Today

I kept myself so busy last week so that I didn’t have to grieve or think or feel or anything beyond function. If Uncle Ian crept into my thoughts, I shut it down and found something to do. 

As a result I have had a relapse of my throats and blocked nose – Louise Hay would say unresolved and congested emotion. I would agree. I worked hard to keep that emotion at bay. 

But, not today. 

Today I am feeling a week’s worth of grief. It started last night. The acknowledgement that today is a funeral. A funeral for one of the strongest and most positive male role models I have had throughout my life, my childhood. 

One of a small group of adults who tried to keep us safe, to show us another way. 

I don’t remember much from anything past. My brain keeps me safe, probably to the extreme, by locking things away. I remember emotion though, deeply, and my body remembers emotion. 

Uncle Ian was funny. He made us laugh. He brought things home from the Commonwealth Bank, where he had worked for decades before retiring, in the days when loyalty to a workplace was commonplace. 

He had a small Hookey board and we would spend hours in their garage, doors open, throwing rubber rings onto brass hooks. He would cheer our wins. Drinks were consumed from small blue and pink and yellow metal cups, brought out by Aunty Val. 

We went to The Entrance for our only ever overnight holiday away with Aunty Val and Uncle Ian. It was overcast but we walked along the water anyway. It was amazing. They came to Taronga Zoo with us on the ferry. They were our Christmas. 

They were just always there. 

When mum and dad had fought, and mum didn’t think it was safe for us to be there, we were scuttled, in blankets, next door to sleep. We also just had sleepovers there. Just for fun. 

They loved us. They protected us. They spoiled us. They were a significant part of our village. 

And today, I will see Aunty Val, without Uncle Ian, for the first time ever. I have known these people, as a couple, for over forty years. Aunty Val and Uncle Ian. They worked together, as a unit, her giggle to his dry humour and funny tales.

Uncle Ian has gone. 

What is that about. 

Jumping 

After eighteen years at my school I have jumped for next year. On 27th January, as my colleagues return to work, I will be sailing from Tasmania home, to embark on two and a half weeks long service leave and followed by leave without pay until the end of Term 4. 

I was going to drop to four days next year to pursue other interests but realistically, the workload in modern day teaching precludes other interests, it precludes a life. I need a break. 

I am excited. I am putting out the energy that casual work will be found in abundance and that my books will be written and meditation classes popular and workshops successful. 

I deserve this. 

I am worth this. 

I desire this. 

I have moments of fear. I acknowledge them and I keep moving forward. 

I do not want to have regrets in my life because of fear. I move back to security, if I want to, at the end of the year. I have ensured that I have not burnt bridges and whilst my decision will impact more on some than others, I have chosen to put me first, for the first time ever probably, without guilt. 

As I said to my Early Career Teachers and Year 12, I need to walk my talk. I need to practice what I preach. I need to model a way forward in modern teaching. 

Teachers can lose themselves in the safe identity of teacher. I did for years. I sacrificed a lot – by choice – but not consciously. I do not want to keep sacrificing all of my other dreams and desires. So, I choose to jump, to risk, to embrace fear, to liberate myself. And I’m excited to see where my life takes me. 

2017 will be a better year. 

Another Reminder

Growing up in Australia in the seventies was a blessed experience. We were free. I have wonderful memories of us neighborhood kids hanging out with each other and disappearing all day every day during summer. We were safe to do so. Most predators lurked in the homes rather than in the streets, or that’s the way it felt. We were accountable to each other’s parents as much as we were our own, and could be smacked by anyone. It was an extended family, a community, a village looking after and raising the children. 

For my sisters and I, this was vital. Mum and dad were from European families, Finland and Germany respectively. We didn’t have a typical extended family as a result. There was no internet, no mobile phones, and an overseas phone call was expensive and consisted of a noticeable time lag. I was a pen pal, snail mail, to one of my cousins in Finland. 

Our street community, Manooka Crescent, became our extended family. Our friend’s parents, our aunts and uncles, and the two older couples in the street, one next door and one across the road, our grandparents. 

Until today, we had only lost one of the four. Today, the second of four has passed. 

My sisters have kept in better contact with our childhood family than I have. I have always been so busy with school and keeping in touch with my adult friends that I let go of this childhood family. Physically, not emotionally. Emotionally they are pivotal people in my life. They empowered and enabled me to make it to adulthood. They were the oasis in the storm of dysfunctional childhoods. They saved us by taking us in … regularly. 

Especially the couple next door. 

And today, mum rang me first thing this morning to let me know rhat one has passed away. He has been in hospital and this time, didn’t survive. 

My tears are for his wife. They built a life together that spanned over sixty years; a phenomenal commitment, taking in lost children all of the time. Not perfect, but always doing their best. 

Somehow, we expect that we all will live forever. But, we don’t. 

Life is short. Some of us have a good innings, others’ interrupted or cut short too early. Death teaches us that it is important to truly live every day. 

If we are unhappy, only we can control the change. And not in a destructive way, but finding what will work to keep moving us forward, closer to happiness. Into happiness. 

The Dalai Lama believes that happiness is the purpose of life. I agree. What other reason can there be for existence that makes consistent and logical sense. 

And our lives feel most joyous in service, of some type, towards others. Those that are happiest often work for others. Service provides soul fulfillment. Giving is better than receiving. 

Ian gave. To his own family, his country, the bank, and to everyone that he met. He had a cheeky sense of humour, sharing jokes with us before we were probably meant to hear them, Val chastising him and giggling as she did. He was funny. They lived,  providing a freedom and normalcy my sisters and I probably wouldn’t have had. A normalcy that enabled us to see the bigger picture of life, beyond trauma and dysfunction, and empowering us to create better lives for ourselves. Their gift to us was resilience in its purest form, giving us contrast between what was and what could be. 

We never say thank you enough. We never let people know their value to us enough. We take our’s and everyone’s mortality for granted. Death teaches us to feel grateful that little bit more, to hold our loved ones a little tighter, and to say I love you more often. It teaches us to grow, to be mindful, to take risks, to live in happiness. 

To live. 

Much love Uncle Ian. 

Creating the life you want

I feel a bit arrogant using that title. Guru Tina reporting for duty … pfft. I can be an imbecile. 

It’s been 24 hours since waking yesterday and deciding to take the reins on my own life back. As predicted by several friends, after the excitement of yesterday’s decision, knowing it is right, fear is creeping in. 

I am acknowledging it. And, I am releasing it. But, still feeling it. 

Lol. 

Not knowing is invigotating as well as terrifying. When I reflect on this year, that I have been calling the worst year of my life, I also realize that it has been one of the best. 

I’ve travelled – twice. New Zealand and India, both amazing trips in very different ways. I’ve met some amazing people this year; inspiring, loving, genuine people. I’ve fought for myself, and really seen, for the first time ever, my value and my beauty. I discovered the importance of writing and controlling my own narrative, and not letting systems with faceless people govern my narrative. I started developing a business plan. I was very effective and successful in my roles at school, and in my classroom. I’ve been an exemplary teacher this year. I’ve built my home and my family, now complete. I’ve reconnected on a deep level with friends I adore and with myself. 

It has been the year of the Phoenix. 

And next year will consolidate this growth, awareness and passion I possess for all of this life. Next year, the warrior will temper her battle instincts to embrace the nurturing aspects of her psyche. Yep. The worst year as well as one of the best. 

Paradoxes. 

Finding Courage

I woke up this morning knowing and feeling in every cell of my body that the life I have known is done. I’m at a crossroads, and I knew that India would put me there. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be emotionally. 

There is a picture of me, sitting on the houseboat on the Ganges. I usually hate photos of myself. That’s why you rarely see any. But India shifted that; I integrated my soul. I like myself. I’m a work in progress, but my photo no longer scares me or horrifies me. 


I want to look like this and feel like this all of the time. It is possible when you live the life you are supposed to be living, when you choose joy. 

I woke up, and looked for another job. But I don’t want them. I want to create a totally new life. Originally I gave myself five years, but this morning I realized that the time to act is now. 

Terrifying. 

So, this morning my mind has weighed up many options, strategies, ideas. The resolution/realization: sometimes we just need to jump. It doesn’t matter where I end up landing; the first step of jumping is the important one. 

When I jump, a world of opportunity will open. 

And, even if I end up in the same location, I will have changed and chosen to be there. At the moment, it’s not my first choice. 

If I want a different life, a joyous and happy life, it’s on me to create the opportunity for it to exist. 

I just have to feel the courage to jump. 

And it really isn’t that difficult. We are all cats; we land on our feet. 

This, I know for sure. 

Life is Short

A friend’s mother has passed away. I had the fortune to meet her and have lunch with her a couple of years ago. She was adorable. And I know that her daughter, my friend, loved her very much. Her mother was, for the most part, a stable point for her through some rough times. The funeral is Friday. 

