I am at war

I wake up exhausted, if I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep my mind will go into overdrive.  I am better off opening my curtains and waiting for sunrise as I turn on the television.  The news anchors are talking about the 2021 Australian budget.

Amongst the announcements, there will be no major Covid19 outbreaks and International borders will stay closed until the middle of 2022. I find this announcement remarkable, I read an article yesterday about western countries such as the USA and England racing back to travel and that zero-covid economies like Australia could face hermit risk.   

I look out the window to my neighbor.

 A big shiny high rise building, it’s empty, another scary sign of the world we are now living in because of Covid-19.  My friends in Melbourne are mostly working from home now.

I stare at the evidence glaring at me 24 hours a day 7 days a week for 14 full days.  I cannot leave my small room, the policeman in the hallway is the warden.

I am more than halfway through my mandatory quarantine, I have settled into a routine of being incarcerated.

A big shiny high rise building, it’s empty, another scary sign of the world we are now living in because of Covid-19. 

The first few days of my imprisonment were a different story, I am grateful that I have gotten through the first week.

This week I am not running to the peephole every time I hear activity in the hallway.  

Through the peephole I can see staff dressed in full Covid-19 combat gear, sometimes spraying my front door, vacuuming, dropping of meals or taking a Covid19 swab test from the tenants at the doorway from the room opposite. 

The nurses test me every two days, every test has come back negative, which is what I expect. 

I have already had the first jab of Astra Zeneca vaccine almost 5 weeks ago. 

 The tests will continue at my door every two days until I am released.  The nurse also checks in every day, by making a telephone call to my room.

They call me to ask me if I have any Covid19 symptoms, if I am eating and drinking, and what I have planned for the day.  I find this last question hilarious.

This week I am not running to the peephole every time I hear activity in the hallway.  

I often think about the people in this building.  I am in a hotel that is run in conjunction with a hospital.  We all have different reasons for being here, we all have some sort of pre-existing medical issue.

I am still coming to terms with the diagnosis after my radical mastectomy in Bali.  The beast had spread to my lymph nodes and I need treatment to fight back.

Leaving my husband and baby was heart wrenching but necessary. 

The medical care I will receive in Melbourne is the best in the world. 

With the help of a small group of determined, intelligent and connected women I made it back home to Australia safely. The gratitude I feel is hard to put into words, my prayer and meditation routine is my main source of strength.

Appointments have been made.

 I am all set to begin my battle the same day I leave quarantine.

I ask my readers to please pray for my victory and the strength of my loved ones at this time. 

I need to focus on myself.

I need to slay the beast and win the war.

Blessings always

Sharon xxx

Will I wake up with one boob?

I knew something was wrong, but life is different now. I am normally extra cautious about health, you might even call me fanatical. Like self isolating in a pandemic for more than a year, when I didn’t have to.

I did’t even leave home for a hair cut. I could not justify spending money on myself for luxuries, finances are tight, really tight.

I was ignoring the rather large lump in my breast, I didn’t want to visit a Bali hospital  during a pandemic

I knew after I received my first immunisation, I would feel a sense of freedom, I told my sister about my lump.  I knew she would scream at me, I needed to be screamed at.  

Why did i put myself last on a list of priorities?  Actually that’s not true, before the pandemic I would travel to Australia regularly for breast mammograms.  

That was before.  

Now travel is only for the rich, and for people who have time. 

I have let my insurance lapse, my head was spinning, where would I start?  

To cut a long story short I had a USG ultrasound in an immaculate facility in Renon, Denpasar called “Prodia”.

I didn’t have to wait, I felt like a VIP.

The doctor at “Prodia” told me I had cancer.

This blew me out of the water.  Surely I was dreaming, how the hell would she know?   It couldn’t be Cancer, I am  healthy, I pray, I have a new baby.

This blew me out of the water.  Surly I was dreaming, how the hell would she know?   It couldn’t be Cancer, I am  healthy, I pray, I have a new baby.

I asked her how she knew?

The operator of the machine assured me she was a Doctor, that’s how she knew, and she gently explained the good news.  The X-ray showed the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes.  

My fear quickly turned to gratitude.  

