Resurrection of the Phoenix

Phoenix

Dear Seamus,

This Easter I didn’t want to just give you a gigantic pile of chocolate. We found a lovely bright little trike at the shops and your Daddy put it together after you had finally gone to sleep. It had a little container under the seat which we put a few treats in. We looked forward to you discovering your gift on Easter morn.

However, like myself and your Dad, you were struggling to stay asleep so you wandered out of your bedroom at 3am. Daddy was tucked up on the couch watching a film and I was lying in bed. I heard you stir and then saw you walk past our room and down the hallway. I didn’t have a chance to warm your Father as you waddled half asleep into the lounge room, with me stumbling two steps behind. Your eyes fixed on the bike and you demanded to know;

“WHO BROUGHT THAT BIKE COME HERE”?!!!

That was that, you were wide awake and therefore so were we! With sheer delight you opened some chocolate eggs and rode your bike round and round. I had the video camera charging but I had no idea how soon I would be using it. I filmed you enjoying your bike and sharing your chocolate with us.

When you look back on that footage in years to come you will see how much you have changed. The older you get the more obvious the transformation will be.

Physically we are going through constant regeneration. There is a common misperception that we all have brand new bodies with sparkly new cells every ten years. Some cells have life spans that are shorter, some just months or even days, or some cells last up to five years. There again there are cells which are never replaced once they die. The fact is though, that we are dynamic organisms. Ever changing and ever evolving.

We go through other life cycles besides the physical ones. Just as we experience corporeal metamorphosis, we also live through intangible transformations. Spiritual changes which we usually describe in a material way, such as “shedding our skin”. Regardless of how it is explained it is always about an uncovering of what is beneath.

So many others that I know, including myself, have been recently exfoliating beliefs and ideas. Molting attitudes and patterns. Peeling back those outer layers and taking tweezers to ancient thorns. This can initially be painful. Wounds are sensitive. There is great tenderness. It can make us cry. Cry we must! Just as blood cleanses a physical gash, tears cleanse our emotional lacerations.

Then we cease to be our old selves. We have died to the past.

Where the longitude of cessation meets the latitude of rebirth, we are born the Phoenix. We are rising from the ashes of extinction, for we are never the same again. We cannot be. Once the cut is healed it does not open again of its own accord. It is sealed, closed. It becomes merely a visual reminder of one single step in our evolution.

It seems so very timely to me, that this Easter so many of us are experiencing resurrections of our own. There is a reawakening to ourselves.

Some of us are tentatively stepping forth into our restorations. Others are leaping into the revival, invigorated with a lightness of being!

The imagery of a man dying in a crucifixion has always been confronting to me. However it certainly does catch your attention in terms of suffering. We all suffer. Most of us have nailed ourselves to a cross. We judge and blame. We criticise and play victim. We withdraw our love by setting conditions. We react to others and hold them accountable for making us feel emotional pain. Sometimes we even hand a hammer and nail and to someone and beg for them to make us suffer. Suffering is what we know, it is our normal and it is as real to us as any material thing.

We all suffer. We all suffer, until the moment we decide not to anymore. Then we do not suffer anymore. That is when we discover what life really is. Then we rise from the dead. We rise from the judgement and blame. We rise from criticism and victimhood. We rise and we love unconditionally. We rise above suffering. We rise into life.

We become the Phoenix and spread our wings so we can fly above all these things.

Seamus, suffering is a choice. It always will be and it always was. Will you choose to crucify yourself? Or will you choose to remove all limitations and walk amongst others in freedom?

Remind yourself that at any time, you may come down from the cross. It can only mean the death of great anguish and your miraculous delivery into being.

“A bridge of silver wings stretches from the dead ashes of an unforgiving nightmare to the jewelled vision of a life started anew” – Aberjhani

The Graduation

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Dear Seamus,

I have been reading about and practicing techniques around manifestation for the past few years. A few weeks ago I felt urged to ask myself why I had not yet managed to create a cancer-free body. The past two and a half years saw the realisation of several seemingly improbable dreams. A gorgeous healthy son from my supposedly infertile body, a debt free financial situation for your Father and a beautiful farmhouse for us to live in. My belief is that if I could create those things, then there must be something blocking the health issue. I knew in order to find out I needed to be totally and utterly honest with myself. I needed to dig deep, deeper than ever before.

