Tag Archives: relationships

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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Filed under community, Country, environment, history, life, mindfulness, nature, Spirituality

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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Filed under bush walking, Haiku, 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

Fame! It’s A Trap!

Famous

 

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The Beatles. Most people now know the story well about how the four young musicians from working class families in Liverpool became a world famous band. How Skiffle was the trend, how the drummer was removed and Ringo brought in. The years of going to the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, Germany to make cash, playing at the Cavern in Liverpool, and encountering the quiet businessman Brian Epstein who became their manager. The wonderful alliance of Lennon-McCartney as the primary song writers, and the creative relationship with the late George Martin as their producer at EMI. Beatlemania, pop, rock, experimental music, trend setting, controversy, religion, drugs, a whirlwind of mayhem and success.

What makes me laugh out loud every time is the following comment by Decca records. The Beatles had been taken to London for an audition at Decca Records for new years day 1962, the session was recorded and a decision promised in the days after. Eventually Decca responded, rejecting the Beatles, saying: “Guitar groups are on their way out.” and “The Beatles have no future in show business.” I’ve often wondered if they did a debrief on that a couple of years later. Instead, Decca signed The Tremeloes (also known as Brian Poole and the Tremeloes), a band that performed well and hung around for forty years as consistent recording artists and concert performers, but were never famous. But maybe the Tremeloes had a better time?

By 1966, and five years of hits and relentless international concert schedules, the Beatles stopped touring. It was no longer fun. The freedom and success they had achieved had started to impact their lives in ways they may not have foreseen or understood. They were public property, cultural icons, trend-setters, and they were adored. Privacy was almost nil, and demands were heavy.

Fame also impacted the band relationships, tension, jealousy, power games all played their part, and eventually they went their separate ways, making it a public split in 1970. Even though over the years up until Lennon’s death they were offered staggering sums of money to reunite, they could not bear the thought of it.

The money the Beatles made must have been staggering, the adoration initially seductive and welcome, but for Lennon it contributed to his shooting, Harrison was attacked in his home and stabbed, McCartney lived in fear of being attacked, Ringo hit the booze for a time, it wasn’t pretty. Stress, relationship problems, anxiety, fear, substance abuse related issues, and more.

But while we sit in judgement of those who rise to stardom, where do we fit? At our own level, do we fall into the same patterns? How many of us have not coped with stress, responsibility, fear, money, relationships? As a parallel to the stars we too fall prey to our own behaviours, worries, and desires, just on a smaller scale. We may not have broken up the Beatles, but we may well have broken up with dear friends.

What I take away from the cost of fame for people like the Beatles is that I too can seek popularity, a more localised version of fame, I can seek wealth over relationship, I can ignore those closest to me, I can be busy with my important work to the exclusion of others, I can be jealous when I perceive that I fall short (the disaster of comparison), and I can be anxious about my image. The movie ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ (Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves) makes this point very strongly, the last scene is profound as a truth, that we will sell ourselves to fame and be totally unaware.

True contentment can only ever be in self-acceptance, and thereby building confidence and self-awareness. I believe that fame is best when it is conferred rather than pursued, when others see it in you, rather than making it happen. To be content, to strive, and to be real, that is the road less travelled, and a different type of famous.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under creativity, history, life, mindfulness, music, quote

Just Typical

via Daily Prompt: Typical

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A typical south coast scene, no whales to see though.

I wonder when you last refelcted on what is your typical pattern, your typical day, your typical behaviour (of which you’d best ask others opinion, as we’re a little blind to our quirks sometimes)? When was the last time you reviewed what is typical? The question is not aimed at getting you to change, just simply to become aware. On the other hand, who knows, maybe it’s time to change something(s). Could be anything, from social media habits, to one’s personal morning or evening regime, relationship patterns. It could be addressing blind spots, relationship black spots, or attending to awareness.

For me it has been to slow down my typical social media output and participation time, to set aside the news feeds (and the negativity) over the past two years.

Lyn and I participated in the Gottman Institute’s 30 day marriage challenge, a series of challenges to patterns and thinking and blind spots, a wonderful refreshment and conversation that has been deeply enriching for both of us. One of the outcomes has been to reorder our typical day which was in dire need of change. Not everyone can live in my chaos.

My intentional spiritual path is Christian (within the contemplative path) and for the great fast of Lent I chose to start simplifying my life by stripping out some of the collected detritus of life. I am a typical hoarder. I didn’t want to go hard core like the Minimalist Guys on a set scale, but to meander and ponder my way through it. So far so good, clothes, trinkets, books, have all been culled. Haven’t done that in years and felt great to lose some of that weight.

For me, reflecting on my typical patterns and processes has not only been productive and helpful, it has refreshed and invigorated my life, an, I have a new awareness of myself and those around me.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under life, love, mindfulness, minimalism, nature, Philosophy/Theology, religion, self-development, Spirituality

Daily Prompt: Fabric

via Daily Prompt: Fabric

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I have some beautiful pieces of hand woven fabric that have been given to me over time by friends who are masters of their craft. But nature has its own varieties of fabric, like the spider web in the photo, found at the base of a small tree trunk, quite common in the northern interior of West Australia. They are deceptive, they have a funnel like appearance yet they are not formed by one of our deadly spiders. They are sheer and well placed to trap prey, the ultimate in gourmet food collection. The trees in this section were coverd in them, and it was eye catching, the gossamer shining in the sun, natures Gucci, Channel, or [insert fashion house name here]. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but to the naked eye it was sheer beauty. And not a synthetic in sight. And also noting that nature works on exchange, nothing is over produced or wasted, all is offered as needed, so no mass produced lines here. There is nothing here about consumption. Which is a metaphor for the web or fabric of life, nature is a complexity of interdependent fabrics on which we too are a part and on which too we depend, and it always relies on a balance of those relationships.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Compromise

via Daily Prompt: Compromise

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Com = with, promise = agreement, arrangement.

The art of working together towards and agreement. I’ve come across articles that suggest it is wrong to compromise, that you should stick to your guns and never give in. But I beg to differ. Without compromise we would never accomodate each other, there would be no opportunity for collaborative work or learning. Compromise is the art of finding a new way forward, trying to find points of agreement. Without compromise we would have rigidity, black and white scenarios, all forms of fundamentalism. I do agree that we should never compromise our own dignity and integrity, we should never compromise ourselves, as Janis Joplin once said: “Don’t compromise yourself, you’re all you’ve got.” While the Beatles sang ‘We Can Work It Out’ opining that life is too short for fussing and fighting.  Besides it’s not all about you/me. We can compromise our demands, ideals, desires, and wants. My observation is that relationships fail where compromise is absent.

I love this quote from St. Augustine of Hippo (oft times falsely attributed to St. Francis and a few others): “In the essentials let there be unity, in the non-essentials let there be liberty, and in all things let there be charity.” Not bad for a bloke in the fourth century. But then he had witnessed a fair bit of compromising in the the great ecumenical councils of that era.

Relationships flourish where issues and behaviours are compromised, all it takes is an “I message” and a listening ear combined with a willingness to let go fixed positions. Somewhere there is new ground.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

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Entertain the Other

Entertain

Two movies I find deeply engaging are Chocolat and Babette’s Feast. They are not the same and yet they have some similarities in that relationships and love win out. In Chocolat Vianne fights the attitude of a whole town in France that is locked into a puritanical observation of the ancient privations of Lent. Vianne wins the people, and eventually her main detractors, by showing interest in the people, by offering hospitality, entertaining them, showing them love, most especially the unloved and rejected. Vianne is a soul friend, a confidant, a counsellor, a change agent.

I particularly love the dinner scene because it shows some of the people joining together and enjoying a sumptuous feast, they love its flavour, texture, its combinations, it is a scene not of lust, but of joy, true unadulterated joy, a setting free. And that is Chocolat, it is a series of people being set free. In the end Vianne herself is set free of her own struggle, dealing with the unresolved grief of her mother’s death. You can access the movie as just a whimsical jaunt, but you can go deeper and access the idea that entertaining the other, attending to the other, actually changes the world, one relationship at a time.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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