Category

transcending

inspiration & influence transcending

Courage to ride the Wheel of Fortune

December 19, 2016

.wheel of fortune

Image via Pexels.com

The Wheel of Fortune

The ‘Wheel of Fortune’ tarot card has been popping up for me for a while now raising questions about courage in the face of uncertainty.

It first arrived in April this year via a personalised reading by the fabulous Marianne aka @twosidestarot and featuring the dynamic Sakki Sakki tarot deck.

At that time, ‘The Wheel of Fortune’ was intersecting closely with the ‘The Moon’ in a broader reading that generally indicated change was afoot. An attitude of surrender and also of ‘throwing my hat into the ring’ was encouraged. As Marianne’s beautifully worded reading explained:

The best way to approach The Wheel is to surrender our attachment to the outcome and take a risk anyway. It is a super bold move, it takes a lot of courage and strength, but I think it’s a good hand to have up your sleeve as you navigate this period.

This initial introduction and the events that have ensued have indeed shown me firsthand that ‘The Wheel of Fortune’ can be a very wild and spontaneous ride, with much of it outside my control. Events have also reinforced that trust, courage, risk-taking and actually learning to enjoy the ride despite the uncertainty are part of the challenge.

Embracing uncertainty

It’s made me think about my own relationship with carnival rides over the years. When I was younger, I wasn’t naturally keen on wild rides like roller-coasters. Over time, I taught myself to enjoy the speed, the excitement and the wind in my hair. As I got older, I became more afraid again and more reticent to take the risk to enjoy the moment. And later in life, that side of me that enjoys a bit of wildness and uncertainty has reappeared.

In one instance, I was the only one in my family wanting to go on a roller coaster ride. I consequently found myself sitting with a ride-savvy nine year old who had great pleasure in hinting about the approaching terrors. It was great to feel the acceleration and speed of the turns and again embrace uncertainty.

Playing a role in change

Just as I have had a changing relationship with rides over the years, so our own relationship with change can be a factor. ‘The Wheel of Fortune’ card has continued to arrive reminding me about the big picture and the need to ‘expect the unexpected’. Most recently, it appeared via Dame Darcy’s Mermaid tarot, this time with the image of the Wheel of Fortune as a ship’s wheel:

wheel of fortune 4

As Wikipedia tells us:

A ship’s wheel or boat’s wheel is a device used aboard a water vessel to change that vessel’s course.

I like the imagery of this card suggesting that while life changes around us, we can play a role in changing course and influencing outcomes by taking risks, perhaps also with a little research and navigating.

For me, this latest journey is about shifting more into the realm of inner life and spirit. So whilst I can play an active role to some extent, some of this landscape is unfamiliar and the horizon is uncertain. I can see that the journey is ultimately about self-transformation, spiritual growth and expansiveness. Looking for opportunities for learning and growth as I traverse this time is critical.

As Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom reminds me:

The Wheel spins our fate. We can ride it – or gamble with it. Life is a game of chance and the Big Wheel symbolises the joy of playing the game.

It’s important to look beyond the current situation to see the broader map, the tides, the whole pattern and my reaction within that context.

‘Courage is not just the absence of fear’

This has also made me think about courage at this time. As Colette Baron-Reid wisely explains with reference to her oracle card ‘Sacred Pool’ in The Enchanted Map deck (in the protection position):

Remember that you have a responsibility not just to yourself but to the Divine spark within you. Courage is not just the absence of fear. Accept the discomfort of seeing with clear eyes and you’ll soon find that wondrous adventures are awaiting for you. Step into your magical life. Take the leap of faith.

Those words – ‘discomfort’ and ‘leap of faith’ echo the sentiment that it’s not always to effect change especially in unfamiliar terrain. Sometimes you have to sacrifice certainty for progress, feeling secure for being challenged and being comfortable for seeing things from a new and deeper perspective.

Around that same time, Lisa McLoughlin’s Plant Ally card ‘Courage’ also made an appearance asking very directly:

What brave steps can you take to move forward?

courage

Trusting intuition

Ironically, I think the bravest steps are actually the vaguest: trusting my intuition and embracing it.

I am an INTJ Myers-Briggs personality type so introverted intuition is my dominant gift. Whilst it’s an orientation that is naturally strong, I need to value and activate it more in my life now as a guiding light. Courage is indeed a step beyond just not being afraid. It’s about actively taking on this uncertain journey where the word ‘spirit’ is making an ever increasing appearance.

