F.I.R.E., Life Hacks, politics, Uncategorised

Free speech in Australia.

I was having a conversation with the adonis who I train with recently. He was talking about how we have freedom of the press and freedom of speech in Australia, and how that was great.

I was interested in this because I disagree that we currently have those freedoms.

Change is possible

Yes, I’m aware of the irony of sitting in a comfortable Sydney home, on the internet, writing that we don’t have freedom of speech or freedom of the press in Australia.

But you don’t know what I would be writing about if we did have those freedoms.

This week Australia’s High Court made a decision that means that any company in Australia that has an internet presence, is liable for the comments on their social media accounts or website.  

One of the consequences of this is that ordinary people who do try to speak out about the things going wrong in Australia may well be moderated out of the discourse.

Australia updated secrecy laws in 2018, making it illegal to talk about certain things, either in Australia or overseas (if you’re interested, read part 5.6 of the federal Criminal Code (1995)).

This year Australia appointed a High Court judge Justice Simon Steward who stated that freedom of speech and freedom of political communication are not “settled law”.

This is part of a long term trend in Australia to pass laws that punish or criminalize people for having opinions, exposing government wrongdoing, and speaking out in the public interest.

So? What can you do?

Here’s the problems, what are the solutions?

  • Write to your local member, asking for more political freedoms and asking them to uphold your right to political communication and freedom of speech
  • Write a blog post about your thoughts
  • Write something on social media about freedom of speech in Australia, tag your local member, the Attorney General’s Department and the federal parliament
  • Write to the editor of your favourite newspaper
  • Read and share blog posts like this one
  • Participate in public discourse– bring it up at dinner, bring it up at a public forum, talk about what’s going on
  • Start or sign a petition asking for change like this one asking for the right to protest.
  • Start a T-shirt Campaign
  • Make Art about it
  • Write a story about it
  • Express yourself through poetry
  • Make some rocking music
  • Put your thoughts into photos
  • Meditate on healing the world
  • Send good wishes into the lives of other people
  • Connect with people in your community so that we can lift the cohort
  • Get a qualification or do a short course to keep yourself fresh and keep your brain working
  • Meditate on having love in your heart
  • Learn a language
  • Become F.I.R.E so you’re not a slave to a job any more.

It might not think that these will change things politically, but every time you lift yourself out of fatalistic, nihilistic depression, you remind yourself of the truth:

You have power. You have creativity. You can do something. Change is possible.

Remember: Always be kind.

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This blog is fiction. By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for nerds or artists.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping

Life Hacks, politics, Uncategorised

Constructive Ways to Protest

COVID 19 is a real disease. In Florida, which has a comparable population to Australia and no lockdowns, there have been 44 000 deaths attributed to COVID 19.

In Australia, Google reports 1002 deaths.

That means that it could be argued that Australia’s lockdowns have saved 43 000 lives. The ripples of those lives will spread out in our society and instead of causing so many people heart-rending grief, our loved ones will be safe.

All of those people have families. All of those people are part of our community.

We are so lucky

At the same time, the lockdowns worry me.

Deploying troops in civilian communities worries me. Using military leadership to organise a COVID 19 response worries me. These are people who are literally trained to kill, who deliberately joined an organisation knowing that they might be involved in killing people.

Is that really who we want trying to stop frightened teenagers from visiting each other in Western Sydney?

My understanding is that military personnel cannot be held criminally liable if they fail to follow the laws of the state or territory they are deployed in. I’m also aware of the recent war crimes accusations in Afghanistan, where Australian troops seem to have deliberately shot civilians.

Another thing that worries me is governments putting restrictions on freedom of movement, freedom of association, and the freedom we expect as citizens of a democratic country to go about our lives peacefully, privately, and without undue examination of our personal lives. Civil liberties are important.

This is why I think it’s OK to protest the lockdowns. My problem is not with the protest, but with the protester’s methodology.

Many people in Australia feel that our democratic freedoms are being eroded, and I think that it’s important to express political actions and opinions in a safe and calm manner.

Taken at Joe Dispenza 2016

Examples of appropriate protests in this climate:

  • Sign this petition, here
  • Get all your protesting people together, and instead of blockading Central Station, blockade the Harbour Bridge for an hour or two, safe in your car, social distancing, not catching COVID. Note that there is a process in Australia for authorising protests, and I highly recommend you follow this process.
  • Get all your protesting people to make a placard, stand in their local shopping centre wearing a mask for an hour, call the local paper, and take pictures and put them on social media
  • Start a T-Shirt campaign on RedBubble or Café Press
  • Write to a media organisation– your local paper, the TV station you mainly watch, the websites you usually visit and others expressing your opinion.
  • Write to your local member (they Do take public opinion into account)
  • Put a post up on social media about it
  • Make Art about it
  • Read blogs about it and share them.

