~ The Art Of Change ~ with Carol Omer ~

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

Archive for the ‘SiStars’ Category

Something you may not know about Domestic Violence Shelters

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.

http://www.CarolOmer.com

This is the link to a previous blog post  #WhyIStayed

http://www.carolom.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/why-doesnt-she-just-leave-why-did-you-stay/

 

Women are our SiStars

Posted in Carol Omer, Community, Gratitude, Shelter, SiStars, Women | Leave a Comment »

Why doesn’t she just leave? Why did you stay?

Posted by carolom on September 14, 2014

Sistars2

We hear it said often, especially when there is a high profile domestic violence case in the media.

When  high profile cases of violence against women are in the media, the  air waves fill with outrage, calls to action, compassion, political responses  and inevitably someone somewhere will say: “Why didn’t she leave?” and “Why did she go back?“.

Those of us who work in  women’s domestic  and family violence shelters hear her stories and witness her tears and sometimes are asked to be her voice at a time when just taking the next breath takes a huge amount of energy.

This poem is dedicated to  those women  who are living in domestic violence or have come through it and have had those words asked of them :

Why didn’t you just leave?

I’m sorry I can’t hear you…

what did you say?

My ears are blocked and heavy

From  vicious words that have been  hurled my way

There used to be sweet words and promises

and whispered romance in my ears

I now I find myself wondering

“Can ears become blocked with all those tears?”

Couldn’t you see what he was doing to you?

I once had a clear and beautiful Vision of the life

we  would live together

He held my hand when our babies were born

He was my lighthouse in stormy weather

I know that sounds corny but its true.

Each time he erupted into rage

it always finished with the deepest regret

I understood he didnt mean it because

He said you haven’t seen the best of me yet

And I believed him

But surely after those first few times you should have known he wouldn’t change?

By the time what I know now as The Cycle

had taken a hold and become our way of life

I couldn’t see the front door or tomorrow

I was so immersed in trying to be the right wife

My kids loved their daddy deeply

they still do even though he is  jailed

And what struck me when my sisters said “leave him”

Were three words- 

You have failed 

You have failed 

You have failed

Do you realise he could have killed you?

He once told me if I left him

there would be no more reason for him to live

He said he would kill us all and then himself

if I had no more love that I could give

It would be my fault. So I made sure to try harder.

He told me tales called “Theres Nowhere to Hide”

and no other man will ever have me

He put a pretty convincing case forward

he yelled it

as he turned around

and grabbed me.

I made sure to keep still and just nod. 

That sometimes worked.

But there are shelters and places where you could have got  help…

I had two friends come to my house one day

he wasn’t home

and I was glad

They came because they were scared for me

but I couldn’t hear them

and my vision that day was particularly bad

It was like they were in another place

even though they were sitting

right there in my kitchen

We all jumped and shuffled nervously

when he came home

You girls sitting around bitchen?

He said with his dangerous smile.  

And they left.

And he took my mobile phone off me.

I know it must have been hard but weren’t you worried for your kids?

My little boy was wetting the bed and

the school had called me in with

concerns for my girls…yet again…

but I just knew if I was patient

my husband would overcome his anger

and his pain

You see I knew that he had a lot of pain from his childhood.

Well good on you for finally leaving him. Were you happy with the sentence he got?

There is no place for the word happy in

any of what has gone down

My kids ask after him all the time

and I remember how he made me laugh

when he’d play the clown

Anyway, I’m finding it hard to hear you again

my heart is starting to race

Theres a thing I call The Fog in My Head

it clouds over my personal space

and it will quickly cover you

and the floor

and the door

Sorry, don’t think I’m being rude

Its just I can’t really talk about it any more ….

 

 

 

Posted in Domestic Violence, SiStars, Stories, Transformation, Trauma, Why did you stay, Women | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

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….

***

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 »

Deirdre Nehua has written a poem for the Spring…

Posted by carolom on September 5, 2010

My friend, the poet and traveller Deirdre Nehua, wrote the following poem in response to my reference that the new season of Spring is upon us.

I met Deirdre on my first trip to Aotearoa (New Zealand) and embarked on a 7 SiStars journey with her to her beloved Matariki Bay….a journey that continues to unfold….

Thank you Deirdre for allowing me to share your poem for the Mother Earth Gardeners here in my blog….

HERES A POEM FOR ALL THE ME (Mother Earth) GARDENERS …..

By Deirdre Nehua….

Do you know of the stillness that connects you to the stars
Or have the courage to fulfill all that you are
We are born within the sight of Matarikis sacred light
VIRGIN SEEDS, travelling from afar…..
We were bought here to aspire, we are keepers of the fire
For our journey it is written in the stars
And the stars they are the keepers of the secrets of the land
The beacon to awaken her desire….
So when Matariki rises our spirit recognises
soon the birthing from the mother will begin
from the blooming borne of spring, the birdsong that will bring
and the KNOWLEDGE OF THE SEED CONTAINED WITHIN
For we cannot deny we descend from earth and sky,
Nor the power of the sisters when in moon
They’re our compass and our guide as we navigate lifes tide
In the stillness in the distance hear their tune.

..
The wisdom of the land is in our language, ancient memories
recalled inside our minds
seeing visions from within, the challenge now begins
to gather up the knowledge left behind….
When we’re once again connected, and the mother not infected
By pollution , and the damage done by greed
When we learn to love the mother and to care for one another
Then the universe will meet our every need
Matariki is much more than Indigenous sacred lore
and the wise ones before us they all knew, we are all part of the whole
and the stories that they told, are from the source
of all that we hold true…….

..

So SEARCH INSIDE THE STILLNESS that connects you to the stars
and Matariki will navigate you true
Thru the happiness and pain, sacred wisdom you will gain
and find that perfect being, that is….
YOU.

**MATARIKI = The seven sisters star cluster

Posted in Community, Creativity, Matariki, Poetry, Seven Sisters, SiStars, Sisterhood, Women, Writing | 1 Comment »