THEME- WHAT COUNTS AS A GOOD LIFE FOR THE PLANET FOR CITIES AND FOR INDIVIDUALS- NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK AT ST PAULS CATHEDRAL
I am going to start by going backwards. I spoke to Reverend Stephen afterwards and he shared that 40 invitations were sent out to various schools, only 3 chose to come of senior high school students. One small event; - as a passing wind over a few fertile minds and hearts, when it needs to reach hundreds of thousands! My response to him was there needs to be a global outreach ministry to schools posing the questions discussed today, for the young to contemplate debate study and integrate into educational curricula. Posing a way for inspired future generations to take the initiative now empowering them with the Holy Spirit, which really is what sits behind inspiration. It does not matter if people are not of a specific faith orientation what matters is the desire to act, the contemplative act followed by deliberation and action, the promotion of questions and questing to find solutions and answers, for there is no one answer as there is no one solution, there must be many, and many hands make light work.
I asked what the word Encyclical meant, referring to Pope Francis recent controversial and necessary presentation to his congregation. He told me that it is holy writ that has some authority within the church and the papacy, under the advice of thought leaders and other thinkers. So the Pope presented the work but it was not fully his own work. He had the final say but the document was composed and prepared. It’s funny I only learnt at Uni recently politicians have script writers, and here was I thinking their worlds were spontaneous! I would love to see a list of advisers attached to it, especially as he is the figure head of the Catholic Church. Many words from the grass roots and from the scientific community would have informed it, the Deep Ecology field has been actively communicating such for years as has the worlds indigenous peoples. Papal Encyclicals .net defines Encyclical as “A Papal Encyclical is the name typically given to a letter written by a Pope to a particular audience of Bishops. This audience of Bishops may be all of the Bishops in a specific country or all of the Bishops in all countries throughout the world”. The pope has called his perspective an Integral Ecology. I was impressed when I heard it, I thought he was tuned in, and it came from the heart of one illuminate with insight, tuned in or riding the winds of public sentiment. Time will tell. Even now there are those who do not support his sentiments. For the full document see here http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.pdf. Fro a video trancript and moving images see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vh-fTINLKsg Pope Francis' Encyclical: Chapter 1 - Section 4, Section 5, Section 6, and Section 7 by Bridges Programming.
So let us now go back to the Questions and the panellists. The Panelists are Mr Rowan Callik, Professor Peter Rayner, Melb Uni, Ms Leanne Hodyl, Melb City Council, Dr Karen Jones Uni of Melb, Dr Mike Arnold Uni of Melb, Dr Anne Elvey, Monash Uni /Uni of Divinity, Revd, Dr Stephen Ames, st Pauls / Uni of Melb, Dr Stephen Utembe, Uni of Melb.Science Week at the Cathedral brochure expresses “Men and women are created in the image of god and endowed with creative power Genesis 1 : 26-8. Technology is just one expression of the God given powers enjoyed by human beings. Will it be used in the ‘image of God’- human power that produces and sustains life in all its forms- or of an idol that degrades life?” Great questions to contemplate.
There were maybe 60 /70 students present. A couple of lay people, myself included. I had so much I wanted to say in response to all the panellists, the kids the whole thing. Yet it was not a completely open dialogue. So I listened and took notes.
Dr Karen Jones said “Good lives are necessary, lives in which agents engage in making”. The agency she refers to is the act of action itself, intervention to cause effect, the ability we all possess.
Dr Mike Arnold- said that there are questions of technology- engagements passed off to technologies “from the human world allowing us to be disburdened” engaging less as persons with the world. He asked “Which assists and which disengage?”.
Ms Leanne Hodyl- spoke about the concept of flourishing as what it means from a very individual level and in terms of housing design. She stated that future urban planning aimed to be ethical with accessibility of jobs, affordability, wealth , and spoke of apartment living , catering for a diversity of policy / decisions. She was young and expressed sentiments a bit at odds by the majority of panellists.
Rev Stephen Ames- spoke of the inherent “ selfishness by nature” of mankind. “A good life is a life lived for others a life for the betterment of the future”. Question What does a good life mean on the scale of culture? “We need to rethink agency- not just individual freedoms. Chains of dependencies, coming to know. What it means to be human and act more responsibly for other beings/ things that are not human. Training of desires in ways that are not good for the planet.
Question. "How do we get retrained versus our desires- Psalm 15 “If you worship Idols you become like them”. What counts as a good life, it takes care about where and what it worships. For the planet to go on being a massively life producing planet. Respect of living things. Cities- resilient cities that can handle the knocks and the stresses- one of the signs would be no homeless people sleeping in the streets”.
The speaker has no problem with the growth in cities and thinks it is not the problem. Pace not the problem but the form that they take. Feels we need to be smarter.
“To hell with future generations (sarcastically)- she referenced the Iroquios 7th generation rule, (Karen Jones), calling it a great moral crisis – we are not thinking in terms of what we owe to future generations”.
Stephen. “Prosperity but at what cost?”
Mike Carter Paints a cosmological scenario. How people lived sustainably over 30 million years now we have 6 billion people and space travel colonization ambitions. ?? [ paraphrased poorly].
