Albany: Wind farm, Bridging gaps, nature and meeting people in reflection

I spent a few days couch surfing with a lovely couple. We had some honest conversations about life, ego and fulfillment of dreams. The husband had successfully completed a project in India to clean up towns, affecting 500,000 people. He emphasized the importance of humility when in service to others. I understood that but as a clown we are seen and visible, so I also see humility in being out there. Often it is seen as being in the background, hardly seen but facilitating. I can get that, Lao Tzu talked about the greatest leaders as the ones where the people think they have done it themselves. This would be the true notion of empowerment. This couple did influence me to focus more intently on my own dream. Rem the husband, he kindly offered to look at my REAL HOPE DVD and he split it up into scenes and printed a cover for the DVD. He has been very kind to me.

I left there place and headed down to Albany which is the southern tip of Western Australia, it faces the southern ocean. The trip was peaceful and I spent my time focusing on clearing my energy. I am starting to see merit in meditation and the quality of my energy. I felt to stop at a Roadhouse near the town of Bannister. I saw the toilets were locked and wondered why? Interestingly as soon as I asked for the key from the lady at the counter she informed me she locked them as people trash them, she felt women were the worst offenders, she saw them as very messy. I puzzled over this as I find women quite tidy, although have been in toilets that are not. I came back and handed the key to another customer. This lady and I met eyes and I could feel that there was something more to say. however, I kept walking as it wasn’t the moment. I then started my car. As I backed out my tyre felt funny, so I thought I may check. I have a slow leak in my back right hand tyre, so I am monitoring it. Wouldn’t want a flat on the road. As I stopped the lady was there. She and I started talking. She mentioned the women and said men were much better. I found that interesting, often I hear the opposite from women. However, I am open to what she is saying and we expand it to the society, how things are changing. She made the point that she had a bad childhood and she said I had choices, I made my choices. Other people do too. I agreed with her. I also feel people’s behaviour is not reinforced by society, so more a becoming slack with manners and standards, that is obvious. She said she loved animals and I saw her noticing the magpie’s and wanting to feed them. She was a kind person I felt. She said she is into humour, not taking things too seriously. I said I was the same, I told her about Patch Adams and my experience as a clown. She liked Patch and agreed about positivity. We really felt a connection. She said she had felt something about me, I said I felt the same about her. It was such a strong feeling to go and speak to her as I was leaving, funnily the opportunity arose. I always find these moments amazing.

It was a hot day, my aircon is not working, so the window is down and the breeze is a little cool. It was a good run, took around 6 hours to get to Albany. I drove to my friends house (her mum’s former house). Just as I arrived she was in her car dashing to the shop. So we went together, she had some chrissy cards to get. I also sent a few. Then we went off to the city, Albany has a population of around 33,000. She and I agreed to meet at a hotel for a drink. She went to the library I went walking around looking at the shops. Albany is a quaint village. It reminds me of the English. Turns out this is where the English came. You can see the Tudor influence. Apparently it was a deep sea port. The French also landed here and stopped at Frenchman’s bay. They would get the fresh spring water coming into the sea. It has the most magnificent mountains and islands peppered around this southern point of Australia. There are a lot of sharks in western Australia, Albany is no different. When the whaling industry was going it attracted many tiger sharks. My friend’s ex partner was a surfer and he said at the Gap just 20 minutes from Albany there is a coastal area where sharks were frequently seen. So keep your toes out of the water when on surfboards, eek.

We went to the market and had a look around and a coffee. My friend did some wine testing. She knew the vineyard owners. On our walk back to the city over a bridge I noticed an Anzac Peace park. I have to smile, how do we fit Anzac and peace together. Now some would argue that Anzac (war) brings peace. Or that it is our soldiers that fought for this country, but I would say is it true? The World War was not about Australian sovereignty and the closest it came to us was the bombing of Darwin. Moreover, if we truly knew the carnage of war, could we see peace in those actions. Often after the war peace is deeply appreciated, but what we are seeing is the cessation of violence, the scars and trauma go on for generations. I would see peace and war as an oxymoron. As violence is not a peaceful behaviour and has no awareness of the lack of peace it spreads through trauma, injury, fear and destabilization. The reality of war. Albany is where the Anzac’s left Australia for Egypt. They were used ahead of the British and many consider them to have been canon fodder there. This day is commemorated in Australia. We still perceive war as a justification for violence and failure to solve problems through peaceful behavour. It is extraordinary that society punishes murder and indicates it is fine when government sanctioned. The worse aspect of war is you can’t argue a crime of passion, it is innocent men from another country, they don’t even know each other but are trained to kill. I find it hard to conceive of. I can’t even step on an ant, so it is hard to understand. Anyway, we both commented on this memorial, as both of us have studied Peace Studies.

