Discoveries – Part II

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Australia Day 2016 – Return to the Forest

Today is the day of reckoning from the snakebite of December 29, 2015. It is exactly a calendar month ago today that I was bitten by a snake, an incident, which has consumed a major part of my attention over the twenty-eight days and more intensely over the past sixteen days, once I was willing to accept that the culprit of the wound was indeed a snake and not a stick.

The past few weeks has presented unfamiliar challenges and new opportunities for growth. In the midst of facilitating a group of new staff members yesterday and while talking about the value of going outside of our comfort zone, I decided that it was time for me to reconcile with the forest. I had not been back since that fateful day and the mere thought of returning brought immediate and immense discomfort to the surface. I now have a greater appreciation for all the reasons why we become so good at keeping things at arms length, because getting up-close and personal stirs the very material that has had time to settle and the last thing that anyone in their right mind would want to do, is to revisit the cause of pain and anguish.

In preparation for the workshop I felt my spirit return after what seemed like an eternity without my customary levels of vitality. I’ve learned a great deal from the incident with the snake, a creature that is often misunderstood and labeled a dangerous predator, similar to the popular belief that sharks are simply in the water to hunt people down. This of course is ludicrous, yet fear can be a great distorter and when we feel unsafe our imaginations will run wild. If the truth were told, it was I who entered the snake’s territory and rather than considering the reptile armed and ready to attack, it is my belief that the snake was protecting itself.

There are a number of experiences I’ve been through in my life that I did not enjoy and would not have chosen, but I am of the belief that those experiences have shaped and have been valuable contributors to the person I am today. It’s a bit like leaving home to go travelling and opening ourselves to the adventures, triumphs and travesties that we encounter along the way. The important thing to remember, no matter how far we roam, is to fully experience life and the truth of who we are.

I made the declaration to return to the forest while in the presence of a number of other people so that the intention was held in solidarity with eyewitnesses, just in case I woke up feeling uncertain about the idea this morning. I did wake feeling uncertain and the systemic toxicity that remains in my body was uncomfortable, as was and the taste of poison in my mouth that I’ve been accustomed to over the past couple of weeks. The last thing I wanted to do was to return to the scene of the crime but it was important to face the fear in order to see the beauty on the other side, and so that’s what I did.

As I drive along the freeway to make peace with the snake and its environment I began to cry tears of relief and release of the tightly held fear and trauma I encountered and have been nursing. I was thinking about the things I’ve learned as a result of the snakebite like the value of helpful people and the outstanding service offered at the Hyde Park Health Care Clinic and the Royal Adelaide Hospital. As tears rolled down my cheeks I felt sadness welling in my throat for what I’ve been through. My energy levels remain unpredictable at this stage of my recovery. One minute I feel fine and the next minute I feel a wave of exhaustion and need to lay down. Yesterday I noticed oedema along my legs and upper arms so I will attend a Bowen session to assist moving the poison out of the fatty tissues and from my lymphatic system. I continue to work intuitively with essential oils and am attending network care sessions on a regular basis. Many days have been spent on the couch with little or no capacity to do anything other than rest. During the recovery period I have surrendered to the impulse to become reclusive and aware a new level of self-care. I’ve adopted the practice of ‘not-knowing’ what I’ll be doing each day to make myself available for the highest experience possible.

I arrived at the forest and at the edge of the lake the ducks greeted me. I turned around and saw utmost beauty in the simplicity of a tree with a bulbous base. I saw exquisite detail of life amongst the reeds and the refection of the clouds upon the water. A noise at the top of a tree caught my attention and I looked up to see a large piece of bark fall from the trunk and float to the ground, a gesture of shedding a layer that was no longer required.

As I walked along the path I thought about the energetic influence of fear and its subsequent disruption to the body’s harmonics. As equilibrium is disrupted we springboard out of the moment, ushered by an impulse that suggests the moment is not safe. We file the experience away for safekeeping and the next time we experience similar circumstances, our fear response is triggered as a survival mechanism and we relive the conditions of the initial incident where fear tried to save us. Harmony will be restored once we release the trauma and fully express the discordance.

As I walked along the track I passed a young woman pushing her child up the hill in a pusher and she said, “this last bit is steeper than you think”. And as the kookaburra laughed in the old gum tree, I was nearing the site of the snakebite. I could feel myself recoil as I headed to the place where ‘X’ marks the spot and as the woman aptly suggested, ‘the last part wasn’t easy’. Choosing to recover in my own way has challenged convention and it has encouraged me to consider the shamanic approach which includes seeking out my deepest fears. The fear of being isolated and misunderstood is certainly at the top of the list and yet they lose their grip as the value of non-attachment weighs in. The sunlight streamed through the treetops and I felt supported in my quest.

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I felt a degree of concern pulsing through my veins and paid extra attention to the ground ahead. My child-like carefree spirit had been replaced with caution. Along the track I picked up a thick stick to use as a weapon, just in case. Another walker passed by and commented, “Are you expecting danger?”, and asked me if I’d seen a snake. “Not today”, I said, as a brave declaration as much as an answer to the question. I was acutely aware that fear was increasing with each step and then two delicate little birds frolicking in the grass caught my attention. Had I not become aware of what was happening right in front of me I would have missed the beauty of the birds. Fear has been consuming my enjoyment and I was determined to create something positive to restore my love of the forest and release myself from the fear that was strangling my sense of adventure.

Just as the lady with the pusher suggested, the last part was steeper than I thought and I picked up a bigger, even stronger stick, just in case. My heart rate increased and as I looked down, I had a vice like grip on the branch. Almost in slow motion I passed the spot and then felt an energy drain from my body and more tears starting to flow. I realised the fear had been forcing me out of the moment and the incident was now in the past and I could let it go. The fear of the past repeating itself began to subside and was replaced with a sense of relief and expansion.

I dropped the stick and started to skip. I’ve been teaching people for years that it’s not possible to remain in a bad mood when you are skipping, and it was time to put my own medicine into practice. Not that I was in bad mood, but I had lost sight of the inner elasticity that would ordinarily stretch beyond the circumstances and allow me to appreciate the moment. I skipped past another walker with their dog and noticed that I was exuding a big dose of freedom and no sign of self-consciousness. The mission was complete and I was free to go. As I drove away I was lovingly escorted along the road by a brightly coloured lorikeet that took that lead me in the victory march of liberation. I did it!

I read a quote recently that said once we come through a storm we may not recognise ourselves as we are forever changed, not by the storm itself, but by delving deeply within us to find what we need to survive. I haven’t been my usual self for the past month and maybe the self that I knew is no longer.

© 2016 Patricia Herreen

The Year of Discoveries

Leap Year

Happy New Year!

2015 was a year of discoveries and proved pivotal for lasting change and 2016 is set to deliver the benefits of those changes. I had an interesting time between Christmas and New Year with some unexpected cleaning up and completion in areas that I had no idea were on the agenda.

On December 29 I went for a regular walk to the forest and as I ran along the last part of the path I felt something hit my leg. In my peripheral view I saw what I thought was a stick rickashay from the left hand side of the path into the scrub. I thought no more about it until I was sitting at a nearby cafe with a pot of coconut chai and preparing to write work reports.

My right leg felt a bit stingy and I noticed two incision marks at the bottom of my leg of with blood at the surface. I felt a rush of fear pulse through me and became scared that it could be snakebite. I decided to get a second opinion and dropped into friends on the way home that said, “I think you better get that checked out.” They rang the local surgery and before long I was having all my vital signs checked, the wound was immobilised with a bandage and I was whisked off to hospital under supervision for suspected snakebite.

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It’s been a long time since I was in a hospital and even longer as a patient. I found myself balancing on a tightrope between my concerns and those of the medical staff, while being mindful to respect both perspectives and remain empowered and true to myself in the process.

The local surgery doctor who insisted I was not to drive myself to the hospital presented the first challenge. I was transported to the emergency ward and told to prepare myself for observation over the next eight hours with two four-hourly rounds of blood tests. The second challenge was presented by the hospital doctor when he asked me how long it’s been since I’d had a tetanus shot? Gulp! I said it was a long time ago and I didn’t want another one. At that point, the doctor’s authoritative attitude kicked-in and I felt like I was being treated like a petulant child. It was fascinating to observe the power of authority at work and to bare witness to its immediate impact.

