Pay It Forward

I follow this page called Humans in Melbourne on Facebook. It’s a great page, a mixture of photography (love the shots displayed) and life stuff, about the Humanity of Melbourne (his about page contains the full, awesome description).

Recently, the page admin, Chris, has been trying to start something. After almost getting a parking ticket the other day, he resolved to “pay forward” the fine he nearly got.

The fine: $155. That story here:

On Monday, he started paying it forward by handing out a bunch of ice-cold water bottles (the top temperature in Melbourne got to 35*C that day) to people around the city.

“Money paid forward so far 27.50
Money left to pay forward 127.50”

Now there’s an idea.

I’m going to start keeping track of the good things happening that we might miss, but are the things we need to lift us up instead of drag us down. Like the initiative I posted about last week – I’ve got my badge and am wearing it.

I wonder what Chris and other Humans will come up with next…

P.S. Chris has been nominated for a Local Hero award – vote for him by midnight Sunday (23:59 AEDT Sunday 27th November)!


Take My Seat initiative

Check this out. I’ve ordered one – it should come soon. What a great kid and great idea.

Find out more here.

Take to the High Road

Yes, I’m doing one of “those” posts, the sort that many people on social media are doing at the moment. Why? My reasons are that I am a global citizen (and a woman, at that) who is affected, even peripherally in Australia. I am also a bit of a politico and a proud social justice advocate and friend of different people. So, this stuff matters.

I was pretty pissed off about the results when I first heard. I mean – seriously? Trump as President??  O_O

I’m disappointed because of what that means.
I’m also disappointed because I liked Clinton. I didn’t agree with everything she said, but I liked her. She’d have been good. Now, America will go from two great terms of a great President, Barack Obama, to a wanker like Trump?

I’ve seen things going around on Facebook saying “If you voted for Trump, unfriend me”. I’m not doing that. In part because, looking at my feed, I don’t really have to – pretty much all the people I regularly see things from are on the same page as me. I am able to ignore any who aren’t – I have that privilege.

Unfriending and ignoring is a good strategy in the short term to avoid being swept into a pile of bad emotions. That’s my first thing: if you’re rattled by what’s going on atm, step away, as much as you can, at least for a little while. I’m doing that. Engage with people around you who share your views to build support. We will eventually need that support to unite and fight back (globally, in our different areas) against the separate-but-connected stupid sh** that’s been building in different places.

Another reason why unfriending purely on voting won’t quite work is that I recognise that this situation occurred from a mess of factors/reasons and that some people who voted Trump voted for legitimate (i.e. not sexist/racist/power-hungry/other stupid fear- & control-based) reasons. Like – the anti-establishment feelings and all that, especially in places where industry has been down and people have felt left behind or forgotten about? I get that. Unfortunately, they’re lumped in together now with the -ists mentioned above, the ones who I wouldn’t want to have on my feed in the first place. Trump et al – as I see it – have only used that anti-establishment support to shore up his ugly sexist/racist/etc. base. That challenge will have to be negotiated at some point: I don’t think your “great America” and his are the same. (For those whom it is the same, well – that’s a whole other kettle of fish.)

I am going to draw close to my “tribe” so to speak. If there’s something this has reminded me of, it’s how we can support one another. I’m also going to choose to, as my friend put it, “see the love not the hate”. Which does not, as she explained succinctly, mean ignoring hate – it means calling other people on their sh**, while “spending my life turning today’s ****storm into something worthwhile” by helping others however we can. For example, the “Take My Seat” badges initiative. I’m getting on board!

As I saw elsewhere on Facebook: “We must keep doing this, and other things, and other things, because we clearly have to take responsibility for connection and community into our own hands. No-one in power is worth a tinker’s cuss when it comes to this stuff. How people get to run the joint when they have the emotional intelligence of a kilo of lead poisoning is beyond me. But there you go. And those of us who have some, well, obviously we need to share it around.” ~ Fiona

We’re in for a bumpy ride as global citizens in the next little while (with bumpiness increasing in certain directly-hit areas). We can pull through though – and be the change we want to see. Let’s harness that – the power of kindness, rather than fear.

So cuddle your pets and hug your friends and family, arrange meet-ups and just generally affirm each other. Walk through nature and share funny/cute/etc. things – seek out joy and hope. We’ve been knocked a few times this year, but we’ll keep fighting.

You know what? Something I really hope for is that these events, this year – if they’re not the peak, then they’re the start of a crest of unpleasantness. My second hope is that the events will cause us progressives, in all forms, to unite more strongly, more globally, and see off the sh**. Maybe it’s a long shot, but sometimes, that’s the best shot. (The link is an awesome song I heard yesterday when searching for distractions.)

