Saturday, September 19, 2020

Saturday Search - Lee Harris Energy

I've been a Lee Harris fan for a while now. His monthly energy updates were what hooked me first but now I'll listen to him anytime :)

Today he put out a song with a video clip that is incredibly beautiful, sensual and moving. I wanted to share it here; https://www.leeharrisenergy.com/all-who-walk

If you're moved by this, check out some of Lee Harris's other work. 

His partner, Steven Washington, does Qigong if you're looking for movement, energy shifting, and exercise. I've been enjoying that movement as well.

My search of all things spiritual began with a story, Past Lives, I wrote way back in 2009. I don't know where the story came from, but it poured out of me in random scenes that grew into a story. I took it to a writing course, and was told by a story editor that my premise was impossible. I'd written about past lives, where the gender shifted depending on which past life was written about. I decided I needed to learn about past lives, since I'd obviously ballsed up the whole concept.

I followed a rabbit hole into a realm that has changed my life. It began with a writing course on astrology and past life connections (when you look for something, sometimes it falls into your lap!). I did a few courses with Mary O'Gara and she taught me so much about writing and the alternate spiritual practices. 

I've kept following the flow. One course led to another. One person to another. All are connected to writing - which is the weirdest part! 

This journey has had fundamental changes to my life, health, focus and happiness. It's been the weirdest, longest, but most fulfilling rabbit hole I've ever fallen into!

Have you followed rabbit holes? Do you find things out-of-the-blue that are perfectly what you need?

Friday, September 11, 2020

A Course In Miracles - messages

A friend of mine shared this channelling experience with me. It's a series of youtube videos, twice a day for 40 days, channelling Jesus by/with Tina Louise Spalding. 

It's about looking deeper into yourself.

It's a bit challenging.

Definitely woo woo.

But it's really quite eye-opening and awakening.

It's worth having a look. Each video is only about 20 minutes long. They come out morning and night, but Tina Louise Spalding said to listen any time because she wasn't having set times, and they'll be available for a while.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZcWtLUDi4o

Has anyone read the book A Course In Miracles?  

It's from 1976, so it's been around a while. I've not read it or done the practices. My friend is almost halfway through, so I might chat to her about it later.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Sunday Story - me and romance

I read a book this week that i was loving - witty banter, unbelievable chemistry, a huge conflict. I was so sold on it. I was devouring it, loving every word...

and then...

I hated it.

OMG. Why?

It's got so many fabulous reviews and readers love it. It's by relatively 'big-name' romance authors. I should have loved it because everyone else seemed to be, so what happened to me?

The female was disempowered. In a book that was all about the hero helping her and empowering here, the conflict disempowered her in such a way that it crushed me. It seemed to go against everything that it had been leading up to do... but it was subtle, and kind of went with the conflict, so it worked... just not for me.

I don't want to bag out the book, or single it out because romance is full of books that do the same thing, but I do want to explain my issue. So I'll try to do that in general terms.

Hero and heroine are both outsiders in their families. They bond because of this and the issues that arise from the ostracising. The heroine helps the hero in quiet, private ways, and in public, he pretty much sorts his own shit out.

The heroine... well, she doesn't sort her own shit out. The hero 'saves' her. Not only does he cover for her, he then tells her brother that she needs help and insists that the mother does too. So the brother 'forces' the heroine and her mother into counselling, which sorts all the issues out. Does the brother also go to counselling? NO. Did the heroine take charge of her life and organise her own counselling? No. Did the hero help her in private as she'd done for him? No.

The men sorted their own shit out, themselves, in private spaces. 

The women had to deal with theirs publicly, and then go to counselling that had to be forced onto them, and the males involved did not need this counselling.

Why do we (as women romance writers) do this?

We are perpetuating the "useless" female stereotype that the patriarchy dishes up to us.

Can't we do better??????

I know the conflict doesn't happen on a grand scale unless this all gets aired publicly... but do we need that conflict as readers? Do we need to have the women humiliated and then saved by the men they love? 

*sob*

This is why I don't fit easily into romance. This is why I struggle to read the most popular romance titles.

