February 11, 2016

21 years

This time 21 years ago, I was hauled off to the Mercy hospital in the early stages of labour. Not yet twenty-one myself, suddenly it hit me, I was about to become a mother.

I remember telling the midwife that I wanted to go home. I've changed my mind, I said, I don't think I can go through with this.

Having seen this kind of thing before, she gently touched my hand and said, it will all be second nature once your baby is here.

Just before my father had passed away some four months earlier, he told me that having this baby would be the most perfect thing I'd ever do.

Fast forward 21 years and I certainly can't say it has been perfect... I've made a ton of mistakes along the way, but in so many ways I was still a child figuring things out myself.

And yet, despite my fears, and lack of life experience, from the second my baby boy was born, I knew that all I wanted to do was love him.

It's a funny thing how one moment you only have yourself to contend with and then the next minute you are catapulted into motherhood.

I had barely been able to take care of myself up until that point and then suddenly I was taking responsibility for this tiny, helpless being.

But the midwife was right. From the moment Jaiden was born I became overwhelmed with a primal need to protect him and I knew that I would move heaven and earth to keep him safe.

It's almost impossible to believe that 21 years have passed since that night in the hospital. That next morning and the hours and days that followed remain permanently etched in my mind. I can still recall the way it felt to be so fundamentally needed.

He depended on me for everything and though I'd been entirely self-absorbed up until that point, I was humbled by the experience and I absolutely loved being his mum. I still do...

After being a mum for so long it is an adjustment when your kids grow up and forge their independence. I am not needed like I was when my boy was little and that's the way it's supposed to go.

If you do your job right and I have done mine to the best of my ability, then they eventually saddle off into the world as capable adults.

But watching your kids grow up is a very bitter sweet experience. When they are born we cannot wait to tick off all the important steps and milestones and yet when they grow up we cannot help but feel nostalgic for the past.

Every birthday takes us that bit further away from the beginning and there is a strange sense of loss that sits side by side the pride we feel in our hearts.

I couldn't be more proud of my son and I wouldn't choose a different experience. He is everything I hoped he would be, and more incredible than I could have even imagined.

But on this eve of his 21st birthday, the biggest milestone of them all, I find myself feeling nostalgic and perhaps a little melancholy about how quickly those 21 years went by.

Happy 21st birthday Jaiden James. I love you.

May 3, 2015

The Forced Closure of Remote Indigenous Communities: Another Racist Policy

The forced closure of remote Aboriginal communities is being touted as a necessary decision by the West Australian Government.

Last year, WA Premier, Colin Barnett announced his plans to close 150 of the 274 remote Aboriginal communities after the Federal Government decided it would no longer foot the bill for municipal and essential services to remote communities.

These services, which include the provision of remote housing in WA, Tasmania and Victoria, are said to cost the Federal Government $1 billion annually. Yet despite being offered an additional $90 million over two years, the WA Government has argued that it will not continue to service these communities as they are no longer economically viable.

Since the time of colonisation, Indigenous Australians have had to deal with the consequences of racism and racist policies. The forced removal of Aboriginal children and the practice of white assimilation may be policies of the past, yet they have caused intergenerational damage to Aboriginal families. The incarceration of an entire generation of Aboriginal men and the continuing tragedy of Aboriginal deaths in custody; higher than average rates of suicide, and the cycle of drug and alcohol dependence all occur as a direct result of continued dispossession and disillusionment.

This forced closure of Indigenous communities is another racist policy that would never be applied to white Australians. This decision harks back to a time of colonial dispossession when many Aboriginal people were uprooted and displaced. Those that survived the massacres were forced to work for white farmers or move to town camps. It wasn't until the 1970's that Aboriginal people were able to return to their 'country' and communities were established.

To force Aboriginal people out of their communities is not only a racist policy, but one that breaches the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a declaration endorsed by Australia in 2009.

In accordance with the declaration, governments and corporations are expected to negotiate with, and obtain consent of Indigenous peoples before taking actions that affect them.

The decision to close these communities breaches a number of rights in this declaration, including the people's right to their land, and the rights of people to participate in decisions that affect their lives.

According to article 8: States shall provide effective mechanisms for the prevention of, and readdress for:
B). Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them from their lands, territories or resources;
C). Any form of forced population transfer;
D). Any form of forced assimilation or integration.

Article 10 states: "Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the peoples concerned, and after agreement on fair and just compensation, and where possible, with the option of return".  

Living on community is integral to the identity, health and mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of Aboriginal people who have continued to defend their right to live on their land. Irrespective of the small size and remote location of these communities, it remains unconscionable to force people to leave their homes and be once again uprooted from 'country'. And while these are the decisions of the WA Government, they arise from decisions of the Federal Government in their attempt to shift the financial responsibility.

If this is truly an issue of sustainability and viability, then the potential psychosocial costs to Aboriginal people must also be taken into account. Governments have a duty of care to ensure that their actions do not adversely affect the outcomes of all Australian people. More importantly, the Federal Government has a responsibility to uphold the conditions of the United Nations Declaration and to ensure that Indigenous Australians are never again subjected to the sort of racist policies that have underpinned our country's history and ruined so many lives.

March 21, 2015

Goddess Syndrome. Real disorder or just a cry for help?

Living in the Rainbow Region for the last eight years has opened my eyes to a new epidemic  ... That's right, I'm talking about 'Goddess Syndrome'!  

