Category Archives: calm

Awareness

AwarenessI recently completed a 21 day guided meditation program which resonated with my belief that you CAN achieve a lot in “bite sized” pieces. I have meditated for many years and am always interested in new or alternative methods to my own practice. I often choose a random Oracle card or quote to focus on and today I chose a card from Treasures from Tikashi  …. Awareness.

Awareness is the key to spiritual growth, but watch out for that ego! For as soon as you think you are aware of it all….. You’ll find out that you aren’t.”

I was aware of the fact that prior to this program I was missing many days due to “busyness” and I did allow myself moments where I was unhappy about that. The guided meditation program was online and each day’s 10 minute meditation was available for a few hours into the next day – which was helpful when I had poor internet reception at the retreat. In that instance, I found myself stressing about the possibility of missing a day. By taking just 10 minutes a day, I re-established a pattern and looked forward to some moments where I could focus on relaxing whilst listening to the guided visualization.

A week or so on from completing the program, I am finding the time to do mini meditations during the day and really enjoying the results.

Abundance

Depending on your outlook, the rhythm of the seasons brings great abundance….

Each season is a cause for celebration and when observing the cycles of the seasons, there is much to be grateful for.

As Melbourne swelters through a summer heat wave, I’ve observed an abundance of short temper. In one instance the power had to be turned off to a residential area to sort out a fault that meant that industrial sized air conditioners couldn’t be run. The heat was a little uncomfortable, but bearable and the power went off just as the sun went down and came back on about two hours later. Candles were found, both ordinary and citronella (to deter the abundant mosquitoes), and a pleasant evening outside conversing by candlelight ensued. Other households did the same and mixed with the sound of chirping cicadas was the low hum of neighbours chatting. The only discord was a neighbour several houses down ranting at the workmen about how old people needed to be kept cool, which brought a wry smile to those grey haired neighbours who were standing close by to her, many of whom had grown up in smaller houses with no airconditioning.

Taking time to enjoy the evening stillness, putting aside disharmony and participating fully in life’s adventures is but one path to abundance. When you are still, both internally and externally, you allow the abundance of the universe to flow toward you.  Notice your heartbeat and see if you can calibrate it with the rhythm of life.

Communication

Every so often you get to have an unforgettable experience.  Just about every visit to the retreat provides a different kind of experience and there is a wonderful opportunity to learn from each of them.

With the warmer weather, one keeps an eye out for reptiles but I haven’t seen any for some time. Over the nearly two years, I have seen just two, a black snake and a brown snake – neither close to the cottage.  With that in mind, I was sitting near the fire pit reading and enjoying the spring sunshine  when a movement caught my eye.

Immediately, the primal instincts kicked in and yes, I froze.  Having had a meter long snake slither under my chair at Mataranka, I was hoping that this was not going to be a replay.

I looked up. Two beady eyes were fixed on me. A long forked tongue darted in angoanna snipd out of the mouth and then I noticed it had legs…… a Goanna!

A mental sigh of relief and keeping as still as possible, I reached for the camera in the chair pocket. It turned its head to look at me and we sat and stared at each other for what seemed to be an age. Keeping in mind that goannas have been known to think humans are trees and climb them, I decided to remain still and wondered how long we would stare at each other…

Breathe…… that’s what I tell clients to do all the time! Then curiosity got the better of me, I started to wonder about the metaphysical message of Goanna, knowing that I would have goannato wait until I returned to the city for reliable internet access. We continued to stare at each other for a little longer and I thanked it for coming to visit, whereupon it got up and ambled off, looking very much like a small crocodile, and disappeared under the fence into the bush property behind the retreat.

The message I took from that encounter, before I looked up the symbolism, was the need for stillness.  Having spent the previous 6 weeks or more with pneumonia, I had been in an altered state of consciousness for some time. Priorities have changed and I am again drawn back to the metaphysical and energy healing that has been a part of my journey this far.

