Author Archives: moira deslandes

About moira deslandes

Facilitating futures follow at @MDC_Aus

Year of Self Compassion #17 #shepherd

In the Christian calendar today is coined “Good Shepherd Sunday”. It is the metaphor of Jesus being the good shepherd looking after his flock and protecting it from wolves contrasted with the hired hand who doesn’t have the same level of commitment as the Good Shepherd.  The hired hand leaves the sheep to their own devices and unable to protect themselves from the nasty wolves who come and make a meal out of them and scatter them to the four winds.  The wolves come regardless of who is caring for the flock, but the Good Shepherd is vigilant and knows how to keep the baddies at bay.  In this year of self compassion, I was reflecting on how I can be a Good Shepherd to myself, gathering up all the parts of me scattered and at the mercy of wolves ready to tear me apart. The wolves do come in sheep’s clothing sometimes too, masquerading and sneaking into my sacred safe places and a shepherd’s vigilance is required to keep me from harm.  Sometimes it is thoughts, other times actions, sometimes it is places, sounds and smells that trigger the alarm that a wolf is on its way and reading the signs to nip it in the bud as a form of self-protection requires considerable shepherding.

As the oft-quoted Audre Lorde has said:

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

The political act of being your own shepherd, to notice the wolves that find their home even inside of you, pretending to be sheep, to notice sheep following trusting and finding their way to safety whatever the conditions, to be faithful to the call and know the voice of the one calling you home … maybe to hear yourself into speech and recognise yourself as a good shepherd not to others, but to yourself.

In these vulnerable times I find myself in, it is a political act to be my own shepherd, and the hardest flock to care for are all the parts of me I would prefer to give over to a hired hand. Those parts of me once in exile are coming home.  Time for vigilance and for me to shelter from those wolves eager to pull me apart and for me to dig deep to access my inner good shepherd guard.

Shepherds work alone

I don’t want a solitary shepherd

I want a flock of Good Shepherds

Not a flock of sheep.

Lorde writes in “Eye to Eye” in Sister Outsider says  “We can practice being gentle with each other by being gentle with that piece of ourselves that is hardest to hold, by giving more to the brave bruised girlchild within each of us.” Giving more when there is so little left to give to oneself, to turn inwards is what the shepherd does – turning towards the sheep to bring them all home safely and in one piece.  Banishing the wolves may not be possible, they will always be lurking and on high alert, ready to attack and leave a trail of indiscriminate destruction. A discipline is required in this year of self compassion. It is a practice and a muscle that needs regular exercise to get stronger. It has to happen on hillsides, exposed to the elements, open to move with the seasons and from time to time will require going to ground depending on the weather.  Right now I am in a storm and I am looking for a cave in which to rest til it blows over, bringing my sheep with me and hiding from circling wolves.

Ironically, I spent a lot of my early years and left home to marry from Shepherd Street and the suburb was Ridgehaven. I love how even the stones will shout and actors in our lives continue to permeate time and space … such is the cosmic conversation. The brave girlchild is still in there somewhere getting her Bo Peep act together for self-care and political action.

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 Lough Dan, Ireland Photo credit: James Butterly on Unsplash

 

 

 

Year of Self Compassion #15 stories

We all have stories, and each one of us is full of rich, funny, sad, surprising, quirky tales of our own lives. It is rare though to make the time and space to listen deeply to your story and to another’s. On retreat we had the opportunity to just listen, uninterrupted and non-conversational, to snippet’s of one another’s story. Curating a space for stories to be received and gifted is a talent and a generous offering of its own. The dinner table and the campfire are experienced are holding these spaces.  This week I went to TenX9 to hear some stories and decided I would share one of my own. Buoyed by the experience of being heard on retreat I wanted more of that in this year of self compassion. To help me along the way, I have recruited a few people into my life as “witnesses” who have kindly agreed to listen to me when I feel the need to be heard. This is a great salve and I highly recommend it, for unlike a conversation, I know there will be no comments, no judgements, no expectations and equally the witness can drop the expectation of having to respond in any way.  This is free style listening and speaking. Hearing yourself into speech helps with some of the un-ravelling of tangled thoughts.

