What a ( confusing) Year!

space-earth-sunPersonally, politically, privately and publically. What a year! What a brilliant, bloody, bastard of a year.

We all have stories to tell, memories we will never forget, grief that has not yet healed, plans that blossomed and plans that were crushed. This leap year created new Olympians and destroyed unimaginable potential in the loss of life through war, terror, hunger, inattention, mis-management, and one of the fastest growing maladies in the western world, distraction.

mobile-an-babyWho can honestly say they are mindful and focused and present at least 80% of the time? If you have a smart phone, (that is permanently on) and use the computer (with the internet on) I would venture to say very few people are present even 5% of the time. This of course excludes the normal run of the mill worrying, surviving, complaining, gossiping, blaming, comparing and ladder climbing we subject ourselves to (occasionally).

woman-driver-phoneAnd if you are being living mindfully, how comfortable are you with people who distract themselves in your presence by answering the phone, sending (just this one) SMS, seeming not to hear one word you just said or hear only the last three words.


“She just died.”

“What? When? Who just died?

” Have you been listening to me?”

” Yes of course I have. Every word. WHO just died.!!”

computer-and-mouse” (Sigh) Emily’s mouse. She just died.

“Just put in a new battery!”

“OMG. This is crazy. Emily, my three-year-old daughter’s pet mouse. Her mouse just died. Look I have to go. See you later.”

This year the concept of truth has been seriously challenged. The US election reflects this so clearly. Lies and half truths are shrugged off and many people seem to think its okay because (he didn’t really mean it) Confusing? Totally

refuggee-childrenChildren seeking asylum, help, protection, safety have been let down by the powers that be.  And millions of refugees have poured into Europe seeking a different, a safer, a better life. Europe is flooded with the tides of change. And because we are One world, one people, we too must open our sleepy eyes to the reality that nothing is ever going to be the same.

And then there is a terrorist group who uses an anagram which is the same word as a well loved ancient Egyptian Goddess.

goddess-isisThe Goddess Isis, whose origins stretch back, at the very least, 4500 years from the present, was worshipped as the ideal of motherhood, as a deity who cared for the plight of others, as one who would watch over travelers, and who was ‘Great of Magic’, being able to bring life to the dead.

Her influence was such that her worship continued for more than 3000 years, not only in Egyptian culture, but also by the high civilizations of the ancient Greeks and Romans as well. Even more confusing.

Having said all this I can list 100, no, 1000 things I am whole heartedly grateful for this year. I imagine you can too. The struggle that turned into understanding. The pain that turned into relief, the arguments that turned into compassion, the losses that turned into gifts.

little-girls-fishingI remember not so long ago, my parents and my sister and I would go on holidays to Newport. Seriously, from the eastern suburbs to the northern beaches was our annual holiday. We would sit feet dangling off the jetty with our cork fishing lines and wait for a bite. It felt so far away from our usual life. I never could take the fish off the hook and as we sometimes had a bucket full of tiny fish I suppose my sister Donna was the brave one. Somehow neither of us realized that those little fish would die if left in the bucket for too long.  It came as a shock when we saw those little beings floating upside down.  I think our hearts were cracked open in that moment we realized we are responsible for these little watery beings’ demise.  And that’s the key, I believe to living a well lived fulfilling life.

50276_333752264048_2019054_nLet your heart crack open, cry till there are no more tears, weep when words cannot express what you feel, sob through a good movie, cry with your lover, child, parent, friend, and then, hold the image of You in both hands, put yourself into your open heart and let sorrow, grief, loss and pain transform into love, truth, understanding, laughter and forgiveness.

May you have a gentle safe end to 2016 and may the light of 2017 be more brilliant than your wildest imagination.

Until next year








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When do we Fall….up?

It’s not the first tme. I fell down a flight of stairs about 12 years ago. Nothing broken but oh the pain. So you would think I had learned  my lesson. and heard the warning to stop doing and doing and doing so much. And I thought after waiting three long years for four straight walls to call my own I could cook and cleanfalling-downand babysit and entertain to my hearts desire…. and I did. Until my hearts desire faded and I felt a gentle encroachment of Duty. Now that is not my favourite word. Duty. It leaves me irritated and anxious and beligerent and quarrelsome. Duty. Heavy with shoulds and oughts and have tos and musts. It weighs us down until we have to drag our feet through the mud of,” but I said I would so I have to”, and through the fields of, ” they depend on me so Ill be there”, and through the hot, dry deserts of pain and tiredness and sleepless nights of worry and despair and wishing it could all just STOP.

The step disappeared beneath me and I seemed to float weightlessly for a time and then belly flop onto the pebble covered landing seven steps below.

And as I lay there, realising I was still breathing I actually felt grateful to be alive. And yes, everything had stopped. In that moment I had ‘been’ stopped. 

It will be weeks before my broken foot heals. There are doctors to see and more x-rays to be taken, but, and it’s a big fat but, I feel so protected and supported by the powers that gave me a little push. I know I missed putting on my own brake and I have no doubt They had a big chat about the degree of that push. I landed on my face and yet I did not break anything above the neck. I was protected so well I only have a few scattered bruises. The fall could have been so much worse and I know I was given an opportunity to create true balance in my life in a loving yet unmistakable way.

I always say we teach best what we most need to learn and I have been teaching how to create Balance in our lives for a very long time. What I had forgotten was how to let go of all the have tos and musts and oughts I was creating without feeling guilty and wrong. How to say no to your best friend who needs you to go shopping with her on your one free night of the week. How to say no to your son who needs a lift to the city when you were looking forward to going to the movies. How to say no with love and kindness and a degree of firmness that is understood and accepted. 

The Fall is always an initiation into a higher level of spiritual awareness and growth. And although I could have avoided it had I listened to my own heart, I also know that for a second or two, I was touched by an angel who wanted me to come back to me and re-member who I am. 



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One More Day

space-earth-sunI’ll let you in on a secret. It’s a bit embarrassing but heh, what the heck.

I love leap years. To be more precise, I love February 29. I don’t recall anything particularly memorable happening on February 29, however since I was a little girl I always marvelled that a leap year means you get one more day.

As a child I remember sitting at my wooden desk, listening to Miss England explaining that this year was a leap year. It was 1960 and it was the first time I had ever heard of such a sitting at desk thing. I wondered how children could celebrate their birthday if it only happened every four years. I wondered how anyone could commemorate a significant event if it fell on February 29. It consumed me for years.

Someone, perhaps my father told me, after I shared with him my lingering concern over birthdays on February 29, that he imagines people born on February 29 would celebrate their birthday on March 1 on the non leap years. I thought that was grossly unfair and felt dreadful for every person ever born on February 29.

It was around that time, aged 7 that I began to fall in love with astronomy. I loved that the solar system Earth revolved around the sun creating the seasons, and how it rotated on its axis at the same time. I became a star watcher. Still am. It took me longer to understand why we have one more day every four years. Briefly, leap years are needed to keep our modern day Gregorian calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun.

