Travelling – and losing the travel spirit

hahndorf adelaide 024

 

Lena’s unsettled and troublesome again. Nurses are barely coping with her demands and verbal tirades. The nurse on duty handed her mobile phone to Lena after asking me if I could oblige by calming her down. I distracted Lena with talk of birds and trees, rivers and oceans, bandicoots and numbats.

That’s what drew me to Lena in the first place, ten or so years ago. Finally I’d found a friend who understood and shared my passion for nature. People in general considered me a tad weird, but with Lena it was different. Nature touched her soul and warmed her to the core, just as it did me. We enjoyed the bushland together, admiring the details that most people inadvertently stepped on, unnoticed. At the time I felt blessed.

But it wasn’t long before her controlling, manipulating, judgmental manner shone through. It was too late. She had me in her clutches and she knew I was too ‘nice’ to abandon the physically disabled elderly and lonely woman who loved and depended on me.

She was totally unaware how her toxic energy sabotaged all her potential friendships and every event or project she undertook in her life. I mean, I don’t get how an intelligent adult could possibly not have any idea of the reality of the world around them or how they affect it. But that’s the way she was.

Of course Lena had good traits. She was generous with her time, and donated as much money as she could afford to worthwhile causes on a regular and continual basis. She did volunteer work and helped people whenever the opportunity arose. I admired her determination to be as independent as possible through her daily struggles to conduct a normal as possible life despite her physical disabilities. She was an exceptional human being in many ways.

But after every visit I paid to her on the other side of the country, I came home extremely stressed and depressed, and without exaggeration, teetered on the edge of self harm more than once. I tried to disengage myself from her, but she wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, wouldn’t listen to any explanation. To be successful in exiting her life completely, I would have had to change my phone number, move house, and my husband and I would have both have had to change jobs, leave our home town and god knows what other measures that hadn’t occurred to me. She was addicted to me. She didn’t know the difference between ‘need’ and ‘love’.

Lena’s old-age has taken over her body, moving in on her mind, and she is now confined to hospital awaiting aged care placement. It’s a sad situation. Dementia is a cruel affliction and her immobility makes matters worse. Not surprisingly, she has no family or firm friends, except me. And me is all she wants, every day. I’m at my wits end as to how to manage her demands. In private, I get angry and tearful. And torn between guilt and self-preservation.

We travelled with the caravan all day today to reach Lena. The scenery was lovely with green paddocks and greener than green grain crops, flooded creeks, expanses of swollen waterways with ducks and waterbirds taking advantage of recent downpours, eucalypt woodland, flowering heath and historic towns. But I was preoccupied arguing with the voice in my head and coping with my knotted chest. My Old Mate and I have lost the urge to continue our once-in-a-lifetime holiday, and after I’ve done all I can for Lena, we’ll start heading across the country towards home, a few months earlier than planned.

Our choices are our own responsibility, I know. So I have no one to blame but myself. I’m aware of that. I’ve got a lot still to learn about self-compassion, but the lessons I’ve been given during my association with Lena have been valuable. I hope the rain has let up by morning so I can go for a long walk on the beach before I tackle what’s waiting for me. Nature nurtures me, and I’m grateful for the blessings of sunshine and rain, earth and wind to sustain me, to give me strength and resolve.

hahndorf adelaide 020

 

Travelling – Raw power and subtle beauty of coastal Outback

Blog coastal outback 6

A raptor perches on its monstrous nest protecting its offspring from spray as a backdrop of waves bounce with a thunderous roar, just metres from reach. Its mate returns to relieve her from nest duties, food in claws for their young.

‘Powerful’. That would be the word that dominates. Raw, uncontrollable power of the sea. Mountains of white spray bursting from the ocean, exploding, reaching high into the blueness of the sky for a brief moment of splendor, only to collapse at the feet of the jagged rocky coastline into a churning whirlpool. Repeat. I watched the awesome sight in absolute wonder.

Blog coastal outback 5

Coastal Outback north of Carnarvon (Western Australia) was a change from the wildflower-dusted inland we’d been exploring. Harsh, but with a discernible serenity. Hard, but with a subtle softness. Captivating beauty.

Blog coastal outback 1

The people who historically attempted to tame and farm this land held a misplaced vision. This is wild land. It belongs to Nature alone.

Blog coastal outback 3

No grazing stock in sight, decommissioned windmills taken over by nesting ravens – the station now hosts tourists: game fishing, surfing, diving and camping. I feel privileged to have access to this magnificent stretch of coastal outback.

Looking for shade to sit and make a cuppa, there were no trees, only low acacia woodland, saltbush and samphire, and mounds of dead and broken shrubbery. The Outback. But we found a patch of shade by a wet saltpan, made a cup of tea and enjoyed watching Red-capped Plovers dart in random zig-zagging patterns through the shallow pools. Intense red sand contrasted brilliantly against the shimmering patches of moisture and the blue desert sky.

Blog coastal outback 2

Songs of Pied Honey-eaters and Blue-winged Fairy-wrens entertained us. Such delicate creatures make their home in harsh and unforgiving country. And we are reminded of the harshness by bleached bones of a beast lying alone on the silent sand. Today there is water. Yesterday and tomorrow are different stories again.

Blog coastal outback 4

 

 

 

Travelling – Much beauty in the details

Swollen buds waiting for springtime warmth, when they’ll burst into bloom. Wattle, not so patient, boasting golden fluff-balls already. Bold. Moss, greener than green. Spongy, adorned with undefined plant pits and pieces. And lichen, growing in ever-widening circles on rock faces. Fascinating. There are little niches for every life-form.

Purple spots on tiny white petals, hugging the mossy surface. I call them Snowdrops. My mother named them, and it stuck. Delicate, exquisite miniature bronzed insect-snatching tentacles of Sundews climbing to the light. Dots of sticky ‘dew’ on each lethal hair.

Details. Little things.

A bulging half-moon hangs in the blueness, unwilling to fade as you would expect it should by mid-morning. Tiny parcels of beauty everywhere, only needing appreciative eyes to unwrap them. I see them. All the natural gems nestling among the rocks and shrubs, hiding, but obvious to the grateful nature-lover.

Dull minds with eyes only for material gizmos and modernism will miss these treasures. Pity, for the more humans aware of the value of intricate and specialised eco-systems, the more our planet home will be preserved. But I don’t let that thought spoil my morning in the bush. My spirit is lifted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Travelling – Talking to the Universe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I don’t need a special place to talk to the Universe, but sometimes I want a special place. Not a temple, not a mountain sanctuary or ethereal shrine. Just a private little spot surrounded by nature. A sacred hushed nook where I can connect to all around me without man-made dynamics bouncing off the walls, stifling the communication.

Devoting myself physically and emotionally to an infirm and unhinged friend has taken it’s toll. My heart is heavy. My spirit dull. I once thought my vocation lay in volunteering at a hospital or other care facility. NO. I’ll find my place caring for the land instead. But today I’m intent on talking to the Universe. I need inspiration and encouragement.

A break in the rain. A lull in the wind. I strode into the bush with purpose, fizzing with excitement.

Confronted with a massive granite outcrop, towering over me and curling over like a breaker in the surf, I just stood open-mouthed in awe. Stained by running and dripping water for millennia, ochre and black vertical bands shone in the midday sun. Not a famous rock. Nothing advertised as a tourist must-see. An off-shoot from a muddy rural road. Way out in the back blocks from Mukinbudin (yes, Muck-in-budd-in).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Following a sort-of trail, over fallen logs, under dangling branches, I came by a small, damp, green alcove that had my name on it.  Only metres from the rock-face, a wattle tree blooming, twiggy saplings at the back, and totally devoid of anything remotely human. Solitude, except for the sweet songs of robins and fantails.

I cupped my hands and drank rainwater from a hole in the rock. Earthy. Refreshing. The sun shone from a blue, blue sky. Two magnificent eagles glided overhead.

Flat stones lying at the base of the outcrop begged to form a circle for my meditation. And, meditate, I did. And pray.  Asking for some semblance of sense of stuff clogging up my head. Ask, and you shall receive. A spark has been lit.

Sprinkles of rain. A stiff breeze whipping cold around me. Time to leave. I left my rocky circle as a gift to whoever might be inspired to use it in the future. It’s only a little meander off the walking trail. I wonder, in a year, will my circle still remain in tact?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My first card reading

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Earlier in the year when my daughter and I attended the Mind/Body/Spirit festival in Brisbane, I purchased a deck of intuitive-reading cards. I already have an oracle deck, but hadn’t been inspired to read them. My Old Mate and I have been travelling Australia with our caravan for more than 4 months now, but we’ve suspended our trip so that I can prepare a friend for nursing home entry. Besides being physically disabled, she has dementia.

Dementia. What a horrid, horrid affliction. My mother died with dementia only a few years ago. All that goes with it is still raw for me, and I’m struggling to cope day to day with this current situation. Depression had taken hold of me, and it’s only today that I’ve begun to take control of my emotions.

Following a disturbing and sad visit to the hospital this morning, I was inspired to take up my new deck of cards. Despite not having yet cleansed or blessed my cards, I shuffled them and picked a card – it read:

PARADISE

A message from your departed loved ones: ‘We are with you always as we hear your words and watch you tenderly from above. We love you.’

How very appropriate. My interpretation of ‘Paradise’ at this point in time, is ‘the afterlife’, where our true and complete soul is revealed to us after death. What could be a more sublime paradise than a place where we are finally connected to all that is,all that was, and all that will be – the realm between life lost and re-incarnation.

My parents are my only close loved ones who have passed in my adult life. I was with them both in their final time on Earth, and I’ve consulted them often since, when I’ve had questions of importance, when I’ve suffered disconnection, or wished to know them more intimately than I achieved.

