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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Not as calm as I appear

I've borrowed the title of this post from another Blog I read regularly. It struck me because I identify strongly! We are in the process of putting our house on the market to downsize to a one level home - which we have not yet found! We'd love to stay in the same area but so far there are not a lot of options. So the "sell before you buy" process is extremely stressful and I am definitely not as calm as I (apparently) appear!

Then the Prodigal Kiwi Blog I read today reminded me of one of David Whyte's poems which I have always loved:
Start close in,
don't take the second step or the third,
start with the first thing close in,
the step you don't want to take.

So thanks to two fellow Bloggers for encouraging me this morning to continue "taking the first step" even when I am in a whirlpool of emotions like grief, anxiety and stress - with the occasional glimpse of excitement breaking through!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Morning walk…
sun shining, sky blue
evidence of a power
that sandy banks and man made 
can not withstand.

Tree roots protruding
tree falling?

Once a walkway
No access!

Even the sign 
announcing a marine reserve
will soon fall in.

What else erodes
less visibly
less tangibly?

Monday, July 14, 2014


I've recently read Like Colour to the Blind by Donna Williams. It is an amazing insight into the world of two autistic people who find each other and together explore relationship, connection and love. Their courage and determination to push through compulsions, obsessions, automatic responses and perceptual distortions is inspiring.

I was struck by the fact that one of the things Donna had to learn was how to know what she, herself, truly liked and wanted as opposed to the "stored responses" of what others seemed to like so "that must be the best choice". Her life operated to a large extent on "stored responses" rather than truly free personal choice. In a much more mild and manageable way I recognize that I sometimes choose on the basis of "stored responses" or automatic pilot. For example I often look at my watch to decide if it is time to eat! I'm discovering that if I listen to whether I am actually hungry I eat at slightly different times. I often eat whatever is easily available in the fridge or cupboard rather then stopping to think what my body most wants. … I'm sure there are other examples too. I'm on the watch for them now!

Then this morning thanks to the Prodigal Kiwi Blog was this quote about freedom from a spiritual perspective:
Dr. Thomas A. Bausch & Dr. James J. Spillane, S.J: “…People who are spiritually free are tantalizingly alive. They take bold initiatives, do interesting things, have a taste for adventure, are not threatened by other strong personalities and can hold fast to their convictions even in the face of criticism and disapproval… They know who they are and what they want to do, and are fully engaged in living it. Such persons are interiorly free…” They have, they note, “the ability to think and act without external or internal compulsions”.
Finally they highlight that “the spiritual life leads to freedom. The important question is not "Am I happy?" but "Am I free?” Free to choose what I most deeply want to do. If I am really free to choose, I will do the things God wants me to do. Freedom is both from and for. Freedom from the net of many strings and expectations that the false self has created. Freedom from the fear that if I step out of a particular role, I will disappoint someone. Freedom from the fear that if I do not espouse a certain position [or act in a particular way] I will not be accepted. Freedom for relates to positive and collaborative action in working with God to concretize His dream for the world and its inhabitants. Love of God that does not show itself in service to humankind is a snare and a delusion…”

So fascinating when the same theme pops up in totally un-related sources! I am taking note!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hidden Treasures

I'm in the process of a big "de-cluttering". I'm having great fun throwing out mountains of old files from my filing cabinet. Good stuff a lot of it - but long forgotten and hardly ever referred to. But in my cursory glancing at things I have carefully filed I came across one thin folder of pages written by former students - not assignments - more like personal notes to me. Some triggered lovely memories, others I couldn't quite place. But this one stood out as worthy of publishing. I remember this student well and followed her progress for several years after she left BCNZ (Bible College of NZ) where I was one of her lecturers. If I knew where she was now I would love her to know her words and truth are still valued. I won't name her but here's what she wanted to tell me in 1987:

Mid-term Exams '87

make me feel
small and ashamed
shallow and dumb
I want you to know I'm not slow,
that I love my classes
I do learn and soak up so much of what you teach
In my mind and heart - deep inside … many secrets unfold -
it's neat
the discoveries I make…
I love learning.
If I could let you take a peek inside of me, just see and understand that within I hold lots of interesting precious things…
My vocabulary is so small that it hasn't a chance of covering everything I "feel",
and I don't know how to use our English language to express
everything I've learned, to write out what I've come up with
I sit here in this exam after working so hard to learn
feeling small and ashamed
you will read my paper and think I'm shallow…
and the spelling! … she must be slow… and look at the way the 
ideas and thoughts are so disjointed…
you will think that I haven't grasped all the wonderful truths in the lessons 
you've been teaching.
don't treat me like I'm slow
don't talk to me as if I can't reach your level
you'd be surprised
I'm not slow… well not in the sense of intellectually slow
don't judge me by what I put on paper in exams
Exams are good I know,
they help to crystalize all your many thoughts and new discoveries
they help you get your mind sorting through and registering
all the many things you've been storing away
they are good
I'm glad we have to sit down and study really hard
I just don't want to be misjudged as a person
by how well
I can write out my thoughts and what I've been learning
on a piece of paper.

I wrestle with words and sentences to fit my ideas.
Sometimes my head seems to buzz with the weight of too many
problems that seem to have no solution.
I read once that the older one grew, the more complicated and
involved one's feelings became, and sometimes they were quite 
opposed to one another.

So dear R.G. I remember you with warmth and respect. I never thought of you as dumb or slow and I'm sure you would be surprised to know that something you wrote 27 years ago counts as a treasure. What's more I think you have expressed something many others would identify with - and expressed it beautifully.