~ The Art Of Change ~ with Carol Omer ~

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

Archive for August, 2007

Oprahs ‘Workshops’…

Posted by carolom on August 27, 2007

I try not to make appointments for Mondays as that is the day I have allocated as my time to spend the day in my studio and catch up on correspondence, workshop planning and, my favourite….to watch the Oprah show.

Over Christmas I was given the Oprah Winfrey Anniversary Collection- Highlights of 20 years of her shows.
It was a bit like spending time in a three day Angel-intensive workshop!…the editors chose well and the commentary by Oprah with personal insights and why-things-were-done-this way and thier impact on her development was very enlightening.

Service, contribution, making a difference, breaking patterns, creating new ones, laughter, vision, magic..these are some of the giftings in the gift of the Collection.

For ten years I was able to use video-recordings of the Oprah show in the groups I ran for homeless mothers with children .
I have seen first hand the power of her personal vision to bring about change and a new vision to the lives of young Women who have forgotten the magic after leading lives of trauma and dispossession.

And of course Oprah has a strong team to carry the vision with her…she is certainly not where she is because she got there on her own…

M~iracles ………..Mirrorcles!

Todays Oprah show was about the power of Forgiveness…. a gay man who was beaten by a white supremicist 20 years ago ends up working at the Museum of tolerance and finds himself side by side with his attacker, who has undergone a transformation of beliefs……he not only forgave his attacker and the exceptionally brutal beating…but they have become friends…
Here is their myspace site:
End Hate Now.

There was also a Jewish woman who lost her whole family in the concentration camps. She meets with the daughter of the man who enslaved her and killed all of her family and takes a journey back to the camp where it happened…reminding everyone that we have choices and we can choose to forgive….

I don’t get to go to workshops very often and my “Wise Older Woman” Molly passed on 7 years ago, therefore much of my work is self generated without the benefit of a like-minded creative team…..

So Mondays-with-Oprah are the equivalent to an afternoon in Soul School…..

Posted in Community, Forgiveness, Journeys, Lifes Stories, Oprah Winfrey, Teachers, Wisdom | Leave a Comment »

The Beauty in the Sorrow….

Posted by carolom on August 16, 2007

On September 8th it is the 6th Anniversary of the death of my childhood friend…she was killed by her husband, who then killed himself…

In unrelated circumstances I was recently invited to facilitate a five week Women’s Art project Always Remembered…creating empowerment Art and Badges to distribute to shelters to honour the memory of Women and Children who have died in domestic violence….I also acknowledge the pets who have lost their lives at the hand of rage also.

I work extensively with Women whose lives are affected by violence and addiction and am privileged to hear many stories of courage and resilience and hope that never dies….and Women who identify where they can create changes and how so much of their past can be rescripted so that fear and subjugation is transformed to resilience and courage to resist….and hopelessness and worry become determination and empowerment.

And then there are the Women who come to my programs who are the perpetrators of violence…often the daughters of violent Mothers and, to quote one Woman…”mean, mean Grandma’s”… and their stories challenge the stereotypes that are so prevalent in the human services sector…but that’s another Blog-Story for another day………

As I was driving to the second session I was pondering how my friend ran out of chances to leave….this was the second knife attack she had endured in five years, the first by another man who eventually committed suicide after his release from prison…..
My friend had a many-years-long pattern of choosing badly when it came to love and happiness…she did not get to break the pattern that formed during years of low self esteem and drug addiction….

But she was more than just her tragic story and we laughed a lot over the years we spent together in the wild-70’s and during our early childhood days…

As I neared the venue, I pulled up at the traffic lights, immersed in contemplating both my friends path, where her children are now and the fantastic Art work we were about to create, when the Sun, on this cloudy winters day, appeared from behind the clouds…
My partner Sal has instilled “Carry your camera everywhere” in me and so I was able to capture the moment…..

The image mirrored my reflections and I was reminded of how important it is to be able to embrace all that happens in life, denial and resistance only adds to the stress of moving through the pain….
“I am large I can embrace paradox”- Walt Whitman

Part of the empowerment Art process is to create simple pieces that reflect aspects of who we are, where we have been…and where we are going.

I did this glass painting (on the wall in the following photo) 10 years ago….

Immersed in the Ocean creatures, surrounded by the Eagle and the hand offering the light of the candle I realise that at the deepest level we all know who we are and what brings inspiration and love to our life….it’s just that we often end up with who I~Am~AMnesia….and the Journey to peace of mind and happiness is something we can paint into our life…by just remembering who we already are….

Posted in Change, Creativity, Dreaming, Journeys, Lifes Stories | Leave a Comment »

When people we care about express views that oppose our own…

Posted by carolom on August 6, 2007

A good friend and former colleague made a comment recently about how she ‘struggles’ with the public protocol of acknowledging that we are on traditional Kaurna Land here in Adelaide.
My friend went on to express her concern…”how long do we have to keep saying sorry”…”other people have had terrible things happen too”…

Even recalling her comments stirs that feeling inside that we still have such a long way to go before the impact of systemic genocide and the child abductions of the white Australia policy that still resonantes in the lives of many people today is healed and resolved…for some it will never be as they live out their life of disconnection in a void and wilderness of cultural identity and belonging…

Wheras I fully endorse the acknowledgement as a very small step in the Reconciliation process, when I am speaking publically I also add as part of the acknowledgement, that many of the things we are seeking today and have been identified in our current State Strategic Plan… connection , meaning, mental well being, family, community, creativity and envorinmental management…are traditional Aborginal cultural values and practices that kept Australia healthy and well, with clear waters and strogn soil for thousands of years…

My friend and I have shared many special and sacred moments over the years we have known one another, sharing the journeys of homeless women and our personal trials and tribulations and it is a solid connection but I have to admit that I felt myself withdrawing from her and concerned by the views she holds, even knowing that she is as impacted by the negative portrayal of Aboriginal people as many other members of mainstream, middle class white Australia are, didn’t help to shift the sense of ignorance-born-of-‘privielge’ that sweeps across divide between Black and white Australia.

I was going to detail the conversation to demonstrate how someone who works in the area of human services and is a kind and caring person in so many areas, can be so ignorant of the deep impact of the European invasion on so many levels…and how that level of ignorance reflects how early it is in the journey of recovery as a Nation…but instead I’ll share a more forward moving news…
I was thrilled to hear the news that Bruce Trevorrow, a Ngarrindjeri man who was stolen from his family as a little boy and placed in a prison-like institution, will be compensated for the actions of the government and the devastating impact it has had on his life.

$500,000 stolen generation compo awarded
Article from: AAP

By Todd Cardy
August 01, 2007 06:49pm
AN Aboriginal man taken from his family as a baby has been awarded more than $500,000 compensation in a South Australian court, a first for a member of the stolen generation.

Bruce Trevorrow was 13 months old in 1957 when a neighbour drove him from his Coorong family home, southeast of Adelaide, to the Children’s Hospital on Christmas Day, with stomach pains.

Hospital notes tended to the South Australian Supreme Court show staff recorded that the child had no parents, was neglected and malnourished.

Two weeks later, he was given under the authority of Aborigines Protection Board to a woman, who later became his foster parent, without the permission of his natural parents.

He did not see his family again for 10 years.

In June 1998, Mr Trevorrow sued the SA Government for pain and suffering, claiming he had lost his cultural identity, suffered depression, became an alcoholic and had an erratic employment history after being taken as a child from his family.

The court heard the 50-year-old was depressed due to a chronic insecurity and had been treated with antidepressants and tranquillisers since he was 10.

Justice Thomas Gray today ruled in favour of Mr Trevorrow, saying the state falsely imprisoned him as a child and owed him a duty of care for his pain and suffering.

Justice Gray said Mr Trevorrow had had a “tumultuous young adult life” and the removal of him from his family caused injury and damage, which manifested throughout his childhood and adult life.

“I have reached the conclusion that the plaintiff has, thus far, generally had a miserable life,” he said in his findings.

“He does not belong. He feels isolated. His depression has led him to abuse alcohol. This abuse has compounded his problems.”

Justice Gray noted a “level of determination” on the part of the Aborigines Protection Board to ensure Mr Trevorrow and his mother did not have contact.

He rejected arguments from SA Government lawyers that the child was not unlawfully removed from his parents because the Aborigines Protection Board was not part of the government.

The Government was ordered to pay $525,000 for injuries, loses and false imprisonment.

Mr Trevorrow left court vindicated, saying he would pay off his house with the money.

“I thought that we would never get there,” he told reporters outside the court.

“But the day’s come when I’ve got the peace of mind to start my life.”

Rik Morris, a spokesman for SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, said the government would read the lengthy judgment and seek legal advice before making a decision on whether to appeal.

Posted in Aboriginal, Community, Justice, Ngarrindjeri, Oneness, Relationships, Wisdom | 4 Comments »