Australia · books · challenges · realities · writing

Excited trepidation

Sometimes, even birds get in a tizz.
Sometimes, even birds get in a tizz.

This morning, the university study schedule and information has been released for the two units I am enrolled in for session one, which begins next week, and as I printed out Study Guides and Unit Information Guides this morning I felt the familiar bubble of excited anticipation I usually feel at the beginning of a new learning journey.

Mingled with the excitement, however, I also experienced a fairly large chunk of trepidation.

I’m enrolled in the Associate Degree in Creative Writing and have so far completed three of the sixteen units. The first two units, which I completed well before the end of last year in session two of the study year, progressed wonderfully. Nothing untoward happened, I learned lessons which I will continue to carry with me throughout the associate degree and beyond, and I became friendly with some like-minded, ‘mature aged’ students who are experiencing a similar learning process to my own. I took the opportunity to complete my third unit over the Christmas/New Year period, during session three, again feeling eagerness and anticipation over the content of the coming twelve weeks study and assignment tasks.

It was during the latter weeks of this third unit that I began to feel the effects of information overload, brought about by political leanings, opinionated unit content and the evident desire of the authors of the learning materials to neatly package groups of people together in what they described as minority group and label each group with its (apparent) appropriate sticker.

At the point in the unit that I began questioning the learning process, we were discussing the book Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

An academic may, upon the mention of Jane Eyre, nod knowingly and mutter ‘ah yes, Jane Eyre‘, whilst realising the popular train of thought offered by university lecturers and those people who possess a biting, critical and analytical mind for all texts written since the beginning of time. For the uninitiated student such as myself, however, the Study Guide materials and ensuing discussions came as something of a shock.

What did I expect when I enrolled in this unit? Jane Eyre was listed as one of the Written Texts students would study during this unit, along with several other books. I’ve read Jane Eyre and although I found Brontë’s 19th-century style of speech difficult to read in the beginning, after the first few pages I began to enjoy the experience of reading a book written authentically in the time frame. Historical writing, such as Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, whilst written historically, were not written in 1743, the year in which the female protagonist, Clare Randall, found herself after falling through a time-warp amid the stones at Craigh na Dun during a visit to Scotland in 1946. Jane Eyre, on the other hand, was published in 1847 and written during a time when females were not regarded as having anything worthwhile to say and not accepted as authors worthy of publication. Charlotte Brontë, like other female authors of her time, stepped around this technicality by releasing her early writing under the nom de plume of Currer Bell, a fact which I found fascinating and a sign of those times. During reading Jane Eyre I marvelled at the changes in society during the past one-hundred-and-seventy years and silently thanked the suffragettes, and various other the women throughout time who have fought the battle, and won, for equal right for women. I had expected discussions throughout this unit to be comparisons of writing styles during various time frames; I expected admiration for female authors, such as Charlotte Brontë who led the way in fighting a male dominated society, hence breaking down the barriers, enabling the opportunity for me to write today.

I was wrong. We were expected to read the assigned texts from the only point of view we have available to us, which is now, placing all of the judgements we know to be ‘correct’ today, on a text which was written one-hundred-and-seventy years ago. Apparently, Charlotte Brontë wrote from a narrow and limited point of view and should have known better than to portray Rochester’s first wife as a Creole, which (apparently) emphasised the bigoted outlook of the English.

This line of discussion, (especially relating to the apparent prejudice of English folk whose soul purpose was to colonise and the entire world) was held right at the time when heated debate was rife over Donald Trump’s controversial election as the American President. And perhaps this unit’s discussion board conversations fell victim of the overflow of anguish spilling across from the other side of the world. It didn’t help the situation any when these events coincided with Australia celebrating yet another ‘Australia Day’, meant to bring the citizens of this country together as we sing the praises of the country we love, yet in recent years has been described as ‘invasion day’ by some people who are indigenous, part indigenous or indigenous sympathisers in this country. Before I realised what was happening, the discussion board debate turned political. In the university environment, where the study guides describe our once heralded ‘Australia Day’ as invasion day (a point which I usually overlook, and read on) my once-expected-to-be pleasurable debate and learning experience turned into an emotionally draining nightmare.

