cases, this is THE way.
So this kōrero is about that – letting go of those beliefs because this is all we’ve known and this is what we’ve believed to be true for us. And after letting go, what remains is me… no imposed beliefs or values, just me. And in a sense we become the koru by stepping outside it’s boundaries. A new beginning, a new life…
So we start afresh, we gain another perspective, another horizon that offers us more than what we ever experienced before.
With new eyes, new ideas, a new way of being… therein lies potential. Potential to go beyond what is, potential to heal and really live. Really live.
And it is from this position I believe, this going outside the boundaries of culture and tradition that we can bring something different, that we can overcome those very things that keep us bound.

Change can only come from new perspectives, seeing outside our comfort zones and exploring new ways of doing things. But not without it’s risks or reactions; especially from those we look up to, from those who we respect and who respect us, so change not without risk of losing all that you hold dear. But only to become everything that you are and ultimately having the ability to share this with others.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Black Gold Turned To Custard

Oil. Slimy, greasy black pile of fresh cow dung substance, you remind me of tar – melted on a hot day. You smell SO disgusting, how could I possibly be addicted to you? Why do I treat you as necessary?
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Imagine a large drill penetrating deep; deep into your being, affecting every part of you – mind, body spirit, tampering with the balance, unable to stand the pressure, the pain, like a sharp sharp needle… so sharp you shake uncontrollably, unable to bear the pain…destroying your beauty, who you are…
Oozing with greed and ego, nasty nasty human nature – how could you be so cruel? How could you have such disrespect, how could you take from that which gives you life? How could you be so ungrateful?
And it’s all coming back to you now, your greedy ways, spilling out at the seams for all to see, revealing how greedy you are, money money money… is that all that matters to you? Do you not feel? You of all people should know, what goes around comes around…signs of change, a revolution, a change is on the rise and you, greedy greedy humans, you will pay the price.
Arohanui,
Jo x

On My Mind

I was low on energy today but was very inspired by a host of wahine Māori on Native Affairs tonight who are either politicians in Parliament or aspiring new politicians – all very strong women.
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It was pleasing to see and made me think, if we had more wāhine Māori in Parliament, not only would we have a powerful and vocal Parliament but we would have a dynamic group of wāhine leading our country – yes!
I’m also very concerned about the oil spillage in Tauranga and the effect that this is having on the environment and the people in Tauranga Moana right now. Come on! Surely this is a wake up call? Surely?
And my last whakaaro – now that I’ve settled from last night’s win by the All Blacks, I must say that I wasn’t just cheering for the All Blacks I was also cheering for Wales and France and was equally passionate about these games – something my competitive sporting upbringing has instilled in me!

But if our country and our Government invested as much time, effort and energy into the environment and the health of our people as they do in rugby, then imagine what our country would be like?

And yes I was caught up in the hype of it all, but the reality is, there are so many other things that are much more important – our environment is at the top of that list. While the All Blacks were playing Argentina, there was another earthquake in Christchurch, while the All Blacks were playing Argentina, there was an oil leak happening in Tauranga moana.
Where do our priorities sit for the future? And will we listen to the environment and will we listen to the people?
Arohanui,
Jo x

Focus On Healing

This is another post I’ve been wanting to share for a while.
We live in a disease focused society, a struggle mentality, victim mode, especially here in Aotearoa where we have a history of colonisation – something that has had a huge impact on Māori and ultimately the rest of the country.
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We are so focused on being the ambulance at the bottom of the hill, putting a band aid on the problem rather than getting to the root of problems and turning our focus to healing.
I’m so fascinated by new discoveries in biology that tell us our genes do not create our biology but rather our perceptions, beliefs and our responses to the external environment. So when we say cancer is in our family, if genes do not determine whether your whanau has cancer or not, it has to be a belief that has been handed down and not the actual gene itself. Fascinating stuff, but this is not new knowledge! Science is just catching up I believe!
I heard a frightening statistic just the other day and that is that seven women in Aotearoa every day are diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s scary and I can’t help but think, what is the belief system, what has gone on inside that woman to cause this imbalance within the body to bring about this cancer? And it’s an imbalance in one of the most complex systems there is – the human body. But if we can create this disease and imbalance within our own bodies then we also have the ability to fix it – without medical intervention. I believe that.
So what I’m saying is: get out of the struggle, the victim mode, get out of the poverty mentality and start writing the new stories, change your beliefs, start healing self and lets sing the new songs, those songs that help us heal, that move us forward, onward and upward – positively – into the future.
And the healing always begins with me because my healing is also healing for others. Yes, the healing begins with me.
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Living Matrix

Today’s rock is full of things… life’s many intricacies…
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I started the day listening to Steve Job’s kōrero at Stanford University. I’ve listened to this many times…but I want to share some of those words as I feel they are important for the time.
“Sometimes lifes gonna hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith…
You’ve got to find what you love… and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle as with all matters of the heart you’ll know when you find it… so keep looking, don’t settle.
If today were the last day of my life would I want to do what I am about to do today, and whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something… almost everything, almost all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away…leaving only what is truly important…”
I started watching “The Living Matrix” today. It’s an amazing documentary that challenges the medical world to expand it’s thinking on human biology, health and wellness. This has been a lifelong interest for me; alternative forms of healing, healing through energy, meditation, self-healing and understanding that we ARE energy.
I can go on and on about this. I have experienced healing in my own life and in the lives of others as well. And none of that healing came about as a result of medical intervention.