“What’s the pathway to a sustainable life? that is the question. It’s not a question of do we have the tec, do we have the political will and shared view of life on the planet. Divine Economy. Life for all. Or do we want some other economy to run the show?”
“Political Will – Political imagination is what is needed. Human hearts and minds. Slow down or speed up. Who runs the agenda for how fast we run our life? Why are we running so fast? Who dictates? Growth and finitude needs to be held”- Anne.
A thought form the young fella who posed the question. “Look left look right to the people with us and we look forward”.
My commentary. We need to look above for divine wisdom and insight, below to the earth and foundations for all life, behind us to our collective traditions and knowledge our ancestry, before moving on into the uncertainty we face. And to our fellows left and right.
Question. Re development of definitions. “Have we or haven’t we already gone already gone too far?”Nicola, Nicloa raised the point of earth overshoot day, how we are consuming more than earth can sustain. For information on that go herehttp://www.overshootday.org/. In summary earth overshoot expresses how we are consuming more per year than the earth can replenish of its primary resources and that this reality is critical, critical for global realisation and seeding of action to remediate..
Views expressed were “its already too late. It does not change the obligation to work for a sustainable planet”. That there is a “Call from many people from all cultures to choose action- and make the difference. We must not give in to despair”. My apologies, as it was hard to track 100% who was speaking as the conversations got lively and different speakers spoke so all efforts made to try and preserve what I heard but as I write this now, it is a bit later on.
Anne referenced the Popes encyclical http://www.papalencyclicals.net/ as a critique, but must be looked on with hope. She advised to bring your gifts to bare on the issues and respond. Wise advise.
Question. Kalin Student- “How can science and religion unite to enhance a good of life?” Answer “Political and Individual will- to give voice to what we are not prepared to stand for” [ in the arena of human and global political affairs].
“Science [ contains the ]power for good or for ill- money /research- [ is used for ] ill uses, military industrial useless stuff. Religion has good and bad modes. How do we tap the good stuff?”. Rev. Stephen.
Mike- Healthcare we are healthier due to techo science[ really at what cost?]Techno optimists argue [ that the ] reason is techno science, that is why we are healthy, [i.e. increased life spans, ability to treat conditions that would have wiped us out years ago, agriculture etc].
Question. “With the help of technology moving into the future would you still be living a good life?”.
Answer. “Tech can be used to enhance agency (Karen Jones ) What matters is the relationship in which we stand to this form of knowledge and technology. The mode of engagement”. [It’s not just how you use them- we have always had them Where were they created? The ethics materials Long term effects].
Anne – “consumer turn over and disposability . This is the good life (sarcasm) waste waste waste”.
Rev Stephen mentions carbon costs.
Transhumanist question over receiving better legs, having perfect legs but wanting to get better ones because they are available. Rev Stephen- warned of the “seduction of human spirit. What is the vision of a good life? Mechanical excellence? What’s it gonna take to get that?”
My response in poetic form was
Be the tree who’s roots
Are planted firmly
so all my shelter under your roots.
My closing thoughts. I attended a few such events this week and all the conversations were centred around the things I have been writing about and the reason why we create the Triple Ecology gathering; is that there is a call in the realm of human affairs from within and from divine powers beyond us asking us to rise in defence of life, for all beings because if we do not rise to the challenge and make changes our current path is self destruction and the sixth great extinction via human agency.
What constitutes a good life is a life in harmony with all beings, with other nations, traditions and ways, other orders of living beings on a clean energy planet where every soul can reach potential, where wars are a thing of the past and the foundations or life are revered and used wisely. A life where we work towards balancing what we have done together because we did not know the consequences of our discoveries and technologies. But with foresight now we can prepare and at least attempt to lay a smoother path for our descendants because it is our duty. It is our future karma, For our descendants will be us reincarnated. It is the time of great tribulation, the age of Kali Yuga, the realm of maya (illusion), the great reckoning, transition, the apocalyptic age, it is called many things. It is the end of one age and the beginning of another. This era has been called The Anthropocene. Read about it below. How the Anthropocene plays out will depend on all of our actions and decisions now. The strata that gets deposited in the cosmic memory bank by todays humans will be an interesting thing to analyse some future time that’s for sure. Then we may look back and say we were crazy, we gambled too much and took everything for granted because life was all about industry and economics, not being and the foundations necessary for interbeing . http://anthropocene.info/index.php . I look forward to engaging with more young people so they may develop their minds and hearts to become stewards for the future, carers for the commons. It is after all our collective heritage on earth – for it to be a good life we need mass action. Every bit matters. After all, was it not mind over matter, now we have lost sight of matter we had better find our minds and quick smart or we may not find matter suitable for a foundation of life.
These issues I seek to address and promote in all my workshops and artistic practice, heal person heal community heal planet. Thank you. Catherine Meeson
The Festival for Healthy Living- A Melbourne Children Hospital Inititiave
I was extremely grateful to be recommended for the Festival for Healthy Living by a wonderful lady in my local community Centre. In 2014 I was employed as assistant artist and the focus was divided between well being and Arts assistant facilitation all rounder one could say. 2015 I was more engaged as an Artist per say in community Arts facilitation.
