Listening-Part 3

This is another post on Listening. In a world full of noise and distraction, I believe we are losing the art of Listening to each other. I watch my children text while talking to me and each other. I watch people having coffee with each other, mobile phone on the cafe table ready and waiting….which says to the other person, you come second if this phone rings. If we all felt really heard, how transformed would we be, how loved would we feel?

I have a friend who is totally unable to ignore her phone. It is almost obsessional. I can be talking to her on the phone and beeps will occur, telling her someone else is trying to get through and she will ask me to hold on, while she takes the other call. I finally asked if she would mind if when speaking with me, she did not ask me to wait while she took up another call. My view is, we can only field one call at a time, so the other person can and will ring back if it important enough. If she does it again, I will simply choose to hang up and not be there when she returns to continue our conversation. The other night when I went out with her, she actually even told me that I had a message on my phone and asked if I wanted to get it.  I had not even heard the message beep. “No” I replied, “I will get it later when I am at home and after my time with you is over. You are more important to me right now”

This may sound confronting because it is, because I am daring to say, this moment, right now, with you and I, needs to be prioritized. I choose you.

Another Poem on Listening:

When I am with you

Pay me the courtesy

of your undivided attention

If I sense you moving away from me

You will not hear of my struggles

As I’ll already know you have no space for them

I am bleeding

I need healing

Where can I go?

If I talk it out

Will I lose you?

Will it be too much?

Will I bore you?

Will you wish you were elsewhere?

I watch your attention

Its focused on a two by four space

Not me

Someone else

I curl up inside

Pull the covers over

I am gone from you

And you don’t even know it

But then

You can’t even know yourself

You are not at home.

The silence of sunset

 

The silence of the freshly blooming flower.

The overwhelming silence and beauty of the desert

Thank you all for reading and know that I love and appreciate your comments. Regards Leanne

 

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Friendships, the Jewels in Life

Visiting a friend is always a treat and today was no different. I was visiting this friend because she has had a hip replacement at quite a young age (my version of quite a young age). This has occurred because she had childhood arthritis. I have known her for more than 30 years. She actually started out as my boss, the head of a Department I was working in. She was impressive back then and is only more so now. As my boss, she gave me the freedom needed to develop a speciality treatment unit, which went on to become internationally recognized in terms of its treatments and research. Without her non-controlling way of being, combined with her trust in her employees’ skills, our Department would never have achieved what it did.

Over the years things haven’t always gone her way and yet she has never whinged or complained. She always kept a smile on her face. She took each stage of life by the horns with grace and acceptance. She was always invested in personal growth and consequently, has a uniquely beautiful way of being in this world. I am lucky to have her in my life. As I saw her walk toward me from the patients’ lounge at the rehab centre, using only one cane and only one week after surgery, I was again staggered by her resilience and strength. Go my friend!!!!  🙂

As a nice aside, I actually introduced her to her current partner, a lovely man, I now call Ol Blue Eyes. How I did this still makes me cringe a little but if you don’t take chances, you can never have great outcomes….but you can be left with mud on your face!!!! Lucky for me, the man in question is a real gentleman and took my approach with grace and without shaming me. I call it a work of divine intervention because why he didn’t hang up on me, a woman he barely knew, I still don’t know.  He could probably hear my teeth chattering over the telephone line.

Yesterday, I went out without another friend. Had a lovely lunch and shopping experience. The day commenced in a vintage-looking coffee shop but with curdled milk in our coffee….MMMM. A young man was running this newly established business and tried again with 2 more cups but with the same outcome. I apologized, feeling very bad for him and his efforts. He offered our money back but we declined the offer as we slinked away with our tails between our legs, feeling like heels. But my friend and I, never down for the count, soldiered on with shopping and finished off with a gorgeous coffee and lunch. This friend is also a wonderful person. When I met my new husband and moved into the new area, it was she who took me under her wing and we’ve been wonderful friends ever since. We have shared struggles, joys, marriages, children moving out, a grandchild (hers lucky thing), our faith and meditation practices….too many coffees to count and wonderful supportive chats. We even went overseas together, with our husbands included (of course)and had the best time. I’ll never forget, falling apart on Monaco railway station. I have mentioned in past posts about my panic attacks which tend to flare up when I travel. I was sitting on the ground, exhausted and overwhelmed from battling a bad day of panic and she just sat down with me, looked me in the eyes and asked how she could help. No judgement, just love. I was immediatley calmed. I felt safe.

This same friend is a teacher and her work ethic is gob-smacking(an Australianism). I wish she had taught my children. If the parents of her students knew the efforts she puts in and the extra hours, they would be amazed. She is a softly spoken, reserved person, a great balance to my extroverted way of being and has taught me much in the way of being graceful under fire.