Thinking about this just made me remember this, too:
The important quote starts at 0:43.

Sums it up well, I reckon. There are a bunch of other quotes from different fandoms I could use, too.




REBLOG: Not Doing Lent

For those who commemorate it (like me) today marks the start of Lent – Ash Wednesday. When I was in primary school, the thing that I’d always give up would be chocolate. Simple and basic, but hard at times … it got into a routine, but was good for young me. In Year 12, I forbade myself from going to certain websites which were major distractors to study. That was helpful then. Over the past few years I’ve tried to do something different instead. I try to be kinder to certain people I tend to get annoyed at, or something like that.

This year, I’ll be following the advice given below…looking at what I really love and why, then trying to do more of that and less of other things. As well as practice my sense of situational awareness.

I Don’t Want To Do Lent This Year

by Michael K. Marsh

Lent, Ash Wednesday, Matthew 6:16 16-21,  Mary Oliver, Reflection, DesertAs I write this reflection it’s the third week in Epiphany and I’ve been thinking about Lent for a couple of weeks now. I am thinking about Shrove Tuesday; the pancake supper, the palms we will burn, and the ashes we will prepare for the next day’s liturgy. I am thinking about the fragility of life, mortality, and the ashes that will mark our foreheads on Ash Wednesday. I am thinking about the Church’s invitation “to the observance of a holy Lent by forty days of self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” The old voices in my head are asking, “What are you giving up for Lent this year?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about Lent and the truth is I don’t want to do Lent this year. Now maybe that’s something a priest isn’t supposed to say but I did and I mean what I said. I don’t want to do Lent this year. I don’t want to just get through Lent. I want Lent to get through to me. I want Lent to do me. …

Read more by clicking on the title.

Creative Kindness to Yourself

Five steps to a build creative confidence (and be part of the creative kindness revolution!) from Pip Lincolne at Meet Me at Mike’s. Full article here.

  1. Watch your negative self-talk – replace every snarky thing you say to yourself with something kinder.
  2. Remember that there are no mistakes – you learn from every part of the process, so embrace the things that didn’t go the way you expected
  3. If you’re feeling a bit fearful of sharing your work, combat nerves with a mini-meditation. You could try the Smiling Mind app. I like that one a lot.
  4. Rewrite the script and talk about yourself and your work in more glowing terms to others. Positivity is catching.
  5. Find a creative gang to share your insecurities and triumphs with. Facebook is a great place to find supportive online groups (start your own, if you fancy!) or meet up in real life for the bonus feature of hugs and shared pots of tea!

REBLOGGED: It’s Not Funny If It Has No Insightful Truth. ‘Free Speech, I Mean’.

Author’s Note:I am reposting this piece because the conservative right wing of the Coalition have an ambush waiting for the PM on Thursday. It looks like he will face pressure to reinstate the Coalition’s policy to repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act after he previously backed a compromise bill up for debate in the Senate this week.

The so-called Day amendment would make it no longer an offence to offend or insult a person on the basis of their race. It would remain unlawful to humiliate or intimidate a person or group of people based on their race or ethnicity.

The bill defies Malcolm Turnbull’s commitment to adopting more inclusive government rhetoric. He can’t have it both ways.

The difference between insult, offend, humiliate and intimidate is a mystery to me.

Free Speech and an Enlightened Society

I have written about free speech, hate, racial discrimination and the state of our democracy on many occasions and this question will not leave me.

Why is it, in ‘the name of free speech’, that we need to enshrine the right to abuse each other in law?

You would think that an enlightened progressive free thinking society would want to eliminate it not legislate it.

It is not a question that requires great philosophical, ideological or even theological debate. It is a black and white question.

Supposedly we live in an age of enlightenment, a period where the world has made enormous technological advances, but at the same time our intellects have not advanced the capacity to understand simple tolerance.

Indeed, if we were truly enlightened we would treat our fellow human beings, with respect love and faithfulness. We would do unto them as we would expect them to do unto us and we would strive to do no harm. We would love life and live it with a sense of joy and wonderment.

We would form our own independent opinions on the basis of our own reason and experience; and not allow ourselves to be led blindly by others. And we would Test all things; always checking our ideas against our facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it did not conform to them. We would readily admit it when we are wrong in the knowledge that humility is the basis of intellectual advancement and that it is truth that enables human progress.

And of course we would enjoy our own sex life (so long as it damages nobody) and leaves others to enjoy theirs in private whatever their inclinations, which are none or your business.

