Weekly Inspiration #43

998315_661338790544320_1367983900_n “Come and sit by me,” I say, patting the pillow beside me on the padded window seat. If you look outside, the view is lush in an autumnal way – the grass and the evergreens are verdant, but the deciduous trees – the pomegranate and the crepe myrtle – are changing colours. There is a decided nip in the air as well, especially in the mornings and evenings – and you’ll notice different smells coming from my kitchen too: there is a spicy chai bubbling away on the stove, filling the air with notes of cinnamon and cardamon that blend with the harmonic notes rising gently from my music player. There may also be the half prepared ingredients for a chicken soup on the bench; there is plenty of time for that though – for the moment, let’s have a cup of that sweet and spicy chai that smells so delicious, and have a catch up. Firstly, can I tell you the very best news? My second Dad has had an incredible recovery – from what looked like near death, he suddenly started breathing for himself. They took him off life support on Tuesday, and they didn’t even need to transfer him on to a respirator as they had expected to. He can breathe for himself again! On Thursday they moved him out of Intensive Care and into the Surgical Ward, where he is expected to stay for another couple of months, recovering. Before he came off life support, he regained consciousness and was able to communicate using an alphabet board. When he saw my mother for the first time, he beckoned her over and started tapping out words: have you paid the credit card? Have you cancelled our trip away this weekend? O this made me smile – even with his broken body, hooked up to a machine that was breathing for him, he was conscious of his duties and was lying there worrying about them. Of course, we had done all of that, and much more that he didn’t know about. I went up and saw him yesterday for the first time since he became conscious. He was pale and weak, as you would expect of someone who has been dead for two weeks – but alive: talking, eating and telling us all about his adventures he has had while away :). He also gave me instructions to put money on his phone and set it up so that he can play music on it as well. And he wants his Atlas, which is his very favourite book :). I can’t tell you how happy I am to do these little things for him. He’s on first name basis with half of the nursing staff and all of his doctors – and it’s only a matter of time before he meets the others and charms them as well. Some little things:

  • The view from his bed is treetops and sky.
  • He thanked the nurse who had taken him for an ultrasound and recorded all his details – and she was so shocked that she turned around to see if there was someone behind her that he was talking to.
  • Every patient has their own phone next to the bed, but it’s too far away for immobilised patients to reach.
  • He looked at himself in the mirror and told Mum that he looked a little bit scruffy – but that he guessed that’s what happens to you after 4 days in hospital. He was a little shocked when mum told him that he had been in hospital for 18 days.
  • This is the Australian public health system. Every single person in Australia contributes to Medicare, so that when these terrible accidents happen, people can have the very best quality of care. Terrence has a team of doctors and nurses, access to all of the best testing and medical science and good quality food and room – and all of it is in the public health system. It’s good, it works, it’s equitable, it’s sensible to look after the health of your people.

So, you know, we are just so grateful Best Short Read Karma Envelopes by Dr Kelly Flanagan I love this gorgeous little article for the simple reason that it makes me feel hopeful. Don’t underestimate anything that brings you hope, my friends, no matter how small – it’s a nugget of gold.

Last week, I got ambushed by hope in a pub in Boulder, Colorado.

My wife and I had just gotten into town for a conference. Our flight out of O’Hare had been delayed for hours by thunderstorms, so by the time we landed, traveled to the hotel, checked in, and set out with friends to look for our first food since breakfast, it was 6pm. We walked through the doors of the Mountain Sun Pub with empty stomachs and frayed nerves. We were seated quickly, given our menus, and were just about to open them when my friend noticed, in small type at the bottom of the menu, these words: Cash only. Our empty stomachs dropped, and we got up to go. A waitress stopped us and asked why we were leaving. We explained we were from Chicago and were only carrying credit cards. She smiled wide and told us not to worry. Then she told us about Karma Envelopes. “We’ll give you a Karma Envelope,” she explained, “and when you get back to Chicago, write us a check and send it back to us.” Speechlessly, we sat back down. We looked at each other in disbelief. I scanned the room for hidden cameras. Click here to read the rest

Best TV Show


I haven’t had much time this week – but I always schedule in rest time in even the busiest of schedules. Normally I would read or nap, but not this week. No, this week, my precious rest time has been given to Claire and Jamie, because the second instalment of the first series of Outlanders is back! I have written about the Outlanders books and TV series before – but for those of you who haven’t heard of the books or the series: check it out. And for those of you who have – OMG how good is it? History, time travel, medicine, romance, adventure, danger – and the best two lead roles I have seen in a long time. I found myself planning yesterday, after I watched episode 11, that when the first series has ended, I will sit down and watch all 16 episodes again. That’s how besotted I am with it 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkizwJUiVjA

Best Words

I love Rob Brezsny. He is incredibly intelligent, full of heart, thinks way out of the box and is not afraid to spread hope and happiness wherever he goes. This was on his facebook page the other day:

How can we influence people to stop their extermination of nature? How can we motivate people to stop committing genocide against animal species? [Choose Method A or Method B or a blend of both.] Method A. 1. Nag people with scientific data that shocks them into acknowledging how much harm human activity is inflicting. 2. Shame them about the sin of bequeathing their descendants a damaged, impoverished planet. 3. Badger them to dissolve the unethical greed that leads them to consume so many of the earth’s resources and produce too much waste. 4. Criticize them for being too stubborn and ignorant to change their destructive habits. 5. Goad them with financial incentives to do the right thing even if they don’t want to do the right thing. Method B. 7. Express smart love for the interconnected web of life. 8. Celebrate the fact that there are other forms of consciousness and intelligence besides just the human kind. 9. Embody the hypothesis that spending time in wild places enhances one’s mental hygiene and physical health. 10. Value the feminine as much as the masculine. 11. Cultivate the art of empathy, and demonstrate how to make it work in everything you do. 12. Show what it means to think with your heart and feel with your head. 13. Stay in close touch with the Mysterium, the other real world that is the root of the material world. 14. Vow to bring the I-Thou dynamic to bear on all your relationships. 15. Be as curious about intimacy as you are about power. – Rob Brezsny

Best Song

I am not sure how I feel about David Letterman – he feels a little creepy to me, but maybe that’s just because I am Australian and some American icons are incomprehensible to me. So anyway, apologies for the David Letterman thing. Don’t worry about that though, because Tracy Chapman is singing Stand By Me, and she is beautiful, the song is beautiful, and you will feel happy after watching this I promise. Just as an aside, I have been listening to and loving Tracy Chapman ever since I was 14 – I remember seeing her live when I was 18, and it was such a pinch me is this real kind of moment. She means a lot to me, this woman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlZxx3elxBE

Best Graphic

Found on Brene Brown’s facebook page this week: 11072764_1064103316938110_1130680678059751812_n Really, I think it says it all. Don’t waste your energy people.

Best Education

I want to share a little of the working part of my week: the school holidays have ended which means two things:the children go back to school and I go back to work. It’s been a good, big week with no warm up period; in fact, I feel like I’ve been flung into the midst of things with the strength of woman sized catapult. The first day back was an all day workshop I attended with my boss, run by Chris Sarra, a well renowned Aboriginal educator who is founder and Chairman of the Stronger Smarter Institute. He is inspirational, wise and a radical in his thinking about how to lift the educational outcomes of Aboriginal students, and indeed all students who are the victims of low expectations by society. The next day began with the knowledge that two students that I had been working closely with had left the school, and indeed the area. Every loss of a student is heart breaking – as educators we invest a large chunk of ourselves into each child, especially if we work one on one with them as I was doing with these children. Also, our school is very small, and each student that leaves affects us much more than that of a bigger school. Working with children is very personal, and we feel their joy and heartbreak as if it were our own. This is how it is. On Thursday, I assisted with transporting our year 6 students to a debating workshop. Here’s the thing about living in a rural community: the debating workshop was 80km away, and took 1 hour and 15 minutes just to get there. It was fabulous, the presenters were very experienced at presenting to primary school children – in fact that’s all they do –  and most importantly of all, the children loved it, and got so much out of it – especially my son who takes great pride in his argumentativeness 🙂 And finally, I want to share this letter from teacher Mary Ginley to her students with you: Mary Ginley   And, you know it kind of sums up how I feel about educating our children, and the wonderful teachers and education staff that are out there caring and working so very hard for our children. So, that’s it from me this week my friends, enjoy your week, and don’t forget to appreciate your loved ones and the beautiful planet that we live on and with. Hope on!


