Archive for July, 2014

The Fertile Void

July 20, 2014

I am between endings and beginnings, in the in between place . It is a place I am familiar with and which is often not recognised or named as a valid phase in our lives. I have found life to be made up of cycles and knowing what part of a cycle I am in helps me accept my life as it is in that moment. When I resigned from my job in April I closed a door without knowing what was next. All I knew was that I was unwell and needed to get out of that physical environment quickly. I had no idea how I would earn an income. I went into free fall.


IMG_0418What I did not expect was that three months later I would still be working as a contractor for the same employer, on reduced hours three days a week from home. It has been a day by day proposition that is continuing until a permanent replacement is found. This temporary work will end in the next few weeks and my employment future is then uncertain. What next? I don’t know. The only thing I know is that I need to stay faithful and allow the process I am in full expression. The in between place between endings and new beginnings was once named for me by my dear friend Georgie as the ‘fertile void’. The place of all possibilities where there is no certainty and where everything is possible. It is the place out of which everything is born. The place between endings and beginnings can be rich, mysterious, soulful and sometimes uncomfortable and challenging. It is a place where we have an opportunity to reconnect with ourselves on a deeper level, a place to call back lost parts of ourselves. Barbara Ann Brennan identified this phase for me many years ago in her book ‘Light Emerging’.


When Georgie named the fertile void for me my life was much more ‘void’ than it is now. It was a void created by a series of endings in 2000, first losIMG_0266ing my health as I entered Chronic Fatigue, then losing my job and ability to work, then losing a child with a miscarriage, then my relationship ending, then the home I was renting being sold so that I became homeless. This series of endings culminated on Christmas Day, 2000, the day that my pregnancy had been due. I was  literally and metaphorically on my knees and had absolutely nothing to hold onto. In that stripped bare state, I felt a very deep sense of surrender wash through me and carry me. I felt completely alone and yet held in loving hands by an unseen force. Carolyn Myss eloquently says that we need to call our spirits back and that is what I committed to do. When there is nothing external to hang onto the only way to go is in.

I am calling more of my spirit back in this time. Consciously reconnecting. I believe when I get sick that it is because something deep in me is calling for attention. It has been my experience that healing, deep healing requires working on all levels, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Our intrinsic state is one of wellness and wholeness. Illness provides an opportunity to peel away the layers that are in the way of our experiencing that.


Joseph Campbell said “Wandering time is positive. Don’t think of new things, don’t think of achievement, don’t think of anything of the kind. Just think, “where do I feel good? What is giving me joy? “. Get those pressure ideas out of your system, and then you can find, like a ball on a roulette wheel, where you are going to land.”



The interim work that I am currently doing appeared out of the void created when I leapt into the unknown in April. This blog also arose unexpectedly and my creative expression has been juiced up with the motivation to express myself through photography and share it through the vehicle of Instagram and this blog. I am listening, listening to my own internal whispers that are guiding me to delve, to explore and practice new ways of being that will enable me to be more resilient.

What is next ? I don’t know, that will be revealed in time. What I do know is what is now and I am so grateful to have this time to dive in and to be supported with temporary paid work whilst I do that.




July 12, 2014

I am blessed to be able to walk into the Billinudgel Nature Reserve which is close to my home. It soothes me and revitalises me. It took me a while to discover the track, or should I say tracks as I am discovering there are many tracks the more that I explore. I did not know how big it was, where it led, what tracks there were and I have allowed it to be a process of discovery, an unfolding. I began tentatively walking  a little way and then a little further each time. I would walk for a while and then begin to feel a bit anxious, like I had gone far enough into an unknown landscape and then turn back. The next time going deeper, further.

IMG_0258Gradually I have felt more comfortable and adventurous.  I did have a break from walking there during the summer months after nearly stepping on a snake, a very long python that gave me a fright!

As the temperature began to drop I got curious again. ‘I wonder where this leads to’, I ask myself, and am continually delighted with what I find, different vegetation and different light depending on the time of day that I walk, my curiosity leading me forward.  I continually wonder, ‘what’s around the next corner?’.

I reach choice points where the track splits into two or sometimes three. I stand there for a momIMG_0237ent, considering my options before choosing one. Sometimes it leads nowhere and I backtrack, sometimes it opens up to something much more than I was expecting. I am enjoying this exploration of the forest, the bird calls a constant delight. A few days ago a friend asked to come with me as she had never been in the reserve and wanted to explore it too. I became her tour guide.

We chose the right hand track and after walking for half an hour through a variety of terrain, gumtrees, ferns, swamp, then a beautiful coastal area filled with banksias and pines, with sandy soil as it got closer to the beach, we eventually reached a fork in the track. I had not ever taken the left hand track, so we chose to this day. Meandering up a windy hill away from the coast, more gum trees and a valley revealed to our right. Beautiful. Eventually we came to where the track met a dirt road that neither of us were familiar with, a lone house to our right tucked into the bushland. I felt curious, ‘where does that road lead to ?’. This day my friend called an end to our adventure. The sun was dropping and she felt it wise to turn around and retrace oIMG_0485ur steps, that exploration awaits us on another day.

I am keen to return, my curiosity piqued. A curiosity that keeps leading me forward in my life, that likes delving into the great unknown and going up unsignposted tracks and roads. I have enjoyed doing that from an early age, from teenage adventures with my best girlfriend, exploring locally on all day walks, to weekend drives with my first boyfriend exploring new places, to travels overseas heading off not knowing where I would end up, to packing up my life and heading off in my car to find a new town to live, destination unknown.

Sometimes I can be a cautious, tentative person and in other ways I see that I am an adventurer. I have both these qualities inside me. Maybe I am not as adventurous as some, but adventurous in  my own way, always ready to listen to those inner stirrings that call me to discover, ‘where does this road lead to?’.



I Found Instagram!

July 12, 2014

Now that I am up with the modern age, having my very own iphone, I am learning some of the things that it can do. My friend Libby, who accompanied me on the day trip to the Tweed Art gallery last week, told me very enthusiastically about Instagram as we drove down the mountain range on the way home. Stimulated and ‘full’ from our art gallery experience, she explained that she loves Instagram and I am now finding that I do too. I had heard the word before and that was as much as I knew about it before Libby gave me a crash course that day. For those of you who don’t know (am I the only one?), it is a place to put up photographs and other images to share with others who are also interested in photography, art and images.

Now I find I am looking at things differently. I am looking for things to photograph. On the weekend I visited a friend and her family for a leisurely Sunday brunch.IMG_0216 With three children some chickens and a guinea pig their household is a lot livelier than mine and I love it because of that. Whilst the banana pancakes were being made, out in the back yard I went, exploring and taking (very artistic!) photos of chickens. It was all about the colour, the light, the composition and the angles. Plus I had never noticed before how evocative the clothes hanging on the clothes line were.


A few days later a walk in the local reserve became full of wonder. The light on a new green leaf amongst the leaf litter shone out and begged to be photographed. Fallen trees suddenly became incredibly interesting. The light through the canopy captivating. I have always enjoyed photography, looking for and capturing moments, always with a veIMG_0214ry basic camera, an aim and fire camera without special lenses, which is why I had judged my photography as somehow not valid photography. The new smartphones epidemic now means that everyone has cameras at their finger tips most of the time and photography has become something everyone does and can ‘do’. Me included.
I am finding that looking at other people’s art, other people’s photographs on Instagram is stimulating ideas. Colours, shapes, angles, light, subjects, all an inspiration now.

Did I mention that my iphone is the instrument I am using to record these blog posts when the ideas start flowing. Who would have thought. Yes I am a latecomer to technology but I do delight in it once I discover what it can do for me. And I am sure there is a lot more for me to discover, enjoy and express.

