Ceremony

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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

In the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered.
All work ceases, and every man, woman and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual.  Then each person in the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, about all the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his lifetime.  Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy is recounted.  All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length.
The tribal ceremony often lasts several days.  At the end, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe.

Alice Walker, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For

I Don't Know, and I Don't Care :)

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Thursday, 12 August 2010

I don't know what or who or if God is anymore.

Conversely,  I feel just as close to God as I ever did.

I don't know what or who or if Jesus is or was anymore.  I don't know if he's just the invention of a bunch of people, if he was an enlightened being of the best sort of kind (the kind that leads the way for others ~ or is supposed to, if he doesn't get hijacked into the ugliest religion that ever did make horrors of people who would be far better off not having fallen into cultural religion).  I don't know if he was the Son of God, rescuing the entirety of humanity from itself in the most beautiful possible way, or demonstrating to the souls of humanity aspects they could never see about themselves without someone so unafraid of death laying their life down.  I don't know if Jesus was one of many, or one of one, or none of one.

Conversely, Jesus is still as dear and wonderful and challenging and scary and inspiring to me as he has always been.  Just without so much crap surrounding him.

I don't know about God.  All I know is that when I was reading something before (Julia Cameron's Walking in This World) and she mentioned God as "he", and I said in response to the God within, "I am SO sick of us talking about you as if you have a dick," and inside I felt like this shapeshifting, gurgling laughter.  And I don't know if that is just me, or if it is God.  It feels as if there is a space within me that feels like the me that is mySelf, the Me of the future and the past and the now all wrapped up together, and this Self is connected intimately with this god and yet is separate.  Joined and yet separate, with no loss of myself and yet myself swallowed up inside the vastness of this ... whatever, this Great Creator.

And all I know is that sometimes when I think about that, or feel it in my body and my soul, the joy is intense and I want it to be so, and I want God to be there, and I want everyone in the world to shut up talking about God, and naming God, so that we can reclaim some of the magic.

And all I know is that last night I crawled into bed, and I was listening to my favourite storyteller at the moment, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, talk on my mp3 player about creativity, about Persephone and Demeter and Hades, and she was lulling me to sleep like a child being told a bedtime story.  And all I know is that how it feels to me is that all of those elements are inside of me, the devil inside, the god inside, so much beauty and wonder and mysterious sexy dark, and destruction, and hot sunny creation, all inside.

All I know is that am sure of less than I was 15 years ago (and shudder when I think of how I once was, which is perhaps how life should always be if we are growing enough).

All I know is that I don't need to know so much anymore.

For K & B

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Thursday, 5 August 2010


A little bit of hope, from the underside of the world, burning for you.

You Little Beauties

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  • A freshly vacuumed carpet - at the beginning of August!  In years gone past, this common occurrence would not have happened.  In the years of chronic fatigue syndrome, August was as low a point as its counterpart in February, every drop in barometric pressure sending me fatigued to the couch, every drop in temperature rushing through my bones.  
  • The days lengthening on one side of the ball, shortening on the other.  Changes of light, of tempo, of clothes, of scenery.  I have enjoyed this Winter more than any other, as much as I miss the lack of light.  Yesterday was the first day that I have noticed the days lengthening.  The noticing burst itself out of my solar plexus.  I still dread February and its harsh sun and burning, but I love, I love, I love the light.
  • The space between two people, combined with them both, makes something great and beautiful and far bigger than the two of them.  It's magic, in the same way a small round dot becoming a capsicum is magic.  
  • The space between two thoughts is a pregnant, dripping, full void.  It laughs at linearity, kisses the ground.

Beep, Beep, Beep

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Wednesday, 4 August 2010

I can hear as I begin typing the beep, beep, beep of a reversing truck in the next street over from where I live.

It is good that a giant reversing truck has a beeping noise attached to it so that when it reverses it does not run over hapless workers.  I can only wonder, however, about the side effects of the payoff.  Silence is golden.  How much more distracted must those workers be if, for example, they are working on a large site where there are, say, seven reversing vehicles around them, all beeping at once?  Does the distraction of the beepingness negate any positive effects the warning might have?

