Sunday, March 29, 2015

There are no Coincidences!

Champagne Pools, Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

I believe in setting intentions, imaging, and the law of attraction. At one time I might have been skeptical, but as I have watched it work in my own life time and time again, I have all the "proof" I need. I have also been witness to how it has worked in the lives of others. Skeptics will "poo poo" it all as coincidence and I am fine with that. I do believe the skeptics should be a little more open-minded to possibility, but that is their row to hoe, not mine.

Over the last several years, it has become clearer and clearer to me how well it works. Last week I had a real smack upside the head from the law of attraction that I will share with you here today. It will help me figure out what I am supposed to do with it hopefully.

 Shortly after reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert in 2007, something started stirring inside me. I became restless. I began to crave change. It was a catalyst toward some serious self-examination that was long overdue. Despite its many critics, the book had a colossal impact on me. I was not alone. Thousands of women all over the world were struck by her words and her journey. Many longed to take a similar pilgrimage. At the time, I did not even think it was possible, but over the course of the next three years, this intense period of soul-searching gripped me, refusing to let go. In many ways, it was as though there was no stopping it. Something was forcing me to take this journey and I could kick and scream and resist as much as I liked. It would be to no avail. I made a conscious decision at one point to just stop trying to swim upstream against the current and go with the flow. In an attempt to help my trip down the river, I decided to work with a bit of imagery and play around with the law of attraction. 

I did some simple things. I changed all my passwords to names of women that I admired, with the idea that daily imaging of successful (in my mind) authors or characters would steer me toward a similar fate. In one case, after about two years of using one name,  it occurred to me that I actually did not want to end up like her, so I immediately changed it to another name and as soon as I did that, a course correction took place. At that time, I changed it to Elizabeth Gilbert, thinking it would give me the strength and courage that she had to do what I felt I had to do. I also changed the screen saver on my computer at work to an image of where I wanted to go. At the time, in my wildest dreams, I thought it would never happen. And then, it did.The image was of the Champagne Pools on Fraser Island. I have been there 4 times since then.  I also created an image board of what I wanted my future life to look like. As of today, at least half of the images I used that seemed unattainable at the time have manifested. 

Which brings me to a recent "coincidence". Last week, an invitation to a book launch appeared in my inbox. It was an event being held at the local art gallery here in Maryborough. Initially I glanced at it, not noticing the details. A couple of days later, I actually opened it, curious as to the book and the author, when the name Elizabeth Gilbert popped up. No, it was not her launching a book in this small town in Australia, but it just so happens, that her husband's ex-wife has written a book that will apparently unveil her "truth". She has used the fame and notoriety of her ex-husband's new wife to promote her own memoir, stating that she was blindsided by Gilbert's suggestion in her follow-up book - Committed, that their divorce had been "very, very, bad", when she felt it had been "gracious". 

Now, of all the small towns in all of Australia, how is it that I end up living in the same place as Elizabeth Lowrie? I did know after reading Eat Pray Love that "Felipe" had once been married to an Australian woman and that he had children with her and it was very likely that he would travel to Australia from time to time to spend time with his kids. But, it certainly took me by surprise to learn that she lives right here in this tiny corner of the world, the same tiny corner I have landed. So, now the question is - Why? Was I meant to meet her? Does she have a message for me? What will I learn at this book launch next week that will impact me? Should I send my heroine a note to tell her I am going? It almost feels like I am cheating on her in some way. Sidling up to the enemy? Should I read her book? Should I remain faithful to Gilbert? Was I meant to hear both sides of the story? Is Lowrie legit? Is she really just wanting her side of the story to be told or is she riding the wave of Gilbert's success to try and sell a few books? What is her motivation? 

There are certainly many questions. There is also an uncanny resemblance between the two. Both blond, Caucasian, same first names and both took healing journeys. Lowrie apparently meditated for 6 weeks in Brazil, rafted down the Grand Canyon and took a train across Canada, in contrast to Gilbert's eating in Italy, meditating in India, and finding balance in Bali. I cannot help but think that the ex-wife is really trying to stick it to Gilbert. There is a sense of bitterness and anger around the description of her story and she has even titled her book - Committed, Undone. C'mon! Surely she could have come up with something better than that! However, since I do not know the whole story yet, I will wait and reserve judgement until after I know more. I will try to keep an open mind and hear this woman out. 

We all know there are two sides to every story. 

For whatever reason, seems I need to hear hers.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I Never get Sea Sick

Looking out to sea from the south side of Waddy Point

After a week of sleeping and  waking up to the sounds of surf crashing on the beach, the silence outside my window last night was particularly noticeable, just as the sound of those rolling waves took a night or two to get used to on Fraser Island, now that I am home, the quiet will take a couple of days as well. 