So on Friday night I stepped up to the microphone and the theme of the story-telling night was: I almost died.  There are stories I could have told that would have been funny, like times I almost died of embarrassment with one fashion malfunction or another, I could have told stories about times I almost died of fright finding something hidden in a bag that revealed a side of a person I didn’t want to know, I could have told stories about the times I almost died laughing when something truly hilarious and spontaneous came into view. Instead I told a story from my childhood about a night I almost died.

Here is the story I told.

My mantra that night was “Daddy do you love me?”

I must have said it a thousand times.

I was 7 years old and there had been a tropical storm the night before. The town I was living in had 457cm of rain a year, coming from South Australia, the driest State on the driest continent I saw more rain in the two years I lived in Lae than I had seen in my life to that time. Everything was green and mould seemed to grow as you watched it form on walls, inside the fridge and under the counter in the kitchen (where I could see, as I was the right height). It was the reason I was in the hospital. I was allergic to the mould, but my Mum and Dad didn’t know that at the time. Every spore seemed to be finding its way into my lungs from every breath I took, and with each breath in, I had less breath to breathe out. I had asthma attacks regularly and they were all terrifying … but this one escalated and I ended up in hospital.

I don’t remember how I got to hospital but it was probably in a VW beetle driven by my Dad. I found myself in a bed, in a room with other patients, all much older than me, and in my seven year old memory, the bed was huge and was scared I was going to fall of it as it was so high. The stainless steel seemed to be hard and cold and I wondered what was going to happen in the hospital. I wasn’t comfortable in so many ways – and I couldn’t really see what was going on around me. My main memory was the big brown feet padding past me and the big drops of water forming on the half opened louvers that eventually feel onto the garden outside which I think was a hibiscus plant. All the local staff had bare feet. As a side note, when we went to the UK a year or so later, my baby brother had to put shoes on for the first time and was not impressed. Every time I saw the feet approaching I wondered if they were coming my way, but each time they just padded past. Groups of three or four people seemed to be gathering in corners away from me and conferring – I just guessed they were talking about other patients and had no sense I was the subject of their conversation. But clearly I was because a man in a white coat came over and directed a woman with no shoes to give me an injection.

And that was when I nearly died. I had an allergic reaction to whatever they gave me. I learnt as an adult it was adrenalin – probably the worst possible thing I could have been given. My heart was pumping so fast and my Dad was trying to slow me and my heart right down by trying to get me to breathe in a gentle slow pattern. He was a psychologist, so he did have a few tools up his sleeve thank goodness. He probably didn’t know what else to do. So with each breath in and each breath out I tried to slow my breathing down – it was like catching a wave that kept crashing before it reached shore – it was absolutely exhausting – I didn’t know if I could keep going. Somehow I found a few words to help me through and that helped my breath to slow down … I thought I was dying (and I was but didn’t know that til much later) …. I just kept saying Daddy do you love me? Daddy do you love me? Daddy do you love me? Daddy do you love me? I got through the day and the night and am here to tell the story of nearly dying. It happened again about a year later, and being an old hand and the mark on my file not to give me adrenalin I survived that attack too.

When my Dad was dying just over ten years ago, I wanted to ask him about that night in Lae. I didn’t trust my childhood memory and I wondered what it was like for him as a parent, did he know I knew I thought I was dying? Did he think I was dying? Juxtaposed with his own pending death, although he didn’t accept he was dying until a few days before he did, thought it might be a good time to ask. He was sitting quietly and I had administered the pain killers. We were having a cup of tea. There was a gentle ease in the space between us.

He certainly remembered the night. He remembered helping me with my breathing and told me he was counting with me, number of breaths in and out and how long each breath was taking, so he could see if any progress was being made. He told me he remembered my mantra and each time I said it Daddy do you love me? he replied Yes – I had no memory of that part of the call and response. He told me he thought I was dying and was perhaps hallucinating or he thought I might have been having a near death experience at one point. I do have a sense that might have happened. He also told me he truly thought I might have died that night.

I have had times in my life as a parent, when one of my children has been faced with a major health crisis, even one who had asthma attacks – each time I brought my childhood memories to the situation of the night I almost died. That night I learnt about unconditional love, about the fidelity of a Dad towards his daughter and the power of the breath to hold love between generations. I know he still loves me and even though he is long gone, the night I almost died, was a great primer for my own parenthood.