It was to be a couple of weeks before I could return and with high temperatures forecast for the next week or so, it was important to help the oak tree seedlings with their survival. Deep, slow watering every couple of weeks will help to encourage them to do their best.  Each tree is planted in well aged compost from the toilet and the sawdust will help to break down the heavy clay as well retain some moisture around the roots.

Shepherd Crook labyrinthWith energy levels a little higher on this visit, having had some acupuncture and homeopathic treatment, I managed to tidy up the little labyrinth in no time at all.

This is a “Shepherd’s Crook” labyrinth and what I love about it, is that there is a choice of how to get to the centre. This allows time to ask a question and instinctively take the right or left path. I didn’t have the heart to remove the pigface or trees and one has to maneuver around them.

Later that afternoon, I took my book to the fireplace and settled down to catch up on some esoteric reading, when I heard a whoosh and looked up to see a wedgetail eagle swooping into the tree above me. The feathers on its belly and the detail on the wings were clear as it flew out of the sunlight….. Eagle flying in from the sunthen there was a little thud as it seemed to crash into the canopy above and then it was gone, but continued to circle.

I quickly got my phone out and pressed video…… trying to capture the moment but unable to track it properly because of the position of the sun. It made several circles and it was then that I realized that it was looking for the bird that had fallen but would not land because humans were there.  A sudden movement caught my eye and I found a tiny pardelote fledgling in the leaf litter with the bull ants already sensing this was their next meal. IMG_3629

I caught it and pulled the ants off, but there was no hope of getting high enough to put it back into the nest. It hopped around for some time and I did put it into a tree, but it soon fluttered back down to the ground. All I could do was to leave it and hope that it developed enough strength in its tiny wings to get back to the nest.

Whilst all this was going on, various small birds gathered, including this robin who perched about a metre away and kindly stayed still long enough for a photo to be taken!

There is a great sense of wonderment with the metaphysical meanings of the various creatures that appear at the retreat and combined with the strange and often historical nature of the dreams that occur whilst there, I am curious to find out more about the history of the area. Watching the seasonal changes is a great lesson in awareness and whilst it would be easier to use chemicals to control some of the weeds and artificial fertilizers to enhance the soil, I remain committed to organic  or permaculture practices.

 

 

 

Focus

FocusWhich senses do we engage when we focus….. truly focus on something?

We can focus our eyes on something….I’m long sighted but have also developed a strong peripheral vision, which is useful when giving a public talk, wandering in the bush or just being aware of what’s going on around me. It’s kept me safe in dark car parks late at night.

We can focus our hearing… and as I become more aware that I’m losing some hearing in my left ear, it becomes important to place myself so that I do hear conversations. But listening isn’t just about what we hear, it’s also about “listening” to our inner voice or intuition.  When we listen to others it’s important to not only hear what is being said, but what is not. It’s about being present for the other person whilst putting our own inner chatter on hold as the conversation progresses.

We can focus on what we feel….. this could be a simple touch, a brush of a soft silk scarf or an emotion. Some emotions can catch us unawares, like the sudden gut wrenching sadness as we grieve the death of a loved one, a rush to the heart of love as you look down on the sleeping face of a young child. For some people, experiencing strong emotions are taking them into uncharted waters and when they let go and surrender to them, rather than being scared or uncertain, having a sense of wonder as they allow the energy to lead to personal transformation.

Transformation can be as quick or gradual as you allow it to be. It can be a pleasant journey into the future as we set down the burdens or baggage of the past. Forgiveness and gratitude are two companions that make that journey easier. Taking time to rest and reflect are also helpful in your quest to move forward. The letting go of what no longer serves you, perhaps participating in a “cutting the ties” visualization, remembering to breathe deeply and open yourself to new beginnings.

Focus on the breath…… What do you feel?

Close your eyes and breathe deeply again…. What do you see?

And once more…… eyes closed, breathe deeply…… focus……. What do you hear?

A moment in time…

Lawn Hill …..accompanied by that sinking feeling as a post or an article that you thought was reasonably interesting or informative disappears into the ether….

I wrote an article earlier in the day about dreaming and lucid dreaming, posted and thought nothing more about it until later in the evening when all the notifications popped up on various feeds. Curious to see how it presented on the mobile device, I clicked to check…. and all that was there was the title and a short intro……but no article.

