My midlife crises…Crises de mi-vie…

Most people when they have their mid life crises do something like ‘oh I don’t know, jump out of a plane for kicks, (face your fear),  leave a defunct marriage, (‘yeah thanks for the last 30 years I’m off, see ya’)… One of my girlfriends, (bless her) … walks the Bibbulum track,  I’ve blogged about it before, my one attempt at walking a tiny part of it, but after a day, my feet were covered in blisters whilst every bone in my body ached. I’m all for tipping myself out of my comfort zone and tackling something new.  However, looking back on one of my tales, I can now (thankfully) see the funny side. The time I flew to France to be with a man I’d met only a few weeks earlier. Naturally, I had at least one friend who said ‘yeah, good luck with that.’ I knew what she was implying.  ‘Have you gone bloody mad? Oh wait, your at that time of life. Mid life…’

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Love puts a spring in ones step doesn’t it? I was miss ultra positive from the get go. I had nurtured a dream of living in France for years. Who doesn’t think it’s the most divine language of all? I loved nothing more than to sit at outdoor cafes ordering a cafe au lait, people watching, breathing in the atmosphere and pinching myself ‘I am finally in FRANCE’. I have made it, I may marry a french man and live happily ever after. Voila!

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And so, my french boyfriend who could speak fluent english (he was a teacher) was supposed to meet me at the airport. I arrive and he is not there. I call him, there’s been a problem, can I meet him at the train station? Sure. After 24 odd hours of flying, all I wanted to do was have a shower and fall into a warm bed, but now I have to get on a bus and head to the train station. This was not the reunion I had envisioned.

We meet again. He seems edgy. I’m exhausted. He takes me to a cafe, orders me a hot chocolate. Instead of being happy to see me, he is suspicious. ‘Why did you really come?’ My worst fears are tumbling down around my hot chocolate and I stare out the window, surely this can’t be happening. I tell him I’m exhausted and want to go to the nearest hotel. I will meet him tomorrow. He insists on carrying my suitcase and together we walk across the road to the nearest Pensione. He converses with the attendant as I slump against a wall,  listening to his perfect voice, the voice that has been seducing me for months. He walks me to my room. “Au revoir’  kisses my cheeks. I’m confused. Irritated with myself for being so foolhardy. What did you expect? I chide myself, but I’m too tired to answer.

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The next morning we meet again. He is dressed in last evenings clothes.  He is still edgy, challenging me in a way I don’t understand. Maybe he’s changed his mind now I’m here. As we eat our breakfast and converse somewhat awkwardly  I decide that I’m not feeling  comfortable. The truth is, I’m deflating fast. I tell him I’m moving to a hostel for a week or 2 and I’ll meet him each day for a walk. I need to play things by ear as my dream unravels before me.

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We attempt to be friends. He holds my hand, whispers in my ear. He takes me to every church in Marseille and we sit quietly side by side admiring the gorgeous buildings. One day we are walking around the old market place . He points to a building where he used to live ‘with my lover’. I question him about it. Why he said the word lover and not girlfriend. ‘My lover was a man. Are you shocked?’ ‘The look on my face possibly said it all. ‘Well it’s kinda something you could have told me  before I came all this way to see you again huh?’ I had a whole lot more to think about now. I asked how long he lived there with him ‘5 years’ he replied. We limped along for a few more days until I decided I’d best put the whole episode behind me. I said goodbye to my dream, farewell to the country where I longed to live and flew to Morocco instead. Not everything in life turns out the way we hope….

C’est la vie.

 

The Outback

So far as the great aussie outback is concerned, where I’ve been working they don’t consider it too ‘outback’. It’s 1.5 – 2 hours (depending on your car) to ‘town’ so in terms of our outback’s, it’s not that far. However, it sure feels a long way when ones phone has no reception, but also in a funny way, freeing. There once was life before mobile phones! Yet, amid the dusty days, the blaring sun, drought conditions and vast horizons, I began to see and feel, what it is about the outback that people fall so in love with.

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Raising children in these environments is not without it’s challenges, home schooling, isolation from friends and other family, being ultra organised because your local shop is not around the corner are just a few. Yet there is something to be said for kids that are free to run around without their shoes on, to kick a ball without worrying it’s going to land on a road, to create new games to play and to learn to play nicely with one another. Children who are learning the value of friendship, of books, of ‘helping out’  and who read at night instead of watching TV or playing on I pads. Children, who look at the world as children, with awe and wonderment and that pure sense of adventure and imagination.

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And who are also learning team work with their parents, how to handle a horse and to muster cattle. These are life skills that are invaluable and incentive to get the school work done early!

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The outback, leaves an indelible impression on you, one that lingers, long after arriving ‘home’. It leaves its mark, helps shape you, give a fresh perspective. I’ve seen first hand, how hard life can be out there, long hot hours working in the blazing sun fixing fences or whatever problem arises. This attitude of ‘get on and do it’ is what helped to build this country and it gave me a deeper appreciation of my forefathers.  Yet it’s gifts, oh the gifts of nature, of the very heartbeat of this country is what would take me out again.

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Meet Mrs Dog.

Always watching, ready for a game. She may be getting old, but she’s as loyal as the day is long, just like her human companions. Salt of the earth folk. Real folk who mean what they say and say what they mean. And whose country hospitality also leaves a lasting impression which I’m so extremely grateful for. xx

Woop Woop

Recently, a friend came on facebook messenger,  asking me where are you’?  I replied ‘oh, out woop woop’,  then suddenly realised what a funny expression that was for anyone whose english is not their first language, like my dear belgium friend. She is probably scratching her head thinking ‘where the  darn is woop woop?’..

How do we explain that term, which rolls so succinctly off our aussie tongues?

Answer: A long way from the nearest town.

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We are not 10 minutes from the nearest town… we are 1.5 hours drive from Clermont, or  2 hours, depending on the vehicle your’e driving, or if you take a wrong turn. Believe me, out here, in woop woop, it’s easy to do. There is the time of day when one drives, that one needs to consider, because there are the roo’s  (kangaroos) hovering road side and the occasional family of bush pigs or cows,  who run out in the middle of the road, startled by your headlights. So they stop.  Right there, in front of you. One minute your driving  100 kms, the next you’ve hit the brakes, struggling to do 10 kmh.

The nearest neighbours are 10 kms away and the sky is a starry bright palette to which I am unaccustomed and when the sun goes down and the birds have tuckered down it is extremely quiet out here.  But that sky.  Mere words can not adequately explain it.

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It has been a grande experience, re connecting with people and children I care for greatly. When a 8 year old holds your face and says “you’re great and I love ya” it kinda strikes a place in your heart. ‘Awww’ as a reply, doesn’t really cut it. But I take away the love, the feeling which reminds me that most succinct experiences are not spoken, but are felt by the heart.

Naturally,  being out ‘woop woop’ is not without it’s challenges, one of which is the heat. (The isolation came in second place.)  Mid morning, the sun slaps your face as you suddenly realise, ‘shit, it’s burning’.. and scurry inside to locate your wide brim hat. (And slap on some sunscreen while your at it.)

Walking hand in hand with it’s seeming harshness is a raw beauty we are not privvy to in the city. Its a vibe, a slowing down, a feeling that I haven’t felt until being out here. Miles from nowhere. Woop Woop. Everyone should go here. My mother used to talk about the big skies and ‘fairy lands’ she discovered as a girl, living in a tin shed with flour bag walls out near Southern Cross, Western Australia.

I am beginning to know my mother a whole lot more, a whole lot deeper as I spend precious time out ‘woop woop’ discovering what she was privvy too, 70 odd years before me. Wow.

 

Eye gazing

Many moons ago, I attended a personal development course at the Relaxation Centre, in Brisbane, held by Bert Weir. One of the exercises he gave us to do, was to find someone we didn’t know and gaze into each others eyes for 5 minutes.  I have to say, for me, it was an extremely uncomfortable experience (and I suspect, for many others it was too) and the longest 5 minutes of my life.

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If the eyes are the window to our soul, then having someone gaze into them, someone to whom we aren’t acquainted,  gives an entry into some private area of ourselves.  Fear raises it’s head here… what will they see, something I can’t?

Over the years as I’ve learned more about life and thus myself, I’ve lightened up a bit. I’m no longer afraid of someone gazing into my eyes and when I think about the healing prospect of doing this I’d like to try it again. When I saw the advert for the new Ray Martin show coming on SBS ‘Look me in the eye’ it instantly piqued my interest.

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Many of us, sadly, are estranged from someone whom we used to share a loving bond with. Life is not quite the same when he/she is no longer is present. The pain is palpable at times and I for one, would welcome the opportunity to try this.  I believe, by sitting opposite one another without speaking, the power of healing can transpire. We are so much more than our words and our personalities.

We are energy, vibrating, feeling beings with so much depth.  The yearning to be whole, to have any angst in relationships healed, is for most of us – a dream. Yet I believe, it’s very possible. It just takes 2 willing participants.

Are you ready to let go of the angst and the pain of the past.

Are you ready to be truly free?

Any thoughts on this blog ?

Yikes! Snakes !

I have a morbid fascination with snakes.

I’m terrified of them, don’t get me wrong and being out in the great Aussie bush makes me very aware they are around. Its supposed to be nearing the end of winter but everyone’s saying ‘what winter?’ Which means, they are even more ‘present’ than usual.  Then there’s the fact that I feed the chooks… hmmm.. and snakes adore chook eggs so….

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Out here, in the back bush of Clermont, the middle of the day is much like a heat wave from where I grew up in the south west of West Australia.

I’m helping out on a 60,000 acre farm. Yep. Plenty of room for lots of snakes further bought home to me by the snake skin I saw yesterday in a dish casually placed on top of one of the freezers.

When I asked ‘where did you find this?’ Meg replied ‘oh, out in one of the yards.’

