All posts filed under: personal

There are simply no words for me in these times

Greetings from the Australian rainforest, where birds sing soggy songs after so much rain. The sun is elbowing clouds aside as best it can, and I am grateful to see the small holes of blue coming and going. Today is my dear dead Dad’s birthday, and I’m staying quietly at home. Normally, as my honouring ritual, I oil his antique French furniture; this year, there’s too much mould trying to get a grip, so I’m refusing to feed the spores with expensive linseed and orange blossom. Today is also the monthly Women’s Dharma Day meditation meeting, and I needed it so much. More than I knew. As I wrote last time, I’ve been volunteering daily with Resilient Lismore, a Facebook group formed to help my nearby beloved Lismore (and surrounds) deal with flood recovery. It started in 2017, as a response to the Cyclone Debbie flood, with 3000 members. Now we’ve had 2 catastrophic floods a month apart, including landslides and massive devastation, so subsequently have almost 30,000 members. I’m one of the team of …

COVID-19 got me, then a catastrophic flood: valid excuses for not blogging?

Hi everyone, long time no see. Sorry I’ve been ‘missing in WordPress action’, it’s been a terrible 6 weeks here in Australia. On a personal level, I finally caught Covid, despite being super cautious for 2 years! It was bound to happen: my darling son Nearly22 brought it unknowingly into the home, despite 3 negative RATs & a negative PCR… *sigh I hoped I may be fine (we were only together for a few hours, but one of them was in the car), plus returned 2 negative RATs & a negative PCR, then on Day 6 since my exposure, I was hit by a sledgehammer of chills/aches/red eyes/nausea/fatigue/dizziness/brain fog. It was horrible. I was one of the last people I know to get it, so luckily I had regular soothing phone calls about what to expect, what to take, & what may happen next. I literally spent 10 days in my pyjamas, dragging myself from bed to kitchen to couch to bed. Dosing myself every 1-2 hours, as well as eucalyptus steam baths, became almost …

Why is Boris still there- doesn’t honour/honor matter anymore?

I emigrated from England to Australia in 1986, desperate to escape the destruction of the Thatcher years; I still see the dark seeds of her reign flowering. But Boris is a whole new level of distress. WHY IS HE STILL PRIME MINISTER? How can he have hosted social events in his home while the whole country was in lockdown?? My Mum was shut in her room in her nursing home; her sister couldn’t even visit, and when they were finally allowed to connect, it was via a closed bay window looking onto the carpark where my Aunt stood, speaking on the phone, although they could see each other. Boris Johnson’s birthday party is among 12 events being investigated by police, according to an initial report on 16 gatherings by Sue Gray (it’s called ‘PartyGate’). There are allegations of garden parties, DJs, and suitcases full of alcohol. A culture of ‘excessive drinking’ has been highlighted. This is the Prime Minister: why is he still in charge? How can he just REFUSE to step down? Come on …

Meditation? Seven days on, seven days off

One of my last posts invited Readers to join me using the Insight Timer app to meditate daily. Or to share your own personal meditation/quiet-solo-time practices. *sigh I was so inspired by myself and my post, I checked in to the app every day, and religiously sat to meditate. Until I didn’t. Then a week went by, and I still didn’t. Now it’s been two weeks, and I’m continuing to not sit. *sigh One of my three New Year’s eve intentions was to not be self-critical; I do absolutely love myself, and all my flaws (not that there’s many haha), BUT I will still be quick to criticise myself sometimes- like most of us, I’m guessing. So I’m trying to resist feeling disappointed with my lack of meditation discipline, and admit that I’ve been on holidays/had visitors/been housesitting etc. *sigh Still, it’s not THAT hard to find five or ten minutes to sit quietly is it G? Is it sabotage? Am I truly just a lazy person? Do I have no self-discipline? *sigh How easy …

So grateful to be locking down here in the rainforest for COVID-19

Who wants to join me in a meditative new resolution?

Like all of us, I’m glad to have made it unscathed to the end of this year. Surrounding me have been lockdowns, high tensions about vaccination rates (we called it the ‘strollout’ at first here in Australia), and now the surging stress of Omicron. *sigh I am utterly blessed and grateful to live where I do, with my trees, birds, and nearby creek. My latest New Year’s Eve plans have all been shelved, with Covid cases soaring both locally and nationally, and a party in my pyjamas and living room is more appealing by the day. (Or an early night. I could handle an early night.) But today, I came across a blogging recommendation for the Insight Timer app. Have you heard of it? At least three of my friends swear by it, and I’ve been meaning to check it out… So I downloaded it, and listened to my first 20-min talk sitting on the [pictured] verandah in the early sunshine, after several days of rain. It felt great. Then I started thinking about all …

