Nature vs Nurture

The concept of self-care was introduced to me about a decade ago.  It is not a self-indulgence.  It is vital for physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health.  The premise is quite uncomplicated.  If you don’t look after yourself, you can’t look after others.

I sought to be nurtured in different places and by different people.  The mix was never right and left me wanting to fill the void.  My only regret in life is that it has taken me so long to discover, nature can be a powerful nurturing force in one’s life.

And so my journey began …DSCN9464.jpg
I sought the embrace of tall trees.  IMG_1100.jpg
And in the outback where the wide open spaces and empty places are filled, within me.thumb_IMG_0906_1024.jpg
Usually solitary, there are times I seek footprints left by others.
I neglected this boab bonsai at my peril.  It did not survive.  The warning signs I’ve since heeded, make time, those who nurture me, deserve my nurturing too.0-1.jpg
Best of all … no matter where I am and what I’m doing, just a glimpse of my daughter’s dogs, makes me smile.  Their loyalty and companionship is uncomplicated, with the only complication being in the gaze.  My kind of relationship!

Winter has arrived in Perth with fury.  I returned home last night in a storm.  I’m exhausted from the stress of the flight.  Today, I plan to have a hot stone massage, get a pedicure, do some cooking and then get back to ‘catch up’ work while watching the steady rain outdoors.

I’ve mapped my day and it looks perfect for me.  Wherever you are, may your day be perfect too.  Isolate some time for yourself.  You deserve it.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to RDP – Thursday : Nurture

Puppy love

“Can we move back home?”, my daughter asked me after she ended a long term relationship.  I was in the middle of renovations and I considered her plea for just a moment longer than I would have otherwise.  “We” meant the dog as well.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do love dogs.  We always had one in my family home.  There was Shane a white German Shepherd who sadly was stolen from us when he was just a puppy followed by Jet our black labrador.  Jet was gentle and docile.  If there was a knock at the front door he would walk casually to the back and we would know we had visitors.  He was with us for around 16 years.  My sister claimed him as hers so I had little to do with him.

Then I was bitten on two occasions by dogs during home visits.  I became wary of them. Still am.  So having a dog move into the home was a daunting thought.

My daughter and M moved in.  The home is large is enough for M and I to avoid each other, is how I reasoned.  She, too, kept her distance.  Over time we just seemed to know what the other was feeling.  I sensed toilet breaks.  She sensed the mood of an empty nester and would tap her tail gently, to let me know she was there.  Interestingly the distress of the breakup impacted M too.  She became attached to my vacuum cleaner.  Where ever I placed the vacuum cleaner, she would lie next to it.  I ended giving it to my daughter when they moved out.  She also sensed when I was packing for trips and give me a sad look.  It started to tear me up.  “I’m back in a few days”, I found myself telling her.  I felt guilty each time I left home.  We had bonded.  thumb_IMG_0193_1024.jpgM is nearly seven.  A veteran of a few surgeries and was recovering from one in this picture.  She knows not to jump on me and can read my hand signal, stop.  Clever girl!  She is now comfortable in my home whenever they visit.thumb_IMG_2442_1024.jpgThen came Em.  The Instagram star.  She also found herself featured in an Ikea catalogue.  Our little celebrity.  Hold a mobile phone and Em will immediately get a toy and pose!  She was barely a year old in this picture and is now bigger.  The first thing I do on the internet each morning, is look at her latest picture.  She is my morning smile.thumb_IMG_3595_1024.jpgThe most recent addition to the family is Kovu, my son’s chocolate labrador.  Still only a few months old he is a bundle of energy.  It makes me smile when the dogs go to the beach on ‘a play date’!  I nearly fell off the chair the other day when my son stated he needed to go home as his “son” was waiting for him.  This from a hipster twentysomething who claims he and his fiancee are never going to have children!

I don’t have a pet, but dogs are part of my family.  How is it possible dogs can fill a home and heart with so much love?  I really don’t know.  They just do.  That’s the power of puppy love.  Unconditional.  Sensitive.  Playful.  Loyal.  Faithful.  We are their world and they mean the world to us.  And, that’s enough of an answer for me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird







At the end, all we have is memories.  We don’t re-create them.  We make new ones.  And, sometimes, from the old.  Like left-over food, the creation can be memorable.  I’m settled in my chair, about to enjoy a feast.

thumb_IMG_1403_1024.jpgThe snowdrops in my garden first appear in August.  The anniversary of my father’s passing.  Far from saddening me, the flower, like memories of him, delights the heart.

Today is the birth anniversary of my father.  He and my mother shared a birthday in the month of June.  Their birthdays made our home into a house of celebration.  It was an open house where people came uninvited, dropping in for a meal and drink.  My parents, the ever gracious hosts, would treat each person with unconditional warmth.

My parents were business people.  They managed their world of finances and friendships, with uncompromising integrity.  I feel blessed to have been raised in their world.

