The Blazing Heart of Community

The Blazing Heart of Community

The Blazing Heart of Community

Words by Kirsten Macdonald

Like many all over the world, our hearts are left swollen and aching as we witness on our screens and for some in their backyards; the scorched earth and hellish sky.

 

Beach blue now engulfed with smoke haze and embers of the worst kind; scarring the land with unprecedented ferocity. Beneath with sooty tears and anger lies the desperation of people fighting in what has become one of the worst National disaster bushfires in Australian history. The devastation runs deep and will continue long after the last flame as sputtered out. For the impact of wildfire is a destructive force that will echo forever.

 

As we heard the stories from friends and family defending their homes, like so many, we felt desperately sad, angry and frustrated, helpless. 

Our fellow tribe were left without water, listening to the cries of dying animals, burning fauna and drought-impacted earth baked to concrete under the glazing sear of intense heat. Lives were lost, people and wildlife, pets and livestock. Gone. And bushfire season hasn’t even begun for many areas. 

We started asking those impacted “Who are the organisations there now, helping rebuild and doing work person to person, on the ground?” The resounding response was BlazeAid

Started after Black Saturday in 2009 by Kilmore East farmers Rhonda and Kevin Butler, BlazeAid is volunteer based and has helped rebuild fences and lift the spirits of people who are often facing their second or third flood event after years of drought, or devastating losses through bushfires. 

 

BlazeAid volunteers work in a disaster-affected area for many months, not only helping individuals and families but also helping rebuild the local communities. 

 

The 100% Australian run registered charity currently has 14 base camps around Australia helping on the ground. 

 

So Kate and I packed the boot with goodies and made the trip to Lexton Victoria to meet with Bruce Hindson, co-ordinator of one of the camps. 

 

We drive on a dusty road into a popup township of campers, caravans and tents, we soon realise we are in good company, a thriving and bustling place. The trailers are lined up ready to go out for the next job, each one equipped with the tools needed to build fences and make repairs. But BlazeAid isn’t just about fences. As Bruce explains, it’s really about people. 

 

“Talking to people on the phone is okay, but actually dropping in and having a cup of tea, face to face can make all the difference. You have to meet people, shake their hand, check-in and listen. People underestimate what this means. When you have a team of people staying nearby at a hall, or a footy ground that are there to help you get back on your feet and get the fences mended, it can change everything for a person. Fences are expensive to replace, and people have sometimes had everything wiped out. You got no fences? You got no farm. To help them with an ear, a conversation and a sense of community go a long way” says Bruce. 

 

With trailers stationed in every state, BlazeAid has anything from 15 to 110 people turn up to help with a carefully planned roster, logistics and rebuilding set up. People may give 2 hours of their time or two months and the dedication of return folks each year gives you goosebumps. 

 

The Lions Club are there today, donating their time and helping set up a marquee tent for more room. 

 

Bruce and his wife Janice tell us the community generosity is fantastic. They tell us the story of one night everyone was at the local pub, the publican put on a special meals night at a discount price for all the BlazeAid crew. When they went to pay for their meals, 2 x locals had covered the lot. “People look after each other, and there are so many more stories like this, it happens all the time,” says Bruce. 

 

The team in the kitchen are working away and tell us there is a real “get this done” mentality along with lots of laughs and big smiles and you get the feeling this is a marathon, not a sprint. 

 

“People think once the fire or flood has gone, it’s all over with. But this is not the case. It’s like a funeral, at first the casseroles roll in, then 6 weeks later everyone starts to get on with their life. This is often when families are only just beginning to come to terms with what has happened and wondering how the hell they are going to get going again” says Hindson. 

 

“I am not going to lie to you, there have been times when we have rolled up, I have met a farmer and thought I would see him hanging from a tree by the end of the week; the devastation runs that deep. But what do you know, a week later the bloke and his family are smiling, they have some future to look to and feel a bit of support. That’s what happens.”

 

A sobering thought.  

 

For many, they might not have lost their lives but may have 200 head of sheep badly burned, or wildlife living on the property, ancient trees protected on a generational property. 

Animals they have raised have died. Or perhaps they might have hundreds of acres of crops ruined, years of work gone in a moment. They may have already been suffering from drought, and this type of disaster is the straw to break the camel’s back. Let’s not forget sacred sites and the lands of native animals close to the country’s heart and soul. 

Suzi and Ruth are busy in the kitchen. They tell us; “People come in each day covered in soot,  smoke, they’ve had a hard day, sweaty, dirty exhausted…Then even after all they have done for the day or dealt with, there is storytelling, laughter and jokes. From randy goats taking a fancy to the latest volunteer to the little pleasures of a freshly made scone; there is a community here. This is what Australia is made of.” 

An operation like BlazeAid costs anywhere up to $5000 a week for a camp to run and facilitate. 

 

Relying on volunteers, business sponsorship and the help of the donations from the public it is a 100% charity. It relies on these funds to help it continue to grow, engineer trailers and get on the road to having those conversations to those that need help the most. 

