As the dusty and crater filled road sweeps around, edged with thick green forest an outcrop of buildings emerges, opening to a carpark with an OM symbol on a signpost.
Kangaroos laze like families on vacation, noses twitching, passing the time. A kookaburra starts laughing.
Burning wood and the warm scent of oranges drift to meet the nose. A plate of orange peels sits on the wood-fired heater. Shoes are removed and the next wave of smells drifts in– spices, cumin, herbaceous and welcoming. A faint waft of incense is in the air. However, it is not strong. It is an element.
We are greeted warmly.
The kitchen to our left is a bustle of activity. Not noisy. There is a busyness, but I observe this is a quiet calm busyness. There is no hurry. No eye contact.
Clean, crisp, worn and trusted, are the words that bubble up in my mind.
It is raining this day. Gently, then heavily. While we wait for our host, we sit in a mud brick temple, glass hobbit like windows peeking at the greenery outside. Beads and ancient symbols decorate the walls, and the rain falls down like a soothing pitter-patter- Why is rain so soothing?
We go for a walk amongst the abundant market garden, a destination for global specialists, botanists, and horticulturalists.
Every section planted and plotted as it has been done for thousands of years continents away. A gardening hut sits at the entry of the garden. Inside are saved tins containing harvested seeds, 50 years worth. Heirloom seeds. A trove full of jewels. Do these seeds capture the genetics of lost nutrition? A lost nurturing of the passionate gardener and gatherer of goods?
It feels tribal here.
Why am I here? A dear friend and mentor recommended the Ashram to me at a time of turmoil 2 years ago. My experience is this is a place outside the hurry curry of the world. A beautiful bubble where you can sleep, you can rest and learn. Learn so much… How not to rely on the feedback from people. How to be on your own in your own thoughts in a space where it is perfectly acceptable not to interact on any level other than- where do I wash my dish? No pressure. Acceptance from that which comes from within whispers.
Some people welcome it, some brave it, some reject it.
Sometimes our inner noise is confounding and deafening, we need the hectic of life to fill the void, so we don’t need to have a conversation with ourselves. Those convos can be deep. Too deep. Life changing deep. Or it can be a gentle getaway for those seeking quiet.
Every time I go there if it is for morning tea and a meditation session or a 3-day stint- something of incredible value is gleaned. Unpacked gently and quietly in the comfort of beautiful nature.
You will not find cappuccinos or fancy yoga gear. Comfort, ease, and lack of adornment are at the face level of this special place.
Today I get to sit and palaver by a fire with Swami Atmamuktananda, lovingly named Atma by those that know her.
She has returned this year from the Camino, a 330 km, trek – 20 km a day. A pilgrimage thousands of people from across the globe take each year to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. Camino Information Click HERE
The mantra she spoke every day was for peace and wellbeing.
So how did this delightful human become a Swami?
After traveling the world as a young woman for 7 years across continents and oceans, Atma returned to Australia looking for something different. 10 months into running a vegetarian restaurant in Perth a Yoga person came to visit. Life was never the same again. Atma was seeking completeness that she could not find in the Western World. She traveled to India and stayed for 10 years. Her journey leads her in 1976 to become the caretaker of the Rocklyn Ashram. India’s sister Ashram in Daylesford Victoria.
42 years later here we are.
In India the positive impact Ashram life has on its local community is immeasurable. Tonnes of rice and vegetables are provided for locals, children can come and eat whenever they like, distribution of medical supplies and blankets as well as building houses and shelter are just some of the services provided by the Ashram.
The wageless life of a Yogic Life is filled with gifts says Atma. She is looked after by having a roof over her head, warmth, access to good food, and fulfillment. There is no superannuation, no medical but there is contentedness. The Ashram is self-sufficient and relies on the caretaking of its inhabitants and visitors to make it available for the general public to enjoy.
So what is a Yogic lifestyle? Is it sweating it out in our Lorna Janes, bending ourselves into pretzels and stretching those muscles? Well, this is a western interpretation of the original lifestyle practice made up of many facets that began thousands of years ago, but to give you the very simplified version-
Hatha Yoga is primarily concerned with bodily purification practices which tranquilize the mind and discipline the body, based on the principle that one can become aware of higher states of consciousness by manipulating the different forces and systems in the physical body. Hatha Yoga considers the body as the temple of the soul and as such should be kept in excellent condition.
Mantra is chanting or repetition of sounds which have an effect on the mental and psychic consciousness of man. This is a powerful way of approaching meditational states, for the mind is rendered calm and at the same time concentrated on the mantra.
This is the yoga of dynamic meditation or action performed with meditative awareness. Karma Yoga is doing work with complete awareness but without attachment to the fruits or outcome of the work. The work is not the means to attaining some reward, payment, etc. It is selfless work. It is work in which one loses identity with one’s ego. One merely becomes an instrument. When visiting the Ashram, it might be gardening, preparing vegetables, folding blankets or sweeping the paths. Think Mr. Miagi wipe on, wipe off.
