Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Voting for change.My experience in standing for a local electricity company board

I had a go at nominating nyself for the board of  a locally owned power company,Electra.I was quite pleased to get 1450 votes-out of a total of around 10,000 votes spread over 6 candidates.That equates to around 24%-a typical voter turnout at local body and even general elections.Thank you for believing in my voice.
I'm pretty sure that the people who dont vote are the ones who do worst out of the status quo-they believe in their powerlessness.And I'd be equally sure that the people who do vote have alot invested in the way things are now.Power depends on maintaining this system.I have a friend who supports everything in this culture that denigrates him;hes one of the biggest fans of the competitive,agressive economic model that we take for given.Its astounding to me.but I am so grateful for the fact that he has shown me insights into how it could be possible.He merely thinks hes not up to the job of full participation in our community,but 'they' are. They being someone elso who is able,brainy,responsible, clever, creative,knowledgeable, powerful. All the things he thinks hes not.
Anyway,sadder still (I dont want to harp on) is that a local identity famous for battling the mayor and councillors on a variety of issues,has said that I shouldnt have put 'poet' on my nomination form! Wak! So the implication is people wont vote for poets because........they are going to be flaky and idealistic and poorly organised and probably smoke weed and..............

Well, we are coming to the end of an era where our inflated view of bean counters,Bigmen (guys that have their values born of the current economic system and are mean, competitive and adversarial as a result,not afraid to be 'assertive' to get things done,good speakers,duplicitous in terms of saying one thing and doing another- things we associate with 'leadership' and 'business')are the very guys who got us in trouble. They do not  have the answers to an evolving society where new demands for power sharing,economically tenable,diverse,meaning- filled existence are being made.

 I say bring on the poets, the musicians, the fencers,the bakers,the healers,the labourers, the right brainers. Holy crap,these are exactly the people we want leading in the new age approaching us.

Footnote:We need the accountants,the list makers,the Bigmen for public speaking.We just need some other people as well,people who have experience in a wide range of fields,not just business.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Be gentle and kind or at least try

Be gentle and kind to yourself first and foremost no matter where you find yourself(though that may seem foreign if you are Christian and you were taught to help others first-an abberation of the truth).Its a piece of cake when you are humming along,the challenge is when you are low,distressed,anxious etc.Try it,it takes some focus as the other thoughts will be possibly firing in their familiar diatribe of "you will never be enough, you are unloveable, you are bad, you are wrong" etc.And when you cant seem to be heard above that and you fell depressed about that,be loving and kind to yourself for that too.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Poetry books I have written for you

I have written a couple of small poetry books.One called Mind Set Heart Felt and one called The Beginning of the World.They are $20NZ plus postage."Mind Set Heart Felt" is handwrtten (printed) and illustrated with my paintings.Its size is 150 X 150mm (CD case size) and has 16 full colour pages."The Beginning of the World" has 19 pages also lavishly adorned with paintings.These books are published by me, Hilldogg Press.As well as encouraging the new world paradigm I am talking about,they celebrate connections to each other and to the world of plants and animals and reflect sheer beauty,peace and truth wherever I found it. 
Cover "Mind Set Heart Felt"
Sample open page spread

Cover of  "The Beginning of the World"

Suicide and a sermon

A friend of mine has a friend who has just tried to kill himself.There was no help given by any 'profession',no support,nothing but an ambulance with its motor idling,waiting at the cliff base.Its not time to blame institutions(though most people are and they are feeling the pressure) or redirect funds or set up more research projects which tell us what we already know.
 Its time to step up and take the mantle given to us at birth.To act with our god-given selves and to see the power we have to reinvent this shell we call modern living. Institutions are failing,professional help is unavailable or too expensive.Tickets and ticks in boxes signifying worth and value and skill are competed for and the winner gets all;meanwhile the masses are struggling.
The problem is we dont know how to or dont know its possible to do anything ,to be anyone,without someones permission or funding or goddam credits or monicas over their names.
Its time for anarchy folks-not in the sense of destruction but in the true meaning of Chaos,the god of creativity.Hindus have a god Kali who is the caregiver of the Earth;an Indian Gaia.But the flip side of her is she is also the god of destruction. The moral message being look after the earth that literally supports us or you and many others will perish.

Be who you are,don't wait for permission.Take the opportunity now or it will be forced on us- by one giant oil price spike or environmental chain reaction or compound feedback loop by one of many sources such as financial,environmental or political.

Get together with others and grow something.Feed yourselves;an act of true anarchy!Find your healers,your thinkers,your engineers,your debaters,your growers.They are probably out there unemployed or sitting on some crap job waiting for the same thing you are: the beginning of their lives.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


                                                               Scape by Duncan Hill

This oil painting is based on photos of the moon which I am fascinated with.I have used a barren landscape and then used organic shapes  in the background.Perhaps I shouldnt say too much but leave it to you to rest your eyes on.What say you? Love to hear from you-this is my offering to humankind.

Drove across the spine of the fish yesterday- the main north south divide of the Tararua mountains.(Maori legend has the north island of our country as a fish pulled out of the ocean;wierldly,it looks like a fish from space) Its fine and clear on this western side and then across there the easterly was disturbing the mountains and throwing drizzle across my intermittent wipers.I got a feel for the way it works and for the weather patterns-easterly means rain on the east,dry here in the west;westerly means rain on the west,dry on the east.
Visited Masterton,that gaunt town.It feels depressed.It has Maori kids walking up and down the town in clouds of smoke. Meanwhile we keep up the services,the schools, the hospitals,the jails........while it all unwinds.We carry on,we are numb,but we carry on.We cant feel our own pain anymore,we keep on going.We cant read the signs.
I look up at the sky and it is breathtaking.All this happenning on the thin skin of the earth and none of it matters. And the breath is all you have,the feeling of the carseat,the field of energy in your body which you try to name or get rid of or enjoy,depending on what feeling is there.The thoughts that come and go,creating the feelings.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The school system and natural learning

Ive just been relief teaching for 4 weeks at a local secondary school which confirmed everything for me about the problems and the solutions for 'education' today.Ive been lucky (actually no luck here;I wanted to)to have been a 'natural learning' father for 17years.Others know us as unschoolers, but in the same way that theism defines athiests,I thought that using schooling in the description of what I do is a bad start.We dont 'un' anything as my children,all three of them hadnt been to a school until 2009 except for a minor stint by my daughter at a local primary school for a term I think.Plus any reference to schools is abhorent to me-think sheep going through drafting or huge numbers of people being processed.You get the idea.So I have seen both schools and,in a flourishing network of locals called Hearthland Educators and in my own home,have seen children doing their own thing in many different settings.

And what did I teach the students during my stint? Not to trust their own views,feelings,intuitions.That someone else always knows the answer ahead of you and that pleasing them is very important.That freedom of expression is bad,that you dont have freedom to eat,socialise, go to the toilet when you want which by the way join a huge list of basic human needs such as privacy, autonomy,trust, companionship with who one chooses,ability to make choices about ones life- which are also denied at school.
So how do children learn? Or should we say,how do people learn? In my experience,and in my reading of education reformers and  such as John Holt,John Taylor Gatto and Derrick Jensen, people learn when they have good reason to do so.That is it excites them,it challenges them,something cool/amazing happens that makes you do it again; and they see in the 'teacher' profound effects of the particular thing.The 'student' says I want some of that-they see hear and feel the impact on the life of the 'teacher'.I'm talking here of the master/apprentice model.I'm also talking here of the value of the child setting their own life in motion-self learning.This is a massive gap between the current thinking in schools and the successful,happy motivated learner.

A little story before I go today. During my relief teaching I met a very determined but unhappy young girl who sat up the front and who asked if she could take the text book home and copy the text into her exercise book.Upon asking if she enjoyed the subject,the girl replied no,but she was working on her weaknesses which she seemed to interpret as any subject she hated.I said to her that I thought it sad that she did this-I think I said something like learning is about having fun,curiosity and the like.At that point another teacher,who happenned to be in the room,reinforced the girls viewpoint "Its no good doing what you like or are good at-its the things that you dont like or good at which deserve your attention."
I did think a little later that they possibly interpreted my arguement as there would be no challenge in doing what you love-thats if you just recycled the same stuff day in and day out.But that doesn't stack up with anyone who did what they loved-from Einstein to Olympic high jumpers.
Anyway,its a story that remains like an epitaph to a fallen city.This is the common view at school.Also that we know what you need-you just have to remember it and recycle it when we want.

I'm going to continue next time and lay down the wero(challenge) with some real challenges for the Ministry of Education.Bye for now
With patient love