Monthly Archives: April 2018

Astonishing Corellas

via Daily Prompt: Astonish

 

The White Corella. The noise is astonishing, they are one of the flocking birds and they come in large numbers. I took this a couple of weeks ago at a local park, you can’t see the birds very well, just a white speck or two and one near the end in the tree (swinging up-side-down), but the point of this video was to capture the sound.

Sadly the city council have successfully made a case to have their numbers reduced, they have been deemed a nuisance because of their noise, numbers, they dig up lawns, eat fruit and buds, and poop everywhere. I don’t mind them, but you know what people are like, they whine about the stain on the roof, the aerial interference, the untidy lawn, the loss of rose buds, the loss of apricots or other fruit. To the point that the people whining about the birds are more annoying than the birds.

Wherever I go I keep hearing, reduce the shark numbers, reduce the corellas, reduce the Ibis, the Egret, reduce nature. I never hear reduce humans, but that would be too shocking! I think Mr. Smith (The Matrix) was right when he suggested that humans are a virus. Yes, balance is important, but we have biased the balance in our favour. When developers are permitted to build housing estates near estuaries and lakes, then water birds will be in those places – does building your house mean you get permission to moan about the fact that there were pre-existing neighbours in your suburb? I don’t think it does.

If you buy a house near an existing airport, the government doesn’t just jump to and move the airport for you, it is likely to send you away with a reminder that you bought the house knowing the issue was there. Now that is not always true with nature. Sometimes the birds will develop new flight paths, or will seek out districts where food and water are plentiful. In Bunbury the Corellas have been around for a while, sadly they will be culled because some in the community call them a nuisance.

We need to continually bring an awareness to our world that nature is vital and we are a part of it, not separate. We co-exist, we are interdependent, it is a relationship, and we really need to value that relationship because it is critical to our own survival. We need new eyes to see that the problem is not the Corellas, but the fact that some people have a problem with Corellas.

Corellas swinging 
TV reception blurred
time to read a book

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

24 Comments

Filed under community, environment, Haiku, life, mindfulness, nature

Taper Tantrum,

via Daily Prompt: Tantrum

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Graphic: clsinvest.com

Back in the 80s I took a minor in economics just for fun. Some people see economics as smoke and mirrors or star gazing at best. But I found it fascinating, it is a different logic, but it is a logic and it is a diverse as a field of practice, I think that’s what fascinated me.

Back in 2013 there was what economists call a taper tantrum. In the US as in some other economies, when there is a slowing of the economy and the risk is a crash (as per the graphic above) the Federal Reserve pumps money into the market to kick it along a bit (known in the trade as Quantitative Easing). In time spending cannot be sustained so the money must be slowed, and this is called Tapering, in short the money injection into the economy is tapered off rather than abruptly cut. The result in 2013 was what was referred to as an investor tantrum, an angry reaction to the tapering, hence, taper tantrum.

A tantrum about economics is akin to a tantrum about any other issue. When a child or adult has a tantrum it is because they have been slowed or thwarted in some way. One of my children once threw a tantrum in a supermarket because he couldn’t have something that was suddenly imperative. But the supply of money, and parental interest was tapered, and there was a predictable reaction.

The lessons we learned over the next couple of years are lessons we learned for life. Whether child or adult, a temper tantrum requires a particular response (other than ignoring it): empathy (acknowledging the emotions), listening, and resisting blaming. Not always, but often, you’ll get to the bottom of the tanrum, and in the least, you’ll maintain an open communication. Overall, you’re building a strong foundation of trust for the relationship. The principle of valuing the other, listening and holding the space for them to feel that they can trust you to hear their plight helps to diffuse the situation and bonds the relationship. One might taper the negative input, but love and compassion should be qualitatively and quantitatively increased.

I like what Thich Nhat Hanh said: “When you look deeply into your anger, you will see that the person you call your enemy is also suffering. As soon as you see that, the capacity for accepting and having compassion for them is there.”

He was speaking into a different context, but the principle is the same once you trade the word enemy for loved one, friend, colleague … love thy intemperate  neighbour.

the pressure I feel
my heart is drowning fast
ah, look, a warm smile

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

11 Comments

Filed under Economics, Haiku, history, life, mindfulness, quote, self-development

Rivulet of Hope

via Daily Prompt: Rivulet

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Every year the creeks would dry up, the rains would cease, summer would arrive, the heat would brown the paddocks and turn the soil to hardpan. As summer streched into pseudo summer, the early part of autumn, we’d be craving the rains. The damns would be low, the pools down the creek almost gone, and the land crying in thirst.

But then the rains came, slowly, a shower here and there. And then the heavens would open, and down it would come. Some days after the water had prepared its own path, soaking into the creek beds, the soil would take no more and, at first a rivulet of water would appear, then a trickle, and then a flow, and the granite would shine, wet and glossy, the cascade decked with white froth. The sound of running water, a sound that brings joy, relief nd new life fills our ears. Soon the frogs would be calling.

Nature’s like that, it gives what is needed, it takes what is needed.

The economy is a whole other world. Conservative politicians the world over talk of ‘trickle down’ economics. Give the money to the rich and it will eventually trickle down to the poor. It never has, it never will. The economy, unlike nature, takes and takes and keeps on taking and only gives back to the rich and those in power.

I my view, an economy that is based on sharing, taking only what is needed and also giving back is a balanced one, but one that ensures there are less cracks to fall through, less barriers to surmount for the poor, more opportunity for all. A shared economy has to bid farewell to greed and selfishness, and requires a change of heart towards consumption. The dog-eat-dog cycle we’re in is doomed and the world cries out for releif and justice. But we are the change that needs to happen.

For my part that requires an ever growing awareness of others needs both near and far. It requires an awareness of my responsibility in my love affair with nature. It requires that I give back in generous ways. It requires that I model the economy I beleive in by not consuming the very lives of others. If everyone dropped a pebble in a pond it would cease to be, but if everyone took a breath and backed off from supporting the madness of consumption we’d make a dent. Of course, realistically, the other thing we need to do is exercise our vote with discretion towards those goals. And then the trickle will flow and become a stream, a river, a torrent of justice, a rivulet of hope.

The late Brazilian archbishop Helder Camara, an advocate for the poor, especially the slum dwellers, named it when he said: “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

We still need to ask why!

politicians lie
money will not trickle down
let love flow instead

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

23 Comments

Filed under Economics, Farm, Haiku, history, life, mindfulness, nature, politics, quote, Uncategorized

Notable, Remarkable

via Daily Prompt: Notable

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Warren Macdonald, still climbing.

In April 1997 Warren Macdonald was in the midst of a long sojourn in the Whitsundays. Macdonald, an experienced bushwalker and avid climber set out to climb Mt. Bowen on Hinchinbrook Island. He teamed with another climber Geert Van Keulen, a man he didn’t know, had only just met.

They set out on April 9 (1997). Mt. Bowen is 1,121 mtrs, and though short, it is a tough climb with rain, mud, streams, loose stones and boulders, and the humidity. They climbed for some time, eight and a half hours,  and made camp, but they hadn’t reached the summit.

In the dark,  Warren went out to “take a leak” and then things took a turn. He went out to a ledge across a stream and tried to accommodate the rock, as he positioned himself there was a rock slide and he became pinned, a large wedge of granite had fallen across his leg, the crack he had heard was the breaking of his pelvis. He screamed for Geert, and so the long proces of getting help began. Geert could not budge the rock. and so, the next morning he set off to get help. It took him eleven hours to get down. When Geert arrived at the lagoon he was exhausted, and there was no one to contact, so he made camp and decided to set out the next morning.

Warren Macdonald was rescued, and then went through a very lengthy rehab, losing both his legs above the knee.

What is inspiring is his tenacity, courage, and strength in adversity. He never gave up, sure, he doubted, and lost his cool at times, but he stuck with getting on with life. He worked hard with specilaists in prosthetics and as a result was able to have specially designed prosthetics that enabled him to climb again. He would be the first to say he didn’t do it on his own, doctors and specialists yes, but also family and friends, love and support also helped get him through.

Macdonald has climbed Cradle Mountain in Tasmania using a modified wheelchair, later he climbed Federation Peak (also in Tasmania), Mt. Kilimajaro in Tanzania (being the first double above the knee amputee to to achieve the summit), El Capitan in Nevada, and the Weeping Wall in Alberta. He has also become a motivational speaker.

In one of his talks he says “It’s not about climbing mountains” and in one sense he means that his life is not just about conquering mountains, and in another sense he means that mountains represent many things.

We all have mountains to climb, sometimes we have the emotional or physical equivalent of be being pinned by a granite rock miles from help. And here we are, we’re still here to talk about it, we have survived! We will continue climbing life’s tracks. There will be other trials, and there will be trials for those around us, we can be our own coach and we will undoubtedly be called upon to coach others. Together we can make it. That old saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is true enough in my experience, but I also think it takes a village to survive. We need each other. Warren Macdonald had Geert, hopefully we have our Geert or Geerts when we are pinned down, but also our own inner strength to call on too. And hopefully we are Geert for others.

Living the daily
pinned by granite mountain
I arise by love

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Comments

Filed under bush walking, Country, Haiku, life, mindfulness, poetry, psychology, self-development

Who’s A Cur?

via Daily Prompt: Cur

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Nope, definitely not a cur. Vienna is on loan to see if she fits into our family and life, but after two weeks we are already quite taken with her, and she with us. She is no low, viscious dog, but a lovong member of the family.

The cur is the grumbling, growling, biting dog, the back alley dog, the drooling menace, the lowest of the low. A dog of mixed breed, or unknown parentage, ugly, fearful yet aggressive, angry but yet a true coward.

The cur doesn’t discern, but simply lashes out, bites and runs away. The cur hides in darkness, in shadows, is easily whipped by the masters tongue, and grovels to the one who feeds.

As a child I heard this term used as a putdown on a number of ocassions, listening to the men talking at the BBQ, now and again an absent man would come into discussion (isn’t that the way of it? To analyse and disect the absent ones) and I have a memory, that some were described by the epithet cur, or its equivalent mongrel! “That bloke’s just a lying cur.” “He’s just a no-good mongrel.” “He’s just a bastard.”

Something in me would twinge, I felt for the absent ones. Was this how we were all described when absent? Was this the sum view of all who didn’t fit this group? Besides, I knew some of these ‘curs’ and I didn’t share that view! Ever since I have puzzled over the way we tend to use comparison, to take nature and make it a negative description of a person. You pig, you scaredy cat, you cow, you dog, you wounded duck, you silly goose and so on. It all rolls easily off the tongue, especially when angry.

Cur when applied to humans, means, the person who is grumbling, annoying, untrustworthy, reactive, unreliable, disliked, cowardly …

Sadly labels stick – either directly in the social milieu, or in the mind of the agressor, or worse, in the mind of the victim, there is no easy escape. We so readily resort to defiining the other, and sometimes negatively, boxing them in, giving us and them a mind-map to follow, defining their potential and their future. Words have meaning, words convey place, words have power, most especially in the mind, but also in the group. With a word we convey goodness and hope, with another social death, and isolation. With words we steal life itself and terminate those we so easily label, sucking their identity from them, and boxing them into our definition. Control!

But there is some redemtion of the term. There are dog breeds known as curs in the US. The Catahoula Cur, the Blackmouthed Cur, and others. These are dogs bred for rugged conditions, mountain dwelling, coping with bears, pumas, coyotes, and other threats while guarding sheep and cattle. They are adept hunting dogs, and loyal to the family or individuals who care for them.

What I like about that is the opportunity to turn the term around. So what if the cur is loyal, hard working, protective, fearless, helpful …

I love binary terms, they shouldn’t exist but they do, and in the end the positives always outweigh the negatives. The binary of cur is a gift. We can use that gift to refute the negatives and redeem the victims everytime. I believe there is good in everyone, we just have to set aside our filters and bias to see the true person before us. With a word we have the power to box people in, or, set them free.

I want to set them free! (And, I too want to be free)

That your name is cur
recurs, recurs, until we
set you free to be

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

20 Comments

Filed under life, mindfulness, nature, poetry

Weather Lines

via Photo Challenge: Lines

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Wave Rock near Hyden in Western Australia, I took this a few years ago on one of my many visits, I just love the weather lines, rain, sun and cold, and how they have affected the granite rock. they shine glossy after rain, but the rich colours of iron and other minerals show through even when dry. Impressive lines.

Paul,

pvcann.com

25 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Elaborate Masks

via Daily Prompt: Elaborate

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An elaborate Renaissance Ball Mask. The masks were elaborate, but so was the ruse, an attempt to create mystery and tension, the possiblility of romance or illicit liasion. The masquerade was a feature of carnival season of 15th century Europe. In time masks became works of art. They were made of diferent materials, and bejeweled, like the one in the photo.

The masks we put on every day are not bejeweled, but they are clever, intricate, and very elaborate. If you want to read an early understanding the human mask, then Shakespeare is the one to read, and in particular, the ‘Taming of the Shrew.’ Psychologically, masks are a form of protection, we tend to mask anger, grief, anxiety, fear, a sense of failure, feeling like a fraud, needing to be the hero, the great intellect, and so on.

I have worked with people who use humour to mask what they perceive in themselves as a lack of sophistication. Others have thrown around biting sarcasm in order to keep others at bay. Some it is fear of success, so they play the incompetent. I have had the experience of never really knowing someone, at a funeral once I heard so much about someone I thought I knew, only to discover they had protected so much of their lives from public scrutiny, a compartmentalising. On another ocassion, when I was going through a difficult time, some said “I thought you had it all together” (like, really!!).

If we’re angry we may resort to condemnation, if we are grieving we might project happiness or amusement, anything but what we’re really feeling. That might be important at certain points in our lives, a boundary. But when it becomes avoidance, deception, fear, then we risk burying our true selves and others may never really know us. Even to the point that well entrenched masks become who we are. The question is, what are we trying to hide and why?

Jung developed the idea of the persona, the person we wanted others to know as ourselves, but not our true self.

I love this unattributed quote: “She threw away all of her masks, and put on her soul.”

That says it all. To dispense with the lie, the deception, which is really self-deception at best, the fear, and embrace our true selves, the raw self, the truly beautiful self. Created, bejeweled physical masks can be creations of great beauty. But the one who lives their true self, nothing could be more beautiful. We often use the phrase “warts and all”, meaning even our less good parts can be seen, our less succesful, less socially acceptable selves can be seen, yet this is healthy. The first step on the road of recovery is to know that we are never going to be perfect. And once we let go the ego, then masks become redundant because there is nothing to protect.

To put on our soul is to let go and find the juice of our lives and let that flow.

When we put on our soul, we are truly beautiful.

Hiding in layers
the weapons of deception
my real is naked

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

21 Comments

Filed under art, creativity, Haiku, history, life, love, mindfulness, poetry, psychology, quote

Bestow Love

via Daily Prompt: Bestow

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Ramana Maharshi (1879 – 1950) was a Hindu sage, in fact a Jivanmukta, a liberated sage. Maharshi once said: “Unless one is happy, one cannot bestow happiness on others.” 

Maharshi is saying, obviously, that we can only give what we have within us. So if we carry anger, we share anger, if joy then joy, if hate then we share hate, but if love then love, and so on. We can’t give what we don’t have. Love doesn’t come from hate.

To be proactive, Rumi urges us to: “… bestow your love even on your enemies, if you touch their hearts what do you think will happen?” A purpose Jesus taught with his famous instruction to “Love one another”, including our enemies.

Rumi begs the question, what will happen if we do love our enemies? It’s simply rhetorical, the answer is clear, they will, over time, learn to love. I can see that example in so many people I have had the privilege of meeting and befriending, but also in those who have become known for their acts of selfless love – Martin Luther King Jnr., Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks, Ghandi, Malala, Maximillian Kolbe, Oscar Schindler, Bernadette Devlin, Mandella, Fred Hollows, or this guy:- Doc Hendley, who by his own description is but a humble bartender who had a vision to do something about water.

Hendley isn’t a sports star, or rock star, or movie star, just an ordinary guy bestowing clean water on those in dire need. While in reality he is also bestowing his love and compassion. He got angry hearing about the water crisis in the world, but he translated that anger into positive action (rather than reaction) and fifteen years on there’s a process for helping to provide clean water in the Sudan.

Doc Hendley is a great example to us, that we too, humble as we are, can bestow our love, our happiness, our joy, compassion … on others in meaningful ways. Where I live a local girl, Bella Burgmeister has become an author, motivational speaker, and project initiator, not bad for someone who is eleven. Bella has written on the impact of global warming in her book “Bella’s challenge” and she has iniated a project in our community by convincing city council to invest in thirty lockers for homeless people, a fantastic project. Bella has bestowed her passion and energy and love on our community for the benefit of all.

We can all do something, we can all bestow our love in some way, great or small.

Heartless is my world
my wallet is cold, empty
warm is my embrace

© Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

23 Comments

Filed under history, life, meditation, mindfulness, poetry, quote, Spirituality

A Vague Thought

Vague

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‘Great Wave Off Kanagawa’, ‘La Vague d’Hokusai’ or ‘The Wave’ – by Katushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849) an artist and printmaker of the Edo or classical period. Hokusai was a prolific artist, and his paintings were popular in his lifetime, and in Europe and have become world famous since. It has been said that Monet was deeply influenced by Hokusai. He originated Hokusai Manga (manga = random drawings, so no connection with the modern usage of manga), a body of reference for other artists (some fifteen volumes).

In this painting, the waves have claws and are menacing, the humans in tiny boats are, by comparison, vulnerable and at the mercy of nature. Mt. Fuji in the background also dominates, the only natural thing not threatened by the water.

The connection to vague is of course the French translation = a wave of panic swept over me. So, in French the title implies what the painting is showing, the wave about to sweep over the fishermen.

Hokusai was concerned for the decline of society and was also seeing the end of the classical period. The painting shows judgement, the wave about to sweep over the fishermen and the community was a judgement on the people. I would retitle it – Nature Strikes Back.

The perspective of Hokusai is striking, because he is commnicating that the way Japanese society was behaving – it could not, should not continue.

But that is more real for us today because we have intervened in nature, with chemicals, polution, clearing, salinity, depletion of species, nature can strike back as a result of the changes it faces. Researchers have long been saying that weather patterns are changing, rainfall has changed, the earth’s atmosphere is warming. The positive is that there are many who are working hard to get our attention and change that.

In a more personal sense the painting speaks of consequences, if we don’t care for ourselves, if we don’t check our excesses, if we don’t care for others, then there are consequences that will affect us. Without reflective time, without some quiet within the daily, without healthy diet and exercise, without love and loving, without the capacity to listen and to share, to be creative, we are at risk of life sweeping over us with claws waiting to consume us. Mindfulness is not a mystery, it simply learning to to put our ego drive away and focus on the real self and its potential and relations. to use a cliche – stop and smell the roses.

But unlike the fishermen in the painting we are not at the mercy of such things, we can (we must) stop and take time, and we can work together on the crises that seem to surround us. And not in the least to begin to challenge the work ethic which will consume us first if we don’t.

Nature rises up
the claws of consequence
time to paint

Paul,

pvcann.com

33 Comments

Filed under art, history, life, mindfulness, nature

Galahs Partake

via Daily Prompt: Partake

It begins with one, two, then three, then more. They gather to partake in the most joyous fun together. It was raining the other day and we were sitting on the veranda watching the day go by, when nature’s jesters turned up. The ubiquitous Pink & Grey Galah, found almost everywhere in Australia. They love to play, and they love to play in the rain (when it’s warm weather that is). This group started with one then there were more. I love it when they hang upside down to get the full feel of the rain and get a wash. You can hear from there calls that they are having a ball. It’s a little like watching young children have fun together.

The Pink and Grey Galah or Eolophus rosiecapillus (although science is also saying Cacatua rosiecapillus) a cockatoo, is common across Australia. Its common name is derived from its colour – pink with grey. Our English word Galah is taken from the Aboriginal language Yuwaalaraay and their word Gilaa. Galahs form strong bonds as couples who mate for life, and they are known to become depressed if their mate dies. There is an urban myth that if one of the couple dies, the other remains celibate, but it has been proven that they do indeed find another mate. They can live up to thirty years in the wild. They are highly inteligent, social, and adaptable.

In Australia the word Galah has also been used as a euphemism for someone who is a loud mouth. In teaching meditation, the term for a distracted and busy mind was always a monkey mind, but I use the word Galah mind, it makes more sense when you have no monkeys.

But their playfulness reminded me of how humans generally lose their sense of play, we become too serious and dismiss play as childish, silly, immature or a waste of time. We crush the inner child at every turn with our grown up ways. Dr. Stuart Brown gives us a great way to look at play as important to our health and development.

Like the Galahs, we too need to hang loose ocassionally, we need to play in the rain, we need to partake of fun. And like the Galahs who grieve their dead mate, we grieve so many things in our lives, and there is a place for counter-balance, not as distraction, but as intentional. Brown talks about how we need play to be whole and healthy, how doing the most, what appears to be silly things, enable us to see life differently. In other presentations, Brown provided research of prison inmates whose childhood had been deprived of play, there is a correlation between play deprivation and development issues. Some sobering thoughts, but ones that affirm the need to play.

Sometimes we need to be life’s jesters, and make like a Galah (the bird, not the loud mouth).

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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