Tag Archives: truth

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Dearest friends. This morning I woke up with a sense of excitement.

This. Year. Is. About. To. End.

Though structured time is something humans came up with, day does become night and summer becomes autumn, winter, then spring. We are afforded seasonal changes, night time for reflection; and in that, my excitement comes from the opportunity to close off the year in order to begin again.

If you’re into numerology, next year is in fact a ‘1’ year. This is a fun thought I’m kinda reveling in. In it – potential for a rebirth. To take all the learning done and become something new.

Globally and personally, learning has been done in some of the most harrowing ways. I have protested countless times with countless others on the streets of Melbourne city… and done some personal stomping and straight talking when the injustices have impacted me specifically.

I’ll be honest. I’m not satisfied with a great deal of what is. I want something better. Something new.

I have been grateful for the particular ‘news’ that have come my way, specifically in the form of new people (and perhaps new incarnations of existing relationships). New, creative souls who speak the same language. Time with these people have helped me see what is possible in this coming year as much as what is in me that I haven’t been giving enough attention to. I am so grateful that life can continue to open in this way and that I continue to open to it.

And
I am grateful more than ever to those friends and family who continue to stand beside me. Can I have a posse? Cause you’re all it

What I want from next year… from now… is so close I feel I could explode. I’m impatient and fiery. Some of it I’m not sure how to go about getting but the questions are strong enough as to drive the curiosity that will, at the very least, bring adventure.

And I want to champion the hell out of getting you there too. To and through your adventure. I am more admiring of the unique souls in my life than ever right now. And so I’m going to champion you good.

What else have I learned?
The importance of letting go. Of kneeling down, forehead to the earth.

I’ve learned I have a voice that can speak its core truth. Without etiquette or thinking of others first. This is a good thing for a Kate like me.

And I’ve learned again this year how deeply flawed Us humans are. Beautiful but flawed.

The archetype of the flawed hero tells us this is how we learn… to become better heroes what potential is there for us all now?

I hope next year sees us all elevating into a next version of our heroic selves. Stronger. More Glorious. Compassionate. Fiery. Centered. Grounded.

Whatever you are ready to become… go get it.

Happy new year humans.

 

love

Kate

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In one month

 

Untitled

She had been on her hands and knees you see
Cleaning the last of memories
with sugar soap.
There were dust laden skirting boards
where furniture had sat for a year
Scuff marks on walls
where shoes had been laid after a long day
A ring
around the bathtub
where he had found her on occasion in the evening
A sticky residue on the windowsill
where a plant had once been.

On her knees she’d been
Behind toilet bowls
Inside empty drawers
Around handles where once needing fingertips had sought savoys

She was on her knees you see when you called
cleaning the last of memories
with sugar soap.

 

 

Up you get.

Now is not the time for crying.
Time to get out of bed.
(Get up. Get up).
Do not rise only to fall back on your knees.
(Get up. Get up).
As you pack last minute things
Be careful not to fold yourself in between
(Close the boxes).
(Tie the bags).
When you come across a moment
Do not let it stop you in your tracks
(Keep moving).
(Lift the boxes).
When you shut the door
Let the momentum carry you to your next.
(Do not stop).
(Do not cry).
(Almost there).
(Do not cry).

 

 

Untitled

She said,

‘You’ve turned yellow’.

Restless 2am, 3am, 4am’s

bring a souring.

Cuddles have curdled

the natural course of things, clotted.

 

 

Ghosts

There are ghosts in the house.

I count them:

Folded clothes, numerous.

Cereal boxes, 3.

Chocolate I’d never eat, ‘8 pieces’ times 4.

A plate unwashed, 1.

Piles of books, as many as you can indulge yourself to buy at a market.

A face washer, folded and drying, 1.

New soap, unused, 1.

a toothbrush no longer needing toothpaste, 1 (beside the 2nd one).

One side of the bed, unruffled, 1/2.

