Take a deep breath…it’s time to talk about managing that stress.

Great coverage of a topic which effects everyone

The Candid Psychologist

STRESS. That one word that kind of means a lot of things, and seems to track us down wherever we go to remind us how much we have to do or how difficult things can be. Stress pops up whenever we perceive the following to be true:

  1. The pressures that we are facing exceed the perceived resources we have to cope at this time.

Pressures include: work, family, financial etc.

Resources include: time, skills, emotional etc.

Therefore, if we have so many tasks at work and not enough time, we are likely to feel stressed. Similarly, if we relationship problems with our partners and don’t feel we have the emotional resources to cope with these issues, we are likely to feel stressed. If someone came and asked me to give a presentation on the theory of relativity, I would feel stressed because I don’t perceive that I have the skills…

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Waterfalls are wondrous things: the deep roar of them, the visual glory of water cascading over rocks and ledges and plummeting at great speed downwards and the hush of all else in their presence. They are life giving and tell a remarkable tale of the cycle of life. They incessantly worry and wear at the rocks they traverse, gently and ever so slowly moulding them as they rub away at their rough surfaces. Kind of like our Creator does with us! When these waterfalls are discovered after a long walk through a majestic rainforest, there is an added beauty to them. Such was some of the content of the day my husband and I had  together.

We travelled down the South Coast of Sydney to Minamurra Falls, the Abbey in Jamberoo, Robertson’s Pie Shop and other fabulous places. We experienced quiet meditative times such as in front of the Falls and in the Nun’s chapel at the Abbey and we also shared laughter, conversation and food. At the Abbey, I purchased many books which I can’t wait to devour. I hope that, as they usually do when I read spiritual texts, written by brilliant minds dedicated to helping us grow our spirituality, I receive moments of insight and encouragement as I continue on in my spiritual path. I thank God for the people who write these books and the time they have taken in their studies and personal journeying to help open the minds, hearts and spirits of us all. One book was ‘The  Illustrated Rumi’, another was ‘Awakenings’ by Thomas Keating, a Cistercian monk, another ‘Bridges to contemplative living with Thomas Merton’, another Cictercian monk and also two beautifully decorated journals. I am indeed lucky. There were so many blessed moments in this day and I am grateful for every one of them. Life can be wondrous, we just have to show up in the moment and be present.

The sounds in the silence

A slow wearing away of the hard centre

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A Mid Week Getaway

Going away for two days mid-week is a wonderful experience.
I had this opportunity and together with my husband we left Sydney for the
South Coast. We stayed at the Novotel Hotel in Wollongong (1 hour drive south from Sydney) with magnificent ocean views from our tenth storey window. I was determined to be excited by everything and to attempt to achieve a childlike sense of awe about all I saw. Nestled in the frame of our huge window and cradling a cold glass of wine I watched the sunset through ranges of colours, people walking along the yellow sand, birds soaring, palm trees shivering in the ocean breezes.

We decided to walk to dinner through the crisp winter night air. For extra warmth, I wore a scarf and down jacket so I was as warm as toast and loved the feeling of the icy air caressing my exposed face. It was glorious walking along the beach front under the glow of the bright moonlight and street lights. A group of  runners passed us on the way, laughing and enjoying the challenge with the cold night air keeping them from overheating and their breaths like ice clouds in  front of their faces. Our restaurant was on a lagoon right on the beach front.

When we arrived we ordered cold beers and sat in a lounge area. Then we moved
to our table where we ordered wine and seafood for our meal. We both ordered a
Bloody Mary(vodka, tomato juice and tobacco sauce) with an oyster for a
different choice of entrée. Neither of us had tried this before. It was
fabulous. After the Barramundi, I ordered  a white chocolate coffee, a dreamy concoction which felt like a liquid dessert as it contained real melted white chocolate. We strolled home in the embrace of the cold night air and with full bellies, Paul’s hand gently holding mine.

Next morning we walked along the ocean front to find a cafe for brekky. We passed people walking their dogs of all breeds and others cycling and others sitting cosily in cafes sipping their hot coffees and teas to ward off the winter chill. We chose a cafe at the harbour end where boats were moored. Later we walked home along the beach, collecting shells and rocks which looked like petrified wood.

