Remembering… ©Aliana Alani 2015

 

 

Once, long ago, I sauntered across a desert, red and endless.Deep Red sand dunes of the Strzelecki Desert in outback South Australia.

You were there, waiting.

 

Recently, as time flies, I entered a crowd-filled room

Only to find you, once again.

 

galaxy and stars

We are ancient, you and I.

Somehow beyond time and space.

 

 

 

Yet every so often we meet,

Star lovers crossing the heavens.

Our hearts mingle for but a brief second –

And we remember.

 

Then it appears we are no more.

But that is an illusion – isn’t it.

 

Today, your people call forth.

They cry for understanding, justice –

Perhaps even love?

 

How can I not hear?

After all, we are one, you and I,

Whether in the heavens or now.

 

Isn’t that the purpose of remembering?

That, and love.

 337912-6-ayers-rock-uluru-sunrise-nt-australia

 … for Dale … and for the Australian Aboriginal people, especially those in the remote communities – may your call be heard and answered with love

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Friends…

Some waft through your life like bits of sky cloud – here one moment, gone the next. Their impact is pleasant, perhaps important, maybe even dazzling.

Others linger over tea and a few biscuits of time, even a life experience or two. You toast a year together, perhaps another, and they are gone; their names etched delicately in the treasure chest of your heart.

But there are some whose presence mingles like starlight and something magical is brewed within the tempest teapot we call life. The halls of memory ring with laughter and poignant moments, kindness and bursts of wisdom, and of course, because how could good friends be without this, love. These are the ones who never quite leave, though time or distance might test the threads. Their well of caring is deep and whether you speak a thousand times a day or only an email now and then, they are with you (as you are with them) through the celebrations and the challenges. They are the jewels that linger.

I have been blessed with meeting many people in my life. I have also been blessed with friends. Like most, I suppose, there are but a few who become the lingering legends. They are what I lovingly call the elite circle in my life, and they are small in number.

One of them recently left to ride the skies and dance with the angels.

His name is Bill Murphy. And this is my oh-so-tiny way of honouring his presence and now his memory.

Bill is/was from the land of sun and sand, heat and light, an Australian. Like many Aussies I’ve known, he went tracing his roots back to Ireland, and like some, never quite left. We met in The Green. Bonded by a love of sun, wrapped in a mist of Ireland, sometimes wondering what the hell we were doing there, often marveling at its depth of magic, longing to feel the heat again, we became friends.

Bill had a twinkle in his eyes that made you wonder, as though he knew something delicious you might want to know. He was funny. He was wise. He had been gifted with the ability of insight, which he used gently. He was my introduction to Australia, a land I came to love, and I will always be grateful for that.

Bill was a generous man with a huge heart, and like many whose hearts are big, it was often fragile. Life challenged it like it challenges us all. As a friend, to me one of the greatest blessings in his life is that he finally found the love he had been searching for and the family he had always longed to have. Jacqueline is a jewel and they are beautiful together.

Bill travelled the slippery slopes of lymphoma for a couple of years or more. It wasn’t his first illness but it proved the toughest. There were moments when it looked like he’d come out of it (I confess I never quite ‘saw’ him leaving). He made it home for Christmas – my last email from him was of a triumphant man having been able to eat a Christmas dinner with his family!

Bill left us on January 3, 2014.Bill at the barbie

In Australia, they call a friend – a mate. Bill Murphy was my good mate and I shall miss him.

G’day to you Bill – enjoy that light, and buckets of thanks for the moments and the memories. Love ya!

Happy 2013 Everyone

sydney harbour fireworks 2013
Be prosperous. Be loving. Be happy.
Dare to be the very best you can imagine yourself to be.
And may your fondest dreams come true!

In Search Of The Silver Lining

I was travelling Down Under the past few months, mostly under the guise of dodging snowy winters, which I am not as fond of as I used to be. Not surprisingly I found myself back in Australia, sometimes fondly called, the land of OZ. OZ, that wonderful perhaps not-so-mythical region that as a storyteller I would adore to spend my life in, if only I could find my red ruby shoes! Australia itself is a place blessed by sun and wide open spaces. It’s big country. Not quite as large as my native Canada but close enough. And like Canada, it has many facets to it. I spent most of my time in Queensland, a vast state that is both warm and tropical; made more so if you reach the Far North, which I did not. I house sat frequently. It’s a wonderful way to get to know places and people, not to mention helping out with that shoestring of budget I usually surf the world on. I wandered from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast and back, briefly venturing south to the NSW border and the Byron Bay Hinterland. I liked it all, a lot.

