Letting Go


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As time passes and a “New” year means a “New” beginning”, I look at the process that takes us here. The past year has given me a clarity that is new and exciting and my emotions run high. Deep grief and pain linger but emerge as authenticity and truth to self and to our family as well as those whom I consider my true friends. The decisions I make today in a state of turbulent change triggers anxiety yet also an essence of hope and blossoming within my soul and a “knowing” that brings calm grace, forgiveness and hope. I have a “New” look. I have a “New” vision.

Someone asked me recently, “Isn’t it hard to see your kids move out and leave? My immediate response was “No, it isn’t a problem.” Then I began to ponder, why I had that quick response and whether I still feel this way.

A child leaving the nest is precarious. As a parent, you wish them well and you hope their dreams come true. You also know that they will be making mistakes and choosing their own path full of the many lessons that will form and shape who they are on top of the layers that have been the foundation of where they are now.

Rachel is moving to Brisbane next week and she is organized and prepared and has worked hard to get here. Josh left home and moved to Brisbane a few years ago and it didn’t feel like this was such a big deal because I was ready at the time. Perhaps I am ready for Rachel to move on too, but it feels a bit more fragile. A heart being tugged is also more open and fragile. Wounds that have healed leave scars upon my heart that give way to new ways and stronger boundaries to what once were more fluid and open. My tears are cleansing and their trails leave a path to my soul that is so full of Love for my children. May their path be filled with delight and wonder.

It is time to find my own way and may this way guide me to be the best I can be in this world. Change is good and the world is my oyster. I am ready to grab that pearl.

 

Things Change


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In October 2014 I travelled to Borneo to witness firsthand what is happening to the rainforests that support these fragile animals. My tour was short and encompassed only a portion of the story. There is much yet to be learned. The incredible respect and hospitality of the lovely people we met will remain in my heart for the rest of my life. Dayak people and the Orangutans that live amongst them fill me with hope as do the “warriors” striving to create change. Like koalas, they make me want to continue in my efforts to speak up for the voiceless in this life.

Orang-utans are hanging by a delicate thread of imbalance and are threatened in the wild forests they call home. Over 80% of the rainforests in which they live have been destroyed. Their needs to be greater accountability for the decline in Orang utans within these forests. The Dayak people are working to do something different and they are fighting back with ingenuity and permaculture principals. There is a line of disagreement between  groups as to “sustainable” Palm Oil and many arrows have been shot in these polarities. Can there really be such a thing as “sustainable” palm oil? Or not?? There seems to be a very distinct polar divide between the two ideas and yet can there not be a compromise and an ability to forgive and move forward creating solutions together? Through the efforts of a few, may these efforts become many and may we see the change that we need to see for the future of a species. There is no time to point fingers and there is no time to waste. There is time to work together.

I accompanied the “Rise of the Eco-Warriors” team and photographed and witnessed the workings of the small villages of the Dayak people in West Kalimantan, Borneo. We lived in a Long House. We shared time and meals and there were challenges to be faced. I was challenged with equipment issues. My camera lens broke. My computer stuffed up and tiny little ants crawled out of the laptop which led to hard-drive failure. Perhaps there was a message in this!  When I returned, I was not sure if I could recover my photos, but thankfully, I did and I am grateful for the smiles these images bring today. I had no idea how this experience would affect my life, or how profound it would be. It is only now, when I put together the puzzle of this past year, that I can see. For me, Borneo was an escape and yet also a reminder of what is truly important.

As you fly over hectares and hectares of rainforest destroyed, you see the wake of dead and degraded soil unable to sustain life, human or animal alike. Waters:poisoned! Trees: burnt and Co2 waste escaping into the atmosphere! Climate change is profoundly impacted by this destructive process to produce cheap oil for human consumption. Do we “need” these products that are contributing to this destruction? I think not,as I line my shelves with products that do no harm but many do not even understand the impact of their decisions as a consumer in today’s modern world. I live with less as did the people in these villages. Through their simplicity and their way of life, I listened and I learned. We swam in the cool rushing river with the children. There was a great rhythm and flow to every day. There was also spontaneity and joy in shared value without any language necessary to comprehend. We waded and played in the waters after the rain. We laughed. We cried. We connected. We lived!

