Tag Archives: malcolm turnbull

Year of Self-Compassion #34 #musclememory

Regular readers will know I started the year with a couple of serious injurious falls and every now and again I am reminded of them when I move a certain way or get an attack of the giggles or have a giant sneeze.  The body remembers even when we don’t. Muscle memory is a real thing and I am always astonished that my fingers still know where to go on a guitar even though I haven’t played in decades.  Emotional memory is true too – instead of the muscle groups remembering – the synaptic pathways have experience to draw on … I guess this is why, back when I was counselling people, I always asked them to remember a time when they were (insert word here) joyful, excited, tenacious, flexible etc.  Building on the pathway already there to be strengthened and used to serve you.

In this week when our country has changed leaders, I really wonder how a political party room, hasn’t gone to it’s national muscle and emotional memory?  Making the same mistakes over and over again will only lead to the same results in the same way making the right choices over and over again will lead to improvements in fitness. Once you get to the bottom and all the bad choices have been made and you want to start making better choices it is a long and disciplined road to the future you want to create.  It may even mean taking part in systems that you don’t like much or finding new ones hidden in your landscape to draw on. Taking yourself to an edge and then instead of jumping off, looking up not down. Going to your best self, drawing on the energy of the ground on which we walk, the ancient land in this pale blue dot that holds us all together – past, present and future.

I have sat with sadness this week embodied in others as well as myself. Sadness seeping into depression for one; sadness seeping out of being overwhelmed for another; sadness weeping like a sore for another and for me sadness as another layer of rock inside of me being worn away slowly by tears.  This body knows how to cry now, it is beginning to learn how to accept generosity, and it is opening up to the weariness that is deep in the muscle memory each time stillness arrives.  Years, decades in fact, of caring and comforting, holding up more than half the sky for those under the same roof have left the synaptic pathways finding themselves lost – threads of a tapestry seeking to be woven in and it is in the under side, the backstory where they are being sewn.  This under belly of history, my story, a story not yet finished, and one that is searching to be grounded in a self under re-construction.

I often talk in my work about the difference between disruption and service reform and I find I am disrupting myself rather than re-forming. Cultural change at the cellular level living with less of everything in my life has me teetering on a precipice inviting me to more courage and vulnerability. With each little drama … and there are many …. a little of the old is chiselled away and either left for dust or replaced with a wobbly, fragile beginning of a new synaptic pathway.  Sticking to the discipline and practice of reinforcing what will serve me from a baseline so low is almost beyond me some days.  Deep breathing seems to help. I can remember how to do that and how it has served me well. Giving with grace and grit serves me too and I have plenty of experience to draw from that well. The learning is to add and draw from that well for myself, giving to myself with the same zeal and generosity is new learning. The idea of putting myself first, novel.  The practice of choosing me first completely unchartered.  My struggle with this has always been with the ego and selfishness, now I see it truly is, as Audre Lorde offered, self-preservation, a political act and silence will not protect you. I also find myself turning to other revolutionary thinkers, disruptors of comfortable thoughts. Freire reminds us in The Pedagogy of the Oppressed of the focus of change is confronting the seed of the oppressor planted within us to knows their tactics, understand their relationships.

The pain of growth and the changes it brings build new memories and fitness for disruption, this is part of the exposure, the transparency that comes with the decisions and actions we take.  (Malcolm Turnbull asking for the signatures to call the spill was disruption is not lost on me as a tactic for self-compassion even though it may not have looked like that to others.) I am examining and cross-examining the oppressor inside my interior party room and not quite sure how to make a spill happen that will stick, but am doing quite a lot to lobby what needs to move on and exercising my values in the process. I have the values muscle memories and synaptic pathways to hold me, while I strengthen and get them fit for purpose for this time in my life.

In this year of self-compassion there is both exercising and exorcising.


Disrupting layers – Ireland 2013


Dancing with Speeches #27 Malcolm Turnbull

An angry Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, stepped into the Wentworth Ball Room a place that has been home to highs and lows for decades for the Liberal Party, a conservative political party in Australia. His speech failed on so many levels, accountability, respect for the office, compassion and commiserations for colleagues who had lost their seats. Various commentators have already had their say, my dance is to re-write the speech.

My fellow Australians and Party members– thank you for coming out tonight to join me in raking over the coals on what has been a long campaign. These past eight weeks we have traversed the nation, I have listened in to the broken hearts of Tasmanians who lost their homes and livelihoods in floods, I have laughed along with children in schools taking in more STEM subjects to prepare them for the new economy which is already here and that they will be shaping, I have jumped on trains, trams and buses and made promises to consolidate the transport infrastructure our capital cities will need to be competitive and attractive to investors and workers. I have been humbled by the wonder and creativity of our greatest minds, entrepreneurs and risk takers willing to step up to the challenges ahead and inspire us to finance their ventures.

Tonight we sadly farewell those who have stood alongside of us in the battle for the hearts and minds of our fellow Australians. Everyone who lost their seat on our side of the house took their electorates to the wire – I personally want to thank Wyatt Roy and Peter Hendry for their support and I am sorry I won’t have them to call on in the next Parliament.

I am shocked there isn’t a clear result tonight, and we have to hear what this means for our Australia – while there is a division and uncertainty ahead – it is time for us to take a collective breath and realize that our vision and dreams for this country are not shared. People are worried and scared that they will be left out and left behind, the poorest communities moved further away from our values and into the arms of populist politicians and some even to the very edge of the most racist and acrimonious of views.

I take responsibility for the result. I could have called the election earlier and ridden on the wave of the honeymoon when I was first elected by the party room, I could have waited a few more months to the time when the election would have been due and not pulled the double dissolution trigger, I did neither – I took us to an election to get a clear mandate for industrial relations legislation to be passed by both houses – that was clearly a mistake as tonight’s result shows. The Senate will be less unified than it was 2 months ago and I am not sure we will be able to form even a minority government, only the days ahead as our wonderful Australian Electoral Commission staff, plough their way methodically through each and every ballot paper to make sure every vote counts.

Having a vote is the right of every citizen and we will honour that right by allowing the AEC to take the time they need to do that work without political interference.

I turn to my staff, my friends in the party and most of all my family and say thank you for all you do for me and for our nation. Your steadfast belief in our shared values is like oxygen to me and tonight while my heart beats furiously and I am somewhere between shame and fear and feel starved of air, it is your care and love that will help me through the night and the days and nights ahead as the results of the election are revealed with each ballot counted.

Living with uncertainty and managing complexity is the challenge for all modern leaders. During these days and nights, while we wait, I will look carefully at the results and listen to what the electorate has said and notice what the votes mean around the country and for my leadership and for the leadership of our party.

Thank you to all of you staying up so late and waiting with me in what feels a bit like the Garden of Gethsemane and I look forward to fronting you again in a few days with news that is clearer than what we have tonight.