Tag: excitement

Where in the world are you, Carmen Sandiego?

Life. It gets in the way. That’s why I haven’t blogged for three months because there’s been a lot going on. For the last month or so, I’ve been down with the lurgy (the flu), but after two courses of antibiotics, probiotics, lots of vitamins, good food and rest, I’m on my way to being back to full steam ahead with my year.

Exciting stuff is happening. I’ve been asked to be on the organising committee for next years Spiritual Care Australia conference which will be on the Gold Coast. As a pastoral carer who identifies as ‘spiritual’ but doesn’t belong to a specific faith group, I was so heartened to be invited. I am yet to make it to a meeting because I’ve been unwell, but I’ll make up for it in the months to come.

I cut my hair off last week. It’d been falling out at a rate of knots (ha), and having had it cut shorter, I seem to have stopped shedding. Just like that. It feels strange to be so short (yeah, I know it’s still long, but it was ridiculously long). I’m feeling … fresher. Yeah, that’s it. Fresher. Younger too, which is interesting considering I’m forty this year. I took this this photo after I rolled out of bed for my hairdresser. I know I’m looking a little grey.

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So, here is what’s been happening with me …

Making: Crocheting my first blanket. There will be crying Nicolas Cage style, fist pumping and gallons of tea. My maternal grandmother who taught me how to crochet when I was a little girl would be chuffed.

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Cooking: Chicken soup and green smoothies.

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Drinking: Tea. Endless cups of tea. And kefir. I cannot get enough kefir with a generous dash of honey and cinnamon.

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Wanting: A cabin in the woods/hinterland.

Looking: At cabin porn (there’s a theme emerging, yes?). Clouds at sunset, too.

Dreaming: About toasting marshmallows on the burn pile at the farm.

Playing: Diabetic Wheel of Fortune.

Deciding: What the fuck to have for dinner.

Craving: Sweet milky tea, liquorice and normal blood glucose levels (which are incompatible with liquorice)

Wishing: I was living in northern NSW. I feel between worlds. Or like I need a bridging visa or something.

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Pissed: That I caught the flu and it’s still affecting me a month later … Get the fucking fluvax, people.

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Enjoying: My growing collection of minerals. Or crystals, if you want to call them that.

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Waiting: On more words to come. I know they’re there.

Liking: The unfurling of cooler climes. It was a long, hot summer.

Wondering: If I will ever get this novel finished … #yesiwill

Loving: My new balcony chairs. They are epically comfy.

Considering: Spinning wool, falconry and starting my own religion. The latter would be far more lucrative.

Reading: ‘Norwegian Wood’ by Lars Mytting, ‘Gathering Moss’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer; ‘Konmari’ by Maree Kondo; ‘A Ted Hughes Bestiary’ and ‘Hildegard of Bingen’s Medicine’ by Doctors Strehlow and Hertzka.

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Buying: Nothing. I’m Konmari-ing the fuck out of my life. If it doesn’t bring me joy, it goes to charity.

Watching: I just watched ‘Dear Zachary’ and it made me want to cry forever and ever. It’s the most powerful film I’ve seen for some time and will leave you reeling (and needing therapy).

Hoping: That my friends Andrew* and Chief get donor lungs soon. They both have CF and  have had way too many false alarms which is cruel, disheartening and emotionally exhausting. IT’S A GOER FOR CHIEF ON THE SIXTH CALL UP! He’s doing *incredibly* well 🙂

Pondering: How amazing life is being clean. I never thought I could feel this happy. Seriously – have I EVER felt this way? Halcyon days 🙂

Marvelling: At how music makes me feel ALL THE THINGS.

Cringing: That my Jeep needs a new gearbox. Oh, the horror.

Needing: A capsule wardrobe.

Puzzled: That I don’t ever drink coffee in winter.

Questioning: Why so many crap writers get published. I guess mediocrity is on trend.

Smelling: Not much. Since having the flu, my sinuses have been blocked, but today my olfactory senses happily returned and oh! The smell of toast, freshly laundered sheets and chai simmering on the hob – glorious.

Following: My gut. And Marie Kondo. She’s rad.

Wearing: Mecca lip balm. I cannot get enough on my mouth.

Noticing: That I really need to clean my windows.

Knowing: My purpose.

Thinking: I have SO much to do.

Seeing: An overabundance of cranes across the city. All very phallic.

Believing: In fairies and the little people we can’t always see.

Admiring: Anyone who lives with a poo bag.

Believing: In karma. Because I have to.

Sorting: Through my possessions and giving a lot of stuff away. Liberating much?

Getting: Organised to launch a big community project that I can’t tell you about. It is super exciting and slightly terrifying knowing that a friend and I are putting ourselves on the line for what we feel is for the greater good.