I have always believed that cancer, or any illness, was not just ‘of the body’. I always knew there was something more to it. As far back as the 1920’s Dr E Evans researched what he called The Cancer Prone Personality; a psychological profile that outlines how this type of personality evolves. I first came across it in Ian Gawler’s book “You can Conquer Cancer”. I was simultaneously stunned and relieved to read a basic template of my own life.

I have just started reading a book by Dr Kelly Turner called “Radical Remission”. She researched cases of radical remission, by analysing written cases or conducting interviews with people who have experienced remission. Dr Turner found nine key factors that came up again and again in the vast majority of cases. The last on the list, having strong reasons for living, was of particular interest to me.

You have been my greatest inspiration to keep living. My wish to be here to Mother you and guide you, has rooted me to this physical reality. I have been imagining the future where I am at your various birthday parties. Turning five, turning ten, turning twenty-one. Your celebration would be mine also. I have felt you in my embrace as your height nears mine. I have run my fingers through your teenage hair and smelled the laundry detergent on your freshly washed shirt. I have looked you in the eyes as you tower over me, smiling down at me with love. You are always there.

Yet the images of my own path were lacking in the same vivid detail. Why was I not able to clearly see my own future as I enjoyed my life after cancer?

I was thirty-five when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news came shortly after my surrender to the all-that-is, begging for a way out of my desperately unhappy existence. My life changed dramatically after that.

I had always wished for people to be more loving and open. Mostly when I expressed that, I was told to “get real”! Yet now, with a life threatening illness, people were more loving and open to me. It finally was my reality.

My Mother, your Nanny, and I had endured a difficult relationship. Not many people were open to hearing me speak about that so I tolerated my pain silently. Then cancer dissolved the barriers between us and I am having the most close and loving Mother and Daughter relating of my entire life.

I had felt lost for years in terms of a career path. I was creatively shut down. I hated working in offices, in jobs that seemed to have no purpose other than increasing the company bottom line. I resented doing it just to pay my bills. The side effects of cancer treatment took me out of the work force. I was finally free of those stifling environments.

I moved from a large city to a small village to recover and thought my world had shrunk. Instead the world opened up to me as I devoted myself to spiritual studies. Then I fell in love with your Daddy and gave birth to you.

It was my realisation that cancer had become inextricably connected to many wonderful experiences and events. There is a part of me that not only cannot let go of cancer, but that cannot imagine a life of extreme happiness and incredible awakenings without it.

Cancer was my saviour, my teacher. Cancer rescued me from a living hell.

In Chapter 17 of “You can Conquer Cancer” Ian Gawler recounts the story of a woman who came to his meditation group in its’ earliest days. Diagnosed with an untreatable advanced brain tumour, she embraced the recommendations and experienced a complete recovery. A year later the cancer was back. When Ian spoke with Barbara, she told him she had abandoned all the changes. She openly spoke about how her life had changed for the better when she had cancer. A more loving husband, attentive friends and a liberation from her work duties. After she recovered her life seemed to go back to ‘normal’. She said she would rather die than go back to her old life. Shortly afterwards, she did die.

I understand Barbara. It has been my biggest fear that I should ever go back to my old life.

It was a light bulb moment. I experienced a great understanding.

So my mission now is to disentangle the idea that cancer = good things. Even for all the physical discomfort it has brought me, the gifts of cancer were so great I felt on some level that I could withstand the pain.

I will never forget the lessons of this great teacher but as a student, I want to graduate. When you graduate you become the master and your teacher is no longer required.

