What can you do with old pillows? Or, the hidden challenges of co-housing.

What can you do with old pillows?

They say to replace pillows every twelve months  for health reasons. That makes for a lot of leftovers.

We are two households  combining gradually.

A corner offering sanctuary, my old house.

A corner offering sanctuary, my old house.

I’d been living by myself. My house had three bedrooms and two bathrooms . I was working  in a permanent job with a regular income. Not a normal thing in my life, so I  had lots of fun buying furniture, linen, bedding, cookware  … all the accoutrements of a “proper” lifestyle, after many years of making do and never having enough.  I  was able finally to have enough, perhaps even, to have abundance – lots of pillows and lots of stuff.  I loved it . I enjoyed being able to buy another set of towels or good bakeware or whatever took my fancy.

lots of ... stuff.

lots of … stuff.

My co-houser has brought her furniture, linen, bedding, cutlery, and ….  So here we are now with… excess.

There must be something you can do with pillows. All the couches (and yes, we have several couches, four in fact),  have European pillows, standard pillows and cushions, covering them. I’m interested in the way visitors will perch on the edge and stay there (there’s no room unless they move some clutter), looking uncomfortable and ill at ease, but ignoring admonitions to ” move the cushions, they’re only thrown there, you won’t disarrange anything!” The cushions and pillows aren’t placed there for decorative reasons, but as somewhere to put them.

couches are for holding cushions and pillows.

couches are for holding cushions and pillows.

And excess quilts, blankets, cutlery, saucepans, cupboards, tables  – the obvious answer – get rid of them! But who wants leftover pillows or quilts or blankets or? And how do we choose what to keep and what to give away?  Who wants to give away their cherished blankets, the ones their granma gave them when they first left home?  Which set of saucepans do we keep? Do you begin to see the hidden depths of what may have appeared to be simple?

Back to the original question- I hold the belief that excess pillows are very useful. They can be cushions, or pillows for picnics, or beds for stray animals, or heaped on the deck or … I find it difficult to give away something that is inherently useful,  someday I may need it. And no, I ‘m not a child of the Depression era.  And yes I do save plastic bags-I hate to buy plastic when the earth and all her living creatures are being poisoned by micro plastic! How can I knowingly add to that huge plastic continent in the middle of the Pacific?

Need I mention here that I am plagued by the fear of scarcity? What if my co-houser discovers she hates living in the country and moves back to the city? There won’t be enough pillows and blankets, saucepans and cutlery to go round!

Now my co-houser is much better at giving things away (perhaps reckless?). A wonderful colonial silky oak cupboard went to the removalist. Her reason? There’s nowhere for it here. I would have hung onto it, hoping that a home would be found for it. That’s why there’s a red cedar chest of drawers sitting downstairs. So far there is nowhere for it, but  my father adored red cedar. He found this one at an auction and treasured it. Throwing it out feels disloyal to his memory.

My old house- books and space for cats.

My old house- books and space for cats.

This house has big windows and not much wall space. We need bookshelves, so even less wall space. Can you see where I’m heading? Yes, we each have a collection of paintings, prints, photos, tapestries … if it’s difficult to choose between cutlery sets without causing upset, how much more difficult to choose paintings!

some wall for paintings.

some wall for paintings.

Thus the unexpected traps of co-housing when each member has abundance, requiring tact and understanding and for each person o be able to let things go.

Not only does the rationising of possessions highlight one of the unexpected challenges of co-housing, it also raises the dilemma of disposal. What do we do with them? I do not want to be part of the throwaway society. Use it, get rid of it, add to landfill … our earth is drowning in garbage. Our excess is of good quality; there are people in need. After fruitless phone calls I have given up trying to find some way of getting them to refugee camps, to those thousands in Europe I s huddling in adequate clothing and shelter. But. No one wants my excess. What do I do?

(A postscript: help! the aloe versa keep on multiplying and multiplying! what can I do?)

Writing lessons.

It’s staring me in the face.

