Sunday, 27 April 2014


“And for just a moment I had reached the point of ecstasy I had always wanted to reach, which was the complete step across chronological time into timeless shadows, and wonderment in the bleakness of the mortal realm, and the sensation of death kicking at my heels to move on, with a phantom dogging its own heels, and myself hurrying to a plank where all the angels dove off and flew into the holy void of uncreated emptiness, the potent and inconceivable radiancies shining in bright Mind Essence, innumerable lotus-lands falling open in the magic mothswarm of heaven. I could hear an indescribable seething roar which wasn’t in my ear but everywhere and had nothing to do with sounds. I realized that I had died and been reborn numberless times but just didn’t remember especially because the transitions from life to death and back to life are so ghostly easy, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it. I realized it was only because of the stability of the intrinsic Mind that these ripples of birth and death took place, like the action of wind on a sheet of pure, serene, mirror-like water. I felt sweet, swinging bliss, like a big shot of heroin in the mainline vein; like a gulp of wine late in the afternoon and it makes you shudder; my feet tingled. I thought I was going to die the very next moment. But I didn’t die…” - Jack Kerouac, “On the Road”

If there was ever an author who knew how to translate experience and emotion into words, so well that you can practically taste the essence of the moment, it was Jack Kerouac.

Saturday, 26 April 2014


The ground sways from side to side. I am on the boat again. I remind myself to breathe. I am submerged. A yellow balloon bounces slowly across the ground in my periphery. My mind hiccups. Is that a butterfly fish? Palms sway - soft coral, inverted. I reach up to touch my hair. It is not sticky with salt water. I wish that it was, though yesterday I cursed it.

Memories of another world flood my mind. I am weightless, mesmerized. Rainbow-scaled moon wrasse swim playfully around my hands and between my legs. Damsels of every color swim in figure-eights, keeping a watchful distance. A clown fish darts in and out of his anemone home. With a smile I mutter the novice diver’s cliche, “I found Nemo!” Suddenly, I am nose to nose with a turtle. It takes the red algae from my hand greedily, it’s leathery beak brushing against my fingers. For a second we lock eyes, then it begins to push past me.

I blink and realize I am nose to nose with a tourist, looking at me quizzically as she hurries onwards. A few moments and I am back to reality. I walk aimlessly, feeling heavy. I find a place to sit where the sunlight dances and the ground beneath me sways again. The breeze becomes the current and I am in my dream world again. Dreams that were once my reality - just days ago. Days that feel like ages. Ages that feel like another life.

When will I get to dream again?

Monday, 21 April 2014

Remember to Remember

“Imagine your return journey as the last act of an epic story. Which moments gleamed brighter, gave you pause, challenged all your previous beliefs, reconfirmed your belief in the power at the center? How did you happen upon them? Were they self-willed, the result of punctilious planning, or were they serendipitous? Did you feel any strange visitations of joy? Can you recapture them now that you are home?

"Epiphanies sometimes flash and flare for pilgrims, but there are also flickering moments of discovery on your journey, seen out of the corner of your eye. Small joys, humble experiences…

"You knew these things about people and places before you left home, but you had forgotten them. This journey reminded you of the sacred rhythms. How will you remember to remember when you return home?” -Phil Cousineau

My goodness… How does one begin? Where does one begin? An ironic question given that the subject matter at hand is “how does one end such a journey?” But the journey is never really over, is it? These questions make my heart race the same way similar questions did when given to me as a writing exercise from my English teachers. I remember the feeling clearly, for I am feeling it even now, well over ten years later. The prospect of examining one’s thoughts beyond the average depth of the daily requirement; the opportunity to kick the restrictive, proverbial box aside and dive into the unknown waters of one’s creativity; finding new & original ways to describe things; the never-ending, and somewhat futile, challenge of transforming interpretation of experience and emotion into noun, verb and adjective…

Then there’s the flow. My readers may tire of hearing me mention this, but having become consciously aware of this phenomenon, I cannot imagine ignoring it. It is the essence of optimum experience. When I am writing and my disjointed, clumsy beginning turns into a stream-of-consciousness, nearly-other-worldly experience of words appearing before me, as if unbidden by a force greater than myself - for me, that is one of the most powerful flow experiences I can have. To think… that it all begins from a simple challenge to exercise one’s thoughts; a question that beckons my curiosity: “What will you create today, Wordsmith?”

