Sunday, 12 May 2013


Today I was reminded about Mindfulness - by any other name will work as well.  Thank you to my daughter for that reminder.  I had forgotten to mindfully practise it and it is exactly what I need.  What we all need, if I could be so bold.

I suffer fronm depression and after suffering for far too long and finding it difficult to connect to others and most particularly, my partner, I started this blog as an outreach for connection, to be able to connect with someone, anyone, anonymously.  Although I seem to have failed in this, it has not made me more depressed, for today at least.  There is therapy and benefit simply in the writing, just for myself.  This was a first step on a path to recovery.  I saw my GP who put me in touch with the Acute Mental Health Team at the local hospital who suggested a number of options:

  • medication review
  • personal counselling through the free mental health plan
  • couples counselling 
  • ATODS.
the Acute Mental Health Team have been wonderful.  They call me every few days to make sure I am okay. I have been transitioning off the antidepressant medication I have been on for years and on to another which seems to be working well to lift my mood.  I have started both lots of counselling but without my partner to date.  I haven't contacted ATODS but I will.  I did stop drinking half a bottle of wine every night as  it was stressed that this would be totally negating my anti depressant medication.

My husband and I have found some connection and I feel apologetic today that I may have painted him badly.  He is a wonderful man who I admire greatly.  I just forgot that for a time.  I was too busy reacting to hurt feelings and magnifying his faults - of which he has a multitude.  So do I.  So do you. It is symptomatic of being human. What we are doing is simply trying to be kinder to each other.  That is all at this stage and that has been enough to provide respite, to clear some of the negative energy and stinking thinking that was bogging us down.

So now, I feel I can manage to ACT, bringing me back to my topic:  ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) or Mindfulness, see and ACT with Love (Dr Russ Harris).

I will keep you posted.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Garden Ode 1

The two year olds chase the butterflies.  
They don’t tire in their pursuit.
They love to watch the birds or even planes cross vision’s landscape
Is it the same for all?  The fascination of flight? 
Imagine you’re a bird in flight, face to the wind 

That’s why they have a beak 
A bird’s head is much like the shape of a jet or a rocket or even a plane.  
Is that what we learnt from birds?   
To minimise the point of contact? 
Yet a beak is sharp and pointed for their foraging and feeding, is it not?
We envy their agility, their nimbleness, their speed 
And even children in their butterfly dance 
Laugh the self-deprecating laugh of the clumsy 
But the laughter is joyous too 
Reveling in the strength of their limbs 
The resistance of air as they force through it 
Striving to overcome their inelegance
Children have faith in their bodies
They almost believe they can fly, as many 
Do try...

The fickleness of birds alights here and then there
Hedonistic? Or is there purpose to their travels?
Is theirs a life of need 
like the millions of earthbound flesh who have no time for indulgence?  
Their days are work filled 
to gather or purchase enough food for succour for sustenance
for subsistence.

The other animals of our planet are like our children.  
A lot of them do have time on their hands 
(They're time unaware  
without a care)
To sit on a telephone wire 
to receive an exhilirating and expansive view of the world
in its proximity 
A bird's eye view
not only to spy possible prey in their sights 
Do they sit feeling the thrill 
of being able to balance on such a fine foothold?
Sing purely because 
it is joyous to do so
Then fly to a neighbouring tree for a sampling of afternoon delights?
Red berries to intoxicate 
and give full throat to those songs of joy and fraternity 
as they welcome their peers to the party 
and maybe have a jostle or two for the spoils.

Here we are 
stuck in the world of work 
of time keeping, of worry and guilt 
for the waste of hours
Spent in daydream 
of the play of children and animals.

Monday, 15 April 2013


Ode to ‘The Smoke’

Do you want to die?
Think you’re invincible?
The devil smoke
Strong mind n body revoke
Ravaging organs
For the next high

Relax Mellow Yellow
Take the edge off anxiety
Sing about the ‘bacco
That we love and hate
We want to use you, abuse you, deny you and seduce you
The devil lover wreaking havoc
Want you coursing through my veins

Poisoning our bodies
We must hate ourselves
For love would not pollute
But substitute
A walk for a drag, skip for a hit, run for a gun
Depression acute
Might get a gun and shoot

Bad breath broke
Picture this
Running down the street in exotic places
Reaching the top of mounts and staircases
Buying bikes, pleasures and treasures invoke
Yet we still want the devil smoke.

What happened to
The Body’s a Temple?
Getting there slowly
Which one will work?
Weak as piss
Yeah deserve the dis
I need to be locked up
on a desert island
Don’t pollute
The air of my children
Put me under the spell
Cos I can’t do it myself.

Parenting – or in my case, Grandparenting.

I have just read a new post on Soul Stories Raising Holistic Children which included a link to a TedX video on Hack Schooling which was very good.

This made me think of the Michael Parkinson Masterclass  I watched on TV over the weekend and found it very entertaining and informative although I have never read Michael Morpurgo’s books.  I have an immense interest in children and have often thought of trying to write a children’s book.

Morpurgo’s attitude was that he writes for himself.  Never talk down to anybody.  Children are not too young to learn about global and universal issues such as loss and pain and loneliness and inhumanity and a novel is an ideal way to explore these issues for children.  I presume he is talking about 8 to 14 sort of age group as that is what I would think appropriate. The program also showed footage of how puppets were used for the stage production of “The War Horse” which was fascinating.
This made me think of a book I bought some time ago that I have only half-read.  I’m not quite sure why – just busy and forgot about it probably. Anyway the book is called "Too safe for their own good" - How risk and responsibility help teens thrive,  by Michael Unger, PhD, who, I have just discovered, is now on Facebook.

