Thursday 27th April 2017

Introducing Telling My Story. 2017.60.

Introducing Telling My Story. 2017.60.

In the past few years my life has changed in many ways.

I could say it has happened from the time I turned 60 I guess and at 67 now, it’s been for longer than I imagined.

I am naming this part of my life a transition yet it is more than that.

Like all humans I am living my life and maybe unlike all humans I am trying to understand myself and my life journey better.

Blogging is going to be one of the ways in which I recount aspects of what I have been learning:

I am a life-long learner.

My story is what it is.

My story.

However, it may help me in writing more about it instead of alluding to part of it or directing readers to past posts.

It is quite hard to confess to finding aspects of life as I knew it have left me and I am needing to become used to what is now.

I will write from time to time and it may be about some strategies and resources I have found helpful.

It maybe necessary to tell  the truth of what it has been like for me. And how that has affected my relationships, with myself included for the past few years.

Like I said, I am telling My Story.

Today makes it the introduction. I do not know when the next one will be.

This work, Stop, from Jeff Foster, in his book: ‘The Way of Rest’ Finding the Courage to Hold Everything in Love is about mindfulness, stopping, staying present.

I would have to add this is one of my biggest challenges. I wrote about ‘uncertainty’ here last week.

 

Whatever is happening in the circumstances of your life, stop. Just for a moment.

Bring your attention toward the here and now. Let the moment become fascinating. Gently begin to acknowledge what is actually happening where you are. Come out of your conclusions about life, your dreams about past and future, and being to notice the sensations, feelings, thoughts that are present, right here and right now.

Let your present experience – sights and sounds and smells – become the most curious dance in all the universe. You are seeing, tasting, touching, hearing the world as if for the first time. This is your Garden of Eden, your messy, intense, joyous, and heartbreaking Garden of Eden and you are awake to it at last.

Stop trying to figure everything out. Give in. Give up. Give all to the moment’s embrace.

Fall into not knowing…

 

I hope that you will find My Story of interest and that it will be something that speaks to you to help you in some way. I do not think we have spoken enough nor even considered what it means to become older, to stop work, to find yourself adrift in some ways where you thought there was security. I write to help me as I look back and move forward into whatever is to come.

Thank you for reading!

Denyse.

Posting for the first time for I Blog on Tuesdays with Kylie Purtell here.

Then joining with Leanne and bloggers on Thursday here for Lovin’ Life link up.

 

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Uncertainty. 2017.57.

Uncertainty. 2017.57.

Did this headline make you a bit wary?

I do not like uncertainty.

However, I am learning that there is no such thing as certainty. Except for death. Apparently!

It makes me nervous and curious and I know how I must remember  that somehow I need to accept uncertainty.

Why?

I would have to say because I have grown very weary of trying to control what I cannot control…but thought I was! Is that familiar?

My journey (yep, I like the word and it stays!) has taken me on a number of learning paths as I seek help to understand life as I don’t know it!

One such person is Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, and her many books and teachings are in my library now.

I have this book beside my bed and read one chapter a night. Most nights anyway!

This excerpt is from chapter 14.

According to the Buddha, the lives of all beings are marked by three characteristics: impermanence, egolessness, and suffering or dissatisfaction. Recognising these qualities to be real and true in our own experience helps us to relax with things as they are.

The first mark is impermanence. That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and changing, is the first mark of existence. We don’t have to be mystics or physicists to know this. Yet at the level of personal experience, we resist this basic fact.

It means life isn’t always going to go our way. It means there’s loss as well as gain. And we don’t like that.

We know that all is impermanent; we know that everything wears out. Although we can buy this truth intellectually, emotionally we have a deep-rooted aversion to it.

We want permanence; we expect permanence. Our natural tendency is to seek security; we believe we can find it. We experience impermanence at the everyday level as frustration. We use our daily activity as a shield against the fundamental ambiguity of our situation. expending tremendous energy trying to ward off impermance and death.

We don’t like it that we age. We are afraid of wrinkles and sagging skin. We use health products as if we actually believe our skin, our hair, our eyes and teeth, might somehow miraculously escape the truth of impermance.