Your smell, …between hangers, in th ecarpet, your towel, infinity.

There are ghosts in the house.

I count them.

 

 

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Potential – fear and hope in equal measures.

‘Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself’.

This quote sits on my desk. A more appropriate fortune cookie wisdom I have never found.

Not simply appropriate because I am a teacher who’s philosophy has always been to help the student realise their own potential, but because, as always and ever a student of life, I too often need courage to walk through doors, to not simply realise my own potential, but actualise it.

Perhaps because we find ourselves at the end of the year, a time of transition and reflection both between the one had and the one that could be, thoughts of potential hang heavy in the air at the moment. In recent weeks I’ve sat opposite a dear friend whilst she shed tears over dinner, unsure as to why she constantly did the same thing when ‘same’ wasn’t bringing her closer to what she truly wanted; and more recently, with a friend on my balcony, whose eyebrows were furrowed, deep in thought when similar matters of potential were mentioned.

Marrying these conversations with the philosophies a school I have recently been employed by, as well as the driftings of my own mind as I sat crying at the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing (thinking about his life and what he reflected on in his inaugural speech about fear and potential), I wonder why recognising and realising our own potential is sometimes such an arduous life task?

I would suggest ours here in Australia is due to our longstanding cultural cringe and that any pride we might exhibit in ourselves is seen as ‘show ponying’, ‘big noting oneself’ and ‘embarrassing’, not just for the big noter but those around them. As a result we shy away from putting our hand up, stepping forward and proclaiming ‘pick me first’, ‘I can do it’, ‘I want’ or ‘look what I can do’.

Though yes of course there are people who are egocentric and difficult to be around (these people and their behaviour often a direct result of deep insecurities), I for one only ever feel a sense of pride for any of my students and any of my friends or family who stand in their element, who say ‘look what I can do’. It’s moving, exciting, inspiring and JOYOUS. Proclaiming ‘look what I can do’ in my mind therefore isn’t embarrassing, it’s awesome. I want to see what people can do and enjoy a state of breathlessness, a ‘how did they do that?!’, a feeling nothing short of a state of love when I bare witness to an open and expansive soul. And rather than be overwhelmed by my own insecurities, thoughts of ‘why can’t IIIIII do that? What have IIIII got to offer?’ when I see it, grab hold of the feelings of inspiration I equally have and get out there and do.

And so, with three days until 2014 I am wonder-ing:

What do I know I need to challenge of myself still? What have I not yet done that I so desperately desire to do? What are the things that place me in my element, cultivate my potential and how can I ensure I invite more of these activities in my daily life?

To answer these questions is easier than you might think. Part of it is looking back at the you that you were when you were a child, for the dreams you had as a child I don’t think change that much.

I remember for instance looking at Cyndi Lauper and her orange hair and torn newspaper ra ra skirt with wide eyed-wondermeant. I remember rescuing drowning Christmas beetles from the pool and, whilst trying to teach them a better flight path, thinking how I could help other creatures learn useful facts. I also remember painting and drawing and writing for hours both in solitude and in the quiet company of others; and dancing (and dancing and dancing) and standing up on stage for the first time and thinking ‘YES’ …and in all activities feeling as close to a something I-know-not-what as possible.

Taking a moment to reflect and look back at what you have done is equally as useful therefore in this regard. It’s probably a lot more than you realise on your dark, pre new years eve days.

Reflecting on these desires I had as a child yes, but also looking over my resume recently I’ve been reminded of my adventures thus far. I’ve been on stage and on television as an actress and dancer, I’ve taught joyously, written for personal and professional pleasure, and in my personal life resume? I’ve had every hair color under the sun.

The dissatisfaction still looms however and that’s because I know that there’s a hell of a lot I still haven’t done and want to do. But I think that that should be the case. Life should be a constant opening up, a constant revelation. We must therefore keep asking ourselves what our wants and desires are, and whether they are the same or have changed completely, keep making choices that excite us, feed our curiosity and wonder and put us in our element.

Wonder. Meant …that perhaps the meaning of life is not just to simply ‘live it’, to play it out, but to realise it’s, and therefore our, greatest potential.

If we only have one life, best not to waste it huh ; – )

Happy New year

love

Kate

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An Invitation

“It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

…I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

…I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence…”

Excerpts from ‘The Invitation’ By Oriah.

Inviting someone into your life requires an openness to ‘other’. An openness to new worlds, new ideas and to difference …to pasts you have no sense memory or understanding of and to other communities as well as new ways of being. How you choose to present yourself to this person as much as how this person chooses to present themselves to you cannot be a construct if the greeting is to be an honest and meaningful one.

I have had the pleasure of meeting many new people this year and of late I have been observing how these people, including myself, due to similar stresses and pressures, have let go of any of those ways of being; those stories about ourselves we may use when first meeting people, to give what we want them to understand about us. People are simply existing as they are…stressed, crazy, energized …joyous in many ways too with the understanding that this period will come to a close and that they are loving of those people and connections they have made over the year.

This way of relating and being has made me smile of late. I am more relaxed than I have been in ages, confident that I can simply be myself, drop any pretenses and stand as I am, ask for what I need …as much as give to others what they are asking and need from me.

I had a lightning bulb moment on Monday evening thinking about this in relation to those aforementioned stories we gather along the way and how we can sometimes rely upon these stories to give us meaning when first meeting ‘other’. That it’s as if we almost write up key events in our life and pull them out like scripts when needed to give us worth, to make us seem exciting, interesting, intelligent, experienced or whatever we want others to think we are.

Of course the desired outcome is not to appear ‘cool’ as so often some people fumble around trying to be (often coming across more arrogant than anything else), but to receive love. They are used as if to say ‘Here. This is what I have to show that I am worth something. That I am worth loving’.

But as Oriah’s poem ‘The Invitation’ reveals, the construct is not of interest really. Not if we are to truly love for loving encompasses the sum total of ALL ones parts, including vulnerabilities and failures.

More so than this however the opportunity to truly love other can only come about by relating in a way that comes unencumbered by ‘preparedness’.

Letting go of the script allows for something very exciting to happen. As dialogue is simply allowed to unfold between two parties, as parties simultaneously offer and receive, meaning making is occurring. Old layers can be shed and new layers discovered through what is being created BETWEEN people.

I would argue (as I think I have in a previous blog ‘Inspiration – from where do you draw breath) that it’s impossible not to love someone or something if it simply stands in front of you as it is.

Raw.

Wonder. Meant …that I invite from myself what I would only wish others to feel comfortable in revealing to me. An honest and open revelation of who I am, simply, here, right now.

x Kate

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Are You Ok?

“The pieces all fit together. Yet everything was falling apart.” – Nicholas Sparks. The Last Song.

A wise woman I know was recently able to articulate what I could not. When I asked her on Australia’s national ‘R U OK?’ day if indeed she was ok, she was able to discern between her core, her truth and the mess that was on the surface of her skin.

I am always amazed on ‘R U OK’ day that no matter what mud I may be trudging through, no matter how bewildered I might be over events taking place for myself or others, when I take the question and place it at my core… I am, indeed…ok.

I believe that ‘R U OK?’ day can provide a wonderful opportunity for us to go into that core, take stock of all the things we DO have, the simple things that truly matter; and that if indeed we have people in our lives who love us, a roof over our head and good health,  we are more than ok.

In this realisation there’s also an opportunity to see that the wellness of your core can be used to filter the thick mud lining the surface. That it can heal, change our perspective, or simply help us remember that things can and will change.

Wonder. Meant …that asking R U OK? in a meaningful way, in a way that requires one to be honest with oneself and with others, to take stock of what’s important, what one HAS, …sometimes provides a most unexpected answer.

Yes. I am. Thank You.

x Kate

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True or False?

