The End of the World as we know it…

Bunker
Standard

About a month ago I was at the Dentist for a checkup and annual clean of my teeth. Since it had been some time since an x-ray was done, I followed the dentist’s advice and allowed her to do one. Unfortunately my financial situation is such that I have to make choices as to what to spend my money on and when, so when she suggested to treat a cavity that showed up on the x-ray sooner rather than later, I decided to do it later. The reason was that I had just started my new business of conducting Wim Hof Method workshops as a newly qualified Instructor and expected to make a little extra money on top of my meagre part time casual Nursery job very soon. I felt on top of the world, for finally, after 5 years of living on the edge of poverty without my husbands income and getting by with insufficient funds from the Government, I saw a ray of Sunshine brightening up our future.

I organised one workshop in February and planned on doing at least 3 through March, making it a regular highlight in the local Sports and Recreation Centre as more people started to find out about it. The signs were hopeful as I saw my second workshop selling a lot faster and to more people than my first, that just broke even or maybe lost a little, with only two people present. I was still happy despite that, for one participant left a lovely review, which showed my capacity and care helping convince future potential participants to give it a go too. I am still waiting to see what the return will be as I am currently still awaiting my reimbursement from the ‘Hoffice’, as we call the Wim Hof Method headquarters in the Netherlands.

Needless to explain, as of last week I had to cancel all future plans for live workshops indefinitely and a feeling of powerlessness started to overshadow my life. The cavity was still on my mind though and as the Government put restrictions in place I decided to take the chance and pay for fixing it from a loan, trusting that eventually things will go back to normal and I will resume my workshops to catch up and pay it back. It took me a few days to make up my mind and weigh up the risks versus the benefits with an uncertain future ahead of us, but the thought of the cavity escalating into a more serious dilemma, made me go ahead and ring the dentist on Wednesday for an appointment. The assistant agreed that I could come in Thursday afternoon after work.

At the end of my working day, to be on the cautious side, I washed my hands and sprayed myself all over with disinfectant before jumping in the car. I did not know whether I had been in contact with the virus, for the long incubation times reported and lack of present symptoms in many that had already transmitted it as this pandemic started to take hold on the world. I certainly did not want to be part of spreading it further to anyone I had to deal with, as well as thinking about my poor husband at home, who already has problems with his lungs and overall health as it is.

The traffic was a lot quieter than usual and the drive home was a smooth one, so l rushed into the nearby shop to grab a few items that I was needing, before going to the dentist. With all the new rules of distancing this is a bit of mission now, waiting for people to move away from the shelf you have your eyes on, before you are able to grab what you are after and it did take longer than usual to get out of the store. I quickly put my shopping in the car and ran to the dentist about 50 meters further down the street.

Thankfully I was not too late and still had to wait for my consultation. I sat down with my hands on my lap, careful not to move or touch anything, especially my face. After a few minutes the assistant came to me with a device to check my temperature, by holding it near my forehead. It felt this warranted during the developments of the last few days, that they check incoming visitors for mild symptoms as a safeguard for their and other patients health. As I felt great and had not socialised with anyone, besides my husband and a small number of colleagues for the past week and a half, this did not worry me, until she said that my temperature was elevated and had to come down, before they would consider treating me! I did point out the fact that menopause was upon me and that I did suffer hot flushes as a side effect on a daily basis, but rules are rules and they were told by the dentist association not to treat anyone with an elevated temperature. Thankfully they were kind enough for me to sit there for some time and check again to see that it was dropping. The dentist agreed to see me, phew!

What was it that I wanted her to do? I refreshed her memory to our agreement about a month ago, to treat that deeper cavity that had shown on the x-rays and she pulled out the files to see. Next she returns to me apologising that she was now unable to help me under the level 2 restrictions, for it required drilling and that this was now prohibited, unless there was severe discomfort for the patient, for the reason that this activity releases small particles into the air and could contribute in spreading the virus! I calmly accepted her explanation and she offered to put me on a waiting list to contact as soon as these restrictions are lifted.

I walked out of there with a heavy heart and serious concern for our future lives and freedom. This is when it sank in, that no matter how well we get through all this, the world has changed overnight and will never be what it was… https://youtu.be/wa43FNUdpU8

How far is this going to affect the way we are able to access health services, future gatherings, international flights and so much more! This is only the start! I am sure that we will have to adapt to many more restrictions and so called necessary compulsory regulations in the near and far future ahead of us, where discrimination will morph from external differences to more subtle internal ones, opening up the possibilities of a worldwide regime, controlling our every move for the sake of humanities safety!…. A new world where we are forced to have preventative treatments from organisations that hugely benefit from the returns without much true consideration for our opinions and long term health. If we refuse, based on our own opinions and convictions, we will be considered guilty of wrongdoing and putting the rest of the population at risk, with the result being huge discord and separation in society between groups with different viewpoints. Basically forcing everyone to be on the same page in their thinking and opinions! We will highly likely be restricted and refused basic services such as air travel, joining group activities and a choice in healthcare, unless we conform to the ideas of a fear filled manipulated society!

