Tag Archives: mindful moments

Sign On or Sign Off – It’s Our Choice Now, and Now, and Now


I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning.  It was 5.15, the sky was overcast, the air humid.  I was sure I could smell a shower on the way and, contrary to the song lyric, I do not like walking in the rain, although I have been known to wish on the odd star in the Southern Cross Constellation. 

I really wanted to stay in the bed, the lovely, lovely bed.  The fan was blowing a cool breeze through the room, the sheets were soft and comforting.  Dotty the Fanatical Cat had yet to perform her early morning dance of the seven-varieties-of-Dine-Feast-this-minute on my right shoulder.

So, I’d almost made the decision to walk tonight, after the sun sets – be skin care aware, grasshoppers – and then, something happened.  I got up. 

Call it motivation, call it respect for delayed gratification, call it fear of a narrowing left ventricle.  I got up and off we went.  But some days, I don’t make it.  Some days I sign off, and I almost always regret it.

A famous athlete, Herb Elliott, said that the hardest part of training is getting out of bed every morning.  The trick is in realising that most of us need just a little burst of extra grunt in order to rouse ourselves, but once we’re up, we’re up.  The logic of the little burst applies to so many things in life.

Beginning, starting, having a go, being there, showing up.  Waking up.  Getting up.

Momentum.  The little burst.

Those who show up get the prizes, whatever they may be: money and jobs, sure, but consider, too, satisfaction, consider the comfort of knowing you’ve done the thing you wanted to do but didn’t think you could.  Consider the work, the art, as Seth Godin describes it, that will win you new life directions and career options.

Consider capturing the memoir moment.

Those who wake up and get up into their lives, those who actively choose to sign on to their lives, enjoy much better odds of, first of all, continuing and then, of finishing what they’ve begun.

It has to do with focus, mindful focus, as you create your memoir, your art, and your legacy now, and now, and now.

But ultimately, it’s your choice.  Perhaps you’ll cruise past the SIGN ON banner the first few times around the paddock.  Then, you might decide to take a look at who else is signing on, so you roll up at the appointed hour and mill about in the background, near the car for a quick getaway, among a handy stand of shady trees, so you’re almost invisible.

You pretend you’re just an onlooker, doing a bit of gardening – even though you hate gardening – checking out the last dandelion.  Not that anyone’s asking.  They’re all too busy queuing to sign on.  Eventually, you think, and this is where what you think comes into its own – thoughts dictate actions and feelings – you think, What the hell, what harm can it do?  With any luck that’s what you decide, because as some famous person’s humble father once said, You only regret what you don’t do, Jennifer.

Fear is often the biggest obstacle to signing on, even in the morning when all you need to do is pull yourself up and pivot sideways to greet the wonderful world of the vertical mammal.  Ignore fear, try it once, and let the little burst guide your way.

Are we going to sign on or sign off?  Now?  Or now?  How does now look? 

Let’s do it, grasshoppers.

Remember: Memoir = Life = Now

Possum Magic, or How to Feel 100 Grams Better in a Bad, Mad Season


La Nina has come to visit and she’s outstayed her welcome here in formerly sunny-almost-every-day Queensland.  Enough with the rain, enough with the floods, enough with the inland tsunami.

The dams are beyond fuller than full.  Adults and children are dead or missing.  Houses are wrecked and their occupants homeless.  Enough.

What is it with this crazed climatic family?  Before La N., El Nino hung around for years and years, kicking dust in our faces, spitting desiccated chips in our eyes, killing our native animals and livestock, burning off bushland, burning down houses, and burning out the light in so many people’s eyes all over Australia.

They’re like guests who come to holiday with you, this Nina, this Nino.  They arrive smiling with promise and potential, and their baggage – and don’t they have so much of it – but, like glitter, twist ties, and repeats of Two and a Half Men, you just can’t get rid of them.

What can you do about power that’s way beyond the control of teeny-weeny humans?

The other day, our state Premier, Anna Bligh, stood up to be counted, after a long period of dilly-dallying and less than inspiring shenanigans from the government benches.  She made a speech in which she called on everyone to remember who we are, and it bears repeating.

We are Queenslanders, she said.  We’re the ones they breed tough north of the border.  We’re the ones they knock down, and we get up again.

Strange to say, but a small marsupial must have been listening in at the window when Our Anna roused the citizens to get up again.

Meet Claudette, the sweetest little ring-tailed possum to grace our garden since – well, she’s the only one we’ve found so far.  But you get the drift – see photo for adorability factor up to wazoo.

Claudette – her name appeared from nowhere on a breeze of idle thought – was abandoned, we think, by her mother.  The pair may have been attacked, or frightened, or both, and in these circumstances, the baby – who usually travels on her mother’s back once she’s big enough to leave the pouch – gets shaken off as the mother goes into defensive mode and tries to save herself.  Unfortunately, possums don’t always return to collect their possumettes.

Lola found Claudette in a palm frond, wide-eyed, alone, waiting.  We waited, too, and watched, hoping for Claudette, senior, to return.  By the afternoon, with butcher birds gathering above Claudette’s tiny head, ready to knock her off her perch and – let’s not go there – we stopped watching and took action.

Once we managed to retrieve her from the tree – courtesy of Lola’s magical marsupial manoeuvrings – and place her in a comfy container, she went instantly to sleep, probably a little dehydrated, and certainly exhausted by the effort to remain alert.

We phoned the local vet for some wildlife carers’ names, and found Lyndal, a possum expert and all-round decent human being.  Lyndal put Claudette in a custom-made possum pouch – soft, bunny-rug fabric, just the right size for a 100 gram ring-tailed girl – so she could warm up and calm down sufficiently to be fed a special wildlife formula.

Lyndal phoned us later to let us know that Claudette was feeding and sleeping and doing all the things small furry beings do.  She said Claudette is particularly loving and gentle and she feels confident that once she reaches 500 grams or so, she can go to a soft-release site – an enclosed aviary-style area.  Here, other local carers – all of them volunteers like Lyndal – keep watch as possums like Claudette get used to natural surroundings again and meet other possums – they’re a community-minded bunch, the ring-tails, Lyndal tells us – before their full release into the open.

The moral of this everyday memoir?  Take from it whatever feels good, and I’d like to think that Claudette hung on instinctively until she could make it – with a little help from her friends – to somewhere safer, somewhere loving.

Not everyone has been or will be as lucky as Claudette, but I have to say I’m very proud of all of our fellow citizens who’ve stood up to be counted as these terrible floods wreak havoc and tragedy.

In the end, what we have are the mindful moments that make up our lives and, if we’re lucky – and by now we surely know that nature is random, and careless – each other.