My son, my Seamus, you have kept me here in this time space reality because you were my reason to live. You will always be my inspiration but there has been a shift. The purpose of the letters now is not so that you will know me in my absence. They are a journal, as I capture a part of my life in which I learned so much. My evolution has been woven together, word by word, to share with you and many others.

I must now dream my best life possible where I am the master. The master of myself.

“To follow the path follow the master, walk with the master, see through the master, become the master”Zen proverb

http://www.radicalremission.com

http://www.gawler.org

Artist in Residence

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Dear Seamus,

Often through life we feel like we are at the mercy of experiences out of our control. Certainly that has been the case for me. I have felt great pain when I don’t have an understanding or know the meaning as to why something is happening. To think that life is merely a chain of random events and has no true meaning, can bring much despair.

That is why it was to great relief when I began to discover the ideas around being the creator of our own reality. Could it be true that everything we are currently seeing, feeling, hearing and doing, is a physical culmination of all our thoughts up to that point? This information essentially put me back in the driver’s seat, knowing that I could now choose to create something different.

I have come to learn that the mind is merely a tool. A magnificent, amazing, powerful piece of equipment. The only question you need ever ask yourself is, who is running the show? By show I mean YOUR LIFE!

Given that your life is like a movie that you are acting out, who is writing the script? Is it your ego? A mad little dictator, controlling and conducting your every move and your every mood? Or is it an omnipresent, freedom loving sense of joy and possibility?

The ego is just a poor substitute for God. In fact the ego is the embodiment of all of our negative perceptions about God. The ego judges, punishes, blames and defends. The ego tries to convince us that we can have control and especially that we can control others. These things are not of God. The ego has personified God, which is impossible because God is a not a person. God is not a thing. God is an experience.

If you want to check in with how you are creating your reality, the clue will always be in how you feel.

When we feel anxiety, struggle, pressure, depression, we are experiencing life through the filter of the mind driven by the ego. In that state we feel we are separate from God, Source and Eternity. You need only remind yourself that you were never disconnected in the first place. So retreat from that world, from that particular creative reality and go back to yourself. That space within you is HOME.

When you are in the now, you are home. When you feel happiness, you are home. When you feel filled with love, you are home.

Many people have spoken of the experience of having dreams about being naked in public. I know that I have. In those dreams I feel shame and I want to hide. I always feel wrong in some way and like everyone is looking at me in a disapproving manner. I am exposed and vulnerable.

That is the equivalent of how I have felt in the past when I am being the mental projection of who I think I am. I was dictated to by the ego. An idea was formed about who I was. It was a mash-up of multiple messages from many different origins. My family, my religion, my schooling, my society, my peers.

All I yearn to do when I feel like that is to find a safe space, in both the dream and my waking life. That safe space is inside you at all times.

Return to it. Return home.

When you are at home, at your centre, you will stand in trust. When you stand in trust you can walk forward with great confidence into the great and mysterious unknown. Know that this unfathomable and mighty soup of mass consciousness is at all times, dynamic. Ever moving. Always creating. Always giving back to you.

When you are plagued with worry and limited by worldly matters, you will be frozen with fear to the spot. That is when you tend to want to go back, to retrace old steps to see if there is something new there. There is never anything new there. You may feel temporary comfort in the familiarity of what you find but you cannot stay in that place and evolve. It is impossible. How can you lovingly create the future if you will not step forward to meet it?

Understand that you are an outlet for the creative force of this Universe. Know that you are constantly building and constructing your reality. You are fashioning your life, you are painting your own canvas. Not only that but you are adding brushstrokes to a universal composition that every one of us is adding to.

Seamus, choose God over the ego every time. Create your life with expansive consciousness. With God you stand secure in the understanding of your brilliance.

The ego may send you on a wild goose chase, seeking satisfaction and happiness and even your life purpose! The great dichotomy is that you will have the most glorious adventures and find the richest of fortunes in the moment that you go home.