My friend and I went for drinks, nearly $20 for two drinks. I noted how expensive drinks are these days, I remember when wines were $3 and beers $2.50 now you are looking at $8 a pop. As prices have been indexed to inflation salaries haven’t, which is interesting given they are prices for a services as well (part of GDP). Anyway, that is the reality here, even food prices are becoming expensive. I asked some German and French tourists what they thought of Australian prices, they said, expensive. I felt that on my return from my world trip. The interesting part is if you make rent, house prices and food too expensive then standards of living drop dramatically and housing and food can become out of reach, then what? The sign of a civilized society is in how it treats its poorest citizens. Moreover, it is in the pauperization of its citizens that one can determine if indeed a society is advanced or not. Anyway, it is policy worth questioning and the economics behind it, it creates a downward spiral as the top end fattens, the bottom end widens (base). I get a funny image there, smiling to myself. Anyway, the middle class gets squeezed (smaller) and that is where the main tax base. So the base narrows and life becomes even more expensive. Anyway, food for thought (ha).

Afterwards we came back to her place. I hit the hay around 1pm as I like to work at night on my blog and photos.

In the morning, we didn’t leave the house until around 3pm. I did work on my blog and my friend did cleaning. We then went down to Middleton beach and did a little solstice ceremony. My friend reminded me it was the end of the year, the summer solstice (Australia) 21 December 2011. I thought about the Mayan Calendar 21st December 2012. I think this next 12 months is going to be very interesting. Anyway, we did a meditation for peace and dreams coming to fruition. My friend even had a little candle in a lantern, it was very nice. We then went for a walk up to Mount Clarence Parklands overlooking the water. The waters here are so clear and beautiful. The natural environment is pristine. As we walked up a winding path she pointed out all the plants and wildlife. She knew the names and I marveled at her love of nature. I see myself as so ignorant. She showed me a type of pine where the needles were so soft. She named trees and pointed out they were coastal and indigenous species. She showed me bright coloured little flowers with delight and named the birds as they flew passed. We saw a lizard twice the size of my index finger slip into the bushes. I thought of all the wildlife trying to compete for space on the planet as wilderness shrinks. It is the most beautiful place, the ocean we were looking at was King George Sound which meets with the ocean of the Great Southern Bight. We could see Michaelmas Island, Breaksea Island. I am told whales come here to give birth around October. I would love to see that. I was also told of king waves, freak waves that just are huge surges of water. So quite a few fishermen have lost their lives.

We mozied back and I watched as my friend picked up rubbish on the way. She did that on the beach yesterday and I noted her stewardship. She was just being an example, not condemning anyone but aware that the oyster pot strings (blue strings) get caught up in the birdlife. She picked up icypole packets, chip packets etc. I suggested she could think up a clean up campaign. We had the famous campaign ‘Clean up Australia’ by Ian Kiernan, she could start something in Albany. I have noticed in Western Australia they drop more rubbish. I did note one sign which spoke of putting rubbish in a bin. Anyway, we got back to the car and dropped into a friend of Jude’s. Her friend was playing bridge with the girls, having fun. We had a chat. We then headed to her place and I made one of my bouquet omlettes. We had some wine and chatted.

The next day I got up around 9.30am, yes I am a late sleeper. I love getting up when I feel like it. She was great she didn’t mind. I should point out about her house, they have a rainwater tank there. My friend re-uses water in the shower, the washing up and puts it on the garden. She turns off lights and tries to conserve all the time. She buys food from local produce and organically grown. She is the only person I know who actually walks the talk. We are funny – peace is my thing and environment is her’s. we both in our own way, walk the talk. Yet we are quite different as people. We both respect each other.

We decided to go for a sightsee. We took my car. We headed to Albany wind farm. I got very excited. Albany generates its own energy by wind power. According to Jude they didn’t buy locally, the Howard government changed legislation which made it more expensive locally. She indicated they bought from Germany, in Europe. The wind mills were installed by Enercon Power Corporation, an Australian Company. The wind generators are 80 metres above the ocean. There are twelve 1800kW wind turbines. The turbines have a 65m tower and three 35m long blades. The wind farm in a year produces 77,000,000 units of electricity, this equates to 70% of the town’s energy needs and supplies 1500 homes. When traveling the world I saw wind farms for example in Costa Rica, it filled me with excitement then. As contrasted to the nuclear reactor I saw in France with a baby painted on the side. That deeply concerned me, this are natural reactions. I feel it in my heart that it is not healthy for nature. Japan found out the hard way just how debilitating the fall out is. Nothing has been said about the marine life radiated by that disaster around Japan. Anyway, I took a photo lying on my back on the path hoping no-one with come, I could see the big blades sweeping down and making a whoosh sound. It was rhythmic and beautiful, I loved watching and felt mesmerized by its beauty. Apparently the start up speed is 7km/hour to a maximum shutdown speed of 130km/per hour. It was amazing to lie there and watch them in a rhythmic fashion generating energy from the wind. I thought of the false economy of extracting coal out of the ground which causes CO2 gas emissions, pollution and so on. I see the wind mills as the future. I feel it and it feels good. I was so happy to see them. I asked jude about birds, as one of the arguments against wind power was that birds got caught up, she said an electricity company orchestrated that argument, she said the birds don’t go near it. I certainly couldn’t see any.

