Conflicted

My heart is a mess today.

In one aspect, I am deeply proud of the young people of the world today. The ones who stood up and said enough was enough, that the fate of our planet is far too important to be ignored any longer by politicians and adults alike. They stood in the streets, speaking and holding signs and begging the world leaders to pay attention. Some risked suspension or expulsion, some risked police records and some were just there because it is what their friends were doing. But like it or not, these young people learned massively about the power of social action, politics, civics and their ability to be resilient. I wish that when I was a teenager, I could have been as active and knowledgeable about the world and my place in the world. I wish I could have had a chance to be as vocal about what I thought and saw of the world and to be well connected with other young people whose voices rang the same. The internet has brought us many beautiful things, globalisation and unity despite location or language barriers being the one highlighted today. I now have these opportunities, I just wish I could have had them earlier.

Their voices were loud, their presence louder. And briefly, the world stopped to listen.

All at once, this act of violence and hatred then erupted from New Zealand. Reports of mosques having been open fired upon. Hatred. Extremism. Terror. Pain. Sadness. And in one corner of the internet, celebration.

It is very hard for me to sit here, with my love and hope for the world, and hear that due to someone’s belief that their life and their ideals are more important and valid than another person’s life, that is justification for the terrible attack that happened today. My heart mourns for the families and community that has been torn in two. My soul wonders if we as humanity can ever reach a place where we can coexist in harmony. My mind is challenged by how I can bring this about.

What challenges me, living in a country town, is that many of the young people I work with may share (parts or all) belief that what happened today was the right way to go about things. Some may connect what happened to a concerning train of thought that this is appropriate action to be taken by Caucasian Australia. Some may indirectly reaffirm the idealogical opinion, without understanding how their words will affect and hurt people around them. Some will just not care. Some will not know how to express their feelings, given that anything different to the norm is often suppressed in a country town. And this may be an experience that you share too, with the people that surround you.

So how do we respond?

How do we come together, to unite as one, just as so many school students did today, to stand up for what we believe is the best way to treat humanity?

Personally, I think it starts by us opening our minds and our doors to people we may not necessarily know, understand or be comfortable with. It means standing up when the words around us are not going to further the human race. It means listening to our young and our disabled and our poor and our women and our refugees and our minorities and hearing to understand what they have to say. It means acting in a way that always values all human life, regardless of what it may cost socially/physically/emotionally. It means loving, without condition, without expectation and without anger.

I think that’s the greatest challenge of all; to love, in spite of ourselves.

Peace xo.

Australia is burning, so what can we do?

My heart is aching right now. So much of our precious land is under fire, literal or metaphorical currently, and it seems that the people in power are doing very little to stop it or even slow the process. As a single human being, it can be so easy to feel like we have no ability to stop this rolling dumpster fire of an issue from consuming any more.

Fires burn in Tasmania and Victoria, threatening homes, lives and unique stretches of land that have been growing long before we called this land Australia. Fish are dying in crazy algal blooms throughout the Murray-Darling system, due to lack of water from irrigation. Drought wracks much of our food bowl and even further up. Towns are running out of water, families are selling their farms and their animals in a last attempt to survive. In Far North Queensland, the monsoonal rains have arrived and have flooded towns and rivers, Cape York has been cut off from fresh food supplies and petrol. First Nations remote communities are being shut down and cut off from their utilities, their children locked up in jail, their adults demonised and forced into cashless welfare card schemes, all in the name of “helping” these people to manage their lives and fit into the westernized, “Australian” ideal of what life should look like. Young people, Indigenous Australians, LGBTQ+ communities, regional and rural communities, women, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees are all being ignored and silenced in the pursuit of furthering the ideal of one particular group in society.

It is enough to make a person blaze with anger and yet the more I sit with it, the more I feel called to action.

This is what this is. A call to action.

You have a voice. It is small and it is vital to the furthering of our community. I’m not going to sit here and tell you who to vote for, or what to do. But you need to awaken, dear hearts, to the issues that are scorching our land. Get involved in your community, learn the issues that face your people and do something. Our inaction and ignorance is causing us to lose wildlife, land and the ability to sustain our own existance. If we are meant to be the caretakers of our land, we’re doing a pretty crappy job of it at present and need to do more than just eliminate plastic and recycle more (which are still good things and you should totally do them!).

