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.

 

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.

Triple Memory Inspired by Song


 

Yosemite

“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.

dancing with lisa

“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?

on horse

 

… 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.

wedding two

“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


with father

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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Journey Part 2


Months have passed and much has happened and yet my pen sat silent. All I could hear was the beating of my heart and the screaming within my soul. I was inwardly restless, smiling on the surface, yet deeply and profoundly sad underneath. My expression came through a paintbrush, a photograph or a conversation but I seemed paralyzed and unable to express myself authentically with words. Being a perfectionist, I did not want to write in a negative way, so I remained quiet. Epiphany: My authentic truth would never be spoken if I remained still, so thus I write.

This year, I set high expectations. I was turning “50” which seemed a milestone. Little did I know that these expectations would build me up and knock me down several times until I learned the lesson once again.  If we set our expectations too “high” then we open the door for “high” disappointments. That, I did and down I had to come. A recent bout of flu stopped me in my tracks and I listened to the inner rythm that told me to be still and wait.

Rachel and I had returned from our journey to the Red Centre feeling quite defeated and I had to depend on others for transport. Something had changed between the two of us. There was a greater honesty and sense of connection. This incredible challenge we had experienced together driving across Australia provided us with resilience, communication and truth for what was to come. Grief grips you when you least expect it, and you must journey through the dark, in order to find the light.

Not long after our return, the end for Leone was near.  Cameron’s mom was dying and Rachel was to experience death in a way she had never grasped it before. She had been young when experiencing death before. This time she was nearing adulthood, 16 and it was  a different experience altogether not too unlike my own in losing my father at 17.

Witnessing Leone’s path opened my soul. I lost a 3rd friend in the span of just a few months. The experience connected Rachel to deeper feelings of empathy, understanding and kindness. She and Cameron share a special bond now that will give them both strength and wisdom in their futures.  Grief continues and comes in the ebb and fall of the tides. Challenges and heartaches weave their webs into the lives of changing ways and adaptations. Love continues in our personal truths. Every day provides a blank canvas of the fibre of our life as it is now in 2012.

I stopped volunteering at the Wildlife Hospital and my contact with koalas came through carers, rescuers and their stories. I witnessed cruelty and lack of integrity in others and was greatly disappointed by their actions. Animals continued to inspire me and give me hope.

I met a new friend and began filming her journey. She showed me a path to continued strength in her integrity and perseverence. I am awed by her kindness and compassion for the animals as well and admire her lack of feaar as she steps out and speaks up. Together, we are connecting others in the fight to save the Koala, yet the battle is long and often disappointing. Baby steps overcome hurdles and one step at a time, we move forward in passion and forward drive.

The koala was listed as a Vulnerable Species in Queensland and New South Wales and Regional pocket populations were given significance. Others, such as the Strzelecki population in the Gipplands in Victoria, were ignored. This was a great mistake and one that may prove to be detrimental to the genetic diversity of all koalas in the future.     However, a “Listing”  is a start and a catalyst for change perhaps. There is much more collective work to be done and a continued pressure must be applied to help save our furry friends!

Our  film, “Making Room for Koalas”, received an award and was shown on Virgin Airlines during the months of August and September. I hope that the film can continue to do good over the coming months in our quest to get the word out there and to create action for change.

A group of fellow activists and I put together the “Sunshine Coast Koala Summit ” which brought a dynamic group of experts together to work collaboratively to create a plan for the future. This Summit was held over two days in August and we have delivered a report to Council and the Mayor 0f the Sunshine Coast that thus far has been ignored.  “What is best for the Koala” is not necessarily in the forefront of government thinking, however,  growth and development are. Unfortunately for the koala, these two polar ways of thinking may lead to their demise in Southeast Queensland altogether. The time for change and action is right now or we are likely to see them all but disappear.

This week, Bob Irwin has asked me to meet with him to speak to State  Minister Andrew Powell. I have also met with Federal Minister Tony Burke, alongside Charlie Lewis in the Somerset Region. I ask myself, why did Bob choose me to go with him? I can only answer that he saw my truth and for that I am grateful. For those of us in the conservation watch tower, we look at what is best for ALL wildlife and also what is best for everyone’s future. The two are not seperate, yet often ignored, through greed and ego. Government is “talking the talk”. Now I would like to see them “walk the walk”!

How can we achieve what is necessary as more and more koalas die??  It is time for one of our political representatives to stand up and have the courage to do what is best for the long range future for the koala and for us all. It is not sustainable to go on as we have, destroying the very fabric of what life is based upon. Their are many variables yet only one true path for a sustainable future. It is  time that we inspire others to do their bit for the animals on this earth every time, day forever.

Personally, I have taken a sabatical this year to re-evaluate what I am doing and what I would like to do. Another challenge awaits as we will be moving house once again like nomadic gypsies. Each experience brings new light and new lessons.

The tears of sadness I have shed  have brought me to the other side with grace and wisdom and joy!

I set forth in a new light and with renewed energy and enthusiasm. I crave simplicity in complicated times, yet this raises the question,  “What is Simple?”

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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

Far Away


When our children are little, it is so hard to imagine the day that they will be leaving home and creating their own life, solo. Time flies and you travel along and one day you wake up and that day is there. They have their wings to fly!
I have to say that my journey with my eldest has been amazing thus far. Until a year ago he gave me little trouble and made mostly all the right decisions to guide his life. I so often glowed with an inner pride and felt my heart would burst. Since then, there have been stumbling blocks and disagreements between us and I have missed the times when we could just talk and share wisdom. I miss him now as he travels abroad. However, my heart still swells with the pride only a mother can feel. It also swells with angst and worry at times and I try to let that person inside me guide towards positive reflection so that I can stay balanced and centered.
Today, I helped my eldest daughter Rachel with her preparations for her future and it brought me back to a couple of years ago, when we first came to Australia. Josh, at that time, was so sure of his future and where he wanted to go, he knew exactly what he wanted to achieve and he went for it! Within months in a new country, he became school captain and his mission was to save the koala! He worked hard in his studies and achieved his International Baccalaureate and he was Young Volunteer of the Year. He was active in drama and he burned the candle at both ends (somewhat like his mother). This last year he has done the same but in a different light. He worked 2 jobs and saved for a gap year trip abroad. He broke away from “home” even though he still lived here, his priorities shifted and he grew and changed. He now travels and reflects and revisits his past to find his future. It is a great opportunity! I hope that all of his dreams come true and that he comes to know what direction is next on the compass point of his life right now. As he spreads his wings, may he always know that home is where the heart is!