“Physical vision – one might say scientific vision – brings about a metaphysical shift in the observer’s view of reality as a whole. The geography of the earth, or the structure of the solar system, are in an instant utterly changed, and forever. The explorer, the scientific observer, the literary reader, experience the Sublime: a moment of revelation into the idea of the unbounded, the infinite.” Richard Holmes. The Age of Wonder: How the romantic generation discovered the beauty and terror of science.

This week I had one of the most wonderful teaching experiences of my life. The lesson was already something I was excited about as it was a subject who’s discovery changed my own life in high school.

It was last period on a Friday and the lesson was for a group of year 8 students. Tired and fidgety at this time my 14 year old’s struggled to even look at me as they found their seats.

I began by writing the world ‘Mythology’ on the board and opened up the discussion as always to establish what their knowledge on the matter was before I launched in. This is always an interesting time for teachers as it can either make or break the lesson.

At first it looked like things weren’t going to go well as no one offered a response.

…and then one person did.

‘Does that have something to do with that show Myth busters?’

In my planning I hadn’t even thought of this show but at the moment this young boy mentioned it I realised how far we could go in this conversation, that indeed it couldn’t have started at a better place.

I asked the student ‘Can you tell us what Myth busters is all about?’

‘They try and find out if things are true or false’.

I drew a line from the word mythology, wrote Myth busters and underneath I simply wrote true or false?

Another hand hungrily rose to the air.

‘Miss Ellis what about the Lochness monster? Is that a myth?

‘Why could the Lochness monster be a myth…?’

‘Well because we don’t know if it’s true or false or not’.

There was an eruption of voices suddenly with people debating whether it was true or false. Some people had heard stories about actual sitings, others started talking to their friends about myths they’d heard. We wrote these on the board, each time wonder-ing if they were myths …because we couldn’t decide if they were true or false.

I then put another question to the class:

‘In the Viking era, was the internet around?’

A chorus of ‘noooooooooooo’s’

‘Did they have fancy labs to test things out?’

Another wonder-full chorus of ‘nooooooooooo’s’

‘So how do we think the Vikings made sense of the world they lived in?’

One girl simply put her finger to her head. I elicited what she meant by it and she replied ‘Their minds, they had to think of things…’

Another student put his hand up and said ‘Their imaginations. They needed to use their imaginations’.

…and a final student said ‘Maybe they used what they could actually see like nature’.

Drawing from these ideas I provided a definition of Mythology, with each sentence looking at these three wonder-full students who had offered these last ideas:

Myths are stories created by people, often using nature, to answer human beings big, important questions such as why the seasons change, how the world came to be and what is our purpose.

There was silence and then one more hand went up.

‘But are they true or false?’

I let the silence hang for a little while longer until one voice in the back row spoke up…

‘Miss Ellis I don’t know if they’re true or false or not but I’m starting to think that they might have been pretty important’.

Just try and imagine how big my grin was at this moment.

Mythology just like all stories are indeed important. Whether they are told through the medium of film, documentaries, books, comics, newspapers or from the mouths of people, young or old, they tell the stories of our time here. A moment, a day, a month, a year of our conquests, thoughts and reasonings.

Every story imparts a wisdom, an insight into the lives we lead. They hold our question marks over the things we face and our eventual reasoning for the choices we make.

Sharing these stories is indeed important because through them we provide others with pieces of the puzzle, the human experience puzzle; and just like evolution tells us, these reasonings and perhaps eventual understandings provides continuation, a movement forward for ourselves as individuals and others whom we may share them with.

The Vikings found a sense of belonging and understanding through their Mythology,  a connection to spirit and the earth and sea of which they relied upon for the movement of their culture.

The Romantics of the Romantic era back in 1769 found a Mythology in the stars they looked up at at night, created poems and stories about the Universe to explore their experience of being human; and as Ricard Holmes suggests in his book ‘The Age of Wonder’, these ponderings paved the way for scientists to test and trial and solve the very questions the Romantics were asking

I have to pause and love this just a little. That Science may very well have been inspired by poets. That no matter what path we take to solve our fundamental questions, the fact that we all have them unites us.