Finally, a quote from one of my favourite movies, V for Vendetta

People shouldn’t be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people’

Peace xo

Social Media – a tool or a trouble?

I feel like as a millenial, so much of my world and life is wrapped up in social media and the participation of working around the limitations and wonders of an online presence. So many complain that our generation is losing the ability to communicate with one another, because we’re buried in our technology. Songs are written about anti social behaviours. Violence and bullying is allowed to run rampant because every human and their dog can start a blog. People no longer invite each other with a slip of paper, rather it is a combination of 1s and 0s that allow people to know the when and where of celebration and gathering. Messages fly between apps, photos are edited and shared and somehow, it can feel like a person is just screaming into the void.

But what if we changed our outlook on social media? What if instead of seeing social media as an inherently bad place that should be abandoned for “real face to face communication”, we saw social media for exactly what it is, a tool.

Tools are useful and necessary to a productive and functioning society. When wielded incorrectly, they can cause hurt, harm and destruction, but when given structure, guidance and a genuine place, they can build ideas, relationships and homes for people who are on the outer. They give a voice to those who’s voices have been squashed and can bring community and connection to those who would typically shy away from social engagements.

I have been one of those humans who have benefitted from social media and the many different ways that I can connect to people. Whilst I have lived in regional and rural areas of Australia, Facebook has become a lifeline of connection to friends living in major cities. I have been able to celebrate with friends and family as they start new careers, get married, have children and start their lives in new meaningful ways. I have also been able to connect with people all over the world who suffer from the same conditions that I do and talk about our current medications, therapy options, share our dark and fear-filled moments and celebrate when someone has a success with their condition. Discord has allowed me to talk daily with people from all over the world, many whom I have built a bond with that I may never have had the chance to without the premise of a solid constant connection each day when I get home from work. I have made lifelong friendships without ever being physically in their space, but have shared some of my deepest and heaviest conversations with people I may never see face to face who I love dearly.

Additionally, social media allows people to constantly learn and grow through what they are reading and engaging with. Tumblr and Twitter have been vital in my growth of understanding of issues for First Nations people, people of colour, the disabled community, the LGBT community, other minority groups and to recognise that there is news that I miss, purely because of the bias in my own country’s reporting. I have also been able to discuss issues and ideas and learn and grow so much through blogs, emails, comments and images, and I don’t believe I would have been this understanding had I not encountered it on the internet. I’ve also been given a space to raise my voice on the issues I care about, something that may have just stayed between the few friends I see on a regular basis. How empowering would this be for people who have not traditionally had a voice or had access to communities of people who can love support and share with them?

I recognise that to learn to use social media can be a daunting and uphill battle for someone who is not a digital native. I can see that it could potentially be overwhelming for people who are confused or afraid of change. But the benefits of digital citizenship far outweigh the downfalls and I would encourage you, if you are afraid, to walk up to a digital native (and you will know them) and ask humbly your burning questions. For the digital natives who read this, I ask that you respond in a way that is respectful and loving to these people. They paved the way for our technology and allowed us to have access to learn and shape it the way we have.

At the end of this, I have some questions for you, dear reader. These are not necessarily something you need to send to me, but feel free to ask yourself these questions and reflect on your opinion and use of technology.

  1. How does your use of social media benefit your life?
  2. What are some of the negatives you have encountered?
  3. How could the use of social media empower someone in your life who is marginalised?
  4. Who don’t you see on social media? How can you help to bring them into the digital community?

Peace xo.

Welcome.

I’ve always struggled with welcomes. There is so much to say and so many ways to say what I want.

But hello. Thank you for stopping past my little corner of thoughts and dreams and words. For so long, the dearest of people in my life have told me that I should share my thoughts, that somewhere I should be processing the wonderings I have in my mind. I have put it off and avoided it, but the time has come where I need somewhere to output my thoughts, and also get feedback on what I think.

I am in no means someone who knows it all, rather I revel in the knowledge that I will never know it all. Instead I would rather tease out the mysteries of heaven and Earth and find some place where I can happily coexist between understanding and the unknown. I invite you to come along this journey with me, to ask yourself questions and to challenge your thoughts and beliefs of what you understand and what you do not know.

Peace xo.