>Breathe Deeply and Swallow Life Whole

>The other day I was watching an episode of the TV series Torchwood. This is a spin-off from the long-running Doctor Who sci-fi series produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the UK. This series started way back in the ‘sixties, I think. I can remember watching the first episode when Doctor Who emerged from his telephone box which was acutally a space travelling machine. The series in recent times has been given new life by the scripts of Russell Davies. After each of the recent episodes, I used to love watching the background fill-ins on the tricks of the trade in producing all the sci-fi effects in Doctor Who, not least because watching Russell Davies laughing and having such fun with his wonderful scripts was like watching a little boy having the time of his life.

Torchwood is just as entertaining although it can be far more bloodthirsty at times, it’s really for older viewers than the more general Doctor Who. What I found inspirational in this particular episode were the comments of a young man who had died at the beginning but who found satisfaction and happiness with his rather ordinary life just before he finally died for good (if that makes sense, lol) at the end of the programme.

He said, as he vamoosed up into the unknown realms:

“The average life is full of near misses and absolute heights. Yfdou can have a great life and small disasters. Life can be dead ordinary and truly, truly amazing. We are all here now on Earth, so breathe deep and swallow life whole”.

I thought you might like his words and I’m recreating them because I believe that there’s a lot of hooey around about how we can live perfect, happy lives if we just think the right thoughts and concentrate on getting away from poverty by letting go of a “poverty mentality”. What it means in practice is that if you’re poor it’s your own fault. Absolute bollocks.

To be very honest, this whole phrase of “poverty mentality” really gets up my nose. It’s demeaning to the millions upon millions who live good, decent lives. Those lives shouldn’t be defined by whether you have a big house, smart car and your kids go to all the right schools. It’s what’s in our heart and soul that counts and whether we lead kind, loving lives and hold our heads up high regardless of the highs and the lows.

We don’t live our lives in isolation, lives which can be created by just thinking the right thoughts. We come into this life with galactic connections, with connections to our ancestors, with connections to our family and the tribe into which we are born. All these have their own energies with which we inter-act. And this is as it should be. Community is so important. Of course we need to respect our own gifts and talents and purpose. But we do so in order to live with and through love to ourselves and to others, not just to live life solely for our own selfish purposes. Some of the richest people on this planet are the poorest because they lack love and think life revolves around money not people. Conversely, some of the poorest are the richest because they lead loving, productive lives and know that people not money are the source of happiness.

So be who you are and enjoy life to the full as it is now, with as much love, laughter and passion as possible.

>My friend Ivy – Inspiration in her ’90s

>I know my friend Ivy won’t mind my mentioning how inspirational she has been to me, even though she’s a very modest lady. She would see this not as promoting herself but paying homage to the Catholic God which was the centre of her being. Perhaps, in her own way, she’s helped me towards making my peace with the Catholic Church.

I first met Ivy when I started treating her aches and pains with reflexology. She was living on her own after her husband’s transition to Spirit and was surviving pretty well for someone in her late ’80s. She adored flowers and plants, her home was filled with them and her garden was an absolute picture. The only thing which got her down a bit was that she needed to employ a part-time gardener for the garden as she grew a bit more frail, and also the fact that she had cataracts and couldn’t see the beauty of the flowers which fed her heart and soul.

Firstly she had one eye treated to get rid of a cataract. Then she had the second cataract removed and once again could see clearly. She was overjoyed to be able to see her beautiful flowers and plants again. She told me she said: “God, I thank you for the gift of sight again. How can I repay you with this blessing?” She said she found herself painting in the air.

So she got a friend to get her some paper and watercolour paint and began painting, as she turned 90, her beloved flowers. Her paintings were truly a work of art, particularly for someone who had never painted before yet followed the inner guidance she felt inspired her.

Trust your inspiration, whatever stage of your life, because Ivy shows us that truly we never stop being able to create in our lives. But the choice is ours. Don’t let fear hold you back. Whatever inspires you, follow your heart and soul. You’ll never look back.

>My history with art

>Visiting the Dali exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria made me think about my own history with artwork, as I really glommed onto his surrealist approach when I saw a couple of his paintings in the National or Tate Galleries in London back in the early ’70s. What I never realised then was that, for me, real-life stuff doesn’t interest me, it’s the symbolic artwork which is my forte.

I went to a Catholic Convent from the age of 6-12 and it was a miserable time, I had few friends, continually got up the noses of the nuns as I wasn’t religious enough for them, and I always somehow managed to get into trouble one way or another. A good little Catholic girl I wasn’t.

We never did any painting at the convent. Instead we did, as good like Catholic schoolgirls did in those days, embroidery and knitting. I was utterly hopeless at both. The hat I knitted for myself turned out as a tea-cosy as it sort of stretched as it came into being. But now, looking back, I really resent the fact that we never splashed with paint or really had fun as kids.