We would uphold the principle that no one individual or group has an ownership of righteousness. We would seek not to judge but to understand. We would seek dialogue ahead of confrontation.

We would place internationalism before nationalism acknowledging that the planet earth does not have infinite resources and needs care and attention if we are to survive on it. In doing so we would value the future on a timescale longer than our own. We would recognise that the individual has rights but no man is an island and can only exist, and have his rights fulfilled, only by the determination of a collective.

We would insist on equality of opportunity in education acknowledging that it is knowledge that gives understanding. We would seek not to indoctrinate our children in any way but instead teach them how to think for themselves, evaluate evidence, and how to disagree with us. We would, in our schools open their minds to an understanding of ethics instead of proselytizing religion.

We would never seek to cut ourselves off from dissent, and always respect the right of others to disagree with us.

Importantly we not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.

Lastly we would question everything. What we see, what we feel, what we hear, what we read and what we are told until we understand the truth of it because thoughtlessness is the residue of things not understood and can never be a replacement for fact.

If these things truly are the embodiment of enlightenment. How do we stack up? It is fair to say that some societies and individuals could lay claim to attaining a measure of it. For example in some countries gender equality is more readily accepted and there has been advances in education. Overall though I think the reader would conclude that in most instances our enlightenment has not progressed much.

This is no more empathised than in our understanding of what free speech is. Are we honestly enlightened if we think we need to ‘’enshrine in legislation’’ an emotion people already have and use, to express hatred? There is something fundamentally and humanely wrong with the proposition. There is an intolerable indecency that suggests that we have made no advancement in our discernment of free speech. If free speeches only purpose is to denigrate, insult and humiliate then we need to reappraise its purpose. There are those who say it identifies those perpetrating wrong doing but if it creates more evil than good it’s a strange freedom for a so called enlightened society to bequeath its citizens.

To quote Jonathan Holmes:

Let’s be clear: Charlie Hebdo set out, every week, with the greatest deliberation, to offend and insult all kinds of people, and especially in recent years the followers of Islam, whether fundamentalist or not.

Look at some of the magazine’s recent covers: An Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood protester in a hail of gunfire crying “The Koran is shit – it doesn’t stop bullets”; a full-on homosexual kiss between a Charlie cartoonist and a Muslim sheik with the ironic headline “Love is stronger than hate”; a naked woman with a niqab thrust up her backside.

The Charlie Hebdo massacre as vile and as unjust as it was, gave no excuse for repressive world leaders to lecture anyone on freedom of expression. The sheer hypocrisy of it was breathtaking. Some of the world leaders locked arm in arm in the Paris March were from countries with the world’s worst suppression of press freedom. To see the Foreign Minister of Egypt marching arm in arm with world leaders was two faced-ness in the extreme given that Peter Creste has now been in jail for more than a year.

It’s all in the name of satirical free speech but it’s not funny if has no insightful truth.

Is this really what an enlightened society means by free speech? Does it demonstrate our cognitive advancement? Is this what well educated men and women want as free speech or should  we see free speech as being nothing more or nothing less than the right to tell the truth in whatever medium we so choose.

One has to wonder why the so called defenders of free speech feel they are inhibited by what they have now. I don’t. I have never felt constrained in my thoughts or my ability to express them. I’m doing it now. But then I don’t feel a need to go beyond my own moral values of what is decent to illuminate my thoughts.

Why is it then that the likes of Abbott, Bolt, Jones, Brandis, Bernardi and others need to go beyond common decency, and defend others who cannot express themselves without degenerating into hate speech? The answer has nothing to do with an honourably noble sort of democratic free speech.

Why does this demand for open slather free speech always come from the right of politics and society? They seem to have an insensitivity to common decency that goes beyond any thoughtful examination.

They simply want the right to inflict hate, defame with impunity, insult, and promote bigotry if it suits their purpose. And behind that purpose can be found two words. Power and control.

The way we presently view free speech simply perpetuates the right to express all those things that make us lesser than what we should be. Debate, in whatever form, should not include the right to vilify. It is not of necessity about winning or taking down ones opponent. It is about an exchange of facts ideas and principles. Or in its purest form it is simply about the art of persuasion” The argument that bigots are entitled to be bigots or that unencumbered free speech exposes people for what they are, doesn’t wear with me. It simply says that society has not advanced. That our cultural ethical intellect has not progressed at the same rate as our technological understanding.

The fact that so many people agree with the free speech argument highlights the tolerance we have for the unacceptable right to hate each other, which to me is the sauce of everything that is wrong with human behaviour.

And we want to make it acceptable by legislating to condone it!

