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Identity

Image from http://www.bizarbin.com
Best friends

“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Identity… what is it?

Identity is what makes you who you are and it makes me who I am, two totally separate and unique individuals. There can be no other person exactly like either of us and that is why we are unique, and it is this very uniqueness which gives us our wonderful identities.

Amongst the many definitions of Identity Wikipedia say this in relation to “identity formation” –

“the process of the development of the distinct personality of an individual”.

I had to question the reason why there are so many differing ways to define “identity”. There are personal, corporate, country, sexual, gender and philosophical “identity” and whilst they all have some resemblance to each other they are all also very different. Perhaps the easiest way to understand this abundance of differentiation is to acknowledge that as an individual we are complex creatures and in order to understand something as simple as a person’s identity, it has become necessary to view identity in context to the subject being discussed.

Identity

Image from ecofriendszz.blogspot.com
More best friends

So, What is identity?

The above is however, a very clinical way of viewing someone, breaking the very characteristics and behaviours which make people unique into small bite sized chunks of individuality. I believe an identity is the sum total of those characteristics and behaviours which makes an individual unique in comparison to everyone else.  Just as no two people can be the same then no two identities can be “identical”. Even copycats cannot be identical because it is impossible to remove all the individuality of the copycat. Even identical twins are not absolutely identical.

The complexity of ‘identity’ can be seen if you look at the “national/public holidays” a country has. Labour Day is ‘celebrated’ in many western countries. It has created an identity unique to itself by creating a movement to raise the standard of labour laws which had not been seen before. It therefore became part of the national identity to celebrate the ‘global’ change in national identity.

Identity

Image from webtaj.com
Rabbit, mouse, kitten and puppy friends

What is identity in Australia?

In Australia we, as a nation, are known by the colloquial saying of “She’ll be right, mate”. We are also known as a nation of sun worshipping surfers and athletes. This however is only a small part of the picture. There are many more people who are not sun worshippers, not surfers and definitely not athletes. The national image has corrupted the true individual identity, and also the national identity since it has taken away our ability to be unique.

What is identity in America?

In the US, Thanksgiving has just been celebrated (or is still being celebrated). There is discussion on the relevance of celebrating it, in the manner it is currently. It seems there is always some disagreement over what or how, certain celebrations occur. In context it is a good thing.

Identity

Image from advocacy.britannica.com
Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving originated after the Mayflower had landed, half the people had died from illness and the local Indians had helped them to learn how to survive in their new land. At that time it was the creation of a new national identity which is still celebrated today, even though many individuals have changed since then and the national identity has changed, as much as the individual identities have changed to reflect the times. The celebration is one of identity, unique circumstances and the forging of a partnership with the inhabitants of their new land. The celebration remains although much of the original import has been forgotten or changed.

What really is identity?

Identity is the sum total of all the parts which make us who we are. It is the ability to choose our path through life, our spiritual path as well as our family path, career path, life path.   We, as human beings, are unique on the planet in that we can choose to change, to grow, to become more than we are right now.  If we are not happy with who we are, or how we see ourselves and our identity, we can choose to become more.  We can choose to learn more, to understand more, to grow and evolve.  It is human nature to grow and evolve, and we can direct our growth and development, as we choose the identity we wish to present.

Societies, human beings, our unique spiritual beliefs, all form a part of our “identity”.

When we choose to band together, our identities merge to form a group of people with a common bond, purpose and identity.  It may be to celebrate one of these national holidays, or a religious festival.  However, we remain individuals within the group, always with free will, always with the ability and capability to decide to be different, unique, truly an individual, because we do have our own unique identity.

Perhaps this is the most important part of ‘identity’ that needs to be remembered.  Regardless of the group, the bond or the cause, at all times, we have that free will to choose to step out of the group.  We are ‘united’ by the common beliefs, but not necessarily ‘bound’ by them.  It takes strength and courage to be an individual, to accept your own uniqueness, but then, that courage and strength is also part of your identity.

Celebrate it.

identity

Image from eeryelegance.blogspot.com
My best friend is ducky!