The Buddhist teachings aspire to set us free from this limited way of relating to impermanence. They encourage us to relax gradually and wholeheartedly into the ordinary and obvious truth of change.

Acknowledging this truth doesnt mean we are looking on the dark side. What is means is that begin to  understand that we’re not the only one who can’t keep it all together.

We no longer believed that there are people who have managed to avoid uncertainty.

Comfortable with Uncertainty. Pema Chodron. 2003. Shambhala Publications.

I am a life-long learner and I have been learning more lessons about life and me in the past few years than I ever felt possible. I have great respect for the words of Brene Brown and have signed up for this combo of courses on-line called Daring Greatly and Rising Strong. If you are interested in knowing more, here is the link.

Have you given much thought to what it is to be uncertain?

Do you struggle with the notion that we are not really in charge of many aspects of our lives as we might prefer to be?

I’d love to hear your comments.

Next week I am finally owning up to the vulnerability of telling my story. It won’t be confined to one post!

Denyse.

Joining with Leanne and friends  here who are part of the inclusive and lovely link up Lovin’ Life.

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Little Fishies. 2017.35.

Little Fishies. 2017.35.

On Monday I drove to The Entrance for a haircut. Beforehand I did my favourite thing which was to take a look at The Entrance waterway and see what was happening. Not many people were there as school is back and holidays are over for most. However, the water was freshly running and just under the surface SCHOOL was in for Little Fishies!

Here’s what I saw.

After the haircut I drove back over the bridge in the photo and stopped off at Pelican Wharf where I took these pics standing on a little jetty. Look at the camouflage!

Do you ever just stop and notice nature like this?

It was a very mindful experience for me during a pretty stressful time. Life is like that for me right now.

Denyse.

Joining photography friends here:

Trish: Jen: Sue: Steph.

On the weekends I link with the Ultimate Rabbit Hole here with Sammie and friends.

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My Week 9 Intention. Go Gently. 2017.32.

My Week 9 Intention. Go Gently. 2017.32.

almost decided not to post an intention this week.

Why?

It’s been a hard week on me, emotionally and physically.

The physical part relates to a bout of Irritable Bowel Syndrome which went for longer than before – over 5 days.

The emotional part is how the above affects me ON top of the other life challenges I am facing.

So, with the advice of my health professionals and those who love me, I have come here to make an intention because the blogging needs to continue if it is to tell a story of my life in words.

Last week’s Perspective intention was noted from time to time and helped me somewhat. As always, I am human and a work-in-progress.

More stressors have become made known to me in recent days and I would not be honest if I did not say they are hitting me hard.

So, I am going gently. In taking care of myself and being a friend to myself. I have downloaded some excellent hypnotherapy audios from Audible and they are helping me along with meditation and being outside.

My week 9 intention is to go gently. To take time to recover and rest. To use  self-talk that is kind and non-critical affect.

 

How do you manage your well-being in a crisis?

Denyse.

Joining Leanne’s Lovin Life linky here on Thursdays.

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My Week 7 Intention. Take a Break. 2017.24.

My Week 7 Intention. Take a Break. 2017.24.

I have had a bit of a  rough week because I am trying too hard.

Yes, this is something that I do not realise until it’s almost too late.

It’s been a rough week on the health front with a nasty IBS flare. I can never really explain the why of IBS for me but I do get upset when the what of IBS impacts my life. The episodes meant I could not travel even to a needed appointment. It gets me down.

As a result of that, I try to fix things. I try too hard because that is who I am and I need to slow myself down and be more gentle and kindly towards myself.

I do not ’cause’ the IBS but I still have to live with its consequences and its effects on my confidence and demeanour.

I can add the HEATWAVE has affected me too as I dread the onset of extreme weather and as a worrier I think ‘what would we do if the power went off?’

So, I am giving myself a week off…from learning to manage my health symptoms and effects to….taking a more relaxed approach to life in retirement as it is for me!

My Intention for Week 7 is to give myself a break and take one! To do less learning and stop trying hard. To enjoy more moments that are about becoming absorbed in something creative or just being.

