the old ones sing

the old ones
sing of
long ago

now –
as the
ash and
embers of our
fire
thread their
way to
sky and
stars

now –
I am
earthbound and of the
heavens

the old ones
sing

now –

In 2008 I attended a Women’s conference. The keynote and many activities were provided by the elders and supporters of the Kapululangu Aboriginal Women’s Law and Culture Centre. One evening some of us had paint up and danced a traditional dance. Then the elders sang around the campfire and we watched the ash and embers rise into the sky to join the stars.

gratitude #7/10

Neighbours, today I am grateful for my lovely neighbours. Yesterday I was feeling a little low – I had taken a week’s leave to get the garden sorted, and a big list of projects to complete. Six days later I realised that despite having worked really hard and being exhausted, I was not going to get it all done. Then the ladies from across the road popped by and one told me she was glad someone was giving the house some attention and the other gave me some empathy for the overwhelm I was feeling. She also shared her plans for her garden. So I got some acknowledgement, appreciation, shared reality and connection. I am feeling re-inspired today 🙂

Two mandalas in my front yard planted with a mandarine & mulberry and veggies under the mulch

ANZAC Day 2017

I have returned from a very local Dawn Service. I love the service – a gathering of neighbours, local schoolkids and their families, the congregation of St Mary’s.

Highlights this year – we sang the New Zealand National anthem! Such a beautiful, musical anthem, we were led by a tall, handsome  young Maori from the local badass high school. My partner (who would dress entirely in Aussie flag themed attire if he could), sang along beautifully as well.

A wish for the future – that the ceremony would mention the role of women and families, and the impact of war on the community. There are plenty of soldiers in my family, including an ANZAC and a youngest son who died in Sandakan. Also a member of the Czech resistance and another youngest son – a Ukrainian who perished, location unknown, in WW2. My Grandfathers both suffered from Post Traumatic Shock, one became an alcoholic and caused no end of trouble for my Gran. The other was an overzealous disciplinarian, I remember when he died, trying to make a connection with my Dad but unable to make the necessary amends.

And the mothers! Anna Honcharova who spent her whole life waiting for Pavel to return. Did he die of the cold? Of injuries or illness? Of hunger? Was he one of the severely injured who was too ashamed to return home? Where was he?

And dear Eileen Evangeline Chase Morris McGregor – her darling Robbie died at Sandakan, nearly at the end of WWII. She was such a tough old stick, but would tear up whenever she remembered him, how they sent parcels of food to him via the Red Cross, but that it never reached him.

I wish we could hear more stories and poems from these perspectives on ANZAC Day.

being part of a ‘thing’: global corporate challenge

So, at work a while ago I took on the role of Wellness Ambassador. Immediately afterwards, I was seconded to a very busy position so have relied on my wonderful teammates to step up and do most of the organising: wellness walks, picnics in the park, gallery visits… they do lots of fun stuff 🙂

Anyway, partly because I felt I ‘should’ and partly because I felt guilty for leaving said teammates in the lurch, I agreed to participate in the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC).  This is a 100 day wellness competition that advocates taking 10,000 ‘steps’ per day, with options to track calories, engage in an online community and some other stuff that I have not yet explored.

Why I was reluctant: Stuff that annoys me about the GCC

  • 10,000 steps per day does not acknowledge that people come in a wonderful diversity of shapes, sizes, abilities and preferences. Not all of us can step, or find stepping to be a great way to exercise. Yes, there is an option to convert other activities to steps but I would love to see ‘steps’ replaced with something inclusive.
  • Also, personally speaking, I need a day off now and then to just be and do nothing more strenuous that a little pottering about. Ten thousand steps after a day of 29,000+ steps was too much for me yesterday and I just had to take a little nanna nap. Luckily I was not at work… Yes, averages are tracked, but the emphasis is on 10,000 steps every day.
  • This is a team competition, but I have not come across any guidelines for the teams and teamwork – I can see whether my GCC teammates have not entered steps, and (If they forget, or are unable to change the privacy settings) their average and PB steps. Workplace bullying anyone?
  • The nutrition stuff drives me nuts. The ‘calories in calories out’  + regular weigh-in model has failed several generations now – maybe it’s time to encourage people to do their own research and experiment with some new ways of being with food that will work for them – I can think of hundreds of small and large things people might like to try ( calorie counting is just one possibility).
  • There is no mental health component. Sleep does get addressed, but not mental health. Why not? I have an awful suspicion that some corporations may be reluctant to participate if their employees become more informed and start questioning things like work-life balance, allocation of shift work, workload and such.

Things I am unexpectedly enjoying about the GCC

  • I have been motivated to do some things I want to do but never get around to (see goals below)
  • I am enjoying the online community aspects
  • I was pleasantly surprised to find I am more active than I thought

Things I am doing to make the GCC work for me: my personal goals

  • be the first person to get chucked off the rink for skating too fast in the Friday night ‘beginners’ speed skating session. This will never happen, but it has me up and having fun at the rink more regularly
  • get all the things checked that I should have checked but never get around to: I am off to the dentist, optometrist, gp, physio, hearing people (don’t know what they are called yet but suspect I will soon be able to spell it well) … and my car is going to the mechanic too
  • keep my Sundays free. Starting next week… hehe
  • go paleo again. Yay!

I think that is quite enough for 100 days 🙂