Saturday 24th June 2017

Creative Art & Listening. 2017.83.

Creative Art & Listening. 2017.83.

I’ve been following art groups and becoming more creative in my retirement years. I am lucky to have a range of materials to work  play with and have had some lessons in their use. Now I get to have fun and create. I was doing this as part of my transitioning to retirement anyway but since I received my cancer diagnosis it has become a very important element in keeping me mindful and creating to heal.

For each of the photos I have written something about the process and you can see the products.

The accompaniment for me is always a CD where I am learning or reinforcing learning about life, our spirits, our behaviours and more. I have a range of CDs by Brene Brown, Pema Chodron, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Anne Lamott, and Rick Hanson among other. The one I am listening to right now (for the 3rd time!) is about offering ourselves self-compassion. I have been a late arrival to the need to show myself self-kindness and compassion and it is through the works of Kirsten Neff and Christopher Germer that I am undoing the practice of old (criticism and self-judgement) and integrating the practice of: self-compassion.

I hope you enjoy what you see here.

Denyse.

This is my post for the LAST EVER weekend linky called The Ultimate Rabbit Hole here with Sammie and Friends. I thought it was time for another post on creativity! Congratulations to all who made The Ultimate Rabbit Hole great and THANK you for sharing the love.

Large Page, Meditative Patterns & Repetitive Colouring.

 

Accuracy and pattern making in paint to the ROYGBIV colours…of the Rainbow!

 

The flower pattern started. So meditative and gentle I saw frangipanis arise.

 

Adding painted background close to leaf colour made for good concentration and distraction.

 

From the middle is the famous yellow of most if not all frangipanis. Letting the paint dry before next stage is a measure of my patience these days!

 

Taking the idea further, there have been many pink frangipanis on our tree as well as while ones, so I added a highlight colour in paint.

 

Almost there but not quite. Adding different shades of pink within the same tones from my gouache paints. Very slowly adding where I thought it was needed.

 

A3 size, the finished product is now on display. I loved doing this so much I have started another!

 

This one is different but still floral in focus. Listening to this book on CD reminds me of self-compassion and my need to be as kind to me as to another.

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What’s in a word? Cancer. 2017.82.

What’s in a word? Cancer. 2017.82.

Since I heard the word, cancer, to describe what had been found via pathology from the biopsied tissue from my gums, I have seen it and heard it everywhere. However, I think, it’s like when I  first become pregnant, I saw other pregnant women everywhere.

It’s more noticeable because it affects ME. So, whilst there is still no word (ha!) on the exact  date for my cancer surgery, I thought it timely to write a post.

I have been incredibly well-supported already by those in my friendship realm here in the blogging world and elsewhere.

Each has been from someone who has had cancer, knows someone with cancer, and is currently being treated for cancer.

I read recently  that 1 in 2 of us will have cancer. Wow!

My family of course have expressed their concern and care for me. I have been visited by almost all of the immediate family and that has been lovely. What I have found too is the outstretching of hands (figuratively) of so many is helpful and reassuring which is why I blog about it.

Here’s what I wanted to share briefly:

I had been on a roller-coaster of emotions ANYWAY before I was diagnosed with cancer, so to add cancer to the mix has raised those anxious thoughts of mine to greater levels. But, I am thankful that I was already doing much to help myself with anxiety and adjusting to our new way of life. Meditation, being more mindful, walking, being outdoors, blogging, enjoying some Netflix with my husband, going to the beach, taking photos, supportive health professionals  and generally engaging on social media are already integrated into my life. So, they have become tools for managing my thoughts about cancer too. 

Thank you to the many people who have sent me messages, cards and let me know that I am in their prayers, thoughts and hearts.

“We are all just walking each other home” Ram Dass.

It is very humbling to have such a lovely group of you with me.

Most of all, I thank my husband who is already my finest supporter and rock! He will be with me as much as he can within the first days in hospital and I know, not matter what state of grogginess I may be in, he will be within arms reach for me. That IS love. I am so lucky.

Thank you everyone. I hope that if the word ‘cancer’ is part of your world by association or for you that you too will be cared for and about like I have been. I am blessed. This image is one I am using when I need to take myself to a more enjoyable mindful place. Enjoy!

I am grateful every day.

UPDATED: About my present state of health. 

When I wrote this post I thought I was managing myself quite well. Since then, I have had some pretty horrid days (and nights) where I have become fearful, panicked, and so vulnerable I wanted to go into a corner and hide and never come out.

I am shit-scared right now.

