A Peaceful Day

In the midst of packing, moving house and preparing to leave our wonderful home state of Tasmania (yet again), I created some precious moments of pause in the day. Yes, pausing in the midst of the adrenaline-fueled craziness that flurries around to distract me from noticing the beauty of simple moments.

We’ve moved this week into a friend’s home that has a wide open northerly outlook facing Table Cape, Bass Strait and a big sky. I’ve been drawn to stand and look out the large windows as huge clouds passed slowly overhead throughout the day.

Oh, this day has included its fair share of tasks; sorting, communicating, cooking (lamb shanks in a slow cooker simmering) and planning for our next adventure across to the mainland. But there have also been pauses, still moments of watching in awe at the beauty in dark clouds scudding by, threatening rain, patches of blue sky and amazing hues and shapes.

I’ve been experimenting with an app by John Eldridge called ‘Pause’. I love the notion of mindfulness and have finally given it some attention by means of a phone app that reminds me to slowly breathe, let go the tyranny of the urgent and enjoy some moments of stillness. It’s all part of this journey, this new intentional journey of going deeper into truth, meaning and purpose.

It has taken some stepping out of ‘liking the idea’ (but not doing it) or waiting for the ‘right time’ (never turns up TBH), into some practical shifts in how I use my time. So here in the busyness of our current circumstances, I’ve downloaded the app and am honestly enjoying the blessing of pausing to intentionally cease for a few minutes to breathe, notice and savour being. Just being.

Deeper Listening – Recognising the Contradictions

I grow weary of the contradictions in my being. I really do. I am shooting for gentle, patient, kind, considerate, measured – serene may be a stretch. But often there is the ugly, niggly, uptight, stressed, antsy, self-righteous me which is hard to hide from those who love me most, or those who are in proximity to me for any length of time. Poor souls.

Our son and his partner rang the other day and he immediately picked up on my mood. “Mum, are you tired, or something?”, he asked. OK, can’t hide it. Yep, struggling today. Love it and hate it when those who know me best can so easily spot what I’m working so hard to hide from myself.

I appreciate that about my sons and husband, they know me well and they are gentle and honest in turn. The recognition of my mood helped me own it and toss it.  Yes, toss it! In the moments of clarity that followed kind exposure, I was given the ‘mirroring awareness’ I needed to help me choose a different response to what was getting under my skin that day.

Ok, being human is messy. But for any who are recovering perfectionists, you will know how difficult it is to deal with anything messy. Particularly responses to situations we cannot control, or situations we think we are good at, but stuff up in ways that leave us confused and confounded. Either way, I so weary of the tension that surprisingly springs up in ordinary moments on any given day.

I’m up for learning, growing and being transformed. What I am not up for, with any genuine enthusiasm, is the means and methods life uses to teach me how to grow and be transformed. It is humbling, painful and so not a perfectly smooth learning curve. I find it is more a crazy stumbling uncoordinated dance, where I’m flying solo in my foolish, “I must do it by myself’ style.

And this is where the deeper listening comes in. I want to accept the Father’s outstretched hand and dance in a duet with him. I want to forget my awkwardness and uncertainty and look up into His eyes, not down at my feet. I want to sense the rhythm of the beat through my connection to Him. I want to be willing to be led, to be guided, to surrender my need to control, to pretend, to perform. I want to be absorbed in the moment and movement of the dance with my heavenly Father.

Trusting that He knows me and is honourable, I know He will be gentle and honest in turn. Showing me step by step how to hear, to follow, to allow Him to lead me in the dance of deeper listening.

I’ll let you know what serenity feels like as this journey of learning progresses. I’ll be playing more music, walking along more beaches and mountain trails, reading more, watching less TV, listening to stories and sitting in silence savouring the moments.

It’s time to grow, again. Let the dance begin.

Press the Pause Button

Reflective Retreats are for anyone who is weary of being thrown like a skipping stone across the surface of the water, wondering what would happen if you stopped and allowed yourself to slowly sink below the surface of life long enough to discover who you are, and what you are really designed for.
And despite your worst fears of being alone, abandoned or forgotten in the dark depths of the water, the reality is that when you know who you are and affirm your purpose, you are free to choose to live life at the pace and direction of your own choosing.
You are seriously only a ‘stone’s throw’ away from finding meaning and purpose.
Why be still? Why take time out to ‘retreat’?
Well I think you could definitely fill in the blanks, but here are a few very good reasons:
Rest, reflect, restore, contemplate, create, connect, clarify, disconnect, discover, design, oh and my favourite, just breathe.

On many of our guided retreats people have told us that they genuinely wondered how they would fill a day or weekend by themselves, just thinking, praying, etc. By the end of our retreats we regularly receive feedback of pleasant surprise and thankfulness for the gentle guidance and flexibility we offer to assist attendees to thoroughly enjoy the time.
Contact us at C-Change to help you and your partner/team/group plan a reflective retreat.
C-Change will design a retreat to suit your needs. You will be provided a framework for a personal/couple/group retreat to help you maximise this gift of time and space. We enjoy writing and tailoring the retreat to suit you.
Or you could have us facilitate a retreat where you are with your group or team. With COVID still impacting us we can only offer face to face retreats in our home state of Tasmania at this time.
Together, let’s discover the power of the rhythm of retreat as a means of changing your world.
Dianne Priest
C-Change Counsellor and Coach

Silence and Solitude

Two words that can spark dread and dismissal or evoke a deep response of anticipation and acceptance.

I vacillate somewhere between the two responses, knowing in my head that silence and solitude are helpful for me to choose from time to time just like the slack tide in the river that momentarily ceases its ebb and flow.

This year of COVID-19 created a ‘slack tide’ season that once accepted, became helpful. I’ve noticed the value of quality time, listening and enjoying connecting with family and friends. I’ve noticed a greater awareness of the inner life, what motivates, inspires, frightens or hinders me.

I’ve noticed a growing acceptance and love for others. I no longer require them to always understand, or agree with me, or even be like me.

I’ve noticed a deeper faith in an unchanging good God who speaks gently into my life with patient wisdom.

How has this season impacted you? Have you observed changes within, priorities shifting, relationships deepening? Have you found new ways to engage in the beauty of silence and solitude as a means of bringing balance to the strong currents defining life?

A friend has enjoyed additional time of solitude in the garden, planting, pruning, tending, watering. Another friend has enjoyed the time of silence while knitting, sitting in a chair looking at the ever changing sky as she quietly prays for her family. For me it has been writing and photography as I have soaked into the natural beauty of my home state.

This has been a season of ‘unforgetting’, finding new strength, purpose and hope. How has it been for you?

The journey of unforgetting

I forgot I love to play the flute, breathing, creating, flowing, soaring.

I forgot I love being in the music.

I forgot I love the simple pleasure of following a mountain ridge with my eye and noticing every curve, buttress, cliff and fold.

I forgot I love noticing the moment.

I forgot I love the warmth of a fire on my face as I wrap my hands around a warm cup of tea.

I forgot I love being comforted.

I forgot I love the sun shining through a window on a beautiful vase of flowers, revealing shimmering colour and curves of amazing design.

I forgot I love beauty.

I forgot I love watching a farmer on his motorbike with his working dog chasing, herding, delighting in being together, taking a moment for an affectionate pat and wag of tail.

I forgot I love being appreciated for my work.

I forgot how green the grass, how deep blue the mountains, how vibrant the golden hour at end of day

I forgot the power of choosing silence and solitude

Di Priest

C-Change © 2020

What does ‘me time’ look like?

I remember some years ago taking time out for a weekend away by myself. Away from my normal routine of washing, house cleaning, attending sporting events for our three active sons and all the other fun activities that crowd out a weekend before Monday returns with a dull thud.
Ah, a wonderful weekend of peace and quiet in a friend’s shack, all made possible after much planning, negotiating, list leaving and reminding myself, it’s not all up to me.
My first hurdle was at the supermarket on the way to my ‘retreat’. I walked up and down the aisles aware of a struggle to know what to buy for myself. I was so sure of what everyone else in the household liked but I had no clues as to what ‘treats’ or ‘staples’ I wanted for myself.
It was one of those funny moments of awareness that just maybe, I really needed this quiet weekend away, if nothing else just to remind myself of what I want to eat when I’m not focused on feeding the hungry hordes and their mates.
“Me time has gone out the door and I’m not sure when or how to get it back,” said a friend recently who was juggling working from home, supervising her children’s schooling and trying to get through a list of home projects because it seemed like a great idea at the time.
Would love to hear your answers to these questions as we consider more ways to bring healthy change to our lives.

  • What is ‘me time’ for you?
  • How do you re-charge the batteries?
  • How do you create those small but essential spaces in a day, week and/or month to re-acquaint yourself with your own needs, wants, feelings, interests and just cause moments?

And I must add that ‘me time’ does not mean just sleeping, pleasant as though that may be for some who are weary from the daily duties of life, and then some.

And my final question:

  • When was the last time you had some serious, high quality, replenishing, ‘me time’?(Photo of Paisley – Pipe Clay Lagoon 2020)

Letting Go

This is a self-paced reflective retreat. It involves five simple reflections and can be done in a day or over time.

Please click here to download a pdf copy of the retreat for you to use and share.