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Stories for heart and soul

One of the ways that I process the live dream feed of motherhood is by crafting my feelings and realisations into stories. A story can transcend us and speak directly to our soul.  

The Great Leap

“The leaves believe such letting go is love

Such love is faith

Such faith is grace

Such grace is god

I agree with the leaves.”

- Lucille Clifton-

Once upon a time in a place far yet near there lived a little leaf gnome. He was born in the spring time in a large oak tree. When he was young he had danced with the wind and the blossoms, twisting and turning with beautiful rhythm. He had withstood the summer storms of thunder, lightening and heavy rain. He held firmly to the oak tree waiting for the summer sunshine to return. Father sun did return and the gnome’s leaf shone brightly, growing bigger and fuller fed by golden rays of light. As the days became cooler, the leaf gnome grew sleepy. One night while he was sleeping, he felt the tickle of Autumn’s paintbrush and woke in the dawn to find his leaf was the colour of a sunset. He spoke to the neighbouring leaf gnomes about the great leap. The leaf gnome was excited as all gnomes were about leaping from the tree to the forest floor, yet in his heart of hearts he was very nervous. He had never left the big oak tree where he was born and had only seen the forest floor from above. He often saw crows picking seeds from the ground below. Once he saw a butcher bird swoop down and catch a lizard. The butcher bird brought his meal up to the leaf gnome’s branch to eat and then sang a beautiful song. He even saw a fox once night when he had stayed up late to look at the stars. The gnome was happy in his oak tree and it seemed a shame to leave it forever.

“It must be done,” said his friend and leaf gnome neighbour. “The great leap has been done by our mothers, fathers and ancestors. It is he path that ensures new life in the spring”.

“Yes I have heard the stories,” replied the little leaf gnome, “It’s just that I love living here up high and watching the world go by below. Do we have to go?”

“I will jump with you friend. Have courage, take heart” replied his friend.

The gnomes slept soundly in their leaf beds that night and when they woke a pastel pink curtain was drawn across the sky and the air was crisp.

“Are you ready my friend?” said the leaf gnome’s friend.

“Have courage, take heart,” replied the little leaf gnome.

They leapt from the tree and danced a slow waltz with the wind. The gnome smiled as he soared through the air, butterflies flew in his tummy and his heart was in his mouth. Tears flowed from his eyes as he let go of the oak tree he loved so much and had always known.

He landed softly on the forest floor, his leaf gnome friend beside him. They kissed their leaf beds farewell and began the trek on foot into mother earth’s winter cave. They walked down a large twisted staircase and found her sitting by a blazing fire. She handed each gnome a warm cup of rose-hip and honey tea and they wrapped themselves in her soft brown coat. She sang to them and they rested, drifting into a deep sleep, to dream of the spring.

“Golden sun is going down to seek his winter throne,

Far and wide the seeds now sleep my garden is alone

When all around is dark and still within the winter night

The sun will rise within my heart and shine a warmer light.”

The Moon Princess

Once upon a time there was a moon princess. She was beautiful with long silvery hair and a round face with bright eyes. During the day she was calm and would sing songs to the sun, the flowers and the trees. She loved to weave baskets from the long grasses. Though when the night came she was terrified of the dark and would scream, a shrill high pitched scream that scared all who neared her away. Eventually her husband left her to live in another village. The moon princess was with child and she could not keep her fears from the baby. Each night when the darkness came she screamed and so did the new born babe.

As the baby grew and had children the mother would also scream so each other the children learnt to fear the night. After many years there was a whole village that feared the dark. The people never rested and stayed awake all night, making noise. During the day they worked their daily chores yet they were lazy and their crafts suffered from lack of attention. Often the people day dreamed and napped instead of working hard. By now the moon princess was old and she felt so terrible that her fear had spread across the village.

So on her 90th birthday she decided to face her fear and travel into the night. She wore her warmest travelling cloak and set out. When darkness came she covered her mouth to stifle her screams and listened to her quickened breath. She looked up to the stars and prayed for help. As she calmed her breath, she rose into the night sky and spoke to the star people. Please help me to calm my fear of the night she asked.

