Monday, 16 May 2022

The Landscape of Hope

I was asked about hope recently, and days later I realised the question was still rolling around through the levels of my consciousness...

The thing is that I've read a lot, thought a lot, and felt a lot of different things about hope, and adjacent concepts, at this time in the world. From Beyond Hope, to walking the line between False Optimism and Angry Nihilism, to Stubborn Optimism, Action as the Antidote to Despair, and Active Hope - not just sitting and passively hoping that Someone Somewhere will Do Something - but indeed just getting on and doing The Next Right Thing, if we even might Dare to Hope.........

And another little while later, in this moment now, I'm currently sitting some with an idea that has now come to me as Bold Hope. 

This sort of followed for me from the idea of Daring to Hope (how even dare I in this day and age!?! but yes I Stubbornly do, I refuse to Despair and stay there), in combination with Boldness, which popped unexpectedly and surprisingly into my head a few weeks back in response to the journal prompt "One character trait I am working on is..." posed by my dear co-facilitator Marta in a Good Grief reunion.

Boldness, once it had arrived, struck me as an interesting follow on from Confidence, which has been a mission of the last years, in association with some clearing of some probably unnecessary Hesitation, while retaining the very necessary Listening, and Collaboration, Emergence, Consensus, and Process, Patience, Silence, Stillness, Care, Clarity, Intention, Attention, and Waiting for the Right Time... 

Boldness says, The Time is Now. And it says, Go Forth. It says, We Know the Answers already. It says, indeed, let us get on and Do The Next Right Thing. It is only the endless distractions that are obfuscating and slowing us down. Let us Stand Up Together and Speak Our Truth. Truth that is undeniable leads the way. We already know in our hearts what really matters. We have always known. We Know.

Don't we?!?

Mustn't we dare, indeed, to boldly hope that more of All of that is Good can indeed become and just keep becoming, just keep growing.

And so we also Boldly take the time, make the time, to Listen, and Collaborate. We step Boldly out of our Comfort Zones, into the Growth Zone, and into the Emergent. And we Decide with Consensus, with due attention to, and time for, Process, with Patience, Silence, Stillness, Care, Clarity, Intention, Attention, and Waiting for the Right Time... For "the times are urgent, let us slow down."

So yes, there's a whole landscape out there of hope. And I'd say for me at least, it has been, and continues to be, definitely well worth exploring.

So from there, what would I pull out from all that... The musings that followed surprised me, though retrospectively I don't really know why, because indeed it is these undeniable truths that always return, anchors that they are...

Love 

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Love is definitely the answer. And also referred to in "Beyond Hope" as the reason for it all, though for me I also retain hope, hope as I understand it, hope that I am not beyond, though perhaps it's all a matter of definition, and decision... 

Love just is the best reason we may possibly have to do what we do. Even when that may lead us different ways, because maybe we don't have all the answers, even when we all know Truth, Love can be our guide, and Love is the ultimate reason, for it all really.

Here and Now

Practising ways to keep returning to here and now, to calm, to connection, to witnessing - both the loss and suffering, and all the grief that comes with that, and also the incredible miracles that abound, everywhere, in every single moment of existence.

This is a skill that can be built with practice. And this skill is necessary. So I continue to practise it. Practise practise practise. And it does get easier, more natural, more effortless, more present, always, even beneath the myriad challenges of life in this here and now in which we find ourselves, that pull us to the past - with grief or sorrow, or to the future - with anxiety and fear. All at once, we can still, always - underneath, above, within, all through - be Here And Now. So practise practise practise, getting closer, always, to perfect. There's no other way. Walk and notice beauty, treat yourself with self-compassion as you observe what is going on in your body, choose from the million forms of meditation or movement, the million ways to return, to self, to soul, to heart, to connection, to oneness, to being, to here and now.

Healing, and Choice

We have to do the work. Constantly. Because the grief, the trauma, the suffering, the pain is ongoing, and there is much of it already in the world. We live in a damaged world, damaged by the culture that surrounds us, engulfs us, until it is almost impossible to escape. And escape in the form of escapism, the easiest escape, does not heal. It only delays. The only way is through. And to go through we must Do the Work.

What does this look like? Many things to many people. We have so much we can access to find what it is that we need, but the most important thing is to follow what feels right inside. That is what makes it hard and what makes it easy at the same time. We hold it all within us. And the help is there (eg. here). :-) One step at a time, we can work it through. And another step, and work it through again.

And that begins with a choice. The choice to begin.

And then... Keep choosing.

Recently I heard in two places in one day, the two steps for healing as: Awareness, and Embodiment. We notice and we receive. We learn and we integrate. We change and we grow. 

