Tag Archives: courage

Promise to tomorrow #38 #breaking

Holding the space between flight and fight is a constant challenge. Running towards is also running away, standing up and doing one thing, is also to reject other options. There are actions and reactions. Broken hearted remains, shards thrown into the air, searching for some magic dust to bring them altogether again for a seamless fusion.

 “God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.”

Hazrat Inayat Khan

Staying the course to remain open to being broken seems to require a steadfastness of holding onto stillness that isn’t masquerading as paralysis. Blinded by the light when caught in the headlights invites confusion. This. Whirring of synapses trying to rewire themselves into some kind of order and then the unsteady, stop, start, inelegant dash to get out of harms way, stumbling, leaving a trail of fallen hurdles.   Watching at close quarters when each step is broken down to its essence, in slow motion the body and brain vie for supremacy. The body I witness is a track for the race between drugs and disease. The soul intact still housed by the body. The mind making its way through the brambles to find a path yet to be worn.

The shards will get rearranged once they are no longer in the spotlight. Not the same shape as before and perhaps some may not fit quite neatly together any more, and they will re-arrange, but first they have to be unlocked to find their way out.

What promise to tomorrow? To have a big enough heart for the courage to stay open for breaking.



Dancing with Speeches #43 Barry Jones

The Hon Barry Jones delivered the 20th Don Dunstan Oration, and in covering a lot of ground, brought us two potential political parties of the future: The Courage Party and the Left Behind Party. Given Barry’s from the left I felt I was part of a rumba listening to him in real life deliver this great speech in the beautiful surrounds of my alma mater University of Adelaide’s Bonython Hall as part to the 2016 Festival of Ideas. Originally, the term rumba was used as a synonym for “party” in northern Cuba, and by the late 19th century it was used to denote the complex of secular music styles. You can read and listen to Barry’s speech here.

The Rumba Party

Before there was Labor, Liberal, Greens, Democrats, Republicans, Tories …. there was dance, there was music. There were celebrations, conversations, debate – public discourse in decision-making for the populous. And now we have public decision-making driven by smart phones and focus groups, where decisions are driven by popularity, celebrity and with little attention to facts, or the people with the lived experience effected by those decisions. Those left behind in globalisation are finding their voice in extremism, terrorism and the currency of fear is traded through facebook and twitter. The binary options are simplistic and the craving for simplicity in our deep complexity is strangling the lost art of conversation.

This is my manifesto for the Rumba Party.

I want a Party where people turn up with a plate of food to share. Where the party is hosted by someone who is willing to throw open the doors to their house and share their good fortune of running water, electricity supply, table and chairs with whoever wants to come.

I want a Party where you will find people gathering in corners in twos and threes sharing their lives and working out together how to love and support others in the room over nibbles and a glass of wine.

I want a Party who knows how to turn up the music, get on the dance floor and be willing to not know all the steps and find their rhythm in flickering candlelight while moving to the same beat of the drum and bass line.

I want a Party that knows how to clean up after itself and grabs a bin, a bucket and a mop when the celebrations have died down and the mess starts to form. I want a Party that can do the cleaning up joyfully and sing songs while they work.

I want a Party that has an invitation list and then welcomes anyone who turns up and gives them a welcome as a cherished guest even if they weren’t on the invitation list. I want a Party that respects the elders and can’t wait for the young to get up and speak, share a poem, do a dance, show us their best.

I want a Party. And I want to Party. I want a Party that is a verb not a noun.



Citizen Jones in full flight at one of the Festival of Ideas sessions.


Dancing with speeches #18 Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi spent a life in exile and lost a lifetime waiting and working for change in her country. She drew on the spirit of her people and the practice of nonviolence to keep her focused on her desire for liberation from military rule. The epitome of grace under fire, Aung San Suu Kyi always appears with a flower in her hair, beauty inside and out, a poetic defiance against tyranny.

Fearlessness maybe a gift, but perhaps more precious is the courage acquired through endeavour, courage that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one’s actions, courage that could be described as ‘grace under pressure’ – grace which is renewed repeatedly in the face of harsh, unremitting pressure.

From Freedom for Fear speech, 1990.

The antidotes for fear are truth, justice and compassion and a relentless application of them in the deepest ethical application, even to the cellular level is a vocation for the bravest of souls.  To be brave with yourself first is the first step or perhaps we are just ‘half a shade braver’ as David Whyte suggests.  There is an invocation, a litany of invitations to go further with our truths and stop being delusional – the oppression and failure of human rights is down to us as well, those who are free, it is our privilege to act and address.  We are not separate from the equation, an unholy symmetry until all are liberated.  Fear is the order of the day where human rights are being violated and the stock exchange in fear is alive and well in our nations and in our own hearts.

The fear of betrayal and rejection in our every day lives, hold us to ransom, call out our terrorist traits, bring sabotage and conspiracy.  When there is darkness, and fog it maybe hard to find the sunlight to shine on us and purify our hearts and support our steps to courage born of vulnerability. The spark and flicker of the candle can be enough to hold on to, the half a shade of bravery might inspire others to be a little bit braver too. Never under estimate the smallest act of breaking open the ground for others to follow and add their weight to the ground – every collective action begins with one voice, one simple act.

The fears that kept our ancestors alive throughout the ages have disappeared, yet we are still afraid of the metaphorical mastodon and we haven’t necessarily made our fears as extinct as creatures they were designed to protect us from.  The deepest fear, Marianne Williamson says is fear of our own greatness. Imagine liberation from fear what wonders might be visible, what humanity might unfold and evolution be aroused.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Marianne Williamson

The fear of the other is alive and well in our time, in my country and the fear of a little one on the shores of our land seeking asylum speaks to me of an irrational fear. Speaking truth to power, working for justice and making compassion visible will be both inoculation from further fear mongering and a cure. Freedom from fear is a daily practice and discipline.

Arriving for conference Credit:http://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/aung-san-suu-kyi-tells-myanmars-peace-stakeholders-to-prepare-for-conference-04272016163531.html

Arriving for conference to prepare for government Feb 2016 Credit