Inspiration on the new deck!

I am here today sitting for the first time outside on the new veranda and new deck that Peter and a friend Benoit have finished building. A completely new outlook over the paddocks and the hills across the valley. Just stunning and so appealing to be sitting here and writing. Truly inspiring.

It is really a totally new experience to sit out among the trees, the bamboos, the flowers and the smell of burning mosquito repellent. (not bad as scent goes) The black and white breasted pigeons are perching on the mighty bamboos and cooing their heart content. The butchers birds are demanding their daily ration of bits of meat. They have arrived and perched on the surrounding trees twittering noisily. The Noisy Minahs are quarreling for space in the grevillias for the last few drops of nectar. The sun is setting down in the west starting to glow and scintillating slightly in between the trees and the breeze is definitely getting cooler but still very agreeable to be out.

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In the meantime the butcher birds are really getting more vociferous as Fripouille the cat (which means brat in English) is stalking them with devouring eyes. But they surely know by now what his intentions are and making a raucous to warn him off. So, Fripouille, sits also among the trees hoping and hoping for a decent bite. But this is not going to happen. Fripouille is now stuck high on the branch and is deliberating how he is going to come down. That is more crucial for the moment.

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The quite largish white breasted pigeons are flapping their mighty wings and trying to find a spot for the night. The cows across the paddock are for ever eating grass. Insatiable creatures. Just munch and munch. They have not come up to the fence today bellowing for an extra feed. That is because, we have cleared a big patch of sweet potatoes early in the afternoon and they had a little feast with it as well as the bamboo culms and small branches that I trimmed. They have pretended to like them, not quite sure about it, but ate them in the end.

The chickens are making their way slowly back to the coop ensuring that they have not forgotten that lonely insect on a twig not far from the entrance and where they will get another scoop of grain before Peter shuts the coop door for the night.

A few swallows are catching the last few flying insects on the wind and the cockatoos calling with their grating screams are surely going to roost at some stage not too far away.

The plovers are starting their nightly call for safer ground and the swamp hen is already on top of the sedge near the dam ready to settle down. And I almost forgot Elsie our faithful Labrador that has just arrived and sits by my feet looking forlorn: “Dinner time boss, I am getting hungry you know, it has been a long day”. Well, how can I resist that look? Won’t be too long, I almost finished writing this paragraph and your bowl will be full shortly. So, her head goes down for now… maybe she understood. Well, she surely saw that I was not in a hurry to move right away.

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As it is definitely getting cooler, I am going inside to light a fire for the night, and Peter will starting to cook the salmon with our first batch freshly harvested of sweet red potatoes just a few hours ago.That is the first time that we managed to grow them properly and they were quite large. I was so excited about it that I rang our friend who actually told us how to do it properly. He was elated that we finally managed to grow them and enjoying eating them.

The sun has now vanished and the ski is clear . That breeze is definitely much colder and it is about time I packed up and move inside where it is warm and cozy.

Till next time.

REJECTION. One insight.

Today I decided to put pen to paper to recall a very interesting (maybe) event and moments that occurred in 2007. Where to start ? It might be hard to bring all these to surface again, but I am pretty positive that something might come out of it. Well, the positive element is already here, otherwise I would not be writing it. Let’s try it and see what happens as I unfold the story.

In March 2007, my father, a very important persona in the way he shaped my thinking and my life reached the decision to cut all bridges to our relationship to both of us. My husband and I. Countless discussions and discourses took place reflecting on different aspects of the inner workings of what we are. My father was not an “educated” man, just an ordinary man that could comprehend the machinations of the mind and their ramifications in our life and society.

A call in the early March 2007 took me by utter surprise. Yes, the element of disbelief was enormous.

“No more conversations, no more phone calls, no more getting in touch.” “you are up yourself, selfish and know it all, wallowing in self indulgence, wasting time and being unconscious of your acts and attitude” He said.

Words failed me utterly. I had no response to this onslaught on his part. I was stunned , deeply hurt, flutters in my stomach played havoc, I felt that I was going to be sick and my throat was drying up fast. The only response that I gave was : “what about mum, how I am going to find out how she is” She had been unwell for the last few years. “ don’t you worry about all this, well, goodbye”.

I was left totally not only speechless but a sense of gloom and doom enveloped me. Anger surfaced pretty fast and I started to justify my attitude and my position. My image was totally destroyed. Questions emerged. What did I do to them? Why is he so callous? Who does he think he is to rebuff me in such way? He is an arrogant man, wanting to be always right. And it went on and on like that trying to find gaps in his thinking and attitude which I attributed to him getting too old and may be going senile….That was so far from the truth as I realised later

For days I was trying to justify, to substantiate where I had been wrong. What events lead him to take such a dramatic position towards me? What warranted such an outburst from him? Stories of endless justifications lasted for weeks. Unable to sort it out. So, I decided to write to him since he would not let me renew any forms of relationship. I wrote pages and pages, discussed it at length with the boys and my husband. In the end I could not come to sending him the letter and pages that I had painstakingly written.

