~ The Art Of Change ~ with Carol Omer ~

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

Archive for the ‘Journeys’ Category

‘Always Remembered’. Honouring the Women and Children and Pets who have died…

Posted by carolom on February 18, 2017

I was invited to facilitate The ART Of Change  program Always Remembered

A group of women who had each experienced trauma and violence wanted to create art work that honors the lives of the women and children and pets who have lost their life in domestic violence and to inspire other women to claim their power to leave an abusive relationship.

We created black and white mandalas  for coloring in as a meditation and relaxation colouring book  for women living in shelters and emergency accommodation and we also used the designs to create book marks and badges.

The women who participated in this amazing project experienced a significant culmination of their own journey of recovery from domestic violence and will now be taking the message of Always Remembered  and the power of art for healing and empowerment, back to some of the shelters where their journey first began.

My life long friend was killed by her husband in 2001, he then killed himself and my friends sstory and the memorial art I created in the week after her death inspired me to share in the message of the importance of our right to be safe, loved and respected at all times..



Posted in Art, Community, Creativity, Domestic Violence, Imagination, Journeys, Justice, Lifes Stories, Oneness, Relationships, Sisterhood, Social Artistry, The Art of Change, Warrior Women, Wealth, Wisdom | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Moving beyond Building Bridges

Posted by carolom on October 18, 2016

The Mandorla

Unity in commUnity CarolOmer

During  almost three decades of working in human services, I have seen the term  building bridges gain  popularity.

Its a powerful metaphor. Bridges exist in all countries and transcend cultural barriers. The image of a bridge requires no  explanation.  The image speaks the intent.

We are crossing over, transcending the distance between us.

l am leaving my side of the bank and arriving at yours and We are no longer limited by the circumstances  that separate us.

It isn’t  surprising that both the visual image and the language of bridge building has  become an effective analogy, a visual metaphor  for getting along with our neighbor, resolving issues and conflict and  walking into new territory together, our differences transcended,  bridged by understanding and change.

A few years ago I came across a symbol that captivated my attention and spoke to my ‘inner bridge-builder’ with a clear message that bridge building, no matter how well intended, has its origins in the dual paradigms  of separation and difference.

The symbol that stetched my perception is called a Mandorla.

The word is Italian for Almond and that is the shape that is created when two circles over lap.


When we are developing a process that involves building a bridge, we begin from a point of separation and strategise  how to transcend the distance between myself and the other, us and them by seeking to unite two distinctly separated sides.

With the Mandorla we can see that  two whole and complete circles retain their unique identity and between them create a new, unified  space where those two circles meet.

The place  where we are already connected.

This is the place where  we all share commonalities and experience our pre-existing connection.

We breathe the same air, we have the same needs for food, shelter and warmth. As human beings we share a mutal need for safety, love, belonging, purpose and a need for meaningful stories and sense of place in the world.

These are core human needs that form the foundation of families and communities across the planet, regardless of the different cultural, economic or political circumstances of where we live in the  place we call home.

If I am facilitating a workshop for  young offenders in juvenile detention or visiting a rural Aboriginal Community for a womens camp, the Mandorla affirms our connection.

I am not entering  their community or communal space  wondering how I can build a bridge between us, instead I show them my Mandorla poster (see below) and ask if we can spend a bit of time looking at where we are connected.

Once we get past the obvious we are all humans, a whole range of possible  shared experiences and commonalities come forth. You are left handed like I am   / My football team is  /  I share your same views on racism / how can we make a difference together?

As we explore our commonalities we also look at the space outside of the Mandorla, that large expanse of the two separate components of the intersected circles.

This is the place where we learn from one another, a place where our differences are recognised within the experience and recognition  of our connection and not as somewhere we need to get to by crossing the bridge of our differences.

I created a poster for the ART of Change program  to  show my interpretation of the Mandorla.

I always show the poster with the wildly enthusiastic expectation  that when  people learn about the possibilities of Mandorla for the first time they too will have an ah-ha! moment and realise that the time we spend thinking about, talking about & building bridges  is time taken away from sitting  in the Mandorla of our connection & sharing in the joy of learning & growing together through one another’s Stories.

I came up with another way of expressing the Mandorla and it goes like this:

Mandorla.jpg

Posted in Building Bridges, Change, Community, Creativity, Human Rights, Jean Houston, Journeys, Mandorla, Peace, Social Artistry, Stories, Transformation, Unity, Wisdom | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Ode to the Rescuer

Posted by carolom on September 15, 2016

*Updated
This poem is dedicated to the many women, especially those who I meet in domestic violence shelters, who really do believe:

If I just keep on loving him, he will change & we will have the relationship that I know is possible…

DSC_0070

We hear the words “I thought he would change” so often inside of the walls of domestic violence shelters that I created the following dramatisation for our Talking circle so that the group of women who have sometimes had 2 or 3 relationships with violent men, could begin to unravel what keeps them there and how to recognise the pattern.

The following piece is not relevant for all women who leave domestic violence, but for those women who sit in support groups and say “I believed him when he said he would change” and “He is a really nice guy, he just had a rotten childhood”, this piece is for you.
And for Janet who was killed in domestic violence by a man who then killed himself, leaving four beautiful children behind.

Ode to the Rescuer:

There was something very appealing about his pain, it matched her pattern perfectly
and her pattern goes like this:

Give me a damaged man with potential and I will embrace him as my life mission
My personal quest!

I will claim myself to be his Rescuer and through my eyes he will see how sorely he has been denied Love

And with the love of this Good Woman, he will heal!

He will heal
He will heal
He will heal

With the peace of mind that I alone have brought to him, delivered to him on a sincere heart that pulses with conviction, his heart shall finally, after many troubled years finally beat with contentment in symbiotic rhythm with my own

Ahh..this future memory brings tears to my eyes and reminds me to be patient and the reward will come.
Of this truth I have created, I am sure.
He will change
He will change
He will change
I shall interpret his moodiness as poetic brooding,
his sarcasm as merely the shadow of his enormous artistic sensitivities and
his broken promises as the unfortunate repercussions of a busy, preoccupied man.
I shall deny myself my heart’s desires,
less they place too much of a burden on his already busy mind.
I shall desperately seduce him into security with words thinly veiled
with the false reassurance that I want nothing of him
After all he is the broken one
Not me!
I will prove to him that I am the one single woman
on this Earth who can heal his troubled Soul.
Because I believe in him like no other has in the past
or could possibly at any time in the future
As the rescue program gets under way I will slowly begin to allow
the duality of the situation to come to the fore
Actually I won’t have a choice!
Having ensnared him with my rescuers net
or having fallen into his
I shall wrestle with the duality of being drawn to his charismatic withdrawals
whilst also experiencing an awakening awareness
that he is indeed mirroring my own need to heal and rescue the wounded heart.
There is something painfully seductive about that wounded heart after all it’s in all of the fairytales and rom-com’s isn’t it?
Love that Beast fair Beauty for he will come good in the end!
In order to ignore the needs of my own hopeful
desperate
optimistic
aching
wounded heart
I will plunge into my rescuing role with paradox and passion
for I am drawn to the angst of tortured feelings
which I have misconstrued as Romance and Love
as haplessly as he is drawn to his broody silences
and the acidic observations he casts out to bait me every now and then.
And quite regularly at times.
And yes. He has hit me in the past but the degree to which he is so truly deeply sorry overwhlems me with compassion for him.
Every time.
Every single time.
Except the last three times when I only felt fear and loathing,
But I got over that!
Didn’t I?
Didn’t I?

or Did !?

Words that forge our bond like who else would put up with you or me and
we were meant for one another, we are as bad as each other
will be the hypnotic sound track of the saga of our co-dependence

He will be my co-star as my life unfolds according to the stories I believe
Stories that I have created, many that have piggy backed onto the romantic tales of how the good girl transforms the bad boy with exquisite mastery and tears.
Fictional stories that I will defend as
Love!

