Wilderness — A Meditation

Monday, March 31, 2008

What makes life worthwhile or why climb out of bed in the morning?

What makes my heart sing these days? A new opportunity, random acts of kindness, smiles, birdsong (NOT a hundred lorikeets), golden orb spider webs, spring blossoms, the first cool night of autumn, an unexpected turn of good luck, a visit from one of my children, playing Darth Vader with my 4 yr. old grandson, sunrise, rain on the roof at dawn, seeing a barefoot pedestrian in the CBD; You know..the list is endless. Every day is such an amazing opportunity and I know there are maybe only 20 years more of them to each one seems absolutely amazing.

My ultimate goal at this point is to keep my mind working in an acceptable manner..My mom died with senile dementia.. her loss of personality was a loss to all of us..her brain had turned into a jellyfish minus the tendrils..I want to live the rest of my life with more cognition that she had at the end.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Rainy Day People

Woke this Friday morning to rain on the tin roof! Resounding rain. That was at 3 a.m. according to my little red digital clock face. That sound was a good reason to roll over and slip back into blissful sleep. The next thing I remember waa 6:45 and the Aussie sitting up. Mumbling a good morning, I once again rolled over realizing that I probably wouldn't be able to go back to sleep but loving the warm covers, the soft air created by all that moisture, and finally stretched into wakefulness.

Coffee first, you know! And then reading email, sorting through the news of the day, and enjoying brekkie on the back veranda with the fellow who makes the best oatmeal in the world.

And here I am dressed, coiffed, and about to begin my day. Rain has stopped, clouds have lifted a bit, but no blue skies to be seen out of my office windows looking over the hollow, valley, to the north. I think it's gonna be one of those amazing relaxed days, cool and energetic, but relaxing.

I hope your day has begun with as much pleasure as has mine!! Be well

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Avoidance is a characteristic that drives me nuts - especially when I find myself deeply involved in the process.

Today is one of those days when it's easier to do nothing whatsoever rather than tackle the real jobs that need doing. The teak veranda furniture needs oiling, the washing needs to come down from the line, ironing needs to be done, the dish washer needs unloading, and several books need reading. My taxes need to be finished (I filed an extension since I knew I wouldn't have them ready in time) and my banking needs to be completed.

And what have I spent my entire day doing insted of these household tasks?

Well, I went shopping for Graham's birthday presents - his birthday is tomorrow.
I think that's all I have done today except soduku with which I am well and properly bored.

I did NOT exercise. I did not fix breakfast. I did not fix lunch. I substituted dark chocolate covered licorice for both meals and my tummy is complaining justifiably.

I am missing my youngest child who spent a week with me here in Brisbane and flew off to Japan yesterday morning. One ought to mourn one day, but two is a bit extensive in the mourning department.

I loved having him and his lovely Japanese partner here in the house. I loved the energy of having my child in my space. I loved long talks on the front veranda in the morning and longer talks on the back veranda in the evenings.

I miss my family. I will recover and do my tasks including working on Das Book sometime on Friday. You see, I find multiple excuses for putting it all off for the time being.

Just thought I'd share. Happy Thursday to you all..or Wednesday if that is your tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Front Garden

Oh yeah..the front garden. Haven't ventured out there today cause yesterday I did one of my fancy back flips into the duff! My left elbow took the blow rather gracefully managing to miss all the rocks and various roots that I had just carefully trimmed.

How did I fall this time? Only the goddess knows, but the best part of the whole athletic adventure is that I broke nothing this time, just bruised my elbow, a bruise from which I will soon recover.

The garden looks good..minus various and sundry vines that had taken over whilst we were sojourning in nordamerika.

On Thursday I'll head to Neilson's Native Nursery to buy some new natives to brighten up the edges of the shrubbery. Those that I had put into the ground just before leaving Oz in December have done well. One died and seven or eight thrived. Hooray for natives. More on the way.

Matt arrives tomorrow for two weeks in Australia. I am so looking forward to our early morning meeting at Brisbane International. It is good to have one's son in the house.

So, I will try and write tomorrow..but if I fail, you will know why.

be well..have a fine week.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Feeling like an outlander

Yesterday in celebration of International Woman's Day, I performed my obeisance to the status of women in Australia.

Twasn't a very comfy position to find myself in. Suddenly, I felt the entire cloak of invisibility fall from my shoulders and was reminded that I am indeed an Amerikan, not an Australian. Not that I have ever pretended to be an Australian. Not even that I might want to become Australian. I just felt completely like I was an outsider, one who neither understood nor was accepted in the society of this down under continent.

As always, such an occurrence happened in the company of academics, well, really in the company of one academic, and probably an MBTI 'T' academic. That is, to this man compassion is non-existent.

"Aussies love American language, the vigour with which the words are uttered. Butt instead of bum. How much more expressive that word is."

And just how does one handle such a remark? I'm not the quickest kid on the block; I'm unlikely to win any wit race. Better to allow the whole sarcasm to just linger until it dies from a lack of response. I do a great turtle. I just don't manage to reach the finish line. I leave instead. Which is precisely what I did. The first one to exit the celebration. The first to wander home where I can continue to pretend that my language is quite similar to that of the people with whom I converse on a regular basis. Well, most of the time.

I must admit before I finish here that I did my own share of criticism or, as I would describe it, commentary on the morass that is Australian education. And that may well have set me up for what followed.

And so, this morning I am reminded that I am an outlander who is a visitor to this lovely paradise, not a native, not a voter, not an intellect whose thoughts are worthy of consideration.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

International Woman's Day

Because this week end includes International Woman's Day and because I will be celebrating this event in the company of some unique Aussie blokettes, I wanted to share the biography I wrote recently about one Australian feminist whom you really ought to know.

Who Came Before -

A Midwife to the Australian Goddess Community:

thea Gaia

The midwife of the Australian goddess community is thea Gaia, living in Canberra with Gaia herself, a larger than life ceramic statue who stands in the garden holding earth's energy. Meanwhile, thea holds the feminine space in the capitol of Australian goddess circles. Ordained as Queensland's first female Congregational minister in 1959, thea gave twenty years of her professional life to the Christian women of Australia representing them in four global Christian women's conferences in the Philippines, Japan, and Hong Kong.

In 1979, while ministering with the women of South Australia in Adelaide, thea resigned her membership in the Congregational community because she questioned "the impact of religious systems on one's spirituality".

Thus began thea's own search for and modelling of goddess spirituality. "When asked about my spirituality today, it is enough to say I am Woman." Indeed, thea has spent the entirety of her career as a planetary citizen promoting the concept that 'Interaction is essential" and that being woman is a spiritual celebration.

On her subsequent journeys, thea has proclaimed that a goddess community excels "in witnessing the feelings of her participants, in supporting those feelings and at the same time empowering women to take their place in society". Thea is a human being with the particularity of woman. "Because I am particularly a woman, I want to live out that particularity to the fullest in such a way that connects with the particularity of other women."

Since 1979 when thea left the religious community to follow the labyrinth leading to her spirituality, she has helped to create community across the nation, indeed across the globe, where women can move through their journey with feminine support.

Aware of the synchronicity created by Gaia in her life, thea contends, "We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before." In 1982 she changed her name from Dorothy, gift of god, to Thea Rainbow, asserting she was not the gift of god, but the goddess herself. Finally, in 1994 she took the name thea Gaia, the goddess energy of earth.

In 1981 the Rainbow Circle was one of the first women's communities initiated by thea and other feminist Australians. Woman's Spirit Rising, a Canberra goddess community, created the first Womandala in which the complexities and beauty of the female was celebrated.

Women in Labour and Women in Education conferences as well as the Teaching the Light Conference in 1993 invited thea to keynote the proceedings. Myriad mental health and spiritual heritage courses raising goddess consciousness were co-taught by thea for the University systems in Australia.
Thea, the maven of the goddess, was responsible for the creation of Gaia's Woman's Space in 1992 where she contributed the concept of a woman's connective rather than a woman's collective. In 1994 the first Woman's Spirituality Conference in Australia honoured the individuality of members and in its rituals, centred around women's cycles. Thea asserted that, "I'm true to life. I am true to my life; I acknowledge that my life comes in a woman's form. I undertake to lead a life with a woman's wisdom to create spiritual paths, to affirm women, to use female symbols."

Each transition in a woman's life needs to be recognized and celebrated in symbolic ritual, ritual drumming, ritual dancing, and in Australia with southern hemisphere ritual recognitions. The Becoming Female gathering burst previous boundaries as those involved used rituals around women's cycles to mark the transitions of women in Australia. Thea was instrumental in the foundation of Sisters of Gaia in 1997 of which groups exist today in Coffs Harbour, Melbourne, and Canberra. Thea's presentation at the first goddess conference in Melbourne using dance, art, and monologue, presented a woman's journey as passage through the labyrinth.

Thea's networking is the avenue through which synchronicity begins to play a role in women's groups doing the work for the future as she urges women to remember where we come from as the process of reactivating the journey. Finally, thea reminds us, 'Life is an awesome experience; let us promote that sense of awe". Thea's involvement in goddess spirituality reminds us that the experiential is as valuable as the intellectual, that "interaction is essential as we learn to be our own authority."

Friday, March 07, 2008

A Delicious autumn morning

Rising early has certain disadvantages, you know. This morning, the Butcher Bird was in full voice just after dawn; well, just before dawn which officially doesn't occur until almost 6 a.m. I was well awake when he began his serenade, snuggled deep into covers on a cool autumn morning.

As my Aussie partner awoke, he rolled over to note that I had had a restless night. "Was your knee bothering you," he asked?

"Oh, no," I smiled. "I dreampt that I was learning how to play football. Went on and on and on."

We laughed softly at the idea of a 67 year old learning new tricks and I realized that I had been quite actively blocking - you know,pushing one of those 'blocking devices' down the grass.