Sorry, this sounds extremely depressing and at this stage I have no idea how far this will be allowed to go and how far our freedom will be restricted from this moment in time, once the immediate danger subsides. All I know and see is that the World will never go back to what it looked like only several weeks ago.

On the flip side, this has also allowed me to contemplate a brighter future for social relationships and bonding through adversity. It pleases me to see total strangers taking action and helping the ones in society that need it most. People finding the courage to open up and share their deepest feelings with others, something they would have not felt at ease with several months ago. We come together through technology and socialise in a new way, apart, yet together to rise above this and produce a positive spark, a little optimism and humour to lift others spirits. Today, more than ever we realise that we are all connected and cannot get through this on our own. I must admit I have shed a few positive emotional tears of hope over the selflessness and actions of many individuals in the past week and can see that there is still hope for humanity to turn this experience into something we rise up from with true selflessness and a better future in mind.

Even in these dark times I can still find gratitude, actually more so than before, as the realisation sinks in that we cannot take anything for granted. We are so blessed with our access to the internet to stay connected and informed. How good does it feel now, to find a few last packets of toilet paper on a supermarket shelf? Or score that last can of baked beans, a thing we could not have imagined only 1 month ago!

Serendipity is still active too as I think how several things in my life have worked out for the better, like for example me not pre-booking that airline ticket as mums health is declining and could take a turn for the worse any day. I decided to leave it till the last minute, so I would not have to pay extra to change the dates, should I be required to go suddenly. Even though my heart hurts badly for the restrictions prohibiting me from my duties to take care of her and return the love she has given to me all my life, I trust she is in the best place with the best care possible right now, and that it will all work out somehow in due time.

For now hold tight, focus on, Be Glad about whatever positive things you can find around you and keep dreaming and focusing on a better future with more personal freedom and a return to harmony with our Mother Earth.

We have so much more power if we keep our focus away from the doom and gloom and use it to construct the World we would love to build for our children. I do feel it is important to be informed of all that is going on and not stick our heads in the sand, but now is the time and the last turnaround point where we have to be strong enough to balance that knowledge with constructive focus, if we want that future for our children to be one where we are in harmony with Mother Earth, the flora, fauna and fellow humans…. or…  create a society where creativity and individuality are forced out of us by social, political and technological control.

Choose wisely!

With Thanks and Gratitude,

PollyEsther

Lucky Feather

Standard

“Enjoy your walk” said my neighbor from her front yard. I had stopped for a quick chat with her on my usual before dinner dog walk. “Thank you, I always do” I replied.

She did not have time for a long one today as she was standing outside freshly showered after work, ready to leave for her weekly meditation class.

In my head the thoughts did not stop as I walked on towards the corner of our small Court. Walking is a form of meditation for me, breathing fresh air, sometimes with a hint of salt and seaweed blowing in with the cool sea breeze coming off Westernport Bay. Focusing on how it makes my body feel, the sensation of my skin curling itself into goosebumps on my bare arms, now followed by a deep relaxing breath to not resist what is. I love looking around, observing the little marvels of nature scattered through our neighborhood and allowing my body to work on making some essential vitamin D…

Lately something interesting has been occuring every single walk. To most people it may seem extremely trivial, but to me it is like a sign of approval from nature that I am on the right track, reconnecting, and if a dear friend of mine is correct, it may even bring me luck.

As those thoughts were whirling around I stopped myself for a moment and re focused back to the moment and my surrounds. I first looked around and next down… and there it was again, to the left of my foot on the pavement, a perfectly shaped fresh feather. The timing and place could not have been more serendipitous and I could not help wonder if there was something else involved and what it may symbolize. After all I feel like living at a turnaround point of change in my life again, with my first Wim Hof Method workshop last Sunday resulting in a great review on my instructor profile. I took a deep breath, straightened my posture and smiled as I crossed the street and walked on.

A feather on the footpath

Ofcourse I picked it up to take home to my now pretty fast growing collection of feathers.

My feather collection

It brings me joy and gratitude looking at all my ‘exotic’ feathers from local Lorikeets, Galahs, Cockatoos, Magpies, Owls and Kookaburras and who knows what other species I did not reconize. Who would have thought this possible when I was a little girl growing up in the Netherlands all those years ago?

I am so glad I live in a country with such wonderful and colourful birds. Do you bring home treasures you find on your walks too?

Lucky feather

With Gratitude,

PollyEsther

Gratitude flowing over

Approaching fire
Standard

Last Saturday my fears became a reality. A fire front moved into the settlement of Cobungra…..

It was a nightmare day for bushfires. The temperatures reached over 40 degrees Celsius, which I believe is triple digits on the Fahrenheit scale… in many places the fires were already burning for weeks and the hot northerly wind fanned them to extreme proportions. On that day a fire front hit the tiny community of Cobungra….again…

Several homes had only been rebuild 16 years ago after a bushfire came through in 2003. The firefighters were busy in a nearby village back then, and when they realized that the fire had travelled to the tiny settlement as well, they drove down with a truck to check. The truck arrived amidst an inferno that forced them to retreat back into the vehicle. They barely survived the intense heat from multiple fronts that attacked the ridge from 3 sides at once themselves!

