Sunday, 14 October 2012

The "Yes Win" Situation

Like James T Kirk I don't believe in the no win situation. Failure is only an indication that you haven't succeeded yet, not an excuse to stop trying. Look at Nelson Mandela in Robin Island, he didn't give up when they took everything away from him and locked him up, and out of a seemingly impossible situation he succeeded. The list of people who have succeeded when they should have failed is not endless, but it is much longer than we think. Mandela, Bishop Tutu, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and the ultimate example of failure that is success - Jesus.

The idea of mutual unconditional love is definitely a vote looser to those who prize immediate success above everything else, which in today’s modern western society appears to be just about everyone (or at least according to the media, everyone that matters).

The ultimate truth is all about the last being first "unless you are like this little child" - always trusting, always learning, and always making mistakes.

And now for the poetry...........

Hard Rubbish

Forgiveness is like a hard rubbish collection
We must put on the kerb
All the things we collect daily
Or by the hour
Or by the minute
Or by the second
And let go of them completely
And immediately

If we clutter up the present moment
With the past
Or the future
We lose it

But it's not easy to do
The vagaries of life
Hang round in the unconscious
Like an inconvenient unpleasant odor
That we tend to blame on others
Or on God
Or the devil

And blame is counterproductive
Even blaming ourselves
Is only a hole to fall into

Repentance is not about blame
It's about resurrection
And the fall
Can only be understood
In the light of the cross
And it's aftermath



Celebration of suffering
Celebration of mercy
Celebration of forgiveness
Celebration of sacrifice
Celebration of death
Celebration of life
Celebration of joy
Celebration of spirit
Celebration of truth
Celebration of love
Celebration of unity

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Keep on Keeping on

Often times it seems that no matter what one does, whether one starts new projects, or keeps on doing the same things, that one only ever gets so far (however far that is - it seems to vary from person to person), and life keeps going round and round in circles, and that it is always someone else that is on dancing with the stars, or Australia's next top whatever.

And I'll bet that that the person who is currently Australia's next top Whatever feels the same way.

I don't think that the famous, the rich, and the powerful are fundamentally and different from the rest of - they are just stuck in their own circles, going round and round and never seeming to break out.

But I think the key word in all this is "seeming".

No matter how similar each circle seems to be from the last, no matter how imperceptible the difference, we are all progressing - whether we are progressing forwards or backwards seems to me to be a trick of the mind.

Some people just have a harder time than others in finding the "trick" that works for them - which may be a good thing if you follow the premise that "the more  pain the more gain" (though I think that this is fundamentally flawed - especially when applied by one person on another - the phrase "to be cruel to be kind" I think is just plain WRONG)

Though on the other hand there may be something to be said for the idea that what we get for nothing is worth exactly what we pay for it.

 The best things in life are free - or to be more precise - bought with things other than money - Love, Trust, Faithfulness, Perseverance.

And I think the "trick" is to try and shrink the circles down to points - to individual moments - and do your best in each - going from each moment to the next will then generally take care of itself..

And now for what really matters - the poetry (This was inspired by Paul Mitchell's reading at tonights "Rotunda" event) ................

The Pen

The pen is indeed
Mightier than the sword
And each key on the board
Is something to skip over
And dance upon
An understandable nonsense
Spills forth
From the brain
That is mired 
In molasses

Into the ether it goes
And clowns around
Totally overlooked
By the ostrich like masses
As it passes by 
The forests of the righteous
And the award winning
And discovers one soul
At the back of the room
At the end of the universe
To resonate with
And create
A totally unseen
And unheard

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Truth is in the Ear of the Beholder

At the recent Communities in Control Conference, at which I was filming, the second question raised at the Our say Panel session was about the importance of oral communication and language skills – it was: 

"One in 14 children in Australia is born without the capacity to gain, understand or use language. Without intervention they face a drastic future, so much so that 50% of youth offenders in this country have a serious oral language deficiency. Why, as a nation, are we not tackling the challenges that these children present us with?"

Stephen Mayne in response to the question highlighted the importance of Oratory skills, citing Barack Obama as the most obvious recent example of someone whose oratory skills has been crucial to their success. Click here to see the You Tube video of this

But while I agree with the importance of oral communication skills  I think we often miss the other side of the coin on  this issue – there will always be people who for one reason or another are worse at communicating than others.

We need to not only train people to have better oratory skills, but also, and more importantly, train people to listen to those who don’t have oratory skills - they often have something worthwhile to say, and sometimes the have things to say that are absolutely critical, that we need to hear for the good of ourselves and more importantly our society as a whole.

Sometimes the most powerful oratory can consist a very few words and a lot of silence for people to understand their meaning. I am reminded that Lincoln’s Gettysburg address lasted just over two minutes.

Even shorter were Jesus’ words when faced with an angry self-righteous crowd hefting rocks – “Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone” – and then he sat down and drew in the dirt letting the silence that followed speak even more powerfully.

And now for a poem....... 

Black Hole Reflection

Is belief more than
The filtering process of the mind

Faith is an insubstantial whisper
Louder and stronger
Than the greatest ocean
Faster than the swiftest comet
Hurling through space
Carrying all our destinies

A plug for the black hole
At the core of our being
That we only recognize
In the contrast
Of the brilliance behind

Star stuff are we
Every molecule of our being
Born in a furnace
Hurled through the endless void
Forever and a day
Until it ended up
Here and now
And we don’t think that’s a miracle?

It’s the filtering process of the mind
There are some things we can’t handle
So we break them down
Into molecules and atoms and strings
And rearrange this dust
Back into us
By the process of random chance

But who are we kidding?
There’s still a black hole
At the core of our being
That we see only by reflection
Of star stuff
And no matter how hard
We ignore it
It’s shape
Can only be described as

Friday, 20 April 2012

Towards a “Society with a Smile”

Our current ‘western’ society promotes a competitive culture - In order to win someone else must loose, seems to be the prevailing attitude in a lot of places.

Therefore when we see someone else win we sometimes feel a sense of loss – i.e. it hurts us to see someone else happy - we tend to feel pain when observing someone else’s pleasure – this is almost as disturbing as the thought of people feeling pleasure from seeing someone else’s pain – which is the definition of sadism.

At a recent event I went to for Harmony Day someone commented – “Everyone who comes through the door comes with a smile”

This is the sort of culture I wish to promote – one in which people are happy to see other people happy

A friend of mine, talking about his mother being in hospital recovering from an operation, commented - “It beats the heck out of dying”

We are increasingly living in a society where Living doesn’t beat the heck out of dying – for some people the thought of just living another day (let alone living forever) is too painful. Does that mean we let them die? This phenomena seems to be increasing – maybe eventually life will be too painful for everyone – does this mean we are destined for extinction?

Recently I heard my parish priest say in his sermon at mass – “Suffering only has value if we Love”

My friend Loves his mother – therefore “It beats the heck out of dying” – and I am sure his mother feels the same way – at least partly because she has a son (and several daughters and a husband) who love her.

If everyone “came through the door with a smile” i.e. with an attitude of love for other people - then life would “Beat the heck out of dying”

And now for some poetry....................

Religion for Dummies

The gospel is religion for dummies
How long has it been with us
How much have we heard
And we still don't get it
Verily I say unto you
No greater Love
Than this
Has man
That he lay down his life
For his neighbor
Or his enemy
The first commandment
The new commandment
With all your heart
With all your mind
With all your strength
With all your soul
Your neighbor

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

My first Blog

Hi - this is my first post in my first foray into the world of blogging – which up to now I have avoided because I am terrible at doing things regularly (as well as a very slow typist) and blogs  I gather should really be updated regularly – so I will apologize up front for the chance that I might not do another post for ages (or ever)

What has inspired me to start to start this verbal masturbation is a political meeting I went to the other night – which is troubling because I usually try to avoid organized politics, mainly because I can’t find a political party – or even an individual politician – who reflects my views – and I am a sook when it comes to conflict – I don’t like arguing with people – though I seem to do it far more often that I would like (though I have noticed I have gotten better at not arguing as I have gotten older – which I suppose is one redeeming feature to the passage of time – if indeed it does pass, or even exist at all – but that is a whole other subject for another post – or even perhaps a poem).

I describe myself as generally a labor supporter and tend to say I have left wing views which is an inadequate description because I think the labels we use (left, right, communist, socialist, democrat etc) are all screwed up and no two people (except perhaps high brow academics) ascribe the same meaning to the same label – for instance I personally think that communists should actually be a part of the right and not the left – they certainly have tended to historically behave like the fascists in any country they ever have had power in (Stalin in fact probably was responsible for more death than Hitler -and death is something  I don’t believe in !)

It seems to me we would all be better off if our politicians could learn to work together across party lines (and within party lines as well). In fact I think our society is currently far to competitive – in all areas not just politics. And competition is far too close to war in my opinion – and war leads usually to Death – which as I have said I don’t believe in.

It is like the story of two people fighting over an orange – the obvious solution would appear the be to get out a knife and cut the orange in half (then they of course they argue over whose half should be bigger) – but if they would only just stop and talk (and Listen) to each other they would find that one wants the orange to use the orange peel in a cake and the other wants it to squeeze for its juice, and both can get what they want if they just co-operate and share the orange with some sort of common sense.

This is what I think everyone not just politicians should endeavor to do, instead of (figuratively) automatically getting out the knives and attacking.

Anyway – since I tend to think that I make more sense writing poetry than prose – here is a poem on this subject:

Traditional Labor Supporter

I’d much rather be a failed artist
Than a politician
And I guess that puts me one up on Hitler

With all the vitriol flying about lately
In the labor party
And elsewhere
You’ve got to think
Is it even remotely possible
To lead this country
Or any country in the western world
Or any country at all
In anything even remotely like the right direction
Or even any stable direction that might be wrong

And that might be a good thing
If the flaws in the political process
Are as universal as the appear to be
Then they must infect the opposition as well
Even though they appear to hide it better

And even if we do end up with Abbot
Maybe he won’t progress on
To become even a Pauline Hanson
And certainly not
A failed artist

-  And just for luck another poem I wrote at the same time:

Schrödinger’s Christ
In our toilet
An evangelical prayer
Has taken the place
Of the sign saying
Please put the toilet seat down
And my wicked sense of humor
Can’t help but think
That at the underlying
Quantum level
They are related
That the things we squabble over
As brothers and sisters
In Christ
Are as trivial
And their origins
As lost in the mists of quantum uncertainty
As the reasons behind
This traditional battleground
Of the war between the sexes
Who the F**k cares
Whether the toilet seat is up or down
It’s a bit like Schrödinger’s cat
You’re not going to know 
Until you open the box
The ultimate box
At the end of time
And by then it’s too late
Too worry
If you’ve left the seat in the right position
Said the right prayer
Prayed in the right church
Supported the right party faction
Believed in the right version of string theory
Sat on the right donkey
Had the right carbon tax
Personally I don’t care
Who wins
As long as they lead well!!!
And there’s the rub
The true leader
Is the servant
Of the servants
Of the Lord
Not just the Pope
The true Christ
Is Schrödinger’s Christ
And the only question
We are going to be asked
When the box is opened
Is did we Love?