It’s usually played at remembrance ceremonies and funerals for soldiers. In some ways, this last post isn’t very different from that of a B bugle call playing in the distance as the sun rises to remember brave soldiers and battles fought.
Only this time around, it is my battle and not those I’d reflected on in remembrance.
In the past ten months, I found out I had cancer cells, had to sit around for six months waiting to hear if they got them all (which they did… I put it down to telling them to f#@* off), sustained an arm injury which tore me away from work and study for six months, was physically assaulted, someone deleted all my websites, I had to move house unexpectedly, couch and floor surfed for nearly four weeks and to put the cherry on top, was in my new house for two weeks and got broken into. And this list certainly doesn’t count all the other lemons, some of them just too damn bitter to recollect in an open forum.
Do you know what it’s like to feel like you’re losing your sanity? And you don’t even know why? To sit on a tram, only to turn around half way on the journey because you just couldn’t be around people? Finding every excuse in the world why you couldn’t, wouldn’t, just damn well didn’t want to see anyone. How going through a box of tissues in a day was normal and you became used to darkness descending at 7am, forcing a day under the covers in the hope you would wake up and it would all just be a bad dream.
I knocked back the anti-depressant prescriptions : I had a tried and tested tool of focussing on the small things that bring us to life. Besides, I didn’t need to add to the GDP to make Australia an even greater country. I withdrew from most of the world, including friends, was careful where I went, who I was with and what I was doing. I continued to sketch, write and outwardly seemed to be alive. Internally I was desperately trying to fight off the insanity of how I was feeling and it was only because I never forgot who was hidden inside that the embers kept alight.
Last year I celebrated my birthday by climbing Mt Agung in Bali, celebrating with friends on the coast and on returning home, had one fun karaoke night with some beautiful people, recognising the awesome of every page within my chapter 39.95. This year’s birthday, I struggled getting out of bed, I didn’t want to see anyone, managed to stretch myself for lunch and at the very last minute braved it in a room full of strangers at a story-telling night. The theme was turning points, and half way through the night, I decided to share a few of mine. You can’t have had a full life like mine and not had some turning points that have whipped your life 360°.
At the height of my stress levels and depression, the assault happened. Talk about hitting you when you’re down. Thank goodness #b03, a daily blog commitment, came along. Every day I sat, sometimes, all day, to pump out a post on something great that happened in the day or a reflection I had on the past. I credit this month, along with #MindfulinMay, for dragging me off the floor and keeping me focussed, on my writing, and my sanity. That, and a very humbling post from a wonderful friend who had taught me about purpose and owning your story and the comments from people when I made it to the final three of a blogging competition. They were all part of my turning point to understand the power of self-responsibility to take control. That and the realisation I was on a collision path.
This soldier was ready to stand up and start fighting. And again, whip my life 360°.
I started this blog when I accepted a challenge. I do have stories to share that could change the world, but this blog was always primarily to help me change my own world. Considering all the lemons that life had thrown at me, at first I wasn’t entirely sure I needed anymore challenges. So the preface was I would keep writing until I, or anyone else, didn’t need it anymore.
That time has come.
Over the past two years, I’ve never written for anyone else nor felt the need to promote my thoughts to the wider universe. It was my therapy. My passion. And my need to focus on the fact that life is unrelenting in its gifts of experience, people, opportunity and self.
I realised wealth and GDP prosperity are definitely not predictors of life satisfaction. We’re spending more money on ‘stuff’, making children’s hospital wards like first class resorts, building multi-million dollar social housing complexes and still don’t have enough, designing more prisons and detention centres, spending big on credit cards, destroying native forests with big trucks and large tools, spending more money on bicycles, house and car locks as theft increases, employing more police, consuming more food, alcohol and cigarettes, spending more money on pokies than on rates in many local council areas, donating more money to charities and yet have more social problems than ever before, destroying our natural wonders with mines and urban sprawl with excess for sale, earning more, still fighting the war in Afghanistan and our spending on anti-depressants is hitting all time highs. Yay : at 1371 billion dollars, we’ve got one of the highest GDPs on the planet. We should be so proud of ourselves spending all that cash so wisely… and happy.
