Bougainville Seminar a Success

Bougainville Topography mapThe Bougainville Women’s Seminar in International Women’s Day Week on Wednesday 11th March in State Parliament House was a success. It was in the Theaterette and attended by over 80 people. However, the Lateline DVD which had worked well at Humanist House previously did not work in the Theaterette.

Waratah Rosemarie Gillespie who had experienced some of the trauma in Bougainville, and wrote a book with sworn statements from Bougainvilleans, spoke explaining those statements some of which were read out by several actors of note such as Lynda Stoner, Andrew Vial, Fran Macpherson, Isobel Kirk, Gillian Levett, Janice Potten, Jonathan Marshall and Sean Foley.

The Chorus of Women in their attractive red outfits sang several meaningful songs to enhance the occasion.

Waratah, Joanne & Affie
Waratah, Joanne & Affie

Joanne Dateransi one of the Bougainvillean women who had experienced the trauma, was brought out by Waratah with the help of Ann Young as well as finances from the Humanist Society of NSW, members of the UNAANSW Executive Committee, and WILPF NSW.? These organisations had joined together to convene this event.? Joanne was to be the keynote speaker and had applied for a 3 month visa but had only been given a month visa by the Australian High Commission. Also her trip was full of obstacles so that she arrived 1 hour after the seminar. Why the sabotage?! Therefore, some of her speaking engagements which had been shown in the letters of invitation had to be cancelled.? Nevertheless, as the Convenor, I was able? to arrange for Joanne to speak at HumSocNSW, UNAANSW Executive Committee and WILPF NSW. Waratah managed to get Joanne to speak at the Open Forum and some other venues. We also managed to have 2SER interview Joanne on air. So we were able to make the best of her limited visit.

Furthermore, Valerie Weekes and Dr. Stefania Siedlecky spoke at the Seminar on the UNAA Resolution 1325 which, put simply, has to do with women being consulted in disputes before war is declared.

The book written by Waratah Rosemarie Gillespie: “Running with Rebels, behind the lies in Bougainville’s hidden war” (Ginibi Productions) was ready for sale at the seminar and I highly recommend it. For information about where it can be purchased contact me on 0421 101 163.

Oddly enough, after media releases were sent out to several media sources there was no media covering the event, apart from 2SER. What can we think other than there is apathy for the atrocities experienced by people in that war, or that mining companies put pressure on the media to keep everything quiet! Regardless of this sabotage we overcame and people heard the truth about the situation.

Our thanks to Lee Rhiannon MLC who was our host at the Seminar and made the opening speech.

The women of Bougainville who are the landowners will fight to keep the mining company giant out of their land, unless their needs are met.

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Procrastination affects us differently

170958_me_myself_and_i.jpgI have written several posts on procrastination because it is such a traumatic experience and common to many of us. Procrastination affects us differently – some worse than others, as can be seen by Terry’s comment below. Regardless of how immobilised you feel when procrastination takes hold, there are different strategies that you can choose from to assist you. The most effective technique or strategy is that you learn how to relax so as to let go of the fear the task is causing you. Then give yourself permission to wait until you feel ready to begin. Plan a small step to begin your task once you have relaxed – the momentum will overcome your procrastination. You can find what works for you or you can choose to be a victim of procrastination. You may need some professional assistance to overcome the block.

What about when the procrastination paralyses you and when you are unprepared you perform badly and feel awful and embarrassed. Its as if something inside is hoping for failure. Or when you have a deadline for a task and leave it till the last minute and the stress builds up but there is a block to complete the task. Terry

me myself and i, photo by Davide Farabegoli, Milano, Italy, howto relax

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Butterfly Day

Butterfly, photo by Marco Michelini, Firenze, Italy, short lifeToday I heard on the car radio that it is Butterfly Day for kids suffering from E.B. It was the first time I had heard of this disease and so I looked at their website here and in the United States [be prepared for disturbing pictures]. I was appalled at what small children go through with Epidermolysis Bullosa as their skin blisters horrendously and causes them infections and tremendous pain.This is a rare genetic disorder and affects all nationalities.

