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, April 28, 2013

Inspiration

I just want to pay homage to a movement that's had a huge impact on me in my adult life.

Now I don't know about you, but until I was about 28, whenever I thought of anarchy, I thought of what would happen if there were no rules - ANARCHY! - and spotty pubescent boys spraying anarchy signs on walls and scribbling them on pencil cases.  And 'The Young Ones'.  And then I met the love of my life who happened to be an anarchist punk rocker, and he started to alter my perceptions.  

And then when I was 30 I read this.  And I would have to say it changed my life.  I read it early in the morning after a blissfull market experience, crying my eyes out as I suddenly felt less alone as a  human.  I started to see Anarchism as a discussion of human sovereignty.  And autonomy.  And it opened a whole heap of discussions about who I really was, underneath all the layers of enculturation I'd endured throughout my early life.  I went on to read a book that CrimethInc. published called 'Days of Love, Nights of War', and that equally rocked my socks.  Insight after realisation after altered perspective grumbled and murmured in my earth.    Of course, as with everything, I took the bits I liked and left the rest, but there was this one bit......

Currawong read it a few times from a soapbox at the market we helped to birth in Macclesfield, South Australia.  We read it to anyone that would sit still long enough to listen.  It's the introduction to the book, before the disclaimer where it claims no rights at all, and encourages folk to reproduce and transmit it in any way possible, especially and best if done at the unsuspecting expense of a corporation.

And it goes like this...........

-------------------



Think about your direct
bodily experience of life.
No one can lie to you about that.

How many hours a day do you spend in front of a television screen?  
A computer screen?  Behind an automobile windscreen? 
All three screens combined?

What are you being screened from?

How much of your life comes at you through a screen, vicariously?  
(Is watching things as exciting as doing things?  Do you have enough time 
to do all the things that you want to?  Do you have enough energy to?)

And how many hours a day do you sleep?  How are you affected by
standardised time, designed solely to synchronize your movements with
those of millions of other people?  How long do you ever go without
knowing what time it is?  Who or what controls your minutes and hours?

The minutes and hours that
add up to your life

Can you put a value on a beautiful day, when the birds are singing
and people are walking around together?  How many dollars an hour
does it take to pay you to stay inside and sell things or file papers?  
What will you get later that could make up for this day of your life?

How are you affected by being in crowds, by being surrounded by 
anonymous masses?  Do you find yourself blocking your emotional 
responses to other human beings?

And who prepares your meals? Do you ever eat by yourself? Do
you ever eat standing up? How much do you know about what you
eat and where it comes from?  How much do you trust it?

What are we deprived of by labour-saving devices?  By thought saving devices?  
How are you affected by the requirements of efficiency, which place value on the 
product rather than the process, on the future rather than the present, the present 
moment that is getting shorter and shorter as we speed faster and faster into the future?
What are we speeding towards?

Are we saving time?  Saving it up for what?

How are you affected by being moved around in prescribed paths, 
in elevators, buses, subways, escalators, on highways and sidewalks?  
By moving, working, and living in two- and three- dimensional grids?  
How are you affected by being organised, immobilised, and scheduled.......
instead of wandering, roaming freely and spontaneously?  Scavenging?  Seeing?

How much freedom of movement do you have - freedom to
move through space, to move as far as you want, in new and 
unexplored directions?

And how are you affected by waiting?  Waiting in line, 
waiting in traffic, waiting to eat, waiting for the bus, waiting for 
the bathroom - learning to punish and ignore your spontaneous urges?

How are you affected by
holding back your desires?

By sexual repression, by the delay or denial of pleasure, starting 
in childhood, along with the suppression of everything in you that 
is spontaneous, everything that evidences your wild nature, your 
membership in the animal kingdom?

Is pleasure dangerous?
Could danger be joyous?

Do you ever need to see the sky?  (Can you see stars in it any
 more?) Do you ever need to see water, leaves, foliage, animals?  
Glinting, glimmering, moving?

Is that why you have a pet, an aquarium, houseplants?  
Or are television and video your glinting, glimmering, moving?

How much of your life comes at you
through a screen, vicariously?

Do videotapes of yourself and your friends fascinate you, 
as if you are somehow more real in image than in life?

If your life was made into a movie, would it be worth watching?
And how do you feel in situations of enforced passivity?  How are
you affected by a non-stop assault of symbolic communication - 
audio, visual, print, billboard, computer, video, radio, robotic 
voices - as you wander through the forest of signs?  What are
they urging upon you?

Do you ever need solitude, quiet, contemplation?  Do you remember
it?  Thinking on your own, rather than reacting to stimuli?  Is it 
hard to look away? 

Is looking away the very thing that is
not permitted?

Where can you go to find silence and solitude?  Not white noise, but
pure silence?  Not loneliness, but gentle solitude?  
How often have you stopped to ask yourself questions like these?
Do you find yourself committing acts of symbolic violence?
Do you ever feel lonely in a way that words cannot even express?

Do you ever feel ready to
LOSE CONTROL?

--------------

Quite stunning isn't it.  And it had quite an impact on everyone we read it to.  And a foundational role in our enthusiastic mind explorations into Human Animal Wildlife Sanctuaries, and being Flowmads, and Intentional Mobile Communities, and Self Taught Guilds, and just about everything.  And into getting tremendously active in environmentalism.  

And it's interesting to note that the person of the year last year for Time magazine was the anonymous protester.  Of whom I've known quite a few.  And that hooks in with reading an article a while back, where a reporter was trying to interview the modern protest movement, and realised he couldn't.    There was no hierarchy or bureaucracy or ambassador to contact. There's no big umbrella representation, for a whole bunch of anarchistic cells, brought together by mutual respect and passion, and into respecting everyone for the sovereign independent human that they are.  

There are huge changes happening in the world, and we all collectively take our roles in them, but the role of the protester or activist or ecowarrior is definitely one on the frontline in the war that's being fought for our souls and the future of the planet.  And many of them have taken wisdoms from anarchist texts or people like I've mentioned above, in their search for a more authentic life and world.  

The basics that I gleaned from reading anarchist theory, come about the closest I can think of, to opening up the creation of alternative realities suggested by the principles of chaos theory and quantum physics.  Things happening and people connecting through the laws of attraction and repulsion and time being a construct, and spontaneous urges becoming conscious creations, and instead of seeing  anarchy as a scary absence of all rules.....it can instead be seen as a reflection of conscious harmony.  Of deeper rules and connections of which we're only barely conscious, that operate on a continuum of balance.  

Maybe by being less controlling of all of our domains, we could allow more spontaneous freedom and acceptance and respect for all the myriads of ways that balance can form.  

But this is just a short post to say thank you anarchy, and thank you in particular CrimethInc., for having such a tremendously inspirational impact on my life.  

Thank you.




Thursday, April 25, 2013

Occupying Bamboo

Now how's this for occupying my blog.

I was sitting outside, thinking I should put some photos of our day up on Facebook, and then thought 'no.......I'm gonna put it on my blog instead!'  At least I can put in depth bits in amongst it, and it's going down on a lovely blog book record.  

Today was a very productive day.  We were going to finish the bamboo fence on the verandah, and we got distracted by bringing the washing machine inside, and creating a bamboo shelf for wool storage and recycling.  There's no rubbish collection services around here, and we've been doing all sorts of lateral thinking to get rid of our rubbish.  So we've been pondering permanent solutions for all of it.  For a start, we've got a huge plastic drum that we can compost our compostable nappies in.  *blush of shame* We've been binning our compostable nappies guiltily, but justifying to ourselves that it would at least compost in land fill, and excusing ourselves with our travelling lifestyles and the difficulty of composting them.  And between Paul and us have finally come up with a solution.  To slowly compost them in a closed container with added food and straw, and then bury them around the bottom of plants, thereby recycling and reconnecting the cycle of life and eating and waste.  Our composting toilet is coping beautifully with all of us too.  

And we also decided that we needed a big shelving system to do our general recycling, and that it had to be custom designed to go over our big toolbox, so we turned to our new friend.....Bamboo.  I'm just loving what's going on here.  Cause there's a shite load of Bamboo (it deserves the capital) growing here, and it grows so quick that it needs to be harvested regularly, and in order to open up spaces to garden and play, we need to clear it, and when we clear it we can use it to build the stuff we want to fill the newly cleared spaces with!!

We're in an awed kind of honeymoon phase with Bamboo at the moment, and I suspect it may not wear off.  So we decided to finally take charge of our recycling and wastes, and better manage the two rooms that we hadn't quite gotten to in our time here yet.

Here's Currawong starting off the concept, and working with the Bamboo at hand and the particular twist it has, to make it the most structurally sound.  And where he's working, with the blue splash on the wall, is where our new laundry is, with a shelf for all the tools and stuff that suits living in a laundry.


The really big advantage of working like this around the house, is that I get to look at a gorgeous Currawong in various states of dress, and here he's very handsomely displaying his builders crack.  Don't they all have them??


With one shelf up, and another one on the way, Balthazar helps Currawong, who's managed to make a costume change in between cutting down bamboo, cooking lunch, and answering a million childlike demands.


Finishing off the last details......there's always the last little bits that need a bit of final touching.  We're working with cable ties at the moment, but I'm seriously looking into making rope out of wool.  To tie all our creations together, combined with cutting notches out so they dovetail together.  


And here's a very proud Currawong standing next to an awesomely well done job (that I forced him to pose for).  We're starting to get a bit excited.  About all the furniture and shelving we can make to fit spaces, and details of how to do it, and I'm still stewing on an idea for the kitchen......


You'll have to wait for a photo of how good it looks stacked.  There's something so fulfilling about making something from our own hands, with our own labour and skills, and that it's also caring for the land at the same time.  

I think we've been bitten by the Bamboo Bug!  I can just see it now, Bamboo chairs, Bamboo beds, Bamboo everything!!!



Monday, April 22, 2013

Living at the Big Bamboo

There's so much going on in my life right now.  Just when I thought my birthing toolkit was pretty full, I'm in the process of experiencing an Ectopic Pregnancy and chemical miscarriage.  It's kinda like the shortest pregnancy and longest labour I've ever been through, with pains and cramps in my belly like the first stages of birthing, but pains that never stop.  Been nearly three weeks now, and there's still a way to go, but I'm not writing about that now.  I'm still too in the middle of it to do it justice.  

I realised a little while ago, that when this whole bullying thing came about, it kind of side swiped my whole blogging vision, and ramble, and I got caught up for a while in dealing with it, answering it, learning from it, overcoming it.........  And forgot for a minute that I started this blog to be who I am, and share my life as much as I feel comfortable, because I know it's a life not often lived by the majority of westerners.  For all those people out there who have a very different life inside them to the one they're living, so they know that there are fairytales and wildwoods out there somewhere still, and if they ever find themselves at a time when they're ready to look............there's all sorts of realities to be found!

So fuck that, I'm back.  

I also noticed recently that I've kind of shortened my blog posts, and moved over to facebook.  Where I felt safer and more nestled in like minded souls.   But then I realised that there's a whole bunch of other folk, who may have been following my blog for years, and who don't do the facebook thing, and isn't that rather a shame?  And in the overall wash, I have to acknowledge that the haters have brought a lot to my life, not least feeling like I was part of a really groovy group of people who have answered them in a rather stylish way.  


And that my friends, is the last time I'm going to mention them.  I'm coming back to occupy my blog again, and tell you all the ramble instead of trying to squash them into Facebook statuses!  I'm also having very serious thoughts about creating a web page, where my blog can link in, but there's a home for all the other sorts of stuff I'm into.  Maybe even a page with 'Ask Hellena and/or Currawong', so folk can respectfully ask us any question they like.  And a links page, to all the other amazing people I know and incredible things happening in the world.  A good news page.  And when I get around to them, a page for all the ebooks I want to write.  About how to be a flowmad and travel with kids.  About what I've learnt from birth.  About our market experience.  

But for now I'm going to tell you about where I live.


--------------------------------------


I live in heaven.  We're up in the cliffs of a sub tropical valley, 20 odd kilometers out of Nimbin, on one of the hundreds of communities sprinkled throughout the hills.  In the lap of the caldera of a massive volcano that was one of the monster volcanoes that shaped the land mass of this continent.  This whole area is hot and moist and FERTILE!  Everything is fertile.  Plants and grasses grow before your eyes, and ticks and leeches and all sorts of blood sucking creatures abound.  Where we live is called the Rainbow Region, and that's true in many ways.  Not least, being an area where a lot of queer and rainbow folk gather.  Nimbin for us is the soul of the region, where the great social experiment of living in community has been taking place in as fertile a manner as the environment.  

In Nimbin you'll see shops that you wont see anywhere else in the whole world, and not one single shop that you normally see in every town (as in a corporate owned one).  And folk in differing states of dealing with reality are equally cared for.  It's the only place I've been in our country where everyone is treated equally, and the indigenous folk are honoured as the caretakers of this land, regardless of the physical state they're in.  There's a fella who's calling is to paint around the potholes in the road, as a metaphysical quest, to illuminate the potholes in life, so that people can choose whether they want to go around them or not.  All the business's in town are owned by locals, and proudly kept that way.  There's a free pool and the most awesome skate park in the country.  There's a man who spends his days picking up cigarette butts and rubbish voluntarily, as a self worked out exchange with the government for the money they give him.  A lot of overseas tourists seriously think the whole town is a Theme Park, and we all dress up weird just for them, and then go home and get normal.  There's another man who raffles enough money to pay his rent every week.  There are beautiful Crones who know they are Crones, who run a basket making workshop in town every week.  There are all sorts of people working out all sorts of ways to create community, and trade, and relationships.  

And then in the hills around Nimbin are hundreds of intentional communities.  Some small, some huge, some communities, some multiple occupancies, some with requirements, all of them an expression of the macrocosm in the microcosm, and dealing with internal problems, just like the rest of us.  We happen to live on one of the oldest communities in the area, and it's styled as a multiple occupancy, which means that folks here can get bank loans to buy their houses, and they are individual houses on a big community, rather than community houses that everybody owns.  Closer to Nimbin the oldest community in the region is more of a traditional community, where you pay x amount of dollars to buy a share, and then hunt for a place to build your unique creation to live in, or live in someone elses.  Which is more of the style of communities that we've lived on in the past. 

But I gotta say, these multiple occupancies are a dream.  And there always seems to be a place here to rent.  On over 800 acres, and with 115 lots, we haven't even got close to meeting all the people and seeing all the places, and we've been living here for over a year and a half.   Most folk are on solar power, and are doing what they can towards living sustainably.  And we can drive for kilometres to visit friends and still be on the same community.  

We first moved onto this community in the way I related here and here, and around the beginning of this year we moved into our present home, that we can stay in as long as we like, and finally put our words into action.  Paul, who I called Tom Bombadill in this post when I was talking about moving in, is a total dude and groover.  And has been living on this community for a long time, as he has a few other places around to cycle through.  And I guess you'd have to call him a bit of a hoarder.  We're all consciously working together on keeping really open and honest communication, so that we don't bump into any sore bits, and we all kind of needed each other, so it's working really well.

And like I was telling you before we moved in, I was a bit reluctant about the work.  It was and is  a lot.  We all worked really hard to turn this......


Into this.....


In a day.  

It was actually the hardest I've worked in a long time.  Cause we had to clean the house we were living in, then move Paul's stuff out and clean up there (he was overseas at the time), set up a barricade on the verandah, and then make it liveable all in a very short time.  While it was pouring with rain and we all got flooded in.  Our welcome to our new home was to experience being flooded in on solar power.  But fortunately for everyone, this day of incredible hard work, was also the day that our Fairy Goddess Mother (or Jen as we call her, or 'Shen' as Merlin calls her) entered our lives.  She'd heard about us mob living down the road, and through extremely kind trade winds, heard we were moving and decided to help us.  Her eyes went a bit wide when she saw the enormity of the task we were taking on, but bless her heart, she stayed till the end, and till she knew the barricades would keep the babies safe, and we all had places to eat and sleep for the night. 

We also had the beautiful Snake, the resident black sheep and outcaste, mopping our floors.  He was the person we were most warned about when we moved onto our community, and taught the kids the most about judgement on the way.  We got to know him better just before our move, and all learnt a lot about how different we experienced him, to how other people described him to us.  It's been kinda funny how the fringe dwellers we've connected with in this little microcosm, have been so completely full of living community spirit.  And a beautiful friend who's fast become family looked after our little babies (all 5 of them!) for a day while we cleaned.

So that first night when we finally got to sleep in our new home, we were feeling pretty blessed to have been helped by two unexpected people who made it far easier than it could have been, and a dear friend who helps in general.  Jen continued to come over nearly every day for a while, and totally mentored us through our first experience of living off the grid.  She gave us advice about how to use solar power, how to keep our food fridged, ideas for gardening up here ( which is a totally different environment to which we've been used to ), and just general good sense from a person who's sworn off plastic, only buys secondhand, and is nearly completely self sufficient on her two and a half acre lot.  

Now please keep in mind that the following pictures have been taken in the few minutes between having everyone work hard to clean the whole house........and our seven delightful little dumplings wreaking extreme mess and havoc and foodscraps everywhere, so you'd never know it had been cleaned.  One of these days I'll post photos of how our home REALLY looks for the majority of the time.  You have no idea how much mess seven lively critters can create......  But then again, some of you do!

But over these months we've been cleaning up, and moving stuff around, and realising that even though folk might think we're hippies or unschoolers or homebirthers or anything like that........we're actually Wombles.  I call this place our Hippy Womble Mansion.  We've been making do from what other people throw away or leave behind for a very long time now, and it's an art.  We have our special things, and stories and furnishings that we've carted around with us for years, but when it comes to the big stuff, we make do with what's around us.  And here, there is a lot of stuff to make do with.  Quite an elegant amount in fact!

Believe it or not, a huge wooden table with chairs was left, that happens to fit our whole family and even some guests.



  

And enough furniture to put together a kitchen with an island bench.  Always wanted an island bench.  At the moment we're living with a tap and hot water outside, and we bring water in a container inside, and drain the sinks into buckets underneath.  Which can be a bit miserable in the rain.  As soon as we've finished building a verandah, the next project is a bamboo kitchen, with enough shelving and room for everything, and a tap with running water into the kitchen, draining out into the rest of the plumbing.  


We had all sorts of crazy things as barricades on the verandahs, but as I write Currawong is cutting down bamboo to finish off the beautiful fence that he's building.  One of the first things I did was put up my big spiderweb.




And we very quickly made a beautiful cosy nest of a bedroom, for us and the four little boy pack that's at the end of our tribe.  None of them can be tempted away from our bed, so our bed has just had to grow.  Some people have flying pigs or ducks going up their walls?  Well we have flying handspun and created baby jackets.  One out of aplacca, one out of rabbit, and one out of goat.  And we have our king sized bed in the middle of two singles, where the four little boys sleep when they're not pushing us apart from their spot in the middle of our bed.  It's amazing, that no matter how close I think they are right next to our bed, it's still not quite close enough for them, and every morning we wake up to a baby scrum, as they all try to get in the middle.  





And I was a bit impressed with myself when I came up with the idea of mozzie proofing the whole room, by hanging mozzie nets over the doorways and big glassless window in our room.  Unfortunately it means the bats don't come in flying at night anymore, but sleeping mosquito free is worth it.



And we have this awesome, huge, and generously be-muralled living area.  With you guessed it, a lounge big enough to fit us all, and room for all of our pursuits.






I've been experimenting with the basket cane that grows here, and made a hoop with wrapped raw fleece, and a silk wrapped circle, and then a yarn wrapped person from all the leaves.


My felted people have a table with a view, and somewhere comfortable to sit and observe our goings on.


And we've got an awesome muralled bathroom, with a bath, and open windows (that we're going to have to come up with something to cover before winter) that are so luxurious to sit by in a hot bath, while wind whispers over wet skin.


There's crocheted artworks on the walls wherever they can fit between murals and doorways and windows, of which there are a lot.



And another big verandah bit near the kids rooms, with a seat at the end where I can sit and see a valley on one side, and cliffs on the other.





 A little side entrance where we did some paving, and you can see our composting toilet in the background under the curved tin roof.



And there's a gorgeous grassy little hill where the photo above was taken from, where the kids love to play.


And on beautiful misty mornings, in fact on any morning at all, I look around me at all the abundant green, and know that we're in heaven.



I even had a crack at making a bamboo garden surround, using palm leaves as decoration like I was making a huge basket, but it ended up not being in a great space, and being better as a learning experience rather than a permanent fixture.  But it's given me ideas for how I can better make them elsewhere.....


But the most exciting thing we've been getting into is building a bamboo fence for the verandah.  Bamboo has won our everlasting respect for being an easy to use, and abundantly renewable resource!  With the amount growing here, we have enough building materials to make anything you could name.  And here is the start of our bamboo fence, that we're making with bamboo cut down with a hand saw, and then held together with cable ties and pea vine wrapped over the top to add extra strength.  As the pea vine dries, it shrinks and tightens, so it's a beautiful, practical, and strong fastener.  Here's the beginning of the fence that Currawong is still working on all these hours and days later....





I'll show you photos of the finished verandah when it's done.  So our home is beautiful and slowly getting sorted, and the gardens have abundant room for growing all our veggies, the fruit already growing and what we're planning, as well as chooks and maybe even goats and a pony down the track.  Not to mention a huge kids/adults playground, with cubby and tree houses, swings, sea saws, nets, slippery dips, sand pits....got a plan for a big crocheted bell jar swing that an adult can sit crosslegged in, and trampolines, and fenced gardens and crocheted garden cosies..............

But what's really sweeping us off our feet is the community we're experiencing here.  It's all we ever dreamed of and more, and I'm so glad that we never gave up!  Our beautiful friend Emma has taken our kids (lots of the young ones!) regularly, loves them to bits and vice versa, lends us her car if we ever need it, and during this Ectopic Pregnancy I'm going through, has babysat our whole brood while I've been at the hospital with Currawong.  She also has amazing parties.  And Jen, our Fairy Goddess Mother ( and she's got the outfit, and the wings, and the cape, and the hat and wand to prove it!), has fast become one of our family.  It seems that her and her older daughter and son, had 9 person spaces in their hearts, that were just waiting for us to come along and fill them.  Every time I start talking about her I want to gush, because she's brought so much wealth to our lives. But I'll tell you more about her later.

There's Paul and Snake who are ever ready to be helpful and attentive, and Yollana who I mentioned when she came and played in Ermintrudes Tree Cosy, and a whole heap of other people who we've met along the way that also live here.  There's also Gary who has very special relationships with animals, and happens to breed pet rats, which has been on Lilly's wish list for years now.  When we first went to visit him, he had a wallaby baby in his lap, and he explained that the babes mother was a wallaby that he'd rescued when young, and she'd grown, and since had a few babies, and always brought them to him to babysit, while she had a bit of time off.  We all traipsed out to the backyard where she told him she wanted more time ( I was there!), and hopped off, leaving us with her baby.    We all got a chance to sit with a baby wallaby curled up calmly in our laps till she came back again.  We also met the butcher birds who sit on his shoulder, and heard about the love story between his adult rats.  It appears that Ratsack, his big male rat, had another girlfriend before Minnie, the mother of his children.  And his first girlfriend was a lot bigger than him, and treated him mean, and had her evil way with him.  But she got out one day, and ate rat poison which was out for the pest rats (and has since never been in the house again), and died.  When Minnie came into his life, he was delighted that she was nice to him, and was all affectionate and gentlemanly with her.  And while Gary was telling us this story, the two rats being spoken about were literally cheek to cheek in their cage watching the sunset.    Gotta love a rat love story.  Gary has generously gifted Lilly and Spiral-Moon with 4 rats and a cage, and brings Ratsack over for play dates.  And when we went over to pick the first two, one of them snuggled under Lillys ear, and let her know quite clearly she was picked.  The whole experience has been gorgeous.  And connected.



And Jen has taken us all to heart in a way that's helped us to realise that the dream we had of community relationships has always been possible......we just did it with the wrong people!  In all our years of being parents, we've never really had anyone helping us much, or looking after our children.  My mother would only ever take one at a time, unless it was an emergency or special occasion.  And we just didn't have the kind of friendships with folk that ended up in them spending time away from us often.  A beautiful couple we knew took them all for one night and it was just wierd.  We never had meals given to us, or shopping done, or any of the things that folks with extended families take for granted.  We just got used to doing it on our own.  And not only has Emma taken large mobs of our kids to her place for plays to help out, but Jen has stepped into our lives in a deep way, and loves to spend time with all of our kids.  She asks us if she can borrow them because she loves their company, and they're helpful.  We've all had a sleepover at her house, and different groups of kids sleep over there regularly.  We helped her deal with her empty nest syndrome, and she kinda needed us as much as we needed her.  She gets a bit of vertigo sometimes, and the kids go round and prune her trees and help cut firewood and garden, and clean out the chook shed and pick fruit and nuts.   She's also taught them to bake bread, muffins, cakes and biscuits, make pasta, gnocchi, dumplings and chapati, make yoghurt and cheese, and has them kneading dough like experts.  Because they all love her so much, and their friendship is so easy, they clean the house and wash up afterwards, and help with all sorts of jobs in-between sitting round watching her big screen telly and getting spoilt.  She sits up late at night with us sometimes, and joins in the conversations we nearly always have after they're all asleep, about all our little darlings, and what their special needs and sensitivities are.  She's got a big daughter and son who have become beautiful big sibling role models for our kids, (which they've been missing in Jess) and we all fit together like we were made that way.  And she very seriously offered, and we very seriously took her up on being their caretaker if anything should ever happen to Currawong and I. And for the first time ever I can relax on that one.  We've always been mildly horrified about what would happen to our children should that ever happen, and they went to either of our families.  I know that if that eventuates and Jen is around, she'll keep them all together, and give them about as close to the way we want them raised as you could get.  And since Jen came into our lives, we've had quite a bit of time with only a few kids, and we can even go shopping without the ever adventurous toddlers!  It's quite a revelation.



And just like I've realised that I'm not really a hippy, unschooling, home birthing stereotype, but really a Womble, I've also realised that I could throw away all learning philosophies and reduce it all to one very important foundation........that of Authentic Relationships.  I've been thinking about it a lot in light of our newfound abundant friendships, and trying to work out where it all started for me, and I think it was when my first daughter Jess was about one year old and I'd started her in day care for the first time.  I did all the things I was meant to do with Jess, and going to a childcare centre was part of it.  And she hated it so much, that one day on the street when she saw one of the childcare workers out of work, she burst into tears.  At that moment I decided I had to find something else, and checked out family day care.  As a lesbian at the time, I also knew that being able to deal with men and having healthy male role models was almost more important to her than other kids, and after hearing about a day care dad called Robert, I decided to go and meet him.  We got along instantly, and I explained that I was very bonded to my daughter, and if she was going to be cared for by him, we would have to become family.  He was a bit surprised, but took me very seriously, and we went on to become the best of mates.  Jess called him dad, and his home was her other home, and his daughter was her best friend, and it was all totally gorgeous.  There was a funny moment one day when I walked in all dressed in black leather, and picked her up and chucked her in the air, and he said 'Oh be gentle with my baby!'  

This was the beginning of my desire to search out authentic relationships for my children.  After this gorgeous experience I did send her off to school, and she did get horribly bullied, and we did try to homeschool, and tried all different schools to try and solve it, and she still suffers damage from those days.  I didn't manage to keep on that path of searching out authentic relationships for her, or rather we did, and she did really connect with a lot of her teachers and friends, but there is so much else going on in a school, that can overwhelm those beautiful relationships.  

And now, from my perspective right here, I can say that I think Authentic Relationships are the key to it all.  It's taken me years to obtain them and care for them and create them and believe that I deserved them, and I guess I'd like to give my kids a bit of a leg up.  I've never wanted them to feel like they have to endure other people, or that other people have to endure them.  When there's enough gorgeous people to connect with in the world, why should any one of us settle for anything less?  I never wanted my kids to feel like I couldn't wait till they were out of my hair, and that people had to be paid to be nice to them.  When I really look at it, I've always sought real connection for myself and my family, and maybe our only flaw has been that we've sometimes looked in the wrong places.  And with the wrong people.  

Because when I see what they can learn and do and think about and ponder and create with a person who genuinely loves them for who they are, and how they remember every detail because it came from someone they love, and how much joy they can bring to people who delight in all their interests and creative expressions............I realise that there's far more fertile learning in these interactions than in any they could glean from a class room of emotionally immature folk being bossed around by somebody paid to be there.  Learning is associative.  And what better way to enhance learning, than to experience it in a safe and loving environment, from someone you really love.  

So we've got our home and are finally working towards our self sufficient dreams, and our close family community, but there's also the broader community here, with nearly 70 other kids who our kids hang out with at different times.  Griffyn and Lilly have two really good friends each that they swap sleepovers with, as well as the broader communities kids that they play with, the kids they know in our Nimbin community, and also a twin family that lives up the coast a bit and who we're trying to see as much as we can.  That beautiful family and the dreams that lay with them are a whole other blog post though.    Spiral-Moon tries hard to get on with other kids, and does in bits and pieces, but when the chips are down, Spiral likes women friends the most.  And they love her.  From the moment she was born, Spiral has had an aptitude for strong and deep friendships with adults.  Mostly girl/women, she's had so many awesome connections that we've lost count.  Spirals favourite experience apart from hanging out with us, is to be off on her own with an older girl or woman, having deep and meaningful conversations and doing make overs on each other, or doing just about anything.....as long as it's deep and real.  Women have gone off with her for an adventure, and come back with awed looks on their faces, saying that they'd remembered what it was like to be a child again.  She adores playing with other kids too, but for the moment, some of Spirals favourite places are in her own private fantasy world, or with an understanding older friend alone.  And our young boys tend to be their very own boy pack, that love to play with others, but are always happy to play together and alone.  

Our kids lives are full of learning and Authentic Relationships and performing practical tasks that aid in survival.  We're even working ourselves up to creating a brood of chickens, and killing and eating the ones that need culling, and using the feathers for pillows and doonas and mattresses.  And now we're watching t.v. they're learning a lot from the documentaries and programs we're watching.  We're only doing the ABC and SBS and National Indigenous Television though.  And funnily enough, after 10 years away from telly, I'm liking a lot of what I'm seeing on my return.  But that's another post again.

This is where we live.  And how we're living at the moment.  And some of the people who we're sharing our lives with in person.  I'm happier than I can ever remember being.  I feel accepted and loved for who I am and for our whole family as a unit.  I'm proud of who I am, and what I'm doing with my life and family.  I feel like I'm actually becoming the one that I was waiting for.  I love my body and it's incredibly sturdy loyalty, and I know that I'm a beautiful woman. I'm so profoundly greatful that we didn't live up to our threats, and never moved onto a community again.  I feel so blessed to have relationships in our lives that are so much better than I ever dreamed of.  And this is just the beginning.  

There are so many other dreams and plans and ideas that we're hatching collectively, and because I have this wonderful thing called a blog that I'm now fully occupying again.......we can all go on this adventure together.  

I'll keep you Posted.






























Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Birth, Sex and Death


I hope I'm not messing with any blogging protocols, but I was reading through my blog to answer comments, and got to my guest post on Janet Frasers blog, and noticed there were no comments to answer.  So I went off and had a read again, and I just love what I wrote.  It really sums up last year for me.  And for what a lot of other people around me were going through too.  And I'm not convinced that you mob went off to have a read of it, cause it was all a bit different.  And I also really want to have it in all it's glory on my blog.  So I'm going to repost it as a post on my blog.  Have a read again even if you did before, maybe you'll get something new out of it.  I know I just did.....




Birth, Sex and Death

From the moment we're born, we want to go back.  Back to the womb.  Back to our source.  Back to that complete and total feeling of oneness.  Back to the experience of being inside someone else's skin, with them everywhere they go, hearing the noises they hear, the temperatures and environments, the foods and drinks, the thoughts and conversations, the fears and intense life events.......on the inside, cocooned in a warm, salty liquid that cushions us from extremes.  The sense of connection with every event, sitting sleepy inside, gently bouncing round, the completeness of your being sparking off the surrounding world.  

The critical experiential time at the beginning of the journey of life, from which we all come, and to which we all wish to return.  Young children and babies remember well the complete melting of two become one.  Or three become one.  And more are possible.  Serious little Spiral-Moon sitting next to me as a three year old, asking me all about how they cut my belly, and where they cut to get Balthazar out.  All the details of the amount of time it took, and how many layers there was between my belly and the world, and how they'd sewn me up again, and how both of us were allright now.  Till her questions had been answered, and she seriously pronounced that if they could cut him out, they could cut her back in, and it was time for her to go back into my belly now....

And just the other week, as we sat around some time during the day, we were talking about the urge to go back to the womb, and even Griff the nerf gun toting 10 year old who loves to watch scary movies, had a kinda coy smile and could recognise that feeling.  And Balthazar has quite sternly told me that he needs to go back to my belly a few times now, since Zarrathustra has been born.  Unfortunately, the desire to go back to the womb can sometimes be associated with a bit of terseness with the newborn baby, that's stolen the role of baby from the recently grown and moved over one.  Which is maybe similar to the terseness we feel as adults, when someone or something is standing in the way of us and something or someone with which we feel connected.  

The main reason we opted for a lotus birth with Spiral-Moon and Balthazar, was something more than the increased blood that the new born has access to with their cord and placenta intact, and the other physical and metaphysical benefits.  It was due more to the realisation that from the moment the egg and sperm meet, the union splits into two, and half becomes the baby, while the other half becomes the placenta.  The placenta and cord sit as twin to even babies that are solitary in the womb.  As provider, protector, pillow, plaything.  And when it was pointed out that many adults miss their placenta friend, that was so quickly whisked way to die alone, and replace it with purses, glasses,  bags, water bottle holders........anything that's a desirable object at the end of a cord........it kinda worked for me.  I've got a water bottle and crocheted holder that I get slightly panicky about going missing.  It comes with me everywhere.

It was one of the most profound experiences of my life.  Being escorted through the sac, the umbilical cord, and the placenta, and how it would have all sat inside me, and around her after Spiral-Moons birth.  Our escort being the amazing Rosey midwife, who'd known when Spiral was going to be born, and had travelled most of the 250km trip in her birthing packed car, before we even called.  And then over the next couple of days, watching the literal balance shifting between a baby who kep her eyes closed longer than any other baby I've had, slowly coming into waking, as the placenta she was attached to slowly died.  And the moment it all detached, she woke up completely to the world, ready to completely engage.

And her birth as my fourth child, was the first time I'd ever met one of my placenta's, or the sac, or the umbilical cord.  They'd been whipped away quickly and the mess all cleaned up, by the time I'd come down from my birthing high, in my two hospital births with Jess and Griff, or my homebirth with Lilly.  I'd always been curious about them.

Funny how we like to quickly clean up after the great events of life.  Cut that cord and get rid of the placenta, wash up all the blood, wash the woman, wash the baby, wash the sheets and wraps and blankets and pillows and cushions that were birthed on.  Clean away all the smells and colours and textural remembers of birth.  And we clean up after sex, the milky substances left behind on sheets, and on our thighs, and the sweat and sex smell that permeates our skin, and then get nicely deodorised and sanitised before hitting the public again.  And we clean up after death, with the blood and bodily functions that have spilled and left the body just like the spirit, the breath, and the vitality of life have left.

Just like we try to clean up our emotions, and our needs, and our feelings, and our wants, and our complete and total inner desire to feel that oneness again.  The oneness of birth.  The oneness of sex.  The oneness of death.  Our cultural taboos, and yet the very events that shape us.  Connect us.  Remind us of the great oneness that existed before we were born, that exists when we connect with each other inside our skins through sex, and that we go back to when we die.  A reminder of the big cycles that echo constantly around us.  A process we see through the universe, through our seasons, through our life cycles, through our relationships, through our families, through our ideas, through our cultures, through our religions.  A process of pregnancy or seed planting, and then inner growth and building, and then the great pause and extremity of transition, before the birth of a person or thought, and then the vital life of interconnection, and the intense moments of sexual communication, and spiritual realisations, and the equally intense moments of great illness or mindsets, through the cycle to the death of the person or idea or group or period, into the uterine depths of seed planting and pregnancy or rebirth again.  

A theme mirrored in the water that courses our bodies, and the fire of sex or spirituality that connects us, and the planetary bodies that dance their spiral dances, and the breath of conversations that take us on word journeys.......

So a fascination with it persists, even in the face of cultural taboos, and our great and enlightened culture that seems to thrive on separation.  But in an atmosphere of repression of our great connecting life mysteries, birth becomes a fraught event, be it in hospital or home, and fears come clinging to it like young children afraid of the initiation.  Sex becomes a possibly deadly affair that can leave you with fatal or uncomfortable diseases, and manifests instead as blond young women with shaved body hair, bouncing merrily on assorted phalli, making a cacophony of unnatural noises and imprinting unrealistic and shallow messages on wistful hearts.  Or a tool used in hate and revenge.  Or to capture a person and keep them caged.  And death is a trauma, a wailing, a shudder of darkness at our shoulders, threatening to drag us into its eternally dark maw.

All events that we clean up after, and sanitise, and deodorise, and create polite conversations around.  Talk in metaphors and simplicities, about the complexities that we don't know how to express.  Hoping that if we follow the right rules, prescribe to the 'true' belief systems, and engage in the correct spiritual and metaphysical practices, that they will either go away and bother someone else, or wont impinge of our important life, of work and cars and mortgages and hobbies and homes and clothes and holidays and leisure and acquisitions.  

How did we get so far removed from our instinctual, animal, spiritual, eternally cyclic, and deeply symbolic selves?  How have we journeyed so far, that we can stand to see birth as a routine event, and death as an equally routine and regular occurrence on our televisions and media, while being horribly scared and avoiding of them in our real lives?  How can we bear to watch zombie after woman after man after animal being killed on our screens in horrific ways, and in our books and our stories, while we stumble all unknowing into the actual presence of death, stuttering and unsure.  How are we happy to vaguely allude to sex or only talk about it in extremes, and voyeuristically watch or read about other people doing it in spectacular fashions, while we sneak home to bed with our familiar partner, hiding our real feelings, and wishing there was a movie star next to us instead?  How can we be truly alive without the full stop and renewal of death as the accent and boundary that makes it all the sweeter?  And how can we fully embrace birth as the gentle sundering of the oneness, and journey into multiplicity, when it's been packaged and parcelled as a scientific and potentially dangerous event that needs to be dealt with by professionals?

I think it's been a natural process, as natural as a tiny baby growing to a huge human, and as a toddler testing the boundaries of those who care for it, and a horse checking the perimeter of it's paddock, and millions of fine tuned balances within nature, without which life wouldn't exist.  A process of expansion to the limits to find out where the end is, and then a making of sense of all that's in between.

Many many moons ago, when my love Currawong and I were courting, decked out in black leather and velvet, with extreme haircuts, haunting the suburb of Brunswick in Melbourne, as we did our best to resist an irrepressible urge to surrender to each other........we went into a book shop.  Neglected in a box of books was a tome that had a huge impact on me - L. Robert Keck's "Sacred Eyes", in which he compares the evolution of our entire human span......to that of an individual.  When we were young, we were safe in the arms of the earth mother goddess, in tune with her rhythms and flows.  Then we hit adolescence, and pushed away our soft mother, and strode out of her embrace to the war gods and the fathers in the sky, who told us we were sent to domesticate and subdue all around us.  And now we've come to our collective Saturn Return.  Where we bring our mother and father together within ourselves, and without ourselves, and evolve.  It really worked for me.

Cause I feel like our whole civilisation is poised on the point of implosion.  Of collapsing back into the source of ourselves and our interconnection.  Of having reached the outer limits of our explorations into science and religion and all those outer things in trying to work ourselves out, and realising that our connection and foundation is back where we started.  The great cosmic fools journey.  Like a massive solar flare that flung itself out as far as it could go, before sinking back into the sun from which it was born.

We're currently at the extremity of our distance from our earth, from ourselves, and each other.  We've got about as far as we can go without throwing out the balance in a life exhausting way.  We've hit the zenith of total disregard for and fear of the events that shape us.  The path that we collectively struck out on, started in part by Descartes saying "I think therefore I am", and sundering all the other living things on the planet from us humans, turning them into machines that had to be pulled apart to be understood.

The view from here is quite surreal.

In our avoidance of the alchemical mysteries and oxytocic adventures of birth, sex and death, we've strung it about ourselves in unrealistic and gaudy displays like christmas lights, hoping we can wear it as a symbol rather than actually tread the subterranean worlds beyond the world that we all practically, sensibly, and scientifically agree is real.  Sex has become a circus pony that we drag out to social gatherings to slap on the arse and force to perform.  And take home in the dark to subject it to our bestial and repressed desires.  Birth has become a feared nemesis to women, stalking their carefree moments with the threat of immanent pain and a cacophony of need.  Promising a life of duty and unappreciated work to its penitents.  And death has become the diseased corruption of a twisted society spending all its time and money in an effort to defeat it.  We hope to make sense of it by inundating ourselves with it, and have resulted in numbing to it, being afraid of it, and detaching from it even more instead. 

We've suppressed our raw feelings and inner desires to the point that an unexpected outpouring of them, can create horrific events where one of us will walk into a theatre late at night and shoot weapons into an unsuspecting crowd.  We're so unused to the bittersweet pain of loss and grief, that we can do things like take the lives of ourselves and our children.  We're so bruised and maimed and still scarily hopeful about our sexuality, that we do things like force sex on innocent creatures, and children, and unwilling victims.  We're so scared of untidy emotions that we've doped most of the western world on some form of pharmaceutical of another.  We send vast swathes of humanity into combat with each other, prepared to kill other members of our species over a political or religious belief, or a commodity, or an idea.  There are so many victims of so many things that it's becoming more and more difficult to work out who suffers the most anymore.  Everyone has their cross, their secret, their shame, their pain, that they wear on their wrist as a curse.

And in a very real way, our sense of connection, our oneness, and our source is where it's always been.  At our fingertips.  Elements of it sprinkled through every interaction we have. The pregnancy and gestation of a relationship, that goes through the intense transition of hardship or fear, before birthing into a full bloomed rose of tangled and intermingled tendrils of love and hope.  And can also die, and then be reborn with another person in another time and place.  The birth of our babies, in which our sexuality plays an awesomely midwifely role in helping the baby out, through the intense transition and expulsion into life.  Which also holds a death.  The death of the family as it existed before the new babe, the death of the maiden to become the mother, the death of the ego as it learns to surrender to the demands of life.  The life that can be glimpsed from a tight knit sexual connection, that dips into the deeps of hunger and oneness, and leaves a whiff of sexuality, as a lens through which to see events with a deeper understanding.  And the death of our loved ones, that leaves us with an unconscionable urge to be ALIVE!  To drum up the spirits and the sorryness and the fears and the memories, and let them float on the rhythm of the heartbeat of life, and remind ourselves of the things that only life can see, and hear, and feel, and touch.

In the great cycle of our civilisation, we're straining in the throes of transition collectively.  Many of the constructs and political, spiritual and community ideals are crumbling in decay, and we're struggling to birth the love and connection that's whispering to us through the decay.  Great and terrible tides are sweeping our collective conscious, and everyone I know is being affected by them.  Strong and archetypal constellations are lining up in a grand procession in the sky, heralding change, the death of old ways, and healing of old wounds.  The largest peaceful protests that the world has ever seen are happening right now, and we're being blinkered from it.  The war against our natural spaces has just stepped up to a level of global insanity, as mining companies strive to destroy some of the most magical places on our planet.  People all over the world are performing horrendous crimes against innocents and fringe dwellers.  It feels like everything has been magnified.  My capacity to feel joy and love is increased magnificently, while my aptitude to sink into worry, fear and dismay is likewise fuelled.  I can feel like a high soaring prophetess and a low slung layabout within the same day.  Events that I could previously walk by unaffected, can pierce me with pain to my hear that totally stops me.

We've just got to hang in there, and keep focusing on the birth that we're all trying to create, and in feeling this great pain and the seemingly endless array of anti-life around us, must know that we're almost there.  This is as bad as it's going to get.  We've reached the limit of the invisible cord that keeps us connected to life.  And we're rebounding back into love.  Collectively.  All together even.  Back into a world where we can start making sense of ourselves and what we see around us.  Back into a world where the heart and the head and all our other senses are on great speaking terms.  Where we see all the countless reflections around us that mirror our internal cycles, and can feel at home once again.

It's time for us to stop and really look at each other and ourselves.  To tell each other our experiences as they really are, rather than sanitised versions that keep all our real juice and gristle hidden.  To treat each other as if we really were parts of each other, until our combined experiences show us that truth.  To pull apart our life knowings and plumb the depths of our authentic experiences till we can really dance and gaze at the realities of birth, life, sex and death.


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There's a group of Thai monks that meditate on death.  When one of their order dies, they'll go and lay them out in a room, and sit with them as they meditate on the decaying of a human body they loved.  In Mexico they hold a day for the dead, when they celebrate the people who have gone on ahead.  There's certain people who have made their study sex, and the positions, attitudes, and worlds that are accessible through it.  And there's whole cults to passionate love, and what that can mean in our world.  There's also those that study birth, and the implications of it, and what that can teach us about ourselves.  Let's search these taboos, and our learnings about them, and the stories that stretch between them all, to show us parts of ourselves.  Let's tell each other our stories without censoring the bits that we think other people might judge or not like.  Let's help each other to realise how similar we are, by telling our authentic truths.  Let's learn from everything how one we are.

And there's an amazing book by A.A. Attanasio, called 'The Sword and The Dragon', and the basic premise of the story, is that everything in our universe was in the intensely dense and impacted oneness of a black hole, that had been sucking in vast tracts of space for eons.  And at it's zenith, the black hole exploded into the universe that we inhabit now, and as it erupted, angels and demons were flung from the singularity.  The angels try to get back to the oneness through crafting belief systems and cosmic machines that may eventually take them back to the singularity, or the womb.  And the demons are so distraught at being severed from the one, birthed into a cold and dark universe, that they petulantly destroy as much as they can, devastated that they can't get back to the source, and willingly destroying what they can with their tantrums.

Which could easily be a metaphor for us all.  Flung from the singularity and desperate to get back.

We are the ones that we've been waiting for, and the time for us to awake to our connection is now.  We can get back into the womb of oneness through empathy, compassion, love and respect.  Through seeing the mirrors of oneness in all of creation.  Through the peace we create when we accept all the parts of ourselves.  Through the harmony of love, respect, peace and freedom, that we can learn from our families.  Through the melting and surrender that we visit in birthing, great sex, intense life experiences and death.

The time is now.  And you are the microcosm of the macrocosm.  Explore yourself with abandon, and set sail on the sea of connection........