Connected

•October 21, 2014 • 1 Comment

A couple of weeks ago I found myself standing on the rocks at the beach – low tide.  My parents, hubby and I had just enjoyed a lovely lunch out to celebrate birthdays in August, September and October.  My parents can seldom resist an opportunity to sit and watch the sea, so we’d made our postprandial way beachwards, and here I was – rock-hopping – unable to sit still after sitting in the restaurant.

The ocean was its very best shade of deep blue and aqua, the sun gently warm, and I basked in it, relishing the rough rock under my feet, the delight of skuttling crabs at the fishing edge, anemones hiding in clefts, little fish temporarily trapped ’til the return of the tide, the salty breeze. I felt tears prick at the sheer pleasure of being. How can anyone not love this planet?

This  underpins everything for me – this sense of connectedness, this awareness of how I am part of this little green, blue and red spinning globe. It’s no accident that I feel compelled to greet and talk to every bird, animal, fish and insect I cross paths with. They are as much a part of this place as I am, interdependent, they speak other languages, have other perspectives, ways of being, sorts of consciousness, but we share the will to live, to be, to create. In this business of life, we are very deeply connected.
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The Blessing

•March 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

It was a small thing. All I did was to retrieve a couple of fallen teaspoons.

My youngest son and I had stopped at the mall between my dropping him home and then heading out for work. We were both stressed after his session at the orthodontist. No-one exactly likes things stuck in their mouths. Anyone who has ever had a mould taken of their teeth for a crown or orthodontic work will understand our traumatised states. Now include his Autism Spectrum Disorder to begin to grasp his increased sensitivity and panic, and my feeling plain awful for putting him through it all. I let him range up and down the mall, letting off his tension energy, while I queued to buy him a sausage roll and milkshake for lunch.

I had paid and was waiting for the sausage roll to be warmed when I heard the tinkle of falling cutlery. I saw an elderly woman bend to try and retrieve the teaspoons, but she was unable to reach them. I quickly moved over and picked up the spoons, just as her husband got up. I beat him to it. He thanked me in thickly accented English.

“Good look,” he declared with his very few words. “Good look…..Monday, Tuesday…Friday…” (numbering his fingers) ”…Good look.”

I smiled and said it was nothing, hurrying back to wait for the food. What on earth did he mean? At first I wondered if my rear end as I bent over was the “good look”. Not likely with my figure. Then I wondered if he was trying to tell me I was good looking every day of the week.

The words shifted, rearranging themselves in my mind, according to the accent. Good look…..Good luk….. Good luck! As the meaning clicked into place I felt the magic curling around my hearing, my receiving, my understanding. Good luck every day of the week! Good luck from the old folk of the old ways; a blessing thick with import like real cream in old, sweet recipes; a wish filled with talismans, old as memory and dripping in stories. Good luck every day of the week.

I felt it wrap around me and hold me. It meant so much.

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Four-leaved Magic!

•September 9, 2013 • 3 Comments

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Moss Garden

 Unrelated coincidence? Deliberate creation? I am well aware of the nuances, however, where’s there’s magic, there’s a story.

Back in February of this year, I had a car accident that was my fault, in which I wrote off both my car and the one I hit. At the time, the very first thing I focussed on was blessings and positive outcomes for all. The harsh lesson in it, for me, was that I had failed to grasp some of the finer details of insurance, and thus wasn’t covered for damage to a third party vehicle.

A month later, the letter from the other driver’s insurance company arrived, informing me that I was required to pay $36 400. To put that in perspective, at the current exchange rate, that equates to about R336 500. Back in South Africa in about 2002 we bought a three-bed-roomed house for R210 000. This sum of money, that I now owed an insurance company, amounted to the biggest financial debt I’d ever faced!

Every day, as I walked to and from the bus stop, I imagined streams of abundance and blessing over the situation. I schooled my mind, as far as I was able, away from the anxiety and inner conversations, and instead conjured images of overcoming obstacles and taming dragons. Finally, by the 19th of June (recorded in my journal), I realised it was time to choose a best possible outcome. I had exhausted the options. There was no way I could pay off that amount on my income, with my family commitments. I decided the best thing for all of us would be to have the whole thing waived – made to vanish. I could have opted for that earlier, but I wanted to be sure I was doing the right thing. Trying to wriggle out of a situation that was my fault, and avoid the consequences, was not my first choice. Seeking a waiver had to be my ONLY choice, a choice that meant that my family would not have to pay a price for my mistakes.

The next morning I followed some useful links kindly provided by my brother, and ended up speaking to a helpful young man at the Consumer Legal and Credit Centre.  I asked if it was worth pursuing a waiver. He requested extra information and said he’d phone back. Half an hour later, I was thrilled as he said not only that it was worth a try, but he’d pursue the waiver on my behalf!

I was entranced by the speed with which help had followed my choice of a specific outcome. On one of my walks I decided that when I found a four-leaf clover outside our home, on our side of the footpath, I’d know it heralded good news. Four-leaf clovers have been my symbol of “abundance-beyond-the-expected” for over twenty years, now. What is more, it was a safe option. I had found a four-leaf clover on the opposite side of the footpath, last year, so I knew it wasn’t an impossible sign. (My mother shakes her head and mutters about fairy blood every time I find yet another four-leaf clover – or several at a time)

The days went by. The clover flourished (along with the other weeds) and, despite keeping a look-out,  there wasn’t a single four-leafer to be found. Eventually, my husband and his friend did some work on the garden, and when I arrived home the clover was gone. I bought a second-hand car with the money I got back after doing my tax return, and the days drifted on into spring.

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The four-leaf Oxalis on Thursday 5th September 2013, tender-green and new.

Then, last Thursday morning I happened to check my little moss garden to see if it needed water. Oxalis (sorrel) has grown along with other seeds that came with the moss I’d collected at the side of the house – ordinary three-leaved Oxalis – except – one had grown a fourth leaf! I was astounded. Four-leafed Oxalis growing on a three-leaved plant is far less common than finding four-leaf clovers. (Please note, this is not to be confused with the Oxalis Tetrafolia which naturally grows four leaves.) I went off to an appointment, and when I returned home the fourth leaf seemed a little larger, closer to the size of the other three leaves on that stalk.

The telephone rang. It was my knight in shining armour from the Consumer Credit and Legal Centre.  He was the bearer of good news, he told me. Both the insurance company and the collection house had agreed not to pursue the matter of the money I owed. We were home and dry!

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tender green

Now the deeper green of maturity

It’s Simple

•August 24, 2013 • 1 Comment

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Regardless of what is, or isn’t, happening in the rest of the world, the magnolias are looking beautiful. No matter what challenges the natural world faces, nature keeps on doing what it does until the moment it can no longer, and then it does something new, or different, or it turns a page in history.

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No matter what may be happening in any part of the world, I still have my part to play in blooming and learning, growing spiritually and being all that I am meant to be.

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Three times three petals in pristine white tell me it’s simple: don’t focus on all the apparent “impossibilities”, just focus on being what you are, fully and completely.

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That is the best gift anyone can give to the world.

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shades of the sea!

•August 3, 2013 • 2 Comments

My son reviewed my first self-published book, which is available for sale on Amazon.com and CreateSpace

I originally announced the book here: What’s your Favourite Colour?

shades of the sea!.

The Magic Flute

•July 12, 2013 • Leave a Comment

1-DSCF1207This morning the strains of a flute or recorder drifted up from somewhere outside, and tugged my sleeve, so I wandered down to investigate. I followed the occasional phrases, interrupted now and then with restarts, or shifts to other snatches of melody. A voice joined in singing along from time to time.

Under the eucalypts on the far side of the park, a man stood, flute in hand. A woman, most likely his wife and also the singer, was picking dandelions or roots of some sort– something the rest of us disregarded, but she recognised as good and useful. I passed them and found myself a place in the sun, leaning against a smooth tree trunk, and let his beautiful notes weave around me.

And that was it: a space framed by music, in which so much peace and beauty dwelt. The sun warmed away the winter chill from a sky adorned with a few high, fair-weather clouds. A gentle breeze stirred the eucalyptus leaves and twirled around the children playing on the playground equipment, mingling with their laughter. Down on the oval a father sprinted with his daughter and other children kicked balls or ran races, some serious, some pounding turf for the joy of it. Parents took dogs and children for walks nearby, and further away someone else threw a ball for an exuberant mutt. Noisy Miners tumbled and squabbled, landing momentarily right in front of a surprised toddler sitting on the running tracks, and then flying off again.

The flautist continued playing after his wife had gone, met by a little girl running from the playground equipment. Is this not the peace and tranquillity we all long for? What a gift this man gave us, yet I alone stopped to listen, to enter into the weaving of the dream. I could not give him anything else in return, just my listening.

Eventually I wandered over to thank him and he greeted me with a beaming smile and hearty “hello”.

“China,” he said, proudly showing me his flute – bamboo – which explained the woodiness of its tone, and why I hadn’t been able to distinguish whether I was hearing a flute or recorder at first.

He had no English but tried to tell me about the instrument anyway, clearly delighted by my interest. I thanked him again, although I couldn’t explain that I was thanking him not just for the music, but for the weaving of a vision of paradise across the road from my front door.

What’s your favourite colour?

•June 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment

22Sots

When we lived in Cape Town for a year and a bit, prior to moving to Sydney, my two younger sons were at that phase of life when they tortured me by demanding to know what my favourite colour was. I usually answered green, and sometimes blue. In the end I settled for revenge. I decided my favourite colour was the sea.

“Oh, you mean blue,” they’d answer.

“No,” I’d respond. “Today the sea isn’t blue, it’s grey and sometimes it’s green…”

In time, with my many walks along the beach and time spent sitting on the rocks in contemplation, the answer became a poem. Once we had settled in Australia I hunted through my photographs and placed them together with the poem into a PowerPoint presentation, which I then printed out and popped into a folder.

There is a subtext that follows the life of this little book. Our move to Cape Town following the sale of our house in Johannesburg was confounded by an inability to obtain bridging finance and a six-month wait for the money to come through. Those six months were desperately difficult as my nursing salary was far less than I’d earned in IT. We struggled to feed ourselves. Those days on the rocks or beach absorbing the colours of the ocean were, for me the peaceful battleground as I learned not to panic and to trust my ability to steer my family through crisis.

Eventually the money from the sale of the house came through, every debt was paid and we planned our move to Sydney. The initial putting together of the poem into PowerPoint was during our time of settling in to a new country and a new life. Again, the budget seemed impossibly tight at times, and I dreamt of the possibility of making a few pennies from my writing. I entered the poem into the Eastwood/Hills Annual Literary Competition and it received a Commended.

This year, once again we face a crisis following the car accident in February and the possibility of bankruptcy following on from that. The poem and photographs have become my learning curve and initiation into the world of self-publishing. This poem not only answers the question my sons asked, “what you’re favourite colour?”, it is also a subtext of life – it’s mornings and evenings, blue skies and stormy days, and all of it is beautiful. All of it is my favourite life.

The book is available via CreateSpace: Shades of the Sea or on amazon.com.

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