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Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

lotus - whitelawPhotography by Christine Whitelaw

 

Remembering Christine Whitelaw

My last words on Napkinwriter from Christine were posted on June 28, 2014, in response to my post on our 3 day family vacation on Mackinac Island in early June. Just a mere  five days before she passed.

Just for the Family Record, June 28, 2014 archives: ” what a fabulous holiday Sue, I loved the butterfly house, and the pic of you three in rain gear … truly such fun and love to remember!” dadirri7

The sweet lotus was her favorite flower and her photographs reflect this. Christine, a flower of perfect sweetness.

In the late afternoon we sat watching the lotus. A cool breeze took the edge off a hot day, but the water was still…Dancing in the afternoon light, pods and flowers together, celebrating the lowering sun, turning their heads to whisper sweet secrets to each other. We bow, united, our dance concluding with the sunset.” Christine Whitelaw. Dadirridreaming.

We entered into our friendship through words…blogging…..and our hearts met across time and space, her in Australia, me in Michigan.

Christine Whitelaw and I met through my Napkinwriter blog nearly three years ago. She was one of the few who commented on my writings. Then she began blogging herself which grew into a wondrous photographic blog. Through her writings came her light, compassion, and “stretching” into the wonder of life itself.

That’s what she said. “We ARE it, whatever IT is!”

Through her photography, we shared nature’s embrace and brilliance as gift to us. She opened my eyes to always include my horizon, always respect my environment and always LISTEN to its teachings. I thank her for that.

Light….in her words…..and shining in her photography.

I wanted to go to Australia, but I wanted to visit Christine when I did. I wanted to walk on the beach with her, each with our cameras, each with our sharing about life with eyes wide open. I wanted to go to Australia and attend one of Christine’s Yoga Nidra classes. I wanted the grace to participate in one of her annual Women’s Weekends.

We daydreamed about that…..Dadirridreaming and I….we did. We looked forward to that happening.

Christine and I shared a love of poetry by Hafiz. Christine, too, quoted Hafiz on occasion and the poem she selected below gives us a glimpse of her acceptance of the “impermanence of the body”.

She posted these words on March 20, 2014 by dadirri7 — Christine completed her travels of this mysterious existence quite abruptly on July 2, 2014.

She wrote:  “More on life and death from Hafiz: do you like the idea of being simply “a midair flight of golden wine”?

lotus pods and bloomsPhotography by Christine Whitelaw

Deepening the Wonder by Hafiz

“Death is a favor to us,
But our scales have lost their balance.
The impermanence of the body
Should give us great clarity,
Deepening the wonder in our senses and eyes
Of this mysterious existence we share
And are surely just traveling through.
If I were in the Tavern tonight,
Hafiz would call for drinks
And as the Master poured, I would be reminded
That all I know of life and myself is that

We are just a midair flight of golden wine
Between His Pitcher and His Cup.

If I were in the Tavern tonight,
I would buy freely for everyone in this world
Because our marriage with the Cruel Beauty
Of time and space cannot endure very long.”

 

Through the permanence of our words, Christine and I now transcend the impermanence of the body.

I remember the fun and love of our friendship.  Like the treasures she found on the beach.

Christine - Seashell

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Australian sand

all photos by Christine Whitelaw  (c)

A beautiful shared experience of Australia and yourself by Christine Whitelaw.

Clouds, Sea, Meditation

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This evening I read post by Annie about peace descending on her when she spent a week in a place by the sea. Our inherent nature is peace, just as it is love, compassion, beauty, generosity, joy and wisdom. Nature shows us all this, if we can take the time to be present, to open our senses and begin to perceive who we really are.

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I will be teaching a meditation class with new people next week, so I am thinking about how to explain something so simple yet so profound. Sitting with nature, sharing love, or meditating are excellent ways to discover that we do not end at the visual boundary of our skin.  When we pay attention we discover awareness radiates out endlessly beyond and into the body in every direction; this is a hint about our real nature, we are life, we are It, whatever It is. The mind tries to jump in with its own importance, questions and rationalisations, but if you reassure it that all is well you can slip back into simply being One. So much more peaceful than being two, you and It.

