Sacred Whinging Spot


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I used to live near a lush reserve, groaning with Weeping Willows. I had a sign on my front door, advising (pleading), for guests to let all the negativity go at the threshold, and come into the house with fresh energy. As a hermit, my house was sacred, a place where I was protected from doom and gloom. A sanctuary where magic existed alongside art and the sound of my typewriter clanging away. I had a business, Avalon’s Gnome, and created a world away from the everyday. Heaven knows, I knew that irritations would arise, as would anger. I just didn’t want to pollute my space with the residue.

I came up with the idea of a having a designated Sacred Whinging Spot. I went for a walk, and found the perfect place. It was a covered area with seats, nestled in amongst the Weeping Willows. I would stuff a cob loaf with ricotta, tomatoes, basil and garlic, and take it along with a thermos of Irish coffee to this space, and when nobody was around, I would let it all out. In between operations, I would relay my fears. I wept, I raged, I told people off in my mind and I expressed my irritation at circumstances and situations. I would eat my Cob loaf and drink my coffee, and leave refreshed. Heck, if you are going to have such a sign over your front door, you have to practice what you preach! I lived in this Federation brick house until it was knocked down to build a unit block. It was one of the happiest, most serene of my many abodes, and I am pretty certain that a part of that had to do with my rule. There were no arguments or words spoken in haste lingering in the rooms. Once my aggravations were expelled at the Sacred Whinging Spot, they were pulled into the earth and transmuted into pure energy.

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Maybe its time to resurrect the notion of a Sacred Whinging Spot, to ensure my home is acoustically clear. Letting it all out whilst surrounded by nature and trees that sway sympathetically in the breeze. There’s magic in that!

How to become a Great Writer-Sarah Brennan and Jemma Julian


Sarah Brennan is an accomplished children’s author, and she interviewed a young writer friend of mine, Jemma Julian, for her blog. I am flawed by the wisdom streaming from one so young! Check out the interview here.

Raphaela’s picks from the Internet this week.


Things I have found inspiring throughout the week. Look at this fellow below!

A fabulous article on Sydney’s Vivid Festival by Elissa Blake. If you are planning to go, read this first!

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Hello Kitty Café, Friends and Sydney


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Sydney in Autumn is a sight to behold. We walked around to drama, dodging trucks and construction of the light installations for Vivid, which starts this weekend. There were buskers and tour groups taking in the history of The Rocks. My daughter has a ritual before her class. I give her money and she buys a strawberry donut from a takeaway shop at Circular Quay. The elderly Vietnamese man sees her approach, and has the donut in the bag before she asks. My daughter says they are the best donuts in the world. We weave our way through wedding parties and photographers, my daughter entranced by the gowns, but grossed out by the romance and smooching. I call our day in the city my caffeine day. When you have such extraordinary coffee and barista’s at your disposal, why wouldn’t you indulge? To redeem myself, I order the best salad in Sydney. Spoilt for choice, it is hard to settle on one, and they are a triumph of assembly. The sort that you wouldn’t bother making yourself at home, unless you had a spare hour or so.

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Scenes such as the one above take my mind off my physical pain. Thank heavens my daughter’s balance is better than mine! On this particular day, I decided to travel over the Harbour Bridge on the train, to see friends. I insisted we try the quirky Hello Kitty Café at Chatswood.

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My friend and I are under the care of an endocrinologist. Both of us are sugar-impaired, shall we say, and we try to behave. This was something of our last hurrah on that front, which is just as well.

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Yes, I drank/ate the Freak Milkshake above, and was suitably buzzing and silly afterward! To my delight, they had a tofu burger on the menu.

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It was a sweet little café, and we enjoyed our outing. It has taken me two days to get over our big day out, but you gotta live, right? I had seen this place had opened over a year ago, and determined to go one day and check it out. It niggles at you, doesn’t it? The events you miss and promise to get to the next year, the things you want to do and people you want to see. Sometimes you just have to do it. We are looking forward to the next adventure! Sydney is brimming with them!

A Jar of Marbles


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We had seen a video on how to make fairy lanterns, and went to a discount store to find the jars, tissue paper and glitter required for our project. I had felt the need to apply a mixture of turquoise, blue and purple to my hair. Now, when you front up amongst a crowd in a quirky manner, certain people gravitate to you. The artists, the poets, the dreamers…They see in you a kindred spirit. I stood in front of an aisle of craft supplies, discombobulated at the wide array, uncertain of which to choose. I noted a lady facing the same conundrum, next to my daughter and I, and smiled at her sympathetically. She was tall, with bohemian clothing and a funky short hairdo. “Excuse me,” she said, “could you help me?” She had a bag of marbles in one hand and a jar in the other. “Do you think these will fit in this jar?” “Afraid not, especially the bigger marbles,” I replied. She explained that somebody very dear to her was facing a deluge of sorrow, and was hanging on by a spindle. They had expressed that they were afraid they were losing their marbles. “I want to present them with their marbles,” the woman stated. “I need them to know that I care; that what is taken can be replaced.” I squeezed her hand. “You are a good person.”

