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.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Hippy Combover

When in the face of Big Thoughts what do I do?

Blog about washing and do a vlog about my hair.

As you do.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Washing Post

As you can probably imagine, how and where to do our laundry with 7 children, is a topic we have a fair amount of knowledge and conversations about.  We've done our washing predominantly in laundromats for our 13 years and 7 children together, and I've been very proud of how we've managed our dirty laundry.  For 6 of those years with our babies, we only used cloth nappies, and when we were travelling we'd string them out like prayer flags near our camp.  

We've visited a lot of laundromats in the country.....

And we've come up with many and various ways to hang up and dry washing as we go.  My personal favourite was hanging the washing in our van as we were travelling up here, and with the windows open it worked a treat.

We've also become dab hands at making washing lines wherever we go, and using whatever is at hand in true Womble style.

And up here in the tropics.....where it rains very often......and randomly........it makes sense to hang your clothes under cover.  Our last house had a rather gorgeous verandah that lent itself to being a washing line, as well as an outdoor one.  And as ever,  Currawong being gorgeous makes all household chores fun.  Not to say that it always is, but it is more often than not.

And years ago in our old community we hung our clothes inside for the same reason....and also because laundry left outside had a tendancy to go wandering.  

But here......here at Hippy, Womble, Big Bamboo City Central.....I feel like I've come to my penultimate clothes hanging mecca.  We've got a range of experiences to call on, and we've learnt a huge amount of respect for water over our years of living in the driest state in the country.  And now that we're living off the grid, we're learning a huge amount of respect for solar power.  So we've found the Nirvana of laundromats in Lismore......with a beautiful helpful couple who are always around to give you coins, and the best cleaning machines that we've ever used, that uses at least partial rainwater collected in tanks and solar power to wash our washing.  And we've got into the habit of storing up our washing, till we run out of clothes, and then doing a huge load of it all in big cycles.

Now you may think this is a mundane subject, and why the hell am I talking about washing, but as always, there's a point.  Ever since I read that anarchist piece that I posted in inspiration, and then went on to read more from that mob, I've been really sitting with how when I make something beautiful, I think about how I can sell it, and how other peoples lives, and images, and movies always seemed better than mine, and about how much of my creative energy I gave to the world and not myself and my family.....

So Currawong and I have been consciously trying to occupy our lives, and make our lives our artwork, and turning our mundane tasks into magic and sacred ritual.  Doing jobs that would be boring in four known walls can be an adventure when you're doing them somewhere else.  And rethinking ways of doing things that have to be done every day, so that you can own them, and make them fun, and turn them into something beyond the ordinary......isn't that what we've tried to collectively do since we decided to walk on two legs?  To find ways and means to transcend our mortal and earthly binds and find something else?  Something exciting?  New?  Walking parallel to the dreary existence?

But perhaps it doesn't have to be taking mushrooms and trance trips and all the other indigenous intoxicants, or gods or deities or big universal cycles.  Maybe it can just be through unweaving and reweaving the ways that we do things, and finding those magics and metaphors in even the simplest tasks.  Realising that every single chore, and odorous task, and misfortune, and simple detail can be unravelled and twisted and turned into just about any kind of creation that you could think of.  With metaphors and multi meanings and layers to explore.

Take washing dishes for example.  Nobody really loves doing dishes, except for my mother who's a masochist.  And even though she says she does, she doesn't deep down.  Some people have made a resigned deal with dishes, and they know they have to be done and take pride in the fact they can do it without hassle, but most of us find something about the chore onerous.   I have had moments in my life when I've made a connection with dishes before, like in this piece ( It's in the excerpt from 'Balthazar and Nimue - A Love Story' at the end) I wrote years ago, but I have to say there's been no major love lost between me and the doing of dishes.

And I never would have thought that I'd be telling you I love doing them now.  But I do.  We've built a washing station that is cute and bamboo and made by us, and in true Womble fashion.  We've picked up a lot of good ideas in our travels around the traps, and we finally got a chance to explore them.  There's bamboo holders for the cutlery.  And enough racks and storage around where the dishes are done, that nobody ever has to dry or put away a dish ever again.  Unless they want to of course.  