I remained silent, deeply hurt , confused, puzzled, and flummoxed with no resolution in sight. Then we left for Bangkok for 4 weeks where we met with our son who was at this stage on a posting in Hanoi, but flew to be with us. We churned the same stuff over and over again as I was trying to find solace and confirmation of my attitude and position. To no avail of course. I was on the wrong track… maybe.

Then, still disconcerted and not being able to come to any solution as to what I could do, my mother rang me one early morning in July just 3 months after this saga and told me that dad had passed away suddenly that very morning at 6 AM. Fear enveloped me totally. I was again in disarray.

We packed our bags and left for Melbourne as fast as we could. I shall pass on this period as it was again a moment of deep pain, emotional suffering, stress, anguish, bitterness and distress for everyone present. I might recount it another time.

After deep reflection and introspection in this whole matter, I finally realised (maybe) the point my father was trying to make. In his wisdom, that is what he decided to do: to pierce the abscess of what he saw being my most fundamental problem. When I say ‘mine” I also mean the issue that is plaguing most of us. Let me try to explain finally further the point of the title of this writing.

Rejection. Fear of not being accepted by our family, peers and friends. Not belonging or being seen as not belonging. Always wanting to please anyone in order to look good and nice and safeguard our image. How is the writing above going to illustrate this?

As we grow up and start being part of society the most important thing is to feel wanted and included. Normal. Then, an event occurs…the arrival of a sibling for instance, then we start feeling left out. We are going to make sure that we are always in the forefront just in case we have lost this number one spot. That is only one aspect of it. There are countless examples that we can dwell on to illustrate this. A friend dropping you for another, we dress to hide a little fat on the belly…so that we still feel ok, we put make up on so that we feel beautiful just in case also we are told we are not…and on it goes. Many of our acts in life are to enhance our image, our position, our sense of worth and our importance. If something goes against any of that we feel cheated and can easily be depressed and we start playing “catch up “with other things. Compensating. Yes, that trip to Bangkok, wanting to be away and “forget”. Of course this was not going to resolve the issue.

What my father had done was to confront me with my self importance and go to the bottom of my attitude of seeing myself as being rejected. In his rejection there was in fact a deep sense of care and love. He wanted me to face this issue with all the force of rejection. Powerful. Confront myself. What I did and  what my attitude showed was the opposite. Exactly the opposite. I looked for justifications, belittled him, poured scorn on him, and in my blindness I rejected his premise. A fool’s attitude in fact. I was so taken  by sense of righteousness that I missed the point, hence missed the lesson at the time. I was not prepared nor was I ready to see my own game.

If I had confronted my deep sense of rejection I would have thanked him for his action. But no, I did not see it. How can you even start seeing anything if you are obsessed with yourself all the time and want to show daddy how great you are, how good you are, how caring you are, then, you are not seeing what is truly motivating you, what is propelling you, and what is really driving you.

Yet, he saw it and moved on it. How profound that is when you reflect on your actions. When you start seeing your actions….always with the aim to please or not loose face or look good at all times. He did not want to be pleased. He wanted me to understand. How liberating that is when you see that his motives were pure, loving and warmhearted. He rejected me in order for me see through the pain and the pantomime that I was inflicting on myself. In this rejection, he also hurt himself. Severing ties with his daughter in order to achieve a greater outcome for “me”. Not only for “me” but for the advancement and understanding of what we are, and to decipher the inner workings of the human beings. He had this question at one stage for us : “how do you see you children, as human beings or as children?” The reply was difficult to give. I wonder what reply I really gave. If my memory does not falter I think, I said it was a hard one to come to terms with..maybe both I said…Children and humans. But now can I really say that?

Now I understand how he saw “me”. And Only now, can I say to him thank you with all my heart!

Till next time.

 

Drive to Melbourne

Here we are in among the trees, the famous eucalyptus of Melbourne for a brief moment. That is where I started this blog.

A totally impromptu trip down the south. Family and friends were present. Coming from everywhere to spend just a little time together. Visiting a few friends briefly. Picking up some presents from Fran and Les. Seeing Nicole and Nathalie. Sue, Peter and their family for fabulous time together. Without forgetting the little Charlie that I managed to cuddle and feed. Thanks Jen for this little moment of feeling the tiny bundle in my arms. Pam and Catherine out from England. Naomi and Gary from Sydney. John back from Perth. Maria  with Ross and Zoe and Isabelle.

