Monthly Archives: March 2018

Warning Signs

via Daily Prompt: Warning

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Photo: abc.net.au

The famous Salmon Holes at Albany, in the Torndirrup National Park. Fishing is not prohibited but there are warning signs at the entry advising people that there is a risk of being swept into the water. Since 1983, 12 people have drowned, so the warning is quite real. But a University of WA study revealed that 226 people believed they would survive falling into the ocean. Well, some have, Lyn’s late uncle Grattan was swept off the rock, but managed to survive to tell the tale. But too many believe they are invincible. One of the features of the bay are the sudden “king” or large waves, that catch people off-guard. These are powerful waves, and pose a serious threat on slipery, wet granite.

There are warning signs in many places for a variety of expected risks and outcomes. These signs are on equipment, packaging, cliffs, rocks, and well, everywhere.

Humans don’t come with warning signs. I’d add a few: dangerous when ego is driving; an ecological hazard, if lacking emotional intelligence 101 do not engage, dangerous if provoked, and so on. We are a complex species, and not always adept at working out where our emotions are coming from, sometimes not until damage is done in a relationship. We can be swept away by jealousy or anger, ego or fear. The rock of life is just as slippery as the one in the photo, and sometimes there are “king” waves that sneak up on us unanounced. Best we need to read the signs, and take care.

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Filed under beach, life, mindfulness, nature, self-development

Betrayal Hurts

via Daily Prompt: Betrayed

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Photo: moviedb.org  – Richard Burton as Alec Leamas, the spy who takes on one more mission in East Germany, only to discover layer upon layer of deception, and his own betrayal (‘The Spy Who Came In From The Cold’ by John le Carre), a story often used, and most recently in Atomic Blonde (from the graphic novel ‘The Coldest City’).

We’ve all tasted betrayal.

Betrayal is an auspicious topic for Good Friday. Today recognises the crucifixion of Jesus. One particular detail in the story, is the cold and public betrayal by his disciple Judas. Judas is dazzled by money, he’d been stealing from the communal purse and now he was enamoured with the thirty pieces of silver he was offered to publicly identify Jesus to an arrest party. As the story goes, Judas leads a party of soldiers and police to where Jesus is, and identifies Jesus by greeting and kissing him. Essentially the kiss of death for a man he professed to follow.

There are many classic stories of betrayal. The Song of the Niebulungs which tells of the betrayal of the dragon slayer Siegfried. Odin was considered by the Norse to be the god of frenzy and betrayal. Euripides’ famous story of how Jason abandons his wife Medea for a younger woman is chilling, it ends badly.

Modern stories abound. Anything by Graham Greene, but especially ‘The End of the Affair’, and classic spy stories are essentially betrayal stories especially as written by John le Carre.

The stories of betrayal, whether true or fiction, actually bear out the popular saying: “The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies, it comes from your friends and loved ones.” That’s why it hurts so much. Siegfried’s wife takes revenge, Medea kills the children, Alec Leamas chooses death even when he is able to reach freedom. We’re not told what Jesus thinks about betrayal, but he is consistent with his teaching about forgiveness and love, he refuses to stoop to the level of those who whip and kill him.

But for us mere mortals there is a piece of very sound advice to heed: “If someone betrays you once, it’s their fault; if they betray you twice, it’s your fault.” (Eleanor Roosevelt) Clearly boundaries matter. But even then …

I find myself drawn to what Jesus lived and taught – that forgiveness (properly understood) is life giving.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under community, history, life, love, Mythology, psychology, religion, self-development, Spirituality

Frantic

via Daily Prompt: Frantic

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I parked the ute as usual by the garage, I was just stopping in for lunch, and soon would drive out again. Barely through the front door and Lyn is frantically calling to me, “Have you seen Hayden and (his friend) Nathan?”

“No” I replied. “What’s wrong?” “I called the boys for lunch, but they’re not responding and I walked out to the places they’d normally be, but nothing.” “Okay, I’ll drive the top end of the paddock, you take the home block.” And off we set, tooting, yelling, whistling, calling, but no sign of the boys.

Now I was frantic too, I stopped to check the granite outcrops, then the creek line, and then with some trepidation, my heart in my throat, I drove out to the dam, looking but not wanting to look, barely breathing. Relief flooding in that there were only sheep there.

Somehow we managed to time our return to the farmhouse, and no luck. I drove out again with lyn behind, and then suddenly,  there they were, jumping out from behind some rocks and laughing. It had been a huge joke for them, seeing us frantic and playing hidey! Apparently it was fun to watch us driving around and shouting out. It was that weird moment of anger and relief. That moment when you realise just how tense you have been in the moment, sweating, rasping, dry mouth, pressure around the forehead. It took some time for my pulse to settle. I worked much harder that afternoon. The boys took it to heart, thankfully, that it was not quite so funny for us.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, Country, Farm, life, nature

Sunset

via Photo Challenge: Rise/Set

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Sunset. Looking west over Lake Ballard.

Photo: ©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, Country, nature

The Four Quartets

Quartet

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I love music of many kinds, so quartet brings to mind the Norwegian musicians – Vertavo String Quartet, or from a jazz perspective, the John Coltrane Quartet. However, What is forever etched on my mind are four poems,  the ‘Four Quartets’ by T.S. Eliot.

The ‘Four Quartets’ are reflective meditations on humanity’s relationship with time. Eliot engages spiritual themes, and philosophy, and includes such influences as John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich (mystics), presocratic thinkers (Greek philosophy), and the Bhagavad Gita (Hindu).  The poems were written between 1936 and 1945 and originally published separately, until 1948 when Faber published them in one volume. The period in which he wote these poems is perhaps indicative of the content. The threat of war, followed by the long war and the blitz, which he endured, must have impacted his sense of mortality and time.

The Quartets are: ‘Burn Norton’, ‘East Coker’, ‘The Dry Salvages’, and ‘Little Gidding.’

My favourite of the four is Little Gidding, simply because it contains a profound observation of the human condition that is neither perfunctory, nor damning, but rather, somehow, encouraging. That observation of Eliot’s comes in part five of ‘Little Gidding.’

We shall not cease from exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

As I’ve quoted before, Proust puts it well when he says: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Eliot is not at odds with Proust in this. He too is suggesting that we humans are curious, we are seekers of truth, of belief, fact, geography, place and space, and more. But, in spite of great travels and in spite of much learning, eventually we return to our roots, our beginning points, and see them afresh.

For me that means seeing the horizons of body, mind and soul with new inner eyes, being able to see with the eyes of wholeness, forgiveness, love, kindness, compassion, and self-giving. Eliot also speaks of how experience is transformative (if we allow it to be so). He also speaks to how we mature in those experiences along life’s journey, and how time affects us, that aging and experience might afford us opportunity to see ourselves afresh. We engage with our youthfulness and “kick the traces” as we used to say, rebelling; we turn to masks, we invent personae for the public I, denial is the trope of our lives. But in the end, at our very core, there is only ever, our true self, if we but look carefully. And if we attend to our true self, accept our self, loev our self, we see ourselves whole as if for the first time.

In a stark reminder, he’s also suggesting that, as with the story of Adam and Eve, so with all of us, we never leave the awkwardness of self-awareness, separation, and a sense even an anxiety, that we could do better we could be someone. All of us strive to overcome those things, but find that we were/are, perhaps, a little too hard on ourselves and that we just need to see ourselves as good. The journey we engage is one to be whole and perfect, but yet, the end of our searching leads us back to where we began, that we were indeed whole in the first place, and that nothing is ever perfect.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under history, life, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, poetry, religion, Spirituality

Small Is Beautiful

Micro

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(Photo: © Hayden Cannon)

Coccinellidae, or the humble Lady Bug as most of us would say. Definitely not micro, but definitely small. One of nature’s equalizers, it feeds on aphids, and therefore helps the market gardener, the floriculture industry, and the home gardener. Small but critical to the balance of nature.

Humans are not micro either, but we are the species that has an impact on the environment beyond our size. The creatures bigger than us have less impact on the environment. We are not particularly good at keeping a balance in nature, in fact, since the eighteenth century, humanity has pushed nature hard. I’m quite certain that if the Northern White Rhino had been crucial to agriculture or market gardening, or if the rhino could produce honey, or tea tree oil, it would still be with us. But, if we can’t save the rhino, what can we save? Or, more pointedly, what are we willing to save?

The way I see it, our carbon foot-print has to become micro in order to create a balance in nature that will enable all life forms to co-exist naturally. It’s not all doom and gloom though. There is some excellent work being done in alternative agricultural and horticultural practices, and in manufacturing too. The use of technology to resize and reorder how industry and commerce work (drones, micro-computers), where machinery cannot be decreased in size, it is streamlined and made more efficient. The attention to urban planning and using density as an option is (though hotly disputed by some academics) working well in cities like Melbourne (and, as yet, on a small scale). It seems we are coming to grips in some areas with the largess of our

The Lady Bug doesn’t just live for itself, it lives in a critical relationship with its predators and with its food sources as a predator. The Lady Bug is a great natural example (among many) for us, to live in a balanced, reciprocal, relationships. That sort of harmony is sacrificial, and if we want to live well, and if we want nature to survive, then we need to adopt the give and take of the Lady Bug, and the principle of sacrifice.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under environment, farming, life, mindfulness, nature, Uncategorized

The Efficient Inefficient

via Daily Prompt: Inefficient

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I think there are different types or contexts for inefficiency. I get worried about any inefficiency around protecting the environment. Protecting water, soil, air, all life forms are for me, absolutely vital. I get annoyed when I see leaking garden reticulation, those who flaunt the water restrictions, those who ignore recycling, the use of plastic, and so on.