It’s about embracing these intuitive powers as a gift rather than something I secretly rely on and don’t really understand. It is about learning about this power, communicating it and using it to connect with others, with spirit and with my calling which is finding its way forward.

So the courage to ride ‘The Wheel of Fortune’ and navigate its surprises is essentially within, spirited by deep connection and collective identity:

But enlightenment is a deeply personal experience. It cannot be studied or even pondered but only lived. The series of outer lessons culminate in the Wheel of Fortune which shows us a vision of the world and ourselves which must be answered.

Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom, Rachel Pollack (p71)

So I’m bravely stepping into uncertainty, going on that ride, turning that wheel and surveying the landscape. Must say, despite the strangeness, it’s riveting and I hope to share more of this with you as I venture forth into this new terrain.

I’d love to hear from you: Where in your life are you riding on The Wheel of Fortune and finding the courage to leap?

wheel of fortune

Thought pieces

Uncharted – by Colette Baron-Reid is my current read. It’s an excellent guide for navigating the uncharted waters of intuition and spirit.

Two Sides Tarot has Daily Weather reports on Instagram, essential reading for me every morning. It’s great to be learning about tarot each day as well as checking the weather for the day. Marianne’s tarot readings are beautifully written and insightful. Plus there are tarot decks for sale with free postage for those in Australia.

Let’s support those living and writing intuitively!

love, loss & longing transcending

This past week, this year

December 23, 2014

IMG_0869This past week was long and difficult. Monday last week started as it usually does – off to work, getting organised for the week and at this time, getting ready for Christmas celebrations and a final busy week before winding down for the festive season.

About 10am on that Monday, everything changed with the news of the siege close by in the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place. Like many other Sydney workers, I found myself in lockdown, then being evacuated, then unable to return to the workplace.

And emotionally connected to the unfolding events.

The overwhelming feelings were of horror for the hostages and intense terror for their helplessness and fate. Like much of the country, I watched for hours into the night, breath held in a surreal landscape of fear of what might happen.

The early hours brought the news of the tragic outcome.

In the following days, the mood has been sombre, a different atmosphere on the train into the city, a sense of collective sadness. The flowers cascading their way down Martin Place reflecting this.

Many of us, it seems, have in our individual ways reflected, been touched, reassessed much.

For me, the return to my office and buying my morning coffee filled me with sudden and overwhelming emotion. The ordinary every day action of so many Sydney-siders suddenly poignant in the aftermath.

The sense of vulnerability, that it could have been me or so many people close to me. The harsh reality of its randomness.

The collective response has been heartening though sad: the growing sea of flowers reflecting the grief of so many individuals pieced together; the emerging sweet fragrance in the air; the multi-faith ceremonies and statements of support and the solidarity across religious boundaries that re-emphasise that we are all one community; the wave of support for Muslim women and others possibly affected by intolerance arising from this event.

IMG_0856I have engaged with Susannah Conway’s December Reflections, 2014 this month. It has been a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the year and as always with Susannah’s initiatives, a chance to reignite our own creativity and look around us with new eyes.

At the end of the week, the day 20 prompt in December Reflections was “this year was…”. I have to say this year has been intense for many reasons. But as the events of recent days have reminded me, there is much to be thankful for: supportive and loving family, friends, work colleagues; having a beautiful city in which to live and work; summer arriving; creativity always; books to read; maybe books to write; and the power of collective feeling..

This year and these past days have reminded me of what is of value.

IMG_0860

 

 

 

inspiration & influence transcending

Choiceless as a beach – a photo essay

November 9, 2014

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh – Gift from the Sea

It’s been the usual busy, a constant onslaught of work and travel and the ongoing struggle to create. The occasional day off work in the working week comes. A day to myself. A day to wander, to have coffee, to read, to walk the streets of my village, to scramble on the rocks, to stand in rock-pools, to look out at the water, to wade into the gentle waves lapping, to sit under a tree in the shade reading and watching others walk by and the boats, with the flutter of the intense sun on the water, the horizon out- stretched.

And to take photos, to snap the images of all this, the piece that can capture the release and the beauty of the place and the day and its utter choicelessness. No decisions, no pressure, no impatience. Just observing, seeing, watching what the walk, the day, the sea brings in its waves of moments and tides.

