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Take some time for yourself: just allow yourself to be with, to see and accept whatever comes up.  Radical acceptance. Not approval, but an allowing yourself to be with whatever is arising. *

These are the words that greet me in my inbox today as I reluctantly sit at my computer, defeated, and feeling more than a little flat.

If all had gone to plan, I should have been disembarking the Queenscliff ferry in Sorrento in readiness to have lunch with my daughter. After relishing the opportunity to relax for forty minutes, gazing out at the water of Port Phillip Bay gentling along beneath the boat, the white wash streaming out behind, and maybe spotting a pod of dolphins, or the odd Australasian Gannet winging its way on an updraft before hurtling down like a sky torpedo, eye on the catch of the day. Okay—my new word gentling was a bit optimistic. With today’s gale-force winds try churning—no, make that buffeting.

Anyway, none of that was going to happen. Yesterday the facet joints in my spine seized up when I bent over to do up my shoe. Searing pain—and me, when I tried to move, resembling the Tin Man if he’d been discarded on an ocean beach for twenty years. Not even an early morning visit to the physio today was going to alter the situation.

My disappointment is all the more profound as my daughter is expecting her first child. These days with her living in Mount Martha and me in Ocean Grove, we don’t have many opportunities to see each other. So, when her job as a physiotherapist in a hospital-in-the-home team brings her to a patient living near Sorrento it’s the perfect opportunity for a precious lunchtime catch-up. And for me to supply their meal for tonight to save them time.

But not today.

I re-read the email and ponder the phrase radical acceptance. I am exhorted to accept whatever comes up. At first, I read this to mean to accept whatever events come up during the day. To go with the flow, so to speak. This helps a little with my disappointment. I resign myself to a day of rest and put Hannah’s dinner into the freezer. Oh, and please, God, have mercy on me: wave your magic wand over the new puppy and make him sleep a lot today. Or at least dial his mischief meter down a couple of notches.

Maybe I could learn a few new chords for the uke today. That shouldn’t be too hard on my back. Or tweak my new song. I’m currently attempting to transfer my knowledge of guitar to ukulele and challenged myself to write a song that capitalises on the ukulele’s tuning. Then it occurs to me that to accept whatever comes up probably means to accept whatever it is that’s rising up within me. What’s going on on the inside? Perhaps I could look at the songs I’ve been writing over the last few months. Unlike my written prose, which I sometimes plan, my songs and poems mostly come unbidden. What have they been saying? Any emerging themes here, I wonder? After a browse through my song file I note, with a smidge of alarm, that an overarching theme of loss prevails through the lyrics. Through death, changing relationships, leaving behind a loved home and neighbourhood to move to the coast…

I’ve been having some vivid dreams lately. Maybe I should analyse them, too. The one I had two nights ago, for instance, where I was tasked with executing a female crime boss by shooting her in the head but not having enough strength in my finger to pull the trigger. Maybe I should spend a bit of time contemplating the symbolism of all this and see what might be bubbling up from my subconscious. Nothing like a bit of Jungian dream analysis to discover whatever is arising.

Radical acceptance allowing yourself to be with whatever is arising. Journaling a list of my recent losses and creating a little ritual for myself to acknowledge the associated grief could be a good idea for today. But my back tells me I’ve been sitting and thinking for too long—and besides, the puppy has decided to invent a new game for himself that involves one of my new sandals. How did he find that?!

Then, quite miraculously, when I lie down on the bed with a hot pack, he falls asleep next to me.

*Enneagram Institute EnneaThought® for the Day

I’ve dedicated my first uke song below—One Foot in Front of the Other—to my son, Samuel, who lost his partner, Sean, to a rare liver cancer just before Christmas in 2022. It’s still a work-in-progress and a little rough around the edges ????. In my head I’m also hearing a funky percussive back beat, some nice vocal harmonies, a groovy bass riff and…well…one day…


  • Fiona says:

    Oh Carole! What a beautiful and moving song! (And blog.) I was deeply saddened to hear about Samuel’s loss of his beloved. Had me shed a tear or two for him as you sang… Thanks for your words. And your heart. ❤️

  • Linda McDermid says:

    What a beautiful song Carole. I don’t think I knew Sean had passed, though I knew he was very unwell. I’m so sorry for Samuel and you all. Your song expresses perfectly those heart-rending times when life is an ocean. May it bring some comfort to Samuel.
    I hope your back is soon healing and you are pain-free. Sending you a big hug and healing blessings. Love Linda????

    • Carole Poustie says:

      Thanks, Linda. Your sentiments are much appreciated. My back is improving every day, thankfully! A big hug to you, too. ????

  • Cheryl Yewers says:

    Carole, that was lovely. You’re so so talented and have such a nice voice. So sorry about your son’s partner. How devastating for Samuel. Think.of you often and glad you have a new puppy. Hope to see you in the not too distant future. Sending much love and many good wishes. Miss our wonderful classes.????????????

    • Carole Poustie says:

      Thanks so much, Cheryl. How lovely to hear from you! I often think of you, too. I hope you are still working on that wonderful story of yours, getting all the words down so people can read it. Sending lots of love to you. xxx

  • Cheryl says:

    Love your jump across from guitar to uke, Carole … and this beautiful song????
    And while your puppy’s lively game and antics are hilarious, you have my sympathy for when his energy is not what you need!

    • Carole Poustie says:

      Thanks, Cheryl! Yes – certainly a high energy pup who needs lots of brain stimulation. And when we fail to provide it he makes his own fun, which usually involves a good deal of mischief! ????????

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