In this year of self compassion I am going to keep listening and telling stories and find ways to be heard that might be new for me. I give thanks to the wonderful story tellers I heard on Friday, and especially give thanks to those who curate and create the spaces for new campfires and new dining tables so stories can be shared.

Thank you to Lauren Jew at Tenx9 Fleurieu and The Pepper Tree at Aldinga. I will be back.

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Year of Self-Compassion #14 #gut

Sitting in the sun today, wondering what April is thinking having all these warm days in a row. The vines are turning golden and getting very dry around the edges, the garden is thirsty and winter clothes remain tucked up in the wardrobe. At this rate it is unlikely we will be pulling on hats and coats, scarves and gloves anytime soon. While we might be ready the elements have another idea. The weather often serves as a perfect metaphor, all the senses alerted and the skin transmitting osmotic advice deeper into the body.

With the warmth still in the ground and hardening, becoming more dusty underfoot, it is easy to slip into consideration of times where every bit of goodness is being sucked out of solid foundations. Sun-rays drawing the moisture out of the earth seem to get stronger as the day gets longer before Sister Wind has a go at blowing her gentle, autumnal breathe, to remind us that the season is changing even though all the signs aren’t there yet. There are glimpses of change in the landscape, sometimes ambiguous, a flowering that is early or late, a billowing sail through the trees as night falls, a bird that has usually left by now, still in the garden. Grief is like this too, sometimes the season starts when we aren’t ready, although we have known for years the due date; sometimes there are surprises or mis=steps to bring more complexity to what should be routine or predictable. Grief offers a master class each day in ambiguity – where memories make the decision of what serves you to be re-membered or best left on the shelf. There is an empty pit deep in my stomach and I am shifting my attention away from the emptiness to the lining of my belly which is holding this space. I hold space as a professional practice, and now I am literally getting a lesson from the inside about holding space. I haven’t even noticed that the space was being held, such is the high quality of the holding. This noticing is giving a whole new sense of respect for one part of me taking its turn for another bit to do the work.

The calendar holds the space for the month, all the while, the days and nights will do what they need to do in that space. The great Holding to match Never Ending Story’s the Nothing. My stomach has been a great informer on my well-being on this journey of late, as effective as any barometer for the seasonal change. There is so much information now about the gut, gut health and how it is our second brain and we now know there are about about a hundred million neurones in our intestines. The gut brain helps us with our gut feelings and therein lies a bit of secret – the gut and feelings – being paired. I have been reflecting not just on my own body, but those bodies I have known who have had gut reactions in their life – some of them pretty alarming – like bowel cancer, anorexia or bulimia, over-eating, gagging or choking on food. I am seeing all these as the gut brain talking and sending signals and deciphering and listening to this brain is a way to access and trust feelings. I have made some regretful decisions because I have felt with my head, rather than with what my gut was telling me. Now I want to honour that part of my body not just for its self, but also for its capacity to protect me, if only I let it.

Just as the sun comes when I want the next season to line up with the calendar, and my gut brain to align with my head brain, the elements will have their way to poke and point me to safety if only I get it the attention it has earnt and deserves. Just as the earth turns on her axis, and all our stomach turn and churn what we put into them, so new intelligence forms about the season we are in (and I can’t help with a pun courtesy Ecclesiastics and Pete Seeger – to every season, turn, turn, turn.)

I give thanks for the lining that holds the space, where it can hold butterflies, or allow a chasm so deep and wide it feels like an out-of-body experience. It might be time for some digestive healing, to “trust my gut” and feel through the walls who are holding the space for me to have the feelings in the first place.

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Year of Self Compassion #13 #Easter 2018

I went on retreat with a universal question: What is right for me at this time? Rilke’s direction has served me well before – live your questions now – and I discover that I am breathing into my question before I arrive at the destination, even though that phenomena was hidden from me until I was actually there. Stephanie reminded us how so often we are actors in each others story and what appears as moments of synchronicity have actually been prophesied. A truth right there … even the stones will shout out. Over recent months I have been touched by such kindness, generosity and compassion. As we sing in choir – my little cup runneth over!

So for retreat, I go to a foreign land, amongst strangers, and everything is preordained. Everything is waiting for me. The opening myth, one I am a novice studying, a poem recited that hangs on my wall, a story of a broken pot I have written about more than once and even on the same liturgical calendar day, a reading given to me by the teacher to read which I have read time and time again and the last line written on a torn from a paper towel placed centrally in the sight each time I sit at my desk.I am so astonished at the alignment, I laugh heartily and am warmed by the love that has obviously been holding me to get me to this place, at this time. It is, as the title of John O’Donohue’s book is named, “Eternal Echoes“.

“Embodied self compassion” is the theme of the retreat and the teachings are practical and potent for everyday application. Given my question and the experiences offered and met, I find living my question binds me to this sacred season – I am re-membering and in doing so I am re-membered.

What is right for me at this time? I am right to trust this. I am right to hear the eternal echo. I am right to come home to my-self and to call out to those parts of me in exile, wandering about in a forty year wilderness, waiting for the invitation to come home. Some parts in exile are finding their way stumbling in the dark, others racing towards ths light, one way or another, they are coming home, creatively, intuitively, by design and by accident, intentionally and unintentionally, in surprising and unsurprising ways.

On the in-between day of Easter Saturday, I took the track Pilgrims Path to the Sanctuary and came back the Goddess Way. Where the trek was slippery and indistinct on the way up, it was marked with female witnesses on the way down to the Centre – another homecoming.

This. is what is right for me at this time.

To reconnect.

To re-member.

To call home what has been exiled.

And then I bump into my Friend on the road to Emmaus, with my companions, and we are asked: “What’s been going on these past few days?” and I don’t recognise him straight away, but I do notice familiarity in my heart and gut. Then, I know who we met on the road.

We are all surrounded by signs and signals, confirming our decisions and pointing us in the direction that is right for us at this time. Opening our eyes is one step, going to your heart and gut for instruction might turn a different result to the one in your head. There is more than one way of knowing … and being known.

We have more than enough signs to know with our heads, hearts and souls, about what is right for us at this. If only we could, go on retreat as a species and embody self compassion? Until that days dawns though, it remains for us gifted with these times to follow O’Donohue’s instruction that: “The duty of privilege is absolute integrity.”

For after all is said, and after all is done: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – CS Lewis

This poem of David Whyte’s is a favourite and certainly sums up so much for me this Easter and I was grateful to be able to share it with others at Mana.

Everything is waiting for you – David Whyte

Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone.
As if life were a progressive and cunning crime with no witnesses
to the tiny transgressions.
To feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings.
Surely even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding out your solo voice.

You must note the way the soap dish enables you, or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.

The stairs are your mentor of things to come, the doors have always been there to frighten you and invite you, and the tiny speaker in your phone is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation.
The kettle is singing even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots have left their arrogant aloofness and seen the good in you at last.

All the birds and creatures of the world are utterably themselves.
Everything is waiting for you.

Special thanks to the Mana Retreat Centre, Retreat Directors Stephanie Dowrick and Joyce Kornblatt and my fellow retreat family, especially Wendy, Shasta and Marlene.

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Mana Retreat Centre

Year of Self Compassion #12 #consolation

A question for reflection this past month has been: What consoles me?

Shared regret is exposed when consolation becomes visible. Loss comes into view and comfort comes to sit alongside. The power of being witness to an act of consolation, in itself can take you to a deeper place of compassion for yourself and others.  As I traveled through my week I uncovered and unleashed buckets of kindness being poured over me and initiatives I am a part of.  I also just witnessed from a distance, the rising up of young people in the USA, against gun violence – an amazing release and demand from the generation most impacted by the gun culture in that part of the world.

From the balcony

Voices not bullets

From the streets

Standing not running

From their hearts

Hope not fear

From the mike

Life not death

From the classroom

To the Congress

To the Senate

To the President

To all of us around the world

We are all marching for our lives.

So often I have felt bereft at the violence and ill health that draws people to their deaths from the barrel of a gun toted in public places like schools in the USA. But today I am consoled by those young people, their families and friends who have been prepared to “stand up and be counted”. I am consoled by the knowledge that size and visibility does matter when trying to show others the depth of feeling and support. I am consoled the generation often accused of being slacktivists and key board warriors, got up and got out and onto the streets for the world to see.

The act of solidarity of standing with others.

The act of witness to watch and affirm.

These are the acts to midwife change.

