Posted by carolom on October 12, 2014
I have been working in domestic violence shelters for many years and recently something happened at the shelter where I was hosting the Art of Change personal development program.
I have witnessed it many times over the years and it can be summed up in two words.
Compassion and Generosity.
We were getting ready to start, coffee cups filled, table ready with the art supplies and Mandala templates when a staff member came in with two large boxes.
“These have been donated. Take what you would like.”
Before our eyes a knitted rainbow appeared, scarves, gloves, knitted hats and teddy bears, lovingly stitched together by a group of women who care. The teddys are called trauma Teddy’s and are given as a comfort bear for children at the shelter who are coping with losing their home and the trauma of domestic violence.
The knitting volunteers care about their sisters and daughters and mothers in shelters and they care about their children.
I have seen this happen many times over the years.
Knitted blankets, baby clothes, donations of books, personal care products (thank you to the generosity of The Body Shop over many years) clothes and kitchen goods all make their way through the shelter doors..
There are the mobile creche volunteers who donate their time to women’s shelters so we can have child care during the groups and at Christmas time hampers, food vouchers and invitations to community Christmas parties.
Sometimes there will be tickets to a show donated to a shelter, cinema passes and free gym membership because people who are in the community really want to make a difference and offering their resources is a way of saying:
My heart feels for you, I want to contribute to your recovery and quality of life if I can.
At a women’s housing organisation their Christmas party event included a huge donation of electrical goods and household products from a company that put “action” to their vision of corporate contribution .
When I am invited to speak at forums that are often concerned with statistics and data and the current policies and funding issues, I emphasise that in amongst those things that define the every day business of a domestic violence shelter, there is also a profound demonstration that the media myth of our society as being uncaring and indifferent is simply not true. I have also met many men who contribute to the gardening, house maintenance, who offer their time as Father Christmas and others who support their wives and partners who work in domestic violence shelters.
I was involved in a facebook conversation lately with a group of women who said they wanted to do something to assist women in shelters, they didn’t have much money, they march and write letters but they’d like to do something practical. I told them that one of the most inexpensive but much needed resources in women’s shelters are nappies and personal care products especially sanitary products . *Make sure to call the shelter first because storage space can be a problem for contributions that arrive in bulk.
Their response was immediate and generous.
These things make a huge difference in shelter settings as does a packet of colouring pencils and Mandalas for colouring for women who are under enormous pressure and experiencing not only stress but a sense of confinement behind the locked gates of a safe house.
You may not know this about domestic violence shelters where, paradoxically women who have often been treated very poorly and are at great risk are recognised by others as deserving of love and care and nurturing and it is a very humbling thing to witness.
I just wanted to share this today because the image of that beautiful knitted rainbow that spilt across the table and the smiles and joy of women who are sorting through so much chaos in the early days of leaving a violent relationship, was too sacred not to share.
The following poster is based on one of the Mandalas in The Big Girls Little Colouring Book . The medARTation colouring book for women book is available on my website. It has its origins in the art work I created for the Art of Change personal development groups in women’s shelters and in 2012, at the request of a small group of wonderful women, I created the book so that medARTation process ifs available for all women everywhere.
This is the link to a previous blog post #WhyIStayed
Posted in Carol Omer, Community, Gratitude, Shelter, SiStars, Women | Leave a Comment »
Posted by carolom on January 25, 2011
Huntsman Spiders are very common in Australia and will often appear from seemingly nowhere.
They tend to go for a high space, away from predators ( humans and cats) and are often hunted and killed by terrified humans whose relationship with Spiders has been ruined by the films like Anachrophobia (link) and the wide spread primal fear that anything small and crawly is a great threat and must be destroyed.
I was delighted to see a Huntsman has turned up in my studio and is sitting motionless above the window.
I first spotted him at the other end of the house yesterday… they like to move around in the dark when the predators are sleeping and he walked the full length of the house during the night.
The zoom lense on my camera has captured the delicate hairs over my visitors exquisite legs. He hasn’t moved for the last couple of hours.
Some people within the diversity of Native American culture consider the Spider to be totemic and the bearer of gifts and medicine.
I wrote a previous blog entry about “Spiderwoman” here after Night-Spiders appeared in my garden a couple of summers ago and created magnificent webs night after night, unravelling them in the hours before dawn only to re-weave them again after dark….You can see the video in the blog post that I made of Night-Spider weaving with such precision and rhythm….Master weavers extraordinaire!
