Christmas treats

Thankyou my dear friends
for being so kind and sensitive to my last post. 

Here I have a video of my boys doing some Geocaching and Aiden playing with his drone.


I also have a fun little musical treat for those who listen to the end.

We have had/are having a super Christmas with many fun family times, lots of good food, and days of lying around doing not much except sleep and read. The best kind of holiday in my opinion.
Mind you we are in the middle of a heat wave with most days over 35 deg C this week, so lying around is just about all we can do!
I really feel Summer here is like Winter in the northern hemisphere with all the hibernation involved.
We did manage a trip to the lake and a sunset picnic when the temps dropped under 30. We plan to do many more.


Our Christmas also contained the inaugural riding of Miles' custom built bike (self built vintage quirky design).



And Aiden's new folding bike which needed a few tweaks, but is now running beautifully thanks to the budding bike mechanics in our family. It is now sporting brand new lights for after sun adventures (when it is cool!)


Closed

Open



Winter scored a new bed this year after having eviscerated her last one.




Which Smart-Blue was never seen near or in...never! Why would I want to do such a gauche thing as that?



Hoping your Christmas or celebrations were just as fabulous.


Much love,
Jazzy Jack


Spiritual cracks

Greetings!
I am going to be very personal here, so please be kind.
Lately I have gone back to church, specifically Christianity. It kind of surprises me that it's all happened so quickly. Forgive me if I don't explain this well.

I grew up in a very religious environment. My parents were missionaries in Papua New Guinea with Missionary Aviation Fellowship, a wonderful organisation that flies people around the world especially in small hard to reach places. My Dad was an aircraft engineer. I lived there from the ages of 4 to 19, so my whole life was imbued with Christianity.
When we returned to Australia I went to University and then married, still keeping up with my Christian traditions. Around the time of my eldest son's birth we both decided to leave the church, and I found myself unable to believe the way I had growing up. So for quite a few years I remained outside the church but still searching for a way back.
One way I tried was when we moved to New Zealand, I joined a "happy clappy" church for a while and explored that philosophy. I wanted to see God at work and they claimed to see miracles all the time. I even joined the music group and played keyboard in the band. But it was not to be. I confessed some of my doubts to the Pastor and was ordered off the stage. Apparently the music leaders had to be extra believers or something. No doubts allowed. This soured me on the whole thing and I left the church again.
So from that time to this I have been away from the church, but underneath feeling a huge grief about it all. I was still subconsciously searching for a way back in. Every time I ended up in church for a singing performance or visiting family, it was like visiting someone's grave. It was all I could do to not burst in tears. Clearly something was not settled around my spirituality.
I tried investigating Buddhism and the tenets of yoga, but somehow always felt something was missing. I realised I was too indoctrinated with the concept of God being a friend, being family. I still instinctively went to pray during moments of stress, and then had to talk myself out of it. But at the same time I really didn't think I could believe all the weird and wonderful things Christianity brings. Could I believe in the actual virgin birth? Or the fact that God could live as a man? What about the resurrection? These are very fundamental truths to the faith!

So I muddled on still feeling there was more to this life than meets the eye and craving it. Until one day it occurred to me to have another look at a book I had read many years ago when I believed. Written by Kathleen Norris called "Amazing Grace", it is a study of all the hard words in Christianity and her take on them. I thought this might be a way to start. She herself had a similar story. She was raised in the church and then spent many years away, only to find herself being drawn back inexplicably. She is also a poet and I found her writing to be perfect for my needs and delight. Somehow in all this reading I realised that I didn't have to believe everything to be allowed back to church. I suppose I had been thinking it had to all be a done deal before you could enter into the worship service. It sounds a little crazy to me now, but maybe my New Zealand experience had put that thought in my head, or maybe just having grown up so convinced of it all I had no experience being the doubter in church.
Anyway, I started reading the Bible and praying, giving myself permission to see it as an outsider, and to experience it in whatever way I could. I found the experience to be liberating. Allowing myself to pray as I instinctively wanted to, and also allowing myself to question and disbelieve as I wanted to.
So currently I am going to a "high" Anglican church, which is similar to an Episcopalian church I gather. They do the incense and the robes and the processing etc. which I quite like. They are more liberal in their views on women and gender and sexuality. I can gently attend without great requirements being placed on me, and I'm finding it a lovely low key place to explore my faith. I don't go every week and they don't mind that. It also is where my choir performs as the music directors are based there, so that is convenient!

