Autumn Leaves are falling down

Autumn Sunrise with low fog
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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 ūüėČ

With Gratitude,

PollyEsther

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Happy Australia Day!

Aussie Flag
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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?

Questions answered

Seeds
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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 na√Įve 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.

Flower Passion

Passion Flower
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In some of my previous posts I have hinted at my love of nature. Spending time outdoors is good for everyone, especially on a nice sunny day in Autumn. I am very grateful for the generous size garden around my home and love tending to it. So in this post I’d like to share my passion with you.

The chore of weeding has become a form of yoga as I am tiptoeing through the garden beds, stretching to reach that sprig of grass that self seeded from the neighbors yard through a crack in the fence. I have learned to be mindful of my body and move in beneficial ways that leave me feeling great afterwards.

There is not a lot of thinking involved in weeding and with the improved blood flow to the brain from bending over, inspiring ideas come in freely. I regularly walk outside, away from the computer, to have a play with the dog, appreciate the garden and find weeds and inspiration.

Hosta in flower

Hosta in flower

It is interesting to see how my garden has grown with me, from as easy as possible to maintain when I was working full time, with lots of natives to attract local birds and minimize watering, to the current state.

My vegie patch

My vegie patch

Nowadays, working part time and having more days off, I have added a vegetable patch to save money and have a supply of fresh organic vegetables to pick from any time at my leisure. I also planted some small yellow Marigolds for a little color and pest control along the edge.

Fuchsia flowers

Fuchsia flowers

I have added a lot more flowering plants everywhere else as well, bringing the ones in pots into the house as a temporary indoor plant or craft cut ones into flower arrangements to brighten up the room.

I have started collecting a variety of Fuchsias, which have always been high up on my favorite list ever since loving the Fuchsia flower fairy in a childhood picture book the most.

Pansy baskets brightening up a shady area

Pansy baskets brightening up a shady area

The more flowers I see in my garden,¬†the more I¬†come to appreciate my¬†own piece of nature surrounded by high fences for privacy. This is my own patch of paradise. There is something special about a flowering plant that highlights the impermanent nature of everything. Looking closely at¬†a flower¬†makes you appreciate it while it is in its full glory, before it will be gone in a day or so…

Cacti flowers only last one day

Cacti flowers only last one day

One of my smaller Cacti in flower

One of my smaller Cacti in flower

One of natures little miracles

One of natures little miracles

Another collection I have kind of stumbled on is my Cacti range. Even though they are a little nasty to handle without gloves, the flowers are an absolute miracle of nature and just looking at them takes me on a fantasy journey. The centers of these flowers are like looking into a different universe. Imagine if you were seeing them from a bee’s perspective…

Every Summer I look forward to one or more of them displaying their magic, which does not happen every year and only for one day!  One of the varieties I have yet to see flower, decided to time it right on a day we were not home, so I will be keeping a close eye on that one for the next few years to get a photograph of it too.

Succulent in flower

Succulent in flower

Yes, looking around my garden, seeing the beauty of nature, it is rather easy to be Glad about life while appreciating the flowers I have allowed to blossom in my little patch of Paradise!

What is your favorite flower?

Happy Easter, …it is what it is…

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Easter in Australia is always a big long weekend when a lot of people take advantage of the last pleasant days before Winter sets in and go out for a camping trip. For us it usually is a trip to the house in the mountains to do the annual wood chop for Winter and make sure the wood shed is ready to last us at least till the weather is allowing another opportunity to do some replenishing again towards late Winter or early Spring. Because the house is heated by fires, we need a lot and ideally need more storage to be able to cut enough to get us through to the end of the ski season.

 

I have been working a lot in the last couple of months and was really looking forward to getting away and¬†relaxing in nature, besides helping out loading the timber. I got all the shopping done in a mad rush after work on Thursday and had started packing some of the things we take. The plan was to get as much ready as I could, so we could “throw” it all into the car in the morning and get away early and beat the traffic into the country. Once I am in the car I start to unwind and relax.