When we returned to our hotel we packed up and headed off on our days adventure up to Minnamurra Falls, through a rainforest walk which took a few hours and contained a myriad of wonderful gifts. We saw twisted roots, hundreds of varieties of green and symbiotic life forms. We heard the sounds of silence, at times punctuated by forest and human sounds, the bird life, the babbling brooks and meandering creeks and roaring falls. We traversed suspension bridges and metal and timber pathways. We stood at the feet of  the gigantic trees with their tall canopies and beside boulders thought to be millions of years old. We saw the dead carcasses of trees now housing different life forms, the streams of sunlight, the ever cooling air, the awesome beauty of it all. How blessed to be able to enjoy this all. Being in the moment provided such awesome wonders and nothing of the past or future intruded. The now was more than enough.

Thanks for visiting. I welcome all your comments. Live well.

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Malala Yuosafzai

This post is about Malala Yuosafzai, the 14 year old Palestinian Muslim girl, who was shot in the head for her activism. At 13 she won the Youth Peace Prize. At 14 she lay in a coma in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England.

What courage this beautiful, young,  brown-eyed girl must have, to make such a stand against the fundamentalist Taliban. She was fighting for the right of women to receive an education. On the one hand, this is no surprise, as her father Ziauddin, runs the school she attends and is also an activist…so bravery runs deep in this Muslim family as they take the enormous risk to fight for women’s rights….rights suppressed and withdrawn by the Taliban regime.

By comparison, how cowardly are the Taliban to open fire on a bus load of innocent school children . What shame they bring to to their already unworthy cause. Fundamentalism is a poisonous practice in any faith. Faith means a belief in a God or Gods. It is a belief in what cannot be seen. How does this translate to rules, punishment, atrocities, suppression of rights, murder of innocent children.

“The bullet, which grazed her brain and came within centimetres of killing her, travelled through her head and neck before lodging in her left shoulder.

It will take weeks to months for Malala to defeat an infection in the bullet track and recover her strength enough to face surgery.

Her skull will need reconstructing either by reinserting bone or using a titanium plate….

The Taliban have threatened to again attack the teen, this time killing her, for criticising them and promoting what they claim are Western views.”SBS World News Australia……

Pakistani shooting victim Malala Yousufzai is pictured here with her parents and brothers at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. (EPA)

Photo is from SBS World News

This story just broke my heart and I know it harmed the Muslim cause, which is a shame because your every day Muslim, many of whom I have been lucky enough to be in contact with in Australia, via a program I once ran, were just like you and I and would abhor this and find it shameful. So, while we abhor and speak against this action, please let us not begin to blame and shame all Muslims. The Muslim people of faith who love like us and connect like us and believe in their God, should not be judged by the actions of a hate-filled few. That is always the problem with evil…evil begets more ‘evil’ and so this action should not be allowed to begin a hatred or judgement or rejection of Muslims, who simply want to believe in their God and practice their faith and not interfere with others who want to do the same. Having said that, the people who did this, should be punished for their terrible crime. These people should be prevented from another attempt on her life as they have threatened. It is up to the leaders of her country to enforce her protection and that of her family. God bless you Malala.

Let us all hope and pray that this little girl does recuperate and one day does become the Leader of her country….as is her dream.

Below is some of an article from The Guardian, which demonstrates the power of this young woman’s courage, she may have begun a movement for the global education of women:

“Malala Yousafzai’s courage can start new movement for global education

Solidarity with Taliban victim Malala Yousafzai could show leaders they must deliver on pledge of education for girls

Pakistani human-rights activists light c

The Taliban attack on Malala Yousafzai has highlighted the issue of education for girls around the world. Photograph: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

Less than two weeks after being left for dead by the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai is standing up on her own two feet.

Her remarkable progress, reported by doctors at the specialist unit of a brilliant hospital that I know well – Queen Elizabeth, in Selly Oak, Birmingham – reveals yet another dimension of the courage and resilience of the world’s most famous 14-year-old girl.

