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Rain Renews Hope!

Rain

This picture was taken by an incredible Australian, professional photographer Peter Carroll,( who waited 35 years to capture this and a series of other amazing shots of rain on the mighty rock that sits at Australia’s heart, Ularu. ( If you would like to see more of his rare and beautiful work or to get permission to use it please visit his web site, http://www.petercarrollphoto.com )

Last night it rained here, it hadn’t been 35 years since rain but it seemed that long if not longer to the farmers around her and it was, as rain always is, miraculous. This morning everything was changed, brighter, more colourful and more alive! Birds and wildlife were everywhere and the air sang with their songs of thanksgiving. Life seemed more hopeful and people had a smile on their face as they greeted each other. It will take a while yet before the really needed changes to pastures and crops are apparent and follow up rain is vital but the showers we had brought HOPE and with hope we are stronger and better able to carry our load whatever it is. A Little HOPE is always A BIG BLESSING! Can you spread some today, I will try to. We could all do with a lot more. Namaste,

Compassion, I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER FOR YOU!

Compassion, I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER FOR YOU!

Today some are looking longingly to the skies praying for rain to give them a hope of saving their farms.
Others stare up at the approaching clouds in fear, having just seen thousands swept away and whole towns destroyed.
Same day, different countries but one overriding need,
the need for compassion from those around them, but who are seemingly blind to their need,
to reach out a helping hand.
We are all so vulnerable in the face of natures mighty power and life so fragile.
The needs of mankind seem overwhelming and feeling helpless it often seems easier turn away and busy ourselves with other more manageable tasks.
I, too, often feel overwhelmed,
I have no monetary wealth to give out as a helping hand
BUT I DO HAVE
A minute to listen to those I know who are struggling, a warm hug of understanding, a family heal table to share and a prayer I can say each and every day…

“May all sentient beings have happiness and the cause of happiness.
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and the cause of suffering.
May all sentient beings live in peace and harmony and have their needs met.”

It is a based a Buddhist prayer and it always reminds me of how we are all connected in this world.
We all have common needs, hopes and fears and one language-
the language of love and compassion ,
a language that we all understand.
Don’t turn away, you can help, just say a little prayer
and make time to be there for others.
Love and Compassion are powerful beyond belief.

Namaste.

Feeling Truly Supported.

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LOVE NEVER DIES

THOSE PASSED OVER

SUPPORT US

UNSEEN

DAILY

NO MATTER WHAT

WE DO

SAY

OR

HOW WE FEEL

WE ARE ALL LOVED

COMPLETELY

FOREVER

LOVE NEVER DIES.

Today I have the flu. It is a beautiful day. The sun is out, the birds singing and I have been forced to stop and rest.

Sometimes I think we forget to stop and just be. While resting I have looked at the other sites of people who are following mine and I have learnt so much. Among them were true jewels, not selling anything but spreading light, love and wisdom. I have put a couple on my site. The one Hand in Hand inspired my poem above, it brought to mind my family now in spirit and awareness brought them close. There is no real separation, they have just passed through a beautiful door into spirit. I will pass through that doorway, again, just as I did when I was born and the experience I know will be just as wonderful. The process may look a bit rough  ( It usually is and I am constantly  amazed at how strong women are!), but then the smile on the face of a mother,  when she first gazes in love and awe at her baby, says it all.

My husband is also supporting me. The papers are here with a cup of tea  and he is off to buy something for dinner that we don’t need to cook. While my body feels awful, my spirit has never felt better. Many thanks to all both seen and unseen who are making my day!

Such a lovely day even the kangaroos are up and about!

I am loving just sitting watching everyone enjoying life.

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MORE FRIENDS ENJOYING THE DAY

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WE ARE CALLED HUMANBEINGS

NOT

HUMANDOINGS

I MUST REMEMBER THAT

NAMASTE

The Power Of The Powerless.

