Author Archives: culturenaag

About culturenaag

A person who could easily get lost in her own capsule where time is suspended when in an art gallery, reading, watching a play or sitting in nature, but especially whilst wandering around a new city. I now live in a semi-rural area after spending most of my life in cities, but born from country stock, the call to my roots was strong, and here I am; accompanied by my own young family and partner. I am missing the roots to culture though, which sometimes, seem severed. This is the impetus for my new blog - "culture naag" - I hope it will relieve me of some of the anxiety of choosing lifestyle, including beauty, over stimulation (and sometimes over-stimulation). Enjoy and relax in the culture of the seaside with me as I find art, music, cafes and reviews to get my teeth stuck into. Bienvenue. Oh, the practical stuff? OK. I've studied journalism with a masters at UTS and I used to work at The Daily Telegraph on the graveyard and weekend shifts. I also did a stint at SBS Dateline and for Jakarta Post. I am now a busy mum of two very active yet adorable boys.

A Letter to Aboriginal People – The time is now.

Please help us move forward. Aboriginal people, native, indigenous people of all the world, it’s now time that you rise up to lend us, humanity, a hand. We need you, our people, our world, our univ…

Source: A Letter to Aboriginal People – The time is now.

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A Letter to Aboriginal People – The time is now.

liberation picPlease help us move forward. Aboriginal people, native, indigenous people of all the world, it’s now time that you rise up to lend us, humanity, a hand. We need you, our people, our world, our univ…

Source: A Letter to Aboriginal People – The time is now.

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A Letter to Aboriginal People – The time is now.

Please help us move forward. Aboriginal people, native, indigenous people of all the world, it’s now time that you rise up to lend us, humanity, a hand. We need you, our people, our world, our universe needs your guidance. We are looking to you to heal yourselves, to awaken from the slumber where you’ve been for the past wee-while, several hundred years, but small in the scheme of things.  We are now asleep and we lay dormant through ignorance and we are calling upon you to raise up our awareness to connect to spirit, to source, to evolution and we instinctually know that you hold the answers or at the very least, the clues to moving forward. You hold the light if only you can see the light for yourselves first. It’s gone dim over time but it’s still slowly flickering, the moon has grown strong in protest of a screaming from the earth to sit up, pay attention and to take heed. I heard you in my sleep dear earth and I hear you when I’m awake but I’m lost to know how to change the culture of my surroundings.  I know it’s the original peoples’ of the earth that she is wanting, that she is calling on, to heal her, to heal us all, so we can make amends for our mistakes and we can find love and nurturing in our hearts to heal our own woundings first, to heal our relationships with each other, to heal the mal-alignment between men and women to be the pillars of strength and support for our children. We long for this, we yearn for this but we also need you to share your spiritual knowledge, to click back into the truth of who you are and then we too will find ourselves.  You have a lot to prove, you have been damaged but not beyond repair, we too are damaged by depression, anxiety, by emotional abuse, by misunderstandings and now is the time to rise above this.  Our women, our feminine selves need to be set free, need to grow wings. We will not be suppressed any longer, we can not be suppressed any longer, our souls demand more. SHOW US HOW TO RESPECT AND HOW TO EXPECT RESPECT, show us how to forgive and move forward. There is a yearning through the nights, it’s there if you take care to open your ears and listen. Because mother Earth, she is screaming “WAKE UP from your slumber”, it is time. WAKE UP to your potential it is time. She has placed many enlightened individuals throughout time and although their massage has been great and very influential, it is time to wake up en masse and your job, my sisters and brothers, is to show the way because we have been blinded and have taken the path that has led to a dead end, we should have taken the path less trodden but we were scared and now we are scarred as is our mother Earth and for this we need your knowledge of thousands of years of peace, harmony and balance that you have known but of which you have briefly lost sight of. She wants you to take back your connection to land to be the transmitter of the energy of the earth to the wrongs of society. She knows that you have been given the kernels of knowing in your DNA, that we all have, that we humans are in essence one, to act as her protector, that we are one to unite all of us with the truth of which is love. There are rumblings in the community, if you are silent enough you can hear the murmurs, you are ready Earth, but we are ready too. We take the challenge, we just need the position of leaders to be filled. LEADERS WANTED PLEASE REPLY WITHIN – and my dear Aboriginal people you are the most experienced and this job requires knowledge and strong hearts. It’s just your time to become leaders in the path that lays ahead of us and we will follow, but not if you are maligned, this is why you need to heal yourselves first, get rid of corruption and malignancy of the soul.  We have been misled through the industrial age, through the ‘enlightenment’ of Western thought, now it’s time to get back to basics, it’s time to connect to culture. If you can show us how quickly you can heal, not only yourselves but the whole community, and then the whole race, the whole culture of Australia will follow suit and then we all will unite to become leaders in this floundering world, we will hold the beacon to others to heal, thanks to you fuelling the flicking of light.  So we beg you in desperation that now is the time to stand your ground and to lead us to a better future, to be the example that we seek and that you are destined to become. I beg you for our children, for tomorrow’s generation, to awaken and to lead the way. We are clasping at straws and for those of us who are gradually awakening to spirituality, to the realisation that we are all one, that we have one consciousness, and work with the ebb and flow of the land, the skies and the seas, we look to you who have known this for thousands and thousands of years. You, my Aboriginal family, you may think you have forgotten because you have suppressed this for so long, but you know in your deepest essence that you are connected to all, there is no black and white or right or wrong or blame and forgiveness, or will or won’t. There is only tomorrow which has got to be brighter than today.

by Kim Balmanno mother of two boys who also require guidance to navigate in this indeterminable world.

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Parenting Solo

Being a single mum is tough, no doubt about it and I’m sure I’ll have no arguments from anyone on this one. As I’m sure it’s equally hard being a single dad with the full-time role of caring for the kids, but as that’s not our situation, I will take a moment to lament on the tribulations of being a single mum. Both mine are pre-school aged (2 & 4), both boys and both high energy, which is lovely, if I’m peering in through the window at their antics; ‘gosh, they’re funny, so much exuberance etc’.  Then I would peer away and smirk ‘but sure glad I don’t have to look after them’ – WAIT A MOMENT – gasp. They are wonderful boys and I am trying really hard to be calm, cool and collected and remain a ‘positive’ force in their lives and not completely screw them up for life by ruining this ‘nurturing’ relationship I am so desperately trying to implement….but, like I said, it’s not easy! Distraction is the key to success when I’m feeling overwhelmed, let’s get in the car and go…somewhere, anywhere, but not too far, or else as you know, the whining starts. I remind myself not to get bogged down with the stress, the constant attention seeking, seeking for approval, it’s endless, probably (or hopefully) worthwhile in the long run s it’s developmental – age related, but relentless from day to day, in the moment. Ah, breath, centre and RUN!! Take 2: breath, centre and RELAX. If I actually stopped the internal dialogue and realized it was what I was feeding my thoughts that made moments unbearable maybe I would have a different experience. Whatever the case my hat does dip profoundly to those care-givers out there doing it solo. A tough road and hopefully a road less traveled..but I know it’s a well traversed path and one which our society is supporting more and more. I know there is support out there and others in the same boat, maybe a community of ‘single parents’ gather to look after each other’s children, have playdates, celebrate their new found freedom or their drowning in the onset of reality, depending on the amount of time out on their own I suspect as to the stage of their acceptance. I feel the weight of stigma, the weight of ‘how do you cope’, the weight of ‘they couldn’t make it work?’ and ‘how will it affect the kids?’ Even if most of those statements are in my head. What I miss is adult conversation and I guess it’s a good time to reach out to others and invest in interests outside of day to day living and mere survival wishing I was in my 20s not 40s. Next time you meet a single parent, give them a wink and a smile and say – ‘well-done, you’re doing a great job!’, you might just make their day and, who knows, you may have unknowingly given them a hand up out of their darkest hour in their day.

