All posts tagged: personal

Being playful keeps you young, over 50 or over 80

Sometimes it smashes on my head like a water balloon

Hello folks, thanks for dropping by. Today, as I crossed the street in my small Australian regional town, I passed a handsome hairy wolfhound crossing the other way. “What a great-looking dog; Mum would have loved to stop and say hello to him,” I thought. And there it came: the burst of sadness upon me, running through my mind and body like cold water from a balloon. I didn’t cry, or even sniff. I kept walking to the supermarket and health food store, but trailing my dripping heart behind me, just for a moment. She’s been gone one year, two months. And I’m relieved she’s free of dementia, as I’ve said many times, as well as all the painful memories and stresses which came between us as I grew up. But sometimes, I wish I could call her. I’d love to tell her about the wonderful film I just saw, ‘Good luck to you Leo Grande’ with Emma Thompson (you MUST see it if you haven’t already). Or the delicious fancy meal my son ’22’ …

Yet more photos from the Australian desert during a silent bushwalking adventure (Part Three)

Hello Folks, thanks for dropping by. I’m trying to upload more photos from my Meditation walk, but the dumb smartphone is not complying. How I wish I was back in the desert, just walking (Part One and Part Two are here). I miss the circle of power as we meditate together, which makes my brain buzz. I miss the break from no admin, no work, no housecleaning, no driving, no cooking! I miss the incredible gift of walking among Red Cabbage palms who only grow here, in a narrow gorge, with scientists still wondering how they arrived and thrive. I miss the simplicity of only having two outfits: walking clothes, and back-at-camp-&-sleeping clothes. Keeping warm, then safe from sunburn, then warm again saw a juggle of hats/beanies/scarves & sarongs (even though it was ‘winter’ in the desert, the sun is still strong). Fashion sense did not apply. It was such a relief to be silent. To walk and eat in silence; to pack up and down in silence; to spend time with new humans in …

Photos from the Australian desert during a silent bushwalking adventure, with a vegetarian cook & dingoes (Part One)

Hello folks, I’m back from the yatra, as calm and settled as can be nowadays. “What’s a yatra”, some of you wonder? This explains it, from the Yatra Australia website: “A yatra is a unique journey providing a special environment to engage with and enquire deeply into the potential of ‘human awakening.’ In the company of like-minded people, it takes place within some of the most pristine landscapes of our natural world. A yatra offers an integrative experience, combining physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual explorations in a secular environment. Being primarily based in the Buddhist tradition we also respect and draw from the wealth of many other wisdom traditions such as yoga, advaita, tao, modern science and tribal cultures. A flexible combination of yoga, meditation, silent walking, dharma teachings, experiential exercises, story telling around the camp- fire, wholesome meals and our intuitive way of ceremony and creative expression support an unfolding process. Got it? Let’s get on with it then. So we flew to Alice Springs, got the 4WD bus out towards Palm Valley (2 …

From Brooklyn to the Bush: going out to the Australian desert for some silence

Hello folks- do any of you recall my Yatra last year, meditating and walking the South Coast national park after the terrible bushfires, with a group of mainly over 50s? It was stunning, and even made me delete the Candy Crush app, check the post HERE for details. Well, I’m going again. But this time, to Alice Springs in central Australia, hiking along the Finke River: “The Finke River, or Larapinta (Arrernte), is a river in central Australia, one of four main rivers of the Lake Eyre Basin and thought to be the oldest riverbed in the world. It flows for only a few days a year and when this happens, its water usually disappears into the sands of the Simpson Desert, rarely if ever reaching Lake Eyre.” (Wikipedia) I’m very excited, as you can see from this freshly-snapped selfie as I type! And my living room is a mess, as I air all my thermals and sleeping bag, trying to pack minimally yet effectively. Last-minute washing needs to dry, and I can’t decide whether to take poles or not… So for once, …

Farewell New York, you were great, thank you

It’s been an action-packed three weeks, and now I’m so ready for home in Australia. I’ve ticked off every item on my ‘Must Do/See’ list, including: Central Park, the Met/Whitney/Guggenheim/New Museum/Brooklyn Museum, Coney Island, ferry past Statue of Liberty, Manhattan walks, Brooklyn Bridge, Red Hook, Roosevelt Island, and 10-15kms/day of street strolling. I also got to walk & talk all through the Botanic Gardens with fellow blogger LA, which was an unexpected treat. I’ve discovered the joys of Van Leuwen’s vegan ice cream, plus the widely-available bakeries & Mexican food all through Brooklyn, & of course Key Lime Pie. My brother’s wedding was wonderful- I got to walk him down the aisle- and my speech went down well too (phew). The last week has just been relaxing at his apartment, getting to know he & his lovely wife (they have been together for 10 years but she & I have only met once before for 24hrs in a barn in France); I am SO LUCKY & grateful to have spent this time together after so …

No more travel quarantine in Australia, so now I’m in New York

Yes, you read that right Folks. After 2 years not going anywhere or doing much at all, I have impulsively flown to the Big Apple for 3 weeks! I have a great motivation too: after postponing twice due to Covid of course, my dear brother is getting married in Manhattan. In 2020, I was taking my son as well- I had a suit made to measure- it was very exciting… and then Covid/lockdowns/quarantines etc- literally no planes flying out of Australia. After a little tantrum, I surrendered. And have been carving spoons, gardening, & pottering around in the rainforest. But right now, I’m in New York New York. Brooklyn for a week, Manhattan for 5 days near the wedding venues, then back to Brooklyn. I AM HAVING THE BEST TIME! Walking, walking, walking. People watching. Eating. Listening. Smelling. More walking. Yesterday I stepped out 13.3kms, and today was 14 as I crossed back and forth over the Brooklyn Bridge. I’ve never made a blog post on my phone, tapping away in my cute Airbnb, so …

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 …

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 …

It’s official: Buddhism teaches that your buddies are your blessing

Hello Everyone, from the lush rainforest in Australia, where once a month I sit in a circle of women studying meditation and Buddhism. This month was the last meeting for the year, and our wise crone leader Yoda Carol chose to reflect on friendship for her talk, or ‘Admirable Camaraderie’ as Buddha called it. She’s lived in the same intentional community hidden in the hills for nearly 50 years, having been one of the founding members. She’s travelled the world, facilitating conflict resolution for all kinds of humans, from big corporations down to divorcing families… so her wisdoms come from plenty of lived experience as well as her decades of Buddhist meditation and study. She asked us a simple question, which I’m going to ask you: “Do you always call, or are you always being called?” Buddha talked of cultivating friendships, to offer and receive full kinship, as one of the most effective paths to Loving Kindness. So when did you last reach out to someone, in these strange times of lockdowns, travel restrictions, and …