Canberra: Reconnecting with Family and Friends

My journey to Canberra was 700km up the Hume Highway. I started at 6am and arrived around 2pm.

Canberra is where I grew up and it is aboriginal for meeting place. It is a political city with many industries created to support government projects. It is now around 60% private sector. Yet today I see Canberra as a landscape, an energy centre and where my journey of peace began.

I went to the Plaza where I used to go as a child. I walked around to stretch my legs and revisit familiar places. I sat with a coffee and pondered how I didn’t miss this city. I am here to drop off the last of my things, to see my family and I am unsure if I return. I felt to come here so I trust that it is where I am meant to be.

I went to my mother’s place but she wasn’t home. So I left a note with my new mobile number, the other one has gone astray. I decided to go across the road to the Club see if I could get an internet and have a glass of wine. I was pretty tired from the drive but I felt peaceful.

I received a call from my mother, turns out she thought I had had an accident and was about to call the police. In her mind I was dead and buried and she had cried. My Aunty (her sister) who I had seen a few days before I asked to call her and tell her I would be there on Wednesday. My Aunt told her Tuesday and I had originally said Thursday, so there was confusion.

Anyway, I got back home, my brother rang and I received blame for my mother being worried. What I love about my family is that they calmly assess the situation, get their facts straight and then problem solve. I am smiling whilst writing this. I firmly explained to my brother the situation and then I saw the pointlessness of going further. So my first few moments were drama. Anyway, after I calmed down my mother, stepfather and myself talked about the state of the world and life.

I was pretty tired and dinner and then had a long bath and then put my feet on the foot massager – aaaah very nice. I went to sleep out in the caravan which I love. The weather is quite cold here and lots of rain. For October it feels like winter and there is talk of snow on the hills. I think climate change.

A few days later my mother invited me to come and meet two of her friends at a church for lunch. I was still very tired but just went with the flow. Janet and Peter are old friends of my mother and Janet has cancer. She is on the last bout of chemo therapy. She is a calm woman and there is a silent dignity about her. She had a lovely hat on. Her husband Peter was very friendly and told me we had not seen each other for 10 years. How time fly’s. I talked a bit of my travels and the traffic I had encountered overseas. Janet and I then had a talk about cancer. I wondered if the rising levels of cancer had been caused by atmospheric testing, I recounted my journey to Woomera. She felt it had always been around but not diagnosed. I thought of my former partner, an Afghan who told me he had never seen cancer in his country, yet his mother died of cancer. So I wasn’t sure. I just listened. She had met quite a few people with cancer as she was getting her treatment and her husband said she is so strong. I can’t imagine what it is like to be in her shoes, as I’ve never had an illness that is terminal. I just appreciated the time with her. After lunch she had to go but Peter stayed around and talked. He told us he had had a previous wife who was ill. She had multiple sclerosis. She was diagnosed around 9 months after they were married in their mid 20′s. Apparently she was able to have children and she did fall pregnant. They had a son. Peter was her full time carer and had to lift her, feed her and look after her. He said their son was 10 when she died. He and his son were not seeing each other. I felt impulsed to pursue this discussion as he would love his son and it is so important to connect. Always there are two sides to stories and sometimes people don’t know how to reach each other to say ‘I love you’. He said he had bumped into a friend of his son who knew where he was. I felt to say next time you see this friend write your son a note, tell him about how you feel and it was not his fault. I think there is much unsaid and healing is so important. Peter is a Christian and he was suffering deeply. He was trying to hand over to god this pain, but I could see he was suffering. Now his wife is dying and life must feel very uncertain. He is a beautiful man, a musician and is working in the prisons. He is trying to bring hope to inmates. My stepfather will join him. I found myself reflecting on prison and the idea of punishment. I don’t feel they are reformed there, just more deeply embittered and disempowered. I would love to see more restorative justice where perpetrator and victim, their families and counsellors come to mediation to try and help both sides to understand the other. I think often there is no closure in crime and I do feel an apology is important for both. At the right time of course, but nonetheless, some form of communication to create understanding. I do agree there will be people you cannot reform and I guess decisions could be made if it causes more harm by having people communicate. Yet from my own experience it can open up a brand new world. Learning to communicate, to really hear the other, to face oneself is the hardest experience. It could be primed by education prior to the meeting, so people learn how to communicate then allowing a process to happen and some sort of restitution. I think a problem solving society is what we create and a compassionate one where we are continually learning. I am all for learning from mistakes.

Peter was lovely and showed me through their program. He is a deeply kind man and he and my step father are good friends. They love getting around the campfire and talking. My mother suggested some time ago to get the men together so they can talk more. I agree with this, no distractions, just sitting around exchanging stories and feelings. It is healthy.

I went for a drive to the city and found myself just feeling to go to my home in Garran. I grew up there, I wasn’t thinking just drove past my primary school, drove up my street. It is funny all the houses are the same as when I was a kid except one. My place has been bulldozed for a square style flat complex. I have to laugh it looks like a eyesore, but nonetheless everything else is familiar. I drove up the road and round the corner and just parked my car near the entrance to the hill. You can walk along the fire trail and along the base of the hills. I love the grasses, kangaroos, stringy bark gum trees and rocks with lichen covering them. I noticed some really vibrant red rocks and wondered at their composition. I walked on and on enjoying the exercise, fresh air and the view of the Brindabella mountains in the distance. I reflect on how beautiful this city is and how as a child I would ride here in the bush. I love it so much. I walked to Red Hill lookout which has a small restaurant there. I bumped into a couple and we immediately talked about earth changes and living in the moment. Talk about like minded and we had no hesitation in discussing life and the importance of peace. Turns out one of them is a high school teacher in Eden. I suggested I could bring my program to Eden and teach some of the kids. He said he worked with disadvantaged kids, I said juggling is excellent for them. We spoke of politics, economics and the rising consciousness we are seeing happening in society. They felt changes would happen in 2012. I don’t know how many people I’ve spoken to who all agree. I told them my website, so you never know, I may get a call. I walked on and standing on the ridge I felt the energy of Canberra. My energy is becoming more sensitive I am noticing. I can feel this place is incredible and no longer do I see Canberra as a community but more a landscape as part of an aboriginal dreaming and I feel the energy here. I noticed the Parliamentary Triangle and the fact that Parliament is in the shape of a pyramid, I know that the lake is designed on the basis of feng shui and there is crosses that connect key monuments. It was designed on eastern mysticism principles by Walter and Marion Griffin, two US architects (explained further in next blog). I walked back to my car enjoying every moment. I then had to go and see my sister.

I reflected on my family. Sadly, with my family each member is not speaking to the others for various reasons. I have a father who doesn’t speak to anyone. None speak to my sister as she has problems and my mother can generate conflict by having strong beliefs of right and wrong and not handling conflict well. I smilingly call her the ‘I know mind’, she seldom questions and frequently defends. However, she is also holding the family together and is incredibly generous, she tries her best and is always working on improving herself. She is my best friend and has always been there for me. I feel grateful to have her in my life.

I realised I became a peacemaker as my family were in conflict for all my growing up years. I found it deeply upsetting and unnecessary. I used to sit back and watch it all unfold aggressively and think surely we can sit down and work out problems. It is a fundamental belief I have today, I do not believe problems are impossible, if there is a will to resolve. I always try but I accept people find it difficult to confront aspects of themselves. I felt inspired to produce my own work in the anti-bullying field as I witnessed power over behaviours and abuse which I saw as stemming from insecurity, powerlessness and a desire to hurt. I learned most of my psychology from questioning my family’s behaviour and I feel love for every one of them. I see them as my teachers and I also see growth in all of them these days. I would also say that my family are not unique, I am part of a generation where there were many dysfunctional families and I do perceive the dysfunction in society as worsening these days. Much more neglect, divorce and violence is evident. We also are witnessing 1:4 mental illness appearing and children with anti-social behaviours. This reflects working life pressures, extraneous influences (television, social values, acceptance of violence), abuse, control and lack of education in socialisation of empowered behaviours, conflict resolution and learning harmony in the home. I believe in strong families and unconditional love for family. I am committed to keep trying.

So seeing my sister is important as I am the only one she is speaking to. We have aspects in common but we also are extremely different. So we focus on our similiarities and I find many of the lessons she is learning in life are mirroring my own life. She is tackling it differently. She showed me a picture of my grandmother, my dad’s mother and she said she looks at her every morning. She said grandma came to her when she was particularly alone. I felt for her but at the same time felt happy that she felt grandma was with her. We didn’t know our grandmother that well as she lived in Melbourne and we lived in Canberra. We were the country cousins. My sister remembered much more than me about grandma. I felt much love for her. We chose to then go out for dinner at the local pub. We talked about our lives, earth changes and the importance of love. I gave her a pink rose quartz, as I suddenly felt inspired. I told her it represents unconditional love and I wished that for her. She was touched. We talked about the importance of unconditional love. I tried to subtly bring in the family, to plant a seed of forgiveness. It is not easy as my family have strong beliefs and when they set themselves into a position, they are hard to move. So gently I try to open them to the possibilities.

We came back to her place and she said she had recorded an interesting documentary on near death experience. So the two of us and the poodles, watched this film. It was 3 persons, one male who had had a heart attack, a woman who had a bad car accident and another older woman who had had a heart attack in the carpark. They all spoke of going to a wonderful place whilst technically dead. The man said he came into a place where it was full of love, he couldn’t describe it. There was a being of light and he was asked ‘what he had done for humanity’. He said he thought about it, he didn’t feel judgement, but couldn’t recall. He said a wall came to life and he saw himself as an 11 year old boy helping people across the road. He said he didn’t want to leave this place. When he returned to life he saw the doctors and the syringes and it was a shock to come back. They had just done the electric shocks to restart the heart. He said the experience changed his life and dedicated himself to serving humanity. He apparently did have another heart attack prior to surgery. He had explained that whilst in the heavenly place he had a life review. He said that he heard angels talk about him seeing his mother, he felt such a strong desire to see her, however, this large being of light said no and he was to go back. The thought I had was that he would want to stay in this place if he saw his mother rather than return. This is common with those who have experienced near death. It is home, apparently. We are familiar with this place.

The woman who had the car accident and broken disks in her spine. She had to relearn how to walk. She said whilst technically dead she found herself in front of angels. The angels looked at her with this most amazing light in the eyes. She said the communication was through the eyes and it was like light coming into her eyes, filled with love. She was told she would be okay and she would walk again. She felt peace in this place. As she was returning she saw light enter the surgeons and through their hands. She said when she came back to life she felt no fear of death and felt connection with the angels. She planned to speak of her experience and inspire others. Which indeed she had.

The older lady who died in the carpark said she found herself at her family home. She said she saw her grandmother and she was so happy to see her. She was not allowed in the room but the door opened wide enough for her to see her mother and father and other dead relatives and friends. She was so happy to be reunited with her family. Then they said that she has to go home. She was so upset and felt rejected. She then awoke to the policeman who had just used a refibulator to restart her heart. She said sometimes she would see light when walking and her eyes would fill with tears as she remembered her family. She said it deepened her faith in god.

It was beautiful for my sister and I to share this. I am an advocate of love and this documentary reinforced it. My sister has had a rocky path and she is also a person who can seek revenge and fix people. So we shared about the importance of love and that angels exist. I wondered how people would live their life if they knew all they did was recorded and they were here to learn lessons. That we are here to love each other. I learned this from the near death research I have done and that there is indeed a spiritual world that is extraordinary. It is a place of great love. I do not subscribe to the heaven and hell idea but I do understand that when you pass over whatever you think about you go to, or indeed manifest. However, if you did take yourself to a hellish place, the next thought could be a heavenish place and whallah you are there. I never believed in punishment all my life, I always felt if there was a god that it was loving. I can’t see jealousy, demanding behaviour or expectations in a free will state of being. I always felt it intuitively as loving. It has been my direct experience also.

So I left my sister and came home. I felt deeply happy we spent time together and in such a positive way. I will work on building our relationship and I did suggest if she can make peace with her family she will understand the truth of unconditional love. So you never know maybe the seed germinates at some point. It would be my wish to see my family reconcile and learn to love the differences with respectful behaviour. They are all doing their best, I do know that. However, the place to start peace is within ourselves, there is no-one to blame only opportunity to learn what causes us conflict and what creates harmony and peace. That is a joyful discovery of self.

Today I had the opportunity to catch up with an old friend. I surprised her as I lost my phone. She had another guest at her place. We all sat around and had wine and dinner. I love the way my friend puts a table cloth on the floor for dinner, with soft lighting and we sit and share rice, dahl and spinach pie. It was delicious. My friend is a buddhist and so is her friend. So there are beautiful buddha statues and images of peace around this place. I told her of my journey and the deep happiness I feel travelling and in nature. I feel myself connecting to the planet and I have learned to appreciate the natural world. Her friend had been at the hospital as her ex-husband was quite ill and she wanted to support her son. They had been in Intensive Care. She was very tired and leaning back on a pillow. I started to talk about my trip, my work in peace and being a clown I saw her energy pick up. I also said jokingly it would be nice to have a foot massage to my friend. I ended up offering this to both of them who accepted it with great joy. I love massaging feet so I don’t mind. Eventually someone will give me one but my feeling was to give.

I found out to my surprise that my friend Maryann’s son had had a bad accident in the United States. She said he had fallen 9 metres and broken many bones in his body including his skull. He had punctured one lung and was in a bad way. She and her former partner Raja and his wife flew to the US to be with him. He was in Las Vegas. My friend only wanted to be close to him. She didn’t want him waking up without familiar people, so she made sure she didn’t leave his side and even if she went to the toilet she made a nurse be there. She said she was shocked by the US health system as money was the first priority. Her priority was her son. She said that people are treated differently. In Australia this is different we have a public and private health care system, but most people are treated by the public system. We have Medicare here and you can claim back your expenses. So the focus is on treating the patient, not talking about billing them and the concept of a daily bed rate. My friend told me they originally were told $10,000 per night which went down to $2,000 per night. I just can’t imagine having such bills. We don’t pay anything in public here. I wondered how do poor people pay for health care. What if your child is dying and you can’t afford hospital? this should be a public good that the government is responsible for. I do know that Hilary Clinton did try to reform the US system but I don’t know what went wrong, as they still don’t have universal coverage. I feel the problem is the capitalist paradigm where you have private operators who are geared to make profit.

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia

“Health care in the United States is provided by many separate legal entities. Health care facilities are largely owned and operated by the private sector. Health insurance is now primarily provided by the government in the public sector, with 60-65% of healthcare provision and spending coming from programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Veterans Health Administration.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that a record 50.7 million residents (which includes 9.9 million non-citizens) or 16.7% of the population were uninsured in 2009.[1][2] More money per person is spent on health care in the USA than in any other nation in the world,[3][4] and a greater percentage of total income in the nation is spent on health care in the USA than in any United Nations member state except for East Timor.[4] Although not all people are insured, the USA has the third highest public healthcare expenditure per capita, because of the high cost of medical care in the country.[clarification needed][5][6] A 2001 study in five states found that medical debt contributed to 46.2% of all personal bankruptcies and in 2007, 62.1% of filers for bankruptcies claimed high medical expenses.[7] Since then, health costs and the numbers of uninsured and underinsured have increased.”

This contrasts with the welfare state concept where the State is responsible for public goods (everyone uses) it is cross subsidised across the nation (urban, rural) in sectors such as: education, health care, utilities (now privatised), dentist, counselling etc. You can go to private clinics and be able to claim some of the expenses on Medicare or pay fees, alternatively in the public system you can be bulk billed where you don’t pay at all. So it is great, no worries that you will be told you don’t have enough money. My friend couldn’t get her head around the US system and was so confused. Fortunately her ex-partner’s wife is pretty astute and she handled all legal matters. Mind boggling when you are in a state of shock over your child to find all these other stresses, it is not kind to put that on parents. I don’t know how people cope. They got Tanvir (son) to a rehabilitation hospital in Los Angeles which she said was much better and there was higher levels of care. As soon as he was able they had him on a plane back to Australia. The costs were astronimical for hotels and medical and it seems the insurance he had they may not be able to claimed because when he fell off this wall he was at a party and had alcohol. Even though he was not drunk this is the clause. Although occupational health and safety of a wall not protected by a barrier may be a loop hole. So, without insurance it could be financially horrifying what the final bill is. She said they just keep coming in and they are taking the money from a credit card. I feel so much for people. An equal and compassionate society would not do that, we would make sure people are cared for first and society would pay for it. When we come from a heart based intelligence I can assure you the world will change, fear will drop and we will become more giving and generous. This is serving our fellow human beings the angels speak of.

They got him home and my friend looked after him as he was unable to walk as he broke so many bones. He was very lucky to be alive my friend said and she is just relieved he is healing. He is very fit and it seems the recovery is going well. So I will go and see how he is. I met this boy when he was 12 he is now 26. So I feel a connection to him. I will bring some of my clown stuff to entertain him. He is apparently at home now.

I had a lovely night with her, so peaceful and great to be with a wonderful friend. I am not sure if we see each other again as I will leave Canberra and just don’t know if I am coming back. Not sure. So I took a photo of her. Something I felt to do in Melbourne with other friends. I have wonderful friends, I feel priviledged to know them.

Anyway home now in the caravan, enjoying my time with my family and hopefully will bring love and peace and I am sure others will teach me this, as we are equal in wisdom.

Sending you much love and happiness from a place of great peace.

Mohandas Gandhi

“God has no religion”