Tag Archives: acceptance

Great Get Together Goes Global #MoreInCommon

Lately, I’ve been feeling quite overwhelmed by the latest terror attacks in the UK, which as we all know too well, are simply the latest chapters in a much longer story. Despite believing in the power of the pen to overcome the sword and in the power of the individual to change the world, or at least influence the world around them, I am starting to doubt. These attacks are so random and unpredictable and the victims ordinary people…it’s all becoming quite impossible to fathom.

Coffee french

For those of you who have been following my blog for some time, you’ll know that I’ve been part of a global blogging group 1000 Voices for Compassion, which started up after the attacks on Paris. However, I’d already been speaking out against terrorism  following the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in the Ukraine and the Lindt Cafe Siege in Sydney. Journalists covering the MH17 disaster, brought back sunflower seeds from the crash site to give to families and friends of the victims. I had written to many of these victims and we sent them red hearts on paddlepop sticks which the kids had made to acknowledge their loss. It wasn’t much, it came from the heart. When I heard that they were offering the sunflower seeds, I put my hat in the ring not expecting anything. However, a few months later, a package arrived in the mail with a tin of seeds, a photo and a beautiful letter wishing: “May your sunflowers bloom.”

may your sunflowers bloom

A personal message from journalist Paul McGeogh & Kate Geraghty who sent me the sunflowers.

It took me a year to find the courage to plant those seeds. I am not a great gardener and I didn’t want to destroy something so precious, especially through my usual neglect. However, I was contacted by the cousin of the pilot of the plane who had lost her seeds and I thought I finally had to have a go. Have some faith. As these seedling were growing, I managed to take them to a few local schools to talk about compassion, the love of a stranger and the need to take a stand not only against terrorism, but also to simply treat each other better. These are simple truths. Not rocket science but when we think of changing the world, we usually think so big that we feel overwhelmed and do nothing. It’s so easy to forget that a simple cup of tea can be a stepping stone towards something momentous.

So, tonight when I heard about The Great Get Together which is being held across the UK to honor the life of slain MP Jo Cox, I wanted to get onboard, even though I’m in Australia on the other side of the world. After all, why not take Jo’s message global.

In her maiden speech in Parliament, Jo said: “We have far more in common than that which divides us.”

So, I’d like to invite you to join me for a cup of tea or coffee, toast and Vegemite and even a chocolate Tim Tam. I’d like you to share a bit about yourself and let’s see if we can help join the dots right around the globe.

So, here are our conversation starters. Please leave your answers in the comments below and I ask you to reblog this please. Let’s get the party started!

  • Which country do you live in? How about the city or town you live in?
  • What do you like about where you live? What’s a favourite spot?
  • What is your favourite novel? Why?
  • What is your favourite film? Why?
  • Do you prefer tea or coffee? Why?
  • Introduce your blog and provide a link.

Here are my responses:

I live in Australia with my husband Geoff, our two kids Mr who is 13 and Miss who is 11 and our two dogs. We live in Greater Sydney on Broken Bay a stone’s throw from the beach and a short drive to Brisbane Water, which is protected and ideal for sailing and kayaking. So, we have the best of both worlds, although I tend to appreciate our local area more as a walker with and without the dogs.

What I love most about where we live, is the relaxed atmosphere and the proximity to the hussle and bussle of Sydney, without being in it. Initially, we moved here due to more affordable real estate. However, being away from the thick of it is a real drawcard, which we’re appreciating more and more. My husband commutes to Sydney by train and Sydney is only a train trip away and I also do enjoy that proximity to catch up with family and also get to arty places like Surry Hills.

My Favourite novel. I’m not much of a novel reader. My favourite books are more inspirational and philosophical such as Kilail Gibran’s The Prophet, Mitch Albom’s Tuesday’s With Morrie and Daniel Gottlieb’s Letters to Sam. If you haven’t read these, I highly recommend them.

My favourite film: Casablanca. Years lately, I still go to jelly with so many of those lines and feel a dreadful heartache as I watch the plane take off.

Tea or coffee: I mostly drink decaf tea because I’d be flying if I drank coffee of full strength tea all day. I start the day with a medium strength expresso and will have another if I go to a cafe. I generally have a full strength English Breakfast tea to backup the coffee in the mornind another in the afternoon.

I started Beyond the Flow five years ago as a stepping stone to getting my writing out into the world.My focus at the time was on getting published in the mainstream media and to write and publish books. However, the blog gained a life and purpose of its own, which has also helped me find my voice. This voice surprised me as it was very different to what I’d expected. In the five years I’ve been blogging, there have been many twists and turns. Most notably, there’s been the ups and downs of living with my chronic health conditions…hydrocephalus or fluid on the brain and dermatomyositis, which included a stint of chemo and the uncertainies which go with all of that. I’ve been in remission for 3.5 years now, which hasn’t been smooth sailing. It’s been a very long road for me to find my feet again but I am almost there. My blog is very much about my role as a parent and aspects of that journey with our kids who were 8 and 6 and are now 13 and 11 years old. We have also added another dog to the family. I love how the blog has documented these moments.

Best wishes and I look forward to getting together,

xx Rowena

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull: Three Day Quote Challenge

“Why, Jon, why?” his mother asked. “Why is it so hard to be like the rest of the flock, Jon? Why can’t you leave low flying to the pelicans, the alhatross? Why don’t you eat? Son, you’re bone and feathers!” “I don’t mind being bone and feathers mom. I just want to know what I can do in the air and what I can’t, that’s all. I just want to know.”
Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Having so many favourite quotes, I turned to Richard Bach’s  Jonathan Livingston Seagull for my first quote, because seagulls live right around the world and mean something to everyone. Yet, although they’re a common bird and they can get pretty annoying when you’re trying to eat your fish and chips, I can’t help loving them. They’re such a part of going to the beach.

I chose this particular quote because more than once in my life I’ve been asked: “Why can’t you be normal?”  I’m a bit disappointed that it took me more than 40 years to ask: “Why would I want to be?” We’re not all meant to be the same!

Seagulls

I would like to thank Olive Ole from https://travelmuch.net/  for nominating for the «3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge».

Olive lives in Denmark and produces a stunning travel blog with some very striking images. Being Australian, I really appreciate being able to explore other parts of the world with her.  So don’t hang around here – go check her out!Let me talk you through the rules of the challenge:

  1. Three quotes for three days.
  2. Three nominees each day (no repetition).
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.
  4. Inform the nominees.

I am nominating three people who have encouraged me as I’ve flown my own path:

1) Kat from Time No Matter

2) Geoff Le Pard from https://geofflepard.com/

3) Monika from Tails Around the Ranch

Hope you feel inspired through this bit of inspiration.

xx Rowena

Photos: Rowena Curtin

Eyes In Your Heart.

“You don’t need to see to take photographs. My eyes are in my heart.”

Joao Maia

Joao Maia, 41, a former postman from Sao Paulo, lost his sight at the age of 28 due to an infection and was left unable to see anything more than vague shapes and colours.

He developed a keen interest in photography while learning to use his cane, and now takes photos of a similar standard to those captured by a sighted professional.

See for the full story Here.

Another inspirational story out of Rio and a reminder “Never Give Up!”

xx Rowena

Reach For Your Light.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson

Thanks to Dr Gulara Vincent for reminding me of this quote. I am going to print this out and give it to my kids.

Have you found any inspirational quotes lately? Please share!

xx Rowena

Featured Image: Rowena Curtin.

Poet for Peace.

A small voice called out

in the wilderness:

“Why must you throw

your sticks and stones?

Why grow anger,

instead of love?

Or, do you even know?

 

But then,

the great wind came,

blowing the small voice

from pole to pole.

Yet, its whisperings spread.

Amelia footprints in sand

Footprints in the sand.

 

“Why must you throw

your sticks and stones?

Why grow anger,

instead of love?
Or, do you even know?

 

Brother asked sister.

Sister asked brother.

Husbands and wives,

partners…

questioned why.

The neighbours wondered

whether a cup of sugar

would be better instead.

 

Slowly but surely,

the people started looking in,

instead of blaming out.

After all, peace in our world

begins in our hearts.

amelia heart painting

My daughter’s painting

 

And so,

after  scattering the seed,

the small voice called on

the sun, rain and soil,

waiting for love to grow.

 

Rowena Curtin

26th August, 2016

This is my contribution for Poets for Peace, a collaboration of poets right around the world urging for peace. It is being hosted by Forgotten Meadows Deadline for Contributions is 31st August, 2016.

“In response to the recent unceasing, and, in fact escalating global violence, we have seen and felt a corresponding surge in poetry about it.

We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to share your thoughts and feelings, a piece of yourself, to add to other Poets from around the world. We are hopeful that the combined weight of our collective spirit and wisdom will be felt worldwide as well.

The only restriction is that absolutely no hate is expressed other than the hate of violence. Any and all words will be appended to the running poem. This is not about ego, so you retain the rights to your creation, we are only interested in doing what we can to stop the violence.

Please share your poetry and your platform to spread the word for Poets everywhere to unite in this effort we are calling, “Poets for Peace.”

Google +1 it, Tweet & share it on Facebook, wherever you are able. Hashtag #PoetsForPeace

 

H: Q & A With Hemingway #atozchallenge.

So, there we were down on the beach with the opportunity of a life time. I could actually ask Hemingway THAT question!

However, do you think I could find the words? I had enough trouble writing a letter to Ted Hughes and I pretty much sidestepped all of that. Although Hemingway is known for his trademark, minimalist style, does that mean I can simply ask him straight out, at point blank range?

Well, I’m about to find out.

Using a permanent marker, I wrote the letters  on the back of an old receipt:

WHY?

Before I could change my mind, I stuffed the note into the bottle and my son threw it far beyond the waves. Of course, some crazed mutt sploshed through the surf trying to retrieve it but gave up once they’d found their old stick.

I didn’t know how long I’d have to wait for a reply and to be perfectly honest, was rather apprehensive. Who in their right mind would have the insensitivity to ask a question like that? So much for the Golden Rule and putting myself in someone else’s shoes. I’d let my insatiable curiosity totally overpower all discernment. Why couldn’t I simply leave the man in peace?

However, almost immediately, I spotted the bottle floating back through the waves towards us. Despite being fully dressed, the kids strode out through the water to retrieve it. Battling it out, of course, to see who  could get there first. Without any hesitation or directions from me, our daughter popped the cork and pulled out the note:

Dear Rowena,

Please don’t let my death

define my life.

-Hemingway.

A very valid point! Indeed, so wise!

I really loved The Old Man & The Sea and I no longer needed to read in between the lines.

He just was.

ernest-hemingway-with-typewriter

This has been part of a philosophical series of letters to Dead Poets who have inspired me, which is part of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge. They are a cocktail of fiction and non-fiction.

xx Rowena

 

Banjo Paterson Replies #atozchallenge.

No sooner than I’d finished my letter to Australian poet, Banjo Paterson, I received a reply. Moreover, it wasn’t some lame: “Out of Office Autoreply” either. He actually wrote to me.

Dear Rowena,

Thank you so much for your philosophical letter. It’s been such a long time since anyone has asked me for advice or even been in touch. Your letter really made my day.

While you asked me what it means to be a man, what I say holds true for both boys and girls, men and women.So, I’m addressing what it means to be a man, a woman…a person.

I understand that the Man From Snowy River has been held up as the ideal Aussie bloke but that was never my intent. So, I guess I should warn you, in case you ever decide to get something published, that once it’s out there, your work gains a life all of its own. You can’t control what happens to it or how the public might interpret it. It’s very much like watching your children grow up and move out in the world. They do what they like and you’re just a by-stander.

Anyway, getting back to your letter, this is the very first thing which came to mind…

There is no prescription. No “one size fits all”.

Tell your children: “You are who you are”. We each need to spread own wings to follow our dreams, wherever they take us.

They need to pick up the pen and write their own stories. Don’t  let someone else do it for them, even if that means losing a friend and walking alone for awhile. It’s not worth giving away your soul, your very self. The price is too high.

However, as their Mum or Dad, you’re also quite a guiding light. As individuals, we don’t always see ourselves all that clearly and a bit of a reality check is a good thing…especially when we sell ourselves short and don’t see ourselves in all our technicolour beauty.

Keep venturing beyond what they know, exploring all sorts of nooks and crannies instead of simply staying between the lines.  One of the very first things children learn at school, is to stay between the lines. Conform to the rules and only colour in between the lines. Be contained. Don’t venture out or break the rules and restraints which confine you. Rather, stay put and do as you’re told.

Why is this so important and has anyone ever truly learned anything sitting down? I learned so much out on the horse’s back.

Being an individual is important. After all, nobody has the same fingerprint. We are our own unique self.

At the same time, there is a commonality among us. Something which unifies people. Makes us human. Goes beyond our DNA. Somehow, while we’re all individuals, we are also Human. As the saying goes: “The geese go barefoot everywhere.”

So I guess that leaves us with quite a conundrum. We each have our own unique fingerprint and yet we are one and the same. How is this so?

Unfortunately, dying hasn’t made solving these conundrums any easier.

So, on that note, I would like to wish you all the best for your remaining travels. However, I should warn you that I’ve met a few of these dead poets at poetry readings and cafes up here. Quite a few are rather intense. They’ve been keeping me rather busy but somehow a good horse ride through the bush calms them down…the magic of horses!

On that note, I’d best be off. Monday’s poet is trying to push me off my perch!

Best wishes,

Banjo

DSC_0793

That was quite a reply with so much food for thought. I guess that what he’s saying is that there isn’t some ideal prototype which we should be striving to become. That, as tempting as it might appear to walk inside someone else’s shoes and even become them, that we need to resist. Be ourselves and follow our own path…even when it heads cross-country, seemingly disappearing in the bush. That’s the fun of going bush-bashing! Exploring the great unknown!

What I am struggling to understand is how we can be unique individuals and yet one human race. Is it like all the difference pixels coming together to form a picture? There’s that diversity and yet when it comes together there is unity.

Anyway, as Banjo said, all of this is a conundrum.

One of those great questions which only generates more questions.

What are your thoughts? Any ideas? Look forward to hearing from you!

xx Rowena