Another pair of friends are sisters who sustained me through a very sad period of time. As a single mother, they took me under their wings and had myself and the boys over for many a dinner and even took us on a holiday with them.  They too have been constants in my life for 20 years. They too have been woman of faith and love who have influenced me and made me a better woman.

Anyway, I raise a glass to woman and their friends. If only men knew how many marriages are sustained by friends who listen and heal your hurts, who give you the courage to keep going, who love your families like you do. Here’s to friendships.

A Toast to Women Friends

Our shopping day also included a beach walk

More of our beach walk

Our lovely looking coffee but with curdled milk

The vintage sugar bowl, so gorgeous

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Listening-Part 2

The preceding posts have talked about suicide and the importance of listening. In our every day lives we can develop the art of listening. We can listen to our own hearts, souls and minds. We can listen to the others’ hearts, souls and minds. We can listen  for God’s guidance in our lives. We can listen for the lessons we have to learn.

Every so often, I leave a conversation and think to myself, “I talked too much and didn’t listen enough”….I know it’s probably a surprise to you all but I love a good natter!!!!! :). So, I’m not saying we get it right all the time but I think monitoring of self is probably a good thing

Here is a second poem on Listening:

LISTENING TO THE SPACES. By Noel Davis

Spaces have their own lives.

Let them speak.

Listen to them with your eyes

in the quiet of your mind.

Give them the time they need

to tell their stories

for they are the nurseries and pits of life

the fields of strength ready for harvesting

the cultivators of our bigger minds.

We crowd them out to stifle our fears

to douse the pain refining our humanity.

Wonder in the beauty of their being

like the unseen air we breathe

the wind now still.

They hold the silence vibrant with life

the source of all being.

Listen then to their stories

and they will take you

deep into the naked heart of your reality

and there, gift you with new sight.

Be still and Listen

Be still and Listen with your eyes and ears

In the hush of snow is the quiet of our hearts

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Listening-Part 1….One Suicide Remedy

I have recently talked about suicide. One of the things I believe is important in life and in the prevention of suicide is listening. To really listen requires one to suspend one’s own agenda; to be fully present; to not be thinking of your reply rather than listening; to be fully and vulnerably open; to be mindful and to be deeply silent.

I think this poem sums it up:

LISTENING By Carolyn Hooper

Please listen to me

Hear what I am saying

Not just the words that come from my mouth

For I can talk and not really say what I mean

Words can be a cover-up, a mask

So listen carefully

I’m crying for help

My heart speaks, pay attention

It takes courage to share with you

And let you see me as I am

It takes time to drop the facade

So stay quiet and listen

Listen with more than your ears

Listen until I’ve said what I ache to say

If you rush me with good advice

And tell me not to worry

I’ll clam up-I’ll think you don’t really understand

I’ll sink deep into myself and hide

So please- accept my problem and take a share

Don’t push it aside as if it doesn’t matter

Be here with me and then I’ll know you’ve truly listened

And heard and understood then-I’ll be comforted”

In the Silence you can really listen and hear the waterfall

In the forest you can hear the silence if you listen

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Death Visits

I went away last week to paint and re-vamp an old holiday cottage. As I arrived up at the Bay I received a phone call to inform me that a young woman who comes into where I work had suicided. I didn’t actually know her but it took me to a very sad place.  She was only 18 (the age of one of my daughters). How does this happen? How does a young person find themself without any reason to live? Teen suicide is rising and we must ask why? She may have suffered with depression but even this is not the full answer, as most people who have depression do not suicide.

Further to this sad news, our neighbour at the old holiday cottage came out to say hello…… and sadly, goodbye, because she has been diagnosed with cancer. She is riddled with it and because they have given her 4 months to live she said she may not be alive the next time we returned. She stood and told me how she wants to fight for every extra day she can get. She has begged for chemo when doctors were closing the door on her. The tragedy here is that the health system failed her. She kept begging the doctor to investigate her pain levels but they kept ignoring her. Why? I think she probably suffers from addictions and the doctor clearly read her pain and need for pain medication, as an increased drive in her addictive needs but tragically, it was because she was genuinely in agony from a cancer riddled body and now, with three young adult children and at only 47, she is facing death. She wants desperately to live. Her children are everything to her…she can’t bear to face the fact that she won’t be around for their 21st, weddings, grandchildren. She has been a vigorous smoker and the cancer is esophageal, a cancer caused by smoking, she tells me in a monotone voice. How does she deal with this knowledge? I watch her gaunt, ravaged form and feel a complete helplessness as I can do nothing to change this for her.