It takes the Earth approximately 365.242189 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds – to circle once around the Sun. This is called a tropical year.

However, the Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in a year, so if we didn’t add a leap day on February 29 nearly every four years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by around 24 days!

One More Day

When my father died I spend most of the first year imagining what I would have done differently had I known he would not be alive the next day. All I’ve come up with is that I would have hugged him longer. I miss hugging him.

The idea of having one more day often brings up thoughts around my own mortality. If I only have one more day to live what would I say, and to whom would I say it? What would I do? Who would I want to share that day with?

Too late for bucket lists. I only have one more day.

The truth is I am more clear about what I wouldn’t do that day than I am about what I would do. Here are a few things I came up with.

I certainly wouldn’t waste a minute complaining about anything.

I wouldn’t worry.

I wouldn’t blame anyone.

I wouldn’t wish a second away.

I wouldn’t censor myself.

I wouldn’t go shopping.

I wouldn’t stay in doors, no matter what the weather.

I wouldn’t touch a computer, ipad, phone.

I wouldn’t talk much.

Mitch Albom writes,

“It’s such a shame to waste time. We always think we have so much of it.” 

Life would certainly take on a different hue if we lived even one day a week as if we don’t know how long we’ve got. But choosing the day, deciding this is it. I’m going to live today as if its my last, is never an easy choice to make. I can’t do it today, I have a dental appointment. Oh and tomorrow, I have to pick up the kids and take them to ballet, violin, soccer and swimming. Maybe next Tuesday. Um, oh hell! Tuesday. Tuesday I have to see my accountant, play bridge, shop and cook dinner for Wednesday ‘s book club.

May be next week.

Life can be so crammed with things to do that only ten minutes after you have rushed past that busker playing the violin outside the train station you think, damn, I meant to stop and listen to him and give him a coin, but I forgot. And you go back the next day and he’s not there.

Busy life= missed opportunities.

And don’t get me wrong, there will always, always be missed opportunities, I have a million of them, but I’m sure, well I’m almost sure, that if we lived just one day a week as if it were our last, there would be more opportunities gathered than lost. And if one day a week seems too hard, then maybe one day a month. My guess is that the more I practice living one delicious, unbeatable, incredible day at a time, I’ll probably get better at it.

“One day spent with someone you love can change everything.”
―Mitch Albom- For One More Day

If I had one more day left I think I would ask my children to tell me about their favourite experience. I think I would ask more question and listen with every cell in my body. I think I would eat some ice cream after sharing a bowl of hot chips. I would laugh and cry and maybe I would plant a tree after reading The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein to my the giving tree grandchildren. That book always, always leaves me in tears. Ask my granddaughter she’ll tell you. I literally sob at the end.

I think if I had one more day I would give everything I have loved away to my children and my friends. I would want to see them smile and imagine the pleasure they with receive from that little piece of my life. And I think if I had one more day, just one more earthly spin around its axis, I would quietly close my eyes and breathe, and with every breath I would take in the sweetest memories from every stage in my life, and breath out waves and waves of gratitude that this was my story.

Yup! I think that’s what I’ll do

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Who have you become and Who are you willing to be?



The minute I opened my eyes on the first day of the year the world seemed a little brighter. The sun streamed into my room and I felt a ripple of joy that once again, I have a clean slate on which to choose who and how I want to be.

Every year creates an imprint on our hopes and dreams, our plans and achievements. Every year we reach the last day and realize we were either true to who we are or there were times we forgot who we know ourselves to be.


Every year I reach the last day of the year and write my annual journal about the year that has been and then write what I intend to create, in the year ahead.

After forgetting who I Am  quite a few times over the last year, I came to a place where I was able to, at last, let go of expectations that were out of my control.

The feeling of letting go has been one of pure freedom.

I really like Byron Katie’s words here.

Whose Business are you in?

There are only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s.

Whose business is it if it rains on your daughters wedding day? God’s business.

Whose business is it if your neighbour never mows his lawn? Your neighbour’s business.

Whose business is it if you are angry at your neighbour down the street because he has an ugly lawn? Your business.

Life is simple—it is internal.

St Francis of Assisi’s  Serenity Prayer continues to inspire me.

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

When we choose who and how we want to be, we are we need to be specific. It’s not enough to say, I intend  to be more patient or I intend to be understanding. I remember many years ago when my family were doing Landmark Education we were given tasks that required us to make our intentions measurable. How can you know you succeeded unless you can measure it? So there needs to be an action to make it measurable.

Instead of saying I choose to be more patient, maybe I can say, I choose to use the time I spend waiting for someone or something, as my opportunity to breathe deeply and focus on how each breath fills me with peace. The measurement here is how do I feel after breathing consciously for a few minutes.

Out of 1 to10 how do I feel now?

And instead of saying I choose to be more understanding, I can say every time someone criticises me or blames me for something, I choose to listen to what they have to say. See their perspective and accept that although it may be different from mine it is theirs and therefore just as valid as my own. I can ask myself what do I need to do to understand in this situation?

Time is Understandings best friend.


In order to understand we need to give ourselves the time and space to see the situation from every perspective possible and ask ourselves what is the significance of this? The measurement is whether we have been able to reach a clear understanding and in doing so, can we move forward?

Whether you are choosing to be kinder, more generous, light hearted or whether you are choosing be of service, we have to make our intention small and measurable.

The energy of this year is very different from last year. Rather than looking at what we didn’t do well, what went wrong, what were we thinking,we need to look at how we can shine ourselves brighter than ever before.


It can be as simply as:-

A smile for 5 people every day.

A kind gesture to a musician on the street corner.

Giving your shopping trolley that still has the dollar in it to the next person

Leaving a flower in a neighbours letterbox

Taking in your neighbours bin


Every action intended to light up the moment; the day, the week or the life of another is en-lightening the energy of the world. And don’t get downhearted if there appears to be more and more conflict in the world, because the more light we bring to the world the more unresolved conflict will need to come to the surface. There is simply nowhere else for it to go.


It’s been raining non-stop for days. My garden is swimming in water. The flowers are hanging so low, seeming to be looking at the saturated grass only an inches away, too sodden to hold up their heads.



But as I look outside knowing that the rain-fall is none of my business ( it’s all yours God) I’m just glad to be free of one more thing to think about.



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A Monumental Challenge

Man in mist

I set myself up. Unwittingly, its true but the ripples of the past two years have at times almost drowned me, occasionally pushed me over the edge and a couple of times saw the end of old friendships.

Many years ago I studied the books of anthropologist Carlos Castaneda. I was in awe of his teacher the Yaki Indian, Don Juan Matus, a Shaman, (sorcerer) whose spirituality was about living life as a warrior.

“ The basic difference between an ordinary man is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while the ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.” 

Over the years I have often asked myself if it is possible to be absolutely impeccable in the way I live my life. What does living impeccably mean?

