Time To Get Some Shit Done!

Last weekend I went to a fantastic ‘Un-Conference’ in Christchurch, NZ. Women Who Get Shit Done events are collaborative gatherings for those of us who identify as women. There is no upfront agenda, and the topics and sessions are co-created on the first evening and led by the participants themselves. It’s a giant event of networking and idea sharing, where you can learn, support, inspire and be inspired. It was really fantastic – if you are in NZ I definitely recommend you to apply for a space on the next event.


I was astounded by the vast range of topics, issues and causes that the group were in to. From gender equality to local politics, environmental issues to health & wellbeing, creative writing, poetry, bee-keeping and cheese-making, there was very little that wasn’t covered!

The evening I arrived home, I felt rather humbled by the work the other 119 women were doing. They are really making the world a better place, often challenging the status quo in difficult and sometimes even hostile environments. They are truly remarkable beings!

Two days after the event and I am back at Wangapeka retreat centre. One of my favourite teachers (am I allowed to say that?!), Lama Mark Webber, is leading a 30-day retreat here, imageand I am excited for lots of reasons. Firstly I just really appreciate Lama Mark’s style of teaching – he is so cheerful, energetic and passionate, and his knowledge of the dharma is profound. It’s also REALLY nice to have a large group of retreatants making their home here for such a long period. We become like an extensive family, and I love getting to know people a little as they settle in. We’ve had several people arrive from Canada, two from Guatemala, one from Puerto Rico, and several well known friendly faces from previous NZ retreats… it’s so wonderful!

I’m challenging myself to come up with 30 different soups – luckily it’s hot and sunny up here now, and so I can include a few gazpachos!

lama-mark-webber-350pxThe retreat is billed as Vajrasattva Retreat, but yesterday evening in the welcome class Lama Mark said that, in fact, it’s a Bodhicitta Retreat. Actually everything is about Bodhicitta, he said.

Bodhi in Sanskrit means something like our enlightened nature, and citta refers to our heart/mind. Bodhicitta could literally mean ‘the heart of the enlightened mind’ but more specifically it refers to the compassionate wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. It’s an altruistic motivation.

Lama Mark said something like – it doesn’t matter what you do, where you go, what work you do. What matters is that you do it with a mind of Bodhicitta. A wish to cultivate wisdom and compassion in our own minds, with the aspiration that it be for the benefit of ALL sentient beings.

This was the perfect end to an inspiring weekend. The Women Who Get Shit Done inspired and energised me in almost too many ways – I came back wanting to get involved in so many new projects! But today I’ve reflected that I am already getting some good shit done by being here and cooking – vegetarian food is good for our bellies and good for the planet, and I am also so happy to be supporting these fantastic people who are devoting 30-days of their busy lives to cultivating good qualities in their hearts and minds.

And even if I decide to stop cooking and take another career, that’s all good too as long as I continue to cultivate Bodhicitta.

Day one retreat recipes! The purple salad on the left has become something of a Wangapeka classic. It’s shredded red cabbage dressed with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and a large pinch of salt, which is massaged in to make it super tasty. Then, some finely chopped parsley and toasted sesame seeds are tossed in, then chopped dates and diced feta are gently folded through. It’s one of the easiest and tastiest salads I know and the idea came from Smitten Kitchen.

In the middle, the ultimate Carrot Cake. It’s this Delia Smith recipe, but gluten-freed. I don’t know a better recipe!

On the right, the least technical bread recipe ever came from one of my favourite food bloggers; Alexandra Cooks.

With many many thanks and gratitude to Lama Mark, all my dharma teachers, and all the wonderful women I met last weekend.  You are awesome! #wwgsdnz



2 thoughts on “Time To Get Some Shit Done!

  1. Sally Barraud

    Another great, inspiring blog Jen! I love them… and eagerly grasp them when they land in my Inbox (that’s healthy grasping, if there is such a thing…).
    Keep up the great writing and cooking!


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