Today, signatures on the Malala petition – led by the UN education envoy site, Avaaz, Women of the World and others, and reached on iammalala.org – are approaching 1m. The petition calls for action to ensure every girl has a place at school in Pakistan and around the world. It is directed to Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, and to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon.

I will present the petition to the president during a trip to Pakistan on 10 November, a month after Malala’s shooting. This day has been designated as a global day of action for Malala – and I’m calling on you to make your voice heard in support of this amazing young woman and in support of the cause that she championed.

Malala’s story, portrayed in a film on educationenvoy.org, is being told around the world. Footage of her in tears explaining that she wants to be a doctor but is unable to go to school has understandably captured the imagination of girls everywhere.

Not just the British people, who are offering the best specialist medical care, but the whole world is wishing Malala well. Determined to ensure that their message is heard at the highest levels of the Pakistani government, the campaign is being supported by friends of Malala, who are wearing “I am Malala” T-shirts across Asia and in the west. For more information go to Gordon Brown’s website.

Gordon Brown is UN special envoy for global education. On 10 November, he will present the petition to Pakistan’s President Zardari. You can add your signature at educationenvoy.org

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A Little Bit of Inner City Sydney Life

Coffee design care of Chocolateria

We went into the city for dinner recently. Glebe is a very popular inner city suburb with too many little restaurants and cafes to count. It is a hub for the intellectual, as Sydney University is on it’s doorstep, a hub for vintage lovers, foodies, alternative lifestylers, inner city lovers, lovers, friends and book lovers, with quite a few bookshops containing both new and second hand books. One of our major hospitals is also close by, so many doctors and nurses live there. I love the area and some of the old terrace homes are magnificent. It is one area which has preserved it’s older ‘vintage’ terrace homes.

My hubby and I and another couple visited Almustafas, a wonderful Lebanese Restaurant, which is very popular and hard to get into. It has a dining room and a cushion room. The ceilings are covered with a canopy of material draped in a tent like fashion. We ordered vine leaves, stuffed capsicums, lamb shawarma and lamb mansaf,   potatoes coriander and of course the famous sweets. The two hubbies decided to try the shisha water pipe, tobacco sucked through water and flavoured with apple….very amusing.

At  the table across from us was a group of young women, celebrating a hen’s night. I was impressed by their behaviour and we noticed there was no alcohol on their table…highly unusual in Australia at a hen’s night. I suspect they were mostly young Muslim women and it is their practice to refrain from drinking alcohol. I wish some young people I know had maintained the no alcohol rule!!! My hubby took some photos for them so they could all be photographed together.

There is a wonderful chocolateria up the road from Almustafas, where we had creamy hot chocolates and coffees, offered to us with soft creamy chocolate cubes on the accompanying spoon. These were little European Chocolate Truffles and I very quickly purchased a box which I am eating as I write. They are just little soft surges of rich smooth chocolate. MMMMM, oops I think I might have eaten the whole box so I can’t offer you one. 🙂

It was a wonderful night of laughs and joy and great food and it made me realize how lucky we are that we can experience different cultures and their foods. I could almost imagine we were in a tent in Arabia. Belly dancers come some nights and the last time we visited Almustafas, my hubby was one of those who got up and ‘attempted’ to have a go….very amusing for all of us. As he never takes himself too seriously, he is immune to fears of people laughing at him, so is always ready to have a go. It’s one of the things I love about him. He is this highly intelligent, successsful man who has this wonderful emotional centre of gravity, not dependent on other’s opinions.

As a couple and with our friends, we are always eating the blessings of other cultures. We adore Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian. Italian, French and Greek are also wonderful. Japanese sushi is a healthy and tasty  lunchtime feed. It goes without saying that Australian seafood and barbeques are unbeatable and our cafes are some of the best in the world, in offering wonderful food and coffees. Our home grown chefs and their restaurants are also world class.

Food is so wonderful. It is a gift especially if savoured and appreciated. We are lucky to have the variety of choices, to be able to have more than enough food and to be able to share with friends. I give thanks for these gifts. As a mindfulness practice, it is good to really concentrate as you eat, to savour and appreciate the food. It’s easy to eat a meal and realize you have failed to really taste your food. Oh guess what….I just found another chocolate truffle….ok I lied because I didn’t want to have to share 🙂 Shame on me.

