Monday, August 31, 2009

A heart can't smile if it's filled with tears

He told me a heart can't smile
If it's filled with tears
Growing up I thought "it's all gone"
Now it comes back to me, again
"Holdin' On Together" - Phoenix

In lieu of yet another Monday Meditation Mandala (I missed last week too, work has been far too pressing!), as promised, here is the rest of my ordeal with the trigeminal neuralgia. I feel it has been long enough for me to get both my head straight and that very same muddled head around it all, for the purpose of sharing the journey with anyone here and reading who is interested to know how it all panned out.

I don't doubt there is more to it (the neuralgia) than this. I also do not advocate simply writing "stuff" and then Poof! pain body begone! especially so when it means medical attention is not only wise but vital.

But in an effort to maintain a balanced view of what happens in my body, as well as the things I see or say or hear, I do find myself practicing more and more the quiet contemplation of the meaning of things. This can happen alongside the best (or worst) that medicine - western or otherwise - has to offer.

This one's going in the book too. It's my version of the Kerrigans' pool room.

At the time, I had been surrounded by people largely uneducated on how it felt to miscarry and who also apparently didn't pay much mind to what it felt like being on the other end of the things they said. Things like, "It’s just another early pregnancy loss, it wasn’t really a baby yet”, or, “You're still young, you can try again...". I never, ever gave myself permission to consider a miscarriage might be harder to go through than a birth. I was neither allowed nor encouraged to see our miscarriages as anything other than annoying little false starts, getting in the way of what it meant to be a real woman, in the scheme of things.

Now, so far after the events, I felt driven to go back over that period of my life, where I had endured so much loss, on a very beaten path, seemingly without end. I allowed myself, with my wisdom now, to acknowledge that each of my miscarriages had been enough to already send my body, mind and heart into baby-nurturing overdrive. Swollen breasts, heavy abdomen, nausea, fatigue all laced together with joy, euphoria and anticipation. For this to suddenly stop and those hormones to (sometimes) keep going but always just go nowhere... well, was it any wonder the complete package could knock a body around, not to mention the person occupying it?

This release catapulted me into a different level of healing, long overdue and unrecognised as being much needed. I felt validated, comforted, understood on a far deeper level than I had previously given mind to even needing. It led to some automatic writing in the days following the session with the acupuncturist. The words that flowed from my subconscious, finally unreserved and free to fall on to the paper via my pen, astounded me even after all this time.

“I am wearing the pain of those lost labours on my face,” I wrote. “My face was frozen for three days, followed by a full day of cramping that didn’t cease. I likened it to one long contraction when I was trying to explain it to people around me. I would look in the mirror and see nothing. My face belied the intense pain I was in and I looked unchanged.

On Wednesday night, relief came with the realisation that came in via the acupuncture. This condition is related to my miscarriages, I know it. I am now giving myself permission to feel affected by them.”

I was quite surprised to find myself writing like this, yet I also knew it was very important. The neuralgia had put my life on hold for days now and as the fear about it ever leaving again gave way, I saw there might be a way through it, if only I kept going and strived for understanding of it.

It was dark, in the early morning, and I was writing by candle light, hardly stopping. I trained myself to carry on and not let my conscious mind get in the way of what was coming up. I wrote in present tense, but I was writing from the perspective of the ‘me’ from years ago.

My writing sped up as more and more came to the surface.

“Sadness, bereft, empty, loss of direction, tired, ‘not again’ feeling. Why, why, why? Feel alone, not worthy enough. At what expense to our relationship am I going to keep trying to force a baby to come? I have to appear strong and uncrushed in the face of my fear that Steve will eventually say “No more” because it is now hurting us too much to be ‘worth it.’

So I keep going and going and going.

Survival mode - ‘this first, me later’. Except there never is a ‘later’.

I kept the cumulative effect of these miscarriages hidden from everyone, including myself, for fear of them also saying it was surely too painful and I should just stop trying. Dad said this directly to me in late 2008 and even then, I took great exception to it.

I had to put on a face – a public face – to mask the insidious hurting underneath.

I never truly allowed myself to feel my losses, even in hindsight, deeming them ‘not big enough, not worthy enough,’ compared to what was to come for us. I felt rushed to complete my grieving so that we could continue to keep trying on the next cycle. I was purely thinking of the physical aspect of all this. I never considered the emotional toll because there didn’t seem to be one. If my body kept getting pregnant, then my body must also be fine and it was all divinely timed. But was it?”

I cried exactly 3 tissues’ worth of tears when I read this again, later that day. It was not nearly as scary or painful, tapping in to that past me, as I thought it would be. It was cathartic and I felt lighter, as if I had really done myself a very good service. And not surprisingly, the neuralgia was quick to dissipate after this.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Last night, we went out for dinner to celebrate the end of an extremely long work week (I did more hours in the first four days of the new pay fortnight than I had done in the entire previous fortnight put together and had to do seven days straight, as it turned out - end of month stuff).

Sitting at the table, waiting for our orders, we enjoyed the complimentary starter bread (a flat herb focaccia). The LGBB enjoyed hers a little too much, finished it quickly and then seized her moment when Steve put down the last end of his while he drew me a sketch of an idea he'd had for our new outdoor entertaining area (building starts so soon, I can smell it in the air!).

LGBB: Look over there! *tapping her father on his sleeve and pointing past him*
Steve: Where? *looking in that direction*
LGBB: *more to herself than us* I'll.... just take.... this one, this is mine.....

And with that, the cheeky little monkey swiped his complimentary bread, with eyes as wide as saucers because I think she was impressed even with herself that her trick had worked. I've never had to try so hard in my life not to laugh, I think, because it really was orchestrated beautifully and Steve had zero idea of what she was about to do.

But you can't encourage this sort of thing. No. Next she'd be trying to yoink a coffee out of my hands. And that would never do.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My new hero

*Better put a warning here in case anybody is offended by the f-bomb....
don't click the link in this post if you don't like swearing,
or have 'little eyes that can read'.....
there, you've been suitably warned!*

This guy.

He reminds me of my Grandma (Dad's mum), just with rude words - Grandma never swore... well, not badly, anyway. She was cranky as all get-out and moreso in her final years (Grandma died of a heartack in front of Steve and me when she was 83, back in 2000), but she was also pretty funny with the grumpy stuff she said.

I only hope that...

a) I get to 73,

b) My daughter takes me as un-seriously as this bloke's son and

c) I remember to swear cantankerously like there is no tomorrow.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The woman in the supermarket

This is something that has come to me time and time again, in the course of writing my book. On the first sweep through the draft, there was nowhere for it. I left it out.

This morning, I was woken at 4.45am and put to work, writing it out. Strictly unedited and still unsure where it fits (but fit, it will!) in the story, I thought it pertinent to put here too. It is bold-faced, unashamedly Tigger-esque Me. The "me" I was before Ella.

The passage below reminds me so very much of the exchanges I was then forced to endure in the years following Ella's death. Things that were said to me, even after we had brought the LGBB home safely, along the lines of "Oh cheer up, you've got what you always wanted now! Come on, chin up, pip-pip."

Somehow, even if it is as simple as deciding not to be miserable anymore (ironically, usually the sentiment is delivered by those who have never actually been through a miscarriage themselves, let alone a neonatal death), I have to maintain that it is still nobody's business how someone else grieves or carries themselves while they try their damnedest to get through the toughest trial of their life. This extends to any number of personal tragedies or potholes in the road - in no way am I implying that it only fits with anything fertility- or childbirth-related. But these are just my biggest trials in life so far. Trials that have, hopefully, enabled me to extend my rules of engagement with anyone who is going through something tough - be it divorce, death of a parent or other loved one, job loss... Mine is not to measure their pain against any I've experienced and categorise it as more or less important/worthy. Mine is to simply listen and empathise. I'm still learning this one and being very patient with myself when I trip up (for I do) whilst in the throes of supporting another.

If one thing is certain, I am actually so very grateful for my experiences. It has taught me much about humility and respect, honour and empathy for others. If my lessons had not been so overwhelming and persistent, I might not have received the message so fully. I am grateful and relieved that I do see how much I have accomplished in terms of this, particularly when I look back on the exchange I had with the woman in the supermarket.

How much I had to learn......

One night after work, I was shopping in the supermarket. A woman, not much older than me, was standing nearby. She was selecting fruit and looking rather downtrodden and sullen, as if she might burst into tears at any moment. I felt so cheerful and happy that the contrast was really evident to me. In “getting over” our missed miscarriage – surely just a mindset, one that I determined would not “bring me down” and so, therefore, I had just decided not to be glum about it anymore – I felt at the time that I had just come out of what was surely the worst my life would throw at me. And I felt able to conquer anything with my perky optimism.
In all of my youthful wisdom, I smiled as I stood alongside her and said, “Ah, come on, it can’t be that bad!” I was attempting to make her smile. I thought she just needed some “cheering up.”
“Mind your own bloody business!” she snapped, hardly able to get the words out and instantly welling up with tears.
Immediately, I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me whole. I hastily left the grocery department without further word and spent the rest of my shopping trip feeling ghastly that I had upset the woman even more. Before I had even finished and paid for my groceries, I had already scolded myself countless times and wondered about her position – did she have an ill mother or father in hospital? Did her beloved cat just get run over by a car? Had her husband just left her? Of course, as our miscarriage count rose, over the years the scenarios I pondered (while I cringed) included any number of fertility concerns, pregnancy loss and even infant death. Yes, I had been extremely short-sighted in my delivery of such a well-intended but downright out of line remark.
Many years later, I would be reminded that even these sorts of absent-minded runnings off in my mind, about matters which were of no concern or business whatsoever of mine, were not useful or respectful to do to anybody. Nowadays, I diligently practice not thinking this way about others whenever I catch myself beginning to do it because it is really incorrect of me.
In her direct delivery, the woman in the supermarket had taught me something huge. Something about a person’s personal space and permitted experiences. And something I would muse about on and off over many years, serving as a reminder to be mindful not to delve into concerns that were not mine.
Looking back on the exchange, almost ten years later, I can see how utterly incorrect it was for me to enter into anybody’s personal space in that way (let alone a stranger’s). I am not saying it was wrong to strike up a conversation, more so in the manner in which I did it. Although well intended, there is little doubt that I was not permitted to invalidate someone like that. Especially if I thought that by doing so, I would be helping her to "snap out of it." 
How did I know the extent of her troubles, the depths of her despair? How did I even assume to know her situation? If I had been apprised of it, did that give me any more right to say what I did? In retrospect, I think absolutely not.
I have thought often about this exchange as a model of my Tigger-esque character at the time. It is obvious to me now that I had so much to learn, in terms of relating to people in their time of crisis. Even when I thought all of my positive, all-knowing “twenty-somethingness” would not only see me through, it could also instantly fix the woes of anyone around me (ugh) whenever I spread my feelings of joy, the truth was that I could not truly become benevolent without first experiencing bare-faced hardships of my own. “Hardships” that would send me to the absolute brink of my own desperate despair, some through which I did not even want to live.
Somehow, even if it is as simple as deciding not to be miserable anymore (ironically, in my experience, the sentiment is usually delivered by those who have never actually been through a miscarriage themselves), I have to maintain that it is still nobody's business how someone else grieves or carries themselves while they try their damnedest to get through the toughest trial of their life. This extends to any number of personal tragedies or potholes in the road - in no way am I implying that it only fits with anything fertility- or childbirth-related. But these are just my biggest trials in life so far. Trials that have, hopefully, enabled me to extend my rules of engagement with anyone who is going through something tough - be it divorce, death of a parent or other loved one, job loss... Mine is not to measure their pain against any I've experienced and then categorise it as more or less important or worthy. Mine is to simply listen and empathise. I'm still learning this one and being very patient with myself when I trip up (for I do) whilst in the throes of supporting another.
If one thing is certain, I am actually so very grateful for my experiences. It has taught me much about humility and respect, honour and empathy for others. If my lessons had not been so overwhelming and persistent, I might not have received the message so fully. I am grateful and relieved that I do see how much I have accomplished in terms of this, particularly when I look back on the exchange I had with the woman in the supermarket.

Friday, August 21, 2009

And I thought it was Step-Mothers who were wicked witches

Well, it would appear that the LGBB is now calling her Nanna a "witch."

Now, before we all declare her a precocious toddler for not respecting her elders [oh how archaic, I almost choked just typing the words], here is the quite innocent backstory:

The LGBB was "reading" the postcard she received in the post from her Nanna and Pa. She became fixated on the stamp, which had this image of Dame Nellie Melba on it. The LGBB was convinced it was her Nanna. But, here's the weird bit - even though Dame Nellie in that portrait was around 55 (what a good sort she was, she had less wrinkles then than I do now in my mid-30's!), Lolly got all confused that this is Nanna as an "old lady". She started going on about how Nanna is an old lady now..... and repeating "poor Pa."

That is when I started the video camera. But we had no idea she was going to say what she did next...... Enjoy!

Poor Pa!! from Lolly Lovers on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Uh, waitress, that's not the garnish I expected...

Skin. I peeled ... my skin. With a vegetable peeler, of course. How else would one do it??

Note to self: If I must park my brain whilst handling sharp (new) kitchen utensils, then I should at least put them down when attempting to cut corners and unwrap the cucumber. No hastening of the process can be made if I have to down tools (and cucumber waiting to be peeled) so that I can squeeze shut the wound on my finger - after first (you'll love this bit) unwedging the peeler's blade from its lodgement at the quick of my nail - and doing the wincy-ouchy-"fakari-rug-that-hurt" dance.

Especially not good if you need two bandaids and bleed out of them in less time than it takes to make your sandwich.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Winter Warmer

For a chest-warming hot drink that will draw out the nasties if you have a serious head cold, try this:

Juice of 1 lemon
Honey to taste
Boiling water
A few shakes of cayenne pepper

I actually find this concoction very soothing. I was only suggested it these past few months and it was really good, if not oh, about 2 years too late (as in, too little too late for the stuff I've had going on in Viral City, population... Me. I'm sorry. Was that overdone? I know. It was, wasn't it? Just a tad).

Just remember to keep giving the drink a little stir or swill, otherwise at the last mouthful, your eyes will bug out of your head like Bugs Bunny when he's strapped to the track and sees a train coming. ie. It's bloody h-h-h-hot.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mandala Meditation Monday #9

An interesting one today for those who can get a hold of a piece of Lapis Lazuli.

This mandala is part of Electric Blue, which is still 'in the air'. The text speaks for itself, but I find my chest feeling like it is expanding, just with the sheer potential, as I read it.

I hope you like it too!


the colour of... RICH INDIGO
the sound chord of …D major 7
the essence of...LAPIS LAZULI...A potent cleanser, it attracts the ethereal fluidium into the body to work with the cells to remove toxicity. Also known as a stone of true friendship, LAPIS LAZULI aligns the etheric, mental and spiritual bodies and stimulates increased personal expression, especially that of a spiritual and psycho-spiritual nature. LAPIS LAZULI is especially good for shy, introverted and retiring persons and can assist those of an autistic accord to deal better with reality. LAPIS LAZULI addresses anxiety and releases tension because of its stimulation of the thyroid and its energising of the throat chakra. You are then better able to engage your higher self and express or release buried emotions. LAPIS LAZULI increases psychic ability, develops inner discipline, stimulates the skeletal system and strengthens your physicality during spiritual growth. It creates a sense of strength, vitality and virility. LAPIS LAZULI invigorates the lymphatic system, pituitary and thymus whilst activating sections of the vertebrae. It may be used for tonsillitis, issues involving the larynx and upper bronchial passages, disease involving the spleen, lungs, lymphatic system, throat and thymus, as well as blood disorders, eye problems, fever, melancholia, neuralgia, and spasms. LAPIS LAZULI strengthens all meridians and on the cellular level it increases mitosis and augments the assimilation of nutrients through the cell walls. LAPIS LAZULI may be used to stimulate detoxification, metabolism, and the circulation, mental clarity, meditation, personal articulation and broadcasting thoughts. It increases the oxygenation of the haemoglobin and assists in the assimilation of calcium, lecithin, phosphorous, Vitamins B, C, E.

This Mandala will encourage you to fully recognise your desired visions. Here you will be required to hold to your spiritual quest through the night sky until you can see the “light at the end of the tunnel”. By holding thus to your night vision quest with the assistance of starlight, you will be able to pass by any opposing, opposite, oppressed or oppugnant resistance with optimism and options. This is the experience of bringing your will into motion and allowing your justified pride to re-form through your correct motive and productivity.

You will be required to be single-pointed in the way you enact your intent. If you stand in your purpose towards service and heartfelt sharing, and are prepared so to act, this experience will take you through the gateway of the past so that you can regroup the elements of your self-empowerment and recoup its mastery. Such focus will aid your connection to a twofold bequeathing—both to yourself (for it will allow you to dedicate yourself to giving from the very core of your heart) and also to the Earth (for you will be giving of your truest beauty).

These experiences do carry a sense of overwhelm and can be very consuming of your energetic pattern and perceptional levels because such an open space of opportunity, like the night sky, will stretch your vision to a greater capacity of clear sightedness than ever before. However, once you move away from hesitating because of fear and uncertainty, these experiences will magnify your need to be empowered and to act from that self-empowerment. You should tread very warily during your night-quest, nonetheless, and take one careful step at a time whilst you feel your way.

The porthole represented by this Mandala will allow you to view your emotional state from the safety vessel of your mind, for this Mandala is the home which separating yourself from reacting has created for you. It will allow you to sail your objective through rough waters that have been navigated by a much higher vision than mere physical seeing. It will be wise for you to stay your sights on the light of the solar system, for this light is the only guide you should focus upon when you chart new waters. However, it will be important for you to realise that you have charted much of the course already! Your learnings from previous experiences have prepared the way thus far and your series of seeming ‘failures' constitute the map that you are you now to follow.

Vitally important for this journey will be deep breathing. It will fathom you into the greatest depths of your pride’s neediness. This will be a time for you to trust your senses and support your physical sight by using all your senses as one.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Coincidence or no?

Some like to put a lot of things down to coincidence. Signs. Occurrences. Noises. Things like that.

Others are adamant there is no such thing as coincidence.

On Thursday, I was hanging out washing on the deck. The LGBB was standing at her chalkboard, using her magnetic letters and numbers. I was deep in thought as I pegged wet clothes on the line, my mind subconsciously organising the previous day's lesson up at Peace Space.

I had sat in on Electric Blue. It was a fairly indepth colour to learn about and shed light on a number of things that had been happening for me over the past month. I could see, with my own internal realisations, where I had gone off track over a few things with an acquaintance I've had dealings with. I was able to see where I had not been considering that person, so sure was I in my own stance. It was a big lesson, one I was SO convinced I was "right" on. The issue itself boiled down to two people (one of them being me) thinking they were "right" and justified in what they were doing. A good, old-fashioned stalemate. Neither of us, in fact, wrong or right. Just seeing things differently. Regardless of how I rationalised it in the end, in order to shelve the issue and move forward, that person's decision (or, indeed, whether they even noticed I had moved on) was not any of my business. Moving on or forward, to me, does not signal backing down or superiority... none of those inflections were in my intentions to learn and get past this. I simply wanted to unravel it and 'crack' the issue for myself. Something, I am relieved and not so surprised to say, which gave way for me by the time I had driven home that night. So, I guess, it was a win for me of sorts. I felt freed.

During the course of the day, it was reiterated that Electric Blue work should never be done without an infusion of Rose Pink, the ray of Pure Love. When I did that class, I remember being surprised to learn that Rose Pink, pure love, did not necessarily mean airy-fairy, fluffy chick, puppy dog kind of love, nor was it always beautiful or easy to receive (and/or give). It was something far more intense, and sometimes tougher, than this.

So these were where my thoughts were. I looked over absent-mindedly while I was thinking to myself that I had to look more closely at the Electric Blue manual, 1) to further unpack my own motives, method and true inner self about this issue with this other person and 2) to read back over why and where Rose Pink is needed while I do this (I think I'll be doing a healing on the issue at some point soon).

I almost missed it, for it was so subtle amongst her busy work, but there on the LGBB's board was the most amazing thing. Her first spelled-out word. Yes, a coincidence. At least, that part of it anyway. But the word itself that she "happened" to spell? Ha.

Can you see it?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stand back! A whopping, big twenty...

Litres, that is. Twenty litres of petrol. For 30 bucks.

I winced last night, Internet, as I decided to half fill my 40L tank at 165c p/litre (it's a fancy-pants prissy car that hazz to run on premium, if you don't mind). There is NO way I'm giving The Man any more if he's going to charge me that much. Mind you, I may just be screwed if it turns out prices stay that high for longer than it takes me to go through that half tank.

Thanking the heavens once again for our wise decision to move homes when we did and because of its good locatoin, now don't necessarily need my car - certainly not every day, anyway.

But still...


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Makeup

For a while there, the LGBB was racing in whenever she heard me in our bathroom, eager to get "her" makeup out of my drawer and put it on. Thankfully, this has eased up and she only saunters in once a week or so. Granted, I do tend to sneak away and do it, if I'm going to put makeup on, because... okay, I admit it, it shits me to tears sometimes when she goes through my stuff and musses it all up and mixes the colours around.

I put a useless contraption child lock on the drawer, but the LGBB simply removes it, puts it aside, has her way with my toiletries and then hands it over to me, asking me to "put this back on now, Mum." *withered look to the Heavens*

I have to giggle (internally) at the sight of a determined, terrier of a child, dragging her little step up to the ensuite sink, rummaging in my drawer and pulling out the eyeshadow that she has deemed "My One." And then watch her plaster it all over her face - she applies it like blusher, especially the chocolate tone ones... don't you know? They show up better on the cheeks.

In the flurry of then not only having to "put my face on", I'm constantly having to wipe off the LGBB's carefully applied gunk, a task she wails at me for doing. I have to convice her it's still there, it can still be seen (even though.... shhhhh.... it pretty often can't). Time waits for no mum and her Rimmel-eyeshadow-laden toddler either, let me tell you. If I had a dollar for every time I've been late on account of having to clean up my daughter's makeup off her face.... and she's not even twelve yet.

The other thing she's got going for her is that she is soooooo tidy. SUPER tidy. Leaves me to shame type tidy. Regardless of whether she's hitting the town, meeting with friends, going out for a 'cino (baby variety of course), taking herself off to a quiet corner for a discreet dump in her pants or simply strolling in the park, the LGBB can brush that makeup across her face, snap it all shut, put it back where she got it from and close the drawer as if she'd never been in there. It's slightly disturbing, her stealth.

Me? Well... I'll let the picture give the visual. Suffice to say, this is the scene that greeted me one night when I walked back in to the bathroom after a hard day. The mess, the makeup, it was all left there by Yours Truly. And Lolly's makeup? Neatly back in the drawer, where she found it, not a skerrick on the counter top.

Leaves me to shame, that kid.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Crazy two-lips

The splashback makes for a helpful and sometimes hindering backdrop. It sends off very strong flares and the camera doesn't seem to handle the red too well.

But look at these crazy Birthday Tulip shots I took a couple of weeks ago, they are a gift from the LGBB's lovely Aunty Nic.

I have to say, there is something bootiful about them. Wonder how well they'll come out over the www, but the colour contrasts I am seeing here are great. Yeah... I just saw. The colours aren't nearly as bold and the two portrait shots are very pixellated. Ho, well. It's like its own little inbuilt copyright watermark... thingy.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy bittersweet 5th, baby

A very dear girlfriend celebrated quietly today. Her little girl, T, would have been five.

I woke this morning and remembered straight away. Wrapped in the arms of the still-warm and sleepy LGBB (she cuddled me to her bosom today - she seems to do that at times when I need to stop and remember to receive love and touch), I thought of my friend. Of her husband and their daughter. The LGBB adores their son, K, who was born about two months before her. My friend and I shared a miscarriage experience on the long haul back to motherhood during 2004-2005 (well.... I had three and she two, but the point is not the numbers so much as the yearning and determined drive, all with the added realisation of how very, very much there was to lose now). When I shouldered the news that she was expecting (twins!), I again had to bow my head and plough just a bit deeper to find solid ground within. That slippery slope of dutifully "happy for you" friend and supporter, when I would go home and be upset to the point of vomiting, if not tears, to realise I was being left behind. Left, right and now centre.

I didn't have to wait long. I helped get her through the terrifying ordeal of losing one of the babies in the middle of the first trimester. I discovered the following week that I was pregnant again as well. K stayed. He stayed strong and steady right to the end. Just like our LGBB did. And now they play together as three year-olds. It makes my breath catch in my throat to recall how we used to chat on the phone and barely dare to breathe some days at our "good fortune".

So this morning, I told Lolly that it was "T's birthday today."

"I want to go to her party!" she exclaimed excitedly, before I could explain who T even was. She beamed her bright grin as she looked at me hopefully.

"Well," I said in a matter of fact tone, "T is K's sister. And she's not here, just like Ella is your sister and she's not here."

She turned her little face to me, now dropped in the saddest worried expression. "Oh no," she breathed, "Poor K!" The compassion in this kid astounds me. She leaves some adults to shame, already.

And more than this, I was hit in the stomach with the realisation that she gets it. We don't discuss Ella very often. Occasionally, she will tell me that they play. She grins if I ask if Ella chats to her. I don't push, it is their private sister business. But this.... this was validation on some maternal level for me, that my daughter misses her sister. So much that she can instantly place her three year-old self in her little friend's shoes and gather that he, too, must feel the sorrow of the empty gap where his sister might have been, had she lived longer than a mere seven days.

Happpy birthday, sweet T.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Next why don't you sing with meeee

When I took a lightning-impulse photo of the LGBB, in mid lisp, showcasing her "Alphabet" (she had painstakingly arranged the letters - and I think some numbers too - from *cough* A to *cough* Z), she insisted on seeing the shot in the camera's frame.

After careful deliberation of the image, she frowned and demanded, "No, and the other ones." Huh? "I point to the other ones now."

How remiss of me. I hadn't allowed her to include the other letters. And how could I not? She had spent ages putting her masterpiece together while I folded and hung out washing. She had sung the alphabet song, her own original version (she gets all the letters right nowadays, but used to sing "Q R S... T Boo Bee W S Y and Zed, now I know why ABC's next why don't you see boo-bee." That was when she was still breastfed. See the correlation? But she's still got the "Next why don't you sing with me" going on. And it is soooo sweet.

Anyway, then I was asked to take another photo of her presenting the second row.

My funny little Lollypop. Destined to be a letter turner on The Wheel.

What's gonna work?

Anyone acquainted with The Wonderpets will know what I mean when I say... it's cute, in a little-kid lispy, mispronunciation kind of way. It also has a theme tune that is so sweet it will get stuck in your teeth and rot them. A tune that gets in my head and I find I hum it throughout the day.

This morning, it was on and Steve was heading for work. Absent-mindedly he sang along with part of it. To amuse himself, he made it sound like the Michael Buble-Frank Sinatra lounge version.

"What's gonna work-ah? *finger-snap* That nutty, koo-koo, crazy witchcraft teeeeam work."

I heard this and was bent over double in the laundry, giggling my pj's off. Until he heard me and upped himself. He called out to me and said he'd decided he was going to sing it all day to his colleagues (Steve's the Ops Manager at a very busy printing firm). And he began again, this time in a high-pitched squeaky kid-voice:

"The paper's stu-uck. We'd bet-ter call dem. This is sew-ious! Let's save the plate-setter. Let's save the plate-setter...."

Of course, this is made all the more funny to me because one of the Wonderpets characters is called Lenny. And, well, I don't have to remind you all (or maybe I do) that he and I are The Original Lennys.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

He's through

Dad is out the other side of his op. You can't keep a chipper English chap down.

I phoned this morning to ask after him and they bloody put me through! I kinda hate when nurses do that.... sorry, nurses reading! I didn't want to disturb him, as my father is very much a person who is go-go-go and seems constantly switched to "On". Hmmmmmmmmm.... wonder where I get it from!?!?!

So there he was, doped up to his eyeballs on morphine and attempting the crossword. Gotta love 'im. He sounded slurry but still very intelligible. He prattled on as if he hadn't just gone through major surgery (they had to cut longer than they'd expected, due to scarring from a childhood appendix rupture... yeeeowch). I wanted to cut it short and didn't want him to recount details he's likely to have to repeat several times over to each new visitor as the days wear on. So I asked him if the hospital "looked nice." What a drip.

I'm so very relieved it's passed. I was climbing the walls last night and wringing my hands and didn't realise it until the call came through from my step mother. After that, I was able to settle down.

Upshot is, it is believed they've "got it all". The tumour was "small, about the size of an egg" (to which I say 'Holy shit, that doesn't sound small, but ooookay!'). The official prognosis comes through on Thursday but we are expecting the news to be good.

A trooper, is my Farver. And thank you, for keeping him/us in your thoughts. Your messages and emails have been so, so gratefully received.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Australian Magpie

When I think about a chilly, sunny morning, dew drenching everything and mist rising as the sun hits the dew and burns it off the grass, nothing quite completes the scene more than the warble of a magpie. I love their song, it is so enchanting. I find it a very striking call. It may well be that they remind me so much of my childhood, where magpies and kookaburras were the "common" birds and some became so tame you could almost, almost touch them.

About four years ago, when I began to get serious with my intuitive work, I did a course in Clearing & Protection. It became a part of my day, almost ritualistic in nature, and the benefits were felt immediately. I had just fallen pregnant for the tenth time. With one Miss Lolly. So she came with me, at a spritely 9 weeks' gestation, for a weekend where I would discover the potential I had within me to make a difference in the space and the world immediately around me.

As I have oft repeated, this is something available to all of us. By whatever method others may choose, there are scores of similar ways to clear and protect oneself. Some pray, some fast, others offer sacrifices, chant, dance.... I won't even count all the ways. There is not "just one way", though, and I think when you find the one that works with you, you're onto something - I don't really speak about my method (the Peace Space mode to healing method) because it's a personal thing. What works for me won't necessarily even raise an eyebrow for you :)

All I know is.... it does change things, so I incorporate it into what I "do" and find that it takes the edge off an otherwise large toll. Ummmmmm, I hasten to point out here that it is this very clearing and protection procedure I have been abysmally remiss in conducting for the better part of, oh, this year? It is something I have been clearly shown, in recent days/weeks, that I do not take seriously enough, perhaps regard highly enough (kind of like, "little old me? Who am I to think I can make a difference, so why bother?") - and this is the very attitude that contributes to that "Everyone complained about the situation, but no one realized there could be an alternative" mindset that is written in the Dreamtime Magpie story. To me, it is a very similar thing.

So. On to Magpie. This is written from the perspective of Neri, one of the Animal Healing Wisdom teachers who has become a dear friend and confidante to me over the past six or so years. Here, she is weaving in just one of the very many "signals" around us, that the animals are there to show is - in their wisdom - if we take the time to look at how they live their lives. Magpie, in particular, is pertinent to me at the moment because, as I read it again now, I am reminded that this energy very much relates to group-conscious or community-mindedness - something I am walking with this past week, in relation to the "cloak of miscarriage" and all that is in that bag of tricks.

You don't need to "know how" to do this clearing and protection, spoken about in the below animal totem - simply being aware when you see them and finding it fit in the context of your life at the time might be the only contemplation necessary. But it's worth a shot.

I think so, anyway.

Australian Magpie

The Magpies of Australia are well-known for their carolling songs that welcome the light of each new day at dawn. As the darkness of night becomes the light of day, Magpie reminds one and all that a new day has begun and that we need to be aware, as we let the sunshine into our day, that we should also bring the Light into all that we do and are involved with in our lives. Magpie's energy song lifts the cloak of darkness to herald the light and reveal the colours of life. This bird's black and white colouring also symbolises the darkness and light that exists in everything that is.

Observation of the Magpie reveals that these birds are constantly aware of what is happening within their territories as they patrol and protect their spaces. Adult Magpies are well-known for vigorously protecting their nests, eggs and young by swooping and diving on anything that approaches - humans, cats, dogs and other birds. Every member of the Magpie group is involved in the defence of the territory and in clearing it of unwanted intruders and predators. Protection is a way of life for them and they mirror to us humans our need to be diligent in adequately clearing and protecting whenever we work with psycho-spiritual levels of conscious awareness.

When sensing any darkness or heaviness of the energies surrounding you or infiltrating a situation you may be involved in, call on Magpie energy to assist in shining light on the subject and in bringing in a new perspective with a sense of joyous harmony.

If you find yourself in a place where the Magpies are a common sight, you may wish to note the number of Magpies you see at the very beginning of each day. As I have worked with Peace Space Clearing & Protection, I have noticed that seeing a single Magpie can indicate a First Level of Clearing & Protection, two Magpies can indicate the need for a Second Level and so on, up to the Seventh Level. Magpies also typify group-strength and group-consciousness as they work together towards the common goals of their community. It is, then, suggested that you return to the First Level of Clearing & Protection and send unconditional love to the All. Seeing this greater number of Magpies could also indicate to you that now is not a time to be independently-minded but instead seek support for your efforts from like-minded others around you.

Groundedness is another quality of Magpies as most of what they feed on is on the ground. Theirs is a diet of invertebrates, including scarab larvae, and they will use their strong pointed bills to poke around and turn up sticks and stones and even cowpats in search of insects. Magpie’s wisdom suggests you make sure you are grounded when working energetically. It suggests that you be aware of those annoyances (indicated by the insects) which need thoughtful digestion before you can gain a better understanding. Magpie’s appearance may mean it is time to shed light on some seemingly small annoyance before it becomes a bigger issue. Magpie teaches us to act now to clear and protect ourselves, a situation and / or those around us – to shift the unwanted energy or interference in order to re-establish peace and harmony, and so create a clearer space in which to exist.

If environmental conditions become harsh or constricted, Magpies, as a group, will form a line to carefully and methodically search for seeds or carrion as food. Such behaviour offers a us a cue not stay stuck in one method of understanding. It may be time to seek help from others in order to find alternative solutions to your situation. Magpies signify single-mindedness and group-consciousness without being caught in the “black and white” of a situation. On an energetic level, Magpies sing in the light that clears the way for fresh insight and new colour in our lives, while, at the same time, protecting our space from unwanted and incorrect energies.

Clearing Protection Light-Dark Single mindedness Group consciousness Community

Mandala Meditation Monday #8

Something 'a little different' today.

A simple meditation on the Magpie. They're so active around here at the moment, gearing up for Spring. And I've long since learned to notice them, travelling in their numbers, and been reminded to do a clearing/protection in those moments. Sometimes I remember to, often I have not.

And so it was today. My father goes in for surgery in mere hours, probably not even that. I was buckling the LGBB in to her carseat and she was adamant she had to get back out and watch the birds. She's never really interested in birds, not more than a fleeting glance. And besides, she wanted to get to occasional care quickly, to show Ruby her plaits (it's all plaits at the moment, it seems to denote some heightened "big girl" status to Lolly).

I was surprised, then, to follow her pointed finger to our front lawn where three gorgeous Maggies were jousting. Yes, jousting. With their beaks. In my mind, something immediately told me I needed to perform a Level Three clearing and protection, which I have since performed. Something needed clearing, I don't know what. But today, I ensured my father was also on my 'radar' as I made the gesture and offered it up to the Big Whatever.

Today, instead of a mandala as such, I want to share two different takes on the Magpie, seeing as his energy is obvious around me on this sunny, crisp day.


"In the Dreaming, way back in the beginning of time, when the world was first created and everything was new and young, the sky was very close to Earth. The light was shut out by the sky, which blocked everything and the world was dark. Also, there was no room to stand up, for the sky lay too close to the Earth. All the people had to crawl around on their bellies in teh dark, collecting any food they could find with their bare hands. All the animals, too, even the birds, walked upon the land and many were easy prey for their predators. There were no tall trees to make safe nests in, so the young birds were defenceless. Life was very difficult. No one knew what light was. They had only ever experienced darkness.