The way the past week was did not help my Week 6 intention of react less and respond more because my inner tension levels were higher. So, that’s OK too. I know what I need to do…and that is LESS..this week coming up!

How are you going?

Do you sometime try too hard and not realise until later?

Tell me more!

Denyse.

UPDATED as of Thursday 16 February. Since publishing this on Sunday some things have changed for the better…I have been listening to an amazing program about ‘helping your nervous illness’ (as she named anxiety back in the 1960s) by Dr Claire Weekes. I cannot explain without a whole blog post but I can tell you her messages are exactly what I needed to hear and understand. 

 

Joining Leanne’s lovin life linky here each Thursday. Thanks to her lovely team too I am really enjoying your comments!

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Fabulous Frangipanis. 2017.19.

Fabulous Frangipanis. 2017.19.

I declare that I love frangipanis ….on the tree.

They are delightful, smell sweetly and look a treat.

Then they fall…their fabulousness decays…and they become rubbish and need to be swept away before someone slips and falls. Life with frangipanis!

We used to live in a hotter area of Sydney around 45 minutes drive from the coast. We did end up buying and nurturing a frangipani back in 2011 when I renewed my love for them. It remained small but it did produce the lovely flowers. Not many but enough.

In my family’s house on the coast, Dad ended up with several frangipanis which ‘took off’ and were from cuttings from an old friend’s tree in Wollongong. So, it appears, in the right setting and climate they thrive!

We moved to this house on the NSW Central Coast late 2015. It has a HUGE old frangipani tree in the back garden. I am not sure, but it could be two trees in one. What I do know is that we had to cut in back a bit to enjoy what plants were hidden underneath! We took some of those cuttings and they’re in pots and in other garden spots now.

This summer I have notice more frangipanis that are different to ours around this local area.

I went for a walk for the purposes of this post to photograph them. The colour and size differences were interesting.

What was the same, however, was the mess they leave when they fall.

Frangipanis! Beauties which give and give while they’re on the trees.

They give me the reason to exercise when it’s time to sweep them up after they’ve fallen.

What’s your view about frangipanis?

Do you have them where you live?

Have you ever grown one?

Denyse.

 

I hope my photography friends enjoy these: Link ups are here:

Trish, Sue, Steph and Jen.

On the weekend I link up with Sammie and friends for the Ultimate Rabbit Hole here.

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Australia. 2017.15.

Australia. 2017.15.

Yesterday was Australia Day. It is remembering that on 26 January 1788 a white settlement commenced within Sydney Harbour at Port Jackson. It is close to where Circular Quay is, the ferry terminals and just around from the Opera House to the east, and Sydney Harbour Bridge to the west.

However, it is not a day of celebration for many Australians, the original Australians, who regard this as a day of sorrow. My thoughts are that Australia needs to change to date to reconcile with all who are Australian. However, this is very much a contentious option at present.

I have therefore gone with a traditional (Anglo if you will) view of my country. Australia so very well captured in the essence of this poem by Dorothea Mackellar. The photos which follow are mine. Again I have tried to capture the essence of my country.

 

My Country
The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze …

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Dorothea Mackellar

 

Fig tree in Sydney. Close to the harbour.

Manly Beach at sunrise. Manly was named after an Aboriginal person because of the ‘manly’ appearance. I grew up near here.

The Three Sisters. Aboriginal legends abound about these ‘ladies’ located in the heritage listed Blue Mountains beyond Sydney.

The Jamison Valley. Part of the Blue Mountains. In the early 1800s white explorers Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson made their way across here.

Semi-rural Sydney scenes but more likely to be housing estates now and into the future.

Magical morning at the Central Coast.

Iconic Sydney. Ferries, Circular Quay and the Harbour Bridge. This is Port Jackson and where the first white settlement occurred.

Essence of the coast of Australia!

My now local area. Wyong River. Original land owners the Darkinjung people.

As Aussie as it comes..the bush and a track leading somewhere…

Walk by the Parramatta River in NSW and read these sculptures. All denote the original and then white settlement of the earliest founded place in NSW (other than Sydney)

Our wonderful coast…we are a country bound by oceans. This is the Pacific Ocean/Tasman Sea as it reaches east to New Zealand.

Thank you Australia for all you have given me in my life.

Denyse.

Joining photography friends who blog here:

Trish, Steph, Sue and Jen.

 

 

 

 

 

On the weekend I visit the Ultimate Rabbit Hole here with Sammie and 3 bloggers who also host the link up!

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Norwest Sydney Remembered. 2017.11.

Norwest Sydney Remembered. 2017.11.

We moved from our country teaching posts to Sydney in 1978. We were fortunate to be able to buy a new house and land package at Kellyville, on the fringe of Castle Hill and almost semi-rural area for $44,600. (today’s value: $900k) We raised our two children here, and then in 1993 succumbed to the lure of a new house, and an easy-to-obtain mortgage to buy land at the newly created Bella Vista (suburb) and build an architect designed house. All for around $400,000.

It was wonderful being almost pioneers on the old land that was inhabited firstly by the original owners, and then by the early settlers including John and Elizabeth MacArthur. In fact, the house we built looked up to the original Bella Vista farm (still there in part for historic purposes and appreciation of current citizens) so it always felt like being a part of history too.

Over the years much has already happened to the area, see the timeline here and we bought our land in 1993 and moved to the house in January 1994.

1801

Seven Hills Farm

Pre-1788

Aboriginal custodianship of the Cumberland Plain by the Darug people

1788

European settlement and exploration of the Cumberland plain commenced

1799-1801

Seven Hills was sub-divided by the Crown into a series of grants to free settlers including 500 acres was transferred to James Robertson

1801

Stock Farm was sold to John Macarthur along with 1,250 sheep. Bella Vista Farm Park still contains the historic homestead and farm buildings with a single avenue of bunya Pines and is open for public recreation.

1949

North Sydney Brick and Tile Company Limited (Norbrik)

Norbrik purchased a total of a thousand acres of land with part being used for their brick and tile manufacturing plant which operated on part of the site from 1956 to 2002.

1980′s

Norbrik investigated alternate uses for the site and came up with the concept of a business park where people worked, lived and played.

1987

Baulkham Hills Shire Council and the New South Wales State government rezoned the land as Employment land.

1992

First Stage of Norwest Business Park

The first large-scale business park in Australia of some 377ha was brought to the market. Subdivision works were completed for Stage 1 and construction of buildings commenced in the early 90′s with Australia Post, Cathay Pacific and Hillsong Church acquiring land and commencing construction in 1993.

The first residential development took place in the Bella Vista Village precinct.

SOURCE: http://www.norwestassociation.com.au/history/

We sold our house in 1997 for $474,000 (today’s value: $1.5million) and moved to a suburb across Old Windsor Road, Glenwood, which had been a large dairy farming property. We purchased this house and land package for around $300,000.(today’s value:$950k)

Over the decades housing sprang up on both sides of Old Windsor Road as did the multitude of businesses and other commercial enterprises such as schools, hospitals, churches and retirement places. Much changed in that time and the establishment of a ‘centre’ with a man-made lake gave the area some quiet spaces and pleasant areas to view and rest.

I often walked around the Lake at Norwest Shops. Grandchildren who accompanied me over the years enjoyed feeding the ducks. This was a fun thing to do but sadly those ducks were over-fed and the waterways added many fish of dubious species as well such as carp.

It was in 2014 I took these photos. We have not lived nearby since then and I do know that changes have been made, of course, with even more buildings for both business and residential purposes. There is a rail system being added to the area to hopefully reduce to huge road traffic component of living away from good public transport. However, all in all, the area no longer held any appeal for us after all the years so we have moved on!

Family and friends who remain do so because of location, work and school/study commitments, relationships and more…. and because it’s Sydney!! We have retired to the Central Coast of NSW about 90 minutes drive north.

Do you know the history of where you live?

Are you familiar with this part of Sydney?

Let me know more in the comments!

Denyse.

Joining photography link up friends here:

Jen, SueSteph and Trish

On the weekend I add my post to the Ultimate Rabbit Hole here with Sammie and Paula and new friends too.

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