Wonder. Meant …that we may not all be scientists, we may not all have resources to answer our fundamental questions, but we all have experiences and ideas that can become an important part of our truth. And because we are human, our story might find a place in the hearts of others.

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I wonder how valuable Kryptonite is?

‘How we measure ourselves against the natural resistances we encounter everyday determines the quality of what we accomplish’. Anne Bogart.

As a woman who’s chosen to treat life as an adventure I am often confronted by resistance. Whether I am met by my own resistance to the things I come up against, a kind of Hamlet ‘whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings of outrageous fortune’; or am simply resisted by outside forces I have no control over, my personage seems often determined by the moves I make from these encounters.

‘You’re so strong’ I often hear from my woman friends, and men miraculously find a place for their hands on the curvier part of my hips.

But what is strength? How is it measured? As Anne Bogart says above, perhaps it is measured by what we have been known to accomplish from those encounters to resistance. For instance, did we resolve a conflict, symbolically ‘slay a monster’ (external or internal), did we stand up for ourselves, did we exclaim love not knowing if we will get it in return; did we hand in an assignment, get that job, promotion or award?

Or did we simply brush that strand of hair from our face when the wind blew?

Our days are always met by resistance and we make choices about their weight and value, which ones we will go into battle for and which ones we will simply brush aside, but what about the ones we ought to fall to our knees to and surrender? These moments seem never to be honored as an achievement, our society seems not to value weakness or vulnerability.

All of our super heroes have one though. One thing that brings them to their knees. For many it seems to be love for one other; and then of course there is Superman and his Kryptonite. Whatever that one thing is though we always get the chance to see them without the suit, with the glasses on and begging ‘Pleeeease’ and ‘Help me’.

This is the moment I am curious about this morning. This is the ‘meant’ in wonder I am looking for.

How resistant am I to asking for help? To revealing to the world my vulnerabilities? What am I hiding or rather, what do I want the world not to see?

For one to unravel such questions one needs to start by slowing down for sometimes ‘being strong’ has you running at the speed of light, constantly fighting so you can use your wins to further this grand idea of your strength. But when you least expect it something will arrive that brings you to your knees and slowing down earlier would have helped you see it coming.

When you slow down you start becoming more present to ‘everydayness’, you see that battles can be fought and won in simple things such as that brushing aside the strand of hair I mentioned earlier. You realise that battles don’t have to be grand ones and that they don’t need any other reward or accolade than you, content in the knowledge of your own achievements. Here you find that, although nice, you don’t need the grade, you don’t need the shaking of the hand and you don’t need the script you so desperately hold that tells people of your success.

Letting go of that script is one of the hardest things I believe, for you are having to let go of the words you use to convince people of the person you want them to see. I’ve watched this moment countless times, the moment of fear and confusion when I tell my acting students on the first day (the first week)  ‘put away your scripts, in life we do not know what we are going to say’. Their fear comes from the fact that their scripts are their security blanket. They are fixated on learning the lines, the words on paper they can in fact use to mask or hide from the weight of the emotions they will need to feel if they are to do the job well.

In these classes, as we start to sink into the body, into the breath, we become aware of how little words we have that accurately convey what we feel. At the same time each of us begins to notice how much communication is happening anyway in the postures, spasms, lack of eye contact or stillness of our bodies.

When Superman loses his strength, his body crumbles and he falls to his knees. What we as an audience however miraculously find in this moment, his moment of weakness, is in fact strength. We see in his struggle that we are not alone.

A world that struggles to reveal or see value in vulnerability is a world of lonely people. It is a place where communication is anything but honest and listening an art lost.

Wonder. Meant …that perhaps to be the braver we need not resist.

x Kate

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