As I reflect on my 158 bloody rippers over the past two years, I realise how so much of what makes life worthwhile is not measured : the innocence and joy of a young child, the strength of our relationships, the beauty of our art, digging out our courage, a breathe of fresh air in the midst of nature’s best, the setting of a sun. If our existence and success were measured by life’s joys, we’d all be abundant. And not just our country.
Despite the lemons, me and life have managed to still walk hand in hand:
- Finding old memories
- Bucket lists
- Completing my first biathlon
- Fridge notes can change the world
- The power of courage
- My first tattoo
- Noticing everything around you
- Letters to Santa
- New found love for sketching
- Top ten travel experiences
- Ten things I value
- The nurture of nature
- New year wrap-ups
- A better planet
- All the bloody rippers
With the setting down of the sun, I will remember them. I may need to come back to this safe space at some stage. But unlike global wars over the centuries that we just don’t seem to be able to learn from, it’s time to hold that mirror up and use every one of my darn lemons to push me into neutral territory.
As much as I appreciate social media for its ability to connect me to so many amazing people I have had the pleasure to cross paths, the doors it has opened, the information it has made available, the world it allows you to explore, and the access it provides to new opportunities, events and people, our friendship is going to take a small hiatus. At its core, it is an incredible resource, but right now, I need to commit to my own projects and not learn about others. I need to open my own doors and not simply peep into others. I’ve explored the world and it’s now time to start exploring my visions. I want photos with my friends because we’re out doing things together. I want to be able to come back from my hiatus taking action on my loves and not simply liking everyone else’s.
It’s time to say goodbye to the external forces and hello to the internal power.
A few years ago, I had a dream about a domain name : www.give.com.au. As a direct result of my experiences overseas, I spent a lot of money and time to build a pretty big fair trade website, working with projects I had visited and researched. I wanted to change the world, or at least make a small imprint on some communities that had made a huge impact on me. Fail. External and internal forces were at play and it’s only recently I came to the understanding I was never going to be able to sell hand bags : I hate shopping.
By understanding the power of my story, it is now I truly understand that before you can give to others, you must begin with yourself. You must be able to stand up in your own power and at the end of your life, whenever that may be, be proud of what you did, what you didn’t do, who you loved, what you let go of, what you accepted, where you went, who you journeyed with and the person you were. All the ideas I have had over the last few years will now be married to create a new www.give.com.au : one that encourages you to give to self, and others. My journey has allowed me to meet the people I needed to meet to make this happen, and for once in my life, I’m putting my hand out to accept some help.
I want to give my writing purpose in a new way, leaving the scope of my life and the joy it brings to focus on some inspiring people that know what it’s like to find purpose. Before I never cared about who read what I wrote. Now I do. I want to start work on my biography. And I want to create some really fun projects allowing others the space to give to themselves… every little part of them and not just a glory box of stuff. www.thedinnertable.com.au is a big part of that : bringing people together to share, connect and create. I still want to change the world in a small way and everything I do will have that as its underlying glue.
The biggest opportunity we have on the planet right now is not to solve any of the world’s greatest problems. It is to inspire a society of change-makers. That change-maker starts with me.
Right now, I’m so glad I’ve had 43 jobs, travelled to 43 countries, have some amazing people in my life, have lost count of the amazing experiences I have had, stood up and fought the battles and now lay down my weapon of choice for the past two years to get on with it.
Three days ago, my friend Richard who had already done so much for me by allowing me to explore purpose in a three day retreat, again put out his helping hand and invited me to a Real Leadership workshop. One of the activities was to pull out from a large selection three pictures that represented three timeframes, one story. With a grin, Rich heckled me for doubling the selection, knowing only too well that in this case, I needed to own my story.
In short, the past is represented by the darkness of which I believe is an important part of my story as well as the strength to stand up from the battle and move forward. The loose threads of my life have been ripped apart to now allow me the ability to bring them all together as a conduit towards the future. I can’t do it alone, I need variety, and I welcome everyone else’s playlists to inform and inspire the future journey. No matter how far apart, how little time we spent together or how close we are, I thank those deeply who have travelled with me on the journey so far and welcome those who are yet to come. And as for the future? One of my favourite films is “Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring”. Through stunning cinematography, it is a journey through life’s lessons and at the moment I feel embedded in the contrast of those seasons. I want to continue that journey, knowing I have some handy tools to keep the weeds at bay and there’s going to be one garden I am now ready to focus on… and I want it to flourish.
As for right now, it’s off into the spring sunshine to sit and design “A Beautiful Day” and a gratitude project as required of my Masters in Wellness and then plan to make them happen. Who ever thought when you decided to study at university for the first time in your life, you would be allowed to write about what you’ve written about for two years… just when you’re playing the last post.
Life… it can be so
you bloody ripper!
To Richard, Angie, Glenda, Gregory, Michelle, Steph, Damien, Dani, Yvette, Nynke, Inge, Aaron, Carol, Adam, Diana, Jarrod, Kal, Mike, Annie, Linnet, Calm in the City, Mindful in May, #b03, SLAMALAMADINGDONG! Poetry Slam, Arts in Action, Stillwaters, Enchanted Evenings and The Holos Group. Thank you for being my brakes.
It was time for a mindful sketch, and after I read today’s Mindful in May newsletter thought I’d attempt a beginner’s flow of the beautiful Elise whose fingers and mind have been over-floweth during the month of May. Thank you for creating such a wonderful mindful journey, building an amazing community and making a difference with how many water wells now??? MIM has been my mind and body saviour… thank you!
For the two years I have written this blog, I haven’t simply done it to document my day or have it as a diary for when I need a reminder of all the bloody rippers in my life. My writing has helped me through some tough times: it’s amazing how the small things can elevate a mood, even if all you need is a moment to take a breath.
I’ve always appreciated the small things that happen in life. Even when my days were consumed by corporate suits, 14+ hour days and a social life that occasionally went a little out of control, I always played witness to the small things. Even as a tour leader, when new experiences, images and people cross your path constantly, it’s the unexpected small things that often take you by surprise. Sometimes I’d seek them out in the depths of a market, the alleyways of a city or the trodden rural paths of a local village.
Back in Australia, things weren’t new and I realised that if I was going to stay here, I had to find a new way of looking at life. It was then I chose the parts of my day I wouldn’t write home about (there’s only so much you can fit on an aerogramme) to write about.
Almost two years later, as I mindfully type whatever flows from my fingertips to the keyboard, I realise these posts have become something more than a journal entry.
I’ve learned to listen more attentively, keep my eyes open longer in case I miss something, enjoy my food more, smell more than just the roses and have even more gratitude for slowing down, being mindful and knowing that even when your day has been beyond bad, there is always something that can keep you holding on, and not want to let go. I’ll admit it helps I’m not working 14+ hour days, but then I’m more than mindful to know that won’t be happening again. Or at least for someone else.
Most of us move through our lives in such a frantic pace and miss so much. If two years of writing for no-one but me has taught me but one thing, there is so much to be found in the small moments. Mindfulness ensures the taste of life is enriched with an infusion of all the senses.
Right now, when there’s a dog fight going on in both my body and my mind, I find myself reflecting a little deeper, and each time I write, savouring the description and emotions of that small moment, all over again. They’re not words. They’re helping me to win the dog fight.
Next time you find yourself in a moment of time you want to let go of, in the clutches of darkness, busyness, stress, flight or fright… pause. Take a moment to find in those small spaces around you that one small item, person, colour, fragrance, word, movement, anything… that awakens in you a smile, even if it’s internal.
Awaken every sense and be mindful of what comes in through your ears, eyes, mouth, skin, nose and heart. Sometimes you may even hear your spirit sing.
Two years of writing has been a gift. I’ve learned to play witness to my life.
And I won’t be found guilty of letting go.
you bloody ripper!
Let’s face it – there’s not much joy to be found in the flipping of year old magazines, tapping of fingers, unspoken fear, waiting and silence.
Rewind. Time to go back to last week’s meditation: take a mindful moment and pause.
Grateful for last week’s Mindful in May practise of the power of breath, focus on the in and out deep into the diaphragm, intake of mindfulness and reminder of F@*% off worry. I think I’ll be focussing a lot on the breath over the next three weeks of results waiting.
When the outer silence is overwhelming, I am grateful for the inner silence.
you bloody ripper!
Today I saw a rainbow.
I was tempted to stop and sit and meditate and dream about the pot of gold at the end.
What really is on the other side? Are there only illusions? With so much happening in my life right now, somebody had to hear my wish and answer it.
I shut my eyes and for 30 seconds, breathed. Deep, long, count to ten breaths. It was then I realised for all those years Kermit was right.
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
There’s something that I’m supposed to be
Meditation is a way to reach the pot of gold inside all of us… lovers, dreamers and me. You just have to stop and listen.
To be sure, to be sure.
you bloody ripper!
Fairfield Station is hands down the best train station in Melbourne. Ok, well I do admit these ten fingers haven’t been to every train station in Melbourne, so it’s fair to say this statement is based merely on my experience and not that of the rest of Melbourne. But as far as commuting goes, I’m glad when I need to train it anywhere, Fairfield is my choice.
What makes Fairfield so special? There’s no question it’s the fabulous station hosts, Stephen and Sharon. They organise book swaps, garden makeovers, ramp up the music while you wait and always have a smile and genuine willingness to help.
On an overcrowded platform with yet another train delay, it’s about community.
For a change, I can’t blame Metro for missing my train. Instead, I think word has got out about how good our hosts are, and the ever increasing limitations on car parks saw me walking for 20 minutes to get to the station.
Knowing I was going to miss a scheduled appointment, I made a call to let the clinic know I would be late, had a quick chat with Sharon about the limited car parks and sat back…. on a nice warm blanket.
It’s the little touches.
With another 20 minutes until the next train, I plugged in to this week’s Mindful in May meditation. The autumn chill sucked deep into my diaphragm, soon kickstarted the para-sympathetic (the rest and reset) nervous system and over the next ten minutes, I let the tension from the long walk and missed train disappear down the train line… back to Hurstbridge with you. You’re not coming to the city with me.
As the next train pulled in and I yelled a big thanks for the blanket with an equally big smile in return, I realised how mindful Stephen and Sharon were about their jobs and the station, as well as the consequence of a happy commuter community.
To you both, thank you for the blanket. And thank you for showing how being mindful of the little touches, really does make a huge difference in someone’s day.
Whose mood will you shift with a blanket?
you bloody ripper!
Afters years of helping others with their projects and visions and subsequently making a choice to step back and get my projects off the ground, I find myself in the position of reconnecting with my right brain. It’s been quite an interesting process as my poems, sketches and writing simply flow. There’s little thought. The lines are drawn and the words have appeared on the page without any focus or effort.
I’d been invited to a shodo class a couple of months ago, however with quite a bit going on, had been unable to attend. Finally, I managed to make my way to the other side of Melbourne and partake in my first lesson, learning the principles, technique and style of Japanese calligraphy.
Being mindful is an important part of the shodo process, with each stroke being drawn whilst focussing on the rhythm of the breath. The characters need to be done in correct order, direction and alignment and you’ll quickly learn that if you’re thinking about the football results or big to do list waiting for you at home, you’ll easily lose the flow of order, an important component of the shodo process.
Given there was currently a super moon in the sky and I’d brought a beautiful meditative shakuhachi flute CD to play in the background called Moon, it was quite apt the character we were learning was moon. Four simple strokes. Learning to combine stroke, direction, technique, breath and focus… not so simple. By the end of the class, I was hooked, and headed off to nearby Fuji Mart and Eckersley’s art store to purchase everything I needed to practise at home.
I understand only too well how mood can effect output and that night, I decided to do an experiment. To see if this translated to the artist’s brush, before doing each picture, I imagined a different aspect of my life. The fear of a hospital visit next week, love for someone, the excitement of a publisher’s email, a recent assault incident and overcoming five months of tough pain… I sat mindfully on each period for a short while, took a deep breath in and 10 seconds later had the end result.
Although each completed piece represents the same word, it also represents a piece of my life over the past few months and the difference in stroke is certainly evident. I didn’t aim to write an angry, strong or softer image. It was the thought I evoked that allowed the image to flow.
This little experiment highlighted not only the process of producing a piece of art, but the beauty of shodo is that it captures a moment in time, including the thoughts and emotions you hold with you in that very moment.
As I write, I think this not only occurs on paper, but in so many other aspects of life. Learning to be mindful that our emotions can and do impact output can certainly assist in our relationships with others and self.
Before I had that last conversation that didn’t end so well, I should have been thinking about my weekend as a bubbleologist and not being thrown against a wall, hospital and an impending court hearing. The end result would definitely have been so different. And yet, like a shodo stroke, that moment in time can produce something quite different.
It’s timely this week’s Mindful in May focus is on the breath, also an important component of shodo. After each meditation I plan to produce a new image of moon. Let’s see what comes up and what moments I can capture with the combination of breath and stroke.
I offer a special thank you to Colin and Kazue Lim for introducing me to the beauty and internal inspiration of shodo. To Dani for sharing her positive energy, calmness and expression in the space. And to the beautiful Kim Wood of Metta Scents for providing such a special place in which to learn and create. I’m certain the sensory overload from the finest incense and oils from across the globe certainly added to the serenity and calming effect of the meditative shodo process.
Like the brush into ink, now that I’m more mindful of breath and thought in the production process, let’s see what I can produce in my life. Guaranteed no two days will be the same.
Time for a dip into flow… on and off the paper.
you bloody ripper!
Collision I was written as an all nighter after a poetry workshop, the words flowing from a part of me I’m only now starting to find and trust. Having dived some pretty amazing waters around the globe I’m only too well aware there’s some pretty impressive beauty to be found at depth. As well as a whole lot of fear. This poem reached both.
Having been to my first poetry slam a month prior, I was inspired to rewrite Collision as a performance poem. A few hours of mindful flow and a few deep dives later, Collision II was complete.
Not having stepped on a stage since I was at school, with a number of derailments happening around me, a few things needed to be given a voice. It was time to reclaim I.
Where have words taken you?
The recesses of a dark alley
Where no light shines?
Words inspire thought and
Thought creates words.
Blank space left for the
One stumble, one step
One fall, one rise
I hear your cries.
Life’s slopes are not always slippery
They are simply steep
Keep going. Up.
So that a path may be revealed before you
And the net will catch you when you leap
Because YOU were born
And YOU will learn most from situations
Did not choose
Never forget yourself
And YOU shall not lose.
Where there is space
There is thought.
And where there is need
Don’t just do something,
Give voice to the voices
Silenced by the lies and secrets
Of untold paths
And words not told.
The smack sellers sleep in the park
Their pain perhaps
Not quite fully understood
By the family dwellers
Nor the system
That opens the doors
Then slams them in their face. Less.
Will their mothers keep inviting them back
Again and again and again
Do they even know they’re there?
Do they even care?
How do I know you are who you say you are
When you lie only to yourself.
Have you been telling secrets that
Should not have been told?
Or is your history
A mystery you feel compelled to withhold?
Don’t tell anyone.
I can’t tell anyone.
Will apology provide tranquility?
I’m not even sure you would want to hear the truth?
I want to listen to you.
I am trying to listen to you.
I still am listening to you.
I really want to listen to you.
What if she was your daughter?
I don’t want you to listen.
I need you to hear.
Lost in the abyss of first world problems
Old world dreams.
And too great a list of needs
Darkness under the surface
Lack of purpose
Social media creating
With your lips and not your fingers
Talk to me.
Does your life make you feel content?
Is there a way to evoke an internal revolution
To support our evolution.
There is no lock and key solution
Why do we feel the need
To resolve a human story
Can it not be simply lived?
Is painful paradox
What is needed
To make us change?
Sanitised death or the
Of a life fully lived
Through love and pain
Experience and shame
Mistakes and battles fought
With head held high
Sharing no blame
Before you frame me in a box
And officially reclaim
Cry in the bathroom
With a black coat hiding
The colour underneath.
When words take you somewhere
Do they really take?
Or do they give?
you bloody ripper!
This week’s meditation has been a body scan. In a snapshot, for the past five days, I’ve lay down, monitoring the sensations in my body, being mindful of any thoughts that may pop in and simply letting them go. As I’m totally committed on training my body and mind to become stronger, this technique goes a long way in supporting my goal to develop more focussed attention.
But of all the weeks to have to focus on the body, it had to be this one. I arrived back from Queensland just prior to the commencement of Mindful in May, and was covered in sandfly bites. The itch drives me insane. Why this week did I have to focus on the insanity?
Direct your attention to the feet. The toes, the spaces between the toes, noticing any sensations that are present to the feet.
Aagh! Could I not sign a waiver to opt out? 14 bites on my left foot alone forced me to miss the rest of the meditation. Scratching bites took over from scratching thoughts. All of my attention went to the itch and I couldn’t seem to move on to the rest of the leg, let alone making it all the way to the head. The first couple of days were tough.
