Look who whirled out onto my morning page today.

This page started off as swirls, crayons moving across the page.

Then came the memory of someone I saw yesterday. A guy in his 20s. He was sitting out at a cafe table in a shopping plaza in Nunawading, an outer suburb of Melbourne.

It was a warm and breezy morning – the first we’ve had this Spring.  Strands of dark hair fluttered in the breeze around his headphones. This guy seemed so utterly content –  soaking up sunshine, smiling as he looked at the screen of his phone.

On his table was a tall dark glass of boutique-label stout and a basket of fat gold potato chips.

On his lap was a dachshund, cloaked in a blue and white floral bandana.

I savoured the sight of someone utterly enjoying freedom: sunshine, food, drink, companionship and music. And I thought fondly of my own son, who also seems to have a gift of enjoying life as a journey not a destination.

Tonight as I upload this picture and reflect, I find myself remembering too what isn’t on the page: nearby, a woman was tickling a six year old boy on his belly and listening intently as he spoke. The little boy snuggled against the big woman in delight. This interaction continued for several minutes. The boy was smiling and crawling on all fours, bobbing his head playfully, chatting away. The woman was nodding and seemed to be asking him things, encouraging the boy to keep chatting. I felt awash with hope and gratitude because I sensed this child was experiencing acceptance, presence, patience, enjoyment, and knowing that he matters.

I have some awe about the image that’s flowed onto this page, considering I started out thinking there was nothing in me except for patterns and swirls.

I’m grateful that today I had no clear image of what I wanted to create. I’m thrilled that I went ahead and started anyway. I have nothing to compare this picture to. So this final image is miraculous and delightful to me, a gift of savouring hope.

Crossing my mind are the news headlines – this threat or that disaster. I want to appreciate that while there is such suffering in the world, there is also so much compassion and freedom and many people nurturing young minds and hearts.

I thank every person who is paying compassionate attention to themselves and to others, especially small children and teenagers – you are giving the whole world a gift. A heart more open. A being more secure.

May all young humans receive patience, play, safety and understanding from the adults they are depending on for so much.

Just as I was about to finish typing, look what unfolded on the bed. My son came in to tell me he was going to cook himself some eggs. The cat rolled over for a pat. Compassion, joyful flowing from one heart to another. Sheer life.


Now I’m thinking of Marshall Rosenberg’s observations, about our natural “language of life” being a joyful flow between hearts where giving and receiving are indistinguishable.

I went looking for his quote and came across this gem: “Don’t do anything that isn’t play.”

Oooo yeah. Cats and kids teach us that.

And that man in Nunawading at midday — soaking up the sunshine with beer, hot chips, music and a dachshund on his lap?

I don’t drink stout but his turned out to be an inspiration that stayed with me for the rest of my working day. His enjoyment must have bubbled away somewhere in my subconscious as I slept.

And then it’s flowed onto my morning pages as a joyful note-to-self … and maybe encouragement to you too:  savour choice and freedom and pleasure, seek to play your way through every day – we’re worth it. And don’t you reckon our world is safer for it?