Weekend Notes


Thursday, 29 September 2011

I hate self-promotion.  I hate any kind of promotion really.  My inner Complete Utter Idealist thinks that it cheapens the person who is promoting themselves.  I don't know why exactly, but I think it has something to do with inadvertently admitting your weakness by revealing your need of other persons to consume whatever it is you've made for their consumption.

Or something like that.  I hate consumption.  My inner Complete Utter Idealist feels like anything I produce automatically becomes a consumer product.  Which is a little black and white but it is my inner Complete Utter Idealist, after all.

Interestingly, I also have an inner I'm a Fucking Island, Damn It.  It competes interestingly with my inner Trust the Universe to Deliver What You Want on a Platter and my inner Everything Would be Solved If We All Embraced Poverty and Communal Living.

It gets crowded in here.  But interesting.  I don't need to talk to anyone else to have an argument.  I just start up a conversation with myself.

Anyway, so, yeah, self-promotion sucks. But I've started contributing to WeekendNotes, a little website about things to do in your local area.  It's a minor way to get writing to spec even in some small fashion (and even though there really isn't anyone telling me what to write so it's not really to spec).  It's a way of forcing myself to leave the house to go and do things that are fun but which require leaving the house in order to do them.  If I have to write about them, somehow it fuels my motivation.

Anyway, so that's that.  I feel sullied now.


1 comment

I respect kindness in human beings first of all, and kindness to animals. I don't respect the law; I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.

Brendan Behan

HT to Experimental Theology

Your Scars are Beautiful


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sometimes it is a terrifying long lesson to learn to look and not look away from your own scars.  As an almost-teenager I suppressed a certain trauma so that I completely dissociated myself from it.  For five years I completely forgot all about its existence until at 16 it began coming up to my consciousness again.  Its rising had the look and feel of shards of glass, after being submerged for so long in the safety of the undergrowth.  I've never had such a repression experience again (... well, not that I know about yet, ha), and when I think back to how those memories felt after they'd come back up, there is nothing else to really compare them too.  While they felt like shards of glass, they also felt like they were covered over with moss and other damp things and had taken on some of the feel of the undergrowth they had been living in for half a decade.  Thirty years away from that, that mossiness feels like some kind of protective awesomeness.  At 16, though, I felt that if I looked at the shards, I would be cut open upon them and fall out all over the ground.  For many years just the knowledge that the shards were there was enough in terms of dealing and healing.  It needed to scab and then scar over first before I could get enough distance from it to own it (funny paradox, delightfully deep).

But you can learn to look your terrors in the face.  And you must.  That which over the ensuing decades you cannot and will not learn to have come sit and dine with you at your fireside can slither out the door when you're not looking and run amok.  

I came across this portion of a poem by Robert Bly, in a delightful blog post by Falstaff Was My Tutor on deformed beauty.

If a man, cautious,
hides his limp,
Somebody has to limp it! Things
do it; the surroundings limp.
House walls get scars,
the car breaks down; matter, in drudgery, takes it up.

~ Robert Bly

Takes half your life to learn to hide your limp, the other half to learn to display it.

Sometimes it is easier to acknowledge that certain things have caused trauma, and harder to acknowledge that they leave scars.  You do not want this horrid thing to be a part of your forever.  But it is, and this is where you must deal with it.  Dealing brings a wise and sweet surprise out the other side into the knowledge that scars can become beautiful.  Sure, people you don't know might snigger at you in the street with your limp and your deforms, but it is only those who first love you who have the proper sight and right to be able to name the beauty in your scars.

I like to offset the deep internal scars with the ones visible on my body:  the horizontal one along my chest, the vertical three down my right hand.  When you are eight years old and in love with your cousins' half-wild farm cats, it is a courage born of delight that compels you to try to pick them up :) 

Chaos Theory


Saturday, 24 September 2011

I love science.  We live in the most incredible time.  It feels like some sort of bizarre cosmic coincidence to me that so much is being discovered in this age that I want to learn about, and yet I'm so bloody information overloaded I could miss the most amazing things right under my nose.

Erin told me in an email exchange this morning that apparently they have discovered a neutrino that moves faster than the speed of light.  This has ramifications for the theory of relativity that I would like to have a month to sit down and solidly read all about - starting with learning what the hell a neutrino is - and then to ponder it, to turn it about in the sun, and see what it looks like in the dark, or when it's raining.  To see how different that makes the world feel.

