My cousin and her richly beautiful short life….



You know what? I’m thankful for all the feist she rained down on me all those years. Her vibrant red hair almost demanded she set the world on fire and my blessing is that I was part of that fiery furnace of love. It may not have always felt like love, she could unleash forces i’m still making friends with, but my oh my she brought joy with her quick mind and poised lips. And her hands, when I think of her, I think of her freckly soft hands. So neat and together looking and competent, just like she was. And I miss them. I miss the beauty they made on this earth, I miss the love they infused into all they touched, and I miss their kindness and the snail mail they sent. Only a human that has known the richness of life could touch with such loving grace. And she knew the richness.  

In my dreams I am waiting to go in for a facial, I am almost desperate to know her heart and feel her touch just one more time. I’m ready to be renewed by their coolness and healing. I’m waiting. I didn’t ever go for the steam and creams, I went to be held, and to let go and to discover my own beauty. You only come to know such things in the hands of a heart that can alchemise even the darkest of shadows. She was a master alchemist. It may seem strange but I have not had a facial since.  Part of me knows there is no one on the planet with her exact heart and mostly, I’m petrified i’ll forget what her touch felt like. So for now I’m content to remember her warmth while I ever so tenderly hold my memories of her precious. I’m not ready to risk letting them go. Those precious moments are a salve for my being until I fall into something greater. 

Suicide for me is a dark word. It’s hard to type, I wish I couldn’t even spell it. It’s so neat and short and contained and does nothing to express the tyranny of anger and bone shaving grief it has birthed in my life. And somehow at the same time I refuse to go to war with it. It rips me open again and again, my bones bare and melting and naked. It’s messy and shocking and hard to make friends with and for the seven little letters it contains its ripped and broken my heart like no other word on the earth.  It’s wild and out of control. And maybe that is how people feel when they complete suicide? Maybe people who end their own lives feel so wild and afraid and out of control they somehow feel like suicide seems like a safer option? I don’t know. I don’t have the answers.  And for all the times I’ve wished that I could have done something more or less or different, what I have learnt this last year is that it’s a wild and crazy life and that despite my broken heart i’m still here showing up.  I’ve also learnt that no matter how much I love or wrap my heart around another, in the end maybe I can only ever save my own sorry ass. 

I get into conversations with myself a lot, sometimes I tell myself she packed so much god damn beauty into this world in 35 short years that she lived 50 lifetimes in one. And I tell myself it is entirely selfish of me to want her here to listen to my stories, to share more tea and mangos and avocado on toast. But sometimes I do wish she was here to unleash her trademark feist on me just one more time and tell me how it is. I really don’t mind what ‘it’ is, I don’t mind how wild or funny or randomly true it is, I just want her, going off like a frog in a sock, telling me the truth according to the way she sees the world. I get scared I’ll forget the little things, like those rare occasions her lips hadn’t caught up with her brain and they did an ‘official lip wag’ just before they spoke. And the way her nose wrinkled when her eyes were shut and she was snorting cause we were laughing so hard it hurt. Often at highly inappropriate things. And that filthy look she would give me when she finally opened them and had decided that was enough ‘out of control’ and it was time I stop the ‘carry on’ and get our shit together. She was a master of ‘that look’ that conveyed ‘I totally should listen and follow through’ cause no one knew, especially her,  what the force might unleash if I pushed, another, second, more. And I miss the silence. Those terrifyingly loud silences that her wrath or her love could inflict on me or any unsuspecting soul in less than a heartbeat.  Those silences, that over time, I learnt to trust, because she was just like the moon. Her beauty and power intoxicated even the ocean and her forces were equal in courage and presence. Her waves could be gentle, caressing, life-giving or relentless and deeply polishing. And each month she was new again, sometimes many times over. She grew big and bold and shrank small and vanished. Then she had the courage to show up and do it all again. And this courage is what I miss most. 

I forget she is not here sometimes. America is so far away that at first it conveniently allowed me to begin conversations with her in my mind, silly little conversations about anything really, even confessions when I put a towel in with my ‘clothes load’ in the washing machine, I would forget she was gone.  I am sad that the frequency of these conversations are slowing. At first after she died, most days I would forget she had gone and it would break my heart open anew when I would remember. And guilt, what could I even say about guilt other than in the end you have to open the door and sit down together, and eventually make friends. It’s rare now that I begin a day forgetting she is gone, the reality of her absence is so much more real 12 months on, mostly because the hole in my heart makes it presence known before I slip into ignorant bliss. 