According to Don Juan Matus what matters to a warrior is arriving at the totality of oneself. That is Impeccable Living.

crow Don Juan tells that he was imprisoned for many years in a place where escape was not an option. And yet he lived impeccably, with joy and dignity, within that prison situation. He had practiced all his life and knew that Man is eternal infinite spirit, and it is his mind that holds him, that imprisons him, not any outer entity or alien. Master your own mind and you shall master your own universe.

At first it came to me as a brief thought. So brief I can’t recall the first time I wondered whether I could live life as a grand challenge, remaining strong and powerfully and in the totality of myself, if something unthinkable happened to me. Could I stand in the totality of myself if something unforeseen happened that would shake the very foundations of my life.

The power of a passing thought is never to be underestimated. The universe is always listening.

The sale of our family home initially left us free to fly. For the first 6 months after we travelled and even returned to house sit a friends beautiful home near the beach. My mistake, in retrospect was not taking into account the profound life long preparation Don Juan engaged in to live as a warrior, whilst in prison. And beyond that, the question, what if the home we bought, off the plan, 5 months before we even sold our home, would not be complete in a year. What if it’s not complete in 2 years? What if it’s not complete beyond that. No. Those questions were never asked and I clung to the promises of the builders, ‘just 6 more weeks, almost finished, you will be in by February, and then May and then June and then and then and then.

We are never too old to crumble and we are never too wise to learn.

A year of endings is coming to an end and I am not the same person I was 2 years ago. I know what having no place to be alone, in private, feels like. I have developed more patience than ever before through not getting what I want when I want it. I have a renewed and deep sense of compassion and understanding for those who have no place or space for themselves. I have watched my family, who have also gone through this journey of having no ‘family home’ rise to the occasion and care for each other in ways I could only have dreamed possible. I now know I am less relevant than I once believed myself to be. Not irrelevant but less relevant.

Promises once believed with childlike innocence are now heard without any emotion at all. And I hear my inner voice whisper, ‘maybe, maybe not.’ Promises from the builders, and from friends who didn’t know I trusted their every word, are now taken with a grain of salt.

The only truth is to live an impeccable life. To walk our talk. To own our strengths and shortcomings with grace and humility.

As we slide into 2016 one of my intentions is to cease taking other peoples actions towards me personally. Recently I was left out of a wedding list I would have loved to attend and allowed myself to feel a little stab of hurt. Within two days I was clear this was not personal and I have emerged whole and complete. Maybe the next time someone overlooks or misleads or accuses me of something the little stab of hurt maybe last only two minutes, and then 2 seconds and with practice with no emotion at all. Every time we are upset we would do well to remember, it is a set-up. W set the situation up to learn something that is not yet whole and complete within ourself.

Every upset is a set up

“A warrior chooses a path with heart, any path with heart, and follows it; and then he rejoices and laughs. He knows because he sees that his life will be over altogether too soon. He sees that nothing is more important than anything else.” Carlo Castenada

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Are You Sleeping Beauty?

As long as we are present in our lives, there is nothing at all to wait for.

Being one who strives to live every moment in the present, I was recently shocked to realize how much I am in a state of waiting.

Two things disturbed me. One is how unaware I can be when I  drift in and out of the moment and two is that every time I allow ‘waiting’ to be my state of mind I have lost another precious moment in my life.

The dictionary defines ‘to wait’ as:

To remain or rest in expectation:

To stay in one place until another catches

To remain or be in readiness.

To remain temporarily neglected, unattended to, or postponed

All these definitions are saying the same thing. When we wait we become stuck. We stop moving. We cannot grow or flourish or blossom whilst in a state of waiting.

The classic story about waiting is the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty.

Once upon a time a king and queen had a long-wished-for child. Seven   fairies were invited to be godmothers to the infant princess. Six of the fairies gave the new baby beautiful gifts. Beauty, wit, grace, dance, song, and music . But there was an eighth faerie who had lived in a tower for many years so everyone believed her to be dead.

The eighth fairy was very angry that she has been overlooked and, as her gift, enchants the infant princess so that she will prick her hand on a spindle of a spinning wheel and die. But there was still one faerie who had not yet gifted the baby princess.

Instead of dying, she said, the Princess will fall into a deep sleep for 100 years and be awakened by a kiss from a prince.

Fearing the worst the king banned any sort of spinning all throughout the kingdom. Fifteen or sixteen years passed and one day, when the king and queen were away, the Princess wandered through the palace rooms and came upon an old woman, spinning with her spindle. The princess, curious to try the unfamiliar task, asked the old woman if she can try the spinning wheel. The princess pricked her finger on the spindle and the inevitable curse was fulfilled. 

The King carried his beloved princess to the finest room in the palace and placed her upon a bed of gold and silver embroidered fabric. There the King and Queen kissed their daughter goodbye and departed.

The good fairy who altered the evil prophecy was summoned and having great powers of foresight, the fairy realised that the Princess would be distressed when she woke up to find herself all alone, so she put everyone in the castle to sleep. She also summoned a forest of trees, brambles and thorns to spring up around the castle, shielding it from the outside world and preventing anyone from disturbing the Princess.

A hundred years passed and a prince from another family sees the hidden castle during a hunting expedition. His attendants tell him differing stories regarding the castle until an old man recounts his father’s words: within the castle lies a beautiful princess who is doomed to sleep for a hundred years until a king’s son comes and awakens her. The prince then braves the tall trees, brambles and thorns which part at his approach, and enters the castle. He passes the sleeping castle folk and comes across the chamber where the Princess lies asleep on the bed. Struck by the radiant beauty before him, he falls on his knees before her, kisses the princess and finally she awakens.

Who do you relate to in this story? Who do you feel is most like yourself? I know I have been Sleeping Beauty quite a bit lately.

As Eckhart Tolle says there is small scale waiting, such as waiting in line at the supermarket, or waiting for a bus to arrive or waiting for the traffic to move, and there is large scale waiting, such as waiting for a better job, or for the children to grow up, of for that trip around the world or for the tie you can move into your dream home.

The truth is that every minute we consciously or unconsciously wait for something we have stepped out of living our lives and into a state of limbo again. Some people spend their whole lives waiting and die having been asleep their entire lives.

Every time we say,

I will …. when….

If only I….

I can’t wait ….

When ( xyz happens) I’ll be happy …. we create an inner conflict that translates itself into anxiety, dissatisfaction, fear and upset. You are saying in effect that you don’t want to be where you are and that is as insane as walking in the rain and saying you wish the sun was shining right now. the effort we put into not wanting what is, literally drains away our energy enjoy being who and  where we are.

You are where you are and no amount of wishing or struggle will change that in the moment.


There is nothing wrong with striving to improve our life situation. We can always strive to improve our life situation, but we cannot improve our life. Life is primary. Life is your deepest inner Being.

Life is already whole, complete, perfect.

