~ The Art Of Change ~ with Carol Omer ~

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

Archive for March, 2007

Einstein Chuckling

Posted by carolom on March 30, 2007

I LOVE Einstein…I love that he was left handed, had a deeply Spiritual insight, a wild head of electrical current hair, that he was a profound Thinker AND had a great sense of humour and humanity.

A Piscean, he truly was a big Fish in the Ocean of life…

I came across this clip on the net where Einstein is about to read something but there is too much noise going on, so someone (off camera) calls for “Quiet” and there was something about the moment that made Einstein chuckle before launching into his reading.
It is a brief chuckle but the light and delight sparkles in his eyes…Magic!

It’s just delightful to see this captured moment in a day of the life of this great explorer of the Mind.

Posted in Einstein, Humour, Imagination, Teachers | 2 Comments »

New Age Road Rage- Law of attraction running amok

Posted by carolom on March 27, 2007

This semi fictional piece was written after spending a great deal of time travelling on the city and suburban roads in the mid-late 90’s at a time when technology was making a huge in road to our daily lives at the same time as the ‘self actualisation’ industry began to pop up with a never before seen choice of healing, feeling, growing modalities to suit every persons need….

New Age Road Rage

She was stationary at the traffic lights, a mobile phone pressed snuggly to her ear. At the precise moment that the emerald disc flashed permission to go forth her lap-top computer which was open and operational on the seat beside her, slid forward and fell to the floor.
She experienced two automatic responses. Dropping the phone into her lap she simultaneously obeyed the command to accelerate whilst retrieving the lap top from it’s upright position.

She leant forward as she accelerated. It caused her personal-organiser multi storage-glows-in-the-dark mobile phone to fly off her lap and land on her left foot. She wove dangerously close to the next lane of traffic, placing a bus full of children, a plumber in his van, two Japanese tourists in a rental car and three bowling ladies in an old FC Holden at serious risk
The children squealed:
“Watch out, watch out, it’s a drive by office. It’s a techno-terrorist. Aaaahhhh”
There were screams and pandemonium as twenty-two faces pressed at the windows with frightened intrigue.
The bus driver reacted with the conditioned response of someone who encounters drive-by’s every day. He downed his foot and sped past the life threatening mobile office whilst the children screamed out “ pull over pull over ”.
Some were seeing a drive-by office for the very first time!

The vehicular office was a buzz with dangerous activity as the heavy metal steering lock jiggled dangerously close to the lap-top computer which was still splayed open on the passenger side floor.

“Hmm…” she thought. “Perhaps I should pull over.”
Still running on the adrenaline and excitement of regaining control, she responded to the idea with trigger light enthusiasm, causing her to cut in front of the startled bowling ladies in the FC Holden whilst four other cars performed a synchronised brake dance.

All around expletives rose and fell like dominoes but she remained oblivious to the furore she had created.
She would never know that Thelma, the best bowler on the team had emitted the four-letter word when she was forced to take evasive action.
Her team-mates sat in shocked silence. The drive-by office had claimed more victims in its wake.
Thelma had lost innocence in her bowling buddies eyes. They would never have thought their esteemed team member could be so un-Christian under pressure. Thelma’s foul language was unforgiveable and marked a turning point in the bowling teams future.

With practised expertise the phone-wielding, office-driving terrorist came to a dramatic halt in a no standing zone.
Flicking the hazard lights on, she retrieved the mobile phone.
“Hello, are you still there?” she asked warmly.
The equally pleasant and very patient man on the other end of the phone had no idea that she had saved them from danger in their near miss mobile tragedy.
“Yes, yes I’m here.”
“Sorry about that little delay. I’ll just have a look in my diary.”
She lit up a cigarette as she spoke, careful not to click the lighter too close to the phone.

Discretion. Such an important aspect of projecting just the right image for her job and smoking had become so unpopular these days.
Such judgement people place on one another!

“Yes, I can fit you in on Tuesday the 12th.”

Reaching over, she turned herself sideways, readjusted the laptop and started to type. (She was very impressed that the near miss tragedy had not upset the function of the little computer).
“I’ll just get a few details from you.”
Around her the traffic bleated its protest. A horn blared and a van tooted to tell her she was blocking the traffic flow.
“Bloody drive-by office” one angry florist screamed. “Why don’t ya get a real office ya moron!”

She was oblivious to their indignation. Her hazard lights were on so surely they could see this was an emergency?
She took the enquirers name, age and date of birth. Noted he was a Virgo and made a mental note that he probably had issues with criticsm and excessinve neatness.