I believe that identity is a multifaceted and unique part of each person. It makes us a spiritual being unlike any other. The very complexity of our identity is what makes us a global and spiritual masterpiece.

Blessings, Susan x

“We know what we are, but not what we may be.”
― William Shakespeare

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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Abundance

Happiness

“If you always attach positive emotions to the things you want, and never attach negative emotions to the things you don’t, then that which you desire most will invariably come your way.”
Matt D. Miller

There are times when, no matter how hard we try we feel that nothing we do is going right. Everything seems hard and we don’t know how to get things back on track again. We feel as though we are going round in circles and can’t find a way to get off the merry-go-round. The last thing we can believe is that abundance is all around us.

It’s so frustrating when things feel like this. Unfortunately the more energy we put into these thoughts the more of those kinds of events seem to occur around us. Abundance seems to be anywhere but around us.

Abundance

image from harmonyinspirations.com.au

Your day might feel something like this:
  • You’ve been feeling tired and lethargic and decided to have just a few extra minutes in bed to get the day off to a good start. Instead you drop off into a sound sleep, wake up half an hour later and now you’re running around madly because it looks as though you will be late for work.  
  • Frantically rushing around you forego breakfast to make up time and as you finally dash out the front door you trip, catching your jacket on a nail you didn’t see and tear a huge hole in it. Now you have to go back and change your outfit which means you will be late after all and it’s going to cost you a repair bill to get your jacket fixed.
  • Finally on your way to work you have a dream run with no traffic hold ups. You start to think you are going to get there on time after all when you turn the corner and… there are road works ahead and the lollipop facing you says “STOP”.
  • Instead of a long delay the lollipop is turned around almost immediately and you get through the road works.
  • There is one car park ahead but a car suddenly cuts in front of you and it looks as though that parking space, which would have seen you arrive at work on time, is gone. Your sigh of despondency turns to a cry of joy as the car in front keeps going and you drive into the parking space.
  • In through the front foyer and you are going to make it if you catch the next lift. As the thought crosses your mind you see inside the lift. It is crammed full of people. There will be no way you can get into that lift. As your shoulders start to slump three people suddenly get out of the lift and you quickly get in.
  • You are working on the fifteenth floor and as you look at the panel you see almost every button for each floor is lit. Can anything else go wrong? The doors slowly close and the lift just sits there for what seems an age before climbing to the next floor. This happens all the way up.
  • Thoroughly chagrined you finally arrive on your floor and start to make your way out only to see your boss walk out of the lift just behind you.
  • You are waiting to be chipped for being late when he says, ”Damned lifts, it’s impossible to get in on time is it? Drop by my office later, I have your bonus cheque on my desk”

At each step of your journey you have met with delays and unfortunate accidents. Each one seems to be the one which is going to ruin your day and possibly get you in hot water with your boss. It couldn’t have been a worse start to the day, could it? Now the day has started so badly the rest of the day will only get worse, right? It’s so bad how can abundance be anywhere near you?

Abundance

Grateful for everything

Look at the day again.
  • You managed to get an extra half an hour of sleep which means you won’t feel tired all day. Yes you had to rush a little to catch up but you did and were going out the door on time.
  •  Oh, but then you ripped your jacket. Then you remember that you chose that jacket because you thought it might rain and you really don’t like it much at all, so it wouldn’t have bothered you if it had gotten wet. You will get it mended but it’s really not such a disaster.
  • You could have been delayed for ages at the road works but the lollipop guy turned his sign around almost the second you stopped and you got through in no time at all.
  • You would have had to drive around the block if the parking spot had been taken but instead you drove straight in.
  •  If those people hadn’t left the lift you would have had to catch the next one, but you didn’t have to.
  • Stopping at every floor you cannot get to your office in time, but as you leave the lift your boss is behind you.
  • He has been stuck waiting as well as you, and even better he has a bonus cheque on his desk waiting for you.
Abundance

image from onajourneybacktoherwings.blogspot.com

In the first scenario everything which could have gone wrong, did, and it would have made you late for work and probably seen your boss, at the very least, upset with you. Your focus was on the negative which might have happened.

