How I found sisterhood in a sweat lodge



Heating stones for ‘sweat bath’ in Supa. Circa 1924. Grand Canyon National Park Museum Collection

It’s a work day and after blowing off a meeting, I drive out of town where lantana rambles on the road’s edge. The first sign of smoke comes from a fire started at daybreak on a flat terrace. I stop by a Balinese-esque building and walk through wooden doors, stepping into another world.

Though it’s Thursday, a group of women have managed to claw some precious time to come together for a “sweat.” My first, and I’m feeling intrigued with a mixture of reverence and rebellion about a daytime meeting when I could be taking care of other duties.

We change into sarongs, the only clothing we will be wearing for the next few hours. I look around at the other women—a yoga teacher from the city, and a Spanish mum of three young kids down from the coast “who’s not sure why she’s come, but she has,” and other faces I’ve met before briefly. We sit and gather in a comforting circle.

Laurel, our Shamanic facilitator opens the ceremony with her flute. We each pick up an instrument laid out on the floor and begin to drum a beat. A tune forms quickly, energetic and curious.

After a light safety induction, we walk in silence toward a domed structure lined with thick canvas. Think of an igloo with a flat top, willow saplings holding up its walls. We pick mugwort and set intentions for what we wish to get clarity on during our sweat.

Native American cultures have used sweat lodges as a sacred ceremony for purification, however, there is evidence of other indigenous cultures practising similar rituals. It symbolises a kind of birth, death, and rebirth, much like a snake shedding its skin.

I crawl through the small opening, the sand surprisingly cool under my palms. The air is stale and so different from the vibrant wind whipping the tarpaulin outside. In single file, I find my place opposite the door. Our firekeeper, a practical lady called Luna brings the hot rocks known as the Stone People and places them into the pit. Sweetgrass incense sizzles when thrown on top. The four directions are noted. I realise I am due north, the place of moving into and through difficulty. I puff out my chest trying for courage and endurance as I feel stirrings of nausea.

It is very dark, and I can’t see anyone next to me. We take turns acknowledging ancestors and sharing sorrows. I am unsure who is speaking, nor remembering what is said—it is like a long trail of emu footprints across a desert. My back screams from lack of yogic fitness or just plain revolt. I feel the pull to lie down and surrender. Blackish sand marks my forehead as I curl up like I’m inside my mother again.

We welcome the last round of rocks mottled black and red as the older rocks cool dark. Drinking water is shared around the circle. I slurp hungrily out of my hands; forgetting to wash the sand off, I get grit in my mouth. I don’t care, I’m saved by its sweet relief. Gratitude rushes over me—I have never been this thirsty and lucky.

Photo credit: Valerie Everett

As the drum beats slow, Laurel begins to walk us safely home. We all lay together on the sand. I feel a hand reach for mine that awakens vague alarm, but I don’t pull away. Firmly our fingers close around each other and love washes over me. We stay like this until the end of the ceremony when the daylight pierces us from the door.

Michelle, the yoga teacher, swore she heard the prompt to hold hands inside the lodge though no one else did. But by reaching out her hand, the Spanish mum uncertain about being touched after a rocky start to life, felt her heart burst out of her chest. I also felt touched deeply by sisterhood and how we are never alone, no matter how hard it can get.

A Lakotan saying, “Mitakuye Oyasin,” which is loosely translated as “all my relations,” meaning all plants, animals, minerals, and humans are interconnected. This philosophy sits snug with me as I emerge feeling lighter, clearer and profoundly quieter.

As I retreat back into my routine, I feel more gratitude for my sparky family and thankful for a clean shower and a yummy salad. I may not see Michelle or my other sisters again though I hope I do,  I’m left feeling connected and realise by reaching out to others we can lessen any feelings we may have of loneliness or isolation.

This piece was featured on Elephant Journal

Move over Plan B


I am a uni drop out again. I enrolled in a masters of social work in a hope to find some certainty to that perennial ‘what do you do‘ question in this far from sure world.  There’s dysfunction dripping thus demand for social workers is high and I wanted to find a ‘secure’ profession.