My ultrasound results boasted 

 BI-RADS 5 lesions, highly suspicious of malignancy.  

One google report I read said that my lump had a 95% chance of being a cancerous tumour.

When I walked out of the centre I said to my husband that we needed to eat, our daughter was hungry.  Normally I would burst out information immediately. When my husband, Made, asked me what happened I said I would explain at lunch.  

Made is a pretty cool character, I believe though he was as shocked as I.    He had been doing energy healing on my lump, I had also, it just didn’t add up to either of us.

The next seven days became a whirlwind of decisions and emotions. 

My sister is my rock, she has taken on a role that I would never believe possible.

My little sister has become the older wiser sibling, pushing me to return to the strong fighter I have been in the past. 

Pushing me to make decisions, to think clearly and to sort it out.

I gathered my strength and contacted two women, one in Australia and one in Bali.  Both women are leaders, both are highly respected health professionals.  Both women said I should return to Australia as the first choice for treatment.

The complications of travelling in a COVID-19 world are harsh, the paperwork required for an exemption from quarantine in Australia for health reasons is complex.  

The price of the flights are outrageous.  The travel time from Bali to Melbourne was up to 40 hours with layovers and overnight stays in various countries.  Garuda were sold out until May.

I was not sleeping at night because of the thought of being away from my family.  My stress level and anxiety was skyrocketing, something had to change.

The thought of having a biopsy and possible mastectomy in the general hospital was making me feel weak, I have had friends die there.  More nightmares and confusion.  

My sister took control, like a ray of hope, money appeared in my account. My 85 year old father who has come back into my life recently became my saviour.  

He told me he knew there must have been a reason why he is still alive, to look after his first born child.

My worries washed away like an ocean of relief, I felt  instantly calm in the presence of Dr Melati.  She examined my breast, studied the X-ray results and gently explained what she believed was the best way forward.  

Tomorrow I will be put under general anaesthetic and Dr Melati will take a biopsy, the diagnosis of the biopsy will determine if my lump is malignant,  if it is cancerous she will perform a mastectomy.

My husband is continuing healing work on my lump.   I continue to visualise my lump going away gently.  Maybe I will be in that lucky 5%.  I believe it is a good omen that the process will take place in the middle of Galungan dan Kuningan.  Our Balinese Hindu faith believes our ancestors are visiting earth twice a year for 10 days.

I remember my mum having the same procedure when I was about 11 years old.  She said to me “Sharon, when I wake up I don’t know if I will have one booby or two”. My Mother’s lump was benign.

What ever will be is okay, I am now at peace with my decision.

Melbourne lockdown

Born in the heart of a City

That City is a lady

Some say she is a miniature London

Most are in awe, the acres of manicured gardens in that busy City

So pretty

Trams

Theatre

Concerts

MelbourneMelbourne lockdown, Image James Rowland 10 Aug 2020

Aussie rules footy

Tennis

Arts….Comedy

I miss you Melbourne

I am feeling your pain

You will get through this

My heart is yours



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Melbourne lockdown – a reflection of Covid-19 ©August 2020

 

 

Ego

How would you describe your ego

How would others describe your ego

Have you even thought about it, deeply, intensely, honestly

Do others call you egotistical

Do they say it to your face, or when your back is turned

Maybe you don’t believe you have an ego

Quiet, submissive, you are a person that causes no trouble

You fly under the radar, nobody is watching

Nobody can see your ego

Your ego has become isolated

Your ego is forced into lockdown

Consciously, unconsciously, we all have ego, there is no escaping ego now

How will you navigate your ego

Your universe has collided, you have lost control

You might fall down a trap, a strong desire to resist

Will ego change

The planet commands humans to remain still

It’s still out there

Will ego dominate

Will ego embrace the moment, the unknown reality of a brave new world

lovely2

Photograph Sharon Karyasa

27th April, 2020. Reflection of Covid-19, Bali, Indonesia.

