wild rose

geograph-841221-by-Nigel-Mykura (1)
image: Wild Rose, Nigel Mykura

Thorned limbs catch me in a vicious embrace. One hundred thorns for each small cluster of simple blood-red blossoms.

Frustrated, I remove those thorny canes, avert my eyes from the tiny fallen flowers, and begin excavations.

But you hold fast to the earth. You hold fast.

I sit beside you, then with you.

My own thorns and flowers — one hundred thorns for each small cluster of simple blossoms — become present.

I sigh, replace the soil, and clear the remaining weeds from your base.

*CC BY-SA 2.0

Dadang Christano nineteen sixty-five

I visited my local art gallery yesterday. The exhibition: Dadang Christiano 1965 is a record of the suffering of the people of Indonesia at the coming of the Suharto regime. I learned that an estimated 1 500 000 people were murdered and many more imprisoned, beaten, raped. I also learned the reason for my ignorance: because the victims were labeled leftist sympathisers and communists (and I’m guessing because they were Asian) the West not only did nothing, they actively discouraged reporting and discussion.

Christano’s art is surely an act of faith: that despite this sorry history of denial, all people now will look and understand, will feel compassion. And so I sat for a moment in testimony, if you like. I sat and imagined ten people and then ten groups of ten people and ten times that until I worked up to 1 500 000. It was very crowded in the gallery, yet solemn, peaceful.

I can’t find an image to post that would not impinge on Christano’s copyright, but here is a link to more of his work.

from keep your goddam hands to yourself to empathy

The terrible sexual assaults in Cologne are reminding me of some experiences I have had, so I thought to do a nonviolent communication exercise on one incident here. Two things to note: 1. This isn’t a serious incident, but if reading such things causes you upset, please don’t read further. 2. I am not saying that this exercise will make everything better for people who have experienced sexual assault or sexism. No. I do find that doing this exercise creates a safe mental space for me to think about a situation, about how to address it in a powerful way. And I also experience a sense of peace, these are the potential benefits I am suggesting. Continue reading “from keep your goddam hands to yourself to empathy”

if your religion requires you to hate someone you need a new religion… Seriously?

Dear friend,

I am feeling sad and confused by your facebook post. So I ask you what religion requires you to hate?

You reply you had no religion in mind, just any religion that requires that.

I say no religion requires that. Maybe people who interpret their religion that way need a new brain.

[I was just trying to be funny to lighten things up. I would like to have said Maybe we need to find out why people are interpreting their religion that way. And thinking about it even more, maybe we all need ‘new brains.’ But I’m cheating, I now have the blogger’s luxury of a little more space and time to reflect.]

Anyway, you say that’s not so catchy. Though it is more accurate. And you tell me your religion in kindness.

and I feel sad because this is no doubt true. And with that kindness in mind I ask you, my friend, to please remove your post not because it offends me but because it offends you.

 

 

 

Nonviolence – With horses!

I just arrived home from a few days horse riding and camping at *Nash Horsetrekking it was a lot of fun and also a wonderful opportunity to see nonviolence in action – with horses. Continue reading “Nonviolence – With horses!”

What then is nonviolence?

I am very excited. A number of things have given me a nudge and I am now in the process of applying for a postgraduate qualification in Peace and Conflict (with plenty of scope to study nonviolence). Oh, so impatient and I have to wait till nearly March to start!

SO for now I will have to satisfy myself for now by collecting what I already know/believe/understand about nonviolence together… to start building a conceptual frame …

What is nonviolence?

  • passive resistance to force
  • a personality trait
  • a disposition/dedication to resolve conflict peaceably
  • a dedication to causing no harm to self or others
  • a journey (for me)
  • a set of practices/skills used to resolve or circumvent conflict
  • a philosophy to guide your life
  • a value
  • a commitment
  • other things I don’t know!

I can’t wait to be reading and writing and talking to other people about all this 🙂

 

 

the ocean inside of me

There is an ocean inside of me
Breathe in

and out
Hear the gentle waves wash over sand and shells and smooth-ed stone let the waves break long and slow from one end of the vast horizon to the other
Breathe in

and out
This ocean has existed for a million thousand billion years and reaches to eternity
Breathe

Listen to the ocean

I am standing in the train with someone’s briefcase pressing into my back waiting in a phone queue to discuss a payment that bounced sitting waiting for a job interview

And I listen to the ocean inside of me
The only thing that’s real.

 

things that are sustaining me right now while my Granny is fading and my secondment is is not as fun as i expected

subtitle: reminder to self to keep doing these things 🙂

yoga – Melissa West’s current series is on working with the inner critic

actively engaging with nonviolent communication, reading, doing exercises, writing in my nonviolent communication blog and just feeling my feelings as they occur

allowing myself to really enjoy and appreciate my relationships with my partner and children and to express that to others even when it feels awkward

being creative when and as I feel like it, enjoying having a number of crochet and sewing things on the go and attending to each whenever I feel like it

getting outside for a stroll around the block, or moving my craft stuff into the sunshine and working there

keeping things in order at work with weekly and daily to do lists and if stuff does not get done bumping it to tomorrow and going home on time and not thinking about it even if everyone else works a bit over

feeding the chooks and spending a little time with them

Queensland election fun

This Saturday I took my almost-90 year old Granny to vote at the state elections. Gran votes for the Liberal Party (the right), which is what any sensible Ukrainian refugee from ‘communisms’ does. I vote for the Greens, which is what any sensible person who wants a healthful planet does. We argue about it a bit, but in the end I am really proud of her for caring enough to vote, and she will forgive me my transgressions because she loves me.

After taking Gran to vote and voting myself, I handed out how-to-vote cards at the local polling booths for the first time. I had a blast. I was the only Green at the gate with three Libs and two Labour supporters. Did we argue and insult one another? No, we did not, we mainly chatted and joked together. When the big party members pushed in and gave their cards out first, I slipped mine on top – hahaha! We included the voters in our banter, I hope they shared our sense of fun. There was a hail storm in the afternoon. We all helped each other move our gear into a sheltered position, and one of the Libs gave me her phone so I could call my partner and ask him to put my car in the shed 🙂

At the end of the day we helped each other pack up our signs and said see you at the Federals (like it is a sporting event or something!)

It’s rare that I would say I’m proud to be Australian, but I certainly am now. How fabulous it is to be able to participate in government with a sense of peace and fun! How fabulous to share a day in the company of people who are passionate about Inala (my electorate), and about the country and the people. And how interesting is the prospect of a hung Parliament – wouldn’t it be marvelous if the parties could get together and work it out like their supporters can… bloody marvelous!

when I accepted it really is just over for her and there is nothing I can do about it and that I was going to be ok and probably was ok already

When my partner and I got back together after years happily apart most of my family had the shits and one of my sisters just dumped me. I kidded myself for a bit that she would get over it and then got mad and sad when she didn’t. And mad at myself for caring about it anyway. And sad with my family because they wanted us to get over it but I didn’t know how. And sometimes scared because I was going to see her at some family thing and when I did see her I always felt like I was going to be sick. This went on for years, about five years actually. And one day after practicing nonviolent communication for quite a while I actually thought to use it and I asked myself – what is it that I want from her anyway? And the answer was so clear and beautiful – love and acceptance and a little fun. And in that very same moment I knew I had all these things already – with my partner and my daughters, with my workmates and with my friends and I just felt all warm and loved up just walking to work in the morning sunshine on a daggy concrete path, with a straggly jasmine vine climbing over a crumbly wall alongside

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