However, each time something happened, the worst case scenario didn’t follow. Instead something positive happened. At the end of the journey to work, which saw one positive thing after another happen, you found out you had a bonus waiting for you as well. You found that abundance had been surrounding you all the time.

Abundance comes in many forms, not always money, although that is nice too. Abundance is something positive which makes your life easier, better or nicer. It may even mean it is something which can be shared with someone else. It may also be something which might seem negative but is a blessing in disguise. (Take for example a car accident. It could have been disastrous, serious injuries, but whilst your car is damaged you just have a few bumps and bruises, that too is abundance).

If all the negative aspects were the only ones you gave thought to, you would have had an awful day. However, if you consider all the positive things which helped you, then, you are going to be grateful for all the blessings you have received.

Abundance is all around us; it all depends on our perspective, how we choose to view the world.
 “As long as we remain vigilant at building our internal abundance—an abundance of integrity, an abundance of forgiveness, an abundance of service, an abundance of love—then external lack is bound to be temporary.”
― Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness And Making Miracles

Abundance and Blessings to all.

Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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A Blend of New Worlds

image from spirit_elements-www-josephinewall-co.uk

Apart from my trip from England to Australia, which I admit is quite a trip, I hadn’t traveled overseas much. I had been to Tasmania, which is considered part of Australia, just not attached to it, and to Fiji, which was my one overseas trip.  This however, was my one REAL overseas trip since I was doing it alone. So, everything I saw and experienced was with the eyes of a novice. It was fresh and unknown.

As my driver pulled up to the Sheraton (Yes, I really went all out on my first big trip), one doorman rushed over to get my door and another went around to get my bags. Luxury was the name of the game. I didn’t want to stand and gawk but I tried to look everywhere at once, I wanted to savour the idyllic splendour of this incredible place….. until a loud voice in my head yelled “Get it together girl! You don’t want to look like a country yokel, wet behind the ears, a little more aplomb please!”

A New World

image from http://www.colourbox.com“Never been anywhere before”.

Alright, I was back on track and my image not too tarnished. I signed in and was taken up to my luxurious room. I had traveled in Australia and seen my fair share of hotels and motels, but this was something else. A huge king sized suite – just for me. For the first time ever, I had this huge bedroom for my own personal use. No-one coming to me for anything, no-one to share it with, it was just for me. It was totally surreal.

A New World

Room to move and then some

I started to unpack but the lure of the sunshine through the window, and wondering what was there drew me, so I threw on a pair of joggers and decided to go for a quick walk. I was never one to ask for directions, I always managed to get lost anyway, so deciding to throw caution to the winds I took my rough bearings, crossed the driveway and away I went. The traffic! I couldn’t believe how much traffic came flying down the road. Everyone jaywalks in Australia- at least we used to.  Taking a long look and gauging the traffic, how fast it was flowing, I dashed across the road.

The esplanade was amazing. It was so wide and the paving in geometric designs as far as I could see. It seemed as though there were seats arranged in nooks and booths everywhere and people were sitting, talking, reading or walking, jogging, running, cycling along, on roller blades or skate boards. It was a hive of activity and at the same time an oasis of calm. The sand was a refined golden carpet and the ocean, the Mediterranean, was the most amazing blue imaginable.

A New World

Tel Aviv Boulevard       This open air exercise area was used nearly the entire day and night.

Mesmerised I didn’t get too far that afternoon. The beach seemed to stretch for ever and the different architecture, from the ultra-modern to ancient almost next to each other. It was a glimpse of the Old world and new side by side. In the distance I could see the old town of Jaffa. It was to be my destination the following morning.  Retracing my steps I once again took my life in my hands as I charged across the street to get back to the hotel. I decided if I was to stay in Israel for any length of time I had to work out how to cross the roads, or at least where to cross them.

For someone who was not a great breakfast eater, the temptation to go into the dining room and simply watch the world go by was too enticing. Once in there I had to have a look around and with freshly squeezed orange juice in hand I could hardly leave without trying a few dishes, could I? I cannot remember the names of the dishes I decided to try, but, a tasty tomato, cucumber and parsley salad with a tuna, mayo and onion dish and I felt my batteries charged. So, fortified with some traditional Israeli breakfast I set out.