When I started at Grammar School, working with powder and poster paints was a complete nightmare for me. I had had no experience with any kind of painting as a kid, and I guess what I managed to create in art classes at school was pitiful, absolutely pitiful. I couldn’t draw real-life stuff to save my life. I swear that I only got a passmark in my final art exam out of sheer pity and compassion on the part of the teacher.

In November 1995 I got a Tarot reading from a reader I was really drawn to and she predicted I’d be doing a short course and then start drawing colours for people. I thought she was barking mad and my payment had gone straight down the gurgler. How wrong I was! In the February of the following year I went to a two-day Mandala workshop, using Berol art pencils on black cardboard, and I created beautiful artwork for the first time in my life. I was over the moon. I had come full circle and connected with symbols as my inspiration, just as Dali’s work had stayed in my mind with all its surrealist, symbolic take on life.

I never looked back. When I was house-bound with a broken leg and ankle in 1996 and was often awake during the night, due to the pain of my leg swelling against the cast, I would draw mandalas for friends. I found, again to my surprise, that I was tuning into them and producing symbols which meant something to my friends. I then started selling mandalas but found I had got onto a treadmill and the joy of creation faded. So I packed that in.

When I returned to Australia after living in the UK for two years, I did a Soul Retrieval process, and started painting quite different artwork, earth-based, goddess-type paintings. Now I just enjoy painting whatever I feel like. I must say that my art took off when I discovered modelling compound, could put a shape on symbolic work, but also started incorporating material like bark, leaves, feathers, stones, etc.

I’ve been enjoying creating artwork around the time of the Full and New Moons, something quite different. And shortly I’m going to do some childhood healing by creating a Childhood Dreamboard. As I’m now in my early ‘sixties, my message to all is: it’s never too late. Life’s a journey and if you stay open to adventures, you’ll get some lovely surprises from the Universe.

>Asian Art Exhibition

>I was very lucky to have time to visit the Asian Art Exhibition which is running concurrently with the Dali Exhibition.

This was a collection of household wares – pottery, statues of deities, and so on – as well as of carvings, modern artwork and funerary items.

I found it awe-inspiring to be in the presence of the most beautiful pottery pieces, some of which dated from 2,000-3,000 years ago. What a miracle that these are still available for us in modern-day society to view and marvel at.

Some of the stone carvings from Cambodia and India were truly awe-inspiring. The were so intricately and delicately carved. There were also two wall-hangings from Tibet of the Wheel of Life with the most exquisite, detailed artwork.

Further on I came across statues of various deities from Tibet, Cambodia and India which again were spiritually most uplifting.

There were also examples of modern artwork, one by a Vietnamese artist which was so contemplative and serene. It was quite long and wide and depicted in underplayed simplicity a calm lake surface, with the sun just breaking through the moon, and a long fishing boat with a fisherman sitting quietly with only his back on view in the painting. Quite simple yet complex in its simplicity.

So all in all I had a fantastic day the National Gallery of Victoria, came home absolutely stuffed, but very pleased with my outing.

>Salvador Dali Art Exhibition

>Yes, on Thursday I finally went into Melbourne to visit the Salvador Dali Exhibition which I’ve been threatening to do for ages. Luckily, I picked a day when it wasn’t pouring with rain, blowing a gale or various other sundry ghastly weather which seems to be par for the course down here in Victoria. It’s a two-hour train journey into Melbourne but it’s handy going by train as it’s no slower than by car and you don’t have the hassle of driving and then trying to find central city parking. You alight at Flinders Street Station which has a magnificant historical facade and is quite a landmark in this city (although given the way in which historical buildings are being demolished in Melbourne, whether it is knocked down and replaced by a bland steel and glass building is debatable).

From there you hop on a tram along St. Kilda Road, one stop and you’re at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). My visit started really sparkling when I looked at the huge glass windows fronting the NGV which have a huge waterfall pouring down between the double glass sheets. It looks fantastic. Then came the exhibition itself. I really do have to hand it to the NGV because it’s a brilliant journey through Dali’s life.

It was a great exhibition, well-organised and had a fantastic selection of Dali’s artworks. I was actually most drawn to the full-colour truly off-the-planet artwork, it really resonates for me. I was also surprised to feel so emotional as the last time I was able to admire Dali’s paintings was when I was around 21 and working in London in the early ’70s. When I looked at this astrologically, Uranus was Square Uranus at that time and now, as I move into my ‘sixities, I’m revisiting this Uranus Square Uranus astrological formation again. It only happens twice in your life. So it’s as if the ghost of the twenty-one-year old I was then has re-connected with myself in the present. This astrological configuration heralds big changes in one’s life – in my early years it led to my move to Australia. At the present time (and it happens for all people) it heralds a time when you are assessing your life as you near retirement and move into the (hopefully) more spiritual, wiser years of your life, when you re-connect with your crown chakra and move inexorably towards the Rainbow Bridge at some time or another.