It goes on from there with various practices, but for the beginner, these are the daily practices at the Ashram.
As a Christian woman I have never felt my beliefs have been at threat when visiting the Ashram and in fact, my experience has been quite the opposite. I ask Swami Atmamuktananda why this is so.
“Yoga is not a religion, and it need not be a threat to any belief system, because it is a science of the body-mind lifestyle. It is science, not religion. People become stressed and need a place to stay, a place with a structure and simplicity, a place where personal reflection can be heightened when there is no life clutter. There is nothing personal at the Ashram, it is open and unobtrusive. There is a level of comfort where all is provided, a nurturing comfort zone if you can allow yourself to let go and accept the environment for what it is- you can experience Ashram life and the gift it has to offer.”
“This offers stability and routine each day, there is a regularity to daily life, of re-establishment we all need. There’s no having to rush, everything is there for you. These practices and this environment allows you to enhance whoever you are.”
The simplicity of the Rocklyn Ashram is no accident. There are no televisions, radios, and phones are respectfully asked to be left switched off.
“Not having the senses so wildly exaggerated as they are in the outside world helps to see within. Externalisation makes people stressed and confused, the outside world bombards people with all of the noise, this is not natural to our state of being. So we are honored to provide this space in Victoria for people of all denominations and walks of life to come and practice Yogic living to help rebalance and harmonize themselves. People tend to seek acquirement instead of peace, and this can be a very lopsided journey. A Yoga lifestyle helps to restore and rebalance this,” says Atma.
The Rocklyn Ashram attracts schools, VCE students, Backpackers, CEOS, Doctors, Nurses, Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents and Retirees, every walk of human has passed through those doors from around the world.
I ask Swami over all of the years what is the biggest issue facing people right now in 2018.
“Financial status and image, we find it very difficult to detach from these things. Never before have I seen such an attachment to physical appearance, an impermanent state.”
It has been my understanding of the philosophies of Buddhism and some Hindu practices that we need to “not attach” and practice detachment to gain insight and enlightenment.
Atma says “we cannot avoid attachment, we are human beings and it is is in our nature to attach, and there is nothing wrong with this. We get into trouble when detachment comes into being. We don’t know how to detach. The detachment of external factors can cause problems in paradise. We attach ourselves to things of impermanence- knowing very little about our realness, and it is when these things disappear, it leaves us in trouble. We don’t understand where our central self is and we depend on that impermanence.”
I consider this. It is easy to fall in love, but not always easy to detach from it.
We love life, but we find grief and dying a problematic concept. I took up smoking easily as a teenager but found quitting difficult. My eyesight was expected, something I took for granted but losing it was detaching from this natural expectation that I should be able to see. My life is mine to keep…Hmmm.
What is the funniest thing to witness at the Ashram I ask Atma because for me it was the abundance of porridge and fruit that made people fart in Yoga class-torture for me to not burst into idiotic giggles over?
“Sometimes the Mantra process can really bring joy up in people, or they have experiences where joy, grins, and laughter may erupt or anger. People can become quite funny when they get cross. It is funny the expectations people sometimes have, their interpretation of things can cause a reaction which can at times be amusing.”
So is there life after death Swami?
She smiles warmly, “There are pointers to indicate a continuation, there are thoughts and beliefs that there is a proposed system of continuance. Don’t you ever get the feeling you are picking up where you left off Kirsten?”
Yes, I do Swami, yes I do.
Rocklyn Ashram Details:
The Ashram offers a range of retreats to cater for everyone’s circumstances, from:
day visits to weekend or midweek courses,
personal time out stays and
retreats of one week,
one month, three months or one year.
Visitors require no prior experience in yoga and are encouraged to participate in the general daily program with the Ashram residents. The program includes a morning yoga class, Karma Yoga (a practice of awareness), Yoga Nidra (a deep relaxation practice), evening meditation and varied evening programs.
From Glam tenting at $25 a night to full ensuite stays at $105 per night, all inclusive of meals and accommodation. The Ashram has affordability options for everyone. My favorite is the morning tea, meditation session and delicious lunch for $20 held daily if you are visiting the region it is a beautiful day visit to get acquainted.
What will it feel like?
It will be like nothing you have ever felt.
How will I know?
Oh, you will know! It will be the worst pain you could experience in your life. You will either be dead or wish you were.
Good to know.
Social Skills may not have been in his repertoire but hard facts certainly were.
When someone tells you this, you don’t forget it.
I forget my pin number and my sunglasses. But never this.
Then it happens. The Thunderclap headache. Standing in the kitchen having a conversation, perfectly normal. No build up. No symptoms, no warning. Instant projectile vomit and what feels like someone shooting me in the brain from across the room. Shock. Trauma.
Not in that given order.
The pain. Today, some six months later I can’t believe I could be in that much physical pain and not be dead.
The ambulance came quickly that night.
Then the sirens. My name, over and over again. Kirsten, can you hear us?
She’s not breathing; BP is dropping. I answer. Why can no one hear me? They can, someone is screaming. I think it’s me. Don’t leave me.