A New World

Breakfast salad, a new idea

I rounded the corner from the hotel and, not dashing across the road walked along the footpath towards where I could see a crossing. Five minutes later I found myself surrounded by six giant, well-armed American soldiers. The funny side of the situation hit me and I started to smile, then giggle and I was not making the soldiers any happier. After all, I was a mere 5’7″ and these fellows were all giants, at least 7’ tall, or so they appeared to me.

Demanding to know what I was doing did not help. I really tried to explain I was just walking up to the crossing, but it appeared I was committing some serious crime, and I couldn’t work out what it was. The tension mounted and I simply could not stop the chuckles. Eventually someone asked me where I was from. Once I said Australia I heard a grumbled “Bloody Aussies” and there was an immediate release of tension. Apparently I had transgressed onto the US Embassy grounds. Apart from three foot high bollards there was nothing to say I had moved onto a prohibited area. One of the giants pointed a finger skyward so I craned my neck and saw a US flag on the top of the building. With a stern warning to “watch where I was going” I was allowed to leave, still holding in the chuckles until I made my escape.

That morning was the first time I walked from my hotel into the old town of Jaffa. There was a great view from the top of the area around the marina and along the boulevard to the high rise buildings along the foreshore. After breakfast and around midnight each day I would make this walk to Jaffa, listening to my iPod and watching the whirlpool of people passing by. There was a constant flow of people, walking, running, on roller skates, skate boards or little scooters. People walked their dogs and groups of people would be sitting and chatting until the early hours of the morning.

I’m not certain what the hotel staff made of my nocturnal jaunts but I received a smile each time I returned. I still wasn’t sleeping very well or for very long but these nightly walks were soothing. During the day I explored the city. Being geographically challenged (I got lost easily) I saw a few areas more than once, but it was fun, almost as much as my first excursion to a shopping centre.

My map was great, my sense of direction not so good and my Hebrew non-existent, so the fact that I found the shopping centre was amazing. As I walked towards the doors I was surprised when a man, not much taller than I, suddenly popped out of the corner of the entrance,  dressed all in black and carrying – a machine gun. (I’m no expert so I’m not guessing and he didn’t tell me exactly what it was). At that time all people not recognised by the guard were stopped and had their bags checked. Okay, it wasn’t that long since the Gaza problems so I could understand it, but it did make me stop and think. Since my natural reaction would have been to resist someone grabbing at me it could have been a different outcome. It appears I had my guardian angel sitting on my shoulder each time I ran into an armed and dangerous person. It was good to know.

A  New World

image from http://www.reuters.com     Israeli soldiers, a fact of life.

This strange new world still felt like home and I was excited about exploring more of it.

Next week…….. History comes alive and a new friend.

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The Best laid plans.....

image from www-arts-wallpapers.jpg

There are so many things I had planned to do this week, from the ordinary mundane of going shopping to the obligatory visit to my Lyme doctor. Yet the best laid plans often go awry.  I wanted to inject a little light-hearted anticipation into the week instead of following the same routine as always. Then only feeling tired at the end of getting all the ‘to do’ list done, but nothing that really made me crack that “I’ve had a wonderful experience smile,” which has been missing for too long. It didn’t need to be anything astronomical, or expensive, just something my husband and I could do, out of our normal routine and lighten the everyday routine. Remember, best laid plans and all that jazz.

Okay, this was going to be a little easier than I thought, when I realised my doctor’s appointment was at 7pm. It’s a three-hour drive up to see him, which meant that it would be a long day for me if we made a round trip when we couldn’t leave until after 8.30pm. Checking out the local Bed and Breakfast places in Maleny or close by wasn’t very hopeful at first. It’s a beautiful place to visit and at this time of year, coming into summer, even more so. So when we found a lovely place at Wootha, available for us, it was an immediate winner. At the top of the range and overlooking the valley towards the Glasshouse mountains, I could feel the tension draining away just thinking about it. But I forgot about Murphy’s Law and the best laid plans warning. I sent up my request to my angels for a nice break and off we went.

Even in the air conditioning of the car it was hot. I don’t travel well in the heat and the medication has my blood and body super heated at the ‘best’ of times just now. The blazing sun beat mercilessly through the windscreen like a well stoked furnace. I have a magnificent  case of hives so the heat was adding a new dimension to the itchy torture. (Best laid plans again).  But distracted by the scenery, we arrived and breathed a sigh of relief. It’s amazing what a heartfelt plea for relief can do to ease sorely troubled minds and bodies. Unpacked, a quick refresher and off to the local ice cream shop for one of the most magnificent ice cream cones imaginable. All locally sourced produce and heavenly taste. For one of the very rare times, brain freeze was – worthwhile.

Apart from a long discussion of what’s next, needing to return early the next morning for bloods to be taken, there were no real surprises from the doctor. We had been looking forward to a sleep in and leisurely breakfast, but we could get around that too. Our hosts were only too gracious in offering to let us have breakfast after the test. I was woken through the night by the sound of an unusual barking noise. Not a dog but a fox barking to her young. After a look outside under the full moon, where of course I could see nothing, I returned to my comfortable bed to listen to the possums running across the roof and into the trees, noisily talking to one another.

We awoke to the sounds of the Rainbow Lorikeets making a raucous noise around the bend in the verandah where the owners fed them each day. It really was a colourful display.

Off to the doctor and a small procedure later I was waiting for the nurse to take blood.  That’s when things went ‘off plan’. My ‘best laid plan’ went up in smoke, but not up the needle. Once, twice, three times and still no blood. Again – once, twice, three times and as she removed the needle the blood flowed freely – too late!  I was feeling hot and more than a little bothered. I heard someone say “adrenal surge’ after the procedure and I would have to see the collection office in town. Oh well, it could have been worse I suppose. That was an errant thought which came back to haunt me later. In the interim the nurse suggested breakfast and a drink and get the tests done later.  No arguments here, nor from my husband, the gentleman in the peanut gallery offering hilarious solutions to the lack of blood. It’s always funny watching from the sidelines, I know I’ve been there too, but silently!

Welcomed back into the cool sanctuary of the home we quickly went to freshen up. Then it was back into the dining area where we were greeted with a freshly squeezed orange juice and a huge selection of fresh fruit, rhubarb and peach compotes and local yoghurt with the hostess’ own muesli blend.  The entertainment from the birds continued as we were served with a delightful cheese souffle, accompanied by fresh asparagus spears and bacon. I have never yet managed to get a souffle to rise as beautifully as this, and it almost melted in your mouth.  Refreshed and hunger assuaged we settled back with a cup of tea.

It was hard to tear ourselves away but…. the pathology needed visiting before we could enjoy walking around town. Then we hit a larger snag to our ‘best laid plan’. After waiting quite a while in the surgery, since no-one told us we could just walk up and knock on the door, (usually I wait to be called in when it’s my turn), I went in and after she spent ten minutes deciphering all the requests she pronounced sentence, “You haven’t eaten, eggs, nuts, banana, etc, etc this morning have you?” she said. “It really should be a fasting test!” Well, that was that. Best laid plan up in smoke and not going out that day!
Not her fault but I was thoroughly put out. Finding her in town was one thing, waiting for her another, then to be told she  couldn’t do it anyway. UGH!  We walked around town, somewhat jaded, and I have to admit I was hot and itchy by now before finally settling for a visit to my favourite crystal shop to soak up those lovely vibes. Not a total waste then. We left feeling soothed by all that crystal energy and set off back to Byron.

I’m sorry to say the strain was too much, I really can’t take the heat and I fell asleep on the way home. I woke up in agony and had to be helped inside the house. Thankfully one plan I made had worked out magnificently. Knowing I would be away I had posts ready and scheduled for publishing, so I met my NaBloPoMo challenge and I’ve been tweaking photos and today’s blog.

It was to be an easy day. My tests are booked in and a mountain of messages have been attended to. Photos are all downloaded and labelled. Have you ever noticed how the names escape you if you don’t label them immediately? Brain fog, that’s my reason, that and the heat which fries my brain.

Here’s a lovely picture of the storm lilies which came out after the storm we had on the weekend. Delicate shade of pink on the edges, just beautiful.