Learning and understand more about science is an ongoing quest for me, because it's gotten bloody interesting.  What they've discovered over the past decades ... how it's so anarchic on that subatomic layer, that excites me in my guts.  But I can't hold together what I learn about subatomic layers and quarks and neutrinos.  It falls apart when I try to rearticulate it to myself, let alone anyone else.  And so I have to come back to it again next time.  And so I enter in the door again, learn and feel a little spun-out, and come out of it with nothing but a sense of wonder and a complete, utter inability to feed it all back.  It's like dream language.  It's a kick to my intellect but it's a buzz to my creativity.

I hate rigid systems that kill people's souls.  I'm very glad that the world we live on is proving to be anything but.

I decided earlier on that I would go and look up a little more about chaos theory ('cause this is what I do when I've got a spare five minutes, then I wonder why I feel informationally-overloaded).  I like this description here:

After nearly two decades now of work by Chaoticians made up of the leading scientists and mathematicians in a wide variety of fields, the evidence is overwhelming. The world is not a gigantic clock where everything happens in an ordered and predictable manner.The real world is fundamentally disordered, free. Chaos reigns over predictability.Simple, linear systems which are causal and predictable are the exception in the Universe, not the rule. Most of the Universe works in jumps, in anon-linear fashion that can not be exactly predicted. It is infinitely complex.Freedom and free will - the Strange Attractors - prevail over rules and determinacy.
Yet Chaos is no enemy and destroyer of Cosmos, for from out of Chaos a higher order always appears,but this order comes spontaneously and unpredictably. It is "self-organized." The creation of the Universe is an ongoing process, not just a one time event at the beginning. All and everything - and everyone - is part of this creative process. Over time all systems - from molecules, to life, to galactic clusters- are continually creating new organizations and patterns from out of featureless and chaos. The world is not a Clock, it is a Game, a Game of Chance and Choice. In the game random processes - chance and serendipity - allow room for free will, individuality and unpredictable creativity.

There is something about this chaos theory that reminds me of what it is that frustrates me when I look at how so many organisations operate with their employees.  I talk about this quite a lot on this blog.  It seems to apparent to me, but I find it hard to articulate what is so apparent.  I feel that the way business run shoots them in their own feet.  Ultimately it comes down to a control issue.  Because I think that humans operate best on a self-organised basis as well.  We need to have freedom to work spontaneously and unpredictably.  Or at least I do.

An organisation puts rules in place to keep it functioning effectively.  But those rules hamper and hinder and constrain because the people operating under them are not free.  For the rules to work properly, people would have to have enough internal freedom to be able to know WHY the rules are, their context, their meaning, what they're wanting to make happen by their existence rather than simply a punitive sort of a stick put there that will beat people who don't conform to them.  Then, if there are free people who understand the meaning of the rules, they still have to be not so rebellious as to be unable to function under the rules (my problem).  They have to be able to stand up under the rules so that they don't stop thinking, and using their nous and their consciences.  So that the rules don't make them feel claustrophobic so that it feels their personal turning circles are taken away from them (my problem), but that they point their thoughts in the right direction so that they can come to these conclusions themselves.

How does all of that work, though, when you are an employee at someone else's employment?  Even if you don't balk at being a cog in someone else's wheel, a chaos theory business would need to have a low fear level and a high willngness to make mistakes.  And I've never seen that in any organisation I've ever worked for in my life because they all by nature become conservative and boring.  Which is understandable.  People who start businesses are so invested, the business is so much of a reflection of themselves, that to let go, to let it fly off and be self-organised, is too dangerous.  Especially because you know that if you give that much freedom to employees, they will abuse the system.

But I've always liked that biblical suggestion to farmers that when harvesting their fields, to make sure they leave some for the gleaners to follow, those people who are poor and hungry.  I think that those who abuse the system are poor and hungry too.  Space should be allowed for people to fuck themselves up.  Because what is lost through those people is gained in the freedom of employees who have space to be individuals within a communal culture.  The right and the left combined.

But all that's pipe dreams, really, because I don't think I'm ever going to be able to find a company to work for that doesn't make my throat tighten with its rigidity.  Maybe some day I'm gonna have to do it myself.   Get me a co-op.  And a good idea.  Or maybe if someone publishes one of the four pieces of writing I've got out there waiting for a home, that'd be a start :)  In the meantime, I guess I'll just keep me and my rebellion here at home, typing transcription, dreaming about how it could all be so much better :)



Thursday, 22 September 2011

I don't like Ticketek's form.

