Chore or choice

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I recall many years ago attending a weekend health retreat at a place that was primarily for cancer patients and their family.  The retreat would open to the general public once a year and I jumped at the opportunity to go there.  We were warned there would be no caffeine, sugar or salt in the meals.  My knees buckled at the thought but it was just a weekend, I would survive, I told myself.  The weekend changed my diet for months.  I could not eat fast foods (too salty), caffeine gave me an unpleasant buzz and sugar made me feel ill.

Last year my goal was to be a mindful consumer of food.  I wondered if the label had a paragraph of ingredients, was it really healthy to consume on a regular basis?  This led to mindful shopping.  I do love zoning out in a supermarket but have found I need bare essentials only.  I take out the recycle bin every 4-6 weeks.  I’m not consuming that much!

Having made major adjustments to daily living, I’ve set a personal goal this year.  It is an undeniable truth I lead a stressful life.  Making sure I spend some time in mindful moments comes easily to me now.  I am healthy on a psychological level but I have neglected my physical health.  So this year I’m going to be kind and nurturing to my body.

To achieve this goal I had to think what that actually means.  With competing priorities, this part was the hardest and quite confronting.  It required me to do what does not come naturally to me.  I had to give myself a higher priority.  So I thought I’d start like I did on the health retreat and try this over a weekend.

I seem to have chosen the hottest weekend to detox and nurture myself.  In some ways, a blessing in disguise.   Lots of fluid is the order of the day.

It has taken a lot of planning to get to this point.  With a fridge that is often bare was a good place to start.  I could choose what I needed.  It has taken away the stress of choice of what I should not be consuming over the next two days.

This morning I made a jug of green tea, and added lime, orange and grapefruit and a handful of crushed mint leaves, and filled it with ice.  Delicious!  It will be gone before lunch.

Late last night I made a pot of clear vegetable soup.  I could have easily used kitchen appliances to slice and dice vegetables.  But I enjoyed the manual task.  It seemed to be a nurturing gesture.  Despite being a warm morning, my body craved the soup instead of coffee.  I knew the soup was full of nutrition.

Making changes comes down to perception.  It is a chore or is it a choice.  Choice is more self-directed, and a powerful motivator.  A chore is generally imposed by someone else or circumstances.  Having made this distinction, I can’t wait for the next weekend!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

 

Sea child

I’ve just returned from the South-West.  I based myself in Busselton and travelled around within a 100 km radius.  At dusk I walked the 1.7 km jetty and tried not to get blown off in the stiff breeze.  Like others, I stood as sunset and watched it, like I had never seen one before when a little girl caught my eye.  This post is for her and to those who bring joy to others unexpectedly.  The sequence of photographs is how I saw it.DSCN0118.jpgDSCN0119.jpgDSCN0120.jpgDSCN0117.jpg

Sea Child

Along a strip where sand meets the sea

a little girl plays tag

dipping her toes in

she races away

as the sea chases her unexpectedly

She returns once more

to do it again

a game of chicken, with the sea

this time the sea claims victory

she concedes

arms billowing, she spins in the breeze

throwing her head back with laughter

I watch this child of joy

listening, seeing, touching,

breathing in, senses alive

alone in a crowd, by the sea

yet connected to all

she dances in the space where,

with you, I yearn to be.

A dawnbird

 

Brought to you by the letter F

My daughter has always been a creative, adventurous, curious soul.  She would bop to music holding on to the sofa before she could walk.  Always wanting to be busy, I would put the TV late afternoon to hear the welcome words “…. and brought to you by the letter ….”.  We would both enjoy half an hour of quiet time.  This became a pattern and once the baby arrived, in case I forgot the program was to start (in the days before programs were on loop), I would put the TV on a few minutes earlier.  One day to my utter dismay I heard her yell out in frustration, “scumbag!”.  “Where on earth did you learn that!” my immediate response and reprimand.  She wasn’t able to tell me.  Days went by and I found myself catching a few minutes on the sofa myself.  She snuggled near me and we waited for Sesame Street.  But before her program, we caught the tail end of a political program with our then Prime Minister in full flight during question time.  A volley of “scumbag” flew across the parliamentary debate.

Around the age of four at dinner time, as was our routine, I asked her about her day.  She happily disclosed she had a great day but day care staff told her, she wasn’t allowed to say “*#ck” any more.  Her father and I put down cutlery and stared at her in horror, saying in unison, “What do you mean anymore?”  Followed by where did you learn the word, how long have you been saying this!  “My friends” and “always” was her casual response.

I have no objections to swearing.  Put me in Perth traffic, and I can turn the air blue.  It is an emotional expression.  It is how words are used, and by whom, and when that concerns me.  I’ll share what I mean.

