Earth Hour & Rudd

Earth Hour & Rudd

Apparently one in 7 people took part in this around the world, switching off their lights to symbolically contribute to the global environmental cause.

The really cynical part of me thinks this is a drop in the ocean (hm, rising sea levels?) or even less than that, an empty window dressing, an activity that consumes more energy than saves.

But it’s a bit too easy to be so cynical despite the environmental message getting almost too boring for some. Earth Hour may not save the planet but it is an expression of sorts and a reminder to consume less and generally reduce our footprint to a size that doesn’t quite squash our planet.

Strangely some environmentalists, such as George Marshall, the founder of the climate change network, seem to think that turning off lights is a symbolic disaster as we shouldn’t equate going green with darkness which signals death and decay. I personally don’t think it does that. It reminds me that without too much lighting we might actually get to see the stars instead of basking in our own selfishness and that collective action can happen even if it deprives us of some convenience.

Ironically today there was a huge power outage in Sydney’s CBD, East and inner West, creating a forced Earth Hour of sorts!

Below is a message from the Australian PM, Kevin Rudd, who is enjoying 74% peak in his popularity despite the recession, a record for an Australian PM. His sentiments below are wonderful, but the path towards carbon targets are fraught with difficulty. His 5-10% reduction has also been severely criticised by experts who say Australia needs to achieve a 25-45% reduction by 2020 in order to stay on course towards global harm minimisation. In any case a government has to walk a political tightrope considering the effects of binding targets on a wide variety of constituents. Let’s hope Kevin can pull our weight before and during the Copenhagen negotiations later this year that may decide the future of our planet with carbon emission targets and strategies.

It’s gonna get way harder than switching off the lights for an hour!

My new apartment

My new apartment

The joy in my life recently has been my new apartment. It’s been a lot of work and I’ve been getting a huge amount of help from my parents. Have already hosted a poly discussion night which went really well. The lighting and the furnitures all performed well 😛

It’s now really looking like a home and I can’t wait to get some photos up…

In the meantime I’m off to Club Lush where I’ll be performing tonight… so many of my friends will be there, it’s a really exciting night!

Workplace stuff again

Workplace stuff again

Some of you might already know, I’ve been enduring a rather awful workplace dispute that is widening and getting nastier despite my best efforts.

Well, today I took the initiative and saw both HR and a union rep to discuss my issues as my city counselor recommended. This was a great idea. HR especially was very useful and I now feel so much more supported. There will be a process so that a resolution can be reached in peaceful official ways.

I’d hate to leave the research project I’ve been working on for almost 3 years especially just before publications are finally coming out. Also I’d prefer to leave on partially my terms if I have to leave at all. This has been a nasty period and I’m really longing to put it behind me.

Thanks for all the advice, commiseration and support from everyone! Hope to be sailing on smoother waters soon… if not I’ll have to weigh up my options and go down a more uncertain path but with some dignity, freedom and sense of my own worth.

Tantra workshop

Tantra workshop

Amidst all the turmoil and change in my life I managed to make it to my first tantra workshop in Bronte.

Craig and I arrived to the premises which is also used for yoga, dance and meditation practices. People gathering upstairs were a delightfully diverse bunch and quickly we learnt that most of them were regulars.

The workshop started with some startling premises, at least for me, about male-female polarity and related energies. I have already made up my mind to translate the mumbo-jumbo into my own language, not so much in my head but in my heart. Once I got over the strangely atavistic gender dynamics I found I could really get into the gentle meditation on different types of energies, the exercises in touch, intimacy, sexual energy and dance, and the positive and open sharing of feelings and thoughts.

I think we both found some of the ‘guidance’ rather dogmatic which neither of us liked, but both the exercises and the people were genuinely connecting with each other and staying authentically themselves as much as we could tell. I found the intimacy exercises joyful and even ecstatic at times and the dance to live drumming was tribal in a way that was both funny and earthy.

The ‘energies’ we were all generating felt very warm, connected, loving and respectful on a deeper level. As much as I revile against gender polarities I enjoyed the connections I was able to make though would have preferred to do away with the whole male-female pairing especially because I generally feel much more (initially and sensually) attracted to women. Apparently a few other people, including men, were voicing similar ideas at the end. ‘Gender polarity’ can easily turn into sexism and sometimes I felt this, but generally I found a lot of interesting ideas and feelings I could tap into and emerge with new physical, mental and emotional connections, energy and joy.

At its peak I was high as a kite, glowing, flying and blissing out… that should be enough recommendation, right? 😛

Most people seemed to lap up the loving, sensual and sexual energies but most of them were also single. Wonder if there is a connection. Craig and I split up most of the time and later found that almost everyone was open towards us and many even sussed out our polyness pretty quickly.

The energy swept a lot of people away and there was a lot of moaning, sighing and sweating. Afterwards there was so much talking, massage and hugging that we had to be thrown out! I suspect we all got slightly different feelings, ideas and benefits from the night and further nights might be pleasant, though I definitely have been tapping into all aspects of the workshop elsewhere before and I’d probably prefer to do more ‘energy work’ and sexual tantra at home with people close to me. As for guided visualisation, meditation etc I’m quite happy to do them by myself, though I have also learnt some new ideas about being in the present, ways of connecting and channeling feelings differently.

Craig just reminded me that tantra in its deepest forms is very much a religious practice and what we have experienced could probably be called ‘pop tantra’. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with ‘dabbling’ in the everyday quasi-spiritual ‘lived’ experiences of tantra as long as I don’t take the ideas too seriously. The way I see it is that I’m free and open to go around and dip into all kinds of experiences and take away whatever I want or need, and fortunately as long as you don’t get too involved with any organisation or ‘tradition’ you are pretty safe from the claws of religious dogma. Just take the good stuff I guess!

I suspect people who’d most need the tantra workshop will never get to one. I also realise that the more I go the more I’ll have to shake off lots of tantrically charged men afterwards, which is not particularly pleasant, but then again I’m not particularly straight. Hehehe.

If you want to explore your boundaries, expand your mind, deeply connect with others, learn more about yourself and have a cheap ($30) and beautiful night with others vibrating together with wonderfully positive connected energy, then please do go to !! 🙂

Waltz with Bashir

Finally I got to see this film and it was amazing! The subject broadly is whether and how Israel will face up to its own crimes, the narrower topic is the 1982 Lebanese war and the massacres at Sabra and Shatila.

The devices of memory and animation are used to great effect and help rope in audiences who would otherwise turn away. I’m thinking probably Israelis who’d have an immediate negative response towards a more direct approach in which taboos are broached and painful national issues are prodded. For some foreign audiences the approach might be too subtle and indirect, but in the end the film ends up being more profound and powerful this way.

The animation, music and narrative devices are awesome, but the subject matter is nasty. Yet there’s introspection and great beauty and the use of psychotherapy (and self therapy/exploration) provides a wonderful intellectual foil for it all.

For more details please read Paul Byrnes’ review in the Herald.