 

We know there are many who are helping by donating to major organisations, but it was an easy decision for us to support BlazeAid and move from feeling despair and take some action. 

 

We have chosen to donate $20 from every new Subscription in February to BlazeAid. We currently give $2 from every subscription to Vision Australia. So your gift is supporting two incredible charities, both of which are hands-on and help those in need of restoration. 

 

For the month of February, we are dedicating every edition from our online Magazine, Podcast and App to the stories of those impacted by the Bushfires, because we believe that the unfiltered truth of our collective stories is the fabric of life. It is the one thing everyone has; a story. 

At Ponderings, we need to hold that space for these stories to be told. So know that not only will you be supporting the creation of this space but also BlazeAid and Vision Australia. 

 

Rotten Onions Turned Into Daffodils Bring On 2020

Words by Kirsten Maccdonald

What did 2019 teach me? Well I bring certain hard learned lessons aka Gifts into the new year of 2020.

 

The last seven years altered me in ways I could never have predicted, wanted to or dreamed of. 2019 delivered a doozy of delights. Lessons encrypted so tightly it was like trying to force open a Da Vinci codex.

Learning came faster than QANDA quips on climate change, and my heart was broken and mended repeatedly. There was a shower floor moment- a first…

A tiled floor is a tough place from which to get up and not because of my dodgy hips, I am actually quite nimble (old ballerina brag) but because it just got a bit too much. Life got too loud. The words “multiple haemorrhages in your brain, but its okay, you’re still stable”- were delivered.

A juxtaposition if I have ever heard one. Doesn’t make sense, does it? What a quandary. Humph and bother. I think the word hemorrhage means bleeding and bleeding into your brain isn’t delightful. It’s not a cut on your knee; you can’t put a stitch in it. And it’s not totally dire, because I am still here. I am completely and utterly, loudly alive.

My demands on myself to serve others became too big, and I personally think God’s head was shaking with a sigh, looking at me asking “are you quite finished yet?” Because there was universe work to do, and I was not keeping up my end of the bargain.

Conservation of energy and dedication to purpose with purpose was required POST HASTE.

Wrangling control of one’s life when you have become accustomed to doing so to survive is an art form. When the worlds smartest doctors just can’t fix you they can end up avoiding you because its all too complicated- becoming the master of your fate is a pretty healthy option.

The captain of my ship. Invictus anyone? Never a control freak of anyone else’s life- just my own- my destiny was in my hands loaded up to the titanium clips with faith. Are you laughing yet? A good joke I once heard was if you want you to make God laugh tell God your plans.

Because often what we have in mind for ourselves doesn’t even come close to the good things that we have the potential to enjoy.

 

But that will come later. Much later. I got up from the shower floor feeling like the last round of a punch drunk boxer, I quite literally after crying every ounce of fluid out of my body, snotty and exhausted. It was time now. One foot, then the other. Of course, it had to all to come out. We can’t be fierce and brave all the time.

This moment is the one we shall call surrender. To truly surrender, we must first recognise a few things. These were items on a spiritual shopping list I thought I already had in my pantry. It turns out the labels aren’t always accurate. More information is needed!

So what did I learn?

Number One

Emotions can be toxic. People have emotions. Therefore people can be toxic. Sometimes more toxic than Springfield lake. Fish with three eyes are the least of your problems. It isn’t always obvious either.

Toxic people are experiencing deep pain and trauma and have inadequate coping mechanisms or may have developed some tricky psychological schemas to deal with stuff.

Very often, it doesn’t belong to you and is actually none of your business.

It is instead a malady of misaligned perceptions. Sometimes on both sides too. Wish them well, wish them, love, reduce your time with them and do not make room for toxic behaviour in your life. A dear friend said to me; it only happens when you make the space for it. Accountability bites, doesn’t it? This one felt like a million piranas. Pay more attention to your environmentally supportive shopping habits, your garden, and supporting your community and family or fly a kite. Energy flows where your attention goes.

Will the life goals meet the expectation? Hobbies

Number 2

Cliche magic here humans; shine brightly and don’t apologise for your shiny bits even when other people think they are not shiny but rather pieces of glass sticking in their eyeballs. Because those “pieces of glass” are actually diamonds to others. Others that wrap you in love and you wrap em right back.

You are you. In the words of the great Seuss: Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Authenticity doesn’t appeal to everyone. Our need for social acceptance is a powerful desire, and subconsciously it can make us do weird things. Like toning our enthusiasm or joy down, for fear of rejection or “the look of disapproval” There is a strong urge to run backwards and not upset anyone by being you. Don’t listen. Success is not the antithesis to friendship! Otherwise you don’t have a friendship. Fear of success can be very real if you are also scared of losing relationships because of perceptions surrounding the so called “success.”

Fear of success and failure are genuine elements for those who have learned to turn down their volume as a child. Success in life in all its forms, but particularly happiness, intelligence, skills or unfiltered joy and even financial wealth can be a trigger for others.