A multinational corporation with a surely extremely-automated system, they charge $5 per transaction for you to take the ezyticket option, which gets emailed to you and you then print out on your computer.  I don't understand where the five bucks comes in.  I could understand a couple of bucks, but five?

Going one step further, they have now started charging $4.50 a ticket for ... well, actually, for no ticket at all.  My team is playing the precursor to the Grand Final this weekend, so if we win this game, we're going to the Big Dance.  Members of all four remaining clubs were given the opportunity today to log onto Ticketek to go into a ballot.  For the pleasure of simply taking your place in a queue, they charged $4.50 per ticket.

Which means, if, say, 100,000 AFL club members registered today - 25,000 per club, not such a far-fetched number - Ticketek, or the AFL (whichever scumbags are responsible) have just made a cool half a million bucks for doing fuck-all.

Which is highway robbery.  Disgraceful form.

The Filters of Culture


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Been thinking about filters lately.  Filters in different forms.  Not so much your common water filter or your pool filter because ... well, they're not really all that exciting.  The filters that hinder our views and determine our paradigms - these are maybe as unexciting to some (definitely far more scary), but for me there is something about being reminded that I do not see everything which gives me some sort of comfort, somehow.  It is as if it balances out one of the more terrified voices of The Cast of Thousands which insists, in PTSD fashion, that I must stay vigilant at all time, and see everything.

Reading across the interwebs recently has brought me across several different examples of filtering.  I recently read an interesting account of a writer's group in Tennant Creek, in the Northern Territory.  Composed of indigenous and non-indigenous writers, it was interesting to read about the different focusses in the writing - the indigenous wrote mainly about the land, and the non-indigenous about their feelings, their place in relation to the world.  Ktima Heathcote writes:
The Aboriginal writers mainly wrote about the land, their country, as so evocatively expressed by Maureen O’Keefe and Valerie Nelson, two writers from Ali Curung, a community about 170 kilometres south of Tennant. Unconstrained by the straitjacket of ‘correct English’, there’s a natural rhythm in the way Aboriginal writers express themselves. Sure, it’s raw technically, but the power and beauty of their words is undeniable. Like the surrounding countryside, harsh and uncompromising during drought, green now due to rain, their voice seeps into your skin and ignites an ancient, almost forgotten part of you.
The non-Aboriginal writers of the group showed more structural complexity in their work, focusing more on feelings and how they see themselves in relation to the world. It’s an avenue not commonly explored by Aboriginal writers out here, but excavating memories and personal experience for their rich emotional content is starting to fuel the work of established writers such as Rosemary Plummer and David C. Curtis, both of whom are NT Literary Award winners. Holt said at the time of the retreat she loved the fact that ‘there were whitefellas as well as blackfellas’ in the group. It made for the most enriching experience of literary cultures; using language as a means to move forwards together. She believed the idea of having a well-planned and inclusive writing retreat in an area often overlooked by funding bodies would create a kernel of hope for the literary minds of this region. And she was right. Less than a year later, in July 2010, Barkly Writers’ Ink was born. With the aid of an Arts NT Community grant of $5000 came the opportunity for a core group of writers from the Barkly to meet on a regular basis to write, provide support and professional development, network, mentor each other, and learn about the craft of writing and the publishing industry.

I am a white honky Melburnite, who has never yet made it to the Top End and is thirsting to. That is where you go in this country to find Aboriginal culture because, quite frankly, the first 150 years of genocide was so successful that you will find very little on the eastern seaboard unless it's in small enclaves or being sold as safe art in souvenir shops.

My homeland has long held a duality for me ~ it feels like home.  It has sunk into my bones, so that I feel as if I could blend into the bark of a eucalyptus just about as easily as a kookaburra does.  The ground stirs in my guts.  But I don't know it in my ancestral bones.  The culture I come from clings to the outsides of the continent, scared of it, lives largely apart from it in urban centres.  The differences in indigenous and non-indigenous approaches to the different ways of viewing ourselves is so linked to the history of our country.  The blood from that genocide surely still cries from the ground, making us non-indigenes uneasy about our  place here in our home.  We view it as alien, hostile, inhospitable.  We do not yet know it intimately.