And a wise woman once told me the three keys for transformation are breath, sound, and movement. So they are always a good place to start. 

And Listening. Listening to our bodies, listening to our hearts, listening to our intuition, listening to our souls, listening to knowing, listening to truth, listening to wisdom, listening to spirit, listening to the divine, listening to elders, to ancestors, to the more-than-human, and to the voice of future beings. Listening to those who have never forgotten, and to those who have remembered. Listening to each other, and listening to our selves.

Listen.

Receive.

Accept.

And Heal.

Magic, and Holding the Vision

Along with holding strong to the beauty, the connection, the community we can find in this moment, we can hold strong to a vision of which way we go from here.

This is how change happens. We make it happen. Together.

And it begins with intention, and attention. Our will for the greater good.

And this is true magic. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I do believe in magic. 

Everything is possible.

For me this means things like:

- All that is Good is Growing.

- We are building and strengthening our connections and our power - true power - power with, power within.

- We are building, and crossing, bridges to new ways/old ways - good ways all.

- We are treasuring our commonalities and our diversity and finding how we steer and propel together towards our common goals.

- We are remembering, reawakening, regenerating, restoring, renewing.

- Collective Care. Collective Care. Collective Care.

These may seem abstract, but they are the building blocks of everything, of everything that is possible.

Can you feel it too?

For me Holding Visions like this brings the feeling of hope manifesting, and hope already manifested.

(And just to note that I do not use manifesting lightly, as a former manifesting skeptic, and also in rebellion - or perhaps RACOR - Rebellion Against the Conformity of Rebellion???? as per the band formerly of this name - of the latest and greatest trending of manifesting, not being one to follow a trend or any removal of deep and important substance that may be associated with less careful appropriation, and also not being one to throw out the deep and important substance that is there nonetheless. More later on that anyway...) 

Because not only is it going to happen, but already, right Here and right Now, it is happening. We are making it happen. We are happening. And that is Manifesting.

We set our intention, we focus our attention, and we apply our will, for the highest and greatest good of all. And this is Magic.

And so...

Fear is where we find our Courage, Grief is how we know the immensity of our Love, maybe Together is how we remember our Power. And perhaps Boldness is where we may hold the Truth of our Hope. 

Or something. Because the only certainty is change, right..............?!

In any case, here we are. 

Here I am. And right Here, right Now, I Choose to Hold the Vision and Dare to Hope, to Boldly Hope, to Actively Hope, and to Do the Work to Heal all that needs healing - within, and also without, and continue to Do the Next Right Thing, one step at a time, with Love, and, always, a little bit of Magic.

To close, a sneak preview of a new Vision Growing... 

We Are All Connected












To be continued...

Plus as a bonus, my little creative companions. 
(Who requested presence on the page above, and so can be found in the top circle of small ones, in blue and rainbow attire respectively, Mama Bear standing behind, more friends to come...)


Sunday, 12 December 2021

Parenting, and growing up

Our precious babies have grown into little children now, both really pre-schoolers in this moment, though not for much longer, as dear Big Little heads off to school next year - starting on 2/2/22 no less!

So I've been reflecting a lot on their little little years now past. As I always do, but extra much.

In the very beginning, the wonderment of building a whole person from scratch, inside me! And then birthing them into the world, and realising already that at every step of the parenting journey there is a grief of ever-growing distancing, alongside the ever-growing love.

When my babes were born I wrote them each a song. Big Little's was finished on the journey home from hospital. Somehow Little Little's remains unfinished still, 3 1/2 years later - the joy of being a second child, I suppose.

Then getting to know them, intimately, day by day, watching them grow, and change, and learn, and along the way teaching me so much too.

Loving every inch of them, both figurative inches, and literal.

Singing this love to them: Little cheeks - listen or download on Soundcloud

Learning to be with them, just as they are, and alongside that, learning to be with me, be with me as a person, grown from a babe, to a child, then to an adult, and now somehow grown to someone apparently grown up enough to be a parent. (Really?! How can I continue to feel so unprepared...?!)

I have written a "Top tips" sheet, which includes some of the learning I have found along the way, much of which I wish I had known from the start.

We never stop growing do we. Even when we stop growing literally up.



I've been grieving lately for not raising my children fully immersed in a village, surrounded by elders, aunties, uncles, and a clan of children with whom to roam, wild and free, guided always by the wisdom of a deep rooted culture, with connection and togetherness ever present.

These last years especially have brought home the sense of isolation and loneliness I have felt really much of the time these years of early motherhood. 

Our culture of separation, busyness, and work work work just for the sake of work, keeping us apart.

Our desire for freedom of movement keeping us from all just being where we are, with the people around us known intimately and ongoing.

It feels like we need to be remembering how to get along with everyone again. Not just the people just like us. Everyone.

Strangely somehow now I feel I have finally found more true and deep connection and community through the enforced separations of recent times. The focus on all the ways we can connect brought into centre vision.

So here we are.

There is much in the dominant culture in need of healing, mending, repair, reparation.

This is one part.

I imagine the possibilities for the world when my children are grown all the way up. If they might have the opportunity to have children of their own, if they might choose.

How will it be? How could it be?

Through the Window (by Little Little)

We shall see. And we will bring to it what we can, from where we begin, here and now.

And for me, that means continuing to grow on my journey of imperfect parenting. 

Definitely with an intention for healing; and growing connection; mending, repair and reparation where needed; and learning, always; while teaching, and guiding, best I can, my little ones on their way; and finding, and growing, our village, so they can learn all that I cannot teach them on my own.

And meanwhile, I will continue to wrap them in Rainbows (listen or download on Soundcloud).

Sunflower, sunshine, water and rainbow (by Big Little)

Weeding out space for seeds to grow into flowers and fruit trees (by me)







Monday, 7 June 2021

To my through the screen friends, please be introduced to my behind the screen friends

Written December 2020. A long time coming...!

I would like to introduce you all, my through the screen friends, to my behind the screen friends. Please meet our 2020 resident little pardalote family, who have been busy variously nesting, flying, perching, hatching, hovering, hanging, hopping, feeding and "whit-whit"-ing and "tsch-tsch-tsch"ing outside the window behind my computer screen. I have been very grateful for all of you this past year my friends, both through the screen, and behind the screen.



I decided not to edit this first video as an exercise in not pandering to our desires for instant gratification. (In fact I also waited significantly longer to catch this lovely little hover.) Wait for it....... Enjoy the breeze in the bushes, and the *ahem* steadiness of my camera work. Aaaaaaand... (There is just one hover, so you can stop watching after pardalote departs stage right (or is it stage left...?). Or you can continue to the end, and enjoy listening to the "whit-whit" and the "tsch-tsch-tsch".)

I believe our little friends are spotted pardalotes. In researching pardalotes, I found this beautiful and sad piece about the unique nature of pardalotes and the broken and disappearing niche that they are holding onto amidst the ongoing destruction of their environment - our environment. So I am glad that this family have found a niche near us.

It was lovely to spend some time to just focus on my little feathered friends who have been such constantly intermittent companions these days in my makeshift lockdown Zoom office in the "palace"*, rather than feeling like I should be attending to a million things on the to do list. It was also really special to have a chance to get an extended really good look at my mostly very fast moving flitting friends by snapshotting them in the moment. Sometimes it feels important to prioritise such things. Slowing down. Taking a moment, a pause. Directing attention and spending time in appreciation of beauty and life. Soul nourishment. Especially when life is especially crazy and hectic, chaotic or unpredictable, or missing some of the special things in life usually present like company and connection IRL...

It has been a crazy year, that's for sure. A year sometimes for hanging on, and for holding on, like my little pardalote friends.




Hanging on and holding on for things to settle down, a chance to catch up on what on earth is going on anyway. A year for hanging on and holding on to all that is dear and precious, to all that matters. A year for hanging on and going along with the ride and seeing where it takes us, as unexpected twists and turns just keep on appearing. Hanging on and holding on to hope against fear of insanity prevailing. Hanging on and holding on to the feeling that maybe, just maybe, the tide really is turning. Hanging on and holding on to the vision of all that is good, growing. And hanging on and holding on to the ever growing and strengthening networks of people that are all agents for change, in so many ways. Including you all, my dear friends through the screen.

I'm still kind of figuring out the "whit-whit". It feels protective of the young, still growing in the nest. It sounds like an alarm. Sometimes it is constant! So then I wonder if it means something else... Perhaps it means many things. Maybe it's about where to find good food, or heading back to the nest, or maybe it's just about keeping tabs on the family - "I'm here", "I'm here", "I'm here", "Where are you?" (Check out the close up video further down to see what you think.)

Humanity and communication

For the previous 4 years of living here in our beautiful, simple, quiet bush home in Lal Lal, we didn't feel the need to connect the home internet, and just used mobile data for our internet requirements, which for those previous years, was plenty. 2020, the year of COVID-19 and lockdowns, changed all that of course. Lockdowns and separation from loved ones haven't been fun, and the year has brought other challenges, but we have been overall relatively really very lucky here, while many in other places closer and further away have had a very much harder year in so so many ways. And it's not over yet.

It has been a year for allowing and practising self-compassion, when needed amongst the challenges the year has brought, and for always remembering the greater perspective and the many things we have to be grateful for, and for looking for ways to try to support others from afar, even when that has also sometimes been hard due to the limitations of lockdowns.

Here it's been a year of working through technology struggles amongst the other challenges the year has presented, and a year of much gratitude for same technology. We are so lucky.

Computers, phone, internet, Zoom have this year given me the opportunity to continue online (after some initial troubleshooting, let's call it) with my Ballarat Good Grief group, after we were no longer able to meet in person after our first weeks of meeting. I have been able to join in the weekly meetings of the awesome Act on Climate collective since they went online, and I have organised monthly meetings of the Ballarat Climate Action Network. After completing the 10 Steps of the Good Grief program with our Ballarat group, I was then able to run two more rounds of the program as a fundraiser for Act on Climate, and I'm now also currently undertaking the first extended facilitator training to further extend my skills of Good Grief facilitation. (Good Grief has been run online on Zoom since before Zoom was the big thing it has this year become!)

All in all, despite distance, restrictions, lockdowns, for me 2020 has been a year for making and strengthening connections. Perhaps the challenges to this have made it ever more important to put the effort in. And while online connection is amazing when that's all we have, it definitely also reminds us just how very special our connections in real life, in 3D, in close proximity, really are. 

So here's to keeping perspective and to keeping connected - however we can, moment by moment. Here's to hanging on and holding on, and to compassion - for both ourselves and for others.

And here's to keeping tabs on each other - "I'm here", "I'm here", "I'm here", "Where are you?"


Bless you all my through the screen friends. And my behind the screen friends too.

* PS Here is a mini tour of the nest spot from a few vantage points. Please enjoy our rather lovely "palace". Hehe... :-) Ah for the original bush shack on the block providing us with much needed additional lockdown space, for me and for our little pardalote family.




Plus, spot our dear friend "whit whit" bird in much lovelier surrounds, viewed instead while outside in the fresh air. Ah. Outside. Not to be taken for granted, being outside, in fresh air. Breathe it in.

This way, that way

And way up there.

Look up, look down, look all around
Look within and look without
See.

Love to all.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Magical fairy adventures "down the garden path"

Sometimes life just flows and synchronicity abounds. I love it.

Last Sunday afternoon was the last Sunday session of our Good Grief group program, ending on Step 10 - Reinvest into Meaningful Efforts. All the feelings flowed for me as we reached the end of the journey together. A journey it is, and a journey made together indeed. So much gratitude for both my groups (the Monday group finished up with Step 10 the following day). It is such an honour and a privilege to run these groups, with the program developed by the wonderful and wise LaUra and Aimee, the founders of the Good Grief Network, and the participants placing so much trust in joining, giving their time each week to show up, exploring some really big topics and sharing so much along the way. It runs so deep.

I finished our Sunday session with the group check out "what are you doing after this?" on the spur of the moment. My own answer to that question was that for a change I planned to leave for later the session follow up on the computer and head out straightaway to spend some time with my family and see my little girls both wearing the fairy wings I had just finished making for them the day before. I also said spontaneously that I would ask my older daughter to pick a fairy card for each person in the group. The next thing I knew, this intention magically morphed itself into magical adventures "down the garden path," led by my little fairies, and no cards were required for messages from the fairies to appear that day, that somehow just slotted right in to the flow of the afternoon.


We went to visit the Fairy Queen, in amongst the geraniums, and on wondering if the Fairy Queen might have a message for us, the elder fairy replied "Fa fa fa". Luckily, the younger fairy translated. "Quiet time" this meant apparently. And yes indeed.

As we sunk into our silence, we then listened to the birds, the little thornbills flitting about in the trees above us, bringing their joy, and their courage and their curiosity, and the whit whit alarm call of the nearby nesting pardalotes protecting their young.

We celebrated the achievement that I had completed 10 weeks of Good Grief facilitation for one of my two groups as we sat in a row in our garden. We read a couple of stories, bought that afternoon by beloved and the small ones from a local second hand book shop.

We were then inspired to head down the hill, and to see if Totoro (the earth spirit troll creature from the Studio Ghibli film of the same name), who eldest says lives in my favourite big old tree, might also have a message for us. Totoro was sleeping and didn't answer - but what a good message nonetheless - to sleep and to ignore unnecessary interruptions to that most important task.