Although you will not find this syndrome in the current DSM-IV, Goddess Syndrome (GS) is nevertheless a very real disorder in which self-centred, narcissistic women attempt to hide their misery behind the facade of a fictional loving, self-empowered goddess. 

Women afflicted with GS will often try to lure other naive women into an empowerment circle by offering free or inexpensive seminar's entitled ' Awakening your Kundalini Energy' or 'Discover the Goddess Within'.  Sometimes they will also refer to these gatherings as conferences

GS women will frequently use terms such as, blessings, chakrasabundance, healing, gratitude, energy and manifest  - even when these words clearly do not belong in a sentence. 

Although GS sufferers rarely work, they appear to have an endless source of income which they use to finance regular trips to India and Bali. 

Women afflicted with GS are forever leaving their children with people they just met so they can go off and attend the latest dance workshop or healing seminar on tantra, shamanism or reiki. 

Due to the nature of this syndrome, GS sufferers do not realise they are being manipulated by high class charlatans, fraudsters and gurus, and nor do they realise that they like to manipulate others.  

Sufferers will do anything and everything to manifest goddess reality, including taking what they can from others repeatedly, without ever giving back. 

Recent research has found that frequent trips to Bali are often a cry for help for GS sufferers who can become easily bored and agitated in their day-to-day surroundings, particularly if their rental does not include a pool.  

Although the dreaded Goddess Syndrome does not discriminate against age, it does seem to affect white middle-class women more frequently and particularly those who have come from affluent backgrounds. 

A strong sense of self-entitlement and self-interest does seem to be a key determinant in the onset of this disorder. 

The typical goddesses home environment is laden with crystals, astrology charts and Native American artefacts sourced from China or Indonesia. On the coffee table there are often open decks of angel and / or unicorn cards, and a well thumbed copy of 'The Secret' by Rhonda Byrne.  

The strong scent of Nag Champa will often permeate the GS home alongside the stale smell of body odour. GS people are strongly opposed to deodorants and any other harsh chemicals that may harm the environment.

Although GS sufferers do not follow a prescribed religion, they do follow the Hindu tradition of vegetarianism and / or veganism. During times of fasting (also known as a full-body juice cleanse) many GS women also swear off alcohol consumption. (Although I have seen some of these ladies down a keg of chardonnay on a lonely Friday night). 

One key feature of GS is delusional or magical thinking. The belief that everything happens for a reason is crucial to GS sufferers who constantly look for ways to confirm this belief to themselves and anyone else who will listen. Please see example 1. below. 

Example 1: 

Goddess A: My rich father had two spare tickets to Bali next month and he just gave them to me! 

Goddess B: That's so amazing! My guru is going to be in Bali next month and I have been trying to manifest a free ticket! 

Goddess A: No way! You should totally come with me... I am so over my current guru and I've been putting out for another one to come my way! 

Goddess A & B in unison: Everything happens for a reason!!!! 

Due to their strong belief systems, GS sufferers are commonly allergic to any negativity or anything that doesn't correspond with their magical positive world view. As such, world news and current affairs can be damaging. 

If you start talking about Gaza, Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan or any world event where good people are suffering for no good reason, GS women may actually start to twitch and in some rare cases their eyes may roll back in their heads. This is not recommended. Logic and reason have no place in the GS mindset so keep the negative world speak to an absolute minimum so as not to burst the magical white, western, middle-class bubble.  

Research shows that many GS women lack the ability to discipline their children due to their heightened fear of the word 'NO'. Years of magical thinking has led to the false belief that discipline equals negativity and any negativity will damage the child's soul, spirit, psyche. 

The children of GS sufferers are generally raised vegan or vegetarian and as such, they are easily recognisable due to their pasty, white complexions and constant snotty noses. 

These children are also commonly deprived of regular kid things such as chicken nuggets, chocolate and television and instead, they are given substitutes such as soy hot dogs, carob and German handmade wooden toys.

While there is no evidence of harm to these GS children, studies do show a decrease in vitamin B and an increase in self-entitlement and obnoxious behaviour. 

GS children are also easily identifiable by their constant whining and complaining. They are often found climbing on other people's furniture; punching or kicking other people's children and animals; biting, screaming, spitting, running or throwing themselves aggressively on the ground for no good reason. 

If you see a GS child doing any of these things - please do not try to intervene. It is likely you will be accused of trying to stop them from expressing their emotions / individuality. 

Instead of trying to scold the child in an attempt to stop him from throwing lit matches at your face, simply step aside and wait until the GS mother steps in. She will commonly try to resolve his bad behaviour by kissing him, praising him or patting him lovingly on the head - techniques she acquired from her tantric sacred mothers conference in Ubud last year. 

Unfortunately there is no cure for GS at present. However, through fundraising events, such as vegan sausage sizzles and carob chocolate drives, we hope to one day bring an end to the pointless suffering imposed on those poor souls who know someone with this illness.   

If you or anyone you know is suffering from GS please see your GP immediately... 

Yes you could also see your Herbalist / Naturopath/Reiki Master/ Acupuncturist/ Kinesiologist/Bowen Practitioner/ Energy Worker etc.

Alternatively, turn on your bloody television and get a regular dose of world news. 

Blessings.... And Om-shanti-Om. 

If you identify with this post then that is purely coincidental! This is a satirical 'tongue in cheek' fictional observation and not intended to upset anyone.