At the same time a single bloke named Fred was huddling under wet blankets in the farthest deepest corner of his unfinished house he was building and close to finishing. His dog was dying in the shed where he had locked him in for safety, while he was running around putting out attacking embers. Sadly the fire fronts encroached so fast that he had to run for shelter, to save his own life, unable to rescue his dog. He barely survived due to lack of oxygen and said that meditating was the only thing that kept him alive. His house survived, but he lost so much around it. The experience left him traumatized and he has since always said he would evacuate, should a fire ever come back.

Well…to my surprise he stayed last Saturday to defend Cobungra again!!!

This time however he had help from 2 other neighbors, and use of a firetruck that the shire had stored in a shed in Cobungra because of what had happened in ’03.

The second bloke, Dale, is an amazing individual who is a granddad, Ski patroller in Winter, Jackaroo at Cobungra Station, Wildlife rescuer, a talented base player in a local punk rock band and CFA volunteer firefighter. The community is full of praise over all his selfless actions and volunteer work.

The third bloke, Bart, is also an exceptional guy. Ex pro snowboarder, singer/guitarist of the band, used to work on ships as a chef for years and just started his own small biz in his shed at Cobungra, painting cars, so he can be home more for his beautiful partner Laura. (who is the band’s drummer!) He also build his own house there, and if anything needs fixing, he is always ready to help anyone. On Saturday he lost 2 cars, 2 caravans, a skate ramp and probably more around his own house while saving everyone else’s….

So these 3 guys and 1 firetruck pulled off the impossible last Saturday!!! Saving EVERY house on the ridge!!! This included my second home that I live in during the Snow season while I work for the nearby ski resort of Mount Hotham. They did have a little backup from 4 other guys down the road, that I think would have been busy covering the lower parts of Cobungra. I cannot wait to hear all the stories of what went on when we get together soon. At the moment the area is still unsafe and it is better to wait and see what flares up next, before travelling into the mountains.

My gratitude is SO ENORMOUS and I know that all the other locals feel the same, as we witnessed, most from a safe location, in agony (hotspot map online and fb) the fire engulfing our beloved mountain homes again…. Not knowing if our friends were safe and what exactly was unfolding there was nerve wracking! Let alone what they were facing!

I tried to send good vibes to the area and focused on rain like never before along with many around the globe and it worked! 🙏 They received a welcome drizzle and cool change that night and the following days. A few days to rest up and recover from all the emotions and hard work.

Thursday the weather changed back to the usual Summer conditions again and yesterday another miracle happened! A smouldering log near the boundary of our property and Fred’s nextdoor set the surrounding bush alight. From what l saw in private video footage it looked to be in a location that l know is thickly covered in dogwood, highly flammable undergrowth up to 3m’s in height, common in our area…

I was elated to see a helicopter attacking this flare-up, resulting in successfully averting this danger too. I was also elated about the fact that the CFA (Country Fire Authority) has managed to help the residents of Cobungra in time to stop things from escalating, especially after what they had already been through! A firetruck would have had no access to that area due to dense bushes and steep terrain.

I am endlessly grateful and super Glad that, for now, we still have roofs over our heads up there, in the beautiful mountains of the Victorian High Country, both permanent and part time residents.

*Residents names have been altered for privacy reasons*

Autumn Leaves are falling down

Autumn Sunrise with low fog
Standard

My alarm goes off around 7.30 am, regardless of what day it is at the moment. I know mum does not get up for at least another hour, so this is MY time, time to reflect and time to enjoy the splendour of nature at my own pace.

 

It has been a hectic, sometimes stressful and confusing year for me so far. Hence why you have not seen much action here either. After a fairly uneventful Summer I travelled from Australia, into Spring in the Netherlands mid March, where my cousin was waiting for me to help her get organised, in case a bad situation would eventuate with my elderly mum, to be prepared for everything. We found a fitting nursing home with a large garden and arranged as much as I could fit in the 4 weeks I stayed, like meal deliveries, meetings with care staff, doctors etc., to keep her living independently as long as possible, along with spending time with mum as well.

Upon returning home in Australia late April I got a phone call the next day, still groggy from jet lag, after which I found myself working an extra 5 nights a week, while trying to catch up in my garden at home and get that ready for my absence during Winter and work in the nursery part time! Well, no rest over Winter either, with record snowfalls, more lodge guests than ever, and keeping my promise from last year to my manager then, of attending more ski training this season! I had to leave a week before closing of the lifts, to fly back to the Netherlands for mum, who had deteriorated badly over their unusually hot Summer.

So here I am, finding myself utterly confused after Summer followed by Spring, followed by Winter and now in Autumn, but thankfully healthy and well. Something I unfortunately cannot say about my mum, who is physically doing very well, but mentally in need of full time support.