But life had a trail of little wakeup calls. I was shaking after a colleague downloaded about her abusive boyfriend and hearing yet another stress leave story, found me in bed contemplating:

What is driving this decision? And for whom am I doing it?

I am a slow learner. It takes me several times around the block over the same terrain for things to become clear. This current vocational plan (there has been many..) is yet another time I’ve placed onus on Plan B as a protection from owning up to my true desires, Plan A. It gets exhausting trying to hoodwink your soul. This conflict is something many artistic creatures face as following your passion in the arts is a hard, bloody road, not helped by society perpetually questioning its relevance, legitimacy and economic prospects.

But is it really a choice?

I lay there quietly asking the deeper parts of myself, and the answer was no.

After years of feeling like I need to find a career- an answer tied up with a pretty bow,  it was there all the time.  When I stood at the photocopier at my graduate job for a multinational, a poem licked my face. From the recovering heroin addict with a PhD in mathematics who helped change a flat tyre on my courier bike to the elderly lady who asked me (a support worker) to collude with her by hurriedly changing her spotted blood dressing gown so she could look ‘put together’ before the resident nurse came to do an in home assessment, stories have coloured my life. As I tidied away the decay in her Mosman apartment, we chatted early days at Women’s Weekly, her role as editor and laughed about the wickedness of life. I stood poker faced when asked if she was fit enough to remain living alone. Later I got a call from Deirdre’s son with a heartfelt thank you and news that she passed away peacefully in her own home weeks later.

I remember being asked ‘What do you want to be?’ upon graduating from high school for our school magazine. With ‘unthinking’ speed I answered

A constant Kombie cruiser

I have lived up to that. I have found by seeking new places, experiences, jobs and people- I find endless material, stimulation and variety that feeds my writing. Not good for a CV per se but when you are called to write and reflect on what you see in the world, you can’t turn it off.  Where do you learn how to be a writer? Yes you can do university and always get something out of it. But the qualitative research comes from living life. And maybe that’s what I have actually been doing, even when I felt I was ‘failing’ at this career game.

In Maleny, I am waiting tables, gathering dialogue and indulging in voyeurism. Chatting with customers and asking questions to tap into threads that hold opinions together. Moments that may find another life one day now I’ve fired Plan B.

I’m sitting here naked ready for Plan A-rse in the chair work of dancing whispering ghosts with grit under my keyboard.

Wish me luck and thanks for reading thus far.

Love Amy





Dropping the Walls

Photo credit

Udaipur in Rajahstan had no fortress or walls. It was open to the plains. In previous centuries many forts had been built there and were overrun time and time again by enemies. Each time this occurred the town was looted and many of its citizens killed.

A wise leader took over Udaipur and when the townsfolk clamoured for a bigger and stronger fort, he held a meeting with the elders. He pointed out the disastrous history of having each fort destroyed by the enemy and convinced them to rid the town of its treasures, leave the gates of the city open and provide hospitality to the enemies.

Since then Udaipur has lived in peace and prosperity: the only town in that area not surrounded by walls.

(Source: unknown. It was copied from an old postcard found in a diary from my travels in India)

It is a choice to open our hearts, it is a way of living. Walls can keep us held in as well as hold others out. Our marriages can only flourish when we drop the walls. When we jump in with full bodies and bulging hearts. We’ve felt this palpable grace when we witness couples with wobbling chins saying ‘I do’.

Kumbhalgrah Fort – Photo credit

Over time though we need reminders of this grace and this choice we’ve made. As our more serious, ‘grown up’ selves often feel weighed down by bags, bills and burdens. It can feel like the individual versions of ourselves get lost.

How do we keep a relationship fresh and alive? We all know the happily ever after Disney bullsh$t is skin deep and expectations are a slow death to relationships. Marriage is a journey into demolition patiently drilling away at the chips on our shoulders and niggling resentments.  Left untended they can grow up around us until we can barely see over the walls.