Had I saved the article to Word or pasted it from there….. ummmm … no! Gone … gone….. like the early morning mists, much like the dreams that I had written about….faded away and disappeared…

I guess the positive note being, that in the writing there was a subconscious resolution. Maybe some of you read the post before it  disappeared and that’s who it was meant for. Can I reconstruct it? Probably not.. I still have the memories of the many dreams and last nights remains strong in the conscious mind, but I’m of the opinion that the post was not meant to be read by many.  So if you missed it… I’m rewriting something similar for inclusion in a future book.

Busy as a Bee

Busy  beeSpring has arrived, even though most of the wattles have finished flowering and various seeds are sprouting.

I had just about given up on this one…. when I took a closer look at a different shade of green in the centre of the labyrinth.  The outer ring is punctuated by garlic shoots spearing up through the heavy clods of clay – although one or two have been pruned by some hungry creature….. hmmm!! Me-thinks there might be a  pre-seasoned rabbit or two?

The labyrinth construction started on Good Friday this year and we took some time off to enjoy the Rushworth Easter Parade on  the Saturday.  The dogs accompanied us and didn’t enjoy the experience as they were unused to crowds, so I sat out with one of them in a grassy area at the top of town.

Nearby are Oak trees that must have been planted in the Gold Rush days of the 19th century.  They stand guard over the memories of better days for the little town. It is said that it takes around 120 years for an Oak tree to mature and produce a good crop of acorns – these have tolerated drought, heat, cold, frost…. and the ground around them was blanketed with them.

I pocketed a few and took the time to plant 5 in and around the labyrinth. No sign of any growth for many months, except for a variety of plants classed as weeds. A month or so before Easter, I had also gathered some acorns from an Oak tree that was overhanging the fence at my son’s first house out of home. He and his young family were moving out and I thought it would be nice to have some trees as a memento of where they first brought the baby home. Acorns duly potted up, 2 sprouted almost straight away. Not having any use for the pots and thinking I would use the soil for compost later, I left them where they were. To my surprise, just a few weeks ago, I counted another 10 Oak tree seedlings emerging….

Now if only the sage seeds would start doing something!!!! I’m waiting on the Grass Tree seeds to germinate as well. They grow wild in the forest just a couple of kilometers down the track, and many have been vandalized. I bought the seeds, but now I know what they look like, may stop and have a look for some next time I’m down that way.

A single Jacaranda seed, saved from a school excursion my daughter went on years ago, has been potted up and I’ve noticed that the city neighbors Jacaranda trees have some seed pods on them…. time to ask if I can harvest them! Some of the towns to the east of Rushworth have Jacarandas planted in the main streets and look spectacular in flower. I can envision a stand of them along the driveway, perhaps interspersed with the glorious yellow of Kowhai trees competing with the wattles for colour. I still have some Kowhai seeds saved from the house where the children were first raised.

The Oak trees will be planted out closer to where ever the planned retreat building goes, to partly act as shade and being deciduous, as a fire break – but also to offset my carbon footprint. I also see it as building an inheritance for whoever is custodian of the land long after I have gone.

labyrinth12Half a dozen Pomegranate trees are thriving in pots and another 10 or so continue to live in crowded conditions in a corner of the city garden. These are now about 4 or 5 years old and as I thin them out they are growing much stronger and taller.  Having read of the health benefits of pomegranate, i’m sure that I will have a veritable forest of them shortly! As the trunks are rather “leggy”, I’m thinking of using them as a screen in front of the labyrinth.

A pot bound Avocado  that is about 8 years old is destined to make the road trip once I have a couple more seeds sprouting.

mowed area3Visitors are arriving in early October for “A Back to Basics” camping weekend. In preparation an area has been mowed – partly to remove the unwanted Biddy Bush – but mostly to discourage snakes which are likely to be starting to stir after their winter hibernation.  That’s it in the foreground…. 12 months regrowth. It doesn’t have much of a smell to it, but it must contain some volatile oils, because you can pull it up out of the ground (only after a good rain) and put it on the fire – green and wet – and it burns like crazy.

mowing2Driving the tractor is a great time to meditate – you have to be mindful not to mow rocks and to keep fairly straight lines – although I had fun going in circles mowing around the labyrinth.

