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.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ermintrudes Tree Cosy

There have been a lot of interesting developments in our lives since I posted My Truth the last time.  Quite enormously huge in fact.  All good of course, and rather miraculous.  But I'll tell you about that another time.  

Because I've had a realisation.  

A big part of my creative explosion for many years was having an audience.  When I started to crochet, we were starting a market, and every kooky thing I made had an audience every sunday, where people would come to see what I'd made this week, and I worked hard to impress.  An audience is a huge motivation.  And my audience has dwindled these last years, relegated to the unsuspecting visitor, who I'd drag to my studio to unpack box after box of pretties for to dazzle.  But the ethers connected just the other week, and I realised that I have YOU dear reader!  You who faithfully come to my blog to see what's happening over here, and it may not be in person, but with the wonders of digital technology, I can show you what I'm making over here!  I get to start showing off again.  And to honour that fact, I thought I'd tell you a story.

Ermintrudes Tree Cosy

In late pregnancy with my twins, I entered a group exhibition at a local gallery called Red Poles in Willunga.  It was called 'Unraveled', and part of the criteria, was to get a jumper, pull it apart, and then knit or crochet it into a tea cosy.  I went down to the local op shop, and found a green and white striped jumper, and pulled it apart.  I wish I could find the photo of the original jumper, but for the life of me I can't, so you'll just have to imagine it.  I was thinking of making something fairly ordinary, but not long after it was all pulled apart and neatly in balls........the idea of making a tree struck me.  It almost formed itself, using crochet and wrapped wire, and I just enjoyed the ride.  And when it was done, I thought it was a masterpiece.  And it reminded me very much of the trees that littered the landscape of the 'Magic Roundabout', an animated cartoon I watched as a kid. I had a bit left over, so I made some flowers.  And finished it with barely any yarn left over, as often happens.  And called it Ermintrude's Tree Cosy.  Because Ermintrude was a Friesian cow who ate flowers in the "Magic Roundabout".

And the women running the exhibition were awesome, and they told me to bring everything I had, and had racks for my clothes, and my work looked very gorgeous and professional there.  I had belly dancing outfits, and skirts or ponchos on wrapped wire and wood, and crocheted teddy bears spun from the same fleece as stuffed with, and hats on tripods, and all sorts of stuff that I'd put hours and energy and creativity into.

And it all looked pretty swoosh.  And you know the funniest thing?  See those three wool bags on the wall, stuffed with coloured and raw fleece?  That took me about the least amount of time and creativity of everything I brought there?  That I made initially to use as bags for holding my stash, and then used as stage props.  Guess what.

Those wool bags were the only thing I sold.  For more than I'd ever sold anything, and more than I'd ever asked for a piece of clothing.  And I only had a high price on them, cause I loved them hanging round the house, and didn't really want to part with them.  The irony just cracked me up.  And poor old Ermintrudes Tree Cosy went largely unnoticed.  Hanging out on various surfaces in the houses we lived, and then stuffed on top of my mothers bookshelf.  We liberated it on our recent visit to S.A., and brought it home.  

Till a day not very long ago, when it was sitting primly on our table, minding its own business, when Currawongs drum beats drew two darling women up the hill to our house.  One of them, stunning Yollana, noticed it straight away, on her way out to the drumming, and when I told her it was a tea cosy, she said, "No it's not, it's a hat!" And proceeded to laugh, and twirl, and giggle, and chortle her way out to the drummer and our other guests.......wearing it on her head.  Also happening to be in the completely perfect outfit to compliment the colours of Ermintrudes Tree Cosy.  

Where another beautiful woman had been dragged by the beats, and made busy bringing flowers to adorn the gloriously laughing tree fairy that Yollana had seemed to become.  Wanda is a hero round these parts, for her dedication to our mother the earth, and the complete heart that she puts into actions to defend her from miners in particular.  Wanda puts the sexy into protest.  And these two gorgeous women were dancing in our garden, playing with my creation, and moving to the rhythms of Currawongs beating drums.  And yet another wonderful woman Lauren Fisher was already here with us, and all this beauty filling up our space was just totally infectious!

Of course Spiral-Moon had to be a part of it too.......  And this gorgeous little photo shoot kinda just happened, and it was all just so, and I felt all Hugh Heffner again, gushing bout how gorgeous it all looked, and how PERFECTLY stunning Yollana was, and how like a regal tree fairy, with her priestesses Wanda and Spiral devoting their worship to strewing flowers......and yes it can all sound very airy fairy, but the funny thing was, that it almost really felt like that.

We conjured all kinds of magics for what we could do with the photos, but the funnest idea was to make a calendar of the women of Billen.  Cause they're gorgeous.  And we seem to keep colliding with me and a camera, and them wearing my creations, around the dam near our house.......

Special moments that include all of us, and enrich our souls and our love for each other and our broader community.  That drip lacy bubbles of art and beauty around us.  

So this is a little story about a yarn that started very far away, and came through my hands to be turned into a tree cosy, and then visited an exhibition, and travelled around, before coming up here to live with us and be in the right time, and the right place, to nestle on the head of the beautiful Yollana.

And prepare itself for the next leg of the journey, the next spin of the yarn, the next turn of a tale.  

There's something in that for all of us.  

I think.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Truth

I’ve been banging on for a while now about everything being perfect, a microcosm of the macrocosm and the like.  About how even the imperfect bits are perfect, cause they’re who I am.  And form part of the body of my experience.  How everything is conscious, and in balance, except for us humans.  How we’ve got to make peace with and own our shadow selves. And if you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll also know that I think we should all tell each other our authentic truths, so we can get over the fear of rejection and judgement, and get onto working out how we can all let each other be, and help each other out.  Talk about birth, sex and death, and all the other wows of life. 

But I should really take my own advice.  And step out from behind my fears and judgments, or rather my judgements about other people’s judgements, and stop omitting the bits I know that others might have a problem with.  Stop letting people get about with the idea that I’m some kind of earth mother, hippy, attachment parenting, unschooling, homebirthing, peaceful parenting, organic eating, wise thing.  Cause I’m the culmination of all of those labels that I’ve taken for a test drive…….yet none of them completely.  In fact the only label that I can be counted on to own, is that of Hellena Post. 

Cause I know that I’ve tried to let people only see the nice parts of me, just like you try to only let people see the nice sides of you.  And I know that I say “ I’m fine!” when there’s a morass going on in my head, and problems too deep to talk about, and I know that if I’m part of a stereotyped group, I’ll try my best to show only it’s good aspects to the world too.  And I know that I’ve been nice to someone, and then had a secret bitch with Currawong about them in the privacy of our home, and I know that when I feel judged, I will often judge back, and I know when I judge others I’m also judging myself, and I also know that the energy needed to manage such games, could be used in far more creative ways.  I’m using judgement as a conscious tool rather than a sword more these days…..

And I’m guessing that there’s people watching me from afar in my nice little blog, thinking I’m some kind of wonder woman, to have all these kids and still be creative.  Thinking I’m one of those people who have got their shit sorted.  Just like I thought that just about everyone else had themselves more together than me.  And I kept up the game, and I kept trying to please, even though I thought that deep down I was pretty messed up, and if anyone ever really knew what was really inside me……..they’d curl their lip and walk away. 

I suspect, from life experience, that we’re actually all children.  Some in small bodies, and some in big, but essentially we’re all like children inside.  Children running round in adults bodies and buying the myth that when you’re an adult you’ve ‘got it worked out’, even though most of us feel confused, and wonder who in the hell we really are.  Children in big people’s bodies who think that the world revolves around us.  And unfortunately, children in big bodies who sometimes do to other children what was done to us.  Unless an effort is made to go against imprinting, and create behaviours more healthy.  So we put on our socially acceptable masks, and our polite routines, and don our uniforms, and play our adult versions of the games that children play.  The bullying games and the name calling games, and the fear games and the two faced games.  The judging games.  Except as adults we think they’re justified, and important adult business.  And many of the games revolve around hiding who we really are. I like instead to acknowledge my bad tempered, tanty throwing child within, and let my kids have the same freedom.  Within reason that is. Us big kids have worked hard at repressing ourselves, and we try to insist on the same from our children.

So enough.  I’m outing myself.  As a human.  And maybe even a bit like you.  I don’t feel a need to play the game anymore.  I’m ready to own my whole self.  The shadow and the actress.  The mirror and the everything.   I’m finally getting to the point where I believe in my head and my heart that I’m perfect……just the way I am.  Even the dark bits are good.  Cause they’ve kept drawing my attention to areas that needed work.  Some healing.  Some light shone.  Or they’re just damn gorgeous how they are, cause sometimes depression can hurt so good, and pain can make love even stronger, and hate can bring issues to a head, and embarrassment can create a humble apology. 

I get grumpy.  And I yell.  I’m like an attack terrier when there’s an issue.  And I can be really good at freezing someone out.  Sometimes I get irrationally angry, and will snap at the drop of a hat. But I’m also good at unraveling the seeds where my bad moods come from, and then talking them out and explaining them to others.  I’m especially good at apologizing for them.  Sometimes being in a bad mood is a good excuse to just have some time out.  Some of my angriest moments, have also been the cause of some of my greatest insights.  Usually pushing me against some kind of boundary or fear, where I’ve learnt a tremendous amount about who I really am.  And as I come to accept myself and others more, the bad moods are easing, and lightening up, and quickly dealt with. But I’m actually glad that they’re there, and don’t think they will ever fully go, cause they’re the down to the up that can get so very high!

And I can also whirl everyone up in a story or giggle, and turn tantrums into games,  have the patience of a long term mother, and smooth over and help heal emotional and physical wounds.  One of my particular magics is turning any space into a cosy home.  Even an unlined shed can be glittered into liveable with crochet nets and swathes of material. 

I swear a lot, (and so do the kids, but they know not to do it round people who will be offended), drink cider and mead and other fine draughts, and smoke hand rolled cigarettes and the odd spliff.  I know all the reasons that all these things are ‘bad’, cause I’ve had them told me often, and I’ve told other people them myself when I’m going through my regular cycles of not doing any of them. (except swearing….that’s a bit of a constant since the encouragement of my beautiful ex-punk swear bear).  But at this point in my life, I’m actually on good terms with all of them.  They’re my friends, and my homeopathic stress relief, and my little time out.  I would even call them sacred.  Hey, remember this is my reality that I’m creating, you can create your own :)

I’ve been known to get addicted to really naff computer games.  And obsess about them.  Haven’t had the time for it lately, since 4 little boys under 4 take much energy, but my ability for compulsion is vast.  When I’m in a crochet creating or spinning cycle, my ability to focus on it and it’s birth only is supreme.  And often in retrospect, I’ve noticed that these little times out were like a pregnant pause.  A seemingly inactive phase, while I’m obsessing about a game or a creation, where stuff seems to be boiling round, just beyond my conscious reach, and when the obsession is over, I jump to a new idea, or concept, or time frame. 

Whilst eating mostly local and organic foods, cooked by my lush man, and keeping processed foods to as low as we can, we also love our hot chips, and the odd splurge into fast food, junk and sweets.  Instead of apologizing and shaming myself about this, I believe that we’re experiencing balance.  Everything in moderation.  And I know that what I feel about my food is almost as important as what it is.  We also eat meat.  Free range wherever possible, but the other as well.  Even though factory farming is horrifying, and I believe in the consciousness of everything, I also can see the sense in the Paleolithic, or Nurturing Traditions diet, and meat has been needed for my pregnant, birthing and breastfeeding body.  I’m aware that this is paradoxical and hypocritical, but I’m good with it, within my own consciousness and reasoning.  And have many ideas about where I’d like my food to come from in my future.   It’s a journey only harmed by judgement. 

I’ve had more sex than you could poke a stick at, from friend sex, to getting to know the secret you sex, to party sex, to being abused sex, to deep and meaningful sex.  And learnt a shitload in the process.  I’ve had affairs with married men, and been ‘on’ with more than one person at a time, been molested by family and raped by women, and had two abortions….even though I swore I’d never have one, and had huge judgements about people who did.  I’ve fucked people through their sexual blocks, and studied the art of being a great lover, while hiding the fact that I couldn’t physically feel anything.  And faked all my orgasms.  A lot of the early sex I had was disempowered, and through my choice of keeping on throwing myself into the fray, I managed to transform it into empowering.

Sex is a journey.  Not a destination. 

And through all of that, and because of it, I find myself now in a 13 year old monogamous relationship, with my heart and soul mate, and the father of 7 of my 8 children.  It took us years and nasty fights to show each other our flawed bits, and accept and love them in each other.  And we’re in the process of a journey into sex and love that rockets beyond all my previous expectations.  I’ve not only healed my sexual hurts and helped him heal his and vice versa, but we’ve travelled together into a world of lust for each other that leaves me breathless.  We have the kind of sex that I thought only happened in movies. Or  erotica.  And our love and acceptance for ourselves and each other keeps growing.  In fact it’s never stopped.  Every time I think it can’t get any better than this it does.  But it didn’t start perfect, and we’ve had to work hard to stay present, and it’s not hearts and roses all the time.  We still have humdinger fights, though as we learn about ourselves and each other more, the intensity and hurt decreases.  I like to think of our fights as shining a light on an issue that needs some attention.  Our relationship is an effortless magic that we work hard at.

I’ve got an STD.  Herpes in fact.  And ironically, I didn’t get it from my years of predominantly unsafe sex with numerous people, but from my monogamous 13 year relationship.  This was a hard one to come to love and accept, because when I realized I had herpes I felt very mortal and old.  I’d always believed that I’d never get an STD cause I’d dissolved my sexual guilt. So getting it was a bit of a kick up the bum of my arrogance and judgement.  But I see it now as a reminder of sexual pain, and an indicator as to how my health and immune system is.  When it comes, it comes with lessons.  Just like everything else about our shadows, to do with birth, sex, life and death. 

I love my body, and the baby making and pleasure it can do, and am so greatful that it’s taken me through life so effortlessly.  But have spent large amounts of my life thinking it ugly and fat, and wanting to hide it away.  Through my time with feminism and other women I worked hard to break the beauty myth, and learnt how to wear my big boobs proudly without a bra.  And through my baby making years my weight has vacillated, and I've strived to keep loving myself and seeing my ample bosoms and belly and body as life giving and nurturing.  I had a real moment at the market we started in Adelaide.  There was a group of 7 women or so who were in the regular crew who were absolutely STUNNING!  As in drop dead gorgeous, and women that you'd see in magazines.  And one night after market I asked them how they felt about their looks.  And ever single one of them thought that they weren't very beautiful, and were flawed.  At that point I realised that I'd never feel good about myself in this society, and to be down on myself was just too much of a cop out, and giving my power to silly standards.  It's taken a while to really believe it, after employing the old 'fake it till you make it' method, but I'm proud to report that I'm actually there!

I’m not often into other people’s kids, unless they’re really lovely.   And I’ve been known to growl at them when they touch my spinning wheel or precious things.   I’ve witnessed lots of kids do what we do as adults, and be sweet and innocent to the people that matter, while being little arseholes to everyone else.  I love my own kids to distraction, and have fierce loyalty and protectiveness towards them, but sometimes they can just be evil.  We have a pattern in our home of the older kids picking on the younger kids, that usually starts when a new kid is born and displaces them, and it’s been quite distressing.   Poor little Zarra, unless constantly watched, has three little boys who will stomp on his hands or whack him or try and pick him up by his neck.  Shit seems to roll downhill.  But I see this behaviour in many other kids, and if you wanted to compare us to other mammals and the tumbling games their babies play……. Griff can whack and kick and hit, and sets the theme for the other kids.  But he can also do stuff like come home with a mate after a weekend of X-box and Nerf guns, and the first thing he’ll do is pick up Zarra, and kiss and hug him and hold him for a while, while his mate has to look after himself for a bit. And there was a moment when a boy started picking on Lilly cause she was a girl, and she started hitting back, and then they had a glorious time wrestling and fighting, and he was totally won over by her and sad when she left.  She wouldn’t have been able to do that if she hadn’t been prepared by Griffyn.  She likes being able to hold her own.  I’m coming to realize that it’s something we all do in our own ways.  Love and unlove in equal measures, circuiting their way through the whole cycle.   Or maybe love and unlove are actually parts of the same thing…….

I’m aware that we’ve taught our kids a lot of bad habits and behaviours by modeling them, but also a lot of good ones as well.  I also know that there is a lot of a person who just is who they are, from the moment they are conceived

When I really like someone….I take on some of their characteristics.  So do my kids.  We all acknowledge this, and talk about who we borrowed them off, and whether they work for us or not.  Actually, we talk with our kids about all of it.  Our patterns.  Our triggers.  Our bad moods.  Our reactions.  And the big kids give us awesome and fair-minded feedback.  They tell us when we’re acting like children, or like each other, or like idiots.  I love my kids.  They tell me about what they really do.  The naughty things they get up to.  The secret kid conversations about sex.  They’re like my kid spies, who tell me what it’s like in the children’s underground.  And they’ve told us often, that we’re not like other adults.  They love that we can relate so well to that feeling you get as a kid when you know nobody is going to take you seriously…..cause you’re a kid.   And they love that we take them seriously.  And ask their real opinions. 

Even though I’ve lotus birthed (two) and homebirthed, and co-slept, and demand breastfed, and continuum parented, and carried my babies……they’ve still cried inconsolably, and been grumpy and irrational, and had tantrums and been angelic demonspawn.  And frustrated me, and pushed me to my limits, and made me feel like I was going crazy, and very occasionally made me want to throw them out a window……but I never have.   And just cause you trust their instincts, doesn’t mean that they’re not going to fall into the Yarra River just after you’ve been talking about the ideas in the Continuum Concept.  Or tip Tea-Tree oil in their eyes.  From my experience, I need to trust their instincts, but keep a parents eye on them nonetheless.

I’m very aware of all the people and institutions and belief systems that tell a person, and especially a child person, that they are flawed and wrong.  That they have to do more of this, and less of that, and change this, and grow that, and behave themselves in this way or not at all.  I also know that all the grooviest things and people and places that I’ve been to and discovered in my adult life……..were never mentioned to me as a possibility when I was a child.  And all the things I was taught, had to be unlearnt sometimes, or transformed, in order for me to learn the things that I really needed to navigate my life.  Our memories are associative.  And all of my best knowings and tools come from experiences where I’ve learnt things for myself in my own way.  It’s taken me so many years to feel like I’m unburdening myself of other peoples expectations and becoming who I really am…..that I’m loathe to try and tell my children that they have to be anything but themselves. 

So we keep our children with us instead of giving them over to others to instruct.  Being unable to find an institution or community that would teach our children that they are born completely perfect, with consciousness and awareness within their DNA and every cell in their bodies, that will lead them to everything they need and desire in life…….we’ve opted to keep them at home.  And expose them to as much varied life as we possibly can. We tell them how much we love them, and regardless of how annoying certain behaviours may be, how they are all perfect, exactly as they are.  And we see all of life as a learning experience.  Everywhere we go, and everything we do, we’re talking.  Noticing the intricate details that surround us all the time in the natural and human made worlds.  And everything is questioned.  Why is that happening?  What could be the reasons for it?  Who would be benefitting from that being that way?  Where in your experience can you find a parallel for that one?  How does that work?  What do you think? 

It hasn’t taken long to realize that my children can teach me and themselves far more than I could ever teach them, and to be truly amazed and enthralled with the genius thoughts and lateral and logical thinking and perception that they exhibit.  And I’ve also learnt that the very best thing I can do for them is to tell them my truth.  About how I tried on other peoples traits, and lied, and hurt others, and stole, and was naughty. Our biggest aims for our family, is that they like themselves and each other by the time our main parenting is done.  And have the confidence to be who they are in the world, and chase their dreams.

Which doesn’t mean that I don’t also yell, and threaten, and control, and bully, and bribe.  I’m into boundaries, and consequences, and being accountable for your actions.  I like my kids to have manners that come from the inside, and model it for them by being respectful to everyone we meet, and seeing everyone as equals.  And I’ll also prompt them to be polite, not mandatorily, but when I know that someone has just been very generous or kind, I think it’s reciprocal to say thanks. From the very start, I’ve thought it important to teach my kids enough about societies expectations, that they can be loved and welcomed wherever they go.  I never wanted them to be the kinda brats that come round to your house and you think “Oh no, that horrible kid’s back, quick, hide the valuables!”  I never wanted them to feel that from other people.  And the most predominant feedback we get about our kids, is how well mannered, behaved, beautiful and helpful they are.  They’ve spun many a place and person out, when they stay behind to help clean up. I wont let my kids beat each other up beyond reason, or other people’s kids.  And if they bite me, I bite them back.  I also count to 10, and in very extreme situations will give them a flick. And through all of it we talk, and we apologise if it’s needed, and we dissect it, and we try and work out other ways of doing it.   We learn from it, and see it in other people, and relate with others on the sliding scale of behaviours, and sometimes if we’re really really lucky, we get to see the miraculous event of a habit, pattern, or antisocial behaviour being transformed, understood, and reintegrated as a valuable tool. 

While I think that ‘the system’ as it exists is a bit sick, I never mistake ‘the system’ for a human.  I’m not anti mainstream, I just think we could all do a lot better by ourselves and our planet. I think that we’ve collectively had to get as distanced from ourselves, each other, and the planet as we are, to push the boundaries, and learn the lessons that can only be learnt at the edge.  We always treat officials and beaureaucrats and police folk and the rest with openness and respect.  And end up having amazing conversations and even hugs, cause they’re wrapped that they’re not being grumped at or stereotyped.   And we’re very greatful for the government monies that help to support us.

I’m glad for the ‘bad’ things that have happened to me.  Because there can be a place, where the great hardships of life, and the suffering, and the death, and the murder, and the rape, and the evil intention, and the cruelty, and the senselessness, and the pain, and the illness take me to that 'other place' where women in birthing often go, where very sick people go, and where mourners of death go, and it HURTS and I GRIEVE and it feels kinda timeless, and the ordinary world around me drops away, and time seems to slow or stop, and I search and seek for other people who can understand this parallel world with me and talk about it, and in the midst of the deepest aches I start to feel the equal and opposite reaction. The fierce love for my people, and the vow to protect them and love them and tell them how much, and to nurture them and do my very best to be the best person I can and change my part of the world or inspire so that the pain will decrease for some.......yet at the same time, that pain and suffering has become my muse and great lesson, and I learn some more qualifications about how to navigate the seas of our society and discern people and situations that work for me or not. The gifts and lessons of the shadow can't really be replaced by sage unicorns and rainbows speaking wisdom in forest glades. It's the battles and senselessness and pain that teach me the deep lessons of balance. And flexibility. And change. And chaos. And harmony. And adaptation. And then sometimes the pain feels less piercing, and the evil has taught me, and it all seems kinda perfect...….

I'm perfect in my imperfections.  I've got a crass sense of humour, but only when it's safe to come out, and most of my mistakes have led to great lessons.  I learnt so much from raising my first daughter, because even though I thought I was doing it so differently to my parents……I repeated a lot of the patterns that they taught me in different ways.  And I fucked up in lots of ways.  In others I was awesome.  But I learnt from it all.  And through all my mistakes, and my flaws, and my habits, I've been pushed into areas and concepts and realisations that I never would have, being a nice girl doing nice things.

I reckon that’s about it.  I reckon I’m done.  I’m out of the closet as a human.  This is my offering to the alter of honesty.  And I can tell you now, that this has been the longest transition to birth, of any post I’ve written.  There’s about 10 drafts that lay languidly uninvolved.  I’ve found this the hardest post ever to write.  Cause I don’t want to offend.  But I don’t want to omit my truth.  As scared of outright rejection and nasty criticism as anybody else.  I tried writing it poetically and cryptically and mystically and metaphorically and none of it really worked.  I ended up with huge preambles and justifications that sounded like I wasn’t proud of who I am.  Nevertheless, I finally got here in the end!  So now you  know that I can really tell the truth about who I am, and be in love with myself even so.

This is me. 

And I’m owning it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Spinning, spinning, spinning....

I've been spinning.  A lot in fact.  If you were a spinner, you'd get that spinning 28 skeins of yarn whilst keeping our house functional and the kids alive and happy is actually quite a big deal.  I haven't spun seriously for about 3 years now, with twins and heartbreak and extreme parenting in the way, so my yarn stash was dwindling and quite depressing, and now I've got a PALETTE!!  And am being reminded all over again how much I love spinning, what a magical meditation it is, and the sensuality of my craft.

There's Flo the Coaster that we should be decking out, and a house to sort through and possessions to thin out.........and I'm spinning.  We got back from South Australia with all these lush fleeces from my breeder and dealer Catherine, and we couldn't help ourselves so Currawong pulled them out to have a look, and then as Jess had brought up all his wool dyes he HAD to make sure that he still had his toe in with creating gorgeous dyepots, and then they were laying all round the house drying and ASKING FOR IT!!  So I had to start spinning.  I was forced into it.  My family had almost forgotten what Hellena Post Spinster & Creatrix was like.  The younger boys didn't even know what spinning was!!  Had to remedy that one too.   They didn't know to dread the phrase "I'll just finish this handful!!"  And Zarra didn't know that he could be co-opted into spinning justification by sitting so sweetly on my lap while I spun.   See how my circumstances have pushed me into a corner??

Maybe you'd be addicted like me if you could taste the way it works for me.  Right back in the beginning when I started to spin I thought there was only one way to do spinning, and I thought that the way I found to do it was just being lazy.  I remember reading an book about spinning from the 70's, where this woman wrote “EVERY spinster knows that fleeces have to be dyed, washed and then carded before being spun…”  And it seemed like every spinster did….except me.  I didn’t quite get the mild horror that the elder ladies treated their unwashed fleeces with.  And the need to tame, domesticate, wash and comb a fleece before playing with it.  I LOVED the smell of the sheepy ex inhabitants of my fleeces.  I loved the lanolin softening my skin.  And once I dared to spin from the raw fleece, without combing and carding and washing and all the other processes a ‘proper’ spinster would do……I was totally smitten.  And realized that there was no ‘right’ way, only my way to find.

You see, spinning is full of metaphors.  Every single staple of fleece on a sheeps back is connected.  If you poke your finger into the fleece on a sheeps back, it will shiver and quake it’s fleece, cause every touch pulls interconnected hairs all over it’s body.  And you can comb and card that connection out…..or follow it. 

When you add dye to that connection, or more specifically a chaotically rainbow dye job with blossoms of colour that mix and meld into fluffy little outposts of sublime hues……then you’re not only chasing the connection within the fleece, but also getting pulled on a colourful journey that’s a challenge to navigate. 

To be able to feel the hitches, to smooth out the bits that try and all come together, to turn the fleece around and twist and turn it so that it wont get tangled on the way.  To watch as the connection pulls you through blues and greens and surprise purples.   Catherines fleeces are so clean that the odd seed or bit of hay is an interesting obstacle to the clear strong path of the yarn being spun.  And the action of spinning and watching for snags takes up all the attention and time of your front brain.  Your busy brain.  The one that likes to yabber at you all the time.  Shuts it up quite nicely, so that ole back brain or subconscious can spread out a bit.  Take a bit of room to think and ponder and bring things to your attention.  It was good enough for Mahatma Ghandi as his form of meditation, and it’s good enough for me!

And here’s where some real flashy magic of spinning comes in.  With the finished yarn.  That hasn’t been dipped in sulphuric acid to remove the lanolin and vegetable matter like they do in commercial mills.  That has been through your hands a few times during the spinning process, and is now a lovely long continuous yarn.  That can be made into something.  And then unmade.  Made again in a totally new form.  And then maybe even pulled apart again.  And this process can go on ad infinitum.  Taking the yarn, and making and unmaking it, creating a form and then unraveling it, some forms being functional but not beautiful, and some being beautiful but non functional.  See what I mean about the metaphors?

And I’m going to surprise you all by keeping this short. 

Well short for me anyway :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Animal Consciousness

I read an article about how a whole bunch of scientists have got together to sign a Cambridge Declaration on the Consciousness of Animals.  How after all this time of living with them, eating them, torturing them, testing on them, and using them as laboratory experiments, they’ve finally noticed from their often cruel focus, that the other animals seem to be more conscious than we’ve collectively allowed for them to be.  They have strong family bonds, and friendship bonds, and they use tools to perform tasks, and they’re aware of the world around them (how the hell could they not notice us?), and have communities, and co-operate with each other, and are aware of themselves in relation to the world around them.  Apparently, we’ve been so caught up in trying to find similarities between animal brains and ours, that we’ve neglected to notice that the brain type doesn’t really matter or make a difference to the behaviours that are displayed, and that are surprisingly similar to human behaviour in many ways. 

A bit like how they only discovered in the year 2000 what a clitoris actually was, and how big it was, even though surgeons had been cutting through it for years.  Do you know how big a clitoris is?  Did you know that the organ inside is attached to our little nubs of desire just like a giant iceberg is under the tip?  And that it’s actual size inside us is about as big as a cow’s liver?  With nerve endings  that reach from our belly buttons to our anus, and down our thighs almost to our knees??  And do you know why they only found out in the year 2000?  Because in the dawn of medicine, when they were practicing on cadavers, women were hard to find and work on, due to the general distaste for women at the time.  And they were only interested in womens genitalia to see if it was true that women had an inny, while men had an outy.  When they discovered this wasn’t the case, they didn’t really bother to explore much more. 

What’s that got to do with animals having consciousness??  It’s just another example of how modern science can often not see the wood for the trees.  Can get so caught up in experimenting on ‘the rest of the world’, that it misses some really big points.  Like the clitoris.  And the fact that animals are conscious and always have been, along with the entire plant kingdom (have you ever seen ‘The Secret Life of Plants’ with the soundtrack by Stevie Wonder full of all those amazing experiments that showed the consciousness of plants??), and I’d argue for the mineral kingdom too.  In fact…….I’d very strongly argue that EVERYTHING in our entire universe has consciousness………


The sheer human-centric arrogance of us declaring who has consciousness or not just blows me away.  But let me explain myself a bit more.  I don’t think us humans have always been unconscious – I believe the indigenous folk of every land are and have been as conscious as the rest of the cosmos, and a lot of Eastern philosophies draw close to consciousness too, but us white people, with our monotheistic religions of Gods sending us to domesticate and use the planet as we like……..are about as far from consciousness as you could possibly get. 

When I think of consciousness, I think of all the miraculous interdependent relationships that are manifest in the natural world.  The plants that make flowers that look like female insects, to encourage pollination.  The deals made between trees and ants to provide protection and food for each other.  The cicadas that spend 17 years underground, and come up to provide a feast for all the animals that eat insects, procreate, and then die, to give the forest itself a huge growth boon.  The tribe of elephants that are consciously evolving into being tuskless after poachers decimated 95% of their population.  The fungus that has developed in the Amazon that eats plastic.  The planets that cycle in exactly the right places to give pull to our earth and the sun to keep it all revolving and make it possible to have such incredibly diverse life on our planet.  The awareness of all the other conscious beings (apart from us) of their place within the ecosystems, of what they eat, how they eat, and all the ways that plant and animal waste and bodies get cleaned up and transformed into life.  And most fundamentally, their awareness of their place in the wheel of creation, to ensure the survival of themselves and everything else.   Their unquestioned acceptance of who and what they are as being completely perfect in the great scheme of things.  You just have to watch a David Attenborough documentary to witness the great interdependence and consciousness of every living thing.  Apart from us. 

Whereas we with our opposable thumbs and off planet gods, the greatest despoilers and destroyers the planet has ever known, building structures all over the earth that create extinctions, who have poised even our own species on the brink of destruction, consider ourselves conscious???  We grow and eat toxic food and flush it down toilets with drinking water, to be cleaned by chemicals and benefit nothing.  We take from our bountiful earth mother without a thought of exchange.  We treat our fellow animals with total disregard for their inherent natures.  And when we die we lock our bodies away in trees that we’ve killed, selfishly hoarding our decaying bodies so even in death we don’t give anything back.  Yet we have set ourselves up as judge and ruler of the planet, and consider ourselves qualified to prescribe who and what has consciousness??

We’ve removed ourselves so far from the natural matrix that we send our young off from early ages, and encourage them to attach to other emotionally underdeveloped young, rather than attach to their families and communities, which was the strategy employed by conscious evolution, to ensure our survival and pleasure in life.  From the moment they are conceived, our babies are taught everything……..but how to love and accept themselves, exactly as they are.  In fact, if you were to attribute a sense of being exactly what you were as being perfect in the scheme of things to consciousness, it would be easy to argue that just about everything we do as a ‘civilised’ and supposedly conscious society, is actually leading us as far from consciousness as you could get.  We constantly get the message that we have to pass tests and achieve benchmarks and do less of this and more of that from our schools, religions, spiritualities, therapies, and everything else in our worlds.  In fact.  I would say that we’re collectively as unconscious as the human race has ever been.

Which interestingly reflects our position in our galaxy, and here’s where the good news begins.  If you’re going through similar experiences to those that I and the people I talk to have walked, you may have felt very disconnected and alone in recent months.  On a roller coaster of complete highs and lows.  Like all the solid elements in your life, the things you KNOW to be true, are all of a sudden not so solid.  Very mortal and ageing, while also experiencing moments of pure clarity and connection.  Like the rug has been pulled out from under your feet, and even though the unimaginable has happened……..you’re still breathing and alive.  Stingingly aware of the great atrocities being perpetuated on the planet, yet full of a floating sense of optimism.  Like every structure in your life has been completely broken down to all its constituent parts, and then reformed.  Being forced to look death in the eye, whether it’s happened in your family, or to a loved friend, or your car, or your beloved pet, or a group or belief system you held close.   Maybe feeling for the first time in your life that you actually know nothing.  Feeling all the experiences and hurts that you’ve hidden deep down come surging to the surface against your will.  Forcing you to look at them, deal with them, and make some kind of peace.  A re-examination of patterns and mind sets to work out if they still represent you and serve you. 

And if you subscribe like me, to the belief that everything is connected and interdependent and ultimately all one, it might warm you to know that we’re reflecting a great cosmic dance and procession of ages, and are literally reflecting our place in our galaxy and our distance from the centre and ourselves.  There’s an amazing article written by a dear friend who explains this whole concept in great and interesting depth, but suffice to say, according to her and the numerous sources she cites and my own personal research for years……….our human civilization has been progressing through the ages in alignment with the progression of our planet through our galaxy, and has gone through great ages or equinoxes, that also add up to a great cycle like a year.  And we’re coming to the end and beginning of a 26,000 year reflection of a year, which through it’s journey has taken us to the very farthest point from the centre of the galaxy, and also ourselves.  We’re as unconscious, and separate, and alone, and disconnected as we’ve ever been. 

This is as bad as it’s going to get.

And we’re turning the corner, at the far reaches of our galaxy, and starting the journey back in. 

We as a species have removed ourselves from our lifeblood and source to the point that we have to unlearn the guff that’s made us feel separate, and teach ourselves how to relearn what every other element of creation knows instinctively from birth.  How to be conscious, and part of the great wheels and cycles from which we are born.  Simply by being exactly who and what we are.   

The journey back to our centres, and our connection and our interdependence has begun.

And interestingly, I read an article that I’ve never been able to find again, about how they found another tablet mentioning 2012 from the Mayan times.  There was only one mention of the year before, and it was all fairly nebulous, which left a lot of room for doomsayers and apocalists to speculate about what the date might mean.  And the tablet they found this year was written by a king at the time of the last end and beginning of an age, which lasts approximately 5,125 years, and the king was basically saying “I was the king when this great age ended and a new one began, and all the political and personal turmoil wasn’t because I was a crap leader, but because of the turning over of ages, and the next one will be on December 21, 2012, so whoever is king WATCH OUT!”

Now the writing of this has all taken far longer than I anticipated at the beginning, which also correlated with the beginning of our trip back to SA to register Flo the Coaster, and seems to be ending just as we’ve got back and resettled into our home.  And over this whole journey I’ve been contemplating consciousness, and talking with dear and loved friends back at our old home about it, and adding bits to it, and trying out aspects and theories on some well used heads. 

And I do believe that everything that is happening, is perfect, and a perfect reflection shining out of countless mirrors of potentials, and we’re all evolving nicely towards where we’re all meant to be going.  And that evolution has led our human race a merry dance through total interconnection to total seperation, and is now leading us right back to where we began…….but with more wisdom.  And the way to true consciousness is nowhere near as complex and complicated as many would like you to believe, so they can make money from you as they sell you their dvds and workshops and books and all the other products that are created through our search for connection, fulfillment, love, peace and freedom. 

It’s simply and most complicatedly just being yourself.  You.  Who you were born to be.  Pursuing the thing that makes you burn with passion.  Following your whims and desires and inner fashion guru.  Making all those mistakes that you really can’t avoid making if you’re to really do what you want to do.  Blowing big kisses to all the cautionary tales and skeptical relatives as you leap off the bluff of all the shit you’ve been told you have to do all your life, into a free forming and spontaneous future where anything is possible in love.

Along with a host of others, I did watch ‘The Secret’ all those years ago, and I did really dive into it and live it and breathe it for as long as I could, yet there were some things that never really worked for me.  Like.  “How does that bad shit still happen when I’m being so positive?”  And over the years I’ve come to notice that it’s not only the good things that I can take credit for, but the bad things too.  Or rather what I do with those things, and how I deal with them.  They actually then become really good things too.  And I wouldn’t choose for a lot of them to happen, but I’m glad to learn from them when they do.  And those bad things aren’t a sign that my positive shield was too weak, or I was being afraid of success or all the other bolshy things we tell ourselves when life doesn’t go the way we want.  They happened for many reasons, not all of which are to do with me (surprise, surprise), and bring as many gifts as they bring tears.  And are usually taking me on paths that I might never suspect I’d take.  And you know what?  I’ve found when I get really caught up with trying to ‘craft’ and manifest my future, for a start I can be limiting myself because I don’t have any experience of how great and wonderful some things I haven’t met yet may be, and I can also take the whole journey far too seriously.  Like taking things personally when they go ‘wrong’.  And it’s not all to do with me.  Sometimes it’s about how I can be in the right place to help someone else, cause that’s the story of the moment.  And sometimes it’s about recognizing the Law of Repulsion – the shadow of the Law of Attraction, and getting the hell out.  And sometimes it’s just destiny.  And takes you completely by surprise. 

On our drive across the country, to get our Coaster Flo registered, and meet again with family, and old friends, and old patterns, and the energetic guff we left behind us and were met with when we got back again……..I kinda just gave up all hope for or need to try and craft what was going to happen, and what we were going to do, and put into practice a skill learnt from birthing and young babies that helps a lot…..


And I reckon that’s about as close to consciousness as I can get.  Being who I am.  Wearing the clothes that I feel comfortable in.  Eating the foods I feel comfortable eating.  Talking about the themes that inspire me.  Trying at all times to be me no matter where I am or who I’m with.  Trusting that I’m here to weave a particular thread into the great tapestry of life, and that I’ll know exactly what to do if I just follow that thread. 

And I’ve had experiences, big deep experiences, for prolonged periods of my life, where I’ve been a part of consciousness, or complete chaos or anarchy that forms into beautiful harmony, through the simple art of letting everyone and everything be what they are, and loving all while loving unique selves.  Being part of a hierarchy free market for 5 years, and all my babies and birthing experiences, and being part of the conscious community of Nimbin and it’s surrounds……I KNOW that if we just all dropped all the extraneous bullshit and followed and pursued what we all collectively loved, that we’d all instantly reach enlightenment or consciousness, and we’d all sink back into the miraculous order that the natural world displays for us ceaselessly. 

There ARE people who will want to clean up the rubbish (I’ve met them!), and there ARE people who want to do all the onerous tasks that you don’t want to, and there ARE people who will fill all the holes and gaps in the things we need and feed on, and we can all just get about being conscious with the rest of creation.

And I felt like this trip was one of my first fully conscious trips ever.  Cause I just relaxed, and knew that it was gonna work out, regardless of whether I worried or not, and surrendered to the whole thing.  And it was like we’d had a travel consultant who booked every minute of our days and nights, and where we could stay to get our needs met, and who could help us to do what.  On the way down, we punctured a wheel, and the breaker bar was back at our home after being played with by the boys, and Currawong had a bit of a tant, and while he was over the road ringing road services, Lilly was saying “I don’t know what he’s worried about, things ALWAYS work out for us, and we’ll look back on it and say how if it didn’t happen we wouldn’t have met someone or something…..” just as a truck parked behind us and Dimitri stepped into our lives.  And changed our wheel.  Whilst being utterly charming.  And the whole trip was kinda like that.  Didn’t take any pictures, cause we were too busy living it.  Every time we felt stymied, someone would visit, or someone would ring, and the most elaborate ways were found around every obstacle, and it all happened easy in the end. 

All we need to do towards consciousness is be who we really are.

I look forward to witnessing and being part of the return by the human species into the consciousness that we’ve removed ourselves from, and a return to ourselves and each other.  I eagerly anticipate the beauty, art, alive foods, creativity, and smart and sustainable technology that will flourish. 

And all the other animals, and plants, and minerals and conscious energies will be surprised to realize that us humans have the capacity for consciousness afterall.  I bet they’ll get a real kick out of that……

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Guest Posting Post Style......

This year has been a knockout.  Death has walked around me, taking many people I know and affecting on some level nearly everyone I'm in contact with.  It seems to be knocking at our doors, asking to be let in.

A few months ago it seemed that there was death all around me, and I sat often gazing off into the distance, brought to the present by a child or a need.  Thinking and thinking and thinking about it.  Trying to understand and make sense.  And when I finally wrote it out, I sent it straight away and hot off the press to the beautiful Janet Fraser, cause we'd decided to play the guest post game, and I knew that it was the piece for the job.

Janet has totally blown me away over the past couple of years.  Having some of the most intense experiences a human can endure, that could easily send a person into brokenness or bitterness, and coming through the experience exuding compassion, love, clarity, humour and joy.

I'm honoured to guest post on her blog, the name of which is Janet Fraser....Where birth and feminism intersect.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Trolls, Pixies, and other archetypes

I’m experiencing my first encounter with cyber bullying or cyber trolls. 

Now I’ve been playing on the internet long enough for my brother who sold computers at the time, to tell me that I was being ridiculous in my enthusiasm, and that the internet would never last, and I was being foolish.  Right at the beginning I read a wild book called ‘Cyberia’, that was talking about how the worlds of the internet were created and mirrored by sub cultures and hallucinogenic adventurers and underground dance cults that were hacking out our collective realities, and practicing online what we were going to evolve to be able to do with our minds.  It posed that a computer was a reflection of our heads, and had literal connections to our thoughts.  And I also read Dale Spender’s book ‘Nattering on the Net’, where she compared the advent of the Internet to that of the Printing Press in the middle ages.  She suggested that not since that explosion of information from sources other than The Church, has there been such an opportunity for the average person to be represented in a universally available medium, regardless of gender, age, race, or money.

I got all the equipment as it became available, the huge modems that made wild noises, the hand held scanners that looked like paint scrapers, the enormous printers, the massively expensive and endlessly fascinating software, that seemed to do incomprehensibly complicated things.  I was one of the first on IRC, developing LOL and ROFL  and ROFLMAO and the rest, that took a while to seep into the internet mainstream.  With Puke Punk, my fling at the time, we’d surf through countless IRC channels, trying to see how many we could get kicked out of.  How many witty and cutting jests we could throw before getting bombed.  How many Christian channels we could infiltrate and terrorise.  How long the accepting new agers would take to get the shits.  I had intense relationships with people on the other side of the globe, and cyber sex.  I even had ops on a  popular channel, and with my online love at the time we’d merrily throw people off, and bamboozle newbies. 

I was virtually ‘cool’ for the first time in my life.  Accepted by a whole bunch of people I’d never meet, part of groups and friendships that really fit, and on the cutting edge of something new, and unfolding, and brave.  I was also quite sure that I was open minded, liberated and ‘right’.  And that there was a whole bunch of silly people out there who needed a good drubbing. 

I’ve also been a young Mormon, completely knowing that I was a member of the only true church on earth.  I’ve also been a Lesbian.  Completely knowing that I was going to rest in the soft arms of women for the duration of my life, and other women that had a problem with that, were in denial of their own sexuality.  I’ve also been an activist.  Completely knowing that I was aware of things that the average person was denying to themselves at their own peril.  That there was a huge amount of heads in sand, and they needed to wake the fuck up.  I’ve also been a homebirther.  Completely knowing that natural birth was the only way, and everything else was an aberration.  That if everyone would just acknowledge and trust birth, the whole world could be transformed. 

And now I know that I’m everything.  I am a complex microcosm of the macrocosm, I’m a collection of stories that reflect the complete uniqueness of my snowflake, as I drift with all the other snowflakes and drops of the ocean, in the embrace of a universe of complete chaotic harmony and paradoxical perfection, trying to understand itself.  The ecosytem within me, is mirroring the culture within which I live, and also the natural world surrounding that, and the greater matrices of the planets and galaxies beyond.  All connected through the yarns and strands of our DNA that we share with every other living thing on the planet, the water that courses through our beings, some of which has come from interstellar glaciers, and the star stuff and clays of our earth, that sculpts our bodies and constantly flows as conscious and remembering energy…….

There is no other.

But of course the other day when I read through pages of complete strangers ripping every detail I’d written and my photos to shreds……I wasn’t feeling quite so zen.  In my latter years online, I’ve seen many people affected by trolling, or cyber bullying, or harassment, on the edges, round the corners, and in holes.  Through my birthing experiences, I’ve been interconnected on lots of birthing and midwifery sites, and I guess the first time I started really seeing the organizing of packs of trolls like blood hounds on the trail of a fox, was around the mainstream turn away from homebirthing as an acceptable option.  I know now that it’s also been intense around gaming sites, but I don’t visit them. YouTube is also full of it. Most likely it’s been happening in all pockets of the net.  But a lot of the women I knew were getting horribly victimized by these bloodhounds.  And as an observer, it appeared like a dance.  A person posts an article or blog from their heart, or just as a different experience to a conceived norm.  And is overwhelmed by a torrent of angry bloodhounds, ripping their fox pelt to shreds.  The fox is hurt and wounded, and asks why this is happening, and can’t you see my humanity and respect me?  And no matter what they write, or how sweetly they plead, a sentence or word is pounced on for being arrogant, or stupid, or wrong, and the feed between the two groups gets strong, as other foxes jump into the fray, to tangle with the blood hound back ups.  And as an observer, I could often see grains of truth and salient points in both sides of the scrap.

And then it happened to me.

I guess I knew it would eventually.  But it took me by surprise.  When I looked at my Blog stats, there were HUNDREDS of people looking at my blog.  ‘Wow’ I thought.  I’ve gone viral!!  I had a look at the web page it came from, and I thought it looked like a Friesian word, and thought ‘maybe someone’s discovered there’s a wild Friesian family with 7 Friesian babies!’ and had a look.  And started to shake, as my happy mood sunk quicker than a stone into a kind of horrified fascination, like a bunny in the headlights.  On the spot I made the decision to read it all.  Just once.  Get a feel for what it felt like, to get personally and viciously ripped to shreds.  See if the areas that I thought they would pick on from my past experience were true.  Shaking as I read it.  My children, my relationship, my appearance, my births, my craft, my art, my words, my life, my sexuality, my choices, my experiences………everything picked over, chewed between grinding teeth and spat out.  There was a huge show of dedication on their part, to research me, dissect me, read my words and posts for hours, to find quotes that fit how they wanted me to appear.   Theories as to why I was so batshit crazy.  But I was determined to read it.  To see if it fit the patterns I’d observed.  To see how it felt. 

It took a long time.  There was a lot of it.  And Currawong kept orbiting in to see if I was allright, and would catch a glimpse of a thread, and get righteously indignant on my behalf.  Tumbling a few babies around on my lap as I went.  And then it was done.  I closed my computer.  Went into the bedroom.  Posted on Facebook about it.  And cried.  

And that was the worst of it and as bad as it got. 

One of the first things that came to mind, was that I hadn’t felt this way since I was in high school – ‘four-eyes-brace-face-magilla-gorilla-big-bird-ugly-dog-fat-slut-lemon-dyke-long-socks-brigade’.  That was the last time that school kids and random strangers said really nasty things to me publically.  Even the odd tussles I’ve had in real life and online in my adult life haven’t been quite that nasty.   The real nastiness went from random strangers and school kids to the voice inside me – the snark – that came out whenever things were rough, or I was feeling a bit hard done by.  That also came out at family members during fights, most particularly Currawong.  Or was kept as private thoughts I had about other people and the choices they made, damage they were doing, that I mostly kept to myself, or only shared with people I knew would agree with me. 

But every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  Comments started pouring into my facebook account that started making me cry with happiness instead of hurt, as people came out from all the interlaced webs that connect through my page, and expressed beautiful and meaningful love to me.  I haven’t even really started to unpack that whole thing yet - there are people from my past, and people that I haven’t even met, and people that I admire hugely and get a bit groupie like about, who took the time out to tell me I was important to them, and to others, and that for everything that was ripped, they had a beautiful patch to sew over it.  Someone from my real life community came to give me some chutney and a chins up, private messages poured in on the internet, and I talked to my love throughout it all, as we healed bits and sewed patches on together.  I rang my beautiful daughter who’s been through so much, and learnt so much from her own trials through bullying, and we had another degree of connection. 

And let me just take a little aside here for parents or anyone who wants an authentic and honest relationship with a child or young person – one of the most profoundly amazing things you can do in the world is to drop all the ‘I’m an adult/parent/teacher/elder/person who ‘knows’ trip, and sit down with a kid like you’d sit down with a friend…….and ask their advice.  Not in a cutesy, what kind of sweet child fantasy am I gonna get kind of way, but in a real, friend to friend, if you were me, what would you do? kind of way.  What do you really think about that? kind of way.  In a manner in which they know you’re taking them seriously.  It’s profound.  Trust me.  Try it. 

But back to the story, it started to occur to me, how could we NOT have cyber bullying and trolls?  When bullying is the lynch pin of our culture?  Where does bullying NOT exist?  From the moment we’re born, our parents and families and schools and churches  and every other group and hierarchical structure, are feeding us messages through all our senses, about what is required for us to fit in and conform.  An ancient mammalian imperative we have as a species, to ensure our survival.  The rules as to how you can get in the middle of a pack, and be safe from the predators and scavengers that prey on the fringes.  We’ve got to put on weight a certain way,  crawl by a certain age, speak by a certain time, and any deviation is anxiously angsted over. Lesson number one at school, is that whatever is different about you, will become your nickname, and your personal cross to bear.  It will be picked on relentlessly, even as you try to transform it or amputate it or hide it or just shrink in general.  It will be picked on, until you learn to play the game by the majority rules.  Which can always change just to keep you on your toes. 

At church we learn the same lesson, whatever is different about us will be fair game and public property, and up for derision and inspection.  When we go to work the same thing happens.  An infinite variety and means of squeezing us all into the middle of the herd, and honing off our differences, so only the fringedwellers get attacked.  Of bullying people in various ways, till they either fit in, or go and find another herd to try and get in the middle of.  And that’s not even to mention the great bullies of our time.  The countries who relentlessly pick wars with other countries.  The corporations who bully us all into doing things we wouldn’t ordinarily choose, in order to increase their profits. The media that bullies people for a political agenda. The lawyers and judges who bully people in courtrooms.  The teachers that like to bully small children.  The bosses that use money as an excuse to bully their workers.  The doctors and doomsayers that bully birth.  It all rolls down hill, from one to another to another, but a common currency in our culture. 

And we internalize these lessons, as we must, for we all want to survive, and those nicknames and barbs become our inner voices.  The inner cynic.  The voice that runs us down inside before someone outside gets a chance to do it.  The voice that tries to get us to avoid doing anything that might make us stick out, and endure that pain again.  We all have these voices, and many of us hate them, but I believe that ultimately at their root, these nasty inner voices love us.  They love us, as everything in the universe does, (because it is us) and want to protect us in the only way they know how.  Which is to bully us into doing something or not doing something, depending on which way they think will hurt less. 

And paradoxically, overarching all these mammalian herd dwelling goings on, and shovings, and bullyings, and harrasments of the fringe, while we fluff all our feathers and try to find comfortable, recognizable, and friendly nests and heart homes, there’s this other thing that’s happening. 

Our books, and our stories, and our media, and our movies, and our music, and our popular culture is FULL TO BRIMMING of stories of the maverick.  The Brave Heart.  The Chicken Little. The Robin Hood.  The Different One.  Our stories and fantasies often contain the person who wont be bullied.  The person who wont be changed.  Who has a stubborn difference that can’t be curtailed.  The Hero.  The Conqueror.  The Heroine.  Whose difference saves the day.  Whose inability to change a quirk, results in them saving the world.  The Tall Poppy who ran the gauntlet of the snapping hyena’s and survived to bloom.  The Unique Person, who believed in themselves enough to change the world. 

I get this image of our society holding all these amazing dreams and stories as carrots dangling just in front of our eyes, saying ‘DREAM YOU BASTARD!!’ And then SLAPPING the soft little souls as they go to school and get bullied for their difference.  ‘BUT DON’T FORGET TO DREAM!!’  it entices, as SLAP another dream gets a smirk and a sing song made about it, and another nickname to remind you of how stupid you were to try.  ‘But KEEP dreaming’ as SLAP you go off to university to get a proper degree, now that you’ve had your hidden golden desire to be an artist thoroughly trounced on.  Maybe one day you’ll get to dream uninterrupted, but maybe also you wont.  Maybe it’s just easier to give up dreaming, and maybe for others, it’s even easier to act as the slap.  It can become quite seductive to inflict pain onto others, especially when you know how much pain you had to endure.   

We all bully each other in subtle and unsubtle ways, trying to get each other to do things as we think they should be.  Trolls are like the tricksters and mean pixies in folklore and earlier traditions.  Testing and tweaking and clawing at people and their beliefs.  Giving them the opportunity to strengthen.   And they’re also the manifestation of our inner cynical voices and the voices from our past, as well as the private voices and judgements we have for each other.  Made manifest under assumed names and anonymous pictures.   

Along with all the love being sent as the equal and opposite reaction to the cyber bully action, there were a few articles.  This one in particular resonated with me.  I really dug the line “When it comes to actually changing minds, I think we’re stuck with love.  There was a blog post by Janet Fraser, who’s been through some of the most torturous bullying by legal folk and media, not to mention trolls, and shows incredible love and compassion.  And there was another one talking about how many people who anonymously send poison darts over the internet in the form of trolling, have been bullied themselves, and find comfort and self healing in bullying other people.  Understandable.  Not admirable.  But…….a valid way to deal with the world if that’s how your particular snowflake turns out.  If that’s the path you tread, it will no doubt give you lessons, as every path does.  And if we look at humanity as a wheel, with us all as the spokes, equally important to the wholistic running and understanding of the everything, then they obviously have their purpose. 

A few of my life lessons helped me feel better after the initial shock of a face to face with cyber bullying.

1.  I’ve observed that people become what they hate.  And if indeed many cyber bullies do this because they were themselves bullied and hated it, they are a beautiful example of this.  And are simply performing what they’ve been taught in many stratas.
2.  The only people I’ve ever come across who had the time and energy to spend on trying to belittle or bully other people, have been really really miserable.
3.     I only get hurt by stuff that has a mirror in me, or that I don’t understand.
4.  Love and hate are flipsides of the coin, and for all those people so drawn to hating me anonymously online – I know they really deep down are loving me, otherwise they wouldn’t even bother to notice or mention. 
5.   People usually only ever talk about themselves.  Or as a friend once said, ‘when they’re pointing one finger at you, they’re pointing three at themselves’. 
6.     People who judge others harshly…..judge themselves the hardest of all.
7.    Folk that hurt other people the most, often have the biggest hurts inside them, and the biggest fears about being loved. 
8.     Sometimes victims can become the biggest victimizers.

But the real boon has been the love that’s come my way as a result.  The affirming of who I am as a byproduct of the introspection that always occurs whenever I encounter criticism or bullying.  The words that came from people who have a good experience of me, and value me enough to let me know.  And when I look at it now, and on reading from all the different people who wrote to me that have been affected by it, this trolling and bullying has been happening a lot.  But I sense that the balance is shifting.  When I first started noticing it, there were sporadic bursts of it here and there, fairly undirected, and people reacted strongly to it.  Now trolling has become more focalized, and the discussions about how to deal with it, transform with it, and work through it are focalizing also.  Articles and stories and information that helps are becoming easier to find.  And I’m watching in my personal networks, an increase in empathy and compassion.  Especially after enduring a personal tradgedy or online bullying, I’m watching people work hard on their communication, to avoid such things being perpetuated.  I’m watching discussions that would easily have escalated into personal attacks becoming more understanding and respectful. 

In response to the trauma of cyber bullying, the equal and opposite reaction in many online communities has been to uphold and support loving and respectful communication.  And the way that angels and fairies and whirling dirvishes came flying in to soothe my wounds was a perfect example of that.  In being the opposite to creation, bullying is helping to create an ever widening circle of community between people who wish to feel safe and be open with each other. In teaching us so completely how NOT to help a human open up, relax, be themselves, and be honest, they are showing us the way to closer connections, even if it is by avoiding them. 

So cyber bullies, and friends, and onlookers……..I guess I’m saying that everything has a purpose, even bullying, as long as we continue to learn and grow from our experience.  I’ve been held and supported by a loving community of friends.  I’ve had the chance to reflect again on the bits that stung and see where they have a home in myself.  Our family as a result has taken a resolve to work even harder on hearing and respecting each other without bullying.  I’ve had a chance to revisit my school yard bullying and realize that I’m finally free of its tendrils.  And I’m ever more certain, that the most important job that I have in this life, is to truly be myself.  No matter what kind of reaction I get.  And from the amazing folk who have been cyber bullied, I know that I’m in tremendously good company.  It almost seems to be becoming a rite of passage for the authentic, passionate, honest, and inspiring.   And like Mae West said, there is no such thing as bad publicity.  Thousands of people have now looked at my blog that wouldn’t have otherwise.  A few were nasty.  Many said nothing, and a few more wanted to become my friend. It was like a big, handspun, sun woven blanket was wrapped around me by people that I admire and love.  A greater amount of love was poured as a tonic.

In light of that, a small group of people who need to hurt others to make themselves feel better, ripping my blog to shreds on an unremarkable forum, is almost a fair price to pay.  Especially as one of their favourite sports is to attack people like a woman who’s lost her child, or families that are grieving, their company and lack of admiration is not a huge loss. 

And before I go – just a word to the onlookers.  There was an amazing black and white movie called ‘Gentlemans Agreement’ with Gregory Peck.  In which he was a reporter asked to write on racism.  He decided to pretend to be Jewish, and moved to a Jewish district.  Him and his son started copping racism.  At the same time though, he was having a relationship with a woman and became engaged.  At the engagement party she told everyone that he wasn’t really Jewish, so they could stop treating him badly and pitying her.  And in the end, the article he wrote stated, that it wasn’t the lynchings and the public acts of racism that were the worst, but the wordless onlookers who knew better, and said nothing.  He suggested that when the average person stands up for their beliefs, and says no to the jokes and the bullying and the cruelty……..then racism will stop.  And bullying will stop.  And everything that adds to our seperation will stop.

And I’d like to take it a bit farther.  Maybe our time of circling in the pack, and keeping our uniqueness in, while steering clear of the fringe is done.  Maybe the time of loyalty and devotion to a hunting pack of blood hounds is fading.  Maybe now, this great shift that we’re experiencing can be an evolution towards oneness, and delight in our difference, rather than the herd mentality of keeping it safe.  Maybe bullies can evolve into conscious and compassionate critics, that test the boundaries to make them strong.  Maybe our social networks can become clearer about respectful ways to communicate, and how to deal with trolls and other mythical creatures.  Maybe making peace pacts with our inner snarks will help the macrocosm to heal the outer snarks.  And we can start playing more enjoyable games of creation and discovery together.