It Is I

on Monday, January 21, 2013

I is And you. I is for identity. Pull out the Freud books, here we go... no, actually let’s not. Because I’m thinking along a few lines other than philosophy and psychology. For such a small word, ‘i’ is jam-packed with intent. From idiot to illuminati..we all has an I.

So who are you anyway? (Someone asked me that once, and I only had to think a moment before I had a choice of fifty answers. I chose one, and that is the version of me that they were introduced to.) Fact is, even if you have a nice pat answer to give anyone who asks, you are a whole lot more than you could ever tell them. a delightful irony the smallest word possible..with the largest meaning.

So if we are all that and more..what is identity? A lot has been said about our human need to put labels on ourselves. We like labels. It’s handy to be able to call oneself mother, or daughter, or student or handy that labels are insisted upon. Who are you?, demands the official document, and you faithfully fill out all the neat identifiers; sex, race, creed, age, marital status, religion. And there we are, all summed up and rubber stamped. And if that weren’t enough, polite conversation will soon inquire as to your line of work, so that you can fit nicely into the social and economic category that your occupation implies.
Ah but I am so much more. So are you. I am quite cross that the official forms don’t have a space for Imaginary Occupation. I would very much like to fill in ‘Pirate Queen’.

Here in Australia, we are well known for a cosmopolitan, multicultural outlook. We don’t tend to go overboard paddling our patriotic canoe, though our national identity is hardcore mateship. We seem to know who we are. The struggle for identity thrashes itself out between our many immigrants faced with having to build a new life far from the very things that make them feel at home.

So boiled down to it, what makes If you had to describe yourself without using any of the usual government sanctioned tags..what would you choose? Would you feel confident enough to isolate yourself from the safety of a bland category, and be the individual you are? Ok then... a challenge. Describe yourself with ten identifiers without any of the usual labels.

Here’s me: cupcake muncher, cryptic crossword hater, shell collector, cloud appreciator, watch wrecker, morning swimmer, gecko rescuer, shoe buyer, small toe stubber, password forgetter, bible thumber.

Identity is individual.

Saint Alvere, France

H is for Honey!

on Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I’m convinced that there are a certain few special substances which are a divine gift to mankind. Like honey. What can compare to honey? What can rival its texture and colour, its smell and taste? If we had the ears to hear it, I just know it would sound like sweet seduction. Honey is a feast for the senses, the perfect ingredient, perfect accompaniment, and to top it all off, it’s actually good for you!

What other food is so exquisitely prepared by its makers; from ingredients found in vessels of perfumed beauty? It is mixed into a heavenly amber concoction by faithful workers whose sole ambition and focus is its production; created in an atmosphere of dance and humming, and stored in perfect little handmade containers, pure and practical as such a delicacy should demand. Honey never spoils.

Honey is all about love. Devotion gleams from its warm soft depths. No wonder it is held in such high esteem by minds spiritual and scientific alike. Gurus cite it as an aphrodisiac, healing agent and purifier. Nutritionists list it as an excellent cholesterol-free source of energy and vitamins (including B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and certain amino acids and minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc…wow huh?), dermatologists will tell you it is good for the skin, and I … place it top of my list of potions that bring the world into balance.

Have you ever contemplated the patterns made by honey on your toast..or on your tummy? Have you ever dipped the spoon in and wound the tail around and around as though it were momentarily a sticky ball of yarn? Have you closed your eyes while you put that honey spoon into your mouth and paused your busy schedule for the seconds it takes the golden mass to melt into you? Have you tried honey on your carrots, on your yoghurt, with your chicken, in your tea? Why ever not?

Hey…health tip for a sweeter universe: don’t forget the honey!

G is for..

on Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Emotions are the elements of our lives. We float on the ceaseless tide, sometimes bobbing happily, and more often than not, swept underneath the current until the world is obscured by bubbles and debris. Elation, sadness, anxiety, contentment.. they are all necessary shades of our experience.

And sometimes, grief descends, dragging with it a host of other emotions which must be endured as a stream of visitors just at the time when we’d rather be left alone. I have witnessed grief in my loved ones, staring inward through its bulletproof glass, seeing lips move without producing words, feeling the chill of helplessness. What I saw was simply the frost, a herald of the great winter storm inside, never truly understood.. until my own loss enveloped me.