At 4:45 on a Wednesday afternoon she efficiently conducted a preliminary interview in the midst of the peak hour build up.
“Yes I’ll look forward to seeing you then. No you don’t need to bring your own pillow if you choose to do the weekend intensive.
All we ask you to bring is a positive attitude and an open mind! At New Rage Alternatives we believe that to change our life we need to change our thoughts. Grow with the flow and things will get better before you know.”

The eager caller agreed. He knew his brother had put him onto the right person to help him. It just felt so..so right!

“Okay, look forward to seeing you on the 12th”
He hung up the phone chanting a little mantra to himself:
“Changing your thinking can stop you from sinking…
Changing your thinking can stop you from sinking……hmmm……I hope I don’t have to share aroom with a slob that weekend
Changing your thinking can stop you from sinking”…

She clicked the compact little phone shut and looked in the rear view mirror.
In the far distance she saw the tell-tale shape of an on-coming patrol car and with practised skill she repositioned the lap top on the seat beside her as she pulled out into the traffic, cutting in front of an off duty pizza delivery driver.
Her decisive action caused him to slam on his brakes frightening the peaceful ruminations on last weekends camping trip right out of him, leaving him startled and defensive!

“Bloody idiot” he screamed. “You drive-by mobile moron”

She turned up the volume on her sense-surround stereo and the seductive calm of ocean waves mingled with the cigarette smoke and her lavender perfume.

“Careful buster!….your negative thoughts will end up attracting you an accident” she mumbled pleasantly as the waves rolled and tumbled around her.
She accelerated her drive-by office and headed North.

The pizza driver increased his speed and leant forward to read the words emblazoned on the back window of her lipstick red BMW.
New Rage Alternatives. Let US help YOU gain control.
“Bloody yuppy hippy” he yelled, scaring Bronson his great dane who was sitting illegally on the back seat of his employers car.

She saw his face in her rear view mirror. It was contorted and twisted with rage.
She shook her head sadly, tutting in sage like fashion.
“Oh if only he could realise that his attitude is creating his reality…that’s a dangerous amount of anger he is vibrating there”
She exhaled dramtically, releasing the unpleasant feeling he had unleashed into the smoke filled car.
“ahhh…thats better breathing in the positive….exhaling the negative”……

She drew the image of a glorious white-light bubble around her to deflect the waves of vitriol the outraged driver was projecting towards her.

By the time he over took her he was wearing a nasty sneer and experiencing violent thoughts so it was not surprising that further up the road a radar gun clocked him exceeding the limit by two hundred and fifty dollars.
She sailed past doing 61 peaceful kilometres and she sighed knowingly when she saw the leather clad policeman emerge from the bushes and flag the culprit down.
“That guy has got no idea how his thoughts just manifested that speeding fine. He would really benefit from our Believe not Decieve seminars…”

Her thoughtfulness was interrupted when the mobile phone began to chirp cheerily in her lap.
She twisted the wheel slightly causing her to swerve to the right as she fumbled for the tiny little answer button, veering over the white line once again…
Her erratic actions impacted the traffic with no forewarning, frightening the driver in the big black vehicle in the next lane.
He was heading back to the funeral parlor and the unexpected swerve by the car in the lane next to him caused him to brake suddenly, almost dislodging the empty coffin in the rear of the hearse.

He slammed his hand onto the centre of the wheel, hitting the horn with such force that the ensuing blast of noise would surely have awoken his cargo had it been earlier in the day.
He immediately took a deep breath, steaming the window as he exhaled….

“Oh well, idiots like that are good for business” was his first thought once his heart had stopped racing and his mind could think clearly again. He had recently finished reading the New York times best selling self help book ,Choose Your Reality by Isis Magique and he had been practicing turning negative experiences into positive ones since.

“That duck-brain driver just gave me the perfect opportunity to take charge of my internal state”.
He smiled with the satisfaction of knowing he had just taken control of his emotional response.
Ms Magique would be impressed with her enthusiastic student indeed!

The driver of the bright red BMW was oblivious to the smiling face of the hearse driver along side her as she brought the phone to her ear…. “Hello, New Rage Alternatives- changing your thinking can stop you from sinking…. How can I help you to help yourself?”.