I was also there for the floods, both the crescendo building of what I came to call, the rains, as they endlessly soaked lands, towns, and overflowing swimming pools to the eventual deluge of Brisbane city itself. It had horrific consequences. Crops were lost, lands were swamped, houses filled with silt and mud and water, and towns and cities ravaged, some beyond recognition. Yet in the midst of it all was the magnificent spirit of people, their willingness to pitch in and help each other, coupled with their desire to breathe deep and begin again. It was both heart-warming and inspiring.

On top of that, I landed at the Auckland airport in New Zealand two hours after the large Christchurch earthquake. Again I saw massive destruction, buildings crumbled, people injured, some dying, some gone, and yet again the power of the human spirit in action, again that hand reaching forth and helping without question. Their resilience was profoundly moving. When I went back recently on route home to Canada, Christchurch experienced two more large aftershocks. It is impossible to imagine what it must feel like to never have a single moment when you are not sitting on shaky ground, literally, which is exactly what has been happening to the people of Christchurch. In the midst of this came Japan, with its massive earthquake, endless aftershocks, devastating tsunami, and nuclear disaster; a situation almost impossible to describe, let alone imagine having to live through. We are all left humbled by it.

I have also seen what happens when the shock is over, when waters recede and what is left are mostly mud-filled streets, broken homes and buildings, liquefaction, or with the tsunami, perhaps nothing at all. The wave of fear that follows is understandable. The questions it brings, endless. What can be built again and how? With what and by whom? Our sense of security becomes profoundly affected, as do our beliefs. Often we are left with nothing to hold onto, our faith now dangling in the proverbial winds.

And yet, strangely, it is in just such moments when a window often opens. Call it a gift of God, perhaps. A chance to view that silver lining, catch its hidden message, and dare to live anew.

To me, we are at a cross-road. Do we continue to live life on the edge of an increasingly topsy-turvy world, being battered by the chaos that appears to be escalating, as though at times our even looking at it as it happens helps to build its momentum? Or do we dare to turn our view toward a brighter horizon, to feed our hearts and minds with the beauty and love that resides everywhere (yes, even midst the devastation), and then hold true to it with every breath we take and all the passion we can muster until it becomes our reality, balanced and harmonious?

A monumental task, some might say. Perhaps to others, even pure folly. But is it? If we drop our fears for even a millisecond and look around with open eyes, we will find immeasurable beauty absolutely everywhere. Some of it will be dramatic and astounding, the kind that seems to take your breath away. Others will be gentle and subtle, like soft moments to the heart. If we breathe those moments in deeply, we will
find ourselves expanding, our bodies relaxing, and our picture of our world illuminating
with a vividness of colour and light that has always been there but that we have been too clouded and too frightened to see. We will find ourselves opening to a love we have all craved for, the essence of which exists everywhere and is eternal.

We live in paradise, here and now.

Hard as that might be to believe, it is true. Our world is exquisite. It is a miracle of lushness and beauty, of vastness and depth, of amazing creativity, and of the joy and celebration of life. We are blessed beyond measure. It is a mirror of who we are and we are a mirror of it. Or as Amergin said in one of those epic Irish legends (and I’m
paraphrasing), ‘I am the wind that blows over the sea, I am the wave, I am the sound, the earth, the plant, the sky, the ray of sun…’ In other words, I am my world and my world is me. I see it (as the movie, Avatar, would say) in all its beauty, and it sees me.

So here’s the opportunity. We can continue to view, hence experience, the chaos and de-construction of our world, and in so doing increase its downward slide, or we can take all that energy we are unconsciously using to defend the way we think it has always been and so will always be, and open wide our eyes and hearts and view the magnificence that lives side-by-side with us each and every moment of each and
every day. We can dare to dream a different world, and in so doing awaken to the fact that we are already living in it here and now.

I know it’s a stretch. I’ve done my share of wandering in and out of the valley of shadow so I know how tricky all this can seem. I know what hold shadow energy can have on our psyches and on our hearts. I know how tired it can make us feel. But we’ve stretched before as a human family and come out the other side into a new light of day, and we can certainly stretch again. We can choose to do it alone or we can help each
other, but we can succeed. After all, it’s our time, our window, the silver lining midst a cloud-filled world.

One last thought – we bridge into each other’s worlds each and every day. Sometimes it’s through travel. Sometimes it’s a story told on television, in the newspapers, or online. Sometimes it is a visitor sitting at our table. When we bridge, we are touched, often deeply, and from that moment on we are never quite the same. We have become more. We have felt the magic or the plight of another. We have smiled or we have cried. We have remembered that we are all part of this family we call, humanity, and that at its core, our essence is eternal. When we remember that, we come home, we are more.

This is our world. Let the bridge be one of love, the view be one of beauty, the invocation of a better life. Let us be willing to see paradise here and now. To celebrate its existence within our hearts and throughout our lives, and live it with joy and laughter, passion and harmony, and yes, with love.

Aliana Alani 2011