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The Warrior, the Compass and the Fight for Truth

The Warrior, the Compass and the Fight for Truth

A medical system in crisis, and one doctor’s fight to restore the moral compass. We unpack the issues with Paddy Dewan and put an invitation out to the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt…

 

There are archetypal roles in human history, representing and maintaining the “moral compass” aspect of our human collectiveness. 

Shaman, Cleverman, Kung, Elder, Healer,  Judge, Psychologist, Nun, Yogini, Pastor, Rabbi, Journalist, the list of these intended guarding personages goes on. They all share a common fibre; people have looked to them to show us the way, to set the example and uphold safety, truth and care for the good of each other.  One such very admired role is that of Doctor.

The learned person who cares for the vulnerable and ill. Yet according to many in the field, it is becoming frighteningly apparent in many Australian medical establishments, the rose of the medical compass is faltering, no longer pointing North but rather  bending towards closed doors.

Yet there are those who are relentless in their dedication, these warrior types who continue to strive and fight to uphold the ideal, climbing through the trenches onward to navigate treacherous roads for the people left broken hearted and left wanting.

Missiles and words from colleagues are thrown, twitter grenades are launched and the very processes needed to keep the soles on their warrior shoes and continue the roles they have worked so hard for are being stripped away. 

 

People are hurting. This is real.

The hand on heart promise to ‘remember that there is an art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug. I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.” These are the words formed so long ago adopted and adapted all over the world. The Oath of the Doctor. 

Vulnerability, accountability and tough conversations are no longer the growth tanks from which new ideas and ways spring forth. Instead of peer reviews, tainted news reports waxing lyrical into the hearts and minds of the general public seek to control the wheel.  The puppet strings are pulled by the powers to be, and brilliant journalists are haunting the halls with silenced mouths, and empty pens.

An underground smattering of Doctors and patients afraid to speak up and operate, patient’s heartbreaking -purposefully buried beneath a decaying process that may have lost its way. 

The inability for Surgeon Dr. Paddy Dewan to perform a life-saving operation in a public hospital because he has upheld his oath in favour of kowtowing to the people who have forgotten the face of their teachers. 

A surgeon banned from working in a host of public hospitals, not because he is not brilliant at what he does, it is because he says, he has tried to hold people accountable for mistakes, to make sure they don’t happen again.  

Yet people like Paddy are accused of the very thing they fight against- power and ego.   

There are not enough walls to fill the qualifications, I have never seen so many in one space. Then there are the photos, photos of happy kids and smiling parents. He fights day in day out from a tiny office in Sunshine, with old lino and bare of the glitz and glamour of the Eastern Suburbs. He is a globally respected surgeon, he runs a successful charity called Kind Cuts for Kids, helping save lives of children in developing countries and he gives a shit. 

Courage is a tangible and often instinctive response to a threat or a need to protect others, how do you believe it is forged? 

I was walking with my nephew many years ago, in a paddock. We were going to dig for worms beside a dam. I looked at my hand on the long-handled shovel as I raised it in the air and thrust it in the direction of his foot. I cut off the head of a snake that was just next to him, between the two of us.  

My primitive brain saw, heard and directed the message to the action centre, bypassing the white-matter neocortex that is much slower.  When it comes to the survival instinct in my medical career, I obviously prefer the primitive pleasure of the joy of the family to the strategy of ensuring you ingratiate oneself to colleagues – I probably would have died early in the German times of Hitler or the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia.

Courage is also demanding physically and mentally when it is an ongoing requirement to work in your field – where do you find the guts to keep going? 

Like the real Patch Adams, I get my inner strength from the families I assist. He rang me a few years ago after one of “my” families arranged for him to come to a charity function in Sydney. He said, “Hi Paddy, its Patch here. I gather your system is as fucked up as ours”. I agreed!  His phone call that day was an inspiration.

When the protectors and the lifesavers are desperately trying to uphold the moral compass when their intention is PEOPLE and not power or ego, what can they do to help you, what can everyday people do? Democracy is built on the tribe having a say in their rights. 

I am an everyday person; I am a plumber, a boy from the bush but, I roar like a tiger when I see injustice in medicine. If everyday people informed themselves, then reacted, we would have a better world. Others can contact their politicians, contact the regulator and make those that are advocating for them feel they are not alone. 

The problem is that most are self-interested – once the champion has solved their problem, they lose interest in the problem they have created for the champion.

You are brave, and you are human, not infallible and not emotionally bulletproof, when you read and hear negative comments from peers and the institution you have invested time, education and faith in, what does that feel like? 

Such negative comments led to me writing “Look the Tiger in the eye”, while in the witness box.  I am reminded of the father who punched the door when I said his boy needed an operation – because he was so angry with the neglect of others. In the VCAT courtroom, the AHPRA barrister was presenting a barrage of negative comments about me.

