Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #20

This time next week we will be waking up to a new Australia that we can all see. This Australia is already here but not yet fully visible.  

In this Australia:

  • thousands of women march and say enough is enough to gendered violence and sexism
  • flood waters rise
  • people sit in boats at sea, run into the ocean to escape flames as they watch a bushfire scorch the earth and destroy all they know
  • vast numbers get a dog for the first time, bake sourdough bread and create edible landscapes
  • young people strike for climate
  • we ingest the equivalent of a hard hat of plastic every month
  • algorithms match us to find new love, new music, new books
  • we know a single woman over fifty who is homeless or couch surfing and some of us are one of the 400,000 in this situation
  • we say goodbye to a friend or family member to COVID and not be able to touch them, and join a funeral via a small screen
  • ache from the separation from friends and family for significant life events
  • one in five of us join the global phenomena of the great resignation
  • the unlawful federal government raise of $1.76bn in debts leaves us numb and some of us dead
  • energy bill defaults rise as renewables energy use grows
  • a young member of the family learns a few words of an Indigenous language and passes them on to the rest of the household
  • two hundred million litres of hand sanitiser are used in the past two years
  • its unexceptional to have a trans friend and use they as a pronoun
  • meaning is found by walking in nature is healing
  • you join an online choir during the pandemic that includes past Prime Ministers, opera singers, dogs, children, nurses and lawyers, is fun
  • many are wishing shares in Zoom were in their investment portfolio
  • binging on a series set in Edwardian England or Korea is a topic of conversation
  • divestment from coal is a race being run by fund managers
  • on Monday 19th April 2022, 214,000 people registered to vote through the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on the last day to get registered on the electoral roll – the biggest single-day enrolment in Australia’s history, making 96% of us eligible to vote on May 21st.

It is an Australia that is emerging into compassion for First Nations and recognising colonisation is not past tense. It is an Australia that is ready to make peace with its past through voice, treaty, truth. It is an Australia that understands women’s rights are human rights and that rape culture starts with language. It is an Australia that is yearning for climate justice for farmers, coastal households, and highland towns. It is an Australia that wants to turn away from the shame of treating refugees as criminals. It is an Australia that is ready to shape up to its geopolitical responsibilities as a good neighbour in the Pacific.

This is the decade, our last possible one, to halt and if at all possible, turn the climate around. We have not got a minute to waste. The collective actions we take at the ballot box will make visible the kind of Australia we are at this time, facing our greatest challenges as a species. I am confident we are up for the challenge.

Next Sunday we will have new leadership, which will look more like us, more diversity in the Parliament, in age, backgrounds, gender, political parties.  We will be set for more debate, discourse, and discernment. More is going to be asked of us as citizens, this next period of governing Australia is not going to be a set and forget, or a suck it and see mentality. There will be in the famous words of a past Prime Minister, thrills, and spills.  And I cannot wait for what is ahead and what will be required of us all to get to the next stage of our development as a Commonwealth.  

March 2021 Parliament House, Canberra

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #19

Expectations are invisible and then when they aren’t met, they become visible by the oozing of emotions, sometimes publicly with the ferocity of projectile vomiting, other times with the gentility of a private sob. The word expectation comes from the Latin meaning an awaiting – and we all know waiting has an ache in it.  When you have been waiting a while, those expectations can build and take a life of their own encrusted with the aged desires and wounds. They have a blinkered quality and seem to screen out a complete 360-degree assessment of the facts of the moment. It is intriguing how expectations become visible without discussion, as by osmosis in the public space. 

For instance, we are in a national conversation as a country as we discern how to spend our vote and there is no doubt whoever we choose as a nation won’t meet all of our expectations – we will feel let down by our team if they get elected. They know that and we know that already deep inside of us.  We will have to renegotiate the relationship from opposition to government or failure to win government. I remember one time a government being elected and still acting like they were in opposition for a long time, not quite making the transition to their new role and the public not quite being able to let them – there was quite a bit of calibration before the new arrangements settled. So, while their new roles were clear and confirm, there was still uncertainty, a lack of practice and unfamiliar ways of being to be tested.

I notice some people pulling up the covers and hiding there for a while hoping by the time, they pull them back and jump out in the new world it will be ready for them, and they are ready for it. An invisible metamorphosis protecting them from harm, it is a false promise though and the practice is still needed and the lack of exposure to the new conditions just means the conditions have been more consolidated and not had the benefitted of being shaped while under the covers. Others have stepped into the breach and now a new world order is emerging, and you have to live with it, unpractised and clumsy, until you have applied your navigational skills to find your way.