The next challenge was the blood test. Ouch! My inner child was not happy about that, ‘I don’t like needles,’ but I wasn’t going to get out of that one, so I tried to make light of it by joking around about the film ‘Elf’, where Buddy has a blood test and a huge response to the prick of the needle. The doctor was aware of the movie but unmoved by my amusement.

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The culture of our health care system encourages us to acquiesce to the procedures presented by the people in charge. There is merit in knowing that we have a professional service we can rely on, yet signs of humanity seem to fly out the window in the face of protocols and procedures. There is an implicit expectation within the current system that one will automatically hand over their power to the authority without due consideration of the democratic right for personal choice.

Unless we know ourselves intimately and are willing to take full responsibility for our wellbeing under any circumstance, then the disparity can easily lend itself to an imbalance of power and leave the patient at the mercy of the doctor expectation and prognosis. After the first blood test I was transferred to a short-stay ward and the doctor returned  a couple of hours later with the all-clear from the first tests. I was then ready to go home and expressed this to the doctor who advised me that I would need to sign a form to declare that I was choosing to leave the hospital against doctor’s advice. I told him that I appreciated his position and if I started frothing at the mouth in a few hours then I would return to the hospital. Without a smile the doctor said that snakebite does not respond to protocol and the toxins could simply lead to a bleed in the brain and I could die! Ouch! I must admit I did feel a twinge of discomfort from that fear-induced farewell but still I chose to sign the form and walk away from the hospital trying not to drag the negative expectations of the medical fraternity with me.

I was of the opinion that my leg was hit by a stick and remained firm in that opinion until today, almost two weeks after the incident. Today I am only convinced that I was bitten by a snake and was not ready to believe it at the time because the fear would have killed me. A venomous snake obviously did not bite me as the symptoms would have appeared almost immediately. In observation of the wound the toxins have ulcerated my leg and the poison is now systemic. I am sick to the stomach and akin to the shamanic practice of transmuting poison, I believe the toxins serve a purpose by triggering the release of lower frequency toxins that have been stored in my system and are now ready to be release and healed.

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There is a bigger picture revealing itself in regards to the snakebite and its correlation to ancestral cleansing. I can remember my Mum and her Mum both suffering from ulcerated wounds at the bottom of their right leg. In the lead up to Mum’s passing, the doctor wanted to cut Mum’s leg off because there were no signs of circulation below her groin. The diabetic induced ulcer was not able to heal because it was starved of oxygenated blood and for Mum that was figuratively the wound that would not heal and would be the end of her.

Mum had developed diabetes in the last six years of her life and would take her medication with Easter egg chocolate or creamy pastries. Mum made no connection to her food and health and suffered the consequences. As I write I am brought to tears at the deep sorrow of the emasculated feminine within her being that gave way to the illness that took her life. She had given up on her feminine intuition and lived at the mercy of her hardened inner masculine. It was too much for Mum and for similarly for her Mum who met with a similar demise. Neither women remained open to the experience of joy in their life and were governed by disappointment and oppression.

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There is also an ancestral link to the sluggish lymphatic system that accompanied their diabetes, which I have spent time investigated and discovered that metaphysically the condition is characteristic of bearing the burden of being female and rearing a family without the personal support they needed. They denied themselves love for love was denied them and it is my intention to bring completion to that patterning. I stand to make the changes that will make the difference and bring an end to the Cold War of the Heart at this time for planet Earth.

I am more aware than ever before of the contribution that I am making to the evolution of humanity by consciously doing the inner work. I understand that everything leads us in the direction of wellbeing and it is only our judgment that keeps us separate. The toxicity of the snakebite resonates at the same frequency as the childhood fears, wounds and despair that were familiar territory during my upbringing. The ulcerated wound on my leg has served to bring attention to the similarities with my mother and her mother and in turn to the deep ancestral wounds of the distorted masculine and feminine that are being dislodged.

I have the privilege to be alive at this auspicious time and to bear witness to the birthing of the divine masculine and divine feminine within that accompanies the dawning of a new epoch.

