Seeking joy from within

I’ve decided to take this time to experience self-imposed isolation for two weeks as not only there are health reasons to do this, but also psychological ones. The sheer enormity of what the world is experiencing makes me seek small things and smaller spaces.

I have some work related phone contact with people and video contact with someone else on most days.  This I cannot avoid.  Son works therapeutically with recently discharged stroke patients and wants to stay away to keep me safe as he has frequent hospital contact.  Daughter works as a teacher and schools are still officially open, although a lot of parents are opting to keep their children at home.  She lives about an hour south of my home and I don’t get to see her as often under normal circumstances.  I live in a small cul de sac and neighbours have exchanged phone numbers and check on each other.  I am connected yet alone.

The world  has become a small place.  I thought it was timely for me to seek … and share the joy I find within my home.  thumb_IMG_1663_1024I always envisaged working in an office in the city, with my work extending to include the port city of Fremantle, but some of my narrative was written by others.  Soon I was working state wide in this magnificent and enormous state of Western Australia, which covers a third of the continent.  It took me to places I would never have gone.  Each beach, each bay, each coast curve has been different.  I started a collection of pebbles, coral and shells a few years ago.  I treasure these, never more than now.thumb_IMG_1665_1024Then there are the collections of rocks, and other sea artefacts.  I started a small jar of tiny shells that I often find on the beaches of Jurien Bay and Exmouth mostly.  In the vintage cast iron piece of kitchenalia is the red rock I found in the gold mining areas in the Midwest outback that has gold flecks in it.  I remember the moment when I picked this up and felt a deep connection to the land I was standing on.  It seemed to speak to me of all the drama and chaos and excitement that gold rush brings and how different it is today with the orderly FIFO (fly in fly out) mine workers catching flights like they are catching a bus.thumb_IMG_1664_1024I love the tactile nature of emu eggs.  They are smooth and heavy.  These were the last of the eggs that were being sold when an Emu Farm closed.  I would stop here, to buy a bottle or two of the locally made chilli tomato sauce, just before getting to Bunbury in the South West.  I have such fond memories of chatting to the elderly women who worked at the counter.thumb_IMG_1659_1024I’m also looking after myself, as self-care is vital in these times.  I had placed a big order of food from a home delivery service just before the crisis.  Timely.  They always have the best tasting fresh fruit.  I never buy strawberries in the supermarket but I enjoy these when delivered.thumb_IMG_1660_1024I wake some mornings feeling despondent about everything and everyone.  Some days crawling out of that space is harder than others when the grip of helplessness gets tighter.  On those days I slow down and indulge in a bit of personal self-care.  This is a facial mask I used as a teen in India.  Made from chickpea flour, pure honey, a pinch of tumeric, a splash of lemon juice and enough water to make a consistency of pancake mix.  I also add a few drops of Vitamin B oil.  Smear over face, let it dry and rinse off.  (Remind yourself not to open the front door!).  The turmeric stains clothing but doesn’t seem to stain crockery or bathrooms sinks.  The mask leaves the skin very soft.  This paste, or versions of it, is also used in many Indian bridal ceremonies, a preparatory, or cleansing ritual before the wedding night.  I feel the need to do this more often than I ever have in the past.  It leaves me with a feeling of positive anticipation.thumb_IMG_1656_1024Last but not least!  I’ve always disliked garden gnomes.  It was a running joke between Dr T and myself and he would ‘threaten’ to buy some for our garden and I would recoil in horror.

A few weeks before the world changed I walked into a new shop in my neighbourhood.  The owner sells beautiful hand embroidered white cotton lingerie.  I love those!  These two caught my eye.  I walked out of the shop thinking about them and couldn’t help smiling for so many reasons.  The next time I walked in they were nowhere to be seen.  I found myself being surprised when I asked the owner if she had sold them.  No, they were seated in a different section of the shop.  They came home with me.

As I write alone at home they bring me such joy and companionship.  Oh! the irony of this!  Dr T when you read this post, I don’t want to hear about it!

Like millions I’m home and as vulnerable physically, emotionally, psychologically, and financially, just as the next person.  Although I already do this, I find myself reaching into my survival tool box to create my own world, create my own joy and do this mindfully.  There is something in this concept that I hope will stay with folks long after the crisis has passed.  There is a certain joy in seeking this from within, be it home or self.  When you do, you’ll find it is endless and you can always tap into it.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy Challenge – Week # 12 – Create Abundance Out of Ordinary Things

My winter plans

I’ve been up since 4 am.  I’ve finished one report and hoping to complete another before I fly out again this afternoon.  It’s howling wind and rain outside while I’m enjoying my coffee and short break while anticipating the next few weeks.

