The Garden Within

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Within the labyrinth
there’s a secret garden within  me
hidden from all
untouched by seasons
my soft place to fall
it has no lines or edges
enclosed in this space, unwalled
I wake each day to take a breath
the purest breath
of joy, that restores me whole.

a dawn bird

In response to Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy Challenge – Week 17 – Start a Garden (Indoor or Outdoor)

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

On ending the day, with joy …

Oh! my favourite word!  Joy!

I’ve just returned after a few days’ work in the South West.  One of the towns I love visiting is coastal Busselton.  Being school holidays the South West is awash with families, and those getting away from the city or visitors from overseas.  I visited Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River and Witchcliffe in as many days.

In some ways the tourist season worked in my favour.  I kept away from the crowds, returned to my hotel room after work, and completed reports.  I came home with almost no residual work!  This is something I have been striving for the last few years.

But I know Busselton Jetty on Geographe Bay is beautiful at sunrise and sunset, so I checked the times for sunset and headed there.  Being tourist season I could not get my usual hotel I could not go at sunrise as I had to drive to the Bay and time constraints. The sunset is always stunning here.DSCN9902.jpg
Geographe Bay, Busselton, Western AustraliaDSCN9923.jpg
Geographe Bay, Busselton, Western Australia

The sunset is vivid on the horizon, and it is just as gorgeous in muted shades of pink, blue, grey and lavender on the opposite side of the Bay.

Somehow the laughter of children, steady buzz of voices, clink of glasses all quietened when I allowed myself to experience this.

Seek these moments every day, it will enrich your mind and body from within.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to On the Hunt for Joy Challenge – Week 1 – Get Outside