© Patricia Herreen 2016

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Christmas of the Inner Child

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This year is the ‘Christmas of the Inner Child’, which marks a time for the awakening of your adult self to step up and parent your inner self. If you feel triggered by anything that is said to you or about you at Christmas, then do yourself a favour and stop for a moment, to take a breath and do your best to realise that an old wound has been revealed because you are now equipped to acknowledge and resolve it.

You have no power outside of yourself to change the circumstances but you have absolute power within yourself to resolve the inequity. Bring love, understanding and forgiveness to yourself in that moment and let your inner child know that the patterns of old are over and you are no longer at the mercy of the whispers and whims of others. Heal the damage within yourself and the impulse to lash out will dissolve. Give your inner child the best Christmas by being ‘present’ for their needs in every moment and share in the joy, laughter and each challenge that presents itself by taking charge within.

Outmoded distorted loyalties may pull at your heartstrings and urge you to connect with others at the level of their suffering. The higher invitation is to resist the temptation to react to the ways of old and to bring in the new by taking direct care of ‘you’ and knowing that you have the power and permission to love YOU in the face of whatever surrounds you. From that place you will rise above the mundane and connect with your own magnificence, which provides compassion and understanding in plentiful supply. Be the change you want to see in the world this Christmas and reclaim your power by knowing that it starts and ends with you.

When we put the necessary supports in place we can get through anything. ~ © 2015 Patricia Herreen

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Honouring the inner Masculine and Feminine

 Heart Gift to Self

Honouring the inner Masculine and Feminine

It’s no longer about who’s right and who’s wrong

It’s about mutual respect and higher understanding

It’s no longer about competition and winning

It’s about cooperation and honour

It’s no longer about the distance between us

It’s about unity and generosity of spirit

It’s no longer about what sets us apart

It’s about what brings us together

It’s no longer about subjugating our needs for another

It’s about recognizing that all needs matter and begin with ourselves

It’s no longer about fear and frustration

It’s about acceptance and truth

It’s no longer about walking on eggshells

It’s about walking side by side on purpose

It’s no longer about obligation and duty

It’s about freedom and choice

It’s no longer about us and them

It’s about you and me living in harmony within and never going without

It’s no longer about time

It’s about now.

© 2015 Patricia Herreen

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The Christmas of the Inner Child

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The Year of “The Inner Child Christmas”…

The Christmas Pageant is brought to life in Adelaide this weekend and thus begins the countdown to another Christmas. The pageant marks the pathway to the Magic Cave where Father Christmas eagerly awaits the tales of expectant children as they divulge their deepest wishes to Santa.

I remember the excitement of going to the Christmas Pageant as a child and being delighted that the reindeers ‘Nipper and Nimble’ had returned for another year to help Father Christmas make children’s wishes come true. I also remember waiting in line to enter the mystery of the Magic Cave, believing that Santa knew my thoughts, my wishes and my dreams. Each Christmas, as I stood in line, I reflected on events throughout the year, keeping my fingers crossed that Mum had forgotten to fulfil on her threat to add my name to the ‘naughty list’.

As I look back across my childhood, I realise that I, like so many other children was conditioned to behave in certain ways in order to reap the rewards of life. The standout ‘reward times’ were birthdays, Easter, the Royal Show and of course, Christmas. The festivities were spread throughout the year and became event markers of meaningful occasions that remain significant and memorable. On those particular days I felt confident that things would be all right. The impulse to be ‘a good girl’ proved a worthy investment, inspired by the promise of treats and shared experiences.

I loved the joy my mother generated at Christmas, birthdays, Easter and the Royal Show and I looked forward to them each year because those days were celebrated and acknowledged, unlike many other days in our household that were not as easy to predict and often fell short of a child’s primary needs for safety and protection. I often felt sad and uncomfortable as a child without knowing why. Being exposed on a regular basis to behaviours that are contradictory in nature and confusing to a child will instill a sense of fear and uncertainty to the core of the vulnerable innocents and eventually proceed to erode their fabric of wellbeing.

I can only begin to image what life was like for my mother. She gave birth to her first child at the tender age of eighteen and birthed eight more children over the following fourteen years. I have compassion and higher understanding of my mother’s plight now, but as a child I was merely on the receiving end of a lack of resources and was subjected to a tirade of abuse and neglect. It has taken a long time for me to be able to declare such assertions and doing so has only been made possible by the absolute resolution of my upbringing. I hold no animosity or ill will toward my family, in fact, I hold immense gratitude for the set of circumstances that propelled me toward making conscious choices in my own life and stirred the desire to make a difference in the world. It has not been an easy road, but it has been a worthy one.

And how does all this relate to Christmas? A recent survey in America revealed that over 85% of children aged 8-12years would give up their presents in preference to seeing their parents ‘happy’ and the same children held higher regard for spending time with their parents than for receiving gifts, especially where the cost to the parents outweighed the budget, which imposed added stress on the family. Behind the impulse to provide our children with the kind of Christmas we want them to have and behind the stresses we put on ourselves to deliver the goods beyond our budget, is a simple heartfelt desire to connect heart-to-heart with the people in our lives that matter the most.

With this in mind, I am standing up to the ghosts of Christmas Past and declare this year “The Christmas of the Inner Child.” I have made a list of the things my inner child loved about Christmas and I invite you to do the same. Perhaps you could compare lists with your own children and plan activities together that restore the wonder and magic of the true Spirit of Christmas.

© 2015 Patricia Herreen

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11:11 Awareness of your Greatest Asset

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In the lead up to November 11 – 11:11 there is a surge of powerful energy at hand. It is Remembrance Day and 2015 marks the occasion of an auspicious remembrance, not just for the lives that have gone before us and those who paved the way for the world as we have know it, but 11:11:2015 marks a special time in history. The veils between the worlds are super thin and the time for collective awakening on the physical level is paramount.

Since the end of the epoch of masculine domination and activation of the divine feminine in conjunction with the shift in consciousness on December 21, 2012 Lightworkers across the globe have diligently applied their skills, wisdom, faith and knowledge in preparation for the changes that are now bestowed us.

Lightworkers, Visionaries, Artists, Musicians, Filmmakers, Teachers and Prophets have lead the way, working with the frequencies of light and delivering inspiration to upgrade the quality of their relationships with their emotional and spiritual selves. As leaders of the ascension, the groundwork is complete and humanity reaches the tipping point toward physical illumination.

The Angelic realms celebrate the unity of the spheres and rejoice in the delivery of light into the hearts of mankind. There is a clarity bestowed upon us now that allows us to embrace the quality of our true nature and rise above all previous forms of limitation and suffering.

The invitation of the 11:11 energy is to align with YOUR truth. What is your truth beyond all conditioning? Look deeper than the truth we have been encouraged to speak. Look beyond the truth we have been told would save us. Look further than the truth we have been expected to believe, into the depths of what makes you… YOU!

What is it that makes you, uniquely you? We each bare a life-given gift that identifies us like a fingerprint; it is a soul-print that distinguishes us and while it may appear to set us apart from everything else, at the highest level it connects us to all living things and provides the pathway for our hearts to recognize each other. Heart to heart communication is the way of the future.

The full expression of our unique gift is our own brand of currency. It is the very thing that you have always had within you, without having to work for it, earn it or prove it… for it just is. It is likely to be the aspect of your nature that comes so easily and effortlessly that you may have taken it for granted. You may have been conditioned to believe that you must work hard to earn your place in this world and with that line of thinking, you may have learned to devalue your innate gift and may have given it away many times before waking up to its true value and you as your greatest asset.

Your own true worth is embedded in the quality of your gift and is an intrinsic part of your nature. To identify your gift, consider what you would do whether you earned a living from it or not. Your greatest gift is the thing that makes the most sense to you, it is the thing that brings you home to your self and adds the most value to the world at the same time.

Trying to survive in a world where your greatest gift is devalued; is the shortest road to low self-esteem. True worth is reflected in the difference made through the contribution of your gift. Take a moment for yourself on 11:11 and acknowledge this day of reckoning to reclaim the power of the gift that is rightfully yours.

© 2015 Patricia Herreen @ Connecting You

Old Fashioned Business

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The Chocolate Man

I was introduced to the North Queensland Chocolate Company during my recent visit to the Daintree. I met the lovely wife of the chocolatier at the Port Douglas Market and delighted in a chocolate conversation and tasting the raw cocao nectar, which is appropriately known as ‘Montezuma’s Gold’. The quality of the nectar was exquisite, I physically felt my body come to life as the gold flowed through my veins.