All in all I am so happy to be able to slide through the cracks in my belief system, through the stringent rules I somehow put on myself, to find a joyous mysterious expansive place beyond. My spiritual life looks different to anyone else's as we are all individual and will come to God in our own way, if at all. But I am so enjoying exploring beyond my physical senses in a poetic way.
I am continuing to explore Kathleen Norris' writings and others. Currently I am reading "Wearing God" by Lauren F. Winner talking about using uncommon names for God in the Bible to explore different ways to relate to God. I suppose I am drawn to the writers who write from a poetic mindset, exploring metaphor or who themselves have gone through a struggle or are marginalised in some way. But then again that is where I sit in my everyday life too!
So I hope you found this little story interesting and maybe enlightening too. I would love it if I could encourage one person to sit with their struggles and be gentle with themselves, to not give up and continue to explore.
I know there are people who read this who have no interest in Christianity or any faith, and that is absolutely your business. I am so not trying to convert anyone here. I am really just wanting to tell my story and in the process someone else may see themselves in me and be encouraged, as I am by the writers I am reading.
Here is a poem I wrote on this topic:
 Poetry may give me 
A way back to God
The way poems can be
Open ended
And using metaphors
Can create rich
And complex ideas
Is the way I could
Look at God
Not knowing all 
The answers
Not believing
All the creeds
Not having everything
Black and white
But feeling my way
Through the beautiful
Cracks
There is a reason
God chose to speak
In parables
16/10/18

Okey dokey, I will leave it there.

Much love to you all,
Jazzy Jack

No Comment

Hello darling ones!

Don't fall over, it's me again. Ha!


I have been thinking lately about comments on blogs. That lovely tangible evidence that someone reads and sometimes likes the words we send out. The meandering thoughts we gather and tie up with a bow. How much we long for them, at least I do. But lately I've been wondering if my relationship with them is a little needy. I wondered about switching off my comments box, but then I would miss the real connections that can be made.

When no one comments I am tempted to think "they don't like me", or I sit there making up excuses like maybe it isn't daytime yet, or people are busy.
I often feel online like I do in real life. I think I've said this before. So when I don't get comments I feel like an introvert trying to put myself out there at a party and nobody notices.

I wonder how many comments would be "enough". If I felt no comments meant I wasn't a worthy blogger, how many comments means I am? It seems rather silly when put like that.
Maybe it's not about the number of comments but how deep our conversation goes. How much we can share of our lives and feel supported, or enlightened.

Here I must admit to delight when I have visited more prominent blogs which have no comments at all. It almost feels freeing. "See they don't have any comments either!"

Of course we all know that seeking external validation is never a wise move. But I am a born performer, despite my introversion, and love an audience. I love the give and take and the sense that more has been created by our interaction than I could ever do on my own.
This is the crux of why I blog. To have a connection with another and to somehow together create something in each other's lives that enlarges us.
To put our random thoughts together and pile them up until they create a wonderfully idiosyncratic sculpture against the skyline. Leading our eyes towards the setting sun.




Having taken this as my topic today I am fully aware it may seem like I am begging!
While I am so totally grateful to those who have visited and shared their stories, I am also aware that I don't always have words to share on others' blogs, so I do understand.

I leave you with a lovely image of the sea and my gorgeous man with his faithful friend. We could take a tip from the sea. So many waves, but not every one is greeted with shouts of joy. But still they come. Maybe this is a little fanciful, but you get my drift. Ha! Drift?


Many hugs to you all,
Love,
Jazzy Jack

Working together

Hello again! Fancy meeting you here again so soon.