Dreams are forever opening new vantage points into the psyche, but I'm gonna have to do some work on deciphering this one.

So, I'm off to town for a haircut. Catch you laters!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Spider bait

Yuppers! That's me: spider bait.

Whilst (don'tcha just love that word?) we were travelling for two and a half months in the northern hemisphere, the rains came to south eastern Queensland - scads and scads of rain. The damns were at only 17% capacity when we left. Upon our return they had reached a high of 40%. That's a lot of water falling from the skies.

And what does that water have to do with spiders? Do you recall the nursery rhyme - tinsy einsy spider crawls up the water spout?

Not only did the rains come, but the greenery in my front garden overwhelmed the space I had allotted it. The vines grew up and over the lovely yellow picket fence and bagan to overwhelm the sidewalks. Even the lovely Frangipani in the side garden took wing and left little space under which folks could walk past (passed) our house.

My immediate job was to rescue the fence before the vines pulled it down...and so wade into the morass of green I did, but as always without thinking carefully about the process first.

In my black running shorts, my tivas, my hat to protect me from the sun and my sunnies to protect my eyes from the development of further catarracts. My face and eyes protected, I gave little heed to the needs of my ankles, knees,thighs, elbows all of which acted kind of like the 'water spout'..a place for the tenents of my garden to escape.

Spider food! Those damned Aussie spiders are spiteful! And they attacked. Along with the stinging ants whose bites really do hurt. I found red welts covering my legs and arms (actually, I had trouble finding my legs and arms. All I could see were the red welts) when I came in to shower after my bout with the kudzu..or whatever the name of the Aussie cousin to the South American fast growing vine.

As I sit here typing, I am itchy! Scratching has become my favourite activity - especially the itchy welts on which I sit. Go ahead laugh as you see my friends and family squirm as I sit at the supper table contstantly scratching. That's one way to eat less and it works for the others at table as well. They can think of a whole lot of other activities that would be more interesting than watching me scratch.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Dead Hard Drives

g'day from sunny downtown Brisbane..

We have had no rain since our return to the east coast of Australia but whilst we were travelling in the northern hemisphere the area dams increased their storage of water from 17% to 40%. And the century old Queensland Colonial in which we live smelled like it had rained just that much - musty is the word.

It feels good to allow the whole place to air out. All windows open, baking soda sprinkled in all the trash baskets and in the refrigerator. Sunshine,glorious sunshine does the rest.

Summer really seems to have passed. Temps are comfortably cool. Night time sleeping is enhanced not only by jet lag, but also by breezes through the open veranda doors.

As for the only complaint I might have about my return - My Apple G-5..the one with the double processor, faster than a speeding bullet on the web..Yeah, that one! Crashed the second day we were home.

It currently sits in the Apple Emergency Room and hopefully with the help of technicians will live to dance across cyber space once again sometime in the not too distant future.

In the meantime, my prayers to the cyber goddess plead for recovery of most if not all of the information on the old hard drive! Two in the Bush, the amazing story of two outlanders arriving in Australia to partner a couple of down under blokes, was backed up on dvd discs, but the notes to support the story were not. Journals covering the past seven years were not.

You have my permission to pray to whatever power seems to you most likely to help in recovery not only of the mighty G-5 but also of the contents of that Hard Disc.

Happy Wednesday from Oz..

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig! * * * * Back in the saddle again!

Too many well-worn phrases for you?

Yeah, I know.

I sit here in my comfy office chair, pillow tucked behind my back, computer humming in a friendly manner beside me, huge screen blocking my only view of lovely downtown Brisbane. And I write again after a three month vacation.

Well, that's not quite true. We fled the humid warmth of central east coast Oz for the colder environs of west coast Nordamerika on 27 December 2007. We returned to Kookaburra and Butcher Bird songsters this past Friday, 29 February 2008.

And a fine time was had by all. Not only did we enjoy ourselves in the wintry Sierra Nevada and in the beautiful northern Rockies of Montana as well as in the mid coast Monterey Peninsula, but there are stories to tell a plenty in the next few days of the adventures of Mo and Jeff, traveling duo from Down Under.

It is good to be home again, to snuggle into the soft sheepskin cover of our Brisbane mattress. To be awakened early by body clocks that believe an Australian 3 a.m. is really 9 a.m. west coast American time. To drink our first flat whites the very day we return to Brisbane.

Taste is a strong motivator, urging us to fly the 15 hours south west to reach the east coast of Australia where we could once again enjoy the coffee that we tried unsuccessfully many times to replicate in North America.

And so, coffee in hand, there are many tales to tell, many adventures to relate in the next few days. And of course, many friends to thank for making our winter sojourn such a joy.

Thank you all!

Ensuing posts will fill in details of Siskiyou Pass, of learning to cross country ski, of crop dusters hovering over lost roads in the southern great valley of California, of grandsons, children, friendhip, rain, snow, and quiet meanderings along the way.

It is good to be home again. It is good to think of ways to tell the story of endless seasons, of family, of friends, of the joys of being alive.