Change V – Wrap Up

“Be the change you want to see in the world”

attributed to Mohondas Gandhi be the one

Want to see more Peace in the world?

Be more peaceable.

Take up meditation.

Practice serenity as much as you can.serenity

Want to see more Love in the World?

Be more loving.

Try not to limit love.

………………………………….

Don’t just love your friends

Anyone can do that.

Learn to love those who frighten you;

Have compassion for those

who disgust you;

Forgive the greed of the rich

As well as the need of the poor;

When you see that the evil

are lonely and afraid,

and feel compassion-

When you see that the rich

are empty and confused,

and feel compassion-

When you learn to love the unlovable,

Accept the unacceptable,

Touch the untouchable,

Forgive the unforgivable,

You will have made your dwelling place

In the heart of God.love

Want to see more Empathy in the world?

Cultivate empathy in yourself.

It’s catching.

Twin Jackets

Peace, Love and Empathy naturally lead on to Justice and Compassion.

If we can stretch our care and understanding to the whole world, as in the Tibetan Buddhist practice of compassion, then it is natural to respect all others as ourselves (first we must love ourselves!), and justice must then follow.

It’s the way to make our world a better place, one person at a time.

Joy

TREE

Peace, Love and Empathy

Are branches of one tree,

Sprung from one root;

From this same tree

Grow Justice and Compassion.

This is the Tree of Life.

This is the Tree that is given

For the Healing of the Nations;

This is the tree that is grown

For the Healing of our Souls.

Don’t cut it down,

Or burn or poison;

Embrace it with your heart and soul

And be set free.

Another year is over, time to change the calendars, time for many of us to make resolutions for the New Year.

Time for a final blog post for 2012, in the midst of the busy-ness of the Holiday season.

The two poems I have included, I wrote quite some time ago, but the themes are those I keep re-visiting, and will likely keep re-visiting for the rest of my days! Because I believe they matter more than anything, although they are easy to forget in the press of life. As John Lennon said, “Imagine..”Imagine.

Time for a change for India’s children?

India has a bill before parliament, to protect children from being set to work commercially. It has wide support, but is not regarded as a high priority. If you think otherwise, you can find out more and let them know at –http://www.avaaz.org/en/india_child_labour_g1/?cCXIJdb YouYour voice counts.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

SURPRISE!

I’d noticed this odd slender plant in a hanging basket a few times, but without glasses, I couldn’t see it properly, and being busy, forgot to fetch them and go back for a proper look, until this evening.Microtis parvifloraThis is a tiny Australian native orchid, Microtis parviflora, or Slender Onion Orchid, identified for me by orchidsbirdsandotherthings. Micriotis in basket

This isn’t a great photo, but you can see that it’s growing in a hanging basket, along with some sort of house leeks.Microtis

The plant is fairly widespread in Victoria, locally common in some places, and is known to colonise lawns and golf courses at times. But there is no mention at all of this tiny terrestrial plant leaping into hanging baskets!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

Twin Jackets

I bought the jacket on the right at a local op shop/thrift store this year. The surprise was that I had an almost identical one that I’d bought in an op shop/thrift store in Watsonia – over thirty years ago.Judy's Flea Market

I was excited to come across this shop in Aberdeen, Washington in August last year. I would have loved to go inside, although it looked a bit risky, what with the teetering piles of books, but, sadly it was closed on that day. The surprise was that this is the shop that youthful Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic loved to visit in search of records and books in the ’80’s. Some of the layers probably date back to that time!Surprise!

There’s a big, hollow tree in the Hall’s Gap Gardens. I surprised Lucie as she came back out. There’s a surprise inside the tree, too, but I can’t tell you, in case you have the chance to see for yourself!Flooded  Avoca River

We often stop at this picnic ground for lunch, but after a day or two of heavy summer rain –surprise! -it was under water, and we viewed it from the safety of the bridge.dewy websOn a crisp winter morning, it’s no great surprise to find beautiful spider webs embellished with dew drops. The real, and very pleasant, surprise, is that I took some good pictures despite my camera’s often uncooperative auto focus! Stoney Creek aftermath

A view of Stoney Creek, Hall’s Gap after the nasty surprise of a massive flash flood. The creek bed had been extensively rearranged, many trees torn out by the roots and the banks scoured and undermined. Many roads and tracks in the Grampians were damaged, and almost two years later, most of them are fixed! Mother Nature’s Landscaping Service, always a surprise

A surprise can mean lots of things, there are lovely surprises, and unpleasant ones, too. I wish everybody only the good kind in the Holiday season and the New Year!

Assault Rifles are a Symptom of Dominator Culture.

“Guns don’t kill, people do”.

However, assault rifles and other firearms with magazines of bullets are designed (by people) to kill a maximum number of people with maximum efficiency.

They have no other purpose.

They were intended for military use, to annihilate ‘the enemy’, to dominate, to overcome, to win.Maybe that could work, except that when everyone has one, all that results is a lot of dead people (and rich arms dealers).

Guns don’t kill people, people do.

However, guns make it a lot easier for unhappy people to kill a lot of other people in a short space of time. America’s incredibly lax gun laws make it easier still.

If a young man is feeling disaffected and murderous, he can do damage with his bare hands, but only to one or two people at a time, and anyone else in his way at least has the possibility of escape.

We know only too well how much damage an angry young man with firearms and ammunition can do. It happened again last week in Newtown. Some of the victims were small children. I read in the newspaper this morning that an eleven year old in another state took  a weapon (fortunately unloaded) from his home to school because he was afraid.

Surely it’s time to say  “enough!” and end the madness?

Australia’s Government did it, after the Port Arthur massacre; it can be done.

