12 Jun

Depression Doesn’t Care About Your First World Solutions

DEPRESSION DOESN’T CARE ABOUT WHERE OR HOW YOU LIVE. (**Trigger warning – discussion about suicide)

I think the world is messed up, big parts of it anyway. The bit I live in, however, is comparatively great. The problems I’m subject to by default of living here would be generally known as “first world problems”. So let’s be clear. The problems of the world, society or our immediate community, unless we live in conditions of considerable duress or oppression such as in detention or forced isolation, or subject to violence, are unlikely to make us suicidal.

Generally speaking, people in the Western world are not suffering from depression and wanting to harm themselves because life is hard and the world is or seems awful. They want to leave the world because that seems like a way of helping everyone else.

People say suicide is selfish. From my experience, when you’re having the thoughts, it seems like the most selfless thing in the world. It seems like the thing which will most better the lives of the people you care about. It’s the only way you can think of to give them relief from the fucked up waste of space that is you and all the shit that comes with you.

Depressed persons don’t end their lives because they are bored of their spoiled lives and success, or because they feel the world is awful and they want to leave. They do it because it seems like the most logical way to break through the dead end we reach every day, trying to come up with a solution for the way we think and feel about things, and about ourselves. It’s being unable to step outside ourselves and our thoughts any more, and becoming completely identified with our perceptions and responses. It’s being tired of waking up and thinking, I don’t think I can go around in this circle in my head again. I just can’t do it.

Ending ones own life is certainly a tragedy. It hurts others, which is not ever the intention of the one leaving. However, I want that we also honor the choice to leave. It took courage, and the best interests of those of us left behind were without doubt in mind. They did not believe there was any other option, and for that we may in time forgive them. As one who has felt those feelings and thought those thoughts, I can say it was the thought of what my actions would bring upon my family, and realizing I did in fact believe they loved me and would suffer loss, that gave me faith enough to wait it out. But I do not judge those who decide not to. We will all be together again in time.

Nothing that is loved ever dies.
Respectfully,
Jo xxx

11 Jun

When A Foot In The Door Isn’t Enough.

DON’T JUST AIM TO GET YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR. YOU HAVE TWO FEET FOR A REASON.

I like to support local makers and artisans via my shop. I also know what it’s like trying to bridge the gap into retail and reach people with your goods when you don’t have a shop or market stall. That’s why when people come in and ask if they can show me what they make, depending on what it is, I will usually say yes. (Sorry to the lady who hoped last week I’d stock her State Of Origin cushions, but kudos for asking.)
I appreciate it takes courage to front up to a shop owner and ask for a foot in the door, that’s why I try to help by giving one. But here’s the surprise. For every one who comes back with their goods, one I never see again, even though I expressed positive interest in their product.
I believe for many of us, the hardest part isn’t breaking the ice, it’s actually following through. I think some people expect me to say no, and are so surprised I say yes that they don’t know, or aren’t ready to do, what comes next. So they do nothing.
I’ve been threatening to write a certain book for years now. I have drafts all over the place for if. It even has a great title. But all that stuff is easy. Saying “I am writing a book” and making a play at it, talking about it and even designing pretty covers for it is fun and easy. I could even sell that damn book right now just on the concept, I know it. It sounds like a breakthrough to say I know I can write that book. But that’s not the breakthrough. That will come when I actually do it.
I encourage you, you may be thinking appropriate your idea, or someone with your idea, is the hard part. It’s not. Get that over with, because it’s a breeze compared with what’s next. Following through. Now that takes some guts. Best get started now. ????? #smallbusinessadvice #footinthedoor #followthrough

10 Jun

Mindful Consumption

You know how you end up with a truckload of stuff you hate? Just buy because you like buying. Take stuff home because you like the feeling of stuffing your car with bags from posh shops. Go into that major chain department store and spend $300 on….argh, god knows how even happens. Buy what the influencer got for free. Or follow the red price stickers and convince yourself that retailer has actually marked stuff down. Go on, kid yourself.