Sharon Karyasa ©2020

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Cry

The world is crying

Tears flow endlessly

Lost

I can’t go out, I cry

I reach out at night, for that dream

The dream has gone

For now

I pick myself up

Why is the image reflecting fear

I must change the channel

Don’t believe the chaos

Believe in hope

Believe in truth

Believe in kindness

Believe that light will defeat darkness

I must

We must

Believe in this brave new world of hope

poem

Photograph by Made Karyasa at Mt Batur, Bali, Indonesia.

Dedicated to my dear friend Hetty Bradley, a true angel on this Island of the Gods.

8th April, 2020. Reflection of Covid-19, Bali, Indonesia.

Sharon Karyasa ©2020

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Australia Burns

I awake, heart beating rapidly
Although I am not physically home
My soul is yours
Our carefree, funny and free spirit is who we are
Our kangaroos and koalas
Images of childhood realities of comfort
I awake to a reality that my home is at war
The monster is real
Why didn’t you listen?
Climate change is real, they told you

Australia Bruns

Words Sharon Karyasa
Image 📷: Ryan Pollock | @ryno_thecaptain/Instagram

 

Sharon Karyasa ©2020

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Mount Agung – Active Volcano, Holy Pilgrimage to Besakih Temple

As seen in Ubud Life, No.39 June – August 2019 Page 57 “Our Visit to the Holy Mountain” by Sharon Karyasa

If you’re the outspoken member of the Community you’re likely to get into trouble.

I have never been one to remain quiet.

I spent a significant amount of time in 2017 blogging about Mount Agung our active volcano whom I affectionately named The Big Fella.

I was accused of fearmongering, which I find amusing.

I became friends with a reader who decided to come for a vacation to Bali, after reading one of my creative blogs about our unpredictable mountain.

I made a point of letting my readers know that I am terrible at science, and quite frankly the technical compositions that make up our Big Fella sound like gibberish to me.

I have since learned that Mount Agung is a strato-volcano also known as a composite volcano, it didn’t surprise me at all to discover Mount Agung is amongst the powerful of all volcanoes.

The eruptions from these types of volcanos may be a pyroclastic flow, rather than a flow of lava.

A pyroclastic flow is a superheated mixture of hot steam, ash, rock and dust.

A pyroclastic flow can travel down the sides of a volcano at very high speeds, with temperatures over 400 degrees Celsius.

Composite volcanoes can rise over 8000 feet.

Our Holy Mountain woke up on December 30, 2018 and again on January 10, 2019 after being asleep during the entire five months when a series of earthquakes hit Lombok, which began in July 2018.

Devy K Syahbana, the PVMBG’s head of Eastern Region Volcano Mitigation Subdivision said in January 2019 that Mount Agung had returned to its eruption phase before the Lombok earthquake.

He further added a satellite report by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) in Darwin explaining that Bali’s Mount Agung eruption spewed volcanic ash reaching more than 2,000 meters from its summit, or about 5,400 meters above sea level.

In a press release on March 17, 2019 The Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation of the Geological Agency, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Recourses, said that after 54 years the holy Mount Agung had began his eruption on November 2017 and that activities are still happening.

Yes they are.

A few weeks back I made a holy pilgrimage to Pura Besakih Temple with my husband and niece. Although I was aware of the possibility of an eruption at any time, I was not aware of the masses of Balinese who where also making this holy pilgrimage.

Besakih Temple sits 1,000 metres high on the southwestern slope of our Big Fella.

The Basakih compound is made up of over 86 temples. On the day we made our pilgrimage it seemed as though the entire Pasek clan from the Island of Bali had also decided to venture out.

This year a very special ceremony was taking place, known as Panca Wali Krama, a complicated ceremony to give gratitude to the Gods, which only occurs once every ten years.

Panca Wali Krama is the second largest ritual that happens at Pura Besakih after Eka Dasa Rudra, which is held once every 100 years.

It was during the Eka Dasa Rudra celebration in 1963 that the mighty Mount Agung erupted.  Miraculously the temple survived the devastating eruption at that time.

The thought did cross my mind about the possibility of an eruption as we waited in a human traffic jam for three hours to reach our ancestral temple. Then I remembered my faith and felt honoured to be part of such an auspicious spiritual journey.

Human traffic jam at Besakih

Holy Pilgrimage Panca Wali Krama at Besakih Temple Bali

Mount Agung has erupted several times since our pilgrimage.