Our life situation consists of our circumstances and your experiences. Setting goals and striving for achievements is not wrong however when we allow ourselves to mistake these experiences for the feeling of Life itself we step out of the present and reduce the quality of our live

“So next time somebody says, “Sorry to have kept you waiting,” you can reply, “That’s all right, I wasn’t waiting. I was just standing here enjoying myself — in joy in my self.” “ Eckhart Toll



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Home is Where the Heart Is

Home is Where the Heart Is

I sit on my bed, in our little room, with its white walls and shuttered windows and wondering what is the significance of not having a home. A year overdue our  home in Sydney is still a long way from being finished. I am touched by friends and family who have opened their hearts and homes to us and given us a place lay our heads at night. Had we known this journey was going to take so long, we may not have entered into this agreement, however, life is not always about what we want but rather about what we need. And as gratitude pours out to all those who have welcomed us and cared for us and given us a roof over our head I have come to a deeper understanding of the old adage, Home is where the Heart is.


Literally as long as our heart, situated left of center in our chest cavity, is beating, it offers us all we need to be at home.

How? Let’s take a quick look at our heart.


The heart has four chambers: two atria and two ventricles.

A chamber is also a room. So the heart consists of four rooms.

The right atrium receives oxygen-poor blood from the body and pumps it to the right ventricle.

This is where we learn to discern what works well for us and what doesn’t. Where the beliefs and attitudes held by ourselves, our friends, our colleagues and the people we meet by chance are sifted and sorted and all that is not healthy or nourishing is released and we take responsibility for our own beliefs and attitudes through awareness and understanding.

The right ventricle pumps the oxygen-poor blood to the lungs.

This is where we learn to Accept All That Is. It is the part of us that recognizes what is may not be what we chose and may not be what we want but it is what it is and now we have a new choice what to do with the reality of things. Now is the time to reach out and ask for help. The lungs can do what the heart cannot. We turn to our guidance, our friends, our family, or our higher self and ask for help.

The left atrium receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and pumps it to the left ventricle.

This is where we learn gratitude. Recognising the gifts that flow into our lives. The gifts of kindness, compassion, generosity and love. This is where we acknowledge we are more than the material. We are more than the physical. We are more that the pain and struggle we under-go on a daily basis. This is where we remember the joy and satisfaction we feel when we over-come our trials and upsets and disappointments.

The left ventricle pumps the oxygen-rich blood to the body.

This is where we share our wisdom, gifts and talents with the worlds around us. It is where we discover the sheer joy of service. Service from the heart. When the lessons are learned and the insights are gained, often through spontaneous ‘ah-ha’ moments of insight followed by a good dose of humility and love we turn to our neighbors, our friends and indeed those we have never met and yet with whom we share this moment in time, and ask, can I help you?

Below is a meditation Home is Where the Heart is

It is for you to use where ever you feel displaced, out of your depth, lost or confused.

When we reconnect to the heart of who we are we also align ourself to the essence of our true nature. We are Peace. We are  Kindness. We are Goodness. We are Love.





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Who Am I Not?

autumnHow can it be already March? So much has happened already this year. I have a new granddaughter for example. This tiny new being weighing less that a bag of potatoes arrived two weeks ago and through her sweet, soft vulnerability has opened our hearts a little wider. When we witness the birth of a baby, we know the true meaning of miracle.

This led me to ponder once again the age old question, who am I?

As a much younger person I experimented with many philosophies and ideas in an attempt to discover who am I. I read everything I could get a hold of by Ken Wilber, Carlos Castaneda, Fritjof Capra, Alan Watts and Russel Peters, Krishnamurti, Bertam Russel and Paramahansa Yogananda to name a few.

I completed diplomas and post graduate diplomas is a wide range of modalities but I still could not answer that question. Who am I?


Over the years I have come to realize the journey towards knowing oneself is often a process of elimination rather than a gathering of information. What works is usually discovered by the realization of what doesn’t work. Our attraction to teachers, books, activities, languages and friends reveals our bent toward particular aspects of ourselves that when acknowledged and accepted can lead us to great insight and self realization. Just as the letting go of teachers, activities and friends can reveal our growth and changes over the years.

By a Process of Elimination:

I am not my thoughts. I certainly have them but they are not who I am. Especially as they can frequently change leaving me dangling somewhere between a past thought and a new idea.

I am not my emotions. Again I can have as many as I wish, however if times of sadness were to define who I am I would very quickly lose all hope of being anything but miserable.

I am not my intellect as that too has oscillated between moments of brilliance to times of confusion and cognitive numbness.

I am not what anyone else may think of me.

So what’s left?

photoThere have been times when my life flowed with effortless ease, and during those times a thought would flash through my mind that now I know who I am, but of course as soon as the thought came, I realized it was only a thought and something would soon occur that would prove me wrong.

It is often when life takes a turn, when that which we took for granted is suddenly gone, when we are faced with a threat, a challenge, an unexpected trial that we realize we are not who we thought we were. And ironically these are the times we really do come face to face with who we are and what we are capable of or not.  And this does not come from books, or teachers, of even friends. It comes from something within. It comes from the essence, the spark, the inner wisdom within each one of us.   This indivisible seed of wisdom can be hidden by our beliefs, our attitudes our fears and our judgments however it is there. Always there. and always available to each one of us if we simply stop and ask.


As hard as life’s challenges are, and we all know them, it is only through these ‘gifts’ do we discover who we really are. It is only when we are faced with the unthinkable, unimaginable, and occasionally unfathomable challenges, do we see who we are and who we are not more clearly.

When we bought our new home off the plan in August 2012 never did I imagine that we would find ourselves in a situation where the builders extend the completion date month after month after month with no end in sight.  I had no idea that this waiting would turn my life upside down and reveal parts of myself that I don’t always like, but have to accept, in order to understand who I am, in order to choose to respond differently.

I remember leaving Australia forty years ago without a clue how I was going to survive in a country where I knew no one and not a word of the language spoken and losing my watch one Friday morning and collapsing into tears of irrational yet terror struck fear that as all the shops would be closed in about an hour and I would not know when to eat or sleep or wake up. I remember sobbing all the way back to my tiny room and finding the watch under the bed and realizing this was a turning point in my life and I needed to take stock and take steps towards creating a new life, right now. That day I learned, yet again, a little more about who I am and who I am not.

What is the benefit knowing who we are? To live in authenticity. To accept ourselves unconditionally. To be the best we can in every situation. To live in harmlessness. For only when we know ourselves, accept ourselves and appreciate the spark of immeasurable wisdom within ourselves, can our inner peace begin to illuminate the world in which we live.

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Making God Laugh

sydneyI’m a city gal. Born, bred, schooled and even married (at least once) in Sydney. I can negotiate peak hour traffic, park my car in a shoebox, drink my café latte on the run and carry fifteen bags of shopping in one fell swoop.

One year ago exactly we sold our suburban North Shore home, gave away most of our possessions and decided to live in Israel for 6-months.  It is said that if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans and God must now be holding his belly after hearing my plans.

On returning home we thought we were going to housesit for a few short months and then move into our new home bought off the plan eighteen months earlier. Can you hear Him giggle? The construction company and the Council decided to have a standoff, ten paces and the first one shoots the other one dead. The Council won. The construction company went into an obstinate sulk and stopped work. And we are left without a permanent place in which to live, couch surfing in the homes of family and friends.

image20One warm spring Sunday whilst enjoying a picnic in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney we noticed a little blue cottage with a For Sale sign. Boldly knocking on the door and apologizing for the interruption but asking whether we could have a look, we bought the house three days later.