I have had many Huntsmen Spiders come to live in my home over the years and for a period of time there was one I called Morry who lived under the eave of my caravan and travelled thousands of miles with us during a trip around Australia… He would emerge from under the safety of the eave at night to feast on the dozens of insects that were attracted to the outdoor light on the caravan wall….He didn’t have to work hard for his tea as flying insects in the tropics are in abundance!
One day I went outside and there was Morry’s lifeless form with a ‘thread’ coming from his back with a shapeless ‘thing’ at the end, seemingly dead… I thought he must have been poisoned but a few hours later Morry re-emerged from the shapeless form at the end of the thread that he was hanging from, leaving behind a perfectly shaped, very empty Spider skin…
He was larger and darker than before and I was fascinated as to how he could have squeezed into that old skin of his!
I kept his old perfectly-shaped, empty skin in a Molly-Bushells lolly tin and occasionally would bring it out when fellow travelers visited – no doubt contributing to the wide spread anachrophobia after placing empty-Morry on the table when they weren’t looking and blowing on him to make his skin shoot across the table towards the unsuspecting guest.
I would like to apologise to anyone I terrified in the name of fun back then and to my Mother for sending Morry home in the tin that day. The silly things we do in our youth! lol
Here is a video that someone has posted of a Huntsman shedding his skin after she accidentally showered him with water whilst watering the garden.
One of the comments on the video pointed out that water assists in the shedding process…
Spiders are Mother Natures perfect creations! 8 delicate legs surrounding a perfect “8” shaped Mandala….
How lovely when one strolls into the house and sets up home for awhile…
Posted in Australia, Gratitude, Huntsman Spiders, Native American, Nature, Spiders, Spiderwoman | 3 Comments »
Posted by carolom on January 22, 2011
Another much loved Elder passed away recently. This Mandala poster (below) was created in memory of the senior Women who have passed away and the empty seats they have left in our Women’s Group.
We farewelled Aunty L in the Church she loved in the Community that is her Heart and Soul.
“We celebrate the Women we have Known and the Love that They have Sown” is a black and white coloring in poster that gives a creative place for the loss and the grief to be expressed as well as the happy times and beautiful memories of the Mothers, Sisters, Aunties and Grandmothers who are no longer with us.
We miss you very much sisters Aunty I and Aunty L ….
Celebrating the Women we Known & the Love that They Have Sown...
The Centre Flower surrounded by Hearts represents the Love that is seeded by our Mothers.
The circle of seeds surrounding the Hearts symbolises how the love continues down the generations and is seeded each time we remember her and tell stories.
The Spiral Flowers remind us that the circle of life continues and the circle within the circle shows us that as Women, we are who we are because of the Women who have travelled before us…..
The three lined border is the River of life…ever flowing, sometimes fast, other times trickling…and the tears we cry when we are missing her, come from the waters where we are all One…..
Colouring the Mandala:
Red for the power of the Emotions
Blue for tranquility and peace of Mind
Green for nourishment and growth…
Orange and Yellow for the Sun and the Flowers.
Pink for the peaceful Heart
Purple for the colour of the sun as it sets on the horizon…
Posted in Change, Community, Creativity, Elders, Family, Friendships, Grandmothers, Gratitude, Journeys, Letting go, Lifes Stories, Oneness, ProsperArty, Pt Pearce, Sisterhood, Spirituality, The Art of Change, Transformation, Unity, Women | 1 Comment »
Posted by carolom on September 17, 2010
Over the years I played a selection of Oprahs programs in-house as they were a rich, rare source of discussion and reflection and glimpses into new possibilities and self reflection during the years I ran a personal development group at a shelter for homeless young mothers. Oprah’s personal story is one of over coming enormous obstacles and the impact of abuse, liberation from racism and the power of aligning with the Divinity of life, putting practical action to make the Dream come true. Many homeless Women I met over the years recognised their own potential through the Stories that Oprah brought onto the world stage…
For young Aboriginal Women at the shelter who grew up seeing only white faces on Australian television (sadly not much has changed), Oprah’s presence on national television was hugely significant.
