Dividing for Unity


Tuesday 22 January 2013

The time has come for Australia Day to divide itself, in the name of unity, into two.

It sounds paradoxical, but stick with me.

Surely the day when we celebrate ourselves as a nation should fall on any day other than the one when Captain Arthur Phillip first stuck an English flag into Sydney Cove soil and claimed it for Mother England. That day began the process of the British Empire usurping nation upon nation of people from their homeland.

To celebrate on the day when indigenous people mourn, when there are 364 others we could choose, is seeming stranger with every passing year. It sticks the boot once more into those indigenous descendents who are still suffering the effects of that invasion (225 years is really not so long a time when it comes to the grief and trauma of genocide).

It’s time to change it.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating the good fortune of your country. There is nothing wrong with feeling gratitude for the beautiful things about your life, the beautiful land you live on (just as long as you don't get paranoid about it, start sweating about the Other coming to take it away from you). But there is also nothing wrong with marking the evil of the past, and remembering the things about your country which will be left out of glossed-up news reports. To ignore the things that make us flinch about our past stops us healing from them. Flinching from the evils of the past makes it harder to see how far we have come.

Consider the changes that occurred in the years between the 150th and this year's 225th anniversaries of Australia's "founding". In 1938 a standard part of Australia Day celebrations were to re-enact Captain Phillips’ landing, including driving off a token group of Aboriginal people. In 1938, the people who were to play the part of those Aboriginal people in the re-enactment were brought there against their will to do so. Indigenous Australian activists refused to participate, calling it instead the Day of Mourning.

By 1988, 50 years later, those re-enactments had been discontinued. In 1992 the first Survival Day concert was held in Sydney. Many indigenous people call the day Survival Day, to note and honour the culture that still survives after Empire attempts to kill it outright. Since then, the focus on Survival Day has grown until now there are Survival Day commemorations in many Australian cities.

Now it is 2013, the 75th anniversary of that first Day of Mourning in 1938 and some non-indigenous Australians are now choosing to mark the day by siding with their indigenous brothers and sisters as a mark of solidarity. Most capital cities have something going on – in Darwin, a Survival Day Movie. In Melbourne, Share the Spirit, Belgrave Survival Day and Frankston Foreshore Survival Day. In Sydney, Yabun and on the mid-north coast of NSW, Saltwater Freshwater. In Perth, Survival Perth. In Adelaide, Tandanya.

It’s time to seriously think about moving Australia Day to another day. Perhaps it could be held on 22 December, the day of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, to celebrate what so many Australians enjoy about living here. Or perhaps it could be at the other end, at the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, where people have traditionally celebrated the beginning of the return of the sun. A winter's celebration full of good food and warmth and gratitude and anticipation. A public holiday to brighten the soul at the beginning of winter. Or perhaps it could be on the first day of the Australian Open, to celebrate our national obsession with sport. Those are a few things to come to mind and they're all maybe a little cliched. But any of them would be a more fitting way to celebrate ourselves as a country than the current version.

Fluffy Cloud Dreaming


Thursday 17 January 2013

Some say the white hats infiltrate every level of government and are in the process of bringing the current ruling elite down.  The small ruling dynasty of Rothschilds et al that hide in the dark like cockroaches, pulling the strings that make us dance.

Some say that whole thing is about to topple down, and when it does, the rights and responsibilities of people will get to shine.  They say that the trillions of dollars the sucklords have funnelled will be transferred to every person on earth.  Every person on earth a billionaire.  For a fresh start.

Well, if you're gonna daydream, may as make it massive.  It's fun to daydream.  Makes you smell things you don't normally smell.  Gives you an understanding of how things smell now.  Breaks you out of seeing the everyday and slings a new light on it.

So what would you do, if suddenly everybody in the world was a billionaire? 

What a trip.  Imagine.  All of a sudden you're rich.  All of a sudden everyone is rich.  No one needing to be bought anymore.  No more Sales departments finding another way to coerce more dollars out of people to serve the bottom line.  No more people doing demeaning jobs they hate.

