Dealing with liars – a Musing

This is a tough one. I really struggled with dishonesty. It took a lot of working through for me to understand that lying is a reflection of the liar, not me.The impact of lies on me was massively challenging to let go.

I came to understand that making them wrong for lying didn’t help anyone. Where I got to, and it’s a hard road, is no longer minding what other people say.

I’ll give you one example. My eldest brother would visit my state and call me to tell me that he couldn’t get out to see me. It was a cruel thing to do. It falls into lying as it shows an insensitivity and lack of care of the impact of this behaviour and the implied promise that if they came to my state they would come to see me.

I came to undestand that most of my upset came from my thwarted expectations. I expected them to visit, I expected to matter to them as they did for me. I expected them to treat me with respect. You know what? They don’t have to. Isn’t that a bugger?

When I looked closely at my upset I found that most of it was due to my own expectations being thwarted and unfulfilled. And that hurts.

I changed my expectations of my brother and stopped calling or expecting anything from him, I was able to appreciate when I did see him and not look for anything more.

There came an occasion where he apologised, one out of the blue visit, for not seeing me for over a year. I stared at him in absolute astonishment and said no, you were here in summer. No, he said, that was last summer. Oh, I said surprised, I hadn’t noticed. I truly hadn’t. He was so offended! How funny is that?

I will say that others’ duplicity is one of the things I’ve really struggled with. It’s been very painful. My expectations on others now do not impede the development of my relationships or enjoyment of my life.

PS I still love him & think he’s a lovely man and am pleased to see him whenever I do.

Saturday-a Musing

Today I had such plans. Nothing earth shattering, just running errands, laundry & spending time in my studio. Like I said, nothing earth shattering. I was still really looking forward to having some catch up time with myself. Plus I have art to do.

A phone call comes in. It’s my brother. I don’t have a lot of contact with the family that I grew up in, because… I am particularly fond of this brother & was happy to hear from him. I haven’t seen him for about four years so was pleased to hear he was in my state & headed my way.

Everything was put aside for catch ups, questions (from me), discussion about his family & mine, and his current life events. I got the laundry done, luckily had already run my errands, and took the dogs out. That’s it. No housework (so sad), no art work (now that is sad) & time spent with brother & my daughter.

Isn’t that just life?

Perpetually broke, almost – an Introspective

This is a world problem. I am not complaining, I am not even shaking my head at myself. I am wondering how we manage and the strength of the political and corporate will to keep the population perpetually broke, almost.

I recently turned 55. 55! and the magic didn’t happen. I did not automatically become a financially responsible grandma. Nope, it didn’t. Sure, I pay my mortgage, bills, owings and have enough food. I have enough. Except savings, I don’t have those. I re-mortgaged last year and the bank, in it’s wisdom, offered me a mortgage that would make sure it was paid out by retirement at 65 (yes! only ten years to retirement!). However, this makes my mortgage nearly half my income. That’s a lot.

I’ve done everything you are supposed to do, reviewed my bills, taken up steady payment options, reduced my insurance costs and still I cannot make headway. Heaven forbid, I go out for a meal or to a cafe, there really isn’t extra. Or pay my rego or an extra bill? Nothing left, and I have to borrow $50 to get to my next pay. And food costs? Oh my goodness! I grow and purchase food from the Community Grocer and support other food sharing initiatives.

This is not a whinge about how badly I am off, I am not. I earn a reasonable pay and live modestly. This is a shaking of the head that if I am finding it this difficult to manage, and all my children have left home, how are others with dependants making ends meet? I struggled as a single parent and am struggling now. I am asking myself, is this really because I am hopeless with money or is this symptomatic of an economic system that foists all costs onto its people, despite the level of taxes and contributions we make?

We have politicians who are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and creating a punitive society where the poor are punished. Recent data from the Rental Affordability Snapshot showed how little people on Newstart had available to survive on and that there was 0.01% of affordable housing options for them. We have elderly people turning up at our door at work, unable to pay their bills and buy food. We have people with disabilities unable to juggle finances in this terrible transition period to NDIS. We have families in our Shire going without meals every week. (12% in a Shire of 105,000 people is a lot of people going hungry.) And we have average families, like me, who no longer have capacity to save and just barely keep the starving Drop Bears from the door.

There is something very very wrong here. Very wrong indeed.

Journey 1

Peering out into the fog, Shannon could hardly see around the tree she hid behind. In the dark, every sound seemed magnified and the fog seemed to interfere with her hearing. She held her breath, trying to determine over her hammering heart the direction she had heard a twig snap.

Panic surged and she was certain she heard whispering voices. She dared not shift although everything hurt. Sucking in air as quietly as she could, Shannon concentrated on her breathing, trying to calm her heart so she could hear.

A hand slammed down on her shoulder and another over her mouth. Shannon jerked with sudden fear and adrenalin as she was pulled back to a solid chest and a voice whispered into her ear.

She could not focus on the words until she suddenly recognised his scent. Horse and cigarettes. Ryan! She almost collapsed with relief and nodded her recognition. Ryan hauled her deeper into the bush, not letting go, then pushed her up high into a eucalyptus.

Together they huddled in the fog letting the whispering voices and tiny cracking of twigs pass by. Night turned to dawn and they did not move. Eventually the voices returned, unsuccessful in their hunt, passed beneath and moved on.

Hours later, Shannon and Ryan unfurled themselves from the tree, dropping soundlessly to the ground. Pain spiking as blood moved through cramped limbs, they stretched in mirrored movements, as if they had trained under the same master.

Moving swiftly through the bush, they made good time and reached the river and the boat moored there for them. They silently pushed out and slipped aboard, rowing far down the river before starting the motor and moving more swiftly.

Not another word was spoken until they reached the agreed upon meeting place. Simon was there, “Alright?” They nodded. “It was a close call”, Ryan muttered, “They passed right under us, twice! The bastards never look up.” Shannon nodded, too exhausted to speak and not yet feeling out of danger to join in the bravado.

They moved to the waiting trucks and piled in. Simon drove faster than Shannon would have dared. She appreciated the speed. Anything that got her further from that hellhole was fine with her.

Surprise hospital visit – an Introspective

Went to the doctor this afternoon to talk about changing medications and happened to mention strange feelings I’d been having in my chest. Should’ve kept my mouth shut.

Here I am in hospital, awaiting tests that will probably tell me I’m fine. I admit my heart flutters, breathlessness and clammy sweats have not been the most delightful companions. However denial is my forte. I have always believed that if you deny something for long enough, it’ll give up & let you be. The fact that this has never been proven true is beside the point. I’m a wait until it can’t be denied type of woman.

There’s nothing yet but they are taking it very seriously. I did ask my GP if going to hospital could wait until morning. He gave me the hairy eyeball & just said, no. And, someone else had to drive me. I’d been driving all day! Admittedly a little gaspy and distracted but still. So here we are, waiting for the chest X-ray and blood test results.

Okay, here’s the latest, heart is okay! Excellent. They are still working on what is going on but I knew it! I win again!

Fluffy Floozies – A Musing

I have three little dogs. I love them. They are my little buddies and make my life so much better. They keep their little brown eyes on me and are my posse whenever we go out. They are my entourage to the front door, to the back door, the garden and the toilet. I often have to insist with the latter that I really can go by myself. It gets a little crowded at times, especially when the cat joins in.

When my grandson was crawling, my entourage expanded to include three dogs, one cat and a baby. My little poodle cross was besotted with him and would get up as high as she could to look down on him sleeping in his cot. My Pepe dog has a habit of lowering his head for a kiss. So did my grandson as a little baby. They’d sit opposite one another, bowing I turn.

My eldest dog, Wally, was adopted as a senior. He is very unwell and still insists on being chipper every day. Such a tiny hero. When the youngest cat, Billiemoo, joined us, he would roll over and let the kitten pounce on him and bite his ears and tail.

My animals are kind. My older cat, William, holds paws with me at night and sleeps along my back. He puts up with the youngest kit’s midnight attacks, with little complaint.

Recently my eldest cat died, Gemma. Her favourite thing to do was to sit on me. She was nearly 18 when she died. I miss her.

I am grateful for all my furry friends, their loyalty and idiosyncrasies, and their memory.

Jelly Belly Bunny – a Musing

March 26th is National Epilepsy Day. A lovely woman in our office suffers from infrequent but fierce electrical storms. The last episode nearly ended her life. We are celebrating our lovely colleague with a very purple afternoon tea on March 26th. We are grateful she is still with us and we are celebrating her determination to live her life despite these debilitating events. Jelly Belly Bunny comes from the Epilepsy Foundation and will be in attendance. Get purpled up, learn about epilepsy and celebrate survival.

Goofy Critters: a Musing

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Grumpy Baby Bird sat on my steering wheel and glared at me. I had made him a week before and still had not delivered him to his human, Youngest Daughter. He was not impressed.

I started needle felting Goofy Critters after doing a Felt your Inner Goddess workshop with Youngest Daughter last year. It’s taken over. I took a posse of Critters into work and they were all claimed within minutes. Now I sit and stab my fingers in the evenings, when not drawing, colouring, or playing games. Anything to avoid housework really.

Back to Grumpy Baby Bird. I swear his face looks like F@#K off!, so there was no doubt for whom he was destined. Youngest Daughter was delighted. Strangely though, after a week spend cruising around with me in my car, he no longer looked so grumpy. In fact, he looked down right anticipatory. Still fierce though, which suits Youngest Daughter well.

I met a mosaic artist at the Emerald Art Market who had crafted a platter with tea cups and a teapot suspended above them, tilted downward. She had crocheted little covers atop each tea cup and little flowers waving above on stems of steel. I can’t crochet, I said, but I can felt. I now have 15 little felted flowers waiting for the workshop to create my own teapot mosaic. I have no idea where I will put it but I really want to make it. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Storytelling 106: 5 times in a day

Here’s a Storytellers’ Secret: if you tell a story you want to remember five times within 24 hours, the story is yours. The trick is who will listen to your tale?

When we embody a story, it uses all our senses plus our reading of our audience to embed it into our cells. Gesture, facial expression, patterning of words, repeated refrains, all assist in embodying the story. This resonates far deeper than memorising a story (which we would never do, would we?). When a story has been taken into cellular memory and each movement in the tale gives rise to the next part of the story, we have the story’s soul.

Every Storyteller I know, including myself, has been asked if a story they have told is true. Every story holds an element of truth. It is why different stories resonate and stay with us. There is something in the tale that is true for us. When we tell a story and it resonates for our audience, we can feel it. It is a moment of intimate connection, where we are one.

Storytelling is physical but it’s impact is non-physical and why it can resonate with your audience (this leads into philosophical discussion, which storytellers love). When practicing a story, it can be difficult to find an audience who will listen to your tale five times in one day. If you have obliging friends and family, use them. Their reactions to the story will assist you to refine it and take it into your cellular memory.

What if you don’t have people who will listen or feel too self-conscious to ask? I know I will sound somewhat pompous here but, put your ego aside. When I tell a story, it is not about me. Yes, I use my skills and talents and mostly my own stories. However, I tell particular stories because I feel an urge to tell them. Storytelling is a calling, it is the story that is important.

I once was asked to perform for the Association of Relinquishing Mothers. As an adopted child, a foster carer and permanent carer, I felt I was the person to choose and perform these stories. I would have passed the gig onto someone else if I had not felt strongly about it. I carefully chose stories where the child in the story was encouraged to be her very own self, despite any opposition, by the parents who had care of her. It hit the mark. (If you want to know more about me as a parent and carer, read the blogs under Parenting, Introspectives and Musings.) This is an example of why I feel Storytelling is a calling.

Back to the question, what if you don’t have people to listen to you tell the tale? Record it, listen to yourself, re-record, listen again five times. If you listen with how the story sounds and how you want it to sound, embellish the parts you wish to stand out, you will have a story to remember. At your first opportunity, tell your story to another human (dogs and cats get distracted). Ask them what they hear in the story and never tell your audience they are wrong. People bring themselves to art and see what it is they do and in the case of stories, hear what they hear. They do not have to hear what resonated for your, your truth, they get to hear their own.

Now you know how to choose a story and remember it, it is time to begin. Let me know how you go.