Our busy lives can feel like we have little time left over to give to our relationship. But if we calculated up the time we pick up a device or have that extra drink at night rather than turn to our loved one to share? Distractions are sticky glue and sometimes they can feel like a supportive escape from emotional turmoil. But they take us away from the moment or place to be with our lover and too easily this can become the new normal. A couple I know came up with ‘Massage Monday’, a night of rubs and a night off HBO and social media to reclaim time together. No devices in the bedroom can promote cuddle time cos let’s face it sex will drop but it doesn’t have to be exponential.

When we are operating on hyper (busy, busy, busy) stopping to check in and listen to our feelings isn’t easy. The two are mutually exclusive. Taking some alone time each day, to just be with yourself can really help bring your whole self to your relationship. I keep a journal in my bag that I regularly ‘dump’ (writing without censoring anything) which helps to clear my thoughts, calm my mind and sometimes if I’m lucky, clarity comes. I’m not militant about it . I have no set routine but it is a proven lifeline when I’m upset. Afterwards, I am in a much clearer state to share with my partner.

We still remain two individuals in a healthy relationship. This notion that ‘two become one’ is pretty old hat and from experience, co-dependency isn’t fun. The idea that we see our partner as an extra limb, scratching post or a saviour only builds up resentment and up go the walls. Often our behaviour is unconscious and we expect our marriage to play out like our own childhood version. But after going down this path, we can wake up and forge a new way. It just takes awareness and patience because some days we are breathing easy and other days forgetting we need air to survive. We can start by building a strong connection with ourselves. An art practice, yoga or walking in Nature facilitate connection with our inner selves. Once we have that foundation, we don’t need to lean so heavily on our partner and our relationship flourishes from this new space.

We can live a life not asking what we feel. Our society promotes thinking and analysis, ‘this is what I think’ and we go around with buzzing heads and self importance waiting for our turn to speak. This is very different to feelings that are personal and heart felt. Sometimes irrational, sometimes intuitive, feelings have a place and a reason behind them. It is our job to learn to sit with them, name them and process them so we can let go and move on. It’s not a matter of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ feelings even spiky feelings like jealousy (can help us identify something we want) and anger (can empower us to do something) are signposts that can lead us into more self awareness. Our feelings are always more about us and less about the other person’s behaviour. Taking time out first (if possible) to get clarity on what our emotions are telling us before diving into accusation that only erects walls works wonders.

When we live with an open heart, compassion for each other flows forth. We see the human foibles – narky comments after a bad day, shortness or mood swings as part of processing emotions and how we all need space to grow.  That by giving each other time, our relationship gets stronger. This took me ages to realise cos I felt carrying my partner’s load would ‘help’ him and ultimately speed things up. I was in a hurry to get the messy emotional bits over and back to happy land. But all it meant was I got worn out and resentful he wasn’t doing it himself. Good ol’ boundaries is what’s it about – realising what’s your stuff and what’s theirs.

When we pick away at the walls our playful hearts have room to dance. By forming a powerful connection with ourselves, we can feel mighty fine with energy left to give gallons to our beloved.  And even on our off days when we ‘think’ we’ll die from sharing our feelings and being vulnerable, life has a way of walking us closer to our truth each time we trust wholeheartedly. It’s not always easy or fun but definitely keeps us growing with each try.

This piece was first published on Less Stuff More Meaning, ethical wedding blog.

L o V e

Adventurous at heart

In the face of not knowing

We trust in the ‘feel’ inside

That our hearts will lead us

To a place of ease and wonder

That mistakes don’t exist

When we follow this thread

All we can do is grow

Otherwise we will never know

How to live life full of juice

I’m feeling reflective today and this poem popped out.

My boys often ask about ‘God’ and one may pipe up that they don’t believe in one and the other sometimes say ‘I do’. This discussion leads to what happens after we die or who did create the world? And we postulate about space and the unknown until it peters out for another time.

And in the end, I often find myself saying that whatever you believe, it all comes down to love. That love is a compass to guide your life.

What love means to me?

Family at xmas. Blended, motley and extended families.  All of us came together, laughed, broke bread and forged memories.We are now Queenslanders in license, rego and place. My family are still in the south. But I carry them here.

And aren’t we all part of a larger human family.

What does love mean to you?

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Finding Pl-space

Welcome to Maleny- video by Beau…

We’ve arrived in paradise. The house is cradled by a massive native fig and when seeds fall on the roof they sound like a shot gun. Quinn’s in heaven dashing around on an acre of rainforest and who lives right next door but a retired…weapons expert.


view from our deck

We’ve got a daily ritual so far out at Gardener’s Falls. Quinn  jumps off 10 m drop, and I’ve managed to work on my fear of deep water by jumping off the baby 3 m one with Beau. Quinn is training on smaller rope swings (there’s 3 in total)  Beau tried but couldn’t reach the handle yet. Quinn’s desperate to try this big one…maybe next year.


Gardener’s Falls, local waterhole


looking yes/no

First day of school went ok. We had a morning circle of singing and meditation, parents invited. Lots of songs about love and compassion. Then Tim saw a picture of what looked like a swastika encompassed inside the Star of David. We giggled and thought they have all bases covered. The River School is on 100 acres of land along a creek just outside the town. It has been going for 23 years set up by the Ananda Marga community. Below is a view of the garden from the original farmhouse that’s attached to one of the classrooms.



The River School garden


Poly pipe instrument outside Quinn’s classroom

The local IGA has musicians playing right outside every time I’ve been there- from jazz piano to acoustic guitar. We even saw a teenage girl playing the harp in honour of Leonard Cohen when we came up on our reccie in November.

banjotim2016 So needlessly to say, we are feeling quite at home. Early days but bright futures. Here’s to slowing down and opening up to place and space.

Hope this finds you feeling your space too. xx



Moving and Embracing Ambiguity

The Ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus is known for his doctrine of change being central to the universe. We’ve heard the reference ‘change is the only constant in the universe’ used as an antidote whilst we grapple with the state of uncertainty that is always there, even as we do our darndest to sure up the dyke.

Risk Uncertainty

I’ve been contemplating change and how it sparks fear into motion and its charming cousin doubt. When they start popping up with something to say, I am moving forward towards the new. This has happened recently because we are on the move. We’ve decided to sell up (our house sold in a speedy 3 weeks) forcing our decision making cogs into action. That was what we hoped it would do because ever since returning from Cambodia 2 years ago (!), we’ve wanted to move on to a new chapter…we just didn’t know where or how.

So nothing like a deadline to force your hand. And it is deliciously exciting whilst being paradoxically terrifying. We’ve got to make choices. Life zooms by and I’ve had a little dream worm inside my brain for-like-ever. I’ve wanted to live on a few acres surrounded by green hills, ever since I left Armidale (a country town) as a youngster after my parent’s divorce. I went on to study agricultural economics at uni, cos I wanted to get a job in the country (this never happened). Life has taken me around the block spending the last decade here by the sunny beaches of Umina. I wouldn’t change a thing. But that little wormy hasn’t left me, it’s like an itch needing to be scratched.

So we are going to pack up move north across the border to Maleny, Queensland. With its green fields (tick) and progressive community (so we’ve heard) it has a positive vibe. No concrete jobs as yet, I’m putting it out ‘there’ and we’re a resourceful lot. We are leaving our families and that’s daunting, especially the ease and familiarity of grandparental support and understanding. But even so we want to broaden our opportunities and with land affordably within reach, off we go pioneering, picks in hand.


Morning mist with view of Glasshouse Mountains (source:

As a recovering idealist, I’m sure my dreams will be sepia to their imagined rose colour. But that’s ok and I am prepared for them to develop in real time now, rather than daydream. That whatever happens, there are pros/cons to all decisions made, but ultimately it’s about a life well lived. And I am pinching myself with gratitude that we will be actually living here by next month.

Quinn, our eldest has shed some tears and boy, does that pull on our heartstrings. Tim and I hear him out, his frustrations at moving schools and starting new friendships again. I hope he finds some gorgeous friends like the crew at his last school. I promised him he could have a Survivor Sleepover as a send off. 6 mates: 4 boys and 2 girls housed by in tents by the creek, trying to open crappy baked bean cans for tea. Thankfully it’s a total fire ban so one less hazard.

Sometimes a door opens enough that we glimpse a desired opportunity, and then comes the hard step of walking through the threshold with your fear in hand, because the idea of not going would be sacrilege (an insult to the universe or in psycho-speak a self sabotage saga). I imagine myself doomed to live with a metallic ‘what if’ taste lingering in my mouth….into possible eternity.

So ‘f#$k it, Amy carpe diem’ I say courageously and take my jelly legs off to bed, exhausted from another day packing boxes and overthinking.


With that wishing you all the magic, trust and growth for a compelling and contented year ahead.


Making Peace with Vulnerability

Here is a piece I wrote for a wedding blog  Less Stuff More Meaning.

From our first choked exchange of words to boldly asking him to be my husband, my heart has been at risk. Part of being vulnerable is accepting the unknown and relinquishing control. It’s a challenge at times but believe me it’s worth it.

Even writing this piece about vulnerability has required me to be just that…vulnerable. What will people think? Am I any good at this? What if no one likes it? As much as I intellectualise what vulnerability means…it is asking more from me. It requires getting out of my head and into my heart. And this process can feel scary and uncertain so unbelievably different to my rational, control-all-outcomes self or even that funny joker face who plays to avoid having to go ‘there’.

Why is being vulnerable hard? Because even though we are hardwired for connection, we are scared to death of rejection. We are afraid that if we expose who we really are in all our complex humanness, we will be left alone. But the vulnerability we desperately try to avoid is paradoxically the glue necessary for successful intimate relationships.

The Oxford dictionary definition of vulnerability is the quality or state of being ex-posed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

Does this sound enticing? No thanks. Vulnerability has been framed in the past as something to be avoided or seen as a weakness to be concreted over quickly before we come undone. Is it any wonder we find it hard to live?

I remember when I started to be more open in my relationship I had to overcome this lumpy prickly feeling in my throat whenever I wanted to express my true feelings. I’d have this negative doomsday voice…tut tut if you say that, he will laugh/be angry/repulsed/hate and run away. It seemed like this entity was always waiting in the wings to say I told you so. But as with many of my greatest fears, this didn’t come about. And the more authentic I became in expressing my emotions, the calmer I felt and the stronger I became.

So up yours doomsday, I no longer need you. Probably in your misguided way you wanted to keep me safe. But whilst I’m listening to your cautious, over-protective advice I am missing out on opportunities for connection and intimacy. Sure vulnerability can lead to hurt…sometimes it does. Some love affairs last a growing season, others possibly a lifetime. I remember an old boyfriend quoting Leunig to help with healing after our break up:

When the heart
Is cut or cracked or broken,
Do not clutch it;
Let the wound lie open.
Let the wind
From the good old sea blow in
To bathe the wound with salt,
And let it sting.
Let a stray dog lick it,
Let a bird lean in the hole and sing
A simple song like a tiny bell,
And let it ring.

I didn’t really get it at 23 when distractions seemed easier but I now see the wisdom of leaning into pain. This can feel counterintuitive at first but by stopping long enough to feel and let it hang out, we overcome emotions quicker through acceptance rather than denial. And that is a real gift and a skill to cultivate over our long, inevitably challenging lives.

There are opportunities for vulnerability every day, not just in our intimate relationships. Making a phone call to someone in grief or taking responsibility for something that went wrong at work. As I sit by my father’s bedside in hospital, uncertainty is palpable and life feels fragile. There is nothing I can do to change his trajectory just sit here holding his hand and rub lotion on his feet when he feels up to it. We haven’t always gotten along and we’ve done things we regret. But as he lies groggy from illness, things come into laser focus, what’s important and how precious time really is.

Through practicing vulnerability I’ve found the courage that lives in my heart. It’s no coincidence that when a warrior needs to find courage, he/she pummels their chest. It lives in our hearts, not in our minds. It’s an unlimited reservoir that leads to compassion and love for ourselves and others.