Imagine what the world would look like if suddenly every person was not needing to feed that bank account anymore to pay the rent, the mortgage, the outgoings.  To make do.  To scrape by.  To scrabble from being sucked under.  To die from preventable diseases.  Imagine.  Every person in the world a billionaire.  Every writer working on what they love most rather than what will pay them the most.

Everything would flourish.  Everybody would look different because suddenly you're realising that that person you thought you knew really well actually wants to spend some of their days gardening.  Has always wanted to do that, but it's got stuck under all the ratracing.

There would be festivalling and rejoicing and holidaying.  The world would turn upside down where people passionate about what they are doing are doing what they are passionate about.
And yet, there would be some problems.  What about all the jobs that people don't want to do anyway?  Who would do those?  Automated robots?  People volunteering an hour a week?

Of course, the reason why people don't want to do some jobs now is because of the pittance they pay.  If no one needed to earn money to the same extent we do now, some people would naturally gravitate to what are considered low-paying jobs now.  Because more people would be doing work gratis.  Everything would change.

But then there are some jobs that nobody wants to do.  Who would work in an abattoir if they didn't have to?  Who would clean toilets?  I would imagine, in this daydream scenario, that many more people would be having to clean their own toilets.  Some current billionaires sure wouldn't be happy about that.

So, that scenario is what some people say.  And, well, who can say?  Stranger things have happened.  Nothing is too strange to happen in a world that is running on the bizarre, insane, and patently ludicrous system we currently have. 
It's a beautiful daydream.  One that, if it ever comes to pass, or something like it, will make us look back in horror at how completely enslaved we were by a bunch of smoke and mirrors.  At how many people were complicit in it, without giving it a second thought.  At how easily we were able to be completely co-opted out of our freedom and out of our light by suggestion and socialising.

That would be the best hindsight view ever.  Unshackled.

Waiting for the Quadrandtids by Eneas (CC)

The Aim


Tuesday 15 January 2013

When Gandhi was assassinated at pointblank range, he put his palms together [over his heart in the prayer position] toward his attacker, uttered his mantra, and died.  Years of meditation and yoga practice, guided by his beloved Bhagavad Gita, had brought him to the point where he was able to bring the perspective of non-attachment to everything he was engaged in, including his very life.  It allowed him to choose the attitude he would take in that very moment he was being robbed of life.  He didn't die angry or even surprised.  He had known his life was in constant danger.  But he had trained himself to march to the drumbeat of his own growing vision of what constituted wise action.  He had come to a point where he truly embodied compassion.  He lived an unwavering commitment to both political and spiritual freedom.  His personal well-being was of limited value in comparison.  He was always putting it on the line.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go There You Are

Ahh, I am so far from this, my name could well be Ihdnag. 

We couldn't all be cowboys.  Some of us are clowns. But I guess even clowns, somehow, in the midst of tangling with their own personal Satan, can find a long second to climb onto the observation ledge for a moment and get high enough, to the space where even evil is God's grace, as Simone Weil would say (see, Sarah, I've been reading a little).  Rolling around in your own wormness removes any threat of hubris (though some other antidote to self-pity seems to be required).

After all, in the times where I don't feel like I'm in hell, I feel like I can see forever, reach out and touch nirvana.  I guess that balances things out. 

"Google the Autofill" - Writers Edition

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Monday 14 January 2013

I got to thinking about writers the other day while I was writing my post about the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2013.  I decided to play "Google the Autofill" (a game Amanda Palmer has been unable to resist playing lately, to her own initial personal chagrin).

You know how Google works - you type into it the beginning of a sentence and it autofills what it thinks you are most likely to be wanting to know, based on the amount of times other people have searched that particular phrase?

When you Google "Writers are ..." you get the following:

Forgetful (tick)
Crazy (tick)
Weird (tick)
Lazy (more fatigued than lazy really, in my case)
Engineers of the soul (I don't know what that is, but it sounds edifying to my intellectual ego)
The New Rockstars (bring it on, just minus the coke and the on-the-street recognition)
Insecure (tick)
Born Not Made (that hoary old chestnut)
Poor (damn fucking right)
The Conscience of the World (that does have a nice romantic ring about it.  I guess some writers are, except for those who write essays and memoir and who are apparently, narcissistic freaks.  Or is that only if they do it badly?)

It's sorta spooky, how forgetful and crazy are the first things that come up.  It's actually heartening, really.  I don't feel quite so alone :)

Australian Women Writers Challenge


Saturday 12 January 2013

I have signed up this year for the Australian Women Writers Challenge.  The challenge is to commit to reading - and preferably reviewing - a certain amount of Australian women writers over the year.  Elizabeth Luedge began the challenge last year in response to the fact that male writers are more likely to be reviewed than female writers around the world, including this country.

And so here is the mixed bag of books I am planning on reading and reviewing for the year (mostly adult fiction, but also some YA, children's, fantasy and non-fiction):

  • Anna Funder - All That I Am
  • Helen Garner - The Children's Bach (a reread, seeing last time I read it I was chronically fatigued and now, years later, my memory is so bad that I can't even remember it)
  • Margo Lanagan - Sea Hearts
  • Geraldine Brooks - People of the Book
  • MJ Hyland - How the Light Gets In
  • Leanne Hall - This is Shyness
  • Alice Pung - Her Father's Daughter
  • Chardi Christian - The Selkie and the Fisherman
  • Enza Gandolfo - Swimming
  • Elizabeth Harrower - The Watch Tower
  • Simmone Howell - Notes from the Teenage Underground
  • Kylie Ladd - After the Fall
  • Favel Parrett - Past the Shallows
  • Ananda Braxton-Smith - Tantony

Lists can be deceiving, can't they.  You would think by looking at mine that I'm a connoisseur of Australian women's writers.  The reality is that I don't recognise many of these writers' names, let alone would know whether they are Australian.  I certainly wouldn't know any of them if I accidentally fell over them in the street.  (Well, except for Helen Garner, of course, and I would, like, totally, like, be so embarrassed if I fell on Helen Garner in the street 'cause, like, I would squeal a lot.  And I would probably recognise Ananda Braxton-Smith, because I went to uni with her back in the late '90s.  But it was a while ago now, and I have such a bad memory that maybe I wouldn't recognise her either).

So while I'm a bit self-conscious about my measly ability to be able to name Australian women writers, I am very happy that when I consulted my ongoing and regularly updated Books to Read list that there happened to be so many Aussie women writers on there.

Mid-Month New Year's Words and Intentions


Friday 11 January 2013

I do not subscribe to New Year's resolutions.  They have this ring of built-in perfectionism around them that says that your execution of resolved new habit must be on time, first time, every time, all the time.  Perfectly executed.

What a ridiculous way to start a year.  Especially for a perfectionist.  No thanks!

It seems intentions are the new resolutions in many people's books.  Intentions give an indication that you are pointing in a particular direction but allow for sideways twists and ankle sprains and real life.  Intentions are much softer, less ego-bound.

My intention this year is kindness.  Especially, kindness in the midst of suffering.  A friend of mine, a practising Buddhist, is my guru in this area.  Regardless of what is happening, despite mishaps and bad days and mini meltdowns, she manages to find the peace ledge to sit and watch the swirling waves from.  It is the most admirable of traits, one earned by discipline.

And so my kindness intention is especially for those times when I am feeling bad.  There are a collection of swirly compactions that live around the space of feeling bad.  It's not that I intentionally take out my feeling bad on other people.  It's more that the Gaping Void moans in and takes over and everything is horrible.  The Gaping Void, however, has a few little minor issues with knowing when to stop eating, however.  Poor old Gaping Void.  All you can do, really, is give him a hug.

The kindness intention radiates inwards while it radiates outwards. 

For the past few years to mark a new calendar year I have also chosen a word that calls to me somehow, that encompasses what I hope for for the next year.  I love this approach.  It is suitably vague enough that my mysterious innards are able to surprise my mind with twists and turns with it over the space of a year.  Like a jigsaw puzzle that some of me knows about and the rest of me doesn't.