Those first few months I was sure that hole would swallow me. Its darkness was complete and I struggled to even see my children. I had no choice. I was petrified. I was scared for all the times in my past I didn’t know how to go on and even more afraid the darkness might eat me alive as well. I saw her over and over in my mind, alone in her final moments. It haunted me. My grief was like crazy weather, unpredictable, scary and completely out of my control. Over time I began to learn my only protection was to dress appropriately and remember my umbrella and even well prepared, there were no guarantees of staying dry. And that’s the truth. None of us escape the reality that death and loss bring. 

 I’m not sure exactly when, but  at some point I began wondering if maybe that black hole in my heart was the same black hole she had in hers? And it became very clear that I was the only one of us left sitting here. And then I wondered if maybe that meant I was the one that needed to make friends with this abyss of all consuming darkness?  Because it wasn’t going anywhere fast. You see, I knew the depths of her darkness, because I knew the depths of mine, and our hearts had sat and thrashed together through all kinds of weather. I’ll never understand the forces that bound our hearts together yet I feel so grateful they did.  We used to call each other ‘the friend I knew before I knew’, because, when you are friends with someone before your earliest memories begin, you share a language that’s rare in this world. It’s a language that says I know you to your core because we learnt human together and I taught you how to use scissors and you taught me to love and let go. 

It wasn’t an easy ride for her. From the outside it looked like she had it all together.  And that’s the bit I think most of the world didn’t know. They saw her luminous shiny eyes, her radiant beauty, mischievous fun, her walk, the charisma that puddled on the floor wherever she stood. And they didn’t realise it was hard earnt. That while she made it look effortless, it really wasn’t. From the moment she opened her eyes till the moment she fell asleep she was growing herself and perfecting her ways. Yes, she was born beautiful, but the kind of beauty she spread around this earth, that breed of beauty, it came at a cost. It was a price few could pay and in the end she paid all she had to give it to the world. Maybe we all thought she was immune to the darkness, that she had found a unique way to navigate this beautiful messy life while overflowing with fun and grace and wisdom. Her mastery was effortless. Or maybe that’s the way i saw her. Maybe I forgot she had gifts that only came through countless dark hours alone questioning the world and being polished. And I forgot that she polished herself over and over and over again. And that dedication and unrelenting effort made her a master craftswoman. And this is why she shone. And i’m guessing it also made her tired, which might be why she left so soon? 

I wish there was one great lesson that I could harvest from this mess, but there are only countless small ones. And right now as I sit here in the middle of the night, almost a year on, I’m willing to bring a new kind of loving to the world.  I’m asking myself to ease up on all the polishing I do to myself and others. I’m asking myself to put the sandpaper down, to let go and trust life has its own ways of polishing me without needing to turn in on myself. 

A year and a half ago i began the Lifeline crisis training. At the time i was not really sure why i signed up, navigating suicide and the mess of life was never something i was comfortable with. I certainly wasn’t the type of person who would call lifeline. I was more the type that suffered alone, in the dark. When she died i realised i was wasn’t so different and my life could have ended the same. Her death came one week before my last Assessment. Completing that Assessment is one of the hardest things i have ever done. I almost didnt show up. And my first shift live on the phones made me sick, for days, before it came. Im still not sure how i managed to show up? Its been a year of the messiest richness and at the same time, most potent beauty i have  ever known. I may not yet be the kind of person that is brave enough to call Lifeline. However, i do intend to embodying the kind of vulnerability and courage required for such heroic acts. Cause for the most part, in this great big ocean of life, its the ones that wave their hands in the air, vulnerable and flailing, that the lifeguards come to save.

Even now it’s never easy to go in to lifeline, to begin with i was petrified i wouldn’t be able to help ‘that caller’ save their own life. But all the listening i have done to other people’s pain has reminded me of a lot. I’ve made peace with the truth that i couldn’t help her save herself. Every shift i think of her and dedicate my service and any peace i have to the world and all who are suffering. And while deep inside of me there is an abyss of darkness so fathomless it doesn’t have a bottom, that abyss and i are on talking terms, we don’t turn from each other any more, and all the holes it has poked in me seem to be the broken bits my light is leaking from. And if that serves the world, i am willing to be flailing, vulnerable and a shining mess for the rest of this short life. And that is where i will go on the anniversary of her passing, I will haul my petrified butt into that call centre with the hope that i can listen and love and shine a light for who ever appears on the end of the phone line. And that my love, somehow, finds a way into her heart, where ever she is in this miraculous and rich world. 

Stay brave people, the world needs your light…. and maybe we are not so different you and I? 

Please take care xoxo

Judge me…..

Judge me, please. Go ahead. By all means rest into your righteous position of all I’m doing wrong. Cause God knows I do wrong every single day. And truthfully, I mess up more times than I could ever count. And that righteous place where it’s easy to see all my shortfalls, I’ve rested into that exact place of judgement many times over. From there it’s so excruciatingly clear the choices being made by (insert anyone), are the most selfish, self centered, irresponsible, ignorant, idiotic or careless choices in the known universe. I’ve sat in that place where it’s impossible to understand, let alone imagine…. how even the most simple human couldn’t GET IT ( insert whatever IT is)!!!   “Surely before long common sense must prevail?!”

….Yet, it doesn’t!
You see, for all that I’m aware of, there are countless other things I don’t know. Countless things that really matter that I completely miss. And I miss them on a daily basis. And you know what else, I’m doing my best. I keep showing up. It’s often messy, it might even be a surprise to you but I often fail to live up to my own expectations too. I lose my patience with my children, those little beings I love beyond comprehension, who are some of the greatest teachers I’ve ever had. I dodge vulnerability with my husband, that kind, wise generous man who shows up unendingly in my life. The man out of every single man on the planet I’ve chosen to bare my beautiful, bruised and often broken heart to while we do our best to serve the world together.
You see, the whole truth is that I get it wrong, again and again and again. Ignorance is certainly not a one off thing in my life. 
But, my secret is not that I get it wrong. We all do that. My secret is that regardless of my mistakes and frailties, I keep showing up. Naked, foolish, often messy, yet willing. And that’s the entire secret of my life. I KEEP SHOWING UP. When I’m dragging myself over hot coals for all I’m not, I take a breath and remember kindness. I remind my self I have a lifetime, maybe many,  to perfect this compassion gig. When I want to hide from the world and run away to some mystical place where life is easy, I choose patience with myself.  I have to do this in a ‘one foot in front of the other’ kind of way, I often stumble, but I keep showing up. I gently tell myself this kindness tree I’m growing needs its roots to be deep into my own heart so I can share its shade with all beings. I use the judgements that arise in my mind, (and for the most part they are of myself), as a practice ground to gently usher myself back to the truth of things. And if judgements of others arise, (I realise this is almost a life or death matter), as soon as I can, I create a safe space for myself to be alone, to sit silently with that person in my mind, to listen deeply to where I hurt the most and to hold myself precious, for as long as I need to. Next, I imagine that person, and because I’ve been able to listen deeply to what I’m most scared of, somehow I find a way to listen deeply to what I imagine they are most scared of.  And finally, when enough time has passed and it becomes alive, i soften and yield in the places in my tummy that Ive been holding tight. And I forgive us. Me and them. Cause I know my best looks different everyday, and undoubtedly theirs does too. 
My challenge is that a long time ago, somewhere in my being, I planted a seed that at times still believes being right, means being safe or lovable or worthy. So when I’m tired or stretched or a bit more sensitive than usual I can grab for that old righteous armour and ‘try on’ being right.  The sad part is that while it seems like it protects me from the hurt and sadness, it actually holds out the loving kindness and joy too. 
So in roughly 3 weeks time I am going to board a plane, alone, to go to the USA to spend a few weeks in retreat and studying with my teacher. Maybe this is because I’m irresponsible, lacking foresight, self centered? It’s possible. At times I’m absolutely all these things. 
And yes a part of me does feel like I am abandoning my family. To be honest it would be a lot easier to stay home and hide in the rhythms of this busy life. But as I’ve confessed,  my secret is showing up. Showing up is the default switch I was somehow born with and that’s entirely what I plan to do. I plan to hire that car and drive myself to the Buddhist centre in Santa Cruz. I’m going to walk 10 minutes into the woods to sleep in that yurt surrounded by mountain lions. I’m going to leave my precious family here, alone, even though they might die of who knows what and leave me with more mother guilt than I could ever digest in 100 lifetimes, and I’m going to sit and listen to my teacher. I’m going to meditate. I’m going reflect on how to be kind, graceful, humble, forgiving. I’m going to sit in silence for one of those weeks and make friends with what ever arises. And at the end of that I’m going to spend a few days with my dear cousins husband. That precious man, who almost a year ago lost his wife to suicide. Not cause it will be easy, simply because loving all of this messy beautiful life is my only option. 
So for the record, It is my whole hearted intention to keep dedicating my life to something bigger than I understand. To let unprecedented joy and ease in so I can spread more kindness and abundance than I know is possible. Then my plan is to surrender over and over again, and again and again, even when I don’t want to, so hopefully sooner rather than later, all beings may be free from suffering. 
So please forgive me if I disappoint you. I’m doing the best I can. Please bear with me, I need all the patience and help I can get. Maybe we are not so different you and I?!  Please take care until we meet again.   