Posted in Humour, law of attraction | 2 Comments »

Jean Houston talks about her work

Posted by carolom on March 24, 2007

Jean Houston is one of the highly skilled Elders of the human capacities training movement.
Author of over 20 books, student of Margaret Mead, friend of Joseph Campbell and former trainer of Hillary Clinton, Jeans Mystery School and Social Artistry intensives are a powerful, high energy experience of art, creativity, Mind capacities development, dance, quantum physics, song and Energy empowerment….

In this video Jean discusses her work and her views on importance and significance of the times we are living in…

Posted in Art, Community, Creativity, Energy, Imagination, Journeys, Magic, Metaphysics, Mind Power, Mystical, Social Artistry, Spirituality, Teachers, The Art of Change, Transformation, Wisdom | 4 Comments »

Sisters…our Brothers are not all to blame….

Posted by carolom on March 24, 2007

Since opening up my suitcase and reading through 30 years of notebooks and journals….See here…… I have been reading things that I wrote at various stages of my years of working in human services. what an interesting expereince to say the least!

In the late 80’s and through the 90’s I was constantly coming across the ‘sexism in reverse’ trend of the very anti-male feminist right movement that was quite influential in the welfare sector, resulting in some of the very same exclusion by gender issues that women were rallying against in the first place.

I do not see myself as separate to or victimised by men, despite having had significant challenges in the male-female dynamics of our family in my formative years….
and living in a relationship that was hostile and volatile for a number of years.

After attending a public workshop one day I decided to pen my views , as a woman who is very not anti male and had never aligned with the feminist movement, preferring to focus on Human Liberation – recognising that the perpetrator is in their own prison too.
The following is the semi-fictional piece I wrote:
“Sisters, our Brothers are not all to blame”…. and although 10 years down the track it is a bit dated and has not been edited, my core belief in a much bigger story of Men and Women and the dynamics and politics remains as strong now as it did then….perhaps even more so as I understand the evolving nature of consciousness.

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

Sisters… Our Brothers are Not All To Blame!

She had been quite vocal for most of the morning. She was a tall lady, probably the oldest in the room and she commanded a certain degree of respect because of her age.
Those who were gathered were mostly white women without tribe and they responded well when a potential Elder was in their midst.
Some of the Archetypes are imbued with more power than others!
She was almost 6 foot and she had the equestrian look of someone who had ridden the hurdles and steeple chases of life in a manner that left her somewhat scathed…And when it was her time to speak, she proved to be very scathing indeed.
I had been doodling as the invited guests spoke. We had gathered from many walks of the working life to discuss the nature of addiction amongst women who are in pain.
There was only one man amongst us and when I saw him I experienced a ripple of trepidation that whispered words of premonition… “I hope this doesn’t turn into a blame all men session” I thought with more than a touch of apprehension…I had walked this path before.

I continued with my doodling…My subconscious tossed out the word BLAME…B-Lame, B, hyphen… lame.
“Hmm I like that. Blame. B-Lame be crippled by blame. Blame makes you lame”

I was beComing lost  in the lateral realm so I forced myself to put the pen down and pay attention to the tall woman.
It was her turn to speak.
Robyn, who had shared her story earlier that day offered her the microphone. She rudely dismissed it with a sweep of her hands.
I was in the presence of someone who had forgone politeness for purpose. She didn’t even notice Robyn’s slightly embarrassed smile…She was far too busy preparing for the attack.

She began to speak. “Women have been disempowered in all walks of life. In the Media, in Law, in Parliament and in the Church”
She launched into her interpretation of why the world is in the mess that it is. “The male structures are resistant to change and it is up to women to move into these areas so that the damage can be corrected”
I was unable to look up because I was in the midst of my premonition coming true and I was expending quite a bit of energy trying to thought-form communicate to the solitary male in the room.

Unfortunately the number of heads nodding in agreement negated my lone psychic cry. “Excuse me”, I projected his way, “Not all of use here believe that men are to blame for absolutely everything that has gone wrong”.
I shuffled uncomfortably in my seat.
“B-lame. Get stuck in blame.”
I went back to my doodling and sketched a cradle around the words. Underneath the cradle I wrote more words:
“The hand that rocked the cradle helped to perpetuate the myths”.
I was underlining it for the third time when I was compelled to look up.
A wise Elder would not misuse her sacred trust by imparting bias as a truth but before my very ears, she was perpetuating more of the victim-speak that had somehow become accepted as historical fact.