What I really wanted to do was to attach my word to a piece of crafting in some way.  Like the collage that The Pollinatrix made for her word for the year, for example, or the way Kel creates a visual journal around her word for the year.  But I haven't quite got there yet, and it's already almost the middle of the month.

But anyway, despite that, my word for this next year is transmute.

Transmute.  It feels rather less romantic a word than its stablemate, transform, and when it first came to me I wasn't quite sure if I was happy with my choice, even though it had that bubbly sort of resonance that is always a good indicator of stickability.  But then I ran across it in two separate pieces of writing I read over subsequent days, and so synchronicity sticks it to me. 

And anyway, I love the alchemical allusions of the word.  The Collins English Dictionary listing at The Free Dictionary defines transmute as: 
1. to change the form, character, or substance of
2. (Chemistry / Alchemy) to alter (an element, metal, etc.) by alchemy.


How about you?  Anything you do to mark the passing of one calendar year into another?

Ted Chiang's "Alchemist's Gate" by Hidenori Watanave



Friday 4 January 2013

Earworms - they're those frequently irritating songs that get stuck in your head and won't leave.  Almost always daggy, and songs which I barely know so that it's often just the same bit going on and on in my head.  I suffer from this malady a lot

It's been said that the only way to dislodge an earworm is to consciously replace it with another song, and I believe that that is so.  666 Radio Susie's methods of dislodgment however tend to be to offer up an alternative which then becomes the next earworm. 

Because I am generous, and because you may have well forgotten this beautiful gem of a song, which was a  hit in the year that I was five going on six and the Dunder Cheep was my friend, I offer you the beautiful Una Paloma Blanco (White Dove).  I'm sure it was on high rotation on 3MP. 

Astrological and Energetic Predictions for 2013


Thursday 3 January 2013

Happy New Year and welcome to the new unfolding on earth of cheer, peace, goodwill towards all that has begun, though we cannot yet see it on the physical plane.  This is exactly what 2013 is going to be about - an unfolding, like silk, of new possibilities, new connections.  The old is crumbling.

As the smorb has conjuncted with the satellite of Knos from the end of December and peaking today, it is a prime time for synchronicity.  Keep your eyes and your ears out and hear what the universe has to say.  We are growing more and more on an energetic level towards the love and harmony many of us have dreamed of, and even despaired of, understanding how ridiculous a proposition it has seemed in the light of the reign of the Dark Ones.

Jupiter entered the 21st Glob back in on 21 December 2012 (a date which, coincidentally, the world was never prophesied to end, though the media delighted in trying to use it as one more means of enfearing the people so they drown in their own anxieties).  Just after the 21st Glob, many of you would have come across a deep and mysterious chunk of cheese and a man wearing polyester earrings. The meaning of this cheese will haunt you all the way through 2013 - but in a good way, but in a beautiful haunting leading to small awakenings that will integrate many of the aspects of your shadow personality you have been working so hard to reclaim over the past few years. 

In September, when the gorms reach the sequidistant clap and purgulate the smotty poon, all of the hard lessons from 2010 through to 2012 will coalesce, via amazing synchronicities and beauty you can not now see is even possible, into wisdom, and you will understand the deep meaning of the cheese, the earrings, the man, and your own reason for being on this earth.

It is truly a time for the beginnings of personal as well as global unity and harmony. 

* You know, though it might appear to the contrary, I actually don't sneer at energetic or astrological predictions and readings.  I regularly have some of I keep up with in my feedreader.  I think, like so many things, there are elements of truth hidden in amongst a great deal of falsehood, and it's for Psyche to pick through the seeds and sort the cumin from the sesame.  However, despite that, and also because it is 1am, and I am too intense too often and need to lighten the fuck up, this post was really fun to write :)



Wednesday 2 January 2013

Possibilities, if they were to behave in a verifiably predictable manner, would surely bubble.  What else are possibilities going to do except bubble?  Unless they're a more languid sort of possibility.  I imagine that the longer-held ones, tempered with time and doubt but then boosted with more bubbles, would change consistency.  They would become more floaty, sometimes almost completely still, trailing their hands in the breeze :)

I am reminding myself of the possibilities this morning, the day of my return to work after the Christmas/New Year break.  Granted, a return not to the gruelling physicality of an eight-year-old working a 12-hour shift down the mines.  My work situation is a trial in other ways.  I work from home providing transcription and secretarial services.  It bores me beyond tears, but there are freedoms to my current situation that I so appreciate.  I can climb out of bed at 9 and still be at work on time.  That's if I decide work is going to start at 9.  Some days it's a much better plan to write for an hour before getting down to work.  Some days, when energy is low, work time starts after lunch.

Working from home is the perfect scenario while you're sorting out your health.  I have had chronic health issues for 13 years, but am now excitingly closer to having the pieces to the health puzzle sorted than ever before.  I really value the flexibility and space in my working day.  But there's not a whole lot of soul.  Really, it's boring as batshit and I am chronically understimulated.  And so that's why today, as I feel the chafing of the admittedly free and part-time tie tightening around my neck, I am thinking of possibilities for change.  New possible work directions that make me bubble on the inside.

A decent baseline level of health is important when it comes to being able to step into your possibilities.  And I'm not there yet.  Sometimes I don't realise how restrictive health issues are until I get a bigger burst of energy, and then I see the world open up, and consider how many things I could do in one day.  And then, sadly, the bubble pops and the days snap back into a smaller place like a piece of giant elastic.  That's what happened this last week.  The day after Christmas we went for a bike ride, and then the next day I went for a two-hour walk, and the day after did some yoga.  It felt so nice to do those things and have a bit of leftover energy for other things as well.  The days opened up.

But then the day after that, my energy levels dropped, and all I felt like doing was sitting outside on the decking with a giant pile of books and the umbrella up, reading away the hours.  Which was lovely and delicious in itself, obviously.  And I soooo enjoyed it.  But it wasn't freely chosen.  I have so many pent-up bike rides in me, but yet again the window, at least for that day, was closed and the curtains drawn.

Something goes on in my body to make it more fatigued after anaerobic exercise.  It's a longstanding question, a big piece in the puzzle to sort out.

After reading about the experiences of one of the wonderful peeps on the Pyroluria page on Facebook, I've begun to suspect maybe ammonia overload is the problem.  Yeah, ammonia.  Slightly unpleasant smell on your floor or in your toilet, but sometimes after I have exercised, or when I'm having a sauna, I can smell it in my nose.  Which is sorta creepy.  My poor body, along with all of the other shit it's accumulated over the years, seems to have issues getting rid of the stuff, and takes the opportunity when some anaerobic activity comes along to dump it, and that causes my energy levels to drop a few days later.

I need to do more research into exactly what happens in this situation, but I feel like I've maybe hit upon a reason to the problem.  It makes me very grateful that I bought my sauna all those months ago to help my poor ole body;  it is proving invaluable.  As is the advice and experience of those on the Facebook group.  From the wisdom shared there I have now begun a protocol of taking activated charcoal tablets a couple of days out of each week, which help mop up the ammonia. 

Charcoal.  Burnt wood.  I mean, is there any end to the life-givingness of trees?  Even when they're dead, and burnt to a crisp, they're sexing it up.  Trees, I bow down to you with my hat doffed low.

Where was I?  Possibilities.  I have bubbly hope that improvements on the health front this year mean more space for bubbly possibilities.  Work possibilities.  Finding a niche or two.  Having some of those elusive spaces come close enough for me to actually touch them.  I'm feeling inspired by the example of others - like The Pollinatrix, who has come via spine bubblings of synchronicity into a fascinating niche of her own.  I'm feeling inspired by the different ways people find to do things which shake up the situation and bring freedom where there wasn't before.  One small example of that is these people, who run guided tours.  There are two options - take the tour for free, if you so wish, or pay what you think the tour was worth if you want to pay.

I love that idea of "pay what it's worth".  It throws out compulsion and opens up the possibility of generosity.  I suspect that many people, in that situation, would find generosity welling up into that space and would end up paying close to what they would have paid if there had been a set amount to begin with.  But freely given.