The Festival For Healthy Living program is a 3 year program that visits regions identified as having special need at community level. In this case it just happened to be my home town, an area of low socio economic status with ample community issues. The focus is for Children and also includes the larger community in capacity building.
We worked as a majority of the schools in the local region with thousands of students all up over two years of work shopping, and it may just continue next year.
The Workshops are held at both Primary school level and High school in a mix of art modalities. The focus is arts health engagement, how the arts can serve as preventive mental health mediums and to increase the general well being in the community, by assisting (intentionally) enhanced peer, family and social relations, more inclusiveness, affect on self esteem/ self worth and dealing with a range of identified issues. We worked with issues such as racism and bullying, literacy and so on.
The children were given the opportunity where possible to choose art form. They got to sample drama, performance, dance, rap, song, music, writing, visual arts, circus with a range of contracted professional practising artists. Even Hoola hooping!
River of Life as Closing Ritual at Staughton college - with community issues and identified personal resources
Engagement levels varied with artform, school and artist teams and the activity its' self. I was engaged across the board assisting with circus stuff, The Sisters and Brothers Project, Visual Arts, Drama and Music. At Melton South Primary school we made masks first as paper mache then as an extended cardboard and mache process which ended up as our wonderful bird heads in the opening parade for the stilt walkers at the Dream Big festival culmination day.
Coburns had all the artists teams. I also worked with Sisters and Brothers, Circus and running an Improvised drama session.
At Melton Secondary we worked in the gym which was a bit of a challenge with sound. Marnie made the wonderful big Wedge tailed eagles with her group, that are a feature animal out on the western plains and of course connected to the Aboriginal creator dreaming story -Bunjil.
Melton South Primary Mask making
It is the opportunity that is important for the children. Sport is a well publicised and supported part of long term health care but the arts, as yet, are not widely understood for their long term health benefits. Whether a person chooses to become a professional artist or just to express themselves, as hobbyist crafts person etc, engagement is the key, self discovery, promoting a sense of joy, risk taking, promoting positive self worth and esteem. It is not about producing finished products of high art, even though we worked towards a grand finale in the second year as the festival event in the big tent, where all schools came together and contributed. See pictures below.
The Day the Circus tent came to town to Dream Big- featuring Shadow play, Melton Secondary college Wedgetailed eagles made by Marnie and co and Kris' tree made with Staughton college kids
The best part for me was not only getting paid, meeting new artists and having the perfect job that was an intersection of my skills, but seeing the kids have a go, learn new skills, make new friends, discover things they did not know before, about themselves, and the arts. Everyone in the community was very proud on our big day and I am so proud of all the kids for their fantastic work, we hope that in some small way or maybe a big way, their encounters with these art forms in ways which are not prescribed curricula, my enrich their lives. It is about having fun, trying and being engaged promoting positive mental health in the process. Who knows maybe we sprouted a few life long arts practitioners in the process, or at least encouraged them on their journey?
Thank you to the amazing and inspirational John Lane, The Royal Childrens Hospital, Linking Melton South, Regional Schools, teachers, Education department and Health workers, and all the fantastic artist teams, what an wonderful project to be involved in, I learnt heaps!
Triple Ecology Gathering- Sonic Relations How sound is the world? Blog 21st August 2015
© Catherine Meeson words and pictures
A Sharing of Deep Sacred and Healing Ecologies at Kinglake April 24-26 2015
The Triple Ecology Gathering came about by a collective dreaming and happened to manifest in direct alignment with some workshops I had been offering titled ‘Healing Persons Healing Communities Healing Planet- An Empathic Visionary Practice’. This also came close on the heals of finding the Be the Change Community and doing the Awakening the dreamer Changing the Dream Symposium leader training of Pachamama Alliance. At this time I started to see just how many others were saying the same things as I was and in what fields they were active and these fields had names. They were not just indigenous and tribal peoples, but scientists theologians, activists artists, every shade and colour of humanity one could think of. This was very heartening to me as I had felt very alone in my perspectives and work for a long time. I had been presenting workshops which deal with healing of person and planet through creative arts methods and incorporating a whole lot of spiritual wisdom and scientific perspective from an artists and healers orientation.
So the Triple Ecology Collective was dreamed into being by a small group of mostly women but a few gentleman and we began the work of event planning with a focus on the three ecologies and also linking in to the global knowledge and lore commons around the triple theme in all its incarnations. On our first dreaming day in Warburton we planted our intention by the river with the trees as witness and the waters to hear our prayers. Our children played by the river, they who are the future they for who we do this work, as well as the earth herself and the whole life communities. To summarise- we defined the ecologies as-
DEEP ECOLOGY –IS DISSOLVING THE SEPARATION BETWEEN HUMAN AND NATURE
SACRED ECOLOGY –ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THE NATURAL WORLD REQUIRES REVERENCE AND UNDERSTANDING
HEALING ECOLOGY –TWO WAY EXPERIENCE OF HEALING BETWEEN HUMAN AND EARTH
Many people were invited to come camp out with us and host workshops along these themes. Our home ended up being Kinglake which was so devastatingly affected by fire in the black Saturday fires a few years back. Our site host lost his whole Wildnerness Park facilities and had to rebuild. The Trees spoke to us all weekend. The land has not fully recovered despite green shoots everywhere. The trees are amazing beings who must of screamed as their life force receded to the roots and the inner layers of their skins to hold on for dear life as the flames encircled and devoured their foliage to the very tree tops. There is a marked absence of bird life and song, even for autumn, I listened , there were a few birds but not what one would expect from a lush forest. Tragic. So we were well placed to bring healing intent here to this land where over a hundred people and no doubt thousands of animals and plants lost their lives.. Please enjoy the photos of the space.