Best laid plans

Storm lilies

I hope you enjoy the views as much as we do. Plans are meant to be broken and sometimes you get amazing surprises as a result. If we hadn’t had our plans altered we wouldn’t have been able to spend time watching the birds, seen the King and Pale Headed parrots, which don’t hang around with the noisy Lorikeets. The Fire Tailed Finch was a real treat. It felt like we were being fortified for the disappointment we had no idea was coming. I’m grateful for that blessing.

Blessings to all.

Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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Learning How to Breathe Again

image from spirit_elements-www-josephinewall-co.uk

“I thought about having a proper room, breathing life into it, and nobody minding.”
― Jenny Valentine, Broken Soup

Arriving at the airport in Athens to catch the El Al plane to Israel was the beginning of something totally unexpected. The entire place was bustling despite the early hour. Needless to say the El Al departure gate was at the furthest end of the airport. Arriving in Athens I had realised I had over packed, but by then it was too late to do anything about it. After hauling my cases (2) to the El Al checkpoint I was unconcerned when I was shepherded to the side to have my luggage checked. After all, I had nothing to be concerned about. Had I?

Enter one of the most handsome men I had seen in a long time. Pointing at my large suitcase he indicated I should place it on the waist high bench and open it. OK, everything was tied down really well so as soon as I unclipped the straps the clothes jumped up another eight inches – at least. Not content with that embarrassment I was then amazed to see him painstakingly go through everything in my case, and then the second case. I mean EVERYTHING – bras, pants, the lot! By the time he had finished inspecting them there was this mangled mess of clothing and toiletries on the lids of the suitcases. Smiling beguilingly he told me I could repack my bags and join the queue to get a boarding pass.

Learning to Breathe

image from http://www.live4.com.au         Too much of a good thing is still too much!

Time – I couldn’t forget the time. It was running through my mind over and over with the idea that I might miss my connection. I knew I shouldn’t have packed so much! So when I finally got to weighing my bag I breathed a sigh of relief. A sigh which was very short lived. Over weight! On Singapore it was only two kilos over which they waived. On El Al the weight permitted was much less and I was eight kilos over! OMG. Take the bag back and haul ass to the counter to pay for the excess baggage. Of course the counter was two thirds of the way back up the concourse, a very long concourse, and I had to take my luggage with me.

Thank heavens for a very helpful Greek airport staff guy. He hauled the big case and I grabbed the second and off we trotted. The trot became a gallop as we tried to get to the counter. Of course they wanted cash which I didn’t have as I was leaving. Finally they put it through on my Visa, mainly thanks to my Greek friend and we began the mad dash back to the El Al departure point. After a very frosty look from the lady behind the El Al counter I escaped towards the departure lounge. The fun was just beginning though.

Boarding a plane is fairly standard, right? There’s the squeezing between the seats and trying to get your luggage in the overhead racks, getting into your seat and settling down. This was completely different and people were going every which way, apparently without any rhyme or reason. Seats seemed to be taken as they wished and it felt as though chaos ruled the day. Amazingly, all the seats were filled and the plane left on time.

However! As soon as the plan set off down the runway seat belts started popping open and by the time we were airborne most of the passengers were wandering all over the place, talking, from one side of the plane to the other and from back to the front, and all in Hebrew. The odd one out wasn’t even close. I huddled down and tried to remain inconspicuous. Not very likely but there you have it. I did receive some rather odd looks which I interpreted as “what on earth are you doing here”?

The trip from Athens to Tel Aviv was just over an hour long and the passengers milled around the plane for the entire trip. I’m not even sure if they sat down for the landing, and the disembarkation felt like a free for all to get off first.

Learning to Breathe

image from http://www.itnews.com.au                 Why are you here?     

Arriving at the passport check in was reasonably straight forward; just follow the queue, yet not quite. The Israelis walked through their gate at a fast pace whilst I joined a much smaller queue. I handed over my passport and then had my first ever taste of being on the receiving end of an interrogation. Why was I coming to Israel? Why was I alone? Was I meeting someone? Did I know anyone here? Had I come to find a husband? A husband?! I had just managed to divest myself of the last mistake so I most definitely wasn’t looking for another. After I explained that I was divorced she relaxed, until she asked me for my maiden name since I didn’t have my husband’s surname.