If we are willing to be vulnerable we are capable of true empathy. Empathy is very different to being in advice giving mode or veiled pity (sympathy). These responses are driven by our mind’s needs for outcomes or an unwillingness to connect on a deeper emotional level. I find that when I am in this headspace I want the exchange over as quickly as possible. It feels awkward and uncomfortable. But as I’ve become more open to simply listening without fixing or filling up the silence with my chatter, it’s become easier. I don’t have to have all the answers and can sit with uncertainty. All I need to do is show up in a heart-led place and hold this space without judgement.

We all start out trying to protect ourselves but love cannot bloom with walls. It’s liberating to live on growth’s edge, cutting our own path. As my partner reads my frown after my repeated requests fall on our son’s mute ears, we smile and his arms envelope me. We are in this together, sharing the load of a life lived connected. It’s an illusion that we will lose in being open, it is actually the opposite. Love without expectations is infinite. It’s not a weight to carry, it goes on and on filling us up.

Writing Stuff and Getting Published

Here is a piece that appeared on Elephant Journal recently. It is kinda old news. But I write to practice but also hope in sharing my story, it may fill some space for anyone who’s been there, or going through separation at the moment.

Why Separation was the most loving thing in my Marriage?


Image by Sandra Henri Photography

We don’t go into a marriage expecting to divorce but we all know someone who has, have been this person or a child of divorce.

I grew up in a household with divorced parents. It was quite a cultural shock moving from a rural town to Sydney, Australia. But with time my life adjusted to a new normality. My parents did remain amicable to their huge credit. My mum never said b*tchy comments about my father or vice versa, and they remain firm friends to this day.

Fast forward many years later and I have two children of my own. My relationship limps along in the wake of raising younguns. There is growing resentment and frustration on both sides, harpy comments and pinched frowns. I discover I have anxiety and putting the name to my feelings is a huge relief. I thought I was slowly losing my mind. I’m having trouble sleeping. A close friend dies suddenly of cancer and my partner slides into a silent depression. Our sex life suffers and a mattress mound grows between us.

“It’s the reality of having young kids,” people say and there is truth in that. But there is also truth in drifting apart and people changing.

I get this dream of going to Cambodia to volunteer at a friend’s NGO. I love that country and I feel it might reignite our spirits and hopefully our relationship.

So we pack up our belongings and rent our house for a year and take off. Of course it was going to be hard relocating but as an idealist, I remain upbeat and naive to the challenges. It’s a mixture of adrenaline and thrilling freedom but equally draining, as all our cracks have nowhere to hide.

It is like turning the voltage up and watching something implode. We begin criticising and barking at each other in full view, stress high with a danger-seeking three-year-old and limited medical services in the rural provincial city we live in.

We separate six months into the trip as this is the right choice to make.

We look at each other and see two people being squashed and not having fun. But more than that, we are modelling fighting, disrespecting and even at times hating behaviour to our two sons.

Something had to give and give soon before it was broken for good. So I return to Australia with the boys and he stay on for a month.

Now I am “separated.”

Now I have to give voice to that. And I can’t believe how lonely that felt at times. I was in grief and it’s such a shock to not share a bed with someone—or to catch myself looking up to see if his car is coming down the drive. It was a time of detriggering and reprogramming my way of thinking.

And it took ages.

Friends asked me questions I couldn’t answer. Equally hurtful, some “happily married” friends didn’t call at all. The shame and guilt I was already feeling seemed to be mirrored in some people’s behaviour (or so I think) and societal expectations.

In five words, I felt like a failure. Even though I knew he and I were doing the best thing for us and our family. We were actually choosing love. Love that looks like living separately to heal our hurts and not perpetuate pain.

So why do we shun separation or even divorce?

Is it a hangover from our religious days when marriage kept society’s structure together? Marriage is a worthy construct, and some marriages do last a lifetime and worked on by both parties. But some marriages are meant for a few chapters. And the reasons they end are many and varied, but to judge someone on giving up or to pity them (they feel it!) is not helpful.

