After three weeks in the arid centre of Australia, it was a relief to be next to a large body of water again. We skirted Mount Isa today in favour of someplace more scenic — the lake 15 km from town that acts as a water reservoir and playground for residents of the mining town.

Lake Moondera, Mount Isa, Queensland, August 2013
Mount Isa Mines constructed Lake Moondera in the late 50s and was named through a local competition. Its name means "plenty of rain also thunder".

When the girls are low on energy — tantrumming, bullying, acting emotionally fragile or playing the victim — I invite them to stop and analyse what they need to come back into a lovely, peaceful place within themselves. The point of the conversation isn’t to get the story of why they’re crying or what happened in the lead-up to the emotional outburst — these are circumstances that constantly change. I’m seeking to equip our girls to know themselves so that they aren’t victims to fluctuating hormones or the things that happen around them or to them.

We know that we get energy from multiple sources: food, rest, affection, meditation, time alone, time with others, etc. When we are full of energy, we can handle unkind people, adverse situations and physical challenges. So, if we’re low on energy, identifying the kind of energy that we need (for me, it’s usually rest), leads us to the Source where we can fill up again.

In directing our girls on this quest, I want to empower them to recognise their weakened state, analyse their need, know their Source and tap into it to return to abundant living. Once their need is articulated, it becomes part of their conscious self, and they can stop reacting unconsciously and deliberately process what they are feeling.

It’s a conversation we have whenever we need to. I ask questions like: When did you last eat? Do you need something to eat? Do you want some time to yourself? Do you want to do something with me? Would you like to sit on my lap for a while? How did you sleep last night? Do you think you got enough sleep?

Today, it was lunchtime, and we had stopped at a designated rest area to cook and play outside the bus. As the girls played their various games, it was clear that one of them was angsty — and about nothing in particular.

When we stopped and talked about what was wrong (“Nothing!” she insisted, with a tone in her voice that belied her statement), we worked through the particular things that she may need in order to come out of her bad mood. Finally, she articulated it: “I’m just hot!”

It’s not summer yet, and the temperatures aren’t very extreme, even this far north. We were in the shade with a cool wind blowing, but the girls have travelled across a continent to reach outback Queensland, and our day here is very different to the cool winter temperatures we enjoyed in Perth.

So, after her need was articulated, our travelling priority became one of finding a spot to cool down. This was easy to fulfill — Lake Moondera is on the northwestern side of Mount Isa, and we saw the turn-off as we were approaching. After that, it was easy to change into swimmers and run down to the lake for a swim and a splash… and a mud treatment!

Swimming in Lake Moondera, Mount Isa, Queensland, August 2013
After all that desert dust, I'm thrilled to immerse myself in the cool waters of the lake! This is the first time I've been swimming since visiting Bali in June!

Swimming in Lake Moondera, Mount Isa, Queensland, August 2013
Brioni is off, kicking with her board although the depth of the lake means she can stand in the water when she's thirty metres from shore. Lana is content to paddle at the edge and throw rocks in.

Playing with mud on the banks of Lake Moonderra, Mount Isa, Queensland, August 2013
It starts with just one handprint on a bare belly, and then the mud-painting begins in earnest.

When we drove away, it was with a lot more energy than with which we arrived. I don’t think we’ll linger in Mount Isa, at this age the girls’ interest is minimal, and we’re all looking forward to returning to our friends in southeast Queensland now that we’re back in the state.