The Sun is coming over the hills as I write ~ the light of a beautiful new day. There is something so beautiful about sunrise, and its message of life and hope and possibility. Three white-tailed rabbits are playing in the frosty field outside my writing room. My heart feels light and happy.

 

Three years ago, at sunrise, I received the phone call from my sister, Ramona, that you’d been killed in a car accident. Oh how I cried. I’d never experienced such heart-wrenching grief in my whole life. I thought my body would fall apart from the pain which seared through me.

 

I have had a lot of time to reflect on your death, but also on your life and especially the gifts having you as a father brought me. As you know, I spent a lot of my life being angry that you worked overseas for most of my childhood. I just wanted a dad who was at home. That’s all any child wants.

My childhood home in Freestone, Darling Downs, Australia

My childhood home in Freestone, Darling Downs, Australia

But I understand now. I understand your need to earn large sums of money, and I understand your ambition and desire to succeed and be confident in this material world. I really get it now. I also see the bigger picture, too.

 

Your death has taught me a lot. I’ve changed in so many ways, though they’d be imperceptible to most people. Standing next to your lifeless body as you lay in the coffin was a defining moment in my life. You see, in many ways, I was quite like you. I wanted the success. I wanted the wealth. I wanted the luxurious houses. I wanted the adventure of foreign travel.

Freestone, Australia

Freestone, Australia

I held your cold and lifeless hand and thanked you with a depth of gratitude I’d never known. I thanked you for the incredible childhood I was able to have because of your life. How many kids get to grow up on a 700-acre horse stud? I had this because of YOU. The strictness of being raised by my German parents was outweighed by the freedom I had on that land. Living as a child of Nature gave me the best possible training ground for life. Far more than any school education ever could have. Thank you for that.

As I stood, weeping, and holding your hand, a light bulb went on inside my head. I’d always understood the wisdom of ‘you can’t take it with you when you go’, but now I REALLY understood it. All that ambition, all that work, all the money ~ and for what? None of that was going with you. What was the point of any of it? I stood there feeling an impotence of incredible magnitude. I wanted to petition the gods! It was wrong. So wrong.

Often a person’s life is judged by their successes, and those achievements of yours were certainly mentioned as we gathered to say our farewell to you. But for me, your life is measured in other ways. Ways that are meaningful to me. Like how you taught me to ride a bike. That image of the day I rode without training wheels, with you there clapping me on, is as vivid as the sunrise before me. As is the day you taught me to swim, granted it wasn’t a conventional way! Not at all. You told me to climb on the high diving board and that if I jumped you’d catch me. I jumped. Oh God it was a long way down. I still remember it all, in slow motion. I remember it because you swam away. I jumped in the deep end and you didn’t catch me! Crap! Needless to say I am a confident swimmer!

I remember how you tried so hard to make me laugh when Mum was in hospital having Ramona. I really missed her, but you went out of your way to be a clown and eat raw lemons and pull funny faces. I can’t see a lemon without thinking of you.

 

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Mum and Ramona

 

I also learnt from you the harsh reality that Santa is NOT real. I peeped through the window to see you putting out the presents. I was horrified. It took me over three decades to come to terms with that betrayal and to forgive you. Silly, I know…

Dad, you taught me that we each make our own music. That we walk to our own drum beat.

 

 

You didn’t believe in God. You believed in yourself. I believe in both, and that has shaped me enormously. Thank you.

You didn’t teach me to ride a horse, but a bit like swimming, I just got on with it. I learnt to hold on for dear life. You taught me that I could do anything if I wanted to.

Seeing you in the coffin has deflated my ambitions and desire for success. For some people, it might have had the opposite effect. For me, it has taught me something else. Something far more valuable. I’ve learnt to slow down. I’ve realised, finally, nothing is worth stressing over. There are no important deadlines or other man-made rules of success to follow. My only true goal now is to live a life of pleasure and fun. If you had known how it would all end ~ that a teenage kid would end up ploughing into your car on a rainy morning three years ago ~ I bet you’d be giving me the same advice: slow down, and have fun.

And dad, that’s what I’m doing. My life is filled with all the things that bring me joy: music, gardening, sunshine (not Aussie style, though), family, friendships, laughter, Nature and making good food. I love you, dad. I always have, and I always will. You might not have acknowledged the spiritual realm while you were alive, but I feel your presence more strongly than ever. I know you’re nearby.

 

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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My first-born daughter is nineteen today. As a mother, a child’s birthday brings up many memories. I doubt, however, if there is one as strong as the night my beloved child was born.

 

Heavily pregnant, on Pakiri Beach, New Zealand

Heavily pregnant with Eliza, on Pakiri Beach, New Zealand. Bethany and I collecting shells.

 

Nothing could have prepared me for the magnitude of emotion that swept through me as my husband Paul passed me our newborn daughter.