Then,  as always happens, we hear of a third tragedy, that a distant cousin died suddenly from cancer caused by her smoking. And I think of my son who at 21 is fighting to give up smoking. Why haven’t we banned smoking? Why with all the information do young people still commence smoking? Will my son beat his addiction to smoking before it beats him?

Suicide seems to be seated in mental health conditions, such as depression. But many people suffer from depression and do not suicide. People have even worse mental health conditions and do not choose to suicide. What makes the difference? Why do people with the worse set of life’s circumstances, suffering beyond belief, choose to embrace life?  What goes on in someone’s heart and soul and mind that tell them that things are so totally hopeless that nothing but death at one’s own hand will relieve the suffering….to annihilate self seems the only resolution. Are we selling our children false kingdoms, which actually have little allure and when they can’t attain them, they can find no reason to live. By this I mean, as a society are we telling our kids they need to be successful, look a certain way, dress a certain way, be a certain size etc or they have no value. Why do they not know how extraordinarily precious they are?

There are indicators of suicide…planning, signs of depression, talking about suicide, but they can be missed? And then there are the people around this young girl and other young people who suicide…their families, friends, neighbours, those left behind, lonely and questioning. What a terribly sad inheritance for them….to live wondering about a choice which was out of their hands. They probably did all they could and more but maybe they couldn’t overcome the external messages their child vicariously received and the depression coming from the thoughts around self value.

At the end of the day, we are born and we die, some die early, some are blessed with longevity.  I just feel we have to continue to ask why and delve into how we can prevent this happening. Was it that we told her she had to be a  certain way, different to how she was? Was she rejected in some way and couldn’t recover because her self-esteem was so damaged? Depression is fed by negative, destructive thinking, such as “I’m no good” “No-one will love me” “I’ll never find work”We need to let them know they are God’s gifts to the world. We are here because God wanted it, wanted us on this planet and we need to see ourselves as God’s sons and daughters and by no other measure should we be judged.

We cannot turn our backs on these victims and not ask these vital questions. How might we have kept this young girl alive? We all know depression is a real illness, as is anxiety, bi-polar, personality disorder, addictions and more. These illnesses are real and very debilitating. They also carry a shame about them as society judges mental illness harshly, compared to diabetes or cancer or heart disorders. Why do we do this? Why do we favour one illness over another, feel sad for and supportive of the person with bodily pain but not so the person in psychic pain. People with mental illness don’t need the added burden of judgement and being made to feel like they are to blame. It’s time society accepts that mental illness is real, that it is no-one’s fault, that sufferers don’t bring it on themselves, that there are so often genetic predispositions to these illnesses, that they can start with abuse or stress or other illness or trauma, also not the victim’s fault. One in five suffer from mental illness of some sort and with varying severity and impact, so odds are we all know someone with a level of mental illness. I only have to look in the mirror to see one, as I have suffered with panic attacks for years following a very serious car accident which had followed a period of physical health problems. I have mostly recovered. There is always hope.

I know this blog is all over the place and that’s kind of deliberate because I’m all over the place with grief and frustration.  We do need to be open to discussing their problems and loving and accepting them so they don’t feel the only choice is to suicide. The parents and family need to be loved and supported as they probably tried everything to overcome the sadness in their child’s life.

I carry these people in  my heart and prayers and those family members affected by the suicide and other death and illness. It’s all I can do. I carry a need to be more supportive and loving of every young person I come across. I need to hear and be present and full of love and praise for their efforts. I need to spend whatever time I can with my own. I need to be present and mindful around every human being. I need to listen closely and be very attentive to anyone who mentions feeling down and especially when they speak of having plans for suicide. That MUST set an ALARM bell off. Suicide prevention training teaches us to ask  questions if concerned. The next thing is to assertain whether they have made a plan for suicide and then aim to get them help after you have them  agree not to act on their plan until you can seek help. If you are someone contemplating suicide PLEASE seek help, talk to someone, your doctor at the very least. We need you in this world…you have a very real role to play

I want to finish with the story of the Death of the Angel of The Gap: the man who saved the  suicidal from themselves (from the Sydney Morning Herald)

Date
May 14,  2012

Reporter

Glenda Kwek

Don Ritchie, the man credited with preventing hundreds of suicides through  his vigil at The Gap over more than four decades passes away.

For almost half a century, Don  Ritchie would approach people contemplating suicide at the edge of The  Gap, just 50 metres from his home in Watsons Bay, his palms facing  up.

Mr Ritchie told his daughter Sue Ritchie Bereny he would smile and say: “Is  there something I could do to help you?”

Don’s story touched the hearts of all Australians and challenged each of us  to rethink what it means to be a good  neighbour

Don RitchieDon Ritchie Photo: Steve Baccon

“And that was all that was often needed to turn people around, and he would  say not to underestimate the power of a kind word and a smile,” said Ms Ritchie  Bereny.