She flies alone….

I’ve got that mama lump in my throat, the lip quiver and the eye burn you get when you are being brave for your children in ways you are not sure you can manage. Im showing up anyway. This mother gig is the hardest one I’ve had. It’s been a 24/7 invitation of letting go ever since my first born came along. 

Today this first born is boarding a plane for the first time alone, and heading to Sydney for 4 days to see her dad and other family. Mostly, we have the blended family thing down. It has its challenges, but parenting with two biological parents does too. Her dad and I are blessed to have remarried people with enough love in their hearts to see the truth of this precious soul. These new partnerships have given her a sister and brother. We set clear intentions at the start that carry us through any challenges that come. There is no one I would rather be dancing this dance with than her dad and his new wife. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. 

Mostly in life I find the most worthwhile things can be the hardest to show up for. In two days she turns 8. It’s the first time I won’t see her on her birthday, and me as a fragmented whittled down mama self feels sad about that.  Underneath that i’m thankful she has a loving family that want her to visit for Father’s Day and her birthday. Im thankful she has so much love and courage in her heart that she leads us all out of our comfort zones again and again.  And it’s still hard for me to let go. I want to wrap her in my love and guard her from life’s sharp and broken bits. But, I can’t. In truth its those hard broken bits that polish us and make us round and soft and kind. I can’t deny her that. 

When it came time to hand her over to the hostess, I smiled, I hugged, I loved, I said thank you. Inside me I wanted to ask if she had children? Had she handed them over to a stranger before? Would she hold her hand if she was scared? Could she hug her if the plane crashed? But I didn’t. I got over myself. 

  This brave soul has given me so many lessons on surrender, of remembering ultimately nothing is really under my control. On the surface that is a scary and petrifying thought. Yet in the depths of my stretched and fragile heart a little seed of stillness and peace stirs. It’s worth it, breaking my heart open again and again, letting go again and again. We all have to let go of everything sooner or later. So if you happen to see a teary snotty mess at the airport, know that at least part of her is courageous and brave and committed to serving and loving this life bigger than she knows how. And that she has promised life she will keep showing up again and again and again…. 

A queen wears her crown regardless of weather

Today Freya started school. At Montessori the children enter environments,not classrooms, so Freya has joined Yumi a 3-6 year old space. She is ready, and I guess I must be too. Although I bring a whole world of grown up concepts to the basket. Things like, who am I now? Should I have another baby? (an indulgent way of avoiding myself in this instance) What do I do now? (there is so much I don’t even know why i would ask this?) Is it all downhill from here? ( I don’t know what that means but the words continue to float through my head). And part of me feels like I am close to dying. Having children at home somehow in my mind meant I was young, that I didn’t really have to think about this finite life we are all living. It was a cushion that softened somehow the truth that this is a one way road that ends at some point which is utterly and totally out of my control.

Society seems to build this huge world of ideas around children starting school and the stark reality that once they begin, it will never be the same again. It is like a silent subscription service we all have to the milestones and doorways that we must pass through. Of course this is truthful, life does change at these gateways. And I wonder, what else is true?

What I have come to is this. While those major doorways we all know of and speak of do impact our lives forever, for me it is actually the little everyday ones that make the most difference. The seemingly insignificant moments I choose kindness, gentleness, compassion. What I have really been reflecting on over the past month leading up to Freya starting school is do I trust myself as a mum? Have I done enough? is she happy? To be honest when I dropped her at school this morning what I was really asking myself was “If this was the last time i got to see her, have I given enough?”. All big questions…

And for me they lead to guilt and shame. These two friends tap dance in with all their flashy style and for a time I lose myself in their invitations. How many times have I lost my patience and got angry, raised my voice, ignored her in a time of need, god forbid I even smacked her one day when I had NOTHING else left….. at this point my chest and tummy is so tight its hard to breathe…. my body takes over and that deep breath I just took, well it begins the process of airing the musty staleness of my inadequacies. Cause you know what, for all my failings as a mama, I love. I so holy fully love with my whole being that I could swallow the world before it knew what was coming. My devotion to my children is palpable, I have the strength of a lioness and at the same time I am willing to be the naked struggling fool time and time again if that is what it takes to open to life’s truest heart.

It has been a big week for me, I had my skin check on Monday and need to have two more moles off tomorrow. I dread going, I get scared and at the same time know it is necessary to care deeply for myself if I want to hang around and watch my girls grow. The past few days have been filled with that delicate yet intoxicating mixture of dancing with my fears around dying and resting in the deep gratitude I have for my life. I truly love every aspect of it, there is nothing I want for. I am happy.

On the weekend I caught up with a girlfriend who recently lost her mum to cancer and she shared some really powerful wisdom with me. She spoke of the beauty of death, of how truly sacred and special it is and how as a society we miss out on so much of what it has to offer. And she shared that for her, she felt her mum had given her everything she needed, that she now deeply trusted herself as a woman and mother, that her mother had been an incredible mum and guided her to trust herself right until she died.

What a gift, to leave a daughter who above all trusted in her own blessings, wisdom and goodness.

It is inevitable we will all have to let go of our precious ones. It is my greatest hope that when my turn comes to die, my girls can stand strong and yielding in themselves, that they understand I have given them all that I can and that I deeply trust them and their unique ways of travelling this adventure of life. That above all they know they are loved and never alone.

When I kissed Freya at the door this morning, I guess what i was really saying was thank you. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to love you, to grow alongside you and to let go of you. I can hear my heart gently whispering “Enjoy yourself precious one, this is a safe beautiful place and while this life is short, it wants nothing more than to serve you.

It feels like time for tea, so I’m off to put the kettle on and choose a beautiful cup to drink from. Thank you for meandering with me along this ever winding path.

With love from my heart xox

Chenrezig Institute

I’ve just pulled up in my driveway after a 3 day silent retreat at Chenrezig. At times my mind was as savage and turbulent as the weather here on the sunny coast. And despite this I sit here in my driveway with a sense of calm and balance I have not experienced for a long time. To be honest I’m savoring the quiet before I re enter family life, children and my everyday responsibilities.

This time in retreat, while challenging, has been a much needed reset button for my connection with myself and also to reconnect with diligence to my meditation practice. I feel certain the sacrifices made will find a way to ripple out to all of us.

The biggest remembering for me was how my meditation practice is not about sitting cross legged and serene, but rather bringing a diligence and unwavering intention to come back to my point of focus once I become aware my mind has deviated.

And the second biggest remembering was to bring my mind back with gentleness or in ‘a relaxed way’ as T.Y our teacher said more times over the past 3 days than I could tell you.

So often have I pushed and shoved and coerced and bargained with my mind to try and find stillness, so these rememberings have been a beautiful gift to myself.

My practice is now coming back to my intention with gentleness, the results of my state of mind don’t matter, although I’m finding serenity does make an appearance from time to time!

My family have discovered I’m home, it’s time to go, I’m committed to bringing kindness and compassion to them first, so thanks for reading my thoughts and I dedicate my weekend to each of you. Xxxx




24 August 2012- bound for Tennant Creek

We have phone signal and I am sitting in the car while rob drives wondering where to start with updating the blog. Life on the road with the kids has not been the restful relaxing experience I imagined, it has been stretching, unravelling and full of surprises, kind of intoxicating and beautiful, a dance that changes each day. I have a new appreciation of the routine of home life yet also feel a bit unsure how I will adapt when we head home. 3 months in, 12721km and I have had my first moments of missing my bed, stove and support with the girls! Travelling as a family is great way of meeting people, there are no shortage of travelling grandparents missing their own grand kids wanting to interact with pearl and freya, but there is not an abundance of children in remote areas so play dates can be few and far between.

Uluru was heartful and majestic, at first glance it can feel busy and a tad touristy, the chains and well worn path up the rock sadden me. It really reminds me to honour the sacred in my own life and also surrender to what is, remembering this too will change. The walk around the base felt like weaving a basket, last time I visited there Pearl and I sat at a waterhole that an old Aunty told me the rainbow serpent lived in, I threw my pebble in as instructed, placed my intentions and prayed. I prayed that I may open my heart to truly receive love and also be able to offer it from a place of still surrender. I prayed that my life may be of service to all and that I may be blessed with a partner that reflected my heart. Revisiting this waterhole reminded me of these intentions and the power intentions have to silently create in our lives. I also clearly understood it is time to offer my healing and women’s work to the world again. I loved reweaving a new path around, this time sharing it with Rob and Freya.We were also blessed with an abundance of ripe fresh figs, such sweetness on a 12 km walk. Pearl and I did an indigenous art class with an incredible guy from Mutijulu called Wayne, rob also connected with him and they had a jam on their didges. Him and his brothers were super impressed with robs didge! Never seen one so big. One of his brothers Mikey is from the country my great grandmother was born in and he offered to connect me with hs aunties out there. They are the elders and teach women’s lore right around nsw. He also mentioned they do heaps of weaving, I love that and hope to go learn with them if life supports it. Life feels like one big interconnected basket to me.

Kata Juta was a sacred walk, a communion with spirit and we did the whole back walk without seeing anyone which was special.

Danny’s parents flew back with Pearl from Sydney so we were blessed to share some time with them. We shared an Uluru sunset together, a visit to kata Juta and dinner which was lovely. I am always amazed by life and feel so blessed our families share and honour the changes life offers and such deep love and support for Pearl.

Shari our friend and NVC coach also flew out to Uluru to travel with us for 12 days. It was a fun adventure.

We walked, talked, stretched and unearthed so much ground, it was a special time of sharing and expansion for all of us I reckon. We even managed a few tea parties!

The Henley on Todd boat races were on in Alice, a total hoot if you ever get the chance. Only place I have ever seen a heap of larakins running up a dry river bed carrying their boats!!!

Incredibly Pearl did the whole rim walk at Wattarka (kings canyon), her little legs and spirit amaze me. She has repeatedly hiked between 5 and 12 km, experiencing the country alongside us.

This visit to Hermansberg shed so many of my judgements on the mission and the early white history of the area. Unepectedly i found peace there too.

Palm valley is another special place to visit if you can. We spent Freyas first birthday there, we made her a sponge cake in the camp oven and served it with patty cakes rosella jam and fresh cream. It was a hit!

The West Macdonell range is beautiful, lined with gorges, huge waterholes, spectacular colours and we were told is the place of caterpillar dreaming.

Accompanying me now are two beautiful baskets woven with minnari (native grass) by two incredible indigenous women in central Australia. One is for women’s circles, one for healing work, both with a palpable spirit you can hear.

Redbank gorge / Mount Sonder was a really special place for me, I took the time to bring through all the details of a women’s offering i have been dreaming on and will be facilitating when I get home. Spaces are available for 8 women per offering and we will begin new circles on the full moon of each month from October. This offering resonates deeply with the heartbeat of central Australia, it is a subtle and powerful remembering of our own hearts calling.

I am also placing my intentions out for an older 35+ female to mind the girls. I can imagine 2 different people, someone in town I can drop them to for a few hours here and there and also someone close to the farm that is willing to care for them in our space. Kind patient and heartfull essential.

Time now to head north, at least for a while, the farm is calling and my hands are yearning to dance with massage and healing once more, I will be offering treatments from my sacred space at the farm when I return so please share with others if it resonates with you.

Love to all xxxx

Photos to follow in a few days, have to download camera.

7 August 2012- heading towards Yulara

Rob is driving, we are headed towards Yulara. It’s been so long since I have sat down to update my blog. Life on the road is full, I imagined this holiday would be a rest from the everyday chores, I didn’t account for the energy required to set up and pack up camp while caring for the girls each day. So it has been a respite from day to day home life and oh so full with other things like finding fire wood, learning how to cook with all different wood types ( I never realized camp oven cooking could be so complicated different wood burns at different temperatures,) and learning to survive with small amounts of water- no running taps out here!

