When I hear your voice, It reminds me of the innocent ringing of life, The undercurrent tone that never leaves us, The strategic, carefully considered next steps of life. The loud humming of what’s next, You hear me brother There’s no need to worry Because I got you. If you like the sound of it, Do you want to give it a go? But if you don’t know my son, That’s also O.K. because I got you. Here, listen to this, let me show you, It’s the Corus of life building up, I hope it meets your expectations, Now is your moment to shine, Do you dig it? Standing with your feet disappearing into the sand, At the very point where the ocean meets the earth, Waves keep rolling in to meet you, Just like your emotions keep rolling in to meet you. I hope your ocean is calm, I hope your waves roll in gently, And I hope that when they don’t, You learnt to dance amounts them with naked freedom. Where are you going my friend? I’m going to play, When I hear your voice, it reminds me of the innocent ringing of life.
Walking in the bush of Southport Swimming in the ice-cold Southern Ocean, So close to the artic but we run naked and jump anyway, Aching heads and aching feet, We can’t walk because it’s so cold, and our feet hurt so bad. Lune River Backpackers burnt to the ground, All that stands is the pizza oven and black ash that was once a vibrant place for people to gather, Back to South Port Pub with the local fisherman, The kind & gentle giants they are. Headbanging at the pub of Dover as sweat flies from our forehead, Dancing with the local folk, Drinking beer and shots of Tequila, As we talk about the endless ocean, Love, why to avoid it and why to jump in again. Fresh Oysters, crayfish, fishing, banking, the festival of dreams, South Africa, Tasmania, love and the oozing beauty of humanity as we sit in the kitchen drinking wine and eating fresh Crayfish into the wee hours of the morning. Early morning, the wind howling fiercely as I stand alone in the kitchen, The river flowing with gusto, trees blowing wildly, mountains tipped with snow, A rainbow appears to complete the perfection of that one quite moment. I gasp with awe, It’s like standing in a dream, I feel like the luckiest person on the planet in that moment, Love, peace and serenity, It can’t get better than this. Hastings caves, stalactites and stalagmites We walk through the cave, It’s like a foreign planet, it’s like walking through the inside of a burnt candle, Back to Hobart, bonding time with old friends we sit by the fire talking and laughing, I feel comfortable, loving & complete, a whole lotta life, can’t get better than this. Monday morning, back at my desk, I sit distracted, as I dream with Tasmania Blues.
I’m interested what it means to be an empowering storyteller. This enquiry is still very new for me and so I’m exploring ways to fulfil this purpose that calls to me. I recently completed a program through Small Giants Academy, https://www.smallgiants.com.au, their program called Storytelling for change, https://www.dumbofeather.com/events/storytelling-for-change/. In the last session we had the option to present a story and below is mine. I hope reading this brings you reading pleasure and I hope that the next time you run into your Hagrid, you choose to connect.
I stand outside the bank on Glenferrie Road where I work. This Saturday is my turn, I don’t mind working Saturdays, everyone has a problem working weekends but for me life isn’t fixed, I’m single, always out and about. I have another job at Her Majesty’s Theater, so coming to work on a Saturday morning is just another activity in my life.
We all close up and leave together, this is a bank rule in case someone tries to rob the branch. I stand back leaning against the streetlamp watching everyone, wondering who would be the one to stop the thief? Who would be so stupid as to rob a bank anyway? Once all the alarms are triggered you literally get locked in the branch until armed response arrives, and for what? If I was going to rob a bank it would have be for an insane amount of money, so at least if I got caught, it would make it worthwhile.
Everyone farewells each other as they disappear into their own worlds. I start walking down the road to the corner of Glenferrie and Wattle Tree where I catch the #45 Tram. This will take me directly back to St Kilda Junction, then a short walk home. I can have a lay down before I head out on the town tonight.
I’m feeling a little tired after working my shift at Her Majesties last night, maybe it was the drinks that came after. I shouldn’t have stayed for that last one, but all the actors and actresses joined us, and I didn’t want to miss out. Maybe it’s the course that occupied my last weekend, that was intense but good, I had an epiphany into why I drink so much. It’s all about connecting with people, and my inability to connect whilst sober. It’s easier when I’m drunk. Today I need a little rest, and then I will be right as rain.