Mr Ritchie, sometimes known as the angel  or watchman of The Gap, is acknowledged to have stopped about 160  people from jumping to their deaths.

He died at St Vincent’s Hospital on Sunday, surrounded by his wife Moya, 85,  daughters Jan, Donna and Sue, and four grandchildren, who travelled from across  Australia and from Indonesia to Sydney to see him. He was 85.

Flashback ... Don and Moya.Flashback … Don and Moya.

Mr Ritchie was born on June 9, 1926 in Vaucluse, and studied at Vaucluse  Public School and Scots College.

When World War II broke out, he served in the Royal Australian Navy on HMAS Hobart,  and was on the ship in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered in 1945.

From his 30s to his 60s, Mr Ritchie worked for a multinational firm and built  up a significant career in the corporate world, Ms Ritchie Bereny said.

Don Ritchie in navy  uniform ... "a smile that could light up the room."Don Ritchie in navy  uniform … “a smile that could light up the room.”

In 1964, the former life insurance salesman moved into a house on Old South  Head Road across the road from Jacobs Ladder at the southern end of the Gap  Park. It was his home till the end.

From that time, Mr Ritchie started to rescue suicidal strangers.

“Things were different way back then. It was before there were police rescue  vans, before there were more sophisticated mechanisms like hotlines. In those  days, he got a bravery medal for saving somebody at the cliff – he actually  tackled somebody on the edge of the cliff,” Ms Ritchie Bereny said.

“He is famous for bringing people back to the house for tea or  breakfast.”

In 2006 Mr Ritchie was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his  rescues.

His actions touched so many hearts that, in 2010, he and his wife were named  Woollahra Council’s citizens of the year.

Last year, he was given the Local  Hero Award for Australia by the National Australia Day Council.

“In a situation where most would turn a blind eye, Don has taken action …  With such simple actions Don has saved an extraordinary number of lives,” the National  Australia Day Council said.

Today, Woollahra Council and the National Australia Day Council praised Mr  Ritchie for his dedication.

“Don’s story touched the hearts of all Australians and challenged each of us  to rethink what it means to be a good neighbour,” the acting chief executive  of  the National Australia Day Council, Tam Johnston, said in a statement.

“Don was a true gentleman with a smile that could light up the room.”

The mayor of Woollahra, Susan Wynne, called Mr Ritchie a great man whose  “courage delivered small miracles”.

Mr Ritchie had joined mental health advisers and  the federal Liberal member for Wentworth Malcolm  Turnbull in supporting the funding of suicide prevention measures  at The Gap.

Mr Turnbull also praised Mr Ritchie.

“His work lives on forever not just in the lives of those he saved but in his  heroism and example of public service,” he said in a statement…….

Last year, when he was involved in the launch to promote the Australian of  the Year awards for 2012, he was asked to take one letter of the word Australia  and pin to it a story that inspired him, Ms Ritchie Bereny said.

Mr Ritchie chose the story of Simpson and his donkey.

“I think that epitomises him. It’s about an everyday person who did an  extraordinary thing for many people that saved lives, without any want of  recognition.”………

 ❏ Support is available for anyone who may be  distressed by  phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978;

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/death-of-the-angel-of-the-gap-the-man-who-saved-the-suicidal-from-themselves-20120514-1ymle.html#ixzz27Fmiimma

MAY SHE REST IN THE PEACE SHE COULD NOT FIND HERE

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A Friend Teaches Me

I met with my friend recently for a brunch experience. I love food and coffee (especially when I’m not doing the cooking….I know this is not fashionable but I’ve chopped and diced and spliced for 7, now 6, plus every night for too long) But what I received today was far more than a taste sensation and great coffee, as we shared deeply on events and suffering we had not shared before. It never ceases to amaze me the capacity of the soul to survive trauma and to come out shining brightly, like the moon through a storm…it too, despite adverse events manages to remain a guide for boats and people even through the darkest of nights. She is like this. She is a quiet unassuming guide. She is a mentor and a teacher and all this without realizing it.

What she taught me about today was forgiveness. I found myself telling her of the time I experienced bullying in the workforce, my reaction and the final outcome…(It was fresh because I had only learned three days ago that the bully was finally asked to leave, after 99% of staff under her had left, noting that she was the reason….she was also told never to manage again….bad luck it took the system 3 years to acknowledge what I fought so hard to tell them 3 years ago) but I digress. The point of this post, is to discuss the effect of finding out three days ago that she had finally been dismissed and the things it brought to the surface, things I thought I was over. My friend suggested that I hadn’t forgiven and she was correct in her assertion. She discussed how she had forgiven someone who had committed an act of abuse in her life.