We cannot , though we will give you this light to carry with you to guide the way. You must visit the Queen of Bones in the underworld. So the moon princess returned to Earth and this time travelled down into the darkness of the underground. She held the light from the star people and it illuminated her path. She came to the cave where the Queen of Bones sat assembling a skeleton by a fire. "I have come to ask for help to clear my fear of the night" said the Moon Princess. 

"Well my child you have travelled all this way in the dark, you must be tired. Come," replied the Bone Queen, unveiling a soft bed with feather pillows and a wool blanket, behind a white curtain.

The moon princess was tired so she lay down and fell into a deep sleep. She had not slept deeply in years. When she woke she felt refreshed, the sun was not up as it never rose in the underworld. The Queen of Bones was still working by the fire. "Did you rest my child?" She asked. 

"Yes", said the Moon Princess. "Now I must return to my people. Farewell."

The princess returned and bought new comfortable beds for every home in the village. She shared the story of her deep sleep with the Bone Queen and assured her people there was nothing to fear.

That night the people slept and for the first time in years the village was silent at night. So quiet in fact that the rainbow of dreams could return.

The people woke inspired, rested and full of purpose. In time their craft work once again became beautiful, they sang as they worked and the village was vibrant and filled with laughter. At night each house was quiet and the stars shone brightly.

The moon princess had long since died yet her round face still shone in the night sky shining a light on the people while they slept. This was all except for three days per month when she left them in darkness to remind the villagers not to be afraid of the night as the light of the star people was always there to guide them.

The Golden Key

Once there was a boy whose parents did everything for him. They bought him presents all the time and loved him dearly. The boy became lazy and when he was asked to help he said no and went to his room to play computer games or went out to play with his friends. When his mother made delicious food, he was the first to start eating, without waiting and he never said thank you. His parents never said anything to correct him, they smiled and shrugged their shoulders.

At school he only did what he liked, the other lessons he could not be bothered. He teased his friends for being goody two shoes and he threw spit balls at them. His teacher tried many things to get the boy to participate. She tried encouraging him with words, sitting with him to help him. Though the boy continued to muck around and avoid his work.

He grew up and got a job and did the minimum of what was asked, just enough to get paid and keep his position. He moved away from his parents house and rented his own home. It was always messy except when his mother came to clean it once a month.

He got married and his wife did the cleaning and the house work. He had children and when they asked him to play with them he refused and sat on the couch watching TV. His wife eventually left him, his parents died and his children moved away and saw him rarely.

The man grew bitter and angry and his garden grew full of weeds. One night he fell asleep on the couch watching TV which was not unusual, however this night he had a vivid dream.

A beautiful golden bird flew to him and gave him a tiny key. She said the tiny key would unlock a gate which led to paradise, a garden more beautiful than he had ever seen.

The man woke up in the morning and for the first time ever he put on his working clothes and boots at home. He went to the garden and began to pull out the weeds. He pulled and pulled great piles of them. He panted and sweated and worked all day. He could not stop, he felt a great force within him. When all of the weeds were gone, he planted seeds. Each day he watered and cared for them.

When his children came to visit they spoke to their father about the garden and he showed them what he was working on and they helped him work. Before, they would have nothing to say to each other. The man made a tribute garden for his parents and planted his mother favourite flowers. He placed a bench there and sat there often to speak with them and thank them. He got in touch with his ex-wife and when she saw the care he had put into the garden they began to talk again, they forgave each other and became friends. They sat and had coffee in the garden often.

Years passed by and the man grew old, too old to work on his knees. His children came over often to help him care for the garden. One morning the man was sitting on the bench and the little golden bird flew down and landed on his arm. She sang softly and flew off slowly bidding him to follow. She led him to the gate he had seen in his dream. He felt in his breast pocket and took out the little golden key to unlock it. That afternoon the man’s children found him dead on the garden bench.

The Turtle who Found his Shell

Many years ago, there lived on a small island, a colony of turtles. They swam freely around the island enjoying the clear, blue water and they rested upon the warm sandy beaches. There was one turtle however, who was different from the rest. This turtle had been born with no shell. He had strong flippers and a hard beak just like the other turtles. He could swim fast and push himself up the beach with his large flippers. He liked to munch juicy sea grasses and he had many friends. When he was little, having no shell did not worry him. His parents were always close by and they could shelter him if a shark or a sea bird came close. As he had no shell, he could fit between the crevices of rocks and hide. The other turtles could not follow him as their shells were too big and stiff.