I bought supplies of the specialty chocolate to take home and gifted a friend a block during a difficult time in her life. She became an immediate convert and ordered supplies of her own. I placed another order that seemed to be a long time coming, so rang to determine what the hold up was. I was informed that the chocolatier’s mother had passed away and he was grieving. He did not want to direct his grief into the chocolate so he ceased production until the depth of his grief subsided.

I acknowledged his choice and he thanked me for my patience. I shared with him the honour it is to deal with people at this level and have been enriched by the whole exchange. As far as I am concerned, this is the new way of doing business, with good old fashioned values and an equitable exchange based on respect, conscious collaboration and generosity of spirit.

Amen.

© Patricia Herreen 2015

www.northqueenslandchocolate.com

Unravelling the depths of self-loathing

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“Whatever the cause, whatever the reason, it is essential to our own sense of wellbeing to forgive those who knew no better. The divine innocence of a child’s love can so easily be manipulated to serve the unmet needs of others. The distortions and dire consequences set up within the child who is being used as a pawn in someone else’s battle of survival can run deep and dirty.

Growing up, I was conditioned to be ‘nice’ and ‘respect my elders’. Many times I’d had enough of being nice when presented with behaviours and actions that did not feel nice or honourable and so I would withdraw to put space between my self and the circumstances, so I could gain a better perspective. There was never permission to leave the game, as the survival of others depended on each person playing their part and this is what I came to understand as family loyalty.

Many times I felt alone and wounded by the erosive nature of the antics of those closest to me. Any impulse to act differently or move away from the game was deemed disloyal and I was labeled selfish and unloving. I lived with this inner battle for decades and believed I was a bad person for thinking less and wanting more than the cards I was dealt.

Knowing it was unhealthy was only the first step to relieving myself of the binds that kept me anchored to it. I was so accustomed to taking the blame and being the scapegoat that I saw myself as the cause of the underlying unhappiness and dysfunction within the family. When all attempts to make a difference within the pack failed, I would step out for a while to regain composure, restore inner strength and then go back in for more. I felt impotent to affect positive change and at the same time felt responsible for the wellbeing of each member of my family as a priority over my own. This kept me bound to a holding pattern that I now understand as self-loathing. I despised myself for not being able to save my family, which I believed would qualify me to gain the permission I sought to live a life free from the constraints, obligations and despair that I was consumed by.

I had no idea that the only way I was ever going to gain permission to live a better life was by giving it to myself. The idea of choosing it was beyond my comprehension. The very thought of it instilled a sense of failure as a breach of disloyalty and family trust.

After years of heartache and frustration I took the risk of leaving the enmeshed family nest and began the journey of unraveling from the layers of maltreatment. The years of investigation into the patterns of behaviour and belief that had held me hostage to a life that was not my own, eventually paid off. I diligently unpacked and reacquainted myself with every opinion and untruth I had ever held against myself. This was an essential part of the process of setting myself free. As I revised each chapter I gained a higher perspective of the lack of resources and awareness that drove my family to act in the way they did.

Investigating self-loathing proved very interesting as it revealed a deep distortion about the true nature of love. I had believed I was unworthy of loving because I wasn’t loved without condition. I learned to turn in on myself and take the blame for the list of reasons I was not loved and accept it as part of the consequence of being me.

Further investigation revealed layers of tightly packed protection that was keeping me at a distance from love at the core of my being. A series of distortions filled the layers and were held firmly in place with anger. Anger was the big no-no emotion in our house, absolutely forbidden. No expression of anger was permissible and ironically would be met by my parents with an outburst of their anger with such force that any spillage from me would turn immediately inward to the recesses of the inner filing cabinet.

Returning to the scene of these inner crimes brought to the surface the layers of anger that had been repressed and invalidated by shame, blame and guilt. When I finally went in to remove all that had been held in long-term storage, I had an intense physical response and literally thought I was going to burst. My stomach distended and the discomfort was immense. As I dug further into the anger I encountered a layer of injustice for the way my innocence was used against me and that quickly gave way to another layer of self-loathing to ensure the previous layer never got out.

The deeper I went, the more convoluted and lacking in sense were my discoveries and eventually, through the fog it all started to become clear and inform me that the confusion, overwhelm and lack of understanding had been the glue that kept the self-loathing in place. If clarity had reigned at the time then change would have been imminent, but while confusion ruled, I could continue to believe that I was dumb and stupid and believe it was my fault.

The rage that surfaced from beneath the self-loathing was fuelled with a fire of passion I had never felt before. I was furious that I had ever allowed myself to be tampered with like that and all at once I knew I was getting closer to the truth because the moment of self-deprecation didn’t last long. It was short lived and gave way, like the phoenix rising from the ashes, to the treasure deep within. I finally reached the inner pot of gold and knew with every ounce of my being that I was valuable beyond measure and no one would ever take it away from me again. I knew beyond words that I was no longer at risk of being manipulated by lies and that the outmoded willingness to have my love used against me in order to survive was over. There was silence. The digging stopped. The layers went no further. I had excavated through every layer that held me from the riches within. I was home.”

© Patricia Herreen 2015

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The Legacy of Robin Williams 1951-2014

RIP Robin Williams

On August 11, 2014, Robin Williams ended his life. On the first anniversary of his suicide, I reflect on that fateful day and the loss of a legend.

I recently learned that Robin Williams’ death was one of over a hundred suicides on that day. I send compassion and deep respect to everyone whose lives were irrevocably changed by the tragic circumstances of others.

Robin Williams’ death heightened the value of life for many and though bittersweet, served to reduce the stigma and open channels for conversations and transparency about depression that were long overdue.

In my training courses I continue to refer to the brilliance of Robin Williams as an actor and comic genius, his spirit of generosity and unique ability not only to see the absurdity of human nature but to make us belly laugh about it.

I have learned that from an understanding of our deepest emotional wounds comes the opportunity for the greatest gifts of transformation to humanity. It is only part of the deed to pay forward that which we deem of utmost importance, for in order to gain a sense of resolution and completion we must also bring it home to ourselves. I pay tribute to the man himself for the riches, the lesson and the learning. RIP Robin Williams.

© Patricia Herreen 2015

Film Review | The Water Diviner

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Four years after the battle at Gallipoli, the fallout continues for Australian farmer Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe) and his wife Lizzie (Jacqueline McKenzie), who remain disturbed by the trauma of not knowing the whereabouts of their three sons.

Directed by Crowe, and written by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios, The Water Diviner is inspired by true events, telling a dramatic tale of a man’s quest to fulfil his promise to find his boys and return them home.

Connor travels to Turkey, where he is met with hostility and suspicion by governing bodies who are in charge of the massacre site and bound to keep trespassers out of harm’s way from landmines and the debris of war as they continue to identify the ghosts on the battlefield and put the past to rest.

Meticulous cinematography in the masterful hands of Andrew Lesnie (The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings) helps highlight the profound cost of the war. Flashbacks to battle scenes depict young soldiers in the trenches, suffering harrowing uncertainty and graphic brutality.

A haunting original music score by composer David Hirschfelder (The Railway Man, Shine) complements the action and provides an emotive backdrop.

Twenty-five years of leading roles on the other side of the camera has given Crowe an exceptional vantage point for his directorial debut. His approach to film-making highlights a patriotic vision and delivers a palpable sense of humanity which is brought to life on the big screen.

Crowe highlights the futility of war, with statistics of the losses on both sides giving a sobering edge to the story. So, too, does the subsequent suffering of the families of the 37,000 soldiers wounded or killed in the battle of Gallipoli.

With its official opening on Boxing Day, The Water Diviner is assured broad audience appeal and has already been nominated for eight Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts awards (AACTA), including Best Film, Lead Actor (Crowe), Supporting Actress (McKenzie), Original Screenplay, Costume and Design Production.

In addition to Crowe, other familiar faces among the Australian cast include Jai Courtney (Lieutenant Colonel Cyril Hughes), Isabel Lucas (Natalia), Dan Wylie (Captain Charles Brinley), Ryan Corr (Arthur), Megan Gale (Fatma) and Damon Herriman (Father McIntyre).

An impressive take on an important chapter in Australian history.

© Patricia Herreen 2014