Gathering: Resources and support for said project.

Cultivating: Kindness, candida (sexy, right? Thanks antibiotics!), and garden ideas.

Bookmarking: Where do I start? Psychedelics in dying, extreme knitting, cob houses and the small house movement, India, birds of prey & falconry, granny squares, aromatherapy, epigenetics.

Disliking: Where my neighbourhood is heading. Think big corporates moving in, mass gentrification and hideous high-rises that hopefully no one will want to buy. I foresee a glut.

Coveting: A spell that makes me write 10,000 words a day, knowing full well that no such thing exists. The only way is ass glue and a warm teapot within reach.

Opening: Bottles of kefir like they’re going out of fashion.

Giggling: At finding feathers at the most serendipitous of times. My mantra of ‘look up, look down’ has been serving me well.

Feeling: Ready to replant my garden with the help of Mum’s green thumbs.

Snacking: I wish it was medicinal liquorice, but it’s raw veggies with cottage cheese. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

Helping: Shit stir the big developers who are trying to ruin my community and create change by lobbying, petitioning, opposing etc.

Hearing: Fleet Foxes and the noble chatter of crows.

Trying: To spend more time offline and in nature.

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(image from https://nostalgichobo.wordpress.com)

Thanks to Pip at Meet Me at Mikes for such a cool list 🙂

*Sadly Andy died a few months after I wrote this. He will be eternally missed.

New beginnings

I had some really good news that I wasn’t able to share with you until I received my acceptance letter in the post today. I’m in the latest intake of a pastoral care course I applied for last year through the Queensland Institute of Clinical Pastoral Education. My interview was about ten days ago, and it went so well that I was offered a place on the spot, so I was quite chuffed to read the letter today. I’m going to be based at one of the city’s largest trauma hospitals.

I don’t ‘belong’ or subscribe to any religion, though if pressed, I would have to say that I’m agnostic. I have my faith and my own spiritual beliefs, but this course is so far removed from being about me – the care industry rarely is. It’s really about how I can best serve people who are ill, suffering and dying, and how this course will, no doubt, extend my charter of compassion. I suppose that it’s a little about me and my experience, but I’m there to listen.

I wrote in my application that it’s never been my intention to be a counsellor, but to ‘be a person who can listen and offer emotional and spiritual support to people who may be in distress due to illness, disability or other trauma’. I once looked at studying social work, and look at it hard I did. After weighing up the pros and cons, the cons became insurmountable – the main offender being burnout.

I see pastoral care as a gentle vocation, and it’s more of a team-oriented approach with other medical professionals that I hope to one day be working closely with. Suffice to say, pastoral carers are quite low on the allied health rung in hospitals, but as I heard last year at the Spiritual Care Australia conference, the landscape of care is changing, and pastoral and spiritual carers aren’t being shunned as they once were. I heard firsthand how nurses are actively calling upon us for their patients who are in an existential or spiritual crisis, which is heartening to say the least.

It’s going to be tough, harrowing and rewarding work. I’ve been a volunteer with various charities and organisations since I was a young girl – namely Cystic Fibrosis and Queenslanders Donate, which is now DonateLife – and while I don’t see my work in pastoral care as volunteer based, the volunteering and other care work I’ve done with the sick and the dying will prove to be an invaluable foundation. Now, I’m no Mother Teresa, but I have high morals, a strong ethical constitution and tremendous expectations of myself. My belief system is one of kindness, respect, equality and compassion, and my experience with illness and death will no doubt temper the potential stress I may encounter with the training I’m about to begin.

I’m expecting to be challenged, humbled and probably brought to my knees as I learn about what it truly takes to be a great spiritual carer. Again – I’m not in the business of ‘fixing’ or rescuing people. All I want to do is comfort people when they are most in need of spiritual support; to help them navigate whatever emotionally perilous journey they may be on. Let the learning and listening begin …

New year pastoral

Loose udders and mucus plugs

signals new life on the grass and clods of dirt.

Lilies dance on water the way flies hover over fresh meat.

A heifer drops its snout into the trough to drink –

not greedily, but more delicately,

sucking on the water in a docile way – fickle for a beast.


Pebbles, clumps of wild grass and cow shit

pattern a track to the paddock where a sabre calf

feasts on the berm of the grid;

lifts its head, turns towards its tail, then stares at me.


Unsteady of his feet, he ambles to his mother

her cries echoing through the valley –

carrying that sound like some heavy burden.

From the verandah, I hear the shaking of wooden spoons in pots.

It’s time for breakfast – sweet, sticky black rice.

Being woken at the gates of heaven

Candy in a bag –

recollections of a need

when my mind was an unswept room,

my body a husk, full of holes so thick

I thought I would leak.