Categories: Children, Culture, family, Lifestyle, Parenting, Peace, Support | Leave a comment

Liberation Libretto

A libretto to Women’s Lib. I love that word – liberation, and I love being a woman, but geez it’s tricky. I massaged a girl yesterday (I do Kahuna massage, dedicated to releasing energy blocks) who needed to talk, as she spoke her body tensed, emotion was being released through ‘off-loading’ but as quickly as that happened, her energy was caught up again by more anxiety as memory, thoughts and words are immediately transferred into our muscles, every fibre and every cell, so instead of being healing and therapeutic the massage became a tug-of-war between anxiety and cathartasism. When I suggested we talk after she flatly said, ‘no I need to talk, I’ve come here to talk’. And what transpired was a libretto of oppression and angst of being a woman in a draining, unfullfiling relationship.

liberation pic

 

It’s not the first time I’ve heard the lament, our conversation reminded me of one I had had recently with another female friend, actually at a massage course. She was constantly apologising for herself and this was something I could relate to and something that I’ve been trying to work on (see my previous post: Hey I’m actually OK). She was so emotionally damaged and psychologically oppressed that her libretto was one of self-destruction. Both of these women are warm, intelligent and naturally happy beings until they’ve allowed themselves to be sucked dry by their egomaniac, narcissistic, alcoholic partners, and once again, I know where they are coming from, I’ve been in the same cycle. But I have to wonder what allowed us all to make the mistake to share our lives with these people in the first place and to be devoted to them throughout and even after the abuse. Is it Stockholm Syndrome? or simply a lack of boundaries and low self-esteem to begin with? One thing is for sure, we have all been emotionally crippled by the experience and it takes time and a concerted effort to heal. The liberation comes from realisation that the situation is no longer sustainable but who actually leaves? In this example of the three of us, it was just me who had made the shift and in part it was due to listening to friend’s woes in similar situations which made me break the tie. It’s not been easy, however, and with two small children to look after it certainly is a daily challenge but despite the longing I have and the memory of our relationship at the beginning, I know that where there is alcohol in the family unit there is only destruction in its wake. In truth we three have similar traits, we are all flexible, warm and kind-hearted and easily manipulated. I don’t think any of us stood our ground, not aggressively, but from a core of strength and a belief in our own self-worth, that we will not tolerate anything other than respect. In these relationships respect on both sides had been eroded and then the soul begins it’s deterioration process, dislodging from the tissues of our body and withering under the strain. And before you know it, you wake up tired, confused and depressed. I was strong enough to ask for help, I went to my GP, I got an emergency crew around me of professional people who saw this sort of thing all the time. I realised that no matter who we are if there is the bottle, it will always come first to an alcoholic, no matter what you do, say or feel, all is pale to the call of the disease.

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Hey, I’m actually OK.

How confusing has my life been to date. I have been following my arse about but with my head so severely turned I’ve not allowed myself to notice what is in front of my nose and that is the world around me and what’s more my needs and desires to live the life I want to live are right here within me, not behind me or in front of me but here where I dwell, where I am, where I have landed from my past and in the present waiting the future. I have realised that my downfall was my lack of acceptance of self. I have been so busy trying to be somebody, or be what I thought I should be that I have done a gross disservice to myself and neglected what is most important and that is to allow myself to sit comfortably in the who I am. The acceptance that ‘hey, I’m alright just the way I am’. I am OK, I am enough, it’s all good exactly the way it is right now at this moment with the skills I have, the talent I have, the children I have, the home I have made for myself, my relationship to myself, it is exactly the way it should be and I am more than OK with that. I have been diving into self-help literature, raising happy kids books, becoming an empowered woman webinars, business start-up help forums, I have even seen a psychologist to realise that hey, I’m all good. From my research I can tell you it has come to a head in what the books, the divine inner wisdom have been telling me and that is just write, just do yoga, just be a mum, and schedule your time to fit in these things – full-stop. Stop wanting more, stop chasing your tail, you are fine just the way you are, no more and no less. I have spent the better part of my life beating myself up emotionally and mentally and now the time has come for a deep level of self-acceptance and nurturing that my creativity and sense of abundance has been craving. A recent yoga workshop with Bryan Kest from LA made sense, as I sat with tears streaming down my cheeks, with my emotions just below the surface of the skin ready to explode, I had only been in the class for 5 mins until I released not noisily, not obscenely, I just let go of the façade. I made up my mind in the car heading there that that was precisely what I was going to do in the class, allow myself to heal, say here I am I will give myself the 3 hours of yoga as a gift to my inner well-being and just let go of the hurt. I didn’t expect to cry, I didn’t expect to find meaning in his words I just longed for it. With over 30 years of teaching experience, however, he certainly knows what the soul needs to hear but yet, I can’t tell you exactly what he said. The main things were that yoga is not a religion, that yoga would never tell you what to do, it’s not dogma, it will ask you to just notice what you are doing. Gold! That intimacy is really listening, listening to your lover, listening to yourself. Beautiful! That we must touch ourselves gently, that we must be kind to ourselves. The man seemed to have peered into my head, into my own dilemmas and gave me the answers I was looking for. Accept the way we are, not go beyond what we can do, don’t go too far, go to your capacity, push the boundary but don’t go beyond. The man touched my soul unbeknowingly and told me it was indeed OK to be me.

