Allowing Ourselves Time To Rest ...

12th June 2017

I realise it’s been a couple of weeks since I last wrote and there’s a reason for that. But let me say first of all I don’t want to appear as a pessimist or someone who is down on their luck. I’m fully appreciative that this is all part of the journey when one changes lifestyle, especially when it’s a big change and when you’re at the beginning of that change. The old ‘F’ word arises big and strong – namely FEAR! We are finding at the beginning fears come thick and fast because everything is so new in terms of new surroundings, new circumstances and general unfamiliarity. With that said, I proceed!

What I haven‘t mentioned so far in these blogs is the ‘death threat’! My last job was working with people with disabilities through what is known in Australia as the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It offers, through government assistance, people with a chronic disability, ongoing support tailored to suit the individual’s needs. I was a humble support worker working for an organisation that managed individual plans, those approved for people with disabilities. If you would like to know more about how this program works, visit this site https://www.ndis.gov.au/.

I mentioned ‘humble’ support worker because in my working career as a social worker I’ve held some high paid, high flying types of positions. They are available for those who are prepared to step out of the hum drum of 9 to 5 type of jobs.

Let me say, working as a support worker is not one of those high flying type of positions! With the utmost of respect to other support workers, speaking from my experience, one is not as well looked after as a support worker compared to the others further up the food chain. Support work is on the lowest rung. But it is amazingly rewarding if you are prepared for it and you realise the true meaning of life is not about how much money you can accrue in your life time or the net value of all your possessions or professional tag or standing. It’s about serving others with humility and grace and that is what support work offers you.

I was working with one particular person for 18 months and in that time we developed a positive relationship. He had some mental health issues and a drug problem – methamphetamines (Ice). He taught me a great deal about patience, suspending judgements and seeing life from a very different point of view. He really was the product of “systems” – the mental health system, child protection system, the world of drugs both legal (psychiatric drugs) and illegal. Often there’s not a lot of difference between the 2 types of drugs in terms of addiction and effects.

Well the shorter version of this story is that a couple of weeks before we were to leave Margaret River to begin our adventure I told him I was leaving and he assumed that he would have his dog back. Julie and I had taken on the care of his dog (click here to see a pic) because he was going through a tough time and it wasn’t unusual to see him feed the dog bread! Well I had to eventually say the dog was going to a good home and it wasn’t going to be his.

Then things turned very nasty. It eventuated in him threatening to kill me. He even found out where I lived and dug our graves! (click here to see the pic!). Luckily we weren’t home at the time!

Needless to say this was very stressful. We involved the police but the long and short of it was that hastened up our decision to leave town.

We finally arrived in Denham, stressed, tired and broke. Getting out of town, building our tiny blue cabin and getting the Jeep road worthy had eaten into our savings.

We believe divine guidance was given us through Julie going for an early morning walk (most unusual for her!) on the beautiful beach here in Denham where she met Tim who runs a Crisis Centre and kindly took us in. We are now residing in his beautiful place along with his wife Maggie. They are really beautiful people with enormous hearts and unconditional love. Just amazing. Truly inspirational people in terms of giving to others with no strings attached.

This is giving us time to recuperate and rest. We’ve got medical certificates allowing us stress leave from job searching. I’ve even sprained my wrist from repetitive actions so I really do have to rest.

It is a very humbling experience. As Julie said we are used to giving and supporting others and now the shoe is on the other foot and we are truly, lovingly being cared for. It’s both humbling and wonderful. There are many people out there with very caring hearts. Never forget that even during the bad times. Say “yes” to help and “yes” to love!

From here on hopefully it's onwards and upwards! At the same time, every minute of every day Julie and I are always thankful, blessed and grateful for the life we lead.

These blogs represent the thoughts and processes Julie and Mark are experiencing as they move on to a new life that is categorised by selling up just about everything they own and travelling with no destination in mind and no time constraint.

It's also charectorised by believing life is short and must be lived well which has as its basis, serving others and in the process maximising joy through all the opportunities that present themselves along the way. Serving others ultimately means putting others first. So where ever we go we want to be able, in some culturally appropriate way, to contribute positively to the society or group of people we are with. We will try our best not to live in a westernised, protective bubble.

It is a privilege to travel. Not everyone has the ability to do so. We honour the ability to travel.

We have no idea where we will end up. We are doing all of this on a shoe string budget. What we leave behind is a sea container that has only a few possessions totaling less than a thousand dollars. What we take with us is basically ourselves. The small amount of money we had saved has been used to build our "tiny blue cabin" to sleep in for the first part of our journey, and in getting our ageing Jeep up to scratch! Ouch! Bye, bye savings. We also have a desire to not let the roots grow under our feet, anchoring us to the ground through possessions, complacency, debt and so much other "heavy weight" living in western society can bring.

Mark is particularly inspired by the life of Saint Francis of Assisi who lived humbly and sparsely helping others and Julie through intuitive spirituality. God, the spiritual energy of the universe, guides us both. We are not religious fanatics. Simply people who see the connectedness in everything. We believe sacred all people, the earth, the environment, the universe.

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