I want to empower the females in my stories.

I want my women to save themselves.

I want them to be as strong as their men, or stronger.

It may have taken me a bloody long time to work out exactly what was fucking my brain up with romance, but I think I'm getting it worked out. My idea of romance is something completely different to the genre and the fairy tale.

I need to write what makes my heart sing. That's what I'll be doing. Proudly. With my brave pants on!

How do you like your romance?

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Wildlife Wednesday - Little Things

 

You know I'm a crazy nature nut and I've been sharing all sorts of weird nature photos for years, but I think I've been looking at the smallest things to find the most joy this year. 


Yellow freesias image

I put together Pockets of Joy, a print book earlier in the year, and it brought me a great deal of satisfaction to do that...however, it's not enough.

I was wondering what else I could do. I realised I missed doing a regular magazine-type setup. I missed contributions from others, a schedule (ARGH! I can't believe I said that!), regularity, and accessibility. I mentioned it on Facebook, and my friend, Lori, gave me a title and a focus for it all in one comments. She said, "From Little Things Big Things Grow."

Isn't that true? Seeds become plants or trees. Babies mature, then often have babies themselves. As I thought more, I realised how often the littlest things brought me the biggest thrill. Catching a bug's portrait is one of the biggest fun I have with photos. The fact that they sit still and pose, amuses and amazes me. Capturing pollen grains, the shades of a petal, the light on an object, perspective, a gentle unfurling of the tiniest shoot, all these things make me smile, bring me joy, keep me looking at the little things.

Ha! There was my magazine. Little Things that make me happy. Sharing them with others. Showing others the tiny things around them, so these things could make them smile as well.

e-magazines can be accessible and easy to disseminate. So, that's what I've done. An e-mag that's available in an open Facebook group or you can ask to go on the mailing list and I'll email it to you each month.

It's free. So you can pass it around. You can share it with your mailing list. You can do whatever you'd like with it.

Mostly, I hope you'll enjoy the little things that you may overlook in the busyness of life!


a water droplet hangs on the end of a green gum leaf

a white feather lies on it's side

vertebrae of a fish lies as bare bones on the sand


a fly sits on a stem

sunlight in mangroves

two puppies sit at a fence looking gorgeously cute

a fly with green eyes sits on a yellow bin lid

a paper daisy

a white bird (egret) lifts into flight

the circular whirls of a Lebanese Cedar Tree cone

a tiny bug stares at you from a finger tip

a closed purple daisy in morning sunlight

yellow and orange lichen on a rock

a green fern leaf unfurls


Saturday, August 15, 2020

Saturday Soapbox - Diversity

Representation of a diverse population/experience is not something that's done terribly well within our society. History is painted by the 'winner'. Recordings are made by the wealthy/powerful/influential, and are often distorted from reality. There's been uneven representation of gender, culture, reality, etc etc.

It's something that is being called out and identified in this current climate, and that makes people uncomfortable, especially if you're sitting in a position where you view the representation to be fairly good.

I'm in one of those positions - except for my femaleness, I'm in the 'majority' for many things that are represented.

To understand the need for diversity, I have to put myself into uncomfortable positions or take my mind into those areas that I've tried to forget. I want to try to explain this with some instances and examples.

I travelled overseas - ages ago, when you could still do that! I was young and had next to no money, so I went the cheapest way I could but guided by my travel agent's recommendations. I had friends in Jamaica I was visiting, and I was booked on a flight from Miami to Jamaica on, I think it was Jamaican Air or something like that (it was a long long time ago!). I was pretty naive. So, the first thing that struck me on my trip is that I forgot that Aussies call things by different names (e.g. lemonade was a blank for the air hostess, but 7-Up she recognised and I got my drink). McDonald's isn't truly the same all over the world - the sizing in the USA was unrecognisable compared with Australia. The toilets worked differently. Then I got to Miami and the street signs were in a language other than English. Next day, I got on the plane for Kingston, Jamaica, and as I was taking my seat, I realised my whiteness. I was different to almost everyone on the plane. This was good to notice and become accustomed to, because for the next 2 weeks I would rarely mix with white people, and I would learn what it felt like to be 'different'. At times I barely noticed it. At other times it was scary because I was treated differently because of my skin (e.g. I was targetted for robbery, foiled thankfully. I was followed. People tried to extort me. I paid extra for things that my local friends were not charged. I was ignored, looked down upon, refused entry to places). Don't get me wrong, I had the absolute best time (because I was an Aussie and as soon as I spoke, my Aussieness overrode my whiteness - because of cricket and beer!) but it was the first time I ever realised that people judge according to skin colour.