I want to finish with three things. Belief – belief that you can heal, and that your body has the ability to heal. Intention – your conscious intention to heal is important. I have seen the power of intention in my own life and it is very powerful – instant at times. Mind – your mind is a powerful tool and it alone can heal.
Today I choose to heal myself with intent and purpose. I believe I can heal myself and I feed my mind positive thoughts to make it so. Yes, thoughts do become action and action is healing.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – you MUST watch this DVD. It is out at good video stores now in Aotearoa and you should be able to buy it online somewhere.

One Day

When opportunity knocks be prepared.
I learnt a big lesson tonight, I learnt to be prepared, as opportunity can present itself at any time and at any place!
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I went along to Green drinks with Metiria Turei tonight and it was fantastic. No big huha, just an informal evening, sharing conversation with others and meeting new people. Metiria Turei spoke briefly and so did the local candidate for the Greens Darryl Monteith and then the night was left to socialising, mixing and mingling.

I’m glad I went along because I got to mix with a group of people I don’t normally mix with, I got to speak personally with Metiria Turei for a while which was fantastic – she is such a wonderful woman and I’m so glad we have her strong voice in Parliament and I got to see an old school mate who I haven’t caught up with for over 15 years – at least! So it was a pleasant evening.
One Day – It’s that famous song sung by Op Shop’s lead singer Jason Kerrison and he was there tonight!! He was singing that song and he sung four other acoustic numbers from the Op Shop repertoire – oh my gosh – it was so cool, a really nice surprise for the evening and I could have kicked myself!! I left all my cameras at home and the setting was perfect to capture this on film, nice light and oh my gosh a beautiful waiata – five beautiful waiata. And nicely complemented by local artist Dion Whaanga.

So a lost opportunity there and you have to know me, to know why I feel gutted about this, like I missed a really good opportunity because I did – BUT! To redeem myself there were other wonderful conversations had during the evening, so not all was lost!
So be prepared for opportunities as you just never know where they may appear!
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Cheetah Verses the Teacher

Who do you reckon wins? The teacher of course!
I’m totally and absolutely convinced now that school squashes children.
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School here in Aotearoa is a regimented colonial SYSTEM that is all about fitting children into boxes, preparing them for the workforce for a lifetime of conformity.
Todd and Teia spent three days making her a mask and costume for her fancy dress evening. She was going to be a cheetah as they were doing a study on Africa. And then she came home from school today – her teacher said, they have to be people from Africa and they will all have the Tanzanian flag painted on their faces and headbands around their heads.
I was SO angry! I’m still angry… because she has actually LEARNT that fitting in means acceptance. And different means self-consciousness because you stand out and people look at you funny. How could a teacher not promote difference and embrace a child’s own uniqueness? Why, but why do children have to be constantly fitted into such a tight fitting box that many are challenged trying to fit into because they BELIEVE they should and have been told they should but their spirits speak otherwise? Why?
There was another young girl we knew on stage with another class. We remember her as a lively, energetic, bouncing three year old and then we see her on stage – as a queen, shy, walking across the stage, quiet and reserved. Potential and uniqueness of that child – squashed.
I remember all of this at five years old. That was over 30 years ago. Nothing has changed in the teaching world. And no disrespect if you are a teacher – I know how hard you work, but mainstream school systems here in Aotearoa are just not right for our children. And if there is one teacher out there who can embrace being different and allow children to be who they are, you will make all the difference for that child in the future – believe me.
Theoretically, the cheetah should win over the teacher by a mile. But children, look up to teachers. Everything they say is gospel – even when it’s not. So if you’re a teacher, remember your every word, and everything you put out there because that child is taking it all in.

And please remember to tune in to each child and understand who they are and allow them to teach you what it is they need to learn, when they need to learn it and how.
Arohanui,
Jo x