What is it about being near the ocean that is so refreshing and healing? I always come back from these holidays renewed in ways that other escapes pale in comparison. The moment we roll off the barge and onto the beach, something happens. We enter an entire new world, barely 90 minutes from our inland home and everything changes. The sea air and the sound of the surf begin to permeate the physical body almost instantly and it is not long before your mind follows suit. 

It is easy to live in the moment when the distractions of daily life are limited to the nature surrounding you. I once read a TripAdvisor review of one man's trip to Fraser Island and he essentially said he was bored there. He said there really was not much to see or do. I was dumbstruck by his opinions. Clearly he had chosen the wrong type of vacation for himself. It sounded like he had not done his research. Maybe he should have gone to Vegas. I find every  moment fascinating on the world's largest sand island. What may appear as a lifeless expanse of beach as you drive along the sand for 75 miles is anything but. 


Looking south from north of Ngkala rocks


In fact, on this, my fourth trip to Fraser Island, I discovered exactly how much more life there was, that until now, I had been unaware of myself. The last time I was there, I learned how to find pipis beneath the sand. We use them for fishing bait. I had seen others engaging in something called worming, but had never tried it myself. Believe me when I tell you, that you  may think you are walking on nothing more than hardened sand as your bare feet stroll along the beach, but the truth is, there is so much life underfoot, it is incredible. Surely, most of you have noticed little crabs, or seen the little balls of sand created by soldiers crabs, or watched bits of broken shells roll past, but did you know, that lurking just below the surface are thousands of worms? Now, you may be thinking, no big deal, a few little worms. Think again. The worms that are harvested to use as bait are at their smallest about 3 feet long, and as long as 7-8 feet long. I watched in awe and horror as the pros, (and Steve), tempted them to surface their heads with bits of smelly fish, then yanked them from their long and winding holes, sometimes having to fold them up along the way in order to get their entire length out of their cocoon of sand. These monster worms make Canadian earthworms look like beginners. 

In my naivety, I imagined you must need a pretty big hook to affix these fellas, but I learned that you only use bits of them at a time. Gulp! I do love fishing, but there are parts that require me to take a deep breath and wince, as I smack two pipis together to break the shell, then scrape the mollusk away from its home and pierce it with my hook two or three times before casting it out to sea. That took some getting used to, but pinching off bits of worm was pushing me to my limit. It is not a sport for the faint of heart, but the slithery gross parts are worth it when you feel the yank-yank of something unseen under the surf and you pull up and start reeling in. The entire time, wondering what will emerge as your catch gets closer and closer to the shore. It is like buying a lottery ticket and dreaming about what you will do with the money when you win. From the moment you know you have a fish on your hook, you have a period of time where you don't know what you have caught and as I always like to dream big, it is usually something that will be worthy of a prize and I imagine standing proudly as I hold up my awesome catch and photos are taken. However, that has yet to happen in my lifetime. I usually catch small or medium sized fish that are common. On this trip I caught 8 Dart. They are abundant in the waters off the island and are tasty enough but full of tiny bones, so we catch and release. The fun is in the hunt and the catch.


The famous Champagne Pools


When you are not busy fishing, or you want to rinse off the clammy, sticky salty film from your skin, there are many fresh water creeks that flow out to the sea from underground springs. The water is always cool and refreshing and on the move, so you can just plunk yourself down in the creek bed and let the crisp clean water flow over your body. Some are deep enough that if you had a flotation device or inflated rubber tire, you could float along the winding creek beds until you reached the end. These are great spots to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch and clean up before heading back to the shoreline.


Over the course of our week, we saw goannas, rays, dingos,  dolphins, white-bellied sea eagles, ospreys, kites, pied oyster catchers, plovers, sandpipers and many varieties of inland birds as well. I saw my first black snake wind and slither across the road ahead of our vehicle as we crossed the island on an inland road. I saw some crazy-assed spiders and thousands of butterflies and dragonflies. We came across a bizarre little sea creature on the beach, still alive, washed up with the tide. We researched it last night and it was a type of urchin known as a sea potato. There is no end to the discoveries to be made and the vast and varied life to be found on Fraser Island. I cannot help but wonder about the man who said there was nothing much to see or do on the island. Maybe he just had his eyes closed. 


Sea Potato (urchin)



And of course, for many, the main event is beach driving. I had no idea how exhilarating it would be. Imagine driving on the hard-packed sand at 80 kmh, navigating bumps and wash-outs, windows open, sea air on your face and scanning the horizon for dolphins, eagles, whales in season, surrounded by sunshine and blue sky as far as the eye can see and cranking up your favourite music or just listening to the crash of the waves for miles and miles! The word boring does not even enter my mind. It just fills me up to the brim with joy. Pure, unadulterated joy. 


