Hiatus (Never Mind The Gap!)

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Yesterday I went to the funeral  I mentioned in my previous post ,and it  got me thinking. Not about death(although that would be the ultimate hiatus!),but about taking a pause in life’s endeavours.It could be voluntary or thrust upon us.

I was speaking to an old friend at the funeral I had not seen for many years and he was in hiatus mode,and waiting for his next work/vocational opportunity.Waiting around can be hard , sometimes even harder than being in the middle of some major work or relationship ,which demands constant action but has the comfort of the known. As we wait, anxiety and boredom may creep in, self-doubt also.Those emotions and behaviours in themselves can give us learnings.

On the positive side,there is the opportunity to refresh and recalibrate.Taking a break from the known gives new perspective on what it is we do,the hows and the whys of those things.Modern life is not particularly geared to reflection,and it not often seen as a virtue.It is non – linear thinking and it is hard to show proof of its utilitarian worth.

And,as nature apprently abhors a vacuum,a hiatus is not nothing. It will fill itself with new inspiration and wonders ;the universe will pour in if we allow it.

My second son took  a hiatus in study last year ,and worked a couple of jobs.He simply wasn’t ready for university study.That used to be called  a’ gap’ year – like something you fall down. Maybe you never climb back out…. I have heard it called a ‘bridge’ year now and  I think I like that better,the idea of travelling over the unknown to the other side,whatever  that is.The universe is preparing us for the whatever next,often without us being conscious of it.

The photo above depicts low cloud hanging almost to ground level on a volcanic plateau.The wind has died away. Still,and just a bit eerie.That cloud actually obscures a spectacular,picturesque  mountain.It’s there,it’s just not visible to you now.After the hiatus,when the winds pick up and disperse the cloud, the mountain ,the next thing ,will hopefully be clear.




Why Do You Stay?


“Why do you stay in prison, when the door is so wide open?”

                                                                         – Rumi

Last  night I was watching a rerun of the movie ‘The Terminal’, starring Tom Hanks. His character is from a fictional republic in the  former Soviet Union and he  lands at New York ,but because of a revolution at home he is rendered stateless and thus unable to leave the  airport terminal .He has a personal mission  he must achieve in NY ,but when he is “gifted” a small envelope of time by the immigration authorities to walk out to America ,while they turn a blind eye , he hesitates at the doors ,and cannot exit, held back by fears.

The scene Rumi’s words above . All of us have at some time been held captive by fear and doubt, often of   our own making. When the chance  to escape comes, are we courageous enough to do so, or will we languish in our all too familiar cell?


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“You don’t need to have a plan”

“Once we say yes to life, yes to our wholeness and true wisdom, then the intelligence of  life will always provide all the  growth you need. Growth is a potent serum of  life. Life is always trying to always grow and expand us. You don’t need to have a plan.We need to work with whatever comes our way,moment by  moment to grow and expand  our  sense of self.”

Louise Marra,2017.

The person who wrote this is an acquaintance of mine and has taught me a bit about mindfulness as a way to approach life. She is very definite here,”…say yes to life….”.

We Kiwis have a colloquial expression .”yeah, nah”(sometimes nah, yeah”).To be uttered when asked a direct question and when unsure or equivocal. People do it without thinking (and it is good for a laugh!).But much as the cynic in me wants to reach for my proverbial gun upon hearing such unequivocally positive words, the kernel of the matter is reaching true acceptance of life, its circumstances and ourselves.

Only that, no inspirational quote or well thought out strategy ,will allow the personal growth Louise mentions. Life is pretty random and can be unkind too, but those unplanned and often unwanted moments are often key growth initiators.

Peace, Andy.

My Bowling Happy Place

20190206_101708.jpgWe all should have at least one physical place that makes us joyful, a spot where you can just be. I have a few as it happens and thought I would round off the series of lawn bowls posts with a shot of my own club and its green in Auckland.Sometimes noisy with the sounds of bowlers playing,at other times it is just me there in the parklike grounds,with the sounds of birds and cattle,the wind in the poplars and pines.Bliss…

On The Green

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Brightly coloured lawn bowls on a bowling green

I took up the sport of lawn bowls (played throughout the British Commonwealth in the main) some thirteen years ago ,and it is something I just adored from the get go. I play it competitively as well as socially. It’s like chess on steroids –  a great amalgam of eye/hand skills, individual technique, strategy, rules and etiquette ,combined with an immense variability of people (team mates and  opponents)and  playing conditions. Complex at times  but a simple game at heart.

Those blue bowls with the bat motif are mine by the way. Every set of  bowls is unique in size, weight and trajectory as well as decoration  and are very personal to the bowler. Playing with bowls other than my own is like walking on the moon, sorta feels unnatural.

