post

Multiple Realities

Multi-direction signpostOne of the assumptions made in Appreciative Inquiry is that “reality is created in the moment, and there are multiple realities“.

The meaning of this assumption is sometimes a little obscure for folk when they first encounter it.

But there are many practical examples of this in daily life that help to illustrate what it means.

For example, have you ever tried to intervene in a quarrel between two children or teenagers? If so, you’ll know exactly what ‘multiple realities’ can look like. :) Those two kids have obviously been in the same place at the same time and experienced the same event when their quarrel started. But sometimes when you listen to their stories, you’d swear they’d been on different planets!

And in my experience as a family mediator some years ago, this phenomenon was equally apparent. When participants in a mediation session shared what had brought them to this point and their perceptions about what had happened, “multiple realities” were always at play.

Finally, here is a wonderful (and very thought-provoking)  TED talk from Elizabeth Pisani called “Sex, Drugs and HIV – Let’s Get Rational“. With clear logic, sharp wit and warmth, she shows us how different groups in our community have very different perspectives on what actually contributes to or helps to prevent the spread of HIV.

Multiple realities indeed! :)

post

Revisiting Brideshead

I’ve recently finished re-reading Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh – and re-watching on DVD the 1981 BBC TV series, produced by Granada Television.

Brideshead Revisited is probably Evelyn Waugh’s best-loved novel, first published in 1945.

It’s the epic story of a great Catholic family in a doomed aristocratic age prior to the second world war and over sixty years has delighted many readers – including myself .

In haunting prose it captures the dying years of an era of British aristocracy and opulence, which would never again return after the war. Another major theme, as Waugh says in his preface (1959) to a modified re-issue of the novel, is “the operation of divine grace on a group of diverse but closely connected characters.”

In the book there are many passages of lilting prose – somehow wistful and with a lingering melancholy. And in re-reading, I experienced all over again my initial delight.

Here’s an example … [Read more…]

post

The Storyteller

Unshaved, unkempt,
black nails, black teeth
and an old, tattered coat.
You’d dismiss him as derelict
and walk straight past.
Yet when he spoke
eagles soared,
mountains talked
and I glimpsed infinity.
“I’m a storyteller”
he said.
His stories wove spells
of dreaming and meaning.
The universe expanded,
and I felt for a moment
that I touched its limits.
Derelict,
Storyteller,
Spellbinder …
The essence of truth
lies perhaps in all three.

post

A Journey Shared

Last weekend I returned to a place I’d not visited in almost ten years.

Brunton’s Bridge is a glorious spot on the Thompson River in Victoria. It lies about 12 kilometers of dirt road beyond an old and now beautifully renovated/rebuilt mining town called Walhalla.

BruntonsBridge01

My partner, Glenn, died at the end of June in 1999 and the last time I had travelled to Brunton’s Bridge was the following December, when members of his family and I camped there overnight to scatter his ashes. He and I had shared life’s journey for 11 years and we’d often gone camping there. It was one of his favourite places to spend time, relaxing in the peaceful bush setting.

Glenn took his own life, so the months afterwards had been very hard for all of us.  We’d have gone with his ashes to Brunton’s Bridge earlier – but none of us had a four wheel drive vehicle, and that rough dirt road had been too muddy and dangerous for our cars until summer arrived that year to dry it out.

As it happened, this was no doubt a good thing. Six months after Glenn’s death we were readier to take that final journey with him.

Here is a poem I wrote at the time: [Read more…]

post

Dreaming of World Peace

worldpeaceWorld peace .. does that sometimes seem an impossible dream?

Maybe.

We’re all human. We get cranky and annoyed. People irritate us – their actions hurt or anger us. And certain events in our lives lead to feelings of devasting pain, grief or anger.

We’ve all seen the effects of these things, either in our own lives or those of others around us. Depression, illness, substance abuse, violence – the list goes on.

And on a larger scale, deep hurt and anger can infect a household, a community or a nation. The cost of this is immeasurable in terms of human suffering.

But imagine what it might be like if, individually, we could transcend those feelings? What if, one by one, we could somehow find our own peace? And follow that up by reaching out a helping hand to heal the hurt and anger of those around us?

[Read more…]