Favourite big old tree, home of Totoro, is on the right

So, it was decided by big small that we must ask more fairies. Turned out the fairies hadn't come to talk though, they'd come to play. And the good ideas kept rolling! Play!

As we wandered on, the small ones decided it was time to pick some grass, weeds for the fairy to eat apparently, for afternoon tea, for breakfast, and for lunch. Another good idea, to harvest wild foods for nourishment. (And sticks for the baby fairies. Because they're babies. The grass is also made of ice cream, and good for goats too.)

A little spider web also sent a reminder to weave dreams and stories. Always.

Spot the web!

We continued down the back to walk our labyrinth. 


In the centre beloved found that the message there for him was just to relax, chill, to enjoy the nature, enjoy the blue sky, and, he pondered, to contemplate, or not to contemplate. :-) Well, sometimes, that is the question. Meanwhile, enjoy the nature. In particular, some of our beautiful spring time flowers that just keep appearing in their many forms.



Now you see it, now you don't...! (Spot the difference)

So the most magical thing about all this, along with just some generally lovely good ideas, was that in fact many of the messages from fairy folk and more were repeats of the discussion of our Good Grief session for the afternoon (though not the part about grass made of ice cream also good for goats). So indeed!

Let's always remember the importance of quiet time, listening to birds and their messages of joy and delight, curiosity and courage and protecting our young. Let's celebrate, let's read, let's have good uninterrupted sleep. And let's play - yes, let's play! Let's nourish our bodies with wild food from our gardens and beyond. Let's weave stories and dreams. Let's relax, chill, enjoy nature and the blue sky, and contemplate. Or not. And repeat, as required. 

And let's always remember the magic of intuition. Of asking for the messages we need to hear, and listening for the answers, however they come. Let's know ourselves, observe ourselves and trust ourselves. Let's set our intentions and let our attention, focus and actions follow to open doors to possibilities we didn't even imagine, because everything is possible. And magic happens! I do believe in magic! And fairies. And children. And aren't children just so good at all that. Bless their little cotton socks.

Monday, 5 October 2020

Labyrinth in the Light

Over the days following finishing our Lal Lal Labyrinth, as the moon waxed to the quarter and continued on towards full and now beyond, many feet big and small already have walked the labyrinth and shared energy, added sticks, and embraced the walking, the winding, the within and without.

The next day we had our bush play friends come to play outside and experience walking the labyrinth. Later I went down to walk yet again, with my little family. I, erm, gracefully climbed a tree to take photos from above. (Photos of my graceful ascent at the bottom of this post so as not to distract.)

Freshly cleansed by the rain, and alight with muted sunshine filtered through clouds, the labyrinth from above, in its quiet stillness of presence.

And speaking of grace, we were graced again by the presence of another rainbow. 

And by bird song resonating through the wet hills and vales. A video of that birdsong is below if you would like to enjoy it too.

I am feeling so much calm, balance, stillness inside me, in my core, from this practice of ritual walking. Mmmmmm...

Still around that centre, I dither, I frizzle, I race, I run, I grump, I laugh, I stress, I cry, I worry, I work, I wonder. I am human after all. But all the while in my centre, the stillness is quiet, and strong, open, clear and grounded, and connected, and warm; nurtured by the walking, the space made for silent presence, and the intention for balance.

Last time I shared a walking video, and I didn't yet mention that the inspiration of making a labyrinth walk video was from the wonderful and magical Wendy Rule, who previously shared a video of herself walking a very different, desert located and rock constructed labyrinth. Wendy is a visionary songstress, a well of deep wisdom which she shares through monthly Full Moon concerts and Dark Moon meditations and other sharings in between. I have learnt so much since first meeting Wendy at the Glastonbury Goddess Conference, through these sharings and also her Lunar Magic course as well. I had already begun to explore the seasonal celebrations, the cycles of the waxing and the waning moon, the magic and meaning of possibility and ritual, but connecting with Wendy has definitely brought many new depths to this learning. Find her here if you are interested, and if you sign up to her Patreon from only $2/month, you too can listen to her lovely Full Moon concerts monthly and enjoy the immersion in musical magic and soak in the learnings as you go. We all need more music and magic!

Meanwhile, some more photos, and another walking video below. The Labyrinth in the Light.













Labyrinth in the Light - walk with me

 

Labyrinth and birdsong - listen in presence


And just for something a little less serious.............. Yep, it's been a while since I properly climbed a tree...!



These faces say it all really...

I did get there in the end...

And to finish... Back to that stillness and grace of presence, a rainbow, and the labyrinth in the rain.


(And look closely for me in the tree) :-)