Anything can happen.

Recently my partner and I indulged ourselves as a guests of friends at the Peppertree Winery harvest luncheon. Fantastic food, lovely wine, fabulous company. A true celebration and degustation feast. And for me, yet another example of the extreme highs and lows in life of late.
Wine glass1
Let me explain this further. Recently, a number of close friends have experienced some distressing and life-changing situations, all in the space of a few weeks. I previously wrote about some of them here: Thankful. Friends have unexpectedly ended a seemingly-happy marriage; one had a double mastectomy; others had a family member attempt suicide; and a friend’s beloved father passed away. Conversely, over the same period I’ve experienced some thrilling life-rides: an opportunity to pursue a hobby semi-professionally; the lost-now-rediscovered joy of writing; the will, discipline and desire to exercise; some seriously much-needed and regular alone-time, to sort out my unkempt mind.

So I found myself on the way to Peppertree, in the confines of a mini-bus, talking about this strange life. My friend was incredibly sad and unsure she should be with us, as current family matters are tragic and overwhelming. Her despair and grief was palpable – she felt helpless, uncertain and unworthy of enjoyment.
Bag Glasses winegalsses
In talking of things so very sad, we moved to the inevitable ‘why?’. There were and are many reasons why, but a left-fielder thrown into the mix was this: seems the Universe is in a bit of a state at the moment, all skirts akimbo and make-up askew. We’re in an astrological ‘event’, advised by a friend-of-a-friend that there is massive change afoot and “all the crap is falling out” – it’s a time when things are ending, and a time of new beginnings.

I know, I know – that last thought could apply to, well, everything… things begin and end all the time. For many of you, talk of universal matters seems ridiculous, and I get it. How could external forces existing millions of miles away exact any influence on the decisions of individual souls? But here’s the thing – with all the extreme events, mad changes, highs and lows of late, in the grab-bag of crazy that is this life – it fits. And when you’re suffering, sad or simply overwhelmed with grief, you look for a ‘why’. Interested in the friend-of-a-friend’s theory, I decided to do a little Google-ing. Turns out there’s some serious eclipses rocking around the Universe at the moment, sending astrologers into a spin. There’s talk of life-shifts and changes, and not by halves – it’s apparently ‘revolutionary transformation’ time.

For me, a series of lunar eclipses peppering our skies does not adequately explain the cluster of hard and awful happenings in my friend’s lives. What it does provide is a potential “method-to-the-madness” which may be of comfort to some. And whilst I’m not sure where I sit on this, I am sure that it’s hard to watch people you’re close to experience life’s crud, it’s horrible to feel helpless when all you want to do is ease someone’s pain, and its human nature to always look for answers and reasons.

Today I have no answers – but instead I can offer the following:

1. I recently read an article written by Em Rusciano on the hard and tumultuous change her life has undergone (you can find it here Em’s Life). Her story featured a beautiful piece of music that I love; an Eddie Vedder piece that I find both melancholic and uplifting all at once. It’s from a movie called ‘Into the Wild’, about a guy who abandoned life as we know it to embrace pure ‘experience’ by living simply, in nature. It’s a movingly tragic yet joyful story of a life – all highs and lows.

2. The only person I know who truly answered ‘why?’ is author Douglas Adams. The ultimate answer to the question of life, the Universe and everything is apparently 42.

3. My take? I believe the only thing that’s certain in this life is that nothing is certain…..and that anything can happen.

Thankful.

This week the universe decided to remind me of what I have, and be bloody thankful for it. It was a week of surprising and sad developments, in large unpredictability. Here’s what I took away from life’s casualty room.

Death is a strange thing.
When a life ends, we grieve the loss ceremoniously. We gather with people who we might not ordinarily see, save for such ‘events’. We spend time talking with friends who we’ve not caught up with in a while. Death brings people and families together. Funny, then, that it also often creates the tensions that tear them apart. And there is something heart-breakingly sad about watching families deal with a loved one’s death.
IMG_20130318_181540

Relationships are strange things.
They are the source of our greatest joy and our worst heartache. And whilst love is built on trust, shared desires, hopes, beliefs and understandings between two people – the fact of the matter is that people change. It’s the nature of things. Relationships that last are the ones that embrace growth and change together. It is overwhelmingly sad when a relationship ends because that didn’t happen.
IMG_20130318_180537

Grief is a process.
It can be a death; it can be a relationship. Either way, the grief that follows is a process that can’t be avoided. It’s amazing to me that more time isn’t spent on arming people to deal with grief, as it’s inevitable that we all face it at sometime in our lives. Grief has recognisable stages, and learning this helped me greatly when I waded through its murk a few years ago. Sometimes long, sometime short, but always – hard.
IMG_20130428_135810

Three year olds make everything better.
After a few days of watching friends worlds turn upside down, witnessing their pain and feeling quite helpless…there’s this: my daughter, lying on her tummy on the floor, singing her own songs, writing a letter to Santa because she wants to “make sure he knows I love him”. Her voice is melodic and tuneful, her feet swaying in the air, her letter a zig-zag of lines. She’s so happy. Watching her makes me happy too. I catch my partner’s eye and we share the moment with small smiles. Like everything in this life, she will change and grow, and it is my fondest wish to see it all and be part of it – just as I am right at that moment.
Belle Autumn 1-7
Suddenly I realise exactly what I have, how lucky I am to have it – and I am bloody thankful for it.

Being found.

This week’s post is short. It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve bounced from one task to the next, on the periphery – just doing, not thinking. Having said that, I had 5 hours of happy-highway-trails today, heading north for work. I’m here now, but it’s late and the fuzziness is creeping in. So…short it is.

I’ve been thinking about relationships, life-partnerships. It’s worth saying upfront that I don’t subscribe to the theory that there is literally only one perfect match for us, one soul mate. The scientist in me screams numbers and proportions – an entire world population and one lil’ ol’ me. The odds are in my favour. Statistically speaking, there must be more than one who would speak to my heart.

What’s important though is that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how many or few people there are that hold a potential spiritual connection for you. What matters is finding someone who you love, who loves you back. What matters is the process of being found.

Let me note here that I have a wonderful, loving partner. Our story is one of missed moments, shared school buses, common workplaces and mutual friends. Seems we were dancing around each other for a good 20 years, we just didn’t know it. We both have the benefit of life experience – each having been married before – and we know that gives us a unique perspective on our relationship. We treasure what we have even more, because we know that things can change. We know that sometimes, despite your best efforts, things don’t last. We feel incredibly lucky to have finally found each other.

In truth, I think he found me. I had such a demoralising end to my marriage, a self-esteem-sapping separation, that I think I had forgotten what it was like to be wanted. To be sought after, to be found. He had to spell it out for me. Thank goodness he took notice and lucky me on being found.

Last night we went out with 2 other couples. One just celebrated 17 years of marriage the other will be married later this year. I don’t know their stories – previous relationships, how they met – but both couples are clearly happy to have found each other. As far as I know they aren’t looking elsewhere. They are both committed couples, people just enjoying being together.

So in pondering relationships, I think that most people generally just want to be found. We all want to be sought-after, discovered, held close and dear, treasured, precious. It really is sheer luck being found by, or finding someone who is right for you, who “fits”. Despite my theory about there being more than one in the world suited to us, being truly found is still a rare and wonderful thing.

The final word on this subject goes to my three-year old daughter. We play hide and seek – she hides out of sight and then, rather than remain quiet while I prowl my way around the house, she talks me through where to find her. She wants to be found, despite the fact that the purpose of the game is to remain hidden.

She’s a smart girl – she knows that being found is far more fun.