After months of not writing no matter how much I beat myself up, promise myself I’ll do it tomorrow, set unrealistic goals and timetables …

Something shifts.


I’ll never write if I keep going the way I am.

I have done almost no writing for? twelve months? longer? I can’t blame anyone; No one has stopped me; there are always plenty of excuses and reasons.

I’m feeling discontented and dissatisfied. In the back of my mind there’s the niggling thought “Is this all my life is to be?” The day-to-day of life- friends, conversations, visits, gardening, reading … all those things that make up our lives.

Too busy? Then stop!

Too busy? Then stop!

I don’t write to make money, to be famous or to be published. I write because it satisfies something within me. I feel complete, content, grounded; when I don’t write I’m discontented and miserable, my life has less meaning, I’m purposeless. Sitting at my computer – writing, pondering, researching, reading – I feel focussed, centred, content.  Clicking that button to “publish” gives me such satisfaction and finding a comment on a post or a “like” has me leaping for joy.



I have been trying to fit my writing time in around all the other things that happen. It worked sort of, when I lived here by myself because not so many other things happened. I did have lots of time to myself. But with another person in the house there’s always a conversation, something interesting one of us has just seen or read or heard, or work to be done, or shopping to be sorted or dinner or … then there’s the friendships that have developed and I want to nurture and enjoy … then there’s “being” time and …so many things.

If I want to write, if I want to blog regularly, if I want to keep learning and pushing the boundaries, then I must do more than commit.  I must act and practise. And that means, setting aside the time. I don’t work full-time so I have flexibility. I can take my diary each week and block out my working times. And I can act so that nothing takes those times away. There’s plenty of time for other things. For more than twelve months I have acted on the assumption that I could fit writing in. After I’d been out for lunch, after we planned the garden, after I went to the gym, after  the housework … then I would write or I could have an early dinner and write in the evening.



Guess what? It hasn’t happened. It hasn’t worked. Not for a very long time.

I’ve been thinking about giving up – you know those moments of “common sense” when you preach the “face the facts and be realistic” lectures. Or could I hold the dream without doing anything much? Live with the vagueness of I’d do it tomorrow, or when I felt like it or when I had some space or ..? That’s how I lived for many years. One day when I have more time, one day when I’m better, one day… I have a house full of one days. One day I’ll use that wool, one day I’ll get back to the piano, one day I’ll go kayaking, one day I’ll garden, one day I’ll…

(Some of those one days won’t happen- more truths to face, to grieve and to accept, but that’s another story.)

I have read all the writers who say essentially the same thing: Writing has to be your job. You have to sit at your writing space for those prescribed hours.  It is a discipline and it’s hard work. It requires commitment.

You can have what you want, but you can’t have everything.

I want to be all that I am capable of becoming.

I want to be all that I am capable of becoming.

This morning, the final piece slid into place. Something shifted in me.

If I’m serious about it then writing must come first and that means making choices. There will be times when I have to say no. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? The challenge is to take myself seriously as a writer. And that’s the hard bit. I might have to acknowledge some of my dreams and if I do, then I might have to do something about them. And that scares me, throws me right up against myself, my fears and my lack of self- belief. I remember my tutor saying at my first ever writing workshop: “You must begin calling yourself a writer. If you write regularly, even if no one else ever sees it, even if you have no plans for publishing, then you are a writer.” Oh how difficult it was, when people asked me what I was doing, to say “I’m writing.” At the moment, if someone asks me what I’m doing, my answer is vague,  because I feel ashamed. If people ask for my blog details I don’t want to give them, I’m ashamed of how little I’ve done and how neglected it is.

How did this get finally get home to me?

My friend was travelling home and it was an opportunity to spend time with him. I’d love it. But I’d just returned from a few days in Melbourne, last month a few days’ holiday and yesterday I spent most of the day at the beach. Yes, they’re wonderful things to do, yes it’s good to relax and have fun and yes they’re all necessary …

I saw what I was doing and how I was continuing to sabotage myself. At some point I must say “No”, make a choice. Remember – you can have what you want but you can’t have everything.