Years later, I lived in a rural town with a large Indigenous population. Indigenous people had jobs in various places around town, they belonged to sporting teams, they mixed in town, and I didn't see anything that indicated any segregation. I held this view for 7 years. I changed jobs and worked for an Indigenous organisation. I thought I'd changed towns. Nothing I knew held true any longer. I was stunned by the racism, segregation, judgement, language, ostracising. Nothing had prepared me to have my views shifted so drastically. It was horrifying. I was horrified at myself and my naivety for (still) not seeing how much colour affected the world I lived in.

Let's change from colour and move to writing. When I wrote for myself, I wrote to explore all manner of topics, subjects, thoughts. Then I joined a writing organisation and moved towards publication - and what I wrote and wanted to write, was not going to get my published (which was my goal). That was rather shocking. So I changed. I got published in ebooks. Then what I wrote was suitable for ebooks, but not for print. I had to change for print. And somewhere along the way, I began to question why I needed to change what I wanted to write, how I wanted to write. I was being 'shoe-horned' into what a gate-keeper deemed acceptable. 

I never ceases to amaze me how many times I need to learn these lessons about diversity. I swim along until I get hit by something that affects me. And those hits hurt. They shake my soul, make me question myself and what I believe in, and have me asking, "am I good enough?" and "do I fit here?" Those aren't inclusive questions to have to be asking. Those are questions that immediate alienate someone.

And yet, aside from being female, I am a part of the 'majority'. If these things hurt me, how much worse must it be for someone who has less of the 'major attributes' that society deems 'normal'?

Diversity needs to be normalised. We need to accept people as they are. Not single them out because of a difference.

But how can we do this, when we don't even realise, much less acknowledge, that we have inherent judgements for difference?

Do you have views on diversity, inclusion, acceptance, or non-acceptance?

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Wildlife Wednesday - more photos

I've had some posing creatures lately and it's brought me much joy!

This gruesome beast is the remains of a huge tuna (I think) that fishermen left at the boat ramp after cutting off some fillets. There have been about 8 huge fish remains left lying in our shallows and I know one local puppy developed poisoning from eating it and died. I've also heard of local pelicans getting sick too. Huge fish carcasses belong at sea not in our shallows.

This fly was very happy to pose.

This seagull chose to land just as I clicked the shot of the calm river!

A leaf hopper at the back door.

A striped marsh frog posed for me.

An iridescent ant on my beach towel

Friday, July 24, 2020

Phallic Friday - fantasies and writing

I dropped off the earth for a while - or so it seems anyway.
Sorry to leave the blog unattended. How have you been? How are you coping with lockdown/COVID/life in a pandemic?

I've realised something that I've always known, but somehow it was never important before. I have a lot of friends overseas. I've always kept in touch with them in random sporadic times, but lately, it's been a WhatsApp chat every few weeks, a Facebook message weekly, some way of getting in touch to make sure they're okay (we're okay; because they're checking on me too). It's odd to go from once a year contact, to much more frequent. Most of these friends I've been friends with for many many years. In some cases nearly 30 years. It's weird to think that we've always kept in touch, for 30 years, and sometimes our paths crossed only briefly. But these people are important, even if they live across many oceans! Do you have connections like that too?

Oops! I didn't come here to muse about friendships. I was coming to speak of fantasies. I've been thinking a lot about them recently. I've been writing a strange story where many people are fucking one person. And as I write each scene, I'm completely surprised by what comes out of my fingers/brain. I have a character name, maybe a bit of a story for them from an introduction chapter I started with, but it's bare bones. So then I put them in a room alone with the sexual receiver...and I see where it goes.