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Real Romance

ChontellePerrinPhotography_Melanie-223

Dear Seamus,

There have been many times in life when I thought that there were experiences I would not have. Given my past or my emotional barriers or my beliefs, there was a list of things I was certain that others would never catch me saying. Let me tell you that at the top of the list was “My wedding day was one of the best days of my life”. I heard others say it, often in romanticized contexts and the cynic in me would scoff. After all I was the girl who had nightmares about white weddings and who felt that marriage was nothing more than entrapment.

So can you imagine my surprise the day a little thought sailing through my mind caught me completely off guard. I was watching your Father pottering around the house. He was cradling you in one arm and prepping your milk bottle.

I found myself pondering the scenario of getting married. It almost shocked me out of the chair! Were all the medications messing with my brain? Where on earth did that come from?

Yet there is was, as plain as the nose on my face, just quietly sitting in my head. I shooed it away and went about my business.

A few days later, it sailed through once again. Such a foreign concept to me in many ways. But there was something undeniable about it, some kind of raw truth that could not be ignored and certainly would not be dismissed.

I gave some thought to this idea and before long I was stepping back to past moments, when odd things had happened.

The first time I ever met your Father was in early 2008. I was visiting your Nanny, on holiday from Sydney. A man in the community was turning sixty and there was a birthday celebration for him in the local hall. Long trestle tables were covered in table clothes and smattered with freshly cut flowers in jam jars. I sat with my Mothers neighbour and we chatted about my worldly travels, in particular my time living in Scotland. Opposite me, a tall well-built man with a beard appeared at the table, holding two plates with food. He handed one to his girlfriend before fishing in his pocket for the cutlery. I noticed the way he doted on her and thought, wouldn’t that be nice. Back in Sydney I was doing some serious internet dating. Lots of dates, no real substance. In a big city it’s easy to have the plenty-of-fish-in-the-sea mentality.

I returned to Sydney to my whirl wind lifestyle and by October of that year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my life changed forever.

Just over a year later I moved away from my city life and all my friends, to live with Nanny. Thinking my life was now over, I was resigned to living to the end of my days at home with my Mum and my cat. However, life had other plans.

I began to spend time with a man shortly after I arrived and we became companions. We enjoyed one another’s company and soon saw each other most days. One afternoon he invited me to visit with his friends. When we arrived I noticed the man with the beard sitting outside and smoking a cigarette. He and his girlfriend chatted with us. They had a new baby who was sleeping inside.

I recall standing there but being aware that I was somehow outside of myself. Then I heard the words “You are supposed to be here”. It was so strange and so left field I thought I was going bonkers. Here I was standing on this man’s front lawn with my companion and thinking that I was the one meant to be in a relationship with a virtual stranger! I spoke nothing of it to anyone, such was its peculiarity.

I occasionally saw him around town in his beaten up old Toyota Hilux. You could hear it coming well before you spotted it! Later that year his relationship ended and I was genuinely shocked. I felt a sadness for the breakdown of his family.

It was almost exactly a year later when serendipitous circumstances caused us to gravitate towards one another in an intimate way. Our brief summer romance was guaranteed longevity when I discovered I was pregnant and we have been together ever since.

I want to take this time now to redefine the term romantic with you. By popular definition and understanding, romance is characterised by idealistic behaviours in the other. Grand demonstrations of love and symbolic tokens and gestures that we have all agreed on, somewhere along the line.

So here are some examples of my experience of romance with your Father.

He washes my dirty clothes. He dresses my wounds after I have had surgery. When you are in a mood and “only Daddy will do”, he coaxes you to kiss and cuddle me so I don’t feel left out. He puts my mobile back together after I have thrown it against the wall in frustration. He flirtatiously touches me when he knows I am feeling unattractive. When we are out shopping and I get tired, he carries my handbag. On my birthday cake last week he wrote in icing four words that define me; MELANIE, WIFE, MOTHER, FRIEND. He hovers over the stove to make sure the vegetables don’t get too steamed, because he knows I like them crunchy. He says things minutes after I have thought them. Whenever he is about to tell me something I may not like, he always starts with “You know I love you…”

He is my dearest friend. He is the Father of my child. He has loved and accepted me in ways I never thought a man could. He helped me dissolve my fears.