Any way, no matter.  The manufacturers of the trucks, the owners of the sites, their hands at least are clean.

There is a federal election coming up here in Australia.  All the more reason to switch off the television.  The empty heads taking pot shots at each other, the lack of any sort of vision, the stubborn and complete and absolute refusal to come within a 100 kilometre radius of admitting that continued economic growth is not only unsustainable, but that it is damaging, makes me want to weep at how deep the smoke and the mirrors go.  Etched into our skin.

Continued economic growth is a pipedream concept, an ostrich paradigm, fuelled by the greed of people who want continued and greater return on their investment for no extra effort to continue gushing out of the ground forever and ever.

We do not want to stop and ask questions about the validity and viability of this paradigm, of who the losers may be in this contest.  We allow ourselves to be absorbed back into the endless electronic beeping of the next ADD distraction because it is comfortable there, and we have become comfortable.

We have become so comfortable that it's like an article of clothing we may wish to remove because the sun is out and we want the vitamin D to seep into our skin, for our skin to breathe.  But we find we cannot do so without great difficulty;  the edges of the fabric have seemingly seared themselves into our skin.

It is I suspect the same sort of looking away we do when we go to buy our latest piece of beeping electronica and are gratified to see how low the price is (how much cheaper our consumer drugs have become in the past 10 years!)  We do not wish to follow the thought pattern down, as we stand in line to complete our purchase, or click "pay now" on our computer screens, to consider that anyone would be losing out on our big deal.

We do not want to think that the cheap price we pay has any link at all to the conditions of workers at the Foxconn plant in China.  But everything is linked.  Ten workers have suicided at this plant since January.

Is there a link between our purchasing at this end and their conditions at that end?  We do not want it to be so.  We do not want to be our brothers' and sisters' keepers.

But perhaps everything is far more linked than we would like it to be.

Luckily, there's a distraction coming our way, just around the corner, to put an end to these thoughts of discomfort.

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.
Barbara wrote an interesting post recently about introversion, linking to an article in Psychology Today entitled, "It'll Be Fun!" and Other Extrovert Lies.   Both were very interesting reads for me because I feel like I understand both sides of the fence.

The manfriend and I were discussing this introversion/extroversion thing yesterday while driving to the 40th birthday party of one of my closest friends.  I was dreading attending, as I always do these sorts of social occasions.  Parties are occasions of silent almost-torture for me.  Which I guess doesn't necessarily make me an introvert, though.  Possibly I am simply a self-conscious, socially dysfunctional, introspective extrovert :)  But I do feel like I can understand the terrain a little, given my personality inadequacies :)   The manfriend, being a true introvert and shy to boot, and knowing absolutely nobody at the party we were going to, was dreading it even more than I.

As we drove in the rain he was wondering what a social get-together of a bunch of true introverts would look like.  I wonder about that too.  What do you guys think?  

As Barbara mentioned in her post, there is a real tendency for extroverts to think that introverts are shy, arrogant and unsociable.  Some introverts may be any or all of those things, but to confuse those traits with introversion is really rather arrogant, when you think about it.  What extroverts are actually suggesting by that statement and others like it is that introverts are simply extroverts gone a little wrong somewhere, with a few minor personality disorders.  The comments in this article here are a real eye-opener about how irritating the misconceptions of extroverts can be :)

I would guess that the true-introverts-only social occasion would contain a pretty low incidence of small talk.  Introverts hate small talk, generally, and so do I.  And yet, despite that fact, the manfriend has informed me that I am not a true introvert, and as such will not be gaining an invite to the true-introverts-only social occasion.  And so all I can do is imagine how much more delightful and deep socialising with introverts would be, while not really having the right gear to be in the gang ;)  I do imagine, however, that a heavier dose of philosophy would go a long way toward making a night spent in a pub listening to people murdering karaoke songs next door just that little bit more palatable.