 

In the morning, on Good Friday, hubby looked at the weather forecast and it was not looking good at all with a big front moving in and¬†a lot of rain forecast throughout the weekend. What was the point of driving all the way up there, to just sit inside looking at rain and fog, waste fuel¬†and not being able to cut dry wood? We decided to stay home for the first time in years, awaiting a “better weather weekend” to go and do the wood chop at a later date.

 

I felt kind of relieved for not having to keep rushing and packing, but mostly very disappointed, because I needed a break and some “me” time, which is always so easy when up there in the middle of¬†nature in the mountains. I love taking Gibbo, the dog, for a long walk without the need for a lead, due to lack of traffic. I love the clean crisp mountain air in my lungs and watching the spectacular view of the sunrises and sunsets from the house.¬†I was looking forward to getting the old, nostalgic¬†Dutch¬†box of eggs out to decorate my Easter tree, which¬†was left up there last year when I decided to take it. Some of the¬†decorations were blown out,¬†real egg shells,¬†painted by myself over 30 years ago! It had not seen any light since we arrived in Australia for the fact that we are always elsewhere for Easter. I was¬†exited about the prospect of catching up with our local mountain friends¬†too…It is what it is…

 

Good Friday was a gorgeous day back home and I took advantage of the breezy sunny day and got a few big loads (mainly sheets and towels) of washing done and dry before the anticipated weather change, to start the long weekend fresh and clean. In between I did some tidying up in the garden and really enjoyed being outside on this lovely Autumn day.

I was looking forward to the rain, which inspires me to work on my writing, which had been a bit on the backburner since work had picked up in unexpected ways and my computer had given me grief. It still needs a few more adjustments before it is back to how I like it. I really started enjoying a few days off at home, not having to do anything but what gives me pleasure! I filled a bowl with caramel filled chocolate eggs and put it on the bar for picking whenever I felt like it. I might even make another apple pie with the last of the apples I picked from my tree a few weeks back.

 

The next morning I woke to another clear blue sky and sunshine! What had happened to the rain that was forecast and put our plans on hold?

Because we did not go away I was able to take advantage of the special offer of a leaf blower/vac in a local store that was only on sale for the weekend of Easter and scored some well priced hanging baskets at the same time, (I needed to replace some broken ones). I tried out the new garden vac on this beautiful day and found myself very pleased with the result. Finally I found a way to get the leaves of the crushed rock areas without losing all the pebbles!

It was warm enough, so Gibbo got a wash in the backyard too, which is so much easier than doing it in the bathtub, which is the only humane option during colder weather. Unfortunately his black hair always covers the white tiled bathroom and calls for a complete bathroom clean up afterwards.

Surely the rain should get here soon, so at the end of the day I also set up a new gazebo that I had purchased before Christmas,¬†which would keep¬†our garden setting¬†dry for a change and¬†I had somewhere to sit or retreat to when playing with the dog in the backyard in the rain. It gave me a great feeling to accomplish all this and have a “holiday” at home.

 

Easter Sunday came and finally we had a few millimeters of overnight rain. Not really enough to water the garden, but the greyish day encouraged me to do a bit more on my computer again.

Despite the fact that we could have done the wood chop and enjoy our weekend away in hindsight, I am Glad we stayed at home and I got all the things done that I had put off for so long and more. “It is what it is”¬†,¬†I am really pleased now with how my Easter is turning out. How is your Easter so far? Wishing you a happy one!

The hidden powers of the ‚ÄúGlad Game‚ÄĚ

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I am so glad to have started this blog a few weeks back, because it allows me the opportunity of uplifting you. I like to follow the famous quote of ‚Äúbeing the change I wish to see in the world‚ÄĚ. I had this idea in my mind that by keeping my writing simple and entertaining I could show you, my readers, what I have learned to apply over my 20+ years of searching. My wish for you is, that you yourselves can also learn to apply it, in order to change your own worlds to your liking.

By doing this in an inclusive way, without making it sound like anything too religious, spiritual or scientific, I hope to appeal to a large audience. I do think I have accomplished some of that so far, considering the feedback I have received. I thank all that have left comments on my blog and especially the ones that decided on receiving my stories in their emails and clicked subscribe ;). This keeps me motivated to share more of my insights.

