On being dismantled

“Yes!” I exclaimed as I drove along the freeway to work one morning. Julie Piatt had just said some enlightening words:

“You’ve got to rise to a different level, and start defining what’s going on with you. This is my sacred moment! This is my opportunity. Bless ‘them’ for giving me this opportunity. I’m not going to waste it. I’m not going to lose this moment. Let me take it and ingest it with all of my being, so that I extract the nectar of life.”

cover170x170 I was hearing these words from the podcast Divine Throughline and Srimati’s words rang clear and true for me. She described the experience of being ‘dismantled’ in life. Her experience was one of financial collapse and the struggles she faced in dealing with that. But she emphasized that the same dismantling can occur with relationships, health, etc.

The word ‘dismantling’ accurately describes the feeling that I have been experiencing over these past few years since my parents died. They were the foundation of my identity – positively and negatively. As outgoing people they regularly did the talking for their reserved eldest child. My identity in this world was shaped and supported by their description of me. I saw myself through their eyes. Their supporting framework for me existed for 55 years and now it is gone.

Other notions of my character and personality emerged, were well lived, and then outlived: capable and interested student, competitive swimmer and netballer, designer, wife, mother…

It was my identity as a mother where I found confidence, connection, meaning, competence, and unconditional love. There is nothing new in this, but for me, as someone without confidence, this formed a strong identity for me. I loved, nurtured, helped, supported, and communicated to these new beings who I was responsible for, with the constant help from my husband – their father. These were/are my favourite people in the whole world. I loved seeing the world through the eyes of a mother, sharing life experiences with them.

They flew from the nest as confident, independent, capable, and happy adults to find their own way in life. A success story. And while my parents were still part of this world, they continued to hold up my fragile ivory tower.

But then I was ‘benched’ as Julie Piatt describes in her podcast. Much of what I knew to be my identity was removed through relationships that were now gone or had failed, and this was not ever my intention. Piece by piece my identity has been stripped away. Of course I am grateful for those that remain.

“This is your soul saying “Get on your knees and I’m going to bring you down and your ego is not going to like this. I’m going to take you down to your core and reveal to you who you really are which is so much more beautiful that any personality or any ego, ever was.”

She says to allow ourselves some time and then you have to pick yourself up and rise to a different level. This is my sacred moment. She goes on to advise that we must do the things we love, everyday, whatever that might be; to be open to the miracle, and to see life through the lens of abundance and gratitude. I try and it is easy because I have so much to be grateful for.

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Women leading change

The Wake Up Project provided an event at the Melbourne Convention Centre: Women Leading Change that I was fortunate to attend with a friend.

We joined 500 women who listened to some remarkable and inspiring women talk about change. Seane Corn; Janine Shepherd; Tara Moss; Lucy Perry; Clare Bowditch; and Tami Simon were each introduced by Jo Wagstaff.

Seane Corn is a yoga teacher and activist who created the movement, Off the Mat and Into the World. She began the day talking about “Beauty, Bravery, & Living Your Truth”. She shared her personal story explaining how that has led her to where she is today. Advising us all to accept our “shadow” as well as our “light”, she explained that only then could we be truly authentic with others and ourselves.

Our wounds become our wisdom.” ~ Seane Corn

Janine Shepherd followed to talk about “The Power of Acceptance”. She is living proof of this as someone who was hit by a truck while cycling in the Blue Mountains, almost dying, being told she would never walk again or have children; and yet there she stood and walked unaided, vibrant, mother of three adult children, and a commercial pilot. You can hear her story in her TED Talk.

“Life is not about having it all. Life is about loving it all.” ~ Janine Shepherd

The gorgeous Tara Moss followed to talk “On Courage, Self-Care, and Why Women’s Voices Matter”. She says that first you must prioritise your own health before you are in a position to help others. She provided some interesting statistics to illustrate how women’s voices are not represented in government, business and organisations. Important decision making about women’s issues such as abortion, domestic violence, child care, etc are being discussed and decided by male voices, as they make up the significant majority of representatives present at the discussion tables.

Lucy Perry talked amusingly about “Fearless Living: How Fun, Forgiveness, and Fearlessness Can Change the World.” She says that ordinary women can do extraordinary things and she is proof of this through her work alongside Australian obstetrician Dr Catherine Hamlin as the former CEO of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia in Australia.

Clare Bowditch entertained us after lunch with “Oh F**k, I Don’t Know What To Call This Talk”. She had 500 women singing in two-part harmony. And she talked about how we are not perfect, all of us are works-in-progress, and how we must “learn to sit in the uncomfortable now.” She says her most commonly asked question is “Why did Patrick have to die?

Tami Simon is the founder of Sounds True and she talked next about “Being True: Showing Up Fully in Your Work, Life and Love.” Her main principles are: individuality, being true, and heeding the call.

Her findings from her interviews “Insights At The Edge” are these:

  • The spiritual journey is a journey of subtraction. What can I let go of?
  • The disciplines of spiritual life are about the shedding process not self-improvement.
  • There is no end to the spiritual journey.
  • Every teacher is partial.
  • There is no escaping loss and sorrow.
  • Everything depends on how much you trust.
  • The most important thing is to know what the most important thing is to you. “Can I give myself to the love and connectedness of my life?

Seane Corn closed the day challenging us to find our voice and speak out. “Start Where You Are: It’s Time to Rise”. She says to celebrate an authentic human experience, be able to say ‘sorry’, self-care, own your ‘shadow’, and don’t be an arsehole.

Thank you to The Wake Up Project for organising this day. And thank you to Alana for inviting me to spend this special day with you, and being inspired by these amazing women.

Re-imagine your truth with IN-Q

I am listening to a podcast by Rich Roll, hearing him talk to IN-Q. I am inspired by their discussions about vulnerability, authenticity, honesty, and truth. IN-Q is a modern-day poet of note, rubbing shoulders with Cirque du Soleil, President Obama, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and others.

Poetry is a beautiful genre that allows people to share their stories and speak their soul. ~ IN-Q

As a teen IN-Q wanted to be a rapper, and his poetry reflects modern day America. It is raw, witty, intelligent, spiritual, gritty, and moving.

The Christmas spirit

I walked through the front door and was stopped in my tracks with the silent realisation “Oh My Gosh, it’s Christmas!  I first noticed on a sideboard in the entry a knitted nativity scene. It was so cute and made by the sister of the lady who lived there. I could not imagine ever spending the time to knit little individual sheep. This house, where our Book Club was meeting for the Christmas session, met all of the criteria of a warm, cosy, festive atmosphere. There were Christmas decorations everywhere; tastefully placed. A huge artificial Christmas tree filled a corner of a warm sitting area defined by wood paneled walls, antique sideboards, comfy leather lounge chairs and a fireplace adorned with conifer sprigs.

 

Christmas in the Australian summertime is usually a stifling occasion, but on this December evening it was raining, cool and misty, transporting us to a European Christmas. We shared a buffet dinner arranged on the dining table in the best Christmas crockery. We ate, drank sparkling wine, chatted, and then settled to discuss the book: Amy Witting’s “A change in the lighting. The discussion was brief and not as in-depth as the previous discussions of other books.

 

dsc010351The next day I decided to think about my own plans for Christmas. I put up our little artificial tree, made Christmas cards and sent them, planned the meal for our family get-together, and went and bought a cute little nativity scene. It is not knitted but cute nonetheless.

 

Our shared meal will be a typical Aussie Christmas lunch with various cold meats, salads, pavlova with raspberries, plum pudding, fruit punch, lollies, beer, and wine. No doubt it will be a hot day and I will set up tables on our back verandah.