Sunday, 24 April 2011

Eden Gardens

I needed some plants to spruce up my backyard, so my friend Dianne and I decided to combine lunch and plant shopping at Eden Gardens in North Ryde, Sydney last Wednesday. (about 15 minutes by car for my house).

We had a fabulous day, a delicious lunch and I bought half a dozen plants that I hope will survive and thrive.

Some days are magical days, when the weather is perfect and you find a beautiful place where it feels so good to be alive.

"A Garden is a Friend You Can Visit Anytime"

The photos below were taken in the Eden Gardens complex - 20 April 2011

Friday, 22 April 2011

Turning Pain Into Knowledge

Sometimes when I think back on various phrases of my life, it’s hard not to think of all the hurt.

The misunderstandings, the pain, the missed connections. The ways that I screwed up.

The residual frustration about all the ways that other people - weren’t able to be the people I wanted them to be, which by the way is not their fault!

All that time spent being annoyed about how hard it is when you "can’t get blood from a stone".

My focus was in the wrong place.

But here’s what the Word of the Year reminds me to do:

I am allowed to have my grief and my pain. And I can also look at all that agony and remember that it’s business school tuition.

Instead of a diploma, I can just frame the Word of the Year and put it on my wall. And look forward to the next one, because it will be unbelievably useful.

We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. It’s a process.

We let people have their own experience, and we don’t give unsolicited advice.

"Those who have knowledge, don't predict. Those who predict, don't have knowledge."
~~ Lao Tzu

Spent a lovely day with Charlie and Joseph on 13 April 2011. We caught a ferry from Manly to the city and Charlie who is not quite seven took this photo of the seagull landing near where we were sitting.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Finding Curiosity

The message I got from my brain yesterday was as follows:

Replace worry.

To which I said, huh?

And then I got this:

Replace worry with curiosity.


I like this so much!

Normally when people say things like “just stop worrying about it” or “don’t worry so much”, I feel frustrated.

Because it’s not that simple. Definitely not for me. I can’t do it. I don’t know how. And it generally seems kind of violent.

Because the traditional ways of “DON’T WORRY!” tend to involve repressing or delegitimising all the internal stuff that comes together to create anxiety.

It’s like fighting your MONSTERS......not recommended.

But when I bring in curiosity, I still get to interact with my small, scared, anxious parts. In fact, I get to interact with them even more.

Only now it’s in a way that’s receptive, non-judgmental, inquisitive, and caring. I’m not pushing the worry away. Just extracting its essence.

And the main point.

This is not about not worrying. Some things in life are worrisome. They just are.

We still get to give legitimacy to everything that’s hard. We’re totally allowed to have worry. It’s part of being human.

And we get to be curious about what help us get a little breathing room. Moving from tension into possibility.

We get to be curious about perspective — where we’re standing in relation to the worry.

So useful.

"Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly."
~~ Arnold Edinborough

Wilson - my beautiful, relaxed cat - March 2010.

Ellie - my pretty girl who loves to wake me up in the wee hours - September 2009.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

My Commitment

To appreciate what comes.

To be curious.

To talk to the monsters.

To dance dance dance!

When people are in their stuff.

But they don’t know they’re in their stuff, and they have NOT developed the ability to take responsibility for their stuff.

There is not much I can do in this situation, other than:

a) give them a hug.

b) meet my frustration with understanding and love.

c) meet their frustration with understanding and love.

This is one of the great challenges of....oh, being alive.

I know I’m getting better at it, but man, it’s still a lot of work sometimes.

"The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating -- in work, in play, in love."
~~ Anne Morriss

Went for a wonderful but difficult four hour walk on 3 April 2011 in Garigal National Park. This view is overlooking Bantry Bay, Sydney.

We came upon a beautiful rock formation on our walk - Garigal National Park, April 2011

We stopped for lunch in Bantry Bay and this very friendly Kookaburra was very happy to have his photograph taken. I was only a couple of feet away from him taking this shot.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Just One Thing

Everything is connected. At least, theoretically.

And even if it isn’t, I can pretend (or assume) that within the world of me and my me-ness:

Connections are everywhere.

This comes in handy whenever things get overwhelming. Or when my to-do list is seventeen million miles long!

Look at the garden.

It’s a beautiful garden. It’s the place where all my projects, hopes, possibilities, things that might happen and gwishes are growing.

But there are way more things growing in this space than I could ever possibly tend to.

Sometimes it seems like there isn’t any point in taking care of any of these flowers, when taking care of one means abandoning all the others.

Here’s what happens.

I just decide.

Every time I lovingly, intentionally do one caring thing for one flower, something about that act and the process is secretly working to nurture and support the other ones.

Or you know what? Even when I do a sloppy, half-assed thing to care for one flower. It still counts.

And so I keep doing just one thing.

Any thing at all, really. Just one thing.

Today I will not be able to accomplish the shocking number of things that need and want doing.

But each piece will count. And somehow it is helping the entire garden.

So I don’t have to do everything.

Even though the urgency monsters say that actually I do.

One thing at a time.

Each thing activating, untangling, supporting and helping all the other things.
Even if I can’t see it or feel it. Even if it’s underground.

I’m going to let the fractal flowers do the real work, and I will do what I can, in the way that I can. Trying to trust that every piece counts.

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly.
"One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
~~ Hans Christian Andersen

In Western Sydney where I occasionally work I spotted this mural on a wall. I felt a strong connection with the painting. - Durali Aboriginal Centre - June 2006.