I guess my fairy lanterns are also thematic. Here are these little fairies, highlighted with a background light, illuminating the way.  When I was in the clinic as a teenager, I was privy to many stories. I recall that the term PTSD was rarely used back then. It was called ‘the horrors’ instead. I was fourteen, and quite naïve. I became friends with a gentle fellow called Denis. He was kind and funny, and also severely traumatized. He quietly told me that he had been a vet. “How wonderful! I love animals,” I smiled. “Bless you, kid,” he laughed. I learnt over time what he actually meant as I heard him scream throughout the night; witnessed him slip into catatonia for days on end. I was told I had a strong mind, which bounced back like an elastic band, no matter what I was enduring. I wasn’t even clinically depressed, according to the experts. Rather, I railed against cruelty and abuse, to the extent that I would prefer to leave this world than remain in suspended animation. As my own PTSD began, I thought about Denis often, how despite our generation gap, we had this horrendous condition in common.

My mind takes me to dark places and I regularly fall into deep depression. None is more surprised  than I. I am a genuinely happy soul, who can seemingly bounce back from anything life hurls at me. I call myself a smiling, laughing depressive. I have been around long enough to understand what my triggers are, and try my best to avoid them. I have a delayed reaction to triggers. I may explode a day or two later. I need time alone to process what has transpired. Alcohol is a no-go zone at such times, as it leads to dreadful melancholy when I already feel low. I have to get out in the fresh air and walk. I have to turn off the phone and not have too much stimulation. Now is the time to get out my first aid kit. It contains ambient music, books, exercise, essential oils, candles, soup, a fruit platter, gardening, art, writing, playing with my daughter, the theatre and retreat. I am a happy woman with a tortured soul. It is quite the dichotomy. I have had to save my life many times over. There have been mountains that have seemed unconquerable; events too awful at first glance to be survivable. I have had to make that choice.

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There is hope beckoning to me outside the bramble where I lay. There always has been. I cut through the brackets to reach my friends, and my life. Life as a smiling, laughing depressive can be confusing. It is concealed from other people, and felt behind the scenes. “You are always smiling and appear happy darling,” an elderly friend once said, “but I see the sadness in your eyes when you think nobody is looking.” I told her she was far too perceptive. I think my spirit animal is the phoenix. Ignited by passion and a love of life, and consumed by the same. Perishing and emerging in an endless cycle. You can be the most positive, joyous person around, and still be pursued by depression and anxiety. The two states eye each other off warily. As long as you have a jar of marbles, you will never lose your own. My fairy lanterns are visible proof of an illumination inside my mind which can never be extinguished, despite the odds.

We are stronger than we believe we are, and can survive what we thought we couldn’t. We are also fragile, and deserving of kindness. If you have been through trauma, your brain has been left battered and bruised. It needs love and time set aside in its quest for reparation. I can’t help being an extroverted introvert. It’s who I am. I love people, and socializing and I also adore being alone. The same is true for being a smiling depressive. I love this life, and have had to reconcile the fact I was almost destroyed by it. My path isn’t paved, and nor is it straight. At least I have my lantern to light my way.

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Respect Award


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The wonderful Rob Goldstein has honoured me with the Respect Award. Thankyou, Rob! I am humbled. Please go check out his extraordinary blog. The feeling is entirely mutual.

There are no rules to this award. I nominate the following, some of whom are new and would love a visit! If I had time, I would have added many more, all of whom are deserving of this award.

Leisa

The Empathy Queen

Seachy

Gentle Kindness

Memoir Notes

Thistles and Kiwis

Musings of an Old Fart
 

 

Slowing Down and Crumbling Spines


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I seem to have entered the next phase of my journey. I had been trying to cope with my spinal pain with minimal pain relief for several years, something I can no longer do. My MRI results showed that the remaining discs are reduced to something akin to chalk-dust and my spine is riddled with arthritis, pressing on the nerves. The pain management program has ramped up, and is necessary to keep me moving. I have had a strange sense of vulnerability as a result. Some of the medication makes me tired, and I have had to have early nights. I find it hard to remember the names of people I don’t see often, and find going to large social events trying, as I am away with the pixie’s. I want to be quiet, have rest and not have too many commitments. Sitting for long periods is agonizing and I need to move around. I have to plan everything well in advance, even the weight in the lunchbox I carry when attending excursions with my daughter. I am dreading winter as I know too well the agony that grips my frame. I have to know the time it will take to get somewhere and when I can expect to leave. If I am prolonged, it can mean a day in bed afterward. A day lost. I have left items in stores as the weight would be too much to carry. I have had to pardon myself from the table so I can move around outside. There are hundreds of examples I could give you. Things people without this damage wouldn’t think about at all. My doctor said that elderly ladies’ she knows find their spinal pain excruciating when ironing. I need to dose myself up before this task, and look on with dismay as the laundry basket fills with items needing to be ironed. I have the spine of an eighty year old, and somehow it has to keep me going for the next half of my life.