Some camped some cabined, and we had tipis for workshops as well as the main hall and the forest. We had a magnificent caterer Sun Hyland who made absolutely divine food nourishing everyone. It was a weekend of linking head heart and hand, or the thought aspect, and the higher mind to the heart –compassion, to action and will being the tangible means of change making.
In alignment with this my offering was from a Sonic Activists perspective.
Catherine Meeson is a multi modal artist/ musician trained healer and transpersonal therapist with a passion for arts eco activism. She uses creative arts therapy methods in workshops to explore person and place relations with an experiential focus using all sensory mechanisms. She has her own record label Sonic Sanctuary – for her Ambient electro acoustic folk rock and soundscape work. She is currently developing comprehensive course material in Sound Music and Healing field.
TRIPLE ECOLOGY OFFERING
‘Exploring knowledge gleaned from a lifetime of study and life experience in the field of sound music and health, Cath will explore Sonic and power relations (acoustic ecology) and how sound affects and reflects the health in ecosystems. It’s biological, Psychological and ecological impact. This will be experiential and contemplative using sound, image, lecture and white board with process work. She is a ‘Sonics Educator and activist’ .
My presentation was educational and contemplative as I provide perspectives and then ask you to experience engage , contemplate and dialogue finding your own answers I provide the facts from a spiritual science and knowledge of the ancients perspective, also incorporating conventional science findings from the diverse sound studies field and music therapeutics. I covered the nature of sound- human and animal perception, sound levels and propagation, sonic behaviour in space, environs, Masura Emoto , Margaret Watts Hughes, Cymatics and the World Soundscape Project, Acoustic Ecology. Prayer intention, Sounds affect on matter, and sounds affect physiologically, psychologically emotionally spiritually and how it impacts behaviour and explorations of how sound mediates relations. And I posed the need for ‘a sonic ethics’, challenging things like the outdoor dance parties which take over natural spaces and bring high level sound systems in affecting all life around them. Such knowledge is the staple of my work and also getting incorporated into my Sound Music Health training, equipping you with the knowledge and information to be a voice and presence for healing, sanity and sanctuary.I assert that the world( as a larger collective entity of persons and systems) is not very sound.
The Triple Ecology Collective also had the intention to establish a community of practice by networking all interested in this work and establishing a foundation for further events knowledge dissemination and training/ workshops etc.
We are about to begin working on our 2016 gathering and the Triple Ecology Gathering is also taking root up north where persons are engaged with organising a Triple Ecology Gathering of their own up Byron Way.
If anyone is interested in my work I would be happy to come and do a presentation as a consultant or workshop facilitator and can tailor work specifically for your event. I offer half day training and weekend workshops. Please peruse my other blogs for more information about my work and visit my music website below.
Next series of blogs a belated review looking at Conference Earth Shaping the Future a two day event held last year at Deakin University. Cluster a new facebook model for Do-gooders enabling social change and mass scale networking and directly engaged philanthropy, and Exploring Eco Spirituality- Faith Ethics and Professional Life with the Australian Earth Laws Alliance plus What Counts as a Good Life for the Planet, for cities and for individuals (notice the triple theme) an event held t St Pauls Cathedral as part of National Science Week a panel of theologians and academics for senior high school students and community . Stay tuned for these.
Also visit my Youtube channel for examples of my music, performance art- sacred theatre and arts activism. I hope to branch into documentary making and video commentary later in the year as well as film making and have a third album Contemplating Buddha due for release soon as well as a three act play By the Mandate of Heaven well under way.
The first photo demonstrates a small tract of land that has been left relatively as it was according to local government. I do not know the expected life span of the Greybox species of tree ( 40-200?) or other local flora but most of the trees are small. I feel it is a place of constant renewal.
It is just down the road from a current work site in a very scenic new building by an artificial lake.
My concern whilst acknowledging the intention to protect the land for ‘future generations’ is with Generations. What does it imply? In the minds of most people it is for their use or benefit, what we call the anthropocentric view. It is essential emphasis is given to the ‘future generations’ of plants and animals protecting their right to be; the self existent matrix of life present the local eco system and the place itself. Including all the mineral ores, microbes and other such aspects that make up a whole.
We must start teaching our children that the world is not here to serve them. It is not here only for humans. We are not masters of the domain but a part of it. A co-habitant. We occupy the same space as every other species and yet our actions, our lifestyles, indulgences and appetites are wiping them out.