You have power. Your opinion matters. Try to find a constructive way to express it.

Taken at Joe Dispenza retreat 2018

If you like this work, want to download a prettier version of my new novel, you want to support writers and artists, or have a chance to write yourself, remember to donate to my patreon.

…………………………………………………………………

By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for nerds or artists.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping

Life Hacks, Novels and Creative Writing, Trigger Warning!, Uncategorised, Unfinished Symphony

Unfinished Symphony, A Novel Chapter Two- My Life as a Dog

Well, Hi Everyone.

I finished Chapter Two!

This is the plain text version.

If you like this work, want to download a prettier version, or you want to support writers and artists, or have a chance to write yourself, remember to donate to my patreon.

Note: the pretty version is available for free download on patreon.

Thank you! Even if you’re just reading it, thank you.

Gill.

Chapter Two: My Life as a Dog

My parents have given me a lot of words: terms for nature, for colours, for laughter, expressions for threats and anger, even words of reconciliation; my education has given me a lot of names for emotions, and power structures, for the art of living life as it’s meant to be lived. My parents gave me the ability to notice things that are things. And learning has given me the ability to critically analyse them.

What I lack is the ability to maintain hope and optimism throughout the darkest of judgements, voices and thoughts.

I want to live.

But how? How?

Meditation is my  lifeline. Every morning that I get up and I’m not in absolute suicidal despair I sit myself down quietly and lovingly and rehearse my day.

I start with my heart—I do it a little different every day, but I follow a similar structure. I open my heart in my imagination, and watch the green plants inside. There’s a light that swirls and streams, and I feel gratitude and kindness and happiness inside.

At these times, I know that the essence of me is just like the essence of every sentient being and the green and growing light in me is OK.

Next I do a few prana-yamas; then mindfulness for around 20mins-30mins.

After that I start to rehearse things I want to create: good health in my body, good things happening in my life, tiny moments of gladness and content. Things like holding a baby, cooking healthy food, improving at work or my university results getting better, social situations. I rehearse being in a garden with other people and working together towards a common goal. I rehearse other people’s health and happiness—Peter Cundall, Bob Brown, members of my friends and family, Julia Gillard, the Greek lady in the fish-and-chip shop. Gratitude.

I rehearse my reasons to live.

I have to say, whenever I do this, I feel good.

The good feelings pour out of my body and into my life.

And, for a while, I’m OK.

Some meditations are like a bump to my mid-section. They take my breath away.

Some ideas become sensations.

I love the feeling of life-force flowing through me with the force of a river and the will of a being that loves me intensely and wants good things for me… that feeling is like someone putting a finger on my solar-plexus and making my whole body convulse into bliss.

It may only be a thought—but it causes deep joy.

Strange, isn’t it?

Then suddenly the shames are back again. Mythical dark beings who come to my wire door to be fed but won’t let me trim their hair or de-louse them, or pet them or make friends with them. And if I get too close—their jaws clamp into my mid-section. And oh Lord do those bites hurt.

When I was growing up, we had a dog. We didn’t plan on getting a dog. A traumatised, thin, limping creature with brindled fur and soft silken ears turned up on our front step one day. My parents took him in. They paid for his food, they let my sister and I take him for walks, they even resentfully loved him. They got someone to mind him when we went away. He was microchipped according to council requirements. Occasionally he was bathed.

In summer, the flies would attack his ears. He would have 10 flies on each ear, and he’d flick his ears back, and flick them away, but the flies had learned he couldn’t do anything. In madness he’d rub his head in the dirt, but every summer he had open wounds on his ears.

I made my parents take him to the vet. I made my mother apply the cream. It didn’t help.

In winter, his fur started falling out. He had a rash on his body. His skin was red and raw and painful.

Again, I made my mother take him to the vet. He had an allergy to fleas. They gave us tablets, and frontline, and other things. It didn’t help.

He died an unhappy dog. 

To whom do I owe my silence?

What do we owe the people who love us? What do we owe the people who hurt us?

My husband’s family had a dog too. Siobhan. They bought Siobhan at a pet shop. She had an allergy to fleas, too. One day my husband and I were talking, and he enumerated the steps that his family had taken to get rid of Siobhan’s fleas. What I noticed was that someone in his family had a problem, and the whole family had gotten together and made sure that Siobhan wasn’t suffering. What I noticed was that they cared.

My husband’s family takes good care of their things. My husband’s family takes good care of their lives. My husband’s family takes good care of each other.

Who is in charge of making sure that the sentient beings we live with are healthy and protected and loved?

When I was nine or ten, I started harming myself. I’m not really sure exactly what year it was, though I remember the moments vividly. I remember my Mother finding out about it when I was around twelve. She was shocked. She was worried. She was dismayed. For three days there was distress in our house. Then she accepted it and moved on.

And twelve-year-old me was left with a razor blade and my Dad’s words ringing in my ears “let her get on with it”. 

…………………………………………………………………

By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for nerds or artists.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping

Life Hacks, Uncategorised

10 times Arguing Enough has changed the world.

My family had a zoom on the weekend. Everyone sat around chatting, spending time with each other, hanging out.

It was fun.

One thing my nephew said struck me—we were talking politics, and he was annoyed by people who “think if they just argue enough they can get whatever they want”.

It’s an interesting point. Basically the premise is that people are powerless, and we have no right to want things to be different.

I think this is wrong.

So, for anyone feeling fatalistic or powerless out there, this blog post is for you.

It’s 10 examples from my life and history where arguing with politicians has changed the world.

  • Backpaid Rent

In 2014 I lived in a rent-controlled apartment. My rent went up unfairly and stayed up for too long. I contacted my landlord, who did nothing. I then contacted the Mayor of the city I live in, who was kind enough to write to my landlord. My landlord reduced my rent, and back-paid me 6 months of rent at the reduced rate. Win!

In the 1990’s a park close to where I live was going to be turned into apartments. Many people were distressed by this. The community got together and protested, and protested and protested. We won. Those parks are still parks, and there’s a plaque on them celebrating the community.

We are so lucky
  • Law Changed Due to Suggestion

My Mother-in-law’s local member was having a question and answer night in the local RSL. She went along and suggested a tweak to a law that was currently being debated. The local member heard it, thought it was a good idea, and my Mother-in-law’s tweak was included in the law.

In 1965 a group of Anglo-Saxon and Indigenous Australian students rode through country towns of NSW trying to highlight racism and put a stop to it. This played a role in the 1967 referendum where Indigenous Australian’s were included in the Constitution as citizens of Australia with the right to vote and were no longer considered flora or fauna.

In 1997 my whole science class wrote to our local members, asking for Dugongs to be protected. Over the past 20 years, a lot of other people have done the same. Until 2017 Australia had a National Dugong and Turtle Protection Plan. Most Dugongs living in Australia live in marine parks (restricted boat speeds, and mesh net fishing restrictions).

In 2017 Australia voted to allow gay and lesbian people to marry. This followed a long running campaign of activism and public education about gay people.

Between 1976 and 1991 all Australian states changed their Marital Rape laws to mean that if one member of a partnership forced the other to have sex, they were criminally liable. This followed a long campaign of activism by feminists and other groups.

One of the most beautiful people I know

In Australia we have Work Health and Safety Laws. These provide Workers Compensation for any workers who get injured, and make managers criminally liable for the safety of staff. These were brought in after a long campaign by Unions and other groups.

In 1948 Australia brought in the 40-hour work week. This followed years of Union campaigning. Since then, we’ve introduced a 38-hour work week. There is work to be done here, though, as many salaried workers hour’s are much higher.

In the years leading up to 1215, a group of Barons threatened to rebel against King John I in England. In 1215, John created the first elements of English Democracy. He gave some of his powers away to the Barons and gave them the right to make some decisions through a council. This eventually (with much work) lead to the Democratic processes we have today.  

…………………………………………………………………

By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for nerds or artists.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping

Life Hacks, Novels and Creative Writing, Trigger Warning!, Uncategorised, Unfinished Symphony

Unfinished Symphony, A Novel Chapter One: Life on Mars

Well, Hi Everyone.

I finished Chapter One!

Download the pretty version if you’d like, or plain text version below.

If you like this work, and you want to support writers and artists, or have a chance to write yourself, remember to donate to my patreon.

Thank you! Even if you’re just reading it, thank you.

Gill.

Chapter One: Life on Mars

I am alive. This is one of the hardest and most beautiful things to be.

I spent so long trying to kill myself.

I still want to kill myself on a regular basis.

But right here, right now, I’m alive. And I am glad.

The will to live is like a pesky, persistent house plant. Some kind of creeper, that you bring home and think ‘I wonder if you’ll survive’ and low and behold, a year later it’s crept all along the mantelpiece and you’re thinking ‘Huh. I’m sharing my space with you; how can we manage this?’ And you know that neglect is not the answer. And you know that if you keep watering it and feeding it, you’ll be living in Little Shop of Horrors. So you prune it, and water it, and love it, and feed it a little. Then you hope that what you do is enough to bring out its beauty and purpose while you’re managing all the natural contradictions and tragedies of the world.

My memories are a mess of contradictions. I can remember my parents buying me a pair of glasses and a warm coat. This was evidence that they loved me and took good care of me; it was evidence that they prioritised my needs over their wants. The only price? My eternal loyalty, silence, gratitude, and servitude.

What do we owe the people who love us? What do we owe the people who hurt us?

If I, by my own volition go to an aquarium and buy a fish, and I take it home and take care of it, and love it and feed it, and buy it medicine and change its water, and pay my electricity bill so the filter works on the tank—what does that fish owe me? Does it owe me its life? I buy pets so that I have the joy of observing them being perfectly themselves. Do they owe me anything, besides the true expressions of their natures?

Rachel Naomi Remen, says that all true love is unconditional—conditional love is merely approval. To be seen, accepted and loved, is a heady and intoxicating drug. I have been both a user and dealer of this drug for a long time. I feel the shame in me, and I see the shame and pain in others, and I think ‘So that’s you. Mmmm. Well, that’s me too.”

But I’m alive.

Strange as that may feel.

My body is fresh and quick and changeable.

My mind is slow and solid and confused.

And my soul? Hard to tell.

Because it’s not just people that I owe a debt to, and it’s not just society. I also owe a debt to life itself. And this pesky, spreading weed that is the will to live keeps reminding me and reminding me: ‘Whoa. Beauty. The amazing beauty of the things in the world. Whoa.’

The first time I tried to kill myself I was around 20. My sister had been suicidal at age 15 and had taken a paracetamol overdose. She was told this was lethal. So I took the same amount and waited to die.

Oh lord. The innocence of a 20-year-old who thinks they have no future.

From there, I tried various overdoses in various amounts, and everything from cutting, to burning, to strangulation, to injecting bleach, to god only knows what else.

I tried a lot of things, a lot of times.

And yet here I am.

Alive.

Why? Why am I still alive when I tried so hard to die? And why do I keep saving my own life? What could possibly make those two opposing forces, the will to live and the desire to die grapple so spectacularly? The Dalai Lama says that the meaning of life is to be happy and useful. I know how to be happy. But of what use am I? And to whom?

Every morning I get my husband out of bed. And while he’s away, I take care of some of the housework. And I often cook him dinner. And all of those things are useful. And all of those things make me happy. And my husband does good, important work. And he makes the world a better place and often saves, or at least improves people’s lives.

But as A.S. Byatt says, that’s not very much to hang a life on.

Let’s say Leonard and Penny bought adjoining farms. Then let’s say Leonard had a flourishing farm and Penny noticed how well Leonard’s farm was doing, and thought ‘I can help with that’; so she gave Leonard all her seed stock. The result would be Leonard would have a great farm, but Penny’s land would be lying fallow.

And that’s not true, either.

Because I get a Lot from my relationship with my husband. He gives me plenty of seed stock back again *wink*.

Sometimes I wonder what I’m capable of cultivating, and how I’m going to go about doing that. And how I’m going to prevent myself from destroying mine and my husband’s farms like I destroy everything else in my life.

I’m learning; slowly but surely, my brain is learning, and my heart is learning, and my soul has always been learning.

Education for me is like standing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and wondering which date palm to climb first for the sweetest, most flavoursome fruit. Which one has the dates which explode in your brain, with the juice running out of your mouth? Learning is like laughter—it fizzes.

I’m doing a bad job of cultivating my body. Lord.

The scars.  So many scars.

They criss-cross my arms and legs and torso like fuchsia, cream, white, and silver chopsticks.

That’s if you’re not looking at the burn scars. You see the same patterns on the bottom of saucepans; mottled, by turns pitted and raised. Or in Aluminium trays that haven’t been washed properly– the layers of brown on layers of silver.

Once you’ve given your life over to cultivating that sort of mischief, what’s the point of cultivating health?

It’s a bit like growing opium poppies in the backyard, and vegetables in the front. Would you like some spinach with your heroin, Sir?

So there’s the first problem. Once I’ve worked out that my life force is around, how can I get to the point where I can actually live?

The constant back and forth– going from reasonably competent to barely able to have a conversation or get out of bed. How can I create a life worth living with that going on?

Yesterday I got up in the morning in absolute despair. I spent most of the day despising myself, wishing I were dead, and taking various actions to make that happen.

At some point in the afternoon I had a change of heart, a small bloom in my soul, or a small gift from my voices, and I spent the rest of the day acting in ways that help me to live. And now I’m alive. Despite whatever damage drinking bleach has done to me.

I’m here.

But how do I live? How does the voice in me that wants to stay alive prevent the voice in me that wants to die from taking over?

…………………………………………………………………

By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for finance nerds.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping