Tag Archive: self-awareness


yellow daisies Australia Jon Cornford sustainability

Australian economist and theologian Jon Cornford’s latest book ‘Coming Back to Earth: Essays on Church, Climate Change, Cities, Agriculture and Eating’ is a wonderful resource and invitation for thinking deeply about personal and corporate ways  of responding to critical issues of our time such as:  “climate change; species extinction; resource depletion; pressure on the global food system; widening international tensions and conflicts; economic instability and fragility; persisting poverty and economic exploitation…” (p.9).

God has appointed us to be stewards of this earth, its water and land, its trees and flowers, its animals and birds.  To work it and keep it. To observe and serve it. God created it and saw that it was good – what do you say that it is?

You can read the full blog piece here

Copies of the book and further resources from Manna Gum are available here.

 

war memorial footscray lest we forget avenue of honour ANZAC Day 2018

This ANZAC day as we remember those who lost their lives in WW1 and WW2 we also acknowledge all of those who lost their lives in the Frontier Wars.

We acknowledge people of the Kulin Nation stalked game, collected food and fished along the river junctions, estuaries, oceans, swamps and lagoons of this place since time immemorial. They met, raised families, shared songs and stories.  We acknowledge this way of life was interrupted during white settlement and that this country was the scene of conflicts between the Kulin Nation people and the European colonisers.

You won’t see any war memorials depicting the Frontier Wars. When Aboriginal people mourn the loss of a family member they follow Aboriginal death ceremonies, or ‘sorry business’. It is believed that when a person dies, their spirit goes back to the Dreaming Ancestors in the land if the correct ceremonies rituals are conducted.  The tradition not to depict dead people or voice their (first) names is very old  – traditional law across Australia said that a dead person’s name could not be said because you would recall and disturb their spirit. After the invasion this law was adapted to images as well.

Aunty Margaret Parker from the Punjima people in north-west Western Australia describes what happens in an Aboriginal community when someone dies.

“…when we have someone passed away in our families and not even our own close families, the family belongs to us all, you know. The whole community gets together and shares that sorrow within the whole communityWe have to cry, in sorrow, share our grief by crying and that’s how we break that [grief], by sharing together as a community.

If you are interested in thinking further on this subject more you might visit NGV’s “Colony: Frontier Wars” exhibition on until 15 July 2018 or  read Richard Flanagan’s recent Press Club speech online. As we remember the grief of those lives lost in wars today the following poem by indigenous artist Zelda Quakaroot, from Mackay, Queensland might be a way to share our grief as a community. This poem was inspired by AFL player Adam Goodes, on the subject of war it may not be that “our voices have been heard” yet but we can be grateful for the space to hold grief as a community today for the fallen in war – named and unnamed.

 

STAND STRONG

Our ancestors spirits
Are here…
Respect never retires
Stand up
We’ve marched
Our voices have been heard;
Stand here
Where we belong
Stand altogether
With our passionate hearts
For respect
We all stand strong.

Sources: Wikipedia and Creative Spirits


 

I know nothing about anything.  I just need to get that out there. I make some presumptive connections above about why there might not be indigenous war memorials and sort of appropriate the “unnamed soldier” for my own poetic ends… The most I have heard about the Frontier Wars was on Monday at the Indigenous Hospitality House‘s Learning Circle.  I’m a you-have-to-start-somewhere kind of person and the second step in acknowledging you know nothing about something is to say: Why don’t I know about this? How can I find out more?  The above is a very hastily cobbled together poster I made very late last night… it didn’t arise out of any wisdom or stakeholder consultation (I’m sorry for that), it didn’t even get spell checked (crap!) it arose out of a deep sense of conviction that I should know more about what I know nothing about and wanting to give hands and feet to that commitment urgently.  Richard Flanagan’s Press Club speech is so pertinent to our times I wish everyone in Australia would read it.

In the meantime… I did a little morning vigil of my own putting these up in Footscray’s Memorial Park and on the Avenue of Honour plinth because I want to see Frontier Wars become part of the conversation… I want to have the conversation… and I can’t get to Canberra for the Frontier Wars March.

 

Squatter Henry Meyrick wrote in a letter home to his relatives in England in 1846:
The blacks are very quiet here now, poor wretches. No wild beast of the forest was ever hunted down with such unsparing perseverance as they are. Men, women and children are shot whenever they can be met with … I have protested against it at every station I have been in Gippsland, in the strongest language, but these things are kept very secret as the penalty would certainly be hanging … For myself, if I caught a black actually killing my sheep, I would shoot him with as little remorse as I would a wild dog, but no consideration on earth would induce me to ride into a camp and fire on them indiscriminately, as is the custom whenever the smoke is seen. They [the Aborigines] will very shortly be extinct. It is impossible to say how many have been shot, but I am convinced that not less than 450 have been murdered altogether.[2]     Source

Please see also Lyndall Ryan‘s interactive (partially completed) massacre map for violence near you…

 

What are war memorials for by the way… Remembering? Honouring? Celebrating? Prayer? Prevention? Cure? Should they be educational so that understanding the horror of war we might be dissuaded from ever participating in them by being transparent about the cost of war and violence – personal and political? Should they advocate for alternate and non-violent approaches? Make connections to waves of migration and refugees?

Ironically, the only one at Footscray’s war memorials this morning was me.  There are no flowers or wreaths, no events, no mourners although I saw a few folks in uniform heading for the local RSL.  The memorial has had a revamp recently, the Australian Government is commiting a lot to doing them up in upcoming years on top of the $100 million spent on a new museum in France, apparently there are a total 5-6 Frontier War memorials in all of Australia, maybe we could get a new museum here on country?

I confess I don’t feel as much as I think I should, I have ringing in my head the chorus “Lest We Forget” but we cannot remember what we do not know, how selective are the stories we’re being taught? And I wonder… have I forgotten what I’m supposed to remember?

What are we forgetting?
What are we remembering?

war memorial footscray lest we forget avenue of honour ANZAC Day 2018war memorial footscray lest we forget avenue of honour ANZAC Day 2018

I read some of the plaques at the memorial garden overlooking the Maribyrnong river and the racecourse.  The catch-cry of the funding appeal for planting the Avenue of Honour back in the day was that the memorial would be “…dedicated to citizens who fell in ANY war in which Australia has been engaged.” Could this language create space for remembering lives lost in the Frontier Wars?  One plaque quotes the widow of Private GF Blake of Footscray from an In Memoriam message in The Age ‘Each day I miss his footsteps/As I walk through life alone‘.  Walking is evocative language in this country, what learned wisdom about following in our elders first footprints and following songlines have to teach us about grief? What symbolism might we share of trails that end unexpectedly, or songs that are lost before they can be passed on, can we learn from?

Don’t forget to remember.   Let’s keep talking about what that means.

 

made or Made?

reflection a poem about self-determination Talitha Fraser identity Bar Josephine

made or Made?
how much autonomy
for self-determination
do we ever really have?
My working and undoing
are in You.
I look outside,
I look inside.
I cannot reconcile
why I’m here.
I would fear except that
I find the true in You.

Talitha Fraser

I poke and prod

IMAG0716

I poke and prod
prod and poke
inside and out
my blemishes and wounds
scarred recovery and discovery
of what is yet untouched.
The markers of pain are the
milestones of my journey to wholeness
it is in my breaking I am made.

Talitha Fraser

img_1116

 

Yes, “the truth will set you free” as Jesus says (John 8:32) but first it tends to make you miserable. The medieval spiritual writers called it compunction, the necessary sadness and humiliation that comes from seeing one’s own failures and weaknesses.  Without confidence in a Greater Love, none of us will have the courage to go inside, nor should we… People only come to deeper consciousness by intentional struggle with contradictions, conflicts, inconsistencies, inner confusions, and what the biblical tradition calls “sin” or moral failure… God actually relishes the vacuum, which God knows God alone can fill… in other words, the goal is actually not the perfect avoidance of all sin, which is not possible anyway (1 John 1:8-9 and Romans 5:12) but the struggle itself, and the encounter and wisdom that comes from it. Law and failure create the foil, which creates the conflict, which leads to a very different kind of victory, not moral superiority but just luminosity of awareness and compassion for the world.

p.31-32

There is love

imag0265

 

There is love and there is love.
What would You call me into?
What is love that does not
arc towards wholeness?
What is love unlived, unfamiliar, unrecognisable?
A strangers face.
I have been here before.
How will you help me stranger?
How will you help me know you
and, in the knowing, know myself?
Let us walk on a little way together yet
and speak of love.

Talitha Fraser

God I acknowledge

imag0216

 

God
I acknowledge my
inabilities,
my smallness,
my powerlessness
to affect any change
least of all
to myself
take me and make me
something beautiful
to You
take me and make me
something beautiful.

Amen.

Talitha Fraser

 

101

one might imagine
that not getting
what one wants
is some sort of
punishment but,
in fact,
it is merely life
the trick of it
is to want less
then when expectations
are exceeded there
is a margin for joy

SABBATH ECONOMICS #1

step1: consult and consider
step2: discern and decide
step3: imagine and implement
step4: get on with it
step5: falter and fail
step6: try and terminate
step7: substitute and subvert
step8: outcomes unanticipated

SABBATH ECONOMICS #2

058 - CopyThere is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves.  To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.

~ Thomas Merton

I re-read “5 Love Languages” today by Gary Chapman.  Trying to do some work on actively identifying and naming some emotional needs so can try and take steps to see them fulfilled.  Think I’m predominantly fluent in ‘acts of service’ – certainly that’s what I speak.  I don’t think I’m very good at asking for things. It doesn’t count if it’s something someone ‘has’ to do for me. I want them to want to do it.  Even chocolate or baking, it’s the act of thinking of me and doing something for me that matters more than the gift itself.  This is closely linked with the type-2 Enneagram also, the belief that I need to do things for other people to be deserving of their love.  I am treating love like a commodity.  I am subscribed to the Enneathought for the day and last week one was: Love is not a commodity and is not scarce – this is one of those fundamental truth things that I probably need to be reminded of every day because I find it so hard to believe. I know not everyone is into these frameworks/tools but I can certainly say for myself that they have been really helpful in giving me a language to talk about things I’d otherwise leave unsaid and taken me on a journey of self-awareness – how much of my disappointment in life/relationships is about my own issues and expectations that I haven’t communicated with anyone about? I need to take some responsibility for managing myself. Luckily, the trick, with the enneagram stuff at least, is that awareness is enough – the change and transformation will come just through being conscious of our own behaviour. There’s a Jean Varnier quote that discusses the difference between loving community vs. loving people and gaining community. These are tools for learning how to love people well, even yourself.