My first card reading

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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 husband 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 infliction. 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 and mental condition.

Following a disturbing and very 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 and was and will be.

My parents are my only 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 last 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.

 

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Travelling – it’s not just about seeing

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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.

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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.

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Travelling – The incredible beauty of solitude and nature

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA tranquil expanse of water, stretching into the sky, glittering in the sunshine as it merges with the horizon. Slow moving rippling light is reflected from the water surface to the underside of bleached paperbark limbs reaching over the inlet, branches dangling into the water.

Whirring wings of honeyeaters and chirping chatter of fairywrens. Nature’s music. The sky is blue, the earth is damp.

Solitude. No-one else’s energy or thoughts to deflect – just nature emitting nurturing energy. As I rest in the shade, Mother Earth’s chilly fingertips brush my neck and bare arms, and I shiver involuntarily.

Alone with nature – four elements of earth, fire, air, water – all speak to my senses. Although it’s a ‘place’ I’m sitting at and admiring, it’s more than a ‘place’. It’s a part of everything that the universe encompasses – and I’m a part of all that.

A special moment where the birds jump about my feet – unthreatened by my presence because my energy is totally loving and giving. I want nothing from them, just the privilege of sharing their company and space.  I shift to sit in the sun and let the fire in the sky warm my back.

When you’re aware of the absolute perfection of solitude and when you feel overwhelming gratitude for the nurturing hand of Mother Nature, clarity trickles over your being, and you know that everything that you have in this moment is all that you need.  There is no temptation to think of the past or the future and all the angst it might hold for you.

Thoughts disappear as I embrace the incredible beauty of solitude and nature.

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Travelling – The people who touch your soul and change you forever

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Having no preconceived expectations when my daughter and I had a 3-day visit to the Mind/Body/Spirit Festival in Brisbane last week was definitely the way to go. We took it as we found it, and we found it exhilarating.

Dressed as a North American Apache, Red Horse danced and told cultural stories, played handmade traditional musical instruments (at least, I’m supposing they were authentic instruments), and wowed audiences with his performances. But more than that, what touched me was his genuine attempt to encourage others to “find your gift, and share it with the world”. He had a meaningful message to spread, and he conveyed it with feeling. His words, his enthusiasm, his natural pride in his ancestry, and his sincerity made an impact on me, touching me deeply.

The second man who reached my soul with his gift to the world was Scott Alexander King from Animal Dreaming Publishing. Initially, I was moved to tears listening to a panel of authors who have been helped and mentored by Scott. This affected me in such a positive way, and at the time I thought that was all there was to his story. But I was in for a real treat the following day as I sat in the audience hearing Scott relate his special gift and share it with others.

Scott sees and communicates with animal spirits, and helps people through life’s troubles and mysteries by ‘reading’ the animal spirits. He was amazing, and that’s an understatement for sure. Tears streamed down my cheeks as he spoke to people about their animal spirits and how they relate to their lives. He has changed my life, and I am so grateful for the impromptu meeting and the sharing of his knowledge and love. He is a special soul.

Then there was Lenore, an elderly woman in the audience who I chatted to waiting for a session to begin. A stranger, an ‘ordinary’ person just like me, and we connected on a soul level for a moment. A beautiful soul.

And I can’t forget the green surprise that was the river precinct at Southbank where we stayed in Brisbane. The city and all involved in the creation and maintenance of this parkland can feel justifiably proud of their contribution to residents and visitors. We swam and relaxed and ate there every day, and again, came away with lovely memories.

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Travelling – The spiritual experience that was Crystal Castle

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Sharing something special with someone special, makes that something special all the more special.

My daughter and I spent the day at Crystal Castle on the north coast hinterland of NSW, and it’s hard to find a word to describe the experience – beautiful first and foremost, absolutely splendid plants adorning a misty mountain setting surrounded by natural rainforest. And crystals; stunning huge and ancient crystals on paths and clearings. Mossy stone statues, bamboo groves, sacred spaces. Seats amongst the garden for solitude. A truly special place.

We started the day taking part in a ritual offering to deities that are ‘simply’ universal energy. It was moving and enlightening. After tea and cake in the cafe overlooking the forested slopes, we wandered at leisure, taking in the beauty and abundant positive energy.

Group meditation with the hauntingly soothing sounds of Tibetan singing bowls, and a crystal workshop, delicious vegetarian food, and peace and quiet. We both took away wonderful memories, love and warmth, and a new perspective on some very old traditions.

 

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There are times when being alone is ideal

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Can spending time alone amongst nature be healing? Can spending time in nature be a spiritual experience? Yes, on both counts.

I was a bit apprehensive about swimming in the river on my own. But at the same time, I was overjoyed that I was on my own. Nature at its most beautiful: a mountain stream, crystal clear, deep, lined by boulders and trees. No man-made sound, no buildings, not even any rubbish. And no other people. Idyllic.

Carefully, I slid into the water, swam to the other side of the river, and sat in shallows above the rapids. Nature chatted amongst itself, with the babbling of the stream a soothing chorus backed by the swishing of eucalypt and she-oak canopy. Occasionally, a bird would add to the song with a musical call. Harmony.

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I lay back watching clouds float by, letting the water trickle over and around me. The sunshine was pleasant. The water was fresh and cool. Mountains upstream towered over the narrow valley. It was a stunning scene, and I was filled with gratitude for my stunning surroundings and the opportunity to immerse myself in Mother Earth’s beauty. Solitude.

At one with nature.

If I’d had to share the experience with a companion, or if strangers were also using the river at that time, the moment would have been something different, not as special, and I would not have been so profoundly touched by the spirit of nature. Often times, experiences are best had alone, and this was one such venture. Bliss.

A soulful experience

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Travelling – The beach of the balancing stones

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It’s like the peace hidden and lying in wait in every person’s heart has emerged, just for a few moments. I wonder if they felt it? And I wonder if they experienced a connection with the other travellers they wandered amongst? And I wonder if any person leaving the beach was changed forever?

There are no directional signs, and it’s not an official tourist attraction, yet the beach is obviously visited by thousands of travellers who contribute to the impromptu art. Balancing towers of rocks and stones against a backdrop of tropical ocean, on the road from Port Douglas in far north Queensland to Cairns. I guess it’s rather unique.

Just picture: all cultures, all religions and all faiths, all political persuasions, all sexual orientations, and a full spectrum of social standings mingling, admiring, and feeling part of something simple that is also something special. And knowing that this simple natural expression of cross-cultural creativity is special. Boundaries have been crossed and walls have come down, and everyone is part of a whole. There are no officials telling dark-skinned people to go there or rich people to go here or heterosexuals to go there. Every person is equal and one with everyone else. A celebration of humanity. That’s how the world should be.

I’m disappointed to find, a few months later, that most of the stone stacks are gone. It doesn’t appear to be an act of wanton destruction by humans, but rather, I think Mother Earth has claimed the stones with boisterous stormy seas. More towers of balancing stones are starting replace those washed away, and I hope the process will be repeated so that people from all over the world and from all walks of life can once again leave their positive energy and creativity for all to enjoy.

I sat on the beach this morning amongst the new art pieces to write, imagining cultures mixing, and all going away with a smile in their hearts.

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