Twitter – follow me on Twitter to see all of my other best reads that don’t quite make it on this blog, but are still awesome – I love a chat too, so come visit 🙂. Facebook – I have a Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there 🙂


    • Hi Carol 🙂 thank you for reblogging my post and also for your praise of my writing – which also just happens to be my favourite bit as well 🙂 For some reason this post was a bit like squeezing blood out of a stone – except that bit 🙂 Have a lovely weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. At the outset very happy that your Dad is feeling much better and yes, his of words reminding you of his works indeed very encouraging. My best wishes for his speedy recovery and he back to being healthy and hearty. Yes, you have a great heath system and that’s how it should be in every country. It is during these time we need the best facilities and better care.

    As regards the best words, these two are very profound…
    Cultivate the art of empathy, and demonstrate how to make it work in everything you do. Show what it means to think with your heart and feel with your head.

    Children and Education is such an important aspect of our society. Indeed any child leaving the school is a pain to the custodian of our society, their education and their learning matters a lot and giving a good education to our children defines the thinking of our society.

    Lovely post Sara.
    Have wonderful weekend.


    • Hullo Nihar, thank you for your kind thoughts about my Second Dad, I so appreciate it ❤️. We are so very lucky to have the public health system we do – I just wish it was universal!
      Education is so important to us, the right education that is, creative and nourishing. I wish that was universal too!
      Enjoy your weekend- all the best,

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are right Sara and I prey for such beautiful systems across the world, there are so many places and people who suffer from basic health and education system, and the thought of it makes us feel so privileged and we are lucky in our life.
        We all prey for the good of the mankind and let everybody enjoy the life and live peacefully.
        Have a lovely weekend Sara…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad to hear about your Dad’s burgeoning recovery. I hope he will continue to make good progress and soon be back to his normal self, but perhaps even better–he’s bound to be affected by his near death experience and to cherish life all the more. It’s a lesson we all know at heart but forget in our daily lives until until a crisis wakes us up to what is really important.

    I’ve seen versions of that letter to students in several places before, attributed to various educators. The author is not important, but the message is. I didn’t realize the extreme testing craze was in Australia too. I am attending a conference in Chicago this weekend of the Network for Public Education. Will be hearing many speakers who truly care about children and their learning rather than seeing them as little points of data. Sounds like your small school does wonderful work. The debating workshop sounds so good for the children. I also plan to look up the work of Chris Sarra who sounds very interesting.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You must be a teacher of some sort Diana? What area do you teach in? I’m afraid we have gone down the standardised testing route as well – for years 3,5 and 7. Then there is the national curriculum that the government is bringing in too.
      The debating workshop was so good – the kids weren’t initially that keen, but they were thoroughly entertained while they were mysteriously learning – the best way of Teaching!
      Chris Sarra is a bit of a controversial figure I think; there are people who think he is inspirational and setting the bar higher – and there are other people who think that he is bringing white fella ways to Aboriginal kids – although he is Aboriginal. Like it is white to have high standards. His Wikipedia profile was quite negative. I’m a fan though 🙂
      Enjoy your weekend Diana.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I am an English language arts teacher of eighth grade students, 14-year-olds. The conference was wonderful. Very inspiring. RE: Sarra, High standards are good if they are not imposed abusively. We do need to let children learn in their own ways just like you pointed out with the debate workshop.

        Liked by 1 person

      • An English teacher of eighth graders! My son is in sixth grade and will be in highschool in less than a year…highschool teaching is very much on my mind. I remember being very inspired and a little bit in love with all of my highschool English teachers – they were all men 🙂


  3. Ahhhh. What a wonderfully uplifting post, after some very dark days for you and your family, Sara! I am so very glad that your 2nd dad is doing so much better– what a very, very scary time!! I’ll keep you all in my healing thoughts.

    And that letter from the teacher, at the end… well, if your good news didn’t make my day, that certainly did! Bravo for her! Thanks for sharing and may your family have continued good news. xox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Dawn! How lovely to have a visit from you. Things look much brighter this week, thank goodness. What a 3 weeks we’ve had. Not that it’s over yet by a long shot, but at least he’s back in the land of the living!
      It was a lovely letter wasn’t it?
      Enjoy your weekend xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I smiled from beginning to end, reading your post. Really Sara, it amazes me how much optimism you hold despite the daily crap that life brings to all of us. I was feeling down for no good reason for most of today but your post is just brimming with so much positive energy that I can’t help but cheer up. 🙂 I’m reading that article you linked by Dr. Flanagan right after I post this and I’m sure it’ll just bring me back up all the way. Enjoy your weekend and so glad to hear that things are all working out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You lovely thing Lillian 🙂 The thing is, I’m kind of made that way, but mostly it’s a choice I make. I know in my heart that beauty is everywhere, I make a point of searching it out. Then…I write it down :). So, so glad you enjoy it.


  5. Oh Sara, I’m so happy that your Dad is awake and on the mend! Fabulous news! Back to work is a shock to the system but I have to say I’m so impressed with the letter written by one of your colleagues to her students. What an inspiring and encouraging image she has created. If only we didn’t need to measure and test and compare in education.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish we didn’t have to measure and test our children as well…or that the testing was more creative and genuinely in the child’s benefit to assess how they’re going.
      Thank you for your kind wishes on behalf of Terrence – much appreciated xo

      Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s a new dawn and a new day. Love it!

    I’ll have to check out the Outlanders. I was thinking about watching it and I was trying to remember who had told me it was a good show. Maybe it was you.

    And love the jackass quote. Some people just want to complain and will complain, no matter how much sense you make.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was probably six months ago that I was talking about Outlanders…so good :). I love the jackass whisperer quote too – it’s quite freeing when you realise that you really do not have to please everyone :).


  7. Sara,
    I’m so relieved to hear that your second Dad is making such a strong recovery. I loved the way you wrote about it – all those little details reminding us how precious the “small” things are. I am very happy for your whole family.

    🙂 xo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m listening to the Tracy Chapman clip as I read, the hairs on the back of my neck standing up… amazing. I have also been listening to her for many years and she is one of my regular CD go-to’s.
    I was so pleased at the good news about Terrence. Little things and gratefulness of them are a joy. I enjoyed the karma envelope story. So often we hear about bad experiences, but it’s the good ones that really matter and shine. Ditto for best education. I only had good experiences at school, for which I am grateful. I’m not familiar with Chris Sarra but anyone who works for victims of low expectations by society is good with me.
    Such a lovely positive feeling from this weekly inspiration… all of them, true… Rob Brezsny and Mary Ginley… but a timely reminder at the last that sometimes we will experience negative behaviours, and a way to smile about it, because that’s all you can do.
    Another Outlander fan 🙂 I love Diana Gabaldon’s books. The G.O. likes the audio-books (great for long car trips) and the TV series. We have one episode of the first TV series which we bought on DVD to re-watch and then we’ll start on the new series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You love Tracy Chapman and Diana Gabaldon? Say no more 🙂
      The TV series is actually still on its first series – they just split it up into two blocks of 8 – why I don’t know. Gosh they’ve cast it well. I loved the books, and I think they’ve been very faithful to the story and the characters in the TV series. I’ve just been watching it through iTunes. Pretty much everything I watch and listen to is digital these days.


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