Humanitarian Change

Today I was listening to some people talk about how the protests for black lives matter are to blame for a rona outbreak (guess what rona is. I’m sure you can). Hint:

You: cough, cough.

Me: uhoh, you’ve got the rona. Better go get a swab shoved ten miles up your nose.

OK, so, these people were talking about the protesters and pretty much blaming them for the outbreak. Because I refuse to consume news in any shape or form, I was only marginally aware of some protests, but didn’t really know where they took place. I also heard a story about some people stuck in a building somewhere, but like the protests, didn’t really know where this building was or any of the details about it. It’s not up to me to convince people of the objective truth (actual reality, not opinion or speculation) regarding any of this because if people are smart enough, they can find that out for themselves and that’s all perfectly fine, because that’s not what this post is about anyway.

I got to thinking about how change happens, like really big change, and if we’re to make an impact on issues that are important, like social justice, human rights abuses, corruption and climate change we can’t expect people to shut the hell up because there’s a risk of getting the rona or spreading the rona.

Nothing is ever going to be the same again and if we tell people to wait until the ducks line up to go back to putting pressure on authorities, then increasingly more and more people will suffer and change will slip further and further from our grasp. And when will the time for action again come? Who can tell. If we just keep waiting, it means we don’t have to make a decision about anything and some things are too big, too important and far too urgent to be put on hold.

Big change that is pushed by groups of people, like for instance, the people calling for change regarding the Black Lives Matter movement isn’t just about black people. This kind of change means we can all become better humans because it’s humanitarian change. The people calling for change regarding the Break the Silence movement isn’t just about domestic violence victims. This kind of change means we can all become better humans because it’s humanitarian change. The people calling for change regarding the Me Too movement isn’t just about victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. This kind of change means we can all become better humans because it’s humanitarian change.

Do you get what I’m saying here?

Incase you don’t: being better humans is never a bad thing, just like being educated is never a bad thing, just like being more inclusive is never a bad thing, just like equality is never a bad thing, just like having human rights is never a bad thing. See what I mean?

Can anyone think of a humanitarian change that humanity has not benefited from? Can anyone think of a big, important and far-reaching change that came from not taking action, even when times were tough? I’m not asking about how stuff has impacted individuals, I’m asking here about humanity as a whole. I’m just clarifying the question because often people believe that their own personal experience and that of their immediate friends and family is realistically reflective of the entire human race’s. It’s not, in case you’re wondering, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important, especially at the individual level.

I’ve had a bit of a think about it and I really can’t come up with one.

The thing about big change is that it’s slow to happen, which is why stuff like protests can seem so ridiculous and arbitrary to people who aren’t aware of how change is brought about. “They’re all lunatics!” a man said to me once about Stop Adani protesters. “No they’re not, they’re just everyday people, the same as you and me.” He was aghast. “They’re all crazy!” I can’t imagine what he and other like him must think of the Black Lives Matter movement. “Can’t you see it’s not about the protest itself?” I wanted to shout at him. Because it’s NOT, it’s about the change that’s embedded inside the protest and if change is to happen it requires action and the action of many is always more effective than the action of a few.

The same logic of how change works operates at the individual level as well. Take for example the desire to improve your health and wellbeing. It’s never, ever going to happen if you don’t do something about it. You can’t change unless you change. We should be used to change as a species. We’ve certainly seen enough of it in our 200 000 year history, but still we are resistant to it. Why is that given the advances we’ve seen in society since civilization began, which by the way, all involved change? It kinda blows my mind when I drill right down into it because it doesn’t make much sense.

All I can do is to take charge of my own life and the things that I’m in control of. I’m not a frontline activist, but consider myself to still be involved in activism, albeit a very subtle form that fosters change through living demonstrably. I think I’m good at this and I can see my efforts starting to seep into the small community where I live. This isn’t always easy and sometimes I get hated on (much like the frontline activists do when they’re called loonies), but I don’t care because it’s my life and I can do whatever the hell I like and I’m not going to give up on stuff that I believe is important just because someone says they don’t like me or thinks that what I’m doing is crazy.

Change is where opportunity lives; opportunities to do amazing things that you never thought possible.

Let change in and see where it can take you

 

Hi. I’m Jen. I’m an everyday person who loves adventure. Check out how you can become adventurous too. It’s not as hard as you think!

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Adventure can be anything you like. It doesn’t have to be a massive feat of physical strength and death defying endurance where you freeze your butt off on mountainsides or get chased down by a gang of rabid koalas looking to make even all the wrongs of their past. I mean, if that’s what floats your boat then by all means go for it, but I’m guessing that for most people (me included) the koalas are out and so is the mountain…for the time being that is. Once I build my skills and my self belief and maybe even my own crew I’ll be able to get Zen with that mountain and perhaps convince the koalas that revenge isn’t the best tactic for a peaceful revolution nor for their image. I used to think they were so damn cute before I wrote this. Now I’m not so sure.

Adventure is for all of us. It’s inclusive and is something you can pursue in your everyday life. All it takes is the first tiny step outside of your comfort zone.

Step onto the path and courage will find you.

 

 

Over and Out

I’m removing myself from the crazy shit that’s going on in the world by going totally offline: no email, no website, no social media, no Netflix, you know, the whole shebang. I’ll get back on once there’s a little more normality and sense, so for the time being, this is goodbye.

I’ve always been really passionate about the environment and the only way I could cope with the environmental destruction that was underway the world over, was to disengage from it. I knew the ins and outs of the ills of the world in terms of environmental catastrophe and became down-trodden with the burden of knowing everything I did, but having the power to change it nil. This virus is the same. I’m not passionate about viruses, but I am passionate about my own freedom and autonomy, so I have to get going while the getting is good before I basically get royally fucked. The capacity to disengage is something I have complete control over in this ridiculous bullshit situation, so that’s what I’m doing.

I’ve written this on the wall of my house next to the front door:

I’m excited about disengaging. It’s already given me back the ability to sleep through the night. The extra brain space is going to give me the capacity to be more creative and complete some projects that have been taking a backseat for too long, like my new hiking memoir (One Foot After the Other), my children’s book (Warrigal), and my yet unfinished novel (Don’t Turn Your Back on the Ocean), not to mention playing my banjo, gardening and various handicraft projects that I’ve been making excuses about for too long.

This song is by Green Day, who I’ve got a ticket to see in November. Hopefully the gig will be able to go ahead. I’ve already missed out on Violent Femmes and Hoodoo Gurus due to the clusterfuck we are now living in. Anyway, I’ve changed the words  a bit to reflect my exit from the situation. The original song is called Wake me up When September ends.

Wake me up when this bullshit ends
Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when this bullshit ends
Like our values come to pass
All of it wiped away so fast
Wake me up when this bullshit ends
Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars
Drenched in my isolation again
Becoming who we are
As my memory rests
But never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when this bullshit ends
Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when this bullshit ends
Play the music live again
Like we did when spring began
Wake me up when this bullshit ends
Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars
Drenched in my loneliness again
Becoming who we are
As my memory rests
But never forgets…
A wild toilet paper. I caught it in my special trap constructed of dental floss, clothes pegs and an old kettle. Surprisingly, they are easily tamed. I think there must be a nest of them around here somewhere. I’ll keep looking. Hopefully I can trap a few more, but I’ll never take more than I need.
Own your own autonomy
You are still in charge of your own life

Own your own worry

Last night I had a conversation with some people about the way I live my life. The general consensus from the male perspective is that I’m doing dangerous stuff and shouldn’t be doing it. One man said, “if you were my daughter I wouldn’t let you do that.” Um, but, hello, me and the daughter are both women in our forties who have autonomy over our own lives and decisions, so it’s not up to third parties to decide for us what we can and can’t do. I wonder then, how did he think he would enforce this control or police it? I also have men ask me, “does your husband let you do that?” To which I respond, “It’s not up to him. He’s not in charge of me. I am.”

I do some hardcore stuff. Stuff that I accept is not considered “normal”, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong or dangerous, it just means that it’s not mainstream and when people hear about it, they don’t know what to make of it and it makes them uncomfortable, especially men. I’ve noticed that women respond much differently and are for the most part very interested in what I do. I’ve yet to come across a woman who says, “If you were my daughter I wouldn’t let you do that.”

The main issue that comes up is the idea that “someone” is going to “get” me. And that causes worry, which causes discomfort, which is then somehow my fault.  Ok, so there’s two problems with this. One is the totally illogical idea that someone is going to get me. It’s dumb for several reasons:

  • old mate isn’t just going to hide out in the national park for months on end in the hope that me specifically is going to wander along at some random point in the day or night
  • the world isn’t as dangerous as everyone thinks it is, even though the media and Facebook newsfeeds have brain washed us into believing that everyone is out to bomb,rob, kill and rape us
  • the most dangerous place for a woman is in her own home with a man she knows, not hiking alone at night or doing anything at anytime of day or night on her own
  • women can look after themselves and don’t need the constant presence of a man or permission of a man to do whatever the hell they want to do
  • I am not stupid
  • Would they think the same thing if I was male

The other problem is about the discomfort of worry. I get that people are concerned about different things. That’s fine. I get concerned too, but I rarely worry in the sense that thinking about something a certain way elicits an emotional state. That’s because it’s a pointless waste of time. Worrying never changed anything, it just made you feel like crap.

Three men, who are all my friends said, “Don’t do that because I will worry about you.” I said, “Ok, thanks, but that’s not actually my problem.” See, it isn’t. It’s really not. Not at all. If you worry about someone, then that’s your monkey, not the person’s you’re worrying about. Worrying about someone makes you feel uncomfortable, which you then try to transfer onto said person, attempting to arrest their desire to do whatever it is that is causing you to worry, so they won’t do it and thus alleviating your worry and discomfort. Take this little story for example:

Jane: I’m going to hike the Fraser Island Great Walk by myself next weekend.

Dick: Really? I don’t think you should. Not by yourself.

Jane: Why not?

Dick: The dingos and stuff, it could be dangerous. I’ll worry about you.

Then, Jane is who is a really nice chic, but has yet to fully embrace autonomy over her own life concedes that maybe Dick is right. After all, she really cares about him and doesn’t want to upset him. It was silly of her to think that she could do these things alone.

Jane: Yeah, I suppose you’re right. I don’t want to worry you.

Dick: Ahh, that’s good.

And back they go to watching TV and swiping on their phones. Problem seemingly solved, well, for Dick anyway.

Women don’t need to have the permission of men to live the life they want. If you want to do something and a man says that it will cause him to worry, let him own his own worry. You don’t have to be as blunt as me by saying that it’s not your problem, but just remember that it’s really not, not at all, never was.

Embrace autonomy. It’s yours for the taking.