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.
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?
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.
2 weeks ago we farewelled my darling. Nellie Florence. This was the reading we did.
Nellie Florence, otherwise known as my Nanna- she was my caretaker from the tiny age of 2 to the age of 6 until I started school. Mum worked for Nan and Pa’s furniture removalist business, and Nanna opted for taking care of me.
I do not remember one cross word. The only time I got into trouble was when it was cousin time, and for some reason when my cousin Kelly and I got together mischief prevailed. My influence of course. She admitted to me years later that often she would have to leave the room, for her terse response to the folly was masking amusement she had to hide for fear of encouraging “silliness.” But every school holidays when I came to visit for weeks on end, it would be Kelly, Kirst and Nanna time. Did we drive her nuts? You betcha. There was that one time we played hide and seek in Nan’s car; only we didn’t tell her? The police were called… oops.
Nan taught me from the time of being very young that it was the small acts of faith that build the bigger ones and I would ask isn’t God too busy to look after little things? And she would say “No! Because we all have angels and God around us all the time, his messengers and they help. So always send a prayer up!” We literally taught that to send a prayer you were physically sending a request from the heart, and she taught us that. So from the age of 3 I knew, you asked for a car park? You got one. In the busiest street of Burleigh Heads. You got a car park. She taught us the importance of service to others.
It was ingrained. Others before self, others before self to the point where even now, its super ingrained! But it was service, service to others. And she showed this throughout her life. As an RE teacher to little children in primary school, it wasn’t that she was Bible Bashing as such, it was that she had an activated REAL relationship with God that lifted sorrow from her, like nothing else. It was her total saving grace all of the time, and she walked in grace all of the time. For her, the idea that other people weren’t enjoying that, and didn’t have that safety net, that sense of joy and faith horrified her. It was NOT for the select few; it was for everyone. She was genuinely worried for other people and she desperately wanted them to know the joy she knew and that peace.
When she saw people were in pain, she would talk to them about her joy and her faith, and for many, it was sometimes a bit much.
But for others, I don’t know how many of you are in the room today, but I know that there are many many people that sought that grace and found it through her shining the torch through a dark time.
Another beautiful part to Nanna was her forgiveness. Her forgiveness for others was so strong that sometimes it challenged us. You would think “How on earth could you possibly forgive that act” or “this person” and she was steadfast in that forgiveness. And one time I said to her in this certain situation “How? She was my Nanna, but as I became older and more mature from a girl to a middle-aged woman, we would have this womanly chats about life and I would ask her “How? How could you forgive?” “and her response would be “But carrying around the hate, and carrying around all that anger, that’s not about them, that’s too heavy for you. It hurts you. It’s not about them, it’s about unburdening your heart from their deeds and letting them go.” Now that I am getting older I am realizing, it’s not about saying whatever that person did is ok, it’s about releasing the heaviness and handing over the weight of hatred or anger.
We have been so incredibly blessed to have her in our lives.
There was a very tumultuous time in her life after Grandad died and we saw events happen for her where she was deeply betrayed by people she loved and cared about; she predictably forgave them. She moved forward but what came next many saw as “oh she’s just getting old” but what we saw in her was pain. She had forgotten how loved she was, to the point where some relatives would visit and she just didn’t answer the door. It wasn’t because she didn’t want to see them, it was because she didn’t believe she had anything to offer. She had lost her value to herself. She had given herself over to service in her life so much, that to not be in service to people due to old age and ill-health had to her losing her self worth.
She stuck to her routine, just passing the time. Life had lost its shine, while she stuck to her beliefs as firm as she possibly could, the nature of people had let her see a side, she probably, in all honesty, didn’t realise was there or didn’t look apon. It infiltrated. She had a stroke.
And for many many years, my sister and I had wondered how great it would be to move to Bendigo if only to look after Nanna. I remember as a little girl saying to her “Nanna, you take such good care of me, why?” her response was “because I love you and one day you might take care of me” well that must have stuck! So right through our adult lives, my sister and I have had this idea of how wonderful it would be if we could care for her. So we went to visit her after the stroke, and it wasn’t looking very good.
We checked in with Papa G as we call him- (AKA the mighty Gandalf of the 4th dimension, AKA God, AKA- Universal KingPin, and yes there is a feminine aspect. Have you seen the Shack?) do we take her with us? The resounding answer was Yes. Now is the time. The thing was the consensus in the family was that there was no way in a million years a 89-year-old Nellie Florence was leaving Bendigo, uh uh no way. It’s just not going to happen. She’s not going to leave. We went to her- we said to her- would you let us, would you be brave enough just to bring yourself to this new place so we can care for you? You will be treated beautifully, and you will have a visitor every day. To our absolute shock, she very quietly said “yes”. All she wanted to bring with her was her nighty, her favorite teddy, a picture of Jesus and a few family photos and that was it. It was a new start. She actually became excited again. We found the best nursing hotel aka del la McEncroe we could search for and it was beautiful.
My siblings and I, we went and decked out that room like it was the Hamptons.
We had a ball. It was as though the Queen mother herself was moving to Leopold. It was going to look the Goods. I still remember the nurses being like “Oh my gosh, what’s with the posh designer room?” There were lots of pink things, angels, memories of her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. And she got a visitor every day.
We had access 24 / 7 and she was a late night owl, so it would be nothing for us to pop down there in our pajamas of a night-time and tuck her in, or have cuppas and chats about life and love and nursing home gossip. I am pleased to report, with only being there for a couple of months, she turned to me and said “I really am loved aren’t I? I really am loved, I must be with you all doing this for me and wanting to be with me.” And I said “How could ever have thought you weren’t? You aren’t just loved, you are adored. You are the reason we are all here. You.”
And her great-grandchildren would visit and we would say to them, this lady right here, is why you exist and without her, you simply wouldn’t, ” and the nursing staff adored her, they loved her. She was beautiful, she was cute, she was appreciative, she was loved, and she told them and us, while she was there that the last 2 years have been the best in a decade and that is pretty special.
As she relaxed, the stoic sternness of propriety dropped just a fraction, she was as sharp as a tack, and her humor shone through. She developed the giggles and would have us all belly laughing until we couldn’t breathe. She would share stories about being a young woman growing up in Bendigo. Of romance, of funny tales, setting up the dance hall on a Friday night and having races on the cleaning cloths and laughing until it hurt. Of her love for Pa, for her children. Funny stories about her children when they were small.
This recent stroke, it all happened very quickly. I went to her bedside and said to her “I don’t want you to go” She looked at me puzzled and asked why? Because she knew where she was going and therefore I should know better. You see, we spoke about dying her and I. Quite a bit. We had these awful dark humored jokes about who would get there first. Who would be waiting to greet who? There was no fear at all. She would have assumed that I should know where she was going. And she said “Oh, no it’s time for me to …” and motioned her hand upward with the biggest smile. I said “I will buy you a puppy, or do you want two visits a day? What do I need to do to keep you here, because I know its so selfish but I don’t know how to be here without you in it” I tried every trick in the bloody book to keep her here. I should have known better.
She smiled and she said “It’s all fine, it’s okay, it’s ok darling, you are going to be just fine and I am going to be here still.”
When Nanna passed, I had my hand on her heart, and it just stopped. And she didn’t die. She didn’t die. She left. And when one leaves, it means they have somewhere to be.
It occurred to me afterward, that not only did she teach me so much about life, and about living, but she also taught me about my dying that it was a journey and it was not to be feared. So, that was her gift to us. She was a teacher, that was her thing.
For the record, you know you never know when you are going to leave. This is true. But when a doctor tells you that you are, when your body tells you and when a Nanna feels that she is; a feeling happens. I can’t explain it. But the knowing is what sets you apart everyone else. And it isn’t depressing, it isn’t morose. It is a fact of life. We come into the world and we all leave the world.
When I was a child Nanna read to me the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, she was a CS Lewis fan and his theology, and as some of you will know, Aslan the mighty lion in the tale is CS Lewis’ Metaphor for Jesus. Not tame at all, but powerful and fierce, protective and strong.
A few nights ago I had a dream that Nanna was a young woman, I was walking behind her, and she opened the door of a wardrobe.
We stepped through, and she waited. She was not old; she was young and beautiful like the photos I have seen of her in wartime, elegant and classy. She stepped onto the snow, and it crunched under her shoes, and I thought- Oh wow, she hasn’t seen snow before. A massive golden-haired lion walked up, she looked at me with excitement and knowing. She climbed upon his back, stroked his mane and whispered something into his ear. He turned and walked away, she smiled and waved farewell to me, riding this massive lion. I was almost envious and knew I had to come back into the real world and woke.
So I will leave you my favorite CS Lewis Quote:
“All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now, at last, they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
Chat soon Ponderers xxx
For those that are interested, one of our favourite movies that has been adapted from The Shack stars Sam Worthington- check out the trailer:
It is difficult to be caught up in a tangle of survival. Its very essence can stir you around like a bottle in the ocean.
I imagine myself hanging on to that bottle for dear life. It is dear. Life. So dear.
It isn’t until I look up out of the lurching rolling waves that I see a hand reach out for mine. I see a boat, and I reach out, grabbing, swinging a leg over the side and up into the timber nest I slide, gasping for air and feeling relief.
I get really scared every now and again. My biggest concern is that I don’t do enough. I worry about wasting time. Wasting dear life. I don’t like mundane activities very much, but mundane also has a place in life and without it, the profound could lose its meaning. There’s the whol inoperable brain situation and there’s life really. Life. What a word.
You see, there are a whole lot of “I’s in that paragraph, and it seems to me when the focus is all on the “I,” it can become intense and all consuming. The heart and soul can feel fuller, lighter and more profound in other ways.
Perhaps one of the aspects worth lots of introspection is spiritual health and attention. I think this starts with the bigger questions or the deeper ones that don’t echo with the emptiness of a needy and fearful “I” but instead make the ground shift and mountains move with the resounding “I AM, followed by “We Are.”
When I speak the word, spirituality-I do not speak about religion. I have nothing against religion personally. I am talking about the Human Spirit and its interaction with the mystery and marvel, the magnificent dance with the greater good. The relationship between resilience, the human condition, faith, wellness of heart, wellness of mind and a satellite view of “US”. Such is the riddle of anthropology and faith. But I will warn you: I am a Christian, and I am not afraid to say it. My best friends are atheists, Jewish folk, Buddhist and my secret favorites; Hindus. There are even some Catholics in the mix, more than a few Muslims and a collective of Agnostics. But we are all humans, and we all ponder. There are many of us here in the mix. Good humans that believe in something more.
Dr. Scott Peck of The Road Less Travelled says “We need not be afraid. But we still are. Faith does not come easily. I still run scared. There is this that I can say, however. As a result of my minuscule faith, I run a little less scared than I used to. Thank God.”
Wisdom is forged from the mindful contemplation of “the US” and all that is around us. When the deeper stirrings are attended to and when the quickening of the brain has calmed to a docile lion instead of a mischievous monkey we are all the better for it.
When we shake off the manipulations of those in power that seek to bind us.
When we realise that our body is indeed a temple and should be nourished naturally with the good food and substance the earth has for us when we care for it. When we can look out at the world around us from within and smile because it is good regardless of the all hurt, we have won.
You can improve that which disgruntles you. You can coax it into the light and infuse it with love and illumination, or you can continue to critique it’s existence and quibble at its failures and fissures, or you can deny it’s existence entirely marching on into the mundane, safe trap of habit. There is a choice to be made.
In my travels this year, I interviewed some of the most astounding Ponderers. Humans who made the choices for a greater good, a small act of kindness, a passion for overcoming that which ails us in. From children to grown ups and the grown ups that refuse to conform. They have welcomed my questions and have allowed my pen and keyboard to bounce at a rhythm faster than lightning, melded with that special “something” that gives you goosebumps and reminds you that there is something bigger than us. They might have cornflake dandruff, wear their clothes on inside out or perhaps they ability to burp the alphabet whilst they wrangle with saving the planet, who knows?
My journey has allowed me to grow a digital media business so big I have had to scale it back and evolve it to something different, a sharing of knowledge to those seeking to step into that space of awesome without having to worry about mistrust or integrity of those providing a service hindered by messy technology. In this journey, I have learned how to present information, how to produce content, podcasts, and platforms in new and enjoyable ways.
So I find myself turning a page to a new chapter. It came to me one night, and the entire picture was written down in the space of 20 minutes. I would love to say my epiphanies fall gently on my shoulder like a downy white angel feather.