As I listened and we discussed forgiveness, I learned some things and had to face some truths:

  • As I said, I realized I had not forgiven the woman, not even realized I should because she was no longer of any significance in my life. I had moved on from the whole episode.
  • The events still had a hold on me even though I would never have believed that. I never thought of her anymore or the job I left behind. I left because I refused to work under such warped power and control because I’ve come too far in life to stay present to abuse of power and sadly because I could afford to leave, where others could not because they needed the income. Their powerlessness made me very angry and so I decided that before I left I needed to fight for others who couldn’t afford to leave.
  • So again, I realized after the conversation on Sunday that it was not behind me because I felt pleasure that she had been dismissed and I experienced vindication, that everything I’d predicted, had in fact occurred. Not too nice, I know and even as I write this I can see and feel my anger again…..so what to do because these situations are tests on how far we have come and clearly I have a weakness in letting go when I have witnessed others being harmed by a bully, not to mention the effect it had on me.

I experienced anger that so many people had had to leave jobs they loved because of her need for control and opposition. She ruled without heart and with a meanness of spirit that was shocking. Whatever request she received, she went on to do the exact opposite of what the staff member had asked her. For example, one staff had asked her not to move her any further west, than the office she was currently in  (they had offices all over Sydney)as she had an ill husband who was 20 years her senior…within two weeks she was placed further away from home and for no reason other than the manager wanting to control and hurt people. But here’s the point, that sickness is hers and it grows when we allow ourselves to be drawn into the dysfunctional web. It is fine to take action and remove oneself. It was fine for me to fight for others, thus precipitating my need to leave. It is fine to recognize and name the abuse but when one begins to be affected and can’t let go outside of taking those actions, when the poison gets in, then you need to re-evaluate. Letting go is to notice the emotions that arise and NOT attach, not react emotionally because by reacting emotionally one is disempowered and caught in their web. This is what they want. With abusers, better to leave the poison with them and move on peacefully and without carrying emotional baggage. This is how terrible events in history have perpetrated more horrible events because hatred remains and revenge becomes the name of the game and then the abuser wins again because further people are harmed. 

So my friend pointed out that I needed to forgive this person and she was correct. This was the way to free myself of any connection to her and any unwanted residual emotional reaction. Because this is true freedom and peace, not being buffeted by every ill wind that blows. It’s holding your own in a storm. It’s walking on waves towards God, trusting in God, despite the storm around you and letting the person be. As I said, this does not mean you take no action, what it means is that you take action from a heart where no anger and revenge exists.

So here and now I make a decision to forgive her and get free. I put myself through a little exercise that my friend sent me and which she had done in the past for herself. It was a series of statements and then to basically hand the person over to God’s healing.

I guess we need to remember that we all need forgiveness at times in our life. We may not be abusive but we all do wrong and sometimes to those we most love, it’s part of our brokeness, our humanity. So forgiving another is to forgive yourself and sit humbly in the presence of your own failures. It is part of being human. Who said to err is Human, to forgive Divine?  I think in forgiving we do touch base with our own divinity, our God centred being.  I think it’s also important to note that this does not mean we forget…we cannot and at some level that would be stupid as someone seriously harmed and abused by another needs to separate and protect themself from that harm. This is a very separate thing from forgiving, which is an act of freeing yourself from the harming energies, thoughts, emotions emanating from the wounds. Forgiving is also a process and can take time.

With what is happening in the world right now, over the offensive film and the radical reaction by extremist Muslims, it is more important than ever to be mindful of reactions and learning to let go and not be on the hook to anyone who wants to pull your strings. Muslims had the right to feel affronted but they did not have the right to murder and create havok. The many wonderful Muslims who have spoken out against this radical reaction, demonstrate that they understand the need to be mindful in your reactions and to pray for those who harm you.

Quotes on Forgiveness:

Stephanie Dowrick In Forgiveness and other Acts of Love says:

“Simply contemplating the act of forgiveness may seem to bring us a great deal closer to a person, to events, or to our own most vulnerable feelings, than we want to be. Holding onto our anger, outrage or fantasies of revenge may be immensely harmful for our physical and emotional well-being. But we do it because we believe it keeps us separate-and safe. Or we do because we believe we owe it to someone else who has been wronged.

