A light hearted yet real article highlighting that the experience of grief can and does arise in various ways. For many our football clubs are like family. The highs and lows we learn to ride.
My trip to Scotland through March and July 2020 was cancelled due to covid19.
During this time I reallocated my energy to finalise my family history studies at the University of Tasmania.
One of my assignments included a photo essay. I had not done one of these before. A photo essay is a collection of images and short captions that strung together tell a story.
I hope you enjoy my photo essay which shares my personal experience of the impact covid-19 has had on my personal life.
Enlightened travel is travel that illuminates. It is conscious, aligned and attuned to you as a spiritual being. It gives one the opportunity to gain insight into ones true self. It is a process that provides growth, experience and expansion for the whole being. It goes beyond travelling purely for the humanness and drops the traveller deeper into themselves, showing them more of who they are.
It is travel with soul purpose. Through travel we are exposed to new experiences. With soul awareness we become aware of how we feel in a place. Have you as a soul lived ‘here’ before? How do you feel in a place. There will be places that may remind you of other moments in your souls journey – some pleasant, others not so. You could be given the opportunity to heal wounds you didn’t know existed that have been carried through lifetimes.
It is a portal, a pathway to accelerate ones healing and self-actualisation process. It results in greater awareness of self, a deepening connectedness with oneself and of the land. A releasing of limiting and harmful personality and egoic behaviours, patterns and programs.
At Kincardine by Duone, Scotland my four times great grandparents John Junkine and Johanna Stewart Graham were married on the 16th Nov 1816. Whilst one of many great grandparents I have traced, this particular marriage took my attention. Why? Because of the place. Duone, Scotland.
8 months prior;
Duone Castle has a commanding presence. Sitting majestically atop a small rise it dominates the skyline. I arrived here late in the afternoon as part of a one-day Outlander tour. Yes, I am a bonafide Outlander tragic. For those fellow Outlander fans, Duone Castle was the filming location for Castle Leoch. If you aren’t an Outlander tragic, this castle was also the filming location for Game of Thrones Winterfell (in the pilot) and used in one of the Monty Python movies.
I digress. Having undertaken the audio tour within the Castle, I found myself standing outside now taking in the surrounds. The wind was chilly and what was left of the sun was setting, the day was coming to a close. My gaze wandered attempting to take it all in. To the right of the Castle, my eyes came upon an opening. The explorer in me wanted to follow the path. The little girl within me was frightened, fearful of being told off for going where she shouldn’t. There was no sign to indicate I could or couldn’t follow the track. I had time. Others were still inside the castle. Like the girls at Hanging Rock, something pulled me towards the opening. Even if I wanted to stay still I couldn’t. My legs had their agenda. They were at the whimsy of a force that I couldn’t see yet could feel. Hesitantly I took the first few steps and started up the small incline. Trees framed the castle to the right. The path went along the wall of the castle. I couldn’t see what was on the other side. It didn’t matter. I was being called by the land. I followed.
My heartbeat increased. My palms were sweaty. I felt excited and scared simultaneously.
My pace quickened. The closer I got to the top I could hear water. Yet I couldn’t see. As I reached the top and walked through the opening, I saw a river to the right. It was barely visible through the trees and was a far drop from where I stood. One false step and I would be tumbling down into the river. This river swept alongside the perimeter of this Castle on a hill. It was moving quickly. It had an energy of its own. In rhythm, the winds swept through the trees. The sounds enticing. The wind through the trees, the sound of the icy cold water currents making music. Music that my heart connected to.
Whilst the path continued further alongside the Castle, I didn’t move. I stood transfixed. Taking it all in. My heart rate increasing, my arms sweaty. I became aware of my emotions. Something was stirring within me, deep out of sight. Like a train coming through the tunnel, these emotions roared towards me. I closed my eyes in an attempt to block the noise and feelings. It was no use. I was at its mercy. A part of me yelled “Move, get out of here,” but I couldn’t. I was engulfed. Tears began trickling down my cheeks. Like waves crashing the shore, emotions of grief, of loss a rage and anger tossed me. Tears continued to fall. What the hell was happening? I had not been here before. Logically this made no sense whatsoever “get a grip” I told myself. It was pointless. I was at its mercy. Whatever drew me towards the small opening wanted me here, now. To feel this, to release. I surrendered to my experience and allowed the tears to flow without trying to work it all out.
