Birthday Memories

On the 4th June last year I was in Cape Town with my beloved family to toast to the beginning of my 33rd year of life. We were brought together not by this milestone, but to mourn and celebrate the death and life of my father’s mother, yet were deeply grateful for being together. One of my many thoughtful gifts was a dictaphone, bought by my father and his wife after hearing of my desire to record and transcribe life stories from my husband’s last remaining grandparent, his maternal grandmother, into a book. Tonight I stumbled across a recording we had made at a sumptuous family birthday breakfast feast, whilst testing out the dictaphone, which I had forgotten about entirely and never listened to. It’s lovely to hear the threads of conversation that flow around the table, coming together with one focus and then splintering into smaller conversations, and hearing the voices of so many of those I love suddenly so close and alive. Continue reading


Consistently finding peace in my heart, despite all external pressures and events, whenever I turn my focus inwards.

A warm, dry vehicle when rain is softly soaking the earth.

Breathing into patience, and letting it subdue frustration.

The comfort of warm vegetable soup when the family is tired and not in perfect health.

Unwinding into the gentle subtleties of rhythm and lyrics.

Giving a small gift that unexpectedly lifted a heart I hadn’t realised was in need of soothing.

The joy of movement, and thrill of dance, even in memory.

Finding over and over and over again how infinite love is, and that it can expand endlessly.

The excitement of knowing I will be seeing my beloved father, siblings, nieces, nephews – all together for the very first time – in less than two weeks.

Shifts and changing patterns.

An ever-more-wide-open heart.

Autumn Equinox

Soles joy-blistered from
Dancing in the autumn gold,
Bidding welcome to darknening days.
I threw back my head and laughed, whooped
In a room of swirling energy and shared delight.

We twirled and leapt,
Stomped and stretched,
Sweated our prayers and opened our hearts
As we bid farewells to old patterns
And cleared space for that which we wish to let in:
Balance, Creativity, Harmony, Humour,

We left with seeds to sow,
Dreams to nurture,
And muscles to rest:
Hearts happy at the season’s turning
And a shared celebration of life.

Letting Go

His words have replayed in my mind many times since they were delivered, gently and following a warm hug, this morning: “You’re a powerful woman, Laurel, and you need to reflect carefully on where you choose to put your focus.”

I find myself in tears again at the feeling of loss evoked each time I face another person – in each case a medical practitioner or healer who I have turned to for treatment and advice – telling me that the cost to my body of playing my beloved sport of Canoe Polo is just too high. With instability due to hypermobility, an autonomic nervous system stuck in ‘flight’ mode resulting in an exhausted adrenal system, and numerous other weak points and injuries, I am just too vulnerable.

Why does the thought of giving up Canoe Polo evoke such deep sorrow? It’s been far more to me than just a sport. Yes, it’s fun, it’s a challenge, and it’s an adrenaline-packed high – but it’s also an international community of life-long friends, a carrier of countless joyful memories, and has taken me to many wonderful places – Great Britain, Ireland,

World Champs, Amsterdam 2006, SA vs Canada

The Netherlands



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My immediate consciousness upon waking was the brightness of the light and the exquisiteness of the song, just seconds before it cut – mid-lyric – to silence. I, capturer of lyrics and memories, could recall only the outline of the voice. ‘Who was that?’ I asked, not quite sure I was awake, yet aware of the bright bright light and the couch beneath me; disoriented.

The computer re-started, a few moments of waiting that felt like seconds less than it must have been, and the answer came, ‘Ruth Moody.’

Stumbling bed-wards, pausing in the bathroom, I didn’t want to wake, finding the hazy flow of reflection utterly intoxicating. Not remembering my dreams, I felt immersed still in the novel I had been reading as I closed my eyes and couldn’t grasp the moment between waking and sleeping.

The pure joy of writing. How even thinking of writing makes me more aware of the details – more fully present as I notice the chill tiles beneath my feet; the particular scent of the cool air coming in through the bathroom window that I want to gulp and breathe deep deep deep – as if breathing it can infuse the fullness of life into each and every cell. I grasp at the freshness of that air, yet want to integrate it without reaching for it – for it to be so integral that it merely is. Continue reading

Song of Myself (from Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’)

Trawling through my old poetry file, I stumbled across these deeply familiar yet long-forgotten words, which as a teenager I knew by heart:

“I exist as I am, that is enough.
If no other in the world be aware,
I sit content.
If each and all be aware, I sit content…

I dote on myself; there is that lot of me
All so luscious
Each moment and whatever happens
Thrills me with joy.
I cannot tell how my ankle bends
Nor whence the cause of the friendship
That I take again.”