The rolling vomit, the wave after wave of nausea surges through my body, like nothing I have known. The entire contents of my body feel like they are pouring out of my mouth. A tsunami I have no control over, and my whole body shakes and shudders from the violence of it.
By the time we got the hospital I was passed out, pupils dilated, and I was in trouble. A suspected brain bleed. 25% of bleeds cannot be picked up on an MRI; they require a lumbar puncture. I had one of those once. Never again. When one’s spinal chord is impaled with a thick needle by an intern with shaky hands, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I awoke in time in between vomiting to say No thanks. They were not happy with me.
By Friday I was washing the dishes and planning dinner. At my kitchen sink, with what felt like a hangover but no other symptoms. How? How is this possible?
Gratitude, wonder and then Uh Oh set in. Then “everything is fine today, so let’s move forward, nothing to see here” set in. Its the survivor in me. Thinks she’s a cross between Charles Bronson and a Williams sister. No one likes a martyr. The grief counselor reassured me this sweet denial was a path to potential disaster. It happened. It happened to me, it happened to Lothario, my children, my brother and a lovely friend we had visiting at the time of the “Incident.”
So I went to Magnetic Island with my youngest son and Mamma bear for a month. I wrote it off, played with him, had adventures, explored my second home some more in all of its pre Summer glory. I enjoyed the company of my island friends. I walked the beaches alone and cried out my fear, my panic. Papa G and I had many conversations on that beach. He was helping me mourn.
What was I mourning?
Well, it’s more than easy, in fact it is downright intoxicating to forget you are unwell when your symptoms do not stop you. You are invigorated by the hypnosis of a fulfilling life and do not want to subscribe to fear. EVER.
But then there is being emotionally truthful. The fact is unless someone comes up with a solution, I am not going to hold my grandchildren. I will not get to be old and grey with my boy. I will very possibly die from one of the most physically painful experiences you can have. Or I could end up a vegetable sucking bacon and eggs through a straw and getting Sunday visits. Sound depressing? It is! Bring on the Tropical Island and a few well deserved Margheritas.
Rule: don’t ever talk about this to people. They will stop you immediately with: Well I Just Know You Are Going to Be Okay, I Can Feel It. Or No Kirsten, Don’t Say That, YOU WILL BE FINE.
Here’s the thing, I am really glad you can feel it.
I know that the love we have for people makes us want to make them feel better again. For those reading this that have said that to me, I love you for caring enough to say it. I am invested in believing that I am going to be fine too, 365 days of the year which is 825 days longer that they expected me to live. BUT sometimes shit gets real.
Sometimes it JUST IS. Left with the facts you then rely on your faith to surge through again, creating an equilibrium that is a force to be reconned with. In the meantime? There are moments of emotional truth. Good or Bad. Pretty or Ugly. They just are. But this can be distressing to others. So I don’t do that. I take it to God. I take all of those “thoughts” and talk to God about it. We are sitting in a kitchen eating pancakes and discussing matters of the universe. Like what on earth is She going to do with Stephen Hawking now? Whoa. That’s a big one.
There are people out there who walk around with some disease inside them, not of their own making. Someone operated on me and made a mess of my brain. The entire contents of my cerebrum, my grey matter, the old think tank and noggin is being held together with a microscopic thing called a FRED which isn’t doing it’s job very well, because it has slipped and has created a high volume bomb ticking in my head. Sneezes- dangerous. Flying – Dangerous. Humidity and the Common Cold ain’t great.
Constipation now holds a genuine concern. Vomiting? Forget it. Anxiety, Stress, and a raised heart rate are the worst. But head knocks? I can take those. I have titanium in there. One unfortunate head butt from my husband getting out of the car almost knocked him out, and I didn’t feel a thing. It was quite amusing.
As much as I love Louise Hay, I did not manifest this. I am human. Therefore I can break.
I did not have unresolved anger issues, but thanks and no Frankincense oil under my tongue each night won’t cure me or special drops made from a rainforests Monkey’s toenail clippings, as delicious as that sounds.
There is a process involved, and it has taken me places I never dreamed possible.
So is it a dis-ease? Or is it a blessing of the most peculiar kind? Depends on the day. Everyone lives and everyone dies, why does dying have to be the worst thing that happens to us in the Western world? Why can’t it be a celebration of how we lived and then the next journey begins? Like saying “Wow, you lucky thing, you are off to Hawaii now! Good luck and see you soon!” “She’s gone to walk with Jesus, lucky bugger.”
Because time is relative don’t you know? A word of advice- religion is not just a safety net for the emotionally weak. I am strong. I did my research. I believe in Physics. I believe in science. I also do not believe in chaos, but design. Conclusively. I do not believe in some Zeus like Gandalf in the sky. Please with a cherry on top, do not spruik your disbelief about the existence of a universal architect to the possibly dying. It is unkind. It’s just a shitty thing to do.
This journey is upsetting at times. Especially times like “the Great Vomiting incident.” If I can change that fear, that sadness I will. Purely because the vibration is heavy and it doesn’t feel very nice. Good one Captain Obvious.
But it is life.
It is. None of us get out of it unscathed or without learning, so why pretend we do or can? For me, its the faith I foster through it and the learning it presents me that creates joy within the crisis, as I have mentioned before, the alchemy of it all is the light that changes any darkness.
Think of it like walking in a deep dark cave, you know you need to turn on the light, so you do. You find yourself looking at a cave filled with magnificent, luminous waterfalls, diamond-lined walls, and beauty. But you are still in a cave. You have stumbled over sharp rocks, trying to find your way in a cold and hard place, and everyone else is standing in the sunshine. You are in a cave. No denying. There’s the emotional truth bomb. It’s what you DO with it that counts.
Sometimes the message is clear for me to write about this path I walk.
Other times I don’t think it’s a great idea. I enjoy writing other things more. I enjoy writing for others more. But I am reminded. It’s not just about me.
I reminded that there are 1 in 50 aneurysms out there. I am reminded that there are people out there in Australia who have a Used By Date that just keeps going. There are people out there that every time they cringe with a tiny pain, their child looks at them with fear and they must wrangle with the conversation “no sweety, I don’t plan on dying today, did you put your uniform in the wash?
There are people out there who are losing friends and family because the journey they walk is too painful for others to bear, so they walk away. Sometimes it’s time. It takes too much time. Seriously? You keep going on about dying, but you are still here.
Sometimes some desperate people feel it would be easier to bring that final journey closer because then it’s in their control. That’s a scary one. Researchers at Baylor University Medical Center believe depression, grief, and suicidal thoughts affect up to 77 percent of people with a terminal illness. Would you like an after dinner mint with your taboo topic?
There are people out there who have been told they are going to die and it feels like someone took your arse and shoved it through your nose and out your ears.
Then you have to get back to being “normal.” You have to make sure it doesn’t ruin you, consume you or turn you into a victim. Becoming a victim to me is like denying the existence of a JEDI, somewhere a light saber just dropped dead. It’s just not cricket. (I was only joking about the Light Saber thing if you doubt my cred about the whole God thing.)
You are out there. Hopefully, you are reading. Hopefully, you feel a sense of connection that says I am not alone.
I see you. You are not alone.
PS- I know Mr. Hawking was an Atheist, but at the same time I wonder if he is having maple syrup with those pancakes?
Beyond Blue: https://www.beyondblue.org.au
BRAIN FOUNDATION: http://brainfoundation.org.au
By Kirsten Macdonald
She was sure she heard someone call her name. The voice had a feminine lilt with gentle humor etched on the edges. She opened her eyes, dry from the flight and the voice bearer was not near. What did the sleep doctor call it? Hypnagogic state. A foggy place. The peripheral.
This reminded her of when she was tiny, sleeping in the bunk of the truck cabin. The scent of leather cleaner and dust was familiar and warm. She was left there to sleep in the locked metal hulk while he went in the roadhouse. She could not remember why or where she was there, six-year-olds are not concerned about locations. But the girl was snug in her travel space.
The veil between dreams and here lifted slowly, and a pale light drew her eyes over to the driver’s seat. Her ankles squeezed as did her little heart.
A striking tall illuminated shape, something like a person, transparent radiant blue, like a human firefly sat there. She could not see a face but sensed a watchfulness. A sentry, a nutcracker soldier, guarding.
Fear was not there, but wonder filled the girl with a particular type of awe like the time she first saw a rollercoaster. Struck with an intense wonder she stayed very still.
The girl blinked, and blinked and then it was just gone. As she woke, the wonder disappeared like a popped bubble. Who was her visitor? Her human firefly was from that moment tucked under the file called ‘To Be Explained.’ She did not mention it to the busy and faded grown-ups.
During the day she was tucked into her world titled The Bunk. 180-degree views through the elevated truck cabin around her made her feel like she was floating above the world, a princess being carried on her throne.
Occasionally she was fed small packets of potato chips and bananas, golden with brown splotches, ripe from the heat. Dried banana chips were the best, the squeak they made when you bit down was bliss.
She remembers her fear of bones, after reading Jack and The Beanstalk, the fierce roar of the Giant grinding Jack’s bones to make his bread. When they got Chinese food, she licked a Prawn Cracker, and it latched onto her tongue, she bit down and wondered if this was what Jack’s bones felt like. She retched. Sometimes she felt like Giants drove trucks too and she was the stolen harp.
A tin of hard-boiled lollies warm to the touch was empty when he wasn’t watching she opened the lid. The small popping noise of the lid made her smile; she would lick her finger and dip into the little crystally shards of leftover pieces sitting in the powdery sugar. Like sweet little pieces of glass, they would sit on her tongue, and she would feel them dissolve and time how long it took them to disappear. She did this all with very quiet joy. She was already learning; she had to be careful not to upset him. Princesses were only princesses when they were quiet.
The crackle of the CB exploded with male conversations, gravelly like sandpaper and littered with swear words and laughter beyond her understanding. They had a magic to them, messages floating through the air from truck to truck that the little people driving their cars did not know about. They knew where the coppers were, and did you see that Sheila in the blue Datsun? She had no idea who Sheila was, but apparently, the menfolk liked her a lot everywhere they went.
The hills rolled by, carpeted with green grass then within kilometers were replaced with paddocks, crisp dry clumps of grass and sheep that were skinny after their haircuts. She imagined the lives she had lived here once before where many little animals could speak and be friends. There were no grown-up people there, just grown up animals. Wise and strong Aslan types who laughed hearty laughs and gave hugs that did not hurt but made you feel all wrapped up.
In the here -now- life the little one knew that animals could bite. Like the spider at school. All black fur and spiky legs, she wanted to look closer but was scared of being eaten. Some creatures bit, not because they were nasty but to protect themselves. How she wished she could communicate that she was different. To the others.
She did not know why she just was. The mean just didn’t live in her. She wanted more than anything to brush the hair of a lion, to ride on the back of a bear, to be piggybacked through the jungle by a gorilla.
She once had a butterfly land on her finger. She believed with her whole body it was because she had asked nicely from a gentle heart.
It would take many decades for her to learn her same feeling for human friendships. Biting happened frequently.
She created the stories; she lived on that hill where flowers sang her name and tales of Briah Fox were true. Very tall trees were an escape to another world.
A tree striking up like an old man alone in the dusk challenged her to remember its shape. She held up her hands up like a camera and took a photo with her mind; then it went into a file cabinet in her head. It was a faded green color like the one in Pa’s office. So many files in her cabinet tucked away for later.
As a grown woman she cannot recall what she was saving them for. Perhaps it was for right now, right at this moment as she sat on an airplane high above the ground remembering the age of six.
The plane is nearly empty, and she looks over the next aisle. He is watching her. He is her Aslan. Sometimes his wildness scares her, his distant self when he needs to walk alone can make her feel like she’s vulnerable. Her fierce woman fury rises from the depths of survival when this happens; her eyebrow raises in haughtiness challenging everything that might bring her undone. He has taught her that men can be good. She is safe and does not need to draw her sword.
She touched the gold cross that sits on her chest. The full, rounded aching now in sweet and sour waves that is 2018.
Author’s Note: certain things happen to us on the fringe of life, at the tips of our memory, the edge of awake and asleep that echo of a story. Like a haze above the hot road and the magic of a firefly, if you look directly, it peaks out of view. Peripheral wonder. To remember we were all children once, that wanted to shine, not from attention but for want of harmony and joy is timely. The wildness of joy may scare people, but your tribe will arrive. You might even stumble across a human firefly together.
For John xxx
What is that smell?
It is my feet.
Hard working people, fun people and people with awesomeness dancing in their soul like Michael Jackson on crack have smelly feet. It is a fact.
Truth is I do not own many pairs of socks. They don’t like us here. I like bare feet. Bare feet and a nice Jimmy Choo do not mix. Neither do Kmart boots. Just saying. Information is information.
Polished floorboards and a soaring roof glide above like a church cathedral, of glass angles and the smell of the ocean is drifting through the wide open doors. It reminds me of my old ballet haunt. My children are laughing at some random joke they made, most likely inappropriate and just out of ear shot. He walks in and kisses me on the cheek, asking how many goals I kicked today. A little warm and fluffy ewok like animal otherwise known as my Dog licks my ankle. My heart gets big. So big it feels like it will take off like hot air balloon right out of my chest and my eyes start to water. It is too bright in here. So much light.
Will it leave?
Will it last?
Maybe that is not an ewok licking your ankle darling maybe its the black dog? He is here to ask you Who Do You Think You Are. You Cant. People Will Say Things. People Will Poke At You. Be Smaller. Cmon Turn Down the Volume on that Light. That Little Light That You Let Shine. No, surely not.
Fear knocked and the door, faith answered, and no one was there. Ah ha, I remembered we aren’t mates anymore.
Gratitude pops in for a cuppa and a squeezey hug. Fear is losing his grip people, he is losing his grip. Fear is a big ogre with nostril hairs so vile Roald Dahl would dry reach. The man has sold millions of copies of books. He would be a great judge.
There is a place we call cuppa snuggles. It is the time when all the ODonnell women folk make a cuppa and jump on my king size bed for gossips and chats, laughter and silly reminiscing. Remember the time Nanna spat her teeth out? What about that time we ransomed the dog for chocolate biscuits?
Her and I stand and look at the ocean together and smile, it is happening. It is really happening. We spoke of this, we whispered about this place when we were smaller. When the world was big.
Mum, why can’t you?
I am so sorry, but I am really tired, it has been a big day, and I am a bit dizzy.
You have time for other people, but not me.
No sweet child, if you only you knew. All my love goes to you and your siblings. I do what I do for you. Your smile makes me breathe, and your heart is my treasure to protect. The universe gave you to me, and now I must give me to you. It is written in the stars and in our biology. We have been friends for eons you and me.
When they are so small and tiny they need you; when they are big and independent, they need you. Balancing…on a budget
I haven’t heard from you; you sound really busy. Things must be going well. You must be doing alright if you are in Point Lonsdale now, business is good huh? Its a bit far away from the go-to people in town though isn’t it? Oh well, each to their own.
That is correct.
Is this a hairdresser? We need a hairdresser. I do hope you are useful here.
No, its a wordsmith agency of awesomeness.
Least do no harm, that is my motto, this anti-seizure medication will do the trick.
Yes Ok Doc.
Why am I SO HUNGRY, its the anti-seizure medication. That cow is making my mouth water. What the actual hell is going on? Put down the bacon. I said put down that bacon.
To be fat and live or to be thin and sick? That is the question.
Mum! Dad is going to be pissed, your dog ate his new Yukka plant.
For the love of Jehovah. Eye Twitch.
That bloody dog! Three dogs. Why do we need three dogs?
Its a pack thing. One needs a tribe and a pack. Now we have a pack.
Mum! Dad is going to be cross, your dog just ate his new socks!
The actual pair of glorious cotton foot pockets that matched had now crossed into the abyss of dark matter otherwise known as Kelpie.
I have never felt so inspired, your story, omg your story! I was so scared to put myself out there; now I know I can do it. I know I have to do it. Because my story matters. My story needs to be told, and I understand it isn’t just because its mine, its because it will help someone else, and that’s more important than being stuck in fear. It is about communication and human interaction. Smile. Yes my dear bright and shiny human, it does. You matter. You all matter. So much.
Chairs are pushed in, the looks on faces make my heart swell again. They heard. They felt, and they understood. These beautiful seeking, learning humans.
Fear once knocked on this door but doesn’t any more; he’s gone up the road for a listening ear. He worked out his BS isn’t welcome here anymore.
Mum have I told you today that I love you? Would you like a foot rub?
Yes please favorite child, but first may I make you some pancakes?
Let’s turn up that French jazz music, how groovy is it?
You guys are seriously messed up, and lame. Who listens to Jazz Music and talks like that?
You once did before hormones took over you child. This one still has at least a years worth of reciprocal love left.
Hey, Dingus, do you need me to get milk on the way home? (Heavens open, choir sings.)
Why am I so tired? I wish that nerve would stop twitching every time I exercise. It makes me nervous. What if its the aneurysm?
Don’t think about it; it will go away.
It will just pop on you, exploding in your head bigger than the Sydney NYE Fireworks and Y2K back in the day, and Bobs your Uncle you will be standing there looking at yourself wondering what the hell happened and who’s that standing over there? Archangel Gabriel? Wow, you’re much taller than I imagined, Gabe those wings are working for you.
Did you come to meet me personally? What do you mean what am I wearing? I am stuck with this for the Afterlife? No, I did not know that there was a fresh hole in my pants near my… Bikini waxes are so yesterday…
You really need to buy some better activewear. You old fave puma trackies and holy t-shirt are so gross. You are not a hot mum. What will you do if you actually die on one of these walks? You know how people are, they won’t stop they will think you are a homeless person. Of THAT ILK, the low brow type. You know what people think of homeless people. Except you and a few good eggs. You know what its like to have no home.
F%$k it, and f$%#, Lorna Jane.
Bikini waxes are out of fashion; bikini waxes are out of fashion.
Monash University would like to congratulate you on finishing the first part of your certification.
Mindfulness. Breathe in. Breathe Out. I am that I am. This too shall pass. God give me the strength to move through this world and do not harm but to radiate all that is good and pure.
MUUUUUUUM! Do you shop? There is NO FOOD!
We would like you to get on board and donate your time to the cause; we only need you to drive over 6 hours to do it, it will be great for the organization. They need people like you.
My kids need people like me.
No, I do not want to lock the door and put on my sneakers. It’s Tuesday. What! Is it Saturday? Oh wow, that went quick. Where are those Nikes?
Marlborough Sav Blanc
Good morning Monday! ALARM SCREECH.
Read More From Ponderings….
Welcome to 2018.
Got a catch-cry thrown in your face yet?
Don’t die with your music in you.
Blah de blah. Pulease.
Ok, sure. Is that because I am filled with 2000 unplayed hits from 1976 to 2017 that have not been amped up? You’ve heard it before.
People telling other people how to live their lives is not always great. It’s kind of hierarchal and patronizing. It’s kind of like sucking eggs. It’s a little bit of I’m better than you, like Tina Turner in a Bald Man’s Support Group. “I’ve worked out how to have a perfect life, I shall assume yours is worse than mine, so I shall tell you how to live it and you too can be like me.” Heard that old song? Enter Fade to Black Riff and Sinatra’s My Way- LOUD. Unless you are of course a self-help junkie.
Enter the commercial guru. I have news: you need to pay for self-help like a fish needs a bicycle. Good luck with that. It can cost you even more. Unless it’s a super good psychologist, those humans are worth their weight in Peppermint Crisps.