As quickly as this began , it stopped. The wind ceased. The trees became still. The river became calmer. Their dance, their music had slowed. Calm surrounded me. My breath returned to its normal pace and air entered my lungs. I became aware of myself within the surroundings once more. I was completely alone. No one or nothing was in sight. My legs were heavy and planted firmly in place. How long had I been here? What just happened? I allowed the questions to move through my mind. Knowing answers would not come. It was pointless. I sat down and felt the coolness of the grass on my legs and buttocks. This took the heat out of my body. As much as I wanted to get up and run away. I knew something had occurred, a transformation, a release or recognition of what was. Something had happened at this place not to me as Libby, but along the time line. There was a recognising beyond the physicalness of self. I had made myself available, I placed myself here and the opening presented. Healing had begun, transformation occurring. What was locked up was now released.
As I carefully made my way back around to the front of the Castle I stood and looked back. Was this a portal? A path to another time? Logically it doesn’t make sense yet the experience was real and profound.
Duone, the place, the River was now firmly entrenched in me. I knew I had to research this place further. What had happened historically? What went on in this castle that could have left such an imprint of grief and loss? Were my ancestors connected to this land? I was curious and the exploration would continue.
Whilst part of the Outlander tour, I didn’t realise that my casual visit to the Castle would result in such a profound experience.
On my return to Australia, I tagged Duone as a place to explore further. One day casually reviewing ancestry tips I was going ‘down the rabbit hole’ with my fourth great grandparents. As you do, you open tips and see what they reveal. Most times they are insignificant. Yet this day, Duone was looking straight back at me through the search records. I squealed with delight when I saw they were married here. I had connected the place and my profound experience with my ancestors. It wasn’t just some random experience. Two of the dots connected.
In regards to the grief I felt, I discovered that the Castle was used as a Jacobite prison and a dower house for widowed Queens. One can only imagine the sense of grief that was imprinted on the land from its previous use.
Doune Castle (pronounced ‘doon’)
- The castle is sited on a wooded bend where the Ardoch Burn flows into the River Teith.
- It lies 8 miles north-west of Stirling, where the Teith flows into the River Forth.
- 14th-century courtyard castle
- Built for the Regent Albany
- Substitutes for the fictional Castle Leoch in Outlander was used in the pilot series of Game of Thrones (Winterfell) and in Monty Python
- Later was a royal residence, dower house for widowed queens and a Jacobite prison
No two journeys are ever the same. Yet how many of us return to a particular place seeking to re-experience what we once did? We all have a favourite place to travel back to, a reminder of precious moments that left us feeling connected and enlivened. Experiences such as a great dinner in a restaurant, the view from a mountain top or sunset at a beach, walking through a forest, taking in the sights of a historic town or sporting event.
These experiences leave such a mark that we yearn to return, to re-experience the delight and re-activation of our senses. Its imprint can be so strong that we make that moment mean something. This place becomes a symbol of that moment. Regardless of what it was, there is a part of you that identifies that place and moment as special; it is an anchor of happiness, of joy.
The imprint of this can be so strong that when we seek to re-experience happiness, we can go looking for that once more. It can become a longing, a yearning for something that was. This doesn’t even need to be related to travel. Even a local restaurant, or going to the football, a social gathering can have the same impact. It is the association of place with experience.
For me that place is Melbourne. It is home. The place I was born, lived for over 40 years and have raised my young family within. Living interstate now for just on ten years, I still need to travel ‘home’ to Melbourne, usually once or twice a year. As I say to many I need my ‘Melbourne fix’. You don’t realise the energy of a city until you no longer live within it. There is something about your home city, a physical connection to land and place that engenders a sense of belonging.
I love watching my footy team play at the MCG, going to the Theatre, visiting the National Gallery, shopping, eating and walking along some of my favourite streets and parks.
Chapel St, South Yarra is a place I associate with fun times and warm hearted memories. It is a lively street full of cafes, boutique shops, trams bustling along, people immersing themselves in life, Channel 10, apartment buildings…. the list goes on. It wasn’t a place I lived in when I was in Melbourne, but as a tourist it is a fab place to base yourself. This recent trip was my fourth and I was keen to eat cake at my favourite patisserie, browse the shops (that I don’t have access to in Perth) and soak up the atmosphere. Super excited once more for these experiences.
On this most recent trip, when I started to walk up Chapel St it was different. My favourite cake shop was gone, the clothing boutique I loved had closed, many shops were ‘for let’ and a huge apartment block had been developed completely changing the landscape of the street. It was such a disorienting experience. Everything I was looking for, that I associated with joy was gone. My expectations weren’t being met. I felt deflated and sad for what was and no longer is. It became just another street.
The same can occur when you return home to visit family. We can take a snapshot of our time together and put it in a photo frame etched in our mind. We can assume that when we go back that we are all the same, that we can pick up from where the photo was taken. It is not often the case though. People change. You change. The place changes. Attempting to reinvent or assuming it is the same can be naive. It can be confronting.
“But places change; they go on without you…For the truth is that you can never simply “go back”, to home or to anywhere else. When you get “there” the place will have moved on just as you yourself will have changed”A Thin Place: a narratives of space and place, Celtic spirituality and meaning’ Laura Beres
I have had a similar experience travelling to Central Australia. I first travelled to Uluru in the mid 2000’s. My husband and I took our three kids there twice, once in a campervan ( yes we drove from Melbourne to Central Australia with three kids in a campervan! ) the other in a motorhome (not much better actually!) . Exploring this land with my family was special, introducing them to our Indigneous culture, watching a sunrise at Uluru and walking the valley at Kata Tjuta. It did have a profound effect on me. The imprint is so strong that I returned there on two other occasions on my own; once in 2011 and again in 2012. These journeys were different. As I should have expected them to be because I was on my own.
Uluru became a symbol of vastness, expansiveness and stillness. Something I experience ‘there’ but often nowhere else. It is a deeply spiritual place and the connection to land seeps up through the souls of your feet and into your bloodstream. You become one with all that is. There is no separateness. This was a feeling I didn’t always have in a city. Uluru became a place I thought I needed to be ‘in’ to feel this way.
Six years later I returned to this magical place, alone, with fond memories and seeking. Not sure what for but I was returning looking for something I previously had. When I arrived, nothing happened. The ‘wow’ didn’t occur. The tears didn’t trickle out of my eye and my breath didn’t get taken away. Uluru was there with its incredible strong and steady presence and the domes of Kata Tjuta still embraced me in her warmth. Yet it wasn’t the same as before. Clearly I was looking for something ‘that was’. I was yearning for a past experience in the present moment. Once more I was shown that time moves, change is the constant and experiences can not be re-created.
Which brings me to presentness. What my recent experiences travelling back to Melbourne and Central Australia have shown was the beauty of being in the moment. Accepting that this moment is the only one. You need to fully immerse yourself in it. Because you don’t know what will come next. It is accepting that you will change, the place itself may not physically change (in its structure) but it changes in its own unique way. The trees change, animals evolve and the landscape adapts. The wind will be different, the heat of the sun is more intense, the air is different, there are new native flowers blooming, the scent of the gum tree unique, the she oak trees aged … it all changes. So fully immerse yourself in where you are now. Take it in deeply to your heart core and relish every miniscule of it.
Looking for what was, creates expectations.
Expectations, if not fulfilled lead to disappointment. It also strips you from the wondrous gift of being fully present in the moment and to what is offered there and then. Spending time seeking for what was, denies what is.
Travel with an open mind and heart.
#enlightenedtraveller #melbourne #richmond #centralaustralia
Writers write for many reasons and in many ways.
I use writing as a process of self-awareness and self-discovery.
What do I mean by ‘writing for process’?
- It is free flow unfiltered writing
- It is simply writing what is within you, your thoughts, emotions and voices
- It is a journey deeper into self
- Its allowing the thoughts in your head to be written down unfettered
- It is simply getting everything that is circling and thrashing within to come out
- It is about writing to reveal
- It is writing to become aware of what is going on within me that maybe getting in the way
- It is writing through ones heart, not head. So that the way becomes clearer and is less interfered with my human needs and limitations.
- It is writing as a channel for the best version of self to come forth
- It is writing to become aware of the next steps to take
It is a way of:
- Connecting with who I am
- Of Understanding me better and what makes me tick
- coming fact to face with my own falsities
- Revealing parts of me that have been unconscious
It is where there is:
- No set destination
- No pre-determined outcome
- No parameters
- No timeframe
- No formatting or editing
- No right or wrong
- No spelling correction
My head gets so full. Thoughts thrashing around. Which way is up? Sometimes I don’t know. I feel engulfed by my emotions and feelings. Where am I in all of this? So much internal noise. It keeps me stuck constrained blocked and confused.
Where am ‘I’ in all of this? How do I find ‘me’ in amongst the distraction? I know the space I seek. It is within me. It is a still point in my centre. Not a human physical centre but a place within me, from which all comes forth. It is a centre, a portal a way through to my eternalness. It is the place from which I connect to me, the planet, to creative source, to soul as spirit. It gets clouded by the chitter chatter, the busyness of life and by my own ignorance.
Whilst I do my best to ignore its existence it is the place that the answers lie. It’s the way. It’s the point from my which I live. Its where I listen and hear the whisper of the universe, its where the guidance awaits. I just need to be stop, be still, listen, receive and act.
How do we reach this place? For me writing as a process takes me to this place.
- Create the space so you won’t be disturbed
- Gather your tools
- laptop (I suggest you don’t use a laptop, if you want to turn autocorrect and spell checker ‘off’)
- pen and paper
- Turn off your phone and laptop (if you are not using it)
- Remove all distraction
- Light a candle
- Create a sacred ritual for communion
Whatever works and simply ask …
- What is it that needs to come out?
- What is it I need to hear?
- What is going on within me?
- What can’t I see? What do I need to see?
Ask the questions and wait. It may take a while for words to come. But be ready for when they do. You are the scribe of your heart and head. You are the channel from which this comes forth. Allow.
You may need to build trust with yourself. This can be a vulnerable and intimate process. Be gentle don’t force build trust. Hold the compassion for yourself. In some moments bucket loads will come out , in others maybe just one or two sentences. Whatever comes is right for that moment.
So ask, listen and write. When it stops simply ask “what else?” and repeat the process. You are entering another layer, going deeper in.
And repeat, layer after layer, deeper and deeper in to that still point. Your centre from which your creativity, your inspiration, your delicious way comes forth. ‘She’ is there waiting.
When you seek an answer go inward. Write your way.
It’s about reading to review and gain insight.
By writing it out what will be revealed to you?
What to do with what is revealed?
- You can read it back and take out the pearls. Take them. Review. Reflect. Leg go.
- Write a new script, one from your heart.
- You can burn it through ritual and let it go with gratitude
- You can rip it up and throw it out.
- You can use it as a guide of what to look out for.
If you choose to read it back, do so with compassion. The truth is within if you want to hear it. You don’t need to keep the writings. It’s about clearing your head so your heart can be heard. Judging what you write will only block the process. You need to create a safe and nurturing space from which you can hear the voices in your heart.
Then ask yourself these questions
- Who are these voices?
- Is it your voice or that of another?
- Is it an old parameter? Lens? Filter?
- Is it an outdated condition that is in the way?
- Where are my limitations?
- What stories am I telling me about myself? About my life?
- What am I playing like a broken record?
- What new voices/ scripts do I need to write now?
Work with your words. Move through the process. You will arrive at a new place. A place of less resistance, a place reflective of who you truly are.
Writing for process, to move through, to clear, to gain insight can take you deeper into you.
It is about connecting with the unconscious within and bringing it to light.
Every evening I sit, reflect and review. I enter my sacred room, I light candles, play soothing music, place a cashmere wrap over my shoulders, choose a crystal to hold, open my journal to a blank page and ensure a pen is handy. I sit and allow. I connect deeper into self. I clear the day of its busyness, my mind of its to do list and wind back through the activities. It’s a time to commune, to listen and allow.
Four months ago during this time, I felt a flutter in my heart. The slightest of sensation that filled me with joy and wonder of ‘what if’? What if I did return to Scotland? To live and work and immerse myself in this land and its people for an extended period of time? This flutter in my heart expanded my senses and woke me from a slumber. It was delicious. I took some preliminary steps. I researched ancestry visas, I spoke to real estate agents about listing my house for sale. I took a contracted part time role at work. Three months. At the end of those three months I would go. November 2019 I would be in Scotland. A commitment made to self and the Universe. The smallest of flutters, the wildest of drams.
