Artist in Residence

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Dear Seamus,

Often through life we feel like we are at the mercy of experiences out of our control. Certainly that has been the case for me. I have felt great pain when I don’t have an understanding or know the meaning as to why something is happening. To think that life is merely a chain of random events and has no true meaning, can bring much despair.

That is why it was to great relief when I began to discover the ideas around being the creator of our own reality. Could it be true that everything we are currently seeing, feeling, hearing and doing, is a physical culmination of all our thoughts up to that point? This information essentially put me back in the driver’s seat, knowing that I could now choose to create something different.

I have come to learn that the mind is merely a tool. A magnificent, amazing, powerful piece of equipment. The only question you need ever ask yourself is, who is running the show? By show I mean YOUR LIFE!

Given that your life is like a movie that you are acting out, who is writing the script? Is it your ego? A mad little dictator, controlling and conducting your every move and your every mood? Or is it an omnipresent, freedom loving sense of joy and possibility?

The ego is just a poor substitute for God. In fact the ego is the embodiment of all of our negative perceptions about God. The ego judges, punishes, blames and defends. The ego tries to convince us that we can have control and especially that we can control others. These things are not of God. The ego has personified God, which is impossible because God is a not a person. God is not a thing. God is an experience.

If you want to check in with how you are creating your reality, the clue will always be in how you feel.

When we feel anxiety, struggle, pressure, depression, we are experiencing life through the filter of the mind driven by the ego. In that state we feel we are separate from God, Source and Eternity. You need only remind yourself that you were never disconnected in the first place. So retreat from that world, from that particular creative reality and go back to yourself. That space within you is HOME.

When you are in the now, you are home. When you feel happiness, you are home. When you feel filled with love, you are home.

Many people have spoken of the experience of having dreams about being naked in public. I know that I have. In those dreams I feel shame and I want to hide. I always feel wrong in some way and like everyone is looking at me in a disapproving manner. I am exposed and vulnerable.

That is the equivalent of how I have felt in the past when I am being the mental projection of who I think I am. I was dictated to by the ego. An idea was formed about who I was. It was a mash-up of multiple messages from many different origins. My family, my religion, my schooling, my society, my peers.

All I yearn to do when I feel like that is to find a safe space, in both the dream and my waking life. That safe space is inside you at all times.

Return to it. Return home.

When you are at home, at your centre, you will stand in trust. When you stand in trust you can walk forward with great confidence into the great and mysterious unknown. Know that this unfathomable and mighty soup of mass consciousness is at all times, dynamic. Ever moving. Always creating. Always giving back to you.

When you are plagued with worry and limited by worldly matters, you will be frozen with fear to the spot. That is when you tend to want to go back, to retrace old steps to see if there is something new there. There is never anything new there. You may feel temporary comfort in the familiarity of what you find but you cannot stay in that place and evolve. It is impossible. How can you lovingly create the future if you will not step forward to meet it?

Understand that you are an outlet for the creative force of this Universe. Know that you are constantly building and constructing your reality. You are fashioning your life, you are painting your own canvas. Not only that but you are adding brushstrokes to a universal composition that every one of us is adding to.

Seamus, choose God over the ego every time. Create your life with expansive consciousness. With God you stand secure in the understanding of your brilliance.

The ego may send you on a wild goose chase, seeking satisfaction and happiness and even your life purpose! The great dichotomy is that you will have the most glorious adventures and find the richest of fortunes in the moment that you go home.

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Real Romance

ChontellePerrinPhotography_Melanie-223

Dear Seamus,

There have been many times in life when I thought that there were experiences I would not have. Given my past or my emotional barriers or my beliefs, there was a list of things I was certain that others would never catch me saying. Let me tell you that at the top of the list was “My wedding day was one of the best days of my life”. I heard others say it, often in romanticized contexts and the cynic in me would scoff. After all I was the girl who had nightmares about white weddings and who felt that marriage was nothing more than entrapment.

So can you imagine my surprise the day a little thought sailing through my mind caught me completely off guard. I was watching your Father pottering around the house. He was cradling you in one arm and prepping your milk bottle.

I found myself pondering the scenario of getting married. It almost shocked me out of the chair! Were all the medications messing with my brain? Where on earth did that come from?

Yet there is was, as plain as the nose on my face, just quietly sitting in my head. I shooed it away and went about my business.

A few days later, it sailed through once again. Such a foreign concept to me in many ways. But there was something undeniable about it, some kind of raw truth that could not be ignored and certainly would not be dismissed.

