Category Archives: nature

Light Pleasure

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It’s the simple things that bring lasting pleasure. Dawn at looking out from Big Swamp. Too good not to stop and take the shot. It’s not a swamp it’s a wet land. European settlers misunderstood, these are not waterlogged land, but authentic wet lands. To use the term swamp is to identify land as degraded, but this is not degraded it is an ecosystem. The city council won’t change the name. Fortunately this one is protected, but many have been lost because they were viewed as swamps and filled in by developers. This one has a variety of bird life as well as other creatures.

“Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought; our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.”  Samuel Johnson

Paul,

pvcann.com

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It’s A Moiety World

Moiety – Word of the Day

Australian First Nations

There are over 500 Australian Indigenous Nations, as you can see from the map, they have particular areas with distinct boundaries. The nations are formed from clan groups which have their own language and kinship system which is either patrilineal (descent is related to and traced through the father/male line) or matrilineal (descent is related to and traced through the mother/female line). Clan groups are formed from family groups.

There are three levels of kinship in indigenous society: moiety, totem, and skin names.

The term moiety comes from the Latin, meaning half. In moiety systems everything in the universe is in two halves, each a mirror of the other, and the universe only makes sense if these two halves come together. Moieties are patrilineal or matrilineal, so determined by either your father or mother, these are the two halves. People of the same moiety are siblings and cannot marry, they must marry people from the other moiety, and thus the two halves are brought together.

Kinship

That, of course, is a simplistic outline of what the word means, but it belies a complexity of culture that is rich in every way in real life. Whereas white culture has negatively impacted indigenous culture, it is not true in reverse. In fact, we have only just begun to learn from our First Nation people’s how we might better treat each other and the land, given that ecological relationships are so fragile here.

In indigenous culture they have retained something very precious, something we have almost completely lost, the ability of moiety systems to be support systems. If you have a row with mum or dad, you can go to another significant relative within the clan group and debrief, chill out, stay awhile till the heat dissipates and the possibility of return arises. My experience of working with young white people in family conflict is they either go it alone, maybe with a few friends, or sadly, on the streets. Indigenous youth generally look for family. What is important in this is that  while we revere the independence of white youth, we miss the wisdom of healing and wholeness as the moiety or halves work together for unity. No system is perfect, but some have stronger, lasting principles that have lasted thousands of years, like our indigenous peoples. It has now become critical in youth work to build resilience for our youth in trouble, but I think the foundation of resilience is clearly the clan, though, for me, that doesn’t equate to family per se, but rather to those relationships important to our vitality and flourishing. We should never be in survival, but two halves always meeting and making the universe right.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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My Personal Ecology

Flourish – Word of the Day

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Moon’s Crossing, Pemberton, a place where nature flourishes. Here the winter creek flows and sings over the rocks. I flourish here too, the smells, sounds, sights, sensations and feelings that arise here are all part of my living.

One of the earliest thoughts about flourishing came from the great philosopher Aristotle, he thought that flourishing was the highest good of human endeavours, and that flourishing was the aim of all our actions. Somewhere that got derailed. Just as the Greek culture showed potential to pursue its own thinking, the Romans happened with their civic culture focussed on empire. And, as they do, empires come and go, not unlike plagues.

Happiness became the human endeavour, a purely hedonic pursuit according to Martin Seligman. Seligman prefers to talk about Authentic Happiness and he has pinned his career on Positive Psychology, and its ideal of human flourishing. Seligman based flourishing on “Perma” which is:- positive emotion (happiness, pleasure, gratitude, joy), engagement (a state of flow), relationships (feelings of support, familiarity and security), meaning (belonging to and serving something other than self) and accomplishment (having goals no matter the size).

In the mid 70s David Holmgren and Bill Mollinson developed permaculture, a relations or ecology system of farming and gardening. Permaculture’s three main principles are:- care for the earth, care for the people, setting limits to populations and consumption. Permaculture is more wholisitc whereas Aristotle was focussed on the benefit to the community, and Seligman’s Perma is focussed on psychology, but the three work together, they are not mutually exclusive.

For me flourishing is having a personal ecology that consists of  mutually suportive relationships, a positive relationship with nature, a spirituality, creative expression, learning, and reflection. These are the things that sustain me, give me pleasure and enable me to flourish and be creative. This is my manifesto, my mantra if you like, it has taken some time to learn the health of it, but it is a gift of life for me now.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

 

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You Give Me Fervour

Fervour – Word of the Day

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When the bush comes alive it is with fervour! The colour is rich and varied, the smell is glorious, the hum of insects and the sound of birds is divine. We are currently in winter here, this was taken a few years ago in spring in the eastern wheatbelt after the rains had been the best for a number of years. Hoping the rains are good this year so that we get a repeat of these wildflowers.

Seasons come and go, in order, and generally predictable. But our personal inner seasons are nothing like that. I’ve had long internal winters which have given rise to colourful, intense springs of growth. I’ve had long summers of basking in joy and contentment. I’ve had autumns where transition and change have prepared me body, mind and soul for new experiences. They never come in order, they are never fixed in duration, they are unpredictable. If they were, then life would be dull.

Our inner seasons are indicative of our lived reality, the stuff of relationships, love, joy, pain. It is the complexity of body, mind and soul as a receptor of a multiplicity of experiences. It is gift and loss. It is the giddyness of aspiration, and the sober nature of graft and heft. It is our senses open and engaged. None are negative. Winter is essential, a season of withdrawing, waiting, refreshing, washing, grieving gives way to spring. Winter waters spring. As we befriend our inner winters, we become wiser, integrated, stronger for the journey. Without rain there is no blossom, no juice. As we rejoice in our summers we store up memories that give back to us over a lifetime. Each season is lived and embodied, a respository of awareness. Nothing is lost. Each one gives me fervour, fervour for life, love and purpose.

Currently I’m in an autumnal time of reflection and revision and I’m seeking that next step into spring. I wonder where you are at?

dark clouds surround 
the rain falls inside of me
cherry blossom glows

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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A Friend

Introduce – Word of the Day

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I hardly need to introduce Augusta, and this particular part, the Blackwood River, as it is a constant reference in my writing. It is my favourite place and our true home. I first came here with a close mate, Nigel, in 1981 on a sudden whim, the same road trip which ended in meeting lyn, who would later become my wife. Lyn and I ended back here on our honey moon road trip in 83. And for nearly every year after we brought the kids for the summer holidays. Finally, we knew we wanted to live here so we eventually bought our home here, a place where we feel at peace, and where we feel that affinity with nature and community. This shot is the jetty where the river walk begins to pass the shire caravan park, and looks across the Blackwood to East Augusta. We were on a walk, as we regularly do, and I just loved the winter clouds and how the light played with them and the water, and the colour tones were unusual to the eye, hence the photo.

To return to the theme of affinity with nature, I find that my contemplative stance is richer in nature. I also experience nature as a soul friend, one who awakens my eyes, my heart to the deeper things, a spititual awareness, and one where I begin to feel more whole. Here my senses are engaged and I feel stimulated. Here I am content. so in that sense, I’m introducing you to my friend.

“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.” Gary Snyder.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Affinity With Nature

Affinity – Word of the Day

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Yet another winter storm was coming, hot on the heels of the first of the season, the waves were really pounding all along the shore. Thankfully the strong winds had pushed the first lot through to the wheat-belt. The dark, rain leaden clouds were a wonderfull counterpoint for the sunset, accentuating the colour.

Nature never ceases to amaze me, whether it be the thought of galaxies beyond, our own solar system, or that part of the earth where I live, there is always something to marvel at from the most simple to the really complex. Colour, texture, smell, sound, taste, it’s all there.

We are dependent on nature, we need food and water for starters, oxygen, resources.

But I think we can be interdependent. As we live into the environment, we can manage our carbon footprint, manage our extraction and usage of both finite resources and renewables. We can help to establish regrowth of vegetation, and help repair after disasters, we can return some land to native vegetation, and we can value add what we harvest or remove, there is no limit to what we can positively do in this relationship.

Nature heals, forest bathing, meditating in the open, natural medicines, audio and visual pleasure, olfactory stimulus like petrichor, touch, the sun on skin, the wind around me. My mind is stimulated too, so much to learn, so much adventure, so much to reflect on. Just to be in nature is a wonderful experience for me.

I feel an affinity, a closeness, with nature. I love the feel of sand and rock, and they tell their own story. The streams, rivers and ocean speak, sing, and invade the senses. Eucalyptus like a balm. Dolphins and birds communicating. Sunrise and sunset drawing awe and emotion. I feel whole in nature, I heal better in nature, body, mind and soul. I feel at peace, and am often content in nature. Nature is always conversing, always reaching out to me. And I get perspective, I am part of something bigger than myself, that in itself is medicine for the soul. It’s not about me, it’s not just about everyone, it’s about everything, every relationship of nature.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under beach, environment, life, mindfulness, nature, seasons

Paperbark Writer

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The paperbarks (Melaleuca – one of the 300 Myrtaceae family) are shedding a little later this year. Another theme of winter is shedding. Some animals shed a summer coat in order to prepare for winter, many plants shed their blooms and slow down in some part, some of our birds fly elsewhere for the winter though we get visitors from other shores. We, perhaps, can live unaware of our own needs. What do we need to shed in order to prepare? Mind you, the converse is also something that we need to attend to, what do we need to gather in, soak up, put on in order to prepare? Self care and nurture are fundamental to well being, body mind and soul. For me the continuity of writing and meditation are part of that nurture. How about you?

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Albert Camus

Paul,

pvcann.com

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SAD

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The last days of autumn, and the beauty of river and cloud along the Blackwood.

The days are shorter now as autumn gives way to winter. I am grateful for the change in season even though I don’t like the cold, somehow nature needs this, I tell my self, but I know deep down that I need it too.  But there is an impact that the seasonal change makes known as SAD (an auspicious aconym) or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

As winter progresses it is quite normal to feel tired and unmotivated, it is a form of the ‘blues’ but it now has a name – SAD. I think it’s probably an ancient hibernation process we are fighting, but that’s just a witsful guess, perhaps a latent desire to sleep in and ignore the cold air. However, exercise, dietary changes, sleep, meditation and a change in habit can recharge and motivate us. To do something different rather than force a summer routine into a winter context might be truly barking up the wrong tree. I note that several local young men are still clinging to shorts, t-shirt and thongs, and even though this week it has dropped to 3 degrees overnight, they are hanging on to summer as if to say, nature won’t force me to change. Yeah, right! It will.

SAD is best embraced and refocussed, a reframing of inner thought and responding energy, and to make friends with the season, and to live into it mindfully.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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The Bigger Picture

 

This video “Cosmic Eye” has been around for a few years, I really like it. The combination of one person in perspective with the universe is stunning, and then to zoom in to the person and then the internal body is equally stunning. It tells a story about the vast expanding universe, while reminding us of the intricacies of the make up of the universe. Macro to micro.

Looking at it reminds me that I am, in one sense, one with the universe, while in another sense I am encouraged that I am not insignificant. If you’ve ever had one of those days where you’ve felt you’re not worth much, or you think what’s the point of life, or if you’ve compared yourself as puny, tiny, in comparison with the complex universe and consider yourself insignicant, then this video, simple as it is, is a reminder that you are not insignificant at all. You are part of the complex relationships that constitute life, and are a microcosm of the universe. This video reminds me that I’m a part of the web of life and therefore I have something to contribute.

The wonder of the journey of life is to discover what it is that we can contribute. I like this quote from Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Thurman reminds us that it’s not about getting it right or making a straight path in life, it’s about discovering the inner passions and seeking to find expression in the every day. It’s about you being you, just that, and finding your part in the universe.

None of us are insignificant, all of us have something inside to bring to life.

galaxies beyond
black holes abound there
my love is enough

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under astronomy, Haiku, life, mindfulness, nature, quote, Space

Broken Mornings Restore

Broken

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Morning had broken. Post sunrise at Augusta. You can see the plume of smoke on the horizon from the controlled burn. This was the day before the storm across the southern half of the state last week, which is traditionaly the break of season. We now move from autumn to winter.

With every sunrise I think of that old hymn ‘Morning Has Broken’ and it has stuck in my mind ever since I heard Cat Stevens popularize it. Stevens included it on his 1971 album ‘Teaser and the Firecat.’ As a single it charted at number 6 in the US according to Billboard, and number 9 in the UK. It was on the radio for weeks. The wonderful piano that makes it so great was devised by Rick Wakeman in conjunction with Stevens.

I like to take time to watch the sunrise, sunset, the stars, the change in the sky, just to soak up the moments. In another sense, the sky and all its gifts are part of the rhythm of life. The sun’s movements are the bookends of each day, but also a reminder that each day is enough in itself, that to live is to live in the moment and not in any other day. The irony is, that if we do live in the moment, we build a capacity, a strength that helps protect us from breaking. Living in the moment is letting go, nurturing grattitude, accepting the elements of the day, reaching out to others, sharing love, touching the joy that is somewhere in us and perhaps needs intentionally drawing out. Besides, worrying never changes the outcome anyway!

I believe that each new day is a new opportunity, a new experience, and a new horizon, by which we have a fresh start and new opportunities to explore. And, as the song says, each new day begins, like the first one. There is a rhythm of life, it is a gift, it is faithful, it is there for us to be in.

Two of my favourite quotes about living in the now:

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” Maya Angelou

And of course the song – an earworm for your day 🙂

Paul,

pvcann.com

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