This 112-years old cottage with its large level garden and wide array of fruit trees has turned my life around in ways I could never have imagined.  To begin with I have given up manicured nails for the sheer joy of digging out and removing an old privet tree and planting in its place a Tahitian Lime. I walk outside still wearing my T-shirt from the night before and revel in the dew-soaked grass drenching my feet and covering them in specks of soil and threads of dry grass. Kneeling down I begin to weed around a row of azaleas and marvel at the number of snails that are hiding inside the foliage and decide today that I’ll find a good way to get rid of them. Me. Who never even thought of gardening but focused on raising five children and on studying and practicing my chosen career.

lemon tree I lose myself in an old lemon tree that’s bulging with young green lemons. I notice tiny yellow buds forming toward the tips of the branches and many lemons just falling on the ground, another thing to look into and learn what this means. And before the sun becomes too hot maybe it’s a good time to plant the three new rose bushes bought at a Wentworth Falls nursery simply because the fragrance made me buckle at the knees as I was walking past looking for blueberries to plant beneath the old pine tree where nothing other than azaleas, camellias and blueberries grow in the pine-acidic soil.

our gardenTime slips by but I remain engrossed in digging wide holes and filling them with water before gently removing the English Rose from its black plastic pot and making sure that it’s planted facing in the right direction. The heat of the day returns me to another reality and I realize I have not yet washed or even drunk a glass of water. My back aches and I am filled with a joy and satisfaction I have rarely known through physical work. One look back at the morning’s work before I step back in time and to a tiny blue cottage that found me long before I knew I was ready for it.

Oh! And these days God and I seem to enjoy a good laugh, together!

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Beginning again and again and again

I once asked Spirit whether They ever get disappointed that their good intentions, hopes and aspirations for humanity are so often foiled. Spirit replied, ” We never completely fail, nor do we ever completely succeed. Its a bit like two steps forward and one step back.” The year that is about to draw its final curtain has been that kind of year. Two steps forward and one step back.

This year I have tasted pure unbridled freedom by selling our family home, packing a bag and travelling to Israel for almost six months. We travelled wherever our heart took us, eating whatever our taste buds longed for, sleeping only when tired and connecting to someone or something new everyday.

Finally believing I was no longer attached to ‘things’,  I celebrated my grand spiritual leap forward. I had conquered attachment, or had I? In all that excitement, I overlooked one small thing.

Even though I was arriving  back to Australia, the land of my birth and the place we had raised our five children, I was not actually coming home, for there was no home to come back to. Yes, were aware of the practicality of this and had been kindly invited to stay with friends… but we were not coming home.

Returning in July, I imagined my spirit would simply fly me to another delicious adventure until our new home, bought off the plan eighteen months earlier, was complete. House-sitting soon lost its glamour when the distance from my children became more than I could handle. What was I thinking when we had agreed to live at the furthest eastern point of Sydney, so far from my children, grand-daughter and 100 traffic lights away from all that was familiar to me. Hours spent in the car between arrangements that were long distances from each other reminded me of the importance of having a place.

All  the letting-go of the past months, all the simple pleasures of walking in an orchard, drinking coffee in tiny cafes, meeting friends at midnight, discovering new places of antiquity were over. Having nowhere to invite family and friends was a challenge. Nowhere to hang a painting. No space to leave a little messy. Nowhere to call my home.  At least I was not running away from violence. I was not trying to find a better life for my children. I knew I had so much to be grateful for and yet I felt displaced, ungrounded and a little confused.  I felt regretful that we had not planned our return better.

Over the past six months we have moved six times.  From rediscovering our roots in the first half of the year we gave ourselves the opportunity to feel completely uprooted. This is an unexpected gift. When you have no place to call your own, life becomes very different. We become more vulnerable, more alert and more grateful.

Why do we invite big challenges into our lives? How easy is it to move from elation to despair?  What can we use to bring stability and balance into our lives when everything around us seems to be in a state of uncertainty and discombobulation?

In the past six months, life has taught me three important lessons:

1. Without taking risks and inviting ourselves to experience challenges, we would never discover how amazingly strong and resilient we really are. Without falling we would never know how to get up and try again. Without failing we would never discover new and diverse ways to overcome our challenges.

2.  Happiness, success and elation are temporary. Happiness happens but only sometimes. Emotions are real. We all have them and one of the keys to a well lived fulfilling life is to feel them and to accept ourselves at the same time.  Life is up and down. The heights and the depths can even out over time and the trick is to practice not to judge the highs as being better than the lows. They are what they are.

3. Balance requires movement. Even the most experienced tightrope walker will fall if he stops moving. You have to have opposition in order to have balance. And so chaos is essential to learning a balanced life. And although our inner Balance is never dependent on the external physical unless we are fully enlightened beings, we will be influenced, even a little, by the circumstances in our lives. The trick is once again to refrain from judging ourselves in the process.We find balance somewhere between shadow and light. We sometimes need to step into the shadow as part of our journey. Sometimes we overshadow ourselves and in doing that we give ourselves the opportunity to discover more about ourselves. Carmen Warrington, in her book Who Am I, writes:

I am a Pendulum: I seek balance always.  In my quest I swing from one side to another, sometimes wildly and seemingly out of control. I must explore both extremes and all points in-between or I will be pulled later to what I have not already investigated. The still centre, which I crave, is the result of visiting all possibilities, all extremes.

Until the polarities within ourselves are recognised and accepted, we will always struggle to find harmony and balance. And so, as this year of trials and joys and tribulations and tests and losses and gains comes to an end, I wish you all the blessings you wish  yourselves. May the year to come bring us all self acceptance, self patience, self kindness and self compassion.  May we pass our wisdom onto all we meet by simply being who we truly are.

And remember, two steps forward and one step back, is just the way it is.


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This is the Perfect Time

It is so easy to lose ourselves when we are bombarded with the thoughts, opinions and attitudes of everyone around us. Is it so easy to forget who we really are and get carried away by the things we see and hear through the media. It is so easy to find ourselves responding with emotion and  self righteousness when we challenged by those we choose not to respect. Its all too easy to loose connection with the essence of who we are, the loving, caring, compassionate, understanding parts of us, when it appears the world is being split into pieces.

 And yet this is the perfect time to take stock and pull ourselves together and ask the age old question, Who Am I?  And I don’t mean what is our role or our function in life. I don’t mean who are you the daughter, the brother, the teacher, the fighter. I mean who are you at the deepest part of you. What do you love? What makes you cry? What sends shivers through your body? What would you do if nothing stood in your way?

This is the perfect time to courageously speak up, but with love not anger. To bring the very meaning of courage, that which comes from the heart, into the world. This is the perfect time to stand beside that person you chose not to respect and ask, “What do you hope for? What do you want? What do you need? I want to understand. I want to understand you.”

 This is the perfect time to share with others your hopes and dreams. What is your dream for yourself? For your children? For the world?

In times of separation, war, distress and pain we often forget to dream. We forget to fantasize and to use our imagination. There is no better time than now to reconnect to the heart of who we are. To feel your heart beating and to listen to the words you heart is trying to tell you. The more we connect to our heart the greater chance we have of making our dreams come true. Simple? Actually yes it is.

Let’s look at a spiritual truth.

It is not humanly possible to threaten, insult, injure, maim or kill another human being, and still be connected to your heart. No matter how much you believe in your cause, how much you are protecting, defending or shielding the ones you love, as long as you react in violence, you are not heart centered.

The hundredth monkey effect can change all this in a flash. That’s why I love this story

 The 100th Monkey

A story about social change.

By Ken Keyes Jr.

The Japanese monkey, Macaca Fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years.

In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkey liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant. An 18-month-old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too.

This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists. Between 1952 and 1958 all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable. Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes.

Then something startling took place. In the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes — the exact number is not known. Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes. Let’s further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes.


By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them. The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!

But notice: A most surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea…Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes.

Thus, when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind.

Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people.

But there is a point at which if only one more person tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone!

From the book “The Hundredth Monkey” by Ken Keyes, Jr. The book is not copyrighted and the material may be reproduced in whole or in part.  

Now is the time to connect to the  heart of who you are. Ask yourself every day the question, Who Am I? And listen.

And if enough people connect to their hearts we will reach the tipping point together.

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Ending War

Reflecting the Polarization of our World.

War divides people into the passionate pro’s and the ardent con’s. Instead of coming together and exploring unity, most of us stand together with those with whom we agree, and find it hard or even impossible understand those with whom we are not aligned. In so doing we become  divided. Separated by our pain, our hurt, our righteousness and our logic.

War comes out of one thing and one thing only. Judgment. We judge the other to be wrong and we judge ourselves to be right. And on a deeper level, war is simply an externalizing of the conflict within ourselves. War comes out of our blind belief in our own thoughts and opinions. When we leave no room for uncertainty when we refuse to question ourselves, when we are convinced we are right, we become convicts, prisoners in our own narrow life. You may say, “I have no war within me.” You may say, ” I am a peaceful soul who wants only to live and let live.” And yet if we staunchly believe this perspective it divides us again into them and us.

As long as we are here, alive and sharing this world with each other we will come up with struggles and problems that call for resolutions. Let’s look for a moment at our feelings around any conflict in our lives at present. It may be with a friend, family member or a group of people. It may be with our own government, or a war waging on the other side of our planet. If you believe one side to be right and the other side to be wrong, if you feel stressed or angry, about any situation, I suggest the conflict on the outside is simply reflecting the conflict we hold on the inside.

How do we resolve the conflicts around our planet? We can’t. Well not instantly. All we can do is address the conflicts that emerge in our own lives. The world is a mirror image of what we have not healed within ourselves and as long as we believe we are right and they are wrong, we continue to stoke the fire of war within. Inner work, questioning every belief and value we have, opening ourselves to hear that which is uncomfortable or even unpleasant can bring us closer a place of inner peace.

One small exercise that can make a big difference.

Sit for 5 minutes everyday and surround the world with pure white light. Imagine the world covered by a net, and ignite each intersection of the net with light, allowing the light to flow around the world, without focusing on one particular place. Once you see the whole World ignited by this white light, seal it with Love. A prayer, a poem, a beautiful image.


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The Daily Adventure aka Life

The Daily Adventure, aka Life

It all began in India last October. A thought came to me that it was time to sell our home. Clearing away twenty-three years of accumulated possessions left us free to choose what next. The ‘what next’ was to leave Australia for 5 months, which meant leaving four of our five children, my mother, my sister and most challenging, our gorgeous, divine, adorable granddaughter. But these two grey headed 60-plus oldies, felt the time had come to let go and let fly, so we boarded a jet plane with two bags each, summer and winter and smiles as wide the ocean we were about to fly over.

We have been ecstatically happy living an-adventure-a-day-kind-of -life whilst renting our friends apartment just out of Tel Aviv. Every day we wake up and over breakfast explore what  we want to learn today, who  we want to see today or where we want to go  today.

So choosing whether we will drive north, south or east (west is heading into the Mediterranean Sea) we set out to learn, see or discover somewhere new. The interesting part of this is that no matter where we think we are going  we always experience something unexpected.

 Take today for example. Today we didn’t decide on an place in particular except we went in the direction of Bazra. Within five minute we found ourselves surrounded by thousands of orange trees whose branches hung heavy with juicy, warm, ripe oranges. Sudanese and Asian orange pickers perched high on turquoise ladders, red scarves covering their faces picked and dropped countless oranges into blue crates. We could smell the oranges from the car. Two men came to our car and offered us a couple of oranges. I was, at that moment reminded of my grandma Millie who was not big on giving presents but would give my sister and I an orange occasionally. If only I had appreciated those oranges as much as I appreciated these.


The trip to Bazra turned into a jaunt to Rishpon and that turned into discovering an outside shop bursting with exquisite Indonesian and Spanish furniture. It just happened to be their third anniversary and so we were offered champagne as we walked around and marveled at a dining room table made from the wood of old boats. And that turned into an accidental discovery of an outlet-shop selling clothes by my favourite Israeli designer, Dana Ashkenazi. And yes, I found something I didn’t need, but love anyway.

Recently Israel celebrated its memorial day, Yom Ha Zikaron. Just walking outside one felt the heaviness of grief and loss in the air. So many many thousands of lives have been lost since the establishment of a ‘safe’ homeland for the Jews 66 years ago. Stories from wives,  mothers and children, young and old, retelling the events that took their loved ones away played all day on the television. The weight of sadness hung like rain clouds bulging with a million tears. Allowing myself to feel this and to weep with those who have lost a loved one may not be regarded as an adventure but it stretched my heart a little wider.

How and when can this land  become truly safe? Will our children live to see a peaceful Israel and a flourishing Palestine? No one knows. We all pray. Soon.Whether it is to Elohim or to Allah the mothers, the wives, the children, we all want peace. Please God. Inshallah. Soon

Living every day as an adventure is almost addictive. Planning something new no matter how small has become the only way we leave our apartment. Chores such as buying dishwashing liquid and some veggies for dinner become an outing. Whether by foot or car we begin a new adventure the minute we wake up. I have always looked forward to seeing my clients but  I never regarded our sessions as adventures. I do now. The experience of not knowing what will happen, who will I meet in this client today heightens my sense of wonder and anticipation.

I don’t think I have ever truly lived this way before. I have talked about it, have created some wonderful adventures, but living life as an adventure? Not  consistently. Not like this.

Once again our suitcases are packed and tomorrow we board a flight to Copenhagen to visit our youngest son. Then on to Italy and beyond. We have no idea what this adventure holds in store for us. We have no idea what life in general holds in store for us. But by taking a few minutes every day to create something to learn, to see or to discover, life, my life has been enriched a thousand times over.


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An Unexpected Hero -No mountain too high, No river too deep

 Israelis are both intensely proud and ruthlessly critical of their country. And they have good reasons for both. The newspapers are full of red-faced politicians who have abused their role, bribed their constituents, sexually harassed their staff and lied to their public.

The drivers are dangerously impatient, people rarely wait until the other person has finished his sentence, and the mobile phone has become a Deity that even the more religious hold close to their heart.

On the other hand when I read the list of Israel’s achievements by Gerardo Joffe, President of FLAME, Facts and Logic About the Middle East, Israelis have every reason to celebrate their long and outstanding list of accomplishments unparalleled by any other country in the world.

Perhaps that’s is what makes his place so extraordinary.

But what strikes me most profoundly, what fills me with awe and pride and has me scratching my head at the same time, is with all that is going on , with over a million refugees taking up home here in only one year, with bombs still falling and soldiers still leaving home and mothers not sure how and when they will return, there are still individuals and organizations in this tiny speck of a country who hold a unwavering and passionate commitment, to make this world a better place.

Israel seems to have a knack of bringing best of creative minds and spirits together, and although they may not be so good at moving mountains they are breathtakingly good at climbing them. Just challenge an Israeli to solve a problem and they will climb Everest or dive into the depths of the Amazon to do it.

And that brings me to Yoram Porath CEO of Outline Films who I had the great pleasure in listening to today as he outlined his documentary, Keepers of Eden.  This is a documentary about the Huaorani People of Ecuador.

  For thousands of years, the Amazonian rainforest of Ecuador, the Oriente, has been home to the Huaorani (meaning ‘human beings’ or ‘the people’). They consider themselves to be the bravest tribe in the Amazon. Until 1956, they had never had any contact with the outside world. The Huaorani are outstanding hunters and feared warriors.

As I listened to Yoram I was touched and moved by this group of people who live in total balance and harmony with the Earth. The Huaorani understand not only the wisdom of the trees and plants and animals but have discovered how insects form an network of energy that can guide Huaorani’s through the forest of the Amazon with safety and ease.

Until recently they lived in total reliance on the natural world.

Porath’s curiosity and desire to open the eyes of the world and make a difference to these wonderfully joyful people and the Rainforests of the Amazon came out hearing about author John Perkins, who wrote a book called Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. This book published in 2004 describes Perkins’ account of his career with consulting firm Chas. T. Main in Boston.

Briefly, according to his book, Perkins’ function was to convince the political and financial leadership of underdeveloped countries to accept enormous development loans from institutions like the World Bank  and USAID. Saddled with debts they could not hope to pay, those countries were forced to acquiesce to political pressure from the United States on a variety of issues. Perkins argues in his book that developing nations were effectively neutralized politically, had their wealth gaps  driven wider and economies crippled in the long run.

Perkins describes the role of an EHM as follows:

“Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources. Their tools included fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.”

So what happened? Yoram heard how the Huarani  are now in danger of being erased because major oil companies came in and in their search for and accumulation of oil and gas  they have contaminated and destroyed this part of the Amazon also known as the lungs of the world. Without our lungs there is simply no life.

Historical Media Associates, LLC documents how such oil contamination is causing a fatal blow to both the indigenous people, their culture and the environment. As a result of these “poisoned” living conditions, the native Huarani are suffering from disease on the level of a toxic and fatal plague. All caused by oil contamination.

The despoliation, drilling and oil contamination continue to this very day. Yoram’s documentary KEEPERS OF EDEN presents the empassioned struggle of the Huarani people and their fight for survival.

As an Israeli who was born into a land that has not known a day of true peace one might think that there are enough problems to keep this filmmaker busy for a long time. However, and this is the point, along side the realisation that peace is yet to be a reality in the Middle East the people that live here in Israel are very much involved in making a difference to the whole world and not focus on the issues around them.

I left Yoram Porath’s talk inspired by the generosity and love of humanity that exists here in Israel. And although there continue to be problems, let’s not forget the most passionate, committed, creative and caring people in the world live here also. and that is something to remember.

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In Your Own Time

Great granddaughter peeking over the bed of great grandmother

Act 1.

Choice took me by the hand and whispered, “Well? And I nodded and knew. Even if it is not for the last time, I have to go. I have to see her and share the choices we are both making, and to touch and kiss and tell her I love her. The trip was booked with ease. True, I travel business and am not at all apologetic for that but it was a big journey. One could even say a journey of a lifetime.  After all it may soon be the end of a lifetime.  A lifetime that spanned 87 years. Most of them good. Some of them I shared. Sixty years, less one day my father shared and I know she was the light of his life until he died.

My mother was a character and although I have already written much about her this last week has never been written about and it needs to be. The words are calling me to write them down. The challenges facing sisters in a small room where our mother lies, helpless and vulnerable. The joy of returning to see my granddaughter who had changed so much in such a short time that I actually thought perhaps she may have forgotten me. Perhaps she did but a smile of recognition crept over her face within a few sweet moments and we were once again known to each other again.

Act 2.

My lungs have carried me through this week with great effort. Those poor lungs of mine, who have known breathlessness since they were only four. Those resilient balloons that discovered at such an early age there was a memory stored within them and that they would have to heal perhaps over lifetimes. Perhaps this is the lifetime they will heal once and for all. Perhaps the time is coming, though  its not here yet for my cough turned into that aching wheezing asthmatic hack and then into breathlessness and finally bone weariness. The effort to breathe can be too hard sometimes. Holding my breath when it all gets too hard is a blessing. I can relax for the length of a breath and just hope I can hold it for a few minutes. Of course the longest I have ever held a breath is one minute and 10 seconds and that was when my lings were in high spirits. Usually the respite is only about 10 to 15 seconds.

My lungs have introduced me to the widest range of medicines. As a little child I was given the most bitter tablet to suck.  It was tiny, yellow and tasted foul. My mother would give it to me with a boiled lolly and I would lie in bed and suck the lolly dreading every time I had to swallow.  It was called neoephedrine and I still shudder when I think of it. Then we went on to Aminophylline and finally a series of puffers that changed every year. There were times my life at home became so tough I confess I called on Asthma to visit me. I know. It’s sick but I used it as a way of getting some peace.  My mother and I struggled on and off for years and asthma was my savior.

Dr. Harris was my doctor then and he would make house calls and tell mummy I needed to stay in bed. I loved that. She would buy me a magazine and a cherry ripe and I would snuggle down, breathe in a sweet breath of relief and life was wonderful. As I grew up I changed to Dr Arnold and he was the one who suggested one day I needed to go to hospital. The first time I went to hospital I remember thinking am I faking this? Will they discover I don’t really have asthma. You see I welcomed the struggle because the pay off was so good. So I wasn’t sure if I really ‘deserved’ to go to hospital. But once I was there heaven opened its doors and I felt the freshness of pure oxygen and I started to breathe long cool deep breaths. I felt my muscles release and my eyes start to close and I would drift off into a long needed deep sleep breathing in the sweetest, softest air imaginable.