I am worried about losing what I valued: my mouth where I speak, eat, share my emotions and smile. It has been days of crying uncontrollably, being held until I calm down (thank you dear B) and taking some valium (which I don’t really want to) and letting out the fears  in words between the sobs. 

I fear: the loss of ability to use my mouth for at least 7-10 days, have a naso-gastric feeding tube down my throat for those days, having the skin/flesh/bone from my right leg inside my mouth after 3/4 of my upper jaw/palate as been removed. Dealing with the not being in control.

I am, as I write, unable to really express what it means to be facing this loss of control of my body. I will be in ICU to start and may even have a tracheostomy to start if the mouth is too swollen. This is very scary to me, and I am admitting it now.

For me to admit how vulnerable I feel right now is to say “I cannot do this without help”. My husband reassures me he will be there as much as possible, and given how I will look and be, he will be my only visitor until I give any indication I can see others. I am facing the unknown and that as we know is the scariest place to be. I will be losing my smile….for more than a while. Possible 3-4 months until my upper jaw recovers.

Have you faced major surgery of any kind for cancer and other reasons?

How did you deal with it?

I am so wanting some answers that help me know – in the pre-surgery phase that I am not alone in my fears. 

Thank you for reading this far! I appreciate that very much.

Denyse.

Joining Kylie Purtell here for I Blog On Tuesdays link up.

Linking here on Thursday with Leanne and friends for Lovin’ Life.

 

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My First Concert. #LifeThisWeek 25/52. 2017.81.

My First Concert. #LifeThisWeek 25/52. 2017.81.

My first REAL concert was 53 years ago THIS month. Yes, June 1964.

I was one of the millions around the world to embrace the fandom of The Beatles.

Those lovely lads from Liverpool. Paul McCartney (left rear), John Lennon (right rear) Ringo Starr (left front) George Harrison (right front)

I did not have a favourite like most. I just loved them all.

http://www.gigslutz.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/beatles.jpg

I had already bought my first 45 record (are you old enough to know what a 45 record is?) and that was Love Me Do and I Want to Hold Your Hand.

No credit available.

So, I was in what is now Year 9 and my Dad (bless him) bought tickets for me, my younger  brother and a friend of mine to attend one of their Sydney Stadium Concerts.

It was everything you see in the old films. Noisy as. Filled to the capacity with screaming people. Yes, me too. And

The Beatles.

Wow.

It remains a wonderful, wonderful memory now!

You really couldn’t hear much of what they were singing but we SAW them. It was amazing. Ringo Starr who had stayed in the UK to recover from illness was back with the boys and it was perfect.

http://www.smh.com.au/content/dam/images

The Sydney Stadium is no more but it was located near Rushcutters Bay and had a tin roof. They held fights and concerts there. It was not actually theatre in the round, not a bit! Mum and Dad dropped us off and went to dinner at Watsons Bay apparently and on their way back, they could hear the screaming!

I did scream but I think it was because everyone else did. My photo, with many others, was in the paper the next day. Gee I wish I had kept my memories!!

In 2014 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles Tour down under, the Powerhouse Museum put on a special exhibit. It was one my brother and I could not miss!

What was your first concert?

Do you know anyone who saw the Beatles in 1964?

I hope you link up this week on or off prompt.

Denyse.

Do join these other link ups on Mondays too. Alicia here for Open Slather and Kell here for Mummy Mondays.

* You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “Halfway Review 2017”.


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For Courage. 2017.80.

For Courage. 2017.80.

I’ve been taking my time since I retired from work to seek answers to life’s twists and turns. I’ve attended church and Sunday School as a child and an adult. I am not sure if or what I believe in these days. But I know I need  to connect with my deeper inside me and I am pretty sure that I also need to connect with others. That is what human beings need. Love and belonging and connection.

Interestingly I have found myself less resilient and even more surprising to me less confident in the past 3 years. I believe it may be connected to the ageing process but it still does not sit too well withe me, so I search for answers and ideas from others. I love the words and lessons from Pema Chodron. Another source is the works of John O’Donoue and in his book  To Bless The Space Between Us  I found this.

 

For Courage.

When the light around you lessen and your thoughts darken until

Your body feels fear turn as cold as a stone inside,

When you find yourself bereft of any belief in yourself

And all you knowingly leaned on has fallen,

When one voice commands your whole heart

And it is raven dark,

Steady yourself and see that it is your now thinking

That darkens your world,

Search and you will find a diamond-thought of light,

Know that you are not alone and that this darkness has purpose;

Gradually it will school your eyes

To find the one gift your life requires hidden within this night-corner.

Invoke the learning of every suffering you have suffered.

Close your eyes.

Gather all the kindling about your heart to create one spark.