Another bonus is that a lot of the capeweed flowers were lopped off, and although they might look pretty and the bees seem to love them, I would rather not have them there. It seems that the only natural solution to get rid of them is to mow  before the flowers set seed and mulch, oversow with other grasses and top dress the lot with dolomite.  All the other advice is to spray with roundup or similar…..I don’t really want to become a Monsanto customer. From what I can ascertain, capeweed grows in over tilled soil and where there is little topsoil enriched with humus. It is also a hazard to horses, causing a magnesium deficiency – not that I have any stock at all – except the itinerant kangaroos, who seemed somewhat unhappy that their feed had been mowed and a couple of displaced hares who seem to have moved into next door’s thicket of Biddy Bush.

In between all of this, my city business is also starting to grow with the arrival of Spring. I’m coaching, seeing hypnotherapy clients and this past week has been full of networking activities and late nights. All about that in another post……..

The Labyrinth

LabyrinthI still haven’t managed to get a full picture of the labyrinth, my son suggested putting a card in his remote control helicopter and taking a photo with that, but that’s for another day!

This is after I dug out the lines to redefine the path and added some garden gypsum to the mounds created. The idea behind this is that the channels created will hold the moisture and keep the soil nearby easier to work with. Most of the area is heavy clay, so the gypsum will help break that down.

Originally, I wanted to put some coarse grade gypsum, used for driveways or around cattle troughs on the path, but there are some persistent weeds that would simply grow through the gravel.  The metaphysical properties of gypsum are interesting and it  works on the Heart & Base Chakras as well as bringing clarity to the person using it. Ideal for a labyrinth walk! I will enquire more about the coarse grade gypsum at the Elmore Field Day coming up in October.

You can see in the photo where I started to take a fine layer of soil off the path, but still the onion grass came up.  A bonus was that the five pointed purple flowers  were pretty to look at as I walked the circuit! They have now been replaced by Capeweed, which has bright yellow petals and a black centre.  Ideas for the future development of the path range from sowing lawn seed and getting a mower to maintain it or waiting until the soil softens again and hiring a mechanical tiller and digging it up to weed it more vigorously.

The plinth in the centre has a small depression in it, which I fill with water for the birds. There is a nest of Blue Wrens nearby and lots of fast moving little birds that I have yet to identify. It is offset slightly and one corner is orientated North.

After the gypsum was applied, it was loosely worked into the soil mounds and I set about peeling 6 bulbs of Australian Garlic. Some of the cloves had already started to sprout and as they lay on the tray in the sunlight, seemed to grow a little more each time I glanced at them. Once peeled, they went into a bucket of water and I planted them in most of the outer ring of the labyrinth. It’s just an experiment – if they grow – they grow and should provide yet another purple flower to look at around New Year. The bonus will be a crop of garlic with the labyrinth energy. Rain was forecast for the next day and if the weather report was correct, the area got some 13mm of rain after we left – just enough to water in the gypsum and the garlic.

 

Settling in at the Retreat

Summer has been long and hot and with the threat of bushfires, particularly as we are reasonably close to the Rushworth State Forest, trips to the retreat have been dependent on checking out weather conditions and deciding if we want to be there in the heat or stay home and have the option of a pool to slide into to cool down!
Being self employed gives a little more flexibility and we decided to add an extra day either side of the Labor Day public holiday to avoid traffic and have more time to do “stuff”.
Packing the car has become an art form as necessities (& luxuries) are taken up there and left….

Luxuries like 4 matching banana lounges….perfect for star gazing!
Sitting in a normal deck chair to watch the satellites and stars, results in a cricked neck if you do it for too long, so the banana lounges are ideal, even if they are a little low to the ground…..