Alas it is a tired old script with no surprises in the Story whatsoever!

but it will take me a long time to understand that
to reinterpret and rewrite the lead roles
because most of this is new to me!

And I am a stranger to myself.

Indeed aren’t we all until we remember who we really are?

Therefore I will need quite some time to realise any of this
as this predictable Olde Story unfolds on a roller coaster of
drama and desire
yearning and conflict

Those old scenarios and inevitable cycles replaying themselves in the guise of Love.

Love?

No this is just unlearnt lessons in re-enactment!
I will come to realise this one day
though I do not know that yet of course!

Although my heart does skip a beat when he looks at me in that certain seductive kind of way
Surely that must be Love?

Though you may well think I am making a banquet from a few crumbs of moments of hard earned intimacy
You are wrong of course!
Wrong
Wrong
Wrong

I know this banquet will be rich in the fruits of my desires so long as I am patient.
I will be Patient
will be Patient
will be Patient

My mantras give my life meaning and hope
They really do
Really really they do.

In the meantime I will deny that the toxins of this relationship are causing me great harm.
Souring my naiveté.
Poisoning the sweetness of my illusions whilst I continue to defend his lack of friendliness and warmth as justified

The increasing violence as a sign
that his love for me is so much he can barely handle the intensity!
I understand that and why he is violent
on account of the awful things he went through as a child.
The unresolved issues with his difficult father
The conflict with his troubled mother

There was just so much trouble that went into creating his troubled life
that I share

I am perhaps the only one who really knows that
and understands him and LOVES him
The only one

The lonely one

BUT

Love will conquer all. I think I am sure of that!

There is only one fixed rule in all of this apparent uncertainty
And this the rule I made and now obey:
I must Love him no matter how hard he is to Love.

I will Love him unconditionally
will Love him unconditionally
will Love him unconditionally

This one rule will make it all wonderful one day because

He will open up
He will open up
He will open up

Ultimately of course I will deny myself the right to move forward, to reach my fullest potential because I will be anchored defiantly to our co-dependence and staunchly courageously

desperately

refer to it as
Love!

This is what I know Love to be.

The End

I dedicate this to my lifelong friend Janet 1959 -2001 who was killed by her husband who then killed himself.

Your life mattered Janet, your stories are important to be told. I miss you dearly my friend.

Carol Omer
Certified Life Coach
Author of The Big Girls Little Coloring Book

Posted in Change, Chaos, Childhood, Co-dependence, Denial, Domestic Violence, Drama, Fear, Journeys, Letting go, Lifes Stories, Love, Men and Women, Poetry, Relationships, Sisterhood, Transformation, Unrequited Love, Wisdom, Women | 9 Comments »

Celebrating the Women that we have Known & the Love that They Have Sown…

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 »

Artists from the Tanami Desert share their amazing skills, beauty and knowledge through the Stories of each Painting……

Posted by carolom on November 3, 2010

It was a small launch at La Caz Creole Cafe  / Restaurant @ 61 Semaphore Road.

The sun was shining and the Cafe was brimming with good food, great art and the Artists themselves – a great privilege for all of us who were there!

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It was great to see people purchasing the Art work, one piece in particular is  a traditional  story that the Artist Andrea shared with me in great detail. Thank you Andrea and for allowing me to take a photo before it was taken down and rolled up to be taken to  the police-car by the officer who  came along with some of his colleagues. He was thrilled with his purchase and both were very happy with the transaction.

I was especially interested in the central object with the white feathering . Andrea told me that is a ceremonial stick with Cockatoo feathers. She laughed when I asked if that was a Turtle just below the central circles  (so would you if you know how far their Country is from the sea) …

 

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You can see there is a huge variety of canvases…each one with its own Story and amazing blend of colours, brush strokes and traditional forms…

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The unique style of blending traditional dot work so skillfully with the large ‘comma’ shaped stroke takes such skill and precision. The colours on this one invokes of all of the elements. Yuendumu country is Desert country and the Artist how us that there is fare more to the Desert Country than the rest of us could ever  know…

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The variety of Art for sale is extraordinary and as pieces are sold, new pieces will be put up on the walls…so make a few visits.

If you are an over seas person who is interested in Aboriginal Art, get in touch with the Yuendumu representatives and discuss the possibility of an on line purchase. All money goes directly to the Artists.

 

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It would be wonderful if this positive, amazingly talented group of Artists receive wide spread recognition  for their highly skilled work and vast knowledge of their Country and the Stories that  few people over seas  – and in this country –  are familiar with…

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As I mentioned at the start of this story, I was very surprised that these highly skilled canvases are for sale at such  an outrageously reasonable price  and I’d like to suggest if you do purchase a piece, you consider the on-going support of the Yuendumu Artists and invest in their work as it becomes available…

..

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This piece was also sold almost before it was hung, the gold paint blending in with traditional colours made this piece glow!

The person who purchased this rich piece could  have their heating bills reduced I’m sure!….

 


So if you have the opportunity, get along to la Caz Creole Cafe @ 61 Semaphore Road. Have a coffee and immerse yourself in the fantastic work of the Artists who belong to the oldest living culture in the world and are so generously sharing their magnificent work with the people of Adelaide…and beyond.

Posted in Aboriginal, Aboriginal Art, Adelaide, Art, Australia, Community, Journeys, la Caz Creole Cafe, Seven Sisters, Tanami Desert, Uncategorized, Yendumu | 5 Comments »

Reflecting on Oprah’s visit to Australia and When Women Dream and Create Together…

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….

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When Women Dream and Create Together

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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 »

Unity in Community…

Posted by carolom on August 17, 2010

I created this poster a few years ago when we were asked in a training session to ‘write down your Vision”.

In many cultures art, symbols & images are the language that transmits the Story.

In other cultures letters, alphabets, words and sentences are written in dozens of shapes that make up the code of that particular language. If you don’t know that code , you don’t get the story…

I prefer the language of images for my ‘Vision statement’.

Celebrating our Unity and honouring our Diversity….

We are all the same within regardless of which of the skins we are in. We are breathing the same air, exhaling and inhaling one another’s breath, sharing the same waters, warmed by the same sun….and many of us, more as time moves on …are Dreaming the same Dreams for a more united world

Posted in Community, Creativity, Imagination, Journeys, Reconciliation, Social Artistry | Leave a Comment »

Beautiful Moments & Lifes Simple blessings…

Posted by carolom on June 11, 2010

On recent trips to the Riverland and to our EarthSong site I was reminded how blessed we are if we have family, friends, food and clear air….

The beautiful Ngarindjerri Goddess with style Deanna…

Digital Story telling..ensuring that the Stories live on…

Embracing new technology to transmit the ancient history of this magnificent Country.

Mrs Kent and Mrs George…

Mr George…

You can hear Uncle Murray George speaking on the EarthSong YouTube channel:

Click here if you would like to learn more about the Pitjantjatjara and the the Ngarrindjeri who are the traditional owners of areas of this vast continent, along with many other individual tribal nations in Australia.

Here is the Aboriginal map of how Australia prior to the European invasion of 1788…

Posted in Community, EarthSong Aboriginal Healing Pathways Foundation, Fire, Friendships, Journeys, Nature, Peace, Pitjantjatjara, Uncategorized, Wisdom | 1 Comment »

Farewell Ruby Hunter ~ Ngarrindjeri, Kukatha, Pitjantjatjara Woman

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….

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“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 ! !”

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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 »

The trip to Aortearoa (New Zealand) was a rather magical time!

Posted by carolom on October 18, 2008

 

 

 

 

Posted in Community, Elders, Family, Fun, Grandmothers, Gratitude, Journeys, Joy, Oneness, Shamanic, Warrior Women | 1 Comment »