I jump on the #45 tram, turned to the right and I see two single chairs facing each other right at the end. That’s perfect, I’m keen to sit and be in my own throughs, and hopeful the chair Infront of me stays empty. I sit down to enjoy the smooth ride. This is one of the new trams that have just come to Melbourne from Germany. I really love the old trams, but on this perfect sunny Melbourne day the modern, smooth ride is most welcome.
The tram speeds down the road, stopping at all stops, various people come on and off, all sorts of shapes and sizes. I’m memorized by the hustle, which is exactly what made me fall in love with Melbourne. It’s a city on the move and at the same time, I love the relaxed nature of Melbournians. They tend to go about their weekends as if they were sitting in the Greek Islands overlooking the ocean drinking cocktails. The people of Melbourne certainly know how to wine and dine. Something I most certainly can relate with.
All of a sudden, a big brute of a man runs past my window. I experience a shift in time as it slows down, the wide strides of the man’s straight legs and the intentional wide swinging of his straight arms as he runs, as if he is jumping from left to right. His long grey curls sway from left to right across his upper back as he runs. What a funny way to run I thought. Maybe he runs like that because he is so big, not fat, certainly not skinny, just a big guy. I laugh to myself, “he looks like Hagrid from the Harry Potter movies”, I mummer. He’s not going to make the tram I thought as I turn my head inside to see if he does. The doors begin to slide closed, the bells ringing, a signal warning that the doors are in fact closing and then …BOOM! Hagrid makes his entrance, jumping between the doors pushing them open with all his strength. He is so big, it really doesn’t take much effort, rather just a little inconvenience from being squashed by the doors before he overpowers them. “Fock me!” he shouts in a broad Scottish accent, “Can’t you see I’m coming?” his voice booms through the tram right down to the driver who pays no attention to what’s unfolding behind him. The tram fills with the overwhelming smell of cigarettes and alcohol as he enters.
I witness as Hagrid’s big arms, legs and hair swings around, his eyes scanning the tram for somewhere to sit. I see discomfort and disapproval wash over each individual like a Mexican wave moving ahead of his direction. As he spins his head, each passengers’ gaze and body posture drops to the floor. I find myself swimming in the same wave, avoiding eye contact, and hoping that he doesn’t sit next to them.
I catch myself staring. I don’t want this loud, stinking, crazy, drunk giant sitting on the seat in front of me, doing whatever crazy, dunk thing he was going to do. I’m certainly not in the mood for a chat. But it was too late, his eyes locked onto mine as he beelined for the vacant seat in front of me.
Shit! He caught me, just don’t speak to him, ignore him even if he speaks to you, turn your whole body to face out the window, he will get the hint and if he doesn’t that’s not my problem. He is the crazy drunk and you don’t owe him anything. You will never see him again so who cares if you disappoint him? You don’t have to be nice to everyone, I hear my mother’s voice echoing the same in my head. She used to tell me that was my “problem”?
Hagrid plonks down in the seat before me letting out a big sigh of relief, “ah!” his feet firmly placed on the tram floor, his back as straight as plank, his big hands on his knees, his head, with its glorious head of curls and big bright eyes looking straight at me, smiling. I don’t budge, I stay slumped in my chair, my legs unavoidably facing his, our knees almost touching, my head down but my eyes tilted slightly up. I’m intrigued by this giant and the smell of cigarettes and booze no longer bother me.
In that moment I choose “yes”, raising my head, I look to Hagrid in the eyes, “someone is seriously on a mission to misbehave today!”, I say with a jolly tone. Hagrid giggles bringing his hand to cover his mouth all bashful like a little old lady having afternoon tea with her friends. “Ai, sorry about that. Once a year me and the lads catch up at the pub, we drink way too much, and smoke way too many cigarettes, I think it help us open up”. “What do you mean open up?” I asked curiously, “it’s the army lads, we meet once a year, swap war stories, honor those who passed, remember those who didn’t make it through the year because they to disturbed, I think the drink just makes it easier for us to connect.”