 

I swiftly throw on my ‘trackies’, hoodie and sneakers, over my pyjamas to keep the chill of the early morning out and quietly sneak out of the door. I am so glad mum chose to live at the edge of a small town in the Netherlands, from where it only takes me a few minutes to walk the street that brings me to the paddocks showing the Sunrise in full glory. I savour the wide open space, still in peace and quiet this early in the morning, especially during the weekends when work traffic is absent.

When I walk I focus on my surrounds, nature waking up along with myself and my body. It is easy to get sidetracked during the day and fall into bad habits in regards to posture, but during the stillness of the morning it is easier to focus on walking with a straighter back and shoulders relaxed in the right spot, arms swinging loosely in harmony with my stride. It feels so good to take a deep breath full of life’s most important energy that somehow feels more rejuvenating at this hour than the rest of the day.

 

I take many deep breaths during the day as well, but most are for the purpose of keeping my sanity and composure while mum asks me the same question for the 30th time in an hour and still fails to understand my calm explanation. She easily gets upset when this happens and I find myself repeating to her many times that it is ok and that all is organised and will work out just fine.

I know she just hasn’t got the synapses to connect the dots any more as dementia is slowly stealing her mental abilities. I also know that giving her an answer calmly with love is important, despite the seeming pointlessness, because she will ask me again in a few minutes. Important, for it gives her a feeling of being heard, loved and respected. I am sure she feels that I care for her as she still treats me like her daughter, even though she gets confused and thinks I am still in Australia, and much younger than in reality, lol, if only… Occasionally she believes me, mostly she puts her ‘stubborn hat’ on and is convinced I am telling her fibs. Reality does not make the same sense to her as it used to.

The way I mentally deal with the current situation is reminding myself of the old quote a Buddhist monk told me, that if I CAN do something about it there is no need to worry and if I CANNOT, why worry? Another one that helps me mentally is from Wayne Dyer, that it is NOT the situation or circumstances that stress people out, but the thoughts created about it. I take one step at a time and file my upcoming responsibilities in my phone, which gives me a beep when something pops up that needs attention.

 

The one thing that still cheers her up and takes her away from her worries and suspicions that everyone is out to deceive her is Nature. She really calms down and comes home a different person. I am so glad about this, as it is so good to see her marvel at it’s beauty too when we go for an afternoon stroll in the nearby forests on the milder days. It is ‘nature therapy’ for both of us! We stop and look at the many mushrooms showing themselves and we walk the leaf covered paths surrounded by old deciduous trees in beautiful Autumn colours. Something I have not seen much of in the last 15 years when I have always visited around her birthday in Spring.

Autumn Trees

Autumn Trees

We pick up a few treasures to take home and arrange in a shallow pottery dish on the table, acorns, pine cones, a few leaves and a tiny feather she found with the most vibrant blues. I take photo’s of the mushrooms, better left in peace where they are. Besides, my knowledge of them is insufficient to know which ones are safe to pick, let alone any names.

She still walks unaided and really well for her 87 years, but I am carefully monitoring her gait to see whether we should keep going, or returning to the car soon. Surprisingly she generally knows her way around quite well, despite being bad in many other ways. It is a blessing now that she moved back to the area where she grew up when dad was still with us, because she retained a lot of her older memories so far.

Mushroom coming up among Autumn leaves

Mushroom coming up among Autumn leaves

I am always fascinated with these little surprises of nature, here one day, gone the next. Perhaps it is the shortening days and decay all around that makes me feel melancholic. For a moment I think about the issues at hand and cannot help but see the fleetingness of all we take for granted. A hint to make the most of, and be grateful for each day we are blessed to experience.

Mushroom covered tree trunk

Mushroom covered tree trunk, found off the beaten track

Red and white mushrooms

Spotted these red and white ones only on passing a second time, surprisingly, as they are quite striking

I ponder about memories, which are not much different. As we walk along our lives we collect and grow them, we treasure and share them, but when decay sets in with old age, they are like the falling leaves of Autumn, we drop them slowly one by one on still days, or many at once when a storm hits….

I am so GLAD that my own ‘tree’ still has many leaves that, for now, are securely attached.

Leaf covered road

Leaf covered road

Feel free to comment 😉

With Gratitude,

PollyEsther

Did I scrape in or not?

Standard

That’s it everyone! The poetry contest, opened in October is now closed. However, it is not “done” quite yet Frodo, I still need to announce the winners! I will be tallying up the points all night from such wonderful submissions. I truly have a difficult choice before me. Thank you to everyone who submitted a […]

via Poetry Contest CLOSED — KaylaAnn

I spotted this poetry contest and decided to enter as it was still open and going when l found it. Within minutes I turned my computer on, followed this blog as per prerequisite and went to my own site to copy the link to my poetry piece I wanted to enter, one I had blogged earlier:

https://happypollyesther.com/2017/01/22/the-emerging-butterfly/

Upon returning to the comments, it was closed, but stubborn me tried anyway and left the link. I hope it will be considered…

Even if not, I still wish all that managed to enter in time the best of luck!

I am glad I had one I prepared earlier, haha!

