~ The Art Of Change ~ with Carol Omer ~

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

Has our Evolution kept pace with Digital Technology?

Posted by carolom on March 17, 2021

I sometimes wonder how equipped we are on an evolutionary level, to process the rapid stream of emotions and stories that come through social media.

In the continuum of time it was only a few seconds ago that we had pen friends we would wait a fortnight to hear from, view photographs that would take a few days to process at the photo store and the only times you would reconnect with someone from your past would be if you accidentally bumped into them at the supermarket.

If we weren’t within hearing range of the landline telephone we were out of range to engaging with the external world.

It’s like Digital technology has collectively microwaved us from the very slow oven to rapid burn and now, in the space of a few seconds and minutes, we scroll through newsfeed and experience:

*compassion for the loss someone is experiencing over the death of a loved one

*outrage over political machinations

*despair for the elderly locked in a nursing home during Covid

*nostalgia when a friend post an old photo of you all at school

*wave of planned activism and another wave of out rage for the state of the rape culture in Australia

*an anguished thug in the solar plexus when we inadvertently view a scene of animal abuse or a war zone

*laughter over a ridiculous meme

*more sentiment as Facebook throws up a memory of someone who is no longer with us

Now I’m thinking it is not wise to eat my yoghurt and muesli whilst reading a newsfeed because I’m pretty sure that rapid fire of emotions and sentiment might be curdling my yoghurt and messing with my how-I-proccess–the-world-regulatory system.

Image source- Google Images

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The Day Janet was Murdered

Posted by carolom on March 17, 2021

I was on a weekend shift at The Shelter when my friend called me to tell me that Janet had been killed by her partner who then killed himself.

Even though I had been working in domestic violence recovery programs and women’s shelter settings for many years, nothing I had previously known and none of my extensive training prepared me for the murder of someone I loved.

My family and Janet’s had come out from England together in the 60’s. We spoke the same working class language, we understood the psychology of our parents who had spent their formative years in a war zone in one of the most bombed cities outside of London.

In the 60s we went on family outings together. In the 70s we dressed up like Susie Quatro and sang until we exhausted ourselves. We were like sister cousins who were born in the same village and travelled to the other side of the world together.

After the phone call ( from Janet’s childhood best friend) I needed to leave my shift. The impact of hearing that Janet had been killed turned my quiet Saturday upside down .

I called my manager and she said to “take as much time as you need Carol”. I was blessed to be working in a strong loving professional team of women and we always created space for when one of us needed to time and space. I often refer to women’s shelters as The Women’s Village and my manager was a village chief extraordinaire !

When I got home that day I immediately began to create a poster size Mandala, a piece of pencil art to reflect the journey of Janet’s life , because I knew that grief needs an outlet and sometimes tears aren’t enough . For many years into the future I shared Janets Mandala in personal development and life coaching groups in Women’ Shelters because in spite of what happened to her, and how a violent man rendered her helpless , Janets story is one of resilience and courage .

I prepared to return to work on the third day and when I turned the radio on that morning , the world had gone into turmoil, trauma and upheaval as the twin towers were hit and the impact of male violence now touched the whole world not just my small one .

We were all reeling. I remember returning to the office devastated by the tragedy that had happened to my lifelong friend and also being surrounded by the impact of everyone’s response to what was inevitably a turning point in global history .

It felt like violence was everywhere, it had invaded my home and forced itself into my world, which is ironic because even though I was working in a domestic violence shelter we had tools and processes, supports and structures in place that allowed us to be compassionate, to be an advocate, but not to be devastated day after day by the horrors that happened to the women and children who came to our shelter doors .

And to the pets the women sometimes had to leave behind.

I was asked to deliver Janet’s eulogy and I don’t know if this is the case in general when someone has been murdered , there are no written rules or precedents to draw on, but I wanted to celebrate her life and our friendship and not define her final farewell by the unspeakable tragedy and act of violence that took her away from us.

The last time I saw Janet was before she moved to a country town and she was in great spirits. Conversation flowed as effortlessly as it always did and we did not speak about the man who was currently in jail .

The man who had tried to kill her and their two children .

Yes, Janet had almost lost her life on other occasion. He was jailed and she moved on with her life to find love again .They had a baby together .

How could she have known that this one would be the one who would kill her?

As I walked towards Janet’s open coffin I was overwhelmed by the final reality of what happened to her . She had survived a previous vicious attack , she ran like a warrior woman out of her home and into the street screaming in order to save her babies . She was successful . They all survived their injuries .

From the intensive care unit covered in stitches Janet’s ever reliable humour shone through “ It’s a good thing I watch so much telly because I remembered how to play dead, I even did a bit of a death rattle.” She laughed, I cried . Janet was a superhero laying in intensive care her babies in another hospital ward.

Janet and I used to joke that she was a Stephen King, egg and chips, cricket loving kind of a gal, whilst I was busy exploring spirituality, art and nature.

We were very different but I knew that she would have appreciated my placing a tiny angel in her coffin and saying to her “ you can’t get away from the Angels this time Janet “. I spoke the words in that unfamiliar, thin voice that happens when laughter, grief and tears collide.

A single solitary tear rolled from the corner of Janet’s closed eyes as I spoke the words over her coffin. I know that people will tell me it was the embalming fluid that seeped out in one single drop, but for me in that moment we transcended the place of life and death as we stood in the beauty and complexity of our life long friendship and the finality of her life here on earth.

It has been 20 years this coming September since Janet was murdered . He then killed himself and three of her children were placed into government care that very night where they stayed until they turned 18 .

Some days when I am chopping vegetables I am overcome with emotion, triggered by the knife that it is in my hand On one of these occasions I found myself wondering what happened to the knife that killed Janet ? These thoughts lead to others -who are the medical staff that attended to her at the hospital, who was the Doctor that pronounced her dead, how did the police officers experience attending such a horrendous crime scene . Were there other patients in the waiting area baring witness to her being brought in with such urgency.

When Janet was murdered it was long before we began to count the numbers of murdered women and children . Her murder was a small article in the newspaper . Our domestic violence shelters were usually an anonymous cluster of units in quiet streets, we didn’t even have security cameras back then .

Times have changed. We are now speaking loudly #enoughisenough.

We are marching for justice, challenging politicians , naming the out rage that still in this day and age women and children are not safe in their homes or safe on the streets .

20 years on from the murder of my friend Janet, her death and the loss of our friendship have defined an aspect of my life that I live with on a daily basis . I create domestic violence recovery and empowerment programs in her honour and I feel concerned for her children, the ones who are not doing so well .

Some people who are close to me may say that I am hypervigilant. I am often suspicious of men who have later been exposed as a coercive controller although at the time my call to place people on alert has not been welcome. One thing I have learnt in life is that a person is. often unable to see what others can and only further down their track will they be able recognise the warning signs because of what they have endured. I choose to speak out anyway.

I have a lived experience of domestic violence, continue to navigate the impact of the murder of my close friend and I have worked in domestic violence shelters for many years. I think it would be fair to say that my pursuit of spirituality, art and nature have been a source of replenishment peace and comfort in what I have experienced as a very tumultuous world. A “brutiful” word to quote author Glennon Doyle.

I am also blessed to be happily married to a peaceful, loving kind man. Unlike many of our politicians he is psychologically and emotionally mature. He understands why I won’t sleep under an open window or sit in the front of the house if the back part of it is unlocked.

I think I could probably write a whole other story about the men who support women who have experienced trauma

If politicians choose to use domestic violence and rape as a political tool and are unable to recognise that it is a human rights tragedy and a violation of women and children and family pets, then we have not come far at all and many more women and children and family pets will die at the hands of violent men and their need for power and control .

I miss you Janet . We laughed a lot together. We were wild and untamed in our teenage years and every time I hear John Lennon sing “ So this is Christmas “ I remember you belting it out in full force singing like a rock goddess and fully immersing you self in the joy of living .

I have written this story today in your name .

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A Picnic on International Women’s Day…

Posted by carolom on March 10, 2021

It is my experience that one of the many skills women develop and take into the third chapter of life is their shared meal and picnic superpowers.

We had a picnic lunch on International Women’s Day.. there was homegrown tomatoes and salad , egg sandwiches like Nanna used to make, delicious muffins some buttered, some not… vegetable patties and the potato salad mum taught me to make, (using salad cream not mayonnaise), plunger coffee and a pot of tea made with leaves not bags. simple pleasures.

And with the older years comes the fruits of the battles fought and won in the younger years. Conversations have an unapologetic depth we no longer use the term “woo woo” but explore metaphysics and psychology and family stories in a free and comfortable space.

