Tag Archives: peace

Less Is More

Abundant – Word of the Day

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Mate, there’s nothing out here, we’re stuffed now. On the way to Jindalee.

To the untrained eye that’s true, but to any of our local indigenous clans, there’s no reason to panic because to the familiar and trained eye, there’s an abundance of food out there, what we call bush tucker.

If you are a meat eater, then kangaroo, emu, wallaby, snakes and lizards, to name a few, are nearby. Quandongs, bush plums, mulga apples, wild orange, and more are nearby. There are also mulga seeds and wattle seeds. Plenty of insects abound, cicadas, witchetty grubs, and various caterpillars. Some sweet things like nectar, especially from the honey ant, and honey from native bees. There’s surface water in the wet season, some soaks and Gorges during summer, and if you dig there’s often water close to the surface near tree roots, and granite outcrops. Then there’s various flax and flat leaved plants you can use for making baskets and any number of containers, trees for shade and shelter, tinder for fire. To the untrained eye – there’s nothing out there. I’m no expert but to my eye and many others, there is definitely an abundance of food and life out there.

“Less is more” is a phrase from Robert Browning’s poem ‘Andrea del Sarto’ (1855). This phrase was popularised by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as the principle of Minimalism in architecture in the 1940s, van der Rohe was a leading figure in the Bauhaus movement. The Aussie bush is vast but sparse, which makes me think it is a living example of Browning’s phrase, less is more.

The sparse bush is deceptive, and yet to those who know, it’s like a magnet that draws you to linger a while and indulge that other abundance – peace. To continue a theme, in the bush there is an abundance of peace, a joyful solitude, a nurturing silence. There is a generous time out in the bush, there is no competition to mark time, no stress in taking time. No wonder many of us say it is a healing space, body, mind and soul. The bush is generous, extravagant, and abundant. It teaches me to live those values. And it teaches me that less is actually more.

maples abundant
black pine a mass of needles
cherry soul-gasm

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, community, food, Haiku, Indigenous, life, mindfulness, nature

The Definition of Irony

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Christopher Wallace (1972 – 1997) Known as Notorius B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls. Originally Wallace wanted to be called Biggie Smalls but the name was already copyright to someone else, so his performing name was Notorius B.I.G. (which stands for Business Instead of Game) but he was unofficially known around music circles as Biggie Smalls, which was taken from the 1975 movie “Let’s Do It Again” and a gangster character called Biggie Smalls, yet it was also a reference to his size, he was big even as a young child.

The name he didn’t want originally was Notorius, yet ironically it sums up part of his early life. From the age of twelve he got involved in petty crime and small time drug dealing to help make money. His father had long gone and his mother was working two jobs to keep the family going. He received parole sentences, community work orders and eventually a stint in gaol. He was a good high school student but transfered to a technical school and dropped out, Eventually finding his way into the rap scene. In a very short time he became a respected and popular MC. He was active in performances and recording especially with Junior M.A.F.I.A., and then in 1994 released a solo album – “Ready to Die” which reached 13 on the Billboard 200 Chart.

His career was marred somewhat by the East Coast – West Coast rapper rivalry that had become intense, and resulted in the death of several people involved in the rap music scene. He also fell out with his friend Tupac Shakur, who became vitriolic. Tupak was gunned down in 1996. Notorius, who had had a notorius youth, was blamed for much of the rivalry and with the death of Tupac. But as these things go, it seems that he had little to do with either, so that when he was actually least notorius everyone believed he was just that. Notorius’ life would make a great definition of the word ironic.

Sadly, while trying to promote peace between the warring factions of East and west coast rappers and businesses, Notorious was shot and killed in a drive by on March 9, 1997, he was 25 yrs old.

His style is called loose and fluid, very relaxed and not as energised or intense as other rappers. His content is more journalistic (compared to the direct social justice focus of NWA) and perhaps too easily dismissed by anyone looking for substance. Yet his songs actually record the life he knew growing up in Brooklyn.

There’s a sadness reading the lives of these young, mostly men, who lived these pseudo warrior lives in clan wars and died in the process. Notorius, Tupac, and thirty others, killed. Again, Notorius, ironically sang, “You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills you), I say ironically because he was already somebody. He already was himself – Christopher Wallace. But as Notorius he was successful and known. And Ironically – because that’s what happened, as if it was self-fulfilling prophecy.

I take a couple of things away from his story, judgmentalism aside, Notorius grew up in a hostile environ and he survived, we may not approve of his notorius crime life, but he made it through and turned his life around. Notorius journalled his life into his music, and through that we have examples of the misery, crime, fear, racism, violence and struggle that young black people experienced (still experience). He was no angel (but then I remember that I too have had my moments), but he was making a new life, making amends (especially through his suport for his children), striving for peace, seeking community, and seeking justice. Even if I achieve one of those aims I’d be doing well.