Mostly I let things flow because once my brain comes in and starts censoring, then all writing stops. I have 3 or 4 scenes written now, and my brain is having a bit of a melt down. The things I've written, it's wondering where they've come from. Do I really have such fantasies?

Consciously, I didn't think so...but subconsciously, I must have entertained the idea at some stage to write it.

How do I feel about that?

Well, there's two of me here to answer that!

One of me says: Holy shit. You freak. How the hell can you come up with that shit? You don't want people to know that you know/think about this stuff. Remember when you shocked XYZ with that other scene? Remember when so-and-so said this about you. Stop! Stop! Stop for god's sake.

The other part of me goes: Well, fuck, that's a bit tame. Why didn't you take it further? And how come you stopped there? And does she really only want one partner, couldn't;t we do a few more in here, and if not people then sex toys? You've gotta make this juicy. Get some more stuff in here. Now.

And that's my fantasy life to a tee. One part of me is slamming the brakes on hard, while the other part is trying to jam down that accelerator and get going as crazy as possible.

And that there is why my brain struggles to write. This to and fro inside my head is always happening. It drives me crazy!

One day, if you're shocked by anything I write, remember this post and know that there's a part of me who is also so shocked they want to crawl away and hide!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

A Bigger Picture and Fear

If you've been reading my mad ramblings for a while, you'll probably know I've been on some spiritual path for a while. I stumbled into it to write a story and haven't untangled myself, or the story, yet! So this is a post about how the most unlikely book can stir up things inside me.

I picked up Malcolm Turnbull's book, A Bigger Picture. If you're not Australian, he was a recent Prime Minister of Australia and has been in politics for quite a time. I'm not usually into biography/ autobiography/ memoir because I often feel like a voyeur while reading and it makes me uncomfortable. However, I saw an interview with him about the book and the political issues he claimed to discuss in the book made me sit up and take notice.

Politics frustrates the hell out of me because most of the time I think they're all idiots who are only after their own agendas and have no 'public service' in their mind. They speak in language that says nothing yet uses lots of key or buzz words. They're masters at not answering a question. But... I'm not going to go on or I may not stop!

To pick up this book was not my usual mode. However, I loved reading it. It's exceptionally well-written. Turnbull is brutally honest in his opinions. He sheds lights on things that I didn't quite understand from the media reports and the events in politics. It's an absolutely fascinating read. I'm not sure that everything occurred exactly as he states, but I'm certain he believes what he has written. It's so brutally honest, raw, and opinionated. And no one has spoken of suing him - that makes me more convinced that it contains a lot of fact, evidence behind the scenes, and truth.

In reading this, I began to understand the far right of the Liberal party and the way they act. This was particularly relevant when he spoke of Tony Abbot's time as Prime Minister and some of the world events that occurred. It also dove-tailed into an awakening I had when listening to Tony Birch speak at the Wollongong Writers Festival in November 2019, which I mentioned at the end of this post (http://www.cateellink.com/2020/02/sunday-story-white-girl.html).

Fear. Bullying. Loudly stated opinions as fact. Not allowing change. Believing they are right. Illogical arguments. Picking fights.

These seemed to be the things that Turnbull and Birch identified as being traits of the Far Right.

I recognise these things but I've often overlapped them with the 'patriarchy' because I hadn't consciously noticed that they were different things. In my mind, the Far Right are men. But that's not true. Which is quite a realisation for me.

I spoke to Mr E of all of this. And I said something like, "There's so many of these Far Right people, they're stopping things happening." He's a strange man to discuss things with because when he doesn't agree with me, there's this stony silence, which is what I came across. "Aren't they everywhere?" I asked. "You're telling the story," was his reply, which is code for, "I think you're bloody insane."

So, this put me back on my haunches. If he didn't see these crazy loud people, everywhere, bombastically shoving their opinion down everyone's throat, why did I?