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      Two birds deep in conversation reminded me of something thought provoking I read :-

A young magpie was talking to a corella when snow began to fall.

“What’s a snowflake?” asked the young magpie.

“Nothing” replied the corella.

“What does it weigh?”

“Nothing more than nothing.” came the answer.

Well the young magpie stood there and watched the snowflakes falling on a nearby gum.

He counted the snowflakes.

He counted 4,637,815 snowflakes.

Then the 4,637,816th snowflake settled on the tree

and the branch broke off and crashed to the ground.

“Mmm”, said the young magpie to the corella,

“So that’s what you say is nothing more than nothing.”

Anonymous.

                  You can never discount the power of the small and powerless when they come together!

Enjoying the Flu.

Today, like yesterday, I have the flu! Please forgive any grammar or spelling mistakes as my head is very foggy. I am presently sitting on the back verandah, seemingly doing nothing at all. Well, at least anyone seeing me would think I was doing nothing but I know better! I am actually extremely busy. Busy  thinking, reading poetry, watching all the wonderful wildlife go about their day to day business and studying the art of stillness. Every now and then I am so inspired by what I see that I write a little! Nothing mind blowing or important, just jottings like this one, inspired by the bull at the side fence. I call him Barney after Barney Rubble from The Flintstones TV show. (They share the same colouring, tone of voice and happy go lucky nature). Barney, like most of us, loves a good scratch.

Years ago, when I first moved here, I would trim all the old broken and dead branches off the trees near the house, until one day I noticed that  the cows and horses use them to scratch their backs on. No more trimming! The trees may look a mess but I love animals and would much rather them be happy than have a “pretty” garden.

Barney came for his scratch today, but unfortunately, the wind in the last big storm had taken out the best scratching branch. Was Barney unhappy? Of course not ! He promptly set about setting up a new one, rubbing back and forth, head butting, chewing, until he had a new scratching branch that was just right! Then he scratched and scratched and scratched….and scratched some more. Occasionally he paused, assessed his success and then not satisfied, scratched some more. Scratching took place for a good 10 to 15 minutes, until, finally his itch was fully gone. Satisfied at last, he was free to go back to the serious business of eating.

Barney had a wonderful time, I did too! Watching him had brought a smile to my face and I’m almost certain I saw  a joyful smile on his face as well. Slowly, contentedly he ambled away, leaving me to reflect on a poem I had just encountered. The poem (by Lloyd Dobens)  fitted so beautifully into the moment that I just had to share it. Hubby is at work today, so I decided to share it here. Sorry if it doesn’t seem to fit my site but for me it was a very enlightening moment, so in a way it is spiritual.

The only lifelong, reliable motivations

are those that come from within

and one of the strongest of those

is the joy and pride

that grows from knowing

that you’ve done something

as well as you can do it.

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Not done well enough yet! Still a slight tingle! More scratching required!

Soft Autumn Light.

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               Bathed in the warmth of life’s renewing golden sunlight people laze, stroll… just sit

               At peace, lost beyond care.

               They gaze as one, awed by natures beauty laid bare before them

               While Autumn’s soft edged rays illuminate life’s simple joys

                Thawing stony hearts, allowing spirits to soar once more.

What a wonderful time of year it is. Autumn in the Northern Rivers Region is perfect!  Still warm enough to swim yet cool enough walk for hours along the beach without boiling. The sea is amazing, one day calm, the next crashing destructively onto the sand and carrying it away to be returned at a time seemingly of its choosing. I never stop marvelling at it. So immense and unfathomable.

 Awesome! Just like it’s creator.

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Enjoy the journey!

Learning From Others-Buddhist Tanka Highlights Reiki Principle.

A WISE, UNWORRIED BABY KING PARROT ENJOYS THE CLEAR BLUE SKY IN MY BACKYARD!

1932

SKY

The spacious sky

Spans serene and clear

So blue above

Oh, that our souls could grow

And become so open.