Therefore it all became easy. Easy to love him. Easy to see my life unfolding with him. Easy to marry him.

So on our wedding day, we celebrated with the ease and intimacy that comes so naturally to our relationship. We did it our way. The ceremony was in a beautiful garden. I wore a burgundy dress. We only had immediate family. Our wedding day was one of the best days of my life, because there are so many best days of my life with your Father. It was a beautiful day of celebration but it didn’t feel much different from any other day either.

My darling boy, one day you will be grown and your heart will yearn for another. I know that I am providing an excellent example for you in our home, of what real love is. You watch us always and I see your face light up when we are tender with each other in your presence. Listen to the messages from your heart and don’t dismiss them, for I promise you that it will surprise you in ways you have never known.

“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life” – Paulo Cohelo

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Heart of the Dreaming

Uluru - Mother

Dear Seamus,

I have read a lot about the nature of duality. How the contrasts of experience afford us perspective which creates desires. If you don’t have a lot of money you usually desire to have more. If you feel tired and sick you want to be energetic and well. When I was going through chemotherapy treatment six years I spent a lot of time in bed feeling ill. Two things kept coming to my mind again and again. One was jogging. Yes, jogging. When I lived in Coogee on Sydney’s beautiful eastern beaches, I took up jogging for the first time ever. I marvelled at how with each passing day I could run that little bit further.

When you run, your whole body is engaged. I felt strong and fit and healthy. I even enjoyed the aches and pains in my knees and calf muscles. The physical evidence of my achievement earlier in the day. That was the last time I felt really healthy and my mind had bookmarked it. When you are on chemotherapy treatment your body becomes highly sensitive. My eyes could not tolerate too much light so my room was always dark. As I lay in my bed I saw the sunlight edging the blinds. I yearned for the feeling of the sun on my head and shoulders and to hear the heavy intake of my breath as I ran beside the ocean.

The other image that kept coming to me repeatedly was not an experience I had had. I saw a vast red desert, spotted with salt bushes and scrubs. In the centre of that flat landscape was the great monolith of Uluru. A rust coloured titan, steeped in a powerful spiritual endowment. This sacred place was calling me. I never knew how much my heart wanted to be there, until that moment.

From that point it was always in the back of my mind, a knowing that I would go there. The years went by and a few possibilities to travel fizzled out for one reason or another. The yearning however, did not. Last October your Father and I found ourselves frazzled and exhausted by the daily grind of life. Our relating had become strained and we acknowledged the need for some time out. Time to go somewhere together for an adventure and a well-earned rest. Time to enjoy each other without the distraction of running a household. He asked where I wanted to go and I answered before he even finished the question!

Finally I was going to Uluru. The beauty of the fact that I had waited so long was that I got to experience it with your Father. Perfect timing. When everything had been booked and all the dates locked in, we sat back and marvelled at the wonderful plans we had made!

Your Daddy has given me many first time experiences. I have also opened him to new things and I was pleased to be with him for his first ever plane flight! I spent much of my adult life on planes and in airports so to me, getting on a plane was just like boarding a bus. I watched his mixture of excitement and nerves and it delighted me!

The captain announced that we were about to make the descent to the Ayers Rock Resort airport and I closed the book I was reading. Your Fathers fear of heights meant he needed to close the blind on the window so I was craning my head towards the other side of the plane in case I should catch a glimpse. Everything was flat and the colour of the earth was amazing, so rich.

Suddenly Uluru came into view. I became overwhelmed with emotion and felt my hand go to the base of my throat.

There she was, the great Mother that had been calling me. She had enveloped me with visions when I was helpless, giving me strength and showing me the future when I would come home to her. There I was making my descent, like a little bird on the wing, returning to the protection of the tree.

Getting off the plane we were greeted by a wall of heat. After we checked into our room we quickly made our way to the pool. It was so refreshing as I bobbed around in the water with your Dad. I kissed him and smiled “We’re here”.