I can relate to Hagrid; my older brother was conscripted into the South African army back in the day. He was sent to protect South African from invasion in the South West African and Angola war. Their platoon were the signals and their job was to make sure that the troops sent in for combat had communications back to base camp. I also know that although he wasn’t expected to engage in combat, having your base attacked with mortars and gun fire and seeing bodies piled up will take its toll on any person. I hate war and at the same time I have an incredibly deep respect for any soldier. The intense training, discipline and ultimate sacrifices made.
I soften towards Hagrid, “How did a Scotsman end up in the Australian Army?”, “oh, no dear, I was in the Royal Navy, based in Scotland. I didn’t come from much of a family, so when I was a young wee lad, I ran away from home and joined the Navy, got stationed on an aircraft carrier for many years as a chef”. I smiled. “A chef on an aircraft carrier, wow, that’s a lot of mouths to feed on a daily basis?”. I imagine Hagrid behind the grill for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with the lines of Commanders, Captains, piolets, skippers, gunners and so many more. I don’t know much about aircraft carriers except that they are huge, and one visited the Sydney Harbor before. I remember it was a very big deal and they kept going on about the size and facilities aboard, a sustainable city floating out in the ocean for months on end. “Ai, the good thing about being the guy who mange’s the food amongst a lot of hungry soldiers is that they are always hungry. Let’s just say that’s where I learnt to drink Rum.”
I darted up in my chair, hitting Hagrid on the knee lightly with excitement, “Rum, my dad said that in the good old days rum was thick and served warm. So, when I was growing up, he would squeeze fresh orange juice, put a tot of rum in it and then warm the rum and orange juice up in the microwave for 60 seconds. He said it took the edge off and was a beautiful drink for winter, he loved it “. I lean to Hagrid, he could tell that I was going to share a secret and reciprocated by meeting me halfway with our foreheads almost touching, “he would even make one for us, his young children a tot glass.” Hagrid boomed with laughter, his feet leaving the ground, throwing himself back, as he slaps the right side of his right leg with his hand, “your dad sounds like my kind of lad.”, “my dad is everyone’s kinds of lad,” I banter back.
Neither I nor Hagrid return to our pervious postures, we were now engrossed with each other. I hung onto every word that fell out of Hagrid’s mouth, his wisdom, life experience, bravery, his continuous search for a better life from a wee lad to now. He never married, never fell in love, never had children, he traveled to every corner of the world sharing the beauty, laughter, sadness and war, and now he sat before me with all his demons, his Scottish charm, in all his magnificence. I was mesmerized as he spoke waving his arms like a conductor leading an orchestra in melody, swaying his upper body back and forth, left to right, he was truly radiant. I felt like there was only one of him left in the world, I felt humbled and privileged to be in this moment with him.
“Oh no! this is my stop, I have to go, if it wasn’t the lads, I would stay with you until St Kilda Junction.” Hagrid said starting to get up, “and if it wasn’t the lads, who knows I would join you for a day of drinking and smoking,” I giggled. “Ah darling!” he responded laughing, “Have a shot of rum for me with the lads today, would you?” I shouted back just before Hagrid jumped through the doors onto the pavement. I quickly swung my body around to look out the window and get my last gulp. We waved frantically to each other and I blew him a final kiss through the air and witnesses him blow up with joy and a smile. Then he turned and off he went, running, left, right, left, right, with his silver and black curls bopping from side to side along his upper back.
I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. I felt so full and nourished on such a deep level. I knew that Hagrid would stay with me for the rest of my life. I slouched back into my chair, back into reality and notice everyone on the tram staring at me. They all begin to clap; it took me a moment to realize that everyone was applauding the interaction between myself and that nameless man I call Hagrid. “I guess no one was expecting that, were they?” a fellow passenger said. “I guess not”, I replied.
Remember last week I took a moment to stop https://wordpress.com/post/themajesticredshed.wordpress.com/1372
This week, I thought that I would take a moment to give you a photographic glimpse into what followed.
When I created a domain called “The Majestic Red Shed”, I had just become a mother, I stepped back into the finance industry after 7 months of maternity leave, I was then bullied and thought that I was the problem. I felt alone at work and stuck in an industry that I had worked myself so deep into, I believed there was no way out.
