A while back I created an image of Aphrodite which I decided I wasn’t too happy with (bad grammar, but never mind). So I returned and created an image with rays radiating out from the heart centre. I still felt dissatisfied because it looked as thoughAphrodite Revisited  the heart centre was more like a demented octopus than a heart radiating love.

So these past couple of days I’ve revisited the image, painted over the rays, and strengthened the figure of Aphrodite. I kept adding layers of colour and glitter until I felt the figure was how I envisaged Aphrodite.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve always been rather unimpressed with Botticelli’s Venus because she looks so soppy and wimpy.  I wanted to show Aphrodite as a powerful figure because love is such a powerful emotion – it can move mountains! 

I added silver glitter to the figure to represent the foam from which Aphrodite rises when she emerges from the Mediterranean at the bottom of the island of Cyprus.  Her figure is also slightly blurred because she’s linked to emotions which are rather watery. And I haven’t delineated a face as love means so many different things to different people.  It’s quite hard to pin down so her face radiates love in all its manifestations.

I do feel a lot more satisfied with this painting and it’s done me good to acknowledge that a painting doesn’t feel right and to return to play around with more glitter and paint. Very satisfying to the inner artist!

Noah’s Ark

When we left Australia for North Cyprus, we had – for the first time we’ve been together (35 years) – no pets.  We had sad a sad farewell to our Jack Russell, Rosie, in early 2010, but celebrated her long, loving life of 16.5 years.

So when we set off for the eastern Mediterranean, we decided we’d be footloose and fancy-free. We looked forward to travelling around Europe without a care in the world. Unbeknownst to us, however, the Universe had a complete different idea of our future and it didn’t include being footloose and fancy-free.

The Three Musketeers
Jezebel (Mum), Sweetie & Tinkerbell (kittens)

Our happy-go-lucky ways lasted until late June when a white, stray cat who’d been hanging around in our complex decided to move in. And once we started feeding her and she’d got her paws under the table, so to speak, she introduced her two kittens. So we threw up our hands, surrendered to the inevitable and adopted the whole kitty and caboodle.

In late September to early October we went back to the UK to visit family and friends we hadn’t seen since 2004. We found a carer for our cats and set off for our three weeks’ holiday. Which turned into two when the airline, Pegasus, summarily cancelled our flight and we had to return early.

We were disappointed and angry our stay had been cut short, but told each other that it was lovely to see our little feline family again.  We got home on the Wednesday and happily told ourselves driving home on the Friday from the supermarket that having cats around wasn’t too bad but we didn’t want a dog as they tend to tie you down.

Sigh. Why do we drop ourselves into it like this?  On the Sunday afternoon we were sitting on our patio and Bryan noticed one of our neighbours fussing outside the wall beside our garden.  My husband wandered down out of curiosity and found a puppy which had collapsed completely and folded up over a plant with her head under her body as she was too weak to get up. She was severely emaciated and close to death and our Turkish neighbour had no idea how to take care of her.

Sadie from above, showing her poor conditionAs Bryan picked her up, she managed a feeble wag of her tail, just one wag, and that was it. So we spoon-fed her water and washed her as she was in a disgusting state – covered in dirt, fleas, lice and ticks. Then we knocked up some chicken and rice, and spoon-fed her little by little.  We put her in the cat’s crate overnight with a blanket, covered the crate with another blanket to keep out drafts and left her by our bed so she had company through the night.

Sadie on the sofa
Sadie, a few weeeks later

To be very honest, we didn’t know if she’d make it, but she’s a tough little survivor and she staggered out next day, headed for the water bowl to drink on her own, hoovered up the remaining rice and chicken and hasn’t looked back. She was eight weeks’ old and now is four months’ old. She has grown like Topsy (and we’d also wanted a small dog if we ever did get one) and bids fair to be a very big dog indeed.

That was it, then. Our furry family was complete. But wait. The Universe had other ideas. Last Sunday I heard someone calling out front and found another neighbour from further along our complex. He asked if I was Australian and El Stupido brightly said yes. And then he said he’d been told the Australians take in stray dogs and kittens. He’d found a stray puppy dumped beside the nearby English school, it had been wet, hungry and howling and he couldn’t leave it, because it would be like leaving a little kid. But he’s Jordanian, isn’t familiar with caring for dogs, lives upstairs and has two daughters to care for. So I sighed again, went to tell Bryan that a new addition to our menagerie was on the way, and thus Ziggy arrived on our doorstep.