Australia is known for its ancient art rock paintings.  One of these places is the Burrup Peninsular, north of Perth.DSCN8679.jpgAbout 30 km out of Karratha in mining country, the Burrup Peninsular is a pretty special place, especially at sunset.  It is also a place of controversy with the gas exploration near by.DSCN8670.jpgI’ve been here a few times but mostly seek sunset near the water.  One evening we decided to take a walk instead.  With light was fading and with no torch, although my travelling companion was more adventurous, I was not keen to walk back to the car in the dark.  So it was a short stay among the fearsome hot rocks.DSCN8677.jpgThe art here is thousands of years old, some newer (1800s).  I felt a deep sense of reverence in this ancient place.  This place did not have the prominence of prime time TV slots.  It did not vie for attention with the glorious sunset.  Yet, it captivated my attention and my spirit.  It quietened me and put me in a meditative space.  It was a library of life, how it was lived, by the hunters and gatherers.  It emitted a message.  The understanding of it, was mine to keep in the moment, interpret later, and pass on.  So I am.

If we are open to learning, and most of us are, shouldn’t that alert us to the influences around us?  I know I wasn’t before becoming a parent.  My child raised my awareness.

There is no other time in my lifetime have I felt a such a deep sense of disquiet, as I feel now.  We live in a world of ‘social influencers’ where life is lived through instagram moments.  This is an age where even one’s spoken words can be turned around to imply the listeners got it wrong!  We have arrived at a point where we live in a world of global gaslighting.

The reach of technology is long.  Yesterday I received an unsolicited SMS from a political candidate with rhetoric modelled on the ‘success’ of another businessman who became a ‘leader’.  To say this unsettled or infuriated me, is an understatement.

The written word and art are some of the oldest forms of communication.  We preserve it.  We honour it.  It tells us where we came from.  It influences the future.  It is fragile as life itself.  It is freedom.

And with freedom, comes responsibility.  This is the message I leave for my children.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

Much like birds …

I find it fascinating that most birds pair for life.  How do they choose a life partner?  Do they ever make mistakes?  How do they work out differences? Do they ever fall out of love?  Do they ever yearn for the way it used to be?  How do they cope when their partner is no more?  So many questions.  I have no answers.

With the birds I observe, the males like the fairy blue wren are gorgeous whereas the female is less vivid.  Male birds work hard to get the female”s interest.  I once watched a bower bird diligently collect green objects (including an unattended key ring) for his potential love.  In the bird world, it’s Girl Power! all the way, it would seem.10960430_931215490224047_2663591319257657208_o.jpgThe pink galahs make me laugh!  It would appear, when it comes to love, no different than you and me.

I went through a phase after my divorce thinking it would be nice to be in a relationship.  I hadn’t factored in, life had changed me.  My standards and priorities were different.  I was stronger.  (Yes, Girl Power!).  Financially secure with adult children, was an attraction for some men, but they did not meet my criteria:  a man of integrity and social conscience.  I asked for nothing more.  You’d think I was asking for the world, but I know a man of that calibre would mean the world to me.

This evening the word prompt jogged my memory of a beautiful poem that encapsulated everything I felt in those days of search, so I’ll share it with you.

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

by Oriah Mountain Dreamer (@ http://www.oriahmountaindreamer.com)

I love this poem.  It speaks of a journey and many other journeys, some taken, some yet to be taken, some to be taken individually, others jointly.  It speaks of togetherness, of oneness of self, and with another.  I love the inherent spiritual nature of relationship in this poem.

So where am I today?  I no longer look.  I found oneness and togetherness in Nature.  I am in a happy place.  The danger, I’m told, is “this is when it happens”!

How contrary is life?

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

I wake to this each day

DSCN9117.jpgBorn at dawn, I wake at dawn each day.  When I’m not home the last thing I do before I go to bed is check the time for first light and sunrise.  I then set my clock to five minutes before.  I can’t think of one reason why I should stay in bed, when this is outside my hotel room in Esperance.DSCN9988.jpgAt home one of my pet peeves is turning on the light when it is still dark in the home.  I love the quiet moment of ambivalence of darkness before light.  I sit and enjoy my coffee while the shadows take shape.  As I sipped my coffee I inhaled the unmistakable breathtaking perfume of jasmine.  To my left, just beyond the patio, I caught a glimpse of white.  The light scatter of petals will be a dense carpet soon.DSCN9989.jpgAs I walked around a garden, cooled by the sprinklers overnight, my eyes were drawn to new growth.  My heart space has taught me, the freshest growth is where the plant is pruned the harshest.  A take away message today for me.DSCN7075.jpgNature has taught me to seek an ebullient moment, at least once each day.  If you’ve ever watched birds early morning, you’ll know where the teaching came from.DSCN9916.jpgI often photograph surfers early morning in Esperance.  Surfers walk into the water to be one with it, whereas I, a non-swimmer, stand away from the roiling waves in awe.  The draw to the sea, the fear and fascination, that pull from one to the other is inexplicable.  Much like a surfer, I surrender to joy of seduction, when I’m in that moment of play.

May you too wake seeking a moment like this, each day.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird