~ The Art Of Change ~ with Carol Omer ~

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

Archive for the ‘Prosperity’ Category

Create New Dreams. Seeding the Future Vision

Posted by carolom on March 20, 2017

Families Creating. Growing  and Flourishing Together.

We had a wonderful weekend camp, thanks to the women  who came from two Communities to join us in the Riverland.

Along with the Mandala art and making clay beads, we work-shopped the Vision for the Womens groups and then painted terra cotta pots and planted the Sunflower seeds that will grow along with the new changes.

Thankyou to the women for allowing us to photograph the art work and capture the many wonderful moments where Nanas and great grandchildren, Elders and younger women sat and enjoyed the  creative processes  together.

What better way to spend a weekend in the Riverland sun in Ngarrindjeri country?

Deanna Nungala and I feel very privileged to have been invited to host the Celeberating our Community ART of Change camp and look forward to our Miminis Nopin ventures when we can return the gifting by visiting the women and seeing how the sunflowers have grown.

Miminis Nopin – Women on the Move.

Women overcoming the pain of the past and seeding the Vision for the Future.

Art based activities that young and old  can enjoy together.

Deanna and I wearing the clay necklaces we made during the Apology week, to honor the Mothers whose children were stolen from them.  Nungala is a Stolen Generation survivor and a Warrior Woman of the heart in the truest sense.

deana-and-carol

Our Vision Workshopping Board.

create-new-dreams

Painting the clay beads they have rolled earlier in the day is wonderful for concentration for the little kids and fun~creativity for all ages.

tia

Little sister can create and paint her own beads too!

didi

This pot-painter will seed some fantastic changes for her  Community over the coming years.

yvonne

The gorgeous smile that lights up rooms and hearts.

lesley

Our Chef extraordinaire took time out from her delicious food-making to paint a pot of her own.

lou

Lady birds for good luck turned up on the top of this artists work.

tania

As you can see.

seeding

Mother and Daughter creating together. They have a vegie garden at home and the new Sunflowers might fill that garden one day!

One single  seed births the seeds of many new flowers over one single season.

seeding-2

Seeding the Vision is a journey of process, attention, watering and  patience.

seeding4

All  pots are sealed with varnish and the forward lean, with head titled upward is a spraying skill.

spraying

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Posted in Art, Australia, Beauty, Change, Community, Creativity, Dreaming, Elders, Fun, Grandmothers, Imagination, Joy, Magic, Ngarrindjeri, Prosperity, Sisterhood, Social Artistry, Warrior Women, Women | 3 Comments »

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

Posted by carolom on March 20, 2017

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, our  place of birth, gender, economic status,  family patterns 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 transformation  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 and vision and capacity to create 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 »

EarthSong Aboriginal Healing Pathways Foundation is Incorporated…

Posted by carolom on September 27, 2008

We are very pleased to announce that EarthSong is now officially incorporated as of September 8th 2008.

Here are two of our founding members Misters John Hartley and John Williams holding our certificate of Incorporation.


If you are interested in learning more about EarthSong, who we are and what we are doing, please checkout the Facebook EarthSong Aboriginal Healing PathwaysFoundation group here:
EarthSong….Putting Action to the shared Vision for Change…

Photo update on our first working bee….

Posted in Aboriginal, Adelaide, Community, Domestic Violence, Elders, Forgiveness, Friendships, Healing, Journeys, Justice, Kaurna, Men and Women, Poverty, Power of Focus, Prosperity, Reconciliation, Staff Training, Wisdom | Leave a Comment »

“I AM at Home with Peace and Prosperity”

Posted by carolom on July 4, 2008

This was the theme for our empowerment art work this week…to become comfortable with Peace and Prosperity when there has been a history of chaos and poverty….

I am ever amazed at the completely individual and unique creations that emerge from the same black and white template……..

Posted in Beauty, Change, Community, Creativity, Domestic Violence, Fun, Imagination, Justice, Mandalas, Patterns, Peace, Prosperity, Social Artistry, The Art of Change, Transformation, Warrior Women, Wealth, Wisdom | 2 Comments »

Adelaide [Tandanya] – City of Contrasts…

Posted by carolom on June 22, 2008

People often relocate to Adelaide because of the beauty and the lifestyle, the smaller population and the general sense of not-quite-a-city-and-bigger-than-a-country-town.
Sometimes those same people complain about Adelaide being slow to change and resistant to development whilst also appreciating the things that make this city unique.

Heritage listed buildings (there are many) are protected from the 21st centuries vastly different architecture, though sometimes only the outer facade remains as the inside of the old blue stone buildings undergo radical surgery and extraction of almost all body parts.

The other day we were attending an event in the relatively new Mawson building in North Terrace and looking out of the window I was taken by the light of the late afternoon sun and how the new overshadows the old along this stretch of the city that overlooks the railway station and River Torrens behind it.

In the background St Peters Cathederal looks like it has a team of 2 storey fly swatters in front of it…the fly swatters being the lights that surround the staidly old home of tradition, The Adelaide Cricket Ground…

It is a good place to live and the surrounding country side produces some of the best wines from MacLaren Vale through to the Barossa Valley, from grapes that are perfectly suited to this climate.

The hills form an arc shaped range and we are nestled between the hills and the sea and the land in and around the city and in the further afield country side is rich in the Dreaming stories of the Ngarrindjeri, Kaurna and Nurrunga people – three of the largest tribal groupings of this part of the land..

The Adelaide Central markets offer fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables, breads, cheese and scrumptious cafes and all along Grouger and Grote streets, (the back and front of the market) there is a wide vareity of restaurants and more cafes that are a constant reminder of how truly fortunate we are to be living in a place such as this.

Posted in Adelaide, Adelaide Central Market, Australia, Beauty, Change, Community, Kaurna, Nature, Ngarrindjeri, Nurrunga, Prosperity, Transformation | 1 Comment »

The Winter of content…

Posted by carolom on June 22, 2008

It was raining yesterday afternoon and after the months of drought and over 10 days where the temperature reached 100oF a few months ago, the winter rains and green-sheen everywhere are very welcome in this desert state.

I was sitting under the back verandah with the two semi-homeless garden cats, Gabrielle- [Gabi] and her daughter Shima. You can see how gorgeous they are:

The garden was humming with rain drops and birds and leaves blowing down from the Cedar Trees
late autumn fall:

…and I remembered back to when I first moved in here and all I could see was a barren, dry patch of soil…

…..and how this piece of Mother Earths blank canvas taught me more about process, time, holding a vision, weeding and seeding, than I could ever have imagined when I first moved here during a trials-and-tribulations winter of discontent….

In our ‘outcomes’ driven, western society I learnt that the answers we are seeking about sustainable change and growth are to be found in Mother Nature’s process of Time, cycles and seasons….

……and how wonderful it is to create a room with out walls and a fireplace whose only chimney is the sky….

Adelaide in South Australia is traditionally named ‘Tandanya’ , home of the Red Kangaroo.

Living and growing and learning and sharing on traditional Aboriginal Land, Kaurna Country has its own special strand of environmental magic and possibility….As my good buddy Nungala reminds me:

“It can happen so much better and so much faster if you acknowledge the Ancestors and remember the Dreaming”…..

Posted in Animals, Anthropomorphism, Cats, Change, Creativity, Dreaming, Garden, Gratitude, Humor, Imagination, Journeys, Kaurna, Lifes Stories, Love, Magic, Nature, Oneness, Peace, Power of Focus, Prosperity, Relationships, Social Artistry, Spirituality, Stories, Wealth, Wisdom | 1 Comment »

Mandala

Posted by carolom on May 9, 2008

I made this Empowerment Mandala for our discussion on “Boundaries” in the women’s group…..

Each participant has a black and white copy as a way of ‘kick starting creativity and the use of symbols as an alternative to talk, talk, talk therapy……

Posted in Art, Change, Creativity, Family, Imagination, Journeys, Lifes Stories, Mandalas, Men and Women, Mind Power, Oneness, Power of Focus, Prosperity, Shamanic, Sisterhood, Social Artistry, Spirituality, The Art of Change, Warrior Women, Women | Leave a Comment »

Tandanya (Adelaide) is a beautiful City that sits on the traditional Aboriginal (Kaurna) Land…

Posted by carolom on May 4, 2008

Tandanya is the Kaurna Aboriginal name for the Adelaide city area and was for many, many thousands of years, a place for special ceremonies connected with Red Kangaroo Dreaming. Adelaide is built on Kaurna (pronounced Garn-na) land.
Source -Tandanya Web Page

The older I get the more I am able to appreciate the simple things in life…like living in a city that has a river flowing through its center…and many black swans, pelicans, ducks, galahs, cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets swimming, flying and nesting along the river banks…

i took some photos today as we walked a few kilometers from Bonython Park into Elder Park (cappaccino break)…and back again. (Just realised I can’t spell cappaccino properly!)

Beautiful day out in the city that recently endured over 2 weeks of 100oF + wether, months of no rain…but is now green and moist again, true to the elemental cycle of a City in the desert.

Posted in Aboriginal, Adelaide, Animals, Energy, Kaurna, Magic, Nature, Prosperity, Stories | Leave a Comment »

It’s not just the music and the rhythm….

Posted by carolom on July 3, 2007

African culture, in its many shapes and forms and separate nations has a strong appeal to me…
I was very influenced by my Teacher Vernon Hoffman as a teenager..he was a wonderful, eccentric, loud, passionate South African man who embodied the metamorphosis of Black Africa and Western education.

I haven’t been to Africa yet…but I know Sal and I will trravel there and I am very much looking forward to the everyday art and creativity that is so much richer in dress, jewellery, art’chitecture and song than us left-brain trained Westerners.

Like these houses for example….

Now I could verrry easily live in a mudbrick hut with richly textured walls, painted wearing a gorgeous pallet of cloth like that adorns these ladies!

I worked on a youth employment project many years ago that entailed building a mudbrick house in six months with 10 long term unemployed people under 25…70% building time and 30% personal and team development (that was my job)….

That house is still standing almost 20 years later……it was eventually purchased by one of the participants and to this day I have a place in my heart for chunky mudbricks and wheelbarrows of muddy paste that can only truly be understood by those who have felt the earth shape into a dwelling….

Makes me want to go and paint a blank piece of wall somewhere….

Posted in Africa, Art, Community, Creativity, Prosperity, Social Artistry, Warrior Women | 1 Comment »

Art of Community- Women drawing Change…

Posted by carolom on June 8, 2007

I was invited to facilitate a Community Art project celebrating 30 years of service to the community by a domestic violence accommodation and support service.
We created 6 installation Mandalas over 5 weeks with a group of women who had been housed by the agency in the last few years.
At the end of the the project one of the participants said that reconnecting with her creativity made her think beyond being a ‘survivor of domestic violence’ and “I found parts of me I didn’t know were there”….another participant went on to employment in the human services sector – part of that process was beginning to look forward as a result of looking back to where she was when she first entered the agency in crisis…

The staff of the shelter also created a piece that represented the inspiration they find in the Womens stories and their courage to change.

Heres a photo of four of the 6 Art of Community Mandalas with a description of the theme we used to create it:

The Future is in our Hands
This Mandala is created by a circle of hands that reflect the power we have to make new choices & create new dreams.

Our Strength as Women
Who is the “Warrior Woman”, what are her strengths & how does she go about creating change and developing the life she desires?

30 years of Service
Many Women and Children have passed through the doors since 1977 and the agency is an important part of the community. This art piece reflects the role that the agency has played in creating a safer, more peaceful community.

World Peace Begins at Home
Our home should be the place where we feel safe and at peace. This Mandala has the theme of the Peace Dove and reflects the importance of living in a safe & peaceful home.

The Mandalas now sit on the wall of the group room of the agency…..

Posted in Community, Creativity, Imagination, Lifes Stories, Mandalas, Prosperity, Sisterhood, Social Artistry, The Art of Change, Warrior Women, Wealth, Wisdom | 1 Comment »