Today is Palm Sunday and in my Christian tradition, this is the day, a man on a donkey rides into the centre of his capital of a nation state occupied by colonists who speak another language, answer to another authority, usig the powers of religion and state to oppress the locals. Instead of coming into town through the main gate, he goes through the back one and heads directly to the centre, while at the other end of town the occupiers are holding their own march and meeting in the centre was bound to end in tears. A few days later the man is tried, sentenced and crucified and a few more days go by and the story continues with renewal and transformation.  Today I will be heading into my town and we will be walking from a people’s place to the centre of government. We want to remember all those who are seeking to find in our land and who can’t because they are not welcome by our government to seek refuge here. We want to show ourselves we are not alone in our commitment and efforts to bring these people here as they languish between worlds. We want to invite our friends and neighbours, families and coworkers, to join us. We want to be part of the phenomena that is holy and blessed unrest – the call to action, prophetic witness to be more human and more fully alive of what it means to share that humanity and console one another in our despair.

Consolation is love made visible. It can’t happen in the dark, in secret. It happens in the light, on the streets. It is the touch from a stranger, when we hold hands and sing. In the touch of a child who hugs and hangs on. In the meeting of eyes offering empathy that transcends and transforms. Consolation is love made visible.

 

 

 

 

Year of Self Compassion #11 #surroundsound

Gifted a ticket to hear Brahms’ Human Requiem I was moved by the generosity of those who bestowed this gift on me … and then there was the gift of the evening itself.  It was and will be a gift that will keep on giving.  The program notes tell me that “Brahms, a humanist and agnostic from the humblest of backgrounds, wanted this work to speak to everyone.” The inclusive nature of the performance had me entranced. We arrived with the performers in and around us, no distinction to differentiate them from us – a common humanity. We were silently invited in the simplest of ways, no words, to gather in a central location, make a paper cup, with each station adding a new step, and the going into the centre to drink minted water, which was deeply appreciated in the muggy night air. And for our home made cups we all drank – a communion of sorts – our common heritage of the global common gift of water – linking our bodies together in this simple act – we are all water – we all drink from the one fountain – we all then leave and go to our places to walk, listen, sit, stand, touch, mingle. We are one.  Fitting ourselves around each other, being held in the spaces and sounds created when we all are in the same frame – this is what embedded inclusion looks and feels like.

The unifying moments we have when the auditorium sings a chorus together at a rock concert truly leave no-one behind and the residue of the experience can carry us into the possible in other domains which is what I need right now. Setting my self-compassion compass to north, I am discovering how much other people are contributing to my well-being and how I don’t have to do it all alone! This week I have received many gifts, invisible and visible,  and been in gracious company for meals, music, theatre and activism.  I have been held by sounds – the sounds of women cheering, the sounds of silence in the pauses between words of comfort, the sounds of the bells telling the time and calling us to prayer in the city cathedral, the sounds of the children skipping, dancing, doing cartwheels as if no one is watching, the sounds of choked voices sadly eeking out a phrase of distress and seeking my support, the sounds of democracy unfolding with all the familiarity of aging pollsters and aspiring politicians. Each sound carrying an invitation to belong to something bigger than myself, holding out a hand to me saying come listen, come rest and be held.

Surrounding yourself with sounds of love and grace are surely acts of self compassion however they might be delivered and Brahms knew what he was doing when he wrote his Requiem and the Rundfunkchor of Berlin took it to new plane. The sound infusing our souls with every breath in and every breath out. At the cellular level we were transformed, as we became one with no bodily fluids being exchanged. Choristers looked into our eyes with such empathy as they moved among their audience. Eye contact surely one of the most intimate acts we humans can participate in.  Hearing a voice true and whole moving behind us, alongside of us and then fully expressed joining with another 59 voices (and the piano played by two people with a four handed score) brings the aural intimacy to fully consummate the experience of surround sound. I belong to an acapella gospel choir and it is wonderful when we can’t hear a single voice, just one sound, that is the perfect descriptor for me of unity.

We are all pilgrims moving through space and time, the great human endeavour to know we are finite and blessed to be a community of sojourners. It is together we travel best, in company and beauty and joy, to be held when we need to be held, to be in the spaces and silences when it is time for those moments. The invitation from others to join their journey, to be part of their story line is an invitation for them as much as for you, there is a mutuality in the gift offered and accepted.

The Requiem opens with a blessing for those that mourn to be comforted, this is a time for the living and I am comforted by the blessings of dear friends, surrounding me with  sounds of love, delivering me grace.

Year of Self Compassion #10 #hugs

There isn’t a definitive moment in my memory when I became a feminist. I have always wondered why people aren’t treated equally and still think gender is the low hanging fruit for an inclusive world – yet it remains as a work-in-progress.

When I enrolled at university for my second degree I was 21 and heavily pregnant with my first child (who, by the way, has a PhD in gender studies). The man at the enrolment desk looked at my completed application and choices for subjects and asked me if I knew I had selected a full-time load. The implication that I didn’t know how to fill out a form correctly was the take I had on the exchange, it was only in response to me explaining that yes I was aware that I realised he meant – you’re pregnant there is no way you could do Semester 1 full-time … I mean you look like you could have that baby any day.  Well he was right, the babe was due in Week 3 of the course – but he was 100% wrong that I wasn’t going to complete the course full-time … and for the record I did.  It was in these early days of my adult life that I galvanised my feminist streak and it was mostly when pregnant (another three times) that I experienced discrimination and exclusion.

This week I was on a panel for International Women’s Day and a mother with a newborn was in the audience. We caught up with a mutual friend after the session. She had two children – the new one and a seven year old. I asked her if she noticed any differences between now and when she had her first child and she said no. She told me of feeling left out, invisible and two stories of being treated completely differently in academia – one where her lecturer asked her not to breast feed and another where the lecturer said bring your child to everything (it was a course where students would end up working in hospitals and medical settings and the lecturer figured if they couldn’t learn with a child in the room, then they couldn’t work in that kind of a setting). I saw this as a glimmer of hope. The young academic has received honours and national recognition for her work and could still be reduced to tears and feeling left out and left behind once she was seen as nursing mother. And while not all women are mothers, we all have a mother. We know the comfort, reassurance and warmth of the simplicity of arms around us, holding us in place, steady and hearts beating together.

The hug hormone of oxytocin apparently accelerates trust and deepens social connection (and they are relatively easy to get so getting hugging for the health of yourself and the planet). I have a suspicion that the confusion about touch in our culture is not helping feminism and is at the root of many of discriminatory behaviours. Maybe if we feel secure and operate with high levels of trust we are more likely to be huggers, although I can point to a number of people I know (all men as it happens) for whom hugging is on the verge of sexual predation. One of my favourite huggers is coming home to my town this week and we have regularly hugged for a little longer than usual to get a bigger dose of oxytocin and release some dopomine to help us through the day and deepen our connection. (If you want to know more about healthy hugging and how to do it here is a great guide.)

Touch and intimacy in our culture are so heavily encoded with sexuality, yet at its core it is an echo of the bond between mother and child we are all seeking to recreate. Even if our experience was not good in that first stage of life it is still a craving and trust is the first developmental step we need to master to grow into functioning human beings. Ironically it was Erikson’s work on child development that was the first course in my first semester of the degree mentioned above. This development step, according to Erikson develops the virtue of Hope. With hope we can successfully move to the next developmental step which will result in will after successfully learning the differences between autonomy and shame. I often think those who are not feminists are stuck moving onto the second developmental step while they have not successfully completed the first where trust is learnt and hope embedded.

There is nothing to fear from inclusion – you won’t get less and there is no need for a scarcity mentality. An abundance orientation knows there are enough hugs to go around. You won’t be left out if you let others in. I admit I cling to Erikson because it just seems to make sense to me. Every time I see a baby feeding at the breast I am reminded of the primary call and response of hunger and comfort and trust being built in every sip and cuddle.  It is at the core of what it means to be a feminist for me too. When we hold each other we are all that little bit stronger, little bit braver. We can push through the nay-sayers who tell us we can’t do it, we are over committed, unable to balance responsibilities, incapable to completing what we set out to do … and we can find someone to give us a hug if we need one along the way or even if we don’t need one but want to give one … the effect will be the same. We will be held and holding – an embrace for ourselves and inclusion. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day was Press for Progress and the kind of pressing I want to see more of to give us the support we need to stay the course, is the press that turns into a squeeze.

Grandma getting a hug so she won’t be scared of the drone.          Coffin Bay March 2018