Yet it is one of life’s most terrible ironies that betrayal can be as connective as love. It can fill the mind, and colour all your senses. It can keep you tied to that person or those vents as tightly as if you were bound, back to back, or worse, heart to heart. The person you want to think of least may become the person you think of constantly.” p.327

“When matters are life-shakingly serious-they can rarely be forgiven either directly or conclusively. Such events may take most of a lifetime to assimilate and most of a lifetime to forgive” P330

Jesus about his torturers and killers:

“Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”

From the Qur’an

Hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant. (Qur’an, 7: 199)

In another verse Allah commands: “… They should rather pardon and overlook. Would you not love Allah to forgive you? Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 24:22)

By the way, to finish on a happy note, brunch was sumptuous pancakes with a mixed berry compote and cinnamon cream (which I substituted with yoghurt due to lactose intolerance) and wonderful coffee. Oh and by the way, I’m about to go and get dressed for an Indian meal with two other couples, tonight. MMM It’s good to put a close to winter with one more delicious curry sensation. The dependants have been told to fend for themselves…whereupon, one told me he was working, another told me she too was going out, the third is still at work and the fourth put his hand out for money to get takeaway, with a big smile on his face and a little cry about how much study he had to do. Dream on my boy!!!!!

Thanks again for visiting and I wish you all well. I would love to hear your thoughts on this very difficult topic. Regards Leanne

Port Arthur Tasmania, the place of mass murder…this photo shows its beauty and history..which are equally a part of Port Arthur’s story and the community in moving on have chosen to focus on these things.

A woman at the foot of the Cross in Port Arthur, honouring the souls who were murdered here by Martin Bryant. Many families are still working towards forgiveness as they are daily reminded of the loss of their loved ones…so forgiveness is indeed a difficult process. How to forgive the murderer of your loved one…and if you cannot, what poison do you continue to carry with you and how much freedom have you sacrificed? Hard questions.

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Moving with the Times…..

Camera technology enables such beautiful photos and memories

Spring is here, caught by my camera and uploaded immediately

I spent hours working on a digital photo frame my hubby gave me as a random gift. I wanted to honour it by working it out for myself. I also want to keep up with technology so I can be a mother and eventually a granny with punch. My job does not require me to be technologically savvy but I choose it for myself. I have the latest in phone technology and we have the latest in TV technology and I have my own laptop.

I want to move with the changes. I don’t want to be stuck in the past and miss out. I watch some oldies from my parent’s generation embrace mobile phones while others refuse to use mobile phones. I both respect and get it from their perspective. To them it’s just a phone and they don’t feel the need to have one clinging to their hand. And they actually don’t. They get by fine without it. And there is a lot ot be said for etiquette training in the younger generation who often have no awareness of the rudeness of being with someone while texting someone else…even while conversing.

From my perspective, my phone enables me to keep up with my friends and our children as without it, I’d lose a great deal of contact with them. I often use the phone to send messages of love and support. I sometimes text them quotes or humourous exchanges or responses to their questions.

Back to the digital photo frame. I drew the photos for the frame from all my albums, a time consuming task in itself. I then uploaded them to my frame following the instructions. I experienced some initial frustration but took a breath and tried again until I achieved my outcome. I kept trying to remember to be mindful and grateful and to accept that the task may take longer than I planned because it was something brand new to me. The fun then was watching the collection of photos change randomly and sitting with the memories they evoked; my first trip to Europe, family moments, our trip to China, numerous family events, holidays within Australia etc.  All beautiful memories and I was able to sit and enjoy them in the moment. A big thank you for technology. How blessed are we to be able to take a photo and within minutes ( for those more technologically gifted than I who can take longer) have it loaded onto a computer or digital frame. I can also use computer programs to improve on the quality of the picture I take.

The point I make is this, let’s not be afraid of change. Be prepared to let go of the safety of knowing. It’s actually OK not knowing; it’s Ok learning; it’s OK trying to learn something new and not mastering it; it’s Ok asking for help and it is Ok to acknowledge that some things may be past you…..for example, though I once broke the school high jump record, I accept I won’t be jumping that particular ‘hurdle’ ever again….unless it’s  VERY close to the ground! So, let’s stay in the moment and move with the times within reason and be amazed by the joy that can come. Let’s not get caught by what’s familiar and refuse to move. What we know and are familiar with is wonderful and brings joy but unless we can let it go, it’ll be just like watching a black and white movie, we’ll be missing the kaleidoscope of colour life brings. So let’s enjoy the changes each stage of our life offers. Let’s not be defeated by fear, not even willing to try because we believe we will not be able to do it. There are a few things I have tried and failed to master but in trying I did not fail. And usually I learned new things in the process of trying, even though I did not master. When I failed to master I did not regret nor did I become self critical, in fact, I was more determined to try other new things. I think sometimes we don’t try because we have interior critical voices which would only assert messages of how useless we are and so rather than face them we resign ourselves to not trying.

