~ The Art Of Change ~ with Carol Omer ~

Art and Creativity as Mediums for Empowerment , Connection and Change…

The Women’s Village

Posted by carolom on December 6, 2017

Domestic Violence Shelters:

In the following conversation I discuss the role of the Women’s Village and why Domestic Violence Shelters are more than just a place of temporary refuge for women and children in crisis.

Here is the link:

 The Women’s Village is so much more than a Shelter

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Lest We forget

Posted by carolom on November 11, 2017

My Grandad John Chapman.

Killed in the second world war.
A working class man sent to a war that wealthy men start.
A broken crumpled photo.
A grieving widow.
An only child growing up in a home where the war broke my Nanas heart.
An only child denied her Fathers love, living on her own in a house of silence where her war-widow Mother worked full time, standing on her feet all day, never discussing what happened.Finding relief in hours of silence when her working day was finished.

A solitary child in awe with the world of books and paintings, art and story.
A little note she kept in her purse all of her life “To Maugny with all my Love Daddy”.
Watching an old 1940’s movie one day with a scene of young men climbing into an army truck to head to the battlefield I saw my Grandfather for the first time, represented by those vibrant, alive, energetic young men who were being sent to battle.
It is the only time I have cried for my Grandad.
I have no memories to miss.
War took care of that.

My Grandad never came home from the war and for many years I couldn’t understand my Nana’s strange and difficult ways or why my Mother jumped at loud noises and preferred to be on her own rather than in company.
I didn’t understand the contentious relationship my Mother and her Mother had but now I know that the pain and war-trauma they both experienced turned into resentment and depression and divided them into two troubled women.

Mum staying connected to her Creativity was the biggest blessing in a very sad story.
We all learnt to hold it in.
A week before she died unexpectedly my Nana said to me, “I never really got over your Grandad being killed you know”. She was in her 80’s and had never shared her pain before. It was like meeting her for the first time and then she was gone.
Now I fully understand the devastating impact that war has had on my family and how being born into a city that was the most bombed city outside of London has reverberated down the generations.
For my Grandad Private John Chapman.

The working class man who wanted to have lots of children and who doted on his beloved Maugny for the short time they were together.
Lest we Forget.

 

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The Royal Adelaide Hospital – Renewal, Rejuvenation and Originality…

Posted by carolom on November 7, 2017

This is the hospital where my beloved Mother died.

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I was a cleaner  at this hospital in the early 80s and walked hundreds of kilometres down these corridors, wielding mops and brooms, chemical soaked cloths and bottles of disinfectant that cover every surface with mists you can’t see.

I used to mop towards interesting conversations and whispered politics because the green uniform of the hospital cleaner is like a cloak of invisibility in the fast paced, hierarchy of the world of medicine.
I learnt to drive the big industrial polishers by inadvertently slamming it against the wall whilst my wrists developed the muscles to hold it in place when the power surge brought it to life in a dramatic way. The metaphor does not escape me.
On February 7th 2015, 30 years after putting down my broom and walking out the ”Domestic” exit for the last time, I drove through the carpark gates at 6:30 in the morning after a life changing call from the hospital. I drove in knowing that this was the day my life will change for ever.

This was the day Mum was going to die.

My old familiar workplace felt as foreign to me as the prospect of living in the world without her. In some ways I feel like my car is still in the carpark.

We have a brand-new state-of-the-art hospital in the city and this old Royal Adelaide hospital site is undergoing renewal!

D553F774-0CB7-4028-B0CF-F823F7C0D753Those who knew my quirky, complex creative Mother know that colour and creativity were oxygen to her soul, so imagine my delight walking along North Terrace yesterday to see the grey buildings where she took her last breath, are encased in the very promise of possibilities and creativity that brought Mums imagination alive.

Maureen Omer, nee Chapman, was a voracious science-fiction reader for decades which meant she lived in the realm of new possibilities, realities and concepts that have never been seen before when all around the world told her a very different story than the one she lived in her imagination.

 

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“The sci-fi writers are the prophets” Mum used to say.

How fabulous that the piece of land where Maureen drew the breath that we inhaled as she exhaled for the very last time, will be reincarnated as a vibrant. colourful landscape in the middle of our beautiful city!

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Drama Detox Unit open for Business…

Posted by carolom on October 19, 2017

DRAMA DE-TOX UNIT

A Cautionary Tale Dedicated to the recovering Dramaholic in all of us….well many of us. This is a fictionally true transcript from Dramaholics Anonymous, held at a venue ~ and a venyou ~ nearby.

*******

Trouble ~ “Hi my name is Trouble and I am a Dramaholic.

Person A ~ Hi Trouble”
Person B ~  “Welcome Trouble”
Person C ~ Just nods head slightly…doesn’t like to welcome Trouble anymore

Group Leader: “Welcome Trouble. It is so good you have decided to come along and we’d appreciate it if you would tell us a bit about yourself”

Trouble: “Well I was born into Trouble. My mama was a Drama Queen and my daddy was nowhere to be seen.
Mama modelled Drama to us kids very well.

She taught us to always pick the wrong kind of guy, make sure there was lots of chaos in our life before getting rid of him and then go out and find another one and get on with the whole dang thing again!. Now I look for trouble and draaama everywhere and in everything people say and do. And I sure am good at finding it!

Person A~ Praise the Lord I think we had the same mama
Person B~ Heavens above…I think I might be your mama
Person C~ silence….no longer even looks Trouble in the eye…

Group Leader:  “So what has made you decide to come to Dramaholics Anon and apply to stay in the Draaaama Detox Unit Trouble?”

Trouble:    “Well there I was in the midst of wagging my finger at yet another person who seemed to just want to make my life more complicated..my latest boyfriend who proved to be just like the last three …and all of a sudden I looked up and saw my mama standing there in front of me”

Group Leader:   “Why was this a problem”?

Trouble:   “Well she has been dead for ten years but I tell you when I looked up in that bathroom mirror and saw my mamas familiar weary face and angry brow and recognised that disappointed look in her eye, barely concealing those unshed tears…….I KNEW I was in big Trouble!
I stood there looking in the mirror and remembered all the times I had fleshed out arguments in my life.
How many times I found myself bickering with people cause they were so wrong and I was so right and I KNEW I needed to make them see my point of view. How many times  I tore peoples words apart so I could find the perfect one to be offended by…too many times to count over the years!

After all the Trouble in me had a very strong calling to point out to others their failings and how to correct their words and behaviors so they would be just like me.
Then I remembered how many times I would get to a peaceful place and it felt REALLLL uncomfortable so I would start looking around and find someone to make a bit of Trouble with or criticise someone near to me for letting me down or not acting how I thought they should be acting!

Group Leader:  “Well Trouble..you have come to the right place and the first thing we would like to do, after the big group hug , is give you a new name. So from now on we will all know you as:

“GrownUp”!

”We reckon you have had enough Trouble for one life time and with your new insight, because you have finally seen that you have been creating this Drama in your life for too long now, you earn your Brand New name…

Grown Up~ formerly known as Trouble (blinking modest tears of appreciation and realistion how lonely she had been for so long whilst she was Trouble):    “Well thankyou SO much for that. I am amazed that I only had to come here to Dramaholics once to finally really get the message that when I let go of looking for and creating Trouble then I really truly am all Grown Up!…

Group Leader:   Well the realisation is just the first step Grown up, that old draaaama addiction will still have a hold at times but at least you now have an understanding of your role in these things…

The End.

…and The BEginning of Trouble beginning to finally realise that we usually find what we are looking for and the wisdom of making sure we are looking to make a positive difference in the world rather than add to the tsunami of drama, gossip, irrelevant ‘news’ and media-machinations currently consuming the planet and the consciousness of its inhabitants with its currents of draaaama….

“Men occasionally stumble across the Truth but most pick themself up and hurry off as if nothing has happened”.

“The Magical Child in Exile – Why Does the Creative Well Being Run Dry? ” is related to the “Drama Detox unit” and can be read by clicking on the dots here…………

Posted in Chaos, Creativity, Drama, Energy, Humor, Imagination, Laughter, law of attraction, Lifes Stories, Mind Power, Women | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

The Magical Child in Exile. Why does the Creative Well-being run dry?

Posted by carolom on June 21, 2017

Every child is born an artist, the problem is how to remain one. Pablo Picasso

 

Creativity is Oxygen

The Magical Child in Exile is a dramatised story written for people who have yet to reclaim their creative Magical Child in order to experience the mental, emotional and spiritual well being of the naturally free flowing creative state.

While the story makes sweeping statements about  the competitive education system for the purpose of dramatising the impact of how we can lose  connection to our innately creative state, I would  like  to acknowledge the wise, creative, fun loving  teachers who recognise that creativity should not be left behind in the eclectic  gallery of  kindergarten and  continue to value it as an important component of the learning process. These teachers  are the gate keepers for the Artists Soul.

Where does the unlimited imagination, the energy creativity and passion of childhood go? We start out at the kindergarten level oblivious to skin colour, cultural differences and economic status, yet have created a society that has so many divisions and ‘isms’.

As a maturing society we are face racism, sexism, agism and the complex needs of  people who are isolated, mentally unwell and disconnected from their fellow human beings. In the journey from kindergarten to adolescence and adulthood many people have learnt to believe in the differences that set us apart rather than celebrate and engage with the broad range of differences from within the sameness of our shared humanity.

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Why does gossip and drama preoccupy so many people  these day and why do tabloids and celebrity gossip have such a strong hold that feeds social media and popular culture?

I think it began in a land far and near in  times as long ago as yesterday and  today…

The Magical Child in Exile

Once upon a time there was a Magical Child who loved to draw and dance and sing and paint and laugh and play. Some days the Magical Child just twirled and swirled in circles for the sheer pleasure of it all.

The Magical Child even had an invisible friend and all the grown ups thought that was very cute, just as cute as when the Magical Child played ‘make believe’ and “I can do and be any thing”.When the Magical Child was sad, tears flowed. When the Magical Child was happy, laughter cascaded.

When the Magical Child was angry there were big yells and sometimes a full-body splat onto the ground as the tsunami of outrage and disappointment is just too much for a  little person to contain. However as soon as the moment was processed the discordant energy left their body leaving the cells free to breathe and grow and remain in their healthy natural state.

But by and bye-bye something happened one day!

The Magical Child was in the midst of telling one of the grown up’s about a funny little make believe story when the grown up said, stop being silly! You can’t keep pretending like that! You are a big girl now! 

They had said the same thing to her brother not so long ago. You are a big boy now. Stop crying. You’re not a baby! STOP IT.”

The Magical Child was shocked and her shock was accompanied by an unpleasant feeling inside of her tummy that took a long time to go away. It was a shaming,  conforming moment. A matter of fact moment that began to alter the course of the Magical Childs life forever.

A shaming moment that would seep into the recesses of the subconscious mind and like a noxious weed, eventually choke the fertile magic-making  soil as surely as if a nuclear land scape  had been dropped in the new’clear landscape of the Childs mind.

And so it began. The artist, the story teller, the dancer , the scribe, the prophet , the mystic all living and breathing through the imagination  – the I’magi’nation-  of the Magical Child was told to stop!   Be quiet!  Don’t dance on there you’ll fall!   Sit down.   Don’t be silly.   Stop fidgeting.  Stop asking so many questions!   STOP!

On and on the commands continued. All the way through school where the Magical Child was now only permitted to create only between 10 am and 11 am (art lesson), to tell stories between 2 and 3 on Tuesdays. (English lesson). Creating whilst remaining as motionless as humanly impossible.  Stop fidgeting! Stop day dreaming! Pay attention! A’tension indeed!

Facing the front board, often bored inside of a square box   they called a room, a box  where whirling, twirling, playfulness no longer came through the door,  banned from ever mentioning invisible friends lest you invite the horrors of medication and mislabeling before you have even learnt how to tie your shoes up properly, the Magical Children sought to become what was expected of them and learn about things beyond their Magical, creative realm.

The Magical Child quickly learnt not to show sadness, anger or confusion and to repress inappropriate eruptions of joy, fear or insecurity in the class room.

Of course eventually the Magical Child stopped completely. Making sure instead to h~o~l~d~It~In!! Sit Still! Eyes to the front…STOP whispering, laughing, talking. Stop. Stop. Stop.

A kind of who-I-Am-amnesia set in.

Forgetting about the art, the magic, the songs, the dances and the stories and instead replaced those Magical currents with learning the things that the teacher insisted was important to their current learning, competing with the other lost Magical Children in the sports yard, in the academic arena and eventually in the work place. If they were able to still function that is.
Magical Children are resilient and they are able to forget if it means freedom from the shaming, the naming, the labeling and the ire of the grown ups but some succumbed to their true self in spite of the challenges and sometimes became known as disruptive, troubled learner, withdrawn , different and uncooperative and  other such names that reveal an inability to conform to the lost-Magic around them.

So was born the latest generation of leaders, lost Magical Children, who will perpetuate the lost-magic and creativity of the system. A system saturated with lost Magical Children, living unreal lives, not even realising – real’eyesing – that who they have become is not who they were meant to be.

Not. who. they. were. meant. to. be.

Many of the Magical Children, now groan-ups themselves are still h-o-l-d-i-n-g—i-t—-i-n. It is not surprising many of the once-magical-minds of the grown up’s  became choked with the weeds of mental illness, alcoholism, drug dependency, neurosis, psychosis, anger, depression, boredom and frustration, competition and back biting and preoccupation with celebrity lives and drama!

Magical Children are full of pure, free flowing creative energy and energy can not be destroyed, it simply transforms, turning toxic, creating tragic from the magic.

Millions of grown up’s are lost Magical Children in varying degrees of exile though a few do escape and return to their natural state I hear. Perhaps this is  why a nation can be preoccupied reality television and obsessed with the lives of the stars! The gods and goddesses of magic and creativity who not only stayed connected to make believe and pretend but are richly rewarded for doing so. They delight audiences who sit still in their chairs, immersed in intrigue and adoration, seeing the world of possibility in the magic-mirror of television.

No longer creating and producing their own stories and art and dance, the need for fantasy and magic nevertheless remains ever strong. Indeed when Magical Children in exile see others leading a “magical life” something within their own self may yearn to return to that place of Magic, creativity and infinite potential for love and connection.

How many people are sighing their day away, feeling that something is missing not realising that ‘Something’ is their free flowing creative Self. It even has been names the mid life crisis  and the seven year itch and finding meaning and purpose in life. Like the kind of meaning and purpose we knew as creative children I guess

Sadly though the lost story teller may now be churning out reams of tragic rather than experiencing that once familiar creative magic. Workplace gossip, chaos and unhappy relationships, forever telling wounded story teller tales to friends and family, occasionally plummeting into the deepest chasms of depression and despair, overwhelmed by the tragedy of an uninspired life.

Depression is on the rise in the western world and there must be a reason why.

I know a lost artist who now  obsessively cleans a clean house and a former magical child inventor who  weeds a weed less garden seeking to create something of note in their world, processing those ever-flowing creative energies towards their small boxed in life.

If it is true that in order to experience heaven one must become like a little child then it might well be that the Magical Children who are no-longer-in-exile, those who have recovered from the amnesia and remembered who I Am, will be the ones to remind us  how to begin the wonderful journey back to our authentic, creative  self and to reclaim what was always within.

After all the word reclaim is simply the word miracle in anagram disguise!

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http://www.CarolOmer.com

Posted in Art, Childhood, Creativity, Lifes Stories, Magic, Oneness, Peace, Spirituality, The Art of Change, The Big Girls Little Colouring Book, The Magical Child in Exile | 28 Comments »

The ART of Change. A Domestic Violence Shelter Memoir

Posted by carolom on April 18, 2017

*This is my unedited memoir in progress. I welcome your feedback and comment as I develop my work in progress.
Thank you for taking time to read my story about working in  women’s domestic violence and homeless shelters over the last 20 years and thank you for your patience with the unedited nature of the following story.

 

The ART of Change
A Domestic Violence Shelter Memoir

by Carol Omer

Chapter 1.

The Women’s Village

For many years I worked in homeless shelters and domestic violence refuges amongst complex women leading challenging lives. And that was just the staff.

That’s an old joke I used to bring out at staff meetings occasionally to remind us that although we were the shelter workers, we were not exempt from life’s dramas and difficulties. Our agency was a supported accommodation and advocacy service for homeless young women under 25, with children. It was referred to amongst the residents  as a shelter for single mums.

Many were teenage mothers dealing with issues of poverty and family trauma. We didn’t always have the answers to every problem that presented itself amongst the homeless women who came to live at the shelter for a short time but we were dedicated to our philosophy of walking with the young women in the early days of  their journey of young motherhood.

A women’s shelter is a complex, compassionate and challenging environment. There were times when staff members attributed issues amongst the women in residence as a reflection of the dynamics of that current group not realising that sometimes the discord and lack of co-operation were a mirror of our own .

As a staff team we were continuously working through complex issues of compatibility and conflict amongst our team  of ten women sharing a relatively small space day in and day out. Spending a significant part of our week days in a compact setting  required us all to take ownership of how our personal style impacted the collective and it  was an on going conversation that sometimes carried high emotion when contradictory values clashed.
We had the privilege of addressing difficulties within the context of   team development and staff training but for the women who came to live at the shelter their issues were not always identified as related to living with seven other women in a highly prescriptive shelter setting whilst under the watchful eye of a team of older women as contributing to   her stress.

Workplaces are a microcosm of human interactions and work place politics, staff alliances and staff differences, personality types and personality clashes play out on a daily basis. I think of workplace teams as a kind of arranged marriage, some of the relationships have a high success rate where others require constant attention and maintenance in order to maintain harmony and an agreement about how power and responsibility are distributed.

Identity, self worth, acceptance, overcoming negative patterns and developing new ways of thinking to overcome old beliefs and narrow perceptions are the challenges we all face in life. The women who came to live at the shelter were living an amplified version of these challenges because of the impact of domestic violence, surviving sexual abuse and poverty. At any given time there would be 20 women living behind the secure gates of the shelter and equally as many children. It was an unpredictable, sometimes volatile and endlessly inspiring setting taught me a great deal about the resilience of women during times of distress and heartache.
Human services are no different than any other institution, that creates highly contained settings where the very best and the most challenging aspects of human nature are played out. Skilled, flexible women with compassionate hearts managed our shelter and they encouraged a culture of self-reflection and team development. Like all of us, they were on their journey of life and together we created new projects and programs, some that failed and many that were successful. Accountability for choices and behaviors was as relevant for the women who worked there as it was for the women who came to live there.

The teenagers and young women who came to the shelter were marginalised and troubled young people. Some struggled with mental health issues and all were affected by trauma and grief. They often arrived with babies in prams donated by the Salvo’s, accompanied by determined social workers who had worked hard to get them into the shelter and away from the people and places they were accustomed to.

Occasionally a woman was at the shelter because of a court order and the monitoring of her daily routines by staff, social workers and psychologists would determine whether or not she would keep her baby or if a care order would be put in place. There was a lot at stake and emotions were raw and unpredictable. Any mother, regardless of her age or circumstances would find the prospect of losing her baby to an all powerful government department an agonising, looming threat.

In some ways the power that the shelter had over a young woman’s future, determined by the observations and recommendations we would make, was the same power imbalance and impending threat that she experienced in the domestic violence she was fleeing. We had the power and the resources and she had to comply and commit to making changes or her relationship with her baby, who was considered to be at high risk by the time a court order was issued, would be changed for ever.
All of the residents at the shelter were young, vulnerable women and many had become mothers at a time in their life when her own trials and difficulties were overwhelming. The reality of life as a single mother on a low income in a society that favours the educated and the ambitious is fraught with obstacles that are invisible to people outside of the subculture of homelessness, domestic violence and sole parenting.

 

Chapter Two.

The Revolving Door

Why are some people drawn to working in a shelter when others will go through their whole lives never setting foot inside of a women’s refuge or a domestic violence shelter?

The basic salary is not a reflection of the level of experience and skill of the shelter staff and career paths are limited, which is why many young social work graduates work in shelters as a career stepping stone on their way to a far better paying position of influence and opportunity.
It is my experience that there are two common reasons women choose to work in women’s shelters and neither are to do with financial reward. It is dedication and optimism.

Shelter workers are very optimistic regardless of the domestic violence statistics that say family violence is on the rise or the number of times a woman returns to access a service that she had said she will never need to see again.

Women who work in shelters are dedicated to the long term support of families who are vulnerable to budget cuts and housing shortages and to the women who are at risk of exploitation and harm by abusive partners . In the face of shrinking housing stock and limited access to education and resources, women’s shelter staff are resolute in their commitment to advocating for safe, secure and affordable housing for marginalised women with children.

Dedication and optimism are the oxygen that breathes life into women’s shelters even though their budgets and programs are often the first to be cut during the tightening-budget phase of funding cycles and in the aftermath of elections.

Shelters that accommodate children have an extra layer of optimism and resilience. They are staffed by highly skilled children’s workers, equipped with a level of insight and sensitivity that enables them to navigate complex relationships with young women who are often very suspicious of the motives of the staff who they generically refer to as The Workers.

As a staff team we recognised that the devastating circumstances homeless women have experienced can be addressed in the case management process or at the very least their trauma can be attended to in a supportive and dedicated environment when a care plan is put in place.

I was one of The Workers in a team of ten women for a period of ten years at a shelter I will refer to as The Women’s Village. During that time I also sat on an Aboriginal women’s domestic violence service and as a board member of The Big Issue street magazine. The Women’s Village was a small community based organisation that provided accommodation and support to homeless young mothers and their children . We were the gatekeepers standing at the revolving door. Women arrived with deeply ingrained trauma and were often living out inherited family chaos that placed them into a web of poverty, family violence and limited opportunity from birth. Their children had often experienced a great deal of upheaval in their short lives and many were already familiar with the day to day routine of refuge life.

Our shelter was not the preferred place for the women who had strong, supportive networks, empowering family relationships or access to resources, however if one of our residents did have this level of support, she would usually only stay for a short time and having escaped domestic violence, would return to her supportive family shortly after.

By their very nature, women’s shelters are a place where women and children go when there is nowhere else to go.

It was not uncommon for a woman to leave with her children and return a few weeks or months later. Promises of love, promises to change, promises of a better future with troubled and sometimes dangerous men kept her trapped in the domestic violence cycle so it was our job to offer her domestic violence education and personal development training so that she could recognise the cycle and the inevitable stages that always left her vulnerable and in harms way.
Each woman has her own unique story about her relationship with her children’s father and even though her age and stage of emotional development and health issues may keep her anchored deeply in the events of a troubled past, we often witnessed great courage and determination throughout the months and, in the early days, sometimes the years that she was supported by our agency.

Homeless young mothers are one of the most vulnerable groups in Australian society so embarking on the journey of parenting at a time when she was discovering her own identity is a huge undertaking for a teenager and each staff member at the shelter would play a different role in supporting her in that journey.

We were a staff team of ten women of different ages, backgrounds, cultural and spiritual beliefs. Some of us were academically qualified and others brought their school-of-life experience to the team. To use the metaphor of The Women’s Village, we were the village chiefs, the aunties, enforcers of shelter rules and responsibilities . We were the mothers and the grandmothers who had walked our own journey to arrive at the shelter doors as a staff member. As service providers we were the educators and programs developers, the cleaners and the teachers, the advocates and motivators who often saw a young woman’s strength and potential long before it began to awaken in her own consciousness.
Although our service agreements referred to us as staff members, employees and management, there was much more to our role than the documents reflected. This is true across all residential shelters and it is one of the reasons I consider shelter staff to be the invisible army of workers and volunteers in the public conversations about domestic violence. The dedicated staff who carry a woman’s story with her until she is ready to carry it alone are the least visible but most critical to the effectiveness and safety of the women’s shelter network

In a world that calls for a clear mind and strong sense of self to navigate the challenges of living in a complex, highly competitive world, our team recognised the importance of celebrating the smallest of achievements in the grandest way possible!

Our children’s workers always met with heartfelt acknowledgement the rare smile from a severely depressed teenage mother, who was struggling with a baby and insecure toddler. The survivor of sexual abuse who was making her escape from her second or third violent relationship with a new level of resolve was greeted with the cheers and affirmations of a staff team who understood that our job is to believe in her until she is ready to believe in herself.

We knew that her chances of living beyond merely surviving a deeply troubled past and developing the skills and knowledge to create a peaceful, secure life for herself and her children would require a huge amount of strength and resilience. Many women at the shelter were facing personal demons that haunted her every waking moment. Some of the staff members could relate to the challenges she was facing because they had walked a similar journey and understood that she needed time to rest and rejuvenate, reflect and recover.

Our residents were young women who struggled to make sense of their situation and were confronted with the enormous challenge of making a better life for their children even though they faced overwhelming emotions and loneliness. I am trying to look after myself and I’ve never been very good at that and now I have two children to look after and I’m worried I will mess up their childhoods. Heartfelt, anguished concerns that I heard over and over in the 10 years I hosted our in-house personal development group.

It was the responsibility of the staff team to create a safe and secure shelter whilst also managing the daily currents of anger, frustration, sadness, grief and despair within the walls of the shelter. Concerns about lost parenting payments, bank accounts raided by the ex-partner, unpaid electricity bills from the home they had fled and needs assessments for traumatised children took up large amounts of time and resources. Fear, uncertainty, stress and grief were expressed and exhaled on a daily basis.

Transport to appointments, referrals for food vouchers for baby formula and nappies, accessing legal aid, hospital visits and trauma counseling, the list of urgent matters needing immediate attendance is exhaustive across women’s services. Leaving domestic violence is a big step that becomes the catalyst for the complex process of sorting through the practical aspects of creating a new life.

Although all of the young women were mothers, the reality was that many of the troubled young women living in our shelter and outreach properties were unable to meet their children’s needs as they had not yet begun to understand their own.

Homeless shelters provide a place of rest and refuge for some of the most marginalised, traumatised members of society and whilst every woman had her own unique story and not everyone was carrying deep scars of childhood abuse and neglect, it was a common enough experience that most of the young women who came to live at the shelter were considered to have high needs and were assessed as at risk by the social workers who referred them

Sharing a common bond of homelessness, young motherhood and youth culture, the programs we ran were an opportunity to learn about different ideas and alternatives to the path they have been travelling. We made sure that the programs were relevant to their age group and sometimes we got it wrong but most of the time we were able to create training tools that were adaptable for all levels of literacy levels and cultural

For some it was a turning point that they would grab with both hands and cling to with fierce determination, willingly accepting the support of the staff and the services we brought in as necessary to leaving the past and creating a new life for her self and her children.   Equally many would return to their former life after a brief respite in the highly structured and   closely supervised environment of the shelter. We are going to give it another go. He said he has really changed this time and I believe him .The kids miss him. We would make sure she had our phone number before fare welling her from the site. The younger staff, the newly graduated social workers, sometimes anguished over a resident’s return to a relationship that had brought her nothing but heartache and grief.

The older staff understood her anguish, we had all witnessed it at the revolving door as we welcomed and fare welled the young women. Each of us had to learn how to detach emotionally as a vulnerable woman made a potentially life threatening choice. We had learnt to stay connected to compassion along with a willingness to allow her to experience what she needed to learn beyond the walls of the shelter.

Occasionally two of our residents would realise they had lived in the same foster placement or government operated group home. The universe had aligned with finite precision and placed them in the same place at the same time to meet. The reunion would reflect either the worst or the best of their shared backgrounds.

They called one another the GOM kids. As children they had been placed under the Guardianship of the Minister. Government departments and an army of youth workers and foster care providers became the parent figures to replace the birth parents who were no longer the primary care giver in their lives.

Women arrive at shelters with their children in strollers, their belongings in large red, white and blue plastic bags. Sometimes their possessions are in large black bin bags, toys and toiletries hastily bundled together inside of thin biodegradable plastic that has ripped and torn during the journey from the boot to the shelter door. The young family may have left the crisis refuge in the inner city or emergency accommodation in a motel in order to set up a temporary new home inside of one of the eight on site units that we had named Peace in 8 languages that they did not yet understand. New residents arriving would sometimes pass the old ones leaving.

Social workers, counselors and occasionally family members accompanied the new arrivals. Those same family members might also be the source of her struggle and her conflicted feelings and she may tell us that she had lived at the shelter with her own mother 15years ago. The older staff would nod, remembering the family and what her mother was going through at the time. During our tea break we would reflect on what we remembered about her as a little girl and whether or not we could recall where the family went after they left the shelter all those years ago. Our oldest shelter worker had a razor sharp memory and her fondness for the little girl she once knew brought a level of heart and soul to The Village that could never be captured in the data and statistics that was diligently included in our annual general report year in and year out.

Our referrals came from a variety of community organisations, specialist support agencies, family support workers and early intervention professionals. Where were the artists and story tellers, the dancers and song writers amongst the decision makers, the researchers, academics, therapists, social workers and counselors you might ask?

How often did we see a young woman’s creative skills or interests detailed in her referral reports or amongst the voluminous case notes that followed her from service to service? Never.

Did her intake forms recommend placing a notebook, coloured pens, brush or canvas into the hands of the women? No.

Unfortunately creativity and the potential of the imagination was not discussed amongst the professionals or referenced in her files yet in the coming years we witnessed that these were the very tools that often facilitated the greatest change in a young woman’s life.

Chapter Three:

Creativity as a Tool for Transformation

Creativity as a vehicle for goal setting and personal development is not the preferred tool in the homeless sector. Reference to creativity won’t be  found on intake or referral forms and funding for hands on, imaginative programs is almost non existent in women’s shelters. Although there is a growing recognition that arts based mental health programs are beneficial for relaxation, creative expression and well being, the limited nature of funding for homeless shelters and programs precludes the arts and creative processes.

A child’s experience in the western education system at the entry level is generally rich in creativity, dance, movement, developing the imagination & having fun! Variety and movement is a key to engaging children’s attention in the kindergarten class room.

The world of play and creativity at the pre-school level begins to be left behind once children step through a very different door to enter junior primary and step on to the long road that leads towards qualifying for university. The university lecture theatre   could not be further away from the dynamic creativity of the early childhood world and by the time those who have done well in the system arrive there, they are often carrying the belief I am not creative.
Where the kindergarten’s internal and external spaces are designed for the development and use of imagination, play and exploration  in a high activity setting, the next level of schooling requires a transition to sitting still for long periods and engaging in activities that do not involve the feet, song or the same level of movement.

Many of the women  who came to the shelter had not completed high school and very few had a university education. With some exceptions the one hat, fits all approach to educating hundreds of thousands of children simultaneously means that the individual with her personal struggles and concerns can become lost within its corridors.

Most had come to believe they were not very smart and that learning created a great deal of stress with very few outcomes so it was to be avoided when ever possible.

I once asked one of our young social workers if she had any training in the subject of creativity during her years at university and her response was No, nothing like that, I hadn’t even thought about it until I began my placement here.

Many young people have not had success in the one-hat-fits-all approach to learning, especially the ones who are kinesthetic learners, who absorb information when there is movement and rhythm like there was in their early child hood. These are the young people who struggled with sitting still for years on end in the class room and by the time they arrived at our shelter they did not identify with the education system or the prospect of re-entering it.

We often saw the young mothers immerse themselves into play group activities with uncharacteristic concentration, absorbed in activities that were designed to develop a strong bond between mother and child. Play group often revealed a playful, imaginative child within the most troubled young woman and in her enthusiasm to play and enjoy the creative exercises, her child might be ignored as she immersed herself in the free flowing creativity that she had not experienced for many years.

In those early years it became apparent that whilst we had identified the importance of play and creativity, variety and fun for the developmental well being of the children in the shelter, it was time to pay attention to the daily evidence their mothers had the very same needs for creativity and play.  In fact the same could also be said for the staff members of the agency, even though art, creativity, story telling  and play for workers was a pretty outrageous concept in a sector that places high value on the importance of  professionalism and a code of conduct that does not include dancing in a circle wearing fairy wings as we eventually did as a team for one of our staff meetings.

A significant number of the young women who came though our programs  had been born into family systems that were assessed as a high risk environment. Some had spent their vulnerable childhood years surrounded by chaos and family violence with government departments, backed by court orders and mental health authorities. The adults in the lives of this marginalised group were often parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties who were afflicted by alcoholism and poverty   and their own unresolved issues.

By the time the young women made their way to the shelter, it was time for a change!

Chapter Four
C.H.A.N.G.E.
Creating Happiness And New Growth Everyday

To be continued

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EVERYthing is Energy….

Posted by carolom on April 10, 2017

We live in an Electrical Universe.

What do you notice about the following sentence?

She was happy that her current circumstances had improved and continued to do so with increasing frequency.
She was now generating more income and even found people commenting that the manner in which she conducted her business affairs was very inspirational.
It seemed that her circumstances were now really moving in the direction she had decided on some time ago and she was even thinking about upping the amplitude somewhat and developing the business further than she had first envisioned
Only last week her close friend observed that many of the new strategies she had put in place, demonstrated a really enlightened approach to business and marketing.
There was an element of surprise on all of this…

Frequency
Current
Generates
Conducts
Amplitude
Enlightened
Circumstances
 very similar Circuit’stances
Element

All of these words are words that are used when speaking the language of both electricity and “electrical” verbs, adjectives and nouns.

They are words that relate to both the conduct of electricity and the conduct of human affairs.

The electrical activity of the brain can be tracked. People who conduct an exceptionally high voltage of electrical currents can experience a range of phenomena from epilepsy through to conducting brain activity that is often termed manic enduring thought currents that become rapid, discordant and often create havoc and heartache.
Manic and shamanic are two words closely related and both relate to energies that are not seen or felt by others.

The movie Powder dramatised what happened when someone become SO highly charged that, like with electrolysis, all body hair falls out and the person is quite literally a conductor of electricity. Because Powder conducted such high frequencies he was able to feel the feelings, thoughts and intentions of the world around him. There was no barrier between “you and me”.

It is interesting to note the following words:

Magi
Imagination
Magic
MagNETic
Genius: Geni~In~Us

Ionosphere:
“A region of the Earths atmosphere (“atom=sphere”), extending from about 60 kilometres to approx 1,000 kilometres above the Earths surface, in which there is a high concentration of free electrons formed”.

Vibration
Communication
Vision
Concentration
Inspiration
Emotion
Tradition
Motivation
Generation
Action
Imagination

Ionosphere.

I~On~O~Sphere.

I-On-The-Circuit

Indigenous people of many  cultures understand the nature of the energetic universe that we are a part of and is a part of us. It is a world view that  differs vastly from the European way of conducting affairs.

A common link that many Indigenous cultures share, including  African, Aboriginal, Native American and Canadian, Egyptians and the Ancient Greeks, is that communion with nature is deeply woven into culture and spiritual practices.

It is a very different energetic relationship with time and space than in the European world view .

As is the relationship with the elements.  

Elemental.

 

The shaman, medicine men and women and people of high degree consciously work for the highest good of the community in the invisible space where the Spirit world, the energetic world and the co-creative world where mind and focused intent meet.