Are we really saying that in a supposed enlightened society that should value, love, decorum, moderation, truth, fact, balance, reason, tolerance, civility and respect for the others point of view that we need to enshrine in law a person’s right to be the opposite of all these things?

If that is the case then we are not educating. We are not creating a better social order and we are not enlightened at all.

The fact is that free speech in any democratic system should be so valued, so profoundly salient, that any decent enlightened government should legislate to see that it is not abused. That it carries with it sacrosanct principles of decency that are beyond law and ingrained in the conscience of a collective common good.

After all the dignity of the individual (or individuals) within the collective is more important than some fools right to use freedom of speech to vilify another.

It says something about the moral sickness in our society when the right to abuse each other, in the name of free speech, needs to be enshrined in law.

To Thine Own Self Be True

A couple of good reads about being true to yourself – by giving yourself a break and by looking for intention in others. You are loved and your mistakes shouldn’t be your measure!

Dear Self, Be Kind

by tracieloux

Words. They are my love language.

IMG_0464This was created for my birthday one year, a string of love notes written by my family and friends.

I love giving them and I love receiving them.

Words fill my tank.

Words also empty me in a heart beat when they are handed out carelessly.  It takes a very long time to erase painful, carelessly spoken words that make their way into my heart.

But what about when I am the careless speaker, uttering hurtful, painful lies over my own soul? What if I am the one that thoughtless aims and fires those daggers? How many times I am the one that hurls insult at my already broken heart?

I’m not even going to list them- those lies.  I won’t give them one more moment of air.  And I’m guessing you don’t need any help in thinking up verbal daggers for yourself anyway.

Over and over I’ve told other people,  “Don’t speak about yourself that way!” I’ve said, “You would never speak that way about your child, (your best friend, your spouse, etc.) so don’t talk to yourself that way about yourself either.” I’ve even told my husband, “Hey, I have incredibly good taste, don’t insult me by talking about the man I love like that!”

You get the point! It’s easy to call it out in other people.

It’s time to start with me. And let me tell you, it’s hard to write the words that are about to flow from my fingers, but I’m going to let them out and then work on believing them- because deep down I do.

Dear Self,

Be kind. You are full of love and compassion. You walk in strength. You are faithful and steadfast in the love that you extend every day to your family. You are beautiful and you are brave and you are strong. Go easy on yourself, extend grace, learn to rest- you deserve it.

Success is not measured by speed or numbers. You succeed every day because you get up and walk in love. Success is not measured by perfection, in fact, the failures and obstacles have far more to teach you than the moments of creative perfection ever will. Watch, Listen, Learn.

You matter. There is no one who can touch the world with a finger print that is just like yours. No one can replace the love that you were intended to deposit on your journey. You are not a commodity, you are an irreplaceable gift.

You are loved.

The part of me that has listened to and spoken lies over myself, cringes a little bit to write what I know is really true.  But it’s been written. It’s been spoken. And words have the power to heal and transform.

Consider doing two things today.

  1. Speak truth to yourself. Write yourself a love letter.
  2. Speak truth to someone else. Write someone else a love letter.

And remember YOU ARE LOVED!

Humans vs Monsters

By Meet Me At Mikes on Oct 02, 2015 08:22 am
edward-scissorhandsDo you ever think the internet is mostly a giant forum to point out the mistakes/dumbness/fragility of other humans?Sometimes it really seems that way, right?We (might) use the behaviour of others as a kind of compass for ourselves. We (might) look on as people say a thing or do a thing. Watch as others rush in to deconstruct it, point out the error in their ways and share that error with their friends. Sometimes we even join the rush.

I guess that’s kind of okay… Everyone’s accountable for their own behaviour FOR SURE and critical thinking is vital for growth and wellbeing.

That said, we’ve kind of struck off examining intention. And we’ve definitely over ruled the concept of speaking ‘casually’. Candid is out. Considered is king. And if you get it wrong, you’re TOAST.

Let’s face it, everything you say online is pretty much set in stone. A casual statement or joke is no longer just that (as illustrated in Jon Ronson’s book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed), rather it’s a smoking gun that has the potential to cause MUCH misery and spawn thousands of characters typed in its/your name. Ugh.

Yes – you might have had good intentions when you said or shared or did that thing. Yes – it might have been a bit of an exhausted joke when you typed that update on Facebook or shared that post, but once its published or said or shared, the dog is off the leash. Or something. Even if you just shared it with a small group, it’s potentially out there for one and all – screen-shotted or repeated and set to ripple out further and further into the universe (or so it seems.) Double ugh.