The wounds vary in severity and although they resemble burns, they don’t heal as burns do. The child with E.B. cannot ride a bike, skate, or participate in sports because normal play causes chronic sores which are sometimes covering 75 percent of the body and can be life threatening. These children are confined to a diet of only liquids or soft food to cope with blistering and scarring which occur in the mouth and esophagus.

Their fingers and toes can fuse due to scarring, leaving deformities affecting their ability to function. Their lives can involve being constantly admitted to hospitals for wound treatment, blood transfusions, biopsies and surgeries. They often have sight problems because their eyes blister. Chronic anemia is another symptom and this reduces energy and retards growth. Life beyond 30 years is not expected.

I found that in Australia there are attempts to raise money and support services for children who suffer with E.B. and for their families. So I hope that I can raise awareness about this devastating illness through my website to help their fundraising and make their plight easier.

I am sure that you too will find it as heartbreaking as I did when you visit the E.B. websites.

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Addiction and anorexia

Mannequins, photo by Marco Michelini, Firenze, Italy, beauty mythMuch has been written about the effect that thin models and movie celebrities have on young women. In an effort to look like these role models young women develop eating disorders. Addiction and anorexia are the same condition. When a person suffers from anorexia it is on the same eating disorder continuum as compulsive overeating. Just as life threatening as other addictions anorexia results in a distorted perception. The afflicted person does not see themselves as being thin and continues to do without food in order to lose more weight.

she was such a loveable person and
so thoughtful too, not to mention how
talented she was in writing
poetry straight from the heart
however, she battled addiction and anorexia
she managed to become free of the heroin
but not of the need to avoid eating
no matter what she tried it worked only
for a short time and then she was back
to her old ways which eventually led her
to her heroin addiction and death from starvation
some more fortunate are rescued from this fate

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Nothing is as it appears

Jaguar, photo by Kristof Degreef, Nieuwerkerken, Belgium, feline fancyThe jaguar is popular and as people admire its beauty they forget how dangerous it can be. Nothing is as it appears. Within seconds it’s capable of ripping its prey apart, as many animals can do. To a certain degree the same can be said of the human animal. Usually humans try to present a persona which is attractive, lovable, and successful so that they can get what they want. Some though are dangerous because they can easily become violent, either emotionally or physically or both. Prevention is best – we need to go gently into a new relationship until we are sure of the other person’s temperament. We also need to be prepared to get out of the relationship fast if it proves inappropriate and not wait until it’s so dangerous that we can get hurt.

they came to see me and by the end of the session
it became apparent that he was not willing to change
even though he had violent tendencies
and she was not ready to leave him
when they came back to see me I made it clear
that I could not see them together any more
because it was as though I was holding her hand
while he continued to be violent with her
I recommended that she contact the Helpline
for this type of dangerous behaviour and
stressed that her life depended on
her taking urgent action, my words annoyed him
she came back months later and wanted
to undergo therapy on her own as
she had legally removed him from her life
she had a pattern of attracting similar types
and she wanted to stop, so we began the work
today she lives the life she’s always wanted

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Panic

Fear in the eye, photo by Joonas Lampinen, Kuopio, Finland, stay coolToday I’m writing about panic as the cause of whether we handle situations well or not. Panic is fuelled by anxiety and different people react differently to stressful situations. The need to fight or flight is natural and some of us under such circumstances will appear cool, calm and collected making the necessary appropriate decisions which resolve the emergency. Others may become flustered and make mistakes that can be fatal. Then again people may experience both reactions at different times.

The best solution is to be prepared by developing relaxation techniques beforehand, like breathing evenly in a circular fashion; repetition of words to steady thought patterns, e.g. “I can do it, I can do it” over and over again (otherwise known as affirmations or self hypnosis); asking for help or making a loud noise, if possible and so on.

PANIC DEFINITION: in American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition [DSM-IV]. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1994, p. 394-403
The symptoms the DSM-IV list are:

  1. palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  2. sweating
  3. trembling or shaking
  4. sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  5. feeling of choking
  6. chest pain or discomfort
  7. nausea or abdominal distress
  8. feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  9. derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  10. fear of losing control or going crazy
  11. fear of dying
  12. paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations.
  13. chills or hot flushes

This definition of panic is from (and for more information) (Ask Tog)

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Maintain vigilance

Owl eyes, photo by Kristof Degreef, Nieuwerkerken, Belgium, nothing missedOne human weakness is the need to stop doing what works when things are going well. Usually people who have found their sanity by taking the relevant medication will, against medical advice, stop taking the medication when they feel well, with horrendous consequences. Others will find solutions to their problems through counselling and once the situation improves they stop doing what was necessary to achieve the results, again with horrendous consequences. We need to keep vigilant about unacceptable changes in our wellbeing and once we find solutions then also maintain vigilance to ensure that improvements are not lost.

the last time I saw them they had after a few sessions
resolved their difficulties and made a checklist of what
they had done to sort things out so that they could
continue what worked and maintain the improvement
intelligent, successful, people meant commitment to
the system for success, or so you’d think
why should they be any different to the rest of us
a human frailty is becoming overconfident
and stopping what works
it can happen to me too if I don’t maintain
the vigilance and even then I am prone!
a year later they were back almost ready to divorce and
full of resentment, anger, defensiveness and vengeance
they had time to each tell their version of the problem
having expressed themselves we looked at their checklist
maybe one or two items had been maintained
but the rest had been grossly neglected
although it seemed hopeless we began again
and bit by bit things got turned around
after a few sessions they were back on track
back to basics always works yet we have
a tendency to complicate things

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‘busy’ addiction

Busy people, photo by Melanie Kuipers, Meppen, Germany, another addictionIf we are saying we’re too busy then it’s an excuse to be on the addiction treadmill. The busier we become the more unmanageable our life becomes. Too busy to sit and talk to family and friends. Too busy to answer emails. Too busy to telephone or visit. Too busy to remember to be relaxed. All this makes us more stressed and obsessed with being busy. Before we know it, we suffer emotional and physical burnout. Then we are forced to stop and take stock of our hectic life and how incompetent we have become. We must not let it get that far, because the road back is then a slow one and it takes so long to become relaxed, healthy and efficient once more. Stop and make an action plan to slow down before it’s too late.

I did not notice how busy I had become
and the more I did, the more I wanted to do
I was a runaway train and everyone noticed
except me
how excited I became with my newfound energy
nothing was too much as I spread myself thinly
I was also snappy, and other people’s
inefficiencies were insufferable to me
then my world crumbled – loss of money
loss of purpose, loss of efficiency
my self esteem was affected, my health suffered
the road back to emotional, physical and financial security
was slow and laborious
nevertheless I found my way
with the help of my family and friends
from that day on I watch out for the
signs of busy addiction because
the consequences are horrendous
for me and those around me

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Touch to stay alive

Danny and Me, photo by Joe DeCarlo, Sparksville, United States,  love therapyWithout touch babies have been known to die, that’s why attachment in the early years of childhood is so important. We need touch to stay alive. To touch and be touched is the necessity of life. That’s why one of the methods of torture or punishment has been isolation, it can make a person go crazy. It is important to teach children from a young age that sulking (withdrawal) is counter-productive to having their needs and wants met. Communicating what they are feeling is vital to their own wellbeing and future relationship development.

they argued constantly
from early morning and then
when he came home from work
late into the night
sometimes they wouldn’t talk for days
sulking so badly that you could
cut the air with a knife, so to speak
I often wondered how they managed
to get through the day in such an
atmosphere of bitterness and misery
with no touching
then after 13 years they divorced
and took their dysfunctional behaviour
to their new separate relationships
which did not last long either
we need touch to stay alive
in more ways than one

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Family cat

Gato 1, photo by Ivan Soares Ferrer, Embu, Brazil, purring delight We brought back a Siamese kitten from New Zealand and he settled nicely in our family. This family cat became a loved pet, lifting our spirits. Siamese cats, although aloof, are very talkative and some are very affectionate. When there is a pet in the family everyone learns the art of unconditional love, as well as how to live with grief.

our cat stopped eating and
just sat on the bed quietly
this was unusual so we
took him to the vet who
gave us the sad news
that he was seriously ill
and needed to be put to sleep
we said our goodbyes
and on the way home
the whole family cried
uncontrollably!
that’s how much that pet
was loved and totally missed

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