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.
Watch this space beautiful humans. x Kirsten
Last Blog I told you about my beautiful Nanna who was very very sick. We were told to help her be comfortable and wait for the inevitable. Well with our typical family style the exact opposite happened. She was offered something and she grasped it with both hands, armed with faith and gave it her best. 3 weeks later and there is a new improvement each day. We are feeling truly blessed. What she received instigated some thoughts, ponderings and perspectives…
There is this word in our world that is used and overused, and it is the precise measurement of it, the lack of it or the abundance of it that makes all the difference. This one word transcends all barriers and is a part of who we are, what drives us, holds us back or even evades us. Are you guessing I am going to say money? No, not money. The “world” would have us think its money that rules us, reigns over us or lifts us high. But it isn’t. Honestly.
We use this word I am talking about so much that I think it may have even lost its meaning a little bit along the way. All language comes from somewhere, its roots are deep in our history and linguistics, I am a bit of a dork and I love etymology, or the study of origins of words. Somewhere in time there was a need to express something, and a word evolved to describe it and to communicate what we needed. Riveting stuff? (please don’t laugh at me- seriously I like this stuff and I am coming out of the nerdy closet today- loud and proud)
This word started out as a little Latin Ob meaning “towards,” then grew into Portu meaning “port” or “passage” it then travelled to Greece where it added extra meaning Poros “an opening”. A chance. A time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. What is the magic word? – Opportunity. I like to think of it as a moment in time when all the circumstances work in together and a porthole is opened to take a chance on a path, a secret passage way has revealed itself. But do we always see it? Are we always awake enough to see this passageway, this path or opening? Are we in the right place to know it for what it is? Because they aren’t all good doorways, portholes and passages, some of them are destructive.
One thing is very true; they are everywhere and it’s the negotiation and recognising of them that makes all the difference.
Have you ever met a cranky person over the age of 55, who scowls and is never happy? Never happy with how much money they have or where they live, what they do, what the weather is like…everything is BLAH. What you have there is a perfect case of Missed Opportunity. Either they never saw the pathways and passages or they did and it was too late. The lack of Opportunity inevitably leads to discomfort, resentment, disillusion and bitterness.
Have you ever heard of a person who self-destructs and uses destructive acts to hurt themselves and others? Who develop bigotry towards those who have the appearance of “having it all.”? They actually resent others for doing well whilst at the same time perpetuating their own pain? Again, a classic case of lack of opportunity. They have not been given the opportunity for healing, or perhaps self worth or love. That opportunity has slipped by them.
I could go on and on. You can see in society evidence of Generational lack of opportunity. Generations that aren’t made aware of what is there right in front of them, a mask over their eyes. If you don’t know what you are missing out on how can you change it?
Inspiration opens the mind to Opportunity, it is the pair of scissors that help snip away the mask covering the eyes so the path can actually be seen.
Opportunity can provide hope and when nourished and kept in good soil, grows and is capable of producing astounding fruit. It’s the combination of factors just like the sun, soil and water that multiplies positivity and growth.
For example you may hear about a person who at a critical point in their lives will have something “come up” or happen, it might be the tiniest stepping stone, non obvious and unexpected, but it is an opportunity. What if that little stone that is lifted is hiding an Alibaba’s cave of treasure? They lift that stone and with each little step another small piece is unravelled and another door opens, the path clears and becomes smoother. When you start paying attention to the “opportunities” around you life can be a big intriguing puzzle and much more interesting.
Now there’s the flip side and when I try and think of an example there are so many to choose from…Let’s look at the psychological and biological makeup of Teenage Boys, whoa there’s a whole book there. The adolescent male is like a walking Twilight novel, at a certain time in his development he will want to imprint, meaning; he will look to another male in his world as a role model and start to manoeuvre and develop his future self upon that person or persons. No kidding, Google it, there’s books and books on it. Now if Dad is awesome, attentive and inspiring, awesome; big tick in that box. But we know the facts; and that isn’t always the case. So maybe this kid is involved with a super responsible and inspiring sporting club, they have great role models in an uncle, grandfather or family friend then chances are his imprinting will be successful and healthy for him. However without that Opportunity for a positive role model, he will select another subconsciously. Opportunity #2 ANYONE HE CAN FIND that fills that need. He is going to go for the nearest group of males he can find guidance and acceptance regardless of healthy or destructive outcomes, which can have devastating consequences and aren’t always ideal. There are a great many psychologists that attribute street gangs and gang warfare to this exact conditioning. I am sure you can see other painful examples in the media at the moment.
This really can be interpreted as our responsibility as a tribe, as a community to make sure that young men in our community have the opportunity to have access to excellent role models during their adult initiation. Sounds tribal but that’s really what it is. In our western culture I’m not sure we have really mastered that role as well or recognised the intrinsic necessity of it to protect and raise healthy strong and balanced young men. I am only using this as an example.
Another snapshot: Person loses job, loses perspective, feels intense pain, really hurting, sitting at a bar, someone offers them cocaine to help take away the pain, give them a ‘boost’ of the powdery kind. An Opportunity to Escape….you decide. Life is really a ‘Choose your own Adventure’ isn’t it? With both deadly and amazing realism. Do you take the little red pill or the blue pill Neo? This is where Sliding Doors are in full active mode!
Again, another passage is now opened; opportunities for the community and individuals or organisations. Providing good opportunities for those that wouldn’t otherwise have them. Example; I know of a top notch private school whom send their financially privileged students to third world countries to volunteer. They rough it, and whist in everyday life they may own Jimmy Choo or Sass and Bide the school gives them the important opportunity to learn servitude. Serving others to help and assist. Invaluable and precious.
I heard recently of an amazing lady who travelled to a third world country and took battery operated sewing machines, taught an entire village how to sew to help self sufficiency and provide a new income stream for those villagers. Pure servitude on a genius scale I think! Mrs.R I think you are awesome.
There’s even a church in Melbourne that pays for and enables their youth congregation to travel to starving communities to help build orphanages and dig water wells, and then they come back and brainstorm how to better serve these communities. Inspiring huh? Or the retirees in Geelong that knit scarves, beanies and blankets for homeless folks, an Opportunity for Warmth.
Look a bit closer to home and see Good Teachers; teachers wanting to help inspire students. I know a lady who teaches Disadvantaged peeps to find work and gain skills in the workplace. Nurses that volunteer their time doing shifts to “hold” drug-addicted newborns for invaluable skin contact, so crucial to the development of a baby, an opportunity these little ones might not have.
Providing opportunities; opening those passageways and hidden ports for those that wouldn’t otherwise know about them is vital nourishment for life. Also making sure that we are awake enough from our slumber to recognise them and grasp the right ones comes into the formula too. You need to be able to feel if it’s a bunny in the basket or a Taipan when you are wearing a mask and have your arm in pit deep.
If you are anything like me you may find that humans can be confusing, life can be tricky and at times a bit overwhelming. So we keep our heads down, our bums up, stick to what you know, the friends you have and all the things that need doing when you are a parent, a worker bee, a part of the world. But I pose the question- what Opportunities are we missing out on by wearing “the mask”. Opening the mind just a fraction, the door by a crack, taking your head from being down and just turning it for a sideways glance what might happen?
Whether we like it or not as long as the human body can reproduce we are a species and a tribe, we are in it together warts and all and its up to every one of us to make sure the Good opportunities exist and are available if not for the wonder of it but for the necessity of an harmonious life. And it’s nice to know what words mean too…maybe? At 88 years of age my Nanna was asked if she wanted a feeding tube. For a vast array of personal reasons this goes against everything she holds dear. She was given a small window of time and an opportunity. She took it. Weeks later she is inspiring health workers, staff and doctors with her tenacity, her smile and determination. She didn’t give up. Its catchy stuff this “Inspiration” and it doesn’t give a hoot about Age, Gender, Creed or Race.
What do you think? Feel free to leave your comments below or share if you want.
Blessings to you and yours, Kirsten.
I look around me, but it still doesn’t make any sense. I am ok. Am I ok?
So far so good, don’t count your chickens we’ve done what we can. This man, this amazing educated man stood with a tiny wire and guided it through my arterial system like a galaxy discoverer for 6 hours and saved my life. The word Thank You is redundant and not significant enough for this amazing human being. The nursing staff adore him, he is polite, a gentleman and very nice. I do not detect a single trace of arrogance or elitism. This calm, serious man conjures a confidence in those around him. I am told by several female nurses and a doc they want to marry him. It appears he holds hero status amongst his peers and he is just SO NICE.
Everything still feels dream like, as though i haven’t quite woken from the General Anaesthesia, and am floating and watching everyone. All my faculties are firing so I don’t believe there is any damage, but something definitely feels different, some how. But how? How so?
Its 5.00 am and I have woken up with shocking back pain, the third night in a row.
Waves of muscle spasm keep waking me and whilst I’m waiting for the pain meds to kick in I shall type for a bit. My brain hurts. My skin feels hospital greasy, why is that? Why does ones skin feel so revolting in hospital? I look like a punch drunk boxer, all swollen and puffy, yellowy skin and bad hair. I was laughing with my girlfriends yesterday about this hair of mine, I am going for the Bohemian loosely pinned looked however i have managed to be a conduit for the spirit of Kramer after sticking his finger in an electricity socket.
My husband keeps pinching me. Yesterday he pinched the tip of my nose (mean feat, have you seen the size of my snozz?- when God was giving out —-dorsum nasi——– I was being a greedy one. Then he pinched my arm gently,
“Why are you pinching me? Cut it out!”
“To see if you are real” was his reply.
The night before the surgery was wonderful. Surrounded by my amazing football team family, aunts, uncles, brothers, sister, parents , besties…a crazy dinner and silly goings-on that had me tired and smiling.
The morning of the surgery was calm and quiet. After saying goodbye to ‘Blue eyes’, the surgery prepping work was done I had about 25 minutes by myself lying on a gurney waiting. I can truthfully tell you it was the longest 25 minutes of my life. The Big Bang Boys would have my ear, the quantum dynamics of time space and momentum variable theory were playing havoc with my sensory input, in other words according to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle I was 2 steps off shitting my pants. It was fight or flight in its most beautiful abundance.
I wondered as I lay there if this is what cavemen felt like with a Tyrannosaurus Rex breathing down their back. This is not something you feel everyday.
Mortality. I am either going to wake up or I am not going to wake up. If I do wake up there are all of these things they have told me could very well be wrong and damaged. In 20 minutes I might just be going to sleep forever or waking up not knowing who I am or being able to walk again or feed myself. So my friends you could understand my reluctance to a) close my eyes b) relax c) allow anyone to do anything to me other than let me the hell off that gurney and give me a set of car keys.
Facing your own mortality, knowing nothing after that injection goes in your arm as you count backwards what the (*(^)(*&&%## is going to happen is totally life stuttering, mind blowing, frightening stuff. So what did i do?
I did the only thing I could do, I prayed. I thought of all the beautiful humans out there praying for me, I thought of it being like a big net lifting me up. I begged God to fill my heart with calm and peace. And it happened. I still fought the anaesthetic but I drifted off calmly. Theres a little more to that bit, but I am not yet brave enough to discuss that here, maybe next week?
I woke up in recovery with nurses in their blue surg gear singing songs from Ferris Bueller (best movie ever) to which i started laughing, that was my first baby step in consciousness that hinted to me that I was ok. I looked at this gorgeous nurse (they seriously all look angelic ) and asked her what time it was.
I had gone in at 7.00am. “Its 4.00pm” she replied. My response? “OH! SHIT!” which got her laughing. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “I’ve done it again, has anyone rung my family to let them know I am ok?” You see the last surgery was meant to be 3 hours and I made my family wait a yucky 7 hours under the knife whilst none of them knew what was going on. It was very torturous for them. This op was only meant to be an hour and a half. I had indeed done it again…
She grabbed a phone, “Would you like to call him?” and winked at me.
Well, I cant tell you how much that made me smile. Would i like to call him? And she pulled out her mobile phone and entered his number, putting it to my ear. This was attractive to every cheeky part of my being, that would take the cake and he would know for sure I was ok.
This doctor had to gently thread a microscopic wire up via my femoral arteries through up into my inner central brain, the aneurysm had distorted the carotid artery so much so he didn’t have a nice round “pipe” to get through, it was like bumpy pea soup. One slight bump either way, a puncture or scrape and I would be most likely dead or wishing I was dead (their words not mine). The Flow Diverter wouldn’t stay in place, attempted coiling went haywire (misbehaving) so that didn’t work, and I lost a lot of blood.
So my family are waiting for what they believe to be tops 2 hours in surgery.
6 hours later….I had worn this poor man out and everything went haywire and wrong. But the absolute genius and skill of this Dr had me alive, well and he has saved my life. Now Fred the flow diverter has to do his job.
Even though I was still fuzzy from the Anaesthetic, as I was laying on my back (I had to lay flat on my back for 24 hours) with the phone to my ear I could hear the joy in ‘Blue eye’s voice and disbelief that it was me on the other end of the line. His laughter and the joy in my ear that moment was magic. I had caused so much non intentional pain for my loved ones, and in that minute I was relieving the torture with a cheeky gesture.
I am told afterward that as I spoke to him over the phone; he was surrounded with all our peeps, and when my brother and sister saw the grinning expression on his face they said “Its Kirst on the phone” and everyone looked at them like they were silly. “Its the doctor, it cant be her?” Their response was that he had his “Kirst -face and voice on.” “He only talks like that and looks like that with HER.” When I was told this afterwards it shocked me, I didn’t know my husband had a “voice” just for me and it delighted me with no end in sight. I do believe I will hold this story to my chest for the rest of my days. Very soppy and heart filling.
They can do miracles but have not yet discovered how to change a concave polygon. Hmph.
I got a bit sick afterwards and ended up in hospital again, I’ve got horrendous vertigo, migraine and I cant see properly out of my good eye for some weird reason. Ive got two thighs full of magic gel and clips in my legs. The physical pain is almost as bad as last time which surprised me. When it comes to physical pain, what are you like? Me, I am VERBAL. So when I am in a copious amount of pain it sounds like a constipated cat or a koala on heat. If you have ever heard those noises before you will know they are unusual and unforgettable. Then I do this really weird thing where I feel guilty because I am alive, i have all my bits in place and my hair, my vision so “Don’t whinge Kirsten Elizabeth, have a cup of concrete and harden up” which results in me swallowing up the verbal pain emissions, a sound reminiscent of a constipated cat being ejected at high speed into the atmosphere, cranky.
And I have been a bit cranky over the weekend, much to the bemusement of my loved ones.
Apparently my flavour of cranky is cute and unimpressive. hmmm. This makes me doubly cranky. They actually laugh at me apologising for the laughter. I am not good at cross. A mild snarl and I am apologising profusely to the lamppost I just bumped into. Has anyone ever told you that you’re cute when you are angry? Its not Joan of Arc stuff I can tell you.
Today is a good day. The pain has lessened a little.
I’ve got 6 weeks of rest ahead of me, which is where the cranky comes from, I am not good at rest. I am a do-er not a rester, so this will be interesting…Now I wait for the marvel of this little metal jigger to do its job and redirect the flow of blood without blocking anything or doing any damage. I will have the all clear in about a year, I am banking on 6 months. In the mean time I cant do anything crazy I am told. There goes the reverse backward dive en-bungee in my birthday suit idea… (sorry you knew that line was coming and I couldn’t resist the cliche).
I am alive, I am alive and I am alive. I am not blind, I can walk, I remember where I live, how old I am (26 thank you) and I still love chocolate. All is well.
PS- to Uncle Kel, I remembered the word- compelling
PPS- To Matt who told me I looked like a supermodel when I didn’t- love u bro from another mo
PPPS- To the two girlfriends who stalked the ward all hours of the night for 3 days sneaking in and defying my father, my husband and medical staff- I LOVE YOU, this is why we have girlfriends people!!!!
PPPPS_ Papa G- thank you I knew you had me covered x