I have fire

20180407_182452 (2)The radiant heat from a blazing fire takes you back to those camp fire days in your youth where friends and family would mill around or sit nearby in easy companionable silence. Intermittently someone would get up and poke the fire, or add a branch or log. The dynamics of the fire would change and we would all stare fascinated at the progress of the flames. These would range from tall and slender blazes, to the slow low pulsing of red coals, equally good for sausages or marshmallows.

This photo was a simple bit of fun at the outset of a fire, with an obligatory poke to manage the burning mass. The heat on my face was buffeted in waves, drying and tightening my skin. The simplicity of a fire and its hypnotic appeal provide a calming of the mind. It carves out a unique piece of time, whilst being indelibly imprinted on your mind. A blazing fire can create memory way points to other memories. What significant camp fires and camaraderie do you remember? Where do they lead you?

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I touched the sky

The last vestiges of beautiful weather are to be enjoyed. I promised myself one last swim in the ocean before the cooler weather descends. The gentle waves at the surf beach are a feature of a morning swim before the wind and tides pick up. The breaking waves, stacking upon each other, stage the cold water in steps up your legs until it reaches your waist where it bobbles up and down tickling you incessantly. At this point you are forced to dive under and acclimatize your whole body at once, then break the surface giggling and gasping for air. The rude shock doesn’t last for long and then the weightless fun begins beyond the breaking waves.

Floating and drifting in the quite of the morning is peaceful, taking the opportunity to appreciate the view out to sea as well as the scenery back towards land. All the hills and trees look like you could reach out and touch them. You could almost play with the clouds between your outstretched fingers as you float looking up at the sky. These moments of fantasy are to be reveled in as they relax both the mind and the body. I will miss these early morning swims until the next turning of the earth around the sun.

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I tasted tea

A bit of pretty and a bit of perfect. What better way to spend an afternoon with the sisterhood. This decadent High Tea was found at the foot of the Dandenong mountains. Each morsel was delicate, delightful and delicious. The presentation detailed, exquisite and colourful. The tea was tasty and plentiful. Several tea options were available to match with the sweet or savory. Sometimes we need to stop and take the time to enjoy lovely company, food and conversation.

It is important to feather these activities into our lives. It keeps us grounded, sane and connected to the real world. We touch base and check in with our friends; it’s a two way street of benefit. It also adds a richness (not just a sugar hit) to your world that other people and experiences bring. Go ahead and make a calendar entry to catch up with friends in a novel way.

I heard colours

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I found myself in the country this week with a clear view of the horizon one evening. A friend mentioned to me that he had missed the sunsets when he lived in town. He has a point. Getting away from the metropolitan lights and the pace of city life allows for the leisurely appreciation of a simple sunset. The glorious slowness of the evolving colours with barely a sound to denote the passage of time is pure indulgence. The suspension of the real world for this feast for the soul provides perspective and calm for any situation. It is well worth the effort of planning a trip. Easter is around the corner and with a few days of downtime try to pencil in a sunset or two. You’ll be richer for the experience.

I smelt change

20180302_081803 (2) And just like that, the seasons change. Autumn has come with all its crunch and crispiness under foot. The big old trees, that shaded us and kept the sun at bay, are now showering us in their colours. The temperatures are a bit cooler providing a reprieve from the summer heat. The breeze is a bit stronger making those autumn leaves dance and swirl. The air is a bit brisker with hints of rain and earthy notes. The angle of the sun is moving more northerly, letting light in where once it was directly overhead.

It is time to get out and notice all those bits of difference as the palate of our world changes. Explore the transformation that the new season brings.

I saw woman

This week celebrated International Women’s Day. I was lucky enough to attend an event that acknowledged inclusion and diversity, not just women. So a new acronym abounds: “I&D”. “Diversity means that you are invited to the party, but inclusion means that you are asked to dance,” – Verna Myers. I heard some amazing speakers and wanted to share some quotes.

“Work is what you do, not where you go.” – Carl Wiese.
This theme was all about flexibility in the workplace. You don’t have to physically be at work, to get the job done, nor do you have to do it between 9am and 5pm. This simple paradigm opens up the potential for a larger and more diverse workforce.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Benjamin Franklin’s spin on a Chinese proverb, which is one of the best reasons for inclusion.

“Decide that you want something more than you’re afraid of it.” – Holly Ransom.
This tidbit of how to get what you want was coupled with “recognizing what resistance looks like,” whether it is from within or without. Then you can make something special happen.

 

I heard history

Family gatherings are usually a delightful affair, abounding with a motley mix of people with unique stories to tell. Bigger families have singles and couples; different generations with their own views and perspectives; people with kids, no kids, even grown up kids, and then there are those that never grew up themselves. At such functions, there are the usually conversations catching up on the comings and goings, but invariably at some point the discussion is relegated to stories of old.

This is the gold and the heartwarming nature of a family and its history. Sometimes the stories are humorous, others to poke fun or simply to recall good times. Sometimes there are two or more interpretations of a story, depending on who was there. The stories grow with every retelling, becoming the folklore and distinctive bedrock that defines this unique circle of people. Cherish the stories and the community it holds together. Family is precious and so are its memories. Celebrate and remember.

I enjoyed a breeze

20180212_180339 (2) This vision of summer with dappled clouds gives a hint of a breeze on a beautiful afternoon with softened sunlight. These are the times to be outside and luxuriating in the calm surroundings. It encourages you to stop and use all your senses to appreciate the present. A deep breath will confirm that all is real and worth pausing to admire. The atmosphere is relaxed, with nothing rushing past; not the birds, not the people, and definitely not the weather. Not even you.

When this happens a modicum of idleness is in order. These delightful moments are to be savored for the cooler months and the crazier times. As summer draws to a close this week, get out there and soak up some summer laziness.

I savored success

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This morsel of tastiness was an entree to a great meal courtesy of The Strand in Williamstown. The fat, juicy scallops nestled on a pea puree with a drizzle of grapefruit sauce were magnificent. They were sprinkled with a zesty toasted gremolata that provided another texture to the dish. This inspired offering was followed by a squid ink risotto topped with seafood, and a citrus tart with mango coulis and macadamia ice-cream. Beautiful quality food that left you enjoying the meal, but not overly stuffed by volume.

As decadent and delicious as this meal was, the celebration was to mark the success of a project at work. Big wins are to be acknowledged and reveled in. Reinforcing the great work with a sensory experience builds a lasting memory. Make sure that you enjoy and pay tribute to the moments of success, as it will sustain your energy and drive. Celebrate the victory!

 

I saw Wenham

This weeks’ indulgence was a trip to the Nova Cinema to see Ellipsis. I’ve always been a David Wenham fan, from lovable idiot in Gettin’ Square to tough and buff in 300. This time he is behind the camera as the director of a beautiful movie. A serendipitous meeting of two people and their awkward getting-to-know-you provides the merest narrative to this experimental work of visual richness. Jasper and Viv could be anyone and their stroll through the reality of Sydney is both whimsical and heart-warming.

A secondary story is woven in the background about a telephone repairman. His subtle story unfolds with minimal dialogue to tie in masterfully. The title was explained by Wenham in the Q&A afterwards, as an epiphany at a school meeting. An ellipsis is literally “…”, the three dots that move a story from one point to another skipping over the non-noteworthy, everyday mundane. But sometimes this is where the magic is found, the redemption and the renewal. Pay attention to the ellipses of your life, savour them, explore them but most of all enjoy them.