 

With Gratitude,

Pollyesther xxx

PRECIOUS TIMES

Standard

“I can’t find the keys anywhere, how is that possible?” Mum asks me several times a day. Another one is: “Have you closed your window?”, every time we leave the house. The keys are quickly found in the usual spots she puts them down automatically without thinking or registering. The room I am in does not have an opening window at all, but I assure her every time that the window is shut.

Three years ago was the last time I flew to the Netherlands to visit mum, family and friends. It was a busy, fun time with several parties and a primary school reunion, creating many happy memories. At the time she also had her 83rd. birthday. She was a little annoyed that she was struggling to remember all the names of the plants and flowers in her garden, but I guess when you get to that age, you should be happy to still be physically fit enough to be able to enjoy working in your own garden.

Late last year my cousin, who keeps a close eye on mum for me when I am in Australia, which is now home for me, emailed me concerned that I should be thinking about another visit soon, because mum was confusing her, me and her daughters names badly when they looked at some old photos. “If you leave it much longer there may be a chance she will not remember who you are!”, she said…

So here I am, visiting again, making sure not to miss her 86th birthday and making the most of what time we have left together before she loses her memories altogether. My cousin and I are busy talking to her doctor and care staff and making arrangements for her future behind her back. It feels wrong, but what choice do we have? She is convinced that she is fine and does not need any help yet. I guess in some ways I do agree with her, as she is still very alert and swift to respond to the traffic when driving her car on familiar roads. She is still capable of putting in a fair effort maintaining her small and well manicured garden and we both enjoy looking at the birds she feeds every day and squirrels that like to steel some of the birds’ crumbs when no one is looking…

But…at the same time she keeps losing things around the house, convinced that the care staff is stealing from her all the time. She only trusts a very small number of familiar people she knows well, thankfully including me. Others she treats with suspicion, fear and mostly verbal aggression, occasionally raising her fist to emphesize she is serious. The memory lapses come and go with me thinking she is indeed fine at times, but then at night when tired she looks at me and tells me she finds it strange to think that she has a daughter at all… Physically she is doing very well for her age, mentally it is becoming a real concern. She functions ok when she is able to stick to her routines that have become almost compulsive. When it is disturbed she gets very upset and stressed.

There is a lot she does not understand, like why she has trouble with her tummy when she stresses, as she does not remember she has been suffering from Crohn’s disease since before I was born, probably set off by a stressful period in her life not long after she got married due to circumstances out of her control. She also has had other inflammatory issues ever since.

While making my plans and arrangements for my journey to see her I asked an internal question and the answer came in the form of a book called ‘The Grain Brain’ by Dr. David Perlmutter who describes how and why most of her issues could likely be the result of food sensitivities, with the main culprits possibly dairy and gluten. The fact that my own minor inflammatory issues eased after starting on a gluten free diet and cutting out milk convinced me even more that his theories and findings were of value. I decided to ask her doctor for some tests to see what the results would be.

After living with her now for well over a week and observing her obsession with her routines, I sadly have to make peace with the fact that she is too far gone to change… She does not understand it when I have to tell her every night again that I do not eat custard for desert any more. When drinking tea she keeps offering me biscuits and looks puzzled why I only want special gluten free ones and refuse to eat the normal ones she keeps offering. She thinks that I must be very ill not to be able to eat all those ‘healthy’ traditional things and need special bread for lunch, despite my best efforts of explaining why. She does not understand… Every morning she makes the table and places a plate for me to eat my toast that I have not had for breakfast for years. I love my goats milk yoghurt with gluten free cereal and some fresh fruit like a mandarin and/or banana added, along with a black coffee.

She cannot see that I do not need hours any more to wake up every morning and look and feel healthier than when I was in my twenties. She does not remember how badly I suffered from several allergies and was always tired and often sick with every bug that came around, while I was still eating like she does now.

It is difficult listening to the same stories every day and hearing her complain about being tired and her tummy playing up. It is difficult, but I have to be at peace with the facts and make the most of what little time we have left to enjoy our walks in nature and spend time asking all the questions I have not before that I would still like to know before she does not remember the answers.

It makes me sad to see her like this and knowing that with a few changes and additions to her diet she could possibly be free from all her old health issues as well as slow, stop or even improve her declining memory, but you cannot force her to eat things she is convinced would make her feel sick in her stomach.

I am glad however that she still remembers to place an extra plate for me even though I really need a bowl. I am glad that we are able to enjoy those little things now I am here with her, like walking in nature, playing indoor lawnbowls, cleaning the autumn leaves from her garden together, watching the nesting birds around her home and the squirrels stealing the birds bread crumbs…

P.S.
I am sorry my dear Dutch friends, that this time around I will not take time to party with you, nor run around to visit everyone I have not seen for three years. Maybe we can arrange a meeting on a Sunday afternoon somewhere in a pub for a few hours, later during my stay, where everyone that wishes can come to say g’day before I head back to my duties and work in Australia. For now I intend to make the most of my time with mum. I hope that after reading my story you will understand…

With Gratitude, PollyEsther

Happy Australia Day!