A year has passed since I nearly died; this makes me both happy & sad

Today, 12 months ago, I rolled my car right over on a wet road, and wrote about it here. Somehow, I came away with only concussion, whiplash, and a frozen shoulder (which is now thankfully almost fully ‘thawed’). The ambulance workers couldn’t believe I wasn’t more badly injured; neither could the 2 doctors on duty, and the smash repairs guy who towed away my car looked at me incredulously: “There’s not a straight panel on it! How are you not dead?” Obviously, I’m so glad I’m not dead. As are my son, my beloved, and my family and friends. It absolutely rocked my world, for in 37 years of driving, I’d never even had a car park prang. It shocked me to feel so vulnerable in my concussion and whiplash, then had to accept my shoulder was in fact ‘freezing’ in April [they are often triggered by a traumatic event, and occur more often in women over 50 FYI]. The shoulder was agony– if I knocked it, it felt like I’d been hit by lightning, …

I don’t want to win the ‘Most Miserable Blogger’ award…

When I was 41, I asked my 6 yr old son for 3 words to describe me (for my online dating profile). “Nice. Funny. Health-food-drama-Queen.” Note his 2nd choice: ‘funny’. I use that word to describe myself, & even got employed to do that as an Events’ MC sometimes (in the old days before Covid when we did arty fun stuff regularly). But I feel like the ‘funny’ has been sucked out of me, especially in the last year of lockdowns; Mum dying 4 months ago has also put a dampener on my comeback, even though restrictions are easing. Four years ago when I had my ‘blogging intensive’ 1:1, the expert told me to be humorous, grammatically-correct at all times, and authentic. Yet I feel like I’m currently in danger of winning the ‘Most Miserable Blogger’ award, and I don’t want to! I just can’t fake the joy… and I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about the latest lesson learnt from my grieving. Part of my self-care routine to find joy is dancing; this weekend, …

Biggest loss since Mum died? Not being her ‘kid’ any more

It’s been nearly 4 months since she left, & I’d say I’m grieving ‘well’. We’ve all heard the saying that everyone grieves in their own way, and of course it’s true; Dad’s sudden death 13 years ago knocked me flat, thumped me with depression, and took about 5 years to recover from (such a “Daddy’s girl”). But Mum? Not so much. It was a relief mainly, and expected, after a long slow decline. Plus we weren’t nearly as close as Dad and I. I’m aware I’m in a process of letting go, as I adjust to being an orphan. I’m well-supported by family and friends, and I’m so grateful Mum is free of suffering now. Yet the other day, it struck me that I was missing an essential dynamic: I am no longer a daughter. It’s a role I’ve known my whole life, and played dutifully, even when I was being the ‘difficult’ one, which I admit I feel I got typecast into for many years. There was the ‘jealous’ one when my new brother …

I am the Keeper of Stories now Mum’s gone

As I let the bath water cool around me last night, I remembered being 10 or 11, paddling in the chilly English sea. Forty-five years have passed, yet I can still recall the sand sinking beneath my toes, and the seaweed slithering against my pale legs. I wasn’t enjoying it anymore; it had been fun briefly, in the novelty of visiting the beach for the first time, but I was cold, and wanted to get out. I was only knee-deep in water, and Mum had taken my younger brother back to the warm dry sand, telling me to follow when ready. But I was trapped! Writhing and heaving between me and my family was a two metre-thick band of brown kelp, some strands as thick as my skinny legs, freezing me in fear. What lurked beneath? My vivid yet anxious imagination created snakes, grabbing hands, various sea monsters, and perhaps a pirate’s dead body or two for good measure. I couldn’t even wave to Mum, who was fussing with my brother and had her back …

Six weeks since Mum died: letting go and setting free

No one really wants to organise a funeral celebration. No one wants to go to one. And of course, none of us are ready for it to be our own. But when it IS my turn, I’m having a Humanist one, which is what I created for Mum’s send off last month. She wasn’t religious, and the rest of the family certainly isn’t; a church service would be an uncomfortable nightmare for everyone… so I decided a quiet beach in Wales would be perfect. But I’m in Australia, my brother and children in Norway, various family friends around the UK, Canada, and USA: thank goodness for Zoom! By luck (or divine intervention?), the first celebrant I emailed to ask if she was free in 3 weeks to conduct an international online ashes scattering ceremony said yes. As I sat with the reality of needing to organise this farewell, despite my tiredness and grief, I gave thanks for being exposed to ‘unusual’ send offs and life celebrations where I live in Northern NSW, such as same …