Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.


Monday, April 7, 2014

We Love Muddy Puddles

I reckon most parents would agree that parenting is often a matter of working out how NOT to react like your parents did.  Unless you're one of the lucky ones that had a fabled childhood full of good memories and loving people, many of us others, who left our childhood blanking out as much of it as we could, ended up leaving with strong resolves to do it better, nicer, more empathetically, with more respect and the rest.  

I grew up with a mother who had a religiously fanatical zeal for cleanliness and being a 'proper' mother.  For ironing underwear, sheets, washers and pillowslips, hanging clothes in order on the line, writing lists to go shopping and adding it up as the shopping ensued (the cash registers get it wrong sometimes!), never buying junk food or groovy things of any kind, always cooking meals from raw ingredients, performing to schedules, using every cleaning detergent and aid and scrubber and demoulder available on the market, washing windows with newspaper and vinegar though, because elbow grease was the most important ingredient, wearing fresh underwear everyday, carrying ironed handkerchiefs with us everywhere we went (under STRICT instructions), plaiting my hair every day to avoid head lice, making homework occur promptly, doing chores endlessly, as well as her attempting to be the picture perfect christian mother and wife.  She got angry often, but only ever in private, and in public she was the endlessly patient paragon of virtue.  Being a child of the 2nd World War, she'd grown up with very clear schedules and routines and expectations of what it was meant in her culture to be a woman.   

And I was often a bit of a disappointment.  

I was fortunate to also watch her closely as she aged.  As she let her high standards slip when she got a job and life outside the home.  And then when it came to my eldest daughter, and how she doted on her, and all the strictness I'd been brought up with melted away almost completely.  And then as she hit her elder years, as her standards apart from necessity disappeared altogether, and I was sometimes more clean and orderly than her.  Even though she would have never seen it that way.  I got to see a lot of fluctuation around the whole cleanliness and standards thing.  

Nevertheless, she's been a hard act to follow in my head.  And even if I didn't want to follow her examples, her reactions to messes and the like for example, were often hard to overcome.  I read an article recently, about healing the Mother Wound, that sat with me for a while.  And resonated deeply.  I've been pondering a lot lately how similar I've done things to my mother.  Whether I wanted to or not.

Anyway.  

Living with all these rampaging free range baby vikings can be a real trial at times, especially when it comes to our families general like of living in a fairly clean and organised space, as opposed to our little boy pack loving to explore all of reality on every level.  Especially when it comes to things like textures and liquids and how they all form and relate and mix.  So sometimes we walk in to 2 litres of organic cows milk poured all over the ground, with Max swimming joyfully in it, or mud pie constructions in the middle of the kitchen, or an intricate display of roads and rails carved into the ash that's been spread from the fire all over the lounge room floor.  The length and breadth of their imaginations and capacity to make mess absolutely astounds me.  We clean up the house at least twice a day, and sweep at least 4 times every day.  Sweeping up piles of food that's been thrown on the floor, or toilet paper gigglingly trailed through the garden and house, or a million other things that I never knew you could make mess with until now.  It's one of the biggest challenges I've faced in my adult life.  Sometimes I react badly, or honestly, and yell, and get exasperated, but more often than not these days (since owning my grump) I just work out how to turn it into performance art.  Like travelling through a supermarket with 4 little boys in 4 stages of tantrums, and calling out in a circus voice "Tantrum trolley!  Come and get your tantrums!  Got any more tantrums in you boys?"  And smile.  Cause otherwise I'd cry.

My most recent experience of not reacting badly was the morning we went out onto the driveway after rain, only to find the boys had emptied an entire bottle of dishwashing detergent into a puddle, and were happily frothing it up and splashing in bubbles and mud.  It was actually quite easy to giggle, after an initial 'oh my goodness there's a lot of cleaning up going to be done very soon….'

First sign of immanent mess on the way….




And then there was this….




So Currawong decided to go and get his new Trombone, which he's learning to play, and just hang out with the boys as they went on a mud and bubble spree.  As you do.  I went off to get the camera…..




But after a few minutes it became apparent that there was far too much fun to be had in the mud.  So Currawong and Griff headed back to the house, to put on some serious mud play clothes.  This is another part of parenting that many parents have found hard in the absence of parental role models - playing.  An experience I never had with my parents was playing with them.  Playing games where you make stuff up and be silly and giggle and call each other by different names.  Playing in my house was semi torture, where all the bigger kids just showed me how much stronger they were than me, and how they could sit on me for as long as they wanted, and push my pram down hills and let go while I rolled down freaking out, and other unfun stuff like that.  We've had to really work on letting go into playing and wrestling and following our kids lead when it comes to play.  And it's a huge amount of fun.  And a lot of learning occurs.  So.  Back to our photo story.  While the big boys were getting on their mud outfits, the little boys kept exploring…..











Then Griffyn, Spiral and Currawong all came out in their clothes they were happy to be mudded, and general play ensued….












I reckon Currawong always looks damn gorgeous….even in mud :)






But me and Pixel sat it out.  And Lilly and Balthazar weren't keen on getting muddy that day either, so there was some clean people still.  


Not to say that I'm averse to mud.  Currawong and I did spend a summer in a Maccy Bubble with three other friends, and we were almost inseparable, and used to spend a lot of time at our mates large and clean swimming dam, mudding ourselves up, drying it out in the sun, and then swimming it off.  We even started trying out muds of different sorts, and even stripped off and rubbed sand all over our bodies late one night down at a busy suburban beach.  So I love a bit of mud.  Just not this day.  So back to the story, they all had such a huge amount of fun, and it looked so rad, I just took a lot of photos…..



Currawong in a mud vest :)









Max was really into experimenting with the mud in every way possible….



Love the mud love heart on Currawong in this one…



Then came the splashing…..shame to waste all that dishwashing liquid without making the most of the bubbles!!


And a bit of a yee haa...



And then the inevitable clean up happened sometime soonish after this.

And that's about it really.  There isn't any deep and meaningful purpose to this post beyond the day to day of life and what it brings about.   Loved my photos and I thought you might too.  Peace out :)







Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Self Organisation

I reckon my childhood was specially designed to create a strong urge and desire towards self organisation.  And my first great experience in how the dark has lessons, those who hurt you teach you far more than the hurt, and how relinquishing control can be so liberating when coming from total control.  In the debutante ball on emerging from my childhood I wore rags.  My confidence had been completely stripped from me, the rug of my entire existence ripped out from underneath me a few times already, fears of everything and loathing for myself had been instilled deeply.  I knew I knew nothing.  And I'd had every minute of my day controlled and scheduled for so long, that just the absence of a routine or schedule felt like a holiday.  Working for other people hurt me.  I couldn't understand the easy way they took out their shit on me, and felt like they could just because they were paying me.  All the facts I'd been taught had bored me into blanking out or going misty eyed when faced with science, maths, or any form of standardised learning.  All the religion I'd had thrust on me had taught me to run a mile at the sniff of it.  All the pain in my family ensured that I kept my secrets at arms length to everyone.  And my family had sternly informed me that the best I could ever hope for was to be a good wife and mother, cause I didn't have much chance at 'making it' any other way.  So of course I steered as far away from that as I could as well.  

So wearing my rags to the debutante ball, I emerged into my real life, and the life of my own directing, with only one realisation to guide me.  The realisation I came to standing at the gate of my life stretched before me, when I left everything that had gone on before behind.  The gate where I realised that nearly everything that had been taught me was a lie or a sadness.  And I got that the only ultimate truth was that there was no ultimate truth.  And set sail with abandon into self organisation, even though that wasn't what I would have called it at the time.  

Knowing that I knew nothing, and was ugly and a bit stupid to boot, I felt from the start that I had no right to infringe myself or ideas on anyone.  No right to even demur when a fella decided he would fuck me.  I'd had no control or power my whole life to that point, so why try to start getting it now?  I felt I had no life experience to make any kind of educated decisions, and obviously no imagination, or I wouldn't have been aimlessly bumbling from one situation, person, or idea to another as flakily as I was.  No internal fortitude, or I would have finished something, like I was always being told to.  And absolutely no ability to change myself, be better, be disciplined, enforce routine, or create the ability to refuse to give in to my indulgent desires.  Afraid of everything cause I didn't understand it.  Inferior to everyone cause they kept telling me I was.  

In other words, I was primed for gratitude.  It wasn't hard to feel deeply greatfull for any kind word or deed that came my way after the desert of my childhood.  It was also easy to contact great enthusiasm for just about anything positive or enlightening.  And because I was so….well…..nothing, it was easy for me to learn from and appreciate and accept just about anybody.  Some of my favourite people I learnt from, were the people that I'd been warned the most about in my childhood.  Drunks, sex addicts, homeless folk, bikers, drug users and abusers, witches, occultists, goths, punks, the queer community, people of other cultures, new agers, conspiracy theorists, anarchists, activists, environmentalists……..just about everyone seemed liberated, and interesting, and intriguing, after a childhood of such banality.  

I was also primed for self organisation.  Almost as soon as I got a bit of control over my own time, on leaving home and school and all those other trials, I just let time ooze all around me, tried my earnest best to not think, and not do, and not feel a need to fill it with stuff, but let time be what it wanted to be. And learnt very quickly that the things that happened spontaneously, the times that I ended up at the pub dressed in my shabbies having an awesome improvised time, or when a friend let me drift in their wake, while they went on adventures through places and people, or when I just let life and events pick me up like a piece of flotsam on the ocean of possibility……..were some of the most magic moments in my life.

At 18 I backpacked around Europe for a year, with no fixed destinations, no plans, no travel mate, and no fixed goal beyond meeting the rich man of my dreams and spending the rest of my life swanning around on the Riviera.  From the moment I landed in London with my money having experienced a hitch, and deciding to not turn up till a week after I got there, with no friends or family, a hotel room booked for two nights only, and a rising sense of panic…….I started to learn in depth about the miraculous ordered potential of chaos.  Or the beauty of self organisation.  I may not have done it as stylishly as this couple, but I did it on my own.  With only a backpack for a travel buddy, and barely anything in it beyond my sleeping bag and a warm coat, I set off into the seas of self organisation, and began the scientific experiment of my adult life.  My first night in London after getting of the plane, I spent the night in Soho, got my moles read by an Asian restauranteur, had a large black man offer to rid me of my virginity, and picked up a fellow Australian dude who I took back to my shared room with another Aussie chick and her man that she was reuniting with.  And on the second day I got a job.  I soon realised that I may not have travelled with a partner, but they were there nonetheless, even though their face and name changed often.  I always had company when I needed it, always got rescued when I needed it, met the most insane amount of people, including 6 aunts, 5 uncles, and 25 cousins that I didn't even know I had, always had somewhere to sleep, even if it was the church pew on the verandah of a stone cathedral in the snow, cuddled up in my mega sleeping bag.  A travel guide couldn't have led me better, and an agent couldn't have even imagined booking the journey that I had.  A night with gypsies, and a tour by a retired Scottish schoolteacher, and a week on the floor of a French Canadian student flat in Strassbourg, being part of an exhibition in a disused factory that I still tell stories about.  When I ran out of money again in Belgium, a kind Chinese professor took me back to his home in Cambridge, where I cleaned and cooked for him till I got another job.  Self organising travelling kicks arse.  

I learnt that if I just jumped, even not knowing what I was jumping into, I always got caught.  It was like crowd surfing reality.  I learnt to trust that I'd always land somewhere safe.  Even if it may not have looked safe to an onlooker.  I also learnt that there were worlds and worlds beyond what I'd been taught was real and safe.  Worlds and worlds with cracks of gold to be explored.  Worlds and worlds to be hacked into and journeyed with.  

I started to establish some theories or philosophies to live by.  Some goals that I wanted to work towards.  I wanted to be myself.  Whatever that was.  And I wanted to be honest.  To not lie and be hypocritical like those who'd surrounded my childhood.  I noticed that people projected their shit onto other people, and then yelled at themselves through someone else.  I observed that people only objected to the things in other people that they didn't like in themselves.  And I wanted to learn how to think.  To learn full stop.  I'd also learnt that life had a far better way of teaching, than me trying to chase down courses or gurus.   

Since then I've journeyed through parenthood, and hacked out my own worlds and realisations.  Through birth in particular, I've learnt more than anything the art of surrender.  Our family is in the process of hack schooling our way into self organised harmony and thinking, and I notice more and more as I learn about the fractal nature of self organisation, that this process is actually living and evolving consciousness. 

I'm so greatfull that I was primed by so much control, suppression, isolation and denial, to be especially enamoured with the wonders of playing within self organising ecosystems of people, groups, ideas, and life itself.  I couldn't have been prepared better if I'd tried.  

Self organisation is what happens when a German town takes away all the road rules, except for give way to the left, and drive slowly.  And they drive far safer and have no accidents in a spot where there was controlled chaos resulting in many accidents for years.

Self organisation is what's been happening in Iceland for the last 5 years, and how they're working out fairer ways of governance using the internet as a medium.  

Self organisation is what happens when you move interstate to a place where you know no-one when you're 7 months pregnant, and it all works out perfectly and just in time to birth with the perfect midwife and support people, in the perfect place.

Self organisation is what happened at our market in Macclesfield, and what's happening right now at our market in Nimbin.  

Self organisation is what's happening in the exclusion zone around Chernobyl.  This woman didn't actually ride her bike around the exclusion zone, she took a tour like everyone else, but the pictures and stories in this blog are nonetheless true…..and quite incredible. There's also a documentary about all the wild and endangered species that are thriving in the exclusion zone that's become a wildlife sanctuary. Not to mention the fact that self organisation, or the miraculous creation of harmony from chaos, is the fractal and evolutionary force of balance that created the radiation eating mushrooms that have grown inside the derelict reactor.  And there's many more examples of self organised rescuers to the disasters we've visited on the planet in this article too.

Self organisation is what happened and was realised by a journalist trying to interview the Occupy movement, who found that there was no-one to really interview.  It wasn't a hierarchy like so many of our organised structures are, but a collection of self formed circular based cells of equals, who just happened to have a lot in common with each other - enough to form a massive group of similar cells that between them all were much greater than the sum of their parts.  

And this very self organisation of activists, is the only path for survival that these scientists can scry through their magical observation of mathematical probabilities.

Self organisation is what's going to happen to our oceans now that we've made them dangerous to us with radiation, and thereby finally safe from our ocean eating never ending hunger for fish. 

Self organisation ripples through our realities like the veins in leaves, the tributaries of rivers, the branches of trees, the veins in a placenta, and will endlessly create order, balance, and harmony from all the raw chaotic substance and mucky blood of existence.  It's what happens on a day when you make no plans, and get whirled up in an adventure that you wouldn't have been able to imagine before it happened.  It's what happens when you practice Idle Parenting, and let events unfold how they will.

It's what happened in this Ethiopian village, where the kids taught themselves english and programming in 4 months.  It's what happens with the computers in holes in the walls in slums in India, where Sugata Mitra showed the learning potentials inherent in every human.  With this teacher in Mexico who uncovered genius.  With the choreographer of Cats in this talk by Sir Ken Robinson.  

Self organisation is what happens when a family with 7 children get chased out of their house in the middle of winter, and through different people and places unexpected, find themselves being held and loved and looked after.  

It's what created all these amazing cultures, rituals, costumes, and lifestyles, so perfectly reflecting their needs and environments.  It's what can happen when we reclaim death into our spheres.  It's what indigenous people all over the world were practicing, and it's the reason why 80% of our worlds diversity exists in the 24% of indigenous lands.  It's how this Ojibway community fixed their town hall roof.  

It's already a part of everything.  It's a major part of our evolution, adaptation, and growth.  It's all the micro balances that keep our biosphere together.  All the intricate relationships between animals and environment.  It's letting natural relationships form around your children, rather than the enforced friendships of playgroups and schools.  It's what happens when you approach a craft with an open mind, finding your own way, and hacking out a new reality, rather than being taught how to do it the same as everyone else.

In Nimbin I feel as if I'm as close to a self organised community as I can get in this society.  There's a free pool owned and maintained by the community, the best skate park in the country naturally organised by those that love and sail in her, and every single building in town is owned by a local or committee, galvanised by keeping Nimbin local.  The community services are the most comprehensive, compassionate and resourceful I've ever known, funded and staffed largely by community donations and voluntary self generated time.  The communities that satellite around Nimbin seem to have largely realised through time that there is always the 'negative' or shadow wherever we go, and rather than try and eradicate them, they need to be dealt with in the micro of the macro and largely left alone and accepted for their difference…..unless violence or cruelty is performed, and then the required parts of the community step in to enforce self organised boundaries.  All the cells of communities form a larger and more extended community that thrives in Nimbin town itself, where respect and sovereignty are experienced more than in any other place I've known.  The town self organises compassionate and loving responses to mental health issues and folk, and looks after the individuals in trauma with love and acceptance.  There are people who volunteer on their own volition to pick up rubbish, and recycle, and paint around potholes so folk can make a decision about them.  All of this cohesion has formed naturally, as the external view of Nimbin being full of rat bag hippies and ferals and drug addicts has nicely turned the backs of beaureacrats and council services - leaving the local community to take responsibility for itself, and heal it's own wounds.  All sorts of micro-balances exist, in the cohesion formed between a whole mob of people who refuse to be told how to be and what to do.  And insist on doing things their own way.

When we self organise as humans, we get to experience what the other animals experience with their self organised consciousness, when they fly in formation, and swim in shoals.  Fitting into numerous other shoals and groups and needs and destinies.

In my experience, coming from such strong leanings towards self organisation, and then creating a family with an anarchist already primed for hacking out alternative realities, full of alive and abundantly self created little people, has highlighted the very few requirements needed for chaotically harmonious self organisation to flourish.  Which is an absence of rules and hierarchy, and a supported surge towards people simply being who they truly are, both inside and out.  In order for self organisation to flourish, as the equal and opposite to the absence of rules and hierarchy, is the acceptance and appreciation of people for who they actually are, like the grannies in the SOLE Granny Cloud Project.  This is the random soup of potentials that is all that is needed for the conscious and naturally self organising urge of the entire universe to perform it's complicated and simple magic.

And every single individual or institution that tells you that you have to or shouldn't, and need to and mustn't  do anything, be it meditation, or abstinence, or discipline, or a healthy lifestyle, or particular mental habits…..is letting you know quite clearly, that they have the path for themselves worked out, but they're misled about their path being the only one.  Because it takes all of us, with our particular selves, and our equal and opposite reactions, and interplay between shadow and light, simply being ourselves…….to let the mighty and miraculous surge behind evolution and self organising systems all over the universe work it's miracles.   We've all got to find our own ways.

All we have to do, to take part in the miraculous harmony created out of chaos………is to truly be ourselves, and to surrender to our personal flow into self organised and organising systems and ecosystems.

Looking forward to seeing you there…... 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Deep Thought

Late last night driving home after a sumptuous feast with new friends, Currawong and I had a dark night moment driving through the narrow headlight beams, and talking up an idea like we sometimes do.  The last couple of days have been an intense revisiting of patterns that we've been spending some sustained time with over the last 4 months in particular, another layer to the onion, a different perspective on the issues, and a chance to reaffirm the directions we take.  But the result of the latest spin cycle was some serious time out in my head on my own.  Looking after sick babies, stuck in uncommunication in order to clear blocks and communicate with new understanding.  So there was a bit of a build up in my internal thoughts waiting to be shared, and it all came out in a lump.  All sorts of highlights stayed lit like fireflies in the front of our Flomobile on the dark way home.  

And bouncing my thought babies off Currawong, both fresh from a shedding of an old skin, he brought the bits to it that I've come to rely on him for.  The Currawong bits that come only from his unique perspective.  The nature that he was born with interacting with the nurturing or lack of it he grew into, and the unique rub caused by that friction.  And he brought in the remembering and comparison to this video we watched on TED, with a kid genius getting passionate about how he thought people should stop learning and start thinking.  That video had been diving around in my subconscious soup ever since we saw it, and when I used those glasses and took a look at my life, it showed a really interesting perspective.  

…………..

My childhood was one miserable routine and learning job after another.  Endlessly boring and repetitive and all about parcelling learning off into different categories, just like my life was cut up into parcels of time, all seemingly separate to one another.  I was surrounded by the dull intellect and suppression of middle class fundamentalist religion and standardised education.  And every minute of my day was scheduled.  From the moment I woke up, from the moment I was born, I was told to follow a routine.  To suppress my desires and needs and wants and fit into categories and time frames and systems.  I had a few more schedules and programs than many other middle class state school kids.  I had a large family I was the youngest of and expected to do the most cleaning for because I was one of the two girls.  The boys did men stuff, walking dogs and mowing lawns and washing cars, and I did girl stuff, which was cleaning bathrooms and doing dishes and cooking and cleaning.  We not only went to church, but we followed its rigorous and busy lifestyle complete with family home evenings, firesides, meetings, socials, camps, inter church visits, seminary, and up to 8 hours of church activities every sunday cause my mum liked to visit the needy and stay around to talk and offer our services to help and do other saintly things on the day.  And she insisted on daily practice and reading as well.  As did my big brothers.  Church was never a short stint on a sunday only in our home.  Then I had piano lessons, with one of my first teachers being a grumpy old woman who liked to rap my fingers with a ruler when I got it wrong…...  I tried whichever extracurricular activity I could that seemed fun - anything for a break from the grind.  Horse riding, volunteering for an animal shelter, babysitting, hockey, orienteering, bushwalking.  Some were short lived, but all were an adventure and thrilling case of  newness.

I also had animals that I doted on and used as an escape from learning and routines, as well as one best friend, who changed face a few times, but was the same spirit of solidarity and security in our close twosome.  And I silently rebelled.  In obscure ways that I'm actually quite proud of now.  I went through my entire schooling career without learning my multiplication tables.  Still don't know them.   And I reckon I must be one of the few born fundies that got through my whole childhood and seminary and everything, without ever reading the bible or any of the other books from cover to cover.  Or even close.  Only ever the bits that I had to cause they were watching me.  And I only ever remembered the bits I was forced to.  I only wrote in running writing for a very short time, decided it was a horrid way of writing, and then stubbornly printed only for the rest of my schooling career and till now.  Somehow I managed to just outstubborn anyone who tried to make me running write till high school, when lots of other people were doing it too.  I was clever enough to scam my way through most of my schooling, getting high marks and staying in the top clases.  Just giving them what they wanted.  And sounding intelligent enough to be believable.  And boring and unnoticeable enough to avoid the limelight.  I got through without reading Wuthering Heights or The 39 Steps, without doing most of the homework, and having friends who would lend me notes, and getting to catch up at home in my own time cause I took  time off school whenever I could.  And I'd lay in bed pretending to be sick or have a headache, and read and read and read books.  Another highly treasured escape from the humdrum.    I was also massively unattractive to boys.  Got called 'ugly dog' more times than I care to remember.  Couldn't even make it with the geeky boys, and the one that did try to be nice freaked me out.  Most of the teachers were as bored as me, and I thought learning was something that was parcelled out in metered amounts, and you learnt grades that went up until you knew everything.  And I felt pretty crap in comparison to what I thought was the pinnacle of learning.  Pretty dumb.  Vastly unsuccessful. And guilty.  Felt like my whole life was a sham from beginning to end, and I was the biggest loser there was.  I took everything very literally, and found it hard to suspend logic, and most comedy went completely over my head cause I took everything so seriously.  

Then wham bam thank you ma'am, I left it all overnight, and moved into a cosmopolitan share college house, in a vast and rural genteel country town where hippies, activists, uni students and farmers rubbed shoulders mostly quite friendly like.  All of a sudden I was surround by young nubile minds, in the throes of exploration, trying on all sorts of gender roles, stereotypes, clothing, styles, thoughts, schools, theories, sexualities, ideas, performances, poetry styles, musical expressions, action groups, and ways to party.  While thinking deep thoughts and having scintillating conversations.  And looking stunning and being brilliantly witty. I felt like a bull in a china shop.  A lollopy dumb puppy dog licking their toes and begging for a pat.  A star struck fan suppressing the urge to ask for autographs.  And fell madly in love with many of them, suspecting that I was totally obvious to the observer, and feeling deeply ashamed at my thickness and inability to present a polished finish or a brilliant mask.  I was totally smitten with how they could create these brilliant thoughts and conversations, pulling in all sorts of parallels and comparisons, and making metaphors up at the drop of a hat.  I didn't know how they did it, and thought I never would.  

It was around here that I realised on a deep level not articulated till now, that I'd been taught to learn, and not to THINK!  Learning was a routine, a 'thing' that I performed by becoming a parrot.  Having endless unimportant facts shoved into my brain and being expected to regurgitate them.  And it was a compartment unconnected to my life and it's experiences.  I decided to try and learn how to think.  And it was a hard slog.  Funnily enough.  Easy enough to fill my head with a multitude of any sort of information I could lay my neurons on, but difficult to try and hold a few of them together at the same time, and draw comparisons between them.  Difficult to stop trying to put each new idea into a separate box.  I wanted to try and work out how to let them blend in all together.  And I practiced.  A lot.  Over and over.  Holding similar ideas together at the same time to see what they had in common.  How they were different and why.  Finding out what happened if you could hold a huge amount of ideas together, swirling them into a big rainbow, and trying to take a big perspective on them all together.  

It started to become apparent that my favourite knowledges, were the ones that bounced off my own life experience.  That compared to my parallel journey.  The ones that were the easiest to recall, were the ones that I could fit into a personal story that related to me and the ones I was explaining it to.  And I had a lot of time on my hands.  I worked my way slowly out of routine using various tactics, went overseas backpacking for a year, nannied for family, got short lived jobs, and then fell pregnant and birthed my first child.  The Sole Parent Pension was a haven for experimenting with thinking, and trying to work out who I actually was, once I peeled off some of the bandaids that had been put on my natural skin by me or others.  I had a routine of baby, but it didn't feel imposed, because of the great bonding and love.  I'd chosen this routine, and could enact it in my own way, and it felt empowering.  And the moments that were left over, when she was off with other people, I indulged in myself and thinking.  I practiced and practiced and practiced thinking.  Swirling round and round problems or thoughts, till I could find a way in or out or through.  When I launched into areas of research where I was strongly drawn, like archaeology, and womens history, and goddess culture, I found my retention of stories and information grew beyond what I'd previously thought possible.  My love and personal ownership of what I was feeding my brain seemed to grow me a hugely larger space and potential to think with.  

And I started to really delight in it.  It stopped feeling like hard work, and started to become fun.  I'd disappear into my mind and play with a favourite thought or possibility.  And used my favourite thoughts to push through out of the boring round of circuitous thoughts spurred on by mundane reality and insecurities, which have their place too, and after going round and round and plaguing me for a while, they often lead to a personal realisation, which is nice.  But that circuit of blame or shame or trying to work out why someone didn't like me often got onerous.  The surface thought cycle.  And to use that energy for good, I'd push off into the sea of deep thought.  I'd become attractive to men and women by then, but only ever had flings, so there was no long term partner to consume my thoughts.  My thoughts were my favourite playground.  

And because I was searching high and low for comparisons, and other peoples thoughts to bounce mine around with, and groups of people who thought like me or differently to me, I bumped into lots of other theories or practices or rule books or groups, and gathered more and more experience to hang on my thoughts.  More and more things to compare with.  I tried guided meditations and channeling and communing with my subconscious through tarot and read books and did personal research on all sorts of topics.  I was always told I should meditate, and I stubbornly never have.  I had to find my own way of meditating.  And when I hit 30 I got a spinning wheel from my mother, and in teaching myself to spin, I also noticed that the action needed to keep a spinning wheel spinning fleece, kept that surface thought so occupied, that I could escape straight into deep thought without needing to pay attention to the mundane first.  It also directly and physically connected me to my feelings.  So thought, sensation, memory, unknotting problem knots, and deep pondering became a daily practice.  And exploded onto another level and ability to hold a huge amount in my head all at once yet again.  

And once I had a practicing model of thinking, and thinking my own way, this model was applicable to just about every field I directed its attention to.  Babies, birth, bonding, sexuality, spinning, crochet, learning - EVERYTHING has worlds of undiscovered thought potentials waiting to be explored.

Till I'm at the point right now, that I reckon if I could go back in time to those early college days,  when I was overwhelmed by the brilliance of the stars I saw around me, and go and visit me as a young woman, I could totally thrill her with my glittery conversation, and let her know that we were gonna do just fine.  I've become one of those brilliant creatures expressing unique individuality and presence of mind, that I never would have dreamed possible in those thought lonely days.  And an artist, which was another pastime I never would have thought myself good enough for.  And in love with a soul mate and father of my children who thinks my thoughts are as sexy as I do.  And all of these places I've found through messing around in Thought Land.  

Over the years I've come to enjoy a profound sense of love and respect for my mind.  For what it can do.  For giving me the rush of pushing through invisible walls into thinking a different way.  For being able to riffle through my divergent thinking tools to find umpteen possible directions when stuck.  For how much a part of all of me it is.  For it's reflection in the great mysteries and deeps of life.  For how many worlds and things I can discover in my mind as reflected by the universe.  

And on my journey, I've noticed the mind gets a really bad rap in lots of religious thought and spirituality.  We're meant to transcend it, disown it, get out of it, disbelieve it, and realise that it's not us. And I can't help but wonder if people are mistaking standardised learning and the superficial chatter for what our minds really are, extensions of our nature and nurture combined, and biological computers that connect with deeper realities, subconscious motivations, and the search towards evolution.  Powered by ourselves, as well as our DNA, collective conscious, and bodily experience.  

I'm not alone you know.  That kid that did the TED talk inspired the hell outta me, and really helped me look at my life through this filter of the difference between learning and thinking.  The Professor Sir Ken Robinson takes it a bit of a different route calling it divergent thinking, and how we're all genius until we get taught how to learn.  And Sugata Mitra, famous for putting computers in holes in the wall in Indian slums, and displaying to the world the incredible and miraculous ability of people to self organise their learning and thinking when motivated by personal interest.  Many other people have taken on this raw concept, and opened up worlds within themselves or in children through encouraging consciousness, or self organisation in application to thinking and learning, like this teacher in Mexico who uncovered a genius through respectful authenticity that encouraged her to think her own way.  The Zapatistas have open air universities where they encourage and support personal interest, and as we speak, the world is being saved by activists, scientists, young inventors, environmentalists, religious and spiritual folk, indigenous peoples and every other label you can imagine…..and they're all coming together in a conscious and self organised way to make a stand for life, and they all got there through thinking deeply and in their own way, and coming to the same conclusions as each other.  

We are the universe, and our minds, and our thoughts, and our experiences, and our sensations, and our shadows, and all the other bits in between.  

Our minds are miraculous vehicles of exploration.  

And thinking for myself, in my own hard won way, is one of the greatest achievements of my life.