We ended up walking back down another track to have a look at the ocean. This area is called Sandpatch. We ended up meeting a couple from Israel. The husband and I talked about the situation there. He mentioned Arab people and multiple wives at some point. I felt there may be judgement there, I laughed and said wives are expensive. He also had a faith in the economic system, I mentioned Europe and the US financial shocks and the importance of self sufficiency. I said I think the Kibbutz is the best way. He said he lived on a Kibbutz, not quite in the same style as the early ones but somewhat different. Growing their own food is a good idea.

I said Australia is the most multicultural nation on earth. He said Israel was too. I could see that as many Jewish people came from Europe and later from the United States and many other countries. I said we have to learn to love each other and accept differences. He pointed out that whilst Israel was multicultural, Palestine wasn’t. I wondered about apartheid. I don’t know if people from other countries can settle in Palestine. I have a question mark there. It is highly controlled who goes in or out. I recall reports of the large wall similar to a prison wall (had watch towers) erected by Israel which I was informed takes up 15% of the land. Overtime the Palestinian land has shrunk given expanding settlements. Moreover due to hostilities overtime I believe around 2 million Palestinians fled to Jordan, Egypt and Syria. If you wish to know more visit Human Rights Watch World Report 2011 and Amnesty International for neutral third party sources

I know violence doesn’t solve any conflict, it just uses force and fear to impose one sides will against another, or to retaliate further justifying violence. The challenge for all of us worldwide, is to learn peace in the world. It does start with ourselves and families. I feel it is to bring down all walls, the physical are in fact the emotional walls that divide us. If people truly followed their holy books edicts, they would practice love and peace, not just as words used when convenient, but practicing what they preach. Just imagine if everyone did it. To strengthen the Palestinian people economically might be a starting point. I recall with the Iraqi situation speaking to an Iraqi, she said to me had the US strengthened the middle class in Iraq they would have overthrown Saddam, although I was to subsequently learn the US policy was about name change not regime change. So there was no interest in strengthening the people. When peace is our agenda, that is true harmony, strategies will change as governments seek a win/win, realizing we must resolve the underlying conflict not just negotiate or trade away without settling the hurt and pain inflicted and incorrect judgements one to the other. Anyway, back to my moment with the Israeli couple. What was interesting speaking to this guy is that he had genetics on his cap. I saw him as probably a wealthy Jew and he mentioned he was at a university. I wondered about the bridges to peace. I smiled and joked with this couple, as I believe we must solve problems not hate people or governments. I don’t mind differences, at all. My friend advised them on places to visit whilst in this area, then I hugged them and off they went happily. My friend mentioned the cap.

As we walked we saw a paraglider, the thermals racing up the cliff faces are strong so a person can have a chute and just travel along the cliff faces, up down or horizontal, fascinating to watch. The guy we spotted was dressed as Santa. I tried to yell up ho ho ho, ah a modern Santa we thought. My friend Jude just laughed. She was thrilled to see this and wanted to have a go. I would have loved to have tried too.

Anyway, we headed of to the next amazing sight this one was called The Gap, which is a mass of boulders stacked as a small hill and then a rock platform where you hop from rock to rock. I loved it. Imagine how old these rocks are. This part of Western Australia was connected to Antarctica, so just imagine the flora and fauna and rock formations. I saw The Gap which is a blow hole through two sheer cliff sides. Then there is the natural bridge which is connecting large rocks, it will eventually erode and breakdown.

Whilst at this place I ended up speaking with a young girl who told me of her dream home on top of the mountain. I told her about the law of attraction, to visualize it. She believed in that. Then I met her mum, nice lady. I asked where they were from she said ‘Israel’. I smiled, second one. The mum was despondent with the world. She had left Israel to live in Perth, she felt it was a special place and peaceful. She was sad about her own country and explained to me they weren’t religious. She had concerns about the world. I cheerily said all will be well. I feel the world is going through a transition and the consciousness on the planet is changing. I spoke of my world trip and what I had seen and my peace studies experiences in Asia. I said to be the change. She did agree and was interested in the conversation. Turns out she is a psychologist who is doing a new type of practice where the counsellor doesn’t advise they are a presence. I liked that. She gave me her business card. She is living in North Perth so I may make contact. Funny how I met her, I am considering helping people find peace. So this maybe a stepping stone. I gave the lady, her husband, daughter and boyfriend hugs and left.

Our next stop was Frenchman’s beach. My friend told me she had a history here. Her mum and sisters, friends and boyfriends have made the pilgrimage to this place. It is a beautiful tranquil bay with a snow white beach. The sand is so fine and so white. The crystal blue waters gentle lap the edges and the water is warm. We sat under a tree and had a picnic. It was fun. We had a banquet, yummy. After lunch we strolled up the beach towards what for me, was a magnificent sight. We saw massive boulders on the beach and some balanced on top of others, the rocks formed a platform and you could see some were round. That means they are very eroded and very old. I can feel the energy in these rocks, you can see the crystal fragments twinkling in the sun, as if winking to me. I felt the rocks with my hands to connect with these ancient monoliths. I see them the same as ancient forests. The dinosaurs of the past still present today, yet unacknowledged. I wanted to take photo’s but my camera needed recharing. I felt such a strong urge to record these rocks, as I may never see them again. I asked Jude if she had photo’s, she said yes, so I could get them off her. As I walked away I thought to try again my camera, whalla, it worked and I went snap happy until it died. On the beach you could see wood sticking up. One piece had old bolts in it. Jude told me a ship was buried beneath the beach, when the tide eroded the sand, you could see parts of the ship. She had been coming to this place for years. She showed me a fresh water spring winding its way into the ocean. I’ve never seen fresh water in a small spring run onto a beach to the sea. Apparently the French sailors would dock at this beach and replenish their water stocks. I looked up the cliff to see houses. What a view they would have. We met one resident who told us this is their holiday house, she comes from a farming family. Turns out most of the farmers in the south west retire in Albany. So many are country folk.

We left the beach and drove back to Albany. We stopped in on Sarah a friend of Jude’s. Nice lady a rural teacher who loves teaching in the country. She is an older woman in her 50-60’s. Not sure exactly. She is passionate about refugees and a fairer society. She kindly gave me two posters on welcoming refugees and the American Indian quote which speaks of ‘you can’t eat money’. I really like that as it hits home quicker. We had a nice coffee, she gave us beers and also so video’s which was very kind. Jude and I headed back to her place and I made my famous Afghan for her. Jude lost her keys and was distracted by turning the house over to find them. Apparently in Western Australia you have to have demobilisers. This stops the car from being started. Some have codes I understand. It is compulsory here. Anyway, she had spare keys but can’t start her car unless it is bypassed and it is illegal to not have it. Cynically she said that the premier’s brother runs a company. I had a Google search and no statement about him, so not sure. If it is true, then despotism is alive and well here. This is a state run by mining companies and big business. So you wonder about behind the scenes here. They are far away from the eastern states, out of the main public eye.

We had a nice dinner and chatted some more about my friend’s life and family. Her mum passed two years ago. I met her mother, such a lovely lady. She ended up bringing up 3 girls on her own. There was abuse in her family. Jude’s mum was a feminist and intellectual. She read lots of books on social policy and I saw Mandela on her shelf and John Pilger’s work. I met her and found her a wonderful woman with a strong sense of integrity, women’s rights and independence. My friend has suffered a lot since her death and can’t sleep in her mum’s bed. I slept there and thought about my friend’s adjustment to losing her best friend. She can’t bear to be in the house at Christmas. She has had 3 difficult years, without support from her sisters, she faced it very bravely. She has been jumping into developing her career training to be a teacher. Apparently the diploma she is doing is tough so I have heard. She has excellent environmental credentials so hopefully she can teach her love of nature. She would be great. She is very gentle and kind. A mirror of nature.

Anyway, on that note, must finalise this. Drove the 6 hours to Perth and am here Christmas Eve. I am at a friend’s place. I found that DVD’s had arrived for me. They are of my REAL HOPE peace education program, a kind person I stayed with edited them and produced them so I can take them to schools. He suggested I create Peacefull Schools. I really like his idea. He created My Clean India, why not Peaceful schools. I actually cried with happiness, I felt so grateful. I couldn’t get a better christmas present then my work in a format that I can really show others. I reflected on another person I stayed with on arrival here who produced graphically brochures for my REAL HOPE program and other workshops. I reflected on the blessings I receive and the constant help that comes my way. All with no resources, indeed there is a higher power and all I can say is that it is good. Love is indeed my answer.

I am thinking about peace on earth and goodwill to all. This blog is about that. Learning from life as my greatest teacher.

Have a beautiful Christmas, and look for the Christ in it. Christ consciousness is unconditional love. When you choose for the presence of love in each moment, peace is there.

Much love and peace and Merry Christmas to you and your family. If you are alone, know you are the gift. Don’t be sad or sorry, you are indeed loved.

A peacefull clown

Mohandas Gandhi

“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”