Mindful stewardship of possessions means mindful choosing to begin with at every level, from the manufacturer, to the wholesaler, to the retailer, to the consumer. It means listening in as a consumer to your needs, and not using consumption of goods as self-medication. It’s recognising the messages coming from everywhere telling us we are what we own. We are not. We cannot become better, different or more worthy because of what we have.

Less is actually more when it comes to mindful consumption, and we need to reduce our need for goods to lessen impact on our environment and generally improve our emotional health. Take a thing in your hand when you’re thinking of buying it, and ask yourself if the joy it’s giving you now will be there in a month, a year? Did you know you wanted one of these way before this moment? Or did that price or red sticker make you believe it was a need, not a want?

My shop is a cacophony of colours and shapes and pieces from everywhere, each handpicked because of the vibe I got when I chose them. I want that each piece in my shop finds it’s owner, it’s curator, it’s proud wearer. Am I raving? It’s because I believe in the exchange of energy that goes on in trading as a business. I don’t want to just sell stuff. I want to support people’s healthy beliefs about themselves and the world around them. I want to operate on a deeper level than just making a pile of money out of a pile of stuff. It’s an energy thing. Join me.
????? #livewithless #curatedontclutter #energy

09 Jun

Influencer, Or Influence?

I am not aligned with the concept of the social media “influencer”. Whilst I appreciate it’s a legitimate profession, it is no more or less than garden variety sales. Maya Angelou is an influence. Oprah Winfrey is an influence. Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert are influences – not “influencers”. We are impacted and inspired by who they are, by their risk-taking and their inroads into uncharted territory. We are empowered to rise, to venture, to grow. Yes, we buy their books or subscribe to their podcasts, but their influence is such that we need not be initiated into their tribes with pennies and pounds. Their voices ring truth inside us, call us out, draw us forward. That’s influence.
It’s fine to be influenced. It doesn’t make us gullible or stupid. There is however a difference between being an “influencer”, and being an influence. We are the difference. With one, we serve to empower her, and with the other, she serves to empower us. You choose which perspective resonates with your values. Because trust me – you know how to choose for yourself. ??? #influencer #influence #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship

08 Jun

Speak Of The Darkness, Live In The Light

WE MUST BEGIN TO TALK ABOUT THE DARKNESS IN OURSELVES, AS MUCH AS WE TALK ABOUT LIVING IN THE LIGHT.

Success does not cure the shadows. Money will not buy away the hopelessness. Moving to Bali to work from a laptop on the beach will not stop the thoughts of helplessness or self loathing or shame. I am broken hearted by this news. I truly was inspired by this man and his passion for his field. I call for more open, safe and authentic spaces where we can support one another to be as broken as we are awesome.

Oh, my heart. Thoughts with his family and friends.

07 Jun

Do What You Love, And Do Not Stop.

In High School, my sewing teacher said I was crap at it and gave up on me pretty early in the piece. My music teacher couldn’t stand me and as a result, I failed music as a subject too.

Perhaps not a coincidence I had the same teacher for both subjects.

I tell you this to say I’ve been both a professional singer and songwriter (I still get a royalty payment from APRA every year so my songs are being played on radio somewhere) and professionally sewed, despite the learned assessment of a qualified educator I was rubbish at them both and not worth teaching.

How did it happen? Despite the discouragement, I did both music and sewing and did not stop, just as I have with writing and a few other things. Most talent is actually tenacity.

I just felt it was appropriate right now to say for the sake of someone perhaps who is doubting themselves because of someone else’s laziness to do their job and just fucking teach you, or someone’s fear, or jealously, or their plain dickheadry, and who couldn’t keep their mouth shut and made you think you couldn’t be good at that thing, screw them. Yes you can. What it takes to be good at a thing is to do the thing a lot. A lot. And not stop.

I used to sing and be good at it too. People still tell me they miss my singing and ask if I’m still doing it and whether I’ll go back to it. My answer is, not now. Thing is, people assume I was born with a strong, pleasant-to-listen-to singing voice. I was not. But I wanted one. So I did a lot of singing. And I sang so much, eventually I became a good singer. I was never great. But I loved doing it, and my singing pleased others, and I think that’s a great thing, and it’s enough. I am done with singing for now. I don’t feel the time spent becoming good was wasted. It was wonderful. I feel privileged to have given people pleasure with it.

It breaks my heart when I hear people say they love a thing and want to do it, but they don’t believe they are good at it. Of course you’re not. You haven’t done it enough yet. You need to do it, and do it a lot, to become good at it. And you must start doing it sometime. Why not now?

Why not now?

05 Jun

Everything Is Broken

My husband Ben and I and our teenage son spent a year caretaking a 641-acre sheep station in regional Victoria. I’ve always imagined myself as reincarnated from some Australian colonial character, romanticizing about the era of long, layered skirts and cookstoves and reading in the evenings by the light of oil lamps and such. The reality is on the farm I painted about two miles of white post and rail fence, swept enough possum poo to fill a hipbath, and learned more about sheep than I’ll probably ever need to know.

Apart from possum poo, I also picked up a peculiar habit. I became addicted to wandering through the various abandoned houses and cottages, scouring the paddocks and sheep ruts with my eyes fixed on the dirt looking for – well – stuff. It started when I first spied a few pieces of broken pottery embedded in the field next to our cottage; fragments of blue and white china, or a chip of smashed plate. It was then I noticed thousands of pieces of broken bottles and other household vessels in the ground; bits of blue, green and brown, some the pinky-violet tint of amethyst. I hadn’t seen them before, but suddenly, they were everywhere.

Every little fragment spoke a story, each tiny treasure the seed left behind of the whole they once were. A piece of plate, perhaps part of a set stacked away in a cupboard, probably saved up for in pennies and pounds, the darn thing carted out to the farm across miles and miles out back of a horse. A shard of broken glass half an inch thick, the same minty color of the sea, perhaps the remains of a medicine vial or wine bottle or a pot for some tincture, ointment or perfume.

I imagined a story for every bit I collected. Elegant wine glasses for celebrations, elaborately decorated dinner plates for reunions and rustic bowls for end-of-day meals by fireside. Medicine bottles clutched during fervent prayers murmured down on knees. Liquor vessels for blessed relief and raucous laughter. Scent and cosmetic jars for luxury and indulgence. Milk bottles for sustenance and nourishment, preservation, nurture and health. Coffee and teacups for conversation – sit a while? Pass the sugar. Share a moment with me.

My family think it’s amusing. Whatcha want with all that busted stuff? You’re mad, you know.

I bring my treasures back in plastic bags and the cradle of my shirtfront, washing them carefully in the kitchen sink. I hold each one and give it a story, bless it, place it aside with all the others around the house in bowls where I can see them. Now, I muse, they all have a story. No longer worthless, they belong somewhere, to someone, again.

During our time on the farm I thought about the process a thing undergoes when it stops being of value to people because of its use and beauty. Perhaps it ends up miles from anywhere in pieces, discarded, forgotten and invisible. But those broken bits were not lost, forgotten– not really. Not to the earth that held them while they slept. Not to the sky above them, or the sun or the moon, who saw each fragment and smiled on them without judgment. Not to the stars, made from the exact same stuff, just like you and I are. Not to me. They were broken, but they were, just the same. And their value and their stories were there, for every seeker with enough inclination and imagination to seek out and find them.

Just like all those broken pieces, we too may become broken, shattered, cracked or worn, our stories rendered useless or imperfect in our eyes or those of another, but we are not ever lost, worthless or invisible. Our stories are not forgotten, nor our value stripped simply because we are no longer perfect. Each fragment of us holds not only beauty, but also the fullness of our lived experience and our essence – where we came from, where we have been, and what is to become of us. Know this. We are broken, but we are not unseen or lost. We are remembered, known and loved – at the very least by the earth, and the sky and the sun and the moon. We belong. We are all a beautiful, broken, if sometimes buried treasure. Even though it may seem so at times, despite the things that happen to us our intrinsic value is never removed. Our worth is in our very dust, in our grains, in our shards and in our stories. And it remains ready to be found, by us, and every friend, lover, seeker and storyteller willing to get their hands dirty.

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