Day 27: Dancing with Avicii

Four days left! Wow, pretty impressed with myself that I’ve made it this far. And enjoying making it my own, bringing in other elements, not just about the self love challenge, it’s all connected isn’t it?

There are so many things I want to write about and some of that is starting to come through here. Once the self love challenge is over I will take a bit of a break and then start up again with what wants to be written.

It’s 34 degrees outside, tomorrow, and both weekend days are forecast to top out at 39, Wednesday is the cool day with a high of 24 expected and the other two days mid 30s. Another warm week coming!

Last night I took Emma to Avicii, her xmas present. It was a beautiful night, really warm and festive, on Australia Day. A handful of times I stopped paying attention to the mindless party goers, most of them half my age, and allowed myself to be free of concern. I was able to simply enjoy the moment, the music, the atmosphere, and just move to the music.

2014-01-26 20.34.58There was a couple of guys near us, my gaydar was going off. It became clear to us that they were a couple, but only subtly apparent. I became present to the privilege of being able to be in public with my same sex partner and be affectionate, dancing together. The guys were more reserved, no PDAs, didn’t even put their arms around eachother when a straight couple took a pic of them after they took a pic of the straight couple, a nice gesture as they were doing a selfie.

I was really struck by how reserved guys are. Another straight couple near us had a tall dude with tattoo sleves but looked more like an athelete than a biker. He hardly moved, almost like he was on duty as protector of is girlfriend dancing gently in front of him. A single woman on the other side of us was totally going for it, not wildy but clearly really enjoying herself, not to impress the friends that weren’t with her, just responding to the music expressively. Quite a fascinating range!



Subconscious Mind Matters

I have just finished listening to the audiobook of Dr Bruce Lipton’s Biology of Belief. I am still reeling. It was full of a lot of concepts I mostly already knew about but put things into a sharper perspective and affirmed what I already understood, with a new sense of depth and gravity.

The idea that our subconscious mind controls most of what we do isn’t new to me but hearing Bruce talk about it and gaining a deeper understanding of it brought up all sorts of questions and feelings.

subconsciousI searched ‘subconscious mind’ on google and found this list of ways to control your subconscious mind. Not that control is my pursuit at all, more a dance or synergy. I’d love some kind of relationship that is functional and feels balanced, if that’s even possible.

I started on the first suggestion, stream of consciousness writing, again, not a new practice but doing it brought up some things I’d learned in the past. And my writing became about connecting with different parts of myself that are likely impacting what I’m doing and not doing and giving them a voice. I discovered that the reason I feel Continue reading

Drinking Culture

I recently completed an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) course, for people working in hospitality to learn about serving alcohol responsibly. It provides a certificate that will enable me to get work in a bar.

On the train to Oakleigh I passed a revolving sign posted above a building, on one side it says “Alcohol doesn’t cause violence.” On the other side it said “Blame and punish the individual.” I’m all about identifying the true cause and would totally agree that alcohol itself doesn’t inherently cause violence. Blaming and punishing individuals, however, negates the bigger picture and the systemic issue of how we as a society relate to alcohol. Australians love to drink and as I learned at the course, 70% of all emergency room visits are alcohol related. This problem is widespread, pervasive and highly contentious.
We were asked to identify the benefits of alcohol in society. What it came down to was economics, huge industry, lots of jobs in hospitality, tourism and entertainment. When we consider the health and social impacts I’m not sure it measures up. RSA is part of the state’s response to dealing with the negative impacts, and intends to reduce the harm. I’m doubtful of how much it impacts, being focused on the service side, but better than nothing. Especially given our culture doesn’t favour personal responsibility. Responsible service is one aspect of the equation. Responsible consumption is another and to expect this in a personal responsibility vacuum is a bit unrealistic.


Could there be better education about responsible consumption and are there vested interests that are all about industry profits? Sure, but where the average person can actually have an impact is not here, it’s in the realm of personable responsibility. How often do we excuse ourselves from stupid things we’ve done while intoxicated? For years I would wake up from a big night out with a feeling of regret, remembering snipets of what I did or said that were shameful or embarrassing!  Did it stop me from drinking to excess? Nope. I do remember occasional strategies like setting myself a limit of 6 drinks or having water after the 3rd. Perhaps these contributed to my eventual shift in consumption and responsibility but I spent a decade partying hard and I can’t imagine the damage it did to my liver and brain! I am responsible for the choices I made and there is also some influence from social norms. It may seem like passing the buck, and maybe I am.
When I think of how blind we are to the relationship we have with alcohol and how easy it is for young people to go out and get smashed, weekend after weekend. They’re so busy trying to be accepted and to look cool, are strategies for responsible drinking going to get a look in?
A few days after the RSA course I celebrated by 40th birthday. It was the first time I really put a strategy in place that worked to limit my drinking after my judgement became impaired. I put two ciders in the main fridge, two in the outside fridge and told myself I’d have two glasses of ginger wine after the (easy to drink) bottles were gone. It worked, I didn’t drink more after that and I was certainly feeling the effects of 6 drinks over 6 hours. I felt proud of myself for achieving this, but when I think about how long it took me and how many people drink to excess in thier 20s & 30s and beyond, I wonder what hope we have of being responsible drinkers.
Wondering what it will take to shift our relationship to alcohol? How has your’s changed?

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


Raining in Melbourne. A bit of a relief after a couple hot dry days as soon as we got back. I’d gotten used to humidity in bali, making melbourne weather a bit of a shock.

Today, venturing into the city for the first time, post-holiday, I noticed more adjusting. Expecting to be hassled by taxi drivers at very least. Noticing far more diversity, not just aussies and Indonesians. Some eccentric folk on Bourke St with brightly coloured hair, a grandmother with a black rosary to match her atire, humbly asking me for money in the Paris-end of Collins St. Office workers with personality, egos, openly expressed and some defeated & bored. Now on the train with all sorts of different people, getting used to limiting my curiosity, politely facing people without speaking. Not being too interested in the book she’s reading, nor the bookmark that looks old, with both Chinese and Arabic characters on it. It all feels a bit new again, getting used to how we relate in Melbourne. Being surprised that things actually work, that order seems more dominant than chaos. How is it that we’re all creating this order? Complicity?

Funny that Bali seemed more chaotic yet with less diversity and that here in Melbourne it’s ordered and diverse. How bizarre!

Adapting to a Changing World

A few months ago I was sitting with a client that was so used to scrounging for attention to green initiatives that the support around her was hard to see. I pointed out that we’ve grown used to the apathy that when something like actual interest in reducing the office’s environmental impact is present we have a hard time seeing it. We don’t know what to do with enthusiasm for our campaigns, we’ve become jaded. So how will we respond to the new leadership and the shiftin consciousness that is slowly but surely gathering steam?

Will we continue to struggle on or will we wake up to the possibility that more and more people are starting to embrace new ways of being in the world. The forces that perpetuate the status quo are still strong but their days are numbered. The awareness of the connections between us, our actions, our beliefs, our common heritage and our impact on the future is building. The myth of separation is breaking down, even the global financial crisis receiving commentary from prime minister and bankers alike saying it’s all connected. The links are being made slowly but surely.

We’ve paid little attention to the relationships between things so as they become apparent it can be overwhelming. It feels like a lot of work but it’s simply another way of seeing the world. One that will take a long time to adjust to. One that will make clear the importance of working together, relying on eachother to share our understanding of the links between things.

As we learn to trust each other in coming together for a common purpose our faith in humanity will grow. Our capacity to create change together will strengthen. Our determination to reclaim the future from our former selves will gain momentum and really, it already is.

being used for a purpose…

The clear & crisp air is stark against the mildly warm train. At least the sun shines bright today. I’m thankful for the warm rays shining on my face. Thinking about the idea of “being used for a purpose”. We humans seem to serve a purpose regardless of our awareness of it. We may aspire to serve some higher good yet our actions, choices, beliefs have us inadvertently serving a purpose that we do without full intention. I aim to serve a world that works for all yet I may be serving the military industrial complex with my mortgage or some other consumer choice i make that has no obvious connection to the arms trade. Digging into the current economic apparatus that appears to hold up our society can get ugly. This is not where I want to focus my energy. It is important to be aware of the reality and equally important to cast our eyes forward. To focus on what we want to create, bringing vision and hope to a future free of the templates of the past. Toward the highest purpose of humanity and the planet we live on with full intention. Our challenge is to live consistent with our values to the best of our ability, striving further to serve the greater good, being used for a purpose that aligns with our visions for a healthy & safe existence for our great grandchildren’s great grandchildren.

Ancestors at my Back

It came in a large thick paper envelope, stapled shut. It wrapped the images of her funeral. I expected worn pieces of cloth sewn together. To my surprise the patterns so familiar seemed new and the quilt that bound them together felt almost store bought. But I know this memory quilt was made lovingly by the hands of her daughter, my aunt who had brought back her dresses after she died. The fabric from the jacaranda coloured fleece jacket was fashioned in the shape of a bird like the many who fed from the little wooden bird house abundant with seed next to her window. The pink hearts surrounded by squares of gorgeous flower prints, the lilac & cornflower blue checked stripe I remember well. The terry teal patch, once her housecoat. All these squares assembled to bring the presence of my grandma long after she departed this world.

I’ve had a bit of a rough time since she died, and then my “grandmother in-law” (cousin’s grandma) died a few weeks later, see earlier blog post. I didn’t anticipate the unexpressed grief that would underly and undermine my well being. I didn’t realise I needed more space to express the impact and be gentle with myself. It was compounded by difficulties at work, and made for some miserable days of feeling like I had to be on guard and deny the emotional vulnerability at my core.
I’m thankful for the people in my life that helped me move through and out of that space. And i’m thankful to marti for this beautiful lap quilt.

It gives me a tangible memento for the grandmothers at my back, supporting me from their new place in the web of life. I imagine Ruth Nichols and Barbara MacAdams standing behind me, supporting me as I move thru life, flanked by all my family, all my relations, my mentors, Joan Yardley, M. Anne Clarke, Rachel Carson, Emma Goldberg… All the beings, frog, banana slug, lynx, quoll, red winged black bird… All composing the living legacy of this moment. My blood that evolved from the oceans, from the priomordial soup. My grandmothers connect me to my ancestors of all beings of all time.

Creation writing inspired by a conversation with Alice

Planetary Transformation, it’s personal! Starts with me, by acknowledging the pain, investigate the wound. To ignore the emotional element is to step over an important feedback component. I’m finding new ways of being that allow for release of old patterns. I’m creating fulfilment, abundant joy and happiness. I’m hospicing old ways of being personally and old institutions globally. I am midwifing new ways of being personally and new institutions globally. I’m creating ways for people in my communities to access personal transformation as a way to bring about planetary transformation.

As the personal is political, the global is local, so local that i can be responsible for the transformation of the planet through my own attention to my personal journey through the morass, and into my full, true, powerful self. To realize the creation of my life and all life on the planet begins with me. That i can be mindful and conscientious of the future i’m creating for myself and the planet. When i am negative, aggressive, miserable, that’s what i bring to planetary transformation. When i stand in willingness to develop my capacity to let go of fear and reactivity, i generate love and beauty as my contribution to planetary transformation. This is the opening for action.

joy inside sadness

Each day my heart breaks open holding sadness and joy simultaneously. The stories fill my heart to overflowing. The mayor of New York deeming all taxis be hybrid cars, scientific reports of climate change happening faster, january being 3 degrees above normal…the video of “challenge day” where a bully apologized to the millions of people he’d bullied. That one brought the most tears.

Learning about the context that had my grandmother fearing she’d become a single mother in the 1950’s, bringing me to compassion for my grandfather after secretly despising his poor treatment of grandma. May they rest in peace.

Each of these stories breaks my heart, the more I open to the pain, the greater my capacity to feel the joys. It all evoke a heart opening emotion, uncommonly familiar… sometimes feels like sadness but not separate from joy, it all folds into one.

Makes me think of a Tich Naht Hahn quote in Joanna Macy’s “world as lover, world as self”:
I still arrive, in order to laugh and cry,
to fear and hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that is alive.