 IMG_96601 rock beach

4 feet in the water

5 feet in water & shells

 

7 shell 1

8 shell 2

9 shell 3

10 waves on the shore

11 sea treasures

12 reading on the beach

13 water bird on the shore

14 view backwards

inspiration & influence transcending

Reminders to shine

February 23, 2014

Waterford Crystal, IrelandThis week a number of reminders to shine.

Firstly a lovely, lovely post How to Shine Your Light, Even When You Don’t Feel Whole from @tinybuddha read on the morning train to work one day, the final words:

Perhaps there will be times that you feel less than whole, but when those moments come, encourage yourself to remember a time when you made the world a more positive place. Regardless of where you are on your path, that moment mattered.

And on that same train trip, I read an instagram post from @talepeddlerjo Australian author, Josephine Pennicott, with some beautiful words from ‘When I am among the trees’, by Mary Oliver:

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

A reminder to be restful, grounded and to shine.

And finally, that same day, after a busy day, travelling the last leg by car through trees, the words from ‘Yellow’ that often come back to me and connect me to my brother:

Look at the stars, look how they shine for you and everything you do

So many reminders to shine, all in one day.

IMG_6391

poetry transcending

Remembering Sylvia Plath

February 11, 2014

Sylvia Plath's grave at sunset, Heptonstall, West YorkshireI visited Sylvia Plath’s resting place at Heptonstall in May last year. Coming from the other side of the world, I had somehow ended up in Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire without any forward planning to be able to honour the poet whose work had impacted me so much over the years.

We had dinner at the Stubbing Wharf Hotel – a place where Sylvia had also had dinner I later discovered. Then we ventured up the steep hill at twilight to Heptonstall.

It was quiet and still, the sun was setting, daffodils bright against the grey light and headstones. There was just my partner and me there in the cool air. It was so peaceful and I was able to silently honour Sylvia’s memory with thanks for all that her writing has meant to me.

On this anniversary of her death, I remember that quiet evening in Heptonstall and reflect on Sylvia Plath’s poetry and its value to me. These words of Sylvia’s run through my head:

Surely the great use of poetry is its pleasure– not its influence as religious or political propaganda. Certain poems and lines of poetry seem as solid and miraculous to me as church altars or the coronation of queens must seem to people who revere quite different images. I am not worried that poems reach relatively few people. As it is, they go surprisingly far–among strangers, around the world, even. Farther than the words of a classroom teacher or the prescriptions of a doctor; if they are very lucky, farther than a lifetime.”

Sylvia Plath, from her essay “Context”, The London Magazine, February 1962

blogging transcending

Keeping transcending

December 3, 2013

Keeping transcending Yes it’s been quiet here…nearly three months to be precise but who’s counting.

I’ve missed it here, creating these pieces of me to put out into the world. It’s been hard to get back to it, a combination as always of work pressures, plus more travel time. I am working further from home and in a new, exciting and intense job role that has required my highest attention and priority.

And then there’s ‘Transcending’ itself, as the blog, as the practice it talks about: ‘strategies for rising above, cutting through and connecting…’ In the strangest of ways, the practice of writing the blog itself enacts this, how I have to keep coming back and revitalising it.

Many times I have nearly stopped writing here altogether especially after a break such as this. I’ve nearly given up on it so many times.

But it’s important to keep going, to keep transcending and to think about what I have achieved, why I do it and write here, the reasons for it, who has helped me and been on the journey with me and what I hope for ‘Transcending’ into the future.

So what have I achieved?

I started this blog in May 2010 and in between busy job roles, I’ve kept writing and creating its content, even if there have been gaps at times. The wonderful ‘Blog in Review’ report for my blog for 2012 sent from WordPress is insightful. I have revisited it now to help me see what I have achieved and what else I can do to keep the momentum and to do it better and more often.

The report told me there were 2400 views in 2012 alone. That might not seem many to some with bigger audiences but to me, it is staggering. I have now created an archive or body of work of 88 posts since May 2010. That’s probably about a post every three weeks. I could be more regular in my work here and write shorter posts more often, but in the circumstances of my life and full-time work role, I’m claiming it as an achievement.

My busiest day so far yielded some 197 views of a single post and I am proud of this and grateful – it was thanks to mentions posted by friends in the blogosphere and especially Tammy at RowdyKittens and a flow on from her extensive readership. It reminds me of the continuing need to visit others and spread the pleasure of their work as well, repaying the kindness. And to be thankful.

