Incubate The Idea And Let It Fly

via Daily Prompt: Incubate


A nest we found in the garden. The incubation over, the eggs all hatched, the fledglings all flown, the nest redundant.

Incubation is that long period of waiting after the eggs have been laid. The mother’s body heat progressing the maturation of the chicks, then feeding the young till ready to fly and gain their own independence.

The end of incubation is hatching. But incubation is only an entree, a door to life, the nest merely a stageing-post that must be departed. There must be a letting go or incubation is wasted, at best stalled.

The same goes for us, we can stay in the procrastination nest too long if we’re not careful, ideas, opportunities, processes, designs, must at some point be accepted and engaged. The procrastination nest can be enticing, it’s warm and comfortable, safe, a place to glory in the thoughts and plans that might be, just some more refining? But at some point we must let go and let the idea fly, test its wings, and make its mark. I wonder what its like for a chick to take that first leap into the void, for us it might be fear, nausea, discomfort, anxiety. For some it might well be positive, exhilarating, but if it’s not, then we resist and risk missing the moment. You might crash a few times but that’s better than curling up and wasting the idea. Don’t fear the risk, take the leap, your idea is worth that much, so let it fly.



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Filed under Gardening, life, nature


via Daily Prompt: Wrinkle


A rock face along one side of Kings Canyon. Wrinkled, weathered sandstone. The cause? Rain, wind and sun. Not unlike skin weathering from the same sources. In the millennia past it was moving water, a river or two, a lake, that weathered these rocks in the Katarrka National Park.


And from the same section, rippled sandstone reflecting the movement of wind and water across the surface of the rock.

In high school I had an art teacher who decided to show us the power of water. He rigged up a large plastic bottle and placed opal in it, and hooked up a belt and motor to turn the bottle, which also had sand and water in it. Over a year there was some change in the rock, it was smoother, the water and sand had begun to have an affect. Which reminds me of a Japanese saying: “In the struggle between the stone and water, in time the water wins.” But the rock is not destroyed, it is transformed, Transformed in to sand, pebbles, and rocks.

Our bodies take a hammering from the elements, just like the rock. I like to think that our bodies are well worn rock, where the rock has begun to smooth off and yet not lose its strength or character. In fact, as we age, I think we gain more strength and character. In this way rock and water are in parnership, and change results. Our wrinkles, both the outward and the inner ones, are the result of the forces of wear and pressure, they reflect a life lived. It’s the inner ones, the psychological scars that last the longest, and take time to be transfomed, but they are as and when we let our inner self be exposed to the forces of transformation.




Filed under bush walking, environment, history, life, nature

Thought Provoking

via Daily Prompt: Provoke

If you haven’t seen the 2001 movie ‘Samsara’ it is a definite must, for me it has been a thought provoking movie. Don’t confuse it with the doco Samsara of 2012 from the makers of Baraka (a feast for the eyes), or a TV series of that name. This is a simple trailer, but you can find the full movie on Youtube (with subtitles).

The movie title ‘Samsara’ has a particular meaning in Buddhism. It refers to the endless cylcle of birth, death and rebirth, or put plainly – the life of suffering and dissatisfaction (dukka). The movie takes up this theme of suffering and dissatisfaction through the eyes and life of a Buddhist monk called Tashi. Tashi is awakened from a three year solitary meditation period in the mountains, he is now considered an enlightened being. When he returns to the monastery he finds his sexual urges awakening too, and he eventually leaves and marries Pema and runs a farm. But following an infidelity, and news of the death of his monastic mentor, Tashi is wracked by guilt, and eventually decides to leave Pema and his son Karma and return to the monastry. The movie is powerfully emotive, and is both a love story and a spiritual story. If you want to you can stay on the surface with Samsara, but you can also go deeper. Samsara delves into some key issues of life, love. sex, relationship, spirituality, fidelity, and integrity. It is in fact both a sad movie, and one that moves you and offers hope. It carries the message of the need to be careful in discerning one’s path in life, and that self is not always the best reference point in discerning our path.

One of the most thought provoking moments (among many) is the ending, where Tashi encounters a quote on a stone: “How can one prevent a drop of water from ever drying up?” to which the answer is given as: “By throwing it into the sea.” This is taken as a sign that he is drying up and needs to be back in the sea of the monastery. The overall theme is that life in the monstery life is not perfect, but there is more suffering in engaging the life beyond the monastery than inside it. It also speaks very clearly to me that one’s vocational path can become weary, but the grass is not always greener in other places or roles. In one sense, if you’re looking for a happy ending the movie doesn’t resolve well, and yet, if you look deeply into it, it does resolve well because everyone returns to what they believe they are called to be doing. However, the movie dies not condemn nor judge Tashi, but simply observes his choices.

For me the movie speaks strongly of choices yet of discerning the right pathway and being authentic to that pathway (dhamma). Other traditions would talk about sowing and reaping, or – what goes around comes around, or further still – be careful what you wish/pray for. It moved me deeply, I found it hard to rejoin the world for a time after the movie had finished, such was its impact on me. For me it invites the question of – what sea should I be thrown into in order that I not dry up?



Filed under community, environment, history, life, love, meditation, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, Spirituality

The Noise of Silence

via Daily Prompt: Noise


Nightfall just south of Marla (South Australia) so peaceful, the silence is powerful.

I often think of noise differently. I often hope my silence is noisy, as a sense of presence, a calm, so that my silence shouts to the world – there is another way. I was once in a contemplative space and someone interrupted the silence some of us were enjoying, and I quipped, sarcastically, “Is my silence interrupting your noise?” Sometimes silence isn’t noisy enough to grab other people’s attention so that they can see it, feel it, and know it. There are times I hope it is an example, as we say of meditation, we hope our non-reactive silence is helpful and calming. Remember the old saying: “Actions speak louder than words.”

With the noise of deadlines, electronica, health issues, discord, celebrations, shopping centres, busy roads, bustling streets, the jarring noises of life can be debilitating, energy sapping. But silence is a worthy noise. Silence is a contempative stance, a space to claim against the heft of noise, and a place to rejuvenate. It is pleasant work, and it is work because you have to work hard to make the time for silence, and to stick at it. But is work that is deeply invested in your health, body, mind and soul.

And silence is the only space in which we can meaningfully hold ourselves and others with an ear to empathy and compassion. I personally find my reflective and contemplative practices increase my ability to empathise, and to compassionately engage with others. For me an investment in silence is the best noise to engage with.



Filed under life, meditation, mindfulness, nature, self-development, Spirituality

Grasping The Hot Coal

via Daily Prompt: Grasp


The quote is often attributed to the Buddha, however, he never said it (see: It is thought to have originated from the fifth century commentator Buddhaghosa who said: “By doing this you are like a man who wants to hit another and picks up a burning ember or excrement in his hand and so first burns himself or makes himself stink.” Visuddimagga 1X,23. At least the Quotery didn’t get it wrong.

What a great quote! Another great teacher, Jesus, once said “… do not let the sun go down on your anger …” So a similar perspective – don’t hang onto it.

Whichever quote you choose, the point is made, that anger grasped and held is toxic. We know that feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are, but when we hang onto one or another they change us. Science can now show how the hormones associated with anger, especially when suppressed or lacking expression, poison our system affecting us body, mind and soul. Stress, cardio, respiratory, muscle, blood, all deeply affected. Anger is normal in context, but to never express it or deal with it will affect our lives in every way. When anger becomes a pathology, a way of being, a default, it cripples us, and especially because in that way, we are most likely unaware of it. It can be difficult when anger is attached to identity issues, rejection, depression (anger turned inwards) suppressed gratification, bullying and so on. However, we must learn to let go, to set issues aside, to talk it through, to call for help, get a perspective, find a position of empathy and compassion, I find meditation forms very helpful. Anger isn’t wrong, just don’t hang onto it otherwise it will consume you. Besides, who wants to be defiend by anger?




Filed under life, mindfulness, psychology, self-development, Spirituality

A Captivating Dream

via Daily Prompt: Captivating


It is not slender, it is not pretty (to some), it is not straight or elegant or young. It is in fact old, gnarled and mishapen. It has obviously survived fires, storms, wind damage, dry spells and more. Yet it is captivating for the real life it offers. As with any tree it offers me the Co2 – O2 exchange that is vital to my very breath. It provides shade for the understory and any creature that passes by. Many living things exist in its bark, or depend on its leaves, transpiration, or shed detritus that helps form the humous at its base. Its blossom is a source of nectar for indigenous bees as well as European honey bees, and for a variety of insects. Its seed provides new life and is a food source too. Probably the fact that it is so gnarly has saved it from the tree fellers over the past four decades, so it is a survivor. Which just goes to show that looks aren’t everything. I was captivated by it. It is striking by comparison, and stands out in the forest of straight and elegant comapnions.

Back in 1980, the story of Joseph Merrick resurfaced through a movie made by David Lynch, called the “Elephant Man.” It had little chance of being uplifting, it was in fact, deeply saddening. Merrick died at 27 due to compications of his body weight to head weight ratio. I left the movie feeling quite heavy, mostly because of the lack of knowledge then to help him adapt to a better to life, and also because of how some in society treated him. Merrick was a real person, but not everyone treated him as such.

Scroll forward to another movie in 2001, “Shallow Hal” by the Farrelly Brothers. It was a comedy, but a very real look into the real potential for humanity to be superficial and shallow in regard to relationships. It had a manufactured ending, it was after all a work of fiction, so it ended well. But it resonated for me in my experiences of people who only see the surface of anything or anyone. But in reality, as we develop in life, we are all faced with the moment of choice – are relationships merely about taking, or are they mutual? The latter, of course, relies on our wholeness and our ability to see beyond self.

I am captivated by the life force and life giving capacity of the gnarled old tree. I was captivated by the story of Joseph Merrick and his struggle in the sea of human indifference, a short life that, perhaps, only pointed to the need for a better way, but that was something. And I was captivated by the desire of the makers of Shallow Hal to make the movie resolve in favour of true love, honesty, and integrity (but then, it is a hollywood production) in a world where, sometimes, the complete opposite is true in relationships.

My hope, dream, is that we will all be captivated by the real self in relation to other real selves, that we are not blindly becoming consumers of other people, that we’re not just in some symbiotic dependency, but rather in mutual and interdependent relationships that share values and dreams, love, compassion, and hope ….

In a time when our fellow life forms need advocacy, when sexual identity has become a battle ground, when class remains and economic injustice, and where wealth remains an obscenity, and where leadership has become a vacuous celebrity circus, we need the real.

I’m captivated by the potential of all forms of life, in particular, by the potential of humanity to excell and rise above shallow and look deeply inside to see the true beauty of all living things. Imagine.




Filed under community, environment, history, life, love, nature, self-development

My Meander

via Daily Prompt: Meander


The Warren River meanders for only 137 kms from its orign at the Tone and Perup Rivers near Manjimup and Pemberton, and down to the Southern Ocean, but it is one of the beautiful rivers of the south west. This photo is from Moon’s Crossing, near the public campsite, the last of the mist is still palpable, the glassy water a beautiful, reflective mirror. So peaceful, so inspiring.

Author, among many succesful charisms, Toni Morrison once said: “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.”

The great (well I think he was great) poet TS Eliot wrote in his work ‘Little Gidding’ “We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Neither is talking just about geography. They are addressing the inner life. Neither is being ironic, nor negative, or limited in their thinking. The yearning to return to the place we began is not to go backwards, but rather to appreciate in greater depth the journey to self. Such a journey is one of self discovery, the opening of the heart, even to pain and disappointment, the discovery of limitation, love and also otherness, to appreciate beauty in all forms, to know passion, to know oneness.

As we meander through life we do, at times, inwardly yearn to make sense of it all, even in the present moment. Eliot captures this briliantly. We return to where we began, but with new eyes, new insight. Because we cannot leave ourselves, we can only see with new eyes, experiences on the journey are all about arriving at self but with a completely new view framed and underpinned by our experiences. Which Proust famously pointed out when he said: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” By which he meant new inner eyes. I am who I am, but the journey opens me to the possibility of new insights and discoveries of self which enable growth and change. My new horizons come from how I engage with life, love, nature, realtionships, disappoinments, passion, and find fulfilment in expression as I continue to meander through each day. It is then I know something new about myself or some experience, some feeling, for the first time. That moment of epiphany is potent, difficult to articulate, and at times overwhelming in its beauty, as much as its formative pain.



Filed under bush walking, Country, environment, life, mindfulness, nature, Spirituality