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Catch up with G’s mother, Val for a lovely moment chatting about our progeny and their endeavours, trips, works and their vacations abroad. That is also without saying the wonderful dinner that was cooked for us. Simple,tasty, varied and so well prepared. Many thanks for this Val!

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At Sue’s place  there many were old acquaintances and friends. But the marathon feast was Peter M with the help of everyone present who managed to cook for 70 people. We had enough food for 100. Lovely Indian curries, full of flavours, spices, salsas, salads, and deserts galore. I never had so many slices of pavlova in my life. My husband Peter also of course gorged himself…what a sweet tooth he is! So did I  for that matter and never looked back. They were just scrumptious, so was the Tiramisu.

 

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We drove this time with Benoit a friend from Nimbin who had to pick up a bus in Ballarat. We took it in turn to fly on the highways. We stayed together in hotels and motels along the way. All The start of the drive was rather scenic and then miles upon miles of flat straight highway. At times driving around these parts of Australia is rather boring and monotonous. Lucky that we were 3 to do the trip. Taking turns every 2 or 3 hours. Chatting, story telling, playing some music which quickly got on our nerves while driving.

First stop Dubbo. A lovely motel half way there. A rather busy town. How can one starts describing Australian town. In my eyes they all look the same. A few colonial buildings, historic relics, war memorial lost on the main square, fish and chips shops where the smell of fat is enough to make you run.
When I think that, when I first starting teaching and first arrived in Australia, that particular smell of fat(God knows what it is) used to attract me like a magnet and I used to dive into the shop at lunch time to get my fill of greasy chips, battered fish and scallops, which by the way had nothing to do with the real crustacean, but just a deep fried potato cake. The whole lot wrapped in 2 layers of white butcher’s papers, vinegar optional, tomato ketchup and a wedge of lemon for the fish. Hot and fatty. Getting back to school the smell used to invade the whole staff room and I would happily share some of it with my colleagues. Today this smell makes me nauseous and I run the other way at the presence of this obnoxious odour. Anyway, the Australian town is blend and had no particular attraction. Businesses, sheep, cattle and a few other things I am sure. The landscape was nothing to rave about as the rain battered us the whole way down to the Victorian border. Still on the border we can’t bring fruit with you in the car. Fruit fly are supposed to read the signs along the way, especially capsicum and tomatoes. I am sure there would be some special schools for these creatures to teach them how to read. But there might be a point also in the government forbidding these vegetables from across the border.

Just before Dubbo, we steadily climbed to about 1000m. The highest town in Australia…Armidale. Quite quaint, rocky, and the home of University of New England. Indeed with its valleys, undulating hills, green plateaus surrounded by mountains it does reminisce of England/Europe. Very green at the moment as the rain pelted down, and had done so for the last few days. Everything was getting a good soaking. We went on driving through state forests and little villages and hamlets. Very desolate, yet at times picturesque.

Then the front passenger seat belt got unstuck. Alarm bells started ringing. A loose bolt. Panic. But a quick call to the local emergency road assistance got us on the move again. A trip to Subaru is warranted as it is a brand new car and still under warranty.

After a frugal breakfast and a tank full of petrol, we headed for Richmond Hill Hotel, in Richmond, Melbourne. An old suburb where we used to live many years ago Peter and I when the kids were little. We took Benoit around our old haunt and showed him around. The boys grew up in the street among a truly multicultural setting. A dead end street where everyone was out, the doors left open and the gang in the street used to come and go at leisure. We revisited the house and saw all the neighbours, but did not go in or got in touch with them. maybe not the same people after all these years. The only person I managed to get a glimpse of is Moira. Our ex neighbour from across the road who was still there, on the phone. A quick sneak from outside through the open curtains. Was not game to talk at 10.30pm.

Then the next day after breakfast laid on by the hotel, we drove to Mediterranean food supermarket. An old place where we used to get and shop for all sorts of Italian goodies. Cakes and breads made on the premises…the real thing. Excellent coffee for a fraction of the price of the trendy shops in town. Imported olive oils, anchovies, olives, tuna, sardines and dried cod. Of course a shopping spree was necessary. Lovely organic hams and salami. Superb hard cheeses and French butter of all things. In brief a real feast for the eyes and above all the tummy. Lashing out!
Benoit was quite amazed to see all of these wonderful delicacies. We also bought a few things to picnic at Sue’s place.

Then, we drove to Benoit’s hotel where we left him to pursue his own adventures. He is buying an old bus that he wants to fix and travel around Australia with his family. Peter and I stopped in a park and had a real Italian sandwich with organic salami and hard crust bread rolls. We had not had these for years. Slowly, and loosing our ways a few times, we made it to Sue’s and Peter’s in time for the reunion. Brief it was indeed.

