The Silencing of Women

I have had cause recently to look a little more deeply at this topic. 

Going way back to when female healers were labelled witches, hunted and killed. Throughout time, in various scenarios of being treated as property, arranged marriages for wealth, child abuse, bullying,  workplace abuses, domestic violence, after WWII when forced back into domestically oriented roles then medically labelled as suffering “hysteria”, drugged and locked up. Exclusion from education and other areas of life, just to give a few examples.

So many women have been silenced over time yet women make up more than half of the population and without women these men would not even exist. Same for women, we would not exist without our fathers. So why the need to silence women?

My recent exploration was prompted by a scenario where it was demanded of me by a man to remain silent. Where I was told my  experience was literally “shit and crap”.  I was also asked if I was having a “mental breakdown” which links in for me with the “hysteria” diagnosis way back in time. It all got me thinking, was it just one person’s need to not hear my truth because it created discomfort for them or was it in fact a reflection of a longstanding deeper ingrained male pattern of behaviour?

Either way I don’t do demands and no I did not remain silent.

Food for thought I believe and whilst I have no answers because I was ignored it seems to me that the silencing of women needs to stop once and for all. 

Cheers, C 💜

From Fear to Love

Fear, like everything is energy. For me it is contraction of energy as opposed to love which is expansion of energy.

When we sit with our minds or our bodies in a state of fear or anxiety, it grows, we can get stressed, we can’t think straight, we can panic, we can even become neurotic or paronoid.

Fear can also paralyze us or erupt from us via a reaction. Under anger, fear and pain usually lay.

When we dive deeply and fully feel that anger and pain, regret, guilt, shame or whatever our fear has been covering up, fear leaves and courage takes its place. Solutions also can appear which we haven’t yet seen.

We can experience a double whammy of fear for ourselves by thinking about “what ifs”, that may never even happen and usually don’t.

If we have a wound that we have been protecting, the band aid of which has been ripped off by a trigger, we have a tendency to also experience fear of fear. The fear of the trigger which we react to and the fear initially created by the wounding or multiple woundings.

Fear can be a tough energy to shift and it can take time to move through it. However once you do push through it by facing whatever you are fear full of, feeling whatever pain lays under it, it is gone and in it’s place are the energies of love and peace 💜

Copyright C. O’Connor, 22 March, 2020.

Acknowledgement to Country

Ancient Land, Timeless Land,

Where once stood boulders,

Now grains of sand.

A Land of Myth, Legend and Story,

Of Ancient Peoples, who have been treated poorly.

A land within which, for those who can see,

The Spirits of Ancestors, all around us they be.

In rock, in branch, in mountain or tree,

Still part of this landscape they all be.

A Land once managed with love and care,

Now calls out to us in despair,

As fires unleash their raging passion

To cleanse this land of ignorance, arrogance and lack of compassion.

Like a Phoenix from the ashes rising,

It’s really not very surprising

New growth then comes with the rains,

And growth is never without its’ pains.

As healing begins, the land is washed clean,

And once again the landscape’s vibrant green.

A far cry, from the barren, brown, stagnant and dry.

The winds of change are blowing strong

And I often wonder just how long

It will take for all of Humanity to see

Not separate from nature and each other we be.

Copyright C. O’Connor, March 2020.

When Trust is Broken

I’ve been pondering this experience we call trust lately and wondering how it is even possible a person you have grown to love, care about, trust and feel safe with for over a decade, can suddenly flick a switch within themselves and become someone you have never seen before and do not even know?

Did you unintentionally trigger a wound they have not yet healed? Did you get too close and their irrational reactive behaviour is a protective barrier designed to push you further away? Were they just wearing a mask of manipulation the whole time which suddenly fell off? Were they just incapable of being honest with themselves and you all along? Does such behaviour allow you to fully trust them ever again? Do you start beating yourself up thinking there is something “wrong” with you?

You can ask yourself these and a multitude of questions, the answers to which can only be hypothetical possibilities for without honest communication from the person concerned you have no understanding of behaviour you have never seen or heard before. Your intuition knows something is definitely “off” and at the end of the day, it’s all you can truly rely on as you attempt to make sense of why another behaves as uncharacteristically as they do.

Many who have experienced the shock, pain, grief and loss that comes with broken trust become hardened and claim they will never trust anyone ever again. So where does that lead us all really? Does it lead to isolating and protecting ourselves, too afraid to open our hearts ever again to others, fearing our trust will be broken again and we will experience being hurt, yet again? Does it lead to self medicating with a vice of choice to numb the pain of our wounds? Does it make us hyper-vigilant to the point we start to experience anxiety about how we act, what we say, how much we share of ourselves or our resources ever again?

Or is it all just a very shocking painful experience, designed to move us totally out of our comfort zones when another breaks our trust which actually contains a rich gift of wisdom and knowledge? Is it an opportunity for growth and learning to perhaps recognise sooner any red flags? Or to tune in better when things just don’t add up to make any logical sense so that we can make better choices? So that we can learn to trust our own intuition more fully?

Whatever the answers are, one thing is certain, trust for me is like a china plate that once smashed by another’s words or actions, no matter how that person tries to glue it back together again, the relationship that once was so full of love, safety, support and trust, is never the same.

Copyright C. O’Connor, March 2020.

Coming into One’s Own Power

Last week I shared some of the wisdom to be garnered from Dreams if we have obtained the knowledge and skills to use their guidance.  This week the story continues by illustrating just how powerful dreams can be in relation to uncovering the depth of a situation, assisting us to shed and heal conditioned patterns of behaviour we can repeatedly subconsciously attract to us, whilst also transforming our reactive behaviours into responses.

In Dreaming, a male I have known for over a decade approaches me, he has a blonde woman with him. I know they are here to tell me they are wanting to be together, and then he says so.  He appears intoxicated as a consequence of either alcohol or perhaps some type of drugs. It is obvious he is not thinking or acting clearly in his normally lucid non-reactive, kind and empathetic manner.  His aggressiveness in this situation creates a huge argument between us, the first ever, and to end it as I have no time or energy for arguing with anyone, I tell him that’s fine, off you go then, but don’t say I haven’t warned you about the woman you are choosing to involve yourself with. 

Then the woman in the dream is suddenly holding both my wrists and will not let go.  I feel infuriation at this violation and bondage.  I start screaming at her, using expletives, to let go of my wrists.  I struggle with her and eventually break free.  Her grip had been tight and left its’ mark.  Having freed myself, I am right in her face, screaming at her that if she EVER does that to me again, I will knock her out cold and kick her arse to the kerb.  I can’t recall feeling so enraged and explosive, in a very long time.

The scene shifts and I am now in “Observer Mode”.  My awareness is looking at the scene of the three of us. Paths appear, one to my left and one to my right.  The left leads towards a dark, murky, icky feeling place and the right to a space of brightness, vibrancy, colour, peace and love.  My friend and this woman take the left path together and as I am deciding which path I will take, the lines from Stairway to Heaven,

“Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on”

come to mind.

I do not follow my friend and this woman, for I choose, at that moment, to take the right path and see myself walking away in that direction.

For me left is symbolic of past, of what is needing to be left behind, is coming from the past or what type of behaviour is needing to be let go of if a symbolic aspect of Self moves in that direction.  Right is future and forward movement because all that yet awaits us is there on our “right” path.

Emerging from this experience, I felt clarity and peace regarding the action I now knew I needed to take, which I previously hadn’t been experiencing. A parting of the ways was coming between this friend and me and it was up to me to cut the ties after a month of retreating and putting together the puzzle pieces.  For the sake of both our continued growth and learning and perhaps even healing purposes, there was nothing more of value, for now, we could bring into each other’s lives. I knew whatever now awaited both of us, I would need some alone time and ultimately, we would both need different people in our lives to accomplish it with.  If subconsciously, or perhaps consciously, the obnoxious manner in which I felt I had been treated, was being done deliberately to push me away it was working effectively but it really was not necessary. An honest conversation would have been much more preferable but that is how he appeared to be choosing to deal with it. 

The dream’s messages and what this waking reality was showing me revealed that once again I was dealing with masculine energy I had been attracting since childhood. It was exactly the same energy as my two main male role models had been, unavailable in one form or another and/or abusive and disrespectful.  The woman symbolised the part of me who had been holding me back, keeping me feeling loyal to my friend and hopeful of the various things we had discussed we would like to do together, which never came to pass. Synchronicity began coming into play also with numbers and other symbols/signs that were coming my way.  The final confirmation arrived when I heard the song “Time to move on”, by Tom Petty, for the first time. 

The path before me was clear as were the underlying reasons for my friend’s behaviour.  The gift they were freely giving me was that I was in yet another, and I highly suspect and hope the last, process of freeing myself from this unfulfilling energy that I had always given my all to where others were concerned and in return I would be ultimately shocked by their behaviour, brought down, abused and held back.  

Events then occurred which showed me clearly those who try to fool me, only truly fool themselves as all I had intuitively known, came to pass.  I cannot say the process was painless, even though I acted swiftly, not dissimilar to the Queen of Swords energy in the Tarot, once I knew the time was right to state my intention to walk away and leave the pair of them to it.  So whilst my friend was busy reactively blowing up long-standing bridges to smithereens with myself and my family, thanks to my inner guidance and wisdom, I was able to fully grieve the loss of this longstanding friendship and walk away calmly, with peace and acceptance, grace, integrity and gratitude, taking many beautiful and funny memories with me. 

The only permanent aspect of life is impermanence and when I know intuitively, something is going on that just doesn’t make any logical sense I take extra notice of what my dreams are telling me. If I need to make a change in my life, regardless of how painful I know it will be for me, I will do so because if I don’t, I am just putting off the inevitable.  It’s a futile exercise and a total waste of what precious little time I have left of my life, as it just creates more pain and suffering for myself and others, the longer I put it off.  If I delay for too long, life situations will arise that historically have made the situation even worse, created very unpleasant memories, some of which have been traumatic and are akin to a Universal kick up the backside or clip around the ear, in order to keep me moving, changing, growing, learning and evolving.

The past six months or so have been ones of great change where my intrinsic values and boundaries of how I want to be treated by others have become a lot clearer and firmer. Many folk have fallen by the wayside as a result and the dynamics in some other relationships has also altered for the better.  To those who did fall by the wayside I wish you all well and am grateful for all the known and unknown love and support you have gifted me with, in my journey towards stepping back into my own power more fully after three decades, so far, of healing from the abusive and dishonest and unkind behaviour, I had been attracting most of my life, until recently, in one form or another.  Inner growth: It never stops.

© Cheryl O’Connor, February 2020.

The Wisdom of Dreams

It was short, sharp and to the point.  From an underwater viewpoint stood a Native Man his arm outstretched, his right hand open gesturing stop, do not proceed, retreat, as two huge unknown water mammals of translucent white, not dissimilar to Dugongs, approached him.  Yet they were not Dugongs, this much I knew.  What they were I was unable to name for never before had I seen these sea creatures. 

I knew they had swum a great distance to reach this place. This hadn’t been an insignificant or short trip, it had taken a very long time and yet here was another, clearly and unspoken, alerting them to a danger that lay ahead should they proceed.  The feeling I experienced was that if they did not heed the Native Man’s warning, destruction of that which they were attempting to reach or perhaps even death of themselves, would be their fate. Reluctantly, silently and sadly the large mammals turned around and swam off into the depths from which they had emerged.

From witnessing this scene and feeling both the abruptness of the Native Man’s message and the sadness and disappointment these mammals experienced, the wisdom being displayed was clear to me. What I had witnessed related very strongly to a situation I was experiencing, which had occurred just as abruptly, was as equally shocking, saddening and disappointing. However, despite my feelings, I heeded the dream’s warning, to silently retreat, to not react at all and to under no circumstances, proceed any further with asking any questions or express my own thoughts and feelings regarding what appeared to unleash itself in my direction. 

My logic was extremely curious though regarding what type of mammals these beautiful white creatures were.  I began researching images of Dugongs because even though during the experience I knew they weren’t Dugongs, I wondered if perhaps there was a rare breed of Dugong that looked anything like the ocean-faring mammals who had appeared in my dream.  I drew a blank and so I let it all be and continued on with other things which needed doing.

One morning a short time later, totally unexpectedly, just as unexpectedly as both the situation I had encountered and the dreaming experience, I was scrolling through a social media site and suddenly, right there in front of me was the animal from my dream.  Large, translucent white, same head, eyes and mouth shapes. Everything about this image was exactly the same as the animals I had seen, except my dream mammals were much larger.  They were, in fact, Beluga Whales.  Ahh haa, at least now I had a name!  

And so I began to do a little research on these lovely animals, discovering that they are family-oriented, often appeared in Russian Folklore and the most significant attribute they had, which related to my dream, was that when they travel in pods, they often do so silently, so as not to attract killer whales.  Even though they are also known as the canaries of the sea, given their range of clicks, tweets and vocal offerings. I also read that often they will retreat, rather than confront. 

This information not only validated my own inner wisdom as to what the dreaming experience was really telling me about my physical scenario but it reinforced for me that the action of non-confrontation and retreat had indeed been my best option at the time. 

Many say dreams are nonsense, many ignore the inner wisdom they freely deliver and it seems to me dreams are wasted by those who do not learn their language or how to work with them.  For as long as I have been working with dreams, always they run parallel to waking life and provide insight, guidance and direction we all can use to navigate our lives with much more ease, grace, peace, acceptance and consciously aware responses, as opposed to subconscious reactions and arguments, when engaging with each other in our various relationships.

Maybe this perception of dreams as nonsense and the lack of understanding about how dreams work is why so many folks also say they don’t remember their dreams.  If a visitor comes knocking on your door with a gift for you and you do not open the door, how many times will they return to attempt to bring you the gift, and how will you receive it, if you never open the door?

© C. O’Connor February 2020. Image © Pixabay.

When All Is Not As It Seems

All life is cyclical and during our lives we walk with death and destruction as a constant companion and counterpart to creation and renewal. We simply do not appear to be able to have one without the other. Just like the positive and negative charge of a battery there are times when we attract or repel certain energies or even events.

Inner deaths occur when we “let go” of fears, anger etc. by feeling the grief of past trauma, pain, habits or even beliefs we have long held on to. External deaths occur with the passing of loved ones, or when long standing friendships or even occupations, fall by the wayside, all of which have an internal resonance. Our environment is also constantly changing and undergoing this natural cyclic occurrence of destruction and death, so the new can emerge.

So what does this all have to do with dreams? Plenty!

I was recently undergoing such a cycle whereby I finally was able to put a longstanding situation to rest which had been creating feelings of sadness and a certain lack of peace for well over three decades. The Universe conspired to bring me precisely what I needed about three or four years ago to help me heal and move on from this deep wound and over a period of time the realisations and healing which occurred fully enabled me to move on with my life.

When the final realisation hit and the last fragment of emotional energy that had been holding me back, which presented itself as an excruciating pain in my left foot, released itself, around the same time another situation arose which was linked in with that healing and moving forward process. The result was the pain released itself from my foot in a very timely fashion as the death of a couple of longstanding friendships occurred, simply because there was nothing in me that was resonating with those people any longer. It happens, as our energy shifts and changes, that which was familiar is no more, in order to make space for new to come into our lives. If we hang onto the old there simply is no space for anything else.

Whilst this inner death/release was occurring, along came a dream in which I was standing on some type of platform overlooking the ocean towards the East. (East for me is the direction of new beginnings.) Quite suddenly there were navy vessels, rescue boats and planes, along with helicopters moving from the north to the south. I felt quite safe where I was even though I could clearly see a very dark energy, like a massive storm cloud, black as ink, moving from south to north. It wasn’t what I would call a nice or even pleasant energy. For want of a better word, it felt rather “evil”. I became aware in the dreaming experience that all these rescue vessels and aircraft were heading south on a mission to help people because “Sydney had been decimated” by some type of apocalyptic event. I emerged from the experience thinking that it was all somehow linked in with my longstanding ties to the Southlands and the ending of friendships from childhood which was occurring. It all made perfect sense to me, confirmation if you like that I was out of harms way and about to start a new life cycle. That I had finally released the toxicity of a deeply wounding past experience.

Fast forward a wee while and the fires which were of an apocalyptic nature this Summer here in Australia erupted in northern NSW, the Blue Mountains, the South Coast of NSW, then Victoria. There were also fires in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia but NSW appears to have borne the brunt of them, with air quality in Sydney, which at one point was surrounded by fires, falling to a dangerous level.

What was meant to be a time when I was to have my first decent holiday in years in the Southlands was stopped in it’s tracks by a state of emergency being declared in NSW. Roads and rail were cut and so my “holiday” became a non-event.

I took solace in participating in some very full on voluntary work to assist our native wildlife and also visited some friends up the coast. There was little I could do about any of it and clearly I wasn’t meant to be anywhere near where I had planned to visit. I was safe and yes I felt protected both in the dreaming experience and this reality, as if I had of left a couple of days earlier than I had planned to, I would have been in the midst of the fires and chaos.

One morning, whilst up the coast I was standing on a wooden platform/lookout overlooking the ocean when two F1 11s went screaming past, heading from North to South. The dream came back in a flash! Excuse the pun. Life was indeed moving in and out of my “dream”. Then an interesting realisation came when I was reading something Xavier Rudd had shared on Instagram. He’d laid the fire sites map over the recorded massacre sites map of First Nations People here in Australia and they matched. I instantly remembered encountering an extremely black as ink, insidious, vile, menacing and malicious energy when visiting an old museum in the town of 1770. It was so intense I could not even walk through the door of the museum. Inside were shackles, chains, whips and other horrors the invaders of Australia had used to torture and capture our First Nations people with. I’d asked my son at the time, “How on earth do you cleanse energy that horrific” his instant reply was that it could only be done with fire.

Next there came on the news that a Navy vessel had been commanded to rescue people stranded on the South Coast of NSW and immediately the Navy vessels from my dream came to mind.

As you can see from this story dreams have so many layers and they are never as they first appear to be. Sometimes it can take days, weeks or even months before the ahh haa moment hits in relation to what a dreaming scenario was really telling you. I have found time and time again it pays to not only write about our dreams and work with them, but to also have the patience to wait and see what life brings our way which connects our dreaming realities to this physical reality. Was nature cleansing millions of acres of Australian land of the past, so we can all move together into a better future where Indigenous knowledge is valued when it comes to managing Country, particularly concerning fire management? Only time will tell.

Tips to Help A Loved One Heal

I’ve come across my fair share of “insensitive” folk in my life when I have been dealing with death or the loss of a relationship.  Here are my top tips and reasons for them, to assist others who are struggling with life’s inevitable losses and challenges.

Don’t tell someone who has lost anyone to “cheer up”.
Don’t tell anyone at any time when dealing with a death or in fact anything in their life that has created upset, at any time, that they are just going to have to get over it, or that they are just feeling sorry for themselves.
Because:
1. Dealing with loss is a process & the closer the person was to another the deeper the grief & adjustment to life without that other person there is, whether that be by physical death or separation.
2. People are not unintelligent enough to not know that they will get through anything they are dealing with, as there is no getting over anything, there is only getting through.
3. The later of the two is likely to create a reaction that makes the receiver of that statement, want to give the teller a right hook.
To assist anyone to get through anything you only need two things –
Your ears to listen and your arms to hug if you know the receiver is open to a hug.
Ask yourself before you open your mouth “How would I feel in this situation?”, whatever that situation is.
Often just listening is the medicine required to assist another to get through anything because as they speak they are releasing whatever is churning within them.
Also in many cases, they are clearing their own heads & in the process coming to their own solutions about what they need to do for themselves.
To jump in with “advice” when advice was not actually asked for only serves to disempower the other person & more than likely will do more damage to them as well as create more upset.
Remember you are not in anyone’s life to play Mr or Mrs Fix It.
Asking timely pondered questions is often the most helpful thing you can do, as they lead another to their own realisations. If they cry good, hand them a tissue, make them a cuppa don’t ask “What’s wrong?” For nothing is wrong they are releasing their pain.
If you are not comfortable bearing witness to another’s grief or whatever process about anything they are dealing with that is your issue, not theirs.
It is kinder to remove yourself and perhaps suggest they speak with a Counsellor than it is to open your mouth and spout unthought about comments.
Copyright: C. O’Connor, November 2018.
Image © Copyright 2015-2018 Psychological Health Care.

Race and Racism in Australia.

Race as a social construct came into being alongside capitalism.  When European colonists arrived in Australian with their ethnocentric ideology, racist foundations became the building blocks upon which inequity and institutions were built. As a result, the trauma and inequality created for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders by colonialism has, and continues to, impact detrimentally on their health and well-being despite Governments expending large sums of money on programs and services to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous outcomes in relation to health. The colonialist mentality of racism in Australia towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is maintained by three main forms of racism; institutionalised, interpersonal and internalised. Institutionalised racism, particularly within the health system, is creating a plethora of inequity issues which are resulting in high mortality rates amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The publication of The Origin of Species, written by biologist and philosopher Charles Darwin in 1859, led to eugenics, phrenology, ethnocentricity and Social Darwinism, and subsequently race and racism began.  Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection proposed that differences between human beings, such as skin colour, equated to different races of human beings existing and therefore those who did not have the same attributes as Europeans were classified as being of a different species, or race (Hollinsworth 2006, p.32). His theory added scientific credence to, and fueled the fire of, the political, social and medical discourses being espoused by Herbert Spencer, an English sociologist, biologist and prominent liberal political theorist (Hollinsworth 2006, p.32). Darwin’s theory led to Social Darwinism being established within European society (Hollinsworth 2006, p.32). Race and racism was therefore founded on the politics of eugenics and the medical and political discourses which spread globally during the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century (Bastos, Harnois & Paradies 2016, p.209). Eugenics is the science of controlling breeding within populations so there is an increasing manifestation of the required genetic characteristics (Galton 1904, p.1). Indigenous Australians were seen by European colonists to be situated at the very bottom of a hierarchical ladder which Europeans existed at the summit of (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 284). This mentality was known as ethnocentricity which is when a belief exists that your own culture or ethnic group is superior to another (Bizumic & Duckitt 2012, p.887). It was also seen by Europeans that Indigenous people were inferior biologically due to the pseudo-scientific theory of phrenology which equated skull size and shape as being able to determine a person’s character (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 284).  With eugenics, phrenology and ethnocentricity firmly implanted in the minds of the colonists who invaded Australia, it takes little sociological imagination to understand why European colonists behaved as they did towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

When the invasion of Australia by the British occurred in 1770 they brought with them fixed mindsets of capitalism and Social Darwinism and the colonisation of Australia began. Colonialism relates to a system being implemented whereby an individual or group of individuals seek to dominate others (Horvath 1972, p.46). Sociological theorist Pierre Bourdieu referred to colonialism as a forceful system of oppression based on racist beliefs which seeks to reorganise social kinships and at the same time establish a crossbred society (Go 2013, p. 49).Colonialism is also a powerful and aggressive action taken by people to possess land and exploit it, along with the Indigenous people who occupy that land, with no regard to the original inhabitants, their culture or their existing laws (Horvath 1972, p. 46). Karl Marx believed this type of domination occurs out of an economic basis and is a symptom of capitalism (Horvath 1972, p.46). Horvath states colonisation creates and perpetuates social injustice (Horvath 1972, p.46). Colonists were of the fear-based view that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were savages who were dangerous, yet childlike (Hollinsworth 2006, p.33).As such, great measures to establish and maintain superior paternalistic power and control over Indigenous Australians began because of unconsciously based scientific racist beliefs (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 34). This fear-based power and control continued to have a stronghold in Australia into the later part of last century (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 34). Because of Darwin’s theory of natural selection, Indigenous Australians were seen to be a separate race of people who colonists believed were destined to die out anyway (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 35).It was often the situation that anyone who protested the horrendous treatment Indigenous people received whilst colonisation was occurring, were met with rebuttal (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 35).It was also seen to be worthy of celebration by colonists, not lamentation, that the extinction of an inferior race was occurring, with their help (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 35).  The attempted assimilation which occurred of trying to change the genetics of Indigenous Australians was a direct result of eugenics. It was these underlying beliefs colonisers held which established Australia’s institutions and created the systemic racism which still exists within those institutions today.

Institutionalised racism lays at the core of all of Australia’s systems and is closely linked with capitalism. Race and racism in Australia can be understood as being maintained institutionally when looked at through the sociological lens of Foucault’s theory that governmental control occurs via the power maintained in institutional systems, which then becomes internalised normality within society (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 287).From a Marxists perspective Governments would not want to change the existing institutionalised racism because to do so would alter the balance of power which would no longer serve the interests of capitalism (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 287).  Racism is defined as a discriminatory dispersal of chances, assistance or capital implemented by the dominant culture over minority groups of different race or ethnicity (Paradies, 2018, 0.42 – 1.44). Institutionalised racism has been defined as having its basis in historical social scenarios which continues due to frameworks that preserve prior discriminations (Jones 2001, p.1212). Institutionalised racism is often seen to be legalised and lays within the policies and practices of institutions, whilst also being apparent when procrastination occurs, instead of action, in relation to needs not being met (Jones 2001, p.1212). Evidence shows that racism, whilst not a set target in the Close the Gap Report 2008 (Parliament of Australia undated, p. n/a), has been recognised by the Federal Government in the Close the Gap Report Review 2018 (Australian Human Rights Commission 2018, p.3) and in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 (Australian Government Department of Health 2013, p.8). Due to institutionalised racism, which has become the societal norm, many Australians do not see their unconsciously conditioned biases perpetuate not only the racism the country’s systems were built on, but also that they serve to maintain the inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians which began over two hundred years ago.

Interpersonal racism, along with institutionalised racism and deficit discourses within politics and the media are having an adverse effect on the mental and physical health of Indigenous Australians. Interpersonal racism can be conscious or unconscious and appears in society by way of stereotyping, lack of service, ignoring, lack of respect and devaluation (Jones 2001, p.1213).Institutionalised racism, combined with interpersonal racism lead to internalised racism, which involves taking on the limiting beliefs about oneself which have been projected by the dominant culture onto the minority group (Jones 2001, p. 1213).Internalised racism can also lead to a lack of self-worth, lack of belief in peers and in one’s self (Jones 2001, p. 1213).  The general dominant political and media discourse in Australia is increasing the inequality many minority groups encounter from the dominant culture (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 246). Since 1996, when the Howard Government came into power, there has been a steadily growing manufactured erosion of social justice and equal rights occurring in Australia via an official discourse being implemented through laws based on fear and envy (Hollinsworth 2006, p 246). This stance will only lead to increasing inequality, endangering existing social structures and possibly result in an increase in violence occurring (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 246). Combined with these deficit discourses created by non-indigenous media and politicians in Australia towards Indigenous Australians, racism has been found to be detrimental to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders health as they all impact adversely psychologically, emotionally and in relation to their overall social wellbeing.

Perceptions of race and racism within Australian have been shown, through a variety of micro and macro level methods, to reveal health care barriers exist for Indigenous Australians which do not exist for non-Indigenous Australians. Systemic racism not only has detrimental outcomes such as depression, suicide, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder for Indigenous Australians, but it also creates significant economic impacts on society (Paradies 2016, p.1). In 2016 it was estimated that racial discrimination cost the Australian economy approximately 37.9 billion dollars per annum (Paradies 2016, p.1). A study conducted during 2012 and 2013 revealed thirty percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer from extreme psychological and emotional occurrences of depression or anxiety (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2015, p. 71). This figure is extraordinarily high when one considers that Indigenous Australians make up only three percent of the national population (Bastos, Harnois & Paradies 2016, p.211). Further, it was revealed in 2012 that Indigenous Australians experience higher rates of suicide than non-Indigenous Australians with deaths being predominantly higher for males between the ages of twenty-five and twenty-nine (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, p. n/a). The statistics of deaths based on a scale of one hundred thousand per population for this age group show that non-Indigenous male deaths by suicide peak at twenty percent and Indigenous males peak at ninety percent (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, p. n/a). In 2014 a General Social Survey was conducted to determine the degree racial discrimination intersects with other areas of discrimination such as, gender, sexuality, class and age within Australia, in creating access barriers to health care (Bastos, Harnois & Paradies 2016, p.209). The results concluded perceived racism was a major factor creating a barrier in accessing health care, particularly mental health (Bastos, Harnois & Paradies 2016, p.216). There is ample available research which indicates that the social construct of race is responsible for the ongoing high mortality rates occurring within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Racism in its various forms is not only creating barriers to accessing health care but creating ongoing psychological and emotional distress for a large percentage of Indigenous Australians.

According to sociologists, Australia has moved into a time of post-modernity and post-colonialism, but the evidence clearly shows the social construct of race and the racism which stems from it continues to be maintained by way of institutionalised racism. Post-colonialism came into being late in the twentieth century (Eagleton 2011, p. 222).It is defined as a time when physical violence is no longer being perpetrated to take land (Hollinsworth 2006, p.246). This may be the situation; however, it appears that a new form of racism has taken the place of the past brutal dispossession, assimilation and genocide. Known as new racism, this form revolves around the structure and appearance of racism in relation to pecuniary and socio-traditional variances which exist between the overriding and minority cultures within a country (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 287).Post-colonialism studies look at the relationships between oppressors and oppressed existing in countries that have been colonised (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 287).Indigenous identity, which post-colonialism also concerns itself with, has been revealed via various institutional policies to have been manipulated to implement and validate dominant policies (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 288).Colonialism was rooted in racism and whilst many perceive both exist historically and are no longer apparent, both still exist within capitalism as the Western thinking of those in power continues to be based on the taking of other people’s land who are not in positions to stop them (Jureidini & Poole 2003, p.246). It is in the continuation of institutionalised racism and subsequent racist policies and practices, by those in power within the Westernised political system, that inequity continues to grow and create an ever-widening gap between capitalist politicians and those who they deem to be inferior.

Race and racism are social constructs designed by the political upper class in Europe in the late 1800s based on ethnocentricity. Institutionalised racism has created discrimination, exploitation, distress and inter-generational trauma which is still impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Whilst State and Federal Governments have spent voluminous sums of money on programs and services to bring about more equality between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians in relation to health, they have failed. Up until 2013 they did not recognise that systemic racism within Australian institutions is responsible for the lack of equity, agency, health issues, self-governance and self-determination Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have been and still are experiencing.

Copyright: C. O’Connor, November 2018.

Reference List

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide deaths overview, viewed 21 October 2018, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/40080452773CE5D5CA257A4500045E5F?opendocument

Australian Government Department of Health 2013, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023, p. 8, viewed 18 October 2018 http://www.health.gov.au/natsihp

Australian Human Rights Commission 2018, A ten-year review: The Closing the Gap Strategy and Recommendations for Reset: Close the Gap 2018 – Human Rights, p. 3 viewed 16 October 2018 https://www.humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/document/publication/CTG%202018_FINAL-WEB.pdf

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2015, The health and welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s, viewed 22 October 2018, https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/584073f7-041e-4818-9419-39f5a060b1aa/18175.pdf.aspx?inline=true\

Bastos, J, Harnois, C & Paradies, Y 2018, ‘Health care barriers, racism, and intersectionality in Australia’, Social Science & Medicine, vol. 199, pp. 209 – 218. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.05.010

Bizumic, B & Duckitt, J 2012, ‘What Is and Is Not Ethnocentrism? A Conceptual Analysis and Political Implications’, Political Psychology, vol. 33, no. 6, pp.887–909. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9221.2012.00907

Eagleton, T 2011, Why Marx was right, Yale University Press, New Haven.

Elias, A & Paradies, Y 2016, ‘Estimating the mental health costs of racial discrimination’ BMC Public Health, vol.16, no. 1(1), p.n/a, doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3868-1

Galton, F 1904, ‘Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope, and Aims’, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 10, no. 1, pp.1–25. doi: 10.1086/211280

Germov, J & Poole, M 2007, Public sociology: an introduction to Australian society, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, N.S.W..

Go, J, 2013, ‘Decolonizing Bourdieu: Colonial and Postcolonial Theory in Pierre Bourdieu’s Early Work’, Sociological Theory, vol. 31, no. 1, pp.49–74. doi: 10.1177/0735275113477082.

Hollinsworth, D 2006, Race & racism in Australia 3rd ed., Thomson Social Science Press, South Melbourne.

Horvath, R 1972, ‘A Definition of Colonialism’, Current Anthropology, vol. 13, no. 1, pp.45–57. doi:10.1086/201248

Jones, C 2000, ‘Levels of racism: A theoretic framework and a gardener’s tale’, American Journal of Public Health, vol. 90, no. 8, pp.1212–1215. Doi:10.2105/AJPH.90.8.1212

Jureidini, R. & Poole, M 2003. Sociology: Australian connections, 3rd edn, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, N.S.W.

Paradies, Y 2013. ‘A Culturally Respectful and Non-Discriminatory Health System’, Viewed 26 August 2018, https://vimeo.com/11864669

Parliament of Australia, Social Policy, undated, viewed 20 October 2018, https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook44p/ClosingGap

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I’m Back

Hi Folks,

It’s been quite a while since I have had the time or space to write anything here.

As an update:

I spent the bulk of last year attending markets so I was travelling around a lot and honestly it was not only exhausting it was not financially viable.  I also completed a Cert IV in New Business Management. I have closed the shop at Petrie, shut down the website and I am now selling craft items only online, either via the Facebook Page or over at the Etsy Shop.

I am about to re-vamp both, and plan to have them up and running again as soon as possible.  I have quite a few artworks I have done which will also be for sale.

I made an executive decision at the end of last year to continue my own learning and  personal development and applied to my local University to undertake a Social Work Degree.  I was accepted and I have been studying full time this year.

Over the coming months I will be making an effort to write articles to share with you on a more regular basis.

Cheers, C.

 

 

Pfer Pig

By Michele Dowling. 

More photos of Pfer, and her story can be purchased at PferPig

Pfer pig lived on a farm with many other animals.  She loved them and always considered them “family”, although they always made fun of her because she was a P I G and pigs were known for being lazy, dirty and dumb.

Most of her days were spent eating, rolling around in her favourite mud hole and then sleeping in the sun and she was happy but lately when she slept her dreams were not peaceful, they were upsetting. She would often see large orange flames licking at the walls of the barn, her snout and eyes would burn from the heat, she found it hard to breathe and see because of all the smoke and she would wake herself up squealing “danger, fire” as loud as she could, only to see all the other animals laughing at her.

She didn’t like it when they laughed at her, or when the old rooster grumbled at her, telling her to stop being so silly and go back to sleep.  One night though, a fire really did break out in the barn and if it weren’t for Pfer squealing loudly the horses never would have woken and kicked down the barn doors, waking all the other animals up which allowed them to escape the inferno.

From that day on Pfer was thought of as a hero and all the animals treated her differently.  They no longer laughed or grumbled at her.  Nor did they think her and her dreams were silly, instead they respected her and neither she nor the other animals ever doubted her dreams again.



© Story & Image Michele Dowling & Cheryl O’Connor February 2017 – all rights reserved.  This story and associated image/s may not be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of Michele or Cheryl who can be contacted via Cheoco Enterprises, Old Petrie Town, Whiteside, Queensland, Australia.  Ph: 0423 663 520.  Email: info@cheocoenterprises.com.  Website: www.cheocoenterprises.com

 

Little Swan

I mentioned in the last Newsletter I have got much going on behind the scenes at Cheoco.  (If you haven’t yet signed up for the Newsletter and received your free Dreamwork Booklet you can do so here.)

One of those things, which I am delighted to now “formally” announce,  is a collaboration with a very dear Australian friend, now living in the USA, who is a writer and published author.

Together we have been working on creating children’s stories to accompany the items I make, which, in the case of the animals and birds, bring into the story the very generalised basic symbolism of that particular animal or bird.

I am really excited about this collaboration and delighted to share our first package with you of “Little Swan.”

All packages will be comprising of an A5, laminated copy of the story, complete with picture and border, together with a  3D item which has been needle felted.

For those who are new to needle felting, it is essentially sculpting and “painting” with flat or curled wool fleece, using barbed needles of varying weights/thicknesses.  By the action of stabbing the wool with the barbed needle/s the barbs pull the fibres of wool together to make a solid but extremely light object.  The more the wool is stabbed, the denser, firmer, the object being created becomes.  Some items require the use of wire or pipe cleaner to form their skeletal shape, feet or claws and the wool fleece is then wrapped around this armature being built up in layers, stabbing as I go to shape the item.

If you would like to purchase Little Swan & her story for yourself or someone special in your life, you can do so for $39.75 at Old Petrie Town this Sunday between 8am and 2pm or you can go to my Etsy Shop where her dimensions are available.  She can also be made in black if you prefer a black swan.

Prices are in Australian Dollars and postage which is additional includes packaging & gift wrapping.  If you live overseas you will need to research Customs regulations in your country before purchasing and you will also need to pay any taxes applicable to your country.

Please note these items are NOT suitable at all for children under 3 years of age nor any child who is likely to suck on it, pull it apart or put any wool in their mouth, to play with. 

I trust and hope you enjoy Michele’s first story:

“LITTLE SWAN”

By Michele Dowling.

The baby animals gathered at the pond, looked so happy. Splashing around, laughing and playing together. “Little Swan” had never been included, because she looked, swam and sounded strange to the others. They always poked fun at her, picked on her, hid from her or laughed at her. This made “Little Swan” feel uncomfortable and sad but she never gave up hope that one day she would be accepted for who she was, not what or who they thought she should be.