Oh! Well. Hmm. I had changed my name by deed poll after my divorce and chosen a name I liked, so I couldn’t give her my maiden name as a reference either. That didn’t go over very well so we went through all the previous questions again. It was obvious she didn’t like me and didn’t believe I wasn’t there to snare some poor unwary Israeli guy for my next husband.  Eventually, as the last person in the checkpoint left and I was there alone, one of the other men came around to see what all the fuss was about. I don’t speak Hebrew but the rapid fire statements from her gave me the feeling she would have loved to send me back. Thankfully he must have out ranked her and I tiredly walked through the checkpoint to get my luggage. I was the last person in the airport and my greeter had vanished.

Learning to Breathe

image from jewishcentralvoice.com                       Tel Aviv

After many phone calls and what felt like a long wait but was probably only a half an hour I was met by a nice guy who shepherded me to his vehicle and we set off for the hotel. I was thrilled to have a running commentary of all the sights and history as we traveled into Tel Aviv.

The strangest part of all, despite the language barrier and the quasi interrogation at the airport, there was a real feeling of coming home. I took my first deep breath in a long time and realised I had started to feel relaxed. It really felt quite strange.

Next week – A blend of new worlds

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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Lady in Red

Susan with the red feather boa

A few years ago I somehow managed to get the nickname as  “The Lady in Red”.  I guess it was the closest song anyone could find since there wasn’t a song about the lady in the red feather boa!  Just to prove that there was more to “The  Lady in Red” than a feather boa I have added this… All photos were part of a celebration of life retrieved and being lived to the full, for the very first time.

Lady in Red

The Lady in Red taking it easy

So, this is for you “Wild Thang”, just to prove I could, would and definitely can and did! 🙂

~~

~~

I love this film, for the story and what might be. The hope, the fairytale ending and the beautiful lady in the red dress.

My fairytale ending….

Lady in Red

Wedding Day 2011

Sorry, this one wasn’t in red.

“At times it may seem as though you and your past are one. Sometimes we fail to differentiate between what has happened to us and who we are today. If you have a hard time getting beyond that damaging mind-set let me encourage you right now. You are not your past Although you are changed and shaped by past experiences who you were yesterday does not control the person you have the potential to become tomorrow.”
― Sue Augustine, When Your Past Is Hurting Your Present

Ciao, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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image from spirit_elements-www-josephinewall-co.uk

image from spirit_elements-www-josephinewall-co.uk

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.
From an Irish headstone”    Richard Puz

 

.

Traveling to Mum’s house that night felt surreal. I felt as though I was wandering through my own personal nightmare. I drove along and had no real recollection of where I was going or what I was doing, it felt as though I was on auto pilot. What would have happened if anything unexpected occurred I have no idea. I suppose I should thank my angels and Dad that it didn’t. I could sense him from time to time but I knew he would be with Mum.

Going through the front door was indescribable. Yet another part of the nightmare, never ending. There was this horrible feeling of disconnect. Nothing felt real. I felt like an interloper and I seriously wanted to leave. For the first time I can remember I felt lost, adrift on some strange ocean with no bearings to guide me. Yet I was expected to be the same person I had always been, capable, competent, organised – for everyone else. It felt as though any feelings I had didn’t exist for anyone else. Their tears poured but I felt I couldn’t, or shouldn’t. When I was told I was a co executor of Mum’s estate I cringed inside. The other was my brother.