It is tragic to lose the beauty of life. Whether one subscribes to views such as transmigration of souls, of life forms that allows for and accepts the movement of life between kingdoms and realms, or not, and gives a space for all souls all life forms to recycle. Loss is loss and often unnecessary. The point for me is, the great beauty and diversity here now, of which we have lost so much already. The life that exists does so as part of an integrated whole. For complex systems to evolve and thrive takes the passage of long spans of geological time and the essential stability of conditions. Climate change is a constant , the tides of life on earth are always shifting, species always move, adapt mutate and settle new areas, emerging as new forms, but now we are taking over the earth there is very little space left to go that allows for this movement without a big cleanse. We have degraded our environments considerably, changing the very face of the earth ( clearing, mining, etc) and her innards (drilling, hydraulic fracturing, tapping the water tables, injecting nuclear waste and toxic chemicals for storage). New balance must be found and it will, it may not favour the human realms. Unless the human realms make reparation efforts and become mass agents of re-genesis and bio-genesis.
QUESTION What does future generations mean to you?
Me and My Body day. Expressions and identity- don't we all have an identity? The right to be and be at home in our bodies, our homes our communities of life?
I write this as I sit and ponder the future of my programs combining the arts, therapies and activism. I am working on Eco arts Education. What ever workshops I do I try to weave in relational themes, environmental themes. I am not an exert but I do care and I do what I can. With the children it is crating awareness of life, through pictures, through songs, through reflecting on what they know about their world already and what they know of their body in space. How it is all one big jigsaw puzzle. We work with imagery of forest, flower garden, birds, butterfly’s simple things which can carry stories which reveal a state of awareness (or not) of the world around them. A couple of pictures of the children’s art is included.
Spirit of place musings. Eynesbury Grey box forest.
Most of the trees are young, I would be surprised if any were over fifty years. You can see the rate of growth and regeneration. Some elder trees are present but not many. This was a land teeming with forest pre colonialism. The rate of growth does not seem to match the rate of decay. Yet there is a good presence of birds. It is dense but dispersed. It is a small pocket of land that just stands out starkly in the clear felled landscape all around it, that was originally back in the 1860’s onwards converted farm land. So what has been allowed to remain is important, a green wedge a vital sanctuary for local species, a corridor. Yet how we think that narrow spans of green life, of bio habitat are enough to ensure conservation of species is beyond me.
The place says help us to remain- help people to understand we exist too, if we are not regarded we cease to be. Life is to behold the majesty of creation, the diversity of forms- Speak for us. The same message I get from land everywhere. Speak for us, speak for me. The winds share the mystery of the cycles of time, the forest holds the memory in tis dna, know the seasons, know the tides, understand the field of life. Relate, be with us.
I include pictures which demonstrate signage in the area. Talking about concepts like Our Home- a current future estate development a few minutes down the road. A place of displacement from over a hundred years ago for other species. A place that was cleared, a place that is now to be home to humans and dogs and all their creations. Another showing bones, that speak the melody of the past, natural tree sculptures and other things.
Ask yourself What Does Conserved for Future generations really mean? What guarantees are there that people will honour their words when the bones tell us life goes in cycles, creatures come and go civilisations rise and fall. Decay is a certainty, growth a constant, yet some growth is out of control. Ponder. How might you make a difference and educate the future? What bones do you leave behind?
© Catherine Meeson June 2012 & 2015
I am part of a local Friends network whom 9 years ago began the task of rehabilitating our very neglected local creek. There were a few dozen to begin with and well as with all things volunteer, enthusiasm wanes ,life and other duties get in the way and the work slows. There are many factors that contribute towards successful cooperative ventures but in the case of environment and conservation I believe it is love, love of life, love of all life, the natural order and an appreciation for beauty. What also drives efforts such as ours, from my perspective, is a deep sorrow over what modern man’s lifestyles and habitation are doing to the environment. Mankind mercilessly continues to clear land for homes and farming, reducing the natural habitat pushing the boundaries of flora and fauna further and further into the void of extinction. In place we would plant what we would like, often misguided choices that are not sustainable in the name of vanity and show. Now there is nothing wrong with a beautiful garden and a mix of worlds, but I think it is a question of balance and now we have the know how; of what is, appropriate. Are our actions in harmony with the greater good or just selfish desires? That is a question that must be tackled by everyone alive, it must come from the heart and the mind aligned to higher will for the benefit of all living beings.
We co-habitate this planet, we should not dominate it. Dominion has been falsely and selfishly misconstrued in the name of power, to corrupt and abuse at will. Our dominion in the misunderstood name of the Eternal Father has ruined the mothers balance and killed off many of her life forms. Enough said in this light for now.
This is a story , that I share of inspiration and a little knowledge that may promote a different view of the natural world and the healing process. I believe as many do, whom are inspired by the old ways, the knowledge and wisdom of indigenous cultures and our own Western spiritual teachings that the Earth is sacred. The garden of Eden, of delights, of experience, plenty and beauty. The earth is populated with a bounty of species most of whom we will never know personally, and yet they dwell with us. Their cell stuff composed of the same earth materials, the water they consume , ours too, the air they breathe and generate; our heritage together. It is all these beings together that generate the web of life and the planetary life force. The Earth herself has an aura which science terms the Atmosphere, with layers, the Troposphere, closest to Earth, followed by the Stratosphere and Mesosphere and the Thermosphere. They serve the same function as an aura, for a smaller being, life support and protection. It is not just an inanimate mass of rock with plants and animals dwelling upon it. There is great variety in the many types of species and habitats and ecosystems in which they dwell. Climatic variations, topographic variations, geological and botanical, account for the diversity that has developed over aeons of time, etc. The point in mentioning this is the need to understand what a given place can and cannot sustain, which brings into question how much we should impose our will and technologies upon adapting and changing the given to do what we want. The question has to be asked by every human being, and the responsibility for the consequences of our actions born equally by all.
In Australia we have the benefit of insight from habitat change and species introduction, being able to observe in a small time frame what such introductions of non native species has done to the plant and animal kingdoms. Across the nation many volunteers and employees are setting about the task of rehabilitating lands and waterways. It is a long process, indeed inter-generational work, costing a great deal of effort, money, and heartfelt enthusiasm. It is take a great deal of effort now and into the future for coming generations who value and understand the integrity of all life systems, of all living beings, to create the needed change. The site at the beginning and in 2012 in the gallery below.
In these short years we have been able to remove noxious weeds, plants, and re-vegetate with native and indigenous plants of the region. It is important to know what is part of the region, the local ecosystem, for the web of life that dwells there, providing food, shelter, materials and habitat for them. We took photos when beginning and now we have a transformed place. The energy is different, the community ownership different. The work is done by many in the community from volunteers in the group to various businesses, schools, Corrections Victoria people, NAB, Volunteers Australia, Melton special School, Local council, Western Water and Melbourne Water contractors. This collective collaborative effort has wielded the results you can see for yourself.
All whom participate tend to have a sense of pride and enhanced self worth for having contributed. Many say it is a relaxing thing to do, though at times strenuous,. On a completely different level, the title of the piece is called Community Social and Environmental rehabilitation. As we tend to the rehabilitation of Earth and water, of our planet, we are tending to the rehabilitation of our own bodies and souls . Through affinity, resonance, relatedness and a whole complex bio energetic phenomena, involving the planetary life force that the many ancient masters speak of as chi/ prana etc. We exchange chi, life force, life energy. Our energy field harmonises with the field of place spoken about in geomantic literature. We bring our heartbeat into rhythm with place, our brainwaves synchronise with the Earth’s natural frequencies , or the Schumann resonance of 7.86 Hz cycles per second. If one even imagines the Earth inside an Aura, a bubble is what one sees, like an egg in the first stages of cellular division. We live in this planetary egg.
For optimal states of health and well being people need to dwell in various consciousness states and be able to transition effectively between them. The life enhancing states support both relaxation and stimulation. Yet our culture tends to be geared to ‘ gogo go’ on stimulation all the time, in excess. Our electrical lives, plugged into the ‘Great Grid Umbilicus’, the new navel, which runs at 60hz to power our devices. To be in those fields all the time is unhealthy . We seek out peace, quite, and nature instinctively to restore the balance. The sounds of nature are also composed of harmonics and frequencies that are life enhancing, covering the complete range of human hearing 20- 20,000 Hz. These sounds were created as part of the same bounty of life as we were, part of the creators bosom. Coming to places like the creek exposes you to elements of sound that are harmonious, and renewing, such as bees, frogs, water trickling, bird call, gentle and soft sounds. One will leave felling released and recharged, even after a short time.
In Australia we have a landscape of floods and rains, as was once said by one of Australia’s early poets, Dorothea Mackeller. This means, it is quite normal for us to have extremes . I reflect on this because the old river red gums that grow so beautifully along the creek can be uprooted and have their mighty branches snap. Many of the younger River reds we have planted have been uprooted by flooding, or vandalism but not all. The whole river has changed, and the walking courses differ from what they were before settlement. This Toolern Creek site is earmarked for development and so is the Werribee River and Melton Reservoir. This means more pollution, more illegal dumping and less habitat for many creatures. These lands were once very different 150 years ago. But all was cleared by White man for farming and grazing.
Collectively we grieve, we grieve for the loss that we see all around us, of habitat, of species, of life. Our culture our civilisation seems like a big monster, a mighty machine with so many cogs, so complex, that no simple solutions are enough. How could there ever be enough to renew and replenish what we have already lost, the thousands of species slipping into the void of extinction daily..
I come here to sit and commune, to listen to nature who has taught me so much. I come here to plant and weed, to remove rubbish, I come here to vent and rage at what I see, I come here to say sorry. I come to listen to myself, to soul, to the movements of the whole which can always be discerned in the smaller systems of life. A river is like a tributary leading into the body, connecting, nerves, muscles and bones interconnecting through it’s arterial system, the whole. The rivers are the life blood of the earth. For aeons, we have depended upon the rivers and the seas, all one needs to do is look, all one needs to do is listen, to feel, to know. Know that the balance needs restoring; know that our actions are powerful. Know that we can be creators of great beauty and harmony as well as destroyers.
The dual nature of existence lay within us all. Humanity is a Creator Destroyer, but the actions of our species ‘now’ are the key. Not all destruction is destructive. Destruction can lead to regeneration and renewal. Maybe we need a great destruction of biblical proportions, to re evaluate. It is a question of balanced relations. Not all creations are creative in the sense of the beauty of an illumined mind. We destroy the beauty and we create ugliness and in -harmony. We go against the wisdoms of the ancients. We deny our collective knowledge and heritage at our own peril. Now we are trying to recreate the beauty and reverse the ugliness. They are ALL manifestations of the being within. We are planetary stewards, stewards of life, we were not meant to destroy the delicate balance. With that I ask you to consider what your legacy will be? Because the responsibility is yours you see, and mine, and his and hers and theirs. There is no us and them in relation to a whole race of beings’ dwelling within a planetary system. There is only ‘Us’.
By listening, we hear. We enhance our hearing and our perception our knowledge. We listen to what is audible, and that will tell us a lot about the nature of any given place. Have you wondered why we don’t seem to see or hear, the birds, the sounds of the natural world any more, bees, leaves, water rustling. We have created towers in the sky. Fields of houses replace the once green forests. Concrete runs rampant like a tumour. Our creations blind us, they block out the suns light, they cast shadow .they limit our perception of the Universe. Our creations deafen us, traffic, trains, the sounds of industry, of our electronic gadgetry. We terrify the animals with sound pollution. Our electronic illumination has not necessarily illumined our minds or hearts. We have desensitised ourselves to the planetary being and now we seek to colonise Mars!
The planet contains a living evolving energy field. I ask you, What do you need to survive as a human being, the essentials?. Cast aside your way of life for just a moment and ponder your essence. Water, food, shelter and relatedness. This all comes from the Earth, it is sustained by the planetary being. Whether vegetarian, meat eater, vegan, it is not just about the nutrients we ingest but the life force, the essence. We are all composed of the same stuff, and we are all dependants, though we claim otherwise. What happens when crops fail, when floods, destroy yield, when scorching sun turns crops to a crisp and dries up lakes and rivers? Through time, through our history we moved on. Through time and through geological history such changes happen, slowly and rapidly. We as a species adapt. All other species adapt or perish. We don’t have many places we can migrate too any more, and we leave pollution and destruction in our wake, toxicity and residue that will seriously interfere with the functioning of ‘all species’.
So in this realisation, is a key to the future health of us all, of our planet, our cultures, and the collective of beings. It is not only our physical selves that suffer, but emotionally, mentally, spiritually we suffer too. So do the animals. So do the plants. And so does the mineralogical layers of Earth which are strata of all our life. True healing can not occur only at mind level, through laboratory studies and chemical trials / vaccines or pharmacology. It has to start at the level of relations. Planetary relations between all kingdoms. From the place of ‘I am that’, of kinship with all life, as the Indigenous have always demonstrated. It is only since the Industrial Revolution that we have gone out of kilter in such a dramatic way, the machine age, the age of science, which must come to the conclusion that whilst we can seek to know, we will always be humble seekers, we are given so much , so with this we must carefully consider. True healing needs a bodily integration, a spiritual insight, an energetic knowing , a relatedness. A comprehension of the whole being by the whole being.
I believe that conservation and rehabilitation should be integrated into schooling, into formal rehabilitation programs, for physical level rehabilitation and mental health programs. I believe if we create places of sanctuary and healing and allow people to interact with the environment in the multitude of ways possible, that healing will be much more rapid . All hospitals should have sacred gardens, doctors surgeries could be fitted with plants, harmonious colour schemes, mellow music to ease patient anxieties. . Urban landscapes should have not only parks, but many many more community gardens for people to grow food and flowers, for all of us to learn what was once our collective heritage. . Education should have curricula centred around contact with the natural world where children are taken out regularly on field trips as part of their learning., Writing , maths all the essential stuff can be integrated into field learning, tactile contact. To comprehend what conservation is, one needs to have an active relation to established, honoured and nurtured.
On a bio energetic level we need to connect to the earth through our base chakra, through the body, through the feet, through the hands. If we work on this level we will affect all other levels of being. I believe spiritual realisation is the key to integrated living and community environmental rehabilitation.. If our base chakra is blocked, we will struggle to connect to the earth, we will struggle with connectedness in relations, we will have body problems and problems on other levels of our being. Our cultural practises are very mind oriented and the global body (Earth and person) suffers with conditions such as obesity, anorexia, many diseases and traumas, which reflect our relation with and to, Earth. The better connected to the earth we are, the healthier is our state of being. If we work to heal the environment, we work to heal ourselves, in reciprocal relationship. If we work to heal ourselves, a consequence of balance is to walk balance, in all relations., and contribute to giving at a community level. But this level must include the Earth and it’s inhabitants. Human beings can no longer be the dominant species, wreaking havoc on the natural world. We need to become wise beings . We need to let the heart guide, the heart of love, not pride. The heart that is connected to the same pulse as all life, which is connected to the wisdom of the ages. We were given these wisdoms, as a guide, the more we ignore them on a collective specie hood level the greater the peril we will face on a , resource level, habitat level into the future. The days of instant gratification and short term gain must cease to be motivational factors.
The question now is what will we do? How will we choose to be? Given what we now know? Will we collectively heal and restore the environment and our community or will we continue on our selfish mindless path, consumers who preach dominion at the expense of other species and who practise exploitation as a god given right?
See Beginning Image and Now (2012) Images 3 & 4 in the gallery below.
Your body is my body.
Social groups come together as a form of social service but the principles go much deeper. If this level of volunteer effort was embraced and actively pursued by many more, the transformation would be immense, yet one can only act from a sense of relation to. If someone feels they have no relation to, they will not act. So how do we re-establish interest, in relation, to? It is the relationships that are primary, the relations to all things, the Buddhists speak about it, all Native traditions speak about it. We know in our collective psyche what we must do, yet our habits die hard, the immensity numbs, the apparent lack of time thwarts many a willing hand. It will not take miracles, just a little individual and collective effort, a little love to restore right relations. A snowflake can start a snowball which can start an avalanche. Let our avalanche be motivated by love and relation.
One can just come and work on whatever level one is able. Even people who seem incapacitated, such as folk in a wheel chair, could be involved, giving out the plants to be planted that are on the table, or handing out the seeds to scatter! When engaged one slows down, connects with the body and the breath, becoming absorbed in the activity and replenishing the nervous system. It is like an active meditation and relaxing for most, even though digging can be really hard work, and bending all the time etc. Even people with diminished capacity can still give what they can. Every bit counts. Administration, management of people, communications, storytelling and teaching the young, conducting walks and exploration days. For those whom have no garden, it is a way to tend the garden, establishing in them a sense of ownership, relation and pride.
know for me this process has been very healing, very heartening. I know there is an emerging field devoted to Eco - psychology or therapy, the use of nature for health and healing. It is about life, at a fundamental level of relatedness, belonging and connection. I keep saying his because it is true. Many have grown up with little contact with nature since they were kids. Some grow up in countries living in high rise with hardly a green thing around!
I have been on a long healing journey from both chronic physical illness, and P.T.S.D./ Depression. I have been able to reaffirm self and relation to the wider world. It was not something I was taught it was something that was within, that was nurtured by listening and relating directly, by interacting with nature in all her elements. I have rebuilt slowly, remodelling my life, to what I want. This process of remodelling and reconnecting could be offered as intentional rehabilitation on many many levels, for diverse client populations. There are many community health concerns which could benefit from working with nature, both in environments which are in a good state and those that are not.
Concerns and fears and phobias over snakes and spiders, or other predators/ dangerous animals should not halt our efforts. Land owners and corporations have a greater responsibility to the collective and the span of time, because they have the Earth to work with, they have more resources . We have together worked on a piece of land, a water way that while extremely small and modest, it is a beginning, an example of what can be done with dedication and many hands over time. Yet one needs to realise that it is indeed inter generational work ( it has taken generations to get like this ), to change the habits of our ancestry, of ourselves and replant the seeds for the future in a more ecological manner , educating our children in right relations. These are our tasks. I want everyone to get inspired, to care, to heal the earth and themselves which will affect the community level at the same time. Make connections, pioneer, build relations and inclusiveness, every effort is worthwhile. Even a small crack in a hard veneer is enough to allow the trickle of wisdom to enter.
We are a bit beyond just doing my bit with recycling. Consumer habits and practises need to change We need a fundamental rehabilitation of our whole way of life, as a culture from the ground up. We have the knowledge, we have the ways, we have the means, Do we have the Will?
The beginning and looking up the embankment (see gallery below image 5 &6)
Leadership is needed from Individuals, from Corporations and Organisations, from Schools and Governments, policy makers, all levels of society, to effect the necessary change in a timely manner. Economics can no longer be the motivating factor for action. We must take the task on, of Environmental and Social Rehabilitation , for it is our collective responsibility.
From the ground up it is time for direct action.
In closing, I want to apologise if this sounds preachy. My mother always criticised me when I was passionate about anything, and yet I must speak up, with the voice I have been given, with the insight I have developed however meagre and use the abilities I have to make a difference. Here is a link to a wonderful article I found which supports my proposition here, giving context within the very framework which got us into this mess, that of our own theological interpretations and societal underpinnings..
an interesting article on the same is available at the link below
A book I highly recommend on Environmental Rehabilitation is Earth Repair by Leila Darwish
I also recommend if you want to explore these themes and see what you can do to respond, participate in The Awakening the dreamer Changing the dream symposium developed by the Pachamama Alliance.
Local Facilitators including myself can eb connected to via Be The Change Australia
The kingdom of Heaven is within, and if so, then what is within your kingdom? for that; is what you bring into the world!.
Friends of Toolern Creek 2009
I am a girl from the North who lives in the South...a Minstrel of melody, a wordsmith, creatrix extraordinaire! I Compose sonic tapestries and create visual delights, and tantalize with tales from other times! Multi modal Artist/ Creator with Words, Pictures & Sounds. Ambient Music composer & singer songwriter. Artist/ therapist/ healer.