At Lollypop Beach, I’m here to remind you that no matter what kind of diagnosis or upheaval you’re faced with, there is light, hope and joy waiting for you. (And it’s closer than you think.)
I believe in regeneration of body and spirit. Dreaming during darkness and breathing in the promise of dawn. Nurturing yourself, sharing love and connection, seeing beauty, finding opportunities, and experiencing wonder and adventure.
I understand the healing power of healthy living, compassion and finding the right team for your health and life. I’ve also learnt that building resilience is vital to achieving your best possible health and living up to your potential.
I embrace that life, like the sea, can be wildly unpredictable. I’ve found inspiration through living in a country with a history of people stepping up during times of adversity. When you believe you have the inner strength to face anything that happens, every day is lived with hope and grace. At Lollypop Beach it’s always that kind of day — your precious life is both sweet and conquerable, an ocean of possibilities.
This is a place for retreat, renewal and to see the world differently.
Thank you for being here. Get to know me on the About page.
Australian writer Tim Winton, Land’s Edge: A Coastal Memoir
To see beauty is to be curious about the world around you. To open your eyes, ears and heart to what is before you, and to delight in the adventures you create from what you find. You can experience this by travelling across continents or by living in the smallest of towns; The feeling is the same and the treasure is in the memory.
If you were a fortunate child, your parents regularly gave you freedom to explore. You never forget the thrill of this. Curiosity can feel clandestine. Discovery can taste delicious. The more you discover, the more you want to find. Exploration is instinctive. I was always looking at nature and man-made structures wanting to know more and thinking about my own responses to what I saw: How much do I like this? Why do I like this? How can I see it again?
Somewhere along the line in early adult life, my study, work and social life become so predominant that I hardly noticed the world around me anymore. I’d walk for exercise, but be thinking about work, holidays or people. It would take something dramatic or obvious for me to notice my environment. I’d be jolted by a sunset casting a spotlighting glow over the street or taken by surprise by needing to dodge a stunning rose extending beyond a fence. Yet travel was different; On the road I could be alive to every experience, breathing life in, amazed by the differences a new place offers and how calming it feels to explore and to learn. Perhaps this is a large part of travel’s attraction.
It was only when my life was touched by grief at age 27 that I reopened my eyes to the precious gifts that surround us in daily living. And 10 years later, I began to understand how being aware of my surroundings more often, could also have benefits for my health. Mindfulness is one of many strategies I use to maintain stable health with MS.
You can create a contented and wonderfully adventurous life within your own home city or town if you stay curious enough to see beauty. Perhaps the following suggestions will trigger more ideas for you.
♥ Gardens and agriculture. When you pass a garden, look at the colours, smell the aromas and feel the textures. Appreciate the work and love that goes into it. The same applies for crops and fields of flowers. Let yourself feel something about the fact that what you are seeing will feed us or adorn our cities and tables. Imagine the farmers and the growers. If you pass a vineyard, notice the growth and season; Have the vines just been pruned, is it budburst or are the grapes close to harvest? Imagine the grape growers, the winemaker and the sommelier who will pair the wine with a menu.
♥ Untamed nature. In the wild, marvel at creation. Sense freedom when looking at the ocean, waterways, trees and wild flowers.
♥ Art and architecture. Relish the artistry within a movie or a theatrical show. Take in the experience in its entirety: sets, lighting, costumes, music and the performances. Look closely at interesting buildings, bridges and artworks. I have a fascination with gargoyles. From the cheeky ones, to the menacing ones, I like imagining their story: Why is this gargoyle here? What it is declaring or protecting us from? I’ve gazed upon the gargoyles of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris and I’ve searched them down in Melbourne; both experiences felt exciting and playful.
♥ People’s faces and outfits. Look at the detail in people’s faces and wonder about their individual stories and what brought them to this place. Simply observe and wonder what they can teach you. On other days, talk to strangers (you’re big now). Listen to teenagers or uni students talk on a train — and realise how far you’ve come. Listen to the aged — and realise how much more wisdom there is to be gained through living. Observe fashion, it’s fun, even when you can’t afford what they’re wearing. Look at accessories, there will be ideas for any budget that can be matched to a current wardrobe or to a classic purchase that will have lasting value.
♥ The sky and clouds. Like Amélie, be amazed by the ever-changing scene above. I have fond memories from when I was aged 15 and camping with a friend’s family by the sea at Eden, NSW. Ten or so teenagers from the small campground would be lined up next to each other, backs on the sand, looking up at the sky talking about the clouds. Again and again, always something different to talk about — until someone needed another icy-pole. Nowadays, I cloud-watch from my sister’s shade-covered swinging outdoor chair or look up from a towel or picnic rug for a short-time (wearing sunscreen and sunnies).
♥ Sunshine. When you’re in the sunshine, think about how the sun feels on your skin; its warmth and energy. In regular small doses, sunbaking assists a healthy immune system and is recommended for those of us with MS. Just five minutes on each side on a sunny day and about 15 mins if cloudy will be enough, then cover up (check the UV levels on the weather report).
♥ The detail. Look at specifics in nature. Pick something to closely observe when you see it throughout the day or during a walk. It could be flowers, leaves, birds, insects…or even a colour. Notice its presence and at the end of the day write down, or tell someone, what you saw. Feel thankful for experiencing this wonder and adventure.
Louie Schwartzberg: Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.
For the ultimate guide on seeing the beauty in this world, watch the following TED talk. It could be the most clarifying 9.47 minutes you spend this week. Then, if you can, take a walk into the world.
Louie Schwartzberg: Nature. Beauty. Gratitude. (also embedded below)
Prior to this post, I had an article published on Mamamia: If you’re grieving this Christmas, know this… Please have a read if it might be helpful to you or someone you’re close to.
To connect, visit the Lollypop Beach Facebook page or drop me a line via email. I’m also on Twitter.
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