Every ‘rule’ of executor ship was flouted and trying to say anything I was over ruled on the pretext that he was so upset because Mum had passed away. Oh – wasn’t she my mother too? I was over ruled and out voted. Meetings held without me regarding Mums prized possessions (sentimental), before her hospitalisation had seen me ‘disenfranchised’. My children were simply excluded, and I had the feeling it was because they were the only grandchildren. I was being torn apart piecemeal, no one to turn to and I was still supposed to take control of the situation, even being accused of being an “Ice Maiden”, without feelings, because they didn’t see me cry. I had a dam inside and the tears couldn’t be allowed to get past it. I didn’t want them to see it either.

image from http://www.theguardian.com     Such a vital piece of paper

The more I learned about how the Will had come to be drawn up, its contents and the meetings which took place without me, the more I felt cut off from my family. I was lost in the darkness and there was no way out.  Once the funeral was over, the wrangling with finalising the estate began. Months of arrangements and meetings, and more and more blackouts as I traveled to ‘Mum’s’ house started to widen the cracks. When I was finally told, after I organised the estate tax return, that it would be another 12 months until it could be finalised I reached “the point of no return”.  Denied Mum’s mementos, denied access to the house proper to see her things, despite everything I had tried to do and I had reached the time to say, “Enough!”

I needed time. I needed space. I needed to find out who I was again. I had been mother, daughter, sister, wife for so long that I was unsure who I was. I booked a 12 week trip to the Middle East and Switzerland, had a long talk with my children and left to find myself. My children understood and were old enough and cared enough to wish me well, however. I didn’t leave a happy camp behind. I don’t believe my brothers really understood how fragile I had become.  I tidied up everything with the solicitor so nothing would need attending to in my absence and left.

Perhaps it was prophetic that I went to the airport alone and had no one to see me off. My very first overseas trip, the only trip I had ever taken alone in my life and there was no one there to say goodbye. As the plane rose into the air I felt an enormous weight suddenly detach from me and I felt lighter than I had for so long. I had a long way to go but I had made a start.

image from http://www.travelhouseuk.co.uk           Fly away little bird.

There was a strange feeling as I walked into the Singapore airlines lounge, which felt something like, “So this is what ‘they’ were talking about. There was a feeling of freedom, of being looked after, and after the previous couple of decades it was almost unbelievable. The people there were so friendly and helpful, and despite the fact that it was their job, they made me feel as though I was special, something truly unusual for me.

The long haul trip to Singapore tested out my back despite being in Business class, a luxury I had decided on simply because of the injuries to my back. Unfortunately we arrived at 11pm so apart from a walk, a very long walk to the Singapore airlines lounge there were very few shops open.  Yet the two hour wait for my connecting flight to Athens was still full of surprises.  I had rarely seen so much food available outside a restaurant and staff who were only too happy to help. The shower facilities were a blessing and it felt really good to refresh myself after sitting on the plane for so long.

image from http://www.airreview.com             Business Lounge in Singapore

Back on board again it seemed only a short time before we were landing in Athens. I had been too excited to sleep much so the on-board films were a good distraction. I was collected at the airport – Yes, I had someone standing in arrivals with my name on a piece of cardboard! Whisked through the airport, the Greeter insisted on handling my entire luggage (I over packed) and I was in a taxi and speeding into Athens.

The driver, whose name I never did get, zipped in and out of traffic like a bee hopping from flower to flower. The nonstop information was brilliant, but I could only take part of it in. The sights and sounds were amazing. Once we reached Athens the traffic was phenomenal. So many vehicles all going flat out, horns honking, drivers waving their arms at each other and the roads – they seemed so small! It was a thrill a minute.

View of the Acropolis from outside the hotel

View of the Acropolis from outside the hotel

The hotel was an oasis of peace and calm from the bustle outside and once I was in my beautiful suite I suddenly felt exhausted. Tired or not I had to explore since I was only there for a couple of days on the way to Israel, my ‘final’ destination. I’m sure the Major D was surprised when I hurried through the doors so soon, asking for directions. I walked for hours before finally stumbling back to the hotel where I declared it exhaustion treat time and ordered room service.

One beautiful hot bath later my meal arrived and I settled down to find an English speaking news channel so I could find out if the Middle East was still peaceful.  The lure of the soft and gigantic bed was too much and I slept until breakfast the next morning.  A full breakfast was on offer but I didn’t want to waste time so off I went sightseeing and gathering all the brochures I could for my return trip.

image from news.gtp.gr     Athens Airport

 Picked up bright and early the next morning, (They even got the staff up early so I could have breakfast before I left) and I was whisked out to catch the El Al Plane into Israel. That was where the fun really began.

Next week – Learning to breathe again

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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