I've always maintained that I refuse to live in fear. I've pushed myself to do things to overcome my fears. And this is for adventure activities like sky diving, but also the every day things like ringing up tradespeople, making appointments, talking to strangers.

But why did these things make me fearful? Mr E didn't seem to have these things as a 'fear' just an every day thing. Why were we different?

In some instances, I think there is a gender issue. In others, a country vs city upbringing can account for things. Age may account for a few too. But there were still a lot of things that weren't accounted for by these differences.

I had to look at my upbringing, the people who surrounded me while I was growing up and growing into adulthood. I had to look at myself too, and how I stood in these circles.

I don't like loud noises - and looking at a couple of youngsters in my family, this may not just be a me thing. So I'm sensitive to people shouting. I notice them. I keep away from them. In a way, I fear them because they hurt my ear drums. And as a child you can't ask someone to keep their voice down because you have no power. You suck it up or get away...but it enforces your powerlessness.

The Catholic Church revolves around fear. If you do this, you'll go to hell. No forgiveness and you won't get to heaven. So many rule breakings have dire consequences. Punishment, repentance, sin, these are all huge factors in the teachings of the Church. Love, kindness, care are also present but seem to have much less focus and a much softer touch. Plus, in my early years, very few sermons spoke of love; fire and brimstone were far more loud, powerful, scary. Plus...how much of the symbolism in the Catholic Church is themed in violence and barbaric acts - the stations of the cross, the crucifixion, the fact that the Crucifixion image is displayed front and centre of every Church in all it's horror. I understand that the crucifixion is supposed to symbolise sacrifice, but holy heck, the Christ in my Church was vivid with his spear wound, bloody harrowed face, crown of thorns piercing his scalp, nails in hands and feet, knee broken. Thsi wasn't sacrifice, this was barbaric violence. I know there are other images of love, and the whole Mother Mary is about love, but what sort of balance does it have to a child? For me, the violence and the horror is what comes first to mind - even now.

I've spoken before about my grandfather having Labor party affiliation...but also that he hated the left (Communism), and I wonder how far to the right were his beliefs. The older men in my extended family were those who believed they ruled the roost, and some of these men were violent (but so were a lot of men in Australia, particularly those of English/Irish heritage). I didn't see this violence, but I wonder if I picked up on it. I did hear stories of this - but I don't know how old I was when I heard them, certainly while I lived at home.

I worked in a male dominated industry where a lot of men shouted loudly to be heard, to force their opinions onto others, to make sure they had power. I don't have a loud voice, but if I said something they disagreed with, they'd just start talking over me to drown me out. My refusal to live in fear, often made me try to express my views, but I rarely succeeded except by being sneaky (e.g. only speaking at events without their presence).

And when I start unteasing all of that, I saw why I believed there are so many of the Far Right affecting the world - because they affected my world as I grew, and I remain attuned to that. I'm sensitive to them. I avoid them, even as they ping loudly on my radar. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I don't want to live in a world ruled by them. I'm not even comfortable having them near me.

Which brings me to see that my whole life has had 'fear' as a focal point. It's why I've struggled with Cate and writing erotic stories. Why breaking from society's bounds has caused me such grief. It's not been grief, it's been fear. I may not be jumping out of a plane to conquer my fear of heights...it's much worse, I'm stepping outside of the box, not knowing where someone might scold me, rouse on me, ostracise me, abuse me, point me out. All those things I feared as a child are coming up again. All those things that as a child I hid from and avoided were brought to the surface during Tony Abbot's Prime Ministerial stint even though I didn't truly understand my reaction to the climate.

And this is how books affect me. A seemingly innocent book opened up a whole load of baggage I needed to unpack.

This is also why I love books. Who knew that a story, a memoir, could pack such a punch!

Thanks for a fabulously insightful read, Malcolm Turnbull.

How do books affect you? Have you read A Bigger Picture?


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Pockets of Joy - Images

Just in case you're not on Facebook, I'll try to remember to drop some of the Pockets of Joy photos on here from time to time. These may not necessarily be in the book, I just drop one each day on Facebook. The book was made in February 2020, so any after that may make another book, one day!

