a gypsy update. from a room with a view…

Well hello!

So I’ve been ‘gypsying’ my way around the East coast of Australia since last November… it’s gone quickly that’s for sure (especially when I realised my last login to wordpress was MANY MOONS AGO…)

gypsy dreaming

I wasn’t so sure I’d love a gypsy lifestyle. I’m pretty transient by nature, but I do also like being settled, and having MY STUFF around me. But when I got back from six weeks in Africa, I walked into my bedroom and felt claustrophobic. I’d been loving carrying only what I could fit in a case, and suddenly the weight of all my STUFF was so much heavier than before. Metaphor much? Probably, so anyway…

My theory on that is also – first the natural, then the spiritual. And when you’re making space in your physical practical tangible world for things to change, the spaces open up across the rest of your life too.

So, I downsized. Big time. I rented my room out to a friend. Sold some furniture, gave some furniture away, loaned some furniture to friends on a ‘who knows if I’ll ever want this back’ basis. It was blissful. I loved it all. I moved out, with one suitcase, my bike, and my car, and trekked up the coast to Queensland.

And since then, I’ve been floating the Eastern side of this great land quite happily. With no planned agenda further than a few weeks ahead. Which is hard for a CONTROL FREAK Continue reading

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sometimes, i kick myself up the arse. (it’s a thing…)

Our sense of who we are as humans is very much determined by the place we are in and the people we are with.

When that changes – casually, gently, abruptly or violently – the ways we have of finding our worth and sensing our significance can shift, or completely vanish… who am I NOW?

It can be in anything from  starting a new job, school, uni, moving city, country… New customs, language, landscape, weather, people… It’s an experience of dislocation. Even if we purposed the change ourselves. And sometimes it’s violent or abrupt. A death, a health scare, a relationship break up… Somewhere we don’t want to be…

The exile MAY boast a higher standard of living, better weather, safer environment – but it’s not ‘home’ as we know it. And we often fight it. The very thing that can mould us and change us for the better.

Thing is: we most often learn that in the midst of pain and alienation, freedom can come.

In exile we say: “why me? it’s not fair”. (or at least, I do…) “I don’t understand the language, the weather is cold, the expectations are too high, I’m not recognised, the accent is weird, I got hurt, it’s not fair”, etc.  I can be very indulgent when I want to. Which unfortunately can be way too often for my liking. Especially if I’m tired, or just overwhelmed with life and all it’s nuances.

I’ve been feeling rather ‘exiled’ about a few things lately… So this blog post is essentially a rebuke and a reminder to myself.

Because there’s a few things I’ve learnt over time. Sheer life experience, and observation brings a little insight:

  • Some people will nurture that self-pity within you in exile. Old mindsets will agree, and spend time complaining together “nobody should have to live like this, you shouldn’t have to be there at that time, you’re better than this”… and quite frankly, I just don’t ‘need’ the sympathy. It let’s me camp places I shouldn’t be camping…
  • The exile might actually be temporary. And as long as you think it’s not going to be forever, you won’t commit… there’s no point in developing a life of richness through faithful hard work if you won’t be here to enjoy the benefits is there? So rather be half-hearted, casual, a little irresponsible?

Why plant a garden? Backbreaking work and you’ll be gone before the harvest… Why learn the ways of the culture? You can get by with odd jobs and undemands… Why take on the disciplines of marriage and family? Why deal with your emotions on a particular subject/experience, when you can just push it aside and let it fester? Ouch. That’s me. Just make do with casual encounters until you ‘go home’, or things change, and THEN get serious….

But that doesn’t work. Because stuff does fester. And we’re not made to ‘just float’ through life.

I’m choosing to rather:

  • build my house and live in it. No camping! I’m making myself at home. Digging foundations, constructing and build something, developing the best environment for living that I can. If all I do is minimal, and sitting around until I move on, my present life is empty and wasted. And life is as valuable here(wherever I am, and whatever I’m dealing with at the moment) as anywhere. So I’m chosing to live it!
  • plant gardens and eat their produce. I want the productivity, and to be able to look after myself. Not expecting others to do it for me, but getting my hands into the soil, getting recipes(instructions) and making things…
  • take partners and have children. The people around me are my equals with whom I can engage in responsible relationships. I can’t be ME while remaining aloof and distant. Sooo, developing trust and conversation, love and understanding, and SHARING life…
  • take care of the city. In the welfare of this city is my welfare… so I’m throwing myself into it’s wellbeing…
And my mini-rebuke(feel free to insert your own name if you’re needing your own mini rebuke):
Dear Jo,
Quit sitting around feeling sorry for yourself.
The aim of life is not to be as comfortable as possible, but to live as deeply and thoroughly as possible. TRY IT. Make the best of it. Don’t drift along, waiting for better days… build, plant, work, play, believe, grow, do everything for the wholeness of this place.
The only place you have to be human is where you are right now. The only opportunity is in the circumstances you face today.
Make decisions to respond well.
There is much to risk, much to learn, much to endure, but that’s where the abundance of life is found… Kick ass. It’s what you’re born for. Get back to it babycakes.
Love, your wiser self.
xx

I need me some ‘five star’ eyes

I’ve been thinking a bit around this kind of theme lately… and then today I read this:

“Who is a faithful sensible servant to whom the master can give responsibility of managing his household and feeding his family?” GOOD QUESTION!

Who IS that person?

I want to be that person. The person that someone trusts enough to hand over their most prized possessions – their HOME and their FAMILY – and when they do, they know that I would hold them lightly and manage them well…

(it’s also a metaphor for something bigger, clearly… so think broader yes?)

Beyond the obvious characteristics of faithfulness, and sensibility, I reckon you need ‘five star’ eyes to get that kind of gig. You got ’em?

I’m trying to ‘foster’ my five star eyes (haha. get it.)

It means noticing things. Really noticing. Don’t let the little things pass by. Unsaid. Undone. Five star means no dust, no fluff, no corner untucked, no dirt on the fork, no empty water jugs, no broken vases…

It means being ready. With whatever is needed at any given time. Like being ready with an encouraging word – something that brings life to situations. Earlier this afternoon I had a coffee in a cafe, and was totally zoned out from what was happening around me while I read the newspaper, until the lady next to me asked me if I was a JP. When I looked up to say no, I realised she was crying. She explained that she was filling out divorce papers and needed the signature of a JP before she could send them off. WOW. That’s a big Sunday for someone.  We chatted a bit, but I almost missed that chance…

It means having a sense of ownership. I always care more about something if it feels like it belongs to me. If we ‘own’ it, it means more. We attend to it better, and with more care, and grace, and dignity… more loyalty, and tenacity…

It means deferring. For the greater good. That takes grace. And humility. Which is often challenging for my pride.

It means being prepared. It means thinking ahead. In advance. You can’t feed anyone if you haven’t bought and prepared the food.

Five star means extending yourself. Stretching yourself. Growing and learning and moving. Which is always for the win.

I’m trying to lift my eyes to the five.

Happy Sunday xx

doo be doo be dooooo

In an email I received from a friend this morning, was a little sign off:

be cute x

 

the picture has nothing to do with anything, except it’s TOTALLY cute… without trying!

So the email… ‘be cute’. Two words. And one only two letters. But with so much packed in it…

BE. It’s a command… and it’s also a word I totally love.

It’s better than doing I think. People can DO good, and still BE crappy people. But when you BE a good person, you can’t help but DO good stuff. (I know, tops grammar and all!)

Being is a ‘doing’ word! Funnily enough. We have to ‘DO’ being. Get it? (laugh with me at the irony)

It’s active. And I like that. It’s totally a choice.

“BE cute”. Don’t just ‘do’ cute. BE it. Live it. Embrace it. Let it consume you.

Now, cute is just a fluffy fun word. But the concept applies across all the great stuff too…

  • BE generous. Live it. Embrace it. Let it consume you.
  • BE kind. As in, live out kindness. Don’t just go ‘do’ a kind thing. (don’t get me wrong, you SHOULD go do kind things! But when you’re BEING kindness, you’ll be DOING kindess all the time…)
  • BE real… there’s a big one…
  • BE strong
  • BE vulnerable
  • BE slow to speak and quick to listen
  • BE (insert whatever is appropriate here for you)

I’m off. To be. And to do being.

do be do be do…

Selah!

inspiring: a life well lived

People amaze me. Constantly. If you take the time, and sometimes you have to dig beneath all *the stuff*, there’s astounding treasures to find…

I read about Irena Sendler the other day. Remember her? No? Neither did I. Never heard of her. Ever. Until now. And now I’ll never forget her.

This is Irena. Or was… She died in 2008. She was 98 years old.

Most likely, nobody would’ve known much about her, other than her family. I don’t suppose she had a State Funeral. But Irena was amazing. Inspiring. Generous beyond words.

During World War Two, Irena worked in the Warsaw ghetto as a plumbing/sewing specialist (do those things even go together?) She smuggled Jewish children out – carrying infants in the bottom of the tool box that she carried, and older children in a sack she carried in the back of her truck… WHAT. WHAT?!

She also had a dog that sat in the truck. She trained it to bark when the Nazi soldiers approached the truck as she entered and exited the ghetto. The soldiers wanted nothing to do with the dog, so they’d stay clear. And the barking also covered the sounds of the children and infants.

Irena saved TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED children.

TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED.

She was eventually caught. She was severely tortured, and sentenced to death. Irena was saved on the way to her execution, by a group who bribed her Nazi guards. She was left unconscious, with both legs and arms shattered.  She was also listed as ‘executed’, so for the remainder of the war, she lived in hiding, while still helping Jewish children.

Irena kept a record of all the names of the children she smuggled out of the ghetto, and kept them in glass jars buried under trees in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any surviving parents, and managed to reunite some families. Most parents had been killed. Irena helped the children get placements with foster families, and helped with adoptions.

She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize a few years ago. She was not selected. AND IT DOESN’T MATTER. What she did for all of those children is worth more than a million Nobel Peace Prizes. And I would bet a million trillion dollars she didn’t do it for an accolade of any kind.

Dearest Irena,
You are an inspiration to me.
Thank you for your example of selflessness and generosity…

xxxx

A life well and truly lived. WELL LIVED. 

 

 

are you really YOU?

Here’s THE THING:

Lie: If people really knew you, they wouldn’t love you.
Truth: If people really knew you, they could really love you.

I love that. The truth bit. I find it’s too hard to live the lie. Even though it’s often the way we humans usually steer. Always ducking and weaving and pretending we’re more than we think we should admit that we are, to reduce the risk of rejection. It’s too tiring. And at the end of the day, when all is said and done and we lay our heads on the pillow, we know when we’ve not been true to ourselves.

How much more awesome to live true. To live free. To live knowing that whether we’re rejected by a particular person or not, we’ve been integrous to who we are, regardless.

:: and the laying of the head on the pillow is that much sweeter and more restful ::

I was sad about something the other day, and a beautiful friend sent an SMS that said ‘just sit with your sad… Let it teach you something’. There was no judgement. No ‘OMG SHE’S SAD???” There was love, embrace, tons of helpful advice, support, friendship, connection, togetherness, sharing….

It doesn’t have to mean the bottom is falling out of my world if I have a bad day. It doesn’t have to mean my family and friends will love me any less if I’m honest with my feelings instead of shoving them aside(only to face them even more harshly under the cover of darkness).

It doesn’t have to mean any of the lie… if I choose the truth instead.

It means I’m frail, and human, and tender, and vulnerable, and learning, and hopefully growing… and hopefully;

essentially ME.

Here’s to living free xx