I have felt this a few times today, and have shed some tears. I am very lucky; my parents are still alive. I love them dearly and am not looking forward to their inevitable passing. 

I think we tend to take our parents for granted. My relationship with my parents has significantly improved throughout the last ten or so years. Prior to that, there had been long periods of estrangement. Justifiably, for where we all were in our journey. 

I am grateful though, that we have worked hard to develop healthy and happy relationships with one another. 

It hasn’t been easy. My childhood was traumatic. I expected better from my parents. As an adult, I came to realise (it was a process) that Dr PHIL is right: when we know better, we do better

My parents were struggling, individually, with the impact of their own choices when I was younger. They didn’t know how to do that and protect/nurture their children. I know, without any hesitation, that if they could have done it all differently, they would have. And, as a result, I have been able to forgive them, and we have all moved forward. 

Thank goodness I had the time with them to be able to do that. I am also grateful that they know me, and I know them, as equals. My mother is one of my very best friends, and I love and appreciate my dad, especially the humility that aging has gifted him with. Above all else, all of the mistakes, and ill informed choices, I know that they love me. 

Even now, when I suffer and they are powerless to fix it, I can feel their frustration at not being able to protect me. 

Does it make up for my childhood? 

No. 

But it doesn’t need to. I gained as much as I lost. I developed resilience, inner strength, a love of learning, compassion, empathy, idealism, principles, and a bloody strong work ethic. I am sure there is more. The things that I lost, like self-esteem and trust, well, I am a work in progress and they are slowly evolving. 

I am going to let my parents know that I love them, whilst I still can. It is easy to hold on to anger, resentment, pain, but it solves nothing. It eats away like cancer. It destroys the heart and soul. Finding the way to forgive is the key. For me, forgiveness saved me. Friendship with my parents was an additional blessing; forgiveness ensured I had no regrets, and that’s all I wanted. 

To save me, my narrative needed to become about me, my needs. Familiar theme here. Cycles ending so that my next phase of growth can commence. 

How blessed. 

Cleaning Therapy

It was a very warm day yesterday. The perfect day to get out of the confines of the house and organise the back yard. I have a vision for my back yard; a sanctuary for healing. 

The process is cultivating mindfulness and patience. Usually I decide something and want it done straight away. I am at peace with the evolution of this project. 

Buying my own lawn mower has been liberating and empowering. I love being responsible for my lawn’s maintenance. And, as a control freak, I like controlling what it looks like. 

Yesterday, I built two planter boxes I purchased before India, and an outdoor setting I have had since April. Today I head to Bunnings for potting mix, and a few other bits and pieces. 

I find that when I am otherwise occupied, my brain still functions in the background, sorting out other bits and pieces, and processing all of my random thoughts. I generally regard myself as a positive person. Yesterday’s background processing threw up something for me to consider. During the past week I have responded with negativity to a lot of conversations that didn’t require the negativity. 

Why was I negative? 

I’m in transition. Life as I knew it is done. Life as I want it, isn’t quite manifested yet. I’m in transition. The uncertainty, impatience, being sick, being frustrated, resulted in a negative tone. 

Life is short. I live a blessed life. Negative has to stop. I need to be more conscious and more present. Hello to this week’s resolution. 

Off to clean the interior of my home, significantly messier after the external clean yesterday. I used the blower near my pot plants and, with the back door open, soil came dancing in. 

😜 my brain was otherwise engaged hehe. 

Lessons from India 

I have been home for just over a week. Every day, it becomes more apparent to me that something deep inside of me has shifted. In some ways, I almost feel like I have recaptured the enthusiasm/idealism/passion of my younger years. In my twenties I possessed a fighting and partying spirit. I had formed a community of like minds around me, and I felt purposeful. 

I have also lost my patience for shit. In all of its forms. My soul is crying out for difference and I need to nurture this. 

The most significant place this is appearing is at work. And I knew I would struggle with school after being in India.

I have always believed that education solves problems. It saved my life by providing me with opportunities to escape and break a cycle of dysfunction (even though some may argue I am still dysfunctional lol). I see similar attitudes outside of the privileged west. And, so, it kills me when I see education and opportunity taken for granted. Ask my kids, they’ll tell you I’m not lying. 

And, all hell broke loose yesterday when I stood on chewing gum that transferred itself to my dress, my beautiful dress. I screamed the block down, somewhat humorously, but the frustration was real. How selfish must one be to spit gum on the ground when there are bins everywhere! 

I’ve lost my ability to put on a mask or play ‘the’ game. 

I’m playing my own. This is who I am. The real me. A crusader for ‘right’. 

It’s been 39 weeks since I found out I was under investigation. For the most part these days, I am okay. However, it doesn’t take much to trigger a relapse of sorts. In fact, now that I am consciously reflecting, it’s been a massive week, beyond just going back to work, jet lag and illness. Significant shifts. The reinforcement of lessons. 

On Wednesday, I was concerned for the welfare of one of my students, and as a result I referred her, correctly, to the Learning Support Team (Year Advisot and Counsellor too), and I informed the parents of my concern, so that they could keep an eye on her at home. I documented all of this. Our LST Co-ordinator jumped on it straight away. She and I had a conversation to clarify what could and could not happen immediately. Perfect. 

However, last period of the day and I am on class, knock on the door and I am asked to have a word outside. The person asks me to speak to them privately before I leave for the day. My body reacts like it did 38 weeks and 6 days before when a different person had a very similar conversation with me, and I walked back into my classroom, filled with anxiety and dread. I had only been back at work for three days, who could I have possibly offended in such a short time! Like, WTF! 

And, so I went to speak to the person. The parents had contacted the school and this person was blind sided. It isn’t our process to notify the person I failed to notify. And I had a small window to operate in because I was teaching four periods and Head Teacher on duty the rest of the day – I only had ninety minutes off. That was when I referred the student. I apologised profusely, and genuinely; I do not like causing other people pain. 

But, upon reflection, I became indignant. I did my job. I followed process. I shouldn’t have been spoken to. It’s ridiculous. And, ego driven. This is not my future. 

The child was happier on Thursday. And I have lost considerable respect for a lot of things. I cannot tolerate a lack of humility and integrity. We need to know ourselves as adults, and function accordingly. I can’t abide people in positions of power who do not know themselves. Effective leadership never extends from ego. 

This isn’t rocket science. 

Yep, still angry. Lol. 

And then yesterday, another student needed support. Followed the process. More ego unleashed. And I wonder why education is so troubled at the moment. Again, though, child will receive support. So ultimately, two wins this week. Yes, I am needed in education. But, it isn’t what I need any longer. 

I am valuable. I am beautiful. I am deserving. I am of the divine. I am worth something, everything. 

These are my lessons from India. Thank you to my soul sisters and Richard for empowering me to integrate these lessons. These are the lessons for all of us. If we aren’t being respected, valued, adored, then we need to move to an environment where we are. We all deserve abundance and prosperity and soul bliss (thank you Alana and Lakshmi).

Simple. Trust it. 

PS. I am writing letters tomorrow. My fight continues. I never want someone else to have to endure what I have endured this year. It is criminal. 

But today, well, today is my day. Gardening, decluttering, feeding my soul. Being in my bliss. Being home. In my head, my heart, my soul, my location. Yep, today is my day. 

Oh, and I have decided my next tattoo. Lakshmi. 

First Week Review 

What a week! I’ve been coughing and feeling yuck. But I also looked relaxed and happy – a world of contrasts. 

School took over again this week but something in me has shifted. I have zero tolerance for selfishness, stupidity and ego. And, I seem to have misplaced my filter and rose coloured glasses. 

This weekend I plan to do some gardening, clean the garage out, and just love being in my home. 

A little school work. But only a little. 

And, start enacting my plan to escape hehehehehahahaha! 

Victim Shaming & My Shame

I did the unthinkable today. I picked myself up, but oh my. 

I am studying Go Back To Where You Came From with Year 12, focusing on Discovery. We were talking about something that triggered from the first episode which lead to my recent trip to India and different cultural attitudes, treatment of women, etc. I spoke about the security checkpoints at the airports and different treatment of men and women. 

One of my students shared the anecdote of two of his female friends, one of whom was spat upon as she walked through the airport. 

My response was, “What was she wearing?”

It took me a second, wherein my question was answered, before I exclaimed, “Oh my god! I just victim shamed.” 

I was mortified. I then turned on my student, as you do in moments of your own shame lol, and asked, “Why didn’t you tell me off!?” 

He said that he had thought about it, but … 

I am so meant to be better than that! I guess, if anything positive can come out of it, my kids realise I am human (goddamnit), and that it is important to be cognisant of what we say and own our own ignorance. 

What a lesson!