Bee

Sulphur-crested cockatoo

Sleeping Lorikeet

Orchid beetles on crucifix orchid

Mosquito on me

Rose petal bubble snail

Hydrangea

Bee

Case moth

Sunrise

Slug on bromeliad

Little fungi

Shells on beach

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Wildlife Wednesday - ladybird larvae

On Monday, I was typing and I noticed a tiny bug on my sleeve (it was an old blue polar fleece and the bug had yellow spots on it, which is what I saw). I took a few pictures but it wasn't a happy chappie and wouldn't cooperate for photos. So I popped it outside on a plant.

I downloaded my photos and they weren't that good because focussing on a moving tiny is tough for my little camera.

But then... I'm in a photo group on Facebook and this woman puts up the most beautiful photo of a bug so very like the mystery bug I'd photographed that day. She said it was a ladybird larvae. I looked it up and she was spot on! Not only was her photo in focus and stunning, but she had an ID too.

Her larvae was orange spotted, but mine's yellow - and that's the majority of ladybirds I'm finding at the moment too.

So, here's my not-that-well-focussed ladybird larvae.

You might get an idea of how tiny it was (a few mm) from the lumps on the polar fleece.

And if you want to check out some more, here are a few sites with info:

  • Australian Museum
  • CSIRO's ladybird page - oh, I could get lost in that page forever! If you go to morphology, you'll get an anatomy lesson under a microscope of a ladybird! 
  • Good grief - you can buy bugs! And these have good larvae pictures.
  • Oh wow, this one tells me I might have the Variable Ladybird.

And I'm going to stop here, or I'm going to fall down a ladybird rabbit hole and never get out!!! What a fabulous bug to find. Serendipity at work :)

Take care!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Random Musings

Do you ever pose a random question into the ether... and the world comes back with an answer that bites you on the arse?

Yep, it happened to me. Right here.

In this post way back in January (another lifetime ago!) I asked the question about anarchy and whether humans were capable of living from their heart and caring for others.

And hello COVID-19 with its toilet paper, hand santiser, paper towel, disinfectant wars. With the parties on beaches, in colleges, political leaders who don't think it's real, the blame game being played, people attacking others for what they judge as 'wrong'.

OMG Do I have my answer!?

Anarchy is my utopia. It's not something that can work. People are ingrained to live within a tight framework of rules and they'll obey them (on the whole) when they're put in place and reasons given. Some people are kind and caring, taking only their share and leaving enough for others. While there are some who don't think of others and satisfy only themselves.

And, just so you know and I'm upfront, I wasn't asking for a global pandemic to answer my question. I was just musing out loud (or on the keyboard) and it was a theoretical question. I really didn't need an actual answer, and I certainly didn't need to see humanity at its worst... but it is lovely to see some of the best of humanity.

Take care in this crazy time. Wash your hands. Stay at home. Take care of yourself and those around you. Hang tight and try to be the best human you can be. That's what I'm telling myself many times a day!

Cate xo


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Pockets of Joy is OUT!

After a few weeks where I messed up and messed up and messed up...I finally got it right!!!

POCKETS OF JOY is done! 

Here are the covers and some sample pages.

If you'd like to buy the printed book, more details are here:


It's in the IngramSpark catalogue if you're not in Australia or would like your book shop to order them (goodness knows which mistake is in there, but hopefully the final version with both authors and a proper blurb - I didn't realise I needed all that when I was setting it up for a trial run for me. OOPS! Such a learning curve. BUT LET ME REASSURE YOU, the final book is right because I've got a box of them here! It wasn't going out if I'd messed it up totally.)

And why did I collaborate? Well, a heap of reasons. One was that I needed a website that didn't have sexual content, so anyone could look. Plus, there's still a stigma attached to "erotic" and "sex", which apparently stops people from wanting to buy/look/sell/discuss books by Cate. I can't say that leaving Cate's name on there brought a lot of relief/happiness ... but I'd already compromised by collaborating, I wasn't going to be completely silenced. And don't we have more to worry about that sex!?

Stay healthy, stay hopeful, stay safe and sane.

Cate xo