Bryan Kest is currently touring Australia until the end of August.

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Lessons from the yoga mat

Lessons from the yoga mat.

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Lessons from the yoga mat

There are few things that have recently dawned on me during this yoga process and if I’m honest, they are thoughts that have been rattling around my head for years and have been observed but perhaps not acted upon, therefore, it’s my goal to see the manifestation of these thoughts followed through with appropriate action. As B. K. S. Iyenger says ‘yoga is skilful action’, not just a meditation on self or navel gazing, which is a subtle action but my dedication to yoga for now will be dynamic action until the action of yoga itself becomes naturally more subtle. Therefore a reflective mind will lead to powerful action on the reflection.

This year, on top of all the impeding ‘other’ things that I was to get on with, I signed myself up to yoga teacher training with NRG Yoga on the Sunshine Coast. As a full time mother of toddlers and a partner of a swim coach who rather spontaneously signed a lease to run a dilapidated pool, I knew that this year was going to be huge. I also turned 40 this year.  A monumental birthday in my books and one that I pinned 101 expectations on and, of course, it came up short by about 95% of them. So why have expectations at all? I now equate birthdays with vast disappointment, yet if I was to approach a birthday with an open mind and loving heart (as all good yogis should) I may actually enjoy this process of aging but then my habitual moaning and groaning post birth-day would have to die, my gut feeling would be a slow and resentful death as old habits tend to die hard. I would have to replace the negative banter with something positive and I’ve realised attachment to this dialogue although it goes nowhere and serves no good becomes a strong identifying crutch in moments of need. Sometimes giving into negativity, which now feels like an old ‘friend’, is easier than changing one’s mindset which from experience is an uncomfortable process. It ultimately leads to freedom though and is best in the long run but at the moment of truth sometimes it feels like a small amount of  concerted effort in the short term is too much to do right now, after all there is too many other things ‘to do’. This is a narrowing of the mind and yoga is a gateway to broadening the mind.

“EXPECTATION CRIPPLES”, I see scrawled in my yoga journal, “disappointment prevails from unmet expectation and most expectation is unmet”. This is surely a step in the right direction to dispel expectations from my internal dialogue. How very wise, but it leads me back to my original question, if I know that expectations lead to disappointment why am I so plagued with them? Why do we do it to ourselves? Another insightful truth about myself has dawned on me.  I have created an army of distractions to protect me from achieving what I need or feel is of importance to me. This is a bizarre thing to do, but I’m sure I’m not alone in doing it. I have the feeling it’s tied in with self-esteem and acts as dry fodder to the flame of negativity that burns the prana (life’s energy) of the spirit and mind. Through these distractions my expectation is again not met and I’m therefore left disappointed leading to more negativity and so the circle continues.

My brand-new intention for yoga teacher training then, is to get to grips with my distractions. There are a festering amount that I cultivate and nurture daily just like the worm farm out back that I feed our left-over scraps to. These disappointments at not achieving what I had hoped to seem to accumulate around my birthday, as yet another year slips by. These worms of distrust, if left to their own devices, will eat holes in my dilapidated mind, so just like the pool, it’s time for a re-vamp to bring in light, energy and a fresh beginning. I’ve prescribed myself a cure: positive mantras and meditation to take myself out of the norm of day to day life. This is needed to re-wire the internal chit-chat of the mind. Just by getting on the mat and showing up daily I will help myself take the path perhaps less trodden in general but surely is a super highway to freedom and I believe ultimately FREEDOM is our life’s goal. Through action will come the internal power that yoga can unleash.

Categories: Culture, ethics, family, Lifestyle, Peace, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Here or there: anywhere but nowhere

It’s funny when you simplify your life, we as humans always tend to make things more difficult than they need be. I wittered away excess in my life, social events, travelling, noise, distractions but I soon found them again in another form, especially the distractions. I divorced my husband, or rather we divorced each other, to make choices for myself and I ended up with an even noisier version for a partner and one who never buckles down and completes a task. His dilemmas become mine, not by choice but by default. I seem to get involved more emotionally now also. My simple life has just gotten more complicated and now I’m working on making it busier. Although with the addition of children it automatically got busier. I dream of peaceful bliss sometimes. Oh, how different it is from my years of growing up in mundane Brisbane where I dreamt of adventure and travel and being occupied. It’s so hard to get the balance of life right. It’s hard to sit still and appreciate what we have and on the other hand to light the fire underneath yourself and burn with the desire to achieve, to kick yourself into action. My days alternate between the two. At the end of the day, not too much has been accomplished. I’ve wasted energy on what wasn’t too important and sidelined the important things. But all in all the burning desire has been lit, I just need to fan the flames and make sure I don’t smoke and smother those near and dear but conversely make sure those near and dear don’t smother the flame. As I’ve said, it’s a juggling act like no other and I know I’m not alone in feeling this. How do we get the balance right? I feel the answer is as individual as the question is common.

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finding family

Oh, what a week, full of confusion as past buried issues have been bought to the surface when my half brother contacted me out of the blue. This year I turn 40, so it’s been a long time that these skeletons have been banging around in the closet. I’m still reeling from the experience if I’m honest and lets face it, I generally am honest, I try hard to be that way and fundamentally, that forms my character, it’s how I want to be seen and it means I can live with a certain amount of comfort without looking over my shoulder. But what shocks me about the meeting with my long, lost half-brother (I always had the notion there maybe one or two or three or four perhaps floating about…) is the amount of information, personal details and private thoughts and feelings that I told this guy, who pops up with his own past, history, biases and nuances and a few dishonesties to boot. These dishonesties have been going through my mind and have rattled me substantially. The guy, I will call him that as the reference suits him, wants to find out every iota of information about our biological “father’s” family and it’s a family connection that I have lost touch with over the years and it’s a family that he has not grown up with or met previously. Our father abandoned both sets of families when we were small babies and our family (the first) have not heard from him since. The guy has kept in contact periodically with him and had a stint of living with him as a teenager. But our father never once supported us financially or emotionally and left my very young mother financially desperate when he walked out on us all those years ago (39 to be precise).  So speaking with him is interesting as lots of holes are filled but there are a few facts that have been skewered in the interpretation, which is understandable perhaps. There are three things that I’ve pulled him up on and each time he proclaims that miscommunication has happened but it’s the information that came out late at night as both our tolerance levels were starting to wane. This guy has an interest in NLP (neuro linguistic programming) and has used it in a fraudulent way. He was telling me how he first builds trust and then puts in some anchors and then the manipulation (not his word) begins, his pleasure was derived from seeing if he could ‘pull-it-off’ and not, he tells me, from the financial gain…(I kid you not), financial gain was just a consequence. I can’t believe he’s telling me this on our first meeting and further more I can’t believe I’ve just divulged so much about myself and my family in such a short period of time. Am I his next pawn? Is he conducting a new experiment? Is he researching for his ultimate deception? I hope not. But the amount of digging and internet research and interviews he’s conducted is phenomenal. I hope he can be trusted, but trust takes time to build and he’s not allowed the space for this. He’s run in with all systems ablaze, questions firing and loaded with stories of deception. Intense and inquisitive are how I would describe him as I sit here and wonder what are his motivations. He told me he wanted a better relationship with his dad. Maybe this is his truth and if it is, good luck to him. Perhaps the fault is that he has had no one to guide him, but that belittles the role of his mother and I don’t want to do that. In truth, I have no idea but our encounter has left me slightly unsettled.

Categories: ethics, family, Lifestyle, Peace | 1 Comment

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