Wallace-0391.jpg

Creative Expressions

Click the concertina for a loving look at our clients' creative expressions.

All contributions are displayed here with permission.

Poetry

Freedom - Written by Jade Sweeney


Created by Jade Sweeney www.jadestormsweeney.com @jadestormsweeney




Finding Voice - Written by Kate


There is a hungering inside, a thirst.
An unquenchable fire, reaching, reaching higher, leaping to escape.
The bird flies free; the dry riverbed
absorbs, and comes alive
and runs and runs until it reaches the sea.
It gurgles, it splashes – with joy, with laughter,
with the sheer surprise of being free.




The Shadows - Written by Kate


I live in The Shadows,
somewhere between light and dark.
Just enough light to live
just enough dark to survive -
on my own, all alone, away from all who hurt and care.
Shadows: sweeping, swirling, envelop me -
Now you see me, now you don’t.
Light and life; dark and shame,
Who are you to know my name?
Don’t you know I need these shadows?
Come. Protect me. Hide all guilt and shame.
Please don’t drag me into the light,
then you would see all my plight.
Yet a little hope-light filters through,
into the dark and mixes through.
Darkness dark, darkness bright;
maybe one day brightness bright?
But for now a multitude of grey, complex in texture.
This is my world, all that I know.
For this is The Shadows:
the place where hope and fear must meet.




Experimenting with Mindfulness & Finding Peace - Written by Alice


Winter grasping at the hands of spring
Bees in a slow dance
Caress lavender's soft cheek
Milky legs
Let them sink in soil
It's okay to rest here
It's okay to rest





Artworks

Tomorrow - Created by Jade Sweeney


www.harryhunterandfriends.com @harryhunterandfriends




The Deep - Created by Jade Sweeney


www.harryhunterandfriends.com @harryhunterandfriends




Heart Compass - Created by Winifred


Moving in the direction of love and compassion.




Angry Cloth - Created by Winifred


For me, angry is ugly, intense, brooding and deeply unknown. I tried to scrub it away and to water it down on the edges. It was painted laid down on the grass. The angry cloth took on the texture of the underlying surface. White spots of hope came in the darkness. Blue and green representing peace and growth bloomed out of the ugly.




Experimenting with Mindfulness & Finding Peace - Written by Alice


Winter grasping at the hands of spring
Bees in a slow dance
Caress lavender's soft cheek
Milky legs
Let them sink in soil
It's okay to rest here
It's okay to rest




My Life - Created by Ruth





A Journey - Created by Winifred





Wednesday Nite Conversation - Created by Winifred






All Creative Work

Angry Cloth - Created by Winifred


For me, angry is ugly, intense, brooding and deeply unknown. I tried to scrub it away and to water it down on the edges. It was painted laid down on the grass. The angry cloth took on the texture of the underlying surface. White spots of hope came in the darkness. Blue and green representing peace and growth bloomed out of the ugly.




My Life - Created by Ruth





Freedom - Written by Jade Sweeney


Created by Jade Sweeney www.jadestormsweeney.com @jadestormsweeney




The Deep - Created by Jade Sweeney


www.harryhunterandfriends.com @harryhunterandfriends




Heart Compass - Created by Winifred


Moving in the direction of love and compassion.




A Journey - Created by Winifred





Woman With Holes - Written by Tabitha Bird


There was a little girl whose world was full of holes. Big ones. Small ones. Ones that only tripped up her foot, a bit like gnarled tree roots.
She fell.
Maybe she scraped he knee, but she got straight back up. Then there were other holes. Nasty ones with sharp teeth and big jaws that sucked her in and swallowed her up.
Sink holes.

Other people did not see the holes in her world. They told her to smile. What was she afraid of? What could possibly happen? But the little girl knew. She was afraid of her holes. Scared that she wouldn't see them. Or that someone would say something or do something that would push her into a hole. Or that she would see the hole, but only when it was too late and
she was already falling.

There was no sun at the bottom of those holes.
It was so dark the girl could not even see herself. She could hear things, like her Mummy screaming. Or feel things. Things that hurt. But she was lost in her hole. Lost, even to herself.
Those holes scared the little girl so much she started pretending that bad things weren't happening. She told herself to pretend to be someone else. She got very good at that game. Very good indeed. Then, even if she was in a sinkhole, it wasn’t as scary.