The Notorius B.I.G. – “You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)”

darkness covers my past
pain blossoms where I walk
my song brings wholness

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under life, music, quote

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

One of the Great Negotiators

Negotiate – Word of the Day

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Dag Hammarskjold (1905 – 1961) a Swedish Diplomat, economist and from 1953 – 1961 he was the UN Secretary General. He was also a deeply spiritual person, a contemplative who loved the medieval mystics. His book ‘Markings’ a journal of his spiritual struggles was posthumously published with a foreword by his friend, the poet W.H. Auden. He called his diary – negotiations with himself and with God.

Hammarskjold was propopsed by the British Foreign Secertary Anthony Eden who was impressed with Hammarskjold’s work in diplomacy and economics. The vote was almost unanimous in the Security Council and Hammarskjold was announced as the next Secretary General. The American and Soviet delegates thought Hammarskjold was harmless. He was reelected in 1957.

Hammarskjold was unaware of the nomination, and in fact thought the media report was a joke, and because it was announced on April 1st, he quipped that it was a bad April Fools joke. But it was indeed true.

Hammarskjold believed that relationships were important and that example was one of the best forms of leadership. He tried to meet as many employees at the UN as possible, he ate regularly in the staff cafe, he refused to use his private lift and opened it for general use, he established the meditation room (which he helped to design) which was to be for withdrawal and reflection, a place for silence, and a multi-faith space. He prevented FBI intervention at the UN that his predecessor had allowed at the height of McCarthyism. And he brought order and regulatory process to an organisation in crisis.

He was an able negotiator. He made some impact on relations between Israel and the Arab states. In 1955 he successfully negotiated the release of eleven US airmen who were prisoners from the Korean War. In 1956 he played a major role in ending the Suez Crisis, There are many other negotiations that he was involved in, and which demonstrate his capacity to work hard and achieve a positive outcome. Not everything was plain sailing though, the Congo was unresolved, interrupted by his death, and the Soviet interference and then occupation of Hungary was frustrating for Hammaskjold as there was little he could do to bring a resolution forward.

His role in the Congo Crisis was cut short by his death as the result of a plane crash travelling to Congo. There are those who still believe that Congolese rebels associated with mining interests were responsible for the plane crash, but no substantive proofs have come to light, including a UN 2015 investigation into the matter. Hammarskjold made four visits to the Congo. It was, as history has shown, a tangled web of politics and power plays. The USSR and the Americans had their own people on the ground and were manipulating much of the power play. The Congo had become factionalised on independence, and the popularly elected Prime-minister Patrice Lumumba was murdered. It was utter chaos.

J.F. Kennedy said of Hammarskjold: “I realise now that in comparison to him, I am a small man. He was the greatest statesman of our century.” Kennedy was reflecting on Hammarskjold’s death and on his own resistance to Hammarskjold’s policy in the Congo.

Extreme left and right views are critical of Hammarskjold, and in the main these revolve around the immpossible situation in Hungary, and the seemingly intractable problem in the Congo. But for me they are the proof, by comparison, of the majority of successes he was part of and integral to. His record stands as testimony to his great ability to network, form key relationships, to maintain a consistent approach, and to believe the best in people. His commitment was to keeping peace and finding better ways for nations to negotiate their differences. He formed the UN Emergency Response Group, and initiated the first Peace Keeping force. He was posthumously awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1961.

His strength came from his contemplative stance, especially meditation, and his sheer passion for peace in the world. His personal belief was that selfless service to humanity was crucial. Whatever you may think of him, he was one of the great negotiators of the 20th century.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

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Filed under history, life, mindfulness, politics, quote, religion, Spirituality

Extravagant?

via Daily Prompt: Extravagant

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There’s nothing extravagant in old Gwalia. Mining towns that date back to the early twentieth century were rugged, minimalist, isolated communities. Niceties were simple, like hesian walls and ceilings, an outdoor bathroom, toilet and laundry. There was minimal heating, and no cooling at all, other than an open window. No running water. And to have a garden meant working the soil for years to be able to even penetrate it, let alone grow anything in it, it’s like concrete. Power came later, but if you could afford it, a generator was a good option. A telephone would have been a luxury. Farmers of the era also lived this way, it’s what you put up with in order to pursue your vocation in isolated places.

And yet, these communities survived for decades, simply because to live here was a lifestyle choice, people wanted to live out here. Of course, the motives were numerous, and who knows motive (unless self-declared)? Today there are a few who are moving back to these towns, towns like Gwalia, Leonora, Menzies, goldrush towns that emptied as soon as the seam ran out. Retirees, FIFO workers, long distance commuters, those who work from home, all enjoying a bush life.

There’s nothing extravagant out here, but there’s an abundance of community, a generosity of spirit, and peace that runs deep like a river within, that’s truly extravagant, and positively so.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, community, Country, history, life, nature