Pre warning: I am jetlagged, I am excited to the point of manic and this whole blog just popped into my head as I was trying to go to sleep.
I can feel a ramble coming on. I am going to write whatever comes into my crazy head, uninterrupted.
The reason? It isn’t very profound. It is really just so I can actually sleep, and because when an entire blog pops into ones head, one does not ignore it. They put it on the internet like any self respecting self indulgent Gen X child would do, with a dash of a hashtag and the dot of a full stop, sprinkled with wordy words and too many verbs.
I sit here on the balcony listening to the waves on Waikiki beach, breathing in the Hawaiian night air. My children are all sleeping jet lagged and exhausted from all of the excitement. You see, I am ticking off an item of my bucket list. I am creating amazing memories with my little tribe. Life is coursing through my veins more vibrant and intense than the blood that keeps pumping. I wagered with my brother and my husband 2 years ago that if I was still alive I would take my children to Hawaii, a place I have felt a connection to for so long now. So you got that right? It happened. I am sitting here in Hawaii, on Waikiki beach, listening to waves. So full of wowness and can’t-believe-it-actually-happened + a bit of: oh shit this sort of excitement isn’t good for me and a teensy bit of Wow-again. This is basically my mindset at 2.00 am.
So this is my message in a bottle to the person sitting in a lab somewhere right now, drinking coffee to stay awake, grappling with the missing code just on the edge of their brain, they are within a moment’s reach of that discovery, the discovery that could save thousands of lives, please hurry.
I am so grateful to you for being smart enough and doing the hard yards to do medicine, to dedicate hundreds if not thousands of hours of study into something so technical.
For the parent or mentor that inspired you or urged you to get that education, thank you so much. But hurry. Because I am in love with my life and as much as I am not frightened of my next grand adventure, I have so fallen in love with this life, I have discovered what it is to be fearless and have even more faith than I thought possible, and am feeling the benefit and reward for that now. SOS: NOT READY TO LEAVE, POST HASTE.
This wee bit of faith popping up across many parts of my existence right now, feels like a great investment I accidentally put deposits into when all I was trying to do was survive. The accidental investor, how weird is that? It is paying back into my life ten fold and then one thousand times over again. I feel like all I was asked to do is take a step under the water and breathe in deeply. I was frightened at first, but then once my lungs filled and I discovered I could breathe, I got down into the depths, there were hidden kingdoms and caverns with bright lights and treasures beyond imagining.
I am still here to argue with my children and guide them through their teenage years.
I can reach forward in the aeroplane and plait her hair. I can grab him even though he is too cool for mother affection now and give him what resembles a head lock and a kiss. I can discuss the universal argument with my eleven year old about who reigns superior? Batman or Superman? Was Atari REALLY that good? Retro Mario is actually fairly superior.
I am still here to pat my dogs and look into their big brown eyes, knowing on some other level and some other place there are words they can speak that say: I know, I get you.
I am still here to kiss my best friend and ask him how his day was, cracking jokes between us until we can barely breathe, sitting up until the late hours hoping together and saying wow, 20 years, has it really been THAT long? How lucky are we? He still thinks my farts are funny and he isn’t sick of me yet, how on earth can that be? He still looks at me with lovesick eyes, and he puts up with all my mess. Look to be honest, it is most likely conjunctivitis and he may have a nervous twitch with my messiness but you know I really am THAT good at denial now. Art-form, seriously. AND I am sitting in Hawaii, did I mention that?
Don’t get me wrong I have had my emotional upheavals, actually they are more shit creek-ish than upheaval-ish, an upheaval to me now seems more like a shopping trolley in a headwind on pension day. Denial- how good it can be. The sweet nectar of forgetting for a moment or three gently sipped three times daily with a straw.
No one I meet needs to know, I can pretend to be normal. Aneurysm or not, feeling normal has been really hard you know?
Normal doesn’t come easy to me, it never has. I guess the moment I came out of the womb missing body parts it was safe to say it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. It took most of my twenties to overcome the first 13 year of my life. I gripped onto whatever fragments of joy I could find, in what felt like a very hostile, alien world, in which I never really felt part of. I am not the only one either. I listen to people telling me this all the time. Isn’t that interesting?
People shocked me every other day, and I never really knew what was coming, or could never predict people’s actions. I was constantly fed the confusing perception that I was either completely naive, too sweet, too trusting, too smart, knew too much, too funny, too skinny, too fat, too impulsive, too exciteable, too positive, too deep, too this and too that. Like sand-paper and bubbles they just don’t go together do they?
In my travels I have found, when you rely on the messages other humans give you, to define who you think you might be, well…it’s all just too confusing.
I was very often in a state of hurt and bewilderment and belief that the world is a harsh and horrible place, a place i just have to get through, keeping the rest of the world at a safe and manageable distance, so it wasnt “too close.” How times have changed.
What does it look like now? Now I don’t rely on anyone to validate who I am. I know who I am. God knows who I am. My Friends know exactly who I am. Yes I used a capital letter for the word Friend. The good ones deserve it. Most of my family know who I am (most lol). My husband knows who I am, and I really care about the opinions of two certain mentors in regard to my grammar use and writing, if I am totally honest. These are the only opinions that sit with any weight in my heart. Anything else isn’t worth thinking about, as it is a vast investment in pointless negative self indulgence, getting in the way of getting the shit done, that you are here to get done.
A use-by date has that affect on you.
A treasure box has been presented to me this last year, helping others in a new business that sparks my mind in beautiful ways every single day. To the point of obsession, I take this weird device called a pen and make marks on a page. People pay me to do it. How crazy cool is that? I get to genuinely help other people in a impacting and positive way, it’s too self-indulgent to even say out loud really.
I know I get hyped up about it, call it delayed career discovery, or mental mum goes back into the workforce as a distraction from possibly dying and found it to be more enjoyable, and fulfilling than she thought possible. Fulfilling, how overused is that word? Can we come up with a new one? What about the word icecream? I am serious. Unexpected success is like the shock of biting into an icecream and the cold hits your teeth, but when it’s your favorite flavour, you can’t stop. You get used to the shock of the cold and get on with the business of Icecream. We could walk around saying “OMG I am so like, totally feeling Iceacream right now.”
I am being paid to write. My grade 6 teacher told me I would be a well paid writer one day, that I would have books published because I was a natural. Well Mr. Wegmann, it only took me another 29 years to step up to the plate, but I got there eventually. If you are out there somewhere I send you love and think of you every time I have a moment of doubting my ability to write. I remember your words and think that maybe this writing thing is meant to be. I remember a friend of mine called John who writes seriously good shit and when he told me I could write it was one of the happiest dats of my life. It was like DaVinci telling you, you’ve got a good head for encryption, or Van Gogh telling you that you aren’t too shabby with a paintbrush. I think of my two beautiful uncles who after the second brain surgery urged me to get serious and no more mucking about, ‘you are here to write, get on with it.’
From the time I was old enough to form words into sentences I have been told I can write. Whether I am any good or not is really none of my business. It’s all I have ever wanted to do, and it’s what I have always been lead to do. I just got myself all tied up in the ego of ‘not good enough’ for the first few decades. Only a species like a human would create a snobby egocentric elitism attachment to making marks on a page with ink. Truth is, something whispers in my heart like an old friend that writing is the thing I promised I would do this time round before I got here. Told you I was crazy. Batshit. Jetlag sucks.
Now I am just trying to get some sleep before I completely embarass myself and so I can get ready for the days to come. What does one do when they have amazing children with wicked imaginations, and an ongoing curiosity about palaeontology mixed in with a very real Steven Spielberg love affair? You go on a Jurassic park horse riding trail into the heart of the Hawaiian jungle of course. We are going on a dino hunt. The eleven year old keeps breaking out in the soundtrack, so cute.
I wonder if somewhere right now on the other side of the planet there is a researcher sitting in a lab formulating the cell depth required for non-rupture of a traumatic fusiform aneurysm, that just starting humming the sound track to Jurassic park , but they aren’t sure where the urge came from. #extinctmyass #sidestepping
PS- My favorite is Salted Caramel if anyone was guessing.
The first time I side stepped I was 9 years old in the top of a treehouse that was so high up I could see much of the streets surrounding us, or at least over the fence. I was drowning out the cries coming from inside an angry house and as princess of my dominion in the tree watched the world and imagined beautiful ladies in far away places singing songs of princes, and story writing (weird combo) I forgot how to for a while after that. Without even meaning to.
Fast forward 30 years and…
The world is a zenith. Because we dominate the physicality of it within the stretch of our own intelligence we think we have all of the answers to everything. What if we only know .5 of a percent of the entire equation? What if we are at kindergarten level of knowledge and any more can’t even be fully conceptualised by our brains?
What if all that is required is being a species called human, then when the correct space appears with our name on it or we get that inkling within – our job is to summon all we are and can be with every ounce of strength, passion, dedication and courage to create an action. An action that vibrates with such ferocity that it ripples across the universe. Be that the action of Mother, Father, the creative, the entrepreneur, the waste collector, the cleaner, the king, the inventor, the builder, the vet, the nurse, the truck driver or the monk. You get the idea. But then what happens if you are too busy to feel the inkling? What if because you are jamming elements like feelings or emotions down like compacted earth in a garden bed, the inkling can’t bubble up?
No wonder I have a bloody aneurysm.
You see the mind gymnastics it gets up to when I have 10 minutes to myself to ponder? Especially right at this moment. At this very moment as I write this I am in an Ashram, which always gets the mind gymnastics going. An hour and a half from my home, where an entire community of Yoginis live authentically the Hindu life, wrapped in the cocoon of the Wombat State forrest. In their spare time they feed the hungry, nurture the lost and travel to India to learn more altruism, more philosophy and more ways to assist humanity. So I sit here in the company of a dear childhood friend who has journeyed here with me. We sit in utter silence, she is reading unbeknown that I am here doing a triple twist bystandting twirl with my frontal lobe.
We can hear nature, which when its all by itself, can be a bit noisy. Nice noisy though. Frogs, birds night crying and the super moon. Ah ha. The Supermoon; that’s not helping one bit. I can feel a double tumble coming on…
Which brings me to side stepping.
Before Fred, before death’s knocked on my door with a loud bang ( i never promised i wouldn’t be dramatic ok- don’t forget the supermoon) Somehow on that journey I learned the art of side stepping.
I travelled, I went away sometimes on holidays, I escaped into a good book, a good movie or conversation, a moment. But I had never truly side stepped. The practise of sidestepping originally came about as good old fashioned escapism, but then became more. I realised that if I side stepped by choice rather than necessity, the perspective of appreciation for what I already have was kept in tact and valued, appreciated even more. The strangest thing then happened; inklings and ponderings emerged slowly then at dynamite speed. Realisations and epiphanies popped into my lap like gifts wrapped in silvery dew.
So what is it? This side stepping nonsense some of you might ask. Or some of you might be nodding with a knowing smile and recognition.
It is when you open a little door for brief moments that allow you to observe your surroundings in a different way. A different location, or maybe a different mind set. You might travel. You might stop everything to build a tent in the back yard and be completely present with your 2 year old. But it needs to be different. Different breeds separation from the normal, it stirs the pot, disrupts the sediment from the bottom of the wine bottle. But most of all; it breeds contemplation and perspective. You do it before you have to do it.
I have been so incredibly fortunate this year to have journeyed to far away lands as guests of some large companies. Once such trip; Lothario and I sat drinking a beer on a very balmy night outside a small bar in a small village in the Alsace region, called Riquewhir. I had spent the afternoon writing stories in a ridiculously cute courtyard in the steamy french afternoon, so the bar and beer was welcomed.
It was here that we chatted and from an open window above us a voice from a nameless lady drifted out, a song was being sung that was both lilting and magical , it reminded me of the spectacular alien goddess from the movie Fifth Element. She was singing an Operatta. Like a princess. Then from over the road an elderly saxophone player had set up, the two began a serenade. He played in with her, then she changed her song to match in. The two of them harmonised by ear across a street, the sound lingered above us like a decadent fog. Without even looking at each other. I had tears rolling down my cheeks. It was real. This was really happening. This was my reality in this moment. But it was more intense as I was outside my normal. My every day had been altered, I had sidestepped. I remembered. I was no longer in a treehouse, I was a grown up writing stories for a living, listening to a lady sing in a faraway land.
Even now as I type that particular memory, adventures start rumbling around ready to go.
Or more presently, only an hour from my house I just sat on a wooden bench in the middle of the forrest in an Ashram and giggled like a kid with one of my best friends since childhood. We are trying to stifle the giggle because we are on silence tonight, or Mouna. Not much of that going on. But again, this is outside our every day and both of us have had this time to sidestep, appreciate, analyse, get perspective and just be in a different way.
I spoke with one lady here who spent the second day in the garden crying. She said she had not cried for years and had no idea why she was crying, just all of a sudden they were pouring down her face and afterwards she felt lighter. She had sidestepped, just enough to rattle the old emotions up from their deep bed and let them out. Cleansing too.
Children sidestep beautifully, cubby houses, faraway lands in the trees or under the couch…loop holes into a different moment, removed from the now and into a temporary ether.
Then somehow we are ere in our grown up place and we tend to forget how to, or we mesmerise ourselves with hypnotic chants of “you cant afford it. You cant just leave. Don’t be silly. Get real. Immature. Grow up” you get the idea.
I find it particularly good if you have a problem you cannot solve. Its like when you cant think of a movie name, if you let it go it pops up.
Maybe if we were living truly to the format species of human instead of demigods smashing the earth with ego we might remember ourselves long enough to think about side stepping. So many other humans do it outside of the westernised crazy. Supermoon rambling again I know. But it is true. In so many tribes women have huts that are seperate from the rest of the village where women go to ‘be’, They are away from their normal chores or living duties, for a time. Men have walkabout and time together, time alone. I am reading a book here where it talks about Ancient Indian traditions where it was necessary for every woman and man at different stages of the year to have separateness from the rest of the everyday living, just for a short time. It was a healthy and well practised tradition that served many purposes.
Blue eyes does it when he goes fishing, problem is he doesn’t go fishing nearly as much as he could. My daughter sidesteps magnificently when playing piano, you can see it in her eyes. My sons both sidestep when drawing or creating. Unfortunately one is forgetting, I must remind him…
Please don’t be like me and wait for the worst case scenario to happen before you realise it’s not a luxury, it is actually a necessity. Because no matter what your space is you have to step into it, you need to create your ripple you set out to start. Don’t wait for an epic interruption to start enjoying the maximum moments available to you. There is richness for the taking and a sense of fulfilment that comes with it. A thunderclap is ready to ride. It’s like grace, you can’t see but when that stuff rumbles you feel it in your bones and it can shake a window.
It is what started the week off, the gentle Who Who-ing of the owls. Normally I like owls but these owls always turn up just before big ordinary things happen. It might actually also be they turn up to next right on Spring which also seems to be around the time big ordinary things can happen. Either way for the last 5 years when the owls turn up, we all look at each other nervously in our house. I would never harm an animal but when I heard it I kind of wanted to reach for a slingshot. They are cute owls. Really. Someone told me owls are a sign of wisdom and guardianship. Excuse me for being cynical but for me its Bird talk for “Its about to go down.”
I am not sure when it occurred to me that it was all too much.
I was going to the gym and something told me to STOP.
Go inside, make a warm drink and step slowly.
It was so strong I had to listen.
So I did, that afternoon I snuggled down into my bed and slept. I fought with myself for a bit, tucking away the guilt and the to do list. I am a tricky task master to myself sometimes, time is a commodity to be used wisely and not wasted. But you see I had forgotten in the haste to look after my interior life for a few weeks. The interior was starting to warp and bend a bit and I could hear the creaking, it was only just there but I could hear the creaking nonetheless.
I was restless, dizzy and my heart rate was up. I’d started getting odd pains in my head. And it was all on the fringe of feeling too much. My symptoms had increased quite a bit and even though I hadn’t verbalized it, I knew it. I felt it and it made me a bit sad and pensive. Given that exercise is the gift of the Gods to our happy receptors in our brain I thought a walk on the beach followed by a coffee in town was the order of the day. Off I trotted. (Have you seen me trot? My little Brother Robbie says it’s the only time you can really tell that I have unfortunately had brain surgery- not sure what he means but anyway- just giving you a visual- )
Do you ever wish you could feel the color blue?
Craving color began for me back when I was blind. (That’s such an odd sentence to write). I became a color junky. Now that I can see again I am honestly addicted to color, especially Beach colors and rainforest colors. I see it and its like I am on crack. If I could smoke color I would. I am not kidding
On a day only every so often when its been raining or the tide has left abruptly you will see puddles of water on the sand. On a particularly sunny and still day those puddles look like windows reflecting the sky. Ever since I was small I convinced myself that they were “sky-puddles” and if I willed it hard enough I could jump in there to another parallel dimension. Pop out the other side on a beach in some weird, wonderful cosmic place. What can I say? I grew up on a diet of the Magic Faraway Tree and Stephen King- it was bound to happen. I recently confessed to my brother on one of our walks together on this beach that I wondered if heaven was an actual other real physical dimension and those Sky Puddles were a portal there. I told you…crack.
So on this day of melancholy I see myself take a deep breath and jump soaring up like a jet into the sky, rushing through the blue.
It feels like silk and air at the same time it smells like warm cookies and freshly squeezed orange juice and I can actually taste the wind in my mouth like orange tic tacs. I wonder if this is what dogs can do and if this is why they lick the air madly when they face the wind. I have developed wind taste-buds- popping with effervescence and splendor.
I plunge down like a soaring eagle and keep going straight into the ground- going straight through that sky puddle and out the other side. Popping up to stand on a beach in another far away place. I am standing there looking at my other me, other- dimension me. I wonder what she looks like and if she can trot appropriately or laugh gently. Does she have both eyelids? Is she actually a lion inside like me? Is she fierce? If we were friends would I like her? Did she have a Mel too? Does she have a Robbie?
This is the stuff and the places my mind goes to as I walk down the beach.
I know I am telling you too much. I wonder how long it takes between hitting that post button and running for the back door it takes before the nice people in the white van turn up to take me to Sunnyside- special- place with free arm straps and matching ankle braces.
4 weeks to go until I find out. I don’t talk about that.
Well that’s not true, I’ve tried to but I’ve worked out it causes pain for those we love. So we hope for the best without saying much. In my mind I know my lion side always plans for the worst and hopes for the best- celebrating the best with absolute gusto.
My theory is that if the weather experts say there’s a flood coming, I am going to plan for a flood. I am going to be ready so no matter what happens I have a boat, with oars, cold coronas and a stereo playing Bob Marley as we ride the wave. Always prepared. So many people are the “no point worrying until it gets here, it might not even happen”- style of people. Maybe that’s ok. But not being prepared equals shock and panic. I don’t want to be person screaming running around looking for the raft after we’ve hit the Iceberg and I DON’T want to be the guys playing music on the deck as the ship goes down. I am going to be the chic that had a feeling not to get on the damn Ship in the first place and stayed to sunbake on the beach instead. Make sense? Does to me.
I have planned 2 x girls weekends in Sept and November. Hard life huh? But then I worry. I don’t like being away from my children anymore. At all. Ever. Nope I like being with them all the time. Its kind of weird I guess. And I worry for my friends. What if I go on this girls weekend and it pops midair? Hours away from an airport.
Like a brain explosion and pain of the worst kind.
What if I’m with my friends and I just die on them? I was told it would happen quickly if it happened, which is kind of good in a not good sort of way. But that’s really not fair on them and terribly inconvenient, not a great way to treat your mates is it? I’d rather shout them that Corona on a beach somewhere.
Did I just say die? You mustn’t ever say the D WORD. It makes people very uncomfortable. Like a fart in an elevator. Not nice. Everyone looks around awkwardly and pretends it didn’t happen, red faced and smelly. You jump through hoops as quickly as possible because the last thing you want in the entire world is to hurt people. And the current situation is hurting people you love an awful lot. So the best thing is to take a big breath, put on your big girl knickers and get on with it….
But What if they tell me in a few weeks it still hasn’t healed and I am a cooked chook?
Should I go on a Holiday? Should I keep making candles and cooking casseroles? Because I am not too physically ill, I am capable of seemingly normal activity. Cooking chickens is easy peasy.
And if nothing happens I may look back on this blog and realise I am a neurotic powerhouse ready for action and in need of heavy medication.
It is all very serious thinking. I finish my walk, mentally exhausted from Flying into Sky Puddles and meeting other me’s and smoking colour crack. Its time for a coffee in town. Caffeine, need that like a hole in the head. Did I just say that out loud?
I go in, wander a bit, order a coffee, and decide to take it to my car and listen to music while I drink it.
I look in the revision mirror for a moment, a glance at the sexy chic in the mirror and I gasp in horror and revulsion, spilling the boiling coffee onto my stylish tracksuit pants.
A piece of dandruff the size of a large cornflake sits in the middle of my fringe.
Like a freaking Christmas decoration flapping in the Geelong wind, was a sail of skin. Good god. I had walked in, shopped, talked and left. I do vaguely recall a couple of people looking at me strangely and I thought it was because they were digging my new shade of aubergine tinged hair colour. Nope. It was the cornflake windsailing through my tresses.
Then I started laughing. Laughing so hard it hurt and then I was just seriously impressed with the size of the flake.
It was like when you get a super big potato chip and you are in awe imaging the size of the potato it came from. Obviously I had a big head, a dry scalp and a need to change shampoo and probably my pants from laughing too hard.
I am still laughing when I pick my kids up from school. They laugh about my epic flake too. I get home, make their snacks and we chat about their day. I kiss them 20 times too many and remember to be normal again. All is well. Everything is ok.
But this is the sometimes- mind of the possibly-dying and mostly living person.
There is worry, every need to process through the worry into faith. It’s all in the Alchemy. If its beach walks, sky puddles, funny movies, chocolate cheesecake or tyre swings with besties. Find the ones that hears you, check in with your heart, make sure it feels nice. Talk to the ones that see you and it might not be the ones you expect.
Shine your light brightly. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If anyone tells you to shoosh, ridicules you or tells you to stop and what you are doing is filled with love, good intent or gentle humor the problem is Theirs not yours.
The reason all these gurus say to surround yourself with the right people is true. Why?
Life can be hard on its own without the imposition of other humans. Your job is shine your light, your signature gift as bright as you can sustain it and maintain it. If you cant find a human that gets you, get a dog. I have a Schnauzer called Charlie and he’s the wisest nontalking soul getting around on 4 furry legs. He gives kisses and he doesn’t answer back which is kind of good if you are a Taurean. We like to have the last word.
The instrument of human ego has its whole own thing going on that has nothing to do with you whatsoever. People don’t always get it, and sometimes they do and it causes them too much pain or conflict, so they often just go on with their human habits and non- compliance of life loving. Please listen to your interior- its not always noisy so you will need to listen carefully.
Go within and find your still and gentle space where you can fill yourself with love and gentle harmony. And above all else, watch for sky puddles, be wary of nice looking owls and my final word of advice today- you should ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS check your hair first, because Cornflake dandruff in your hair is distressing to everyone and there’s no excuse for that shit.