Dreaming of Michaelangelo

August 25, 2014

sistine chapel blog

Saturn on a line
A sun afire on strings and wires
To spin above my head and make it right
But any time you like
You can catch a sight of angel eyes all emptiness and infinite

And I dream of Michaelangelo when I’m lying on my bed
I see God upon the ceiling I see angels overhead
And he seems so close as he reaches out his hand
But we are never quite as close as we are led to understand.

      ~ When I Dream of Michaelangelo, Counting Crows

I have perfected the art of cocooning myself in my bed. One pillow under my head, one on my back, one at my front. A wheatbag wedged between me and that pillow on my back. Not too hot, but hot enough that it almost singes my skin and delivers a therapeutic dose of blood-circulating warmth. Fleecy dressing gown in front of me becomes a teddy bear. Doona over me, sealing in the cocoon. I sink down so that only my eyes and nose surface.

I lie there. And it’s heavenly.

In that moment I find a safe place to rest. Soft. Supported. Soothed.

I’ve been seeking comfort most of my life. It’s only now that I’m 42 years old that I am realising I can find comfort in myself.  I can’t keep hoping to find comfort from other people because  it’s not always going to be possible. And when it’s not possible it’s scary how quickly it leads to disappointment and resentment. And the loneliness of that funk is a load that gets too heavy to bear.

Self-soothing is a thing you can do. Imagine that. I’ve written a list of things I can do so that in the moment of feeling down I can remember what’s in my toolbox. Long hot shower, cup of tea, a walk in nature, putting on some music, stretching my body… and if all else fails the bed-cocoon.

Self-soothing isn’t just comforting. There’s something very powerful when we take responsibility for ourselves. I feel strong. I feel capable. I feel like I’m not going to break.

Lately I’ve been listening to this song. Adam Duritz is one of the greatest poets that ever became a musician. (And don’t look at the pictures, there is no official clip, it’s just music).

When I cocoon myself in my bed I look up. No Sistine Chapel on my ceiling. But it’s white and fresh. A blank canvas for my thoughts.

Sometimes I imagine the serene eyes of angels looking down on me. Sometimes they stroke my hair. I’m sure that angels have always soothed me. I imagine other beautiful things. I imagine trees misty wet with rain, fields overgrown with wildflowers, bells ringing from churches, the threading of my toes through the sea. I imagine words. Magnificent words. Like supple, silky, shine and soar.

Bali 1395 blog 2

The thing about a cocoon is that it’s a temporary sanctuary. You’re not meant to stay there for years on end. At some point you need to come out. Because real life in all it’s tediousness and pain is also the place where there is beauty and goodness. The haven should be just enough to comfort without being an invitation to wallow and get stuck.

Sometimes I only need my cocoon for minutes, sometimes I need it for hours. But when I resurface I am transformed. Isn’t that the purpose of a cocoon, to change into a more beautiful thing?

Today I stepped out my cocoon. Beautiful butterfly. Lightness and colour. Ready to stretch my wings.




A Sort Of Homecoming

July 18, 2014


Bali 410 blog

The frogs and the cicadas were so loud I thought they were at the foot of my bed. I imagined them hanging from the mosquito net, even though it was absurd. But anything seemed possible in this place. On the other side of the window the rice field gurgled like a giggling baby. And in this cheerful symphony I drifted off to sleep.

It had been a long day. We travelled twelve hours and thousands of miles. As I walked off the plane the humidity seeped into my skin like steam. I realised then that even the weight of air could transform me. In the afternoon I navigated my way through conversations in Bahasa. Stilted at first, then it started to flow. When we finally arrived at the villa perched on rice terrace, I was speechless. Partially affected by exhaustion, partially affected by beauty. This was paradise. I had finally made it. I had returned.

At 2am the rooster crowed. A kind of screeching flat note. I was a little surprised but it didn’t bother me. In fact, it was comforting. I wanted it to crow over and over again. And it did. At 3am, at 4am. And the hallelujah chorus of all crowing at 5am.

Each crow was a far-off call in time. Back to when I was the girl. The girl who was born and raised in this place. The white girl spellbound in a foreign land. Thirty years had changed so little. I was still spellbound. But this time I began claiming what was mine. Somewhere in this country I had left keepsakes of my DNA. They were in the swirl of wooden carvings, in the fragrance of candlenut from street-side cafes, in the beeps of motorbikes, in the crow of roosters. And I started picking them up piece by piece.

Each piece added to the picture. A picture that would never be a glossy painting. Instead, a collage stitched roughly together over a lifetime. It wasn’t seamless or neat. But it would have texture and relief, it would have colour and sound. And it would be beautiful because it was mine.

There, in the serene discord of a rooster crow, just for a moment, I belonged.





The Truth Will Set You Free

June 5, 2014

I spent Christmas Day in the company of 20 asylum seekers at my parent’s home. Most had experienced years of incarceration, and endured hardship I can scarcely imagine. They fled situations of trauma only to be further traumatised by our government. The only thing is, I had my family there and they didn’t. A few of […]

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May 27, 2014

The rain started at 4am. A tender thread of water only lasting a few minutes, but it’s tiny patter on the roof was enough to comfort my heart. It woke me from my heavy-eyed thoughts, a clanky reel replaying the last few days. Days filled with fevers, rigors and a throat that burnt like the […]

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Renovating With Kids

May 18, 2014

Occasionally I come up with some golden advice. It’s not often I write about it here. But here I go. Are you ready for this? I really really REALLY wouldn’t recommend one lives in the house they are fully renovating when one has a 3 year old and a 5 year old. Yep, kids and […]

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Roll on, Roll on

May 16, 2014

I barely blogged at all while we renovated our house. We were squashed into one corner of one room while the rest of the house sputtered noise and paint and dust. Not surprisingly, my head turned into a strange mushy substance. Unable to utter cohesive words, let alone write them. I can’t adequately describe how […]

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Motherhood and The Hardship Competition

May 11, 2014

It’s no secret that being a mother can be tough. We’re all trying to nurture our children and do the best we can. Often the conditions are not ideal. It can be lonely, unrelenting and heartbreaking. (It can also be joyful, rewarding and rock you to the core… but more of that later). In my […]

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Hello Brightness

April 26, 2014

  Hello brightness. Little fireflies glowing at my window. Gleaming in the tender light of dawn. Hush the cold trees leaping in the wind.   I see you there. Sequin-like in the fog. Digging out of the darkness of my bones. Rising through blood and fear. Gently unpinning head from heart.   Is this how change reveals […]

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The Sinking of the Mother Ship

April 13, 2014

I’m about to have surgery tomorrow. I’m nervous. Unspeakably nervous. It’s a sinus operation. Fairly routine. But with all surgeries there are risks. And the recovery from this surgery is not pretty. I’m trying to think positive thoughts, but my overactive imagination is working back to back shifts. With my history of medical procedures you’d […]

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A Kitchen – Renovations Part 3

March 26, 2014

This is a story about a small out-dated creamy cream kitchen that turned into a modern, light and beautiful space. I don’t know where to start when describing our old kitchen. It was dank and poky. The adjoining dining area was a thoroughfare. And the floors were an unsightly grey-beige lino. Perhaps I’ll let the […]

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