Tag Archives: Jacinda Adern

Year of activism #18

There is a lot to be said for working from an abundance over scarcity worldview. Where there is enough time, enough resources, enough opportunities, enough skills and energy to go around – this maybe the Pollyanna in me – but it does seem to help if I work from abundance. I was introduced to the book A Beautiful Constraint a couple of years ago when I was doing Seth Godin’s altMBA and it released inside of me the power of the constraint as a gift of abundance and since then I have railed against the idea of containment and conservation and embraced more of the radical around boundaries as gift and freedom. This seems to work for activism too as it taps into hope and possibilities and plumbs into improvised creativity, using what you have got rather than languishing for what is missing or in deficit.  In the work of community mobiliser and community developer Cormac Russell‘s work it turns up in his mantra – work with what’s strong not wrong.

Of course there are times when you have to go beyond yourself and into the dark edges of the unknown to get what is needed to make a change. I do however, continue to be inspired by seeing how much can be done with what is already there and in the stripping back getting more.  The pandemic has provided this opportunity more than once in democracies like Australia, where the flick of a pen has enabled the potential for universal basic income to be tasted and lets see how that starts to shape up in the public discourse.

Going to the end of our discomfort and then seeing what is there in that place is going to be a challenge for us all in places of privilege, what will we give up to unlock and unleash potential for others?  Travel? A bigger contribution to the public purse? Time to volunteer for things important for our planet? These are already with us and we don’t need to wait for legislation or a politician to tell us what to do. If you see inequity you can do something small in your own sphere of influence and then invite others to join you, or you can also keep quietly going about it in your own way and start noticing all the others around the world doing the same thing.  We are part of an invisible movement named by Paul Hawken as Blessed Unrest and everyone’s contribution how big or small is making a difference. I have found, feeling part of a movement can help with the feelings of isolation, insignificance and irrelevance.

All around me, I see young people taking up the fight for climate change and while I want to see more of them and more of my generation, they are there and I want to surround myself with that knowledge and ask my peers to join in. I see the retro suburbia movement growing every day, and fun and joy being spread by people dressing up to put out their waste (surely a sign that the next wave will be about waste management?). I see the power of song and dance and creativity on line in times of isolation where people can’t help but continue to share their gifts. I also see the wrath of neglect and power of leaders who refuse to let go of their machismo and I grieve for Brazil and the USA in particular here. This is juxtaposed though by the leadership of amazing women in democracies who are showing what is possible and translating compassion, play and indeed beautiful constraints into public policy. Jacinda Adern posting a message this week from a home made children’s fort to her nation via Facebook was not lost on me as a powerful message of the child at the centre of decision-making, unleashing the wisdom of the inner child and holding strong in the flimsy and impermanence of cardboard creations.

As one of the group who joined me this week in my weekly Happy Hour on line said now that the parks are open – if you see a swing, get on it! Play your way to the future you want to shape. Unleash your inner child to lead your activism.

 

Sparks will Fly #12 #highestgood

There is a river in this heart of mine

With a knowingness of my highest good

These lyrics don’t appear until verse three, and it is only in verse three, that all the voices are heard. It is a favourite of the choir I sing in and the lines are followed by a Hallejuah as that is the name of the song, the Hebrew hallĕlūyāh ‘praise ye the Lord.  Praise is both noun and verb and when I experience the sound we make together, the sound itself is noun and verb, a declaration and an invitation. I can’t get the song out of my head this week, amidst the fallout from Christchurch, each day I am drawn into the leadership of a woman that is an expression of her country’s culture yearning to wholeness, and my own that created the product who executed the terrorism. I am taken back by the time Prime Minister Ardern is taking, to be in the grief, and not be in a hurry to move on, and encouraged by the world media who astonished by her behaviour continue to reflect on her. She is leaving no stone unturned, methodically she is going from place to place, school, hospital, family, mosque, park and playground. She is open, vulnerable, sad. She is a mother and a leader, a tigress protecting her nation with hope and humility, courage and strength. This is a new expression of leadership. She is redefining what it means to tap into the highest good of a nation. I am reminded of the best speech Kim Beazley ever gave – when he lost what I call the Tampa election in 2001. He recalled this in a conversation with Geraldine Doogue some years later

Like any nation there are bleak angels in our nature, but there are also good angels as well. And the task and challenge for those of us in politics is to bring out the generosity that resides in the soul of the ordinary Australia, that generosity of heart, so that we as a nation turn to each other and not against each other in the circumstances which we face.

Ardern has been able to actually do this – show us all how a politician can lead a nation in turning to one another and not against each other.

I am deeply disturbed by the results in the NSW election last night – a community of voters elected Mark Latham to One Nation and another community electing Jenny Leong as Greens member. There could be no bigger gap in a parliament between these two elected representatives.  Together they demonstrate the polarities defining our nation – white and non-white, male and female, inner city and regional. We are dangerously closer to the US in our political landscape than our friends across the Tasman.

In the NZ PM we are being invited to a transfiguration, an invitation to a complete change of form into a more beautiful or spiritual state, where politics is a reflection of our best selves and not a reduction to the lowest common denominator. We are being invited into leadership to transcend polarities by rising to our higher selves, by tapping into the river in our hearts, that yearns and knows what is good and great, graceful and gritty. We are arrive at this invitation on the threshold of our own Alleluia and with the question on our lips, are we the ones who knowingly and intentionally rise to the occasion and embrace those grieving by setting aside our own analysis, perspective, fear of the other.

This is a time to call on the good angels, the ones who will feed our spirits and souls and fill us up with courage and light, carry us through sad times and bring us deeper humanity.  Leaving people behind will breed bleak terrorist angels. It will have dogs being whistled by their masters, starving, in a dry river bed. We need to fill each other up.

In no time at all we will be heading to the national ballot box, where we can express how we feel with the rather blunt instrument of a vote. We are being called to turn to each other in our common heartache and broken-ness and this feels like an easter story in the making. It feels both like the last embers of a fire glowing in the dark and the promise of a new fire to light up a new way for generosity to show up in Australia. All kinds of sparks might fly.

AUGURIES OF INNOCENCE
by William Blake

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
A Robin Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage
A Dove house filld with doves & Pigeons
Shudders Hell thro all its regions
A dog starvd at his Masters Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State …

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