We attended a dinner that evening, where we sat in the desert under the stars. It was late afternoon when we arrived at the viewing platform. We enjoyed a glass of bubbly and took turns with other tourists to pose for a photo with Uluru in the background. The heat was oppressive and I felt for the wait staff who wore black outfits while they offered us refills and canapés.

As the sun hit the horizon near Kata Tjuta in the distance, we were invited to the dining area. Last in line because of my juggling a camera and the video, we actually ended up with what I thought were the best seats. With only one other couple at our table we enjoyed an unrestricted view of the desert and the rock, all the other tables were behind us. We enjoyed a delicious meal as the sun set and before we knew it, the sky was dotted with stars. Just before dessert was served a large storm rolled in. Watching the lightning bolts reach across the sky and hearing the thunder throbbing was the pure opulence of nature. However it soon became clear that the storm had a lot of ferocity so we were evacuated from the site.

The next morning I discovered that my camera didn’t work anymore. While looking for a replacement in one of the tourist shops the assistant told me it was a frequent occurrence. It seemed that this space, this place, was so powerful that it rendered equipment useless. The other thing your Daddy and I noticed was a complete inability to comprehend time. There appeared to be a ripple in the space-time continuum.

While reading the details of our morning tours, we noted the pick-up time was 4:15am. We groaned at the thought of it but the excitement of seeing Uluru and Kata Tjuta at sunrise outweighed the pain of such an early start.

The guide and your Dad got along like a house on fire. Both Bushmen with substantial beards, they nattered on like long lost friends while the rest of us helped ourselves to a hot drink and an egg and bacon damper roll at the viewing platform. We all fell quiet just before the sunrise. The smell of the desert and the fragrance of the native plants seemed to permeate me. As the colours changed in the sky, Uluru was no longer a shadowy outline. I saw the changing palette of the rock as many have described. Grey, brown and then red as she welcomed the new day.

Back on the bus we drove the 25km kilometres to Uluru. There is a road that circles the rock and as we drove around it, she changed constantly. Because of the formation of the rock sediment and how she was birthed from the earth at an angle, one side of Uluru is 50,000 years older than the other side. The Great Mother has many stories and secrets that she has kept for longer than we can possibly comprehend.

Uluru is a significant place for the Anangu women. Many rituals and ceremonies were, and still are to a lesser degree, conducted there. My favourite part of the rock was a large cave that was used for birthing. The shape of the cave is the same as a Kangaroo pouch and is named as such.

When we walked closer to the rock we were able to touch her. There was a small area at the base of the rock that we were invited to sit on by the guide. I stepped up onto the rock with all the grace of a fish out of water, under the watchful eye of your Father.

As I sat there I ran my hands across the surface and wondered about the many people and animals that had touched that same place on the rock. I thought about all the sun that had shone upon her and all the rain that had washed over her.

A friend of mine shared my excitement at the impending trip to Uluru. He said he was certain that I would be aware of all the threads of the Universe converging in that sacred place. He was right. There is something deeply religious, something so hallowed that words really cannot accurately describe my experience. Silence is the only way for me to return to that feeling.

Uluru bonded me more firmly with your Father. Uluru ate my camera. Uluru inspired me to write you the longest letter so far even though words seem so flimsy as I try to tell you the story.

Uluru has no eyes but she has seen. Uluru has no ears but she has heard. Uluru never sleeps yet she made me part of her dreaming.

She came to me so that I would go to her. I listened to her and I returned to myself, in a future that had already happened.

Uluru is like God. Constant. Unmoving. Ever present. Indescribable and only to be experienced.

If you ever get the chance to go Seamus, go to her. More importantly, go wherever you are called. What awaits you are the most glorious of gifts. Gifts only your heart can know. That is the only knowledge you will ever need.