As she listened to the laughter and chatter she wanted so much to be included in the fun. Swimming on her own she saw her reflection in the water staring back at her. She accepted who she was and wished the others would too but being truthful, she disliked the fuzziness of her feathers, the beak that was oversized for her face, but most of all her voice. It was squeaky and loud, and she knew the others couldn’t easily understand her.

As if Little Swan’s wish to be included was heard, a strange bright yellow mist came towards her. When the mist lifted, she stared in amazement at the reflection of herself in the water she now saw.  Her feathers were sleek, soft and shiny, her neck and beak slender, but her voice was the best because when she opened it to speak, a soft, angelic sound emerged. She was overjoyed to realise she had become a “Big” beautiful, shiny, sleek Swan.

The others gathered around to marvel at the new her. Little Swan was ever so happy to now be included and she knew the cruel treatment she had endured was over.  She had been rewarded with grace and beauty because she had held fast to her own trust, faith, hope and acceptance of herself, all of which had been rewarded by The Creator.

© Story & Image/s Michele Dowling & Cheryl O’Connor February 2017 – all rights reserved.  This story and associated image/s may not be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of Michele or Cheryl who can be contacted via Cheoco Enterprises, Old Petrie Town, Whiteside, Queensland, Australia.  Ph: 0423 663 520. Email: info@cheocoenterprises.com
 Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Been A While!

Seven months in fact since I last shared anything here.  As you can see by just a few pics which in no way shows all that I have been creating, I haven’t been twiddling my thumbs.

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John Lennon once said,”life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”

My life is pretty much as he described.  I have many good intentions to do this or that, and even write down seemingly endless to-do lists, whilst being extremely efficient in prioritising and time management, but I learnt long ago that plans rarely if ever, go according to plan and that seriously there just does not seem to be enough hours in a day to do all I would like to achieve.

Since I last wrote I cannot even begin to remember all that has occurred, I just know I have been extremely productive, have been learning heaps, have been through a few processes as well as am consistently fine-tuning my business – Cheoco Enterprises and now here we are well into the second month of 2017!   I am presently working on a re-vamp of the website which you can view at www.cheocoenterprises.com.  I have also been working on winter stock for my shop at Old Petrie Town throughout the heat of summer.

I’m presently studying again – a Cert IV in Business Management and this year I am facilitating Active Dreaming Circles in two venues.  Womenspace at Sandgate – which I do on a voluntary basis, and Wantok Multicultural Centre in Old Petrie Town. I am also facilitating New Moon Drumming Circles at Womenspace, in a voluntary capacity.

If you would like to attend either of those events Womenspace has them listed in their Events Section on their FB Page and I believe on their website.   The next New Moon Drumming Circle and as I understand it, the only one on the north side of Brisbane, is being held on the 27th of February starting at 7.00 pm and running until 8.00pm.  Cost for non-members is $5 and members are free.

In relation to the Active Dreaming Circles, the next two of which are being held on the 14th of March at Womenspace and the 15th of March at Wantok, from 7pm to 8pm in both venues, you are invited to join me in a safe and respectful environment where  we will be looking at and working with how we can:

  • Make sense of the weirdness of our dreams.
  • Use the world around us as our own personal map.
  • Create our very own encyclopaedia of dream symbols and their specific meaning to us.
  • Face the fears of nightmares & empower ourselves.
  • Learn the language of dreams.
  • Tap into our creativity using our dreams.
  • Strengthen our intuition via our dreams.
  • Incubate a dream for guidance.
  • Clear subconscious blockages which keep us feeling stuck.
Each month we will be entering The Dreaming consciously in order to experience firsthand the insight, guidance and wisdom awaiting us.
Cost is $20 per month at Wantok, OR you can pay upfront for 6 months and receive the seventh month FREE.
NB: TO BOOK YOUR PLACE at Wantok a $10 NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT IS REQUIRED.
Please contact Womenspace if you would like to join in there.  The cost for non-members is $5 and for members this and other events are free.
Payment for Wantok bookings can be made via:-
PayPal – info@cheocoenterprises.com
Bank Transfer – Please contact me – 0423 663 520.
Or in person by Eftpos or Cash.
Please bring writing and drawing materials, something to lay on, a cushion or pillow, eye cover if necessary, and water.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me.
Until next time, which won’t be quite so long as I am also working on some stories and articles to share,  safe travels and sweet dreams,
Cheers, C.

Cheoco – Hand Crafts Made With Love

Some 20 years ago now I made my first Steiner Doll.  She was a marionette and my daughter still has her.

A love affair began between myself and Steiner inspired craft work and always I have experienced nothing but pure joy and delight in not only making these items but in seeing the looks on others faces when they see them.

There is a certain “magic” in them that for me occurs not only when I bring materials that look like nothing much to life but when I see the effect they have on other people.  Each one, whilst using similar patterns, emerges with its own unique character.

In more recent times I have discovered needle felting and amigurumi and am thoroughly enjoying those as well.

I’ve been re-vamping The Etsy shop set up, which only re-opened in late 2015 and I have been working on creating new items.  There is still a little re-vamping to be done but if you are looking for beautiful and unique you will find it here. Cheoco Hand Crafts Made With Love

All items are made from Australian produced materials, 99% of which are natural materials and their open faces are ready for your child or grandchild’s imagination.

You will find me during the Sunday Market at Old Petrie Town, Dayboro Road, Kurwongbah in the Signal Room at the old Railway Station located in the South West Corner of the park between 8am and 2pm.  If I will not be at the park on any particular Sunday notice is given at my facebook page Cheoco Enterprises.

Orders and Lay-By are available.  Eftpos is also available at the market.

I hope you enjoy seeing what is on offer and if you have any queries please feel free to contact me.

Cheers, Cheryl.

Copyright C. O’Connor July 2016.

 

Living In Now

It seems to me for many of us living in right here, right now is one of the greatest challenges we all face given our conditioning.  For most of us who have been brought up in western culture we think in lineal terms of past, present and future.  We think in terms of what has been, what is next, where we are going, what we want to achieve and many of us like to make plans, be organised and know what we will be doing from one moment, one hour, one day, one week to the next.  All of which really just becomes a story we tell ourselves we become attached to and often re-act to, if it doesn’t go according to our little plan or story we are creating around it all.

My mum, bless her, was the Queen of Organisation as I was growing up.  She had to be as she worked and also ran a home consisting of herself and five other people.  We all had our set jobs and times/days when they were to occur.  Her week was mapped out and ours with it, so I was brought up in a very well organised environment where we always knew what we were doing from one minute to the next, generally speaking.  Being organised and knowing what I would be doing, whilst many curved balls occurred, was rather comfortable.  I grew to see the more organised I was, the less stressed I became when I myself became a mother.  This flowed into my work and whilst I am not as rigid as my mother felt she needed to be, her influence couldn’t but help rub off on me.

Working in the legal industry for nearly three decades also reinforced my organisational skills.    For many years I too made plans and was set in an automatic daily rhythm, which gradually turned into a rut, ultimately boring me silly and sapping me of excitement and joy for life.  I also began to see that organisation, whilst it alleviated stress and helped me achieve goals, when it was out of balance and too rigid, was a form of needing to control.

As I started to become more aware and more conscious of time not really existing, of all time being now and of there only truly being one time anything can occur, that being the right time, life became easier, disappointment and emotional re-actions became less as I learned not to expect anything and I began to experience detachment to ever so much.

Less plans were made and I moved from what many of us term “going with the flow” to becoming one with the flow of life.  I became less attached to things, to people and to outcomes, more open to spontaneity and realised the most I could ever have in terms of plans in place was a very basic skeletal plan for one day at a time, no longer for a whole week and certainly not as is often asked in job interviews – where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years time?    How can we honestly even know that?  That we put pressure on ourselves and our children with a question such as that or one like – What do you want to be/do when you grow up – is so very indicative of our cultural conditioning and it is conditioning which so very often robs us of the moment of now, along with the infinite possibilities that exist, by becoming set on a fixed direction or plan for not only our day but also our lives and anything in our lives we are wanting to achieve.  I learned the hard way that plans NEVER go according to plan.

As I moved more and more consciously into the moment of now, anything that didn’t feel right to do or wasn’t working I would let slide and move onto whatever was next for it seemed and still seems senseless to me to get myself all stressed, frustrated etc., if I am wanting to do something and everything around that thing is just not working.  I began to see how very stressed and distressed folk often become if things don’t go according to their plan and how the expectation of their plan manifesting leads to major disappointment and sometimes even angst which creates barriers to come up with other folk in their lives.  I also began to see that if something isn’t working as we want it to, it just means something else needs to fall in place which will make it even better than we thought it would be.  Until all the pieces of any puzzle are in place and until energy matches up the time is just not right for whatever to manifest in the physical.  Often too if we want to do something and it just isn’t happening, we are actually being protected.

I “thought” I had “got” this whole it’s okay to have a skeletal plan and to just be one with the flow of life, being fully present in each moment without any thought of what was next, to do list and calendar in place so I wouldn’t forget anything important which needed to be done, as it all seemed to be working just fine and dandy, until this week.

I was in a situation where communication hadn’t happened effectively and I didn’t know what it was I was “supposed” to be doing next.  I started re-acting as I’d been told one thing, which suddenly changed and now I was floundering and getting frustrated.  I was also totally confused.  This lack of organisation wasn’t sitting well with me and I could feel myself starting to get really annoyed as my head told the story of how it would be so much better if communication had of been clear from the outset which would have alleviated my thinking I was doing this thing, then suddenly I was doing something entirely different, that I wasn’t really expecting or prepared for.   It was all pushing me out of my own little comfort zone, what little there is left of it.

Along came the wisdom of another and the lesson they were giving me.  Seriously what did it really matter what I was doing next?  Just because I “thought” I was going to be doing one thing which then changed and I was clueless and confused, who was really creating that confusion?  The person who had not as far as I was concerned communicated effectively?  Or me for having a story in my head of what I thought I would be doing next, which was pushing me into future, into an emotional re-action and out of being fully present in the moment?

I couldn’t help but laugh at the simplicity of the wisdom, the lesson or the very effective way in which this other person had actually taught me this lesson of all that is truly needed by any of us, is to just show up, do whatever is needed in the moment and truly enjoy each and every moment of now without any thought of what is next.

 

Cheers, Cheryl.

© Cheryl O’Connor 2015.

•*´☾☆☽`*•

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DREAMING TRUE – A FREE INTRODUCTORY DREAMWORK WEBINAR

I have now finalised all I need to so that I can present the first in a series of webinars I am putting together which will be hosted in The Wellness Universe Lounge at the end of January.

This class is a prerequisite class for all future classes and I invite you to  join me by registering at Dreaming True as it will be informative and fun. If the time and date doesn’t suit, once you have registered you can watch the recording when it works for you. The AEST time given is for Brisbane, Australia. EST (USA).

It will be an interactive 60 minutes during which we will be exploring how you can use Dreamwork to assist and empower you 24/7 whether you recall your dreams or not.  All you need will be an open mind along with writing and drawing materials.

If you have any questions please contact me. Cheers, Cheryl.

 

© Cheryl O’Connor 2016.

•*´☾☆☽`*•

Get your free Dreamwork Booklet at bit.ly/CheocoNews when you sign up for my monthly Newsletter. Cheers, Cheryl.

#Cheryl O’Connor. #Cheoco
#Holistic #Counsellor, #Author & #Writer.

* #Cognitive & Body Based #Counselling.
* #Creative & #Artistic #Therapies.
* Specialising in #Dream #Analysis, #Conscious #Dreaming & #Shamanic #Journeying.
* #Reiki #Seichim #Treatments & #Attunements.
* #Isis #Meditation.

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RECONNECTING WITH OUR INNER CHILD

Within the confines of being told we have to “grow up,” we lose ever so much. Our conditioning is such that as children we begin to learn to fear the world and just about everything and everyone in it, hearing more often “don’t,” than “do.”

The inner child begins to shut down and off to a world that was once magical, full of adventure, imagination, play, fun, beauty, excitement and sheer delight. Just watch any child as they start to explore the world – all is new and exciting. The feel of grass underfoot, the raindrops dripping, the love of singing, dance, water play, mud, creativity and laughter just because they are happy and want to have fun.

When expressing anger or frustration they are often told don’t behave like that and are these days sent to the naughty corner. When parents fear they will fall from the tree they are climbing or fear whatever else they do, or tell them what they experience is not “real,” when they are taught to seek approval from others at such a young age, are told things about themselves and the world by adults they fully believe because the adults said so, are yelled at, hit, abused and so it goes on, all that joy, excitement and sheer delight with just the pure magic of being alive seems to disappear. Lost and seemingly gone forever as life becomes nothing more than a “job” full of adult responsibilities, concerns, worries, anxiety, conformity and fear which then leads to illness, addiction, depression, reckless behaviour, more abuse and sadly in some situations the taking of one’s own life.

I was once told as a child, only children can enter “The Kingdom of Heaven.” This terrified me at that time because I figured once I became an adult – straight to “Hell” I would go, forever. In many ways, we do go to Hell though because due to the adult behaviour around us and the beliefs and projections which shape us we lose conscious awareness of all that is childlike.  Yet we are also told we need to be childlike to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The ability to make friends easily, to trust, to have fun unless we are drunk, stoned or participating in other activities that bring momentary pleasure from outside ourselves all goes. If we were feeling joyous and broke out in song on the morning train commute, for example, we would be given strange looks like something was “wrong” with us. So we conform, we play the game the adults around us play and we do indeed lose a huge part of ourselves along the way.  Many become miserable and bitter, negative, resentful, spiteful, manipulative, greedy, needy, liars and haters who try to desperately control others around them. Each day becomes a chore to drag oneself through and many literally start looking like robotic walking dead.

For myself I had to “grow up” very quickly, leaving home at only 14, and life for me became a matter of survival for many decades. Survive I did, ever so much, but it was just that – surviving, not thriving.

We speak of “The Journey Home” and how we are all on the same journey back to conscious awareness of all we once knew before it was shut down because of fear and conformity.  For myself, it took decades of Self work and inner child work to reach where I am at within myself now, which feels like “home” to me

Some of the tools I used along the way which can help are:

  • Pay attention to what your dreams and daily synchronicity are telling you.   If you don’t know – learn.
  • Spend time alone in nature.
  • Use your dominant writing hand to ask your inner child a question, swap hands and wait for the answer to be written.  Go with the very first thing that comes, do NOT think oooh that’s just nonsense.
  • Do not doubt what others told you was “just your imagination” – whatever you experience is real for you because it is YOUR experience.
  • Try to remember things you used to LOVE to do as a child and MAKE time to do them on a regular basis.
  • Run with your gut feelings about anything and everything – don’t pay attention to your logical doubts and fears which have been instilled in you by others.
  • Pay attention to any memories or feelings that come – especially those which create an emotional reaction and ask yourself “Where is this TRULY coming from?”  Wait patiently for the answer to come to you.
  • Parent your own inner child.  Most of our inner children are scared, lost, angry, hurt and confused and often feel like they have been abandoned, which they have been. Mine was SO angry and hurt it took months of solid work for her to even feel safe enough again to just start dialoguing with me.
  • Don’t blame, hate or punish your parents for the damage done – they did the best they could with the awareness they had, they still are and at some stage we all have to actually accept responsibility for ourselves and start to parent our own inner child.

As a child, I wanted desperately to live “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” It was however quite literally a journey into,  through and out the other side of Hell to follow my own yellow brick road, but it was worth every single step to reach “home” and the “Kingdom of Heaven.” That isn’t some place in the sky as so many of us were told it was, but is within each of us and fully accessible to all of us by reconnecting with our own inner child.

Cheers, Cheryl.

© Cheryl O’Connor 2014.

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#Cheryl O’Connor. #Cheoco
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Are we truly busy?

“The most common thing I hear folk say these days when asked how they are is “Busy”.

Today’s technology was essentially designed to make things easier, give us all more “time” and yet it appears to me it has failed to do that.  If anything we all seem to be way busier than we were a couple of decades ago, with seemingly never-ending to-do lists, copious emails that flood our inboxes, umpteen “notifications” by way of social media, errands to run and so it goes on. This influx of things to be attended to is often overwhelming and creates stress, for we are now living in a time where we think we need to attend to ever so much immediately.
I’ve been pondering this standard comment we all seem to be giving these days of I’m busy or you are busy.  I have a huge variety of activities in my life simply because I do not do boring and mundane well at all and abhor being stuck in any sort of rut.  Variety is indeed my spice in life and to have any two days spent doing exactly the same thing is my worst case scenario.  Many interpret that as me being busy.
I spoke in my last article about living in NOW.  Such a hard thing for so many of us to achieve and yet, once you do get the hang of it, it is very easy.  As I looked back on all my years of being unconsciously busy, rushing here and there, achieving this and that, the stress that comes with always being busy and the many comments I hear of “busy” I had an epiphany of sorts.  When we are fully present in right here and now “busy” is totally eliminated.  How so?
Well, I saw that busyness lives in our heads and only occurs when we move out of now and think “a head” too far.  Often we become overwhelmed with how much we think we need to do or must do, which in fact, we are all choosing to do for no-one is making us do anything.  When we are so busy we miss the moment of now for always we are thinking I need to do this, then that, then that and on it goes, usually ticking things off either in our heads or lists as we go. Often not even fully focussed on whatever it is we are doing right now, due to thoughts of once this is done then the next thing needs to be done.
I also saw that much stress lies in the busyness of our minds and the things we choose to do that we perceive “make” us all so busy.  I saw that being in the moment of now with absolutely no thought of what is next until I got to what is next, does indeed and quite miraculously not create a feeling of being busy at all.   As I was pondering this whole busy aspect of life, another crossed my path who shared that we create busy to avoid being in now.  Synchronicity?  Well of course.
When we live in each moment of now, fully, we are just being and we are all essentially, beings, not doings. Many think we have to go and have a vacation and do absolutely nothing to avoid the stress of being busy, to wind down and “get away from it all”.
Personally I find life far more interesting, way less stress full and not at all busy, to just do the things I feel I want and need to do, when I want and need to do them. I also find that things don’t go “wrong”, I don’t hit brick walls nor do I experience any of the elements that once brought frustration, stress, major muck-ups, accidents or rushing around like a lunatic when I am just focussed on and fully present in NOW.   Another miraculous aspect of living in NOW – I have more “time”.
Try it, you may just be very surprised by what happens when you stop thinking “a head” and actually become one with the flow of life.
Cheers, C.

AN UPDATE

Handmade Expo 11 Oct 2015 3

Hi folks,  I’ve been head down creating now for a good couple of months hence my absence from here and from doing much writing.  Some 20 years ago now I fell in love with Steiner inspired craft work when I made my first doll and have been making it on and off ever since, my aim being to make it more affordable and accessible to folk.  All items are made with Australian sourced pure wool, wool fleece, felt or cotton.  Stuffing for items that require it is merino roving/tops.  A lot of the items have little or no facial features so that children can imagine them however they want to.

I attended festiValley at the Samford Valley Steiner School in August (my second time as a stall holder there) and then The Handmade Expo at Morayfield in September and yesterday.  I will be back at Old Petrie Town, Dayboro Road, Kurwongbah for this coming Sundays market and you will find me in the Signal Room at the Railway Station located in the South West corner of the park away from the main shops and market.  I’ll be there from 8am until 2pm and will have a smaller selection of stock available than what appears in the pics here.

The next event I will have all stock available at will be The Handmade Expo at Morayfield on 1 November from 9am until 2pm which is held on the first Sunday of each month at the Indoor Sports/Leisure Centre behind Bunnings.   I’ve re-opened the Etsy Shop which you can browse here Cheoco and have many but not all of the available items listed.   Prices of items ranges from $2.50 to $100.

The Facebook page has now reached over 6,100 likes and I have become a core blogger for The Wellness Universe.  You can read my latest article for that group here Are we truly busy?

I’m also booked in to attend the North Deception State School Fair on 7 November, the Wamuran School Christmas Fair on 28 November and The Handmade Expo at Morayfield first Sunday in December.

Have attached some pics of yesterday and the lead up to it. Cheers, C.

Handmade Expo 11 Oct 2015 5Handmade Expo 11 Oct 2015 1Handmade Expo 11 Oct 2015 7Handmade Expo 11 Oct 2015 4TableFelted Wooden Gnomes and DollFelted mouseHandmade Expo 11 Oct 2015 6The French SnowmanPenguin Mice and Lady BirdFront of Yellow Haired Angel with GarlandFront of Queen AngelFront of AngelChristmas ElvesElf 1

PELICAN – UNSELFISHNESS & RENEWED BUOYANCY

Pelicans were once considered to be very magical and powerful birds. Contrary to some beliefs they do not store fish in their bills, they simply use their bills to scoop fish up. Should Pelican be a bird that is crossing your path it may be prudent to reflect on how that may provide you with some insight into your own behaviour. Are you one who stores anything you do not really need to be storing? Are you using what you already have? Are you digesting that which you are given or are you storing it? There was once a story told of how a Pelican harmed its own breast with its bill in order to feed its own blood to its young. This is where the unselfish self-sacrifice symbolised in this bird has come from and it also contains a Christian connotation.

Pelicans always make room for others of their kind and will nest in such a way that there is room for all. They also work together when fishing. As a team they manoeuvre fish into shallower water so all may enjoy a meal.

Pelicans are very large birds and whilst they appear heavy due to their size they float exceptionally well and are buoyant. Often they will descend into the water from a great height at speed and then magically pop up on the surface of the water. Air sacs which are located under their skin assist them to do this and they are totally unsinkable due to those air sacs.

These birds speak to us of the ability to bounce back, become buoyant ourselves and to rest regardless of what may appear to be the weight of life circumstances. Pelican teaches us that no matter how heavy or difficult some situations may be in our lives and no matter how deeply we plunge or fall we are all able to rise to the surface again. Their medicine is that of knowing how to rise above life’s trials and tribulations.   Another story about Pelican speaks of how they once lived in the desert and they adapted by feeding upon Snakes.   Whilst they may appear to have difficulty taking off at times from the water they succeed and this relates to us having the ability to free ourselves from emotions that might otherwise weigh us down. Pelican medicine is also showing us how we can avoid being overcome by our emotions to the point they debilitate us.

Grab your free copy of my Dreamwork Booklet at http://bit.ly/CheocoNews when you sign up for my monthly Newsletter.

*´☾☆☽`*•

#Cheryl O’Connor.
#Holistic #Counsellor, Author & Writer.

* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.
* Creative & Artistic Therapies.
* Specialising in #Dream #Analysis/#Conscious #Dreaming & #Shamanic Journeying.
* #Reiki/#Seichim Treatments & Attunements.
* Isis #Meditation.

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Image credit: Pixabay.

© C. O’Connor 5 August 2015.