IMG_2035.jpgMy father was my David Attenborough.  He showed me the wonders of the world in words and books.  Through his eyes I see softness in ranges and know Nature’s hand can shape and smooth the most difficult terrain.

thumb_IMG_1406_1024Jostled in the air, I have learnt to focus on the sun ray bursting through a storm.

thumb_IMG_2343_1024.jpgI know no fear travelling in desolate outback.  I’ve come to learn, there is beauty in the barren.  There is peace in void.

thumb_IMG_2730_1024.jpgMy steps are measured and mindful because I know there’s more to experience in the journey between A to Z.


Did my father teach me to think differently at his knee?  I’m not sure but the training certainly came early, much like our beloved pooch who at 12 months will get a toy and pose, Instagram ready!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird



Starry eyed …

via Daily Prompt: Astral

Years ago a friend introduced me to the work of Theodore Roszak, and a newer, more beautiful world.

Ecopsychology promotes, quite simply, the connection to wider systems that make up life on this planet and beyond.  Ancient cultures practiced this as a way of life.  As we come to grips with the devastation caused by disconnection and dislocation, it is vital to understand this.  Underpinning this, is the yearning for connection.

I set about to find my way through the maze of work-life balance and as I did, my ‘connectedness’ to the world became stronger.  I started to understand the meaning of ‘country’ and, with each step, I returned to mine.

Astronomy left me wondrous with the galaxies, planets and comets, but unattainable.  So I looked elsewhere and found stars within reach.

thumb_IMG_0408_1024I found them in my garden.

thumb_IMG_0124_1024Viola! in the strawberry, waiting to fruit.

thumb_DSCN5145_1024Among bush tracks.

thumb_IMG_0097_1024.jpgAgainst a fence.

thumb_IMG_2583_1024.jpgIn the neighbour’s garden.

thumb_IMG_1668_1024.jpgIn the eyes of the magpie lark, as it picked through the remnants of my breakfast.

thumb_IMG_0193_1024.jpgIn the eyes of a sick dog, who knows she is loved.

thumb_IMG_0850_1024.jpgIn my eyes, when I found the heart I left behind.

thumb_IMG_2688_1024.jpgAnd, when I walked among the ‘sea clouds’.

thumb_IMG_2685_1024I found my very own Milky Way.

thumb_IMG_2735_1024.jpgSo I took it home, and like a child at Halloween, emptied my pockets of loot.

My astral experiences may be different but if they help you seek yours, our lives have been enriched by sharing this space.  Stay starry eyed!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird





The healing

One of my favourite quotes by Harville Hendrix is framed and visible on my work desk, for all those who walk in to see.  “We are born in relationship, we are wounded in relationship, and we can be healed in relationship.”

I was introduced to this type of thinking over twenty years ago.  Times have changed.  People have changed.  Perceptions have changed.  I have changed.  This was brought home to me recently.

I was visiting someone who has dogs.  For hours the rescue dog was outdoors and I watched him intermittently.  Then, someone opened the door.  He came in and went straight to my feet and settled himself.  Ordinarily, I would be wary.  I have been bitten by dogs on two occasions.  Even though these events happened in the distant past, the anxiety around dogs remained.  At a delicious lunch at a seaside cafe, my colleague mentioned casually.  She observed I was no longer nervous around dogs.  Usually, she is protective of me, but did not have to step in to redirect this time.  I reflected on her observation.

A few years ago my daughter bought M.  It took months before I could stay alone at home with M.  As the days became weeks, her bond with me strengthened each day.  She would give me a baleful, disapproving look each time she watched me pack my suitcase.  She knew I didn’t like her jumping on me.  Desperate to eat her dinner, she would whimper but sit outside the glass door until I allowed her in.  She learned and obeyed my hand command for ‘stop’ almost like it was instinct in her.  While working at home, the silences between the frenetic keystrokes would prompt her to tap, tap, tap her tail, to let me know she was still there.  All communicated without a word, trust grew between us.

My daughter and her partner bought another dog, a companion, they thought for M.  A purebred puppy.  I was disapproving and wary.  No, I tell a lie.  I was scared.  The words, “dominant”, “needs firm training”, “protective of family” did nothing to ease the anxiety.  My daughter wanted him for protection, her partner being FIFO (fly in fly out worker).  I knew he wasn’t the right breed for the family, especially as he was an aloof puppy when only a few weeks old.  I was proved right.  A few months later, his aggression nearly killed M.  There was nothing the young adults could do, but return the puppy to the breeder.  Then, they bought another puppy.

We all fell in love instantly.  She smiles!  All day!  At anything!  And, anyone!  For her, everything is love at first sight.  She shares the love with thousands.  Her social media presence and following, is strong!


M was wary of Em from the very start.  Walked away from her on approach.  M’s memory of being attacked still fresh.  She watched from a distance as Em became beloved and in turn, loved others.  Em did not give up.  She loved M and was never far from her.  Soon M started to respond to Em when she brought toys to her, barking insistently for play time.  M would sigh, a big old sigh of exasperation, climb off the sofa, and indulge Em for a while.

Em is now 11 months old and 45 kg.  M and Em are inseparable.


Harville got it right.

Until next time

As always,

a dawn bird