Of all the facets of Christian belief, one of my favorites is the idea of being created in the image of God. While the fact of God’s existence is yet empirically unknown, if there was any evidence for me, it would be the perfect, mathematical designs found in nature (i.e. the Golden Ratio), and my very own desire to create. Should I choose faith over fact, these would be the reasons for doing so.

Only now do I realize that I haven’t even begun to answer Cousineau’s questions. The impact of his questioning alone was enough to put pen to paper. There are so many avenues to explore with this simple excerpt! How thrilling - how marvelous - is the adrenaline of inspiration!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Traveler or Tourist?

“A good traveler does not, I think, mind much the uninteresting places. He is there to be inside them, as a thread is inside the necklace it strings. The world, with unknown and unexpected variety, is a part of his own leisure; and this living participation is, I think, what separates the traveler and the tourist, who remains separate, as if he were at a theatre, and not himself a part of whatever the show may be.” - Freya Stark

What does it mean, for me, to be a “good traveler”? To be in “living participation?” I agree with Freya. It is just as important for one (in this case, me) to be an active participant in both the interesting and uninteresting places:

Swimming without hesitation across cold waters in order to clamber across slippery rocks behind Milaa Milaa Falls. Engaging with my fellow bus passengers in friendly banter. Singing unashamedly (and loudly) with the bus driver to the songs on his ridiculous playlist. Taking time to sit and enjoy a coffee at a random moment in a random place, rather than as take-away (as if I have somewhere important I needed to be??) Making a plan to make no plans, except to hold a pen purposefully should I feel so inclined. Asking the hostel staff about their lives rather than just expecting them to help me plan mine.

All of these things are a combination of both the interesting and the uninteresting, and all of them are made meaningful by intentionality. That is, being intentional about my interaction with my current setting, especially in relation to people. Even if someone lives in a place that I am merely passing through, I am no more a traveler than they are. We are all pilgrims of something. As such, we must never forget to stop and recognize all our fellow travelers as seekers, just like ourselves. And as seekers, we are, also, all living participants. May we all make the permanent transition from the spectator-tourist to the “good traveler”!

My Endeavour

To make it my “passion to discover on a daily basis ‘the life contained in all things.’”

(Quotation: Phil Cousineau quoting Monet)

Saturday, 19 April 2014


Ennui: a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.

Retrospectively, I believe my transition from New Zealand to Sydney was a foreshadowing microcosm of my transition from Australia to home. I will be going from the consistent unpredictability of travel to the daily grind of the expected. In returning to Sydney, I went from moving to a new home after just a few nights, to staying in one place for 10 days. I began to get comfortable. I began to feel anxious. While I enjoyed the company I was keeping immensely, I felt a restlessness growing inside of me. It’s as if the anxiety was subconsciously self-induced in order to make up for my “lack of occupation” - my ennui.

While I am very grateful for moments of leisure, I am learning over and again, in a wide variety of circumstances, that I need to be occupied, even in these moments. Not with just anything. Occupied with a purpose. Perhaps I am still learning HOW to occupy myself when the opportunity for leisure presents itself. Yes, for me the best kind of leisure is that which is also purposeful.

As humans we are meant to strive for a purpose of being. It is why we are here today. It began as a method of survival, and as we have evolved, enjoyment has weaved it’s way into our priorities so that we have eventually learned that what it is we do to keep ourselves alive can also be something we love. Even the most mundane jobs can be sources of flow if we train ourselves well, and it is these very same jobs that provide for our physical needs and keep us - and thereby our species - alive.

So how do I avoid ennui when I return to Portland? I believe, by engaging in all my actions purposefully - with love.

Friday, 18 April 2014


I am finding over and over again that the more connected I am to my true self - to my soul - the more I meet people who are kindred in mind, heart and spirit. They are artistic and easy-going and have spent a good deal of their waking hours deep in thought. Generally in philosophical debates with themselves and with humanity. More often than not, interestingly enough, they are often admirers, or even followers, of Buddhism. (As such, they also happen to be admirers of other great spiritual leaders, such as Jesus). The primary statutes to which they hold are usually as follows: don’t attach - attachment is your only enemy; live and let live; do everything with, through, & for love; create your own path - no one can create it for you; home is wherever you are; be open to anything & anyone you may come across; practice the art of letting go… Just to name a few. I am examining my heart, mind and spirit - and questioning:

What are my attachments? How strong are they? Am I willing to let go? Where do I consider home? How close am I to being capable of feeling at home anywhere? What is the source of my anxiety and how do I release it? Where does my hope come from and how do I take hold of it? Am I creating my own path? How much influence from others am I allowing in it’s creation?

All of these are a various stages of being answered, and all of them - both the questions and the answers - are subject to change at any time. That is the beauty of being on a journey. Not a single moment is one of stagnancy.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

An inch of surprise leads to a mile of gratefulness.

Brother David Steindl-Rast

Saturday, 12 April 2014


Absolute freedom. Balmoral Bay was smooth as glass, I felt as if I was gliding through butter. Such freedom, such clarity.

I found adoration for the Divine out on the water. I cannot deny the presence I feel when I am in the midst of the elements. Especially when that element is the ocean. What an incredible, vast body of water. A simple, obvious observation to be sure. How often do we stop and admire it? Not often enough. When we do, does that admiration lead us to gratitude? Rarely.

Why do our hearts not swell with joy? Why are the words “thank you” not rushing from our lips? I don’t care if you’re an atheist, believing you have no one to thank. Or if you believe you know who it is you’re thanking. Or if you’re like me and don’t care who hears your gratitude - you’re just happy to have some. This world is filled with too much glory, too much splendour, to not be thankful for your very existence. Life - simply breathing - is a beauty all on it’s own. That beauty, coupled with the rhythmic lull of waves meeting the sand… For me, that is bliss.

Standing on that paddle board, I had to ask myself, what is this presence I am feeling? Shall I call it God? Is it the energy of the ocean itself? Is it the combined energies of all the life forms the ocean holds? Or is this coming from within? Is it simply the love and joy I already possess just bubbling out of me, drawn out by a blissful moment? Could that love within me also be called God? What is this power that melts my anxiety, eliminates my fears, and fills my world with colour?

Do I have to know? Or, can I simply say: “Thank you”?

Saturday, 5 April 2014

When everything is a possible poem, the world is suddenly far more interesting.


An Irishman's Review

A buddy of mine who hails from Ireland has taken a keen interest in my writing. Upon reading the previously posted poem “Analog Clock”, with me asking him if it needed more, he responded with the following. Pretty spot-on I’d say.

“I ain’t no poem guru and don’t have the same abstract lyrical flair you have but from my reading into it, this piece tells of one’s (Its self-biographical right?) journey inwards in search of the most fundamental life questions and a search for personal truths. It appears the mind has been put under trial and finally confronted! The tick and the tock of the clock is representative of the deafening noise of the conditioned human mind, the trash-talk of the ego, hiding the answer i.e. between or "within” the tick and the tock. The path to get there involves weaving around these disturbances creating an anfractuous path. It feels as though those self questions that were initially asked were met with silence, envoking frustration and as a result the “tick and the tock” were working to find the answers, building to an unbearable agony and what seems to a point of no return, until a realisation (sense of awakening) has been met, the answer to these questions IS the silence?. I’m not sure if I’m a million miles away from this or not (haha!) but either way it ain’t a bad thing to have a third party point of view, am I anyway near the intended underlying plot line? I don’t think I would attempt to add anything to this in a poetic style, it’s your baby with your flow and language, I reckon it would become very disjointed looking if I tried to add anymore. It could be turned into a song though which is a different direction.

BTW, does this piece really need anymore? It seems to me like it stands on its own two feet, you have made your statement, the end leaves the reader thinking, which is what you want right? Maybe an independent sequel needs to be written at a later date?? Sometimes short poems have the greatest impact.“

Thank you, Cian, for honoring my words with yours!