I see it as my role to contribute something valuable to the lives of my grandchildren. Parents are often too busy to find and read all this interesting and valuable information, let alone utilise in their own busy lives.  My daughter, for example, is 28.  She has 5 children under 8 and both she and her husband are university students.  When my own children were young, I tried very hard to be a good parent and provide a range of opportunities and experiences for them.  We also read each night until they were able to read books by themselves.  One of my friends, I found out, read together with her children all through primary school, which really fostered a love of books.  My children hate to read.  I obviously missed the ball on that one.

Thinking back to my own childhood, I can’t remember my parents ever playing with me or reading to me except for these exceptions.  The whole family used to play Monopoly together once a week for a while.  When swimming, Dad would give me turtle rides where I would hang round his neck while he swam underwater, and once when I was sick with some childhood illness, Mum would read ”Bush Holiday” to me.  The only books I remember loving were about “Tim” by Edward Ardizzone.  I must have read all the Secret Seven’s and Famous Five’s though as the boys next door and I would always be pretending we were them and building cubbyhouses, etc.  It was a different time then.  We were left to our own devices mostly, to create our own fun.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Radio National and other interesting things

I love Radio National! I only listen to it in the car where I’m a captive audience.  If I listened anywhere else, I’d never get anything done! Anyway, earlier this month, I heard some fascinating information on RN regarding the practice of Bacha Posh in Afghanistan. This refers to a cultural practice where if a family have no boys, they select one of their girls to be a boy.  They dress as boys and are raised as boys with all the attendant privileges. However, around 18 (or marriageable age), they revert to girls.  The program was focusing on a Sydney academic who was studying the fluidity of gender and focusing on this practice. See
Researching further, I found there is also a practice called Bacha Bazi in Afghanistan- which refers to boys who dress as girls.  This is a far more sinister practice where as a symbol of wealth and power, men buy boys and train them to be dancers to entertain and have sex with men.  Apparently outlawed by the Taliban, this practice is now re-emerging and growing. See documentary by journalist Najibullah Quraishi The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan.
I would be very interested to read Milla Khodai’s thesis.  I can’t help but assume that the strict rules surrounding gender roles, inequality and segregation give birth to such perversion. Catholic priests are another case in point.

Moving on to something joyous to dry those tears:

My partner, in the car, heard something about training Ghanaian leaders, and asked me to find the RN program he heard. I found the program and in the process found TED! I don’t know how many of you have heard of TED but I want to shout it to the world – TED! It’s the most exciting discovery I’ve had in a long time. TED is a nonprofit organisation devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.  TED Talks are “riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world”  But wait there’s more – there’s Ted Ed for children!


Something wonderful I found was information on fourth grade school teacher, John Hunter, who created the World Peace Game. His fourth grade students are divided into different countries and they have to work together to solve various problem scenarios. My eldest grandson is in Year 4.  I would love to see him and his peers take on such a challenge.

And by the way, that RN program was about  Patrick Awuah on educating leaders.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Road to Recovery

Who you live with, work with, spend time with rubs off on you. There is a culture in each community.  That’s why parents don’t like their children hanging around with the wrong crowd.  One young woman I know hated her husband’s work.  Initially she encouraged him to develop friendships there but  by doing so he joined the culture of drinking and gambling and being selfish which isn’t good for anyone but may be acceptable for singles.  This man had a wife and 5 children dependent on him!

What I’m getting at is:
I suffer from depression.  So does my husband and so does my son. I am medicated and seek assistance from professionals.  They don’t.  It is hard to get motivated for positive behaviour at home.  The men always seem so vocal about what hasn’t been done around the house, but they never do it.  Therefore, I can only assume that they expect me to do it all.  I am constantly weighted down with the anger and resentment I feel because of expectations – real or imagined. I can’t even live up to my own expectations.  I know I should be on top of things.  I don’t want to live in chaos.  But dragging me down and stagnating me is the thought:  why should I have to do it all?

I could sit down with them and say:  let’s all try to be positive and pitch in and get things done around here.  Ha! It makes me extremely anxious just thinking about it.  It makes me think that this family group has passed its use-by date. I have no trust in them to react positively to such a suggestion. Like I cannot trust anyone to put the bin out by collection time, even if they have been asked and said they would and a long line of other things I could not trust them with.

I need a support group – group therapy I guess - probably gender-based but maybe it doesn’t matter- where we come together to encourage each other in positive behaviours.  It will become our own cultural community.  Yes, I think it should be just women - include some willing positive people  for peer-group mentoring.   I think it is like alcohol or drug rehab – how often the best mentors/counsellors are recovered alcoholics and addicts  because they are the ones who understand the hard road to recovery.  They are more likely to know all the pitfalls  and guide you through and not be so judgemental when you fail.  Maybe not true – my father is an ex-smoker who has no sympathy or understanding of my not quitting.  Smoking is part of the culture in my immediate family.  My husband and two children all smoke.  That’s a topic for another day.

Sunday, 24 February 2013


 Kindness: When you're sick and cranky Just remember when You hankied to my panky, you listened to my thoughts Things were different then ...