They do not. They hit me in the forehead like a semi trailer packed with dynamite. So the “I” is going to become “Us”, Ponderings of Kirsten is going to lose the name Kirsten in its title and become Ponderings. A free online place where you will witness stories of the human spirit, laced with gutsy, real life, with the sprinkle of dark humor and laughter, with maybe a few tears. But a whole lot of Ponderings, in the form of interviews, Ponderings Radio and guest writers. There will be featured artists, musicians, painters, poets, and activists.
While the hundreds of emails that hit the Ponderings inbox with gratitude and thanks for sharing warts and all accounts of a possibly dying but mostly living girl, my world has filled to the brim with those with even more than this. So much more to fill your cup with and drink. It is my legacy now to pull you into the boat with the new guests of Ponderings and me while we ride out this boat ride together. We will play music, tell tales, inspire you and unlace the knots with you, but most of all we will smile, and we will laugh. By God, we will laugh. We will have heartsmiles by the dozen and disrupt this good earth into oblivion!
My motto that came to me in a moment when I pondered my intention-
Be of the eye that seeks to improve with love and be the lantern that brings light to the dark corner.
How I looked at Ramsay Street with unadulterated envy.
My street was nothing like that. I’m not sure that everybody needed a neighbor in our little stretch. Just a friendly wave each morning, helps to make a better day, next door is only a footstep away. Are you humming it yet?
Only a footstep away was the old mate over the road I had to bypass to get to the shops. That man could spit at least a meter or even two.
When I was a kid, Mum would give me all of the 1 and 2 cent coins in the house in a little bag to go down and get things from the corner shop. It wasn’t far. Just at the end of my street, but it was the adventure of a lifetime every time. Walking past the scary old guy on the corner was freaky, he would just sit there staring into nothingness, but his ability to urinate into the garden and spit meaner than a pissed off donkey was impressive. I often wondered what he was looking at and I am not going to lie, his wiry white hair and grunting made me nervous. You just couldn’t trust a grown-up who could spit like that; it wasn’t natural.
The next stretch was the empty block with very long grass.
Now if you grew up in the Australian countryside, a block with long grass on a hot summer day could spell trouble. A small rustling sound in the dry husks could signify an early demise, for surely it was a brown snake or a red belly black ready to have a feed and snuff you out. Thankfully I was skin and bone, not much to eat. Too bony and crunchy for the likes of a Joe Blake. Even so, I could recall how quickly the adults jumped during Friday night drinks when one slithered in under the bar stools. You could understand my nervous hesitation.
Melting bitumen was the order of the day, the stuff that made your thongs tacky (melting rubber), with heat hovering over it like an invisible man hologram. Man that was hot potato, do you remember going to the local pool and having to hot step it with wet feet on hot concrete? Yeah, exactly. Ouch.
Then there were the hoons. Young men amped up with testosterone and P-plates, armed with their dole money chucking laps in their Toranas or Datsuns with White Snake pumping out of the cassette decks like an audio bomb. This was no Bose finesse doof doof folks. This was Uncle Mick’s old Clarion tape deck with second hand Alpine speakers, wires gaffa taped to the carpet. Rockin soul right there.
They would yell things out, awful things I didn’t know what they meant. Later I did and they should have had their mouths washed out. Uncouth Youth of the other side of the tracks.
The ticker ticker of front lawns sprinklers with garden gnomes standing sentry would guard my path.
Eventually, I worked out that I needed a distraction.
I found myself impersonating my idol, the mentor of my life and the keeper of my dreams and ambitions Jana Wendt. Good grief the woman was a shitstorm in a teacup. Nicknamed the perfumed steamroller by her male counterparts I had never seen anything like her. She was so smart, she had an excellent vocabulary and got to interview lots of interesting people. Her curly questions to men were the best bits. Kids watched He-man, I watched Jana. During the Fitgerald inquiry, her ability to break down to the facts and cut through BS were dynamite. I had no idea what the Fitgerald inquiry was about, the only Fitzgerald’s I knew was Fitzys, the local supermarket. But she was better than scrunchies and Debra Harry, she was smart and she got to ask cool questions.
So I would copy her mannerisms, tilt my head in a certain way, practise my voice pitch, my look of serious contemplation and oh yesses, yes of courses, and I understand, and interview the world’s greatest. One time I was interviewing Muhammad Ali about the San Diego bust up, and I would often have fascinating in-depth discussions with Michael Jackson and his opinion about Jacques Chirac’s deal to open a new Disney in France. MJ was the expert on amusement parks. I longed to meet his chimp and get the moonwalk- slight- heel turn spot on. This was the icing on the cake for a future author/ballerina/news anchor.
There was one time the year before, and my then step-father gave my cousin of awesomeness and me the task of going to the tuckshop to get supplies of some nature.
All he could find was a one dollar note. This cousin of mine was the Joan of Arc to my Jana. Fearless and mighty she could give sass to a grown up at 200 paces. Now kids, back in those days a one dollar note was 100 of those 1 cent coins, and a 1 cent coin could buy a lolly. We entered with the clang of the shop bell, the sugary hot chip and newspaper scent greeting us. A slight glint of the sun outside illuminated the glass case to our right. Heaven descended upon us, a case filled with treasures of musk sticks, bananas, caramel drops and sherbert bombs, milky bottles and Big Boss cigars.
Three things happened simultaneously so fast it was breathtaking, my cousin Kelly reminded me of our secret cousin nod, that we possessed the ability at that moment to purchase ONE HUNDRED OF THEM, the shopkeeper asked “ What do you kids want?” like a Scooby Doo classic, and my mouth watered. It was a trinity of circumstance out of my control.
All thoughts for fulfilling our quest for my step-father’s goodies evaporated quicker than you could say chocolate freckle. We bought a paper bag so large we could barely hold it. I cannot remember if I ever got into trouble, the memories must have been overcome with Jube Hallucinations. The rebellious joy of it was almost too much to handle.
The joy of the one cent coin never appealed to the shopkeepers, and I could never work out why.
On my interview walks by myself, carrying the big heavy bag of treasure, bypassing hoons and snake infested paddocks I would cross the last path of fear. Jumping the cracks in the footpath and ignoring the Magpies as they sharpened their beaks on the branches like Samurais sharpening lethal swords, then there was the house with THE DOG. A big brown fence was the only thing keeping me away from a Rottweiler the size of Kong. He didn’t care that I was an 11-year-old bag of bones, he wanted to eat me. You could literally hear his foamy spit. Have you heard spit before? Between old mate over the road and the Rottweiller, it was a freakin spit parade. So I would pretend he was Joh Bjelke Petterson and I would give him a Jana -what for’ as I ran a stick across the fence.
On arrival to the shop, the shop people would look at me funny. It was a ‘here comes one of them again’ look. I would hand over my bulging bag of 1 and 2 cents to buy milk, or bread or some such thing for mum and they looked at me like I had dropped a poo in their palm.
One lady would look at me and smile with an “oh poor love” look. She must have recognized my frustration at being a Pulitzer prize winner in an 11-year old’s body stuck in the Bronx.
Flash-forward 30 years later, and childhood is a vast haze a whole dimension away from conscious thought.
When I was asked to be an editor for a woman’s magazine it was like being handed the keys to the Kingdom. A branch was gently pulled away, and there was the entry to Terabithia in all its awesome glory. What joy! The joy I felt was that of a child, so excited and very hard to be professionally cool and suave about it. Then yesterday happened.
Yesterday I was sitting in my office and doing a phone interview with Prof. Fiona Wood. I was interviewing this terrifically skilled human who not only saves lives but is the Marie Curie of scar technology in the world. The world! Gosh moment I can tell you.
About ¾ of the way through, Fiona told me something incredibly witty and funny, and it must have been the tilt of my head with a aha-combo and a ‘yes I see” response that caused it. I am not entirely sure, but suddenly I was transported back into the moment of crack-jumping, snake avoiding, Jana interviewing Thug Life. My apprenticeship worked, it happened. I realized that at that moment, I was holding in my hands a dream realized and it was bloody amazing. That night I told my sister, who and said I should write a blog about it.
Our dinner table conversation last night was stellar. Jana Wendt if you are out there somewhere: you are my hero and rescuer from White Snake ballads and $2.50 worth of hot chips in 1 cent pieces.
For my darling cousin Kelly- today I am buying a big bag of lollies while I write this, and every one of them will remind me of my adoration of you and your terrific ability to be Joan of Arc in a child’s body, ready to protect and teach me to be brave and mighty. You made my childhood awesome x