Dear followers of Dadirridreaming,
Our family has been so moved by your tributes and good wishes, and would like to share some of the service that we held for our beloved wife, mother and nanna on Wednesday July 9.
The morning before the service, I walked with Mitchell and Casey on the beach. As we reached the northern end, we saw a white faced heron fly from shag rock across the water straight towards us. It landed very close and did not take off as we walked back. As we reached the southern end on the way home, the white breasted sea eagle flew over us, really low.
The family greeted people as they arrived and then we carried Christine’s casket into the chapel. I had been able to paint the plain casket over the weekend and cover her with her favourite red lotus. One blue lotus was painted above her head, as a symbol of the divine feminine.
Stuart, Mitchell and Casey spoke.
Here is the text of the tributes.
Stuart first, then eldest son Mitchell,then youngest son Casey,friend Lenore, daughter in law Fiona.
Middle son Toby did the slideshow and the music.
As we were carrying in the casket, we played the Gyuto Monks chanting overlaid on the sounds of the dam and the waves.
My Darling Chris,
I am under your instructions not to blubber.
First of all, a little history.
Christine Boxall had a pretty tough childhood, and spent much of her early years living with her grandparents in Canowindra. This was to help with her severe asthma.
Boarding school near Bathurst followed, then back to Sydney to finish High School. She then trained as an orthoptist, a kind of physiotherapist for eyes.
Our eyes first met across a crowded room at a party in our late teens almost 50 years ago. A few years later when she had returned from a year in the US working as an Orthoptist in Detroit (during the 1967 riots) and hitch hiking around the US by light plane, we met again and that was that.
We eloped to Queensland in our Mini Moke and spent our wedding night on stretchers wet and muddy under a road bridge near Maryborough. Not the most auspicious start.
Our first son, Mitchell was born almost on our first wedding anniversary. Toby and Casey followed at decent intervals as we started and ran an art gallery at Dural. We built our dream house over several years on 5 acres at Arcadia, surrounded by our vege garden and geese, goats, chickens and ducks.
Chris studied early childhood education and we taught our kids how to get bitten by yabbies in our creek, how to avoid funnel webs in the sandpit, and how to make gunpowder. These are the 3 pillars of balanced childhood education.
She loved being a mum and constantly being there for all of us. As the 3 boys grew up, she decided to start university studies at Macquarie, studying psychology. Of course, being the extraordinary person that she is, that adventure culminated in a degree with first class honours and then a doctorate.
Her final thesis for her PhD was on ‘female mating strategies’ and I looked forward to an easy retirement on the proceeds of the pop psychology book titled ‘What women really want’.
But it was time for another life chapter as we moved to our block at Bingi in 2000.
We camped in our barn, cooked and showered outdoors and built our next home.
There was no yoga teacher like the one we had in Sydney, so there was only one thing to do. Christine trained with IYTA to become a yoga teacher.
Soon she was running 4 classes a week in the yoga barn at Bingi, and there was a waiting list. In this period, she saved my life. We built a restaurant in Moruya with Toby’s help and after many failed attempts to find a chef or restaurateur who shared our dreams, Christine booked me into a ‘how to start a restaurant’ course. The stresses of the next 3 years running ‘the river moruya’ would have killed me without her support and being able to let go in her weekly yoga class.
I was one of many whose lives she enriched through yoga.
Next she studied cranio-sacral therapy. The stories of extraordinary healing that people have shared with me, the way she sent out her own earth essences to people often before they knew they needed them, are what is called a legacy.
And the legacy is called love.
That is what she gave, and that is what she has left us all.
The chance to be in the bubble of love that enveloped the two of us in our last 24 hours together. Christine is an intensely spiritual being, but her beliefs didn’t fit into any tidy box. She visited cathedrals but was disillusioned with organised religion.
She believed (along with many physicists) that everything is vibration. She made vibrational essences at special places and usually gave them away.
She is beautiful, gentle and wise- a poet, a yogi, an intuitive healer, a Doctor of Philosophy, a writer and a wonderful photographer of wildlife and the natural world. Her gentle voice was healing by itself.
She collected and germinated seeds from our local trees and started regenerating the red gum forest that once covered dadirri. The red lotus that she planted in our dam was a special favourite of us both.
She loved travelling and adventuring and she was persuasive enough to winkle me out of the paradise we call home.
If you want to know more about who she really was and what she cared about, have a look at her blog- dadirridreaming.