The Chocolateria-

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People I met these past weeks.

I have shared before that I love connecting with people and it’s one of the reasons I blog. I have missed my blogging community these last two weeks due to being called into work full-time, as illness and holidays struck. As a result, I wanted to write this post about the constant stream of relationship which goes on in our worlds, not just within our blogging community, and how through love, acceptance and being present, we can make the world a better place. This week I had a great many conversations with people, some new to me, some not, so the following is some insight into this stream of connection, the revealed ups and downs of relationship:

~A young Greek mother of 2 young children and her older mum. Both had flown up to north Australia for the daughter to perform in a Greek dancing festival, replacing a much younger girl who couldn’t make it. Her mother said “She was like a queen”. She was so proud and clearly this mother daughter bond was alive and well. No wonder this young woman has a real sense of presence and strong sense of self about her, with a mother who thinks so well of her and tells her. During the same conversation, the older mother and I traded our fear of flying stories and high fived each other in encouragement. She shared how she had struggled on the short flight with a deep anxiety. I congratulated her on her achievement, facing fear and making the trip.

~A woman who seems to live in a disappointing relationship, bored by her husband and his older ways. But I wondered about her ‘boredom’ and lack of real connection with people, replaced by absorbtion in her work, a rather poor substitute for real people and real connection. I wondered at what emotion her boredom really covered.

~A young woman embarking on the possibility of a new relationship. Her muted excitement, her sudden joyful hope. I notice her self-care ramping up as she begins again to wear make-up. I notice her brighter smile.

~A nun who is a dear friend of mine and who has been really ill and failed to ask for help or even notify people. She had collapsed at home and lay unable to seek help for 4 hours, before she could drag herself to the phone.This same woman has visited the dying for years, without renumeration, just as an act of love. She has impacted on many lives. I used to work as a volunteer with her so I know the hours she put in and the difference she made. And yet, when she needed help, she wouldn’t ask for it???

~A woman with major back pain, who had to get a cortisone injection to overcome the enormous pain. The day she had the injection, she went home to rest, only to find that next door they were cutting down three trees and so electric saws would be going all day. Really, what are the odds??? 😦  So, though unable to sleep and recuperate, she still struggled into work.

An old woman and her daughter who were shopping together. I could sense a respectful tension about the daughter (probably aged in her fifties) as though she never quite felt good enough around her mother and she certainly evidenced a real lack of self-confidence in my conversation with her. There was a  weariness about her and a resigned tone in the way she spoke with her old mother. It seemed as though there was an underlying competition between them and the daughter had long ago resigned herself to not being good enough to match her mother. And yet, I also sensed a love and respect between them and it reminded me of both the frailty and tenacity present in all our relationships. All relationships which survive, seem to do so because both love and acceptance of the other’s failings or brokenness, has been in place. Relationships which survive allow space for each other’s less fine attributes and still see the full wonder present in the other. I am not talking of abusive relationships here.

~A woman and her husband who are building a new home for their 6 children and are struggling to cope with moving while the old one is pulled down and the new one re-built. The mother is simultaneously grieving her father’s death.

~A man who is dating a woman 10 years older, at the same time claiming he still hopes to marry someone young enough to have kids….he’s 40 and never been married. He still lives at home??The woman is accepting the situation, in hope that he changes, but in full awareness of his agenda. I wonder at why this bright attractive woman is prepared to accept second best?

~A mother whose daughter is getting married in two months

~A young mother who is breast-feeding and struggling with fatigue but loving motherhood.

~A woman who speaks four language but not the language of gentleness and patience as I witnessed her jab someone in the back with her key because the woman was in her way.

~A young man who has hopes about his future and yet struggles with the study.

~A young girl embarking on an overseas trip with her boyfriend, the prediction is that he will probably propose while overseas.

~A woman who is dying due to cancer.

~A man who fears he is losing his memory as he ages.

~A woman who had just attended a funeral.

~A woman who was hurrying to make it to tuckshop (school canteen) where she was doing her duty for the fifth child.

~A couple who have travelled extensively, talking about and sharing their travels. The woman was Italian by birth. Her husband Australian and he loved going home to the country of her birth.

~A lady who was planning a trip to Tasmania and asked me advice based on our recent travels to Tasmania. I was able to share some accommodation information for which she was very grateful.

~A father planning to take his family around Tasmania who had borrowed our trip plans to replicate and use as a guide. He phoned to ask about one section of the trip.

~A mother who left her husband for another man and suffered serious guilt and anxiety over her decision and its effects on her family.

~A young woman who is concerned about her mother who is too easily slipping into relationships with men.

~A narcissist who, no matter the conversation, always took the other person’s discussions into her own world….eg ‘ I’ve just come from a grandmother’s funeral’…..narcissist’s response…’oh, I remember when my mum died’…..eg ‘my mother fell down the steps and broke her foot’ narcissist response ‘oh yes I know how it is when my son broke his leg while riding his bike I was told it was the worst break the surgeon had seen and we spent months ……’  you get the drift. Never is she able to stay present to the other person’s world and I see the look on the face of the person she completely misses.

~A group of woman laughing hysterically about shared embarrassing moments. When one of the women had returned to pick her child up from pre-school after a dress up day where he went as a policeman, the teachers had been mightily amused because when they asked her son where he got his uniform from, he had replied that the policeman hat had been borrowed from his friend, the gun was a toy gift from his friend and the hand cuffs were from his mother’s bedroom. They were in hysterical tears over it but she valiantly tried to explain, that in her bedroom she kept a box of toys, including the plastic handcuffs,  for her young kids, to keep them amused, while she cleaned her room and got dressed. She’s pretty sure those teachers are still laughing.

So, in conclusion, we are all humans trying to make sense of  life’s ups and downs, births, deaths, marriages, new beginnings, closures, endings, changes, wounding, healings…all of it is part of the colour of  life. It seems that, even the sad and painful aspects of life, can be made good if we choose to learn lessons and find new directions and new healthy choices to make. Pain can often provide a glimpse into our own inner world.  Being grateful and accepting of every minute we live, may just be the most peaceful way to live because if we are not arcing against what life offers, we will be both open to learning and be more accepting of each other.

I wish you all the best this week and I promise to try to catch up on those posts of yours I’ve missed. Thank you for reading. Below are some photos from our trip to China, where some 1,351,657,890 people live, also living with struggles and joys and life with all it’s colour.

Chinese woman working in a silk factory

Chinese Buddhists worshipping at their temple in Shanghai

Another view of the Chinese Buddhists during worship. I wondered about what each one was all praying for, what dramas were present in their life or what they were giving thanks for.

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The Power Of Friendship

This following story was read to me by my son. He was sent it through Facebook. We couldn’t find the source until I searched outside of Facebook. From what I could find out, it apparently originated in a story told by J.W. Schlatter, published in the bestseller ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’. I remember reading some of these books years ago and having a good cry at the beauty contained in some of their true stories. I recommend you try to get a hold of them. In this story, the original boys were Mark and Bill and apparently the talk was held in private and not revealed in a valedictorian speech.

I share it because it ties together a few of my recent posts….the ones about suicide and the single one about friendship…….Here the power of friendship is truly revealed and the power of one human being to make an enormous difference in the life of another.

The Story of Kyle

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.”

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up, and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes.

My heart went out to him. So I jogged over to him, and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!” There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.

I helped him pick up his books and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before, but we talked all the way home, and I carried his books.

He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes.

We hung out all weekend, and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him. And my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.

On graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than me and all the girls loved him! Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech, so I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach — but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.” I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. “Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.”

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture, you can change a person’s life.

I need say no more….go well, live well and try to be aware of how powerful you are in affecting those around you in every moment. Regards Leanne

A Watershed Moment

The sounds in the silence

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A Sunday Morning-Out of the Mouth of a Fisherman

Today we went for a walk out at Kurnell, an ocean and bay suburb of Sydney and where Captain Cook landed, discovering Australia. It is a gorgeous place but quite confused, almost psychotic. It has million dollar homes next to ramshackle, old, original beach homes. It has views of the city next to views of the busy port and Caltex Refinery next to ocean views. It has beautiful parks leading up to the salt water desalination plant. Planes almost land on your head, so close it is to the airport. It has a lovely new coffee shop and the old village corner shop (which sold very poor coffee and a twice cold frittata….still cold after the second re-heating….goodness me). It has rolling surf and Botany Bay. It can’t seem to make up its mind….perhaps not surprising given its history. We ended up at Point Solander, where whale watching occurs, though it’s not the season now, it was still a beautiful view from high above the ocean. The walk  follows pathways, grassed areas, rock platforms with threatening ocean waves, metal stairs, carved sandstone stairs,  bush tracks and roads…..so again,  a psychotic type walk with many personalities.

There was a great deal of beauty in the walk as the day was perfect and spring’s flowers were everywhere. There was also that moment where the universe speaks. As we passed an old fisherman, my hubby asked how he’d gone. His reply, “Only caught enough for dinner but the more important point is I had a great  time just being there and fishing”. So he summed up how joy occurs…by just being in the moment, doing what you love, having no expectation of outcome and being grateful for the experience. God bless that fisherman and his wisdom. If humanity can stop measuring success by outcome and results and find its joy in the moment, all of life will improve. As Doris Lessing said in a slightly different way:

“All of sanity depends on this: that it should be a delight to feel heat strike the skin, a delight to stand upright, knowing the bones are moving easily under the flesh.” This is a note about the simple joy of simple connection to all of life, of being in the moment.

Being in the moment meant enjoying the change each moment offered and suspending judgement. As planes flew overhead and suspended conversation, it asked of you to enjoy the scenery rather than the momentary noise. As we walked along the magnificent ancient rock platforms, we needed to remember the original land owners who lived in this beautiful place, until white man landed. As the waves crashed over the path we were taking, we had to suspend our walk until the ocean momentarily retreated, leaving us time to scurry to the next point of safety. I was challenged to suspend judgement of the putrid coffee and cold food and embrace how lucky I was to be with my husband and sister and to have any food to eat, when so many go without. I felt such awe and aliveness and connection with all of it, all the changes, all the good, bad and ugly bits because isn’t this the sum total of life?

I return to the fisherman, who did not judge the success of his day by his catch but rather by the enjoyment of the act of fishing by the ocean, the joy of being alive.

Below I have captured some beautiful moments, not of Kurnell because I didn’t carry my camera that day but of other places in Sydney. Hope you enjoy the pictures and I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting. Live well. Leanne

The Woronora River in southern Sydney

The simple beauty of a bridge, connecting us across a river….something we can take for granted

The thumbs up, a symbol of ‘it’s all good’ or ‘you beauty’

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Rumi, the Poet.

In the book called “The Illustrated Rumi” the introduction has the following to say:

” Within the Sufi Tradition the human being is considered the representative of God on earth. If we took this truth to heart and if for perhaps for one day we would live as though everyone we love and relate to in our ordinary lives were the embodiment of the Divine, then we would be completely transformed. What if you woke up next to your husband or wife and saw in them the radiance of the divine? What if you saw God’s work in your children? What would happen to you then?A sense of awe and deep respect would settle in your heart, and also a sense of gratefulness for the bounty and beauty existence offers us every instant of our lives. And when the heart is filled with this kind of gratefulness, our being hums as though in prayer-not an outward act of saying a prayer, but rather a silent vibration, an adventure into the discovery that life is a gift, a mystery to be lived rather than a puzzle to be solved.”

And I finish with part of one of Rumi’s poems. I chose these particular words because of the recent post on suicide and death:

“Our sadness spreads the days too short, for time

walks hand in hand with painful thoughts and fears.

But let these loathsome days go by, who cares?

Stay in the moment, that holy moment

your only moment, until the next-holier still”

Thank you for visiting and taking the time to read. Your comments are valued and valuable.

Below, I have placed photos of beautiful moments, which existed and would have existed even if I was not present…so let’s be present and not miss the beauty by being ensnared by negative thoughts. God bless.

