Without Gabbie


Soulmates

Soulmates

As we enter the 11th month of our grief, I feel a collective fragmentation where once there was connection. Tragedy pulls and tugs at the heartstrings amongst us and we return to a place that is forever changed. Life without Gabbie. What does this mean?

On November 28th 2014 our beautiful Sarah lost her soulmate. The beautiful boy that brought laughter and joy and hope to us all, took his last breath beside her in a mini-bus on a rainy afternoon in NZ. Their adventure ended in tragedy through exhaustion and I remember getting that call like it was yesterday. I remember the words spoken amongst parents and children and family and friends, the frantic planning and flights booked in a blanket of shock and denial. These are details that are etched in my mind, raw and fresh. Others fade with time. All are part of my story.

After the accident, we floated through each day in a surreal landscape, riding waves filled with pain and shock and disbelief. We held each other. We cried. It is indescribable. I felt as though I had been punched in the gut and I could not catch my breath. The wind was taken out of my sails. Although I was not in this accident, my body seemed to remember a pain from long ago that led to an understanding that rocked my soul. I too, lost a friend at a young age when he was hit by a drunk driver. My empathy for Sarah came from an inner knowledge buried long ago within my 15 year old self and I identified my own pain alongside hers. What an epiphany! This led to many conversations and questions within. Sometimes these questions came in the middle of the night, sometimes during the day and in time they have become less and less. When they do come, they are hard hitting and sometimes unexpected. I breathe and I sit with it and I send out my Love to the Universe.

When tragedy strikes and we lose someone we love we go into fight or flight mode. We re-evaluate and analyse our life. We ask the “big” questions, or at least that is my experience. Sometimes we get the support we need and other times we have to work through it on our own. Never the less there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do grief. We just do it!

Our daughter is alive and well and thriving despite this great loss and she has matured in so many ways beyond her years. As a mother, I wish I could take all the pain that lingers away but I cannot. Only time can do this. We have a long way to go but we are getting there. We miss you Gabs!

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It Begins


Transition in Time

Transition in Time

I have thought for a long time that I would write a book and always there was the busyness of “life” that was my excuse as I denied myself the daily practice I needed to begin. I would start and stop. I would self-judge and say, “No, that’s not it!” Then I would put it aside and have huge gaps between times of writing. It was not until last year, that I was shocked into just “being” and in this present state, I received the answer as to where to begin. It is “NOW”. So I, have been writing privately.

In 20 days, we mark a year since   receiving a phone call that would fundamentally change everything in an instant for me. The tragic accident where Sarah lost her best “mate”,Gabbie, sent our family on an unforgettable journey. This journey marks an end and a beginning in linear time. My book begins with this and will tell the story of the light and darkness that have lived within me as I embark in my own personal quest to “be” whom I am meant to be as I share my inner truth. May it help others as it helps me too. ❤

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.