There might be an exception to the telling though. The telling of truths might need an ear. What if, just for a moment, someone had actually seen behind the curtain for a peek, a preview of the matrix and heard the warning call. Perhaps it is like watching everyone around you and you know there is a tsunami about to hit but you don’t tell anyone. You know it like you know how to count your fingers and toes that the water is rising and all of these people may suffer, they are oblivious to the life rafts tucked behind that tree, and you don’t even whisper a “look out.”
Now what? You don’t want to get preachy, you don’t want to tell anyone to suck anything, let alone an egg and yet here the burden of the truth sits in your lap. Quite heavy.
What if that little peek turned everything you ever knew on its head and inside out, leaving you with so many answers to questions and so many questions to answer?
In the Western world, we are so hypnotized by the social rigmarole of expectation and reward that we sink into the achievement of it like quicksand. By doing this and not paying attention, you can slip.
If you are happy to live that quiet, calm and uneventful life, not noticing, then good for you. The world needs peace, tranquility and comfort. More of it probably. Comfort is the root of all yearnings. Since dwelling in caves, we have sought the soft bed and warm soup, cold water on a hot day, the soothing song of a mother’s love. Comfort is a psychological carrot dangling in front of our eyes. There is nothing wrong with it, so long as the chase for it doesn’t have us blindfolded.
Many of us have a calling. Have you felt it? It sits deep down within us, it’s a path we are called to walk. Who calls it? Maybe that is your journey to discover. That’s not up to anyone to define for you. But it’s there, an intrinsic calling to go your own way. It might be all leading to the day you are at University as a 37-year-old, and you save a young man from being hit by a bus because in 10 years time he comes up with an algorithm saving lives in a hospital. It might be to quietly inspire others to be brave enough to grab onto love or something new. Or you might be a movie director in the wings, burgeoning to changing the world with a documentary up your sleeve. You could be a carpenter, a sheep herder or a mother of 4 and a wife to none. Who knows? You do. Deep down.
Don’t pretend it isn’t there.
The problem lies in the lack of attention we pay to that whisper within. Filling one’s life with have-to’s that are mere echoes of our social environment’s expectations is as hypnotic and fulfilling as a hearty Italian lasagne. The essence of self-virtuosity will become a drug. Except for that niggle. It says “there’s more.” You ignore it at your own peril. Sometimes you might even project it onto others as a displaced issue. Because in that virtuous hypnotic everyday ordinary there are rules. Step up, don’t step up too high. Too much, but don’t do too much. Find a girl, settle down, if you want you can marry… you get the drift.
For many, a negative health diagnosis brings the questions and answers on, flooding you with insights like that very tsunami. Sometimes it’s a death of a loved one. It can be a tiny peripheral spark of the divine that starts it. It might even be in the bottom of a cereal box. For some, it doesn’t come until the last moment of our stay here, because the music of the world was too loud for us to get our rhythm on. Sometimes it’s an 8-hour operation, and a peek behind the curtain…
The world will tell you not to listen. It will beg you to be a part of its groove. He needs to get a job; he needs to do this, she needs to do that. She did what? Who told you that? Who says so? Find your rhythm and be accountable to it. If you want to live on a pittance and never work a day in your life other than to volunteer feeding the homeless while you live in a caravan on an abandoned building site? Knock yourself out. If you want to go back to university and become a doctor and adopt 150 labradors? Go for it. Or perhaps you want to have a career writing what you love, traveling and playing chess with your kids, baking cakes and selling tyres. Whatever it is, don’t waste that precious time you have here pretending the inner calling isn’t there, hiding from the whispers.
Dance in the quiet as much as you can until you can hear the formation of something. Spending time in solitude can do it. Walking in nature a LOT, or on the beach will do it too. Meditation and chanting are known to assist. Yoga and Tai Chi are rippers. Prayer is the big one. Many different amplifiers will help you hear the whisper. It doesn’t cost you a fortune; you don’t necessarily have to go to India and live with a guru for 28 nights (mind you I have heard it can be quite effective too).
A program on a cruise ship that cost more than a month’s wages with someone yelling at you using NLP and ABC won’t really do all that much in the long term. You have been provided with everything you already need to hear your own whispered tune. It won’t necessarily be an epiphany, it might be the tiniest step, the microscopic pinch of an idea but it will lead to a mighty treasure hunt filled with rewards that lift you up out of the mire and into the truth of everything you are here to do. Pay attention, write it down, be accountable and tap your foot. Watch what happens when it turns into a deafening orchestra.
A whole heap of space matter, minerals, and infinite energy went into creating your existence, so please use it wisely. Take it from someone who’s clock is ticking as loud as the rhythm, it will be worth every bit.
PS-, there are some lifeboats behind that palm tree.
To close the door on energy that does not serve you, and makes you feel less than- is OKAY- I have learned.
You see; I was raised to believe that we must forgive everything. Every. Little. Thing. I believe this ideal was forged with good intent. However…
I took it literally and without really understanding what true forgiveness was. What ensued over the course of much of my life was a doormat mentality, often allowing other people to walk all over me often unbeknownst to them I am sure. A lack of respect? Possibly. People only do what they can get away with don’t they? Hmmm. Ponder.