The shed has become a cooking area, with gas camping stove, electric frypan, Dad’s old toaster and benchtop oven and even a donated microwave….
A comfy 3 seater lounge and chairs (also Dad’s old furniture) are also stored in the shed.
This last visit saw the installation of a roman blind over one of the shed windows to reduce the sun fading the fabric on the sofa  and there have been discussions about installing a roof vent and insulation to make it more pleasant to be in (hot in summer and no doubt it will be chilly in winter).

About 10 acres of the block is covered with a bush that is locally considered a nuisance, but not a noxious weed. It has grown too high to use the slasher, so the only other option was to attach a grader blade to the tractor.
Only problem was that the blade was seized stuck with rust from being in the open.
With a little work (& diesel and oil mix) and pushing up against a strong tree, the attachment loosened up and Michael and a friend, Rod, began the task of flattening the bushes by driving over them and dragging the blade behind. More comfortable than sitting for some time, twisting backwards as the tractor is reversed over the bushes.
Hot and dusty work and the aging tractor began to make some ominous noises from the gear box.
Most of the area treated this way has stayed flat over a two week  period and is dying off. The flattened bushes can be removed by hand and stacked up, ready to burn once the fire season is over, but this is labour intensive and I’m not so keen on having piles of flammable material, whereas if it is flat it may mulch down.
Another alternative is to find a fencing contractor who specializes in brush fencing and offer them the option to harvest it for free. That way they will get their fencing materials and we will get rid of the bushes!

The composting toilet is working well, using 20 litre buckets, recycled from the local (city) chicken & chip shop, sawdust from the hardware store and we picked up some mulch from a roadside heap that was created after the bushfires near Kilmore. The intent is to leave the sealed buckets for 12 months or more to get rid of any pathogens & then add them to a compost heap to break down further.
This will then be used on the planned fruit and nut tree grove.
I hope to install a second composting toilet in the cottage in the near future and the ceramic pan (which was not hooked up to anything and lacked a cistern) has been removed, leaving much more space in the shower room.
The previous owners left behind a chemical toilet, but that requires some nasty chemicals, water and a disposal pit,  although it has been suggested that a homebrand nappy soaker is more environmentally friendly.

On to more pleasant topics….
The visit at the end of February involved cleaning the lichen off the fibreglass dome. Washing it off also washed off the top gel coat of the fibreglass and we were left with a milky white liquid.
Fortunately, the camper trailer we have is fibreglass and the manufacturers included a bottle of fibreglass polish and wax…. only thing was that we didn’t have it with us on that trip. So Labor Day weekend saw the application of said wax early in the morning, before the heat and flies became a problem. Luckily the dome roof rotates, so I was able to move that around and work in the shade most of the time. The eastern walls had to be polished in the evening!

The idea behind having this place is create a retreat.. both for myself and my family but eventually having a space for practitioners who might need some time out to live simply for a few days.

This requires some preparation… energetically clearing the space, using Reiki and feng shui and adding some comforts.
Using the Autumn Equinox was perfect timing to start some serious energy work.

I brought up some Tibetan Prayer Flags on this trip and installed them around what will be a central gathering /fire pit area.

In this way, their energy will be working for the space even when I am not there.
Their vibrant colours will fade in time and the breeze over the weekend kept them active, adding to the energy.

The colours of the sunset on the night of the Equinox faded quickly, but I managed to capture them on the phone camera as I was having a wander around looking for a site to build the labyrinth.  Originally I had thought that a flattish area to the west would be ideal, but it is just a little too close to the neighbours. Then I thought down between the two dams….. but in winter that area will be quite boggy (if there are good rains).
Trusting that the right place would be revealed as I explored more, I continued to meditate.
Some time alone the next morning allowed me to do a really good energy cleansing of the cottage, which I finished off by cleaning the windows and adding Reiki symbols all around.
 Curiously the sliding door screen stuck fast when I opened it, and I couldn’t move it at all.
Michael returned from his expedition to the Aboriginal Waterhole at Whroo and inspected the damage. It was decided that a visit to the hardware store in Heathcote would be in order, to get new parts for the door.  That done, the door still refused to move freely on the tracks….. Too late for a return trip, it was decided to make a repeat trip the next day.
No part available …. so a road trip to Bendigo was in order to a larger hardware chain. A bit of a wander around and a late lunch eaten in a park, then back to the retreat.
The new parts (hangers) were fitted to the top of the door and just as the door was moved…… crack…. both parts broke.
We had been gone 4 hours on the return trip to get those parts…….
Luckily, Michael can think laterally, so he used screws we had bought from the Rushworth hardware store to install the roman blind, to connect the broken bits together and eventually we had a screen door that opens and closes as it should……. what a day!!

