“A young girl sits in a classroom, staring out at the river. The river gleams, twists, coursing past the boxed-in schools, the boxed-in minds. Trapped in her classroom, she sits, and stares, and pours all her isolation, all her resentment, into the river below her. Years later, the girl is Hayley Talbot, mother of two, and she is ready to meet the river again…”
[Lucy Stone for Travel Play Live Magazine, see the full article here]
I’m so passionate about challenging perceptions, especially in young minds (that tend to create their realities and accept them as gospel). We construct our truths with habits, values, and beliefs and one way or another, if we couple this with the auto-programming of society, we find ourselves trapped by our convictions. I was SO strong minded as a young teenager. Nothing could have crow-barred me out of the mental chains I shackled myself in, out of sheer will and contrarianism. But I’ve always loved a challenge. And if someone had have challenged my perceptions by causing me to see and think of things a different way, by doing something a little differently, by going at the same set of circumstances from a different angle, I’m sure it would have caused me to reassess my own views and my own comprehension of my capabilities. I hope that it would have caused me to try new things. To question. To seek my purpose. And to gain the confidence from accomplishing the things I set my mind to. To grow beyond those things and to try new ones. Bigger ones. This is what drives me now. Because on this river that I hated as a teenager, this stretch of water that I found so undulatingly boring, I had the adventure of a lifetime. And it was under my nose all along. This same body of water that remained manifestly unchanged taught me that perception is everything.
If you change the lens, you change your life.
Fear often gives way to a heightened sense of awareness or intuition in the moment. Just like nervousness can have the same symptoms as excitement. If we re-frame thoughts and feelings early, before they take off like wildfire to a place we can’t control, its possible to keep superfluous energies in check, or to re-channel them positively to be useful for the task at hand. I remember being a young singer sometimes nervous before going on stage. I would feel the feelings then smile and slightly bounce as I re-framed them as excitement to get on stage with my band and do the thing I love. If these monkey minds we have are going to take a stimulus and auto-produce a negative, we may as well consciously intercept and frame a positive.
Exploration transforms the soul. The water and the wilds are where I go to be spoken to. That’s where I’m told what to do. That’s where I listen. It’s where all my questions go to be resolved and is the birthplace of all the new ones that provoke me to grow beyond myself. Answers are merely the result of questions. Questions define everything.
I’m writing by my fire under the stars. Now 9 days in and through most of the wild and impenetrable part, I can finally reflect a little. The whole thing has been a gift. My family gifted me this time and trusted me with my life, and heaven has gifted me a guided safe passage. I feel so incredibly grateful. I have become attuned to the different sounds of water and what they mean, it’s speed, its power, the beauty of its dance. I have tuned in to different scents, to the deeply dormant olfactory wisdom that preserves life and warns gently of danger, to sounds and textures new to my consciousness, old to my DNA. To the infinite glamour of the night sky and to the twinkling eyes of loved ones watching and lighting the way home. One part woman, three parts the crushed glitter of a billion stars, the alpha that once frightened me, solidified in my soul.
I’d been so afraid of the dingoes before I came out. It was a power that felt too close for comfort. Now their howls echoing over and around me are my song. Never have I been more in my body and yet out here it is anything but my own. It belongs to the earth and it is behaving in the ways of a mother heavy with life. The river draws, gives, takes, sustains, I commit myself and she takes her commission. It is a tryst I hoped for but am shocked by the reality of. It’s breathtaking majesty makes me crave the compass of science as a way to explain it all, but it is the sun dial of the spirit that proffers its power. The most logical and conservative explanation I can arrive at, is the comparative mediocrity of magic.
So many times my own words have echoed in my head. The narration of dreams. All the dreaming words I was writing, they’re all becoming my realised truth. The living, breathing birthright of deeply held Pinocchio convictions, that if untrue, would have dismantled everything, rendering my perceptions crushingly wooden. A line I wrote some time ago floats by: ‘choose your words wisely; fate is a light sleeper‘. All of the things I wrote were my dreams, and now they are real. I’m real. Tonight I lay neath a blanket of fire, casting a shadow of stars.
While virtually all life is decimated by the ravage of Australian bushfires, the Banksia has adapted to thrive. Triggered by fire, the banksia releases its seeds, surviving often when the maternal plant is killed. This phenomenon is known as Serotiny, and rather mirrors a favourite quote of mine ~ ‘some women are lost in the fire, other women are built from it‘. Broadly, there is an opportunity for growth embedded in every circumstance, no matter how well disguised it seems. Magic like this is absolutely everywhere. All flowing, all connected.
Standing in the bush after a fire is like a private show with the black cockatoo orchestra. Flying high the black funnel ballet calls and sings excitedly as they feast on the gold of the newly released seeds. Everything is ordinary and extraordinary simultaneously. Ordinary, until transformed by the mind that sees its extraordinariness. We don’t need to go to the ends of the earth to discover such marvels, we just have to see what’s around us in a different way. Because in a world as beautiful as this, boredom is just plain laziness.