Oprah Winfrey is surrounded by a co-creative team and it has taken many years of creativity and co-operation for her to have reached the stand alone level of influence and impact she has achieved. I saw how impactful and life changing her motivational shows were for homeless Women throughout the 90’s – especially the Remembering Your Spirit series . I admire her achievements enormously, though I am not so much interested in her programs around celebrity and make overs as I am about what people can do to create change and activate their fullest potential.
Women’s Well~Being has been the focus of my work from many years & most of the ProsperArty Mandalas and the personal development art that I create for workshops express the Goddess aspect of being a Woman. We would sit and colour the Mandalas whilst watching the Oprah Show ~ a very relaxed way to sit and absorb information.
For me, one of the most powerful off all internal keys to creating change is Creativity…returning to the free flowing, creative state we came into this world with & have often lost along the way….
In the Spirit of recognising a Woman of great influence, who manifests the very best of the Goddesses, Athena the Warrior who invokes change, Hestia who presides over home and heart’h, Persephone who transcended the subjugation of the underworld and Artemis who cares for young girls and sacred animals, I acknowledge Oprah Winfrey’s role that she has played in showing women that you can create and grow and bring about change in this world, irrespective of which of the skins you are in, where you have come from or what others will say can or can’t be done….
The Mandala below – which I have called “When Women Dream and Create Together” is created in the form of a Mandorla, the name of the shape created where two circles meet. See my “About me ” page for further explanation of the Mandorla.
I was inspired to create “When Women Dream and Create Together” when it was announced that Oprah Winfrey would be coming to Australia, in a jumbo jet with John Travolta in the pilot seat and dozens of over joyed audience members! How fitting that Oprah completes her 25 years of public television with a trip to the Dreamtime Country.
Australia is Aboriginal country with a history of profound culture and wisdom that goes back thousands of years prior to European’s arriving here just a very short time ago. It is a living culture with so much to teach the world about how to live in harmony with Nature and within our Self. It is still the very early days of recovery from the devastating impact of white-settlement and I sincerely hope this important Australian story to the world during her visit.
I chose the words at the centre of the Mandorla to reflect three things that are core to creating together : Love, Passion & Service.
“Service is rent paid for room on Earth”….
In my workshops we add colour to the black and white template to create our own ProsperArty posters for relaxation and reflection. For those who have not experienced working with the Mandala (circular) art form, I encourage you to give it a try! Place your Vision, / thoughts / feelings into the Circle and see what Magic will unfold….
When Women Dream and Create Together
Together the Women are united in their Vision.
They hold up the Pyramid, symbolising the Feminine Trinity:
~ Mother, Daughter, Divine Spirit ~
The Women rise from the Heart together.
Love is the powerful, unifying force that generates their Creations.
Posted in ART of Change, Australia, Beauty, Change, Creativity, Dreaming, Energy, Fun, Gratitude, Imagination, Journeys, Joy, Lifes Stories, Love, Magic, Mandalas, Oneness, Oprah Australia, Oprah Winfrey, ProsperArty, Relationships, SiStars, Spirituality, Stories, The Art of Change, Transformation, Unity, Warrior Women, Wisdom, Women | 3 Comments »
Posted by carolom on February 19, 2010
The world is a little less bright today as one of the true Stars of Australian music has passed away.
Ruby Hunter was the first Aboriginal Woman in Australia to secure a record contract with a major record company but her greatest achievement was her love, inspiration and strong role model she was for all Women, most especially Aboriginal Women. She was and will remain a strong voice for Women recovering from violence and abuse.
Ruby, like so many other Aboriginal children, was stolen from her family by the Australian government and this deep trauma lead her to a period of a life on the streets and alcohol…until she met her life partner and Soul Mate, Archie Roach as a teenager…Together they enriched the voice and culture of Australian music forever.
Here are some of the tributes on the Celebrating the Life of Ruby Hunter facebook page….
“Ruby ‘got’ people, was flexible and was generous with culture and causes. She was ironic and humorous. So many little girls have been named afterher!
Ruby didn’t just survive, she transcended, created and inspired. She mothered the
whole hurting country. Her passing is a deep loss for Australia and for everyone close to her.”
“Ruby, small in size, but her voice and her presence were huge, she could fill an amphitheater with love. She gave a voice to so many who were voiceless, she sang the songs that gave hope to our spirits, and eased our pain when it seemed insurmountable. She will be missed by thousands who she graced with her music, and her spirit lives on in her children, her music & the love she shared with Archie.”
