Part I: Three years on a journey with Spirit
... only to meet the Ghost
I was laying in bed the other evening, with my mattress pulled outside under the stars and the sweet dewy heat of the summer evening pulling at my thoughts. Then, that voice again.. the one that has me stretch and bend in ways i didn't know was possible, tugged at me. Write the story on your Blog!!!
"You want me to do what?!"
So here I am....It must have been almost 15 years ago now when the first domino was set, in what turned out to be a large game of endless pieces that followed me across thousands of kilometres.
I was at university, studying on the Northern Beaches of Australia, living in a tiny shack with no insulation and an out door bathroom. My 'pride' student home that i could afford. My sanctuary for books and study only blocks from my favourite beach.One evening I got that phone call from a friend of mine, I will call her Sally. Sally called me and begged me "please Adria, I really want to go dancing and my flat mate has invited herself along. I need you as a buffer". Of the 4 flat mates she had, this was the one she knew least of all.So I relented, put my books down and promised her a dance and a drink. We climbed the stairs of the Ivanhoe, a local pub on the strip and we found the tinny music from the Dj managed to get our feet moving before we'd finished the first round. We danced and twirled...
Actually, Sally flirted with beautiful men, and her flat mate "Clare" and I danced up a storm. We mouthed the lyrics and wiggled our hips - Im sure you get the picture...The final song that we boogied to was 'Superstition' from Stevie Wonder and we sang so loudly our voices were scratchy for the walk home. I embraced Clare good night and remember feeling so thrilled that i had broken my routine to meet her. I told her how much i liked her and we hugged again, parting ways with the words lifting off our tongue... "there is superstitious... writing on the walls.."The next morning, Sally called me with that dead pan sound in her voice. Two years before Sally had lost her house and her house mates in a fire, and so what I heard when she said "...something bad happened last night" were echoes of loss that crawled under my skin and taught me to walk without touching the ground.
I was at her house within seconds...
Part II The Journey Between...
I was at her house within seconds, just as the police were zipping the bag over Clare's body. She had taken her life that night... The house was full of her family, of her flat mates, of the police and of my arms wrapped around Sally, consoling her in her grief and loss.
But that was the end... We never spoke of her again. we never cried or mourned her loss, it was too surreal for an early 20 something year old to grasp. It was over..
Like travel separates you from people you love,
and never see again.
Life unfolded as it does. I traveled to Canada, met my partner and soon to be fiancé (another rich story), and eventually returned to Australia. We continued on in the Northern Beaches as I finished my university degree and planned to travel across Australia's 'Red-Centre'. Not the highway like most people would imagine, instead we travelled across thousands of sand dunes, in a sea of red dirt, for days of adventure and surrender. It was perhaps, one of my most favourite experiences of my life....
This is where I tap away on the keys and wonder if I should fill the spaces of my story with other layers of magic, or continue on the timeline of this particular story... Perhaps... I will write other stories?
A few years passed and my partner and I lived in dusty Alice Springs, traveled the rest of the country to Perth and flew away to South Africa, Europe, Canada and back to WA. After having worked in Aboriginal Art we were asked to open a new gallery in Perth and excited at the idea.
We'd found a beautiful little home and it felt exciting. Two 25 year olds exciting about what they love most ...
Art & BEAUTY
But Spirit had a different plan...
After my partner returned from a spontaneous trip to Europe, our business partner withdrew his offer. It left us empty.
The day we found out our dreams had been crushed we felt completely lost!
I went walking to find answers, talking out loud for answers, while my partner climbed into the one bedroom tree house in our back yard to meditate.
We both cried out for a sign.....
When I returned his face was white. He said "pack your bags, we're leaving tomorrow morning!"
It turns out that while he sat still and wondering, a limb the width of his shoulders fell from the tree and smashed through the tree house narrowly missing his body.
We took our refugee cat with his leash, and drove back across that great country called Australia. We drove from the West coast, to the East Coast, in search of home.
As young travelling adults we opened our guide for working on organic farms and stopped in at a lovely lavender farm on the far East Coast. It was perfect!
The owners were easy to be with, their neighbours were glass blowers and bead makers and we'd thought we had come home. It felt like all the answers...
A few weeks into it, the land owners went away and we decided to 'pretend' that we were going to stay there. To see how it felt, and unpack our bags for a while... Live our lives in this sweet magical rolling hills of NSW's South Coast - like normal people.
The night we committed to our relationship with this land, a rolling storm came through and shattered everything with hail the size of gulf balls.
But it wasn't the storm that scared us... It was the wrestles dreams, the tossing and turning with random words escaping our lips, and images of this particular town hounding us throughout the night... We woke, looked at each other, cried with a deep sadness, packed our bags and travelled North back to this place that had taken our interest a 1.5 years earlier when we had left Sydney on our adventure.
So we drove North... We opened our organic guide book and we called the only number listed with a sense of disappointment.
"No," she said.. "we don't take help anymore, its more work then its worth. Goodbye."
We were struck down. Our hope of finding a like minded community was crushed within 5 seconds of arriving after our 12 hours drive.