I Remember

I started writing today about all the things I remember as a child…
I remember as a little girl, my mother tying my hair in a plait. Sometimes she would brush it and then curl it into little ringlets…
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I remember when I was four years old, walking hand in hand across the road with my big sister to kindy.
I remember when I was three years old, my brother came to stay and he and his wife had their new baby boy who was only very tiny. I was in awe at the sight of him.
I remember on my seventh birthday – my sister gave me a big doll, she was actually bigger than me! I forgot her name, she had a name but I forgot it. I remember what she looked like though.
I remember on my fifth birthday – I had a big birthday and all my friends came. I had a cake that was a doll, a ballerina cake and she had a beautiful blue dress on.
I also remember my fifth birthday at kindy. I had a big sign around my neck that said five! I thought I was very cool!
I remember driving in the car with my Mum and Aunty Leah. I had my favourite brown and yellow jersey on. Aunty Leah was driving, Mum was in the passenger seat and I was sitting in the back leaning over to the front. We didn’t wear seat belts in those days – well I don’t remember wearing one or even having a seat as a child! I was on top of the world that day. I must have been about five or six or seven then too I reckon.
I remember our garden – it was full of cabbage and other vegetables! But I remember the cabbage! Dad was a great gardener and so was Mum… Mum loved flowers, she loved to plant flowers and Dad’s thing was veges. We always had chow mein for kai!
I remember wagging school one day in primary school. It was so dumb I never did it again.
I remember when I was six, I had to get up in front of the class and talk about my trip to Fiji. I balled my eyes out and couldn’t bring myself to talk in front of the class.
I remember getting told off for playing the piano in primary school. I remember getting told off by my music teacher for yawning and got sent out of the class.
I remember us kids dancing on the front lawn, playing up the road at the park, it was so easy to keep ourselves occupied. I don’t remember watching TV much as a kid.
I remember going to stay at my friends place when I was little. I loved stayovers and eating at the table as a family. We used to have yummy kai and do some cool things. I would get homesick now and then though… I missed the familiarity of home sometimes.
The things I remember as a child – just like they happened yesterday. And these memories are a very very very tiny part of my memories… What do you remember?
Arohanui,
Jo x

A Part of the Whole

I wonder sometimes after I’ve painted a rock – now where did that painting come from? There is nothing particularly exciting about what I have painted today, in fact it looks like a whole lot of painted shapes slapped onto the rock lol But I’m ok with that…now… at the beginning of the year it would have been a different story! And it’s just as much about the process…
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But then when I place it somewhere to take a photograph, everything comes together nicely and my trust in the process has never been let down by a painted rock, a photograph and a story that somehow work together – everytime.
So gathered in this photo are many things including te Rā who has cast his warmth over the whole scene to create shadows and shapes that fall all over the place.
And what seemed to be a randomly painted kohatu was not so random after all and has found it’s place in the greater scheme of things…
Sometimes we can feel like this – we feel insignificant in the world – what I do as one person, how could that possibly make a difference? How can what I do make a difference?

But if we see ourselves as being a part of the whole, then what we do in our lives is SO important. We are the most important person in the world, because we have an effect on everything.
And if this is true, if I have the ability to change the world, then perhaps I should start with me.
Arohanui,
Jo x

90 days

I’m coming to the end of my fourth decade – so do the calculation if you want! Well actually I’m a couple more years away but I feel like my life is just beginning… I really do!
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I’ve been through so many healing journeys over the past years, in fact my whole life has been one healing journey. But I really do feel like life is just beginning and it’s exciting!
And at the same time I feel there is more healing to do… so these last 90 days of the year are a conscious effort to heal a part of me each day, to really look at myself and know myself from the inside out.

I remember a meditation teacher saying to me 10 years ago, “You’re a sucker for punishment!” because I kept coming back – course after course after course and those who know Vipassana meditation will know that it is not easy! But I experienced a lot of healing in that time and always knew that healing for me would be lifelong.
So here I am! 90 more days of the year to go, more healing to do, more letting go, more releasing of what no longer serves me or anyone else, and inviting the new…and I feel like these 90 days are the most important 90 days of my life.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Just Observing

It’s one of those days where I’m neither here nor there…just observing… being quiet within myself and just being.
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The sun came out today, so was nice to feel warm again, just for a moment…
I’ve painted my rock earlier today; the All Blacks are playing Canada shortly and the WARRIORS are taking on Manly tonight in the final of the NRL so I know no-one in Aotearoa and probably Australia will be on Facebook to be reading about the rocks lol but of course the rocks must go on!
I haven’t watched a lot of rugby or league this year, in fact this is the first league game I’ve watched but there is a bit of hype around the country at the moment with sports and it’s hard not to get on that waka – she says from a position of neither here nor there!
Right now, I’m here and there with the All Blacks and Warriors!
So anyway, that’s me. From tomorrow there are 90 more days in the year so 90 more rocks to paint, 90 more photos to take and 90 more stories to tell.
Hei āpōpō – until tomorrow!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Free Flowing Words

I decided to write about today’s rock by looking at the rock, seeing and feeling what I had painted and then writing…
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Ripples, layers, peeling off unwanted memories of times gone by…
Orange – vibrant energy spreads like wild fire, exploding into something new…
Lines of the land, stretches of vast landscapes, pathways that lead to somewhere – but where?
History repeats itself, remembering lost ones, times gone by, but time to move on…
Bursts of creativity spreading in new directions, new pathways, more risks, different…
Orange – progress, the colour of energy, vibrant energy, spreading, spreading…
Arohanui,
Jo x