21 April, 2019 at 6.55pm.  Sutopo Purwo Nugroho from BNPB tweeted.

A column of thick gray volcanic ash, leaning towards the West threw eruption material reaching 2,500 – 3,000 metres from the peak in all directions.

Mount Agung Eruption 21 April 2019.jpg

Photograph Mount Agung eruption 21 April, 2019 at 6.55pm photograph Sutopo Purwo Nugroho @twitter

Life goes on as normal here in Bali, the most recent eruption happened while I was sweating it out in an aerobics class with women in my village. We were oblivious of any showcasing from The Big Fella.

One thing I know for sure is that there has never been a more exciting time to visit Bali.

You never know what will transpire in any one day.

Aerobics in Bali

Aerobics with Ibu Ibu in a Balinese Village

Blessings always

Sharon x

Sharon Karyasa ©2019

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Racist confrontation at the historic Big Building in Chapel Street, Prahran

Melbourne was voted the most liveable City in the world seven times, however recently Vienna has pipped our lady to the post.

The two metropolises have been neck and neck in the annual survey of 140 urban centres for years, with Melbourne clinching the title for the past seven editions.

Melbourne’s cultural diversity attracts millions of overseas and domestic travellers annually. Visitors converge on our garden state to indulge in shopping, theatre productions and architectural sightseeing just to name a few.

Historical early twentieth century buildings such as the magnificent Big Store located at 303 Chapel Street, Prahran radiates nostalgic days of emporia style shopping.

Prahan.jpg

Big Store located at 303 Chapel Street, Prahran radiates nostalgic days of emporia style shopping.

Prahran is known for its stylish bars, Southeast Asian eateries and late-night clubs.

Greville Street is a synonymous Melbournian haunt with its hip cafes, specialty boutiques and groovy Greville Records.

People watching is a fun pastime as you sip your long black coffee gazing out of the window of your favourite café, a tram meanders past on a perfect day in urban paradise. The eclectic mix of residents makes for an interesting vibe.

Luxury cars driven by executive’s pull onto the curb in a hurry, well dressed business people dash to that important meeting.

Locals from the social housing in high rise towers wander purposefully. Prahan is inclusive and a true representation of multicultural Melbourne.

There is always one person though, one citizen that throws the balance into disarray, that citizen who is pissed, stoned or both.

One perfect day in Melbourne a middle aged white drunk man staggered into that historical Big Store in Chapel Street, Prahran which is now occupied by Coles Supermarket.

The express check out was in process, shoppers quickly grabbing a few supplies before heading home on a that perfect Melbourne day.

The production line stopped abruptly.

The middle aged drunk man became abusive.

The inebriated man started yelling at the taller man of colour. I couldn’t believe my ears as he swore and told him to go home. Screaming at the top of his lungs saying that he didn’t belong in Melbourne.

The middle aged man was standing so close to the taller man I was afraid he would throw a punch, he continued to shout profanities.

The taller man did not react, he patiently listened to the offensive bigot as he told him to go back to where he came from and that he didn’t belong in his Country.

I was searching for the security, I was mesmerised by the crowd who stood motionless as they witnessed the abusive confrontation. The thought crossed by mind to intervene, to do so though may have resulted in a being punched.

I asked one of the staff to urgently call for security, I was fearful that the drunk man would throw a punch at the taller man.

The swearing intensified, the crowd stood frozen.

Eventually the Manager of the store arrived, more insults were shouted at the taller man before he was ushered onto Chapel Street.

The offender stumbled onto the pavement as he mumbled profanities about the tall man being a black prick and to fuck off back to his own Country.

The cue at the express check out started to move again, the incident was over, however I felt obliged to express my regret.

It was only when I apologised to the tall man that I discovered he was the security guard at Coles.

The security guard told me that the drunk man had been forbidden to enter Coles, as he had a history of being abusive.

This tragic display of hatred and racism was exposed in public at the historical Big Store, both residents and tourists witnessed a violent display of xenophobia on a perfect day in Melbourne.

I walked away feeling nostalgic, remorse and sadness.

Blessings always

Sharon x

Sharon Karyasa ©2019

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