~ The Art Of Change ~ with Carol Omer ~

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

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Creating wearable Empowerment Art…

Posted by carolom on February 13, 2017

 Bead Happy Empowerment Art  is an ART of Change  program for Women who have experienced violence.

We hand roll  beads  from air drying clay to create an empowerment necklace. Meeting over 3 sessions at the Shelter,   participants shape their beads based on a Vision they hold for the future or as an expression of  strength and developing a clear, confident  sense of Self and identity etc.

When  the personal vision  beads are dry we paint them and give them life, colour and vibrancy. Das clay is  quick drying and a very hardy medium that is not heavy once it has dried.
The rolling of the clay and shaping the beads is a very relaxing process,a form of open eyed meditation that  is very conducive for learning and relaxation.

The Bead Happy Empowerment Art project engages two significant aspects – process and completion, which are often difficult to attain for people who are living with post traumatic stress and the effects of violence, losing ones home and coping with injuries and grief.

The talking circle format is a very relaxed, creative  environment .

This informal setting  is often more culturally relevant for many of the participants from CALD backgrounds. (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse).

The environment does not have a counsellor – client dynamic. It is an empowering model that facilitates conversation  beyond pain and issues to the place of connecting with personal power, natural talent and new possibilities.

We celebrate personal strength and explore the potential we have to move beyond limitations and the impact of domestic violence.

Thank you to the Women who have shared their work in the images below.

Although they remain anonymous in the photos, the very personal stories and amazing creativity that is expressed through the clay and the beading process  affirms to me how privileged I am to provide art based life coaching at the grass roots, community level where so many amazing women have extraordinary stories to share.

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We roll the beads from air drying clay

 

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As we roll and then sand them we are holding the vision of our goals and aspirations

 

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Spraying the Bead Happy Empowerent Necklace seals in the vision and stengthens the clay

 

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Every bead, every necklace is as unique as the fingerprints of the woman who created them as she  pressed her vision into the clay

Carol Omer is a certified Life Coach and Artist. She specialises in creativity based empowerment and healing programs for women. She is the author of The Big Girls Little Coloring Book, a life coaching colouring book for women.

http://www.CarolOmer.com

Posted in ART of Change, Domestic Violence, Sisterhood, Transformation, Uncategorized, White Ribbon | Leave a Comment »

When things turn up and make you smile …

Posted by carolom on September 6, 2016

This is a true story and it began this morning when I was preparing to go for a morning walk.

I could not find a second hair clip and rather than waste time looking I decided to go with a hair clip and a hair grip ( as Mum used to call them). I had already lost half an hour to emails so I didn’t want to waste any more time!

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It is Spring time in our part of the world and  the Jasmine vines, my very favourite flower, are bursting with new life. There was a massive flowering vine hanging over the edge of fence in one of the very old lane ways and I picked some but as I was only half way through my walk I thought I wish I had brought a bag with me…

I exited the lane way into a car park and there, on the edge of the car park  was a lone shopping trolley with a bright pink,  empty bag sitting in it.

No car nearby.

No people to be seen.
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This must be my bag! 

I smiled as I put the Jasmine inside and reflected on how sometimes there is great power in our throw away thoughts. We throw them out into the ether, often thousands of thoughts in a single day  and sometimes they boomerang back to us wrapped around a prize  catch created by the matter of fact nature of our thoughts !
Did you know that often the things that matter in those matter of fact moments can  matter’ialise when we least expect it?

I arrived home, took the beautifully perfumed Jasmine from the bag and placed the flowers in  Mums  old ceramic boot vase that she made many years ago.

Since Mum passed away  last year I treasure every single thing she made and there are many art and craft creations she lovingly made over the years.

For example that is one of her knitted dolls hats on her manikin that is embracing mine.

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I am an avid student of the power of the mind and our role as co-creators with life but there was no way I could have guessed what was in the bottom of what I thought was a completely  empty bag!

Here it is! A second hair clip!

Exactly  the same as the one I was looking for before going with the hair grip instead.

 

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Hand on heart this extra bit of Magic just kind of made my day! As the late and wonderful Dr Wayne Dyer wrote You’ll see it when you Believe it!

I definitely believe in the Magic of life!

I don’t know how the empty pink bag ended up sitting in an empty trolley in a near empty car park and I would happily return it to its’ owner if there was identifying information in there.
But then again it is quite possible it just turned up because I thought I wish I had brought a bag with me  and before that I need that hair clip, my fringe is in my eyes…

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She walks alone at Midnight…or does She?

Posted by carolom on August 17, 2016

I went outside at midnight to round up Junipurr and Purrly.

At the end of my driveway a woman was walking past.

She said : “What are you doing out so late?” and I said:
“I’m calling my cats in, what are you doing out walking so late?”.

“Oh I don’t sleep much these days. I often walk at night.

My son died 5 years ago. I haven’t slept much since”.

It was one of those unexpected moments where everything in the world funnels down into this one encounter with a stranger.

Junipurr ran towards us, his bell jingling with vibrancy and gorgeousness, so full of life and vitality.

“I am so sorry for your loss. The world isn’t the same anymore is it? My Mum died last year.”

I know this because since Mum died it feels like the doors and windows are permanently open and drafts and winds blow in at anytime of the day or night.

But I know that losing a child is not the same as losing your Mother. It’s a different kind of pain because I’ve seen it in my friends C’s eyes.

“He was only 20.” She said this twice.

” See that star up there, the bright one. That’s him”.

I realised that’s why she walks at night alone. She isn’t alone at all.

5 minutes before my biggest concern was a failed creative project I had been working on for hours.

It was a moment that completely reorganised my thoughts and perspective from the personal to the Universal.

“I’m truly sorry for your loss”…I couldn’t find any better words. I would have liked to have.

“Thank you. And I’m sorry for yours”.

“It makes you wonder why we are here” she said.

She walked off into the cold but very clear and crisp night and I came inside with my kitty-cats.

I went out 10 minutes later to see if she was walking back. Maybe a coloring book would help.

But the street was empty.

This song is for all of the Mothers who are living in the world without their children.

 

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When a Throw-away line Casts a Wide Net. MagNETic!

Posted by carolom on August 17, 2016

Sometimes it’s the throw-away lines of our mental chatter that have the attractor factor.

I listened to an interview with one of my favourite authors, Norman Doidge who wrote the fabulous book The Brain that Changes Itself.
A must read for anyone interested in neuroscience and neuroplasticity and the extinction of the dinosaur belief that the brain is hard wired and can not be changed.

“Once broken can never be repaired” paradigm is sailing away across the oceans of the flat world as we speak… 😉

In the interview with Dr Doidge there was mention of his new book published by penguin in 2016 “The Brains way of Healing”.

I thought “Would love to read it, will check with library” but forgot to check and book it when I got home.

Three days later strolling around 2nd hand store and there is a brand new 2016 copy of “The Brains Way of Healing’ sitting on the shelf, waiting for me to notice it.

And I did.

How did this newly released $30 book arrive in perfect condition on the shelves of a second hand store for $2.99 just a few months after it’s release and three days after my intention to read it?

Throw-away lines sometimes cast the widest net perhaps….

 

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Words-Swords and the Emergence of Impersonal Language in Human Services

Posted by carolom on July 29, 2016

The following is an excerpt from my unedited draft of The ART of Change memoir. The names and details have been changed as a matter of confidentiality however the impact of language that empowers the worker  or the academic whilst disempowering the recipient of those words is a significant problem across human services and the legal system.

Words Cast Spells

Words ~Swords on the Cutting Edge.

The language and politics of homelessness and social work theories and practices changed many times over the years that I worked in homeless and domestic violence shelters.

Buzz words came and went as words like empowerment, agency, self determination and the words consumer and stakeholders replaced shelter resident and workers crept into human services through out the 90’s.

People stopped ‘talking’ and entered into dialogue, we would no longer ‘catch up for a chat’, we would debrief with one another and instead of ‘talking about things’ like we did in the old days   we would be invited to unpack complex issues and investigate multifaceted causes that underpin marginalisation and disenfranchisement.

With each new turn of phrase the culture of homelessness and service provision changed.

Discussions about the importance of using ‘professional’ language were bandied about during training sessions and statements we would have once made like ‘I think  the family is doing it really hard right now’ were spoken by the new young social workers as It seems that the high and complex needs as a result of the multiple issues facing the family as a unit will require external intervention and on going support to be put in place.

Many social workers and counsellors, health workers and researchers came in and out of the shelter on a weekly basis and the newspeak and jargon was so pervasive at times that we would chuckle as one of our residents, when asked if she had met her new social worker would say: “Yes, she seems okay but I can’t understand what she is saying”.

When offering support to a heart broken, confused teenage mother, our staff might say amongst ourselves ‘she needs a hug and to know she is loved’ or it’s a shame her mother has too many of her own issues to be able to support her daughter. Those internal state altering, mood changing words were nowhere to be seen in the mountainous pile of service agreements and policy documents.

Reassuring an upset teenager with a hug may be considered inappropriate and unprofessional. Physical contact had become almost outlawed in a society traumatised and made paranoid by the horror stories of paedophiles and child molesters. There was a vast new language landscape  that accompanied the hyper vigilant (freaked out) policies.  Terms such as non-physical client engagement and maintaining professional integrity and non self disclosure was the cultural indoctrination for the new generation of social workers and counsellors.

At times the newest theories and current research findings were far more complex and controversial than the complicated lives of the people whose lives they were designed to improve!

The distance and differences between grass roots service delivery in shelters and the academic institutions that conducted research into the lives of homeless people was so vast that our role as shelter staff was to be an interpreter of the newspeak as it gushed out of the government departments, and landed in the lives of the young women who spoke a very different language, developed from within a very different reality than the world of academics and researchers.

I came face to face with an adaptation of the newspeak in the late 90’s. I was visiting a member of SAYM (Strength As Young Mothers) who was living  in our outreach accommodation. Rosie had the great misfortune to have been born into a volatile and abusive family who had inflicted neglect and violence on her through out her childhood. She had  a shattered self concept, outraged ego and hair-trigger temper that could erupt anywhere at any time, especially when she had to deal with people in authority. Her anti-authority trigger might include anyone from a   bank teller to the social security staff and it definitely included the midwives at the hospital where she gave birth to her daughter. People she thought looked at her the wrong way in supermarkets, especially older women who she thought were judging her, would be on the receiving end of Rosie’s wrath. Both of Rosie’s parents were in and out of jail throughout her childhood and her family were well known to many government departments, including correctional services, welfare and the education department.

Under the surface of her volatile and recalcitrant behaviour there was a bright, funny, thoughtful young woman who was a very quick learner. She had been identified as having learning difficulties and ‘behavioural challenges’ during her school years, labels that followed her from class room to class room. Rosie had a reputation as a disruptive and difficult student and she made sure to live up to the way she was perceived!

It was very apparent that Rosie’s perceived learning difficulties were most likely a result of the relentless stress and chaos of her family home and her many trips in and out of foster care every time one of her parents went to jail. Her bright mind and astute grasp of new environments kept her afloat amidst the chaos of her family life but her reputation and the limitations of the education system to accommodate and nurture traumatised and volatile students meant that she spent her entire school years repeating the negative behaviours she learnt in her family home – and developing some new ones of her own. She left school at 14 and I am sure more than one or two teachers would have breathed a sigh of relief to be free of her hot temper and disruptive class room dramas.

It was no surprise to her social workers and former teachers that Rosie had her first baby at 16 and her second two years later.

There is an old saying ‘you become an expert at whatever you practice… so be careful what you practice’ and like many of the young women who came to our shelter, Rosie had great expertise in enlisting social workers, youth workers and counsellors to help her to get food vouchers, taxi vouchers, Christmas hampers and other kinds of assistance that is available to people in need. Her family had lived on welfare for several generations and Rosie had inside knowledge on getting the most out of the system that she was born into.

On this particular day she was trying to convince me to give her a taxi voucher from our very limited resources so that she could travel to the northern suburbs to catch up with an old friend. She didn’t like using public transport and would often end up arguing with strangers when she was out and about. Conflict was so deeply ingrained in Rosie’s mind that it was inevitable she would find it – or create it –where ever she went and putting all analysis aside, who wouldn’t prefer to catch a free a taxi rather than enduring a hot bus trip to the other side of town?

During her time at the shelter, Rosie had learnt that, unlike with some of the less experienced social workers and younger youth workers she had been allocated over the years, she couldn’t manipulate the shelter staff. We weren’t intimidated by her outbursts or threats to report us to human services for treating her unfairly. Like many of the young women in the shelter who had learnt to use aggression instead of assertiveness and believed that life victimised them over and over, it took many months before we developed the degree of trust that is necessary for a partnership on the journey of change. We kept our rules constant and allowed her to return to the groups after an outburst or dramatic exit and for someone who was very familiar with inconsistency and rejection the firmness accompanied by friendliness eventually allowed her to settle down and think about her future for the first time. The other young mothers weren’t impressed by her disruptive behaviour in the group room and the mirror of Rosie’s peers and their influence reflected far more to her than the staff of ‘geriatric grannies’ as she once called us with a dismissive slam of the door.

Rosie had been pleading her case for a taxi voucher, for almost half an hour. She lived on a direct bus route, the bus stop was half a block away and the weather was sunny and fine. I wasn’t prepared to give her a voucher, preferring to keep it for more important needs such as assisting a pregnant woman to get to the hospital or a mother with a sick toddler to go to the doctors. Rosie could see that her battle for the free taxi ride was just about lost when she drew her last resort weapon to the fight.

“Carol I need that taxi voucher cause it’s important for me to maintain my social networks.  I am marginalised cause I am a single mother. I am socially isolated in the community and my social worker told me I need to integrate more and explore new options. It’s not just a taxi voucher you know, I’m not just trying to scam a free ride, it’s a social justice issue cause I need to see my friends”.

Rosie’s words took me completely by surprise. I was both delighted by her new strategy and highly suspicious of her motive. She demonstrated that by adopting the language of her oppressors, she believed she stood a much better chance of getting what she wanted and whilst it didn’t get her the taxi voucher she was lobbying for, it was a very levelling moment that show cased how astute Rosie was in spite of the myriads of case notes, files, police reports and hospital records that stated the opposite.

I kept our taxi voucher and gave Rosie a lift out to the northern suburbs delighted to reward her sharp mind and creative use of the gobbledegook that had surrounded her since the first day welfare authorities began to interpret who she was and what she was capable of, tattooing her tragic history in files and reports through out her precious growing years.

 

I Choose My Words

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Casting Shadows

Posted by carolom on June 23, 2016

I was walking along a path  that is also  bicycle track in a park on the edge of the city this morning and in spite of the school and heading to work traffic I suddenly experienced a sense of vulnerability. The trees and bushes obscured the path from the main road and my imagination created a scenario based on stories in the news.
My work in domestic violence shelters has created a heightened sense of awareness of the vulnerability of women although many of my friends  will say they are alert to danger in some public places.
These thoughts were not my preferred rumination on a pleasant, brisk winters walk but as I began to refocus them, my own shadow caught my eye as its stretched out before me.

I was reminded of Robert Johnson’s illuminating book Owning your Own Shadow- Understanding the Dark side of the Psyche and what a pivotal moment it was when I read it many years ago.

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I was so immersed in contemplating the shadow and observing my own thinking about how it plays out in people’s lives  that I didn’t hear the footsteps behind me until a shadow unexpectedly imposed itself over  my own, making me jump and turn around, eyes widened by a rush of adrenalin.

A woman’s voice said Oh, I ‘m sorry.I thought that might happen. Good thing you are not a karate person. And there standing in front of me were the sources of the shadow that crossed my path.Harley and Shanti. Two beautiful, friendly happy little souls who were walking without their lead and were so very excited to see a new friend on their walkway they had bounded up to me to say hello!

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I explained to the woman that I had been thinking about shadows and domestic violence and had just taken a photo of my elongated shadow. She said Gee, it’s really long isn’t it?

It was obvious that these thoughts were a long way from her morning walk.

We parted ways at the traffic lights, Harley and Shanti now happily on their leads, wagging their tails and leaving me to ponder about the tale I had been wagging on the beautiful, sunny  crisp winters morning walk, where between our three shadows, mine was most definitely the longest…

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Mandalas as tools for Staff Training and Development.

Posted by carolom on June 21, 2016

*Updated:

The Mandala ( the Circular form) which I have shared in other sections of my blog,  is a great tool for inspiring right brain thinking and reflection during our  creativity based staff training sessions.

As people engage with the rhythmic movement of adding colour and meaning to the individual black and white templates, the process is akin to a mind-massage that facilitates  access to parts of the brain we may have lost touch with in education settings and workplaces that don’t engage the hands equally as the eyes and ears for training purposes.

This is especially so in the western system whereas other cultures, i.e. Aboriginal culture, engage hands and creativity as part of the process of telling stories, generating ideas  and transmitting knowledge. This multi-sensory engagement is core to every day life.

In some cultures creative expression and development is not reduced  after early childhood as happens in some aspects of the western school system where the arts are often not considered as important as the sciences and therefore colour movement, dance, story telling, art and the application of the imagination are diminished over time. Creativity does not conform to a pre-existing template and systems that are outcome oriented are often not able accommodate creative expression and exploration.

 The system we are brought up in has enormous influence on how we think and create.

Sadly many people are living their life with the belief (belief )  I am not Creative, in spite of shared experience we all had as creative, imaginative, ‘magical’ children who were not bound by pre-existing templates during times of play and invention.
You can read a little story about what happens to the ‘magical child in exile’ by clicking here..

Feedback after the creativity based training  includes statements like this:

  • I was amazed at how much more information I absorbed even though I was not always looking up
  • thank you for giving us permission to go in to our own creative space and contribute without having to sit still all day in the one position, i am always the biro flicker in workshops because my hands get bored sitting still all day
  • Wow! That was fabulous! I am going to share these tools with my daughter and grandchildren

The following are samples of some of the work that was created during a series of Cultural Inclusivity Action Plan workshops.

The four themes that were central to the day were

  • Team
  • Community
  • Our Place
  • Workplace Balance

You can see the theme is written on the Mandala and the individual creative input is an unique and diverse as the participants and the Community they serve.

We honour the traditional owners of this great land when we implement processes that Aborginalise the western mindset by engaging with traditional cultural practices of art, creativity, story sharing, talking circles and FUN! (Thankyou Dana Shen for introducing me to  the term Aboriginalising ways of learning and information sharing).

This kind of training setting is a along way vastly different from sitting in a row of chairs or around tables and watching but not actively engaging with information. Slide shows, pie graphs and classroom style information sharing  lacks the creative engagement that occurs when hands are given access to creative processes and the information is presented in a way that evokes the imagination and new ideas.

Creativity based learning is a very different setting than the more common workshop environment where people sit still, watch and listen rather than create and interact with the material.

Our Place

Team

Balance in the Workplace

Each Mandala has a developmental theme and is used as both a creative and discussion tool as

  • an individual process,
  • in the small group talking /action plan group and
  • as a larger group we have poster size replicas which, by the end of the day become the centre of an action-plan installation art.

You can see how wonderful it is to create the ART of Vision / Action over the tired old butchers paper sheets that tend to be rolled away and disappeared forever once the workshop is over….

Posted in Aboriginal, ART of Change, Community, Creativity, Imagination, Patterns, Power of Focus, Reconciliation, Social Artistry, Staff Training, Stories, The Art of Change, Transformation, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Leave a Comment »

A cup of SpiritualiTea….

Posted by carolom on March 22, 2016

The BBC news of The World site is asking what is the best way to make a cup of tea.

These are my top tips…

1. Only enter the tea making space with good cheer and lightness of spirit. Annoyance and hurriedness may sour the liquid and result in spillages and splashes.

2. Ensure your tea pot has been pre-warmed and that the water you use comes from the sky or spring not the fluoride treatment plant.

3. Use tea leaves that speak to the imagination as well as the taste buds. e.g Some packaging has only the name and bar code but others will tell you some of the story of the region where the tea originated or of the family business and their commitment to their tea and its processing.

4.When you pour the boiling water over the leaves do so in a circular motion to evenly distribute the water rather than drown the leaves.

5. Whilst waiting for the tea to brew (or “mash” if you come from Hull smile emoticon ) ensure your cups are clean and, if you are using a strainer, that it does not have a build up of tannin.

6. When pouring the tea think about the lovely things in your life, the blessings you have and the loved ones who are no longer here but with whom you shared many a cuppa with in past years. This will bring the SpiritualiTea forth (however if you have only recently lost your loved one, perhaps avoid the remembering step in case you pour sorrow forth).

*The number of spoons of tea will vary according to the strength you prefer but generally the “one for each person and one for the pot” formula is a reliable one.

A touch of CreativiTea can be added by drinking out of cups and mugs that both delight and inspire you such as my brightly coloured Mandala tea cup that was given by a thoughtful friend recently. (Morgan and Finch – fabulous!).

At all times you should avoid drinking your tea out of a styrene cup as that is akin to drinking a fine wine out of a tomato soup can. Practical when camping but highly questionable from a SpiritualiTea perspective…

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PS If you must use a tea bag rather than fresh leaves, make sure it has been certified as organic as there was most likely a chemical process used in turning the paper into a bag. At no time allow the tag to fall into the water as there is ink and print on that label.

 

 

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A Day at the Home Office

Posted by carolom on February 18, 2016

You are home alone. Comfortably so.

From the other room you hear what sounds like the printer starting up…all on its own.

You walk a little cautiously towards the printer and indeed notice it has begun to click into the print mode – that familiar sound that is never spooky in the least…

You look over towards the sleeping cat who is now wide eyed staring at what seems to be a spot slightly above your head.

Eyes trained on staring cat you edge towards the printer as it begins to churn out paper after paper….

Cat remains transfixed on spot above your head…printer is printing what seems to be a list of sorts with instructions on it.

I am home alone. Now not quite so comfortably so..

Junipurr suddenly breaks his stare and leaps off the couch and rrrrrruns past me…towards his food bowl.

I realise his stare is his psychic transmission for me to get his lunch and my lack of response required a physical manoeuvre on his part to get the message across…

As the printer finishes its unexpected production I call my husband…

“yeah, I ‘m still at the library…did the printing job come through?
Remember I told you how we can send a print job to it through email”.

Yes it did.

No I don’t.

I’ve got to go…Junipurr is hungry….

A day at the home office…

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Posted in Animals, Cats, Stories, The Art of Change, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

We all have Choices…or do we?

Posted by carolom on November 24, 2015

Choices…

I hosted a Creativity and Conversation afternoon for a group of professional women recently and Vivienne, one of the newest members of the group brought along a delicious banana cake for morning tea.

The compliments flowed, some went back for seconds and several of us asked her for the recipe.

Vivienne laughed and called it the never-fail banana cake recipe. It’s a family recipe but I changed a few things.

I stopped mid bite to absorb her words. A family recipe.
I have worked in domestic violence shelters and prison settings for over 25 years and I recently participated in a number of social media conversations about families, lifestyles and choices. It was the 90’s when terms like you have choices and it’s your choice began to circulate.

It is a broad sweeping concept that basically says, you are free to choose differently at any moment and if you make a poor choice, you must deal with the consequences.

In the homeless sector we began to hear about choices at conferences and forums. Some took it on board as a tool for case management for working with at risk youth and young offenders.

“You have a choice”  became firmly embedded in the language  of homelessness and housing.

Choices could also be put on the table if a woman was facing eviction from her public housing because she had not paid her rent, citing her gambling addiction as the reason: You made the choice to gamble instead of the budget you agreed to. Unfortunately this is the consequence of your choice.

To assume a person has made a conscious, considered choice leaves little room to factor in complex issues such as post traumatic stress which can manifest as making seemingly poor choices.
Replicating the ingrained habits and behaviours  that are reinforced by the social and behavioral norms of the people we spend most of our time with can also seem like a choice . However in  context of social and family conditioning they are mirroring people who have enormous influence on our world view not a conscious choice at all.

“You have choices” precludes the overwhelming emotional and psychological impact of being born into systems of oppression, racism and abuse that distort a persons sense of self and the capacity to reach ones fullest potential.

Some of the women we meet in shelters and domestic violence support settings had lived at the shelter  with their mothers when they were children, returning a few short years later as a young mother who is trapped in the same cycle of family violence and lifestyle “choices”.

Other women in shelter settings  may be struggling with the relentless alcohol addiction that also plagues other members of her family. Is it a choice or are the implications of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder so significant  yet externally invisible. In these cases  choices  are limited by neurological impairment.

You made the choice or you could have chosen differently assumes that because one person has the fortitude and inner strength or resilience to “choose well”, others should also be able to make the same kind of informed and considered choices when in reality many women are struggling simply to overcome the impact of past events and feeling unsafe in the world.

Unfortunately minds that are filled with fear, stress and chaos are not always  well equipped to make considered choices.

Back to Vivienne’s fabulous banana cake and the recipe that her mother had received from her grandmother that was then   tweaked and changed in Vivienne’s kitchen.

Her changes included adding crushed walnuts to the batter and brushing a light lemon syrup over the top of the cake before the icing.

Many family recipes remain unchanged, handed down through old note books and cook books without a single adjustment made to any of the ingredients or formula

Some women are able to improve upon a great recipe and others completely throw out the old one and rid themselves of the predictable serving that has been handed down through the generations.

Most of us can think of an old recipe or formula that we learnt in the family home and decided to re-work and let go of once we left the nest that imprinted us with who we are and how to move in the world.

In shelters these change makers are the women we support and cheer on!

We recognise that she is courageous and brave to make a conscious choice to explore a different lifestyle recipe for her self and her children.

We know she will have to work very hard to acquire all of the ingredients and skills she will need and there will be times when old habits and familiar formulas will distract her along the path of obstacles that she will face.

What about those who are repeating “poor” choices that could be identified as the  attraction to the bad boy  characters who feature in so many of our group conversations?
As one woman said “Every guy I’ve ever loved has either been to jail or he should have but didn’t get caught”. Many of the women in her family and social circle had similar patterns.

What about  the woman who hasn’t fully realized that the choice to allow him back into her life is a recipe for disaster?
We love her any way!

We continue to believe in her, support her and offer her different tools for navigating her lifestyle.

We recognise that what might seem to be a very poor choice on a daily basis to some people is perhaps the very thing that is keeping her afloat at this point in time.

In shelters we meet women who are very new to the concept of self agency and the power they have to choose differently.

I created the C.H.O.I.C.E.S. acronym for discussion during our Art of Change  group and whilst it encourages strong and informed choice making, we also discuss the some of the limitations and road blocks that are in place when it comes to navigating those words you can choose differently at any time…

C.H.O.I.C.E.S.
Carol Omer bio:

Carol Omer is a certified Life Coach and artist. She specialises in creativity based empowerment and healing programs for women. Carol recently launched The Big Girls Little Coloring Book, a life coaching colouring book for women.

http://www.CarolOmer.com

 

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