My daughter and I have a synchronised routine. At the dishwasher, she deals with the lower section. She loads the front-loader in the laundry and puts the washing on the line and takes it off. We have our dance, and it works well, an unwritten love and understanding flowing back and forth. I have high hopes that within the next decade, they will be able to rebuild and strengthen backs with a simple injection. I am walking several kilometres most days, in spite of the pain. Living in a semi-rural environment helps you escape the confines of your body and focus instead on the nearby river, the kookaburra’s and cockatoos, their laughter delighting  my angst-ridden mind.

I need to have some of my back teeth rebuilt, after they came loose on a sesame cracker. I would rather have spinal surgery, the truth be told! You have to laugh; I was trying to limit my intake of bread, so for lunch ate these gluten-free, rock-hard crackers, and lost my teeth! Even if I end up in a wheelchair, I honestly wont mind. I am so grateful for the years I have had being able to walk. I am grateful I got to carry this child, despite the odds. I am happy with my lot in life, even if I have to plan my itinerary of a day as if embarking on a mountain trek! It is about focusing on what you have, not what has been subtracted from your life. I will need to recalibrate my life, and my expectations of myself, but it wont be the first time I have had to do so. The headaches from the Lyrica have finally stopped, just as I have been advised to double the dose. Always a mountain to climb. As long as the backpack holds a tolerable weight, it will be okay.

 

Thank you so much.


Sad news from Heather. Hopefully we can raise the profile of the site from where she plans to sell her art.

Heathers Helpers

Hello all!
This blog is a hard one to write.
Blog #280. Over 3,000 readers and over 40,000 visitors…
I truly can’t believe I had that much to say, to share, to enjoy with each of you.
It’s been wonderful.

I have needed to make the very difficult decision to stop writing the blog for several reasons. The main reason being the amount of time that I dedicate to it. I spent a lot of time each week researching, writing and thinking about this blog. I enjoyed every minute of it but sadly, it is not a source of income for me (or anyone that I know).

Money was not a huge factor until my husbands workplace burned down 6 weeks ago. We are now very strapped for money, finding it difficult to afford even the necessities and while I know that we are still more fortunate than most of…

View original post 378 more words

It’s None of your Business


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The light within is extinguished when gossip hits our ears and is relayed with our mouths.

 

I have always wondered about the intent of those who gleefully inform you that others have been talking about you. I have had it happen on occasion, and it is always embarrassing, humiliating and hurtful. Often the information is passed onto you with a smile, as though this is quite an enjoyable activity. The problem is that you don’t know the context in which the person was talking about you. Was your name brought up in conversation, and then something was said in passing? Were they tired, depressed, had too much to drink or angry at the time? We all slip up and say things in the heat of the moment. I would be more wary of the person who passes this information onto you. What good does it do? It can break friendships apart and cause you to retreat into yourself. It certainly doesn’t make you feel great. I don’t buy that you are informed for your benefit.

When somebody tells me something in confidence, it is kept private. That person may be having issues with a mutual friend, and I will try to help iron out a resolution. Imagine if I went to the other person and informed them that X said Y? Not only would it inflame matters, but it wouldn’t leave anyone feeling great. Discretion is necessary in friendships. I believe we all have a pretty good instinct as to whom is in our court, and who isn’t. We don’t need to hear this extraneous stuff from a third party. I have seen many friendship groups fall apart for this reason. If I ever hear stuff about a person, it dies when it hits my ears, and is never repeated from my lips. Life is challenging enough, without engaging in gossip!

People come to you with their own baggage. Imagine if someone has a terror of rejection, and you are flat-out at work at a certain point in time. They may complain that you aren’t there for them to someone else, or that you haven’t seen them. If this is relayed back to you, you may become angry at their lack of understanding of how hectic your life is. If left alone, you get in touch when you can, and have a delightful catch-up with this friend. It isn’t our job to run around informing others as to what was said in the heat of the moment. It’s schoolyard shenanigans, not befitting grown-ups.

You don’t diminish in worth by hearing that someone has said something mean about you, and you don’t increase in worth by hearing that someone approves of you. What you think about yourself is what matters. Remember, what others say about you is none of your business, and perhaps gently inform the gossiper of the same.

 

Leisa’s Blog


I have had the pleasure of being Leisa’s friend for several years, and her integrity, kindness and empathetic nature hold her in good stead as a counsellor and wellness coach.I was beyond excited to find that she has recently joined our WordPress family! Check out her blog here and show her some love!