An Artist’s Date

July 10, 2014

I went to the Tweed Art Gallery last Friday on an ‘artist’s date’. Artist dates are one of the techniques described in the book, The Artist’s Way, to foster your creativity.  I found it very inspiring and enriching which is the point of artist dates. I have started that book twice, gotten as far as chapter seven and am yet to finish it. ! Third time lucky?

There were so many different types of art on display at the gallery, different methods, techniques and subjects. The Border Art prize showed off local artists work (including my friend Dave Hickson who won a prize).

It seems that anything goes. Some pieces I looked at and thought ‘ I could do that!’. Have you ever been in an art gallery and had that thought? The difference between the artists hanging on the walls of the gallery and me, are that they have acted on their creative ideas and shared them with the world.

IMG_1365For many years my vision of my ideal life has included expressing myself creatively through words and art. I have hesitated from lack of clarity about what and how.

During this gestational time between the end of my old job and the birth of the new one, I am spending time being with these creative urges AND the resistance I feel. Things are beginning to shift. It has been my desire to understand and do it ‘right’ that has been getting in the way, I have wanted to do it perfectly! Why?

Partly it is my innate desire to do things well and thoroughly. However below that is the desire to avoid pain, to avoid the pain of criticism, or perceived, even expected criticism. This is old programming that I need to lever out of its crevices, to free myself up. Thank-you to this aspect of myself for keeping me safe when I was little and you are not necessary anymore. All books about writing, and I have a few on my book shelf, talk about the need to separate out the creative voice from the editor. They are two separate functions.

Fear of not writing well has been getting in the way of writing at all, or at least not very much. Similarly I have IMG_0157been feeling intimidated by a blank canvas or page, unsure of the ‘right’ thing to do.

It is liberating to be with that resistance gently, to see it, listen to its concerns and gradually allow the creator inside me to create just for the sheer joy of creating. Because when I take a photo, or write something or draw or paint it feels GOOD. There does not need to be any other reason to do it than that. My focus has been too much on what others might think. Surely the purpose of creating is self expression and joy.

I came home from the gallery and wrote four blog post drafts. It was like a tap had been turned on and the ideas were flowing out so quickly that I resorted to speaking into a recording device as I could not type fast enough. I feel a small opening, a crack appearing in the wall. It is not about what I create or produce that matters, but that I do it often. The more it is given permission and allowed the more it flows. Ahhhhhh. That feels better!


Reducing Re-using Recycling

July 8, 2014

I would call myself a latecomer to new technology. I dive in just as everyone else is moving on to the next thing. If what I am using works I will keep using it, it seems a waste to do otherwise.  I also have to admit to a bit of techno-phobia! I got my first smart phone, a 4S iphone, a couple of months ago, after asking if anyone I knew was upgrading their iphone to the latest newly released iphone and would be willing to pass their old, still functioning iphone on to me. A generous friend gave me their now obsolete phone. Thank-you Dave!

My idea of seeking out a second hand sIMG_0813.JPGmartphone is motivated by the desire to use resources economically, my financial resources and therefore my energy as well as the earth’s resources. I have a passion for recycling and utilising existing resources to minimise waste. I am a frequenter of markets and second hand stores and many of my clothes and furniture are acquired there. I love both the thrill of the search and the joy and satisfaction experienced in the finding of ‘treasures’. This winter a hand knitted poncho, in pinks and purples, tassels and trimmings, is keeping me warm most nights. It was a $4 purchase from the local church thrift store. Bargain!

I have a friend, Georgie who is the most amazing recycler I have ever met. Georgie and I met when we were both studying for a Masters in Social Ecology . She recycles EVERYTHING and is an inspiration to me. When I stayed with her it was the little things that struck mIMG_1360e and caused me to re think what I automatically do. She washes the clingwrap that she has used on a dish of food and re-uses it again and again rather than throwing it out after one use. I have always seen clingwrap as a one use item. Of course it is not!

Things are made not to last in our consumer society, producers of ‘stuff’ make more money that way. Our society has become acclimatised to using the earth’s resources as if they are unlimited and then discarding them into landfill, or into the ocean. Out of sight, out of mind. Future generations will pay the price for that.

I just bought a new printer from a local business ‘Inky Business’ that specialises in printers with refillable cartridges, my old one having finally died a while ago. I was told by the salesperson that these days the ink cartridges needed to feed printers are often more expensive tIMG_1043han printers themselves and so often people are discarding their old printers and buying a new one, instead of buying a replacement cartridge when the ink runs out. This saddens me.

Why buy a new cartridge (let alone a new printer!) when a cartridge can  be re-filled with ink? Yes I may have blue hands for a day or so and I can live with that. I re-filled the cartridge on my previous printer for years before I had to replace it.

The printer salesperson advised me that the producers of printer cartridges are now intentionally making their cartridges more difficult or impossible to refill, so they can sell more cartridges. They are designing them that way. Manufacturers are intentionally impeding the efforts of those who want to minimise the use of our earth’s limited resources. The salesperson said ‘this is outrageous, it should be being reported on 4 Corners’ . I agreed wholeheartedly.

I am going to have a go at re-filling my new cartridge for as long as I possibly can. And of course avoid printing at all unless it is essential.

If you have any novel reducing, reusing, recycling tips I would love to hear them.


July 6, 2014

Yay, I am feeling better! Thank goodness for that. A couple of months ago I was feeling quite unwell, fatigued and needing to have 2 hour naps everyday.  I had that ‘sick’ feeling like when you have a hangover and you feel toxic and unwell. With a hangover it goes away in a day or so, however the unwellness I was experiencing did not go away.

For the past 18 months I had been observing that it was more and more difficult for me to maintain my state of wellness which I had worked so hard to create. I was experiencing increasing fatigue and issues with my liver, nervous system, breathing and digestive issues that diIMG_0838d not respond to herbs as they normally would. Like piecing together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, I finally realised in April this year that the gradual deterioration I had been experiencing was due to breathing in toxic fumes off gassing from fumigated boxes imported from overseas. Can I prove it? No. Whilst my two co-workers did not appear to be affected I had to trust both my logic and more importantly I had to trust my intuition, which was giving me ever increasing insistent messages.

For the past three years I have worked in a warehouse breathing in those fumes, invisible, but no less toxic. The toxins, my logic told me, would have accumulated in my system, a system already weighed down by heavy metals and chemicals, a key contributor to the chronic fatigue I experienced for seven years from 1999 to 2006, after a general anaesthetic tipped me into debilitating illness. Hair analysis still reveals high levels of arsenic, lead, mercury, lead and uranium in my system despite all the detoxifying I have done over the last 15 years. A doctor I saw many years ago explained to me that having multiple toxins has an exponential effect, so the stress to the body of adding in one more is not like plus one it is more like times one hundred.

As two more shipments arrived early thIMG_1344is year my deterioration accelerated and my alarm bells went off. In the midst of a massage, during which I had prayed to receive healing, the word ‘neurotoxin’ popped into my clear quiet mind. It was as if it was being whispered insistently into my ear. It got my attention. I began investigating the fumigation chemical Methyl Bromide and found it affects the nervous system, respiratory system and liver. Aha!

Since leaving the warehouse on 22nd April I have been doing everything I can possibly think of to restore my body, to regenerate, to detoxify and nourish myself. I knew from my previous journey of healing that chronic fatigue type illnesses are multi-factorial and require a multi-pronged approach and that identifying and removing the causes of stress supports our bodies to return to equilibrium. What have I been doing?

I have been eating a clean diet high in organic vegetables and protein and no sugar or alcohol,  I have rested and taken long luxurious napIMG_0498s, regular walks and time in nature, Kinesiology and Neuro Cranio Restructuring sessions to help soothe my stressed nervous system, deep rest yoga classes to teach my body how to relax and unwind, tapping on meridian points with EFT (emotional freedom technique), taking supplements; liver herbs, parasite herbs, vitamins, minerals and especially a detoxification product. Natural Cellular Defense, made from the mineral zeolite that helped me get well in 2006, oil pulling; swishing organic sesame oil in my mouth every morning for 20 minutes which helps detoxify the body, listening to meditation tapes, doing breathing exercises, rubbing neuro emotional points on my body, visiting Kiva Spa to relax and detoxify via the use of the sauna, dance classes to connect me to my life force, to my joy, as a release. Two months ago I was laying on the floor in the class crying because I felt so unwell, now I can not only complete a whole class, I feel uplifted by it.

So what has worked? Most probably a combination of everything, not least of which was removing myself from the source of the exposure. After two months I am breathing easier, I have more energy, the fatigue has lifted, my nervous system has begun to calm down, the colour has come back into my face and I no longer need two hour naps to get through the day.  While I continue to detoxify I am very grateful to be feeling better in such a short amount of time.  Compared to the seven years it took me to recover from CFS this is the blink of an  eye.

IMG_0575We are all exposed to an increasing number of invisible toxins, heavy metals and chemicals, in our modern world and some of us are the ‘canaries’ signalling their presence. A doctor I saw who supported my decision to leave the workplace told me ‘it is hard to prove’ and yes if I am looking for scientific validation then it is.  I have found that many doctors don’t understand  the factors that contribute to chronic fatigue type illnesses or understand the impact of the increasing toxic load we are all accumulating and living with. Some of us are genetically pre-disposed to not excrete environmental toxins as well as others.

Leaving the security of a job was scary and I am grateful that I heard and trusted my intuition and removed myself from the source of the exposure. Where did the ‘neuro toxin’ lead that dropped into my awareness in that massage come from? A message from my higher self or a spirit guide perhaps. ? Wherever it came from, I am very grateful that it came.


“Toastmasters Would be Good for You”

July 5, 2014

The way that the writing a blog idea came up three times before I acted on it reminds me of another time when something was presented to me three times before I took action. That was ten years ago in 2004 when three different women whose opinions I valued and who are mentors for me said to me. “ Megan , Toastmasters would be good for you.” This was during the chronic fatigue phase of my life, having recovered enough in the previous 5 years to contemplate the possibility of adding an activity into my life beyond essential self care. I had been living a very reclusive life during those years out of necessity.

The first time someone said to me “Toastmasters would be good for you”, I felt my anxiety rise and immediately thought “No way! That is too scary.” The second time a valued mentor said “Toastmasters would be good for you”, I paused and then thought, ‘No way, that is too scary’. When the third person said the same thing to me, I remember turning my eyes up to the heavens in surrender and saying “Okay, I hear you, I will check out Toastmasters!”.

I found a club nearby in Mullumbimby and went along to see what it was all about. The first meeting I went to I sat there nervously, intently watching what happened. In one segment called Table Topics, randomly selected people are given a topic and are asked to stand up in front of everyone and speak to that topic for two minutes with no preparation time.IMG_0790

That night one of the members was asked a question, walked up to the front of the room, stood there for a while in silence, then he said ‘I can’t think of anything to say’ and he walked back to his seat to warm and enthusiastic applause from the audience. I realised in that moment that if that was the worst that could happen, I could do that! My back stop position would be just to sit back down again and apparently that was okay. I joined. I remember the first time I was asked a Table Topic question I walked up to the front of the room and spoke tentatively in a tremulous voice for about 20 seconds before my mind went blank and I scurried back to my seat on shaky legs to thunderous, supportive applause. I was on my way. It soon became a creative outlet for me as I prepared and presented speeches on subjects that mattered to me.

Within two months of joining, the club founder Toni approached me one evening and said, ” You will do the Vice President Public Relations role won’t you Megan?” Toni Is known as Princess Pushy for obvious reasons and she has a way of inviting you to do things, where the only option seems to be to say yes. So I unexpectedly joined the Executive team and began my journey in the leadership side of Toastmasters. I was on the Executive team for many years in various roles, culminating in being the President of the club, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The following year I took on a District role, being mentor to all the Presidents in the District which covered about 180 clubs in three states. I enjoyed mentoring and supporting others to lead. I continue to enjoy mentoring members of my own club.

IMG_0520Joining Toastmasters led me to other experiences that I never would have dreamed of doing. Within three months of joining the club, still a very nervous and inexperienced speaker some friends started a monthly music event at a local hall called the Mullumbimby Folk Music club, a showcase of original music. They said ‘Great Megan, you do public speaking, so you can be the MC.” This was another moment when something unexpected was presented to me, it felt absolutely terrifying and yet I knew deep down that I needed to do it. With my pulse racing I agreed.


I introduced the night’s performers,  eight ‘chalkboard’ performers and a feature artist, and presented in front of  up to 100 people. I undertook that role for six years, gradually growing in skill and confidence and to my surprise I found that I grew to love it,  especially supporting nervous first timers to go beyond their own fears. My own inner performer came out, supported by my Toastmasters training.

Sometimes things come up again and again for a reason, to gain our attention and I have learned that sometimes they can come through external voices rather my own inner intuitive ‘whispers’. Especially when my inner whispers are being drowned out by fear or doubt or when I cannot see what my own potential is, and others who know me well can. I am very grateful to those three women for seeing in me something that I did not recognise in myself and for setting me on a path which has proved to be expansive and empowering. It has been an essential part of my healing journey, helping to re-connect me with my spirit, my essence.


Who Am I ?

July 2, 2014

Who am I ? Well that is a BIG topic! I faced the challenge of writing a concise answer to that  question when completing the “About Me” section of this blog ( a perfect opportunity to learn how to insert a hyperlink in this post!). How do I summarise myself in one page? What to put in and what to leave out? What would a reader of this blog need to know about me?IMG_0041

What I ended up writing about are the events that have shaped me, what has motivated me, what has driven me forward. At critical choice points, what have I chosen? In reviewing what I have written I realise that what has often motivated me and underpinned my life choices is the desire to make a positive difference in the world, to be of service AND to heal the pain I have experienced at various times in my life; emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. It has been and continues to be like peeling away layers of restriction, a very gradual freeing up.

Joseph Campbell describes this process for me beautifully: ” The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. The goal of the heroes journey down to the jewel point is to find those levels in the psyche that open, open, open and finally open to the mystery of Self, being Buddha Consciousness or the Christ. That’s the journey.”

I see that this blog is like a jourIMG_0254nal, revealing myself to me, as well as revealing me to others.

“Life is only understood fully in retrospect. Looking over your shoulder the patterns begin to emerge, you are revealed in more clarity. The essence is distilled.” From my journal, 18/4/2014.

I often feel that there is much more for me to contribute in this world, where many suffer and our natural environment is suffering, and I get impatient to understand and find how to best do that. I frequently ask: How may I serve? How may I be of most benefit? I often feel like I am searching for the ‘right’ vocation or role to perform, the one where I will feel that my contribution is making a positive difference, a considerable positive difference. We are always in a constant state of becoming. Surely healing myself IS being of service, being a good friend, neighbour and family member is being of service, being involved in my community is being of service. It seems that I will have to be satisfied with those things and with sitting in the question. Those questions propel me forward and influence the choices I make every day.


In the “About Me” section I didn’t share that I also like photography, drawing, painting, Buddhist philosophy, going for walks, connecting deeply with others, trees and drawing labyrinths in the sand. The photographs and images in this blog are my creations. Who am I? A very big question.