Her hostility brought forth the memory of a past learning curve. I had joined a forum of Youthworkers who had gathered to look at issues for young women who lived in shelters.…
Male workers were not allowed.
They were not allowed to participate regardless of whether or not they worked with the young women who we were discussing.
Excluded. Full stop. Excluded regardless of whether or not they were directly involved in policy making and that they may have had some very valuable contributions to make They were not allowed to participate because they were men.
I cast my mind back to the curve that strengthened my spine.
“Excuse me. Isn’t this forum concerned with issues for young women. Aren’t we being sexist by not allowing male Youthworkers to participate?”
The moisture in my mouth had undergone internal alchemy and was now pouring out the palms of my hand.
I was not used to asserting myself in the presence of overt separatism but I had done my research. I had checked with the Equal Opportunities commission first.
A male worker would be quite within his rights to assert that he was discriminated against because of his gender if he was excluded from this forum . I knew many good, kind, caring Youthworkers…and many of them were men!
Mickee, who was known as Michelle in the first half of her current incarnation, glared at me. It was not a politely concealed response. Mickee didn’t like men. She counselled female survivors of sexual abuse and she considered all men to be perpetrators.
No man was to be trusted! Betrayal by women who defended the rights of men was viewed as further evidence of the toxins of patriarchy…Mickee had read the book “Divas in Denial”.
I hadn’t but I knew that she thought I was in denial. She didn’t know that I used to partake of the blame-game.
I looked back on that time as a period of creative and Spiritual atrophy.
At that time I had not begun to understand metaphysics and the evolution of consciousness. The illusory nature of drama and pain were still unrealistic concepts …things had changed a great deal since then.

I thought Mickee looked very aggressive.
She was dogmatic and narrow minded.
She was angry and not at all compassionate or flexible.

She leant forward as she spoke.
“Look, we know that men are dogmatic, narrow minded, inflexible and full of anger.
I question why men want to work with young women anyway”…
Her sisters, my sisters rallied to her support…I was a misfit in my floral skirt.

I felt under attack by women who looked and acted in the manner that they attributed to the men who they despised.
Duality and paradox swirled before me as my learning curve stretched at my resolve and enticed me to back down. I didn’t.
The anti-male movement had been ruffling my feathers for far too long.

After terse debate there was a token compromise. Male workers could come along once every fourth meeting.
Alas, there was only one who was brave enough to come along and he was treated to the embarrassment of whispered intonations and looks that told him he was not welcome in this enemy camp..

He paid for the sins, real and imagined of all men who had journeyed before him.

The forum disbanded shortly after. The philosophical divide had created a chasm that could not be bridged and I had outed myself as a hetrosexual humanist in a flock of anti-male mostly-sisterhood- feminists who had little to do with men, unless it was to decry their flawed and vitriolic ways…

I brought my thoughts back to the room.
The speaker was drawing to a close. I knew it was time.
I had to respond to the attack that had lasted for half an hour and had left no man standing in it’s wake:
“Excuse me. I think that it’s quite sexist to make sweeping statements about men. What you have said is akin to saying that all women are bad drivers. It’s an archaic, sexist statement and it’s untrue.”

I knew my analogy was a little twee but she got the gist of what I was trying to say.

I looked at her with many other thoughts remaining unspoken.
Little boys who were told by their mothers, sisters, aunties and grandmothers not to cry. “Don’t be a sooky”. “Act like a man”. “Stop being a cry baby” “You’re acting like a girl”. “Don’t be a sissy”…”Boy’s don’t play with DOLLS!”
Suck it up!

Little boy artists and poets and dancers and writers who were laughed off the family stage and re-programmed to be tough, compete as urban warriors, providers for their flock.
The strong, silent type became a metaphor for the repressed, made-mute type.
Their fathers, brothers, uncles and grandfathers collaborated in these unenlightened beliefs…
Sugar and spice and all things nice…for the Girls.
Rats and snails and puppy dogs tails for the Boys.

We have all been involved in the machinations and messages that created the mess we are in.
Millions of boys schooled in the rigid discipline of removing themselves from the poetry and rhythm of life.
Millions of girls who were taught by their mothers and fathers to be nice, be a wife…don’t get a life.

Generations of blocked, angry frustrated men.
Generations of repressed, angry frustrated women.
Concentration camps for the Soul churning out damaged Men and Women, many of whom spend their adult lives wasting time and energy accusing each other of blame.

B-lame…get stuck in blame and we’ll never ever move forward.

Men who have had a shorter life span, higher incidence of heart failure and cancer and other Soul-bondage related illnesses.
Their Sisters, we women who suffered repression, depression, nest-internment, neurosis and an inability to reach our fullest potential …
We have all suffered…Let’s move on from the blame game say I!