My top posts of all time are:

Poetry: into the light

Working your introvert

The value of howling into the wind

Poetry: Optical Illusions

About stillness

My 2012 ‘Blog in Review’ report tells me:

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2012. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.

This is good advice that I need to heed. Especially the posts on poetry, one of the major loves of my life, seem to have resonance, so this is something I can work on in moving forward. This can move both loves forward: poetry writing and blogging.

One of the main search terms that found my blog was: “theme +passion to create”. I am thrilled that I came up as a reference point under “passion to create”.

I am grateful for my blogging buddies, my referring sites, my new and enduring friends developed through Susannah Conway’s ‘Blogging from the Heart” and “Unravelling” e-courses as well as the Australian women writers and blogging communities I connect with. I am especially grateful to:

Victoria at The Mojo Lab who continues to inspire and support

Liv at When Ideas Fail for all our connections and her beautiful reflections

Tammy at Rowdy Kittens who gave me the first thrill of a flood of readers and a taste of what could be

Ellen at Choose Your Own Journey for connecting on choice and authentic journeys

Evan at Living Authentically for being such a faithful reader and commenter especially in the quiet times and for all those readers who have stayed the distance quietly

Sage at The Path of Possibility, my poetry teacher and muse who encourages me here still and to whose writing I return regularly for poetic encouragement and structure

Susannah Conway – for her blog, books, inspiration and fabulous e-courses which have kept me renewed and alive and connected with kindred souls across the world…and for being the best role model for enduring creativity ever: “using creativity to set us free”, being one of her core mantras.

I am also really grateful to all the recent people who have subscribed to my blog in the midst of its current silence – you have come from all different places especially my current Unravelling team – and I am honoured. It’s been a real spur for me to return. Thank you for your faith in me to write again.

So it seems this blog is as much about practising transcending as it is anything else. My spiritual name given to me by my yoga teacher is turiyamani – ‘transcendental jewel’ and that is very much what all this is about, finding a way to keep it happening, here and elsewhere as creatively and positively as possible. And in that, to shine.

There’s a sense of keeping on, resilience in writing here so I am going to keep transcending and not give up. I thank you for sharing the journey and hope you will stay and keep transcending also in whatever is your journey and passion, keeping the faith and the practice of what you love.

blogging transcending

Thought pieces #1

June 23, 2013

IMGP5388

‘Transcend’

Verb:

to rise above or extend notably beyond normal limits

to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of: OVERCOME

Middle English, from Latin transcendere to climb across

from www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/transcend

That’s what this blog is about and it seems one of the biggest applications of this has been trying to overcome the challenges of writing the blog itself. In the context of a busy work and life schedule, to be able to carve the time and headspace for reflecting and writing here.

If that is all the blog does: document the attempts to carve this unique space then perhaps it has served a useful purpose.

One of the pressures I unwittingly place on myself is the sense of having to write full-blown pieces, fully researched and documented, edited carefully and dense in texture.

I am an INTJ, a Virgo and an Ox – so no surprises there that this should be my natural inclination with such perfectionist tendencies, shoulder to the plough approach and an introverted analytical approach to life.

Yet some of the blog posts I love are more elegant and less dense but have more impact because of this: a photograph or series of photographs and none or few words; a quote with a perfect visual image like Liv White’s wonderful Sunday Reflections; or perhaps a poem or a sequence of more random thoughts like this leading to a new direction (or not).

It’s time for some release of intensity here. I’m currently doing Susannah Conway’s ‘Journal your life‘ e-course and that may be a subtle influence in this direction towards the more natural and spontaneous.

I’m calling this post ‘Thought pieces #1’ – always scary as you don’t always know what is next with #2 and beyond, but here’s to randomness, elegance, spontaneity and more simple flow here to find a stronger and more frequently heard voice between the spaces of an otherwise busy life.

transcending

Getting through

January 6, 2013

photo(7)

When I walk with my little old Maltese dog, the southerly wind is often blowing and she trots along very strongly into the wind, enjoying her walk, ears pinned back and getting through.

The end of 2012 has felt something like that for me. It’s been very quiet here on the blog for a while; no posting, no writing. It was very busy at work and elsewhere at the end of last year and hard to get space and time to think and write. The introvert in me finds it challenging to get time and space to recharge between all the events and busyness.