That is all you need.

To nourish the flame that will cleanse the dark of its weight of festered fear.

A new confidence will come alive to urge you toward higher ground

Where your imagination will learn to engage difficulty

As its most rewarding threshold!

p. 107. States of the Heart section.

What kind of attributes help us be more courageous?

I’d love to hear from you about how you deal with fear.

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie Purtell here and the bloggers who blog on Tuesdays!

On Thursdays I join then Lovin’ Life Linky here with Leanne and friends.

 

 

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Public Holidays. #LifeThisWeek 24/52. 2017.79.

Public Holidays. #LifeThisWeek 24/52. 2017.79.

I know that we have quite a few Public Holidays in Australia but I’ve decided to keep my focus on this one….

The June Long weekend  ( Public Holiday is Monday) – for the Queen’s Birthday  in New South Wales & some other states in Australia, it has rained and rained for the past two, including this one!
As I write, it is only Friday night and the rain is pouring down.

Earlier today I ventured out as I had not been anywhere for a few days thanks to the weather. I caught sight of my first whale spouting in 2017 and also captured a bird in flight as it was escaping the rain in our backyard this afternoon.

Reminiscing about the June Long Weekend of years and years ago I recalled that it was Cracker Night.

Until the government decided that people were getting injured by the fireworks..and fires…and so, it became banned. For the 1980s though, we still had a bonfire in our backyard (in suburbia) with the bonfire constructed safely, and fireworks were set up on the fence and on the grass outside. Our kids were still very young, so the mums and kids would stay up on the verandah for the fun. It WAS noisy and we had to make sure animals were inside. A few years later, the only fireworks that were allowed were those at organised functions which became fundraisers for schools and the like. Mind you, we couldn’t even buy fireworks then but as a  kids in the 1950s and 60s we could. I was not a brave person, so throw downs and sparklers were my limit. Oh and you can still buy sparklers at the supermarket.

https://crackernight.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/

 

https://asampler.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/

Did you have fun with fireworks when you were a kid?

What are your memories of public holidays?

Denyse. Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather and here with Kell for Mummy Mondays.

I hope you link up here for Life This Week too!

* You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “First Concert”.

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Sydney Harbour Bridge. 2017.78.

Sydney Harbour Bridge. 2017.78.

Ever since the first time I crossed the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a ten year old in my parents’ Holden I have been in love with it!

Living in Sydney Northern Beaches  from 1959-69 I often went across the Sydney Harbour Bridge on my way to Teachers’ College at Balmain sitting in the front seat of Dad’s car (he worked at Circular Quay). I sometimes caught the double decker bus into the city too. Many at time, I caught the Manly Ferry to Circular Quay and that view from the Harbour of the Bridge was amazing!

As a learner driver I drove across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and over the years it has never phased me at all to drive across the Bridge. Mind you, there have been several changes to the traffic patterns over the years. I still recall handing the coins into the man’s hand at the toll booths and then later, we got to chuck them into the receptacle and wait for the ‘bing’ to proceed.

Now, there are no toll booths but somehow our car’s toll thingy gets read (and debited from our account) and we keep on moving.

Recently we went across the Sydney Harbour Bridge on our way to The Lifehouse for my first but not last appointment to treat my cancer.

Even though I was incredibly worried about the consultation ahead, as my husband was driving, I whipped out the iPhone and captured my Sydney Harbour Bridge.

In the very early part of this century I was fortunate to be invited to do Bridge Climb with my brother, niece, nephew and my dad. It was a very special time and I did not have to pay for the privilege. It is costly that is for sure but well-worth it. I believe there are Bridge Climbs at night especially for the Vivid Festival which is a premier Sydney Winter event. Bridge climb info is here 

Do you like the Sydney Harbour Bridge?

Have you walked/run across the Bridge? I confess I have not!

Have you climbed the Harbour Bridge via Bridge Climb?

Denyse.

Joining Kylie Purtell and Blogging Friends here for I Blog On Tuesdays. There are some new #teamIBOT members on board today, welcome!

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View From Here. #LifeThisWeek 23/52. 2017.77.

View From Here. #LifeThisWeek 23/52. 2017.77.

I love to get out and about with my iphone for photo opps that come my way and sometimes I like to add one of the cameras too.

Knowing that I won’t be able to get ‘out and about’ soon following my forthcoming surgery (still no date) I went to my favourite local beach on the last day of Autumn. That beach is Soldier’s Beach located at Norah Head on the N.S.W. Central Coast about 90 minutes drive from Sydney.

Sure it was windy and much colder than my last visit but it did my heart and soul good to be there, in the elements, admiring the:

View From Here:

The steps from the surf club down to the sand…and the beach.

Look to the left (north) ….to the rock platform.

Half-way point down the steps looking east. Did not see any whales but the migration north has already commenced!

The view to my right and to the south. The wind and clouds made exceptional patterns.

This view…a more distant one south, showing the rugged beauty of this beach.

Yes, I did beach writing: Cancer Sucks.

Looking back up to where the carpark is…the west. The dunes get a workout in the extremes of tides at times.

Yep. A selfie..while I still have the top (fake) teeth. Wind coming from the south!!

Have you been out and about in your local area recently?

What’s the view from where you are?

Denyse.

Joining in with Alicia here for Open Slather and with Kell here for Mummy Mondays.

* You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “Public Holidays”.


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What is #CelebratingWomen? 2017.76.

What is #CelebratingWomen? 2017.76.

I recently read about Celebrating Women when a friend’s profile was on social media and then I read more about how this project came about. Here is the information about the person who began Celebrating Women, Dr Kirstin Ferguson:

Dr Kirstin Ferguson is a leading businesswoman and company director, international authority in health and safety leadership and corporate governance, and sought after commentator on gender diversity. Dr Ferguson is also the creator of the widely acclaimed global #CelebratingWomen campaign.

An experienced company director and Chairman, Dr Ferguson has experience on ASX100 and ASX200 boards, private company, government-owned corporations and not-for-profit boards. She also sits on the Advisory Panel of a tech start-up incubator, and is the Chairman of the judging panel for a prestigious women’s leadership award.

Dr Ferguson began her career after joining the military aged 17 and went on to become the Dux of her Air Force graduating class at the Australian Defence Force Academy. After being posted to an F-111 Squadron, she studied law and spent almost a decade in leadership roles in a corporate law firm. Dr Ferguson then went on to become CEO of a global consulting organisation providing health and safety services in the mining and resources industry before commencing her professional company director career.

Dr Ferguson is one of the world’s foremost experts in safety governance and leadership having completed a PhD in the field for which she has received numerous awards. As well as a PhD in leadership and governance, Kirstin also has Honours degrees in both Law as well as History. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a graduate of both the Company Director Course and International Company Director Course. Dr Ferguson was also admitted as a solicitor in Queensland and New South Wales.

Dr Ferguson created the viral, global campaign called #CelebratingWomen in 2017. Using social media platforms to see more celebration and less denigration online, Dr Ferguson committed to celebrating two women, from all walks of life and from anywhere in the world, every single day in 2017. The response to the campaign was overwhelming with women from more than 25 countries around the world participating in the project. The #CelebratingWomen campaign has been widely recognised for demonstrating the positive power of social media while making visible women as role models who may not otherwise have been seen.

An advocate for gender diversity and equality in the workplace, Dr Ferguson is a member of national and international women’s organisations including Chief Executive Women, Women Corporate Directors and the Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia.

 

One day I thought I would investigate further and on a whim, found the site on-line and answered the prompts, added 4 photos of mine and almost forgot I had done this. After I saw some other women’s profiles I went down that path of self-doubt and not worthy. Anyone else know what I mean? But then I was told I had cancer. What a game changer that ended up being, in so many ways.

This week, after a few on-line convos with Kirstin we decided it was up to me to continue to be part of it and I decided ‘YES’ because my story WAS important and that I would add the newest info about me: cancer.

How about joining in and sharing your story with #CelebratingWomen.

Look for @celebratingwomen or @kirstinferguson to see how!

I highly recommend it. There are 4 questions and you supply 4 photos. 3 of these below were ones I sent in. Here’s what appeared via social media on Wednesday 31 May about me:

This is Denyse #CelebratingWomen (Profile 298)

Denyse is a retiree, who now blogs, and is learning to navigate life after 40 yrs in education. Denyse has been married for more than 46yrs, is a mother and grandmother but has recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Since the age of 11 Denyse knew she would be a kindergarten to year 2 teacher. Her career path in education let her to become a Primary School Principal.

Using three words to describe her life to date, Denyse says it has been challenging, interesting and successful.

Denyse hopes to inspire women to know there is a life to be made past the roles of working, caring and parenting. After her cancer diagnosis, Denyse says she is inspired by the love & best wishes for her recovery she has received online & in person.

Denyse Whelan Blogs.

Have a great First Day of Winter those readers who are in the Southern Hemisphere!

Denyse.

Joining with Leanne here and friends who blog when it’s the link up called Lovin’ Life.

On the weekend I celebrate life with Sammie and blogging friends here for The Ultimate Rabbithole.

 

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