Category Archives: Philosophy


EcEchidnahidna crossed my path – actually the road on the way to the retreat on Saturday after a challenging Friday evening that saw me getting home around 3am. We stopped to take a photo, but after scurrying into the scrub on the side of the road the Echidna did what it does best….. it curled up into a rather large and spiky ball. I took a photo, jumped back into the car and we continued on.

Thoughts of the Echidna stayed throughout the afternoon and I decided to research more about it. I found that it is closely related to the platypus and lays an egg in its pouch. After hatching, the young one stays in the pouch for some time. I love to discover the metaphysical or spiritual messages that come from random encounters like this one.

Scott Alexander King says Echidna is a symbol for Rebirth and Personal Protection. He goes on to say that Echidna warns us not to be overprotective to the extent that you shut everyone out. Be aware if you are closed to the possibility of change and the distinction between denial and determination.

Ann Williams-Fitzgerald and Karen Osborn in Wisdom of the Australian Animals entry for Echidna gives the following information. Echidna is about Persoechidna crossingnal Boundaries  and Comfort Zone with Echidna urging us not to be like him. The shadow side is suggesting that we have become unapproachable and do not welcome change into our lives. Time to move out of the comfort zone perhaps to learn something new, join a new group and become more involved in life. Tear down the brick walls that keep people out, but use the boundaries for your own protection.

I also spent some time looking up Dreamtime stories for how Echidna got his spikes which you can also do if you are so inclined. The stories are quite varied and different regions of Australia have different stories. All of them are worth a read!


Socrates said “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing”, which I have found to be abundantly true. Yet the dictionary definition of wisdom is just as confusing.  Wisdom can be :

  • the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise
  • the fact of being based on sensible or wise thinking
  • the body of knowledge and experience that develops within a specified society or period

This was particularly apparent when studying Homeopathy. Finding the appropriate remedy seemed extraordinarily easy after taking a short course for home use. A dozen remedies for a dozen or so children’s ailments, what could be easier?  A little knowledge is useful, but the trick is in turning it into wisdom. After four years study of Classical Homeopathy, it was a little more difficult and took a lot longer to find remedies for clients.  There are thousands of remedies that are available and it takes considerable skill to find a remedy that exactly matches the symptoms that a client may present with. My lecturer taught us that the second best remedy is the one we have in our dispensary. I’m sure it is the same with other disciplines of studies.

But how do we know what we know and can we be certain that what we know is correct?

I’m sure the wisdom is in knowing that we know nothing.  Perspective will change how something is viewed and this may be through the mirror of time or through research or philosophy. There are people who would argue that Homeopathy cannot possibly work due to current scientific/rational thinking – that it is a “placebo effect”, yet thousands of people who have taken remedies for ailments and have been cured would vehemently disagree. It is within the realms of possibility that one day science will prove that Homeopathy is curative and acknowledge it as a legitimate form of medical treatment.

Scientific thinking has much changed since the time of Galileo, DaVinci and even Einstein. Theories that seemed improbable in those times have been proven to be true and so it is necessary to keep an open mind to the possibility Hahnemann came up with a curative method before his time.

Re-arranging the Labyrinth

hole for rose bush in centre of labyrinthA family of rabbits has moved into the area and have been engaged in some major earthworks in and around the labyrinth, the last few months.

No warren sighted yet, but I’m keeping a look out.

However the earthworks in the photo are of my doing!

The Oak tree which showed great promise before being munched down a couple of times was moved over the weekend to stand at the entrance to the labyrinth and a rose bush has been installed in the centre.  Hopefully the thorns will deter the animals, but next trip I will put up some wire to keep it safe.

With the recent rains and the previous application of gypsum, the soil is much easier to dig now and two large holes were preparouter ring and centre redefineded with compost for the plants.

I also took the opportunity to redefine the outlines, removing all traces of the holes that the rabbits made digging out the sage and the garlic plants.

Eventually, there will be something that is not palatable for them. Perhaps they enjoy something a little more exotic than the lush green grass that is starting to sprout!

Another refurbishment of sorts happened with the toilet system.

A “wee diverterWee diverter” arrived and a new toilet was built for me, with the wee now diverted into a pit filled with rocks and ant sand.

As with all projects, nothing is simple although the finished toilet is practical and “throne like”.  Lucky we are tall and there isNew toilet installed a small platform or step being built for shorter people who might visit.  The kit came with the diverter and a polystyrene seat and lid – a little different to the standard toilet seat, but nice for winter!

compostingBuckets are sourced from the local takeaway shop in the city and the sawdust from the local sawmill in Rushworth. Permanent marker is not so permanent in the hot summer sunshine and tags made from aluminum cans with the dates scratched in are attached to the handles. The buckets are sealed for a minimum of 12 months before being used as a soil improver for the ornamental (deciduous) trees that I have been planting.