My face remained expressionless whilst my thoughts embarked on my one sided debate.

“Life is one long conversation with our Self occassionally interupted by others”

The Expert on Addictions Elder looked down at me form her lofty height.

She spoke slowly because it was obvious I didn’t understand what she was saying.
“I was referring to the general state of things. The references I made to the male structures are to do with the patriarchal system”.

I did not respond. I didn’t want to debate in a few minutes her sexism of a lifetime. I dare not suggest that in order to address the balance we would have to look at the role of the Matriarchy in all of this. I wasn’t prepared to prod that sacred cow…not yet.
I did not want to take out the scales of injustice and weigh the grains of pain to see who has suffered the most and who was the most to blame.
I would not accept it when she inferred that a woman would be able to create positive change by virtue of the fact that she is a woman. The sceptre of my wicked step-sister loomed before me. Pauline Hanson. A paragon of the absence of insight and wisdom for multicultural reform.
I resisted the urge to request the tall woman to please explain!

The forum drew to a close. I tried to catch the eye of the man who had sat through the days discussion. He was nowhere to be seen. I heard later that he had not come back after lunch.

That evening I sat down to write a few words to the tall woman with a small view of a large and complex concern.
She was angry at all men and I crafted my words carefully in order to address her sexist views…….

“Dear Sister” I began, the internal alchemy now transmuting perceptions into the fluidity of words. “My Brothers are not to blame for everything that has gone wrong. To assume a person is a particular way because of their gender is something women have fought to have corrected. It works both ways……”.

I wrote about much of what I have spoken here and found myself writing late into the night.
I sensed that her blame was a mask that thinly disguised her own pain and the issue I was addressing was only a slither of much bigger story.
Nevertheless men had come in for quite a knocking that day, and it tends to happen a lot these days and I stand by my assertion that reminds us…
“Sisters, my Brothers are not all to blame”

Posted in Community, Drama, Lifes Stories, Men and Women, Sisterhood, Writing | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by carolom on March 22, 2007

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 / place of birth / family pattern 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 practical magic  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 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 »

We ALL have a Big Story in a small Suitcase….

Posted by carolom on March 17, 2007

I love the internet and the amazing connections, stories, access to information and food-for-Thought that flies serendipitously throughout cyber space but…….Computers and the internet can NEVER replace….

A suitcase?….not JUST a suitcase…….

….a life time of stories and journals and memories that began with my first note book in 1979 when I was travelling around Australia in a caravan with my gorgeous old english sheep dog Shamus……..years of joy and laughter and lessons and b’lessons… and the angst-filled times that seemed they would never pass (they always do)….all crammed into the suitcase that is covered in dust and old memories….Thoughts dreamt in ink from the days when cyber travels and connections seeemed like a science fiction dream.

……We are living the Dream…

It is my Intention to write my Big Story…the story we all have to tell……the story found not only in our books and photograph albums but the Story that can be found in who we are Becoming….for we never really “Become’…change and new challenges, broader Dreams and larger canvases ensure that our Story is one of Becoming and will always be filled with many chapters not yet known….My suitcase has traveled through the times of teenage turmoil and homelessness that lead to working in homelessness for 20 years….the caravan trip that lasted for 4 years and the people I met along the way….the murder of my life long friend and the birth of our families beloved twins……

….my beloved teacher Molly- click here- and the years we spent in psychic /spiritual development and healing………the end of a relationship that I thought would never end and the journey back to happiness…..the Mystery School event where I met my true beloved…and the stories of the people who have passed through my life, leaving beautiful memories and photographs and videos….to todays story of the blessing of being able to provide …

Art based Empowerment training using creativity for change….

Perhaps you might like to think about writing your Big Story too?

Posted in Creativity, Journeys, Relationships, Stories, The Art of Change, The Law of Attraction, Writing | 4 Comments »

In Memory of the Big River Gums

Posted by carolom on March 16, 2007

Many years ago I worked in a beautiful old homestead that had been renovated to become a shelter for homeless teenagers…The House was set in several acres on land that was adjacent to a river and lushly populated with the magnificent Big River Gums that have huge green lungs for breathing the air clean along busy Waterloo Corner Road…..
This kind of setting was often the traditional gathering place in less complex times when the Land was still in the hands and hearts of the rightful custodians.

