World Tree of Dancing Light

Yesterday a friend in America responded to comments made by a friend in Australia. In the early hours of yesterday morning I read words by a friend in Canada which helped me get back to sleep again. Daily I read wonderful quotes and look at beautiful art posted by a friend in Africa.

And in the early hours of this morning I woke with the words “World Tree of Dancing Light” in my head, knowing that I needed to create a post to celebrate my family – the good and true friends I’ve made around the world who provide love, nurturance and support to me as I return the same to them.

What made me think about this was a post I’ve seen published quite frequently on Facebook extolling the virtues of letting go of family quarrels and making the peace to restore family ties, but with the underlying theme that family disputes are about bruised egos and imaginary conflicts. To me this is a slap in the face for those of us who have family conflict because of very real, unpleasant, possibly violent actions which have led to the breakdown of family relations.

To me, my family is everything – and my family is all the wonderful friends I have around the world (the US, Australia, Britain, Spain, Africa, Pakistan and other places) who I treasure and value for the very real friendship and support they offer me.

Beyond my immediate family of friends, daily I see support groups where strangers show love, respect and honour for those who stretch their hands out for advice and kindness.

You have no choice about the family you’re born into and if it’s dysfunctional, look after yourself and don’t put up with inappropriate actions which drag you down and don’t support you.

But you can choose your family of friends which is what I am celebrating today – the world tree of roots of friendship reaching deep into Planet Earth which lets us dance joyfully together in the glow of loving kindness, true ties of love and support, and the Grace of true friends who light our lives.

 

Beyond the Veil

Beyond the VeilLIFE AFTER DEATH

If there’s one thing that’s certain in life, it is that one day we will do a perish/pop our clogs/turn up our toes/push up the daisies – in other words, we will die and leave this world to move through the veil to another dimension.

Some of you may roll your eyes at the idea of another dimension – feel free, my husband does it all the time and we have amicably agreed to differ.

But for some reason and for some time I have felt an inner voice urging me to write about my own confirmation of life after death. Normally I’d write this on my book blog but I’ve lost the domain name to that for some reason and I’ll have to sort it out next week after my brief trip to the UK.

Below is a summary of episodes which prove to me that we don’t just vanish when we die – we live on although how we live is a complete mystery to me. I have read various accounts by different people of the after-life and they all vary. So I shall just stick to “The Mystery” because that’s all I can offer except what has happened to me over the years.

“SHE CAME TO TEACH YOU UNCONDITIONAL LOVE”

The first event for me was when my little dog, Chloe, was run over by a bus and killed on a Friday night. I was grief-stricken and felt a part of my heart had been wrenched away The Saturday night afterwards I had a dream of her walking away from me in a golden light. She turned to look back at me with love and compassion on her face, as if to say a final goodbye and a voice said: “She came to teach you unconditional love. Her work is now done and she needs to move on.” Then Chloe turned and kept walking away. Cue for me to think I was barking mad (‘scuse the pun) as nothing like that had happened to me before.

Trying to make some sense of Chloe’s early death, I came across a psychic/medium at a mind/body/spirit show that weekend who repeated not only that my dog had come to to teach me unconditional love, but the woman described how Chloe would jump down the steps to our bedroom and sit on the bed beside me as I read in bed. She told me my little dog was present in spirit which made me very nervous as I’d never heard of a dead dog hanging around before!

A GRANDMOTHER & GRANDCHILD

Next up was in Queensland when I was getting a massage from Joy, my friend’s daughter. She suddenly said: “You know someone who has lost a child.”  To which I replied, “No, I don’t.” Undeterred,  Joy said “I’m being told you do and there’s a message for her. I have an older woman in spirit with a young child. The child passed over very young, and it’s taken an older form for this message. The lady has white hair in a bun and her favourite flowers are white – gardenia and jasmine. Please tell the mother that her child is fine and is being looked after by her grandmother.”

Well, to be very honest, I thought Joy was right off her rocker – until a few weeks later I went out for dinner with a neighbour I’d just met (we had only just moved to Queensland and didn’t know many people).  This lady told me she’d had a row with her husband, a subsequent miscarriage and carried great guilt at the loss of her child. I was quite gobsmacked by this as it fit the message Joy gave me. I dithered for a few days about saying anything but, in the end I met up with the mother and passed on the message. She went absolutely white, sat down and said: “That’s my mother you’re describing exactly.”  She was greatly relieved by the message and I, I have to say, found it quite extraordinary at the roundabout way a message had been passed on by the spirit world, not least confirmation that the child in question had died before taking a fully-formed human shape.