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When practising yoga nidra (a powerful tantric form of meditation) we spend time sensing each of the koshas or ‘bodies’, staying as alert and present as we can, even though we are lying down. Buddha said to start with the senses, being mindful of everything that enters our sense doors, so we do. Attention is carefully guided around the body, then into the energy body by following the breath.  Concentration is developed through counting the breaths for while, and when the pranic body is fully awakened we move on with our senses to the emotional body of feelings. Now we notice what is present, or focus our attention on a feelings such as heaviness/ lightness, or happiness/sadness, creating opportunities for healing and harmony to do their work. Similarly yoga nidra takes us to the mind; thoughts and beliefs are all examined as part of this simple but profound meditation. Through all this we learn to ‘pan out’ so that as well as being aware of all we are doing in our mediation we notice that we are awareness itself. Not separate. Joy tingles through every cell of the body, everything smiles, inside and out … mmm yoga nidra is delicious!

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Thanks for being patient while I tried out a few thoughts. Usually I have only taught yoga nidra to my yoga students, where most of us already have some common understanding. Of course my first class will be mostly practical, and I have worked out some basics that must be covered. I will let you know how it goes; we are hoping it will turn into a monthly meditation in town after we return from our trip to the Kimberley.

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If you are interested to learn more about the simple practice and transformative power of yoga nidra I can recommend recordings by Richard Miller and Kelly Boys titled iRest at Ease. As part of my work I will be recording each session and making it available to students for their home practice … a new skill I am working on!

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Oh Great Mystery
Sun, Moon, Earth, Sky and Sea
You are within me
and all around me.

As seen from the Earth, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun. This can happen only at new moon, when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth. In a total eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured by the Moon. In partial and annular eclipses only part of the Sun is obscured. If the Moon were in a circular orbit close enough to the Earth and in the same orbital plane, there would be total solar eclipses every single month.

A total  solar eclipse  will take place on 13–14 November 2012 (UTC), beginning in local time on November 14 west of the  International Date Line over northern Australia, and ending on November 13 east of the date line off the western South American coast.

Tom and I are preparing to renew our travel passports in hopes of new travels opening up to us in the next ten years. Australia is one of the “wanna go” places. It’s on my intention list, which replaces my bucket list.

When I studied SpringForest QiGong with Master Chunyi Linn, he gave us a very beautiful meditative and healing verse to repeat:

“I am in the Universe.
The Universe is in my body.
The Universe and I combine together.”

So there are many spiritual and faith traditions and ancient learning that come from long ago that teach us to know there is union between all. I and the Universe are One. In God, there is only One. In God, I live and move and have my being. The Universe lives, moves and breathes as ONE.

I just recently caught up with the fact that there is a solar eclipse today on November 13. I was looking forward to this date for another reason.

Tonight, the first of three workshops based on the writings and work of Barbara Marx Hubbard  is takine place at Unity of Kalamazoo. Sara Houseman and I are the co-facilitators of it. The purpose of tonight’s meeting is to simply acquaint others with the life and the work and the grand vision Hubbard has for Conscious Evolution.

She, too, in her pursuit of the “pulse of Evolution” has come to the conclusion that there is only One and our earthly time is spent within that One. She has studied the history of Evolution and says whenever crisis and chaos appeared in the chain of evolution, that the species has always moved forward. That has been true, she says, since the time that the first single cell needed to grow into two cells to survive. It did so, and it did it again and again changing species along the evolutionary timeline to today.

Barbara calls these current times a “chaos point.” Things are broken. There are many things systems-wide that need change. The way we communicate and lead needs changing, in order to grow past the chaos today into what she calls a “Universal Being” — a species we homo sapiens are all capable of being.

But first, we need to become more familiar with our heart. Indeed, we must learn to breathe through our heart. We hear the beat of our heart, and without our heart, there is no breath. This is the exact muscle, we need not only strengthen for fitness, but for our very life, itself.

HeartMath Institute, under the direction of Doc and Sarah Childre has studied the workings of the heart and the effect it has on ourselves and others. We are encouraged to “lead with our heart”, to become aware of heart resonance, which beats with the pulse of the Universe – with all that is.