An old yabbie net had turned up on our explorations, so some left over meat was put into an onion bag and tied securely, and the net tossed into the top dam. A couple of hours later, there was a yabbie having a feast…. disentangled and it scarpered back into the muddy water. Later that evening, when we checked with Peter who had come over from his place at Redcastle, all the meat had gone .. & so had the yabbies!!
We had another go on Sunday morning and caught 2 more. One with half a claw missing…. and both back into the water…
Apparently they have to be purged in fresh water for about a week before eating… so the net from home will go up and the yabbies may become an Easter feast……
As I went for a last minute wander on Sunday after packing up, I came across a space that somehow I have missed before.
Towards the Eastern boundary, yet quite private.

 A bit more of a slope than I would prefer, but that could add to the sensory experience…
It feels as if it is the right place for a labyrinth….

 And just a little further to the East ….
…….a small clearing, almost circled perfectly by some trees….

I can see the potential to put benches in the spaces between the trees and a small fire pit to do some circle work……..

A balanced end to 2013

A big grass fire up near Tooleen on Boxing Day, helped us to make the decision to postpone our trip to the block in the interests of staying safe.
Temperatures in the high 30’s are much more pleasant when spent around a home pool rather than a dubiously muddy dam….
With the CFA Fire Ready & VicTraffic apps downloaded, we loaded up the camper and car and set off. The journey up was incident free and took around two and a half hours including a stop (mistake) for fast food on the outskirts of Melbourne. We would have been better off, financially and healthwise had we waited for the healthier option of a salad roll at the Heathcote Bakery.
Gate unlocked and we took a slightly different route in (2nd mistake) and arrived to notice a rear tyre rapidly deflating.
We unpacked to lighten the car and the tyre was repaired.

This trip saw us taking up a few 20 litre buckets and a newly constructed toilet pedestal for a composting toilet, as well as a small supply of solar lights and some other bits and pieces that we intended to leave up there.
The toilet was placed in the “en suite” that sits high on the hill.

No water or plumbing connected, but it has potential to have it connected as well as an external power point to plug in the power.

However we solved the lighting problem by installing a solar shed light that reflects into the mirror, giving lots of light.

The porcelain septic pedestal was removed and the wooden pedestal placed over a bucket, which will be used for composting in about 12 months time.
Another large bucket of sawdust fits into the cubicle and that is used in lieu of flushing with water.
Handwashing is either with antiseptic hand wash or in a bucket of water outside, to be used later to water some of the succulent plants that are scattered around the living area.

 The view from the loo is quite peaceful as well, looking towards the back fence and small birds can be observed in the trees.
We discovered that they like to forage for small insects and spiders in the dead mistletoe  high up in the branches.

On our second day, we had day visitors for lunch in the cottage.
 Having the futon  and a card table has made a difference to our seating arrangements and we decided against eating in the shed as it warms up quickly. No doubt it will be chilly in there in winter.
The paddock bomb was fired up and taken for a drive, needing one rescue by the Patrol when the battery died…. It got going again and the visitors were taken for a tour of the boundary fences…. doing a bit of bush bashing through the scrub that needs to be slashed. 

Another visitor for dinner that night, our good friend Peter, who has built a mudbrick cottage some 16kms away. (It is on his property that I have built the labyrinths). Good wine, good conversation and and agreement to celebrate New Year’s Eve in a similar fashion…..

The morning chores done, I sat down to do a little crochet, a little reading…..