The permanence of loss needs a champion. Grief comes as a tide to sweep us into an acknowledgment of all that was. Feared emotion, yet it is a grey-blanketed saviour from indifference. Scribe of significance, grief records the loss of loves, granting a soul left a little lonelier the balm of recognition.

Death in all its forms is no surprise. Even oblivious in happiness it is understood that an end waits. Our fickle hearts must move and change, never lying in the arms of any emotion too long. Grief must leave its scars beside the imprints of feet and fingers and the exquisite carvings of joy. In this life I shoulder my humanity, and you yours, and we may nod, knowing, at one another walking on the mortal road, since we neither of us have the wings of angels.

G is for grief.

May we grow in grace.


on Sunday, January 6, 2013

Feelings.. those inclinations that have bypassed the brain and emerge like the weather, sometimes knocking us right off the horse. They say that thinking is where we get to engage the brain; feelings engage the heart. Are they at opposite ends of a scale? Or parallel channels on the mixer? Is it possible to operate both at the same time?

Perhaps that is a bit like rubbing your tummy while patting your head. It probably requires a good deal of concentration, and a split screen somewhere in the consciousness to monitor both simultaneously..are feelings just a different kind of thought?

I’ve done one of those personality type tests, and am told that I most often favour feeling over thinking. That’s well and good so long as I am sitting next to a feely type. If I end up sharing a bench with a thinkin person, I find myself using all kinds of hand gestures to try and weave my feelings into some kind of logical arrangement. It’s tricky. It’s practicality versus ascetics, physics versus fantasy.

It’s hard enough to put thoughts into words. Trying to jam the pillow-like forms of various feelings into little word boxes is exhausting! ...And this is why we are gifted with more than one method of communication! Body language for instance. Do they teach us to read that in school? They should! Even the extreme thinkers of this world often proclaim the way they are feeling  in posture and mannerism..

For those of us who rely on feelings, perhaps we should take up’s great for expressing oneself, since facial expressions also come into play..and it’s less noisy.

So how do I feel today? Pretty good, thank you.. well alright, a little frustrated. If communication is a science, I feel I’m still trying to fathom 101.  But here I am, still at it, pulling thoughts like loose threads from the fabric of my mind and stitching up little blog samplers...thinking it through.. but more often than not...just feeling my way.

A Love Poem

I wanted to write the most unromantic love poem I could;
Something gutsy and gory.
Why is it you feel so much in your gut? 
Shouldn’t feeling be in the heart? ..or the head maybe, since feelings are thoughts too. 
But no. It’s the tummy that twists with fear when you realize you missed the last bus. 
And your guts squirm with indescribable pangs when that one you love to be with leaves. 
You’d think love would make its home in a heart, 
but here we are losing our appetite and feeling weird in the pit of the stomach.
I wanted to write the most unromantic love poem I could, 
because sometimes love is ugly, spilling your innards all over the floor. 

©Julia Zed

Fleur de lis in France...

E is for..

on Tuesday, January 1, 2013

E is for evolve. No, not from an ape to an android, I just mean ‘change’ pure and simple; positive change, change for the better.

The new year is rearing to go, snorting resolutions and expectations, pawing at the starting gate and urging us to lay our bets. It’s the time when many of us take a good hard look at the things we’d like to change in our lives, some of us actually making lists, a couple of us actually serious about doing something to bring those changes about... Let’s be honest. The lists are often just last year’s wishful thinks revamped. It can seem as though we’re stuck in a rut. Confession time.. my bad habits have been doing reruns on my resolution list for ...well...decades?

But the truth is that where there is life there is change. Take a closer look and there have been changes, perhaps not all of them so obvious as the new baby in the house, or the five kilos gained. Little by little we change as we meet new people, see new things, try new things. Change is a given. Stagnation equals death.

Logically then, it’s the agents of change that will determine whether our life changes are positive or not. What will you watch? What angle will you take? Who will you listen to? Who will you talk to? What will you make of the new challenges life throws your way in 2013? Will they be stepping stones or bridge breakers? Snakes or ladders? 

Examine every experience.

I think, therefore I evolve.