I have learnt that 2 showers a day is a lavish luxury, that I can actually wear the same jeans 3 days in a row and on a few occasions I have even turned my thermals inside out to get another day! The girls usually wear their outside layer for 4 days and being clean does not equal being happy. I have also discovered when we do stay in caravan parks for showers their is usually one big shower head mixed amongst the water saving ones! Ahhhh…

Dalhousie springs was an oasis. We stayed for 4 days, I could have stayed a lot longer. Imagine a great big stone bottomed tree lined dam, with pretty clear water and 38 degree warm water! Heaven! I was clean for 4 days in a row and could take a bucket full of water for washing up, no heating required. There were thousands of tiny fish in the water and they suck your dead skin off, this was bizarre at first, I soon learnt to keep moving. Rob tells me you have to pay 5 bucks to get a foot treatment like that in Thailand! The girls loved Dalhousie and the sunsets were breathtaking. We met a beautiful ranger called Sarah who joined us for a tea party, it was quite a mission cooking choc chip cookies in the camp oven, luckily before I ran out of dough Rob helped me get the heat right.

We reluctantly left dalhousie, vowing to return to do a crossing of the Simpson desert in the next few years.

We decided to go via Mount Dare and do the Andado Track on our way into Alice Springs. It was a breathtaking drive, we visited the old Andado homestead, Molly the owner is in an aged care home in Alice now, she leaves her homestead open, unlocked and unchanged from when she left, food still in place, and people are welcome to go inside and visit. It was something else to see, I don’t know how she lived out there, it didn’t feel right to take photos inside, check out the borders of her gardens though… I have never seen that before. She had some gorgeous kick arse crockery too!

We saw some 700 year old wattle trees that don’t grow anywhere else in the world and the colours of the sand dunes at sunset were hard to believe.

Freya’s eye had been sore and sticky for 4 days, we thought she had conjunctivitis but finally discovered gravel wedged in there ( insert tons of mother guilt here). We were 250km of rugged dirt road from Alice, I panicked, we got the ‘wrong’ irrigation liquid out of the first aid kit, tried to wash her eye out, burnt her eye, panicked more, the sat phone wouldn’t work to get help, then we eventually got through to the sat phone provider who transferred us to NT Police, who transferred us to the ambulance service, who then transferred us to the poisons info line. Thankfully we didn’t do lasting damage to her eye. . It was a long 5 hour drive to Alice hospital, lots of waiting, they put her under and cleaned the eye and we arrived home around 10pm. Longest day – pearl was so amazingly patient and kind. All ended well.

The next day we met Danny at Alice airport and miss Pearl flew to Sydney for flower girl duties at her great aunts wedding. She says her real title was pirate princess, her dress was to hide her sword in ;) she is due back tomorrow. Her grandparents are flying her back and having a few days at Uluru too.

We have spent 6 days in Alice, we attempted to get bearing caps and they sent the wrong ones for the second time, so off we went to woolies to buy new beetroot tins and now we are in back in business.

We have also had a much needed rest, I felt so exhausted and was told everywhere I rang that it is a 3 week wait to get a massage anywhere in Alice. Thankfully my prayers led me to Sita who offered to treat us on her day off. Such a graceful and serendipitous meeting which led to so many realizations. I now have clarity about the direction of my worldly contribution, stay tuned :) it is unfolding.

Rob met a beautiful old Aunty called Selma and bought a painting from her, ask him about it if you remember, it is truly sacred.

I have been carting a small suitcase of Shining Heart Jewellery with me, by chance we did the Todd mall markets, it was fun, I traded a necklace for a beautiful skirt with another stall holder, I love trades!

Yesterday Rob, Freya and I did an indigenous tour with Ricky at Wurre (rainbow valley). It was a special experience viewing art and engravings, learning about his land and finding bush foods. We tried native figs and plums, amazingly one little fig the size of a 5c piece is equal to 9 oranges…. Survival in the desert is compact! It took a few hours of walking through country with Ricky pointing out artifacts for my brain to catch up with seeing in a new way. He was using the shadow from his stick to point to things, I of course was looking at where the actual stick was pointing so struggled til I caught up. The sunset was incredible, we sat on the clay pan, rob played the didj and the earth offered a magnificent display of colour true to rainbow valley.

Life is so very full and I am remembering how to hold the richness as precious, at times it can be tempting for me to dump some of my experiences into the pain in the ass basket, yet life is gently nudging me to remember the preciousness of all things. Thankfully I’m getting it in this moment!

Freya turns 1 next week, wow, fancy that!!

