Never Ever…

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For years the same question haunted me, ‘Who the heck am I and why am I here?’

So decade or so ago, with naïve, bravado, I began a series of serious self-development endeavours, determined to overcome self-doubts and discover the authentic ME – whoever I was, warts and all.

Which led me to joining a year-long transformational workshop that could only be described as boot camp for the soul. Ironically the marrow of the work I chose, posed an intriguing question, ‘what do you love?’ ‘What do you love’ was the starting point and compass throughout the experience of change.

My ego threw up an imposing and confusing maze of things I loved — family, friends, creativity, theatre, literature, cooking, history, cold chicken and bubble and squeak, flowers, music, romance, knitting, patchwork, watching netball, friends, puppies, beach walks, public speaking, travel, lunches out, organising anything, movies, ABC radio/TV, writing, beach walks, coffee, George Clooney and new clothes. It seemed I loved everything ….

I was in a hurry for answers as time was a-marching but I found this quote that spurred me on…..‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’ George Eliot, ‘Mill on the Floss.’

I found transformational work capricious, one minute I was rutted and gutted and the next it cleared as though it never was. Gradually I began to understand that while I broadly embraced so many aspects of life, the vital and intrinsic ME is at home when I am — communicating either through the written word or public speaking as a means to serve and connect with the rest of humanity.

The first glimpse of this love and service of communicating to others happened well over seventy years ago. My family lost everything in the London blitz in World War 11. Homeless, my mother, sister and I moved drifted around England wherever a billet or bed could be found.

My constant companion was my imaginary friend Sonny; I carried him around in my father’s battered attaché case. It was an earnest relationship — I shared secrets with him that I would never tell another soul. I remember – in between air raids — telling Sonny ‘One day I will write a book and I will talk about it and people will listen to me.’

It was a momentary whim that never really saw the light of day, mugged continually by an impoverished sense of worth embedded by the wartime loss of education and deprivation.

Instead everyday life – marriage, children, bereavement, single motherhood, sickness, a new relationship, family growth and building a business in midlife with no experience and no capital — became my world.

But I was always scribbling short stories and in my working life getting my food and travel articles published by newspapers and magazines. I was contributing to a writing group and doing creative writing courses. This coupled with an eighteen-year membership of a speaking club, meant I was incubating my dream.

My writing was a hobby. Communication to a wider audience through my public speaking was a hobby. Hobbies – yes simply hobbies but somehow I never strayed — the more I wrote and communicated the more I began to hunger to be true to myself. I wrote more, communicated more to wider audiences. The more action I took the more realistic the dream became.

Today I am centred, I find joy and fulfilment in expressing myself through the written and spoken word.

I am living testament to ‘it is never too late to be what you might have been,’ I have written two non-fiction books and one fiction. And I talk.   On cruise ships. I lecture on history, culture, travel, and writing enriching guests’ travels.

Oh how I love it.

Who’d have thought that little girl’s fantasy of achieving something beyond her wildest expectations could happen?

It just goes to show that you should never ever — not ever give up on your dreams.

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Come Spoon With Me

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William Archibold Spooner

My Intuition, in a quiet moment, delivered the message that I should write a stunning blog or did I hear  blunning stog?

Spoonerisms? cue the chud, of course I rationalise, they have all the hallmarks of a fun blog or it should read ballmarks of a glun hog. After all how much  do I love to cheekily spoonerise when driving past a truck –  thats a trucking fig buck. Yes, I shout,  go help me sod this is going to be the pun fart of my blogging career to date.

The Rev. William Archibold Spooner, was born in 1844.  He was a not the most handsome of men. A very small albino man, with poor eyesight and a head too large for his body. Some wit might unkindly liken his looks as plain as a dobbers rog. But clever, oh so clever his mercurial brain raced ahead and his tongue could not keep up, especially when he was agitated and so began his art of switching words around.