Now at day 5, I’ve finally managed to get through the ten minute meditation… mindfully. The shift came when I mindfully pushed my attention away from the itch. Rather than being in auto mode and instantly scratching, making the sensation stronger, I carefully followed Elise’s voice as she took me from the foot to the ankle, lower leg and taking me on a weaving journey across my body.
By the end of the meditation, I was not even aware of the itching. I’d let it go.
As I write this, I wonder how many other negative, annoying and frustrating people and areas of our life we focus on which only causes unnecessary aggravation. What if we shifted our mindful approach to all of these and let them go rather than dwelling? Would they too go away if we simply shifted our focus to the present?
All day, I’ve had a frustrating issue that’s been bothering me, act a little like a bite. I’ve scratched it so much with self-talk that it’s certainly been blown way out of proportion. I’m going to opt for the body scan approach, letting it go and placing it in the diary to resolve on Wednesday. My attention has now shifted back to the present moment and after a big day, I’m ready to pop into bed and continue on my mindfulness challenge.
Already, the focus on the itching has been let go. After a full day workshop and a hard gym workout, let’s see how my body has held up and try and release that tension sitting in the right shoulder.
And let it go…
you bloody ripper!
I recently went to a smoothie workshop run by Life Elements. In search of some food and lifestyle changes to help replenish an overburdened adrenal system, the workshop reignited my love of natural whole foods.
It was time for food to help me become whole again.
Yesterday, I went to Naturally on High in Thornbury and purchased all the ingredients for my dream smoothie.
As this was my first ever non ordinary smoothie (you know… the berry/yoghurt/banana ones… ho hum), I thought it a great chance to do my ten minute mindfulness workout while preparing and drinking the goodliness of my creation. The aim was to let any other thoughts that popped into my head, go.
If I thought about my creative projects, people, to do lists, not to do lists… they were gone. There was just going to be me, a collection of ingredients, knife and my blender. And those taste buds had better be ready for a serious new taste sensation.
Chop. Measure. Grind. Pour. Slice. “I can’t believe I’m putting in an entire packet of spinach.”
Given the state of my life for the past few months, Mindful in May has come at a very appropriate time. As I separate the parts of my life and begin to plan for some exciting new ventures, I actually feel like I’m in some ways combining all the parts of my life to create one very delicious, wholesome, energising future.
But back to the spinach – seriously, a whole packet. Did mindfulness manage to help me savour the flavours of my green concoction?
I felt like my mouth was the backdrop for a Batman and Robin scene… there were so many kapows going on inside. I’d put just enough cacao to give a hint of chocolate, the banana helped balance the spinach, the coconut water and butter made me feel like I was back in Thailand and the nutty sunflower and almond islands floating with their date cousins added a dash of exotic surprises. Each mouthful was savoured, slurped slowly and swallowed softly.
Those wandering thoughts that intended to sabotage my green goodliness were gently told farewell, come again another day.
As I washed up the blender, I realised how much I’d probably missed every morning meal I’ve ever eaten. I like to sleep in. I usually rush around. I hate being late. I’m always at work or meetings on time. But I’d never sat down and mindfully consumed any breakfast. I need to eat, read the paper, plan for the day, think of the person I didn’t call yesterday and remember who I had to meet tomorrow. Who has time to think about the taste of their poached eggs, rolled oats, cocoa pops or bacon and egg mcmuffins?
Tonight as I write this post, I think the mindfulness smoothie creation and tasting helped me to slow down my entire day. I didn’t commence the day in a rush. I didn’t think about anything I had to do. And yet, I managed to get everything on my list done, make an awesome slow-cooked vegetable soup, bake banana bread, send a concept submission for two creative projects to a publisher, get to the gym and commence planning for the next few months. And have one seriously energising drink that tasted just too darn good to be filled with spinach.
I owe it to you mindful smoothie. You were such a smooth operator of stillness in the morning, I was so much more proactive than I have been in months.
This could be an interesting month.
you bloody ripper!
This post is part of my series for the Mindful in May challenge.
And what was in it : a few dashes of coconut water, a nice dollop of coconut butter, a little maca/cacao blend, few drops of agave, two dates, half a banana, crushed sunflower seeds and almonds, super big dash of almond milk and yes… a whole packet of spinach!