Tag Archive: wholeness


Lay your burdens down child

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At the beach this week I found myself writing a bit of a song of lament and solace but can see it having several applications perhaps as prayer of confession of self, powers and politics.

Lay your burdens down, burdens down, burdens down child x2

Chorus
I will come to you, come to you, come to you child x2
I will lift you up, lift you up, lift you up child x2

Let your tears fall down, tears fall down, tears fall down child x2

Variations
Lay your:  troubles/darkness/heartbreak/sorrow… down
Lay: what scares you/what’s hurting/what’s broken… down
Lay your: body/spirit/hunger/weapons… down
Lay your: anger/sadness/hatred… down
Lay your: power/whiteness/stigma/baggage…down

 

What will You make of me?

I must be
unmade
to be made
reduce
reuse
recycle
here I am then
broken
what will You
make of me?

Talitha Fraser 

Trigger warning: there’s a lot that’s demeaning and dehumanising in this – whatever your gender and sexual orientation

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I poke and prod

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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

All that I am

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God
all that I am
anything that I am
is what you made me to be
as much as I am broken,
I am made
as much as I am fallen,
I am raised
as much as I am wounded,
I am restored
as much as I am consumed,
I am made whole
I am drawn towards You, Creator Spirit
the seasons and the cycles
of transformation that are the
source of such wonder and dread
my doing and my undoing
are in You

Talitha Fraser

 

What follows are some excerpts from an Anne Elvey  article I picked up at the Creation Symposium (full article available here) interesting reading for anyone thinking about the ways our disconnection to the earth is mirrored in our disconnection from our own bodies

In being transcended through certain forms of western discourse and practice, bodies and earth have been critically endangered.  In the context of this endangerment, an ecological feminist politics and ethics seeks to affirm the materiality of bodies and earth.

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080The language we use in addressing the question of the relationship between culture and nature is critical, because discourse is one of the key processes through which we construct the agency or non-agency of the other and create structures that allow or disallow that agency.

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As with all experience, sexual experience is vast, not only in its possibilities but in the resonance of even the simplest sensation. Desire, longing, pleasure, passion, orgasm, move the body into states of being which defy all definitions, not only those of gender or sexuality but of the boundaried way European culture perceives existence… Apart from any bond or relationship between lovers, in sexual experience an erotic connection to existence is kindled.

(Katherine Hayles, 1995:60)

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I take up the now fairly commonplace notion of earth as a community of interconnected constituents.  This community includes humans, other animals, plants, rocks, soil, water, air, trees, rivers, oceans, forests, hairy-nosed wombats, viruses, kangaroo apples, hermit crabs, amoeba and so on, connected by way of a complex sociality marked by plurality, particularity, diversity, interdependence and sometimes violence, oppression and indifference to the other.  What if this earth, however we might know earth, is understood as a material given that precedes and resists but also underpins and gives space to our cultural constructions of it? This space is given not as a hole to be filled but in the manner of hospitality or to borrow a term from Jean-Luc Nancy (2000) of ‘being toward’. What if this understanding of the earth is giving precedence in our thinking about the questions of ‘sex and gender’? What if the questions of ‘sex and gender’ are considered within the context of the materiality of human beings as constituted within the wider materiality of a plural and diverse earth community?

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082The experience of the lived body offers a particular example of the agency of experience.  In pregnancy and childbirth as well as in illness, the lived body challenges my ‘illusions of control’ (Diprose 1994:103). During an illness, for example, my bodily experience is foregrounded in such a way that the interplay between nature and culture in the processes of my lived embodiment cannot be reduced to a simplistic notion of the cultural construction of bodies or nature… feels nevertheless as though the virus is in some sense constructing or deconstructing me.

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She describes two forms of cultural impact on bodies and landscapes: first, the productive transformation of bodies and landscapes through cultural practices such as depilation and agriculture, for example, and second, the reproduction of bodies and landscape in discourse. (Kate Soper, 1995:137)

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Instead she locates this agency not in the individual organism alone; rather it is an ‘agency in relation’, emerging ‘out of the engagement of the organism with its surroundings’.  In this context, sexed bodies are continually being shaped and re-shaped both internally and externally through processes which are ‘partly material and partly social/experiential’, and these processes are inseparable. (Lynda Birke 2000:152)

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Contemplation is a practice of attentiveness to the other, which begins with a movement of unknowing and through a practice of openness is followed by a movement of partial and provisional ‘knowing’

hurt people, hurt people

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whoever said:
“what you don’t know can’t hurt you”
was an idiot.
what I don’t know
hurts me all the time
not knowing how to articulate
what I need or want
and wanting you to provide it
and being disappointed when you don’t
hurts me
not knowing how my upbringing,
my culture, my experiences
shape the filter by which I take life in
– not recognising you have a filter you relate out of too –
hurts me
not knowing how intergenerational trauma
has affected my great grandparents, grandparents,
parents and siblings and self
hurts me
it’s a lie to think that not talking about things
will make them hurt less.

Talitha Fraser

IMG_0080It was a privilege to meet Aunty Sharyn Bird on Thursday night – she was sharing her story and talking about the initiative Bir’a Women’s Healing Ministry she has started up that: raises awareness about abuse (emotional, domestic and sexual), encourages survivors to speak out, and gathers support for survivors .

It’s not for me to try and tell anyone else’s story but if there’s an opportunity for you to hear Aunty Sharyn (or participate in a yarning circle yourself!) I would encourage you to take it. A visual representation of her story told in a painting (left)

I have been drawn to the way in the gospels Jesus’ touch heals but then he “hears her whole truth” [Mark 5:33] and she is healed again.  There is more than one layer to our healing.

What role can/does truth-telling and story-sharing have in our healing and wellbeing?

We need people willing to ask us our story; safe space to tell it; someone to listen.  Our wholeness (being healed and whole – all we were created to be) is tied up with being known, heard, understood…

How do we make/take time for this?

Aunty Sharyn held such a space – generosity in that  – and a lot of compassion.

 

You can read more about Bir’a below and make a gift to support their work through Jisas Wantaim ref: BiraWomen.

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The session put me in mind of the Cheryl Lawrie poem “This is my Body” from Easter – how might we engage in our own re-membering and bringing it about for others?

What do our re-membered selves look like?

What is one thing you could do right now to go from where you are now towards the ‘whole and healed’ version of you?

 

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Doing the BCM Restorative Justice unit, here’s a link to one of the articles.

“This theology of radical inclusion was disconcerting to both Jewish ethnocentrism and Hellenistic ideologies of superiority.  In Greco-Roman antiquity the cultural, economic and political enmity between Jew and Gentile was profound. These two communities were institutionally and historically alienated—not unlike the modern legacy of racial apartheid or the protracted struggle between Israelis and Palestinians or Protestant Loyalists and Catholic Republicans in Northern Ireland. But Paul refused to abide by the social divisions around him, instead trying to build bridges called churches.”

So here I sit with:

  • who is reconciliation to be accomplished by?
  • what do we refuse to abide by?
  • who/where are the bridge builders? (or alternative societies being modelled)?
  • what are we called to be fools for?

Re-membered

IMG_8263Camping for Easter in the Brisbane Ranges and I have brought along Cheryl Lawrie’s beautiful Pocket Liturgies for reflection…

 

Holy Week – This is my body broken for you [Matthew 26: 6-13]

There are many ways to break a body.

When someone pays their piece of silver to
have their way with you in a dark corner,
down a back lane…
to make your body theirs to do with what they will.
And if you can, you break yourself before they break you.

Your body stays, your mind detaches,
and you disintegrate, disremember.

Or when someone sells your body for pieces of silver,
for those in power to do with as they will,
and as you hang on a cross, battered, disfigured,
your soul splits from your body, and spins into hell,
detached, disintegrated, dismembered.

This woman touches Jesus
[she whose story all of history knows by rumour
and reputation]
and she offers him all she has to give:
her truth.

But she stays with it, this time. All of her.

And those who are watching, can’t
[it’s hard to look at raw grace face on].
They redirect attention with words of political correctness,
questions that need to be asked
but not in this moment, not at this time,
when they’re asked not for revelation, but for diversion.

But Jesus knows no gift more divine
than one who has been to hell before him.
Coming back to life in front of him,
and honours her one more time:

remember her not as a person to be bought
or a body to be broken

This is who she is
[re-membered]

Gift and giver
loved and lover.
Body and soul
holy and whole.

[p.68, Hold This Space Pocket Liturgies by Cheryl Lawrie]

 


 

God, I confess to my own dismemberment
profane and broken
who am I to touch You?
to touch anyone?
you break yourself before they break you
there is an ego to imagine I have any power
to participate in my own healing
detached, disintegrated, dismembered
what does it mean to live engaged,
holy and whole, remembered?

Let me aspire to offer all I have to give
no gift more divine
coming back to life.

“This is who she is
[re-membered]

Gift and giver
loved and lover.
Body and soul
holy and whole.”