It is now November. Where am I? I am not in Scotland. Speaking with my counsellor this morning we went exploring. Just how did this happen? What didn’t I do? What did I do? Quite literally, I went back to sleep. I ignored the flutter. I continued to work, get swept up in the day to day, stayed in my box, I didn’t feed the dream. I allowed laziness and unworthiness to drive. I let the fear take over. Fear of not selling the house for the right price, not having the funds I would need, fear of leaving my kids, fear of what others would think, fear of what I would think, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear….. Yet I wasn’t aware this is what was happening. I remained unconscious to the internal dynamics playing out. I didn’t trust in myself or in the Universe. Fear was in the driver’s seat.
My tiny little mental thought it new better. It thought it new the way. Three months ago when ‘we’ did the numbers I didn’t have enough to cover the expenses so I stopped. The numbers on paper didn’t add up the way I wanted them too. I backed out. I didn’t trust the feeling. I ignored my heart. The whisper of my heart that said “it’s okay, we’ve got this, just take the step” I didn’t listened. There was too much fear going on. Fear interference. So I continued my life as I knew it safe in the knowing that ‘one day’ I will have the money.
Four weeks out from that November 1st dream I received unexpected additional financial resources. The exact amount of money that I needed for the trip to Scotland in November. I was simultaneously grateful for the gift and felt like the wind had been kicked out of my guts. Here it was. Exactly what I needed. ‘She’ knew, she delivered the financial resources I needed. And I wasn’t ready. I missed the boat. I didn’t follow through on what I was guided to do 12 weeks ago. I decided out of fear and thinking I knew it all that I wouldn’t have the money, so we will wait.
Right now though I feel out of place. I should be in Scotland. It feels like a part of me is there. It is waiting for me. For me to get my shit together and catch up. There was an opening and I missed it. I feel like I missed the sliding door moment. I have to work with how this feels now. I need to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I need to trust that another opening will present. I will be ready.
Now the money is there, it’s available. But my house isn’t sold, I don’t have the visa, I don’t have a flight booked and the work isn’t lined up. The Universe was there and ready. I wasn’t. I feel ashamed for not listening and trusting in her. I feel humiliated in the realisation that I allowed fear to be in the driver’s seat.
Now I will listen, I will follow and act. The Universe speaks through feeling. Feeling through the heart. My head is where the limitation lies. My heart is the connector to all that is, to Universal flow, the oneness of all life, the biggerness of ‘I’ as soul, as spirit in this body.
Fascinating article published in the Journal for the Study of Spirituality (Beres, 2018) exploring how travel can become a spiritual pilgrimage.
Laura Béres (2018) How travel might become more like spiritual pilgrimage: An autoethnographic study, Journal for the Study of Spirituality, 8:2, 160-172, DOI: 10.1080/20440243.2018.1523048
The life our ancestors lived can influence who we are now. ‘Transgenerational’ relates to the ‘transference through generations’. It is the interconnectedness of all. There is no isolation.
Like the rippling effect of a pebble hitting a smooth lake surface, so can our ancestors life experiences move through us.
The influence of which may be seen in our:
- coping mechanisms
- fears and anxieties
Trauma too can be transmitted across generations. Unresolved trauma can be carried genetically. Our life experiences can modify our DNA. Epigenetic changes are transmitted from parent to child during conception and pregnancy. Explore this further by reading my blog on epigenetics.Continue reading “How your ancestors can be influencing your life”
What influence does it have on who you are?
There is evidence epigenetic changes are transmitted from parent to child during conception and pregnancy. Leading into the concept of inheritance. How the events of our lives could affect the development of our own children. Alongside this is how we have been impacted by our ancestors and their life experiences.
What we experience in our lifetime can modify our DNA, and its these changes that can be passed down through generations. It is epigenetics that facilitates this transfer/influence between generations, what can be referred to as ‘transgenerational’. Through the generations.
Epigenetics is defined as:
- the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.
Our DNA is our unique song. The genome, the double helix DNA code unique to us. This ‘song’ remains constant.
Our epigenome (which sits in your cells with your genome) is a set of instructions that decides which bits of your DNA are activated, or which genes are switched on or off. We have many epigenomes as every different type of cell in the body has its own epigenome. These ‘audio engineers’ are fluid, changing as we develop. They impact upon our cells, how they function and our health overall.
“genes are the unique song of you,
but epigenomes decide how that music is played over generations”Kylie Martin