Making weapons hard to get doesn’t eliminate violence, but it does limit the possibilities for destruction.

The arms trade is huge, wealthy and influential in high places. Change will only happen when both the Government and the people agree that it is time to lay down arms for the sake of public safety.

When the founding fathers decided on a “right to bear arms, they were thinking of muskets and pistols that fired one or two shots before they needed to be reloaded, not AK47’s and their ilk.

Wake up, America!

For the love of your children, melt down your arms.Sad Angel.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

Day lily stamensPapa Meiland rosebud

Cactus bloom

Day lily -here today, gone tomorrow.

I suppose flowers are a bit of an obvious choice for ‘delicate’, but that’s because they generally are. The rose is more of a stayer than the day lily or the cactus, but even they are soon shriveled on a hot, windy day. Day lilies get their name by lasting just a day, and most cactus flowers are so fleeting that I often miss them altogether! They are there to attract pollinating insects, not us, and once the bee, wasp or moth has done its task, then the flower is finished.

 

Change III + IV

After the fire and the rain, comes new growth.

After the fire and the rain, comes new growth.

CHANGE III

Change is inevitable and unstoppable, like a puffball through pavement, like the process of birth, so why is change so hard? Because we resist it, because we like what we’re used to and don’t want to get used to something else. But we must.And we do. Resistance, as they say, is useless.

After the fire, the trees are black and ashy, but soon enough, fresh shoots appear up and down the trunks, bright and green.

After the fire, the trees are black and ashy, but soon enough, fresh shoots appear up and down the trunks, bright and green.

CHANGE IV

The only person you can change is yourself. When you make the effort to change (and it is an effort), then those around you have the opportunity to change with you. They may choose not to, and they may send you urgent change back!” messages, because they don’t like change. Especially in someone as familiar and predictable as you have been up to now.

Regrowth

If you are lucky, however, your nearest and dearest may rise to the challenge, choose to change along with you, and so set off on a new journey into an ever-changing landscape.

Gramps panorama

Anxiety is tough, and we prefer to avoid it.Excitement is something we seek. Both are brought on in response to the new and unfamiliar. So, what’e the difference? Assuming there is no actual danger to justify anxiety, maybe the only difference is how we name the experience to ourselves?

If we are in the habit of making a certain choice, then we don’t even know we’ve made one. It just seems to happen.

Step back from that habitual impulse however, and the flood of cortisol subsides rapidly ( 90 seconds ), allowing you to choose your new response. (I learned this from reading  ‘My Stroke of Insight – a brain scientists personal journey’,by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. She experienced a massive bleed in the left side of her brain, when she was in her thirties, and not only lived, but has written in great detail about the event and it’s aftermath.)Agave stems

WALK

Agave blooms

 

Last Thursday was forecast to be very hot : 40 C (104 F). I wondered if I should skip my walk to the post office to collect our mail, but it wasn’t too windy, so I went anyway. I wore thongs/flip-flops, a loose shirt, and a pith helmet to keep the sun off (hey, pith helmets are cool ). I filled a bottle with water, and set off a little after 10, with the temperature already at 32 C. When I came home, 45 minutes later, it was 36 C (96.8 F). HOT. Going wasn’t too bad, but the home stretch proved a bit of a struggle.

And as I gasped my way along under the burning sun, carrying a newspaper, three letters and a depleted water bottle, it occurred to me that even little kids in Africa have to walk much further than this, no matter what the weather is like, just to collect water for their families. They carry heavy containers, and they don’t spill any. Maybe they leave home at a more sensible early hour, but the fact remains, for the thousands (if not millions) of people who don’t have ready access to clean water, a long walk in heat, wind, whatever, is a daily necessity, and the water they carry is a far heavier load than I could manage for any distance. Often the wells and waterholes they collect from are a hazard in themselves.Beaded goddess (love)

Yesterday’s walk to the post office yielded a letter from UNHCR, ( The UN Refugee Agency),  asking for donations. $432 can install a community tap stand with six taps, providing safe, clean water to hundreds of families living in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia, the second biggest refugee camp in the world.

Oxfam sink wells  , providing safe, clean water for villages in many different countries, wherever they can. Easy clean water means not only health, but the opportunity for education for children living in poverty. If you are reading this, you may well be planning your Christmas shopping list. Consider adding a few of the world’s poorest to your list, with a donation to UNHCR (unrefugees.org.au),  Oxfam(oxfam.org.au), or one of the other NGOs that desperately need donations from people like us in order to carry on their work.Joy

You may not have a spare $432 ( I don’t!), but every little bit helps. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a few more billionaires decided to share some of their vast wealth with the poorest members of the human family? Now that would be a Christmas present!Gift box

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

Greenhill Lake, evening.

Greenhill Lake, evening.

I love to take photos, I love reflections, I love images that are a little bit cryptic and mysterious. This weeks photo challenge is right up my street! Maybe I’ll add some more before the week is out, if time permits.

Reflections on a photograph

Reflections on a photograph

On a bright, sunshiny day, when the lilacs were in bloom, I noticed them beautifully reflected in the glass of a photo (of the Ararat train at night). I fetched the camera. One must seize these opportunities as they arise!

A door, a window.

A door, a window.

And again, on the photo of an old front door, the colour and the shape of  flowers and bottles  layered over the geometric lines of the old door.

Desolation

Desolation

No more disco

No more disco

Reflect

Reflect. It’s good to reflect on things, mentally, as well as in the sense of a mirror. The Mixed media work behind the reflection came of a mental reflection on the life and death of a boy I knew at school, and an odd tangle of coincidences, or perhaps, synchronicities. I’ll take an image of the whole piece, and blog about it some day, in memory of John, who is just visible on the right hand side of the photo.