Tag Archives: friends


A couple of roos loose in the top paddock“Be patient, all things move as the timing requires. Quiet your mind, take time to be with yourself with no expectations or push. Do not be anxious for results, but enjoy the gentle journey. In your busy world, do not be rushed or allow the impatience of others to push you into hasty actions.

All things come to those who wait….patiently!”  Treasures from Tikashi

Back in the city, I miss the quiet time of the retreat and find myself getting impatient with not having developed it as quickly so as to have guests to stay in comfort and share the experience. The contrast between country and city couldn’t be greater.

Spending time in reflection, quite a lot has already been achieved and lessons learned. There has been the clearing of the flammable weed that covered much of the property and a maintenance schedule to prevent it from taking over again is being developed.

My first Labyrinthpriority was to build a labyrinth to set the energy for the property and that has been done. Again it needs maintenance on a regular basis as the weather and wildlife tend to blur the outline. The addition of gypsum last September has made digging the clay so much easier! Next project on the list for the labyrinth area is to set up some termite proof seating and shelter.

After the trial of garlic (enjoyed by the wildlife), I spent a few months germinating sage seeds and potting them up to plant.  A couple of sage plants had been put in last Easter and were left untouched for the rest of the year, so I thought that this would be a suitable plant to grow. Sage ready to plantA mixture of pot sizes and some stunted seedlings made the trip up to the retreat for an Easter planting. I decided to put them into the centre arms and entrance to create a fragrant addition. Planting out some 20 pots took a little longer than expected, and being able to use the water from the fire trailer to water them in saved carrying 20 litre buckets across the paddock! Rain was forecast and I was confident that they would happily adapt to their new home. Research was done on other rabbit/hare proof herbs and I looked forward to checking up on them at the next visit.

Orbs on approach to labyrinth On the next visit, most of the plants were pruned to the roots….only the tiniest, most straggly seedlings that I thought wouldn’t survive remained. Coming back to that word….


I planted out a rosemary cutting with strong roots that I put in the plant carrying box at the last minute. It will be interesting to see if the kangaroos and hares find rosemary palatable as well….

The Easter holiday was a hive of activity.  Building, mowing, digging, planting trees and sage, not to mention watching the Lunar Eclipse on the Saturday evening. Orbs at the eclipseThe skies were clear, just a little chilly, but bearable if rugged up well. The banana lounges were employed usefully and we were able to recline without getting a crick in the neck that one gets from star-gazing whilst sitting in a chair.  Various photos of the eclipse were taken, but a better quality camera or lenses are required for future photos of the moon, stars and planets, but good enough to record the orbs that appeared!

The aging tractor doesn’t fit into the large shed, so an extension or “tractor port” was planned aOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnd the wood delivered just before the Easter holidays. Tall enough to accommodate the tractor, long enough to fit the slasher it will have a skillion roof to add more rainwater to the dwindling levels of water in the big concrete water tank.

Friends arrived to help out with the building and were duly fed lunch for their efforts. Another friend stayed on to help with the mowing.  The same friend helped out with digging holes in the hard clay soil to plant out some oak tree saplings that I have grown from seed.  They were settled into the soil with well aged compost from the toilets and securely staked and tree guards put around them. Time was taken out to visit the Easter Parade in Rushworth and there was lots to see, but it was good to get back to the relative quiet of the retreat.

A walk around the boundary was a great opportunity to find some small treasures. A tiny nest that had blown out of a tree. Looking more closely, the enterprising birds (they could have been Pardalotes, Blue Wrens or Robins) had visited the main area and used threads from the Tibetan prayer flags that are placed around the communal fireplace.