I think also the differences highlight, as Mark Vernon suggests in his post What is Lost When We Learn to Write, the differences between an oral and a written culture.  It is ironic that this is reflected in a writing group in Tennant Creek, but the vestiges of an oral culture still remain.  How could there not be a noticeable difference for a culture which sang itself across the land, which survived for hundreds of thousands of years on such a dry continent, which knew where to dig for water and food.  Knew that the land was full of good bush tucker and beauty.  A beauty which the white honkies couldn't even really see for decades, their eyes filtering beauty via visions of the motherland, of the deep greens that come from a colder climate and more rain.

The more you abstract things out there - into words, into books - which I love, and am grateful for, and adore - the more you give a tiny little piece of yourself away, a piece which was yours when you were the book, and the land was the page.

There's been a conversation going on at Pilgrim's Moon about Can You Create True Community Online?  And here again, I see the same thing at work - because communicating online is also another filter.  In the comments to that post, WOL made the observations that:
No matter what kind of interactions people have, both sides are at least one “remove” from each other–Don’t we always edit and “spin” our face-to -face interactions with each other? Don’t we always have ways of re-inventing ourselves to suit our needs. If you met Dolly Partin without the wig and makeup, you’d probably never recognize her. That’s a kind of filter. — filters between ourselves and the world — I think the online community thing is the same idea, only with one more layer of reality filtering.

That old cartoon of dogs at a computer comes to mind — one tells the other, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Because you are not interacting face to face, and you don’t have that immediate feedback, because there are so many barriers between you and who you are interacting with, I think people tend to be more candid, more “up front” because they don’t have that instant visual feedback. I think the internet has a way of lowering inhibitions. People will say things on the internet they would never dream of saying in person — cyberbullying is a case in point.
This is always the challenge - learning to understand what we are ignorant of.  Those technologies and methodologies and all the other ologies which have brought us so far and made life so much easier in some ways ~ they have also filtered our perceptions, changed our paradigms, and in some ways removed us without our knowledge from the simple, beautiful earth and from each other as co-sharers and carers of that earth.  The way back involves learning how to be rooted in the earth, knowing our dependence on it, on the simple, beautiful ways, the ones that cannot be spreadsheeted.

I Love Men


Friday, 16 September 2011

After I wrote my post yesterday about the problems I have and am having dealing with negative male energy in myself and in the world, it made me wonder.  Not that there are thousands or even hundreds of people reading this blog, but I found it interesting that the two people to comment yesterday were female.

And it made me wonder whether talking about this stuff feels intimidating to men in any way.  That a man reading this would think it was a load of hullaballoo, or that I am condemning men.  That wasn't my intention, but I can see it's possible for sensitive, thoughtful men who are aware of the damage men have done in the world might possibly construe it as such.  Whereas what I am talking here is that energy in humans that is generally identified as male.  This energy is in women as well, just as female energy is in men.  Just in differing degrees.

Because men and women are different from each other, and there are no two ways about it.  Those two energies, and those two sexes, are complementary to each other.  Their coming together and intermingling creates a sum way bigger than its parts.  This seems to me to apply in a single human soul, and also out in the world, just as it does in the coming together of two people to make a new life.

So like I said, my woundings have come from males, as have many women's woundings.  But yet, that is not a condemnation of men.  I think men struggle nowadays because they do not feel permitted to really be themselves.  I think men struggle because the kinds of male role models who do it with style, instead of the slash-and-burn-rape-the-earth-fuck-everybody-else-go-to-war kind of male energy that is the negative form of the positive, are a little thin on the ground these days.  .

The Yin and the Yang


Thursday, 15 September 2011

I really do understand why it is we project our own hurts out onto the world.  As we think the world is, so it is, and while we may be thinking that we see the world objectively, is there ever really any such thing?  And does there need to be?

I have been roping in my projections over the past several years.  My problems lie, unfortunately, with males.  I don't want to and can't bring myself to speak in such a public place about my family's history, but suffice to say that the males are alpha and the females have most certainly learnt to be omega.

Perhaps that's why I read this post and tears ran down my face.  I cannot always readily recognise what I carry around within myself.  It is easier to see it when I project it out onto the world around me.  My partner is the one who most obviously receives the brunt of my projections.  I talk to him about these projections.  It is rather a delight to do once you get past the intense discomfort and outright embrassment and foolishness you feel, disclosing to someone else the sad state of your innards, disclosing the embarrassment of not being able to get past The Cast of Thousands enough to dispel some of them.

Perhaps the dispelling comes not in stopping of the ongoing projection, but in the refusal to let it stay there.  To speak of such projections to the person you are projecting them onto, who listens patiently and lets it be there, just lets it be, is perhaps the best way of all to dispel those projections.  It is certainly not the fastest way, however.

