Pulled to rest by morninglight


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABorobudur at sunrise

She led me down a light-filled river
Up curved sails of an ancient temple.
She led me across the tenuous borders of myself
Into silver vastness of a breath.
We joined hands before the morning spoke
Waited in mist for her first words.

In the darkness we crossed many thresholds,
Desire, like a humid jungle filled with treasures
Struggle, a deep tangled ravine
Solitude, where we no longer sought but knew
Each pink shore and blessed wave, and the
Heart that is pulled to rest by morninglight.

Borobudur at 5.45 am

I knew I wanted to start the year and celebrate my birthday with a special trip. A short weekend trip, somewhere close to Singapore, a soulful destination where I could review the past year with peaceful objectivity and deep gratitude, and set my intentions for the next 365 days with optimism and trust. Borobudur called out to me and who could resist the pull of one of the greatest ancient Buddhist monuments in the world?


Borobudur at 6.30 am

The temple is located on the Indonesian island of Java, about 40 km or 1.5 hours drive from Yogyakarta where I decided to stay at the lovely Phoenix Hotel. There are many ways to experience Borobudur – solo or with a guide, at sunrise or sunset or anytime in-between, as a tourist, a photographer or a pilgrim. Continue reading “Pulled to rest by morninglight”


Sacred little things

What can I tell you about sacred

– that you haven’t already felt deep in your soul
when the warm salt wind blows in from the Laccadive Sea
laced with fishermen’s gossip and mothers’ prayers?

– that you haven’t already tasted on your finger tip
as it traced the silver veins on pink lotuses melting
in the sun on ancient alters?

– that you haven’t already heard in the festive
song of dancing clouds rolling boldly
across our bare-souled pilgrimage?

– that you haven’t already held, fistfuls of rough
sand and pink salt rocks, shaped like uneven worlds
tumbling between love and habit?

©Lipstickandmiracles 2016

In response to The Daily Post Challenge “One, Two Three!” and Daily Prompt “Sacred“.

Heroic elephants crossing


She kicked a million blue pebbles
on her way to the sunset
where she believes her dreams
would hang low, kingly fruits
on Thambili trees
close enough to taste the nectar
of her buried purpose.

She picked a million misshapen shells
on her way to the Spirit river,
her toes digging in the black sand
with the weight of stars on her back,
shed the mantras and watch
blooming lotus clouds
wakening an unfamiliar sky.

She will come to you
draped from head to ankles
in fuchsia silks and pearls,
sure-footed and resolute like
heroic elephants crossing the sliver forest
weaving silent songs
and counting milk stupas.

Instead of a million steps
stay and take a million breaths,
I heard her say to the sunrise waves.

©Lipstickandmiracles 2016 

I’ve been obsessed with elephants since my trip to Sri Lanka last month. Their strength and peacefulness, dignity and fierce loyalty make me think they qualify, as much as any other Marvel character, to be my superhero ❤


Looking back rabbit

My painting of a mikaeri usagi (looking back rabbit), asking me to follow her down the soul’s path to where the dandelions sing.

Have you
listened to dandelions releasing to the wind
or the pit-pat song of tiny steps
showing you the way home?

Have you
felt a quivering of silver wings,
the silent, gentle creatures
living with all their might?

Have you
bowed to the beloved breath,
sharing a journey from forest to soul
gathering acorns and light?

One only needs to practise
an open heart.

©Lipstickandmiracles 2016

Lucky mikaeri usagi tokens at the Ujigami Shrine, believed to be the oldest standing shrine in Japan.

In Kyoto, I met the mikaeri usagi or “looking back rabbit”, a guardian spirit said to show us the way. The legend goes that a prince had gotten lost in the mountains but a rabbit appeared and showed him the way home. The rabbit would hop along the path, then turn back to look at the prince as if to say “Follow me”. That’s how the legend of the “looking back rabbit” came to be and the belief that the gentle creature will show you the right path through life.

I love this story of the looking back rabbit. For me it represents the wisdom of small, seemingly ordinary things with whom we share our journeys. The Native Indians too have their animal totems that they believe are Spirit Guides who protect and guide them.

I’ve often taken these steadfast companions for granted – the dragonflies and geckos – but I believe they could reveal messages of inspiration, hope, love, courage. If we pay attention, if we listen, if we live with open hearts.

The Daily Post Weekly Challenge: Shared journeys


Sea stories

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim-the rocks-the motion of the waves-the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

~ Walt Whitman, Miracles

BNAP5443A horizon full of promise

Where do I start with the sharing of these soul-nourishing moments preciously gathered from voyaging? Let’s start by the sea on an island, because I was born on one and because the sea holds all my secrets. But not just any island! This is a paradisiacal one on the west coast of Malaysia called Pulau (Island) Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah.

The most popular beach on Langkawi is Pantai Cenang, busy with all manner of diversion from sea sports to shopping. It’s also blessed with fine powdery sand, a horizon full of promise, and the clear turquoise Andaman Sea sighing for all who care to listen. The backdrop lends itself to a magical journey, inwards and out.


For a little soul time, I like to stand in the water and just let the waves decide the song and the dance.
Enjoy the raw, salty scent.
The hot, salty wind.
The sprinkle of salty dust that clings to my skin.
I like losing myself in that frothy cadence. Offering up my plans and ambitions and finding, in return, my purpose.
In all that movement and music, the sea is where sometimes I find the most meaningful silence.

I’ve often walked on the beach looking out at the sea and the sky, the surfers and kayakers, missing a whole universe at my feet. Here in Langkawi, I met the Sand Bubbler Crab, beautiful tiny transparent artists patterning the sand with their labour. I found shiny shells, a toy car, abandoned sand castles…

11.pngFinally, I laid under a coconut tree to read, sipped cocktails till the sun set and walked home full of miraculous sea stories.

I hope you enjoyed this and I’d love to hear about your sea stories! 

Of doors, cats and promised lands

You may have noticed that doors are really small in Marrakesh, many of them old and rusty, with delicate designs hinting at the promise of something less banal within.

Unassuming  doors are often framed by baked walls the colour of summer sunsets, made of chalk and clay.

An interesting feature is that there is often a sentinel holding the door (hodor!), casually watching passersby but really guarding her eight lives and paradise across the threshold.

If you slow down long enough to notice the purring guard and say “Salaam Aleikum“,  she may bless you with a glimpse of the flourishing secret world in the dar beyond, and some respite from the heat.

As you stoop low to enter, you may be seduced by the many stone arches that seem to invite you to other possibilities, but I would recommend staying focused on getting to the promised land.

The first thing you may notice upon arriving is cool relief or the sound of a playful fountain sparkling in the shade. Colourful tiles laid out in its own beautiful language, a motionless lush garden waiting to be embraced.

If you were cunning enough to have bribed the guard with a treat, you may even be invited to sit and sip a glass of mint tea with me.


©Lipstickandmiracles 2016

In response to The Story Behind a Door Discover Challenge