When we left the village of Tembak, we were able to give.One of the women’s tribal leaders, “Imu” Florentina, was very ill with the devastating effects of cancer. We were able to give her transport and help to raise funds to ensure the surgery she required. It is though such efforts that Countries connect and a shared journey becomes one.

I see parallels in my work in Australia with koalas. In order to be a part of speaking out for our wildlife, we must be brave and bold and this can be difficult. I rebel against the protocols and procedure and bureaucratic regulations that prevent change. We can only see effective change when we look for new ways with respect to “old” values. Our fast paced world has often forgotten these as we are a world out of balance. With each new government change, we must start again and look to be better. As time is ticking, there is no better time than the present to stand up and be heard!  We are all connected and the only way forward is to collectively make a difference. Let’s take “ego” out of the equation and do better in Conservation Circles. This chance will be had as we meet this week to discuss a “Koala Protection Act”. I look forward to meeting with others that care “doing what is best for koalas”. I can only hope that these collective ideas formed and efforts made will lead to a better future. Hope, Truth and Belief are the keys.

On November 28th 2014, everything changed in our family in a way that we had not imagined.  Through tragedy and trauma and blunt awareness, we all realise that the only time is now! In an instant, everything can change forever. That is for next time….

In the meantime, you may enjoy reading more about this amazing trip below from fellow travellers or contribute just $1 to help support one of my friends that is going back! The choice is yours!

http://www.youcaring.com/mission-trip-fundraiser/help-save-the-orangutans-for-as-little-as-1-00/292585

http://www.ecowarriorsrise.com

http://blog.cifor.org/2607/could-orangutan-conservation-be-helped-by-the-heavens#.VPz9QkK6jEY

http://www.bendessen.com.au/uncategorized/back-to-borneo/

http://alushforest.blogspot.com.au

Our Inner Voice


“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”Good Will Hunting (1997)DSC_3221
There are times to speak out and times to be silent. When your heart feels that it is filled with shards of glass and you reach out to those you love but feel unheard and ignored, those shards dig deeper. Often silence wraps a blanket around you after the explosion and you sit with it, waiting for the light to shine and lead you in a new direction. When the direction comes, the path you choose is entirely up to you alone but when shared with others, perhaps that can lead you out of the dark.

The past few months have had sharp contrasts of highs and lows. People have let me down and others have surprised me with their kindness and compassion. There have been shades of gray that lead to reflection and self -evaluation. In these gray zones is where I let my intuition and truth guide me, dropping ego and looking for the path to balance.

Depression. What is it? How is it that some survive it and others succumb to its disastrous effects? We live in a world that is ever increasing in isolation and disconnection led by greed and destruction. The values that make us most endearing as humans are being lost in the cluttered world we live in. However, on the other side of this is the yearning for connection and the increasing rise of people coming together in collaboration and spirit.

Robin Williams died this week. The world was shocked by the sudden surprise and the grief rippled from households across the world. Memories of “favorite” movies and moments and quotes poured from the pages of social media and in conversations had. I know that I have been depressed but I do not have clinical depression. My life has been touched by others who were clinically depressed; by those who have taken their own lives through suicide, and they have left their mark. The act is so final and so complete and yet it’s effects ripple through families and friendships and lead us to question and sometimes judge. Is this judgment cruel or is it an attempt to understand something that cannot truly be understood unless you are “in” it?

I know that I have questioned whether or not I have said enough, did enough or supported enough when I lost a dear friend to suicide. I cannot imagine if it had been someone in my family. I do not know how their family coped and went on.

We are all touched by a bit of madness in this world. Can we create balance when mental illness, drug abuse, alcoholism, addictions and an overall race to go nowhere seem to be the driving factor in many around us? Can we speak our truth without causing pain and destruction? When we come to understand, truly listen and practice principals of kindness in our own homes then we can give better out in the world. When we set boundaries of safety around us and those we love, then we can show respect through our self- discipline. Letting go of the destructive forces that drive and manipulate some are difficult when we are wearing blinders within ourselves as to how we see the world.

The music of nature and its balance are the cures I wish for the world. When we see the perfection and grace of joy and laughter as well as pain and tears, then perhaps in balance the fulcrum will rest in the middle of the depth of human perception and all we are created to be.

Blessings to anyone who is struggling in this crazy world we live in. Love each other and importantly love yourself enough to not destroy the goodness within. Show respect to those that differ in opinion and rest in the knowledge that you are unique and special in a vast wilderness of sky, space and eternity. Step out and do your best. We all beat to an inner rhythm that in unison creates harmony and peace. Perception is the heart of our reality.

We Are One


 ConnectedI met T in January when she was speaking onstage at the Woodford Folk Festival inside the “Green Room”. Her topic was “Transformative Activism”. As I recently had begun this journey of alliance and bringing people together to achieve the perceived unachievable, we were heading towards something extraordinary together on parallel paths, entering into a world of known and unknown simultaneously. It was time for a change and a time to build a new story. These words spoke directly to my soul and I listened. I was captivated. Today, her words and her recommendations lie deep within me and motivate me to move forward sometimes in the face of doubt. I am grateful as I speak the truth.

Pure joy and deep emotion crossed the lines of what it meant to be an activist in T’s eyes. Her warm and welcome smile and American accent drew me in. I felt a connection and a mutual understanding. Her mannerisms and the way she tilted her head led me to feel truly heard and understood. She was like a breath of fresh air in a world closed and “all good”. We spoke briefly over a cuppa as she engaged in deep conversation with each person under that warm tent on that stormy day. The moisture and humidity hung thick in the air like a curtain waiting to fall. I knew that we would meet again. I could feel it in my heart.

 

The Festival ended and we kept missing each other as we tried to communicate and catch up. Time passed and then an email relationship began over the planning of our Workshop. Email became skype and we could “see” each other. I learned of the “stand up” workstation that she created for herself and that I will create now as I build the new editing studio. Detail was exhibited and T’s deep process led to many hours planning, molding and forming the content of the creative space we would engage in at Wild Mountains. I continued to be awed by the purity of spirit and heart that was expressed over time. She shared a copy of “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible” (Sacred Activism) by Charles Eisenstein and I continue to reference this in process of our connection and to those that attended the workshop. Words such as “Hope shows us a destination, but a vast territory, the territory of despair, lies between it and us.” Come from this writing and ring true.

 

Our workshop was an exercise of wonder. We came together from all states of Australia and the combined facilitation and venue were perfect. The rustic nature of accommodation proved difficult and challenging for some but this was all a part of the process. T, once again, showed resilience and integrity as she maneuvered and adapted to the change and direction that was led by all. Cynicism led to hope and connection. Campfire stories became truths and secrets to hold onto. We were in this together and the road was just being paved. In just one weekend we journeyed deep and far. The momentum now, is wavering but beginning to take shape.

I go back to the stage at “Woodford” and I feel that hope as I go on. We burned the heart and are creating our web inside the parameters of the now. I thank T for inspiring a change within that holds true to the “new” story being written out of the ashes of despair. As we write this new story, we let go of the ways that no longer serve and speak up bravely for what we know to be true.

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Upworthy and Free


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Upworthy and Free

Today I woke up and the air was crisp. The cats were snuggled up one on each side and “Cookie” was at my feet. Rex said goodbye and off he went to travel north. I could have gone back to sleep but my mind was active and inspired by 2 stories I came across.

I have been silent for a bit as life and koalas have drawn me away. The dividing lines are being drawn like warfare in government and corporate driven economy all around me yet the people are standing up and speaking their truths with passion. It seems two steps forward and one step back yet we learn with each mistake and we move forward nonetheless. Old ways are changing and this transition is difficult for some. It means we must step out of apathy and the status quo of consumerism and greed and stand up for our basic rights. We live a bit more simply and we learn to connect again in profound ways. It reminds me of the 60’s and 70’s when I was growing up and I am grateful. People are drawing together in common cause and this is strengthening the community. There are bridges between the causes that connect us all.
I believe, that through principals of kindness and authenticity, the truth will be told and the world will continue shifting. It won’t be easy but we will have fun along the way! Our blogs and our connections will be the true media of the future and the corporate owned twisted stories will be transparent. Writing gives us freedom to express our inner selves so I have decided that I have waited too long!
Today is the day I start my book and these are the stories that inspired me to begin.

The first is “A Nine Year Lesson in Bravery” by my good friend Joell.

We learn so much when one close to us dies and there are times when even those we know not too well, catch our hearts and we are touched deep within our souls. Thank you Gabriela. I remember your smile and the fire in your soul.

http://www.squarepegfoundation.org/2014/05/a-nine-year-lesson-in-bravery/

The second story is one that I connected to deeply as I watched the TED talk by Amanda Palmer.

Amanda is honest and true and she lives with less fear than most outwardly. She is authentic and raw so you get a glimpse of the true yearning within as she walks us through her truth.

I am on a journey that is taking me places I have never discovered before within myself. It is exciting! It is frightening! and… It is real!
We live in the molds we create for ourselves because it is rare that we feel safe. I recognize this because I have recently felt fearful and this was foreign to me albeit but a few times in my 52 years. I am stepping out of the mold.

http://www.upworthy.com/an-8-foot-tall-woman-is-destroying-the-entire-music-industry?g=2&c=ufb2

May you all be inspired today and may your actions be true and authentic. Off I go to begin……

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“My Funny Valentine”


“My Funny Valentine”

Me and My Gal

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Kookas Laughing

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As Valentines Day is not my favourite holiday, today’s writing challenge was truly that, a great challenge! I was feeling more apt to draw or walk in the bush than write, but my weekly goal was not yet met and today was the day. Then, a perfect reminder flew into the garden whilst I was waiting in the hammock for inspiration.

Hammock Inspiration

A cacophony of tones and chirps and full bellied laughter erupted in the trees above me and reminded me that every day is a day to feel love, show love and inspire love. It begins with a smile!

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Windsor and Friend

Windsor and Friend


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So, I continue to smile and I listen. I sit in this very magical moment on this very magical day. I think of my husband and my children and all the fur children that surround me and although I may not be that inspired to write, I am inspired to just be!

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Journey


The past few months have been full of changes and challenges in my life and my usual sunny demeanor and self assuredness have been rocked and rebalanced, awakening to a newer view with eyes wide open. My pen has been silent. My mind has been busy. My tears have flowed. Creativity has been brought to life through the paintbrush instead of the pen and it’s spirit has been free and easy. My internal spirit, however has struggled. Losing 3 friends to cancer, hit me hard and had me re-examining my own mortality as we passed through autumn leading into winter here in Australia.  In the northern hemisphere, spring has passed and they are celebrating summer. The darkest and lightest day brought new connections here and a source of peaceful support. I find myself reflecting on the big changes that have occurred during planetary changes in my life. This ones a big one! The nitty gritty truth of life and family, memories and new horizons, importance, all come to play in the seasons of 2012.

In April, Rachel and I set out for a mother, daughter trip into the heart of Australia. I had my new little economical car we nicknamed “Bubbles” to depend upon. Rachel had her “L”‘s clinging to the front and rear windows, displaying her new freedom in learning to drive. We were on a trip of a lifetime in her 16th year! A trip riddled with interesting twists and turns to come.

My dear friend, Andrew passed away the morning we set forth on our journey and I received the news as the last bag was packed tightly into the car. It seemed too soon to lose such a beautiful man with so much to give.  It all happened so fast and left such a huge hole in the heart of our little theatre family at Noosa Arts. Our tears flowed as we drove north. I remembered our promise to sing for him in Kings Canyon.

We stopped at Cameron’s and shared our journey with his family. I will never forget all of Ian’s advice about potholes and kangaroos!  Leone asked for a food report upon our return, as to where we ate the best pies.  I am still lacking a verdict on that one.  Her olive loaf was given to us to munch on in our travels and we had lovely snacks of bread with cheese to keep our awareness up while driving. She too, was in our hearts as we drove on. As Leone battled the end of a long journey with cancer with more grace than I have ever witnessed, Rachel and I checked our air pressure and were on our way, exploring throughout our drive, the essence of life.

We stopped to visit a fellow koala friend at the “Flying High Bird Sanctuary” and enjoyed the free flight birds and friends we met there. We mined for sapphires in mounds of dirt in Emerald. We stood atop huge bolders created long ago in “Devil’s Marbles”. The further we travelled, the closer we came to the ancients. It felt like being in the land of the dinosaurs. Each town had whispers of the past. We listened to “The Host” by Stephenie Myer in a series of discs that broke up the monotony of many miles with nothing in sight but the mirage of heat on the dusty road. We witnessed suicidal butterflies and dodged kangaroos, emus and cows!  Many great discussions and debates were had. When we reached Kings Canyon, we celebrated under a blanket of stars. We sang in the Garden of Eden and I dropped a token stone in the clear waters in memory of my friend. Andrew was with me in his spiritual home amongst those walls. I could feel his presence and felt peace there. His wife Di was with us in Uluru as we all said goodbye from near and far and celebrated the man he was. It was April 11, which is also my “Special Day”.

In Uluru and Kata Tjuta, the technical difficulties began.  First, my computer died and I lost what I had written thus far on our trip. I also could not skype for that interview. I didn’t get the job, but realised that this was for the best for many reasons. We met some camels!  We met Esther.  I was offered a job there!    Perhaps I will explore that one in the future. We slept under more stars than I have ever seen. The milky way lit up the night and the moon was full. The pull was powerful.

Then the camera died! A true death it was, with no hope for repair and brand new! Well, at least I had taken plenty of photos and video footage before it died so breathe in and breathe out!  More challenges but I still had my phone camera. Then, the phone kept losing charge!!!! Rachel had her phone so we used that…. I knew there must be lessons in this but in the midst of them, I hadn’t found my answers just yet. We drove on and found ourselves in a lovely hotel cut into the rocks underground in Coober Pedy. We witnessed a magnificent sunset there and encountered more flies than I ever could have imagined. The phone camera served us!  We drove on. The speed limit was sometimes 130km/hr and the road was neverending. Fuel was incredibly expensive!  We camped and cooked food over fire. We drank champagne. We left the electronic world behind and simply sat in each other’s company often struggling with our mutual and independent inner battles. I’d like to think it brought my daughter and I closer and to a new level of our evergrowing relationship.

Then there was Port Augusta! We entered the town after a long day of driving. Rachel was at the wheel. I gave directions and then our journey was halted as another vehicle slammed into the passenger side front corner! Poor “Bubbles”! That challenge was the most challenging of all!  We were in shock but we met another new friend, Sherilee! We communicated with our family and with each other. We cried and we healed. We coped, sometimes. Frequent flyer mileage and hotel points saved us so we made the best of it by going to the “Wadlata Outback Center” and that was fascinating. We explored aboriginal history of the area and we walked everywhere. We took a bus to Adelaide and after weeks of camping and cabins, we stayed in luxury with a great view from the 17th floor at the Intercontinental! A spa and a meal and then a flight home and our mother /daughter journey ended in a whirlwind. Only 14 days had passed and I began my month without wheels. Bubbles was left behind in South Australia and life continued on the Sunshine Coast, business as usual but without a car. From that day onward is Journey Part 2 so stay tuned…….

Hang in there!

I speak the truth