“First time I sang at the Fly By NiteClub Perth as a soloist, it was as a support act for her and Archie….she had such a warm heart….and with her beautiful heart and warmest, down-to-earth, personality, she squeezed my hand and told me, “you’ll be right bub!”….and I will never EVER forget that! My deepest condolences to the family…praying for peace, strength & comfort during this time. Saddest lost…but what a life & testimony to celebrate & remember always! LEGEND!”
“Sometimes I would be hosting a women’s group for Aboriginal Health /d.v. services and was always mindful that there were some things that were not my place to discuss, areas I couldn’t really go to because I’m not an Aboriginal woman. So I’d put on her album “Thoughts Within” …we’d listen to tracks like “Sister”…”Women’s Business” and it would be RUBY HUNTER who would bring the story and the conversations to the room.
I can not find words to express what this has meant over the years except to say move over Mary Mackillop! ”
“As a young Aboriginal Woman…she was my “AUSTRALIAN IDOL ! !”
Some of Rubys music can be found on youtube.
Archie and Ruby’s music makes sure we never forget the outrageous injustices committed against Aboriginal people…and the resilience and strength that defines the Spirit of the rightful owners of this amazing country we call Australia…
Posted in Aboriginal, Archie Roach, Forgiveness, Friendships, Gratitude, Healing, Injustice, Journeys, Kukatha, Magic, Mimini, Ngarrindjeri, Pitjantatjara, Racism, Ruby Hunter, Stolen Generation, Warrior Women | 4 Comments »
Posted by carolom on March 8, 2009
My Mum came around the other day to paint the button beads we had made for a top she has knitted.
The beads are inspired by regular buttons and we are also making necklaces from them:
…we enjoyed spending time painting them, making a mess, ruining a couple …and talking…
Something happens when you sit and create together…stories begin to flow and memories are remembered as the peaceful, alpha-wave state of creativity inspires the busy mind to slow down … it is a form of open eyed meditation…
Mum was telling me stories from her childhood during the second world war in England. Educated by Nuns who had little time or tolerance for the self indulgence of ‘art’ and ‘creativity’…Mum drew me an image of the only avenue there was for creative expression…to copy a pattern within a pre-existing grid!
Thankfully Mum was able to live a creative life in spite of the repression of teachers viewing creativity close to sinful, artistic passion as selfish indulgence and individuality as yet another flaw in an already suspect Soul.
My two sisters and I are blessed to have both parents alive and well, married 52 years this year…and we are equally blessed beyond measure that our Mother did not lost her creative self in the shaming and vilifying atmosphere of an institution that today is having to face its many flaws and past errors.
Posted in Art, Childhood, Creativity, Gratitude, ProsperArty, Spirituality, Transformation, Women | 1 Comment »
Posted by carolom on March 8, 2009
What a wonderful surprise it was when the deliveryman arrived with a big bunch of flowers for my Birthday last Saturday!
Thank you Angelina, Alan and Andrew…and Bodhi… for your thoughtfullness from way over there in Canada.
I kept a little photo journal of the flowers over the 7 days and am delighted to share them here with you…
Posted in Friendships, Gratitude, Magic, Sisterhood | 3 Comments »
Posted by carolom on July 25, 2008
This time of the year is ‘rainbow season’ in Adelaide…a time when the winter rains and sunshine meld and merge to create huge streaks of colour across the skyline.
Last year I was invited to facilitate a Womens Camp in a remote area and unlike much of my work, I had no existing relationships with either the staff or participants so was particularly mindful of bringing in new information and art tools as a stranger to the Community.
The camp site was a couple of hours drive out of the main town in a beautiful, untouched part of the coastline. We all arrived on a hired coach and spent the first couple of hours settling in to the cabins which were very cozy and nestled at the foot of the sand hills.
After settling into my room I stepped outside to gather my thoughts before beginning and held the thought of “Well I hope this is a peaceful, fun time for us all” and I had no sooner finished thinking the thought when the Heavens presented me with a big, colourful confirmation of “ask and ye shall receive”…
Over the Womens cabins my ‘sign’ appeared…and it is no surprise that the camp was a great success even with a few unexpected factors arising….
Here is ‘The Sign’….
Posted in Australia, Beauty, Community, Energy, Friendships, Gratitude, Magic, Nature, Power of Focus, Rainbows, Relationships, Sisterhood, Spirituality, Stress, Transformation, Women | Leave a Comment »