Photo essay: We learn to bend so that we won’t break

 

We learn to bend so that we won’t break.  Those are our options.

A part of me wants to tell the world I have been hurt too many times to move ahead.
A part of me wants to justify how my pain has left me frozen, petrfied, and unable to let go.
A part of me is so afraid to look at what is hurting me that it would rather escape than face it.
A part of me us afraid to see because it knows that in seeing, I will be asked to let go. And that in letting go, I will be asked to be reborn. And that in being reborn, I will have to uncover who I truly am.

But another part of me knows in every ounce and inch of its being that I am serving no one,  not one single life by staying asleep.
A part of me is beckoning me to move up and out from all of the places of ungrowth, the dark rooms of stagnant air.
A part of me is being propelled out into this great wilderness, and asking to discover the power hidden within the creases of my skin, resting on the tips of my eyelashes, travelling in the veins that surge through me.

You are longing to be more alive.
You are longing to be fully present to your one, precious life.
You are not afraid.
You are ready, dear one, to be accountable, to be wholly responsible for your life.

 

If you can relate to any of those words, I’d really recommend taking 10 minutes out of your day to listen to Sarah Blondin’s full meditation right here from the Live Awake Project. As for the photos, they were all taken in Warburton last week, while I was there taking a little time away from it all, learning to bend 🙂

Through my eyes: sunrise over Port Arthur, Tasmania

Just a quick little post to end the week  : )  You saw the Port Arthur Motor Inn on Thursday and I’ll show you more of the old convict colony tomorrow, but for now let me show you the view from the grounds when you decide to set your alarm super early, make a cup of tea, and wander out the back of the lodging to watch the sun come up over the historic site…

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Books in the running brooks…

“And this, our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

I first read this passage from Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It” in my favourite ever book: Ralph Parlette’s “The University of Hard Knocks.”

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As with pretty much all of the great man’s work, everyone will interpret that passage a little differently. To me, it reads that outside of other humans (“public haunt”), ie. in nature, there is good in everything. Humans have a way of fucking things up, sometimes unintentionally, sometimes on purpose. But nature is still pure. There are books in the running brooks; there are lessons to be learnt by sitting still in nature.

That’s why I visit Warburton so often; it’s my special place. It’s where I can go alone to just be. It’s where I can actually quiet my mind and just be. I make the effort to spend a night there every few months, or as often as I really need to. My last trip was a few weeks ago, and like each time before, I left feeling a little bit better, a little bit stronger, a little bit more resilient and a little better equipped to deal with everything. It’s important to have a place of renewal like this…


  

Through my eyes: Hama-rikyu Gardens, Tokyo, Japan

Hama-rikyu Gardens
1-1 Hamarikyuteien, Chuo, Tokyo
Oedo line to Shiodome

I’m a little bit excited to be attending the Japanese Film Festival this evening, so I thought I’d head back to Tokyo this morning to get myself in the right headspace 🙂 After visiting the Tsukiji Fish Market for the first time, my friend pointed out that the Hama-rikyu gardens were a stone’s throw away and looked like they’d be worth a visit. We walked over, paid our ¥300 entry fee (AUD$3.50), and started weaving our way through the stunning grounds.

As the former family residence, garden and hunting grounds of the Tokugawa Shogun, Hama-rikyu also functioned as an outer fort for the Edo Castle. In the mid 1600s, a mansion was built on the land, which had been reclaimed from the sea, and years later the mansion had become a detached residence of the Shogun’s family.

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Years to come saw the grounds sadly damaged by both natural and man-made disasters (namely earthquakes and war), and the land was donated to the City of Tokyo by the Imperial Family towards the end of 1945. Less than a year later, after intense restoration work, it was opened as a public garden, which still entertains a heap of visitors each year; today, let me take you on a tour through it!

One of its most unique features is the sea water ponds that change levels with the tides – the pond is actually the only remaining seawater pond from the Edo era within the city.
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The 300-Year-Pine…
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Hinokuchiyama Hill…
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I didn’t catch what this gate was called, oops…
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The beautiful pine teahouse…
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Nakajima-no-ochaya, an operating tea house on the water…
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O-tsutai-bashi bridge
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And my favourite part – the flower garden 🙂
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Victorian mini-breaks: How to spend a weekend in Beechworth part 2 (what to see & do)

It’s Sunday afternoon as I’m writing this, and I’m already dreading Monday morning – I usually don’t dread Mondays at all, because I quite enjoy my job! But the sore throat I’ve been trying to ignore all week has finally kicked into a proper flu, and I feel like rubbish. I can’t believe it was just this time last week I’d finished my 8km run – it may be partially this flu, but I think my hips are still aching from it!! Anyway, seeing as we’re kicking off another week, and I’m sure I’m not the only one already thinking about the next weekend, let’s go with part 2 of our Beechworth mini-break guide (you can find part 1 here!) – the what to do and see edition 🙂

Detour on the way there and stop in Glenrowan
It’d be un-Australian not to. Australia’s original folk hero/legend/criminal/outlaw/bush ranger Ned Kelly and his gang held their last stand here, and it’s somewhere I visited over and over again as a child (we always stopped there on our road trips to Bright). To call it a tiny town would be a gross overstatement – there’s really not much going on there. There are a couple of little souvenir stores and “Ned Kelly experiences,” but the main reason you want to stop here (other than getting a photo with the giant Ned Kelly standing at the entrance of the town) is for a bite to eat at the Billy Tea Rooms.

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Linda runs the place like a boss, serving up both food and gorgeous accommodation, and if you only have 15 minutes to spare in Glenrowan, make sure this is where you spend it. We stopped both on the way to Beechworth, and on the way home – lunch was a fantastic, warming bowl of home made pumpkin soup with a house brick of damper (also home made), and one of their famous roast beef and gravy rolls. This is real, proper, Colonial comfort food, and perfect on a cold winter day! The damper is magnificent, and you can buy it on it’s own if you have a real hankering. On the way back home, we swung back in for a quick morning devonshire tea – Linda’s home made scones with jam and cream with a pot of billy tea would have to be one of the greatest things in regional Victoria.

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Walk Gorge Road
And make sure you bring a camera! Check out the iconic bridge and gorge, the falls and the greenery, and enjoy the absolutely perfect silence…

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Visit the old Beechworth Gaol
Located in the middle of town on the corner of Ford and Williams streets, you can either take a guided tour or just wonder around the entrance and gift shop.

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Then, drive on to the Beechworth Correctional Centre on Flat Rock Road
Better yet, if you have the energy, walk it – if you just follow the road from town to the new correctional centre, this is some of what you’ll see…

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Dump the car and walk the streets
The perfect old buildings, the horses and carts strewn around the streets, the overgrown trees beautiful in all seasons and the real Colonial feel of the main streets… It’s a beautiful little town to walk around and eat your way through!

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Check out the churches
There are some absolutely gorgeous old churches scattered around the town which are well worth a look at, whether you’re religious or not.

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On your way out of town, make sure you drop in to Pennyweight Winery
I love this place… I mean, look at it, how could you not?!

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Located on Pennyweight Lane (be cuter), the wines are amazing here and some of my favourites – particularly the semillon sauv blanc 🙂 You can taste their delicious, certified bio-dynamic wines on arrival, and enjoy the gardens in the sunshine. Perfect way to end the trip!

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iPhoto essay: The Californian Redwoods, Warburton

Waldeinsamkeit: the feeling of being alone in the woods…

I found out only a few days before heading to Warburton about the incredible Californian Redwood Forest on Cement Creek Rd, only 10 minutes from the town centre. As the National Trust website will tell you, the forest is home to almost 1500 of these beautiful trees, which were planted back in the 1930s, some of which have grown over 50m high.

This is one of, if not the most stunning natural setting I’ve ever been lucky enough to find myself in. It is truly magical in every spence of the word; ethereal natural light streams through the branches of the trees, and the phrase “silence is deafening” takes on the most perfect new meaning.

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Travel Thursday: Niagara Falls, Toronto, Canada

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This place is crazy… it is one of the truly most incredible sights I’ve ever seen, it completely took my breath away and had me fall completely silent. The power of that water rushing over the edge is something utterly mesmerising, and it’s gotta be a must-visit for anyone going to Toronto!

We got all excited about it when we started booking the trip, not really considering the fact that we’d have to find a way to actually get there. Tours were overpriced and would take 8 – 12 hours out of our day. Public transport was a bit of a nightmare option, particularly as we both struggle with motion sickness. Husband had a stroke of genius – “Let’s just hire a car and drive ourselves! You’re great reading maps, I’ll drive, it’ll be easy!” I felt a bit of panic going on – driving in the snow, on unfamiliar roads… hmmm..

Turns out that, for once, I was worried about absolutely nothing. It was the EASIEST drive, even when we hit a few snow drifts and had to drive through the fluffy clouds of snow flakes! Seriously, I couldn’t believe it! It’s a pretty easy, straight run from the CBD, just under an hour and a half driving and we were there! Car parking wasn’t super cheap, but we figured it was still a hell of a lot better than blowing a few hundred dollars on a tour we didn’t want to take!

Sadly the Hornblower wasn’t running (dead of winter, duh), but we had a great time wondering around the little city (yes, it’s an actual little town there, with plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes and what not – I’d highly recommend morning tea at the Hershey’s shop for the best brownies you’ve ever had!), enjoying all the open park spaces, and just staring completely dumbstruck at the falls…

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