And it’s a difficult time of the year. My brother died tragically 5 years ago now at the end of November. Since that time it’s generally been a time of getting through in many ways, but it’s always hard in the lead up to Christmas as we seem to quietly relive aspects of those terrible days for much of November and December. It was also my brother’s birthday in December as well so you think of what could have been.

Christmas has never been the same and there always seems to be a sharp contrast between happiness, family and appreciation, and sadness, loss, and the gaps left by those we loved and love still, but who have left us. There’s a sense of pieces missing and a constant tinge of sadness. I suppose it is like that for many. There have been moments of just losing it in between it all, the familiar waves of grief coming back again but it’s always quietly, when on my own and no one is looking as it has mostly always been.

So it’s been a matter of getting through, ears pinned back through the busyness and events. Sometimes I am aware that I deliberately keep myself busy. There are times I enjoy, especially the precious time with my family and the end of year appreciation and camaraderie with work colleagues, but I am always glad when the busy times are over and I can look forward to the start of another year. I love relaxing after Christmas and into the new year with time and space to read and reflect, watch the cricket, go to the beach, take some walks and generally wind down.

I’m also taking solace in the words from a little book, ‘Be Happy: 170 ways to transform your day‘ by Australian author Patrick Lindsay. A gift from a dear friend at Christmas, it’s a gorgeous book with simple reflections and quotes “to inspire you to find the best in yourself and the world around you”. My eyes went straight to:

Be happy…

Put the past behind you

You can’t change it,

so don’t wear it like a chain.

Understand it.

Learn from it.

Turn the experience into a positive.

Use it to look ahead.

This has become my purpose, my raison d’etre and is why this blog is called ‘Transcending’. Sometimes though this may be as simple as just getting through a day, a week, a month, a year. I try not to beat myself up too much when I need some time just to reflect and remember, to just pin my ears back and get through and when I cannot write or blog as much as I might like to.

But it is good to be reminded also to look ahead and not get caught up in the past especially what cannot be changed.

I’m looking forward now to what 2013 will bring. It’s something of a tabula rasa at this time, a wide open space on which to inscribe and I’m starting to plan and prepare for what it might bring. I look forward to travelling with you this year into what our mutual journeys might uncover and contribute. I hope your year is full of positives and light.

calmness for a new year

transcending

Back to a new everyday

November 14, 2012

I’m well and truly back now into my usual life, work role and home and it’s so busy, as usual!

When I was away, everything was new: new job role, new people in my life at work, new place to live, new places to enjoy, new restaurants, new wines, new towns. It was all new, new, new and there was so much to photograph, to write about, to reflect on plus time by myself to do it.

Now I am back to long work days, my familiar work-team, my home which I love and back to being closer to my family and my little old dog.

Like all experiences that take you away and bring you back, you do not return unchanged. I worked in a higher level position that gave me more experience and confidence in my ability; I often yearn for time alone and enjoyed it but I found that it is very much about what I choose to do with my time that makes the difference; I am loving where I live more for having been away; and I am valuing those around me more, having missed them and re-appreciated what they give me and what we share.

It’s also not without its challenges though coming back: it’s full on, long work hours, some challenging roles and tasks, more travel each day which now feels longer and not as much time as I would like to enjoy where I live.

A conversation last week with a family member last week was a little tense; it was about their new life choices and ended up also somehow being about ours. In the wash-up of the conversation, I found myself saying, ‘I love the work that I do, I love where I live’. And it is true, I do love my work and I love where I live and these two things make up a critical part of my life. In coming back, in all its busyness, it’s been a time of quietly reappraising both.

Especially in relation to my work role and the satisfaction that I gain from it, some thoughts from Susan Cain’s ‘Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking‘ has been of immense value in settling back meaningfully into all this busyness.

The first thought is about finding your “sweet spots”:

Once you understand introversion and extraversion as preferences for certain levels of stimulation, you can begin consciously trying to situate yourself in environments favourable to your own personality – neither overstimulating nor underestimating, neither boring nor anxiety-making. You can organise your life in terms of what personality psychologists call “optimal levels of arousal” and what I call “sweet spots,” and by doing so feel more energetic and alive than before. (p124-5)

It’s about being optimally stimulated, aware of this and setting up your work, interests and social aspects so that you are in the sweet spot. I love this thought of crafting your life with some awareness to make the most of moments and modulate the inputs. It also makes me appreciate the value of my working life as an integral part of what stimulates me: the strategy, the creativity, the innovation and the writing it entails every day; they are all activities I love and value highly.