If you are busy following your path and loving the heck out of those around you, you won’t have time to judge anyone else. There won’t be any room on the broom. You don’t need any excuses to be fabulous or unfabulous. It just is. 

Follow your path and be 100% you. Unless you are farting in public, scratching your crotch and picking your nose amongst other yucky things, cos that is just gross, my sister doesn’t like listening to people chew, and I can’t handle toenail clippings.

There needs to be some social engineering for our evolving sensibilities right? NO! Narcissists and gaslighters must also be identified, and you need to move gently away from this sphere.

Toxic emotions are not conducive to peace. A sphere captures bad vibes like a noxious gas.

When we shine, we prosper. 

Julia Lorent Yellow Office Ad

Number 3

Protect your positivity like a newborn baby you have wrapped in your arms. You have the right to experience joy as much as you want when you want. You are entitled to very little in life, but joy is one of them. So is sadness. The light and shade dance so eloquently together they can break your heart.

Number 4

The next cosmic whopper and I might very well be singing to the choir here, but it is okay not to be okay. You are whatever you are, and the emotions you are feeling right now are real and do not need validation. You are experiencing them. They just are.

You do not need to be stoic — no one hands out trophies for it, or a skippy badge.

When we fight feeling to make everyone around us feel better, we sometimes rob them from their moment of learning. We can get very quickly caught up like a kitten in string until it is so tight it threatens to strangle us. Too many threads can choke the mind and body.

Often when are the central figure of perceived strength in people’s lives, and we get vulnerable or focus on ourselves, it can make people feel abandoned or unsettled, restless and fearful. Their need for us to remain the same, or be restored quickly is strong because it helps them feel better. Safe. Anchored.

But here’s the thing, you should be no-one’s anchor. For if you are theirs, how do they steer their ship when it is meant to sail?

Never rob someone of the opportunity to grow and become strong in their own right even if it means watching them skin their knees along the way. This can be torture for the empath to witness without taking control of the situation and saving. Lifeguards are not needed here. A cheer squad can be good. People are allowed to have feelings, and it doesn’t mean they want you to fix them.

I learned the statement “I am having strong feelings about x right now, and this is okay. I will come back to you if that’s ok.” People can get angry when we feel things, and we can feel anxious when people are having a case of the feels, and we don’t know what they are. The answer: COMMUNICATE!

When you permit yourself, you permit others. By neglecting to do this, you can also plant seeds of guilt within yourself, causing pain in your body and mind. This is toxic on every level.

Number 5

Let the tears fall. Tears never hurt anyone. They might make people feel awfully uncomfortable. Still, space can be made for moisture falling from eyes, and when this happens, it can be sacred.

On the flip side, choose your friends carefully. Hello Captain Obvious. An old one but one that keeps popping up like a nasty case of herpes for me in 2019. Vulnerability is powerful, but it needs to be expressed with those you trust.

People that do not have the energy to respect you don’t need you in their life. Vulnerability is a gift. Thanks, Brene. Your lessons in boundaries were rippers.

Zombie apocalyptic movies taught me two things- Woody Harrelson will never lose his cool, and the double-tap is a metaphor to life. You need to learn lessons, but you don’t need to learn them twice. Placing people on a pedastool, they didn’t ask to be placed on causes an ouchy.

 

Number 6

Family is life. Blood relative or soul relative, don’t forget your family. We become so disconnected today we can forget who our tribe is. Childhood is powerful. Family bonds are sacred. We don’t always agree. Sometimes we fight. Even if you aren’t close or are disconnected physically- family is essential.

Every morning, I have a little ritual where I ask God to watch over every family member and send them my love. They get it. If you love your family, treat them well. Treat them like the jewels they are.

Because nothing lasts forever, and humans are particularly susceptible to death. It can separate us physically and make us wish for things we can’t get back.

Number 7

Feeling sorry for yourself and a having a shower floor moment is going to happen. But only for a while. Getting those suppressions out is crucial. Since 2012 I learned the key to optimism in action and the difference between ignorant positivity and positive living. Unconscious positivity means you don’t acknowledge the seriousness of what is going on and have a good case of denial.

Positive living means you know the different versions, and you understand the ability of the human body and the planet to overcome just about anything, so you do everything in your power to help make this happen. So allow self-pity momentarily.

Feeling sorry for yourself is like stubbing your tow and peeling the scab off every day, never allowing it to heal.

Number 8

Don’t like it?

Change it. Deal with it.

Wrangle with it. Learn it, understand it, reflect, ponder, and you will prosper. Flip it, reverse engineer it if you need to. Feeling sorry for ourselves only serves one purpose- it turns us into victims of life. Life is a gift, and you are a conquerer, a rider of the wave, a humble student.

Power of the most beautiful, incredible and lightest joy is at your very fingertips always like a sea breeze on the fringes of your heart waiting to come in.

If we cannot receive love or welcome the flow of abundance in our lives with the faith required, we cannot ever truly experience it.

It is like living in a steel-lined box, 1000 miles from anywhere and wondering why no one ever visits.

Everything in the universe has rhythm, so you can dance with it, or sit in the corner. It’s up to you.

 

Number 9

Say no thank you and remember sometimes people’s self-importance is a mirage. It isn’t real, and you don’t have to buy it.

Ponderings Magazine DIamons Tears Invictus

Number 10

Don’t think you have learned 1 through to 9, because just when you think you have they give you another big fat lesson to absorb. So go buy an Alpaca, they have big eyes, they love to listen and something tells me they don’t need to stand on pedastools.

Finally, the wise words of Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

I confess there were only a few swear words muttered with the lights last year, even though they were a complete Clusterf*ck.

Here is to 2020; a year of possibilities and potential.

A Nourished Life With Eco Warrior Irene Falcone

A Nourished Life With Eco Warrior Irene Falcone

A Nourished Life With Eco Warrior Irene Falcone

Q&A With Irene Falcone Nourished Life

by Ponderings Radio

When you look up the word motivated, Irene Falcone really needs to be listed. 

The dynamic business woman found a passion and turned it into an empire for healthy living. After suffering from physical symptoms Irene looked at her beauty products and discovered a trove of toxins. Horrified and shocked, Irene started looking for products that DIDN’T contain toxins…it proved to be difficult. The journey began to source products that adhered to a strict code and it only seemed right to share this with the world. Fast forward, and Nourished Life has become one of the most successful online Australian businesses, a unicorn in an industry so very toxic.

 

1) How hard has it been with an emerging competitive eco-market to stay in your lane focused and energised? You really started a platform and opportunity – a unicorn, so now this landscape is changing is it an effort to stay in front mentally and strategically?

Honestly if I ever get stuck, for whatever reason, whether it’s wondering if I should stock a certain product or how I should improve my website, I actually just ask my customers. I have always asked for their opinions and listened because at the end of the day, that’s why I do what I do. I don’t always have the answer or know which direction to go, so I just ask.

2) Did you ever have a gulp moment, and get scared about putting yourself out there, even though you knew it would be successful? If so, how did you move past it and get on with it?

Before I left my corporate job to concentrate on Nourished Life full-time, I was definitely worried about making the leap because it was all such a huge unknown. But at the same time, I knew I was making the right choice. People were following my Facebook page, they were genuinely interested, engaged and wanted more, and I knew I was really onto something. I had a gut feeling and just followed it and never looked back.

3) Do you get excited as technology, nature and science emerge to make personal products more active?

Absolutely, and my goodness, there is some incredibly exciting stuff happening now. There are brands who have literally created their own extraction methods to basically take a plant and put it straight into a bottle, so it’s still full of all the plant’s nutrients. Not only that but there are also massive innovations happening in packaging – compostable and biodegradable packaging, and now we can recycle any other plastic bottles, tubes, almost anything through Terracycle so that they can actually be made into new products like benches, tables and even playground equipment.

4) Is it getting difficult to research companies, and sustainability for natural product – production? Agricultural strain can be an issue with demand, how do you future proof?

Sustainability is incredibly important so I look for products with sustainably and ethically sourced ingredients or materials, usually backed up by certifications and transparent practices. There are some well-established brands who have actually used their own organic plantations and biodynamic farms to grow their ingredients for a long time – they have set an amazing example for the entire natural health and beauty industry, and hopefully even more brands will be able to follow in their footsteps in future.

6) Do you have a quirky habit?

I wake up in the middle of the night and have to get up to check that I’ve turned the oven off… even if I haven’t used it!

7) If you could sum up authenticity in a sentence what would it be?

To me, authenticity is not caring about what everyone else is doing but forging your own path instead.

8) As a kid, what was your favorite play time activity?

Riding my BMX!

9) Do you follow a spiritual practise?

No but I do try to meditate when I remember – it’s a really great way for me to relax, refocus and just be mindful.

10) What is the most important aspect of a Nourished Life team member?

I have a pretty good handle on people’s energy. It’s hard to describe, but I get a gut feeling and I can tell when someone is a perfect fit. I can see their commitment, their passion and their determination and I just know they’re truly dedicated to natural health and beauty.

Irene continues to grow Nourished Life, you can listen to her podcast Talking Clean With Irene  and check out the dynamic platform taking the country by storm and setting the standard for companies Nourished Life. 

We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Indigenous Australian Flag

Delicious Chaos – Interview with Clare Bowditch

Delicious Chaos – Interview with Clare Bowditch

Delicious Chaos Clare Bowditch Audio

by Ponderings Radio

Words by Kirsten Macdonald

On this planet, there appears to be an advanced species dexterously capable of left and right brain agility which is dangerously marvellous. David Attenborough missed the memo.

Delicious Chaos – Interview with Clare Bowditch

She comes with flaming hair, a voice teeming with talent, rich with humour and she’s a wordsmith and enjoys unusual cups of tea along with the joys of a backyard family jam. She’s an aficionado. Musician, actress, radio presenter, mamma, clever business human and an author…and there is more. But if we whisper ARIA win and Logie nomination, and add in the smattering of awards and deluge of really nice stuff people say about her- there is more than a little wow.  

We are not going to pretend to be cool here. We can’t. She’s thermal. 

Well versed in life experience, Clare Bowditch is a survivor and journeyer and now has more than enough ingredients to deliver a recipe of awakening.

Her new book Your Own Kind of Girl is the full menu of light and shade, this artist has wisdom to impart. The ‘be real’ memoir will no doubt be a refreshing insight to seekers of self-awareness, and it feels like a conversation. 

Treehouse or cubby house? Which one?

Treehouse for me. I wrote a song about it. I did have a treehouse as a kid. But I once read a book by Italo Calvino called The Baron in the Trees in my early 20’s and it was one of the books that inspired a song I wrote called “On this side”- and I also went to a school that had a classroom built into a tree. 

What is your perfect day?

It’s a very simple day. In a perfect day, all my washing is done. I collect herbs from my garden, everyone brings a plate. We get to sing together, and the kids really want to be there. On a perfect day- this is more exciting to them than tech, playing minecraft. My favourite days are always the multigenerational ones, and we might go for an ocean swim if the weather is nice. 

Where is your favourite place to shwalk?

“Shwalking” A term Bowditch coined to name an inclusive style of exercise: that combo of walking and shuffling that is not quite running but feels wonderful).

Anywhere there is a body of water nearby. St Kilda beach. You never know what you will see. 

What is your spirit animal?

The little girl sitting in her bathers on the cover of my book full of chutzpah. Master of guinea pigs…

My fave song of yours is “You look so good,” then when I read the chapter Amazing Life- I had an ‘aha second.’ It got me thinking that this workplace was THE specific cubicle and I have to ask- was it one and the same and what exactly was it that you wanted to touch? 

Hmmm, call centre, character maybe partly me? Mostly or partly fiction. I can tell you it was not the telephone I wanted to touch!

Do you think being a song-writer helped you when it came to writing the book?

For a long time, I didn’t really know how to express my emotions or how to give words to them. I had lots of feelings as a kid, and I thought that the trick was to learn not to speak them. I tried a few alternative routes, and I discovered as young adults, it’s actually a really handy skill to have.

This is one of the gifts of going to therapists and having writers like Stephanie Dowry, Caroline Jones and Dr Claire Weekes in Australia.

These are great women who taught me through their books how to speak about emotions. So this, combined with the love of making music, was a good training ground in a way for writing Your Own Kind Of Girl.

But, I think you can hide behind songs in a way that’s not possible in the writing of a memoir. So there were some really quite difficult growing pains with allowing myself to tell my story in so much detail but we did get there. I am seeing the value of it now.

Most intriguing person you have ever met?

The person I am with at the time, I genuinely believe we are all pretty bloody intriguing at our core. 

Who would you invite to your pool party?

(no hesitation-) Lizzo! I love her! Ohhhh more than one? Hmm, Ru Paul. Friends with opinions. Clem Ford, Zoe Foster Blake, and Jamila Rizvi- there are lots of people I would love to have; my family! Comedy side, someone like Will Anderson, writer; John Marsden. Actually, you know what? I’m more likely to invite anyone who wanted to come! Circa 1999! 

Piece of advice for people trying to make it as an artist and earn a quid?

Work out who you admire or who you are jealous of. Then really look at how cleverly they have worked. Forget the guilt about making money- give yourself permission to succeed and make money as well as do the project.

Learn from those that have been successful. Keep a lean ship- it will work out. When I started, I was teaching music lessons, working in a community house- you just have to start and get out there.

What lead you to write the book?

I had a nervous breakdown at the age of 21, which is the story I tell in the book. It gave me great hope that if I did recover from my nervous breakdown, I would one day write a story about it. I said I wasn’t going to write it until I was really old, but I would write it one day.

So it was with the hope and a promise but not the pressure that I would write it when I was in a better place. Thankfully I did learn how to recover and learn how to maintain my mental health. That was a great skill to learn, particularly in the industry that I am in. That’s one of the stories that I tell in my book as well as the love story.

(PS- We love the love the story- sigh) 

What’s been your favourite bit so far with the release of this book and going on the book tour?

By far, the best part- I was working on a hunch. I suspected that there were other people out there who needed this story the same way that I once did. It’s a story about living with and learning to work with self-doubt.

There’s nothing that triggers self-doubt louder than saying you’re going to write a book about it. It’s been quite a difficult few years getting to this point. So that’s really satisfying.

“I was on a flight, and when the pilot was preparing us for landing he announced that if anyone was looking for a bit of summer reading the author Clare Bowditch had written a book which he just bought in the bookshop and that I was onboard and I would sign books if they asked really nicely.

I just thought that was so funny. I pinched myself. What’s in this wine? You know he was this lovely Brittish guy.

That was bizarre and lovely. He bought the book for his wife- he had no idea who I was and I had no idea who he was- it was a lovely exchange.”

Have you found the book tour part of the process, fun but rigorous? 

It’s just always a surprise and an honour to connect with people. But I am effectively strongest when I am on domestic duties. That’s how I restore so I think it’s probably time for a bit of restorative pottering. It’s really the art of pottering that makes me come back to my centre.

What is your favourite tea?

I have a very special favourite tea. It is a tea that I inherited from my Godmother Rita. It is a fresh pot of tea. It is looseleaf. It is half earl grey, half English breakfast. I know, right?

You realise we’ll be trying this tomorrow?

It’s a strong tea with a good dollop of milk, and when I’m feeling a little crazy I add in another little trick my friend Kim taught me once- I add a knob of ginger. I know it sounds weird, but I’m tellin’ ya, it’s top quality.

What’s next?

Well next I’m actually going to do some pretty serious summer self-care I think. Lots of swimming. In terms of projects, I am finishing an album. I’m also doing a couple of special projects for Audible that will be released next year. But for now, I’m going to spend the summer decompressing.

In the film clip for ‘You make me happy’- you are messing everything up.

From a creative perspective do you sometimes think when things become stagnant or aren’t moving or not- in-flow, there is a restlessness that can happen where you create a little bit of subconscious havoc? Is that where creative juices flow from when things are too still? 

I think that life, as it has presented itself to me, has always offered this chance for chaos. I did ask a set of questions actually in that album: The Winter I Chose Happiness: can we be peaceful, creative moon units and still be productive in our work? So I tried to slow down my life and find this equilibrium that I heard existed and you know it’s beyond me, I couldn’t. 

So I embrace now that delicious chaos of this full dance card of parenthood, animals, creativity and making our living that has some meaning in the world. So I think I understand that restlessness very much. I do think it’s actually just a pretty normal part of the process of living as a human being. We get to choose as creatives what we do with that restlessness which is a great gift- the feeling, the calling to be creative.

Oh my goodness that is the best answer I have ever heard.

(Kate: I think we just wrote a song!)

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?

Just that I really appreciate what you are doing and I think this conversation is worth having, and I wish them all, and you, great courage. Don’t forget to tell your inner critic to eff off if it gets in the way- get on with what you are called to do.

Clare’s book is a best seller and can be found at all great bookstores (including airport lounges).

There’s Something About Baz

“The films I make are couture frocks — extremely labor intensive. You know, they’re like a beacon. You’re not going to...

 

 

 

 

 

Crumpets and Farting Rainbows

Crumpets and Farting Rainbows

Crumpets and Farting Rainbows

words by Kirsten Macdonald

Waxing lyrical about a majestic universe or avoiding A-Hole retrograde? You have come to the right place.

 

Humans of the earth I am going to cut right to the chase: where does the need for people to be un-nice come from? Truly?

Lately it feels like a-hole retrograde and social media words blowing out like radioactive solar flares – power obesity across the globe? Inequality tipping the scales in a dangerously precarious position, the children are about to fall out it seems.

When an activity puts others in dangers’ way or is harmful, interruption is necessary. The person/s guilty of said behaviour needs to be re-educated. But how? It all just a bit too much, isn’t it? Everyone in each other’s space, business and socials, criticising everything from parenting to little girls trying to save the world. We had one of those before, her name was Joan. She was burned at the stake. This one is being held high enough above the lick of flames. It took long enough though right?

Seriously- what the heck? Why should you care if so and so earns this amount, or that person’s parenting wasn’t what you envisioned it should be? Does he earn more than you and its not fair? Do you kick the footy enough with your son? Perhaps you shouldn’t have eaten that piece of chocolate? Oh Bother.

Don’t forget the pop culture and etiquette of smashed avo and saving a deposit for the thing we sleep under. Perfectionado city. According to Neil Degrassi Tyson astrochemists have gone from knowing nothing of molecules in space to finding a plethora of them practically everywhere. Anne Lorimor, an 89 year old just climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, breaking a Guinness World Record. The world is an amazing place full of unexpected delights and as humans we are capable of incredible feats. Surely making a dedicated world effort to kindle compassion and authentic connection should be on the agenda?

Do you laugh too loud or my personal favourite- are you just TOO ENTHUSIASTIC or passionate? C’mon really? I’m going to own the last one. Too enthusiastic. Am I? Yup. Like a Meercat on happy pills. Unless its Sunday, then I am a sloth on Smirnoff.

I once asked my doctor many years ago if I should be on antidepressants to counteract a period of melancholy; his response while retrospectively refreshingly honest was shocking.He burst out laughing. Heartily. A robust laugh. Which is quite seriously undebatable really. Because my melancholy was real and I have fought it my whole life.

I live hard and on purpose, I smell the roses with gusto and understand calm. 

 My friends call me Polly though because I have tendencies that flow towards flipping the situation into a positive. It must get annoying. (positive polly with her perspective gymnastics) 

I am not THAT positive. I don’t fart rainbows and wax lyrical all the time. I do not. I am totally guilty of loving the hell out of the people close to me. They get frequently told how awesome I think they are, but this is the truth. It is actually why we are friends because my friend detector is honed into awesomeness. Yeah I know right?

Comedians everywhere. But have you met my friends? I may not have been blessed with both eyelids, but God made up for it with friendship. If friendships were braziers, I’d have a K cup. Let’s be real here, I need some wins. K cup friendships might not save lives or obliterate aneurysms, but they certainly create treasures worth keeping.

For the record too, just because your health might be up poo creek without a paddle doesn’t mean you are not allowed to be happy or positive. Reality can co-exist.

So why am I pondering judgy people, criticism and defending my position on the positivity aspect you ask? Well, it’s Nellie Florence’s fault. AKA my Nanna. It was her influence that instilled the ideology to treat others the way you would like to be treated. The tricky bit is, my expectations then tend to be high of other people. I really struggle when people are unfriendly or unkind. This is tricky.

For example, I would never in a million years demand that another human go and buy crumpets at 7.30 am when the aforementioned human is doing their daily business in the bathroom. That’s just not cricket. I would never judge someone for their unco-ordinated running man.I never wish bad thoughts upon anyone either, another farting rainbow Kirsten thing.

The multiplicity of our human experience makes us like salt and pepper, when we mix it all up and shake it enough it all becomes lovely shades of grey. Incapable of separation because it all becomes one. Alan Watts style. If we thought about it all a bit more objectively perhaps we could preclude non-kindness.

We are built for survival. So I am wondering why the frontal cortex hasn’t established a decent relationship with the primal cortex. Not a reality TV show one with back stabbing and undie dropping. The long termer, finish each other’s sentence kind of one with a big cupid smooch. Good old Frontal is reason, primal is function and instinct.

Ok, so let’s put those two darlings together and create the pathway that goes like this- my legs won’t move unless I am kind. Before you can eat or scratch your ear- you would have to say to the people around you :

“Have I treated you the way you would like to be treated today?”

What the response would be?

Imagine if this was a prerequisite to social discourse? Customer service would make us blush with joy. Sex lives would be magically enhanced across the world, people with disabilities celebrated, and differences rejoiced. Wars ended, world leaders high fiving each other…whale hunters weeping at the destruction on the ship’s decks, snobbery abandoned, hunger destroyed, child marriages and exploitation might no longer exist.

Would our faith in each other grow? Would the homeless be housed? The hungry fed? The unloved be loved? This is my pondering. 

When we are kind, are there strings attached?

The strings are the expectation people might do the same if the situation was reversed. Where did this expectation of others having to be nice comes from? Yup, it was a childhood mantra. Problem is these days’ people get all tangled up in their own stuff. What happens when people don’t return the favour, and you are left like a kitty up a tree, and the branch is ‘abendin? 

 ‘‘Concentrate on YOU’’ is thrown at us every day, look after yourself first. Spend more time on you and less on others is blasted across the emotional airways. Look I am all for self-nurture, but if we are THAT tied up in our own stuff are we at threat of slowly growing narcissistic? The canaries looking in the mirror, preening their feathers. Quip of the day- Want to know how a narcissist is doing? Tell them about you.

Perhaps this is all about energy maintenance, staying in our own lane only to reach out and love another when guided to. 

For we are all our own creatures on a journey in this place, are we not?

I know when we conserve our energy and pour it into focussed areas that are sourced from an intuitive truth- we can only learn and grow. We can also create healthy boundaries. This includes unnecessary crumpet purchases and saying no to the mother’s group catch up where everyone hates someone and has a serious case of twisted knickers.

My mantra- always be kind to each other, be brave and enjoy the time you have with the people close to you as best you can. I know I will be. And children of Australia; please darlings, please let your parents have some private bathroom time, when something is evacuating your body, alone time is essential.

We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

The Case of The Exploding Brain

What will it feel like? It will be like nothing you have ever felt. How will I know? Oh, you will know! It will be the worst pain you could experience in your life. You will either be dead or wish you were. Good to know. Social Skills may not have been in his...

Ponder Kindness Part Two

There is nothing I like more than meeting a person who surprises you with a character that is refreshing and far from mundane.   This interview with Fr. Rod has created a joyful series of conversations that spark the mind. The most refreshing facet of this man...

The Architect of Awesome And The Order of The Teaspoon

Words by Kirsten Macdonald When Ronni Kahn walks into a room, you know it. It isn’t just because she is dressed in powerful layered shades of honey, laguna and mustard, her signature colour is yellow. She has a presence. One that is unapologetic and regal, shiny,...

A Forecast Of Charisma And Not a Plain Jane In Sightm

words by Kirsten Macdonald Jane Bunn is one very popular lady, with a prime spot as Australia’s beloved weather presenter and a feverish 40,000+ followers on Instagram and an App on the horizon; Jane is a bit of an enigma. A glamazon and fashionista; she is a...

Connection, Crisis and Corona

words by Fr Rod Bower Thoughts and prayers have got a lot of bad press of late. The term has been hijacked and used to characterise inaction when action was so desperately needed. Appropriate action in a time of crisis is always important as the 13th-century mystic;...

Lucy in the Sky with Blinders

Lucy in the Sky with Blinders

Lucy in the Sky with Blinders

Lucy McEvoy is an AFLW player. A Carlton player to be precise.

A bluebagger that might have ground curators shaking in their loafers. They might want to upgrade their Bermuda turf protection, as this burgeoning star prepares to rip up the field and take position. Described by sports commentators as a dazzling talent, Lucy McEvoy is a young sportswoman to watch. She is refreshingly open with a keen sense of humour and grin so big you can’t help but grin back- but she is not to be underestimated on the ground. The recent Carlton draft pick plays football with a tenacity that is compelling and fierce. 

I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Lucy on the eve of the draft at her home on the Bellarine Peninsula.

K: You were a promising basketballer, when did you know you wanted to swap to footy and when was the choice locked in?

L: I was selected in the first national side in 2016 at 14 years of age. I thought this is cool. I loved it, and it was so much more fun and physical than basketball. I loved the atmosphere and the competition. 

K: What do you love most about football? 

L: You get to play with your friends, the training is awesome, it’s fun, and the game is full of really good people. They just want to play footy and have fun with the game. I think its all about the culture and the vibe of the team. 

K: What’s your favourite position? 

L: Midfield, because I have been able to learn so much. But I actually enjoy all of them. 

K: The idea of tackling and falling so hard and being physically dominant in competition puts the fear of God into me, what do you love about it? 

L: I love the physicality of it, the tackling of it. It’s the only sport you can do it in without being abused. When I started playing footy, it sort of crossed over into basketball! So taking a screamer over a player and trying to stop tackling the players wasn’t working well (big grin inserted- told you she was funny.) Seriously though, pushing your body to its limits to see what you can do and with a team in play is the best. 

K: Outside of training, what do you do for fun or relaxation?

L: I walk the dog, Dudley, the German Sheppard cross Jack Russell. (He’s charming and looks baffled ponderers.)

K: Favourite athlète and why? 

L: Dustin Martin – he’s so good, you know when he gets the ball he’s going to do something good with it every time. 

K: Growing up, was there a particular person you looked up to or looked to for advice with sport?

L: There were a lot of good people, but Brendan Matthews- my Basketball coach from 8 to 16 was brilliant in giving me advice and guiding what I needed to do to improve in general in sport. 

K: Is it overwhelming coming into this newly recognised and supported arena or is it exciting, especially Carlton.  

L: Exciting. It is so exciting to get in there and see this happening, and it is a little bit surreal because it is so new. 

K: What do your family and friends think about it all? 

L: I think they’re proud (she’s humble) but everyone is super supportive.  I have a great group of mates and good people around me. 

K: If you had a choice of travel, where would you love to go? 

 L: I don’t have the travel bug yet really, but Australia, there is so much to see. I want to see all of it! 

K: Fave Comedian?

L: Kevin Hart  – he’s hilarious and quick. 

K: What do you wish was different about the attitudes toward women in sport and the male dominance aspect of opinion and performance? 

L:  I think its starting to change, I still feel like if it hasn’t come from a man, it’s not seen as relevant. There’s a little less recognition, but it is changing. I really look up to AFLW pioneer – Susan Alberti, – if you are in that environment, you have a duty to protect it and tell them what you think. This is what she does. 

 

K: Is the women’s competition of a high standard yet in your opinion, given the newness of it all? 

L: Oh yeah. The skills and abilities of the women players are really upping the competition. There are some injuries of concern, like ACLs and concussions, but this is changing. Things like running head-on to pick up the ball are stuff boys have been getting taught not to do since they were little.  There are motor skills and learned reflexes we are catching up on quickly, and it’s already a high quality game. 

 K: How did you go when you were younger playing with the boys? 

 L: The boys on my team were always really good. Sometimes at the start of a game, the other team would throw a bit of banter around about getting beaten by a girl, I wasn’t afraid to say something back. I’d give them a bit of banter back. I pushed, I wasn’t going to be pushed- gained some respect when they could see I could play. I’d go out and smash it, that was always fun to see the look on faces. (She laughs.) But most boys were supportive and inclusive.  I am still great mates with many of them today.

 K: Does anything really bother you?

 L: Most things negative or anything that is water off a duck’s back, I don’t get fussed by much or bothered. 

 K: Social media-obsessed? 

 L: (laughs) No. It’s good to see what people are doing, but I am not consumed by it.

 K: Treehouse or Cubbyhouse?

 L: Cubbyhouse, I think- so I could see everything. That’s a really cool question. 

 

We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

%d bloggers like this: