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.

 

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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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Triple Memory Inspired by Song


 

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“Memories”

 

I love this assignment!!!!!!! 15 minutes of “free” writing inspired by songs? Easy!

I immediately turned on youtube and looked up videos of the first 3 songs that came to mind. I listened. I sang along. Now I begin to write.

 

The first song I thought of is one that has inspired me my entire life! “Landslide.”

Meghan singing young

“Belting It”

I remember walking in a field of snow, the ice puddles crackling with each step. It was winter and I was in between breaks of a school trip. I believe it was a cheerleading competition and I was in 7th or 8th grade. Stevie Nicks was my idol and she was whom I most related to at the time. I was a young girl looking for love and music was so important to me. I sang that song on that day as I walked in a field of snow and I imagined that I “was” Stevie belting out the song for all the quiet winter world to hear on that day. I had friends that loved FM as much as I and one that particularly stands out is my Gypsy friend, Michelle.

"Stevie Like" What a Night!

“Stevie Like” What a Night!

 

“I took this love and I took it down. I climbed a mountain and I turned around and I saw my reflection in the snow -covered hills, until the landslide brought me down. Oh mirror in the sky, what is love? Can the child within my heart rise above? Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life? Uh-Uh, I don’t know. I’ve been afraid of changing cuz I’ve built my life around you but time makes you bolder. Children get older. I’m getting older too. Yes, I’m getting older too!”So?

 

Later in life, I sang this song to my kids as a lullaby. I remember tip-toeing into Rachel’s room when she was 2 or 3 and she would still be sitting wide-eyed in her bed. She would beg, please sing me a song. Please!!!!!!! So I would sit at the edge of the bed and stroke her forehead and sing to my hearts content. I don’t remember singing it to Josh as much but Sarah and Rachel, yes. It kind of became “our song”. As they got older, they sang it with me. We even sing it today!

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The next song that came to mind was “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights”

Fragments come to mind. It is teenage angst and anticipation and power and lust! It represents that feeling of the emotional tug and pull of the heartstrings and in the loins. It meant dancing and sing-shouting with my friends as we were lost in the abandonment of the moment. I remember the prom where all the girls went together and where we sang and danced and lived as if there were no tomorrow.

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“Well I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday.

It’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night. I can see paradise by the dashboard lights. You gotta do what you can and let mother nature do the rest. There ain’t no doubt about it we were doubly blessed. We were barely 17 and we were barely dressed! Before we go any further, do you love me, will you love me forever??

It was long ago and it was far away but it was so much better than it is today…..”

 

What power and emotion that song had! Oh yes, times have changed and I see my children suffer as they grapple with the pains of growing up. We suffered too, likely very similar. It was a time of change and revolution! We were on fire! Our music still motivates us to let it all go and I wonder if these songs I sung and remember will be included in the songs my kids remember? Occasionally, they still witness me singing with abandon when a favorite old tune comes blasting over the speakers. Sarah got to witness it today as I prepared to write this and she sang along to Meatloaf too so, you never know?

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… and then there is “Your Song” by Elton John.

It is a song that has stood the tests of time. We sang it at our wedding nearly 25 years ago as Rex and I exchanged vows in Laguna Beach, Ca. We have lived all around the world. We have had big houses and small houses. We have owned and we have rented. We have been “rich” and we have been “poor” but we can never say we were ever bored! Life has been a fantastic adventure and it continues to challenge and inspire me. Sometimes it gets me down but music can lift me right back up and today I will spend my time with music as I write.

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“It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside, I’m not one of those who can easily hide.

I don’t have much money but boy if I did, I’d buy a big house where we both could live. If I were a sculptor, but then again no, or a man who makes potions in the traveling show. I know it’s not much but it’s the best I can do. My gift is my song and this one’s for you.

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss. Well a few of the verses well they’ve got me quite cross.

But the sun’s been quite kind while I wrote this song. It’s for people like you that keep it turned on.

So excuse me forgetting but these things I do, you see, I’ve forgotten if they’re green or they’re blue

Anyway the thing is, what I really mean, yours are the sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen.

And you can tell everybody that this is your song. It may be quite simple but now that it’s done. I hope you don’t mind. I hope you don’t mind. That I put down in words.

How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”

 

To all of the people who have shared my life and have influenced my life, the power of music memory, brings you all back! You know who you are.

1. Landslide, Fleetwood Mac https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sQ7cuYgjzw

2. Paradise by the Dashboard Lights, Meatloaf http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1ijqd_meatloaf-paradise-by-the-dashboard_music

3. Your Song, Elton John https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwzdVHTNpXs

 

 

 

A Window in Time


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If I could go anywhere in the world, I would step back in time and travel to my bedroom of 1978.
I would lie down and gaze out at the small bush beside the flat garage roof with a small peephole into the sky outside my window! I would change history and go back to when life was simple and the world was gentler. My room was at ground level and my bedroom was partially underground alongside the foundation of the duplex we lived in under the Maple trees in Western NY. When I opened the window just a crack, I could feel the seasonal changes and smell the woods. In the winter, the snow would leave fingerprints of crystals upon the glass and gave the feeling of being in an ice cave but warm and toasty under the flannel duvet. I could become a fairy princess or an ice queen in a horse driven carriage. I could become anything I wished to be just by closing the door and imagining.

This bedroom was my respite. It was tiny and the one window across from my single bed had white doily curtains, which hung below its length to draw the eyes downward to the dresser below. The view was simple but satisfying. The curtains were tied on each side by a yellow ribbon and this brought light and cheer into my little haven. My mom would also bring me a sunflower or a bunch of daisies from the garden to sit in a vase on the armoire and upon this sat a framed photograph of my dog, Princess, the Dalmatian who I had for only a short time. To the left of the window and slightly higher on the wall hung a large painting of Abraham Lincoln, whom represented a sense of justice in my world. He was always my favorite US President for he showed kindness in an unkind and prejudice time in history.

My bed was beside the door and when the door stood open beside it, this provided a cozy little cubby to write in. I felt safe and secure. There was a shelf on the wall beside me where perched was my diary which history was waiting to be written in. This book was my best friend and as an only child, I often spent days and evenings creating and writing. I would sketch or tell stories and I would gaze out the window for inspiration. If I were sitting my view was completely different than if I were lying down. Day and night provided different views as well. Everything I needed was in this room.

Below me, my bed had secret drawers and when I had a friend sleepover, there was a trundle bed that pulled out. This bed spread out towards the bookshelf with the pull down desk. The books on the shelves were of farm and animal stories, medicine, science and studies of the natural world. I loved horses, the outdoors and riding in the woods. I dreamt that I was going to be a Doctor one day or a Veterinarian. I had a boyfriend who was my first love at this time so it should have been a happy time in my life. However, there was a dark cloud above me as my father was very ill. This reality often broke my thoughts and my happy dreams. I was a child becoming an adult too quickly and I could not slow down this process. My father was dying and I was only 16 years old! Alcohol was killing him.

This reality was often not spoken about. It just was there, leaking from the corners of the rooms within and casting a shadow on the “ideal” life I saw in my dreams. My bedroom was my happy place, my sad place, the place where I could be “all me” open and vulnerable.

If I could go back there now, I would spend more time with my dad. I would talk and ask questions. I would listen more and judge less. Because I was 16, I wasn’t too keen with his volatile temper and mood swings. His drunken silliness where he escaped to was a source of embarrassment. I could not see that he was hurting, as I see now. My father was caught in a web of genetic tendency, a tough life and deep damage due to WWII in which he fought. He was a deep soul and an artist and yet he went to war and suffered from what we now know to be post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Had he been treated and didn’t seek alcohol, he likely would have lived longer than 57 years.

The memories come rushing in and I am right back in that room with all the thoughts of a 16 year old. There are many stories to be told.

These stories lie beneath the surface waiting to be told. If I could go back to my room and gaze out my window once more, I believe that these truths would come pouring out onto the pages and they would contain traces of my tears. I would look out in day and remember the light and the texture of that space and at night I would gaze into the stars and still dream of a better world. The dark shadows would lift as I fly free.
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Stream of Consciousness Today


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The kookaburra sits above me, majestic and true. His early morning call brings his mate to see what the early dewdrops upon the fresh blanket of falling leaves have stirred up. The chooks forage and find a juicy worm and the kooka swoops down to see if she will share. No luck today as “Bobby” gobbles it up and moves on. This is all in a morning of antics, the wild world I live in on the Sunshine Coast of Australia.
Our home is in the hinterland and away from the sea yet the birds we see often make their way from the
salty air to our garden and have a rest. One particular bird nearly got our chickens the other day but luckily they sought shelter and Rachel made her presence known to avert the gaze of this predatory wonder. She described it as “really big”, Grey and brown and very fast! I imagine it was likely to have been a Black Kite or a Brown Goshawk.
Since then, the chickens are more reticent and stay closer to the house, only seeking the immediate confines of the gardens closest. They must always be on high alert because there are many risk factors for ground birds in a habitat full of bush predators eager for an easy meal.
GoannaGoannas often stalk the area looking for eggs and the Carpet Pythons have been regular visitors as well. Carpet Python

The seasonal changes bring new adventures and risks. The bird that nearly swooped “Bobby” away and had “Cotton Top” missing in action for a day is just one of many we are likely to see here. Chookas Overhead, there have been Sulfur Crested Cockatoos and a few days ago I was fortunate to witness 2 Glossy Blacks squawking as they passed above the canopy. From the tiniest wren to the Tawny Frogmouth, all have been welcome visitors as we share their space. Each day I try to take the time to notice and be grateful for all that is around me. I fear that one day, our children and grandchildren will not be able to witness such wonder as the world is full of greed and need and lacks the balance that once was. Every morning I get up and hope that what I do will make a difference.

I love living here amongst the birds and the critters as well as with my own animals.We live in balance and harmony as everyone gets along and looks out for one another. When I study the animals, I realize how very lucky I am to witness their wonder. The ultimate trust is won when they choose to be just inquisitive enough to check me out and stay close without fear for awhile. That is the balance I live in and it feels like home. Time to grab the camera!

Autumn in Australia

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