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Plant Seeds

Lockdown #1 happens and I plant seeds. Like a lot of other people. Bunnings sold out of seeds, and potting mix, and all sorts. It interests me that, at a time of great uncertainty, for seemingly many, there was an instinct to connect to the land, to plant – which is always a kind of prospecting of its own subject to the vagaries of pests, weather, and apathy towards watering to name a few. But we default to a deep knowledge that, somehow, the land will take care of us.

Seeds. So much potential in something so small.

My approach to gardening is pretty much to fill in the space: food and flowers good = weeds bad. I trade seedlings on the Inner West Buy Sell Swap page and join the Pollinate the West group and score free things from the Good Karma page. In socially distant ways I’m more locally connected than I’ve ever been. My seeds bear seeds, and then there’s thousands of them: broad beans, parsley, rocket, nasturtium, calendula…

I put packets of seeds in my local Little Free Pantry and seedlings when I have them. It’s hard to picture the reach, the generational journey those seeds have made to me and from my hands to others.

What I was looking for from some groups changed. I joined new groups and left others.

I’m trying to give language to something which we’ve all experienced over the last few months but maybe haven’t given words or thought to….

This is a basic model of a complex community
This is that community being ruptured by a crisis event
This is a new community fusing together out of necessity and proximity and shared experience
This is the ‘altered’ complex community

The ruptures and disruptions have occurred at different levels within: our homes, personal relationships, at work, our city, our state. People have moved: house, state, country. Shops have shut down. Some people lost work and found it in totally different industries or haven’t found it yet. Some people will have long term impacts of anxiety and depression following these exhausting long periods of social isolation. …you know.

You know the ways your life will never be the same again.

There is no going ‘back’ to normal. There is only going forward, into something new.

What do you want to resurrect from what was? What do you want to keep from new fusions and connections? Name a few things or write them down. This isn’t an experience that is happening to you, how can you happen to the experience? How can you bring what you want to bear on it in some small (or big) way?

Do not underestimate the power you have to shape the world you want to live in at this extraordinary moment.

Plant the seeds now. Not knowing how or if they will grow.

So much potential in something so small.

The following found-poem is made up of words entirely taken from words written on people’s headstones. It  isn’t intended to be some macabre or nihilistic exercise… but the opposite. What words of comfort or solace could we have said if there’d be time? What message of love?

Because of COVID we couldn’t be there when loved ones died. Because of COVID we couldn’t remember and gather together to celebrate lives well lived, grieve lives too short. Because of COVID we are hearing daily statistics of those who have died. They are a face to someone. They are family to someone. Almost 5 million dead so far… Worldwide it’s been over 5,000 people a day, every day for months.

What does it look like for you to recognise and acknowledge the presence of Death? Do you place flowers somewhere for remembrance? Float something out into the river water? Bury something under a loved plant in the backyard? Use water to cleanse your hands and head? Hold a series of ceremonies, dances and songs? Whatever rituals of grief you observe – take the time you need to reflect and grieve.

You might read these words and be comforted, be solaced, be loved now. Hear them deep in your soul, take them in and let them nourish you. For, although intended as words for those who are gone, they have something to say to those who remain.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will know the essence of life.

v1 bw
v3 bw
v4 bw
v5 bw
v6 bw

Peace, perfect peace,
let your song be delicate,
the flowers can hear.
In God’s care.

In the midst of life we are in death.
Let not your heart be troubled
neither let it be afraid.
In God’s care,
not here but risen,
Love’s Tribute.

Always loved, always in our hearts.
Sadly missed.
Behind all shadows standeth God.
Some time, some day, we’ll understand.

So deeply loved, so deeply mourned,
till we meet again, at rest,
in heavenly love abiding.

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide
the darkness deepens, Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Thy will be done always in our hearts.
Loved and always remembered.

All losses are restored and sorrows end
in God’s care.
Those we love don’t go away
they walk beside us every day
To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.

Love lives on.

You Are Stronger than You Know

Mint. Deadly. Fierce. There aren’t even words. You, you my friend, are a survivor. This pandemic took things away from you, you didn’t know it was possible to lose. You had never put a back stop or safety net round those things because it was inconceivable the world could change so much in so many, myriad and drastic ways. And here you are. Breathing still. Being-still. You are all over this. Well, maybe some of it’s on you, but you are HERE for it. You are PRESENT. So much stopped and you’ve kept going. Eat your heart out Energiser Bunny, I’ll show you who’s still going, and going, and going!

Maybe this strong, resilient, survivor-triumphant thing isn’t really your scene but – just for a minute – lean into it.

What’s one thing you’ve learned or done in the last year or two that you couldn’t have conceived of before? Learned how to make cinnamon scrolls? How to use Zoom break out rooms? New level on Halo? Made, then broke, and broke again, the records you set for Netflix binging? Moved out? Gone back to Uni? Homeschooled, cooked, cleaned, worked fulltime and paid the utilities? Way to adult!

Mentally, or literally if you’re feeling crafty, create and give yourself an award certificate, or a medal, or a trophy, or a flower crown.

You’re really great.

Where’s your energy at today?


As you walk today we encourage you to pick something up (or several things) that represents what you feel like you’re holding right now. Is it sharp? Is it heavy? Rugged? Smooth? Beautiful? Ugly?

Carry this with you for a while as you walk and as you come for the end of your walk, we invite you to consider is this something you can put down? Is this something you’re able to leave behind? Do you want to throw it? Or perhaps it may be that this is something you take with you and in your home find a place where you might see it – maybe on a dresser or on a windowsill where you will see it every day.

This is something you are carrying. It’s outside of you. It’s not all of who you are. You are not defined by what you are carrying. It is apart from you, and actually rather small as you look at it now in the grand scheme of things. It’s something you can hold in your hand. You are able to pick this up and put it down as you need to.


One reason it might be hard for some of us to feel ‘hope’ and ‘possibility’ right now is that the inchoate rage and unrelenting grief we haven’t expressed might be taking up all of the room.

I suggest getting lots of strips of paper or post its and writing down whatever thoughts, feelings, resentments are pent up inside of you and spewing them onto each piece then disposing of these in the most satisfyingly melodramatic way possible for you: tear them into little pieces; cut them up with scissors; stab them onto a cactus plant; let them burn; make a TaskMaster episode by giving yourself 10 mins in a plastic lined room with a range of assorted props with points for most creative destruction.*

You have missed weddings for this, not seen family for months/years, this was going to be your OE, you don’t even LIKE sourdough…all of us hold dreams and visions of how we thought our life was going to go that have been derailed. Most of us have been socially isolated from the friends and fam who might have helped us process this, and regulate our feelings about it, along the way. We’ve just been pushing it down and away because we can’t get into it right now. Today is your lucky day!

*Observe OHS and stuff. There will never be another you.

“I don’t know how to start healing when the wound is still being inflicted” – Katie Wheeler

Read this brief article/comic series by Katie Wheeler and see what resonates in it for you.

Meditative exercise:

Take a moment to seat yourself comfortably.

Take a deep slow breath. And another. And another.

Tune in to your own body. Are you carrying any pain, injury, discomfort, or tension? Where is this located in your body?

Take three more deep, slow breaths being present to what this part of your body is telling you.

Imagine for a moment, someone else you care about. Where in their body are they carrying any pain, injury, discomfort, or tension?

Take three more deep, slow breaths being present to recognising the other.

Imagine for a moment, someone you don’t even know. Are they physically safe? Are they financially secure? Have they lost someone to COVID? Are their family in another country? Where in their body are they carrying any pain, injury, discomfort, or tension?

Take three more deep, slow breaths being present to recognising the other.

While we are all having different experiences and these are impacting us in different ways, we can recognise in this moment that we are all experiencing pain. Our pain connects us together. How can you have compassion for yourself today? How can you have compassion for others?

Did you know that trauma-informed recovery suggests that we can ‘trick’ our unconscious brains? The Old Brain (the lizard) is the primal ‘fight, freeze, or flight’ response. All action and not a lot of thought. Sound familiar? Whether we are conscious of it or not, it is likely our brain is operating currently under messaging like: This is a really big problem. I can’t do anything to change it. We’re all Feeling Unhappy Chocolate Kinder Egg Dropped.

By stepping outside and taking a few shots using macro on your phone you can very quickly observe up close many small universes that are continuing merrily uninterrupted by the events that touch your own life. The bees still buzz, the ants march up the hill and down again, it’s spring as I write this and the sight, and smell, of new flowers opening are all around me.

If you are able to travel you might find that the ocean offering a wide horizon is what you need to feel possibility. The mountain top view might help you feel on top of things. Experiment with bringing your body and attention into a different space today and observe whether your mind moves to a different space too.

If you were a child and there was someone there to take care of you, what would you want them to do for you?

Today, do this for yourself.

  • Wear the softest, rattiest, oldest thing you own if it comforts you. Or a superhero cape.
  • Make delicious, nourishing comfort food that fills your heart and your belly. The home food your Grandparents taught your parents, and your parents taught you. Eat the honey you brought back from NZ or the Chicken ‘n’ Rice Chilli Sauce your family post from Malaysia. Feel connection to people far away.
  • Have a bath. Take toys.
  • Play outside.
  • Do something for no good reason like spin until you’re dizzy, roll down a grassy hill, make a daisy chain, blow bubbles, or find shapes in the clouds.

Taking it personally

This vase is full of stones because my cat, Ragnar, has knocked it over four times this week.

He, also this week, has also knocked over glasses of water, dug up rows of seedlings I’ve just planted and pooed on my pyjamas.

I think it’s fair to say we’re not in a great place right now.

Pyjamas aside – he has clearly eaten something weird to have diarrhea like that – I realised yesterday that I was feeling all this very personally.

You see, each of those things – getting a glass of water, buying myself flowers, tending to the garden… are acts of self care that I’m really not very good at doing for myself.  So many other things somehow always have to happen first.

We’re in a stand off now though. I refuse. I refuse to let a pint-sized Floof take away the small acts of self care I allow myself. There are 3 vases now, more seedlings planted and sown shielded by a border of chilli oil spray (pleasedontlickit) against cat, and snail, interference. I’m leaving an empty glass by the tap and drinking when I go by…

He’s driving me crazy and… into more extreme acts of self care.

I hate cats. They’re so frickken smug.

God bless the fur babies and the flowers, the seedlings and the Sabbath, and make them Good.

Picturing Footscray

VU run an annual photography contest, mostly for their students but the People’s Choice category is open. (entries close at 5pm tonight if you want to sneak one in!)

I enjoy the art of paying attention and celebrating the place I love to live. You’re only allowed to enter one image but going through some recent images to find favs is a fun process too.

  • what have you captured an image of?
  • why is this important to you?
  • how is it a unique part of Footscray?

The virtual gallery capturing the best of Footscray will be open from 14 August to 15 September to explore the neighbourhood and vote for your fav.  In the meantime, here’s my shortlist… what do you love in your neighbourhood?


So many bluestone back laneways – perfect for an iso walk…


2020 feels like a year of stop and go. The Kinnears factory is a piece of the skyline but that development in the distance is creeping inexorably closer along that block.  Ballarat Rd is usually really busy, here – oddly quiet. This will change.


Early dawn view back towards the city from Quarry Park.

Go Ahead and Weep

This is timely and beautiful writing from Denise Griebler

Radical Discipleship

4227727417_6b64d29b69_c By Pete Ashton, flickr, cc

Preached by Denise Griebler to St. Peters Episcopal Church Detroit via zoom.

John 11:32-54

I haven’t said or written much since we have begun sheltering in place.  I’m a little nervous to do so now.   I am humbled by the pandemic.  I am awed by it.

I believe that God is with us and that we are with each other – the profound truth that we are in this together.

There is a story about the Chinese Master, Lau-tzu and his disciples:

The disciples were absorbed in the teaching:

Those who know do not say;
Those who say do not know.

When the Master entered, they asked him what the words meant.

The Master asked them: “Which of you knows the fragrance of a rose?”

Of course, all of them knew.

Then he said, “Put it into words.”

All were silent.

I am grateful for…

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