They have a measured Science with convincing data, that our hearts produce an electro-magnetic field of about eight feet extending from the center of our being. When filled with heartfelt peace, acceptance and resonance, this field CHANGES the interaction and the space it is holding – for the good.

Long ago, we heard the story of “one little candle”  at a time being able to light up the whole world. The same is true with heart resonance. It is a practice that benefits us physically (it is more than just being calm, it is a frequency that the Oneness in which we exist recognizes and beats in harmony with us).

I will write another blog on the actual practice of Heart Coherence and how you can easily put it in practice and accomplish immediate results with it.

An old tune comes to mind. (by Dusty Springfield or Rusty?)
“Once upon a time I was falling for you
Now I’m only falling apart.
Nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart.”

In the movement of Birth 2012, we want to get beyond the feeling there is nothing we can do to fix the things in the world that are now falling apart. We believe we can do something, within ourselves by recognizing our soul Essence, our Oneness, and joining what Barbara calls “our genius” with another or others and  then — see what wants to be born within us in the new year as a new world.

In times of crisis and chaos, we have ALWAYS moved forward. We can move forward into the world, leading with our hearts, within the spheres of family, church, community, and even bigger stages. It all depends on what “is waiting to be born” in us.

A new moon….a solar ECLIPSE…..a TOTAL eclipse of my heart. Namaste.

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photo by Christine Whitelaw

https://dadirridreaming.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/blue-water-patterns

This is too pretty not to share:

Blue Water Patterns

Posted on June 24, 2012

Today feels like the beginning of life returning after a few challenges …. the stitches are out of my mouth, the sun is shining, the sea is fabulously blue.

Sunlight shone in the waves, colours dancing as the water lifted, rolled and fell,

a myriad shades of blue and green shifting in three dimensions

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tumbling and splashing onto the shore, droplets like diamonds ricocheting from the frothy edge

and finally just a lacey rippling lattice of sunshine receding gently.

About dadirri7

Christine  Whitelaw , of Australia, is having fun with her new camera, a Canon Powershot SX40 HS; spends far too much time blogging, and otherwise teaches yoga, practices craniosacral therapy, plays with two year grandchild, grows waterlilies and walks on the beach.

….and aren’t we lucky that she shares these passions and talents with us. Yes we are.

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photo by Christine Whitelaw

Yesterday and today, every little cell in my body was happy! Watching from the inside of my home, the earth was being dug up, moved around, shaped and readied for the sprinkler system (eco-aware with rain sensor for water savings) and I felt a definite new energy springing up around me — and it felt great!

Today, I walked to the far back of our yard where a tall, ancient and majestic tree stands — giving out some signs of distress. One was removed next to it on another property because they had gotten too big and crowded each other.

I have given my love to this tree since we moved in here and today we had a little conversation. I’m not sure I heard what the tree said back to me, but it was grateful for my presence. I assured the tree that we would have the tree doctor out if she didn’t appear to show healthy signs in the near future and would support her in all the time she needs to grow strong and give us her wisdom.

She is going to cast her wide leafy limbs and blow a breeze down upon our labyrinth which will be created by next year and provide shade for written reflections where we will sit on a bench near her strong trunk with wild flowers cast around her.  The patterns in her old, tangling bark will give insight onto our journal pages and we will give companionship and listening hearts to her.

So today, I have copied a beautiful post by Christine Whitelaw of Australia, photographer and writer.  One day, I am going to take you on a walk with Christine and her camera and treat you to her wonders of the day. They are amazing and I have asked Christine to consider making us a coffee-table book of her exquisite photography and “soul to the land.” Here, she shares with us a resource from Planet Waves and the photography is hers.

Her website is:  http://dadirridreaming.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/celebrate-trees/

Celebrate Trees – Christine Whitelaw

Posted on May 7, 2012

Sharing with you an excerpt from an excellent post on Trees at Planet Waves. Talking about Beltane and other Tree celebrations:

“It’s a celebration of the new green, the growth of life, of life on Earth and Mother Earth, the Creatrix. The tree is a universal symbol of life, from Buddha being born, receiving enlightenment and dying under the tree, and on and on.”

catching light

The tree is celebrated as an entity that reaches deep into the ground and at the same time reaches to the heavens. It is a bridge between Heaven and Earth, with its growth nourished both by the light of a star (the Sun) and the solid mass of the planet where it has its roots.