I think regardless of our age we can all benefit from asking ourselves the question” have I spent time in nature recently.. oh my garden… somewhere outdoors in rooms without walls“.q

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International Women’s Day 2021

Posted by carolom on March 7, 2021

On International Women’s Day 2021 my thoughts and reflections are with the thousands of women across the world who staff domestic violence shelters to create a safe space for women and children and pets who are not safe in their own homes.

And for the thousands of women who are homeless as a result of trauma.

Also to the volunteers  and community members who support fundraising and development, who freely and anonymously contribute time and energy and resources to making the world a safer place.

I would also like to acknowledge the brave, resilient Women who walk through the Shelter doors, often with just the clothes she is wearing and is called upon to dig deep and work relentlessly to recreate her life free of violence and oppression.

Some of the Women I met as young ternage Mothers in shelters in the 80’s and 90’s are here in my social media world, now young Grandmothers, career women and inner-travellers.  

You know who you are…🙏🏾🙏🏿🙏🏽🙏🏼 Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your world all those years ago when you were brave and determined to transform your world.

And as a final IWD  tribute I would like to affirm that the nature connected Eve with her adventurous spirit and connection to the Natural world who was portrayed as weak willed and easily lead astray was only a projection of the men who made up that Story. 

Eve is the Mother of the next chapter of our collective Eveolution as as the torrid cultural patterns of rape culture and  protection of the predator / vilification  of the victim is exposed in its entirety, we can take another step forward in a world that HISstorically worships male figures and demonises the Feminine Divine.

🙏🏽🙏🏼🙏🏿🙏🏾🧙🏼‍♀️

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The inevitable fall of Diana Spencer and her daughter-in-law Meghan Markle

Posted by carolom on March 4, 2021

The day Diana Spencer  married Prince Charles, who was very much in love with Camilla (but an heir was required of him) I  was living in a caravan park in far north queensland.

Who could forget the moment when they were asked about their love and Dianas face when he said “whatever love means”. That was the warning moment she was unable to respond to.

One of the converted Bus people in the caravan park put their television out the front and we watched the Royal Wedding from our camp chairs and singlets and shorts.

The week that Diana died whilst being pursued by a frenzy of men with cameras, I was on retreat by the beach after completing the 12 week Artists Way program.

In the years between those two events Diana had gone from a portrayal of a virgin Princess to an unstable shrew.

The Goddess Diana is the huntress, also known as Artemis who skillfully shoots her arrow with precision.

But the huntress was hunted in this modern version of an ancient story,

Bullying, coersion, opportunistic older men and families that have impenetrable patterns that go back for generations are not bound by poverty, wealth, profile or anonymity. 

They are the dysfunctional patterns that allow a king  to behead wives and women to be gaslighted by controlling royal forces that they are ill equipped to cast an arrow against.

Prince Andrew and I were born 9 days apart and his marriage to the high energy non-conformist Sarah was also told in the media in a similar fashion…stable men, unstable women.

Meanwhile the accusation against Andrew of his sex trafficked abuse of a 17 yo  girl and his close association with the network headed up by his long term friend Epstein has not had the same scrutiny or exposure as was put upon the woman who married into the royal family.

When Harry met Meg, both carrying family wounds and parental trauma, a new chapter began.

Meghan Markel is the lastest to be villified as unstable, woman of questionable ethics and values. 

The pattern continues.

Where did it begin? 

Was is it when Eve with her curiosity and capacity to speak Nature was cast as a weak willed Woman who would lead Adam Astray? 

Perhaps, after all we can understand society by its core creation stories, the stories that  it adheres to, powerful stories that are handed  down and  etched into the psyche, allocating immutable roles for the descendants of the original story.

My Friday medARTations are for Diana Spencer and her daughter -in-law Meghan Markle. 

And for Harry who has spoken out against  the hunting pack mentality of the British media and the cost to his mental health.

There may be jewels and palaces and coaches, grand weddings and vast estates handed down to the next group of people born. into  the story but it is still a story of domestic violence, gaslighting, coercion and victim shaming.

That’s the insidious nature of the forces many women are dealing with, publicly and privately -an exisiting system that protects predators and villifies its victims.

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Let that Young Woman Go…

Posted by carolom on February 21, 2021

I saw a promo clip of one of The Real Housewives reality tv show & knowing some of the women are my age, I wondered how on earth they get around very high, thin  spikey heels and corset-tight pencil skirts.

The pressure of trying to look like a vibrant, collagen filled young woman when you are entering old woman hood is a very strange post-feminism cultural ab-norm.

I remembered the words of Desiderata and would add,
“eat healthy, exercise and take care of your body…but let that young woman go”…

 

*Lauren Bacall Image sources – Google Images

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The Sorrowful and The Commanding

Posted by carolom on February 19, 2021

She cannot stand under the weight of her grief .
He stands tall confident of his power and authority

Mum and I used to love walking around old cemeteries and reading the headstones brief & powerful story telling tablet

There is so much history, art and sculpture, story and testament to Love in a grave yard. It was never a melancholy pastime though occasionally we would feel the heartache of the words on a headstone, especially around the turn of the century when some families had so many losses, war, sickness and high rates of infant mortality.

I was walking through the last cemetery Mum and I strolled through a few weeks before she passed away and was struck by the Sorrowful and the Commanding.
How the female figures in many variations are weeping or grieving and the male figure is Commanding.

In my world the female figures are also standing tall, commanding the Divine, even as grieving mothers because this is what I see all the time in Women’s Shelters.

Women standing tall in the face of the deepest grief.

In the patriarchal religions men (Jesus / God) are often seen as the authoritative commanding presence and women (Mary) weeping over loss and devastation, the grief bending her in shapes that curl into herself, whereas men stand tall , arms open wide like conductors of the heavens .

As my walk through the place where my precious Mother and I had strolled came to an end I saw the ever present OM on the side of a metal drum. It made me smile because surreptitiously hidden in a Christian burial ground the OM reminds us that we are all One.

We come from the same hOMe
& we return to the same cOMmunity
but how we interpret and cOMmunicate our Journey
is what creates so many cOMplex and diverse
versions of the cosmic wOMb

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More on the Laws of Mother Nature

Posted by carolom on February 16, 2021

When I was preparing to create The Big Girls Little Coloring Book, I took a enormous inspiration from the natural world . The seasons and cycles, the rising tides of the ocean and the healing power of the Mother Nature’s magnificent outdoors .

My sunflowers are currently erupting across the front garden and I am reminded of their influence as I drew the first page in my colouring book . “My Thoughts Pollinate the Ether”, a medARTation on the power of Thought, their electro-magnetic impact and how we can “pick up” on a person by the signal they are sending. I have combined a coloured image from The Big Girls Little Colouring book with two of my sunflowers are different stages of their life cycle.

By virtue of how the man-made, men-designed world that overlays the Natural world, many of us spend a great deal of time inside of concrete walls, breathing electrical area and wondering why we feel lethargic and without energy much of the time .

Spending time in Nature is oxygen for the Soul.

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Figures in the Landscape of My Garden

Posted by carolom on February 14, 2021

Throughout winter the Fig  tree is  bare and see through. In September tiny new leaves begin to erupt on the branches.

Then Figs the size of peas emerge.

And 6 months later the tree is at Her most glorious, delicious, generous abundance.

It is now February and already a few leaves are beginning to curl and dry and one day in July -a few short months away – I will be rugged up on a winters day, staring at the bare branches, yearning for a plump summer Fig with its crunchy seeds inside of syrup and anticipating the fruitful energies re-emerging from the roots and soil.

I am reminded of one of the creation stories written by men whereby curious, adventurous Eve, who could hear a Serpent speak, was vilified and diminished as weak willed and responsible for succumbing to temptation and misleading hapless Adam and his equally weak willed ways.

This seeded a deep and enduring belief that Woman can not be trusted and will only survive under the close watch of the all powerful Father.

Belief.

In this mens creation story Eve was evicted from the Garden, cast as a sinner, requiring redemption and “saving “ by a male team of the all powerful saviour.

This is also a common projection in relationships where women are told that only he can keep her safe and what she experiences as her oppression is in truth, his very necessary protection and supervision.

When all along She was a singer of Her own song not a sinner who did wrong.

Women would have told a very different Garden of Eden Story, of fruits, abundances, fig pies and Gratitude.

My much loved Fig Tree…creating magnificent Fig’ures all over Mother Natures sculptures in the Spring time. It’s all part of the Eve’olution song…

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Mother Nature ~ in Her Own Time

Posted by carolom on February 14, 2021

To see a world in a grain of sand

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And eternity in an hour.

~William Blake ~

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