Needles in my bedside drawer,

ampoules ready to be

snapped off at the yellow line –

that crisp and thrilling pop.


No greater satisfaction,

nor ever surpassed.

Then the plunge of a needle

into flesh, digging down into muscle.


The other night, my body stockpiled opiates.

Nurses artfully depressed a syringe of Narcan

to bail me out of a deep unbreathing.

Two breaths a minute – my lazy lungs.

Nurses in a U shape around my bed –

‘you’re having some trouble breathing, love.’

Hell, I was between worlds dreaming about

tangerines and the biting aroma

of vodka, parcels and angels milk.

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Ronn Moss and the launch of my website!

Last week was an incredibly exciting week. I launched my website with no fanfare which you can see here. I am so grateful to my friend Lynn from Lynn Priestley Design. She is a dear friend and an amazing artist, and without her help, as I perhaps said in an earlier post, my website would have looked like an online morgue. Thank you, Lynn!

On Friday night, a loose wild group of women and I went to see Player Ronn Moss and his fellow band members, like legend Peter Beckett, who are über famous for their hit song Baby Come Back. Listen to it and I dare you to not be moved.

I decided to wear a slashed to the navel bodysuit with my thriller from Camilla skirt. It’s always interesting how people look at you and well … judge. All of the men seemed to smile and say g’day (you don’t say!), but most of the women looked at me like I had my tits out was a lepper. I’m of the opinion, if you haven’t got it or even if you have (I haven’t), you may as well flaunt it. So I did, sans Hollywood tape. And it’s a good thing I wore what I did, because when I put my hand up during Ronn’s repartee/question time, he pointed at me and said ‘the girl the in white top’, and I got to stand up in my teetering heels and ask my question!

So don’t be judgy. I’m not judging you if you’re 75+ and wearing a short strapless dress and are trying to pash Ronn – good for you! But back to my question, because I can just feel it that you’re dying to know what I asked Ronn. Que? My question was along the lines of if there was any other television series he could be in, what would it be. He immediately said Game of Thrones. Then I snuck in a cheeky second question about Breaking Bad and we pretty much both agreed that it’s the best ever series EVER.

And so with that, we dashed to the front of the stage not long after the band began to play, where we were given the stink eye and a few harsh words by some vicious grannies in the front row. We were just lucky they didn’t bring their knitting needles or we would have been STABBED. I was waiting for them to throw their dentures at us …

Here are a couple of photos of myself, my gorgeous friend Rebecca and RONN. Notice how she is ‘peacing out’ on our bellies? If I had nails like that, I’d do that too 🙂 I got to give Ronn a hug and I can say he hugs you tight, is devilishly handsome, very calm, gentle and authentic. Bucket list item – CHECK!

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Learning to Die: my TEDx talk

Yesterday my TEDx talk went live on TEDx Brisbane’s YouTube channel, and I’ve had an almost overwhelming response about speaking about my life (and deaths), and my beliefs and truths about death and dying. Here it is – Learning to Die.

I’ve been bathing in the beautiful waters of Death Walking training over the last two days, the last of which is today, and being able to come together with other ‘deathies’ has been such a gift; so serendipitous in its timing. When I looked at my phone at morning tea, I couldn’t understand why I had a flurry of messages, though it soon registered when friends and strangers alike were reaching out to congratulate me. Mission accomplished! And so here it is. It’s been released to the the world, and it’s there for people to do with it as they wish.

So make yourself a cuppa or an espresso or whatever your poison is and sit down to hear what I have to say. And please – let me know what you think. Comment, share, repost. I’m feeling happy and grateful that my words can be heard should you so desire to listen, and if just one person walks away – or leaves their desk or kitchen table – a little more fluent in the language of death, then my work here is done. Peace.

I’m going to be a TEDx talker!

I have super exciting news. Yesterday, I was asked to speak at Brisbane’s TEDx event in October. In case you haven’t heard about TEDx, click here to find out what an inspiring global platform where people such as Bill Gates, Liz Gilbert, Jane Goodall and Al Gore have shared their ideas.

The 2014 speakers have been announced today on the Weekend Edition. I am equal parts excited, terrified and honoured to have been invited to speak at such an exciting event. I knew this year was going to be big, but this? I’m still pinching myself …

Am I nervous? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. I’m speaking alongside people like Samuel Johnson and Bob Downe (I can’t wait to do my impersonation of him to him), as well as brilliant game changing Professors and artists!

So what am I going to talk about? Life, survival, writing, death and my journey to becoming a spiritual carer. You can register for tickets here. I hope to see you there!

Here’s a likeness of how I looked when I got the phone call, except I was at home …

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