 

 

Seconds after giving birth at home, by candlelight and Mozart, to my daughter Bethany.

Seconds after giving birth at home, by candlelight and Mozart, to my daughter Bethany.

 

 

Bethany was born gently and easily (for both of us) by candle light in the warmth and comfort of a birthing pool. Our bedroom was a calm haven in which to welcome our child Earthside. Bethany, who is now studying music at Bangor University, arrived to the sound of Mozart.

 

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Walking in the Lake District, Cumbria.

 

It’s funny how, as humans, most of us can’t remember what we ate a few days ago or the name of an old teacher or other such things. But birth? Oh birth! I remember every single detail of that amazing night. Like how my husband held me, and how his eldest daughter, Hannah, who was 19 at the time, poured warm water down my back. I remember the ease with which Bethany slid from my body. It was like that feeling of how wet soap just slips out of your hand. Yes, it was that easy. Was it due to my aquanatal classes or yoga? Was it due to my plant-based diet? Was it because I firmly believed she could be born this way? All I truly know is that my little mermaid didn’t give me a spot of bother.

 

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Bethany playing violin at a handfasting ceremony

 

You know those moments when you first hold your baby and she’s staring into your eyes? I remember this with both my daughters. That sense of hello, but also of hello again. It was if we’d met again after a long passage of time.

 

 

The emotion I feel recalling Bethany’s birth is every bit as strong today as it was nineteen years ago. I loved to touch her tiny fingers and toes, and marvel at her perfection. Her soft hair is one of my favourite memories. Is there anything as exquisite as the scent of a newborn baby?

 

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I loved our nights cuddled up in the family bed, the moonlight casting a gentle light upon her hair. I had a moment, one night, of ‘seeing’ her as a young woman. It was a clear image. And you know what? That image was of the young lady that she is today.

 

 

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There are some things in this world that no one can ever take from you. For me, the scent of my newborn is one of those. It is forever protected inside my heart.

 

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About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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One of the great ironies of our time is how fearful of death we, as a species, are. We see it, for the most part, as the end. Finale. Over. Finito. Perhaps we’d be less fearful about the end of earthly life if we actually spent more time invested in living it fully?

How easy it is to panic if the electricity goes out or, God forbid, Facebook goes down for five minutes. OMG what will we do!

A life rich in meaning is often found well away from the fanfare of modern life’s conveniences and enticements.

I believe we are on this beautiful earth to enjoy it fully, and to truly experience what it is like to be human. When was the last time you stopped and stood under the stars? Can you actually remember? I once heard a lovely quote along the lines of: if the stars only came out every 3 millions years would we be watching the TV tonight?
I think not.

 

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My brother, Rene, all relaxed in the heart of the bush. Australia.

 

The beauty of life is in the detail. It’s all around us. Starlight, birdsong, soft green grass. The trickle of water over rocks in the creek. The hooting owl. It’s the feel of our lover’s tender hand across our breast. Beauty is the scent of our child’s hair. We find life affirmed when plucking blueberries off the bush or gathering root vegetables for soup.

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With my daughter Bethany when she was a young girl.

 

 

It is the scent of pine needles underfoot as we tread lightly upon the forest floor. It’s the crackle of a fire, and the first light of morning. Life is the unique smell of rain upon the soil: petrichor.

 

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Rene & Chantal’s campfire. Australia.

 

This chance to live on planet Earth is a privilege and should be treated as such. There is so much joy, love, beauty, kindness and grace all around us. It’s everywhere. We can choose to see these, or we can tune into the cultural soup and be brainwashed that a good life is about the latest fashion, TV show, bank balance, material acquisition, and celebrity gossip.

 

 

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The beauty of a rainbow. The view from my writing room.

The further we move away from Nature’s heartbeat, the more inclined we are to fear death, and ironically, life.

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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Today is International Women’s Day.

What does that mean? For me, it’s about opening our eyes to the plight of women around the world. It’s about extending the hand of sisterhood. We can’t change the whole world, but we can change the lives of some people.

 

This week I walked 35 miles (5 miles a day for 7 days) to raise funds for Walk In Her Shoes.

 

I walked through two snow storms for Walk In Her Shoes.

I walked through two snow storms for Walk In Her Shoes.

 

My goal was £100, but with the support of friends and strangers I more than tripled my goal. This will help to build clean, safe water sources closer to communities so that women and girls don’t have to walk five miles a day (carrying about 20 litres of water each). I won’t ever meet any of these women or girls, but that doesn’t matter. I know that I’ve made a difference.

 

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Walking along the Eden River.

 

 

 

Would you be willing to Walk In Her Shoes? It’s not too late. Why not sign up to walk five miles a day?

 

I have a busy life as a work-at-home mother. I managed to squeeze in five miles a day because this cause matters to me. Water is a fundamental human right. Together, we CAN make a difference.

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The beautiful Eden Valley where I live.

 

Thank you so much to everyone who supported me on my walk! I really appreciate your kindness.

 

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The Sun came out for a few minutes at the end of my final day of walking. A beautiful sign!

 

If you’d like to donate to my fundraising page, visit here:
https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/veronika-robinson

If you’d like to sign up for Walk In Her Shoes, go here: www.careinternational.org.uk

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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Like a mermaid, I breaststroke my way through the water. Each gliding movement takes me closer to a state of inner peace. I feel at home. In my mind I block out the stench of chlorine, the florescent lighting, the screaming and dive-bombing kids, and roudy testosterone-filled swim strokes around me. When I swim, if I close my eyes, I’m no longer in my local swimming pool but back to the wild swimming of childhood in rural Australia.

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Blessed to be raised on 700 hundred acres of beautiful bushland in South East Queensland, much of my wild swimming was done in muddy man-made dams, and the pure water of a dam at the end of a creek which wound its way down our mountain.

Freestone, Australia

Freestone, Australia. I grew up on this beautiful part of the Darling Downs.

It didn’t matter to me and my siblings if the water was muddy. That was half the fun. Clothes ripped off, in we ran and splashed about. Sometimes we’d ride our horses through. Just for fun. Everything was about fun. Not that my mother had that word running through her mind when we arrived back covered in mud.

The dam at the bottom of the creek. Oh how I dream of that place. I wonder if it is anything like that of my treasured memories? I long to go back. The creek flowed over granite rocks from a secret spring high in the eucalyptus-covered mountains. At the end of the waterfall, were bowers of maiden-hair ferns. We’d jump off the head of the waterfall with complete confidence. No one had ever reached the bottom of the dam. As far as we knew, it had no bottom. The leeches were the only danger. Those little suckers! Ruthless! But boy was it worth it. Not that our town friends agreed.

I would often head to the creek by myself, and sit next to the wild lemon tree for hours ~ dreaming about life, love and the Universe.

My first memory of wild swimming was before we moved to the countryside. We lived on the outskirts of Brisbane, and would go to a place called Dead Horse Creek. I don’t recall any dead horses. Thankfully.

 

warwick2

One of the things that really makes me laugh is how desperate my daughter is to have a 100% attendance record at school. She reminds me, when she’s ill and I say she should stay home, that I couldn’t possibly understand the need for 100% when I spent so much of my school days not at school, but down the river swimming naked with the boys. In fact, the other day my brother sent me a photo of my old High School and my first thought was that I didn’t remember it looking so good (especially compared to the local high school here). Of course I couldn’t remember. I was barely there!

 

warwick1

Swimming by the weir of the Condamine River was an invaluable part of my childhood. I loved to swim at the open-air swimming pool too, and I often won the breaststroke races (in the days before I actually had breasts!) but nothing compared to wild swimming.

 

warwick3
So as I make my way through several hours of swimming each week, I allow my inner mermaid to revel in her spiritual home: water.

And talking of water, this Sunday (March 1st) I begin walking 5-miles-a-day for a week to raise funds for Walk In Her Shoes.

Walk in Her Shoes: Please help me raise funds for this campaign to bring fresh water and wells to people with no ready access to clean water. Many women and children walk five miles a day carrying up to 20 litres of water. Let’s make a difference to their lives.

https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/veronika-robinson

 

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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Chantal and Rene, all loved up.

Hugs are so important for our well-being and happiness. It is said that we need about 12 hugs a day to thrive.

My mother always hugged me. Heart to heart, she called it.

If there’s one thing this family does well, it is hugging. When my 17-year-old daughter went to London on a school trip recently, she phoned and said she was feeling ‘hug deprived’. (For the record, she was also missing fresh fruit and vegetables. Happy mummy dance!) I understood what she meant.

I miss having my university girl to hug, too. I long to wrap my arms around her and breathe her in. We’ll be seeing her next month, when she turns 19.

 

 

drinksmeandbeatlakes

My little girl, all grown up now and at university.

 

My husband and I often pause in our day to hug, whether it’s at home or in the supermarket queue. It’s instinctual, natural and feels fabulous. Human skin has a deep need for loving touch.

I suppose I didn’t realise just how tactile we were, as a family, until a personal trainer at the gym called out ‘stop petting’ several times. He was joking, of course, as we weren’t doing that. We do, however, lean in and listen closely as the other speaks. Our interactions are emotionally intimate. We readily touch each other’s shoulder or back, or peck each other on the cheek. Eye contact is a given. These, like hugging, are the actions of bonded relationships.

I adore the fact that my daughter will readily ask for a hug, even in public. I hope that never changes.

A hug is intimate. Our arms open wide, and when we embrace another, we are heart to heart. Risky? Yes. Intimate? Yes. Worth it? You betcha!

About Veronika

Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.

You can also find her on:
Facebook | Twitter | WattPad


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