Collecting seeds is now one of my interests and there’s a shed full of empty pots to start another forest. Currently I’m waiting to see if another 3 oaks have germinated, and have some seed trays with Japanese Maple seeds in them.

Just recently, I gathered some Sheoak seeds and they are ready to plant.  Peppercorns have been sown directly into the soil along a fence line and it will be interesting to see what happens with them. I have asked for some nuts from a friend whose mother has a small orchard, but am thinking that the cockatoos will decimate them.

Next major project is to mend the horizontal fence.  More than a dozen of the old wooden posts have either rotted or been knocked down by kangaroos on their travels and along the length of the the fence is the local phone line. With more than half a kilometre of fence to repair, at this stage ….while the ground is soft… I’m going to get a dozen or so star pickets and put them alongside the fallen posts and wire the fencing to them. At least that will give the illusion of an upright fence!



ResentmentRecently I was reminded of an old folk tale coming from the Cherokee tradition.

An elder was teaching a young boy to recognize his inner self.  He told the young boy, ” I have this fight going on inside me….. it is terrible, like a fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil. Full of anger, arrogance, resentment, envy, greed, lies, ego, superiority, false pride and self-doubt and self-pity.”

“The other wolf is good. This one is loving, peaceful, full of joy and compassion, hope, kindness, serenity, truthfulness and generosity.  Everyone, including you has this same fight inside.”

The young boy looked at the old man and after a moment of deep thought, asked the elder, “Which wolf wins?”

To which the elder replied, “The one you feed.”

When we feed either wolf, or our mindset, we also strengthen the neural networks within us. So if we are in a negative or fixed mindset most of the time, then that’s the one that gets fed. Likewise if it’s a growth or positive mindset.

How can we tell which is which?

A person with a fixed mindset is more likely to believe that success is achieved by innate talent. They will make excuses that they are not good at being creative, artistic, sporting and so on…and will often seek to hide or disguise their flaws. They make themselves familiar with failure and use words like “I wish……”

On the other hand, a person with a growth mindset believes that through determination and hard work,  success can and will be achievable. They seek opportunities to develop their creative, artistic, sporting skills and will create a “to do” list to address their flaws. A person with this mindset will see setbacks as challenges to overcome.

So feed the mindset that you want.

Have a vision and set some achievable goals.

Love what you do…….




Can’t see the wood for the trees?trees

Sometimes you just need to step away to get a better perspective on things.

Stop……… relax……. breathe deeply…….look up and then into the distance and realize that by re-focusing your eyes or your energy, you can take a look at what you have been doing in a different way.

Just recently, I threw myself into a project that I thought would benefit others. I immersed myself in research, looked for the best possible expert in a particular field and in the process, lost my perspective and personal work/life balance. big tree

What happens when you get too close to a project? Maybe it’s a case of seeing too much wood and not enough of the tree and beyond…..

Look at the difference in perspective…. same tree, different angles. In the latter, the detail of the bark shows up and in the former, the greatness of the tree is revealed. Tapping into the beauty of the tree and the saplings around it, allowing the leaves to create a canopy that shelters the creatures nearby. There is more room to move, to cast one’s eye over in the first photo.

In focusing closely on the second picture,  the field of vision is narrowed. The eye is drawn upwards, following the grain of the bark to a focused point at the top. This pathway guides you in no uncertain terms to a focal point at the top, but is not  a flexible, fluid pathway.

It’s important to choose a perspective that allows you to move forward that honors and respects not only others, but yourself. Quiet contemplation and reflection will allow you to choose a path that takes you forward in such a way that the shared journey is pleasant and productive.


It’s THAT time of year

It can be a challenge to maintain balance in your life at this time of yearbe kind, with parties, pressure to complete tasks before the end of the year and emotional responses sometimes muddled by over indulgences.

Take some time out to nurture and care for yourself and nourish both body and soul by choosing healthy foods and taking a long deep breath and letting go the difficulties that may have come your way. Whatever these may be, respond rather that react in ways that may hurt others. Being sensitive to your needs as well as letting go of self-criticism is one of the best gifts that you can give to yourself and others.

Listen and learn to trust your intuition…..there’s a benefit to it!

Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts

Rita Mae Brown

This time of year seems to magnify the challenges and difficulties  as the energy of the Solstice coincides with the religious festivals that start in early December.

This year Bodhi Day, celebrated by Buddhists, coincided with the Full Moon in Gemini.