Having said this, I in no way want to suggest that we loose touch with things of the past. The beauty of a fountain pen is an example and as Valerie Davies questions in her book ‘The Sound of Water’ ….”Do my grandchildren know what a fountain pen is, I wonder?” And how sad if this generation never learns of the beauty of the fountain pen. Black and white movies, antiques, roll top desks are examples of wonderful items with age attached. Stain glass windows, like in the photo below, are also a thing of beauty seen mostly in older homes. Beautiful hand writing, almost a thing of the past. What about centuries old architecture and the stories it tells, like the ancient Chinese bridge below. What about the lost art of family games like Scrabble and the like?

Kerosene fridges, however, are a worry and when I visited my parents today, my father excitedly told me he had lit his thousand year old kero fridge (maybe not quite that old but we did use it camping when I was a child) and wanted me to poke my head near it so I could see it lit. I declined in horror imagining the thing blowing me to kingdom come or if not all of me at least my eyebrows and hair…things I’m quite partial to. As I left he called out after me “Are you sure you don’t want a spare fridge with that big family of yours?”…followed by a comment about how much I’d save on electricity.  This was said with a cheeky grin, knowing I was just short of telling him what he could do with his fridge…also in jest! 🙂  So I guess there are things which are best relegated to the past!!!!

I’d love to hear from you all about things you treasure from the past and would be sad to see go from our lives. I’d also love to hear of the new things which have graced your life and made it fuller. Thanks for reading, God bless you all.

Phone photo from recent day in the city of Sydney-Queen Victoria building

A beauty from the past, an ancient Chinese bridge and waterway.

More technology as I played with this photo in Lightroom, changing the colours

My Dad learning how to use chopsticks, not afraid to learn new things…also cool that I could capture it with my Iphone camera. God bless him 🙂

Stunning parrot eating our grevilleas…what a moment

One gorgeous coffee design I was able to capture because of the camera technology built into my phone

This magpie landed on the deck of our old holiday cottage and allowed me to almost handfeed it…and photograph it ….this is her best side!

And finally, a picture taken quickly from my car window…on a gorgeous spring day, as we took a short break from painting the old cottage…ahhh the memories.

Some of the gorgeous views from Port Stephens.

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The Meditation Prayer

I thought I’d share the prayer that we say to close our meditation group, each time we meet. I kind of feel that the words can even work in the context of our Blogsphere
Father Lawrence Freeman Closing Prayer:
“May this group be a true spiritual home for the seeker, a friend for the lonely, a guide for the confused. May those who pray (or blog ) here be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to serve all who come, and to receive them as Christ Himself.  In the silence of this room  may all the suffering, violence, and confusion of the world encounter the Power that will console, renew and uplift the human spirit. May this silence be a power to open the hearts of men and women to the vision of God, and so to each other, in love and peace, justice and human dignity. May the beauty of the divine life, fill this group and the hearts of all who pray (blog) here, with joyful hope. May all who come here weighed down by the problems of humanity leave giving thanks for the wonder of human life.   We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.  AMEN.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on prayer and on whether you see this blogshere we are all part of as a community and whether you feel we can serve each other and make the world a better place, one act of thoughtful communication, at a time. Thank you for visiting and taking the time to read and enjoy the photos below. Live well. Leanne

A Natural Spring in Outback Australia-certainly a wonder of our world

Spring is Sprung-the wonder of a simple flower

Painted Desert in the Outback-another wonder of our world

River flow from a waterfall

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Books, Reading and The Booker Award

I would like to thank Katie at realwomenshealth   http://realwomanshealth.wordpress …… for this Booker Award. Katie ‘s posts are wonderful as she is a passionate follower and researcher of topics relating to health and wellness. Please visit Real Woman’s Health for her blog covering all things about health.

I am a lover of books and reading…I have quite eclectic tastes, from spirituality to murder mysteries to classics to deeply provoking texts. I am even into my second kindle…gasp I hear from all book lovers but let me add…I still buy books in real form and always will. Simply, I was beginning to run out of space and even after donating boxes and boxes to St. Vincent de Paul’s charity and Salvation Army, I still needed more space. I have always dreamed of having a library room with floor to ceiling shelving/cabinetry, deep leather arm chairs, all wrinkled and old from use, with lamps beside,  but five children, meant no library room (even lost my walk-in robe to get the fifth room for the fifth child…I considered putting her bed on a shelf in the walk -in robe but my husband thought that a bit much….so definitely no library)

Books I Have Loved Over the Years ( in no particular order): I’m supposed to only name 5 favourites…ooops

  1. Black Beauty was the first book I remember reading…not being able to put it down. Much later in life a friend purchased me a copy as a gift…loved the re-reading.
  2. Pride and Prejudice…can’t tell you how many times I’ve read and re-read that one (and watched and re-watched Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy)
  3. Henri Nouwen, Thomas Keating,  John Main, Antony de Mello to name but a few authors of spiritual books I adore….plus numerous Buddhist texts by Thich Nhat Han and others
  4. The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul By Deborah Rodriguez
  5. Great Expectations
  6. The Colour of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe
  7. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
  8. Dirt Music by Tim Winton
  9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  10. Tolkein
  11. My Heart Wanders by Pia Jane Bijkerk
  12. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  13. Joan Didions the Year of Magical Thinking.
  14. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  15. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  16. Chocolat by Joanne Harris
  17. Salvation Creek by Susan Duncan
  18. Room by Emma Donoghue
  19. I am David by Anne Holm
  20. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
  21. And more more more, can’t list all my friends

Books I am Currently Reading:

The Sound of Water by Valerie Davies…..wonderful so far!