Ziggy is in much better nick than poor old Sadie was, thank goodness, and thankfully he and the older dog took to each other straight away.  They play together, fight together, eat together and sleep together. He has a little whiskery face and, like Sadie, is bidding fair to become pretty big.

So we congratulated ourselves that we’d reach the end of the adoption road. But wait, that road wasn’t blocked off yet. A couple of days later we heard a kitten bawling in the field beside our wall and lo and behold! we found a young kitten, about 8 weeks,  in a dreadful condition, thin, nervous and, poor little thing, missing one eye. So in she came to join the throng.  She never stopped eating when she first arrived and was nervous and timid. The first couple of nights she slept in the small cat cage, Sadie slept in her crate beside our bed,  we kept Ziggy in the bed with us for some peace and quiet and the three older cats came and went as they wished as we always leave our verandah door slightly ajar.  We have now, thankfully, reached the stage where all the animals sleep outside and we totter off to bed and shut the door, after days of absolute chaos of dogs roaring everywhere, cats hissing as they get knocked over and feeding time at the zoo twice a day: Jezebel, aka the Moggy Mafia, gets fed separately as she’s quite aggro and the kittens are terrified of her; Sadie and Ziggy get fed next; and finally Bella, our little rescue kitten who is now pretty confident and putting on weight and playing like a kitten should, gets fed on the counter as otherwise the others pinch all her food.Bryan, Bella, Sadie & Ziggy

The moral of all this?  Well, make plans and watch the Universe howl with laughter as it tears up the plans and stomps all over them.  For some reason we have been called to caretake all these mutts and so we have surrendered to the call and now have a good-sized menagerie, thanking heaven along the way that we have a fair-sized apartment and a bit of garden to accommodate the cats and the dogs. Especially in Sadie’s case, it was a case of never knowing quite how the mystery of life works as, if we hadn’t been home, she would have died for sure.

We are simply crossing our fingers that there are no more surprises in store from the mystery of life!!!!

Retrieving Community – the Shoots of a Lotus Blossom from the Mud

Apothercary's Rose - an ancient rose native to Turkey. A symbol of global healing.
Apothecary’s Rose from my garden – an ancient rose native to Turkey. A symbol of global healing.

I’ve been reading quite a few comments about the tragic killings of 20 children and 6 staff  at the Sandy Hook, Newtown, Connecticut. People have been trying to make sense of what is, basically, senseless.

And so many of us have been deeply touched by such a tragic happening such a short time before a season which is synonymous with families, kids, get-togethers, love and goodwill.

Some have talked of gun control; others have commented on how we are shocked by the deaths of 20 children at Sandy Hook but don’t seem bothered by the daily events of kids killed in drone strikes in Afghanistan or dying in the Syrian conflict or in their many thousands in Africa due to drought or warfare.

Righteous anger on a particular and global scale. But where to take all this?

Well, I don’t want to add any further comments of my own on the cause of the tragedy, because so much has been said already.

But what I have found striking and really feels like a lotus blossom rising from the mud of tragedy has been the sense that this could very well be a turning point if we so choose, a turning towards the sun instead of the dark.

Soul transformation  - PhotoshoppedSo many have started talking of making real change of looking towards what unites us not divides us, to see a horizon where the sun rises on our own efforts to start caring for each other again:

*to-rebuild our fractured communities;

* to choose tolerance and compassion instead of hate and intolerance;

* to act with civility and respect instead of rage and disrespect; 

* to demand that governments take real action over gun control and stop the weasel words placating the gun manufacturers funding the gun lobby;

* to organise to stop funding wars and the armaments machine;

* to use taxpayers’ money for taxpayers – decent mental health facilities and treatment; good general health services; high-quality hospitals; affordable housing; solid infrastructure serving communities; more well-funded schools; decently-funded public libraries; sports complexes for all not simply an elite; taking care of the environment so our kids and this planet have a future; supporting job creation rather than job destruction; and so on.

Positive versus negative. Self-reliance and action instead of dependency and inertia.

But we are the ones who have to grow up and stop waiting for someone else to do it for us. 

We are the change.

We can take our power into our own hands.

Save the rage for the few who rip us off and the governments who collude in that rip-off.

Save the love for our local, national and global communities.

We are on a leaky boat and we can plug the leaks ourselves.

When you wake up tomorrow, make your choices considered ones to build community and nurture the lotus, not to wallow in the mud.