Hanukkah begins on the 17th December and for the Pagans, Yule is celebrated with the Winter Solstice. In the Southern Hemisphere the opposite festival, Litha & the Summer Solstice is celebrated, which this year is at the same time as a New Moon.

Remembering as well the Christmas energy which builds up to Epiphany, on January 6th, celebrating the arrival of the Three Wise Men who brought gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. The first Full Moon of 2015 is on this day as well.

Whatever problems you may face during these next few weeks, change your mindset to see them as challenges and use the experience and learning from them as stepping-stones to a transformation.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable, as when the heart is open, spirit connects. Use the energy of this time of year to dream….acknowledge your dreams…. trust your instincts and follow your heart’s desire.

The care of your soul is one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself and by enthusiastically cooperating with your inner being or soul, you will light a spark of creativity, perhaps magic or divine, to shine on  the road to fulfilling your goals.

Wintry Weather

winter temperatureWinter has definitely set in up at the retreat.

The purpose of the trip was to make sure that there had been no storm damage or trees blown over in the last couple of weeks. We always seem to bring the rain with us – even in summertime – although it was mostly showers, which meant we could get out for walks.

This means mud inside the cottage and the next priority is to pave an area near the door and put a verandah up so that boots can be taken off and left outside.

Not being a huge cottage – it’s 6 metres by 6 metres – there is not a lot of floor space to have to wash, but after this trip I have decided to wash it on arrival instead of on departure;  as I’m wondering if leaving the damp floor to dry in our absence is what is causing the condensation overnight.

Friday night was a chilly 3’C outside and although there is a small wall heater in the cottage and we had a nice fire outside, it was bedtime by 8.15pm  as that was the warmest place! Saturday wasn’t too bad as the rain clouds kept the chill away, but Sunday morning was clear, bright  and brisk. Inside the cottage humidity rose to 90% and we opened up the doors and windows to air out the place…… equilibrium was reached just after midday with the temperature rising to 11.3!!

The pace of this visit was somewhat slower than before as I was finishing with a bout of the flu and the paddocks were too wet to take the tractor into. A little yabbie fishing – only small ones, which were returned – from the bottom dam…. which was surprising, although the neighbour did let us know that  he often saw people jumping the fence and putting nets in there.  A couple of larger  ones from the top dam provided an entree for Saturday night’s dinner. On a side trip to Echuca on Saturday, I saw a resin crocodile head that floats and thought that would make an interesting visual for the bottom dam – especially if it it didn’t float away down the overflow!!

Pinwheel hakeaA Pinwheel Hakea decided to turn up its toes on Saturday afternoon which was a shame as it was a good size tree. I have harvested a few seed pods and we already have 4 seedlings growing as an experiment. Pinwheel Hakea blossom

When it browns off, I will drag it to a small pile where 2 others are and burn it. Apparently the seeds only germinate with bushfire smoke and it will be interesting to see if this creates a small colony of hakea seedlings! Saturday also saw the planting of a passionfruit vine along the home paddock fence. The first of the composting toilet buckets was tipped into a very large hole and the vine duly planted on top. I think we may have to wait a bit longer for the other buckets to be used, although perhaps the holes can be dug for the proposed fruit trees whilst the soil is damp and easier to get through…. I’m also wondering if the composting process wouldn’t be quicker in the ground…..

On Sunday, a few of the wattles lining the driveway had branches broken off, presumably by some over excited kangaroos on their way through … I was fortunate to be standing quite still (I was checking my step tracker app) when 3 large roos bounded past within a metre of me. I don’t know who was more surprised ….!!  A walk around the perimeter of the retreat is about 2500 steps, not accurate as I got sidetracked going back to look at a couple of things and made a small detour here and there.

The main water tank retank leakmains a problem… there are several leaks which seem to be made worse by the increased pressure as it fills….The small tank next to the cottage only holds 500 litres and is filled quite quickly. To prevent damage from the overflow, it is regularly emptied into the big tank which would hold an estimated 40,000 litres when full. At present it is still only half full even though we have had some good rains.

The recent visitors helped to paint on a compound which is supposed to react witTank leakh the water and create crystals in the cracks to seal the leaks, but it is only partially successful so far.

At one stage there was a significant leak and a patch of tractor tube, wood and held in with a fencing post sufficed until underwater cement from mending the pool tiles at home was applied.

Fingers croOrb in labyrinthssed that the repairs can continue successfully – otherwise it will mean a new tank as this is the main water supply for the retreat.

The labyrinth was walked … the sage and the lavender continue to stay green and not nibbled by animals. The wattle trees inside the path are just about to bloom and will add to the ambiance…..

I didn’t have the energy this trip to re-define the pathway. Tiny toadstools

Just to the north of it lies what I call the “wild area”.. fenced off, it has a stand of tall gums, but mostly bush mallee and rocks.  I discovered a mossy “pathway” and thought immediately of faeries and the like….



The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.
Joseph Campbell
Do you look forward to your next adventure with excitement or trepidation?
I rather like the beginnings of new adventures …most probably because I’ve been adventuring for most of my life.
As a young child, I spent my early years in Malaya, as it was called then, celebrated my 3rd birthday in Bombay and arrived in England only to feel quite out of place.
We stayed for a short period of time in an old castle that had been converted to apartments and my mother, who was of Scottish descent (and had the “second sight”) told me of times when I could be found chatting to imaginary friends in my bedroom.
After my younger brother was born, I frequently holidayed with my grandparents who lived in a 17th Century manor house in Kent. The adventures there included sitting on Grandfather’s tiger skin rug, always wary of those big sharp teeth and listening to Granny playing Debussy on her baby grand piano and getting up to mischief with my cousins in the apple loft.
There were plenty of other adventures had before emigrating to Australia.
So different from England!
The light, the smells, the atmosphere!
We arrived at Fremantle on the West Coast, via the Fairsea as Ten Pound Poms, on a hot, bright November morning… a bright new world to adventure in!
A couple of years in suburban Adelaide and then off to Tarcoola some 420 km north west of Port Augusta.
Here I was free to roam.
With only 6 other families there, we made our own fun.
I used to ride my pushbike along the road which followed the railway line, often coming across great swathes of Sturt Desert Peas which the train drivers used to pick and take back to Port Augusta.
Here I grew to love the red dirt, the plants of the remote areas and to see and be aware of the energies in this old and beautiful land.
Freedom came to an end at the end of Year 7 and another adventure began…. I caught the train down to Port Augusta and met the family I was to stay with, a couple of days before starting high school.
Talk about a square peg in a round hole…. not one of the happier adventures…..
But that came to an end and off we went again….. catching the Tea and Sugar train to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia and yet another adventure…
3 secondary schools in one year was a challenge, but I enjoyed the core subjects and did well in them, and was the recipient of a Commonwealth Scholarship for the final two years.
Moving house became an art form and still to thR60/5 American modelis day, there is a certain anticipation in getting the boxes and newspaper ready to pack up the household effects.
Eventually my parents settled, but at 19, it was time for me to head off on my Honda 450cc for new adventures of my own, eventually replacing it with my distinctive BMW.
There were many more adventures as I moved up and down the East Coast… Brisbane to Melbourne…. Melbourne to Brisbane…. New Zealand…. Brisbane to Perth……Perth to Melbourne….The Nullabor was traversed by road about 16 times over a ten year period.
Interesting people and some fun times…and some scary times (maybe one day I’ll write more about these events). In those cases, it was my intuition that kept me safe and I developed a strong sense of when it was time to move on….
As I moved into more sedate circles that intuition was gradually suppressed. A little too “woo woo” for some of the people I was mixing with….
Working in church schools also helped to shut it down… I didn’t feel safe in discussing the spirituality that I felt or the intuition around events… Although it was at one school I met a person who introduced me to Reiki and began this amazing adventure!
Now I’m opening up to the metaphors in my dreams and tapping more frequently into the intuitive and spiritual experiences. You may have noticed in some of my recent posts…
I’m feeling slightly vulnerable as I’m writing this….. exposing my history…..yet not telling you all.
And that will be another adventure as I open up to myself and allow the good and bad feelings that accompanied all these adventures to flow out onto a different page… perhaps a book for later on……

Observing the environment


Prejudices, it is well known,are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow firm there, firm as weeds among stones.