 

“ That shift from body identification to spirit identification, that is the meaning of enlightenment. And that is the same thing as saying ‘going from the perceptions of the mind to the knowledge of the heart’ ”Marianne Williamson

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The Only Answer

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Dear Seamus,

There is a crispness in the air not common of a typical February morning. It is my birthday and you and I are up early. At your request, the movie ‘The Croods’ is playing on the television. Our whole household could very well recite most of the lines from the film, such is the number of times it has been re-played.
I tucked your legs underneath a blanket on the lounge.

“Are you cosy”? I asked
“I not cosy”; You replied, “I SEAMUS”!

I am perched on the other couch, notebook in hand and filled with inspiration. I have not written a letter to you in some months. Not for lack of trying I might add, but it just didn’t seem to flow out of me in the usual way. If I try to write when I feel like that it feels forced, so I leave it be.

There have been beautiful things to write to you about which has made the experience more frustrating. Last December I finally fulfilled a dream to travel to Uluru. An experience every bit as powerful as I had imagined and then some! A week after we returned, your Daddy and I were married. An incredible day of celebration, love and intimacy.

As is the dualistic nature of this world we live in, I also endured some painful experiences. They came in such quick succession it felt like the Universe was throwing flaming meteorites at me. After the joys of December, the challenges of January seemed almost impossible to bear. These events triggered a whirlwind of questioning and I quickly became a prisoner of my own mind.

It all reached a desperate crescendo with the ultimate question:
“What is the meaning of all of this”?!

One of my greatest fears is to have lived a meaningless life. That all of the experiences to which I had attached such strong emotions were actually just pointless. These thoughts were going against the very grain, the very essence of who I thought I was. It was painful and I felt like I was being torn apart.

I have always wanted to know. I have always questioned, enquired and investigated. I was the child who asked ‘why’? I was the teenager who didn’t do what I was told because I questioned authority. I was the employee who needed to understand the purpose of what I was required to do.

I am the friend who openly listens when others are troubled and I ask them why they think they feel that way. I am the wife that wants to dig deep in her husband’s life, that I may know the roots of the trees that grow in his garden. I am the Mother who has an understanding of herself and how she was shaped, so that I may help you find your own shape, in your own time, in your own way.

My search for the ultimate meaning became even more poignant when the Oncologist rang me a few weeks ago to discuss my latest scan results. He explained to me that the disease has rapidly progressed and didn’t appear to be responding to the current treatment protocol. His suggestion was to stop my medications and begin chemotherapy, sooner rather than later. The aim now being to control symptoms of the disease and to prolong life a few months more. That is a known trajectory in medical oncology.
End stage cancer – chemotherapy – small extension of life – death.

To receive that news, in the frame of mind I was in, felt like fear had swallowed me whole. I was groping in the dark for the compass to get my bearings. I was backed into the corner. I felt like my only life line was to know the reason why all this was happening. So many questions. Can I choose my own life experience? Is it already written? Who do I believe? Have I switched one set of illusions that made me feel bad, for another set of illusions that made me feel better? Have I bought into the idea of manifestation when the truth is it’s all mapped out anyway? Do I really have any choices?

Through incredible synchronicity, I then began to remember. A yearning to re-read a book… a long conversation with a family member… a prayer to my Father that I may know in my heart what to do…

I remembered that the questioning mind will always churn out more questions. When the questioning mind finds answers, it will then question the answers. It is the nature of the beast.

Your Dad and I had a meeting with the community nurse, who has become a dear friend. With an open mind I listened as we went through the details of chemotherapy treatment. I leafed through the glossy pamphlet, the cover emblazoned with a flower and middle aged woman smiling off into the distance. On the pages within I relived my experience with chemotherapy six years prior. Every cell in my body resisted the very idea of it and I knew, in my deepest being, the answer. The only answer I needed to know in that moment.

With all the courage I could muster and your Father at my side, I said no to chemotherapy. I said no the known. I said yes to the uncharted path.

At the heart of it, the only peace is in not knowing. So I found that place. The compass is within me. As are the answers. Fear was keeping me from them. So I released the fear.

When I said no to chemotherapy, one door closed and I felt one hundred doors of possibility open in every direction. It was remarkable and it was powerful as I stepped into the unknown.