We need to get down off the fairytale horse and have our feet firmly planted on the ground.

Being separated I inherited some free time. A bonus to be sure but also a very lonely adjustment. I felt like I was butting in other’s family time or that I will sit there being triggered like a pin cushion lamenting what I’d lost or hadn’t been able to hold on to.

I can see the value in sisterhood, bonding with other separates but I didn’t feel like doing that much either, especially if there was to be any man-bashing as I had no desire to perpetuate more hate toward my ex or stay blaming him. I used this time to finally deal with my own stuff. It was hard at times but ultimately lead me back to the self that I had somehow lost in my desire to be a great mother and partner.

To hold doggedly to this ’”til death do us part” ideal is dangerous.

I feel living truthfully and honestly with love is our path. So if that looks like sitting amongst your mess as your marriage falls apart, but you find yourself and a peace for what you had together and who your partner truly is, that your story filled some blazing chapters, that’s huge growth.

Eighteen months later we reconciled as brighter, stronger and wiser individuals who realised the value in our friendship and a love that still burns. Our path was to get back together. But equally worthy, was our decision to separate and potentially find love in a new partner.

Whatever path we walk, following our hearts and making peace with ourselves means even our kids come to acceptance sooner. Society is slow to catch up and we can’t let outdated mindsets put us off our game.

Maybe in separating vows can mean “‘for growth do us part.”


This piece appeared in Elephant Journal on October 13 2016

Life is beyond precious

Last week sunrise had risen pink and the bellbirds were making music as I skipped out the door.


I was in a rush as seems to be our morning ritual. Quinn raced up to the school bus and I was taking Beau to school. We have to open/close gate due to our new horny pup that tries to escape to his girlfriend whenever he can. Beau got out to open the gate. I had some Himalaya chants playing in the car. When I drove through the gate there was a loud crunching noise. I stopped clear of the gate and turned around not seeing Beau in my rear vision.

I pulled the hand brake on and had this heart through the floor thought, ‘Where is he?’ I opened my car door and yelled that deep, guttural mumma howl, ‘Beau!’ answer…again more urgently ‘Bowie?!”. By this stage I am standing out of the car and the adrenaline has taken over my body, I could hardly walk as I have visions of his crushed bloody skull. It was the most raw, shattering realisation that my life could be irrevocable changed forever.

IMG_3870Then as I get to the rear of the car, his little face appears and he sees me and says ‘Mum what’s wrong?’ and I crumble into his sweet, perfect arms. Tears erupt down my cheeks as I stutter that I thought he was hurt and he gently strokes my hair. He thought he was in trouble so he had kept quiet. His car door wasn’t latched properly and had hit the side of the gate.

The neighbour calls out, ‘Are you alright?’ and all I can do is wave her away as I collapse into the back seat. Holding him in my arms and soothing myself I tell him that I love him so much and that I am alright, I just got a very big scare. It takes ten minutes until I can drive the car.


As I roll the scene over in my mind posthumously, I feel a huge heart swell for parents who have lost children. How inexplicably precious life is. This seems to be something people understand the older they live touched by stories of loss and chance. How lives can be changed in the ‘blink of an eye’. That maybe I should be more present, and this is a constant work in progress. That in slowing down and becoming more mindful, I would have noticed his car door was ajar. That my music was properly too loud.

But for all the ‘what if’s’ I am fortunate enough to have them fade in my memory because this story has a happy ending.

I didn’t share this to be morbid but to be awake to the thin veil that keeps our lives in place and infinite compassion and strength goes out to those when it doesn’t.

Shape Shifting

We’ve had a wintery time full of viruses and cough. Grandparental aid and soup shipments were gratefully received. It was a challenging vortex that lingered on.

But as white bells pop up in the garden, hope returns with wispy spring potential.

Thought I’d share my latest work that was featured on Elephant Journal. A post called  Love Is- Poem

May you all be warm and toasty with juicy ideas on the horizon

x x Amy