Category Archives: Writing

The Winds of Change – a poem

As I carried my cup of tea onto the terrace this morning I was greeted by a brown hawk in flight, barely three metres away from me at eye level. My heart lifted, I called out to others to come and see. No one came.
It circled around a nearby tree and came back for another pass, wingtips rippling in the strong easterly wind. Elation flooded me. What a gift – so close. It circled one more time and disappeared over the treetops into the east. Spirit has sent me a message – it’s time to listen and look for clues.
Sitting there thinking how lucky I was I remembered a poem I wrote in 1994:

The Winds of Change
The winds of change blow strong
Stirring your emotions
One moment calm, yet stifling and hot
You are in the depths of despair and exhaustion;
Nothing is fun.
Next they whip up fiercely
Blowing away the cobwebs;
Invigorating, sweeping your emotions along with them.
In the cool of night they blow strongest
Voicing their mighty power.
Yet you are safe inside – calm within the storm.
To stand outside is inspiring;
The wintry winds hold promise of a fruitful spring.
Speak to me, oh wind, of what is my destiny!

– SM Scott

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Spirit encounters or just plain spooky

Spirit encounter at Bakerville café?? Or just a speedy waitress. Picture credit: Sheree Scott

Spirit encounter at Bakerville café?? Or just a speedy waitress. Picture credit: Sheree Scott

Halloween is nearly upon us.

It is that time of the year when the veils between the realms of spirit and matter are thought to be at their thinnest – the time different cultures have determined when wandering spirits more easily make themselves known to the living and seek to leave the Earthly plane for the next stage in their evolution.

It has been my experience that spirits (be that ghosts/entities/energy imprints or thoughts forms) don’t just wait for Halloween (also called All Hallows Eve). They can make themselves known at just about any time. It may be they’re curious, ready for a change or just find someone they resonate with.

The truth is there are subtle vibrations coming to us all the time from the unknown or unseen reality, what people might consider the world of spirit. I’ve been on organised ghost tours of The Rocks in Sydney and Port Arthur in Tasmania – which certainly have their challenges for the “energy sensitive” but I’ve had far more spirit encounters in other “ordinary” places too numerous to mention.

One recent place I visited – whole-heartedly expecting to sense spirits – was Herberton Historical Village, about 90 minutes’ drive inland from Cairns in North Queensland. There are so many buildings and artefacts here from the 1800s onwards that you would well expect to sense a few echoes from the past. Well they were more like shouts. I did make the mistake of entering an old police lock-up building and tuning into the energy first up, followed by the adjoining gun display. The small 2x3m timber structure would have been a hell-hole in the tropical heat and the guns were certainly charged with emotion considering the lawless pioneering and gold mining days.  I couldn’t get out quick enough.

What ensued was an increasingly oppressive heaviness around my head which developed into a shocking headache, aided probably by dehydration as I continued exploring the extensive outdoor museum.

DonThe mechanical shoemaker is creepy.’t be put off, this is a great collection of everyday memorabilia and a wonderful time capsule of the 1900s, back into the 1800s. Just make sure you’re prepared – and don’t visit the jail lock-up first. There’s plenty of good vibes: an old movie projector from 1929; Daisy the 1923 T-Model Ford; a working steam engine built in 1886 from the Ravenshoe Saw Mill; a miner’s cottage, pharmacy, fire engine, sewing machines and radio/music room, the Tin Pannikin Pub and real classrooms from the former Herberton School.

At the other end of the  village museum is a café set out in the original Bakerville Hotel. My timing was perfect here to snap a “ghostly encounter” photo (top photo) – the woman in the picture wasn’t a real ghost, just a very quick waitress who glided into the picture at just the right time. I thought it was impressive.

Piano in the Bakerville café has character

Piano in the Bakerville café has character

They do have a piano here that does play itself which is rather spooky – it’s called the Pianola.

Bushie tends the camp fire at Herberton Historical Village.

Across a swing bridge is a truck and tractor graveyard which is a work in progress, and a place to sit and relax – the Bushie’s Pioneer Camp where you can get billy tea and damper or camp oven stew straight off the fire.

So if you want to go hunting spooks for Halloween – put Herberton Historical Village on your to-do list. You won’t be disappointed.

Can’t get to my spooky stomping ground in North Queensland? I know one book that might get you looking closer to home. In Where Spirits Dwell, real-life spooks in suburbia become almost second nature.

Book Review: Where Spirits Dwell by Karina Machado (publisher Hachette Australia) Where Spirits Dwell

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, journalist Karina Machado has gathered enough anecdotal evidence to show unexplained or paranormal events can happen to the most normal of people. I find something irresistible about a good ghost story and Where Spirits Dwell has them popping up all over the place. Definitely one to read in daylight hours, there’s the spine-tingling cases of a dark presence in the bedroom, where even a dog is scratching to get out of the house, to a dead girl who ate ant poison haunting a young family in Normanton in Australia’s remote north – possibly to stop history repeating.  There are infamous Australian haunted houses like The Abbey in Sydney, that stay in the dreams of past inhabitants, and cases of a loving mother on the other side who just want to care for someone else’s youngsters. Behind the facade of many Sydney homes, Machado finds tales of the bizarre and touching, weaving a descriptive tale of various experiences for a broad introduction to what might well happen to you. There is an intimacy created by snippets of Machado’s own experiences and general musings, which are more for believers and the curious than rigid sceptics.

Prepare to believe. And give yourself a salt scrub under the shower if it all gets too much, and leave a small tray of rock salt beside your bed for the night (remember to flush it down the toilet the next day).

It works for me.

Dolphin wisdom to release stress

ImageImage

Dolphins to me are the epitome of playfulness and with so many people apparently struggling with different situations in their life at the moment (Danni Minogue on X-Factor re: death of a loved one) I thought it might be timely to share some of the lessons Onni the Dolphin shares in The Quest of Jesse Greene.

Read on to find out how Onni tells Jesse how to breathe and flow with his emotional stress. 

Excerpt:

Wrapped up in his thoughts, Jesse was startled as a fin sliced through the water towards him. He scrambled to his feet, desperate to get out of the water and beyond the reach of any hungry jaws. His heart was racing as he back-peddled up the beach – not taking his eyes off the ominous fin carving through the turquoise calm. The silent menace moved ever closer on the rolling swell. A larger wave picked up speed and sent the creature streaking straight towards Jesse, the dark shape beneath the water turning side-on in the shallows as it stopped before him, a beady eye turned up to the surface.

Instead of the jaws of death, Jesse was facing the toothy grin of a bottle-nosed dolphin accompanied by a cheerful burst of clicks and whistles. The dolphin was laughing at him.

“Hee, hee, hee, I had you going there,” the dolphin joked, in an excited, high-pitched voice. “You need to learn to breathe more. Breathe like Dolphin and you won’t be so easily scared.”

… “Breathe like Dolphin,” he said, rolling over slightly to show Jesse the small hole on the top of his head. It opened and closed with each breath in an effortless, calm rhythm – te puuhhh kihh, te puuhhh kihh, te puuhhh kihh – even the sound was relaxing.

 “Take deep breaths and hold. Then let it out in a burst,” Onni continued. This time the air rushed out all at once, making Jesse jump in surprise. Onni let out another burst of infectious dolphin laughter.

“The air brings life-force to your cells. Hold your breath to allow it to absorb into your body, then exhale in a burst, like you are spitting out the old stuff – you can even spit out the tiredness in your body, any thoughts and fears that are worrying you.”

Jesse gave it a go. There had been so much to worry about recently that it wasn’t hard to find those thoughts that he wanted to let go of…  His chest felt ready to burst, there were so many thoughts to gather up. Finally he could hold it no longer and it all came out with a massive PUUHHHH. His head was spinning.

“Not so much at once,” Onni laughed. “You looked ready to burst.”

… “You’ve got to learn to enjoy life, have fun and play,” Onni encouraged. Dolphins are well known for having fun – surfing on the bow waves of ships, leaping out of the water and somersaulting for no apparent reason other than the joy of it. Onni swam a few circles around Jesse and lifted his sleek grey body vertically out of the water using his powerful tail, giving a few cheeky clicks at the same time.

The dolphin’s playful attitude was infectious and Jesse laughed along with him.

“To feel the water flow over your body is to feel alive,” the dolphin said, rolling a few times in the waves. “You know, water is like your emotions. You need to let them wash over you rather than knock you around. Whether they are stormy seas or a period of calm, do not be afraid. Just do what is needed at the time. It is all good fun in the end. Learn to swim in the emotions of it all – and remember to breathe when it all gets too much.”