Indian Head in the distance from south of Waddy Point


To immerse yourself fully and wholeheartedly into this jackpot of nature feels like being a little kid again. Spending the whole day outside playing like you did when you were 8 years old, coming home at dusk with pockets full of seashells, sticky and dirty and a little sun burnt, bits of grit and grime under your nails and the worst hat hair you can imagine - that is a typical day on Fraser. If  you are a camper, you continue the adventure into the evening, but for me, I look forward to a nice soak in the tub, a chilled glass of wine, some music on the stereo, dinner and a good bed to collapse in after a full day. Being lulled to sleep with the sound of the surf and waking to the most spectacular sunrises is the icing on the cake.  A bit of luxury and a lot of adventure. 

The perfect combination for this gal.

Can't wait until next time.


Sunrise from Kyeema at Orchid Beach

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

One Dog's Life


I had never met a dog who would stop and pose for a photo...until I met Broadus (Brody to his friends). It was August of 2008 and my nephew was getting married in Kelowna, B.C.  As I was living in Toronto, I had not yet met his best friend or his bride to be. It was a joyous family occasion and a memorable meeting on both counts. I am not sure whose eyes were more startlingly beautiful, his dogs or his brides, but I came away with lasting impressions of both.

As it turns out, the dog was involved in the wedding ceremony. Not quite the best man, but certainly his role as ring bearer would give him "best dog status" at the very least. It was a casual affair in a natural setting in one of the Okanagan's lush apple orchards. The summer blooms were at their peak, the sun was shining and the cicadas hummed. The groomsmen wore off white linen pants and casually untucked light brown shirts and the groom switched things up with a light green shirt, so Brody, with his healthy shiny brown coat blended in with the wedding party, or maybe the wedding party was meant to blend in with him. Either way, whether intended or not, he was the perfect accessory at this festive occasion. He even had a place of honour on top of the wedding cake. 




Broadus sat through the ceremony next to his much loved owner. He did not slouch or whimper or try to run off. He stood proudly with the best man and calmly witnessed Johnny and Gayle's wedding vows, as any good dog would. He held the bride's ring fastened to his collar waiting for his moment to shine. Afterall, he was not just any old dog that day - he was the only four-legged member of the wedding party. The flower girl only had two legs, and besides, she seemed unable to sit still like he had. Hmmmfff! Humans!, he must have been thinking. 

After the ceremony, it was time for him to really strut his stuff. Photo time! Now, I am not really sure how it all started, but since he was a pup, at the sight of a camera appearing, Brody would jump into action. I reckon he must have been a celebrity or a male model in a past life, but this dog LOVED working the camera. He had this crazy innate sense to pose at the sight of any lense, big or small. He knew how to look directly into the lense, cock his head a little as though he knew his best side and hold still until after the click. He was a pro, through and through. Maybe he just knew how handsome he was, or was  not keen on having bad photos of himself swirling around the internet - who knows? All I know is that he was the easiest dog to photograph that I had ever met and likely ever will. 

Photos are a wonderful thing. As we move through life capturing moments and making memories, we are creating little visual treasures that can be revisited time and time again, whenever we get the urge to go back to a time that made us happy. And so, today, the morning after his passing, I am sure there are many who knew Broadus who are doing just that. Reliving past moments and smiling and remembering a good dog. 

A very good dog. A  much loved dog.

RIP Brody. You will be dearly missed.




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Can you be Brave?


One of the most inspiring songs in terms of lyrics that I have heard in recent years is "Brave" by Sara Bareilles. It is intended as encouragement for anyone who is afraid to "come out". When I listen to this song, it always stirs some deep emotion within me that moves me to tears as I know there are so many people in this world who are fearful of living their truths. The song could just as easily apply to fear in general. The kind of fear that stops anyone from being who they truly are. The fear that lurks in just about everyone in one way or another. The kind of fear that requires being brave to conquer.

I know many people who live in fear. So, when I read this quote on Facebook today - the one you see above, it really struck a chord with me. It was the perfect summation of what I wanted to say to so many people, myself included. I felt my heart race as I read it. I wanted to shout it at the top of my lungs, because to live life any other way just seems like a waste to me. What is up with "settling"? Or not speaking up? Or working at a "job you hate"? Take the leap! "Be fucking brave."

Take all your excuses and toss them in the rubbish bin. They are just that. Excuses. If you truly believe that you are here in this one short lifetime to be happy or share your gifts or talents with the world before you die, there really is very little time to waste in fear. Quit hovering there. What are you afraid of? What other people will think? (that is usually a biggie) Afraid of failure? (the second biggie) Ask yourself one simple question. IS IT TRUE? I guarantee you that 9 times out of 10 it is not.  It's never too late. You always wanted a degree or doctorate? What is stopping you? Your marriage is a sham or abusive or dead? Leave it. You would rather be anywhere on earth than at your workplace? Quit. Find a new job or start your own business. Take risks. Experiment. Show some fucking enthusiasm for life. Please, just BE BRAVE! 

Brave
by Sara Bareilles

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up

Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue

Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
See you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you