I thought I'd check in and let you know how the singing went.
Last night we had our 9 lessons and carols service which we have been practicing for for weeks.
As I said in my last post, I had some meltdowns during a couple of practices due to ...life!
So this performance although less involved for me personally, was also much anticipated.
I did do a solo verse and was in a trio which was a little stressful due to lack of practice opportunities and last-minuteness. However, all went well. We didn't stuff up too badly and the sound was glorious. Somehow the carols were my favourite part, because the congregation joined in with gusto. It really felt we had a cathedral's worth of people singing in our tiny church. Of course the choir is full of trained voices, so it packs a punch as well. The whole thing was a lot of fun and my family came and enjoyed it too. We knew it would all go well, or suspected, but the real triumph was the resourcefulness and stickability required to get there and perform. If that was the story in my family, I wonder about all the stories involved in the choir and even the congregation to make that triumphant moment part of all our lives. 

I really do have a hard time sometimes with my "art" being so ephemeral. I want a tangible thing to remind me of the moment and to have something to boast over. It seems hard to allow it to disappear into nothing. But maybe it doesn't. Maybe it is released into the lives of all who were there. Life after all is just a series of ephemeral moments which make up our story. If I can be involved in others' moments in such a pure and joyful way, then I am grateful.
I am thankful my body recovered enough to allow me to stand in amongst the noise and not immediately start crying. 
I am grateful for my training that helps me through my nerves during solo moments.
I feel the hand of my teachers resting on my shoulders as their words of wisdom are brought to life.
And I feel the audience buoying me up with their expectation and delight.

I also really loved the end of the service where we all file out to the courtyard where the supper is ready and sing "Silent Night" to guitar accompaniment. This is where having Christmas in Summer makes sense.

I leave you with a picture of our Christmas tree from last year (because we haven't got around to it yet this year!)
It is a picture for me of how a slightly wonky imperfect life can light up the world.


Much love and Merry Christmas!
Jazzy Jack

Vulnerability and shame

Hello my friends!

I am reading a book about being vulnerable called "Scary Close" by Donald Miller. It is a quick flowing easy read, and yet packs such a punch.
I have been so conflicted about my blog and internet commitments as you know. It seems every post I write lately has been about how to streamline my life and use my energy more wisely.
I felt my blog added too much pressure to my days and I was lacking in inspiration. I felt like I'd said the same thing over and over and I was judging myself.
My perfectionist inside was standing up and pointing out the less than perfect photographs, or the repetitive subject matter, or the lack of comments. Every time I wrote something it didn't seem important enough or life changing enough to share with the world.
"Who am I to be telling this to the world?" or "Who wants to hear about my week?"were some of the phrases besides many others that flowed through my brain.
But in the midst of reading this book I've been convicted with my judging attitude towards myself. And so I would like to continue writing and showing my warts and all. I will share my imperfect poetry and my random sewing adventures. You will see my videos that are not really very professional but just home movies for my kids to enjoy in the future.
I will share myself with you in short and long ways. There will be no rhyme or reason, and I will give myself permission to have no readers at all!
This is all to help me learn to be vulnerable and to turn down the volume of my internal judge. Ultimately I want to connect with love and grace to myself and those around me. But I am so good at writing scripts of how things should work out that I struggle to let go and let it flow.
I want to feel the words and life and love flow through me.

This last week I have been mostly resting and unable to join in family activities too much because I am singing in a carol service on
Sunday. Somehow my ultra sensitive autistic system has become overactive, and I have had a couple of meltdowns during practices. So now I feel like my life is on hold until Sunday night. This is not fun!
Maybe I can let go a little, and instead of holding myself tight to every perfect note and every perfect moment, I can allow the music to flow through me. Maybe I can let go and not require perfect relaxation?

Of course even being vulnerable can become a stance and an act to perfect.
We'll see :-)
How do you cope with this? Have you had similar thoughts?
Thanks for reading and hopefully we can connect again sometime.

I leave you with my latest creation to celebrate 100 years since the end of World War 1.
My dog statue has a new poppy necklace!