The human mind is a powerfully wired conductor of electricity and has a complex system of chemistry and neurological pathways ways that control the nervous system functions of thousands of bodily movements, actions and processes

The brain stem is a stalk of nerve fibres and nuclei that joins the spinal cord to the cerebellum and cerebrum and the brain stem centres automatically control activities like breathing, heartbeat, and digestion.

Neurons are nerve cells and neuro networks form the nervous system, the word “neurotic” pertains the “neuro” or nervous system.
A neurotic person is often anxious, uptight, obsessive and generally conducting their inner world in a way that does not bring peace of mind and happiness into their life.

Perhaps new’rows of thinking may be an answer to the old neuros that define fixed states and unchanging behaviors.Many people know that there is a vaster Universal Mind that many people contact with sporadically and unconsciously.
The universal mind may well be the 90% of our brain that Einstein stated remains unused.

We are both the conductor and the instrument, the melody and the lyrics, an instrument  in the orchestra and the ‘awechestration’ of our life.

********************

I designed this Mandala to represent the Energy….

Thankyou to my friend Nungala for colouring in the black and white master copy.

Posted in Aboriginal, Community, Creativity, Energy, law of attraction, Lifes Stories, Magic, Metaphysics, Peace, The Art of Change, The Law of Attraction, Unity, Wealth, Wisdom | 2 Comments »

Create New Dreams. Seeding the Future Vision

Posted by carolom on March 20, 2017

Families Creating. Growing  and Flourishing Together.

We had a wonderful weekend camp, thanks to the women  who came from two Communities to join us in the Riverland.

Along with the Mandala art and making clay beads, we work-shopped the Vision for the Womens groups and then painted terra cotta pots and planted the Sunflower seeds that will grow along with the new changes.

Thankyou to the women for allowing us to photograph the art work and capture the many wonderful moments where Nanas and great grandchildren, Elders and younger women sat and enjoyed the  creative processes  together.

What better way to spend a weekend in the Riverland sun in Ngarrindjeri country?

Deanna Nungala and I feel very privileged to have been invited to host the Celeberating our Community ART of Change camp and look forward to our Miminis Nopin ventures when we can return the gifting by visiting the women and seeing how the sunflowers have grown.

Miminis Nopin – Women on the Move.

Women overcoming the pain of the past and seeding the Vision for the Future.

Art based activities that young and old  can enjoy together.

Deanna and I wearing the clay necklaces we made during the Apology week, to honor the Mothers whose children were stolen from them.  Nungala is a Stolen Generation survivor and a Warrior Woman of the heart in the truest sense.

deana-and-carol

Our Vision Workshopping Board.

create-new-dreams

Painting the clay beads they have rolled earlier in the day is wonderful for concentration for the little kids and fun~creativity for all ages.

tia

Little sister can create and paint her own beads too!

didi

This pot-painter will seed some fantastic changes for her  Community over the coming years.

yvonne

The gorgeous smile that lights up rooms and hearts.

lesley

Our Chef extraordinaire took time out from her delicious food-making to paint a pot of her own.

lou

Lady birds for good luck turned up on the top of this artists work.

tania

As you can see.

seeding

Mother and Daughter creating together. They have a vegie garden at home and the new Sunflowers might fill that garden one day!

One single  seed births the seeds of many new flowers over one single season.

seeding-2

Seeding the Vision is a journey of process, attention, watering and  patience.

seeding4

All  pots are sealed with varnish and the forward lean, with head titled upward is a spraying skill.

spraying

Posted in Art, Australia, Beauty, Change, Community, Creativity, Dreaming, Elders, Fun, Grandmothers, Imagination, Joy, Magic, Ngarrindjeri, Prosperity, Sisterhood, Social Artistry, Warrior Women, Women | 3 Comments »

From Poverty to Prosperity in Bangladesh using Vision, Commitment and Action!

Posted by carolom on March 20, 2017

The journey from poverty to prosperity is both an individual and collective one, the opportunities and challenges often determined by the circumstances of our immediate surroundings, our  place of birth, gender, economic status,  family patterns etc

Politics, both locally and globally affect the lives of each and every individual on earth and unfortunately millions of people are living with subjugation and poverty as a direct result of the politics of a minority with a vested, greed oriented interest in land and social order.

One of the most powerful pieces of writing that I have ever read on the controversial subject of poverty in aid-reliant  countries is by Lynne Twist in her book The Soul of Money

Lynne is the former director of the The World Hunger Project and was involved in facilitating creative, new responses to poverty Bangladesh at a time when it was often referred to as the world’s ” begging bowl” for aid and relief.

The following story is about the changes and transformation  that can happen when people are shown how to Dream and create a new vision together.

It is a powerful reminder that poverty is a human-made state generated by minds often dominated by greed and thus can be eradicated by activating the power and capacities of the mind and vision and capacity to create that resides in each and every one of us, regardless of whether we are living in poverty or fortunate to be living a comfortable life, the formula for creating change is in each and every one of us.

I found an the excerpt of the Hunger Project story that I was looking for in the on line edition of Ode magazine:

*******************
“Decades of development work has made Bangladesh the world’s begging bowl; a land of desperation and dependence with no future. But even in the face of such misery one person can make a difference; without help from the outside.

A new dream and a new vision are bringing new life to the North of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is an Asian country of more than 130 million people on a landmass the size of Iowa. It once was a land abundant with tropical rain forests, a diversity of plants and animal species, and a bounty of natural resources. In the 1900s the land was denuded of its forests by foreign interest that came and went, and the land was ravaged by war and the results of poor land tenure polices. Absent the trees and vegetation that once had thrived, seasonal floods took an even greater toll on the land and the people.
Listed by the United Nations as the second poorest country in the world in the late 1970s, Bangladesh became the recipient of another kind of flood, a flood of aid, and within a short time had become almost completely dependent on aid from outside sources. Bangladesh began to have a global reputation as needy and helpless, a giant begging bowl of a nation, and within Bangladesh itself, the people came to see themselves that way, too. Bangladeshis had become convinced they were a hopeless, helpless people dependent on others for even minimal survival.

In what had become a common cycle of disintegration of villages and communities, the people in villages near the district of Sylhet were giving up, making plans to leave the region and look for subsistence work elsewhere, or send the men off to larger towns an cities to find work and send money home to support their indigent families.
Sylhet is in the northern hill region of Bangladesh, just high enough to escape the floods that submerge the surrounding lowlands periodically each year. The dry hills had surrendered long ago to an invasive jungle of prickly scrubby brush, a plant whose only fruit is poison berries. The plants all tangled together look like a massive briar patch-inaccessible, dangerous, and thick. An overgrown area had been deemed government land and was off-limits for development by local farmers. But the scrubby, poisonous plant that grew there kept spreading and invading the small plots of land that the villagers would farm, taking over the crops and poisoning the land.
For generations the villagers had scraped a meagre existence from the small plots of land the government had given them, but even that was becoming an impossible task. Young people had turned to begging on the roads and stealing. Crime was at an all-time high. So it came to be that the villagers had given up on their difficult, unproductive land and were ready tot take drastic action. Many were prepared to abandon the village and move their families elsewhere, or abandon hope for an intact family, and instead send the men elsewhere to find jobs.
The conversation among villagers was urgent and pragmatic. Where could they move or send the men that would allow them to grow enough or earn enough to provide for their families? There was also talk of asking for US financial aid to enable them to buy food and other goods without work at all.
They had given up.
They were tired and they were resigned.
They felt the answer must be somewhere else and with someone else.
They felt they just couldn’t make it on their own.

About this time, we launched The Hunger Project in Bangladesh. There were plenty of independent relief agencies in Bangladesh already doing heroic and inspiring work, but what seemed to be making sustainable improvements were the initiatives that came from the Bangladeshis themselves.
The now-famous Grameen Bank, created by Dr. Muhammed Yunus, is a micro-credit program providing small-business loans to hardworking, cash-poor women, and BRAC, a village development initiative created by Bangladeshi leader Faisal Abed, had created significant success where outsiders unfamiliar with the people had failed.
These successes and experiences in other regions had affirmed our conviction that the Bangladeshi people were the key to their own development and that outside aid was systematically and psychologically turning them into beggars instead of the authors of their own future.
As the first step in the process of forging an effective partnership, together we looked deeply into the Bangladeshi culture, their attitudes and beliefs about themselves, their resignation and hopelessness.
It became clear that after so long subsisting on aid, the people had lost touch with any sense of their own competence or any vision of their country as capable of success.
In our meetings together, the Bangladeshi leaders determined that the thing that was missing, which, if provided, would enable these people to become self-reliant and self-sufficient, was a vision of their own strengths and capabilities.

The Hunger Project committed, as a partner, to develop a program designed to enable the Bangladeshis to reconnect with a vision for themselves and their country, with an awareness of their available assets, and strategies to put their ideas into action. Out of that commitment and partnership came the Vision, Commitment and Action Workshop.
It called upon participants to engage in a series of group-discussion and visualisation exercises enabling them to imagine and envision a self-reliant, self-sufficient Bangladesh: the healthy, thriving Bangladesh they had fought for years ago in their struggle for independence.

In Bangladesh, because there are so many people, when you call any kind of a meeting, hundreds, even a thousand people can show up. People often gather in the village parks and squares. In Dhaka, the capital, there is a public park that holds easily a thousand people or more, and that is where we launched some of the early Vision, Commitment and Action Workshops. We publicised the meeting, and at the appointed time the park was packed with people. If you can picture it, this is no beautiful pastoral retreat, but a park with barely a blade of grass, packed with hundreds of these small, brown, beautiful people seated on the ground very close together, lots of babies and small children, people of all ages sitting attentively, tentatively, listening for whatever we could offer them that might be helpful.

The program opened with music, a few introductions and inspired words by community leaders, and some initial interactive exercises to bring the crowd’s energy and focus to the task at hand. Then we began the program, asking everybody to close their eyes and envision what a self-reliant, self-sufficient Bangladesh would look like:
What would it look like if Bangladesh were a country that was exporting its finest-quality goods?
What would it be like if Bangladesh were known for its art and music and poetry?
What if Bangladesh were a contributing member of the global community, instead of the big recipient, the big begging bowl receiving aid? What it would be like if Bangladeshi leadership, including Bangladeshi women, Bangladeshi men, and Bangladeshi young people, were a contribution to society?
What would that look like?

At first, people sat there very still, eyes closed, expressionless, shoulder to shoulder in the park.
A hush settled over the crowd, and the sea of faces remained still, eyes closed, in thought.
After a few minutes I noticed tears streaming down one man’s face and then another and another. People were still sitting with their eyes closed, but they were silently weeping. And then it was not just three or four, or ten or twenty faces with tears streaming down. In this crowd of more than a thousand, it was hundreds of weeping faces.

It was as if they had never in their lifetime even thought they could be self-reliant or self-sufficient or an contributing nation, that they had never imagined they could be a nation that made a difference for other nations, that they could be a nation that stood out, that had qualities that people admired, a unique role to play in the world community. It was a brave new thought.

When we completed this visioning meditation, and people shared with one another the visions they had seen for their village, their family, their school, their home, their business, their children, and their grandchildren, the vision became rich and real, palpable and exhilarating. A new future was born.
In the next section of the workshop the participants were invited to commit to their vision. They were asked not merely to envision, but to commit to being the people who would make that vision real. You could see them drop their anxiety and fear, letting go of their sense of lack and inadequacy, and step up to their own creation and commit to it. In that exercise you could see peoples posture and countenance change. People seemed to visibly strengthen. Their sense of resolve and determination was contagious, and the impossible seemed possible.
They finally broke into small groups to collaborate and design the actions they would take to fulfil their commitment to make their vision real. The actions were practical, local, doable, but in alignment with their new commitments and in service of their vision. People seemed to re-see themselves, their family, their village, and their country as able, resourceful, and potent -self-reliant and self-sufficient.

Soon these workshops were being repeated in gatherings all over, some in cities, others in villages, some just within families, and every Sunday for thousands in the square at Dhaka.
Now it happened that on a trip to Dhaka, one of the leaders of a village in Sylhet attended a Vision, Commitment and Action Workshop nearly by mistake. His name was Zilu. He was visiting his cousin in the city, and this cousin invited him to come along to the park to see what this workshop was all about. Zilu didn’t want to go. He wanted to talk to his cousin about moving his family from Sylhet in with his cousin, to share their home, so the family could leave their desolate village, hoping that Zilu could get work in the city and give them a chance for a new life. His cousin prevailed, however, and they attended the workshop together.

Zilu was completely captivated by the workshop experience, and his awakening to his own commitment to his village and the surrounding community. He stayed in Dhaka another three days and participated in a training to be a workshop leader himself. He then took the training and the vision back to Sylhet.
Back home, he called his six closest male friends together and delivered the workshop to them. With a shared vision now and unlimited commitment to develop the human and natural resources of their own region, the seven men came up with an idea and created an plan for a new agribusiness venture designed to bring the whole region out of poverty into self-reliance an ultimately into prosperity. They called it the Chowtee Project: A Bold Step for Self-Reliance.

I arrived in Sylhet just four months later, in April of 1994, with 17 travellers who were major donors to The Hunger Project. Zilu had invited us there to show us the progress he and his friends had made in the area to thank us for the contribution we were making to his country and his people.
He and his friends, whom we came to call the Magnificent Seven, told us the story of their region’s transformation and showed us the results. Zilu shared how he had returned from the workshop at Dhaka that December day inspired to look with new eyes at the resources he and his people had before them, and determined to develop a vision, a commitment and a plan of action. Once his six friends joined him in this commitment, their next step was to look at the resources they already had but had previously overlooked.
There, at the edge of town, was the fallow, hardscrabble government land covered with poison berry brambles.
The seven men met with government officials and got permission to clear seventeen acres of the tangled vegetation that had taken over their land. Then they went to the community for the money needed to buy equipment and supplies.
People drew from their meagre savings to support the initiative, and the men were able to collect the needed thousands of taka – then about US$750. Finally, they delivered their own version of the Vision, Commitment and Action Workshop to 600 people in the village of 18,000. Those 600 people got to work, building a road along the edge of the land and starting the clearing effort.

Impressed with their vision, clarity, and commitment, the government gave them a hundred acres more to develop. They trained the young people who had turned to begging and crime to cultivate and farm instead. They trained destitute women, many of them widows, to farm. In clearing the land, they were surprised to discover a previously unknown lake and small stream abundant with fish. The entire area was now under cultivation, providing food, fish, training, and employment for hundreds of people. All 18,000 people in the immediate area had benefited from this activity, and an area that had been wracked with poverty was now becoming self-sufficient and beginning to flourish. The crime rate had dropped by an astounding 70%.

We walked the fields with Zilu and the rest of the Magnificient Seven, and visited the fisheries and the training fields. We were overwhelmed by the people’s vitality, joy, and success.
I realised as I walked with them that they had accomplished this feat with almost no help from the outside. They had had what they needed all along-the land, the water, the intelligence, the muscle, and the capacity to put it all together-but had lost touch with those resources and capabilities in the climate of ‘Third World’ aid and the hopelessness and presumed incompetence that had come with it. Once they were inspired to see themselves differently, to see themselves as strong, creative, and capable, their commitment knew no limits. Success was inevitable.

Looking at the fields, once impenetrable jungle and brush, I thought about our own lives, and that which covers over the soil of our dreams, that which temporarily blocks our inner vision or capacity to see. In their world, it was the jungle and the confusing message of aid telling them that they were incomplete and needy and not able to make it on their own. They had bought into that, and as long as they did, they couldn’t see the resources in front of them. Once they had focused their attention on their own unlimited inner resources, the outer resources materialised, suddenly accessible. They could begin to see that what they needed had been there all along.

I never forgot the Magnificent Seven. When you are crushed by the victim mentality, as they were, your ability to dream and envision is crushed, too. It goes dead. When I find myself groping for what’s beyond my grasp, I hear their words in my head and know that if I can re-look from the inside out and access and appreciate what’s already there, what’s already available, then its power, utility, and grace will grow and prosper in the nourishment of my attention.

Lynne Twist author of The Soul of Money

Posted in Community, Creativity, Dreaming, Energy, Imagination, law of attraction, Lifes Stories, Love, Lyn Twist, Magic, Mind Power, Peace, Poverty, Prosperity, Relationships, Stories, Teachers, Transformation, Wisdom | 4 Comments »

The Virus. An Australian Story.

Posted by carolom on March 13, 2017

The Virus is a representative story and although the names and some of the details have been changed for narrative purpose, it is a true story.

The Virus. An Australian Story

I was 5 or 6 years old a migrant child of parents who were swept away from the sooty chimney towns of Britain’s working class north by the promises of a bright new life in a young country.
A country brimming, spilling and erupting with extraordinary  opportunities for people, white people, who dreamt of owning their very own land. Australia.

We were the ten pound package , government assisted, chance of a life time Brits who flocked in their thousands to these shores and landed like sparkling white seagulls

Noisy chattering seagulls, filling the migrant hostels with stories and speculations, big plans on low bank accounts. New arrivals on  the look out for the best morsels of the promised opportunities.

Poms they called us, the latest flock of new arrivals following in the footsteps of the exiled convicts and our sea faring ancestors who came to seize new territory in a land that was not young at all.

Big skies, wide streets, pupil dazzling light. Brand new asbestos houses far removed from the tall sooty terrace flats cramped side by side back Home.

We staggered wearily, eagerly into government issue houses that nestled expectantly in the middle of tiny little paddocks. Neatly sliced quarter acre blocks that beckoned the new arrivals to seed a brand new life and sow a future far removed from the misty grey land where the sun rarely shines.

This was The Lucky Country and we thought that we were very lucky indeed! There was much to learn and many new things to see and for awhile my migrant child’s world was consumed with more space,  new friends, big school, new sounds, interesting sights and beach time delights!

IMG_2114.jpg
In fact we were so immersed in our new life we were utterly, completely, mind numbingly oblivious to the Land where we were living.

That is when the virus struck.

I remember the day it happened.

Unlike those silent viruses that sit invisibly on taps waiting to hitch a ride on fingertips that brush past lips, this insidious, relentless, sickening parasite travelled effortlessly upon the breath transmitted upon invisible sound waves, elusive in their source, the destination always the same.

It was very hard for young children to escape a germ such as that!

I was standing by the milk shed when the virus struck.

The current host was a plump red freckly boy called George. He was no doubt named after a king, an uncle or grandfather back Home .

The kids called George names like dot-face and carrot top.
Giggling and laughing, George entertained us by pulling faces and joining in the fun. His best friend stood with us. Peter Green, an Australian boy who was fond of saying “we go back 6 generations”, even though he didn’t really know what it meant. His father said it all the time so it must have been important.

Peter was teaching George the real Australian way!

We were standing in the cool shade, a rare find across the sweltering expanse of the asphalt playground when the virus emerged and the first cross infection occurred.

In a loud voice that announced his cockney origins wherever he went, George sang out four words in the mocking tone of a confident child: Dirty coon, rotten baboon.

Four words that speared my consciousness and left a tender wound, a vulnerable space to host a virus that I was too young to fight.

Georges words invoked contempt.  A voracious contempt that swept through the crowded school yard as quickly as it took to catch one another’s breath. I followed Georges eyes and saw the object of his loathing.
Curly haired Lindy and her little brother Jimmy the Aboriginal kids.

The Blacks. 

Lindy and Jimmy stood out from the sea of white faces. Shiny black birds surrounded by vicious seagulls. They stood holding the eyes of their attacker whilst holding tightly onto one another’s hand.

Jimmy leaned towards his big sister terrified that the big kid with the flaming red hair was about to lunge and squash him then and there.

They were the outcast kids. The Abo’s who were never ever invited to play our games.

Peter smiled at George approvingly and one or two others snickered our way as the virus twisted itself across children’s faces annihilating the anti-bodies of innocence, feasting upon the collective enjoyment of someone else being teased.

This particularly robust virus had its own language.

After coon followed different words boong-boong –that’s the noise they make when the bull bar hits them.

Before long other children joined in the heckling until a bubonic plague of racist torment swamped us all in its vitriolic grip.

That was the day I learnt a new A, B C. The uniquely Australian alphabet.

A. B. C.

Abo
Boong
Coon.

This was the Australian alphabet I was infected with as a child.

In the Lucky Country, a  magnificent land older than the mountains,  with Secrets winding back through time, something terrible occurred.

A virus was unleashed but it was in circulation long before our little family travelled to the down under shores.

What became of Lindy and Jimmy? Innocent children who were called half castes, treated as out casts. Removed from their Mother, kidnapped before her very eyes.She grieved until she died only a few years later.
Thanks to the power of forgiveness and decency and common sense, strong medicines for curing the malaise of toxic tongues and the virus that leaves many deaf and mute and blind, Lindy and Jimmy and I became friends.
Precious friends and together we are all in recovery from the virus that strikes so many innocent children down.

Unity updated
Sistars2

Posted in Aboriginal, Australia, Australia's abuse of human rights, Carol Omer, Racism, racism in australia, Reconciliation, Relationships, Sorry | Leave a Comment »