But it wasn’t because I thought I was less- than. It was because I believed in second, third and fourth chances. Treat other people the way you want to be treated. God knows I am sure I have had bad moments where I have unintentionally mistreated another human. I would hope to heck they would forgive me too. You see my reasoning?
I have always been good at identifying people’s pain. Happy people don’t treat others terribly. So therefore if someone was treating me like sh*t- I empathized, tried to understand and got on with it. To the frustration of others, it seemed.
That is until it started making me sick. Literally. Have you heard the lingo? Dis-ease. When the body is the opposite of ease. The Black Dog loves it, laps it up like mother’s milk and then some. That sneaky little guy sleeping under the table grows into a wolf biting at your carotid artery before you can squeal mercy. It does terrible damage. Because we humans have layers. Like Shrek, and we tuck them deep down for later on. So deep, we can even forget they are there.
Now as a person who has successfully shaken off the wolf, this is not something you want happening, particularly when your life has hit a crossroad of “uh-oh, might not be here for long, better sort my personal baggage stuff out.” Not to mention the fact that there is now NO ROOM for negativity. There is only room for real. For healing. For love. Yeah right. We are human remember? Skin and bone, flesh and faulted. This stuff isn’t like blowing a bubble with a good detergent. This is PURGING people.
This discovery is where an interesting theory starts to gather potential in your soul. You can sit there and reflect on the “other person” or “People” “making” you sick. Or you can take a look at the behavior around you and work out if it is heavy, if it is light, what can be learned from the situation and then take responsibility for your space. Then move on.
Because if you don’t, guess what happens? You allow yourself to become a victim. A ‘them’ mentality ensues, and this is very heavy, very unhealthy and unproductive.
Who knows who is right and wrong? It doesn’t really matter in the long run. All that matters is that it is no longer compatible to smiling, to laughing and to a lightness of spirit. It is no longer compatible with honesty and reality. A weakness and degradation can set in, or the worst- being emotionally dishonest with yourself. Where you tell yourself pretty lies to hide the pain, you paint the black scuff marks of your life with glitter paint and call it forgiveness. This can be particularly hypnotic when the forgiveness echoes from a place from long ago. You simply must look after your spiritual and psychological health as much as your teeth, wearing clean clothes or washing your smelly bits. Not in that particular order either.
Genuinely unpacking moments and acknowledging them, wishing another human all the best and cutting the chords without negativity takes a lot. It takes personal permission. You aren’t doing anything wrong, wishing lousy health or nastiness on anyone. You are just saying internally and in your heart – goodbye, thanks for the learning, but I can no longer continue to drink this poison. Sometimes you can even cultivate a real sense of peace, the kind that lets you take a sweet big deep lovely breath. Occasionally you can also release with love.
You could really be doing that person a favor too, by releasing them from the hold.
If you believe what many do- thoughts have power, thoughts are “things”, the last thing you want is to be shooting out thought arrows at other humans. Keep your arrows to yourself. It is so vital to our life to treat others without hurtful intentions.
So, how to do it? How to move forward with grace? It ain’t easy. I am still learning every day. But I know someone who does know how to begin the process. Because this is what it is – that very chic word right now- Process. A series of moments that are stepping stones that lead to what one hopes for- an epiphany. Leaps can be uncomfortable, but they are so very necessary.
I spoke with Practitioner Des Carter. This man and his amazing family of healers (yup, there’s a tribe of these peeps) have been a part of our family’s health recovery for the last 10 years. I will leave you with Des’ words of wisdom.
How important is it to forgive in our lives? For some people, it is relatively easy to forgive, but for others, it seems impossible and deep down resentment builds and life does not flow as it should.
The following prayer by St. Francis of Assisi shows us how we can cultivate the essential quality of compassion that can lead to forgiveness.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury let me sow pardon.
Where there is doubt let me spread faith.
Where there is despair let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness let me bring light.
Where there is sadness let me bring joy.
Grant that, I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
In pardoning that we are pardoned,
And in dying that we are born to eternal life.
When we really take these words into our heart, the true meaning of forgiveness is revealed.
What does it mean to forgive?
Firstly it does not mean that we are approving another’s behavior in any way. What it does mean is that as an individual, we are able to free ourselves from the power this person’s behavior has over us. When we release this person from our conscious thoughts, we take back our power, therefore allowing us to be free. In freedom, we are able to really live our lives as we should. If we feel good about ourselves there is no room for anger, resentment or unforgiveness. We begin to attract positive experience to our lives, with value and appreciation of our true selves.
About Des Carter:
Des resides in Geelong Victoria, is an experienced Trainer, Kinesiologist, Reiki Practitioner, NLP Practitioner, Holistic Human Development Therapist and Meditation Teacher, who works in private practice. His passion is assisting people to develop their self-confidence and self-esteem enabling them to address personal issues in their lives.
Contact: M: 0432 925 063. E: firstname.lastname@example.org. W: descarter.com.au