I gave some thought to this idea and before long I was stepping back to past moments, when odd things had happened.

The first time I ever met your Father was in early 2008. I was visiting your Nanny, on holiday from Sydney. A man in the community was turning sixty and there was a birthday celebration for him in the local hall. Long trestle tables were covered in table clothes and smattered with freshly cut flowers in jam jars. I sat with my Mothers neighbour and we chatted about my worldly travels, in particular my time living in Scotland. Opposite me, a tall well-built man with a beard appeared at the table, holding two plates with food. He handed one to his girlfriend before fishing in his pocket for the cutlery. I noticed the way he doted on her and thought, wouldn’t that be nice. Back in Sydney I was doing some serious internet dating. Lots of dates, no real substance. In a big city it’s easy to have the plenty-of-fish-in-the-sea mentality.

I returned to Sydney to my whirl wind lifestyle and by October of that year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my life changed forever.

Just over a year later I moved away from my city life and all my friends, to live with Nanny. Thinking my life was now over, I was resigned to living to the end of my days at home with my Mum and my cat. However, life had other plans.

I began to spend time with a man shortly after I arrived and we became companions. We enjoyed one another’s company and soon saw each other most days. One afternoon he invited me to visit with his friends. When we arrived I noticed the man with the beard sitting outside and smoking a cigarette. He and his girlfriend chatted with us. They had a new baby who was sleeping inside.

I recall standing there but being aware that I was somehow outside of myself. Then I heard the words “You are supposed to be here”. It was so strange and so left field I thought I was going bonkers. Here I was standing on this man’s front lawn with my companion and thinking that I was the one meant to be in a relationship with a virtual stranger! I spoke nothing of it to anyone, such was its peculiarity.

I occasionally saw him around town in his beaten up old Toyota Hilux. You could hear it coming well before you spotted it! Later that year his relationship ended and I was genuinely shocked. I felt a sadness for the breakdown of his family.

It was almost exactly a year later when serendipitous circumstances caused us to gravitate towards one another in an intimate way. Our brief summer romance was guaranteed longevity when I discovered I was pregnant and we have been together ever since.

I want to take this time now to redefine the term romantic with you. By popular definition and understanding, romance is characterised by idealistic behaviours in the other. Grand demonstrations of love and symbolic tokens and gestures that we have all agreed on, somewhere along the line.

So here are some examples of my experience of romance with your Father.

He washes my dirty clothes. He dresses my wounds after I have had surgery. When you are in a mood and “only Daddy will do”, he coaxes you to kiss and cuddle me so I don’t feel left out. He puts my mobile back together after I have thrown it against the wall in frustration. He flirtatiously touches me when he knows I am feeling unattractive. When we are out shopping and I get tired, he carries my handbag. On my birthday cake last week he wrote in icing four words that define me; MELANIE, WIFE, MOTHER, FRIEND. He hovers over the stove to make sure the vegetables don’t get too steamed, because he knows I like them crunchy. He says things minutes after I have thought them. Whenever he is about to tell me something I may not like, he always starts with “You know I love you…”

He is my dearest friend. He is the Father of my child. He has loved and accepted me in ways I never thought a man could. He helped me dissolve my fears.

Therefore it all became easy. Easy to love him. Easy to see my life unfolding with him. Easy to marry him.

So on our wedding day, we celebrated with the ease and intimacy that comes so naturally to our relationship. We did it our way. The ceremony was in a beautiful garden. I wore a burgundy dress. We only had immediate family. Our wedding day was one of the best days of my life, because there are so many best days of my life with your Father. It was a beautiful day of celebration but it didn’t feel much different from any other day either.

My darling boy, one day you will be grown and your heart will yearn for another. I know that I am providing an excellent example for you in our home, of what real love is. You watch us always and I see your face light up when we are tender with each other in your presence. Listen to the messages from your heart and don’t dismiss them, for I promise you that it will surprise you in ways you have never known.

“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life” – Paulo Cohelo

ChontellePerrinPhotography_Melanie-79

 

The Yin and Yang Smorgasboard

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Dear Seamus,

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done since I was a high school student. I sat down and read the bible. Unlike at school, it was of my own volition and it was a fascinating read. I rejected the bible for many years because I felt it was forced upon me during my upbringing as a catholic. I never understood it nor could I relate to it. It only added to the many other confusing messages I got about life. My very basic idea about God was this cranky old man who lived in the sky watching your every move. I was told he loved me but if I was tempted by Satan then God would punish me. I was always having to admit to being a bad girl and repent for it, otherwise upon my demise he would send me to the fires of hell. There I would burn for an eternity, writhing in pain. I had been sunburned a few times over the hot, dry Australian summers and that was uncomfortable enough!