A moment of candle and flower beauty

The beauty of giraffes and their graceful movements

The timeless beauty of Trevi Fountain and its sculpture

A beautiful mound spring in the desert

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The He/She Experience: Massage with Extras

This week my dear friend and I visited a day spa. For each of us, it was the first time ever  to a day spa. We have had massages but never indulged in the ‘total’ experience. Our first ‘shared’ massage was her Christmas present from me at an inner city Thai massage parlour, which had advertised reduced cost vouchers. The plan was to take her for the massage and then to lunch afterwards.

On the way in to our first shared massage, by which I mean,  we both have a massage at the same time, in different rooms, my friend informed me that she would prefer a female masseuse. No worries, thought I. When we arrived I put this to the receptionist. He informed me that he could only provide one woman  and a “he-she”. Did I mention this was a Thai massage parlour?  I paused, thinking, did he just say ‘he-she’ or did I misunderstand the Thai accent? So, slowly I replied “right…….so my friend can have the woman and I’ll have the….” here I pause and right on cue the Thai receptionist completes my sentence “he-she”. “Righty-oh” says I. My friend just looks on non-plussed.

In we go for our massage, me following my ‘girl-boy’ and my friend following her ‘all girl.’

My massage was relaxing and beautiful and therapeutic. I would never have known my rather beautiful, feminine looking masseuse was a boy, had they not disclosed this. It was quite disconcerting that he could look so feminine but impressive that there was no pretence about what he was, no dissimilitude.

After it was over and my friend and I were sitting together over a cup of coffee she asked how mine had worked. I thought this a strange question….worked??? I said it probably worked much the same as hers. I found it very relaxing and it had been a very good massage. “Yes” she said ” but how did it work, did the girl come in first and then the boy take over later?” I howled with laughter. She looked more confused. “I got two for the price of one…..it was a boy dressed as a girl. I guess we would call him a transvestite.” She had had no idea.

So we laughed and laughed some more at her confusion and naivete and then I repeated the story in our Pilates class which caused further laughter. I got so much added value out of that massage I cannot begin to tell you….well I am really…telling you all, that is.

So that was our initiation into the world of friends sharing a massage. This was our second time and my friend did the booking this time. It was at a gorgeous day spa, not far from home. We were led into a room to change into our cossies (Australian for swimming costumes) and then into a sauna followed by a spa and then into one room with two tables and a masseuse each. Beautiful music played….that quiet, simple, meditative music…interspersed with sounds of the ocean. Music which holds pure, simple, notes and allows their echoes to be heard…such as chimes echoing gently in the wind, speaking back to each puff of wind.

We both had the most wonderfully, relaxing Swedish massage. We both said we felt like we were floating when they finished. The two girls left the room and left us to take our time to get up. My friend then said quietly “I think maybe I got the price wrong…it all seems too cheap at $150 for both of us. If I’ve made a mistake, I’ll pay the difference”.  A quiet smile played on my lips as I recalled the last post-massage discussion over the he-she masseuse. I assured her that it had all been so wonderful that if she had the cost wrong we would just split the cost as agreed and celebrate the fine time we had. So it was settled. We both emerged and headed for the receptionist and found we only had to pay the $75 each, as she had expected. Amazing value. We then floated off to lunch and enjoyed capping off the day with a healthy smoothie and great food.

God bless my friend for organizing the day and for being such a great sport and a great friend. God bless anyone who is a masseuse as they do wonderful work, relaxing the stressed of this world and they also work at providing beautiful environments which summon us to stay in the moment. During the massage there were a few times I noticed myself leaving the room…I began to think about Christmas approaching and what a wonderful gift this would be…perhaps for one my children and then I started to think about what I’d buy for whom. Then I felt the masseuse working on my tired and stressed back and I came back home to the moment, leaving Christmas planning for another time. But, it does go to demonstrate, how, even in the midst of a wonderful, feel good experience, we can zone out and leave the moment.

Thank you all for reading. I would love to hear from you, especially on the benefits of your past massages.

Relaxing massage-ahhh the memories

Too late for a massage, she didn’t make it in time!!!!

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