TAROT AND MEDIUMSHIP

Later on, I taught myself the Tarot and developed some mediumistic ability.  I’m not trained and it’s quite haphazard how messages from the spirit world come through – I get a buzzing in my ears, it drowns out the world around me as if I’m in a bubble and I get a message for the person involved. The first time I was at a mind/body/spirit fair when a woman walked past me, stopped, turned to look at me and then rushed over for a reading.  She looked a bit taken aback and said she felt as if she’d been stopped in her tracks and pushed towards me.

I told her the reading involved one of her children and she looked at me in a bit of a weird way, saying: “I do have two children.” And then I felt compelled to ask if she’d lost a child and she said she had, and I said it was this child who wanted to contact her. I might add that that was an enormous surprise to me as I’d never done anything like this previously. It turned out that the daughter’s death had been particularly tragic – I won’t go into details to respect the privacy of her mother – but she wanted to tell her mother as the 10th anniversary of her death approached that it was time to leave the past behind and move on to the next part of her life. The woman then told me she was thinking of moving into a new relationship but had been held back by memories of her daughter’s death. Her face looked much lighter and she was profoundly grateful for the contact from the spirit world.

In subsequent readings I got more messages from the world of spirit, probably about a dozen instances, and I learned to say exactly what I heard because, while it was meaningless to me, for those who received the messages, the wording made complete sense and really meant a lot to those who received them. One particular Tarot reading was very frustrating for me and the person having the reading as the cards and messages I was hearing made no sense to her: until she realised it was all for her ex-fiancee and suddenly everything fell into place – a message for the man from his father that he could not have helped in any way prevent his father’s death. The lady having the reading knew that this would be an enormous reassurance and release a lot of guilt for her ex-fiance.

MY MOTHER-IN-LAW’S MESSAGE (Luckily I liked Hilda!)

Another time, when we had returned to Australia after living in the UK from 2012-14, we were walking through Fremantle when my husband suddenly said: “Look, Tarot readings, you like readings, go and have one.”  I was dead surprised because my husband isn’t into the Tarot at all, but thought it would be interesting to see what happened. My mother-in-law, recently deceased, turned up. She said she’d given Bryan a mental push to get me to have a reading as she knew he wouldn’t.  She wanted to apologise for stuffing up her will and making life very difficult for my husband in the wake of her death. There was other personal information which involved a third party so I won’t go into any more detail.

MESSAGES FROM MY PARENTS

As for myself, one  Sunday I suddenly found myself compelled to visit a spiritualist church in Morwell, Victoria, close to where I was living. It was quite weird as I had no intention of going but an hour before the session I got a feeling of tremendous pressure to attend. At the end, the reader turned to me and said a spirit being had come through for me. All that was told to me  made sense, particularly the reference to September being a hard time for me as that’s when my mum died and I buried her on my birthday. I thought it was my mother, of course, but the reader said no, the person in spirit was telling me she’d given me a blue pendant for my birthday, just after I arrived in Australia. It took a bit of thought but then I realised it was my aunt who had sent me a beautiful pendant with a bright blue stone in the centre which I still have today. This was very emotional for me as my aunt had been like my older sister.

At the same spiritualist church, I wasn’t present when a reader asked if anyone knew a “Maureen”. My friend was there and didn’t take any notice until her friend poked her and said: “That’s Mo, her full name is Maureen.” This time a message came to me from my father, apologising for his treatment of me when he was alive and offering me a huge, spiritual bouquet of roses. My friend was delighted to pass on this message to me. She’s a medium herself and she and her friend  had felt a “father” energy around the reader but took some time to make the connection to me.

And finally, involving me again, I had a stall at a function at the Morwell spiritualist church just before we moved to New South Wales. I was bored witless as very few people were turning up, so I wandered over to a guy the other side, who’d shared interesting information with me earlier, and asked for a reading or whatever he did. To my utter surprise he said my parents had turned up – I’d never really been bothered about hearing anything from them after their death. The medium didn’t want any feedback from me except “yes” and “no”. And what he said turned my view of my parent’s marriage upside down. I’d always believed that my parents were completely wrapped up in each other and I’d felt on the outer in our family group (I’m an only child).

The first thing he said was that my parents weren’t together in the spirit world, they’d gone to different groupings. My mother was saying she’d never loved my father and I can tell you, I gaped at the reader. He went on to say she was pressured into marriage with my father by her parents who wanted financial stability for her. She, on the other hand, had wanted to stay single and independent, and set up her own business. She succumbed to pressure and felt even more frustrated and hemmed in when I had been born. Years before, when I had an astrological report done, the astrologer asked if my mother was particularly independent and unusual, and at the time I’d said no, but the reading gave me greater insight into a secret world my mother had kept entirely to herself all her life.