For a while that was okay. All the bad wolf holes were covered over by splitting off in her imagination. For a while she was not scared.

Days passed into years and the little girl became a woman, as all little girls do. The Sink Holes started appearing again.
No matter how hard the woman tried not to think about sad things or tell herself that she did matter and that her life was important, a great sadness grew inside her. At times the sadness was so crushing it made her numb, or it made her thoughts so zippy she couldn’t get anything done.
Mostly, it made her cry.
The ground beneath her feet got soggy. Holes opened up. The longer the sadness cried in her, the deeper the hole she fell into.

These holes began to scare the woman. She worried about not being able to get out. Not ever. And having to live her life out at the bottom of a hole, which would be dank and cold. And very, very lonely.

One day she got brave.
Or perhaps the woman was more scared of the Sink Holes than she was of telling someone about them. So, she told her Sink Hole stories until there were no more words.
The Listener was very good. She saw the holes. The big ones and the small ones. Together, the woman and The Listener started talking about how to fill the hole in. How to build bridges. How to tell other people in her life about the holes. How to make paths. Safe paths. Paths that curved around Sink Holes. The woman still fell. But she was not alone. The Listener sat by the edge of those holes until the woman worked out how to climb up again.

Nowadays the woman is still scared of holes. It's becoming a healthy fear. One she uses to be prepared for sadness when it cries inside her. Maybe one day there won't be holes. But until then the woman knows she is not alone. She climbs. She talks. And she writes. Written by Tabitha Bird, Author, www.tabithaannbird.com




When Fast Is Slow - Written by Tabitha Bird


I am not so great with the Here and Now.​ I try. Really, I do. But I can only manage being present in small doses. After that, my mind is already at the edge of the next building, the next day, the next year or an alternative reality. Maybe that's because my Here and Now sometimes looks a lot like sitting in the gutter, contemplating reflections in the glassy puddles, hoping it won't rain again just yet because I am still sitting on the outside my own life. My husband is a Here and Now kind of guy. He misses most of the puddles in life and often wonders why my feet are wet. He is the romantic soul staring up at the light post saying, ‘Tab, you have to see this street when it's all lit up.’ ‘It lights up?’ I say. ‘Oh yeah! Streets always light up,’ he says. ‘They do?’ ‘Sure they do. You just have to wait.’ Waiting...yeah... I am not so good with waiting either. Waiting entails stillness. Stillness requires being in the Here and Now. You see my problem? Reflections need stillness. Ever thought about how little you see of yourself if you are running past a mirror? Finding things, really seeing things, often requires stillness. But I like to move. Simply sitting and breathing and being... Wow... I find that very hard. Writing is one of the few places where I am able to still myself inside. When I write all my racing-down-roads, banging-my-head-against-brick-walls type words. All my skidding around corners stops and I am still. In that stillness I hear myself. I see myself. I find the whispering. And I am able to listen. A wise woman taught me that stillness might really be moving. She said that fast is often slow. I thought about that for a long time before I understood. Sometimes the quickest way to the core of ourselves, to the Here and Now and all the beauty we seek, is in the going slow. Fast just races. It doesn't necessarily find what it is looking for. Fast is prone to crashing. And fast has a tendency to get lost a long, long way from home. Fast often needs to back track. Stillness uses its hands to feel its way down streets. It notices the lamp post and has time to wait for the street to light up. Stillness sees the puddles, walks around them and can see its own reflection. Stillness has a better chance of finding what it is looking for because it is hard to miss what you are purposefully slowing down to notice. Stillness moves forward, albeit slowly. Stillness is not berating itself for what it is. It accepts with calm certainty that life has many speeds and sometimes fast is not fast at all.​ Sometimes fast is slow.




Waiting - Written by Tabitha Bird


I am waiting. Waiting to creep out from under my parents’ words that rain over me like hail. For the fingerprints of their holding to be released and the bruising to heal. Waiting for my cocoon to open, for my wings to emerge, for the wind that dries my wings and the hope that strengthens their veins. I am waiting for the boy I have met to become the man I will marry. Waiting for the years we will travel. The years where no place is home. The times when the only place that is home is the blueness of his eyes and our hands entwined. I am waiting for the day we decided the two of us should become three. Waiting to be blessed. Waiting to be told I cannot. I should not. What sort of a mother would I make? Waiting to tell those doctors they are wrong. I can. We did. I will be. I am waiting to hold him. Little fingers wrapping around mine. A glimpse of his father and a touch of me. The breath of my future when I am long gone. I am waiting to take him home. To wrap him close beside me on the plane as we travel back across the millions of oceans to Australia. Waiting for his daddy to join us. Waiting to return to the place where the two of us started and the three of us will now make a life. I am waiting for his first words, first steps, all his firsts and my firsts. And together, our firsts. As a mother, as a family, as Us. I am waiting for the music that plays when he is asleep and my husband and I slip into each other’s arms again. Waiting for the Father’s Day when I tell his daddy that we are expecting another. Waiting for the Christmas morning when we find out that our baby will be a little brother. I am waiting for the night we almost don’t make it to the hospital. And all the days after that I struggle with two small boys and no sense of me. I am waiting for the year I do not cope. Waiting for the unraveling. For the year I finally curl around myself and say, ‘Enough! I need help.’ I am waiting to find her; that voice like surging water that speaks into places others have not. Waiting for the ears that finally hear what I have been screaming my whole life. Waiting to peel back the times and memories. I am waiting for the woman inside me to emerge and for the man who lays beside me to stand. I am waiting for the day we lay in bed quietly tangled in each other’s arms, long after the storms of that previous year and we look back and say, ‘Not everyone has this, do they? What we have… not everyone has this.’ I am waiting for that feeling of flight that comes when you finally see those wings hanging on the end of your bed. Waiting for the morning I get up and know how to put them on. Waiting to be me. I am waiting for the day I look at my sons and can say with pride in myself, ‘I am their mother.’ I am waiting for the moment I realise we have had our last baby and our family is complete. I am waiting for the words I write to be birthed into this world. For the things I feel to have meaning for someone other than me. I am waiting to see my family holding my writing. I am waiting for the day my little ones can read it. Can understand for themselves. Can see how long the fight was, how trying the anticipation and how determinedly I said, ‘I am waiting. Written by Tabitha Bird, Author, www.tabithaannbird.com




The Town of Uncomfortable - Written By Tabitha Bird


Racing faster than my legs could carry me, hunted by the ghosts in my mind, I tumbled and fell in a screeching mass. I landed in a heap at the banks of... something. Something I did not have a name for. Something wide and long and impossible to cross. Something I did not see coming on the horizon. But by its sheer mass, it made itself known. I looked up and down its length seeing no beginning and no end. There was simply no way to run around The Great Expanse. For days I sat on the banks of The Great Expanse and scratched my wounds in the dirt. Mud caked around my ankles but I could not return from where I came. Back there was everything I did not want to be. Back there was pain and… pain. All I knew on this side of The Great Expanse was mud and running. The problem was that on the other side of The Great Expanse was Unknown and Unconquered. Unfamiliar. Un-everything really. Days gave way to nights and birthed days again and I grew increasingly tired of dirty and disgusting. I am not sure that I decided to cross The Great Expanse so much as I decided not to stay stuck. There was no plan for moving forward only a growing repulsion for where I was. So, I jumped into The Great Expanse. And promptly drowned. I didn't see that one coming either. I know. How could I not, right? I should have seen all the water. I should have noticed the claws of the current. Jumping in the deep end when you cannot swim lends itself to a drowning. But there you go. I jumped. That is who I am. A Jumper and a Passionate Believer that the Unknowncan become the Known if you will only leap. At first my swimming looked more like hacking at water and my breathing looked more like coughing up my lungs. But eventually I got real familiar with the Unfamiliar and all its fast-flowing currents hidden below the kiss of a calm surface. I didn't drown. Imagine that. Imagine my surprise! I dragged my wet self out the other side of The Great Expanse and found… land. Not only land, but a town. A completely different place to live. A whole other way of being. The most unexpected part about the Unfamiliar and the Unknown, (I mean after I got past the fact that the town was named Uncomfortable) is that I actually thrived. Really! Oh sure, not right away. Not that day or the next day or even the next week. But once I stopped fighting the fact that facing fears, myself, my hopes and dreams and basically everything that ever meant anything to me also meant that I was living at least part time in Uncomfortable, I saw the benefits. I got to show up and be real. Cool, hey? Some people didn't think so. But the ones that did, they moved to the town of Uncomfortable too. Together we forged new relationships. We became skilled bridge builders and we grew fond of this place called Uncomfortable. This past summer I even bought a house in the town of Uncomfortable. Camping was getting old. Now I welcome the gift of moving beyond myself to new possibilities. I'll go one step further. I like this new town. The ever-changing, ever-growing sum of the place. It has a great vibe. Know what I mean?




Sea Lion and Gull - Written byTabitha Bird


Tortoise’s words were like the dry winds that raked the desert floor.​ ‘The sea does not exist! This is as close to a sea as you will ever get.’ All morning Sea Lion listened to his friend Tortoise. But he could not be swayed. It was time to leave. Sea Lion knew it was time. He turned his back on Tortoise and all his reasons why Sea Lion should settle down where he was and make the desert his home. ‘I’m going to find my sea,’ Sea Lion said. Tortoise laughed. He laughed until he shook. He laughed so hard that he rolled over ontohis back and chipped his shell on a rock. Then Tortoise wasn’t laughing. Sea Lion turned and flippered away. ‘Where are you going? Where the hell do you think you’re going?’ Tortoise screamed. But Sea Lion didn’t answer. His head was firmly lifted to catch the scent of a sea breeze blowing in from over the distant mountains. ‘You think you’re too good for this desert? Is that it? All this sand is not enough for you, hey? You got to have water? What is so good about being wet anyway?’ said Tortoise. Sea Lion smiled to himself but he did not turn back. What was so good about being wet? Sea Lion already knew the answer to that question. Though he had been away from his sea for so long that he wasn’t even sure it existed anymore, though he could barely remember the sensation of floating, though he could hardly imagine the coolness of the waters, he did know one thing. He knew he was made to be wet. That one thing seemed enough to know. So, Sea Lion began his journey to his sea. All day Sea Lion pulled his body through the sands. Rocks scraped his underbelly until he bled. By nightfall Tortoise and his questions were far behind but Sea Lion was not sure he was any nearer to his sea at all. Sea Lion slept fitfully that night. It was the sleep of one who has traveled far and still has far to travel. Next morning, the breeze woke Sea Lion with its call. Salt. He could taste the salt! Lifting himself from the ground he again lumbered through the desert. Day after day Sea Lion pulled and pushed his way over rock. The howling windstorms caused the sand to bite into his flesh but he kept going. He slept by the light of a cruel moon that hung itself in a freezing night sky but he kept going. Under the burning eye of an angry sun, he moved forward. Sea Lion lost count of the days as they fizzled in the heat. He lost count of how many cuts he had and how much his body ached. Everything began to blur into one great pain. Each mountain he climbed gave way to another mountain. Valley after valley. Rock after sand after rock. One blue morning Sea Lion did not rise. He could not go on. His body lay crumpled on the earth. Like a child in his mother’s arms, he cried and cried. I am all alone, Sea Lion thought. There is no way I will ever reach my sea. My dream is as cruel as the cactus that cut my flesh, as intangible as the mirages that tease me with promise of water. For days he cried, tears mingling with the dirt until mud began to form around him. Having eaten nothing more than a bit of this and a piece of that, Sea Lion was altogether wrinkled, burnt and dying. He may never have lifted his head again, had it not been for Gull. From a fog like state where Sea Lion’s thoughts mingled with his sadness, a call sounded from the sky. ‘Looka-loooka-looka!’ Gull screeched circling above Sea Lion’s withered body. With the last of his strength, Sea Lion lifted his head to the sky. Again, Gull called. Sea Lion’s head flopped back to earth. The bird flew to the ground beside him and pecked away with her questions until finally Sea Lion whispered, ‘Go away you, you… bird thing, whatever you are. Can’t you see I am finished?’ Gull looked at Sea Lion with a beady gaze. ‘Finished what?’ Gull asked. Sea Lion didn’t remember what he was supposed to be finished so he said the first thing that came to his head. ‘I am finished with moving.’ ‘Oh. I see. No… I don’t see. How can you be finished moving?’ Gull asked. ‘Creatures move. That is what we do. What are you anyway?’ It was a fine question. What was he indeed? Sea Lion could not remember that he was in fact a sea lion but he did know his name. ‘Sea Lion,’ he said. ‘Then it seems to me, Mr. S-E-A Lion, that you are in need of the sea,’ said Gull. Sea Lion shrugged. ‘The only sea I see is the sand. A sea of sand.’ Gull looked around at the green grass and the handsome pine trees with moss clinging to their legs. Gull saw the way the river skipped over the pebbles and the soft hands of the wind that stroked the leaves of the tallest pines and ruffled the fern carpet on the ground. ‘Sand?’ Gull asked. ‘Yes, sand!’ Sea Lion said. ‘And the sand hurts!’ ‘Ahh. Tell me about your sand,’ said Gull. For a very long time, much longer than the day and the night combined, Sea Lion told Gull about every place he hurt. He told Gull how far he had traveled, about the mountains that mocked him, the sand that cut into his skin. About the aloneness under the unforgiving sun. He told Gull how the moon hung itself in a cold sky every night and simply stared at him. Finally, he told Gull of Tortoise and his sneering. Gull nodded. Sea Lion wondered if she had met Tortoise herself but he did not ask. Seal Lion kept talking. On and on he talked. Many times, Gull was moved to tears, but she did not leave him. She sat there on the bright green earth and nodded her head. Occasionally Gull asked questions, but mostly she listened. When finally, all the words were spoken the day began to cool and the sky turned a soft lemonade, Sea Lion sat in the stillness with Gull beside him. And just breathed. Gull breathed too. It was a fine afternoon for breathing. Sea Lion even smiled a little. It was nice to tell someone all about his sand. It felt good to tell his stories even though they were sad. A sadness told is lighter somehow. Not brighter, but not so heavy in the heart. A little something lifted inside Sea Lion. Someone had stayed with him long enough to hear everything he had to say. How blessed he was to have found this bird thing, whatever it was. When words were spoken again, it was Gull who talked. ‘Where are you now?’ she asked. ‘In the desert, bird. Haven’t you been listening?’ Sea Lion said. ‘I have. But… does this desert of yours look like green buds or taste like the spray of a wave?’ Gull asked. ‘Does it sound like the river that runs into the arms of an open ocean? Does it talk like the sea gulls of the air?’ Gull was wise you see and she knew that the best answers are given when we discover for ourselves where we really are. For the first time since Sea Lion had collapsed on the earth, he looked around him. Wildflowers peeked through the moss and the fresh air neither burned his skin nor froze his whiskers. ‘No,’ he said. ‘This does not look like my desert at all.’ Gull let that thought sit with her awhile as Gull was apt to do. Finally, Sea Lion grinned until the grin became a smile and the smile became a laugh. Gull laughed too. ‘You’re a seagull, aren’t you?’ Sea Lion asked. But Gull didn’t answer. She didn’t need to. Happiness settled around them. And through the trees Sea Lion could make out the distant sight of waves. ‘You mean to say that I am almost there?’ Sea Lion turned towards the waves. ‘Where are you going?’ Gull asked. ‘To my sea!’ he said and away Sea Lion went. Gull watched him go smiling the largest smile a gull can smile. ‘Go well then,’ she called after him. But Sea Lion was gone. Sea Lion stood by the edge of the water taking it all in. The water was so blue it looked as if a summer’s sky had been squeezed into it. Tentatively, he approached the first waves. Would the sea be welcoming or would it reject a Sea Lion who for so long forgot where his home was? Would he find other sea lions who understood what it was like to be very lost and then so very very found? Would Sea Lion have a chance to share his story, to tell others about the desert and how a dream can call you from deep inside your being? He did not know. Who can know these things? For the future holds its treasures, its heartaches and its joys, deep in the palm of its hand.