Symposium at New Earth Sanctuary

Your first symposium never goes to plan and people are always late. I’d like to be wrong about it, and say so I if am.

Today two bright new symposium facilitators did their first symposium in the same room they trained in at the end of January. Being back there was rejuvenating and to be there to support these two on their first go was a joy and a privilege. With a little practise I’d easily nominate them to do public symposiums and be the first to put my hand up to work with them again. (Watch this space…)

Even having two other people in the room can be enough. We also had participation from a number of plush toys including a gollie doll to represent social justice. And the two humans both expressed the value they got from the experience in glowing terms. We didn’t show the last two videos but people got the message, took it in deeply and left lifted.

There was lots of learning and affirmation in going through it for the first time. I enjoy most when people begin to see themselves in the symposium and express their strengths. Tears make symposiums most meaningful. Imagine what it felt like, a few years back, to watch my boss at the time in tears after being quite intimidated at times. For him it was the animals, facing extinction and having us to speak for them. Gut wrenching and a deeply moving experinece of powerful vulnerability.

Deepening Retreat at Moora Moora

I’m soaking up the juicy experience that the Deepening was at the end of March! 17 of us gathered in the octagon at Moora Moora to share a couple of days to connect more deeply with ourselves, our world and eachother. Using the Work that Reconnects (Joanna Macy) and experiential Deep Ecology as well as aspects of the Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream symposium we rapidly formed community.

Deepening GroupAlthough we had a late start due to delayed arrivals it provided learning for later and we did the ‘Milling’ after dinner. Similar to how it evolved at the last facilitator training, I combined the ‘Milling’ with the ‘Relational Presence‘ (Lee Glickstein) activity that we usually do to teach facilitators a new way to relate to their audience. The energy in the room was palpable in that people really dropped into a profoundly connected space during the process. It was such a privilege to facilitate! Continue reading

Unhappy Customer

Rant alert! At Flinders Street Station there are two cafe type vendors on the concourse. Coffee HQ and Baguette. Coffee HQ will happily use your reusable mug, Baguette won’t. Coffee HQ will give you your purchase without a bag if you ask. Baguette says it’s the ‘rules’ and what you do with the bag afterward is up to you and be a jerk about it. It’s nearly 11pm and Coffee HQ is closed, now I know with certainty that I will never give my business to Baguette again.

Bunny Drama

On my way home from Sustainability Drinks tonight I saw our bunnies on the lawn of the house a few doors down that’s being renovated. I corralled them enough to get them both back into our yard, to my surprise it was easier than herding cats! Grey bunny, who I’m sure has been out partying a few nights recently (word on the street), he was fine to go back thru the wire mesh he’d chewed thru in the side gate. But Pickles, AKA white bunny wasn’t done with her taste of freedom. I guess being free range in our yard isn’t enough! I tried to get her back in but could see she was determined for self determination.

Later when I took the dogs out to pee before bed, I saw that both bunnies were back, hanging out between the shed & my meditation spot. I went around to the side gate & put an old recycling tub against the fence in attempt to make it reasonably rabbit proof.

When I came back Pickles was trying to hump grey bunny & didn’t seem fussy about which end. They are both female as far as we know, have had them for at least 10 months and figured there’d be more of them by now if that wasn’t the case.

Pickles joins the ranks of our gender confused animals. Keeta, fixed female staffy also gets a bit frisky especially around other staffies but isn’t very fussy. Well, at least our pets all get along. Our cat vinnie regularly rubs his face up on both dogs noses and the bunnies will let the dogs get within about a metre of them before hopping away.

Although we had a bit of recent bunny drama, I’m pretty pleased with our little bastion of inter-species harmony.

Portraiture & presence of mouth

Yesterday I got a professional portrait done. I was nervous, I brought a few options for shirts that would put my best face forward. The mud brick studio had a white backgroud, two black panels and an array of various lights to create different effects. One window was draped but there was still natural light coming from two directions and the gum trees swaying outside were an nice to watch as Ben adjusted the lighting, reflectors and tripod.

He was quite clear which shirt he thought would portray a professional image and tho I do want that, to try too hard for that look would be insinscere. In the end we did some with the purple shirt as well where one of my fave shots ended up.

I was recovering from a cold and didn’t feel 100% so a bit concerned about being able to bring myself fully to the task but I trust Ben. He offered me some rescue remedy, I usually carry my own with me but didn’t have it and felt comforted being offered and accepting. I thought to myself, where else would you get this kind if care?!?

He was very open, invited me to see the effect on the camera’s view finder when we changed the background and stopped part way to check the images on the computer. He created an atmosphere that didn’t have a shred of professional elitism, making me quite comfortable and included in the process. I really appreciated that especially with my own interest in amateur photography.

I learned a lot being the portrait subject and it reminded me of the times I did fun photoshoots with friends in Victoria. I loved taking pictures of girls in various outfits, poses and states of undress! Seeing Ben at work made me realize just how amateur we were! But what fun we had!

I was so impressed with the level of skill evident in Ben’s portraiture. He was able to see if I was present, and not just as a whole, if I had “far away eyes” he’d ask me where I was, which brought me back. He could tell if my mouth wasn’t fully present & suggested moving it around, which brought my attention to it. Being wary of the nasty fake smile that can come across with posed shots, I was grateful.

Presence of mind was a familiar idea, but presence of mouth was a whole new distinction! And the way colour can add warmth, light bringing scincerity, posture create strength… It’s endless!!!

Needless to say I was very pleased with the process, the result and I highly recommend Ben Wrigley as a very personable and highly skilled photographer.

And he is also an artist. One who can make a prison look beautiful! Create sinister from the cute & cuddly, elicit weakness in petroleum transport all from images that can say far more than words.

Being the worm

One hundred of us in the Channel 9 TV studio in Richmond watched PM Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott as the debated Healthcare funding and hospital reform at the Press Club in Canberra.

Each of us had a hand held device with a keypad to record our approval or dissaproval of what was being said by the leaders. 1 being the lowest and 9 for the highest indicator of approval. The data was gathered wirelessly and reflected on a screen we couldn’t see (to avoid influencing our opinions) but was on the screen below the leaders as it aired live. Viewers could see our collective response as “the worm” rising and falling like a wriggler on the screen as we either liked or disliked what was said.

At the end the host and Canberra correspondent noted the times the worm peaked and troughed. I heard from a colleague who watched it live, he said the worm went down most of the time Tony Abbott spoke. It was good to hear, I don’t think I had any thing higher than 5 when he was talking. Sure he was on the back foot to start with, however that position doesn’t come with a license to complain incessantly.

The debate could have been over in 15 minutes, very little new content was contributed by either leader after that point. Repetative mudslinging was the main theme for most of it. Though Rudd attempted to stay positive he did his share of defending and attacking.

It’s a sad state of affairs in australian political leadership. Perhaps it’s the norm but I refuse to be satisfied with mediocre! Today’s display may have been consistent with historical behavior, and that’s no excuse! More of the same produces more of the same. I see little reason for optimism yet I manage to hold out hope that a new kind of leadership is emerging from the shadows. If I can help support this shift you know I will!

Rain Storm

We’re so blessed to have been spared the damage this storm has done to Melbourne! We have friends who have been affected with damage to home, transport and event cancellations, disruption.

We decided to cancel our plans to make sure the house and pets were ok. We even played Wii as a distraction. Worked great for Dizzy, she didn’t even flinch for at least two of the thunder rolls.

Our pond has been topped up by mother nature, and she wasn’t so gentle in many other areas of Melbourne. We got hail just over 1cm but not the golf ball sized ones reported elsewhere.

Such a sudden and intense storm, not a long one thankfully!

Tipping point reached!

I’ll tell you a secret, I don’t know definatively if it has been reached. But I feel compelled to declare it. I’m not talking about the point of no return where disastrous climate chaos is our sealed fate, i’m referring to the Great Turning, the movement away from a fixation on the suicidal economy, and toward a life sustaining society. It’s the palpable shift of conscious activity that turns around the titanic. It’s happening, I tell you. Regardless of measurement, scientific posturing, political spin… I can feel in my self, my Self that is connected to all life, that it’s happening. Acting on that voice, I declare that we have reached the point that will move us ever increasingly toward a global community response to our planetary crises. Hope, inspiration & societal change are no longer fleeting & scarce. It’s time!

Earth Day Resolution

Happy Earth Day! What is your Earth Day resolution?

I am committing to working toward selling our car, and joining the local Car Share group. Once Emma’s knee is a bit more healed up and she can walk with out crutches, we’ll put it on the market.

I will also join the Moreland LETS group, to practise the adage on the button i got at the Power to the Peaceful Festival in San Francisco, “Consume Less, Share More”. I’ll offer my services as a Sustainability Coach and Consultant in trade for veggie produce etc.

Also check out a friends’s blog, her response to the Bay Dredging is to reduce her families consumption, identifying the ‘essential things‘. Fantastic that she’s not only making those important links but getting vocal about it. Great pic of her chooks on it too!
Oh yeah, i started writing my book today. I’m committing to have it complete by next Earth Day!

Urban dance to country apple memories

Yesterday we went to the Victorian B-boy championships in the bowels of Collingwood. We saw Demi from ‘So you think you can Dance’ a TV show that we’ve gotten into. The dance dueling was remarkable to watch. Great music and some phenomenal moves of seemingly rubber bodies.
It was a great way to spend an afternoon of fun! Such a treat for me to spend time with emma doing something we both enjoy, especially with her pending knee surgery.

Today we went out to Alice’s place up by Hanging Rock. We picked apples from what she calls the ‘apple forest’. Not quite an orchard, a bit more chaotic and permaculture like. We picked Fuji’s mostly, some Prima’s and a couple of other varieties. There was a device that chopped & crushed the apples, human powered with a rotating wheel that moved the blades & moved the chopped apples through the crusher. The pulp was put into what looked like a loose barrel. When there was enough to press, a wooden disc was put on top of the pulp and several pieces of wood before the turning decice was screwed on. Juice started to trickle out already. The pressing & turning saw the juice flow! We sampled a bit, yum! So sweet!
I loved the fresh sprinkles of juice on my face as I turned the crank, it allowed a childhood memory to surface. I think it was a more mechanized process but I remember being at Kofoeds in Kelowna, they had a big old apple tree in their yard. One year they rented a juicer. I remember the brown liquid with a bit more sediment than the juice at Alice’s. I’d totally forgotten that the last time I was around for apple juice making was when I was about 7 or 8.