I met my friend and we had a lovely time, but I haven’t forgotten.  Let’s see how I go.

a very overdue thank you!


rabbit and bag, a prize to be won!

rabbit and bag, a prize to be won!

Roma of Craft Odyssey had bought some wool which was very colourful (see the post) and after turning it into a bag and a very attractive rabbit, offered it up as a prize. I entered, just for fun, after all how often do you win a lottery or raffle?  And I do hanker after one of her more historic rabbits. (I have so much stuff. How could I justify it?)

Last year was, well, unproductive for me. To say the least. Events somehow kept on snatching me away from my plans. My health pre-occupied me.  My blog was neglected. WordPress itself was ignored. My learning was interrupted. My heart was downcast. Each day I would promise myself that tomorrow I would sit at the computer and do something, but another day would pass.

The email from Roma arrived to  notify me of my momentous win- Yes, way down here in Australia, I had won the bag and the little rabbit!  But it was ignored. I’d reply tomorrow, then the next day then … it became easier to put it out of my mind. The parcel arrived, very soon after. More excitement and it was so cute. Still ignored. The Craft Odyssey blog post announcing my win? No response from me.

flowers for you from my garden.

flowers for you from my garden.

Do I have an adequate excuse? No, how could I? Such generosity from Craft Odyssey, to donate her work and then to post it all the way from the UK to rural Australia. The gift delights the children who visit as does the story of how it comes to be here. The win thrilled me; the arrival thrilled me; I am ashamed.

Your kindness lives in my heart!Craft Odyssey, thank you a thousand times. Forgive me ten thousand times.


Heritage Rabbits

Source: Heritage Rabbits

Some of my favourite rabbits from Craft Odyssey. (click on the above link.)

Not only is Roma a creative and skilled craftsperson she is kind and generous. I commented on her work soon after I had discovered her blog. Sometime in the ensuing conversation I mentioned my baskets of wool waiting to be knitted or crocheted. One obstacle to my creativity was my difficulty in finding patterns and teachers. Roma, faraway across the ocean, offered her help. Such a generous soul!

And, a postscript on the rewards of blogging. A comment may lead to unexpected and unthought of rewards. I delight in the community I am joining around the world-of friends made- passions and joys in common, wisdom shared, kindness, support and encouragement offered … mentors, role models, teachers … a rich, international community.

What I’d like to do today.

I’m ready to start. Had a good sleep. Drunk some coffee. Head bouncing with ideas and possibilities: “I could…”

Get out my “today” book. New page. Heading:

ready to start.

ready to start.

“What I’d like to do today” (recognising that after I’ve slept well I’m likely to attempt the impossible- all the things I’ve been wanting to do but have been too tired or too busy or …)

  1. See my Uncle in the Nursing Home and my Book Club friend who lives alone and is unwell.
  2. write and publish a post.
  3. go to the gym, swim and use the steam room
  4. sort out my study
  5. write thank you cards
  6. fold and put away the washing
  7. organise my diary, plan and book the trip to Canberra
  8. wander around my local shopping centre and window shop
  9. visit Greenpatch nursery and buy some vegie plants
  10. garden- weed under the deck and pot up some plants
  11. make some phone calls

That’s only the beginning and it’s already midday.

Years ago I experienced one of those rare moments of insight that lead to  self understanding:  I was- completely, hopelessly, totally- unrealistic about time.  It came about like this:

My current man (boyfriend? lover? partner? my significant other? never quite know what to call them) was organising a conference and ferrying delegates from the airport. I was to pick up one international arrival. I suggested to him that we have dinner en route. Well! He looked at me as if were crazy- “Dinner!” he said. “Where’s the time to have dinner?”

It was one of those optical illusion moments for me. You know the ones, where the vases turn into a profile or… I have personal moments like that, when a set of facts transform into something else. I looked at my watch- thirty minutes to the airport, fifty to the accommodation, home for me, back to the airport for him… an impossibility, absolutely no spare time. Whatever was I thinking of?

a swan and a squirrel- an optical illusion.

a swan and a squirrel- an optical illusion.