Making visible expectations is a partial inoculation, understanding you have them and their place in your invisible world of meaning and circumstance, rank and status requires a level of insight that may not be easily accessible. Your spot in the food chain may be disturbed by others’ expectations and your lack of insight may cut a deep wound. The relationship between communications and experience blend in expectations, we’ve read the room, read the reviews, been here before, wired ahead … yet we can still get disappointed and hurt due to a failure of this relationship not being fully visible to ourselves and others. Coming to an alignment around expectations requires testing both the communications and experience over and over again because managing expectations is best as a visible action.  

I had a very hard lesson in visible and invisible nature of expectations. There is no magical thinking that will bring the situation we want into being, it requires learning and unlearning our experiences, communicating for alignment, and making our expectations explicit so they can be negotiated in or out of reality.  It is an act of empathy and self-compassion to arrive at the new place with the new relationships .. and inevitably another set of expectations.  

“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
The laundromat in Santiago de Compostela went beyond expectations and was filled with art, poetry, plants, quirky artefacts and beauty.

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #18

For the past month I have been treated to writing prompts (#halcyonwords) which have given me time to reflect on little moments from the past. A few of them have opened up wounds and who would have known that two or three words could be so powerful? The prompts have invited me to revisit longings, losses, celebrations, community, family and travels. The role of a prompt is to encourage something to be said.  The origins of the word mean, brought to light.

We are surrounded by prompts. Prompts move us to action. I notice some of my invitations are prompts trying to activate someone to take a step in a direction that will result in step forward or at a minimum a gesture of goodwill. I also notice I retreat from prompting; else it be seen as nagging. A prompt though is not harassment it does have invitational qualities and the same prompt can produce a plethora of actions depending on whose ears or place it lands. I like getting prompted, I do not like being nagged. I like being invited; I do not like being told. I like being encouraged, enabled, and emboldened. I do not like being manipulated, ambushed, or shamed into action.

When you are on stage, a production team usually includes a Prompt – the person who cues the actors if they forget their lines or miss a move they are meant to take, the prompt keeps things moving out of sight of the audience but in earshot of the actors. This role is often not needed when the production is smooth and well-rehearsed, but everyone knows they have this safety net to hold them regardless, and they can trust they will be held and helped, if need be, with no visibility to anyone outside of the stage. We all need a Prompt sometimes to tell us what words we have rehearsed over and over again that can be deployed at the right moment. Someone to quietly remind us where to situate ourselves on the stage, what words to use that we may have rehearsed a thousand times and lost in the moment when we find ourselves in the headlights.

We can be prompts for one another to remind each other that we do have the words, we do know when to sit, run or stand. We need to be prompts for each other – to invite well with a question to bring something invisible into the light. And when we find ourselves in this light, deliver our message or action with clarity and confidence for all kinds of audiences. This will take courage, practice, discipline. I need to be prompted often to go where I may not want to go. I like my prompts to come announced as prompts. Announced prompts, feel less judgemental, less risky, less acts of recalcitrant compliance. This approach helps me find my way to the light and uncover something new, and to move from invisible to visible.   

Brought to light at Standley Chasm, NT May 2021

                                                                   

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #17

Our dreams start out invisible. This is inevitable. A few thoughts floating around in our head like butterflies, that we try and capture, which is often, just like butterflies, hard to do. It requires patience, observation, and stillness. Dreams maybe visible when we sleep, some clever unfolding and prompting in our unconscious selves trying to bring something to the surface. Thoughts take shape with images, sounds, colour, emotions. Maybe you have recurrent dreams that haunt or tease you. But these are not the dreams I am really thinking about. I am thinking about the dreams that we want to make visible, the kind of dream Martin Luther King had of liberation, or the dream aspirants have of being elected, or winning a prize and through discipline and talent aim to make their dreams come true.

I am dreaming of ways in which we can all level up and bring more equity to decision-making. It is one of the reasons I support the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the inherent result of Voice Treaty Truth and a First Nations presence in our national parliament. This dream will be informing my vote at the next Federal election. I cannot and will not support any political party or candidate that does not embrace the Uluru Statement. The current government’s parties commissioned the statement’s creation and all the consultation far and wide and then on presentation rejected it. It was yet another dark day in our nation … but it is not a dream that can be held hostage … it is one that is released for all of us to embrace. It is one we need to honour. It is an act of equity and justice. First, we have to hear the voice, which is why parliamentary representation is central; then we have to have a just settlement, a covenant, treaties and then we will be in a position to hear and receive the truth.  The Uluru Statement is the culmination of what was an Indigenous Constitutional Convention – constitutional change is non- negotiable.

If the Voice part of the Uluru sequence invokes the realm of politics and the Treaty part conjures the world of law, then the Truth part aligns most closely with the domain of historyKate Fullagar

Getting to equity recognises we do not all start from the same place, and adjustments are needed to address the imbalances. That is why separate First Nations voices to parliament is an equity issue for me. We must address the imbalances in our legislation and only legislators can pass those laws, and laws get passed in Parliament.  Thomas Mayor’s words to his then seven-year-old son William, who put his hand on this heart and said, “the heart of the nation is in here.”  This is our work now as we head into the historic election in which only one major party is agreeing to follow through on the Uluru Statement and offer a referendum to the Australian people for a substantive, not symbolic, constitutional recognition to constitutionally enshrine First Nations Voice – nothing less will suffice for this dream to become visible. For right now, we are living a lie, and in a nightmare for our First Nations.  If the place you work for supports the Uluru Statement, if you have shares in companies that have signed their support, if you have signed up to the Statement – the time to mark your ballot in favour of the Uluru Statement and make this dream visible, is on the horizon.

Put your hand on you heart, feel the beat, breath in through your feet on the land, feel the pulse of our shared home. The Voice proposal is quite conservative, and the talents and ingenuity of leaders like Megan Davis with expert constitutional knowledge, have the proposal in the Uluru Statement as the simple premise of a First Nations representative body, with its primary function to present the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the Parliament where decisions are made about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Nothing more and nothing less.  Let us vote for equity. For dreams and for dreaming our way to justice. For visibility of the invisible heart of our nation.

6 September 2019, Logan, Qld. Guest of Logan Together listening to Megan Davis and learning more about the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #16

Last week I missed mentioning the arts on my must haves for public policy! How did I forget to include them?  Perhaps because the arts are like what water is to a fish, for me. I breathe in the arts – poetry, music, literature, dance, storytelling, paintings, design, textiles, prints, sculptures – they are all around, inside and outside of me. Sound seems central to me in all this, whether I am making the noise or listening to others make their noises, at music festivals, on Spotify, in my lounge room, a community hall, with a few, in a choir, in the kitchen, in the garden, at the market. Whether those noises are joyful, wailing or warning, they are what binds and heals so much of my wellbeing. I could start of litany of how sound finds its way into my regular practices:  saying poems aloud, singing with friends in a choir, listening to a busker at the Farmers Market, attending an annual international festival. I am noticing what sound I pay for, which one’s live rent free in my head, the ones where there is some kind of alchemy mutually exchanged with listeners. I recently gifted myself with a Lenten season of sessions with gifted sound and movement healer Trish Watts. With her skills, experience and care I found some new ways to heal from trauma through coaxing sound and movement in and around my body. I have really missed choir during COVID, and we are not quite back yet, I miss singing at church but that is not a safe space for me and the years of singing and making music with my husband in the kitchen or doing the odd duet and even playing for a few years regularly at a local pub are long, long gone. I have picked up the guitar again and do find myself singing in the garden, around the house or in the car, but it is not the same as the communal experience. When I hear the community of birds in the trees or the overhead cacophony of a flock, I know this kind of sound needs others of my own species to get the fullest effects of wellbeing. But music and signing are not the only ways sound comes through the arts, there is the rustle of the trees and the graceful bowing and billowing in a carefully crafted garden allowing the wind and the reeds to make sound, and the critters climbing through leaf litter crunching.  Signs of artistic lives and co-creation everywhere! There is writing, and for me a love of poetry being read or even better performed. I discovered the power of UK poet Joelle Taylor’s work at Writers Week this year. Her collection C+nto is an extraordinary memoir of a life of struggle, survival, restoration, resurrection, love, violence, vulnerability with lashings of generous insight into her world of sexual identity and creativity. Her work is part of a long thread in my life of reading and listening to works from outside of my own world stemming back to teenage readings of James Baldwin and then much later Octavia Butler and Audre Lorde. It is as if hearing someone else’s story, and explicit uncompromising expressions of truth to power, are the cornerstone of the personal being political that has supported me to find my own voice. There is no vaccine for racism or sexism or any other kind of othering, so the arts are the perhaps the most powerful way to inoculate, protect and regular boosters are required to keep our whole community healthy and safe.  That is my reason for why funding for new works is essential, creatives need to be supported so they can make their way in the world, to our ears and our hearts and our minds. It is public policy work equally as necessary as any publicly funded immunisation program … and perhaps even more so. So, I am looking out for how the arts are talked about as we head to the polls, how they are valued, how they are heard. I want an Australia where there is more publicly funded art and more publicly funded artists. I want diversity in what is heard, seen, recorded, recited, and sung.  I want to be exposed to what is invisible to me by those who can see and hear things I cannot.
These glorious performers entertained and taught a weary group of pilgrims on the eve of our last day of walking before we arrived at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. Their music was wild, tender and demanding. September 2019 Padrón, España

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #15

Sometimes I wonder what actually goes on in people’s heads! The lengths taken to hide, disguise, camouflage, cover-up, masquerade, conceal … you get the picture… literally takes my breath away. In my religious tradition we called on the sins of omission as much as the sins of commission and this is what sent me in a spin when I saw the first election campaign video of the Prime Minister. He talked about the number of lives saved, the number of jobs saved, the ambition of 16 year old students … and all I could think of was the number of lives lost, the deconstruction of the Federation while the States filled in all the gaps of the Commonwealth, the under-employment, the number of businesses that have closed, the streets lined with empty shops, students saying yes to starting their own businesses because the state has failed to provide runways to the new economy for them. I poured myself a Coopers Pale Ale beer and ate a roast lamb sandwich on home made bread and that felt like I was contributing to my local economy more than an act of nationalism! Oh dear another quotation mark has just appeared. I am begging any of you who has a vote in Australia to vote them out – if not for yourself, actually not for yourself, but for the next generation and the next and the next. This can’t go on. We are at the now or never moment as the IPCC told us, once again, this week.

I find it incredulous that there are people who  voted for a man that denies climate change, worships a God that bears no resemblance to the founder of the firm and whose default is to blame others. I have seen this close at hand before and I bet you have too. The man who pulls on a cloak to hide all kinds of sins, asking for trust now promising better times ahead; the fellow who seduces with a warm, caring perhaps even fatherly voice, and behind your back when you are out of ear shot is charming and extending his hand in friendship or something more intimate (note – be like Grace and turn away); how about the guy who actually steals from you, he steals your hopes, dreams, future, maybe even some money, and then says it was all for you? If you recognise any of these behaviours, or can touch into what it feels like? Then warn your friends, tell your family – vote them out! These behaviours are playing themselves out on the national stage and we need to make sure all crumbs lead to the ballot box.  There are ballot boxes every day for these kind of people – so vote them out of your life too!

The invisible strings that are being pulled while the campaign is being put together come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Did you notice the PM’s voice a little deeper, apparently digitally enhanced by some sound technician.  It’s time for you to pull a few invisible strings of your own and start letting people know how you are going to vote. Explain yourself and share your reasons. Invite them to do the same. Let’s build a genuine national conversation about what we want from our government.

Here is what I’m looking for in a government and therefore from my neighbours as they decide who to vote for – I am making my views very visible. This is no time for privacy – the personal is political!!                                                         

I want swift generational bold strokes to help the planet so there is a one for my grandchildren to live in. I want places to be supported to address the climate challenges they are experiencing and will experience on their terms. I want to know that refugees will be welcome and protected and those still in the twilight zone to be able to go to university, get medical support and feel sage. I want to know the oceans aren’t an afterthought in the climate justice work. I want a complete overhaul of our defence spending and it diverted to health, education and affordable housing. I want every new Mum to have all that she needs and that every child for the first 1000 days is supported to reach their potential. I want treaties and a voice to parliament. I want a Truth Commission. I want equity in investment aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals. And I think that is enough to get started. I want you to know what was in my mind completely unencumbered by any low grade mask or high grade PPE. Come out and play and let’s do it! 

This is not a time to be invisible.      

PS  I am working with the Ethical Fields crew building a campaign for a Minister for Community Wealth Building. If that interests you head over to the website where there is a White Paper you can download.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Parliament House, Canberra, Nungawal Country, 2020

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #14

With each drip, arriving to my forehead I accepted the invitation to go deeper into the generosity. It was a steady flow of herbal infused oils onto my brow, or where the ‘third eye’ is said to reside – considered by many to be the place of human consciousness. It wasn’t easy to relax and I found myself trying to breath in a way that would support the flow and release me from thoughts and whatever it was that was getting in the way of me accepting this gift. It took quite a while for me to relax into the experience and literally ‘go with the flow’. I had booked into this ayurvedic treatment after I had a strong vision of how I needed to learn how to receive first before I could embrace the financial gift bestowed upon me for the crowdfunding campaign to note my role in community as an “equity weaver”.

This therapeutic treatment is known as shirodhara, is renown for its ability to support, sooth and heal an agitated nervous system. I chose it to reflect what I had received, individual drops fused together in a bountiful golden flow. Before the flow started a vigorous head massage took place, and for some reason, more than once I thought about the song from South Pacific I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair.  I did try to banish the thought and soak into the moving around of molecules inside and outside of my scalp. After this preparation took place, I moved to the other end of table, my feet now facing a new direction, offering another layer of meaning. How often have I had to pivot 180 degrees, to see a new perspective?

In this new position, and in stillness, eyes closed and with a person on either side of me the pouring began. It took me a long time to take it in, my breathing wouldn’t settle in with ease, and while I wasn’t fidgeting in my body, my mind was certainly fliting and flaying around. I turned to a mantra with the in breath to say thank and exhale to say you which I became very dissatisfied with quickly and reverted to Sat Nam which held and faded away.

All these tiny invisible moments of interiority, happening while oil is flowing onto my head in a visible and visceral way! There is plenty going on behind our eyes, in our hearts, in our guts all the time. Some of this comes out for the whole world to see on a stage in front of squillions of people, but for the rest, it is microworld soup of feelings, thoughts, impressions. And the soup is not for others to sip – it is our work to determine who gets to sip and savour, taste and see – and when we can be truly honest with ourselves, hold the mirror up to nature as Hamlet instructed.

This mirror we are all seeking to tell us what we see in ourselves may be closer than we think. I’ve found it on a wall, over dinner, in an email, at the end of zoom. Others notice and see what I may not – an invitation to consider a future leadership possibility, a welcome mat being put out to take up a role with trusted peers, a request to be the one to hold a particularly important relationship on behalf of a community, an AI message to ask what if we have the power to stop the mind running away with turbulences. 

The AI of the mirror at the Invisibility exhibition at MOD, delivered the poem below and I wondered what was in my eyes that the algorithm detected from my facial features – a call to stillness as a proven crime prevention strategy? What we need is weighed up with risks, which is all part of a grand design. Regardless of all that is going on, there is still wonder and not knowingness.  The gift of just receiving, not knowing the cost, not knowing the risks, not knowing the reasons … just receiving … or maybe it is a 180 degree turn around and is to receive justly with dignity and grace, the therapy of this prescription of Gratitude?

The glad tidings that a crime has been prevented, a thought has escaped us

Justice has been interrupted

But surely all this could have been prevented, if we had the power to stop the mind from running away with

Its turbulences.

Science which is based on sound principles,

Has asked us to believe in a supreme being,

Who has arranged all

This machinery for us and who knows the meaning of our risks

While he is concerned with our daily needs, he is not bothered

By our innermost desires, we are his

concern

today

Meanwhile the daily goings on of our human body

Are going on without us

We are no nearer to understanding these than a school boy

should

At MOD Photo credit: Dr Kristin Alford, Director MOD

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #13

The mood for change is in the air. It is arriving with cooler, crisper breezes just after sunset, promising the next season is calibrating before it settles in. Voters have done the first of three invitations this year to have a say on governance, we’ve done the State, next up is the national and before year end there will be the municipal elections too. Electoral exhaustion might set in. Twenty years ago, social researcher Hugh Mackay analysed thousands of interviews with Australians as they landed into the next millennium. He noted issues of control and anxiety being supported by a renovation revolution, fitness, tattoos and body-piercings. His review of 2020 as the pandemic took hold reflected on the kindness revolution unfolding and it is that mood of the nation I hope is reflected in the polls as the year unfolds, I am optimistic.

We have learnt to that turning to our neighbours in times of crisis is our best bet. We have learnt this through droughts, bushfires, floods and a pandemic. Acts of kindness add up, as we saw with the documentation of the Kindness Pandemic lead by Dr Catherine Barrett that captivated a nation. I am wondering how this invisible thread of generosity will continue to show up as the pandemic eases and what we will take with us into the next twenty years?  This decade being the decade where we have no time to lose. Kindness to future generations will require our mood to be hopeful, sincere, pragmatic and impatient for change. I know there are many people that can’t wait to get to the next ballot box.

The dreadful discovery this week of microplastics in human blood had me reeling especially in relation to babies and placentas. Invisible and ever present, setting the conditions for a new kind of science fact-ion. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it is not there. This season in our human condition where plastics attach to our blood may lead us to challenges in our breathing. The breath is certainly front and centre of so much right now from meditation to COVID, our lungs and the green lungs of the planet are intertwined and breathing in and out, a most visible and invisible act, is pivotal to our personal and collective well being. No kindness without breath in the body. The invitation to take a deep breath to face a next step, to calm down, to steady yourself for action is at hand.

Watching someone struggle to get their breath, literally drowning, is what we are doing at scale as we watch the waters rise in our collective lungs. I sometimes muse on the idea if we could all just breath well collectively maybe this would bring in more kindness, and through those invisible breaths bring forth a heavy sigh, so we can all face what is being called for right now in our neighbourhoods, our towns, our countries and our planet. The breath may be the super power to unleash a kindness revolution. The breath always hosts the potential to change our mood.

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #12

I love voting day and seeing people line up before the polling station opens ready to cast their vote. The veteran citizen of many an election, refusing the disability parking spot, preferring to walk proudly, deliberately into the booth accompanied by their walking stick and their electoral dignity. The first-time voter who checks with an older sibling or a parent to be sure they are going to get their mark to the right place on the ballot paper being congratulated for no longer being a virgin voter … these things give me a real thrill. Then there is the heart break of seeing ballot papers with no marks on them at all and several with the traditional male genitalia cartooned into place and the inevitable one or two that leave a comment about feeling that no one speaks for them and therefore no one deserving of their vote.

Handing out How to Vote cards in the morning and scrutineering in the evening once again after an absence of some years was a small and joyful act of this citizen, who once stood for a major political party twenty years ago. I haven’t been to a branch meeting or a fundraiser for more than a decade, and missed contributing to several election cycles. I needed a rest. Generously, the candidate, and member, who won the same seat acknowledged and thanked me for “loosening the lid on the can” that enabled him to go on and win it after me and in subsequent elections. The faithful who gathered at the local sporting club were mainly his family, friends and rusted on party members. I really appreciated the acknowledgement after all these years and in a week, where being seen and invisible efforts of mine are being made visible by others, it was another sign of the universe conspiring to remind and hold me to account to my roots and place, or more accurately, places in the world.

As the votes get counted and the maps get coloured in, the process of the big reveal, of what happened in the privacy of the booth, is like chlorophyll, the pigment that gives the plants their green colour and helps plants create their food through that glorious process of photosynthesis. Invisible to the human eye, coming to life under a microscope, chloroplasts, like every voter, have a huge and central role in bringing forth and sustaining a healthy planet.  Voters bring life, breath oxygen into decisions and then together set the conditions for how we will all get to live in the coming years.

This election was for the State, the next one in a few months will be to form a national government. I am very excited about what will unfold. A slew of independent women candidates across the country will be lining up, especially in the regions, there will be memories and disappointments being translated into voting patterns and I am predicting we will be seeing ourselves reflected in the result that is more feminist, more focussed on the future, more compassionate and more diverse than we will ever have seen – because this is who we are – a kinder, more generous nation that understands climate, gender and racial justice is what will take us to next level humanity.

The Premier incumbent for my State quoted one of my favourite political quotes in his speech last night: “In a democracy, the highest office is the office of citizen” – US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. I agree with that and for those of us who are privileged to have a vote. I have always encouraged others to vote with those in mind who don’t have that privilege, children, young people, those who are outside of the electoral process, incarcerated, refugees waiting for their status to come through, future generations, other species who need our help, our global neighbours, and partners. When you vote it is not just for your hip pocket, your place or family – it is something much bigger, wider, and deeper. It is stepping in to the booth with gratitude for all those who worked to enable you to have the franchise, for me I think of the suffragists, for my grandparents who marched for the eight hour day, for those who passed referendum to include Aboriginal people and I take my pencil to paper with the future in mind, one which will deliver more equity, more inclusion and has the potential to unite rather than divide.

The role of the citizen is the foundation of any democracy, and I am so grateful to be living in a place where the transfer of power by the people is done simply, civilly and in public view. Voting day is when citizenship is made visible, but it shouldn’t end there. Every day we have the opportunity to exercise our citizenship and vote with our values in the way we spend our time, money, resources and behave in the world.  You don’t need to wait for polling day to bring your energy to photosynthesis and breath the future in.

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #11

I’ve been asked to be a referee for a few people lately and it is the trust of a trusted person that does the invisible due diligence in this process – a kind of reverse gaslighting. I really love being given these opportunities as I know my reputation means something and therefore my endorsement might be truly helpful in getting a person over the line. I get the pleasure of seeing them move to into a role they want and then they are in a place that might extend their reach as well. It feels like an expanding universe.

I was surprised on Friday at the national impact and innovation festival, SouthStart, by what I am going to call the boomerang effect! My ‘show not tell’ lessons came back to me and the one I am sharing in this year’s blog of invisibility and visibility was made tangible. In what could only be considered a supercharged quickly assembled campaign was underway right under my nose for the past ten days. Communities of communities were linked together through the leadership and due diligence of a group of friends, who don’t actually know each other that well, but they all know me, and one way or another have been connected through me. They generated a crowdfunding campaign to make visible their support for my voluntary contributions to filling in some of the infrastructure gaps in our impact enterprise ecosystem. This is work that rests on the apex of equity and inclusion. It is systems work, it is not reform or renewal. By definition this is working in sets of interactions and where people, activities, tools, technologies, places and networks intersect and influence each other. It requires an ability to morph and move with agility and intention in both visible and invisible ways.

The campaign conspirators want this work to be recognised and rewarded by the people who benefit from this and those who want to see more of it. One of the secret squirrels told me ‘well we’re only doing what you’ve taught us to do – we’re making all your invisible contributions, visible!”  This past 12 months I have taken a personal stand to do less paid work and concentrate on contributing into the spaces that I know I can leverage and shift with my time and talents.

I was lured into story telling some of my invisible acts over the years before the campaign was publicly revealed to me. On reflection I have considered the power of story, yet again as truth telling and a way of leaving a trail of crumbs to discovery and transformation.

This past 12 months I have taken a personal stand to do less paid work and concentrate on contributing into the spaces that I know I can leverage and shift with my time and talents. I am focussing on ways to distribute power and bring my creativity to make this revolution, irresistible. The gender gaps are foundational for me and patriarchy as a system just has to go, for all of us and our planet. It is toxic and is killing us all.

I am so deeply humbled and moved by the 86 early adopters who made a contribution to the crowdfunding campaign before Friday when the cat was let out of the bag! They have since been joined by more over the last couple of days. I love the genius of the whole approach, to have the community who see me doing what I do at systems level and are now asking that I do more of it in their name with their financial support, this is the best kind of reference I could ever have.

Those that know me deeply will know, I would never have agreed to this approach if asked, as I see so many women in particular, who constantly give to their communities with little or no recognition or reward. I think of the Aunties and Grandmothers in many Aboriginal communities, of the mothers and sisters holding on tight to cultural knowledge in the face of violence and displacement. I feel so privileged. As a tertiary educated white woman of settler stock, living on stolen land, I am not part of an oppressed minority. I do try to understand my privilege and use my power responsibly.  I think of myself as a creative and a pilgrim.  My privilege is a responsibility and I promise to accept your gifts with the love you have given them and I see you for your contribution to my life, however humble or grand, I cherish it as sincere and generous.  The dollars turning up on the page are no measure of the love and trust you put in me. I am excited about the model this has created and support it 100%. I am inspired to more of this for others and with others.

My inability to notice an army of schemers, is testimony to the trust the organisers imbued in each other and my focus being elsewhere.  I have missed a few things over the years, a couple of giant ones, causing surprises that delivered trauma because I had my attention averted away from myself. This time I am glad my predisposition, was at work, allowing me to have a wonderful surprise and to feel all that it meant to me and to others. I can claim that part of myself back, that innocent, empathic self, and this is an unexpected and very welcome by-product of such an extraordinary event.  Healing created by friends, delivered by community, received with love.

Here you can see me being surprised!

_SOuTHSTART

PS Now that the secret is out there are a few more days left in the campaign if you want to make a contribution https://startsomegood.com/equity-weaver-fund