The gift of life comes with its inevitable companion, the sentence of death. You can’t have one without the other, there is no choice. You live, you die. As soon as you start living the clock starts ticking. Every life, human, animal, plant, no exceptions. There is no control other than adding the full stop through suicide, self-destruction. The length of the sentence is arbitrary and therefore unknown, unlike the sentence pronounced by a human court sitting in judgement. The sentence though is full of commas and colons and semicolons and capitals and hyphens, all defining the events of our life. But where does the natural judgement on the length of the sentence come from? Continue reading
I was about fifteen when I first started to fool my body and brain into a new way of thinking. Thinking that it was actually enjoyable to put burning cigarettes in my mouth and suck the smoke from them deep down into my lungs. It wasn’t easy to do though, to overcome the natural response to this unnatural act. To ignore nausea in my stomach, the severe coughing as my lungs tried to reject the incoming, overwhelming clouds of toxic smoke. But with perseverance, the ingestion of nicotine that got through the natural defences of my body into my system worked its magic completely and convinced my brain that it was, in fact, essential to my continued well-being. Continue reading
I made a comment when posting to Facebook about my Stringy Bark McDowell podcast that Stringy could be Australia’s equivalent of singer/songwriter Neil Young. As this elicited some feedback I thought it might be worthwhile explaining how I came up with such an idea.
Firstly let me say, yes Stringy is that good! I became so impressed with Stringy, the man, and the musician, during our chat. Continue reading
Travel advisory 😜 We had intended to make our first stop on our trip to Maldon this morning at Pheasant Nest, just out of Sydney, for breakfast. Big disappointment folks 😡 No cooked meals just reheated toast sandwiches and make your own coffee out of a machine, bleh!! So be warned, keep going for about 15 mins to the next stop at the Exeter/Bundanoon exit and the Coolabah Tree Cafe. Shell petrol as well and if you are really desperate and have no qualms about eating crap there is also a Maccas 😤
I have lost many people, pets, clothing, little treasures of all sorts over the period of my life to date and I dare say I will lose much more in what is still to be lived. The most recent significant one of these was about two months ago when my dear old aunt, the last of what I call “my grownups”, passed away peacefully. I cried a lot during the writing and reading of her eulogy but in amidst this grieving, there was a great sense of relief for her, a joy that there was now an end to her physical suffering.Knowing that makes it easier for me to move on without further pain as it has done with all of the people and pets in my life who have passed on. It was for whatever reason their time to go and they are now at peace, as should I in knowing that. The memories will live on in my mind for as long as I have access to that. Continue reading
Good afternoon everyone. My name is Michael Stacey and I am proud to be Coral’s nephew. I would like to say a few words to farewell Coral and to honour her life.
For me, Coral was one of the five most important people in my childhood. They were my grandparents, Frank and Vi Stacey, who raised me from about the age of two, and their three children, Max, Coral and Reg, my father. I was Frank and Vi’s only grandchild and Coral looked out for me from the very start. Continue reading
Why? Why am I paying a barber to cut my hair with a clipper on #2 setting when there is hardly any hair left on top? Why am I bothering? What is the difference between #2 and #0 I thought? Not much I thought. Why not just start shaving it off and save myself the barbers fee? So I did, I shaved it all off that weekend, secure in the knowledge that I could always let it grow back if I didn’t like it. But little did I know that my biggest lesson in how attachment works was to be found in that seemingly simple rational decision.
I was just starting to read a lot of books on Buddhism at this time, Continue reading
It was a memorable prank. I was working as a programmer in the early 1980’s on a project designed to run on an IBM S/34, a big metal “cupboard” on wheels that sat in the corner and churned away. I worked on the project with one of the guys from the company, a nice little guy I will call Arfa because he was probably born within the sound of the Bow Bells. We had set him up with a database on the S/34 to manage his passion, breeding budgerigars. Arfa was one of those pet owners who some would say bore a resemblance to his pets with a beaky little nose and a cheeky and curious personality.
This is a very rare picture of my mother’s four sons. Her name was Bettine Barnes, hence the title. Bettine married twice, firstly to my to-be dad Reg Stacey who she met and married while he was serving in the UK during the Second World War as a RAAF bomber pilot. Her second marriage was to Stewart Bainbridge in New Zealand and with whom she had three sons, Sean, Adam and Nigel. Continue reading
I love you.
I also love being your Dad. It is the proudest achievement of my life. Nothing I have done before or may do in the future, can surpass being part of the creation of the two wonderful human beings who are Aaron Francis and Joshua David. I also treasure the relationship that has developed between us as adults and which is equally attributable to the three of us. It is rare and priceless.
I wonder however if my father, Reginald Francis, could rightly lay claim to that title, “Dad”, or to the same feeling of pride that I have articulated above. Through the work, I am doing on my mastery and service course I have come to a fuller realisation of how selfish my father was. How little affection and respect he was able to give me throughout the course of my early life when so much depended on that. Here are some of the recollections and details that I doubt you are aware of and which has only just resurfaced for me. Continue reading
carrying more than she knew
Ignorance a shield lowered only
when the space and choice combined
in a womb that nurtured discovery
to confront his yearning
for those meagre signs of approval
that mattered little in essence
but consumed more than he could afford
A monstrous dark shadow
looming in the pale light
of its own recognition
All those triggers
keys that unlocked an arsenal
of pains from a time when
a smaller version of the adult
learnt to survive
initiating a mutual release
from that prison in which
through the years of youth
they had shared and cared
A release in the only way they knew
Raging anger, tears and longing
for an end to the constant frustration
of those past moments that cemented
the walls and locked the doors
A realisation that we can turn
only our own keys
He turned and rushed
the nectar of freedom a heady brew.
Another provided the comfort
and shared the laughter
that gushed into that empty space
** Stace says: The closing bookend to Coming In, the ending for the beginning, being the parameters to a 12 year relationship & marriage, almost to the day, 1970-1982.
My neighbour Ray Brookes put this to music and created this song from my original poem. Ray may have a website up soon but in the meantime, you can find some of his original music on YouTube, just search for “Ray Brookes”.
Have a listen, I love it.
that belie the face
A joyful visage
contorted on an impulse
wrenched from the soul
or so it seems.
But those creases
are just an illusion
a vicious delusion
A smile is a lifeline
one to another.
That line once flung
is moored by the mirror
of the soul
So sad to see
when your face smiles
but your eyes don’t.
** Stace says: I wrote this way back in 1978 and have carried it around in a folder with others since then. This seems like a good place to open them to the light.
As my mind fights the sleep
and relief is hours away.
My thoughts are still with you
as surely my heart you will keep.
I strive to find the words or deeds
to give your troubled mind
the consolation that is its due
and disperse those doubting seeds.
I may not find those elusive words
that may reassure and placate you
I can only give you love and fidelity
and a vision that looks forward.
It is ours to work and build upon
as a life in which others
whom we shall surely encounter
may find the love we stumbled on.
But this joy can be ours
and at times does break through
all those fears and doubts
like rainbows through spring showers
That is loves rejuvenation
a precious thing which maintained
and constantly replenished
becomes an eternal revelation
Do not fret about the years already done
for their pitfalls you have met
and should. rightly, pale into insignificance
for they are battles you have clearly won
Do not fret about the coming years
with all their age-old trials
which must be met and faced
but cannot be beaten with presumptive tears
All these words may or may not be true
and that is for you alone to decide
there is only one truth
I love you
** Stace says: This was written at the start of a 12 year relationship & marriage in 1970 which should be read in conjunction with Going Out.