I love the South-West region of our state in winter.  I have some work coming up near a tiny hamlet called Balingup.  I love this little place of less than 300 people.  The population is made up largely of retired professional folks who enjoy a tree change.  I always wanted to buy a small holiday home here but somehow never got around to it.  The place is known for its colourful scarecrows and an annual medieval festival.

DSCN8784.jpgRoadside in Balingup where wild freesias grow.

DSCN8791.jpgThen there’s Donnybrook.  Known for apples and orchards.  I have to spend a few days here and so looking forward to it.

DSCN2569.jpgOn the way to Margaret River, our premier wine country, I’m looking forward to a walk along Geographe Bay.  I’ve walked the 1.8 km Busselton Jetty and this time, weather permitting, visiting the underwater viewing area is on my list.

DSCN8579.jpgI always love Margaret River in winter.  A chalet, good cheese, a good red, blanket and book fireside, and I’m happy.  Of course, there’s also the added attraction of tiny wrens!

DSCN3482.jpgI’m hoping to find some time to walk in the Perth Hills.  I’m not sure what’s blooming at this time of year.  I’m never home to find out!  This picture and the next were taken in spring.

DSCN3484.jpgI know the coming weeks will bring moments of sheer joy.

Then, I’ll return home and share them with you.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

Me?

via Daily Prompt: Authentic

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There is nothing more disconcerting that watching yourself in someone’s eyes and seeing what they perceive you to be.  The silent judgement is deafening.  The noise can extinguish life, as you breathe.  Not today, though.

I woke this morning with one thought.  Who I am today, is who I am.  In an instant, I was in the present.  Unshackled from the past,  I was free.  The moment felt delicious.  So I lingered and savoured it all day.

I realised there were so many things I could do today because I was me.  The thought gave me wings!  Oh! the freedom!

I switched off the phone.  Made a list.  Crossed off tasks completed.  I closed doors.  I opened windows.  I let in cool, fresh air.  I gathered up the last of the roses.  I took out garbage and set it kerbside.  I wrote.  I read.  I listened.

I reflected on those who have crossed my path in less than positive ways.  How lucky I am today to be me!  I did not have to dig deep to forgive them.  What I let go, I gained immeasurably. The thought, a gift to me.

I cleared shelves of unwanted objects.  I did the same with thoughts.  Then refilled the empty recesses with the joy, I had the freedom to be me today.

I realised my presence is transient like the tide.  My shadow will always be taller than me.  I know today what I lack in presence, I make up in substance.  I am strong and resilient.  I am me.

As my day ends I know the best gift I have received today, is the ability to accept the authentic me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

Keep joy

via Daily Prompt: Churn

I stumbled upon the KonMarie philosophy of declutter a couple of years ago.  Soon ‘declutter’ became the buzzword around my home.  The philosophy is simple.  Keep what brings you joy.  How can one not be attracted to this kind of thinking!  I had to put it into practice!  I’m still loving it.

I took it one step further.  I made a conscious effort to bring joy into my life each day, in one form or another.

DSCN9117.jpgWhen I’m in Esperance, now my second home, I wake early to catch sunrise at the Bay.  I’m yet to see a repeat light show, as the one I saw that day.

DSCN9030.jpgI then head to Woody Lake where the white faced heron is perfect in silhouette.

DSCN9972.jpgIn my garden, I breathe deeply.  The roses are there to remind me.  Life is sweet.

DSCN5398.jpgI’m not big on garden ornaments, but I love this one.  My son used to sleep this way in infancy.  He says it was a reflection of inherited work ethic.  Head down, bum up!

DSCN5399.jpgThis elegant statue I bought in Kalgoorlie.  It is placed under the jasmine shrub.  She waits for it to bloom.  Waiting is good, sometimes.

DSCN5400.jpgI bought these rocks to remind me each day how uncomplicated life can be.  Why make it anything else?

I remember a time when life was simple.  I wish I had a picture to share with you.  In my childhood my mother prided herself on her home made ice cream.  She made an egg custard first and cooled it in a basin of iced water.  The cook would fill the ‘moat’ of the wooden ice cream maker with sawdust and chipped ice.  The sawdust kept it from melting too quickly.  The custard would be poured into a stainless steel bowl, a beater would disappear into it.  There would be furious activity as we took turns to churn the mixture.  Vanilla, peppermint, mango, chocolate.  Who could choose, just one?

This memory is ironic.  I have just about every gadget you can think of in the kitchen and use them all.  The only one I didn’t used and gave away, is an ice cream maker.  I just can’t bring myself to make ice cream, taking short cuts.  So I follow what my mother did.  I make an egg custard.  Then I churn the ice cream mid-way with a fork.

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Like all memorable moments, my dried apricot ice cream, is a favourite family treat at Christmas.

I still miss the array of vanilla, peppermint, mango and chocolate ice cream, and the time when we didn’t have to choose just one.  Yes, a special memory and one I’ll keep.  It brings me joy.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird