My Whole Life I Was Wrong

Image from Olaalaa.com

Image from Olaalaa.com

“If I am right, Thy grace impart
Still in the right to stay;
If I am wrong, O, teach my heart
To find that better way!”
~ Alexander Pope, Moral Essays

 

My whole life I was wrong. I laboured under the illusion that I needed to be perfect. More beautiful. Thinner. My relationships harmonious. My home a picture of neatness. I was sure that I needed acclaim, prizes, and a string of letters after my name.

Why did I want these things? Not to be better than anyone else. No. It was never that. I felt that I needed these things in order to be worthy. In order to be taken seriously. In order to be loved. In order to teach.

In order to have value.

No wonder then, that life ground me under her heel. That my family shattered, flinging me far from its arms. That illness stole my youth, my words, my energy and the fruits of my womb.

Image from WallpapersinHQ.com

Image from WallpapersinHQ.com

Thank goodness.

Each day now, I see the wisdom in that path.

Next weekend I shall begin a five day teaching; a residential retreat to help others to embrace and use their psychic gifts. My preparations thus far have involved meditations, contemplation, reflection, connection and lots of quiet time. My game plan this week mostly involves working from bed so that I shall be well rested and can give my all. I am not yet well. I may never be well in the way that others are well. I may become better and still be bound by limitation. But that doesn’t matter so much anymore. What matters is that I am still here, still in the game, and capable of doing what I came here to do.

Next weekend I am not concerned about how I shall look, what car shall carry me to my event, what clothes I wear other than that I must be clean and comfortable, and happy in myself. I will not be at my most svelte. My face is lined with both age and pain. I have no idea what colours are popular this Spring, or if the coral lipstick I favour is in right now. Who cares? I am not there to be judged on my appearance. It is not about me. I am there for my students. It is they who are the important ones. This event is for them. They are my focus. I don’t mind how they dress either. As long as they are warm, or cool, and unbothered by their outfits. They could be in their pyjamas for all I care. I want their attention, their passion, their hearts and minds. Within a minute or two of being together none of them will notice these external things either. We are coming together to immerse ourselves in things other than the external.

Next weekend the house I leave will be messy. There will be tasks still left undone. Any fashion style I may exhibit will be the result of my sister’s careful ministrations. Or a friend’s. All that matters for me is the work. All that matters for me is honouring the needs of my students, and the teachings of my Aunties and Ancestors, the whisperings of my own heart, and the collective energy and well being of my tribe as we come together. I have no energy for anything else, and these days, little interest for anything that does not support my values, my passions and my own well being.

I will tell my students what it has taken me this lifetime to learn. That living to please others is not important, and in fact can be downright dangerous to your own sanity and the happy playing out of your talents and gifts. That already, as humans, they are enough, but that to strive in the pursuit of knowledge or a craft that grows and shapes us is a worthy thing. A transformative thing. A very good thing.

Image from Tequila Cupcakes

Image from Tequila Cupcakes

None of us will ever be perfect. And anyway, perfection is a myth. But if we are prepared to do the work, some of us, one day, will be wiser. Kinder. More smoothed at the edges. More broken open by life, brightened by pain, luminous from loving and being loved.

Each, in our own way, having gleaned some knowledge, can then lift others up with one hand, as we steady ourselves or climb with the other.

Who ever could have known that in the brittle perfection of my youth I would loathe myself so much? Who could have ever imagined that in being thoroughly broken, I would come to love myself so dearly?

The Gift of Feathers

Wanjina with Black Cockatoo Feathers - Photo by Kim Akeman

Wanjina with Black Cockatoo Feathers – Photo by Kim Akeman

“Now you got your Story, your Spirit no longer lost. That Dreaming inside you make you understand who you are. That Story how you gonna walk this world.” ~ Auntie

The next installment of my Kimberley Story

It was late in the afternoon. The shadows were long, the air had cooled and a light breeze had stirred, bringing with it scents of warm earth and the salt of the sea.

We were still sitting, these old Aboriginal women and I, around the embers of a camp fire. Auntie was right up close to me, and we were back in our bodies. No more flying. But she was still holding my hand in her strong gnarled ones. Auntie kept holding my hand but turned her body away from me.

She said something in language, and a proud elderly woman came and sat with us. Her hair was dead straight, and glossy black, with just a few white hairs showing through. I hadn’t paid much attention to her before now. She and Auntie had an earnest conversation in language, and another old woman soon came over to join them. They all talked back and forth, back and forth, while I sat there excluded. I didn’t care. I was dazed and exhausted.

I found a plastic bottle pressed into my other hand. A wide smile grinned down at me. “Drink some.” I did. It was Fanta, and the warm, sickly orange-flavoured liquid tasted like the most sacred and beautiful thing in the world.

“Dem Elder sisters not all from dis place. Not all speak same language. Dey talk around, talk around; dis tongue, dat tongue, old words, new words. Try find right fella guide for you. Big business for you today.” The woman with the Fanta had squatted down beside me, while the others were talking. She was younger, maybe in her thirties or forties, with coffee-coloured skin and curly hair bleached blonde on the ends.

“How many languages do you speak?” I asked her.

“Four. And English.” She grinned. “How ’bout you?”

I felt embarrassed. I spoke English, and had a smattering of German and Japanese from school. “Only English really,” I answered.

“Yeah,” she sighed. “You lost your languages too. Just like us. Dem old people die and they take language away. Lost to us living folks forever. Dem Grandmothers and old, old Grandmothers of yours, all dem Ancestors, speak only to you in the Spirit tongue now. Speak only in the Dreaming way.” She patted my shoulder kindly. “My name is Maggie. At least we got language together.”

Maggie sprang up from her squatting position. “Auntie is ready now.” She hurried back over to sit down in the circle.

One of the old woman retrieved a thick curled piece of bark from her bag, and placed some green leaves on it. She took a smoldering stick from the remains of the fire and added it to the leaves until it began to produce a thick white smoke. The bark bowl was then passed to Auntie.

Something else was passed to her. A large white feather.

Image from Hiking Fiasco

Image from Hiking Fiasco

Auntie used the feather to stir up the smoke, and while the smoke enveloped me she gently brushed the feather all over me, from the top of my head down to my toes. As she did she sang something under her breath. I became covered in goosebumps. I knew something important was happening.

Then, reverentially, she gave me the feather. As she pressed it into the palm of my hand my head was filled with images of the bird.

“Dis fella your totem,” she said. “Dat your sacred animal, come to guide your spirit. Remind you who you are.” Auntie chuckled and her eyes danced with light. “Dat fella whitey just like you. We give dis fella in honour to your Grandmothers and their grandmothers who kept that family voice even when men took them a long, long way from their own country. Dat why we took you home again just now. With dat flying business. Anchor that home energy back in. Restore your country in here.” She put a hand over my heart and I felt it – that connection to the places she had taken me.

All the women were smiling at me. Smiling with happiness and connection, and smiling with the joke that my feather was white, like me.

“White fella bird is dat messenger. Tell all the people. Tell the big stories. Talk, talk, talk. Always gonna have dem stories, stories people need to hear.”

“You gonna see dis fella everywhere. He not let you forget. Even pictures. Even on the TV. People talk to you about him. Spirit saying, you dat ting. Spirit not let you forget.”

Another feather was passed around the circle to Auntie.

Glossy Black Cockatoo 451-2 (400)

Once again I was drenched in smoke and brushed all over with the red and black feather.

“Dis fella keep you company too. Remind you of your black sisters, up here in dis country. Even when you leave and go far, far from here, dese black fella birds and their yella-tailed cousins will find you. Sing to you and say ‘Remember, Remember,’ No way we let you forget. Dat story in you now. You belong part of our family now.”

“One day you live somewhere, you call dat country home. Smell like dis place. Earth. Sea. But make you happy again. We send all dem black fella birds remind you your promise. Remind you your story. Then you know it’s time. Time to be dat story. Live dat story in your heart. Live your true Dreaming.”

She pressed the other feather into my hand and I saw, not birds, but a lush green country, with tall pine trees and tropical lushness. I heard the mournful cry of the black cockatoos. Tears streamed down my cheeks.

Auntie kept talking, and her voice dropped to a whisper only I could hear. “Dat fella husband you got now, he finished. No good for you. End soon. End good for you, okay? Good for him too. Not be sad. Better man coming. Better for who you are now. You dat ting. Need man who understand.” She hugged me and stood up.

“Let’s go, sisters. Enough now. Tucker time!”

Brown hands reached down to me and hauled me up. We walked back into camp holding hands, bedraggled and dust stained, and as giggly as school girls.

To be continued…

My farm, with the big old hoop pines where the black cockatoos come to sit and sing to me

My farm, with the big old hoop pines where the black cockatoos come to sit and sing to me

Hey Sister, You Okay?

Image from holmsteen.dk

I was looking forward to Saturday. In the last few weeks I’ve supported a friend through the end stages of terminal cancer, holding her hand til she passed, ridden the roller coaster of supporting an addict in recovery, and juggled my daily work and writing. Saturday was this wonderful window of calm in front of me like a soft pillow to lay my weary head.

Nothing went to plan for me. My do-nothing day of leisure and self-replenishment which I had so looked forward to became about helping others through various crises and melt-downs.  It’s okay.  The Universe obviously cleared my calender so I’d be available for the people who needed me most.  But it was an emotionally draining day, capping a difficult few weeks, and it left me wrung out.

I was driving through the inner city late yesterday when the traffic suddenly slowed.  Cars tooted their horns.  People yelled and gestured. I though there must have been a dog on the road.

The traffic slowed to a stop.  I couldn’t see what was happening, so I said a quiet prayer, asking that the animal be okay and be guided back to safety.  Finally the cars began moving again, swerving around something in the middle of the road.  Some stopped to hurl abuse as they drove past. I craned my neck, trying to see what was obstructing our way.

Imagine my horror and disbelief when I saw an elderly aboriginal woman in the middle of the road.  She was just sitting there, a shopping bag beside her on the ground, one shoe off, grazed knees.  I pulled my car over to the side as soon as I could find a park and raced back to check on her.

“Hey, Sister,” she croaked at me as I got closer. “Can you see me? All the rest of your mob think I’m invisible.”

“Hey, Sister,” I called to her.  “I see you. You okay?”

She swung her head towards me, squinting in the sun, but said nothing.  I waited for a car to pass and crossed over to her.

“Hi, I’m Nicole.  Are you okay?  Do you need some help?”

She nodded her head yes.

I helped her up, and over to the footpath. She was unsteady on her feet and I wondered if I should call an ambulance.

“Sorry, love. I’m real sorry.”  She leaned heavily on my arm.  “I just live along here. Too late eating lunch and my strength’s gone. I came over all dizzy. I’ve got sugar,” she said weakly.

“You’re diabetic?” I asked as we walked up some steps to a small flat.

“Yes.”

I got her inside, and she asked me to make her a sandwich, while she ate some jellybeans.  Then her neighbour popped in and said she would make her friend a cup of tea and stay with her until she came ‘right’ again.

Before I left I asked if there was anyone I could call, or if she wanted me to take her to the doctor.

The old aboriginal lady patted my hand. “I’m alright now I’m home. You know, you’re a true nice girl,” she said.  “Brought up proper. Your mother and grandmother, you do them proud. Here….”  Reaching over to a box she pulled something out. “This is for you.”

She opened a small drawstring bag and put the contents in my hand, one by one.

A bag full of treasures

“This shell, it’s from up my country.”

She placed it on my palm, and tiny grains of sand stuck to my fingers.  I wanted to hold it to my nose and smell the sea.  Suddenly I was homesick for my little farm at Byron Bay with a physical ache.

“Got this stone from the river.  See how nice and smooth it is.” It was a piece of clear quartz, tumbled milky, and still luminous. I felt such comfort, and thought of Angels.

This one,” she held up a twisted grey rock, “I got this one off the beach. It reminds me of a baby wrapped up tight in his blanket, trying to talk to you. Feels real nice in your hand.”

“This one – it’s coral.  Looks like an alien head with them two eyes.” She chuckled. “Friendly fella for watching over you.”

“And this last one, he’s a fossil crab, real old from the old times.  Good for protecting your soft heart.”

I left with brimming eyes, embarrassed by her kindness.

And I never asked her name.

Today I’m holding these precious treasures in my hands and feeling humbled and awed. I wonder if she knew how much these things would mean to me, or what they symbolise after so hard a day, so hard a week.

Hey Sister, you okay?

I feel like it was HER watching out for ME.

Rainbow Dreaming. Rainbow Tribe. We are One. ♥

Qigong and the Old Hoop Pine

There is an old Hoop Pine outside my back door, next to the wooden shed that will soon become my new library and office.  It is the first tree that greets me each morning. When I moved here four and a half years ago I hadn’t yet begun to see auras around plants, animals and places. But I knew that tree had a special energy.

On my fortieth birthday I woke up and I could see colour all around me, in everything living thing, and many more besides.

One thing I noticed straight away was the old Hoop Pine. It had a small energy for such a big tree, and was predominantly pale gold.

I often practice qigong at dawn, after my morning meditation, and I do this on the grass just outside my back door.

One day during my practice I noticed the Hoop Pine’s auric field begin to pulse. It grew a little brighter.

It was still brighter the next morning.

I did some more qigong. The Hoop Pine pulsed.

The tree’s auric field still seems small for such a big tree, but it is so bright, and when I walk close to it, I feel its shimmery energy. I have often drawn on that energy when I have most needed it, and to me it smells like fresh pine needles as it surges through my own aura.

It is the favourite haunt of the black cockatoos, even when the tree is not fruiting.  They fly in and sit awhile in its branches until their auras too start to glow more brightly.

 

Several times I have seen this Hoop Pine shoot golden energy out from its crown into the world.  It reminds me of a bomb going off – that rapid ballooning and surging of energy that goes BOOM and then is gone. It often coincides with the lunar cycle, but not always.

I have begun to see the sentience in the world around me.  Not just humans, not just animals, but plants. And as with us, some animals are elders of their tribes, and some plants hold that space too.

I met an elephant once, who had the most amazing aura I have ever seen, including a psychic channel.  She looked right at me as though she knew me, and reached out her trunk to stroke my cheek. But that’s a whole other story. Maybe I”ll tell you one day…