In Pagan times, this was celebrated many ways, including with the May Pole dance. The pole is of course made from the trunk of a tree that is draped in garlands, to which are attached long ribbons. The dance involves everyone holding one of the ribbons and then weaving the web of life, circling the pole in an obvious celebration of the phallus. But there’s a lot more going on as well.

The Catholics adopted the May Pole celebration into Holy Cross Day, celebrated May 3, a Catholic version where they turn the tree into a cross (the Catholics have versions of all the Pagan holidays), which is a bigger deal in South America. “Throughout Latin America, they celebrate it as Cruzelacu, in midspring, which is a nature appreciation holiday. A cross is decorated as the May Pole would be, with ribbons and flowers, and sometimes flags, jewelry and dresses,” said Henes.

In the 1640s, there was an act of the British Parliament banning the May Pole. The law assailed the “heathenish, vanity, generally abused to superstition and wickedness” of the dance. The Restoration brought back May Poles, and there was a huge one erected in The Strand in 1661, which required the strength of 12 soldiers under the personal supervision of King James II. This was a 134-foot cedar pole. Then in 1717, it was moved to Wanstead Park in Essex, where it became part of the support of Sir Isaac Newton’s telescope.

In contemporary Brazil, May Day is celebrated by designating a particularly powerful tree and decorating it with white flags.”It was still serving the original symbolism of the tree, which is rooted in the ground and reaching into the heavens,” said Henes.

The Liberty tree is a common symbol for several North American tribes. In the late 1800s a movement began to unite the tribes and present a common front to expel the white man. They created a ritual called the Ghost Dance where they circled around what they called the World Tree.

There’s also a Jewish holiday called Tu B’Shvat, which celebrates the birthday of the trees. In contemporary times, funds are raised and trees are purchased and planted. It’s a national tree-planting holiday in Israel, which has a national obsession with re-planting the desert.

On the other side of the world, there is a Chinese festival called Ching Ming, or the Bright and Clear Festival, where graves are cleaned and trees are planted near the resting places of the ancestors.

Finally, there’s a worldwide holiday that you hardly hear about any more called Arbor Day. On the first Arbor Day, held in Nebraska on April 10, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted.

old Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis) in the Bingie wetlands

Tree benefits: That’s a good thing — trees do nothing but support life on Earth. They are integral to the biosphere. Without them, life on Earth would not only collapse — we would all be a lot dumber than we already are. Researching the biological themes, I spent some time on the North Carolina State University website yesterday and this is some of what I learned.

One large tree can provide a supply of oxygen for two people. At the same time, a tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, and can sequester one ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old.

Forests supply over 50% of freshwater flow in the lower 48 states. According to USDA Forest Service estimates, some 180 million people – more than half of the United States’ population — depend on forests for their drinking water.

In addition to providing oxygen and water, trees keep the air breathable. Over one year, an acre of forest can consume the amount of carbon dioxide created by driving a car 26,000 miles, about twice the annual mileage for an average driver. An acre is pretty large. It’s a good thing that in the U.S., forests cover 749 million acres. That’s nearly 33% of the nation’s land. When the United States was first settled, they covered 46% of the nation’s total land area.

sturdy habitat

We would be in a symbiotic relationship with trees, were we not chopping them down so fast. Symbiotic means both parties to the equation benefit from the relationship — and trees do benefit from our presence and offer themselves to us for many purposes. At the moment, we seem to be getting most of the benefits of trees, but we also seem to be missing a larger point.

Talking Trees: There’s a dimension to trees that some people have encountered and others have devoted their lives to. One such person is Elisa Novick, who you may have already encountered in a recent edition of Planet Waves FM. Elisa reminds me of an other-worldly cosmic entity that I might have met in a science fiction novel, except that she’s a real person working as a healer on the planet. Here is how she tells the story of her first meeting with a tree in a forest in upstate New York, not far from where I live. 