You learn a lot from playing a sport, not the least of which is not to take yourself, your mistakes ,and losses, so seriously. Mistakes and losses happen and you are what you are. And, in the end, if  the game is not fun, maybe  you are taking it way too seriously!

A Design For Life

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I apologise to any arachnophobe having to suffer through this post and the previous one today, ‘Silken Castle In The Air’. This is fact the same web as in the last photo. Different angle, background and treatment .So, sinister or beautiful? Depends on your perspective, as the spider may have whispered to the fly.

It is not International Spider Day or anything…. but as the spider historically inspired Scottish king Robert the Bruce in his fight against the invading English when he was in defeat and despair, the creature has something to teach us now.

Assume for a moment that you are like the spider. You find or get yourself  in some major life difficulty – the web you have woven is tangled, as the saying goes . Matters appear hopeless. But here’s the thing – it is your web, you created its silk, you gave it a unique design and built it all yourself. And only you can navigate your web like you can ,straighten the tangles and repair the tears in the strands.

Whatever driving force or spirit you had in the creation of the cobweb will also help save you now. Trust in it.

We Are The Ones Who Stayed Behind

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Highway view, near Parry, GA. April 2017.

“We are the ones who stayed  behind, for all those good, bad and ugly reasons: because of caution, for conformity and obligation but mostly I suspect because of habit and fear. We didn’t take the risky road.”

A.A.Gill ,excerpt from ‘The Golden Door’.

Gill was describing those people who did not migrate from the Old World, Europe, to the new one, America but he could equally be describing all who have stayed where they were in a situation, place or relationship because they felt bound to it, refusing to take the leap into the unknown new. It speaks to me anyway…

Confusion Fog (Song By Meat Puppets)

I need a soundtrack to the last post ‘Confusion’ and none better than this juicy  example  of Meat Puppets’ sun-baked country/psychedelia from 1987’s ‘Mirage’. As the Kirkwood boys sing:

“Blue wind drift on
Blow through till the dust is gone
Gone, confusion fog”

There is that hint in the way the chorus  morphs and rises out of the chaotic rockabilly verses ,of fog lifting , being blown away….that also ties in somewhat with the thoughts expressed in my other recent post ‘Between The Lines’ in that sense…or maybe I’m just confused….

In Transition


Trees silhouetted in the pre-dawn light over my back fence. That time of day is special – night has faded but the sun is yet to rise, all things are in transition.

I have recently reflected a good deal about being in transition, as life events in the past year or two have placed me there, whether I like it or not. And you don’t have to like it, you just have to recognise when it is that time and place – and that it is an actual and important time and place , not a gap nor a void – make best use of this fallow period and be open to the possibility of some new things to come, albeit they have not arrived yet and you have no freaking clue what they might look like if and when they do.

This blog is littered with other images and thoughts about this phenomenon – refer the ‘Under The Wharf, Above The Waves’ series of posts or ‘Between The Lines’ ,just published, for instance. Others have probably described it much better. One who has delved deeply into the matter is William Bridges in his book ‘The Way Of Transition’, which has been both comfort and inspiration to me.

He says: ” All we know is that periodically , some situation or event deflects us from the  path we thought we were on and , in so doing ends the life chapter we were in. In order to continue   our   journey ,we are  forced to let go of the way we got that far. Having let go, we find ourselves in the wilderness for a time, and not until we have lived out that time can we come back around to a new beginning “.

Time And Tide


“Never give up, for that is just the time and place that the tide will turn”.

– Harriet Beecher Stowe

The tide clock above sat on the wall of a beach  house we stayed at a few days ago. It simply told us when was best to swim in the ocean or to gather cockles in the estuary. Of course ,the tides of life are not so predictable. This blogsite is not called ‘Ebb Then Flood’ for nothing. One will surely follow the other but the timing and length of the stages in the  cycle are frankly a guessing game and  beyond our control. Stowe exhorts persistence – I think recognition of the phase your are in and acceptance of it are part of the equation too. Scrape the barnacles off the hull on the ebb tide, strap yourself to the mast when the flood tide hits and prepare for the ride!

Black Wharf , White Points


Back to the wharf ,so to speak, or at least another wharf. Unlike the twilight zones depicted in the “Under The Wharf, Above The Waves” pictures elsewhere, this scene concentrates on the top of the wharf. Relatively comfortable maybe ,but the white tipped posts are a navigation guide for incoming boats, delineating the landing and guiding the skippers. And you wouldn’t want to sit on them if you’re feeling too comfortable…I am reminded that complacency is the enemy.