‘But it doesn’t look like a pythons skin?’ I’m thinking that it looks way more sinister than a harmless ol’ python. Meg simply shrugged her shoulders and walks away. She must be over hearing such trivial questions.

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Miss 6 over heard me and called out ‘ yeah Lon, there was a king brown outside our school last week.’

‘A king brown? Isn’t that more deadly than a common ‘brown?’ My palms were getting sweaty just thinking about it.

‘Oh yeah, it is’ she replied, casual as.

A few years ago I was working in an office, a job I realized after 3 days was definitely not for me. I did however get to meet some interesting people and one day a guy was doing a first aid course and bought in a tiny snake in a container.

I couldn’t stop staring at it and asked him a barrage of questions one of which was ‘how deadly is it?’

Now, this tiny snake at first glance could easily be mistaken for one of those rubber ones that comes in kids show bags.

It looked non descript.

So I was a little taken aback by his reply.

‘If you get bitten by one of these, even one this small, your in deep doo doo.’

(In other words: trouble, or shit, for those that don’t understand what ‘doo doo’ means).

I wish now I hadn’t lost my cowgirl boots. Left them behind somewhere. Here I’m wearing sandals for ease of throwing on and off as I walk in and out of the house a zillion times a day. I’m thinking I need to be in boots or joggers, just in case. Long boots would really be handy.

AS I wandered over to the chook pen today, I watched in earnest as the sandy ground and leaves from the trees were perfect camouflage for any brown yellowy coloured snakes. As I crunch over the leaves I pray they hear me a coming.

At night when I leave the main house to walk over to my donga, I can hear my mothers voice ‘walk slow and thump…. It’ll alert the snakes.’ So here I am thump, thump, thump…… fiddling with my I phone so I can at least shine a torch on the ground and praying that no snake shall cross my path. At least no brown ones… but then, a dear friend just emailed me and said ‘watch out for the redbacks…’ yikes, hadn’t given them a slightest thought!

Great.

 

 

Adaptability

A few years ago I watched a film called “The lady in number 6.” It was a short doco shown at the Gympie Film Festival. In fact, maybe I’ve already referred to it before in another blog… The short version is Alice survived a concentration camp and what struck me so profoundly was when she said ‘you had to learn to be adaptable, if not, your life could be over in a split second.’

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Now, on another note, sometimes people call me ‘changeable’ because I’m a gemini. Yet once I was seeing a counsellor and always left his office feeling positive and self empowered, as he rephrased a ‘negative’ into a positive and called me adaptable. Some people put a lot of emphasis on star signs and ok, Im a gemini, ok, being changeable is part of our natures, but really, it is true for many. I’m not a big advocate of star signs because I feel we are all a mixture of many signs. You take a little of this, a little of that, but I don’t base my life along being a gemini with a pisces moon because at the crux of my being is a soul who is timeless and ageless and has no star sign. We are so much more than our star signs so why limit ourselves? 

A few years ago I wasn’t so adaptable. I remember sitting at my girlfriends house balling my eyes out saying ‘I no longer have a home’! I had left my partner, (finally) and in doing so, said goodbye to all our plans, goals and dreams. And my ‘home’. This is how I know Ive grown, because now I am so much better at going with the flow. My ‘home’ is wherever my pillow is. I’m now able to travel, to experience very different cultures, lifestyles and people and I love every moment even the challenging moments….

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My little car, full of my possessions no longer define me. I no longer long for ‘things’. I long for peace, wisdom, a deeper connection with spirit, a more thorough understanding of my self, my relationships and understanding the reasons ‘why’ things happen. Of course there is a fine line between wanting to understand and simply allowing. Not analysing and being in present time. It’s always a juggling act…

 

 

 

Sprinklin Joy

Well, I arrived on a friends doorstep a week ago with no where to live. She smiled and said ‘thank god your here girlfriend’… Once again, the timing was impeccable and I silently thanked the Universe.  My friend had just had an op on her hand and was all plastered up. ‘You have no idea how difficult life is when your down an arm – come on inside!’ Before long, I made myself a comfy space on a wee mattress in her spare room and got busy cooking, shopping and running a few errands.

me cooking brussel sprouts I got busy prepping a tray of soon to be roasted brussel sprouts, coated with garlic, parmesan cheese and oil. Boy were they yummo – I ate so many I couldn’t eat any dinner.

Another friend mentioned ‘it seems to me that you move from place to place sprinkling joy where ever you go.’ I thought about it and decided that was a lovely way to describe my new life. I help out where I can. Life is pretty darn good and sure beats 9 – 5 office work which I did once for a few years. NO wonder I was so unhappy being cooped up all day! That lifestyle sure wasn’t for me. A few years ago I asked a friend who is arabic, if he would create one of his carvings for me. He asked what word I’d like and I said ‘anything that comes to you!’ I was a little taken aback when he bought it to me a few weeks later. He had no idea my middle name was ‘Joy’.

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So yeah, I like to think I am sprinkling kindness and joy around this Universe where ever I travel, whom ever I meet or spend time with….. It’s a nice thought isn’t it?

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