Heart of the Dreaming

Uluru - Mother

Dear Seamus,

I have read a lot about the nature of duality. How the contrasts of experience afford us perspective which creates desires. If you don’t have a lot of money you usually desire to have more. If you feel tired and sick you want to be energetic and well. When I was going through chemotherapy treatment six years I spent a lot of time in bed feeling ill. Two things kept coming to my mind again and again. One was jogging. Yes, jogging. When I lived in Coogee on Sydney’s beautiful eastern beaches, I took up jogging for the first time ever. I marvelled at how with each passing day I could run that little bit further.

When you run, your whole body is engaged. I felt strong and fit and healthy. I even enjoyed the aches and pains in my knees and calf muscles. The physical evidence of my achievement earlier in the day. That was the last time I felt really healthy and my mind had bookmarked it. When you are on chemotherapy treatment your body becomes highly sensitive. My eyes could not tolerate too much light so my room was always dark. As I lay in my bed I saw the sunlight edging the blinds. I yearned for the feeling of the sun on my head and shoulders and to hear the heavy intake of my breath as I ran beside the ocean.

The other image that kept coming to me repeatedly was not an experience I had had. I saw a vast red desert, spotted with salt bushes and scrubs. In the centre of that flat landscape was the great monolith of Uluru. A rust coloured titan, steeped in a powerful spiritual endowment. This sacred place was calling me. I never knew how much my heart wanted to be there, until that moment.

From that point it was always in the back of my mind, a knowing that I would go there. The years went by and a few possibilities to travel fizzled out for one reason or another. The yearning however, did not. Last October your Father and I found ourselves frazzled and exhausted by the daily grind of life. Our relating had become strained and we acknowledged the need for some time out. Time to go somewhere together for an adventure and a well-earned rest. Time to enjoy each other without the distraction of running a household. He asked where I wanted to go and I answered before he even finished the question!

Finally I was going to Uluru. The beauty of the fact that I had waited so long was that I got to experience it with your Father. Perfect timing. When everything had been booked and all the dates locked in, we sat back and marvelled at the wonderful plans we had made!

Your Daddy has given me many first time experiences. I have also opened him to new things and I was pleased to be with him for his first ever plane flight! I spent much of my adult life on planes and in airports so to me, getting on a plane was just like boarding a bus. I watched his mixture of excitement and nerves and it delighted me!

The captain announced that we were about to make the descent to the Ayers Rock Resort airport and I closed the book I was reading. Your Fathers fear of heights meant he needed to close the blind on the window so I was craning my head towards the other side of the plane in case I should catch a glimpse. Everything was flat and the colour of the earth was amazing, so rich.

Suddenly Uluru came into view. I became overwhelmed with emotion and felt my hand go to the base of my throat.

There she was, the great Mother that had been calling me. She had enveloped me with visions when I was helpless, giving me strength and showing me the future when I would come home to her. There I was making my descent, like a little bird on the wing, returning to the protection of the tree.

Getting off the plane we were greeted by a wall of heat. After we checked into our room we quickly made our way to the pool. It was so refreshing as I bobbed around in the water with your Dad. I kissed him and smiled “We’re here”.

We attended a dinner that evening, where we sat in the desert under the stars. It was late afternoon when we arrived at the viewing platform. We enjoyed a glass of bubbly and took turns with other tourists to pose for a photo with Uluru in the background. The heat was oppressive and I felt for the wait staff who wore black outfits while they offered us refills and canapés.

As the sun hit the horizon near Kata Tjuta in the distance, we were invited to the dining area. Last in line because of my juggling a camera and the video, we actually ended up with what I thought were the best seats. With only one other couple at our table we enjoyed an unrestricted view of the desert and the rock, all the other tables were behind us. We enjoyed a delicious meal as the sun set and before we knew it, the sky was dotted with stars. Just before dessert was served a large storm rolled in. Watching the lightning bolts reach across the sky and hearing the thunder throbbing was the pure opulence of nature. However it soon became clear that the storm had a lot of ferocity so we were evacuated from the site.

The next morning I discovered that my camera didn’t work anymore. While looking for a replacement in one of the tourist shops the assistant told me it was a frequent occurrence. It seemed that this space, this place, was so powerful that it rendered equipment useless. The other thing your Daddy and I noticed was a complete inability to comprehend time. There appeared to be a ripple in the space-time continuum.

While reading the details of our morning tours, we noted the pick-up time was 4:15am. We groaned at the thought of it but the excitement of seeing Uluru and Kata Tjuta at sunrise outweighed the pain of such an early start.

The guide and your Dad got along like a house on fire. Both Bushmen with substantial beards, they nattered on like long lost friends while the rest of us helped ourselves to a hot drink and an egg and bacon damper roll at the viewing platform. We all fell quiet just before the sunrise. The smell of the desert and the fragrance of the native plants seemed to permeate me. As the colours changed in the sky, Uluru was no longer a shadowy outline. I saw the changing palette of the rock as many have described. Grey, brown and then red as she welcomed the new day.

Back on the bus we drove the 25km kilometres to Uluru. There is a road that circles the rock and as we drove around it, she changed constantly. Because of the formation of the rock sediment and how she was birthed from the earth at an angle, one side of Uluru is 50,000 years older than the other side. The Great Mother has many stories and secrets that she has kept for longer than we can possibly comprehend.

Uluru is a significant place for the Anangu women. Many rituals and ceremonies were, and still are to a lesser degree, conducted there. My favourite part of the rock was a large cave that was used for birthing. The shape of the cave is the same as a Kangaroo pouch and is named as such.

When we walked closer to the rock we were able to touch her. There was a small area at the base of the rock that we were invited to sit on by the guide. I stepped up onto the rock with all the grace of a fish out of water, under the watchful eye of your Father.

As I sat there I ran my hands across the surface and wondered about the many people and animals that had touched that same place on the rock. I thought about all the sun that had shone upon her and all the rain that had washed over her.

A friend of mine shared my excitement at the impending trip to Uluru. He said he was certain that I would be aware of all the threads of the Universe converging in that sacred place. He was right. There is something deeply religious, something so hallowed that words really cannot accurately describe my experience. Silence is the only way for me to return to that feeling.

Uluru bonded me more firmly with your Father. Uluru ate my camera. Uluru inspired me to write you the longest letter so far even though words seem so flimsy as I try to tell you the story.

Uluru has no eyes but she has seen. Uluru has no ears but she has heard. Uluru never sleeps yet she made me part of her dreaming.

She came to me so that I would go to her. I listened to her and I returned to myself, in a future that had already happened.

Uluru is like God. Constant. Unmoving. Ever present. Indescribable and only to be experienced.

If you ever get the chance to go Seamus, go to her. More importantly, go wherever you are called. What awaits you are the most glorious of gifts. Gifts only your heart can know. That is the only knowledge you will ever need.

 

“ That shift from body identification to spirit identification, that is the meaning of enlightenment. And that is the same thing as saying ‘going from the perceptions of the mind to the knowledge of the heart’ ”Marianne Williamson

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Soul Song

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dear Seamus,

When I was a young girl of about five or six I wanted to be a tap dancer. I pressed thumb tacks into the soles of my black patent leather shoes. In the little courtyard outside my parents’ bedroom I practiced for hours at a time, making up my own little dances.

This was to be the beginning of my love affair with the performing arts.

At fourteen I joined the Pam Dunn Young People’s Theatre. On Saturdays in a leafy suburb in Wollongong, children of various ages would gather for classes in her home. We learned from a seasoned professional, the craft of acting. She introduced me to many classical and modern pieces of theatre. I performed the ‘All the World’s a Stage’ monologue from Shakespeare play As You Like It for one of her popular drama recitals.

At high school I auditioned for a part in the 1989 production of Brigadoon. As it was an all-girls college we played the male roles too. I successfully landed one of the principal character roles. Jeff Douglas was a New Yorker who liked hunting and drinking.

On opening night as the curtain was going up on the first scene, my heart was beating so loudly I thought the whole audience could hear it. Yet the thrill and exhilaration of becoming a character and telling a story was intoxicating to me.

At sixteen I knew little of being a middle aged man who liked guns and whiskey but I must have been convincing. I won the annual Arcadians Musical Theatre encouragement award for best principal character in a musical.

For work experience I chose to work in the local theatre. They were preparing for a production and I was able to partake in everything from set design to lighting and assisting in rehearsals. I loved it so much I stayed on as a volunteer usher for the next eight years. After we took the tickets and showed people to their seats we were allowed to creep into empty back row seats and watch the shows. Sitting in the darkness I was immersed in another world as a tale unfolded before me on the stage.

I longed to be an actress and for five years after I finished school I rang the National Institute of Dramatic Art and requested application forms for their annual auditions and intake. I never filled out the forms. I was riddled with self-doubt. I constantly compared myself to the glamorous actresses of the day and in my mind I just did not measure up.

Throughout the years I dabbled in things here and there but mostly I got my fix by going to live performances. I looked up at the players telling a story on the stage and it was the one place that I felt I truly belonged.

Almost ten years ago I started a job for a telco in Sydney. Beginning in the training group with me was a young New Zealander called Seamus. He was an aspiring Opera singer and had come to Sydney to pursue some training and hone his voice. He was charismatic and kind and infectiously happy. We would often hear him singing on his bathroom breaks. Probably something about the acoustics. The song would float out onto the call centre floor and seem to dance around us. He would emerge to spontaneous applause and break into his characteristic honking laugh.

We enjoyed many after work drinks together and I listened enthusiastically to his aspirations for a professional career in Opera. He told me about a young woman, also a singer, whom he had fallen in love with. He confided in me that he wanted to marry her. I was delighted and we raised a glass in a moment of happiness, revelling in the excitement of an incredible future unfolding.

Several years went by and although we moved on to other things, we stayed in touch. One day I received word from his wife that he had been involved in a car accident. Within the week he was gone.
I pondered on his life and who he was. He was inspiring because he lived and breathed his heart’s desires. He did not leave this physical reality feeling unfulfilled or wondering “what if”?

He was the only Seamus I knew before you were born. If personal attributes are associated with a name then you are in good company. He was warm and charming, with an unfaltering courage to pursue his dreams.
Last night I took Nanny and a family friend to a performance by The 7 Sopranos. Seven beautiful women, resplendent in ball gowns with angelic voices. They took me on a wondrous journey, drawing out memories and emotions.

As their other worldly harmonies glided over the lyrics of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” I thought of my friend Seamus. His life may have been cut short but it was a life rich with dreams coming true.
I have always been a storyteller, it was written on my heart long before I was born. Now my heart writes to you and my soul’s desire has found its voice.

Dare to dream my darling and let nothing hinder your passions. There will be examples all around you of people living their dreams, no matter how big or how small.
Your heart will sing to you and listen you must, for then you can share your divine song with the world.

“Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.”

Music and lyrics by H. Arlen and E.Y. Harburg