Love to all, Will try to post photos tomorrow xxx

27 July 2012 – photos to follow soon

I loved lake eyre, so vast, more vast than I had imagined, almost hard to comprehend! I could see the water although it is no longer flowing in. The yacht club cracked me up, they really sail there. Apparently the lake has only filled to 2m in the deepest places the past 3 years, in 1974 it was 6m in the deepest places, they say it has not reached capacity recently at all? There were photos and maps showing where they had sailed that didn’t even get wet over the past 3 years, so we might get the chance to experience lake eyre full in our lifetime again after all. If it does fill, i want to do a boat trip up the cooper. My favourite thing….The wild flowers, they were simply gorgeous.

William creek was cool too, the oldest pub in Australia. A lovely meal that cost a small fortune and a really interesting bar. It has been built out of railway iron and sleepers, the iron stands vertically, the sleepers lay horizontally in between, this makes the walls. I hope you can imagine it. We spoke to some pilots that mentioned lake eyre is the only place they know of that you can fly below sea level, some places are 16m below, the lowest part of Australia! Interesting and a bit of fun for their instruments as they are set to calculate from sea level.

Mostly these remote roads have been pretty good, we escaped a flat tyre on the oodnadatta track, it was recently graded so the old ghan line was stirred up. Some people we have passed have had two flats in a day.

We have had a bit of damage from the rocks out here. Luckily Rob has spent 20 years in engineering! His next business venture is going to be Beetroot Bob’s running repairs, check out the piccies ( he has emptied all the beet root out of my pantry to use the tins to fix our wheels. The latest upgrade to our bearing caps, beyond the beetroot tins that is, has been foam strips wired on as the rocks are unforgiving and ruthless! We have chips in our front and rear windows, reversing camera, we lost a headlight today. I reckon we are doing well on the whole considering conditions.

Coober pedy was BIZARRE, really truly UNIQUE. The town itself and all the under ground buildings are interesting and have their charm, and at the same time the vibe in town was unnerving for me. It felt like it was the kind of place you go and some how it may entwine itself around you, it felt like you could very easily get stuck. We met lovely people, ate lovely food (a melting pot of culture and cuisine) and I even scored a really beautiful opal ring from Rob. The country surrounding town was a mixture of mining holes and striking colourful formations. The Breakaways is an area where the earth exposes herself in such rich and varied colours, so it was worth a visit, I won’t be lining up to return to Coober Pedy too soon though.

When you leave town and head towards Oodnadatta thestretch of road is called the moon scape. All you can see are flat rock covered plains, totally devoid of life. Nothing growing at all. Not even a blade of grass. I didn’t even see a bird or hawk. I didn’t know country like that existed. It sure was something else to witness!

Traveling further along, the road into the painted desert was a shocker! Horrifically bad road actually. Really really terrible. The view was tainted a little by the experience of the road conditions, beautiful colours and again unusual formations, happy to share piccies to save you the trip and damage to your vehicle!

We booked into the caravan park at the pink roadhouse in Oodnadatta, intriguing place! Photos tell all. It was a huge day of rough driving and we were tired after setting up, so thought we would grab dinner at the Oodnadatta pub. Holy moly it was a rockin’ place. Seems they only sell packet chips and drinks. Today they got their first duke box. We could hear it from a km away. We turned up after dark and their was a huge fire out front, half a dozen dogs and a dozen people with skin so dark and gorgeous you couldn’t see them aside from the fire glow.

We stepped inside and I felt so white, I’ve never felt white before, but I now know to the core of myself what it feels like. There was so much joy and dancing and fun, and I felt like I was crazy being there with the girls!!! I ordered a lemonade and came to terms with being out of place, slowly realising i was not going to die, then a beautiful woman smiled at me. I smiled back, she came over, her name was Anna and we had the best connection and conversation! Such a wise soul who has experienced so much in her life, and blossomed with the colours. Next we met Rutherford a real old fella, he came over and asked me to dance but i opted to talk instead ( partypooper I am). He must have been in his 80’s. He told me about his country and the days when the big old black train would come through with white people. Such a remote life out here. Oodnadatta is the hottest driest place in Australia, and it looks like it. I like it a whole lot more than Coober Pedy. I am feeling so utterly relieved to be out in open spaces again, away from all those buried little worlds.

Our Next stop will be Dalhousie Springs. Looking forward to 38 degree spring water, been missing my bath. After that we are heading towards Alice. Praying the smooth road and travel gods are with us.

Blessings and love to each of you from this remote wild country.



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