Charleville: Teaching Harmony to Teachers

I am enjoying staying in this cabin. It is so funny, I’ve only been out of Brisbane less than a week, a few days camping and you notice the ease of life of mod cons. It is nice to boil a kettle, to cook on a stove, to have a ensuite shower. Yet at the same time I love the camping life, the challenge of living outside, as there is not much between the tent and the outside. I see it as a wind block not insulated at all. I bought a fleasy lined tracksuit today to solve the cold problems if the temperatures drop below zero.

I had a call from a friend today who is an editor she said that the temperatures in the desert can go down to minus 5 in the desert, particularly near Alice Springs. So that made me think to get warmer.

I have spent the afternoon with teachers at the local school. I received feedback verbally and some surveys returned about my work with the children yesterday. It seems the kids really enjoyed the session and the only complaint was to have it longer. I’ve just been through all the surveys for the sessions yesterday and I received high ratings and positive feedback. I like to survey to ascertain I am meeting people’s needs and ensuring my teaching is of benefit.

Today we talked about Harmony. This is a calling in my life and certainly I am still a work in progress with my own life. However, I have come a long way as I have been focusing for a long time on this issue. I see harmony as the more accurate word rather than peace. I took the teachers through a powerpoint presentation similar to the one I showed the kids with a few differences. We talked more about workplace bullying and what it means. The teachers didn’t have a good idea of what bullying is and one said they had a meeting this morning to discuss how to implement policy into reality. I told her values were the key. Not just values we talk about but reinforced through communication with children. I also mentioned peer based mediation and restorative justice. These both ensure people take responsibility for conflict and learn skills on how to handle it and to grow as people.

I asked the teachers what positive aspects they learned from conflict. This was interesting as some indicated letting go, others mentioned that conflict has to be resolved or it keeps returning, another mentioned being true to yourself even if everyone disagrees, personal growth, learning perspectives, learning about yourself. So we talked about the importance of facing conflict and the implications of denial. I explained I see conflict as a teacher and I try to learn from the other, I don’t dislike any person. I can honestly say that todate, I just don’t feel it. We went onto talk about the importance of listening and really hearing people. They participated in the concentric circles speaking/listening activity whereby they really listen. I noticed some just got into conversations. That is interesting as there is a need for conversing, response, rather than silence. We debriefed about what people learned. They said they had to really concentrate to be able to reflect back what was said. We then discussed that usually we don’t really listen to each other as we are waiting to speak, to be heard. They could see this and the point was clearly made. Others pointed out that the theme they had to speak on (a conflict resolved successfully), they realised they hadn’t resolved the problem. One indicated it just disappeared but felt the emotions coming up as she relayed it. Another said she was still angry. I made the point that the conflict wasn’t resolved. It is when we really understand the problem and we seek forgiveness that it is realised. This requires really good communication skills.

The last activity we looked at was The Work by Byron Katie. I gave them the Love Thy Neighbour Worksheet. It is all about writing down what you don’t like about someone, all the negative beliefs, without analysing and how you would like them to change. Then they go through the 4 questions (is it true, can you be absolutely sure it is true, how do you react/feel when you believe the thought, who would you be without the thought and then turnaround to self. It is very powerful. We didn’t get enough time to really explore it but already people were seeing how ridiculous their judgements had been. The work does make you laugh as you start to see how you want to change people, in truth it is only you that can change. As I pointed out earlier when you change the world changes. You cannot force it. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work. People have their paths to walk. It doesn’t mean you condone bad behaviour or no longer guide children, it means you question negative beliefs. In truth it is the negativity that is in error, how you deliver the message and how free you are determines how free others are. I am learning to allow life far more, I still have much work to do. I find I work on peace and harmony always.

It was a great workshop and received really positive feedback.

I came back to the caravan park and had a chat with a few people here. I met a couple who were travelling to do house sitting in Maitland New South Wales. The husband has shocking pain in his back, nerve damage and a compressed vertibrai. I felt very sorry for the man as one of my friends suffers back pain. I encouraged him to look for possible cures on the internet or ways to ascend above pain. I spoke to him of meditation. My friend does it and I believe it is very powerful. His wife was a sweety. She told me they were from Charters Towers in Northern Queensland. She said her husband really shouldn’t be travelling but he said he could be depressed at home or travelling. He his hoping to return to his home in Sydney. A place of happiness. He said his father was a policeman with the Federal Police who was responsbile for looking after ammunition stores in Sydney. He said his mother was a very funny woman, he seems to miss her very much. He didn’t have a great relationship with his dad, but he is grateful for his mother. He enjoyed the chat as did I, I was monitoring that he wasn’t standing too long, but he seemed to like to talk and perhaps this distracted him from the pain. I had hoped so. His wife gave me their contact numbers and some housesitting sites, which was really kind of her.

I am meeting so many wonderful people on this trip. I feel a deep sense of gratitude and I do love the fiendliness. Some other ladies commented on that as well, I said everyone is relaxed. This is normal, it is the city life that has become crazy. The lady I spoke to last Sheryl said she loves the travelling life. I thought it is natural to want to travel.

I am now starting to contact other schools and hoping I may get more interest. Hopefully the Principal will write a recommendation so I can take this to other schools more easily. I don’t care if they pay me or not. I really love this work. To bring joy to children is without words and to bring something meaningful to teachers, is my reward in reality. I hope I can continue it.

I got a email from a Clown doctor today and hopefully I may be able to do some clowning in Alice Springs. That would be great. So may have some new friends waiting for me.

Anyway, I must get myself organised. I am travelling 400kms tomorrow and will see what happens.

Have a great night and follow your heart. Also know you never failed.

Much love,

A peacefull clown

Mohandas Gandhi

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.”