I remember as a young child sitting quietly in the school chapel with my classmates, waiting my turn for confession. I recall the distinct scent of the lacquer of the wooden bench seats as I watched a flickering light in a red glass dome on a table under a stained glass window. I called it the ‘jumping Jesus’ light and it only served to remind me of my restlessness. I was eventually called in for my turn and my anxiety grew as I tried to think of things I needed to confess to the priest. I usually made things up so I had at least three things to work with. The priest blessed me, told me to say three Hail Mary’s and four Our Father prayers and that was it. I was off the hook for another week.

So it’s a Sunday morning just before the dawn and I am up with you. Rubbing my blurry eyes while you wriggle and squeal in sheer delight of being awake. I switch on the television and start feeding you your bottle. On the channel is a bible study program, relating the current global financial crisis to the fall of Babylon in the book of Revelations. I was intrigued so when I got the opportunity later that day, I dug up a bible and opened it up to Revelations. I read about the battle between the Christ and the Anti-Christ and I began to ponder the symbolism of that story.

The concept of good versus evil has existed for a long, long time. Mostly we like to read the stories that end with the triumph of good over evil. However it made me wonder about one without the other. What would the world be like if there was only good? Or what if there was only evil? Perhaps it’s the phrasing that required rethinking.  If I apply the concept of yin and yang, it immediately takes on a different tone. It describes opposite forces that are interconnected and interdependent. So when you take the moral labels away it is no longer good and evil, right and wrong. It becomes light and dark, day and night, birth and death. Who is to say what is right and what is wrong? Is birth right and death wrong? If birth is right and we want to admonish all that is wrong, that cancels out death. What would that mean for the world? Birth and death are related and connected. One requires the other in order for its very existence. If there was only up, you would never know down. If there was only light you would never know darkness so therefore, how would you recognise the light?

So sweet little boy, if you didn’t know tears or sadness would you recognise joy? We might wish to believe that a world without heartache would be a fabulous experience of perpetual happiness. If you never felt hurt, how would you know you are happy? Perhaps then that experience of happiness would become quite bland. Day in, day out eternal happiness. The same old thing every day. Imagine you are standing at a huge long table filled with food. The catch is, it’s all prawns. Freshly caught, delicious and flavoursome. That’s what you can sample from the table. You might be able to add some lemon, or tartare sauce. You can grill them or fry them or bbq them or eat them raw. At the end of the day, no matter how much you love them, it’s all that’s on offer. They will start to lose their appeal and you will take them for granted. Your palate will become one dimensional and that will be boring.

Now I want you to imagine standing at that table and there are dozens of different foods to sample. You cannot believe the incredible flavour of the tandoori chicken, or the peppery bitterness of the rocket salad.  You may well sample the spicy meatloaf and after a strong dose of heartburn have a new appreciation for your prawns. Suddenly they are appealing again. A contrast has been created. A meatloaf yin to your prawnie yang.

In life you need to experience loneliness to appreciate and understand togetherness. When you suffer through ill health you will yearn for wellness. When you know the full force of your ego that separates you from others, it will be deeply humbling to accept the grace of the universal spirit that joins us all together.

These opposing, contradictory concepts are merely points of reference. You cannot have the one without the other. So in terms of the story of the Christ battling the Anti-Christ, I believe it is the war that we wage inside ourselves trying to avoid one aspect in favour of another. Both are required and when you accept this you will find a balance, you will feel a flow. You cannot ignore the heart and only listen to the mind. Just like you could never block out the mind and only experience the heart. They both serve a purpose by highlighting the other. Lean heavily in one direction and you will want to swing in the opposite way like a pendulum because there is a sense of the incomplete. Don’t reject it when you feel uncomfortable or when you are unhappy. Embrace it as it is needed. It is a gift given. You cannot ever have a one sided coin, it is impossible. Accept the diversity and you won’t struggle against the current, instead you will become part of the natural flow of the tides of life.

“A Warrior knows that an angel and a devil are both competing for his sword hand.
The devil says: “You will weaken. You will not know exactly when. You are afraid.”
The angel says: “You will weaken. You will not know exactly when. You are afraid.”
The Warrior is surprised. Both the angel and the devil have said the same thing”
– Paulo Cohelo, Warrior of the Light