Just One Thing:Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time by Rick Hanson

Blogs I love:

Again way too many to do this well and I’m going to choose ones I haven’t mentioned before and ones who appear well read in certain areas. Congratulations to them all;

http://micheleseminara.wordpress.com/

http://reflectionsonlifethusfar.wordpress.com/

http://fortyteencandles.wordpress.com/

http://rococonnor.wordpress.com/

http://cristianmihai.net/

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Toyota cannot be trusted so There’s Nothing Like….

I wanted to remind myself that every moment offers incredible beauty if we choose to be present. When problems arise we can be so easily side tracked…well I can anyway.

Recently, we have had a really bad experience with Toyota. A Landcruiser we purchased new had problems from the beginning, randomly not starting and the first time it occurred we were camping at the top of Barrington Tops and stranded until we could get our brand new car started. It was extremely cold at that elevation as we read through the manual trying to work out what to do. The saga has now continued for three years and as we approached the end of our warranty, it became clear the car was a lemon and we could no longer trust it…can you imagine us travelling off road (the reason we chose this car) into the desert or wilderness areas and being stranded….so we initially asked them to extend the warranty as they claimed yet again to have fixed the problem (this is after they kept it for a month, said it was fine and the first time we used, it it still didn’t start and then all the engine lights came on….so the problem had now grown)(this is also after three years of them being unable to diagnose the problem but assuring us they’d fix it). They refused to extend the warranty. So, finding it not fixed and almost no warranty left, they took it again (leaving us again without a car for another 4 weeks) and asked us to trust again that it was fixed. Again, they refused to extend the warranty. Why not? Clearly they were worried it was not fixed and then it would become our problem to pay for. We knew, in conscience, we couldn’t onsell a lemon and pass this problem onto another family, so we asked them to buy it back. They refused and we went to Dept of Fair Trading who did almost nothing to further our cause. However, finally the dealership called yesterday and agreed to buy it back but we had to take a huge financial bath…we figure we are probably out of pocket $15,000 plus we had to buy another car. Now this is all incredibly distressing and angry making! HOWEVER…it’s just a car and with more hard work we will recoup the loss, unfair but we are not losing the roof over our head, which would be truly devastating and which happens all the time through warfare and natural distasters. Of course and I am left challenging myself to let the hurt and disappointment and financial loss go, to accept what has happened and remember the following:

There’s nothing like-

  • the sun glimmering on the dew drops first thing of a morning
  • a baby’s toothless, gummy smile
  • an older woman baring with pride her wisdom getting wrinkles
  • a hero, no matter how they present on the outside
  • a drive or walk through a fog drenched morning (see Mobius Faith blog for pictures), the mist curling around you, encasing you in its silence.
  •    a beach first thing in the morning with no-one around, the crash of waves, the watery glints from sunlight, the sand in your toes, the noise of nature not man
  • your pet’s love and loyalty
  • a spider web’s intricate lace work, speckled with dew drops
  • a baby’s tiny fist shoved in it’s mouth, your mouth or grabbing on to your hair
  • a flower of any colour and feel, shape or size
  • the love of family and friends
  • a river winding its way through bush, carrying the detritus from man and nature and not letting that block its progress forward
  • the sun rising and setting every day, every night, despite mankinds lack of consistency, care and stewardship of the planet
  • the colours of the desert, its great open quiet spaces and private magic
  • a cloudy sky
  • the gentle rain of a sun shower and the lashing pellets of a storm
  • canola fields full of yellow colour
  • beautiful food, and in my case, especially when someone else is cooking
  • fresh country air
  • little old churches
  • a rainbow

So who cares about Toyota and how they treat their customers…even their unpricipled choices cannot block the magnificance life holds and I refuse to allow their poor behaviour to dim one more moment of my life and so it is for all our troubles, even the far more serious ones, the gifts of creation can lift us up out of the pain if we accept and let go of trying to change what is and live in the moment.

I once again thank you all for taking the time to read and may life be a little brighter and more magnificent than yesterday. Leanne

Alluring Venice on a misty day.

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