If you have read this far, and are a regular reader of my blog posts, no doubt you are asking why I chose to participate in the discussion board debacle, when it obviously upset my equilibrium. Ten percent of the grade awarded at the end of the unit is assessed on personal participation to the discussion board. I seriously considered whether it was worth the ten percent, but as the unit was nearing the end when I became positively rattled, I chose to stick it out.

As I begin to study two new units, again verging into the unknown, I have not developed any expectations of the unit content. I now know to expect the unexpected, however, the trepidation is there. I do not wish to feel like an emotionally drained, rung-out old dish cloth at the end of what should be a pleasant learning journey. I hope that this most recent experience is a one-time event. I question how the topic of discussion I endured will help me to become a better writer, (which is why I signed up for the Associate Degree in Creative Writing) and will remain open to a proverbial penny dropping moment in the future.

For assignment 4, discussion board participation, my grade was a high distinction, yet in hindsight, I feel I paid too a high a price for the ultimate accolade, which was such a small aspect of the unit.

And please, anyone who feels inclined to comment regarding anything political or controversial, I respectfully ask you to please refrain from any such observations. These mentions were only made to describe a situation, not to open further debate.

Thank you, dear reader, for lending your ear (eye?) as I again venture into the unknown, this time literally prepared – in a suit of armour.

A Sense of Spirit · making contact · realities · signs from spirits · sisters · unbreakable bonds

Are Tarot Cards Really Necessary?

During the final few weeks of my mother’s time on this earth, spent in hospital, with my father and eldest sister constantly at her bedside, I didn’t have the opportunity to speak to her, to ask the questions I wished to ask or to discuss matters with her that only she would understand.

Mum tried to tell me things but with Dad and my sister as an audience, I know I didn’t react to what she told me in the same way as I would have, if we were alone.

If I cried when I visited my mother, Dad asked me not to let Mum see how upset I was, as it may upset her to see me that way. I had wanted to cry over the impending loss of my mother; I didn’t want her to think I had become so hardened to her illness than I no longer felt emotion, but Dad was of the “old school”, believing Mum must be protected from adverse emotion in her delicate state.

I don’t blame my father for feeling that way. I know that he believed it was for the best.

I didn’t.

The relationship I had with my mother had been one of trust and open honesty for all of my life. Mum and I had raging arguments at times, due to our honesty with each other, but neither of us ever held a grudge. As soon as we were through with our argument, Mum would say, “Go and put the kettle on and make us a cup of tea”. A cup of tea made everything right, you know. Mum was an English lady, who knew within her heart and soul that a shared cup of tea would fix anything that ailed her world.

And it did.

For the two of us it did, anyway, although none of my sisters seemed to have the same capacity to get over a row with Mum in the same way as I did. I still believe the relationship that Mum and I shared was unique on so many levels.

My mother has been gone since 1993 and back then I had one child at school, one at pre-school and my baby who was only nine months old, a baby who my mother had said was “her baby”.

I dropped my two elder children off at school one morning and on the spur of the moment decided to call in and see Mum at the hospital in the morning, rather than waiting until the afternoon when I would be collecting the older two from school, as I had planned.

My baby and I walked into Mum’s hospital room and instead of seeing my father and sister at her side, I found my Mum alone, lying peacefully in bed in the coma she had been in for the last couple of days.

Without giving my actions a second thought, I walked over to my Mum’s bedside and began talking to her by telling her I was visiting her with my baby and that Dad and my sister hadn’t arrived yet. I chatted away to her for a while, in the same way that I would have spoken to her had she been conscious.

It would have been amazing to hear her voice again, but it knew that wouldn’t happen ever again. I stroked her smooth face and her silver hair. I looked at her hands, her strong, healing hands, trying with all my might to embed the image of my beautiful mother permanently within my mind’s eye.

Before I left the room I told her something that I had wanted to say to her when she was still conscious. I told my mother that I knew she would want to contact me from the other side and if she felt the need to contact me for any reason, to let me know and I would find a psychic, or tarot card reader, to help her get through to me.

Mum and I had often made visits to such people, with Mum telling me that she wished she had the same ability that they did. Mum said she wasn’t afraid of psychic phenomena, and I shared her beliefs. They came as naturally to me as breathing, most likely due mostly to my mother sharing her beliefs with me for my entire life.

Up until this particular day, before leaving the hospital, I had said to my Mum, “See you later Mum. I love you”, not having the strength to say goodbye. I hadn’t wanted to say the final goodbye to this precious person who meant the world to me.

