All posts tagged: personal

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 …

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 …

Losing my Mum to dementia at 85: the terribly sad yet sweet relief

The 2nd last time I saw her, it was her birthday July 4th, & I video called. She was in a Home in Wales, and I’m here in Australia, where I’ve lived for 35 years. Mum was kinda asleep, though it was 11am, but muttering to herself. The staff held the phone, and tickled her chin to wake her, but no success. I kept wishing her Happy Birthday, singing that damn song, but she only stirred and seemed to smile when I teased her for being so old now. It was a sad experience. Then 2 days later the Home Manager emailed to ask me to call her. “I’m sorry to say this over the phone, but I think your Mum is coming to the end of her life- we’ve seen this before- she’s stopped eating and drinking, and won’t open her mouth.” Oh Mum! Our adult relationship hadn’t been easy– I was a rebellious teenager, then emigrated to Australia when I was 20, so rarely saw her over the years before Skype and mobile …