Charlotte Bronte
Another all too brief sojourn up at the retreat, with some more clearing of bushes, tending to the labyrinth and the beginnings of a walking track (fire break) around the perimeter.
Mound of Biddy Bush alight in the overflowClearing the Biddy Bush or Chinese Bush has just about been completed and the debris was pushed into a large pile in the damp area of the dam overflow to minimize the fire spreading.
Whilst it was sad to see so many tiny Blue Wrens and other little bush birds displaced and homeless, the ongoing fire risk is too great to let the bushes stay. They kept busy collecting twigs from previously slashed bushes and rebuilt during the day.
Just one small section of the debris was lit and within seconds, this inferno took off. Some 5 hours later – after burning red-hot, the pile was reduced to ashes, which will be added to a composting area.
AshesEventually deemed safe to leave, we made periodic trips to check on it during the evening (& the Yabbie nets). On one of these trips, not only kangaroos were sighted in the headlights, but a large hare. This is the third time I’ve caught a glimpse of it!
The evenings are spent thinking about building projects. Now the proud owner of a metal bath, which originally was sourced to have as an outdoor bath heated by a small fire under it, it will most probably reside (still outside) on a verandah to built at the front of the cottage.
A bath with a view!
The first of the fruit trees has gone in  – a lemon tree and although kangaroos and wallabies have inspected it, so far it seems to be off their menu.
A passionfruit vine was gifted to me and it will possibly be installed as part of a green fence around the labyrinth.
Other trees in pots are waiting to make the trip up to the retreat.  There are half a dozen pomegranate trees – a result of planting out the spent seeds from a pomegranate feast 3 years ago. Quite small still, but hardy as they have been in a crowded spot, they should take off now they have been potted up. They should do quite well  and I’m intending to hedge them in front of the labyrinth, which should also offer a little more privacy as people walk.
There is also a 7 year old Avocado tree that has been on the deck for some time and is calling to have its roots set free and the half dozen or so Oak seedlings are progressing well.
Just yesterday, a small almond tree was given to me and that will be planted out on the next trip.
As with all projects, enthusiasm needs to be balanced with practicality… but there is the trap of over intellectualizing and doing nothing…


TruthAs Tony Robbins put so succinctly in his book Awaken the Giant Within,

Values guide our every decision and, therefore, our destiny. Those who know their values and live by them become the leaders of our society.”

It is helpful to go over and review what our values are from time to time to see if we are heading in the right direction. Occasionally we can discover that we are in conflict with our values and then dig around a little to discover the emotions around the conflict.

One of my values is honesty. There have been times in my life where there has been conflict around this, particularly when I’m self sabotaging my success and I’m not overly proud of repeating the patterns.

Lately the values of honesty, trust and integrity have been coming up for me. Are they one and the same?

I’ll give you a couple of examples:

Firstly, I recently bought a floodlight for the shed up at the retreat. Not overly expensive but with a compact fluorescent globe in it to save on power.  I took it up to the retreat and discovered on opening the box that the globe had broken – there had been a small impact to the side of the box which caused the damage. The consensus amongst the gathered people was to take it back to the supplier on return to the city.

“No big deal “,you might say.

I didn’t sleep that night. I woke at one stage and realized that I had opened the box in the store and checked the globe against a shelf of other globes for size and pricing. The globe had been broken in transit…….I felt sick…..

When I mentioned this at breakfast, the group opinion was to take it back anyway and get a new one. Perhaps sensible as the cost of a new globe is more than the assembled floodlight.

I reflected on the night’s lack of sleep and what values and energy I intend to bring to the retreat and decided that I would buy a new globe regardless, and did so on my trip to the local hardware store later that day.

Secondly, a little while ago a woman called for an appointment.

I booked her in and when she arrived, she commented that it was a little further than she expected to drive. I asked her why and she said that when she looked at the website, the address was closer to home.

I had been working on a commission basis at a colleague’s practice and she had found me on that website, not my own. Oops!

I explained the difference and the session proceeded.

As she left she said, “Well you don’t have to tell xxxxx that I came here”…… But with my values, how could I not?  (& yes I did tell)


How do others perceive honesty?

Over the past few weeks I have observed that there are many shades of honesty and dishonesty. Layers of trust and distrust all wrapped up in the cloak of integrity…….

For example:

Is it dishonest to keep a $50 note found in a carpark?

How would you know the owner? I remember finding a note when I was a child and my mother taking me to tIntegrity 2he police station to hand it in. I returned months later and was given the note. Just last year I found a $50 note in a large, city carpark. Most of the other cars had departed and I pocketed the note, using it to pay the carparking and donated the balance to a good will tin at my local bakery.

What if the checkout person didn’t scan an item correctly so that it didn’t record?

Would you go back to pay for that item? Or think that the supermarket makes enough profit anyway or see it as a bonus for your loyalty in shopping there?

What if you went to a therapist and couldn’t use your credit card there? (maybe the internet was down or they didn’t have facilities for credit)

Would you try to pay as promptly as possible through a bank deposit or ignore the invoice? Perhaps you might make excuses that the therapy didn’t work. How would you know it hadn’t worked? Wouldn’t you still be paying for the time that person spent with you? Is the failure to pay, as much breaking the trust the therapist has in you as a lack of trust within yourself?

So does it boil down to honesty or is it integrity?

Susan M Heathfield says “Honesty and trust are central to integrity.”

I see it as a triangle – each side supporting the other and crucial to the strength within. When one is absent the structure no longer exists……