This morning had been different though. Mum and I had spent time together, alone, time to communicate.

Time for me to realise that I had to let her go.

She rested so peacefully and I indulged my eyes for the last few moments, again memorising every minute detail about her.

I noticed a pulse beating slowly at the side of her neck. Ah, so she was still alive, I thought to myself, although her spirit seemed not to be with the body I looked at lying in the hospital bed.

Leaning over my mother I whispered to her, “Goodbye Mum. I love you”, and left the room.

Later in the day I found out that a nurse had watched me leave the room and went in to check on my mother.

She was gone.

Down in the hospital car park I strapped my baby into her car seat and turned on the ignition.  On the radio that morning they were playing hit songs of 1975 and the song that came onto the radio was “All by Myself” by Eric Carmen, one of Mum’s favourite songs and one which she felt had been written just for her.

“All by myself,
Don’t wanna be, all by myself anymore.”

The years passed and I waited for some kind of sign from my mother, but there wasn’t one. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t, or couldn’t, get through to me. In life, we had talked constantly and I believed with every fibre of my being that Mum hadn’t left me, that she was beside me always.

So where was the sign to contact the psychic? I’d been waiting, and looking, and there was nothing!

This lack of contact began to play on my mind and I thought back over the last couple of years to anything that may have lead to a sign that I may have missed, but every incident that I recalled had gone nowhere; every question I had come up with had been answered, every problem I had, had been solved.

The contact had been right there in front of me, the whole time! Mum had been helping me through every day, without me realising it!

Perhaps grief had shut my senses down; I’m not sure what had happened to me. All I do know is that once I opened my heart and listened with my soul, she could speak to me.

The tarot cards and the psychics are not needed to bring my mother and me together. There is an invisible golden thread joining us together, which can never be broken. She will never leave me, nor I her. She knows she can release the thread more these days as I don’t rely on her as much as I used to, but she knows when I need her. And she is there.

Photo credit ~

A Sense of Spirit · concepts · realities

Thoughts as I Press My Nose against the Window of Life

“Every new idea begins with a concept and an imaginary glance into the future. Where our imaginations perceive this idea will take us is crucial to the distance we are prepared to travel with our concept. It’s all in our minds, in our perception of what the future may bring”.

The creation of this website took months, in my mind.

The whole concept took hold easily enough and the content has always been there by the bucket-load, in my mind.

During the last year I must have written over one-hundred articles to publish here, in my mind.

After months of agonising over the question of whether or not starting up this site was a valid concept, a burst of courage finally saw “A Sense of Spirit” hitting the computer air-waves in March last year.

Whatever became of the courage I had within me, back in March 2011, back in the day when I believed in my ideas and knew that the blogging world would accept the theory behind the concept of writing about unproven realities?

In actual fact, that is exactly what “A Sense of Spirit” is all about ~ A Series of Unproven Realities.

Constantly I have asked myself, how many people are there out there, who also, like myself, can see and feel these unproven realities?

Will I be questioned and judged on my stories of what is fact (to me) or questioned harshly on my theories? (I do not wish to have to defend my beliefs, nor do I wish to question those who do not have the same beliefs as me).

Worse still, will I be ridiculed?

Are there even any like-minded people who will read my stories and see them for what they are, accepting the sincerity in which my stories are shared?

Will anyone feel compelled to share their own stories here?

There are too many questions floating around in my head. Don’t you agree?

While my heart tells me “go for it!” the practical reality in my head, (which I am usually loathe to listen to, especially if it precedes the story of my heart, although it doesn’t in this case), is this ~ I already have three, yes three, subscribers to “A Sense of Spirit”!

Not bad at all, if you ask me, when you consider I have added just one post, almost a year ago, and an “about” page! (Thank you to my three subscribers. I hope you are all reading this and will accept my gratitude for your offerings of encouragement).

Who knows, maybe there are some more folk out there who won’t see this site as being complete madness and enjoy what they read. How cool would it be to have even more subscribers?!

In actual fact, using my senses to feel the unseen and also listening to and following my intuition comes as naturally to me as breathing. It always has, as far back as I can remember.

Now I am ready, the time has come for me to stop pressing my nose against the window and become a participant in my own creation. I’m ready to go out and dance in the sunshine and the rain.

I do hope you will join me.