We're still draining the sink into buckets that we empty, and we're working on the fridge (you're gonna love that one), but we're well on the way.  But beyond that, I love doing the dishes now.  I've never liked drying and putting away, or finding places to stack clean dishes, and now with my little washing station it's actually a joy.  Everything has it's place.  And it's like doing a great big puzzle with groovy places to put the pieces.  Dirty dishes enter the sink and bubbling water, and exit onto wrapped wire around a bamboo pole, and dishracks, and handmade wire hooks for the frypans and saucepans, and places where everything can go, to dry in its own time, and be easily reached by short arms.  I even got myself a range of plastic gloves, from orange scented to sustainable rubber, and a dish mop (always wanted one for some reason), and special scourers and cloths and brushes.  That are all placed in the hollow ends of bamboo poles or strung about in some kind of creative way.  I've got 'plans' (I always think of Lister talking about his 'plans' for Fiji on Red Dwarf when I say that) for the kitchen, that largely rely on it drying first, and then wrapping it, but I want to add some more little shelves, and turn the twisted wire for the cups into really solid cup dryers, where the cups can sit upside down, and then wrap the wire with green wool and maybe even add some leaves to turn it into the cup vine.  

Our life is the canvas, and we choose to paint and dream and play and turn everything into learning and a game like the kids do.  They have far more to teach us than we could ever teach them.  And they're very impressed with me for solving the dish dilemma that we've all been having for years.  Some of you will have a good idea about how many ways washing, drying and putting away can be turned into a million different degrees and arguments and discussions and bargains and aversions. 

But back to my washing, which is the point of this post afterall.  Yesterday I dealt with the mother lode.  With my Ectopic experience, and the ramifications of my last post about our market in SA resulting in an offer to help out with the Nimbin Market, and starting the religion that we've been talking about for years, as a means to empower ourselves as home learners, and create a movement for social change, equality between belief systems, and Humanimal sovereignty, using the vehicle of religion so as to protect it in it's birth..............we've kind of let the washing get on top of us.  There were not one, or two, or even four or five, but SEVEN LARGE LOADS OF WASHING that needed to be hung up.  And I nailed them.

And like many other hunters of one kind or another, I got a photo taken with my trophy.  Cause I've got to tell you now, that this amount of washing would have really overwhelmed me until recently.  And I would have been really grumpy while I was doing it.  I had to really use my combined skills and experiences to let it be a journey.  To hunt for the deeper experience. To face overwhelm with love.

But this whole thing I'm talking about.  This taking of the jobs and tasks that make up family life, and observing them, and streamlining them, and playing with them, and seeing them for the sacred tasks they are to clothe us in love, and feed us and our souls, and make our life interesting and full of potential lessons to learn.  It doesn't always work that way, and I still have a yell at times and growl and frown and wish I wasn't doing it, but sometimes it's actually a joy.  A yarn.  A story.  A metaphor.  And I can't help but think that these are the things that we are here to do.  These are the tasks and journeys and routines and requirements for our lives to run smoothly and comfortably.  We've been doing them for millenia in all sorts of different ways, using different materials and procedures......but they're still the things that run along in our lives, alongside the huge stories and life events and cataclysmic fates, they're the cogs that keep our wheels running.

So I spent the day in gentle washing contemplation, with the mother lode of full baskets, and I used all the little ways I've worked out since building our verandah, to dry out all our clothes.  I even had to rig up some other lines, to fit it all and still leave room for some view.

Nicely hidden behind the drums so as not to obscure the view......

And I even got Currawong to take some photos in a 'hail the conquering heroine' kinda way.  With my washing.  That I enjoyed sorting out into pants and tops and the rest of it, and setting out in ways that we could walk around and still get views, and using all my tools at hand to get a nice and family friendly spread.

If there was ever an award for hanging masses of washing happily and creatively....I reckon I should get it.  Or maybe I just made it by creating this post?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Modern Day Fairytale

I've been profoundly fortunate to have been able to take part in quite a few modern day fairytales.  Magical stories with details that you wouldn't believe about all sorts of things.  But definitely the biggest and most magical collective fairytale I've ever been part of, was our market experience back in South Australia, in a tiny country town called Macclesfield, with 2 pubs, 2 hardware shops, a Post Office, a school, an RSL, and an IGA.  A town full of eccentrics and fiercely divided people when we first got there.  The Community Association, and the Football Club and the RSL only ever spoke by letter.  With a large contingent of affable and lovable Hells Angels that kept the town clean.  

It also happened to be a land of particular cultural significance to the indigenous caretakers of the land.  A special place of meeting and ceremony and trade.

There's all sorts of stories from our time there, but by far the most impressive is the market we started.  Or helped to co-create.  When it was still in its planning stages, I was asking other market overseers how to do it, and to a fault, they all warned me about the shifty nature of the stall holder, and how to watch them.  My answer and Currawongs was to treat our stallholders and everybody else like absolute gold, and thank them for their time with us.  Who would have known that such an approach would have turned out to be so infectious, and to spread to every single person that came to our market?  I called it the 'Nice Revolution'.  And it was all not too far after 9/11 in the following frosty climate, when we had our very own summer or summers of love.  

I wrote about it a while ago, and it never made it to a post for some reason or another, but I've pulled it out and decided to give it it's moment.  This is just the start of some of the learnings from this market I'd like to share with you.  The rest will come when they will.


The most amazing, the most profound gift you can give to yourself, your children, your community,  your passions, your planet and your universe…………is to be yourself.
So many philosophies and wisdoms through the ages have pointed at this, in various and complex ways, but ultimately, the very best thing I believe a person can do with their lives, is to find their ‘thing’….and do it.  Whatever what that may be, and no matter what it entails, if it’s the thing that you love more than anything, that you can do for hours, days, weeks or years without tiring or losing interest, then that’s probably it.  Regardless of what the neighbours may think and your family and partner and mum and dad and kids and group of whatever sort………. be it.  Irrespective of whether the world and society considers it ‘meaningful’ or not.  Incidental to all the details you think get in the way, even in spite of making a fool of yourself, jump off the bridge into abandonment, trust, faith and love in you.  No matter how many flaws you think you have, they’re perfect.  They are you.  And beautiful because of that.  Despite how bad you think you are way deep down…..and that bit that you’re sure NO-ONE would accept.  It’s you.  And without one single bit of it, you wouldn’t be the you you are.  Even the ‘bad’ bits are bits that have taught you invaluable lessons.  Take all the judgement out of it, and you’re absolutely bloody marvellous. 

I’ve met so many people who have convinced themselves that they have to stop doing or not do the thing they love because they’ve got children, want things, own a house, have pets, set themselves a goal, have a belief system, need to pay a debt, I could go on and on.  But through my eyes, they can still find ways to do what they want.  Of course there are things that you just have to do, like looking after sick people or repaying a kindness or bringing up 7 young children in a way that keeps them safe, well fed, authentic and learning, but there’s so many ways you can find spaces to do your thing if you let yourself.  The very best role model we can give our kids is that of an adult, which they will become sooner than everyone thinks, being true to themselves, chasing their passion, and living a full and satisfying life.  Who wants to teach them that having kids means sacrificing all you love and martyring yourself to the cause of childhood? 

And when it gets down to it, who really wants to follow in the steps of their parents, if their steps weren’t really all that great?  And how nice would it be to be able to follow in the steps of your parents and elders who lived inspiring lives, chased rainbows, dreamed dreams, and gave the world the gift of themselves?  And also taught you meaningful survival skills.  Like how to grow, shop for, or trade for food that’s ethical, clean, healthy and locally grown.  How to connect with your passions and the skills that invariably come with them.  And then how to spin a web with other folk doing the same thing so you can swap and trade services, entertainment and goods.  How to question everything, find the bits that work for you, and have the confidence to take only them and let the rest slip back into the stream.  How to realise that every single bit of yourself, even the bits that you or other people may not like…..is perfect.  How to express yourself in a way that suits you.  How to accept and give appreciation and acknowledgement for how things and people really are.  How to trust in finding your own way to do everything.  How to survive no matter what is going on around you.  How to take response-ability for the things that happen in your life. And how to get by with a little help from your friends.  They’re the kind of things that I’ve liked to be shown, and see as a priority for showing my kids and everyone I come across if they want. 

And the magical secret that I know from experience……..is that if everyone just simply did what they really wanted, everything would get done.  All the people who think they have to do something because they’re the only person who will……there’s someone else out there who would LOVE to perform your onerous task.  It’s just a matter of finding them and letting them in. 

And the experience I’m talking about, is 5 years of co-creating an amazing market back in South Australia where Currawong and I just started it off our own backs on the dole, got no funding or sponsorship, didn’t ask anyone to do anything, were ourselves and expected everyone else to be too, and created a nice revolution – where everyone was so nice to each other that it rubbed off, and hundreds of people would come every week and feel invigorated, loving, and supported to be who they were.  Two and a half thousand people came to our opening, and it outdid even our wildest dreams.

No dogma, no rules apart from the stalls being handmade, handgrown, or fair trade.  No hierarchy, no expectations, no shaming, and we all just accepted each other for who we were, and loved each other up. 

We held councils to solve issues and voice our inputs.

And all problems the group had were solved by the group, with us all trying our best to make sure that everyone felt heard. 

There was a stall of gorgeous creatures who’d turn up every Sunday and set up a luscious stall selling nothing………and then sit around looking glamorous, sharing cups of tea, having genteel conversations, playing board games, reading poetry, and inspiring everyone with beauty.  Every sunday was dress up day, and one day their glamourous 50's costumes blended perfectly with the antique cars that rocked up for the 'Hippies, Hotrods and Horsepower' show.

We asked people to pay what they thought it was worth to them for a stall, and often ended up with more than expected.
Our biggest local fan died at the market and was shepherded to the next life with dignity, respect and love.  We even hosted a spontaneous wake for her, as her family and friends turned up to sit with her body in a massage therapists room (our market was in the hall that day), and we hugged them on the way in, all at the same time as the market was humming along outside. 

We had a kombi turning up every week to sit in the market with planted hearts around the machine, showing love and support for refugee’s.  With a beautiful young man and his woman who eventually ended up marrying there, who would sit with his hearts, and cry with the pain of humanity.

When the local Anglican church thought we'd be stepping on their toes when they did their traditional dragging of the cross around the oval for Easter, they were so surprised by our sincere co-operation and offer to move the market as they had historical precedence, that they went off to have a chat about it, and came back to ask if they could come and have a stall and serve hot cross buns and cuppas, and have fun activities for the kids.  We asked them if they wanted to come back every week.  And they reckoned it was the best Easter they'd ever had.

There was a guy who turned up one day, Riddum, and when he turned up, he brought the rhythm with him.  He cut holes in washing machine innards to turn them into fire drums, and he was very unique.  Sometimes in the middle of packing his van, or cutting a drum, or having a conversation, he'd just stop for a while.  Freeze in action.  And none of us ever hassled him, or asked him about it, or gave him a hard time, we just accepted it as part of him.  He brought amazing instruments and drums and concepts to our market every sunday, and gave us the gift of himself.

We hosted a Grandmother Drum that had been all round the world with it’s attendant priestesses.  And locals, marketeers, devotees and spiritual folk from all the world surrounded it with candles and drummed with dignity.  There was a stalwart catholic of the community association, who was a very stern woman, and on watching the drumming and 'new age knicker dance', and partaking solemly in the drumming herself, commented to me as she walked away, "Well I wish I was that uninhibited, but at least they're having a good time...."

We had multinationally wondrous performers coming to sing and dance and perform because they were so inspired by the love.

We had indigenous elders welcome us to the land. And the morning before they did, I had a dream that the two Aunties performing the welcome were on the stage with me, and I was crying, because hundreds and hundreds of people were pouring onto the oval where the market took place.  In vans and busses and cars and on motorbikes and push bikes and on foot and in groups.  And when the actual day came, and the Aunties were there, and I told them about my dream, they smiled and said the ancestors were coming back.

We started a branch of the Greens in a tiny South Australian town, and in the middle of Alexander Downers blue ribbon seat.

We had market relationships and babies, and there was even a couple who told me one Sunday that they’d given up going to church, because coming to the market felt a lot more like church than where they’d been going.

We had a beautiful fairy wedding.

There was a young fella at school who was having a rough time, with a lot of questions that the adults around him wouldn't answer, and he fell in love with us as much as we did with him.  He sold wooden toys that his grandfather made, and after a while, stopped selling stuff.  He was going to have to leave, cause it was costing him more than he was making, so we made a deal with him to help us clean up afterwards in return for a stall, and we all took him under our wings and talked to him as a person about all the things he was curious about.  Staying behind to help involved lots of authentic contact and conversations.

We had a couple with their in-laws turn up for a picnic in the middle of our big circle of a market, and eventuate to yelling at each other, and fighting and pointing fingers, and then they resolved it and ended up hugging each other, and only then did the circling marketeers come in to thank them for trusting us with their intense life experience and hug them. 

Everything that needed to be done got done.  We even had people stepping forward with joy to do the dreary beaureacratic work.  And it all happened organically, spontaneously, voluntarily, and with as little control and judgement as we could collectively manage. 

We inspired a whole bunch of people to stop shaving their armpits and bits, and stop using soap, cause me and Currawong have dead sexy pheromones, and we’d all turn up to market in the morning and sniff each others armpits as we told stories about the week, compared notes, and had lots of hugs.  And the whole experience inspired me to spin and crochet a complete fantasy world....

We commandeered the towns traditional Strawberry Fete, and organised the military vehicle display including a Howitzer, which was next to the Green’s stall, which was next to the trash and treasure stalls, which was next to the huge strawberries and cream tent (with the grumpiest woman in the world), which was next to the strawberry jelly wrestling (which was a fundraiser we dreamed up for the local Country Fire Service, which was next to the organic vegie stalls, which was next to the huge feral blockaders encampment that housed cushions and rugs, chai and joints, and colourful alternative folk, which was next to our artisan stalls, which was next to the military vehicles….(of which our ex-army bus was part of the display in a ‘swords to plowshares’ kinda way)  And it was the most successful strawberry fete they’d ever experienced, totally harmonious and loving, and even the military display dudes and the Greens party reps got on like a house on fire (in the end). 

We’d stay around after the market just to party and talk to each other for hours and hours after it ended, and on rainy days when we were in the hall, we’d break out the roller skates and have a roller derby disco while we cleaned and partied.  And during summer we'd head down 40km to Aldinga beach, which is not a nude beach, and all get nude and swim and drum and bliss out.

We were the beginning for a huge amount of small businesses, some of which went on to be quite profound. 

We had all the State politicians, and even some federal ones turn up to check it out and see what all the buzz was about.  Because we started it totally off our own bat, in the middle of one of Adelaides most conservative areas – the seat of Alexander Downer – and in the middle of one of the longest reigns of a conservative face of politics in Australia in modern history.  And when John Howard got in again against all expectations, we hosted a public wake for Australian society, and held each other and cried, and then tried to collectively make sense of it and heal.

We had a real revolutionary and his wonderful family serve coffee and gorgeous food for a long time, and when we left, one of their sons asked Currawong what he could give him.  Currawong suggested  to give something from his heart, and he taught himself a rare manoeuvre in Shaolin Rope Dart (we think!), and performed it for Currawong.

We took a mobile petition to Canberra, in the form of signatures and messages for peace written on our beat up old Ford when the war broke out in Iraq.  With over 600 signatures, and a donation of money started up by an old lady who tipped her purse on the roof in the middle of the market.

We used to joke that there was an obstacle course for people to buy the things we were selling, as we were all far more interested in the delicate art of hanging out, than in making money. 

We were once described as a mini Womad every sunday by Postcards, and there was always dancing.

We learnt more about the world and each other every single Sunday.

We held a drumming circle that attracted some of the most incredible musical artists I’ve ever seen and heard.  One of the most memorable was a blind flute player who sung like an angel singing the Koran.......

We helped start up The Fringe in the small town that hosted our market, and had artworks displayed all over, one of which was a 20ft sculpture of a black woman on a cross. 

We hosted a Freedom Festival. 

We inspired hundreds of people to do what they loved and be who they were.  Fringe dwellers from all over the world turned up and felt instantly at home.  Some of the most gorgeous, eccentric, creative, artistic and revolutionary people I've ever known, and who I still hold dear, were my sunday companions and a community of the heart.  We even had a Talent Quest.

It taught me a powerful lot about the beauty of just being, following passion, and trusting that everything would work out.  It also gave me a perfect example of chaos leading to harmony.  And how there is a perfect order in everything if you’ll just let it be and not judge or try to change and control it. 

It was one of the hugest, most intricate, instructive, and miraculous collective creations I’ve ever been a part of.  And helped me realise how easy and simple true revolution could be.  In just treating everyone with love and respect, a whole entity was born.  And died, as all things do, but before it died it went to seed and bore the kernel of our shared experiences far and wide. 

And to all those who remember it, I've never stopped dreaming about how to turn what we all experienced together into a daily reality, and have never given up on those gorgeous community dreams we shared!  I think we're finally forming that religion that we were always going on about too.....

No matter how unrealistic, dreamy, flaky, or insignificant you may think your true desires are, please follow them, love them, play with them and let them out to play with us, because one thing I do know, is that if you do, the world will be a happier place.

Peace out