Everyone complained about the situation, but no one realized there could be an alternative. The Magpies, some of the more intelligent birds, thought about the situation, trying to find a way to change it. Together, they discussed many ideas, tossing proposals around, weighing up the pros and cons, and dismissing those they considered too unrealistic. Finally, they came up with a solution they all agreed had potential. They decided that, if they worked together as a group with their combined strength, they just might be able to raise the sky.

So, all the Magpied got together and began searching the ground for long sticks. They searched until every Magpie carried a stick. Holding the sticks in their strong beaks, the Magpies pushed with all their might, thrusting the sticks upwards, trying to push the sky up and away from the earth. Slowly, so slowly it was difficult to perceive, the sky moved. It was very heavy, but, with the concerted effort of all the Magpies, it lifted a small distance. The Magpies struggled to lift it higher, then suddenly, the sky split open and revealed the beauty of the first sunrise. Overjoyed with the light and warmth, the Magpies burst into song.

To this day, Magpies welcome the sunrise."

by Donni Hakanson (Journey Editions, Boston, Massachusetts; 1998)

I'll put the Magpie meditation in its own post a bit later, for ease of future searching purposes if anyone's interested :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A word about Miscarriage

I wanted to share something with you that I never knew (or recognised or accepted as acknowledged fact). The acupuncturist I went to on Wednesday night unknowingly tripped a wire I didn't realise I had set. He advised the same thing I found in a book I later 'googled' (and have included the link here, for anyone interested):

It is important to remember that, according to the experience of Chinese medicine, a miscarriage is as draining to a woman's energy as labour. Indeed, there is a saying that proclaims "a miscarriage is more serious than labour." . . .

The popular view, often corroborated by medical opinion, is that a miscarriage is a trivial occurrence after which a woman can try to conceive again straight away. This is not so from the point of view of Chinese medicine, which considers a miscarriage to be as draining to a woman's system as childbirth, if not more so, especially if there is profuse loss of blood during a miscarriage. In fact, after a miscarriage, there is a sudden drop in hormone levels which has a very weakening effect on the mother. Furthermore, a miscarriage is more draining than childbirth from an emotional point of view, as childbirth is at least followed by the joy and emotional fulfilment of motherhood, whereas a miscarriage is followed only by an intense sense of loss and, often, of failure, however unjustified."

I believe this is too important to overlook. I know first hand the desperation and determination that arises from just one pregnancy loss, let alone multiples (or the death of a born child). I also know what it's like to "recover" from birth - it took eight months to physically heal after the LGBB (urgently pushing a posterior presenting baby out to prevent a cord 'accident' when you're only 8cm dilated may just do that to some of us...).

But just like the acupuncturist and I discussed, a birth also gives back a whole lot - things a miscarriage will never be able to.

There has been such a freeing in being gifted this 'saying', by a total stranger, who had absolutely no idea the prison he was unlocking me from.

Who knew that all this time, when I was surrounded by people who didn't pay much mind to what it felt like being on the other end of things they said, like, "just another pregnancy, it was early, you're still young, you can try again..." I was actually doing it harder - longterm recovery-wise - than their one or two live, relatively uncomplicated births?? I never ever gave myself permission to consider a miscarriage might be harder to go through. I was not allowed nor encouraged to see the miscarriages as anything other than pissy annoying false starts getting in the way of what it meant to be a real woman, in the scheme of things.

They weren't all "no more than just a late period" miscarriages. I'd say only three (roughly calculating here) of the nine were under five weeks. The rest were enough to have already sent my body, mind and heart into baby-nurturing overdrive. Swollen breasts, heavy abdomen, nausea, fatigue.... for this to suddenly stop and those hormones to (sometimes) keep going but always just go nowhere... well, is it any wonder it can knock a body around? And that's not even factoring in the missed miscarriages (I have had two... and a half... the half being not completely missed because the foetus was just hanging in there when we stopped it, before it became a Christmas to Remember in 2004...) - a missed miscarriage means your body doesn't really have any idea there's trouble afoot! It keeps merrily swelling, deceiving your mind into thinking that "Hey, if I don't want to give up the cream pie and pickle sandwiches just yet, surely everything must be fine this time in there." A body that has not responded, hormone-wise, to the demise of a baby is bound to also need some talking down from the ledge. My body never got that talk. I just shifted it up a gear and went, hey, let's make another... that D&C was fun!

And now, this release has catapulted me into a different level of healing, which I am enjoying and keeping low about until it is fully passed and the time is right.

I have soooo much more to tell you! But it's not the right time to truly go digging deep into it. I just couldn't leave this hanging, though, in case there is just one person who reads this and gains a similar sense of validation or comfort as I have had, years past my TTC days.

But what I will share here is something very important. To anyone experiencing, especially, multiple miscarriages, I do not believe the investigation of these things (or consideration) can be flippantly overlooked. I'm not saying this is a cure-all answer. Nooooo, no no no. I don't live in that world.

However, in case it is of any help at all, take a look here at this book and see if anything might be for you. The entire ruddy thing appears to have been scanned and uploaded on the web! So take a squizz. You can search the actual text using your own key words, over on the left side there and it will find all instances of the word/s you're looking for.

Looking for more about what I have to say on miscarriage/infant loss? See here.

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