The turtle with no shell could duck and weave and wiggle his way out of trouble. Although he was quick, agile and intelligent, the turtle did feel different sometimes.

When the other turtles put their heads into their shell to sleep or to rest in a quiet space, he felt like he could never quite turn off, as he was always exposed to his environment. If he rested out in the open, a sea gull may have him for lunch. Or if he rested in the water away from his parents and friends, a shark may get him.

So one day, the turtle with no shell went to ask the wisest turtle in the colony how he could get a shell. The wise turtle lived in an underwater cave on the West side of the island which was notorious for hammerhead sharks.

The shellless turtle summoned all his courage and set off early in the morning as the sun was rising. He held his breath when he got to the West side and dove down deeper than he had ever gone before. It was very dark; he could hardly see. And then before his eyes appeared a cave opening. The edges of the rock entrance were lit by glowing jellyfish. The turtle entered and saw the wise turtle sitting on a rock chewing sea grass.

“Good morning wise one,” said the turtle, “I have come to ask where I may find my shell?”

“I was expecting you to come, though I did think you would be here sooner” replied the wise turtle. “The longer you wait the harder your journey. Yet, you have done well to come here and have shown courage to come, so I will tell you.

You must return to the island and be as you were before. However, you must stop relying on others to protect you or work for you and you must find this strength within yourself. If a shark comes, use your skill of swimming to out smart the shark, rather than relying on your mother and father’s shell. If a seagull dives from above, dive deep down and seek shelter in your surroundings.

Say to yourself everyday:

Shelless no more,

I am strong, I am brave,

The power of my core,

Will bring a shell to the cave.

Come back here in a month. If you have used your skills to overcome difficulties and practiced the verse daily, a shell will be waiting for you.”

And with that the wise turtle turned back to his sea grass meal, chewing slowly.

The turtle with no shell, was almost out of breath and he swam with haste to the surface. He breathed in the fresh air. As he was catching his breath, a shadow flew over the sun. A seagull dived toward him. He dove down again, further than the gull could reach. He used his local knowledge to swim home, sheltered by coral outcrops and ledges of rock.

When he got home his parents rushed forward to shelter him up the beach with their shells. He told them to stand back and that he would manage. He shared what the wise turtle had told him and they nodded proudly, accepting the turtle’s brave choice.

Like this the month went on. The turtle woke with the sun every morning and said his verse so that he would not forget. He was alert every day to avoid predators and practice his skills. He felt strong and capable and full of powerful energy that he had never felt before.

When the last day of the month came, the turtle returned to the West side of the island. He held his breath and began to dive deep, deep down. He was surrounded by darkness. He saw the jellyfish lights and swam towards them, nearing the mouth of the cave.

A huge shadow passed before him… the biggest hammerhead shark he had every seen. He dashed to hide in the crevice of two rocks. Though, because he had been training his muscles daily, he was too big to fit in. He swam on, looking for somewhere to hide. The shark followed his scent, getting nearer. The turtle swam faster, the shark faster still. The turtle stopped, looking the shark right in the eye as it opened its huge jaws, ready to bite down on the soft body of the turtle.

It was over thought the turtle, he had come so close. The jaws of the shark clamped down and… Crunch! Hit something hard… a shell…the turtle’s shell. It had appeared just in time. The shark swam off, his gums bleeding and one tooth missing. The turtle felt the weight of the shell on his back, his shell had protected him. He swam to the surface, breathing in the fresh air. As he neared the island, he saw his parents. They did not recognise him until he called out to them.

They saw his shell and smiled. The other turtles gathered as he shared his story. Logged in his shell was the tooth of the shark. The turtle did not know if the wise one had seen him, though he was forever grateful for his guidance. He was also grateful for his own courage.


Under the light of the full moon, shaded by casuarina trees the little boy slept. He lay in dreaming, his breath rhythmically flowing in and out, his heart softly beating. Spirit bird sat patiently watching, it was nearly time.

She swooped down beside him. His hair was swept from his face by the movement of her graceful wings. She cooed quietly in his ear. Wake little one, it is time.

The little boy stirred. Stretching out his arms he yawned and gazed at spirit bird. He was not afraid, he recognised her from his dreams. Without a word he stood, ready to start.

Spirit bird took to the air. Her wingspan was as wide as he was tall. He would follow her and she would guide him.

The white sand was coated in silver moonlight, helping the boy to see. They were searching for something special. Spirit bird would use her powerful eyes to find it and the boy would use his instinct to read the ancient inscriptions.

The boy picked up a piece of driftwood from the high tide line. With each step he began to weave his own story. Would they be able to find the marks they were looking for before dawn broke?

Slowly mother moon was pulling the ocean higher, the boy felt this energy surging in his blood and he knew all of life did too.

Spirit bird swooped. She had found the first track. Small round prints etched in the dry sand. Little boy followed them, round and round…. something small, something snuffling in the sand. Too small, too round he thought... an Echidna left these. We will have to keep searching.

A little further ahead spirit bird dove down again, her talons effortlessly landing on a beached log. Another inscription.

The boy ran over, excitement filled his chest. A set of three marks, two short lines on each side and one long straight line in the middle… something that jumps and has a long tail… A kangaroo, the boy thought, coming to drink the paper-thin layer of fresh water, which rests on top of the shallow sea. Spirit bird took off, back to the sky.

They had not gone far when spirit bird dropped, in a swift loop the loop she circled over the next track. This one was harder to see, the boy knelt down in the sand. Very small circles in a triangle shape… something that is tiny and hops. Hmmm, a hopping mouse made these, thought the boy.

The tide was creeping higher, there was not much time left before the canvas of sand would once again become blank. He watched spirit bird rise to a greater height than before. She could scan the dunes and the shoreline, that way they would be sure to find the ultimate track. One that is only made by this creature once every two or three years and can be as many as 50 years before it is first created.

As he walked, he saw the marks of ghost crabs scurrying in and out of their sandy burrows. He also saw the slithering tracks of snakes in the high dunes.

The little boy was getting tired. His feet were calling for his return to their sandy bed. His heart asked him to continue, for in the predawn hour, waking and dreaming become one. He was in a play of natural energy whose show must go on.

Dragging his driftwood cane the boy continued imprinting his own story onto the sand. He looked to spirit bird flying high above him. Their hearts communicated what their voices could not. They quickened their pace.

Spirit bird let out a cry. Her shrill of excitement pierced the silence of the night sky. The boy peered into the distance. He saw sand being thrown high into the air. His heart began to race, though his instinct reminded him to be calm. Quietly he crept forward, staying low to the ground. He knew he should approach from behind so not to scare her.

He soon got a glimpse of the magic they had been searching for. She was huge, her body covered in scales, the large carapace on her back covered in barnacles and algae. In the corners of her eyes were teardrops. She was in a trance, in ultimate connection with life force.

The little boy lay down in the sand. His breath soft and smooth, he would not frighten this ancient animal. She was digging down deep, making a nest to harbor her babies. With her front flippers she heaved out the sand.

A long time went by, the turtle was now deep in her hole. Spirit bird had left the little boy in search of her breakfast. The mother was now carefully excavating a chamber to lay her eggs. Deep enough to be protected from predators, but shallow enough that in 60 days the little hatchlings could find their way out.

The boy saw a glimmer of reflection as the first egg dropped into the hole. Roughly the size of a Ping-Pong ball, that little egg would hold a baby turtle until it was ready to find its own way to the ocean. He began to count them…1, 2, 3… 10, 11, 12….. 45, 46, 47….. 80, 81...85 eggs!

Mother turtle stirred, returning from dreaming. She prudently used her rear flippers again to cover the chamber. She dragged herself forward and began to toss the sand high again, piling it in a mound with her powerful front flippers. Moving forward she covered her tracks and began to return to the sea.

The boy knew that she weighed more than 200kg and this was a huge effort. The call of the wild had strengthened her for this task. Instinct reinforced her tired muscles and prana pulled her back to the ocean. She would never see the lives that she had created.

As she reached the high tide line the little boy followed. She dipped her head into the waves. He sensed her relief. The little boy closed his eyes, breathing in the salty air. He wished her a safe passage back to her feeding grounds.

The boy stepped into the sea, splashing his tired feet into the cool waves. With joy in his heart he turned to walk back to camp. He gazed into the sky, seeing the morning star in its last night, dimming in the radiance of the rising sun. Gliding in the fresh breeze, spirit bird rejoined him for the walk home.

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