Related to this and especially to the concept of introverts who love their work is the concept of flow:

…an optimal state in which you feel totally engaged in an activity….The key to flow is to pursue an activity for its own sake, not for the rewards it brings. (p172)

Introverts especially are encouraged to find their flow by using their gifts such as persistence, tenacity and clear-sightedness and to value their talents. It’s as if we are encouraged to lose ourselves in the flow of our own applied talents, rather than to be so busy in comparing ourselves to others or to see this as work per se. I am finding this a valuable thought as it is so easy to underplay one’s own style and strength in a busy environment:

So stay true to your own nature. (p173)

It’s a useful thought as I come back to craft a new everyday.

What are you doing to create a new everyday? I’d love to hear!

family history transcending

The journey back

October 7, 2012

To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.

Chinese proverb

It was a day when I felt a bit lost. For a number of reasons, I was drifting, moving between, floating, without roots, between one place and another, one state and another.

As a result, I ended up with one precious commodity – time – something that seems so scarce: some wide open, spaced and sacred time to fill. Though not in the best frame of mind, I set out to fill it in a meaningful and productive way. I was driving, heading west into the sunshine and mountains, music sustaining me and opening me up as it always does; Tom Petty singing:

It don’t really matter to me baby,
You believe what you want to believe,
You don’t have to live like a refugee.

And then Echo and the Bunnymen pumping out:

If I said I’d lost my way
Would you sympathise
Could you sympathise?
I’m jumbled up
Maybe I’m losing my touch
I’m jumbled up
Maybe I’m losing my touch
But you know I didn’t have it anyway

Won’t you come on down to my
Won’t you come on down to my rescue

Then Matchbox 20:

Baby, baby, baby
When all your love is gone
Who will save me
From all I’m up against out in this world

It was that sort of day, the music and lyrics exactly corresponding with my somewhat disconnected state; the sunshine somehow leading me along.

It felt like a day for investigation, with the gift of time to try to find an answer to a puzzle about one of my ancestors; it’s a branch of the family I am particularly drawn to, as if working to understand their story might help me with my own. They lived and worked and in some cases, died, in the country I was driving through so I took a detour to try to find them. I found the old graveyard I was looking for, hidden behind a high hedge,  so many souls buried in the sunshine, the stones standing still and quiet as if patiently waiting for my attention.

I wandered through the rows of washed out stones. There were so many of them I couldn’t read; they were covered with moss or lichen or the words had vanished, weathered and erased away, the story lost. I felt for the lost words with my fingers, trying to trace the story and bring it back. But sometimes there was simply nothing left except a rock, blank and weathered. And sometimes there was less, just a grass space, unmarked between other stones.

I found some connected relatives including my third great grand aunt, Ann Sweet nee Honeysett, who came out in 1839 on the same ship as her sister, my great, great, great grandmother, Jane Colbran nee Honeysett. I have chased their story to Herstmonceux in East Sussex from where they departed to Richmond in NSW where they ended up, carving a new existence in a new place. The enormity of their journey and the extent of the ties they severed never fails to amaze me.

I know much of Ann’s story, her leaving, her arriving, her new family, its background, her children, the sad events, the new beginnings. I know it better than my own great, great great grandmother’s story which still has huge gaps despite my searching. It was good to find Ann’s resting place, other members of the family close by, a part of the mystery I am trying to understand.

Whether it was the sunshine that bathed my pores as I walked around scouring the old stones, or the act of connecting with these souls and their history, I found myself strangely grounded, blossoming in the linkage, surrounded by the ones I seek but cannot exactly find the truth about. An invisible thread linking us, a few degrees of separation joined and resulting in a stitching of myself.

Australian actor, Vince Colosimo, in a recent ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ episode, talked of a sense of finding his team as he searches for his family background. I know this feeling. As I have lost people in my immediate family, the desire to know more about my broader family history and the qualities and experiences of my  ancestors has strengthened as I search to know the roots of my own journey. A sense of teamwork in getting me through much suffering has been part of this, as if they are somehow helping me along.

So less of a refugee, less in need of rescue, less in need of bright lights and touched by the sun, I climbed back into the car re-energised and continued on my drive with the sound of bell-birds, the lean of curves and the guidance of trees taking me back to my temporary home. It’s as if the act of remembering, the conscious act of seeking my ancestors, my silent team of supporters, cast something of a connecting spell on the present time and I was carried up and forward once again.