“Walking down a mossy forest path, I was met by a powerful wave of love emanating from a magnificent oak. So began a fascinating multidimensional odyssey spanning 10 years, as a small patch of forest became my happiest place in the universe and a place for healing and awakening for many,” Elisa wrote in an email to me yesterday.

“Each tree has a unique personality and gifts to bestow. Trees hold keys for the survival and thriving of the Earth. They created the conditions for us to live on this planet and can do so again if we ally with them.

“Learn to receive their healing love and converse with them and support them in their mission. Let’s not assume that if our ears can’t hear, that there is nothing spoken. Attunement is the next language of communication — with people, plants, animals, and the cosmos.

“My hope is that if more people understand that trees can be sentient and have healing and spiritual abilities beyond anything we have imagined, we will nourish those that are still alive and replant our bountiful forests. Not only the other half of our lungs, they may be the other half of our hearts.”

Elisa has the ability to communicate with entities that don’t use what we consider the normal senses. Here is what an oak tree in that forest said to her:

“In another world we were lovers, you and I, in dimensions too difficult to describe, but all things come around and we are brought together for a reason when it is correct and useful. Now this planet is dissolving in pollution and all are suffering to some extent. But there is always renewal available. You have renewed our context here on this planet by your thoughts and good wishes and we wish to stay now; though we have scouts foraging for another wilderness to ‘set up shop’.

“We are always prepared, as your Scouts say. Funny that you should mention contingency plans at your breakfast today. But in this spiritual realm, there are no contingency plans, no plans, just the unfolding of a reality that is long known, but never planned. How can I say that this is true? Or how to be fortunate enough to be enlightened/privy to this information? The known comes forth as it reveals itself out of the Great Plan, but it is never planned ahead of time; just revealed in its true glory, fully formed. Then it develops by choice, will, playful endeavor; curiosity; happiness. It is creativity in this making, Universal, powerful urges move through all, causing creativity to flourish in response, like leaves to the sun and wind forces. We move, too, we trees, as we are called by the greater plan, but have many choices and happiness rules the moment as to when and where we plop ourselves down and give of our happiness to the Earth or other spaces.”

colour of happiness

A maple tree said:

“Many of your species have noticed that we (trees) are not doing as well as we used to; our leaves are dying from your poisons and our roots are also feeling the pinch. The water is no longer fully wholesome from soil or sky and we don’t like noise that is unnatural and vibrates our roots badly. But we continue to pour forth love and healing chemicals and go about our nature/natural lives in pursuit of a ‘higher ground’, a place wherein we become greater selves. Our development spiritually and consciously is all-important. As we develop, we develop new abilities and can bring forth great wonders energetically and also to the physical manifestation.
“So be well my friends. Come forth in your glory and you will find us waiting in glory to welcome you and live in harmony and grace (yes we know grace; we form it every day); we exude this natural grace. Solemnity is not part of that, but laughter, playfulness, ease and lightness of being; we are creative and naturally curious and we love the Christ consciousness coming through every pore of this planet’s existence. It is what the planet is made of after all. You must broaden your idea of what it is; your ideas are so narrow and limited. Widen and enlarge your awareness and you will find Me (Christ) in every cell of every plant and every stone and every being that exists, animal, dolphin, whale, etc.””Call us forth. Please don’t deny yourselves this ability to call forth nature’s finest consciousness, its abilities to heal itself and the world. This garden planet is unique in its resources for higher consciousness and verdant growth possiblities. It provides great stamina and strength to its species and has an integration unlike any found. It can sustain great damage and heal itself, but it cannot sustain continued or even sporadic damaging; conscious and unconscious.

living with trees

You can read more of these messages in this PDF that Elisa has prepared for Planet Waves readers.

The author Hermann Hesse seemed to be onto the inner life of trees as well. “Trees are sanctuaries,” he wrote in his book Wandering. “Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

“A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought. I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail. A tree says: My strength is trust…I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labour is holy. Out of this trust I live.”

(story from Planet Waves, photos are mine)

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