Despite all the good news, I have this niggling feeling that most of my audience does not fully grasp what I am aiming for and does not read between the lines to see the real power of this ‚Äúgame‚ÄĚ I am playing here. The reason why I have decided to do something a little different in this post and try and clear that up a bit more, is that I want you to understand the amazing benefits for yourself and the rest of the world and see things from a real different perspective!

So how did I come to the conclusion that the ‚ÄúGlad Game‚ÄĚ can have this kind of impact? (more about this in: https://happypollyesther.com/2014/05/13/introduction-to-happy-pollyesther/) Can something this simple really change your world, our world? I have observed my memories from before my discovery and became fully convinced by what I saw there, that thoughts, accompanied by feelings, really create (sometimes via an unexpected path) the result of reality. Once I came to this realisation, by seeing the proof in my own life, I started thinking about this a lot, what the consequences could be if everyone knew about this, and the results we are seeing because not enough people are aware of it! What is important to know, is that it always works whether you are aware of this or not! I looked at the world and realized all of a sudden that there are so many good willing people out there doing the opposite to what they should be to achieve their desired results!

I see a lot of Face Book posts asking for attention to some problem or other and feel sad looking at animal abuse, bullying, illness and human rights issues, just to name a few categories. I am drawn to these causes and want to know the truth of what is really going on in the world behind the news and who’s really in charge. I watched Zeitgeist, the Freedom movie and many more like that. They shocked me into opening my eyes to a lot of different agendas and possibilities we generally don’t see on the evening news or in the paper. I started doubting what information to trust and believe. Some were good enough to conclude with some possible solution or hope for the future, but most of it makes you feel pretty small and powerless overall. I felt angry that our so called ‚Äúchosen‚ÄĚ and self appointed authorities appear to do as they please and act without apparantly taking any notice of what the population they represent really want. This kind of thinking places the responsibility elsewhere besides ourselves which is counter productive to a positive change on any level, be it personal or global.

The good thing that came from educating myself in this way, was that it created the burning internal question of ‚Äúwhat can an ordinary citizen do to change all this injustice?‚ÄĚ As you may have seen in my previous post, about overcoming my health issues (https://happypollyesther.com/2014/05/26/how-my-illness-made-me-healthier-than-ever/), the passionate internal questions have a tendency to get answered by the right information showing up in time. This came for me when I found out about the power of our thoughts and feelings on creating our reality. I started to see the pattern why all this misery is not declining! Through all the exposure to our problems, coming from multiple media, we focus more on them and as a result we actually are contributing to them! When we feel powerless we maintain our focus on the problems and how they impact us on a personal level, leaving us in an angry, upset state. This state is a great conductor for more problems and confusion! If we wish to free ourselves from the issues, we have to focus on creating the right mindset for solutions first, starting by changing ourselves. Like the quote by Albert Einstein:

‚ÄúA problem never gets solved from the same level of thinking that created it in the first place‚ÄĚ.

This is where the ‚ÄúGlad Game‚ÄĚ, or GG for short, comes in (just in case you missed this link earlier, more about the GG in: https://happypollyesther.com/2014/05/13/introduction-to-happy-pollyesther/). The GG creates a mindset of gratitude and happiness, which is an excellent conductor for solutions. Not only that, it will also create the right chemicals in our bodies that are beneficial for health and brain functioning! We start to feel stronger, more vibrant and creative. We become more productive and likely to take responsibility for our decisions . This is a place where solutions to problems are born! Another important thing to realize is that mindsets are contagious! If we can uplift others by being a living example of this positive mindset, we are already making a small impact on our predicament by setting off a chain reaction that can lead to actual results on a global scale.

Life responds to you

This understanding is what made me so passionate about starting this blog. To show to everyone that by small personal changes in mindset we can be so much more powerful than we realize. To give the power back to the people. We can all learn to direct our thoughts away from fear and hopelessness to happiness, hope and solutions for a better future with this simple GG. By just doing this, we are taking the first steps to actually creating this future now, for our own personal and the worlds benefit! Please share your thoughts on this post in the comments below.