Darling boy I am telling you, when your current situation is telling you that there is no hope, that is exactly where hope lives. At these times your only responsibility is to dream the biggest dreams you can dream! I dreamed you into my life and you are the biggest reminder to me every day, that dreams do come true.
One step at a time, one answer at a time, one dream at a time. The rest is up to God.

“We have more answers ready within us, if only we choose to listen”Conversations with God book 1

Note: I remain under the close medical supervision of my Oncologist and GP. I have said no to chemotherapy but continue with my current treatment protocol. All my treatment decisions have been informed choices with open discussions and the support of my medical team.

The Owl in the Mirror

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Dear Seamus,

Sometimes we go to a community organised play group. I have seen you become more and more comfortable each time we go. You have become more interactive with the other children and independently seek out different toys to play with by yourself.

One of the Mothers approached me the last time we were there. She told how much she had enjoyed watching you interact with her daughter. She commented on your gentleness and your openly caring nature.

I have become accustomed to enjoying comments from people in different situations about your golden curls or sparkling blue eyes. In a society that values our physical appearance above our character, I graciously accepted this feedback knowing that you are so much more than ‘cute’  or ‘ handsome’. To have another Mum actively seek me out to comment on your beautiful nature was a treasured experience.

Your sister is almost five. Like you, she is a physical beauty to behold with sapphires for eyes and long blonde ringlets. When we sit together colouring in picture books of princesses with tiny waists and flowing ball gowns, I chat with her about what being beautiful is. Being a beautiful girl, I tell her, is not just about what she looks like. She agrees with me that a beautiful  girl is kind and shares with others, both of which come readily to her now. She also knows that a girl need only apply a happy smile to be beautiful.

I was tortured by images of beauty when I was growing up. I recall when I started buying magazines as a teenager, I would compare myself to the girls modelling swim suits and new dresses and shoes. If I compared myself to them I would feel depressed. I was not tall, or tanned, or thin. I did not have lustrous thick hair and flawless skin. If they represented what was beautiful then clearly I was not.

Looking back I wished someone had sat with me to tell me that beauty has multi-faceted meanings. To assure me that the physical form is a fleshy toy with which to play. You can add or subtract weight or hair or clothing and it will never affect the sum of who you really are.

So amidst all the compliments about how you are easy on the eye, the stand out was the Mum who saw the beauty of you. I was so grateful for that. To know that your true beauty is shining through for the observation of others.

I believe parenthood is 90% demonstration and 10% education. I see you watching me all the time. You began mimicking words and phrases some time ago however now you seem to understand their context and appropriateness.

In the weeks leading up to your second birthday you were quite ill with a stomach bug. Daddy and I took turns sleeping on the sofa bed in the lounge room with you. You had no appetite and I was very concerned about you becoming dehydrated. I regularly handed you a water bottle urging that you, my darling, take a sip. You would oblige before slumping back onto a pillow, weak with lethargy.

With a day to spare before your birthday celebrations you managed to shake off the virus and return to your usual lively self.

I had endured many late nights either tending to you or prepping for your party. You love owls so I sat up until after 1am hand making your card and crafting little owl toppers for your cupcakes.

After the gifts were opened on the morn of your second birthday, I was sitting at the dining table feeling a little weary as I was making a mental check list of what needed to be done. I was brought back to the present moment by the feeling of something cold against my arm. You stood beside me holding my flask of water that I keep in the fridge.

“Here are dah-win. Sip” you urged me.

With utter joy in my heart, I heeded your advice and drank some cool water. You then took the bottle from me and placed it back in the fridge.

As your Mother I am a mirror to you and you reflect back to me. I can gauge myself in your behaviour. Then there are times that you conduct yourself with wisdom far beyond your years. I understand why you like owls. You are my owl in the mirror.

My dearest Seamus, my little owl, may you always know your true beauty so you can spread your wings and fly.

Happy second birthday. I love you.

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart”Kahlil Gibran