Aussie Flag
Standard

Happy Australia Day!

I am GLAD to be Australian and proud to celebrate Australia Day. It was on this day over 10 years ago, that the official Certificate was handed to me.

I’m experiencing a little conflicting, bittersweet feeling about it though ever since a couple of years ago, when I worked for an outdoor entertaining company assisting with a mobile rock climbing wall and inflatables.

We were doing a gig at an indigenous event in a beautiful park in Melbourne with the climbing wall on Australia Day. It was a beautiful warm Summers day. We turned up all happy and ready for a fun day of entertaining with our usual Aussie flag attires for the celebrations….only to be told that the Australian flag was not welcome and appropriate for this event!

We looked at each other a bit puzzled, but took all our aussie flag pieces off out of respect and got into our usual job of setting up and opening up for the kids and willing adults to have a go.

Later during my break l went for a walk around the event, looked at some stalls, enjoyed the music and talked to some people there. As it turned out it was set up to protest against what the Australian government had done to their people and what was currently still being done.

I was aware of some bad actions that had happened during the early days of settlement of this country. I was also aware of some only a generation ago, but not that there was still so much injustice being done today! After all our government had officially apologized…and you don’t hear about it on tv or in the newspaper…I wonder how many people like me are out there?

This meeting made me think about it a lot and I felt sad that our indigenous people did not feel that Australia Day was a day of celebration, but rather a day of occupation.

Coming from a European background, where my parents almost had to change their language from Dutch to German around the second world war, l did understand their pain very well. In fact, so should all born Aussies for we nearly had to learn Japanese around the same time! I wondered what could be done to ease their burden and make a decent celebration, that I can be proud of, full of great traditions, that includes all Australians?

We pride ourselves on being a caring nation and helping each other out when push comes to shove, so why not do a bit more to help our nations original people?

The first thing that came to mind, was maybe cancel or reduce the elaborate fireworks that cost an absolute fortune, provided by our precious tax money, up in smoke, burned in about 10 minutes. Why not donate some of that to help them preserve what little of their culture is left instead? Or maybe some to finance events that encourage exchanges of culture between old and new Australians. We could learn a lot from each other.

If we really are such a caring nation we should maybe start thinking a bit more about the forgotten Australians and about what and how we are celebrating today. It appears on the official government website that there are activities happening to bring both cultures closer, maybe we should get more involved with that and really care?

http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/reconciliation

What are your thoughts on this?

The Emerging Butterfly

Blue Butterfly
Standard

l used to be a caterpillar small and insecure,
eating away at yummy green leaves so pure.

I did not feel so well and was not growing like l should…
Wondering how to make it better and if l possibly could?

Then one day a book fell in my hands,
that taught me which leaves were in bad lands.

l read and read some more,
like I’ve never read before.

Started eating the right leaves from then,
finally knowing what to eat and when.

I felt a whole lot better indeed,
and grew fatter and fatter with rapid speed.

Started having a real good time,
rolling along with a great big smile.

Then wore myself out after all,
got tired from eating, felt like curling into a ball.

I felt different and a little strange…
Were there some special leaves in the last range?

I spun a little hammock out of silk and laid myself down to rest.
It only seemed like moments when l woke back up in my little nest.

Who has washed it for me while l slept?
cos l am sure it was less tight, last time l checked…

I stretched out my stiff limbs, oh no, broke my comfy cocoon!
I don’t know if I was quite ready yet, to get up so soon?

Loving the safety of what I now knew,
but also a little curious as to how l just grew…

Into this beautiful creature l see in the reflection of the puddle below.
With an aura that just beams with this wonderful magical glow.

Topped off with some wings, how incredible!
just by eating the right foods that were eatable…

Instead of poisons like so many of my dear friends,
who perished long ago and came to sad and sorry ends.

I was the lucky one indeed,
finding the right kind of feed.

So l could be reborn into a different phase of life so free and light.
The day has never before looked so bright!

Oh the ecstasy of flying off with my special man,
and doing what only a butterfly can.

I wish to share what I learned with all the caterpillars yet to be born,
but sadly know I will not witness my offspring and if they have ever flown.

It is the task of my genes to pass that on for me,
and my task is to let them be.

Let them be free to find their own path at their own pace.
May they all grow into butterflies and live happily in their own space!

 

With Gratitude,

PollyEsther

 

PS: Something a bit different to normal, but after all the lovely comments on my last poem, I could not resist posting this one too. I wrote it to enter into an on-line ‘Burning Man’ event display, which has a theme of growth and transformation.

The recent multitude of butterflies in nature, as well as my attention being drawn to them a lot lately in different situations, inspired me to put the two together. There is a lot of symbolism woven into this piece that is very close to my heart and I am pleased with how it turned out, GLAD my muse tapped me on my shoulder again yesterday!

What do you think?

Discovering subconscious fear pushing boundaries

Early morning sun rise @ Hotham 2016
Standard

It was a sunny morning in the last weeks of September. The ski slope had frozen up a little overnight and felt ‘grippy’, but firm. The weeks prior had been warmer in temperature, yet the resort had been hidden in the clouds which made it feel very damp and cold, despite the melting soft Spring snow with a ‘beach sand’ consistency.

I still needed more training for my exam tomorrow, even though I had been doing fine in the soft snow of the previous weeks. This was a very different day and it looked like the same conditions for tomorrow, so went up the chair lift on the beginners run near the ski and ride school, enjoying the spectacular view that had been lacking for so long. This run is one of the highest ones in the resort and sitting in the chair lift makes you feel like you are on top of the world looking over an extensive area of the old Australian alps mountain range and National Park surrounding the resort.

Once I got off, l gripped my poles different to normal, so I could hold them out wide and drag them along the snow for extra balance, while lifting one ski off the snow. I had been learning to ski on one ski with proper outriggers, but only had a short time today before the usual lineup for group lessons would start, so did not waste it getting the keys to the container holding all the special equipment for adaptive skiing.

For the readers that have not heard of adaptive skiing, this is for people with a wide variety of disabilities, physical and cognitive, where with special training and equipment they too can learn and enjoy snow sports. Outriggers are ski poles like crutches, but with a very short ski on the end, touching and sliding along on the snow, providing extra stability, steering and balance. The reason I needed to master skiing on one ski now, was to be able to do demo’s for people missing, or unable to use one of their legs.

Today however, l struggled with the different snow conditions and felt like being back at square one! Oh, no! I started to feel a panic wash over me. My stomach went into a knot as fear started to get a hold of me and my body would not listen to my commands of how to move… I felt unable to get onto the outside edge of my one ski to turn both ways and balance!

All of a sudden it dawned on me that this is how my customers must be feeling when they struggle to keep their balance on their first slide on both ski’s! I thought that l remembered well what it felt like to learn to ski, but had overlooked the fact that l had already gotten used to sliding on slippery surfaces as a kid ice skating and roller blading well before l started skiing, something a lot of my customers had not learned yet!

l thought about what I had learned from reading about and listening to Bruce Lipton’s work, of how the mind works. How we use the conscious mind to learn new skills by being mindful in the moment and focusing on what we are trying to achieve and how the subconscious takes over the other important tasks at the same time that are not focused on. This happens without being conscious of it, because the conscious mind can only focus on one thing at a time. It is very helpful to our survival and functioning while multitasking, like driving a car while thinking about other things at the same time. Once a skill is learned sufficiently, it goes into the subconscious program, to come out when deemed necessary.

l understood now that my subconscious had a program running that told my body not to get onto the outside edge of my ski, because it would cause me to catch the “wrong” edge and lose my balance real quick! Something that happened a fair bit while l had learned to ski! l understood l had to override the old program, to be able to master skiing on one ski in icier conditions too, something that still made me feel a little fearful of falling some days when sliding on two skis down steeper and more challenging slopes. I had to work on building new neural pathways in my brain, and quickly too, a big challenge, with so little time left to perfect.

Thankfully some of my higher qualified colleagues nearby were helpful in sharing some special tips to focus on and within a few more runs l regained the ability I had been working so hard on to perfect in the weeks prior and felt confident enough to pull it off the next day in similar snow conditions.

The exam day came with light snow showers and again low visibility as well as firm snow conditions. Not ideal for showing off our newly learned skills optimally, but examiners generally take that sort of things in account when scoring your tasks. I managed to impress him with my sit ski riding skills and we ran out of time after all the different role play scenarios of teaching different disabilities to show our understanding and efficiency in the task of being an adaptive ski instructor. I did not have to demo the one ski skill after all that, despite our trainer Dean urging me to work on it predominantly, thinking it would be covered on the day. and noticing it was my weakest point.

Our whole team of candidates made it through, all passing and upholding our trainers amazing record of never having trained anyone to fail at the exam! I believed him, because ten years prior Dean also trained me for the hiring clinic, becoming a rookie ski instructor, and again, all 5 in our group got hired! Oh, great memories and jokes shared again…

Qualification medal for instructing adaptive skiing

APSI qualification medal for instructing adaptive skiing

Several years ago I got to know a lady at a local market over Summer, who always stopped at my plant stall for a look and chat. She was still fairly young, guessing in her mid thirties, yet could not walk well enough and therefore in need of a scooter to get around. When she told me she used to live near the ski resort I had worked for several seasons in a row then, I could not help inquire if she used to ski, which she said she did, before her current physical condition, upon which her face turned sad. Knowing about the adaptive program, I asked her if she had heard about it, which she had not.

Months later they turned up in the ski resort and found me through the ski school. We met up in the most popular lunch bar after my work finished and her partner offered me a drink. The lady was beaming with pride and joy of having pulled off what she thought she’d never do again. Her partner was very pleased seeing her so happy too. I will never forget how it made me feel having been the instigator of this joy and achievement! I never saw them again as I did not continue doing markets. I would love to find out if it had helped afterwards too, perhaps even moving her boundaries in general. Something I am currently educating myself about, by reading material about brain plasticity, are the possibilities and less directly related benefits of snow sports for people with disabilities.