It was lucky that we managed to get a house-sitter for these few days. It is not easy to get people to look after a farm and a little kitten. Last year we were invited to Melbourne also, but the timing was not right. It depends who is around and who is available.
We always say that we should not have any animals, but we always add more to the menagerie.

Benoit, left for Ballarat to get his bus and he drove back home while we Peter and I drove back slowly, taking our time to admire the scenery. We were also surprised at the quality of coffee that was served in all the towns that stopped at. Many moons ago like 30 years, it was a real dilemma to find something decent. When the boys were little and we used to do lots of camping around Victoria, if I did not have my fix of coffee in the morning I used to get miserable, despicable,moody, nervy and no one would talk to me in case I yelled at them….Problems of addiction I suppose. Peter and the boys used to drive to different villages to try and find some Italian pizza shop that might serve a decent coffee. Today everyone in country Australia provides something reasonable and drinkable. Times have changed and presently 2 small cups is more than enough. Also gone are the days of instant…NESCAF! A truly disappointing drink. Nothing that taste even like coffee and when you think of what goes in it, you don’t want to know or touch it in spite of all the flamboyant publicity about it. Nevertheless, I was quite astonished to see that most of my friends and family swore by it…The only thing I could say is: how can you do that?

The food was nothing to rave about and the price was too much.Your usual hamburger, fish and chips, pizzas. All fattening and unhealthy. So lovely picnic with simple fare sufficed. But we hit a great little Vietnamese soup place in Box HIll that was just delicious and we went back for more on our out to Geelong.

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On the way back, I rang up Magali, our house sitter, to see if she could stay another day. No problems. We stopped in different towns this time.  We took our time. Home sweet home. And above all it is nice to get back home again and find that all your menagerie is happy to see you and you are delighted to be back home and sleep in your own bed at last.

Now that this trip is over the other one is looming. Bangkok, London and Paris.

Till next time

Certainty versus uncertainty.

Recently, I have been writing about the heat wave and other news from the farm. But today I will try to have a few words about our state of mind and dilemma that we have in life. Why dilemma you might ask? It is very simple. We face times in our lives where we don’t know what to do in a particular situation. Making a decision about a situation in life and when we don’t know how to deal with it. How to make “sure” that we have taken or are making the right one?

I think the first thing that we have to remember is what is the instrument that will hinder you from making a move in either direction. We are going to try to deal with our thinking to try to resolve this issue. Of course you might say. What else is there? That is the only thing that will allow me to see what is going on. That is the only instrument that I have and that I know. Ok. Hence my thought process will permit me to deal with it. Will it?

But, have we ever thought about how skewed that is in the first place? Have we ever ask ourselves what is the make up of these thoughts? How are they moulded, how do we organise them and are they adequate to deal with this issue that I am struggling with. Thought is only a tool. Like I said previously, the menu is not the food. Thought is narrow, restricted, reductionist, bigoted, distorted at the best of time, a definition and representational only. It is never the thing/object itself. With that in mind, how can you be sure of anything?

Let’s take an example of how this works. In life we strife for certainty. Yes, we want to be sure that everything is going to plan, nothing will interfere with this plan. In other words we want certainty. The quest for certainty will stifle creativity, certainty does not leave space in the mind ( it is always busy thinking of ways to be sure), certainty will hinder compassion, love, openness, certainty is tyrannical as it wants to control and impose its ideas on others. Has your boss been recently a little too aggressive? Certainty does not allow uncertainty. It allows no space in the mind because we are too busy filling it up with ideas to define ourselves and struggling to always get it right.

The purpose of thoughts is to control our surroundings, our identities, our position, our image, our standing in the community…To a degree, there is nothing wrong with that. On a functional level that is totally necessary. Necessary to drive a car properly or build a house, one has to know the rules and what instrument to use. But on the psychological level it does not happen like this. Thoughts are really weak. Should I go and meet my friend or should I go to Paris? Should I stay with my husband or take a lover? Should I…should I…should I. All these create confusion. Why does it create confusion? We are torn, not being to jump one way or the other. If I jump this way I lose control, if I jump the other way I will also lose something else also. Lose …lose situation. May be my position at work, my lover, my security. Yes, security. So, here we are, we don’t want to lose anything. We want complete certainty. Yes, the mind, my thoughts do not want to let go of that uncertainty. Why? Because thought is the source of uncertainty and does not want to let go in its desire to get rid of it. You will take away its “raison d’être” …reason for being. So it remains in the state of uncertainty in order to search certainty for ever. Like a dog trying to catch it tail. Not realising that it is running after itself in total unconsciousness of its action.

Yes, we are not aware of the battle that is taking place in our mind. Because it is a battle, a dangerous battle that drags on sometimes for the rest of our life. Trapped in the fight and not knowing how to get out of it. Stuck.

Of course, now one may ask: how do you get out of this trap? Ah ah! here comes the question that might elucidate my dilemma. Ask yourself this: Who want to get out of what? Who asks the question? It is a legitimate question of course. Now, how can the mind who is trapped in a dilemma going to answer how to get out of it? My mind is the problem. My thoughts are the problem. So, we are asking the problem to get out of the problem, no? Is this feasible? No, so what am I to do? I am still in a quandary. Maybe I should go and meditate, go and see a master or a guru. I am sure these people have the answer.

So, off I trot in search of certainty starting of course from a state of uncertainty. What if the master is no good, but he might be. S/he is quite reputable and has skills. So, I am sure, yes, I am sure he might give me the answer. If she does that is great, you are liberated. But if he does not where are you? Back to square one.

It is uncertainty that makes search for a place where I can at last rest in peace. I am obsessed trying to find the right solution. This obsession is blurring my love, my openness, my space. And it is in that space that I can see, yes, see the stupidity of my position not before. But again you may ask, how to you get to this space? How do you sense that openness? Of course these are very good questions and legitimate.

Can you see the obsession? Can you see the turmoil? Can you see the battle? Can you see the dilemma? Can you see how run down you are? Can see you how tired you are? Yes, you can see all that. These are all the result of your thought process going in circle and trying to resolve the impossible. That is why maybe people are taking so many prescription drugs to calm them down. They have trouble dealing with all this burden. I make it sound so simple. The mind never rest, never stops, never have a moment of silence. When you realise that you will never know, when you stop controlling, when you stop giving way to your thought and roof brain chatter, there is a moment of uncertainty. Are you going to fill it again? or are you going to let it be. Letting it be is the opening that you want. Yes, again how to make the decision? Well, let it go first. Then you will see.

Catch yourself in the act of trying to control an event. Catch yourself yelling at the dog. Catch yourself imposing your opinions on others. Catch yourself obsessed with tiny little things that don’t matter. Catch yourself ever furtively trying to profit from a situation. Catch yourself with your friend competing for a place on the tennis court or in a race. Catch yourself trying to get the best bit in a restaurant . Catch yourself talking…moving… see if these actions arise from a sense of wanting to secure a place or a position. Are you a winner? Are you a great person? All these arise from a sense of wanting to be sure….hence uncertain of yourself. And we do that day in day out.

In life one is never certain of anything. But the struggle is the fight for certainty. When one knows that we can’t be certain of anything then, something happens. That something else is the opening that you are REALLY looking for. Stop wanting to control!

What happens when you become aware of hurt and the dilemma inside you?

These problems are a direct result of thinking trying to achieve certainty …a hopeless battle. Given the premise that it can never be reached, what am I left with…being tyrannical with my partner, abusing other, being obsessed with cleanliness or looks maybe, imposing stiffer rules and regulations on others, beating someone, killing another human being maybe. All these actions are the result of not knowing what to do. Never being able to achieve something in life. Sure, I can be perfect in my job, super organised, super conscientious, being promoted to new heights, but has that resolved my issues?

Also remember one thing, the more you talk about your issue to other people the less you become apt at resolving them. What I am saying is you are leaning on others to find a solution for you because you are not able to do so. Normal you might say, but this will take any initiative that you may have. “Polling” as Brene Brown would say takes away your ability to see through your issues. Of course that is assuming on my part that you are still in good health and do not have any serious mental problems. I am not advocating by any means not to see a counselor or someone who at time might be extremely beneficial in trying to elucidate a few important points that one may have. But that is not polling it is taking steps to understand where you are at.

I am sure there is plenty more to add, I could go on and on but that is all for today.

Till next time

Hot, Hot Hot

It hot,  excruciatingly hot. The aircon is blasting away at full strength.The hot wind feels as if you are in a fan forced oven,unfortunately not baking any cookies nor bread or any other goodies that could be slowly spreading their welcoming aromas throughout the house. Not worth venturing outside under any circumstances. The wind is swaying the bamboos ferociously almost touching the ground, not a breath of cool air could be felt under this torrid heat, with the thermometer reaching the 40 degrees the plants are suffering badly. Hot…Hot …Hot. Climate change? A passing phase? who knows? But one thing is certain, it has never been so torrid since we’ve been here.

This morning I woke up relatively early to give a good watering to the vegetable garden. All of them had a good soaking preparing for the blasting sun of the day. I recycle all laundry water to sprinkle the pots plants on the veranda and the shower water to flush the toilets. rationing water is of the utmost importance and the rain has not made any strong appearances for quite a few weeks now. After such heat one would expect some sort of mighty relief from mother nature with water bucketing down soon. But no, nothing on the horizon for sometime. The water are getting slowly depleted and the day might come where we might have to get some water from the  local contractor pumped into the tanks.

The tweeters of the birds can be heard in the distance…food, water, but everything is in short supply. I make sure that the bird baths are full and I can see the occasional one coming for a dip and a drink. Their wings are spread and not close to their chest so to let the breeze flow through. The chickens have adopted also the same little trick, well, it seems that all birds are doing it in that heat.

The cows across the paddock are resting in the shade of the big bamboos. Quite a few of them are expecting a calf shortly. Bluey, is the largest of them all and I am sure the little one will be there in the next few days. The others have still a couple of months to go. The grass is not growing that much in this weather and some supplementary feed does not go astray at all from time to time.

The dog Elsie, is just resting on the wooden floor spread eagle enjoying the coolness of the room under the air-conditioning. Lucky dog hey! She has managed to lose quite a fair bit a weight over the last few months and I can at least see her waist being defined quite nicely.

It has been a long time since I wrote a few lines. I am not sure what to make of it, but I guess my muse was not around. Alone, while Peter is volunteering at the Gallery this afternoon gave me the opportunity to put my fingers on the keyboard and type away.

Christmas came and went like every year. So did new year. Days like any other days. I am not a great follower of these follies of shopping till I drop in the big mall for some useless bit of pseudo presents. I’d rather give when I don’t have to do so. I do not like to give out of obligation.  Why wait for Christmas, birthdays, anniversary and so on?  In fact I do not even remember how long I have been married, who cares really? Everyday is a special day, every day brings about its joy and sorrow. Every day is a miracle and I give when I feel like it, not when I have too. Of course, family  reunions are a special treat along with having friends. That is always a special moment. A moment of joy that we have to cherish, exchanging ideas, what we have been up to, how we feel, heated debate with friends and family, good food, good wines and maybe lots of laughters and sometimes tears. These are the times that I love most.

The other day we had some friends that came for lunch and we had a great talk about a book that Peter and and I are reading at the moment. We share the book together. I read a loud and we comment on it. The book is called “Dying to be me” by Anita Moorjani. A fascinating account of her Near Death Experience and complete healing from her cancer. Not mind over matter at all, but an experience, her experience on how she touched on another dimension of our being. Though at times it could be repetitive in some parts, the intrinsic message is to discover our potentiality as human beings. To find out what we really are. A complete let go of our ego, to discover this “other” part of ourselves which is deeply buried in our conditioning, our make up, what we inherited from our upbringing, how we are moulded, our prejudices, our value judgements. All of these hinder us from our “true self”. We are so vaguely aware of that other dimension, that the ego does not comprehend it. Beyond words, beyond knowledge, beyond everything that we can ever imagine. Away from methods, gurus, organised religions, or any other forms that could pertain to understand “it”. It can’t be comprehended with thoughts, because thoughts or ideas are only a pointer not ‘IT”. If I gave a menu you would have only a description of the food. You would not eat the menu to find out. You would imagine what it could be like, you could be tempted, but you will never know until you actually tasted what was brought in front of you. Hence the thought process is only a description of what might come and you will wait in excitement at the food put in front of you. Disaster! Surprise! Delight! All of these are a reflection of what you might have imagined.

For Anita Moorjani, her touching this ‘other” was very real. The only reality. The other that we live everyday routinely are only a description of what we want our lives to be like. Full of judgments, values, ups and downs, good, bad, right, wrong. And  of course, most of the time it does not work.  We are in a perpetual dilemma. For her the present is what matters. But I am not going to spoil it for you, go on read the book and discover by yourself this other side of human potential.

Of course you might think it is a lot of rubbish, that’s ok too. But something in you will stir and the inevitable question will come up to the surface: what is this? Is this real? Is this true? Can this really happen? It might provide you with questions that you might want answered about our existence and we way we live. Of course, only if you are interested in finding out. We are so caught up with our survival nowadays that we have very little time left to stop and reflect. Work, work, work. Gee! I am glad I was given this immense opportunity to have left work early and enjoy the space, the serenity, the beauty and above all time for exploring who and what we are. Whoever, whatever is there, I thank profusely for that.

It is really funny, in spite of all the material wealth that we have, we can’t find the time to reflect, we can’t find the time to stop. We are perpetually searching for the next thing that will finally maybe make us ‘Happy”. But it never comes. Because soon after we acquire it we’ll want the next thing. We have in the West a very easy existence, we need very little and yet our home is full of stuff, clutter, knick knacks, objects, comfort. Sometimes I look at all these things in my house and ponder as to their necessity. The drawers, the cupboards, the shelves, the space in between objects are full of “THINGS”. What for? One thing is sure I will not need any of it when my body decides to give up its earthly existence. Yet, we cling to them, the attachments to all this is alarming at times.

Would I have the the “courage”  to get rid of it all? Would I happily give it all away? They are all so part of my comfort zone. Would I do away with my mother’s bracelet? Would I get rid of my mother in law”s little hippos or her rings and necklaces?  Would I do away with any of it? AT this stage I can’t answer these questions as I am not sure at all. Obviously to be pondered upon.

Time is marching on and dinner has to be prepared. Go and pick up Peter at the gallery and finish up bits and pieces.

As I finished writing this Bluey has just given birth to her calf

Till next time.

Hail or Hell

Well, here we are again in summer almost tho. The nights are still chilly and the temperature has not yet gone through the roof. It may come….it is not too far away.

After the storm of hail that we had a couple of weeks ago, I thought we might be at the beginning  of the ice age. Violent winds swept through the bamboos and the trees, rain came pelting down with thunder and lightening. But the worst of all was the hail. Big ones. They were almost as big as tennis ball… The whole garden was covered in a blanket of white thick ice. We thought we could have been in the Alps somewhere. Down it came with an almighty force. It pelted down. The noise was deafening. We could not see a few metres in front of us. Having a tin roof….and no cat on it I can assure you, the force was deafening, not even a bird could be seen or heard. The dog screamed to be let in and the chickens took refuge inside their coop. Not a sound could be heard except the roar of the hail. The temperature also fell dramatically and some jumpers  resurfaced for the next few hours.

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In a very short time, the whole garden and property were under ice. We dared walk out after the 20 mns ordeal. It was slippery and the ice from the hail was at least 4 to 5cm thick. We were scared walking around. We had never see anything like this before. The ice under our feet was slippery and treacherous. As we made our way towards the vegetable garden, we were just staggered at the devastation around us. The corn which was ready to pick had been shredded to a pulp. The other veggies were gone and looked as if they had been descended upon by a swarm of locust. Nothing left. The little gherkins which staring to poke through with little yellow flowers broken, hammered, hacked and looked pitiful. And as we made our way around the same spectacle presented itself…devastation everywhere. Then, we noticed a carpet of green on the ground about 2 cm thick, we lifted our head and most trees were also totally defoliated. The force of nature and its brutality suddenly hit us. We were awestruck in front of such calamity. How we could feel for the victims of tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding!  The victims of bush fires and tsunami! We still had our life intact, the damage was only the plants. We were lucky really that nothing worse had happened.

The ice persisted on the ground for 48 hours in big piles around the house. I could go on enumerating the extend of the damage, but there is no point in all that.

Over the next few day, I noticed that some of the zucchini were starting to grow a few leaves, a few vegetables managed to struggle and put new shoots. But the damage had been too great for them to produce anything. So, patiently, I started to prepare a few trays of seedlings and bought a few others. Hopefully, we might gather a few vegetables a little late.

The drought is almost gone. The rain should be replenishing the water tanks for another year so that we would not have to recycle the water too much. The grass has managed to push through a few centimetres and the cows seem to appreciate the fresh shoots poking through. They still bellow at 4 o’clock for extra feed. They are never satisfied…

Today, while in the gallery doing some voluntary work I managed to sit on the bench soaking the warmth of the sun for a few minutes, we can start to feel the first days of summer approaching with lots of rain coming up our way hopefully.

Big spring cleaning is also under at the house. Carpets, jumpers, curtains are all getting a good shake and a wash. Winter clothes are being packed away till next year and summer clothing is already filling the cupboards. Mind you, I’ll have to throw a fair bit away also. Every year, I go through a good clean up of what has not been worn for a while and give it to charity. There are always the ones that I have been reluctant to dispose of. Sentimental value I suppose. But it seems that I go through the same thing every year. This time it is for real… so I say anyway.But the whole lot goes. I spoke to one of the artists at the gallery and she will be taking the odd pieces of silks and cotton that are no longer in use. I am sure Pauline will find a good idea to utilise them.

Well, back to my cleaning and till next time.                 

Life in Nimbin

Here I am at the Gallery…Nimbin Artists Gallery. Almost an icon of village life. Established almost 17 years ago by a lady whose passion was to get the Artists of Nimbin together and stay in the village promoting their works and contributing to the life here. Margaret McLaren was a woman of vision and she gave her life to the gallery. She has retired now due to ill health.

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What is so special about Nimbin? Many things makes this little village unique….a sister town with Woodstock in the US. The birth place of the Aquarius festival, the famous protest in the 70′s that save our forests from logging and the formation of National parks in our community. The establishment of MO….(Multiple Occupancy) Some communities are on large estate where everyone shares the benefits of the land, but have their own house and little plot. Usually no dogs or cats and decisions to be made by committees. Many people enjoy this lifestyle around here. But for me and Peter not our scene…too many conflicts and resolutions are few. But there are quite a few of these communities around here. Blue Springs, Mundani, Tuntables, Jarlanbah to name just a few.

Festivals, classical concerts, ragae, fashion shows, Blue Moon Cabaret, Mardi Grass, farmers’ markets, Poetry competition, Weaving for healing…there is not a month where Nimbin does not have a special event to offer.

A mixture of old farmers, retirees, academics, liberal professions, restaurateurs and… and of course Nimbin has a reputation for weeds….I mean Grass…I mean pot…I mean the famous or infamous….”I did not inhale”.

The village is well catered for with alternative therapies, doctors, a hospital, community radio, pharmacy, medical clinic, schools of many descriptions like the Steiner School, Tuntables and the local public school ( NImbin Central) that the Gallery sponsors.

The town is in a caldera surrounded forests and national parks. The energy of this village is its opposition to huge business, coal seam gas. Funky art on the streets, shops decorated by local Aboriginals, masons, wood workers, mixture, crafts stall springing up at anytime along the pavement. Oh! And if you fancied a little Indian treat, there is a stall that has just sprung out of nowhere selling you the food! Watch the health inspector there young man! The Japanese tourists or French or German that fancies a little pocket money and who are a young people visa, offer hand made necklaces and earrings for sale on the pavement. Old clothes also appear out of a suitcase sprawled on the pavement, books, plants, eggs, home grown vegetables, coffee, palm and Tarot cards reader sitting on a little stool, all done up, playing the part. Oh! I almost forgot, the “musicians” that appears from nowhere and entertain the passersby. We frequently hear a lone sax payer, a didgeridoo, and the famous drumming every Friday night. Many people get together to perform a night of only drumming in the village. Now, that is something to see! Lots of folks also dance on the pavement to the intoxicating rhythms of the many drums beat. A night out and getting together and rejoicing.

Unfortunately, the local Aboriginals with a a few other people prefer the bench and tables next to the Hemp Embassy to drink their litres of plonk. Shouting, swearing and then go back to sit gazing into the never-never. Harmless. We all know them. But from time to time a dispute arises and this whole side of the street becomes the focal point for a few minutes. Sometimes blows are exchanged, the police comes 30 mns later and everything is back to normal. Police just smile and are on their way. Just a little commotion from funny Nimbin. But if it is more serious then it is not funny anymore!


On the way to buy something:

Oh, I forget to get some milk…a quick run into the village will do. So, here I start the car and say to my husband I won’t be long…just getting some milk. Really? says he. Yes, won’t take long. Of course there is no such thing in Nimbin.
I park the car and ready to walk into the little supermarket. Hi, G says Russell, the local artist who has spent 15 years in France. Here we go exchanging the latest news on France and the current political atmosphere.
Ho! Hello Tim! So Tim tells me all about the new house he just moved in and what is happening in the Gallery. Tim is treasurer there. Another 20mn later, Steve says:” is this ok for Saturday’s catering” no sorry, the spot has been given to someone who can do coffee for the classical concert in October. 20minutes later AGAIN I am still saying by this time “good afternoon” to Vicky, David, John and so on.
What did I come to buy? Oh! yes, the milk. So, I walk in the supermarket and head for the milk. Hi! says Fabien…long time no see. What have you been up to? another 10 mns inside the supermarket chatting about the latest happenings. By that time I am getting quite frantic. It has been over an hour and am still no back.I am supposed to be on duty at the Gallery and have 20mns to eat and get going. I rush to the car and Liz says: “you are in a hurry today” Oh boy! Liz, “I am sorry can’t stay and chat… have to get back I am at the Gallery today” “Ok catch up soon” she says. “I’ll drop in later and say hello”, “sure I am there all afternoon”. Phew! the car is starting and I am off.

EMporium Little supermarket

Bringabong shop

Upon arriving back home, Peter smiles and says: “Just the milk I suppose”. “Sorry can’t explain have to eat and rush don’t have any more time to chat”!
So, my little quick trip ended up just over an hour. And it is like that almost every time we need to buy something in the village. Now, we ask each other: “who is going to the village to get something”? We decided to take it in turns or go together. No more reprimands on either side.

As you all can see life here is not without its tribulations and beauty. All surrounded by the magnificent Mountain range of Blue Knob, Lilian Rock, Nightcape ranges and the famous very famous Nimbin Rocks. Every tourist that comes here must have a photo of the rocks. But, of course “Nimbin” in Aboriginal Banjalung language tribes means Big Rock.
3 to 4 buses packed with tourists young and old arrive daily to visit this little village which has become an icon world wide I am pretty sure.

See link below for the picture of the Rocks.

Till next time!