Yesterday as we walked beside the ocean a friend asked when he would feel that his house was his home and his sanctuary… and I had a sense of him being bowled over by a deep and unexpected sense of isolation and loneliness… what struck me is for those of us who live close to the emotional surface, the ability to navigate our own emotions, and wander through melancholy or fear, loneliness or anger, or any other orchestral emotion, is just easier than for those who live far away from this cauldron… and at some point in their lives they stumble unexpectedly into an unknown, uninvited and now over-exposed emotional world… they have neither the words, nor comprehension and in many cases only some slight far-off childhood memory of such a feeling… And I suppose for me the truth is when you become your own sanctuary and take up comfortable residence within, this gets reflected in the external…
Archive for January, 2011
Having spent the last few years as my long-suffering friends and family (particularly my sister) will bear testament to… with me consumed with my own melancholy around a broken heart and an unfilled longing and a discomfort with myself. It is astonishing what happens when the veil of your own narcissism lifts and reveals a lightness for so long dampened and a hint of possibility that lights your step… Gratitude not being my strongest suit, I have surrendered somewhat to just being grateful – for everything… not wishing for more or different; or comparisons; or longings; just a deep sense of gratitude… and somewhere profoundly knowing that this knowledge is somehow leading me to the work I will be doing with people – not the eternal optimist with platitudes, rather a pragmatic approach to owning your light and probably more importantly your shadow and all that they together hold and create in such unique melding… Perhaps the sweet spot for Curve of the World is in just such a mirror?
I just met with a guy from the not-for-profit sector who is doing some consulting work for a financial services organisation around establishing a Corporate Social Responsibility program. To help his client he wanted to get my views on what makes for a successful rollout and the creation of a robust and sustainable program… Now that Curve of the World has birthed itself, albeit mainly in my kitchen as it is too hot and humid to sit upstairs in my study, it was actually affirming for me to listen dispassionately to the discussion and realise that I have a body of work and a level of experience that hopefully will find a voice (and income) in time … So as always I have to address my endless FEAR… and I love this piece by Kabir, the mystic poet from the 1400s….
When you experience your fear you become fearless.
All other fears merge with that fear.
If you fear that fear, then you will become fearful.
Be fearless, and all your fears will flee.
Okay I am jetlagged and a little dulled with heat but the two enormous folders and 60 hours of pre-workshop reading that need to be completed in the next 10 days have been largely ignored by myself… They are filled with corporate governance, legal requirements and financial literacy … none of which talk with any passion (or understanding) to my overly developed right brain which seems to scramble at the mere sight of these tomes… there is a reason I didn’t do accountancy or law…Just in case you are interested in the warthog family living the good life in my lounge…
Despite traveling heaps and knowing how dreadful it is to arrive with more luggage than the queen… I have never managed to learn how to pack properly, lightly, concisely and with limits…. again a metaphor for the rest of my life…. plentitude, excess, more than required and limitless… today is no exception…. I thankfully have upgraded my flight back to Sydney so I am going to arrive at the airport with a Paris-Hilton-wannabe-chihuahua-beaded warthog in a bag … I commissioned the delightful Eddie (who is a roadside extraordinary sculptor of beaded animals) to make me a baby warthog to go with my other mother warthog who lives in Sydney with me… Having poor spatial skills I figured it would be easily disguised as carry-on luggage… a little tusk or two would be whisked through customs… I collected an enormous yet beautiful teenage warthog yesterday that barely fitted into the boot let alone an overhead locker… so I will swagger on said plane with a hopefully well-behaved warthog…. oh and here is also a pic of the luscious full moon hanging over Table Bay a few nights ago… So it is with a heavy heart that I leave South Africa and have a very real sense that this year is about following my heart – personally and professionally… so who knows….
I don’t have photos, well I do, but I am uniquely challenged with more gadgets in my possession … None of which I actually know how to use… But it is late and I wanted to write… I have just returned from Cape Town tonight – again smitten with her beauty and that clean, Atlantic air… I spent two days working … Odd but I put my high red shoes on the first day and my squashed toes reminded me what work was and what to do… And I even enjoyed it … First night I spent at the luscious Raddisson Blu in Mouille Point…. There was a goddess heavy full moon rising over Table Bay and we drank bubbles and ate delicious seafood and all I could smell was the kelp (fat pieces of stinky seaweed) in the icy Atlantic … It is a smell I miss in my marrow … Australia’s Pacific is beautiful but she is aroma less…I have slept with such abandon since I arrived here but i am sleepless with the unknown of my next step… All I know is that on Sunday I board a flight back to Sydney….
I have never been north of Durban … Not sure if it is some snob appeal about the Cape being better or more whatever…. So an 1800 km road trip through Kwazulu-Natal was an exciting prospect despite the roadworks and trucks and taxis and unroadworthy cars and pedestrians and goats and cattle and potholes and suicidal guinea fowl… We finally arrived at Jeremy and his newly renovated home at the ocean and had a blissful, balmy late afternoon made sweeter by champagne on a caramel-sanded 25 km pristine beach…The house is relaxing and still unfinished – high ceilings, windows and views, breezes and chandeliers and a tree in the middle of the house … When the heavens opened later the following night the retractable but unsealed roof rained happily on said tree (and floor) – I wonder if they will grow tired of mopping up? By day we sat on his deck like slugs and plunged into the can’t-stand-on-the-bottom salt pool (not sure why he wants his guests to drown)… 3 dogs including a springer spaniel puppy, Molly, with no spatial skills and boundless energy that drives a long-suffering retriever crazy by chewing on her ears and paws… and 3 cats mostly ignoring us and a passing parade of building contractors fixing their imperfect work for our architect who appeared randomly to hang out with us…
I am no scientist but surely there must be some thought that what Queensland is experiencing may, just may, be related to changing weather conditions…. This is not just in expected distant formerly-dusty towns swamped by a mountain of swollen water… Rather this time it is also in Brisbane in the cbd … I know this city – a neat, contained city with a well behaved river and blazing sunshine now waiting for a 5.5 metre surge… A friend in Brisbane sent a text this am to say how surreal it is but he is safe … Last time I spent a whole wad of time in South Africa the nation’s capital, Canberra was engulfed in flames… It is a fierce continent with a veneer of calm…
Medicine men is a theme here … perhaps part of this trip was energetically medicinal for me… From walking in the fynbos in Rooi Els with holiday memories from childhood to photographing Jafta Pietersen in Prince Albert who teaches children the healing properties of the native plants …. and then Ben on Saturday with his garden of Eden – I am positive no complaint would go untreated there. Of course there is the story of Africa which is being told to me by diverse (there is that theme again) … The eloquent Stephanie explaining the tale of the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the 13 years she has worked there this war-ravaged country has got worse despite billions of UN dollars pouring in…. Or darling Jo who arrived on Sunday bearing her two extraordinary photographic essays that in their desolate and intensely human way showcase the horror of the war that gripped Angola and continues to with its land mines and poverty and broken ex- soldiers…. And of course my personal experience of being here and feeling deeply held and connected and filled with an enormous gratitude for having this time as we hop towards the year of the rabbit ….. Meet Jafta