richmond birdwing butterfly

23 years ago, we are at the edge of the Kuranda Rainforest track. Outside, there is only glare and heat and damp. The morning sun bites hard and hot. The bitumen is sticky with heat. The air is so wet that I breathe heavy from the short walk from home. And the blazing song of a million million cicadas buzz, throb, and pulse around us.

Kirra and me, we carefully ease past a cascading curtain of wait-a-while, and we enter the forest.

We enter the cool and dark and quiet.

We enter the stillness of the forest.

I pause to breathe a few breaths and to be present, here.

Kirra wriggles off my hip and runs ahead.

In the heart of this forest there’s a spot where the Kuranda creek murmurs around a large flat rock, 15 steps across: 25 steps for Kirra. There are flay dry patches of rock and little pools, rivulets, and a deep crevasse where an eel may – or may not – live.

Kirra is playing in the creek, perched on the rock, writing on the water with her stick and counting taddies.

I lie on the cool cool stone to look up at the forest giants.

The giant trees, columns and canopy shade us completely: just a few slender rays of sunlight are made visible where they illuminate a leaf, a twig, or tiny floating particles of dust.

And rising between the columns, a cloud of Richmond birdwing butterflies, green stained glass, catch and reflect that sunlight as they circle and eddy slowly in a gentle updraft.

Photo of a male richmond birdwing butterfly resting on a stick, wings open.
Bob Decker. 2012. Richmond Birdwing Butterfly. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


my xmas revelation

Yesterday I had a beautiful Christmas revelation.

I was beating myself up because even after all the Landmark, the nonviolent communication and the transpersonal philosophy, I was still experiencing some hurt over a little comment made by my mother.

For Christ’s sake – how pathetic – and when will I finally be enlightened!

I then imagined myself surrounded by the Xmas chaos, in the midst of screaming kids, barking dogs, people complaining about kids, dogs, and people complaining about kids and dogs. And people complaining about people complaining about kids and dogs. And there is me in the midst of it all – serene, calm, totally at peace with the world – present, but not engaging in all this icky messiness.

And I just started to laugh. I mean, as if.

I just had to stop writing and laugh again: Ho ho ho!

And then I thought We are spiritual being having the human experience. And I actually got it. I am just having the human experience. And just like a Contiki tour, this experience will include joy and pain, satisfaction – and so many regrets. Ho ho!

I am going to feel feelings – all the bloody time! I am going to try and grasp onto some of the fun feelings and give myself a bloody great rope burn even though I know better!

That’s what humans do!

I am going to run away from pain, even though I know that pain cannot be run from and that I am running in circles and will eventually trip over the pain and stub my toe and really have something to cry about.

Sometimes, being human hurts.

And sometimes I will cry. Sometimes I will curse. Sometimes I will blame others for my predicaments. And then I will get exasperated with myself for not being more enlightened.  And then I will remember all over again, and I will laugh. Ho ho!

What a ride!

Ho ho ho – Merry Bloody Xmas!!

Eli Duke. Snail. CC BY-SA 2.0

a bird in flight

a bird in flight that leaves no trace –
the touch of knowing does not grab,
but leaves things as they are

traceless bird –
to know you,
& leave you as you are


“Like a bird in flight that leaves no trace, the touch of knowing does not grab but leaves things as they are.” (p 14.).

Puhakka, Kaisa. (2000). An invitation to authentic knowing. In Tobin Hart, Peter L Nelson & Kaisa Puhakka (Eds.), Transpersonal knowing: Exploring the horizon of consciousness. (pp. 11-31). New York: NY. State University of New York Press.