I have learnt to fear and mistrust male energy.  Like that post, male energy can be used for good or for ill.  I have taken on the ill effects, drunk them down, and archetyped them out into giant Goodyear blimps that have blocked the sun.

I wish to know what that male energy is in its pure form.  It is, after all, a part of myself.  It has laid hidden underneath the negative energy I have carried around for 30 years and more, which distorts, stops, hampers, criticises, abuses.  Which demeans the female energies, makes them cower, drains their light.

If my dreams are anything to go by, it does not need to be like this.  How to get somewhere better is another story.  An ongoing one.  A life's journey.  To do it with self-compassion is the far better way.  Helps you keep your heart open.  As within, so without.

The Cast of Thousands


Monday, 5 September 2011

It is easy to believe that the person who has just pushed front of you is only one thing.  To you right now, affronted in your car, they are easily only a bastard, only narcissistic, or only an idiot.  You have come to know yourself well enough to know that you contain A Cast of Thousands.  It is the ultimate challenge to believe that of the other person also when they behave like such turds.  Nevertheless, it must be true if you also believe something else you believe, namely, that we are all Of The Same Thing.

It is tiring that you have come here to write and you find that you are Writing About Things That Are Capitalised.  You have had the sort of morning where you feel like you are constantly forgetting that Everything Is Fine, Just Fine.  You feel like if you were to have looked into the mirror your skin would have been standing out in jagged tufts, like a cartoon cat.  And yet there is that, but also the other state, and it is faith to believe that you can walk towards one from the other.  We all do it every day and it is courage only we know about.

And so you walked from one state to see if you could see another, and sat outside in the beautiful morning sun and been silent for 30 minutes.  You watched your thoughts flit in and out, in and out, and stop occasionally like a moth stopping for a moment and resting on a leaf.  You have watched yourself do this, and reminded yourself that all is still as it always is, as you suspect it is, and even that is enough to find the spikey tufts begin sitting back down along your skin.

An annoying cast member of The Cast of Thousands always jumps up at those spikey times to begin pointing out to you what a stupid pathetic person you are for being anxious.  Some days you cower before this cast member.  Others, you talk back to it and it retreats. You have even taken sometimes to sitting down with it or one of its kind and an open Word document and asking it questions.  It talks back to you and says surprising things.

You are grateful to Plato and his Forms, and Jung and his archetypes, and Reality and her non-duality.  Indeed, you remember one of those archetypes, how it came out to make itself known in your dream.  An Anglo Aussie farmer, late 50's, weathered, beaten, his face drought-lined, came to you in your dream, naked into your bedroom except for his hat, and stuck his fingers into you and you woke yelling.  And so with the help of another one wise, you nailed him down.  You drew the dream, you did stupid embarrassing things like sit in a chair and be him, and then sit in a chair and be you and talk to him, and the nasty man morphed under your hands.  You drew clothes onto him, and then tears ran down his cheeks.  The wise lady pointed out how in your drawing you portrayed your body as one half, and he was another half, and if you cut the page in the half and turned it around, it became one body.

Some of the Cast of Thousands have particularly harsh manners of speaking.  They cow you, you flinch away from them like a dog from a harsh voice.  But they are you.  You project them out onto the bastard in front of you but they are you.  That person in the car in front of you is also, to many intents and purposes, you.

It has been proven that our bodies do not know the difference between us thinking bad negative thoughts about someone else, and thinking them about ourselves.  So it is bad enough that you have as part of your life's work learning to understand what several cast members of The Thousands want, when they speak to you so badly, learning to take their energy and turn it to better ends.  You can take their presence as licence to say awful things to yourself, to thinking the thoughts that become the reality out in your world.  Even worse to consider that when you do it to other people outside of your own body, who have pushed in front of your car, that it is as if you are doing it to yourself.

But of course there are many beautiful members of The Cast of Thousands that sweep in like a summer night breeze and take your breath away.  They are wise beyond all of our years, they are beautiful beyond description.  They are young and old, male and female, all pieces of you made symbols so that you have something to work with, so they don't slip through your hands like water.  Some of the Cast of Thousands enjoy singing songs on your own personal radio station - 666 Radio Susie on the FM dial.  Sometimes phrases come out of nowhere.  One came the other day as if on a breeze with a phrase you had not thought of for some time:

"Do not despise the day of small beginnings," it said.

Such a beautiful phrase.  A delightful doorway.