(Copyright – From The Quest of Jesse Greene by SM Scott.)

 

 

Creativity: Opening the floodgates

Before I started this blog I was in a rut, I was stuck in quicksand.

Thankfully the looming threat of mass retrenchments in the newspaper industry meant I had to re-evaluate what I wanted out of life. My goal of becoming an author was all the more relevant, far more appealing than remaining in the mediocrity of more years of the same work. It brought me a basic, stable income but no sense of fulfillment. With the prospect of an increased workload, doing something my heart wasn’t really in, learning new systems and with fewer people to help out, I knew my time had come to get out.

FEAR = Face it; Evaluate; Act; Relax

Initially I was gripped by the fear of no income – I opted for the choice of redeployment elsewhere. However, once this initial fear subsided I had to face up to and evaluate what that change meant – more pressure, longer travelling times (the morning traffic crawl had me wanting change for six months or more.) What was I thinking!

I decided it was time to act and start working toward what I really wanted in my heart. Once I decided to change my preference to “redundancy” I felt a great relief and relaxed into the idea of change. My mind opened to a whole new world of possibilities. I had to reinvent myself.

For too long I had been caught in the quicksand of mediocrity. You know, that place between fear of failure and fear of success – where you’re caught in the grip of doing nothing. Like quicksand, it holds you fast. You can’t get into trouble if you just don’t move. The problem is you can stay like this a long time, years even, and nothing changes – except the strength of your desire for something more.

To get out you have to overcome the fear of failure – but don’t panic or the quicksand will just drag you under. Success requires carefully thought-out action – and hopefully an olive branch that you can grab hold of to pull yourself out.

Once you break that initial grip and make a firm decision it gets easier – and the floodgates of creativity open.

I had no idea what I would write about in this blog. I just knew I had to start. I had made the effort to attend the Tropical Writers Festival and was inspired by the likes of authors Matthew Riley and John Boyne. All the authors said you needed a “platform” to connect with audiences. So this is it. Adding my first post was challenging, as is learning any new skill.

Driving into work I felt a space above my head just open up and a flood of ideas poured in. I realised the wealth of experiences and knowledge I had to draw from.

Our minds are not just limited to the space within our skull.

There is a much greater Self – a source of inspiration – out there holding out the olive branch of support. You just have to choose to reach for it.

Then it’s a matter of relaxing and letting the inspiration flow.

So, go ahead, make that first move toward your dream.

It may only be baby steps, but it’s a move in the right direction. Then watch as situations present themselves to give you what you need.

Until next time… happy dreams 🙂

Nature vs technology – the irony

ImageAre you a nature-lover or a techno junkie? Or can you be both?

Life is full of paradox and irony. I am all for irony – not ironing, but irony – that funny word to “describe a situation or result that is the direct opposite of what was intended or expected” (Collins Australian Pocket Dictionary).

Starting this blog is one of those ironic, paradoxical situations of nature vs technology. I love nature. Being in it, doing in it, and even just sitting in it. Technology (think electronics/computers mainly) is at the other end of the scale – one that fills me with dread. While I love what it can do and what it gives us, it does have that tendency to be “unnatural” for me.

So I find it ironic that in my quest to publish a novel aimed at inspiring people to leave their computers and reconnect with nature that I have to take myself indoors, away from nature, and spend hours at my computer to explore new reaches of the cyber world as I learn to blog. But hey, that’s what life is all about in one way – discovering new horizons and venturing out of your comfort zone.

So welcome to my latest adventure as I seek to publish the Quest of Jesse Greene. I hope to share a lot more with you – be it adventures in nature and beautiful places to visit, adventures in thought – “taking thought beyond where it has gone before” to quote Esther Hicks; or an adventure in the unexpected – the realms of spirit and dream time (sleepy dream time rather than traditional Aboriginal).

Please bear with me as I find my feet and share with you. All I ask is that you bring an open mind and a sense of adventure as we enter this brave new world (to me anyway). I have been a slow starter, toying with my facebook page while not actually inviting anyone there… so please be the first to like http://www.facebook.com/SMScott, I do actually have stuff on it!

Check out some of the things I love – some of it funny, some inspiring and other stuff that’s just plainly baffling – like this picture:

ImageSince when were wheels called a Cube?