And, if you have strength, have a look at the tributes from her very real friends all over the world. Last Tuesday she told me that her blog now had over 1000 followers.
25 years ago she named our property at Bingi, ‘dadirri’.
These are some words by Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Bauman (an elder from Arnhem Land) to explain why.
It is inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness. Our Aboriginal culture has taught us to be still and to wait. We do not try to hurry things up. We let them follow their natural course—like the seasons. We watch the moon in each of its phases. We wait for the rain to fill our rivers and water the thirsty earth.
Dadirri recognises the deep spring that is inside us. We call on it and it calls to us. This is the gift that Australia is thirsting for. It is something like what you call ‘contemplation’.
When I experience dadirri, I am made whole again. I can sit on the river bank or walk through the trees; even if someone close to me has passed away, I can find my peace in this silent awareness. There is no need of words. The contemplative way of dadirri spreads over our whole life. It renews us and brings us peace. It makes us feel whole again.”
We walked on the beach before breakfast last Tuesday and experienced dadirri together.
And we talked about how lucky we are to be in this place with this amazing community.
We went to the farmers market in the afternoon and she was greeted and hugged by so many people.
We talked about how lucky we are to have three wonderful sons and daughters in law, and four grandkids who will one day save the world.
They have all been my rocks for the past week, but I have to especially thank Toby who beat the second ambulance to our place, and helped with the terror of that morning only a week ago. Mitchell and Casey will be speaking soon, and Toby has done the slide show and the music. Thanks guys.
Last Tuesday I said to Christine ‘ I hope you are having the life you want because I am.
I am where I want to be and with the person I want to be with’.
She said ‘me too’.
We didn’t always say those things. We could have just as easily been squabbling over some silly thing- usually about me cooking too much food.
We had 45 extraordinary and beautiful years together.
Who can be sad at that?
Earth and Air
I want to say a few words about my Mum Christine, who was also a wonderful grandmother – Nanna – to my kids.
Growing up, we lived in a suburb called Arcadia – which says it all, really. As Dad mentioned we fished for yabbies, swam in dams, rode bikes and billycarts and made slingshots and bows. We also drew and painted, made paper planes and batik eggs. With a combination of love, patience and single-minded determination Mum created a rich, vibrant world of open-ended possibility. Mum’s commitment to parenting also reached out into the community. She was a fearless advocate for breastfeeding (before it was mainstream), and a playgroup pioneer.
At school our world expanded: music lessons, bands, sport, and schools many suburbs away. Mum backed us to the hilt, and spent hours every week driving us around. She loved to joke, in a self-deprecating way, that when people met our musical family they would ask her what instrument she played; and she would reply, “I drive the car”. Yet Mum’s creative talents were profound, as you all know. Along with Dad, she created a whole world for us.
In 2001 my son Thomas was born, and Mum became Nanna; then in 2003 my beautiful daughter Scarlet arrived. Mum was there for the birth, welcoming her first granddaughter to the world. I witnessed Mum’s love, patience and devotion in a new way. As my children grew she wove the same magic with them: endless games and jokes, craft and cooking, walks and swims. Scrabble, Monopoly and Rummikub; freshly squeezed juice and Nanna’s rainbow jelly – the pinnacle, for my little kids, of the culinary arts.
Speaking of rainbows, it’s good to see some colour in the crowd today. Mum would have appreciated it. The scarf I’m wearing was a gift from her, found on their adventure in Nepal, and I love it for the energy and strength of the colour. As Mum understood, colour is ethereal – a feeling, an energy – but it’s also concrete and earthly. Colour feels like a link between these domains, between earth and air. Yoga – another of Mum’s passions, and a practice we shared – is the same: both physical and spiritual.
Mum was a true mystic – a seeker and a student of the spiritual life. Yet she never withdrew from the world around her. On the contrary, she approached the world with wonder, joy, and love. Her photography reflects this quiet attentiveness; an endless unfolding of beauty. Like the birds in her photos, Mum moved between the earth and the air, seeking out the profound beauty that we can too easily miss.
And we will miss her badly, and she went so quickly we can barely comprehend it. It will take a while to come to grips with it. But eventually, if we can be still for a moment, be attentive, and get a glimpse of that sacred beauty, we will be honouring her memory.
Mum was a student and a teacher.
She both asked and answered.
She believed in belief.
She was positive about being positive.
Mum was always looking, always seeking. Not just something new, but something true, and something that resonated with her.
For Mum, there was no paradox in being a member of the Skeptics Assocation, and a creator of vibrational essences. She asked questions, investigated, and found answers that helped her and those around her.
Mum loved learning. She was a lifelong student and teacher. Everything that she learned, she used in her life, and always to help those around her. She studied early childhood education, started play groups, and helped us learn about the world. As a result, I have memories of a childhood full of home-made play-doh, painted eggs, and papier mache. And tie-dying, so much tie-dying.
In all her studies – psychology, counseling, yoga and more – you can see her quest to understand more about herself, consciousness, and how to be in the world. I’m sure there are many of you here who have benefited from what she learned. And some of you also I know have been taught by her, passing on her wisdom.
Mum believed in belief. That the mind and soul had power, and that power could be focused by faith. Mum put her beliefs into practice, whether they be pragmatic or esoteric. Protecting the local bushland. Supporting political causes in pursuit of social justice and the environment. Running her yoga retreats that touched people so deeply. She also threw her faith behind Dad’s missions, and I know that his dreams – which she shared – are all more real because of it.
Mum was positive about being positive. She taught me the power of positive thinking, the ability to look on the bright side. Like everyone, she had her fair share of challenges, but she decided that the way through was to take comfort in what is good; to nurture it; to build a ball of happiness to protect you and carry you through the world.
Seeing my Mum as a grandma, Nana, let me see what a great mother she had been to us. When talking to her about raising children, she took no credit, and said that children are just who they are: that they are arrows, shot from your bow. Even if that’s right, it’s not the whole story. There’s more than just the energy given to the arrow. There’s the direction. It was Mum who chose the wood, fletched it with feathers. It was her hand on the bowstring, who made sure that we flew far, and true.
Christine’s words from the blog read by her friend Lenore
This next piece, inspired by a morning walk to the beach, demonstrates her thoughts about nature and life as energies and vibrations. This was as part of a broader discussion of Yoga Nidra, something Christine practiced and taught.
Cool mornings during the week meant dew drops on plants, and that delicious feeling that the seasons are changing. April is heavenly here, when the sea is warm and quiet, mornings and evenings refreshingly cool, the whole landscape sighing contentedly. This morning the nor-easter was back, whipping up the waves, blowing hot and dry over the bushland. But we know change is coming, we saw it in the dewdrops.
Moisture in the air is just One, yet on these leaves it forms into tiny luminous drops, each one appearing separate from the others. So like us, who imagine we are separate from each other, and from nature, when we are actually all One. Can you change your point of view, even for a moment, to feel the One who is aware through you?
All living things change, coming and going through their cycles, yet the life within them is always the same life, never changing, simply transforming joyfully from one state to the next. The same life illuminating the artichoke flower also illuminates us, as we are coming and going with the rest of Nature. That life, the Divine, or the Self, never changes, is always perfect, untouched, patiently and tenderly waiting for us to realise there is no need for our suffering, for we are truly that vast spacious luminous joyful awareness in which everything is coming and going.
Sunlight on water, imagine that light within yourself, light of life shining brightly! Light is energy, information, life itself.
Fill your energy centres with sparkling light, purify and balance them, seeing each chakra spinning clear, symmetrical, bright. Feel the light flowing through your whole energy field so that you are tingling, vibrant, alive.
Draw the pure light into your heart, invite healing in your body and mind, see it flash through you seeking out and restoring any needy areas. Ask the light what it is you need to know now, in this moment, sit quietly and listen to the still small voice of your Self, the Self who knows all. Oh, celebration of light, how grateful we are!
The service finished with Fiona reading this poem, which was also the main content of the service sheet
I am the sunlit sea
waves curling and rolling
against the shore
I am the smooth wet sand
yielding to the foot
yet solid and supporting
I am the cool breeze
puffing softly on the cheek
playfully bunting small clouds
I am the effulgent sun
radiant in the morning sky
shafting through sea and air
I am the plover family
four birds shrieking in unison
directions for the flight
I am the adventuring crab
leaving a neat embroidered trail
right to the door of my new hole
I am the welcoming space
making way for all
to find its place with in me.
One of the people who had been outside during the service (we could only fit 200 inside) told me that the whole time that the service was in progress, that the sea eagle had hovered far overhead.
When I arrived home for the wake, a neighbour rushed up to me and said
‘did you see it, did you see it?’
‘When the cars left the chapel the sea eagle swooped down and led us out, and up the road’.
Take Care of your Heart