A light went on. This was why I could sometimes be late, didn’t get things done and kept running out of time… it was because I was so completely, totally unrealistic about time. (And about money, maybe the two go together.) I believe there is an unlimited amount, or at the least, much, much more than there is in actuality. And so I run into trouble.

Since that moment, if I’m functioning well, before I need to be somewhere I will sit down and work backwards:

if I need to be there by two o’clock then-

it will take me forty minutes of travel, thirty minutes to shower and dress, fifteen minutes to organise the things I need to take, that adds up to eighty five minutes. I must start getting ready, then, by half past twelve.

Sound over organised? Frankly unbelievable? You can do all that without even thinking?

It’s the only way I can be sure of being on time and even then my head will sometimes do its optical illusion trick and I’ll switch the appointment time with when I need to leave. Oh dear!

You will appreciate that I remain ever grateful to that particular man for his shocked reaction to my simple “we could have dinner.” If he’d said calmly that he didn’t think so, I may never have reached this level of self awareness and I could be back in that land of rushing, being late, wondering why I never get things done….instead of being calm, organised, accomplished, poised…(if only!

Today? Well, I realised the list- just a beginning mind, was possibly a little long…

Feed the kookaburras!

Feed the kookaburras!








Ah the rhythm of life, is a powerful beat,

Spring blooms.I could call it hibernation. Or I could call it lying fallow.  But I won’t come at sterile. Sterile suggests permanence and that is unacceptable.  Maybe hibernation? Lying fallow? Perhaps dormant would be better? It is after all just passed the Spring Equinox here down South and Spring is all about new life, regrowth, renewal and waking up. Not that we have much Spring bursting forth, our winter doesn’t get cold enough. (Wish it did!)  However, having said that, today and yesterday it’s been cold and rainy. Very cold and rainy, sometimes windy.



Two years ago, this time, we had heatwaves and a raging out-of-control bushfire down the road. People were evacuated onto the local beach. A friend’s adored dog was staying in a dog resort (kennel, but he doesn’t much like the term!) near the fires. The owner refused to evacuate because of his responsibility to the animals in his care. All were safe, but Ollie came home with kennel cough and security issues.  I’d  been told always how gentle Ollie was, a gentle giant, the family baby. Imagine when I visited having not yet met Ollie, and a huge Doberman leapt across the room, barking (VERY loudly),  stopping about one centimetre (mouth open HUGE teeth) from my hand. I kept remarkably still considering the circumstances, although, considering the circumstances stillness was perhaps the only option. Didn’t step any further for several minutes, lunch postponed.  Kennel cough? Security issues?  Or simply a dog with a mean streak?

Back to the lying dormant/ in hibernation/ Springtime and the rhythm of life… Sometimes,  it just doesn’t happen. No matter how much I remind myself of my values and my priorities. No matter how much re-focussing and positive visualisation I practise. No matter how much I beat myself up or promise myself treats or try sensory deprivation or… just no chocolate, it doesn’t happen.

10850249_868432186523021_613794867650258050_n[1]Creativity, or let’s say my creativity disappeared for a while here. There are reasons. And there are many excuses. And sometimes/often life gets in the way. And maybe I’m not committed enough or…  I don’t know. If I knew, then it wouldn’t happen, would it?

I’ll give you an example of my life here in this quiet little town. I’ve just returned from walking out to the kitchen to pour the cup of tea I’d made a few sentences back. Sitting on the back of the chair , gazing into the kitchen, singing his little heart out, was one of the butcher birds.  Feathers all wet, rain coming down, how could I not take the time to feed him? The resident magpie, currently feeding babies, zoomed in. More feeding. By now the tea’s cold and the writing? well, who knows!  I could go out and check the mail but the neighbourhood cats who are constantly hungry will mill about. Do you know how difficult it is not to feed begging animals? Or am I easily distracted?

A begging and hungry cat.

A begging and hungry cat.

Back to the rhythm of life which at heart is my excuse for a long silence. I don’t understand it. The more I try to control it the more unsuccessful I am. It’s all a mystery.

However, the new roses sprout more leaves every day. I picked the first sugar snap peas yesterday. The rocket is seeding in the lawn as well as the gardens.  The kitchen table has vases of poppies and sweet peas.

I’ve been asking myself what I would want to do most if I knew I had a limited time left for living.

Making gardens, being with the people I love… Simple things, sitting at the beach, floating on the water, watching for whales…  what really matters? What haven’t I done?

What really matters for you?



It’s possible! Who needs lots of money to be happy?

You can do it! You can stop working full-time and have enough to eat, somewhere to live, your basic needs met and enjoy being alive. Trust me, I’m doing it, so I know what I’m talking about. (The tiny house movement is just one example of doing it differently.)


I remember the anxiety and fear. Sometimes I think it was terror- of the future, of what might happen, of all the what ifs. I dreaded being old and homeless, joining the community who lived on the street.

I remember the constant anxiety before I bought a house. The constant worry of when I would have to move again. Rentals get sold or the owners want it for something else or… the one certainty in life was that sooner or later I would have to move. There would come the search for somewhere suitable, finding the best possible home that I could afford, then the packing and cleaning; the expense and the disruption and the stress.

I remember finally, at last buying a house. I was fifty-one and I had lived for years without even the hope that this might happen. I was given the keys to my house and that evening I sat on the floor, I simply sat there,  and  the fears and the tensions and the worries melted away. I had a home. I could plant a garden. It was mine. (Well, yes, there was a mortgage, but…)

Manning Regional Art Gallery's photo.

After many years of insomnia I started sleeping. I fed birds from the deck through the day and possums at night. I sat by the lake and was content or wandered into the rainforest across the road and breathed in the trees.

And then ( there always seems to be an “and then”). Illness happened. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I couldn’t work for almost twelve months. Then a gradual return: a half day, two half days, one full day… I reached four days. Then brain surgery, then a heart condition… In six years I was never able to return to work a five day week in my full-time permanent job.

The fear and the anxiety returned. What if I couldn’t pay my mortgage? What if I lost my job? What if I was too ill to continue working even part-time? The bag lady spectre came back.

Eventually I sold my house. A work flat was available, furnished and the changes had begun. A friend in a similar situation ( single, unable to buy a home by herself ) was happy to buy a house with me.

And we lived happily ever after. Well, you can fill in the next events. They aren’t what matter here.

What I really want to tell you is how part of this story, the part before I resigned from my job, meant facing the possibility of poverty- looking the fear in the face and asking if I could cope. (This is a wonderful post exploring some of the possibilities.)

Harvest from the garden.

Harvest from the garden.

What if I couldn’t afford to have a car? What if I couldn’t afford heating?  No new clothes? Dentists? Food? Doctors?  Never have another massage? Or see a chiropractor? What if I couldn’t afford the restaurant get-togethers? Meeting friends for coffee? Would I have to live with hairy legs, no more waxing? Concerts? Theatre?

Of course I went through the self reprimands of how privileged my life had been, of how I had frittered money, if only I’d been more frugal, if I’d stayed in one job and worked my way up, if …but that’s another story.

Two and a half years later I can tell you that it is possible! I still have my car but if I can’t replace it in the future I live in a small town where I can walk to the things I need or catch a bus.

Shared bounty from a friend.

Shared bounty from a friend.

I know that if I have no money left for food one week there is enough in my pantry to feed us. My neighbours have hens and can give me eggs. The vegetable garden is developing and will supply some food. There’s always rice and lentils and …

If it’s freezing and the heating bill is high, then… more clothes, warm underwear… there are secondhand clothing shops, there’s the world of online buying and selling… I need special clothes for an occasion? someone might lend me something…

The most significant awareness I have and that which I believe with all my being is that we must  join together. A group of people on limited incomes can support each other in times of need. We must reach out and not be alone. A pestilence of our modern lifestyle is isolation and loneliness. We can find ways of living together and of sharing and of caring for each other.

It is possible! Not only is it possible, it’s fun and exciting. I have challenges, things to strive for and the endless possibilities that come with stepping out of the box.

Never give up, I say.


Take the step and throw yourself in.

Take the step and throw yourself in.

It’s been a while, Kate, maybe it’s time for a review.

a very long time ago.

a very long time ago.

Who am I ? Why do I blog?  What am I on about?

It’s time to review,  recharge the batteries, re-connect and go back to the basics. A time to remember what drives me.

I blog because I must. For many years I lived with an urge to write.  Something inside  kept on pushing me to write. Web 2 happened and with it blogging. That vague, constant “I want to write,” became “I could write a blog.” It’s taken a very long time but I’ve finally started, instead of merely thinking about it.

This year I have had several months when I haven’t written and I said to one of my friends, in a moment of misery, “If I don’t write, then I might as well be dead.” Not because I’m accomplished, not because I think I’m good but because I must. Without writing, I lose a sense of purpose

in writing mode.

in writing mode.

Years ago I used to write a column in a small magazine. Come the deadline and I would sit at my computer and ask myself “What’s in my heart today?” That’s how I want to write.

Cheryl Strayed (author of “Wild: A journey from lost to found”, now a movie) says “When you’re speaking in the truest, most intimate voice about your life, you are speaking with the universal voice.”

You  probably know that feeling when you strike a chord in the heart of the person to whom you are speaking. That’s what I want to do.

Most likely these are some of the things I write about:

  • I love and cherish this Earth, our home. I care about what we have done and am committed to living in a way that is least damaging. That means living simply and sustainably. I was a city dweller and now live in a small rural town in Australia. The garden beds are begun so we can grow some of our own food.
  • the garden begins.

    the garden begins.

    I’m a woman, a single woman. For many reasons I have little financial security, but I am one of the fortunate ones. I live in my own home, paying neither rent nor mortgage. To do this, I have chosen to buy a house with one of my friends and become a co-houser. I have been fortunate. The spectre of homelessness as an older woman no longer looms so close. However, I remain passionate about the plight of many older women.

  • I love ideas and reading, listening to and watching stimulating programs. Favourite activitiesof mine include discussing ideas endlessly with friends, thinking and pondering  things I’ve heard, read or seen. Ideas fill me with enthusiasm and I want to share them, to pass them on, to let others know.
  • Illness has affected my life. I understand exhaustion, fatigue, insomnia and extreme illness because I’ve been there. I am alive because I have a stoma and ileostomy. Many times I have longed for another person who understood, really understood what I was experiencing. If someone who is exhausted, can’t sleep or been ill for a very long time, reads something I have written and feels the relief that comes with finally being understood, then I’ll be happy. And I want to show how it is to you who may not have been there, to deepen your understanding and empathy.
  • I need to feel I belong. It’s one of our most basic needs- to belong and be part of a group. One of my aims in this community, as always is to help to bring people together, to do what I can to make sure no one is isolated and alone. Community matters.
  • One of my kookaburras yesterday. A simple pleasure and a delight.

    One of my kookaburras yesterday. A simple pleasure and a delight.

    And sometimes I write about nothing very much, because life is mostly ordinary and nothing very much, but greatly to be treasured.

The best laid plans of mice and men…

Six children sitting around my kitchen table colouring in. How did this happen?

Six children, busy and happy.

Six children, busy and happy.

I’m on a break from full-time work.I haven’t written anything for weeks. I have hundreds of unread emails.  My friends are being neglected. There’s gardening to be done, boxes to be sorted and emptied, an entire house waiting to be painted, my “to do”  list is endless… and six children colouring in. Yes, I’m babysitting one of them, but six! In my living room? How did this happen?

The day began with no commitments. Hours stretched before me, waiting to be filled. My co-houser would be away for several hours. Space.  Solitude. Quiet.  I could sit, I could write, I could ponder and dream, let my thoughts meander.

Knock on the door:

Could I babysit for a couple of hours?

Of course, after all one of my priorities is creating community, building networks and providing support. I am committed to putting the ideal into practice. As my father would say “putting my money where my mouth is.” I’m good at the mouth bit. So, babysit? One child? Couple of hours? Sure. No problem.

However, it is school holidays and there are other children who live close. One child became three, became four… five… six. A mention of colouring in to the youngest and soon all six had joined in. I mentioned find-a words, mental arithmetic exercises, spelling … as long as I provided sheets, they would  do them.

These children wanted school! They were bored, they had nothing to do,their mothers were either at work, or recovering from late shifts. This little gang were wandering around the street, looking for entertainment or something to occupy them and an adult to supervise. I sympathise and remember my own childhood with much gratitude.

I grew up in a village. Our house was on a hill sloping steeply down to a river. Other houses were scattered between paddocks. I climbed trees, built cubbies, fished in one of the creeks and wandered about. There was a house with space under it’s verandah post where we left pieces of moss and flowers for the fairies. And I read books, any book I could lay my hands on. I had a favourite spot in the pepper tree where I could lie back and read- soft breeze, birds, the smell of the pepper tree and endless time. Adults were not part of it. No one supervised us. We never complained of being bored.

184There were jobs. I had younger brothers and a sister to keep an eye on; there was  washing up and clothes to be hung out and brought in, chooks, ducks and geese to be fed, sometimes a cow and a calf,  but in my memory it’s one long sunny day that went on forever.

These children in my street have nothing like I had. There are paddocks to roam in and trees they can climb, but they aren’t  accessible. Most are in someone’s backyard and children aren’t welcome. Ride your bike up and down? Gets boring after a while. Read a book???  Reading is becoming a lost art and the little one can’t read.

I send my co-houser to the shops as soon as she drives in – bread rolls and sausages, let’s feed the mob.

My neighbour returns home and I feed her. The children leave, reluctantly and slowly. I feel torn. I would like to continue to entertain them, but I don’t have endless time to give them. We’ve gardened earlier, searched for grubs and I have things I must do.

kindnessThe day ends. I haven’t crossed much off my list. I had no time to sit and dream but I have given. I have chosen to give my time, my attention and my compassion.  Perhaps this counts for more than time for myself. Perhaps I am learning about priorities of lasting value. And perhaps this is an opportunity to practise acceptance, acceptance of what is.



Imagine walking a mile in someone else’s headline: Monica Lewinsky speaks at TED2015

In praise of a noble woman.

Monica Lewinski. We are all familiar with that name. But we can forget that behind the name stands a human being, a person, a woman.
I have thought of her over the years; I have wondered how she was; aware, in some way, of how much she must have suffered; wondered how anyone could possibly survive such a maelstrom.
I am so glad she has survived- through great pain and at great cost and has become a person of great integrity, honesty and compassion. I am awed by her courage- in choosing to live, in facing the pain and now in choosing to stand tall and proud, to hide no longer.

I have been moved and inspired by her TED talk and by her recent essay. This is the TED blog summarizing the talk she has just given. The post contains links to the talk itself and to the essay in Vanity Fair.
Thank you Monica Lewinsky, firstly for your courage in choosing to live and now for your courage in choosing to speak with vulnerability and integrity. You are a hero of our time.

TED Blog

At TED2015, Monica Lewinsky calls herself "Patient Zero" for online harassment. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED. “Public humiliation as a blood sport has to stop,” says Monica Lewinsky onstage at TED2015. “We need to return to a long-held value of compassion and empathy.” Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED.

Monica Lewinsky is one of very few people over the age of 40 who has no interest in being 22 again.

“At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss,” she says bluntly as she begins her talk on the TED2015 stage, her hands clasped in front of her. “At the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences. “

Lewinsky asks for a show of hands: “Who didn’t make a mistake at 22?”

“Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of my mistake, and I regret that mistake deeply,” she continues. “In 1998, after having been swept up in an improbable romance, I was then swept up into the eye of a political, legal…

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