This is The House…

I left The House in the early 90’s and over the years it has undergone several incarnations…always remaining a place of service and community.
A few years ago I heard that ‘they cut down the Big River Gums’ and I decided I did not want to go back there to see the land bare of those magnificent trees that I loved for so many years…at night time I would hear them breathe in the wind, in the mornings their branches full of birds would wake up the residents with the calls of magpies and galahs and rainbow lorikeets…sometimes you could smell the euclayptus in the air and many a restless teenager found quiet time sitting under the huge branches that covered the front of the grounds.

I was in the region today and after many years of habitually ignoring the old road where The House is based…I decided to go back to the place that holds so many fond memories and images of Big Trees watching over the shelters everyday life…
I pulled into the property and realised that the tree culling had not been as extensive as I had envisioned…there is definitely a gaping gap in the area closest to The House but many of the trees on the peripheral remain…like this one….

I strolled around the property and was taken aback when I came upon the felled- bodies of the Big River Gums laying in a greying pile by the old olive grove….
It felt like I had come upon an elephants grave yard where the large bones were discarded to the elements and my sadness over the loss of these magnificent, story-laden Big River Gums was felt at a place hundreds of years back in time…

This is what I came across….

I sat for awhile and remembered the seasons and wind storms, the thunder and rains and long hot desert summers that these magnificent trees had grown through together. I remembered how I used to park my old volkswagon under the largest tree…ignoring the ‘careful of falling branches’ speak in favour or the shade and sense of always-protected-never-harmed by the Big Trees…
I wondered about the dozens of birds nests that appeared every spring and the possums habitat that disappeared in an instant…I wondered where all those restless teenagers are almost 20 years later….

Although I have never known the stories of the local Aboriginal people, I felt sure that the land by the river would have been a part of the life of the traditional owners because even amongst the car fumes and roads and buildings and traffic, the land retains a special vibration that is palpable.

As I sat reflecting on time and loss and death and rebirth and happy times and sad times, I noticed one of the remaining Trees watching me….listening to my thoughts and sharing in my loss….I felt the presence of the big River Gum, alive and vibrant, surrounded by the amputated trunks on the ground.

So clear was the presence of the Spirit of the Tree that his heavy brow, thick lips and bearded face can be clearly seen at the base of the trunk on the right hand side…

Can you see what I saw? …look at his big heavy brow and beard touching the ground as he wathces over the bodies of the “Standing People” now fallen to the ground…

I always talked to those Big River Gums ….they were a part of my life for such a long time…and today I heard them speak back to me as I sat there at the graveside of some very dear old friends…….

Sometimes it is good to go back to places we swore we would never visit again because even amongst the sadness and memories there is beauty to be found if our eyes are open……

Posted in Aboriginal, Australia, Community, Elders, Energy, Garden, Imagination, Lifes Stories, Love, Mystical, Oneness, Spirituality, Wisdom | 4 Comments »

Phoenix Purrl

Posted by carolom on March 13, 2007

I am developing a 12 piece Mandala series for an Art Exhibition “Talking in Circles”….

Like Connections we are all One (click here) the current current painting has golden orbs…which are sunflowers, created by fire-flames of turmoil and chaos…the garden grown on the compost of days now past…
I was inspired to do this piece after running a group for Women living in a domestic violence shelter and hearing their stories of having lost their homes, had their dreams and hearts…and sometimes teeth broken….but are now developing the skills, belief in Self and courage to create their new life, free of violence and old patterns.
Learning to develop their Mind!!…….Yes!

I had the Phoenix painting-in-progress on the floor earlier this evening….getting ready to paint some more….and I left the room for just a second…and upon my return….look who I found sitting in the flames, warming her bottom!……;)

Purrl the Wonder Gurrl Cat!

Purrl arrived in my life only a couple of months ago, a homeless stray who gave birth to 4 gorgeous kittens two weeks ago…so I guess that having known homelessness, single parenting and hunger, she is well qualified to sit in the Phoenix fire and claim her brand new, purrrrfect life….

Don’t you love her little face?

Posted in Art, Beloved Pets, Creativity, Imagination, Lifes Stories, Mandalas, The Art of Change | 1 Comment »

Create Your Own Mandala

Posted by carolom on March 13, 2007

Thank you Mandi for inspiring me to make a mandala to show how to …..make a Mandala!

I will add to this blog tomorrow with information about why Mandalas are a powerful tool for creativity, transformation and change…

Posted in Community, Creativity, Energy, Imagination, Mandalas, Peace, Spirituality, The Art of Change | 2 Comments »