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Margaret McCallum eBooks

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  1. Margaret – I found this article so incredibly interesting, informative and helpful. It touched on aspects that I have thought about and experienced myself and it has solidified a lot or me to be more courageous in challenging some of what I have often witnessed and experienced as impersonal and separating rather than allowing a full expression of grief and giving people permission to grieve in a more healthy way.

    Thank you for sharing this .
    Love Shari

  2. Hi Margie,
    Thanks for this.
    Inspiring!
    More so having recently been listening to Stephen Jenkinson’s ‘Die Wise’ which James seems intent on doing.
    I wonder has it affected your own plans?

    • Hi Richard. Thank you for asking.
      I sense James’s ‘plan’ as coming very much from somewhere inner. I have long felt that I will have (and we can all have) an inner sense that my time here is complete, and I will surrender to that. It may well mean refraining from food and water, and being increasingly in stillness and silence. Like James I would welcome others to be with me in that time, so long as my movement towards death was respected.
      This is my imagining, perhaps crystalised somewhat in the light of my precious conversation with James.

  3. Thank you Margaret
    I enjoyed this interview.

    When my father died it felt important for me to be as present as possible to the ritual aspects of his journey after death.
    I was not offered information to attend the actual cremation. When I asked I remember there was not much encouragement just that I could do that for an extra $150.
    I decided it was important to me but I remember feeling it was “hard” to ask…like I was asking for alot. I see that so differently now but at the time it was new territory to navigate and I was on my own without many people to talk to that would have understood my desire to do this.

    I requested to attend and asked to follow the vehicle that was carrying his body to the crematorium. I booked it for when my partner arrived back in town and we went together. We had private time with his body, helped put his body into the cremation oven and we stopped outside to silently witness the smoke coming out of the stack. It was deeply meaningful to somehow steward his body through this final process.

    When I look back I see how simple my request was but it didn’t feel that way in comparison to the most common funeral practices at that time. Some basic encouragement and understanding about the importance of the ritual aspects of death would have been so supportive to me at that time. I am glad so much is changing in how we are with death and dying. Thank you to you and Mary for the work you do.
    Love, Heather

  4. What an exceptional facility and staff. I know how wonderful the Cheviot home is, as I have had a relative who lived there until he passed away. He was cared for and treated exactly as Sue said.
    If I could move there from Australia to live out my last years in the Cheviot Aged Care home, I would.

  5. What a rich interview, and what wisdom Barry shares with us!
    The natural world nourishes and guides the Maori in ways we Westerners would do well to study.
    So many of us in “contemporary culture” have lost the deep connection to nature that can be a holding vessel for our dying-time—as well as our living-time of course!

    Many thanks, Margaret, for posting this series of deep questions and their answers!

  6. Thank you for sharing the thoughts of Barry – he sounds like a fantastic guy to chat with.
    I am finding it interesting to reflect on the parts I said “yeah, totally” in my head; and those parts that I thought “wow. Need to think about that.” I feel I have become aware of a conversation that is happening inside of me. Thank for this gift your post has given me

  7. Cheviot Rest Home sounds marvellous. I would love to work there.
    The piece about some church people coming into sing reminded me of the night my dad died. He was at home – just as he and Mum wanted. Mum, my sister and I were with him for the evening and into the night. Dad had been a wonderful singer and loved to sing. We had a copy of the Masonic Lodge’s hymn book – Dad was a Mason. We selected hymns we knew he especially loved and sang to him – even though none of us were particularly good singers. I am sure Dad heard us and loved what we were offering him even though he could no longer communicate with us. 12 years later this time is still a treasured memory for me.
    Thank you for the opportunity to relive that night and share it with you.

  8. What a fascinating interview with Barry and I felt so expansive when I finished reading it… both to life and to death. What a simple and empowering statement Barry made “If we can explore what really excites us, and pursue those things that give us energy, we are sustained in remarkable ways.“ The wish to be called by the playful dolphins and to just be like the dolphins, deeply anchored in ones purpose was visceral and uplifting. Thank you Margaret and for your questions, to allow his wisdom and stories to be so heartfully and generously shared.

  9. Thanks so much Margaret – that was a beautiful blog !
    I really enjoyed the way you expressed the importance of making space for honesty & how that then enables a balancing with compassion – usually once the anger has been expressed & hopefully somewhat released..
    I have seen that happen during tangi where it is considered normal to talk of the person in all their shades of reality / grey
    And the Rakau / Story telling that happens on the last night of tangi is usually incredibly heart-warming, raw & real – expressed with tears & hilarity.
    You truly have a wonderful calling Margaret & I loved your poem at the end too
    Thanks for sharing your stories

    • It is so lovely that you write about the tangi, Kathryn. Thank you. I feel very blessed to live among Maori who have gifted we of European origin such a fresh and open way with death. Heaps to learn from them!

  10. Sounds like a good way to live and the unassuming and organic nature of it would feel like a community of like minded people without being cult like! Nice 🙂

  11. Dear Margaret

    I love what you share in this blog.

    What lands for me – “It is unassuming and quiet, delighting in its good fortune.”

    There is a sense of peace and acceptance of all that is.

    Thank you.

  12. Beautifully written and I like the words leading by inner compass and quiet and assuming.
    This feels like what we are doing.
    There are plenty of souls desiring this at the moment who feel isolated and want connection without control.
    Big hugs
    Angel

  13. I appreciate the gentleness and peacefulness of your vision Margaret.
    I have been watching the birthing pains of “new community” in my region and I see this ongoing ‘labour’ has its difficulties and challenges depending on the thoughts and emotions of those driving their visions.
    This way of living is very new to my own personal journey and it is fascinating to be witnessing I guess what many have been aspiring to or actually living in for some time.

    • Thank you, Donna. This is helpful. Perhaps the clue here is in your words “driving their visions”. There is a delicate balance, I feel, between holding to the essence of a vision that has arisen at soul level, and allowing the vision to unfold in ways that may be unanticipated. This can be both scary and beautiful!

  14. Thanks for this Margaret. Procrastination is a word that popped up for me. I have been procrastinating a lot lately, and feeling bad about it. Then I remembered a word you and I used about 20 years ago – I realised I have been “shoulding” on myself. Time to put both aside, listen to my inner voice and live simply.

  15. Dear Margaret,
    I am finding myself craving, thirsting, longing for a meaningful life in the company and close proximity of others, within nature, growing food, tending to the soil, being in communion with everything, staying open to the unfolding and the unknown. I resonate a lot with the comment about the striving and the labour and often the failure of “new communities” and felt often disheartened and scared that I would never make it into such a group. On the other hand I feel I “must find a community now or build one myself”, which puts me under a lot of pressure. My current life could be described as lacking freedom, simplicity, meaning, community, it comes to me in waves, so the feeling is not there all the time, but returning to me quite often, mostly in morning meditation. There is an urgency and a feeling of alarm which I know are not the best companions for a peaceful and openhearted path to community. Maybe you could assist me a little bit?

  16. Your blog on Simplicity comes well-timed, Margaret. The beginning of August, I claimed this month to be a month of living simply. I continue to “voluntarily” weed out my email contacts and choose consciously activities by prioritizing which ones bring me joy (kind of like the closet-cleaning guru suggests), which ones illuminate this soul and discerning with whom I want to spend time. It has take time and as August comes to a close, I find I am painting and writing more, getting out of my paddle board, swimming with friends, attending concerts, attending fewer on-line workshops – and with quite a different attitude of enjoyment rather than thinking of the next thing I have to do. Of course, I plan for this to continue into September, and on.

    Looking forward to the next blog on this subject, Margaret.

  17. I felt such a sense of calm at the end of hearing this. My entire body had eased at the lovely sound of your voice speaking, with its tone of encouragement, just the right balance between crisp and kind. I believe I’ll go outside for a walk!
    Thank you.

      • I couldn’t see a Comments button so will use Reply. I enjoyed relaxing and hearing you talk about slowness. It’s a theme in my life as I grow older, and right now I am resting because of the flu. It’s a great slowness calibrator, and gives me time to check on your blog, which I’ve been meaning to do for some time. Walking is my daily pleasure and I love the way my mind slows down when I walk in the park.

  18. So enjoyed your thoughts on simplicity Margaret…..”notice your life” stood out and made me smile and slow down as the rushing along just doesn´t allow this. Thank you for your clarity and practical suggestions without losing depth and probably gaining more enjoyment!

  19. Great inspirational tips thank you and always good to be reminded in this world that keeps trying to tell you to consume all the time instead of reusing

  20. Serendipity led me to your blog early this morning.
    Thank you for your gift….
    I look forward to the next post and begin my day with calm focus.

  21. In the silence of meditation a woodpecker taps out his Morse code.
    for me? Guidance from beyond?
    Simplicity. Look for the simple. Live the simple life.
    Slow, mysterious, unknown, unencumbered.
    Where little everyday things open the heart to joy.
    Sun sifting through leaves, patches of shadow.
    An empty chair waiting for its offering to be received.
    A circle of stones drawing me inward, and then outward.
    Still Silence ringing in ears, touching skin softly.
    There is always something simple for which to be grateful.

  22. I love the way you unpack voluntary simplicity. Moving to a one bedroom apartment 11 years ago was a significant transition in my desire to live more simply. I found I could do without an ironing board, a floor mop and a dining table. I have been clearing out unwanted stuff ever since I arrived here. Simplicity opens up breathing space and more room for the creative life. Thank you for your thoughts.

  23. These reminders are so important, and I thank you for them. As I listened to your words, my eyes alighted on two paper lanterns made by my granddaughters some years ago. They are faded. I’ve never lit them again, although I thought I would. Out they will go.

  24. This blog is so pertinent to 2022 when the imperative to reduce our consumerism is with us. My prarents who married after the depression and into the war, came from a generation that was forced to be innovative because so many goods were not available. My father provided planks and old apple crates for his five children to play with, and a few old sacks. We all grew up to be very creative. Our imaginations provided what we needed.

    • I love this Juliet. My best-remembered birthday present was a collection of three painted wooded boxes, a long one (a 20-pound fruit box) and two short ones made by cutting a long one in half and adding new ends. They became all sort of things, including dolls’ beds and a manger scene complete with a plasticene ‘electric’ light hanging from the ceiling, much to my parents’ amusement!

  25. Thank you for this series. In my new Seasons of Life writing (starting with The Pomegranate Journal) I write about how slowness and simplicity bring me into the present moment. Your blog does this too. And now it’s time to ponder on the next step. Mine is to commit to climate activism and make all the difference I can in my remaining years.

  26. Yes the quiet clear message which you speak and live Margaret is powerful as well as the poem you read and which underlined so much that you said. Will ponder on the question “What did you do when you knew the world was unravelling?” This requires deeper concentrated thought and an action plan both within and without. Thank you for these words and thoughts!