When Spooner had to give the toast to the visiting Queen Victoria, he excitedly said ‘Three cheers for our queer old dean.’ His delightful gaffs spread over into his ecclesiastical duties, officiating at a wedding he was heard to say to the groom ‘son it is now kisstomary to cuss the bride.’

I bet his congregation flocked to his services in the hope they could add to the list of his slip ups – our shoving leopardsope in the hole and the list goes on.

Well tis time for me to shake a tower and chew the doors and so that’s it for my blunning stog – just swort and sheet. Hopefully

 

Gone Fishin!

I set myself a 10 minute exercise today.My mission, if I chose to accept it, was to write a piece using my intuition as a prompt.  With  nary a hesitation, subconscious the hub of my life –trout fishing it is.

I grew up seeing my father’s coterie of small and not so small bronzed angler trophies gain more and more room on the dining room mantel shelf. He was a champion angler and with a special love of trout fishing and it struck me that there is a synergy between fishing techniques and any wide casting ego that is determined to take you down into the murky depths.

Trout fishing requires the right tackle, sinker and a hook.

Ego: The right tackle is a taken– a range of limiting beliefs coupled with a hook and a sinker that will work every time given the opportunity.

Trout fishing – requires a bait use either garden worms or a lure.

Ego: any pretty sly lure will do the trick

Trout fishing: The back eddies and quiet deep water are the best spots to catch your fish.

Ego: definitely the back eddies and seemingly innocent looking situations will often give the most rewarding catch.

Trout fishing: Make your own colouful lures to skim across the surface to attract your prize.

Ego:  It can create the ultimate lure, where the barb is hidden so well that it can hook you before you even are aware of it’s presence.

Trout fish: Before cooking you need to gut, skin and wash the fish.

Ego: Gut, skin and rub in salt for best effect.

What’s Not to Worship?

We moved from the white-hot of midday sun into the cool dimness of the Basilica of San Frediano in Lucca.  Our Italian tour guide was a young woman, who knew far too much history for her own good and wanted desperately to share it with the world.   Her voice now barely a whisper detailed the faded frescos and the 12 century marble baptismal font as we quietly wound our way through the side chapels.

She waited patiently in the side chapel of St. Zita until all the group were present.  There was renewed determination as she spoke of the artifacts and paintings.  We had been walking and ingesting Lucca for over three hours. The majority of were simply pleased to sit, pushing shoes off our sore feet as we sought the coolness of the marble floor.  Our guide’s history lesson was overwhelming, ticking off the centuries  while our thoughts fantasized on  a coffee and shopping break.  She sensed she had lost us but then she played her Saint Zita trump card. Deliberately she stepped away from the front of the altar, with a cliché gesture of game show host she indicated the brightly lit glass sarcophagus behind her.   Where the rest of the church was dim illuminated only by rose-red pools of light or iron stand banks of flickering candles, the glass case was rudely lit, neon bright like a cheap side show.  There  on a bed of brocade was the mummified remains of an ancient, once, woman, now only a  leather black corpse dressed in white with a circlet of dusty plastic flowers in her thin wispy red hair. The guide  had our attention. And with that my weakened enthusiasm for absorbing yet another church or monument was dealt a fatal blow.

IMGP1605The only iconic place of worship –  that I have experienced –  that I found uplifting  and gave a sense of spiritual freedom was Gaudi’s Cathedral Sagrada Familia.  Is it because of Gaudi’s  imaginative architecture compared to predictable medieval or gothic  buttressed church naves? Those darkened hallows have a heaviness that dampens my spirits whereas  Gaudi’s cathedral is a lightness of towering space that triggers the imagination to explore it with the spiritual innocence of a  child. May be Gaudi paid heed to the biblical quote  ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’

I love history but sleuthing around a church attempting to retain  a potted knowledge of patrons, saints and bishops while viewing the stained glass windows, a hand-carved lectern from a single oak tree, an alabaster madonna and child is not for me and irrefutably not some horror movie mummified relic in a glass case.

To me the natural elements of earth, sea and sky provide my altar for a conversation with a higher source. What about you?