My father also came through and the medium said he felt Dad was doing a life review. He said I’d never known my mother properly as she had a killer temper which she only showed to him and not to me. Having realised how frustrated my mum was with her life, I could understand her flaring up from time to time. But actually what used to get right up my mother’s nose was Dad’s stinginess – she told him once that after she died he’d probably snap freeze her body until he found a bargain in coffins!

My father also said he’d been let down by all the people he’d loved and was lonely in the spirit world. He’d been glad when my mother finally died (a prolonged death from lung cancer) as he thought life would get better, but it hadn’t. I might point out that my father had had alcohol problems through his life, and had plunged into the depths of alcoholism after my mum died, his own choice. Interestingly, he seemed quite unaware of this, and even after death was quite absorbed in self-pity and the view that he’d been handed a bum deal in life when, in fact, his arrogance and bullying had marred his relationships with others in his lifetime.

The clincher for me was, though, when the reader said my mother had mentioned a possible divorce when I was a teenager. I remembered that my mum had suddenly said one evening: “What would you think if we got a divorce?”  I thought they were joking and laughingly said I’d bang their heads together. It was never mentioned again but it sort of hovered in the back of my mind like a bit of a mystery. I had in fact not given it any real thought for years, and hadn’t even mentioned it to my husband. So it was interesting to get confirmation of the genuineness of the messages from my parents in such a distinct way.

Why I have had the urge to put this all into print is also a mystery to me. I know I’ve felt the pressure to get all this down so perhaps it’s of help to someone out there in the big, wide world. If the above does help someone, well, I’ve done my job. And if provides food for thought for others of you, well, I guess I’ve also done my job!

Buddha Cat

On-line Digital Art Websites

I thought just briefly today I’d mention a few of the photo editing/digital art websites I use.  I do have Photoshop and Corel, but they cost and, frankly, I find them quite clunky compared to the new offerings that are popping up on-line.

So if you want free editing and to experiment, go for what’s on offer on-line. I’ve found these sites are faster and have quite exciting gizmos which can really  make a difference to digital art.

Each of these programmes has different goodies to offer, so I’d suggest you pick out a fairly simple photo, upload it and just stooge around the various offerings on each site to see the many ways you can alter photos or art and create completely new images.

I started off with PicMonkey (http://picmonkey.com) when I did an on-line course last year on surreal art using selfies. With PicMonkey you can either use your own photo or you can create a blank canvas (under “Design” at the top, choose your own colour, and go from there.  If you go to the “Textures” and choose “Your own”, you can superimpose your own photo over the canvas or your own photo. There are various gizmos which enable you to change the way your texture looks.  You can also poke around among the other effects available under “Textures” and also under “Overlays”.  Be aware that, with the “overlay” function you get a sharp photo of whatever you use among your own overlays.  You can however alter their appearance, fade the photo, and also use the “eraser” function if you want to get rid of extraneous material on your photo and focus on a central image.  You can also use the “brush” function to restore anything you’ve inadvertently deleted if your hand’s a bit shaky or twitchy.

Then I tracked down BeFunky (http://www.befunky.com) which has similar functions but is slightly different. So have a poke around those too. The only thing you can’t do on this site is layer another photo or image onto your original work.

After a while of working with the two above sites, I came across Pixlr.com and originally it was solely an on-line site.  It has now made a programme available for download and it has added all sorts of really useful gizmos for jazzing up photos, a real improvement on when I first started using this programme.

The other site is use is Fotor (http://www.fotor.com) which has all sorts of editing programmes and gizmos, but the one I really like is under “effects” and it’s called “Magic Brush”.  With that, you can click on an effect such as bubbles, drag your mouse over your image, and voila!  bubbles appear all over the place.  There are also hearts, dandelions and pixie dust. Great fun.

It’s really a matter of experimenting with what each site has to offer.  I’ve learned heaps over the past year or so, even now finding new offerings I didn’t know existed on these sites.  So don’t be afraid to experiment – if you do something you don’t like, each site has a “reverse” button so you can delete whatever you’re not happy with.

Good luck, have fun, and remember – it’s not about being perfect, it’s about playing around, experimenting and enjoying yourself.

Here’s an example of the image I created with a “selfie” photo.  I used a photo of my mum, my auntie and my gran, then superimposed my own image over to link the generations:

Generations

Mum, Nanna Barnes, Auntie MurielMo, Close-Up

 

 

 

Family

Wild One.jpgI created this piece of digital art from a mandala I painted years ago when I lived in South-East Queensland.  I took it to the UK when we moved there in 2002 but then had to leave it with a friend when we returned to Australia in 2004 as otherwise I could have had the painting destroyed due to the wood around it and Australia’s strict quarantine rules and regulations.

