Three shiny new things and some travel

Three shiny new things
Acknowlegement of country

Three shiny new things and a little spontaneous travel and adventure have brightened my life this week. Just when I thought I’d never travel, never write, never feel enthusiastic, there I was at Point Peron (I’ve written about that before). And writing a blog post!

The tedious life events I’ve written about recently are coming to an end. It feels as if there’s some reprieve. My spirits have shifted. I’ve paid the last bill to the family law firm. My kind, competent family lawyer has closed my file and gone on maternity leave.

There are loose ends (settlement) to complete early next month. Then I’m done! Poorer, but still at the same address and with enough income to live on. Blessed with family and friends who support and care for me. Thank you all!

Three shiny new things

Things I’m thinking about certainly feel shiny. But when I examine them, I discover none is really new. They all fit into my philosophy of life-long learning and I’ve played with them before.

As the mother of a large family I learned that kids need novelty to be happy and to learn and grow. Too many toys available at one tine became an unattractive mess of undervalued possessions. Junk. When packed away and produced at intervals, the kids enjoyed them more.

So with my three retrieved ‘new’ things.

Simple Abundance

I read Simple Abundance: A Handbook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach probably 25 years ago. The target audience was women in the Northern Hemisphere, and it starts on 1 January. This presents problems if you start (or restart) in Western Australia in March. You need to transpose seasons for one thing.

I found the book while decluttering the bookshelves. I love it as much as I did when I first read it. Remembering from all that time ago makes it even richer.

Writing in the Dark

The next of my shiny new things found its way into my online feed in the myterious way these things do. It is the website and property of writer and teacher of writing, American Jeannine Oullette. The best way to get a feel for her work is by checking it out here.

.Jeannine offers regular free articles about writing, as well as intensive writing courses that run over twelve weeks and are accessible for a small fee to join the Writing in the Dark community.

I’ve attempted two of these courses over the past months. I failed after weeks two or three. As Sweta Srivastava Vikram tells us, grief can severely dampen creativity.

But now I’m committed to complete the new online course, Visceral Writing Intensive. Already, I feel as if I’ve become part of the writing community I need.


My final shiny new thing comes from thinking about awe. Awe, the experience or emotion, has not been talked about much until recently, at least in my experience.

Again, almost by accident on a shelf in the local Target store I came across Julia Baird’s book, Bright Shining : How Grace Changes Everything Then I discovered there is a new growing ‘science of awe’. Off I went, down the rabbit hole.

In his book, Awe: The new science of everyday wonder and how it can transform your life, Dacher Keltner examines ‘…how awe-inspiring experiences, such as admiring nature or listening to music can boost well-being, empathy, and creativity. He suggests that cultivating awe can lead to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

The trick, I believe, is to recognise awe-filled events and to be grateful for them.


The little Karratha family invited me to visit. My heart was heavy with their departure and so much other loss. My dear sister, Elizabeth invited me to holiday with her and Peter in Thailand. I thought that impossible. (But I did renew my passport, just in case… for next time.)

Then I read about travel in Simple Abundance. Travel, according to Sarah Ban Breathnach, does not always have to be mind-bending or bank-breaking. We can even find awe when we travel to a nearby suburb, catch a local train to a new distination or eat in a different restaurant. That is, she says, if we have a travel mindset.

When my son Tim invited me to spend the weekend at Point Peron, I hesitated for ten seconds, took three breaths. ‘Yes!’ I said, surprising myself. I’m so glad I did.

Visceral writing exercise

The following writing is an exercise from Visceral Writing Intensive. Tim surprised me by taking me to the beach where his dinghy was moored. I’ve taken poetic licence and written as if it was my idea. It was all his. I would have said no, if consulted!

Take me for a spin in your boat, she said (after the style of Mary Oliver)

So I helped her barefooted across the sand

Left her on a driftwood log at the ocean’s edge

where she watched me

wade knee-deep to release the anchor

and pull the dinghy towards us.

Sat her on the gunwhale so she could

swing her legs around and step in.

Started the motor with a roar and puff of fuel

eased through white-tipped waves

among buoys encrusted with mussels,

ponderous shags perched on moored yachts,

sqwarking gulls and terns,

silver herring darting among weeds and

ruffling the ocean’s surface.

It took, to do this, perhaps one hour,

an hour of tranquil pleasure.

Comments on Three Shiny New Things

I love comments, and I’d love you to comment on this post.

Maureen Helen and premature predictions


    1. Thanks Susan Dunn. It was a fun post to write. I’m loving the Visceral Writing Intensive exercises. It was an act of bravery to post my little related piece of writing after such a lovely weekend being spoilt by Tim. I didn’t do the dinghy ride justice – I thought I’d never again go out on the water like that.

  1. I’m so pleased that you are seeing the world through fresh eyes again.
    You are amazing, Maureen, and an inspiration to us all.

    1. Yes, I’m pleased everything is less dark now, too, SueW. Thank you for your kind remarks. Life somehow seems better, and it’s easier to get on with the next thing, whatever presents itself. I feel lucky.

  2. Sounds like your on your way – on your way to being your happy self again! Bless you!
    Thank you for explaining awe. I feel in awe of so many things. I take photos and look back on them often to remember the feelings the pics gave/give me. I’m too lazy to write about what I see and feel, so photos do the job for me.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment, Elizabeth. I enjoyed writing the blog, probably because I feel much better thanks mostly to the kindness of everyone. Photos do a wonderful job of reminding me of experiences of awe. We experience awe from looking at a sunset or a mountain or the sea. But we can also experience it when we look at the fingernail of a tiny baby or smell something special – for me, daphne, jasmine and violets can be triggers. Or the smell of your kitchen and cooking in Bangkok! Even the memory! Mxx

  3. Wonderful Maureen. So great to hear about your new time at Point Peron and your recent shiny, new things
    AS always you inspire.
    Thank you for sharing
    Much love till we can catch up
    X Tricia

  4. Dear Friend – knew you would do it. Travel the path you had to, cross over the heavy rocks, wave your way through undulating, piercing leaves, survive the floods and drought – walk with strength into glorious sunshine. So looking forward to more trips on the boat.

    1. It came as a surprise to me, dear Elizabeth B. I thought I’d never make it. There’s still quite a way to go, but feeling more confident with every hurdle I jump. Love your writing. Thank you.

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