This course was an amazing experience, pushing my own boundaries, fears and understanding, as well as adding to my neural pathways, learning new skills. The understanding I gained from it was a real eye opener too, realizing that slopes look a lot steeper from a sit ski’s (and children’s) perspective and gaining an enormous respect for one legged skiers, feeling the strain, pain and cramps myself after a few turns holding my weight on one leg skiing. On my first run I had to swap my ski from one leg to the other 5 times before reaching the base of the slope!

l am so GLAD to finally have done it! Especially after doing the odd training session here and there over the past years, since meeting that lady, unable to commit to all and never finishing off taking the exam. This was mostly due to the fact that work got in the way, as well as lacking the energy for extra training with the added task of minding our ski lodge at night. Then there was my lack of true commitment, for I could have asked for the days off to allow me to train more. Maybe I was not quite ready for it myself at that time?

The true motivation came mid season this year, from having met several more inspirational disabled people over the recent years that benefited from this little known service and some more that did not, but who served greatly in inspiring and reminding me of my dream of becoming an adaptive ski instructor myself. The last hint that made my motivation turn into eagerness was running into and chatting with the DWA (Disabled Winter Sports Australia http://www.disabledwintersport.com.au/) supervisor Phil for our resort, who was very keen to introduce sit ski’s in Season 2017 on the little beginners run where I had been teaching for the last ten seasons and have written about in some previous posts. ( https://happypollyesther.com/2015/08/23/you-have-a-choice/ and https://happypollyesther.com/2014/06/03/why-i-am-exited-about-the-coming-snow-season/ as well as https://happypollyesther.com/2014/10/05/storm-lovers/ )

I am eager to see where this all will lead me and cannot wait to serve my first customer with special needs next season! I hope you can forgive me for tucking my muse away over our past Winter and seeing very little action on this blog, but I think I will make up for this over the coming Summer ;). Comments/queries/suggestions welcome below.

Questions answered

Seeds
Standard

My jaw dropped this morning when I looked at the first Face Book post of a lady who befriended me only a few days back. I don’t know her at all and thankfully I do not get a lot of strangers befriending me on Face Book. It would be naïve not to be slightly wary.

In this case I reluctantly decided to acknowledge her request after seeing a lot of natural health and nutrition posts on her timeline, which is something I am always interested in. I send her a friendly ‘thank you’ PM to satisfy my curiosity as to why she befriended me, asking how she had found me and what her reasons were, seeing we had never met, had no common friends and lived worlds apart. No reply so far…

Walking the dog last week my attention was drawn to some unusual yet ancient looking fruit on the footpath in front of an elderly man’s home nearby. Some of the fruit had been squashed by passers-by or kids and looking up I saw a bush that was as laden with fruit as an over decorated Christmas tree! I had no idea what kind of fruit it was and if it was edible or not, but felt a strong urge to do some research and find out, so picked a couple off the ground underneath. I thought maybe I should try cut it in half and see if our ‘resident’ Possum chose to eat it to get a better clue whether it might be safe for human consumption or not, but haven’t as yet.

It felt a bit like deja-vu from around 8 years ago, when I first found Feijoa fruit on the footpath out the front of another house just around the corner. When I asked the owners about it, they told me I could take as much as I wanted, because they did not like eating them nor cleaning the footpath! I loved eating them so much, that I grew my own bush with lots of patience from seed and had my first fruit at the end of last Summer. (More about it: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/feijoa.html)

First harvest from my Feijoa bush, grown from seed 8 years ago

First harvest, April 2015, from my Feijoa bush, grown from seed 8 years ago

When the dog and me walked a visiting friend back to the local bus stop, I showed the mysterious bush to my friend in the hope he might know or had seen it before, but he knew as much as me. At home things got busy with all my other internet projects and listening to time limited seminars about health and wellness and the sample fruit I brought home was just sitting on the shelf in my kitchen reminding me of my intent to do more research…

Coming back to my jaw dropping moment this morning, my new ‘friend’ posted this: http://drhealthytips.com/index.php/2016/05/07/are-you-worried-about-clogged-arteries-start-drinking-this-immediately/…

I now had a bit more than just a piece of fruit to do research and found a few more helpful links on-line: https://authoritynutrition.com/12-proven-benefits-of-pomegranate/ and: https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/article19.aspx for anyone wanting a few different perspectives. I excitedly emailed the link to my friend and as I was writing explaining what happened it dawned on me…

All my questions had been answered! What kind of fruit I had found, what the benefits are and possibly why some stranger befriended me on FaceBook out of the blue. All this without any effort on my behalf! Well, I did ask an internal question…

Pomegranate

Pomegranate

I am so Glad and exited about this, I could not resist sharing it in a blog post, not just to show how questions get answered in mysterious, ‘serendipitious’ ways, but also to share the amazing benefits of the Pomegranate!

I ate both and went back today, got a few more to eat, collect seed and the image above.

Please share your comments, experiences, more info or recipes below.