Tiny Town labyrinthDuring the last visit, I spent some time re-visiting my labyrinth books and came across an unusual design, based upon a shepherd’s crook. As I gazed out of the shed whilst sheltering from a brief shower, I realized this would fit in an area that I had previously considered for putting in a raised garden bed. I marked it out with a tree stake and yes, it just fitted!red and green energy in new labyrinth Out came the shovel and the outline was dug into the ground and then the leaves raked to clear a pathway. This will be a low maintenance labyrinth, with just a quick rake to be able to walk it. Photos were duly taken and some interesting artifacts appeared on the bottom of the second photo. It was a series of 3 photos taken in quick succession and the second one shows a green circle at the bottom and the third, no artifacts……

Back to the city…. and a friend asks when there will be more accommodation…… back to the start of the post….. patience!

It’s evolving.

Slowly, like the oak trees that have gone in. They may not be of use in what’s left of my lifetime, but I planted them with the future in mind.



A balanced start to the New Year

sundown NYEStill waters run deep ……

I wasn’t about to test the depth of the dam waters on a clear summer evening in the bush, but it was pleasant watching the sun go down over the horizon for the last time in 2013.

As the evening lengthened and the first stars made their appearance, the reminiscences of the past year and earlier years began…

Gradually the night sky darkened and unveiled the Southern Cross, the magnificence of the Milky Way and more… Our necks grew tired from leaning backwards in our chairs… satellites, shooting stars…. all glowing brightly in the night before the new moon and the new year.

The only thing missing was the music from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon…..

(Waters, Gilmour, Wright)

Breathe, breathe in the air.
Don’t be afraid to care.
Leave but don’t leave me.
Look around and choose your own ground.

Long you live and high you fly
And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.

Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don’t sit down it’s time to dig another one.

For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave.

Autumn Equinox

observationA day late for the actual Equinox which according to the Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne was at 11.02am on the 20th – the 21st is the Wicca festival of Mabon.

Celtic tradition also celebrated this marking of the change from Summer to Autumn.

Harvest festivals meant that people could celebrate the abundance of fruits and vegetables and great feasts were held, business concluded as people began to prepare for the winter months and a period of reflection.

It also marks the passage of womanhood from the fecundity of motherhood as she passes into the crone or Wise Woman.

It’s a time to reflect on the balance between light and dark as the equinox brings us a period of almost equal length of night and day.

A time too to reflect on the change of season and although Australia marks the change of season by the calendar – Australian Autumn starts on the 1st March – we have experienced six consecutive days of temperatures in the high 30C”  (which crisped the leaves nicely) and then marked by high winds and a terrific thunderstorm today. All serving to remind us that warmer days are now being left behind and colder weather lies ahead.

So how to celebrate or mark the Equinox?

Bring some balance to your life.

  • Show gratitude for any abundance you are experiencing and become aware of the high energy of this time….. the waxing moon as we head to the Full Moon and Easter will affect many people energetically.
  • Draw up a “Gratitude List” – putting it down on paper will help to bring a new perspective to your situation.
  • If you are blessed with abundance, share some of that with others less fortunate. Perhaps donate some non perishables to your local charity or do some fundraising for a worthy cause.
  • Reconnect with nature – walk in the local park and enjoy Nature’s technicolour show of Autumn leaves. Visit your local orchardist and pick some new season apples – you will be amazed at how different they taste to shop ones which often have been in cold storage for more than a year.
  • Gather some friends together and have your own “feast” – savour the taste of the harvest fruit and vegetables and feast on timeless stories….



Work Life Balance

Speaking notes of the talk given at the Monash Women’s Business Network meeting on Wednesday 10th November 2010, where I was part of a panel of 3 speakers talking about Work Life Balance. This followed on from Ann Barker (State Member for Oakleigh) and Jane Riley (owner of Set 4 Life)

The consequences of not achieving a good work –life balance

For business, the consequences of poor work life balance translate into decreased productivity and increased absenteeism.

For the employee, particularly women, there are a number of issues to be considered.

The home workload is often as great for the working woman as her paid work commitments, even if she is only working part-time.

An article in the Age (August 4, 2010) stated that there was an increase in the number of people who felt that their jobs were interfering with their family time. Interestingly, a survey by the University of South Australia, quoted in the article, found that while Australia has one of the worlds highest percentages of women in part-time work, they demonstrated the same stress levels as men who were engaged in full-time work.

Who is at risk? What are the issues?

Middle aged professionals such as accountants, lawyers and teachers are at greater risk of a diverse range of health problems, divorce and even early death if they don’t get their work life balance right. This is most apparent with achievement orientated people and those driven to succeed.

The result of long and intensive stress is disease. The stress comes from working harder and longer but not necessarily smarter in our technology driven world. The very machines that were to free us from labour have enslaved us in other ways. There is the expectation for women to do more things in less time. Our feminist forebears would turn in their graves if they could see the outcome.

Stress, in itself, can be either a positive or a negative experience, but regardless of how one perceives it, the flight or fight response is activated. The experience can become addictive.

Hormones such as CRH (Corticotrophin) and AVP (Arginine-vasopressin) are released and activate neurons in the hypothalamus.

Cortisol – This is a primary stress hormone, releases sugar and increased glucose into the bloodstream. This inhibits function in the digestive, immune and reproductive systems and affects growth and development.

Adrenaline – another hormone and a neurotransmitter, which when released, increases the heart rate, the respiratory rate and blood pressure.

The hormonal changes can cause symptoms which manifest as palpitations, rapid heart rates, nausea, vomiting, digestive upsets such as diarrhea or constipation, cold clammy hands and muscular tension.

Stressors can be mental, emotional, physical or psychological. The consequences of sustained stress are (& this is not an exhaustive list)





Sleep disturbances


Social withdrawal


Higher blood pressure,

Increased weight



With any or all of these stressors continuing to occur, the immune system becomes depressed and chronic stress sets in. So how does this happen?  The cycle of stress costs us more than an unhealthy body.

As Cortisol levels rise – as a result of stress – obesity becomes an issue. Chronic stress affects the production and storage of fat in our bodies. We are already at risk of obesity with our eating habits altered. Time poor we reach for the fast food solution, which is often high in fat and sugar, altering our blood chemistry and increasing our risk of high cholesterol, diabetes and heart failure.

Stress related illnesses cost not only family, but the community.  We are seeing an increase in stress related immune diseases, such as Glandular Fever, Shingles and Lupus. The immune system is further weakened by poor eating habits and our addiction to tea, coffee, sugar, salt, alcohol and other substances. Our sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise, pollution and drugs and medicines all contribute to compromise an overloaded system. So often we are “running on empty” and when we finally get that holiday and relax, we get sick.

Other indicators of stress can be alopecia – for both men and women

Facial stress lines

Behavioral stress, often leading to family conflicts, divorce

Alcohol or substance abuse

Coronary heart disease and stroke


Depression and for some, the pressure becomes too much and suicide becomes their option.

In searching for a work life balance, we need to look at what support we have. Many women feel like they are on a merry-go-round of exhaustion and lack family support. The traditional family structures have disappeared and with relocation from our original homes, the modern professional woman may have no backup to relieve them from the exhaustion of their daily grind. They may even find that their work life balance fluctuating wildly from chaos to perfect balance.

Setting personal goals is valuable and they need to be clear and achievable.

I could use an F word here – in fact I could use at least 6!

The first is FOCUS

Focus on:






Focusing clearly on goals for all of these areas will help to prioritize needs.

Just a tiny adjustment and stroke of the pen will change those F words to P words….

Prune what is necessary. The garden often flourishes once the old, dead wood has been pruned out.

Focus will help remove those noxious weeds of guilt and overwhelm. Ask yourself “How much responsibility will I take on? (Jane spoke about exercising the “NO” muscle)   How will it impact on my wellbeing?”

By being present and not taking work home (if possible – teachers will have difficulty here) and outsourcing tasks (if affordable), stress can be reduced.

Prioritize what is important to you – your health or the housework?

Good childcare is hard to source and if you can get it, take it. It is there for you.

Make some time for yourself – make an appointment for you