When I was looking at this image, I was reminded of family as wolves are renowned for their very strong family ties.

Family came up in relation to two incidents which happened around our apartment recently.  We have families from all sorts of different countries staying in the apartments in our complex. At present, there are we Australians, next door are Russians, there are two English couples, further down the complex is a Pakistani family where the adults are studying at University here, there are Turkish families and we’ve also had people from Jordan and Iraq.

It’s a regular little United Nations. We all get on and somehow surmount the language barriers. But the real stars are the kids. They don’t recognise any differences between them. The Russian kids had only been here a couple of days before they’d made friends with the Pakistani and Turkish kids. Now they’re all hurtling all over the place, you can hear their laughter and watch their games as they’re playing in the communal swimming pool.  They don’t see themselves as different, just part of the little family that is created in our apartment complex.

And this morning I let the four dogs ou, only to have them barking  at the paddock next to our apartment. When I looked, our two white cats were making their way across the grass. It’s always the same – if the dogs see our cats outside of our garden, they start barking and we have to get them to shut up. But as soon as the cats jump the fence and come into our garden, the dogs rush over to lick them and greet them because they are no longer The Other. They’re family once more.

And of course, when you look around the world today you see conflict between groups who see each other as The Other instead of being members of the same world family.  I really wish that we could learn from the children here in this complex where The Other doesn’t exist, where nationality is not a matter for consideration, where friendship is extended unconditionally, where differences aren’t seen and where the temporary family is all that matters.

When conflict arises, if only we could look over the fence and see that The Other is Us, just wishing the same as us – a peaceful future, no conflict, education for our kids, a roof over our heads and some sort of economic stability and security.

Would that we adults could learn from the children!

 

The Power of Love: Art Every Day November 27

I’m back to “normal” surreal art today as I’m feeling heaps better. I’ve had a grand time working with an earlier piece of surreal art and superimposing over it a photo of a lovely pink rose in full bloom I found in the garden of one of my neighbours in our Crystal Gardens block of apartments. Given my love of crystals, I think the name is very, very appropriate!

The Power of Love
The Power of Love

I got one shot of the rose, then bent it slightly to get another, better shot, and unfortunately broke it off. So I took it home, left it on the kitchen cabinet to look for a vase and – even more unfortunately – one of young dogs nicked it and the four of them had a great game playing with its tattered remnants in our front garden!

Roses remind me not only of the ones we planted in our various gardens when loved ones died – whether humans or furry friends – but they also remind me of my paternal grandfather who was a really great gardener.

I used to stay with my grandparents as a kid and I remember the lovely flower beds full of roses, antirrhinums (bunny rabbits), pansies, roses, hollyhocks, irises, alyssum, lobelia, foxgloves and other flowers whose names I’ve now forgotten. My grandfather also grew magnificent, lush veggies including potatoes, cauliflowers, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, runner beans, carrots and so on.

The history of both my paternal and maternal families is one of losing touch or cutting off contact. My father got a letter out of the blue from my grandfather disowning him, my mother and me and we had no idea why. Years later, when I was sitting in a small psychic circle drifting off out of sheer boredom, a clock chimed nearby, just the same chime as my grandparents’ clock and my grandfather’s voice suddenly said: “I’m sorry, cocker (his nickname for me), I didn’t mean what I did, I didn’t know what I was doing”.  I wonder whether my grandfather had dementia which, in the days when he was alive, wasn’t diagnosed as much as it is now. He had been showing signs of mental confusion which the family had ignored but it explained to me the inexplicable.

Just recently I tracked down my cousin, the son of my mother’s uncle, who I grew up with.  I lost touch with my mother’s family in the UK after my mother died in Australia and, when I tried to resume contact and visit them during a visit to the UK in 1994, I was pretty much given the cold shoulder. So after I tracked my cousin down, I suddenly sat down and wondered whether I really wanted to resume contact with someone I hadn’t been in contact with since 1972.  We are now both very different (from what my aunt said about him it sounded as if he was moving into the realms of the nouveau riche and I’m pretty much an eccentric, arty-farty nutter) so after careful thought I decided you can’t go back. I’d like to keep good memories of my cousin and his brother, and so I’m not going to follow through and contact him.

This isn’t a pity party, by the way. For me, family is the lovely friends I’ve made throughout my life who are just simply wonderful. And I was very fortunate to be taken into the heart of my husband’s daughter, granddaughters and great-grand-kids (without all the hard yakka, as I put it!) who have given me wonderful love.  Family is great if it’s full of love, and dysfunctional if the love is missing.  My family of friends and Bryan’s family have given me so much love I consider myself very, very lucky. I have been blessed so much in this life.