All posts tagged: spirituality

Of things unknown and longed for still

Every morning I watch the seagulls fly over the canal from the deck of my new home, a houseboat in the centre of Amsterdam. They are experts at catching an updraft, familiar with every twist and turn of the waterways, expending energy only when needed. Unlike the seagulls though, I am bewildered by my new surroundings. I feel like a fledgling pulsing between fascination and a desperate need to return to the nest. Moving countries can do that to you, especially if you’ve spent the last 6 years living in the Australian wilderness with only forest for company. When I was young, I dreamt I could fly too. I soared high above mountains and through valleys. I wasn’t a bird in my dreams. I was me, flying. It felt completely natural and it was exhilarating. I haven’t experienced anything quite like it since. It coincided with a childhood exploring the woods surrounding my home, boundless and free of self-doubt.

What does not bend, breaks

Now that we’ve set a departure date, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how much living in this wild place, often alone, has changed me. In particular, and inspired by a grove of bamboo that I’ve only just learned to love, how much stronger I’ve become. Backwoods living has tested my strength physically and emotionally and I’ve discovered a depth of resourcefulness I never knew I had. I am proud of my strong arms and that I’m no longer afraid when I hear wild dogs howling at the moon or when I wake up to the smell of bushfires in the forest at night. What’s absent now though is the stubborn, white knuckled and rigid view of strength I came here with. A softer more intelligent strength has taken its place. A strength that is not afraid of bowing humbly before adversity knowing just like the bamboo, it will bend and not break. I lost a lot of metaphorical stems along the way though before I realised my un natural view of strength no longer …

Why am I leaving this!

Dear Hearts, while I wait for a departure date to drop into my lap, I’ve been musing about some last lingering doubts and about Nature, my harshest and wisest teacher. ‘Why am I leaving this!” I’ve been asking myself this question nearly every morning for weeks now as I sit, often uncomfortably, in the uncertainty of not knowing where to from here. A trigger for all of the lingering doubts about our decision to leave to come back and torment me. It’s winter here in Australia, and along with Autumn, it’s my favourite time of year. Full of cold nights with the fire on, blue sky days and lovely walks safe in the knowledge that all of the the creatures that can kill me are sleeping! There’s a gentleness to the wilderness now that allows me to exhale after the intensity of summer. To fully relax into myself and into nature.

Living the dream

I’ve been trying to write this post since March, the five year anniversary of our move from the city to the bush. I could say that life got in the way, that I was too busy but that would only be partly true. The real truth is that I’ve been procrastinating, making excuses because I knew writing it would be hard. Hard because after 5 years of ‘living the dream’ we’ve decided to follow our hearts back to the city. How do you celebrate something and leave it at the same time without feeling like somehow you’ve failed? I realised as much as wanted to, I couldn’t let this milestone pass because an anniversary is more than a celebration of the start of something it is also an opportunity to take stock of where you are now and how far you’ve come. To reflect on all of the things you didn’t know then but do now. That day back in the beginning, I burst into tears as the removal truck made it’s way up our …

Rose is a rose…loveliness extreme

We’ve been back from the cooler climes of the Northern Hemisphere for a month now and the summer we’ve returned to has been brutal. Two days ago we reached a record breaking temperature of 48.9 degrees celsius, the hottest place on earth according to some news reports. Extreme heat like that silences and suffocates everything in its wake. It might sound dramatic, but it feels like we’ve been in survival mode for weeks. Another valuable lesson in surrendering to the dictation of nature and a frightening glimpse into our global warming future. But thankfully today I’m exhaling deeply and breathing in the sweet smell of rain. The forest is alive again with the sounds of the animal world. After nearly 5 years living in this wild and sometimes extreme landscape, I remain in awe of the power of the natural world. I’ve come to realise that to flourish in this wild place, I must also be fierce and irrepressible. To stand steady amid the chaos and boldly express my own true nature. That’s when the magic …

(What’s so funny ’bout) peace, love and understanding

Lately I’ve felt very grateful for the isolation of my hilltop perch far removed from the chaos of global affairs. Has the world really become an uncertain, turbulent and unharmonious place to be right now?  The lyrics of Elvis Costello’s “what’s so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding” couldn’t be more relevant. As is my bent, I started thinking about what we can learn from nature and her wisdoms to help us make sense of it all.