Love,
Jazzy Jack

Hello and video

Greetings my friends,
Here we are after months with no action on my blog!
I am struggling to know what to write these days as I have no interest in my BeautyScopes and fashion. 
I have done a video recently so thought that could make a blogpost.
Here we are with Miles' photography experiments (hopefully you won't get seasick), his latest building project, and Aiden's new electric scooter which has given him back the world.
(Due to his chronic illness his fitness has really dropped, so he was even having trouble walking. Now he has explored with his scooter, he has also started riding Cris' electric bike, and a teeny tiny bit on a normal bike. His fitness is coming back, and with it our sparkly eyed boy. Such a great investment, and something I think people should accept as a mobility aid. Currently they only accept wheelchair type vehicles which are cumbersome and not as cool for a teenager...or older person! OK, enough ranting.)

Here is the video:


Behind the scenes I have also started work on a book of poems. Don't hold your breath, but I write it here to keep me accountable :-)

Here is one I wrote recently:
Away from the sea
I crave endless space
Space to take a breath
And play
No crowding
Or expectations
Or hard edges.
I need an enormous sandpit
Big enough to run in
To put my life
Into perspective
The waves don't care
If I hit my deadlines
Or have a clean house.
I can settle back
Into the groove
And flow
20/11/18

Til next time,
keep on creating!

Love
Jazzy Jack

Spring photo and Mossy Point video

Greetings faithful readers!



I have a new video for you.  A couple of years ago we visited Mossy Point and I made Mossy Point Part 1. And I never produced Pt 2. This niggled away at me because I do like to finish things. So a couple of months ago we revisited and shot this second video as an update.

Here is a link to the other video if you are interested.

It is Spring, and Miles has been experimenting with some old lenses we converted to our new DSLR with a converter ring.
Doesn't this just scream SPRING IS HERE!!?



collecting gold
from a perfumed treasure chest
my work is beauty

Okey doke, my work is done.
I will see you again soon.

Til next time,
keep on creating!

Love,
Jazzy Jack

Aspie internet overload

Hello my friends!
I have new glasses!

Recently I have tried to get back to things I do easily and naturally. Things that I was born to do. Playing the piano came to mind. It is something I've done since I was four that was self organised. It is my happy place. I learnt to read music as I learnt to read words. I am as fluent in one as the other. So why don't I play the piano much these days? When I sat down to play I realised my progressive lenses make it difficult to see the music so I ordered a new pair ( see above). Well, let me tell you. That was the best decision! I had thought I was getting rusty and so that was why I was making so many mistakes. Little did I realise that I was actually avoiding looking down at the keyboard because it was visually too trippy to keep flicking back and forth to the music. So I was effectively playing blind. I'm amazed I did as well as I have. This has been going on for years and I had no idea! How we are expert at fooling ourselves. Anyway, now I can see again I'm playing so much better I want to play and play! I feel I have been given the gift of music all over again.

I have started writing little daily missives to a couple of friends. With one of them I also share yoga and spiritual reading and with the other writing. So every day we share our stories of deep thoughts or poetry about the details or just express frustrations we can't do a yoga pose or how we can't understand our kids or whatever comes up. For those who like me are fairly isolated this is such a wonderful practice. I started it to help keep me in touch with a friend who lives in another country. Now not only are we coming up to our third month of daily letter writing, we also keep each other on track with our daily yoga practice. It's amazing what you can drag out of your body when you feel the
strength of another's gaze.

This is in contrast to my years on the internet on social media. I have been trying to come up with an analogy for how that feels. It feels like standing in a party watching groups of people having conversations, and going around gently chatting, and then finding that each group is joining hands and you are being circled slowly around the room, and then it gets faster and faster as the music rises and you find yourself being swirled off your feet as you run from person to person and group to group calling out comments to conversations that are already past and your words are sprayed out into the general noise and at the same time the music stops and you are still shouting and you feel so exposed as everyone turns to stare and you find you have been dancing naked to a tune noone has heard and although they murmur kind words you realise they have no idea what you've been saying so you quietly leave after maybe murmuring an apology and they all turn and keep chatting amongst themselves and the music starts up again and they are happy and laughing and almost euphoric in their friendships and you are all alone.

