Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

4 08 2012

Growth – even in a hole in the granite.

This week’s challenge is to portray Growth – a part of life.  This plant makes the most of what is available – a one inch hole left in the granite which it found by a miracle.  It shelters in the cleft of the rock; not complaining that it doesn’t have enough, not lamenting that it doesn’t get much chance, not wondering how long it will be there.  Just growing.  Basking in the sunshine, enjoying the warmth and collecting rain as it falls. Growing. Surviving. Flourishing.  Maybe I need to get back to basics too.





A new name – A new identity

27 06 2012

I’ve changed my name.  After nearly twelve years together, I decided to adopt my partner’s family name and it feels really, really good.  In Western Australia, we are not able to marry or celebrate a ‘civil partnership’ or ‘registered relationship’ so changing my name is a visible sign of our commitment as well as the love and rings we share.

I’m quite surprised actually because I’ve never had any inclination to change my name but I’ve never really liked it either.  I have always been called “Louise” even though it is my middle name.  It has been awkward and annoying to continually explain that it’s not that I don’t like my first name, I’ve just never been called by it.  People insist I tell them what my “real” name is.  So, my “real” first name is now Louise and I’ve taken my partner’s family name.

Despite not really liking my original full name, I have been quite possessive and fought to protect it.   Some time ago I worked for a company which changed its corporate logo and lettering format so everything appeared in lower case.  everything.   It became the standard format for all stationery including business cards and name badges.  Apart from the fact that I think proper nouns should have a capital letter, it irritated me to think that they could ‘brand’ my name to match theirs.  (I now work at a company that uses all capitals – hahaha!!)

2012 has been a tumultuous year.  We’ve muddled through a year of grief with the family after the sudden loss of Beth last year.  It affects all we do.  Six months later, we still have ‘crying’ days which is only natural as we miss her presence every day and it is only really starting to sink in.  During the time we’ve spent with the family, they have drawn me in and brought me close which has been beautiful.  Beth was always the one to ease me into the circle, to create opportunities for me to be included.  When she died, I wondered where I’d be without her and where I’d stand when the very close family drew in even closer.  As it turns out, I was right in the middle there with them.

A name for the rest of the journey

So it seemed only fitting that I change my name to reflect who I am and how I feel.  Names really do hold so much of our identity.   I feel like I can let go of a lot of things now, a lot of stuff from the past that belongs with that me.  I won’t forget or banish them, but they’re just not me anymore.  This is a new threshold, a new name for the rest of my journey, and I like it.

Even in Beth’s passing she has helped me to feel included in the family and proud to stand with them so I’m glad to make that official.  I know Beth would be proud that another has joined her clan and I’m glad I’ve finally taken the plunge (even though the paperwork is a nightmare!!).  We saw Dad on the weekend and he’d prepared a sign for ‘The Newest Member’ which was stuck on a six pack of beer.  I was so glad to see him although he did say:   “Now you’re one of us, you’ll have to drink beer you know“.

Oh dear, if only I’d known…  🙂


Love is all that matters

1 05 2012

French Knot Garden: Melville Rose Farm, Bickley.

Love is all that matters.
Love defies time and space and can’t be confined or contained.
Look around.  Love is everywhere.
It is the power behind life, it is life itself.
It lasts forever.
You cannot begin to fathom how much you are loved by another.
And you will be astounded at how deep your love runs for someone.
Between school and life and work
and bills and debt and success
and illness and achievements:
Love is all that matters.

Perth City Graffiti –
“You’re the greatest thing in town, I wanna give all my loving to you, LOVE IS REAL, I feel it for you”

Your life is a sacred journey

21 03 2012

Stirk Park: Kalamunda, Western Australia.

Your life is a sacred journey.  And it is about change, growth, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous risks, and embracing challenges at every step along the way…

You are on the path, exactly where you are meant to be right now…

And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, beauty, wisdom, power, dignity and love…

I hope you like the quote above as much as I do.  It is from:
Caroline Joy Adams – Author, Public Speaker and Writing Coach

The grey of uncertainty

6 03 2012

When I venture out of my office cubicle into the sunlight for a break, I often walk the city block which takes me past the District Court Building. It’s new and filled with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. I’m struck by the energy and vibe surrounding the place. It’s quite harsh and agitated, buzzing with life and raw emotion – anxiety, sorrow, anger, love, bitterness, revenge, disappointment, betrayal, triumph, arrogance, brokenness.  I can feel it as I walk past and through the crowd.

Camera and news crews often gather outside to catch a glimpse of a shielded person emerging from the glass doors. Men in tailored suits wearing starched collars and bands walk swiftly past those sitting on the pavement smoking. Families huddle close together, security guards watching closely in case any anger erupts. Large refrigerated trucks deliver new people each day to the underground holding cells while others enter the front door with lattes in hand.

I took this picture (below) on the courthouse steps some time ago and I’ve been waiting to see what it would tell me. It was only last week, as I was walking past it again, that I realised it’s built and furnished in black and white. A courthouse, a place of judgement that is clothed in black and white. The irony wasn’t lost on me. I wonder if it was designed on purpose to subliminally represent a place that contrasts life on a wide spectrum of right and wrong, captive and free, law and justice…?
I find so many things in life are much more grey these days. It is not as simple as black and white. Sometimes I long for decisions to be that easy, definite, sure. Nowadays I consider more factors, more points of view and possibilities.

Chaos calls to order

My childhood was spent in a chaotic home, the mood of the day and the hour often unpredictable. In my late teens I adopted a religious conviction which imposed rules in black and white. Every question had an answer. Every event had a reason, a purpose, a plan. It was comforting (because I had seen the light) and for the first time in my life things were predictable, answers were clear, decisions were easy and my ground was solid. I felt at peace. Certain and sure. It was a huge relief.

Inevitably, whatever we cling to with such a ferocious grip starts to crumble after a while unless we submit ourselves further.  For me it became harsh, unbending, cold and restrictive.  Answers became simplistic and naive, shallow and merciless.  I became repulsed by the very thing that attracted me and saw that the strong rules and black and white outlook was cruelly divisive – good and evil, heaven and hell, saved and lost, in and out, sinner and saint, us and them.

I left and am now a fringe dweller who roams on the edge of faith, still deeply moved by the beauty of creation and the ineffable divine presence that is somehow in the very air I breathe, yet I’m far from institutionalised religion.  In hindsight, I don’t regret the experience or that part of my journey. It was comforting for a time and gave me the certainty and clarity I needed to help stabilise my life.  I had a yardstick, a compass, a guide.  For a time.

Shades of Grey
But life is not that simple. Decisions are difficult if you dig a little deeper than the obvious. People are complex, relationships deep, motives often unknown, history hidden, stories untold.  Eventually I could no longer live such a black and white existence without having to knowingly destroy part of myself.  After leaving, I mourned the loss of a solid platform (and a lot of friends) in favour of feeling rudderless again.  Life is complex and now that I live within the spectrum of grey there is more mystery, more uncertainty and unknowing. I know much less than I used to know.  I have less answers and more mercy.

The challenge for me is to live with the uncertainty, the mystery and the confusion and be content with ‘not knowing’.  I’m aware too that even in saying that I might be setting up my own duality between ‘knowing’ and ‘unknowing’. It is tricky. The difficulty for me is not in being present with mystery and being patient as it slowly reveals itself;  it is holding myself back from trying to solve it and assign it a ‘reason‘ or explanation in order to label it, contain it and file it away.

Am I dwelling? over thinking? wallowing? navel gazing? To some, maybe. But I think I’ve felt another shift – one that let’s me say “I don’t know” more often. But this time I’m content with that answer.  I don’t need to know ‘why this or that happened’ or to find a reason.  But I might need to find another walking route for a while.

A thread in the tapestry of Life

5 03 2012

Tapestry from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London - touring Perth 2012

As I’ve been reflecting on life lately, I came across this quote from Steve Brunkhorst, which puts words to my picture. Hope you like it too.

As we weave the tapestries of our lives, we gradually begin to see our designs from a wider angle of years. We may or may not be pleased with what we see. Yet, no design–not in the living world–is carved in stone. We have the gift of free will to change our designs as we wish. We are each a thread in the tapestry of our human family. Our outcome is woven of endless possibilities, because we can choose from a universe of endless possibilities. Every person can make a difference. Each thread is a possibility, chosen by the design of divine imagination. Our life-time designs arise from our divine gifts, unique talents, desires, thoughts, choices, and actions. At times, old choices–old threads–wear out. We see the past while we live in the present, and we can replace the old…with new ideas, new choices, and new actions. We can view the future through today’s eyes, and time blends all experiences, dark and light, into an awareness of authentic joy. May you live joyfully and abundantly today and throughout every season of life!!

A hike through the hills

28 02 2012

The Bibbulmum Track is one of the world’s great long distance walk trails, stretching nearly 1000kms from the Perth Hills to Albany on the south coast, through the heart of the scenic South West forest and coast of Australia.

For my 40th birthday a couple of years ago a friend gave me a present which was to “walk a section of the Bibbulmun Track” together as a day walk. What a great gift. The Northern Terminus is in our suburb in the hills and we see it every time we go to the local village.

Setting off with Marcia - Kalamunda Northern Terminus.

We decided on doing the ‘first leg’ which runs from Kalamunda to Mundaring Weir, a cross country trip of 18kms including a descent of 300m down to Piesse Brook, then a climb of the same up the other side.

Across the ridge - looking towards Red Hill

The walking was wonderful. We chatted some of the time then spent long hours quietly crunching along the gravel, finding our own meditative rhythm through the changing scenery. We passed through woodlands, jarrah forest, valleys, a camel farm, a national park, an old abandoned golf course, a thirsty weir and across the top of the ridge.

A lunch stop - a gourmet sandwich and fresh cup of tea!!

I was always a keen bushwalker which came from my days of Army Cadets and being a Youth group and Scout Leader. Some day I’d love to walk the length – people come from all over the world to do the “End to End” trip. It just so happens that it starts near my home and ends in one of my favourite places in the world – Albany on the south coast. It is a marathon adventure though and generally takes folks around seven weeks to walk it if they cover 20-30kms per day.
We got lost a couple of times and retraced our steps back to the marker only to find it had slipped and was pointing in another direction. A quick snap of a twig made a makeshift rivet to hold the sign in place for those behind us.

Directions - The Waugul symboli s part of the spirit and culture of the Aboriginal people

The walk we did came two months after I’d recovered from the Swine Flu – yes, the real one. It nearly killed me and has left a post viral storm that became the catalyst for activating Rheumatoid Arthritis in my system. Since then I haven’t been physically able to walk very far due to pain and swollen joints. I’ve been working on it though. It’s been two years since my diagnosis and I’m just beginning to walk daily, establishing a routine that will see me reclaim some health and fitness. I’m aiming to venture out into nature once again, far enough away from the sound of traffic would be a bonus.

Mundaring Weir - five hours after setting off we crossed the weir at the end of the first leg.

I might not ever make it End to End in one go, but I will aim to complete another section sometime this year. Maybe I’ll take it bit by bit. Stay tuned.

For more info about the Bibbulmum Track visit the Foundation here

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