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Volume 7 Issue 4
Jan/Feb 2002

Soothing My Soul Down Under

Circles of Light

Naturopathic Medicine

Extremely Versatile Cabbage


Soothing My Soul Down Under
A Healing Journey

author photoby Melva Armstrong

On November 16, 2001 I returned from an incredibly wonderful holiday Down Under! It is always a gift to have some time away from one’s work in order to rebalance the scales and to focus on things totally opposite to what one does normally. It helps to replenish the spirit and sooth the soul.

In 1969 I had left Canada for a working holiday in New Zealand. After six months there I was enticed to go to Australia by several Aussie women who told me of the beauties of their great country. I went and ended up living there for two and a half years, returning to Canada in 1971. Now thirty years later I made a return trip. The experiences there touched me in a number of beautiful ways, so I thought I would share some of them with you.

Although I left one week after September 11, 2001 and travelled via Los Angeles to New Zealand I found the security checks and the atmosphere in the airports mild compared to what they would be two months later when I returned. The long day of flying actually felt like it went quite quickly. Most of the time we flew through the night and we slept. When the daylight hours arrived neither land nor sea were visible as there was a solid white blanket of cloud-cover stretching below us. As the plane descended it had to cut through that thick white mass, bouncing and tipping slightly from side to side as it did. Then when we emerged the view was absolutely breathtaking. There before my eyes were the hills and valleys of New Zealand, as far as I could see, displaying the most luscious, deep colour of green I’ve ever seen in my life. It was magnificent. Thirty years ago I had arrived by ship so I missed this incredible sight.

I spent eleven days in New Zealand, mostly in and near Auckland, the capital. The first few days I relaxed and unwound and later I took time to do some sightseeing. It was evident from the moment I reached the Auckland airport that the hospitality and warmth of New Zealanders had not changed in thirty years. There, after chatting with a New Zealand woman from the flight, she invited me to come and spend some time at her home, a two hour drive north of Auckland. That’s how I remember New Zealanders from my 1969 hitch-hiking days. I did go to visit her and her husband, and I was treated like royalty. If you ever want to experience "paradise" on this earth, I would suggest you seriously consider taking a trip to this extraordinarily beautiful South Pacific country. By the way, the Prime Minister of New Zealand is a woman, as are a large number of other high-ranking officials both inside and outside their government. During my internet research prior to leaving, I found New Zealand to have an extensive support system for women, so it didn’t surprise me to discover their country has many women in strong, powerful positions. By the end of my two-month trip I felt a strong sense of New Zealand as having a feminine energy and Australia as having a masculine one.

After a three and a half hour flight on September 30 across the Tasman Sea I landed in Sydney, Australia–home of the famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Nothing in either country bore any resemblance to that of thirty years ago other than these two icons and a small hotel I had worked at in Sydney. At first I was sadly disappointed at all the losses and the changes, but I soon realized that life on this earth is always changing and why would this be any different. A friend of mine, who had gone back two years ago, told me it was unrecognizable to her but until I saw it for myself that had no impact on me.

In Australia I reconnected with old friends as well as meeting many new ones. I was surprised to learn there are only 19 million people in a country larger than the U.S.A., for as I trundled the city streets of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra, regularly contending with extremely large throngs of people rushing from one place to another, it seemed overwhelmingly populated to me. Interestingly however, the bulk of the people live around the lush green edges and the centre is mostly uninhabited red dusty desert.

My travels in Australia covered a large territory, from Darwin in the far north to Adelaide in the far south and several stops in between. The temperatures ranged from 35 C everyday in Darwin to 0 C and lower in Cooma, a small town of 7,500 people high in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales.

I cried tears of joy when I met my friends and when I left them. I had to keep pinching myself everyday because I couldn’t believe I was actually there, in the flesh, beside them. And they were doing the same. We talked for hours, we walked, we drank red wine and Aussie beer, we laughed until our sides hurt, we teased each other and reminisced of old times, we watched television together and witnessed their federal election results. Sometimes we went hiking or sightseeing, and other times we simply sat outside and watched and listened to the parrots, the galahs, the cockatoos with their wild screeching sounds, swooping across the blue sky, and the kookaburras singing and laughing in the old gum trees, like in the song. At one time I even had a kookaburra sitting on my hand eating some raw meat, and at another time two parrots, one perched on each hand, eating seeds I had sprinkled in my palms, while others were perched on my head and shoulders. These were fantastic experiences!

If you asked me what I enjoyed the most (which I’ve been asked several times) I would find it hard to pick one thing above all others as the most outstanding. It was really the combination of all my experiences that I enjoyed the most. However, if I had to mention one thing that stands out I would say it was the magnificence of Nature. I drank in the beauty of every part of Nature I looked upon and every day there was plenty to behold and all of it was unique to New Zealand or Australia or both. Nature is a true healer. As I walked in amongst her creations, touching them, smelling them, admiring them all, from the smallest to the greatest, I felt my spirit soaring and I came away feeling refreshed and renewed.

To honour the old friends and the new ones I met on this trip, I want to say about them that they are truly gifts to our world and to me. The great love and generosity they all gave me was of the highest kind. I will always cherish the many moments we shared together, laughing, crying, singing, walking, talking, playing, driving, eating good food, drinking good wine and good tea and teasing one another in good fun. Our souls came together in many different ways, and after many years apart, we are still lifelong friends who care dearly about each other. What more could one ask for? People are the same all over the world, all wanting to be loved and appreciated. Taking a trip is a wonderful way to be reminded how much love there is in the world!


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