risking the relief of unfurling

I’m fascinated by the buds on one of my cyclamen.

cyclamen budsI’ve had  a soft spot for this flower since the evening in my 20s when I was given a small bunch of wild cyclamen. They were carried to me by an old woman with a basket of tiny posies and sent from an ‘across the restaurant’ admirer in Perugia, Italy. We only spoke briefly as he and his friends left the restaurant. It wasn’t the prelude to anything, just a moment of being seen; a rare meeting with someone I never saw again yet a courteous meeting and a potent appreciation.

This particular cyclamen is eager to bloom. So eager that it hasn’t waited for its leaves to form. Instead its buds curl against the naked corm until the right combination of moisture, warmth and light lure them upwards on straight stems. From a spiral of coiled tightness pointing towards the earth, each bloom flings its furl of petals upwards with an abandon I can’t help but relish.

As humans, we can risk letting parts of ourselves expand out of constricted spaces. I have pondered this phenomenon with a friend lately as we both relinquish fetters and taste new aspects of life. The extraordinary power of unfurling is usually achieved after we have let go of some old pain, allowed ourselves to see life freshly, freed our heart from its limitations. One moment we feel tight then miraculously and in a gesture probably started deep within and long before, unfurling begins. New parts of ourselves seem as keen as my cyclamen flowers to reveal themselves to the world.

To explore this phenomenon of unfurling, on Thursday 15, 22 and 29 March from 1-3pm, I will host a series of three ‘word pilgrim‘ sessions around the themes of letting go, transformation and renewal. You can join me for $100 or $85 (concession). Of course there will be the usual mix of creative and collaborative exercises to help us make sense of our lives and bring our spirituality into daily action.

Please let me know if you would like to come along.


In recent conversations, the topic of what we long for has come up a lot. There’s a wise mystery about the way our longings may have to rest in some subterranean place for a while until the circumstances in which our longing can be satisfied arise. This arising is a combination of patient seeking and clear connection to this longing along with a helpful dash of prayer or question-asking—which may be the same thing. Continue reading “longing”

clearing soul congestion

Sweep-Return-Bristles-Broom-Close-Cleanliness-667324.jpegA friend of mine and fellow writer told me she doesn’t like that term. ‘It feels thick, clumsy,’ I think she said.

‘Exactly!’ I thought. ‘That’s right’ When we’re in the grip of soul congestion then our heart feels shrouded and wooden. We can’t feel or we over-feel what is going on. We shift between panic and low moods, excitement and despair. We need a soul decongestant but we usually just give in to a familiar reaction instead. Continue reading “clearing soul congestion”

the tyranny of ‘shoulds’

white faced heronToday, I avoided an attack of the ‘shoulds’ and followed my own heart on a long wintry walk along the Dandenong Creek which fortuitously involved cheesecake. As there was no one about, I could happily chat to myself about new projects, practice an upcoming talk, as well as delight in harriers and kestrels, scarlet robins and blue wrens, white faced herons and egrets. Continue reading “the tyranny of ‘shoulds’”