Missing in action!

It is so long since I’ve posted on my own blog!

Study, a new job and moving to a new town have all distracted me from the written word – though not from reflection, exploration and photography.

I’m in the process of choosing a new laptop so will soon be back posting. Feeling so excited about writing again – there has been an ache in my heart at its absence.

Till then, blessings and love – Jenny

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The gift of sadness

Recently I came across the writings of Australian author Ailsa Piper who is a writer, actor, producer and teacher.

Her reflection on sadness and the gifts that lie within it (see link below) deeply resonated with me. We so often want to understand immediately the meaning of our thoughts, feelings and life experiences. However, often the gift within requires silence, patient waiting and mindfulness before we can truely receive the lessons that await us.

The gift of sadness

In her ‘Lessons from the lighthouse’, Ailsa demonstrates that objects and places in our lives (in this case a lighthouse) have much to teach us. If we but look with open eyes, mind and soul these objects, places and the world around us will whisper, talk and shout at us lessons that can provide us with perspective and insight, guiding us forward on the journey as we stumble or stride through the here and now of daily life.

Lessons from the lighthouse

Ailsa has written many other articles that are found in newspapers and online journals. Amongst her writing is her first book, ‘Sinning across Spain: a walker’s journey from Granada

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Life is Grace

Source: Life is Grace

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Hold the Vision

Hold the Vision

For all of my life I have been a questioner, a ‘why’ and ‘how’ person. I have sought to understand almost everything that has crossed my path, especially other people, human nature, cultures and the meaning of life. This constant ‘why’ and ‘how’ is what drove me to study English and Anthropology at university, to then train and work as a Librarian and a teacher and more recently to work in Mental Health. I have not kept my ‘why’ and ‘how’ questioning to myself, rather I have encouraged and worked with others to assist them to gently ask their own questions, to ponder and grapple with their answers and be open to who they are.

As a Librarian I learnt the skills of how to find information, to organize and use it and to impart these skills to others so that they were equipped to become independent life-long learners able to ask and answer their own ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions. As a teacher my goal was to honour and address the whole individual and to teach more than just facts. I worked to assist my students to ask questions as a means to identify and employ their preferred learning styles, their passions, their strengths and areas to develop, to better understand themselves and others, to experience the joy of learning and begin the process of discovering their ‘vocation’ in life. Now as a Mental Health worker I work with clients assisting them to question themselves and identify their strengths, values, and skills to achieve their life vision.

Living a life of purpose and meaning requires me to be open to questions, mine and others and to delight in and accept the oft challenging answers. Daily I spend time in reflection, living in awe of life, holding my vision of the life I want to live now and in the future, holding gently the tension of uncertainty, the not yet knowing or understanding and accepting with gratitude what is. Recently I came across a quote that has become a helpful mantra and guide to me, especially on days where I struggle with what is.

“Hold the vision, Trust the process” – author unknown.

These words assist me to willingly be open to the now, no matter how difficult the process. I embrace this process with joy, holding on to the vision as I continue to ask ‘why’ and ‘how’ to better understand myself, what drives me, what doesn’t, to claim my beliefs, values, strengths and fears believing that who I am and all that I experience and learn is part of the journey of becoming more fully the person I am called to be.

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The inner landscape



The inner landscape

Since I was a small child, I have constantly been drawn to landscapes and their “thin places”, places of energy, where the divine is sensed. Here I am called to look, listen and learn, to take on board the truths that these places have to share with me, if only I am attentive. Over the years I have learnt to open myself to these places and their messages, whether the landscape is dry, hot, open gibber plains, inland waterways, remnant rainforests, my back garden or coastal beaches, for each has something to say me. Of all the landscapes that I have had the joy to experience it is Central Australia that has the strongest pull on me, providing me with the most powerful lessons. In the desert I am stripped to the core, open and vulnerable.

‘…being in the desert is … a reduction to a state of authentic existence when all the sham and gloss is removed, leaving only that which is real. ‘Now that I am nothing – I am’ (Brown, 1991).

Here I am opened to my inner landscape or “inner terrain” (Palmer, 1997), my authentic self, called to wait and listen not only to the land but to the still small inner voice that whispers truths to me and calls me to open myself to lessons on the journey.

On leaving Central Australia and moving to the coast I was racked with grief at the loss of the “thin places” that I experienced in the Centre. My grief has since abated, though an ache remains within me for this powerful ancient landscape that taught me so much. I have learnt since leaving Central Australia that this “inner landscape” has travelled with me to the coast, is part of me and is at my core. Now I have found new ways of opening to and travelling in this “inner landscape”, through connecting with other landscapes when I walk or camp in nature, grow vegetables, practise Mindfulness or write in my Gratitude journal about all the small things in life that I am grateful for. Sometimes this “inner terrain” is rugged, teaching me painful lessons about myself that I don’t always want to learn and which at times brings me to tears or even tantrums. At other times my “inner landscape” is balm to a weary soul, nudging me to identify my strengths, values and blessings in life that in turn equip me to travel further along the road.

This “authentic self” calls to me to honour and care for it, to spend time in silence reflecting on and taking care of the condition of my soul, to fed my spirit through time spent in nature, or time with family and friends, laughing, creating and celebrating. Life has taught me that self-care, both outer and inner is never selfish, for without self-care we become drained of energy, blind to our true passions and callings and ultimately we have little to offer others in both our private and work lives.

In my younger years I viewed work as a means to an end. Over time I began to feel empty in the work that I did, often taking days off, or wishing each moment at work away, unable to be fully present to the work at hand. Over time I began to question what was happening to me. I began craving for a job that I was passionate about, was true to my values and was fulfilling. In his book, ‘The Heart Aroused: poetry and the preservation of the soul in corporate America’, Whyte (1994) describes the soul as “the indefinable essence of a person’s spirit and being” that can “never be touched and yet the merest hint of its absence causes immediate distress” (Whyte, 1994, p. 13). This is the “inner landscape” our “authentic self”. The absence of soul is “sensed intuitively” although we may not recognize or understand that something is missing or lost or what has caused it (Whyte, 1994, p. 13). Palmer (1997) writes of the importance of knowing our “inner terrain” especially in the work that we do. He invites us to listen to our “inner teacher”, to know our “inner landscape”, to be open to and follow the leadings and nudgings of our heart that lead us to work that provides us with a sense of purpose and meaning. He employs an old Quaker saying, “Let your life speak”, listening to and honouring our “authentic self” and “what it intends to do” with us. Our “inner landscape”, if we listen, tells us about our truths and values (Palmer, 2000, pp. 2-3). This is “vocation”, hearing the call within us, listening to life telling us who we are (Palmer, p. 4) and directing us to our underlying “truer life” that is waiting to be acknowledged (Palmer, p.5). Vocation is the receiving of a gift, receptive to the treasures of true self that we already possess (Palmer, p. 10). Yet as humans we tend to look to others for advice, failing to listen to and attend to our “inner landscapes” and may become lost on the journey.

In today’s world being open to our “inner landscape” and accepting the gift of true knowledge and understanding of self is not easy. We are often called by what others perceive as the standards we ‘should’ live by, distracted by the everyday ‘noise’ and busyness of life, believing that it is unimportant to appreciate the simple things in life, increasingly divorced from the world around us and from our own spiritual nature. In addition we live in world full of fear and negativity, fear of failure, of risk, of death, of a hostile world and most importantly our own insecurity about identity and self-worth (Palmer, 2000, pp. 86-90). How then when we are closed to our “inner landscape” can we face our fears, distractions, our spiritual natures and open ourselves to our “authentic self”? Palmer (2000) reminds us that we are not alone, that although our inner work is personal it is not private and that this work can be helped by being in community, by finding others open to their own “inner landscape”, for we are made for community (Palmer, 2000, pp. 74 & 92). In sharing the journey we learn that we are not alone, that others too have places of fear in their “inner landscape” but that there are also places of hope, trust, beliefs and values (Palmer, 2000, pp. 93-94). In these places we can find a firm footing to move forward on the journey of self-discovery, to undertake our soul work.

Our journey in our “inner landscape” never ends. As Sarton’s poem, “Now I become myself” reminds us this journey to true self takes time (Sarton, 1974, p. 156) and for this we have a lifetime.

Now I become myself
It’s taken time, many years and places.
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces …
Now to stand still, to be here …
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant …
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.

May Sarton

May you stand strong on the journey in your “inner landscape”
May you find your “vocation”
May you find your true self
and in finding your true self find peace.
Jenny 25/11/15



Brown, C. (1991). Pilgrim through this barren land. Sutherland, NSW: Albatross Books
Palmer, P.J. (2000). Let your life speak: listening for the voice of vocation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Palmer, P.J. (1997). The courage to teach: exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Sarton, M. (1974). “Now I become myself”, Collected Poems, 1930 – 1973. New York: Norton.
Whyte, D. (1994). The heart aroused: poetry and the preservation of the soul in corporate America. New York: Currency Doubleday


Parts of this reflection have appeared previously in an essay titled, “Journey to the Heartland”, which formed part of an assessment for a unit in my Master of Educational Leadership, ACU.

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The Good Life Spring 2015 By Ami Hillege


Now that spring is here, we wait in anticipation for an event that has occurred each year since we came to this little farm in the Otways. It’s swarming season. The bees are on the move.


It is at this time of the year, if we’re lucky to be home, we experience a swarm. It happens so quickly, that ten minutes later you are non the wiser that ten thousand bees had just exited a hive, drifted around in a big black cloud then found purchase on the branch of an apple tree, about ten meters from the hive. The bees swarm when the hive becomes too populated and a new queen is crowned. There is no place for two queens, so one gathers her supporters and they find a new hive. From that one hive we began with, we now have five.

We like to impress people with the…

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Autumn Colors

Gallery post by @brmarincel.

Source: Autumn Colors

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I would love

Source: I would love

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I have travelled a journey this last year of challenges, tears, joys, fear and growth, of becoming reacquainted with old friends and most importantly reacquainted with myself. Someone recently said to me quizzically that I was different, that I had changed. Initially I was shocked by their comment and their apparent confusion. Taking a deliberate pause in my day I stopped and reflected on change and my life. Change I have come to realise is a sly creature, tending to evolve in small increments, unnoticeable in its individual steps but obvious when examined and in its accumulation.

One year ago, after 29 years shared with my old love, I suddenly found myself single again as we went our separate ways in life.  Yes, I had been single before but that had been in my twenties! This was different, now with four adult children, one still at school and three at university and me the only bread winner. Fear kicked in and became my constant companion in every waking hour determined too to share my half empty bed at night, even in my dreams. Yet here I am one year later more at peace with myself and the world, still fearful at times but able now to welcome this guest called fear, opening myself up to finding out what it has come to tell me about myself and the new opportunities of growth that it has to offer.

Nature, breath, mindfulness, walking, visual journaling, counselling, problem solving, time in silence, prayer, old friends and new, my family and my dog have all in their own ways sustained me on this journey but most of all it has been my focus on gratitude that has been the biggest support and life lesson. Gratitude in the small things in life that until a year ago I had forgotten how to see although they were right in front of me. The gentle breeze on my face, the curl on the end of my dog’s nose that warms my heart, the smiles and hugs of my children, the sun peeping through a grey cloud, laughing at puns, the triumph of learning to back a trailer, paying bills, putting food on the table, a freshly made bed with clean sheets still smelling of sunshine, watching birds in the yard having a dust bath, these and all the other small wonders and joys that life presents to us countless times each and every day. Yes I have changed, I am more aware and appreciative of the blessings in my life, of the world around me, of living in the moment rather than the past or the future and of the precious gift that life is. I am here to savour what life has to offer me, to learn and to keep changing more and more into the person that I believe that I am and can be. Fear will be my companion on this journey but so too will growth, courage, laughter and tears, all there to nudge me to live in the moment, open to all that life has to offer.

Blessings to you all on the journey.


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The walk

Coastal Walk


Heart and mind

free of worries

dropped into stillness




Shoulders warmed by sun

Face brushed by breeze

Feet teased by grains of sand, seaweed, cooling waves.


Fully present





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