Tag Archives: Kangaroo Island

Year of activism #48

Visiting Kangaroo Island this week was like opening a portal to possibilities. My purpose was to meet with women entrepreneurs and there are ideas, collaborations, emergent enterprises and the environment calling to eek out regenerative offerings not just to the island but for the whole planet. These women are inside bottle of fizz being shaken up and about to go pop. They recognise they need to organise, unleash their potential, create their own ways of working to support their creativity, families, community, land and sea. They have everything they need – each other. I had an insight into a role I might play stepping into my wisdom, experience, eldership and cheer leading and the huge value this is in that time when the bottle is being shaken, when anticipation is building and before the power of of what has been dissolved in the liquid, then kept under pressure finds it way through the neck of a bottle and the blockage is removed and all the power of that energy is released. I seemed to have played a shaking up role on this occasion and clear disruptive moment, with a few more shakes before moxie shows up fully and the impact these women will have on the world will be visible to everyone.

There is an active agent inside all of us, waiting to be shaken up, or sometimes to be split into the atmosphere, perhaps already released and transformed circulating the in the atmosphere, being poured into glasses and being celebrated. The year is coming to a close and there are lots of moments to meet and greet others face to face or in real time if your circumstances allow it. As the calendar year retreats into memory, integration, maybe even some revisions will take place, editing of a recollection to better fit how the narrative end – when something that happened may now be reframed as a silver lining – I find it is time to consider what might be dissolved or trapped and held under pressure, like the carbon dioxide in the water pre-fizz and pop.

Breathing out is the exhale, the release of carbon dioxide, the circular economy of breathing. Might the pop waiting in your life to come out, be your contribution to shifting something in the world around you so that with the release comes something to celebrate? I think it is time to treat CO2 with more respect and not terming it a waste product when considering it leaving our body, but as fuel for life, an exchange between inner and outer worlds, an invitation to recreate, regenerate, renew.

Breathing in and breathing out as a lesson is with us each and every day. And if you have ever had a cold, a respiratory condition, or watched someone finding it hard to breathe, you know how precious and fragile this gift is. You also know it is finite and will one day come to an end. As a child I had chronic asthma, hospitalised several times and near death experiences, so grateful for those now to have taught me early in life to value the inhalation and the exhalation in equal measure. As a singer, learning when to take a breath, when to hold on and when to let go I recognise this requires practice, instruction and paying attention. As I cared for a man whose life left him breath by breath for ten years I saw close at hand what happens being hooked up to external sources of oxygen and how you drown without releasing carbon dioxide. I have the credentials to give this advice:

Breathe in

Breathe out

what is held under pressure can be shaken up

once shaken (not stirred)

let the energy find its way through a channel

notice who, what, where, when and why the cork is being removed

be ready to be released

explode into the world showering all around you with all that was into all that is

accept the invitation to be poured into glasses that can hold your essence

Celebrate and be celebrated.

Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

Making an Adjustment

I have been spending time and money these past two weeks for people to touch me – massage therapist and chiropractor mainly.  I somehow managed to hurt the lower part of my back. The general sense is that sitting down for long periods of time, like at a desk and in the car, and my back aren’t very compatible.  While I have been in other people’s hands has been lovely to subject myself to their healing power, it has also given me cause to think what I am saying to myself.

My counsellor self is asking me: What is giving me a back ache? Is there something pushing me forward? Maybe someone is a pain in the back?  After I reflect on these questions I find another one – is my body readjusting to a new posture and my old body doesn’t like it and is trying to adjust accordingly?  Is what I have left behind trying to align me and I need some extra help for the adjustment to be complete? Do I want to put myself in someone else’s hands?  So many questions!

Maybe my body doesn’t want to adjust back to travelling in the car or sitting down at work and this is the message it is sending me?

Years ago, a friend of mine, who was living with us at the time, enlisted my help to assist his mother leave his father. His mother had suffered many years of abuse. Once the move was over, a few months later, I was sitting with her having a cuppa and she said to me how a pain she had at the top of her spine and around the base of her skull for a number of years had completely gone.  I exclaimed: “Well that was because Mick was a pain in the neck and he isn’t in your life any more.”  She laughed and was delighted with the explanation.  I have been thinking about that moment, and what it can teach me now. This pain in my lower back, where I can hear several vertebrae crunch against each other, where my core muscles aren’t strong enough at the moment to hold them in place well enough, where my daily stretches test the limits of some muscles and verge on self-harm.  Just like making an adjustment to a financial ledger, so my spine is reminding me I have dues to pay as a result of carrying myself in a certain way that has lead me to be turning up to receive treatment from those with the healing hands.

Adjusting to an additional piece of information may even cause you to look at everything in a completely new way. Whether it is discovering that Pluto is no longer a planet, or your favourite Dr Who isn’t the sexual orientation you thought, or your bank is no longer providing the service you need (all revelations to people around me this week) – adjustments occur.  The healing hands of the therapist brings news to the bones, muscles and sinews as their turn, just as the injured body has brought news to its host.

This week Hildegard I read some beautiful words from two of your fellow Benedictines. Separated by centuries  your common love of community, bees and honey dripped off the page, bringing an adjustment to my life.

The first adjustment was via facebook where my friend Dan had caught up with Br David in Edinburgh at Global TED.  Br David graced us with his company and we shared bee hives in Kangaroo Island and he opened a glorious retreat day by inviting us all to hum. The retreatants formed a swarm and the room resonated with the gentle industry of sound to bring us all to stillness.

The second came via Glenstal Abbey. In the words of the Abbott, Mark Patrick Henderman:

Monasteries should act as beehives of the invisible making honey which can be tasted, out of otherwise unavailable nectar hidden in flowers designed to conceal it. Monasteries are breweries distilling wisdom from many sources, searching out new perspectives: ways of hearing, seeing, touching invisible life at every level.

(Underground Cathedrals, 2010, Columba Press, p.192).

You could have written these same words Hildegard.  I am so pleased that I also have a recording of some of your songs sung in Glenstal Abbey and I will listen out to the sweet  voices oozing out of the speakers next time I play Vox de Nube.  This is my kind of adjustment!

Blossom on Giles Rd, WIllunga Almond Blossom Festival 2013

Invisible Bees: Blossom on Giles Rd, WIllunga Almond Blossom Festival 2013