For many it’s a challenge if they’ve defined themselves by their work as the end of one’s working life is co
ming ever close. But it’s a door opening up for great adventures and excitement as you realise the possibilities available to you as you enter your Elder years. You can choose to be 60 years young or 60 years old. All this I was thinking about during the exhibition as Dali’s paintings seem to take a more spiritual aspect as he got older. Of course, this may be my perspective only!

This painting, Galatea, is one of his later ones and was inspired by the splitting of the atom and the creation of the atom bomb along with the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It’s a quite fascinating work when you see it close up. One of the most outstanding was a huge, mystical-type painting which is awe-inspiring when you see it. But Dali painted himself in, in the lower left-hand corner, and it jars. It’s as if somehow he felt the need to undermine the serious theme of his work, as if he worried that it was too spiritual. Again, just my interpretation.

I bought a copy of the programme which is really fantastic, great pics of Dali’s artwork and extensive explanations of his life and the various periods when he created so many different types of painting. I also came home with two boxes of cards with Dali paintings, but the cards won’t be sent, I’m going to frame most of them.

Dali obviously trod a fine line between this world and the unseen realms, but he really was a genius. It was a fantastic feeling to peer closely at the canvases, see the brushmarks and somehow feel a connection with the artist as he was creatin his wonderful works.

This is another of Dali’s whacko paintings and, if I remember correctly, this was one of the paintings I saw in London. I can remember in one of his other works that I saw at that time that a fork was digging into someone’s leg. Must have made an impression for me to remember it all those years later!

>Saving Wombats – Please Help!

>This is far more serious, folks, part of saving Planet Earth and stopping cruelty to wombats.

Here’s a pic and story from an article in one of our weekend newspapers:

Some of you may be aware that I am currently on a bandwagon of supporting the Wombat Awareness Organisation in South Australia. Wombats are native animals which are seriously threatened by urban spread and now, in South Australia, by the State government there allowing farmers to kill wombats (the symbol of SA by the way, what an irony!). Some farmers see the wombat as a threat and they are killing them by bulldozing over their burrows so they suffocate; or shooting them; or blowing them up with homemade explosives; or gassing them.

I am appalled at this cruelty, so I’m hoping – if you feel similarly worked up about this senseless madness – you might feel inclined to visit the wombat site:

http://www.wombatawareness.com

where you can sign a petition to the South Australian government asking them to stop giving permission for wombat killings, and donate if you feel so inclined. I’m also asking you, if you can, to pass on info re saving wombats to all friends on Facebook and also on your e-mail list. Thank you.

You can also visit Bean Bag, one of the wombats, on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Bean-Bag/132832603241?ref=ts

>And now for something completely different…..eyebrows!!!

>I was born with invisible eyebrows – so fair that you can’t see them. So I’ve been pencilling in eyebrows since I was in my early ‘teens as a face without eyebrows looks really odd. In recent years I’ve had to wear my glasses to see what I’m doing with the pencil. I used a bright blue eyeliner by mistake one day and thought it looked odd in the mirror until I put my glasses on – whoa! I don’t mind being a bit whacko but even I baulk at going out with blue eyebrows, lol.

A while back I decided to treat myself to a make-up session with a Napoleon Perdis make-up artist. Just synchronicity involved as I found out further down the line. I saw the sessions advertised and one was free – the only one left during the day and available in a half hour. So I booked in and had a cup of coffee to fill in the time. I was surprised to find later that Napoleon Perdis is a terminally trendy make-up line with Mr Perdis himself being absolutely terminally trendy (and also hugely expensive if you have a session with the Great Man himself). I however had one of his make-up artists which is much more affordable, I can tell you!

The make-up artist and her assistant and I had a grand old time discussing astrology and Tarot, and when the session was over I was really pleased with the dramatic eye make-up she created. I couldn’t afford everything she used, but was able to update my make-up within my budget.

However, I was absolutely enchanted to see that the artist had created a pair of terrific eyebrows for me, the best I’ve ever had. With eyebrow pencils my eyebrows would sort of disappear over the day so I might end up with half an eyebrow each side, or just one eyebrow, and of course, some very weird looks.

So now I’m using the Napoleon Perdis eyeliner to create my eyebrows every day, each pair of eyebrows being slightly different depending on my mood. Somedays they’re dark and forceful. Other days they’re light and airy. Occasionally they’re thin, sometimes they’re fairly thick.

I have finally realised that, after a lifetime of bemoaning my lack of eyebrows, I actually have a great gift – I can create my own eyebrows each day, depending on my mood. So if you ever meet me, check out the eyebrows first, it might give you some idea of what sort of mood I’m in, RAOF LMAO!

On to synchronicity, however. A while later I did a Tarot reading for a lady who, it turned out, wanted to become a make-up artist with – big drum-roll – Napoleon Perdis. She’d already downloaded their application form but was dithering. She came from a town near here and didn’t know that the chemist shop where I had my make-up done carried Napoleon Perdis and had a visiting make-up artist. So I was able to connect her with this make-up line in my town and head her off to the chemist shop to catch up with the artist on her next visit to Traralgon. Small world, eh?