I feel close connection to the reality behind the message my cards whispered to me today. I know that my father is guiding me. I’ve sensed it since his death, even though he gave me no guidance through his lifetime. Unfortunately I’ve had no intuition that my mother is with me, but I feel blessed knowing my father is watching over me. I feel nurtured, and I feel that he’s sharing his new-found wisdom with me – wisdom that he didn’t possess in his most recent lifetime.

Now, I’ve been reminded that my father’s spirit is touching my heart always, and I feel resilience that I didn’t have a few days ago. I am blessed.

The card pictures an empty rocking chair, and golden light. Although my father no longer sits in the chair, his spirit and love is in the light everywhere, all the time – I simply need to to recognise the light and be guided. I am reminded to remember. And the card says “We” love you – thus: even though I do not feel Mum near, my father wants me to know that she loves me. She is helping others, elsewhere – I accept that, and I am pleased.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Travelling – it’s not just about seeing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For me, a place doesn’t need to be spectacular to have a breathtaking affect upon me.

Wind howled around the caravan yesterday from dawn til dark, forcing me indoors for the day, so I was out walking on the beach first thing this morning in the stillness of the early light. It was spectacular in a simple, ordinary way.

Time enough had not elapsed to putrefy the weedy mat that yesterday’s storms had dumped on the beach. A day of sunshine would bring out the stench, so then the beauty will be much diminished. Strangely, the sound of the waves was muted by the cushion of weed. Although the waves were breaking right at my feet, they sounded way off in the distance.

I walked to the sandy peninsular, free of marine grass where the waves were given free reign to tumble and roll – translucent green falling onto white sand with a scattering of seashell fragments. The sky was grey, but many delicate shades from violet to blue to grey and back to white. Such elegance.

An old man exercised his dog. A young man stood in the water, fishing. Terns and gulls claimed their patch of sand to rest. Rays of sun occasionally cast golden light on the many jagged limestone rocky outcrops in the ocean. And windswept clumps of dune-grass still holding droplets of rain looked, to me, as splendid as any wildflowers.

My connection to the landscape and every component of this scene was automatic and strong. Nature touched my soul, uplifted me, and left me with a feeling of  wholeness and gratitude.

In contrast, we then visited the Pinnacles Desert – a truly spectacular and astounding ancient natural site. And although I was suitably impressed, little emotion was evoked.

Blog cervantes 1

And that’s an integral part of me. It doesn’t take some monumental icon or tourist attraction to wow me. For me, it’s all about what moves me emotionally, what touches my heart and soul, a connection, a feeling of being nurtured and of belonging – not me belonging to a particular place or a place being somehow mine simply because I’m a citizen of this country, but a merging: a feeling of oneness. A beauty and serenity that is within and around me. Something subtle yet obvious, to me. Yes, a feeling, a connection, an awareness.

Often, a fantastic attraction that sees hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of tourists or visitors annually, leaves me dulled, presumably by the massive whirlpool of energy that remains – in comparison, a simple natural place that is only visited by those who are delighted by solitude and understated beauty can be spiritually awesome, for me. Today, the two separate places left me mulling over the unmistakable difference that grand and simple can often affect upon me, and why, and I am more aware of me as a result.

Blog cervantes 2

Toxic energy – walk away from it

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A ball of toxic energy. In human form. Festering. Spilling over. Seeping into the immediate surrounds, and beyond. Far beyond. Day and night. Thick black cords entangling unsuspecting victims. At worst, shards of invisible, dark, razor-sharp horribleness infecting people near and dear.

She sits, staring into her lap, consumed by misery. Self-absorbed. Inconsolable. Toxic.

Our life is the direct or indirect result of OUR OWN CHOICES. Our choices alone. It’s not some other person’s fault, not the system, not good luck or bad luck, not chance, and certainly not our birthright. Even when karma comes into play, it is still our choices that set karmic energy into motion. Karmic debts must be balanced.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s difficult for me to articulate this lacking of basic life force. It’s a wasteland that only humans can create within their own being. This emptiness is not inherited, it is not given to you by those who might have mistreated you, it is not a result of loss or misfortune. It is of our own doing. Our own making.

Kindness, love and gratitude come natural to me. That’s how I live. I don’t have to think about it. It’s not simply doing kindness, love and gratitude; it’s being kindness, love and gratitude. To generate this beautiful gift and bestow it upon every person that comes into your life or passes by, a person must BE that beautiful light. Of course I’m not talking about aesthetics here – I’m talking about what’s inside: the soul you have become through self-discovery, change and growth. Conscious living.

I try to walk away from people who are harmful in an energetic sense, but I haven’t  yet mastered self-compassion to a point where I can always do this. Commitment wins over. Time is not on my side, and I’m aware that more than this lifetime will be needed for me to learn the lesson of self-compassion well. But my advice to others will always be to “walk away from toxic people if you are not able to initiate the spark of self-awareness in them whereby growth and change is undertaken” – truly, this is the only healthful path.

Blog escape from toxic energy