That very same father stood up quite fiercely and said: “I am not listening to this fu**ing bullshit any more”.  

I am also reminded about Lindy Chamberlain, then I go and use a chainsaw or build a fence, or go to a developing country. Sometimes I am angry, but these days I feel more resolved than angry.

 

What does it feel like to hear positive and endearing commentary from peers and those who believe in you and what you do each day, preserving health- what does that feel like? 

I love hearing the positive comments, and more-so, I enjoy the positive body language. The look and behaviour of friendship, thanks and caring. This is everything. 

What do you believe drives a person to protect their career more than the care and life of a person?  

Human nature! Selfishness, money, greed, a lack of caring. Often it seems that those who are better at protecting their career have less clinical skills. Within organisations, it appears that those who are not a performance-comparison threat are more likely to be promoted.

The opinions of others are none of your business, and yet they seek to destroy and hurt. What is your go to, to help equalise and keep you focussed on your life and your life’s work?  

Writing Poetry, dancing, some art and furniture making, farming, a 1962 Fordson supermajor tractor, developing country visits, my Australian patients and, last but far from least, my wife, Padma.  I blame Rudyard Kipling!

What does your family love most about you? 

Standing at the kitchen bench typing, as Padma says, “my multiple abilities” – so I remind her I fixed the heating yesterday.

Were you a rebel when you were younger or have you been forced into the perceived role of rebel rather than simply being someone trying to do their job? 

I was the “father” in the family home. I learnt to cook and clean had an after-school job and was top of my class. I was good friends with all the teachers and had great friends from all backgrounds.  At university, I had little money so wasn’t a pub lad, but couldn’t afford haircuts. But I could dance, which was a bit radical – it certainly didn’t make me popular with the guys!

Then in Ireland, I experienced medicine by the spin doctor (which led me to do a PhD to prove what many were saying was “product driven medicine”.)  Then on return to Australia, I found poor standards accepted, false indications for surgery supported. I was soon elevated to the status of a radical when I refused to accept certain events.

I have been presented by the media as a radical as a way of them supporting the poor standards of the regulator, VCAT, the coroner, medical administrators and other surgeons.

Is the moral cost to you submitting to the system trying to force your hand higher than the one to keep going and fighting?  

Absolutely, a German officer was quoted to say – something like – If you have a difficult decision to make, look to consider the worst possible outcome of what seems the right decision and, if you can tolerate the consequences, then make the morally correct decision.

If we imagine humanity as a linear story – if you had to choose just one person as the protagonist for choosing good over conformity who would it be? 

Nelson Mandela – his time in prison reminds me of the little time since 2003 when I lost my position at a major hospital for choosing justice over conformity.

Favourite photograph and why? 

The wedding photo of Padma and I standing by the water of the Woolshed falls, which is on the creek. Our wedding was on the land on which my great-grandparent looked for gold (5 acres),  near Beechworth.

We purchased that land, and a little more, on the 10th anniversary of our wedding, on the anniversary of my mothers birthday (23rd May), which was one of our two weddings, the other was on the 50th anniversary of Padma’s parents’ wedding, on 20th June (Padma and I will exchange crystal on Thursday).

We both love the wonderfully romantic story of our two weddings.

Documentary or Netflix binge when travelling? If so, which one do you recommend? 

I NEVER watch television when I travel; I watch an occasional movie on a plane – I often crying during movies. But if I was to binge it would be on documentaries.

What irritates you more, losing a sock or being late? 

I have a system of keeping track of “one-tys” so that never worries me. And I love mending them, I call it “cycling” (as compared to recycling). I prefer not to be late but relax in a traffic jam.  

Are there other people like yourself believing in upholding the moral compass within our institutions that strive as you do regardless of the threat to their credibility and reputation? 

Yes, I have met some of them via the Healthcare Excellence Institute Australia – Jane Bannan and Jane Tolman, for instance.

How does it feel when a patient celebrates a birthday because you were brave enough to do an operation or find an anomaly that helps promote life? 

Interestingly, this question reminds me of the occasions where I have helped families come to terms with the death of their child. On a visit to PNG, I saw a boy with a big lump on his chest wall. He was about 10 yo.

The next day I saw the family with a chest x-ray that indicated he had a terminal illness. I said in my broken PNG language, “him buggarup algetter” which implied he would die from the illness. They said as I was almost in tears, “we are happy that God has given him to use for 10 good years”. 

During the same trip, a judge and his wife were losing their boy to kidney cancer, while he was on his death bed, they were phoning Europe to chase more refined histological interpretation and were falling apart.

The first family taught me how to cope with death, and has helped me teach other families around the world. Not from a religious perspective, from the importance of knowing what can be changed, and accepting it. And, knowing you have saved a life and enabled another birthday celebration is amazing.

How does it feel when a person is diagnosed correctly after misdiagnosis?  

Lucky; the more I practice, the luckier I get; the more I listen, the more I know.

Do you cry very much? 

Usually while watching “call the midwife”, and while watching “Invictus”, the movie. Sometimes when flying away from the countries, I have gone to treat kids in developing countries – tears of joy really.

How hard is it to separate your emotions when you like a patient? 

I like most of my patients. Operating on someone is a very personal thing, with great responsibility. Maybe it is like a pianist and the piano – great music can be created, great admiration for the instrument,  

Is there a legislative action that can be taken to protect those that seek to protect us? 

We do not have free speech in Australia; the media publish to a formula, not in the pursuit of truth and many politicians are liars and cheats. 

What is the point of difference between you and the Doctor who looks a patient and their family in the eye and says “there’s nothing we can do” when in fact they know there is and they know they are being influenced by peers and boards to say no?

I once wrote a poem called “you child becomes mine”, which says it all – just by the title. Others seem to have the attitude that if something went wrong and they were not on-call, it was not their problem. The best example was when I was a registrar in Dunedin. A fellow trainee had operated on a man in his forties for varicose veins.

While operating in the back of the knee, he injured the main vein of the leg. When he was called to suggest he come to help fix the damage, he refused “because he was not on-call”. He got away with what I thought was unthinkable behaviour.

Are there many others like you that have seen the character assassination and are frightened to make a stand? 

Yes and there will be more!  I work on our farm, volunteer overseas and review coronial cases and report adverse events to the surgeon, the hospital involved and the regulator. I give expert opinion in coronial cases, spend time organising meetings to review the regulatory process, and remain determined to make medicine safer.

Are you a hindered lifesaver? 

Yes and No. As a result of the Australian political rubbish, I have made a huge difference in developing countries.

If you could tell the Australian public one compelling aspect you wish they knew about our current medical establishment, what would it be? 

Education of the public to enable them to get the best health outcome for their children is not a priority and combined with a failure to listen to and respect parents results in overtreatment, undertreatment and adverse events. I invite the Health Minister to sit down with me to discuss the coronial process and regulations, the system is broken and this is not getting taken seriously. 

Dr. Paddy Dewan’s eyes light up when he speaks of his charity, his love of helping others and the curious nature of those possessed by ego. Every day he marches on, fighting for the rights of Australian’s to have access to truthful medical care. We have pondered with him and its the kind of ponder that you leave better than when you started. 

So – Hon Greg Hunt MP will you ponder with Dr. Paddy Dewan? Are you prepared to sit down and listen to a man dedicated to the oath he took and the protection of the integrity of our medical system and those whom you represent? 

Treaties, Climate Change and the Fight Club of the 2019 Vote

Makarrata, a treaty and 650,000 years of carbon dioxide lead to this moment, a minister walked into the Fight Club of the Australian Election.

At Ponderings, we believe in telling the stories of those who have overcome adversity to achieve positive change and to reflect, to inspire and to prosper.

When a person becomes so impassioned for the justice of others that he leaves the safety of a pulpit and walks into the den of politics- you take a breath in. He is part of our Ponderings community and has rolled up his sleeves and entered the fight club holding a torch. What is he coming with? Climate change, The Uluru Statement from the Heart and voice of the Makarrata.

He is a grandfather, a devoted husband and a beloved minister of the Anglican Parish of Gosford. This is not a man sipping his Grange from a megamansion or a lefty infuriated throwing around restless and careless words. He gives a shit that’s for sure. He set the social media world ablaze and became the talk of the world when he used his church message board on the front lawn to say “Dear Christians, some people are gay, get over it.”

What followed was advocacy and lots of it. Informed, educated, and a whole of fearlessness. It’s not easy standing up for those who need it most. Rod Bower has braved break-ins, had sermons bombarded by white supremacists and death threats come weekly. A minister of the church opening the Sydney Madigras? He’s copped it and still he marches forward.

Fast forward 2 years, and he is the representative for the ICAN party in the Federal Election; Independents for Climate Change Action Now. ICAN is a coalition of independents from across the political spectrum with some specific plans on what needs to happen to give the mechanics of our democratic machine a grease and oil change.

So I asked Father Rod Bower some questions because if you have made it to the top row in the voting ballot, people want to know what the heck you are going with that platform if they vote for you.

What do you hope to achieve once you’re in there?

In the first 100 days, I will help the parliament to declare a Climate Emergency. I will help the parliament to revisit the Uluru Statement from the Heart. This will set the cultural parameters for the term. All legislation must be climate-informed for our children to have a bright future.

Ponderings: The Uluru Statement from the Heart – is a national Indigenous consensus position on Indigenous constitutional recognition, which came out of a convention of 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates in 2017.

The Uluru Statement sought a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about indigenous history. Makarrata is a word from the language of the Yolngu people in Arnhem Land. The Yolngu concept of Makarrata captures the idea of two parties coming together after a struggle, healing the divisions of the past.

Why climate change?

In the past 650,000 years, the carbon dioxide Level in the atmosphere has never risen above 300 part per million, with an average of about 200ppm. Today it is over 400ppm.

The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 0.9 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.

We can mitigate the devastating effect of global warming by becoming a zero-emissions society and by capturing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it the ground and plant life.

In short;

The planet is warming.
We did it.
It’s bad.
We can fix it.

Why is it important to have independents elected?

The two-party system is no longer agile enough to meet the rapidly changing political landscape. The system has become so corrupt that only a solid group of centrist independents will be able to precipitate changes to election donations and establish a Federal ICAC.

How can voting for an independent positively impact government in Australia?

The Gillard Government was one of the most productive in modern Australian history. That is in part, due to Julia Gillard’s excellent negotiating skills but also to the fact that she had a group of sensible independents with which to negotiate. A minority government, where the balance of power is held by productive independents, works well because ideology has to stand aside for practical solutions.

What do you need now to get there?

To win a Senate seat in NSW a candidate requires a quota of 14.5%, that’s a little over 700,000 votes. The more primary votes we get, the more preferences we will attract. So if voters believe that a proper response to climate change is essential and a sustainable society is crucial that they can vote 1 ICAN in the Senate.

Group Q in NSW
Group K in Qld
Group M in Vic

People may not understand the vital importance of independents representing sections of the social fabric of our country in government. They help create a balanced representation, to pass legislation and stop the corruption of our democratic system. It’s a system worth protecting!

If you would like to find out more about the ICAN party and the members, you can click here.

To read about the Uluru Statement of the Heart and Makarrata you can click here and read the statement below.

We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the Heart:
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.
This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.
How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?
With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.
These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.
We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds, and their culture will be a gift to their country.
We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.
We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.
In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

The O’Donnell Sisters Guide to Mama’s Survival

The O’Donnell Sisters Guide to Mama’s Survival

The O'Donnell Sister's Guide To Mama's Survival

How has your day been Mama?

Right now, you might have your magnificent offspring on your hip while talking on the phone- stepping over blocks and shooing the dog away from lunchtime spills on the floor. Between ubering, cheffing, counseling, diplomatic rationalizing and smashing the glass ceiling you may well be wiping wee off a toilet seat and mentally preparing a list of everything you NEED to do while pondering Marie Kondo and realising how many things are just NOT sparking your joy… Welcome, you are not alone!

According to research by Griffith University, many women struggle with being time poor and the demands of being a mother, the requirements of being an employee and “getting it all done.” No kidding. I mean, really? “IT ALL” is a broad term to throw into inverted commas people. C’mon already. We are amazing, we are warriors- tell us something we don’t know! But let’s be serious. It can be so hard.

Mother guilt can be heavier than a bag of bricks.

The old phrase “a woman’s work is never done” could not be more ‘en pointe in our western–i-can-do-it-all-because-bras-were-burned-for-me world. Life is busy. Busy women doing many things with as little mistakes as we can manage because the world is watching right?

So, as busy mums how do we lessen the burden and start living our best life? What is this magic that will give us more energy and propel us out of the world of Mombie and into the land of the living and being present?

Now we could sit here and tell you like everyone else to meditate the proverbial out of yourself, however, let’s keep it real. We are modern women with modern needs, and sometimes it’s the little things that put a smile on your face.

The Road For Hope Cancer Journey From Ponderings Magazine

1. DITCH THE GUILT

We are living in a time where women are waving the feminist flag with one hand and holding the washing basket in the other. The load on the mother has increased to include basically EVERYTHING! Working, childcare, home duties, meal prep, bikini waxes or if you are liberated- not- corporate takeovers, Bachelor Degrees in OMG I AM A MOTHER NOW WHEN AM I GOING TO SLEEP AGAIN- to hang on, I love this, this is WORTHY.  Oh and worming the dog.- don’t forget that. Are you Vegan and gluten intolerant or maybe your child has allergies? Put the whiskey down, its ok, we have more… point is- GUILT is too heavy an emotion, it holds a heavy vibration that will zap the energy you are already lacking. So give it a miss and send it on its way. Good vibes Mama, more of this in your life will do nicely.

2: Hire a cleaner!

Good thing I mentioned ditching the guilt first right?!  

Regardless of who does what in your abode, stats from Macquarie University tell us that in Australia 86% of women do the majority of the housework. Would you like some gender inequality with your smashed avo?

Hiring a cleaner may sound like a luxury for some- however, hiring a cleaner even once a fortnight to do the tasks you hate or don’t have time to do (insert scrubbing bathroom grout, the laundry pile, cleaning the oven) is a winner.  By outsourcing, you are giving yourself time to do less obligatory tasks and allow more meaningful moments. Take time for yourself, make memories with your kids (the fun ones!) and the job still gets done. Can’t afford it? Try and work it into your budget by ditching the lattes and takeouts- substituting things in your budget to make life easier may become your next best trick. $35 every two weeks for an hour of those jobs might be a life-changer.


planet spectrum

3. Organisation time

There is no way we can remember everything. Keep an electronic diary on your smartphone with alerts and reminders. Keeping track of events, library day, bills, appointments, due payments. It’s like having a free PA that reminds us of the important stuff. Have you checked out Google Personal Assistant? If not.. do this today!  If you make time to check your phone once a day, you won’t find yourself red-faced in the school car park- it is not Crazy Hair Day and your child is walking around the playground looking like Johnny Rotten.

4. Learn to say NO.

You don’t have to explain yourself to anybody. No is a lovely word when it is used in the right context and when it comes to you Mama, saying No sometimes can be your saving grace. It might be no to catching up, no to attending something, a party, or a favor. You and your children come first. There is a time in adulthood when we need to conserve our energy for the important things. Those moments are when we bravely decide to sidestep the “have to’s” and permit ourselves to opt out. And if you pause and think about it- who deserves the best of you? You. What you take from one bucket you give to another.

Everyone else can wait, and if they don’t understand that it might be time to rethink who your tribe is.

Leaderboard Ponderings Australia

5. Take 10 minutes.

When the kids are asleep, or entertained, take ten. Go outside, put your feet on the grass- adorn your head with headphones playing soothing music and thank yourself for being you. Yoga Nidra meditation is really awesome too. Or….if you wanted to you could put on your old Doc Martins and smash out some interpretive dance to Four Non-Blondes. Your own silent disco. Cool doesn’t have a used by date in your loungeroom.

We will leave you with our parting gift of advice: NETFLIX. Gorging pure escapism for the sake of sanity. We are talking Outlander, no limits, no judgment. Soulfood. Mr. Grey is a thing of the past- we’re talking kilts, rolling hills,  a thick Scottish accent, and a sporran. Did someone just say “Sassenach?”

 The O’Donnell Sisters
One is a celebrated author, mother, and teacher, the other is the black sheep and ratbag wordsmithing her way through life with gusto. Kate O’Donnell and her sister Kirsten can often be found reminiscing and talking women’s business over a peppermint tea (Kirsten’s is often laced with Gin) and knitting. Kate knits, Kirsten does not. Mind you Kate does play a mean steel six string guitar and loves a good Xavier Rudd concert. Her big sister loves popcorn, gardening, Hemingway, quantum physics and is quite partial to a pirouette. She is not certifiably crazy but on the quiet- she thinks she might be the OA.

Will the #lifegoal meet the #reality?

by Jasmin Pedretti  Life goals vs reality. A phrase we see bouncing around the insta-phere is life...
Murder on the Dance Floor

Murder on the Dance Floor

Murder on the Dance Floor, by Kirsten Macdonald

There was a Greek man who had a way with words. Pre: warning this is a long one, so pull up a comfy chair and a beverage. It’s about to get real.

 

Anyway back to the Greek dude, he had this cool story about a Cave. It has challenged humans for hundreds of years and inspired them, like a never-ending piece of string. As an endearing Ogre once said, “there are layers.” For those that don’t know, here is the lowdown. We welcome Plato to Ponderings.

Blog space The Cave

There is a cave with three prisoners tied to the roof and cannot look at anything but the cave wall in front of them. They have been there since birth never seeing outside the cave.

 

Unbeknownst to them, behind them, there is a fire. Between the prisoners and the light of the fire is a walkway. People walk along this walkway with all sorts of objects as well as small animals etc., like dogs and rodents.

 

As the people walk past, their shadows projected onto the wall in front of the prisoners. Imagine if this were you- if you had never seen these people, objects or animals before you would believe that the shadows of these things are ‘real.’

Blog space The Road For Hope Cancer Journey From Ponderings Magazine

Blog space

The prisoners play a guessing game; each one guesses what they are seeing and give it a name. The best guess according to them becomes the holder of all answers to nature.

 

One day the chains holding one of the prisoners becomes brittle and breaks, the prisoner then escapes and leaves the cave.

 

Shocked by what he sees outside,  he does not believe it can be real.

 

As he becomes accustomed to his new surroundings, he ponders on if the shadows were real or if this world he sees is real. An intellectual journey ensues. He understands that his life in the cave was useless and the guessing game was pointless. He sees that the light is the source of life.

Blog space Ponderings Online Magazine Tanya Breen Art CreativeBlog space

The prisoner returns to the cave to tell the other prisoners of his findings. Instead of listening to his voice of reason, the other prisoners threaten him with violence and death if he tries to set them free.

Interesting…

2018 is coming to an end. There are susurrations in the world alluding to the breaking of chains. Can you sense it?

Let’s be honest here, looking into the light and stepping into the metaphoric sun could scorch your arse, who are we kidding? It is a bit of whoa and a whole lot of hanging onto your bums; this ride is going to be big. You in?

What if instead of making a New Year’s resolution you make a daily one?

What if each morning you choose to be very observant so when the opportunity to reflect and be inquisitive about life presents itself, you can take it, hold it in your hand as a gift or like a new species you haven’t witnessed before. You may have encountered it a million times but never noticed it had wings that could make it fly…

Stepping into a place of real propagates growth under its light and warmth. Hangups and resistance lose their weightedness, no longer of service, weakened like brittle bars on a cage.

If you experience the bars crackling away, it gives room for Joy to enter. Realization and Epiphany are her friends, and they are contagious. While Joy is lots of fun, Realization can be a hard taskmaster and Epiphany can be two-faced, gifting either inspiration or hurt.

In my experience, the next dip in the ride happens like clockwork: not everyone wants to catch the bug, like those folks still chained up.

Blog space

Blog space Some folks behave like you carry influenza of the philosopher kind and will kerchief their hearts and conversations quicker than a mortician during the black plague.

I am told by reliable sources with qualifications it is okay; it’s not you, it’s them. The chains are comfortable and aren’t disruptive. Disruption and change can unbalance and disturb people’s perception and equilibrium. In some cases, people can even act like asses. Asses come in all shapes and sizes. Passive aggressive is one that tickles my angry bone, outright agro is at least honest, patronizing or just wholly non-committal can be irritating otherwise known as Shruggers, or Whatevs. The clincher is when you were thinking you are out in the sunshine when you are in fact daydreaming while still chained up. There is no room for arrogance in life is there?

Perchance, you are in the company of awesome glimmering shiny people, and you are not in a cave but on a fabulous dance floor, losing yourself to the beat and the fun of movement, in the real sun, relishing the ride and excitement.

Some will smile and want to get on the dance floor with you and fly their freak flag too.

Some people will smile and wave with one hand while they throw rotten fruit with the other because deep down inside they want the connection, they wish to step onto the floor. Light and shade. It is the order of things.

 As much as you cry out the invitation to C’MON and grab their hands and beg them to dance with you, you cannot make them. You cannot push and shove people. You really must not. Maybe their ankles are sore, perhaps their tender heart is broken, and they need time to heal it so that when they step onto the dance floor, it is their decision and will feel proud of the steps they took. Not by being dragged up by you.

Have you experienced this? You try and drag people up, and they shuffle their feet for as long as is necessary then quickly retreat to the chair to talk to someone or get on with what they were doing. It’s a groovy disco for happy folks and enablers too lol. There are all types here.

Blog space planet spectrum

Blog space

Some will go and drink and pretend no one is dancing at all, and some will self-medicate as it is all just a bit too much and they have no idea how to even walk to the floor because they were told their whole lives they have no legs. Blog space Some will make their own cubby house under the table with their friends, tucked in and feeling calm and safe. Everyone in their own time. Maybe you get up in your best sparkly stilletos and twist your ankle because you were so busy farting rainbows you didn’t see the cracks in the floor. It happens. As the very wise author Gary Zukav says “We are at earth school you know, anything can happen.” See the video after this article- it’s worth watching.

 Perhaps your chains broke a long while ago and being in amongst the haste and hustle is wearing you down, leaving you enervated and midding. The world can be a wytai. Homesickness may kick in. Or you could sprain your ankle with your big sparkly platforms.

I happened upon a gem.  

 If you suddenly became aware this week that it is your last on this earthly plane- I can predict that you will not seek permission to do what you want, you will not hang on to old hurts as a reason for delay or resistance.

 You will quite possibly think about the things you haven’t done you wish you had. You may

think of the people you genuinely love the deepest and want to express it to them.  You will undoubtedly ponder about forgiveness and redemption. There will present a need for impulse and desire,  a flashover or two. You will feel more love than envy or hate.

Alternatively, the fear of failing to trust yourself will hit you in the face like a backyard cricket game gone wrong.

However, I do know this my friends; you will indeed get up walk to  the dance floor like a bug towards the light.

I have lived this and am blessed with good fortune to continue to be here in this wonderfully confusing place for what I hope and trust is much longer than what was anticipated. However, none of us ever really know do we?  Sometimes turning to the light means thinking about our mortality. Restless inner stirring within is an unfulfilled destiny seeking you out. Perpetual and timely.

 Listening to the music and understanding the rhythm of life in a new way with a realization that the DJ can play some pretty cool beats is not a bad place to be.

  PS- if you are can you bring ice? I twisted my ankle and my arse is on fire. x Kirst

 

 

 

 

Will the #lifegoal meet the #reality?

by Jasmin Pedretti  Life goals vs reality. A phrase we see bouncing around the insta-phere is life...

The Mysterious Case Of The Twisted Knickers

The Mysterious Case Of The Twisted Knickers

The Mysterious Case Of The Twisted Knickers AUDIO VERSION

by Ponderings Radio

by wordsmith Kirsten Macdonald

So what gets your knickers in a twist? What cooks your wig?

Are you about to have kittens? Are you all horns and rattles? Madder than a cut snake? Are you going to lose the proverbial? Get your dander up? Perhaps you are up in arms about to blow a fuse, a gasket and bite someone’s head off? You might be tempted to get someone’s goat and fly off the handle while giving someone a tongue lashing- but we urge you to ponder. Why?

Humans can be at times- how shall we put it? Complex. Some of the time they are in a state of ascerbic reaction. Or as this wordsmith puts it: arseholicism. Yup, it’s my word. Coming in a close second is anger. All the heavy stuff.

Underneath the surface of almost all humans is the need to be significant in some way.

The good old “default modes” we have learned, the sum of all our experiences and perceptions drives our behavior.

We are born as a fresh new being, shiny and new without any learned behaviors. Then the learning begins, and the filter kicks in. The filter through which we view the world is different for everyone. So what happens when one filter bangs up against another in opposition? Chances are it can lead to anger.

How does one deal with anger in an emotionally intelligent way?

Do you act in accordance with what makes other people comfortable around you? Do you behave inappropriately, blaming others for triggering you?

Anger can be traumatizing for the empath.

The air will crackle with it in tiny waves, you can almost taste it in the air. If you are not the passive-aggressive type, what comes next? An outburst or a big internal swallow where it can be like a bad seed ready to grow a vine?

So we did like all good ponderers do, we sought an international expert on positive psychology.

 

Aussie author and applied psychology coach Catherine Bell explained to us what  anger is and how it impact our lives.

 

1. Anger can actually be beneficial for a few reasons:

a) It lets us know when boundaries have been violated. That is, we feel angry when someone has done something that violates our personal boundaries like physically hurting us, or emotional / values / ethical boundaries – like when they do something that we think is wrong, and it makes us angry.

In that way, anger can be very useful in showing us what’s important to us, and telling us where corrective action needs to be taken. When we strike back in anger without thinking, we often hurt the other person, which can be negative, but really all we’re trying to do is re-establish our boundaries and make things “right” again.

Anger, expressed appropriately, is assertive but not aggressive – it makes clear what is, and is NOT acceptable, and re-establishes firm boundaries.

b) It is useful also in fight-or-flight scenarios, where survival is at stake because it helps us focus our energy and power towards defending ourselves and our loved ones and re-establishing the “right” world order.

Unfortunately, we can tend to suppress anger, which just builds up over time, and instead of positively and assertively dealing with small boundary violations, we wait until that LAST time where we can’t take it anymore…and then completely overplay our hand!

Better to recognize anger for what it is, and use it as an indicator that it’s time to establish boundaries EARLY, respectfully and assertively, rather than waiting to go crazy and then regretting it!

c) It is a great motivator, and has a lot of energy about it – so can be harnessed for positive results. For example, the person who gets angry at themselves for putting on 5kg then uses the energy of that anger to motivate action, like exercise. But again, it’s all about balance – a little anger is great to motivate, but it’s not sustainable if it becomes your ONLY way to motivate yourself. Then, it becomes an unresourceful pattern.

I like it when I am (temporarily) angry about things because it shows me how much I care about this thing and that I’d better get on with doing something about it! I have learned to harness my anger to help me achieve great things with energy.

 2. Unexpressed and unresolved anger can be very detrimental to our physical, emotional and mental health. Unexpressed or suppressed anger has been linked to a number of health risks including increased risk of anxiety, high blood pressure, headaches, digestion problems, insomnia, depression, heart attack, and stroke.

This is due to the chemical and metabolic changes that occur in our body when we feel anger and don’t find a way to healthily release it. From a social side, your relationships can be damaged too, as unexpressed anger can change our communication patterns and quality of relationships.”

 

So what comes next?

Well for this little Vegemite, time for more growth and a whole lot of grace, contemplation, and letting go of certainties. Some of the most challenging and stressful moments in our path can lead to the most magnificent vistas and mountain tops. Trust me on that one.

If you are a joy junky like myself, reveling in life and experience and love- the heavier emotions like anger can be harder to handle. I am enjoying the learning that strong emotions present an opportunity to identify and access positively for growth. Not suppressing. As always taking a pause to ponder and seek answers about our humanity should always win in the end. We are a complex design after all.

For more information about the divine Catherine Bell go to: https://www.belltraininggroup.com.au

Will the #lifegoal meet the #reality?

by Jasmin Pedretti  Life goals vs reality. A phrase we see bouncing around the insta-phere is life...

The Survivors Guide to Most Excellent News

The Survivors Guide to Most Excellent News

Ponderings Online Magazine The Survivor's Guide to Most Excellent News by Kirsten Macdonald

So you have excellent news? Exciting news? The kind of news where you won tattlotto of the life kind. You found out a life threatening condition just healed, you are going to live! Well, you might have some ideas on how that one is going to roll, so here’s a little help.

 

1) Not everyone will respond like you. Ok, I am serious, you might think you can fart gold stars, but not everyone will see it that way.

 

2) Spontaneous dance is completely fine.

 

3) Going into a flight center and telling a poor young random man that you aren’t going to die anymore is not okay. He cried. Not cool. And you didn’t book the trip to Paris with him, again, not cool.

 

4) Buying a ballet barre for shits and giggles when it doesn’t have anywhere to go- rethink that one.

 

5) Take deep breaths. Be prepared for a shock. Hot water bottles will be needed, blankets and a good dose of sister love. A sedative may help.

 

6) Be prepared for the dreams. Your little red car might turn into an airplane, and you might fly to some REALLY cool places. It might have been the sedative and pizza combo, but that’s ok.

 

7) Don’t downplay God to anyone. Not one time. You asked for this miracle, and you got it. You don’t ask the chef for the best parmigiana in the world and then double check it’s what you asked for. Also, don’t take claim responsibility for cooking the parmigiana. You are sitting at the table. You might have walked into the restaurant and known which table to sit at, you might understand what goes in it my dear, but you did not cook it. Note: in giving thanks for the miracle you are also giving thanks for self-understanding, for a surgeon who spent 25 years learning about brains and dared to give it a crack. You are giving thanks for listening to your body, and it’s requests.

 

You are not leaving out modern medicine, but you do however also know that science has not yet caught up to the stunning underpinning cosmos reasons for existence and rapid physical healing. They are 30 years off. It’s a quantum thing. It’s not always rational. The earth isn’t flat people.

 

8) When you tell your child you are not going to die from an aneurysm rupture, he might say to you we need Weetbix, and the dog crapped in the outdoor area. Its ok, don’t take it personally he loves you. He just loves Weetbix as well.

 

9) You might be allowed to run now but don’t do it until your lung fills with blood. It feels good to run, but your sciatica needs TLC, and your Foofa valve does too.

 

10) Don’t grin at strangers when you are in your convertible. You might be telepathically telling them you are so happy you are alive, and your aneurysm just, and they said they couldn’t do anything, and then it just healed…and last night your car was a plane. Basically, you are just going to look like an arsehole driving a red sports car who is very pleased with themselves. Road rage is real. Just don’t.

 

11) Do not dilute your happiness. You will be tempted too. Not everyone else likes joy. Some people even break out in rashes and may start twitching. There is an epi pen for that- it is called the front door and a foot.

 

12) People will be joyful with you, they will cry for you and with you, they will send you flowers, messages and may even spontaneously dance with you. Keep those ones, in fact, chain those humans to your foot before they get away. Or pop them in your pocket. You just identified your tribe.

 

13) Be ready for the rollercoaster. You might have thought a joyful cry, and a high five would be the best, and you would just get on with your life. This doesn’t happen. You will meltdown. It’s what happens when you try and keep your shit together for more than 3 years with an impending rupture of the artery that supplies your entire brain with blood and was hanging on by a thread in a big mess threatening your life and a stroke on a daily basis, causing PTSD for family and seizures, migraines, TIA’s, brain bleeds, blackouts, chronic sleep apnea and the fear of being left in a vegetative state getting Sunday visits from your children while you suck liquified lamb cutlets through a straw- is now a reformed wonder.

 

There will be tears of happiness, tears of sorrow, tears of grief, tears of relief, anger and gratitude. A whole lot of liquid will spill from your deep internal soul and kleenex might not cut it. Try the super roll of toilet paper and an even a maxi pad?

 

14) Don’t go into your teenage son’s bedroom each morning ripping open the curtains with gusto and announce you are ALIVE, you might think you are a Disney princess with a bird singing on your shoulder. But you are in fact a very disheveled middle-aged woman with a tracksuit wedgie and yesterday’s eyeliner smudged. There will be consequences. He will tell you to get out.

 

15) As much as you think every song that comes on the radio is an anthem just for you, it isn’t. It really isn’t. But that’s okay. This does activate that spontaneous smiling and dancing response, this is good for your soul.

 

Most importantly wake up tomorrow and kiss the ground and give praise to God, because my dear, your life is yours and it will never be the same again.

Will the #lifegoal meet the #reality?

by Jasmin Pedretti  Life goals vs reality. A phrase we see bouncing around the insta-phere is life...
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