Eventually we even bought our own nebulizer and I could manage the infrequent asthma episodes at home. That being said I was introduced to cortisone twenty years ago and this has been a blessing when I just can’t get that  asthma under control. This week, however I had no nebulizer, and the pull and tug to help my daughter, be present for my mother, make very big decisions with sister, spend quality time with my children and drive a VW manual Caddie around Sydney was just the coaxing asthma needed to make my life just a little bit more difficult. Or maybe not.

Some people might say that I have a tendency to do too much. I know I would say that. So coming to Australia I had the best intentions do all of the above plus contact a dozen or so people and perhaps even have the time to share coffee or dinner with a few, all with effortless ease. Needless to say I overshot my expectations.

So who is this old friend Asthma and what purpose did it have this week, the week I am about to expand upon. After all, nothing is for no purpose. Everything we call into our lives has some significance. Even random events that I call ‘unconditional spontaneity’ have significance.

Act 3

Gil was waiting for me at the airport. His big arms enveloping me and making me feel so safe and completely loved. We walked to his car and I was so grateful he had actually parked in the parking station. I have a thing about arriving home and having to find the person who is picking me up at some corner or in a 15 minute waiting spot. I know. I know it saves money but its just not the same. I want to see the face of the one I love as I walk down the ramp from baggage claim.

We drove straight to see mum. Everything looked grey and unchanged. The usual joy of coming home after a month away, was absent. I felt a heaviness in my chest.  Mummy was lying on her back in her room of 7 years. Although it was barely 9 am Donna was already there. I would have to find a moment or two to be with mum alone but in the meantime I lean over her bed and say, “Hello Mama.” I stroke her forehead. I touch her temples and I look into her eyes. Donna feeds her more juice. I sit and watch. I am conscious that there is nothing to say or do except be here with my mum right now. I slip into that peaceful place of Now. Im here. That’s all that matters.

Over the week there were many decisions to make. Phone calls from Australia to Israel have been charged with emotion, upset, urgency and confusion. Now that I was back I could listen to what was being suggested and take my time to answer. No surgery. That was the first decision. I agreed to a spinal block and indeed we waited all week to be told the medical staff at the hospital were refusing to do it in the Home but would require her to go into hospital to do it under a general anesthetic. It never happened.  I met Dr. R the palliative care doctor and together we discussed another plan. Pain patches and oral pain medication. Every day there was something new to see, to agree to, to sit with, to accept.

I think watching your mother die is the ultimate in acceptance. I remember as a child I wanted a different mother. I wanted a cookie baking, tuck-shop serving, stay at home kind of mum.  I remember as a child I wanted my mother to accept me. True, I was argumentative. I was opinionated. I was critical and judgmental of everything that wasn’t to my liking and I made sure people knew what I believed,  but I still wanted my mum to accept me. Easier said than done. I guess the struggle between us emerged out of our similarity. She too wanted to be accepted by me. If I complimented her, wrote her love letters, acknowledged her as the best mum in the world, then, for a while all would be fine, but I often slipped up. And so our journey together for the first 25 years or so was rocky.

Act 4

After my first marriage crumbled and the remains were strewn over the Middle East where I traveled to find myself, I met a man who made me laugh. He knew many people of different cultures and they all loved him. The Arabs who sold car parts greeted him with wide smiles and slaps on the back. The Jews who came to him with Insurance problems trusted he would be fair and make sure they would be cared for. The Polish, the Rumanians, the Iraqis , the Immigrants from all over the world who needed his services who spoke with different accents but knew they were accepted and respected by this man trusted him and I reveled in watching this.

He never met anyone like me though. Passionate, explosive, introverted, studious, and constantly trying to bridge the gap between my mother and myself. In fact Nancy Fridays’ book of similar name was the book I was reading when I met him. I bought him the exact same book in Hebrew. Secretly I was saying, “read this book so that you understand me.’ I don’t think he ever read it. It made no difference. I married him anyway. We travelled separately and together. This trip back to Australia was without him.

Balancing the daughter, mother, sister, and grandmother in me, in a limited period of time is an interesting exercise. The key, I think , is to be true to your intentions and flexible enough to follow your heart as well. My intention to return to Australia was two-fold. To be with my sister and to make the necessary decisions to ensure my mother has a pain free journey in this last chapter and to be with her as much as possible. The truth is, I have said all I needed to say to her long ago. I have made eternal peace with her and accepted her unconditionally and so I didn’t really need to come and do that. What I did want was to hold her again.

When my father died early on October 14  I was left with a yearning that consumed me, to hold him once again.  I couldn’t put my arms around him anymore. So I came back to Australia to hold my mum again. And each time I held her I felt grateful. I left complete.  Well, as complete as a daughter can be knowing her mother is going to pass over and I wont be in the same country when it happens.

The struggle to find balance comes when the demands that come from outside, challenge my inner truth. I know, that’s life.  And yet standing in the truth of my intentions in the face of others expectations was harder than I imagined.  How can ones own child understand that although you are physically present, you are not only mother. I may be his or her mother but that is not all I am. Sometimes we have to choose. I am here as daughter today. I am here as wife. I am here as sister. I am here as grand-mother. We cannot be all things to all people all the time.

Balance, the key to harmony, often comes out of conflict.  The gift of conflict is that it brings into focus what is important to each side. Then all we have to do listen, accept, and to understand with open heart.

Asthma creates or rather invites us to notice the disconnection from our essence. If we don’t breath we are not connected. When we take deep breaths we connect automatically to the spirit within. During the week I lost connection with my intention. I tried to be all things for all people and that caused me to loose contact with me. When I decided to stay with friends I began to heal almost immediately. It was not staying with my daughter that made me ill, it was allowing myself to feel the pressure of not being all things to all people that cause me stop breathing.  As soon as I stopped trying as soon as I returned to being me, I began to breathe again. It’s a lesson. One that I continue to remind myself about in this life.

Be who I am.

There is no substitute for standing in the truth of who we are and although we may occasionally find ourselves caught up in the needs and wants and expectations of others, the cost of forgetting who we are and letting go of what is right for us has a price tag that will always be too high.

I have come to a place where I am quite certain I am not meant to be in Australia at this time. I am where I need to be.  This is how the story unfolds. The story of my mother’s last chapter.

Act 5

I woke up at 3 am. A dream I think. My sister phones me 10 minutes later. Im wide awake. Mum was found on the floor beside her bed. She had fallen out.  I have a flash back of seeing my father lying on the floor of emergency having passed out and fallen to the floor. This image has been lasered into my psyche and always causes me to cringe with the deepest sorrow. She’s OK. She’s not in pain at the moment.

She has been moved to the nursing ward. Iris. Room 474. I just called. She arrived two hours ago.  She lies on her back. Eyes mainly closed. Drifting between worlds.  I stroke her brow and bend over her. I kiss her forehead. I’m with you mama. Here in Israel, in the dark of night and the light of day, I’m with you. God speed sweet mama. In your own time mama.  In your own time.





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