We were thank fully very young and stubborn. I found another quarter and, I called back!
"Hi Mary? Can we maybe just come by for a cup of tea then so you can help us learn about the community?" A deep reluctant exhale followed and we were sipping warm sweet tea within 20 minutes from the first phone call.
A truly beautiful property, rolling hills, grape vines, mud brick structure, wood oven. It was a taste of all the architecture and ethics we cared so much for. And, we became fast friends with this sweet mother and father figure they became family to us. We shared endless meals, and a rich Christmas feast with all of their family. We shared love, tears and much more...
During this time I began my practice, working as a Body Mind Acupressure® practitioner. I had a blast introducing this form of healing to Australia as I was one of the only practitioners at the time. I even worked with the family and learned of a deep heart break they had experienced in losing a daughter to suicide.
Their daughter had lived in Hawaii, and the stories broke my heart as I found myself working closely with them, and feeling adopted into their family at the same time.
"The night she took her life, no one was with her".... This part of the grief was the hardest for the family... in fearing her loneliness, and her aloneness. "If only I had been there to hug her" or talk with her" were words that came up a lot from them.
Mary once told me that sometimes I reminded her so much of the daughter she had lost, and our eyes would well with tears at the sentiment and sorrow.
I even found myself remembering that girl from that one night... years before... the one I danced with and... well... you know the story...
Part III The Return of the Ghost...
As life had it, my partner and I weren't destined to spend our lives together after all.
It was a sad story, and broke my heart in two. I learned a lot; lessons I never wish anyone to ever have to learn...
I ran away from this beautiful town, with my broken heart in my luggage, I returned to Canada. Where, the biggest gift of my life was returned to me.
I'd never known family an community as I had in those broken days. Never laughed so hard, never cried so helplessly, never played so freely...
One day, maybe six months after returning to Canada from Australia, I climbed a local mountain with two of my close girlfriends. I was feeling restless, and asked them to help me end clarity around where to live... I' spent over half my life in Australia, but I wasn't sure it was time to move back to Canada full time either. I was reminded to ask for guidance, and so I did,
"Please spirit, please give me a sign so big, and so clear,
I can't miss it!"
We climbed that mountain, laughing, singing and grunting away... And when we reach the top the euphoria was so well earned we whooped with joy and celebrated our victory. I sat there while the others went off, and I looked around at the perfect expansive view of my world in BC, and I said out loud, "So this is it? This is the big picture? I accept it, thank you, thank you, thank you..."
I jumped up with such a weightlessness that when I saw the prayer flags and that brass bell in the sun I couldn't help but skip over and ring it. When I got there though... I fell to my knees exhaling.
The girls came running asking what was wrong... The brass bell was the hight and width of my hand span, and had a large embossed Kangaroo on it with the words "Australia".
The next day, with mixed feelings, I packed my bag, booked my flight and took the next ferry back towards Australia...
I borrowed a friends van, a fabulous big thing, made a bed in the back, and tried to courageously "take back my country" from the loss I had experienced in my separation. I returned to the town where I'd (we had) lived, and united with Mary and her family for a great big Christmas celebration.
This years theme in Mary's kitchen was Moroccan! We didn't gift share this year, but I felt drawn to light a big candle I'd bought them in memory of their absent daughter.
We feasted. We shared stories; we laughed, we cried, we feasted some more. Each flavour a new discovery.
Mary and I were washing dishes after our meal and I told her,
"One day, I will take you to this fabulous Morrocon restraunt in the Northern Beaches".
"Oh honey," she said looking just past me at the candle, " I will never go there again."
"Because that is where our daughter took her life!"
I had no idea, I thought that in all of the stories that she had ended her life in Hawaii, where she'd lived..... And then I went ice cold.....
"Mary.... Did she live in The Northern Beaches over 3 and a half years ago?"... Without waiting to hear her reply, I then described the house she lived in, her hair colour, the sound of her laugh.....
The family came running when Mary screamed at me: "What are you doing!?"
"It was me," was all I could say, "It was me... I was with her the night she committed suicide... I was with her dancing... we sang Superstition and embraced... It was me... I was the last person to hug her, and touch her before she died... I was with her hours before she took her life...It was me"
It was all I could say over and over again as the shock took hold.
Three and a half years had gone by, thousands of kilometres across the country, through Europe, Canada and across Australia again, always being called back to this town. I'd met a man, I'd lost love, I'd finished university. I spent years searching for something and not knowing what it was. And, in all of the journeys, it was Mary's family who continued to call me across the country, and even across the globe once more... back into the folds of the family.
Mary looked at me, her face wet with tears and she said "That is just like Clare, to bring you here, to tell me this. I feel better, I feel at peace."
I left soon after and drove south, I never heard from the family again. I was a traveler, and I was used to falling in love and saying goodbye. Every parting is like a death. But not all partings are the same I guess....
It took Clare a long time to bring this message of peace to her family. I guess i t took a certain
kind of Gypsy...
And so, over three years later, and thousands of kilometres, we finally got to say good by.... the question is this:
Was there "superstitious writing on the wall?"