By Gareth Andrews


“Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?”

Australia’s Helen Reddy had a hit with Delta Dawn in 1973 and the words and music have been rattling around in my recently deadened, decaying head. Somehow, I was uplifted, despite knowing that the actual song spirals downhill beyond these first sentences.

The words relate to our Delta times and the “faded roses” are the faces I see daily when I step outside, as permitted; pallid and empty faces of people losing grip with reality, their minds and hopes devastated by another winter of despair. The question we all ask is: “Will we ever see our Delta Dawn?” It’s a fair question.

Does this really mean all of us?
Lucinda Brogden, chair of the National Health Commission, believes so: “Five in five Australians are experiencing psychological distress, beginning at the mild end of anxiety and depression.”

I believed I was ready for it last year. I thought I’d done the hard yards, having experienced a serious bout of clinical depression 20 years earlier. I’d retrained my own mind and got plenty of help along the way professionally and privately. I’d helped others as well and I figured I had all the coping mechanisms I needed. Except for one thing: my total loss of freedom. The emotional, physical and mental loss of freedom immediately put me in the five out of five bracket.

What I did know was that there were positive steps I could take to help myself change. A great place to start is in the morning. It can be a dark place when the chips are down in your life and I have listened to many heart-wrenching stories on this score.

Get out of bed straight away, do some serious stretching and breathing exercises, have a shower, have a hearty breakfast and keep away from your technology; you are not ready for it.

You are ready instead to break bad habits. Make a fundamental change even though change is hard when you’re feeling like shit. Work closely with your partner and kids if necessary.


When it came to dealing with Delta lockdowns, there were positive steps I could take to help myself change.CREDIT:JIM PAVLIDIS


I started mentally engaging with myself; looking for a new tool to give me hope and open me up to the modern Delta Dawn. The letters almost spelled it out. Dream and dreaming would be my key words.

I’m not necessarily thinking of the dreams we associate with sleep, although a night of powerful dreams can enhance creativity and problem-solving. I’m thinking of the dreams we have which are more associated with daydreaming. Put yourself back in a place when you didn’t have a care in the world.

In the middle section of The Beatles’ classic, A Day in the Life, Paul McCartney sings, “Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head”, and finishes six lines later with, “And somebody spoke and I fell into a dream” before John Lennon drifts away.

Float into dreamtime. Think of Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, tilting at windmills, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, all taking us back to our childhood where we were taught to dream and reflect and believe and no one telling us “No”.

I love to dream about travel. I could almost go to Hell and back right now to get on the road again. I read Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, during lockdown(s) — I had the time! What a journey Odysseus had over 10 years trying to get home to Ithaca after the Trojan War. Monsters of various sorts, a visit to the afterlife, cannibals, alluring women (it was tough!) and Poseidon himself, god of the sea and earthquakes.

Just by having a dream you can re-situate yourself.

It might be hard to emulate the fantasy of Odysseus, let alone survive it. But what about the adventure! To me, travel has always been about the adventure of different countries, different cultures, different peoples. Capturing India in your nostrils. Sweating your way across the Andes and the Himalayas. Suffering on the Camino to achieve a spiritual awakening. Just by having the dream you’re ready to fly — literally.

I mentioned creativity a few lines back. How do we dream about rediscovering our creative selves? Imagine a summer’s day: you’re stripped down to the barest essentials, wandering down to a sparkling stream and setting up your painting tools, including easel and paper, brushes, chalk and rubbers. Isn’t it amazing how far we’ve come away from all of that in the modern age? We now know how much more preciously we must value our time.

Perhaps paint a picture about falling in love with life again. Just thinking about what that might look like gets the juices moving.

I can’t finish on dreamtime without mentioning the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders of our nation. They used the Earth’s features, the landscapes, the animals and the rock formations to tell their stories, giving them special meaning for being conceived or born in the Country they inhabit. Maybe we should all start to give understanding to this belief.

In these totally disconnected times, we can dream about shedding our old skin like a snake. It’s called ecdysis. Another word for a stripper is ecdysiast!

While you dream, take time to dream about new challenges you want to take up in Delta Dawn. Remember that the old rose has already faded. It’s a brand new world and you will be able to participate in it as a refreshed and functioning human being. How exciting is that!

We started with a song. We’ll end with another, McCartney again. He wrote a song regarded as one of the greatest of all time, Yesterday. He described how he “dreamed” it. He awoke from the dream and immediately wrote down the music. The words came later. It’s a simple song which dives so deeply into the heart and mind. And apt for us as we dream of yesterday … and tomorrow.



Author’s Bio
Gareth Andrews - Founder and Director of Life Again, a registered Not for Profit charity that educates and helps men to change and lead more fulfilling and purposeful lives. Through writing, public speaking, taking men to the Outback and working with Aboriginals, workshops and personally challenging men.





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