Peter arrived late afternoon and we strolled down to the top dam. The kangaroos didn’t seem too perturbed by our presence and allowed us to get within about 20 metres before hopping off.
The temperature was somewhat cooler down by the dam and we wandered down to the lower dam to watch the sun go down.
All very peaceful….

Realizing that it was after 9pm, we strolled back up to the cottage and sat outside with fruit and wine to observe the stars.

I’m thinking that my next purchase for the block will be some banana lounges so that our necks don’t get cricked looking up at the Milky Way.

Satellites crisscrossed the skies at regular intervals, some traversing North/South, some the other way and others travelling West to East.

Suddenly we realized it was approaching the magic hour when the year ticks over to the next…..
….and there it was….. a new year, with a new moon on New Year’s Day.
What a great start …..!!

Stepping off the merry go round

There is the Zen parable that tells of the young monk who stumbled and as he fell, caught hold of some bamboo to steady himself. The Zen Master accompanying him asked if he noticed that the bamboo bent, yet was strong enough to support him. He also asked the novice if he had also noticed how bamboo gets pushed around by the wind, yet always grows tall towards the sunlight above….not snapping… a most resilient plant…..

It took quite a lot of courage for me to finally say “No – I’m not going to that function” & I did it with the help of the grief counsellor that I’ve been seeing this past year. Not reaching snapping point, but that stillpoint inside where there is a knowing that it is time to do the “right thing” for myself.

Girls are raised to “do the right thing” and for many years, I’ve acquiesced and gone along to functions where I haven’t felt comfortable. One girlfriend laughed many years ago, when I told her of the story of bending in the wind like the grass or bamboo….. she suggested “doormat” would be a better description.

I’ve never really enjoyed the hoopla and razzle dazzle of tinsel and false bonhomie…The over indulgences in the senses with food or the misappropriation of sacred music that has been turned into Musak for the masses long before Advent starts. I’ve long thought that Christmas really doesn’t suit the introverted empath!
This year I wanted to experience some peace and serenity on my own …. not long … a few hours would suffice.
My soul needed some lush, green energy to repair.
Sunday morning saw some chores completed and then I set off on my adventure. Fully intending to go to the beach, not that I really enjoy the beach, I started to drive. I asked that I be guided to where I needed to be, (& please include an Oak tree!) I took familiar roads and realized that I was near a pretty picnic spot in the Dandenongs. No room in the carpark… full! Not what I wanted at all even though the tree ferns looked spectacular….. Then I saw a side road, it looked as if it might be interesting and made my way along that. Lots of tight curves and it required full attention to drive…. nothing like mindfulness and being in the moment!
As I emerged to the top of the hill a sign caught my eye… some Memorial Gardens….. a little further down the road I decided to go back and investigate. I parked, wandered in a little hesitantly as the place seemed deserted….and read the sign….

You really do have to chuckle at what the Universe throws up at you!

 I was born a Harper (not the same family that developed the gardens). It seemed that this was just the right place to be…. I wondered if there was an Oak tree……
 Following the meandering paths, I came to a small clearing and there was a majestic Oak tree.. with a bench nearby to sit on and contemplate the surrounds.
 It was time to just “be”. As another saying goes, “we are human BEings, not human DOings”.
Curious about the rest of the gardens, I set off to explore… masses of Hydrangeas starting to flower… a few months ago the Camelias and Azaelias would have been centre stage.
So many varieties of Japanese Maples, their delicate leaves providing texture and colour to the backdrop of so many interesting plants.
Another strategically placed bench and contemplation of the Foxgloves for a few moments.
Observing how the Currawong family were playing in the branches of tall trees.

Before I knew it, a couple of hours had passed & I had a phone call from my son wondering if I was OK.

Yes I was…. better than I have been for some time…. a combination of the energy of the gardens and finally stepping into my integrity.
Walking back to the Oak tree, I noticed a couple of brightly coloured butterflies, dancing in the sun and the dappled shade.

Symbols of transformation, of finding joy in life and a symbol of the soul….