I think too, that government agencies are amazingly inefficient, but that is not always unhelpful 😀

But in a sense, efficiency is a construct. If efficiency is about cutting waste that endangers life then I’m all for it. But, if efficiency is about productivity and profit, then no, I’m not too concerned. Capitalism drives economic efficiency, well, a type of economic efficiency, and one I’d prefer not to be too enmeshed with. If you go back to the works of Charles Dickens, you discover a world of cruel and base living in order to survive the machine that is economics, the drive to produce more and produce more efficiently. And, has anything changed since Dickens’ time? This form of economics has sucked the life out of our planet, it has weakened our politicians who have no resolve to confront the power of production, it has duped us into brand lust, and it has lied to us about the benefits. It is our addiction. So, the idea of efficiency for the sake of money – especially someone else’s money, which in fact becomes environmentally inefficient, is not attractive to me.

But in capitalism there is also a brutal twist, it becomes efficiency at the expense of life. Productivity becomes life threatening. Tar sands, the destruction of fracking, oil spills, pipelines burst, trees lost, water lost, homes lost … if you have a strong stomach then follow this link to watch the controversial commercial (banned from cinemas in the UK) from 2011 about Conflict Minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The commercial, which is aptly called “Unwatchable”, is rated 18+, it is violent, unpleasant, and disturbing, but that’s why they made it – to confront us with our culpability in the conflict and forced labour in the DRC. There is still a petition available to sign with it –  Unwatchable

When I think of inefficient, I connect very strongly with what writer Brenda Ueland says in the quote above. It says to me, very clearly, that efficiency/productivity is not advantageous, it stifles our thought, our creativity, our imagination. I’ve had a few superiors in my working life who have been wise, and have urged that it is better if I have times where I am less productive, but am more mindful, more imaginative. I know that if my life is too full, I am creatively stifled. Equally, if there is no balance in my life, I become unhealthy, body, mind and soul. I am less mindful, and just driven. Those around me can testify to the ugly nature of that. Then I become inefficient in health, in relationships, in work, in creativity.

For me life is not about perfection, efficiency, productivity. They are often based on external forces, expectations, learned behaviour, dependency, drivenness, greed … For me, life is about taking time, awareness, noticing, attending, loving, imagining, and sharing compassion – if I am to be efficient, I want to be efficient and productive in those positives for the good of all. Imagine if we were all efficient in that way, it could just change the world. In short, I want to be the efficient inefficient!

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under community, creativity, Economics, environment, history, life, mindfulness, nature, politics, self-development

Nominated for: Mystery Blogger Award

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A shout out to David Fisher at Removing The Veil for the nomination.

 

 

Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.

The Rules:

1 Put the logo/image on your blog.

2. List the rules.

3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

4. Tell your readers three things about yourself.

5. Answer the questions you were asked.

6. Nominate 10 – 20 people, and notify.

7. Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).

Three Things About Me:

1. I love the bush and would prefer to be out in the wild.

2. I enjoy gardening.

3. I get great pleasure from my craft in model trains.

The Questions Asked Of Me:

  1. What is your real name? Paul Vincent Cannon. My mother, being religious, want Paul as of St. Paul, and being a keen painter, she wanted Vincent, as in Van Gogh.
  2. What are your passions? Where do I start? Bush walking, painting, writing, reading, model railways, gardening, hiking, camping, kayaking, good wine …
  3. What is your relationship with God? I am a spiritual person, my relationship with God is through the contemplative modes, and I am persuaded that the apophatic way is my way, that is, God cannot be adequately understood or described, but it is a relational experience.
  4. What is preventing that relationship from growing? In one sense, nothing, in  another sense, it is time priorities.
  5. Who and what inspires you? How many pages have I got? The list of those who don’t inspire would be shorter. Jesus, Ghandi, Tutu, Mandela, Malala, Aung San Suu Kyi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Maximilian Kolbe, Schindler, Martin Luther King Jnr., the Chinese student who stood down that tank in 89, Buddha, Rumi ….

I Nominate the Following:

A Tangle of Weeds

Culture Vulture Express

psychologistmimi

Twenty Four

Jerri Perri

Crooked Creek

Thoughts of Sho

Cheche Winnie

Beans, Pen & Nirja

Megha’s World

By Sarah

Aroused by Arete

Questions for those I nominated:

  1. What was your most recent read?
  2. Who inspires you?
  3. What/who encouraged you to start blogging?
  4. What matters to you?
  5. If you had a day off with no ready made plans, what would you do?

 

Again, thank you david 🙂

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Don’t Swallow Everything, Or, Gullibility Doesn’t Look Good On You

via Daily Prompt: Swallow

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Some people will swallow anything. But many may not know they are being manipulated. Two years ago I was listening to a radio interview with a Sydney academic who had just published findings in the role of the press, churches, State Government, and Police Dept. in 1930s Sydney. This was the era of the Razor Gang. I was driving and did’t think to stop and note the show and the author, but this is the gist of it (thereby proving my headline):

The research showed that although there were some razor gang attacks, the press exaggerated the occurence at a time when the police dept. were trying to get an increase in their budget and more officers on the street. The state government were clearly open to pressure on this issue. So, the theory goes, between the press, the police and the government, legislation was drawn up to deal with the issue. The public went along for the ride, for a while.

The back story: guns had earlier become a criminal issue, and legislation was effective in supporting the police in containing gang access to and use of guns. The gangs then resorted to other weapons and tactics.

The legislation drawn up to deal with the razor gangs was based on consorting and public gathering as offences. If two or three people met together on the street Police could detain them under the new law. The research was all about disproving what has come to light as a pure moral panic created by the press of the day, and which benefitted the reputation of the state govenment and enabled police to gain greater power and resource. We would call that collusion. Apparently, the arrest info showed that mostly prostitutes and petty thieves were rounded up, as well many inncoent people gathering for such innocuous reasons as street preaching, hawking goods, and meeting up to go to a cafe. So few actual razor gang members were ever arrested, and even fewer prosecuted. The research also showed that it was the churches of Sydney who turned the tide, they took a stance of setting the record straight, exposing the moral panic as a political and journalistic lie, and presured the government, successfully, into dropping the legislation and the moral panic. The tide turned.

The infamous Nazi, Joseph Goebbels once said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” (often falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler) Goebbels was the master of lies as chief propagandist for the Reich, so he knew a thing or two about lying to people, it was his job. I think he’s right.

Haven’t we, at times, swallowed that race matters, colour defines? Does economic Austerity really work? Did you believe for a time that Saddam Hussein really had weapons of mass destruction? Add your own.

There’s a lot out there to swallow, if you’re not careful it will either leave a bad taste or choke you (metaphorically speaking). In this age of opinion and fake news it is hard to know what is and isn’t truth, but patience, reflection, and open conversation are gifts of discernment we can use to find our way, together.

Paul,

pvcann.com

16 Comments

Filed under community, history, life, mindfulness, politics

Faceless Fawkes

via Daily Prompt: Faceless

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To wear a mask is to be intentionally faceless, or differently faced. The Guy Fawkes (he of the Fifth of November plot) mask has become popular, especially with the Occupy Movement (which is still active, if you were wondering) and Anonymous. It’s modern usage was inspired by the grahic novel V For Vendetta, which is a dystopian story in which the hero, an anarchist seeks to defeat the fascist government ruling England. Ironically, V desires anarchy – people will be allowed to do as they please, there will be no more control, yet this replaces the total control of fascism. One extreme to the other! I call V’s version ‘no-hopia.’ V’s dream comes to fruition even as he is dying, and in the novel it is the final scene where the lights go out on the freeway that makes the point, V’s mask hides another form of dystopia. England has gone from total repressive control to no control, and nothing in between. V’s goal was no goal.

One of the criticisms of the Occupy Movement is that it has had no real goal or drive other than to protest the evil of capitalism. Perhaps that is the frustrated view of those who expected anarchy, or revolution to ensue in some particular way? Another group, Anonymous have been associated with anarchism, exposure and disruption of governemnt and corporations. For me the Occupy Movement and Anonymous were symbolised by the mask, lacking face and lacking cohesion. In my view they were hiding even from themselves and perhaps, therefore, from purpose. Protest for protests sake goes nowhere, there must be resolve, there must be purpose, and it must be authentic.

We have enjoyed many masked heroes too. Batman stands out, but yet Batman is as dark as his enemies, and his mask belies the hero (which in reality I accept, who is perfect? No one is that good).

But Guy Fawkes never wore a mask. He was caught red-handed ready to light the fuse that would blow up the English pariament house. That’s courage, that’s purpose. Not that I’m encouraging anyone to rush out and follow his example (however …).

As e.e. cummings said: “The greatest battle we face as human beings is the battle to protect our true selves from the self the world wants us to become.”

Psychology teaches us that we all wear masks, to protect, hide, obscure, change who we are in differnt contexts. We seek to avoid being found out (the Imposter Syndrome), sometimes we believe we are unworthy and so we project a personae to cope, to win friends, to make our niche, to avoid being hurt. Sometimes we hide too much and people miss who we really are, or colleagues never really appreciate our potential, there are risks with masks.

There is always the real self, the deeper you, the authentic you inside. I want the real you.

Oscar Wilde once said: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under history, life, Philosophy/Theology, politics, psychology, self-development