I would lie in bed at night unable to sleep, my nervous system pulsating so intensely, it felt like, it was only a matter of time, before my nervous system was going to rip out of my body like from the movie Alien. Logically I knew that wasn’t possible, my logical mind would lie in bed and tell me “you going to have a heart attack or a stroke if you don’t do something”, but what? I was certainly heading in one direction and where that was, I didn’t know, all I knew, was that if I stayed on the path I was on, it wasn’t going to end well.
I’m not a religious person but I do believe in something greater than myself, I refer to it as the universe, the natural flow of energy, it’s the cycle of bees, pollen, seeds, rain, flowers, oxygen, having served purpose and returning back to the earth, that natural flow of life when you surrender. I would lie in bed at night feeling the way I felt, and at the same time reach deep into my heart and trust that everything was going to work out, trust that there was something out there for me, something else I was supposed to be doing, I didn’t know what, where, when or how. My physical experience was so hopeless, but deep inside me I knew this was not my purpose.
There were two things in my life that were certain, 1. I was surrounded by a lot of love, my partner was supportive, my son was, and still is a legend, my friends adored me and believed in me like I could never imagine. 2. I felt like all the numbers from the finance industry had drained me, drained every drop of happiness and desire for exploration out of me, it was like I was a dehydrated body living in the dessert waiting for the vultures to feast, bottom line is, I needed something juicy in my life, something creative. Once again, I had NO idea what this looked like as I was probably the most “uncreative” person I knew.
And so, I started my enquiry, what is creativity? Is it something that you are born with or is it something you can develop over time? Can anyone be creative or is it something that is naturally inside of you and has to come out through an organic road of progression
As I began my enquiry, I imagined myself standing amongst big, ancient trees, outside a wooden shack, light rays filtering from the windows, I imagined what would be filtering through the rays, music notes, paint brushes, canvases, cameras, delicious gourmet meals, sewing machines, books, dancing, yoga, instruments and so much more. I then created a name, “The Majestic Red Shed”, a domain in which to create.
Since starting my journey, I have explored and adventured well beyond my comfort levels. I have come to realise that creativity is what you say it is. Yes, there are those people out there who simply have gob-smacking amazing talents, but they still work to master their art, they still practice and repeat it until something happens for them, and so I’m inspired to keep moving forward even when I give up. I circle straight back to this moment and do something that I deem creative.
Now for the moment to stop and take note. This weekend I’m heading to a conference headed up by an Art Therapist, Carla Van Laar, it’s a Creative Mental Health and Self-Care Forum. I was invited by my beautiful friend Jaana Sahling who is also an incredible Art Therapist. There will be all sorts of people who work in the creative wellness industry and there will be a smorgasbord of knowledge on offer.
I have no idea what I hope to get from this weekend but what I did stop to note, is that I will be submitting my photo of the feather I took, and my poem I created titled, “Who am I” to be exhibited, this alone is a big deal for me. I have an A3 sketch pad, paints, brushes, oil pastels, pencils, all to create with. All I can say, it’s a sigh of relief not to be packing a laptop, but rather a bag of colour. I know it might not sound like much, but it’s so much for me, I feel clear, clear about where I’m going, clear about what I want to do, where I want to do it and how I want to do it, actually I have a very broad spectrum of the “where” and “how” but I believe in the flow of nature, I believe that the more I take action, step up and step into my true self-expression the more I find myself in a situations just like this one, and writing about it, just like this.
I feel very proud of myself and grateful for where I’m at. I wanted to stop and take note of this moment and share it with you.
For me this picture depicts our different transitions in life. The big feather is sharp, sleek, beautiful, detailed, perfectly scuffed from life’s experiences, it started small and fluffy, and as time went by it grew and transformed into its natural beauty and now, I see it in all its magnificence.
In the meantime, new life begins to sprout and grow, the small feather sprouting from the beauty and wisdom of the big feather. It doesn’t mean the bird is coming to its end, it doesn’t mean that life is over, it doesn’t mean it’s time to wind down, unless of course you want to.
For me these two feathers symbolise a transitioning in life, when it’s time to meet yourself with all your accomplishments and all your dreams that did or didn’t manifest for whatever reason, meet yourself in this place, acknowledge yourself, complete what needs to be completed and then from this place powerfully recreate who you want to be in your next phase of life.