People Travel

People travel to wonder at the height of mountains,         

At the huge waves of the sea,

At the long courses of rivers,

At the circular motion of the stars,

And they pass themselves by without wondering.

St Augustine

I had a student desk in my childhood bedroom with a huge map of the world on its surface. I would spend hours looking at the many exotic and mysterious names of countries near and far wondering what life is like for people who live in such amazing places.

I imagined life would be so different for other people and enjoyed picturing myself visiting tropical islands in the Pacific or treking through deep jungles and sandy deserts in Africa.

The travel bug hits so many of us early in life and while I’ve enjoyed some adventures and explorations in other countries it was while actually living in another country that I came to see how much we all have in common as human beings. I spent time being a mum with other mothers, being a friend, being a co-worker with people from all over the world. I learnt so much about myself along the way as I observed, listened and absorbed the stories of others.

I wonder if the way we westerners tend to ‘do travel’ actually changes us, or do we merely stay in our protective bubble passing through other cultures and places relatively untouched. We rarely stay long enough to form connections, create meaning and be genuinely impacted by the beauty of listening to and learning from other people. Our style of travel is a whirlwind, whistlestop, leap out for the quick photo op and hastily jump back on board for the next highlight.

In effect I believe how we travel is, for the most part, is also how we tend to do life. And that’s what the quote is all about.

It takes an intentional pause, a mindful noticing, an honest and open questioning, a moment of vulnerability to form meaningful connection with others. Only then, do we discover something about ourselves, something of our shared multi-faceted humanity.

Enjoy your travels, local and overseas when the time allows. Take time in the busy jam packed itinerary to occasionally pause and listen for the questions that will come to expand your awareness of yourself and others.

We are all in this together.


    Transformed Thinking

    Love hopes and believes the best.

    What we listen to affects

    how we connect and relate

    to ourselves and others.

    We listen to lies about our self

    Formed from frail humanity.

    Freedom comes when we

    Forgive, turn, face the Son

    Leaving the past in the past!

    We listen to lies about others;

    Framed pictures of painful betrayals.

    Freedom comes when fears

    Are faced and we take heart

    Finding both hope and healing.

    For we finally understand,

    We all listen to the same lies

    And all will be healed

    By the same truth.

    “Father forgive them,

    They do not know what they do.”

    They live with lies, shaping a reality

    Giving brittle illusions of power,

    Control, protection, connection.

    We reject what we most fear.

    Therefore, we first reject ourselves.

    The pain of deep disconnection

    More than any can bear.

    We become a city divided,

    Defeated, destroyed.

    The gate is unhinged,

    Open and torn

    As we, with broken hearts,

    Hide in a corner dark and small

    Afraid to step forward

    To claim what is ours,

    Our birthright

    As sons and daughters of the King.

    We are never alone, not ever!

    What a comfort He brings

    The great “I am,”

    The Lover of my soul.

    It’s no longer I that live,

    but Christ that lives in me!

    He died to set me free!

    Di Priest ©C-Change 2007

    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

    Finding home in the heart

    ‘What I love most about my home is who I share it with.’ Tad Carpenter

    Some years ago, one of our sons was asked how he coped with the many house moves his parents made over the years.  His response came immediately and straight from his heart. ‘Home is wherever mum and dad are.’

    I don’t think my husband and I ever planned to live semi nomadic lives, it just happened out of a mix of necessity and who we are.

    We enjoy discovering beauty in all places and meeting people from all walks of life.

    We are drawn to people and their stories of faith, hope and love. Stories that inspire, provoke and add to our understanding of what it means to be human.

    We treasure those who have trusted us and felt at home with us wherever we are.

    Thomas Merton says,We’re called to give our hearts to the world, but first we have to have our hearts in our own possession. We cannot give to others what we ourselves don’t possess.”

    The journey for us as ‘happy wanderers’ has been to daily learn to be at home in our own hearts.

    Learning the ways of giving and receiving, owning when we are hurting others, celebrating when we are part of the solution. Learning to listen to ourselves and to others without prejudice and judgement. Learning when to accept, forgive, and love well. Learning how to let go of fixing, advising, setting straight and respectfully refusing to accept other’s attempts to do so.

    Learning ultimately to allow our gentle and good God to make His home in our hearts. This is still an unfolding mystery and the greatest adventure of our lives.

    You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its home in you. ― Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

    Numbing or Nurturing – Habits for Change

    I’ve begun to notice during this time of ‘glorious isolation’, my tendency to choose numbing strategies to cope with the lingering anxiety that lurks just under the surface of my ‘she’ll be right when I can see the light at the end of this tunnel’ demeanour.

    Now there is nothing wrong with watching a re-run of Friends while nibbling on chocolate and downing a glass of smooth red. You’ll certainly not be judged by me on that one or similar options.

    My lazy brain just loves to, take the soft option, ease my load (perceived of course) and excuse the need to slow the already slow pace.

    Yep, here comes the but!

    But I’ve begun to note that ‘numbing’ strategies while offering short term reprieve can become longer term bad habits with consequences I genuinely don’t want. That causes concern as I begin to normalise and justify the ‘need’ to numb down to cope with this season.

    What I lose, is well-being, satisfaction, confidence and so much more.

    Lately, in response to this pattern I’ve begun to remember some activities that tend to ‘nurture’ rather than ‘numb’ in this season.

    For me, walking, reading (OK, wine may be involved) photography, writing, gardening, feeding the chooks and digging for worms with them, actually nourishes me. I don’t feel quite so defeated. I’ve begun to remember what I really enjoy doing, what gives me joy, purpose and meaning.

    Building ‘nurturing’ activities into my day (because I’m worth it) engages my brain and gives me a stronger sense of value.

    Before you ‘return to normal’ whatever that may be, my question to you is:

    Have you noticed what ‘numbs’ and/or ‘nurtures’ you and what will you take forward into the new season just around the corner? Remember – you are worth it.