Written by Emperor Mutsuhito.

This is an example of  the stylised waka (also called tanka) poetry which Dr. Usui taught to his Reiki students.

Dr. Usui incorporated other aspects of his many years of Buddhist and martial arts training into his Reiki teaching, including meditation, self-cleansing, as well as some Shinto and ki-kou energy practises.

Meditating on poems of great beauty helps our soul to grow and is something open to all no matter what their personal belief system.

So profound.  So simple.

There are 125 of these waka in a book called “Spirit of Reiki”, by Walter Lubeck, Frank Arjava Petter and William Lee Rand.

These poems can help us to embed the Reiki Principles:-

Just for today

     Do not get angry

Do not worry

          Show appreciation

                     Work hard (on yourself)

         Be kind to others.

Working on these will benefit not only ourselves but will also make this world  a far more compassionate and gentle place.

Each day as we journey we can make an enormous difference to this world by simply becoming more self aware.

What a wonderful, empowering thought! Blessings on your journey.

Am I My Brothers Keeper? Fred Hollows Gives Us The Answer.

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This post has been a while coming because it is so close to my heart. I took days to write the first draft assuming everyone would know who Fred Hollows is. Forgot the old saying that to assume makes an ASS out of U and ME! Fortunately a friend looking at my site pointed out that many people reading it are from America and England. Wow! I thought it was amazing, still do. I am new to the net and hadn’t really thought about it being world wide and yes, I still write letters and use snail mail. There is something special about letter I think it may be tactile, you touch the paper and you feel the writers energy. If it’s from a loved one you feel their energy, you connect and it’s almost as if you hug even if it’s years after they have gone. Yes, I love letters but in a different way, in its ability to connect me to the world I am starting to love sharing through this new (to me) medium. So I have started this post again and this time I will try to explain just why Fred Hollows is known so widely in Australia and why he is so loved and admired.

The label most commonly given to Fred Hollows is, “famous eye-doctor.” It is definitely a most appropriate label, but he was so much more. He achieved so much more in his lifetime, that label just seems so inadequate. I first became aware of Fred Hollows some years ago when I was preparing to be married. I had never been married before but I had a fully furnished home and everything I needed. My husband to be also had his own place with everything he needed. When we announced that we were getting married our friends immediately started giving us engagement presents, beautiful gifts that I still treasure and use. The love that they showered on us was amazing and I still feel overwhelmed and blessed to have these beautiful people as friends, but there was a problem: we already had too much, we didn’t need anymore. People suggested we ask for money and use it to pay for the honeymoon. It just didn’t feel right for us. What to do? At first we had no idea, then out of the blue we thought of the practice my husband to be had started with his grandchildren. Each Christmas he would give each of them an amount of money to go shopping with. He would then take them shopping to buy whatever they wanted. After shopping and a lunch out they came home and went online to find a charity they liked and he gave them an equal amount to donate to their chosen charity. Great fun was had doing this with the older children sometimes urging the younger to pool their money. This seldom worked as the youngest loved animals and always wanted to buy pigs or goats with her money. His hope in doing this was to nurture their compassion and develop an awareness of the benefit of giving as against receiving things that were by their very nature impermanent. (Buddhist teachings have had a huge influence on him.)  The grand children all have great parents, who have also focused on their becoming caring, unselfish adults and now we all wait hopefully, as they now begin their life’s journey. Sorry, I digress back to Fred Hollows.

We decided we would ask our friends to donate to charity rather than buy wedding gifts. We went online and found that the Fred Hollows Foundation could restore a blind person’s sight for $25 Australian. That was it! We contacted them and they sent us beautiful envelopes that we sent out with the wedding invitations. We had 110 friends invited to our special day (the invitation list whittled down from 374 as the venue only catered for 100…getting married later in life is not easy!) and to know that so many people received the gift of sight because of our love being consummated still fills us with a joy that no other gift could ever bring.

After the wedding the Fred Hollows Foundation sent us a letter of thanks and a list of those who had donated. We had no idea up till then of how many people were helped, we were amazed! We had simply placed a wishing well near the entrance for guests to put their envelopes in. Many guests had flown in from interstate, one from as far as Tasmania, or travelled long distances to reach the Northern Rivers where we live and they all needed to pay for accommodation, food etc. Knowing this we thought some might not be able to find the extra to give. Their generosity amazed us, most of our friends are far from rich and it was wonderful to see that almost all had not only donated the suggested $25 but gave extra. I am sure it gave them as much joy as it did us. The Foundation also sent us a beautiful book on Fred’s life. It was this that really opened our eyes to how much difference one person can make to the lives of others in this world.

There is a link to the Fred Hollows Foundation on the side widget and if you can spare $25 Australian you too can experience the joy of knowing someone can not only see the beauty of this world again but also have an easier life with far greater opportunities.

It was while reading the book on Fred’s life that I became fascinated by him as a man. Fred spent his life for others. What motivated Fred to put so much back into life? He was quoted as saying, before he died of cancer in1993 “I hope I have given more to life than I have taken…” He certainly had!

I discovered it wasn’t Fred’s deep faith in Jesus and his saving power, for although Fred was raised by parents who were staunch members of the Church of Christ; Fred became an agnostic. While he was studying for the ministry at the University of Dunedin in New Zealand the crunch it seems finally came.  He was serving as an aide at a mental hospital and he saw how patiently a group of untrained men were caring for those in the ward These men were not religious, yet they showed extraordinary kindness.  I read that “Fred’s upbringing had up till that point led him to think of life outside the Church as miserable, joyless and a sure road to damnation.” Observing these men changed Fred forever. They had no way of knowing how their kindness to others would change not just one mans life but through him the lives of thousands of others. Fred stopped studying to become a minister before he graduated and no longer professed himself a Christian. How he must have struggled in making this decision. How common this story is of people losing their faith, good, intelligent, caring people. A great sadness of our great religions: that their most publicly fervent supporters are often the fundamentalists hijacking a life-affirming sense of openness. Often these people are going against the very tenets of the religion itself in a blind fear of “the other”, tenets of tolerance, forgiveness, compassion and in the case of Christianity brotherly love. We are all our brothers’ keepers in that we influence each person whose path we cross, for good or bad, to do so blindly, without a natural sense of openness and empathy is unwise. Wisdom flourishes by withholding judgement. Jesus himself told us to “judge not less you be judged” Judgement is the enemy of openness. Judgement is learnt. When you find you have been taught one untruth it is easy to question all you have been taught by that teacher, it is little wonder so many give up on religion. It’s O.K. to say you don’t know, you’re unsure: perhaps preferable.

H e changed courses, from divinity to medicine and after graduating did post- graduate work in ophthalmology in the U.K. He then gained valuable experience in Wales before accepting in 1965 a professorship at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He become head of the Ophthalmology Department of the near by Prince of Wales Hospital. Once again his life’s experience was to change his path. Here he met his first aboriginal eye-patients who had been sent to him by the Gurindji tribe in the Northern Territory.

This encounter was to set Fred on a course that he could never have envisaged. Up until then, he had read a bit about the plight of Aborigines but hadn’t taken much of it in. When the Gurindji committee invited him to go back with two patients to the Territory, Fred jumped at the chance and took a couple of other doctors with him. What he discovered on examining the Aboriginal stockmen of Watti Creek shocked him- eye diseases of a kind and degree that hadn’t been seen in western society for generations.

The next day he saw all the women and the day after that, all the children. Ten years and many medical surveys later, he had ticked all the boxes for the government and finally Fred was to head the two year National Trachoma and Eye Health Programme, which called on 80 eye surgeons to donate their services and several teams of full-time workers to provide eye care for 465 Aboriginal communities..

Fred refused an honorary Order of Australia during the programme (he was still a New Zealander at this stage), as a protest against the pitiful state of aboriginal health generally. Because of his outspokenness and his eagerness to help leaders in the aboriginal communities to do something about it, there were by the time the time of his death over 60 aboriginal health services in Australia, run mainly by Aboriginal people. We have one in Casino the nearest town to our home. It is wonderful and is making great improvements in the health of the many Aboriginal people living in the communities around this area. There is still a long way to go, Aboriginal people today still live far shorter lives and make up a larger percentage of the people with some chronic health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes, but at least now some positive change seems to be taking place. Thanks to Fred and those like him who give tirelessly to help others.

Fred’s eye-health crusade also took him to Third World countries. His most significant work overseas was done in Nepal and Eritrea.   The Nepal Eye Program consists of Australian- sponsored eye-camps all over the country, where well-trained local people perform excellent surgery. Another important contribution That Fred has made to these countries, one which will bear fruit for many years to come, is the establishment of locally based intra-ocular lens (IOL) factories. These greatly reduce the cost of lenses and make them affordable for those who are relatively poor. On his third visit to Eritrea, Fred developed and trained “barefoot doctors” who perform cataract extractions and lens implants- an operation that takes just 20 minutes and requires very little space and equipment. This program enables countless people to see again that would otherwise never had access to a fully trained doctor. Fred saw solutions not difficulties. No eye- doctors, simple train someone to do the procedure. What a different world it would be if we had more like Fred.

Fred had no patience with bureaucracies and avoided dealing with them wherever possible. Even Prime Ministers were not spared his wrath if he felt they were not doing enough to relieve the plight of the most needy. He received a number of national awards and honorary degrees for his humanitarian work but his greatest joy came from looking into the now seeing eyes of a fellow human being. Fred died after a long battle with cancer in1993 and is buried in the outback town of Bourke, where he conducted one of his first aboriginal eye-health projects. He is survived by his wife Gabi, his five children to her and an older family from an earlier marriage.

It seems Fred’s only sense of eternity was his belief that the quest for human liberation would go on in succeeding generations. Not afraid to say “I don’t know”, he said when asked about there being life after death, that he was not a bit sure. Nothing he did then was motivated by the though of reward in the hereafter. What appears to me to be the value that most drove his life was the equality between all people. This was the value he upheld strongly throughout his life, neither money nor where people lived was important to him. Fred Hollows didn’t call himself a Christian but he certainly lived the life that Christians aspire to.

He didn’t call himself anything; he was a man of action not labels and titles. He was simply Fred Hollows, human being. We know him today as many things but most of all we know him as being an expansive human being who questioned why things couldn’t be better and then setting out to make them better. Too big to be pigeon holed and put aside in a soon to be forgotten box,  Fred Hollows lives on, still changing the world for the better.

Before he died, Fred Hollows-dedicated eye-doctor, sometime larrikin, social activist and loving husband and father- said he hoped that he had given more to life than he had taken. This hope was one expressed in a piece of verse by the American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. These lines of the poem hung on Fred’s office wall and you would think they were written with him in mind.

To laugh often and much,

To win the respect of intelligent people,

And the affection of children,

To earn the appreciation of honest critic

And to endure the betrayal of false friends,

To appreciate beauty,

To find the best in others,

To leave the world a bit better,

Whether by a healthy child, a garden patch

Or a redeemed social condition,

To know even one life has breathed easier

Because you lived,

This is to have succeeded.

R.W.Emerson.

Never having had the privilege of meeting Fred Hollow I will never know for sure what drove him to be the extraordinary human being he was, but around me in country Australia, I see a few others who like him give their lives to the service of others. They battle the odds and try to make a difference. One man, Darcy Goodwin started a soup bus taking food to those in need. He has passed on but his work continues. A local doctor, Chris Ingall pushed for a Cancer facility in near by Lismore. He travelled miles talking to people about the suffering of those who had to travel many up to 5 hours a day, day after day to get radiotherapy treatment. He inspired people to do something. So tired, with bags under his eyes that aged him ten years, he sat through endless after work meetings. At first the authorities said he was grandstanding but as people became aware of the unnecessary added suffering of people with cancer they petitioned government in the tens of thousands and today Lismore has an amazing state of the art Cancer Care Unit. Others, inspired rose up, fundraised and shamed the government into providing units to house the patients so they didn’t have to travel long distances for weeks, day after day, while so sick. Still others started a transport service for those close by but too sick to drive. People stepped up, one by one inspired by others. Together they made a huge difference to the suffering of people around them and their families. Few can manage to change the world on the scale that Fred but they weren’t trying to change the world they were just trying to make their little bit of it a more caring, equitable place and that was after all what Fred did. He started with what he saw around him, looked at it and worked out what he could do to make it better. Like him they are doing their bit, making life better for others one act at a time. The verse by R.W Emerson seems to be their mantra as well.

What a different world we would have if we all stepped in and did our bit. So many possibilities, as it says in the words of a famous song “from little things, big things grow”

So much to change! But if we have the will…Fred’s will anything is possible!

Perhaps we all need that poem on our wall!

Sometimes you have to think outside the square

Cows in Queensland floods

Photo from State Emergency Service Queensland’s Facebook page

No words are needed for this picture but it provokes so many thoughts that I find it’s impossible not to write about it. How did the cows get there? Swim?

Well… maybe some farmer who loved his cows rounded them up and used great ingenuity to get them up to this his only high dry and safe place.

Having said that a peek inside the house could also prove interesting!

Farmers have had it really tough of late not just with the floods but also with the fires. We so often forget the plight of all animals when disaster strikes. Reporting is all about people (naturally) and infrastructure but the animals are pretty much forgotten.

I still can’t get out of my mind the picture of a farmer who after the recent fires was on TV pleading with the insurance companies to let him put his burnt animals out of their suffering before the assessor came to view them. Anyone who has any experience with burns would have been cringing as he said “they are cooked meat walking”. If he put them down the insurance company wouldn’t pay him. It could be days before the assessor could get to see his animals. Yes, it is easy for us to say put them down anyway but he had lost fences, sheds, feed and who knows what equipment, not an old man he probably had family to support and how do you have any hope of starting again without the insurance money. My heart went out to him, he wasn’t like us miles away looking at a picture he was standing there, with the smell of burnt flesh and pitiful bleating, fighting back his tears

Farmers have done it more than tough and not just lately. Enquires into stand over tactics used by big supermarket chains are about to begin. Finally after years of suffering those who have been driven to the wall have started speaking out. Times are tough for many, although certainly not all, (there are some obvious exceptions) but for farmers, of all kinds, they have been the toughest of all and I for one won’t be bad mouthing them and blaming them for the price rises these disasters bring, in fact I will be shopping at the shops that aren’t spending mega bucks on advertising to brag to us that they are squeezing the last drops of blood out of farmers to keep prices “down, down and staying down!”

When Australia as a country can no longer feed her people, when the spirit of her farmers has been broken and the last of them has given up and gone we will miss them.

It has been said before it isn’t until the last tree is … trees, koalas, whales, farmers, clean water uncontaminated by mining all going, going soon maybe gone… I wonder if the last greedy human will be missed as much. I think not. For now it is heart warming to see this picture and reassuring to see that at least a few are strong and clever enough to survive the disasters rained upon them by both man and nature. The words of a song drift into my mind “Each day when I wake up, before I put on my make up, I say a little prayer for you…” The Buddhists have a wonderful prayer that says…

May all sentient beings have happiness and the cause of happiness.

May all sentient beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

May all sentient beings not be separated from the bliss that is free of suffering.

May all sentient beings live in equanimity, free from attachment and hatred, towards those near and far.

(The Four Immeasurable Prayers.)