Write your name!


“Featherweight by Suzy Kassem
One evening,
I sat by the ocean and questioned the moon about my destiny.
I revealed to it that I was beginning to feel smaller compared to others,
Because the more secrets of the universe I would unlock,
The smaller in size I became.

I didn’t understand why I wasn’t feeling larger instead of smaller.
I thought that seeking Truth was what was required of us all –
To show us the way, not to make us feel lost,
Up against the odds,
In a devilish game partitioned by
An invisible wall.

Then the next morning,
A bird appeared at my window, just as the sun began
Spreading its yolk over the horizon.
It remained perched for a long time,
Gazing at me intently, to make sure I knew I wasn’t dreaming.
Then its words gently echoed throughout my mind,
Telling me:

‘The world you are in –
Is the true hell.
The journey to Truth itself
Is what quickens the heart to become lighter.
The lighter the heart, the purer it is.
The purer the heart, the closer to light it becomes.
And the heavier the heart,
The more chained to this hell
It will remain.’

And just like that, it flew off towards the sun,
Leaving behind a tiny feather.
So I picked it up,
And fastened it to a toothpick,
To dip into ink
And write my name.”
― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Wherever you are, may you find a way to write your name today.

Until next time,

As always

a dawn bird

Challenge, changes us

It is said that challenges change us.  For me, this is true.  Taking photographs was never my thing.  Hand me a camera and you would get a blurry shot.  Guaranteed!

Alone at the beach recently, with just a passing jogger or cyclist in the distance, I saw a ball of white fluff moved across the landscape.  It looked out of place on the sand.  I zoomed in and much to my surprise found a tiny bird, a plover of some kind, I believe, headed towards the waves.  Surprised, because I’ve never seen the bird so far south.  I usually see them in Broome, some 2000 km north.  They are tiny and scurry at great speed.  I’ve seen one fly a short distance only once.  They can be difficult to get in focus because they move quickly across the sand.  And, they blend in with their environment beautifully.  Forty minutes later and over 100 photographs playing a game of “where’s wally”, the bird moved towards me, even standing still for a moment for me to get a picture.  And, then against a rock.  And finally, a small call.  Delighted with the interaction, the challenge then was to leave the beach and resume my day.

Photography is teaching me to see the world differently.  It makes me view the world differently.  I see things, I never saw before.  It makes me look outwards first, before looking inwards.  The result is joy in small things.  Nothing matters until I get this daily hit at some time during my day.  It can happen roadside while eating a sandwich in a hot car or on a balmy beach at dawn.  The challenge has become to pursue joy, every day and, in each day.  It is a challenge that has changed me.

May you, too, find joy in small things this weekend.

Until next time

As always

a dawnbird



Recently, just before flying out on a regional trip, I realised I had not met my monthly resolution of enrolling in professional development.  The seminar I wanted to attend was a few days away.  I jumped on the website and enrolled, printed off my ticket and left for my trip.  There was no time to reflect on the seminar I was to attend.  With the flight coming in later than usual, the next morning, I dressed hurriedly and got to the seminar, 15 minutes late.  I had missed the ‘housekeeping’ and schedule for the program.  I settled in, attentive, interested and open.  Soon, a feeling of disquiet came over me.  There were no name tags, no attendance register, no information when professional attendance certificate would be handed out.  Odd!  I fiddled with my pen incessantly to calm the feeling of having paid good money for something that did not seem to have a familiar format.  The pen leaked onto my fingers and the ink found its way to my white linen top.  The lady next to me giggled as I caught her eye and hissed, “when wearing white … Murphy’s law”.

A student for the day, I wanted to learn but the message was muted by the presenter’s harsh use of the ‘f’ word.  The use of the word does not offend me.  It has its place.  But not when used liberally as adjective, adverb and noun in a formal seminar, repeatedly, even as a quote.  Having arrived a few minutes late, half way through the seminar I asked the lady near me about the professional background of the presenter.  She stated, she had arrived early, but the presenter had not mentioned it in the introduction.  I grew more curious as the hours slipped away.  Having read extensively on the topic, my feeling of disquiet grew.  The seminar did not appear to come from evidence based literature but on case studies.  There was a thin thread holding together a range of established practices, put together by one person’s experience, and now promoted for therapeutic practice in a highly sensitive area.  The day’s program was a taster of the presenter’s practice.  At the end, it was announced the full course of three days will be run at a cost of several thousand dollars.  I picked up my belongings and headed home, taking the coastal route, to calm my outrage.

The first thing I did when I came home was do a google search for the presenter and the organisation.  I am yet to find it.  It is definitely online.  I just cannot find it.  Had I read the background, I would not have wasted my money and time.

This leads me to why I am writing the blog today.  I have a sense of disquiet about a lot of things lately.  I have asked myself, how it is possible, in this day and age of technology and information overload, people are still uninformed.  Have we been reduced to just reading the headlines, ‘click bait’ I believe it’s called, aimed at the vulnerable.  The louder the voice, the more flamboyant, we are led to believe, it must be true.  In this instance, I was vulnerable.  The headline was bold.  It automatically became a priority on my monthly to do list.

On the day I had learnt nothing but a valuable lesson.  It reinforced my learning journey.  Over the past few years I have been steadily taking a different approach in my work.  I have come to appreciate, brain functioning is complex.  There is more that we don’t know, than what we do know.  At the very least, this lack of knowledge should instil humility in one.  Good teaching demands, we respect this.  Good practice, demands this.  We owe  this to the people who trust us with their well being.

It is quite possible, this is applicable to politics as well.

Until next time

As always,

a dawn bird





All is, as should be …

It is my first flight of the year.  The terminal is busier than usual.  I walk around looking for a seat among a sea of people, mostly men.  A flight is announced.  There is an exodus to the gate.  The line is probably the longest I have ever seen in this terminal.  They are headed to the mine in Telfer.  Smiles are broad as they greet each other warmly in a word, “G’daymatehowyergoin”.  Their jokes are weak, their laughter loud and raucous.  Some look forward to being underground where, “It will be bloody cooler, mate!”  It’s blokey talk.  This camaraderie I noticed some years ago but in the down turn last year, markedly absent.  It’s good to see folks happy again.  I silently wish I could be as exuberant as they are.

The pilot announces it is 40 degrees centigrade on the ground in Esperance.  I anticipate a bumpy ride and proved right.  The landing is one of the worst, even with my eyes closed, I feel the small plane dip, tilt and shudder.  Twenty three landings to the end of the year is way too many.  Despite the inherent dangers of country driving, I seriously consider the ten hour drive next time.  It’s a familiar thought.  I have it every time I take this flight.

Despite the heat, Esperance is beautiful as always.  I pass the Golf Course on the left, just before I enter town.  I always look for the Cape Barren Geese that roam the green.  If they are there, they are visible from the highway.  I see five and pull in for a quick picture.  They are large, magnificent birds.  Distinctive.  They take off and land like an airliner, gathering speed in slow motion until air borne and landing with a thud, their large muscular legs seemingly unable to stop until the momentum is slowed down.  In the air and in formation, they are elegant.  The black winged stilt on impossibly long red legs is foraging for insects.  The honeyeater peers out of the green lawn.  The wattlebird blends into the tree.  I feel calm and centred.

I arrive at work the next day.  The low morale of staff is surprising.  The funding cuts have left scars.  They are having farewells.  Other staff are going on leave, unsure whether they have a job on their return.  My schedule is booked back to back one day and overbooked the next.  Under the funding restraints I feel guilty to remind the secretary of my daily quota, which is less than what they have booked in for me.  To add to the unexpected load there is a crisis 15 minutes before I leave on Friday.  I work another hour.  It has turned out a 9 hour day.  I finish work and head to the hotel where, exhausted, I fall asleep fully clothed.  I wake just before 8 pm only to find the cleaners had turned off the fridge.  My dinner and breakfast ends up in the trash.  I head out looking for something to eat.  A futile attempt as the choice is either fast food or fast food.  And, as I watch the young artiste hurriedly assemble my sandwich, it occurs to me, it is Friday the 13th.  I ascribe the circumstances of the day to the calendar.  Somehow it sits better with me that way.

Esperance has become a friend.  It is familiar, soothing, accepting.  I love everything about it, the Bay, the beaches, the bush, the birds and the locals.  This time the pale full moon hangs low over the Bay, a smudge of moonshine drawing my eye.  West Beach is busy with a lone walker while the massive granite rocks at Dempster Head, at the other end, dwarfs a grown man.  The sea at this beach is as serene as a madonna.  At Salmon Beach, the sea has “its resting bitchface on”, according to a fisherman!  It is roiling and boiling more than usual.

I’m reading a book ‘Useful Belief’ by Chris Hedler.  It helps me accept the circumstances of the last two days.  Nature adds the byline.  All is, as should be.

May all be as it should be in your world too.

Until next time,

As always

a dawn bird

The Seagull


The Seagull

Under a warm, generous sky

shared by moon, stars, sun and sea

the seagull watches

with an enchanted eye

dawn’s perfect synergy.

While others preen, flock and fly


the seagull watches

with that ever watchful eye.

As the moon fades

to brighten another darkened sky

the seagull watches,

through a glassy clear eye.

And when the sun, too, settles

into the embrace of the sea

she returns to the edge

undaunted, undeterred,

by this familiar infidelity.

She knows

a new dawn breaks

beyond the sea

and so

the seagull watches

and waits


Where ever you are, may you wake to face the sun.

As always

a dawn bird

Happy New Year!

DSCN3819.jpgIt’s the first day of 2017!  The fireworks have fizzed into smoke until next year.  But, the champagne bubbles are still bubbling, and the cold beer frothing, I’m sure, in many homes.  I know they will in mine later tonight when I have company over.  Some wake to resolutions every new year.  I try and avoid annual resolutions.  I never keep them past a day or two.  Then I feel I have failed.  So I set goals for the day.  Sometimes the day is segmented into sections.  I find I achieve goals better and more effectively this way.  It also gives me a sense of satisfaction when I do.

The Australian flora teaches us a wonderful lesson.  Perhaps this happens in other parts of the world as well.  There are some plants that need the intensity of bushfires to help their seeds germinate.  Soon they spill colour onto an otherwise beige landscape that is so summer.  Last January a huge bushfire devastated a township.  On the highway from Perth to Bunbury there was kilometre after kilometre of charred trees and vegetation.  A few months later, I found new growth.  The grass trees are more prolific than before.  There are vine climbing up darkened branches.  From the sombre grey of ashes, new life begins.

I’m inspired by this.  At the end of each year I reflect on what went well and what didn’t.  An inventory, if you like.  There are some experiences I know I will not repeat but they were necessary.  I needed the heat for ideas to germinate.  There are others I’m eager to try.  This year I’m determined to get some big ticket bucket list experiences crossed off the list.  I’ve built my work schedule around them.  This is an unusual year.  I’ve had one annual resolution.  And, it has already been achieved.  My down time for personal growth has been organised.  I feel elated at the very thought!

May the new year bring you joy.  May it bring love and laughter of family and friends into your life.  And, may you grow and blossom during those intense moments of searing heat.  Because, that’s when life begins.

Until next time

As always

A dawn bird