In 2007, Noel and I moved to a small country town in regional Victoria. It was a lifetime away from the oceans of the Sunshine Coast where we’d previously lived.
People often asked us why we’d chosen this town “of all places”, and the answer was simple. We’d fallen in love with a home that was for sale. That home called our hearts, and much like the best romance novels, it inspired us to move across two states to be with it.
“Kooyim” was the name of our home. It was built in 1904 during the Gold Rush era, and had magnificent 12 foot ceilings, chandeliers, beautiful wooden floors….even its very own wine cellar. We’d lovingly renovated it from the ground up, and every day we lived there, the home was filled with love.
But even more special than the home was its garden – a double-sized block filled with unique trees from around the world, including a beautiful and rare cork tree - the type of tree used to make cork for wine bottles. I’d often go and hug this cork tree, and tell it how grateful I was to have it be part of our lives.
When we bought Kooyim, we thought we’d live there forever. But Spirit has some very effective ways to inspire transformation and movement, and the series of events that catalyzed our move away from Victoria was one of those times. 7 years after moving there, that chapter of our life was complete, and we set our compass for Byron Bay.
When Noel and I separated a couple of years later, we made the very difficult decision to sell Kooyim. As much as I knew it was the practical thing to do, my roots were in that home, and especially in the garden.
A few months after the sale, I received the heartbreaking news that the new owner had chopped down some of the most majestic trees on the property, including the beautiful old cork tree. My friends who lived in the town cautioned me never to go back. They felt it would be just too difficult to see what had become of the place I had poured so much love into.
But earlier this year, I found myself teaching nearby. I felt a strong call to go back, to see for myself what Kooyim now looked like, and to face those ghosts.
As I peeked over the back fence, I was greeted by the dead logs of the cork tree lying on the ground in front of me, surrounded by a sea of weeds a metre high. None of the beautiful lawn remained. Instead, the garden was neglected and the garden beds were trashed. The many plants and trees that I’d added to the garden had either died or been chopped down.
But it wasn’t just Kooyim that I was there to visit. During our 7 years in this town, Noel and I had purchased 4 other homes that were unloved and neglected. As with Kooyim, we’d transformed these homes and gardens into Temples of Light. These were houses that anyone would feel blessed to live in.
As I drove around the town, I chose to visit each of these homes. Whilst none of them were as devastating a sight as Kooyim, they all looked weary and drab.
The only exception was one of the last homes we’d renovated. We’d not only done a complete internal and external renovation of the house; I’d also designed and planted a beautiful garden that would transform with the seasons, inspired by the history and patterns of the original garden.
As I drove past this home, all of the plants were flourishing, and the house sparkled with love. The trees had now grown up, and turned the garden into the fairytale haven I’d envisaged. The new owners had put extra plants into the garden, beautifully complementing and building upon the foundations I’d laid.
It brought tears of joy to my eyes to see how much love had been poured into this home. And then I realized something….
We each carry a light inside of us, and that light goes with us wherever we go. As that light gets passed to another person, that person has a choice – they can let the light bloom, or they can extinguish it.
When you let the light bloom, you are taking a flame and making it bigger. We can do that with money, by allowing the abundance that flows to us to multiply many times over, and do great good in the world. We can do that with love, nurturing a child or another person so that their love and self-worth can expand and flourish and touch even more lives in the process. Or we can extinguish the flame that’s been given to us, and leave a barren landscape in its wake.
So each time a flame is passed to you, what do you do with it? Are you combustible? Do you take each light that you receive, and make it grow brighter and brighter? Do you create stars, or black holes?
- I am willing to receive.
- Every gift that is given to me multiplies a thousand fold.
- I receive with joy, and allow that joy to expand and bless others.
- I am discerning. I choose to place my energy where it will do the most good, and create a positive ripple in the world.
- I empower those around me to realise their potential.
- I am combustible! I take the gifts that are given to me, and help them to grow in the world.
- I choose to do good deeds in the world, and create a ripple which becomes a positive Tsunami.
- I pay it forward, with Random Acts of Kindness and generosity.