So I am feeling a little left out of the party, but I prefer to think of it as peeping through the curtains to watch the party goers and smiling.
You can have your party and I will write to a couple of people and have in-depth conversations.
Not that you are not having in-depth conversations, but I can't manage more than two or three at once. I am often critical of myself and my needs which seem way more than others to the point of not being able to function. But I also think I am forced to think about how I use my energy way more than another, which has allowed me to find practices (after much trial and error) that suit.
I seem to write blog posts only about that these days, but that is what my life is about right now. (Hello Aspergers!) Taking a break from the norm to see if I can find a better way that suits me and my energy, so I can groove a bit more instead of slogging and forcing. I like to think that I might help another find a better way for them if so required.

As Thomas Merton once said:
“To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

Settling down to just one or two projects is akin to what I've been doing in my wardrobe. Currently I am exploring French Style. I am finding it interesting to restrict the colours and the cuts. To make the look more structured and less messy. I may not stay here, but the exercise is very enlightening and bringing in my love of cool coats and jackets. So at the moment I seem to be leaning towards neutral separates with colourful jackets and interesting accesories. I'm hoping I can keep my own style and flavour within a more structured guideline.

And speaking of looks, I am also exploring growing my hair ( see photo). It is nice to feel a little softness around my face again. It is still a work in progress as I test the waters of longer hair and sense how straight or curly I should go.

Yesterday we had much needed long soaking rain and I wrote this poem.


the trees are dripping
with tears of joy
gratefulness pouring
down their trunks
gleeful roots
feast on moisture
as the world
breathes a sigh
of relief.
6/9/18

This is how I am feeling being able to connect back into my own soul ...and breeeeeeeeathe.

So my lovelies, we may catch a glimpse of each other to wave as we pass and even have time occasionally to chat for a second or two. But my energies are required elsewhere right now and I know you who are my friends will understand. I wish it was not so, and I could rush madly around the world making friends and sharing all the fun stuff I make and see, but somehow this is not what I am here for. I am the person who sinks deeply into the soil and grows the flower for none but the bees to see.


Til next time,
keep on creating! (Whether you and I can share it or not)

Love,
Jazzy Jack
PS I still hope to keep posting here every now and then when my soul requires :-)

Ebb and Flow

Greetings my fellow sojourners!


I have been exploring the concept of ebb and flow which I heard about in a blog somewhere. It has really piqued my interest. The idea is that you naturally have fluctuations in energy levels during the days and weeks. And you need to match your jobs to your natural energy level, rather than banging your head against a brick wall trying to do something when you are not able to, or wasting time on a routine task when your energy levels are high.
So they advise writing two lists so you have ideas ready to go for both these states.  I did this, but have yet to use them. But the concept is constantly in my mind.


The other method I am using is a week on/week off method. 
One of my absolute worst things to do is to have appointments. Things like the dentist, the electrician or the Dr all fall into this category. I felt I was drowning in appointments, so decided to give myself every second week off from them. I have just finished my first week off and although I was not as relaxed on the week off as I would like, it was refreshing to feel myself ready to tackle the appointment week once again.
It's also nice to be at the beginning of an appointment free week (as I am right now). It feels like a mini holiday!
It took me a while to realise that I do not have to have my foot on the accelerator 24/7. The appointments will take place, just at a slower pace. And although my natural state is push, push, push, my body doesn't like it. And this new system is waaaay better! I think I just need a little more stimulation with fun outings in the week off to help me relax. Still tweaking, but looking good.

On the topic of ebb and flow, I unearthed this poem again. I posted it a while back, but it fit so well I'm sure you won't mind reading it again.




As I walk the line
Along the shore
I wonder about permanence
And impermanence
Wash and backwash
Hearing the splash of waves
In one ear
And crunch of rock
In the other
I wonder that
The same waves that erode
Also build the beach
I ponder
The crab, shell fish, even seaweed
Have much to teach
About living with grace
in tumultuous times
Here where life provides abundance
And then lack
And so I tiptoe shore footed
Among my musings
Keeping a fine balance
Avoiding the blue bottles.
27/11/2016.

Something else I've been working on is I've decided to write down my life, or at least the bits I remember. It feels a little grand to be calling it my "memoirs", but it will be a place the kids can go to read about my interesting life.

Here is a snippet:
We had a lot of problems with security in our time in Mt Hagen. Our windows were covered with  "boi wire" which was basically squares of reinforcing wire. And eventually we had a home made alarm system installed. Little crocodile clips fastened on to pieces of wire protruding from the bottoms of the windows. ALL of the clips had to be attached when we turned on the alarm or a great noise ensued! It was our job to check all the windows to make sure before we flipped the switch. It was sooo tedious, and it was inevitable that someone had knocked one off when pulling a curtain or opening a window. All these precautions were moot the day we came home and found someone had cut through the wall under our dining room window and squeezed between the framing. They must have sent in a child!
We were broken into a couple of times. They usually stole food and men's clothing. I remember when Dad had to borrow a belt to get to work. He was rather a different size than our neighbour! The most memorable break in was when afterwards we discovered a plate of pineapple missing from the fridge. We could just imagine them running down the road balancing it.




I have just put together another of my videos from recent family happenings. This one is accompanied by me on the piano. I hope you enjoy this peaceful perambulate through our lives.


Til next time,
keep on creating!

Love Jazzy Jack

Building and testing a raft


Dear friends
Here is a video I put together of our family adventures with Miles' raft building. 
He has had so much fun thinking of new ideas and testing them out. 
This is unschooling at it's finest!
Enjoy a relaxing view.

Til next time,
Keep on creating!

Love,
Jazzy Jack 

Poem about the waves



the waves
swing round the rocks
digging heels into sand

then they lay down
an eiderdown of foam
soft susurration at the edges

the backwash explodes
a firework running
a rope lifted suddenly
~JJ 23/5/18

Poetry and slowing down

Hello friends!
I'm coming to terms with some of the ideas I was exploring in my last post.
Here are some solutions I've found for me.

The best thing so far has been to 
take my foot off the accelerator!
For an adrenalin junkie like me this has consequences in my mood, and is not quite as easy as it seems. But it certainly quietens my nervous system and leaves me much more able to cope. I do love creation and discovery, so staying in one place for too long can depress my mood. This is a continual balancing act.


I am finding I can use my sensitive senses and my Autistic brain to dive deep into the moment. 
Exploring deeply into my senses
 helps time slow down and gives my brain something to feed on so it doesn't feel bored or run around trying to find something else to obsess over.
Also feeding my senses calms my body and gives me another layer of relaxation.




I am working out that when the volume suddenly feels turned up, or the speedometer is in the red, it often isn't the world that has changed, even if that is how my mind interprets it, 
so I run around trying to slot appointments into calendars and telling everyone to quieten down. When really I need to 
remove myself
 from being around people for a while until my mind quietens down and I can cope again.
I find it hard to understand this in the moment, as my mind interprets everything as external. It really is hard to realise the change has been within. I rely on others to help me with this.


I also have found poetry to be a huge help. Not just writing it, but 
using the poetic mindset
 which loves contradictions and paradox to help me live in amongst the chaos. To encourage me to not try and rule boxes around moments but to let life flow more freely through my hands and sit in the messy maelstrom.




Here are two poems I wrote along these lines.
I hope you enjoy them and maybe find encouragement for your life.

I love walking on edges
those crumbling places
that hold so much room
for new thoughts


I want to explore them
with my side eyes open
to sense wondrous
impossibilities of life


To believe in things
that shouldn't happen
and have mysteries
that confound the wise


I want to stay awake
to contradictions
to feel expansion
around the sides


To keep myself
from being rigid
and funnelling my thoughts
down the line


Help me to be
receptive to them
those spaces which
are hard to define


And help me to
receive within me
the lifelines that are
my poetic mind

17/5/18



When I am tired
and overwhelmed
I tie myself up tight
in boxes
cutting off any soul
hanging over the edge
I want to make life organised
cut and dried, certain
simple and easy to manage
but all that I lose when I restrict
and confine
is my expansive playful
mysterious self
17/5/18


OK we'll leave it there for now. I'm sure this isn't the last I will speak on this topic!

Til next time,
keep on creating!

Love,
Jazzy Jack