‘Let’s sit around a fire’

Went to a workshop held by Richard Downs, one of about 30-40 Aboriginal Elders who took part in the Ampilatwatja walk-off in June last year – they walked away from their community in the NT to set up camp in the bush. He’s the spokesman for the Alyawarra people  living at the township of Ampilatwatcha, 350 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs.

They’re planning to install a bore and make the camp entirely self-sufficient with solar energy and permaculture.

Richard Downs. Photo: The Juice Media

Everyone wants to go and visit the camp, but he said they can’t have visitors until they’ve got water. Now they’re carting water from the nearby township. They’re looking for donations and are getting some union funding.

Continue reading ‘Let’s sit around a fire’

Australian Style book review

9781920989767It’s a beautiful book. I bought it because I like interiors and was interested in a vision of “Australian” style. I couldn’t find many references to Australia, though.

I used to work with Penfold, sub-editing her Source column, and, after reading this book, I can affirm she walks the walk. She always looked glamorous and always had bright, chirpy anecdotes. She’d always say we were brilliant at our work (page 31). She always had a humorous comment to make about a trip to Monte Carlo or a fashion faux pas or the latest mishap by the tradies. She’d send herself up in an Ab Fab Patsy kind of way.

Continue reading Australian Style book review

Turning Point self-help course

Was on 60 Minutes. Will be interesting to see what the Coroner says.

I had a friend who did the course and he loved it. He recommended I do it, but – running it by my Thoreausian benchmark – “Do I feel attracted to doing this course?” – I didn’t want to.

I rang the course this week out of curiosity and the bloke said they still run it once a month (the website is temporarily down). He said he’d mail me some material but it hasn’t arrived. I said I couldn’t afford the $675 and he said they can arrange a payment plan. Anyway, I’m not keen on that sort of intense course as I feel they tend to be a temporary band-aid. When I meet people who’ve gone on that sort of thing (eg. est), they’re all keyed up and evangelical for a few weeks but the glow wears off.

I dislike the 60 Minutes spin so it gets the Tulip of the Week Award. Lots of people go through courses and don’t end up psychotic.

On another track: I’ve known people who were drug-dependent or caught up in self-destructive lifestyles who’ve joined crazy cults and ended up getting their lives back on track. Sure, the cults always had an element that was “unacceptable” and kept them on the fringe (eg. free-for-all sex or a weird guru or a belief in aliens) but at least they learnt how to live much more productive lives. And some of them got disillusioned and left and lead more conventional lives.

As a stepping stone upwards, fringe cults are essential and great. Apart from the ones where everyone suicides. You have to know when to get out before it goes too bad.

If you know people who’ve been in cults – or have accidentally ended up in one yourself – you’ll know there are a lot of good things about them, especially if you can get what you need and then move on.

Danielo Suelo – lives in a cave with no money

He blogs from a public library in the US. Lives off roadkill and the land and is very religious. http://sites.google.com/site/livingwithoutmoney/

Taking Thoreau to the Xtreme! He quotes Thoreau:  “In proportion as he Simplifies his Life, the Laws of the Universe will appear less complex, and Solitude will not be solitude, nor Poverty poverty, nor Weakness weakness.”

He got clinical depression and stripped his life of jobs and money and found the only way to get rid of his depression was to live simply. He has a huge thing about not feeling “dishonest”.

When people try to give him money:

“I often try to tell people that I don’t take or use money before they try to give me anything.  If they then try to give me money, I refuse it and tell them again, “I am not joking, I really don’t take or use money”, and I thank them for their intention.  If they don’t know I live moneyless and they give me money, I often take it and then leave it some place random, at least within 24 hours.  This way I am accepting people’s generosity but not their money, and everybody is happy, including a third party stranger who finds that random money.  Once in a while I pass it on to somebody I encounter who might need it.”

To be a vagabond, a bum, and make an art of it – this idea enchanted me.  The idea of it was just plain fun.”